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was frequently visited by travel- own steps in these lofty and silent lers, and I dare to say, that the cloisters, and seem to shrink into gratuities which she receives for littleness under the venerable her civilities in showing it, amount grandeur of the roofs,you can hardat least to the rent of the house. ly bring yourself to believe that Here is a subject for meditation. such a vast and solemn structure A tinman is now able to secure a is uninhabited ; and after having comfortable habitation by showing heard the great gate close upon the chamber where Johnson was your coming out, you cannot avoid born...that Johnson, who has wan- the impression, that you are leavdered many a night through the ing these awful retreats to some streets of London, because he was invisible and ghostly tenants. unable to pay for a lodging !
This pile was founded in the As we were returning to our year 657. It suffered much in inn, we espied a curious figure of the revolution, and since the resto an old man, with laced round ration they have been continually hat, scarlet coat, with tarnished repairing it. The dean and chap: trimmings of the last age, with a ter are now replacing some of the bell under his arm. Upon accost- old windows by some painted glass, ing him, we found that he had been which they have received from town-crier for many years, and a some old church at Liege. It is kind of Caleb Quotem, that he als said to be wonderfully fine, but as ways shaved Dr. Johnson when he I am no connoisseur in these came to visit Lichfield, that his things, I can only say that the name was Jenney, seventy-four colours are wonderfully brilliant. years old, with strength and spirits The window at the east end is unimpaired.
modern. The cathedral at Lichfield is Dr. Johnson, and David Garworthy the attention of every trav- rick, and Gilbert Walmsley have eller. Who shall say that the monuments in this cathedral very daily view of this ancient, dark, near to one another. You rememand reverend pile, once the resi- ber the Latin epitaph which Johndence of monks, may not have son wrote for his father's tombcontributed to impress on the mind stone, who was buried here ; I of young Johnson a superstitious know you will hardly forgive the 'veneration for the splendour of a dean and chapter, when I tell you, church establishment, and have that in paving the church, they 'even given him that melancholy have lately removed it, as well as bias, which he discovered toward another, which Dr. J. caused to many of the ceremonies and doc- be placed over the grave of a trines of the church of Rome. young woman, who was violently Indeed I know of nothing so cal- in love with his father. The inculated to inspire a secret suspi- scription which Dr. J. wrote, was cion of the presence of the depart- nothing more than this,'« Here ed, as to walk through the long, lies
a stranger, ob. &c." still, and echoing aisles of a Goth- This anecdote I had from the verick cathedral, lined on each side ger, a tattling old man, who showwith the tombs, and ornamented ed us the cathedral. He professed with the figures of men who died to have been « very intimate" 'centuries ago ; for while you are (these were his words) with Dr. J. trembling at the sound of your His name is Furneaux.
For the Anthology.
Nam cunctas nationes et urbes populus, aut primores, aut singuli regunt ; delecta ex his et consociata reipublice forma, laudari facilius quàm evenire ; vel si evenit, haud diuturna esse potest.
Tac. Ann. L. 4. 33. If we consider the nature of civil government, we shall find that in all nations the supreme authority is vested in the people, or the nobles, or a single ruler. A constitution, compounded of these three simple forms, may in theory be beautiful, but can never exist in fact ; or, if it should, it will be but of short duration.
IN these words Tacitus has ex- When Tacitus says, that a form pressed his celebrated opinions on of government, composed of monthe best form of government for a archy, aristocracy, and democracy, state. He acknowledges the ex- is more easily to be praised than cellence of a system, in which the anticipated, he very probably had three great simple modes of polity reference to the writings of states. should be preserved by a judicious men and philosophers, by whom selection and harmonious combi- this scheme had been discussed and nation of their constituent advan- commended. He also plainly intages. Such a system he decided- timates, that he did not think that ly commends, but apparently re- the combination of the original grets its probable impracticability, principles had, in any government, and declares that, if it were practi- been accurately ascertained and cable, it could not belasting. suitably established. A man, like These are the sentiments of a pro- Tacitus, of vigorous understand. found historian on a subject of ing and practical views, would not real difficulty and extensive im- easily be reconciled to a visionary portance. They may well occupy excellence of policy, nor would he our thoughts for a few moments, be disposed to praise a system, for the subject is full of “high which, though in theory it might matter"; and, as connected with partake of the simple schemes of the mighty revolutions of the old political economy, violated in its world in the present age, or with operation all the feelings, habits, the established constitutions of our and doctrines of human nature ; own country, it may originate sen- still less would such a statesman timents of regret or exultations of extol any establishment, which gratitude. In the present specu- found the means of its preserva. lation, however, I shall not enter tions in the forgetfulness or des. into a nice investigation of the ex- truction of whatever renders life cellence of the system recommen- pleasant and comfortable to the ded by the historian ; but I pro- great majority of the common pose, as a subject of literary dis- wealth. cussion, to reconcile the implied That Tacitus was a man of these dissent of Pacitus from the opin- practical notions and principles of ions of Polybius, fortified by expediency, is easily discovered by Machiavel, on the subject of the a perisal of his political and moral Spartan constiwtion founded by maxims and reflections. They Lycurgus.
hare no fancy or frenzy. He very
seldom indulges in speculation, consists of three forms, regno, op. and he never relaxes into falseness timatium, and populi imperio. Such of conclusion from the violence of was that of Sparta in its primitive passion or the obstinacy of preju- institution by Lycurgus ; who, obdice. Human nature he studied serving the corruptions and deprain all its windings and aberrations. vations to which every of these He traced the contortions of hy. was subject, compounded his pocrisy in the gloomy mind of Ti- scheme out of all ; so that it was berius ; he examined the gapish made up of roges, seniores, et profiidiocy of the drowsy Claudius, ulus. Such also was the state of and displayed the feeble counsels Rome under its consuls, and the and the fluctuating conduct of the author tells us, that the Romans aged Galba. For this deep knowl- fell upon this model by chance, but edge of the human mind, and the the Spartans by thought and de. necessary practical results, he was sign.” not more indebted to the age, In the political opinion, without which furnished such materials of the exemplification of its truth in serious reflection, than to his edu- the republick of Sparta, it is evication and political advantages. dent that Tacitus concurred. He He studied law and eloquence un. has given no instance of any govder Aper and Secundus, celeberri. ernment, in which he thought the ma tum ingcnia fori ; he married original principles had been comthe daughter of Agricola, and by bined, so as to conduce to the genconnexion, as well as sympathy, eral welfare of the community; being attached to his father-in-law, but on the contrary intimates, that he profited from the plans, the no such example can be furnished. counsels, and directions of the il. No evidence remains, that he had lustrious conqueror of Britain. By studied the history of Polybius; but his political career he was partly there can be little doubt that he fitted for an historian and statesman, had diligently read the rery excelas besides what he himself de. lent work of a brother historian on clares, dignitatem nostram a Vespa, the affairs of Rome, who, as a siano inchoatam, a Tito quctam, a man,had been the intimate friend of Domitiano longius provectam, he Scipio Africanus; and, as an author, also enjoyed the consulate under had been praised by Livy and Ci. Nerva, and was honoured with the cero. As therefore Polybius confidence of Trajan, optimus praises the Spartan economy, as fclicissimus Princeps.
an example of his general specuAmong the ancient historians lation; and as Tacitus denies that and philosophers, whose opinions any government has existed, in on the mixture of the three sim, which the one, the few, and the ple forms of government into one many have been harmonized, I harmonious system have reached can no otherwise reconcile the dif. us, Polybius is highly distinguish- ference, than by the supposition, ed. From a fragment of his 6th that Polybius had reference sim. book, as quoted by Swift, in « The ply to the frame of the commoncontests and dissensions between wealth, as built by Lycurgus, and the nobles and commons in Athens that Tacitus had either some noand Rome," his sentiments may be bler establishinent in his mind, or collected. « Polybius tells us, the that, like a wise statesman, he dis. best government is that, which liked the effect of the Lacedæmon
ian model on the habits, inter- is given by the weak and dilated course, and general relations of translation of Murphy. the people.
It is undeniably true, that Lycur: From the previous character of gus mixed the three simple forms Tacitus, as a practical politician, it into one establishment. · It was is evident he must have censured, not indeed perfect. The preserrather than applauded the singular vation of the balance of power resystem of the Spartan legislator. ceived no adequate provision. The He could not approve of a political senate was too powerful; the kings plan, which made a whole com- and the Ephori were too weak amunity barbarous, ignorant, mis- lone, and the legislator therefore erable, and proud ; and forced the contrived, by the solemnities of recitizens to exist without the ligion and the obligation of monthelegant refinements or even the ly oaths, to connect the kings and comfortable accommodations of the ephori in alliance; for the former society. In Sparta the institutions swore to reverence and observe the and laws were, like those in Crete, constitution and laws of Sparta, and most severe, and are thus charac- the latter, in their own name and as terised by Maternus in the Dial. representatives of the people, swore de Orat. Quarum civitatum seve- to obey the kings, as rulers, judges, rissima disciplina et severissimæ leges and generals, and to preserve in traduntur. In none of the writings hereditary splendour the honours of Tacitus does he express any and glory of the descendants of opinion of the policy of Lycurgus, Hercules. By these means, but except what may be gathered from above all by the civil and municithe following passage in Ann. 3. pal regulations relative to stran26. He primò (leges) rudibus gers, marriage, commerce, agrihominum animis, simplices erant. culture, slaves, &c. &c. Lycurgus Maximèque fama celebravit Creten- restrained his community in transium, quas Minos ; Spartanorum quillity, gained renown for himself, quas Lycurgus ; ac mox Athenien- and preserved the hereditary honsibus quaesitiores jam et plures So- 'ours of the illustrious race of Herlon prescripsit. “ Law in its ori- cules for eight hundred years. gin was like the manners of the But the precincts of Sparta never age, plain and simple. Of the inclosed the habitation of happiseveral political constitutionsknown ness. Every thing was forced,bar. in the world, that of Crete estab- barous, and unnatural. Property lished by Minos, that of Sparta by was violated under the connivance Lycurgus, and that of Athens by of law, and adultery was sanction Solon, have been chiefly celebra- ed as the perfection of marriage. ted. In the latter, however, we The slaves were forced to intoxisee simplicity giving way to com- cation for an example to the plication and refinement.” From young Spartans, and their murder this passage it cannot be inferred, was suffered for the incitement of that Tacitus was particularly au courage and the acquisition of inil. verse or attached to the constitu- ilary skill. Study the nature of tion of either legislator, though the Spartan ordinances, read the perhaps a nice reader of Latin history of Lycurgus in Plutarch, might receive from the original and you will be astonished at the an impression more unfavourable adoption and continuance of a sys. to the Spartan establishment, than tem, which opposed all the fcelinge
of our common nature, and swept every friendly political arrangeaway in its terrible progress all the ment. It ought, above all, never to pardonable prejudices, the ainiable thwart the progress of internal cisentiments, and the honourable vility ; never to stop the increase principles of civil life, merely to of social relations and institutions; make giants of the men and Ama- and never to prohibit the introduczons of the women....who should tion and diffusion of the blessings consider war, as the definite object of peace, commerce, letters, and of society, and peace, as the im- arts. But in Sparta all intercourse proveable prelude of war.
with strangers and all foreign tra. As Polybius among the ancients, vel were forbidden ; there was no so Machiavel among the moderns, trade, and no coin, but ponderous
has considered the Spartan con- pieces of iron ; agriculture was .stitution as a happy combination of considered an ignominious employ.
monarchy, aristocracy, and demo- ment, and was expressly confined to cracy. In C. 2, B. 2, of his dis- the slaves; the mechanick institucourses on the first decade of Livy, tions were despised ; literature was this illustrious Italian, after observe unknown to these “museless and ing that prudent legislators have unbookish” barbarians ; their sole endeavoured in their political sys- delight was in arms, for war was tems to unite the three simple prin- the study of the men, and warlike ciples, and consequently to avoid exercises the play games of the the defects of each, proceeds to re- children. A state, thus insulated mark, tra quelli che hanno per simili from the world, except by the concostituzioni meritato più laude è Li. tinual disturbances which it excited curgo, il quale ordinò in modo le sue in other communities, and by the leggi in Sparta, che dando le parte' ravage of its arms, which it terri. sue ai re, agli ottimati, e al popolo, bly diffused, might well subsist for fece uno stato, che durò più che otto- eight hundred years; for foreiga cento anni, con summa laude sua, e enemies could make no impression quiete di quella città. Here the on the city from without, and luxury immortal founder of modern poli- and wealth could spread no refineticks expressly recognises the di- ments within. Sparta therefore exvision of powers in the system of isted in civilized barbarism among Lycurgus, which had been before the Grecian States, not much supeextolled by Polybius ; but it may riour to the institutions of the Bebe observed, that his praise is con- doweens in the African deserts at the fined to the high renown, which the present day ; these marauders aplegislator acquired, to the duration pear on the horizontal sands ; they of the scheme, and the tranquillity soon cry havock, and spread death of Sparta. He does not praise the and desolation in every village ; civil liberty of the citizens, for it and when fury is satisfied, they suldid not exist ; he does not honour lenly retire with their spoil to the the international policy, for it was depth of solitude, meditating new full of intrigue, ambition, and war. pillage, and anticipating new eneA civil community ought to have "mies to conquer. a social relation to other states. It In giving this relation of the ought to delight in the interchange Spartan Commonwealth, I have of such kind offices as its situation been guided by no prejudice. No will allow, such as mediation in writer will deny to the passive puwar, commercial intercourse, and pils of Lycurgus the virtues of