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REACTION IN FRANCE.
REACTION IN FRANCE.
Is not the tide of opinions, at this moment, in France, setting back with a strength equal to its flow? and is there not reason to presume, that, for some time to come, their ancient institutions may be adored with as much fury as they were destroyed ? — [E. R. 1803.]
REPUBLICAN GOVERNMENT IN FRANCE.
A LOVE of equality is a very strong principle in a republic: therefore it does not tolerate hereditary honour or wealth; and all the effect produced upon the minds of the people by this factitious power is lost, and the government weakened: but, in proportion as the government is less able to command, the people should be more willing to obey; therefore a republic is better suited to a moral than an immoral people.
Yet, though narrowness of territory, purity of morals, and recent escape from despotism, appear to be the circumstances which most strongly recommend a republic, M. Necker proposes it to the most numerous and the most profligate people in Europe, who are disgusted with the very name of liberty, from the incredible evils they have suffered in pursuit of it.
Whatever be the species of free government adopted by France, she can adopt none without the greatest peril. — [E. R. 1803.]
To call upon a nation, on a sudden, totally destitute of such knowledge and experience, to perform all the
OBSTACLES TO FREEDOM.
manifold functions of a free constitution, is to entrust valuable, delicate, and abstruse mechanism, to the rudest skill and the grossest ignorance.-[E. R. 1803.]
OBSTACLES TO FREEDOM IN FRANCE.
THE want of all the true elements of constitutional government must retard, for a very long period, the practical enjoyment of liberty in France, and present very serious obstacles to her prosperity; obstacles little dreamed of by men who seem to measure the happiness and future grandeur of France by degrees of longitude and latitude, and who believe she might acquire liberty with as much facility as she could acquire Switzerland or Naples.-[E. R. 1803.]
A NATION grown free in a single day is a child born with the limbs and the vigour of a man, who would take a drawn sword for his rattle, and set the house in a blaze, that he might chuckle over the splendour.-[E. R. 1803.]
VALUE OF ELECTIONS.
THE only foundation of political liberty is the spirit of the people: and the only circumstance which makes a lively impression upon their senses, and powerfully reminds them of their importance, their power, and their rights, is the periodical choice of their representatives.— [E. R. 1803.]
10 POPULAR ELECTIONS-REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT,
THE uproar even, and the confusion and the clamour of a popular election in England, have their use: they give a stamp to the names, Liberty, Constitution, and People. -[E. R. 1803.]
AN English mob, which, to a foreigner, might convey the belief of an impending massacre, is often contented by the demolition of a few windows.—[E. R. 1803.]
EXTENSION OF THE FRANCHISE.
No person considers himself as so completely deprived of a share in the government, who is to enjoy it when he becomes older, as he would do, were that privilege deferred till he became richer ; -time comes to all, wealth
to few. [E. R. 1803.]
THE sea-ports, the universities, the great commercial towns, should all have their separate organs in the parliament of a great country. There should be some means of bringing in active, able, young men, who would submit to the labour of business from the stimulus of honour and wealth. Others should be there, expressly to speak the sentiments, and defend the interests, of the executive. Every popular assembly must be grossly imperfect, that is not composed of such heterogeneous materials as these. Our own parliament may perhaps contain within itself too many of that species of representatives, who could never have arrived at the dignity under a pure and perfect system of election; but, for all
DIVISION OF POWER-AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS. 11
the practical purposes of government, amidst a great majority fairly elected by the people, we should always wish to see a certain number of the legislative body representing interests very distinct from those of the people. [E. R. 1803.]
THE institution of two assemblies constitutes a check upon the passion and precipitation by which the resolutions of any single popular assembly may occasionally be governed.-[E. R. 1803.]
DIVISION OF POWER.
THE prize of supreme power is too tempting to admit of fair play in the game of ambition; and it is wise to lessen its value by dividing it: at least it is wise to do so, under a form of government that cannot admit the better expedient of rendering the executive hereditary; an expedient (gross and absurd as it seems to be) the best calculated, perhaps, to obviate the effects of ambition upon the stability of governments, by narrowing the field on which it acts, and the object for which it contends. [E. R. 1803.]
AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS IN 1803.
AMERICA presents such an immediate, and such a seducing species of provision to all its inhabitants, that it has no idle discontented populace; its population amounts only to six millions, and it is not condensed in such masses as the population of Europe. After all, an experiment of twenty years is never to be cited in
SALIC LAW-LIFE PEERAGES.
politics; nothing can be built upon such a slender inference. Even if America were to remain stationary, she might find that she had presented too fascinating and irresistible an object to human ambition: of course, that peril is increased by every augmentation of a people, who are hastening on, with rapid and irresistible. pace, to the highest eminences of human grandeur. Some contest for power there must be in every free state: but the contest for vicarial and deputed power, as it implies the presence of a moderator and a master, is more prudent than the struggle for that which is original and -[E. R. 1803.]
THE SALIC LAW.
A MOST sensible and valuable law, banishing gallantry and chivalry from Cabinets, and preventing the amiable antics of grave statesmen.-[E. R. 1803.]
THE partial creation of peers for life only, would appear to remedy a very material defect in the English constitution. An hereditary legislative aristocracy not only adds to the dignity of the throne, and establishes that gradation of ranks which is perhaps absolutely necessary to its security, but it transacts a considerable share of the business of the nation, as well in the framing of laws as in the discharge of its juridical functions. But men of rank and wealth, though they are interested by a splendid debate, will not submit to the drudgery of business, much less can they be supposed conversant in all the niceties of law questions. It is therefore necessary to add to their number a certain portion of novi homines, men of established character for talents, and upon whom