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mones * equally forbidden to the inhabitants of their subject cities the manufacture of the beautiful works of art which still, in such numbers, excite our admiration, their tenure of power might have been longer, but less renowned.
Royalty in its contests with aristocracy has always looked with favour on the employments which raised a power in the State strong enough to rival the noblesse. Frederick the Great partly from this reason, and partly inspired by the wish to have a kingdom perfect and complete in all its parts, took every means, not so much to encourage as to force trade and manufactures. His ill success in that endeavour, and the failure of the late Sultan and Mahomet Ali to establish manufactures in Turkey and Egypt, may teach ambitious sovereigns that other circumstances besides royal favour are required to turn a nation of agriculturists or of warriors into one of traders and manufacturers; for it seems by a curious dispensation, that the good of democracy is evoked either by the evil
aristocracy or the evil of the soil. There must be one of these two causes to drive the mass of the population into the activity and toil requisite for trade and manufactures, but when once that energy is aroused and wealth begun to be accumulated, then in the direct ratio in which commerce increases, liberty increases, for commerce
* Niebuhr (H. R. i. 130) feared a vigorous opposition when he made out that the Etruscan works in bronze and clay and bas-reliefs were produced, not by the military noblesse, but by the subject artizans. I know not whether he was opposed; but if he was, it must have been by the first person who has attributed handicraft trades to a military noblesse.
† L'Abbé Coyer, in 1757, wrote, “ Une grande monarchie, telle que la nôtre (the French), peut et doit avoir tous les esprits, celui de l'agriculture, celui des lettres et des arts, celui de la guerre et du commerce. Rien de tout cela ne se combat. Au contraire c'est de l'union de toutes ses forces que résulte la force générale. La Pologne gémit sous l'esprit tout militaire qui la gouverne. La Prusse toute guerrière fait tous ses efforts pour devenir commerçante.”—Noblesse Commerçante, i. 148.
brings forward into wealth and prominence a class of tradesmen and merchants who, aware of the necessity of a central government, are often willing to retain royalty, while they oppose with the utmost inveteracy the power of the nobles, which when at the strongest renders property insecure, and live in their towns after they have collected their little independence to be free from the feudal exactions of the noblesse. *
This is the democratic element of a nation in its origin. It is a twin brother of commerce and handicrafts, and is throughout its independent existence distinguished by the energy which, in fact, formed it into a separate element, an energy always devoted principally, and when uncontrolled by other elements, entirely to the culture of the useful arts and the exact sciences, but, which under the direction and inspiration of an aristocracy produces the classical language and literature of the nation, and with the encouragement of a plutocracy produces its school of painting and the arts which minister to a refined luxury
Taking, however, the energy of democracy in its most racy form, it is energy devoted to utility; and it is this which at the national acme stands out in bold relief, as the contribution of the democratic element furnished not by the assistance or encouragement, but in spite of the opposition of the other social elements; and then it is that we hear the contrast so often drawn between honour and utility, chivalry and calculation. Commercial democracies have no such thing as honour in the sense in which aristocracies understand it. They treat honour as synonymous with honesty, and with them everything not against the laws of the land or the customs of trade is honourable. This characteristic is remarkable in the
* Under the old régime in France almost all the middle classes lived in towns for this reason. See De Tocqueville, L'Ancient Régime, p. 139.
views taken by the Carthaginian republic* and some existing nations. The United States as they are the sole instance of a pure democracy, so they are the most conspicuous for abolishing all notions of honour as anything beyond honesty.P In nations where the aristocratic and democratic elements exist contemporaneously, the opposite notions belonging to these elements respectively produce as their joint result a moderate, and sometimes inconsistent, view; and it is instructive to trace the conflict of two notions so diametrically opposed. It was the continued decrease of the principle of honour and respect, and the advance of the principle of utility, which at a particular juncture of affairs seemed to Burke to be outrooting the principle of aristocratic honour, and led him to make his famous exclamation, “The age of chivalry is gone, that of sophisters and calculators has succeeded, and the glory of Europe is extinguished for ever.” England, however, yet retains much of its old chivalrous feelings, not by any means confined to its aristocracy, but permeating through the population, and affecting even its modern calculators. Each contributes to her glory ;-the former by the means, the latter by the end. Honour has often been ridiculous, because its ends were ridiculous ; utility has sometimes been censurable because its means were not honourable. Perfection lies in the combination where utility is the end, and honour is regarded in the
We have then in England the Crown as the representative of the national unity and glory; the noblesse, the upholders of respect and honour; the Commons the promoters of utility. Of these three principles acting har
* Niebuhr, H. R. iv. 109.
† “L'Américain appelle noble et estimable ambition ce que nos pères du moyen-âge nommaient cupidité servile, de même qu'il donne le nom de fureur aveugle et barbare à l'ardeur conquérante et à l'hunieur guerrière qui les jettaient chaque jour dans de nouveaux combats." — De Tocqueville, Dém. en Amérique, iv. 149.
moniously must constitutional monarchy be formed. I know no more gorgeous spectacle than a great nation, which contains within it the splendour of monarchy, the proud dignity of the patrician spirit, and the restless activity of the commercial. If there should be found a nation where the throne was occupied by one of the softer sex, who, descended from a long line of illustrious sovereigns, might claim by prescriptive right the homage due to the crown, but has no occasion to do so because that homage is freely and heartily offered by a nation which, remarkable at all times for its loyalty, is still more remarkable for the respectful affection which it always shows to a female sovereign who reigns-not to lead forth armies, not to interfere in civil contests, but into a court surrounded by territorial nobles admits the honoured representatives of industry; and, raised above the paltry prejudices of class, dispenses the royal patronage to genius, to learning, to invention, to everything that redounds to the greatness of the empire at home or its high name abroad, a queen who occupies the throne as the impersonation of the national spirit ; — where in due subordination lives a body of hereditary nobles, who, continuing the pride of the peerage in the persons of their eldest sons, while their younger are commoners, like the meanest peasant, form the most democratic aristocracy ever devised ; -- where the great staple of the nation are enterprising yet liberal merchants, the not degenerate successors of those who alone made Venice famous, of those who raised out of the unhealthy swamps of Holland the best regulated community which social skill has yet devised ; — where territorial power is not so much the object of envy as the ambition of the commercial classes; where the noble, in whose veins flows the blood of those haughty barons who persecuted merchants and despised commerce, thinks it no degradation to increase his princely income by commercial speculation; where the merchant who has made an honourable fortune by means that conduced as much
to his country's glory as to his own advancement, is admitted by the favour of his sovereign into the ranks of the territorial aristocracy, and in his own and his children's person enjoys as much respect as belongs to the proudest descendants of a Howard or a Perey; - where these feelings and sentiments had not been established in a moment, but had been the growth of ages, and had by a gradual action rescued the highest order of the realm from the ungracious distinction of being the privileged posterity of a conquering tribe, and had transformed it into a noble body that included none but the descendants of those who had been illustrious for loyalty, in ages when loyalty was rare, for talent combined with industry, for successful cultivation of the arts, which contribute to the good of humanity ;—where, lastly, these great powers so constituted should be found acting harmoniously by permanent organs, and taking no public measure which had not been approved by each of them—then surely theirs is the “ Crowning City.”