In the Chamber of Deputies, on the 8th January, the Election Law, consisting of twenty Articles, was passed by a majority of 132 against 100. The main question for discussion was, Shall the Deputies be chosen by the electors directly, or shall the great body of electors name a certain number from among themselves, by whom the Deputies shall be chosen? By this law the Deputies are to be chosen directly by the electors in one single assembly, as in England. All Frenchmen who have attained the age of thirty, and pay 300 francs of taxes per annum, are to be allowed to vote.
A royal ordinance, dated the 8th of January, contains the following article: "Every vessel, whether French or Foreign, which shall attempt to introduce into any of our colonies Blacks for sale, shall be confiscated; and if French, the captain shall be held incapable of holding a command."
The Houses of Lafitte of Paris, Barings of London, Parish of Hamburgh, and Hopes of Amsterdam, have taken upon themselves the advance of the loan wanted by France, which is 12,000,000 British, or 300,000,000 of francs. Report adds, that one half will be required in money, and the other half in provisions and clothing. The Gazette de France states, that this loan was finally signed on the 13th February.
On the 9th of January, M. de Serre brought up the report of the Committee on the law relative to personal liberty. It is a modification of that of last year, and enables the crown to confine, under specific forms, persons suspected of conspiring or attempting the overthrow of the established constitution. After a debate of several days this law was carried in the Chamber of Deputies by 136 to 92.
In the Chamber of Deputies the debate on the law respecting the public journals is terminated. It was voted by a majority of 128 against 89. All the journals of France are thus rendered dependent upon the king's authority, by which any of them may be immediately suppressed.
By the first April 30,000 of the allied troops, being one fifth of the whole, will quit the French territory. The official note of the four plenipotentiaries of Austria, England, Prussia, and Russia, declares, That the high personal character of the king, and the principles and conduct of his present ministry, together with the sanction of the opinion of the Duke of Wellington, are the sole causes of the relief thus afforded to France.
In the Chamber of Deputies the ministers were left in a minority of 89 to 108, on the important question of what we would call the Navy Estimates. The minister of that department had calculated upon a grant of 50,000,000 of francs. He had already appropriated upwards of 48,000,000; but the commission appointed to report upon the loan recommended 44,000,000, and this sum was carried by the numbers above cited. The Chamber has at length finally agreed to the budget by a majority of 47. The total expenditure of that country is fixed at about £45,000,000 sterling.
Jan. 15.—The king has created a large number of knights of St Michael, for the purpose of distinguishing men who hare rendered themselves celebrated in literature, science, and the arts, or by useful discoveries. This does great honour to the king. It is the only order of knighthood, we believe in Europe, that pays such a tribute of honour and respect to those who may well be called the benefactors of mankind.
Application it is said has been made by the French government to our ministers, for issuing the usual orders to our settlements, for giving facility to an expedition under Mons. Freycinet, consisting of the Uranie frigate and a corvette, about to sail from France to finish their survey of New Holland.
The price of provisions at Boulogne is thus given, in a letter from an officer to his friend at Christchurch, dated the 5th March. A leg of mutton from 7½d. to 8d. per lib.; beef and pork, 7d; inferior sorts, 5d.; poultry very dear; wild fowl cheap; a good widgeon or wild duck, from 6d. to 9d.; a pair of very good soles, 1Od. which is considered dear; a turbot, from 8 lb. to 10 lb. for 2s 6d. or 3s.; 26 eggs for 1Od; vegetables very cheap: all articles of living are one-third dearer than in June 1816.
In the Chamber of Deputies, March 5th, 4,000,000 francs were appropriated from the revenue arising from the sale of the national forests for the support of the church. On the law respecting the customs, ministers had a majority of 134. This act is intended to exclude, by heavy duties, the import of cottons, sugar, and iron.
The Moniteur of the 22d March contains the new law relating to bills of exchange, as passed by the two Chambers, and sanctioned by the royal assent. It enacts, that the holder of a bill of exchange, drawn on the Continent or islands of Europe, and payable in the European territories of France,