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2IO                              POLITICAL SCIENCE.
and some other districts. The defeated cantons, by an alli-
ance with France, secured themselves against future attacks
from their confederates. There was indeed no central gov-
ernment. The diets (or tagsatzungen) met only to attend to
the affairs of territories held in common possession. Instead
of one diet, two sat—a Protestant at Aarau, a Catholic at
Luzerne. The only diets called general were those convoked
to listen to propositions from foreign ambassadors whicji con-
cerned more than one canton. In these cases the ambassa-
dors were expected to pay the expenses of the delegates,
and the delegates from the two religions sat apart, each party
negotiating for itself. Nor were there any common repre-
sentatives sent abroad, but each canton managed its external
affairs through its own agent. In the interior of the cantons
the same want of unity was manifest.* That of Bern was
governed by a town aristocracy; another was divided into
parts, one of which governed the others; and large depend-
encies of the confederacy had no sovereignty whatever, but
were controlled in the way mentioned above, by administrative
commissioners. No confederation that did not soon dissolve
has been more shackling. That the Swiss union did not dis-
solve was owing, not to political causes pertaining to the
league itself, but to the ancient bravery of the inhabitants,
to the difficulty of operations of war in such a country, to
the unwillingness of the great powers that any one of their
number should control it, to its poverty and neutral posi-
tion like that of an island of mountains, on both sides of
which entrances into Italy were held by more powerful
Switzerland was to some extent affected by the principles,
Switzerland in the as we^ as involved in the commotions attending
French revolution    the French revolution.    The southern Italian-
speaking dependencies of the Swiss union were in part in-
corporated in the Cisalpine republic, and Basel was deprived
* Comp. Passy, les formes de gouvernement, 344 and onward, to
whom we owe some of the expressions here used.