Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 5/Representative men: Political philosophers - Machiavelli, Montesquieu, De Tocqueville

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REPRESENTATIVE MEN.
Political Philosophers.
machiavelli: montesquieu: de tocqueville.

 

If there are people who really doubt whether the world gets on, one would like to know what they make of such a fact as the appearance and growth of Political Philosophy in human history. There may be some plausibility in the argument that scientific discoveries in the material world may leave men pretty much as they were, intellectually and morally; but when we see that the interests of men in society have so changed and expanded as to enable wise thinkers to discern the principles of politics, and the natural laws which operate upon society as upon individuals, we can no longer doubt that society has reached a point of enlightenment which, on the one hand, is new, and which, on the other, must certainly lead on to further knowledge of the means of liberty and security which, again, must further improve the character of nations, and of the individuals composing them. Any fact which exhibits a new intellectual and moral step taken by any society, and that step rendered secure by its being associated with ascertained principles, is evidence of an actual advance in wisdom and virtue; and therefore the fact that political philosophy has appeared in the world like something new in modern times, and that we have, in political philosophers, a new order of sages, is an evidence of human progress which the veriest cynic must find it hard to get rid of.

It is true, Plato lived a long time ago, and Aristotle was quoted against him for a good many centuries: but any reference to either shows how essentially different political science is from the dreams of metaphysicians, and the corrections of those dreams by a sagacious and practical thinker who could avoid the errors of his time, but had no materials for creating a science prematurely. Plato’s pictures of what, in his view, society ought to be are interesting and full of suggestion; and so are Aristotle’s wise corrections of fallacies, and discussions of the reasons, and the right and wrong of government: but as there was no notion in those days of such progress as society has made, nothing that could be written could be anything more than a preparation for a real political philosophy: and those who wrote on the subject did so in the course of treating of moral topics, with out any conception of a time to come when the principles and modes of government would spread out into a great province of study, in which every man would have an interest, and from which a new and separate order of wise men would issue forth.

The fact is, that till there was a middle class in society in a sufficient number and variety of nations to afford plenty of material for observation and reasoning, there could be nothing like a science of politics. Almost everywhere the rulers had only to take care of themselves, and do the best they could with the privileged orders by whom they were hustled on every side, and the labouring class, far down under their feet. In the few cases of republics which professed self-government, there was no idea of looking beyond the frontier, in which party conflicts were always going on. In those ages, and for long after, there could be no representative men in the province of political research. The order is a modern one, and as yet they and their works are hardly known to those whom they most concern.

It is customary to consider Machiavelli as the first prominent specimen of the class; and even at this day the reputation of the whole order may be seriously injured by the name of Machiavelli having become the current term for extreme political vileness. It is always mischievous, all round, to use any man’s name in such a way, because it becomes the slang of the ignorant, and satisfies hasty thinkers with sound instead of sense. There is thus injustice to the individual, and bad discipline to everybody else. In our own day there is talk about Malthusian notions, and a popular conception of Mr. Malthus as unlike as can well be to what Mr. Malthus was and taught; and it would be difficult to exaggerate the mischief done to the last and present generation by this piece of ignorance. The same practice has gone on for more than three centuries in regard to Machiavelli—perhaps with more warrant of truth, but with not less mischief to multitudes who have fancied themselves wise and virtuous in condemning and scorning a philosopher of whom they really knew nothing but the name. It is not our business here to discuss the real meaning of the disputed parts of his writings, on which critical readers have differed widely. We have only to glance at the position and character of the man who is commonly regarded as the first specimen of the new order of Political Philosophers.

Machiavelli was born in 1469, of an old and noble Florentine family, whose destiny and character determined those of Nicolo, before he was born. Thirteen of them had been governors, and fifty-three had been heads of monastic establishments: they had been banished from Florence, in the adverse turns of politics among the Italian States; and they had witnessed every conceivable play of had passions in government and war. Nicolo came forward into life and office with these notions of mankind in his head; he had to deal with some of the worst men, in an age when political accomplishment was supposed to mean sharp practice covered by smooth manners. It is remarkable that in his writings should be found some of the highest views in politics, and some of the most benevolent aspirations that have ever been penned; while it is far from strange that, in writing for the Borgias on the art of ruling in their age, he should have recommended as good policy, or allowed as a necessity, kinds and degrees of bad faith which are as revolting to us now in theory, and when we observe them any where in operation, as the old practices of crucifying disobedient slaves, and making slaves of prisoners of war. Machiavelli went on five missions to France, with his mind full of the apprehension that France would swamp the liberties of Tuscany. He was three months in close consultation with Cæsar Borgia; and his letters show that it was a case of diamond cut diamond. Two of the acutest men of their age were day and night trying to circumvent each other; and this was the sort of statesmanship which was going on everywhere, from his youth up. It is no small proof of his sagacity that he discerned how far preferable was honest good government to anything he saw. He said that governing by Law was as much better than governing by Force, as men were better than beasts. He believed that the first object, in his time, was to secure stability,—be the government what it might: but not the less did he declare in his writings that the best stability was in the attachment of the people to their prince; the next, that of custom, under an established dynasty; and far below these, the maintenance of a government by the strong band. He said, in playful conversation, that if he had taught princes how to control their people, he had also done his best to encourage the people not to let their princes oppress them too far. He was disgusted at the practice of employing mercenaries in the conflicts of the Italian States, by which the advantage was given to anybody who had a long purse: and he strove to put an end to the evil doings of a hired soldiery, brought from over the frontier, by raising a militia, and fostering in them a patriotic spirit. All the while, he was thinking. He studied politics in history, and read Livy as no man before him had done, and made Tacitus his model in his book of “The Prince.” When his time of disgrace and suffering arrived,—as it arrived sooner or later to every statesman in those days, he showed, in his correspondence, what was then the common notion of political service. He tells of his being imprisoned and put to the torture; and of the annoyance of hearing the screams of other tortured prisoners; and of his banishment to a country residence, where the dread of an ignominious poverty haunted him. These reverses befel him through the accession of the Medicis to the government of Tuscany; yet he hoped that they would give him office, and wrote his work, “The Prince,” to remind them of his experience of fifteen years, and of his mastery of the philosophy of politics. He tells, in one of these letters, how he spends his day:—two hours in the wood in the morning, overlooking the woodmen, and bargaining, and hearing complaints about the sale of wood. Then he goes to the fountain, where the birds congregate, and reads some favourite poet, and dreams some poem of his own. Then he goes to the rural inn, and gossips till dinner-time, with passing travellers, of whom he makes a study. The family dinner is a frugal one, furnished by his little farm: and after it he goes again to the inn, and plays a game (not now understood) with the landlord and neighhours,—not without incessant disputes. Evening having come, he goes home, puts off his coarse rural disguise, dresses like a gentleman, and enters his library as a saloon in which he is to meet the best company. There he spends four hours in the most refined society in the world, forgets all his troubles, ceases to fear poverty or death, and utilises the discourse of departed sages, by making it a part of his own mind. In short, he wrote his political speculations and descriptions there; and used his works to recommend himself to the Medicis for employment. “The Prince” was not intended for publication, but for the private use of Lorenzo de Medici, to whom he offered it as the only tribute he had to give, while others presented jewels, horses, and precious stuffs. Some of the counsels it contains are golden; but their influence is spoiled by their association with other sections full of craft and of cynicism.

He employed and amused himself also in literature; but, when Lorenzo de Medici died, he was summoned to counsel again, and entrusted with various reforms and preparations for war. He discharged several missions to neighbouring states, and played the spy on the Emperor’s movements on the other side of the mountains. He was subject to a stomach complaint, and at this time (1527) treated it himself, destroying himself by a mistake about his medicine. His age was fifty-eight. He died poor, and no special honours seem to have been paid to his memory till Earl Cowper, in 1787, obtained the erection of a monument in Florence to the first of the new order of great men—the Political Philosophers.

We must remember that the time had not come for a scientific or logical treatment of his subject, any more than for basing a theory of government on ethical principles. It was a great thing that Machiavelli caught and noted fine glimpses of noble truths, and that he was capable of far-reaching speculation, however desultory and partial. A political philosopher he was in a chaotic state of affairs, and if his political morality was postponed to considerations which would be intolerable to us now, we must not judge him as if he had lived among responsible sovereigns and a free people.

 

The world was in a very different state when Montesquieu opened a new period (if, indeed, it was not the first period) of Political Philosophy. There was not much freedom existing anywhere so as to afford a study of various institutions, and his merit was not that of discovering principles from a wide range of facts. The time for that process had not arrived. But Montesquieu was the first to show mankind that the phenomena of political life, like all other phenomena, are subject to invariable laws. This is the great truth which brings after it all other political truth and wisdom. When it is fully understood everywhere, it will deprive self-willed tyrants of their hope and confidence, and it will create hope and confidence in the hearts and minds of nations. Up to Montesquieu’s time, one or another politician had expressed some idea of society making progress; but no one could give a reason for the notion; and there was incessant dispute about the fact. When the philosopher had shown that after some things had happened others could not but happen, and from these others again, and that nothing had ever been known to happen otherwise than through some necessary conditions, people regarded the political world in quite a new light. Nations were no longer at the mercy of despots, if any desire of freedom was alive in them; and any people might obtain freedom by seeking it in a sensible way. The same truth taught them how to learn the sensible way, and to satisfy themselves as to their own qualifications for conducting a good system. But the nation to which Montesquieu belonged did not understand him, and a century after his birth they were throwing away blessings which they were not yet wise enough to enjoy. Their own philosopher could have taught them that; but he was, perhaps, the only great Frenchman whom his countrymen have failed to be proud of.

He was born in l689. It will strike the reader that precisely a hundred years later is the date of the political code of principles which won all good hearts to the first French revolution, and which wise statesmen and philosophers still regard as the noblest political creed yet professed in the world. This is quite true. Montesquieu’s countrymen did make such a proclamation a century after his death: but they were unfit for acting up to it, and they have never proved themselves worthy of it to this day. But if their great philosopher has not done much for them, he has for other peoples, and for the understanding of the human race at large. He proved that politics are a science, and that political life is naturally progressive. His “Spirit of Laws” is considered one of the three or four books which have educated the mind of Europe, within a century and a half, to a higher point than all other intellectual influences whatever. One of the others is Smith’s “Wealth of Nations,” which illustrates the steady operation of the natural laws which Montesquieu first pointed out in the province of politics. Montesquieu could not apply those laws to the explanation of facts. He had not got far enough for that: but Adam Smith could do that in the economical department of politics; and France has yielded political writers abundantly able to use the great truth that Montesquieu disclosed.

He was of an old and noble family whose estates were near Bordeaux, and who had filled offices in the magistracy and in the local parliament for many generations. Charles, the philosopher, had an extraordinary taste for jurisprudence, in his very childhood, and his father believed he would be a great magistrate, in one way or another. He read the classics, and all voyages and travels that he could get hold of; but his pleasure in them was greatest when he could learn from them something about the laws of different lawgivers and nations. He was incessantly studying the contradictions, and discovering the objects of the obscurest laws, and preparing himself for a great position in the Bordeaux parliament first, and for a higher function afterwards. He filled some local political and judicial posts when he was between twenty and thirty: and when he was thirty-two he took the world by surprise with his “Persian Letters.” Some persons still prefer that work to any other of his; but we have here to do with his “Spirit of Laws,” which cost him fourteen years of thought and pains, after his “Persian Letters” had given him a great reputation.

The “Persian Letters” contained abundance of sarcasm on the hollow glories of the reign of Louis XIV., which had just closed, and plenty of satire on the social vices which such a reign encourages; but they manifested also a faith in the triumph of reason and right, an admiration for popular liberty, and a hearty concern for the best interests of society which prepared the mind of the few thoughtful readers, among the multitude who devoured the book, for what at length followed. One result of its popularity was that it decided its author to retire from his judicial office, and devote himself to study and writing. He quizzed the booksellers who, he declared, went about pulling by the sleeve every likely man they met with the petition, “Do write some Persian Letters for us;” but the popularity itself was no joke to him, as it altered the course of his life. He showed, in a noble discourse before the parliament of Bordeaux, what be conceived to be the functions of the Bar and the Bench; and he was not satisfied with his own discharge of them. His eyes served him so ill that he could neither write nor read notes with any facility. He could not take the trouble to correct his broad provincial dialect. He was of a rather lumbering habit of thought, though quick and gay in wit and humour; and he was so shy that, as he said, the mere feeling that anybody was listening to him put to flight all his ideas, tied his tongue, jumbled his words, and clouded his faculties, so that the very subject he had to speak upon vanished from his mind’s eye. If all this was true, he was certainly not made to be a judge, and was wise to sell the place, as such offices were a matter of purchase and sale in those days. He sought a seat in the Academy, on devoting himself to a student life; but certain priests protested against the admission of a satirist who had jested about the sacred things of the Church. He was indignant, and declared that he would seek else where the repose and appreciation which were denied him in his own country; but he also, by means which are differently represented, propitiated both Cardinal and King; and he delivered. his inaugural address in the Academy in January 1728. Everything seemed now prepared for his saying, and the world hearing, what he had to utter on political philosophy; but he chose to travel first, and see for himself the real condition of people and their rulers in most of the countries of Europe. He began with Germany, and proceeded to Italy, Switzerland, Holland, and England. He had met Lord Chesterfield at Venice, and again at the Hague; and they were great friends; so that it was no wonder that he came to England, nor that, when here, his relish of our political institutions induced him to stay two years. There are traces of his presence in London society at that time. He was a member of the Royal Society; Queen Caroline distinguished him, undeterred by his absent manners, and appreciating the grace of his wit, and perhaps the force of his satire, when ever he rallied his faculties for conversation. One story is that when an anecdote was pressed upon him which he did not believe, and the bore who urged it said that, if his fact were not true, he would make Montesquieu a present of his head, the philosopher replied, “I accept it: these little presents keep up the warmth of friendship.”

Within this century it has become known that Montesquieu wrote, either before or during his travels, a short treatise which he got printed in Holland, on the impossibility of any universal monarchy in Europe. He suppressed it, however, apprehending that it might be dangerous to show why no power could henceforth subjugate the various populations of Europe. He published instead, in 1734, his “Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness and the Decline of the Romans,” which answered the purpose of showing that their feat of universal empire could never be repeated.

The subject had been often treated; but there was more to the purpose in Montesquieu’s single volume than in all the one-sided views and random eloquence of his predecessors. Yet it was but one branch of the subject he was meditating, the greatness of which weighed upon his heart. Sometimes, as he tells us, he believed he was getting on by strides,—so clear was the truth he had to illustrate; while, at other times, he felt as if he should never move another step, under the burden of so vast a meaning as his book was to bear. He was anxious to be as brief and as emphatic as he could, in order to win readers; and this seems to be the reason why his style is far inferior to his subject. He was as fond of Tacitus as Machiavelli was; and he tried to imitate his style, without parting with his own French epigrammatic mode of expression. The result is a kind and degree of affectation displeasing to English taste; but the point of view attained in the “Spirit of Laws,” the wealth of significance which it bears, and the noble spirit which breathes through it shame all objections about minor matters. It is a remarkable circumstance that his own judgment of his work varied with his mood of mind up to a certain point, and then became fixed. He asked his honest friend Helvetius to read his manuscript, and tell him what he thought of it. Helvetius objected to several things, and especially the main doctrine of the treatise. Indeed, he thought so ill of the work that he dared not, for some time, say what he thought,—that Montesquieu would lose reputation entirely by it; and he secretly consulted Saurin (author of “Spartacus”), who was exactly of his opinion.

It is amusing to read now the letter of Helvetius to Saurin, in which he says that they need not fear offending Montesquieu, who will answer their remonstrances with witticisms, and go his own way; that it is useless to hope to turn him out of the way of destruction; but that it is a duty to themselves to take care that, when the day of ruin overtakes him, he shall have no cause to blame his friends for want of warning. Montesquieu’s reply to his critic was that he now perceived the work was in advance of his generation, and he must issue it according to his own views; and he had now come to the end of his vacillations about it. It was published in 1748; and within a year and a-half it had gone through twenty-two editions at Paris, and was translated into almost every European language. Men of literary curiosity relished it mightily. Horace Walpole, for instance, calls it “the best book that ever was written.” Men of kindly sentiment enjoy its genial and hopeful spirit. But it required a philosopher to see its true significance, in discovering the relations of politics to science. It is easily criticised, for some of its views as well as its style; but its radical thought,—that political phenomena are subject to natural laws,—placed its author at once above all his predecessors in his province of study.

In seven years he was dead. He died of inflammatory fever, in thirteen days, aware of his danger throughout, and with all his faculties in their natural vigour, as far as could be seen by his fencing with the Jesuits who came about him as he was dying. “You know,” said one of them, in administering the viaticum, “how great God is.” “Oh, yes,” replied he, “and how small men are.”

It is not difficult to account for Montesquieu’s great work having been most valued in England and least in France. In spite of the dozens of editions demanded at Paris, the book failed to modify French thought; and political speakers and writers went on romancing the more, as the revolution drew on, about the first principles which they derived from imagination, or from a poetical view of the events of history. In England, the bent of the national mind was favourable to Montesquieu’s method of studying the wide range of facts of social experience, in order to ascertain from them the laws which governed them, and which must govern the history yet to be enacted.

When the “Spirit of Laws” appeared, Edmund Burke was under twenty years old, but quite wise enough to enjoy and profit by it. We may fairly suppose that he did, not only because every student of politics read it, but also from the character of Burke’s first publication,—the “Vindication of Natural Society,” which pretended to be written by Lord Bolingbroke. Burke was then only six~and-twenty; but he had made up his mind, which he never changed, against the à priori method in political philosophy, which he was to see reach such a height of mischievous absurdity in the French Revolution. It is true, we of another century may think that Burke carried his reverence for natural laws of society into superstition when he discouraged action, and admired passive waiting on the course of human affairs. It is true, we may see how unwelcome his incessant announcements of the results of his reasonings were in parliament, where the members were divided between poetical and sympathetic enthusiasm about the metaphysics and sentiment of French politics and the hard dry notions of practical politics which prevailed under an ignorant and wilful king and a Tory party at which the country would blush at this day. It is true, Burke left no great single work, general in its character, and thorough in its treatment of a province of philosophy; but yet he was a representative man in political philosophy. He united in himself the intuitive perception of general truths which some persons suppose to constitute a proof of first principles, with the clear and constant conviction that the search for first principles in politics is as mischievous as vain. While Montesquieu’s countrymen were preaching away about social contracts and savage states of society, and natural social rights, and personifying abstractions of any sort that pleased their fancy, Burke,—the born-poet, the man of imagination, fancy, sympathy, which so abounded in him that he might have swamped the whole supply paraded by the French revolutionists,—this fervent speaker, who might have beaten all the metaphysicians and all the political discoverers with their own weapons, never ceased his exhortations to legislators and society to abide by facts, and to reason from known particular facts to the ascertainable general facts which we call laws. We cannot regard Burke as the founder of a school, or the discoverer of any new department of politics: but he was a teacher whose wisdom will drop into many minds of each generation for long years, perhaps centuries, to come. No one can travel in America without being struck with the veneration in which Burke’s utterances are held there. The fact is singular, considering the metaphysical quality of American politics, from Burke’s time to the present; but it shows what his sympathy with revolutionary France might have been if he had not been guarded by an early recognition of the true character of political philosophy,—derived, perhaps, in great measure, from Montesquieu. The prevalent character of political speculation in France at this day enhances the delight of the study of Burke, in whom we find all the ideality of the metaphysical school, together with the sound wisdom—the intense common sense—of the higher and humbler students who are thankful to learn from a wide range of events, rather than from a group of notions fetched from out of their own brains.

Those who are old enough to have seen how the House of Commons looked while Sir James Mackintosh was speaking, can bear witness that our legislature has no real and permanent antipathy to political philosophers. Too much of the conduct of our parliament looks like it; and it will be an undying tradition that the House emptied when Burke spoke, while it has never failed to rally to hear the coarsest libeller who will amuse it with personalities, provided he has sufficient smartness. Yet a metaphysician and a man of speculative genius may win homage, in spite of his strongest qualifications, if he can gratify his hearers with some others. They listened eagerly whenever Mackintosh spoke, though he was first known as a political philosopher. He does not, however, belong to my subject, for he was by no means a representative man in political philosophy. Neither can we assign that character to our benefactor, Mr. Hallam, substantial and invaluable as are his services. He has promoted political thought among us by enabling the present generation to understand the constitution under which they live. His statements instruct us; his reasonings enlighten us; and his inferences set us thinking: but his function has been only critical. He may, probably, have helped to make some future political philosopher; but he was not himself one of the supreme sages of the order.

As France has supplied a science of History to the nineteenth century, so she has perhaps supplied the purest example of a political philosopher. De Tocqueville answers more entirely to the description than any other man of our time; and not the less, if his function was rather to illustrate the operation of known laws than to make discoveries of new ones. Born into a position (like that of Machiavelli and of Montesquieu), favourable to observation without passion or prejudice, De Tocqueville looked out upon social life with a fine faculty of insight into its workings, and a kindly heart, sensitive to the present troubles and the future dangers of society. His life was distinguished accordingly by his emphatic warnings of the near relationship of democratic equality to subjugation under a despotism, while his cautions were rendered trustworthy by his hearty appreciation of the blessings of genuine freedom.

His misfortune was his French tendency to a logical treatment of an idealised theme. It was this which obstructed the effect of his “Democracy in America” upon the people of the United States. The Americans have no sort of objection to even an à priori handling of political doctrine (witness their own Declaration of Independence). However it may be with their responsible statesmen, the reading public there is certainly favourable to an idealising and metaphysical treatment of any subject,—and of politics among the rest; but De Tocqueville’s procedure was rather too plain before their eyes. He saw few people, he did not go southwards beyond Washington, and conversed very little; and the remark was that his book might have been written in his own library, without the trouble of the voyage. He himself declared that he had wrought out his exposition from the scantiest supply of facts, just as Cuvier would have elaborated an entire unknown animal from the aspect of a tooth. It is true, there was too much assumption of the infallible working of known laws, without doubt or distrust as to the intervention of anything unexpected; and the usefulness of his work among a people singularly in need of it has been restricted accordingly; but not the less has De Tocqueville been, for thirty years, up to the time of his lamented death in 1859, the representative political philosopher of the time. This philosophy was his pursuit, his engrossing interest, the proper field of his genius, and the natural channel for both his patriotism and his general benevolence. At the same time, it enhanced instead of mitigating the great grief of his life,—the suppression of liberty in his own country. His thorough understanding of the causes of the submission of France to the existing despotism aggravated his keen sense of the calamity; and his hopelessness of the course of affairs cast a deep shadow over the last years of his life.

He was descended from an old and noble family in Normandy. Louis XVIII. restored the title of Count to his father, and it is still borne by his elder brother; but Alexis never adopted it, having, as he said, no inclination to accept a distinction which had for ever lost the characteristic of honour which made titles worth having. He was ten years old when the First Empire closed at the battle of Waterloo. During the subsequent Bourbon reigns he was diligently prosecuting his education, and on reaching manhood ranged himself with the liberal party, clearly anticipating the downfal of the Bourbons. He regarded the accession of the Orleans family and policy as only a new stage in the revolution, because he saw that there was no preparation of the mind of the French people for withstanding the despotism which inevitably accompanies an immature growth of democracy. In 1831 he went to America, and in his work on “Democracy in America” he gave utterance, in a philosophical form, to his clear views of the prospects of his own and every other country in which the democratic principle has established itself unwatched and unchecked by political philosophy incorporated with practice. He was almost as much at home in England as in France, and his hopes found a resting-place in the sound quality and natural growth of English liberties. Such comfort as he experienced, as a political philosopher, during the last depressed years of his life, were derived from our country; and this should be at once an admonition and an encouragement to us to take heed to the lessons and the prophecies of the one political sage of our times.

It is plain to all eyes that the lesson is needed. Everybody is aware that the present condition of politics cannot last. In the absence of political parties marked by oppositions of principles, we are halting between two opinions in a way which can bring nothing but disaster. A democratic tendency is now universal, and cannot be arrested; and to ignore it in the freest country in the world is fatal folly. It is not to be expected, especially in England, that practical statesmen should be political philosophers. Ours are not, and do not pretend to be so. But they might look for guidance in the wisdom of those who are; and this is what no statesman of any party is at present doing. The existing and all recent parliaments have displayed an insensibility to the situation which De Tocqueville could have shown them, and which his works do show, to be very perilous; and the elements of discontent which are gathering outside of political expression are, as he would avouch, more dangerous than any mode of expression that they could find under the forms of the constitution. It is by bad faith and ignorant levity that they have been excluded: and it is only a question of time whether the enlarged franchises and reforms now for some time due shall be obtained with such safety and tranquillity as may still be possible, or be imperiously demanded by an exasperated popular will which shall overbear, more perilously than thirty years ago, the power of resistance rightfully belonging to the classes who ought to be the exemplars of the cultivated intelligence of the country. After all parties have agreed that there has been a great advance in the intelligence of the people, and that that intelligence is a sound title to a share in political counsel and action, it is rash in the extreme to delay the admission on false pretences, or by catching at accidents, at home and abroad. If De Tocqueville were among us now, there is no doubt what his opinion of our present parliament would be, and his writings ought, by this time, to have made our rulers wiser than they are. We may hope that the people of England will yet cause his name and fame to be honoured among us as they deserve.

Harriet Martineau.