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ON THE RIGHTS OF COLONISTS. 1
My hold of the Colonies is in the close affection which grows from common names, from kindred blood, from similar privileges, and equal protection. These are ties, which, though light as air, are as strong as links of iron. Let the Colonists always keep the idea of their civil rights associated with your Government;—they will cling and grapple to you; and no force under heaven will be of power to tear them from their allegiance. But let it be once understood, that your government may be one thing, and their Privileges another; that these two things may exist without any mutual relation; —the cement is gone; the cohesion is loosened; and everything hastens to decay and dissclution. As long as you have the wisdom to keep the sovereign authority of this country as the sanctuary of liberty, the sacred temple consecrated to our common faith, wherever the chosen race and sons of England worship freedom, they will turn their faces towards you. The more they multiply, the more friends you will have; the more ardently they love liberty, the more perfect will be their obedience. Slayery they can have anywhere. It is a weed that grows in every soil. They may have it from Spain, they may have it from Prussia. But, until you become lost to all feeling of your true interest
* From Speech on Conciliation with America, March 22, 1775.
and your natural dignity, freedom they can have from none but you. This is the commodity of price, of which you have the monopoly. This is the true Act of Navigation, which binds to you the commerce of the Colonies, and through them secures to you the wealth of the world. Deny them this participation of freedom, and you break that sole bond, which originally made, and must still preserve, the unity of the Empire. Do not entertain so weak an imagination, as that your registers and your bonds, your affidavits and your sufferances, your cockets 2 and your clearances, are what form the great securities of your commerce. Do not dream that your letters of office, and your instructions, and your suspending clauses, are the things that hold together the great contexture of the mysterious whole. These things do not make your government. Dead instruments, passive tools as they are, it is the spirit of the English Communion that gives all their life and efficacy to them. It is the spirit of the English Constitution, which, infused through the mighty mass, pervades, feeds, unites, invigorates, vivifies every part of the empire, even down to the minutest member.
Is it not the same virtue which does everything for us here in England ? Do you imagine then, that it is the Land Tax Act which raises your revenue ? that it is the annual vote in the Committee of Supply which gives you your army? or that it is the Mutiny Bill which inspires it with bravery and discipline ? No! surely no! It is the love of the people; it is their attachment to their government from the sense of the deep stake they have in such a glorious institution, which gives you your army and your navy, and infuses into both that liberal obedience, without which your armiy would be a base rabble, and your navy nothing but rotten timber.
All this I know well enough, will sound wild and chimerical to the profane herd of those vulgar and mechanical politicians, who have no place among us; a sort of people who think that nothing exists but what is gross and material; and who therefore, far from being qualified to be directors of the great movement of empire, are not fit to turn a wheel in the machine. But to men truly initiated and rightly taught, these ruling and master principles, which, in the opinion of such men as I have mentioned, have no substantial existence, are in truth everything, and all in all. Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together. If we are conscious of our station, and glow with zeal to fill our places as becomes our situation and ourselves, we ought to auspicate all our public proceedings on America with the old warning of the Church, Sursum corda ! 3 We ought to elevate our minds to the greatness of that trust to which the order of Providence has called us.
THE HAPPINESS OF ANIMALS.*
Here unmolested, through whatever sign
The timorous hare,
brush, And perks his ears, and stamps and scolds aloud, With all the prettiness of feigned alarm, And anger insignificantly fierce.
* From The Task. Book vi.
The heart is hard in nature, and unfit For human fellowship, as being void Of sympathy, and therefore dead alike To love and friendship both, that is not pleased With sight of animals enjoying life, Nor feels their happiness augment his own. The bounding fawn that darts across the glade When none pursues, through mere delight of heart, And spirits buoyant with excess of glee; The horse, as wanton and almost as fleet, That skims the spacious meadow at full speed, Then stops and snorts, and throwing high his heels, Starts to the voluntary race again ; The very kine that gambol at high noon, The total herd receiving first from one That leads the dance, a summons to be gay, Though wild their strange vagaries, and uncouth Their efforts, yet resolved with one consent To give such act and utterance as they may To ecstasy too big to be suppressed :These, and a thousand images of bliss, With which kind Nature graces every scene Wiere cruel man defeats not her design, Impart to the benevolent, who wish All that are capable of pleasure pleased, A far superior happiness to theirs, The comfort of a reasonable joy.