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By nature they are children, and
by marriage they are heirs; but by aristocracy they are bastards and
orphans. They are the flesh and blood of their parents in the one line,
and nothing akin to them in the other. To restore, therefore, parents to
their children, and children to their parents relations to each other,
and man to society--and to exterminate the monster aristocracy, root
and branch--the French Constitution has destroyed the law of
Primogenitureship. Here then lies the monster; and Mr. Burke, if he
pleases, may write its epitaph.

Hitherto we have considered aristocracy chiefly in one point of view.
We have now to consider it in another. But whether we view it before or
behind, or sideways, or any way else, domestically or publicly, it is
still a monster.

In France aristocracy had one feature less in its countenance than what
it has in some other countries. It did not compose a body of hereditary
legislators. It was not "a corporation of aristocracy," for such I have
heard M. de la Fayette describe an English House of Peers. Let us then
examine the grounds upon which the French Constitution has resolved
against having such a House in France.

Because, in the first place, as is already mentioned, aristocracy is
kept up by family tyranny and injustice.

Secondly. Because there is an unnatural unfitness in an aristocracy to
be legislators for a nation. Their ideas of distributive justice are
corrupted at the very source. They begin life by trampling on all their
younger brothers and sisters, and relations of every kind, and are
taught and educated so to do. With what ideas of justice or honour can
that man enter a house of legislation, who absorbs in his own person
the inheritance of a whole family of children or doles out to them some
pitiful portion with the insolence of a gift?

Thirdly. Because the idea of hereditary legislators is as inconsistent
as that of hereditary judges, or hereditary juries; and as absurd as an
hereditary mathematician, or an hereditary wise man; and as ridiculous
as an hereditary poet laureate.

Fourthly. Because a body of men, holding themselves accountable to
nobody, ought not to be trusted by anybody.

Fifthly. Because it is continuing the uncivilised principle of
governments founded in conquest, and the base idea of man having
property in man, and governing him by personal right.

Sixthly. Because aristocracy has a tendency to deteriorate the human
species. By the universal economy of nature it is known, and by the
instance of the Jews it is proved, that the human species has a tendency
to degenerate, in any small number of persons, when separated from the
general stock of society, and inter-marrying constantly with each other.
It defeats even its pretended end, and becomes in time the opposite of
what is noble in man. Mr. Burke talks of nobility; let him show what
it is. The greatest characters the world have known have arisen on the
democratic floor. Aristocracy has not been able to keep a proportionate
pace with democracy. The artificial Noble shrinks into a dwarf before
the Noble of Nature; and in the few instances of those (for there are
some in all countries) in whom nature, as by a miracle, has survived in
aristocracy, Those Men Despise It.--But it is time to proceed to a new
subject.

The French Constitution has reformed the condition of the clergy. It has
raised the income of the lower and middle classes, and taken from the
higher. None are now less than twelve hundred livres (fifty pounds
sterling), nor any higher than two or three thousand pounds. What will
Mr. Burke place against this? Hear what he says.

He says: "That the people of England can see without pain or grudging,
an archbishop precede a duke; they can see a Bishop of Durham, or a
Bishop of Winchester in possession of L10,000 a-year; and cannot see why
it is in worse hands than estates to a like amount, in the hands of this
earl or that squire." And Mr. Burke offers this as an example to France.

As to the first part, whether the archbishop precedes the duke, or the
duke the bishop, it is, I believe, to the people in general, somewhat
like Sternhold and Hopkins, or Hopkins and Sternhold; you may put which
you please first; and as I confess that I do not understand the merits
of this case, I will not contest it with Mr. Burke.

But with respect to the latter, I have something to say. Mr. Burke has
not put the case right. The comparison is out of order, by being put
between the bishop and the earl or the squire. It ought to be put
between the bishop and the curate, and then it will stand thus:--"The
people of England can see without pain or grudging, a Bishop of Durham,
or a Bishop of Winchester, in possession of ten thousand pounds a-year,
and a curate on thirty or forty pounds a-year, or less." No, sir, they
certainly do not see those things without great pain or grudging. It is
a case that applies itself to every man's sense of justice, and is one
among many that calls aloud for a constitution.

In France the cry of "the church! the church!" was repeated as often
as in Mr. Burke's book, and as loudly as when the Dissenters' Bill was
before the English Parliament; but the generality of the French clergy
were not to be deceived by this cry any longer. They knew that whatever
the pretence might be, it was they who were one of the principal objects
of it. It was the cry of the high beneficed clergy, to prevent any
regulation of income taking place between those of ten thousand pounds
a-year and the parish priest. They therefore joined their case to
those of every other oppressed class of men, and by this union obtained
redress.

The French Constitution has abolished tythes, that source of perpetual
discontent between the tythe-holder and the parishioner. When land is
held on tythe, it is in the condition of an estate held between two
parties; the one receiving one-tenth, and the other nine-tenths of the
produce: and consequently, on principles of equity, if the estate can be
improved, and made to produce by that improvement double or treble what
it did before, or in any other ratio, the expense of such improvement
ought to be borne in like proportion between the parties who are to
share the produce. But this is not the case in tythes: the farmer
bears the whole expense, and the tythe-holder takes a tenth of the
improvement, in addition to the original tenth, and by this means gets
the value of two-tenths instead of one. This is another case that calls
for a constitution.

The French Constitution hath abolished or renounced Toleration and
Intolerance also, and hath established Universal Right Of Conscience.

Toleration is not the opposite of Intolerance, but is the counterfeit
of it. Both are despotisms. The one assumes to itself the right of
withholding Liberty of Conscience, and the other of granting it. The
one is the Pope armed with fire and faggot, and the other is the Pope
selling or granting indulgences. The former is church and state, and the
latter is church and traffic.

But Toleration may be viewed in a much stronger light. Man worships not
himself, but his Maker; and the liberty of conscience which he claims is
not for the service of himself, but of his God. In this case, therefore,
we must necessarily have the associated idea of two things; the mortal
who renders the worship, and the Immortal Being who is worshipped.
Toleration, therefore, places itself, not between man and man, nor
between church and church, nor between one denomination of religion and
another, but between God and man; between the being who worships, and
the Being who is worshipped; and by the same act of assumed authority
which it tolerates man to pay his worship, it presumptuously and
blasphemously sets itself up to tolerate the Almighty to receive it.

Were a bill brought into any Parliament, entitled, "An Act to tolerate
or grant liberty to the Almighty to receive the worship of a Jew or
Turk," or "to prohibit the Almighty from receiving it," all men would
startle and call it blasphemy. There would be an uproar. The presumption
of toleration in religious matters would then present itself unmasked;
but the presumption is not the less because the name of "Man" only
appears to those laws, for the associated idea of the worshipper and the
worshipped cannot be separated. Who then art thou, vain dust and ashes!
by whatever name thou art called, whether a King, a Bishop, a Church,
or a State, a Parliament, or anything else, that obtrudest thine
insignificance between the soul of man and its Maker? Mind thine own
concerns. If he believes not as thou believest, it is a proof that
thou believest not as he believes, and there is no earthly power can
determine between you.

With respect to what are called denominations of religion, if every
one is left to judge of its own religion, there is no such thing as
a religion that is wrong; but if they are to judge of each other's
religion, there is no such thing as a religion that is right; and
therefore all the world is right, or all the world is wrong. But with
respect to religion itself, without regard to names, and as directing
itself from the universal family of mankind to the Divine object of all
adoration, it is man bringing to his Maker the fruits of his heart; and
though those fruits may differ from each other like the fruits of the
earth, the grateful tribute of every one is accepted.

A Bishop of Durham, or a Bishop of Winchester, or the archbishop who
heads the dukes, will not refuse a tythe-sheaf of wheat because it is
not a cock of hay, nor a cock of hay because it is not a sheaf of wheat;
nor a pig, because it is neither one nor the other; but these same
persons, under the figure of an established church, will not permit
their Maker to receive the varied tythes of man's devotion.

One of the continual choruses of Mr. Burke's book is "Church and State."
He does not mean some one particular church, or some one particular
state, but any church and state; and he uses the term as a general
figure to hold forth the political doctrine of always uniting the church
with the state in every country, and he censures the National Assembly
for not having done this in France.



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