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delay; the remainder, which may perhaps form twe or three letters more, fhall follow soon *.




To the people of Great Britain.


THAT there are many things in our constitution of government which require to be amended, no person in his sound senses can deny; it, therefore, follows, that those who oppose every kind of reform, however moderately and cautiously conducted, act an irrational part, and cannot be deemed the true friends of the people.

It is equally true, that, under the specious name of reform, innovations may be introduced that may disturb the peace of society, and destroy that security of person and property, which it is the duty of every wise government to preserve. The real friends of the people, by cautiously avoiding both these extremes, ought to steer a middle course, so as to pro

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*The Editor is very much obliged to this unknown correspondent for the good opinion he is pleased to entertain of his intentions; he hopes to conduct himself as to continue to merit it. If the remainder of the lucubrations be written with the same moder tion and conciliatory spirit, as he specimen here published, they will be most readily inserted; but hould they depart from the principles that the writer has so perspicuously laid down in his letter, and degenerate either into personal abuse, or party invective, he will not be surprised if the Editor, in support of that character which he is emulous of deserving, fhould decline to insert them. No difference in opinion, from what he himself may privately entertain, fhall occasion such exclusion, if the moral or political tendency of the doctrines inculcated do not to him appear pernicious. He begs the ingenious writer of this essay will accept his best thanks for the present very interesting communication.

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cure for the community all the benefits of a wise government, without subjecting it to the evils that usually result from precipitate measures in matters. of such high concern.

The executive servants of the crown seem, at pre-sent, to have taken an alarm at the institution of a society, which, if it acts up to its avowed principles, can only be friendly to the country. This alarm has been industriously propagated through the nation; with what views, I pretend not to say. If the following pages, written by one of "the friends of the people," in his private capacity, can tend to allay these alarms, he will think the pains he has taken in writing them, amply compensated; for no man can be a greater enemy to disorder and contention of every sort than he is.

With a view to effect these purposes, he means to state several propositions that have been brought for ward respecting this question; and leave the reader,. after a fair discussion, to draw his own conclusions. for it is to the understanding, alone, he wishes to apply for a decision in this case.

That government has been originally instituted for the purpose of promoting the welfare of the people governed, will, he thinks, be admitted by every person, in the present day; so that any attempt to prove this proposition may be omitted as superfluous.

That every form of government, which hath been instituted by man, since the creation of the world to the present day, has given rise to abuses, that have, in certain respects, been productive of evils to the people governed, is another self-evident proposition that stands in need of no proof..

June 2 The inference a wise man must draw from this last fact is, that, since absolute perfection is not to be attained in matters of government, the best thing that can be done, is to rest satisfied that it is impossible'; and, therefore, without running away in search of ideal refinements, to bend our chief efforts to the attainment of such blefsings, only, as the imperfect state in which we are placed in this world, renders practicable and attainable by us.

In every proposed plan of improvement, therefore, while, on one hand, our imagination pushes forward into the regions of ideal refinement, let it be ever moderated, on the other hand, by our reason, which, by looking backward to the past, marks what has been done in former times, when similar objects have been in contemplation. We fhall thus be led, to distinguish between the things that are practicable, and those that cannot be executed. To fix nearly the bounds of pofsibility will be a great point gained in this discussion.

That all men are born equal;" that is to say, that nature has made no distinction between the talents of men born in different ranks of society, cannot be denied; but that nature hath endowed individuals of the human species with an infinite diversity of talents and perceptions, can as little admit of dispute.

The natural inference to be drawn from all this is, that it has been the will of providence that men fhould not continue equal in this world. It has been plainly intended that they fhould afsume different degrees of superiority. In consequence of the superior

talents of one man to another, they will afsume, of themselves, different degrees of superiority and subordination,-different degrees of wealth and poverty, -different degrees of power and authority, wherever any number of them are placed together.

Since then a diversity, in respect to wealth, authority, and power, is natural, and must necefsarily take place in every community, where men, as they came from the hands of the Creator, are left to the freedom of their own wills, without constraint, we must conclude, that any attempt to thwart this immutable decree of heaven will prove abortive; and that of course every such attempt is founded on ignorance, and must be productive of great disorders in society.

Knowledge, said the great lord Bacon, with infinite propriety, is power. Wealth, where property is secured by the law, is power.-Industry is power. Whoever is possessed of any one of these, in a civilized state of society, must have power to a certain extent.. He who is possessed of them all, in the highest degree, will ever possess, almost an unlimited power among


But all of these cannot be long enjoyed by any one race of men. The man of parts, though he may transmit his wealth to his heir, cannot insure to him his talents; and if he leaves to him his wealth, this very wealth naturally abates his industry. It as naturally prevents him from cultivating those energies of mind, with which nature has endowed him. In consequence of these defects, his power is of course abated. Indolence. and folly engender difsipation;

so that industry, knowledge, and wealth, being all diminished, his power sinks below that of another, who has received from nature the rudiments of knowledge, who has been instructed by necefsity to become industrious, and who has obtained wealth by the combined exertions of both.

Such are the inequalities of rank, and the diversities of station, among men, with the revolutions to which they are subjected, that necefsarily result from the doctrine, true as applied to the aggregate body, though infinitely false as applied to individuals, "that all mankind are born equal." An attempt to perpetuate power to any family or class of men is therefore unnatural, absurd, impofsible. An attempt, however, to preserve a perpetual equality among men, is still more unnatural, more absurd, and infinitely more impracticable. Such a thing never was, nor is, nor ever can be permanently established in this world.

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Many awkward attempts have been made in Europe to secure to certain families, or classes of men, a permanency of power, which have been productive of a great diversity of lefser evils, and would have been productive of the most baneful consequences, could they have been carried as far as the favourers of this system vainly imagined. But this, thank heaven, was impofsible. The partial evils these have produced, deserve to be adverted to and cautiously removed. But the wild system of equality in rank, though it has been at different times adopted by religious and political fanatics, has been at all times productive of such immediate destructive con

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