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Lacedemonians were every where at the head of the aristocratick interefts, and the Athenians of the democratick. The two leading powers kept alive a conftant cabal and confpiracy in every state, and the political dogmas concerning the conftitution of a republick, were the great inftruments by which thefe leading ftates chofe to aggrandize themfelves. Their choice was not unwife; because the intereft in opinions (merely as opinions, and without any experimental reference to their effects) when once they take ftrong hold of the mind, become the moft operative of all interests, and indeed very often fuperfede every other.
I might further exemplify the poffibility of a political fentiment running through various ftates and combining factions in them, from the hiftory of the middle ages in the Guelfs, and Ghibellines. These were political factions originally in favour of the emperour and the pope, with no mixture of religious dogmas; or if any thing religiously doctrinal they had in them originally, it very foon difappeared; as their firft political objects difappeared also, though the fpirit remained. They became no more than names to diftinguifh factions; but they were not the less powerful in their operation, when they had no direct point of doctrine, either religious or civil, to affert. For a long time, however, thofe factions gave no fmall degree of influence to the foreign chiefs in every commonVOL. VII. wealth
wealth in which they exifted. I do not mean to purfue further the track of these. parties. I allude to this part of history only, as it furnishes an inftance of that fpecies of faction which broke the locality of publick affections, and united descriptions of citizens more with ftrangers than with their countrymen of different opinions.
The political dogma, which upon the new principle. French fyftem, is to unite the factions of different nations, is this, "That the majority, told by "the head, of the taxable people in every coun
try, is the perpetual, natural, unceafing, inde"feasible fovereign; that this majority is perfectly "mafter of the form, as well as the administration "of the state, and that the magiftrates, under "whatever names they are called, are only func❝tionaries to obey the orders, (general as laws or
particular as decrees) which that majority may "make; that this is the only natural govern"ment; that all others are tyranny and ufurpa❝tion."
In order to reduce this dogma into practice, the republicans in France, and their affociates in other countries, make it always their bufinefs, and often their publick profeffion, to destroy all traces of antient establishments, and to form a new commonwealth in each country, upon the basis of the French Rights of Men. On the principle of these rights, they mean to inftitute in every country,
and as it were, the germe of the whole, parochial governments, for the purpose of what they call equal reprefentation. From them is to grow, by fome media, a general council and representative of all the parochial governments. In that reprefentative is to be vested the whole national power; totally abolishing hereditary name and office, levelling all conditions of men, (except where money muft make a difference) breaking all connexion between territory and dignity, and abolishing every fpecies of nobility, gentry, and church establishments; all their priests, and all their magistrates being only creatures of election and pensioners at will.
Knowing how oppofite a permanent landed interest is to that scheme, they have refolved, and it is the great drift of all their regulations, to reduce that defcription of men to a mere peafantry, for the fuftenance of the towns, and to place the true effective government in cities, among the tradesmen, bankers, and voluntary clubs of bold, prefuming young perfons; advocates, attornies, notaries, managers of newspapers, and those cabals of literary men, called academies. Their republick is to have a firft functionary, (as they call him) under the name of king, or not, as they think fit. This officer, when fuch an officer is permitted, is however, neither in fact nor name, to be confidered as fovereign, nor the people as his fubjects. The very use of these appellations is offenfive to their ears.
This fyftem, as it has firft been realized, dogmatically as well as practically, in France, makes Partifans of France the natural head of all factions formed on a fimilar principle, wherever they may prevail, as much as Athens was the head and fettled ally of all democratick factions, wherever they exifted. The other fyftem has no head.
This fyftem has very many partisans in every country in Europe, but particularly in England, where they are already formed into a body, comprehending moft of the diffenters of the three leading denominations; to thefe are readily aggregated all who are diffenters in character, temper, and difpofition, though not belonging to any of their congregations-that is, all the reftlefs people who refemble them, of all ranks and all parties. Whigs, and even Tories-the whole race of halfbred fpeculators;-all the Atheists, Deifts, and Socinians;-all those who hate the clergy, and envy the nobility, a good many among the monied people; the Eaft Indians almoft to a man, who cannot bear to find that their prefent importance does not bear a proportion to their wealth. These latter have united themfelves into one great, and in my opinion, formidable club,* which, though now quiet, may be brought into action with confiderable unanimity and force.
* Originally called the Bengal club, but fince opened to perfons from the other prefidencies, for the purpose of confolidating the whole Indian intereft.
Formerly few, except the ambitious great, or the defperate and indigent, were to be feared as inftruments in revolutions. What has happened in France teaches us, with many other things, that there are more caufes than have commonly been taken into our confideration, by which government may be fubverted. The monied men, merchants, principal tradesmen, and men of letters (hitherto generally thought the peaceable and even timid part of fociety) are the chief actors in the French revolution. But the fact is, that as money increases and circulates, and as the circulation of news, in politicks, and letters, becomes more and more diffufed, the perfons who diffuse this money, and this intelligence, become more and more important. This was not long undifcovered. Views of ambition were in France, for the first time, prefented to these claffes of men. Objects in the state, in the army, in the system of civil offices of every kind. Their eyes were dazzled with this new prospect. They were, as it were, electrified and made to lose the natural spirit of their fituation. A bribe, great without example in the history of the world, was held out to them the whole government of a very large kingdom.
Grounds of fuppofed
There are feveral who are perfuaded that the fame thing cannot happen in England, because here, (they fay) the occupations of merchants, land.