Front Page Titles (by Subject) 89.: FRENCH NEWS  EXAMINER, 27 FEB., 1831, P. 136 - The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXII - Newspaper Writings December 1822 - July 1831 Part I
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89.: FRENCH NEWS  EXAMINER, 27 FEB., 1831, P. 136 - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXII - Newspaper Writings December 1822 - July 1831 Part I 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXII - Newspaper Writings December 1822 - July 1831 Part I, ed. Ann P. Robson and John M. Robson, Introduction by Ann P. Robson and John M. Robson (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1986).
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FRENCH NEWS 
This article is headed “London, February 27.” For the entry in Mill’s bibliography, see No. 55. The item is listed as “Article on France” and enclosed in square brackets in the Somerville College set.
the late tumults in paris have been viewed by all parties in France in a far more serious light than the accounts at first received in this country made them appear to merit. Moderate, time-serving newspapers, and moderate, time-serving deputies, have now publicly declared their conviction on the following points:—That it is now obvious that the National Guard, and the middle classes, at least, of Paris, are not satisfied with the present state of the government, either in respect to men or measures;—That, until they obtain a government with which they are satisfied, the feeling of security will not revive;—That until there is security, the labouring population will be without work, will be dissatisfied, a prey to agitators, and ready for continual tumults: which tumults, so long as they do not endanger human life or private property, the National Guard will give themselves as little trouble as possible to suppress. All this has been obvious to every man of common sense for the last six months; and the popular journals have been dinning it into the ears of the King and the Chamber since August last. But they would not listen to Reason, when she came with a gentle whisper; and now they must be fain both to hear and feel her, returning with a loud shout and a thundering blow.
One point is now admitted by the unanimous voice of all parties—the necessity of dissolving the Chamber. This measure, so odious to the majority a few days since, is now pressed on by them with indecent precipitation, to escape from the approaching debate on the electoral law, and have the opportunity of presenting themselves once again to the same narrow body of constituents, which elected them before, and by which they believe that they will be re-elected. The côté gauche are now the opponents of an immediate dissolution. They were always so. From the beginning they demanded that the Chamber should (to use their own phrase) make its last will and testament before it expires; should determine, by an election-law, to whom the estate which it leaves behind, its constitutional authority, shall descend.1
The commission, or select committee, on the electoral law, has presented its report.2 This proposes to lower the electoral qualification from 300 to 240 francs of direct taxes: and that of eligibility from 1000 to 500. Trifling as is this diminution of the qualification of an elector, it seems that it will increase the number of the voters to 210,000; and though nothing short of a million of electors ought to be accepted by the sincere Reformers, either in this country or in France, even as a compromise, the chances of some improvement in the composition of the Chamber even from so inadequate a Parliamentary Reform, if adopted previous to the dissolution, are sufficient to be worth a hard struggle.
The usual quantity of absurd misapprehension has displayed itself in England on the subject of the troubles in Paris. The hatred of the populace to the fleurs-de-lis is partly understood; but their antipathy to the crosses, and to the priesthood, is, not unnaturally, somewhat less intelligible to Englishmen who have never stirred from their fire-side, nor imbibed any ideas but those which it suited the purpose of some person or other to carry thither. All persons who have conversed with the working population of Paris must have been forcibly struck with the intensity of their hatred to the Jesuits, and to les mauvais prêtres (as they phrase it) generally; a hatred which has partly for its cause, and partly for its effect, a notion that those against whom it is directed are capable of the worst of crimes; and we have ourselves repeatedly heard persons of the lowest class, subsequently to the revolution in July, expressing their fears that if Louis Philippe persisted in going about without an escort, some Jesuit would be found to assassinate him. But the very persons in whom these feelings appeared to be strongest, always qualified the expression of them, by the unsolicited and unsuggested acknowledgment, that there must be both religion and priests. Even at the summary funeral of the victims of July, who were laid under ground by the collected people in the very place where they fell, a priest was sent for to perform the usual ceremonies. The people of Paris, from the highest to the lowest, have ceased to hate Christianity, and are tired of listening to ridicule of it: but they detest mortally a political religion; and, although their minds are more open than they have been for above a generation, to religious feelings and ideas generally, they are averse from the Catholic religion, and ready, in a moment of excitement, to make the most violent demonstrations of hatred to the Catholic priests. As for the crosses which have been pulled down from the tops of the steeples, it may not be amiss to state that they were put up only a very few years ago by the Bourbons, at the expense of the people, and to their vehement dissatisfaction.
The King seems, of all men in France, to be the least capable of rightly interpreting the passing events. He has chosen a moment like this for dismissing from their offices, Odilon-Barrot, the Prefect of the Seine, and Baude, the Prefect of Police.3 The Times says that Odilon-Barrot is dismissed for being too liberal, and Baude for not being liberal enough; and regards the whole proceeding as a specimen of mere trimming;4 but if this were the case, why was the precise moment selected for removing Baude, at which he had just delivered a speech reconciling him with the popular party?5 That speech is the true cause of his dismissal. He is removed from the same motive as Odilon-Barrot. He is removed because the King wishes to show that he can be firm; as Charles X was firm when he issued the ordinances.6 The rule with Kings is to drive the people to extremity, and then to face their fury by way of showing firmness, and avoiding the humiliation of a retreat. Weak men never take it into their heads to be firm, until the time is come, when it is absolutely necessary to be pliant. Their firmness consists in braving real dangers, for fear of imaginary ones. The feeble King of the French is terrified at giving votes to the million richest among thirty-two millions, but rather than yield an inch to the other thirty-one millions in arms, impavidum ferient ruinae. Alas! a fool can be as tenax propositi as Horace’s hero.7
One of those evil counsellors whom nature seems to have formed as the appointed means to bring the mighty to their ruin, as apt guides to hurry princes and potentates blindfold to the edge of the precipice, and leave them to destruction, exhorts the Aristocracy of England, in an intercalary Quarterly Review, to act as the old King of France did, and as the new King of France intends to do—to be firm.8 Those who would never yield to aught but fear, are tauntingly exhorted not to yield to that. Obstinate cleaving to the taxes, unflinching adherence to the interest of their pockets, constitutes Roman virtue in the eyes of some people. But if the Aristocracy of England are sufficiently unaware of their present situation to hearken to such counsellors, they little know what is in store for them. If the English and the new French government are destined severally to give another lesson to the world on the incapacity of oligarchies, howsoever constituted, to learn wisdom from experience, the trial must be submitted to: but at least those who shall provoke it shall do so knowingly, and must hold themselves prepared to suffer the natural consequences of their own folly.
[1 ]See the leading article in Le Globe, 17 Aug., 1830, pp. 1-2.
[2 ]On 22 Feb. (Moniteur, 1831, pp. 373-8).
[3 ]Jean Jacques Baude (1792-1862) had been a liberal pamphleteer and journalist and was one of the signers of the publishers’ protest against the Ordinances. He was Prefect of Police from December 1830.
[4 ]The Times, 25 Feb., 1831, p. 2.
[5 ]Moniteur, 19 Feb., 1831, pp. 337-9.
[6 ]For the details, see the headnote to No. 44.
[7 ]Horace (65-8 ), Carmina, III, iii, 8 and 1, in Odes and Epodes (Latin and English), trans. C.E. Bennett (London: Heinemann, 1914), p. 178.
[8 ]See Robert Southey, “Moral and Political State of the British Empire,” Quarterly Review, XLIV (Jan. 1831), 261-317, particularly the conclusion.