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PAMPHLETS RELATING TO THE LUCAS CONTROVERSY,
A D VICE
Procuratio Reipublicae ad utilitatem eorum qui commissi
CICERO. Off. L. i.1
in Skinner-Row, 1748.
(Price One Penny.)
It is the Opinion of the greatest Politicians, that those Governments are the best and most lasting, which, by the natural Effects of their Constitution, are often drawn back to their first Principles. The true End of all Society, is certainly the Happiness of the Associated; and it is hardly possible to conceive, that any Sett of Men would agree to form themselves into a particular Government, and confer such and such Powers on one or more Men, or Bodies of Men, without consulting the Happiness and Welfare of themselves, who are the Constituents and Givers of those
i Compare, “This change from an immediate state of procuration and delegation to a course of acting as from original power, is the way in which all the popular magistracies in the world have been perverted from their purposes.” Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents.
Powers. The more strongly therefore the Good of the Whole is secured, the more perfect is that Government, and the more terrible must all Changes and Innovations therein prove; but, as in the Course of Things, these will befall, and Bodies Politick as well as Natural, have their sickly Periods, the surest Remedy is to reduce them to their original Frame: And this has often happened either from external Causes, viz. Plagues, Famine, or dreadful Invasions, and such like; or from internal Causes, the Authority of severe Laws; or the Conduct of some great Personage, whose Actions have at once been Laws and Examples. I chuse at present to prove the Truth of the last, by quoating many Cases, wherein the Virtues of a single Person have roused a sinking Nation from Despondency, to affect her former Freedom, or prop'd her Fame, when even the Spirit of Liberty was decayed. If I have Recourse to ancient History for the Facts, none will, I am persuaded, think them less true, because they were done long ago.
At a Time when Athens, weakened by intestine Divisions, and War abroad, sunk under the superior Force of her Neighbours the Spartans, and by the Insolence of her Conquerors, from a free Commonwealth, became Subject not to one alone, but thirty Tyrants, a Man was found, Thrasybulus, and he a fugitive, of undaunted Resolution superior to the Strokes of Fortune, who with a few, unhappy, brave Fellow-Sufferers, dar'd to march into the Streets of Athens, rous'd the drooping Courage of the Citizens, disputed with the cruel Enslavers, and at last by Force expell’d them from that City, which, since the first Establishment of their Tyranny, had been a Scene of Confusion, and lawless Massacre. Thus · Athens again saw herself her own Mistress, by the unshaken Virtue and Constancy of One Man. But the Spirit of Liberty was then not quite lost; it was smothered, not extinguished.
But when this City had been ensnared by the golden Bait of Philip, and fell a Prey to Alexander, when his Successors had rent all Greece, and many in Turn had courted Athens and possessed her by Force or Subtilty; when nothing was left but the Name of Liberty within her Walls, and that was mentioned with Fear and Trembling; yet even then the severe Virtue of Phocion supported her Dignity; no Threats could awe him, no Flattery sooth him into Meanness; and even that abject People had such a feeling Sense of his Merit, that without his Sollicitation (for he scorn’d the base Arts of Time-Servers and Partizans) even in his Absence, he was forty five times chosen Commander of their Armies. Happy had it been for Athens, had a few such Heroes been contemporary with, or even Successors to, him! But the Spirit of Liberty was then sunk; Faction had universally introduced private regard, and private Regard was soon followed by absolute Slavery: He came to the Helm, as is observed, when the publick Bottom was just upon sinking, and had only the Shipwrecks of the Commonwealth to steer.
THEBES, another City of Greece, was ever look'd on with Contempt by her Neighbours, till the great and unparallel'd genius of Epaminondas pointed out to her the Road to Glory, and taught her to command those whom before she had obey'd; But his Life was short, tho' his Merit com
pleat, and his Fellow-Citizens had but Time to wonder at him, not to imitate him?.
Numberless Examples might be brought from the Roman History, of men, who, by steady perseverance in the right renewed as it were the Constitution: Their virtues brought a blush into the cheeks of vice and corruption, and struck such awe into faction, that to live like them became the mode and custom of the times, and good customs had the force of good laws. One of this stamp was Fabricius, whose great soul shines so remarkably in a private conference, that I am persuaded the Publick will not be disgusted with such a lively picture of the Roman greatness which men have learned indeed to talk of, but not to practise. When Pyrrhus had defeated the Romans, ambassadors were sent to him to treat about the release of their prisoners; after his general answer to them, the King took Fabricius aside, and expressing a strong desire of his friendship, and the great sense he entertained of his virtues, in a truly kingly stile told him, "I am ready to give you as much gold and silver as will set you above the most opulent persons of Rome; do not believe that I do you a favour in this; it is I who shall receive one if you accept my offer. For I am persuaded that no expense
does a Prince more honour than to make the fortunes of great men, reduced by poverty to a condition unworthy of their merit and virtue, and that such an use is the noblest a king can make of riches. For the rest, I am far from expecting that you should do me any unjust or dishonourable service by way of recompence. What I ask of you, can only do you honour, and augment your power in your country. I have occasion for a man of virtue, and a faithful friend; and you on your side, have occasion for a Prince, who by his liberality may enable you to give a greater scope to the benevolence of your dispositions." Such were the offers of that great prince; but how memorable is the answer of the poor Roman! “If you believe that poverty renders my condition inferior to that of any other Roman, and that while I discharge the duties of an honest man, I am the less considered, because not of the number of the Rich; permit me to tell you, that the idea you have of me is not just. Has my country, on account of my poverty, ever debar'd me of those glorious employments, that are the objects of the emulation of all great minds? I take place with the richest and most powerful; and if I have anything to complain of, it is of being too much praised and honoured. To discharge my employments I expend nothing of my own, no more than all the rest of the Romans. Rome does not ruin her citizens by raising them to the Magistracy. She bestows upon those in office all the helps they want, and supplies them with liberality and magnificence. For it is not with our city as with many others, where the Publick is very poor, while private persons possess immense riches. We are all rich when the Commonwealth is so, because she is so for us. In equally admitting the rich and poor to publick employments according as she thinks them worthy, she makes all her citizens equal, and knows no other difference between them, but merit and virtue. As to what concerns my private affairs, far from complaining of my fate, I esteem myself the
1 See the Reformer, No. 1, ante p. 297.
most happy of men, when I compare myself to the rich, and feel a kind of delight, and even pride, rise up in me from this condition. My little field, barren as it is, supplies me with all that is necessary, provided I take care to cultivate it, and preserve its fruits. Do I want anything more? All nourishment is grateful to me, when seasoned with hunger. I drink with luxury when I am dry. I taste all the sweets of repose when I am weary. I content myself with an habit that keeps out the cold, and of all the moveables that serve for the same use, the meanest are those I like best. I should be unreasonable and unjust if I accused Fortune. She supplies me with all that Nature requires. As to superfluity, she has not given it to me; but at the same time I have learned not to desire it. Not having abundance indeed I am not in a condition to relieve the wants of others; the sole advantage for which the rich can be envied. But while I impart to the Commonwealth and my friends the little I possess; while I render to my country all the services of which I am capable, and in a word do everything that depends on me, with what can I reproach myself? The desire of enriching myself never enter'd into my thoughts. Would it be now consistent for me to accept the gold and silver which you offer me? What idea would the world form of me? What example should I set my country? You therefore shall keep your riches, if you please, and I my poverty and reputation."
This was that Fabricius, who, when Pyrrhus his physician came to his tent and offered to poison his Prince, sent the traytor back in chains to his master.
Another of the same mold, and before him in order of time, Quintus Cincinnatus, whom the Romans, in their deepest distress, call’d from a little cottage to the first dignity in their city; they found him poorly covered, holding his own plough; he obeyed their summons, but could not forbear lamenting with tears that his little field that year should be unsown. He reliev'd their misfortunes, suppressed the factious clamours of the tribunes, fought their battles with success, animated their counsels, roused their youth from supineness and luxury to the study of arts and arms; and having often enjoy'd the highest offices, acted to his death one consistent character. Glorious times! when nothing could debar men of publick employments but vice and inability.
I might recount many great names, the Decii, Attilius Regulus, the two Catos and others, but these instances are enough to prove what I set out with; that the singular virtues of one man have often established anew a declining Government. I shall now particularly address you the Citizens of Dublin. You are about to chuse a person to transact the business of your City in particular, and your country in general, together with the representative body of the Kingdom. Grievances are complained of among you; these can only be redress'd by the Commons, the grand censors of the Nation; to see that they are redress'd is the business of your representative. A stranger in your City and your Island, I know not who are the aggrieved or the aggressors among you, but without deference to the latter I will venture to affirm, what is an allowed truth, as in the grand, so in the lesser subordinate communities, the safety of the whole depends on the proper balance of power among the parts; and this balance consists in the mutual
independency of the parts; by which independency I mean an absolute uninfluenc'd freedom in their councils and proceedings; nevertheless every part is answerable to the rest for the consequences of those proceedings, so far as they affect the whole. If this be the Constitution of your City, as I believe it to be, then if any part, or parts united have attempted to destroy the freedom and independency of any other power in their your city, to rob it of its privileges, and establish a greater power on its ruins; whatever be the cause, whether private interest, ill-grounded ambition, or a seditious spirit, the part or parts so injurious, even tho' they have not executed their design, have declared that they live by other laws than the legislature appointed, which in the original constitution provided for the good of the whole; they have declared themselves a faction, enemies to your city in particular, and to the nation in general; and no man of that body, no aider or abettor, no man that even winks at such usurpation, can represent the aggrieved in any other light, than that of their Tyrant, and avowed enemy.
If then you, who are injured, make the great Body of the city, for seldom have encroachments begun on the popular side, at this time exert your power; if the Spirit of Liberty hath slept a while, it is not dead, rouze it now with double vigour. Shew that you will be free in this instance, and you will lay the corner stone for restoring the rights you have already lost. Chuse an able honest steward from among yourselves, not a weak perfidious master from among your enslavers. Is there a man among you, who would entrust the management of his estate to him who had removed his Neighbour's landmark? And what must you entrust to the man who shall represent you? Your Liberty, a blessing dearer than property or life, without which these are not secure to you for one day. If you ever wished to serve your country and yourselves, now is the time. You may, and ought, and will I hope prove yourselves worthy of that liberty and those rights, which the great spirits of your ancestors bravely struggled to defend against the open attacks and secret conspiracies of ambitious princes; and for which they thought their deaths a cheap purchase, and deemed it a rich legacy to their children to leave them heirs to such invaluable blessings.
But before ye determine, be cautious; look round for a fit subject, a weak man cannot serve you, and a bad man will not. If there be one of approved abilities and integrity, whom yet no promises or threats could divert from his duty, that man can represent you while you are free, he is most likely to preserve you so, and on him should the Election light.
Arm yourselves against the base arts by which many will attempt to seduce you; for such strides hath villainy now made, that men employ their faculties, rather to find out reasons why things should be amiss, then how they should be amended. Divide and Rule was the great maxim of enslavers in former ages; Corrupt and Rule, trod on the heels of it, and hath been almost ever successful. The man, who by bribery or promises would purchase, by threats extort your voices, or by direct or indirect means pervert your judgements, that man attempts to rule and not to serve you; And be assured that he who would by any means corrupt another is himself already corrupted. The argument so common in the mouths of