Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

might perhaps have read them in and sort asunder, were not more insome sort usefully. Good and evil i termixed. It was from out the rind we know in the field of this world of one apple tasted, that the knowgrow up together almost inseparably; ledge of good and evil, as two twins and the knowledge of good is so in- cleaving together, leaped forth into volved and interwoven with thcknow- the world. And perbaps this is that ledge of evil, and in so many cun- doom which Adam fell into of knowning resemblances bardly to be dis- ing good and evil, that is to say of cerned, that those confused seeds knowing good by evil. which were imposed upon Pysche

[To be continued.] as an incessant labour to cull out,

1. ON LIBERTY,
AND THE ORIGINAL COMPACT BETWEEN THE PRINCE

AND THE PEOPLE.
BY LORD BOLINGBROKE.

[2d. Ed. 1748.]

Salvá libertate, fidus. In all governments there are, ci- throne, though the means by which ther expressly or tacitly, certam they rose to it, were ever so fiagitious. conditions between the people and. The princes of antiquity, particutheir rulers, which in conscience they larly the heathen emperors, used to are both bound to preserve. In the deify themselves, with a view of oblimore arbitrary kingdoms, the traces ging the people, from a religious reof an original compact are less dis. verence, to submit patiently to their cernible; and by length of time, de- extravagancies. The jus divinum, struction of records, or the artifice and sanctity of person, which some of princes, the monuments of ancient of our late monarchs have ascribed liberty may be destroyed; or, which to themselves, were but copies of this is worse, the minds of the people original, and calculated to the same prepared to imagine that either they views; but the people have been wise never had a right to liberty, or that enough in these kingdoms, to exit hath been cancelled by prescrip- plode such dangerous and inquisitous tion. These doctrines have been als superstitions. It is, indeed, amazing ways inculcated, with great art by that they could ever have prevailed

designing princes; and upon the at all amongst us. ' strength of the invasion of their pre- Nobody can be so weak, or so

decessors, most kings afterwards think wicked, as to deny thať the prospethemselves justly entitled to the same rity of mankind is one of the great powers, which those who, went be- ends of government. We are all fore them, had notoriously usurped. obliged to promote it in our private In order to preserve their arbitrary capacities ; but it is a duty more pesway, they are reduced to maintain culiarly incumbent on the governor an opinion, which draws after it of a people. If he therefore should great danger, and is the strongest play the tyrant, and pervert his power invitation to the attempts of their to the destruction or misery of a ambitious subjects. This opinion whole nation, his crime is infinitely is, that princes are in themselves great, even much the greatest, that SACRED, when once they mount the map is capable of committing ; and

yet, according to this blasphemous necessarily be the total alienation position, the worst of these is still of the hearts of his people; for the sacred and inviolable.

very cause of his miscarriage must In whatever light we look upon he a discovery that, by giving way these absurd and dangerous senti- to such opinions, they make themments, we may easily discover their selves his slaves ; and at the same weak foundation, and monstrous ten. instant that they perceive the condency. But it is very happy for us sequence, they will discover the that there is not the same occasion cause to be an arbitrary intentiou. to explode them, at present, which in him, which will always make there hath formerly been; though, them jealous of him.-But if he at the same time, they are not so should succeed, it will only make totally eradicated, nor are the at- him presume too much upon that tempts to revive them so inconsider success, and lead him on, by the able, as not to deserve our attention passive principles of his subjects to in some degree. The people in ge- push such measures as will bring neral are grown too wise to entertain ruin upon his own head; for conthem any longer; but it is with as- science, when hardly pressed, will tonishment we observe that princes rebel against principle; of which, have not likewise seen their error in we have had instances enough in the propagation of them.

our own history. We have already taken notice of It was the dependence upon these the encouragement which such doc- principles, strongly inculcated and trines have given to the ambition of artfully spread in the reign of King private men. That law which owed James the first, and propagated with its rise to the doubtful title of Ilenry the same assiduity by his son, that the Seventh, is sufficient of itself to brought King Charles to so tragical stimulate hot spirits, without the an end. It was a presumption upon additional incentive of a general con- the patience of the people, that enscience concurring in the opinion gaged him in so violent an exercise there made legal. This law declares of the prerogative. It was this, in effect a king de facto to be a king which induced bim to govern so de jure, and instantly annuls the long without parliaments; to raise right of the precedent prince by the money upon the people, contrary establishment of the person who ob- to law; and to support an evil adtains bis seat. Upon this was ministration, however odious to the grounded the advice given to Crompeople, from a very wrong persuawell by some of his friends, that he sion that they were useful to himshould declare himself king; and self. Thus, I say, he fell a sacriupon this likewise is founded the' fice to that principle, which he had opinion of several writers upon those so large a share in raising himself, times, who imagine that he would and proved a memorable example of have maintained the crown in his this great truth, that princes gene. family to this day, if he had followed rally find their ruin in that, which that advice.

they fondly think their strongest seBut there is still a farther mis- curity! We cannot but lament the chief in it, not only to the people, cruel destiny of that unhappy prince, (for that is evident enough) but to and we know how to acknowledge the Prince himself. If he attempts his private virtues; but it must be to ground these sentiments in the confessed, at the same time, that he minds of his subjects, he must either owed his misfortune to his fault, fail, or succeed in his undertaking. and that he had never suffered, if If he fails, the consequence must he had never aspired to more than

was agrecable to the constitution, bath proved to himself, if not to the over which he presided. If he had nation, the experience of what hath expected the allegiance and duty of since happened sufficiently demonbis subjects from no other motive strates. It would be unnecessary to than that, from which it is only bring any other examples of the disdue, a return of protection and a tresses occasioned to princes themjust administration, he might have selves by a thirst of unlimited power, lived and died in peace. Nay, he There cannot be a truth more fully might even have gone some lengths verified by a continued series of inwith safety. But endeavouring to stances in all ages. I have here force their consciences to submission, particularly mentioned but one of he only ripened the popular discun- the means which are used to attain tents. If these discontents had been that unwholesome kind of sovereignkept under by no other force than ty; but the same hazard attends all that of convenience, they would have other methods, by which the sameend shewn themselves sooner, and the is to be pursued. The danger lies not causes of them might have bcen ear- so much in the manner of the attempt, ly removed ; but the long forbear- as in the attempt itself. It lies in the ance of the people, upon these prin- manifestation of a design to invade ciples, encouraged him to proceed the liberties of the people ; and if farther in the same steps, till he had once they discover such a design, soured the minds of the whole na- unless they are sunk into the lowest tion; and thus the pсison became state of corruption and pusillanimity, universal, at the same time that the they will endeavour to shake off an discase was intolerable.

authority, so plainly levelled at their King James the Second had a bet- ancient rights, and so contrary to ter fate, though his conduct deserved its original design. a worse. The calamities of his fa. Most princes are inclined to ima. ther could not deter him from walk- gine, and taught from the cradle to ing in the same dangerous path. believe that those, who argue in this That desperate example was too manner are abettors of faction and weak to bridle his lust of power. enemies to them. No; they are May this be a lesson to all succeed- enemies to the growth of prerogative ing princes not to desire the tempta- and arbitrary power; but by being tion !May it be an everlasting in- so, they prove themselves the best struction to all people never to give friends to the constitution of their it to their prince !--This temptation country, and consequently the soundwas the same that had undone his est subjects to a prince, who hath no father. It was an adherence to the designs against the liberties of his same false opinion, which his bro- people. ther and himself had laboured to The whole tendency of these disencourage from the Restoration to courses is to inculcate a rational , that time. They were carried higher, idea of the nature of our governat that æra, than they had ever run ment into the minds of my countrybefore. He relied so much upon men, and to prevent the fatal conthem, that when those who were sequence of those slavish principles, friends both to him and the public which are industriously propagated advised him, in the career of his ar- through the kingdom by wicked and bitrary measures, to act with more designing men. He who labours to caution; he told them that he knew blind the people, and to keep them the conscience of the people would from all instruction, may be justly keep them quiet. How far he was suspected of bad intentions; but he mistaken, and how fatal bis error who makes it his business to open the understandings of mankind, cuts that besides the advantages then pros up all faction by the roots ; for it is cured, we likewise obtained the power essential to wisdor. and knowledge of redressing any farther grievances to support an equal and good go- and abuses, which might be then vernment.

overlooked, or might hereafter arise Having justified our endeavours in the administration of government. in this manner, we may venture 10 Our princes are now made sensible speak with freedom upon that origi. that they are exalted, not for their nal compact between the prince and own convenience only, but for the the people, which we mentioned at advantage of the people, and therethe beginning of this paper ; but to fore will never refuse their consent insist much upon that head would to any laws which may be found be more necessary in countries where necessary for the happiness and seliberty is totally lost, and its foot. curity of their subjects. As they steps erased, than in this, where know that their prerogative was setthat compact has been so lately re- tled only with that view, there can newed with the present royal family. never again happen a contest between Yet it is sometimes proper even here us upon that foot; nor can they to touch upon this original right of entertain the thought of preserving the people, that no inan may think any branch of it, which may in futhe late contract we have mentioned ture ages, by various accidents, be unjustly framed; but our principal rendered repugnant to the ends for business is to ground our arguments which it was created. upon the known conditions of our The duty of the people is also now present monarchy.

settled upon so clear a foundation, Our constitution, as now esta that no man can hesitate how far he blished, is founded on a most ex- is to obey, or doubt on what occacellent model. We have all the ad. sions to resist. Conscience can batvantages of a brisk esecution from tle no longer with the understandthe monarchical part. From the ing. We know that we are to de. aristocratical all the conveniences fend the crown with our lives and which are to be found in that form fortunes, as long as the crown proof government; and the mischiefs tects us, and keeps strictly to the which usually attend it, where it is bounds within which we have confined absolute and unconfined, are in a it. We likewise know that we are to great measure blunted by the power do it no longer! The part we have of the commons. This is the demo- all to act, on every public occasion, cratical part of our constitution. is plainly laid down before us; and Their share in the balance is vastly as the blessings of peace, plenty, great, as it must be in all good es. and liberty will always secure to his tablishments; and thus we partake Majesty the allegiance of his subof all the benefits and securities to jects ; so, on the other hand, the liberty, which result from these dif- dangers which constantly attend all ferent kinds of government.

advances to arbitrary power, will, I It hath been observed, indeed, hope, preserve us from any such atthat our work was, in some mea. tempts for the future. In short, as sure, left imperfect upon the last we have the happiness to live under great change of affairs; nor is it sure' an excellent constitution, so it is prising, that in a time of such con- very much in our own power, by a fusion, and from the variety of opis proper conduct, to secure the enjoynions upon these points, some errors ment of it to ourselves, and to transor omissions might have happened. mit it to the latest posterity. Yct we may with pleasure affirm,

REVIEW OF BOOKS.

A Constitution for the Spanish Na verned, in order that the best and

tion presented to the Supreme Jun- purest theories, may as times, and ta of Spain and the Indies, Nov, circumstances allow, be the more 1, 1809. B! Alvaro Florez Es- effcctually reduced to practice. These trada, Attorney-General of the reflections naturally arose from a principality of Asturias. Transla- perusal of the pamphlet before us, ted from the Original by W. Bure which may be considered as somedon. pp. 51.-Sherwood and Co. what extraordinary, coming from a

The translator of this pampiilet Spaniarli, a subject of one of the states that" his sole design in ot- worst governments, political, civil, fering it to the public, is, his desire and ecclesiastical, that ever disto convince them, that there are graced a country pretending to cisome men at least, in Spain who vilization. hold just principles of government. The enlightened lawyer, the auand legislation;" at the same time thor of the pamphlet before us, in a hę informs the reader that he by no dedication to the Spanish nation, means agrees with the author, in his declares, that an ardent desire for application of those principles; and the liberty and happiness of his he more particularly objects to the countrymen made him forget" the limitation of the executive power to : sweet and precious names of hus. what he conceives narrower bounds band, father, and son, in exposing than is consistent with the respect himself a hundred, and a hundred due to its authority; although he times to lose them all at one stroke.” deems it pardonable to try any ex. But all his own exertions, as well periment in a country which has a as those of his countrymen, all trinew government to form as is the umph over their external enemies, case with Spain.

he expresses his firm persuasion, Writing new theories, or attend- will avail nothing towards their liing to old theories of government, herty, unless they form a constituseems to be the principal employ- tion which shall express in clear ment of the friends to freedom at and simple terms their imprescripthe present period; for as to the tible rights, and establish sufficient mass of the people in almost all means for securing them; and in countries, they seem little disposed, the opinion of our author, (and that to act, except as they are led or a very just one) “ whoever shall driven by their rulers. if, however, contribute to this great purpose will as 'some of the most virtuous and do them a much greater service best of men have been encouraged than if he had gained a hundred by the sentiment--No effort for the battles.” To arouse his country. good of mankind is lost, theories men to a due consideration of this which have for their aim the liberty important subject, he addresses them and the virtue of the human race, in the following appropriate landeserve the most serious attention guage. of all those who believe, that the ge- " Since the constitution of a state is neral condition of mankind will, in only meant to declare the rights of the spite of every discouragement, most people--to explain the duties and conassuredly be ameliorated; and it is

ditions attached to those who govern

to establish the means of ensuring the likewise their bounden duty to watch

performance of these duties and condievery change that may take place, tions, to whom, but to you, can I deeither in the governors or the go. dicate this work, whose sole object is

« ZurückWeiter »