Imatges de pÓgina

nature, states by law. How unfortunate eral representation; or they have been rewould be a family in which every mem

established for thé. express purpose of ber should insist, obstinately, on his right! counteracting the spirit of the age. How unfortunate have been those nations, The democratic tendency of time must which have left every thing to the kind- be acknowledged by every calm and unness and paternal care of their rulers, and prejudiced observer, whether he thinks the have not insisted, obstinately, on their rights! effect good or bad, whether he belongs to In very many instances, nations have pre- the class which deems all virtue and nopared the way for the loss of their liber- bleness of character concentrated in the ties by the concessions into which they middle ages, to those who believe in the have been hurried by gratitude towards final perfection of mankind, or to those great national benefactors, or those whom who have no standard for measuring the they have regarded as such. The greatest state of a nation but statistical tables. favor that monarchs could bestow on na- Every thing, from the fashion of the dress tions, would be to give up all favor, to to the cultivation of the intellect, tends to make justice the only rule of government. a democratic equality. The turning point V. To return to the subject of representa, in the history of constitutions, from whence tive constitutions. These may be divided we must date the introduction into pracinto, 1, such as are founded on the union tice of the principles of general represenof the feudal estates, the clergy, nobility, tation, is the establishment of the consticitizens and peasantry; the two latter of tutions of the thirteen first U. States.

; which derive their right of representation France then adopted the same principles ; from the charters of the ancient corpora- and it will remain for ever one of the most tions: 2, such as establish the right of a prominent facts in the history of Napogeneral representation, like the Ameri- leon, that wherever he became completely can constitution, and such as partake of master of a country, he abolished the esboth characters, like the British constitu- tates, and, of course, bondage and feudal tion. Those of the first class either orig- services, and established constitutions on inated in the feudal times, or have been the principle of general representation, alsince copied from such as did. Our limits though these, it is true, were not allowed will not allow us to discuss the mode in to act freely. Europe, until the downfall which the estates grew up and became of Napoleon, was continually involved in the basis of these constitutions. (See Es- wars, into which the French emperor detates.) We will only observe, that exter- clared that England continually forced nal causes exerted here their usual influ- him. Whatever may have been the true ence; that the feudal states were conglom- cause of these continual conflicts, it canerates of many heterogeneous bodies; and not be denied, that, if the tumult of the that it was reserved for later ages to un- strife had not prevented the operation of fold the true principles of government; to the just principles which these constituseparate the essential from the unessential tions contained, they would have been and injurious ; to give stability, distinctness of essential benefit: they would, at least, and extent to principles before unsettled, have formed a basis for further political indefinite and limited in their operation. developements; and, though they might The causes, however, which produced the have appeared deficient, to a man accusfeudal constitutions, and established the tomed to the liberty of the U. States, they division of estates, have almost all ceased would, at all events, have furnished a to operate long ago. The art of printing, much more reasonable prospect of a schools, post-offices, and an improved speedy attainment of the great objects of sense of justice, have long since over- political society, than the constitutions, if thrown the barrier which separated the dif- they deserve the name, which the conferent classes; and the constitutions which querors of Napoleon have established in, still remain, founded on the idea of es- or rather imposed on, different countries; tates, are equally unjust and inconsistent e. g., the provincial estates which Prussia with the spirit of the age, conferring, as has established in her different districts, they do, exclusive privileges on particular and the political organization which the classes, when almost all the causes for house of Austria has introduced into the which they were originally granted have Tyrol, which had sacrificed itself in a ceased. They are remnants of times long bloody struggle for that imperial family. gone by, and are kept up either by the These mock constitutions, together with influence of the privileged aristocracy, or the right of armed intervention, proclaimby the belief of particular nations, that ed by the holy alliance, are so entirely incircumstances are unfavorable to a gen- consistent with the spirit of the age, that 468 CONSTITUTIONS OF GERMANY, SARDINIA AND SWEDEN. they afford no hopes of improvement ex- solely in the right of granting the royal cept by their entire abolition. Napoleon, postulates, and in the distribution and colas one of the emperor's nearest connex- lection of the taxes. Some have also the ions, who stood highest in his confidence, right of advising the government, and that said to us, was essentially, by conviction of petitioning. c. In Hungary, the four and natural inclination, the enemy of orders of the estates—the high clergy, feudalism, and the sincere friend of the the barons and magnates, the gentry (Ritprinciples of equal liberty. It must al- terschaft) and royal free cities—have imways be remembered, that he abolished portant privileges. (See Hungary.) The every where, by one of his first acts, nobility or gentry and the cities elect wherever his power reached, the feudal their deputies and give them instructions. services, estates and constitutions, founded d. In Transylvania, or Siebenbürgen, the on the old corporations, which had be- grand-prince exercises certain rights of come useless or obnoxious, and were, with sovereignty, assisted by the representatives very few exceptions, much more unpop- of the three nations (the Hungarians, ular than the actual rulers. We shall Szeklers and Saxons) whom he convokes. now give a very condensed view of the These representatives consist partly of existing constitutions, including a more royal officers, partly of deputies appointed particular survey of those of the U. States. by the regent or elected by the corpora

Europe. I. Constitutions founded on tions. 2. Sardinian monarchy. On the the feudal estates of the middle ages, island of Sardinia, the clergy, nobility and on the system of corporations, con- and deputies of the cities and boroughs tinue to exist, 1. in the Austrian monar- exercise, together with the king, the right chy. a. In the arch-duchy of Lower of legislating and taxing. 3. In the kingAustria, in Stiria and Carinthia, in Bohe- dom of Sweden, there exist, according to mia, Moravia, and, since 1817, also in the latest constitution of June 7, 1809, Galicia and Lodomeria with Bukowine, the old estates, comprising four orders the estates are still kept up, comprising the nobility, clergy, citizens and crownthe four orders—the clergy, nobility, gen- peasants. The diet has the right of legistry (Ritterstoınd) and citizens; the latter lation and taxation, and the superintendbeing represented by the magistrates of the ence of the finances, bank and mint. The royal cities. In the Tyrol, we find again, king has an unconditional veto. 4. In the since March 24, 1816, the estates of peas- kingdom of Saxony, the estates are comants, citizens, nobility, gentry and clergy. posed of three orders. The first order But, notwithstanding their gallant struggle consists of the higher clergy, or prelates, against the French and Bavarians, they princes, counts and lords, with the depuhave not even received from Austria the ties of the university of Leipsic. The secright of a voice in the imposition of their ond order embraces the gentry, to which, own taxes, which formerly belonged to since 1820, twenty-nine deputies also have them; but the constitution allows them the been joined from the possessors of noble right of making representations, in the estates.* The third order consists of depname of the country, to the emperor! In uties from the magistrates of the cities. the imperial part of Silesia, the estates are The business of granting and fixing the composed only of the dukes and princes, taxes, and of receiving the accounts conwith the lords (Standesherren) and gentry nected therewith, belongs to the diet: im(Ritterschaft), who are immediately under portant laws of a general character must the emperor. b. In the Lombardo-Vene- also be laid before them for consideration. tian kingdom, the estates are founded, ac- 5. A similar constitution exists in the cording to the constitution of April 24, 1815, duchy of Saxe-Gotha, in which the legison the system of corporations. Two central lative body consists of the estates of the congregations exist at Milan and Venice: counts, the gentry (Ritterschaft) and the the different provincial congregations in citizens. Each of these estates has only the Lombardic part of the kingdom consist one vote. The principality of Altenburg of deputies appointed by the king; in has two estates—the gentry and the citi the Venetian part, of deputies elected by zens. 6. In the kingdom of Hanover, the the central congregation and the guberni- estates were, according to a decree of Dec um (the Austrian designation of the

govern- 7, 1819, divided into two chambers. The ment). All these deputies are from among the noble and not noble landed proprietors,

* Noble estate (in German, Rittergut) is such an and from the royal cities, under the sway

estate as formerly could, or, in some countries, still

can, be held by a nobleman only. Prussia has of the imperial governors or delegates. abolished this condition of tenure, so that comThe privileges of these estates consist almost moners can buy such estates.


old system of corporations was retained. government, and divided the legislative (See Hanover.) 7. In the principality of body of the national convention into the Liechtenstein, a constitution after the council of the ancients and the council of Austrian fashion was introduced, Nov. 9, the five hundred. It vested the right of 1818. The estates consist of the clergy electing the representatives immediately and the deputies froin the communities, in the primary assemblies. 4. The conappointed by the magistrates. Their stitution of Dec. 13, 1799, established a power is simply to make propositions. first consul for ten years, with the right of 8. In the two grand-duchies of Mecklen- proposing laws, and two other consuls. burg-Schwerin and M. Strelitz, the estates The first consul (Bonaparte) was consist of the Ritterschaft and deputies of rounded by a council of state and ministhe corporations. They have very great ters. A triple election was, at the same privileges, which the former particularly time, established. The citizens of each maintains with great strictness. 9. In the commune chose one tenth of their numprincipalities of Reuss, the old estates ber as persons qualified for public office; also exist, as, likewise, 10. in the Danish the aggregate of the persons thus named duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg. 11. The re- in all the communes of a department public of the seven Ionian islands was chose also one tenth of their number; and erected March 21, 1800, and governed from the whole body of persons thus according to the aristocratic constitution, nominated by all the departments, formestablished, under Russian influence, Dec. ing the national list of persons eligible to 6, 1803. When the republic was placed official situations, the conservative senate under the protection of Great Britain, the chose the legislators, tribunes, consuls, the lord-commissioner, Maitland, dissolved the members of the court of cassation, and senate, which had existed at Corfu since the commissioners of accounts. In this 1803, and established a new constitution instrument, the principles of the liberty Jan. 1, 1818, according to which the of the press, and others of a similar kind, legislative body consists of deputies of the which had been guarantied in the former nobility, and the senate is chosen from constitution, were omitted. 5. Many essenamong the legislative body. II. The con- tial changes were soon after made in this stitution of Great Britain is founded joint- constitution by the various senatus-conly upon the old system of corporations, sultes organiques, so called. These decrees that of estates, and that of a general na- of the senate, of Aug. 2 and

4, 1802, gave tional representation. (See Great Britain.) the first consul, Napoleon Bonaparte, his III. A national representation, in the full dignity for life, and invested him with sense of the phrase, was first established several monarchical prerogatives. 6. At in the year 1787, by the constitution of the last, the senatus-consulte of May 18, 1804, U. States. The reader will find, towards elevated the first consul to the dignity the end of this article, an abstract of the of emperor of the French, and the succonstitutions of the several states which cession was made hereditary in his famcompose this union.

Constitutions in ily. France had now a monarchical conwhich the aristocratic element was ex- stitution with some democratic forms: cluded were soon after 'established in one of these—the tribunate—was abolished France. Several other states then shook by the senatus-consulte organique of Aug. off the fetters of the feudal system, and 19, 1807. The equality of all citizens, in introduced more or less of the democratic the eye of the law, was a principle preelement into the constitutions which they served in all the French constitutions, and adopted. During the last half century, even the Bourbons were obliged to make there have been 114 new, written constitu- it a prominent feature in the Charte contions established in Europe and America : stitutionnelle. 7. After the downfall of 31 of them have been abolished, but the Napoleon, the senate drew up a new remainder still exist, and about 100 mil- constitution, of April 6, 1814, in which an lions of people are ruled by them.-A. aristocracy, hereditary in the families of France has seen, since the revolution, the senators, was established. It guarannine different constitutions:-1. The mo- tied, however, in several respects, the narchical-representative constitution of liberties of the people. But Louis XVIII, 1791. 2. The republican-democratic con- as it is well known, adopted, at St. Ouen, stitution of June 24, 1793. This never May 2, 1814, only certain principles of this went wholly into operation, much power constitution, relating to the representative being given, for the time, to dictatorial system in two bodies, the responsibility bodies. 3. The constitution of Sept. 23, of the ministers, the judges' tenure of 1795, which established the directorial office during good behavior, the irrevo



470 CONSTITUTIONS OF FRANCE, NETHERLANDS, POLAND. cability of the sale of the national proper- of the Netherlands. He convoked the ty, the capacity of every Frenchman for notables in March, 1814, who accepted the all civil and military appointments, and, constitution proposed by him. Thus the as before mentioned, the equality of all kingdom of the Netherlands, established citizens in the eye of the law. 8. After by the congress of Vienna, received its this, the king promulgated, June 4, 1814, fifth constitution, Aug. 24, 1815, which, in the present constitution, the Charte constitu- spite of the opposition of the Catholic tionnelle (q. v.), which had been drawn up notables of Belgium, went into operation, by a committee appointed by him. It in the Belgian provinces, in 1815, and is, established a chamber of peers, to be therefore, the fundamental law of all the elected by the king, and a chamber of 17 provinces of the kingdom. This deputies, to be chosen by electoral col- constitution is founded on the basis of the leges. These two bodies, together with representative system. The states-genthe king, were to form the legislature. eral, who represent the people of the But this instrument left many points un- Netherlands, exercise, in connexion with settled, which allowed full play to machi- the king, the legislative power, and deternations of all kinds. 9. After the return mine the budget, consist of two chamof Napoleon from Elba, the emperor pro- bers. The members of the first are mulgated a new constitutional instrument, chosen by the king for life; those of the as an addition to the imperial constitution, second, by the estates of the provinces, April 22, 1815. This was adopted by the for three years. The provinces have people, in June, on the occasion of the three estates-the gentry, the citizens celebrated Champ de Mai. When Louis and peasants.-C. Poland was, until 1791, XVIII returned to Paris, the Charte went an aristocratico-monarchical republic ; in again into operation. By the electoral fact, it might be called an aristocratic relaw of June 28, 1820, the democratic ele- public, because the king elected had very ment of this fundamental law, as respects little power. The first step towards a the representation of the people, has been more popular constitution was the charter essentially weakened, or rather thrown given to the cities in April 14, 1791, which out; as, in a population of 35,000,000, there gained the favor of them all towards the are only 70,000 electors, and only 5 or 6 new order of things. Soon after, the conthousand who can be elected. The law of stitution of May 3, 1791, was adopted, and June 9, 1824, established septennial elec- it is remarkable that it was finished four tions of the chamber of deputies, though the months before the first French constituCharte had limited their term of office to tion; but the confederation of Targowitz, five years.-B. In the Netherlands, similar formed under Catharine II, destroyed this changes took place. An act of arbitrary instrument, and reëstablished the old order power was necessary to overcome the of things. At a later period, Napoleon, opposition of the federal party to the at the peace of Tilsit, created the duchy friends of union (democrats), before the of Warsaw, and gave it a constitution, first constitution of the Batavian republic, signed by him, Dresden, July 22, 1807, fashioned after the French constitution, which, among other things, abolished was accepted, April 23, 1798, by the na- bondage, and pronounced the equality of tional assembly. The second constitu- all citizens in the eye of the law. After tion, of Oct. 16, 1801, was fashioned after the connexion of the kingdom of Poland the fourth French constitution, of 1799. with Russia, by the congress of Vienna, Under the influence of Napoleon, the the emperor Alexander adopted, April Batavian republic received the third con- 30, 1815, the title of king of Poland, and stitution, of March 15, 1805, by which a gave this kingdom a constitution, Nov. 27, pensionary of the state was put at the 1815, which established a national reprehead of the government. Only a few sentation, in a diet consisting of the king points were necessary to be changed, and two houses of legislature. The senwhen the treaty with France, of May 24, ate forms the first chamber, chosen by the 1806, connected the new kingdom of Hol- king; the second chamber consists of 77 land most intimately with France. This deputies of the land-holders and 51 depu was done by the constitutional law of the ties of the communities. The constitution kingdom of Holland, of June 10, 1806, guarantied, also, the liberty of the press, which remained in force until 1810, when which, however, has been long since susHolland was made part of the French pended. The republic of Cracow, erected empire (July 9). In Dec., 1813, the son by the congress of Vienna, also received, of the last stadtholder, the present king May 3, 1815, a constitution, signed by the William I, was acknowledged as sovereign princes Metternich and Hardenberg, and


count Rasumoffsky. The assembly of the which began Aug. 24, 1820, a constitution representatives of this little republic con- similar to that of Spain. It limited the sists of the deputies of the communities, 'power of the king, however, still more. each of which chooses one, three members The cortes at Lisbon drew it up, and the of the senate sent by this body, which has king swore to it Oct. 1, 1822. But anthe executive power, three prelates sent other military revolution (May 27, 1823) by the chapter, three doctors of the facul- abolished this instrument. April 23, 1826, ties of the university, and six justices of don Pedro, emperor of Brazil, gave a new the peace.-D. Sweden and Norway have constitution, which, however, was aboltwo entirely different constitutions, though ished by his brother, the usurper of his both countries are under one king. We throne, don Miguel, who, in order to surmade mention of the Swedish constitution round himself with some of the appearabove. Norway adopted a constitution of ances of a legitimate sovereign, renewed a mixed democratic and monarchical some of the forms of the old estates. (See character, May 17, 1814, after the peace Portugal.) In Naples, the army proclaimof Kiel, Jan. 14, 1814, had been concluded. ed the Spanish constitution, which was The present king of Sweden, after having sworn to by the king July 13, 1820. The invaded Norway, and conquered it, assent- parliament of the Two Sicilies was coned to the whole constitution, with those vened Oct. 1, 1820, and drew up a new modifications only which necessarily grew constitution, on the basis of the Spanish, out of the connexion of Norway with in January, 1821 ; but, in consequence of Sweden under one monarch. These par- the entrance of an Austrian army into ticulars were settled by the storthing (diet) Naples, conformably to the resolutions of held at Christiania, Nov. 4, 1814, so that the congress of Laybach, this constitution the present constitution is called the con- was abolished in March, 1821. The same stitution of Nov. 4, 1814. Nobility is abol- thing happened in Piedmont, where the ished. The storthing, or legislative body, Spanish constitution was proclaimed, consists of two houses—the logthing and March 10, 1821, but abolished by the the oldesthing; (See Norway E. The Austrian army, which entered Turin April old forms of the Spanish monarchy were 10, 1821.-F. Italy, which, for many cenfirst called to life again by the junta (as- turies, has been the theatre of political consembled at Bayonne, under the influence flict and bloody revolutions, has also expeof Napoleon), who drew up and adopted rienced more changes, in respect to the the constitution of July 6, 1808, at the constitutional representations of her peotime when Joseph Bonaparte became ple, than any other country. d. Savoy, king of Spain. But the regency, which Nice and Piedmont were governed, from governed in the name of Ferdinand VII, the years 1796 and 1798 to 1814, according proclaimed a new constitution, March 19, to the constitutions drawn up for France. 1812—the constitution of the Cortes. Since 1814, the king has governed without which, however, was abolished by Ferdi- the coöperation of popular representatives. nand VII, on his return to Spain, by his Genoa lost her ancient aristocratic constideclaration at Valencia, May 4, 1814, but tution in 1797, and received, through the again accepted and sworn to by him, influence of general Bonaparte, in the March 7, 1820, to which he was compelled convention at Montebello, of June 6, 1797, by the army. This instrument not only a democratic constitution, which lasted abolished the old feudal and hierarchical from Dec. 2, 1797, to 1802, when its place forms of government, but it likewise lim- was supplied by a constitution modelled ited considerably the powers of the king; after that of the Cisalpine republic, and so much that a strong party in Spain signed by Bonaparte and Talleyrand, June espoused his cause, and four of the first 26, 1802; but a new constitutional law of continental powers declared themselves, Dec. 1, 1802, remodelled it again. June at the congress of Verona, in December, 4, 1805, the Ligurian republic was incor1822, against the constitution, and main- porated with France; and Genoa did not tained that the authority of the king ought receive again her old name until lord to be strengthened. According to the Bentinck, April 19, 1814, in the name of 375th article of the constitution, however, Great Britain, proclaimed the restoration such a change could take place only after of her old aristocratic republican constituthe constitution had been in operation for tion; but the congress at Vienna abolished eight years. France declared war against this, and gave the republic of Genoa, as a Spain, and abolished the constitution of duchy, to the king of Sardinia, by which the cortes in 1823. (See Cortes.) Portu- an end was put to her representative govgal, likewise, received, by the revolution ernment; but the new duchy received a

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