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savages may be encouraged to attack the frontiers, and that the troops may be protected by the inhabitants : this will seem to proceed from your ill will or your ignorance, and contribute farther to produce and strengthen an opinion among them, that you are no longer fit to govern them.
20. Lastly, invest the general of your army in the provinces with great and unconstitutional powers, and free him from the control of even your own civil governors. Let him have troops enow under his command, with all the fortresses in his possession ; and who knows but (like some provincial generals in the Roman empire, and encouraged by the universal discontent you have produced) he may take it into his head to set up for himself! If he should, and you have carefully practised these few excellent rules of mine, take my word for it, all the provinces will immediately join him;- and you will that day (if you have not done it sooner) get rid of the trouble of governing them, and all the plagues attending their commerce and connexion, from thenceforth and for
SELF DENIAL NOT THE ESSENCE OF VIRTUE.
It is commonly asserted, that without self-deriial there is no virtue, and that the greater the self-denial the greater the virtue.
If it were said, that he who cannot deny himself any thing he inclines to, though he knows it will be to his hurt, has not the virtue of resolution, or fortitude, it would be intelligible enough, but as it stands it seems obscure or erroneous.
Let us consider some of the virtues singly.
If a man has no inclination to wrong people in his dealings, if he feels no temptation to it, and therefore never does it, can it be said that he is not a just man? If be is a just man, has he not the virtue of justice ?
If to a certain man idle diversions have nothing in them that is tempting, and therefore he never relaxes his application to business for their sake, is he not an industrious man? Or, has he not the virtue of industry?
I might in like manner instance in all the rest of the virtues ; but to make the thing short, as it is cer. tain that the more we strive against the temptation to any vice, and practise the contrary virtue, the weaker will that temptation be, and the stronger will be that habit, till at length the temptation has no force, or entirely vanishes ; does it follow from thence, that in our endeavours to overcome vice we grow continually less and less virtuous, till at length we have no virtue at all ?
If self-denial be the essence of virtue, then it follows, that the man who is naturally temperate, just, &c. is not virtuous ; but that in order to be virtuous, he must, in spite of his natural inclinations, wrong his neighbours, and eat and drink, &c. to excess.
But perhaps it may be said, that by the word virtue in the above assertion, is meant merit; and so it should stand thus : without self-denial there is no merit, and the greater the self-denial, the greater the merit.
The self-denial here meant must be when our in. clinations are towards vice, or else it would still be
By merit is understood desert; and when we say a man merits, we mean that he deserves merit or reward.
We do not pretend to merit any thing of God, for he is above our services; and the benefits he confers on us are the effects of his goodness and bounty.
All our merit then is with regard to one another, and from one to another.
Taking then the assertion as it last stands.
If a man does me a service from a natural bene. volent inclination, does he deserve less of me than another, who does me the like kindness against his inclination?
If I have two journeymen, one naturally industrious, the other idle, but both perform a day's work equally good, ought I to give the latter the most wages ?
Indeed lazy workmen are commonly observed to be more extravagant in their demands than the in. dustrious, for if they have not more for their work, they cannot live as well; but though it be true to a proverh, that lazy folk take the most pains, does it follow that they deserve the most money?
If you were to employ servants in affairs of trust, would you not bid more for one you knew was na. turally honest, than for one naturally roguish, but who had lately acted honestly ? for currents whose natural channel is dammed up, till the new course is by time worn sufficiently deep, and become natural, are apt to break their banks. If one servant is more valuable than another, has he not more merit than the other ? Yet this is not on account of superior self-denial.
Is a patriot not praiseworthy if public spirit is natural to him ?
Is a pacing-horse less valuable for being a natural pacer ?
Nor, in my opinion, has any man less merit for having in general natural virtuous inclinations.
The truth is, that temperance, justice, charity, &c. are virtues, whether practised with or against our in. clinations, and the man who practises them merits our love and esteem ; and self-denial is neither good nor bad, but as it is applied : he that denies a vicious inclination is virtuous in proportion to his resolution; but the most perfect virtue is above all temptation, such as the virtue of the saints in heaven ; and he who does a foolish, indecent, or wicked thing, merely because it is contrary to his inclinations (like some mad enthusiasts I have read of, who ran about naked, under the notion of taking up the cross), is not practising the reasonable science of virtue, but is a lu. natic.
THE SLAVE TRADE. The following excellent ironical attack on the Slave Trade was one of the last compositions of the author, and was intended as a parody and ridicule of a speech delivered by Mr. Jackson of Georgia.
To the Editor of the Federal Gazette.
March 23, 1790. Sir. Reading last night in your excellent paper the speech of Mr. Jackson in congress against their meddling with the affair of slavery, or attempting to mend the condition of the slaves, it put me in mind of a similar one made one hundred years since, by Sidi Mehemet Ibrahim, a member of the Divan of
Algiers, which may be seen in Martin's account of his consulship, anno 1687. It was against granting the petition of the sect called Erika or Purists, who prayed for the abolition of piracy and slavery as being unjust. Mr. Jackson does not quote it, perhaps he has not seen it. If therefore some of its reasonings are to be found in his eloquent speech, it may also show that man's interests and intellects operate and are operated on with surprising similarity in all countries and climates, whenever they are under similar circumstances. The African's speech, as translated, is as follows:
“ Allah Bismillah, c. God is great, and Mahimet is his prophet.
66 Have these Erika considered the consequences of granting their petition ? If we cease our cruises against the Christians, how shall we be furnished with the commodities their countries produce ; and which are so necessary for us? If we forbear to make slaves of their people, who in this hot climate are to cultivate our lands? Who are to perform the labours of our city, and in our families ? Must we not then be our own slaves ? And is there not more compassion and more favour due to us as Mussulmen than to these Christian dogs ? We have now above 50,000 slaves in and near Algiers ! This number, if not kept up by fresh supplies, will soon diminish and be gradually annihilated. If we then cease taking and plundering the infidel ships, and making slaves of the seamen and passengers, our lands will become of no value for want of cultivation; the rents of houses in the city will sink one-half, and the revenue of government arising from its share of prizes be totally destroyed! And for what? to gratify the whims of a