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Lacedemonians were every where at the head of the aristocratick interests, and the Athenians of the democratick. The two leading powers kept alive a constant cabal and conspiracy in every state, and the political dogmas concerning the constitution of a republick were the great instruments by which these leading states chose to aggrandize themselves. Their choice was not unwise ; because the interest in opinions (merely as opinions, and without any experimental reference to their effects) when once they take strong hold of the mind, become the most operative of all interests, and indeed very often supersede
I might further exemplify the possibility of a political sentiment running through various states, and combining factions in them, from the history of the middle ages in the Guelfs and Ghibellines. These were political factions originally in favour of the emperor and the pope, with no mixture of religious dogmas: or if any thing religiously doctrinal they had in them originally, it very soon disappeared; as their first political objects disappeared also, though the spirit remained. They became no more than names to distinguish factions : but they were not the less powerful in their operation, when they had no direct point of doctrine, either religious or civil, to assert. For a long time, however, those factions gave no small degree of influence to the foreign chiefs in every
French fun. damental
commonwealth in which they existed. I do not mean to pursue further the track of these parties. I allude to this part of history only, as it furnishes an instance of that species of faction which broke the locality of public affections, and united descriptions of citizens more with strangers, than with their countrymen of different opinions.
The political dogma, which, upon the new principle. French system, is to unite the factions of different
nations, is this, “That the majority, told by " the head, of the taxable people in every coun
try, is the perpetual, natural, unceasing, inde“ feasible sovereign; that this majority is per
fectly master of the form, as well as the admi
nistration, of the state, and that the magistrates, " under whatever names they are called, are only “ functionaries to obey the orders, (general as “ laws or particular as decrees) which that ma“ jority may make; that this is the only natural “ government; that all others are tyranny and “ usurpation."
In order to reduce this dogma into practice, the project.
republicans in France, and their associates in other countries, make it always their business, and often their public profession, to destroy all traces of ancient establishments, and to form a new commonwealth in each country, upon the basis of the French Rights of Men. On the principle of these rights, they mean to institute in every country,
and, as it were, the germ of the whole, parochial governments, for the purpose of what they call equal representation. From them is to grow, by some media, a general council and representative of all the parochial governments. In that representative is to be vested the whole national power; totally abolishing hereditary name and office, levelling all conditions of men, (except where money must make a difference), breaking all connexion between territory and dignity, and abolishing every species of nobility, gentry, and church establishments; all their priests, and all their magistrates, being only creatures of election, and pensioners at will.
Knowing how opposite a permanent landed interest is to that scheme, they have resolved, and it is the great drift of all their regulations, to reduce that description of men to a mere peasantry, for the sustenance of the towns, and to place the true effective government in cities, among the tradesmen, bankers, and voluntry clubs of bold, presuming young persons; advocates, attornies, notaries, managers of newspapers, and those cabals of literary men, called academies. Their republick is to have a first functionary, (as they call him) under the name of king, or not, as they think fit. This officer, when such an officer is permitted, is, however, neither in fact nor name, to be considered as sovereign, northe people as his subjects. The very use of these appellations is offensive to their ears.
the French system.
This system, as it has first been realized, dogma
tically, as well as practically, in France, makes Partisans of France the natural head of all factions formed on a
similar principle, wherever they may prevail, as much as Athens was the head and settled ally of all democratick factions, wherever they existed. The other system has no head.
This system has very many partisans in every country in Europe, but particularly in England, where they are already formed into a body, comprehending most of the dissenters of the three leading denominations; to these are readily aggregated all who are dissenters in character, temper, and disposition, though not belonging to any
of their congregations--that is, all the restless people who resemble them, of all ranks and all partiesWhigs, and even Tories—the whole race of halfbred speculators ;--all the Atheists, Deists, and So. cinians ;--all those who hate the clergy, and envy the nobility ;-a good many among the monied people;—the East Indians almost to a man, who cannot bear to find that their present importance does not bear a proportion to their wealth. These latter have united themselves into one great, and, in my opinion, formidable club*, which, though now quiet, may be brought into action with considerable unanimity and force.
Originally called the Bengal Club; but since opened to persons from the other presidencies, for the purpose of consolidating the whole Indian interest.
Formerly few, except the ambitious great, or the desperate and indigent, were to be feared as instruments in revolutions. What has happened in France teaches us, with many other things, that there are more causes than have commonly been taken into our consideration, by which government may be subverted. The monied men merchants, principal tradesmen, and men of letters, (hitherto generally thought the peaceable and even timid part of society) are the chief actors in the French Revolution. But the fact is, that as money increases and circulates, and as the circulation of news, in politicks, and letters, becomes more and more diffused, the persons who diffuse this
money, and this intelligence, become more and more important. This was not long undiscovered. Views of ambition were in France, for the first time, presented to these classes of men. Objects in the state, in the army, in the system of civil offices of every kind. Their eyes were dazzled with this new prospect. They were, as it were, electrified and made to lose the natural spirit of their situation. A bribe, great without example in the history of the world, was held out to them —the whole government of a very large kingdom.
There are several who are persuaded that the Grounds of same thing cannot happen in England, because supposed here, (they say) the occupations of merchants, la:d