Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XVIII. - The Works of Vicesimus Knox, vol. 5
LETTER XVIII. - Vicesimus Knox, The Works of Vicesimus Knox, vol. 5 
The Works of Vicesimus Knox, D.D. with a Biographical Preface. In Seven Volumes (London: J. Mawman, 1824). Vol. 5.
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- To the Right Honourable Charles James Fox.
- Personal Nobility Or , Letters to a Young Noble Man
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- The Spirit of Despotism.
- Section I.: Introductory.
- Section II. Oriental Manners, and the Ideas Imbibed In Youth, Both In the West and East Indies, Favourable to the Spirit of Despotism.
- Section III. Certain Circumstances In Education Which Promote the Spirit of Despotism.
- Section IV. Corruption of Manners Has a Natural Tendency to Promote the Spirit of Despotism.
- Section V. An Abhorrence of Despotism and an Ardent Love of Liberty Perfectly Consistent With Order and Tranquillity; and the Natural Consequence of Well-informed Understandings and Benevolent Dispositions.
- Section VI. On the Venality of the Press Under the Influence of the Despotic Spirit, and Its Effects In Diffusing That Spirit.
- Section VII. The Fashionable Invectives Against Philosophy and Reason, a Proof of the Spirit of Despotism.
- Section VIII. Of Loyalty, and Certain Mistaken Ideas of It.
- Section IX. On Taking Advantage of Popular Commotions, Accidental Excesses, and Foreign Revolutions, to Extend Prerogative and Power, and Encroach On the Liberties of the People.
- Section X. When Human Life Is Held Cheap, It Is a Symptom of a Prevailing Spirit of Despotism.
- Section XI. Indifference of the Middle and Lower Classes of the People to Public Affairs, Highly Favourable to the Encroachments of the Tory Principle, and Therefore to the Spirit of Despotism.
- Section XII. The Despotic Spirit Is Inclined to Discourage Commerce, As Unfavourable to Its Purposes.
- Section XIII. The Spirit of Despotism Displaying Itself In Private Life, and Proceeding Thence to Avail Itself of the Church and the Military.
- Section XIV. The Despotic Spirit Inclined to Avail Itself of Spies, Informers, False Witnesses, Pretended Conspiracies, and Self-interested Associations Affecting Patriotism.
- Section XV. The Manners of Tory Courtiers, and of Those Who Ape Them, As People of Fashion, Inconsistent With Manliness, Truth, and Honesty; and Their Prevalence Injurious to a Free Constitution, and the Happiness of Human Nature.
- Section XVI. The Spirit of Truth, Liberty, and Virtue, Public As Well As Private, Chiefly to Be Found In the Middle Ranks of the People.
- Section XVII. On Debauching the Minds of the Rising Generation and a Whole People, By Giving Them Military Notions In a Frée and Commercial Country.
- Section XVII. Levity, Effeminacy, Ignorance, and Want of Principle In Private Life, Inimical to All Public Virtue, and Favourable to the Spirit of Despotism.
- Section XIX. Certain Passages In Dr. Brown’s “estimate” Which Deserve the Serious Consideration of All Who Would Oppose the Subversion of a Free Constitution By Corruption of Manners and Principles, and By Undue Influence.
- Section XX. On Several Subjects Suggested By Lord Melcombe’s Diary; Particularly the Practice of Bartering the Cure of Souls For the Corruption of Parliament.
- Section XXI. On Choosing Rich Men, Without Parts, Spirit, Or Liberality, As Representatives In the National Council.
- Section XXII. Of the Despotic Influence of Great Merchants Over Their Subalterns, of Customers Over Their Tradesmen, and Rich Trading Companies Over Their Various Dependents, In Compelling Them to Vote For Court Candidates For Seats In Parliment, Merely T
- Section XXIII. Of the Pageantry of Life; That It Originates In the Spirit of Despotism; and Contributes to It, Without Advancing Private Any More Than Public Felicity.
- Section XXIV. Insolence of the Higher Orders to the Middle Ranks and the Poor; With Their Affected Condescension, In Certain Circumstances, to the Lowest of the People.
- Section XXV. Of a Natural Aristocracy.
- Section XXVI. The Excessive Love of Distinction and Power Which Prevails Wherever the Spirit of Despotism Exists, Deadens Some of the Finest Feelings of the Heart, and Counteracts the Laws of Nature.
- Section XXVII. On the Opinion That the People Are Annihilated Or Absorbed In Parliament; That the Voice of the People Is No Where to Be Heard But In Parliament; and On Similar Doctrines, Tending to Depreciate the People.
- Section XXVIII. The Fashionable Contempt Thrown On Mr. Locke, and His Writings In Favour of Liberty; and On Other Authors and Books Espousing the Same Cause.
- Section XXIX. Of the Despotism of Influence; While the Forms of a Free Constitution Are Preserved.
- Section XXX. The Spirit of Despotism Delights In War Or Systematic Murder.
- Section XXXI. On the Idea That We Have Arrived At Perfection In Politics, Though All Other Sciences Are In a Progressive State.
- Section XXXII. On Political Ethics; Their Chief Object Is to Throw Power Into the Hands of the Worst Part of Mankind, and to Render Government an Institution Calculated to Enrich and Aggrandize a Few, At the Expense of the Liberty, Property, and Lives of
- Section XXXIII. On Trafficking With the Cure of Souls, (cura Animarum,) For the Purposes of Political, I. E. Moral, Corruption.
- Section XXXIV. Of Mr. Hume’s Idea, That Absolute Monarchy Is the Easiest Death, the True Euthanasia of the British Constitution.
- Section XXXV. The Permission of Lawyers By Profession, Aspiring to Honours In the Gift of the Crown, to Have the Greatest Influence In the Legislature, a Circumstance Unfavourable to Liberty.
- Section XXXVI. Poverty, When Not Extreme, Favourable to All Virtue, Public and Private, and Consequently to the Happiness of Human Nature; and Enormous Riches, Without Virtue, the General Bane.
- Section XXXVII. On the Natural Tendency of Making Judges and Crown Lawyers, Peers; of Translating Bishops and Annexing Preferments to Bishoprics, In, What Is Called Commendam.
- Section XXXVIII. That All Opposition to the Spirit of Despotism Should Be Conducted With the Most Scrupulous Regard to the Existing Laws, and to the Preservation of Public Peace and Good Order.
- Section XXXIX. The Christian Religion Favourable to Civil Liberty, and Likewise to Equality Rightly Understood.
- Section Xl. the Pride Which Produces the Spirit of Despotism Conspicuous Even On the Tombstone. It Might Be Treated With Total Neglect, If It Did Not Tend to the Oppression of the Poor, and to Bloodshed and Plunder.
- Section Xli.: Conclusion.
- Antipolemus; Or, the Plea of Reason, Religion, and Humanity, Against War. a Fragment; Translated From the Latin of Erasmus.
- Preface. By the Translator.
- Antipolemus; Or, the Plea of Reason, Religion, and Humanity, Against War.
We can neither write, speak, nor think justly, however plausibly, without reasoning conclusively. If there is an art then, which undertakes to improve us in the power of using our reason, let us earnestly seek its assistance. Such is the art of Logic.
You may speak fluently, rhetorically, and perhaps agreeably, without it; but not solidly. A plain-speaking and clear-headed man, may rise and refute the whole of your harangue, if it is illogical, by two or three well-argued sentences without a single trope.
Let us then, my Lord, lay in a store of Logic, as a foundation for our rhetoric. When we shall have fixed a firm foundation, we may adorn our front, as much as we please, with festoons, Corinthian pillars, friezes, and cornices.
But is Logic able to effect what it pretends? Perhaps not quite so much; but judiciously cultivated, it can do a great deal, and it is well worth some share of your attention. Besides, you cannot be a general scholar, which I wish you to be, without some acquaintance with this celebrated art, merely as a branch of literature.
The Logic books which I advise you to procure are; those of Wallis, Sanderson, Aldrich, Watts, and Duncan. Watt's Logic, read in select parts, will perhaps answer your purpose; but I advise you to inspect the others, that you may form a just idea of the scholastic terms, and the language of logicians.
That part of the Logic books which treats of sophisms, is particularly worthy of your study. It may enable you to detect fallacies in the speeches of your opponents, and to avoid them in your own. It may teach you to confute a long harangue with a single observation.
You will in course perfect yourself in the art of making syllogisms; and I am under no apprehension of your dwelling on logical subtilties, so as to lose much time, or cool the ardour of your genius, formed, as it is, for livelier and more active pursuits.
But, my Lord, give me leave to advise you to apply the art of Logic, where it is much wanted, and has seldom been closely followed, to common life. You will there find it of great advantage. People are for ever reasoning wrong in common conversation, and on the motives and consequences of their daily conduct. From the want of just thought and accurate reasoning on common emergencies, they hastily form wrong conclusions, and fall into foolish actions; the slaves of prejudice, ignorance, passion, and absurdity. All this might easily be avoided, by exercising plain common sense, sufficiently informed; or, in other words, by sound Logic.
You will derive much happiness and dignity from accustoming yourself to submit your fancies, humours, caprices, and all your eager desires, to the touchstone of a syllogism. When any new question arises in common life, no less than books, which requires a sound judgment, form the matter into a syllogism, and abide by the conclusion, whatever it may be, faithfully and resolutely. By using yourself to this method in little things, you will naturally adopt it in great ones; and the result will be, sound judgment in writing, speaking, and acting; decision in thought, and firmness in conduct.
A most valuable effect this, of studying in the school of Aristotle. It will give you a superiority over more than half mankind, who seldom allow themselves time to reason closely and justly, if they reason at all.
I am, &c.