Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XX. - The Works of Vicesimus Knox, vol. 5
LETTER XX. - 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.
The time you save by shortening the period of your application to metaphysics, may be usefully devoted to the more valuable parts of Logic. Mistake me not so much as to suppose that I despise Logic in general. It is only the scholastic part which I wish you to neglect. Rational logic, or common sense improved by rules, is a most valuable art; and I should be glad to observe in you a taste for its cultivation.
Logic, you know, is divided into four parts. The first teaches to conceive clear ideas of single objects: the second, to form a judgment on them: the third, to argue from them conclusively: and the fourth, to arrange them in the best and most lucid order.
Nothing can contribute more than this, to accomplish the orator and the man. Logic, divested of its pedantic and unnecessary subtilties, is very justly termed an instrument; or as Aristotle termed it, an organon, to facilitate the attainment of all other sciences.
After reading Sanderson or Watts, form in your own mind a little logical system for daily use. Accustom yourself to conceive clearly, to judge or affirm on solid grounds, to reason irrefragably, and to methodize in the most convenient and luminous arrangement.
Carrying this organon, as philosophers call it, or instrument, about you, like your watch, or your eyeglass, you will find it of perpetual service. It will give you an advantage in the transaction of all business, whether public or private. Few men possess it. Many have indeed read the common treatises on Logic; but they were either puzzled or disgusted, or both, with the dull subtilties of the schools, and never disentangled the good from the bad, so as to be able to avail themselves of it after leaving the university. You will extract the kernel, and throw away the shell.
A clear head is certainly one of the most valuable blessings which a man, and especially a man of business, such as you intend to be, can possess. Nature must have done a great deal towards producing it; but the Manual of Logic which I recommend, that is, a little system compiled by yourself, and divested of everything superfluous, will improve and assist nature wonderfully.
It is impossible but that he who has long exercised his mind in defining, dividing, distinguishing, arguing, and methodizing, should excel the majority of men with whom he converses. And there is a pleasure in these operations, which will lead him who has once tasted it, to pursue them on all occasions which require deliberation.
Indistinctness of ideas, falsehood, blunders, inconclusive argumentation and confusion, are painful; and yet, to the misfortune of human nature, they are common. Error, guilt, sorrow, and every species of folly and misery, are the consequences; and therefore your Lordship, on a due consideration of the matter, can want no exhortation to study an art, which tends to improve man in that very faculty in which he excels all the animal creation.
But, my Lord, cautions are necessary to be added to almost every piece of advice. While I urge you to reason on every thing, you must remember that I mean that you should reason in silent thought, and not obtrude your arguments on every occasion, and in all company. A cavilling, wrangling, disputatious habit will not be borne. You must think with the wise, and, on many occasions, condescend to talk with the vulgar. You will go into few companies, and be present in little business, where some parties do not err against every rule of Logic; in perceiving indistinctly, judging falsely, arguing absurdly, and in placing things in a preposterous order. You must hear, and bear with patience; taking care to let your own mind be regulated by your invaluable organon, or portable rule of reason.
As Logic is but little attended to in the course of what is called a polite education, you will have the advantage, on most occasions, of a singular solidity in your eloquence. You will often gain your point, and be admired and esteemed for great abilities in the conduct of business, when you have done no more than exercise your common sense, unwarped by fancy, prejudice, and passion.
You very justly observe, that I have often, in your hearing, expressed my contempt of scholastic logic. I still avow it. But lest you should suppose that I condemned rational logic with it, I have been here more diffuse in endeavouring to convince you that I entertain the highest esteem for it.
Logic, well cultivated, and understood in the sense in which I have recommended, will not fail, with your parts, learning, and other accomplishments, to render you a distinguished and convincing speaker.
I am, &c.