Page images
PDF
EPUB

Like thee, they punish those whom they appal ; Like thee, when firmly grasp'd, to native nothing fall.

ANONYMOUS.

Morning Chronicle -Lord supreme o'er all this formal race, The cedar claims pre-eminence of place; Like some greit eastern king, it stands alone, Nor lets th' ignoble crowd approach its throne,

Spreads out its haughty boughs that scorn to bend, ? And bids its shade o'er spacious fields extend;

While in the compass of its wide domain,
Heaven sheds its soft prolific show'rs in vain :
Secure and shelter'd every subject lies;
But robb’d of moisture, sickens, droops, and dies.

O image apt of man's despotic power,
Which guards and shelters only to devour,
Lifts high in air the splendours of its head,
And bids its radiance o'er the nations spread ;
While round its feet in silent anguish lie
Hunger, despair, and meagre misery. i

, R.P. KNIGHT. Landscape : a Didactic Poem, b. ii. (1794.)

ARISTO

[ocr errors][merged small]

are

BY a tyrant is meant a sovereign who makes his humour the law, who seizes on the property of his subjects, and afterwards inlists them to go and give his neighbours the like treatment. These tyrants are not known in Europe.

Tyranny is distinguished into that of one person and of many. A body invading the rights of other bodies, and corrupting the laws, that it may exercise a despotism apparently legal, is the latter tyranny, But Europe likewise has none of these tyrants. .

Under which tyranny would you chuse to live? Under none; but had I the option, the tyranny of one person appears to me less odious and dreadful than that of many. A despot has always some intervals of good humour, which is never known in an assembly of despots. If a tyrant has done me an injury, there is his mistress, his confessor, or his page, by means of whom I may appease him and obtain redress; but a set of supercilious tyrants is inaccessible to all applications. Under one despot, I need only stand up against a wall when I see him coming by, or prostrate myself, or knock

my

my forehead against the ground, according to the
custom of the country; but under a body perhaps
of a hundred despots, I may be obliged to repeat
this ceremony a hundred times a day. Another
disagreeable circumstance is, if my farm happens
to be in the neighbourhood of one of our great
lords, it is unknown what damages I am obliged
to put up with ; and if I have a law-suit with a
relation of one of their high mightinesses, it will
infallibly go against me. I am very much afraid
that in this world things will come to such a pass,
as to have no other option than being either ham-
mer or anvil. Happy he who gets clear of this
alternative!

Voltaire.
Pbilosoph. Dict, art. Tyranny.

LTAIRE.

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

FREE GOVERNMENTS.

THE highest earthly felicity that a people can
ask, or God can give, is an equal and well or- .
dered commonwealth.

HARRINTON.'
Political Aphorisms.

[ocr errors]

That commonwealth is best ordered where the citizens are neither too rich nor too poor; ;

THALES. Stanley's Hist. of Philosophy, part. 1. p. 26. That form of government appears to me the most reasonable which is most conformable to the equality we find in human nature, provided it be consistent with public peace and tranquility. This is what may properly be called liberty, which exempts one man from subjection to another as far the order and economy of government will permit.

SPECTATOR.

No. 287. · BEFORE the increase of the Roman power, or rather till its full establishment, almost all the nations which are the scene of ancient history, were divided into petty commonwealths, where

of

[ocr errors]

of course a great equality of fortune prevailed, where each man had his little house and field to himself, free and independent. What a happy situation of mankind ! How favourable to industry, agriculture, and propagation! The prolific virtue of men, were it to act in its full extent, without that restraint which poverty and necessity impose on it, would double the number every generation : and nothing surely can give it more liberty than such commonwealths.

HUME..

Essays, vol. i. p. 356-7. MILDNESS of government contributes wonderfully to the increase of mankind. All republics are a convincing proof of this.—Nothing invites strangers more than liberty, and opulence, which always follows it. The former is courted for its own sake, and the calls of nature attract men to those countries where the latter is to be found.

The species multiplies wherever there is a sufficiency for the children without lessening the substance of their parents..

The equality of the inhabitants, which usually produces an equality in their fortunes, brings plenty, and conveys life into every part of the body politic..

The case is otherwise where the government is despotic; the prince, the courtiers, and a few private men ingross all the riches, while the rest Janguish in want and misery.

If a man be in narrow circumstances, and finds himself likely to beget children poorer than him

[ocr errors]

self,

« PreviousContinue »