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years, as contemptible as Persia, when
It was conquered by a handfeil of
In the period marked out by oar

Question, whilst war hovered 'over
rreece, Rome was s^tated by intes-
tine commotions, which produced the
appointment of tribunes of thepeople.
The people had borne much from an
arrogant aristocracy, and were deter-
mined to submit no longer. Tbejr
were resolved to have some paitki-
pation in the state ; and it was in vain
that the high-priest in those days told
them, that tney had nothing to do
with the laws but to obey tnem. —
They said, that laws made by one
set of j^ersons, bore too hard upon
them, and their interests were to be
consulted. 'Five persons of their own
rank were, therefore, chosen, to guard
the interests of the people, in the year
488 ; and for a short time this insti-
tution checked the insolence of t^

This institutk)n irritated the nobles^
andCaius Martius, snmamed, from
his glorious achievements at Carioli,
Ck>riolanus, set himself at their head,
resisted to the utmost the tribunitian
power, and in the end was banishei
from the state. The traitor went
over to the enemy, is recehred with
exultation, is appointed general of an
fffmj, attack!^ his country, lays siege
to Rome, but, overtaken by a qualm
pf conscience, breaks up the siege,
and is assassinated by the officers of
his army, who look upon him as a
ti'aitor to them, as he had previously
been to his own country. This las|
event took place in the year befi;>ie
phrist 484.
In Athens, the evil effects of demo-
. prapy were seen. That state was iU
organized rand, as in Rome, some*
}hm^ was want^^ balance the.ii^

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AnsUf^i to ih§ Historical and PhUosopkical Quesdms. 5]p

Qfctinate power of the ndbles, in A- tated beyond measure ; and sentence
thens something was wanted to bridJe of death or banishment against tfid
tfee licentiousness of the people. Ari- greater part of them was irrevocable.
Btides^ the honour of his country, was Kings, nobles, people ! in whatever
^ banished by ostracism, by the writing government ye hve, remember that
* of the name of the person on an oy- there are certain duties imposed on
ster-shell j and, if the number of votes you, according to the stations which.
expressed in this manner amounted ye fill : there is a certain relation be-
to six thousand, the- person was ba- tween you, which no power of man,
nished from the city. Thus, a few no edicts can alter. Whilst this rela-
factious people easily got rid of tlie tion is remembered, and these duties
most deserving men m me state j and are performed, little fear need be en-
thus Aristides was driven awav, in the tertained of revolution,
year before Christ four hundred and Of all the foolish institutions that
eighty-three. ever entered into the mind of man.

Quest. II. To what reflections do that of tlie ostracism seems to be re-
the above occurrences give rise ? plete witli the greatest absurdity. To

Ans. The government of Rome was punish a man, as we should say, with*
isDjlty, in allowing the whole power of out judge or Jury, is the heignt of ty*
the state to be vested in a senate; and ranny. Yet this institution was adopt-
this government was just as bad as ed by that state in Greece, which w^
ours would be, if we were governed distinguished equally in arts and arms^
by a house of lords, without King and which contends for tne prize of geniua
nobles. Human nature is the same with the whole universe. The evil
in all ages ; and men will abuse power consequences which followed thift
if they are not narrowly watched. — strange institution, should teach us to \
It is not surprismg that the senate of prize more highly the trial by jujty,.
Rome became tyrannical ; it is suf- a mode of trid on which daily in-
ficient to say, that they had the power roads are making ; and if Englishmeq.
to be so. The evil was evident, ihd once become so dastardly as to despise
correction was difficult. The Romans this birth-right left to them by their
made a grand effort in appointing ancestors, they deserve to be tlie slaves
the tribunitian power; it was a step of the French,
towardsforming a house of commons: Quest, III. What are the chief
but they had not in those times a clear epochs between the act for septen-
idea of representation ; and in giving nial parliaments and the American
too great powers to the tribunes, they war ?

created a small body to live in a per- Ans. These epochs are, the rebel-
petual state of warfare with a greater lion in 1745, and the repeal of the
body, the nobles. The consequence stamp act in 1761. The former event
"was, as might be apprehended, the presents to our view the very extraor*
continuance of disputes between the dinary sight of a handful of Scotch**
nobles and people. men marching into the centre of dn^

Corielanus committed the same island, tlireatening to place a Stuart
laidt, as the French emigrants in our on the throne, terrifying a metropolis^
times* He inde^ was banished, and in which were contained between livo
might plead in his excuse the wrongs hundred thousand and a million inha-
hehad received from his country : but, bitants, and retreating out of England
to avenge his own wrongs, was he to in good order, meeting scarcely any
commit greater wrongs ? Was he to impediment on their march. The.
surrender his country to the enemy ? voung chieftain, who commanded ia
Tlie French emigrants should have "^is adventurous enterprise, was the
considered this, wnen the injudicious son of him, who had made an attempt
order was made tor all the noblesse to in the year fiftden^ to regain ppsse.<sioa
join tlie royal standard at Cobl^ntz. of the tlirone of his ancestors. There
The consequence was, that the retir- was more bravery, than skill and forc-
ing (rf* the greater part of the gentry sight, in this expedition. The num-
irom their country, lefl it endrely in ber of adherents to the cause of the
the power of tiie third estate: and banished family, and to the popish
when they joined the armies of Aus- relidon, was small, even in Scot-
iria ^ Prussia^ the people were ixri* lano, and much sQialla' in England.

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i26 Anmtrt to the I&iertcal ami Pt^twphiccl Ques^orii.

The pritice was ddcdved, exactl)r as The repeal of the stamp act wn$
our ministers were tiniforinly, during carried by a very grc^ majority in tb«
the whole of the last war, by the re- house of comiHons, and its histoiy is
presentations of the French emigrants, of import:? nee not only to £iig}flaid«
on the state of France j the prince bill to all Europe. Its origm ihay be
was deceived exactly in the same traced to those weak pohticians whicb
manner* by the adherents to his cause are to be found in e\'ery country, and,
around nim, on the state of affairs in whatever may be the constittition oif
England. He was told, that the peo- that country, are uniformly its bane
pie were every where dissatisfied with and destruction. A measure btiikei
^e government of the Brunswick their fancy, and without consideration
fiuni^^, and wearied witli the burden of times and seasons, without know-
of taxation 5 that all wished tor' a ledge of men and manners, ^ey im-
i^angCi and myriads would tlock to mediately put it into execution." Thu«
him, on the erecting of his standnrd a young man with the semblance of*
in the country, f'aali aeilimus quid ability, may be placed at the head of
voUtmu9» Inhere cannot be a doubt, the affairs Of a nation, and to&lly ^o-
that his adherents believed, what they rant of the art of governing, may be
said, for they hazarded their lives on continually plunging it into difficol*
tlieir mistaken notions j but they ties, V!\\\ht Uie locusts, wbo are accu-*
mistook the heated representations of miilating immense fortnnes by hit
t heir own party, for the sentiments of errors, and the country's burdens, are 1
the people at large. The nation had crying up the blessings ctfhB heavenly
not torgotton, nor could it forget the admin istration. Araeiica was risii^
abominable principles of tJie family, into prosperity j we had, by tiie.caD«
t^'hich had been deservedly driven quest of Canada > an immcfwe territo-
from the throne, nor could it imagine ry; and a prudent government would
that the prince, or his father, liad, by have considered, how tlie noother
liieir foreign education, been better country and her colonies couM con-
qualificd to be placed at the head of a tribute most to each otlier*s advan*
people, which, in those times, enter- tage. But, no: a single idea pesented
ttiined high notions of both civil and re- itself. We have bc«n ffghttiij^ in de-
liEjious liberty. The result was, that fence of America; it is right that
tlie prince shewed his courage only ; she should contribute .something to
but, when he came to Derby, and the expenditure of tlie stale: we will
fonnd that no Englishmen scarcely impose a moderate tax j a daty \xpaa
would join him, it was in vain for .stamps shall be laid on, and Ihey wiU
him to think of proceeding farther j not be able to resist us- Oto the other
and his adherents, soon after their re- hand, the Americans argued : ft if
turn to Scotland, were easily dispersed right that every member o^ a Xate^
by a superior force, and most or them should ct)n tribute to its support ; but
CKpiated their crimes in the field of we see no reason, why persons, livuig
battle, or at various place* ofexecu- at the distance of wp\\-ards.of tl»ee
tion. Immense rewards vi^re offered thousand miles, slioiild ascertain in
for the head of the young prince, but what manner our contributions shall
his party was not disgracecf by treach- be raised. Tlie English are very te-
ery ; he made his escape to France, nacious of their rigfits, and will not
livx*d afterwards on a pension, from permit a money bill to originate in
tlie French king and the pope ; and the hoitse of lords ; tile English liouse
so strange are htttnan e^•c^ts, iiis bro- of commons would be to us, what tlie
tiicr, the cardinal cjf York, who, tipon house of lords would be to them, if
his death, took the title ef Heniy we were to allow their legi^tlature to
tli»" ninth of England, and had medals impose taxes upon lis. But their re-
st: inrk at Venice, in holjour of his pre- presentations Were not heard ; a stamp
tended succession %6 the throne of duty was laid on j all America was in
Ku£;land, lived to lose his re5(mrces a ferment; the first stone was lafd for
fium France ayd Rome, and to expe- its independence, and for the French
ri( nee the bounty of the king of Eng- revolution. It was in \'ain for mini-
land, in a pension of foux thousand sters to enforce their im^irudent mea-
pou^ids a year. tores ; they give tip their tax, batia«

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Answers to tim Ristoriccd and Pkilosophkal Questions* 92\

^t upon th« right of tbe legislature Th^ argument is assuredlj; well found-
of Great Britain to tax their oilonies. ed, but we trust that the times are dif-
The question on thig power was car- ferent. In 1745 a set of ragged high-
ried unanimouslj in the legisiature^ landers made their way into the heart
and thus a foundation was laid for per- of the couutiy, because the people of
petual disputes on the abstJ-act nature the country were not properly orga-
of right, which prudent men would aized, and no previoCis steps had b^a
have kept out of sight; and any men taken to point out to the people the
of connnon senee^ who will give them- necessity of being armed, and also of
selves the trouble of readmg Home being trained to the use of arms. The
Tooke's wry capital chapter on the present times call more loudly for ge-
rights of mfln> will see how^ague and neral arming; and unless that armuig
inconclusive was the reasoning of tlie takes place, and we have well disci-
iegislature upon this subject. plined officers to command our troops,

* Quest. IV. To what reflections do what has been done upon the continent
the above epochs give rise ? will bo done here. Tliis is no time

Am. When we reflect on the march for compliments. Any man who takes
of Charles -Stuart, with a handflil of a command, and will not learn the
Scotchmen, to Derby— the nutnber dt duties of that command, is little better
men that might haw opposed him on tlian a traitor. He is keeping a good
bis march — the events of the present man out of tiie place titted tor him,*
days, in which . armies have marched and runs the risque of exposing his^
tlu'ough well-peopled countries, and country to infinite danger. Bonaparte
overthrown' their governments — we said truly, that his conscripts became .
cannot but form fearful anticipatiotis soldiers in six weeks : m six montiis
of what might happen, if the French we might have an army, ^t Hide or
should at any time eflect a landing no expence, of six hundred thousand
with a considerable force in this coim- men 3 they would have courage and
try« There is one circumstance, how- skill to resist the best men in Bona-
ever, that ought to be impressed on parte's armv, if in that time the offi-
tlie minds of governors and people. A cers learnea their duty, and no one is
population ot fifteen millions of peo- put into any post, but who shews
pie,, which submits to an array, how* nimself qualified to All it Cardiag*
ererwell^ disciplined it may be, of two was taken and destroyed by the Ro-
or tliree hunared thousand men, de- m:ms, because the ricn mercantile ta<-
»er\'cs every indignity which the raffe milies in it were vying with each
of cQn<}ue8t can mflict upon it. The otlier in taction and splendour, and,
reason is, that such a people must be instead of fighting valiantly for tlieir
totally devoid of either spirit or pru- property, put tJheir trust in mercena-
dence. If they have not the spirit to ries to defei>d it. The same fate can-
defend their property, they deserve to not befal London, if every man, from
lose it J for, as said a valiant Greek to the age of twenty to die age of fise
his. small body of trot)ps. All these and thirty, was from this moment
grand treasures of the Persians which trained to the use of arms : if, having
are placed before our eyes, belong to been tatight to expect an invasion,
those only who have resolution to de- they were taught to rely on thew" own
fend, or spirit to seize them. The skill and courage to repel it: if, in-
wealth of this nation is a sufiicient stead of an idle expenditure of money
bait for the fapacity of Frenchmen } on fortifications, they were convinced
and from the great skill of their com- that the- best defence for the metro-
znanders, and discipline of their troops, polis is in the breasts of Englishmen,
they may augur an easy conquest, tor preferring death to slavery, and the
they will argue, that if bet ween five and Iionour of their -vivos and children to
six thousand ragged highlanders could tjie mean security, which other sa-
■pread terror over die whole country, tions have purchased by. tame submis-
and a mob of boys and blackguards sion.

terrify the metropolis, as they did in . Tlie whole proceedings on the
the year 17SO, what may be expected stamp act must be read with attention
when an army of a hundred thousand by any one who wishes to understand
Frenchmen, commanded by the ablest the nature of government. But no
^eaerals^ has got tiwtifig on the island? preceding actj» in the history of man

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52i Answers to the tKsiorkal and Philosophical ^uestwris.

will teaeh some politicians wiadbm. which was a^tated between A*
There is a relation between governors freest government m the world and
and subjects, which is much oftener its colonies, could not but have a ma-
violated by the governors than the tenal influence on all countries in
subjects; but if the latter dd not take Europe; and whatevo- mav be the
immediate redress, the former labour result to the old world, it lays open
under a sad mistake, if they suppose to the new world a system of g»-
that their aggressions have rtot pro- veming, which wjll make the hiatorf
duced an effect. Ignortint men trace of America, for the next three tboo-
the French revolution to a variety of sand years, very unhke that ot man-
puny causes, within the memory of kind with which we are ^namted
the present generation 5 but it lay since the insUtution of civil and reh-»
inuchde«per- it lay in the violation gioua tyrannyby Nijnrod.
of the constitution of the country by Quqst. V.Does London afford, to a
the monarch, usurping a power not reflecting romd, a greater number ot
belonging to him, and governing proofs in fevour of avdieation or the

without 3ie concurrence of the three want of it?

estates of his realm. It is very easy to ^ns. Th«-e is nothing which proves

make a law, l>ut nature has placed the civilization of a people more ttuui

bounds to sovereign power. Antio- their treatment of strange rs. I t la

chus Epiphanes might rage at the true that Aii <pi\oi ^evai tich atrangera

obstinacy of theJevs in not eatitig are God's frieilds; they may b©«-

pork, or burning incense at his im- teemed to approach near^ to God

pious altars ; yet all his tortures could who shew the ereat^t regard to hi0

not enforce his laws. The constancy finends. Abdolfih was unlucky in

of the early Christians subdued the the first specimen ahnost he receiined

caprice of the Roman emperors; the of our national character^ when he

non-importation agreements of the was thrown down by an over-driven

Americans, and firm union among ox, and laughed at oy the populace*

themselves to put up with various in- The blackness of his countenance/

conveniences, overcame the resolu- for it was a perfect jet, a great beauty

tion of the British cabinet; and if the in his own country, exposed him at

thousands upon thousands who peti- times to some remarks, which, in

tioned parliament against the conti- spite of his general benevolen<«j

nuance of the slave trade, had only would now and then extort a smile^

signed an agreement to consume nei- bordering on sarcasm at oar igno^

ther sugar, coffee, nor rum, nor any raiTce j and when- he understood

product of tlie West Indies, till that wliat we meant by the word devil#

trade was abolished, they would lonjg the applicatbn of such a term to

before this time have carried their him, by creatures whom he doubted

point, and tlie English sailor would whether he should place or not in

no longer be disgraced by so odious the rank of rational beings, destroyed

and so infamous a traffick. A wise the effect of many of our specimens

government will never suffer specu- of art, which ban excited his admt*

Jative discussions in its meetings; ration. The feet is, that Abdollah

thej' will be consigned to the clobels laid a much peater stress on morality*

and the disputes ot the philosophers, on the qualitiesof the head and heart,

and folios ©f reams of paper may be than on the power of casting or fir«

consumed, not only witnout detri- iu^ a cannon,ou plough ii^ the ocean

ment to the state, but with advantage with innumerable vessels, or the ca-

to its revenue. The only question pacity of being the tinkers, taylors,

for ihe British cabinet was, Is it prac- potters, brewei's, hosiers^ and work-

ticflble to tax the colonics without ers in iron and brass, for three quar«

their consent ? Th is. question should ters of the world.

hm*e been answered by men tho- It is our fete to live in an island 1

roughly well acquainted with the co- and bemg separated from the rest of

lonies ; and when it was found ira- the world, like-all persons hving in a

practicable, it s»hould have been in- secluded state, we are apt to inilult«e

stj^ntly dismissed. The agitation of a ferocity of temper, which is very

an unportant question, which went much noticed by strangers, though it

toth<$ root of all govertiisent, and parses current with us ^ and an hop

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Answers to ike tUstofrlcaland PhUosophical Questions.

ntst, blunt fellow becomes ati obir?*.
ef praise for qualities wbich indicate
over bejiring pndc, insolence,and rude-
ness. But AbdoUah^ like other hu-
man beings, was not free fit>m faults -,
and there was one, which to those
that were not well acquainted with
him, seemed to be of a very heinous
nature; in vain had the merchant at-
tempted to mak^ him sensible of it ;
nature and habit had fixed it so deeply
in him, that, in spite of all endeavours
to the contrary, it would at times
burst forth, and no circumstance
whatsoever could stop him. It would
be endless to rep^t ajl the egaremens
which this occasioned; but one or
•two may suffice to ascertain whether
he was a properjudgeof our manners
and civilization.

One day he accompanied the mer-
chant to a festive board, at the west
end of the town, whose host had
made several lucky hits by certain
connections, and was now roUins in
an immensity of wealth, the result of
stock-jobbing speculations, and lu-
crative contracts. The party con-
sisted of peers, members of^ parlia-
ment, and men in trade, all of whom
voted on the right side, and had some
^wnay or other received a favour from
the premier. The conversation, afler
dinner, turned upon the superiority
of this to all other countries, and the
unparalleled exceUencel of our con-
stitution. A Scotchman, who had
risen from snaall beginnings, and was
making his way to the direction of
the East India Company, had just
^ven the health of Mr, Pitt, whom
Ee declared to be the greatest man
that ever lived, and who was the onl v
man in this kingdon? capable of hom-
ing the reins of government^ To tiie
toast, and to theeulogium, the whole
company, with the exception of our
pierchant and his friend the African,
most heartily assented, and their as-
sent was not only voiciferated, but
expressed by thumps* on the tabic,
and rattling of glasses. Our mer-
chant was a silent spectator in this
scene of- riot, because he did not be-
lieve one word of the eulogium; and
^e African, because he had not had
an opportunity of forming any opi-
pion upon the subject ; but the rest
pi the company were too much occu-
i>ie4 wit)> ^eir own feelings, to {^ke


any observations on the. conduct of*

^ When the tumult had a little sub-
sided, the Scotchman resumed tlie
conversation on the excellence of our
constitution 5 and among other things,
laid great stress upon the grand max-
im, the corner stone of the whole —
the king can do no wrong. Scarcely
had these words escaped his lips>
when Abdollah was in a fit : he burst
out into such a laugh, that all the
company, except the Scotchman,
without knowing why, joined in it.
It was the laugh of a child when '
something particular has struck it*
fancy, and irom which every particle
of malignity is removed. But it was
a lauffh that knew none of the bounds
which are set to this expression of
feeling in polite company. By the
way, an enquiry into the nature of
laughing might afford both instruc-
tion and amusement j and Ai3doJlah*s
laugh explains a passage in Homer,
better than Heyne, Eustathius, Jor-
tris, or any of his commentators.

The gods, we know, when they
wisiied to be right happy, and to
enjoy themselves at their ease, unin-
cumbered witli the silly vows and pe-
titions of factious mortals, used to
spend their Christmas with the
atj^vLuovsg ai^iyih]ssy the guileless laugh-
ter-loving Blacks of Africa. The
commentators do not know exactly
where this country of the Blacks
was; we may let them into the se-
cret—it was the very spot which gave
birth to Abdollah. They wish to
place it in a more northern latitude,
and somewhat to the south of Me-
roe, where, according to the very in-
genious suggestion of the present
Lord Bisi'op of St. Asaph, the early
fathers of astronomy lived ; but how-
ever skilled die gentr>' of those coun-
tries might be in astronomy, which
the gods were too well acquainted
with to go to tliem for, they did not
possess the qualities which the gods
were really m want of, and for want
of which they passed tlie greater
part of the year most terriblv mis-
erable lives. No, it was oeyond
Meroe lliat the gods went, and the
happiest days they spent in tiie year
were at the University of Carthoch-
ma, where nothing could excite such
i)ie^pn;3^1e laughtei;, as a pompous

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S2i Answers io the Historical and Philosophkid Queslkmt,

fellow endeiivouring to conceal the r«swt.itj and if ever I should fchia
deficiencv ot his brains, by any »o- to the court of Ouli, there ^iJl a-
kmnity m his words> or bis dies$, or suredly be a twelve days lai:^h on

Online LibraryUnited States. Supreme CourtThe Universal magazine, Volume 4 → online text (page 95 of 108)