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aristocracy after the original distinction between conquerors and conquered remains only in remote tradition. The higher classes in a well-ordered constitutional government respect their own character and reputation; and the principles and feelings which are handed down to them as heirlooms induce them to think themselves not vainly the prop and mainstay of the state. That prompts

. them to what is considered honourable conduct, and they place before their inferiors examples of straightforward dealing and considerate generosity; they cherish a respectful devotion * to the commonwealth, and serve it: that is conservatism in its best aspect, and they receive from those whom fortune has placed below them the respect which is ever elicited, eren involuntarily, by honourable conduct, by generous temper, and by the untarnished inheritance of an illustrious name. This spreads through the nation a sentiment of order, fidelity, frankness, and respect, which is totally wanting where there are no classes but such as are imbued with the characteristics of commercial democracies †; as the character of the aristocrats declines, their power and prestige rapidly vanishes. There is no honour to a name that is disgraced by him who bears it; there is no respect for him who does not respect himself. There is no affection for the landlord of whom the tenant knows nothing but his signature to rent receipts. The power of an aristocracy, when it has laid aside the mere rule of the sword, and assumes to retain its preeminence in a nation which will not obey without scrutiny, nor yield respect where it is not due, depends entirely upon the character of the members of its order. Are they of lofty views, of honourable feelings, of frank and open-hearted bearing? then they spread through the whole country


This is the “virtue” which Montesquieu establishes as the leading principle both of aristocracies and democracies.

† Plutocrats have no badge of honour to distinguish them from those who differ from them, only in being poorer.

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a height of character which perhaps under other systems it is impossible to attain. Are they degraded and unworthy of their traditions ? then not merely do they set bad examples, but they are speedily deposed from their preeminence. None have such great inducements to maintain the extreme of rectitude as the heads of noble houses; and nowhere is a stain more visible, or more condemned, than upon a peer's ermine. It has been re

. marked *, that the long and glorious duration of the Roman republic was due to the exalted character of a few great families, who transmitted pure and unmixed to their descendants the principles which first made the Roman name famous among the nations. “Such free states,” says Niebuhr ț, “ as are not mere aggregates of individuals, changing their character and sentiments with every outward impression and momentary impulse, owe this steadiness mainly to the subsistence of houses and corporations in which principles and feelings are transmitted for ages as an heirloom from generation to generation. . . . The life of a house in the republic was like that of one man: the descendant received the principles of his ancestor as a law, and his plans as a trust that he was charged to execute.” $ Nor is English history devoid of a similar glory. As soon as that glory departs, the principles of our constitution will no longer find materials to work with. Burke, in 1772, addressing the head of an illustrious house §, wrote thus : “ You people of great families, and hereditary trusts and fortunes, are not like such as I am, who, whatever we may be by the rapidity of our growth, and even by the fruit we bear, and flatter ourselves that, while we creep on the ground, we belly into melons that are exquisite for size and flavour, yet still are but annual plants that perish with our season,

* Burke's Correspondence, i. 382. † Hist. Rom. i. 376. [ See also Niebuhr, Hist. Rom. iv. 331. § To the Duke of Richmond; Correspondence, i. 381.

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and leave no sort of traces behind us. You, if you are what you ought to be, are in my eye the great oaks that shade a country, and perpetuate your benefits from generation to generation. The immediate power of a Duke of Richmond, or a Marquis of Rockingham, is not so much of moment; but if their conduct and example hand down their principles to their successors, then their houses become the public repositories and offices of record for the constitution, ---- not like the Tower, or Rolls Chapel, where it is searched for and sometimes in vain, in rotten parchments, under dripping and perishing walls, but in full vigour, and acting with vital energy and power in the character of the leading men and natural interests of the country.” Antiquitatem etiam in monumentis veneramur; quanto magis in vivis ?"*

Honour being thus the principle of feudal aristocracies in the days of their uncorrupted sway, honour is likewise the principle of the feudal monarchy, which in its origin is but a part of the aristocracy. The monarch, elected for the purpose of consolidation and unión, represents in his person the idea of a united nation. It is his lofty function to guard its honour, to advance its interests, and to conciliate the conflicting aristocrats from whom he springs. The tyrant or despot, who governs by functionism, has a more difficult and less graceful task. and his clique devolves the whole of government; he is looked upon by all as an evil, by most as a necessary evil

. He has no faithful clan, bound by affection and respect, like the aristocrat who is elevated to the throne; but he must pick out from the mass below him the most acute, the most subservient, the most manageable functionaries ; and as for the protection of his person, he commits that, not like the monarch, to his trusty followers, or to aristocrats who have chosen and sworn to obey him, but to native slaves or foreign hirelings. Grandeur is a leading element in the character of aris

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* Bacon, Antitheta on Nobility.

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tocracies-grandeur in its etymological sense. It is not a petty motive that can set them in action. They move only for large reasons, on great impulses, and on views of lofty and extensive character, which lead to mighty consequences.

Great size is next akin to vagueness; and when once set in movement to accomplish some large achievement, little thought is taken of the varied, and too often not noble means which must be employed to reach success; and so, though aristocracies rarely place before themselves base objects, we find them not seldom committing base actions, for they plough their way onwards with their wild wandering vision, their rough insensible frames, and their impetuous headstrong minds, that will not stay their progress to calculate the objections to the course they are pursuing, and though the goal to which they tend is one worthy to be struggled for by men of honour, the furrow to it violates the sanctuary of many a noble principle, which they would not wittingly invade.

This largeness, and at the same time vagueness, by which the movements of aristocracies are characterised, pervades the whole mind of the nation in the ages of aristocratic power. Those who think, think largely and comprehensively. They more often guess than reason with minute precision, but theirs are the guesses of genius, and they more often reach the truth by reason that they more resemble, and can better read the grand and comprehensive mind of the Creator, than the small but more precise understanding of later and mechanical ages. The

and serata deductive habit of mind is that which leads to the greatest Hue iudendiere discoveries ; deduction is but the guessing of genius, which Gq heygurinese afterwards is verified by experiment; and thus in the tabe tested earlier part of the national acme, while the aristocratic eaperement habit of mind still exercises a most powerful influence, have lived the great theoretical men of science, the master minds who have made the greatest discoveries in practical science. Newton and Kepler put mathematics on a new basis. Locke, Hume, Adam Smith, Quesnay,

Turgot, founded political economy, while aristocracy pervaded the social, and metaphysics the mental atmosphere.

In later ages, when the democratic employments have transfused through the nation a habit of minute, precise, and accurate mental processes, induction thrives, and crowds of intelligent and acute men, pursuing the method of inductive reasoning, apply and work out in detail the great and comprehensive principles roughly discovered in the old days of aristocracy, but they do not add to the number of these comprehensive discoveries. The United States, for instance, have not discovered a single one of the general laws of mechanics, but they have introduced a new machine into navigation, which has changed the face of the world. So that while, in one sense, democratic ages are the ages of science, in another sense, the aristocratic ages are those in which science accomplishes its noblest and most striking achievements.

The contributions of aristocracy to the national acme are, it will ever be remembered, not necessarily contributions of the aristocrats themselves, but contributions which are due to the institution of aristocracy, and the tone and habits of mind which belong to countries where aristocracy is established. Thus literature, though aristocratic production, is the work of men not born to a high estate ; and science, still more, is the offspring of the humble.

Aristocracy alone never has made, and never will make, a national acme. It requires the development of the best qualities of the democratic element to enable the nation to reach its acme. What are those qualities?

The most prominent is energy ;-a most sacred and vital quality, without which no nation has ever reached prosperity, wealth, and renown. How often is it said of individuals, who by industry and ability have been the architects of their own fortunes, that if it had not been for the privations and sorrows of their early lives, the pressure of the res angusta domi, or the stern denials of


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