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3/0                            POLITICAL SCIENCE.
administrative authorities, and could reverse the decisions of
ordinary tribunals.    Under this council the comptroller-gene-
ral engrossed the management of all money-affairs, acting
alternately as " minister of finance, of the interior, of public
works and of commerce."    The government of the provinces
came into the hands of intendants,  although some  of the
great nobles, as provincial governors, enjoyed the honor of
governing without the power.    The intendants were gener-
ally members of the royal council of inferior position; they
held administrative and judicial power, yet with right of ap-
peal from their decisions ; they levied all the taxes except
those that were not farmed out by the council, regulated the
system of militia, and to a great extent, the public works,
roads and bridges, secured peace in the provinces with the
help of a mounted police, aided in the support of the poor,
and so on, subject in everything to the control of the coun-
cil.    There were many seeming exceptions to this sway, yet
even the courts could not retain any freedom.    " It is hardly
possible," says De Tocqufeville, " to mention a branch of social
economy or political-organization, which had not been re-
modelled by orders of council during the last forty years of
the old regime" (chap,  ii,,  end).    In the cities  municipal
liberty outlived feudalism, so that "long after the seigniors
had ceased to administer the government of the rural dis-*
tricts, the cities retained the right of self-government; " but
after  1692 the kings sold the places of magistrates in the
towns for the purpose of raising money—a plan pursued with
other posts  also,  such  as  those  in   the  courts of justice.
During eighty years the towns purchased back the right of
electing their magistrates " seven times," and seven times
was the right taken away, as soon as they had learned to ap-»
predate its value.    " In the eighteenth   century  municipal
government had degenerated into oligarchy. * A few families
controlled the public affairs in favor of private interests with^
put the knowledge of, or any responsibility to, the public.1*
But these municipal authorities were themselves interfered
with by the council, which not only modified the