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: LONDON: Printed for and fold by DANIEL ISAAC EATON, Printer and
Bookfeller to the Supreme Majesty of the People, at the Cock
I would make you think well of yourself; I would raise your hope; I would
DRENNAN'S Letter to Earl FITZWILLIAM.
TALENT was conferred on mankind, undoubtedly, for the promotion of public virtue, and the enlargement of human felicity. It never could have been the divine intention that its energies should be coerced, its exertions impeded, or that its radiance should be obscured in darkness, and in night. No. So sublime a blessing must have been bestowed on man for purposes more exalted in their object, and more consoling to human reason itself. It must have been bestowed on him, to inspire him with a sense of the dignity which he sustained in
the creation, to teach him the duties which were due from him to his God, to himself, and to his speeies, and thus, by awakening within him all those benevolent sympathies, and affections, which animate to philanthropy, and to generous action, to bind him to his fellow-creatures in focial charities, and in endearing intercourse.
Such can we discover, from his designs, and dispositions, to have been the will of our common PARENT; and happy would it have been for the felicity, as well as for the character, of human nature, if that merciful inelination had never been counteracted! But experience obliges us to acknowledge the melancholy truth, that we ourselves have often times defeatod it. "By neglecting to cherish one blessing---We have lost every other that could beautify, and endear to us the possession of life. For, directing our eyes back to a review of past events, and beholding human existence at different periods in its diversified forms and appearances, what do we contemplate, but one crouded picture of the most frightful groups, and disgusting assemblages, that the most lively imagination can conceive! what, but a most lamentable, yet a real, exhibition of our fellow-creatures funken almost beneath the lowest condition of degradation, and abasement! alternately the victim of the craft of princes, and of priests, and frequently of both of them together! at one time terrified by the anathemas of a perfecuting superstition into the most abject submiflion; at another, fcourged almost beyond the patience of the meanest servitude, by the scorpion thong of imperious, and unrelenting, derpotism !--What a gloomy portrait too is presented to us of the human mind!—We behold the understanding, the genius and the intellect of man' prostrated, as it were, before the shrine of the most abominable idols! We behold every faculty of the soul enchained, its best powers either totally annihilated, or perverted to promote the despicable views of power, rapacity, and ambition !--a night of ignorance overwhelming her empire, and chasing away every ray of wisdom, of science, of public, or
of of private virtue. --When I read of the insults, and indignities, man has dared to heap on man, only because fortune had placed him on a throne-when I read of the enormities, the cool deliberate enormities, which have been perpetrated against the peace, and tranquillity, of society-when I read of the innocent blood, that has been spilled to satiate the thirst of restless, and sanguinary ambition, and when, worst, and most dreadful of ! I read of the tyrannies, which have been exercised over the human mind itself- I vow to God, I know not, whether I ought the more to commiferate the fortune of a people depressed, and enslaved, beneath the fetters of Ignorance, or to execrate the remorseless authors of their afflictions, their sufferings, and their perfecutions !
It must be acknowledged, however, that from these gloomy pages of our history one important instruction is to be collected. From every evil something to our advantage is to be extracted; and this instruction has surely been' purchased at too high a price, not to be attended to with earnestness, and is of itself 100 valuable, not to be engraved on the heart of every Englishman, who neveres the independence of his country. The instruction is, that tyranny is ever the infeparable attendant of ignorance, and that a Nation, which aspires to the enjoyment of that charter, which heaven has given it, in all the perfections of Liberty, must be enlightened, and informed.
Impreffed sincerely, and deeply as I am with a conviction of this eternal, and immutable truth, it is impossible that I can advert to a favourite sentiment, which, I know, obtains among a number of persons, without ab horrence, and without indignation. There are many who persuade themselves, and who wish to persuade others, that the majesty of science mould never condescend to visit the house of the poor man. They tell us, that learning has a natural tendency to make the mind discontented with its situation, and that it inspires defires incompatable with the low habits of hard, and laborious in. duftry: that to give the lower classes of the community a