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system of philosophy or religion or government, Penn. Rather, in want of curbs, to check us
Penn. My young friend, genius with thee is with their eyes fixed one upon the other, in like the bird of paradise, all wing: should it wish suspicion, or indignation, or scorn. The most to alight and settle on anything, it finds under it extravagant are the oftenest quoted : but it is no support.
merely to exhibit the futility of innovation or Peterborough. Penn, I was once a great admirer reform. I do not assert that there is a single of Rochefoucauld, and fancied his Maxims were axiom in Plato, which a minister in any country oracles. It happened that, quoting them one or any age ought to receive and act on : but day at dinner, my adversary told me I had re many of them, taking up his fame when it suits versed the sentiment: I found I had. Upon this, their purpose, announce him as a high authority, I began to reverse, for curiosity's sake, almost holding in derision those who stand nearer, such every third sentence of my shrewd and smart as Harrington and Milton, superior to him in philosopher; and discovered that, like superfine gravity and in virtue. cloth, they look as comely the wrong side out- Peterborough. I remember one axiom of the ward as the right, wherever I could give as easy divine man, which every minister in my time has and quick a turn as that of the original. This both received and acted on. persuaded me that we receive for the wisest Penn. Although I perused his dialogues on things the gracefullest and the boldest, and that polity a little while ago, I can not recollect it. what are called speculative truths are in general Peterborough. He forbids the use of falsehood not only unimportant, but no truths at all. In to the community at large, but allows it to the dustry, cleanliness, equanimity, beneficence, are rulers : just as the papal priests do with the wine the intelligible parts of your system : these con- at the sacrament, giving it one to the other, but stitute civilisation, and will not suffer it, I hope, withholding it from the people. Plato calls it a to slide or bulge or decline. It is quite a new and medicine, and tells us we must concede it to the ingenious thought, to try whether Christianity can physician, in order that we may use it as he stand alone : and the experiment is well worthy pleases ; but we must let no other man meddle of our attention.
with it. Surely, my friend Penn, you can not Penn. Thou speakest with levity and indiffer- deny that persons in authority, with us, cherish ence, young man, upon matters of eternal interest. this Platonic sentiment with somewhat more than
Peterborough. I know nothing, I must repeat it, Platonic affection. about these affairs; but I have experienced that Penn. I grieve at the man's vacuity, who some of eternal interest, if there be any such imagines that falsehood, of all vices the easiest to in reasoning, ought to be held as lightly as a take root and the hardest to extirpate, is likely rapier, or they may be twisted out of our grasp to be long in overrunning the country, when the into the air. Having asked the discreet and breath of those who govern us blows it abroad at pious of several persuasions, whether in their will, in every direction. Beside, did he not see judgment God alone is uncreated, infinite, and that, sooner or later, the lie must be exposed ? eternal, each, however he might differ from the and that not only the bad example would ramify rest on other topics, replied in the affirmative. in the closest and most sheltered concerns of life, What an opinion must I form on the perversion but that the government itself must be rendered of the human mind, afraid as I find it everywhere unstabile, when the governors were found cheats of admitting that time and space must also be and liars. eternal, infinite, and uncreated ! Day and night Peterborough. He would not permit the soldiers only mark time out, and are in regard to it what to reside in the city. clocks and watches are. God himself, although Penn. In other words, he would not permit he may be said to extend through all space, can them to care a farthing for the townsmen they not be said to extend any farther : yet what is are to protect : in that case a slight matter would through is beyond. Are we not here in want of incline them to the invader. terms?
Peterborough. Not at all: he provides against
it, by informing them it is idle and sacrilegious for before they were laboured in. Believe me, to aspire after the poor corrupt money current friends, there is less wear and tear in the body
and in the mind to obtain them as we have done Penn. They would buffet him for an impos- than as you would do. Doubtless you love your tor, or tie him to his bedpost for a madman. children : provide then for them, as ye may with
Peterborough. He has provided against that certainty, by teaching them how to provide for also. He tells them another story first : he says themselves; how to be out of want and danger, to them, “ You and your arms and your equip out of grief and sorrow; how to form those ments sprang up from the bosom of your mother marriages which will bring them into peaceful Earth. You must protect your mother Earth, and plentiful houses, where they will be welcome and likewise her weaker children, your little and respected.” brother fellow-citizens. As for gold, the Almighty Reason, preceding a chastisement, forming no mixed a quantity of it in your primary conforma- portion of it, and unconnected with it, has an tion, which adapts and entitles you to command; effect on all ; following one, it comes as a scoff, or while in your little brother fellow-citizens he as a section of the sentence. mixed up only brass and iron, rendering them Ideas of property can not be very correct where fitter for artisans and husbandmen."
there is little distribution of it; and those whom Penn. I remember this foolery.
we call savages we often may find thieves. But Peterborough. Now tell me, friend Penn, whether heavier injustice is done every six months in our you yourself are not, in some sort, equally liable English court of chancery, the Acropolis of to be taken for a visionary.
Themis, than by all the savages on our borders in Penn. Thou mayest take me for a visionary, as many years. I have found them universally friend Mordaunt, but thou shalt never take me just, whenever I argued patiently and mildly, and for a liar.
greatly more calm and civil than our silken serPeterborough. Of that indeed there is no danger. geants. Men are never very unjust until they see I would have added the chief reason on which and enter and grope their way along the perplexyou might appear as a visionary to many, or ities and subterfuges of law. Feeling at first no rather indeed to most people.
reluctance to run into it, they experience at last Penn. Prythee add it: since, should it be no compunction to run through it. wanting, I see not how thou mayest so soon cor- In England the statutes are often in opposition
to religion, and religion to God's anointed, as you Peterborough. You fancy we can live without call the thing. Why cannot both together rest
upon one foundation? Is Christ unable or unPenn. That is, I fancy we can live without worthy to lead us ? reject him then totally. But slaughter. It sounds absurdly, no doubt. A if his example and precepts are such as of themstrange fancy, a hot, wild, wrong-headed aspira- selves can make us virtuous and happy, should we tion, in me and my brethren! No wonder thou not follow them without any deviation; and withlaughest at so novel, so irregular, so awkward out stopping at any half-way house, to assemble a a stretch and strain of my humble and squat riotous and roaring party, to elect a toast-master, imagination.
to booze and confound our intellects, to quarrel Peterborough. Do you believe that others would and fight, to slaver and slumber, and, after such let you remain quiet, and admire, with uplifted heartiness and manliness, to toss about and and united palms, your industry and your inno- tumble, and find ourselves at last unfit for the cence? or rather that to flourish is not to invite prosecution of our journey. Our master doth not the visit and quicken the appetite of spoliation? permit us to compromise and quarter with anDo you expect that the bad man will forbear other: he doth not permit us to spend an hour because the good man will ?
with him and then to leave him. Either our Penn. I believe that the desire of possession is actions must be regulated by him wholly, both universal, or nearly ; that it may produce good, individually and socially, both politically and and that it may produce evil. Property is the morally, or he turns us out. We must resign the bond and seal of civilisation. The sight of it, vanities and vices, the prostrations and adorahowever, will arouse in those who have it not, tions, of the heathen world altogether, or avoid and in some also who have it, the lust of violating his presence! We must call no others by his it. Prisons and chains and halters are coarse name, until those others shall possess the same reproofs at best. If we would be rather less authority and power. He did not place himself, dignified, and rather more humane, we should be great as he was, on the tribunitial chair with safer and usefuller. Can not we go among those Cæsar, nor on the judgment-seat with Felix: he whom we suspect of rapacity or cruelty, and governed, but it was in spirit; he commanded, speak tenderly with 'em, and remonstrate reason- but it was of God. Christianity could never hare ably? Can we not lead them to our garners, our been brought into contempt or disrepute, unless growing corn, our furrows, and say to them, she had been overlaid with false ornaments and “ These very things which you so much covet conducted by false guides. Her expounders and are your own upon the same conditions as they high priests, in all monarchies, are prompt and were ours or our fathers. They were laboured propense to be keepers of the regalia, and studious
how they shall be, externally and intrinsically, as should be allowed to religion, in highly civilised unlike as possible to the disciples and apostles. nations.
Peterborough. I am afraid, my friend William, Penn. What would be thy feeling, if a simple you will generally find men of genius indifferent beauty were introduced at court in silks and to the externals of religion.
flounces and rubies, and spoke the first sentence Penn. What are its externals ? Canst thou in her own plain homely dialect, the second in point out to me the place where vitality and feel the conventional language of the palace ? Surely ing commence, in this purest and most delicate of the maiden would lose thereby much of her loveexistences ? By externals thou canst mean nothing liness in thy sight, even though thy passions had but administration. Men of genius then, I am to been engaged : how much more then must Chrissuppose, are utterly indifferent to the administra- tianity lose in the like condition, when the pastion of religion and law, if the law or the religion sions are very far indeed from any engagement in in themselves be good.
her behalf ! Peterborough. I did not say law.
Peterborough. I can not answer that satisfactoPenn. I insist that religion is law: not the law rily: and can you answer me any more so, when I of popes and parliaments, but the law of God. I ask whether you do not wander from your own do not contend that it is graven on the heart of principles, and from the command of Jesus Christ, man: nevertheless I must ever think that the in refusing to pay taxes and tithes? Your master heart of man is the better and the richer for re- says, “ Give unto Cæsar the things that are ceiving it. I will not assert to thee that corn was Cæsar's, and unto God the things that are God's." scattered by Providence on each side of us : yet Penn. He doth; and we obey him. how pleasantly these green waves do rustle in the Peterborough. How! by refusing the surrender air, whispering to us of divine bounty, and dis- of tithes and taxes, you obey the gospel, or the playing to us how much better is a state of peace higher powers ! and industry, than of ferocity and of idleness. Penn. Certainly; the higher powers are God And what is genius? so elevated in its disdain, so and his eternal justice. After giving up to God glorious in its indifference! This is a question, all that belongeth to him, prythee, friend Morone would conceive, to be solved more easily. I daunt, what remaineth to Cæsar? Verily that will not take it however, where thou wouldst broken switch in thy hand, or that foam about rather let it lie, from among our dialecticians; thy horse's bridle, would overpay him his right although there can be no great genius where demands. He who delivered the ordinance, enthere is not profound and continued reasoning. abled those to whom he delivered it, to underI will not lead thee to Hooker or Taylor, or that stand its import. loftier man now living, Isaac Barrow, but among Peterborough. It is pity that everything in the those rather who delighted more in the excur- Neu Testament is not plain and explicit. sions of fancy and imagination ; which the above- Penn. No pity at all : it is explicit and plain mentioned had not to seek, but entertained with enough for whoever is earnest to emend his life by equal fondness and better mastery at home. Was it. The little that is difficult to comprehend, Chaucer then indifferent ? was Spenser? was Mil- serves to occupy attention and stimulate enquiry. ton? Did they not all oppose abuses and corrup- Thou mightest say, it would be better still, if tions? did they not all turn the acuteness of their everything it conveyeth were impressed upon the wit on these externals ? By the help of God, my heart, without any book whatever. Not so: the own industry shall be employed in brushing off human heart and intellect want exercise and the tender-bellied grubs from the beautiful plant excitement; and the eye is the first organ of mewhich I hope to leave behind me, flourishing in ditation, although in the end meditation is this wilderness. We friends are reported to believe abstracted from the visual sense, and every other. too little : yet we believe that God can hear our Many are no less mistaken in an opposite judgvoices five feet eight inches from the pavement, ment on the New Testament, and imagine there as easily as with the calves of our legs tucked up is more philosophy in abstruser volumes. Such against our breech, and leaving us but four feet volumes being merely didactic, should be clearer, above-ground.
more systematic, more explanatory. If the Peterborough. This is only a childish trick : who authors could have rendered them so, they would would object to it, or care about it?
have done it; just as the maker of glass would Penn. It is among those postures and pranks have made it whiter. Nothing is easier to men which enable the bustling and authoritative of of genius, nothing more certainly a proof and the place to pick our pockets, and master us, and part of it, than to compose what raises men's hold us down, and scourge us, at their greater wonder and admiration : nothing more difficult convenience. The plainest and simplest things than to show them distinctly the simplest and are the wholesomest; mostly of all in religion. most obvious truth. They can no better see or Peace and equity are its only ends : if no system comprehend it than they can see or comprehend in Europe hath yet produced them, it is time to the air, until thou hast quickened their sight by try another : for without them, we are not Chris- purifying their affections. During this operation tians, and but corporeally men.
they will call thee pedant or enthusiast, and Peterborough. Some latitude, some dignity, throw perhaps some heavy book at thy head, bidding thee to read it again and again, and to Penn. Oppression and injustice are not wanted be modester and wiser. Little as I shall ever be to make the promises of a man's own heart accontented with my modesty or my wisdom, I hope ceptable to him, and to expand his breast with to improve and to increase them daily, by a patient joy and gladness, at the responses given to them and kindly intercourse with my fellow men, and (as he believes they are) from above. These he a humble unquestioning obedience to our hea- may have without purchasing, and without going venly father. Peace and quiet are, in this happy to seek them at another's door, climate, the unfailing fruits of concession and If commerce itself is generally bad and iniquiforbearance ; fruits which I hope may be trans- tous when it falls into the hands of a company, planted and husbanded, with all the attention and what is religion? At first a craft, and afterward solicitude they ought to be, in countries where at a cheat. present they have been but heard of, and with Woe! woe! to those who make it one : woe! indistinctness and with incredulity.
woe! to those who enter into it .. Thou thyself art inclined, my friend, to doubt Peterborough. Without a patron in the chanand dispute the verities of Revelation. I shall cellor, or a friend in the huntsman of the not argue with thee on the tenets of any parti- squire. cular sect, nor speak in my own person, nor ac- Penn. Thy light spirits will one day carry thee cording to my own belief, but generally and into the wilderness, and there leave thee sore loosely, and as an indifferent man might reason, smitten and without strength. Unworthiness! when a scheme was laid before him for the im- thou laughest at men's wrongs. provement and emolument of his kind. Some- Peterborough. Because men are made now as thing of fear, thou wilt acknowledge, is requisite, they were made formerly, and yet bear them. for the coercion of the ungenerous and unjust: Such being the fact, I think I have esteem enough something of hope, something of promise, some for them in ranging them with my other instruthing of security, for the beneficent and righteous, ments, lead and iron. for the afflicted and oppressed. Thou thinkest thou Penn. Great God! the proud themselves decry art doing no wrong in removing the foundations and detest the oppressor, while only the powerless of hope: to think it, is a folly; to do it, is a pity the oppressed. robbery.
Peterborough. Nations are to be commiserated Peterborough. In what way a robbery ? Come, for few other evils than what the elements cast tell me; for you stopped to expect my question. among them ; such as famine and pestilence. A Penn. Hope is the best of possessions.
quiver of arrows, well directed by half a dozen Peterborough. Of possessions truly!
boys, would remove in a single hour the heaviest Penn. Ay, that it is. The provident rear it that philosophers and patriots have tugged against early in their bosoms; and the improvident, when for ages. Injuries grow up quickly and rankly everything else is squandered, cling at it to the under impunity. I do not deliver such an opinion last.
because I have acted on it; for I may say to you If we find a few stubborn texts of Holy Scrip- in confidence, that I often have forgiven injustice ture that would exclude many good men from done against me, not indeed to bring a Christian their rewards, we may reasonably think them the spirit on the parade, but for the satisfaction I feel dreams of hot enthusiasts, exhaus by their in the consc usness of superiority, and in the aspirations and distempered by their zeal. We intensity of contempt. It was wrong to gratify should more wisely turn to the words of the my humour at the expense of society, as I have teacher than to the glosses of the interpreter, frequently ; and the only counterbalance is, to and press toward him through the clouds that serve society at my own peril and loss : and this, surround him, in which alone is darkness and dis- as you must acknowledge, hath been my conduet may: for his countenance is irradiated, his speech in regard to King James. It is just and necessary is simple, in his voice is confidence, and in his to shake a salutary fear into the breasts of insomien is peace. Why wouldst thou push men lent stupid despots, when they shake an unsaluaway from him, even if thou wert persuaded that tary one into thousands, who, without such nuihe has nothing for them? They are better by sances, would be brave and free. Whoever lets & trying to merit it, and happier by continuing to prince escape him after suffering an act of arbiexpect it. Neither of us can say to a certainty trary power, neglects his duty to himself and that it is unattainable : on the contrary, the others; and neglects it from the worst motive, means, we are assured, are not difficult, and the indifference to public security and private honour. mediator is not repulsive. There may be folly in Never let me hear that it is no easy matter to most religions, and if thou wilt, in all; but the accomplish. I have only one reply; and an obgreatest of folly is to hinder men from happiness, vious one is it: that it may be no easy matter to to render them turbulent, disorderly, lawless, catch or poison a rat at the time of its depredadesperate.
tion : but let traps and arsenic be always in its Peterborough. Certainly it is wiser, when you way; and finally, you are certain of success. have broken their bones, to tell them that they Here indeed you may more justly censure me as may pick them up again and case them better cruel: for these poor creatures do us little harm hereafter.
comparatively, and consume what is as much theirs as ours, and what they are guided by in- | Peterborough. You began with a dream, you are stinct to partake with us. But animals without ending with a vision. hearts are not directed by Nature or Providence Penn. Everything good hath been ever called to consume the hearts of others, and the most so: my answer is, past events shadow out future generous with the most voracity. These now and ones. then recoil, swell against and overpower them. Peterborough. We move in the midst of these
Penn. Hold ! hold ! less animation and heat, I shadows, but discern not their forms and tendo beseech thee! Vengeance is mine, saith the dencies. Lord.
Penn. Perfectly we do not discern them : neverPeterborough. We can not do better than imitate theless, from the invariable practice of hereditary him on it, when we find him ready to help us. potentates to abuse and arrogate power, and from
Penn. By long and patient endurance thou the spirit of agricultural states in their adolescence, mayst make unrighteous princes ashamed. and from the vantage-ground whereon that spirit
Peterborough. You may make a dog ashamed stands when it settles but to soar away, he who is by looking him fixedly in the face! You can not an idiot must be a prophet. only make a prince afraid by it: and if you do, First the brutes possessed the earth : afterward and nothing more, he hangs you. We never they and men contended for it, and held it equally: play the farce before the tragedy.
by degrees men acquired the ascendancy : lastly, Penn. I am slow and reluctant to admit what as the monsters were thinned and scattered, men I am afraid must be admitted ; that certain contrived to raise up artificial ones, covering them plagues, like certain weeds, ought to be cut down with furs and hair, and admiring their truculent rapidly three or four times in the season : this looks and flaring colours. These creatures, like alone kills them. Happy the land where such the pig-enactor in the fable, did bravelier than cutting down can be avoided !
those they represented, and allowed no better than Peterborough. And where it can not be, your a precarious and merely animal existence to their friends will supply neither hatchet nor rope. fanciful dressers and complacent fosterers. It was The better your institutions are, and the purer not the tree of folly that your religion and morality, the less likelihood is
Brought death into the world and all our woe; there that your numbers will increase. Want indeed may compell a few to emigrate from Eng. it was the tree of wisdom. As this apologue is land: but what gain you by such colonists as liable to many interpretations, it may admit mine those ?
among the rest. Penn. A pledge; a security. Whoever emi- Peterborough. Let me hear it: a fable is somegrates from want, presents a token that he would times a refreshment. rather work than steal, rather help his neighbour Penn. Mine is, that neither the ignorance nor than beg. In England a family may often be a the passions of mankind are immediately and of curse; in America it will always be a blessing themselves the causes of their corruption and In England a child brings with it poverty in wretchedness, but the uses and ends to which most instances; in America wealth.
they have been converted by the warier. Peterborough. In England they are swamps Peterborough. I think so too; and, although our and bushes, in America ploughs and oxen; ay, creeds are not quite homogeneous, one thing pecuPenn?
liarly pleases me in your religious doctrines. Penn. Without them, and in greater propor- Penn. I rejoice to hear it : say which. tion than the luxuries of England can afford, our Peterborough. You pay nothing for them. ploughs would rot, our oxen run wild. Wherever Penn. To suppose that we want hirelings to I see a child before me in America, I fancy I see teach us our duties, is to suppose that our fathers a fresh opening in the wilderness, and in this and mothers have given bad examples and apopening a servant of God appointed to comfort pointed bad executors. Taking a different view and guide me, ready to sit by me when my eyes of the subject, holiness, you may tell me, hath grow dim, and able to sustain me when my feet little weight with most people : I know it: but are weary. Look forward, and behold the chil. every man who wishes to leave his children either dren of that child. Few generations are requisite rich or respectable, will provide that they first to throw upon their hinges the heavily-barred acquire from him what shall preserve their riches portals of the vast continent behind us. Thy and promote their respectability; that is, frugal horse appeared to scent by instinct the high-road habits and civil demeanour. Quarrels for tithes, across it; and thy heart, Mordaunt, panted with and appointed prayers, imperfectly serve the purprescience to pass the barrier, which, the tyrant pose. They supersede those endeavours which and his fool would tell thee, Nature hath inter- would be made for every man's own interest, in posed. Who knows but, a century or two hence, every man's own house ; not perhaps by psalms we may look down together on those who are and sermons, but by exhortations and examples. journeying, in this newly-traced road, toward the Peterborough. There is something grand and cities and marts of California, and who are de- imposing in our hierarchy. layed upon it by meeting the Spaniards driven in Penn. Troth is there! and more than enough troops from Mexico.
of both: yet there was nothing grand or imposing