Page images

last drop of his blood : he will say and do all he can to strengthen the hands of the government under which he lives, in return for the security he enjoys.

Happy is he who is made wise by seeing misery in others, rather than by feeling it in himself.Instat lupus, caveat grex: the wolf is at hand, let the sheep look to themselves : and, above all, let them beware of wolves in sheep's or shepherd's clothing.

December 12, 1792.





THERE has always been such a good understanding between us, that

you and I can speak our minds freely to one another. Our father, you know, always maintained the character of a blunt, honest, sensible man; and our mother was as good a sort of woman as ever lived. They gave us the best teaching they could afford, and the neighbours have never counted us fools. But some people are taking great pains to make us so, and rogues into the bargain. They have tried their skill upon me, and so they will upon you; but I write you this letter to give you warning, that you may look to yourself. For it seems, John, you and I are now to learn every thing from those conceited monkeys the French. Nobody knows any thing now but they, and some Englishmen at home, who hate this country as bad as the French do. With talking about right and equality, and constitution and organization, and such like, they made my head turn round: but I see now pretty well what they mean.

They begin with telling us all mankind are equal : but that is a lie, John; for the children are not equal to the mother, nor the mother to the father; unless where there is petticoat government; and such fami

lies never go on well : the children are often spoiled, and the husband brought to a gaol. But I say people are not equal. The clerk is not equal to the parson; the footman is not equal to the squire; the thief at the bar is not equal to the Judge upon the bench. If it were as they say, then the clerk might get up into the pulpit, the footman might sit at the top of the table, the thief might take his place upon the bench and try the judge, and the coachman might get into the coach and set his master upon the box; who not knowing how to drive, 'tis ten to one but he overturns him. Pretty work we should have with their equality: but, let us have patience and go on with them.

You and I were taught that God governs the world, and that nobody has any power in it but such as he gives them : there is no power but of God: and our Saviour allowed it even in Pontius Pilate, the Roman judge. But you are to believe now, out of the French Bible, that all power is of the people, that is, of you and I, Thomas and John Bull. But if the people in any great national question of difficulty, which is very possible, should be divided into two halves, who are the people then, John? They that lay hold of a sword first, and get to be strongest, will always call themselves the people, and the rest must go to be hanged or lose their heads. If you and I should quarrel about our rights, and there were no law above us, then there's people Thomas against people John, and we must settle it by a civil war; for when there's no law, there's nothing left but the sword or the halter to settle all differences: so I must cut your throat or you must cut mine. This is what always comes of the power of the people, as it is now in France; where all questions haye been carried by cutting off heads and hanging people upon lamp-irons; and then, you know, they

that are hanged can give no vote, and they that are left are all of a mind. But, however, they are as far off from being settled now as they were four years ago; and one of their new kings (Marat) said they must have two hundred and eighty thousand more heads off before they should be right.

Now for their wise notions about government. As all power is in the people, they say there can be no lawful government but what the people make. When all power is taken from those who are now entitled to it by law, and put into the hands of the mob armed with pikes and daggers, that's a constitution, John. Then out of this, the said mob raises what they call organs and functions, and makes a government; but they have been at it in France for four years, and though they have worked very hard sometimes, they have hardly got to the beginning yet. And now have you not sense enough to see what a fine contrivance this is for plundering every gentleman of his property, his house, his land, his goods, and his money, under a pretence that every thing belongs to the Nation? And it holds as well, or better, against churches than against private houses. They tell you farther, that no man has a right to any thing but what he earns himself: so if you

and I, John and Thomas Bull, work ever so hard, and leave what we have to bring up our children in the world, they will have no right to it, because they did not earn it themselves. This notion cuts off all right of inheritance, which is the most sacred upon earth, and without which it would not be worth while either to work or to live: for the nation may meet, make a new government, and take it all away at a stroke. I'll tell you a story: Some while ago a highwayman met with his death upon the road for demanding a gentleman's money : “ That fellow (said a wag)

was a good patriot ; who, supposing the gentleman might have more money in his pocket than he had earned, discovered that it was the property of the nation : so, making himself the nation, he only demanded his own property. But the gentleman being rather too quick for him, shot the nation through the head, and spoiled the new principles of government.” This was bad luck: that man might have lived to havegiven us a continuation of Thomas Paine. And now, John, I'll tell thee plainly, this new notion of government from the mob, is the foolishest, as well as the most rascally, that ever entered into the world: and the very people, that have raised themselves to power and plunder by it, will be fools enough to deny it. They will be telling us presently how God has fought for the French against the Prussians and Austrians; while they don't believe there's a God in the world.

Let us hear next what they have to say about kings. We are shortly to have no more of them, neither below nor above : Tom Paine having been heard to declare, that when he had made revolutions against the kings upon earth, he would try his hand at a revolution in Heaven! You see, John, who they are that talk against kings: they never fail to talk against God Almighty; and in such words as the devils of hell dare not utter! When they pretend to argue with us, they tell us, all kings are bad : that God never made a king: and that all kings are very expensive. But, that all kings are bad cannot be true; because God himself is one of them: he calls himself King of Kings; which not only shows us he is a king, but that he has other kings under him : he is never called King of Republics. The Scripture calls kings the Lord's anointed : but who ever heard of an anointed re

« PreviousContinue »