Confiftent Proteftant.



Hoc liberiores et folutiores fumus, quod integra
nobis eft judicandi poteftas: nec, ut omnia,
quae praefcripta, et quafi imperata fint,
defendamus, neceffitate ulla cogimur.

CIC. Acad. Quaeft. lib. iv.


Printed for W. WILKINS, A. WARD, R.


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HE Title of these Miscellanies might raife an expectation of their being calculated to express the fentiments of a party. On the contrary, their view was to remind all parties of thofe principles which all, occafionally at least, acknowledge as the bafis of fociety, the principles of liberty.

OUR Fathers, who espoused these principles, when reafon, liberty, and virtue were most unfashionable, were branded with the name of WHIGS; we therefore who have thought those truths ftill necessary to be inculcated, tho' always fomewhat out of fashion, under the covert of their name fpoke with their freedom, on fubjects which concerned the cause of liberty, whether occurring in controverfies of learned men, or parliamentary tranfactions.

AND fince many of these were fubjects of no tranfitory nature, the papers occafionally wrote on them are now collected in these voA 2

lutes 3

lumes; wherein we hope the reader will find the greater fatisfaction, when he obferves them wrote by perfons differing from one another in opinion in fome important points; fince the controverfies which this difference produced were carried on with a regard to truth, and to truth only, and may therefore in these points afford more light than any uniform production.

THERE are few questions which concern the intereft of liberty but what fometime occur'd during the continuance of this undertaking; and if in any of thofe queftions the reader finds fome information, we hope he will excufe a want of poignancy which fatire now gives the works in fashion. Writings filled with fuch ornaments, like painted windows, obfcure the light they should afford.

COULD we have stooped to use general or perfonal abufe, occafion has not been wanting. Attacks were frequently made from many quarters, and with indecency enough; but ufually they were fuch as might proceed equally from a weak head or a corrupted heart; we chose to See all objects in their mildest light, and therefore overlooked them; particularly the author of a motley project, which he calls The Alliance between Church and State, which he propofed alternately fhould be each other's tools, whereby the glorious work of flavery might most effectually be carried on in the most facred conjunction. Tho' we could not wholly approve his fcheme, yet if bis fcurrility on us can give him any pleasure,


we can permit him to enjoy it unmolested, even until he shall be able to prove his own Legation as divine as that of Mofes.

YET can we hope to have given no offence? To be of no party is to be obnoxious to all; and to contend for Liberty is at least an indirect attack on Power, which all men (whether in poffeffion or in expectation of it) think may be fafely trufted in their own hands at least, well knowing themfelves to be the friends of liberty, and being very fure they never shall attack it, at leaft except when the most preffing necessity requires: fo little do men know themselves, fo eafy is it for them to rank themselves among ft the friends of liberty, on the merit only of not attacking it for nothing. But no truth can be more certain, than that every man who is not active in the caufe of liberty, confents to be a flave.

THE matters treated on were generally purfued as far as the occafion required; but the poftponing the bill propofed, for the relief of the poor, and punishing of vagrants, prevented the farther confideration of it as at that time uselefs; tho' when the legislature fhall be pleafed to take that defign once more into their confideration, no fubject can better deferve the attention of the friends of liberty, than that which would relieve and make useful thousands who live in idleness and wretchedness, and at the fame time greatly reduce the fize and clear the difficulties of our ftatute-law, and fet a noble precedent for farther improvements of that fort: A work of A 3


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