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158. ANTIQUITY, like every other quality that attracts the notice of mankind, has undoubtedly votaries that reverence it, not from reason, but from prejudice. Some seem to admire indiscriminately whatever has been long preserved, without considering that time has sometimes co-operated with chance; all perhaps are more willing to honour past than present excellence; and the mind contemplates genius through the shades of age, as the eye surveys the sun through artificial opacity. The great contention of criticism is to find the faults of the moderns and the beauties of the ancients. While an author is yet living we estimate his powers by his worst performance, and when he is dead, we rate them by his best, [St Peter's College, 1848.]
159. AND surely it is not a melancholy conceit to think we are all asleep in this world, and that the conceits of this life are as mere dreams to those of the next, as the phantasms of the night to the conceit of the day. There is an equal delusion both; and the one doth but seem to be the emblem or picture of the other. We are somewhat more than ourselves in our sleeps; and the slumber of the body seems to be but the waking of the soul. It is the ligation of sense, but the liberty of reason; and our waking conceptions do not match the fancies of our sleeps. Were my memory as faithful as my reason is then fruitful, I would never study but in my dreams; but our grosser memories have then so little hold of our abstracted understandings, that they forget the story, and can only relate to our awaked souls a confused and broken tale of that which hath passed. We must therefore say that there is something in us that is not in the jurisdiction of Morpheus; and that those
abstracted and ecstatic souls (sleep walkers] do walk about in their own corpses, as spirits with the bodies they assume, wherein they seem to hear, see, and feel, though indeed the organs are destitute of sense, and their natures of those faculties that should inform them. Thus it is observed, that men sometimes upon the hour of their departure do speak and reason above themselves. For then the soul begins to be freed from the ligaments of the body, begins to reason like herself, and to discourse in a strain above mortality.
[Trinity College, 1848.]
160. INDIGNATION always implies resentment, or a desire of retaliating on the injurious person, so far at least as to make him repent the wrong he hath committed. This indignation in the person injured, is, from our knowledge of mankind, supposed to be, not indeed universally, but generally so much stronger, that it ought to be distinguished by another appellation, and is accordingly denominated revenge. In like manner, beneficence, on whomsoever exercised, is the natural object of our love ; love always implies benevolence, or a desire of promoting the happiness of the beneficent person ; but this passion in the person benefited is conceived to be so much greater, and to infer so strong an obligation to a return of good offices to his benefactor, that it merits to be distinguished by the title gratitude.
[Trinity College, 1848.]
161. THEN ensued a scene of woe, the like of which no eye had seen, no heart conceived, and which no tongue can adequately tell. All the horrors of war before known or heard of, were mercy to that new havoc. A storm of universal fire blasted every field, consumed every house, destroyed every temple. The miserable inhabitants, flying from their flaming villages, in part were slaughtered; others, without regard to sex, to age, to the respect of rank, or sacredness of function, fathers torn from children, husbands from wives, enveloped in a whirlwind of cavalry, and, amidst the goading spears of drivers and the trampling of pursuing horses, were swept into captivity, in an unknown and hostile land. Those who were able to evade this tempest fled to the walled cities. But escaping from fire, sword, and exile, they fell into the jaws of famine. (Trinity College Fellowships, 1848.]
162. His conduct upon these occasions may be thought irrational. But guilt was never a rational thing, it distorts all the faculties of the mind, it perverts them, it leaves a man no longer in the free use of his reason; it puts him into confusion. He has recourse to such miserable and absurd expedients for covering his guilt, as all those, who are used to sit in the seat of judgment, know have been the cause of detection of half the villanies in the world. To argue, that these could not be his reasons, because they were not wise, sound and substantial, would be to suppose what is not true, that bad men always discreet and able. But I can very well from the circumstances discover motives, which may affect a guilty, anxious mind, full of the weak resources of fraud and intrigue, that might induce him to make these discoveries, and to make them in the manner he has done. Not rational, and well-fitted for their purposes, I am very ready to admit. For God forbid, that guilt should ever leave a man the free undisturbed use of his faculties.
[Classical Tripos, 1848.]
163. In a democracy, where the right of making laws resides in the people at large, public virtue, or goodness of intention, is more likely to be found, than either of the other qualities of government. Popular assemblies are frequently foolish in their contrivance, and weak in their execution ; but generally mean to do the thing that is right and just, and have always a degree of patriotism or public spirit. In aristocracies there is more wisdom to be found, than in the other frames of government; being composed, or intended to be composed, of the most experienced citizens : but there is less honesty than in a republic, and less strength than in a monarchy. A monarchy is indeed the most powerful of any; for by the entire conjunction of the legislative and executive powers all the sinews of government are knit together, and united in the hand of the prince: but then there is imminent danger of his employing that strength to improvident or oppressive purposes.
[Classical Tripos, 1848.]
164. It cannot be denied that the party originally aggrieved has now given some just cause of complaint against itself; yet it is monstrous in the original aggressor to prosecute his quarrel forthwith by arms—or to insist peremptorily on receiving satisfaction for the wrong done to him, without entering into the question of the previous and unprovoked wrong which had been done by him. For after all, the balance of wrong is not, when all things are taken into the account, so much as brought to a level, the original debtor is the debtor still; some counter claims he has upon his creditor-but the balance of the account is against him. Yet he goes to war as if it were not only in his favour, but as if his adversary had suffered no wrong at all, and he had done none.
[Chancellor's Medals, 1848.]
165. I TREMBLE for the cause of liberty, from such an example to kings. I tremble for the cause of humanity, in the unpunished outrages of the most wicked of mankind. But there are some people of that low and degenerate fashion of mind, that they look up with a sort of complacent awe and admiration to kings, who know to keep firm in their seat, to hold a strict hand over their subjects, to assert their prerogative, and by the awakened vigilance of a severe despotism to guard against the very first approaches of freedom. Against such as these they never elevate their voice. Deserters from principle, listed with fortune, they never see any good in suffering virtue, nor any crime in prosperous usurpation.
[Chancellor's Medals, 1848.]
166. As the government was now effectually converted into a military usurpation, it became easy to simplify its operations; and most of the persons formerly employed in civil departments were dismissed from office. Some were at once turned off; others had documents given them entitling them to be reinstated upon vacancies; a few had some trifling pension promised. All who depended for employment and subsistence upon foreign trade were now destitute. Whole families were thus suddenly reduced to poverty and actual want. Their trinkets went first; whatever was saleable followed : things offered for sale at such a time were sold at half their value, while the price of food was daily augmenting. It was a dismal thing to see the mint beset with persons who carried thither the few articles of plate with