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discovering how far the limits extend of what is not; or, perhaps, for fear of showing an inclination contrary to that of his master. Yet all this while he lies under the reproach of delay, unsteadiness, or want of sincerity. So that there are many inconveniences and dangers, either in discovering or concealing the want of power. Neither is it hard to conceive, that ministers may happen to suffer for the sins of their predecessors, who, by their great abuses and monopolies of power and favour, have taught princes to be more thrifty for the future, in the distribution of both. And as in common life, whoever has been long confined, is very fond of his liberty, and will not easily endure the very appearance of restraint, even from those who have been the instruments of setting him free so it is with the recovery of power, which is usually attended with an undistinguished jealousy, lest it should be again invaded. In such a juncture, I cannot discover why a wise and honest man should venture to place himself at the head of affairs, upon any other regard than the safety of his country, and the advice of Socrates, to prevent an ill man from coming in.
Upon the whole, I do not see any one ground of suspicion or dislike, which you, gentlemen, or others who wish well to their country, may have entertained about persons or proceedings, but what may probably be misapprehended, even by those who think they have the best information. Nay, I will venture to go one step farther, by adding, that although it may not be prudent to speak out upon this occasion; yet whoever will
reason impartially upon the whole state of affairs, must entirely acquit the ministry of that delay and neutrality, which have been laid to their charge. Or, suppose some small part of this accusation were true, (which I positively know to be otherwise, whereof the world will soon be convinced) yet the consequences of any resentment at this time, must either be none at all, or the most fatal that can be imagined; for, if the present ministry be made so uneasy, that a change be thought necessary, things will return of course into the old hands of those, whose little fingers will be found heavier than their predecessors loins. The whig faction is so dextrous at corrupting, and the people so susceptible of it, that you cannot be ignorant how easy it will be, after such a turn of affairs, upon a new election, to procure a majority against you. They will resume their power, with a spirit like that of Marius or Sylla, or the last triumvirate; and those ministers who have been most censured for too much hesitation, will fall the first sacrifices to their vengeance: but these are the smallest mischiefs to be apprehended from such returning exiles. What security can a prince hope for his person, or his crown, or even for the monarchy itself? He must expect to see his best friends brought to the scaffold, for asserting his rights; to see his prerogative trampled on, and his treasure applied to feed the avarice of those, who make themselves his keepers; to hear himself treated with insolence and contempt; to have his family purged at pleasure by their humour and malice and to retain even the name
and shadow of a king, no longer than his ephori shall think fit.
These are the inevitable consequences of such a change of affairs, as that envenomed party is now projecting; which will best be prevented by your firmly adhering to the present ministry, until this domestick enemy is out of all possibility of making head any more.