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to fall down and worship at their peril-and Pope long after summed up the merits of the whole mythologic tribe in a handsome distich
“Gods partial, changeful, passionate, unjust,
Whose attributes were rage, revenge, or lust.” It was thought a bold stride to divert the course of our imaginations, the overflowings of our enthusiasm, our love of the mighty and the marvellous, from the dead to the living subject, and there we stick. We have got living idols, instead of dead ones; and we fancy that they are real, and put faith in them accordingly. Oh, Reason! when will thy long minority expire? It is not now the fashion to make Gods of wood and stone and brass, but we make kings of common men, and are proud of our own handy-work. We take a child from his birth, and we agree, when he grows up to be a man, to heap the highest honours of the state upon him, and to pay the most devoted homage to his will. Is there any thing in the person, “any mark, any likelihood,” to warrant this sovereign awe and dread ? No: he may be little better than an ideot, little short of a madman, and yet he is no less qualified for king. * If he can
*« In fact, the argument drawn from the supposed incapacity of the people against a representative Government,
contrive to pass the College of Physicians, the Heralds’ College dub him divine. Can we make any given individual taller or stronger or wiser than other men, or different in any respect from what nature intended him to be ? No; but we can make a king of him. We cannot add a cubit to the stature, or instil a virtue into the minds of monarchs—but we can put a sceptre into their hands, a crown upon their heads, we can
comes with the worst grace in the world from the patrons and admirers of hereditary government. Surely, if government were a thing requiring the utmost stretch of genius, wisdom, and virtue to carry it on, the office of King would never even have been dreamt of as bereditary, any more than that of poet, painter, or philosopher. It is easy here for the son to tread in the Sire's steady steps.' It requires nothing but the will to do it. Extraordinary talents are not once looked for. Nay, a person, who would never have risen by natural abilities to the situation of churchwarden or parish beadle, succeeds by unquestionable right to the possession of a throne, and wields the energies of an empire, or decides the fate of the world with the smallest possible share of human understanding. The line of distinction which separates the regal purple from the slabbering-bib is sometimes fine indeed; as we see in the case of the two Ferdinands. Any one above the rank of an ideot is supposed capable of exercising the highest functions of royal state. Yet these are the persons who talk of the people as a swinish multitude, and taunt them with their want of refinement and philosophy."— Yellow 1)warf, p. 84.
set them on an eminence, we can surround them with circumstance, we can aggrandise them with power, we can pamper their appetites, we can pander to their wills. We can do every thing to exalt them in external rank and stationnothing to lift them one step higher in the scale of moral or intellectual excellence. Education does not give capacity or temper; and the education of kings is not especially directed to useful knowledge or liberal sentiment. What then is the state of the case ? The highest respect of the community and of every individual in it is paid and is due of right there, where perhaps not an idea can take root, or a single virtue be engrafted. Is not this to erect a standard of esteem directly opposite to that of mind and morals? The lawful monarch may be the best or the worst man in his dominions, he may be the wisest or the weakest, the wittiest or the stupidest : still he is equally entitled to our homage as king, for it is the place and power we bow to, and not the man. He
be a sublimation of all the vices and diseases of the human heart; yet we are not to say so, we dare not even think so. “ Fear God, and honour the King,” is equally a maxim at all times and seasons. The personal character of the king has nothing to do with the question.
Thus the extrinsic is set up over the intrinsic by authority: wealth and interest lend their countenance to gilded vice and infamy on principle, and outward show and advantages become the symbols and the standard of respect in despite of useful qualities or well-directed efforts through all ranks and gradations of society. “ From the crown of the head to the sole of the foot there is no soundness left." The whole style of moral thinking, feeling, acting, is in a false tone-is hollow, spurious, meretricious. Virtue, says Montesquieu, is the principle of republics ; honour, of a monarchy. But it is “ honour dishonourable, sin-bred ”—it is the honour of trucking a principle for a place, of exchanging our honest convictions for a ribbon or a garter. The business of life is a scramble for unmerited precedence. Is not the highest respect entailed, the highest station filled without any possible proofs or pretensions to public spirit or public principle? Shall not the next places to it be secured by the sacrifice of them ? It is the order of the day, the understood etiquette of courts and kingdoms. For the servants of the crown to presume on merit, when the crown itself is held as an heir-loom by prescription, is a kind of lèse majesté, an indirect attainder of the title to the succession. Are not all
eyes turned to the sun of court-favour? Who would not then reflect its smile by the performance of any acts which can avail in the
of the great, and by the surrender of any virtue, which attracts neither notice nor applause ? The stream of corruption begins at the fountainhead of court-influence. The sympathy of mankind is that on which all strong feeling and opinion floats; and this sets in full in
absolute monarchy to the side of tinsel show and iron-handed
power, in contempt and defiance of right and wrong. The right and the wrong are of little consequence, compared to the in and the out. The distinction between Whig and Tory is merely nominal: neither have their country one bit at heart. Phaw! we had forgot –Our British monarchy is a mixed, and the only perfect form of government; and therefore what is here said cannot properly apply to it. But MIGHT BEFORE Right is the motto blazoned
the front of unimpaired and undivided Sovereignty !
A court is the centre of fashion; and no less so, for being the sink of luxury and vice-
“Of outward shew Elaborate, of inward less exact."
The goods of fortune, the baits of power, the