« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
vated ground, as to be enabled to take a large view of the wide-spread and infinitely diversified combinations of men and affairs in society—to have leisure to read, to reflect, to converse-to be enabled to draw the court and attention of the wise and learned, wherever they are to be found to be habituated in armies, to command and to obey--to be taught to despise danger in the pursuit of honour and duty-to be formed to the greatest degree of vigilance, foresight, and circumspection, in a state of things in which no fault is committed with impunity, and the slightest mistakes draw on the most ruinous consequences—to be led to a guarded and regulated conduct, from a sense that they are considered instructors of their fellow-citizens in their highest concerns, and that they act as a reconciler between God and man-to be employed as administrators of law and justice, and to be thereby amongst the first benefactors of mankind.” This is the picture of their attributes drawn by one who was a competent judge.
Of wasted sensibilities and broken constitutions they certainly are not; public cares may, in time, bring on them that fatal distinction; but they commence their career in the vigour of life, and only follow the law of their kind, that the exhaustion will be in proportion to the energy or the excess with which the pursuit is followed.
Shepherds of the people! Husbandmen of the resources of the country! Pilots of the vessel of the state! ye have need to be always on your guard. When the flock is feeble, it requires your fostering aid; when it is vigorous, you must be careful it does not break pasture; when you sow in hope, looking forward to reap in joy, you must carefully eradicate each noxious weed, or tares will spring up with the wheat, and you must be skilled in the changes of the atmosphere; a violent storm sometimes follows a profound calm.
“ Therefore, you ought to register tempests in the calendars of the state, which are commonly greatest when things grow to equality; as natural gales are strongest at the equinox.”*
MONSIEUR de Tocqueville, in his work, “ De la Dėmocratie en Amerique,” has the following passage:
“ Every word of this book has been written under the impression of a kind of religious terror, produced on the author's mind by the contemplation of this irresistible revolution, which has advanced, during so many centuries, in spite of every obstacle, and which is still proceeding in the midst of the ruins it has made. It is not necessary, that the Almighty should proclaim aloud what is his will, it is our business to discover it in the ordinary course of nature. Without any special revelation, we know that the planets move in orbits traced by the Creator's finger.
If," he adds, “ the men of our time saw all these matters clearly, and were convinced that the social equality alluded to has been in reality decreed by Providence, they would of course see that, to resist the progress of democracy, were to resist the will of God; and they would resolutely endeavour to make the best of what they could not prevent.” The ques
tion then comes to this, if the torrent of democracy cannot be stopped, can it be guided ?
In a review of this work, not long after it was first published, there is a remark, that Monsieur de Tocqueville seems to consider this gradual development of the equality of conditions in the light of a law of heaven, or, as he terms it, “ un fait providentiel,” universal, enduring, and baffling all the efforts of man to check its course. We have inserted the foregoing passage, because of the remarkable similarity which it bears, both in expression and idea, to the extract from Doctor Phelan with which we commenced this essay.
Poor Old Sheridan has somewhere said, “ Faded ideas float in the fancy like half-forgotten dreams and imagination in its fullest enjoyment, becoming suspicious of its offspring, doubts whether it has created or adopted."
But Bishop Porteus is more bold and decisive, and at once informs his readers, that in the pages laid before them, he has made use, without acknowledgment, of the sentiments of any author who has expressed what he wished to convey in language that he approved of; considering it economy of time and advantage to the reader, to be supplied with correct ideas in the best language our tongue could furnish. But, with all due submission to the Right Reverend Father, the principle we would desire to act upon would be to give the author's name whenever we are enabled do so.
“ In the disquisition of truth, a ready fancy," says Grew, “is of great use, provided that collation doth its office; and we have the authority of Bacon to assert, “ that knowledge will be ever a wandering and undigested theory, if it be but a commixture of