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the reputation of a suspected female, so frail, that, if handled roughly, it falls to pieces. If we see no Maria hunting the boar, and holding the toils with her bosom exposed to view, yet we can boast of our damsels, of family and of rank, who boot it, and spur it, and habit it, and shirt it, and waistcoat it, and hat it, and gallop it, and leap it, all the morning, over hedge and ditch, and hill and dale, after a fox, a hare, or a stag; come home and dine, jovially and gaily; and, in the evening, appear with a bosom as fully in sight as any Roman dame could exhibit, spreading the nets, not of Mars or of Diana, but of Venus and of Cupid. Our house of lords or of commons; our benches of bishops or of judges; our boards of admiralty or of the India house; our meetings of commissioners or of agents; our assemblies of merchants or of stock-jobbers, will present us with numbers who have once shaved a beard, cleaned a shoe, swept a street, dusted a shop, scraped upon a fiddle, drew a tooth, compounded a drug, run on an errand, slept on a bulk, in a round-house, or a jail, but now insult the old noblesse and ancient families


of the kingdom, by an ostentatious display of their wealth, by the profusion and luxury of their table, by the glitter of their equipage, and the costliness of their apparel. If Rome saw borne along in a litter, which could scarcely contain its enormous burden, wretches who grew fat by the plunder of the proscriptions of their unhappy countrymen, whom their infamous falsehood, and lies, and accusations had caused to be murdered, under the uncontrolled and iniquitous domination of a Tiberius, a Caligula, a Nero, or a Domitian, we can point out legions, and hosts, and armies of vermin, who "send, like blood-hounds from the slip, woe, want, and murder through the land;” a set of miscreants, called spies and informers, who infest every corner of our streets, are found, like Pharaoh's frogs, in our houses and in our beds, in our closets and in our assemblies. Surely, those diligent inquiries into remote and problematical guilt, with a new power of enforcing them by chains and by dungeons, to every person whose face a minister thinks fit to dislike, are not only opposite to that maxim which declareth it

better that ten guilty men should escape than one innocent man suffer; but, likewise, leave a gate wide open to the whole tribe of informers, the most accursed, and prostitute, and abandoned race that God ever permitted to plague mankind. Of the unworthy characters who crawl along the theatre of human life, no one more deserves to be branded with ignominy than the professed informer, The wealthy noble, lording it over his dependant tenants; the despotic general, leading to unnecessary slaughter his military machines; the venal minister of state, sacrificing at the shrine of his ambition the people who procured his elevation; may severally excite our contempt, our horror, our detestation. These individually, however, may plead somewhat in extenuation of their errors or crimes; the noble, long establishment of usage ;--the general, strictness of discipline ;---the minister, the commands of a sovereign ;-but for the trade of informer, no palliation can be pleaded, no justification admitted. To form the latter character we must gather, and compound into one regular mass, all the deformities of life, and all the obliquities

of human nature; we must cut asunder the cords which unite social beings, and separate the links of that chain which concentrates morality with religion. Well and truly has it been observed, that, for society to exist in peace, they must have one common connexion of interest, one universal tie of happiness. We may, indeed, inquire what share of this happiness the informer contributes.---Our investigation will here be fruitless, for it will be found,, that in proportion to the encouragement a nation gives to informers, in the same ratio will it decrease in national honour and in national prosperity: nor can this reptile claim kindred with any part of the community of which he calls himself a member; the virtuous citizen will regard him with detestation, the vicious citizen will fear, and his employers, certainly, with no eye of fellowship. If this be the character and true representation of the informer, with what pencil are we to delineate and describe that administration under whose auspices such a profession is protected and encouraged? The pen of Edmund Burke, bold and masterly as it has proved against

the foes and friends of liberty, would drop from his hand, unequal to the task. If we examine the page of history, the bloody, but faithful, record of human actions, we shall not fail to observe, that those nations are the most deficient in civil liberty where the system of espionage has been most prevalent; so true is the maxim, that liberty wants not the aid of injustice to produce permanent benefit. For a tyrant to exist in security, he must adopt the arts of the prince of Machiavelli; he must maintain his ill gotten power, not by the virtues, but by the vices of those whom he employs: thus fines, imprisonments, confiscations, and executions become the feeble props to support his tottering palace. In a plot-discovering age I have often known an innocent man seized and imprisoned, and forced to lie several months in chains, while the ministers were not at leisure to hear his petition, until they had prosecuted and hanged the number proposed. But on this subject it seems we must be


"cum plena et littora multo "Delatore forent, dispersi protinus algæ Inquisitores agerent cum paupere scriba."

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