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in civilisation, can only be effected by themselves. The government may assist their endeavours by encouraging education and industry, but the elements of civilisation can only be obtained by the exertions of the people. "The treasures of knowledge, the powers of art, the triumphs of science, constitute a permanent addition to the inheritance of mankind; and the art of printing has apparently given them a durable existence, and for ever preserved for future generations the acquisitions of the past.

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But a very slight acquaintance with men is sufficient to show, that it is neither in these acquisitions, nor the power they confer, that the secret either of national strength or individual elevation is to be found. Intellectual cultivation alone, it appears from history, is not always consistent with moral elevation; the spread of knowledge may be attended by diffusion of corruption; the triumphs of art have not uniformly prevented degradation of character. So frequently has this failure formerly attended the greatest intellectual efforts of man, that, till the last sixty years, it had been imagined by many philosophers, and experienced observers, that moral elevation and national greatness were not always the concomitants of arts and sciences. Bacon observes, "In the infancy of states, arms do

See Alison, Hist. of Europe, vol. x. p. 937., to whom so much is due for his able remarks.

prevail; in its progress, arms and learning; afterwards commerce and mechanical arts."

To show that a change in the form of government, unless the nation is prepared by civilisation, is not likely to benefit the people, let us make the following reflection. When the germs of the French revolution first appeared, it was almost universally imagined by philosophers in this country, and in other parts of Europe, that a remedy was at length discovered for all the moral and even physical evils of humanity. The more the writings of the so-called wise men of that day are examined, the more does it appear that this persuasion was the corner-stone of their system. Condorcet expressly states, in his Life of Voltaire, that such was the cardinal point of his philosophy. Nor was such a doctrine confined to that age or country. It is at present the prevailing, in fact the almost universal, creed in America, which hardly any writer, even of the highest class, ventures to deny; and it is even a doctrine which will be found to lie at the root of the principles of those numerous parties in Great Britain, who aim at ameliorating the condition of mankind by merely altering their political institutions. It is therefore important to inquire to what extent this sentiment is well founded; to ascertain how far it is consistent with the experience of human nature, and how far it is warranted by the recorded annals of mankind.

The entire fallacy of such an opinion is demon

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strated in the most decisive manner. mise of amelioration by the change in the government was made by all the authors of the day. The doctrine was repeated in their writings and speeches, till it had passed into a sort of universal maxim. It was the ground on which they rested their legislation and excused their cruelties. "You can never," they said, "give the people too much power: there is not the slightest danger of their abusing it." This assertion might be true, if applied to a population thoroughly imbued with the elements of civilisation; but was most false, when referred to a vicious, atheistical, and bloodthirsty rabble, either in France or elsewhere. Tyranny," they said, " in former ages has arisen entirely from the vices of kings, the ambition of ministers, and the arts of priests:" they forgot to add, "and from the ignorance, bigotry, and immorality of the people." "When," continued they, "the great mass of the people are admitted to govern the nation, such evils will at once cease, because those will be governors whose interest it is to be well governed. Possibly much suffering may be inflicted, and injustice committed, on the part of demagogues, in efforts to secure themselves these blessings; but such evils are temporary, and not for a moment to be weighed against the permanent advantages of republican institutions."

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In all this, they forgot the state of the lower class. What must have been the anguish of these

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persons, who, after promulgating and acting on such principles, found themselves and their country involved in unheard-of miseries from their effects! when they saw the people, whom they believed to be so innocent, instantly, on the acquisition of power, steeped in atrocities infinitely greater than had ever disgraced the government of kings or the councils of priests. It is not surprising that anxiety to avoid witnessing such fruits from their efforts should have led numbers even of the most enlightened to commit suicide; that Roland should have been found dead by the way-side, with a writing on his breast, declaring that "he cared not to live in a world stained by so many crimes;" and that Condorcet, who had carried the dream of perfectability so far as to have anticipated, from the combined discoveries of science and the stilling of the angry passions of the human breast by the spread of freedom, an extension of human life to a much greater age, should have been led to shorten his own existence by poison.

It is repugnant to the sentiments by which most persons are at present actuated, to look back to the horrors of the French Revolution; but in the present instance, the results elucidate so forcibly the theory attempted to be laid down in reference to the elements of civilisation, that it was expedient to make the above reference. The subject of France will be considered at some length in the second volume; and it may only be remarked here, that

nothing would be more unfair than to attribute to an entire nation the crimes or follies of a lower class, totally deficient in every requisite for selfgovernment.

Among the results to be anticipated from the influence of popular clamour and the repression of public opinion, may be mentioned a general passion for war and foreign conquest-for those very evils, which in the middle ages were attributed, and probably with justice, to the ambition of kings, the cruelty of priests, and the rivalry of ministers.

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