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place where one day's truce ought to be allowed to the dissensions and animosities of mankind.
In truth, the tribe of vulgar politicians are the lowest of our species. There is no trade so vile and mechanical as government in their hands. Virtue is not their habit. They are out of themselves in any course of conduct recommended only by conscience and glory. A large, liberal, and prospective view of the interests of states passes with them for romance ; and the principles that recommend it for the wanderings of a disordered imagination. The calculators compute them out of their senses. The jesters and buffoons shame them out of every thing grand and elevated. Littleness in object and in means, to them appears soundness and sobriety. They think there is nothing worth pursuit, but that which they can handle; which they can measure with a two-foot rule ; which they can tell upon ten fingers.
THE LABOURING POOR.
The vigorous and laborious class of life has lately got from the bon ton of the humanity of this day, the name of the “ labouring poor.” We have heard many plans for the relief of the “ labouring poor.” This puling jargon is not as innocent as it is foolish. In meddling with great affairs, weakness is never innoxious. Hitherto the name of poor (in the sense in which it is used to excite compassion) has not been used for those who can, but for those who cannot labour--for the sick and infirm ; for orphan infancy; for languishing and decrepid age: but when we affect to pity as poor, those who must labour or the world cannot exist, we are trifling with the condition of mankind. It is the common doom of man that he must eat his bread by the sweat of his brow, that is, by the sweat of his body, or the sweat of his mind. If this toil was inflicted as a curse, it is, as might be expected from the curses of the Father of all Blessings~ it is tempered with many alleviations, many comforts. Every attempt to fly from it, and to refuse the very terms of our existence, becomes much more truly a curse, and heavier pains and penalties fall upon
those who would elude the tasks which are put upon them by the great Master Workman of the world, who in his dealings with his creatures sympathizes with their weakness, and speaking of a creation wrought by mere will out of nothing, speaks of six days of labour and one of rest. I do not call a healthy young man, cheerful in his mind, and vigorous in his arms, I cannot call such a man, poor ; I cannot pity my kind as a kind, merely because they are men. This affected pity, only tends to dissatisfy them with their condition, and to teach them to seek resources where no resources are to be found, in something else than their own industry, and frugality, and sobriety. Whatever may be the intention (which, because I do not know, I cannot dispute,) of those who would discontent mankind by this strange pity, they act towards us in the consequences, as if they were our worst enemies.
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Nothing can be so base and so wicked as the political canting language, “ The labouring poor." Let compassion be shewn in action, the more the better,
according to every man's ability, but let there be no lamentation of their condition. It is no relief to their miserable circumstances; it is only an insult to their miserable understandings. It arises from a total want of charity, or a total want of thought. Want of one kind was never relieved by want of any other kind. Patience, labour, sobriety, frugality, and religion, should be recommended to them; all the rest is downright fraud. It is horrible to call them “ The once “ happy labourer.”
Many of our men of speculation, instead of exploding general prejudices, employ their sagacity to discover the latent wisdom which prevails in them. If they find what they seek, and they seldom fail, they think it more wise to continue the prejudice, with the reason involved, than to cast away the coat of prejudice, and to leave nothing but the naked reason, because prejudice, with its reason, has a motive to give action to that reason, and an affection which will give it permanence. Prejudice is of ready application in the emergency ; it previously engages the mind in a steady course of wisdom and virtue, and does not leave the man hesitating in the moment of decision, sceptical, puzzled, and unresolved. Prejudice renders a man's virtue his habit ; and not a series of unconnected acts. Through just prejudice, his duty becomes a part of his nature.
PRESCRIPTION. THE doctrine of prescription, one of the greatest of their own lawyers* tells us, with great truth, is a part of the law of nature. He tells us, that the positive ascertainment of its limits, and its security from invasion, were among the causes for which civil society itself has been instituted. If prescription be once shaken, no species of property is secure, when it once becomes an object large enough to tempt the cupidity of indigent power.
OUR law of primogeniture, which with few and inconsiderable exceptions is the standing law of all our landed inheritance, without question has a tendency, and I think a most happy tendency, to preserve a character of consequence, weight, and prevalent influence over others in the whole body of the landed interest.
PRINCIPLES OF MERCANTILE POLICY.
The principle of buying cheap and selling dear is the first, the great foundation of mercantile dealing. ** A great deal of strictness in driving bargains for whatever we contract, is another of the principles of mercantile policy. ** It is a third property of trading men to see that their clerks do not divert the dealings of the master to their own benefit. ** It is a fourth quality of a merchant to be exact in his accounts. ** It is a fifth property of a merchant, who does not meditate a fraudulent bankruptcy, to calculate his probable profits
upon the money he takes up to vest in business.** The last quality of a merchant I shall advert to, is the taking care to be properly prepared, in cash or goods, in the ordinary course of sale, for the bills which are drawn on them.
PROPERTY NOT ALWAYS POWER.
That power goes with property is not universally true, and the idea that the operation of it is certain and invariable, may mislead us very fatally.
It is not a fundamental part of the settlement at the revolution, that the state should be protestant without any qualification of the term. With a qualification it is unquestionably true; not in all its latitude. With the qualification, it was true before the revolution.Our predecessors in legislation were not so irrational (not to say impious) as to form an operose ecclesiastical establishment, and even to render the state itself in some degree subservient to it, when their religion (if such it might be called) was nothing but a mere negation of some other--without any positive idea either of doctrine, discipline, worship, or morals, in the scheme which they professed themselves, and which they imposed upon others, even under penalties and incapacities–No! No! This never could have been done even by reasonable atheists. They who think religion of no importance to the state have abandoned it to the conscience, or caprice of the individual ; they make no provision for it whatsoever, but leave every club to make, or not, a voluntary contribution towards its support, according to their fancies. This would be consistent. The other always appeared to me to be a monster of contradiction and absurdity.It was for that reason, that some years ago I strenu