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And I could demonstrate, that they have had the opportunity of doing all this mischief, nay that they themselves had their origin and growth from that complex form of government which we are wisely caught to look upon as so great a blessing.
BURKE. Vindication of Natural Society, p. 74
TITLES AND NOBILITY.
THE manly pride of the Romans, content with
epithets, which Tully would scarcely have understood, and which Augustus would have rejected with indignation. The principal officers of the empire were saluted, even by the sovereign himself, with the deceitful titles of your Sincerity, your Gravity, your Excellency, your Eminence, your Sublime and Wonderful Magnitude, your Illustrious and Mugnificent Highness.
Roman Empire, vol.ii.p. 20. The titles of European princes are rather more numerous than ours of Asia, but by no means so sublime. The king of Visapour or Pegu, not satisfied with claiming the globe, and all its appurtenances, to him and his heirs, asserts a property even in the firmament, and extends his orders to the milky way. The monarchs of Europe, with more modesty, confine their titles to earth ; but make up by number what is wanting in their sublimity. Such is their passion for a long list of these splendid trifles, that I have known a German prince with more titles than subjects, and a Spanish nobleman with more names than shirts.
Citizen of the World, vol. ii. let. 1 io. The princes of Europe have found out á manner of rewarding their subjects, by presenting them with about two yards of blue ribbon, which is worn about the shoulder. They who are honoured with this mark of distinction are called knights, and the king himself is always the head of the order. Should a nobleman happen to lose his leg in b t
tle, the king presents him with two yards of ribbon, and he is paid for the loss of his limb. Should an ambassador spend all his paternal fortune, in supporting the honour of his country abroad, the king presents him with two yards of ribbon, which is to be considered as equivalent to his estate,
In short, while an European king has a yard of blue or green ribbon left, he need be under no apprehension of wanting statesmen, generals, and soldiers.
Ib. let. 64. By honour, in its proper and genuine signification, we mean nothing else but the good opinion of others, which is counted more or less substantial, the more or less noise or bustle is made about the demonstration of it; and when we say the sovereign is the fountain of honour, it signifies that he has the power, by titles, ceremonies, or both together, to stamp a mark upon whom he pleases, that shall be as current as his coin, and procure the owner the good opinion of every body, whether he deserves it or not.
Fable of the Bees, remark (C). I had the curiosity to enquire in a particular manner (of the governor of Glubdubdrib, the island of sorcerers or magicians] by what methods great numbers had procured to themselves high titles of honour and prodigious estates; and I confined my enquiry to a very modern period, however, without grating upon present times, because I would be sure to give no offence even to fo
reigners; for I hope the reader need not be told, that I do not in the least intend my own country in what I say upon this occasion. A great number of persons concerned were called up, and upon a very slight examination discovered such a scene of infamy, that I cannot reflect upon it without some seriousness. Perjury, oppression, subornation, fraud, pandarisin, and the like infirmities, were amongst the most excusable arts they had to mention; and for these I gave, as it was reasonable, great allowance. But when some confessed they owed their greatness and wealth to the prostituting of their own wives and daughters ; others to the betraying their country or their prince ; some to poisoning, more to the perverting of justice in order to destroy the innocent: I hope, I may be pardoned, if these discoveries inclined me á little to abate of that profound veneration, which I am naturally apt to pay to persons of high rank, who ought to be treated with the utmost respect due to their sublime dignity by us their inferiors.
Swift. Gulliver's Travels, part iii. cb, viii, Autolicus. [To whom enter Old Shepherd and Son.] Here come those I have done good to against my will, and already appearing in the blossoms of their fortune.
Old Shepherd. Come boy; I am past more children ; but thy sons and daughters will be all ? gentlemen born.