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TWO POLITICAL ALLEGORIES;
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1793,
AND NOW REVISED FOR THE PAMPHLETEER.
BY THE HON, SIR WILLIAM C. SMITH, BART.
Intended as a Companion to Paine's Fable of
THE RIGHTS OF MAN.
Flumina : quid rides? mutato nomine, de te
IN I know not what century after the flood, (the reader can look into Blair's tables of chronology,) a spirit of tumult and philosophy is said to have moved upon the face of the waters. Rivers, which could it be from want of all reflection ?) had been quietly gliding within their banks for ages, now discovered themselves to be in a state of such degeneracy, as required a
· The Rights of Waters was lately re-printed in a Dublin Newspaper, with the following introductory paragraph prefixed :—“ About five-and-twenty years ago, the following Apologue appeared in our paper; and the present seems no inopportune moment for its re-insertion. When the lifeless remains of the wild reformist are brought forth from their obscurity, we may with some propriety evoke the sober spirit, by which lus extravagance was encountered. We trust we shall be pardoned for observing, that what we are about to re-insert was soon after its appearance, known to have come from the pen of Baron SMITH; a statement which we would not make, if we thought this effusion of his youth calculated to detract from the reputation of his maturer age. But such is not our opinion; and we are moreover pleased at discovering, in this sportive production, one of the many proors which are to be found, thai the friend of constitutional freedom not only may be, but is most likely to be, the strong advocate of subordination and of social order.” Freeman's Journal.
It is needless for us to add, that we fully coincide with these sentiments. Indeed, we trust that the readers of the PAMPHLETEER will not regret that we have stepped a little out of our regular course, in reprinting what has appeared in a Journal, as we now do in the case of these ALLEGORIES. They are short; and whilst their allusion is comprehensible by the meanest capacity, they captivate the brightest imagination. They are at once highly amusing and instructive. ED.
recurrence to first principles for its cure; and Rights of Waters were making a rapid and noisy progress through the globe. With a murmur which quickly swelled into a roar, it was argued, that this confinement within banks was a restraint quite inconsistent with the liberality of nature, and which they had narrowly imposed upon themselves. They were created fountains, with equal natural rights; and deemed it expedient to go back to their distant sources, as the only way to thorough investigation and reform. They could not see why some dejected particles of water should be thrust down by others, no better than themselves. It was true their forerunners had been submitting, time out of mind, to this coercion : but what was this to them ? The rights of living waters must not be thus controlled.' Divisions of their element, as into lakes and puddles, they decried, as artificial and aristocratical distinctions; and pushed their bold researches to that early period, when Water came from the hands of its Maker. What was it then? Water.-Water was its high and only title.2
Now a rumonr went, that in the days of Noah a great aquatic revolution had occurred, when all things were reduced to a philosophic level. Beneath the sanction of which precedent, it was determined by the Rivers, that they would not, any longer, be imprisoned within banks; or driven headlong in one direction, at the arbitrary will ot fountains ; but would shed their last drop in asserting the Rights of Waters.
Obscure as to his origin, ungovernable in his temper, and a leveller in principles, Nilus led the way, and covered Egypt with inundation. Every cultivated inequality was overwhelmed ; and all distinction levelled to uniformity. Nature was supposed to have reclaimed her rights; and philosophy admirod the grand simplicity of ruin. When, lo ! the tide of tumult ebbed, and eminences were seen to get their heads above Water: the party was daily continuing to gain ground; and all things tended to a counter-revolution. What had first been deemed the effort of enlightened virtue, was now looked on as the rush of inconsiderate violence: what originally seemed calculated to promote the views of Nature, was now seen to be
* See Paine's fable of the Rights of Man; where he asserts the utter independence of the living generation; and denies the right of ancestors to establish a constitution that shall bind posterity.
2 “ If we proceed on, we shall at last come out right. We shall come to the time when Man came from the hands of his Maker. What was he then Man.-Man was his high and only title." Paine's Rights of Man.
3 Arcanum Natura caput non prodidit ulli;
Nec licuit populis parvum te Nile videre. LUCAN.
directed in opposition to her will :-while events had, in the mean time, been suggesting her omnipotence; that to combat her was dangerous, and to conquer her, impossible.
Such was the result and moral of this enterprise. His forces all subdued, impoverished, and languid, the baffled Nile retreated to his channel; after having, by his hostility, but served and strengthened the landed interests of Egypt; though, like the commotions of the Seine, this also produced monsters,
THE HILL OF GOVERNMENT: A VISION.3
This is a strange repose! to be asleep
Since the first introduction of periodical writings, it has been the undisputed privilege of their authors, to dream with degree of method unknown to all but themselves. Indeed this literary franchise could be traced still higher; for the dozings of Homer have been long upon record ; 4 and his celestial visions are noticed by Longinus.
· I therefore claim to sleep with my fathers; to dream with no less accuracy than they have done; and to inherit those airbuilt castles, which form, I will not say so material, but so principal a part of an author's patrimony. Nor should modern Reformists contest my right to this incorporeal hereditament; since who on earth more visionary than themselves?
Overlooking actual good, they contemplate "air-drawn" mischief; and fall on substantial evils in shunning illusive forms, which a factious second sight enables them to discern.
As I was lately thinking on a subject for my next paper, my meditations scattered insensibly to reverie; which latter sinking into slumber, I seemed to hear the plash of oars on water;
Expellas licet,-usque recurrit. 2. An allusion to the consequences of the then recent French revolution; and to the notion which once prevailed, that the mud deposited by the Nile, in its overflowings, engendered monsters.
3 We some time ago re-published a political allegory, entitled Rights of Waters, which had first appeared in our paper, five-and-twenty years before ; and took the liberty of mentioning from whose pen it was known to come. From the reception which that apologue met with, which we found copied into the English Papers, and with a view to those symptoms of turbulence and faction, which are now discernible in some portions of the Empire, we are tempted to re-publish another allegorical essay of the same tendency; which appeared in our paper about the same time, and was the production of the same hand. Freeman's Journal.
4 Dormitat Homerus. Hor. του Διος ενυπνια. LONGINUs.
and to find myself on board a boat, making for the nearest point of land. The shores were picturesque on either side of the harbour; and at its extremity I perceived a town,' which kindling beneath the reflections of a rising sun, was rapidly lighted up to an almost dazzling brightness. While I was admiring this natural fire-work, we disembarked; and having inquired of the mariners on what coast we had been landed, had scarcely been informed that this was the Isle of Liberty, when I beheld “ the Mountain Nymph,”herself approach;. whose look had an expression of blended modesty and spirit, the most winning and attractive that can be well conceived., In one hand she bore a wand, from whose point there issued a steady flame; while the other held a scroll, which consisted of the Great Charter and Bill of Rights. She was accompanied by the Genius Rekub ;3 and attended by a troop of Africans, wearing upon their heads the emblems of acquired freedom.4
She welcomed me to the island, with acknowledgments of my zeal ; lamented that Faction was not yet suppressed within her territories; and having committed me to the care of the Genius, proceeded on her way. Rekub, turning on me a countenance that beamed intelligent benignity, at once proposed to be my guide, while I should ascend the heights of Government, and reconnoitre the motions of the domestic foe.s
Within view of where we stood, several highways, leading from different quarters of the island, terminated in a point at the Hill of Government; and were thronged with passengers on their way thither; concerning whom, I remarked, that while upon some of the roads they were habited in black, those on others, being gaily clad, or in arms and military array, made an appearance extremely brilliant, and full of animation.
The country, which lay between, filled the eye very agreeably. Broken into inequalities, sheltered with trees, and glittering with streams of water, intersected by enclosures, and scattered over with buildings, it exhibited all the comfortable gradations between competence and grandeur.
Shunning, therefore, the bustle of a public road, we sought amongst these retreats a passage to the Hill; pursuing our way along by-paths, from which, as they lay amongst groves, and on the banks of rivers, by castles and cottages, through scenes of rich cultivation or elegant retirement, the eye could have
* Pilei: it will be observed that this anticipated by many years the abolition of the Slave Trade.