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“ their hands, either in the public administration or “ in foreign legations, from the least violation of " their trust, or honour. And whereas, in other

places, it is rare to find a man, who can keep his “ hands clean, or forbear plundering his Country; « in Rome it is as rare to take any one offending in this kind. That every thing which exists is sub

ject to mutation and decay, we need not be told; “ the unalterable nature of things sufficiently informs

us of this truth. But there being two ways,

whereby every kind of Policy is ruined and dis" solved ; the one from WITHOUT, and the other *** from WITHIN; that destruction, which cometh « from without, cannot be constantly avoided by any « human provision : but then, there are known and “ efficacious remedies for those evils which arise « from within *.

Polybius * Μεγίσης δέ μοι δοκεί διαφοράν έχεις το Ρωμαίων πολίτευμα προς το βέλτιον, έν τη σερί θεών διαλήψει, Καί μοι δοκεί το παρά τους άλλους ανθρώποις ονειδιζόμενον, τέτο συνέχειν τα Ρωμαίων πράγματα: λέγω δε την δεισιδαιμονίαν· επί τοσέτον γαρ έκλειραγώδήλαι και παρεισήκίαι τέτο το μερG- παρ' αυτούς εις της τες κατ' ιδίαν βίες και τα κοινά της πόλεως, ώσε μη καταλιπείν υπερβολήν· δ και δόξειεν αν πολλούς είναι θαυμάσιον έμοί γε μην δοκώσι τα πλήθος χάριν τέτο σεποιηκέναι. Ει μεν γαρ ήν σοφών ανδρών πολίτευμα συναγαγείν, ίσως δεν ήν αναγκαίο ο τοιέτG- τρόπG-· έπει δε σαν πλήθός εσι ελαφρών και πλήρες επιθυμιών παρανόμων, οργής αλόγε, θυμά βιαία, λείπειαι τοις αδήλοις φόβους, και τη τοιαύτη τραγωδία τα λήθη συνέχειν. Διόπερ οι παλαιοί δοκεσί μοι τας σερί Θεών έννοίας, και τας περί των έν άδε διαλήψεις εκ εική και ας έτυχεν εις Β 3

τα

»

Polybius says literally, There are two ways by which a State is brought to dissolution, from without and from within : that from without is uncertain and little known; that from within is known and certain. By which words he must mean what I make him to say, as appears by what he immediately subjoins, where he shews how the

power

of the Great, when degenerated into tyranny, may be checked by the People: whose opposition to power produces, as it happens to be well or ill managed, either the best or worst form of government, a Democracy or Ochlocracy.

This long passage deserves our attention, and for many reasons. Polybius was a Greek, and, as all good men are, a tender lover of his Country, whose

ancient

τα πλήθη παρεισαγαγείν» πολύ δε μάλλον οι νύν εική και αλόγως εκβάλλειν αυτά. Τοιγαρέν χωρίς των άλλων, οι τα κοινά χειρίζονίες, παρά μεν τοίς "Ελλησιν, εάν τάλανίον μόνον τις ευθώσιν, άνθγραφείς έχούλες δέκα, και σφραγίδας, τοσαύτας, και μάρτυρας διπλασίες, & δύνανlαι τηρείν την πίσιν" παρά δε Ρωμαίοις οι καλά τε τάς αρχάς και της πρεσβείας πολύ τι πλήθG χρημάτων χειρίζονlες δι' αυτής της κατά τον όρκον πίσεως, τηρέσι το καθήκον. Και παρά μεν τοις άλλοις σπάνιόν εσιν ευρείν απεχόμενον άνδρα των δημοσίων, και καθαρεύοία αερί ταύτα σπαρά δε τους Ρωμαίοις σπάνιόν εςι το λαβείν τινα αεφωραμένον επί τοιαύτη πράξει.

πράξει. Οτι μεν έν σάσι τοις έσιν υπόχείλαι φθορά και μεταβολή, σχεδόν και σε οστεί λόγω ικανή γαρ ή της φύσεως ανάγκη παρατήσαι την τοιαύτην είσιν δυοϊν δε τρόπων όντων καθ' ες φθείρεσθαι έφυκε σαν γένG- πολιτείας, τα μεν έξωθεν, τα δε εν αυτοίς φυoμέγε: το μεν εκτός άσαιον έχειν συμβαίνει την θεωρίαν» τα δ' εξ αυτών τεταγμένην. E Polyb. Historiarum, lib. Vi, C. 54, 55.

ancient glory and virtue were then fast on the decline, and the Roman mounting to its meridian. The melancholy reflexions, arising from this view of things, were always uppermost in his thoughts : so that speaking here of the great influence which Religion had on the minds of the Romans, he could not forbear giving his countrymen a lesson, and instructing them in what hè esteemed the principal cause of their approaching ruin; namely, a certain libertinism, which had spread amongst the PEOPLE OF CONDITION, who, ashamed of the simplicity of their Ancestors, and despising the ignorance of the People, affected a superior penetration, which brought them to regard, and preposterously to teach others to regard, the restraints of religion as illusory and unmanly. This he confirms by shewing the strong influence religion hath on the morals of men. But to understand what follows, of the two ways by which a state comes to ruin, from without and from within, which seems to be brought in a little abruptly, we must suppose, that those, to whom the historian addresses himself, had objected, That it was not a want of piety amongst themselves, but the force of the Roman arms without, which had broken the power of Greece; and that this disaster they were patiently to submit to, because all empires have their stated periods. Let us suppose this, and the political reflexion on the fall of States will have a high propriety, and close connection with what preceded. It is to this effect : “ I agree with you, says Poly

B4

bius, bius, that evils, coming suddenly on a State from without, cannot be easily warded; but then, those arising from within, as they are commonly foreseen, have their reniedies at hand. Now I take our misfortunes to have proceeded from these : for had not a neglect of religion depraved the manners of the Greeks, Rome had wanted both pretence and inclination to invade us, and Greece would have continued able to support its own sovereignty : therefore your trite aphorism of the mutability of human things is here altogether misapplied.”

But had this great man lived only one age later, he would have found large occasion of addressing this very admonition to the Romans themselves; when the same libertine spirit foreran and contributed to the destruction of their Republic; and religion had so lost its hold of those, whom, in the time of Polybius, it so entirely possessed, that Cæsar could dare, in full senate, with a degree of licence unexampled in Antiquity, to declare, that the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments was all a groundless notion. This was a dreadful prognostic of their approaching ruin.

If this great politician then may deserve credit, it would be worth while for our People of condition to look about them, and compute their gains by such a conduct: those of them I mean, if there be, who profess to love their Country, and

yet as publicly despise the Religion of it. One of

them,

any such

them, who did both in an eminent degree, and who would substitute a TASTE, instead of a future state, for the government of the world, thus expresseth himself: “ Even conscience, I fear, such

as is owing to religious discipline, will make but

a slight figure, where this TASTE is set amiss. “ Amongst the vulgar perhaps it may do wonders: “ a devil and a hell may prevail, where a jail and a gallows are thought insufficient. But such is the só nature of the liberal, polished, and refined part “ of mankind; so far are they from the mere sim

plicity of babes and sucklings, that, instead of " applying the notion of a future reward or punish“ ment to their immediate behaviour in society, they

are apt much rather, through the whole course “ of their lives, to shew evidently that they look on “ the pious narrations to be indeed no better than “ children's tales and the amusement of the mere

vulgar *.

I will not now ask, Where was the religion, but where was the civil prudence of this great patriot ?

For if it be indeed true, as he confesses, that amongst the vulgar a devil and a hell may prevail, where a jail and a gallows are thought insufficient; why would this lover of his country take off so necessary a restraint on the manners of the multitude ? If he says he would not, I ask, why then hath he publicly ridiculed it? Or was it

* Characteristics, vol.iii. p. 177. edit. 3.

indeed

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