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« DE moy voyant n'estre faict aulcun prix digne d'oeuvre, “ et considerant par tout ce tres-noble royaulme ung chascun 5 aujourd'huy soy instamment exercer et travailler, part à la “ fortification de sa patrie, et la deffendre : part au repoulsement “ des ennemis, et les offendre....le tout en police tant belle, en 5 ordonnance si mirificque, et à proufit tant evident pour l’advenir, 56 Par doncques n’estre adscript et en ranc mis des nostres en 4 partie offensive, qui m'ont estimé trop imbecille et impotent : 6 de l'aultre qui est deffensive n’estre employé aulcunement:
ay imputé à honte plus que mediocre, estre veu spectateur 66 ocieux de tant vaillans, diserts et chevalereux personaiges qui 66 en veue et spectacle de toute Europe jouent ceste insigne fable et 66 tragicque-comedie, ne m'esvertuer de moy-mesme, et non y consommer ce rie mon tout, qui me restoit.”
Rabelais, prol. to 3d book, edit. Du Chat, 1741.
F. ........BUT your dialogue, and your politics, and your
bitter notes H. Cantantes, my dear Burdett, minus via lædit.
F. Cantantes, if you please; but bawling out the rights of man, they say, is not singing.
H. To the ears of man, what music sweeter than the rights of man?
F. Yes: such music as the whistling of the wind before a tempest. You very well know what these gentlemen think of it: you cannot have forgotten. “ Sir, whenever I hear of the word RIGHTS,
I o have learned to consider it as preparatory to “ some desolating doctrine. It seems to me, to “ be productive of some wide spreading ruin, of “ some wasting desolation."
And do you not remember the enthusiasim with which these sentiments were applauded by the house, and the splendid rewards which immediately followed this declaration? For no other earthly
merit in the speaker, that Oedipus himself could have discovered.
H. It is never to be forgotten. Pity their ignorance.
F. Punish their wickedness.
H. We shall never, I believe, differ much in our actions, wishes, or opinions. I too say with you.... Punish the wickedness of those mercenaries who utter such atrocities : and do you, with me, pity the ignorance and folly of those regular governments who reward them; and who do not see that a claim of Rights by their people, so far from treason or sedition, is the strongest avowal they can make of their subjection: and that nothing can more evidently shew the natural disposition of mankind to rational obedience, than their invariable use of this word right, and their perpetual application of it to all which they desire, and to every thing which they deem excellent.
F. I see the wickedness more plainly than the folly; the consequence staring one in the face : for, certainly, if men can claim no RIGHTS, they cannot justly complain of any WRONGS.
H. Most assuredly: but your last is almost an identical proposition ; and you are not accustomed to make such. What do you mean by the words RIGHT and WRONG?
F. What do I mean by those words? What every other person means by them.
H. And what is that?
H. Yes: but not better; and therefore not at all.