Freedom of the Press.
--When the first Napoleon
was a prisoner at St. Helena, as we learn from the journal of Las Casas
, the liberty of the Press became the subject of discussion, when this remarkable personage expressed himself as follows:
"The liberty of the Press is no longer a question open for consideration.
There are institutions now, and the liberty of the Press is one of them, upon the excellence of which we are no longer called to decide, but safely to determine upon the possibility of withholding them from the overbearing influence of public opinion.
Its prohibition under a representative government is a gross anachronism a downright absurdity.
I, therefore, on my return from Elba
, abandoned the Press to all its excess and I am confident that the Press in no respect contributed to my downfall.
When it was proposed in the Council in my presence, to discuss the means of sheltering the authority of the State
from its attacks, I rather jocosely remarked, 'Gentlemen, it is probably yourselves you wish to protect, for with respect to me I shall henceforth continue a stranger to all such proceedings.
The Press has exhausted itself upon me during my absence, and I now heartily defy it to produce anything new or provoking against me."