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to possess but two orders, as of old, the rich and the poor; for the middle class is nearly absorbed by one or the other of these great bodies. There is now an aristocracy of wealth among the untitled manufacturers, as well as of land among the peers, and there is a third of letters and of talent, that limits the sphere and the power of both, by raising or reducing them to its own level; while the ramifications of the lower class are extended far into the ground hitherto occupied by the middle orders. Social distinctions are still well defined and palpable enough, though by no means so strong as formerly. Politically considered, therefore, there are but two classes among the people of England, but how little does either know of the other. Where is there a body in the world so distinguished for its ability, learning, high religious and honourable feelings, its munificence in all public undertakings, and its unbounded charity in the social relations of private life, as the aristocracy of England? On the other hand, where is there a population, possessing such manly independence of conduct, and patient endurance of trial and privation, and such an obedient submission to constituted authority, and so many of those virtues that adorn and dignify the character of man, as the lower orders of Englishmen 2 Yet they are so wide apart, the line of distinction and demarcation is so strong, that they neither know each other's value, nor do justice to each other's integrity. Too many of the poor regard the lords as men devoted to pleasure, possessing the means, and indulging the excesses of profligacy, and squandering the hard earnings of the labourer in riotous living. While the noble, on his part, looks at the dark cloud that envelopes the lowly dwellings, and conceals the persons of the poor, with instinctive fear. The sound of many voices fills him with dread, lest it should be the distant thunder that forbodes the storm; and when he recollects that the highway robber, the murderer, the incendiary, and the burglar, lie hidden in the loathsome dens of destitute and hopeless wretchedness, he is but too apt to associate the idea of poverty with crime. There is no Atlantic to divide and keep them apart; but there is a neutral ground that lies between them, occupied by a banditti of Irish agitators, English free-traders, freethinkers, demagogues, and political adventurers, that cut off all intercourse, and intercept all mutual correspondence. Their daily subsistence is derived from the credulous support of the poor; while the fertile regions of the rich afford valuable prizes to their fraudulent peculations, or their violent forays. They have impoverished both. Under the wicked pretence of cheap bread, they have lowered the wages of the labourer, and at the same time, by causing a reduction of rents, and of the value of real estate, have disabled benevolence from giving employment to the industrious poor. The ground these unprincipled people occupy pertains to the Church, and the sooner she is enabled to recover possession of it, and, by salutary example and sound teaching, to root out these pernicious intruders, the better for the peace, prosperity, and happiness of the nation. If such a state of ignorance exists among the population of a country like England, as to the character, condition, feelings, and wants of its several orders, we may cease to wonder that so little was formerly known of the colonies, by those whose interest and duty it was to inform them
selves. But though the history of republicanism in America may excite but little interest among statesmen, as to the remaining provinces, with which they appear utterly incapable of dealing, it may be a salutary study to those visionary men in Europe, who have the vanity to think that they are able to copy the admirable form of Government of the United States, or can find a country fitted for it, or a people who have the knowledge, perseverance, coolness, or skill to keep it in operation and repair.
CHAPTER III. SKETCH OF POLITICAL EVENTS FROM 1740 To 1763.
Review of the state of the colonies from the commencement of the century—Trade, imports and exports— Attempts at domestic manufactories discouraged— Provincials prohibited from exporting wool from one colony to another, or to foreign countries—State of the Church of England in America—Attempt of the Society for Propagating the Gospel to introduce Bishops, grossly misrepresented—Alarm felt at the spread of Church principles, in consequence of the secession of several eminent Dissenting divines—A man fined fifty pounds for maintaining that no other but episcopal ordination was valid—Universal disregard of the laws of trade–Rebellion in Carolina— Establishment of a general post-office—Opposition to it—Proposed scheme for confederating all the colonies —Its details—The plan very similar to that of general government—Frequent assemblies of general officers and governors suggest the idea of Congress—Dispute between Lord Loudon and the General Court about