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our free constitution-Not enemies, I presume, to their own liberty. And as to the constitution, until we give them some share in it, I do not know upon what pretence we can examine into their opinions about a business in which they have no interest or concern.

But after all, are we equally sure, that they are adverse to our constitution, as that our statutes are hostile and destructive to them? For my part, I have reason to believe, their opinions and inclinations in that respect are various, exactly like those of other men: and if they lean more to the crown than I, and than many of you think we ought, we must remember that he who aims at another's life, is not to be surprized if he flies into any sanctuary that will receive him. The tenderness of the executive power is the

. natural asylum of those upon whom the laws have declared war; and to complain that men are inclined to favor the means of their own safety is so absurd, that one forgets the injustice in the ridicule.

“ I must fairly tell you, that so far as my principles are concerned, (principles, that I hope will only depart with my last breath,) that I have no idea of a liberty unconnected with honesty and justice. Nor do I believe, that any good constitutions of government or of freedom, can find it necessary for their security to doom any part of the people to a permanent slavery. Such a constitution of freedom, if such can be, is in effect no more than another name for the tyranny of the strongest faction; and factions in republics have been, and are, full as capable as monarchs, of the most cruel oppression and injustice. It is but too true, that the love and even the


idea of genuine liberty is extremely rare.

It is but too true, that there are many, whose whole scheme of freedom is made up of pride, perverseness, and insolence. They feel themselves in a state of thraldom, they imagine that their souls are cooped and cabbined in, unless they have some man, or some body of men, dependent on their mercy. This desire of having some one below them, descends to those who are the very lowest of all; and a Protestant cobler, debased by his poverty, but exalted by his share of the ruling church, feels a pride in knowing it is by his generosity alone, that the peer, whose footman's instep he measures, is able to keep his chaplain from a jail. This disposition is the true source of the passion, which many men, in very humble life, have taken to the American war. Our subjects in America ; our colonies ; our dependants. This lust of party-power is the liberty they hunger and thirst for; and this Syren song of ambition has charmed ears, that one would have thought were never organised to that sort of music. This way of proscribing the citizens by

. denominations and general descriptions, dignified by the name of reason of state, and security for constitutions and commonwealths, is nothing better at bottom than the miser. able invention of an ungenerous ambition, which would fain hold the sacred trust of power, without any of the virtues, or any of the energies, that give a title to it; a receipt of policy, made up of a detestable compound of malice, cowardice, and sloth. They would govern men against their will; but in that government they would be discharged from the exercise of vigilance, providence, and fortitude ; and therefore, that they may sleep on their watch, they consent to take some one divison of the society into partnership of the tyranny over the rest. But let government, in what form it may be, comprehend the wholé in its justice, and restrain the suspicious by its vigilance; let it keep watch and ward ; let it discover by its sagacity, and punish by its firmness, all delinquency against its power, whenever delinquency exists in the overt acts; and then it will be as safe as God and nature ever intended


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it should be. Crimes are the acts of individuals, and not of denominations, and therefore arbitarily to class men under general descriptions, in order to proscribe and punish them in the lump for a presumed delinquency, of which perhaps but a part, perhaps none at all, are guilty, is indeed a compendious method, and saves a world of trouble about proof; but such a method, instead of being law, is an act of unnatural rebellion against the legal dominion of reason and justice; and this vice, in any constitution that entertains it at one time or other will certainly bring on its ruin,

“ We are told that this is not a religious persecution ; and its abettors are loud in disclaiming all severities on account of conscience. Very fine indeed! then let it be so; they are not persecutors; they are only tyrants. With all my heart. I am perfectly indifferent concerning the pre

which we torment one another ; or whether it be for the constitution of the church of England, or for the constitution of the state of England, that people choose to make their fellow-creatures wretched. When we were sent into a place of authority, you that sent us had yourselves but one commission to give. You could give us none to wrong or oppress, or even to suffer

any sion or wrong, on any grounds whatsoever ; not on political, as in the affairs of America ; not on commercial, as in those of Ireland ; not in civil, as in the laws for debt; not in religious, as in the statutes against Protestant or Catholic dissenters. The diversified but connected fabric of universal justice is well cramped and bolted together in all its parts ; and depend upon it, I never have employed, and I never shall employ, any engine of power which may come into my hands, to wrench it asunder. All shall stand, if I can help it, and all shall stand connected. After all, to complete this work, much remains to be


kind of oppres

done ;


done ; much in the East, much in the West. But great as the work is, if our will be ready, our powers are not deficient. " Since

you have suffered me to trouble you so much on this subject, permit me, gentlemen, to detain you, a little longer. I am indeed most solicitous to give you perfect satisfaction. I find there are some of a better and softer nature than the persons with whom I have supposed myself in debate, who neither think ill of the act of relief, nor by any means to desire the repeal, yet who, not accusing but lamenting what was done, on account of the consequences, have frequently expressed their wish, that the late act had never been made. Some of this description, and persons of worth, I have met with in this city. They conceive, that the prejudices, whatever they might be, of a large part of the people, ought not to have been shocked ; that their opinions ought to have been previously taken, and much attended to; and that thereby the late horrid scenes might have been prevented.

“ I confess, my notions are widely different ; and I never was less


action of


life. I like the bill the better, on account of the events of all kinds that followed it. It relieved the real sufferers ; it strengthened the state ; and, by the disorders that ensued, we had clear evidence that there lurked a temper somewhere, which ought not to be fostered by the laws. No ill consequences whatever could be attributed to the act itself. We knew beforehand, or we were poorly instructed, that toleration is odious to the intolerant; freedom to oppressors ; property to robbers; and all kinds and degrees of prosperity to the envious. We knew that all these kinds of men would gladly gratify their evil disposition under the sanction of law and religion, if they could : if they could not, yet, to make way to their objects, they would do their



you to build

utmost to subvert all religion and all law. This we certainly knew. But knowing this, is there any reason, because thieves break in and steal, and thus bring detriment to you, and draw ruin on themselves, that I am to be sorry that you are in possession of shops, and of warehouses, and of wholesome laws to protect them ? Are no houses, because desperate men may pull them down upon their own heads ? Or, if a malignant wretch will cut his own throat, because he sees you give alms to the necessitous and deserving ; shall his destruction be attributed to your charity, and not to his own deplorable madness? If we repent of our good actions, what, I pray you, is left for our faults and follies ? It is not the beneficence of the laws, it is the unnatural temper which beneficence can fret and sour, that is to be lamented. It is this temper which, by all rational means, ought to be sweetened and corrected. If forward men should refuse this curé, can they vitiate any thing but themselves ? Does evil so re-act upon good, as not only to retard its motion, but to change its nature ? If it can so operate, then good men will always be in the power of the bad ; and virtue, by a dreadful reverse of order, must lie under perpetual subjection and bondage to vice.

“ As to the opinion of the people, which some think, in such cases, is to be implicitly obeyed ; near two years' tranquillity, whichfollowed the act, and its instant imitatation in Ireland, proved abundantly, that the late horrible spirit was, in a great measure, the act of insidious art, and perverse industry, and gross misrepresentation. But suppose that the dislike had been much more deliberate, and much more general than I am persuaded it was When we know that the opinions of even the greatest multitudes are the standard of rectitude, I shall think myself obliged to make those opinions the masters of my con


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