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cobin faction to attack his life? He is unworthy of the name of man who would fuffer it. It is unworthy of the name of a government, which, taking justice out of the private hand, will not exercise it for the injured by the publick
I know it founds plaufible, and is really adopted by those who have little fympathy with the fufferings of others, to wish to jumble the innocent and guilty into one mafs, by a general indemnity. This cruel indifference dignifies itself with the name of humanity.
-It is extraordinary that as the wicked arts of this regicide and tyrannous faction increase in number, variety, and atrocity, the defire of punishing them becomes more and more faint, and the talk of an indemnity towards them, every day ftronger and ftronger. Our ideas of juftice appear to be fairly conquered and overpowered by guilt when it is grown gigantick. It is not the point of view in which we are in the habit of viewing guilt. The crimes we every day punish are really below the penalties we inflict. The criminals are obfcure and feeble. This is the view in which we fee ordinary crimes and criminals. But when guilt is feen, though but for a time, to be furnished with the arms and to be invested with the robes of power, it seems to affume another nature, and to get, as it were, out of our jurifdiction.
jurifdiction. This I fear is the case with many. But there is another caufe full as powerful towards this fecurity to enormous guilt, the defire which poffeffes people who have once obtained power, to enjoy it at their eafe. It is not humanity, but lazinefs and inertnefs of mind which produces the defire of this kind of indemnities. This defcription of men love general and short methods. If they punish, they make a promifcuous maffacre; if they fpare, they make a general act of oblivion. This is a want of difpofition to proceed laborioufly according to the cafes, and according to the rules and principles of juftice on each cafe; a want of difpofition to affort criminals, to discriminate the degrees and modes of guilt, to feparate accomplices from principals, leaders from followers, feducers from the feduced, and then, by following the fame principles in the fame detail, to clafs punishments, and to fit them to the nature and kind of the delinquency. If that were once attempted, we should foon fee that the task was neither infinite, nor the execu tion cruel. There would be deaths, but for the number of criminals, and the extent of France, not many. There would be cafes of tranfportation; cafes of labour to restore what has been wickedly deftroyed; cafes of imprisonment, and cafes of mere exile. But be this as it may, fure that if juftite is not done there, there can be
neither peace nor justice there, nor in any part of Europe.
Hiftory is reforted to for other acts of indemnity in other times. The princes are defired to look back to Henry the Fourth. We are defired to look to the reftoration of king Charles. These things, in my opinion, have no refemblance whatfoever. They were cafes of a civil war; in France more ferocious, in England more moderate than common. In neither country were the orders of fociety fubverted; religion and morality destroyed on principle, or property totally annihilated. In England, the government of Cromwell was to be fure fomewhat rigid, but for a new power, no favage tyranny. The country was nearly as well in his hands as in those of Charles the Second, and in fome points much. better. The laws in general had their courfe, and were admirably adminiftered. The king did not in reality grant an act of indemnity; the prevail-ing power, then, in a manner the nation, in effect granted an indemnity to him. The idea of a preceding rebellion was not at all admitted in that convention and that parliament, The regicides were a common enemy, and as fuch given up.
Among the ornaments of their place which eminently distinguish them, few people are better acquainted with the hiftory of their own country
than the illuftrious princes now in exile; but I caution them not to be led into errour by that which has been supposed to be the guide of life. I would give the fame caution to all princes. Not that I derogate from the use of history. It is a great improver of the understanding, by fhewing both men and affairs in a great variety of views. From this fource much political wifdom may be learned; that is, may be learned as habit, not as précept; and as an exercise to ftrengthen the mind, as furnishing materials to enlarge and enrich it, not as a repertory of cafes and precedents for a lawyer: if it were, a thousand times better would it be that a statesman had never learned to read-vellem nefcirent literas. This method turns their understanding from the object before them, and from the prefent exigencies of the world, to comparisons with former times, of which, after all, we can know very little and very imperfectly; and our guides, the hiftorians, who are to give us their true interpretation, are often prejudiced, often ignorant, often fonder of system than of truth. Whereas if a man with reafonable good parts and natural fagacity, and not in the leading-ftrings of any mafter, will look fteadily on the bufinefs before him, without being diverted by retrofpect and comparison, he may be capable of forming a reasonable good judgment of what is to be done. There are fome funda
mental points in which nature never changesbut they are few and obvious, and belong rather to morals than to politicks. But fo far as regards political matter, the human mind and human affairs are fufceptible of infinite modifications, and of combinations wholly new and unlooked for. Very few, for instance, could have imagined that property, which has been taken for natural dominion, should, through the whole of a vast kingdom, lofe all its importance and even its influence. This is what history or books of speculation could hardly have taught us. How many could have thought, that the most complete and formidable revolution in a great empire fhould be made by men of letters, not as fubordinate inftruments and trumpeters of fedition, but as the chief contrivers and managers, and in a short time as the open adminiftrators and fovereign rulers? Who could have imagined that atheism could produce one of the most violently operative principles of fanaticism? Who could have imagined that, in a commonwealth in a manner cradled in war, and in an extenfive and dreadful war, military commanders fhould be of little or no account? That the convention should not contain one military man of name? That adminiftrative bodies in a state of the utmost confufion, and of but a momentary duration, and compofed of men with not one imposing part of