“Bad is the dominion of the multitude”
Homer, Illiad 2.204.
Robert Bisset (1759-1805) was a Scottish writer who abhorred democracy and earned his conservative chops as the first biographer of Edmund Burke. My epigraph appears on the title page of Bisset’s Sketch of Democracy (1794), and it very neatly epitomizes the substance of that dour and didactic book. Bisset’s Sketch describes the disastrous career of democracy in the ancient world, and tends to the general conclusion that popular government is a cancer to great nations. In the course of his discussion of the democratic cancer that destroyed the Roman republic, for instance, Bisset sets down this sobering line.
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