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With a fixed defign they have outlawed themfelves, and to their power outlawed all other nations. Inftead of the religion and the law by which they were in a great and politic communion with the Chriftian world, they have conftructed their republic on three bafes, all fundamentally oppofite to thofe on which the communities of Europe are built. Its foundation is laid in Regicide, in Jacobinifm, and in Atheism; and it has joined to thofe principles a body of fyftematic manners which fecures their operation.-Regicide Peace.
LAW OF CHANGE.
WE must all obey the great law of change. It is the moft powerful law of nature, and the means perhaps of its confervation. All we can do, and that human wifdom can do, is to provide that the change fhall proceed by infenfible degrees. This has all the benefits which may be in change, without any of the inconveniencies of mutation. Every thing is provided for as it arrives. This mode will, on the one hand, prevent the unfixing old interefts at once; a thing which is apt to breed a black and fullen difcontent in those who are at once difpoffeffed of all their influence and confideration. This gradual courfe, on the other fide, will prevent men, long under depreffion, from being intoxicated with a large draught of new power, which they always abufe with a licentious infolence. But wifhing, as I do, the change to be gradual and cautious, I would, in my firft fteps, lean rather to the fide of enlargement than reftriction.-Letter to Sir H. Langrishe, M. P.
BAD laws are the worst fort of tyranny. In fuch a country as this, they are of all bad things the worst, worfe by far than any where else; and they derive a particular malignity even from the wifdom and foundnefs of the rest of our inftitutions. For very obvious reafons you cannot truft the Crown with a difpenfing power over any of your laws-Speech previous to the Election at Bristol.
Character of a true Lawgiver.
But it feems as if it were the prevalent opinion in Paris, that an unfeeling heart, and an undoubting confidence, are the fole qualifications for a perfect legiflator. Far different are my ideas of that high office. The true lawgiver ought to have an heart full of fenfibility. He ought to love and refpect his kind, and to fear himself. It may be allowed to his temperament to catch his ultimate object with an intuitive glance; but his movements towards it ought to be deliberate. Political arrangement, as it is a work for focial ends, is to be only wrought by focial means. There mind must confpire with mind. Time is required to produce that union of minds which alone can produce all the good we aim at. Our patience will atchieve more than our force. If I might venture to appeal to what is fo much out of fafhion in Paris, I mean to experience, I fhould tell you, that in my courfe I have known, and, according to my meafure, have co-operated with great men, and I have never yet feen any plan which has not been mended by the obfervations of thofe who were much inferior in underftanding to the perfon who took the lead in the business. By a flow but well. fuftained progrefs, the effect of each step is watched; the good or ill fuccefs of the firft, gives light to us in the fecond; and fo, from light to light, we are conducted with fafety through the whole feries. We fee, that the parts of the fyftem do not clafh. The evils latent in the most promifing contrivances are provided for as they arife. One advantage is as little as poflible facrificed to another. We compenfate, we reconcile, we balance. We are enabled to unite into a confiftent whole the various anomalies and contending principles that are found in the minds and affairs of men. From hence arifes, not an excellence in fimplicity, but one far fuperior, an excellence in compofition. Where the great interefts of mankind
are concerned through a long fucceffion of generations, that fucceffion ought to be admitted into fome fhare in the councils which are fo deeply to affect them. If juftice requires this, the work itfelf requires the aid of more minds than one age can furnifh. It is from this view of things that the best legiflators have been often fatisfied with the establishment of fome fure, folid, and ruling principle in government; a power like that which fome of the philofophers have called a plastic nature; and having fixed the principle, they have left it afterwards to its own operation. Reflections on the Revolution in France.
LEGISLATOR AND POPULAR GOVERNMENTS.
No legiflator, at any period of the world, has willingly placed the feat of active power in the hands of the multitude: because there it admits of no control, no regulation, no fteady direction whatfoever. The people are the natural control on authority; but to exercife and to control together is contradictory and impoffible.
As the exorbitant exercife of power cannot, under popular fway, be effectually reftrained, the other great object of political arrangement, the means of abating an exceffive defire of it, is in fuch a state ftill worfe provided for. The democratic commonwealth is the foodful nurfe of ambition. Under the other forms it meets with many reftraints. Whenever, in ftates which have had a democratic bafis, the legiflators have endeavoured to put reftraints upon ambition, their methods were as violent, as in the end they were ineffectual; as violent indeed as any the moft jealous defpotifm could invent. The oftracifm could not very long fave itfelf, and much lefs the state which it was meant to guard, from the attempts of ambition, one of the natural inbred incurable diftempers of a powerful democracy.-Appeal from the new to the old Whigs.
WHILST they (French Legiflators) are poffeffed by thefe notions, (theoretical) it is vain to talk to them of the practice of their ancestors, the fundamental laws of their country, the fixed form of a conftitution, whofe merits are confirmed by the folid teft of long experience, and an increafing public ftrength and national profperity. They defpife experience as the wifdom of unlettered men; and as for the reft, they have wrought under ground a mine that will blow up at one grand explosion all examples of antiquity, all precedents, charters, and acts of parliament. They have "The Rights of Men." Against thefe there can be no prescription; againft thefe no agreement is binding: thefe admit no temperament, and no compromife: any thing withheld from their full demand is fo much of fraud and injuftice. Against these their rights of men let no government look for fecurity in the length of its continuance, or in the juftice and lenity of its adminiftration. The objections of thefe fpeculatifts, if its forms do not quadrate with their theories, are as valid against fuch an old and beneficent government as against the moft violent tyranny, or the greeneft ufurpation. They are always at iffue with governments, not on a queftion of abufe, but a quellion of competency, and a queftion of title. I have nothing to fay to the clumfy fubtiity of their political metaphyfics. Let them be their amufement in the fchools.
“Illà fe jactet in aula-Æolus, et claufo ventorum carcere regnet."-But let them not break prifon tơ burft like a Levanter, to fweep the earth with their hurricane, and to break up the fountains of the great deep to overwhelm us. Reflections on the Revolution in France.
LIBERTY. (SEE FREEDOM.)
LIBERTY, if I understand it at all, is a general principle, and the clear right of all the fubjects
within the realm, or of none. Partial freedom feem to me a molt invidious mode of flavery; but unfortunately, it is the kind of flavery the most easily admitted in times of civil difcord. Letter to the Sheriffs of Briftol.
Genuine Love of Liberty.
Ir is but too true, that the love, and even the very idea, of genuine liberty, is extremely rare. It is but too true, that there are many, whofe whole scheme of freedom is made up of pride, perverseness, and infolence. They feel themselves in a state of thraldom; they imagine that their fouls are cooped and cabined in, unless they have fomne man, or fome body of men, dependent on their mercy. This defire of having fome one below them, defcends to those who are the very loweft of all; and a Proteftant cobler, debafed by his poverty, but exalted by his fhare of the ruling church, feels a pride in knowing it is by his generofity alone, that the peer, whofe footman's inftep he meafures, is able to keep his chaplain from a jail. This dilpontion is the true fource of the paffion which many men in very humble life have taken to the American war. Our fubjects in America; our colonies; our dependants. This luft of party power, is the liberty they hunger and thirft for; and this Syren fong of ambition, has charmed ears, that one would have thought were never organized to that fort of mufic. Ibid.
THE true danger is, when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients, and by parts. Ibid.
Without Wisdom and Virtue, the greatest of Evils.
THE effects of the incapacity fhewn by the popular leaders in all the great members of the commonwealth are to be covered with the "all-atoning name" of