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We may note, by the by, that at this time, in the latter part of the seventeenth century, it was the custom with physicians in London to pay their professional visits the first thing in the morning, and then to come home to receive patients at their own houses. About the middle of the Second Day's Dialogue, which extends altogether in the original edition) over 166 pages, the English Gentleman observes that he must hasten through his discourse ; “for,” says he, “ the time runs away, and I know the Doctor must be at home by noon, where he gives daily charitable advice to an infinity of poor people, who have need of his help, and who send or come for it, not having the confidence to send for him, since they have nothing to give him; though he be very liberal too of his visits to such, where he has any knowledge of them.” The three friends met at nine in the morning; but the Doctor also paid another visit to his patient in the evening. It is at that evening visit that the first of the three dialogues, which is very
short and merely introductory, is represented as having taken place : at parting, the Venetian nobleman says, “ It begins to be darkish:Boy, light your torch, and wait on these gentlemen down.”
One of the most remarkable of Nevile's positions is that, upon his principles, there must some time or other ensue a revolution in France. In one place (p. 34) he observes :
Eng. Gent. The modern despotical powers have been acquired by one of these two ways ; either by pretending by the first founder thereof that he had a divine mission, and so gaining not only followers, but even easy access in some places without force to empire, and afterwards dilating their power by great conquests (thus Mahomet and Cingis Can began and established the Saracen and Tartarian kingdoms); or by a long series of wisdom in a prince, or chief magistrate of a mixed monarchy, and his council, who, by reason of the sleepiness and inadvertency of the people, have been able to extinguish the great nobility, or render them inconsiderable ; and, so by degrees taking away from the people their protectors, render them slaves. So the monarchies of France and some other countries have grown to what they are at this day ; there being left but a shadow of the three States in any of these monarchies, and so no bounds remaining to the regal power. But, since property remains still to the subjects, these governments may be said to be changed, but not founded or established ; for there is no maxim more infallible and holding in any science than this in politics, That empire is founded in property. Force or fraud may alter a government; but it is property that must found and eternise it. Upon this undeniable aphorism we are to build most of our subsequent reason
ing: in the mean time we may suppose that hereafter the great power of the King of France may diminish much, when his enraged and oppressed subjects come to be commanded by a prince of less courage, wisdom, and military virtue, when it will be very hard for any such king to govern tyrannically a country which is not entirely his own.
Doctor. Pray, Sir, give me leave to ask you, by the way, what is the reason that here in our country, where the peerage is lessened sufficiently, the king has not gotten as great an addition of power as accrues to the crown in France ?
Eng. Gent. You will understand that, Doctor, before I have finished this discourse; but, to stay your stomach till then, you may please to know that in France the greatness of the nobility, which has been lately taken from them, did not consist in vast riches and revenues, but in great privileges and jurisdictions, which obliged the people to obey them ; whereas our great peers in former times had not only the same great dependences, but very considerable revenues besides, in demesnes and otherwise. This vassalage over the people, which the peers of France had, being abolished, the power over those tenants, which before was in their lords, fell naturally, and of course, into the crown, although the lands and possessions, divested of those dependences, did and do still remain to the owners; whereas here in England, though the services are for the most part worn out and insignificant, yet, for want of providence and policy in former kings, who could not foresee the danger afar off, entails have been suffered to be cut off ; and so two parts in ten of all those vast estates, as well manors as demesnes, by the luxury and folly of the owners, have been within these two hundred years purchased by the lesser gentry and the commons; which has been so far from advantaging the crown, that it has made the country scarce governable by monarchy.
Afterwards (p. 147) we have the following further explanation on the same subject :
Doctor. You are pleased to talk of the oppression of the people under the King of France, and for that reason call it a violent government, when, if I remember, you did once to-day extol the monarchy of the Turks for well-founded and natural: are not the people in that empire as much oppressed as in France ?
Eng. Gent. By no means; unless you will call it oppression for the Grand Signior to feed all his people out of the produce of his own lands. And, though they serve him for it, yet that does not alter the case ; for, if you set poor men to work and pay them for it, are you a tyrant, or rather are you not a good commonwealths-man by helping those to live who have no other way of doing it but by their labour? But the King of France, knowing that his people have, and ought to have, property, and that he
has no right to their possessions, yet takes what he pleases from them, without their consent, and contrary to law; so that, when he sets them on work, he pays them what he pleases, and that he levies out of their own estates. I do not affirm that there is no government in the world but where rule is founded in property; but I say there is no natural, fixed government but where it is so; and, when it is otherwise, the people are perpetually complaining, and the king in perpetual anxiety, always in fear of his subjects, and seeking new ways to secure himself; God having been so merciful to mankind that he has made nothing safe for princes but what is just and honest.
Noble Ven. But you were saying just now that this present constitution in France will fall when the props fail: we in Italy, who live in perpetual fear of the greatness of that kingdom, would be glad to hear something of the decaying of those props; what are they, I beseech you?
Eng. Gent. The first is the greatness of the present king, whose heroic actions and wisdom have extinguished envy in all his neighbour princes, and kindled fear, and brought him to be above all possibility of control at home ; not only because his subjects fear his courage, but because they have his virtue in admiration, and, amidst all their miseries, cannot choose but have something of rejoicing to see how high he hath mounted the empire and honour of their nation. The next prop is the change of their ancient constitution, in the time of Charles the Seventh, by consent; for about that time, the country being so wasted by the invasion and excursions of the English, the States then assembled petitioned the King that he would give them leave to go home, and dispose of affairs himself and order the government for the future as he thought fit. Upon this his successor, Lewis the Eleventh, being a crafty prince, took an occasion to call the States no more, but to supply them with an Assemblée des Notables, which were certain men of his own nomination, like Barebones’ parliament here, but that they were of better quality. These in succeeding reigns (being the best men of the kingdom) grew troublesome and intractable; so that for some years the edicts have been verified (that is, in our language, bills have been passed) in the Grand Chamber of the Parliament at Paris, commonly called the Chambre d' Audience, who lately, and since the imprisonment of President Brousselles and others during this king's minority, have never refused or scrupled any edicts whatsoever. Now, whenever this great king dies, and the States of the kingdom are restored, these two great props of arbitrary power are taken away. Besides these two, the constitution of the government of France itself is somewhat better fitted than ours to permit extraordinary power in the prince ; for the whole people there possessing lands are gentlemen, that is, infinitely the greater part; which was the reason why in their Assembly of Estates the deputies of the provinces (which we call here knights of the shire)
were chosen by and out of the gentry, and sat with the peers in the same chamber, as representing the gentry only, called petite noblesse. Whereas our knights here (whatever their blood is) are chosen by commoners, and are commoners; our laws and government taking no notice of any nobility but the persons of the peers, whose sons are likewise commoners, even their eldest, whilst their father lives. Now gentry are ever more tractable by a prince than a wealthy and numerous commonalty; out of which our gentry (at least those we call so) are raised from time to time; for whenever either a merchant, lawyer, tradesman, grazier, farmer, or any other, gets such an estate as that he or his son can live upon his lands, without exercising of any other calling, he becomes a gentleman. I do not say but that we have men very nobly descended amongst these ; but they have no pre-eminence or distinction by the laws or government. Besides this, the gentry in France are very needy and very numerous ; the reason of which is, that the elder brother, in most parts of that kingdom, hath no more share in the division of the paternal estates than the cadets or younger brothers, excepting the principal house with the orchards and gardens about it, which they call Vol de chapon, as who should say, As far as a capon can fly at once. This house gives him the title his father had, who was called Seignior, or Baron, or Count of that place; which if he sells, he parts with his baronship, and, for aught I know, becomes in time roturier, or ignoble. This practice divides the land into so many small
parcels that the possessors of them, being noble, and having little to maintain their nobility, are fain to seek their fortune, which they can find nowhere so well as at the court, and so become the king's servants and soldiers, for they are generally courageous, bold, and of a good mien. None of these can ever advance themselves but by their desert, which makes them hazard themselves very desperately, by which means great numbers of them are killed, and the rest come in time to be great officers, and live splendidly upon the king's purse, who is likewise very liberal to them, and, according to their respective merits, gives them often, in the beginning of a campaign, a considerable sum to furnish out their equipage. These are a great prop to the regal power, it being their interest to support it, lest their gain should cease, and they be reduced to be poor provinciaux, that is country gentlemen, again. Whereas, if they had such estates as our country gentry have, they would desire to be at home at their ease; whilst these (having ten times as much from the king as their own estate can yield them, which supply must fail if the king's revenue were reduced) are perpetually engaged to make good all exorbitances.
Doctor. This is a kind of governing by property too; and it puts me in mind of a gentleman of good estate in our country, who took a tenant's son of his to be his servant, whose father not long after dying left him a living of about ten pound a-year: the young man's friends came to him, and
asked him why he would serve now he had an estate of his own able to maintain him. His answer was, that his own lands would yield him but a third part of what his service was worth to him in all; besides, that he lived a pleasant life, wore good clothes, kept good company, and had the conversation of very pretty maids that were his fellow servants, which made him very well digest the name of being a servant.
Eng. Gent. This is the very case. But yet service (in both these cases) is no inheritance; and, when there comes a peaceable king in France, who will let his neighbours be quiet, or one that is covetous, these fine gentlemen will lose their employments, and their king this prop; and the rather because these gentlemen do not depend (as was said before) in any kind upon the great lords (whose standing interest is at court), and so cannot in a change be by them carried over to advance the court designs against their own good and that of their country. And thus much is sufficient to be said concerning France.
OTHER PROSE WRITERS. — CUDWORTH. MORE.
CUDWORTH. MORE. BARROW. BUNYAN; ETC.
The most illustrious antagonist of metaphysical Hobbism, when first promulgated, was Dr. Ralph Cudworth, the First Part of whose True Intellectual System of the Universe, wherein all the Reason and Philosophy of Atheism is Confuted, was first published in 1678. As a vast storehouse of learning, and also as a display of wonderful powers of subtle and far-reaching speculation, this celebrated work is almost unrivalled in our literature; and it is also written in a style of elastic strength and compass which places its author in a high rank among our prose classics. Along with Cudworth may be mentioned his friend and brother-Platonist, Dr. Henry More, the author of numerous theological and philosophical works, and remarkable for the union of some of the most mystic notions with the clearest style, and of the most singular credulity with powers of reasoning of the highest order. Other two great theological writers of this age were the voluminous Richard Baxter and the learned and eloquent Dr. Robert Leighton, Archbishop of Glasgow. “Baxter,” says Bishop Burnet, “ wa: a man of great piety; and, if he had not meddled in too many things, would have been esteemed one of the learned men of te