Imágenes de páginas

Should what is called our prosperous situation, be still more prosperous ; Should France have yet new distresses to suffer; these principles will remain the fame. They are, I am persuaded, the principles of eternal truth and justice :

“ If these fail;
The pillar'd firmament is rottenness,

“ And earth's base built on stubble." There are, I know, persons of a different opinion; and who imagine that the felicity of an individual, and of a nation, depend principally on riches, without enquiring by what means those riches are acquired, or in what manner they are iinproved. If any person who is rivetted to such an opinion, Mould take up this book, I think it but fair to tell him, he may almost as well lay it down again ; as there is little in it to afford him either satisfaction or conviction. But, as the friend of that man, I

cannot help earnestly persuading him ferioully to · reflect ; whether, while his mind is under the in

fluence of such a sentiment, he deserves to be called either a BRITON, or a CHRISTIAN; or whether he is not the enemy of Liberty, of Truth, of Virtue, of Goodness, of GOD HIMSELF!

I am fearful that several of my sentiments, as well as the manner in which I have expressed thein, may not be agreeable to some persons I cordially esteem. I inust, therefore, request them not only to read, but to pause, to reflect with impartiality, before they censure. I trust I possess a mind open to conviction, and that I shall esteem the man who will



endeavour, with candour, to convince me of my mistakes, MY FRIEND. Should any one honour me with public notice, I hope, however engaged in the common concerns of life, to be able, as I am sure I shall be willing, to defend or to give up any thing that I have written. This is nothing more than my duty. When a man presumes to address the public, and at the same time declares his determination not to reply to any thing that may be said to him, such a declaration might be considered as an unpardonable insult, were it not a sort of acknowledgment of the weakness of the writer, or of the weakness of his cause ; probably of both.

I should be very unhappy, if what I have now said, should be considered as throwing down the gauntlet, or challenging any one to meet me in the unpleasant, though sometimes unavoidable field of controverly. I therefore declare, that if any one thinks proper to attack me, it must be upon my own ground. I am not responsible for the opinions of other writers, who may have taken up their pens in defence of the French Revolution. Should any person therefore charge me with being a republi. can, or an enemy to our EXCELLENT CONSTITUTION: Should he insinuate that my design is to fap the foundations of religion, or government; or to introduce anarchy and confusion in this kingdom : Should he take up the last desperate weapons of a desperate cause, personal calumny and abuse ; he may rest assured, that such conduct will only excite in me the filent emotions of contempt, or rather of


[ocr errors]





pity. My time is too valuable; my disposition is too placid; and though I cannot boast, yet I hope I have within me too much of the natural dignity, the sterling nobility of human nature, still more ennobled by Christianity, to perinit me to stoop to take up those despicable weapons which are never resorted to but as the last resource of vanquished argument; or to engage in the horrid fray of railing for railing.

As to the style of this work—But here I would be entirely silent, was I not conscious that every one of my readers will too soon perceive luch imperfections, as to pronounce me deficient in that respect I owe the public, if I neglected to offer some apology. My hope is, that as my pretensions are humble, candour will associate with criticism, to prevent her from being severe. This performance is nothing more than the honest language of a plain man, engaged in a good cause, and feeling its importance. If I have been so happy as to render myself well understood, and above all, should what I have written awaken any of my countrymen to a proper consideration of those interests which most materially concern thein, my ambition will be gratified, and I shall feel that satisfaction which nothing can ever take away.

B. F. Mursh, 1792.


« AnteriorContinuar »