Breton Association Organizes Tax Resistance in France

The Spectator covered the tax resistance of the Breton Association in a couple of articles in :


Matters in France are “progressing;” whether for good or for evil, a few months will tell. The people of Bretagne have passed certain resolutions to resist illegal taxation. The Gazette de France, the Ministerial paper, copied them with a comment, which proved that to determine to resist what was illegal, was no better than an attempt to destroy the monarchy. The Gazette was seized for copying the resolutions, and so were all the other journals that had done so. The seizure is not inconsistent with law, but the exercise of the right is questionable enough, since it is notorious that the resolutions violate no law. The absurdity of the wholesale seizure is increased by the fact, that whatever a tribunal might do with the Opposition papers, it could not possibly condemn the Gazette, insomuch as it only quoted the resolutions to condemn them. The other papers seized were the Journal du Commerce, the Journal des Debats, the Courrier Français, and Figaro.

It is a singular part of the present disputes, that a grave argument is maintained between the Liberals and the Ministerialists, whether the King may not, if he please, impose taxes without the consent of the Chambers; and the seizure of the journals, because of the Bretagne resolutions, would almost indicate that the Cabinet incline to the latter opinion.


From the private letters from France that have reached town during the week, as well as the public journals, it would appear that the example of Brittany is spreading. “Everywhere,” says the correspondent of the Times, “people are confederating to resist arbitrary power, and especially to refuse payment of contributions that may be illegally imposed.” At the same time, the opinion which has been studiously propagated by the Opposition journals, that taxes were to be levied without the consent of the Chambers, and which received a kind of countenance from some indiscreet expressions of the members of the Cabinet most obnoxious to the popular party, has been met by the official organ of Government, the Moniteur, (which is more the journal of the Monarchy than of the Cabinet) by a distinct and deliberate denial. The Moniteur says—

The Ministers could not even conceive the idea of breaking the Charter, and of substituting for the laws the government of ordinances. If they had entertained such a wish, it would have been in vain, for the King would have reduced them to a state of impotence, by withdrawing from them the exercise of a power which he only committed to them for the sake of having the administration of affairs conducted in his name and upon their responsibility, conformably to the laws.

The Parisians treat this declaration as made upon compulsion, and in consequence of their determination to withstand the projects which the Gazette and the Quotidienne have for the last two months been sounding in the ears of the public. The Ministry will therefore gain but small credit for a disavowal of principles and intentions which their opponents are determined to attribute to them. This is the fate of all tardy retractations.