III. Influence of the Nobles..
Regulations in their favor. — Preferment obtained by them in the Church. — Distribution of bishoprics and abbeys. — Preferment obtained from them from the State. — Governments, offices, sinecures, pensions, gratuities. — Instead of being useful they are an expense.
Thus do public bodies work when, instead of being associated together, they are separate. The same spectacle is apparent on contemplating castes and associations; their isolation is the cause of their egoism. From the top to the bottom of the scale the legal and moral powers which should represent the nation represent themselves only, while each one is busy in its own behalf at the expense of the nation. The nobility, in default of the right to meet together and to vote, exercises its influence, and, to know how it uses this, it is sufficient to read over the edicts and the Almanac. A regulation imposed on Marshal de Ségurhas just restored the old barrier, which excluded commoners from military rank, and thenceforward, to be a captain, it is necessary to prove four degrees of nobility. In like manner, in late days, one must be a noble to be a master of requests, and it is secretly determined that in future “all ecclesiastical property, from the humblest priory to the richest abbeys, shall be reserved to the nobility.” In fact, all the high places, ecclesiastic or laic, are theirs; all the sinecures, ecclesiastic or laic, are theirs, or for their relations, adherents, protégés, and servitors. France is like a vast stable