« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
P. Now you talk English again, and you will speak good English if you apply these observations to that profound science, I say that profound science George, of government. Dare you, good humble soul, at your humble distance, presume to smatter in this subject?
G. If it be presumption, Sir, you inspire me to presume to answer any question you think proper to ask.
P. What is it to govern?
P. Ought any man to regulate my affairs without my consent ?
G. Certainly not.
P. You think, no man ought to regulate my time, my diet, my dress, my money, my trade, or any thing else of mine without my consent?
G. No man ought to attempt it.
P. If I have not time to attend to all my affairs, would it not be wise in me to employ somebody to transact them for me?
G. It would.
P. Should I be wise, to commit my affairs to a novice or a knave?
G. That no man would willingly do.
P. But how am I to know whether a man be wise and upright?
G. Nothing seems easier, Sir. There is no mystery in this, I am sure.
P. You think, I suppose, that a good tree brings forth good fruit?
G. All the world think so.
P. Suppose, for I am not infallible, and many men walk in masquerade, suppose I should find on trial that I am deceived in my man?
G. Discharge him, and employ another.
P. Thus far, then, there is no inystery. But may I apply these observations to the government of the affairs of a kingdom?
G. It should seem so.
P. You say to govern a kingdom is to regulate the affairs of it?
G. I do.
P. You say, the affairs of this kingdom are regulated according to compact ?
G. Expressly so-a contract confirmed by oath.
P. You say, this compact ought to be, and actually is perfectly understood by both the contracting parties?
G. I do.
G. There is none, and yet somehow or other I cannot get rid of the idea of arcana imperii, impenetrable depth in governors, which it is presumption in the governed to censure, to fear, or to suspect.
P. You should have lived in the reign of Q. Elizabeth, or in that of James I. But the idea is an excresence. Are you willing to get rid of it? G. Do me the honour to try, Sir.
P. Courage then! What is the usual cause of perplexity of ideas?
G. I am not prepared to answer.
P: Is a perplexed idea one idea only, or is it many ideas crowded into one? For example, have you a clear idea of a single tree, an oak, suppose ?
G. I have.
P. Have you an idea as clear of one wilderness of trees, made up of oaks, elms, chesnuts, dwarfs, evergreens and so on?
G. My idea of a wilderness is complex, and composed of ideas of many different trees, and consequently in some degree perplexed, and it would be in a great degree perplexed if there were many trees in the wilderness, with which I was not acquainted.
P. If I were then to describe this wilderness by affirming it consisted of trees always green, and tall, should not I perplex the subject more?
G. Certainly. Oaks are not evergreens, nor are dwarfs tall.
P. How must I make the description plain?
G. By separating my general idea of a wilderness into many ideas of single trees growing together, and ascribing to each tree its own properties.
P. A general tree then is a creature of art?
G. It is, and I suspect no creature in nature can define it.
P. Apply this to our subject, and you will instantly perceive how your notion of a ruler became perplexed.
G. I see it plainly. You were speaking of a British government, and a British king, and I have been thinking of king in general. Mine was an abstract idea, or rather, a name without any precise idea at all. P. This was the cause of your perplexity.
A tyrant, who has subdued a nation into slavery, and silence, and horror, is deep and impenetrable, and he is so for the same reason a murderer is so; a declaration of the use he intended to make of his ability and power would defeat his design: but all this has nothing to do with the case of a prince, who accepts a crown on conditions, openly avowed, publickly investigated, and thoroughly understood by the whole world.
G. I perceive it, and I recollect, too, that you distinguished principles of polity, clearly and fully known, from application of these in actual government, which may require secrecy and dispatch.
P. By the way, George, I cannot help lamenting the course of education, and the choice of books in fashion in the schools. What do you think of Cæsar and Alexander and such heroes of antiquity?
G. I think they were butchers of mankind.
P. What can you think of men, who ascribe to such detestable tyrants the qualifications of good governors.
G. I think they are grossly ignorant, or extremely wicked. Their politicks are not fit for us.
P. These are the MAGNI, the GREAT, you know !
G. A tiger is greater than a cat, and my fear of each bears a just proportion to its size.
P. Under the tyranny of such rulers mystery is inculcated. The peoples spirits must be tamed. They must be trained up in implicit faith. The infinite ability necessary to regulate affairs—the utter incapacity of the people to judge of a science so profound as government–These are topics I would have you leave the birelings of a despot to varnish. If the emperor of China had understood popery he would not have banished the Jcsuit Missionaries.
G. Perhaps he had a mind to play Jupiter solus?
P. Perhaps so.
G. I think I love my country the better, Sir, for your conversation. I feel a little more selfimportance, and I look up to my prince with more reverence, for this sort of government considers us as two open, ingenuous, sensible, honest men. The other dark system supposes fraud and fear, it makes a prince a knave, and a nation a fool; consequently it is disgraceful to both, yea, worse, it is dangerous to both, it generates suspicion and cruelty, by destroying mutual confidence, the only worthy bond of political union.
P. True.-Did I not prophesy you would be a politician? Remember to-morrow—and take one short lesson for this day— dare to think for yourself-If you must perish, ruin yourself, and don't let other men ruin you by inculcating credulity and diffidence.--The physician will tell you he