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tutes them a party of malcontents, in opposition to the majority of the community, who are happy under, and therefore with and intend to preserve the present form of their conftitution and government.
Whoever views with perfect impartiality the present internal political state of this country, will, I am confident, readily admit, that it would be a fruitless attempt to single out one individual from the whole minority, who sides with that party, merely from the motives, which distinguished one of the old parties of this country from the other, at the time of their original formation.....! · I may, perhaps, be singular, (this publication will prove how far I am warrantable) in attributing the formation, the continuance and the encrease of all such parties, as have at different times divided our country, to the inconsiderate and hasty, though, perhaps, well meant denial of true principles. It is no Greatest evils
arise from the less fingular than true, that the churchman, inconfiderate the royalist, and the tory, admitting and wish- principles. ing to preserve the true constitutional form of the government in being, were so blinded in their zeal, as to deny the truth of first principles, upon which the puritan, the independant, and the republican, unwarrantably engrafted the falselt doctrines. Instead of 9
denial of true
shewing, that these doctrines were not confequences deducible from the principles, (for every consequence is virtually contained in its premises), they denied absolutely the principles, which were true, because they disap, proved of doctrines, which were false, and which, consequently, could not be fairly drawn from true principles, Thus, when the alter, ations and differences of the opposite parties came to be publicly agitated, they seldom went further, than the truth or falsity of the principles themselves; in which contests the strength of the argument was necessarily with those, who contended for the principles; and whilst that party had the address to keep up the controversy upon this ground only, they were sure of making proselytes of all those, who had resolution or ability to form a judg. ment of their own.
The misfortunes, which have heretofore happened to our unhappy country, from the contests of these opposite parties, are of tog serious a nature not to rouze every true patriot to the exertion of his utmost efforts to prevent a repetition of them. Nothing can be more certain, than that a party of no inconsiderable number of malcontents does at this moment exist in this country; nothing more evident, than that the party will gain
Or or lose strength in proportion to the accession or defertion of its numbers; and nothing fo attractive, as the plausibility and truth of the principles, which are supposed or represented to actuate and support the party. It is flattering to all men to judge in their own cause; it is the favourite maxim of modern politicians, to inculcate the right of every one to judge and act for himself; and it is artfully holden out by many, that whoever is not directed by his own opinion and judgment, is kept in darkness, and deprived of that freedom, which has been given to every indivi. dual by an allwise Creator.. . When I call to my récollection the effects of former attempts to deduce false doctrines from true principle, I am necessitated to conclude, that if some true principles now established and supported by the minority, are denied by the majority, the daily desertions from the one to the other will very quickly invert the present proportion of their respective numbers; for undeniable truth Truth will in will ever make its own way, and by degrees its own way. gain over the multitude; amongst whom more will be, in the end, left to the unbiassed freedom of their own judgment, than to the dictates of interested power and influence. It was long ago faid, decipimur Specie re£ti:
when depravity disposes to evil, the strongest incentive to the actual commission of it is a plausible appearance of its rectitude. Much as I reprobate the modern doctrine of civil equalization, with all its tremendous train of destructive concomitants, so do I hold, that the denial of the truth of uncontrovertible principles must rather necessitate, than provoke men into the adoption of any doctrine, which leaves them the liberty of a free assent to such self-evident propositions.
I am happy in being sanctioned in my principle of reasoning, by the great apostle of modern liberty. *“ The jesuits,” says he, « about two centuries ago, in order to vindicate their king-killing † principles, hap
pened, * Priestley's Eflays upon the First Principles of Government,.p. 27, 28.
it The works of Busenbaum, a German jesuit, were burnt by the late parliament of Paris, for teaching these principles. It will be candid, and, perhaps, fatisfactory to the curious, to state the words, in which this king-killing doctrine is expresed by this author ; as the judgment upon it will vary according to the admiffi. bility of the doctrines of pallive obedience and nonresistance. " Ad defensionem vitæ & integritatis membrorum, licet etiam filio, religioso Eg fubdito fe tueri, fi opus fit, cum occisione, contra ip/um parentem, abbatem, principem; nisi forte propter mortem hujus fecutura essent nimis magna in. commoda, ist bella, &c.” lib. 3. pars 1. de Homicidio, art. viii. “ To defend one's life, or limbs, it is lawful for a child, a religious man or a subject to defend himself against his parent, superior, or sovereign, if it be necessary, even by killing the aggressor; unless by killing him very great mischiefs indeed should happen, as wars, &c.” To Englishmen, who sometimes soften their vere dia by finding a fe defendendo, these principles may not seem more outrageous, than Dr. Priestley's own doctrines. “ If it be asked, how far a people may lawfully go, in punishing their chief magistrates, I answer, that if the enormity of the offence (which is of the same extent as the injury done to the public) be considered, any punishment is justifiable, that a man can incur in human society.” Elsays on the first Principles of Govern. ment, p. 36. • Priestley, ibid. p. 29.
pened, among other arguments, to make use. of this great and just principle, that all civil power is ultimately derived from the people ; and their adversaries, in England and elsewhere, instead of shewing how they abused and perverted that fundamental principle of all government, in the case in question, did what disputants, warmed with controversy, are very apt to do; they denied the principle itself, and maintained that all civil power is derived from God; as if the Jewish theocracy had been established throughout the whole world.”-And, * « The history of this controversy, about the doctrine of passive obedience and non-resistance, affords a striking example of the danger of having recourse to false prin