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exert his conftitutional prerogatives for the benefit of all his subjects; he feels himself in deed and in truth a King.
This is not an ideal state of things impoflible to be realized in Great Britain. It is true that it has not yet been realized; and obftacles scarcely possible to be removed were long opposed to all who might be inclined to make the attempt. Not to look to events prior to the memorable æra of the Revolution; the changes in Government which took place at that time, the two subsequent rebellions, together with various incidental circumstances of more recent date, concurred to divide the nation into two distinct and hostile parties; a division which the misguided or selfish policy of individuals has laboured to defend and to perpetuate. But time has so far removed the ground of these
party distinctions; and the secret operation of various principles, good and bad, has of late years made such inroads into the ancient system, has so intermingled the squadrons and interchanged the colours of the contending armies ; that a Sovereign wha should now endeavour to reduce the spirit of 5
to the narrowest limits within which the genius of a free Constitution will permit it to be confined (and those bounds the natural jealousy entertained of Government, and the stimulus of disappointed ambition, will always enable it to fill) might not find the object very difficult to be accomplished. He might experience for a time attempts to seduce or to intimidate him from his purpose: and a large share of prudence (I mean honest prudence, honest not only as to the end proposed, but equally so as to the mode of pursuing it), together with steady resolution never losing sight of its aim, would be requisite to overcome the last struggles of interested combinations, and the remaining antipathies of prejudice. By a sparing introduction of those descriptions of good citizens least favoured by the tide of prevailing opinion into the fubordinate departments of office; by gradually elevating them, in a fair proportion to their numbers and their qualifications, to posts of more importance; by giving time for passion to cool, for aversion to subside; by studying to obviate occasions and to remove causes of offence; and above all things, by uniformly appealing to the sober judgement and the love of
his people ; and by evincing his whole conduct to be such as might be expected from the vigilant and impartial friend and protector of all his fubjects ; he could scarcely fail to gain very important if not complete success.
The same attention to the national safety and the national morals, and the same disregard of mere party distinctions, which ought to characterize the conduct of the King with respect to the nomination of his ministers, ought equally to guide the exercise of his constitutional influence in filling up vacancies in the other departments of the State, whether civil, military, or ecclesiastical; and in the choice of those public officers whom he appoints to attend on his own person, or honours with especial marks of royal favour.
Towards persons in the political world who distinguish themselves by opposition to the measures of Government, it is the wisdom and the duty of a King to conduct himself with cordial frankness; and neither haftily to indulge, nor act so as to be suspected of hastily indulging, an opinion, that their dislike to the VOL, I.
plans and proceedings of his ministers arises
There is a natural propensity in the human mind to imitate the conduct and adopt the fentiments of those who are invested with authority. The example of the Sovereign, like the impulse of a stone on the yielding surface of a lake, diffuses its influence around in concentric and gradually enlarging circles, to an extent which the eye can neither trace nor limit. The power which he possesses of checking or of accelerating the progress of laxury, dissipation, and vice, of exciting or repressing genuine patriotism, of encouraging or discountenancing christian virtue, is not confined to those who are eye witnesses of his own manoer of life. The rumour is communicated from the frequenter of the court to the inhabitant of the country; it spreads from town to town, from
village to village, until it reaches and affects the most obscure corners of the empire. The direction of the censorial jurisdiction of public opinion is in the hands of the Monarch. It is a jurisdiction before which the most audacious criminals stand abashed. It is the only jurisdiction by which in this country several enormous vices can be restrained. The greatest blessings have commonly their attendant evils. The spirit of Liberty, which happily pervades the British Constitution, defeats in various instances the operation of positive statutes, and renders their wisest provisions nearly or altogether unavailing. The proof requisite for the conviction of the gambler, and of various other violators of the laws (d), is sometimes impossible to be obtained, and is rarely to be obtained without the utmost difficulty; partly because
(d) The influence of the Sovereign might be most beneficially displayed in checking, and probably might be successful in exterminating, an irrational, favage, and unchristian practice, which laws have hitherto been unable to abrlish ; and which owes its existence to the countenance
; given to it by a class of subjects, who from their profession are particularly alive to royal approbation and censure. It is scarcely neceffary to add that I allude to Duelling.