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vorrago in melkam

La France Libre English Translation - Part I

[Technical stuff - I can't seem to add the tag La France Libre, although I can add the tag Camille Desmoulins. It seems I don't have permission to add tags that haven't been used before.... Simone-remy, any chance it would be possible to add it for me?]

I

Of Deliberation Per Capita or By Order.



See how the issue is easily resolved when one avoids any deviation from principle, and walks only in one line. Here is a short but strong dialogue between the Nobility and the Commons.

NOBILITY:

There are three Orders in France: the clergy, the nobility and the Third Estate; the Third Estate is incomparably more numerous, and has the same say, however, as each of the other two orders in the National Assembly. That is our constitution.

THE COMMONS:

One could deny that fact, but keeping on topic. Just answer: Who gave constitutional force to this custom? You must admit that this is not the Prince. If Philip the Fair was to make the Constitution, Louis XVI could change it; in this we recognize neither you nor me.

It is also not the Clergy and the Nobility who have given themselves the privilege to be counted for two thirds of the nation. One does not make a law to oneself.

Thus remains that the Constitution must be established by the consent of the whole of the nation: that is to say from the majority of people, for, before the birth of the Orders, we made decisions necessarily per capita. Very well, what the nation had established per capita, she has just annihilated per capita. The Nation has been summoned; assemblies of all bailiwicks, representative of the entirety of the Nation, were held. Votes were counted. A majority, without any proportion, voted the resolution per capita: it is a settled matter.

The Nation took advantage of the moment she was seen assembled, to recover from the excess of authority the two privileged Orders had been given; she brought them together under common right; she has removed from them that which they could only hold from her. How do you respond?

In two words: either the form of decision making was established by Order without the consent of the nation, in which case it is unconstitutional, or else it was introduced by the consent of the Nation, by custom, by the implied consent, and in which the expressed will revokes the implied consent. The present will invalidates the will of the past. The generation which is no more must cede its powers to us who live, or, if not, let the dead rise from their tombs and come to hold up their old customs against us. The majority thus comes to destroy the custom for which the majority only could give the constitutional force; this we have demonstrated, and we can only make decisions per capita.

NOBILITY:

This form of making decisions is the best?

THE COMMONS:

What does this matter? The Nation has spoken: it is enough. No more argument, no more possible veto against its sovereign will. Its will is always legal, it is the law itself. These disputes, these conferences at Versailles, are therefore inconceivable if we vote per capita yes or no. There is no longer a question. Nearly the entirety of the French people has declared its will. The will of ninety-six percent of a people is the law. Also, since our deputies have made sure of that general will by recording it in their cahiers, they well know there is no room for deliberation.

Comments

Wow - you have worked hard, thanks so much! I think I've added the tag to both parts - no idea why it wouldn't go before. You can see how it made such an impact, I know we say it every time but such a thinker as well as a great writer! Thanks for posting :)

Edited at 2013-09-23 04:16 am (UTC)
Yes, he truly was!
Thanks so much for adding the tag in. x