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law supplied the king's ministers * ; and in addition to this ministerial authority, the hierarchy possessed a high authority, before which the nobles bowed themselves.

But the priests were, equally with the nobles, concerned to maintain the good order and well-being of the people, and not at all adverse to maintain these by the exercise of their priestly power. The nobles perhaps cared more and legislated more for the physical happiness of their subjects, requiring them to follow healthy pursuits, and live in peace and contentment; though it were a great slander on our old aristocrats to say that they cared not for the morals of the people, for they inculcated most rigidly honesty in dealing, and fairness in every operation of life, which are, if I mistake not, no slight elements towards forming a moral people; but for morals, in another sense, the ecclesiastics took upon themselves to provide. The Bishop's court was originally employed mainly in preserving purity of manners; it was but by a corruption that it became a court of revenue. +

A pure theocracy, therefore, governs with the same well-meant interference as a pure aristocracy.

The other force, the monarchy, at first, as I have frequently said, a mere excrescence of the aristocracy, when it assumes the force and power of a separate element, partakes as strongly of this characteristic as the aristocracy; for the monarch, himself a baronial proprietor, then looks upon the whole kingdom as his estate, and legislates for that in the manner in which the little barons are in the habit of legislating for their own baronies, and the conglomeration of baronies. No monarch ever carried this

* Michelet, Hist. Rom. i. 50.

† Lord Clarendon says that before the Revolution (1641) the power of the Bishop's court “was grown from an ecclesiastical court for the reformation of manners to a court of revenue, and imposed great fines upon those who were culpable before them."llist. of the Rebellion, i. 497


mode of governing further than Frederic the Great, who was desirous to make his rude agricultural nation take its place among the flourishing communities of the time; and for this purpose, taking counsel of history, he knew that it was necessary that the nation should have commerce, and endeavoured to force premature monopolies, which of course failed; he made rules as to how much money a person might take out of the country, so as to prevent the country from being impoverished, and where he was to get his education, so as to promote the national universities, -all intended for the best. As the old English and French statesmen had hoped by their schemes and orders to improve the countries they governed, so Frederic hoped by his rules and encouragements to make Prussia a great nation. IIe was the most signal example of overgoverning among monarchs, but all intelligent and wellmeaning monarchs have a tendency to fall into the same

It is for our purpose, therefore, immaterial which of the social forces that dominate in the earlier stages of national progress gains the upper hand, for the legislation of each of them possesses this characteristic.

Another characteristic of statesmen in the earlier aristocratic stage of national existence is their great personal power. This is a natural result from the frame of aristocratic society, in which certain men are invested with enormous power and influence; whereas in the later ages, when the whole population is more equalised, these great men are absent from the frame of society, and the claim of the statesman to be greater than his fellows arises somewhat from his natural cleverness, but principally from the supposed dignity of his office. As in the sculptures and paintings of the early Florentine and Roman schools the nobler figures stand forth in bold independence, and command our worship by their own dignity, unaided by drapery or symbolic adjunets, so the statesmen of aristocracy bear about them a degree of personal grandeur and haughtiness which would belong


to them whether they were statesmen or not, and as again in the Venetian and other late Italian schools, it was by the display of drapery and the tinsel signs of opulence and splendour, rather than by portraying the personal dignity of the figure that the artist sought to excite the admiration and the reverence of the spectator, so in later plutocratic ages the statesmen are individually weak and of small personal importance, and whatever respect remains to be bestowed by the governed is then bestowed upon the system of government, not upon the individuals who rule. The thing not the person is regarded. Justly, for in this latter school of statesmanship it takes half a dozen signing and countersigning and registering and checking officials, all wearing a red-tape uniform, to issue a single order, that a nod of the head from one of the old proud aristocrats would have made the law of the land. Who can put him in one scale of public estimation and any one of the half-dozen in the other, and doubt which would kick the beam. The actual work got through by such a man of course exceeds prodigiously in amount the work of these individually impotent officials, and in proportion to the work he can by his undivided energies accomplish is the awe with which he will be regarded. The plutocratic Venetians when they visited the England of Henry VIII., though they were then far from being themselves so impotent as a modern plutocratic functionary is, were yet struck with this difference between the statesmen of the two countries. “ Cardinal Wolsey,” says Guistinian*, “ alone transacts the same business as that which occupies all the magistrates, officers and councils of Venice, both civil and criminal ; and all state affairs likewise, are managed by him, be their nature what they may.”

The division of labour in government may have its advantages, but it most assuredly diminishes the personal importance and dignity of the statesman, who to maintain

* Guistinian, Four Years at the Court of Henry VIII., translated by R. Brown, ii. 314.


an individual prominence not dependent merely on his office should have a certain force and originality of character which would be wholly lost in a signing and countersigning official. The aristocrats of an early age generally possess this force of character, and even when they do not, counterfeit it, as did the Earl of Arundel, of whom Lord Clarendon* says: “It cannot be denied that he had in his person, his aspect, and countenance the appearance of a great man, which he preserved in his gait and motion. He wore and affected a habit very different from that of the time, such as men had only beheld in the pictures of the most considerable men; all which drew the eyes of most and the reverence of many towards him, as the image and representative of the primitive nobility, and native gravity of the nobles when they had been most venerable.” And this force and originality, as it is a social characteristic of the aristocracy, becomes a most marked and prominent characteristic of the aristocratic school of statesmen.

The observation of this characteristic helps to solve a curious problem. Why have the statesmen of certain periods in every great nation been distinguished orators, while the, statesmen of other periods in the same nation have been singularly devoid of all oratorical ability ?

Early ages attend more to the man than the thing the character and position of the speaker rather than the matter of the speech are of weight. The speeches of the aristocrats are rather grave judgments than exciting arguments ; they rise to a certain solemn kind of judicial eloquence, much fitted for expressing a dignified scorn of base and petty actions, and high self-devotion and selfrespect, but little fitted to persuade one, who uninfluenced by the person of the speaker, should attend solely to the argument. Brevity is their natural characteristic, for it is a needless condescension to be profuse of words. If the

History of the Rebellion, i. 99.

judgment is clearly expressed, the shorter it is the better. In this as in every other characteristic of a warlike and rude aristocracy the Spartans were conspicuous. Presently this lofty aristocratic character declines ; men become more equal, and the voice and vote of one individual becomes less important in influencing the decision of another. Then if men speak, they speak to persuade by reason, by earnest appeal, by forcible illustration, by attack, by all the many tricks of which the rhetorician is master. The old aristocrat would not descend to use them, even though they supported an opinion which he dearly wished to prevail. The statesman of a more advanced period is compelled to use them in support of his honest opinions. The means sometimes get the better of the end, and the accomplished rhetorician without convictions, without a care for anything but success in each oratorical exercitation, takes up a thesis, like Carneades, only in order that he may argue in its favour. In the first state of things there is no oratory at all, in the second there is true oratory, in the third there is a false oratory. The second ever is more forcible than the third, because however equal men may be, however much pre-eminence may be grudged, the character of the speaker always has an influence with the auditor, and in an equality of oratorical powers, he will most readily persuade who is manfully speaking his honest and deliberate opinion.

This change comes over the statesmen of every nation in proportion as the exclusive power and influence of the aristocracy declines, and it becomes necessary for the statesman no longer to give a grave judicial sentence, but rather to enter upon a forensic argument. Compare, as Aristotle did, the speeches in Homer with the speeches in Sophocles, and still more in Euripides. The characters in Homer speak like proud aristocrats, each offering his grave counsel in the senate under the Grecian tents ; this Aristotle calls speaking to Tixos. The characters of Euripides speak as the statesmen of Greece did in the

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