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This will save to France and
England, at least two millions sterling annually to each, and their
relative force be in the same proportion as it is now. If men will
permit themselves to think, as rational beings ought to think,
nothing can appear more ridiculous and absurd, exclusive of all moral
reflections, than to be at the expense of building navies, filling them
with men, and then hauling them into the ocean, to try which can
sink each other fastest. Peace, which costs nothing, is attended with
infinitely more advantage, than any victory with all its expense. But
this, though it best answers the purpose of nations, does not that
of court governments, whose habited policy is pretence for taxation,
places, and offices.

It is, I think, also certain, that the above confederated powers,
together with that of the United States of America, can propose with
effect, to Spain, the independence of South America, and the opening
those countries of immense extent and wealth to the general commerce of
the world, as North America now is.

With how much more glory, and advantage to itself, does a nation act,
when it exerts its powers to rescue the world from bondage, and to
create itself friends, than when it employs those powers to increase
ruin, desolation, and misery. The horrid scene that is now acting by the
English government in the East-Indies, is fit only to be told of Goths
and Vandals, who, destitute of principle, robbed and tortured the world
they were incapable of enjoying.

The opening of South America would produce an immense field of commerce,
and a ready money market for manufactures, which the eastern world does
not. The East is already a country full of manufactures, the importation
of which is not only an injury to the manufactures of England, but a
drain upon its specie. The balance against England by this trade is
regularly upwards of half a million annually sent out in the East-India
ships in silver; and this is the reason, together with German intrigue,
and German subsidies, that there is so little silver in England.

But any war is harvest to such governments, however ruinous it may be
to a nation. It serves to keep up deceitful expectations which prevent
people from looking into the defects and abuses of government. It is the
lo here! and the lo there! that amuses and cheats the multitude.

Never did so great an opportunity offer itself to England, and to all
Europe, as is produced by the two Revolutions of America and France. By
the former, freedom has a national champion in the western world; and by
the latter, in Europe. When another nation shall join France, despotism
and bad government will scarcely dare to appear. To use a trite
expression, the iron is becoming hot all over Europe. The insulted
German and the enslaved Spaniard, the Russ and the Pole, are beginning
to think. The present age will hereafter merit to be called the Age of
Reason, and the present generation will appear to the future as the Adam
of a new world.

When all the governments of Europe shall be established on the
representative system, nations will become acquainted, and the
animosities and prejudices fomented by the intrigue and artifice of
courts, will cease. The oppressed soldier will become a freeman; and
the tortured sailor, no longer dragged through the streets like a felon,
will pursue his mercantile voyage in safety. It would be better that
nations should wi continue the pay of their soldiers during their lives,
and give them their discharge and restore them to freedom and their
friends, and cease recruiting, than retain such multitudes at the
same expense, in a condition useless to society and to themselves. As
soldiers have hitherto been treated in most countries, they might be
said to be without a friend. Shunned by the citizen on an apprehension
of their being enemies to liberty, and too often insulted by those
who commanded them, their condition was a double oppression. But where
genuine principles of liberty pervade a people, every thing is restored
to order; and the soldier civilly treated, returns the civility.

In contemplating revolutions, it is easy to perceive that they may arise
from two distinct causes; the one, to avoid or get rid of some great
calamity; the other, to obtain some great and positive good; and the two
may be distinguished by the names of active and passive revolutions. In
those which proceed from the former cause, the temper becomes incensed
and soured; and the redress, obtained by danger, is too often sullied by
revenge. But in those which proceed from the latter, the heart, rather
animated than agitated, enters serenely upon the subject. Reason
and discussion, persuasion and conviction, become the weapons in the
contest, and it is only when those are attempted to be suppressed that
recourse is had to violence. When men unite in agreeing that a thing is
good, could it be obtained, such for instance as relief from a burden
of taxes and the extinction of corruption, the object is more than half
accomplished. What they approve as the end, they will promote in the
means.

Will any man say, in the present excess of taxation, falling so heavily
on the poor, that a remission of five pounds annually of taxes to one
hundred and four thousand poor families is not a good thing? Will he say
that a remission of seven pounds annually to one hundred thousand other
poor families--of eight pounds annually to another hundred thousand poor
families, and of ten pounds annually to fifty thousand poor and widowed
families, are not good things? And, to proceed a step further in this
climax, will he say that to provide against the misfortunes to which
all human life is subject, by securing six pounds annually for all poor,
distressed, and reduced persons of the age of fifty and until sixty, and
of ten pounds annually after sixty, is not a good thing?

Will he say that an abolition of two millions of poor-rates to the
house-keepers, and of the whole of the house and window-light tax and of
the commutation tax is not a good thing? Or will he say that to abolish
corruption is a bad thing?

If, therefore, the good to be obtained be worthy of a passive, rational,
and costless revolution, it would be bad policy to prefer waiting for
a calamity that should force a violent one. I have no idea, considering
the reforms which are now passing and spreading throughout Europe, that
England will permit herself to be the last; and where the occasion and
the opportunity quietly offer, it is better than to wait for a turbulent
necessity. It may be considered as an honour to the animal faculties
of man to obtain redress by courage and danger, but it is far greater
honour to the rational faculties to accomplish the same object by
reason, accommodation, and general consent.*[40]

As reforms, or revolutions, call them which you please, extend
themselves among nations, those nations will form connections and
conventions, and when a few are thus confederated, the progress will
be rapid, till despotism and corrupt government be totally expelled, at
least out of two quarters of the world, Europe and America. The Algerine
piracy may then be commanded to cease, for it is only by the malicious
policy of old governments, against each other, that it exists.

Throughout this work, various and numerous as the subjects are, which
I have taken up and investigated, there is only a single paragraph
upon religion, viz. "that every religion is good that teaches man to be
good."

I have carefully avoided to enlarge upon the subject, because I am
inclined to believe that what is called the present ministry, wish to
see contentions about religion kept up, to prevent the nation turning
its attention to subjects of government. It is as if they were to say,
"Look that way, or any way, but this."

But as religion is very improperly made a political machine, and the
reality of it is thereby destroyed, I will conclude this work with
stating in what light religion appears to me.

If we suppose a large family of children, who, on any particular day,
or particular circumstance, made it a custom to present to their parents
some token of their affection and gratitude, each of them would make a
different offering, and most probably in a different manner. Some would
pay their congratulations in themes of verse and prose, by some little
devices, as their genius dictated, or according to what they thought
would please; and, perhaps, the least of all, not able to do any of
those things, would ramble into the garden, or the field, and gather
what it thought the prettiest flower it could find, though, perhaps, it
might be but a simple weed. The parent would be more gratified by such
a variety, than if the whole of them had acted on a concerted plan,
and each had made exactly the same offering. This would have the cold
appearance of contrivance, or the harsh one of control. But of all
unwelcome things, nothing could more afflict the parent than to know,
that the whole of them had afterwards gotten together by the ears, boys
and girls, fighting, scratching, reviling, and abusing each other about
which was the best or the worst present.

Why may we not suppose, that the great Father of all is pleased with
variety of devotion; and that the greatest offence we can act, is that
by which we seek to torment and render each other miserable? For my own
part, I am fully satisfied that what I am now doing, with an endeavour
to conciliate mankind, to render their condition happy, to unite nations
that have hitherto been enemies, and to extirpate the horrid practice of
war, and break the chains of slavery and oppression is acceptable in his
sight, and being the best service I can perform, I act it cheerfully.

I do not believe that any two men, on what are called doctrinal points,
think alike who think at all. It is only those who have not thought that
appear to agree. It is in this case as with what is called the British
constitution. It has been taken for granted to be good, and encomiums
have supplied the place of proof. But when the nation comes to examine
into its principles and the abuses it admits, it will be found to have
more defects than I have pointed out in this work and the former.

As to what are called national religions, we may, with as much
propriety, talk of national Gods.



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