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with several particulars relative to its consequences in the administration.

In the ninth and last letter Mr. Rousseau enters into a refutation of the fallacious, arguments, and injurious reflections thrown out against him, in a work entiiled Letters written from the Country : exposing the design of the Author, and delineating the general character and fituation of the present citizens of Geneva ; whom he endeavours to animate with a spirit to infift upon their ancient rights and privileges, against the encroaching and oppressive disposition of the Magistracy.

But, having extended this article to a considerable length, we must here take leave of this very spirited and ingenious Writer; hoping we never shall have occasion to peruse any more of his disagreeable remonftrances. For, after all, we cannot help thinking, notwithstanding the justice of his complaints against his oppressors, that there is some justice also in the censures which he tells us his friends have pafled on his own indiscretion. Add to this, that the bitterness of these complaints is somewhat extraordinary, as coming from a man of such pretended fortitude and intrepidity. As well may the soldier, who rushes into battle, complain of the mutilation or the loss of limbs, as a Writer, who attacks the prejudices of the multitude and the prerogatives of the Great, murmur at persecution. Mr. Roufleau is proud enough of boasting, that he wanted not an Azylum in almost every country in Europe : but some people chuse rather to make a merit of their sufferings than to avoid them. It is no wonder, therefore, as every man is in a great degree the architect of his own fortune, that it is generally determined by the ruling pallion by which he is actuated.

Memoires touchant le Gouvernement d'Angleterre, &c. Memoirs relative to the Government of England; containing

a concise history of the most confiderable revolutions that have happened in the English Government from the time of William the Conqueror to the last great revolution. Amsterdam 1764. Imported by Vaillant,


E are informed in the dedication of these memoirs,

addressed to his majesty, that they were originally composed, by the command, and for the use of his royal Grandfather king George I; who, it is observed, seriously regretted his being so little acquainted with the constitution of bis king


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Memoirs relative to the Government of England. doms, on his accession to the throne; fo that he soon found himself, by the intrigues of designing courtiers, rather the head of a party, than King over the whole people.

In tracing the several revolutions from that early period of the English history, the Author of these memoirs endeavours to fhew in what manner the Royal prerogative, which was placed upon an absolute footing by William the First, was by degrees rendered more moderate, and reduced within its present limits. At the same time he traces very particularly the origin and progress of the authority of the House of Commons, and the several steps by which it rose to its present state of credit and power: pointing out the attempts of several English Monarchs (especially those of the House of Stewart) to prevent the increase of parliamentary authority, and to restore the royal prerogative to its ancient dignity.

In the second part of these memoirs, he considers the state of the English government at the accession of William the Third: assigning the several reasons, which, in his opinion, prevented the people from enjoying that share of happiness or tranquillity with which they flattered themselves under his reign, and the succeeding one of Queen Anne. To this end he enters into the party intrigues of the Whigs and Tories; endeavouring to prove the truth of that trite affertion, that the views of both were constantly the same; viz. to elbow each other out of place, and to get themselves in. The Author next hazards a few cautious reflections on the conduct of George the First, both before and after his coming to the throne; with which these memoirs conclude.

Of the Author's manner of writing and thinking on these subjects, we shall give our Readers the following specimen, relative to the servility of the English peers, in paying their court to the German attendants of George 1. “ With regard to most of those personages that accompanied the king to Eng. Jand, they were much censured for giving themselves unbecoming airs of superiority and insolence to the English ; and for abusing their interest with his majesty, in getting titles and employments conferred on any body that paid them money; an infamous traffic that justly excited the murmurs of the nation. In my opinion, however, the Germans were in fome degree to be excused, by that mean servility with which the English courtiers of the first rank behaved to them, both in public and private. It was certainly enough to turn the brains of a few petty people, who had made but a mean figure in their own country, to see themselves transported to a superb and magnificent court, where every body was solicitous to get into their good graces,



by presents and affiduities. Is it to be wondered at that a Va-
let-de-chambre, or even a person in a more considerable station,
should forget himself in such a situation? Or that a little female
refugee should imagine herself to be Somebody, when she saw
a train of lords and dukes at her Ruelle, continually flattering
her, both on her own personal merit, and on the favour in
which her husband stood with the king ?” But the picture this
Writer draws, is so disgraceful and mortifying to an English-
man, that we shall particularize it no farther.

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Dictionnaire Philosophique, portatif.
A Philosophical Dictionary, for the pocket. 1765.

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EALOUS as we have ever been for the liberty of the

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presume none of our Readers will impute to us the fuppofition,
that Government can in no case interfere with propriety, to sup-
press the circulation of' books, palpably tending to the subver-
fion of the fundamental principles of society. In countries
where Religion is made almost the fole vehicle to morals, and
men are chiefly urged to the practice of social duties by the
di&tates of Revelation ; to throw contempt upon the authority
of the latter, is indirectly to fap the foundation of the morals of
the people : and this is the same, whether that revelation be
true or false. If a Turk, for instance, be induced to dis-
charge any moral duty, or to abstain from any vice, because
of an injunction delivered to Mahomet when in the third hea.
ven; hould we not strike at the root of his moral principles,
by turning into ridicule, or pointing out the falsehood, of his
prophet's pretended journey? If, in taking away an absurd
motive to virtue, a rational one were substituted immediately in
its place, some reason might be given for discrediting the former;
but the misfortune is, that our new philosophical reformers act,
for the most part, diredly contrary to the theological zealots of
old. The primitive divines were generally absolute and dog-
matical ; seeking to elbow out one system by introducing ano-
ther. Our modern Sophists are, on the other hand, all scep-
ticks; whose extreme modesty preventing their forming systems
themselves, they are solely employed in demolishing those of
others. Can they think it will be time enough to inculcate the
true principles of morality, when they have entirely eradicated
the false? It may then probably be too late ; at least it may be-
come those, who have the care of a nation's morals, to inter-
fere a little in the proceedings of such precipitate reformers.


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This case, it may be said, has been formally committed into the hands of the Clergy ; but, if the staff be taken out of their hands, or the case be found too desperate for their intervention, it is possible that other afliitance may be requisite. Such, at leait, are the only justifiable motives on which we conceive the civil government can with propriety interfere to suppress, or prevent the circulation of printed books.

The next consideration is, in what manner, consistent with the privileges of a free people, government is in this case, to interfere? Doubtless by putting the laws in execution ; or by making new laws if those in being are found insufficient. Nothing can be more dangerous to the constitution, than for the ministry or magistracy, to take upon them to supply the defects of the legislature. If the King, Lords, and Cominons of England were to make a law, forbidding people to write about the most indifferent topic in nature, it would become every good subject to obey that law, provided the prohibition were distinct and express. But it is not the business of the administrators of the laws, to meddle with the application of general injunctions to particular facts, before the actual commission of those facts.

It is, in England, the business of a jury, selected from among the people, to determine, after a fact is committed, whether the supposed criminal hath broken the law or not. And we do not krow any just means the magistracy have, to prevent the breach of the laws, but the putting them strictly into execution, by a severe exaction of the penalties from those who break them t. A Constable for instance might be ever so well convinced of the intention of a man to commit a high-way robbery, but his own private opinion would hardly bear him out in seizing such person and making him a prisoner, in order to prevent the commiffion of the fact intended.

+ It will indeed admit of a dispute, whether men have not a natural right at their own peril, to break through all injunctions that are merely political? It is against the law of nature itself, indeed, for a man to rob or murder; so that he hath no right to commit such flagitious crimes, eren though he consents to suffer death for it. But in matters merely civil and political, we do not see why a man may not break the law if he chofes to pay the penalty. What should hinder a poacher, for instance, from killing game, if he is disposed to amuse himself a while in the county jail? A Robin-hood Caluist from writing against the Trinity, if he chures to lie a month in Newgate, to be twice pilloried, and to beat hemp for a twelvemonth in Bridewell? Nay, what should even hinder a Jacobite from speaking treason, if he has a mind to be hanged for it


As ignorance of the law, indeed, is no legal excuse for the breach of it, it would be kind in the administrators of justice to make the restrictions of our laws more generally known than they are. And thus if, on the importation of any scandalous book from abroad, the Bench of Bishops, or a committee of the Clergy by them appointed, should write an exhortation to the Booksellers of this kingdom, setting forth the dangerous consequences that might attend a tranNation of it into the vulgar tongue; and if at the same time, another notice were fent from the police, setting forth wherein such a translation would be derogatory to the laws of the kingdom, and advising translators and Booksellers of their own danger in undertaking it ;-all this would be no more than we might expect from the watchful guardians over our religion and morals. But if, instead of this, the book should be publickly advertised, a new edition of the original be made in this metropolis, and be bought up with avidity; while only one or two prelates should be found pious enough to interest themselves in preventing its circulation; and that not by a pastoral exhortation from themselves, but by an officious information to a Minister of State; and if, instead of a proper advice from the police, a threat of seizing papers, and of prosecutions, should come from a King's messenger, this last method, we say, would give room for suspecting at least that both the magistracy and the clergy neglected their own departments, to interfere with that of each other.

Nay, we fear, there would be some room for men greatly tenacious of their liberty, to suspect an inclination in the administrators of our laws to dispense with the cost and trouble of getting them enacted ; and of adopting a flat pro lege voluntas in all cases where they might think it neceffary. It is true that, to threaten a profecution is not to threaten punishment; but it is well known, that prosecutions, coming from a certain quarter, prove a severe punishment, even on those who are acquitted by their country as innocent. Add to this, that such threats from those who have a person at command that can put them in practice, ex officio, carry with them a shrewd intimation that they take upon themselves to judge both of the nature of the crime, and of the intent and meaning of the laws that forbid it. It' is seldom, however, that our ministers are the most able lawyers ; so that it is evident they act rather from what they would have to be law, than what really is fo. It is from this propenfity, in the executive part of government, to dispense with the legislative part, that we fee with extreme reluctance any occafion given to countenance it: thinking it extremely rash and imprudent in individuals to take such steps as may appear to juftify an administration in the exercise of such dangerous prerogatives. Philosophers, or those who pretend to be so, have



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