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was generally about a month after that day. And as this resolution of the deputies operated by relation to the time in which it respected, for an anxious period after every leap-year, no one knew whether he was a traitor or not; and every individual in the island was potentially guilty of a capital crime, till the moment in which this fact, as to the day, was decided. As might be supposed, under such circumstances, civil wars and domestic factions were no very uncommon events in this country ; and the truth was, that an immense force was necessary to give effect to each fresh constitution that was to be tried upon this devoted community.

The manuscript which my conductor had put into my hands, was a counterpart of another draught which had been lately sent over to this island, and which contained one of these probatory schemes of a commonwealth, that had raised peculiar hopes of success among the people of Inania. It was thought to be so happily conceived as to be hardly of human composition; and having for its end, universal peace, love, and harmony, it was judged worthy of an extraordinary military equipment, to procure its more effectual introduction. It being the invention of a celebrated female personage of the city of Tintinabia, who had, as I was told, distinguished herself by many specimens of genius, according to the taste of that city, I was induced to bestow upon it something more than a cursory attention. The general reasoning on which the positive laws contained in this subtle sys. tem of legislation was grounded, was, as far as I can recollect, to this

purpose. “ Man is a simple, not a compounded being :-he has no elemental evil or good in his composition; but such as are called his good and evil propensities are indifferent in themselves, and take their colour and quality from the relation they bear to the things without us. In reality and in truth, we are all righteous in our original natures; and as we are born, so should we continue innocent, were it not that these original qualities of our nature, by coming in contact with contagious and contaminating mischiefs, disseminated through life, and banefully implicated in every system of polity and jurisprudence, contract an adventitious character and tendency that designates them as evil propensities. It is thus that colours, by being blended one with the other, lose their original denomination; but as blue would never of itself become green, without the admixture of yellow, so neither would the original qualities of the mind contract any stain or discoloration, unless driven into union with the impure objects of life, and the hurtful ingredients with which all human institutions have hitherto been dashed. The only method by which this deformation of the human character and disposition can be prevented, is to preserve it from all contagion, and so to dispose all the circumstances of life, by the force of our artificial institutions, as to render them incompatible with vicious habits and pursuits; on the same principle of reasoning that frames are constructed to straighten crooked limbs, and backboards are used where children are inclined to be round-shouldered.”

Solon being asked if he had given to the Athenians the best laws, answered, that he had given to them the best they could bear - a sentiment very much applauded by Montesquieu ; but which did not so strike our fair lawgiver. She was for contriving such legislative arrangements as were to make no allowances for human imperfection; and, despising those loose and uncompacted systems which are adapted to a being of infirmity and passion, was for contriving a pure scheme of polity, in which human corruption was not to be supposed, and to the shape and proportions of which man's nature and propensities were to be forcibly adjusted. There was a vast deal of reasoning to this effect, in a very elaborate introduction to the provisions which followed; but as I had already spent a great deal of my time in this examination, I could only afford a very few minutes to a further consideration of the work, and have therefore but a superficial recollection of the substance of those rules and canons of polity which were erected on this novel foundation. I can remember, however, that all the ten commandments were proposed to be re-enacted by legislative authority, and enforced by very heavy penalties. It was to be felony, without benefit of clergy, not to love one's neighbour more than one's self; and if a man were to be smitten on one side of his face, and refused to offer the other, such refusal might be punished by an action at law, in which treble damages were recoverable. There was not to be a landmark throughout the whole country, and property was to be distributed in proportions of exact equality; and even this property was to be merely nominal; for as every man was to have a right to his neighbour's cow or horse, he could have no exclusive right to his own. If a married pair were without children, they were to be compelled to take a share in the education of their neighbour's offspring; and it was a high misdemeanour not to love them as their own. If a man or woman laboured under any bodily deformity, they were respectively entitled to the hand of the handsomest person of the opposite sex, among their acquaintance, to compensate for this disparity of natural endowment. No person was to be guilty of the smallest intemperance; and, to prevent excesses, everyone was constrained, under very rigorous pains, to eat before he was hungry, and drink before he was dry, so to destroy even temptation in the bud. Every man was to under-rate his own qualifications, and to dissemble his own superiority; and it was not only criminal to aspire after fame, honour, or riches; but not to court degradation, when it could be attained without the sacrifice of virtue, was to be fineable in the courts of justice.

But if there was any part of this benign system, which was at all liable to the charge of enthusiasm, and wanted a little more accommodation to human imbecility, it might be said to be that which proposed to incorporate among its legislative and positive institutions, all those rules of good breeding and urbanity, which have sprung up with the refinement of manners. This, however, was boldly attempted; and to utter a complaint, if a man weighing eighteen stone perchance should tread upon my gouty toe, or to impute a dishonest design to one who should mistake

my horse, my house, or my wife, for his own, was a wrong that had its legal remedy in this elegant digest of jurisprudence.

What seemed a little difficult to reconcile with this statutable courtesy of manners, was the perfect equality of conditi and property that was to be established among all the members of the community, since complaisance seems more naturally the fruit of a distinction of orders and degrees : but it was the boast of this plan to force into fellowship discordant principles, and by compounding the extracts of all the different excellencies of our nature, purged of every corrupt admixture, to exhibit man in his ultimate state of physical and moral perfec

tion. To reduce and equalise the disparities of intellect and endowment, by which, if nature were left to her own contrivances, she would inevitably work the overthrow of this equality, the fundamental law of the state-a plan of public education was to be adopted in exclusion of all particular seminaries, in which, by a certain economy in the distribution of instruction, all intellectual disproportions were to be levelled to an uniform standard of proficiency. Thus my conductor, whose judgement went in general very much along with that of the ingenious delineator of this plan, confessed it was the boldest feature of it, and incomparably the greatest mark of the characteristic intrepidity of the whole conception. Some common rule of mensuration to adjust the altitudes of different geniuses, was acknowledged to be necessary; but this was left to the researches of future experimenters; with a hint, however, that perhaps in cases of very obstinate deviations, and where the partial luxuriancy of nature produced very incorrigible irregularities, it might be worth consideration, whether this intellectual rankness of growth might not be corrected by extinguishing or suspending the operation of some or one of the senses, or by some such method of reducing the nourishment of the soul. Thus the moral and intellectual order of the world would move on with a solemn uniformity of progression; and envy, ambition, detraction, pride, contumely, hatred, and every principle of uncharitableness, would be starved out of the social system, and exist only in the page of the historian.

So much of my time had been given up to the perusal of this curious performance, that I was forced to yield to the importunity of my guide, to proceed in our perambulation, without any further gratifica

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