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strained even in the estimate of God him. self; his perfections, providence, laws, and government are weighed in the scale of human judgment.--Is this the character of mind? Is this freedom designed for it by its Maker, as the soil wherein alone it can grow and flourish? And can a vain theorist hope to persuade us, that this is all a dream ; that mind, and vigorous mind, can be brought to delight in slavery; that science, which is the grand object and result of mind in all its bold excursions, can be friendly to oppression, can welcome the very restraint, which is abhorrent to its nature, and destructive of its being? If fact were not in contradiction to so wild and unauthorised an assertion, yet the mere supposition would be revolting to the immediate feeling of man. The author could not, methinks, believe what he wrote, or rather perhaps belief was out of the question. Belief is the province of the vulgar; it is the privilege of certain superior geniuses to sport with their cre
dulity, and impose the wildest extravagancies on their simple understandings. To say therefore common things, and utter common truths, would excite no surprise ; while to be eccentric, to make the world stare, appears to be the only object for which some men write, to which we owe a Hume, à Voltaire, and a Rousseau. Had the writer, whom I am impleading, but condescended to look on a map of the world as adapted to his own or to any day, he must have perceived, that wherever tyranny is absolute, and every thing is subjected to the apprehensive caprice of the tyrant, genius is dead; that in proportion as tyranny dominates, genius is depressed; and that whereever law and a sense of hereditary liberty impose a rule even on tyranny, genius more or less expands itself. A mind accustomed to reflection and investigation cannot in the range of its discursive knowledge be ignorant of the rights of human nature, and thence must derive a tone and energy, which will
ill brook a tame submission to the yoke.
Expanded knowledge generates heroes, not slaves.
The times of slavery are remarkably the times of ignorance and barbarism; but soon as the torch of learning pierces through the gloom, the demon flies, and generous liberty with all her smiling train revisits the haunts of men. From the Mediterranean to the extremities of China and Japan liberty is extinguished, and genius has not even a name. Nor have three centuries passed, since all Europe was enslaved.
A power bearing in its front another world, but in its heart the lust of this alone, had gradually acquired a dominion little less extensive than that of Imperial Rome, but more absolute and oppressive than any despotism had ever exhibited. And how was this absolute dominion over men at length attained ? By inducing à Scythian darkness, by debasing man, by leaving to him no more knowledge than that of the brute, in order to render him tame and pliant to the yoke. Whether
through a remissionof this wise, but diabolical policy, or from other causes, letters insinuated themselves; man was incited to think; the powers of reason were rekindled; knowledge like a new day broke in upon
reflection awakened the long dormant sense of his native dignity; and the mighty fabric of ecclesiastic tyranny, which ten centuries had been consolidating, was in a few years shaken to its base. In Spain and Portugal Liberty and Literature have to this hour but a feeble and dubious existence, while in Italy, Germany, and France they have found a welcome, which has cherished them in no small degree. But this is accompanied with restraints and oppressions, which are unfavourable to both, and fatal to their grandest and most laudable exertions. Under the dominion of the Bourbon princes though monarchy was ascendant, nor any security for civil liberty existed, yet from the influence of immemorial laws and usages, power was obliged to observe a decency and caution. Within certain limits
therefore mind was allowed a freedom beyond what could have been expected from the natural jealousy of power, and more than experience has proved to be consistent with the preservation of that power. Monarchy in France has paseed into a despotism, which having more to fear, because it is novel, and has not an hereditary succession for its basis, will probably not allow to mind so free a range.
appears to me, that literary genius has already experienced a sensible decline, and has totally quitted all her more dignified walks. The state of civil liberty and the state of literary mind in France has always appeared to be an anomaly in the history of man. One solution of this difficulty has already been noticed, to which may be added this
very important consideration. Of all the Catholic countries ecclesiastic tyranny
has had the least ascendancy in France. The peculiar claims of the Gal-, lican church happily extricated the nation from the most merciless oppression of the papal power. The Inquisition, that deadliest K 4