[LMB] Attitudes re Komarr

John Cowan cowan at mercury.ccil.org
Tue Dec 11 02:19:49 GMT 2012

Gwynne Powell scripsit:

> I agree that if you gave them a button to push to drop out of the Empire, 
> most of them would push it

Here's Boswell's _Life of Johnson_:

    [Johnson] had this evening, partly, I suppose, from the spirit
    of contradiction to his Whig friend, a violent argument with
    Dr. Taylor, as to the inclination of the people of England at
    this time [1777] toward the Royal Family of Stuart.  He grew so
    outrageous as to say, "that if England were fairly polled, the
    present King would be sent away to-night, and his adherents hanged
    to-morrow."  Taylor, who was as violent a Whig as Johnson was a
    Tory, was roused by this to a pitch of bellowing.  He denied,
    loudly, what Johnson said; and maintained that there was an
    abhorrence against the Stuart family, though he admitted that the
    people were not much attached to the present King [George III].
    (Footnote: Dr. Taylor was very ready to make this admission,
    because the party with which he was connected was not in power.
    There was then some truth in it, owing to the pertinacity of
    factious clamour.  Had he lived until now [1791], it would have
    been impossible for him to deny that his Majesty possesses the
    warmest affection of his people.)

    JOHNSON: "Sir, the state of the country is this: the people
    knowing it to be agreed on all hands that this King has not the
    hereditary right to the crown, and there being no hope that he
    who has it can be restored, have grown cold and indifferent upon
    the subject of loyalty, and have no warm attachment to any King.
    They would not, therefore, risk any thing to restore the exiled
    family.  They would not give twenty shillings [GBP 100 or USD
    160 today] a piece to bring it about.  But if a mere vote could
    do it, there would be twenty to one; at least, there would be
    a very great majority of voices for it.  For, Sir, you are to
    consider, that all those who think a King has a right to his
    crown, as a man has to his estate, which is the just opinion,
    would be for restoring the King, who certainly has the hereditary
    right, could he be trusted with it; in which there would be no
    danger now, when laws and every thing else are so advanced: and
    every King will govern by the laws.  And you must also consider,
    Sir, that there is nothing on the other side to oppose to this:
    for it is not alleged by any one that the present family has
    any inherent right; so that the Whigs could not have a contest
    between two rights."

    Dr. Taylor admitted, that if the question as to hereditary right
    were to be tried by a poll of the people of England, to be sure
    the abstract doctrine would be given in favor of the family of
    Stuart; but he said, the conduct of that family, which occasioned
    their expulsion, was so fresh in the minds of the people, that
    they would not vote for a restoration.  Dr. Johnson, I think,
    was contented with the admission as to the hereditary right,
    leaving the original point in dispute, viz., what the people upon
    the whole would do, taking in right and affection; for he said,
    people were afraid of a change, even though they think it right.

One art / There is                      John Cowan <cowan at ccil.org>
No less / No more                       http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
All things / To do
With sparks / Galore                     --Douglas Hofstadter

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