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F all things, an indiscreet tampering with the trade of provifions is the most dangerous, and it is always worst in the time when men are moft difpofed to it: that is, in the time of scarcity. Because there is nothing on which the paffions of men are fo violent, and their judgment so weak, and on which there exifts fuch a multitude of illfounded popular prejudices.

The great ufe of government is as a restraint; and there is no reftraint which it ought to put upon others, and upon itself too, rather than that which is imposed on the fury of fpeculating under circumftances 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 fufficiently ftrong. In that state of affairs, and of the publick with relation to them, the first thing that government owes

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to us, the people, is information; the next is timely coercion:-the one to guide our judgment; the other to regulate our tempers.

To provide for us in our neceffities is not in the power of government. It would be a vain prefumption 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 pofitive good in this, or perhaps in any thing else. It is not only fo of the state and statesman, but of all the claffes and defcriptions of the rich-they are the penfioners of the poor, and are maintained by their fuperfluity. They are under an abfolute, hereditary, and indefeasible dependence on those who labour, and are mifcalled the poor.

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The labouring people are only poor, because they are numerous. Numbers in their nature imply poverty. In a fair diftribution among a vast multitude, none can have much. That class of dependant penfioners called the rich, is fo extremely small, that if all their throats were cut, and a diftribution made of all they confume in a year, it would not give a bit of bread and cheese for one night's fupper to those who labour, and who in reality feed both the penfioners and themselves.

But the throats of the rich ought not to be cut, nor their magazines plundered; because, in their perfons they are truftees 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, fome with lefs fidelity and judgment. But on the whole, the duty is performed, and every thing returns, deducting some very trifling commiffionand discount, to the place from whence it arofe. When the poor rise to destroy the rich, they act as wifely for their own purposes as when they burn mills, and throw corn into the river, to make bread cheap.

When I fay, that we of the people ought to be informed, inclufively I fay, we ought not to be flattered; flattery is the reverse of inftruction. The poor in that cafe would be rendered as improvident as the rich, which would not be at all good for them.

Nothing can be fo bafe and fo wicked as the political canting language, "The labouring poor." Let compaffion be fhewn in action, the more the better, according to every man's ability, but let there be no lamentation of their condition. It is no relief to their miserable circumftances; it is only an infult to their miserable understandings. It arifes 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, fobriety, frugality, and religion, fhould be recommended to them; all the reft is downright fraud.


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