Two devils in a laboratory produce statutes with the help of a genie; showing the repressive legal nature of Louis-Philippe's government, especially concerning the freedom of the press. Lithograph by B. Williams, c. 1833.
The print depicts the infernal law-making machine of Louis-Philippe's state, inventing new laws at every opportunity to counter the freedom of the press. The 'loi de cautionnement' was one such law, which meant that political journals (including Philipon and Aubert's caricature journals, which were extremely potent forms of resistance, because the illiterate too could understand them) "had to deposit substantial amounts of money against convictions for offence to the king or government" (Wechsler, p. 67). As the caricaturists grew more wily, so the government grew more frustrated, and heavier fines and a stamp tax were introduced. These are among the papers being spirited out of the flask in this print. Also produced by the 'infernal laboratory' are notices for the seizure of certain publications and medals and honours for the king's friends. A bayonet end also falls out of the funnel, revealing the more physical aspects of the repression. The foremost devil bears resemblance to the comte d'Argout, a minister of the time. Two years later, 'La caricature' was forced to close due to the combined effects of devastating fines and periods of imprisonment for Philipon and his illustrators
Two devils in a laboratory produce statutes with the help of a genie; showing the repressive legal nature of Louis-Philippe's government, especially concerning the freedom of the press. Lithograph by B. Williams, c. 1833.. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY