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Believe it, lords and commons, they who counsel you to such a suppressing of [books), do as good, bid you suppress yourselves; and I will soon show how. If it be desired to know the immediate cause of all this free writing and free speaking, there cannot be assigned a truer than your own mild, and free, and humane government. It is Liberty which is the nurse of all great wits : this is that which bath rarified and enlightened our spirits, like the influence of Heaven; this is that which hath enfranchised, enlarged, and lifted up our apprehensions degrees above themselves. Ye cannot make us now less capable, less knowing, less eagerly prizing of the truth, unless you first make yourselves, who made us so, less the founders of our true liberty. We can grow ignorant again, brutish, formal, and slavish, as you found us; but you must first become that which you cannot be, oppressive, arbitrary, and tyrannous, as they were from whom ye have freed us. That our hearts are now more capacious, our thoughts more erected to the search and expectation of greatest and exactest things, is the issue of your own virtue propagated in us. Although I dispraise not the defence of just immunities; yet give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely, according to conscience, above all liberties.
As good almost kill a man as kill a book : who kills a man, kills a reasonable creature, God's image; but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were, in the eye. Many a man lives a burden to the earth; but a good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured ap on pur
pose to a life beyond life. It is true, no age can restore a life, whereof perhaps there is no great loss; and revolutions of ages do not oft recover the loss of a rejected truth, for the want of which whole nations fare the worse. We should be wary therefore what persecution we raise against the living labours of public men, how we spill that seasoned life of man, preserved and stored up in books; since we see a kind of homicide may be thus committed, sometimes a martyrdom; and if it extend to the whole impression, a kind of massacre, whereof the execution ends not in the slaying of an elemental life, but strikes at that ethereal and sift essense, the breath of reason itself, slays an immortality rather than a life.
OF THE BRAVERY OF ENGLISH SOLDIERS. By those who have compared the military genius of the English with that of the French nation, it is remarked, that 'the French officers will always lead, if the soldiers will follow;' and that "the English soldiers will always follow, if their officers will lead.'
In all pointed sentences some degree of accuracy must be sacrificed to conciseness; and, in this comparison, our officers seem to lose what our soldiers gain. I know not any reason for supposing that the English officers are less willing than the French to lead; but it is, I think, universally allowed, that the English soldiers are more willing to follow. Our nation may boast, beyond any other people in the world, of a kind of epidemic bravery, diffused equally through all its ranks. We can show a peasantry of heroes, and fill our armies with clowns, whose courage may vie with that of their general.
There may be some pleasure in tracing the causes of this plebeian magnanimity. The qualities which commonly make an arnıy formidable, are long habits of regularity, great exactness of discipline, and great contidence in the commander. Regularity may, in time, produce a kind of mechanical obedience to signals and commands, like that which the perverse Cartesians impute to animals: discipline may impress such an awe upon the mind, that any danger shall be less dreaded than the danger of punishment; and confidence in the wisdom or fortune of the general, may induce the soldiers to follow him blindly to the most dangerous enterprise.
What may be done by discipline and regularity, may be seen in the troops of the Russian empress and Prussian monarch. We find that they may be broken without confusion, and repulsed without flight.
But the English troops have none of these requisites in any eminent degree. Regularity is by no means part of their character: they are rarely exercised, and therefore show very little dexterity in their evolutions as bodies of men, or in the manual use of their weapons as individuals : they neither are thought by others, nor by themselves, more active or exact than their enemies, and therefore derive none of their conrage from such imaginary superiority.
The manner in which they are dispersed in quarters over the country, during times of peace, naturally produces laxity of discipline : they are very little in sight of their officers; and, when they are not engaged in the sliglit duty of the guard, are suffered to live every man his own way.
The equality of English privileges, the impartiality of our laws, the freedom of our tenures, and the prosperity of our trade, dispose us very little to reverence of superiors. It is not to any great esteem of the officers that the Englislı soldier is indebted for his spirit in the hour of battle; for perhaps it does not often happen that he thinks much better of his leader than of himself. The French count, who has lately published the 'Art of War,' remarks how much soldiers are animated, when they see all their dangers shared by those who were born to be their masters, and whom they consider as beings of a different rank. The Englishman despises such motives of courage : he was born without a master; and looks not on any man, however dignified by lace or titles, as deriving from nature any claims to his respect, or inheriting any qualities rior to his own.
There are some, perhaps, who would imagine that every Englishman fights better than the subjects of absolute governments, because he has more to defend. But what has the English more than the French soldier? Property they are both commonly without. Liberty is, to the lowest rank of every nation, little more than the choice of working or starving; and this choice is, I suppose, equally allowed in every country. The English soldier seldom has his head very full of the consti. tution; nor has there been, for more than a century, any war that put the property or liberty of a single Englishman in danger.
Whence then is the courage of the English vulgar? It proceeds, in my opinion, from that dissolution of dependance which obliges every man to regard his own character. While every man is fed by his own hands, he has no need of any servile arts : he may always have wages for his labour; and is no less necessary to his employer, than his employer is to him. While he looks for no protection from others, he is naturally roused to be his own protector ; and having nothing to abate his esteem of himself, he consequently aspires to the esteem of others. Thus every man that crowds our streets is a man of honour, disdainful of obligation, impatient of reproach, and desirous of extending his reputation among those of his own rank; and as courage is in most frequent use, the fame of courage is most eagerly pursued. From this neglect of subordination I do not deny that some inconveniences may from time to time proceed: the power of the law does not always sufficiently supply the want of reverence, or maintain the proper distinction between different ranks ; but good and evil will grow up in this world together: and they who complain, in peace, of the insolence of the populace, must remember, that their insolence in peace is bravery in war.
OF THE INCONSTANCY OF THE BRITISH CLIMATE,
AND THE ADVANTAGES OF HARDENING OUR
SELVES AGAINST ITS COLD. I AM always heating about in my thoughts for something that may turn to the benefit of my dear countrymen. The present season of the year