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that is common to them with a few. The same degree of beauty in a woman is called deformity, which is treated as real beauty in one of our sex.
As 'tis usual, in forming a notion of our species, to compare it with the other species above or below it, or to compare the individuals of the species among themfelves ; so we often compare together the different motives or actuating principles of human nature, in order to regulate our judgment concerning it. And indeed, this is the only kind of comparison which is worth our attention, or decides any thing in the present question. Were our selfish and vicious principles so much predominant above our social and virtuous, as is asserted by some philosophers, we ought undoubtedly to entertain a contemptible notion of human nature.
There is much of a dispute of words in all this controversy. When a man denies the sincerity of all public spirit or affection to a country and community, I am at a loss what to think of him. Perhaps he never felt this passion in so clear and distinct a manner as to remove all his doubts concerning its force and reality. But when he proceeds afterwards to reject all private friendship, if no interest or selflove intermixes itself; I am then confident that he abuses terms, and confounds the ideas of things ; since it is impossible for any one to be so selfish, or rather so stupid, as to make no difference betwixt one man and another, and give no preference to qualities, which engage his approbation and esteem. Is he also, say I, as insensible to anger as he pretends to be to friendship? And does injury and wrong no more affect him than kindness or benefits ? Impossible : He does not know himself: He has forgot the movements of his mind; or rather he makes use of a different language from the rest of his countrymen, and calls not things by their proper names. What say you of natural affection ? (I subjoin) Is that also a species of self-love? Yes: All is self-love. Your children are loved only because they are yours : Your friend for a like reason : And your country engages you only so far as it has a connexion with yourself: Were the idea of self removed, nothing would affect you: You would be altogether inactive and insensible: Or if you ever gave yourself any movement, it would only be from vanity, and a desire of fame and reputation to this same self: I am willing, reply I, to receive your interpretation of human actions, provided you admit the facts. That species of self-love, which displays itself in kindness to others, you must allow to have great infuence, and even greater, on many occasions, than that which remains in its original shape and form. For how few are there, who, having a family, children, and relations, do not spend more on the maintenance and education of these than on their own pleasures ? This, indeed, you justly observe, may proceed from their self-love, since the prosperity of their family and friends is one, or the chief of their pleasures, as well as their chief honor. Be you also one of these selfish men, and you are sure of every one's good opinion and good will; or not to shock your nice years with these expressions, the self-love of every one, and mine amongst the rest, will then incline us to serve you, and speak well of you.
In my opinion, there are two things 'which have led aftray those philosophers, who have insisted so much on the selfishness of man. In the first place, they found, that every act of virtue or friendship was attended with a secret pleasure : from whence they concluded, that friendship and virtue could not be disinterested. But the fallacy of this is obvious. The virtuous sentiment or passion produces the
pleasure, and does not arise from it. I feel a pleasure in doing good to my friend, because I love him ; but do not love him for the sake of that pleasure.
In the second place, it has always been found, that the virtuous are far from being indifferent to praise ; and therefore they have been represented as a set of vain-glorious men, who had nothing in view but the applauses of others : But this also is a fallacy. 'Tis very unjust in the world, when they find any tincture of vanity in a laudable action, to depreciate it upon that account, or ascribe it entirely to that motive. The cafe is not the same with vanity, as with other passions, Where avarice or revenge enters into any seemingly virtuous action, 'tis difficult for us to determine how far it enters, and 'tis natural to suppose it the sole actuating principle. But vanity is so closely allied to virtue, and to love the fame of laudable actions approaches so near the love of laudable actions for their own sake, that these passions are more capable of mixture, than any other kinds of affection ; and 'tis almost impossible to have the latter without some degree of the former. Accordingly we find, that this passion for glory is always warped and varied according to the particular taste or fentiment of the mind on which it falls. NERO had the same vanity in driving a chariot, that TRAJAN had in governing the empire with justice and ability. To love the glory of virtuous actions is a fure proof of the love of virtuous actions.
E S S A Y XV.
H OSE who employ their pens on political subjects, free from party-rage, 1 and party-prejudices, cultivate a science, which, of all others, contributes most to public utility, and even to the private satisfaction of those who addict themselves to the study of it. I am apt, however, to entertain a suspicion, that the world is still too young to fix many general truths in politics, which will remain true to the latest pofterity. We have not as yet had experience of above three thousand years; so that not only the art of reasoning is still defective in this science, as well as in all others, but we even want sufficient materials upon which we can reason. 'Tis not fully known, what degrees of refinement, either in virtue or vice, human nature is susceptible of; nor what may be expected of mankind from any great revolution in their education, customis, or principles. MaCHIAVEL was certainly a great genius; but having confined his study to the fu. rious and tyrannical governments of ancient times, or to the little disorderly principalities of Italy, his reasonings, especially upon monarchical government, have been found extremely defective ; and there scarce is any maxim in his prince, which subsequent experience has not entirely refuted. A weak prince, says he, is incapable of receiving good counsel; for if he consult with several, he will not be able to choose among their different counsels. If he abandon himself to one, that minister may, perhaps, have capacity; but he will not be long a minister : He will be sure to dispofsess his master, and plece himself and his own family upon the throne. I mention this, among innumerable instances, of the errors of that politician, proceeding, in a great measure, from his having lived in too early an age of the world, to be
a good a good judge of political truth. Almost all the princes of EUROPE are at prefent governed by their minifters; and have been so for near two centuries; and yet no such event has ever happened, or can possibly happen. Sejanus might project dechroning the CÆSARS; but FLEURY, tho' ever so vicious, could not, while in his senses, entertain the leaft hopes of difpofleffing the BOURBONS.
T'RADE was never esteemed an affair of state, 'till the laft century, and there fcarcely is any ancient writer on politics, who has made mention of it *. Even the ITALIANS have kept a protound silence with regard to it ; tho' it has now excited the chief attention, as well of ministers of state, as of fpeculative reasoners. The great opulence, grandeur, and military atchievements of the two maritime powers, seem first to have instructed mankind in the vast importance of an extenlive commerce.
HAVING, therefore, intended in this essay to have made a full comparison of civil liberty and absolute government, and to have shewn the great advantages of the former above the latter ; I began to entertain a suspicion, that no man in this age was fufficiently qualified for such an undertaking ; and that whatever any one fhould advance on that head would, in all probability, be refuted by further experience, and be rejected by pofterity. Such mighty revolutions have happened in human affairs, and so many events have arisen contrary to the expectation of the ancients, that they are sufficient to beget the suspicion of still further changes.
It had been observed by the ancients, that all the arts and sciences arose among free nations; and, that the Persians and EGYPTIANS, notwithstanding all their ease, opulence and luxury, made but faint efforts towards a relish in those finer pleasures, which were carried to such perfection by the GREEKS, amidst continual wars, attended with poverty, and the greatest simplicity of life and manners. It had also been observed, that as soon as the Greeks lost their liberty tho' they encreased mightily in riches, by means of the conquest of ALEXANDER ; yet the arts, from that moment, declined among them, and have never since been able to raise their head in that climate. Learning was transplanted to Rome, the only free nation at that time in the universe ;, and having met with so favorable a foil, is made prodigious shoots for above a century ; till the decay of liberty pro. duced also the decay of letters, and spred a total barbarism over the world. From these two experiments, of which each was double in its kind, and shewed the fall of learning in despotic governments, as well as its rise in popular ones, LongiNUS thought himself fufficiently justified, in afferting, that the arts and sciences could never flourish, but in a free government : And in this opinion, he has been followed by feveral eminent writers + in our own country, who either confined their view. merely to ancient facts, or entertained too great a partiality in favor of that form of government, which is established amongst us.
But what would these writers have said, to the instances of modern Rome and of FLORENCE? Of which the former carried to perfection all the finer arts of sculpture, painting and music, as well as poetry, tho' they groaned under tyranny, and under the tyranny of priests: While the latier made the greatest progress in
* XENOPHON mentions it; but with a doubt if excludes it from his imaginary republic. De Legiit be of any advantage to a state. Eide xai futropice bus, lib. 4. . Q:neñ to trúniro. Sic, Xen. HieR.O. PLATO totally t Mr. ADDISON and lord SHAFT ESBURY.
the arts and sciences, after they began to lose their liberty by the usurpations of the family of the Medicis. ARIOSTO, Tasso, GALILÆO, no more than RAPHAEL, and MICHAEL ANGELO, were not born in republics. And tho' the LOMBARD school was famous as well as the ROMAN, yet the VENETIANS have had the smallest share in its honors, and seem rather inferior to the other ITALIANS, in their genius for the arts and sciences. Rubens established his School at AntWERP, not at AMSTERDAM ; DRESDEN, not HAMBURGH, is the centre of politeness in GERMANY.
But the most eminent instance of the flourishing of learning in despotic governments, is that of France, which scarce ever enjoyed any eltablished liberty., and yet has carried the arts and sciences as near perfection as any other nation, The ENGLISH are, perhaps, better philofophers; the ITALIANs better painters and musicians; the Romans were better orators: But the French are the only people, except the Greeks, who have been at once philosophers, poets, orators, historians, painters, architects, fculptors, and musicians. With regard to the stage, they have excelled even the GREEKS, who have far excelled the ENGLISH. And, in common life, they have, in a great measure, perfected that art, the most useful and agreeable of any, l'Art de Viure, the art of society and conversation.
If we consider the state of the sciences and polite arts in our own country, HoRACE's obfervation, with regard to the ROMANS, may, in a great measure, be applied to the BRITISH.
Sed in longum tamen ævum
Manferunt, hodieque manent vestigia ruris. THE elegance and propriety of stile have been very much neglected among us. We have no dictionary of our language, and scarce a tolerable grammar. The first polite prose we have, was wrote by a man who is still alive *. As to SPRAT, LOCKE, and even TEMPLE, they knew too little of the rules of art to be esteemed very elegant writers. The prose of BACON, HARRINGTON, and MilTON, is altogether stiff and pedantic ; tho' their sense be excellent. Men, in this country, have been so much occupied in the great disputes of Religion, Politics and Philofophy, that they had no relish for the minute observations of gramınar and criticism. And tho' this turn of thinking must have considerably improved our sense and our talent of reasoning beyond those of other nations ; it must be confeffed, that even in those sciences above-mentionech, we have not any standardbook, which we can transmit to pofterity: And the utmost we have to boast of, are a few essays towards a more just philofophy; which, indeed, promise very much, but have not, as yet, reached any degree of perfection.
It has become an established opinion, that commerce can never Aourish but in a free government, and this opinion seems to be founded on a longer and larger experience than the foregoing, with regard to the arts and sciences. If we. trace commerce in its progress thro' TYRE, ATHENS, SYRACUSE, CARTHAGE, Venice, Florence, GENOA, ANTWERP, HOLLAND, ENGLAND, &c. we shall always find it to have fixt its seat in free governments. The three greatest, trading towns now in the world, are LONDON, AMSTERDAM, and HAMBURGH; all free cities, and protestant cities; that is, enjoying a double liberty. It must,
• Dr. Swift. .
howhowever, be observed, that the great jealousy entertained of late, with regard to the commerce of FRANCE, seems to prove, that this maxim is no more certain and infallible, than the foregoing, and that the subjects of an absolute prince may become our rivals in commerce, as well as in learning. · Durst I deliver my opinion in an affair of so much uncertainty, I would alsert, that, notwithstanding the efforts of the French, there is something pernicious to commerce inherent in the very nature of absolute government, and infeparable from it: Tho' the reason I would assign for this opinion, is somewhat different from that which is commonly insisted on. Private property seems to me almost as fecure in a civilized EUROPEAN monarchy, as in a republic; nor is danger much apprehended in such a government, from the violence of the sovereign ; more than we commonly dread harm from thunder, or earthquakes, or any accident the most unusual and extraordinary. Avarice, the spur of industry, is so obftinate a passion, and works its way thro' so many real dangers and difficulties, that 'tis not likely it will be scared by an imaginary danger, which is so small, that it scarce admits of calculation. Commerce therefore, in my opinion, is apt to decay in absolute governments, not because it is there less secure, but because ir is less honorable. A subordination of ranks is absolutely necessary to the support of monarchy. Birth, titles, and place, must be honored above industry and riches. And while these notions prevail, all the considerable traders will be tempted to throw up their commerce, in order to purchase some of those employments, to which privileges and honors are annexed.
SINCE I am upon this head of the alterations which time has produced, or may produce in politics, I must observe, that all kinds of government, free and defpotic, seem to have undergone, in modern times, a great change to the better, with regard both to foreign and domestic management. The balance of power is a secret in politics, fully known only to the present age ; and I must add, that the internal Police of the state has also received great improvements within the last century. We are informed by SALLUST, that CATALINE's army was much augmented by the accession of the highwaymen about Rome ; tho' I believe, that all of that profesion, who are at present dispersed over Europe, would not amount to a regiment. In Cicero's pleadings for Milo, I find this argument, among others, made use of to prove, that his client had not assassinated CLODIUS. Had Milo, says he, intended to have killed Clodius, he had not attacked him in the day-time, and at such a distance from the city : He had way-laid him at night, near the suburbs, where it might have been pretended, that he was killed by robbers; and the frequency of the accident would have favored the deceit. This is a surprizing proof of the loose police of Rome, and of the number and force of these robbers ; since CLODIUS * was at that time attended with thirty faves, who were compleatly armed, and sufficiently accustomed to blood and danger in the frequent tumults excited by that feditious tribune.
But tho' all kinds of government be improved in modern times, yet monarchical government seems to have made the greatest advances towards perfection. It may now be affirmed of civilized monarchies, what was formerly said in praise of republics alone, that they are a government of Laws, not of men. They are
* Vide Afc. Ped. in Orat. pro Milone.