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212                              POLITICAL SCIENCE.
An assembly was called to meet at Schwytz to project a new
constitution. Amid the discord, at French suggestion, a
deputation of thirty-six favoring the new, and fifteen favoring
the old, system of things went to Paris, and it was announced
from the first consul that a new constitution must be based
on the following principles : equality of cantonal rights ;
honest renunciation by the patricians of their former privi-
leges ; and that every canton must organize itself according
to its own language, religion, usages, and interests. After
long consultation between French commissioners and the Hel-
vetian deputies, the constitutions of nineteen cantons and
the federal act were united in a draft called an act of mediation,
and handed over, in an audience, by the consul to the depu-
ties, with distinct statements, that if this plan should not
succeed, nothing else remained but to compel its reception,
by force of arms or to unite the country to France. The in-
strument went into operation and continued until Dec. 29,
1813, when Napoleon had returned to Paris and Schwarz-
enberg's army had marched on France through Switzerland.
At this time ambassadors from most of the older cantons,
in a meeting at Zurich, declared that the federal constitution,
as contained in the act of mediation, could continue no longer,
and that the old union must be preserved. They unite in
pronouncing that no relations of dependency inconsistent with
the rights of a free people shall be re-established, and that the
old vorort of the confederacy (the place having the lead in
public affairs), Zurich, should be asked to take the lead
until a more settled order of things could be established.
Thus, what may be called the French readjustments of Switz-
erland came to an end. The constitutions, however, as they
were modified in the Mediation Act, were not extreme in any
respect, but rather expressions of the public will as it then
was. Everywhere mature age or the possession of from two
hundred to five hundred " Swiss francs " was a necessary
qualification for suffrage. The old wood-cantons adhered to
the Catholic religion. Not even were the governments by
guilds in Bern and Basel overthrown.