the greater number only in the choice of these ministers or representatives. On the contrary, the author of the Esprit des Lois, in spite of his anti-democratic tendences, proclaims the logical necessity of the People doing for itself all that it can well do; and even his 'council or senate' is provided for in the formula of Lédru-Rollin. But Montesquicu is even more precise than this, for he says It is a fundamental law of Democracy that the People alone should make the Lars.' In his quotations from Rousseau M. Blanc is equally unfortunate. The Genevese philosopher asks 'if the blind multitude could itself execute an enterprize so great, and so difficult, as a system of legislation,' and he concludes with the necessity of a legislator. And yet this does not go beyond the opinion of those who would have an Assembly of delegates to prepare the Constitution and the Laws, but requiring also that neither Constitution nor Laws should have force until ratified by the People.

'Even the

Let Rousseau himself define what he means by a legislator. decemvirs never arrogated to themselves the right of passing a law on their own authority. Nothing of what we propose, said they to the People, can become law without your consent. Romans! be yourselves the authors of the laws which ought to make you happy. He, then, who draws up the laws has not, or ought not to have, any legislative right; and even the People can not, if it would, divest itself of this incommunicable right, because, according to the fundamental pact, it is only the general will which obliges individuals and we can never be sure that an individual will is in conformity with the general will till after having submitted it to the free suffrages of the People.'

M. Blanc refers also to Robespierre as proscribing in the most formal manner the permanent sovereignty of the primary assemblies. M. Blanc however depends upon exceptional cases, which by no means prove his position. When, at the trial of Louis XVI, the Girondins proposed an appeal to the People, Robespierre opposed that appeal. He knew perfectly well that to reserve the judgment of the tyrant for the People, would be only to open the arena to the royalists, to make every section a battle-field, and to discredit the Assembly. Besides, this was a question, not of legislation, but of administration. And hear again how decisive Rousseau is upon this point:-'I would specially have avoided, as of necessity ill governed, a Republic where the People, believing it could do without its magistrates or with only leaving them a precarious authority, should have imprudently kept in its own hands the administration of civil affairs and the execution of its own laws. Such was the rude constitution of the first governments arising out of a state of nature; and such also was one of the vices which ruined the Republic of Athens.' But this distinction between the making and the administration of law is insisted upon as much by Lédru-Rollin and Robespierre as by Rousseau, and is no condemnation of the exercise of the People's Sovereignty in the making of the laws.

Louis Blanc however finds that Robespierre went further, that he looked upon the appeal to the People as the destruction of the Convention itself, that once convoked the primary assemblies would be urged by all sorts of intrigues to deliberate upon all sorts of propositions, even to the very existence of the Republic. It should be remembered, however, that Robespierre spoke in the

face of revolted or revolting departments, in presence of a terrible foreign war rendered yet more dangerous by intestine treasons: this was not the moment to give the primary assemblies an opportunity of legitimatizing anarchy. And this, again, is but an exceptional case. Against it is the overpowering weight of Robespierre's support of the Constitution of 1793, without need of requoting the words we have given above, beginning with the word Representative is not applicable to any agent of the People, because will can not be represented.'

Gathered, not from exceptional instances, nor from garbled quotations, the opinions of Rousseau and Robespierre, and even the acknowledgements of Montesquieu, are decidedly in favour of the doctrine of direct legislation by the People. The Convention also consecrated the same principle. Let M. Blanc now speak for himself, since the authorities are against him.

The popular Socialist asks if it is not true that men of intelligence are fewer than the ignorant, the devoted fewer than the selfish, the friends of progress fewer than the slaves of habit, the propagators of just ideas fewer than the partizans of error: whence he deduces that to demand that the greater number should govern the less is to demand that ignorance should govern enlightenment, selfishness devotion, routine progress, and error truth. That is to say M. Blanc is the defender of despotism, the glorifier of the Czar, the Pontiff, and the Patriarch. Many thanks then for his 'socialism'! But let us follow out his theory of governmental capacities!

If the enlightened, the devoted, the friends of progress form but a minority, and if the greater number is inevitably condemned to ignorance, selfishness, routine and error,-if therefore the few ought to rule the rest while the blind or vile multitude have but to obey, it follows that universal suffrage is not right, that political equality is a falsehood. Remarkable enough that Socialists and competitive Whig-Radicals should find a point of agreement on this common ground of capacity. One, truly, seeks only the liberty of the stronger: but the other is looking for fraternity. And yet they meet in the denial of equality. Will M. Louis Blanc allow his logic to carry him to the end?

And if the minority is always right, is it not also right even within the Assembly. Should it not be, not only the minority of the Country, but the minority of that minority, ascending at last perhaps to the Patriarch himself, which should command, in virtue of the greater capacity? But M. Blanc would defer to a parliamentary majority. He is however shrewd enough to foresee this objection, and thus replies:

'In an assembly composed of citizens who have been elected as the most enlightened of all, there does not exist, there could not exist, between the majority and the minority, that enormous disproportion of knowledge, intelligence, education, study, experience, and ability, which exist naturally, in the midst of a civilization imperfect or corrupted, between the smaller and the greater number, taken in mass. In every assembly of elected citizens, and from the very fact of their being elected, the majority and the minority, as regards competence, are worthy, or are reputed worthy; and this is what renders reasonable there this law of the majority, which elsewhere no longer presents the same character.'

Is there then so very little to choose between our representatives? We deemed them bad enough, but did not think there had been so little difference. Are parliamentary majorities always so enlightened and liberal? Alas for the counter evidence of the Law of the 31st of May (though possibly M. Blanc considers that only a step in the right direction, toward the rule of a national minority), for our own no House when a popular question is to be brought forward. We might also ask the accomplished sophist how it is that so much wisdom resides in the majority of the elected, who must be the representatives of the ignorant majority outside. To such an absurd pass comes the doctrine of the People's right to choose its representatives without the right to legislate for itself.

And again, the advocate of capacity refers to the thousands of men overwhelmed in ignorance and prejudice. What then? how came they in this state? Was it not your government of the few-always the enlightened few-which placed them there? And by whom or how shall they be redeemed except

through their own exertions?

Yet still the eloquent Socialist is the advocate of Universal Suffrage. Be consistent, with Messrs. Thiers, Hume, Cobden, and the like; and let us know the exact value of your intentions. There is not one of your arguments against the direct legislation of the People which does not apply equally against universal suffrage; which does not go, in fact, to the justification of every despotism, from that of the Czar to that of the time-serving 'Radical.' This doctrine of an enlightened few is the doctrine of a limited suffrage,-Who shall say how limited?


For if the People are incapable of making their own laws, can they be capable of judging who shall be fittest to make their laws for them? Is it so easy too for them to deceive themselves in matters of fact directly concerning their own interests, and so very difficult for them to be deceived as to persons? then the old system of a caste set apart as hereditary legislators-not altogether unlike the communist division of labour-must be the best, if not encroaching too much on the divinity of the still fewer and so far wiser kings. It is an easy course toward despotism.

We do not assert that the majority is wiser than the minority, or that it is more devoted, or in any way better. But who is to pick out the better minority? There lies the difficulty. Either their Capacities must be self-elected, which makes strange work, when we call to mind what sorts of animals have taken themselves to be endowed with legislative faculties; or they must be elected by the stupid majority, and then again recurs the question-Are you likely to choose the best law-givers when you are so utterly unable to form any judgment even on the nature of law?

M. Blanc finds surety in the power which the People has of dismissing its representatives. Could he not find equal surety in the power of revoking a bad law? But what is this power of dismissing the offending servants, and electing better in their stead, when you have given to the offenders the very power of preventing your protest? What power of dismissal and election had the French People when their Representatives disenfranchised them on the 31st. of May? Well may Rousseau say-'From the moment that a People gives itself repre

sentatives, it is no longer free, it is no more.' Well may he say, the English People thinks it is free: it deceives itself. It is so only during the election of members of Parliament. So soon as they are elected, it is a slave, it is nothing. There is a story of Ninus, the Assyrian monarch, surrendering his power to his wife for only one day. She was merely his 'representative;' but as such she took possession of the army, the treasury, and the civil government, and concluded her representation by dethroning and decapitating her Sovereign. Like Ninus, Peoples commit suicide by proxy; and fraternal philosophers are found to argue for the right.

As to the exercise of revocation even where possible (and in the worst needs it would not be possible), it would be a foolish setting of limits to the conscience of the representative, who might as often err in his integrity as from any dishonest motive. Besides it is impossible to foresee all cases, even for a single year. The people's servant must be free to act within certain bounds: what should those bounds be but the line where matters of secondary importance or of administration ceases and the province of permanent legislation begins?

We repeat that we do not consider the majority of the People capable of sound legislation. And when has a representative body shown itself capable? What more tyranical, more foolish, more partial laws could be passed by the most tyranical and foolishest majority, than disgrace the codes of the best-governed of 'constitutional' countries? How shall the People without practice ever become capable of legislating? They will blunder: be it so. They will so learn through their experience. They will not wilfully err as their 'representatives' do now. The will, be it wise or not, of the majority of the People will no longer be set at nought by legislative quacks or scoundrels. Wise or blundering, the People's will would be done. Wise or blundering: who has the right to gainsay it? If a Louis Blanc, or a million of Louis Blancs, may gainsay it in virtue of any presumed capacity, why may not a Nicholas or a Napoleon presume as capaciously? What difference of principle is there between limiting the right of Humanity at one point rather than another? What difference, except in degree, between the Humes, the Thiers, or the Louis-Blancs, and the Czar or Thibet Lama?

It is worth considering, too, how far direct government by the People would crush the hopes of all the sects, and sectarian politicians, who aspire to lead 'the enfranchised People.' Place the power in the People's hands, and what could the pretenders do? Your scheme of social reform may be good; mine too, has some excellence in my own eyes. Under the representative system you and I and all of us would be contending for possession of the government to try our experiments upon the body politic. But, all laws having to be made by the People, we should be forced to content ourselves with convincing a majority of the People, instead of intriguing to obtain a party in the House. There is some advantage here.

Yet what time could the whole People have to consider and make the laws? Well, Parliament sits now, making all deduction of off days and holidays, little more than four months in the year; and surely half at least of that time is wasted upon private measures, local measures, worthless measures, and measures intended only to amuse 'our constituents.' At even such a rate of superabun

dant legislation the one Sunday in every week, with an occasional holiday in great emergences, would be enough for all national purposes. And the People would be better engaged than on Sundays now; they might then find reason to meet in their churches, and pray there together in effectual fervency that God's will be done on earth, his kingdom come.

We cannot suppose however that one tenth of the time now consumed in legislation would be so wasted even by the most ignorant and discordant population. There would no longer be the same object in heaping law upon law, to feed lawyers and to provide for innumerable partial interests.' The constitution (the statement of first principles so far as ascertained and generally acknowledged) once framed as the compact between the ever fluctuating majority and minority, and a code of general laws established, there would be but seldom an occasion for additional legislation. The good sense of the People is well aware that great as is the good of having the greatest possible multitude of councillors in law making, there is no wisdom in a multitude of laws.

M. Considerent differs somewhat from Lédru-Rollin. He appears careless about any central institution whatever,' though he concedes it in order to avoid any refuge in impossibilities.' He rather confounds administration and legislation, desiring that the People in its sections should make the laws directly and decide directly upon all the acts of the government, without regard to cases of emergency in which the promptitude of a central power, no matter how responsible, would be necessary. The central government, which is in fact only a committee of the general assembly of the People,' votes a project of law, prescribes an administrative or a governmental measure. There is no occasion for a direct vote of the whole People. The sections are always open; the People has always its initiative. If within a given period there is no opposition to the project of law or proposed administrative act, or if the opposition does not number sufficient votes (Considerant suggests 500,000) it is an indication, as certain as a vote, that the People accepts the proposition. From this would follow that in all cases of trifling importance, or not sufficiently interesting the fixed number of voters, the People's 'Committee' would act on presumption of the People's consent. In more important questions the opinion of the People would have direct expression. In this system the national administration, whatever it might be, exercises a function, and not a power. The power is in the whole Nation, and nothing is done by its agents except with its consent, tacit or direct. preserves, moreover, integrally its initiative, whether of the propositions that it thinks proper to convert directly into laws, of the acts that it means to signify to its government, or of the nomination of a new government. The People remains absolute sovereign.


One objection, however to M. Considerant's solution, graver than his forgetfulness of the sometime need of promptitude, lies in his repudiation of any Constitution. The Constitution'-he says-' is henceforth simply the existence, the thought, the will, the self-government of the universal People.'-There are no more paper constitutions,' etc. Considerant forgets that the Constitution is

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