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loss beyond the value of the object: the attempt, therefore, is unwise ; and instead of it he proposes conciliation.
Happy had it been for this nation, happy for mankind, if his opinions, doctrines, and plans had been reduced to practice! His propositions were negatived by a great majority: pauci ac ferme optimus Hannoni assen
serunt; sed ut plerumque fit, optimos plurimi · vicerunt.
Mrs. Piozzi, in her Anecdotes of Johnson, tells us, that when she ventured, even before the Doctor himself, to applaud with rapture the passage in the speech concerning Lord Bathurst and the Angel, the Doctor said, “ had I been in the house, I would have answered it thus:
- Suppose, Mr. Speaker, that to Wharton, or to Marlborough, or to any of the eminent Whigs of the last age, the Devil had, not with any great impropriety, consented to appear, he would perhaps in somewhat
like these words have commenced the conversation :
“ You seem, my Lord, to be concerned at the judicious apprehension, that while you are sapping the foundations of royalty at home, and propagating here the dangerous doctrine of resistance, the distance of America may secure its inhabitants from your arts, though active: but I will unfold to you the gay prospects of futurity. This people, now so innocent and harmless, shall draw the sword against their mother country, and bathe its point in the blood of their benefactors. This people, now contented with a little, shall then refuse to spare what they themselves confess they could not miss; and these, men, now so honest and so grateful, shall, in return for peace and for protection, fee their vile agents in the house of parliament, there to sow the seeds of sedition, and propagate confusion, perplexity, and pain. Be not dispirited, then, at the contemplation of their present happy state. I promise you
that anarchy, poverty, and death shall be my care, be carried even across the spacious Atlantic, and settle in America itself, the sure consequences of our beloved whiggism."
If this parody be correctly transcribed by Mr. Piozzi, I cannot help thinking it inferior to the usual productions of the sage, It is also less able than the passage it is intended to ridicule. Burke's Angel, the advocate of whiggism, hy holding forth the amazing increase of prosperity that was to follow its predominancy, describes what was to take place under that free government which good spirits approvę. Johnson's Devil is a Tory in his heart, The Devil calls the doctrine of resistance dangerous ; terms opposition to acts, which Whigs thought oppressive,' sedition ; and the des fenders of the oppressed the vile agents of sedition. Though the Devil, therefore, professes to love whiggism, he speaks the lan= guage of a Tory. The Devil is also out in point of history. The principles of liberty, which Sa'ari calls dangerous, existed in Ame
rica long before the time of Wharton and Marlborough. Johnson was so bigotted a Tory, that he makes even the Devil himself the reviler of whiggism.
· About this time Dr. Johnson published his pamphlet, entitled · Taxation nọ Ty ranny, which may be in many respects considered as an answer to Burke's celebrated speech on taxing America. The high church bigotry, which frequently sent a cloud over the bright mind of the illustrious sage, prevented his political essays from having that superlative excellence which marks his criticisms and ethics. His views on subjects of government are partial, and want that enlarged comprehensiveness which distin- . guishes his other writings. The usual perspicacity of his mind seems dimmed by the prejudices of education. His reasoning not only wants his general expansion, but his general acuteness and precision, Indeed, wherever politics interfered, his estimates of truth, conduct, and character, appear erroneous. What but the perversion of pre
judice could 'abominate William, the des liverer of this country, regard the contemptible weakness of the priest-ridden James, or praise the abandoned, unprincipled profligate, his brother ?-a prince, who evidently considered subjects in no other light, than as men whose industry and property were to be lavished in affording him the means of gross debauchery.
This pamphlet of Johnson partook of the prejudice which could ascribe great merit to Charles II. He sets out with assuming å position as an axiom, which is not only not self-evident, but not true, taken absolutely ; true only with certain modifications: That the supreme power of every .community has the right of requiring from all its subjects such coistributions as are necessary to the public safety or public prosperity. By the British constitution, the supreme power of the community has not the right of levying contributions from its subjects, as subjects, but as members of an established society, delegating to individuals, chosen by themselves, the power