Page:Democracy in America (Reeve, v. 1).djvu/336

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


day, when the revolution has achieved what are called its victories in centralization?

In 1789, Jefferson wrote from Paris to one of his friends: “There is no country where the mania for over-governing has taken deeper root than in France, or been the source of greater mischief.” Letter to Madison, 28th August, 1789.

The fact is that for several centuries past the central power of France has done everything it could to extend central administration; it has acknowledged no other limits than its own strength. The central power to which the revolution gave birth made more rapid advances than any of its predecessors, because it was stronger and wiser than they had been; Louis XIV. committed the welfare of such communities to the caprice of an Intendant; Napoleon left them to that of the Minister. The same principle governed both, though its consequences were more or less remote.

APPENDIX L.—Page 140.

This immutability of the Constitution of France is a necessary consequence of the laws of that country.

To begin with the most important of all the laws, that which decides the order of succession to the Throne; what can be more immutable in its principle than a political order founded upon the natural succession of father to son? In 1814 Louis XVIII. had established the perpetual law of hereditary succession in favour of his own family. The individuals who regulated the consequences of the revolution of 1830 followed his example; they merely established the perpetuity of the law in favour of another fa-