תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

An Account of the commence ment of the Liberty of Swiczerland ; with a beautiful Copper Plate, representing that memorable Event.

THE prerent inhabitants of Swit

zerland are descended from

the ancient Helvetii, who were rubdued by Julius Cæsar. They con tinued long under little better than the nominal dominion of the Houses of Burgundy and Auftria, till the beginning of the fourteenth century, when the severity, with which they were treated by the Austrian Gover. nors, excited a general insurre&ion, and gave rise to what is now called, from the ancient name of the country, the Helvetic Confederacy.

This memorable event is thus related: Albert, Emperor of Germany, having in vain attempted to compel all the Switzers to submit to the yoke of the House of Austria, there people were lo cruelly treated, that they en tered into a confederacy, in order to support their ancient rights and pri. vileges. Griller, the Governor of Uri, in order to discover the authors of the conspiracy, ordered that his hat should be fixed on the top of a pole,

in the market-place of Altorf, the capital of that province; and all thore, who passed by it, were obliged, on pain of death, to pay obeisance to it as if to the Governor himself. William Tell, a man of infuence in his country, disdaining this mark of varfalage and flavery, refused to obey the tyrant's order : upon which the latter caused him to be arrested, and condemned him to shoot an apple from the head of his only son, who was about five years old. Tell answered, that he would rather fuffer death himself,than risque the safety of his son. The tyrant declared, that he would hang them both, if he did not instantly obey. Thus compelled, Tell reluctantly took his bow, and from the head of his son, who was tied to a tree he shot a way the apple, to the admi. ration of all the spectatori. The Gover nor, perceiving that he had a second arron, demanded what he had intend. ed to do with it; assuring him, at the same tinie, of his full pardon, if he would disclose the truth.... Ta pierce thy heart," replied Tell, “ ir E. it had been so unfortunate as to kill " my son." Grifer, barely violating his promise, loaded him with chains, and made him embark with him on board a vessel that was to cross Lake Uri, in order to confine him in a

dungega

dungeon in one of his calles ; but a armiy if 20,000 men. With a force dreadful tempeft arising, the Gover. But txceeding 500, the brave Switzers nor found that Tell's affiftance was waited for the main body of the Aunecessary, to save himself and his strani army 10 the defiles of Morgafr. crew. He therefore, ordered the fer Piore fortunate than Leonidas and ters to be taken off; and Tell, hav. bis Laceriemonians, they put the iovaing seered the vessel with Calety, to ders to #ght, by rolling down great wards a landing place, with which he fiones from the tops of the mounta:ps. was well acquainted, threw himself Other bodies of the Austrian army into the water with his bow, and were deleated at the same time, by a fled to the mounta:ns. He there wait. number of Switzers equally fmail. ed in a place that Griller was obliged This vidlory having been gained ja ro país, and Mot him in the heart, the Cantons of Schweitz,the twootatr witli his remaining arrow. The Captons gave this pame to the Conte brave Switzer then haftened to an. deracy, into which, by degrees, other nounce the death of the tyrant, and Cantons entered. Berne, which is to their consequent deliverance, to the Switzerland what Amfterdam is to consederares; and putting himself at Holland, did not accede to this alliance the head of a multitude of his gallant till the year 1352 ; and it was not till countrymen, he took all the fortreffes, 1913 that the imall diftri&t of Appen. and made the Governors prisoners. zei united to the other Cantons, and

Such is the celebrated hiftory of the completed the number of thirteen. commencement of Swiss liberty, No people ever fought longer,nor bet. which some of the greatest painters ter, for their liberty. They gained have selected as a favourite subject. more than fixty combats againft the It must not be concealed, however, Auftrians, and, it is believed, will long that some historians affed to call in preserve their independence. A counqueftion the circumstance of the ap- try, which is not too extensive, oor ple; while others, on the contrary, too opulent, and where the laws breath have implicitly received it. The for a spirit of mildaele, muft neceffardy be mer affert, that a limilar event had oc free. This revolution in the goverg. curred long hefore to Tocho, an ex ment, produced another in the aspect cellent marksman, in the army of a of the country. A barren foil, Deg. Gothic Monarch, oamed Harold ; leded under the dominion of tyrapis, but this is no conclufive proof, that became, at length, the scene of cultithe same event might not happen af- vation. Vineyards were planted on terwards to a very different person, rocky mountains ; and savage tracts nor is there any reason for suppofing cleared and tilled by the haods of freethat the Switzers would have recourie men, became the fertile abodes of to fable, in order to account for a re. peace and plenty. The thirteen volution, that was not only very lig. Cantons, as they now fand in point nal in itself, but that happened not of precedency, are 1. Zurich, 2. Berne, much more than four centuries ago. 3. Lucerne, 4. Uri, 5. Schweitz, 6. Ua

But not to investigate this subje&t derwalden, 7. Zug, 8. Glacis, 9. Bafil, further, all hiftorians are agreed, that. 10. Fribourg, 11. Soleure, 12. SchaffWilliam Tell was one of the moft dil- hausen, 13. Appenzel. tipguished authors of this glorious revolution. Griffer was unqueftionably killed by him with an arrow. He entered into an affociation with

The Free Republican, No. VI. Werner Stouffacher, Walter Forli, and Arnold de Meldal, whose father

A DEMOCRATICAL gohad been deprived of his right by the in

A vernment has, in the course of human mopfier. The plan of this revo- these papers, been frequently repre. Htion was formed on the 14th of No sented and defined to be that, where vember 1307. The Emperor Albert in each individual possesses an equality who would have treated there illuftrio of power. And it has also been ob. ous men as rebels, was prevented by served, that as men are entitled to his death. The Archduke Leopold political authority in proportion to marched into their country, with an their rights in society, wherever there

is an inequality in the distribution of termine the question before us, witia property, a democracy can never be accuracy aod precision, it is imfree. It was from this idea I pre portant to consider, whe-her if the fume, tllat the department of legir. whole people were assembled for the lation in this Commonwealth, was purpose of legiflation according to formed of two branches, a Senate, the spirit of the constitution, all laws and House of Representatives, each that Mould be thus made woulu,from having a negative on the other. As the nature and form of the allemthe former are chosen by diflrias, bly, have the consent of a inajority proportioned to their payment of of the property as well as the persons the public taxes, no one can doubt of the coninunily. Were the whole but that that branch of legitlarion community thus assembled, it is plain, was intended to represent the PRO that every law must be twice voted PERYY of the citizens ; the latter for before it could be legally binding, being chosen by the people, on the once by the whole people assembled principle of equality must certainly in one body, and once by the people be designed for a representation of assembled by diftris;in the latter care their PERSONS. The necessity of eich diftrict would be divided into as such a diftribution of power, in a many claffes as they respectively are community like this, I have already intitled by the constitution to send attempted to prove. I Mall now members to the Senate. The ma. proceed to enquire, whether, by the jority of the clafíes of the whole Conftitution of Mafichusetts, there ftate would decide the vote in the is, in faa, a representation of the second inftance. The first assembly perfons, as well as the property of would undoubtedly answer to the its citizens.

House of Representatives, the latter By the conftitution the Senators to the Senate; for though the senators are to be chosen by districts, and the are required to poffers a greater exnumber of each proportioned to its cent of property than the electors, property. The House of Represen yet as they are chosen by a majority tatives by towns proportioned to of numbers who may possess a minotheir numbers. The qualifications rity of the property, they depend on of a Senator are real estate of three them for their existence, and muft hundred pounds, or personal estate be supposed to pursue their wishes. of six, residence within the Common. From this representation it is plain wealth five years preceding his elec- that a law approved by a majority tion, and at the time of the choice, of the whole people assembled in one an inhabitant of the distrid he may body may be negatived by a minori. be chosen to represent. Those of a ty assembled by districts. But would member of the House of Represen: the voice of a majority of the classes tatives are a freehold within the be the voice of a majority of the protown, of one hundred pounds, or perty? It is plain that it would not ; other efate of two, and one years for though the classes in each district inhabitancy. The qualifications of are proportioned to its property, the electors both of the one branch yet a majority of the voters in each and the other, are in every infance may pofless a minority of the proalike.

perty. All representative bodies are but a mere epitome of the body repre. There refeâions lead me to some iented, a redufion of the whole to observations on the Roman Comitia, a smaller scale, wherein all their pro. which in their turn may throw some. perty, :rights and privileges are del light on the question before us. The cribed. As the refpe&ive conili. inhabitants of Rome, by the inftituthents of the two branches of legif tion of Romulus, were divided at first gillation must, from the very nature into three equal parts or tribes, and ol delegation, possess the same rights cach tribe into thirty Curiæ of an and powers in the admioistration of hundred men each. To the affem. government, were they aliem. blies of the people three things were bled in their own persons instead of committed ; to create magiftrates, those of their representatives, to de. make laws, and determine concerning,

any any peace or war that was proposed by the king i yer in all these things the Senate's approbation was necer. sary. The people for onany years gave their voices by Curiæ, in which every private man had his vore. The majority of votes in each Curia determined the sense of that Curia, and what the major part of the chir ty Curiæ determined was deemed the relolution of the whole affembly, which assembly was therefore called Comitia Curiata. The Senate confitting at first of an hundred men, and choreo from the body of Patricians, that is, (uch of the republic as had been diftinguished by the king from the reft of the people, by reason of their being better born, more rich or more eminent for virtue, were not only to be judges in private caures, but to deliberate upon ruch publick affairs as the king proposed, and to determine by the plurality of voices. Had this fyftem of govera. meut continued, Rome might probably have remained for a long time happy. The people were the prote&ors of their own persons. The Senate would undoubtedly have been the guardians of property. But Servius Tullius defroyed the ballance and lowed those seeds of faction and cabal that ever harrassed the government in her brightest days and finally produced her ruio.

Taxes, until the reign of this prioce, had hitherto beep levied upon the people at so much a head, without diftin&ion of rich or poor ; but as both forts were equally obliged to serve in the field at their own expeoce it was often hard on the poorer. There was likewise this farther.in. convenience in the former adminiftration of the government. In the Cu. via the rich and the poor, the pa. trician and plebeian were mingled without diftin&tion, and every man's voice of equal value. As the ignoble and ignorant were the more nu. merous, they had the greatest share in the appointment of officers, making laws and deciding on peace and war. Percieving there inconvenie ences Servius vodertook to ease the poor by burthening the rich, and yet to please the latter by augment. ing their power. To this end he divided the Roads into ax classes.

The first class confifted of thole, whole eftates in lands and effects were worth at least ao hundred tboa

and ailes of brass. The second das coinprehended those worth 75,000 afes ; the third, those worth 50,000, the fourth 25,000, the fath 18,500, the sixth included all those who had no eftates at all, or were not worth ro much as the soldiers of the fifth. Each of these clases were divided into a certain number of centuries, proportioned or nearly so, to their property. These regulations being made, neither troops nor taxes were levied as formerly ; but the forft and richest class being more numerous in centuries than all the reft, faraithed, of consequence, more men and more money for the publick fervice, tban all the rest of the fate be rides. Hor. ever, chat ample amends might be made this class, Servius gave it, ia et fea, the whole authority of the ftate, by assembling the people in Comitia by Centuries, in fiead of Comitia by Curiæ, for the votes of the former being reckoned by Centuries, and the rich class containing more ceoturits than all the other five,had confequent. ly every thing at its own dilpolal. The firft class giving their votes Erit, there was rarely occasion to go so low as the fourth for a majority of votes. After this time the al. femblies of the Curiæ were rarely called unless for matters of (anall moment

Within the little compass of history that I have been acquainted with, I have never met with any system of jurisprudence wherein the persons and property of a communi. ty could be more compleatly reprerented than by the Comitia Curiatia, and Comitia Centuriata of Rome. Had the number of centuries beep exaâly proportioned to the proper. ty of the class, a law eftabited by cach Comitia .would have had that two fold consent in which confifts the essence of ciyil liberty.

As the rights of property as well as of persons are individual in their na. ture, and as, in a free government, each citizen's share in political authoe ty ought to be proportioned to his rights in society, I know of no other way of obtaining the consent of a ma. jority of tbe property, as well as the

persons

pued.)

persons of the Community, than an rity of but perhaps a third of the ininftitution fimilar, in kind, with that dividuals in the government may neeftablished by Servius Tullius. Our gative the almoft onanimous voice of Senate and House of Representatives the whole. Hence I think it is plain were undoubtedly intended to answer that the renate is not only, not a reto the two comitia above described. presentation of property, as it ought The firft, like the comitia centuriata, io be in order to render the governto represent the property of the com- ment free, but according to the premunity ; the laft, the cornitia by cu sent inftitution is repugdant, to the riæ,to represent their persons. And principles of civil liberty, which ever this by the House is compleatly effect. hold it as an indisputable truth, that ed; but the Senate represent pei an equality of rights ought ever to be ther the persons of the citizens, nor attended with an equality of power. their property ; but only the persons The citizens of Maflachusetts are, I of particular diftrias ; becaure, tho believe, at present, as happy as any intended to answer to the comitra by people in the world : and whe. centuries, they are chosen by an afsem- iher this unequal distribution of powbly not of the centuries but of the er has, or ever will occasion any evils curiæ. That is to say, a body in dangerous to the republic, is dot ended to check the encroachment of for me to to determine. It is howethe people, are chosen and appointed ver a very melancholly truth,that the by the very men they are instituted to wiseft and the beft governments, front controul.

the instability of human affairs, haften It muft be acknowleged, however, rapidly to their decline. Of course, that by the present syftem of legifla. that, which in its very form carries tion, many conveniencies are felt. with it the inftruments of its own ruin,

The result of a lingle assembly would can never.be Aattered with a long pe * probably be hafty and indigefted were riod of duration. there not a second to revise and con.

(To be continued.) troul.

Those who framed our confitution seemed to have conceived that pro To the Editors of the BOSTON perty was attached to diftrids, and

MAGAZINE. not to individuals, and that therefore, The following Account of the if a diftriâ had a number of voices in the Senat proportioned to the American Locust may not property within the diAriet, the

be unacceptable to fone of rights of property would be compleatly represented though chosen by your Readers. a minority of persons polleffing it. The error is too plain to need further THIS inred, from head to tail is observation. From this miftake how 1 about an inch and a half ; and ever, property muft not only be unre rather bulky in proportion to its presented, but as long as the prereos length. The head is furnished with Tyftem of goveroment remains, citi. two eyes which are red and promizens that are poffeffed of equal righis nent, and two short rigid horns bemay be possessed of a very unequal tween them. No mouth is to be seen Thare of political power. For infance, bot a long tapering trunk descends it is very poffible that in the course of close to the breaft. It has three pair a century, the sea port towns of the of legs and two pair of wings. The Commonwealth, and those adjacent, wings are very thin and transparent ; may pay a greater proportion of the the outward pair extending thempublic taxes than the whole ftare he. Selves to a considerable distance besides, though their numbers may not yond the tail; the inner terminating be a third. These places then will with it. The back is of a black cohave a right to send to the Senate a lour ; and the wings, at their beginmajority of the whole, and as it is ning and lower edges, and the scales *very probable that the majority of, of the hell, are of the yellow. The the voters in each diffriat will possess male Locuft has, under each wing, a minority oi the property, a majo rrar'ts ipsertion, an opening into the

cavit.

« הקודםהמשך »