Abbildungen der Seite

The various items which have been explained make up the case at issue between General Napier and the people of Guern. sey. That case has been heard before the Privy Council. Notwithstanding the efforts made to repress enquiry hy technical objections, the decision is, on the whole, favourable to the people. *

The Jersey cause is still undecided; and grievous is it to observe the ignorance and prejudice with which it has been discussed in the public journals of this country. We have no love for Jersey: it is plagued by party spirit to an extent of which, even in England, we can hardly form a conception; the moral tone of the island is far lower than in Guernsey, and it lacks the exquisite cottage-homes of the sister island. Yet there are signs of improvement, among which may be mentioned the establishment, on the 3rd of January last, of a new English newspaper, free from the low-lived asperities which have been an utter disgrace to the community tolerating them.

In May last an Englishman, Mr Charles Carus Wilson, published an insulting letter to the lieutenant-governor of Jersey, Major-General Sir Edward Gibbs. A public meeting of the native and English inhabitants of St. Helier's was convened to express indignation at this wanton attack. The chief magistrate of the town, Mr. Le Sueur, presided. Mr. Wilson sent a written apology to the government-house, and then published a libel on Mr. Le Sueur, who brought an action against him. On the trial, Wilson insulted and bullied the court; he shook his fist at the judges, brandished a brandy bottle, poured out a glass and tossed it off with an insulting gesture to the bench, told the court it was corrupt, boasted that he would galvanize the judges, &c. After long forbearance, he was sentenced to pay a fine of ten pounds to the Queen, and to apologize to the bench. He refused to do either, and was imprisoned. In prison his treatment has been as lenient as possible. He has applied in England for a writ of Habeas Corpus, which would remove the cause to Westminster. The writ has been granted. Is it legal ? That is the sole question at issue; and it will soon be decided before the proper tribunal. All the eloquence, therefore, of the newspapers about a monstrous anomaly,' and the sovereignty of the Queen,' &c., is mere waste of words.

express indienglish inhabitan Gibbs

* In taking leave of Guernsey, we may mention the possible existence of a document which might, just now, be of no small interest, could it be discovered. The following is from Bridges's History of Northamptonshire, published in 1791 :- In the library at Kirby, the seat of Lord Hatton, is a MS. account of the island Guernsey, written by the first Lord Hatton, said to be admirably well done, and ready for the press.'-vol ii, p. 315.

The first Lord Hatton died in 1670. We have made inquiry after this MS., but without success.

en lied in florivilerzi some. Pancrivere cholest. Par

In order that an act of the imperial parliament may become law in the Channel Islands, two things are said to be requisite: the islands must be named in the act, and the act must be registered in the islands, having been transmitted for that purpose by the Privy Council. The Habeas Corpus Act has the first of these requisites, but lacks the second. Nor could it be made to run into those parts of the Queen's possessions, without infringing the constitution there enjoyed. Its effect, moreover, would be to render justice complicated, expensive, and tardy. The right of the inhabitants to be tried in their own local courts is one of their most ancient and vital privileges.'*

In the year 1831 some paupers-children of soldiers-were sent to Guernsey, from St. Pancras, London. The island autho-, rities denied that the paupers were chargeable on the island, and refused to allow Capes, the beadle of St. Pancras, to leave without them. Some months after, Capes and the paupers being still on the island, the parish of St. Pancras obtained from Lord Tenterden a writ of Habeas Corpus for the beadle. When his lordship's 'tipstaff appeared in Guernsey, the Royal Court immediately refused to make any return to the writ. Lord Tenterden then issued a warrant for the apprehension of the deputy sheriff, by whom Capes was detained. The tipstaff, who served this warrant on the 7th of May, was himself forthwith given into custody, taken before the court, and told that he had no authority in Guernsey. The Government now interfered, and an order of the Privy Council was sent, bearing date June 11, 1832, requiring the Habeas Corpus Act to be registered in the islands. The authorities in both Jersey and Guernsey, resolved to suspend such registry till they had remonstrated. Deputies repaired to London, Mr. Brock being one. The Order in Council was abandoned, the act was not registered, the beadle and paupers returned to London.

The institutions of the Channel Islands are not indeed perfect, but they are such as the people venerate for their antiquity and love for their fruits. Why should they be deprived of them? We trust that the good sense of the British public will prevent such a catastrophe. Let the institutions in question be amended where they need reform; but let them not be dealt with in ignorance or prejudice.

• The Jersey authorities have admitted the jurisdiction of the Court of Queen's Bench. They should have declined it, and the whole case would then have been argued before the Privy Council.

Art. III.-Le Juif Errant, the Wandering Jew. A Tale. By Eugene

Sue. The Eclectic is not in the habit of devoting its pages to works of fiction of a questionable character, which, whatever mental stimulus they may minister to people who read nothing else, are too frequently but the evaporations of disordered brains, and calculated only to derange the brains of others. Such is, in general, the character of French novels; and yet it is for a French novel that we depart from our rule. This renders an explanation necessary.

The minister for public instruction, the Grand Maitre of the French university, Villemain, has lately been declared raving mad. Those who have long known this unprincipled and heartless sophist, may wonder that a man so utterly devoid of all kinds of affection should have been subject to such a visitation, but the fact is officially notified, and there can therefore be no doubt about it. The cause of this sudden attack of insanity is differently reported. The first version which was obtained from parties, whose means of information and accuracy are well ascertained, gives a striking exemplification of the working of constitutional government in France.

The administrative tyranny, which is the only thing secured by the constitution of the country, has, during the last fourteen years, gradually reduced to a most abject state of subserviency and helplessness all classes of the people but one, the catholic clergy, the sole organized body now left in France, in some sort independent of the governmental centralisation. It is in the nature of the catholic clergy, and indeed of every state priesthood, to aspire to absolute authority, to place the divine power, with which they pretend to be invested, above all civil power; and they only limit their pretensions to forming an independent state in the state, when circumstances will not allow them to domineer over the state.

Such is at present the condition of the clergy of France, all the members of which are besides disaffected to the government established by a revolution made against them, much more than against a dynasty; and are longing for another restoration from which they anticipate the return of the glorious days of Charles X.* All the efforts made by the citizen king and

* During an excursion recently made in the northern departments of France, we had abundant proofs of the existence of such feelings. There is not a curate who has not the portrait and autograph of Henry V. in his room.

his successive ministries, to conciliate them, have been unavailing, and the government, in its own defence it must be admitted, though not for the good of the people, was compelled to adopt measures for controlling and counteracting the increasing and threatening influence of its inveterate enemies. The principal of these measures relates to the education of the young men preparing for the church, and its object is to place all diocesan religious schools (petits seminaires), like all the other schools in the country, under the controul of the royal university. Villemain, as minister for public instruction, prepared and proposed a law for that purpose, which was readily assented to by the subservient Chamber of Peers, but which occasioned such a burst of indignation, on the part of the bishops and the clergy, and led to such violent controversy, that its discussion in the House of Deputies was adjourned from the last to the present session. . Previous to the opening of the Chambers, Willemain had to consult with the king about the introduction of the law into the House of Deputies. The minister, after his warfare with the bishops, considering his honour as at stake, and relying upon the king's obstinacy in his own plans, was determined to press the adoption of the measure, in the lower house, without any concession to the clerical body. Contrary to his expectations, he found the king in a different disposition, and a warm discussion ensued. The irascibility to which his majesty always was subject has, of late years, increased to such a point, that the least contradiction puts him into a passion, and, in this state, he does not minutely weigh the expressions he makes use of, unless it be to render them still more haughty and provoking. After all, this may be proper treatment for the members of his present cabinet, and especially for the one in question, who, in April, 1814, on the place Vendôme, publicly seized the stirrups and kissed the boots of the Emperor Alexander, proclaiming him at the same time the saviour of the country We are bound, however, to admit that the king must have carried his practice to a great extremity, since a man of the temper of Villemain, a character stamped with thirty-three years subserviency under every successive government, could not help resenting the insult, and rejoining in terms so illsounding to the royal ears, that the master interrupted him in these terms: “Allons done / vous étes fou.’ Most of our readers are aware that the legitimate kings of France had the gift of curing the scurvy, by merely touching the sufferer, and saying: ‘Le Roi te touche; Dieu te guèrisse P The king of the Barricades, it appears, has another but more awful gift; for, no sooner had the words escaped from his mouth, WOL. XVII. P P

than madness had seized the minister, who, losing sight of the king, and imagining that he was ‘téte a téte’ with a Jesuit, rushed upon him, seized him by the neckcloth, and was doing his best to strangle him, when, at the cries of the king, officers of his household entered and liberated him from the grasp of the madman, who, cleverly enough for a person in his situation, escaped from the palace, ran to the lunatic asylum where his wife is confined, and being led to her apartment by the doctor, fell into her arms, and said that the Jesuits had ruined him; that he had just had a personal encounter with the very worst of them, whom, had it not been for his assistants, he would have annihilated; but he was overpowered. “What will become of you, my poor wife? what will become of our children? Jesuits never forgive 1 we are all undone !’ &c. &c. The doctor, a clever man, immediately saw that, instead of one patient he was likely to have two, and hesitated if he should not immediately order a private room and a strait waistcoat: but, the thought that the huge, unclean, and unintelligent mass in human form he had before him, was a minister, a ‘Grand Maître,’ stopped him, and he ordered two servants to take a hackney coach, and see the madman home to his ministerial residence, which orders were instantly and respectfully obeyed. Immediately after the doctor repaired to the palace, and reported the scene which he had witnessed. The news of such an event spread all over Paris, and its propagation soon alarmed the Thuileries more than the event itself, and all the ministers were speedily assembled at the palace, to consider what was to be done under such circumstances. The king, already informed of all the particulars that had been circulated, in the first moments of general emotion, thought it best, in his vaunted clemency, to forget everything except the averred madness of Willemain, and condescended to order those of his household who had witnessed the facts, to lose all recollection of them, and be silent until the official account was regularly and formally issued. There being no doubt about the lunacy of the absent colleague, a family predisposition to it was easily established. One of his youngest brothers, a scholar of the imperial Lycée, (now college Louis le Grand), hung himself in a cell where he had been placed under arrest. . Another, afterwards an officer of artillery, committed so many acts of folly, that, in 1823, he was sent to the colonies, through the influence of his brother, then a legitimist, to get rid of him. Furthermore, incipient insanity, so far back as 1827, was proved against Villemain himself, by the publication of a romance, entitled, LAscARIs: therefore it was agreed that the fact of the lunacy should be officially admitted, with suitable expressions of regret

« ZurückWeiter »