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taking his country out of its prefent disgraceful and deplorable situation of servitude, anarchy, bankruptcy, and beggary. I cannot speculate quite so sanguinely as he does : but he is a Frenchman, and has a closer duty relative to those objects, and better means of judging of them, than I can have. I wish that the formal avowal which he refers to, made by one of the principal leaders in the assembly, concerning the tendency of their scheme to bring France not only from a monarchy to a republic, but froni a republic to a mere confederacy, inay be very particularly attended to. It adds new force to my observations; and indeed M. de Calonne's work supplies my deficiencies by many new and striking arguments on most of the subjects of this Letter *
It is this resolution, to break their country into feparate republics, which has driven them into the greatest number of their difficulties and contradictions. If it were not for this, all the questions as exact equality, and these balances, never to be settled, of individual rights, population, and contribution, would be wholly useless. The representation, though derived from parts, would be a duty which equally regarded the whole. Each deputy to · the assembly would be the representative of France, and of all its descriptions, of the many and of the
few, of the rich and of the poor, of the great diftricts and of the finall. All these districts would themselves be subordinate to some standing authority, existing independently of them; an authority in which their representation, and every thing that
See L'Etat de la France, p. 363.
belongs belongs to it, originated, and to which it was pointed. This standing, unalterable, fundamental government would make, and it is the only thing which could make, that territory truly and properly an whole. With us, when we elect popular reprefentatives, we send them to a council, in which each man individually is a subject, and submitted to a government complete in all its ordinary functions. With
you the elective assembly is the sovereign, and the sole sovereign : all the members are therefore integral parts of this sole sovereignty. But with us it is totally different. With us the representative, separated from the other parts, can have no action and no existence. The government is the point of reference of the several members and distries of our representation. This is the center of our unity. This government of reference is a trustee for the whole, and not for the parts. So is the other branch of our public council, I mean the house of lords. With us the king and the lords are several and joint securities for the equality of each district, each province, each city. When did you hear in Great Britain of any province suffering from the inequality of its representation ; what district from having no representation at all? Not only our monarchy and our peerage secure the equality on which our unity depends, but it is the spirit of the house of commons itself. The very inequality of representation, which is so foolishly complained of, is perhaps the very thing which prevents us from thinking or acting as members for districts. Cornwall elects as many members as all Scotland. But is Cornwall better taken care of than Scotland ?
Few trouble their heads about any of
any change, upon any plausible grounds, desire it on different ideas.
Your new constitution is the very reverse of ours in its principle; and I am astonished how any persons could dream of holding out any thing done in it as an example for Great Britain. there is little, or rather no, connection between the last representative and the first constituent. The member who goes to the national assembly is not chosen by the people, nor accountable to them. There are three elections before he is chosen : two sets of magistracy intervene between him and the primary assembly, so as to render him, as I have said, an ambassador of a state, and not the
representative of the people within a state. By this the whole spirit of the election is changed; nor can any corrective your constitution-mongers have devised render him any thing else than what heis. The yery attempt to do it would inevitably introduce a confusion, if possible, more horrid than the present. There is no way to make a connexion between the original constituent and the representative, but by the circuitous means which may lead the can, didate to apply in the first instance to the primary electors, in order that by their authoritative instructions (and something more perhaps) these primary electors may force the two succeeding bodies of electors to make a choice agreeable to their wishes. But this would plainly subvert the whole scheme. It would be to plunge them back into that tumult and confusion of popular election, which,
by their interpofed gradation elections, they mean to avoid, and at length to risque the whole fortune of the state with those who have the least knowledge of it, and the least interest in it. This is a perpetual dilemma, into which they are thrown by the vicious, weak, and contradictory principles they have chofen. Unless the people break up and level this gradation, it is plain that they do not at all subftantially elect to the assembly; indeed they elect as little in appearance as reality.
What is it we all seek for in an election ? To answer its real purposes, you must first possess the ineans of knowing the fitness of your man; and then you must retain some hold upon him by petsonal obligation or dependence. For what end are these primary electors complimented, or rather mocked, with a choice? They can never know any thing of the qualities of himn that is to serve them, nor has he any obligation whatsoever to them. Of all the powers unfit to be delegated by thofe who have any real means of judging, that most pecu: liarly unfit is what relates to a personal choice. In cafe of abuse, that body of primary electors never can call the representative to an account for his conduct. He is too far removed from them in the chain of representation. If he acts improperly at the end of his two years lease, it does not concern him for two years more. By the new French conftitution, the best and the wifest representatives go equally with the worst into this Limbus Patrum. Their bottoms are fuppofed foul, and they must go into dock to be refitted. Every man who has served in an affembly is ineligible for two years after. Just as these magistrates - begin to learn their trade, like chimney-sweepers, they are disqualified for exercising it. Superficial, new, petu- . Jant acquisition, and interrupted, dronish, broken, ill recollection, is to be the destined character of all your future governors. Your constitution has too much of jealousy to have much of sense in it. You consider the breach of trust in the representative fo principally, that you do not at all regard the queltion of his fitness to execute it.
This purgatory interval is not unfavourable to a faithless representative, who may be as good a canvaffer as he was a bad governor. In this time he may cabal himself into a superiority over the wifest and most virtuous. As, in the end, all the members of this elective constitution are equally fugitive, and exist only for the election, they may be no longer the same persons who had chosen him, to whom he is to be responsible when he folicits for a renewal of his trust. To call all the fecondary electors of the Commune to account, is ridiculous, impracticable, and unjust; they may themselves have been deceived in their choice, as the third set of electors, those of the Department, may be in theirs. In your elections responsibility cannot exist.
Finding no sort of principle of coherence with each other in the nature and constitution of the several new republics of France, I considered what cement the legislators had provided for them from any extraneous materials. Their confederations, their spectacles, their civic feasts, and their enthufiasm, I take no notice of; They are nothing but mere tricks; but cracing their policy through their