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seeking all liberty in universal suffrage alone leads with the greatest ease to a Napoleon-a transfer of everything to one man, and of all future generations to his descendants, thus actually realizing the fearful theory of Hobbes; and the absence of a love of institutions leads to a remarkable tendency to worship one man, to centralization, or, in some cases, to the very opposite-a desire to abolish all government, and establish the “sovereignty of the individual." All extremes in politics meet.
There is no greater error than the idea of making the vote or election the sole basis of liberty—of believing that, with the establishment of an extensive or universal suffrage, we found liberty, however true it is that liberty stands in need of election. Absolutism may rest on this as on any other basis. The deys of Algiers were elective, but once elected they were unbounded masters, in the Oriental sense of the term. The generals of nearly all, I believe of all, the monastic orders are elective, but, once elected, the vow of obedience of every monk, and the distinct renunciation of liberty, make him master. No order, no. human association has carried the doctrine of absolute obedience to a more frightful extent than the Jesuits, whose founder demands that the inferior shall be in the hands of the superior ut baculum, like a mere staff, and whose distinctly expressed principle it is that every command of the superior shall be like a commandment from on high, even though sin be commanded. Yet the government of the order is founded on election. Mr. Guizot, in
speaking of the monastic orders, says: “As regards the political code of the monasteries, the rule of St. Benedict offers a singular mixture of despotism and liberty. Passive obedience is its fundamental principle; at the same time the government is elective; the abbot is always chosen by the brothers. When once the choice is made, they lose all liberty, they fall under the absolute domination of their superior. Moreover, in imposing obedience on the monks, the rule orders that the abbot consult them. Chap. III. expressly says, "Whenever anything of importance is to take place in the monastery, let the abbot convoke the whole congregation, and say what the question is; and after having heard the advice of the brothers, he shall think of it apart, and shall do as appears to him most suitable. Thus, in this singular government, election, deliberation, and absolute power, were coexistent.” The pope is an elective monarch over the States of the Church. No one has ever maintained that on this account liberty had a home in that country. Nor would the case be altered if the pope were elected, not by the college of cardinals, but by a more numerous body of electors, or by all male adults, or even by the whole population, male and female. The high priestor president in the polity of that stupendous outrage called Mormonism, is elective, and the Mormons themselves call their government à theo-democracy;9 yet a greater absolutism has never existed, indeed, we may fairly say, none equal to it. It unites democracy and communism, which is absolutism, with continuous and permanent revelations of the deity, not only on dogmatic points, but on every measure of weight. It is a jus divinum such as the ancients did not even dream of when they derived their kings from the loins of the gods, and it is a communism such as Mohammed never dared to embody in his politico-religious system.
8 History of Civilization, chapter XIV. 9 Theo-democracy does not contain a contradiction, however novel, and, at first sight, startling the term may appear to us. If democracy necessarily expressed the idea of liberty, then, indeed, the name theo-democracy would be senseless, for all theocracy or sacerdotal rule is a negation of civil liberty. It immures in dogma.
As a feature of Gallican liberty must be mentioned here the unicameral system, because it seems to be held by all those persons who seem to be the most distinct enunciators of this species of liberty, a necessary requisite, if they allow the principle of representation at all. They consider that the bicameral system of representatives is aristocratic, or else, as one of their writers expresses it, that two houses can never be reconciled except by money or by blood. The love of a legislature of one house is a necessary consequence of the French idea of unity in the government or the unity of the state, which does not only mean a unitary state, and actual abhorrence of confederacies, but a compact system of centralization.
In a similar manner, and with equal justice, does the missionary I. Payne say of the Grebo tribe, at Cape Palmas, that their constitution is patriarchal, with a purely democratic government. His account is contained in “ The Report of the Rev. R. R. Gurley, who was recently sent out by the government to obtain information in respect to Liberia," published by the Senate of the United States, in 1850, 31st Congress, 1st Session, Executive Document, No. 75. The political philosopher can hardly read a more interesting paper than this.
The Anglican wants union in his general government; the Gallican, unity. He wants his government to be a solid unit.10 He wishes to deprive every institution, as much as possible, of the principle of self-government and independence, and the only question which remains is, who shall be the ruler and receive that power which government gives? To this subject as to many others on which I have
10 The extent to which this idea is occasionally carried out is almost inconceivable to us, accustomed as we are to so essentially different a system and train of political thoughts. A few years ago the minister of the interior had given some new directions regarding the quarantine regulations. They were more in conformity with the opinions of scientific men on the contagiousness of the plague. The people of Marseilles, who still keep the terrible plague of last century in vivid remembranee, disapproved of these orders from the central government, and a meeting of certain persons was called together. Whereupon most newspapers took part with the government, and charged the citizens, with whom this little germ of self-government had shown itself, with the hideous sin of federalism, the crime for which many had lost their heads in the first revolution. This was in the times of the so-called republic before the 2d of December, and the few papers which took side with the citizens were legitimist papers, thus furnishing by the way another instance of the fact that all sorts of things are possible under peculiar circumstances. It was the tories who resisted Walpole's septennial bill abolishing triennial parliaments; it was the Jesuits who first enunciated the doctrine of the sovereignty of the people in order to get a fulcrum against heretical monarchs; it was a Spanish Jesuit who defended regicide under Philip II. ; and here we have legitimists, working for a descendant of Louis the Fourteenth who took side for a principle of self-action against the central government!
touched, we shall return when I shall treat more fully of the institutional government and its opposite.
It is not likely that people who speak with derision of parliamentary government, by which nothing is meant but a government in which a deliberative and representative legislature forms an integral part, and of “parlementarism” as the new phrase is, would treat the legislature as an institution with self-government and a necessary degree of independence. According to their idea, the safeguards which we believe are found in a mutually moderative contrivance ought to be done away with. Speedy energy, absence of opposition, no results which are the products of mutual modification, unity of ideas, not consisting in collective results but in a merely logical carrying out of some abstract principle; these are the main objects, according to Gallican views.
The Spaniards, the Portuguese, the Neapolitans have made the trial of imitating the French, but have succeeded with the system of one house no better than the French themselves, and have passed over to the bicameral legislature.
There are states in which the medieval principle of estates still exists. But it may be fairly said that this is a remnant of the middle ages, at variance with the totally changed state of modern society. Nowhere do they present themselves as a system of civil liberty—it is rather a system (and rarely even that) of privileges or liberties. In Sweden the estates still exist, namely four—the clergy, nobility, citizens, and peasants, and a high degree of liberty is enjoyed.