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is both very well written, and contains some curious illustrations of the state of opinion, and of other matters, in that day. The argument is carried on in the form of a dialogue, continued through three days or morning meetings, between a Venetian nobleman travelling in England, an English physician, under whose care, he is recovering from an attack of illness, and an English gentleman, who is the chief speaker, and may be understood to represent Nevile himself. It is commonly said that the physician, or doctor, is intended for the famous Harvey, the discoverer of the circulation; but this, we think, may be doubted. The conversations are supposed to have taken place only a short time before their publication; and Harvey had died, at a great age, in 1658. In one place (p. 81), in reference to an observation by the doctor about the property of land in Padua being wholly in the possession of the nobility of Venice, the Venetian nobleman remarks, “I perceive, doctor, by this question, that you have studied at Padua;” to which the doctor replies, “No, really, sir, the small learning I have was acquired in our own university of Oxford, nor was I ever out of this island.” This may be meant for a blind, though why anything of the kind should be had recourse to is not apparent; but the fact is that Harvey was abroad when a young man, and did actually study at Padua. There is no allusion anywhere in the book to Harvey's great discovery. Yet the doctor is described as of the first eminence in his profession, and also as a person of great literary reputation both in his own and other countries:—“an eminent physician of our nation, as renowned for his skill and cures at home as for his writings both here and abroad; and who, besides his profound knowledge in all learning, as well in other professions as his own, had particularly arrived at so exact and perfect a discovery of the formerly hidden parts of human bodies, that every one who can but understand Latin may by his means know more of anatomy than either Hippocrates or any of the ancients or moderns did or do perceive: and, if he had lived in the days of Solomon, that great philosopher would never have said Cor hominis inscrutabile [the heart of man is past finding out].” This points, no doubt, to some great anatomist and writer on anatomy, and the description is sufficiently applicable to suggest Harvey in the first instance; but it seems scarcely specific enough to fix the character upon him, without further evidence. We may note, by the bye, that at this time, in the latter part of the seventeenth century, it was the custom with physicians in London to pay their professional visits the first thing in the morning, and then to come home to receive patients at their own houses. About the middle of the Second Day's Dialogue, which extends altogether (in the original edition) over 166 pages, the English Gentleman observes that he must hasten through his discourse; “for,” says he, “the time runs away, and I know the Doctor must be at home by noon, where he gives daily charitable advice to an infinity of poor people, who have need of his help, and who send or come for it, not having the confidence to send for him, since they have nothing to give him; though he be very liberal too of his visits to such, where he has any knowledge of them.” The three friends met at nine in the morning; but the Doctor also paid another visit to his patient in the evening. It is at that evening visit that the first of the VOL. IV. H
three dialogues, which is very short and merely introductory, is represented as having taken place: at parting the Venetian nobleman says, “It begins to be darkish:— Boy, light your torch, and wait on these gentlemen down.”
One of the most remarkable of Nevile's positions is that, upon his principles, there must some time or other ensue a revolution in France. In one place (p. 34) he observes:—
Eng. Gent. The modern despotical powers have been acquired by one of these two ways;–either by pretending by the first founder thereof that he had a divine mission, and so gaining not only followers, but even easy access in some places without force to empire, and afterwards dilating their power by great conquests (thus Mahomet and Cingis Can began and established the Saracen and Tartarian kingdoms); or by a long series of wisdom in a prince, or chief magistrate of a mixed monarchy, and his council, who, by reason of the sleepiness and inadvertency of the people, have been able to extinguish the great nobility, or render them inconsiderable; and, so by degrees taking away from the people their protectors, render them slaves. So the monarchies of France, and some other countries, have grown to what they are at this day; there being left but a shadow of the three States in any of these monarchies, and so no bounds remaining to the regal power. But, since property remains still to the subjects, these governments may be said to be changed, but not founded or established; for there is no maxim more infallible and holding in any science than this in politics, That empire is founded in property. Force or fraud may alter a government; but it is property that must found and eternise it. Upon this undeniable aphorism we are to build most of our subsequent reasoning: in the mean time we may suppose that hereafter the great power of the King of France may diminish much, when his enraged and op
pressed subjects come to be commanded by a prince of less courage, wisdom, and military virtue, when it will be very hard for any such king to govern tyrannically a country which is not entirely his own. Doctor. Pray, Sir, give me leave to ask you, by the way, what is the reason that here in our country, where the peerage is lessened sufficiently, the king has not gotten as great an addition of power as accrues to the crown in France? Eng. Gent. You will understand that, Doctor, before I have finished this discourse; but, to stay your stomach till then, you may please to know that in France the greatness of the nobility, which has been lately taken from them, did not consist in vast riches and revenues, but in great privileges and jurisdictions, which obliged the people to obey them; whereas our great peers in former times had not only the same great dependences, but very considerable revenues besides, in demesnes and otherwise. This vassalage over the people, which the peers of France had, being abolished, the power over those tenants, which before was in their lords, fell naturally, and of course, into the crown, although the lands and possessions, divested of those dependences, did and do still remain to the owners; whereas here in England, though the services are for the most part worn out and insignificant, yet, for want of providence and policy in former kings, who could not foresee the danger afar off, entails have been suffered to be cut off; and so two parts in ten of all those vast estates, as well manors as demesnes, by the luxury and folly of the owners, have been within these two hundred years purchased by the lesser gentry and the commons; which has been so far from advantaging the crown, that it has made the country scarce governable by monarchy.
Afterwards (p. 147) we have the following further explanation on the same subject:– Doctor. You are pleased to talk of the oppression of
the people under the King of France, and for that reason call it a violent government, when, if I remember, you did once to-day extol the monarchy of the Turks for well-founded and natural: are not the people in that empire as much oppressed as in France? ng. Gent. By no means; unless you will call it oppression for the Grand Signior to feed all his people out of the produce of his own lands. . And, though they serve him for it, yet that does not alter the case; for, if you set poor men to work and pay them for it, are you a tyrant, or rather are you not a good commonwealths-man, by helping those to live who have no other way of doing it but by their labour? But the King of France, knowing that his people have, and ought to have, property, and that he has no right to their possessions, yet takes what he pleases from them, without their consent, and contrary to law ; so that, when he sets them on work, he pays them "what he pleases, and that he levies out of their own estates. I do not affirm that there is no vernment in the world but where rule is founded in property; but I say there is no natural, fixed government but where it is so; and, when it is otherwise, the people are perpetually complaining, and the king in perpetual anxiety, always in fear of his subjects, and seeking new ways to secure himself; God having been so merciful to mankind that he has made nothing safe for princes but what is just and honest. Noble Ven. But you were saying just now that this present constitution in France will fall when the props fail: we in Italy, who live in perpetual fear of the greatness of that kingdom, would be glad to hear something of the decaying of those props; what are they, I beseech you ? Eng. Gent. The first is the greatness of the present king, whose heroic actions and wisdom have extinguished envy in all his neighbour princes, and kindled fear, and brought him to be above, all possibility of control at home; not only because his subjects fear his courage, but because they have his virtue in admiration, and, amidst all their miseries, cannot choose but have something of rejoicing to see how high he hath mounted the empire