Gustave de Molinari, Les Soirées de la rue Saint-Lazare: entretiens
sur les lois économiques et défense de la propriété (Evenings on Saint
Lazarus Street: Discussions on Economic Laws and the Defence of Property)
[A Draft of Liberty Fund's new translation]
[May 17, 2012]
[SUMMARY: On government and its function – Monopoly
governments and communist governments. – On the liberty of government. – On
divine right. – That divine right is identical to the right to work. – The
vices of monopoly government. – War is the inevitable consequence
of this system. – On the sovereignty of the people. – How we
lose our sovereignty. – How we can retrieve it.
– The liberal solution. – The communist solution. – Communist
governments. – Their vices. – Centralization and decentralization.
– On the administration of justice. – On its former organisation.
– On its current organisation. – On the inadequacy of the jury
system. – How the administration of security and of justice could be
made free. – The advantages of free governments. – How nationality
should be understood.]
Title Page of the original 1849 edition
The photo of Molinari (1819-1912) which accompanied
his obituary in the Journal des économistes
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Molinari's book Les Soirées de la rue Saint-Lazare; entretiens sur les
lois économiques et défense de la propriété. (Paris: Guillaumin, 1849)
is being translated by Liberty Fund. The translation was done by Dennis O'Keeffe
and it is being edited by David M. Hart. The critical apparatus of foontnotes
and glossary entries, and introduction are being provided by David Hart.
We welcome feedback from Molinari scholars to ensure that this edition will
be a great one and thus befitting Molinari in his centennial year.
page has a detailed Table of Contents and links to other Chapters.
The Eleventh Evening
SUMMARY: On government and its function – Monopoly
governments and communist governments. – On the liberty of government. – On
divine right. – That divine right is identical to the right to work. – The
vices of monopoly government. – War is the inevitable consequence of
this system. – On the sovereignty of the people. – How we lose
our sovereignty. – How we can retrieve it.
– The liberal solution. – The communist solution. – Communist
governments. – Their vices. – Centralization and decentralization.
– On the administration of justice. – On its former organisation.
– On its current organisation. – On the inadequacy of the jury
system. – How the administration of security and of justice could be
made free. – The advantages of free governments. – How nationality
should be understood.
Under your system of absolute property rights and of full economic freedom,
what is the function of government?
The function of the government consists solely in assuring everyone of the
security of his property.
Right, this is the “State-as-Policeman”of Jean-Baptiste Say.
But I in turn have a question to put to you:
There are in the world today two kinds of government: the former trace their
origin to an alleged divine right.....
Alleged? Alleged? Meaning what?
The others spring from popular sovereignty. Which of them do you prefer?
I want neither one nor the other. The former are monopoly governments and
the latter are communist governments. In the name of the principle of property,
in the name of the right I possess to provide myself with security, or to buy
it from whomever seems appropriate to me, I demand free governments.
It means governments whose services I may accept or refuse according to my
own free will.
Are you speaking seriously?
You will soon see. You are a partisan of divine right, are you not?
Since we have been living in a republic, I have rather inclined to that persuasion,
And you regard yourself as an opponent of the right to work?
Regard myself? Why, I am quite sure of it. I attest.....
Bear witness to nothing, for you are a declared supporter of the right to
But once again, I.....
You are a supporter of divine right. Well, the principle of divine right is
absolutely identical with that of the right to work.
What is divine right? It is the right which certain families possess to the
government of the people. Who conferred it on them? God himself.
Just read [p306] M. Joseph de Maistre’s Considerations on France (Considérations
sur la France) and his pamphlet The Generating Principle of Political Constitutions
(Principe générateur des Constitutions politiques):
“Man cannot create a sovereign, says M. De Maistre. At most he can serve
as an instrument for dispossessing a sovereign and delivering his estates
into the hands of another sovereign, himself a prince by birth. Moreover,
there has never been a sovereign family whose origin could be identified
as plebeian. If such a phenomenon were to appear, it would be a new era for
“......It is written: It is I who make the kings. This is not a statement
made by the Church, nor a preacher’s metaphor; it is the literal, simple
and palpable truth. It is a law of the political world. God makes kings,
quite literally so. He prepares royal families. He nourishes them within
a cloud which hides their origin. They next appear, crowned with glory and
honor. They assume their place.”
All of which signifies that God has invested certain families with the right
to govern men and that nobody can deprive them of the exercise of this right.
Now if you recognise that certain families have the exclusive right to carry
out that special form of industry which we call government, if furthermore
you agree with most of the theorists of divine right, that the people are obliged
to supply, either subjects to be governed, or funds, in the form of indemnities
against unemployment to members of these families
– all this down through the centuries – are you then properly justified
in rejecting [p307] the right to work? Between this oppressive claim as to
the right to require society to supply the workers with the labor which suits
them, or with a sufficient indemnity in lieu thereof, and this other oppressive
claim of the right to require society to supply the workers of royal families
with jobs appropriate to their abilities and to their dignity, in the business
of government, or else with a grant at least to meet minimum subsistence, where
is the difference?
In truth there is none.
What does it matter if the recognition of divine right is indispensable to
the maintenance of society?
Could not the Socialists reply to you that the recognition of the right to
work is no less necessary to the maintenance of society? If you accept the
right to work for some, must you not accept them for everyone? Is the right
to work anything other than an extension of divine right?
You say that the recognition of divine right is indispensable to the maintenance
of society. How then does it happen that all nations aspire to rid themselves
of these monarchies by divine right? How does it happen that old monopoly governments
are either ruined or on the edge of ruin?
The people are in the throes of vertigo.
That is a widespread vertigo. Believe me, however, the people have good reasons
for liberating themselves from (p308) their old despots. Monopoly government
is no better than any other. One does not govern well and above all one does
not govern cheaply, when there is no competition to be feared, when the governed
are deprived of the right to choose their rulers freely. Grant a grocer the
exclusive right to supply a particular part of town, forbid the inhabitants
of that district to buy any commodities from neighboring grocers or even to
provide themselves with their own groceries, and you will see what trash the
privileged grocer will end up selling and at what price. You will see how he
lines his pockets at the expense of the unfortunate consumers, what regal splendour
he will display for the greater glory of the neighbourhood. .. Well, what is
true for the smallest services is no less true for the greatest ones. A monopoly
government is certainly worth more than that of a grocery shop. The production
becomes expensive and of poor quality when it is organized as a monopoly.
The monopoly of security is the main cause of the wars which up until our
own day have caused such distress to the human race.
How should that be so?
What is the natural inclination of any producer, privileged or otherwise?
It is to raise the numbers of his clients in order to increase his profits.
Well, under a regime of monopoly, what means can producers of security employ
to increase their clientele?
Since the people do not count in such a regime, since they are simply the
legitimate domain over which the Lord’s anointed can hold sway, no one can
call upon their assent in order to acquire the right to administer them. Sovereigns
are therefore obliged to resort to the following measures to increase the number
of their subjects: first they may simply buy provinces and realms with cash;
secondly they marry heiresses, either bringing kingdoms as their dowries or
in line to inherit them later; or thirdly by naked force to conquer their neighbours’
lands. This is the first cause of war!
On the other hand when peoples revolt sometimes against their legitimate sovereigns,
as happened recently in Italy and in Hungary, the Lord’s anointed are naturally
obliged to force back their rebellious herd into obedience. For this purpose
they construct a Holy Alliance and they carry
out a great slaughter of their revolutionary subjects, until they have put
down their rebellion. If
the rebels are in league with other peoples, however, the latter get involved
in the struggle, and the conflagration becomes general. A second cause of war!
I do not need to add that the consumers of security, pawns in the war, also
pay the costs.
Such are the advantages of monopoly governments.
Therefore you prefer governments based on the sovereignty of the people. You
rank democratic republics higher than monarchies or aristocracies. About time!
Let us be clear, please. I prefer governments [p. 310] which spring from the
sovereignty of the people. But the republics which you call “democratic”are
not in the least the true expression of the sovereignty of the people. These
governments are extended monopolies, forms of communism. Well, the sovereignty
of the people is incompatible with monopoly or communism.
So what is the sovereignty of the people, in your view?
It is the right which every man possesses to use freely his person and his
goods as he pleases, the right to govern himself.
If the sovereign individual has the right to use his person and his goods,
as master thereof, he naturally also has the right to defend them. He possesses
the right of free defence.
Can each person exercise this right, however, in isolation? Can everyone be
his own policeman or soldier?
No! No more than the same man can be his own ploughman, baker, tailor, grocer,
doctor or priest.
It is an economic law that man cannot fruitfully engage in several jobs at
the same time. Thus, we see from the very beginning of human society, all the
various activities specialising, and the various members of society turning
to jobs for which their natural abilities best equip them. They gain their
subsistence by exchanging the products of their particular occupation for the
various things necessary to the satisfaction of their needs.
Man in isolation is, incontestably, fully master of his [p311] sovereignty.
The trouble is this sovereign person, obliged to perform himself all the tasks
which provide the necessities of life, finds himself in a wretched condition.
When man lives in society, he can preserve his sovereignty or lose it.
How does he come to lose it?
He loses it, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, when he ceases being
able to use as he chooses, his person or his goods.
Man remains completely sovereign only under a regime of full freedom. Any
monopoly or special privilege is an attack launched against his sovereignty.
Under the ancien régime, with no one having the right freely to employ his
person or use his goods, and no one having the right to engage freely in any
industry he liked, sovereignty was narrowly confined.
Under the present régime, attacks on sovereignty, by a host of monopolies
and privileges restrictive of the free activities of individuals, have not
ceased. Man has still not fully recovered his sovereignty.
How can he recover it?
There are two opposing schools, which offer quite opposite solutions to this
problem: the liberal school and the communist school.
The liberal school says: eliminate monopolies and privileges, give man back
his natural right to carry out freely any work he chooses, and he will have
full exercise of his sovereignty.
The communist school says to the contrary: be careful not to allow everyone
the right to produce freely anything [p312] he chooses. This will lead to oppression
and anarchy! Grant this right to the community and exclude individuals from
it. Let all individuals unite and organize production communistically. Let
the state be the sole producer and the sole distributer of wealth.
What is there behind this doctrine? It has often been said: slavery. It is
the absorption and cancellation of individual will by the collective will.
It is the destruction of individual sovereignty.
There figures in the first rank of industries organised in common, the one
whose purpose is to protect and defend the ownership of persons and things,
against all aggression.
How are the communities formed in which this activity takes place, namely
the nation and communes?
Most nations have been successively enlarged by the alliances of owners of
slaves or serfs as well as by their conquests. France, for example, is the
product of successive alliances and conquests. By marriage, by force or cunning, the
rulers of the Île de France successively extended their authority over the
different parts of ancient Gaul. The twenty monopolistic governments which
occupied the land area of France at that time, gave way to a single monopolistic
government. The kings of Provence, the dukes of Aquitaine, Brittany, Burgundy
and Lorraine, the counts of Flanders etc., gave way to the King of France.
The King of France was given charge of the internal and external defence of
the State. He did not, however, [p. 313] manage internal defence and civil
administration on his own.
Originally, each feudal lord managed the policing of his domain; each commune, freed
by the use of force or by buying their way out from the onerous tutelage of
his lord, handled the policing of his recognised area.
Communes and feudal lords contributed to some extent to the general defence
of the realm.
We can say that the King of France had a monopoly of the general defense and
the feudal lords and the burghers of the cities and towns had a monopoly of
In certain communes, policing was under the direction of an administration
elected by city burghers, as in Flanders, for example. Elsewhere, policing
was set up as a privileged corporation such as the bakers, butchers, and shoe
makers, or in other words like all the other industries.
In England this latter form of the production of security has persisted until
modern times. In the City of London, for example, policing was until not long
ago still in the hands of a privileged corporation. And what was extraordinarily
strange, this corporation refused to come to any agreement with the police
of other districts, to such an extent that the City became a veritable place
of refuge for criminals. This anomaly was not removed until the era of Sir
Robert Peel’s reforms.
What did the French Revolution do? It took from the king of France the monopoly
of the general defence; but it did not destroy this monopoly. It put it in
the hands [p. 314] of the nation, organised henceforth like one immense commune.
The little communes into which the former kingdom of France was divided, continued
to exist. Their number was even considerably increased. The government of the
large commune had the monopoly of general defence, while the governments of
the small communes, under the surveillance of the central government, exercised
the monopoly of local defence.
This, however, was not the end of it. Both at general commune level and at
individual commune level, other industries were organised, notably education,
religion and transport, etc., and citizens were variously taxed to defray the
costs of these industries which were organised communally.
Later, the Socialists, poor observers of what was going on if ever there were
any, not noticing that the industries which were organized in the general commune
or the individual communes, functioned both more expensively and less efficiently
than the industries which remained free, demanded the communal organization
of all branches of production. They wanted the general commune and the individual
communes no longer to limit themselves to policing, to building schools, constructing
roads, paying the salaries of priests, opening libraries, subsidising theaters,
maintaining stud farms, manufacturing tobacco, carpets, porcelain, etc., but
rather to set about producing everything.
The public’s sound common sense was shocked by this most distasteful Utopia,
but it did not react further. People understood well enough that it would be
disastrous to produce everything in common. What they [p. 315] did not understand
was that it was also ruinous to produce certain specific things in this way.
They continued therefore to engage in partial communism, while despising the
Socialists calling at the top of their voices for full communism.
The Conservatives, however, supporters of partial communism and opponents
of full communism, today find themselves divided on an important issue.
Some of them want partial communism to continue to operate mainly in the general
commune; they support centralisation.
The others, on the other hand, demand a much larger allocation of resources
for the small communes. They want the latter to be able to engage in diverse
industries such as founding schools, constructing roads, building churches,
subsidising theatres, etc., without needing to get the authorization of the
central government. They demand decentralization.
Experience has revealed the faults of centralisation. It has shown that industries
run by the large commune, by the State, supply dearer goods and ones of lower
quality than those produced by free industry.
Is it the case, however, that decentralization is superior? Is the implication
that it is more useful to free the communes, or – and this comes down
to the same thing – allow them freely to set up schools and charitable
institutions, to build theaters, subsidize religion, or even also engage freely
in other industries?
What do communes need to meet the expenses of the services of which they charged
with? They need capital. Where can they get access to it? In [p. 316] private
individuals’ pockets and nowhere else. Consequently they have to levy various
taxes on the people who live in the communes.
These taxes consist for the most part today, in the extra centimes added to
the taxes paid to the State. Certain communes, however, have also received
authorisation to set up around their boundaries a small customs office to exact
system of customs, which applies to most of the industries which have remained
free, naturally increases the resources of the commune considerably. So the
authorisation for setting up tolls is frequently sought from the central government.
The latter rarely grants it and, in this, is acting wisely; on the other hand
it quite often permits the communes to exert their authority in an extra-ordinary
manner, or to put it another way, it permits the majority of the administrators
of the commune to set up an extraordinary tax which all the people they administer
are obliged to pay.
Let the communes be emancipated, permit the majority of the inhabitants in
each locality to have the right to set up as many industries as they please,
and force the minority to contribute to the expenses of these industries organised
communally, then let the majority be authorised to establish freely every kind
of local tax, and you will soon see as many small, various and separate States
being set up in France as one can count communes. You will see in succession,
forty four thousand internal customs created in order to meet the local tax
bill, under the title tolls; you will see in a word the reconstitution of the
Under this regime, the freedom of working and exchange[p. 317] will be under assault,
both by the monopolies which the communes will grant to certain branches of
production, and by the taxes which they will levy on certain other branches
of production to support the industries operated communally. The property of
all will be exposed to the mercy of majorities.
I ask you, in the communes where socialist ideas predominate, what will happen
to property? Not only will the majority levy taxes to meet the expenses of
policing, road maintenance, religion, charitable institutions, schools etc.,
but it will levy them also to set up communal workshops, shops, trading outlets
etc. Will not the non-socialist minority be obliged to pay these local taxes?
Under such a regime, what happens to the people’s sovereignty? Will it not
disappear under the tyranny of the majority?
More directly even than centralisation, decentralisation
leads to complete communism, that is to say to the complete destruction of
What has to be done to restore to men that sovereignty which monopoly robbed
them of in the past; and which communism, that extended monopoly, threatens
to rob them of in the future?
Quite simply the various industries formerly established as monopolies and
operated today communally, need to be given their freedom. Industry still managed
or regulated by the State or by the communes, must be handed over to the free
activity of individuals.
In this way, man possessing, as was the case before the establishment of societies,
the right to apply his faculties freely, to any kind of labor, without hindrance
[p. 318] or any charge, will once again fully enjoy his sovereignty.
You have reviewed the various branches of industry which are still monopolies,
or enjoy privileges or are subject to controls, proving to us, with greater
or lesser success, that for the common good such production should be left
in freedom. Very well then. I do not wish to return to a worn-out subject.
Is it really possible, however, to take away from the State and from the communes
the task of general and local defence?
And the administration of justice too?
Yes, and the administration of justice. Is it possible that these industries,
to use your word, might be undertaken other than collectively, by the nation
and the commune?
I would perhaps be willing to say no more about these two particular communisms
if you were to agree very frankly to leave me all the others; if you would
agree to reduce the size of the State so that henceforth it would be only a
policeman, a soldier and a judge. This, however, is impossible!... For communism
in matters of security is the keystone of the ancient edifice of servitude.
Anyway, I see no reason to grant you this one rather than the others.
You must choose one or the other:
Either communism is better than freedom, and in that case all industries should
be organized in common, in the State or in the commune.
Or freedom is preferable to communism, and in that case all industries still
organised in common should be made free, including justice and police, as well
as education, religion, transport, production of tobacco, etc.
This is logical.
But is it possible?
Let us see! Are we talking about justice? Under the old regime the administration
of justice was not organised and its workforce paid, communally. It was organised
as a monopoly and its workforce paid by those who made use of it.
For a number of centuries, no activity was more independent. It constituted,
like all the other forms of material or non-material production, a privileged
corporation. The members of this corporation could bequeath their offices or
functions to their children, or even sell them. Possessing these offices in
perpetuity, the judges made themselves well-known for their independence and
Unfortunately these arrangements had, looked at in another way, all the vices
inherent in monopoly. Monopolised justice was paid for very dearly.
And God knows how many complaints and claims required the payment of bribes
to the judges. Witness
the little verse scrawled on the door of the Palais de Justice after a fire:
“One fine day, Dame Justice
Set the palace all on fire
Because she’d eaten too much spice (accepted too many bribes)”.
Should not justice be essentially free of charge? Now, does not being free
of charge entail collective organisation?
The complaints were about the justice system receiving too many bribes. It
was not a complaint about the bribing itself. If the system had not been set
up as a monopoly, if the judges had been able to demand only what was their
legitimate payment for their industry, people would not have been complaining
about the corruption.
In some countries, where those due to be tried had the right to choose their
judges, the vices of monopoly were very markedly attenuated. The competition
established in this case by the different courts ameliorates the justice process
and makes it cheaper. Adam Smith attributed the progress of the administration
of justice in England to this cause. His words are striking and I hope the
passage will allay your doubts:
The fees of court seem originally to have been the principal support of
the different courts of justice in England. Each court endeavoured to draw
to itself as much business as it could, and was, upon that account, willing
to take cognizance of many suits which were not originally intended to fall
under its jurisdiction. The court of king’s bench, instituted for the trial
of criminal causes only, took cognizance of civil suits; the plaintiff pretending that
the defendant, in not doing him justice, had been guilty of some trespass
or misdemeanor. The court of exchequer, instituted for the levying of the
king’s revenue, and for enforcing the payment of such debts only as were
due to the king, took cognizance of all other contract debts; the plaintiff
alleging that he could not pay the king, because the defendant would not
pay him. In consequence of such fictions it came, in many cases, to depend
altogether upon the parties before what court they would chuse to have their
cause tried; and each court endeavoured, by superior dispatch and impartiality,
to draw to itself as many causes as it could. The present admirable constitution
of the courts of justice in England was, perhaps, originally in a great measure,
formed by this emulation, which antiently took place between their respective
judges; each judge endeavouring to give, in his own court, the speediest
and most effectual remedy, which the law would admit, for every sort of injustice.
Originally the courts of law gave damages only for breach of contract. The
court of chancery, as a court of conscience, first took upon it to enforce
the specifick performance of agreements. When the breach of contract consisted
in the non–payment of money, the damage sustained could be compensated
in no other way than by ordering payment, which was equivalent to a specifick
performance of the agreement. In such cases, therefore, the remedy of the
courts of law was sufficient. It was not so in others. When the tenant sued
his lord for having unjustly outed him of his lease, the damages which he
recovered were by no means equivalent to the possession of the land. Such
causes, therefore, for some time, went all to the court of chancery, to the
no small loss of the courts of law. It was to draw back such causes to themselves
that the courts of law are said to have invented the artificial and fictitious
writ of ejectment, the most effectual remedy for an unjust outer or dispossession
of land. 
But once again would not a system with no charges be preferable?
So you have not yet retreated from the illusion of something being free of
charge. Do I need to demonstrate to you again that the administration of justice
without charges is more expensive than the alternative, given the cost of collecting
the taxes paid out to maintain your free courts and to give salaries to your
free judges. Need I show you again that the provision of justice at no charge
is necessarily iniquitous because not everyone makes equal use of the justice
system and not everyone is equally litigious? What is more, justice is far
from free under the present regime, as you are aware. (p322)
Legal proceedings are ruinously expensive. Can we complain, however, about
the present administration of justice? Is not the organization of our courts
What! Irreproachable. An Englishman whom I accompanied one day to the Assize
Court, came away from the hearing quite indignant. He could not conceive how
a civilised people could permit a prosecutor of the Crown or the Republic to
engage in rhetoric when calling for a death sentence. He was horror-struck
that such eloquence could serve as a purveyor to the executioner.. In England
they are content to lay out the accusation before the court; they do not inflame
Add to that the proverbial delays in our law courts, the sufferings of the
unfortunates who await their sentences for months, sometimes for years, when
the inquiry could be conducted in a few days; the costs and the enormous losses
which these delays entail, and you will be convinced that the administration
of justice has scarcely advanced in France.
We should not exaggerate, however. Today, thank Heaven, we have the jury system.
Which means that, not content with forcing taxpayers to pay the costs of the
justice system, we also make them carry out the functions of judges. This is
pure communism: ab uno disce omnes. Personally, I
do not think [p. 323] the jury is any better at judging than the National Guard,
another communist institution!, is at making war.
Why is that?
Because the only thing one does well is one’s trade or speciality, and the
jury’s speciality is not acting as a judge.
So it suffices for the jury to identify the crime and to understand the circumstances
in which it was committed.
This is to say that it carries out the most difficult, most thorny function
of the judge. It is a task so delicate, demanding judgment so sane and so practiced,
a mind so calm, so dispassionate, so impartial, that we entrust the job to
the chance of names in a lottery. It is exactly as if one drew by lot the names
of the citizens who would be entrusted every year with the making of boots
or the writing of tragedies for the community.
The comparison is forced.
It is more difficult in my opinion to deliver a good judgment than to make
a fine pair of boots or to produce a few hundred decent rhyming couplets. A
perfectly enlightened and impartial judge is rarer than a skilful shoemaker
or a poet capable of writing for the Théâtre
In criminal cases, the jury’s lack of skill (p324) is revealed every day.
Sad to say, however, only scant attention is ever paid to mistakes made in
the Court of Assize. Nay, I would go further. People regard it almost as a
crime to criticise a judgment rendered in court. In political cases does not
the jury tend to pronounce according to its opinion, white (conservative) or
red (radical), rather than according to what justice demands? Will not any
man who is condemned by a conservative jury be absolved by a radical one and vice
Already minorities are very weary of being judged by juries
belonging to majorities. See how it turns out...
Is the point at issue the industry which supplies our external
and internal defence? Do you think it is worth much more than the effort committed
to justice? Do not our police and especially our army cost us very dearly for
the real services they supply us with?
In short, is there no disadvantage in this industry of defence being in the
hands of the majority?
Let us examine this issue.
In a system in which the majority determines the level of taxation, and directs
the use of public funds, must not taxation weigh more or less heavily on certain
parts of the society, according to the predominant influences? Under the monarchy,
when the majority was purely notional, when the upper class claimed for itself
the right to govern the country to the exclusion of the rest of the nation,
did not taxation weigh principally on the consumption [p. 325] of the lower
classes, on salt, wine, meat etc.? Doubtless the bourgeoisie played its part
in paying these taxes, but the range of its consumption being infinitely wider
than that of the consumption of the lower classes, its income ended up, all
said and done, much more lightly attacked. To the extent that the lower class,
in becoming better educated, will gain more influence in the State, you will
see a contrary tendency emerge. You will see progressive taxation, today turned
against the lower class, turned against the upper class. The latter will doubtless
resist this new tendency with all its powers. It will cry out and protest,
quite rightly, against the plunder and the theft; but if the communal institution
of universal suffrage is maintained, if a surprise reversal of power does not
once again put the government of society into the hands of the rich classes,
to the exclusion of the poor classes, the will of the majority will prevail,
and progressive taxation will be established. Part of the property of the rich
will then be legally confiscated to relieve the burden of the poor, just as
a part of the property of the poor has been confiscated for too long in order
to relieve the burden of the rich.
But there is worse still.
Not only can the majority of a communal government set the level of taxation
wherever it chooses, but it can also make whatever use of that taxation it
chooses, without taking account of the will of the minority.
In certain countries, the government of the majority uses a portion of public
monies to protect essentially illegitimate and immoral properties. In [p. 326]
the United States, for example, the government guarantees the southern planters
the ownership of their slaves. There are, however, in the United States, abolitionists
who rightly consider slavery to be a theft. It counts for nothing! The communal
mechanism obliges them to contribute out of their wealth to the maintenance
of this sort of theft. If the slaves were to try one day to free themselves
of this wicked and odious yoke, the abolitionists would be constrained to go
and defend, by force of arms, the property of the planters. That is the law
Elsewhere, it can come about that the majority, pushed by political intrigue
or by religious fanaticism, declares war on some foreign nation. However much
the minority are horrified by this war, and curse it, they are obliged to contribute
their blood and their funds to it. Once again this is the law of the majority.
So what happens? What happens is that the majority and the minority are in
perpetual conflict and that war sometimes comes down from the parliamentary
arena into the streets.
Today it is the red minority which is in revolt. If this minority were to become
a majority, and if using its majority rights, it reshaped the constitution
as it wished, if it decreed progressive taxation, forced loans and paper money,
who could assure you that the whites would not be in revolt tomorrow?
There is no lasting security under this system. And do you know why? Because
it endlessly threatens property; because it puts at the mercy of a majority,
whether blind or enlightened, moral or immoral, the persons and the goods of
If the communal regime, instead of being applied (p327) as in France, to a
multitude of objects, found itself narrowly limited as in the United States,
the causes of disagreement between the majority and the minority being less
numerous, the disadvantages of this regime would be fewer. They would not,
however, disappear entirely. The recognised right of the majority to tyrannise
over the will of the smaller, would still in certain circumstances be likely
to cause a civil war.
Once again, though, it is not easy to see how industry which provides the
security of persons and property, could be managed, if it were made free. Your
logic leads you to dreams worthy of Charenton.
Oh, come on ! Let us not get angry. I suppose that after having recognised
that the partial communism of the State and of the commune is decidedly bad,
we leave all the branches of production to free enterprise, with the exception
of the administration of justice and public defence. Thus far I have no objection.
But a radical economist, a dreamer, comes
along and says: Why then, after having freed the various uses of property,
do you not also set free those who assure the maintenance of property? Just
like the others, will not these industries be carried out in a way more equitable
and useful if they are made free? You maintain that it is impracticable. Why?
On the one hand, are there not, in society, men especially suited, some to
judge the disputes which arise between proprietors and to assess the offences
committed against property, others [p. 328] to defend the property of persons
and of things, against the assaults of violence and fraud? Are there not men
whom their natural aptitudes make especially fit to be judges, policemen or
soldiers? On the other hand, do not all proprietors, without exception, have
need for security and justice? Are not all of them inclined, therefore, to
impose sacrifices on themselves to satisfy this urgent need, above all if they
are powerless to satisfy it themselves, or can do so only by expending a lot
of time and money?
Now, if on the one hand there are men suitable for meeting one of society’s
needs, and on the other hand men ready to make sacrifices to obtain the satisfaction
of this need, is it not enough to allow laisser faire so that both sides can
see to it that the good demanded, whether material or non-material, is produced
and that the need is satisfied?
Will not this economic phenomenon be produced irresistibly, inevitably, like
the physical phenomenon of falling bodies?
Am I not justified in saying, therefore, that if a society renounced the provision
of public security, this industry would nonetheless be carried out? Am I not
right to add that it would be done better in a system based on liberty than
a system based on community?
In what way?
That does not concern the Economists. Political economy [p. 329] can say:
if such a need exists, it will be satisfied and done better in a regime of
full freedom than under any other. There is no exception to this rule. As to
how this industry will be organized, what its technical procedures will be,
that is something which political economy cannot tell us.
Thus I can affirm that if the need for food is plainly visible in society,
this need will be satisfied, and satisfied all the better, when each person
remains as free as possible to produce food or to buy from whomever he thinks
I can give assurances, too, that things will work out in exactly the same
way, if rather than food, security is the issue.
Therefore, I maintain that if a community were to announce that after a given
delay, say perhaps a year, it would give up financing the pay of judges, soldiers
and policemen, at the end of the year that community would not possess any
fewer courts and governments ready to function; and I would add that if, under
this new regime, each person kept the right to engage freely in these two industries
and to buy their services freely from them, security would be generated as
economically and as well as possible.
I will still reply to you that this is not conceivable.
At the time when the regulatory regime kept industry prisoner within its communal
boundaries, and when each privileged corporation had exclusive control of [p.
330] the communal market, people said that society was threatened, each time
some audacious innovator strove to attack that monopoly. If anyone had come
and said at that time that instead of the feeble and stunted industries of
the privileged corporations, liberty would one day build immense factories
turning out cheaper and superior products, this dreamer would have been very
smartly put in his place. The conservatives of that time would have sworn by
all the gods that such a thing was inconceivable.
Oh come on! How can it be imagined that each individual has the right to create
his own government, or to choose his government, or even not choose it...?
How would things turn out in France, if having freed all the other industries,
French citizens announced by common agreement, that after a year, they would
cease to support the government of the community?
On this subject all I can do is conjecture. This, however, is more or less
how things would turn out. Since the need for security is still very great
in our society, it would be profitable to set up businesses which provide government
could be certain of covering their costs. How would these firms be set up?
Isolated individuals would not be adequate, any more than they would suffice
for building railways, docks etc. Huge companies would be set up, therefore,
in order to produce security. These would procure the resources and the workers
they needed. As soon as they felt ready to operate, [p. 331] these property-insurance
companies would look for
a clientele. Each person would take out a subscription with the one which inspired
him with most confidence and whose terms seemed to him the most favourable.
We would queue up to take out subscriptions. Most definitely we would queue
This industry being free, we would see as many companies set up as could usefully
be formed. If there were too few, if, consequently the price of security rose
too high, people would find it profitable to set up new ones. If there were
too many, the surplus ones would not take long to break up. The price of security
would in this way always be led back to the level of its costs of production.
How would these free companies arrange things among themselves in order to
provide national security?
They would reach agreement as do monopoly or communist governments today,
because they would have an interest in so doing. The more, in fact, they offered
each other mutual facilities for the apprehension of thieves and murderers,
the more they would reduce their costs.
By the very nature of their industry, these property-insurance companies would
not be able to venture outside certain prescribed limits: they would lose by
maintaining police in places where they had very few clients. Within their
district they would nevertheless not be able [p. 332] to oppress or exploit
their clients, on pain of seeing competition spring up immediately.
And if the existing company wanted to prevent the competitors establishing
In a word, if they encroached on the property of their competitors and on
the sovereignty of all...Oh! In that case all those whose property and independence
were threatened by the monopolists would rise up and punish them.
And if all the companies agreed to establish themselves as monopolies, what
then? What if they formed a holy alliancein order to impose themselves on
their peoples , and if, emboldened by this coalition, they mercilessly exploited
the unfortunate consumers of security, and if they extracted from them by way
of heavy taxes the best part of the results of the labor of these peoples ?
If, to tell the whole story, they started doing again what the old aristocracies
did right up until our era...Well, then, in that case the peoples would follow
the advice of Béranger:
Peoples, form a Holy Alliance
And take each other by the hand.
They would unite in their turn and since they possess means of communication
which their ancestors did not, and since they are a hundred times more numerous
than their old rulers, the holy alliance of the aristocracies would soon be
destroyed. No one would any longer be tempted in this case, I swear to you,
to set up a monopoly. (p333)
What would one do under this regime to repulse a foreign invasion?
What would be the interest of the companies? It would be to repel the invaders,
for they themselves would be the first victims of the invasion. They would
agree among themselves, therefore, in order to repel them, and they would demand
from those they insured, a supplementary premium for saving them from this
new danger. If the insured preferred to run the risks of invasion, they would
refuse to pay this supplementary premium; if not they would pay it and they
would thus put the companies in a position to ward off the danger of invasion.
Just as war is inevitable in a regime of monopoly, so peace is inevitable
under a regime of free government.
Under this regime governments can gain nothing through war; on the contrary
they can lose everything. What interest would they have in undertaking a war?
Would this be to increase their clientele? But the consumers of security, being
free to create their own government as they saw fit, would escape their conquerors.
If the latter wished to impose their domination on them, after having destroyed
the existing government, the oppressed would immediately demand the help of
other nations ....
The wars of company against company could take place, moreover, only insofar
as the shareholders were willing to advance the costs. Now, war no longer being
able to bring to anyone an increase in the number of clients, since consumers
will no longer allow themselves to be conquered, the [p. 334] costs of war
would obviously no longer be covered. Who would want therefore to advance them
I conclude from this that war would be physically impossible under this system,
for no war can be waged without an advance of funds.
What conditions would a property-insurance company impose on its clients?
These conditions would be of several different kinds.
In order to be in a position to guarantee full security of person and property
to those they have insured, it would be necessary:
1. For the insurance companies to establish certain penalties for offenders
against persons and property, and for those insured to accept these penalties,
in the event of their committing offences against persons and property.
2. For the companies to impose on the insured certain restrictions intended
to facilitate the detection of those responsible for offences.
3. For the companies, on a regular basis, in order to cover their costs,
to levy a certain premium, varying with the situation of the insured and
their individual occupations, and the size, nature and value of the properties
to be protected.
If the conditions stipulated were acceptable to those buying security, the
deal would be concluded; otherwise the consumers would approach other companies,
or provide for their security themselves.
Follow this hypothesis in all its details, and I think you will be convinced
of the possibility of [p. 335] transforming monopolistic or communist governments
into free ones.
I still see plenty of difficulties in this. For example, who will pay the
Do you think that in selling all the property today held in common – roads,
canals, rivers, forests, buildings used by all the commune governments, the
equipment of all the communal services
– we would not very easily succeed in reimbursing the capital debt? The
latter does not exceed six billion. The value of communal property in France
is quite certainly far greater than that.
Would not this system entail the destruction of any sense of nationality?
If several property-insurance companies established themselves in a country,
would not National Unity be destroyed?
First of all, National Unity would have to exist before it could be destroyed.
Well, I do not see national unity in these shapeless agglomerations of people,
formed out of violence, which violence alone maintains, for the most part.
Next, it is an error to confuse these two things, which are naturally very
distinct: nation and government. A nation is one when the individuals who compose
it have the same customs, the same language, the same civilisation; when they
constitute a distinct and original variety of the human race. Whether this
nation [p. 335] has two governments or only one, matters very little, unless
one of these government surrounds, with an artificial barrier, the territories
under its domination, and undertakes incessant wars against its neighbours.
In this last instance, the instinct of nationality will react against this
barbarous fragmentation and artificial antagonism imposed on a single people,
and the disunited fractions of the people will strive incessantly to draw together
Now governments have until our time divided people in order to retain them
the more easily in obedience; divide and rule, such has been at all times the
fundamental maxim of their policy. Men of the same race, to whom a common language
would supply an easy means of communication, have reacted vigorously against
the enactment of this maxim; at all times they have striven to destroy the
artificial barriers which separated them. When they achieved this result, they
wished to have a single government in order not to be disunited again. Note,
however, that they have never demanded that this government should separate
them from other people...So the instinct of nationality is not selfish, as
is often claimed; it is, on the contrary, essentially sympathetic towards others.
Once the various governments cease dragging peoples apart and dividing them,
you will see a given nationality happily accepting several others. A single
government is no more necessary to the unity of a people, than a single bank,
a single school, a single religion, a single grocery store, etc.
There, in truth, we have a very singular solution to the problem of government!
It is the sole solution consistent with the nature of things.
- For a long time, economists have refused to concern themselves not only
with government, but also with all purely non-material activities. Jean-Baptiste
Say was the first to insist on including production of this kind within
the domain of political economy, by his applying to all its contents the
category non-material products.
He thereby rendered economic science a more substantial service than might
readily be supposed:
[See, Jean Baptiste Say, A Treatise
on Political Economy; or the Production, Distribution, and Consumption
of Wealth, ed. Clement C. Biddle, trans.
C. R. Prinsep from the 4th ed. of the French, (Philadelphia: Lippincott,
Grambo & Co., 1855. 4th-5th ed. ). Chapter: BOOK I, CHAPTER XIII: OF
IMMATERIAL PRODUCTS, OR VALUES CONSUMED AT THE MOMENT OF PRODUCTION. </title/274/37996>.]
 The expression used is “l’État-gendarme” or the “nightwatchman state”.
Say provides the most detailed discussion of his views on the proper function
of government in the Cours
complet (1828), vol. 2, part VII, chaps XIV to
XXXII. He essentially follows Adam Smith’s plan that there are only 3 proper
duties of a government: to provide national defence, internal police, and
some public goods such as roads and bridges. [See his quoting Smith approvingly
on pp. 261-62 of the 1840 revised edition]. However, there is some evidence
from an unpublished Traité
de Politique pratique (written 1803-1815) and lectures
he gave at the Athénée in Paris in 1819 that suggest that his anti-statism
went much further than this and that he did toy with the idea of the competitive,
non-government provision of police services along the lines developed at
more length here by Molinari. [See the glossary entry on “Say’s Anti-Statism.”]
 Charles Coquelin, the reviewer of Molinari's book in the JDE in October 1849 criticized Molinari for putting forward a view of
government in the name of "The Economist” which no other Economist
of the period supported, thus suggesting that this was a widely held view.
At the monthly meeting of the Société d'Économie Politique on 10 October
of that year not one of those present came to Molinari's defense. The main
critics were Charles Coquelin who began the discussion, then Frédéric Bastiat,
and finally Charles Dunoyer. It was the latter who summed up the view of
the Economists that Molinari had been "swept away by illusions of
logic". [See, Coquelin's review in JDE,
October 1849, T. 24, pp. 364-72, and the minutes of the meeting of the
October meeting of the Société d'Économie Politique in JDE, October 1849, T. 24, pp.314-316. Dunoyer's comment is on p. 316.]
 The idea that monarchs had a “divine right” to rule was an essential
part of the ancien régime which was overturned by the French Revolution
of 1789. “Legitimists” in the Restoration period attempted to revive this
view with mixed success and it was severely weakened by the Revolution
of 1848 and the creation of the Second Republic. However, legitimists continued
continued to press their claims throughout the 19th century.
 Molinari uses the socialist expression “la liberté au travail” (right
to a job) in order to provoke the Conservative. [See glossary entry on
the “Right to Work.”]
 Maistre, Considérations
sur la France (Considerations on France) (1796) and Principe générateur
des Constitutions politiques (Essay on the Generating
Principle of Political Constitutions) (1809). See Oeuvres
du comte J. de Maistre. Publiées par M. l’abbé
Migne (J.-P. Migne, 1841). [See the glossary entry on Maistre.]
Principe générateur des Constitutions politiques. – Preface.
Oeuvres, p. 109-10.
 Molinari uses here the phrase “la production of security” which is title
of the provocative essay on this topic which he published in the JDE in February 1849, sparking an extended controversy among the members
of the Société d’Economie Politique. [See, Gustave de Molinari,
"De la production de la sécurité,” in JDE, Vol. XXII, no. 95, 15 February, 1849, pp. 277-90.
 The Holy Alliance was a coalition between Russia, Austria, and Prussia
organized by Tsar Alexander I of Russia during the meeting of the Congress
of Vienna following the defeat of Napoleon in 1815. The purpose was
to defend the principles of monarchical government, aristocracy, and the
Catholic Church against the forces of liberalism, democracy, and secular
enlightenment which had been unleashed by the French Enlightenment and
 The revolutions which broke across Europe in 1848 began with an uprising
in Sicily in January 1848, spread to Paris in February, and then the southern
and western German states, Vienna and Budapest in March. As a result of
political divisions among the revolutionaries the forces of counter-revolution
led by Field Marshall Radetsky of Austria-Hungary, with the assistance
of the Russian army, were able to crush the uprisings in central and eastern
Europe during 1849. In France the Revolution led to the formation of the
Second Republic and eventually the coming to power of Louis Napoleon and
the Second Empire in 1852. The number of people killed during the uprisings
and their suppression are hard to estimate but they are in the order of
 Molinari uses the term “la ruse” here which was a key term used by Bastiat
in his theory of “sophisms”. Bastiat thought that vested interests who
wished to get privileges from the state cloaked their naked self interest
by using deception and trickery (or fraud) (“la ruse”) in order to confuse
and distract the people at whose expence these privileges were granted.
 Molinari uses the word “la police” which had a complex meaning in the
ancien regime. On the one hand, it meant more narrowly the protection of
life and property of the inhabitants from attack, in other words what we
would understand as modern police and defence activities. On the other
hand, it also had a much broader meaning concerning the entire “civil administration”
of the commune, such as ensuring the provision of public goods like lighting
and water, the enforcement of censorship of dissenting political and religious
views, the control of public gatherings to prevent protests getting out
of hand, the collection of taxes and the supervision of compulsory labour;
in other words, the complex mechanism of public control which had evolved
during the ancien regime. Since Molinari is talking about security matters
in this chapter we have chosen to use the word “police” or “policing” in
- See Studies
on England by Léon Faucher. Léon Faucher, Études sur l'Angleterre (Paris:
Guillaumin, 1845, 2nd ed. 1856), 2 vols. The anecdote Molinari refers to
can be found in vol. 1, p. 47. Faucher relates how one rundown district
in London known as "Little Ireland” had become off limits to the police.
Sir Robert Peel (1788-1850) was Prime Minister of Britain twice (1834-35
and 1841-46) and during his second stint he successfully repealed the protectionist
Corn Laws in 1846. When he was Home Secretary (1822-29) he reformed the
police force of London by creating the Metropolitan Police Force in 1829
which became the model for all modern urban police forces. [See the glossary
entry on “Faucher”.]
 Molinari uses the word “octroi” or “tolls” which has the connotation
of being the traditional entry taxes which cities and towns could impose
on goods under old regime.
 Molinari uses the expression “la liberté du travail” (the liberty to
engage in work) and “la liberté des échanges” (free trade)..
article on ‘Centralisation” ???? Tocqueville ???
 GdM uses the word “éspices” (spices) which was a slang word for bribes
paid to officials.
 The Palais de Justice (Law Courts) of Paris were burned to the ground
in 1618. The satirical and libertine poet Marc-Antoine Girard de Saint-Amant
(1594-1661) wrote this verse to suggest that it might have been in revenge
by Lady Justice for the corruption that went on within the building. See, Oeuvres
complètes de Saint-Amant. Nouvelle édition. Publiée sur les manuscrits
inédits et les éditions anciennes. Précédée d’un Notice et accompagnée
de notes par M. Ch.-L. Livet (Paris: P. Janet,
1855), vol. 1, “Epigramme”, p. 185.
Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations,
Vol. I and II, ed. R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner, vol. II of the Glasgow Edition of
the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Indianapolis:
Liberty Fund, 1981). Chapter: [V.i.b] part ii: Of the Expence of Justice. </title/200/217494/2316390>.
 This maxim from Vergil’s Aeneid,
Book II, line 65, means “From one, learn about all of all.”
 The National Guard was founded in 1789 as a national armed citizens'
militia in Paris and soon spread to other cities and towns in France. Its
function was to maintain local order, protect private property, and defend
the principles of the Revolution. The Guard consisted of 16 legions of
60,000 men and was under command of the Marquis de Lafayette. It was a
volunteer organization and members had to satisfy a minimum tax-paying
requirement and had to purchase their own uniform and equipment. They were
not paid for service, thus limiting its membership to the more prosperous
members of the community. The Guard was closed down in 1827 for its opposition
to King Charles X but was reconstituted after the 1830 Revolution and played
an important role during the July Monarchy in support of the constitutional
monarchy. Membership was expanded or
"democratized” in a reform of 1837 and opened to all males in 1848 tripling
its size to about 190,000. Since many members of the Guard supported the
revolutionaries in June 1848 and refused to join the army in suppressing
the rioting. This is what Molinari is probably referring to in his comment
that it had become "communist". The Guard gradually began to lose
what cohesion it had and further reforms in 1851 and 1852 forced it to abandon
its practice of electing its officers and to give up much of its autonomy.
Because of its active participation in the 1871 Paris Commune many of its
members were massacred in the post-revolutionary reprisals and it was closed
down in August 1871. [See the history of the National Garde by Charles Comte, Histoire
complète de la Garde national, depuis l'époque de sa foundation jusqu'à sa
réorganisation définitive et la nomination de see officers, en vertu de la
loi du 22 mars 1831, divisée en six époques; les cinqs prière par Charles
Comte;, et la sixième par Horace Raisson (Paris:
Philippe, Juillet 1831).]
 Molinari is referring to the socialist supporters of Louis Blanc, Pierre
Leroux, and Auguste Blanqui who made up a sizable faction in the National
Assembly during the Second Republic and who organized numerous political
clubs during 1848-49. Several of the clubs adopted names reminiscent of
groups in the radical phase of the first French Revolution, such as “The
Mountain” and “The Society of the Rights of Man”. In the election for the
Constituent Assembly held on 23 and 24 April 1848 about half of the 900
members were moderate republicans, 250 were royalists of various kinds,
and about 200 were more radical republicans, and many of these would shave
been socialist. Blanc was made a Minister without portfolio and headed
the Luxembourg Commission to look into labour questions such as the National
Workshops program and “right to work” legislation. In the election of 19
January 1849 of the 705 seats, 450 were won by members of the
"Party of Order” (an alliance of legitimists and other conservatives),
75 by moderate republicans, and 180 by "the Mountain” (radical democrats
and socialists). Left wing protesters were joined by several dozen left-wing
Deputies in a demonstration on 13 June which was suppressed upon orders of
the President of the Republic, Louis Napoleon. This led to the closing down
a several left-wing newspapers and the political clubs. [See the glossary
entry on “Press (socialist).”]
 The irony of this passage is that Molinari has earlier pointed out the
class based structure and injustice of the U.S. slave system and the stresses
which this creates, and then argued that the smaller size of the U.S. government
means that these tensions would be reduced. It should be pointed out that
the Civil War broke out in 1861 only 12 years after the Soirées was published.
 The "Maison royal de Charenton", also known as the
"Hôpital Esquirol", was a psychiatric hospital which was founded
in 1641. One of its most famous inmates was the Marquis de Sade in the late
18th century. The Hospital was the subject of a major study, "Rapport
statistique sur la maison royale de Charenton", in 1829.
 Molinari is hinting here that he is “Le Rêveur” (the Dreamer), the radical
liberal, who wrote but did not sign the essay “L’Utopie de la liberté.
Lettres aux socialistes” in the JDE, 15 June, 1848, vol. XX, pp. 328-32. This is an appeal written at
the height of the June Days insurrection of 1848 for liberals and socialists
to admit that they shared the common goals of prosperity and justice but
differed on the correct way to achieve these goals. Molinari reveals that
he was in fact the author in an appendix he included with Esquisse de l'organisation
politique et économique de la société future (Paris: Guillaumin, 1899), p. 237, written 50 years later.
 Molinari uses the phrase “des enterprises de gouvernements” (businesses
which provide government services).
 Molinari calls them “compagnies d’assurances sur la propriété” (property
 See the earlier footnote on the Holy Alliance in 1815 which was designed
to protect the monarchies of Prussia, Austria, and Russia against the threats
of liberalism and democracy.
 Pierre-Jean de Béranger (1780-1857) was a poet and songwriter who rose
to prominence during the Restoration period with his funny and clever criticisms
of the monarchy and the church, which got him into trouble with the censors
who imprisoned him for brief periods in the 1820s. The quotation is the
refrain in Béranger’s anti-monarchical and pro-French poem, “La sainte
Alliance des peuples” (The Holy Alliance of the People) (1818) in Oeuvres complètes
de P.J. de Béranger contenant les dix chanson nouvelles, avec un Portrait
gravé sur bois d’après Charlet (Paris: Perrotin,
1855), vol. 1, pp. 294-96. For a translation see, Béranger’s
Songs of the Empire, the Peace, and the Restoration.
Translated into English verse by Robert B. Clough (London: Addey and Co.,
1856), pp. 59-62. The first verse goes as follows: “I saw fair Peace, descending
from on high, Strewing the earth with gold, and corn, and flow’rs; The
air was calm, and hush’d all soothingly The last faint thunder of the War-gods
pow’rs. The goddess spoke: ‘Equals in worth and might, Sons of French,
Germans, Russ, or British lands, Form an alliance, Peoples, and unite,
In Friendship firm, your hands’.” [See the glossary entry on Béranger.]
 This is in fact the Economist speaking. It is listed as the Socialist
in the French original.