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ended; that of raising a manufacturing populace and converting peasantry into poor was but begun; and it proceeded slowly for a full hundred years.
SIR THOMAS MORE.
MONTESINOS. With the exception of the efforts which were made for restoring the exiled family of the Stuarts; they were years of quiet uniform prosperity and advancement. The morals of the country recovered from the contagion which Charles II. imported from France, and for which Puritanism had prepared the people. Visitations of pestilence were suspended. Sectarians enjoyed full toleration, and were contented. The Church proved itself worthy of the victory which it had obtained. The Constitution, after one great but short struggle, was well balanced and de
fined; and if the progress of art, science, and . literature was not brilliant, it was steady, and the way for a brighter career was prepared.
SIR THOMAS MORE. The way was prepared meantime for evil as well as for good. You were retrograde in sound
policy, sound philosophy and sound learning. Our business at present is wholly with the first. Because your policy, defective as it was at the best, had been retrograde, discoveries in physics, and advances in mechanical science which would have produced nothing but good in Utopia, became as injurious to the weal of the nation, as they were instrumental to its wealth. But such had your system imperceptibly become, and such were your statesmen, that the wealth of nations was considered as the sole measure of their prosperity.
MONTESINOS. In feudal ages the object of those monarchs who had any determinate object in view, was either to extend their dominions by conquest from their neighbours, or to increase their authority at home by breaking the power of a turbulent nobility. In commercial ages the great and sole object of government when not engaged in war, was to augment its revenues, for the purpose of supporting the charges which former wars had induced, or which the apprehension of fresh ones rendered necessary. And thus it has been, that of the two main ends of government, which are the security of the subjects, and the improvement of the nation, the latter has never been seriously attempted,
scarcely indeed taken into consideration; and the former imperfectly attained.
· SIR THOMAS MORE. Fail not, however, I entreat you, to bear in mind that this has not been the fault of your rulers at any time. It has been their misfortune, ..an original sin in the constitution of the society wherein they were born. Circumstances, which they did not make and could not controul, have. impelled them onward in ways which neither for themselves nor the nation were ways of pleasantness and peace.
That blessed Prince whose saintly name might move The understanding heart to tears of reverent love.
He would have struck into the right course.
SIR THOMAS MORE. : You have a catholic feeling concerning Saints, Montesinos, though you look for them in the protestant kalendar. Edward deserves to be remembered with that feeling. But had his life been prolonged to the full age of man, it would not have been in his power to remedy the evil which had been done in his father's reign, and during his own minority. To have effected that would have required a strength
and obduracy of character incompatible with his meek and innocent nature. In intellect and attainments he kept pace with his age, a more stirring and intellectual one than any which had gone before it: but in the wisdom of the heart he was far beyond that age, or indeed any that has succeeded it. It cannot be said of him as of Henry of Windsor, that he was fitter for a cloister than a throne, but he was fitter for an heavenly crown than a terrestrial one. This country was not worthy of him,..scarcely this earth!
MONTESINOS. There is a homely verse common in village churchyards, the truth of which has been felt by many a heart, as some consolation in its keenest afflictions:
God calls them first whom he loves best.
But surely no Prince ever more sedulously employed himself to learn his office. His views in some respects were not in accord with the more enlarged principles of trade, which experience has taught us. But on the other hand he judged rightly what the medicines were by which the sores of the commonwealth might be healed.” His prescriptions are as applicable now as they were then, and in most points as
needful : they were “ good education, good example, good laws, and the just execution of those laws: punishing the vagabond and idle, encouraging the good, ordering well the customers, and engendering friendship in all parts of the commonwealth.” In these, and more especially in the first of these, he hoped and purposed to have “ shown his device.” But it was not permitted. Nevertheless he has his reward. It has been more wittily than charitably said that Hell is paved with good intentions: they have their place in Heaven also. Evil thoughts and desires are justly accounted to us for sin; assuredly therefore the sincere good-will will be accepted for the deed, when means and opportunity have been wanting to bring it to effect.* There are feelings and purposes as well as “ thoughts,
......whose very sweetness yieldeth proof
SIR THOMAS MORE.
* The converse of this would be a fearful opinion. Galterius (whoever that personage may have been) considers the question, which it seems had been proposed to him, and says credo neminem damnari pro futuris operibus malis quæ non fecit, quamvis ea facturus esset, si in vitâ diutius remanerat.—Martene et Durand. Vet. Mon. &c. Amplis. Col. t. i. 845.