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The Modern Regime, Volume 1 [Napoleon] The Origins of Contemporary France, Volume 5 by Hippolyte A. Taine

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charms them more than one can tell."

[87] Madame de Rémusat, II., 32, 39.

[88] Madame de Rémusat, III., 169.

[89] Ibid., II., 32, 223, 240, 259; III., 169.

[90] Ibid., I., 112, II., 77.

[91] M. de Metternich, I., 286. - "It would be difficult to imagine
any greater awkwardness than that of Napoleon in a drawing-room. -
Varnhagen von Ense, "Ausgewählte Schriften," III., 177. (Audience of
July 10, 1810): "I never heard a harsher voice, one so inflexible.
When he smiled, it was only with the mouth and a portion of the
cheeks; the brow and eyes remained immovably sombre, . . . This
compound of a smile with seriousness had in it something terrible and
frightful." - On one occasion, at St. Cloud, Varnhagen heard him
exclaim over and over again, twenty times, before a group of ladies,
"How hot!"

[92] Mme. de Rémusat, II., 77, 169. - Thibaudeau, " Mémoires sur le
Consulat," p. 18: "He sometimes pays them left-handed compliments on
their toilet or adventures, which was his way of censuring morals." -
"Mes souvenirs sur Napoléon," 322 by le Comte Chaptal: "At a fête, in
the Hôtel de Ville, he exclaimed to Madame ----, who had just given
her name to him: 'Good God, they told me you were pretty!' To some old
persons: 'You haven't long to live! To another lady: 'It is a fine
time for you, now your husband is on his campaigns!' In general, the
tone of Bonaparte was that of an ill-bred lieutenant. He often
invited a dozen or fifteen persons to dinner and rose from the table
before the soup was finished... The court was a regular galley where
each rowed according to command."

[93] Madame de Rémusat, I., 114, 122, 206; II., 110, 112.

[94] Ibid., I., 277.

[95] "Hansard's Parliamentary History," vol. XXXVI., .3I0. Lord
Whitworth's dispatch to Lord Hawkesbury, March 14, 1803, and account
of the scene with Napoleon. "All this took place loud enough for the
two hundred persons present to hear it."- Lord Whitworth (dispatch of
March 17) complains of this to Talleyrand and informs him that he
shall discontinue his visits to the Tuileries unless he is assured
that similar scenes shall not occur again. - Lord Hawkesbury approves
of this (dispatch of March 27), and declares that the proceeding is
improper and offensive to the King of England. - Similar scenes, the
same conceit and intemperate language, with M. de Metternich, at
Paris, in 1809, also at Dresden, in 1813: again with Prince Korsakof,
at Paris, in 1812; with M. de Balachof, at Wilna, in 1812, and with
Prince Cardito, at Milan, in 1805.

[96] Before the rupture of the peace of Amiens ("Moniteur," Aug. 8,
1802): The French government is now more firmly established than the
English government." - ("Moniteur" Sept.10, 1802): "What a difference
between a people which conquers for love of glory and a people of
traders who happen to become conquerors!" - ("Moniteur," Feb. 20,
1803): "The government declares with a just pride that England cannot
now contend against France." - Campaign of 1805, 9th bulletin, words
of Napoleon in the presence of Mack's staff: "I recommend my brother
the Emperor of Germany to make peace as quick as he can! Now is the
time to remember that all empires come to an end; the idea that an end
might come to the house of Lorraine ought to alarm him." - Letter to
the Queen of Naples, January 2, 1805: "Let your Majesty listen to what
I predict. On the first war breaking out, of which she might be the
cause, she and her children will have ceased to reign; her children
would go wandering about among the different countries of Europe
begging help from their relations."

[97] 37th bulletin, announcing the march of an army on Naples "to
punish the Queen's treachery and cast from the throne that criminal
woman, who, with such shamelessness, has violated all that men hold
sacred." - Proclamation of May 13, 1809: "Vienna, which the princes of
the house of Lorraine have abandoned, not as honorable soldiers
yielding to circumstances and the chances of war, but as perjurers
pursued by remorse. . . . In flying from Vienna their adieus to its
inhabitants consisted of murder and fire. Like Medea, they have
sacrificed their children with their own hands." - 13th bulletin: "The
rage of the house of Lorraine against the city of Vienna,"

[98] Letter to the King of Spain, Sept. 18, 1803, and a note to the
Spanish minister of foreign affairs, on the Prince de la Paix: "This
favorite, who has succeeded by the most criminal ways to a degree
unheard of in the annals of history. . . . Let Your Majesty put away a
man who, maintaining in his rank the low passions of his character,
has lived wholly on his vices." - After the battle of Jéna, 9th, 17th,
18th, and 19th bulletins, comparison of the Queen of Prussia with Lady
Hamilton, open and repeated insinuations, imputing to her an intrigue
with the Emperor Alexander. "Everybody admits that the Queen of
Prussia is the author of the evils the Prussian nation suffers. This
is heard everywhere. How changed she is since that fatal interview
with the Emperor Alexander! . . . The portrait of the Emperor
Alexander, presented to her by the Prince, was found in the apartment
of the Queen at Potsdam."

[99] "La Guerre patriotique" (1812-1815), according to the letters of
contemporaries, by Doubravine (in Russian). The Report of the Russian
envoy, M. de Balachof, is in French,

[100] An allusion to the murder of Paul I.

[101] Stanislas de Girardin, "Mémoires," III., 249. (Reception of
Nivôse 12, year X.) The First consul addresses the Senate: "Citizens,
I warn you that I regard the nomination of Daunou to the senate as a
personal insult, and you know that I have never put up with one." -
"Correspondance de Napoleon I." (Letter of Sept.23, 1809, to M. de
Champagny): "The Emperor Francis insulted me in writing to me that I
cede nothing to him, when, out of consideration for him, I have
reduced my demands nearly one-half." (Instead of 2,750,000 Austrian
subjects he demanded only 1,600,000.) - Roederer, III., 377 (Jan.24,
1801): "The French people must put up with my defects if they find I
am of service to them; it is my fault that I cannot endure insults."

[102] M. de Metternich, II., 378. (Letter to the Emperor of Austria,
July 28, 1810.)

[103] Note presented by the French ambassador, Otto, Aug. 17, 1802.

[104] Stanislas Girardin, III., 296. (Words of the First consul,
Floreal 24, year XI.): "I had proposed to the British minister, for
several months, to make an arrangement by which a law should be passed
in France and in England prohibiting newspapers and the members of the
government from expressing either good or ill of foreign governments.
He never would consent to it." - St. Girardin: "He could not." -
Bonaparte: "Why? " - St. Girardin: "Because an agreement of that sort
would have been opposed to the fundamental law of the country."
Bonaparte: "I have a poor opinion," etc.

[105] Hansard, vol. XXXVI., p.1298. (Dispatch of Lord Whitworth,
Feb.21, 1803, conversation with the First consul at the Tuileries.) -
Seeley, 'A Short History of Napoleon the First." "Trifles is a
softened expression, Lord Whitworth adds in a parenthesis which has
never been printed; "the expression he made use of is too
insignificant and too low to have a place in a dispatch or anywhere
else, save in the mouth of a hack-driver."

[106] Lanfrey, "Histoire de Napoléon," II., 482. (Words of the First
consul to the Swiss delegates, conference of January 29, 1803.)

[107] Sir Neil Campbell, "Napoleon at Fontainebleau and Elba," p.201.
(The words of Napoleon to Sir Neil Campbell and to the other
commissioners.) - The Mémorial de Sainte Helene mentions the same plan
in almost identical terms. - Pelet de la Lozère, "Opinions de Napoléon
au conseil d'état," p.238 (session of March 4, 1806): "Within forty-
eight hours after peace with England, I shall interdict foreign
commodities and promulgate a navigation act forbidding any other than
French vessels entering our ports, built of French timber, and with
the crews two-thirds French. Even coal and English 'milords' shall
land only under the French flag." - Ibid., 32.

[108] Moniteur, January 30, 1803 (Sebastiani).

[109] Hansard, vol. XXXVI., p.1298. (Lord Whitworth's dispatch,
Feb.21, 1803, the First Consul's words to Lord Whitworth.)

[110] "Memorial." (Napoleon's own words, March 24, 1806.)

[111] Lanfrey, II., 476. (Note to Otto, October 23, 1802.) -
Thiers,VI., 249.

[112] Letter to Clarke, Minister of War, Jan. 18, 1814. " If, at
Leipsic, I had had 30,000 cannon balls to fire off on the evening of
the 18th, I should to-day be master of the world."

[113] "Memorial," Nov. 30, 1815.

[114] Lanfrey, III., - 399. Letters of Talleyrand, October 11 and
27, 1805, and memorandum addressed to Napoleon.

[115] At the council held in relation to the future marriage of
Napoleon, Cambacérès vainly supported an alliance with the Russians.
The following week, he says to M. Pasquier: "When one has only one
good reason to give and it cannot possibly be given, it is natural
that one should be beaten. . . , You will see that it is so good that
one phrase suffices to make its force fully understood. I am deeply
convinced that in two years we shall have a war with that of two
powers whose daughter the Emperor does not marry. Now a war with
Austria does not cause me any uneasiness, and I tremble at a war with
Russia. The consequences are incalculable." "Souvenirs", by PASQUIER
(Etienne-Dennis, duc), Librarie Plon, Paris 1893. Vol I., p 293, p

[116] M. de Metternich, II., 305. (Letter to the Emperor of Austria,
Aug.10, 1809.) - Ibid. 403.. (Letter of Jan.11, 1811.) "My
appreciation of Napoleon's plans and projects, at bottom, has never
varied. The monstrous purpose of the complete subjection of the
continent under one head was, and is still, his object."

[117] "Correspondance de Napoleon I." (Letter to the King of
Wurtemberg, April 2, 1814): "The war will take place in spite of him
(the Emperor Alexander), in spite of me, in spite of the interests of
France and those of Russia. Having already seen this so often, it is
my past experience which enables me to unveil the future,"

[118] Mollien, III., 135, 190. - In 1810 "prices have increased 400%
on sugar, and 100 % on cotton and dye stuffs." - " More than 20,000
custom-house officers were employed on the frontier against more than
100,000 smugglers, in constant activity and favored by the
population." - "Souvenirs", by PASQUIER (Etienne-Dennis, duc),
Librarie Plon, Paris 1893.-, I., 387. - There were licenses for
importing colonial products, but on condition of exporting a
proportionate quantity of French manufactures; now, England refused to
receive them. Consequently, "not being allowed to bring these articles
back to France, they were thrown overboard." - "They began at first by
devoting the refuse of manufactures to this trade, and then ended by
manufacturing articles without other destination; for example, at
Lyons, taffetas and satins."

[119] Proclamation of Dec.27, 1805: "The Naples dynasty has ceased to
reign. Its existence is incompatible with the repose of Europe and
the honor of my crown." - Message to the Senate, Dec. 10, 1810: "Fresh
guarantees having become necessary, the annexation to the Empire of
the mouths of the Escaut, the Meuse, the Rhine, the Ems, the Weser,
and the Elbe, seemed to me to be the first and most important. . . .
The annexation of the Valais is an anticipated result of the vast
works I have undertaken for the past ten years in that section of the

[120] We are familiar with the Spanish affair. His treatment of
Portugal is anterior and of same order.-" Correspondance." (Letter to
Junot, Oct.31, 1807): - 'I have already informed you, that in
authorizing you to enter as an auxiliary, it was to enable you to
possess yourself of the (Portuguese) fleet, but my mind was made up to
take Portugal." - (Letter to Junot, Dec. 23, 1807): "Disarm the
country. Send all the Portuguese troops to France. . . . I want them
out of the country. Have all princes, ministers, and other men who
serve as rallying points, sent to France." - (Decree of Dec. 23,
1807): " An extra contribution of 100 million francs shall be imposed
on the kingdom of Portugal, to redeem all property, of whatever
denomination, belonging to private parties. . . All property
belonging to the Queen of Portugal, to the prince-regent, and to
princes in appanage; . . . . all the possessions of the nobles who
have followed the king, on his abandoning the country, and who had not
returned to the kingdom before February 1, shall be put under
sequestration." - Cf. M. d'Haussonville, "L'Église Romaine et le
premier Empire," 5 vols. (especially the last volume). No other work
enables one to see into Napoleon's object and proceedings better nor
more closely.

[121] "Souvenirs du feu duc de Broglie," p.143. (As a specimen of
steps taken in time of war, see the register of Marshal Bessières'
orders, commandant at Valladolid from April 11 to July 15, 1811.) -
"Correspondance du Roi Jérome," letter of Jerome to Napoleon, Dec. 5,
1811. (Showing the situation of a vanquished people in times of
peace): "If war should break out, all countries between the Rhine and
the Oder will become the center of a vast and active insurrection.
The mighty cause of this dangerous movement is not merely hatred of
the French, and impatience of a foreign yoke, but rather in the
misfortunes of the day, in the total ruin of all classes, in over-
taxation, consisting of war levies, the maintenance of troops,
soldiers traversing the country, and every sort of constantly renewed
vexation. . . . At Hanover, Magdebourg, and in the principal towns of
my kingdom, owners of property are abandoning their dwellings and
vainly trying to dispose of them at the lowest prices. . . . Misery
everywhere presses on families; capital is exhausted; the noble, the
peasant, the bourgeois, are crushed with debt and want. . . . The
despair of populations no longer having anything to lose, because all
has been taken away, is to be feared." - De Pradt, p.73. (Specimen
of military proceedings in allied countries.) At Wolburch, in the
Bishop of Cujavie's chateau, "I found his secretary, canon of Cujavie,
decorated with the ribbon and cross of his order, who showed me his
jaw, broken by the vigorous blows administered to him the previous
evening by General Count Vandamme, because he had refused to serve
Tokay wine, imperiously demanded by the general; he was told that the
King of Westphalia had lodged in the castle the day before, and had
carted away all this wine."

[122] Fievée, "Correspondance et relations avec Bonaparte, de 1802 à
1813," III., 82. (Dec. 1811), (On the populations annexed or
conquered): "There is no hesitation in depriving them of their
patrimony, their language, their legislatures, in disturbing all their
habits, and that without any warrant but throwing a bulletin des lois
at their heads (inapplicable). . . . How could they be expected to
recognize this, or even become resigned to it? . . . Is it possible
not to feel that one no longer has a country, that one is under
constraint, wounded in feeling and humiliated? . . . Prussia, and a
large part of Germany, has been so impoverished that there is more to
gain by taking a pitchfork to kill a man than to stir up a pile of

[123] "Correspondance," letter to King Joseph, Feb. 18, 1814. "If I
had signed the treaty reducing France to its ancient limits, I should
have gone to war two years after - Marmont, V., 133 (1813): "Napoleon,
in the last years of his reign, always preferred to lose all rather
than to yield anything."

[124] M. de Metternich, II., 205.

[125] Words of Richelieu on his death-bed: "Behold my judge," said he,
pointing to the Host, "the judge who will soon pronounce his verdict.
I pray that he will condemn me, if, during my ministry, I have
proposed to myself aught else than the good of religion and of the

[126] Miot de Melito, "Mémoires,"II., 48, 152.

[127] "Souvenirs," by Gaudin, duc de Gaëte (3rd vol. of the
"Mémoires," p.67).

[128] M. de Metternich, II., 120. (Letter to Stadion, July 26, 1807.)

[129] Ibid., II., 291. (Letter of April 11, 1809.)

[130] Ibid., II., 400. (Letter of Jan.17, 1811.) In lucid moments,
Napoleon takes the same view. Cf. Pelet de la Lozère, "Opinions de
Napoleon au conseil d'etat," p. 15 : "That will last as long as I do.
After me, however, my son will deem himself fortunate if he has 40,000
francs a year." - (De Ségur, "Histoire et Mémoires," III., 155.) :
"How often at this time (1811) was he heard to foretell that the
weight of his empire would crush his heir!" "Poor child," said he,
regarding the King of Rome, "what an entanglement I shall leave to
you!" From the beginning he frequently passed judgment on himself and
foresaw the effect of his action in history." On reaching the isle of
Poplars, the First Consul stopped at Rousseau's grave, and said: 'It
would have, been better for the repose of France, if that man had
never existed.' 'And why, citizen Consul?' 'He is the man who made the
French revolution.' 'It seems to me that you need not complain of the
French revolution!' 'well, the future must decide whether it would not
have been better for the repose of the whole world if neither myself
nor Rousseau had ever lived.' He then resumed his promenade in a
revery." - Stanislas Girardin; "Journal et Mémoires," III., Visit of
the French Consul to Ermenonville.

[131] Marmont, "Mémoires," III., 337. (On returning from Wagram.)

[132] On this initial discord, cf. Armand Lefèvre, "Histoire des
Cabinets de l'Europe," vol.VI.

[133] "Correspondance de Napoléon I." (Letter to the King of
Wurtemberg, April 2, 1811.)

[134] Testament of April 25, 1821 "It is my desire that my remains
rest on the banks of the Seine, amidst that French people I have so
dearly loved."

[135] "Correspondance de Napoleon I., XXII., 119. (Note by Napoleon,
April, 1811.) "There will always be at Hamburg, Bremen, and Lubeck
from 8000 to 10,000 Frenchmen, either as employees or as gendarmes, in
the custom-houses and warehouses."

[136] "Souvenirs", by PASQUIER (Etienne-Dennis, duc), Librarie Plon,
Paris 1893.-, II., 88, and following pages: "During the year 1813,
from Jan. 1 to Oct. 7, 840,000 men had already been drafted from
imperial France and they had to be furnished." - Other decrees in
December, placing at the disposition of the government 300,000
conscripts for the years 1806 to 1814 inclusive. - Another decree in
November organizing 140,000 men of the national guard in cohorts,
intended for the defense of strongholds. - In all, 1,300,000 men
summoned in one year. "Never has any nation been thus asked to let
itself be voluntarily led in a mass to the slaughterhouse. - Ibid.,
II., 59. Senatus-consulte, and order of council for raising 10,000
young men, exempt or redeemed from conscription, as the prefects might
choose, arbitrarily, from amongst the highest classes in society. The
purpose was plainly " to secure hostages in every family of doubtful
loyalty. No measure created for Napoleon more irreconcilable
- Cf. De Ségur, II., 34. (He was charged with organizing and
commanding a division of young men.) Many were sons of Vendéans or of
Conventionalists, some torn from their wives the day after their
marriage, or from the bedside of a wife in her confinement, of a dying
father, or of a sick son; "some looked so feeble that they seemed
dying." One half perished in the campaign of 1814. - "
Correspondance," letter to Clarke, Minister of War, Oct.23, 1813 (in
relation to the new levies): "I rely on 100,000 refractory

[137] "Archives nationales," A F.,VI., 1297. (Documents 206 to 210.)
(Report to the Emperor by Count Dumas, April 10, 1810.) Besides the
170 millions of penalties 1,675,457 francs of penalty were inflicted
on 2335 individuals, " abettors or accomplices." - Ibid., A F.,VI.,
1051. (Report of Gen. Lacoste on the department of Haute-Loire, Oct.
13, 1808.) "He always calculated in this department on the desertion
of one-half of the conscripts. In most of the cantons the gendarmes
traffic with the conscription shamefully; certain conscripts pension
them to show them favors." - Ibid., A F.,VI., 1052. (Report by
Pelet, Jan. 12, 1812.) "The operation of the conscription has
improved (in the Herault); the contingents of 1811 have been
furnished. There remained 1800 refractory, or deserters of the
previous classes; 1600 have been arrested or made to surrender by the
flying column; 200 have still to be pursued." Faber, - "Notice
(1807) sur l'intérieur de la France," p. 141: "Desertion, especially
on the frontiers, is occasionally frightful; 80 deserters out of 160
have sometimes been arrested." - Ibid., p.149: It has been stated in
the public journals that in 1801 the court in session at Lille had
condemned 135 refractory out of the annual conscription, and that
which holds its sittings at Ghent had condemned 70. Now, 200
conscripts form the maximum of what an arrondissement in a department
could furnish." -Ibid, p.145. "France resembles a vast house of
detention where everybody is suspicious of his neighbor, where each
avoids the other. . . One often sees a young man with a gendarme at
his heels oftentimes, on looking closely, this young man's hands are
found tied, or he is handcuffed." - Mathieu Dumas, III., 507 (After
the battle of Dresden, in the Dresden hospitals): "I observed, with
sorrow, that many of these men were slightly wounded: most of them,
young conscripts just arrived in the army, had not been wounded by the
enemy's fire, but they had mutilated each other's feet and hands.
Antecedents of this kind, of equally bad augury, had already been
remarked in the campaign of 1809."

[138] De Ségur, III., 474. - Thiers, XIV., 159. (One month after
crossing the Niemen one hundred and fifty thousand men had dropped out
of the ranks.)

[139] Bulletin 29 (December 3, 1812).

[140] De Pradt, Histoire de l'Ambassade de Varsovie," p.219.

[141] M. de Metternich, I., 147. - Fain, "Manuscript," of 1813, II.,
26. (Napoleon's address to his generals.) "What we want is a complete
triumph. To abandon this or that province is not the question; our
political superiority and our existence depend on it. " - II., 41, 42.
(Words of Napoleon to Metternich.) "And it is my father-in-law who
favors such a project! And he sends you! In what attitude does he wish
to place me before the French people? He is strangely deluded if he
thinks that a mutilated throne can offer an asylum to his daughter and
grandson. . . . Ah, Metternich, how much has England given you to make
you play this part against me?" (This last phrase, omitted in
Metternich's narrative, is a characteristic trait; Napoleon at this
decisive moment, remains insulting and aggressive, gratuitously and
even to his own destruction.)

[142] "Souvenirs du feu duc de Broglie," I., 235.

[143] Ibid., I., 230. Some days before Napoleon had said to M. de
Narbonne, who told me that very evening: "After all, what has this
(the Russian campaign) cost me? 300,000 men, among whom, again, were
a good many Germans." - "Souvenirs", by PASQUIER (Etienne-Dennis, duc,
Librarie Plon, Paris 1893. II. 110. (Apropos of the Frankfurt basis,
and accepted by Napoleon when too late.) "What characterizes this
mistake is that it was committed much more against the interests of
France than against his own. . . . He sacrificed her to the
perplexities of his personal situation, to the mauvaise honte of his
own ambition, to the difficulty he finds in standing alone to a
certain extent before a nation which had done everything for him and
which could justly reproach him with having sacrificed so much
treasure and spilled so much blood on enterprises proved to have been
foolish and impracticable."

[144] Leonce de Lavergne, "Economie rurale de la France," P.40.
(According to the former director of the conscription under the



I. The Institution of Government.

Conditions on which the public power can act. - Two points forgotten
by the authors of the preceding constitutions. - Difficulty of the
undertaking and poor quality of the available materials.

Every human society requires government, that is to say an authority.
No other machinery is more useful. But a machinery is useful only if
it is adapted to its purpose; if not it will not work, or may even
work contrary to its purpose. Hence, during its construction, one must
first of all consider the magnitude of the work it has to do as well
as the quality of the materials one has at one's disposal. It is very
important to know beforehand whether it will lift 100 or of 100,000
kilograms, whether the pieces fitted together will be of iron or of
steel, of sound or of unsound timber. - But the legislators had not
taken that into consideration during the last ten years. They had set
themselves up as theoreticians, and likewise as optimists, without
looking at the things, or else imagining the them as they wished to
have them. In the national assemblies, as well as with the public, the
task was deemed easy and simple, whereas it was extraordinary and
immense; for the matter in hand consisted in effecting a social
revolution and in carrying on an European war. The materials were
supposed to be excellent, as manageable as they were substantial,
while, in fact, they were very poor, being both refractory and
brittle, for these human materials consisted of the Frenchmen of 1789
and of the following years; that is to say, of exceedingly sensitive
men doing each other all possible harm, inexperienced in political
business, Utopians, impatient, intractable, and overexcited.
Calculations had been made on these prodigiously false data;
consequently, although the calculations were very exact, the results
obtained were found absurd. Relying on these data, the machine had
been planned, and all its parts been adjusted, assembled, and
balanced. That is why the machine, irreproachable in theory, remained
unsuccessful in practice: the better it appeared on paper the quicker
it broke down when set up on the ground.

II. Default of previous government.

The consequences of the years 1789 to 1799. - Insubordination of the
local powers, conflict of the central powers, suppression of liberal
institutions, and the establishment of an unstable despotism. - Evil-
doing of the government thus formed.

A capital defect at once declared itself in the two principal
compositions, in the working gear of the superposed powers and in the
balance of the motor powers. - In the first place, the hold given to
the central government on its local subordinates was evidently too
feeble; with no right to appoint these, it could not select them as it
pleased, according to the requirements of the service. Department,
district, canton, and commune administrators, civil and criminal
judges, assessors, appraisers, and collectors of taxes, officers of
the national-guard and even of the gendarmerie, police-commissioners,
and other agents who had to enforce laws on the spot, were nearly all
recruited elsewhere: either in popular assemblies or provided ready-
made by elected bodies.[1] They were for it merely borrowed
instruments; thus originating, they escaped its control; it could not
make them work as it wanted them to work. On most occasions they would
shirk their duties; at other times, on receiving orders, they would
stand inert; or, again, they would act outside of or beyond their
special function, either going too far or acting in a contrary sense;
never did they act with moderation and precision, with coherence and
consequence. For this reason any desire of the government to do its
job proved unsuccessful. Its legal subordinates - incapable, timid,
lukewarm, unmanageable, or even hostile - obeyed badly, did not obey
at all, or willfully disobeyed. The blade of the executive instrument,
loose in the handle, glanced or broke off when the thrust had to be

In the second place, never could the two or three motor forces
thrusting the handle act in harmony, owing to the clashing of so many
of them; one always ended in breaking down the other. The Constituent
Assembly had set aside the King, the Legislative Assembly had deposed
him, the Convention had decapitated him. Afterward each fraction of
the sovereign body in the Convention had proscribed the other; the
Montagnards had guillotined the Girondists, and the Thermidorians had
guillotined the Montagnards. Later, under the Constitution of the year
III, the Fructidorians had banished the Constitutionalists, the
Directory had purged the Councils, and the Councils had purged the
Directory. - Not only did the democratic and parliamentary institution
fail in its work and break down on trial, but, again, through its own
action, it became transformed into its opposite. In a year or two a
coup d'état in Paris took place; a faction seized the central power
and converted it into an absolute power in the hands of five or six
ringleaders. The new government at once re-forged the executive
instrument for its own advantage and refastened the blade firmly on
the handle; in the provinces it dismissed those elected by the people
and deprived the governed of the right to choose their own rulers;
henceforth, through its proconsuls on mission, or through its resident
commissioners, it alone appointed, superintended, and regulated on the
spot all local authorities.[2]

Thus the liberal constitution, at its close, gave birth to a
centralized despotism, and this was the worst of its species, at once
formless and monstrous; for it was born out of a civil crime, while
the government which used it had no support but a band of bigoted
fanatics or political adventurers; without any legal authority over
the nation, or any moral hold on the army, detested, threatened,
discordant, exposed to the resistance of its own upholders, to the
treachery of its own members, and living only from day to day, it
could maintain itself only through a brutal absolutism and permanent
terror, while the public power of which the first care is the
protection of property, consciences, and lives, became in its hands
the worst of persecutors, robbers, and murderers.


In 1799, the undertaking is more difficult and the materials worse.

Twice in succession had the experiment been tried, the monarchical
constitution of 1791, and the republican constitution of 1795; twice
in succession had the same events followed the same course to attain
the same end; twice in succession had the theoretical, cunningly-
devised machine for universal protection changed into an efficient and
brutal machine for universal oppression. It is evident that if the
same machine were started the third time under analogous conditions,
one might expect to see it work in the same manner; that is to say,
contrary to its purpose.

Now, in 1799, the conditions were analogous, and even worse, for the
work which the machine had to do was not less, while the human
materials available for its construction were not so good. -
Externally, the country was constantly at war with Europe; peace could
not be secured except by great military effort, and peace was as
difficult to preserve as to win. The European equilibrium had been too
greatly disturbed; neighboring or rival States had suffered too much;
the rancor and distrust provoked by the invading revolutionary
republic were too active; these would have lasted a long time against
pacified France even after she had concluded reasonable treaties. Even
should she abandon a policy of propaganda and interference, return
brilliant acquisitions, cease the domination of protectorates, and
abandon the disguised annexation of Italy, Holland, and Switzerland,
the nation was still bound to keep watch under arms. A government able
to concentrate all its forces - that is to say, placed above and
beyond all dispute and promptly obeyed-was indispensable, if only to
remain intact and complete, to keep Belgium and the frontier of the
Rhine. - Likewise internally, and for no other purpose than to restore
civil order; for here, too, the outrages of the Revolution had been
too great. There had been too much spoliation, too many imprisonments,
exiles, and murders, too many violations of every kind, too many
invasions of the rights of property and of persons, public and
private. It was so much more difficult

* To insure respect for persons and all private and public
* to restrain at once both Royalists and Jacobins;
* to restore 140,000 émigrés to their country and yet satisfy
1,200,000 possessors of national property;
* to give back to 25,000,000 of orthodox Catholics the right, faculty,
and means for worshipping, and yet not allow the schismatic clergy to
be maltreated;
* to bring face to face in the same commune the dispossessed seigneur
and the peasant holders of his domain;
* to compel the delegates of the Committee of Public Safety and their
victims, the shooters and the shot of Vendémiaire, the Fructidorians
and the Fructidorized, the Whites and the Blues of La Vendée and
Brittany, to live in peace side by side,

because the future laborers in this immense work, from the village
mayor to the state-senator and state-councilor, had borne a part in
the Revolution, either in effecting it or under subjection to it -
Monarchists, Feuillantists, Girondists, Montagnards, Thermidorians,
moderate Jacobins or desperate Jacobins, all oppressed in turn and
disappointed in their calculations. Their passions, under this régime,
had become embittered; each brought personal bias and resentment into
the performance of his duties; to prevent him from being unjust and
mischievous demanded a tightened curb.[3] All sense of conviction,
under this régime, had died out; no body would serve gratis as in
1789;[4] nobody would work without pay; disinterestedness had lost all
charm; ostentatious zeal seemed hypocrisy; genuine zeal seemed self-
dupery; each looked out for himself and not for the community; public
spirit had yielded to indifference, to egotism, and to the need of
security, of enjoyment, and of self-advancement. Human materials,
deteriorated by the Revolution, were less than ever suited to
providing citizens - they simply furnished functionaries. With such
wheels combined together according to formula current between 1791 and
1795, the requisite work could not possibly be done. As a consequence,
definitely and for a long time, any use of the two great liberal
mechanisms were doomed. So long as the wheels remained of such poor
quality and the task so hard, both the election of local powers and
the division of the central power had to be abandoned.


Motives for suppressing the election of local powers. - The Electors.
- Their egoism and partiality. - The Elected. - Their inertia,
corruption, and disobedience.

All were agreed on the first point. If any still doubted, they had
only to open their eyes, fix them on the local authorities, watch them
as soon as born, and follow them throughout the exercise of their
functions. - Naturally, in filling each office, the electors had
chosen a man of their own species and caliber; their fixed and
dominant disposition was accordingly well known; they were indifferent
to public matters and therefore their candidate was as indifferent as
themselves. Had they shown too great a concern for the nation this
would have prevented their election; the State to them was a
troublesome moralist and remote creditor. Their candidate must choose
between them and this intruder, side with them against it, and not act
as a pedagogue in its name or as bailiff on its behalf. When power is
born on the spot and conferred to-day by constituents who are to
submit to it to-morrow as subordinates, they do not put the whip in
the hands of one who will flog them; they demand sentiments of him in
conformity with their inclinations; in any event they will not
tolerate in him the opposite ones. From the beginning, this
resemblance between them and him is great, and it goes on increasing
from day to day because the creature is always in the hands of his
creators; subject to their daily pressure, he at last becomes as they
are; after a certain period they have shaped him in their image. -
Thus the candidate-elect, from the start or very soon after, became a
confederate with his electors. At one time, and this occurred
frequently, especially in the towns, he had been elected by a violent
sectarian minority; he then subordinated general interests to the
interests of a clique. At another, and especially in the rural
districts, he had been elected by an ignorant and brutal majority,
when he accordingly subordinated general interests to those of a
village. - If he chanced to be conscientious and somewhat intelligent
and was anxious to do his duty, he could not; he felt himself weak and
was felt to be weak;[5] both authority and the means for exercising it
were wanting in him. He had not the force which a power above
communicates to its delegates below; nobody saw behind him the
government and the army; his only resource was a national-guard, which
either shirked or refused to do its duty, and which often did not
exist at all. - On the contrary, he could prevaricate, pillage, and
persecute for his own advantage and that of his clique with impunity;
for there was no restraint on him from above; the Paris Jacobins would
not be disposed to alienate the Jacobins of the province; they were
partisans and allies, and the government had few others; it was bound
to retain them, to let them intrigue and embezzle at will.

Suppose an extensive domain of which the steward is appointed, not by
the absent owner, but by his tenants, debtors, farmers, and
dependents: the reader may imagine whether rents will be paid and
debts collected, whether road-taxes will be worked out, what care will
be taken of the property, what its annual income will be to the owner,
how abuses of commission and omission will be multiplied indefinitely,
how great the disorder will be, the neglect, the waste, the fraud, the
injustice, and the license. - The same in France,[6] and for the same

* every public service disorganized, destroyed, or perverted;
* no justice, no police;
* authorities abstaining from prosecution, magistrates not daring to
condemn, a gendarmerie which receives no orders or which stands still;
* rural marauding become a habit;
* roving bands of brigands in forty-five departments;
* mail wagons and coaches stopped and pillaged even up to the environs
of Paris;
* highways broken up and rendered impassable;
* open smuggling, customs yielding nothing, national forests
devastated, the public treasury empty,[7] its revenues intercepted
and expended before being deposited, taxes decreed and not collected;
* everywhere arbitrary assessments of real and personal estate, no
less wicked exemptions than overcharges;
* in many places no list prepared for tax assessments,
* communes which here and there, under pretext of defending the
republic against neighboring consumers, exempt themselves from both
tax and conscription;
* conscripts to whom their mayor gives false certificates of infirmity
and marriage, who do not turn out when ordered out, who desert by
hundreds on the way to headquarters, who form mobs and use guns in
defending themselves against the troops,-

such were the fruits of the system.

The government could not constrain rural majorities with the officials
chosen by the selfish and inept rural majorities. Neither could it
repress the urban minorities with agents elected by the same partial
and corrupt urban minorities. Hands are necessary, and hands as firm
as tenacious, to seize conscripts by the collar, to rummage the
pockets of taxpayers, and the State did not have such hands. They were
required right away, if only to prepare and provide for urgent needs.
If the western departments had to be subdued and tranquilized, relief
furnished to Massena besieged in Genoa, Mélas prevented from invading
Provence, Moreau's army transported over the Rhine, the first thing
was to restore to the central government the appointment of local

V. Reasons for centralization.

Reasons for placing the executive central power in one hand. - Sieyès'
chimerical combinations. - Bonaparte's objections.

On this second point, the evidence was scarcely less. - And clearly,
the moment the local powers owed their appointment to the central
powers, it is plain that the central executive power, on which they
depend, should be unique. For, this great team of functionaries,
driven from aloft, could not have aloft several distinct drivers;
being several and distinct, the drivers would each pull his own way,
while the horses, pulling in opposite directions, would do nothing but
prance. In this respect the combinations of Sieyès do not bear
examination. A mere theorist and charged with preparing the plan of a
new constitution, he had reasoned as if the drivers on the box were
not men, but robots: perched above all, a grand-elector, a show
sovereign, with two places to dispose of and always passive, except to
appoint or revoke two active sovereigns, the two governing consuls.
One, a peace-consul, appointing all civil officers, and the other a
war-consul, making all military and diplomatic appointments; each with
his own ministers, his own council of state, his own court of
judicature. All these functionaries, ministers, consuls, and the
grand-elector himself, were revocable at the will of a senate which
from day to day could absorb them, that is to say, make them senators
with a salary of 30,000 francs and an embroidered dress-coat.[8]
Sieyès evidently had not taken into account either the work to be done
or the men who would have to do it, while Bonaparte, who was doing the
work at this very time, who understood men and who understood himself,
at once put his finger on the weak spot of this complex mechanism, so
badly adjusted and so frail. Two consuls,[9] "one controlling the
ministers of justice, of the interior, of the police, of the treasury,
and the other the ministers of war, of the navy, and of foreign
affairs." The conflict between them is certain; look at them facing
each other, subject to contrary influences and suggestions: around the
former "only judges, administrators, financiers, and men in long
robes," and round the latter "only epaulets and men of the sword."
Certainly "one will need money and recruits for his army which the
other will not grant." - And it is not your grand-elector who will
make them agree. "If he conforms strictly to the functions which you
assign to him he will be the mere ghost, the fleshless phantom of a
roi fainéant. Do you know any man vile enough to take part in such
contrivances? How can you imagine any man of talent or at all
honorable contentedly playing the part of a hog fattening himself on a
few millions?" - And all the more because if he wants to abandon his
part the door stands open. "Were I the grand-elector I would say to
the war-consul and to the peace-consul on appointing them, If you put
in a minister or sign a bill I don't like I'll put you out." Thus does
the grand-elector become an active, absolute monarch.

"But," you may say, "the senate in its turn will absorb the grand-
elector." - " The remedy is worse than the disease; nobody, according
to this plan, has any guarantees," and each, therefore, will try to
secure them to himself, the grand-elector against the senate, the
consuls against the grand-elector, and the senate against the grand-
elector and consuls combined, each uneasy, alarmed, threatened,
threatening, and usurping to protect himself; these are the wheels
which work the wrong way, in a machine constantly getting out of
order, stopping, and finally breaking down entirely.

Thereupon, and as Bonaparte, moreover, was already master, all the
executive powers were reduced to one, and this power was vested in
him.[10] In reality, "to humor republican opinion"[11] they gave him
two associates with the same title as his own; but they were appointed
only for show, simply as consulting, inferior, and docile registrars,
with no rights save that of signing their names after his and putting
their signatures to the procès verbal declaring his orders; he alone
commanded, "he alone had the say, he alone appointed to all offices,"
so that they were already subjects as he alone was already the

VI. Irreconcilable divisions.

Difficulty of organizing a legislative power. - Fraudulent and violent
elections for ten years. - Spirit and diffusion of hatred against the
men and dogmas of the Revolution. - Probable composition of a freely
elected Assembly. - Its two irreconcilable divisions. - Sentiments of
the army. - Proximity and probable meaning of a new coup d'État.

It remained to frame a legislative power as a counterpoise to this
executive power, so concentrated and so strong. - In organized and
tolerably sound communities this point is reached through an elective
parliament which represents the public will; it represents this
because it is a copy, a faithful reduction of that will on a small
scale; it is so organized as to present a loyal and proportionate
expression of diverse controlling opinions. In this case, the
electoral selection has worked well; one superior right, that of
election, has been respected, or, in other words, the passions excited
have not proved too strong, which is owing to the most important
interests not having proved too divergent. - Unfortunately, in France,
rent asunder and discordant, all the most important interests were in
sharp antagonism; the passions brought into play, consequently, were
furious; no right was respected, and least of all that of election;
hence the electoral test worked badly, and no elected parliament was
or could be a veritable expression of the public will. Since 1791, the
elections, violated and deserted, had brought intruders only to the
legislative benches, under the name of mandatories. These were endured
for lack of better; but nobody had any confidence in them, and nobody
showed them any deference. People knew how they had been elected and
how little their title was worth. Through inertness, fear, or disgust,
the great majority of electors had not voted, while the voters at the
polls fought among themselves, the strongest or least scrupulous
expelling or constraining the rest. During the last three years of the
Directory the electoral assembly was often divided; each faction
elected its own deputy and protested against the election of the
other. The government then chose between the two candidates elected,
arbitrarily and always with barefaced partiality; and again, if but
one candidate was elected, and that one an adversary, his election was
invalidated. In sum, for nine years, the legislative body, imposed on
the nation by a faction, was scarcely more legitimate than the
executive power, another usurper, and which, later on, filled up or
purged its ranks. Any remedy for this defect in the electoral machine
was impossible; it was due to its internal structure, to the very
quality of its materials. At this date, even under an impartial and
strong government, the machine could not have answered its purpose,
that of deriving from the nation a body of sober-minded and respected
delegates, providing France with a parliament capable of playing its
own part, or any part whatever, in the conduct of public business.

For, suppose

* that the new governors show uncommon loyalty, energy, and vigilance,
remarkable political abnegation and administrative omnipresence,
* that the factions are contained without suppression of free speech,
* the central powers neutral yet active,
* no official candidature,
* no pressure from above,
* no constraint from below,
* the police-commissioners respectful and gendarmes protecting the
entrance to every electoral assembly,
* all proceedings regular, no disturbance inside, voting perfectly
free, the electors numerous, five or six millions of Frenchmen
gathered at the polls,

and guess what choice they will make.

After Fructidor, there is a renewal of religious persecution and of
excessive civil oppression; the brutality and unworthiness of the
rulers have doubled and diffused hatred against the men and the ideas
of the Revolution. - In Belgium, recently annexed, the regular and
secular clergy had just been proscribed in a mass,[12] and a great
rural insurrection had broken out. The uprising had spread from the
Waes country and the ancient seignory of Malines, around Louvain as
far as Tirlemont, and afterward to Brussels, to Campine, to South
Brabant, to Flanders, to Luxembourg, in the Ardennes, and even to the
frontiers of Liège; many villages had to be burned, and many of their
inhabitants killed, and the survivors keep this in mind. In the twelve
western departments,[13] at the beginning of the year 1800, the
royalists were masters of nearly the whole country and had control of
forty thousand armed men in regimental order; undoubtedly these were
to be overcome and disarmed, but they were not to be deprived of their
opinions, as of their guns. - In the month of August, 1799,[14]
sixteen thousand insurgents in Haute Garonne and the six neighboring
departments, led by Count de Paulo, had unfurled the royal white flag;
one of the cantons, Cadours, "had risen almost entirely;" a certain
town, Muret, sent all its able-bodied men. They had penetrated even to
the outskirts of Toulouse, and several engagements, including a
pitched battle, were necessary to subdue them. On one occasion, at
Montréjean, 2000 were slain or drowned. The peasants fought with fury,
" a fury that bordered on frenzy;" "some were heard to exclaim with
their last breath, 'Vive le Roi!' and others were cut to pieces rather
than shout, 'Vive la République!'" - From Marseilles to Lyons the
revolt lasted five years on both banks of the Rhône, under the form of
brigandage; the royalist bands, increased by refractory conscripts and
favored by the inhabitants whom they spared, killed or pillaged the
agents of the republic and the buyers of national possessions.[15]
There were thus, in more than thirty departments, intermittent and
scattered Vendées. In all the Catholic departments there was a latent
Vendée. Had the elections been free during this state of exasperation
it is probable that one-half of France would have voted for men of the
ancient régime - Catholics, Royalists, or, at least, the Monarchists
of 1790.

Let the reader imagine facing this party, in the same chamber, about
an equal number of representatives elected by the other party; the
only ones it could select, its notables, that is to say, the survivors
of preceding assemblies, probably Constitutionalists of the year IV
and the year V, Conventionalists of the Plain and of the Feuillants of
1792, from Lafayette and Dumolard to Daunou, Thibaudeau and Grégoire,
among them Girondists and a few Montagnards, Barère,[16] with others,
all of them wedded to the theory the same as their adversaries to
traditions. To one who is familiar with the two groups, behold two
inimical doctrines confronting each other; two irreconcilable systems
of opinions and passions, two contradictory modes of conceiving
sovereignty, law, society, the State, property, religion, the Church,
the ancient régime, the Revolution, the present and the past; it is
civil war transferred from the nation to the parliament. Certainly the
Right would like to see the First Consul a Monck, which would lead to
his becoming a Cromwell; for his power depends entirely on his credit
with the army, then the sovereign force; at this date the army is
still republican, at least in feeling if not intelligently, imbued
with Jacobin prejudices, attached to revolutionary interests, and
hence blindly hostile to aristocrats, kings, and priests.[17] At the
first threat of a monarchical and Catholic restoration it will demand
of him an eighteenth Fructidor[18]; otherwise, some Jacobin general,
Jourdan, Bernadotte, or Augereau, will make one without him, against
him, and they fall back into the rut from which they wished to escape,
into the fatal circle of revolutions and coups d'état.

VII. Establishment of a new Dictatorship.

The electoral and legislative combinations of Sieyès. - Bonaparte's
use of them. - Paralysis and submission of the three legislative
bodies. - The Senate as the ruler's tool. -Senatus-consultes and
Plebiscites. - Final establishment of the Dictatorship. - Its dangers
and necessity. - Public power now able to do its work.

Sieyès comprehended this: he detects on the horizon the two specters
which, for ten years, have haunted all the governments of France,
legal anarchy and unstable despotism; he has found a magic formula
with which to exorcise these two phantoms; henceforth "power is to
come from above and confidence from below."[19] - Consequently, the
new constitutional act withdraws from the nation the right to elect
its deputies; it will simply elect candidates to the deputation and
through three degrees of election, one above the other; thus, it is to
take part in the choice of its candidates only through "an illusory
and metaphysical participation."[20] The right of the electors of the
first degree is wholly reduced to designating one-tenth among
themselves; the right of those of the second degree is also reduced to
designating one-tenth among themselves; the right of those of the
third degree is finally reduced to designating one-tenth of their
number, about six thousand candidates. On this list, the government
itself, by right and by way of increasing the number, inscribes its
own high functionaries; evidently, on such a long list, it will have
no difficulty in finding men who, as simple tools, will be devoted to
it. Through another excess of precaution, the government, on its sole
authority, in the absence of any list, alone names the first
legislature. Last of all, it is careful to attach handsome salaries to
these legislative offices, 10,000 f., 15,000 f., and 30,000 f. a year;
parties canvass with it for these places the very first day, the
future depositaries of legislative power being, to begin with,
solicitors of the antechamber. - To render their docility complete,
there is a dismemberment of this legislative power in advance; it is
divided among three bodies, born feeble and passive by institution.
Neither of these has any initiative; their deliberations are confined
to laws proposed by the government. Each possesses only a fragment of
function; the "Tribunat" discusses without passing laws, the "Corps
Législatif" decrees without discussion, the conservative" Sénat" is to
maintain this general paralysis. "What do you want?" said Bonaparte to
Lafayette.[21] "Sieyès everywhere put nothing but ghosts, the ghost of
a legislative power, the ghost of a judiciary, the ghost of a
government. Something substantial had to be put in their place. Ma
foi, I put it there," in the executive power.

There it is, completely in his hands; other authorities to him are
merely for show or as instruments.[22] The mutes of the Corps
Législatif come annually to Paris to keep silent for four months; one
day he will forget to convoke them, and nobody will remark their
absence. - As to the Tribunat, which talks too much, he will at first
reduce its words to a minimum "by putting it on the diet of laws;"
afterward, through the interposition of the senate, which designates
retiring members, he gets rid of troublesome babblers; finally, and
always through the interposition of the senate, titular interpreter,
guardian, and reformer of the constitution, he ventilates and then
suppresses the Tribunat itself. - The senate is the grand instrument
by which he reigns; he commands it to furnish the senatus-consultes of
which he has need. Through this comedy played by him above, and
through another complementary comedy which he plays below, the
plebiscite, he transforms his ten-year consulate into a consulate for
life, and then into an empire, that is to say, into a permanent,
legal, full, and perfect dictatorship. In this way the nation is
handed over to the absolutism of a man who, being a man, cannot fail
to think of his own interest before all others. It remains to be seen
how far and for how long a time this interest, as he comprehends it,
or imagines it, will accord with the interest of the public. All the
better for France should this accord prove complete and permanent; all
the worse for France should it prove partial and temporary. It is a
terrible risk, but inevitable. There is no escape from anarchy except
through despotism, with the chance of encountering in one man, at
first a savior and then a destroyer, with the certainty of henceforth
belonging to an unknown will fashioned by genius and good sense, or by
imagination and egoism, in a soul fiery and disturbed by the
temptations of absolute power, by success and universal adulation, in
a despot responsible to no one but himself, in a conqueror condemned
by the impulses of conquest to regard himself and the world under a
light growing falser and falser.

Such are the bitter fruits of social dissolution: the authority of the
state will either perish or become perverted; each uses it for his own
purposes, and nobody is disposed to entrust it to an external
arbitrator, and the usurpers who seize it only remain trustee on
condition that they abuse it; when it works in their hands it is only
to work against its office. It must be accepted when, for want of
better or fear of worse, through a final usurpation, it falls into the
only hands able to restore it, organize it, and apply it at last to
the service of the public.


[1] "The Revolution," P.193 and following pages, also p.224 and
following pages. The provisions of the constitution of the year III,
somewhat less anarchical, are analogous; those of the "Mountain"
constitution (year II) are so anarchical that nobody thought of
enforcing them.

[2] "The Revolution," vol. III., pp.446, 450, 476.

[3] Sauzay, "Histoire de la persecution révolutionnaire dans le
département du Doubs," X., 472 (Speech of Briot to the five-hundred,
Aug.29, 1799): "The country seeks in vain for its children; it finds
the chouans, the Jacobins, the moderates, and the constitutionalists
of '91 and '93, clubbists, the amnestied, fanatics, scissionists and
antiscissionists; in vain does it call for republicans."

[4] "The Revolution," III., 427, 474. - Rocquain, "L'état de la France
au 18 Brumaire," 360, 362: "Inertia or absence of the national agents.
. . It would be painful to think that a lack of salary was one of the
causes of the difficulty in establishing municipal administrations. In
1790, 1791, and 1792, we found our fellow-citizens emulously striving
after these gratuitous offices and even proud of the disinterestedness
which the law prescribed." (Report of the Directory, end of 1795.)
After this date public spirit is extinguished, stifled by the Reign of
Terror. - Ibid., 368, 369: "Deplorable indifference for public
offices. . . . Out of seven town officials appointed in the commune of
Laval, only one accepted, and that one the least capable. It is the
same in the other communes." - Ibid., 380 (Report of the year VII):
"General decline of public spirit." - Ibid., 287 (Report by Lacuée, on
the 1st military division, Aisne, Eure-et-Loire, Loiret, Oise, Seine,
Seine-et-Marne, (year IX): "Public spirit is dying out and is even

[5] Rocquain, Ibid., p.27 (Report of François de Nantes, on the 8th
military division ,Vaucluse, Bouches-du-Rhône, Var, Basses-Alpes, and
Alpes-Maratimes, year IX): "Witnesses, in some communes, did not dare
furnish testimony, and, in all, the justices of the peace were afraid
of making enemies and of not being re-elected. It was the same with
the town officials charged with prosecutions and whom their quality as
elected and temporary officials always rendered timid." - Ibid., 48:
"All the customs-directors complained of the partiality of the courts.
I have myself examined several cases in which the courts of Marseilles
and Toulon decided against the plain text the law and with criminal
partiality. - Archives nationales, series F7, Reports "on the
situation, on the spirit of the public," in many hundreds of towns,
cantons, and departments, from the year III to the year VIII and

[6] Cf. "The Revolution," III., book IX., ch. I. - Rocquain, passim. -
Schmidt, "Tableaux de la Révolution française," III., parts 9 and 10.
- Archives nationales, F7, 3250 (Letter of the commissioner of the
executive directory, Fructidor 23, year VII): "Armed mobs on the road
between Saint-Omer and Arras have dared fire on the diligences and
rescue from the gendarmerie the drawn conscripts." - Ibid., F7, 6565.
Only on Seine-inferiure, of which the following are some of the
reports of the gendarmerie for one year. - Messidor, year VII,
seditious mobs of conscripts and others in the cantons of Motteville
and Doudeville. "What shows the perverted spirit of the communes of
Gremonville and of Héronville is that none of the inhabitants will
make any declaration, while it is impossible that they should not have
been in the rebels' secrets." - Similar mobs in the communes of
Guerville, Mi1lebose,and in the forest of Eu: "It is stated that they
have leaders, and that drilling goes on under their orders. -
Vendémiarie 27, year VIII.) "Twenty-five armed brigands or drafted men
in the cantons of Réauté and Bolbec have put farmers to ransom." -
(Nivôse 12~ year VIII.) In the canton of Cuny another band of brigands
do the same thing. - (Germinal 14, year VIII.) Twelve brigands stop
the diligence between Neufchatel and Rouen; a few days after, the
diligence between Rouen and Paris is stopped and three of the escort
are killed. - Analogous scenes and mobs in the other departments.

[7] "Souvenirs", by PASQUIER (Etienne-Dennis, duc), Librarie Plon,
Paris 1893. I., 260. Under the Directory," one day, in order to
dispatch a special courier, the receipts of the Opera had to be taken
because they were in coin. Another day, it was on the point of sending
every gold piece in the musée of medals to be melted down (worth in
the crucible from 5000 to 6000 francs)."

[8] "Théorie constitutionnelle de Sieyès." (Extract from unpublished
memoirs by Boulay de la Meurthe.) Paris, 1866, Renouard.

[9] "Correspondance de Napoleon 1er," XXX.. 345. ("Mémoires.") -
"Mémorial de Sainte-Hélène

[10] "Extrait des Mémoires" de Boulay de la Meurthe, p.50. (Words of
Bonaparte to Roederer about Sieyès, who raised objections and wanted
to retire.) "If Sieyès goes into the country, draw up for me at once
the plan of a constitution. I will summon the primary assemblies in a
week and make them accept it after discharging the (Constituant)

[11] "Correspondance de Napoléon ler" XXX., 345, 346. ("Mémoires.")
"Circumstances were such as to still make it necessary to disguise the
unique magistracy of the president."

[12] The Revolution," III., 458, 417. - " Mercure britannique," nos.
for November 1798 and January 1799. (Letters from Belgium.) - " More
than 300 millions have been seized by force in these desolated
provinces; there is not a landowner whose fortune has not been ruined,
or sequestrated, or fatally sapped by forced levies and the flood of
taxes which followed these, by robberies of movable property and the
bankruptcy due to France having discredited claims on the emperor and
on the governments, in short through confiscation." - The insurrection
breaks out, as in Vendée, on account of the conscription; the war-cry
of the insurgents is, "Better die here than elsewhere."

[13] De Martel, "Les Historiens fantaisistes," part 2 (on the
Pacification of the West, according to reports of the royalist leaders
and of the republican generals).

[14] Archives nationales, F7, 3218. (Summary of dispatches arranged
according to dates.-Letters of Adjutant-General Vicose, Fructidor 3,
year VII. - Letters of Lamagdelaine, commissioner of the executive
Directory, Thermidor 26 and Fructidor 3, year VII.) - " The rascals
who led the people astray had promised them, in the King's name, that
they should not be called on for further taxes, that the conscripts
and requisitionnaires should not leave, and, finally, that they should
have the priests they wanted." - Near Montréjean "the carnage was
frightful, nearly 2000 men slain or drowned and 1000 prisoners." -
(Letter of M. Alquier to the first consul, Pluviôse 18, year VIII.)
"The insurrection of Thermidor caused the loss of 3000 cultivators. -
(Letters of the department administrators and of the government
commissioners, Nivôse 25 and 27, Pluviôse 13, 15, 25, 27, and 30, year
VIII.) - The insurrection is prolonged through a vast number of
isolated outrages, with sabers or guns, against republican
functionaries and partisans, justices of the peace, mayors, etc. In
the commune of Balbèze, fifty conscripts, armed deserters with their
knapsacks, impose requisitions ,give balls on Sunday, and make
patriots give up their arms. Elsewhere, this or that known patriot is
assaulted in his house by a band of ten or a dozen young folks who
make him pay a ransom, shout "Vive le Roi!" etc. - Cf. "Histoire de I'
insurrection royaliste de l'an VII," by B. Lavigne, 1887.

[15] Archives nationales, F7, 3273 (Letter of the commissioner of the
executive Directory, Vaucluse, Fructidor 6, year VII.): "Eighty armed
royalists have carried off, near the forest of Suze, the cash-box of
the collector, Bouchet, in the name of Louis XVIII. These rascals, it
must be noted, did not take any of the money belonging to the
collector himself." - (Ibid., Thermidor 3, year VII.) "On looking
around among our communes I find all of them under the control of
royalist or town-councillors. That is the spirit of the peasants
generally. . . . Public spirit it so perverted, so opposed to the
constitutional regime, that a miracle only will bring them within the
pale of freedom." - Ibid., F7, 3199. (Similar documents on the
department of Bouches-du-Rhône.) Outrages continue here far down into
the consulate, in spite of the vigor and multitude of military
executions. - (Letter of the sub-prefect of Tarascon, Germinal 15,
year IX.) "In the commune of Eyragues, yesterday, at eight o'clock, a
band of masked brigands surrounded the mayor's house, while some of
them entered it and shot this public functionary without anybody
daring to render him any assistance. .. . Three-quarters of the
inhabitants of Eyragues are royalists."- In series F7, 7152 and those
following may be found an enumeration of political crimes classified
by department and by the month, especially for Messidor, year VII.

[16] Barère, representative of Hautes Pyrénées, had preserved a good
deal of credit in this remote department, especially in the district
of Argeles, with populations which knew nothing about the "Mountain."
In 1805, the electors presented him as a candidate for the legislative
body and the senate; in 1815, they elected him deputy.

[17] "Souvenirs", by PASQUIER (Etienne-Dennis, duc), chancelier de
France. in VI volumes, Librarie Plon, Paris 1893. I., 158. At the
time the concordat was under consideration the aversion to " priest
rule" was very great in the army; there were secret meetings held
against it. Many of the superior officers took part in them, and even
some of the leading generals. Moreau was aware of them although he did
not attend them. In one of these gatherings, things were carried far
enough to resolve upon the assassination of the first consul. A
certain Donnadieu, then of a low rank in the army, offered to strike
the blow. General Oudinot, who was present, informed Davoust, and
Donnadieu, imprisoned in the Temple, made revelations. Measures were
at once taken to scatter the conspirators, who were all sent away more
or less farther off; some were arrested and others exiled, among them
General Mounier, who had commanded one of Desaix's brigades at
Marengo. General Lecourbe was also one of the conspirators.

[18] On the 18th Fructidor Napoléon used grape-shot and artillery to
sweep the royalists off the streets of Paris. (SR.)

[19] "Extrait des Mémoires de Boulay de la Meurthe," p.10.

[20] Napoleon's words. ("Correspondance," XXX., 343, memoirs dictated
at Saint Helena.)

[21] Lafayette, " Mémoires,"II., 192.

[22] Pelet de la Lozère, " Opinions de Napoléon au conseil d'état," p.
63 "The senate is mistaken if it thinks it possesses a national and
representative chamber. It is merely a constituted authority emanating
from the government like the others." - Ibid., P.147: " It must not be
in the power of a legislative body to impede government by refusing
taxes; once the taxes are established they should be levied by simple
decrees. The court of cassation regards my decrees as laws; otherwise,
there would be no government." (January 9, 1808.) - Ibid., p. 147: "
If I ever had any fear of the senate I had only to put fifty young
state-councillors into it." (December 1, 1803.) - Ibid., p.150: "If
an opposition should spring up in the legislative corps I would fall
back on the senate to prorogue, change it, or break it up." (March 29,
1806.) - Ibid., p.151: "Sixty legislators go out every year which one
does not know what to do with; those who do not get places go and
grumble in the departments. I should like to have old land-owners
married, in a certain sense, to the state through their family or
profession, attached by some tie to the commonwealth. Such men would
come to Paris annually, converse with the emperor in his own circle,
and be contented with this little bit of vanity relieving the monotony
of their existence." (Same date.) - Cf. Thibaudeau, "Mémoires sur le
Consulat," ch. XIII., and M. de Metternich, "Mémoires," I., 120 (Words
of Napoleon at Dresden, in the spring of 1812): "I shall give the
senate and the council of state a new organization. The former will
take the place of the upper chamber, the latter that of the chamber of
deputies. I shall continue to appoint the senators; I shall have the
state councillors elected one-third at a time on triple lists ; the
rest I will appoint. Here will the budget be prepared and the laws
elaborated." - We see the corps législatif, docile as it is, still
worrying him, and very justly; he foresaw the session of 1813.



Principal service rendered by the public power. - It is an
instrumentality. - A common law for every instrumentality. -
Mechanical instruments. - Physiological instruments. - Social
instruments. - The perfection of an instrument increases with the
convergence of its effects.

What is the service which the public power renders to the public? -
The principal one is the protection of the community against the
foreigner, and of private individuals against each other. - Evidently,
to do this, it must in all cases be provided with indispensable means,
namely: diplomats, an army, a fleet, arsenals, civil and criminal
courts, prisons, a police, taxation and tax-collectors, a hierarchy of
agents and local supervisors, who, each in his place and attending to
his special duty, will co-operate in securing the desired effect. -
Evidently, again, to apply all these instruments, the public power
must have, according to the case, this or that form or constitution,
this or that degree of impulse and energy: according to the nature and
gravity of external or internal danger, it is proper that it should be
concentrated or divided, emancipated from control or under control,
authoritative or liberal. No indignation need be cherished beforehand
against its mechanism. Strictly speaking, it is a vast piece appliance
in the human community, such as a machine in a factory or such as
organ in the human body. If this organ is the only on that can carry
out the task, let us accept it and its structure: whoever wants the
end wants the means. All we can ask is that the means shall be adapted
to the end; in other terms, that the myriad of large or small local or
central pieces shall be determined, adjusted, and coordinated in view
of the final and total effect to which they co-operate nearly or

But, whether simple or compound, every engine which does any work is
subject to one condition; the better it is suited to any distinct
purpose the less it is suited to other purposes; as its perfection
increases, so does its application become limited. - Accordingly, if
there are two distinct instruments applied to two distinct objects,
the more perfect they are, each of its kind, the more do their domains
become circumscribed and opposed to each other; as one of them becomes
more capable of doing its own work it becomes more incapable of doing
the work of the other; finally, neither can take the place of the
other, and this is true whatever the instrument may be, mechanical,
physiological, or social.

At the very lowest grade of human industry the savage possesses but
one tool; with his cutting or pointed bit of stone he kills, breaks,
splits, bores, saws, and carves; the instrument suffices, in the main,
for all sorts of services. After this come the lance, the hatchet, the
hammer, the punch, the saw, the knife, each adapted to a distinct
purpose and less efficacious outside of that purpose: one cannot saw
well with a knife, and one cuts badly with a saw. Later, highly-
perfected engines appear, and, wholly special, the sewing-machine and
the typewriter: it is impossible to sew with the typewriter or write
with the sewing-machine. - In like manner, when at the lowest round of
the organic ladder the animal is simply a shapeless jelly, homogeneous
and viscous, all parts of it are equally suited to all functions; the
amoebae, indifferently and by all the cells of its body, can walk,
seize, swallow, digest, breathe, and circulate all its fluids, expel
its waste, and propagate its species. A little higher up, in fresh-
water polyp, the internal sac which digests and the outer skin which
serves to envelop it can, if absolutely necessary, change their
functions; if you turn the animal inside out like a glove it continues
to live; its skin, become internal, fulfills the office of a stomach;
its stomach, become external, fulfills the office of an envelope. But,
the higher we ascend, the more do the organs, complicated by the
division and subdivision of labor, diverge, each to its own side, and
refuse to take each other's place. The heart, with the mammal, is only
good for impelling the blood, while the lungs only furnish the blood
with oxygen; one cannot possibly do the work of the other; between the
two domains the special structure of the former and the special
structure of the latter interpose an impassable barrier. - In like
manner, finally, at the very bottom of the social scale - lower down
than the Andamans and the Fuegians - we find a primitive stage of
humanity in which society consists wholly of a herd. In this herd
there is no distinct association in view of a distinct purpose; there
is not even a family - no permanent tie between male and female; there
is simply a contact of the sexes. Gradually, in this herd of
individuals, all equal and all alike, particular groups define
themselves, take shape, and separate: we see appearing more and more
precise relationships, more and more distinct habitations, more and
more hereditary homesteads, fishing, hunting, and war groups, and
small workshops; if the people is a conquering people, castes
establish themselves. At length, we find in this expanded and solidly-
organized social body provinces, communes, churches, hospitals,
schools, corporate bodies and associations of every species and
dimension, temporary or permanent, voluntary or involuntary, in brief,
a multitude of social engines constructed out of human beings who, on
account of personal interest, habit, and constraint, or through
inclination, conscience, and generosity, co-operate according to a
public or tacit statute in effecting in the material or spiritual
order of things this or that determinate undertaking. In France, to-
day, there are, besides the State, eighty-six departments, thirty-six
thousand communes, four church bodies, forty thousand parishes, seven
or eight millions of families, millions of agricultural, industrial,
and commercial establishments, hundreds of institutions of science and
art, thousands of educational and charitable institutions, benevolent
and mutual-aid societies, and others for business or for pleasure by
tens and hundreds and thousands, in short, innumerable associations of
every kind, each with a purpose of its own, and, like a tool or a
special organ, carrying out a distinct work.

Now, each of these associations so far as it is a tool or an organ is
subject to the same law; the better it is in one direction, the more
mediocre it is in other directions; its special competency constitutes
its general incompetence. This is why, among developed nations, no
specialized organization can replace another in a satisfactory manner.
"An academy of painting which should also be a bank would, in all
probability, exhibit very bad pictures and discount very bad bills. A
gas company which should also be a kindergarten would, we expect,
light the streets poorly and teach the children badly." [1] And the
reason is that an instrument, whatever it may be, a mechanical tool,
or physiological organ, or human association, is always a system of
pieces whose effects converge to a given end; it matters little
whether the pieces are bits of wood and metal, as in the tool, cells
and fibers, as in the organ, souls and understandings, as in the
association; the essential thing is the convergence of their effects;
for the more convergent these effects, the more efficient is the
instrument in the realization of its end. But, through this
convergence, it takes one direction exclusively and cannot take any
other; it cannot operate at once in two different senses; it cannot
possibly turn to the right and at the same time turn to the left. If
any social instrument devised for a special service is made to act
additionally for another, it will perform its own office badly as well
the one it usurps. Of the two works executed by it, the first injures
the second and the second injures the first one. The end, ordinarily,
is the sacrifice of one to the other, and, most frequently, the
failure of both.

II. Abusive Government Intervention.

Application of this law to the public power. - General effect of its

Let us follow out the effects of this law when it is the public power
which, beyond its principal and peculiar task, undertakes a different
task and puts itself in the place of corporate bodies to do their
work; when the State, not content with protecting the community and
individuals against external or internal oppression, takes upon itself
additionally the government of churches, education, or charity, the
direction of art, science, and of commercial, agricultural, municipal,
or domestic affairs. - Undoubtedly, it can intervene in all corporate
bodies other than itself; it has both the right and the duty to
interfere; it is bound to do this through its very office as defender
of persons and property, to repress in these bodies spoliation and
oppression, to compel in them the observance of the primordial
statute, charter, or contract, to maintain in the them rights of each
member fixed by this statute, to decide according to this statute all
conflicts which may arise between administrators and the
administrated, between directors and stockholders, between pastors and
parishioners, between deceased founders and their living successors.
In doing this, it affords them its tribunals, its constables, and its
gendarmes, and it affords these to them only with full consent after
having looking into and accepted the statute. This, too, is one of the
obligations of its office: its mandate hinders it from placing the
public power at the service of despoiling and oppressive enterprises;
it is interdicted from authorizing a contract for prostitution or
slavery, and above all, for the best of reasons, a society for
brigandage and insurrections, an armed league, or ready to arm itself,
against the community, or a part of the community, or against itself.
- But, between this legitimate intervention which enables it to
maintain rights, and the abusive interference by which it usurps
rights, the limit is visible and it oversteps this limit when, to its
function of justiciary, it adds a second, that of governing or
supporting another corporation. In this case two series of abuses
unfold themselves; on the one side, the State acts contrary to its
primary office, and, on the other, it discharges the duties of its
superadded office badly.[2]

III. The State attacks persons and property.

It acts against its function. Its encroachments are attacks on persons
and property.

For, in the first place, to govern another corporate body, for example
the Church, the State at one time appoints its ecclesiastical heads,
as under the old monarchy after the abolition of the Pragmatic
Sanction by the Concordat of 1516; at another, as with the Constituent
Assembly in 1791, without appointing its heads, it invents a new mode
of appointment by imposing on the Church a discipline contrary to its
spirit and even to its dogmas. Sometimes it goes further still and
reduces a special body into a mere administrative branch, transforming
its heads into revocable functionaries whose acts it orders and
directs; such under the Empire as well as under the Restoration, were
the mayor and common-councilors in a commune, and the professors and
head-masters of the University. One step more and the invasion is
complete: naturally, either through ambition or precaution, or through
theory or prejudice, on undertaking a new service it is tempted to
reserve to itself or delegate its monopoly. Before 1789 there existed
one of these monopolies to the advantage of the Catholic Church,
through the interdiction of other cults, also another to the advantage
of each corporation of "Arts et Métiers," through the interdiction of
free labor; after 1800, there existed one for the benefit of the
University through all sorts of shackles and constraints imposed on
the establishment and maintenance of private schools. - Now, through
each of these constraints the State encroaches on the domain of the
individual; the more extended its encroachments the more does it prey
upon and reduce the circle of spontaneous initiation and of
independent action, which constitute the true life of the individual;
if, in conformity with the Jacobin program, it pushes its interference
to the end, it absorbs in itself all other lives;[3] henceforth, the
community consists only of automata maneuvered from above, infinitely
small residues of men, passive, mutilated, and, so to say, dead souls;
the State, instituted to preserve persons, has reduced them to

The effect is the same with property when the State supports other
organizations than its own. For, to maintain these, it has no other
funds than those of the taxpayers; consequently, using its collectors,
it takes the money out of their pockets; all, indiscriminately,
willingly or not, pay supplementary taxes for supplementary services,
whether this service benefits them or is repugnant to them. If I am a
Protestant in a Catholic State, or a Catholic in a Protestant State, I
pay for religion which seems wrong to me and for a Church which seems
to me mischievous. If I am a skeptic, a free-thinker, indifferent or
hostile to positive religions in France, I pay to-day for the support
of four cults which I regard as useless or pernicious. If I am a
provincial or a peasant, I pay for maintaining an "Opéra" which I
never attend and for a "Sèvres" and "Gobelins" of which I never see a
vase or a piece of tapestry. - In times of tranquility the extortion
is covered up, but in troubled times it is nakedly apparent. Under the
revolutionary government, bands of collectors armed with pikes made
raids on villages as in conquered countries;[4] the farmer, collared
and kept down by blows from the butt end of a musket, sees his grain
taken from his barn and his cattle from their stable; "all scampered
off on the road to the town;" while around Paris, within a radius of
forty leagues, the departments fasted in order that the capital might
be fed. With gentler formalities, under a regular government, a
similar extortion occurs when the State, employing a respectable
collector in uniform, takes from our purse a crown too much for an
office outside of its competency. If, as with the Jacobin State, it
claims all offices, it empties the purse entirely; instituted for the
conservation of property, it confiscates the whole of it. - Thus, with
property, as with persons, when the state proposes to itself another
purpose than the preservation of these, not only does it overstep its
mandate but it acts contrary to its mandate.

IV. Abuse of State powers.

It badly fills the office of the bodies it supplant. - Cases in which
it usurps their powers and refuses to be their substitute. - Cases in
which it violates or profits by their mechanism. - In all cases it is
bad or mediocre substitute. - Reasons derived from its structure
compared with that of other bodies.

Let us consider the other series of abuses, and the way in which the
State performs the service of the corporate bodies it supplants.

In the first place there is a chance that, sooner or later, it will
shirk this work, for this new service is more or less costly, and,
sooner or later, it seems too costly. - Undoubtedly the State has
promised to defray expenses; sometimes even, like the Constituent and
Legislative assemblies, the revenues for this having been confiscated,
it has to furnish an equivalent; it is bound by contract to make good
the local or special sources of revenue which it has appropriated or
dried up, to furnish in exchange a supply of water from the grand
central reservoir, the public treasury. - But if water becomes low in
this reservoir, if the taxes in arrears stop the regular supply, if a
war happens to open a large breach in it, if the prodigality and
incapacity of the rulers, multiply its fissures and leaks, then there
is no money on hand for accessory and secondary services. The State,
which has adopted this service drops it: we have seen under the
Convention and the Directory how, having taken the property of all
corporations, provinces, and communes, of institutions of education,
art, and science, of churches, hospitals, and asylums, it performed
their functions; how, after having been a despoiler and a robber, it
became insolvent and bankrupt; how its usurpation and bankruptcy
ruined and then destroyed all other services; how, through the double
effect of its intervention and desertion, it annihilated in France
education, worship, and charity; why the streets in the towns were no
longer lighted nor swept; why, in the provinces, roads went to decay,
and dikes crumbled; why schools and churches stood empty or were
closed ; why, in the asylum and in the hospital, foundlings died for
lack of milk, the infirm for lack of clothing and food, and the sick
for lack of broth, medicines, and beds.[5]

In the second place, even when the State respects a service or
provides the means for it, there is a chance that it will pervert this
simply because it comes under its direction. - When rulers lay their
hands on an institution it is almost always for the purpose of making
something out of it for their own advantage and to its detriment: they
render everything subordinate to their interests or theories, they put
some essential piece or wheel out of shape or place; they derange its
action and put the mechanism out of order; they make use of it as a
fiscal, electoral, or doctrinal engine, as a reigning or sectarian
instrument. - Such, in the eighteenth century, was the ecclesiastical
staff with which we are familiar,[6] court bishops, drawing-room abbés
imposed from above on their diocese or their abbey, non-residents,
charged with functions which they do not fulfill, largely-paid idlers,
parasites of the Church, and, besides all this, worldly, gallant,
often unbelievers, strange leaders of a Christian clergy and which,
one would say, were expressly selected to undermine Catholic faith in
the minds of their flocks, or monastic discipline in their convents. -
Such, in 1791,[7] is the new constitutional clergy, schismatic,
excommunicated, interlopers, imposed on the orthodox majority to say
masses which they deem sacrilegious and to administer sacraments which
they refuse to accept.

In the last place, even when the rulers do not subordinate the
interests of the institution to their passions, to their theories, or
to their own interests, even when they avoid mutilating it and
changing its nature, even when they loyally fulfill, as well as they
know how, the supererogatory (distributive) mandate which they have
adjudged to themselves, they infallibly fulfill it badly, at least
worse than the special and spontaneous bodies for which they
substitute themselves, for the structure of these bodies and the
structure of the state are different. - Unique of its kind, alone
wielding the sword, acting from above and afar by authority and
constraints, the State acts over the entire territory through uniform
laws, through imperative and minute regulations, by a hierarchy of
obedient functionaries, which it maintains under strict instructions.
Hence, it is not adapted to business which, to be well done, needs
springs and processes of another species. Its springs, wholly
exterior, are insufficient, too weak to support and push undertakings
which require an internal motor like private interest, local
patriotism, family affections, scientific curiosity, charitable
instincts, and religious faith. Its wholly mechanical processes, too
rigid and too limited, cannot urge on enterprises which demand of
whoever undertakes them delicate and safe handling, supple
manipulation, appreciation of circumstances, ready adaptation of means
to ends, constant contrivance, the initiative, and perfect
independence. On this account the State is a poor head of a family, a
poor commercial or agricultural leader, a bad distributor of labor and
of subsistence, a bad regulator of production, exchanges, and
consumption, a mediocre administrator of the province and the commune,
an undiscerning philanthropist, an incompetent director of the fine
arts, of science, of instruction, and of worship.[8] In all these
offices its action is either dilatory or bungling, according to
routine or oppressive, always expensive, of little effect and feeble
in returns, and always beyond or apart from the real wants it pretends
to satisfy. The reason is that it starts from too high a point
therefore extending over too vast a field. Transmitted by hierarchical
procedures, it lags along in formalism, and loses itself in "red-
tape." On attaining its end and object it applies the same program to
all territories alike a program devised beforehand in the Cabinet, all
of a piece, without experimental groping and the necessary

* a program which, calculated approximately according to the average
and the customary, is not exactly suited to any particular case;
* a program which imposes its fixed uniformity on things instead of
adjusting itself to its diversity and change;
* a sort of model coat, obligatory in pattern and stuff, which the
government dispatches by thousands from the center to the provinces,
to be worn, willingly or not, by figures of all sizes and at all

V. Final Results of Abusive Government Intervention

Other consequences. - Suppressed or stunted bodies cease to grow. -
Individuals become socially and politically incapable. - The hands
into which public power then falls. - Impoverishment and degradation
of the social body.

And much worse. Not only does the State do the work badly on a domain
not its own, roughly, at greater cost, and with smaller yield than
spontaneous organizations, but, again, through the legal monopoly
which it deems its prerogative, or through its unfair competition, it
kills and paralyzes these natural organizations or prevents their
birth; and hence so many precious organs, which, absorbed, curbed or
abandoned, are lost to the great social body. - And still worse, if
this system lasts, and continues to crush them out, the human
community loses the faculty of reproducing them; entirely extirpated,
they do not grow again; even their germ has perished. Individuals no
longer know how to form associations, how to co-operate under their
own impulses, through their own initiative, free of outside and
superior constraint, all together and for a long time in view of a
definite purpose, according to regular forms under freely-chosen
chiefs, frankly accepted and faithfully followed. Mutual confidence,
respect for the law, loyalty, voluntary subordination, foresight,
moderation, patience, perseverance, practical good sense, every
disposition of head and heart, with which no association of any kind
is efficacious or even viable, have died out for lack of exercise.
Henceforth spontaneous, pacific, and fruitful co-operation, as
practiced by a free people, is unattainable; men have arrived at
social incapacity and, consequently, at political incapacity. - In
fact they no longer choose their own constitution or their own rulers;
they put with these, willingly or not, according as accident or
usurpation furnishes them: now the public power belongs to the man,
the faction, or the party sufficiently unscrupulous, sufficiently
daring, sufficiently violent, to seize and hold on to it by force, to
make the most of it as an egotist or charlatan, aided by parades and
prestige, along with bravura songs and the usual din of ready-made
phrases on the rights of Man and the public salvation. - This central
power itself has in its hands no body who might give it an impetus and
inspiration, it rules only over an impoverished, inert, or languid
social body, solely capable of intermittent spasms or of artificial
rigidity according to order, an organism deprived of its secondary
organs, simplified to excess, of an inferior or degraded kind, a
people no longer anything but an arithmetical sum of separate,
unconnected units, in brief, human dust or mud. - This is what the
interference of the State leads to.

There are laws in the social and moral world as in the physiological
and physical world; we may misunderstand them, but we cannot elude
them; they operate now against us, now for us, as we please, but
always alike and without heeding us; it is for us to heed them; for
the two conditions they couple together are inseparable; the moment
the first appears the second inevitably follows.



[1] Macaulay, "Essays: Gladstone on Church and State." - This
principle, of capital importance and of remarkable fecundity, may be
called the principle of specialties. Adam Smith fist applied it to
machines and to workmen. Macaulay extended it to human associations.
Milne-Edwards applied it to the entire series of animal organs.
Herbert Spencer largely develops it in connection with physiological
organs and human societies in his "Principles of Biology" and
"Principles of Sociology." I have attempted here to show the three
parallel branches of its consequences, and, again, their common root,
a constitutive and primordial property inherent in every

[2] Cf. "The Revolution," III., book VI., ch. 2 The encroachments of
the State and their effect on individuals is there treated. Here, the
question is their effects on corporations. Read, on the same subject,
"Gladstone on Church and State," by Macaulay, and "The Man versus the
State," by Herbert Spencer, two essays in which the close reasoning
and abundance of illustrations are admirable.

[3] "The Revolution," III, 346. (Laffont II. p 258.)

[4] Ibid., III. 284 Laff. 213.

[5] "The Revolution," III., 353, 416. (Laffont II. notes pp 262 and
305 to 308.)

[6] "The Ancient Régime," 64, 65, 76, 77, 120, 121, 292. (Laffont I.
pp. 52-53, 60-61, 92 to 94, 218 to 219.)

[7] "The Revolution," I., 177 and following pages. (Laffont I, pp. 438
to 445.)

[8] The essays of Herbert Spencer furnish examples for England under
the title of "Over-legislation and Representative government."
Examples for France may be found in "Liberté du Travail," by Charles
Dunoyer (1845). This work anticipates most of the ideas of Herbert
Spencer, lacking only the physiological "illustrations."

CHAPTER III. The New Government Organization.

Precedents of the new organization. - In practical operation. -
Anterior usurpations of the public power. - Spontaneous bodies under
the Ancient Regime and during the Revolution. - Ruin and discredit of
their supports. - The central power their sole surviving dependence. -

Unfortunately, in France at the end of the eighteenth century the bent
was taken and the wrong bent. For three centuries and more the public
power had increasingly violated and discredited spontaneous bodies:

Sometimes it had mutilated them and decapitated them; for example, it
had suppressed provincial governments (états) over three-quarters of
the territory, in all the electoral districts; nothing remained of the
old province but its name and an administrative circumscription.

Sometimes, without mutilating the corporate body it had upset and
deformed it, or dislocated and disjointed it. - So that in the towns,
through changes made in old democratic constitutions, through
restrictions put upon electoral rights and repeated sales of municipal
offices,[1] it had handed over municipal authority to a narrow
oligarchy of bourgeois families, privileged at the expense of the
taxpayer, half separated from the main body of the public, disliked by
the lower classes, and no longer supported by the confidence or
deference of the community. And in the parish and in the rural canton,
it had taken away from the noble his office of resident protector and
hereditary patron, reducing him to the odious position of a mere
creditor, and, if he were a man of the court, to the yet worse
position of an absentee creditor.[2] - So that in the parish and in
the rural canton, it had taken away from the noble his office of
resident protector and hereditary patron, reducing him to the odious
position of a mere creditor, and, if he were a man of the court, to
the yet worse position of an absentee creditor.[3] Thus, as to the
clergy, it had almost separated the head from the trunk by superposing
(through the concordat) a staff of gentleman prelates, rich,
ostentatious, unemployed, and skeptical, upon an army of plain, poor,
laborious, and believing curates.[4]

Finally, it had, through a protection as untimely as it was
aggressive, sometimes conferred on the corporation oppressive
privileges which rendered it offensive and mischievous, or else
fossilized in an obsolete form which paralyzed its action or corrupted
its service. Such was the case with the corporations of crafts and
industries to which, in consideration of financial aid, it had
conceded monopolies onerous to the consumer and a clog on industrial
enterprises. Such was the case with the Catholic Church to which,
every five years, it granted, in exchange for its voluntary gift (of
money), cruel favors or obnoxious prerogatives, the prolonged
persecution of Protestants, the censorship of intellectual
speculation, and the right of controlling schools and education.[5]
Such was the case with the universities benumbed by routine; with
latest provincial "Ètats," constituted in 1789, as in 1489. Such was
the case with noble families subjected by law to the antique system of
substitutions and of primogeniture, that is to say, to social
constraint which, devised long ago for private as well as for public
interest in order to secure the transmission of local patronage and
political power. This system, however, became useless and corrupting,
fecund in pernicious vanities,[6] in detestable calculations, domestic
tyrannies, forced vocations, and private bickering, from the time when
the nobles, become frequenters of the court, had lost political power
and renounced local patronage.

Thus deprived of, or diverted from, their purpose, the corporate
bodies had become unrecognizable under the crust of the abuses which
disfigured them. Nobody, except a Montesquieu, could comprehend why
they should exist; on the approach of the Revolution, they seemed, not
organs, but outgrowths, deformities, and, so to say, superannuated
monstrosities. Their historical and natural roots, their living germs
far below the surface, their social necessity, their fundamental
utility, their possible usefulness, were no longer visible. Only their
present inconvenience was felt; people suffered by their friction and
burden; their lack of harmony and incoherence created dissatisfaction;
annoyance due to their degeneracy were attributed to radical defects;
they were judged to be naturally unsound and were condemned, in
principle, because of the deviations and laws which the public power
had imposed on their development.

Suddenly, the public power, which had produced the evil by its
intervention, pretended to remove it by a still greater intervention:
in 1789 it again intruded itself on corporate bodies, not to reform
them, not restore each to its proper channel, not to confine each with
proper limits, but to destroy them outright. Through a radical,
universal, and extraordinary amputation, the like of which is not
mentioned in history, with the rashness of the theorist and the
brutality of the butcher, the legislator extirpated them all, as far
as he could, even including the family, while his fury extended beyond
the present into the future. To legal abolition and total
confiscation, he added the systematic hostility of his preventive
laws, together with a fresh obstacle in the shape of his new
constructions; during three successive legislatures[7] he provided
against their future regeneration, against the permanent instincts and
necessities which might one day resuscitate stable families, distinct
provinces, and an orthodox church, against artistic, industrial,
financial, charitable, and educational corporations, against every
spontaneous and organized group, and against every collective, local,
or special enterprise. In place of these he installed synthetic bodies
or institutions:

* a Church without believers,
* schools without pupils,
* hospitals without incomes,
* a geometrical hierarchy of improvised powers in the commune,
district, and department,

all badly organized, badly adjusted, out of gear at the start,
overwhelmed with political functions, as incapable of performing their
proper duties as their supplementary duties, and, from the very
beginning, either powerless or mischievous.[8] Changes repeatedly
marred by arbitrariness from above or from below, set aside or
perverted now by the mob and again by the government, inert in the
country, oppressive in the towns, we have seen the state into which
they had fallen at the end of the Directory; how, instead of a refuge
for liberty, they had become haunts of tyranny or sinks of egoism;
why, in 1800, they were as much decried as their predecessors in 1788,
why their two successive props, the old one and the most recent,
historic custom and popular election, were now discredited and no
longer resorted to. - After the disastrous experience of the monarchy
and the still worse experience of the republic, another prop had to be
sought for; but only one remained, that of the central power, the only
one visible and which seemed substantial; in default of others they
had recourse to this.[9] In any event, no protestation, even secret
and moral, any longer prevented the State from attaching other
corporate bodies to itself, in order to use them for its own purposes
as instruments or appendages.

II. Doctrines of Government.

The theory. - Agreement of speculative ideas with practical
necessities. - Public rights under the Ancient Regime. - The King's
three original rights. - Labors of the jurists in extending royal
prerogatives. - Historical impediments. - The primitive or ulterior
limits of royal power. - The philosophic and revolutionary principle
of popular sovereignty. - Unlimited extension of State power. -
Application to spontaneous bodies. - Convergence of ancient and new
doctrines. - Corporations considered as creations of the public power.
- Centralization through the universal intervention of the State.

The theory here agreed with the need, and not alone the recent theory,
but again the ancient theory. Long before 1789, public right had
elevated the prerogative of centralized power into a dogma and
exaggerated it beyond measure.

There are three titles under which this power was conferred. - Feudal
seignior, and suzerain, that is to say, commander-in-chief of the
great resident army whose willing forces had served to reconstruct
society in the ninth century, the King, through the remotest of his
origins - that is to say, through the immemorial confusion of
sovereignty with property - was the owner of France, the same as an
individual owns his private domain.[10] - Married, moreover, to the
Church since the first Capets, consecrated and crowned at Rheims,
anointed by God like a second David,[11] not only was he believed to
be authorized from on high, like other monarchs, but, from Louis le
Gros, and especially after the time of saint Louis, he appeared as the
delegate from on high, invested with a laic sacerdotalism, clothed
with moral power, minister of eternal justice, redresser of wrongs,
protector of the weak, benefactor of the humble - in short, "His Most
Christian Majesty." - At length, after the thirteenth century, the
recent discovery and diligent study of the ancient codes of Justinian
had shown in his person the successor of the Caesars of Rome and of
the Emperors of Constantinople. According to these codes the people in
a body had transferred its rights to the prince; now, in antique
cities, all rights were vested in the community, and the individual
had none;[12] accordingly, through this transfer, all rights, public
or private, passed into the hands of the prince; henceforth he could
exercise them as he pleased, under no restriction and no control. He
was above the law, since he made it; his powers were illimitable and
his decision absolute.[13]

On this triple frame the jurists, like State spiders, had, from
Philippe le Bel down, spun their web, and the instinctive concordance
of their hereditary efforts had attached all its threads to the
omnipotence of the King. - Being jurisconsults - that is to say,
logicians - they were obliged to deduce, and their minds naturally
recurred to the unique and rigid principle to which they might attach
their arguments. - As advocates and councilors of the crown they
espoused the case of their client and, through professional zeal,
derived or forced precedents and texts to his advantage. - By virtue
of being administrators and judges the grandeur of their master
constituted their grandeur, and personal interest counseled them to
expand a prerogative in which, through delegation, they took part. -
Hence, during four centuries, they had spun the tissue of "regalian
rights," the great net in the meshes of which, since Louis XIV., all
lives found themselves caught.[14]

Nevertheless, however tightly spun was the web, there were openings in
it, or, at least, very weak spots. - And first, of the consequences
flowing from these three principles in their hands, two of them had
hindered the third from unwinding its skein to the end: owing to the
fact that the King was formerly Count de Paris and Abbot of St. Denis,
he could not become a veritable Augustus, an authentic Diocletian: his
two French titles limited his Roman title. Without regard to the laws,
so-called fundamental, which imposed his heir on him beforehand, also
the entire line of his successive heirs, the tutor, male or female, of
his minor heir, and which, if he derogated from immemorial usage,
annulled his will like that of a private individual, his quality of
suzerain and that of Most Christian, were for him a double impediment.
As hereditary general of the feudal army he was bound to consider and
respect the hereditary officers of the same army, his old peers and
companions in arms - that is to say, the nobles. As outside bishop, he
owed to the Church not alone his spiritual orthodoxy, but, again, his
temporal esteem, his active zeal, and the aid furnished him by his
secular arm. Hence, in applied right, the numerous privileges of the
nobles and the Church, so many immunities and even liberties, so many
remains of antique local independence, and even of antique local
sovereignty,[15] so many prerogatives, honorific or serviceable,
maintained by the law and by the tribunals. On this side, the meshes
of the monarchical netting had not been well knit or remained loose;
and the same elsewhere, with openings more or less wide, in the five
provincial governments (états), in the Pyrenees districts, in Alsace,
at Strasbourg, but especially in Languedoc and in Brittany, where the
pact of incorporation, through a sort of bilateral contract,
associated together on the same parchment and under the same seal the
franchises of the province and the sovereignty of the King.

Add to these original lacunae the hole made by the Prince himself in
his net already woven: he had with his own hand torn away its meshes,
and by thousands. Extravagant to excess and always needy, he converted
everything into money, even his own rights, and, in the military
order, in the civil order, in commerce and in industry, in the
administration, in the judicature, and in the finances. From one end
of the territory to the other, he had sold innumerable offices,
imposts, dignities, honors, monopolies, exemptions, survivorships,
expectancies - in brief, privileges which, once conferred for a money
consideration, became legal property,[16] often hereditary and
transmissible by the individual or the corporation which had paid for
them. In this way the King alienated a portion of his royalty for the
benefit of the buyer. Now, in 1789, he had alienated a great many of
these portions; accordingly, his present authority was everywhere
restricted by the use he had previously made of it. - Sovereignty,
thus, in his hands had suffered from the double effect of its historic
origins and its historic exercise; the public power had not become, or
had ceased to be, omnipotence. On the one hand it had not reached its
plenitude, and on the other hand it had deprived itself of a portion
of its own completeness.

The philosophers wished to find a solution for this double weakness,
innate and acquired They had therefore transported sovereignty out of
history into the ideal and abstract world, with an imaginary city of
mankind reduced to the minimum of a human being Here men, infinitely
simplified, all alike, equal, separate from their surroundings and
from their past, veritable puppets, were all lifting their hands in
common rectangular motion to vote unanimously for the contrat social.
In this contract "all classes are reduced to one,[17] the complete
surrender of each associate, with all his rights, to the community,
each giving himself up entirely, just as he actually is, himself and
all his forces, of which whatever he possesses forms a part," each
becoming with respect to himself and every act of his private life a
delegate of the State, a responsible clerk, in short, a functionary, a
functionary of the people, henceforth the unique, the absolute, and
the universal sovereign. A terrible principle, proclaimed and applied
for ten years, below by the mob and above by the government! Popular
opinion had adopted it; accordingly the passage from the sovereignty
of the King to the sovereignty of the people was easy, smooth,[18] and
to the novice in reasoning, the old-fashioned taxable and workable
subject, to whom the principle conferred a portion of the sovereignty,
the temptation was too great.

At once, according to their custom, the jurists put themselves at the
service of the new reign. And no dogma was better suited their to
authoritative instinct; no axiom furnished them so convenient a
fulcrum on which to set up and turn their logical wheel. This wheel,
which they had latterly managed with care and caution under the
ancient Régime, had suddenly in their hands turned with frightful
speed and effect in order to convert the rigid, universal, and applied
laws, the intermittent processes, the theoretical pretensions, and the
worst precedents of the monarchy into practice. This meant

* the use of extraordinary commissions,
* accusations of lésé majesté,
* the suppression of legal formalities,
* the persecution of religious beliefs and of personal opinions,
* the right of condemning publications and of coercing thought,
* the right of instruction and education,
* the rights of pre-emption, of requisition, of confiscation, and of

in short, pure and perfect arbitrariness. The result is visible in the
deeds of Treilhard, of Berlier, of Merlin de Douai, of Cambacérès, in
those of the Constituant and Legislative Assemblies, in the
Convention, under the Directory, in their Jacobin zeal or hypocrisy,
in their talent for combining despotic tradition with tyrannical
innovation, in their professional skill in fabricating on all
occasions a snare of plausible arguments with which to properly
strangle the individual, their adversary, to the profit of the State,
their eternal master.

In effect, not only had they almost strangled their adversary, but
likewise, through an aftereffect, their master: France which, after
fourteen months of suffocation, was approaching physical suicide.[19]
Such success, too great, had obliged them to stop; they had abandoned
one-half of their destructive creed, retaining only the other half,
the effect of which, less imminent, was less apparent. If they no
longer dared paralyze individual acts in the man, they persisted in
paralyzing in the individual all collective acts. - There must be no
special associations in general society; no corporations within the
State, especially no spontaneous bodies endowed with the initiative,
proprietary and permanent: such is Article II. of the Revolutionary
Creed, and the direct consequence of the previous one which posits
axiomatically the sovereignty of the people and the omnipotence of the
State. Rousseau,[20] inventor of the first, had like-wise enunciated
the second; the constituent assembly had solemnly decreed it and
applied it on a grand scale,[21] and successive assemblies had applied
it on a still grander scale;[22] it was a faith with the Jacobins,
and, besides, in conformity with the spirit of Roman imperial right
and with the leading maxim of French monarchical right. On this point
the three known jurisprudential systems were in accord, while their
convergence brought together around the same table the jurists of the
three doctrines in a common task, ex-parliamentarians and ex-members
of the Committee of Public Safety, former pro-scribers and the
proscribed, the purveyors of Sinamari with Treilhard and Merlin de
Douai, returned from Guiana, alongside of Simeon, Portalis, and Barbé-
Marbois. There was nobody in this conclave to maintain the rights of
spontaneous bodies; the theory, on all three sides, no matter from
whom it proceeded, refused to recognize them for what they are
originally and essentially, that is to say, distinct organisms equally

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