Tag Archives: Bourbon restoration

Liberty of the press and the Restoration

Case Wing Z658.F7 B46 1797 v. 1-2

Case Wing Z658.F7 B46 1797 v. 1-2, a collection of 49 French pamphlets concerning liberty of the press that was recently acquired with support from the Society of Collectors, complements the Library’s vast French Revolution Collection.  Only the first two items in v. 1, both dating from 1797, duplicate Newberry holdings.  The rest of the 49 pieces are new to the Library and, indeed, the vast majority had no English language records in OCLC World Cat (although French-language records were  previously created for some of the pamphlets).

They revolve around the provisions regarding freedom of the press found in the 1814 constitutional charter  set out at the beginning of the Bourbon Restoration. The pamphlets in the first volume deal directly with the law of 21 October 1814, instituting preemptive censorship of the press.  Those of the second volume consider the law of 28 February 1817, which liberalizes those policies.  The matter at hand in both cases revolves around article 8 of the charter:

Article 8. – Les Français ont le droit de publier et de faire imprimer leurs opinions, en se conformant aux lois qui doivent réprimer les abus de cette liberté.

(The French have the right to publish and to have published their opinions, in conformity with the laws which should curtail the abuse of this liberty.)

Pardon my translation; as such matters are wont to be, the meaning of the original French was itself at issue (viz.: the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution).  The charter in its entirety may be found here.