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chosen at different times on the spur of the occasion, for the sake of their individual votes in the Chamber-some from the old nobility, some from the new;~the poorest for life onlythe richest (those who can secure ten thousand francs a year, by a settlement on real estate, or in the funds, to their posterity) for ever. Those who were Senators under Bonaparte, retain their salary of 24,000 franks a year (10001. Sterling); the others have had smaller pensions assigned to them, more or less as pleased the King. Most of them live obscurely at Paris; very few are known out of that capital, or have any interest or influence in the country; and we are persuaded that the constitutional fine cloak, hat and plume, à la Henri IV., might be shifted to the heads and shoulders of any other set of worthy old gentlemen, without the nation finding out that the actors in this dramatic representation of an aristocracy had been changed. The peerage has been defined the legal and privileged representation of the natural aristocracy of the country without privileges; but if the latter do not exist in the country, the peerage represents nothing. Aristocrats without an aristocracy, the peers of France are a mere fiction of the law. ..
The natural aristocracy of a country cannot be created by laws; for confidence is not a legal privilege, but must be won fairly from the good will of those who have it to grant. Individuals in affluent circumstances, residing habitually on their estates in the country, and devoting their time without remu. neration to the service of their fellow-citizens, in the municipal and provincial administration-on juriesmas justices of the peace-supplying the poor with work, and the rich with amusement-affording advice and protection to all in inferior condition--liberal in their private transactions with their neighbours-able and willing to defend the rights of the people on all occasions; those, and those only, are the natural aristocracy of a free country: And their claims as candidates for the popular branch of the Legislature, are not weaker, in a political point of view, for being founded principally on mere personal gratitude: For, of all the motives by which votes can be determined in any country, this is perhaps, on the whole, the least exceptionable, and the most beneficial in its consequences. Such an aristocracy, far from alarming the pride of the people, affords it a continual gratification. It is not obnoxious, for it does not govern. Continually recruited from the people, by the accession of the great and the good, or at least of the skilful and fortunate, this popular aristocracy is indebted, for its weight with the Crown, to its influence over the people, and, for its influence over the people, to a friendly in
claims'e the nate peoplegha
tercourse with them. Instead of rebuilding it thus from the foundation, the friends of an aristocracy, in France, begin from the third storey :-no wonder if it should not stand.
A judicious organization of municipal and departmental administration, would tend to establish, in the great mass of the people of France, hitherto so loose and unconnected, that mutual correspondence of parts, and aggregation of interests, · which can alone give solidity and duration to liberal institutions.
- People who are not trusted with the administration of the internal affairs of their own village, and are under perpetual guardianship for their most trifling concerns, can scarcely be deemed competent to choose the deputies who are to legislate for the whole nation.
When the feudal nobility ceased to be an object of dread under Louis XIV., the commons began to excite some jealousy, and the doctrines of the Reformation, which subjected church authority to popular scrutiny, served as a warning to political rulers. The institution of intendans of provinces, or rather the extension of their powers, by which that of corporations and mua nicipal administrators was abridged, preceded, by two years, the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. But the municipal offices of maires, conseillers, echevins, capitouls, &c. &c., did not cease to be elective by the communes till 1771, when government suddenly assumed the right of disposing of them for money, unless where the towns or communes redeemed their right by purchase. Things remained in that sitưafion-till the Revolution, suppressing all existing institutions, substituted to these venał officers new ones elected by every man paying taxes to the amount of three days' labour. The municipality of Paris, elected in this manner, and composed of 147 members, presided by the Mayor, was destined to act a notorious part in ihe worst times of the Revolution : But the Convention, dreading even the aris: tocracy of the democracy, soon deprived the municipal magistrates in the provinces of the local administration. It was afterwards restored to them for a while, to disappear again before the system of universal centralization established by Bonaparte -in whose time it remained a dead letter in the code, explained away, as all his laws were, by the supposed interests of his despotism. The smallest want of the smallest commune was referred to the central power. The repairs of a bridge, for example, across a brook in a remote village, required the following preliminary steps. 1. There was a petition to the mayor ; 2. The mayor applied to the sub-prefet ; 3. He obtained of the prefet permission for the municipal council to assemble; 4. The municipal council being assembled, appointed commissaries, (erperts); 5. The commissaries reported; 6. The municipal council deliberated, and sent the opinion to the sub-prefet, and he to the prefet ; 7. The prefet applied to the minister of the interior; 8. He to his Imperial Majesty, giving an opinion on the case; 9. His Imperial Majesty affixed his signature, and the paper went to the Conseil d'Etat, section de l'intérieur ; 10. The president of the section of the interior appointed a rapporteur ; 11. The latter explained the business to his section ; 12. The business was called up in due time before the Conseil d'Etat, a decision obtained, and sent back to the secretary of state, who sent it to the minister of the interior, who sent it to the prefet, who sent it to the sub-prefet, who sent it to the mayor, who gave permission for the bridge over the brook to be repaired !-Äny mistake in point of form, the omission of a stamp or other irregularity in any of these proceedings, made it necessary to begin the whole process anew. Of all the authorities consulted, not one knew any thing about the matter, except the mayor and municipal council; and the whole might as well have been left to these local authorities. The proceeds of the octrois of towns, or municipal duties, although levied expressly for local purposes, were always remitted to Paris; and the money necessary to defray local expenses sent back again from Paris, where no proper check could exist on either receipts or disbursements. When Holland belonged to Bonaparte, it was necessary to send to Paris, before a dyke, the state of which threatened the whole country with submersion, could be repaired.
This omnipresent administration of despotism, we are sorry to say, has been preserved entire under the restored dynasty; and the people are so fashioned to it, that they scarcely suspect its existence, while in fact shackled in many respects beyond what they were under the old monarchy. Many a worthy bourgeois de Paris, going to St. Cloud or Versailles with his family, thinks it necessary at this day to provide himself with a passport; and in fact any body without one is liable to be arrested by the first gendarme or agent de police he meets; and, if not sent to prison, he is indebted for the favour to their forbearance, and to his own ready acknowledgement of their authority. Industry is far more free in France than it was of old; and that is almost the only instance of freedom resulting from a revolution which has produced so much equality in the mode of subjection.
The consequence of the system of centralization is, that the time of a French secretary of state is so entirely taken up with details, that he has none to give to the general direction of affairs; and the number not only of his clerks, but of his but reaus is so great, that he scarcely knows them all, thcir proper
functions, or indeed his own ;~and all this is to enable him to do so imperfectly for the people, what they might do so much better for themselves. The following remark of Mr Necker shows that these evils were established and felt even in his time. • En ramenant à Paris tous les fils de l'administration,'(said he in his Memoire sur les Administrations Provinciales,) il se trouve O que c'est dans le lieu où l'on ne sait que par des rapports
éloignés, où l'on ne croit qu'à ceux d'un seul homme, où l'on n'a jamais le temps d'approfondir, qu'on est obligé de diriger
et de discouter toutes les parties d'exécution appartenantes à • 500 millions d'impositions, subdivisés de mille manieres, par les formes, les espéces, et les usages.'
There is at Paris a small set of speculative politicians called doctrinaires, and sometimes niais (noodles), by those who mean to speak of them civilly; for the champions of the two great parties which divide the State give them much harsher names. These politicians object to a system of election founded solely on a certain rate of property, which, be it high or low, gives electors all of one sort-and exhibits a narrow line drawn as it were through the nation, excluding, either in direct terins or otherwise, all who do not come exactly under it. Instead of this, they would prefer a system of elections classing together similar interests, and giving to each cluster its special representation. We incline decidedly to their opinion; and the difficulties in the way of realizing it would be no reason for despairing of success, with a people less impatient and less prejudiced. Without entering here upon the practical means of attaining this end, we shall only say, that a good system of municipal administration appears the first step requisite. Some permanency of property is equally essential: For the entire dispersion of families has not only an immoral but impolitic tendency. The father of a family, with a moderate landed property, and seyeral sons, is obliged to send them to seek their fortune, and remains alone in his latter days, with the melancholy prospect of his house and fields being sold to strangers the moment he is dead, and the proceeds divided among impatient co-heirs, to whom it will afford but a momentary assistance.. The main incitement to a country life is thus destroyed, while there can be no permanent connexion between the class .of electors and that of candidates. The latter accordingly are found mostly at Paris, and the former in their villages; so that the idea of personal choice, or-attachment, is utterly excluded.
By the present French code, the father of a family may dispose of one hulf of his property by will, if he leaves only one child-of one-third, if he leaves two--of one-fourth, if he leaves
a greater number; the remainder being divided equally among the children. This arrangement seems to reconcile the natural claims of younger children, and the political claim of the eldest son; for the former cannot be left destitute, and the latter may preserve the family estate from partition, if he is enabled, by the father's using this limited power of testation in his favour, by the fortune of his wife, or other personal means, to pay off the portions of his brothers and sisters. The inhabitants of the left side of the Loire, accustomed to the Roman law, which favoured the eldest son, generally contrive in this way to preserve the family estate; while those on the right side of that river (pays coutumier), do not avail themselves of the provisions of the law. The feelings of parents, which must usually be averse to any difference between their children, are entitled to respect, and political considerations are of little avail against the claims of nature; yet as protection is not due to property on its own account, or for the benefit or pleasure of those alone who possess it, but for the advantage of society at large, the legislature might, with perfect propriety, make the provisions of the code obligatory instead of permissive. The right of property was emphatically denominated political by Montesquieu, meaning that it is not purely personal : At the same time, as a law at variance with public feelings and opinions can rarely be carried into effect, the adoption of sounder views must perhaps be left to time, and a dispassionate consideration of the subject.
It appears to us that the final establishment of a good government in France now depends upon the people themselves, rather than upon any new laws and institutions which might be imposed upon them. If they really wish for the permanent establishment of civil liberty, they must consent to the sacrifices necessary to obtain it;-and, above all, they must wait in patience for the gradual ripening of those institutions, and the development of those habits, interests, and feelings in the body of the nation, by which alone, either the value of the present system, or the necessity or safety of any farther changes in it,, can be ascertained.
Art. II. Classificazione Delle Rocce secondo i piu, Celebri Au
tori. Per servire allo studio della Geologia. Milano, 1814. Duodecimo. 350 pp.
In our 45th Number, we took occasion to examine a work on 1 the classification of Rocks from the pen of Mr Pinkerton, and to point out the insufficiency of the author for the task which