Page images

feudal Tyranny might still have attached the mass of the European population to the glebe*, and Superstition still have propagated by the fagot the adoration of consecrated baubles and holy wafers. If there had been only Copyists, Buchanan would have maintained to little purpose, that the ruling passion of Cato Uticensis was the sole foundation of all legitimate Magistracy from the King to the most subordinate Peaceofficer. Locke, unless he could have set the Compositor to work in the stead of Amanuen

* "Non potuit ire aliubi."

Domesday Book; Hantescire; pussim.

↑ "Nam, simul ac Ratio . . cœpit vociferari

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

"Nec Tellus obstat, quin omnia despiciantur,

"Sub pedibus quæquomque infra per inane geruntur.”

"Non sibi, sed toti, genitum se credere, mundo.” Pharsalia: II. 383. If it can ask no higher praise, it is always amusive to trace the tradition of a thought from one mind to another, and to observe the various applications in its progress. Cicero caught this moral sentiment from the Founder of the Academy: "ut ad Archytam scripsit Plato, non sibi se soli natum "[Homo] meminerit, sed Patriæ, sed suis, ut perexigua pars

ses, would never have become the Preceptor of Nations in the two hemispheres. To small avail comparatively would this Sage have inculcated the Duty of Toleration to the doctrines of every religious Communion, or have promulgated the leading axioms in the science of civil Government, as founded on popular Right. That Liberty of Conscience is a natural Right; that the Religion of every Man ought to be left to GoD and himself: that all Men are born free and with equal Rights: that Society is founded in the consent of the Majority that the Liberty of Man in Society is to be under no legislative Power, other than what is established by Consent: that the legislative, being only a fiduciary Power there remains in the People a supreme Power

"ipsi relinquatur.-2; 14. de Finib.-And there is a similar thought in Plutarch; in Vit. Lycurg.

This, we see, Lucan afterward took up in drawing the character of his Hero; then to convey a just idea of the rightful tenure by which all Magistracy is holden, Buchanan paraphrased the verse above by-" Reges non sibi sed Populo "creatos." De Jure Regni apud Scotos; p. 8. Op. Omn. I. 4to. Ruddiman. edit.

Is there not in this natural application of a maxim in Morality to the principles of Government an eminent illustration that political science is no more than a branch of Ethies? A truth of inestimable importance.

to remove or alter the legislative when they act contrary to the Trust reposed in them:These and other principles scarcely less invaluable might have amused the leisure and warmed the philanthropy of the Speculatist, unassisted by the Printer, they could never have worked their way into the general belief, so as to have become motives of action to numbers any-wise competent to effective purposes. Neither, when oppressions past endurance had driven a Nation to arms, and they were victorious in this appeal to Heaven in a Trial by Battel, did there exist, before the era of Printing, a safe and sure means of registering for public inspection any instrument of covenanted Liberties; nor of transmitting such evidence of common Right for a late posterity to have in their remembrance. A transcript of the Charter from Henry I. to the People of England was reposited, as a precaution against the danger of spoliation, among the muniments of the principal Monasteries of the realm. Yet at the re-affirmance and enlargement of our constitutional Freedom by the national Convention at Runningmede, Cardinal Langton thought himself fortunate to have recovered a solitary

copy of this venerable roll. Very little more than a century had elapsed when all the other records of these stipulated Rights had disappeared. Who can doubt that these documents had been wilfully destroyed? The numerous and well-stored Libraries of later times form safer archives. From these conservatories of Knowlege the memorials of History are, with the seeds of every Science, dispersed over an immeasurable tract, and put beyond the power of human extirpation. Their diffusion can only be compared to the infinite progression of high numbers; a diffusion which ensures their endless duration : by the same means that we may observe in the order of Nature, whose economy it is to regard the increase and multiplication of the species for its preservation rather than to attend to the fate of the individuals who compose it.

[ocr errors]




THERE is a period in the progress of human designs, which, as it is regarded with negligence or with policy, will ensure their destruction or their success. The Lion is endued by Nature with

*This Edition with the Dedication and the Preface I have heard ascribed to Archdeacon Blackburne; but I have not been able to learn that there is any authority for this opinion. If he were the Editor, his Family are ignorant of the circumstance.— Was it the Rev. Richard Baron, who reprinted MILTON's enlarged Edition of the 'Eixovoxλdors, and who assisted in the 4to. Edition of the Prose Works? It is far from unlikely that Baron, if then living, was the Editor; or that if it were not he, some one else was employed by Mr. Hollis for this purpose; as I find the AREOPAGITICA enumerated in a list of Books for the use of the Swedes published in this year, 1772, by this Gentleman on occasion of the royal Revolution which had recently taken place in that Country (Mem. of T. Hollis, p. 659); who says (p. 656), "let the brave worthy Swedes read the AREOPA• GITICA, and get franker."


« PreviousContinue »