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participation of that body by which it is to be executed. Experience has proved the neceffity of this measure.
intrufted with this choice, ought to be placed not at the bafe, but at the top of the establishment. The elections fhould proceed, not from the bottom, where they must neceffarily be bad; but from the head, where they muft neceffarily be good; for the electors, if they are properly conftituted, will always have the greateft intereft in the maintenance of order and liberty, in the ftability of inftitutions, and in the folidity of good principles. It is fufficient that their choice can fall upon none who are not pointed out by the people.
Such is a good democracy, with all the advantages of that form of government; for, in this fyftem, the most perfect equality prevails among all the citizens, fince every one may be placed upon the lift of eligibles. But befides, you thus obtain the democracy purged from all its inconveniences; for under this order of things, there is no populace, or mob, to agitate in the forum or in clubs. The ignorant clafs exercife no influence either upon the legislature, or upon the government. By these means, too, you get rid of demagogues. Every thing is managed in the name of the people, and for the intereft of the people. Nothing is done by the people, or under their precipitate direction. They are tranquil under the protection of the laws: they enjoy the advantages of real liberty.
Along with the legislative body you have a tribunate, whose bufinefs it is continually to petition in the name of the people. Neceffarily compofed of the most energetic and the most eloquent men in the country, it will be entitled to make continual appeals to public opinion, to cenfure in every way the proceedings of government; to denounce thofe which it confiders hoftile to the conftitution, to accufe and to prolecute all the executive agents; to fpeak and to publifh their fentiments with the most complete independence, without the members ever being called upon to anfwer for their speeches and writings. The existence of this popular magiftracy, together with the liberty of the prefs, which, under a vigorous government, muft always be unreftrained, forms one of the principal fecurities for public liberty; for, do what you can, thefe fecurities can never be real and durable, but when they rest upon public opinion.
In a republic like France, the executive government must be ftrong. It ought to have unity of thought and of action. This is the only real advantage of a monarchy. The reprefentative fyftem may avail itfelf of this unity. Of whatever number of functionaries the head of the executive power may be compofed, it is always evident that, ultimately, one must have the means of terminating difcuffion, and bring all opinions to concur.
The functions of the legislative body comprifes three diftinct operations. The propofal of a law, its difcuffion, and its adoption. The propofal ought not to be made by the fame affembly which The judiciary power may be conadopts. This is an acknowledged fidered as an emanation from the principle. The difcuffion ought executive. It belongs therefore not to take place without the to the latter to appoint judges,
without, however, having the right tent permanence of the confervato displace them, in order that thus tive fenate, and in the turbulent the latter may be independent in character of the tribunate. The the fentences they pronounce. executive power, befides, is reftrained by the decided refponsibility of the minifters and the regular proceedings of the council of state.
The connection of the executive power, with the armed force, muft be regulated by the exigency of circumftances. Our fituation may require, either that certain members of the executive, fhould have the power of commanding the armies, or that numerous military corps fhould remain under its command in the neighbourhood of the great commune, or established capital. All this may be confidered only as provifional, but we must haften to get into the tract of principle in proportion as our fituation becomes more calm, both at home and abroad.
It is next faid, that it is to be feared that the fcheme of the tribunate will produce turbulence and violence. Thefe apprehenfions fpring from the remembrance of our paft evils. But the demagogues of the convention, and of the council of five hundred, had a right to bring forward laws drawn up in form. They caufed them to be difcuffed, and often to be adopted, by undue influence. They kept the property, the liberty, the life of the citizen in a conftant state of uncertainty. Here the tribunes may make a great deal of noise in their own houfe; but all they can fay, has no force but that which it derives from opinion. If they are very violent, public opinion will be decidedly unfavourable to them. They will alarm the public more than the executive power, or the confervative fenate, which will know perfectly well how to maintain themfelves against the refult of their vain clamours."
The government, the foundation of which I have pointed out, is that which the new focial compact prefents. The bafis of it has long fubfifted in the mind of its author, Sieyes. It was eagerly adopted, with fome alterations by another man of genius (Buonaparte) qualified to appreciate its merit, and made to derive new glory from the fupport given to its eftablishment after having enlightened the difcuffion of it by the powers of his understanding."
Cabanis then proceeded to anfwer the objections which had been made to the plan of the conftitution.
"It is alleged," continued he; firft, that the power of the executive is immenfe; there is no fecurity again its defigns. We muft have a government full of vigour and life. If it were not created fo, it would ufurp, or it would quickly perih, as happened in the cafe of the directory. The fecurities we here have are in the po
"The conftitution, after several meetings of the commiffions and confuls, was carried by a great majority, and received the fanction of the whole. It bears date the thirteenth of December, and was offered to the French nation, in a proclamation by the confuls, on the fifteenth. It was therein declared to be founded on true principles of a reprefentative government; on the facred rights of property, eqa ity, and liberty; that the authorities which conftituted
tuted it would be firm and durable, in order to fecure the rights of the citizens and the interests of the ftate; and, finally, that the government was now fixed upon the principles on which it had begun. This conftitution confifted principally in three confuls, or rather one, called the chief conful with two affeffors, who had votes only in matters of fecondary importance; a confervative fenate, and a legifla tive body divided into two parts, tribunes and fenators; the tribunes to reafon or plead on any propofition, but not to vote; the fenators to vote and decide filently, but neither to argue nor even to declare the grounds on which they gave their opinion.
The chief conful was to propofe laws, and make regulations for car. ying them, when agreed to, into execution. He was to appoint the new councils of ftate, minifters, amballadors, agents, all officers of the army and navy, judges, members of local adminiftrations, and commiffioners of the government to different courts. He was to proclaim and enforce the law, and to be allowed a yearly revenue of half a million of livres, or 20,8331. fterling. His two colleagues were allowed one hundred and fifty thoufand livres each. The chief conful, quitting his ftation, either on the expiration of his functions, or in confequence of refignation, was to become a fenator of immediate right and neceffity. No new laws could be promulgated but when the project fhould have been propofed by the government, communicated to the tribunate, and decreed by the legislative body. And, in every ftage of the difcuffion of thele projects, government, that is, in fact, the
first conful, whether with or with out the approbation of his two affeffors, might withdraw them, and produce them anew in a modified ftate. The first conful was to take meafures for the internal fecurity and external defence of the state. He was to ftation the forces, military and naval, and regulate the manner of their being employed. The national guard in activity was alfo fubject to his direction. He it was in whom the power was vested of maintaining political relations abroad, managing negociations, making preliminary ftipulations, caufing, figning, and concluding all treaties of peace, alliance, truce, commerce, and other conventions. Declarations of war and treaties of peace, alliance and commerce, were propofed, difcuffed, decreed, and promulgated like laws: but difcuffions on thefe fubjects, whether in the tribunate, or legislative body, were to take place only in a fecret committee, and when the chief conful fhould defire it. The firft conful was to direct the receipts and expenfes of the ftate, agreeably to the annual law which fhould determine the amount of each. He was alfo to fuperintend the coinage of money. One of the minifters was especially intrufted with the administration of the public treasury. He was to fecure the receipts, to order the transfer of fums, and the payments authorized by law. But he could not make, or caufe to be made, any payment except in virtue, first of a law, and till the concurrence of funds, which had been fixed for a diftinct fpecies of expenfe: fecondly, of a decree of the government: thirdly, of a warrant figned by a minifter.
Next in dignity and confequence to the confulate was the confervative fenate, compofed of eighty members, irremoveable, and for life, who should be forty years of age at least. For the formation of the fenate, fixty members were at first appointed by the confuls. This number was to be increafed to that of fixty-two in the courfe of the year 8; to fixty-four in the courfe of the year 9, and thus be gradually increafed to eighty, by the addition of two members during each of the ten first years. The appointment to the fituation of a fenator to be made by the fenate iffelf, which was to choose one out of three candidates prefented, the first by the Jegiflative body, the fecond by the tribunate, and the third, by the chief conful. The fenate was to maintain or annul all the refolutions referred to it as unconftitutional by the tribunate or the go
The legislative body was compofed of three hundred members, none lefs than thirty years of age. It was always to contain, at least, one citizen from each department of the republic. The legislative body enacted laws by a private ballot, and without any difcuffion on the part of the members, refpecting the projects of laws debated in its prefence, by the fpeeches of the tribunate and government. The tribunate was compofed of a hundred members, at least twentyfive years of age. They were to be renewed by a fifth part every year; and were indefinitely eligible as long as they continued on the national lift. The tribunate was to difcufs the project of a law, and vote for its adoption or rejection. It was to fend three speakers, cholen
out of its own number, who were to explain and defend its views and motives, in either cafe, before the legiflative body. It might refer to the fenate: but that folely on the ground of conftitutionality, the lift of perfons eligible, the proceedings of the legislative body, and the proceedings of government. It might exprefs an opinion refpecting laws made, or to be made concerning abufes that might require correction, or improvements to be made in any part of the public adminiftration: but fuch opinion had no neceffary confequence, and was not to bind any conftituted authority to act. The fittings of the senate were not to be public. The fittings of the legiflative body and the tribunate were to be public. The number of ftrangers in both not to exceed two hundred in each. When the tribunate fhould adjourn itself, it might appoint a committee of from ten to fifteen members, authorised to affemble it if thought advifable. The fitting of the legislative body was to commence every year on the twenty-fecond of November, and to continue only four months. But it might be convoked, extraordinarily, during the eight remaining months by the government.
The revenues of certain national domains, to be fixed on, were to be liable to the payment of the expenfes of the state. The annual falary of each member to be equal to the twentieth part of that of the chief conful. The falary of a tribune was 6251. annually; that of a legiflator, 4167.
With regard to the new judicatories propofed, and the new regu lations refpecting the exercife of various minifterial functions, it may just
juft be obferved, in this place,* that in the former, due regard was paid to the equal diftribution of juftice; and that in the latter, the authority of the laws as well as the perfonal freedom and property of individuals, were confulted by the annexation of refponfibility in many cafes, to the fundry offices of adminiftration.-But, on the other, the confuls were not responsible in any. It was ordained that the citizens of every commercial district should point out by their votes thole they conceived to be the moft proper to manage their public affairs. The number fo pointed out would form a lift of men, worthy of confidence, amounting to a tenth of the number of citizens having a right to vote. Out of this lift were to be chofen the public functionaries of the diftrict. The citizens comprehended in the communal lifts of a department, were likewife to point out a tenth part of their own number. Hence there was formed a fecond lift, called departmental, from which were to be chofen the public functionaries of the department. The citizens whofe names flood on, likewife named a tenth part of their own number. Thus was formed a third lift, which comprehended the citizens of the department eligible to public national functions. All the lifts made up in virtue of this laft articie, in the departments, were addrefled to the fenate, and compofed the national lift: out of which lift the fenate was to choose the national functionaries, as above observed.
This new constitution, as an univerfal fubject, as might be expected, of critical obfervation, and in Paris, according to the genius of the Parifians, of jokes and raillery. The French nation, it was there acknowledged, muft always have fome darling idol. That which they had now got, poffeffed this advantage, that it might be worshipped without a breach of the fecond commandment; fince it was not the "likeness of any thing in the heavens above, or in the earth beneath." While fome praifed it for its unprecedented originality, and ingenious combinations, and launching forth on the ocean of poffibility and human nature, conducted, not merely by fhores and landmarks, but chiefly by the polarity of reafons, others for that very reafon condemned it. Conftitutions were not things to be formed like mathematical diagrams, or like fyllogifms, by reclufe metaphyficians, but grew out of examples and precedents, which could alone fix the nature of any conftitution, and the limits of any form of government.
The most prominent feature in this new production was the great and almoft unlimited, or at least, in fact, illimitable power of the first conful. One party of reafoners dreaded and detefted this as the grave of liberty: others expressed an opinion that it was not greater than the temper of the French nation and the circumftances of the times demanded. On one fide, an obfervation of Mr. Hume's + was quoted that if the king's negative,
This new conftitution of the French republic is inferted, at full length, in the appendix of our last volume, page 142.
This writer was very popular, and almoft adored by the French. And certainly, though he is partial to abfolute monarchy, and a fworn enemy to democracy, his writ inga had a great share in bringing about the revolution.