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poverished our own.
But of the time that we are considering it
might be said, without much extravagance, that every breath that blew, that every wave that rolled to our shores, brought with it some accession to our knowledge, which was engrafted on the national genius.
What also gave an unusual impetus to the mind of men at this period was the discovery of the New World, and the reading of voyages and travels. Green islands and golden sands seemed to arise, as by enchantment, out of the bosom of the watery waste, and invite the cupidity, or wing the imagination of the dreaming speculator. Fairyland was realised in new and unknown worlds. "Fortunate fields, and groves, and flowery vales, thrice happy isles," were found floating, "like those Hesperian gardens famed of old," beyond Atlantic seas, as dropt from the zenith. The people, the soil, the clime, everything gave unlimited scope to the curiosity of the traveller and reader. Other manners might be said to enlarge the bounds of knowledge, and new mines of wealth were tumbled at our feet. It is from a voyage to the Straits of Magellan that Shakspere has taken the hint of Prospero's Enchanted Island, and of the savage Caliban with his god Setebos. Spenser seems to have had the same feeling in his mind in the production of his Faery Queen.
[NICOLO MACHIAVELLI was born at Florence in 1469. He died in 1527. We are accustomed to hear people talk and write of Machiavellian policy, by which they mean something most abominably tyrannical and dishonest, and hence infer that Machiavelli had the unenviable distinction of being the systematic propagator of such principles. His active life was wholly occupied with missions connected with the politics of the Florentine Republic. His numerous writings are chiefly upon subjects which we may describe as political philosophy. An eminent critic has said that, although it is "scarcely possible for any person not well acquainted with the history and literature of Italy to
read without horror and amazement the celebrated treatise, ('The Prince,') which has brought so much obloquy on the name of Machiavelli ;" yet "few writings exhibit so much elevation of sentiment, so pure and warm a zeal for the public good, or so just a view of the duties and rights of citizens as those of Machiavelli." The following specimen, which we give from the Discourses of this celebrated writer, is entitled, "How he that would succeed must accommodate to the times."
I have many times considered with myself that the occasion of every man's good or bad fortune consists in his correspondence and accommodation with the times. We see some people acting furiously, and with an impetus; others with more slowness and caution; and because both in the one and the other they are immoderate, and do not observe their just terms, therefore both of them do err; but his error and misfortune is least, whose customs suit and correspond with the times; and who comports himself in his designs according to the impulse of his own nature. Every one can tell how Fabius Maximus conducted his army, and with what carefulness and caution he proceeded, contrary to the ancient heat and boldness of the Romans, and it happened that grave way was more conformable to those times; for Hannibal, coming young and brisk into Italy, and being elated with his good fortune, as having twice defeated the armies of the Romans, that commonwealth having lost most of her best soldiers, and remaining in great fear and confusion, nothing could have happened more seasonably to them, than to have such a general who, by his caution and cunctation, could keep the enemy at bay. Nor could any times have been more fortunate to his way of proceeding; for that that slow and deliberate way was natural in Fabius, and not affected, appeared afterwards, when Scipio, being desirous to pass his army into Africa to give the finishing blow to the war, Fabius opposed it most earnestly, as one who could not force or dissemble his nature, which was rather to support wisely against the difficulties that were upon him, than to search out for new. So that had Fabius directed, Hannibal had continued in Italy, and the reason was because he did not consider the times were altered, and the method of the
war was to be changed with them. And if Fabius at that time had been king of Rome, he might well have been worsted in the war, as not knowing how to frame his counsels according to the variation of the times. But there being in that commonwealth so many brave men, and excellent commanders, of all sorts of tempers and humours, fortune would have it, that, as Fabius was ready, in hard and difficult times, to sustain the enemy and continue the war, so, afterwards, when affairs were in a better posture, Scipio was presented to finish and conclude it. And hence it is that an aristocracy or free state is longer lived, and generally more fortunate, than a principality, because in the first they are more flexible, and can frame themselves better to the diversity of the times: for a prince, being accustomed to one way, is hardly to be got out of it, though perhaps the variation of the times requires it very much. Piero Soderino (whom I have mentioned before) proceeded with great gentleness and humanity in all his actions; and he and his country prospered whilst the times were according; but when the times changed, and there was a necessity of laying aside that meekness and humility, Piero was at a loss, and he and his country were both ruined.
Pope Julius XI., during the whole time of his papacy, carried himself with great vigour and vehemence; and because the times were agreeable, he prospered in every thing; but had the times altered, and required other counsels, he had certainly been ruined, because he could never have complied. And the reason why we cannot change so easily with the times, is twofold; first, because we cannot readily oppose ourselves against what we naturally desire; and next, because when we have often tried one way, and have always been prosperous, we can never persuade ourselves we could do so well any other; and this is the true cause why a prince's fortune varies so strangely, because she varies the times, but he does not alter the way of his administration. And it is the same in a commonwealth; if the variation of the times be not observed, and their laws and customs altered accordingly, many mischiefs must follow, and the government
be ruined, as we have largely demonstrated before; but those alterations of their laws are more slow in a commonwealth, because they are not so easily changed, and there is a necessity of such times as may shake the whole state, to which one man will not be sufficient, let him change his proceedings, and take new measures as he pleases.
[WITO can attempt, in a few lines, to give the least adequate notion of the character of Jean Jacques Rousseau, the watchmaker's son of Geneva, who, during the last thirty years of an unsettled, and, to all ordinary perceptions, an unhappy life, poured forth a stream of thought which, sometimes fertilising and sometimes destructive, produced greater changes in the European mind than the published opinions of any other man of his age? Jean Jacques may be neglected, but he can never be forgotten. His follies, his meannesses, his insane vanity, his causeless jealousies, disqualify him for the respect of the generations who have succeeded him; but these very circumstances perhaps add to the interest which we take in the individual man, and are utterly for
gotten when we are under the enchantment of his impassioned eloquence. Jean Jacques was born in 1712; he died in 1778. The following description of his happiness in solitude, which we have translated from a letter addressed by him in 1762 to the President de Malesherbes, forms one of four letters in which he undertakes to present a true picture of his character, and the real motives of all his conduct.]
I can hardly tell you, sir, how concerned I have been to see that you consider me the most miserable of men. The world, no doubt, thinks as you do, and that also distresses me. Oh! why is not the existence I have enjoyed known to the whole universe! every one would wish to procure for himself a similar lot, peace would reign upon the earth, man would no longer think of injuring his fellows, and the wicked would no longer be found, for none would have an interest in being wicked. But what then did I enjoy when I was alone? Myself; the entire universe; all that is; all that can be; all that is beautiful in the world of sense; all that is imaginable in the world of intellect. I gathered around me all that could delight my heart; my desires were the limit of my pleasures. No, never have the most voluptuous known such enjoyments; and I have derived a hundred times more happiness from my chimeras than they from their realities.
When my sufferings make me measure sadly the length of the night, and the agitation of fever prevents me from enjoying a single instant of sleep, I often divert my mind from my present state, in thinking of the various events of my life; and repentance, sweet recollections, regrets, emotions, help to make me for some moments forget my sufferings. What period do you think, sir, I recall most frequently and most willingly in my dreams? Not the pleasures of my youth, they were too rare, too much mingled with bitterness, and are now too distant. I recall the period of my seclusion, of my solitary walks, of the fleeting but delicious days that I have passed entirely by myself, with my good and simple housekeeper, with my beloved dog, my old cat, with the birds of the field, the hinds of the forest, with all nature, and her inconceivable Author. In getting up before the sun to contemplate its rising from my garden, when a beautiful day was