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vereignty of certain territories in the Nether"lands, should not be binding." Is it possible Charles could be so blind as not to see, that such a protestation, if sufficient to relieve from an engagement, must destroy all faith among men? Francis I. of France, while prisoner in Spain, engaged Henry VIII. of England in a treaty against the Emperor, submitting to very hard terms in order to gain Henry's friendship. The King's ministers protested privately against some of the articles; and the protest was recorded in the secret register of the parliament of Paris, to serve as an excuse in proper time, for breaking the treaty. At the marriage of Mary Queen of Scotland to the Dauphin of France, the King of France ratified every article insisted on by the Scotch parliament, for preserving the independence of the nation, and for securing the succession of the crown to the house of Hamilton; confirming them by deeds in form and with the most solemn oaths. But Mary previously had been persuaded to subscribe privately three deeds, in which, failing heirs of her body, she gifted the kingdom of Scotland to the King of France; declaring all promises to the contrary that had been extorted from her by her subjects, to be void. What better was this than what was practised by Robert, King of France, in the tenth century, to free his subjects from the guilt of perjury? They swore upon a box of relics, out of which the relics had been privately taken. Cor
rea, a Portuguese general, made a treaty with the King of Pegu; and it was agreed, that each party should swear to observe the treaty, laying his hand upon the sacred book of his religion. Correa swore upon a collection of songs; and thought that by that vile stratagem he was free from his engagement. The inhabitants of Britain were so loose formerly, that a man was not reckoned safe in his own house, without a mastiff to protect him from violence. Mastiffs were permitted even to those who dwelt within the king's forests; and to prevent danger to the deer, there was in England a court for lawing or expeditation of mastives, i. e. for cutting off the claws of their fore feet to prevent them from running *. The trial and condemnation of Charles I. in a pretended court of justice, however audacious and unconstitutional, was an effort toward regularity and order. In the preceding age, the king would have been taken off by assassination or poison. Every prince in Europe had an officer, whose province it was to secure his master against poison. A lady was appointed to that office by Queen Elizabeth of England; and the form was, to give to each of the servants a mouthful to eat of the dish he brought in. Poison must have been frequent in those days, to make such a regulation necessary. To vouch still more clearly, the low ebb of morality during that period, seldom it happened that a man of P 2
figure died suddenly, or of an unusual disease, but poison was suspected. Men conscious of their own vitious dispositions are prone to suspect others. The Dauphin, son to Francis I. of France, a youth of about eighteen, having over heated himself at play, took a great draught of iced water, and died of a pleurisy in five days. The death was sudden, but none is more natural. The suspicion however of poison was universal; and Montecuculi, who attended the young prince, was formally condemned to death for it, and executed; for no better reason than that he had at all times ready access to the prince.
Considering the low state of morality where dissocial passions bear rule, as in the scenes now displayed, one would require a miracle to recover mankind out of so miserable a state. But, as observed above*, Providence brings order out of confusion. The intolerable distress of a state of things where a promise or even an oath, is a rope of sand, and where all are set against all †, made people at last sensible, that they must either rẹnounce society altogether, or qualify themselves for it by checking their dissocial passions. Finding from experience, that the gratification of social affections exceeds greatly that of cruelty and revenge; men endeavoured to acquire a habit of self-command, and of restraining their stormy passions. The necessity of fulfilling every moral duty
was recognized: men listened to conscience, the voice of God in their hearts: and the moral sense was cordially submitted to, as the ultimate judge in all matters of right and wrong. Salutary laws and steady government contributed to perfect that glorious revolution: private conviction alone would not have been effectual, not at least in many ages.
From that revolution is derived what is termed the law of nations, meaning certain regulations dictated by the moral sense in its maturity. The laws of our nature refine gradually as our nature refines. From the putting an enemy to death in cold blood, improved nature is averse, though such practice was common while barbarity prevailed. It is held infamous to use poisoned weapons, though the moral sense made little opposition while rancour and revenge were ruling passions. Aversion to strangers is taught to vary its object, from individuals, to the nation that is our enemy: I bear enmity against France; but dislike not any one Frenchman, being conscious that it is the duty of subjects to serve their king and country*. In distributing justice, we make no distinction between natives and foreigners: if any partiality be indulged, it is in favour of the helpless stranger. But
In one of our ill-concerted descents upon France during the late war, signal humanity appeared, in forbearing to burn a manufactory of sails and ropes, belonging to the king; because it would have destroyed an adjoining building of the same kind belonging to a private manufacturer,
But cruelty is not the only antagonist to morality. There is another, less violent indeed, but more cunning and undermining; and that is, the hoarding appetite. Before money was introduced, that appetite was extremely faint : in the first stage of civil society, men are satisfied with plain ne cessaries; and having these in plenty, they think not of providing against want. But money is a species of property, so universal in operation, and so permanent in value, as to rouse the appetite for hoarding: love of money excites industry; and the many beautiful productions of industry, magnificent houses, splendid gardens, rich garments, inflame the appetite to an extreme. The people of Whidah, in Guinea, are much addicted to pilfering. Bozman was told by the king, "That his
subjects were not like those of Ardrah, who on "the slightest umbrage will poison an European. "This, says he, you have no reason to apprehend "here: but take care of your goods; for so expert are my people at thieving, that they will "steal from you while you are looking on.' In the thirteenth century, so obscured was the moral sense by rapacity and avarice, that robbery on the highway, and the coining false money, were in Germany held to be privileges of great lords. Cicero somewhere talks of banditti who infested the roads near Rome, and made travelling extremely dangerous. In the days of Henry III. of England, the Chronicle of Dunstable reports, that the country