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POLITICAL TRACTS.

Fallitur, egregio quisquis sub principe credit
Servitium, nunquam Libertas gratior extat
Quam sub Rege pio.

CLAUDIANUS

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TUL

FALSE ALARM.

[1770.]

ONE of the chief advantages derived by the pre sent generation from the improvement and diffusion of philosophy, is deliverance from unnecessary terrors, and exemption from false alarms. The un. usual appearances, whether regular or accidental, which once spread consternation over ages of ignorance, are now the recreations of inquisitive security, The sun is no more lamented when it is eclipsed, than when it sets; and meteors play their corusca. tions without prognostick or prediction.

The advancement of political knowledge may be expected to produce in time the like effects. Causeless discontent and seditious violence will

grow

less frequent, and less formidable, as the science of government is better ascertained, by a diligent study of the theory of man.

It is not indeed to be expected, that physical and political truth should meet with equal accept. ance, or gain ground upon the world with equal

est.

facility. The notions of the naturalist find mankind in a state of neutrality, or at worst have nothing to encounter but prejudice and vanity; prejudice without malignity, and vanity without inter

But the politician's improvements are opposed by every passion that can exclude conviction or suppress it; by ambition, by avarice, by hope, and by terror, by publick faction, and private animosity.

It is evident, whatever be the cause, that this nation, with all its renown for speculation and for learning, has yet made little proficiency in civil wisdom. We are stilt so much unacquainted with our own state, and so unskilful in the pursuit of happiness, that we shudder without danger, complain without grievances, and suffer our quiet to be disturbed, and our commerce to be interrupted, by an opposition to the government, raised only by interest, and supported only by clamour, which yet has so far prevailed upon ignorance and timidity, that many favour it as reasonable, and many dread it as powerful.

What is urged by those who have been so industrious to spread suspicion, and incite fury from one end of the kingdom to the other, may be known by perusing the papers which have been at once presented as petitions to the king, and exhibited in print as remonstrances to the people. It

may therefore not be improper to lay before the Publick the reflections of a man who cannot favour the opposition, for he thinks it wicked, and cannot jear it, for he thinks it weak.

The grievance which has produced all this tempest of outrage, the oppression in which all ather

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