« PoprzedniaDalej »
6 Am not I, Cadwallader Crotchet, gent. more unfortunate “than any being that breathes either in the old or new worlds? “Of what avail is it that I expend my days in devising schemes "for the amelioration of mankind, when they will never reap the “ fruits of my philanthropy? My works might as well be buried 66 with me, like the sacred volumes of Numa. Oh! saint Antho
ny, saint Anthony, how hard did you think your fate, when the
At this distant period it is difficult to determine absolutely, what part my good old progenitor might assume, with the politicians of the present time. I incline however to believe, that he would occupy much the same rank in our republic, that is held by the oyster in the animal and vegetable kingdom. He would prove a sort of analogical link, between jarring partizans. The preface of the manuscript before me, bears ample testimony, that he was neither the advocate of perfect cquality, nor indeed wedded to stars and crosses and ensigns armorial. For it is considered not more preposterous to imagine that all of us wear NOSES, cut after the same fashion and figure, than to believe that we all possess rights, parcelled out by the same impartial charter. Nature in both cases, has decreed a discrimination, and why should man protest against her authority. “Sagacity," quoth a learned doctor, " is the nose of the mind;" and this feature of
mental physiognomy, may be either straight or crooked, pug or bulbous, Roman or Grecian.
In regard to the doctrines of the other school, our venerable theorist was by no means a complete disciple. Two little anecdotes, which came immediately under his cognizance kept him always vascillating. A handsome young man, having pilfered half a dozen silver spoons from a jeweller's window, was legally convicted of the crime and sentenced to the pillory. Previous to execution, the department permitted to exercise the dispensing power, liberally tendered a pardon. The prisoner however, blushingly refused it, declaring, that, although his personal beauty would be spoilt, he had preferably submit to his malignant planet at once. His progenitors had been spoon-stealers, from time, whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary, and invariably lost their ears in consequence. a family fatality, and since his own souse must sooner or later be put into the same pickle, he wished the business over, without delay, to save the terrors of anticipation. This fact had a squinting towards a patriciate, and hereditary honours. Yet another presently arose to belie it. A certain cobbler, who was transported early after the first settlement of the colony at James town, and perhaps came over with lord Delaware, had two sons. They were promising lads; but it is singular, the eldest could never see an awl without falling into an epilepsy; nor the youngest behold a pair of pincers, without heartily wishing they might be buried at the bottom of the draw-well. They were educated as tailors; and their offspring discovered similar antipathies to the goose and lapboard. Thus no determinate judgment could be drawn.
The form of government, which my grandfather recommends, has something so original about its model, that I cannot forbear to offer an anatomy of it, in this paper. There is reason to believe, it would have been more out of the common order, had he not been aware, that the gray-beard prejudices of the world should be somewhat respected. Peter the Great of Muscow, (you know,) was well nigh frustrating all his laboured
projects of reform, by the order for shaving the faces of his whiskered subjects. Every system should sometimes yield, in order to conciliate; and often flatter, that it may be revered the more, when it commands.
Agreeably to this, our venerable theorist, the first office of state, should be delegated to that man, whose head and heart best qualified him to support and adorn it. His virtues should be pacific, and a love of philosophy the master passion of his soul. All executive duties should be confided to him, and he might be elected by the sovereign people, every four years. To demonstrate the general wishes, toward a good understanding with every country, his excellency is compelled to provide a philo-politico national wardrobe, in compliment of foreign potentates, principalities and powers;, as red breechez of Paris cut for France, for England a Bond-street coat of London brown, for Spain the silk stockings of Valdemoro, a stone-coloured waistcoat, with scarlet button-holes for Denmark, and for China, a big funnel-bonnet, tipped at its apex with a gorgeous bead or pearl. This suit is to be worn, only on festivals, anniversaries and holy-days.
The supreme magistrate should be aided, during a particular season, by the grand council of sages; who are likewise directed to be attired in tunics and caps, composed of a tight velvet sconce-piece, with a superficial square placed diagonally upon it, and tasselled; the whole to be made of sables, that greater awe may be inspired in the lobbies and gallery. There is certainly no doubt of mind and body, being related by the nearest ties of affinity. They have been most appositely typified, by “a jerkin and a jerkin's lining;” whatever puckers the one, must perforce pucker the other, also. This being established, it appeared a necessary consequence, that the council should be placed under a scrupulous regimen of diet. Lycurgus prescribed to the Spartans a black broth, which agreeably to the recipe of Meursius, was nothing more nor less than pork gravy, with a pleasant dash of vinegar and salt; my grandfather exults in the invention of a certain soup meagre, made by the concoction of cows' heels and turnifi-tops, which from its being light, and easy of digestion is fixed, as the only nutriment of our senators. Their only drink
to be good small beer; and that measured out in small potations. He inveighs strenuously against the Goths and Vandals, who made it a practice to tipple themselves quite happy, before they commenced upon public affairs; and Epicureanism hangs crude, unwholesome fogs upon the brain, producing besides, all those heavy “ peccant humours" which my lord Verulam, unjustly attributes to study only.
The enlightened congress of Lilliput had assembled to legislate. Circumstances rendered it necessary and expedient that their doors should be kept closed, whilst the subtle financiers were calculating ways and means to meet state exigencies. Many of the grave and reverend seniors, having feasted luxuriously, with their host of the garter, upon a most delicious venison frasty, were enjoying the balmy dews of golden slumber. Queen Mab, in her sportive mood, visited one of the jolly snorers, and gently whispered, that venison pasties were about to be laid under an enormous excise. “What!” exclaimed he loudly, jumps ing up on his legs, which were previously crossed over the table, that stood before him, “What! Mr. Chairman, shall this honourable house purchase a padlock from Pythagoras, to place on the stomachs of brave Lilliputians? Forbid it policy! Forbid it jus. tice! Forbid it republicanism! The cardinal principle of natural law inculcates that man may eat, in quantity and kind according to his pleasure. This law is recognized by every civil people on the globe, and particularly confirmed by our divine constitution. The tax contemplated, will virtually tend to the prohibition of venison pasties altogether. The Assyrians, the Medes and Persians, the Greeks and Romans, and Carthaginians" Here an honourable gentleman, on the right hand of our orator, who had been awakened by the vociferation, that drummed upon his tympanum, rose up with unutterable dignity in his port, and after an animated preface solemnly moved, that this momentous and awful subject be postponed for discussion on the morrow. A long argument ensued about order, which cost the exchequer no less than fifty dollars and fifty cents, governmental currency, in candles.
The next institution, proposed by the venerable theorist is, what he descriptively denominates, a Peripatetic Judiciary,
which he imagines so perfectly constituted, that, were it skilfully put in practice, Astræa would, once more choose her sojourn among the sons of men. Every member of this tribunal should be a muscular pedestrian, as he is required to walk over a particular, assigned circuit, and dispense right without delay, from the château of the nabob, to the cottage of the peasant--It is the province of wise legislation to consult an economical husbandry. Our worshipful bench are therefore allowed only the following compensation. For the trial of certain prescribed suits and actions personal, they shall be entitled to, and receive from the plaintiff, one hearty meal, vulgarly called a breakfast; for deciding on writs of right, the demandant, ipso facto, is indebted in the amount of a comfortable dinner; supper and lodging are the eonstitutional price of assault and battery, with the long catalogue of mayhem; finally all criminal prosecutions supply them annually, at the expense of the general coffers, three shirts of fine linen, three cambric neck stocks, two pairs of cotton hose, one wig, a black gown, and a pair of stuff breeches. Equity is thus brought, not merely to the doors of the people, but actually passes their threshold, and is domesticated, like an affectionate daughter, by their fire sides. Moreover a considerable advantage, arising from this improvement, is, that the twenty years' lucubrations of tripe-visaged templars, and knights of the green satchel, are rendered totally useless. Wo unto you, lawyers, for ye would take the key of knowledge; ye enter not in yourselves, and them that are entering in ye hinder.
With regard to the situation, best adapted to promote national happiness, there exists much contrariety of opinion. Aristotle, in his seventh book of politics, appears to prefer a maritime site, from prudential reasons.
The venerable theorist, although he would not have it a barren mountain, like St. Marino, yet fears to settle his commonwealth near the sea, lest it should be imagined, that his sentiments advanced farther, than those of the sapient Stagyrite. Commerce, he considers, as the bane of virtue, producing that insatiable avarice, which carries even morality to the common shambles for sale or hire. Mr. Kenneth Macaulay, in his account of Saint Kilda, asserts, that when a ship touches there, a}l the good folks of the place are instantaneously seized