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vancing good. It must be preserved by public virtue or penal laws. Externally, it is protected by international laws, which are sustained by the force of a nation; but internally, society is preserved by the purity of its organization, and the justice of its administration. Society, founded in a civil state, is powerless to defend its own rights, except by rule, by system, and by law. In the natural state, or condition of man, he is his own law, and he defends his rights as best he may. In that state, might makes right; but when man enters into society he abides necessarily by its rules and laws, however just or unjust, and he has no power to enforce his rights to life, liberty, and property, except by the operation of its jurisprudence. Hence society is founded, and can exist only on the principles of justice, which must lie at the foundation and permeate every civil state. As society is of ancient growth, imbedded with a code, criminal and civil, arising from the written and unwritten law, so its jurisprudence becomes complex, confused, and oftentimes incongruous; and at best its changes of the law give uncertainty in its administration. These usages are more historical than philosophical in all states, and hence the law is learned in cases as well as principles. Thus deeply does society feel the need and
pressure of those usages that we call jurisprudence in every act and movement of mankind.
Doubtless there can be no solid and safe system of law, in any state, unless there is a wise and just administration of society in all its departments—legislative, executive, and judicial. It is possible that society may have one or more of these branches badly administered for a time, without deteriorating the other, but for any considerable time they must stand or fall together. This is enforced by the history of nearly every great nation, from ancient times to the present. In the early history of nations, the laws, like the wants of men, were few and simple. They are crude and general, like the customs and the legislation that produce them; but when society reaches down through many ages, it assumes & more exact, complex form of jurisprudence, and of administration. Indeed, Rome, that existed through fifteen centuries, and still
VOL. XXVII.-NO. LIV.
exists in her comprehensive code of laws, which in some measure is incorporated into the laws of every civilized state, and is the common law of Europe to-day, would seern to contradict the maxim that the three departments into which the civil state is divided, must stand or fall together. But without this wise legislation and executive action, the laws of Justinian would never have been reduced to a system, and Roman jurisprudence would be as little known as that of ancient Greece. The multitudinous accumulations of the Roman law would have sunk and utterly disappeared in the darkness of the middle ages, leaving some such work as that of Gaius alone* to tell us how little we could know of what had been of the most perfect civil code that had ever appeared among 'men. Certainly we are yet indebted to the great works of the Roman lawyers for the best lights of jurisprudence in reference to equity principles; and the great Roman jurisconsults are forever immortal where law is respected and known. Modern times have applied these principles to the affairs of men, and thus we mingle the Roman law with the modern, and thereby prove that the great principles and wants of mankind are universal. Still, with all this knowledge of the civil law, we have but an indistinct and faint glimpse of the constitution of Rome and other ancient states. Indeed, we have but glimpses and fragments of the constitutions which flourished for many centuries, and then disappeared before the dawn of modern civilization and the rise of new states.
Thus the study of the laws and the consequent formation of constitutions in modern times are needed in the jurist and statesman, that we may comprehend the philosophy and the reason of the changes that come to every state. More comprehensively we must study the spirit of the laws and the tendency of those constitutions through many centuries in order to determine their real character and force. In this manner we can determine the progress of society and estimate the value of its institutions. But if we limit our observation to a short period we get only a glimpse of society and the workings of a state ; and hence the need of comprehensive study of every society to determine its character and improvements. By this long study of systems we are enabled to detect their vices and virtues; and in the pages of Montesquieu and Aristotle, as well as in Machavelli and Vico, we see this wide and comprehensive survey of institutions and society. Indeed, we get glimpses and fragments of those studies, though short and concise, in the philosophy of Locke and Bacon. But here we are surveying the field of philosophy where great and wise men have lighted our way dipassionately to the highest truths. They are the philosophers that come after and not the mighty actors that produce and settle those conflicts and revolutions in states; and hence they calmly survey the history of nations and pronounce judgment, assigning the causes of those great conflicts. For this reason, the study of the philosophers must go hand in hand with the history of nations, and the movement of political events.
But the statesman, in the midst of the conflict, is acting and making history, and he cannot thus take so calm a survey as he who looks back a century upon past revolutions. In this view we must study the life and genius of Edmund Burke, for he was mainly an actor in revolutions. At least his most valuable writings were produced by the American and French revolutions, and his Reflections upon the “French Revolution" were published in the second year of that event, anticipating what would be rather than what had taken place in France and Europe. Thus, this work is quite unlike most of the productions of the human mind, and of course did not realize all it foretold. Suffice to say, it is in the main written with prudence and soberness of language, when we consider the dangers the author descried and foretold. We are now looking at Burke's philosophy and the scope of his great argument--the mightiest production against the principles of the French Revolution that ever appeared. We may concisely say that the principles that he combated in the sermon of Dr. Price may have been dangerous to the fixed constitution of England; yet, after the lapse of a century, these principles enunciated by Dr. Price are primordial laws in every
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free state of the world. Indeed, we may say that governments no longer exist for the benefit of kings and an aristocracy; but for the benefit of nations and of men.
We can even prove from Burke that he had no love for those classes, and we may say that no statesman of any time more opposed oppression and arbitrary power down to the French Revolution. Even then lie said:
“I flatter myself that I love a manly, moral, regulated liberty as well as any gentleman of that (revolutionary) society, be he who he will; and perhaps I have given as good proofs of that cause in the whole course of my conduct. I think I envy liberty as little as they do to any other nation.” “When I see the spirit of liberty in action, I see a strong principle at work, and this for awhile is all I can possibly know of it. The wild gas, the fixed air is plainly broke loose; but we ought to suspend our judgment until the first effervesence is a little subsided, till the liquor is cleared, and until we see something deeper than the agitation of a troubled and frothy surface. I must be tolerably sure before I venture publicly to congratulate men upon a blessing that they have really received one.
“I should, therefore, suspend my congratulations on the new liberty of France until I was informed how it had been combined with government; with public force ; with the discipline and obedience of armies; with the collection of an effective and well-distributed revenue; with morality and religion ; with the solidity of property; with peace and order; with civil and social manner. And, all these, in their way, are good things, too; and, without them, liberty is not a benefit while it lasts, and is not likely to continue long.' " * * * "I set out with the proceedings of the Revolutionary Society; but I shall not confine myself to them. Is it possible I should ? It looks to me as if I were in a great crisis, not of the affairs of France alone, but of all Europe. All circumstances, taken together, the French Revolution is the most astonishing that has hitherto happened in the world.” This
passage is a key note to the work, and is a forecast of the actual events that soon came on France. Burke saw liberty in action, and that it was a great crisis, not in France alone but of all Europe. He then proceeded to show that the crisis was based on false principles, dangerous to liberty, to order, to property, and the institutions of France. He took a clear and comprehensive view of the actual danger, and the calamities that would attend this people in their mighty struggle for liberty and reform. Burke did not, in his usual
masterly way, unfold the causes that led to this crisis, nor did he gather up the actual grievances of the people who were now throwing off an effete and arbitrary system of government that weighed them down like an incubus. He knew French history, and he skilfully depicted the crisis and its inevitable disasters to forewarn and forearm England against the spread of French principles. Indeed, so judiciously was this work presented that there is nothing historical to refute, nothing but his speculations and his principles against which we can contend. And here we must call in question his fundamnental postulates antagonistic to those of Dr. Price and the Revolutionary Society, which seemed to have filled him with alarm if not with indignation against these simple principles, those laid down in that celebrated sermon. Dr. Price claimed that the people of England, by the principles of her Revolution, had acquired a right:
1st. To choose their own government.
“ This new and unheard of bill of rights, though made in the name of the whole people, belongs to these gentlemen only. The body of the people of England have no share in it. They utterly disclaim it. They will resist the practical assertion of it with their lives and fortunes. They are bound to do so by the laws of their country, made at the time of that very revolution, which is appealed to in favor of the fictitious rights claimed by the society which abuses its name.
“We must recall their erring fancies to the acts of the Revolution, which we reverse, for the discovery of its true principles. If the principles of the Revolution of 1688 are anywhere to be found, it is in the statute called the Declaration of Rights. In that most wise, sober, and considerate declaration, drawn up by the great lawyers and great statesmen, and not by warm and inexperienced enthusiasts, not one word is said, nor one suggestion made, of a general right to choose our own governors ; to cashier them for misconduct; and to form a government for ourselves.'
“This Declaration of Right (the act of the first of William and Mary, sess. 2, ch. 2.) is the corner stone of our constitution, as reinforced, explained, improved, and its fundamental principles forever settled. It is called An act for declaring the rights and liberties of the subject,