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interests, and restlessness, are the qualities of the national character which are brought out and developed in the stage of mixed democracy and plutocracy, and every one of these is a quality necessary for the establishment of a firm despotism. To the demolition of all ancient distinctions, whether they be personal or local, the spirit of restlessness contributes by making the whole population migratory, and preventing therefore the permanent growth or maintenance of local differences and local attachments: the spirit of centralisation contributes by its hatred of all inequalities, except those which arise out of the orderly and even system of government where every functionary has his exactly appointed place, and is kept in perfect subservience by the hope of promotion and the fear of dismissal. To a despotism, restlessness contributes by its producing a very tedium of itself. There is a limit beyond which men cannot tolerate restlessness, and despotism is their only resource when that limit is reached.

The idea of a perfect despotism is that of a state in which all men are equal in political rights, and even in personal appliances. The only distinction allowed is that of holding office under the central government. The despot appoints every functionary, keeps a watchful control over him, and, like the spider, “ lives along the line” of his subordinates ; so that if the least portion, however insignificant, of the functionary system is disobeyed or thwarted, the central power is immediately aroused, resentful of offended majesty.

Two observations are therefore forced upon us : First, That in proportion as a nation is centralised and equalised, it approaches towards a despotism ; and, Secondly, That for any nation where the principles of centralisation and equality are firmly established, and whence all hereditary or local distinctions are banished, a wise and beneficent despotism is the true form of government.

Thoughtful Frenchmen, when they reflect upon the various forms of government, may very possibly feel that

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had they the power of living under the form of government which a philosophical comparison establishes to be best, they might prefer some other to that which is now established in France. Yet on the second reflection, that it is useless to choose a form of government unless the powers necessary for its successful working are pre• sent in the nation to which it is applied, they perceive that in France there are all the social requisites for a principate, and none of the social requisites for any other form of government. They have therefore no choice but to coincide in a principate, and to endeavour to make it as little oppressive as possible. Whatever ingenious webs metaphysical moralists may have spun upon this matter, the rule of submission by a wise and practical man consists, I apprehend, in one simple canon. It is his duty to submit to that form of government most adapted to the social order of the nation, and no other. If he wishes to change it, it is both wrong and useless to overthrow a government suited to the nation ; he must alter, if he has the

power, the social conditions. This can only be done by gradual and peaceable processes. Revolution avails only when the government and the social order are discordant.

Now if a Frenchman is discontent with his present government, what would he propose to substitute ? A republic, or centreless centralisation, has been tried, and will always fail there, because equality is so completely established, that without fear, which cannot belong to civilians elected immediately by a fair popular election, there will be no principle of superiority which can exact obedience, for centralisation requires an unimpeachable centre of authority; and in addition to this cause of failure there is a corrupt swarm of republican politicians in France, who would, as soon as it was in their power, drive a trade in public offices, and soon bring again a republican government to the same fate which has always awaited it in France.


The only way to establish any other government but a military despotism, or a republic, is to remedy the system of equality. To restore an aristocracy is totally impossible. There remain only two other proposed methods for introducing inequalities. First, that of D'Argenson*, and afterwards of the Girondins, to decentralise the state, and transfer a great portion of the legislative and administrative functions to the provinces; in short, to make France like the United Provinces, or the United States. This suggestion the experiment of 1787 sufficiently refutes. Secondly, there is the suggestion of M. de Tocqueville † to substitute for the old aristocrats associations of men of influence and wealth. This is, in the first place, very difficult to be commenced, for no established government would favour it; and, in the next place, if commenced, it would require great public virtue in the members of these associations to prevent their being mere instruments of jobbery; and, in the third place, the whole system might be overthrown in a moment; for these associations have not the personal interest of the aristocrat to lead them to support this indivisibility. A prince can abolish all associations without inflicting personal injury. Each unit is sent back corporeally unhurt to his original insignificance; but the prince cannot dissever an aristocrat or divide his wealth without measures more violent than the simple veto on associations; and besides

, one man with a train of dependants, supported by his greatness, forms a far more formidable corporation than an association of equal units who can each subside into being private citizens without that personal ruin which would overtake the dismissed dependants of one aristocrat.

Reason and example coincide in leading to the conclusion, that a statesman cannot reconstruct inequalities, he can only preserve them; and when they are gone there is no alternative but equal freedom or equal servitude.

* Martin, Hist. de France, xvii. 603. | Dem. en Am. iv. 325.

Despotisms result from plutocracies in two ways; either the executive branch of the plutocracy manages to become despotic, or the plutocracy, unable to control the classes poorer than themselves, or too corrupt to care any longer for the semblance of liberty, surrender their power into the hands of a prince, often a foreigner, on the tacit understanding that the old plutocracy will have the best offices under the new functionary system. The first results when a plutocracy vests the executive in a single person, who succeeds in breaking the limits imposed upon him. It is not a feat of easy accomplishment. Many of the doges of Venice, contemplating history with insufficient sagacity, perceived that the hereditary head of a feudal noblesse had often managed to become a powerful monarch ; but omitted to observe that the secret of their aggrandisement was their making themselves the central head of the nation, and relieving all those who were oppressed by the little potentates; whereas in Venice there was a firm and centralised plutocracy, whose union would not have been dissolved by the absence of a doge. Twerty doges* were driven from their thrones, or massacred, in consequence of this mistake in drawing an historical parallel.

Louis-Philippe was the creature of that wreck of plutocracy which survived the revolution and the empire. The capitalists and richer citizens were his best friends. The lower democracy, the peasantry, and the army, had no affection for him. Their championt might establish an empire, but the champion of the plutocracy would have much more difficulty in becoming absolute; and LouisPhilippe found it so.

The only instance of a plutocracy remaining long at

* Daru, Hist. de Venise, v. 510.

† Napoleon I. was most truly called, "the child and champion of democracy.” At Carthage there was the same ambition, and the same jealousy. The House of Mago presented the best generals to the state, and therefore was the most jealously watched. Heeren, Hist. Rep.

iv, 122.

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the head of affairs is the Venetian. The old plutocrats who had obtained public office, despised the new plutocrats, and made the offices hereditary. At last enterprise ceased, and there were no new families to compete with the old ones. The democracy, long subdued, were poor and of mean spirit. The old plutocratic families remained throned in the pomp of their hereditary offices, like some ancient king who sits in his tomb for centuries wearing his imperial robes, till at the first rude blast that blows into the opened tomb, the king and all his ensigns of sovereignty fall down a handful of dust. So, in 1798, perished this grim Venetian phantom at the first touch of living power

Venice thus affords no instance of a plutocracy dissolving into a native despotism ; but presents the very contrary example of a plutocracy lasting in power through the stage of national life in which a stationary despotism usually reigns, till the nation was so utterly decayed as to become a fit subject for despotism by conquest.

Whoever speaks of the rise of despotism should be cautious of the moods of his verbs. If he uses the indicative mood he may, among a fair audience, pass for a narrator of history; but if he says the same thing in the imperative or the optative, he will share some of the fame of Machiavel. - The Prince” contains general advice to all persons who at any period of national progress, being subjects, desire to be sovereign, or, being sovereign, desire to extend their territory. The scope of this work, therefore, embraced such situations as that of a feudal baron desiring to make his family royal, or a monarch, like Alexander or the Russian Czars, aiming at universal empire, and bringing other countries under his rule. But he is most at home when he prepares his recipe for a private citizen to establish out of the stage of mixed plutocracy and democracy a despotism founded on functionarism. He had reason to be so, for he lived in Italy at a time when the plutocracies and democracies

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