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of GRAY-S-INN, Efq;
Cont. Edwards 9-4-46 560950
N° 356. SATURDAY, April 28, 1733.
IR Walter Raleigh obferves, that there are few or none great with Kings, who have not used their Power to opprefs; who have not grown infolent and hateful to the People; yea, infolent to thofe Princes, who advanced Them.
Doctor Prideaux goes farther, and makes it a Doubt, whether the Benifit, which the World receives from Government, be jufficient to make Amends for the Calamities, which it juffers from the Follies, Miftakes and Male-Adminiftration of Thole, who manage it.
Thefe melancholy Obfervations of two fuch excellent Writers arofe, no Doubt, from those frequent Inftances of tyrannical and oppreffive Governors, which occurr'd to Them in their historical Refearches. The Truth of them hath been already illuftrated by feveral particular Examples in the Course of thefe Papers, and might be corroborated by a Multitude of other Inftances, which abound in the Hiftories of all Nations; but That would be a needlefs Trouble at preient, and I chufe to make VOL. XI. A
fome general Remarks on this Propenfity of Men in Power to opprefs the People.
There is not a more demonftrable Propofition in Eu'clid than this Maxim in Politicks, that the Happiness of the Governors and the Governed is reciprocal; elpecially in free Countries; and yet, I know not by what Fatality it happens, the former feldom think Themselves ealy in their Administration, unless the latter yield an abfolute and implicit Obedience to all their Measures. This creates a Diffidence between Them, and hath often ended in the most fatal Confequences to Both.
It hath been a Question, much agitated of late, whether the Misfortunes of Nations, in general, have been more owing to the unreasonable Jealoufies of the People, or to the provoking Infolencies and Oppreffions of Thofe in Authority. To fpeak impartially on this Head, it ought to be allow'd that Both have been often to blame, and involved their Country in irretriveable Calamities; but I think it evident from Hiftory that Governors have commonly been the Aggreffors, and led the Way to publick Confufions. The Body of the People, who fubfift upon Trade and Industry, are naturally flow in their Refentments; and, being unable to difcern Dangers at a Distance, are not eafily work'd up into Oppofition; but when They are thoroughly exafperated, and fee Oppreffion ftaring Them full in the Face, They are apt to grow violent, and fometimes run into dangerous Extremes.
There is fomething fo bewitching in Power, that We cannot wonder to fee Governors ufing all their Endeavours to extend it; but as the Happiness of the People depends on keeping it within due Bounds, I cannot forbear fufpecting fome ill Defign in any private Man, who becomes an Advocate for the Enlargement of Power, in a free Country, whatever Regard He may pretend, at the fame Time, for popular Liberty.
As I was dipping, this Morning, into Cato's Letters, I found fome Remarks there, fo appofite to