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expression that belonged 10 some one of its fore. “In the quiet of the succeeding evening, the old fathers mouldered into ashes many hundred years man took her with him along the burn-side, and
Nae doubt, nae doubt, ye are the daughter into a green ewe-bughi, where they sat down for a o Walter Lyndsay and Alice Craig. Never were while in silence. Ai last he said, I have nae wife (wa faces mair unlike than theirs, yet yours is like -nae children-nae friends, I may say, Margaret them baith. Margaret-that is your name-I give -nane that cares for me, but the servant in the you my blessing. Hae you walked far? Mysie's house, an auld friendless body like mysel' ; but if doun at the Rashy-riggs, wi' milk to the calf, but you choose to bide wi' us, you are mair than wel. will be in belyve. Come, my bonny bairn, take a come ; for I know not what is in that face o' thine ; shake o' your uncle's hand.'
but this is the pleasantest day that has come to me Margaret told, in a few words, the principal these last thirty years.' events of the last three years, as far as she could; • Margaret was now requested to tell her uncle and the old man, to whom they had been almost more about her parents and herself, and she comall unknown, heard her story with attention, but plied with a full heart. She went back with all the said little or nothing. Meanwhile, Mysie came in power of nature's eloquence, to the history of her
-an elderly, hard-featured woman, but with an young years at Braehead-recounted all her father's expression of homely kindness, that made her dark miseries—her mother's sorrows—and her own trials. face not unpleasant.
All the while she spoke, ihe tears were streaming Margaret felt herself an inmate of her uncle's from her eyes, and her sweet bosom heaved with a house, and her heart began already to warm towards crowd of heavy sighs. The old man sat silent; the old grey-headed solitary man. His manner ex. but more than once he sobbed, and passed his hibited, as she thought, a mixture of curiosity and withered toil-worn hands across his forehead.kindness; but she did not disturb his taciturnity, They rose up together, as by mutual consent, and and only returned immediate and satisfactory an returned to the house. Before the light had too far swers to his few short and abrupt questions. He died away, Daniel Craig asked Margaret to read a evidently was thinking over the particulars which chapter in the Bible, as she had done the night be. she had given him of her life at Braehead, and in fore; and when she had concluded, he said, 'I the lane; and she did not allow herself to fear, but never heard the Scriptures so well read in all that, in a day or two, if he permitted her to stay, my days — did you, Mysie?' The quiet creature she would be able to awaken in his heart a natural looked on Margaret with a smile of kindness and interest in her behalf. Hope was a guest that never admiration, and said, that she had never unleft her bosom--and she rejoiced when on the return derstood that chapter sae weel before, although, of the old domestic from ihe bed-room, her uncle aiblins, she had read it a hundred times.'--'Ye can requested her to read aloud a chapter of the Bible. gang to your bed without Mysie to show you the She did so,—and the old man took the book out of way to-night, my good niece-ye are one of the her hand with evident satisfaction, and, fastening family now—and Nether-Place' will after this be the clasp, laid it by in the little cupboard in the wall as cheerfu' a house as in a' the parish.'"— Trials near his chair, and wished her good night. of Margaret Lyudsay, pp. 251, 252.
"Mysie conducted her into the bed-room, where every ihing was neat, and superior, indeed, to the
We should now finish our task by saying ordinary accommodation of a farm-house. Ye something of “Reginald Dalton;" —but such need na fear, for feather-bed and sheets are a' as of our readers as have accompanied us througn dry as last year's hay in the stack. I keep a' things this long retrospect, will readily excuse us, in the house weel aired, for damp's a great disaster. we presume, for postponing our notice of that But, for a' that, sleepin' breath has na been drawn in that bed these saxteen years!' Margaret thanked work till another opportunity. There are two her for the trouble she had taken, and soon laid decisive reasons, indeed, against our proceed. down her limbs in grateful rest. A thin calico cur. ing with it at present, -one, that we really tain was before the low window; but the still serene have not yet read it fairly through-the other, radiance of a midsummer night glimmered on the that we have no longer room to say all of it floor. All was silent--and in a few minutes Mar. that we foresee it will require. garet Lyndsav was asleep.
A GREAT deal that should naturally come under this title has been unavoidably given already, under that of History; and more, I fear, may be detected under still less appropriate denominations. If any unwary readers have been thus unwittingly decoyed into Politics, while intent on more innocent studies, I can only hope that they will now take comfort, from finding how little of this obnoxious commodity has been left to appear in its proper colours; and also from seeing, from the decorous title now assumed, that all intention of engaging them in Party discussions is disclaimed.
I do not think that I was ever a violent or (consciously) uncandid partisan; and at all events, ten years of honest abstinence and entire segregation from party contentions (to say nothing of the sobering effects of threescore antecedent years!), should have pretty much effaced the vestiges of such predilections, and awakened the least considerate to a sense of the exaggerations, and occasional unfairness, which such influences must almost unavoidably impart to political disquisitions. In what I now reprint I have naturally been anxious to select what seemed least liable to this objection : and though I cannot flatter myself that a tone of absolute, Judicial impartiality is maintained in all these early productions, I trust that nothing will be found in them that can suggest the idea either of personal animosity, or of an ungenerous feeling towards a public opponent.
To the two first, and most considerable, of the following papers, indeed, I should wish particularly to refer, as fair exponents both of the principles I think I have always maintained, and of the temper in which I was generally disposed to maintain them. In some of the others a more vehement and contentious tone may no doubt be detected. But as they touch upon matters of permanent interest and importance, and advocate opinions which I still think substantially right, I have felt that it would be pusillanimous now to suppress them, from a poor fear of censure, which, if just, I cannot but know that I deserve—or a still poorer distrust of those allowances which I have no reason to think will be withheld from me by the better part of my readers.
(November, 1812.) Essay on the Practice of the British Government, distinguished from the abstract Theory (ru
which it is supposed to be founded. By Gould FRANCIS LECKIE. 8vo. London: 1812. This is the most direct attack which we The pamphlet which contains these conhave ever seen in English, upon the free con- solatory doctrines, has the further merit of stitution of England; or rather upon political being, without any exception, the worst writ. liberty in general, and upon our government ten, and the worst reasoned, that has ever only in so far as it is free:-and it consists fallen into our hands; and there is nothing ispartly in an eager exposition of the inconveni- deed but the extreme importance of the subences resulting from parliaments or represen-ject, and of the singular complexion of the tative legislatures, and partly in a warm de- times in which it appears, that could induce fence and undisguised panegyric of Absolute, us to take any notice of it. The rubbish that or, as the author more elegantly phrases it, of is scattered in our common walks, we merely Simple monarchy.
push aside and disregard; but, when it defiles
the approaches to the temple, or is heaped on * I used to think that this paper contained a very other rites of expiation, and visited with se
the sanctuary itself, it must be cast out with good defence of our free constitution; and especially the most complete, temperate, and searching vindí. verer penalties. When the season is healthy, cation of our Hereditary Monarchy that was any we may walk securely among the elements where to be met with : And, though it now appears of corruption, and warrantably decline the into me rather more elementary and elaborate than glorious labour of sweeping them away was necessary, I am still of opinion that it may be but, when the air is tainted and the blood and grounds of distrust, to rash discontent and impure, we should look with jealousy upon thoughtless presumption.
every speck, and consider that the slightest at the
remission of our police may spread a pesti- , dition, he candidly admits that none of those lunce through all the borders of the land. would reach to the root of the evil; which
There are two periods, it appears to us, consists entirely, it seems, in our "too great when the promulgation of such doctrines as jealousy of the Crown:" and accordingly proare maintained by this author may be con- ceeds to draw a most seducing picture of his sidered as dangerous, or at least as of evil favourite Simple monarchy; and indirectly inomen, in a country like this. The one, when deed, but quite unequivocally, to intimate, the friends of arbitrary power are strong and that the only effectual cure for the evils under Haring, and advantageously posted; and when, which we now suffer is to be found in the total meditating some serious attack on the liber- abolition of Parliaments, and the conversion ties of the people, they send out their emis- of our constitution into an absolute monarchy: saries and manifestoes, to feel and to prepare or, shortly to "advert," as he expresses himtheir way:—the other, when they are sub- self, “to the advantages which a Monarchy, stantially weak, and unfit to maintain a con- such as has been described, has over our flict with their opponents, but where the great boasted British Constitution."' These advanbody of the timid and the cautious are alarmed tages, after a good deal of puzzling, he next
prospect of such a conflict, and half settles to be- First, that the sovereign will be disposed to avert the crisis by supporting more likely to feel a pride, as well as a zeal, whatever is in actual possession of power. to act a great and good part;"-secondly, that Whether either of these descriptions may suit the ministers will have more time to attend to the aspect of the present times, we willingly their duties when they have no parliamentary leave it to our readers to determine: But be- contentions to manage ;-thirdly, that the pubfore going farther, we think it proper to say, that lic councils will be guided by fixed and steady
e impute no corrupt motives to the author principles ; — fourthly, that if the Monarch before us; and that there is, on the contrary, should act in an oppressive manner, it will be every appearance of his being conscientious- easier for the people to get the better of him ly persuaded of the advantages of arbitrary than of a whole Parliament, who might act in power, and sincerely eager to reconcile the the same manner;--fifthly, that the heir apminds of his countrymen to the introduction parent might then be allowed to travel in of so great a blessing. The truth indeed foreign countries for the improvement of his seems to be, that having lived so long abroad manners and understanding ;-sixthly, and as evidently to have lost, in a great degree, lastly, that there would be no longer any prethe use of his native language, it is not sur- text for a cry against "what is styled buckprising that he should have lost along with stair influence !" it, a great number of those feelings, without Such is the sum of Mr. Leckie's publica. which it really is not possible to reason, in tion; of which, as a curious specimen of the this country, on the English constitution; and infinite diversity of human opinions and enhas gradually come, not only to speak, but to dowments, and of the license of political specufeel, like a foreigner, as to many of those lation that is still occasionally indulged in in things which still constitute both the pride this country, we have thought it right that and the happiness of his countrymen. We some memorial should be preserved--a little have no doubt that he would be a very useful more durable than the pamphlet itself seemed and enlightened patriot in Sicily; but we likely to afford. But though what we have think it was rather harsh in him to venture already said is probably more than enough to before the public with his speculations on the settle the opinion of all reasonable persons English government, with his present stock with regard to the merits of the work, we of information and habits of thinking. Though think we can trace, even in some of the most we do not, however, impute to him any thing absurd and presumptuous of its positions, the worse than these disqualifications, there are operation of certain errors, which we have persons enough in the country to whom it found clouding the views, and infecting the will be a sufficient recommendation of any opinions of persons of far sounder understandwork, that it inculcates principles of servility; ing; and shall presume, therefore, to offer a and who will be abundantly ready to give it few very plain and simple remarks upon some every chance of making an impression, which of the points which we think we have most it may derive from their approbation; and in- frequently found either misrepresented or deed we have already heard such testimonies misunderstood. in favour of this slender performance, as seem The most important and radical of those, is to impose it upon us as a duty to give some that which relates to the nature and uses of Jittle account of its contents, and some short Monarchy, and the rights and powers of a opinion of its principles.
sovereign ; upon which, iherefore, we beg The first part of the task may be performed leave to begin with a few observations. And in a very moderate compass; for though the here we shall take leave to consider Royalty learned author has not always the gift of as being, on the whole, but a Human Institu. writing intelligibly, it is impossible for a dili- tion,-originating in a view to the general gent reader not to see what he would be at; good, and not to the gratification of the indiand his doctrine, when once fairly understood, vidual upon whom the office is conferred; or may readily be reduced to a few very simple at least only capable of being justified, or depropositions. After preluding on a variety serving to be retained, where it is found, or of minor topics, and suggesting some curious believed, to be actually beneficial to the whole enough remedies for our present unhappy con- society. Now we think that, generally speak. ing, it is a highly beneficial institution: and premacy of the richest and most accomplished, that the benefits which it is calculated to confer may be considered as the primeval state of are great and obvious.
society. Now this, even if it could be sup. From the first moment that men began to posed to be peaceable and permanent, is by associate together, and to act in concert for no means a desirable state for the persons their general good and protection, it would be subjected to this multifarious and irregular found that all of them could not take a share authority. But it is plain that it could not be in consulting and regulating their operations, peaceable,—that even among the rich, and and that the greater part must submit to the the accomplished, and the daring, some would direction of certain managers and leaders. be more rich, more daring, and more accomAmong these, again, some one would naturally plished than' the rest; and that those in the assume a pre-eminence; and in time of war foremost ranks who were most nearly on an especially, would be allowed to exercise a great equality, would be armed against each other authority. Struggles would as necessarily en- by mutual jealousy and ambition; while those sue for retaining this post of distinction, and who were a little lower, would combine, out for supplanting its actual possessor;' and of envy and resentment, to defeat or resist
, by whether there was a general acquiescence in their junction, the pretensions of the few who the principle of having one acknowledged had thus outstripped their original associates. chief, or a desire to be guided and advised by Thus there would not only be no liberty or a plurality of those who seemed best qualified security for the body of the people, but the for the task, there would be equal hazard, or whole would be exposed to the horror and rather certainty, of perpetual strife, tumult
, distraction of perpetual intestine contentions. and dissension, from the attempts of ambitious The creation of one Sovereign, therefore, individuals, either to usurp an ascendancy whom the whole society would acknowledge over all their competitors, or to dispute with as supreme, was a great point gained for tranhim who had already obtained it, his right to quillity as well as individual independence; continue its possession. Every one possessed and in order to avoid the certain erils of perof any considerable means of influence would petual struggles for dominion, and the immithus be tempted to aspire to a precarious nent hazard of falling at last under the absoSovereignty; and while the inferior persons lute will of an exasperated conqueror, nothing of the community would be opposed to each could be so wisely devised as to agree upon otheras adherents of the respective pretenders, the nomination of a King; and thus to get rid not only would all care of the general good bé of a multitude of petty tyrants, and the risk omitted, but the society would become a prey of military despotism, by the establishment to perpetual feuds, cabals, and hostilities, of a legitimate monarchy. The first king subversive of the first principles of its insti- would probably be the most popular and pow. tution.
erful individual in the community; and the Among the remedies which would naturally first idea would in all likelihood be io appoint present themselves for this great evil, the his successor on account of the same qualifimost efficacious, though not perhaps at first cations : But it would speedily be discovered, sight the most obvious, would be to provide that this would give rise at the death of every some regular and authentic form for the elec- sovereign—and indeed, prospectively, long betion of One acknowledged chief, by a fair but fore it-10 the same fatal competitions and pacific competition ;—the term of whose au- dissensions, which had formerly been perthority would be gradually prolonged to that petual; and not only hazard a civil war on of his natural life, -and afterwards extended every accession, but bring the successful comto the lives of his remotest descendants. The petitor
, to the throne, with feelings of extreme advantages which seem to us to be peculiar hostility towards one half of his subjects, and to this arrangement are, first, to disarm the of extreme partiality to the other. The ambition of dangerous and turbulent indi. chances of not finding eminent talents for viduals, by removing the great prize of Su- command in the person of the sovereign, preme "authority, at all times, and entirely, therefore, would soon be seen to be a far less from competition; and, secondly, to render evil than the sanguinary competitions that this authority itself more manageable, and would ensue, if merit were made the sole less hazardous, by delivering it over peace- ground of preferment; and a very little reflecably, and upon expressed or understood con- tion, or experience, would also serve to show, ditions, to an hereditary prince; instead of that the sort of merit which was most likely letting it be seized upon by a fortunate con- to succeed in such a competition, did not proqueror, who would think himself entitled to mise a more desirable sovereign, than might use it—as conquerors commonly use their be probably reckoned on, in the common hooty-for his own exclusive gratification. course of hereditary succession. The only
The steps, then, by which we are conducted safe course, therefore, was, to take this Great to the justification of Hereditary Monarchy, Prize altogether out of the Lottery of human are shortly as follows. Admitting all men to life—to make the supreme dignity in the state, be equal in rights, they can never be equal in professedly and altogether independent of natural endowments,-nor long equal in wealth merit or popularity; and to fix it immutably and other acquisitions : --- Absolute liberty, in a place quite out of the career of ambition. therefore, or equal participation of power, is This great point then was gained by the altogether out of the question; and a kind of mere institution of Monarchy, and by render, Aristocracy or disorderly and fluctuating su-l ing it hereditary: The chief cause of internal
discord was removed, and the most dangerous may appear, that as kings are now generally incentive to ambition placed in a great mea- allowed to be mere mortals, they cannot of sure beyond the sphere of its operation ;-and themselves have any greater powers, either this we have always considered to be the pe- of body or mind, than other individuals, and culiar and characieristic advantage of that must in fact be inferior in both respects to form of government. A pretty important chap- very many of their subjects. Whatever powers ter, however, remains, as to the extent of the they have, therefore, must be powers corferPowers that ought to be vested in the Mon- red upon them by the consent of the stronger arch, and the nature of the Checks by which part of their subjects, and are in fact really the limitation of those powers should be ren- and truly the powers of those persons. The dered effectual. And here it will be readily most absolute despot accordingly, of whom hisunderstood, that considering, as we do, the tory furnishes any record, must have governchief advantage of monarchy to consist in its ed merely by the free will of those who chose taking away the occasions of contention for to obey him, in compelling the rest of his subthe First Place in the state, and in a manner jects to obedience. The Sultan, as Mr. Hume neutralizing that place by separating it entirely remarks, may indeed drive the bulk of his from any notion of merit or popularity in the unarmed subjects, like brutes, by mere force; possessor-we cannot consistently be for al- but he must lead his armed' Janissaries like lotting a greater measure of actual power to it men, by their reason and free will. And so it than is absolutely necessary for answering is in all other governments: The power of the this purpose. Our notions of this measure, sovereign is nothing else than the power—the however, are by no means of a jealous or pe- actual force of muscle or of mind--which a nurious description. We must give enough of certain part of his subjects choose to lend for real power, and distinction and prerogative, to carrying his orders into effect; and the check make it truly and substantially the first place or limit to this power is, in all cases, ultimately in the State, and also to make it impossible and in effect, nothing else than their refusal for the occupiers of inferior places to endan- to act any longer as the instruments of his ger the general peace by their contentions ;- pleasure. The check, therefore, is substanfor, otherwise, the whole evils which its in- tially the same in kind, in all cases whatever; stitution was meant to obviate would recur and must necessarily exist in full vigour in with accumulated force, and the same fatal every country in the world; though the likecompetitions be renewed among persons of lihood of its beneficial application depends disorderly ambition, for those other situations, greatly on the structure of society in each parby whatever name they might be called, in ticular nation; and the possibility of applying which, though nominally subordinate to the it with ease and safety must result wholly throne, the actual powers of sovereignty were from the contrivances that have been adopted embodied. But, on the other hand, we would to make it bear, at once gradually and steadily, give no powers to the Sovereign, or to any on the power it is destined to regulate. It is other officer in the community, beyond what here accordingly, and here only, that there is were evidently required for the public good; any material difference between a good and a -and no powers at all, on the exercise of bad constitution of Monarchical government. which there was not an efficient control, and The ultimate and only real limit to what is for the use of which there was not a substan- called the power of the sovereign, is the retial responsibility. It is in the reconciling of fusal or the consent or co-operation of those these two conditions that the whole difficulty who possess the substantial power of the comof the theory of a perfect monarchy consists. munity, and who, during their voluntary conIf
you do not control your sovereign, he will cert with the sovereign, allow this power of be in danger of becoming a despot; and if theirs to pass under his name. In considering you do control him, there is danger, unless whether this refusal is likely to be wisely and you choose the depository of this control with beneficially interposed, it is material therefore singular caution, that you create another pow- to inquire in whom, in any particular case, er, that is uncontrolled and uncontrollable—the power of interposing it is vested; or, in to be the prey of audacious leaders and out other words, in what individuals the actual rageous factions, in spite of the hereditary set- power of coercing and compelling the submistlement of the nominal sovereignty. Though sion of the bulk of the community is intrinsicthere is some difficulty, however, in this pro-ally vested. If every individual were equally blem, and though we learn from history, ihat gifted, and equally situated, the answer would various errors have been committed in an at- be, In the numerical majority: But as this tempt at its practical solution, yet we do not never can be the case, this power will freconceive it as by any means insoluble; and quently be found to reside in a very small think indeed that, with the lights which we proportion of the whole society. may derive from the experience of our own In rude times, when there is little intelliconstitution, its demonstration may be effected gence or means of concert and communication, by a very moderate exertion of sagacity. It a very moderate number of armed and disciwill be best understood, however, by a short plined forces will be able, so long as they view of the nature of the powers to be control- keep together, to overawe, and actually overled, and of the system of checks which have, power ihe whole unarmed inhabitants, even at different times, been actually resorted to. of an extensive region; and accordingly, in
In the first place, then, we must beg leave such times, the necessity of procuring the 19 remind our readers, however superfluous it good will and consent of the Soldiery, is the