« 上一頁繼續 »
IT is difficult to find much fubmiffion in men of genius, the crown of knowledge feldom refpects the cap of folly; it is dangerous therefore, for a weak minifter to employ abler heads, at least he is timid, and fears his refidence will
be but short, when good fenfe becomes an inmate in the fame houfe, to which he is not equal.
MONEY then, in monarchic states, cannot find its way to be arbitrary, as it does in others; the king cannot be long purchafed from his intereft, tho' the people may; and therefore, that native influence of superior sense and virtue, is furer to fucceed, and longer remain in fuch a government, than in those of other kinds; for thefe reasons, it seems to me, to be no greater hardship to live under the influence of a monarch, where the minifters are chofen for their real deferts, than in a government where all is influ enced by money, and the choice of them is owing to that or faction; and tho': one may be called a free ftate, and the other an arbitrary, yet perhaps, as much effential freedom and true happiness is to be found in the former, as in the
latter and a French flave has equal liberty with a free Briton, in the real conduct and course of things.
NOBILITY and honors being refpected in France, money not having the power to govern, and good understanding and knowledge of all kinds finding yet that influence which they ori ginally derive from nature, wealth may more fafely be permitted to increase in that kingdom, than in England; it cannot there fubvert the ways of providence, by giving to gold what is due to virtue; and, as in this ifland, placing the cap of folly on the head of liberty, hood-wink and entice her to ruin, as a cur leads a blind beggar to the places and dangers he pleases.
THUS then, the money which will ruin a free ftate, may preferve an absolute; the fubordination which is established makes honor the great motive to all, and the univerfal prefervative in a monarchy: the levelling idea, which money introduces into a mixt government, expels all juft authority, and ruins the state which virtue only can preferve; fuch is the condition. and advantage of France, and fuch the fate and
folly of England. I fear I fhall tarry here long enough, to fee the laft gafp of true liberty, and England fall, like Rome, a prey to its own na tives; for to the cause I have already affigned was it not owing, that the Roman liberty funk in the arms of the Cæfars? Shows, bribes, and pecuniary rewards, feduced the people from the choice of virtue, to the love of wealth and pleafure; to preferring thofe whofe iniquitous de figns prefented them with the latter, to the former whofe virtue would not permit them fuch behaviour. I am,
Four most obedient fervant.
F I am not mistaken, I have somewhere read, that it was once a matter of debate amongst the Athenians, whether they fhould permit ano ther string to be added to the lyre, whose power was already known to be so extensive and pre valent, over the minds of men. y.
A SUBJECT of this kind would at prefent be looked upon by the fenate of this kingdom, from whence I write, as a most frivolous enquiry, and not worthy the attention of men of understanding.
YET to me it seems neceffary, in all kinds of government, that every thing which can prevail upon the paffions, the fource of action in moft men, fhould be ftrictly fcrutinized before it be permitted; and the it be granted, that
mufic may have power to charm favages from their fiercenefs, may it not have alfo the ef fect of foothing civilized nations from man hood, and thus introduce as great an inconveniency as advantage?
IT is true, there are martial as well as tender powers in mufic, and the fame ftrings which foothe the lovers pain, may animate the foldier's glory; befides this, there is yet another ill con fequence which attends this art, which is, that the frequency of being present at entertainments of mufic, may destroy the power of both, and thus the utility which fhould be derived from harmony, be loft in the frequent repetition of it; or even in fome minds, whofe compofition is more harmonious than others, it may draw attention from things of greater moment, and drown the esteem of useful fcience in a flood of feducing pleasure.
FOR fome one or other of thefe reafons,, I fuppofe, his holiness, has forbidden all wind mufic affifting at high mafs, the organ excepted he has found, I prefume, that the voluntaries of