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of vulgar acelamation, and of all praise which is not fairly earned. One valuable superiority, which Livy possesses over his competitors, is, that in describing vice, and vicious characters, he scrupulously contrives to excite an abhorrence of both; and his relations never leave on the mind of the reader, a propensity to the crime, or a partiality for the criminal whom he has been describing. A defect, in this acuteness of moral feeling, has been highly pernicious to the youthful reader; and this too common admixture of impure description, even when the honest design has been to expose vice, has sensibly tainted the wholesomeness of historic composition.
Independently of those beautiful, though sometimes redundant speeches, which Livy puts into the mouths of his heroes, his eloquent and finished answers to ambassadors, furnish a species of rhetoric peculiarly applicable to a royal education.
It has been regretted by some of the critics, that Livy, after enriching his own work by the most copious plagiarisms from his great precursor, Polybius, commends him in a way so frigid as almost to amount to censure. He does not, it is true, go the length of Voltaire in his treatment of Shakspeare, who first pillages and then abuses him. The Frenchman, indeed, who spoils what he steals, acts upon the old known principle of his country highwaymen, who always murder where they rob.
man virtues, also, though they would have been valuable in their just measure and degree, and in a due symmetry and proportion with other virtues, yet, by their excess, helped to produce those evils which afterwards ruined Rome; while a perfect system of morals, like the Christian, would have prevented those evils. Their patriotism was oppression to the rest of the world. Their virtue was not so much sullied by pride, as founded in it; and their justice was tinctured with a savageness which bears little resemblance to the justice which is taught by Christianity.
These two simple precepts of our religion, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thyself;—these two principles, kept in due exercise, would, like the two powers which govern the natural world, keep the intellectual and spiritual world in or der; would restrain, impel, unite and govern it.
In considering the ancient philosophy, how does the fine gold become dim, before the sober lustre of that divine legislator, whose kingdom, indeed, was not of this world, but who has taught kings of the earth, princes, and all people,' those maxims and principles which cast into shade all the false splendours of the antique world!' Christianity has furnished the only true practical comment on that grand position of the admirable author of the sublime, that nothing is great the contempt of which is great. For how can triumphs, honours, riches, power, If it be thought that we have too warmly re-conquest, fame, be considered as of intrinsic va. commended heathen authors, let it be remembered, that in the hands of every enlightened preceptor, as was eminently the case with Fenelon, pagans almost become Christian teachers by the manner in which they will be explained, elucidated, purified; and not only will the corruptions of paganism be converted into instruc. tion, by being contrasted with the opposite Chris. tian graces, but the Christian system will be advantageously shown to be almost equally at variance, with many pagan virtues, as with all its vices.
If there were no other evidence of the value of pagan historians, the profound attention which they prove the ancients to have paid to the education of youth, would alone suffice to give them considerable weight in the eyes of every judge of sound instruction. Their regard to youthful modesty, the inculcation of obedience and reserve, the exercises of self-denial, exacted from children of the highest rank, put to shame,-I will not say Christians, but many of the nominal professors of Christianity.-Levity, idleness, disregard of the laws, contempt of established systems and national institutions, met with a severer reprobation in the pagan youth, than is always found among those, in our day, who yet do not openly renounce the character of Christians.
Far be it from us, however, to take our morals from so miserably defective a standard as pagan history affords. For though philosophy had given some admirable rules for maintaining the out-works of virtue, Christianity is the only religion which ever pretended to expel vice from the heart.-The best qualities of paganism want the best motives. Some of the overgrown Ro
lue by a Christian, the very essence of whose religion consists in being crucified to the world; the very aim and end of whose religion lies in a superiority to all greatness which is to have an end with this life; the very nature and genius of whose religion tends to prove, that eternal life is the only adequate measure of the happiness, and immortal glory the only adequate object of the ambition of a Christian.
English History.—Mr. Hume.
BUT the royal pupil is not to wander always in the wide field of universal history. The extent is so vast, and the time for travelling over it so short, that after being sufficiently possessed of that general view of mankind which the history of the world exhibits, it seems reasonable to concentrate her studies, and to direct her attention to certain great leading points, and especially to those objects with which she has a natural and more immediate connexion. The history of modern Europe abounds with such objects. In Robertson's luminous view of the state of Europe, the progress of society is traced with just arrangement and philosophical precision. His admirable histories of Charles V. and Mary Queen of Scots, separate from their great independent merit, will be read with singular advantage in connection with the contemporary reigns of English history. In the writings of Sully and Clarendon, may be seen how, for a long time, the passions of kings were contra
dicted, and often controlled by the wisdom of their ministers; sovereigns who were not insensible to praise, nor averse from flattery, yet submitting, though sometimes with a very ill grace, to receive services rather than adulation. Ministers who consulted the good rather than the humour of their princes; who promoted their interests, instead of gratifying their vices, and who preferred their fame to their favour.
thinking that the reformation was really not worth contending for.
But, in nothing is the skill of this accomplished sophist more apparent than in the artful way in which he piques his readers into a conformity with his own views concerning religion. Human pride, he knew, naturally likes to range itself on the side of ability. He therefore, skil fully works on this passion, by treating with a sort of contemptuous superiority, as weak and credulous men, all whom he represents as being under the religious delusion, and by uniformly insinuating that talents and piety belong to opposite parties.
To the shameful practice of confounding fanaticism with real religion, he adds the disinge. nuous habit of accounting for the best actions of the best men, by referring them to some low motive; and affects to confound the designs of the religious and the corrupt, so artfully, that no radical difference appears to subsist between them.
It is injurious to a young mind to read the history of the reformation by any author, how accurate soever he may be in his facts, who does not see a divine power accompanying this great work; by any author who ascribes to the power, or rather to the perverseness of nature, and the obstinacy of innovation, what was in reality an effect of providential direction; by any who discerns nothing but human resources, or stubborn perseverance, where a Christian distinguishes, though with a considerable alloy of human imperfection, the operation of the Spirit of God.
Hume is incomparably the most informing, as well as the most elegant, of all the writers of English history. His narrative is full, well arranged, and beautifully perspicuous. Yet, he is an author who must be read with extreme caution on a political, but especially on a religious account. Though, on occasions where he may be trusted, because his peculiar principles do not interfere, his political reflections are usually just, sometimes profound. His account of the origin of the Gothic government is full of interest and information. He marks, with exact precision, the progress and decay of the feudal manners, when law and order began to prevail, and our constitution assumed something like a shape. His finely painted characters of Alfred and Elizabeth should be engraved on the heart of every sovereign. His political prejudices do not strikingly appear, till the establishment of the house of Stewart, nor his religious antipathies till about the distant dawn of the reformation under Henry V. From that period to its full establishment, he is perhaps more dan- Hume has a fascinating manner at the close gerous, because less ostensibly daring than some of the life of a hero, a prince, or a statesman, of other infidel historians. It is a serpent under a drawing up his character so elaborately as to bed of roses. He does not (in his history at attract and fix the whole attention of the reader; least) so much ridicule religion himself, as in- and he does it in such a way, that while he envite others to ridicule it. There is in his man- gages the mind he unsuspectedly misleads it. ner, a sedateness which imposes; in his scepti- He makes a general statement of the vices and cism, a sly gravity which puts the reader more virtues, the good and bad actions of the person off his guard than the vehemence of censure, or whom he paints, leaving the reader to form his the levity of wit; for we are always less dis-own conclusions, by casting up the balance of posed to suspect a man who is too wise to ap- the vices and virtues, of the good and bad acpear angry. That same wisdom makes him tions thus enumerated: while he never once too correct to invent calumnies, but it does leads the reader to determine on the character not preserve him from doing what is scarcely by the only sure criterion, the ruling principle, less disingenuous. He implicitly adopts the in- which seemed to govern it. This is the too prejurious relations of those annalists who were vailing method of historians; they make morals most hostile to the reformed faith; though he completely independent of religion, by thus must have known their accounts to be aggra- weighing qualities, and letting the preponder. vated and discoloured, if not absolutely invented. ance of the scale decide on virtue, as it were by He thus makes others responsible for the worst grains and scruples: thus furnishing a standard things he asserts, and spreads the mischief, of virtue subversive of that which Christianity without avowing the malignity. When he speaks establishes. This method instead of marking from himself, the sneer is so cool, the irony so the moral distinctions, blends and confounds sober, the contempt so discreet, the moderation them, by establishing character on an accidental so insidious, the difference between popish bi- difference, often depending on circumstance and gotry, and protestant firmness, between the fury occasion, instead of applying to it one eternal of the persecutor and the resolution of the mar- rule and motive of action.* tyr, so little marked; the distinctions between intolerant frenzy and heroic zeal so melted into each other, and though he contrives to make the reader feel some indignation at the tyrant, he never leads him to feel any reverence for the sufferer; he ascribes such a slender superiority to one religious system above another, that the young reader who does not come to the perusal with his principles formed, will be in danger of
But, there is another evil into which writers far more unexceptionable than Mr. Hume often
* If these remarks may be thought too severe by some Mr. Hume's history may I not be allowed to observe that readers for that degree of scepticism which appears in he has shown his principles so fully, in some of his other works, that we are entitled, on the ground of these borders on religion?-A circumstance apt to be forgotworks, to read with suspicion every thing he says which ten by many who read only his history.
fall, that of rarely leading the mind to look beyond second causes and human agents. It is mortifying to refer them to the example of a pagan. Livy thought it no disgrace to proclaim, repeatedly, the insufficiency of man to accomplish great objects without divine assistance. He was not ashamed to refer events to the direction and control of providence; and when he speaks of notorious criminals, he is not contented with describing them as transgressing against the state, but represents them as also offending against the gods.
Yet, it is proper again to notice the defects of ancient authors in their views of providential interference; a defect arising from their never clearly including a future state in their account. They seem to have conceived themselves as fairly entitled by their good conduct to the divine favour, which favour they usually limited to present prosperity. Whereas all notions of divine justice must of necessity be widely erroneous, in which a future retribution is not ambiguously and constantly included.
Important eras of English History.
As the annals of our own country furnish an object on which a royal student should be led to dwell with particular interest, it may be necessary to call the attention to certain important periods of our history and constitution, from each of which we begin to reckon a new æra; because from that epoch, some new system of causes and effects begins to take place!
to the minuter details of contemporary annalists, and to the original records consisting of letters and state papers, must be limited to periods of more than ordinary importance. Into these the attentive politician will dive for himself, and he will often be abundantly repaid. The periods, for example, of the unhappy contests in the reign of the first Charles, of the restoration, and more especially of the revolution, are the turning points of our political constitution. A prince, by examining these original documents, and by making himself master of the points then at issue, would be sure to understand what are his own rights as a sovereign.
It is not by single, but by concurrent testimony, that the truth of history is established. And it is by a careful perusal of different authors who treat of the same period, that a series of historic truth will be extracted. Where they agree, we may trust that they are right; where they differ we must elicit truth from the un-collision. Thus the royal pupil, when engaged in the perusal of Clarendon, should also study some of the best writers, who are favourable to the parliamentary cause. A careful perusal of Ludlow and Whitlock; a general survey of Rushworth, or occasional reference to that author and to Thurloe; and as a cursory review of their own lives and times by Laud and Baxter, will throw great light on many of the transactions of the eventful period of the first Charles. They will show how different the same actions appear to different men, equal in understanding and integrity. They will inforce mutual candour and mutual forbearance, repressing the wholesale conclusions of party violence, and teaching a prince to be on his guard against the intemperate counsels of his interested or It will be proper, however, to trace the shades heated advisers. They will instruct a monarch of alteration which intervene between these in the important lesson of endeavouring to as æras; for though the national changes appear certain and keep in view the light in which his to be brought about by some one great event, actions and motives wilì appear to his people. yet, the event itself will be found to have been They will teach him to attend carefully to the slowly working its way by causes trivial in their opinions and feelings, and even to the prejudices appearance, and gradual in their progress. of the times; and in obedience to a precept enFor the minds of the people must be previously joined by divine authority for private life, and ripened for a change, before any material alter- still more important to be observed in public,ation is produced-It was not the injury that Lu-to provide things honest in the sight of all men." cretia sustained, which kindled the resentment of the Romans; the previous misconduct of the Tarquins had excited in the people the spirit of that revolution. A momentary indignation brought a series of discontents to a crisis, and one public crime was seized on as the pretence for revenging a long course of oppression. The arrival, however, of these slowly produced æras makes a sudden and striking change in the circumstances of a country, and forms a kind of distinct line of separation between the manners which precede and those which follow it.
A prince (whose chief study must be politics) ought in general to prefer contemporary historians, and even ordinary annalists, to the compilers of history who come after them. He should have recourse to the documents from which authors derive their history, rather than sit down satisfied with the history so derived. Life, however, is too short to allow, in all cases, of this laborious process. Attention, therefore,
Again, while the narratives of the contemporary historians furnish facts, they who live in a succeeding age have the additional advantages first, of a chance of greater impartiality; secondly, of a comparison with corresponding events, and, thirdly, of having the tendencies of the events related, appreciated by the evidence of their actual effects. How imperfect, for example, would be the philosophical and political remarks, and how false the whole colour belonging to any history of the French revolution which might have immediately appeared.* Much lapse of time is necessary in order to reflect back light on the original tendency of events. The fermentation of political passions requires a long time to subside. The agitation continucs till the events have nearly lost their
The French revolution, with its consequences, seem intended practically to contradict what Thucydides declared to be his design in writing history; namely, by a faithful account of past things to assist mankind in conjecturing the future!
make himself a scholar, a philosopher, and the moral as well as civil instructor of his people;
such an exact conception of the true character of a sovereign, such sublimity of principle, and such corresponding rectitude of practice, as fill up all our ideas of consummate greatness. In a word, Alfred seems to have been sent into the world to realize the beautiful fiction, which
interest, by the occurrence of a fresh class of events; which, in their turn, raise a new party, and excite a new interest; so that an impartial-all this implies such a grandeur of capacity, distribution of praise and censure is seldom made till those who are concerned in it have been long out of hearing. And it is an inconvenience inseparable from human things that when writers are least able to come at the truth, they are most disposed to tell it. It will be necessary to understand the politi-poets, philosophers, and patriots, have formed cal system of Europe, since that period particularly, when the two powers of France and Austria having arisen to a greatness, which made them mutually, as well as generally formidable, other countries, seeing the necessity for their own safety, of opposing the stronger, and supporting the weaker, conceived the idea of that balance of power, that just equiponderance, which might preserve the security of all.
But there is a far earlier epoch to which attention ought perhaps, in the very first instance, to be directed, I mean the reign of Alfred. This is eminently a study for kings.-In Alfred, the most vigorous exertion of public justice was united with attachment to public liberty. He eagerly seized every interval of tranquillity, from the convulsions with which the state was torn, to collect materials for the most salutary institutions, which he afterwards established; he employed every moment he could snatch from the wars in which he was inevitably engaged, in introducing the arts of peace, and in turning the minds of his harassed and disorderly subjects to virtuous and industrious pursuits; in repairing the mischievous consequences of past insurrections, and wisely guarding against their return. He had to correct the habits of a people who had lived without laws, and without morals; and to reduce to civilization, men who had been driven to subsist by chance or rapine. By a system of jurisprudence, which united moral discipline with the execution of penal laws, he undertook to give a new direction to habits inveterately depraved.
of a perfect king. It is also worth observing, that all those various plans were both projected and executed by a monarch who, as all historians agree, had suffered more hardships than any ordinary adventurer, had fought more battles than most generals, and was the most voluminous author of his day. And, if it should be asked by what means a single individual could accomplish such a variety of projects, the answer is simply this: It was in a good measure by an art of which little account is made, but which is perhaps of more importance in a sovereign than almost any other, at least it is one without which the brightest genius is of little value, a strict economy of time.
Between the earlier life of Alfred and that of Charles II. there was, as must be observed, a striking similarity. The paths of both to the throne were equally marked by such imminent dangers and hair breadth's 'scapes' as more resemble romance than authentic history. What a lesson had Alfred prepared for Charles! But their characters as kings, exhibited an opposition which is as strong as the resemblance in their previous fortunes. With an understanding naturally good, with that education which Alfred wanted,-with every advantage which an improved state of society could give over a barbarous one; such, notwithstanding, was the uniform tenor of the Stuart's subsequent life, as almost to present the idea of an intended contrast to the virtues of the illustrious Saxon.
Another epoch to which the pupil's attention should be pointed, is the turbulent and iniquitous reign of king John; whose oppression and injustice were, by the excess to which they were carried, the providential means of rousing the English spirit, and of obtaining the establishment of the great charter. This famous trans. action, so deservedly interesting to Englishmen, bestowed or secured the most valuable civil privileges; chiefly indeed to the barons and clergy, but also to the people at large. The privileges of the latter had antecedently, been scarcely taken into the account, and their liberties, always imperfect, had suffered much in
The royal pupil will be taught to ascribe the origin of some of our best usages to these sagacious regulations; above all, the conception of that unparalleled idea which so beautifully reconciles the exact administration of justice with individual liberty; the origin of our juries evidently appearing to have first entered the mind of Alfred. The effects on the people seem to have been proportioned to the exertions of the prince. Crimes were repressed. The most unexampled change took place in the national manners. Encouragement was held out to the reformed, while punishment kept infringement by the introduction of the feudal law order the more irreclaimable. Yet with all these strong measures, never was a prince more tenderly alive to the liberty of the subject. And while commerce, navigation, ingenious inventions, and all the peaceful arts were promoted by him, his skill in the military tactics of that day was superior, perhaps, to that of any of his contemporaries.
To form such vast projects, not for disturbing the world, but for blessing it, to reduce those projects, in many instances, to the most minute detail of actual execution ;-to have surmounted the misfortune of a neglected education so as to
into England under the Norman William. For, whether they were vassals under the barons, or vassals under the king it made little difference in their condition; which was, in fact, to the greater part, little better than a state of absolute slavery. The barons, liberal, perhaps, through policy rather than humanity, in struggling for their own liberty were compelled to involve in one common interest the liberty of the people; and the same laws which they
the preceding part of this account, in substance, is * See the character of Alfred in Hume, from which chiefly taken.
demanded to secure their own protection, in, some measure necessarily extended their be. nign influence to the inferior classes of society -Those immunities, which are essential to the well-being of civil and social life, gradually be. came better secured. Injustice was restrained, tyrannical exactions were guarded against, and oppression was no longer sanctioned. This famous deed, without any violent innovation, became the mound of property, the pledge of liberty, and the guarantee of independence. As it guarded the rights of all orders of men, from the lowest to the highest, it was vigorously contended for by all; for, if it limited the power of the king, it also confirmed it, by securing the allegiance and fidelity of the subject. It was of inestimable use by giving a determinate form and shape, such a local habitation and a name,' to the spirit of liberty; so that the English, when, as it often happened, they claimed the recognition of their legal rights, were not left to wander in a wide field, without having any specific object, without limitation, and without direction. They knew what to ask for, and, obtaining that, they were satisfied. We surely cannot but be sensible of the advantages which they derived from this circumstance, who have seen the effects of an opposite situation, in this very particular, illustrated so strikingly in the earlier period of the French revolution.
But, rapidity of progress seems, by the very laws of nature, to be precluded, where the benefit is to be radical and permanent.-It was not, therefore, until our passion for making war within the territory of France was cured, nor until we left off tearing the bowels of our own country, in the dissensions of the Yorkists and Lancastrians, after having for near four hundred years, torn those of our neighbours; in a word, it was not until both foreign and civil fury began to cool, that in the reign of Henry VII. the people began to enjoy more real freedom, as the king enjoyed a more settled dominion, and the interests of peace and commerce substantially prevailed. Without ascribing to this king virtues which he did not possess, the view of his reign, with all its faults, affords a kind of breathing time, and sense of repose. It is from this reign that the history of the laws, and civil constitution of England become interesting; as that of our ecclesiastical constitution does from the subsequent reign. A general acquaintance with the antecedent part of our history may suffice for the royal pupil, but from these periods she cannot possess too detailed a knowledge of it.
It is remarkable that in France, a nation in which women have always been held in the highest consideration, their genius has never been called to its loftiest exercise.-France is perhaps the only country which has never been governed by a woman.--The mothers, however, of some of her sovereigns, when minors, have, VOL. II.
during their regencies, Blanche of Castile,* especially, discovered talents for government not inferior to those of most of her kings.
Anne of Austria has had her eulogists; but in her character there seems to have been more of intrigue than of genius, or at least, than of sound sense; and her virtues were problemati. cal. If her talents had some splendour, they had no solidity. They produced a kind of stage ef fect, which was imposing, but not efficient, and she was rather an actress of royalty than a great queen. She was not happy in the choice of a friend. The source of all Mazarin's greatness, she supported him with inflexible attachment, and established him in more than regal power. In return, he treated her with respect as long as he stood in need of her protection, and set her aside when her support was become no longer necessary to his confirmed power.
The best queens have been most remarkable for employing great men. Among these, Zenobia, Elizabeth, and Anne stood foremost. Those who wish to derogate from the glories of a female reign, have never failed to urge, that they were owing to the wisdom of the ministers, and not to that of the queen; a censure which involves an eulogium. For, is not the choice of sagacious ministers the characteristic mark of a sagacious sovereign? Would, for instance, Mary di Medici have chosen a Walsingham; she who made it one of the first acts of her regency to banish Sully, and to employ Concini ? Or, did it ever enter into the mind of the first Mary of England to take into her councils that Cecil, who so much distinguished himself in the cabinet of her sister?
Elizabeth's great natural capacity was, as has been before observed, improved by an excellent education. Her native vigour of mind had been early called forth by a series of uncommon trials. The circumspection she had been, from childhood, obliged to exercise, taught her prudence. The difficulties which beset her, accustomed her to self-control. Can we, therefore, doubt that the steadiness of purpose, and undaunted resolution which she manifested on almost every occasion during her long reign, were greatly to be attributed to that youthful discipline? She would probably never have acquired such an ascendency over the mind of others, had she not early learned so absolute a command over her
On coming to the crown, she found herself surrounded with those obstacles which display great characters, but overset ordinary minds. The vast work of the reformation, which had been undertaken by her brother Edward, but crushed in the very birth, as far as was within human power, by the bigot Mary, was resumed and accomplished by Elizabeth: and that, not in the calm of security, not in the fulness of undisputed power, but even while that power was far from being confirmed, and that security was liable, every mement, to be shaken by the most alarming commotions. She had prejudices, apparently insurmountable, to overcome; she had heavy debts to discharge; she had an almost ruined navy to repair; she had a debased coin
Mother of Louis IX.