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What is
not Prohibited by the Law should not be hindered; nor should anyone be
compelled to that which the Law does not Require.

Six: the Law is an expression of the Will of the Community. All Citizens
have a right to concur, either personally or by their Representatives,
in its formation. It Should be the same to all, whether it protects or
punishes; and all being equal in its sight, are equally eligible to
all Honours, Places, and employments, according to their different
abilities, without any other distinction than that created by their
Virtues and talents.

Seven: No Man should be accused, arrested, or held in confinement,
except in cases determined by the Law, and according to the forms which
it has prescribed. All who promote, solicit, execute, or cause to be
executed, arbitrary orders, ought to be punished, and every Citizen
called upon, or apprehended by virtue of the Law, ought immediately to
obey, and renders himself culpable by resistance.

Eight: The Law ought to impose no other penalties but such as are
absolutely and evidently necessary; and no one ought to be punished, but
in virtue of a Law promulgated before the offence, and Legally applied.

Nine: Every Man being presumed innocent till he has been convicted,
whenever his detention becomes indispensable, all rigour to him, more
than is necessary to secure his person, ought to be provided against by
the Law.

Ten: No Man ought to be molested on account of his opinions, not even on
account of his Religious opinions, provided his avowal of them does not
disturb the Public Order established by the Law.

Eleven: The unrestrained communication of thoughts and opinions being
one of the Most Precious Rights of Man, every Citizen may speak, write,
and publish freely, provided he is responsible for the abuse of this
Liberty, in cases determined by the Law.

Twelve: A Public force being necessary to give security to the Rights
of Men and of Citizens, that force is instituted for the benefit of the
Community and not for the particular benefit of the persons to whom it
is intrusted.

Thirteen: A common contribution being necessary for the support of the
Public force, and for defraying the other expenses of Government,
it ought to be divided equally among the Members of the Community,
according to their abilities.

Fourteen: every Citizen has a Right, either by himself or his
Representative, to a free voice in determining the necessity of Public
Contributions, the appropriation of them, and their amount, mode of
assessment, and duration.

Fifteen: every Community has a Right to demand of all its agents an
account of their conduct.

Sixteen: every Community in which a Separation of Powers and a Security
of Rights is not Provided for, wants a Constitution.

Seventeen: The Right to Property being inviolable and sacred, no one
ought to be deprived of it, except in cases of evident Public necessity,
legally ascertained, and on condition of a previous just Indemnity.




OBSERVATIONS ON THE DECLARATION OF RIGHTS

The first three articles comprehend in general terms the whole of a
Declaration of Rights, all the succeeding articles either originate
from them or follow as elucidations. The 4th, 5th, and 6th define more
particularly what is only generally expressed in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

The 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th articles are declaratory of principles
upon which laws shall be constructed, conformable to rights already
declared. But it is questioned by some very good people in France,
as well as in other countries, whether the 10th article sufficiently
guarantees the right it is intended to accord with; besides which it
takes off from the divine dignity of religion, and weakens its operative
force upon the mind, to make it a subject of human laws. It then
presents itself to man like light intercepted by a cloudy medium, in
which the source of it is obscured from his sight, and he sees nothing
to reverence in the dusky ray.*[10]

The remaining articles, beginning with the twelfth, are substantially
contained in the principles of the preceding articles; but in the
particular situation in which France then was, having to undo what was
wrong, as well as to set up what was right, it was proper to be more
particular than what in another condition of things would be necessary.

While the Declaration of Rights was before the National Assembly some of
its members remarked that if a declaration of rights were published
it should be accompanied by a Declaration of Duties. The observation
discovered a mind that reflected, and it only erred by not reflecting
far enough. A Declaration of Rights is, by reciprocity, a Declaration of
Duties also. Whatever is my right as a man is also the right of another;
and it becomes my duty to guarantee as well as to possess.

The three first articles are the base of Liberty, as well individual as
national; nor can any country be called free whose government does not
take its beginning from the principles they contain, and continue to
preserve them pure; and the whole of the Declaration of Rights is of
more value to the world, and will do more good, than all the laws and
statutes that have yet been promulgated.

In the declaratory exordium which prefaces the Declaration of Rights
we see the solemn and majestic spectacle of a nation opening its
commission, under the auspices of its Creator, to establish a
Government, a scene so new, and so transcendantly unequalled by anything
in the European world, that the name of a Revolution is diminutive of
its character, and it rises into a Regeneration of man. What are the
present Governments of Europe but a scene of iniquity and oppression?
What is that of England? Do not its own inhabitants say it is a market
where every man has his price, and where corruption is common traffic
at the expense of a deluded people? No wonder, then, that the French
Revolution is traduced. Had it confined itself merely to the destruction
of flagrant despotism perhaps Mr. Burke and some others had been silent.
Their cry now is, "It has gone too far"--that is, it has gone too far
for them. It stares corruption in the face, and the venal tribe are all
alarmed. Their fear discovers itself in their outrage, and they are but
publishing the groans of a wounded vice. But from such opposition the
French Revolution, instead of suffering, receives an homage. The more it
is struck the more sparks it will emit; and the fear is it will not be
struck enough. It has nothing to dread from attacks; truth has given it
an establishment, and time will record it with a name as lasting as his
own.

Having now traced the progress of the French Revolution through most
of its principal stages, from its commencement to the taking of the
Bastille, and its establishment by the Declaration of Rights, I will
close the subject with the energetic apostrophe of M. de la Fayette,
"May this great monument, raised to Liberty, serve as a lesson to the
oppressor, and an example to the oppressed!"*[11]


MISCELLANEOUS CHAPTER

To prevent interrupting the argument in the preceding part of this work,
or the narrative that follows it, I reserved some observations to be
thrown together in a Miscellaneous Chapter; by which variety might
not be censured for confusion. Mr. Burke's book is all Miscellany. His
intention was to make an attack on the French Revolution; but instead of
proceeding with an orderly arrangement, he has stormed it with a mob of
ideas tumbling over and destroying one another.

But this confusion and contradiction in Mr. Burke's Book is easily
accounted for.--When a man in a wrong cause attempts to steer his course
by anything else than some polar truth or principle, he is sure to be
lost. It is beyond the compass of his capacity to keep all the parts
of an argument together, and make them unite in one issue, by any
other means than having this guide always in view. Neither memory nor
invention will supply the want of it. The former fails him, and the
latter betrays him.

Notwithstanding the nonsense, for it deserves no better name, that Mr.
Burke has asserted about hereditary rights, and hereditary succession,
and that a Nation has not a right to form a Government of itself; it
happened to fall in his way to give some account of what Government is.
"Government," says he, "is a contrivance of human wisdom."

Admitting that government is a contrivance of human wisdom, it must
necessarily follow, that hereditary succession, and hereditary rights
(as they are called), can make no part of it, because it is impossible
to make wisdom hereditary; and on the other hand, that cannot be a
wise contrivance, which in its operation may commit the government of a
nation to the wisdom of an idiot. The ground which Mr. Burke now
takes is fatal to every part of his cause. The argument changes from
hereditary rights to hereditary wisdom; and the question is, Who is the
wisest man? He must now show that every one in the line of hereditary
succession was a Solomon, or his title is not good to be a king. What a
stroke has Mr. Burke now made! To use a sailor's phrase, he has swabbed
the deck, and scarcely left a name legible in the list of Kings; and
he has mowed down and thinned the House of Peers, with a scythe as
formidable as Death and Time.

But Mr. Burke appears to have been aware of this retort; and he has
taken care to guard against it, by making government to be not only
a contrivance of human wisdom, but a monopoly of wisdom. He puts the
nation as fools on one side, and places his government of wisdom, all
wise men of Gotham, on the other side; and he then proclaims, and says
that "Men have a Right that their Wants should be provided for by this
wisdom." Having thus made proclamation, he next proceeds to explain to
them what their wants are, and also what their rights are. In this
he has succeeded dextrously, for he makes their wants to be a want of
wisdom; but as this is cold comfort, he then informs them, that they
have a right (not to any of the wisdom) but to be governed by it; and
in order to impress them with a solemn reverence for this
monopoly-government of wisdom, and of its vast capacity for all
purposes, possible or impossible, right or wrong, he proceeds with
astrological mysterious importance, to tell to them its powers in these
words: "The rights of men in government are their advantages; and these
are often in balance between differences of good; and in compromises
sometimes between good and evil, and sometimes between
evil and evil.



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