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check of the civil power, or when a corrupt ministry joins in giving it too great a scope, the consequence can be nothing less, than infallible ruin and slavery to a state. After I had finished this paper, the
printer sent me two small pamphlets, called The management of the war ; written with some plausibility, much artifice, and abundance of misrepresentations, as well as direct falfhoods in point of fact. These I have thought worth examining, which I shall accordingly do, when I find an opportunity.
Thursday, January 18, 1710.
Parva momenta in spem metumque impellunt animos.
OPES are natural to most men,
especially to fanguine complexions ; and among the various changes, that happen in the course of publick affairs, they
are seldom without some grounds. Even in desperate cases, where it is impossible they should have any foundation, they are often affected to keep a countenance, and make an enemy think we have fome recourse, which they know nothing of. This appears to have been for several months past the condition of those people, whom I am forced, for want of other phrases, to call the ruined party. They have taken up since their fall some real, and some pretended hopes. When the earl of Sunderland was discarded, they hoped her majesty would proceed no farther in the change of her ministry; and had the infolence to misrepresent her words to foreign states. They hoped, no body durst advise the diffolution of the parliament. When this was done, and farther alterations made in court, they hoped, and endeavoured to ruin the credit of the nation. They likewise hoped, that we should have fome terrible lofs abroad, which would force us to unravel all, and begin again upon their bottom. But, of all their hopes, whether real or assumed, there is none more extraordinary than that, which they
now would seem to place their whole confidence in: that this great turn of affairs was only occasioned by a short madness of the people, from which they will recover in a little time, when their eyes are open, and they grow cool and sober enough to consider the truth of things, and how much they have been deceived. It is not improbable, that some few of the deepest fighted among these reasoners are well enough convinced, how vain all such hopes must be: but for the rest, the wiseft of them seem to have been very ill judges of the peoples dispositions; the want of which knowledge was a principal occasion to haften their ruin; for surely, had they suspected which way the popular current inclined, they never would have run against it by that impeachment. I therefore conclude, they generally are so blind, as to imagine fome comfort from this fantastical opinion ; that the people of England are at present distracted, but will shortly come to their fenses again.
For the service therefore of our adversaries and friends I shall briefly examine this point, by shewing what are the causes
and symptoms of a peoples madness; and how it differs from their natural bent and inclination.
It is Machiavel's observation, that the people, when left to their own judgment, do feldom mistake their true interests; and indeed they naturally love the constitution, they are born under; never defiring to change, but under great oppreffions. However, they are to be deceived by several means. It hath often happened in Greece, and sometimes in Rome, that those
very men, who have contributed to shake off a former tyranny, have, instead of restoring the old constitution, deluded the people into a worse and more ignominious slavery. Besides, all great changes have the same effect upon commonwealths, that thunder hath upon liquors, making the dregs fly up to the top; the lowest Plebeians rise to the head of affairs, and there preserve themselves, by representing the nobles and other friends to the old government as enemies to the publick. The encouraging of new mysteries and new deities, with the pretences of farther purity in religion, hath likewise been a
frequent topick to mislead the people. And not to mention more, the promoting false reports of dangers from abroad hath often served to prevent them from fencing against real dangers at home. By these and the like arts, in conjunction with a great depravity of manners, and a weak, or corrupt administration, the madness of the people hath risen to such a heighth, as to break in pieces the whole frame of the best instituted governments. But however such great frenzies, being artificially raised, area perfect force and constraint upon human nature; and under a wise steddy prince will certainly decline of themselves, settling like the sea after a storm; and then the true bent and genius of the people will appear. Ancient and modern story are full of instances to illustrate what I say.
In our own island we had a great example of a long madness in the people, kept up by a thousand artifices, like intoxicating medicines, until the constitution was destroyed; yet the malignity being spent, and the humour exhausted that served to foment it, before the usurpers