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T C H
Great and Small States compared.
N Eighbours, according to the common
saying, must be sweet friends or bitter enemies : patriotism is vigorous in small states; and hatred to neighbouring states, no less so: boch vanish in a great monarchy.
Like a maximum in mathematics, emulation has the finest play within certain bounds : it languilheth where its objects are too many, or too few. Hence it is, that the most heroic actions are performed in a state of moderate extent: appetite for applause, or fame, may subsist in a great monarchy ; but by that appetite, without the support of emulation, heroic actions are seldom atchieved.
Small states, however corrupted, are not liable to despotism : the people being close to the seat of government, and accusa tomed to see their governors daily, talk familiarly of their errors, and publish
them every where. On Spain, which formerly consisted of many small states, a profound writer (a) makes the following observation. “ The petty monarch was “ but little elevated above his nobles : ha“ ving little power, he could not com“ mand much respect; nor could his no“ bles look up to him with that reverence " which is felt in approaching great mo“ narchs.” Another thing is equally weighty against despotism in a small state : the army cannot easily be separated from the people ; and, for that reason, is very little dangerous. The Roman pretorian bands were billeted in the towns near Rome; and three cohorts only were employed in guarding that city. Sejanus, prefect of these bands under Tiberius, lodged the three cohorts in a spacious barrack within the city, in order to gain more authority over them, and to wean them from familiarity with the people. Tacitus, in the 4th book of his Annals, relates the story in the following words. « Vim “ præfecturæ, modicam antea, intendit, “ dispersas per urbem cohortes una in caf" tra conducendo; ut fimul imperia ac.. (e) Dr Robertson.
“ ciperent, numeroque et robore, et visu, “ inter fe, fiducia ipfis, in cæteros metus, “ crearetur *."
What is said above, suggests the cause of a curious fact recorded in ancient history, “ That of many attempts to usurp “ the sovereignty of different Greek re“ publics, very few succeeded; and that no s usurpation of that kind was lasting.” Every circumstance differs in an extensive state : the people, at a distance from the throne, and having profound veneration for the sovereign, consider themselves, not as members of a body-politic, but as subjects merely, bound implicitly to obey : by which impression they are prepared before-hand for despotism. Other reasons concur : the subjects of a great ftate are dazzled with the splendor of their monarch; and as their union is prevented by
* “ He extended the power of the prefecture, by " collecting into one camp those pretorian cohorts “ which were formerly dispersed all over the city ; “ that thus, being united, they might be more influen“ ced by his orders, and while their confidence in “ their power was increased by the constant view of “ their own numbers and strength, they might at the “ same time strike a great terror in others."
distance, the monarch can safely employ a part of his subjects against the rest, or a standing army against all..
A great state pofsefses one eminent advantage, viz. ability to execute magnificent works. The hanging gardens of Babylon, the pyramids of Egypt, and its lake Meris, are illustrious examples. The city of Heliopolis in Syria, named Balbek by the Turks, is a pregnant instance of the power and opulence of the Roman empire. Even in the ruins of that city, there are remains of great magnificence and exquisite taste. If the imperial palace, or the temple of the Sun, to mention no other building, were the work of any European prince existing at present, it would make a capital figure in the annals of his reign. And yet so little was the eclat of these works, even at the time of execution, that there is not a hint of them in any historian. The beneficence of some great monarchs is worthy of still greater praise. In the principal roads of Japan, hot baths are erected at proper distances, with other conveniencies, for the use of travellers, The beneficence of the Chinese government to those who suffer shipwreck, gives a more
advantageous advantageous impression of that monarchy, than all that is painfully collected by Du Halde. To verify the observation, I gladly lay hold of the following incident, In the year 1728, the ship Prince George took her departure from Calcutta in Bengal for Canton in China, with a cargo L. 60,000 value. A violent storm drove her ashore at a place named Timpau, a great way west from Canton. Not above half the crew could make the shore, worn out with fatigue and hunger, and not doubting of being massacred by the natives. How amazed were they to be treated with remarkable humanity! A Mandarin appeared, who not only provided for them vi&tuals in plenty, but also men skilled in diving to affist them in fifhing the wreck. What follows is in the words of my author, Alexander Wedderburn of St Germains, a gentleman of known worth and veracity, who bore office in the ship. “ In a few days we recovered L. 5000 in " bullion, and afterward L. 10,000 more. " Before we set forward to Canton, the " Mandarin our benefactor took an exact “' account of our money, with the names es of the men, furnished us with an ef