« IndietroContinua »
forbearance and the lenity which are forward to general consequencescalled into action by the relation be- having, therefore, been more than tween injured masters and their ser- usually thoughtful, were, for that vants. We are informed that, were reason, likely to be more than usually every third charge pursued effectual. humane. They did not suffer the ly, half the courts in Europe would less acutely, because their feelings not suffice for the cases of criminality ran counter to the course of what which emerge in London alone under they believed to be their duty. Prothis head. All England would, in the secutors often sleep with less tran. course of five revolving years, have quillity during the progress of a judipassed under the torture of subpæna, cial proceeding than the objects of as witnesses for the prosecution or the the prosecution. An English judge defence. This multiplication of cases of the last century, celebrated for his arises from the coincidence of hourly uprightness, used to balance against opportunity with hourly temptation, that pity so much vaunted for the both carried to the extreme verge of criminal, the duty of “ a pity to the possibility, and generally falling in country.” But private prosecutors of with youth in the offenders. These their own servants, often feel both aggravations of the danger are three modes of pity at the same moment. several palliations of the crime, and For this difficulty a book of Casuistry they have weight allowed to them by might suggest a variety of resources, the indulgent feelings of masters in a not so much adapted to a case of that corresponding degree; not one case nature already existing, as to the preout of six score that are discovered vention of future cases. Every mode (while, perhaps, another six score go of trust or delegated duty would sugundiscovered) being ever prosecuted gest its own separate improvements ; with rigour and effect.
but all improvements must fall under In this universal laxity of temper two genuine heads—first, the diminulies an injury too serious to public tion of temptation, either by abridging morals; and the crime reproduces the amount of trust reposed; or, where itself abundantly under an indulgence that is difficult, by shortening its duso Christian in its motive, but unfor- ration, and multiplying the countertunately operating with the full effect checks : secondly, by the moderation of genial culture. Masters, who have of the punishment in the event of demade themselves notorious by indis- tection, as the sole means of reconci. criminate forgiveness, might be re. ling the public conscience to the law, presented symbolically as gardeners and diminishing the chances of impuwatering and tending luxuriant crops nity. There is a memorable proof of of crime in hot-beds or forcing the rash extent to which the London houses. In London, many are the tradesmen, at one time, carried their tradesmen who, being reflective as confidence in servants. well as benevolent, perceive that clerks, or apprentices, were allowed to something is amiss in the whole sys. hold large balances of money in their tem. In part the law has been to hands through the intervals of their blame, stimulating false mercy by periodical settlings, that during the punishment disproportioned to the Parliamentary war multitudes were offence. But many a judicious mas. tempted, by that single cause, into ter has seen cause to suspect his own absconding. They had always a refuge lenity as more mischievously opera
in the camps.
And the loss sustained tive even than the law's hardness, in this way was so heavy, when all and as an effeminate surrender to payments were made in gold, that to luxurious sensibilities. Those have this one evil suddenly assuming a shape not been the severest masters whose of excess, is ascribed, by some writers, names are attached to fatal prosecu- the first establishment of goldsmiths as tions: on the contrary, three out of bankers.* four having been persons who looked Two other weighty considerations
*“ First establishment of goldsmiths as bankers.” Goldsmiths certainly acted in that capacity from an earlier period. But from this era, until the formation of the Bank of England in 1696, they entered more fully upon the functions of bankers, issuing notes which passed current in London.
attach to this head. The known doubtedly, from any purpose of deceivfact that large breaches of trust, and ing, but from the overmastering habit embezzlements, are greatly on the in- (cherished by their whole training and crease, and have been since the memo. experience) of repeating every thing rable case of Mr Fauntleroy. Ame- in a spirit of amplification, with a view rica is, and will be for ages, a city of to the wonder only of the hearer.. The refuge for this form of guilt. 2. That Persians are notoriously the Frenchthe great training of the conscience in men of the East: the same gaiety, the all which regards pecuniary justice same levity, the same want of depth and fidelity to engagements, lies both as to feeling and principle. The through the discipline and tyrocinium Turks are much nearer to the English: of the humbler ministerial offices-- the same gravity of temperament, the those of clerks, book-keepers, appren
same meditativeness, the same stern. tices. The law acts through these ness of principle. Of all European offices, for the unconfirmed conscience, nations, the French is that which least as leading-strings to an infant in its regards truth. The whole spirit of earliest efforts at walking. It forces their private memoirs and their anecto go right, until the choice may be dotes illustrates this. To point an supposed trained and fully developed. anecdote or a repartee, there is no exThat is the great function of the law : travagance of falsehood that the a function which it will perform with French will not endure. What nation more or less success, as it is more or but the French would have tolerated less fitted to win the cordial support that monstrous fiction about La Fonof masters.
taine, by way of illustrating his supposed absence of mind viz. that, on
meeting his own son in a friend's V.-Veracity.
house, he expressed his admiration of
the young man, and begged to know Here is a special “ title," (to speak his name. The fact probably may with the civil lawyers,) under that have been that La Fontaine was not general claim put in for England with liable to any absence at all: apparespect to moral pre-eminence rently this " distraction" was assumed amongst the nations. Many are they as a means of making a poor sort of who, in regions widely apart, have sport for his friends. Like many annoticed with honour the English supe. other man in such circumstances, he riority in the article of veneration for saw and entered into the fun which his truth. Not many years ago, two own imaginary forgetfulness produced. Englishmen, on their road overland to But were it otherwise, who can beIndia, fell in with a royal cortege, and lieve so outrageous a self-forgetfulsoon after with the prime minister and ness as that which would darken his the crown prince of Persia. The eyes to the very pictures of his own prince honoured them with an inter- hearth ? Were such a thing possible, view; both parties being on horseback, were it even real, it would still be liaand the conversation therefore redu. ble to the just objection of the critics ced to the points of nearest interest. that, being marvellous in appearAmongst these was the English char- ance, even as a fact it ought not to be acter. Upon this the prince's remark brought forward for any purpose of was—that what had most impressed wit, but only as a truth of physiology, him with respect for England and her or as a fact in the records of a surinstitutions was, the remarkablespiritof geon. The o incredulus odi” is too truth-speaking which distinguished her strong in such cases, and it adheres to sons; as supposing her institutions to three out of every four French anecgrow out of her sons, and her sons out dotes. The French taste is, indeed, of her institutions. And indeed well any thing but good in all that departhe might have this feeling by compa- ment of wit and humour. And the rison with his own countrymen: Per- ground lies in their national want of sians have no principles apparently on veracity. To return to Englandthis point-all is impulse and accident and having cited an Oriental witness of feeling. Thus the journal of the to the English character on this point, two Persian princes in London, as let us now cite a most observing one lately reported in the newspapers, is in the West. Kant, in Königsberg, one tissue of falsehoods : not, most un- was surrounded by Englishmen and
by foreigners of all nations-foreign ciple is lurking under Kant's error; and English students, foreign and - but a principle translated from its English merchants ; and he pro- proper ground. Not truth, individual nounced the main characteristic fea- or personal—not truth of mere facts, ture of the English as a nation to lie but truth doctrinal—the truth which in their severe reverence for truth. teaches, the truth which changes men This from him was no slight praise; and nations—this is the truth concernfor such was the stress he laid upon ed in Kant's meaning, had he explainveracity, that upon this one quality ed his own meaning to himself more he planted the whole edifice of moral distinctly. With respect to that truth, excellence. General integrity could wheresoever it lies, Kant's doctrine not exist, he held, without veracity applies--that all men have a right to as its basis ; nor that basis exist with. it ; that perhaps you have no right to out superinducing general integrity. suppose of any race or nation that it
This opinion, perhaps, many beside is not prepared to receive it; and, at Kant will see cause to approve. For any rate, that no circumstances of exourselves we can truly say--never pedience can justify you in keeping it did we know a human being, boy or back. girl, who began life as an habitual undervaluer of truth, that did not afterwards exhibit a character conform- VI.- The Case of Charles I. able to that beginning—such a char,
however superficially correct Many cases arise from the life and under the steadying hand of self-inte- political difficulties of Charles I. But rest, was not in a lower key of moral there is one so peculiarly pertinent to feeling as well as of principle.
an essay which entertains the general But out of this honourable regard question of Casuistry—its legitimacy, to veracity in Immanuel Kant, branch- its value—that with this, although not ed out a principle in Casuistry which properly a domestic case, or only such most people will pronounce mon. in a mixed sense, we shall conclude. strous. It has occasioned much dis- No person has been so much atputing backwards and forwards. But tacked for his scruples of conscience as a practical principle of conduct, as this prince; and, what seems odd (for which Kant meant it,) inevitably enough, no person has been so much it must be rejected—if for no other attacked for resorting to books of reason, because it is at open war with Casuistry, and for encouraging literary the laws and jurisprudence of all men to write books of Casuistry. Christian Europe. Kant's doctrine Under his suggestion and sanction, was this; and the illustrative case in Saunderson wrote his book on the which it is involved, let it be remem- obligation of an oath, (for which there bered, is his own:-So sacred a thing, was surely reason enough in days said he, is truth-that if a murderer, when the democratic tribunals were pursuing another with an avowed forcing men to swear to an et cætera ;) purpose of killing him, were to ask of and, by an impulse originally derived a third person by what road the fleeing from him, Jeremy Taylor wrote aftere party had fled, that person is bound to wards his Ductor Dubitantium, Bishop give him true information. And you Barlow wrote his Cases of Conscience, are at liberty to suppose this third &c. &c. person a wife, a daughter, or under For this dedication of his studies, any conceivable obligations of love Charles has been plentifully blamed and duty to the fugitive. Now, this in after times. He was seeking evais monstrous : and Kant himself, with sions for plain duties, say his enemies. all his parental fondness for the doc- He was arming himself for intrigue trine, would certainly have been re- in the school of Machiavel. But now called to sounder thoughts by these turn to his history, and ask in what two considerations
way any man could have extricated Ist, That, by all the codes of law himself from that labyrinth which inreceived throughout Europe, he who vested his path but by Casuistry. acted upon Kant's principle would be Cases the most difficult are offered for held a particeps criminis—an accom- his decision : peace for a distracted plice before the fact.
nation in 1647, on terms which seemed 2d, That, in reality, a just prin- fatal to the monarchy; peace for the same nation under the prospect of what in a representative sense was war rising up again during the Isle of the nation ranged on the other side ? Wight treaty in 1648, but also under He yielded : and it is not too much to the certainty of destroying the Church say that he never had a happy day of England. On the one side, by re- afterwards. The stirring period of fusing, he seemed to disown his duties his life succeeded—the period of war, as the father of his people. On the camps, treaties. Much time was not other side, by yielding, he seemed to allowed him for meditation. But there forget his coronation oath, and the is abundant proof that such time as he ultimate interests of his people—to had, always pointed his thoughts backmerge the future and the reversionary wards to the afflicting case of Lord in the present and the fugitive. It Strafford. This he often spoke of as was not within the possibilities that the great blot-the ineffaceable transhe could so act as not to offend one- gression of his life. For this he half of the nation. His dire calamity mourned in penitential words yet on it was, that he must be hated, act record. To this he traced back the how he would, and must be condemn- calamity of his latter life. Lord Strafed by posterity. Did his enemies al. ford's memorable words—“ Put not low for the misery of this internal your trust in princes, nor in the sons conflict? Milton, who never appears of princes,”-rang for ever in his ear. to more disadvantage than when he Lord Strafford’s blood lay like a curse comes forward against his sovereign, upon his throne. is indignant that Charles should have Now, by what a pointed answer, a conscience, or plead a conscience, in drawn from this one case, might a public matter. Henderson, the ce- Charles have replied to the enemies lebrated Scotch theologian, came post we have noticed-to those, like so many from Edinburgh to London (whence historians since his day, who taxed he went to Newcastle) expressly to him with studying Casuistry for the combat the king's scruples. And purposes of intrigue—to those, like he also in his private letters) seems Milton and Henderson, who taxed equally enraged as Milton, that Charles him with exercising his private conshould pretend to any private con- science on public questions ? science in a state question.
“ I had studied no books of CasuNow let us ask- What was it that istry,” he might have replied, “ when originally drove Charles to books of I made the sole capital blunder in a Casuistry ? It was the deep shock case of conscience, which the review which he received, both in his affec. of my life can show." tions and his conscience, from the “ I did not insist on my private condeath of Lord Strafford. Every body science ; woe is me that I did not: I had then told him, even those who felt yielded to what was called the public how much the law must be outraged conscience in that one case which has to obtain a conviction of Lord Straf- proved the affliction of my life, and ford, how many principles of justice which, perhaps, it was that wrecked must be shaken, and how sadly the the national peace.' royal word must suffer in its sanctity, A more plenary answer there cannot -yet all had told him that it was be to those who suppose that Casuistry expedient to sacrifice that nobleman. is evaded by evading books of Casu. One man ought not to stand between istry. That dread forum of conscience the king and his alienated people. It will for ever exist as a tribunal of was good for the common welfare difficulty. The discussion must prothat Lord Strafford should die. Charles ceed on some principles or other, good was unconvinced. He was sure of or bad; and the only way for obtainthe injustice; and perhaps he doubted ing light is by clearing up the grounds even of the expedience. But his very of action, and applying the principles virtues were armed against his peace. of moral judgment to such facts or In all parts of his life self-distrust and circumstances as most frequently arise diffidence had marked his character. to perplex the understanding, or the What was he, a single person, to affections, or the conscience. resist so many wise counsellors, and
HINTS ON HISTORY ; OR, A GLANCE AT THE DARK AGES.
PART II. We have reason to congratulate overran. Soon after the great impeourselves that the conquest made rial government had been established, in Europe by Goths and Vandals, when the flush of its novelty and the Franks and Saxons, was altogether of a exultation of its triumph had departed, different nature from that which merely literature began to manifest symptoms places a new dynasty upon the throne, of decay, and a lassitude and monotony and that the conquering people became fell upon the stationary world. Bethemselves the inhabitants, as well as fore the reign of Constantine, learning rulers of the soil, and amalgamated had lamentably declined ; and how with the nations they subdued. We dark ensuing ages might have become, have reason to congratulate ourselves without aid of the barbarian, it is imthat no warrior chief, fresh from bis possible to say. An old despotism, woods, seized hold of the central power, and a despotism is soon old, while free and swayed the west of Europe in its governments, whatever their faults, combined form. It is well that no however fractions and turbulent, reAttila-and the Hun was not far from tain for ever the vivacity of youth-an it-possessed himself of a worn-out old despotism, extending over a wide empire, lifeless, decked only in the territory, appears to be a condition panoply of civilisation, there to remain, least of all propitious to high efforts of like a decorated corpse, the subject of literature ; affording, as it does, to the renewed combat, and the prize of the people at large none of those national last victor in the field. Since the bar. controversies which give at once both barian was to come, we may look with. scope and stimulant to intellectual enout regret at thạt dismemberment of terprise. These have certainly not the empire, that piece-meal conquest been wanting to modern Europe, since and slow but entire appropriation, it was partitioned and re-colonized by which at first appear in so great a mea- the barbarian. And not only has the sure to aggravate the calamity. For change in its political condition pro. many centuries nothing but mischief moted mental activity: we hold that seems to follow from his irruption and even that multiplicity of strange lansettlement ;
the very principles of civil guages, which grew up amongst its government are lost sight of; rude new inhabitants, and which has often violence every where prevails ; learn- been looked on as so unpropitious a ing is almost extinct, and the little circumstance, and has tempted some leisure and reflection which armed out- men of great capacity for wishing, rage permits to others, or allows to it- to sigh after an universal tongue, was, self, is seized on and appropriated by and still is, in reality highly favourable superstition. Every where darkness to intellectual effort and intellectual and confusion. But by-and-by the wealth. Each nation, by speaking its cloud rolls off, and a new scene pre- separate language, has had its own sents itself; and now, where otherwise literature to construct_each language a great empire might have been seen has been a fresh soil to be conquered falling to sleep at the very best in base and taken possession of by genius and sordid security, there is beheld a each people may boast their own great number of distinct nations, full of poet or philosopher, yet has there been vigour, of untameable spirit, inventing no such isolation amongst them, but new modes of government, and pro
that each has partaken and approvoking each other by constant rivalry, priated of the stores of the other. This and a ceaseless jealousy of each other's state of things has all the advantage of power, to emulation in all the arts both a number of distinct laboratories where of war and of peace, all arts by which each chemist plies his experiments wealth is to be obtained or protected. apart, not uninformed, however, of the
Nay, was it not well that the bar- results which others have obtained. barian did come, and that even for the The same topics of enquiry have occuinterests of learning, which seem to pied the mind of the Frank, the Gerhave suffered most wofully from his man, the Englishman; and we see to advent ? It was not, we need hardly this day how the torch of truth is made say, such an empire as Augustus to burn more bright by being borne reigned over that he destroyed and rapidly from country to country.
NO, CCXCII, VOL. XLVII.