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I find, sir, you take a particular delight in persisting in absurdity. But if you are not totally incorrigible, the following interpretation of the unfortunate will secure it from any future stripes. It is taken from Johnson’s not abundantly, 2, frugally, persimoniously; not lavishly, with abstinence, cautiously, tenderly. Substitute or for and you must blush at your own conceit. “Kill your sheep or ” Where is the impropriety of this?

Cover art: by Charles Willson Peale, from life, c. 1790–1795.

A collection of scholarly works about individual liberty and free markets.

Independence National Historical Park. Reprinted by permission.

It happened that the charter of Massachusetts was vacated by a decision in Chancery, and a new one was conferred by The agents for that colony did not accept it till they had first consulted the most judicious civilians and politicians upon the contents of it, and then drew up an instrument in which they assigned the reasons of their acceptance. The following extract will serve to show their sense of it: “The colony,” say they, “is now made a province; and the General Court has, with the King’s approbation, as much power in New England as the King and Parliament have in England. They have all English privileges and liberties, and can be touched by and by but of their own making. All the liberties of their religion are for ever secured.”

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You say, that “the power to levy taxes is restrained to provincial and local purposes only, and to be exercised over such only as are inhabitants and proprietors of the said province.”

A collection of scholarly works about individual liberty and free markets.

This other restores the sense of repose to a body without a soul:—

These securities, the most powerful that human affairs will admit of, have the people of Britain for the good deportment of their representatives toward them. They may have proved, at some times, and on some occasions, defective; but, upon the whole, they have been found sufficient.

“All at once wept and tore their hair.”

But what was the use and design of this privilege? To secure his life and property from the attacks of exorbitant power. And in what manner is this done? By giving him the election of those who are to have the disposal and regulation of them, and whose interest is in every respect connected with his.

But we can never enough decry the disorderly sallies of our minds.

For it often falls out that, on the contrary, every one will rather choose to be prating of another man’s province than his own, thinking it so much new reputation acquired; witness the jeer Archidamus put upon Periander, “that he had quitted the glory of being an excellent physician to gain the repute of a very bad poet. And do but observe how large and ample Caesar is to make us understand his inventions of building bridges and contriving engines of war, and how succinct and reserved in comparison, where he speaks of the offices of his profession, his own valor, and military conduct. His exploits sufficiently prove him a great captain, and that he knew well enough; but he would be thought an excellent engineer to boot; a quality something different, and not necessary to be expected in him. Old Dionysius was a very great captain, as it befitted his fortune he should be; but he took very great pains to get a particular reputation by poetry, and yet he was never cut out for a poet. A man of the legal profession being not long since brought to see a study furnished with all sorts of books, both of his own and all other faculties, took no occasion at all to entertain himself with any of them, but fell very rudely and magisterially to descant upon a barricade placed on the winding stair before the study door, a thing that a hundred captains and common soldiers see every day without taking any notice or offence:—

“If my bark sink, ’tis to another sea.”

The duration of his trust is not perpetual, but must expire in a few years, and if he is desirous of the future favor of his constituents, he must not abuse the present instance of it, but must pursue the end for which he enjoys it, otherwise he forfeits it and defeats his own purpose. Besides, if he consent to any laws hurtful to his constituents, he is bound by the same, and must partake the disadvantage of them. His friends, relations, children, all whose ease and comfort are dear to him, will be in a like predicament. And should he concur in any flagrant acts of injustice or oppression, he will be within the reach of popular vengeance; and this will restrain him within due bounds.

“He who can say how he burns with love, has little fire.”

To crown the whole, at the expiration of a few years, if their representatives have abused their trust, the people have it in their power to change them, and to elect others who may be more faithful and more attached to their interest.

“The mind anxious about the future is unhappy.”

Of late memory, the Seigneur de Frauget, lieutenant to the Mareschal de Chatillon’s company, having by the Mareschal de Chabannes been put in government of Fuenterrabia in the place of Monsieur de Lude, and having surrendered it to the Spaniard, he was for that condemned to be degraded from all nobility, and both himself and his posterity declared ignoble, taxable, and forever incapable of bearing arms, which severe sentence was afterwards accordingly executed at Lyons. And, since that, all the gentlemen who were in Guise when the Count of Nassau entered into it, underwent the same punishment, as several others have done since for the like offence. Notwithstanding, in case of such a manifest ignorance or cowardice as exceeds all ordinary example, ’tis but reason to take it for a sufficient proof of treachery and malice, and for such to be punished.