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When wealth and splendour,
instead of fascinating the multitude, excite emotions of disgust; when,
instead of drawing forth admiration, it is beheld as an insult upon
wretchedness; when the ostentatious appearance it makes serves to call
the right of it in question, the case of property becomes critical, and
it is only in a system of justice that the possessor can contemplate
security.

To remove the danger, it is necessary to remove the antipathies, and
this can only be done by making property productive of a national
blessing, extending to every individual. When the riches of one man
above another shall increase the national fund in the same proportion;
when it shall be seen that the prosperity of that fund depends on the
prosperity of individuals; when the more riches a man acquires, the
better it shall be for the general mass; it is then that antipathies
will cease, and property be placed on the permanent basis of national
interest and protection.

I have no property in France to become subject to the plan I propose.
What I have which is not much, is in the United States of America. But
I will pay one hundred pounds sterling towards this fund in rance, the
instant it shall be established; and I will pay the same sum in England
whenever a similar establishment shall take place in that country.

A revolution in the state of civilization is the necessary companion of
revolutions in the system of government. If a revolution in any country
be from bad to good, or from good to bad, the state of what is called
civilization in that country, must be made conformable thereto, to give
that revolution effect. Despotic government supports itself by abject
civilization, in which debasement of the human mind, and wretchedness
in the mass of the people, are the chief enterions. Such governments
consider man merely as an animal; that the exercise of intellectual
faculty is not his privilege; _that he has nothing to do with the laws
but to obey them _; (*) and they politically depend more upon breaking
the spirit of the people by poverty, than they fear enraging it by
desperation.

* Expression of Horsley, an English bishop, in the English
parliament.--Author.

It is a revolution in the state of civilization that will give
perfection to the revolution of France. Already the conviction that
government by representation is the true system of government is
spreading itself fast in the world. The reasonableness of it can be seen
by all. The justness of it makes itself felt even by its opposers. But
when a system of civilization, growing out of that system of government,
shall be so organized that not a man or woman born in the Republic but
shall inherit some means of beginning the world, and see before them
the certainty of escaping the miseries that under other governments
accompany old age, the revolution of France will have an advocate and an
ally in the heart of all nations.

An army of principles will penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot;
it will succeed where diplomatic management would fail: it is neither
the Rhine, the Channel, nor the Ocean that can arrest its progress: it
will march on the horizon of the world, and it will conquer.


MEANS FOR CARRYING THE PROPOSED PLAN INTO EXECUTION,

AND TO RENDER IT AT THE SAME TIME CONDUCIVE TO THE PUBLIC INTEREST.

I. Each canton shall elect in its primary assemblies, three persons,
as commissioners for that canton, who shall take cognizance, and keep
a register of all matters happening in that canton, conformable to the
charter that shall be established by law for carrying this plan into
execution.

II. The law shall fix the manner in which the property of deceased
persons shall be ascertained.

III. When the amount of the property of any deceased person shall be
ascertained, the principal heir to that property, or the eldest of the
co-heirs, if of lawful age, or if under age the person authorized by the
will of the deceased to represent him or them, shall give bond to the
commissioners of the canton to pay the said tenth part thereof in four
equal quarterly payments, within the space of one year or sooner, at the
choice of the payers. One half of the whole property shall remain as a
security until the bond be paid off.

IV. The bond shall be registered in the office of the commissioners of
the canton, and the original bonds shall be deposited in the national
bank at Paris. The bank shall publish every quarter of a year the amount
of the bonds in its possession, and also the bonds that shall have been
paid off, or what parts thereof, since the last quarterly publication.

V. The national bank shall issue bank notes upon the security of the
bonds in its possession. The notes so issued, shall be applied to pay
the pensions of aged persons, and the compensations to persons arriving
at twenty-one years of age. It is both reasonable and generous to
suppose, that persons not under immediate necessity, will suspend their
right of drawing on the fund, until it acquire, as it will do, a greater
degree of ability. In this case, it is proposed, that an honorary
register be kept, in each canton, of the names of the persons thus
suspending that right, at least during the present war.

VI. As the inheritors of property must always take up their bonds in
four quarterly payments, or sooner if they choose, there will always
be _numéraire_ [cash] arriving at the bank after the expiration of the
first quarter, to exchange for the bank notes that shall be brought in.

VII. The bank notes being thus put in circulation, upon the best of all
possible security, that of actual property, to more than four times
the amount of the bonds upon which the notes are issued, and with
_numéraire_ continually arriving at the bank to exchange or pay them off
whenever they shall be presented for that purpose, they will acquire
a permanent value in all parts of the Republic. They can therefore be
received in payment of taxes, or emprunts equal to numéraire, because
the government can always receive numéraire for them at the bank.

VIII. It will be necessary that the payments of the ten per cent, be
made in numeraire for the first year from the establishment of the plan.
But after the expiration of the first year, the inheritors of property
may pay ten per cent either in bank notes issued upon the fund, or in
numeraire, If the payments be in numeraire, it will lie as a deposit at
the bank, to be exchanged for a quantity of notes equal to that amount;
and if in notes issued upon the fund, it will cause a demand upon the
fund, equal thereto; and thus the operation of the plan will create
means to carry itself into execution.

Thomas Paine.




XXIX. THE EIGHTEENTH FRUCTIDOR.


To the People of France and the French Armies (1)

1 This pamphlet was written between the defeat of Pichegru's
attempt, September 4, 1794, and November 12, of the same
year, the date of the Bien-informé in which the publication
is noticed. General Pichegra (Charles), (1761-1804) having
joined a royalist conspiracy against the Republic, was
banished to Cayenne (1797), whence he escaped to England;
having returned to Paris (1804) he was imprisoned in the
Temple, and there found strangled by a silk handkerchief,
whether by his own or another's act remaining doubtful.
--Editor.

When an extraordinary measure, not warranted by established
constitutional rules, and justifiable only on the supreme law of
absolute necessity, bursts suddenly upon us, we must, in order to form
a true judgment thereon, carry our researches back to the times that
preceded and occasioned it. Taking up then the subject with respect to
the event of the Eighteenth of Fructidor on this ground, I go to examine
the state of things prior to that period. I begin with the establishment
of the constitution of the year 3 of the French Republic.

A better _organized_ constitution has never yet been devised by human
wisdom. It is, in its organization, free from all the vices and defects
to which other forms of government are more or less subject. I will
speak first of the legislative body, because the Legislature is, in the
natural order of things, the first power; the Executive is the first
magistrate.

By arranging the legislative body into two divisions, as is done in the
French Constitution, the one, (the Council of Five Hundred,) whose part
it is to conceive and propose laws; the other, a Council of Ancients, to
review, approve, or reject the laws proposed; all the security is given
that can arise from coolness of reflection acting upon, or correcting
the precipitancy or enthusiasm of conception and imagination. It is
seldom that our first thought, even upon any subject, is sufficiently
just.(1)

1 For Paine's ideas on the right division of representatives
into two chambers, which differ essentially from any
bicameral system ever adopted, see vol. ii., p. 444 of this
work; also, in the present volume, Chapter XXXIV.--
_Editor._.

The policy of renewing the Legislature by a third part each year, though
not entirely new, either in theory or in practice, is nevertheless one
of the modern improvements in the science of government. It prevents,
on the one hand, that convulsion and precipitate change of measures
into which a nation might be surprised by the going out of the whole
Legislature at the same time, and the instantaneous election of a new
one; on the other hand, it excludes that common interest from taking
place that might tempt a whole Legislature, whose term of duration
expired at once, to usurp the right of continuance. I go now to speak of
the Executive.

It is a principle uncontrovertible by reason, that each of the parts
by which government is composed, should be so constructed as to be in
perpetual maturity. We should laugh at the idea of a Council of Five
Hundred, or a Council of Ancients, or a Parliament, or any national
assembly, who should be all children in leading strings and in the
cradle, or be all sick, insane, deaf, dumb, lame or blind, at the same
time, or be all upon crutches, tottering with age or infirmities.



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