Imatges de pÓgina
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i.

and conclusions of their own, are determined by the consideration of the necessity of some government or other; the certain mischief of civil commotions; and the danger of resettling the government of their country better, or at all, if once fubverted or disturbed.

III. They who obey from filf-interest, are kept in order by want of leisure; by a succesfion of private cares, pleasures, and engagements ; by contentment, or a sense of the ease, plenty, and safety, which they enjoy ; or lastly and principally, by fear, foreseeing that they would bring themselves by rcsistance into a worse situation than their present, inasmuch as the strength of government, each discontented subject reflects, is greater than his own, and he knows not that others would join him. This last confideration has often been called opinion of power.

This account of the principles by which mankind are retained in their obedience to civil government, may suggest the following cautions:

1. Let civil governors learn from hence to respect their subjects ; let them be admonished, that the physical strength resides in the governed; that this strength wants only to be felt and

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roused, to lay prostrate the most ancient and confirmed dominion; that civil authority is founded in opinion ; that general opinion therefore ought always to be treated with deference, and managed with delicacy and circumspection.

2. Opinion of right always following the custom, being for the most part founded in nothing else, and lending one principal support to government, every innovation in the constitution, or, in other words, in the custom of governing, diminishes the stability of government. Hence fome abfurdities are to be retained, and many small inconveniences endured in every country, rather than that the usage should be violated, or the course of public affairs diverted from their old and smooth channel. Even names are not indifferent. When the multitude are to be dealt with, there is a charm in sounds. It was upon this principle, that several statesmen of those times advised Cromwell to assume the title of King, together with the ancient style and insignia of royalty. The minds of many, they contended, would be brought to acquiesce in the authority of a King, who suspected the office, and were offended with the administration, of a Protector. Novelty reminded them of usurpation. The adversaries of this design opposed the

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measure, from the same persuasion of the efficacy of names and forms, jealous left the veneration paid to these, should add an influence to the new settlement which might ensnare the liberty of the commonwealth. 3.

Government may be too secure. The greatest tyrants have been those, whose titles were the most unquestioned. Whenever therefore the opinion of right becomes too predominant and superstitious, is is abated by breaking the cust017. Thus the revolution broke the custom of succeffion, and thereby moderated, both in the prince and in the people, those lofty notions of hereditary right, which in the one were become a continual incentive to tyranny, and disposed the other to invite fervitude, by undue compliances and dangerous concessions.

4. As ignorance of union and want of communication appear amongst the principal prefervatives of civil authority, it behoves every ftate to keep ifs subjects in this want and ignosance, not only by vigilance in guarding against actual confederacies and combinations, but by a timely care to prevent great collections of men of any separate party of religion, or of like occupation or profession, or in any way connected by participation of interest or passion, from being

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assembled in the same vicinity. A protestant establishment in this country may have little to fear from its popish subjects, scattered as they are throughout the kingdom, and intermixed with the protestant inhabitants, which yet might think them a formidable body, if they were gathered together into one country. The most frequent and desperate riots are those which break out amongst men of the same profession, as weavers, miners, failors. This circumstance makes a mutiny of soldiers more to be dreaded than

any

other insurrection. Hence also one danger of an overgrown metropolis, and of those great cities and crowded districts, into which the inhabitants of trading countries are commonly collected. The worst effect of popular tumults consists in this, that they di'cover to the insurgents the fucret of their own strength, teach them to depend upon it against a future occasion, and both produce and diffuse sentiments of confidence in one another, and assurances of mutual support.

port. Leagues thus formed and strengthened, may overawe or overset the power of any state; and the dane ger is greater, in proportion as, from the propinquity of habitation and intercourse of eme ployment, the passions and counsels of a party can be circulated with case and rapidity. It is by

these means, and in such situations, that the minds of men are so affected and prepared, that the most dreadful uproars often arise from the slightest provocations.-When the train is laid, a spark will produce the explosion,

VOL. II.

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