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son for what you say; though you should not think we are such strangers to maps, and live so much out of the world, as to be ignorant that it is for power and extent the second Protestant state in Germany; and whether you know it or no, the Protestant religion in the empire is looked upon as a sufficient balance against Popery. Besides, you should have considered, that in your declaration upon the king's coming to the throne of Great Britain, you endeavoured to terrify us from receiving him, by representing him "as a powerfu foreign prince, supported by a numerous army of his own subjects.' Be that as it will, we are no more afraid of being a province to Hanover, than the Hanoverians are apprehensive of being a province to Bremen.
We have now taken notice of those great evils which you are come to rescue us from; but as they are such as we have neither felt or seen, we desire you will put yourself to no further trouble for our sakes.
You afterwards begin a kind of Te Deum, before the time, in that remarkable sentence, "We adore the wisdom of the Divine Providence, which has opened a way to our restoration, by the success of those very measures that were laid to disappoint us for ever." We are at a loss to know what you mean by this devout jargon; but by what goes before and follows, we suppose it to be this: that the coming of King George to the crown has made many malecontents, and by that means opened a way to your restoration; whereas, you should consider, that, if he had not come to the crown, the way had been open of itself. In the same pious paragraph, "You most earnestly conjure us to pursue those methods for your restoration, which the finger of God seems to point out to us." Now the only methods which we can make use of for that end, are civil war, rapine, bloodshed, treason, and perjury; methods which we Protestants do humbly conceive can never be pointed out to us by the finger of God.
The rest of your declaration contains the encouragements you give us to rebel. First, you promise to share with us all dangers and difficulties" which we shall meet with in this worthy enterprise. You are very much in the right of it; you have nothing to lose, and hope to get a crown; we do not hope for any new freeholds, and only desire to keep what we have. As, therefore, you are in the right to undergo dangers and difficulties to make yourself our master, we
shall think ourselves as much in the right to undergo dangers and difficulties to hinder you from being so.1
Secondly, You promise to "refer your and our interest to a Scotch parliament," which you are resolved to call immediately. We suppose you mean if the frost holds. But, sir, we are certainly informed there is a parliament now sitting at Westminster, that are busy at present in taking care both of the Scotch and English interest, and have actually done everything which you would "let" be done by our representatives in the Highlands.
Thirdly, "You promise that if we will rebel for you against our present sovereign, you will remit and discharge all crimes of high treason, misprision, and all other crimes and offences whatsoever, done or committed against you or your father." But will you answer in this case, that King George will forgive us? Otherwise we beseech you to consider what poor comfort it would be for a British freeholder to be conveyed up Holborn with your pardon in his pocket. And here we cannot but remark, that the conditions of your general pardon are so stinted, as to show that you are very cautious lest your good nature should carry you too far. You exclude from the benefit of it all those who do not, "from the time of your landing, lay hold on mercy, and return to their duty and allegiance." By this means all neuters and lookerson are to be executed of course; and by the studied ambiguity in which you couch the terms of your gracious pardon, you still leave room to gratify yourself in all the pleasures of tyranny and revenge.
Upon the whole, we have so bad an opinion of rebellion, as well as of your motives to it, and rewards for it, that you may rest satisfied there are few freeholders on this side the Forth who will engage in it; and we verily believe that you will suddenly take a resolution in your cabinet of Highlanders to scamper off with your new crown, which we are told the ladies of those parts have so generously clubbed for. And you may assure yourself that it is the only one you are like to get by this notable expedition. And so we bid you heartily farewell.
Dated Jan. 19, in the second year of
our public happiness.
''The honest freeholders conclude too fast in this place. The inference from their own premises is only this-We shall think ourselves as much in the right to undergo no dangers and difficulties to assist you in being so.
No. 10. MONDAY, JANUARY 23.
Potior visa est periculosa libertas quieto servitio. SALL.
ONE may venture to affirm, that all honest and disinterested Britons of what party soever, if they understood one another, are of the same opinion in points of government; and that the gross of the people, who are imposed upon by terms which they do not comprehend, are Whigs in their hearts. They are made to believe, that passive obedience and non-resistance, unlimited power and indefeasible right, have something of a venerable and religious meaning in them; whereas in reality they only imply that a king of Great Britain has a right to be a tyrant, and that his subjects are obliged in conscience to be slaves. Were the case truly and fairly laid before them, they would know, that when they make a profession of such principles, they renounce their legal claim to liberty and property, and unwarily submit to what they really abhor.
It is our happiness, under the present reign, to hear our king from the throne exhorting us to be "zealous assertors of the liberties of our country;" which exclude all pretensions to an arbitrary, tyrannic, despotic power. Those who have the misfortune to live under such a power, have no other law but the will of their prince, and consequently no privileges, but what are precarious. For though in some arbitrary governments there may be a body of laws observed in the ordinary forms of justice, they are not sufficient to secure any rights to the people; because they may be dispensed with, or laid aside, at the pleasure of the sovereign.
And here it very much imports us to consider, that arbitrary power naturally tends to make a man a bad sovereign, who might possibly have been a good one, had he been invested with an authority limited and circumscribed by laws. None can doubt of this tendency in arbitrary power, who consider, that it fills the mind of man with great and unreasonable conceits of himself; raises him into a belief that he is of a superior species to his subjects; extinguishes in him the principle of fear, which is one of the greatest motives to all duties; and creates an ambition of magnifying himself, by the exertion of such a power in all its instances. So great
is the danger, that when the sovereign can do what he will, he will do what he can.
One of the most arbitrary princes in our age was Muley Ishmael, emperor of Morocco, who, after a long reign, died about a twelvemonth ago. This prince was a man of much wit and natural sense, of an active temper, undaunted courage, and great application. He was a descendant of Mahomet; and so exemplary for his adherence to the law of his prophet, that he abstained all his life from the taste of wine; began the annual fast, or Lent of Ramadan, two months before his subjects; was frequent in his prayers; and that he might not want opportunities of kneeling, had fixed in all the spacious courts of his palace large consecrated stones pointing towards the east, for any occasional exercise of his devotion. might not have been hoped from a prince of these endowments, had they not been all rendered useless and ineffectual to the good of his people by the notion of that power which they ascribed to him! This will appear, if we consider how he exercised it towards his subjects in those three great points which are the chief ends of government, the preservation of their lives, the security of their fortunes, and the determinations of justice between man and man.
Foreign envoys, who have given an account of their audiences, describe this holy man mounted on horseback in an open court, with several of his Alcaydes, or governors of provinces, about him, standing barefoot, trembling, bowing to the earth, and at every word he spoke breaking out into passionate exclamations of praise, as, "Great is the wisdom of our lord the king; our lord the king speaks as an angel from heaven." Happy was the man among them, who was so much a favourite as to be sent on an errand to the most remote street in his capital; which he performed with the greatest alacrity, ran through every puddle that lay in his way, and took care to return out of breath and covered with dirt, that he might show himself a diligent and faithful minister. His Majesty at the same time, to exhibit the greatness of his power, and show his horsemanship, seldom dismissed the foreigner from his presence, till he had entertained him with the slaughter of two or three of his liege subjects, whom he very dexterously put to death with the tilt of his lance. St. Olon, the French envoy, tells us, that when he had his last audience of him, he received him in robes just stained
with an execution; and that he was blooded up to his elbows by a couple of Moors, whom he had been butchering with his own imperial hands. By the calculation of that author, and many others, who have since given an account of his exploits, we may reckon that by his own arm he killed above forty thousand of his people. To render himself the more awful, he chose to wear a garb of a particular colour when he was bent upon executions; so that when he appeared in yellow, his great men hid themselves in corners, and durst not pay their court to him, till he had satiated his thirst of blood by the death of some of his loyal commoners, or of such unwary officers of state as chanced to come in his way. Upon this account we are told, that the first news inquired after every morning at Mequinez, was, Whether the emperor were stirring, and in a good or bad humour? As this prince was a great admirer of architecture, and employed many thousands in works of that kind, if he did not approve the plan or the performance, it was usual for him to show the delicacy of his taste by demolishing the building, and putting to death all that had a hand in it. I have heard but of one instance of his mercy; which was shown to the master of an English vessel. This our countryman presented him with a curious hatchet, which he received very graciously; and asking him whether it had a good edge, tried it upon the donor, who slipping aside from the blow, escaped with the loss only of his right ear; for old Muley, upon second thoughts, considering that it was not one of his own subjects, stopped his hand, and would not send him to Paradise. I cannot quit this article of his tenderness for the lives of his people, without mentioning one of his queens, whom he was remarkably fond of; as also a favourite prime minister, who was very dear to him. The first died by a kick of her lord the king, when she was big with child, for having gathered a flower as she was walking with him in his pleasure garden. The other was bastinadoed to death by his Majesty; who, repenting of the drubs he had given him when it was too late, to manifest his esteem for the memory of so worthy a man, executed the surgeon that could not cure him.
This absolute monarch was as notable a guardian of the fortunes as of the lives of his subjects. When any man among his people grew rich, in order to keep him from being dangerous to the state, he used to send for all his goods and