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lic functionaries, (though they might amount to five hundred elected in this manner from the counties and boroughs,) when among them who are the very guardians of liberty, and to whose custody it is committed, there must be so many, who know not either how to use or to enjoy liberty, who neither understand the principles nor merit the possession ? But, what is worthy of remark, those who are the most unworthy of liberty are wont to behave most ungratefully towards their deliverers. Among such persons, who would be willing either to fight for liberty, or to encounter the least peril in its defence? It is not agreeable to the nature of things that such persons ever should be free. However much they may brawl about liberty, they are slaves, both at home and abroad, but without perceiving it; and when they do perceive it, like unruly horses that are impatient of the bit, they will endeavour to throw off the yoke, not from the love of genuine liberty, (which a good man only loves and knows how to obtain, but from the impulses of pride and little passions. But though they often attempt it by arms, they will make no advances to the execution ; they may change their masters, but will never be able to get rid of their servitude. This often happened to the ancient Romans, wasted by excess, and enervated by luxury : and it has still more so been the fate of the moderns; when, after a long interval of years, they aspired, under the auspices of Crescentius, Nomentanus, and afterwards of Nicolas Rentius, who had assumed the title of Tribune of the People, to restore the splendour and re-establish the government of ancient Rome. For, instead of fretting with vexation, or thinking that you can lay the blame on any one but yourselves, know that to be free is the same thing as to be pious, to be wise, to be temperate and just, to be frugal and abstinent, and lastly, to be magnanimous and brave; so to be the opposite of all these is the same as to be a slave; and it usually happens, by the appointment, and as it were retributive justice, of the Deity, that that people which cannot govern themselves, and moderate their passions, but crouch under the slavery of their lusts, should be delivered up to the sway of those whom they abhor, and made to submit to an involuntary servitude. It is also sanctioned by the dictates of justice and by the constitution of nature, that he who from the imbecility


or derangement of his intellect, is incapable of governing himself, should, like a minor, be committed to the government of another; and least of all should he be appointed to superintend the affairs of others or the interest of the state. You, therefore, who wish to remain free, either instantly be wise, or, as soon as possible, cease to be fools; if


think slavery an intolerable evil, learn obedience to reason and the government of yourselves; and finally bid adieu to your dissensions, your jealousies, your superstitions, your outrages, your rapine, and

lusts. Unless


spare no pains to effect this, you must be judged unfit, both by God and mankind, to be entrusted with the possession of liberty and the administration of the government; but will rather, like a nation in a state of pupilage, want some active and courageous guardian to undertake the management of your affairs. With respect to myself, whatever turn things may take, I thought that

my exertions on the present occasion would be serviceable to my country; and as they have been cheerfully bestowed, I hope that they have not been bestowed in vain. And Í have not circumscribed my defence of liberty within any petty circle around me, but have made it so general and comprehensive, that the justice and the reasonableness of such uncommon occurrences, explained and defended, both among my countrymen and among foreigners, and which all good men cannot but approve, may serve to exalt the glory of my country, and to excite the imitation of posterity. If the conclusion do not answer to the beginning, that is their concern; I have delivered my testimony, I would almost say, have erected a monument, that will not readily be destroyed, to the reality of those singular and mighty achievements which were above all praise. As the epic poet, who adheres at all to the rules of that species of composition, does not profess to describe the whole life of the hero whom he celebrates, but only some particular action of his life, as the resentment or Achilles at Troy, the return of Ulysses, or the coming of Æneas into Italy; so it will be sufficient, either for my justification or apology, that I have heroically celebrated at least one exploit of my countrymen; I pass by the rest, for who could recite the achievements of a whole people? If after such a display of courage and of vigour, you basely relinquish


the path of virtue, if you do anything unworthy of yourselves, posterity will sit in judgment on your conduct. They will see that the foundations were well laid ; that the beginning (nay, it was more than a beginning) was glorious; but with deep einotions of concern will they regret, that those were wanting who might have completed the structure. They will lament that perseverance was not conjoined with such exertions and such virtues. They will see that there was a rich harvest of glory, and an opportunity afforded for the greatest achievements, but that men only were wanting for the execution; while they were not wanting who could rightly counsel, exhort, inspire, and bind an unfading wreath of praise round the brows of the illustrious actors in so glorious a scene.

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“As a roaring lion and raging bear, so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.

“The prince that wanteth understanding, is also a great oppressor; but he that hateth covetousness, shall prolong his days.

“ A man that doth violence to the blood of any person, shall fly to the pit, let no man stay him.”—Prov. xxviii. 15, 16, 17.

SALLUST. CONJURAT. CATILIN. “Regium imperium, quod initio, conservandæ liberta tis, atque augendæ

biicæ causâ fuerat, in verbiam, dominationemque se convertit. “Regibus boni, quam mali, suspectiores sunt, semperque his aliena virtus formidolosa est. " Impunè quælibet facere, id est regem esse.”




Upon the execution of Charles I., a book, entitled “ Eikon Basilikè,” was published under his name; and partly through a natural curiosity to see by what arguments, supposing the work to be his, he would endeavour to justify himself, partly through a leaning to the royal cause, many thousands desired to possess the work, which therefore sold so rapidly that forty-seven editions, amounting to forty-eight thousand five hundred copies, were soon disposed of in England alone. It was accordingly feared by the parliament that this declamatory and plausible production, if allowed to remain unrefuted, might, by unsettling the minds of the weak and ignorant, furnish fuel for new commotions, and throw the commonwealth once more into confusion. The reader may, perhaps, wonder that a volume too dull to be now read with patience, should ever have been dangerous. But it is circumstances, in such cases, that render a book popular. Published under a name still dear to the friends of arbitrary power, it was by all those who delighted in sedition and civil war industriously circulated and cried up; the matter and manner of it were disregarded ; the object only was kept in view. Taking the subject, therefore, into consideration, the parliament condescended to employ their great champion in exposing its sophistries. He was at this time engaged in very different studies; but, called on to defend his country, he cheerfully laid aside every other undertaking, and diligently applied himself to the dangerous and invidious task. He has himself, however, in his Second Defence of the People of England, furnished some details on the subject, which, though often brought forward, cannot with propriety be omitted. Having terminated his controversies with the clergy, “ I imagined,” says he,“ that I was about to enjoy an interval of uninterrupted ease, and turned my thoughts to a continued History of my country, from the earliest times to the present period. I had already finished four books ; when, after the subversion of the monarchy, and the establishment of a republic, I was surprised by an invitation from the council of state, who desired my services in the office for foreign affairs. A book appeared soon after, which was ascribed to the king, and contained the most invidious charges against the parliament. I was ordered to answer it; and opposed the Eikonoklastes to the Eikon. I did not insult over fallen majesty, as is pretended; I only preferred Queen Truth to King Charles. The charge of insult, which I foresaw that the malevolent would urge, I was at some pains to remove in the beginning of the work ; and so often as possible in other places.”

Such was the origin of the “ Eikonoklastes,” which, though by its author, at the time, designed to answer a temporary purpose, will survive and be admired so long as the English language itself endures. It may, perhaps, considering what has already been said in my prefatory notice, be thought unnecessary to enlarge in this place on the characteristics of the present work. Yet, as the style has by some been animadverted upon as harsh and full of Latinisms, I trust the reader will excuse the following very brief remarks.— The objection, if well founded, may with equal justice be made against nearly all the great writers of Milton's and the preceding age. What else, in fact, had they to read or imitate, but Latin or Greek ? The English language, then in the process of formation, was in the furnace, in a state of fusion, the dross and the gold intermingled ; and receiving into its fiery embrace whatever might be cast in, the whole was soon molten and reduced to a state of perfect homogeneity. And the image which came forth, though majestic and beautiful in its proportions, retained for some time the roughnesses of the mould, and only gradually received its smoothness and polish from the touch of succeeding ages. To speak without figure, Milton had learned, from his intimacy with the masterpieces of composition in all the nobler dialects of mankind, how greatly variety and energy of style depend upon inverting what is commonly called the natural order of words ; and the system he pursued in the collocation of his clauses accordingly differs in many respects from that of most other English writers. But it is not, perhaps, on that account, the less English. Harsh, indeed, and unmusical he sometimes is, and appears oftener, from our not properly attending to the rhythm of his periods. There are other ways, however, of accounting for such occasional roughnesses than by considering them so many Latin. isms. I never supposed him to be perfect, and these are some of his faults. He had, in fact, been during his whole youth too intent on the acquisition of many other kinds of knowledge—in themselves indeed more importantto bestow the requisite degree of attention on that crowning art, which, by harmoniously arranging the several members of a sentence, infuses music into style, and renders language a syren, captivating the ear, and sinking imperceptibly into the heart

. Yet should we be wrong, were we either to suppose him to have been insensible to the charms of this art, or not often to have practised it successfully. Not to travel beyond our present subject, the “ Eikonoklastes” itself abounds in passages of peculiar sweetness and

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