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every minority in the memory of man ; namely, that it was procured by unwarrantable influences and corruptions. We cannot, indeed, blame you for being angry at those, who have set such a round price upon your head. Your accusation of our high court of parliament puts us in mind of a story, often told among us freeholders, concerning a rattlebrained young fellow, who being indicted for two or three pranks upon the highway, told the judge he would swear the peace against him, for putting him in fear of his life.
The next grievance is such a one, that we are amazed how it could come into your head. Your words are as follow. “Whilst the principal powers engaged in the late wars, do enjoy the blessings of peace, and are attentive to discharge their debts, and ease their people, Great Britain, in the midst of peace, feels all the load of war. New debts are contracted, new armies are raised at home, Dutch forces are brought into these kingdoms.” What in the name of wonder do you mean? Are you in earnest, or do you design to banter us? Whom is the nation obliged to, for all this load of war that it feels ? Had you been wise enough to have slept at Bar-le-duc in a whole skin, we should not have contracted new debts, raised new armies, or brought over Dutch forces to make an example of you.
The most pleasant grievance is still behind, and, indeed, a most proper one to close up
this. King George has taken possession of the duchy of Bremen, whereby a door is opened to let in an inundation of foreigners from abroad, and to reduce these nations to the state of a province to one of the most inconsiderable provinces of the empire." And do you then really believe the mob-story, that King George designs to make a bridge of boats from Hanover to Wapping? We would have you know, that some of us read Baker's Chronicle, and do not find that William the Conqueror ever thought of making England a province to his native duchy of Normandy, notwithstanding it lay so much more convenient for that purpose : nor that King James the First had ever any thought of reducing this nation to the state of a province to his ancient kingdom of Scotland, though it lies upon the same continent, But pray how comes it to pass that the Electorate of Hanover is become all of a sudden one of the inost inconsiderable provinces of the empire ? If you undervalue it
upon the account of its religion, you have some rea
son for what you say; though you should not think we are Buch strangers to maps, and live so much out of the world, as to be ignorant that it is for power and extent the second Protestant state in Germany; and whether you know it or no, the Protestant religion in the empire is looked upon as a sufficient balance against Popery. Besides, you should have considered, that in your declaration upon the king's coming to the throne of Great Britain, you endeavoured to terrify us from receiving him, by representing him “as a powerful foreign prince, supported by a numerous army of his own subjects." Be that as it will, we are no more afraid of being a province to Hanover, than the Hanoverians are apprehensive of being a province to Bremen.
We have now taken notice of those great evils which you are come to rescue us from; but as they are such as we have neither felt or seen, we desire you will put yourself to no further trouble for our sakes.
You afterwards begin a kind of Te Deum, before the time, in that remarkable sentence,“ We adore the wisdom of the Divine Providence, which has opened a way to our restoration, by the success of those very measures that were laid to disappoint us for ever." We are at a loss to know what
you mean by this devout jargon; but by what goes before and follows, we suppose it to be this: that the coming of King George to the crown has made many malecontents, and by that means opened a way to your restoration; whereas, you should consider, that, if he had not come to the crown, the way had been open of itself. In the same pious paragraph, “ You most earnestly conjure us to pursue tħose methods for your restoration, which the finger of God seems to point out to us.” Now the only methods which we can make use of for that end, are civil war, rapine, bloodshed, treason, and perjury; methods which we Protestants do humbly conceive can never be pointed out to us by the finger of God.
The rest of your declaration contains the encouragements you give us to rebel. First, you promise to share with us “ all dangers and difficulties” which we shall meet with in this worthy enterprise. You are very much in the right of it; you have nothing to lose, and hope to get a crown; we do not hope for any new freeholds, and only desire to keep what we have. As, therefore, you are in the right to undergo dangers and difficulties' to make yourself our master, we
shall think ourselves as much in the right to undergo dangers and difficulties to hinder you from being so:?
Secondly, You promise to “ refer your and our interest to a Scotch parliament,” which you are resolved to call immediately. We
suppose you mean if the frost holds. But, sir, we are certainly informed there is a parliament now sitting at Westminster, that are busy at present in taking care both of the Scotch and English interest, and have actually done everything which you would "let” be done by our representatives in the Highlands. Thirdly, “ You promise that if we will
rebel for you against our present sovereign, you will remit and discharge all crimes of high treason, misprision, and all other crimes and offences whatsoever, done or committed against you or your father." But will you answer in this case, that King George will forgive us ? Otherwise we beseech you to consider what poor comfort it would be for a British freeholder to be conveyed up Holborn with your pardon in his pocket. And here we cannot but remark, that the conditions of your general pardon are so stinted, as to show that you are very cautious lest your good nature should carry you too far. You exclude from the benefit of it all those who do not, “ from the time of your landing, lay hold on mercy, and return to their duty and allegiance." By this means all neuters and lookerson are to be executed of course ; and by the studied ambiguity in which you couch the terms of your gracious pardon, you still leave room to gratify yourself in all the pleasures of tyranny and revenge.
Upon the whole, we have so bad an opinion of rebellion, as well as of your motives to it, and rewards for it, that you may rest satisfied there are few freeholders on this side the Forth who will engage in it; and we verily believe that you will suddenly take a resolution in your cabinet of Highlanders to scamper off with your new crown, which we are told the ladies of those parts have so generously clubbed for. And you may assure yourself that it is the only one you are like to get by this notable expedition. And so we bid you heartily farewell. Dated Jan. 19, in the second year of
our public happiness. 1 The honest freeholders conclude too fast in this place. The inference from their own premises is only this— We shall think ourselves as much in the right to undergo no dangers and difficulties to assist you in being so.
Potior visa est periculosa libertas quieto servitio. SALL.
may venture to affirm, that all honest and disinterested Britons of what party soever, if they understood one another, are of the same opinion in points of government; and that the gross of the people, who are imposed upon by terms which they do not comprehend, are Whigs in their hearts. They are made to believe, that passive obedience and non-resistance, unlimited power and indefeasible right, have something of a venerable and religious meaning in them; whereas in reality they only imply that a king of Great Britain has a right to be a tyrant, and that his subjects are obliged in conscience to be slaves. Were the case truly and fairly laid before them, they would know, that when they make a profession of such principles, they renounce their legal claim to liberty and property, and unwarily submit to what they really abhor.
It is our happiness, under the present reign, to hear our king from the throne exhorting us to be “ zealous assertors of the liberties of our country;
;" which exclude all pretensions to an arbitrary, tyrannic, despotic power. Those who have the misfortune to live under such a power, have no other law but the will of their prince, and consequently no privileges, but what are precarious. For though in some arbitrary governments there may be a body of laws observed in the ordinary forms of justice, they are not sufficient to secure any rights to the people; because they may be dispensed with, or laid aside, at the pleasure of the sovereign.
And here it very much imports us to consider, that arbitrary power naturally tends to make a man a bad sovereign, who might possibly have been a good one, had he been invested with an authority limited and circumscribed by laws. None can doubt of this tendency in arbitrary power, who consider, that it fills the mind of man with great and unreasonable conceits of himself; raises him into a belief that he is of a superior species to his subjects; extinguishes in him the principle of fear, which is one of the greatest motives to all duties; and creates an ambition of magnifying himself, by the exertion of such a power in all its instances. So great
is the danger, that when the sovereign can do what he will, he will do what he can.
One of the most arbitrary princes in our age was Muley Ishmael, emperor of Morocco, who, after a long reign, died about a twelvemonth ago. This prince was a man of much wit and natural sense, of an active temper, undaunted courage, and great application. He was a descendant of Mahomet; and so exemplary for his adherence to the law of his prophet, that he abstained all his life from the taste of wine; began the annual fast, or Lent of Ramadan, two months before his subjects; was frequent in his prayers; and that he might not want opportunities of kneeling, had fixed in all the spacious courts of his palace large consecrated stones pointing towards the east, for any occasional exercise of his devotion. What might not have been hoped from a prince of these endowments, had they not been all rendered useless and ineffectual to the good of his people by the notion of that power
which they ascribed to him! This will appear, if we consider how he exercised it towards his subjects in those three great points which are the chief ends of government, the preservation of their lives, the security of their fortunes, and the determinations of justice between man and man.
Foreign envoys, who have given an account of their audiences, describe this holy man mounted on horseback in an open court, with several of his Alcaydes, or governors of provinces, about him, standing barefoot, trembling, bowing to the earth, and at every word he spoke breaking out into passionate exclamations of praise, as, “ Great is the wisdom of our lord the king; our lord the king speaks as an angel from heaven.” Happy was the man among them, who was 80 much a favourite as to be sent on an errand to the most remote street in his capital; which he performed with the greatest alacrity, ran through every puddle that lay in his way, and took care to return out of breath and covered with dirt, that he might show himself a diligent and faithful minister. His Majesty at the same time, to exhibit the greatness of his power, and show his horsemanship, seldom dismissed the foreigner
om his presence, till he bad entertained him with the slaughter of two or three of his liege subjects, whom he very dexterously put to death with the tilt of his lance. St. Olon, the French envoy, tells us, that when he had his last audience of him, he received him in robes just stained