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education, that the principle by which the whole community is regulated and supported, cannot be too highly cultivated in the mind of every individual.
All governments may be reduced to three species, the republican, the monarchical, and the despotic; to each of which Montesquieu has assigned its proper principle: “ to the re“ publican, virtue ; to the monarchical, hon
and to the despotic, fear.”
Virtue in a republic, is the love of country, and of the laws by which its welfare is secured and improved. This produces temperance, justice, fortitude; a suppression of all base and selfish passions; a continual sacrifice of private interest to the good of the community; and such universal benevolence of affection, and integrity of action, as give reciprocal strength to the noble principle from which they are derived.
Honour, the principle of a monarchical state, according to Montesquieu, “ estimates “ the actions of men, not as good but as splen“ did, not as just but as great, not as rea" fonable but as extraordinary." The fpirit of monarchy endeavours to effect as much as it possibly can, without yirtue. It subsists independently of the love of country, of the thirst of true glory, of purity of manners, of the sacrifice of our dearest private interests, and of all those exalted virtues, which, in singular instances and during short intervals, we so much and so justly admire in the antients. Honour is, indeed, inseparable from virtue; but no otherwise than as an effect from its cause : when it assumes the power of the leading principle, vice may be virtue, and virtue vice, as caprice and passion shall determine; for it is then wholly selfish, and is changeable in its objects and pursuits as interest predominates : in the vain-glory of pretensions to sensibility of affection, and of poflessing those arts and accomplishments that ensure conquest, it exalts the seduction of innocence, and the violations of conjugal fidelity, into acts of gallantry; and from a preposterous idea of greatness of soul, and the true interests of the state, it descends even to intrigue and cunning, and deems the breaches of public faith refinements of policy. B2
But fear, the principle of despotism, is incapable not only of virtue, but even of those delusive appearances of it that honour may chance to affume. It is the extinction of all intellectual light, the suppression of every generous affection : and as the tyrant and the Nave are equally under its dominion, deep ignorance and multiplied wretchedness must be the lasting portion of both.
If we take a survey of all the associations, states, and kingdoms of the earth, we shall find, that they have risen to greatness or fallen to ruin, have been happy in themselves and beneficial to their neighbours, or rent with intestine commotions, or plunged into hopeless distress, or confederated for the violation of the common rights of mankind, according to the predominance of each of these three principles. But as the selfish spirit has always prevailed, even the republics of Greece, Italy, and AsiaMinor, the most renowned for urbanity and virtue, have made only a transient appearance of true glory, like spots of azure in a cloudy sky, and have fallen at last a prey to that evil nature, which is the degradation misery and punishment of man. But human institutions
must neceffarily partake of the infirmuties of human beings; and all states, like those that compose them, have the principles of growth and diffolution in their own frame: like men, they are born and die, have their commencement and their period; they arise, like light; from the darkness of poverty, to temperance, industry, liberty, valour, power, conquest, glory, opulence, and that is their summit; from whence they decline to ease, sensuality,
venality, corruption, cowardice, imbecility, inď famy, slavery, and irremediable perdition. The
only appearance of a permanent government, was the Theocracy of the Jews; till, through the extreme depravity of nature, the people became impatient and uneasy under the restraints of Infinite Wisdom and Goodness, and would not rest till the constitution was changed into the regal dominion of ignorant, felfish, and arbitrary man; when declining from one degree of evil to a greater, they were at length scattered over the face of the whole earth ; in which unnaturalized condition they still remain, individual monuments of the punishment due to revolters from the eternal laws of righteousness and beneficence.
(6) From despotic government, the understanding and the heart of man recoil as from darknefs and death. It is essentially evil in its nature, and wholly and unchangeably evil in all its effects: and, therefore, in a political and moral view, it can be considered in no other light, than as an enormous whirlpool situated between a monarchy and a republic, to which both have a disposition to tend, and in which both may be swallowed up and lost for ever. But in a review of all human governments, where shall we find such an harmonious union and just counterpoise of the regal aristocratical and democratical powers, as that by preventing all preponderation each derives reciprocal strength from the other two, and the freedom and peace of every individual is essentially included in the liberty and safety of the whole ; but in the Conftitution of Great - Britain? To the youth, therefore, of Great-Britain, of every class and condition raised above the labouring peasant, who may possibly be contented with the
protection of his property, liberty, and life, without inquiring into the fource from whence that protection flows; the principles of this wonderful Constitution, and the high duties it requires, cannot be too clearly explained. On