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Being QUERIES of Importance

From a Pamphlet, entitled “The Poor Man's Advocate,” published at Newcastle, by T. SPENCE in the Year 1779.

WHETHER it would not be very pleasant to see one horse claiming all the pasture as his, and ordering all the rest to depart the same, unless they fulfilled certain conditions which he chused to impose? and whether to see those poor beasts gathering the herbage with inceasing anxiety and diligence, eating only the worst, but sacredly refraining from the best and bringing it in large bundles with all humility and diffidence to the gentle-horse, who receives it with the highest air of superiority and unthankfulness; 33 and who, though they bring him more thanhe can destroy, yet is so far from mitigating their tasks, that he takes frequent occasions to encrease them: I say, whether to see all this would not be to see too favourable a picture of landlord and tenant?

Whether if every pasture of the earth were thus claimed and monopolized by some or other gentle-horse as they are be some or other gentle-man, it would not be a most miserable thing to be a landless horse?

Whether if one of those unfortunate landless horses should offer to convince his fellow sufferers, that it was the most despicable silliness, to drudge thus continually for permission to live on the earth which they had as good a right to as their oppressors, and they should advise them to throw off such ignominious servitude; and that, if their assuming lords would not give up all thoughts of superiority and tyranny over their fellow-creatures, that they should have their brains kicked out. I say, whether this poor beast could be blamed for so doing, or justly branded with improper selfishness, levelling, turbulency, sedition, or other hard names?

Whether there would not be more reason for suspecting such as took part with the gentle horses of selfishness, as none certainly would, but from hopes of sharing in the plunder, or of becoming gentry some time or other themselves, and exempted from the labour of cutting their own grass, whereas the poor levelling horse could expect nothing from his impartial scheme but his bare natural due, which it is the highest honour to claim, and prevent all encroachments upon?

Whether those brutes who would not join sincerely with this honest battle for the recovery of their rights, for themselves and posterity, from any cause, but especially from being bribed or hired by their opponents, ought not to be deemed unworthy of every privilege of nature, and spurned from the face of the earth?

34Whether one man has a natural right to rule over or demand rent of another man, more than one horse has a right to rule over, or demand rent of another horse?

Whether man is not rightful lord of the whole world, namely, of lands, animals, plants, minerals, &c.?

Whether to attempt to deprive any man of this his birth-right, is not attempting to make him less than man?

Whether fathers have a right to waste or alienate that which their posterity can not be men without and, whether if they did, their sons have not a right to claim and re-possess themselves of the same?

Whether if buying and selling land is not as illegal and unjust, according to the law of nature as buying and selling stolen goods?

Whether in Spensonia, where the land is entirely public property, a person with much money would have more reason to complain, that he could not purchase land iwth his money, that one who has little?

Whether if a person grows rich in money, which he has a right tio do by his industry, trading, or other lawful means, he ought therefore to complain that he cannot reduce his fellow-creatures to a state of dependence upon him, by purchasing their land?

Whether the public, and the hirer of a poor labouring man, and are said to be clear with him upon paying him his wages? and whether the public ought not to be accounted as clear with a rich man upon paying him his due in money, though they suffer him not to purchase their land?

Whether it is not enough that he be allowed to trade, lend, spend, or lay up, give away, or do what he will with his riches, buying land, or mens' persons excepted?

Whether if trafficking in land be pleaded as a great and laudable incitement ot industry, trafficking in the persons of men may not as justly be pleded for the same reason?

35Whether those who live on their rents, may not be said to live on the parish more properly than most of the poor people who are said to do so? because those locusts get what they get from the public for nothing; whereas, the most of the poor have, by their former labour, laid up an ample stock in the hands of the public, to subsist on in their old age, and under infirmities?

Whether the poor ought not to be allowed one person or book to plead their interest, when the rich have so many of both to plead theirs?

Whether if the right honourable the gentlemen will not accept of our lands and labours without our reason too, they do not deserve to want all?

Whether if they thought it for their interest that we should not see, we ought therefore to put out our eyes to oblige them?

Whether the landed men do not take upon themselves the sole lordship of this world, even to the power of killing a hare, and treat the rest of men as a species of the brute creation, made for their service and convenienve? and whether when these creatures are not spoiled by thinking on things too high and, as they say, out of their sphere, they are not the most tractable and malleable animals to their masters that can be?

Whether truth ought to be discouraged or hid through fear of danger? and, if so, whether the most important truths have not enemies, who, to have them smothered would pronounce them dangerous?

Whether we would not laugh at any profession, trade, or interest, that should call those principles dangerous, by which it could be proved, that they defrauded and robbed the public of miullions annually, and were combined together for that purpose? and, whether we have not as good reason to laugh at the profession of gentlemen, when they call levelling principles dangerous?

Whether thought the members of the body for their own benefit must maintain the belly, they may not lawfully destroy all the worms therein?