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Hoc liberiores et solutiores fumus, quod integra
nobis est judicandi poteftas : nec, ut omnia,
Cic. Acad. Quaeft. lib. iv.
M DCC XXXIX.
PRE FAC E.
02-23 - 44 éw
HE Title of these Miscellanies
might raise an expectation of T
their being calculated to express the sentiments of a party. On
the contrary, their view was to remind all parties of those principles which all, occasionally at least, acknowledge as the basis of society, the principles of liberty.
OUR Fathers, roho espoused these principles, when reason, liberty, and virtue were most unfashionable, were branded with the name of WHIGs; we therefore who have thought those truths still necessary to be inculcated, tho' always somewhat out of fashion, under the covert of their name spoke with their freedom, on fubjects which concerned the cause of liberty, whether occurring in controverses of learned men, or parliamentary transactions.
AND since many of these were subjects of no tranfitory nature, the papers occasionally wrote on them are now collected in these vo
lumes ; wherein we hope the reader will find the greater satisfa&tion, when be observes them wrote by persons differing from one another in opinion in some important points ; fince the controverfies which this difference produced were carried on with a regard to truth, and to truth only, and may therefore in these points afford more light than any uniform production.
THERE are few questions which concern the interest of liberty but what sometime occur'd during the continuance of this undertaking ; and if in any of those questions the reader finds fome information, we hope be will excuse a want of poignancy which satire now gives the works in fashion. Writings filled with such ornaments, like painted windows, obscure the light they sbould afford.
COULD we have stooped to use general or personal abuse, occafion has not been wanting, *Attacks were frequently made from many quarters, and with indecency enough; but usually they were such as might proceed equally from a weak head or a corrupted heart; we chose to see all objects in their mildest light, and therefore overlooked them ; particularly the author of a motley project, which he calls The Alliance Þetween Church and State, which he proposed alternately mould be each other's tools, whereby the glorious work of Navery might most effectual ly be carried on in the most sacred conjunction. Tho? we could not wholly approve his scheme, yet if bis fcurrility on us can give him any pleasure,
we can permit him to enjoy it unmolested, even until behall be able to prove his own Legation as divine as that of Mofes.
YET can we hope to have given no offence ? To be of no party is to be obnoxious to all ; and to contend for Liberty is at least an indirect attack on Power, which all men (whether in pos: Seffion or in expectation of it) think may
be Safely trusted in their own bands at least, well knowing themselves to be the friends of liberty, and being very sure they never shall attack it, at least except when the most pressing necesity requires : so little do men know themselves, so easy is it for them to rank themselves amongst the friends of liberty, on the meriť only of not attacking it for nothing. But no truth can be more certain, than that every man who is not active in the cause of liberty, consents to be a slave.
THỂ matters treated on were generally pursued as far as the occasion required; but the postponing the bill proposed, for the relief of the poor, and punishing of vagrants, prevented the farther confideration of it as at that time useless; tho when the legislature shall be pleased to take that dengn once more into their confideration, no subject can better deserve the attention of the friends of liberty, than that which would relieve and make useful thousands who live in idleness and wretchedness, and at the same time greatly reduce the size and clear the dificulties of our fatute-law, and set a noble precedent for farther improvements of that fort : A work of