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(which one instance may serve for all) often meets with a treatment similar to what the primitive christians experienced from the pagans, who, as Tertullian informs us, charged them as the meritorious causes of every calamity that befel the empire. “ If the Tiber overflowed its banks, or the Nile did not; if the heavens withheld their showers, or the earth trembled under their feet; if famine or pestilence wasted the city or the provinces, the cry immediately was, Aicay with the christians to the lions *.” In like manner, a British premier is not only made accountable for disastrous political events, such as unsuccessful wars or negotiations, or for a depressed state of manufactures or commerce; but also for a scarcity of bread, or of other articles of human subsistence; as if he was responsible even for the course of nature, or had engaged, upon his assuming the reins of government, (as the Mexican emperors are said to have done at passions; and to those innumerable vexations, without name or description, which, like swarms of locusts, devour up all the verdure of his condition.

*“Si Tiberis ascendit in monia, si Nilus non ascendit in arva, si cælum stetit, si terra movit, si fames, si lucs, statim christianos ad leonem.” Apol. cap. 40.

“How small of all that human hearts endure, That part, which laws or kings can cause or cure.”

In a word, inan 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

(which one instance may serve for all) often meets with a treatment similar to what the primitive christians experienced from the pagans, who, as Tertullian informs us, charged them as the meritorious causes of every calamity that befel the empire. “ If the Tiber overflowed its banks, or the Nile did not; if the heavens withheld their showers, or the earth trembled under their feet; if famine or pestilence wasted the city or the provinces, the cry immediately was, Away with the christians to the lions *.” In like manner, a British premier is not only made accountable for disastrous political events, such as unsuccessful wars or negotiations, or for a depressed state of manufactures or commerce; but also for a scarcity of bread, or of other articles of human subsistence; as if he was responsible even for the course of nature, or had engaged, upon his assuming the reins of government, (as the Mexican emperors are said to have done at their coronation *) that there should be no barren years, nor other natural disorders during his administration. This confusion of political and physical causes, so frequent in the minds of the populace, and which is the more easy, as they are often found combined in the same events, affords no small advantage to an artful demagogue for working on the fears or discontent of the simple and less-informed citizen, who is thus led to charge entirely upon his governors, what is chiefly the effect of nature; and through a mistaken apprehension of political grievances to quarrel with divine providence.

*« Si Tiberis ascendit in menia, si Nilus non ascendit in arva, si cælum stetit, si terra movit, si fames, si lues, statim christianos ad leonem.” Apol. cap. 40.

II. We now proceed to the second part of the rule, namely, Not to aggravate or rashly oppose real political evils ; to dismiss imaginary ones ; and, lastly, to bear patiently those

* “Le roi du Mexique promettoit par un serment solemnel, lorsqu'il etoit couronné, que le soleil seroit toujours clair et serein, que les nuées ne repandroient leurs pluies qu’a propos, et que la terre produiroit ses fruits en abondance.” Traité de l'Opinion, par le Gendrę, tom. iii. p. 713-14.

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1. If we consider with the least attention the difficulty of a wise legislation, to how many objects and circumstances, both immediate and remote, it is necessary to have respect in framing laws, we shall be slow to determine upon their merits; and, though they should fail of the end intended, shal. never load them with aggravated censure. This moderation is strongly enforced by the remark of Blackstone (before cited) “ That a standing rule of law, whose reason was forgot, or could not at present be discerned, was seldom set aside or altered by statute, but the inconvenience of the change afterwards appeared;" which should teach us that, in the regulation of human affairs, it is experience rather than theory, which is the great source of practical wisdom; and that we are not authorized to infer from laws which, upon trial, are found inexpedient, any particular defect of ability or good intention in the legislators; who perhaps did all that could be done upon the grounds of human foresight and probability.

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