Page images
PDF
EPUB

and have it in their power to say, Sic volo, fịc jubeo, ftet pro ratione voluntas. i. e. " Lețmy strength be the law of justice*;" only that their subjects may become their Naves, Unaccounţable ambition ! that a prince should choose rather to be feared than loved; dreaded than revered; the object of abhorrence than the object of delight! that a sovereign should wish rather to reign over the bodies, than in the minds of his subjects ; over base and abject Naves, rather than over generous freemen. This pleasure, such as it is, must soon lose its sweetness. It has universally been experienced and acknowledged that our happiness depends not on possession, but on our prospects and pursuits. Man never is, but always to be blest.” When the sovereign has established a defpotic power, disappointed, he must endeavour to extend his empire, and, if he cannot exalt his throne, he must depress his subjects till he has reduced them to the most abject state of vaffalage. But will his happiness be increased thereby ? Can any prince imagine that the Empress of Russia is happy in proportion to the extent of her boundless empire, and the boundless authority she exercises in that empire ? No doubt Lewis the fifteenth of France thought he should be happier, when the authority of his parliainents should be abolished, and his power as monarch should be completed and established; but can any man, unless a stranger to the very nature of human happiness, imagine that his happiness was increased thereby ? Had he lived, he night have found some Mordecai in his own dominions, or if not, at least he would have been equally anxious to have extended the bounds of his empire, and increase the number of his flaves, as he had been to extend his authority in his own dominions.--Could a sovereign, in pursuit of happiness, extend continually the bounds of his dominion, till he remained in peace the absolute and fole monarch of the world, from that moment he would be

Wisdom ii. 11.

will

miserable, miferable *, unless his happiness should be diverted into some other channel. As all human happiness depends on our profpects and pursuits, such noblemen as are intrusted with the education of the heir apparent to the crown, should be very careful to give him prospects and purfuits worthy of a great prince. If such noblemen have any regard for their own honor, the happiness of their royal pupil, or love for their country, they should endeavour to instil into his mind fentiments of true dignity, and teach him to pursue his own glory, by promoting the happiness of his subjects. In this pursuit he must be happy, supremely and permanently happy; as the longest life could not bring him to the end of his enjoyment. Such a prince would reign in the

[ocr errors]

* The ascent to greatness, however steep and dan. gerous, may entertain an active spirit with the confciousness and exercise of its own powers : but the possession of a throne could never yet afford a lasting fatisfaction to an ambitious mind. This melan, choly truth was felt and acknowledged by Severus. Satiated with power, all his prospects of life were clofed. Gibbon, Fall of Rom. Emp. ch. 6.

affections

affections of his people, would be the delight of his subjects, the admiration of all mankind ; and the noble philosopher, who had formed his infant mind, would be had in everlasting remembrance*.

The preceptor who shall teach his royal pupil, that power and happiness are connected, and, under the idea of being his owu minifter, shall lead him to establish an arbitrary power, will be an enemy to his prince, a traitor to his country, and the execration of all honeft men.--How much more glorious is the memory of that prince, whose study was to be the father of his people, and to establish their liberties on a firm foundation; than of those whose only aim was to fap that foundation, and be the absolute lords and masters of dependent vassals ! The name

* The mind of Dion was formed by Plato ; this philosopher bestowed much pains also in humanising the younger Dionyfius, even at the hazard of his life, and would have taught him to find his own happiness in making a free people happy by his wife and equitable government. On the godlike Dion his pains were well beftowed, on Dionysius his labor was in a great measure loft.

of

of Alfred will be revered, I had almost faid adored, long as the world endures. While the memories of Edward II. Richard II. and all the Stuart family, must rot and stink in the nostrils of posterity.Have fovereigns no conscience of right and wrong, of justice and injustice ? or do they look upon themselves as free from every bond, not accountable for their conduct to the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords ? Do they never consider for a moment, that they must one day stand at the dread tribunal, where there is no refpect of persons, where they will be upon a level with the meanest of their subjects? Whence is it then that they have been so ready to violate their oaths ? Whence is it, that, while punishing robbery in others, they have been guilty of robbery themselves ? Whence is it, that, condemning facrilege, they have robbed the people of their most facred rights? Whence is it, that in their most unjust pursuit they have shed the blood of their best subjects and most virtuous citizens ? In every part of the globe have been seen

Rachaels

« PreviousContinue »