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because it destroyed its unity and its moderation, and broke up into the fractions of republicanism and royalism, the general expression of liberal feelings and opinions.
The more violent the press becomes, the more it splits itself into fractions, and becomes weak: the more violent the government becomes, the more it unites and keeps the press together and makes it powerful. Hence the folly of a system of persecution and repression—a folly of which I regret to find the present administration guilty.
We can see to what an extent this system has unfortunately been carried!!
of these prosecutions which has not had the effect I have described; viz: that of making the press more powerful against the government which instituted them, by uniting the press against that government.
In fact, a government in the situation of the French government, when it prosecutes the press because it is violent, ends by being itself the representative of that violence which it began by putting down.
The parties attacked become more moderate from a necessity of union; the party attacking more desperate from a sense of danger.
The prosecutions of the restoration coalesced, as I have had occasion to say, the Bonapartists and the patriots; and it was this coalition which overthrew the Bourbons: the prosecutions of the juste-milieu are tending to unite the carlists and the republicans, and that is the best chance of overthrowing Louis-Philippe.*
As I write this sentence, the new law rings in my ears; but it will not be, till the conclusion of this work that I shall speak of an act, which should be considered less in respect to the Press than to general policy.
* See Appendix for different facts connected with the French press; the duties, laws, etc.
Force of an Opinion propped up by a habit-Le Roi trèschrétien-State of religion in France-Châteaubriand's Génie du Christianisme.
THERE are few things more difficult to ascertain than the real force of an opinion, which has long been propped up by a habit.
The shadow remains so long upon the surface of things after the reality has passed away-the sensation of an effect continues so long after the cause has ceased—that we are for ever in the habit of deceiving ourselves and imagining that, that lives from faith and belief which in fact only continues from indifference and from custom. Here is the error which unhappily prevails in all revolutions, and
induces a minority to resist where there is nothing to be gained but by concession!
Here is the error which states men have been too frequently guilty of, and travellers and superficial observers almost invariably fallen into!
Here is the error which produces so many of those contradictions which encounter us in every page of history, and raise up, side by side, things which appear utterly incompatible with each other.
Let us suppose that we were two thousand years removed from the time of Louis XV, and that some book of voyages-the book of an Herodotus of the 18th century who had visited the court of France-fell into our hands.
"This monarch," (Louis XV) he would say, "is called le Roi très-chrétien ; and the religion of Christ condemns as deadly-the crimes of fornication and adultery.
"The very Christian King, nevertheless, lives openly with a prostitute, and employs the money he receives from his very christian subjects in maintaining an immense seduction house, which he fills with the most beautiful he can procure of their very christian daughters." -What would you say on reading this page? "Bah! This King might call himself ' very
Christian' and his people might call themselves very Christian,' too, if they pleased it, but after all, the piety of both parties must have consisted in the mere puppet-show of their appellation." Stop a little! we will turn, if you please, to our traveller's next page! What shall we say, when we find there-that the King we have just seen described-living in the greatest pomp and exercising an uncontrolled sway over his people-descended from his throne once every year, and in observance of one of the great duties of christianity, washed with his own hands the feet of a certain number of dirty beggars who were brought to him from the streets for this pious purpose?
Where is the sovereign accustomed to pomp, to luxury and to power, who would descend from his throne in so humiliating a manner— to perform so disgusting an office-unless it were loudly demanded from him either by his own conscience, or by that of the nation he governed? "The very Christian King you would affirm "must have been very christian after all."
But the question would not rest here: crowds of learned commentators would arise to shew that things could not be as they were printed,