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duty or obedience, and depend upon no exercise of love and brotherly affection. All is claim and assertion of right, and struggle of might; and the only corrector of the vices of power thought to be applied, is the balance of some other power in opposition to it. Therefore the use of power is oppression and violence; the strongest arm for the time being is exercised in tyranny; and the operation of the whole system is only a balance and opposition of hatred and selfishness. The vices of such systems become so flagrant, that the people rebel against them, and throw them off successively; and then make experiment of others, for very despair: not because the new forms are better, or so good ; but because they are new and hopeful at the time, and their vices are not at first developed ; and because their miseries under the old ones are intolerable.
The principle of Asiatic government is reverence and obedience; the effect is, that they have permanence; the operation is, that they are peaceable and stationary. The principle of modern Europe is progress; the effect is, instability and short-lived duration; the operation is, want of union, opposition, and party.
The Eastern nations know, that governments are for use, and for the good of the people; and not for the purpose of being rebelled against, and made an enemy of. They are conscious that all governments are good, as compared with the reign of universal lawlessness, and the distraction of individual interest and opinion and choice, and universal self-government.*
Πολιτικοι οντες απο προσταγματος κοινα ζωσιν. Αλλως γαρ εκ οιον τε τες πολλες έν τι κατα ταυτο ποιειν ήρμοσμενως αλληλοις (όπερ ην το πολιτευεσθαι),
pression of the worst government is light, as compared with the malice and reverse of fortune, and the miseries of private life; and any the worst form of government will work its own improvement and adaptation, with love; and any the best will only aggravate its diseases and sores, with rancour and hatred. It is best therefore, for our country and for ourselves, to seek the moral improvement of the people, and the good success of their affairs; and this chiefly by the strict and exemplary performance of our own duties, and transaction of our own business, in our own private families and concerns, and among those immediately around us.
The founders of great empires have for the most part been superior to the rulers who have come after them; and the delicate and complicate machine of government is not often likely to be rendered more efficient and better regulated, by introducing a main-spring or ba
και αλλως πως νεμειν βιον κοινον. . “Those who live in society together, live according to some stated rule and law. For otherwise it were impossible that a number of persons should co-operate for any one single object, (which is the use of forming a society); or that in any other respect they should live together as a community.”—Strabo, Geogr. lib. 16, (tom. ii. p. 1105, ed. Amstel. 1707,) apud Hooker's Eccl. P. bk. i. s. 15.
The following is the eloquent conclusion of Hooker's first book, in which he states the nature and use of all laws: “Wherefore, that here we may briefly end : Of law there can be no less acknowledged, than that her seat is the bosom of God, her voice the harmony of the world : all things in heaven and earth do her homage, the very least as feeling her care, and the greatest as not exempted from her power: both angels and men, and creatures of what condition soever, though each in different sort and manner, yet all, with uniform consent, admiring her as the mother of their peace and joy.”- Eccl. Polity, bk. i. the end.
lance of a different principle from that which was designed and applied by the original contriver. *
Looking up to their founders and political fathers upon this principle, the Asiatic nations have for their principles of government obedience and imitation. They labour to enforce and observe the social duties, upon the foundation of brotherly love and attention; and they honour and obey, with filial admiration and observance, their parents, their ancestors, their emperors, their founders. Their minds are disposed and ready prepared for reverence to God, upon the same principle.—Religion therefore is an essential motive in all their thoughts and designs; piety is their passion; and an essential power in their government. The fruit and their reward is permanence; and therefore, notwithstanding their degeneracy and corruptions, their lives are prolonged for a time and a season.
Our growing principle is irreverence for our ancestors; disrespect for governments, disrespect for our parents, disrespect also towards God. Infidelity is
* In a similar manner, if my own observation be correct, education almost always has a tendency to deteriorate, in each separate establishment. Each master begins upon some well-considered plan; but, as he proceeds, his temper in the course of years is soured, his interest declines, his idleness innovates upon his watchfulness and attention, his increase of wealth introduces him to ease and comfort and indulgence,-he proceeds more by rules, and depends more upon regulation than personal observation; he substitutes uniform severity instead of a judicious and tender mixture of punishment and reward : of mildness and rigour, of disgrace and encouragement; he looks to the profit more than to the duties and the credit of the concern; and his celebrated establishment becomes a school of vulgarity and libertinism. In a large family, the younger children are generally the most spoilt, and the least polished and educated.
indigenous here; it is the growth of Europe.* be transplanted from one end of Europe to another : from Greece to Rome; from Rome to France, and Germany, and England; but it cannot take root in any other less favoured soil: it is peculiar to Christendom.
The passion for progress produces these effects. A constant desire of improvement and change could not consist with a reverence for existing laws, and for those who have gone before us, to whom we are indebted for them. Therefore we have emancipated ourselves from this respect. And as respect and reverence is a habit, and habits must be consistent,--and as existing laws are all part and parcel of one another, and the law of God is part of the existing law, and the most reverend and established part of it, and therefore attains the greatest respect, and affords the greatest impediment to change and innovation, therefore the law of God must be included in the same dishonour, and Christianity must be concluded to be only one stage in the progress of the world, and a step in philosophy.
Since it is the interest of one part of the world that things should remain as they are,—the rich and great being satisfied and at ease, and desirous to remain so, - and so long as wealth and distinction are the objects of desire, and believed to be the means of happiness, the rest of men being dissatisfied, and envious and discontented,-hence it arises that where the desire and endeavour after change is active and energetic, there
* Here and elsewhere I include America, as constituting a part of the European system of nations.
† Averroes is not an exception. His opinions were altogether of European growth; and they flourished chiefly in Christendom.
must be division in the world, and the spirit of Party. Party spirit therefore has been the characteristic of modern governments, wherever the desire of change and reform has been in active exercise. So long as the constitution of law and government is fixed, and acknowledged to be unchangeable, the wise ruler may select the best persons from all classes and ranks for the executive government, and so prevent the rise of or crush the spirit of party, where it is disposed to grow up. But when the public mind is set upon change and experiment, and legislative measures and reforms are to be entrusted to ministers, as well as the offices of executive government, then the ministers of state must be selected from the one section or the other of the parties in the country, from the improvers or the preservers, from the obstructors or the innovators, in each particular interest and department. The spirit of party therefore has been the predominant and moving principle, especially in England, ever since the spirit of progress and change has been the leading object and idea in the minds of the people.*
The spirit of party and division has grown, and must * It has been openly announced by a senator, that for a politician, “ to the desertion of all principle, to declare that he had divested himself entirely of the trammels of party, was both disgusting and as disgraceful to all public character, as it would be for him in private life to assert that he divested himself of the trammels of virtue, and opened to his unhallowed acceptation a wide field of unmitigated vice.” And when of late Sir C. Bagot appointed to offices two French Canadians, formerly favouring the insurgents, and strongly opposed to himself in political opinion, namely, M. Lafontaine to be attorney-general, and M. Girouard to a seat in the council, this act of impartiality was styled an outrage on political morality.