« PreviousContinue »
eloquent advocacy of that delusion (as all, now, admit it to have been) which brought him such sudden renown. And he could not have so ably recommended-nor indeed would he probably have adopted, that juggle of Dr. Price's, if he had not been himself the dupe of his fallacy; as Lord Grenville also was; who afterwards published a pamphlet in which he frankly exposed the delusion.
This could not be denied to be a confirmation of the paradox. And then another case,--the converse of the above—was adduced on the same side: a case in which the whole British nation were, in one particular, manifestly puzzle-headed, except one man: who was accordingly derided by all. In the dispute between Great Britain and her American colonies, though there were great differences of opinion-some being for, and others against taxing them; some for force, and some for conciliation-all agreed that the loss of them—the dismemberment of the Empire -would be a heavy calamity; and how to keep them was the problem to be solved. But Dean Tucker, standing quite alone, wrote a pamphlet to show that the separation would be no loss at all, and that we had best give them the independence they coveted, at once, and in a friendly way. Some thought he was writing in jest: the rest despised him as too absurd to be worth answering. But now (and for above half a century) every one admits that he was quite right, and regrets that his view was not adopted. He might well have used the description of Thucydides applied to his own work; ktņuá és šei pârlov, À αγώνισμα ες το παραχρήμα ακούειν, ξύγκειται.
By the bye, it is remarkable that Professor Smyth, who gives him due praise for this view, remarks, at the same time, on his strange absurdity in saying, that it would be very easy (though not at all worth while) to subdue the American insurgents; and that a hastily raised, disorderly militia could have no chance against a well disciplined and well commanded regular army.
But from the documents brought forward in an admirable article in the Edinburgh Review (January, 1846), on European and American State-Confederacies, it appears that Dean Tucker was right there also—that the game was in our hands, and
It is composed so as to be regarded as a possession for ever, rather than as a prize declamation, intended only for the present,
Washington reduced to the brink of despair, and that nothing would have saved his cause, but such a series of blundering follies on the part of the British commanders, as never occurred before or since, and such as no one would have calculated on.
Of all the clever men then that at that time existed, and many of whom spoke eloquently on each side, Tucker was the only one who was not puzzle-headed. And he obtained some small share of late credit, but present contempt.
A very clear-headed man will always have detected some popular fallacies, and perceived some truths generally overlooked; and, in short, will always be somewhat in advance of the common run of his contemporaries. And if he has the courage to speak out on these points, he must wait till the next generation for the chief part at least of his popularity. The fame of clever but puzzle-headed advocates of vulgar errors, will spring up like a mushroom in a night, which rots in a day. His will be a tree, 'seris factura nepotibus umbram.”
The author in question furnished a striking confirmation of the paradox. In two or three years he and his book were totally forgotten. He himself outlived, by a good many years, his own mushroom-celebrity. He went off, like a comet into its aphelion, and became invisible. It would be difficult to find a copy of his works, except at the trunk-maker's. And the prophecy concerning him, in the conversation above recorded, is probably forgotten also by those who took part in it. Ipsæ periere ruinæ.''
The truth is, that what people in general most readily and most cordially approve, is the echo of their own sentiments ; and whatever effect this may produce must be short-lived. We hear of volcanic islands thrown up in a few days to a formidable size, and, in a few weeks or months, sinking down again or washed away; while other islands, which are the summits of banks covered with weed and drift sand, continue slowly increasing year after year, century after century. The man that is in a hurry to see the full effect of his own tillage, should cultivate annuals, and not forest trees. The clear-headed lover of truth is content to wait for the result of his. If he is wrong
1 Destined to afford shade to one's grandchildren. 2 The very ruins are lost.
in the doctrines he maintains, or the measures he proposes, at least it is not for the sake of immediate popularity. If he is right, it will be found out in time, though, perhaps, not in his time. The preparers of the mummies were (Herodotus says) driven out of the house by the family who had engaged. their services, with execrations and stones; but their work remains sound after three thousand years.
ESSAY LVI. OF JUDICATURE.
TUDGES ought to remember that their office is jus dicere, and J not jus dare'-to interpret law, and not to make law, or give law-else will it be like the authority claimed by the church of Rome, which, under pretext of exposition of Scripture, doth not stick' to add and alter, and to pronounce that which they do not find, and by show of antiquity to introduce novelty. Judges ought to be more learned than witty, more reverend than plausible, and more advised than confident. Above all things, integrity is their portion and proper virtue. • Cursed (saith the law) is he that removeth the landmark.'' The mislayer of a mere stone is to blame; but it is the unjust judge that is the capital remover of landmarks, when he defineth amiss of land and property. One foul sentence doth more hurt than many foul examples; for these do but corrupt the stream, the other corrupteth the fountain—so saith Solomon, Fons turbatus, et vena corrupta est justus cadens in causa sua coram adversario.'s
The office of judges may have a reference unto the parties that sue, unto the advocates that plead, unto clerks and ministers of justice underneath them, and to the sovereign or State above them.
First, for the causes of parties that sue. There be (saith the Scripture) 'that turn judgment into wormwood ;'* and surely there be also that turn it into vinegar; for injustice maketh it bitter, and delays make it sour. The principal duty of a judge is to suppress force and fraud, whereof force is the more pernicious when it is open, and fraud when it is close and disguised. Add thereto contentious suits, which ought to be spewed' out as the surfeit of courts. A judge ought to prepare his way to a just sentence, as God useth to prepare his way by raising valleys and taking down hills: so when there appeareth on either side a high hand, violent persecution, cunning advantages taken, combination, power, great counsel, then is the virtue of a judge seen to make inequality equal; that he may plant his judgment as upon even ground. “Qui fortiter emungit, elicit sanguinem ;' and where the wine-press is hard wrought, it yields a harsh wine, that tastes of the grape-stone. Judges must beware of hard constructions and strained inferences; for there is no worse torture than the torture of laws; especially in case of laws penal, they ought to have care, that that which was meant for terror, be not turned into rigour: and that they bring not upon people that shower whereof the Scripture speaketh, 'Pluet super eos laqueos ;'* for penal laws pressed, are a shower of snares upon the people: therefore let penal laws, if they have been sleepers of long,' or if they be grown unfit for the present time, be by wise judges confined in the execution : ‘Judicis officium est, ut res, ita tempora rerum,' &c. In causes of life and death, judges ought (as far as the law permitteth) in justice to remember mercy, and to cast a severe eye upon the example, but a merciful eye upon the person.
i Stick. To scruple ; to hesitate. Rather than impute our miscarriages to our own corruptions, we do not stick to arraign Providence itself.'-L'Estrange.
2 Deut. xxvii, 17.
3 • A righteous man falling in his cause before his adversary is as a troubled fountain and a corrupt spring.'—Prov. xxv, 26.
4 Amos v. 7.
5 Spew. To eject with loathing. 'Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.'— Revel. iii. 16,
Secondly, for the advocates and counsel that plead. Patience and gravity of hearing is an essential part of justice, and an over-speaking judge is no well-tuned cymbal.' It is no grace to a judge first to find that which he might have heard in due time from the bar, or to show quickness of conceito in cutting off evidence or counsel too short, or to prevento information by questions, though pertinent. The parts of a judge in hearing are four :—to direct the evidence; to moderate length,
1. Who wrings hard draws forth blood.' Cf. Prov. xxx. 33.
2 Wrought. Worked. It had been a breach of peace to have wrought any mine of his,'-Raleigh.
8 Terror. What may excite dread. “Rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil.' — Romans xiii. 3.
4 .He shall rain snares upon them.'—Psalm xi. 6.
5 Of. For; during. •He was desirous to see him of a long season.'-- Luke xxiii. 8.
o . It is the duty of a judge to take into consideration the times, as well as the circumstances, of facts.'-Ovid, Trist. 1. i. 37.
7 Psalm cl. 5. 8 Conceit. Conception; apprehension. 'I shall be found of a quick conceit in judgment, and I shall be admired.' - Wisdom vü, 11.
9 Prevent. Forestall. See Matt. xvii. 25.