Abbildungen der Seite

We have the same king, but not the same legislatures.

The dispute between the two countries has already cost. England many millions sterling, which it has lost in its commerce, and America has in this respect been a proportionable gainer. This commerce consisted principally of superfluities; objects of luxury and fashion, which we can well do without; and the resolution we have formed of importing no more till our grievances are redressed, has enabled many of our infant manufactures to take root; and it will not be easy to make our people abandon them in future, even should a connection more cordial than ever succeed the present troubles.—I have, indeed, no doubt but that the parliament of England will finally abandon its present pretensions, and leave us to the peaceable enjoyment of our rights and privileges.


A Comparison of the Conduct of the ancient Jews, and of the ANtiFederalists in the United States of America.

A ZEALOUS advocate for the proposed Federal constitution in a certain public assembly said that "the repugnance of a great part of mankind to good government was such, that he believed, that if an angel from heaven was to bring down a constitution formed there for our use, it would newertheless meet with violent opposition."-— He.was reproved for the supposed extravagance ESSAY3.*.-T .' 109

of the sentiment ; and he did not justify it..-- Probably it might not have immediately occurred to him that the experiment had been tried, and that the event was recorded in the most faithful of all histories, the Holy Bible; otherwise he might, as it seems to me, have supported his opinion by that unexceptionable authority.

The' Supreme Being had been'pleased to nourish up a single family, by continued acts of his, attentive providence, till it became a great people: and having rescued them from bondage by many miracles performed by *his 'servant Moses, he personally delivered to that chosen servant, in presence of the whole nation, a constitution and code of laws for their observance; accompanied and sanctioned with promises of great rewards, and threats of severe punishments, as the consequence of their obedience or disobedience.

This constitution-, though the Deity himself was to be at its head (and it is therefore called by political writers a Theocracy) could not be ,carried into execution but by means of his ministers; Aaron and his sons were therefore commissioned to be, with Moses, the first established ministry of,the new government. ... One-would have thought, that the appointment of men who had distinguished themselves in procuring the liberty of their nation, and had hazarded their lives in openly opposing the will of a powerful monarch, who would have retained that nation in slavery, might have been an appointmerir acceptable to a grateful people; and that a constitution, framed for them by the Deity himself, might on that account have been secure of an universal welcome reception. Yet there were, in every one of the thirteen tribes, some discontented, restless spirits, who were continually exciting them to reject the proposed hew government, and this from various motives.

Many still retained an affection for Egypt, the land of their nativity, and these, wherever they felt any inconvenience or hardship, through the natural and unavoidable effect of their change of situation, exclaimed .against their leaders as the authors of their trouble; and were not only for returning into Egypt, but for stoning their deliverers.* . Those inclined to idolatry were displeased that their golden calf was destroyed. Many of the chiefs thought the new constitution might be injurious to their particular interests, that the profitable places would be engrossed by the families and friends of Moses and s^aron, and others equally well-born excluded.!—In Josephus, and the Talmud, we learn some particulars, not so fully narrated in the scripture. We are there told, "that Corah was ambitious of the priesthood; and offended that it was conferred on Aaron; and this, as he said, by the authority of Moses only, without the consent of the people. He accused Moses of having, by various artifices, fraudulently obtained the gov

* Numbers, chap. xiv.

f Numbers, chap. xvi. ver. 3. ■ And they gathered themselves together against Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregations ore holy, every one of them—wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above" the congregation V

* •

ernment,'and deprived the people of their liberties; and of conspiring with Aaron to perpetuate the tyranny in their family,. Thus, though Corah's real motive was the supplanting of Aaron, he persuaded the people he meant only the public good; and they, moved by his insinuations, began to cry out—" Let us^nErifitain the common liberty of our respective tribes; we have freed ourselves from the slavery imposed upon us by the Egyptians, and shall we suffer ourselves to be made slaves by Moses? If we must have a master, it were better to return to Pharaoh, who at least fed us with bread and onions, than to serve this new tyrant, who by his operations has brought us into danger and famine." Then they called in question the reality of his conferencewith God; and objected to the privacy of the meetings, and the preventing any of the people from being present at the colloques, or even approaching the place, as grounds of great suspicion. They accused Moses also of peculation; as embezzling part of the golden spoons and the silver chargers, that the princes had offered at the dedication of the altar,* and the offering of the gold of the common people,! as well as most of the poll-tax ;| and Aaron they accused of pocketing much of the gold of which he pretended to have made a molten calf. Besides peculation, they charged Moses with ambition; to gratify which passion, he had, they said, deceived the people, by promising to bring them to a

* Numbers, chap. vii. f Exodus, chap. xxxv. ver. 22,

* Numbers, chap. iii. and Exodus, chap. xxx-.

tl and-flowing with milk and h'dney.f instead pf doing which, he had brought them from such a. land; and that he thought light of this mischief, provided he could makehtmse.lf an absolute prince.* That, to support the new dignity with splendour in his family, the partial poll-tax.already levied and given to Aaron, was to be followed by a: general one J which would probably be augmented from time to time, if he were suffered to gq Oq promulgating new laws on pretence of new occasional revelations of the divine will, till their; whole fortunes were devoured by that aristo« cracy." —

Moses denied the charge of peculation; and his accusers were destitute of proofs to support it; though facts, if real, are in their nature capable of proof. "I- have: not," said he, (with holy confidence in the presence of God) " I have not taken from this people the value of an ass, nor done them any other injury.". But his enemies had made the charge, and with some success among the populace, for no kind of accusation is so readily made, or easily believed, by knaves, as the accusation of knavery.

In fine, no less than two hundred and fifty of the principal men " famous in the congregation, men of renown,"§ heading and exciting the mob, worked them up to such a pitch of phrenzy, that

* Numbers, chap. xvi. Ver. 13. "Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in this wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us."

f Numbers, chap. iii. 4. Exodus, chap. xxx.

§ Numbers, chap. xvi.

« ZurückWeiter »