Imágenes de páginas

With a fixed design they have outlawed themselves, and to their power outlawed all other nations. Instead of the religion and the law by which they were in a great and politic communion with the Christian world, they have constructed their republic on three bases, all fundamentally opposite to those on which the communities of Europe are built. Its foundation is laid in Regicide, in Jacobinism, and in Atheism; and it has joined to those principles a body of systematic manners which secures their operation.-Regicide Peace.


We must all obey the great law of change. It is the most powerful law of nature, and the means perhaps of its conservation. All we can do, and that human wis. dom can do, is to provide that the change shall proceed by insensible degrees. This has all the benefits which may be in change, without any of the inconveniencies of mutation. Every thing is provided foras it arrives. This mode will, on the one hand, prevent the unfixing old interests at once; a thing which is apt to breed a black and fullen discontent in those who are at once dispossessed of all their influence and consideration. This gradual course, on the other side, will prevent men, long under depression, from being intoxicated with a large draught of new power, which they always abuse with a licentious insolence. But wishing, as I do, the change to be gradual and cautious, I would, in my first steps, lean rather to the side of enlargement than restriction.--Letter to Sir H. Langrijhe, M. P.

[ocr errors]

LAWS (BAD.) Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny. In such a country as this, they are of all bad things the worst, worse by far than any where else; and they derive a particular malignity even from the wisdom and soundnefs of the rest of our institutions. For very obvious reafons you cannot trust the Crown with a dispensing power over any of your laws-Speech previous to the Election at Bristol.



Our pa

Charakter of a true Lawgiver. But it seems as if it were the prevalent opinion in Paris, that an unfeeling heart, and an undoubting confidence, are the fole qualifications for a perfect legislator. Far different are my ideas of that high office. The true law giver ought to have an heart full of sensibility. He ought to love and respect his kind, and to fear himself.


be allowed to his temperament to catch his ultimate object with an intuitive glance; but his movements towards it ought to be deliberare. Political arrangement, as it is a work for social ends, is to be only wrought by social means. There mind must conípire with mind. Time is required to produce that union of minds which alone can produce all the good we aim at. tience will atchieve more than our force. If I might venture to appeal to what is so much out of fashion in Paris, I mean to experience, I should tell you, that in my course I have known, and, according to my measure, have co-operated with great men, and I have never yet feen any plan which has not been mended by the observations of those who were much inferior in underlianding to the person who took the lead in the business. By a flow but well. sustained progress, the effect of each step is watched; the good or ill success of the first, gives light to us in the second ; and so, from light to light, we are conducted with safety through the whole series. We fee, that the parts of the system do not clash. The evils latent in the most promising contrivances are provided for as they arise. One advantage is as little as poflible sacrificed to another. We compensate, we reconcile, we balance. We are enabled to unite into a consistent whole the various anomalies and contending principles that are found in the minds and affairs of men.

From hence arises, not an excellence in fimplicity, but one far superior, an excellence in composition. Where the great interests of mankind

[ocr errors]

are concerned through a long succession of genera-
tions, that succession ought to be admitted into fome
share in the councils which are so deeply to affect
them. If justice requires this, the work itself re-
quires the aid of more minds than one age can fur-
nish. It is from this view of things that the best
legislators have been often satisfied with the establish-
ment of some sure, folid, and ruling principle in
government; a power like that which some of the
philosophers have called a plastic nature; and having
fixed the principle, they have left it afierwards to its
own operation. Reflections on the Revolution in

[ocr errors]


No legislator, at any period of the world, has willingly placed the seat of active power in the hands of the multitude: because there it admits of no control, no regulation, no steady direction whatsoever. The people are the natural control on authority; but to exercise and to control together is contradictory and impossible.

As the exorbitant exercise of power cannot, under popular sway, be effectually restrained, the other great obje&t of political arrangement, the means of abating an excellive desire of it, is in such a state still worse provided for. The democratic commonwealth is the foodful nurse of ambition. Under the other forms it meets with many restraints. Whenever, in ftates which have had a democratic basis, the legislators have endeavoured to put restraints upon ambition, their methods were as violent, as in the end they were ineffectual; as violent indeed as any the most jealous despotism could invent. The ostracism could not very long fave itself, and much less the state which it was meant to guard, from the attempts of ambition, one of the natural inbred incurable distempers of a powerful democracy.--Appeal

from the new to the old Whigs.

LEGISLATORS (FRENCH.) Whilst they (French Legislators) are possessed by these notions, (theoretical) it is vain to talk to ther of the practice of their anceitors, the funda. mental laws of their country, the fixed form of a constitution, whose merits are confirmed by the folid test of long experience, and an increasing public strength and national prosperity. They despise experience as the wisdom of unlettered men; and as for the rest, they have wrought under ground a mine that will blow up at one grand explosion all examples of antiquity, all precedents, charters, and acts of parliament. They have “ The Rights of Men.” Against these there can be no prescription; against these no agreement is binding: these admit no temperament, and no compromise: any thing withheld from their full demand is so much of fraud and injustice. Against these their rights of men det no government look for security in the length of its continuance, or in the justice and lenity of its administration. The objections of these speculatiits, if its forms do not quadrate with their theories, are as valid against such an old and beneficent government as against the most violent tyranny, or the greeneft usurpation. They are always at issue with governments, not on a question of abuse, but a quellion of competency, and a question of title. Į have nothing to say to the clumsy subtiity of their political metaphysics. Let them be their amusement in the schools. -65 Illâ se jačtet in aula— Æolus, et claufo ventorum 66 carcere regnet.”—But let them not break prison to burst like a Levanter, to sweep the earth with their hurricane, and to break up the fountains of the grat deep to overwhelm us.Reflections on the Revolution in France.

SEE FREEDOM.) LIBERTY, if I understand it at all, is a general principle, and the clear right of all the subjects


within the realm, or of none. Partial freedom seem io me a most invidicus mode of slavery; but unfortunately, it is the kind of slavery the most easily admitted in times of civil discord. Letter to the Sherifs of Bristol.


Genuine Love of Liberty. Ir is but too true, that the love, and even the very idea, of genuine liberty, is extremely rare.

It is but too true, that there are many, whose whole scheme of freedom is made up of pride, perverseness, and intolence. They feel themselves in a state of thraldom; they imagine that their souls are cooped and cabined in,. unless they have soine man, or foine body of men, dependent on their mercy. This desire of having some one below them, descends to those who are the very lowest of all; and a Protestant cobler, debafed by his poverty, but exalted by his share of the ruling church, feels a pride in knowing it is by his generosity alone, that the peer, whose footmán's instep he measures, is able to keep his chaplain from a jail. This disponition is the true source of the passion which many men in very humble life have taken to the American war.

Our subjects in America; our colonies; our dependants. This luft of party power, is the liberty they hunger and thirst for; and this Syren fong of ambition, has charmed ears, that one would have thought were never organized to that fort of muliç.--- Ibid.

LIBERTY, The true danger is, when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients, and by parts.----Ibid.


Without Wisdom and Virtue, the greatest of Evils.

The effects of the incapacity shewn by the popular leaders in all the great members of the commonwealth · are to be covered with the “ all-atoning name" of

« AnteriorContinuar »