|Jean-Jacques Cart (1748-1813)|
Introduction (Stephen Cowley)
The long omitted section from letter four includes reference to the introduction to William Robertson’s History of Charles V and Mably’s Observations on the History of France. In the omitted eighth and ninth letters there are interesting references to Bolingbroke, Laurence Stern, Voltaire, Edmund Burke and the German natural law theorist Pufendorf, along with appeals to political practice in other European countries. There are unfavorable references to French classical scholar Claude Saumaise (1588-1653) and Hugo Grotius (1583-1645), the Dutch theorist of natural law. The exclusions make the remaining references to Montesquieu and Swiss sources stand out more in Hegel's German edition.
Hegel went on to write his own comparative account of European constitutions in the manuscript of The German Constitution. His final views are found in Part Four of the posthumous Lectures on the Philosophy of History.
Page references below are to the French edition of Cart's Lettres (1793). My own comments are in square brackets.
Material omitted from Letter Four
“Only rarely is it inquired whether there is any law that puts a brake on those who govern and their bloody games; if there is none that preserves the rights of the peoples, their political freedom and prosperity.” (71)
“But let us take a middle way between the outspoken Burke who wishes to correct nothing and the out and out revolutionary who wishes to pull down everything.” (75)
|Edmund Burke (1729-97)|
“The constitution of the German body politic has less the good of the peoples for its aim than the authority of the Princes who compose it.” (77)
|William Robertson (1721-93)|
“On the death of John I, a regency council was named to govern the country during the minority of his son; this council was made up of an equal number of nobles and deputies chosen by the towns, and the latter had the same rank, were vested with the same powers as the Prelates and the greatest of the first rank.” (88-89)
Cart’s Letter Eight – [The Émigrés and their Propaganda]
Lyon, 13 December 1792
“Is it not wounding that the moment when all the potentates of Europe seem to be united to soften the fate of their subjects should be the one that the Council of Berne chose to make its yoke heavier.” (203)
Cart’s Letter Nine – [On War, Belligerence and Forms of Government]
Lyon, 20 January 1793
“I will consult on these matters neither a soldier, a theologian nor a lawyer; I will seek the principles of public law and those of war neither in Saumaise, in Pufendorf nor in Grotius. These salaried abettors of despotism have always considered kings, without ever considering the people, and in taking the abuse for the rule, they have ended by rendering legitimate all government crimes. Their system is as true as that of Dr Pangloss [in Voltaire’s Candide]; the world goes best when the world destroys itself nearby those who rule it.” (242-43)
|Mary Stuart (1542-87)|
“The power that comes from God is that which does not go against natural law. [This was a doctrine of the French Physiocrats. – SC] It is that which lies with the mass of the people, for it must and can only wish its own greatest good: to it alone belongs the eminent right to declare war and make peace.” (248)