former tiine such an alarming crisis. We have government can alleviate, and that the public found by experience, that though a squire has business is committed to men who have as much given ale and venison in vain, and a borough has right to confidence as their adversaries; that the been compelled to see its dearest interest in the freeholders of Middlesex, if they could not hands of him whom it did not trust, yet the choose Mr. Wilkes, might have chosen any general state of the nation has continued the other man, and that he trusts we have within the same. The sun has risen, and the corn has realm five hundred as good as he ; that even if grown, and whatever talk has been of the danger this which has bappened to Middlesex had hapof property, yet he that ploughed the field com- pened to every other county, that one man monly reaped it, and he that built a house was should be made incapable of being elected, it master of the door : the vexation excited by in- could produce no great change in the parliajustice suffered, or supposed to be suffered, by ment, nor much contract the power of election ; any private man, or single community, was local that what has been done is probably right, and and temporary, it neither spread far, nor lasted that if it be wrong, it is of little consequence, long.

since a like case cannot easily occur ; that exThe nation looked on with little care, because pulsions are very rare, and if they should, by there did not seem to be much danger. The unbounded insolence of faction, become more consequence of small irregularities was not felt, frequent, the electors may easily provide a se and we had not yet learned to be terrified by cond choice. very distant enemies.

All this he may say, but not half of this will But quiet and security are now at an end. he heard; his opponents will stun him and Our vigilance is quickened, and our compreben- themselves with a confused sound of pensions sion is enlarged. We not only see events in and places, venality and corruption, oppression their causes, but before their causes; we hear and invasion, slavery and ruin. the thunder while the sky is clear, and see the Outcries like these, uttered by malignity, and mine sprung before it is dug. Political wisdom echoed by folly; general accusations of indeterLas, by the force of English genius, been im- minate wickedness; and obscure bints of improved at last not only to political intuition, but possible designs, dispersed among those that do to political prescience.

not know their meaning, by those that know But it cannot, I am afraid, be said, that as we them to be false, have disposed part of the daare grown wise, we are made happy. It is said tion, though but a small part, to pester the court of those who have the wonderful power called with ridiculous petitions. second sight, that they seldom see any thing but The progress of a petition is well known. An evil: political second sight has the same effect; ejocted placeman goes down to his county or his we hear of nothing but of an alarming crisis, of borough, tells his friends of his inability to serve violated rights, and expiring liberties. The them, and his constituents of the corruption of morning rises upon new wrongs, and the dream- the government. His friends readily under er passes the night in imaginary shackles. stand that he who can get nothing, will have

The sphere of anxiety is now enlarged; he nothing to give. They agree to proclaim a that hitherto cared only for himself, now cares meeting ; meat and drink are plentifully pro for the public; for he has learned that the hap- vided; a crowd is easily brought together, and piness of individuals is comprised in the pros- those who think that they know the reason of perity of the whole, and that his country never their meeting, undertake to tell those who know suffers, but he suffers with it, however it hap- it not.

Ale and clamour unite their powers, pens that he feels no pain.

the crowd, condensed and heated, begins to ferFired with this fever of epidemie patriotism, ment with the leaven of sedition. All see a the tailor slips bis thimble, the draper drops his thousand evils, though they cannot show them, yard, and the blacksmith lays down his ham- and grow impatient for a remedy, though they mer; they meet at an bonest aleħouse, consider know not what. the state of the nation, read or hear the last peti- A speech is then made by the Cicero of the tion, lament the miseries of the time, are alarmed day; he says much and suppresses more, and at the dreadful crisis, and subscribe to the sup- credit is equally given to what he tells, and port of the Bill of Rights.

what he conceals. The petition is read and It sometimes indeed happens, that an intruder universally approved. Those who are sober of more benevolence than prudence attempts to enough to rite, add their names, and the rest disperse their cloud of dejection, and ease their would sign it if they could. hearts by seasonable consolation. He tells them, Every man goes home and tells his neighbour that though the government cannot be too dili- of the glories of the day; how he was consulted gently watched, it may be too hastily accused; and what he advised; how he was invited into and that, though private judgment is every man's the great room, where bis lordship called him right, yet we cannot judge of what we do not by his name; how he was caressed by Sir Franknow; that we feel at present no evils which cis, Sir Joseph, or Sir George; how he eat turtle and venison, and drank unanimity to the will easily receive, and that a government, of three brothers.

which an erroneous or unjust representation of The poor loiterer, whose shop had confined | Middlesex is the greatest crime that interest can him, or whose wife had locked him up, hears discover, or malice can upbraid, is government the tale of luxury with envy, and at last inquires approaching nearer to perfection, than any that what was their petition. Of the petition nothing experience þas known, or history related. is remembered by the narrator, but that it spoke The drudges of şedițion wish to change their much of fears and apprehensions, and some ground, they hear him with sullen silence, feel thing very alarming, and that he is sure it is conviction without repentance, and are conagainst the government; the other is convinced founded but not abashed; they go forward to that it must be right, and wishes he had been another door, and find a kinder reception from there, for he loves wine and venison, and is re- a man enraged against the government, because solved as long as he lives to be against the go- he has just been paying the tax upon his winvernment.

dows. The petition is then handed from town to That a petition for a dissolution of the parliatown, and from house to house, and wherever it ment will at all times bave its favourers, may be comes the inhabitants flock together, that they easily imagined. The people indeed do not exmay see that which must be sent to the king. pect that one House of Commons will be much Names are easily collected. One man signs be honester or much wiser than another; they do cause he hates the papists, another because he has not suppose that the taxes will be lightened; or vowed destruction to the turnpikes; one because though they bave been so often taught to hope it will vex the parson, another because he owes it, that soap and candles will be cheaper : they his landlord nothing ; one because he is rich, expect no redress of grievances, for of no grievanother because he is poor : one to show that he ances but taxes do they complain; they wish is not afraid, and another to show that he can not the extension of liberty, for they do not feel write.

any restraint; about the security of privilege or The passage, however, is not always smooth. property they are totally careless, for they see Those who collect contributions to sedition, no property invaded, nor know till they are sometimes apply to a man of higher rank and told, that any privilege has suffered violation. more enlightened mind, who, instead of lending Least of all do they expect, that any future them bis name, calmly reproves them for being parliament will lessen its own powers, or comseducers of the people.

municate to the people that authority which it You who are here, says he, complaining of has once obtained. venality, are yourselves the agents of those who, Yet a new parliament is sufficiently desirable. having estimated themselves at too high a price, The year of election is a year of jollity; and what are only angry that they are not bought. You is still more delightful, a year of equality. The are appealing from the parliament to the rabble, glutton now eats the delicacies for which he and inviting those who scarcely, in the most longed when he could not purchase them, and common affairs, distinguish right from wrong, to the drunkard has the pleasure of wine without judge of a question complicated with law writ- the cost. The drone lives a while without work, ten and unwritten, with the general principles and the shopkeeper, in the flow of money, raises of government, and the particular customs of his price. The mechanic that trembled at the the House of Commons; you are showing them presence of Sir Joseph, now bids him come again a grievance, so distant that they cannot see it, for an answer; and the poacher whose gun has and so light that they cannot feel it; for how, been seized, now finds an opportunity to reclaim but by unnecessary intelligence and artificial | it. Even the honest man is not displeased to see provocation, should the farmers and shopkeepers himself important, and willingly resumes in of Yorkshire and Cumberland know or care how two years that power which he bad resigned Middlesex is represented ? instead of wandering for seven. Few love their friends so well as thus round the county to exasperate the rage of not to desire superiority by unexpensive bene party, and darken the suspicions of ignorance, faction. it is the duty of men like you, who have leisure Yet notwithstanding all these motives to comfor inquiry, to lead back the people to their pliance, the promoters of petitions have not been honest labour; to tell them, that submission is successful. Few could be persuaded to lamen the duty of the ignorant, and content the virtue evils which they did not suffer, or to solicit for of the poor; that they have no skill in the art of redress which they do not want. The petition government, nor any interest in the dissentions has been, in some places, rejected; and perbaps, of the great; and when you meet with any, as in all but one, signed only by the meanest and some there are, whose understandings are capa- grossest of the people. ble of conviction, it will become you to allay this Since this expedient, now invented or revived foaming ebullition, by showing them that they to distress the government, and equally practihave as much happiness as the condition of life cable at all times by all who shall be excluded

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

from power and from profit, has produced so It is surely not unreasonable to hope that the little effect, let us consider the opposition as no nation will consult its dignity, if not its safety, longer formidable. The great engine has re- and disdain to be protected or enslaved by the coiled upon them. They thought that the terms declaimers or the plotters of a city-tavern. Had they sent were terms of weight, which would have Rome fallen by the Catilinarian conspiracy, she amazed all and stumbled many; but the conster- might have consoled her fate by the greatness nation is now over, and their foes stand upright, of her destroyers; but what would have allevias before.

ated the disgrace of England, bad her governWith great propriety and dignity the king ment been changed by Tiler or by Ket? has, in his speech, neglected er forgotten them. One part of the nation has never before conHe might easily know, that what was presented tended with the other, but for some weighity and As the sense of the people, is the sense only of apparent interest. If the means were violent, the profligate and dissolute; and that whatever the end was great. The civil war was fought parliament should be convened, the same peti- for what each army called and believed the best tioners would be ready, for the same reason, to religion and the best government. The struggle request its dissolution.

in the reign of Anne, was to exclude or restore As we once had a rebellion of the clowns, we an exile king. We are now disputing, with alhave now an opposition of the pedlars. The most equal animosity, whether Middlesex shall quiet of the nation has been for years disturbed be represented or not by a criminal from a jail. by a faction, against which all factions ought to The only comfort left in such degeneracy is, conspire; for its original principle is the desire that a lower state can be no longer possible. of levelling; it is only animated under the name In this contemptuous censure, I mean not to of zeal, by the natural malignity of the mean include every single man. In all lead, says the against the great.

chemist, there is silver; snd in all copper there When, in the confusion which the English is gold. But mingled masses are justly denomiinvasions produced in France, the villains, ima nated by the greater quantity, and when the gining that they had found the golden hour of precious particles are not worih extraction, a emancipation, took arms in their hands, the faction and a pig must be melted down together knights of both nations considered the cause as to the forms and offices that chance allots them. common, and, suspending the general hostility, united to chastise them.

“ Fiunt urceoli, pelves, sartago, patellæ." The whole conduct of this despicable faction is distinguished by plebeian grossless, and sa- A few weeks will now show whether the govage indecency. To misrepresent the actions vernment can be shaken by empty noise, and and the principles of their enemies is common whether the faction which depends upon its into all parties; but the insolence of invective, and fluence, has not deceived alike the public and brutality of reproach, which have lately prevail- itself. That it should have continued till now, ed, are peculiar to this.

is sufficiently shameful. None can, indeed, An infallible characteristic of meanness is wonder that it has been supported by the sectacruelty. This is the only faction that has shout- ries, the natural fomenters of sedition and coned at the condemnation of a criminal, and that, federates of the rabble, of whose religion little when his innocence procured his pardon, has now remains but hatred of establishments, and clamoured for his blood.

who are angry to find separation now only toleAll other parties, however enraged at each rated, wbich was once rewarded: but every other, have agreed to treat the throne with de- honest man must lament, that it has been recency; but these low-born railers have attacked garded with frigid neutrality by the tories, who, not only the authority, but the character, of their being long accustomed to signalize their prinsovereign, and have endeavoured, surely without ciples by opposition to the court, do not yet coneffect, to alienate the affections of the people sider that they have at last a king who knows from the only king, who, for almost a century, not the name of party, and who wishes to be the has much appeared to desire, or much endea- common father of all his people. voured to deserve them. They have insulted As a man inebriated only by vapours, soon him with rudeness and with menaces, which recovers in the open air; a nation discontented were never excited by the gloomy sullenness of to madness, without any adequate cause, wil William, even when half the nation denied him return to its wits and its allegiance when a little their allegiance: nor by the dangerous bigotry | pause has cooled it to reflection. Nothing, of James, unless when he was finally driven therefore, is necessary, at this alarming crisis, from his palace; and with which scarcely the but to consider the alarm as false. To make open hostilities of rebellion ventured to vilify concessions, is to encourage encroachment. Let the unhappy Charles, even in the remarks on the court despise the faction, and the disap the cabinet of Naseby.

pointed people will soon deride it.


only for the security of traffic, had no tendency to discovery or invasion; and the commercial states of Italy growing rich by trading between

Asia and Europe, and not lying upon the ocean, LATE TRANSACTIONS RESPECT

did not desire to seek by great hazards, at a ING FALKLAND'S ISLANDS. 1771. distance, what was almost at home to be found

with safety.


To proportion the eagerness of contest to its "The English alone were animated by the

importance, seems too hard a task for human success of the Spanish navigators, to try if any wisdom. The pride of wit has kept ages busy thing was left that might reward adventure, or in the discussion of useless questions, and the incite appropriation. They sent Cabot into the pride of power has destroyed armies to gain or north, but in the north there was no gold or to keep unprofitable possessions.

silver to be found. The best regions were preNot many years have passed since the cruel- occupied, yet they still continued their hopes ties of war were filling the world with terror and their labours. They were the second naand with sorrow ; rage was at last appeased, or tion that dared the extent of the Pacific Ocean, strength exhausted, and to the harassed nations and the second circumnavigators of the globe. peace was restored with all its pleasures and its By the war between Elizabeth and Philip, benefits. Of this state all felt the happiness, the wealth of An rica became lawful prize, and all implored the continuance; but what and those who were less afraid of danger than continuance of happiness can be expected, when of poverty, supposed that riches might easily be the whole system of European empire can be in obtained by plundering the Spaniards. Nodanger of a new concussion, by a contention for thing is difficult when gain and honour unite a few spots of earth, which, in the deserts of their influence; the spirit and vigour of these the ocean, had almost escaped human notice, expeditions enlarged our views of the new and which, if they had not happened to make a world, and made us first acquainted with its resea-mark, had perhaps never had a name? moter coasts.

Fortune often delights to dignify what nature In thè fatal voyage of Cavendish (1592,) has neglected, and that renown which cannot be Captain Davies, who, being sent out as his asclaimed by intrinsic excellence or greatness, is sociate, was afterwards parted from him or desometimes derived from unexpected accidents. serted him, as he was driven by violence of The Rubicon was ennobled by the passage of weather about the straits of Magellan, is supCæsar, and the time is now come when Falk- posed to have been the first who saw the lands land's Islands demand their historian,

now called Falkland's Islands, but his distress But the writer to whom this employment permitted him not to make any observation, shall be assigned, will have few opportunities of and he left them as he found them, without a descriptive splendour, or narrative elegance. Of name. other countries it is told how often they have Not long afterwards (1594) Sir Richard changed their government; these islands have Hawkins being in the same seas with the same hitherto changed only their name. Of heroes designs, saw these Islands again, if they are to conquer, or legislators to civilize, here has indeed the same islands, and, in honour of his been no appearance; nothing has happened to mistress, called them Hawkin's Maiden Land. them but that they bave becn sometimes seen by This voyage was not of renown sufficient to wandering navigators, who passed by them in procure a general reception to the new name; search of better habitations.

for when the Dutch, who had now become When the Spaniards, who, under the conduct strong enough not only to defend themselves, of Columbus, discovered America, had taken but to attack their masters, sent (1598) Verhapossession of its most wealthy regions, they sur- gen and Sebald de Wert into the South Seas, prised and terrified Europe by a sudden and un- these islands which were not supposed to have exampled influx of riches. They were made at been known before, obtained the denomination once insupportably insolent, and might perhaps of Sebald's Islands, and were from that time have become irresistibly powerful, had not their placed in the charts ; though Frezier tells us, mountainous treasures been scattered in the that they were yet considered as of doubtful exair with the ignorant profusion of unaccustomed istence. opulence.

Their present English name was probably The greater part of the European potentates given them (1689) by Strong, whose journal, saw this stream of riches flowing into Spain yet unprinted, may be found in the Museum. without attempting to dip their own hands in the This name was adopted by Halley, and has golden fountain. France had no naval skill or from that time, I believe, been received into our power; Portugal was extending her dominions maps. in the east over regions formed in the gayety of The privatecrs which were put into motion by nature; the Hanseatic leaguc, being planned the wars of William and Anne, saw those Islands and mentioned them; but they were yet tained in voyages to the South Sea, except by not considered as territories worth a contest. such an armament as, with a sailor's morality, Strong affirmed that there was no wood, and might trade by force. It is well known that the Dampier suspected that they had no water. prohibitions of foreign commerce, are, in these

Frezier describes their appearance with more countries, to the last degree rigorous, and that distinctness, and mentions some ships of St. no man, not authorized by the king of Spain, Maloes, by which they had been visited, and to can trade there but by force or stealth. Whatwhich he seems willing enough to ascribe the ever profit is obtained, must be gained by the honour of discovering islands which yet he ad. violence of rapine, or dexterity of fraud. mits to bave been seen by Hawkins, and named Government will not, perhaps, soon arrive at by Sebald de Wert. He, I suppose, in honour such purity and excellence, but that some conof his countrymen, called them the Malouines, nivance at least will be indulged to the triumthe denomination now used by the Spaniards, phant and successful cheat. He that brings who seem not, till very lately, to have thought wealth bome, is seldom interrogated by what them important enough to deserve a name. means it was obtained. This, however, is one

Since the publication of Anson's voyage, they of those modes of corruption with which manhave very much changed their opinion, finding kind ought always to struggle, and they may in a settlement in Pepys's or Falkland's Island re- time hope to overcome. There is reason to excommended by the author as necessary to the pect, that, as the world is more enlightened, success of our future expeditions against the policy and morality will at last be reconciled, coast of Chili, and as of such use and import and that nations will learn not to do what they ance, that it would produce many advantages would not suffer. in peace, and in war would make us masters of But the silent toleration of suspected guilt is the South Sea.

a degree of depravity far below that which open. Scarcely any degree of judgment is sufficient ly incites and manifestly protects it. To pardon to restrain the imagination from magnifying a pirate may be injurious to mankind; but how that on which it is long detained. The relator much greater is the crime of opening a port in of Anson's voyage had beated his mind with its which all pirates shall be safe! The contraband various events, had partaken the hope with trader is not more worthy of protections: if, which it was begun, and the vexation suffered with Narborough, he trades by force, he is a by its various miscarriages, and then thought pirate; if he trade secretly, he is only a thief. nothing could be of greater benefit to the nation Those who honestly refuse his traffic, he hates than that which might promote the success of as obstructors of his profit: and those with whom such another enterprise.

he deals he cheats, because he knows that they Had the heroes of that history even performed dare not complain. He lives with a heart full and attained all that, when they first spread their of that malignity which fear of detection always sails, they ventured to hope, the consequence generates in those who are to defend unjust acwould yet have produced very little hurt to the quisitions against lawful authority; and when Spaniards, and very little benefit to the English. he comes home with riches thus acquired, he They would have taken a few towns; Anson brings a mind hardened in evil, too proud fur and his companions would have shared the reproof, and too stupid for reflection; he offends plunder or the ransom; and the Spaniards, find the high by his insolence, and corrupts the low ing their southern territories accessible, would by his example. for the future have guarded them better.

Whether these truths were forgotten op de That such a settlement may be of use in war, spised, or whether some better purpose was then no man that considers its situation will deny. in agitation, the representation made in Anson's But war is not the whole business of life; it voyage had such effect upon the statesmen of happens but seldom, and eyery man, either good that time, that (in 1748) some sloops were fitted or wise, wishes that its frequency were still less. out for the fuller knowledge of Pepys's and That conduct which betrays designs of future Falkland's Islands, and for further discoveries hostility, if iç does not excite violence, will al- in the South Sea, This expedition, though ways generate malignity; it must for ever ex- perhaps designed to be secret, was not long clude confidence and friendship, and continue a concealed from Wall, the Spanish ambassador, cold and sluggish rivalry, by a sly reciprocation who so vehemently opposed it, and so strongly of indirect injuries, without the bravery of war, maintained the right of the Spaniards, to the or the security of peace.

exclusive dominion of the South Sea, that the The advantage of such a settlement in time of English ministry relinquished part of their oripeace is, I think, not easily to be proved. Forginal design, and declared that the examination what use can it have but of a station for contra- of those two islands was the utmost that their band traders, a nursery of fraud, and a recepta- orders should comprise. cle of theft? Narborough, about a century ago, This concession was sufficiently liberal or sufwas of opinion, that no advau tage could be ob. ficiently submissive; yet the Spanish court was

« 前へ次へ »