Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XLV. - The Works of Vicesimus Knox, vol. 5
LETTER XLV. - 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.
Give me leave to write you one more letter on Religion, and I will desist, lest I should find you throw away my letters, as you say Lord ∗∗∗ did your Barrow's Sermons, when he called upon you to desire you to take ten guineas’ worth of tickets for the benefit of Signior∗∗∗∗.
A nobleman has no right to retain his distinctions, when he refuses to perform on his part those duties in society, which the conferring or continuing of those distinctions tacitly requires of him. He promises by retaining the honours bestowed, to reflect a lustre back again on his country; and to contribute what he can to the maintenance of its constitution, both civil and ecclesiastical. An open avowed contempt of the religious ordinances of a country, where he is peculiarly favoured, is an insult which the people feel, and when opportunity offers, will show that they can resent, by degrading his order.
What think you then, my Lord, of the fashionable practice among nobles, of selecting Sunday, in preference to all other days, for travelling? What passes on Sundays within the walls of our patricians’ mansion-houses, even if it should be improper, (which is not to be uncharitably surmised,) when it is not seen by the public, may neither do them harm by the example, nor degrade nobility in their opinion. But splendid equipages flying about the country on Sundays, during divine service, with coronets on the coach doors and on the horses’ caparisons, betray an insolence, which the majesty of a people, not yet lowered by atheism, will one day curb, in a manner which may render the lordlings who sport them, objects of pity. The honest husbandman stops his plough, the weaver his loom, the smith quenches his fire, and the carpenter lays down his hammer, in obedience to the laws of his country, and for the preservation of decorum; but the great lord in the neighbourhood, an hereditary maker and guardian of the laws, and one who expects great worship to be paid to himself, sets out on Sunday, on his journey to London or a place of amusement; though as he is totally unemployed, he might with equal convenience to himself, travel on any other day. He takes with him five or six menial servants, and six or seven horses, who are driven with cruel haste, as if life and death depended on the saving of an hour; when the whole business of the journey is, that one lord may sit down and eat and drink with another lord, then yawn on a sofa, and finish the evening with faro. Should an aristocracy thus insult a generous and religious people, let it not imagine itself founded on a rock.
If nobles are anxious to hand down their honours, as they received them, unsullied and unimpaired, let them pay a scrupulous regard to public decorum. A free people will not for ever be insulted by those, whose useless state, and luxurious indolence, they support by their lobour. Some nobles may thank themselves alone for that levelling spirit, which prevails in Europe, and, without great efforts of virtue among the nobles, will triumph.
I hope, for your own sake, you will not have routs and card-parties on Sundays; but that you will spend the day according to the laws and customs of your country: however, if you will not do so for your own sake, let me prevail with you to do it for the sake of your order; and for the sake of the common people, who have their eyes fixed on your conduct, and, in spite of all laws and all advice, will imitate it, though they despise it in you, and though it tends to the destruction of their health, their characters, and their properties. If you wish yourself and your posterity to preserve the nobility you inherit, support it, my Lord, by behaviour uniformly noble, and publicly decorous, as well as privately good, and internally honest. Let your light shine before men, or it may be extinguished.
I am, &c.