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a grateful imagination cannot refuse the the committees meet, and an elevation from tribute ; but the titles remaining the same, which the speakers address the assembly. though passing from one family to another, “ I was present at one of these discussions, there results from this a salutary ignorance in which motives calculated to excite the in the minds of the people, which leads them generosity of the hearers were urged with to pay the same respect to the same titles, much energy. The question was, sending whatever may be the family name to which of relief to the inhabitants of Leipsic after they are attached. The great Marlborough the battle fought under the walls of that was called Churchill, and was certainly not The first who spoke was the Duke of so noble an origin as the ancient house of of York, the King's second son, and the first Spencer, to which the present Duke of person in the kingdom after the Prince ReMarlborough belongs; but, without speak- gent, a man of ability, and much esteemed ing of the memory of a great man, which in the direction of his department ; but who would have sufficed to honour his descend. has neither the habit of, nor a taste for, ants, the people of the better classes only speaking in public. He, however, conquer- . know that the Duke of Marlborough of our ed his natural timidity, because he was thus days is of more illustrious descent than the hopeful of giving useful encouragement. famous General, and the respect in which Courtiers in an absolute monarchy would he is held by the mass of the nation neither not have failed to insinuate to a king's son, gains nor loses from that circumstance. The first, that he ought not to do any thing Duke of Northumberland, on the contrary, which cost him trouble; and, secondly, descends, by the female branch only, from that he was wrong to commit himself by the famous Percy Hotspur ; and, neverthe- haranguing the public in the midst of merless, he is considered by every body as the chants, his colleagues in speaking. This true heir of that house. People exclaim idea never entered the Duke of York's against the regularity of ceremonials in mind, nor that of any Englishman, whatEngland ; the seniority of a single day, in ever might be his opinion. After the Duke point of nomination to the peerage, gives of York, the Duke of Sussex, the King's one peer precedence of another named some fifth son, who expresses himself with great hours later. The wife and daughter share ease and elegance, spoke in his turn; and the advantages of the husband or father ; the man the most respected and esteemed in but it is precisely this regularity of ranks all England, Mr Wilberforce, could scarcewhich prevents mortification to vanity ; for ly make himself heard, so much was his it may happen that the last created peer is voice drowned in acclamations.
Obscure of a nobler birth than he by whom he is pre- citizens, holding no other rank in society ceded; he may at least think so : and every than their fortune, or their zeal for humaone takes his share of self-love without in- nity, succeeded these illustrious names ; every juring the public.
one, according to his powers, insisted on the
honourable necessity in which England was “ In England they have made respect for placed, of succouring those of her allies who ancestry serve to form a class which gives had suffered more than herself in the comthe power of flattering men of talents, by mon contest. The auditors subscribed be. associating them with it. In fact, we can- fore their departure, and considerable sums not too often ask, what folly can be greater were the result of this meeting. It is thus than that of arranging political associations that are formed the ties which strengthen in such a way as may lead a celebrated the unity of the nation ; and it is thus that man to regret that he is not his own grand- social order is founded on reason and hu. son ; for, once ennobled, his descendants of manity. the third generation obtained by his merit “ These respectable assemblies do not privileges that could not be granted to him- merely aim at encouraging acts of humani- ? self. Thus, in France, all persons were ea- ty ; some of them serve particularly to conger to quit trade, and even the law, when- solidate the union between the great nobility ever they had money enough to purchase a and the commercial class, between the na." title. Hence it happened that no career, tion and the government; and these are the except that of arms, was ever carried as far most solemn. as it might have been ; and it has thus been impossible to judge how far the prosperity lightful than such praise from such.
Nothing, we think, can be more deof France would extend, if it enjoyed in peace the advantages of a free constitution. lips,—we shall make room for another
“ All classes of respectable individuals passage. are accustomed to meet in England in dif- “ That which is particularly characterisferent committees, when engaged in any tic of England is a mixture of chivalrous public undertaking, in any act of charity, spirit with an enthusiasm for liberty, the supported by voluntary subscriptions. Pub- two most noble sentiments of which the hulicity in business is a principle so generally man heart is susceptible. Circumstances admitted, that though the English are by have brought about this fortunate result, nature the most reserved of men, and the and we ought to admit that new institutions most averse to speak in company, there are would not suffice to produce it: the recolalways seats for spectators in the halls where lection of the past is necessary to consecrate
aristocratic ranks ; for if they were all of career, others to political eloquence; there the creation of power, they would be sub- is not one virtue, nor one kind of talent, ject, in part, to the inconveniences experi- which has not its place, or which may not enced in France under Bonaparte.
But flatter itself with attaining it; and every what can be done in a country where the thing in the social edifice conduces to the nobility should be inimicable to liberty of glory of that constitution, which is as dear every kind ? The Tiers Etat could not to the Duke of Norfolk as to the meanest form a union with them; and, as it would porter in England, because it protects both be the stronger of the two, it would inces with the same equity, santly threaten the nobility until the latter “ Thee I account still happy, and the chief had submitted to the progress of reason. Among the nations, seeing thou art free,
“ The English aristocracy is of a more My native nook of earth! Thy clime is rude, mixed kind in the eyes of a genealogist than Replete with vapours, and disposes much that of France; but the English nation All hearts to sorrow, and none more than seems, if we may say so, one entire body of gentlemen. You may see in every English citizen what he may one day become, Yet, being free, I love thee. since no rank lies beyond the reach of ta- “ These verses are by a poet of admirable lent, and since high ranks have always kept talents, but whose happiness was destroyed up their ancient splendour. It is true that by his extreme sensibility. He was labourthat which, above all, constitutes nobility, ing under a mortal disease of melancholy ; in the view of an enlightened mind, is the and when love, friendship, philosophy, every being free. An English nobleman or gen- thing, added to his sufferings, a free coun. tleman (taking the word gentleman in the try yet awakened in his soul an enthusiasm sense of a man of independent property) which nothing could extinguish. exercises, in his part of the country some “ All men are more or less attached to useful employment to which no salary is at- their country ; the recollections of infancy, tached : as a justice of the peace, sheriff, or the habits of youth, form that inexpressible lord lieutenant in the county, where his pro- love of the native soil which we must acperty is situated; he influences elections in a knowledge as a virtue, for all true feeling manner that is suitable, and that increases his constitutes its source. But in a great state, credit with the people; as a peer or member of liberty, and the happiness arising from that the House of Commons, he discharges a poli. liberty, can alone inspire true patriotism: tical function, and possesses a real importance. nothing accordingly is comparable to public This is not the idle aristocracy of a French spirit in England. The English are accus. noblemany, who was of no consideration in ed of selfishness, and it is true that their the state whenever the king refused him his mode of life is so well regulated that they favour; it is a distinction founded on all generally confine themselves within the cirthe interests of the nation : and we cannot cle of their habits and domestic aftections ; avoid being surprised, that French gentle- but what sacrifice is too great for them when men should have preferred the life of a court- the interest of their country is at stake ? ier, moving on the road from Versailles to And among what people in the world are Paris, to the majestic stability of an Eng. services rendered, felt, and rewarded, with lish Peer on his estate, surrounded by men more enthusiasm. When we enter Westto whom he can do a thousand acts of kind. minster Abbey, all those tombs, sacred to ness, but over whom he can exercise no ar- the men who have been illustrious for cen. bitrary power. The authority of law is in turies past, seem to reproduce the spectacle England predominant over all the powers of of the greatness of England among the dead. the state, as Fate in ancient mythology was Kings and philosophers repose under the superior to the authority of the gods them- same roof: it is there that quarrels are apselves.
peased, as has been well observed by the “ To the political miracle of a respect for celebrated Walter Scott.†. You behold the the rights of every one founded on a senti. tombs of Pitt and Fox beside each other, ment of justice, we must add the equally and the same tears bedew both ; for they skilful and fortunate union of equality, in both deserve the profound regret which genthe eye of the law, to the advantages aris- erous minds ought to bestow on that noble ing from the separation of ranks. Every portion of our species, who serve to support one in that country stands in need of others our confidence in the immortality of the for his comfort, yet every one is there inde- soul. pendent of all by his rights. This Tiers 6 Let us recollect the funeral of Nelson, Etat, which has become so prodigiously ag- when nearly a million of persons, scattered grandized in France, and in the rest of Europe, this Tiers Etat, the increase of
* Cowper. which necessitates successive changes in all of Genius, and taste, and talent gone, old institutions, is united in England to the For ever tomb'd beneath the stone, nobility, because the nobility itself is iden- Where, taming thought to human pride tified with the nation.
A great number of The mighty chiefs sleep side by side. Peers owe the origin of their dignity to the Drop upon Fox's grave the tear, law, some to commerce, others to a military
"Twill triokle to his rival's bier.
throughout London and the neighbourhood, other, to that sentiment of liberty which contemplated in silence the passage of his makes all feel the desire of defending them. hearse. The multitude were silent, the selves mutually against oppression ; for it is multitude evinced as much respect in the in that respect especially that, in politics, we expression of its grief as might have been should treat our neighbour as ourselves. expected from the most polished society. " The state of information, and the ener. Nelson had given as a signal, on the day of gy of public spirit, is more than a sufficient Trafalgar, England expects every man to answer to the arguments of those men who do his duty;' he had accoinplished that pretend that the army would overpower the duty, and when expiring on board his ves- liberty of England, if England were a consel, the honourable obsequies which his tinental state. It is, without doubt, an ad. country would grant him presented them. vantage to England, that her strength conselves to his thoughts as the beginning of a sists rather in her marine than in her land new life.
forces. It requires more knowledge to be a “ Nor yet let'us be silent on Lord Welling. captain of a ship than a colonel ; and none ton, although in France we cannot but suffer of the habits acquired at sea lead one to de. by the recollection of his glory. With what sire to interfere in the interior affairs of the transport was he not received by the repre- country. But were nature, in a lavish sentatives of the nation, by the Peers and mood, to create ten Lord Wellingtons, and by the Commons. No ceremony was re- were the world again to witness ten battles quired to convey this homage rendered to a of Waterloo, it would never enter the heads living man; but the transports of the Eng- of those who so readily give their lives for lish people burst forth on all sides. The their country, to turn their force against it; acclamations of the crowd resounded in the or, if so, they would encounter an invincible lobby before he entered the House ; when obstacle among men as brave as themselves, he appeared, all the members rose with a and more enlightened, who detest the mili. spontaneous motion, unrequired by any
tary spirit, although they know how to ad. formality. The homage which is dictated mire and practise warlike virtues. elsewhere was here inspired by emotion. Yet nothing could be more simple than the “ That sort of prejudice which persuaded reception of Lord Wellington : there were the French nobility that they could serve no guards, no military pomp, to do honour their country only in the career of arms, to the greatest general of the age in which exists not at all in England. Many sons of Bonaparte lived: but the day was celebrate lords are counsellors ; the bar participates ed by the voice of the people, and nothing in the respect that is felt for the law; and like it could be seen in any other country in every career civil occupations are held in
esteem. In such a country there is nothing *" Ah! what a fascinating enjoyment is as yet to be feared from military power : that of popularity! I know all that can be ignorant nations only have a blind admirasaid on the inconstancy, and even the ca- tion for the sword. Bravery is an admirable price of popular favour ; but those reproaches quality when we expose a life dear to our are more applicable to ancient republics, family, and when, with a nind filled with where the democratic forms of government virtue and knowledge, a citizen becomes a led to the most rapid vicissitudes. In a soldier to maintain his rights as a citizen. country governed like England, and, more. But when men fight only because they will over, enlightened by that torch, without not take the trouble to employ their minds which all is darkness, the liberty of the and their time in some steady pursuit, they press, men and things, are judged with the cannot be long admired by a nation where greatest equity. Truth is submitted to the industry and reflection hold the first rank." observation of every one, while the various constraints that are employed elsewhere, pro- Manners, above all in the eyes of duce necessarily great uncertainty in judg- a Frenchwoman, are matters of im
A libes, that glides across the com- portance enough to entitle them to be pulsory silence to which the press is con- considered in immediate connexion demned, may change public opinion in re
with subjects of more apparent diga gard to any man, for the praise or the cen. sure ordered by government is always sus. nity. Our readers will be delighted picious. Nothing can be clearly and solid.
to see what kind of impression our ly settled in the minds of men, but by free manners, so little understood among discussion.”
the Continental nations, made upon
the mind of one who had travelled so “ If any thing can seduce the English much, and with such opportunities pation from equity, it is misfortune. An and faculties of observation. individual, persecuted by any power what'ever, might inspire an undeserved, and con. “ The science of liberty (if we may use sequently a fleeting interest. But this noble that expression), at the point at which it is error belongs, on the one hand, to the gene- cultivated in England, supposes in itself a rosity of the English character, and, on the very high degree of information. Nothing
can be more simple than that doctrine, with the different writings which appeared when once the principles on which it re- under the arbitrary reign of Charles II. and poses have been adopted; but it is never- under the Regent, or Louis XV. in France. theless certain, that, on the Continent, we The licentiousness of published works was seldom meet with any person who, in the carried among the French in the last cenheart and mind, understands England. It tury to a degree that excites horror. The would seem as if there were moral truths, case is the same in Italy, where, however, the amidst which we must be born, and which press has at all times been subjected to the the beating of the heart inculcates better most galling restrictions. Ignorance in the than all the discussions of theory. Never- bulk of the poeple, and the most lawless intheless, to enjoy and practise that liberty, dependence in men of superior parts, is alwhich unites all the advantages of republi- ways the result of constraint." can virtues, of philosophical knowledge, of religious sentiments, and monarchial dignity, a great share of understanding is requi- “ In every country the pleasures of so. site in the people, and a high degree of ciety concern only the first class, that is, the study and virtue in men of the first class. unoccupied class; who, having a great deal An English minister must unite with the of leisure for amusement, attach much im. qualities of a statesman the art of expressing portance to it. But in England, where himself with eloquence. It thence follows, every one has his career and his employthat literature and philosophy are much ment, it is natural for men of rank, as for more appreciated, because they contribute men of business in other countries, to prefer efficaciously to the success of the highest physical relaxation-walks, the country ; ambition. We hear incessantly of the em- in short, pleasure of any kind, in which the pire of rank and of wealth among the Eng- mind is at rest; to conversation, in which lish ; but we must also acknowledge the ad- one must think and speak with almost as miration which is granted to real talents. It much care as in the most serious business. is possible that, among the lowest class of so- Besides, the happiness of the English being ciety, a peerage and a fortune produce more founded on domestic life, it would not suit effect than the name of a great writer; this them that their wives should, as in France, must be so ; but if the question regards the make a kind of family selection of a certain enjoyments of good coinpany, and conse- number of persons constantly brought toquently of public opinion, I know no coun- gether. try in the world where it is more advanta- “ We must not, however, deny, that with geous to be a man of superiority. Not only all these honourable motives are mixed cerevery employment, every rank may be the tain defects, the natural results of all large recompence of talent; but public esteem is associations of men. In the first place, alexpressed in so flattering a manner, as to though in England there is much more pride confer enjoyments more keenly felt than than vanity, a good deal of stress is laid on
marking by manners the ranks which most “ The emulation which such a prospect of the institutions tend to bring on a level. naturally excites, is one of the principal There prevails a certain degree of egotism causes of the incredible extent of informa in the habits, and sometimes in the charaction diffused in England. Were it possible ter. Wealth, and the tastes created by to make a statistical report of knowledge, wealth, are the cause of it : people are not in no country should we find so great a pro- disposed to submit to inconvenience in any portion of persons conversant in the study of thing ; so great is their power of being comancient languages, a study, unfortunately, fortable in every thing. Family ties, so intoo much neglected in France. Private li timate as regards marriage, are far froin inbraries without number, collections of every timate in other relations, because the entails kind, subscriptions in abundance for all li- on property render the eldest sons too indeterary undertakings, establishments for pub- pendent of their parents, and separate also lic education, exist in all directions, in the interest of the younger brothers from every county, at the extremity as in the cen- those of the inheritor of the fortune. The tre of the kingdom : in short, we find at entails necessary to the support of the peereach step altars erected to understanding, age ought not, perhaps, to be extended to and these altars serve as a support to those other classes of proprietors ; it is a remnant of religion and virtue.
of the feudal system, of which one ought, “ Thanks to toleration, to political insti. if possible, to lessen the vexatious consetutions, and the liberty of the press, there is quences. From this it happens likewise a greater respect for religion and for morals that most of the women are without porin England than in any other country in tions, and that in a country where the inEurope. In France people take a pleasure stitution of convents cannot exist, there are in saying, that it is precisely for the sake of a number of young ladies, whom their religion and morals that censors have been mothers have a great desire to get married, at all times employed ; but let them com- and who may, with reason, be uneasy as to pare the spirit of literature in England since their prospects. This inconvenience, prothe liberty of the press is established there, duced by the unequal partition of fortunes,
is sensibly felt in society : for the unmar- is the reason that people come as little forried men take up too much of the attention ward as possible in the presence of others. of the women, and wealth in general, far Animation and grace necessarily lose greatfrom conducing to the pleasure of social in- ly by this. In no country of the world tercourse, is necessarily hurtful to it. A have reserve and taciturnity ever, I believe, very considerable fortune is requisite to re
been carried so far as in certain societies in ceive one's friends in the country, which is, England; and if one falls into such comhowever, the most agreeable mode of living panies, it is easy to conceive how a disrelish in England : fortune is necessary for all the of life may take possession of those who find relations of society ; not that people are vain themselves confined to them. But one of of a sumptuous mode of life ; but the im. these frozen circles, what satisfaction of portance attached by every body to the kind mind and heart may not be found in Engof enjoyment termed comfortable, would lish society, when one is happily placed prevent any person from venturing, as was there? The favour or dislike of ministers formerly the case in the most agreeable so- and the court are absolutely of no account cieties in Paris, to make up for a bad dinner in the relations of life ; and you would by amusing anecdotes.
make an Englishman blush, were you to “ In all countries the pretensions of appear to think of the office which he holds, young persons of fashion are engrafted on or of the influence he may possess. national defects ; they exhibit a caricature timent of pride always makes him think of these defects, but a caricature has always that these circumstances neither add to nor some traits of an original. In France the deduct in the slightest degree from his perpretenders to elegance endeavoured to strike, sonal merit. Political disappointments can. and tried to dazzle all possible means, not have any influence on the pleasures engood or bad. In England this same class joyed in fashionable society ; the party of of persons wish to be distinguished as dis- opposition are as brilliant there as the midainful, indifferent, and completely satiat- nisterialists : fortune, rank, intellect, taed of every thing. This is disagreeable lents, virtues, are shared among them; and enough ; but in what country of the world never do either of the two think of drawing is not foppery a resource of vanity to con- near to or keeping at a distance from a perceal natural mediocrity ? Among a people son by those calculations of ambition which where every thing bears a decided aspect, have always prevailed in France. To quit as in England, contrasts are the more strik. one's friends because they are out of power, ing. Fashion has remarkable influence on and to draw near to them because they pos. the habits of life, and yet there is no nation sess it, is a kind of tactics almost unknown in which one finds so many examples of in England ; and if the applause of society what is called eccentricity, that is, a mode does not lead to public employment, at least of life altogether original, and which makes the liberty of society is not impaired by comno account of the opinion of others. The binations foreign to the pleasures which may difference between the men who live under be tasted there. One finds there almost in. the control of others, and those who live to variably the security and the truth which themselves, is recognized every where; but form the bases of all enjoyment, because this opposition of character is rendered more they form their security. You have not to conspicuous by the singular mixture of timi. dread those perpetual broils which, in other dity and independence remarkable among countries, fill life with disquietude. What the English. They do nothing by halves, you possess in point of connexion and friendand they pass all at once from a slavish ad- ship, you can lose only by your own fault, herence to the most minute usages, to the and you never have reason to doubt the exmost complete indifference as to what the pressions of benevolence addressed to you, world may say of them. Yet the dread of for they will be surpassed by the actual perridicule is one of the principal causes of the formance, and consecrated by duration. coldness that prevails in English society: Truth, above all, is one of the most distinpeople are never accused of insipidity for guished qualities of the English character. keeping silence; and as they do not require The publicity that prevails in business, the of you to animate the conversation, one is discussions by which people arrive at the more impressed by the risks to which one bottom of every thing, have doubtless conexposes one's self by speaking, than by the tributed to this habit of strict truth which awkwardness of silence. In the country
cannot exist but in a country where dissiwhere people have the greatest attachment mulation deads to nothing but the mortifito the liberty of the press, and where they cation of being exposed. care the least for the attacks of the news- “ It has been much repeated on the Conpapers, the sarcasms of society are much tinent, that the English are unpolite, and a dreaded. Newspapers are considered the certain habit of independence, a great avervolunteers of political parties, and, in this, sion to restraint, may have given rise to this as in other respects, the English are very opinion. But I know no politeness, no fond of keeping up a conflict ; but slander protection, so delicate as that of the English and irony, when they take place in com- towards women in every circumstance of pany, irritate highly the delicacy of the life. Is there question of danger, of trouwomen, and the pride of the men. This ble, of a service to be rendered, there is noVOL. III.