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bis understanding; if he judges of what is truly honorable for himself with the same superior genius which animates and directs him to eloquence in debate, to wisdom in decision,
even the pen of Junius shall contribute to reward him. Recorded honors shall gather round his monument, and thicken over him. It is a solid fabric, and will support the laurels that adorn it. I am not conversant in the language of panegyric; these praises are extorted from me: but they will wear well; for they have been dearly earned.
TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE LORD CAMDEN.
My Lord, - I turn with pleasure from that barren waste in which no salutary plant takes root, no verdure quickens, to a character fertile, as I willingly believe, in every great and good qualification. I call upon you, in the name of the English nation, to stand forth in defense of the laws of your country, and to exert in the cause of truth and justice those great abilities with which you were intrusted for the benefit of mankind. Your lordship’s character assures me that you will assume that principal part which belongs to you, in supporting the laws of England against a wicked judge, who makes it the occupation of his life to misinterpret and pervert them. If you decline this honorable office, I fear it will be said, that, for some months past, you have kept too much company with the Duke of Grafton. When the contest turns upon the interpretation of the laws, you can not, without a formal surrender of all your reputation, yield the post of honor even to Lord Chatham. Considering the situation and abilities of Lord Mansfield, I do not scruple to affirm, with the most solemn appeal to God for my sincerity, that, in my judgment, he is the very worst and most dangerous man in the kingdom. Thus far I have done my duty in endeavoring to bring him to punishment. But mine is an inferior, ministerial office in the temple of justice. I have bound the victim, and dragged him to the altar.
The man who fairly and completely answers my arguments shall have my thanks and my applause. My heart is already with him. I am ready to be converted. I admire his morality, and would gladly subscribe to the articles of his faith. Grateful as I am to the Good Being whose bounty has imparted to me this reasoning intellect, whatever it is, I hold myself proportionably indebted to him from whose enlightened understanding another ray of knowledge communicates to mine. But neither should I think the most exalted faculties of the human mind a gift worthy of the Divinity, nor any assistance in the improvement of them a subject of gratitude to my fellow-creature, if I were not satisfied that really to inform the understanding corrects and enlarges the heart.
FROM HIS LETTER TO THE KING.
To the Printer of “ The Public Advertiser," When the complaints of a brave and powerful people are observed to increase in proportion to the wrongs they have suffered; when, instead of sinking into submission, they are roused to resistance, — the time will soon arrive at which every inferior consideration must yield to the security of the sovereign, and to the general safety of the state. There is a moment of difficulty and danger at which flattery and falsehood can no longer deceive, and simplicity itself can no longer be misled. Let us suppose it arrived. Let us suppose a gracious, well-intentioned prince made sensible at last of the great duty he owes to his people, and of his own disgraceful situation ; that he looks round him for assistance, and asks for no advice but how to gratify the wishes and secure the happiness of his subjects. In these circumstances, it may be matter of curious speculation to consider, if an honest man were permitted to approach a king, in what terms he would address himself to his sovereign. Let it be imagined, no matter how improbable, that the first prejudice against his character is removed; that the ceremonious difficulties of an audience are surmounted; that he feels himself animated by the purest and most honorable affections to his king and country; and that the great person whom he addresses has spirit enough to bid him speak freely, and understanding enough to listen to him with attention. Unacquainted with the vain impertinence of forms, he would deliver his sentiments with dignity and firmness, but not without respect.
Sir, - It is the misfortune of your life, and originally the cause of every reproach and distress which has attended your gorernment, that you should never have been acquainted with the langnage of truth until you heard it in the complaints of your people. It is not, however, too late to correct the error of your education. We are still inclined to make an indulgent allowance for the pernicious lessons you received in your youth, and to form the most sanguine hopes from the natural benevolence of your disposition. We are far from thinking you capable of a direct, deliberate purpose to invade those original rights of your subjects on which all their civil and political liberties depend. Had it been possible for us to entertain a suspicion so dishonorable to your character, we should long since have adopted a style of remonstrance very distant from the humility of complaint. The doctrine inculcated by our laws, that the king can do no wrong, is admitted without reluctance. We separate the amiable, goodnatured prince from the folly and treachery of his servants, and the private virtues of the man from the vices of his government. Were it not for this just distinction, I know not whether your Majesty's condition, or that of the English nation, would deserve most to be lamented. I would prepare your mind for a favorable reception of truth by removing every painful, offensive idea of personal reproach. Your subjects, sir, wish for nothing but that: as they are reasonable and affectionate enough to separate your person from your government, so you, in your turn, should distinguish between the conduct which becomes the permanent dignity of a king and that which serves only to promote the temporary interest and miserable ambition of a minister.
You ascended the throne with a declared, and, I doubt not, a sincere resolution of giving universal satisfaction to your subjects. You found them pleased with the novelty of a young prince whose countenance promised even more than his words, and loyal to you, not only from principle, but passion. It was not a cold profession of allegiance to the first magistrate, but a partial, animated attachment to a favorite prince, the native of their country. They did not wait to examine your conduct, nor to be determined by experience, but gave you a generous credit for the future blessings of your reign, and paid you in advance the dearest tribute of their affections. Such, sir, was once the disposition of a people who now surround your throne with reproaches and complaints. Do justice to yourself. Banish from your mind those unworthy opinions with which some interested persons have labored to possess you. Distrust the men who tell you that the English are naturally light and inconstant; that they complain without a cause. Withdraw your confidence equally from all parties, – from ministers, favorites, and relations; and let there be one moment in your life in which you have consulted your own understanding
You have still an honorable part to act. The affections of your subjects may still be recovered. But, before you subdue their hearts, you must gain a noble victory over your own. Discard those little personal resentments which have too long directed your public conduct. Pardon this man the remainder of his punishment; and, if resentment still prevails, make it, what it should have been long since, an act, not of mercy, but contempt. He will soon fall back into his natural station, a silent senator, and hardly supporting the weekly eloquence of a newspaper. The gentle breath of peace would leave him on the surface, neglected and unremoved : it is only the tempest that lifts him from his place.
Without consulting your minister, call together your whole council. Let it appear to the public that you can determine and act for yourself. Come forward to your people. Lay aside the wretched formalities of a king, and speak to your subjects with the spirit of a man, and in the language of a gentleman. Tell them you have been fatally deceived. The acknowledgment will be no disgrace, but rather an honor to your understanding. Tell them you are determined to remove every cause of complaint against your government; that you will give your confidence to no man who does not possess the confidence of your subjects; and leave it to themselves to determine, by their conduct at a future election, whether or no it be in reality the general sense of the nation that their rights have been arbitrarily invaded by the present House of Commons, and the constitution betrayed. They will then do justice to their representatives and to themselves.
These sentiments, sir, and the style they are conveyed in, may be offensive, perhaps, because they are new to you. Accustomed to the language of courtiers, you measure their affections by the vehemence of their expressions; and, when they only praise you indirectly, you admire their sincerity. But this is not a time to trifle with your fortune. They deceive you, sir, who tell you that you have many friends whose affections are founded upon a principle of personal attachment. The first foundation of friendship is, not the power of conferring benefits, but the equality with which they are received, and may be returned. The fortune which made you a king forbade you to have a friend : it is a law of nature which can not be violated with impunity. The mistaken prince who looks for friendship will find a favorite, and in that favorite the ruin of his affairs.
The people of England are loyal to the house of Hanover, not from a vain preference of one family to another, but from a conviction that the establishment of that family was necessary to the support of their civil and religious liberties. This, sir, is a principle of allegiance equally solid and rational, fit for Englishmen to adopt, and well worthy of your Majesty's encouragement. We can not long be deluded by nominal distinctions. The name of Stuart, of itself, is only contemptible: armed with the sovereign authority, their principles are formidable. The prince who imitates their conduct should be warned by their example, and, while he plumes himself upon the security of his title to the crown, should remember, that, as it was acquired by one revolution, it may be lost by another.
Distinguished compiler of an English dictionary; author of “ Rasselas, a Tale of Abyssinia ;” many poems and satires; moral essays in the “ Rambler” and “ Idler," periodicals; "Lives of the Poets." His influence on the literature of the day was very great; and his heavy, classical style is admirably characterized by Goldsmith, who said to him, " !f you were to write a fable about little fishes, doctor, you would make the little fishes talk like whales."
LETTER TO LORD CHESTERFIELD.
My Lord, - I have been lately informed by the proprietor of “The World,” that two papers, in which my Dictionary is recommended to the public, were written by your lordship. To be so distinguished is an honor, which, being very little accustomed to favors from the great, I know not well how to receive, or in what terms to acknowledge.
When, upon some slight encouragement, I first visited your lordship, I was overpowered, like the rest of mankind, by the enchantment of your address, and could not forbear to wish that I might boast myself le vainqueur du vainqueur de la terre, that I might obtain that regard for which I saw the world contending; but I found my attendance so little encouraged, that neither pride nor modesty would suffer me to continue it. When I had once addressed your lordship in public, I had exhausted all the art of pleasing which a retired and uncourtly scholar can possess. I had done all that I could; and no man is well pleased to have his all neglected, be it ever so little.
Seven years, my lord, have now passed since I waited in your outward rooms, or was repulsed from your door; during which time I have been pushing on my work through difficulties of which it is useless to complain; and have brought it, at last, to the verge of publication, without one act of assistance, one word of encouragement, or one smile of favor. Such treatment I did not expect; for I never had a patron before.
The shepherd in “ Virgil " grew at last acquainted with Love, and found him a native of the rocks.
Is not a patron, my lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and, when he has reached the ground, encumbers him with help ? The notice which you have been pleased to take of my labors, had it been early, had been kind: but it has been delayed till I am indifferent, and can