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revive with tenfold ardour. This is an experiment cautiously to be made. Reculer pour mieux sauter, according to the French by-word, cannot be trusted to as a general rule of conduct. To diet a man into weakness and languor, afterwards to give him the greater strength, has more of the empiric than the rational physician. It is true that some persons have been kicked into courage ; and this is no bad hint to give to those who are too forward and liberal in bestowing insults and outrages on their passive companions. But such a course does not at first view appear a well-chosen discipline to form men to a nice sense of honour, or a quick resentment of injuries. A long habit of humiliation does not seem a very good preparative to manly and vigorous sentiment. It may not leave, perhaps, enough of energy in the mind fairly to discern what are good terms or what are not. Men low and dispirited may regard those terms as not at all amiss, which in another state of mind they would think intolerable: if they grow peevish in this state of mind, they may be roused, not against the enemy whom they have been taught to fear, but against the ministry, who are more within their reach, and who have refused conditions that are not unreasonable, from power that they have been taught to consider as irresistible.
NECESSITY, as it has no law, so it has no shame; but moral necessity is not like metaphysical, or even physical. In that category, it is a word of loose signification, and conveys different ideas to different minds. To the low-minded, the slightest necessity becomes an invincible necessity. « The slothful man saith, " there is a lion in the way, and I shall be devoured " in the streets.” But when the necessity pleaded is not in the nature of things, but in the vices of him who alleges it, the whining tones of common-place beggarly rhetoric, produce nothing but indignation; because they indicate a desire of keeping up a dishonourable existence, without utility to others, and without dignity to itself; because they aim at obtaining the dues of labour without industry; and by frauds would draw from the compassion of others, what men ought to owe to their own spirit and their own exertions.
I am thoroughly satisfied that if we degrade ourselves, it is the degradation which will subject us to the yoke of necessity, and not that it is necessity which has brought on our degradation.
Peace or war are the great hinges upon which the very being of nations turns. Negotiations are the means of making peace or preventing war, and are therefore of more serious importance than almost any single event of war can possibly be.
The very idea of a negotiation for peace, whatever the inward sentiments of the parties may be, implies -some confidence in their faith, some degree of belief in the professions which are made concerning it. A temporary and occasional credit, at least, is granted. Otherwise men stumble on the very threshold. I therefore wish to ask what hope we can have of their good faith, who, as the very basis of the negotiation,
assume the ill faith and treachery of those they have to deal with ?
It is not within the rules of dexterous conduct to make an acknowledgment of a contested title in your enemy, before you are morally certain that your recognition will secure his friendship. Otherwise it is a measure worse than thrown away. It adds infinitely to the strength, and consequently to the demands of the adverse party. He has gained a fundamental point without an equivalent.
I do not say, thata diplomatic measure ought to be, like a parliamentary or a judicial proceeding, according to strict precedent. I hope I am far from that pedantry. But this I know, that a great state ought to have some regard to its ancient maxims; especially where they indicate its dignity; where they concur with the rules of prudence; and above all, where the circumstances of the time require that a spirit of innovation should be resisted, which leads to the humiliation of sovereign powers. It would be ridiculous to assert, that those powers have suffered nothing in their estimation. I admit, that the greater interests of state will for a moment supersede all other considerations : but if there was a rule that a sovereign never should let down his dignity without a sure payment to his interest, the dignity of kings would be held high enough.
Before our opinions are quoted against ourselves, it is proper that, from our serious deliberation, they may be worth quoting. It is without reason we praise the wisdom of our constitution, in putting under the discretion of the crown, the awful trust of war and peace, if the ministers of the crown virtually return it again into our hands. The trust was placed there as a sacred deposit, to secure us against popular rashness in plunging into wars, and against the effects of popular dismay, disgust, or lassitude in getting out of them as imprudently as we might first engage in them. To have no other measure in judging of those great objects than our momentary opinions and desires, is to throw us back upon that very democracy which in this part, our constitution was formed to avoid.
Men of no decided character, without judgment to chuse, and without courage to profess any principle whatsoever.
Such men can serve no cause, for this plain reason, they have no cause at heart. They can at best work only as mere mercenaries. They have not been guilty of great crimes; but it is only because they have not energy of mind to rise to any height of wickedness. They are not hawks or kites; they are only miserable fowls whose fight is not above their dunghill or henroost. But they tremble before the authors of these horrors. They admire them at a safe and respectful distance. There never was a mean and abject mind that did not admire an intrepid and dexterous villain. In the bottom of their hearts they believe such hardy miscreants to be the only men qualified for great affairs : if you set them to transact with such persons, they areinstantly subdued. They dare not so much as look their antagonist in the face. They are made to be their subjects, not to be their arbiters or controllers.
These men to be sure can look at atrocious acts without indignation, and can behold suffering virtue without sympathy. Therefore they are considered as sober dispassionate men. Butthey havetheir passions, though of another kind, and which are infinitely more likely to carry them out of the path of their duty. They are of a tame, timid, languid, inert temper wherever the welfare of others is concerned. In such causes, as they have no motives to action, they never possess any real ability, and are totally destitute of all
Believe a man who has seen much, and observed something I have seen in the course of my life a great many of that family of men. They are generally chosen, because they have no opinion of their own ; and as far as they can be got in good earnest to embrace any opinion, it is that of whoever happens to employ them (neither longer or shorter, narrower or broader) with whom they have no discussion or consultation. The only thing which occurs to such a man when he has got a business for others into his hands, is how to make his own fortune out of it. The person he is to treat with, is not, with him, an adversary over whom he is to prevail, but a new friend he is to gain : therefore he always systematically betrays some part of his trust. Instead of thinking how he shall defend his ground to the last, and if forced to retreat, how little he shall give up, this kind of man considers how much of the interest of his employer he is to sacrifice to his adversary. Having nothing but himself in view, he knows, that in serving