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with the insolence of common councils, and unaecustomed to the howl of plebeian patriotism, when they heard of rabbles and riots, of petitions and remonstrances, of discontent in Surrey, Derbyshire, and Yorkshire, when they saw the chain of subordination broken, and the legislature threatened and defied, naturally imagined that such a government had little leisure for Falkland's Island; they supposed that the English when they returned ejected from Port Egmont, would find Wilkes invested with the protectorate; or see the Mayor of London, what the French have formerly seen their mayors of the palace, the commander of the army and tutor of the king; that they would be called to tell their tale before the Common Council ; and that the world was to expect war or peace from a yote of the subscribers to the Bill of Rights.
But our enemies have now lost their hopes, and our friends I hope are recovered from their fears. To fancy that our government can be subverted by the rabble, whom its lenity has pampered into impudence, is to fear that a city may be drowned by the overflowing of its kennels. The distemper which cowardice or malice thought either decay of the vitals, or resolution of the nerves, appears at last to have been nothing more than a political phthiriasis, a disease too loathsome for a plainer name ; but the effect of negligence rather than of weakness, and of which the shame is greater than the danger.
Among the disturbers of our quiet are some animals of greater bulk, whom their power of roaring persuaded us to think formidable, but we now perceive
that sound and force do not always go together. The noise of a savage proves nothing but his hunger.
After all our broils, foreign and domestick, we may at last hope to remain a while in quiet, amused with the view of our own success. We have gained political strength by the increase of our reputation; we have gained real strength by the reparation of our navy; we have shown Europe that ten years of war have not yet exhausted us; and we have enforced our settlement on an island on which twenty years ago we durst not venture to look.
These are the gratifications only of honest minds; but there is a time in which hope comes to all. From the present happiness of the Publick, the patriots themselves may derive advantage. To be harmless though by impotence obtains some degree of kindness; no man hates a worm as he hates a viper; they were once dreaded enough to be detested, as serpents that could bite ; they have now shown that they can only hiss, and may therefore quietly slink into holes, and change their slough unmolested and forgotten.
P A TRI O T..
ADDRESSED TO THE
ELECTORS OF GREAT BRITAIN.
They bawl for freedom in their senseless mood,
Yet still revolt when truth would set them free ;
License they mean, when they cry liberty,
To improve the golden moment of opportunity,
1 and catch the good that is within our reach, is the great art of life. Many wants are suffered, which might once have been supplied; and much time is lost in regretting the time which had been lost before.
At the end of every seven years comes the Saturnalian season, when the freemen of Great Britain may please themselves with the choice of their representatives. This happy day has now arrived, somewhat sooner than it could be claimed.
To select and depute those, by whom laws are to be made, and taxes to be granted, is a high dignity and an important trust : and it is the business of
every elector to consider, how this dignity may be well sustained, and this trust faithfully dis
charged. · It ought to be deeply impressed on the minds of all who have voices in this national deliberation, that no man can deserve a seat in parliament who is not a PATRIOT. No other man will protect our rights, no other man can merit our confidence.
A Patriot is he whose publick conduct is regulated by one single motive, the love of his country; who, as an agent in parliament, has for himself neither hope nor fear, neither kindness nor resentment, but refers every thing to the common interest. · That of five hundred men, such as this degenerate age affords, a majority can be found thus virtuously abstracted, who will affirm? Yet there is no good in despondence: vigilance and activity often effect more than was expected. Let us take a Patriot where we can meet him ; and that we may not flatter ourselves by false appearances, distinguish those marks which are certain from those which may deceive: for a man may have the external appearance of a Patriot, without the constituent qualities; as false coins have often lustre, though they want weight.
Some claim a place in the list of Patriots by an acrimonious and unremitting opposition to the court. .
This mark is by no means infallible. Patriotism is not necessarily included in rebellion. A man may hate his king, yet not love his country. He that has been refused a reasonable or unreasonable
request, request, who thinks his merit underrated, and sees his influence declining, begins soon to talk of natural equality, the absurdity of many made for one, the original compact, the foundation of authority, and the majesty of the people. As his political melancholy increases, he tells, and perhaps dreams, of the advances of the prerogative, and the dangers of arbitrary power; yet his design in all his declamation is not to benefit his country, but to gratify his malice.
These, however, are the most honest of the opponents of government; their patriotism is a species of disease; and they feel some part of what they express. But the greater, far the greater number of those who rave and rail, and inquire and accuse, neither suspect nor fear, nor care for the Publick ; but hope to force their way to riches by virulence and invective, and are vehement and clamorous, only that they may be sooner hired to be silent.
A man sometimes starts up a Patriot, only by disseminating discontent, and propagating reports of secret influence, of dangerous counsels, of violated rights and encroaching usurpation.
This practice is no certain note of Patriotism. To instigate the populace with rage beyond the provocation, is to suspend publick happiness, if not to destroy it. He is no lover of his country, that unnecessarily disturbs its peace, Few errours, and few faults of government can justify an appeal to the rabble; who ought not to judge of what they can. not understand, and whose opinions are not propagated by reason, but caught by contagion.