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direct contribution must be affeffed on wealth real or prefumed; and that local wealth will itfelf arife from caufes not local, and which therefore in equity ought not to produce a local preference.

It is very remarkable, that in this fundamental regulation, which fettles the reprefentation of the mafs upon the direct contribution, they have not yet fettled how that direct contribution fhall be laid, and how apportioned. Perhaps there is fome latent policy towards the continuance of the prefent affembly in this ftrange procedure. However, until they do this, they can have no certain conftitution. It must depend at last upon the fyftem of taxation, and muft vary with every variation in that fyftem. As they have contrived matters, their taxation does not fo much depend on their conftitution, as their conftitution on their taxation. This muft introduce great confufion among the maffes; as the variable qualification for votes within the district muft, if ever real contested elections take place, caufe infinite internal controverfies.

To compare together the three bafes, not on their political reafon, but on the ideas on which the af fembly works, and to try its confiftency with itself, we cannot avoid obferving, that the principle which the committee call the bafis of population, does not begin to operate from the fame point with the two other principles called the bafes of territory and of contribution, which are both of an ariftocratic nature. The confequence is, that where all three begin to operate together, there is the most abfurd inequality produced by the operation of the former on the two latter principles. Every canton contains four fquare leagues, and is estimated to contain, on the average, 4,000 inhabitants, or 680 voters in the primary affemblies, which vary in numbers with the population of the canton, and VOL. III, fend

fend one deputy to the commune for every 200 voters. Nine cantons make a commune.

Now let us take a canton containing a feaport town of trade, or a great manufacturing town. Let us fuppofe the population of this canton to be $2,700 inhabitants, or 2,193 voters, forming three primary affemblies, and fending ten deputies to the


Oppofe to this one canton two others of the remaining eight in the fame commune. These we may fuppose to have their fair population of 4,000 inhabitants, and 680 voters each, or 8,000 inhabitants and 1,360 voters, both together. Thefe will form only two primary affemblies, and fend only fix deputies to the


When the affembly of the commune comes to vote on the basis of territory, which principle is firft admitted to operate in that affembly, the fingle canton which has half the territory of the other two, will have ten voices to fix in the election of three deputies to the affembly of the department, chofen on the exprefs ground of a reprefentation of territory.

This inequality, ftriking as it is, will be yet highly aggravated, if we fuppofe, as we fairly may, the feveral other cantons of the commune to fall proportionably fhort of the average population, as much as the principal canton exceeds it. Now, as to the basis of contribution, which alfo is a principle admitted first to operate in the affembly of the commune. Let us again take one canton, fuch as is ftated above. If the whole of the direct contributions paid by a great trading or manufacturing town be divided equally among the infrabitants, cach individual will be found to pay much more than an individual living in the country according to the fame average. The whole paid by the inhabi


tants of the former will be more than the whole paid by the inhabitants of the latter-we may fairly affume one third more. Then the 12,700 inhabitants, or 2,193 voters of the canton will pay as much as 19,050 inhabitants, or 3,289 voters of the other cantons, which are nearly the estimated proportion of inhabitants and voters of five other cantons. Now the 2,193 voters will, as I before fald, fend only ten deputies to the affembly; the 3,289 voters will fend fixteen. Thus, for an equal fhare in the contribution of the whole commune, there will be a difference of fixteen voices to ten in voting for deputies to be chosen on the principle of reprefenting the general contribution of the whole commune.

By the fame mode of computation we fhall find 15,875 inhabitants, or 2,741 voters of the other cantons, who pay one-fixth LESS to the contribution of the whole commune, will have three voices MORE than the 12,700 inhabitants, or 2,193 voters of the

one canton.

Such is the fantaftical and unjuft inequality between mass and mafs, in this curious repartition of the rights of reprefentation arifing out of territory and contribution, The qualifications which these confer are in truth negative qualifications, that give a right in an inverfe proportion to the poffeffion of them.

In this whole contrivance of the three bases, confider it in any light you please, I do not fee a variety of objects, reconciled in one confiftent whole, but feveral contradictory principles reluctantly and irreconcileably brought and held together by your philofophers, like wild beafts fhut up in a cage, to claw and bite each other to their mutual deftruc tion.

I am afraid I have gone too far into their way of confidering the formation of a constitution. They have much, but bad, metaphyfics; much, but bad, geo


metry; much, but falfe, proportionate arithmetic but if it were all as exact as metaphyfics, geometry, and arithmetic ought to be, and if their fchemes were perfectly confiftent in all their parts, it would make only a more fair and fightly vifion. It is remarkable, that in a great arrangement of mankind, not one reference whatfoever is to be found to any thing moral or any thing politic; nothing that relates to the concerns, the actions, the paffions, the interefts of men. Hominem non fapiunt.

You fee I only confider this conftitution as electoral, and leading by fteps to the national affembly. I do not enter into the internal government of the departments, and their genealogy through the communes and cantons. Thefe local governments are, in the original plan, to be as nearly as poffible compofed in the fame manner and on the fame principles with the elective affemblies. They are each of them bodies perfectly compact and rounded in themfelves.

You cannot but perceive in this scheme, that it has a direct and immediate tendency to fever France into a variety of republics, and to render them totally independent of each other, without any di rect conftitutional means of coherence, connexion, or fubordination, except what may be derived from their acquiefcence in the determinations of the general congrefs of the ambaffadors from each independent republic. Such in reality is the national affembly, and fuch governments I admit do exift in the world, though in forms infinitely more fuitable to the local and habitual circumftances of their people. But fuch affociations, rather than bodies politic, have generally been the effect of neceflity, not choice; and I believe the prefent French power is the very first body of citizens, who, having obtained full authority to do with their country what they pleased, have chofen to diffever it in this barbarous manner.


It is impoflible not to obferve, that in the fpirit of this geometrical diftribution, and arithmetical arrangement, these pretended citizens treat France exactly like a country of conqueft. Acting as con-querors, they have imitated the policy of the harfheft of that harsh race. The policy of fuch barbarous victors, who contemn a fubdued people, and infult their feelings, has ever been, as much as in them lay, to deftroy all veftiges of the antient country, in religion, in polity, in laws, and in manners; to confound all territorial limits; to produce a general poverty; to put up their properties to auction; to crufh their princes, nobles, and pontiffs; to lay low every thing which had lifted its head above the level, or which could ferve to combine or rally, in their diftreffes, the difbanded people, under the ftandard of old opinion. They have made France free in the manner in which thofe fincere friends to the rights of mankind, the Romans, freed Greece, Macedon, and other nations. They deftroyed the bonds of their union, under colour of providing for the independence of each of their cities.

When the members who compose these new bodies of cantons, communes, and departments, arrangements purposely produced through the medium of confufion, begin to act, they will find themselves, in a great measure, ftrangers to one another. The electors and elected throughout, especially in the rural cantons, will be frequently without any civil habitudes or connexions, or any of that natural discipline which is the foul of a true republic. Magiftrates and collectors of revenue are now no longer acquainted with their districts, bishops with their dioceses, or curates with their parishes. These new colonies of the rights of men bear a strong resemblance to that fort of military colonies which Tacitus has obferved upon in the declining policy of Rome. In better and wifer days (whatever courfe they took with foreign

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