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The Conduct of the Paxton Men Impartially Represented - 13

selves oppressed.-----Even France and Spain, notwithstanding the arbitrary Government and severe Laws established in them, are not without their Insurrections and Tumults-------I hope it will not be suspected that I am a Favourer or Encourager of Mobs and Riots-----I solemnly declare I have as great an Aversion to Mobs, and all riotous Proceedings, as any Man can have, as any Man ought to have (l)---But at the same Time, I must own, I shall never be for sacrificing the Lives and Liberties of a free People to the Caprice and Obstinacy of a destructive Faction.

Whoever will examine the Proceedings and Debates of Parliament, especially those in the Year 1737, will find the Sentiments of the wisest and bravest People under Heaven, concerning Tumults and Riots.---As these Things were introduced into the Debates of that Session, I shall trouble you with a few Extracts of the Speeches on that Occasion.

Lord C-------r declared himself thus---‘The People (says he) seldom or never assemble in any riotous or tumultuous Manner, unless when they are oppressed, or at least imagine they are oppressed. If the People should be mistaken, and imagine they are oppressed, when they are not, it is the Duty of the Magistrate to endeavour first to correct their Mistake by fair Means and just Reasoning; in common Humanity he is obliged to take this Method, before he has Recourse to such Methods as may bring Death and Destruction upon a great Number of his Fellow-Countrymen; and this Method will generally prevail, where they have not met with any real Oppression: But when this happens to be the Case, it cannot be expected that they will give Ear to their Oppressor; nor can the severest Laws, nor the most rigorous Execution of those Laws, always prevent the People’s coming tumultuous------You may shoot them-----You may hang them----But till the Oppression is removed or alleviated, they will never be quiet, till the greatest Part of them are destroyed. The effectual Methods to suppress Tumults will be, to enquire into the Causes, and to take such Measures as may be proper for removing those Causes: For in the Body Political, as in the Body Natural, while the Cause remains, it is impossible to remove the Distemper.’

(l) See the first Note upon this Letter

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