صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[blocks in formation]

THE

FREEHOLDER.

!

THE

FREEHOLDER.

No. 1,-FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23, 1713.

Rara temporum felicitas, ubi sentire quæ velis, et que sentias dicere licet.

Таст. . The arguments of an author lose a great deal of their weight, when we are persuaded that he only writes for argument's sake, and has no real concern in the cause which he espouses. This is the case of one, who draws his pen in the defence of property, without having any; except, perhaps, in the copy of a libel, or a ballad. One is apt to suspect, that the passion for liberty, which appears in a Grub-street patriot, arises only from his apprehensions of a jail; and that, whatever he may pretend, he does not write to secure, but to get, something of his own. Should the government be overturned, he has nothing to lose but an old standish.

I question not but the reader will conceive a respect for the author of this paper, from the title of it ; since he may be sure I am so considerable a man, that I cannot have less than forty shillings a year.

I have rather chosen this title than any other, be cause it is what I most glory in, and what most effectually calls to my mind the happiness of that government under which I live. As a British freeholder, I should not scruple taking place of a French marquis; and when I see one of my countrymen amusing himself in his little cabbage garden, I naturally look upon him as a greater person than the owner of the richest vineyard in Champagne.

The House of Commons is the representative of men in my condition. I consider myself as one who give my consent to every law which passes: a freeholder in our government being of the nature of a citizen of Rome in that famous commonwealth : who, by the election of a tribune, had a kind of remote voice in every law that was enacted. So that a freeholder is but one remove from a legislator, and for that reason ought to stand up in the defence of those laws, which are in some degree of his own making. For such is the nature of our happy constitution, that the bulk of the people virtually give their approbation to every thing they are bound to obey, and prescribe to themselves those rules by which they are to walk.

At the same tiine that I declare I am a freeholder, I do not exclude myself from any other title. A freeholder

may be either a voter, or a knight of the shire ; a wit, or a fox-hunter; a scholar, or a soldier; an alderman, or a courtier; a patriot, or a stock-jobber. But I choose to be distinguished by this denomination, as the freeholder is the basis of all other titles. Dignities may be grafted upon it; but this is the substantial stock that conveys to them their life, taste, and beauty; and without which they are no more than blossoms, that would fall away with every shake of wind.

And here I cannot but take occasion to congratulate my country upon the increase of this happy tribe of men, since, by the wisdom of the present parlia

« السابقةمتابعة »