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It is manifest from these considerations that the nation is kept back by the increase of aristocratic power; its changes retarded, and consequently its existence prolonged. The plebeians are the party of progress, and the fewer the checks upon them the greater is the rapidity with which the nation passes through the ordinary phases which lead to the subsequent and final establishment of the Tupayvos or despot.

In the sixth and last combination, the power of the crown and the commons continue increasing, the aristocracy divides between the two. This was the case in England. The contest then takes the shape of prerogative and privilege, as from the time of Edward I. to the time of Charles I. and of James II. That the contest which ended in the execution of Charles was not the means of introducing a despotism either in the return of the royal family with unlimited power, or the continuance of an usurpation, seems to have been owing to the part which the aristocracy took. Many of the nobles, partisans of the popular side, remained in the country, and the order did not lose its respect among the people, as was the case in France at the revolution of 1789, when the nobles sided almost entirely with the court. The Parliament-men were so far from being anxious to abolish nobility, as was done in France, that the House of Commons, in December 1645, voted dukedoms, earldoms and marquisates to the most prominent Roundheads. Cromwell would have resembled a Greek Tupavvos, if he, being as he was, the a

τυραννος, creature of the commons, had likewise been the avowed opponent of the aristocracy. That, however, he was not. He rose by leading the opposition against royalty. The aristocracy was divided between the Parliament* and the king

Again, in our second revolution of 1688, the greater part of the nobles and the Protestant clergy took the part of freedom, and called to a limited monarchy the man who was holding the chief place in a republic. In England nobility has never been a caste.

* The Parliamentary army was headed by the Earls of Stamford, Essex, Manchester, Warwick, Northumberland, and Bedford,

These are the various combinations which the original elements of national society have formed, and each different combination has produced a different result.

CIIAP. VII.

TIE CONDITION OF NATIONS AS THIEY APPROACH

TIIE ACME.

64

• Saurer la noblesse de l'infortune, et le peuple de la misère, en étendant le commerce, c'est éloigner l'esclavage; c'est élever des remparts contre le despotisme.” – L'ABBÉ COYER.

It will have perhaps struck the reader of the last two chapters, that where six or more roads diverge from one point, the nations which select directions so different are likely to display a corresponding variation in the incidents of their journey. That was the view which I intended to present to the reader's mind, and without distorting any facts I have stated them in a manner most calculated to support it, anxious to let it here once for all come forward to refute me in the plenitude of its plausibility, rather than allow it to remain in ambush to be brought out upon me in some of the narrow fastnesses through which we may perhaps have to adventure our way.

The diversities undoubtedly exist, and to trace them will be part of our future task, but what I am anxious here distinctly to state is, that they are not as it were independent routes, starting in opposite directions, but that they are all cases of arrested development, all instances of the different manner in which the same track is traversed. As it is but in one or two individuals in a thousand that any approximation to the beau-ideal of manhood can be found, but as one approaches most nearly physical perfection, another intellectual, another moral, so nations have approached excellence in greater or less degrees and

one

in different departments, yet no one has yet reached any but a remote approximation to general excellence. Although many nations have been its superior each in some

particular England has succeeded in attaining higher towards excellence in a greater number of circumstances than any other nation with which we are acquainted, and its historical career has therefore been generally accepted as on the whole approximating most nearly to the normal. Perfect development in any of the works of creation remains as yet a pure idea, but as in the course of development there are an infinitude of points in which each example may either succeed or fail, the variety of the examples cannot be limited within known bounds. This variety arises from every cause that can stunt or unduly develop a particular element of national life. No cause is more powerful than the follies and vices of mankind, ever fertile in producing new effects. Retrogression, progress in false directions, and an undue delay of progress are consequences of the perversity and blindness of those who ought to be the agents and promoters of a proper national progress. But their errors, however disastrous at the time, are not of lasting conse

quence, for

“ Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well,

When our deep plots do fail; and that should teach us
There's a divinity that shapes our ends
Rough-hew them how we will."

а

To trace the laws laid down by that divinity, and to show their operation when unimpeded, and the effects produced by their operation when combined with impediments is the object to which the attention of statesmen and political writers ought to be directed.

To repeat, then, the first stage of national society, the starting-point in their career of development, is when a few conquerors settle in the land of a subjugated people, and the tendency of all future development is to transfer the power of the nobles, either in whole or part, to a central monarchical government, a democratic constitution, or a combination of these with aristocracy. Forms of government, I have said, depend upon the social adjustments of the population. Will those who controvert this be good enough to say what other form of government, except one in which the sovereign power is in the hands of a few men, would be possible for a political body where there is distinctly drawn an impassable line of demarcation between the small tribe of sovereigns and the large mass of subjects ? Any other form of government would in fact be an abrogation of their supremacy by the conquerors, and would transfer the nation at once into some one of the social stages which naturally supervene on the decadence of aristocratic power. It would sound like a truism to say that an aristocratic form of government is necessary for an aristocracy, had not that position been covertly denied by those who insinuate the general principle that forms of government are independent of the social adjustments to which they are annexed.

The full development, and the natural adjustment of the elements of national progress appear to be such as are indicated by the following scheme :

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