Page images

dispensed with those lively glimpses of the mount and the highways, which broke transiently in upon this rural scene.

We sometimes met the emissaries of faction on our way; who, preaching insurrection to such groups as they could collect, assured their audience, that notwithstanding the plenty, freedom, and security, in which they conceived themselves to live, they were in fact the most miserably oppressed wretches in existence; and must so continue, unless they would desert their tillage, and going upon the highway, assist some patriotic citizens, who were employed in levelling the Hill of Government; which these asserted to be no natural excrescence, but a mound thrown up by some invading tyrants, to awe the people.

I could not observe that those preachers were successful. The country-folk seemed to listen with a mixture of astonishment and sneer; and, except some stragglers, who, averse alike from industry and inaction, went with them upon the high road, they appeared to make few proselytes.

One, indeed, there was,' who, by a plainness, that counterfeited the simplicity of truth, and a sharpness, which played the part of sagacity and penetration, had not only attracted a too numerous audience, but was hearkened to with uncommon and dangerous attention. This man, as we drew near, betrayed symptoms of confusion : and having made a sudden pause in his harangue, to my great surprise, resumed it to the following effect :-“And are you then the dupes of such sophistry as mine? Does not the boldness with which I defame your

Constitution, conclusively demonstrate the free principles which pervade it? In such incendiaries as myself, behold the symptoms of excessive freedom! Yes, it is the supineness of your Government that permits us to scatter flames. We are answered' from the press, when we should be silenced by the law: your rulers seek to convince, when they ought rather to coerce us; to persuade us through our reason, when they should control us through our fears."

His audience having listened to this strange movement in his sonata, long enough to satisfy the wonder it excited, were now about to separate; when turning to Rekub for a solution of this mysterious candor, I observed his arm extended; and discovered in his air and manner, what explained to me, that he had, by means of a preternatural ascendant, compelled the agitator to utter truths, which it was his business to conceal.

* We may by and by discover who this is.

P.S. The reader will take notice that I am still asleep; and mean to dream through another paper, for his edification and amusement.



You do yet taste
Some subtleties o' TH' ISLE, that will not let you
Believe things certain.


We now were drawing near the Hill; and, as we approached the junction of the roads, our landscape, though enriched with structures of more splendor, had proportionally lost of the soothing privacy which charmed us at our outset; being intersected by cross-ways, and exposed to throng and interruption, from the clamorous and bustling neighbourhood of Ambition and Cabal. To our left, however, we perceived a wood, to which, besides its promising a renewal of that retirement, from which we had somewhat reluctantly emerged, and affording a passage of secure, though gradual access to the hill, we were attracted by a soft and most harmonious sound, which issuing from thence, was borne on the same winds that shook the trees with a gentle agitation. Thither we directed our steps; and ascended the Hill which we were about inspecting, through the consecrated groves of Science. In these retreats, my conductor Rekub was honored; for he was known : but Curiosity forbade our stay, and we issued forth upon the mount, which, raised by Nature and modified by Art, combined the appearance of a fortress and a hill.

It was thronged with people, richly dressed, and all in motion; some ascending towards the summits with rapidity and ease; others climbing slowly, and with seeming toil; and others

We proceed to give the conclusion of the allegory, of which part has been re-published in a recent paper. It fairly sketches and insists on the theoretic merits of our Constitution; and the evils of a wild and destructive spirit of innovation; and we fully admit, that with the fine theories of our political system its practice sufficiently coincides, to entitle it to the warm support of all good subjects, against the subverting projects of the revolutionary and the factious. But that on all points, the coincidence between theory, and practice is not as complete as a pure constitutionalist must desire,—and that where they differ, those discrepancies ought, if possible, to be removed,--this we think and feel; and this we believe to be thought and felt, in the quarter from which this political allegory is known, though not avowed, to have proceeded. Freeman's Journal. Spissæ nemorum conæ. IIor. The establishments and seats of Science.

testudinis auree
Dulcem que strepitum, Pieri, temperus.--HOR.


tumbling amidst the scorn of such as had kept their footing better;' the whole forming a coup d'æil, which for airiness and bustle could not easily be surpassed.

Directing our eyes to the right, we now overlooked the plains of Faction; which were nearly covered with a noisome vapor, exhaled from the fens of ignorance. But the darkness was interrupted by meteors, which started at intervals from the soil, and glaring through the mist, moved towards the most dangerous parts of the morass; where, after hovering for a time, they vanished with a loud explosion, leaving their deluded followers plunged in an abyss of error. Beyond this region, the shores of anarchy were spread; a dark and dismal tract, at once heaving with incessant earthquakes, and exposed to inundation, from the ocean of barbarism, which roared on the limits of our horizon.

On the nearest spot of the plains of Faction, at the very base of the Hill, the levellers had pitched their camp; upon ground so disadvantageous, that from no part was the ascent more difficult or abrupt; a circumstance not arising from mere imprudent selection of position; but from this, that the more accessible approaches to the Mount were strongly fortified, and strictly guarded; and admission refused in general to all, who had not passports from Public Virtue, Genius, Industry, or Knowledge. Such, at least, were the orders given : though from some of the occurrences, which we witnessed on the Hill, it might be doubted whether all who wanted those passports were excluded; and again, whether all, who had them were received.

Be this as it may, the rebel camp was a scene of restlessness, disorder, and intoxication; produced by draughts of an eager poison, which was supplied from its adjacent sources; and which, though I could readily perceive it to be licentiousness, the levellers greedily swallowed, and extolled as public spirit. Of the victims who suffered from its venom the leaders formed a heap, that should facilitate their own ascent; a practice, however, studiously concealed from all their fellows.

Amongst these leaders there was one (to what purpose name him ?) who fixed me by a smile, the most treacherons I have ever seen; and which petrified every sentiment of confidence within me. It was the repose of muscle, in which prosperous

1 Ambition this shall tempt to rise,

Then whirl the wretch from high,
To bitter scorn a sacrifice,
And grinning infamy.


Mischief rests from toil, and basks in emanations of intense malevolence: the same malignant brightness which must have lighted up the features of the arch-foe, when our first parents fell from the paradise of their obedience.

From the painful fascination which this smile produced, I was roused by a bustle in the camp, announcing the arrival of the wizard Ainep;' in whose appearance I quickly recognised that of my rustic orator, whose line of eloquence had been so refracted, by the influence of Rekub; but whose present reception marked him for a Chief of note amongst the Factious. From their encampment my attention was now however drawn, to a group of malcontents upon the Hill, who had ascended by the legitimate avenues; but being unable to keep pace with their companions; or having, by means of some false step, fallen considerably behind, seceded, in desperation or disgust; and formed a party on the rocks which overhung the rebel camp. From thence they held communication with those below; lending the hand to some, to assist their escalade; and encouraging all, with the language of exhortation. Nay, some amongst them leaped, in a seeming transport, from the precipice, and were caught by those beneath, with shouts of triumph and delight.

Time not permitting to dwell longer on this scene, we turned to ascend the Hill; and advanced towards a goodly edifice, situated midway between its base and summit, and communicating easily with both. It was raised upon a sort of terrace, or artificial level; and the facade of the building, its dome and colonnade, reminded me of something I had seen elsewhere.

As we slowly approached the pile, which my memory had assisted my fancy to construct, Rekub, in a tone of seriousness, thus addressed me.-" To level this Hill would be unavailing toil; if such were indeed the intention of the Factious, The soil we tread is pregnant with an active principle, which would speedily throw up another eminence in its stead. But much skill has been successfully employed, in adapting the present mound to the moral purposes of society, and security of national happiness and freedom. I should, therefore, grieve at its destruction. I should lament the loss of those improvements, which must perish in its fall; and mourn the transito riness of human systems and provisions, when I beheld inequality restored, by a rude and monstrous heap, thrust forth by Nature, to supply, imperfectly and for a time, the place of what had been demolished; but, in this interval, wholly des

1 Paine.

2 The Parliament House,

titute of those ornaments and accommodations, which the accumulated art of ages had produced.

“ The heights on which we stand, are of volcanic origin. They were raised in the struggles and heated expansion of human violence; and, in early times, were alternately the seat of conflicting force, and arbitrary power. But the explosions are no more; and nothing can now be seen, but fertility and verdure. Nay, those desolating floods which over-ran its sides, have ultimately served to connect the hill with the adjoining country ;, and bteak the inaccessible abruptness of its precipices, to acclivities of easier ascent, for those who approach it from the territories that are beneath."

Look round upon the island. Except those tedious and pestilential flats, which are ranged by the tumultuous hordes of Insurrection, (doomed justly to that level, to which they would be for reducing others,) how gradual the descent from its summit to its shores! What easy access can Freedom have, to every the remotest corner of her demesnes, along the gently sloping paths of uninterrupted subordination.

“But let us not be deceived in the objects of the Factious. They do not wish to demolish, but to occupy: not to dismantle the fortress, but to garrison it themselves : not to level the Hill of Government, but to hurl Freedom from her throne, and exalt an oppressive Despotism in her stead. I speak of the leaders; the thoughtless multitude is guiltless of much design. Their crime scarcely extends beyond the savageness of the moment; and they are sometimes almost as innocent of the ends they bring about, as the instrument which is used to perpetrate a murder. The explosion of their violence does but carry home the mischief, which engineers of faction point against the State.”

While he spoke, we had arrived; and were again cheered with the presence of Liberty, on entering the Temple where she presided. She was occupied in superintending the affairs of the island; which were, however, administered by three Commissioners on her behalf;? whose countenances, though contrasted with singular variety, gave an expression, when combined, of energy, dignity, and spirit. These three having discussed each measure, the decree, when settled, was executed by the first;

· Such an effect would be, and has been, produced by the gush of lava. * Aristotle recognises much affinity between the courtier of a tyranny,

and the demagogue of a republic; and in general between these seemingly opposite forms of government; of which (according to my interpretation of his words) he says, their essential character is the same; and both of them are despotic.--Polit. 1. 4. C. 4.

* Monarchy, Aristocracy, and Democracy.

« PreviousContinue »