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probability, that the whole of South America will fall into the hands of Great Britain, and open to her an endless source of commerce.
Meantime the inordinate aggressions of the tyrant Napoleon have roused the nothern powers into a confederacy to resist him. What the event will be it would be rashness to foretell. The king of Prussia is concerned in it: and who that knows his character, and has noticed his conduct heretofore, will be shallow enough to expect from him the fidelity, the probity, or the courage requisite to the success of a great and magnanimous enterprise. The immense power of Russia and the princely virtues of Sweden will we fear wither when they come in contact with the perfidy and baseness of Prussia.
When the intelligence that all hopes of peace with France were vanished had reached England, the rejoicings were general -the people of all classes unanimously calling for eternal war rather than a bad
peace. A more false or impious saying has hardly ever been uttered than that of " Vox populi, vox Dei.” To say nothing of its other various absurdities, the mutability of the voice of a people should have excluded it from any such connexion, as is given to it in this saying. If any man will turn back his mind only to the vile, disgraceful, and ruinous peace of Addington, which Pitt approved of, and the multitude of England, so hailed with joy, that they drew the Frenchman, Andreossi, in triumph to St. James's, “ throwing up “ their caps, as they would hang them on the horns of the moon,' he will have abundant room for speculation upon the nature and value of the Vox populi, when he contemplates the very same multitude, in a few months afterwards, cheering and huzzaing, and clamouring for interminable war. Still, however, this change was not without its motives. The wavering policy, the unprosperous prudence, mixed with the haughty temerity of Pitt, had wasted away the hopes of the people. A change, to their minds, was propitious; but it was most so, when accordingly to the wisest and honestest men in the country, in a short space of time, this change was felt in the superior situation of Britain, and above all was felt by the people in the conquest of a popu. lous and fertile country, which held out the prospect of an increased commerce and a boundless vent for their manufactures, exempting them in a great measure, for the future, from the casualties to which their markets, and the employment of their hands, had been hitherto subjected by the fluctuations of war, and rendering them more independent and regardless of the threats or machinations of their open, or secret enemies.
THE WANDERER, No. II.
THE ARTS AND SCIENCES COMPATIBLE WITH FREEDOM.
(Continued from page 8. Vol. 2. No. 1.)
A DD to this, that the arts and sciences can never rise among a people, who
pangs penury. They require a certain degree of leisure and of property in the community to enable them to pass over the threshold of existence. But despotism, by perpetual and arbitrary imposts and extortions, forbids the general accumulation of property; and, by laying the hand of its rapacity upon the produce of other's industry, it paralyses all the incitements to action ; and invention, the mother of the arts and sciences, cannot be born. The arts and the sciences require the fostering indulgence of liberty, of peace, of social order, of industry, and of property, to bring them to the birth, and to rear them in their infancy. In their first moments of life they are feeble, timid, and sickly ; demanding all the tender care, and the more than maternal protection of a mild and an equitable government, till they reach that firm and unbending vigour of manhood, which no violence can shake, and no danger can appall. VOL. II.
That liberty is the best, if not the only soil, in which knowledge thrives, we learn from the experience of all ages, the records of whose transactions have been suffered to glide down the stream of time into our possession. I cannot deny myself the pleasure of inserting a testimony in favour of this position, which is to be found in the works of one of the most distinguished historians, of the present day, and of one who has also bound the unfading wreath of poetry round his brows. His words are these.
“ Florence has been remarkable in modern history for the frequency and the violence of its internal dissensions and for the predilection of its inhabitants for every species of science, and every production of art. However discordant these characteristics may appear, they are not difficult to reconcile; the same active spirit that calls forth the talents of individuals for the preservation of their liberties, and resists, with unconquerable resolution, whatever is supposed to infringe them, in the moments of domestic peace and security, seeks with avidity other objects of employment. The defence of freedom has been always found to strengthen and expand the mind ; and though the faculties of the human race may remain torpid for generations, when once roused into action they cannot speedily be lulled again into inactivity and repose !"
The same great truth that freedom and knowledge travel on together, is shown by a fact of a directly contrary nature to the one just mentioned, and thus related by the same elegant and accurate historian.
“ The internal tranquillity of Venice is remarkably contrasted with the turbulence of Florence; but the Venetian nobility had erected their authority on the necks of the people, and Venice was a republic of nobles with a populace of slaves. In no country was despotism ever reduced to a more accurate system. The proficiency made by the Venetians in literature, has, accordingly, borne no proportion to the rank, which they have, in other respects, held among
the Italian States, “ The talents of the higher orders were devoted to the support of their anthority, or the extension of their territory; and among the lower class, with their political rights their emulation was effeciually extinguished. Whilst the other principal cities of Italy were daily producing works of genius, Venice was content with the more humble,but lucrative employment,of communicating those works to the public by means of the press. Other
governments have exhibited different aspects at different times, according to the temper of the sovereign or the passions of the multitude ; but Venice has uniformly preserved the same settled features, and remains to the present day a phenomenon in political history.”
I cannot refrain from relating an anecdote, for the truth of which I can myself vouch, and which marks, in the strongest manner, the vigilant and the unrelenting tyranny of the Venetian government, as it existed in the year 1795.
In the spring of this year an English gentleman was at Venice, where he had been for some few weeks. One morning early, while yet in bed, he was called upon by a Civil Officer, and ordered to go with him, the officer, immediately before the Senate. Sir, replied the astonished Englishman, who well knew, that the Venetian Senate never sent for on an errand of humanity; for humanity was not in all their thoughts, neither was there more mercy in them, than there is milk in a male tyger; Sir, you must have made some mistake: I am quite a stranger here, the Senate can have no business to transact with me.—The officer answered, that it was as much as his head was worth to make
mistake ; and that the gentleman must immediately arise, put on his clothes, and follow him to the Senate.
Seeing, that he had no alternative, the traveller, even trudged along, with a heavy heart, a reluctant step, and a wo-begone, rueful aspect, all yellow with despair, after his courteous guide, who conducted him, through the streets, to a spacious mansion ; and when they had traversed a long passage, and were come into a small square yard, he bade his follower look round upon his right hand. He did so; and beheld a man hanging from a gallows, and writhing in the convulsive agonies of death. The traveller shuddered at this spectacle ; and, after he had been permitted to gaze upon
it for some minutes, he was thus addressed by his guide. whom
ded on a gibbet, is a Venetian tradesman ; he was at se a coffee-house last night, where he talked about the government of Venice, for which he is now hanged; you listened to his conversation, and did not inform the senate thereof, for which you, also, ought to be hanged; but as you are a stranger, the Senate has, in the plenitude of its mercy, and in the fulness of its compassion, only ordered, that you should see the consequences of talking politics in this country, and that you leave the state in twelve hours, under pain of incurring the penalty of death,
The English gentleman made a very low bow to his conductor, and, sincerely, wished him a very good morning; he, then, hastened to his lodgings, packed up his moveables, and absconded, with all possible dispatch, from a place, where he found, that men were hanged for hearing, as well as for speaking.–God bless those that are deaf, quoth he, for they cannot be convicted of listening to any great purpose; however, things are ordered much better than this in England; for there a man may both hear and speak too, without being called
upon the next morning by a grim-looking fellow, with a message from the senate, that he must come and be hanged directly, for they are in a hurry.
Indeed, all the pages of history, that faithful but bloody record of human actions, and all the experience of the generations of the world confirm this important, this sacred truth, that the arts and sciences go hand in hand with liberty.When most of the wide domains of Asia writhed under the lash of arbitrary domination, and were involved in the thick mists of barbarity and ignorance, the free-towns exhibited all the various excellencies of the arts and sciences, liberal and mechanic. Witness Palmyra, the sea-ports of Natolia, and many other cities, over which the baneful, and the pestilential influence of Asiatic despotism did not extend. Athens, Corinth, and those states of Greece, where the forms of government were propitious to liberty, attained to eminence in the arts and sciences; while Sparta (for Sparta groaned under the worst of all tyrannies, even that of military despotism) and all other despotic principalities were sunk in mental darkness, and slumbered the sleep of ignorance and of death,
Florence and Genoa, in modern Italy, sprang forward in their march towards civilization and refinement; while Turin, Milan, and Naples, halted behind in the recesses of barbarism, and still lingered upon the confines of intellectual night. While the other portions of the North lay steeped in the sleepy drench of the middle ages, which involved the great mass of mankind in the broad mantle of superstition and pf ignorance, for a long night of century heaped upon centu, ry, the towns, which formed the Hanseatic league were en lightened and civilized,