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manity, is, if possible, still blacker guilt. Would that our discontents were for a while confined to our moral wants! Whatever may be the defects of our constitution, we have at least an effective government, and that too composed of men who were born with us and are to die among uš. We are at least preserved from the incursions of foreign enemies : the intercommunion of interests precludes a civil war, and the volunteer spirit of the nation equally with its laws, gives to the darkest lanes of our crowded metropolis that quiet and security which the remotest villager at the cataracts of the Nile prays for in vain, in his mud hovel!
Not yet enslaved nor wholly vile,
Nor ever proud invader's rage
II. ANECDOTE OF BONAPARTE.
BONAPARTE, during his short stay at Malta, called out the Maltese regiments raised by the Knights, amounting to fifteen hundred of the stoutest young men of the islands. As they were drawn up on the parade, he informed them, in a bombastic harangue, that he had restored them to liberty; but in proof that his attachment to them was not bounded by this benefaction, he would now give them an opportunity of adding glory to freedom —and concluded by asking who of them would march forward to be his fellow-soldiers on the banks of the Nile, and contribute a flower of Maltese heroism to the immortal wreaths of fame, with which he meant to crown the pyramids of Egypt! Not a man stirred : all gave a silent refusal. They were instantly surrounded by a regiment of French soldiers, marched to the Marino,
* Ode To the Departing Year. Poetical Works, VII. p. 103.--Ed.
forced on board the transports, and threatened with death if any one of them attempted his escape, or should be discovered in any part of the islands of Malta or Goza. At Alexandria they were always put in the front, both to save the French soldiery, and to . prevent their running away; and of the whole number, fifty only survived to revisit their native country. From one of these survivors. I first learned this fact, which was afterwards confirmed to me by several of his remaining comrades, as well as by the most respectable inhabitants of Valette.
This anecdote recalled to my mind an accidental conversation with an old countryman in a central. district of Germany. I purposely omit names, because the day of retribution has come and gone by.* I was looking at a strong fortress in the distance, which formed a highly interesting object in a rich and varied landscape, and asked the old man, who had stopped to gaze at me, its name, adding-How beautiful it looks! ' It may be well enough to look at,” answered he, “but God keep all Christians from being taken thither!” He then proceeded to gratify the curiosity which he had thus excited, by informing me that the Baron had been taken out of luis bed at midnight and carried to that fortress—that he was not heard of for nearly two years, when a soldier who had fled over the boundaries sent information to his family of the place and mode of his imprisonment. · As I have no design to work on the feelings of my readers, I pass over the shocking detail : had not the language and countenance of my informant precluded such a suspicion, I might have supposed that he had been repeating some tale of horror from a romance of the dark ages. " What was his crime?" I asked.—" The report is,” said the old man,
" that in his capacity as ministér he had remonstrated with the . concerning the extravagance of his mistress, an outlandish countess; and that she in revenge persuaded the sovereign, that it was the Baron who had communicated to a professor at Göttingen the
* This anecdote refers to the transfer made by the Landgrave of HesseCassel of a body of his troops to the service of Great Britain in the first American war:
and leagued with these
Poetical Works, VII. p. 76.-Ed.
particulars of the infamous sale of some thousands of his subjects as soldiers.” On the same day I discovered in the landlord of a small public-house one of the men who had been thus sold. He seemed highly delighted in entertaining an English gentleman, and in once more talking English after a lapse of so many years. He was far from regretting this incident in his life, but his account of the manner in which they were forced away accorded in so many particulars with Schiller's impassioned description of the same or a similar scene, in his tragedy of Cabal and Love, as to leave a perfect conviction on my mind, that the dramatic pathos of that description was not greater than its historic fidelity
As I was thus reflecting, I glanced my eye on the leading paragraph of a London newspaper, containing much angry declamation, and some bitter truths, respecting our military arrangements. It were in vain, thought I, to deny that the influence of parliamentary interest, which prevents the immense patronage of the crown from becoming a despotic power, is not the most likely to secure the ablest commanders or the fittest persons
for the management of our foreign empire. However, thank God! if we fight, we fight for our own king and country : and grievances which may be publicly complained of, there is some chance of seeing remedied.
III. A celebrated professor in a German university, showed me a very pleasing print, entitled, Toleration. A Roman Catholic priest, a Lutheran divine, a Calvinist minister, a Quaker, a Jew, and a philosopher, were represented sitting round the same table, over which a winged figure hovered in the attitude of protection. " For this harmless print,” said my friend, “the artist was imprisoned, and having attempted to escape, was sentenced to draw the boats on the banks of the Danube, with robbers and murderers : and there died in less than two months, from exhaustion and exposure. In your happy country, sir, this print would be considered as a pleasing scene from real life : for in every great town throughout your empire you may meet with the original.”
Yes,”' I replied, as far as the negative ends of government are concerned, we have no reason to complain. Our government protects us from foreign enemies, and our laws secure our lives, our personal freedom, our property, reputation, and religious rights, from domestic attacks. Our taxes, indeed, are enormous"
“ Oh ! talk not of taxes,” said my friend, “ till you have resided in a country where the boor disposes of his produce to strangers for a foreign mart, not to bring back to his family the comforts and conveniences of foreign manufactures, but to procure that coin which his lord is to squander' away in a distant land. Neither can I with patience hear it said, that your laws act only to the negative ends of government. They have a manifold positive influence, and their incorrupt administration gives a color to all your modes of thinking, and is one of the chief causes of your superior morality in private as well as public life."*
My limits compel me to strike out the different incidents which I had written as a commentary on the former three of the positive ends of government. To the moral feelings of my
readers they might have been serviceable; but for their understandings they are superfluous. It is surely impossible to peruse those ends, and not admit that all three are realized under our government to a degree unexampled in any other old and long peopled country. The defects of our constitution, in which word I include the laws and customs of the land as well as its scheme of legislative and executive power, must exist, therefore, in the fourth, namely, the production of the highest average of general information, of general moral and religious principles, and the excitements and opportunities which it affords to paramount genius and heroic power in a sufficient number of its citizens. These are points in which it would be immorality to rest content with the presumption, however well founded, that we are better
* “The administration of justice throughout the continent is partial, venal, and infamous. I have, in conversation with many sensible men, met with something of content with their governments in all other respects than this; but upon the question of expecting justice to be really and fairly administered, every one confessed there was no such thing to be looked for. The conduct of the judges is profligate and atrocious. Upon almost every cause that comes before them interest is openly made with the judges; and woe betide the man, who, with a cause to support has no means of conciliating favor, either by the beauty of a handsome wife, or by other methods.”— This quotation is confined in the original to France under the monarchy; I have extended the application, and adopted the words as comprising the result of my own experience: and I take this opportunity of declaring, that the most important part of Mr. Leckie's statement concerning Sicily, I myself know to be accurate, and am authorized by what I myself saw there, to rely on the whole as a fair and unexaggerated representation.
than others, if we are not what we ought to be ourselves, and are not using the means of improvement. The first question then is, What is the fact? The second upon the supposition of a defect or deficiency in one or all of these points, and that to a degree which may affect our power
and prosperity, if not our absolute safety,--are the plans of legislative reform that have hitherto been proposed fit or likely to remove such defect, and supply such deficiency? The third and last question is,-Should there appear reason to deny or doubt this, are there any other means, and what are they? Of these points in the concluding essay of this section.
A French gentleman in the reign of Louis XIV. was comparing the Freneh and English writers with all the boastfulness of national prepossession. “Sir!" replied an Englishman, better versed in the principles of freedom than the canons of criticism, “there are but two subjects worthy the human intellect, politics and religion, our state here and our state hereafter; and on neither of these dare you write.” Long may the envied privilege be preserved to my countrymen of writing and talking concerning both! Nevertheless, it behooves us all to consider, that to write or talk concerning any subject, without having previously taken the pains to understand it, is a breach of duty which we owe to ourselves, though it may be no offence against the laws of the land. The privilege of talking and even publishing nonsense, is necessary in a free state ; but the more sparingly we make use of it the better.