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when he murdered Vane, nor seduced when he beguiled Fairfax."
Mr. Cowley seemed to me not to take much amiss what Mr. Milton had said touching that thankless court, which had indeed but poorly requited his own good service. He only said, therefore, Another rebellion ! Alas! alas ! Mr. Milton ! If there be no choice but between despotism and anarchy, I prefer despotism."
“Many men," said Mr. Milton, “have floridly and ingeniously compared anarchy and despotism; but they who so amuse
themselves do but look Anarchy and at separate parts of that despotism.
which is truly one great whole. Each is the cause and the effect of the other ;-the evils of either are the evils of both. Thus do states move on in the same eternal cycle, which, from the remotest point, brings them back again to the same sad starting post : and, till both those who govern and those who obey shall learn and mark this great truth, men can expect little through the future, as they have known little through the past, save vicissitudes of extreme evils, alternately producing and produced.
* When will rulers learn that, where liberty is not, security and order can never be? We talk of absolute power; but all power hath limits, which, if not fixed by the moderation of the governors, will be fixed by the force of the governed. Sovereigns may send their opposers to dungeons; they may clear out a senate. house with soldiers; they may enlist armies of spies; they may hang scores of the disaffected in chains at every cross road; but what power shall stand in that
frightful time when re. Limit of
bellion hath become a less power.
evil than endurance? Who shall dissolve that terrible tribunal which, in the hearts of the oppressed, denounces against the oppressor the doom of its wild justice? Who shall repeal the law of self-defence? What arms or discipline shall resist the strength of famine and despair ? How often were the ancient Cæsars dragged from their golden palaces, stripped of their purple robes, mangled, stoned, defiled with filth, pierced with hooks, hurled into Tiber? How often have the Eastern Sultans perished by the sabres of their own Janissaries, or the bow-strings of their own mutes! For no power which is not limited by laws can ever be protected by them. Small, therefore, is the wisdom of those who would fly to servitude as if it were a refuge
from commotion ; for anarchy is the sure consequence of tyranny. That govern. ments may be safe, nations must be free. Their passions must have an outlet provided, lest they make one.
“When I was at Naples, I went with Signor Manso, a gentleman of excellent parts and breeding, who had been the familiar friend of that famous poet Tor quato Tasso, to see the burning mountain Vesuvius. I wondered
Mount how the peasants could
Vesuvius. venture to dwell so fearlessly and cheerfully on its sides, when the lava was flowing from its summit; but Manso smiled, and told me that when the fire descends freely they retreat before it without haste or fear. They can tell how fast it will move, and how far; and they know, moreover, that though it may work some little damage, it will soon cover the fields over which it has passed with rich vineyards and sweet flowers. But, when the flames are pent up in the mountain, then it is that they have reason to fear; then it is that the earth sinks and the sea swells; then cities are swallowed up and their place knoweth them no more. So it is in politics : where the people is most closely restrained, there it gives the greatest shocks to peace and order ; therefore would I say to all Kings, let your demagogues lead crowds, lest they lead armies; let them bluster lest they massacre; a little turbulence is, as it were, the rainbow of the state : it shows indeed that there is a passing shower, but it is a pledge that there shall be no deluge."
“ This is true," said Mr. Cowley; "yet these admonitions are not less needful to subjects than to sovereigas."
“Surely," said Mr. Milton; "and, that I may end this long debate with a few words in which we shall both agree, I hold that, as freedom is the only safeguard of governments, so are order and moderation generally necessary to preserve freedom. Even the vainest opinions of men
moderation. are not to be outraged by those who propose to themselves the happiness of men for their end, and who must work with passions of men for their means. The blind reverence for things ancient is indeed so foolish that it might make a wise man laugh, if it wero not also sometimes so mischievous that it would rather make a good man weep. Yet, since it may not be wholly it must be discreetly indulged; and therefore those
who would amend evil laws should consider rather how much it may be safe to spare, than how much it may be possible to change. Have you not heard that men who have been shut up for many years in dungeons shrink if they see the light, and fall down if their irons be struck off ? And so, when nations have long been in the house of bondage, the chains which have crippled them are necessary to support them, the darkness which had weakened their sight is neces. sary to preserve it. Therefore release them not too rashly, lest they curse their freedom and pine for their prison.
“I think indeed that the renowned Parliament of which we have talked so much, did show, until it became subject to the soldiers, a singular and admirable moderation, in such times scarcely to be
hoped, and most worthy to be an example to all that shall come after. But on this argument I have said enough : and I will therefore only pray to Almighty God that those mercy and
Prayer for who shall in future times prudence stand forth in defence of our liberties, as well civil as religious, may adorn the good cause by mercy, prudence, and soberness, to the glory of His name and the happiness and hopour of the English people."
And so ended that discourse ; and not long after we were set on shore again at the Temple Gardens, and there parted company: and the same evening I took notes of what had been said, which I have here more fully set down, from regard both to the fame of the men, and the importance of the subject
MIRABEAU AND THE FRENCH
(Knight's QUARTERLY MAGAZINE, AUG. 24th.)
Souvenirs sur Mirabeau, et sur les deux Premières Assemblées Légis
latives. Par ETIENNE DUMONT, de Genève : ouvrage posthume publié par M. J. L. Duval, Membre du Conseil Représentatif
du Canton du Géneve. Svo. Paris : 1832. This is a very amusing and a very in that his renown should merge in that of structive book: but, even if it were less Mr. Bentham. amusing and less instructive, it would The services which M. Dumont has still be interesting as a relic of a wise rendered to society can be fully ap
and virtuous man. M. preciated only by those M. Dumont's Dumont was one of those
Mr. Bentham. fame.
who have studied Mr. persons, the care of whose Bentham's works, both in their rude and fame belongs in an especial manner to in their finished state. The difference mankind. For he was one of those per both for show and for use is as great as sons who have, for the sake of mankind, the difference between a lump of gold ore neglected the care of their own fame. and a rouleau of sovereigas fresh from In his walk through life there was no the mint. Of Mr. Bentham we would at obtrusiveness, no* pushing, no elbowing, all times speak with the reverence which none of the little arts which bring for is due to a great original thinker, and to ward little men. With every right to a sincere and ardent friend of the human the head of the board, he took the race. If a few weaknesses were mingled lowest room, and well deserved to be with his eminent virtues,- if a few errors greeted with-Friend, go up higher. insinuated themselves among the many Though no man was more capable of valuable truths which he taught,--this achieving for himself a separate and in is assuredly no time for noticing those dependent renown, he attached himself to weaknesses or those errors in an unkind others; he laboured to raise their fame; or sarcastic spirit. A great man has he was content to receive as his share of gone from among us, full of years, of the reward the mere overflowings which good works, and of deserrei honours. redounded from the full measure of their In some of the highest departments in glory. Not that he was of a servile and which the human intellect can exert idolatrous habit of mind :-not that he itself, he has not left his equal or his was one of the tribe of Boswells,--those second behind him. From his contemliterary Gibeonites, born to be hewers of poraries he has had, according to the wood and drawers of water to the higher usual lot, more or less than justice. He intellectual castes. Possessed of talents has had blind flatterers and blind de. and acquirements which made him great, tractors-flatterers who could see nothing he wished only to be useful. In the but perfection in his style, detractors who prime of manhood, at the very time of could see nothing but nonsense in his life at which ambitious men are most matter. He will now have judges. Posambitious, he was not solicitous to pro terity will pronounce its calm and imclaim that he furnished information, partial decision; and that decision will, arguments, and eloquence to Mirabeau. we firmly believe, place in the same rank In his later years he was perfectly willing with Galileo, and with Locke, the man
who found jurisprudence a gibberish, and left it a science. Never was there a literary partnership so fortunate as that of Mr. Bentham and M. Dumont. The raw material which Mr. Bentham farnished was most precious; but it was unmarketable. He was, assuredly, at once a great logician and a great rhetorician. But the effect of his logic was injured by a vicious arrangement, and the effect of his rhetoric by a vicious style. His mind was vigorous, comprehensive, subtle, fertile of arguments, fertile of illustrations. But he spoke in an unknown tongue; and, that the congregation might be editied, it was necessary that some brother having the gift of interpretation should expound the invaluable jargon. His oracles were of high import; but they were traced on leaves and flung loose to the wind. So negligent was he of the arts of selection, distribution, and compression, that to persons who formed their judgment of him from his works in their undigested state, he seemed to be the least systematic of all philosophers. The truth is, tla: his opinions formed a system, which, whether sound or unsound, is more exact, more entire, and more consistent with itself than any other. Yet to superficial readers of his works in their original form, and indeed to all readers of those works who did not bring great industry and great acuteness to the study, he seemed to be a man of a quick and ingenious but illregulated mind,—who saw truth only by glimpses,—who threw out many striking hints, but who never had thought of combining his doctrines in one harmonious whole.
M. Dumont was admirably qualified to supply what was wanting in Mr.
Bentham. In the qualities Qualities of in which the French writers French writers. surpass those of all other
nations,- neatness, clearness, precision, condensation,-he surpassed all French writers. If M. Dumont had never been born, Mr. Bentham would still have been a very great man. But he would have been great to himself alone. The fertility of his mind would have resembled the fertility of those vast American wildernesses, in which blossoms and decay a rich but unprofitable vegetation, "wherewith the reaper filleth not huis hand, neither he that bindeth up the sheaves his bosom." It would have been with his discoveries as it has been with the "Century of Inventions." His specula
tions on laws would have been of no more practical use than Lord Worcester's speculations on steam-engines. Some generations hence, perhaps, when legislation had found its Watt, an antiquarian might have published to the world the curious fact, that in the reign of George the Third there had been a man called Bentham, who had given hints of many discoveries made since his time, and who had really, for his age, taken a most philosophical view of the principles of jurisprudence.
Many persons have attempted to interpret between this powerful mind and the public. But, in our opinion, M. Dumont alone has succeeded. It is remarkable that, in foreign countries, where Mr. Bentham's Appreciated works are known solely
countries. through the medium of the French version, his merit is almost universaliy acknowledged. Even those who are most decidedly opposed to his political opinions—the very chiefs of the Holy Alliance-have publicly testified their respect for him. In England, on the contrary, many persons who certainly entertained no prejudice against him on political grounds, were long in the habit of mentioning him contemptuously. Indeed, what Philosophy of was said of Bacon's philo- Bentham. sophy, may be said of Bentham's. It was in little repate among us, till judgments in its favour came from beyond sea, and convinced us to our shame, that we had been abusing and laughing at one of the greatest men of the age.
M. Dumont might easily have found employments more gratifying to personal vanity than that of arranging works not his own. But he could have found no employ honourable
Usefal and ment more useful or more employment. truly honourable. The book before us, aastily written as it is, contains abundant proof, if proof were needed, that he did not become an editor because he wanted the talents which would have made him eminent as a writer.
Persons who hold democratical opinions, and who have been accustomed to consider M. Dumont as one of their party, have been surprised and mortified to learn, that he speaks with very little respect of the French Revolution, and of its authors. Some zealous Tories have naturally ex. pressed great satisfaction at finding their
doctrines, in some respects, confirmed by the testimony of an unwilling witness,
The date of the work, we
think, explains everything. work.
If it had been written ten
years earlier, or twenty years later, it would have been very different from what it is. It was written neither during the first excitement of the Revolution, nor at that later period, when the practical good produced by the Revolution had become manifest to the most prejudiced observers; but in those wretched times, when the enthusiasm had abated, and the solid advantages were not yet fully seen. It was written in the year 1799,-a year in which the most sanguine friend of liberty might well feel some misgivings as to the effects of what the National Assembly had done. The evils which attend every great change had been severely felt. The benefit was still to come. The price a heavy price-had been paid. The thing purchased had not yet been delivered. Europe was swarming with French exiles. The fleets and armies of the second coalition were victorious. Within France, the reign of terror was over ; but the reign of law had not commenced. There had been, indeed, during three or four years, a written Constitution, by which rights were defined, and checks provided. But these rights had been repeatedly violated, and those checks had proved utterly inefficient. The laws which had been framed to secure the distinct authority of the executive magistrates, and of the legislative assemblies—the freedom of election--the freedom of debate--the freedom of the press—the personal freedom of citizens, were a dead letter. The ordinary mode in which the Republic was governed, was by coups d'état. On one occasion, the legislative councils were placed under military restraint by the directors. Then again, directors were deposed by the legislative councils. Elections were set aside by the executive authority. Ship-loads of writers and
speakers were sent, with. State of
out a legal trial, to die of Trance in 1799.
fever in Guiana. France,
in short, was in that state in which revolution, effected by violence, almost always leaves a nation. The habit of obedience had been lost. The spell of prescription had been broken. Thosc associations on which, far more than on any arguments about property and order, the authority of magistrates rests, had
completely passed away. The power of the government consisted merely in the physical force which it could bring to its support. Moral force it had none. It was itself a government, sprong from a recent convulsion. Its own fundamental maxim was, that rebellion might be justifiable. Its own existence proved that rebellion might be successful. The people had been accustomed, during several years, to offer resistance to the constituted authorities on the slightest provocation, and to see the constituted authorities yield to that resistance. The whole political world was “ without form and void"-an incessant whirl of hostile atoms, which every moment formed some new combination. The only man who could fix the agitated elements of society in a stable form, was following a wild vision of glory and empire through the Syrian deserts. The time was not yet come, when “Confusion heard his voice, and wild uproar
stood ruled ;" when, out of the chaos into which the old society had been resolved, were to ris: a new dynasty, a new peerage, a new church, and a new code.
The dying words of Madame Roland, "O Liberty! How many crimes are committed in thy name ?" were at that time echoed Words of
Madame by many of the most up
Roland. right and benevolent of mankind. M. Guizot has, in one of his admirable pamphlets, happily and justly described M. Laine as "an honest and liberal man, discouraged by the Revolution.” This description, at the time when M. mont's Memoirs were written, would have applied to almost every honest and liberal man in Europe ; and would, beyond all doubt, have applied to M. Dumont himself. To that fanatical worship of the all-wise and all-good people, which had been common a few years before, had succeeded an uneasy suspicion that the follies and vices of the people would frustrate all attempts to serve them. The wild and joyous exultation with which the meeting of the States-General, and the fall of the Bastile had been hailed, had passed away. In its place was dejection, and a gloomy distrust of specious appearances. The philosophers and philanthropists had reigned. And what had their reign produced ? Philosophy had brought with it mummeries as absurd as any which had