Abbildungen der Seite

ledge of minerals, vegetables, and so on in the materia medica ; these in physick are general prin, ciples. Would you trust a physician, who was ignorant of these medical principles ?

G, I believe if I were weak enough to do so once, he would put it out of my power to offend a second time against the first law of nature, selfpreservation.

P. His general principles, however, you see must be directed by a wise attention to little circumstances of air, diet, exercise, and so on, which must determine the time, and the place, and the quantity of his applications. Dr. Hyde visited James to collect these circumstances, and then by prescribing reduced his principles to practice,

G. I see it clearly.

P. Now transfer these remarks to polity. Consider the constitution of a kingdom as you consider anatomy—and administration, taxation, and so on as you consider the materia medica, and you easily see a man ought not to be trusted to govern who is ignorant of sound principles of studied and approved polity.

G. I allow it, and I admit also that government, or the actual application of these principles of polity require personal qualifications, and attention to circumstances.

P. Suppose your physician a drunkard?
G. I should expect to be poisoned.
P. Suppose him a spendthrift or a miser ?

G. I should suspect he would derange my affairs to arrange his own.

P. Suppose him a profligate, unprincipled infidel?

G. I would rather let my disease take its course, and say God's will be done, than hire a wretch to bully me into the grave.

P. Do you say the same of a political governor?
G. I must think a little.

P. O! fine fellow! persist in that, and you will make a man. Think! why the whole world might be wise, if they would but think-But half mankind don't think. The human soul is a fine vessel, George, but it rots in harbour for want of freight. -Well, sir, have you thought?

G. I think till I blush, and yet I have a difficulty which I cannot get over. I blush to think how defective my benevolence is. I do not know whether I have any. I would not trust my own life in the hand of one vicious or unprincipled physician; yet I seem inclined to commit the lives of an army and a navy, and a whole nation to an ignorant libertine. I am induced to do so by recollecting that some wicked men have been good governors. · P. So it is frequently said; but I doubt this. However, I think the question quite needless. If indeed there were no good men in a kingdom, we might be driven to the sad necessity of comforting ourselves with thinking that vicious characters might do; but all kingdoms have men of political virtue, and there is no need to employ the worthless while the worthy lie idle.

G. Pray, sir, what do you call political virtue ?

P. You know every man is naturally obliged to perform some services to God-others to himself ---and a third class to his neighbours. .

G. I know it and I think I know some, who are so intent on discharging one class of these obligations as to forget the other two.

P. Suppose a political governor to neglect divine worship, and to injure his own health by intemperance?

G. I should say he left two parts of three of his duty undone, . P. But suppose him to have just notions of government, and to discharge well a publick trust, would you say he left the other third part of duty undone ?

G. By no means.

P. Would not you call this political virtue ? · G. I know not what else to call it.

P. Would not you feel more esteem for him, and place more confidence in him, if he were an uniform character, discharging all other duties as well as this?

G. I should.

P. Is not confidence in political governors one branch of the peoples political virtue ?

G. I think it is.

P. What! Is it a virtue to confide in men known to betray their trust?

G. No, certainly.

P. You say people ought to confide in their governors?

G. I said so unwarily. I mean, or ought to mean the political wisdom and virtue of their governors.

P. It is not the person of the governor then that is the object of the people's trust: but his qualifications.

G. I mean so.

P. There is then an object of confidence, a ground of reliance, a reason in a man why I should trust him, is there?

G. Undoubtedly.
P. What is it? skill? or integrity? or both?

G. If I know a man to be wise I can trust his judgment, but I cannot trust his conduct, unless I know him to be upright.

P. So you make integrity essentially necessaay to a good political ruler!

G, I do. How else can the people trust him?

P. Yet you said just now a wicked man might be a good governor? How is this ?.

G. I see how it is. A man wicked in some respects may not be wicked in every case, and where he is virtuous he may be trusted : as for instance, if he understand government, and faithfully discharge publick trusts, then I may trust him politically; if he understand physick, and have the integrity necessary to his profession, I may trust him medically: but in other cases, which he does not understand or practise, there he ceases to be an object of confidence. Am I right, sir ?

P. Entirely. I shall expect you on Monday · morning. Farewell.




Parent. WELL, George, what says Dr. Johnson about mysteriousness?

George. I confess, sir, I have been looking, and he tells me, it sometimes signifies holy obscurity, and sometimes artful perplexity.

P. I wish authors have not made a distinction without a difference.

G. You think, sir, if holiness be obscure, it is because art has perplexed it?

P. Indeed I do.

G. Is not mysteriousness spun out of mystery, sir? .

P. It is. Mystery is a fine material for manufacture. But, to come to the point, what is the plain English of mystery?

G. A mystery is a secret, I think. I can make no more of it.

P. Is not every thing, that you do not understand, a secret to you?

G. Certainly.

P. Are there not some secrets, which you do not choose to understand ?

« ZurückWeiter »