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understanding the true ground of his complaint, is ready to resolve it, as before remarked, into some unhappiness or defect in his exterior condition; hence it usually happens, that to remove, one after another, the grievances that press hardest upon him, and to multiply his amusements and pleasures, are the two great objects to which he first directs his endeavours; though commonly, as might be foreseen, with little advantage to his real comfort. Perhaps, in a more advanced stage of life, willing to persuade himself that public measures are the sources of private misery, he commences a reformer of laws and government; and continues to urge his remonstrances, and to form his projects, till after many ineffectual attempts to mend the world, and reduce it to his plans of political perfection, he at Jast finds it wisest to bear with patience what he cannot rem · Hence it appears, that to gain a just view of what is attainable in our present state, is a point of the greatest consequence; as we cannot otherwise properly regulate our behaviour towards others, or avoid ourselves
those many vexations and disappointments, to which visionary theorists and adventurers, and those who listen to them, are continually liable.'
We therefore lay down the following as - primary rules of conduct to be observed by
a good citizen, particularly under any moderate government.
· I. To guard against any wrong impressions he might receive from new and plausible political theories; and to regulate his expectations by what is obvious and practicable in the present state of human nature, and the existing circumstances of public affairs.
II. To distinguish real political evils from imaginary ones, and from those various evils which arise out of the common condition of man in this world: also, Not to aggravate or rashly oppose the first; to dismiss the second; and to suffer patiently the last.
III. To avoid an idle curiosity in political matters; and still more a disposition to hunt after small or unknown grievances,
IV. To beware of any unnecessary or
hasty attachment, and still more of a blind devotion, to any party whatever, either in politics or religion.
V. Lastly: Never forwardly to urge his public claims or pretensions, nor beyond what the common good may require; and when this, on the whole, is provided for, to rest satisfied in the quiet and faithful discharge of the duties of his present station.
That the reader may be duly sensible of the reason and expediency of these rules, I shall endeavour to illustrate them at some length in the five following sections.
On the first Rule of Conduct to be observed
by every good Citizen, namely, To guard against any wrong Impressions he might receive from new and plausible political Theories ; and to regulate his Expectations by what is obvious and practicable in the present State of human Nature, and the existing Circunstances of public Affairs.
A GENERAL presumption lies against all innovations and untried theories, and against none more than those which are of a political nature *. Hence, such experiments ought never to be practised upon a state without grave deliberation; as their success is always uncertain, and often extremely hazardous. The entire result of any change in the constitution and laws of a country, depends on such a multitude and variety of causes and circumstances, that it can never be exactly foreseen by the greatest human sagacity; and is sometimes widely different from all probable conjecture. Even the enacting of a single law, which is a measure that might be supposed within the reach of political calculation, often produces effects very different and remote from what was in contemplation by the legislator.' “ It hath been an ancient observation,” says Blackstone, “in the laws of England, that whenever a standing rule of law, of which the reason perhaps cannot be remembered or discerned, hath been wantónly broken in upon by statute or new resolutions, the wisdom of the rule hath in the end appeared from the inconveniences that have followed the innovation t." This should inspire us with respect for established laws and usages, though the grounds upon which they were introduced be now unknown; and should teach us to regard with a prudent jealousy all such persons as appear
* “ Of all undertakings, the most arduous, the most dangerous, and the most liable to miscarry, is the inIroduction of new laws.” Machiavel's Prince, ch. 6.