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as it was to marry the honest daughter of an honest merchant, they prided themselves in choosing for mistresses not only the lowest, but the most vicious persons, opera-dancers and actresses notorious for prostitution. Such were many of the courtiers, the noblesse, and sticklers for arbitrary power in France; and have there not appeared in other nations, instances of similar conduct in persons of similar rank, and similar political principles ?
In France, bishoprics were usually considered as genteel provisions for the sons of noble families. Religious considerations had rarely any influence in the appointment of them. Learning was not a sufficient recommendation. Blood was the prime requisite. If by chance a man, with every kind of merit proper for that station, rose to a bishopric, without the recommendation of blood, he was despised by the fraternity, and called a bishop of fortune. I have heard in England such men as Dr. Şecker, Dr. Watson, or Dr. Horsley, with all their learning, spoken of as men that must not think themselves of any political consequence; as men who should be satisfied with their good fortune, and not pretend to vie with the Beresfords, Norths, and Cornwallises, the Vernons and the Manners Suttons. How would men holding such opinions, have despised Jesus Christ and the poor fishermen! yet they love bishoprics, so far as they contribute to secular pomp and parade, and as they enrich the families of boroughmongers; and enable them cheaply to reward their tutors and obsequious dependents.
A similar spirit must produce similar conduct. Therefore those who would not wish the manners of the French, as they existed before the revolution, to prevail in their own country, will check the spirit
that gives rise to such manners, by every rational means of opposition to it. That spirit and those manners at once supported the French monarchy, and caused its abolition. . . . . .
Indeed, the overbearing manners of the Tories, or friends of arbitrary power, are so disgusting in private life to every man of sense and independence, that they must be exploded, wherever sense and independence can prevail over the arts of sycophantism: They are no less offensive to humanity, and injurious to all the sweet equality of social intercourse, than they are to public liberty. - These proud pretenders to superiority, thes sneaking slaves of courts, and tyrants of their households, would monopolize not only all the luxuries of habitation, food, raiment, vehicles, attendants, but all notice, all respect, all consideration. The world was made for them, and such as they, to take their pastime in it. Their family, their children, their houses, must all be kept from plebeian contamination. The well-barred portals, however, fly open at the approach of lords and dukes; and they themselves would lick the shoes of a minister, if one should, for the sake of securing the influence of their wealth in parliament, condescend to enter their mansion. - - o,
The aristocratical insolence is visible where one would least expect it; where all the partakers of this frail and mortal state should appear in a state of equality; even at church, in the immediate presence of Him who made high and low, rich and poor; and where the gilded and painted ornaments on the walls seem to mock the folly of all human pride. The pew of the great man is raised above the others, though its elevation is an obstacle both to the eyes and ears
of those who are placed in its vicinity. It is furnished with curtains, adorned with linings, and accommodated with cushions. Servants walk in bis train, open the door of his luxurious seat, and carry the burden of the prayer-book. The first reverence is paid to persons of condition around. Those who do not bow to the name of Jesus Christ, bend with all lowliness to the lord in the gallery. : The whole behaviour leads a thinking man to conclude, that the self-important being would scarcely deign to'enter Heaven, any more than he does the church, if he must be reduced to an equality with the rustic vulgar.
Such persons, consistently with their arbitrary principles, ‘are always high-churchmen. Though they may be indifferent to religion, they are zealous for the church. They consider the church as useful, not only in providing genteelly for relations and those to whom they owe obligations for private services, but as an engine to keep down the people. Upon the head of their despot, they would put a triple covering, the crown, the mitre, and the helmet. The Devil offered our Saviour all the kingdoms of this world and their glory, if he would fall down and worship him; and there is reason to fear, that such idolaters of the kingdoms of this world and their glory would apostatize from him who said his kingdom was not of this world, if the same evil being were to make them the same offer. The temporalities and splendours of the church triumphant endear it to them; but, if it continued in its primitive state, or in the condition in which it was when poor fishermen were its bishops, they would soon side, in religious matters, with the philosophers of France. But while mitres and stalls may be made highly subservient to the views of a minister, and the promoters of arbitrary power and principles, they honour the
church, though they know nothing of Christ, they stickle for the bench, though they abandon the creed. An ally, like the church, possessed of great power, must be cherished; though the very persons who wish to avail themselves of that power, would be the first, if that power were in real danger, to question its rights, and to accelerate its subversion. There is one circumstance in the conduct of the Tory friends to absolute sway truly alarming to the champions of liberty. They are always inclined, on the smallest tumult, to call in the military. They would depreciate the civil powers, and break the constable's staff to introduce the bayonet. In their opinion, the best executive powers of government are a party of dragoons. They are therefore constantly sounding alarms, and aggravating every petty disturbance into a riot or rebellion. They are not for parleying with the many-headed monster; they scorn lenient measures; and while their own persons are in perfect safety, boldly command the military to fire. What is the life or the limb of a poor man, in their opinion? Not so much as the life or limb of a favourite pointer or racehorse. They are always eager to augment the army. They would build barracks in every part of the country, and be glad to see a free country overrun, like some of the enslaved nations of the contiment, from east to west, from north to south, with men armed to overawe the saucy advocates of charters, privileges, rights, and reformations. Against principles so dangerous in public life, and odious in private, every friend to his king and country, every lover of his fellow-creatures, every competent judge of those manners, which sweeten the intercourse of man with man, will show a determined opposition. But how shall he show it with effect? By ridicule. Nothing lowers the pride from which
such principles proceed, so much as general contempt and derision. The insolence of petty despots in private life should be laughed at by an Aristophanes, while it is rebuked by a Cato.
The despotic Spirit inclined to avail itself of Spies, Informers, false
Witnesses, pretended Conspiracies, and self-interested Associations
affecting Patriotism.* It is not unfair to infer the existence of similar principles from similarity of conduct. In that black page of history which disgraces human nature; I mean the records of the Roman emperors in the decline of Roman virtue ; we read, that spies and informers were considered as necessary functionaries of government; that they became favourites at court, and were encouraged by rewards due only to exemplary patriotism and public service. There have been periods also in the history of England, when spies, informers, false witnesses, and pretended plots, were deemed lawful and useful expedients by the rulers of the state. In testimony of this assertion, we need only call to mind the pretended Popish plot, with all its villainous circumstances, in the reign of Charles the second; a reign in many parts of it resembling the times of the Roman Tiberius. But at whatever period spies, informers, false witnesses, and pretended plots, are adopted by men
* “Sub Tiberio Cæsare fuit accusandi frequens et pæne publică rabies, quæ omni civili bello graviùs togatam civitatem confecit. Excipiebatur ebriorum sermo, simplicitas jocantium."
SENECA de Benef. “Under Tiberius Cæsar the rage of accusing or informing was so common as to harass the peaceful citizens more than a civil war. The words of drunken men, and the unguarded joke of the thoughtless, were taken down and handed to the emperor."