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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 42

12.—Gonzalo's Kingdom

12.—Gonzalo's Kingdom.

Of all the States, real and imaginary, that I have read of, Mr. Stout's Freethought realm comes nearest the humorous picture drawn by Gonzalo, in Shakespeare's play "The Tempest"—

Had I a plantation of this isle, my lord,
And were the king of it, what would I do?
I' the commonwealth I would by contraries
Execute all things; for no kind of traffic
Would I admit; no name of magistrate;
Letters should be unknown; no use of service,
Of riches, or of poverty; no contracts,
Successions, bonds of land, tilth, vineyard, none;
No use of metals, corn, or wine, or oil;
No occupation; all menidle, all.
And women too, but innocent and pure;
No sovereignty—

Sebastian.—And yet he would be king on't.

Antonio.—The latter end of his commonwealth forgets the beginning.

That is just it. He commences by claiming complete freedom from all authority for every subject—thorough independence of our neighbours—yet he ends with acknowledging personal responsibility and "duty to respect right and justice." The fact is, his notions are a bundle of contraries and absurd impossibilities, fitted to excite uncultured minds against established customs and institutions, but totally unfitted to reconstruct or reorganise a workable or manageable state of affairs. England has already learned what such sentiments are capable of doing, and how difficult it is to restore order and peace. The doctrines of the Chartists who instigated the grievous disturbances during the fifth page 18 decade of the present century, and those advanced and advocated by Mr. Stout and his confrères, are as much alike as twin-born infants; and, were occasion to arise, doubtles the same or a similar result would follow. If, however, a difference exists between the Chartists' claims and those of Freethought, I willingly give my preference to the former. Yet they

"Rushed forth to deeds of recklessness, but naught
Achieved of freedom, since nor plan nor thought
Their might directed."

A madness was wrought in the minds of the poor, sore-worked men far beyond the desire or expectation of their agitators, who had a definite object in their immediate view, though, like our friends, a very vague idea of the distant future.