But exclusions and disabilities still remained. These exclusions and disabilities, after having generated the most fearful discontents, after having rendered all government in one part of the kingdom impossible, after having brought the state to the very brink of ruin, have, in our times, been removed, but, though removed, have left behind them a rankling which may last for many years. It is melancholy to think with what ease Elizabeth might have united all conflicting sects under the shelter of the same impartial laws and the same paternal throne, and thus have placed the nation in the same situation, as far as the rights of conscience are concerned, in which we at last stand, after all the heart-burnings, the persecutions, the conspiracies, the seditions, the revolutions, the judicial murders, the civil wars of ten generations.
This is the dark side of her character. Yet she surely was a great woman. Of all the sovereigns who exercised a power which was seemingly absolute, but which in fact depended for support on the love and confidence of their subjects, she was by far the most illustrious. It has often been alleged as an excuse for the misgovernment of her successors that they only followed her example, that precedents might be found in the transactions of her reign for persecuting the Puritans, for levying money without the sanction of the House of Commons, for confining men without bringing them to trial, for interfering with the liberty of parliamentary debate.
All this may be true. But it is no good plea for her successors; and for this plain reason, that they were her successors. She governed one generation, they governed another; and between 34 the two generations there was almost as little in common as between the people of two different countries. It was not by looking at the particular measures which Elizabeth had adopted, but by looking at the great general principles of her government, that those who followed her were likely to learn the art of managing untractable subjects.
If, instead of searching the records of her reign for precedents which might seem to vindicate the mutilation of Prynne and the imprisonment of Eliot, the Stuarts had attempted to discover the fundamental rules which guided her conduct in all her dealings with her people, they would have perceived that their policy was then most unlike to hers, when to a superficial observer it would have seemed most to resemble hers.
Firm, haughty, sometimes unjust and cruel in her proceedings towards individuals or towards small parties, she avoided with care, or retracted with speed, every measure which seemed likely to alienate the great mass of the people. She gained more honour and more love by the manner in which she repaired her errors than she would have gained by never committing errors. If such a man as Charles the First had been in her place when the whole nation was crying out against the monopolies, he would have refused all redress.
He would have dissolved the Parliament, and imprisoned the most popular members. He would have called another Parliament. He would have given some vague and delusive promises of relief in return for subsidies. When entreated to fulfil his promises, he would have again dissolved the Parliament, and again imprisoned his leading opponents. The country would have become more agitated than before. The next House of Commons would have been more unmanageable than 35 that which preceded it. The tyrant would have agreed to all that the nation demanded.
He would have solemnly ratified an act abolishing monopolies forever. He would have received a large supply in return for this concession; and within half a year new patents, more oppressive than those which had been cancelled, would have been issued by scores. Such was the policy which brought the heir of a long line of kings, in early youth the darling of his countrymen, to a prison and a scaffold.
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Elizabeth, before the House of Commons could address her, took out of their mouths the words which they were about to utter in the name of the nation. Her promises went beyond their desires. Her performance followed close upon her promise. She did not treat the nation as an adverse party, as a party which had an interest opposed to hers, as a party to which she was to grant as few advantages as possible, and from which she was to extort as much money as possible.
Her benefits were given, not sold; and, when once given, they were never withdrawn. She gave them too with a frankness, an effusion of heart, a princely dignity, a motherly tenderness, which enhanced their value. We had intended to say something concerning that illustrious group of which Elizabeth is the central figure, that group which the last of the bards saw in vision from the top of Snowdon, encircling the Virgin Queen, "Many a baron bold, And gorgeous dames, and statesmen old In bearded majesty.
We had intended also to say something concerning the literature of that splendid period, and especially concerning those two incomparable men, the Prince of Poets, and the Prince of Philosophers, who have made the Elizabethan age a more glorious and important era in the history of the human mind than the age of Pericles, of Augustus, or of Loo. But subjects so vast require a space far larger than we can at present afford. We therefore stop here, fearing that, if we proceed, our article may swell to a bulk exceeding that of all other reviews, as much as Dr. T his 37 is a very amusing and a very instructive book; but, even if it were less amusing and less instructive, it would still be interesting as a relic of a wise and virtuous man.
Dumont was one of those persons, the care of whose fame belongs in an especial manner to mankind. For he was one of those persons who have, for the sake of mankind, neglected the care of their own fame. In his walk through life there was no obtrusiveness, no pushing, no elbowing, none of the little arts which bring forward little men. With every right to the head of the board, he took the lowest room, and well deserved to be greeted with—Friend, go up higher. Though no man was more capable of achieving for himself a separate and independent renown, he attached himself to others; he laboured to raise their fame; he was content to receive as his share of the reward the mere overflowings which redounded from the full measure of their glory.
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Not that he was of a servile and idolatrous habit of mind:—not that he was one of the tribe of Boswells,—those literary Gibeonites, born to be hewers of wood and drawers of water to the. Possessed of talents and acquirements which made him great, he wished only to be useful.
In the prime of manhood, at the very time of life at which ambitious men are most ambitious, he was not solicitous to proclaim that he furnished information, arguments, and eloquence to Mirabeau. In his later years he was perfectly willing that his renown should merge in that of Mr. The services which M. Dumont has rendered to society can be fully appreciated only by those who have studied Mr.
The difference both for show and for use is as great as the difference between a lump of golden ore and a rouleau of sovereigns fresh from the mint. Of Mr. Bentham we would at all times speak with the reverence which is due to a great original thinker, and to a sincere and ardent friend of the human race.
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If a few weaknesses were mingled with his eminent virtues,—if a few errors insinuated themselves among the many valuable truths which he taught,—this is assuredly no time for noticing those weaknesses or those errors in an unkind or sarcastic spirit. A great man has gone from among us, full of years, of good works, and of deserved honours. In some of the highest departments in which the human intellect can exert itself he has not left his equal or his second behind him. From his contemporaries he has had, according to the usual lot, more or less than justice.
He has had blind flatterers and blind detractors—flatterers who could see nothing but perfection in his style, detractors who could see nothing but nonsense in his matter. He will now have judges.
Posterity will pronounce its calm and impartial decision; and that decision will, we firmly believe, place in the same rank 39 with Galileo, and with Locke, the man who found jurisprudence a gibberish and left it a science. Never was there a literary partnership so fortunate as that of Mr. Bentham and M.
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The raw material which Mr. Bentham furnished was most precious; but it was unmarketable. He was, assuredly, at once a great logician and a great rhetorician. But the effect of his logic was injured by a vicious arrangement, and the effect or his rhetoric by a vicious style. His mind was vigorous, comprehensive, subtle, fertile of arguments, fertile of illustrations.
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But he spoke in an unknown tongue; and, that the congregation might be edified, it was necessary that some brother having the gift of interpretation should expound the invaluable jargon. His oracles were of high import; but they were traced on leaves and flung loose to the wind. So negligent was he of the arts of selection, distribution, and compression, that to persons who formed their judgment of him from his works in their undigested state he seemed to be the least systematic of all philosophers. The truth is, that his opinions formed a system, which, whether sound or unsound, is more exact, more entire, and more consistent with itself than any other.
Yet to superficial readers of his works in their original form, and indeed to all readers of those works who did not bring great industry and great acuteness to the study, he seemed to be a man of a quick and ingenious but ill-regulated mind,—who saw truth only by glimpses,—who threw out many striking hints, but who had never thought of combining his doctrines in one harmonious whole. Dumont was admirably qualified to supply what was wanting in Mr.
In the qualities in which the French writers surpass those of all other nations,— 40 neatness, clearness, precision, condensation,—he surpassed all French writers. Dumont had never been horn, Mr. Bentham would still have been a very great man. But he would have been great to himself alone. Some generations hence, perhaps, when legislation had found its Watt, an antiquarian might have published to the world the curious fact, that, in the reign of George the Third, there had been a man called Bentham, who had given hints of many discoveries made since his time, and who had really, for his age, taken a most philosophical view of the principles of jurisprudence.
Many persons have attempted to interpret between this powerful mind and the public.
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But, in our opinion, M. Dumont alone has succeeded. It is remarkable that, in foreign countries, where Mr. Even those who are most decidedly opposed to his political opinions—the very chiefs of the Holy Alliance—have publicly testified their respect for him. In England, on the contrary, many persons who certainly entertained no prejudice against him on political grounds were long in the habit of mentioning him contemptuously.