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Country and their Church; put Kings and Queens in Prifon; and then sing Ca Ira, for joy that Hell is broke loose!
I have nothing more to fay (till my next Letter) but that the Government which is most wicked, be the form of it what it will, is generally the weakest in itself, and the most expensive to the people: and fo, aster all that can be faid, Honesty is the bejl Policy, and the Honejl man is the best Subjecl. Keep this in your mind, Brother John; and farewell.
From your loving Brother,
P. S. Perhaps they may tell thee, John, that thou hast Nothing to lose, and that any change may be to thy advantage; but thou hast a Body and Soul; and if the Body goes to the Gallows, and thy Soul to the Devil, won't that be a Loss, John?
»i —' i'
TEN MINUTES CAUTION,
A PLAIN MAN TO HIS FELLOW-CITIZENS.
IT is in general of very little importance to the reader to know who, or what fort of perfon, the writer of any thing is. But to you, sellow Citizens, I think it is material to consider who the men are whose writings on public matters are recommended to your perufal. In this view you will permit me to tell you fomething of myself. First, then, I will tell you who I am not. I am not a Foreigner, who would gratify resentment as well as pride by throwing this country into consusion. I am not a desperate Incendiary, whose circumstances cannot be made worse by any change, who will take the chance of setting the house on fire, that he may pilser the surniture while it is burning. 1 am not a surious Enthusiast in Religion or Politics, who, under pretence of Toleration in the one, or Liberty in the other, would overturn the established Church or the established Constitution. I am none of those, my brethren. I am a plain man, a tradesman, who, having acquired a competency by his honest industry, is now winding up his business in order to enjoy that competency in ease and quiet, in his old age, in the
A 3 midst
midst os a virtuous family of his own rearing. I know nothing of great Men or Ministers, and concern myself no farther about them than as I think their measures are for the interest of my country. I care not who sits at the Helm, provided the Veflel be well steered.—But though I am persectly independent as to my own circumstances, yet I am dependent as far as this goes, that the happiness, or the prospect of the happiness, of my Fellow Citizens makes me happy; their unhappiness, or the sear of their unhappinefs, makes me unhappy.
In this character, and with these seelings, I am tempted to use my pen, for the first time in public, to caution my countrymen against the mischief which fome men would wish to do among you; to beg of you not to endanger the peace and prosperity of yourselves and your Country to gratify their Malice, their Ambition, or their hopes of Gain.
Consider, my Friends, at what time, and in what circumstances, those men would persuade us to make a change, in our situation. Would any of us think it prudent, in the way of trade, if our business were good, our shop well frequented, our customers increasing, in short every thing about us in a thriving condition, all at once to alter our Firm, to change our Agents abroad, to dismiss our Clerks and Servants at home, and to tell our customers that we were to deal with them quite in a different way for the suture? Would any of us do this? Or would not our relations take out a commission of lunacy against us if we did?—Just as madly, my Friends, it appears to me, mould we act, if, in the present situation of our public affairs, we should think of altering that Constitution, under which, by the blessing of God, we have attained, and enjoy our present National Security and Pros* perity.
I shouldbe glad to know what advantage we are to get by the Levelling os Ranks, which those writers would persuade us to wish for, by regaining what they call the Rights of Man. If they have a mind to go back to the woods again, and live as they fay men lived in this country two thoufand years ago, let them, in God's name; but I, who am sitting in a good snug parlour with all my family comforts around me, will rather chuse to keep as I am. If there is to be any fociety at all, I presume fome must necessarily be richer and more powersul than others: but if those who have little are secure of it, I fay, as I faid before, they may be as happy as those who have the most. As things are at present, I find great advantages in the riches and grandeur of fome of my countrymen. men. I have a set of wealthy customers who put a great deal pf money into my pocket in the year, whose expences, suitable to their rank and situation in lise, enable me to enjoy all the folid comforts suitable to mine.
I received, fome time ago, a letter from an old friend and correspondent at Manchester, sull of hard words, and in a high flown style, complaining of the extravagance and luxury of Dukes and Lords, who were no better flesti and blood than he or I, and asking me to put down my name to a set of Refolutions for correcting that abuse. I thought at first my old friend had been playing upon me, as it was about the fooling time of the year; but when I was told that there were seriously such Refolutions proposed at Manchester, I wrote a serious answer. I desired him to recollect how much of my money had gone through his hands since our first dealings with one another, and that I believed in my conscience there was scarce a single NeceJJ'ary in all our accounts; fo that if f,uxury was to be put down, he must shut up shop. I believe my good friend was ashamed of himself, for he answered my next order, and faid nothing more of the Refolutions.
The modern Levellers tell us what we are to gain by their , plan; but, my Friends, it is necessary for us to think what we should loose by it. Every man in a decent situation in life, even if he earns his bread by the sweat of his brow, has fomething he can call his own, something he feels comsortable in, and which his way of lise has made more suitable to him than the fine things of other people in a higher sphere, which is generally a situation of more care than comsort.
Every man who has fomething to preserve for himself, and too honest to encroach on his neighbours, will tremble at the effects of throwing loose every bond of peace and good order. My Manchester friends fome time ago had a taste of the consequences in the burning of their cotton mills.—This is a strong instance of what are the principles lately attempted to be introduced among us. The truth is, I believe, that if this new system was to take place, the effect would be, that the next day all the rich would be ruined, above half the industrious Would be foon put out of employ, and in a little time all the poor would be starved.
We hear a great deal about the Americans and the French, and the excellent Governments they have established; and one of the great Apostles of the new Doctrines tells us how much we should prosit by adopting the like Governments. In the first place, I am, strongly inclined to suspect the friendship of this gectleman's advice. He tells us himself,
A 4 that .that he began by doing this country all the harm in his power in favour of America; that he formed the scheme, during the war with that country, of coming to England for the purpose of broaching his principles; and seems to have thought, that if people were mad enough to listen to him, we should foon have been in such a situation, that neither America nor any other Country would have had any thing to sear from us.— I am told he has since resided principally in France, where he has probably found new reafons for making this attempt; and yet this impostor now gravely tells you, that this is done from his great regard for your welfare: as far as himself is concerned he risks little, as, by all accounts, he has neither property nor reputation to lose.
This gentleman tells us we have no constitution, and that what we have is wretchedly bad, and that therefore we should overturn it, and get the American or the French Constitution as fast as we can. I do not imagine any of my countrymen know what these Americans or French Constitutions are; and I consess, I hardly think it worth their enquiry, while they are happy under our own. I believe, however, the fact is, that the Americans, aster they left us, were under great difficulty how to go on at all. Luckily for them, Mr. Paine was riot at hand to preach consusion; they had still fome notion left of the British Constitution under which they had fo long lived, and they had sense enough to conform to it as nearly as they could. As to France, their old Government' was bad enough; what it is now, it is difficult to fay: I am told that, in fact, they have no government at all ; and what it will end in, he must be very wise or very bold that will guess.
Mr. Paine tests us we are oppressed and ruinea by taxes; and he proposes, if we let him make a new Constitution for us, to fave us a world of expence, by turning adrift all the present servants of Government, and having only a certain number of officers by whom all the business of the Nation is to be done. Our taxes (one half of which' were laid on to pay the debt of the American war, in which Mr. Paine was fo active against us), to be sure, are heavy, and I am glad to find that our present managers have begun to take oft'fome of them; but I don't find we have been ruined even by these taxes on the contrary,'we have been thriving apace under the present Government. But what is the reason we pay these expences J Because the business of a nation, like that of an individual, cannot be done without paying the servants it necessarily employs,"/^Ir. Paine indeed has made this wondersul discoveiy, fhat if you have sewer servants at less wages, it would cost you less. This may be very true: but if a farmer were to part with his labourers, or a manufacturer with his workmen, under pretence of diminishing his expences, and it appeared that he did this without considering the extent and manner of cultivating the farm, or the nature and prosit of the manufacture, do you think that either would be foolisti enough to take his advice? If they did, the consequence would be, that at the end of the year the farmer would be turned out of his bargain for not paying his rent, and the manufacturer would become a bankrupt.
My friends I am no philofopher, nor fine writer, though I got a tolerable education at the Charter-House, and remember a little of my grammar as well as Mr. Paine. But without philofophy or fine writing, I may venture to beseech you, not to throw away all the blessings you possess on a wild experiment to find fomething better, and that too on the authority of people who have an interest in misleading' you. For my own part, I am come to an age that cannot look for living jong to enjoy our present national prosperity; but I have child dren and grand children ; and I cannot bear to think, that folly or wickedness should endanger the happiness which I hope they will inherit, by having the good fortune to be bom under the British Constitution,
A COUNTRY CURATE'S ADVICE
Recommended to the serious Consideration of every Workman in the various Manufacturing Towns of England and Scotland.
AS every one is interested in what is going on in this country, and as at one time I was a great stickler for Equality,' I am willing to communicate to my Brother Mechanics the reafons that have made me change my mind on that head; but as they will wonder how a journeyman can be fo great a Scholar, I must tell them that I was bred up at a Charity School, and took such a liking to learning, that before I was married, many a shilling of my hard earnings I laid out in