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the daily reiterated attacks of the most wicked and audacious writers should make no impression on them. That they must of casionally cherish a wish to set bounds, in one way or other, to this, atrocious disorder, is as certain as that they are men. Indeed their duty, as well as their feelings, must lead them to form this wish. As statesmen, they cannot be ignorant of the pernicious consequences of the evil, and as guardians of public order they cannot regard it with indifference. At the same time they are perfectly aware that it is not in their power to check the intemperance of: the Press, by any immediate reform of the laws and institution's connected with it. I

- There remains therefore no course for the Ministers to take exo cept to endeavour to maintain a certain balance in the political ma chine, by redoubling their efforts, to extend their own power, and çonsequently to limit individual liberty, if noti by unconstitutional stretches of authority, at least by every measure which can be in any way reconciled with the letter of the law, and by any means justified in the eye of the legislature. The French Minister of Jus: 1 tice, a short time since, judiciously observed, that the act of HabeasCorpus, the great bulwark of personal liberty, in England, would, in these times, have been perhaps less frequently suspended had not the abuse of the Press increased and multiplied the apprehena sions of the Government, and that England has thus probably lost, in one of her liberties, as much as she fancies she has gained in another. The justice of this observation cannot be doubred. : Itap. pears certain that, of late, more than one ministerial measure would have assumed another character, more than one political transaction would have taken a different direction, had not the licentiousness of the popular writers deranged all the usual modes of viewing sub jects, and changed the whole situation of the people, with respect to the constitutional authorities, and awakened distrust and fear in minds which would otherwise liave been strangers to either. If

To replace the Liberty of the Press within more restricted legal limits, or to effect any essential change in the Judicial proceediygs against offences of the Press, has become impracticable in England, and the attempt would, perhaps, only produce an increase of evil. When a nation, like Great Bri: tain, has, for upwards of a éentury, been free from all political restrictioo's on the Press, and when those who employ it have, during five-and-twenty years, been accustomed to stand in awe of no Judge, either for its use or its abuse, but to be responsible to a body, which, however ignorant it may he is selected from the people themselves, it would be a hazardous undertaking to touch such a system. It scarcely need be observed that this is no proof of its excellence: A disease does not cease to be a disease because it is in-. curable.

2 Discours de M. le Garde-des-Sceaux à la Chambre des Députés, le 11 Décembre, 1817.

the party, who contend for popular rights, were to consult their real interests, they would exert all their influence to prevent the excesses of the Press. That this party, in England, does exactly the contrary, only proves that the Press is in no way guided by calm culations of political prudence, but by jealousy and passion.

The following are the results of the view we have taken of the system, at present, subsisting in England, for preventing the abuse of the Press:

I. THE STATE OF THE Law, in so far as respects the ascertaining and the defining of offences, is, under the present system, almost a nullity. What constitutes an offence of the Press is not specised by any law. An author who, by means of printing, bed's comes guilty of high treason, or any similar crime, falls under a different legal system. In all other cases the decision, on the cri-2 minality or innocence of a writing, is entirely referred to jurisdices tiqus which are seldom guided by previous decisions, but which usually pronounce judgment from immediate impressions, or from prejudices; in a word-arbitrarily.

II. THE FORM OF ACTION is imperfect, inadequate, and opprese sive.

III. THE JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS or TRIAL, since the year 1792, are still, in point of form, conducted by the Crown Prosecutor, and subject to the co-operation and control of the Judge; but are, with regard to the final decision, to all real intents and purposes, placed exclusively at the discretion of the Jury, and the manner in which this critical duty has, from that period, been fules, filled, is sufficiently explained by the present state of political writ, ing in England.

But if, notwithstanding these considerations, the ground-work of the system now existing, in England, become a model for other States, earnest attention ought, at least, to be paid to the following points:

1. The corporeal legislation, or the state of the law, as it respects the facts, in offences of the Press (we distinguish it from the formal legislation which relates merely to the judicial proceedings) must be carried to the highest point of accuracy and com-pleteness of which it is capable; though it is never to be forgotten, that, from its very nature, the work must always be imperfect.

II. The form of bringing the action, and the manner of conduct- : ing the judicial proceedings, must be determined by fixed rules, calculated at least to prevent notoriously arbitrary decisions, either to the prejudice of the state or the author.

III. In countries where the Jury already forms part of the ju. VOL. XV.


NO. XXX. 21

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dicial system, it must also be introduced into the proceedings against offences of the Press, but it should be endeavored so to unite -its functions with those of the Judge, that the interests of the state and of public order may not be entirely left without protection.

În countries where the practice of choosing Juries from among the people does not exist, means should be devised for giving a peculiar organisation to the Judicial Authorities, in processes of this kind; and it should be endeavoured to constitute these authorities in such a inanner, that the exercise of a function, so foreign to the ordinary Judge, may not produce greater injury to the parties interested-namely, the Author and the State ---than could ever be laid to the charge of a political censor.

We acknowledge that it is not easy, fully to comply with the above conditions. But our object has been to prove, that the introduction of a system, which can only be rendered tolerable, under such conditions,'must in a country where it is not favored by local circumstances, or where it has not, as in England, almost formed itself, be attended with great difficulties and dangers. A violent enthusiast or an inconsiderate reformer, may decide rashly on this subject; but to weigh it maturely, is the duty of the legislator. and the statesman.

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Neque sic accipiatis, tamquàm exprobraturus præterita surrexerim. Nam veterem quidem culpam intempestivè objicere, inimici et alienis erroribus petulanter insultantis animi est : probi viri et salutis communis studiosi, peccata civitatis tegere, aut excusare malunt, nisi quoties ad calamitatem publicam amoliendam, præteritarum offensarum recordatio grande momentum habet. Nam ab errore quidem omni, homines quum simus, immunes haberi velle, nimium et superbum : sed ad eumdem Lapidem crebrò impingere ; neque saltem eventu temeritatem castigante ad cautionem erudiri, id verò jam rix benè humanum est.

The Tarentine Orator in the Council against the Romans. Titus Livius,




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, ! AT length, after four years of violent party contest--fon the one hand, of unreasonable resistance to the claims of the age, and partial concessions ; on the other, of numerous exagge rations) __thete prevails throughout the whole of Germany a general agitation; and that sort of temper, which usuany precedes great catastrophes in history, has begun to manifest itself. That which the most active, rancorous, and artful demagogic efforts, working from below upwards, could never; of themselves, have accomplished, namely, the stirring up and exasperating the peaceful, tranquil, sober,'' and moderate German nation, in all its elements and depths, those who act from above, and hold the extremity of the political lever, have, by subtile anticipations," saccessfully brought about. But, as in a great measure they dare not, withorit valid reasons, pretend to the honor of the success, they are boldly preparing to give perfection to their'labors, in order that the work, in all its parts, may be found worthy of the workmen. Meanwhile new impulse has been given to the exerted passions at every moment when they were aboat to become calm. With singular dexterity, the weak side of each has been sought out, and advantage has been taken of every opportunity to cut deeper into the parts already wounded. In this way has been discovered the secret of creating a general feeling of discontent, from one end of the country to the other, and of involving the governments in a hopeless struggle with all that is good, noble, and powerful, and leaving them in a labyrinth from which they can never bc extricated, unless they abandon thc paths which mislead them. As, during the

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