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In another point of view, the character of the member of parliament, who equally enjoys the respect of the government and the confidence of the public, may be contemplated, as operating upon the spirit of the latter, and giving it a right direction, where otherwise it would have slept, or been crushed. When a king wishes to enlarge the prerogative, or a minister covets a power which the constitution denies him, the good effects of that happy confidence will be more extensive, than it may be, perhaps, at first conceived. Should the House of Commons defeat the great purposes of its representation, by manifesting no other virtue than pliability, no other policy than self-interest, the true patriot will never sit down satisfied, until he has succeeded in unfolding to the public eye all those secret ministerial springs, whereby so many free agents are converted into mere machines, or into mutes, whose sole and degrading office it is, to stand
render justice to their respective merits. Such indeed is the delicate situation of all ministers, that every candid mind is disposed to put the most favourable construction upon acts, which otherwise might often seem to demand the severest reprehension. A great poet has thus finely characterized their peculiar situation :—
Our ministers like gladiators live;
'Tis half their business, blows to ward or give:
Dies between exigence and self defence.
like a drove of oxen, to be counted on a division*. But to undo link by link, and open spring by spring, is an operation of such nice and delicate nature, as can only be completely executed by the hand of the master workman. That being accomplished, the people are prepared to enforce by practice, the principles which have been so strongly impressed on their minds. They are awakened to a strict attention to the conduct of their representatives; and all the substantial checks which they can employ, are put in use, to bring back the constitution to its true principles; nor do they ever cease persevering, when thus their spirit and intelligence are called forth, until they have perfectly attained their ends. By such means, a whole nation has been, and may be again, moved and animated by one individual. Thus, has the column of public freedom been made to stand upon a firmer basis,
It is a remark too common to be untrue, that the instances there, are very frequent of persons having a "political palsy" in the head, nodding and assenting to all. It would be an invidious task to enquire into the causes of this complaint. It is sufficient for our humiliation that we feel the effects. They would however do well to remember, that this sort of obsequious dulness may be highly prudent in a state where it is dangerous to be honest, and only profitable to be vicious; but in a government like ours, distinguished above all others for its freedom and greatness, it may produce, in the end, consequences highly injurious to its liberty, prosperity, and happiness.
when its superstructure was, perhaps, on the point of being diminished.
The man, who so essentially contributes to promote the happiness, and to secure the liberties of his fellow citizens, without having the wish or hope to obtain the seals of office, will not, however, be so intoxicated with the general applause and admiration which, under such circumstances, must accompany his footsteps, as to sacrifice that high respect and gratitude he has gained in the breasts of sober and reflecting minds, to the vain and precarious favour of the multitude; but, on the contrary, will still remain inspired, as he was before, with the same real love of true glory, and with the same real dislike of popular fame. "Est enim gloria, solida quædam res expressa non adumbrata; ea est consentiens laus bonorum, incorrupta vox bene judicantium de excellente virtute. Ea virtuti resonat tanquam imago. gloria. Qua quia recte factorum plerumque comes est, non est bonis viris repudianda. Illa autem que se ejus imilatricem esse vult, temeraria atque inconsiderata, et plerumque peccatorum vitiorumque laudatrix fama popularis, simulatione honestatis, formam ejus pulchritudinemque corrumpit * "
* Cicero Tuscul. Quæst. Lib. iii.
ON THE CONDITION AND CHARACTER OF WOMEN IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES AND AGES.
IF the enlightened among our sex have rejoiced that they were born in a period of high civilization, how much greater cause have those of the other, to congratulate themselves upon the same event; since in polished nations, it is rarely the hard fate of women to be first adored, and then oppressed. We do not begin by being their slaves, and end in becoming their tyrants: for when the transient charms of youth and beauty fade, in the place of our idols, we make them our companions and friends.
In rude periods of society, woman is treated with the utmost coolness, indifference, contempt, and tyranny: the savage regards her only as a being of inferior species, and, consequently, with him, love is nothing but a simple instinct of nature, which he disdains, however, to procure by any of those arts which are calculated to win affection and favour. It is the opinion of the great Bacon, that love is the first of human plea
sures, and intoxication the second. The justness of this observation is disputed by the Indians of America; according to whose philosophy, intoxication is the greatest of human pleasures. It may be advanced, as another proof of the contempt and servitude in which women are held by savages, that, in their drunken assemblies, females are allowed to be present only for the menial and degrading purpose of supplying the liquor, and taking care of their sovereigns, when their reason is extinguished. Among the American tribes, the condition of women may be compared, indeed, to that of the Helotes among the Spartans, a vanquished race, doomed to pass their whole life in administering to the wants of their conquerors. The rigorous despotism exercised by barbarians over the female sex, will be found to constitute their general character, in almost every quarter of the globe.
If we turn our eyes towards the eastern nations, to Turkey, Persia, Mogul, Japan, and the Empire of China, we shall see women reduced to the same state of slavery. Asia, from time immemorial, may be regarded as a vast and dreary prison, for the reception of female beauty. The cursed spirit of despotism is, indeed, as fatal to love, as to virtue: exposed to all the