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Because there is nothinc
F all things, an indiscreet tampering with the
trade of provisions is the most dangerous, and it is always worst in the time when men are most disposed to it: that is, in the time of scarcity. men are so violent, änd their judgment so weak, and on which there exists such a multitude of ill. founded popular prejudices.
The great use of government is as a restraint ; and there is no restraint which it ought to put upon others, and upon itself too, rather than that which is imposed on the fury of speculating under circumstances of irritation. The number of idle tales spread about by the industry of faction, and by the zeal of foolish good-intention, and greedily devoured by the malignant credulity of mankind, tends infinitely to aggravate prejudices, which, in themselves, are more than sufficiently strong. In that state of affairs, and of the publick with relation to them, the first thing that government owes
to us, the people, is information ; the next is timely coercion :-the one to guide qur judgment : the other to regulate 'our tempers.
To provide for us in our necessities is not in the power of government. It would be a vaiq presumption in statesmen to think they can do it. The people maintain them, and not they the people. It is in the power of government to prevent much evil; it can do very little positive good in this, or perhaps in any thing else. It is not only so of the state and statesman, but of all the classes and descriptions of the rich-they are the:pen: sioners of the poor, and are maintained by their superfluity. They are under an absolute, beredițary, and indefeasible dependence on those who. labour, and are miscalled the poor. * * !
The labouring people are only poor, because they are numerous.
Numbers in their nature - įmply poverty: In a fair distribution among a vast mulz titude, none can have much. That class of depen: dant pensioners called the rich, is so extremely small, that if all their throats were cut, and a distribution made of all they consume in a year,
it would not give a bit of bread and cheese for one night's supper to those who ļabour, and who in reality feed both the pensioners and themselves:
But the throats of the rich ought not to be cut, nor their magazines plundered; because, in their persons they are trustees for those who labour; and
their hoards are the banking-houses of these latter. Whether they mean it or not, they do, in effect, execute their trust-some with more, some with less fidelity and judgment. . But on the whole, the duty is performed, and every thing returns, deducting some very trifting commission and discount, to the place from whence it arose.
When the poor rise to destroy the rich, they act as wisely for their own purposes, as when they burn mills, and throw corn into the river, to make bread cheap.
When I say, that we of the people ought to be informed, inclusively I say, we ought not to be flattered; flattery is the reverse of instruction. The poor in that case would be rendered as impro- . vident as the rich, which would not be at all good for them.
Nothing can be so base and so wicked as the · political canting language, “The labouring poor.", Let compassion be shewn in action, the more the better, according to eve man's ability, but let there be no lamentation of their condition. It is no relief to their miserable circumstances; it is only an insult to their miserable understandings. It arises from a total want of charity, or a total want of thought. Want of one kind was never relieved by want of any other kind. Patience, labour, sobriety, frugality, and religion, should be recom, mended to them; all the rest is downright fraud,