페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

of virtue and understanding. He must assert falsehoods, maintain absurdities, and reconcile contradictions. He must be a pimp, a parasite, and a buffoon, as occasion requires. He must jump over sticks, and lick the spittle of his master. He must lie, swear, suborn, and betray. He must have no opinion, nor conscience of his own. His passions and appetites must always be under command, and his heart and tongue move only by direction. In short, he must be as mechanical as a clock or puppet, acquiring that by habit, which is a necessity in them; but, above all, he must be constantly ready at a dirty job, and take it as a peculiar honour to be concerned in actions which deserve the gallows. Nay, he will sometimes find himself obliged to mortify a corrupt heart, and thwart a mischievous disposition, by being employed in the cause of truth, virtue, honesty, and justice, whenever they happen to strike in with the views and interest of his noble master. And to sum up all in a word, be must, while living, be the most contemptible slave in this world, and, when dead, run the risk of being d-d in the next.

After what has been said in a former part of

this work on the subject of the humours of popular elections, it must be supposed that such were the greater part of these guardians of the tenants, and there was nothing to prevent the measures being brought forward, and, in all probability carried, but the late dreadful misfore tunes, and the consequent gloominess of the times. It was an invariable rule with the stewards to wait for some good news, at which periods they took advantage of the joy of the tenants, and levied upon them those taxes which were revolting to sober reason. In order that the obloquy of measures obnoxious to the people might not fall exclusively upon the men who voted for them, it was also rumoured, that the delegates were in future to debate clausis januis, and that no strangers were to be admitted, as if they were ashamed that what was said within doors should get without them.

The Reader. Why then the tenants were fools if they did not make the Common Hall a temple of Minerva.

The Author. What relation could there be, my dear sir, between a Christian debating society and a heathen place of worship?

The Reader. Turn to the life of Pausanias. Cornelius Nepos informs us, that when that traitor took refuge in the Temple of Minerva, statim ephori valvas ejus ædis obstruxerunt:' blocked up the doors, and left him to his meditations.

The Author. And so you would have had the tenants of Freeland manor leave their delegates to their last debate! Well, if they deserved it—if, like Pausanias, they were traitors to their country-why, it would have been no matter if they had been served the same sauce. But we have not got to that part of our story yet, and hope we never may. The Freelanders, although they had reason enough to find fault with the management of their public affairs, were not so unreasonable as to charge their managers with the blame of misfortunes which were the inevitable lot of humanity; and, as they had a well-grounded confidence in their own exertions whenever these were called to the push, they would not betray their dismay by whining out:

“ No safety can be here for virtue; Where all agree to spoil the public good,

And villains fatten with the brave man's labours;
We've neither safety, unity, nor peace,
For the foundation's lost of public good;
Justice is lame, as well as blind amongst us;
The laws, corrupted to their ends that make them,
Serve but for instruments to some new tyranny,

That ev'ry day starts up t'enslave us deeper.”
They were not yet driven to the state of those

Who curse the great, and threat rebellion.” No; far from it! They hoped that the common danger would yet open all eyes to the common safety, and that the clouds of misfortune would be dispelled before the face of the sun of joy, and afford them brighter prospects. It was necessary, however, that the great should commence a reform, and that those who had most to lose should not be the last, as they had hitherto unaccountably been, to stand up in defence of it.

After this last report of the sum total of the Squire's extravagance, it was thought highly necessary to acquaint him that such misconduct must have the worst consequences, not only by adding to the almost intolerable burthens of the tenants, but by making them entertain a contemptible opinion of, and consequently weakening their attachment to their lord apparent, froin which the greatest evils must result, as there can be no prosperity where there is not an unity of welfare and interests between the governor and the governed. The former in, or ought to be, the guardian of the latter, and the latter the support of the former.

• When free-born men, by Providence design'd
Both to protect and propagate their kind,
Did first their brutish appetites pursue,
Nature alone was all the law they knew.
When. sense was guardian, and wher reasoli young:
'Twas then the weak submitted to the strong;
Then, as the bull walks monarch of the ground,
So, Nimrod, Cæsar, and the rest were crown'd:
For he, who could protect and conquest bring,
Was, from a captain, ripen’d to a king:
Thus they the people's safety made their choice,
And Heav'n approv'd it by the people's voice;
It is their choice the noblest titles brings,
For subjects are the surest guard of kings."

BLOUNT.

They hoped to rouse the Squire from his death of honour, and if ever he was to be their Lord, they hoped to see in him such a lord as

« 이전계속 »