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air we breathe in. They give their whole form and colour to our lives. According to their quality, they aid morals, they supply them, or they totally destroy them.
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Whilst manners remain entire, they will correct the vices of law, and soften it at length to their own temper.
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When manners were corrupted, the laws were relaxed; as the latter always follow the former, when they are not able to regulate them, or to vanquish them.
OTHER legislators, knowing that marriage is the origin of all relations, and consequently the first element of all duties, have endeavoured, by every art, to make it sacred. The christian religion, by confining it to the pairs, and by rendering that relation indissoluble, has, by these two things, done more towards the peace, happiness, settlement, and civilization of the world, than by any other part in this whole scheme of divine wisdom.
MEASURES NOT MEN.
It is an advantage to all narrow wisdom and narrow morals, that their maxims have a plausible air; and, ona cursory view, appear equal to first principles. They are light and portable. They are as current as copper coin ; and about as valuable. They serve equally the first capacities and the lowest; and they are, at least, as useful to the worst men as the best. Of this stamp is the cant of not men, but measures ; a sort of charm, by which many people get loose from every honourable engagement.
Men little think how immorally they act in rashly meddling with what they do not understand. Their delusive good intention is no sort of excuse for their presumption. They who truly mean well must be fearful of acting ill.
By the express provisions of a recent treaty, we had engaged with the King of Naples to keep a naval force in the Mediterranean. But, good God! was a treaty at all necessary for this? The uniform policy of this kingdom as a state, and eminently so as a commercial state, has at all times led us to keep a powerful squadron and a commodious naval station in that central sea, which borders upon, and which connects, a far greater number and variety of states, European, Asiatic, and African, than any other. Without such a naval force, Françe must become despotic mistress of that sea, and of all the countries whose shores it washes. Our commerce must become vassal to her, and dependent on her will.
MEN OF LETTERS.
Men of letters, fond of distinguishing themselves, are rarely averse to innovation.
I can form a tolerable estimate of what is likely to happen from a character, chiefly dependent for fame and fortune, on knowledge and talent, as well in its morbid and perverted state, as in that which is sound and natural. Naturally men so formed and finished are the first gifts of Providence to the world. But when they have once thrown off the fear of God,
which was in all ages too often the case, and the fear of man,
which is now the case, and when in that state they come to understand one another, and to act in corps, a more dreadful calamity cannot arise out of hell to scourge mankind. Nothing can be conceived more hard than the heart of a thorough-bred metaphysician. It comes nearer to the cold malignity of a wicked spirit than to the frailty and passion of a
It is like that of the principle of evil himself, incorporeal, pure, unmixed, dephlegmateetcofecated evil.
Writers, especially when they act in a body, and with one direction, have great influence on the public mind.
MERCANTILE AND MONIED INTERESTS.
As to the mere matter of estimation of the mercantile or any other class, this is regulated by opinion and prejudice. In England a security against the envy of men in these classes, is not so very complete as we may imagine. We must not impose upon ourselves. What institutions and manners together had done in France, manners alone do here. It is the natural operation of things where there exists a crown, a court, splendid orders of knighthood, and an hereditary nobility;--where there exists a fixed, permanent, landed gentry, continued in greatness and opulence by the law of primogeniture, and by a protection given to family settlements ;—where there exists a standing army
and navy;—where thereexists a church establishment, which bestows on learning and parts an interest combined with that of religion and the state ;-in a country where such things exist, wealth, new in its acquisition and precarious in its duration, can never rank first, or even near the first; though wealth has
its natural weight, further, than as it is balanced and even preponderated amongst us as amongst other nations, by artificial institutions and opinions growing out of them.
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The monied interest is in its nature more ready for any adventure; and its possessors more disposed to new enterprizes of any kind. Being of a recent acquisition, it falls in more naturally with any novelties. It is therefore the kind of wealth which will be resorted to by all who wish for change.
Mercy is not a thing opposed to justice. It is an essential part of it; as necessary in criminal cases, as in civil affairs equity is to law.
THE END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.
C.WHITTINGHAM, Printer, Dean Street.
INDEX OF REFERENCE
WORKS OF THE RIGHT HON. EDMUND BURKE.
That the reader may be enabled, without trouble, to turn
to the various parts of Mr. Burke's works, from which
INDEX TO VOL. I.
ficult, &c.” Speech on the Nabob of Arcot's debts.