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which we thought shewn to depress him and set , him aside; yet he was always buoyed up again; and; on one or two occasions, he discovered what might be expected from the vigour and elevation of his mind, from his unconquerable fortitude, and from the extent of his resources for every purpose of speculation and of action. Remember him, my friend, who in the highest degree honoured and respected you; and remember that great parts are a great trust. Remember, too, that mistaken or misapplied virtues, if they are not as pernicious as vice, frustrate at least their own natural tendencies, and disappoint the purposes of the great Giver. .

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Adieu. My dreams are finished.

THOUGHTS AND DETAILS

ON

SCARCITY.

ORIGINALLY PRESENTED

TO THE RIGHT HON. WILLIAM PITT,

IN THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER,

1795.

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THOUGHTS AND DETAILS

ON

SCARCITY.

OF

F all things, an indiscreet tampering with the

trade of provisions is the most dangerous, and it is always worst in the time when men are most disposed to it: that is, in the time of scarcity. Because there is nothing on which the passions of men are so violent, and their judgment so weak, and on which there exists such a multitude of illfounded, popular prejudices.

The great use of government is as a restraint; and there is no restraint which it ought to put upon others, and upon itself too, rather than that which is imposed on the fury of speculating under circumstances of irritation. The number of idle tales, spread about by the industry of faction, and by the zeal of foolish good-intention, and greedily devoured by the malignant credulity of mankind, tends infinitely to aggravate prejudices, which, in themselves, are more than sufficiently strong. In that state of affairs, and of the publick with relation to them, the first thing that government owes

B B 4

te

to us, the people, is information; the next is timely coercion :-the one to guide our judgment; the other to regulate our tempers.

To provide for us in our necessities is not in the power

of
government.

It would be a vain presumption in statesmen to think they can do it. The people maintain them, and not they the people. It is in the power of government to prevent much evil ; it can do very little positive good in this, or perhaps in any thing else. It is not only so of the state and statesman, but of all the classes and descriptions of the rich--they are the pensioners of the poor, and are maintained by their superfluity. They are under an absolute, hereditary, and indefeasible dependence on those who labour, and are miscalled the poor. The labouring people are only poor, because they

Numbers in their nature imply poverty. In a fair distribution among a vast multitude none can have much. That class of dependent pensioners called the rich is so extremely small, that if all their throats were cut, and a distribution made of all they consume in a year, it would not give a bit of bread and cheese for one night's supper to those who labour, and who in reality feed both the pensioners and themselves.

But the throats of the rich ought not to be cut, nor their magazines plundered ; because, in their persons they are trustees for those who labour, and

are numerous.

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