Obrázky na stránke


[ocr errors]


was classical and historical. He stu- had irritated the mind and heart of the died the best models of forensic elo- young advocate. He had admired with quence, and was at an early age con- all the French youth the military glory vinced of this great fact and principle, of the warrior—but when he contrastthat monarchical governments are fa- ed that gole title to public favour with vourable to the developement of genius, the persecuting character of the police, and to the advancement of industry and with the arbitrary acts of the Goand talent. The father of Berryer vernment, he learned to appreciate bewas, from principle as well as from forehand the benefits of a government education, a Royalist. He had watch- which brought back to France both ed with his son, who was at his elbow, liberty and order. He embraced with and examined, as younger and elder enthusiasm the cause of legitimacy, students, the events which had trans. and to it he has been faithful during pired in France, from the period when the rest of his noble and energetic the young Berryer was ten years of life. age till the epoch of his maturity :- I remember, in the month of Decemand both were equally satisfied that ber, 1830, listening to a splendid orathe land of their birth, as of their af- tion of Berryer, in which he thus fection, was unprepared for the doc- sketched his opening career :trines of republicanism, and totally op- “ Je réclame le privilège heureux de mon posed to the continuance of imperial- âge, qui me fit étranger à l'ancien régime. ism. From 1812 to 1814 both father Ma carrière a commencée au milieu d'un and son anticipated the speedy return bruit des armes. Je me suis, en quelque of the Bourbons to France as a fact sorte, eveillé au monde aux cris de gloire which was ever inevitable, and desired de l’empire ; alors que les vieilles querelles an arrangement, by which the liberties étaient etouffés. Je n'ai connu la liberté, of the people, the power and unity of l'ordre, les lois, la discussion des droits, la the monarchy, and the ameliorations défense des interêts publiques ou privés, que introduced by the events of 1789 might dans la France, telle que la restauration l'a be consecrated and preserved.

faite." It was at this period that Berryer Berryer was one of those who felt, was called to the bar. From the mo- when contemplating the vast catasment of his appearance as an advo. trophe of the empire, how much there cate, his admirable aptitude for reply is of peril for the happiness and repose was admitted by all his fellow-barris- of society, when the power which ters--and one of them made in his directs it is all concentrated in only honour a charming song, the chorus

Whilst such men as Bonaof which was

parte are rare, and hardly ever transA la réplique on connait l'avocat." mit to their successors the force with

This facility of replying to his ad- which their own genius has invested versary, of seizing the weak points of them-society is in perpetual need of his argument, and of gaining the at order and protection. An unchangetention of both judges and jury by a able, inviolable, dominating principle, lofty address and an animated and which consecrates all rights and all powerful logic, has, of course, grown interests, can alone reply to these dewith his growth, and strengthened mands--and, if you will, to these weak. with his strength. His introductory nesses of human society. addresses are strong, masculine, ner. It is easy for the enemies of the Re. vous. His replies are thunderbolts storation to affect a vast repugnance which sweep all before them, and leave for foreign bayonets ; but time and his antagonists the sorriest victims of truth will do justice to this species of his power, strewn lifeless, or incapable ingratitude, and the acclamations of the of retorting on the field of battle. France of 1814 will, at a future period

When Berryer first entered public of French history, reply victoriously life as a barrister, the events of 1814 to those posthumous calumnies, only and 1815 rendered that profession more got up to give the lie to the facts of political than legal, and gave to it a the past. The Restoration will precharacter peculiarly favourable for the serve its great name in the annals of developement of his immense powers. France, and posterity will say, that by He embraced with ardour royalist opi. the return of legitimate power to these nions. The despotism of Napoleon shores, France was able to obtain that and the vexations of his government, repose from her long political agita

one man.







Berryer. tion of which she was so much in your authority. Fifteen years of peace and need, and was brought to enjoy that of liberty, which they owe to your august " prosperity without example,which brother and to you, have rooted deeply in M. Dupin, in 1815, then admitted to their hearts that gratitude which attaches exist. I cannot forbear from citing them to your royal family.” the very words of this distinguished As Berryer was always a man of individual, made use of in his letters to action, as well as of principle, he be. the electors of La Nièvre at that came a Royalist volunteer, and made period.

as such the journey to Ghent during " Le roi veut cicatriser nos plaies, tarir the Hundred Days. le source de nos maux, et nous procurer

On the second return of the Bourcette paix que a fui loin de nous avec les bons, his Royalist opinions did not Bourbons ; et qu'eux seuls pouvaient nous prevent him from devoting himself

with ardour to the defence of the ofIt is often a subject of occupation ficers who were compromised by the with M. Berryer, to compare men with events of 1815, and who were brought themselves as well as with each other ; before the tribunals to be judged by to see how their passions and their the order of Ministers, who little unprejudices at one period of their lives derstood the interests of the monarchy, give the lie to the justice and truth of and were never seriously devoted to

the eldest branch of the House of another period, and then vice versa.

Bourbon. And it is not a little sin. I cannot myself refrain, whilst speaking of the calumniated Restoration, gular, nay, it is a fact well deserving from citing a few passages from the of being rescued from oblivion, that Journal des Debats, an organ of pub which prescribed the arrest and trial

the ordonnance of Louis XVIII., lic opinion which has exercised so

an influence over the minds of the of Ney, Cambronne, Debelle, &c.,
Bourgeoisie" for a quarter of a

was made when Pasquier, the now

President of the Chamber of Peers,
That journal was compelled, in its for the post of President of the Court

and Baron Louis, the now candidate
Numbers of Ist and 4th September of Accounts, were Ministers; when
1832, to admit

, “ that France had not Prince Talleyrand, now the factotum
enjoyed any liberty before the promul-
gation of the charter, and the re-esta- of the Tuileries, was President of the
blishment of the constitutional mo-

Council, and the Duc de Cazes, the
narchy by Louis XVIII. That which now Grand Referendary of the Cham-
is certain in spite of all the declama. Yet one of the great accusations

ber of Peers, was Prefect of Pelice.
tions in the world is this, that France brought by the Revolution of 1830
was never truly free but under the
constitutional monarchy."

against the Restoration was this,

The arrest, trial, and death of Mar-
And again, “the Emperor had de-

shal Ney."
prived us of the liberty of the press-
the charter restored it us. The Em-

Against this ordonnance, counselled

and carried into execution by the
peror had taken from us the liberty of
the tribune--the charter restored it to

warmest supporters of the new order

of things in France, Berryer protested
us. The Emperor, in one word, has in 1815, and has never ceased to pro-
destroyed every vestige of a represen- test. He was the defender of the prin-
tative government--the charter gave
us that government back again. These ciple of the monarchy, because he was

the lover of freedom--because he was
are facts which may be kept back, and
about which not one word may be ut, could conciliate order and liberty, and

convinced that that principle alone
tered, but the facts will remain, and it is therefore that the alliance of
cannot be destroyed."
Even the 221 deputies, who in the constant objects of all his efforts,

Legitimacy and Liberty" has been March, 1830, presented an address to and the political faith of all his life. Charles X., in which they virtually required him to abandon one of the derstood the nature and character of

In the eyes of a man who thus unmost sacred prerogatives of his crown, royalty, all violent measures were in his the right of naming his own ministers, were conpelled by the force of truth to opinion opposed to the essence of legiti

mate power,

which should never doubt say

its rights or its force, and which should “ Sire! The people cherish and respect feel that it was less a dominating

power than an immense pledge of se- fondement gravée en mon cæur : et, pardonnez curity for the country. He was then moi de le dire, j'ai quelque droit de l'exprimer opposed to all criminal proceedings avec confiance. En 1815, deja pénétré de which resembled acts of vengeance sentiments qui ne s'eteindront qu'avec ma instead of acts of justice, and he would vie, alorsque les passions politiques etaient parnot that the conqueror should make tout ardentes, et plus excitées en moi par la the “ Place de Grève" a supplement

chaleur d'une extrême jeunesse, je me disais : to the theatre of so many combats, or

Un empoisonneur, un voleur public, un parthat the executioner should search for ricide, sont toujours criminels, et doivent victims on the field of battle. M.

être condamnés en tout temps, en tout pays. Berryer opposed, then, with all the Il n'en est pas de même des criminels d'état ; powers of his mighty eloquence, that donnez leur seulement d'autres juges, que le reactionary spirit which the men who temps calme les interêts, modifier les pas

sions, leur vie sera en sûreté, et peut étre en undertook to direct the second resto

honneur. ration dared to print upon it, and who

“ C'est dans cette pensée que je m'assis were indifferent, as they are still, to près de mon père pour la defense de Mare. the fall of dynasties and to the revolu- chal Ney. Et que je parvins du moins à tions of empires, provided from the

sauver les jours des Généraux Debele et general wreck they can snatch but a

Cambronne.” ministerial portfolio. When Marshal Ney was tried be

The following concluding words of fore the Chamber of Peers he assisted M. Berryer, when he defended the in his defence; and when Cambronne

Ministers of Charles X., supply an was tried at Nantes in 1816, his young reasoning, his love of justice, bis im

admirable example of his powers of Royalist friend was his defender.

M. Berryer was a Royalist from passioned eloquence :conviction, the result of profound

“ La charte dit; que la personne du Roi thought and enquiry; he therefore de- est inviolable et sacrée, que ses Ministres sired that the throne should be strong seules sont responsables ; ces deux principes enough to pardon, and often did lie sont correlatifs, dependant l'un de l'autre, address himself to the Royal clemency. inséparables l'un de l'autre.

La responsaWhen unable to save Debelle by his bilité des Ministres est la garantie de l'insplendid pleadings before a court-mar

violabilité du Roi ; cette inviolabilité des pertial, he rushed to the palace, and threw

sonnes royales est le fondement de la responhimself at the feet of that King against pant le Roi lui-même, par la perte de ses

sabilitié des agents du pouvoir...... En frapwhom the General had dared to raise droits, vous avez réputé qu'il avait voulu, the standard of revolt. He shall have his pardon,replied the monarch mais punir ses Ministres de leur obeissance.

commandé, exigé, et vous ne pouvez désorto the young advocate, because he

La revolution que vous avez consommée a fought not against France, but against anéanti l'ordre politique, que l'accusation des

It was thus that Henry IV. Ministres n'aurait eu pour but que de mainstretched forth his hand of forgiveness tenir et de venger... Vous ne pouvez pas vous to the soldier who wounded him at

faire leurs accusations, et je ne leur vois Arques.

plus de juges sur la terre de France." Plus de proscrits" was the motto The defence of Cambronne by Berof M. Berryer. It was a noble and

ryer was a masterpiece of eloquence, generous policy; and, faithful to the but I dare not cite from it, not only same motto, he had the right, in 1831, from the difficulty of selection, but when he appeared as one of the coun- from the fear of extending this sketch sel for the ex- Ministers of Charles X., to a disproportionate length. Camto say, “that, as the royalty of so

bronne was one of the generals who many centuries had been proscribed devoted himself with the greatest zeal by the Revolution of July, at least the to the cause of Bonaparte, and it was Ministers of the exiled monarch could he who exclaimed at the battle of Wanot be led to the scaffold.” There are two passages in that most

terloo, when required to surrenderextraordinary and magical defence

La garde meurt-et ne se rend pas .'" which, though out of the order of date, Few events in the life of Berryer I insert in this part of my narrative, have given him so much satisfaction because they bear upon the conduct as the acquittal of Cambronne by the and opinions of Berryer in 1815. council of war, and he often refers to

"J'exprime ici, Messieurs, une pensée pro. that first success with noble pride and


generous sympathy. The pardon of profession of advocate, and obtained Debelle by Louis XVIII. at the request the most signal success. In criminal of Berryer, was his next achievement. prosecutions he was distinguished by

M. Berryer did not allow his royal- the influence which he exercised over ist opinions or his monarchical affec- the minds of the judges to acquit his tions to interfere with his love of liber- clients when innocent, or when their ty and his sacred attachment to the guilt was really doubtful; or to inflict cause of justice. When consulted by the smallest penalty imposed by law M. Chedel, a merchant, in 1817, as to when the individual he defended was the illegal conduct of the then Prefect worthy of sympathy, or at least of of Police, the Count Anglés, he thus compassion. His sensibility, his tact, expressed himself in a printed “ me- and his deference to those appointed to moire," as to the rights of individual administer justice, ensured him the liberty, and the responsibility of the respect of the tribunals. agents of the government.

In the conduct of civil suits his clear“ The laws are made for the protection of ness of comprehension, his precision, all. To invoke them when they are violated and his perfect knowledge of the codes, is as much the duty of the lowest citizen as and of the commentaries and decisions of the Prime Minister. It is a small thing of the most celebrated legists and that the social pact promises political liberty. courts, distinguished him from the rest It is essential that all the secondary institu- of the members of the bar. In France tions should concur in protecting this liberty ; it is too much the custom with the and that every portion of the legislation of advocates to weary both jury and the country should guarantee at once the judges by the minuteness of their derespect which is due to it, and the punish

tails, and by dissertations more calcument of all attacks which shall be made upon

lated to fatigue than to enlighten. M. it. It is our duty to attach ourselves to two

Berryer, on the contrary, always things : the first is, not to tolerate that the laws of the times of persecution and of ter

sought to present to the judges the ror should be brought forward to impede the

point in contest, the real question at action, and prevent the developement and en

issue—and to that point he directed all joyment of that liberty which the king has

his erudition, all his research, and all given us; and that the agents of the govern.

his eloquence. In the present state of ment shall not be allowed to have recourse

French jurisprudence, true it is, indeed, to laws created by a military despotism to

that occasions are rare when grave regulate a people restored to the advantages discussions of public or private rights of its legitimate government. The agents of can be entered into ; but whenever the government would insult France, if, show- these occasions present themselves, ing to her in one hand the charta and its li. M. Berryer displays the most profound berties proclaimed by Louis XVIII., they respect for those ancient jurisconsults should dare to menace her with the other, whose names and services, endowments with the decrees and Senatus- Consultus of and acquirements, would have adorned Bonaparte. The French, who attach some any country and any age. The opiimportance to the laws of their country and nions of modern French judges he to all royal institutions, are bound, above all, rarely refers to. He knows how at a time when they are invited to enjoy a easy it is in these times to become a wise and rational liberty, to attach themselves magistrate in France, and when he has with sincerity and ardour to the execution of such an example before his eyes, as the laws. They ought not to suffer any

M. Barther the carbonaro, the fourthabuses to be introduced with impunity into

rate lawyer, Minister of Justice, and that execution--abuses which, from their

chief of all the French tribunals, it is nature, are liable to extend and to multiply every day. The Ministers and agents of not surprising that he should pore over

the folios of former times, and read the government, who should render themselves thus culpable towards the governors

and reperuse the wisdom of ages, in

stead of satisfying himself with the and the governed, ought not to be able to escape from the legal responsibility which empty dissertations of dandy advorests upon them. A merely moral responsi- cates, or the fashionable pamphlets of bility is not sufficient. It would be little mere political jurisconsults. formidable in the eyes of a man who would In political discussions M. Berryer console himself by the confidence of bis mas- has always an advantage which has ter for the want of confidence of the whole most admirably aided him, in every pation !"

act of his political life, as well as in all M. Berryer pursued with ardour his his speeches from the tribune ; and that advantage has consisted in an was counsel for the Constitutionnel, ensemble" of ideas in a complete sys- whilst M. Berryer was the advocate tem, well examined, and well decided of the Quotidienne, he displayed that on, and constantly pursued.

power of satire which he seldom reUnder the Restoration M. Berryer sorts to, except when his adversary pleaded several cases of great political attempts to impose on the court the importance. The three most remark- exaggerations of a melo-drama for the able were, Ist, his defence of M. sober language of truth and reason. Michaud against the ministry of Cor. His triumph was irresistible.

It was biere ; 2d, his defence of his friend De Lord Abinger against Charles Phil. la Mennais against the Gallicans; and lips. It was Sir Robert Peel against 3d, his pleading for the Quotidienne the Member for Kilkenny. Fearful against the Constitutionnel. On these odds! and the result was not doubt. occasions he developed all the re- ful. sources of a rich and fertile talent, all Although during the years M. Berthe powers of an extemporary speaker ryer was more or less acquainted with of the first-rate school, at once classic the various ministers of the Restora. cal and poetic—and the brilliant yet tion-and although his talents and his well regulated display of a powerful influence were admitted by all parties and convincing eloquence.

-he never made use of them to proIn the first case, he proved that he cure for himself any advancement in knew how to combat even his friends, the ranks of his profession, and never when the defence of a great political condescended to solicit any favour but principle, the liberty of the press, com- the pardon of the unfortunate. Far pelled him to speak. He attacked, also from seeking to obtain an apwith vigour unparalleled the attempts pointment to public functions, which made by the Corbiere ministry “ to so many desired he would fill, he destifle the expression of thought," and fended Conservative principles as an rendered historical the famous demand unshackled and free man, loving liis of that minister, who had not feared country for the country itself-and to say “ vendez nous un procès.". thus adding to his doctrines the weight

In the second case, he showed the of his independence. This noble disart he possessed of rendering intelligi. interested conduct gained for him the ble, even to those least conversant confidence of those who knew how to with such questions, the subtleties of contrast the egotism of the age with Roman Catholic religious discussions, the pure and unselfish character of his separating them, however, from those services and his devotedness. If M. questions which more properly be- Berryer sometimes solicited the favour longed to the province of the civil of his King, it was on behalf of some judges. When he pleaded for De la old faithful servant, whose intentions Mennais, he was influenced by two or services had not been appreciated sentiments--that of affection for the or understood-or it was some act of accused, and of his own religious con- grace on behalf of the unfortunate. victions. For the religious convictions He was the petitioner and protector of M. Berryer are very lively and very of the unfortunate and the faithful. decided. He is a sincere Christian, This same spirit of mercy and of love and never hesitates openly to avow induced him to plead, in his memorable his firm and unwavering belief in the speech of 9th November, 1831, the sacred chronicles of Heaven. He has cause of the pensioners of the old civil often indeed been rallied by his adver- list, when the Princes who were in saries, and even by his friends, as to exile, and who formerly supplied the his political and religious creed—and wants of his now suffering clients, some have affected to think “ that he were unable to relieve the miseries of had too much talent to believe in mo- those for whom he did not plead in narchical and religious principles.” vain. But M. Berryer would never accept a M. Berryer was one of the cditors homage thus paid him at the expense of the “ Conservateur," but he only of truth-and he has gloried in pro- inserted one article of his own in that claiming, “ Yes, I am a Christian" journal: it was on the works of " Omer Yes, I am a Monarchist !"

and Denis Talon," Advocates-GeneIn the third prosecution, in which ral to the Parliament. But he assist. M. Barthe, now Minister of Justice, ed with constancy in the revision of

« PredošláPokračovať »