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tical dominions not subjected to the same regulations, which are in circumstances highly flourishing.
The reformation of this evil system is in a manner impracticable ; for, first, it does keep bread and all other provisions equally subject to the chamber of supply, at a pretty reasonable and regular price, in the city of Rome. This preserves quiet among the numerous poor, idle, and naturally mutinous people, of a very great capital. But the quiet of the town is purchased by the ruin of the country, and the ultimate wretchedness of both. The next cause which renders this evil incurable, is, the jobs which have grown out of it, and which, in spite of all precautions, would grow out of such things, even under governments far more potent than the feeble authority of the Pope.
This example of Rome which has been derived from the most ancient times, and the most flourishing period of the Roman empire (but not of the Roman agriculture) may serve as a great caution to all governments, not to attempt to feed the people out of the hands of the magistrates. If once they are habituated to it, though but for one half-year, they will never be satisfied to have it otherwise. And, having looked to Government for bread, on the very first scarcity they will turn and bite the hand that fed them. To avoid that evil, Government will redouble the causes of it; and then it will become inveterate and incurable.
It is therefore our business carefully to cultivate in our minds, to rear to the most perfect vigour and maturity, every sort of generous and honest feeling that belongs to our nature. To bring the dispositions that
are lovely in private life into the service and conduct of the commonwealth ; so to be patriots, as not to forget we are gentlemen. To cultivate friendships, and to incur enmities. To have both strong, but both selected : in the one, to be placable; in the other immoveable. To model our principles to our duties and our situation. To be fully persuaded, that all virtue which is impracticable is spurious ; and rather to run the risk of falling into faults in a course which leads us to act with effect and energy, than to loiter out our days without blame, and without use. Public life is a situation of power and energy; he trespasses against his duty who sleeps upon his watch, as well as he that goes over to the enemy.
PUNISHMENT OF REBELLION.
The body and mass of the people never ought to be treated as criminal. They may become an object of more or less constant watchfulness and suspicion, as their preservation may best require, but they can never become an object of punishment. This is one of the few fundamental and unalterable principles of politics. To punish them capitally would be to make
Massacres only increase the ferocity of men, and teach them to regard their own lives and those of others as of little value; whereas the great policy of government is to teach the people to think both of great importance in the eyes of God and the state, and never to be sacrificed or even hazarded to gratify their passions, or for any thing but the duties prescribed by the rules of morality, and under the direction of public law and public authority. To punish them with lesser penalties would be to debilitate the commonwealth, and make the nation miserable, which it is the business of governo ment to render happy and flourishing.
As to crimes too, I would draw a strong line of limitation. For no one offence, politically an offence of rebellion, by council, contrivance, persuasion or compulsion, for none properly a military offence of rebellion, or any thing done by open hostility in the field, should any man at all be called in question; because such seems to be the proper and natural death of civil dissentions. The offences of war are obliterated by peace.
Another class will of course be included in the indemnity, namely, all those who by their activity in restoring lawful government shall obliterate their offences. The offence previously known, the acceptance of service is a pardon for crimes. I fear that this class of men will not be very numerous.
So far as to indemnity. But where are the objects of justice, and of example, and of future security to the public peace? They are naturally pointed out, not by their having outraged political and civil laws, nor their having rebelled against the state, as a state, but by their having rebelled against the law of nature, and outraged man as man.
It is extraordinary that as the wicked arts of this regicide and tyrannous faction increase in number, variety, and atrocity, the desire of punishing them becomes more and more faint, and the talk of an indemnity towards them, every day stronger and stronger,
Our ideas of justice appear to be fairly conquered and overpowered by guilt when it is grown gigantic. It is not the point of view in which we are in the habit of viewing guilt. The crimes we every day punish are really below the penalties we inflict. The criminals are obscure and feeble. This is the view in which we see ordinary crimes and criminals. But when guilt is seen, though but for a time, to be furnished with the arms and to be invested with the robes of power, it seems to assume another nature, and to get, as it were, out of our jurisdiction. This I fear is the case with many. But there is another cause full as powerful towards this security to enormous guilt, the desire which possesses people who have once obtained power, to enjoy it at their ease.
It is not humanity, but laziness and inertness of mind which produces the desire of this kind of indemnities. This description of men love general and short methods. If they punish, they make a promiscuous massacre ; if they spare they make a general act of oblivion. This is a want of disposition to proceed laboriously according to the cases, and according to the rules and principles of justice on each case; a want of disposition to assort criminals, to discriminate the degrees and modes of guilt, to separate accomplices from principals, leaders from followers, seducers from the seduced, and then by following the same principles in the same detail, to class punishments, and to fit them to the nature and kind of the delinquency. If that were once attempted, we should soon see that the task was neither infinite, nor the execution cruel.
REASON. A RASH recourse to force is not to be justified in a state of real weakness. Such attempts bring on disgrace; and, in their failure, discountenance and discourage more rational endeavours. But reason is to be hazarde ed, though it may be perverted by craft and sophistry; for reason can suffer no loss nor shame, nor can it impede any useful plan of future policy. In the unavoidable uncertainty, as to the effect, which attends on every measure of human prudence, nothing seems a surer antidote to the poison of fraud than its detection. It is true the fraud may be swallowed after this discovery ; and perhaps even swallowed the more greedily for being a detected fraud. Men sometimes make a point of honour not to be disabused; and they had rather fall into an hundred errors than confess
But after all, when neither our principles nor our dispositions, nor, perhaps, our talents, enable us to encounter delusion with delusion, we must use our best reason to those that ought to be reasonable creatures, and to take our chance for the event. We cannot act on these anomalies in the minds of men.
I KNEW that there is a manifest marked distinction, which ill men, with ill designs, or weak men incapable of any design, will constantly be confounding, that is, a marked distinction between change and reformation. The former alters the substance of the objects themselves; and gets rid of all their essential good, as well as of all the accidental evil annexed to them. Change is novelty ; and whether it is to operate any one of the effects of reformation at all, or whether it may not contradict the very principle upon which reformation is desired, cannot be certainly known beforehand. Reform is, not a change in the substance,