« AnteriorContinuar »
Fallitár, egregio quisquis sub principe credit
CLAUDIANOS. *** Mr. Boswell, in his Life of Johnson, remarks, that. “ several answers came out," in reply to this pamphlet. The numerous pamphlets written at that time on the subject of the Middlesex Election may all be considered as belonging to the popular side of the dispute, but there were only three direct answers to the False ALARM. These were, “The Crisis ;" “ A Letter to Dr. Samuel Johnson ;” and “ The Constitution Defender and Pensioner exposed, in Remarks on the False Alarm.” None of them were deficient in a show of argument, but what they seem to rely upon chiefly, was personal abuse of our author as a pensioner; and this, it must be owned, suited the taste of that turbulent period wonderfully. C.
NE of the chief advantages derived by the present generation from the improvement and diffusion of philosophy, is deliverance from unnecessary terrors, and exemption from false alarms. The unusual appearances, whether regular or accidental, which once spread consternation over ages of ignorance, are 'now the recreations of inquisitive security. The sun is no more lamented when it is eclipsed, than when it sets; and meteors play their coruscations without prognostic or prediction.
The advancement of political knowledge may be expected to produce in time the like effects. Causeless discontent and seditioko violence will grow less frequent, and less formidable, as the science of government is better ascertained, by a diligent study of the theory of man.
It is not indeed to be expected, that physical and political truth should meet with equal acceptance, or gain ground upon the world with equal facility. The notions of the naturalist find mankind in a state of neutrality, or at worst have nothing to encounter but prejudice and vanity; prejudice without malignity, and
vanity without interest. But the politician's improvements are opposed by every passion that can exclude conviction or suppress it; by ambition, by avarice, by hope, and by terror, by public faction, and private animosity.
It is evident, whatever be the cause, that this nation, with all its renown for speculation and for learning, has yet made little proficiency in civil wisdom. We are still so much unacquainted with our own state, and so unskilful in the pursuit of happiness, that we shudder without danger, complain without grievances, and suffer our quiet to be disturbed, and our commerce to be interrupted, by an opposition to the government, raised only by interest, and supported only by clamour, which yet has so far prevailed upon ignorance and timidity, that many favour it as reasonable, and many dread it as powerful.
What is urged by those who have been so industrious to spread suspicion, and incite fury from one end. of the kingdom to the other, may be known by perusing the papers which have been at once presented as petitions to the king, and exhibited in priņt as remon strances to the people. It may therefore not be improper to lay before the public the reflections of a man who cannot favour the opposition, for he thinks it wicked, and cannot fear it, for he thinks it weak. . . · The grievance which has produced all this tempest. of outrage, the oppression in which all other oppressions are included, the invasion which has left us no property, the alarm that suffers no patriot to sleep in
quiet, is comprised in a vote of the house of commons, * by which the freeholders of Middlesex are deprived of
a Briton's birthright, representation in parliament. • They have indeed received the usual writ of elec: tion, but that writ, alas ! was malicious mockery; they