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establish themselves in a higher rank and station in society than they before had occupied.
2. All jealous apprehensions on the subject of national power or glory are, in the same circumstances, no less vain and visionary; they are the waking dreams of ambition, as the former were of avarice. To a prince or nation labouring under such a malady, might be recommended the wellknown advice of Cineas to Pyrrhus, who, upon disclosing his project of conquering Italy, and then other countries in succession, till he had subdued a considerable part of the earth; at length, after the repeated question of Cineas, And what then? Why then, said Pyrrhus, we will sit down and enjoy ourselves. And why not now ?? was the sensible reply. And might we not with still stronger reason say to a prince or a people, who are already in possession of every solid political advantage, Why should a vain desire of extending your dominion and renown, tempt you, by provoking the envy or jealousy of other powers, to endanger your own stability, and for the sake of a shadow, to run the risk of losing the substance?
· 3. All apprehensions of any material de· fects in the constitution of a government,
under which the bulk of a people may live comfortably, as here stated, with moderate labour, must be imaginary. Let us suppose a government similar to that of our own, under which the people are in this situation ; what charge could an imaginative citizen allege against it? He might perhaps object to its monarchical part, that it was liable to degenerate into military despotism; that it might plunge the country into unnecessary wars, and harass it by excessive imposts and cruel exactions; all which would hold against a pure monarchy; but, in the present case, the counteraction of the other branches of government would prevent such consequences. Or he might allege against the aristocracy, its unfavourable aspect upon the lower orders, by its legislative authority, and by the abuse of its peculiar privileges; which would be true, if left to rule alone; but not when combined with the other parts of the constitution. Or, lastly, he might allege against the democratical part of the state, its tendency to generate dissentions, factions, and tumults, its exposure of the public counsels, or the delays it would interpose to their execution; all which, with inany other dangers, form an insuperable objection against a pure democracy, but are of little force where the democratical part of the government is restrained and limited by the two others, as in our own happy constitution; which, by establishing a balance among the three powers, unites in it the advantages of each, and guards against the ill consequences that inight grow out of their several defects. Thus are we in possession of that admirable political system, which Tacitus thought was rather to be applauded than hoped for, and which, if realized, could never be of long duration*; an opinion whose fallacy the inhabitants of this country have happily expe
*"Cunctas nationes et urbes, populus, aut primores, aut singuli regunt. Delecta ex his et constituta reipublicæ forma, laudari faciliùs quàm evenire ; aut si evenit, haud diuturna esse potest.” Tac. An. lib. iv. cap. 33.
rienced; and for a British citizen to listen to his fears in opposition to this experience, would be to listen to his imagination more than to his judgment. To say that it is a government short of perfection, is only to say that it is human; but its approach towards it is such, that every project to change it fundamentally, should be entertained according to an ancient law of Charondas, which decreed, that every political innovator should appear before the public assembly with a rope about his neck, with which, if his project, after deliberation, was rejected, he should forthwith be suspended for his temerity*.
Lastly : Though the political grievances which exist in various parts of the world are numerous, and sometimes very difficult to be borne, yet, compared with the other evils which besiege human life on every side, they are few and inconsiderable. Whereever he is, man is exposed to sickness and death; to domestic cares and vicissitudes; to the unkindness and loss of friends, and the malice of enemies; to the torture of unruly
* Histoire Ancienne, par Rollin. Tom. iii. p. 399.
passions; and to those innumerable vexations, without name or description, which, like swarms of locusts, devour up all the verdure of his condition.
“How small of all that human hearts endure, That part, which laws or kings can cause or cure."
In a word, man is troubled with a corrupt heart, and a guilty conscience, the greatest of all evils, and the sources of all the rest, which will pursue him through all governments, and from which he can find relief in none, except in that which is not of this world.
When we therefore feel dissatisfied with ourselves, or with others, and especially with our rulers, we ought carefully to inquire, whether it does not arise from those general causes, which act nearly with equal force under every administration of public affairs, unless it be one extreme and violent.
It is for want of such inquiry, that men in public stations frequently suffer under the most unjust charges, and, in particular, that the prime minister of this country