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I am informed by some of our Neighbours, who have been at town lately, that you are terribly afraid of loosing your situation, by a Reform in Parliament, which the Nation is earnestly seeking after. They did not indeed tell me what kind of situation it was that you were in, whether it was in one of the Police-Offices, as a runner; in some of the prisons or gaols, as a turnkey; in some of the churches, as a beadle, or grave-digger; or whether you were a door-keeper, or ticket-porter, about the treasury; or some other of the public offices. It is, however, immaterial what your situation is, I only intend to shew that you have less to fear from a Reform in Parliament, than you imagine. But in order to do this effectually, and put things on a right footing, I must be leave to remind you of your prior situation in the country, together with the causes of your present elevation.

Well then, you know Tom, you were a poor Blacksmith, and worked early and late to support a wife, and a large family of children. This you used to do cheerfully enough, and was able to make ends meet, keep a little stock of iron, and could spend a social penny, either at wake, fair, or market, like another man, before our rich neighbours took it into their heads to inclose our common. Then it was that you and I, and many more poor people found a great alteration. We could neither keep cow, nor geese, nor sheep as before. Every thing now depended on the ready penny, and to crown our misery, every opportunity was taken to raise our rents, and lower our wages. You know Tom, there was an universal murmering and discontent through the parish, and you complained as much as any. The end of the matter was, you know, that the people rose one night, pulled down the fences, and committed some other outrages.— You and some others were taken; you turned informer, and every spirited man in the village was transported. You could no longer remain in the country, and the Esquire in regard of your services, procured you your present situation.

This is the honourable cause of your promotion, and it is thus, that most situations are acquired. It is thus, that the venal drink the tears of the virtuous; and it is thus that the treachery of a few, rivet the chains of mankind!

However, I am told that you feel much remorse, and that you have sense enough to see that much is wrong; that things are very dear; that taxes grow enormous; that the national debt increases rapidly, and will never be repaid. Yes, Thomas, it is this system of running the nation on debt upon every frivolous occasion that will be the overthrow of many situations. It will be impossible to bear it long. The interest is already more than the current expences of even our present extravagant government, so that in fact we have two governments to maintain. But if government could be administered at half the present expence (as some think) then have we four governments to maintain.

What will be the end of all this extravagance, no man is allowed to conjecture. But the same system of reciprocal recommendation to better situations, runs though every department of government still, as it has ever done since the commencement of the funding system which has brought us to our present embarassed state.

Every paltry account of every paltry action is stuffed with encomiums, and suitable situations and pensions, must of course be provided for every hero, and for every loyal and zealous supporter of the present high situations.

Thus all situations hang together, supporting and advancing each other, till they become unsupportable, and till the poor dumb ass on which they ride fall down, unable longer to bear such a cluster of villainny!

But I am apt to believe, that your situation Thomas, is not near so good nor happy now, as it was in the country, when you had your cow, and your sheep, and your geese, &c. You had then but little occasion for money. You had little rent, and little taxes to pay. You could speak like an honest man what you thought, without fear of loosing your situation.

The dread of bringing up children for the army or the town, did not then perplex you. You expected they would be happy cottagers like yourself, and that honestry and industry might always live.

Vain expectations all! We have lived Thomas to see the end of those halcyon days. Great landlords, and great farmers, now engross all the country, and these employ none but great tradesmen. No little masters to be seen now, no medium; but very great, and very little; very rich, and very poor. The country shines with the palaces of placemen and stockholders, or frowans and glooms with goals and barracks; while the poor peasant and mechanic deprived of daily employment, is driven reluctantly to take up his melancholy abode in one or the other.—Sad alternative!

But every extreme works its own cure, and when things come to the worst, they must mend. The national debt, which, to make comfortable situations, is so courteously and politely encreased, will be the salvation of this country. Our vessel is now driven among such rocks and shoals, that she must have skilful pilots,or perish. And if the latter should happen we must all get to shore Tom, as well as we can. But woe be to insolent boatswains and blood-sucking pursers then!

Pray then cousin, let me hear of no more foolish ravings about your paltry situation. Become a man as before, and if you dare not say in your situation, that BLACK is black and WHITE white, you may surely at least hold your peace, and cease meanly to assent to and assert falsehoods. Do not despair about a situation. If ever a Reform in Parliament take place, which circumstances render inevitable, no person in such situations as yours Thomas, wil have reason to complain. A parliament that could feel for the situation of the nation at large, would both provide adequately for those they retained in situations under government, and those whom though motives of economy, they discharged. If taxes were less, living easy, and employment certain, it would make the situation of every honest man better. Seventeen or eighteen million a year of revenue, might if properly dealt make a great many comfortable situations. a nation, Thomas, that can support a world in arms and in the arts of destruction, could surely at less expence, make comfortable the situations of its own citizens in the habits of peace and industry.

Cease then dear Thomas to be longer the tool of those in higher situations, and do not bother, or teaze your poor brother John, with any more letters about religion, or government, or French or politics. Bless you he don't understand these things, it is only worrying him to no purpose, putting himout of temper, and pushing him into broils, for like all fools, he is fond of fighting about what he does not comprehend.

When those sly foxes above you, make you afraid of your situation, tehy do so only through fear of their own, which are much more valuable, and if there were any danger to arise, they would be sure to place you, between them, and it, and moreover, if their situationswere no better than yours, they would see them at the devil before they would make such a damn'd fuss about them.

Finally then dear cousin, though you got your situation rather dishonourably, let it not be retained so. As the apostle says, let him that stole, steal no more. Let the sentiments of the country take their course. They will never be driven to believe that black and white is not black and white. They know THE NATIONAL DEBT WILL NEVER BE REPAID, and some begin to shrug about the interest. Many things else, likewise people know, but I hope they will never know that men of scurvy and starving situations, will foolishly endeavour to put out the eyes of their friends. I hope those who have got situations of six-pence, eight-pence or even a shilling a day, will not think themselves so far elevated above their countrymen, as to think their interests separated. They out to consider that their situations may (like those of too many of their own wretched kinsmen and relatives) admit of much improvement, and can hardly be worse. Then, Thomas, I conclude in wishing heartily, with all your old neighbours in the country, for a speedy reform in parliament, and a repossession of our former common.*

I remain your Affectionate Cousin,

P.S. Our Cousin Parson Bull, is to preach next Sunday from the following words in the xxii. chap of Numbers. And the ass said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? — Am I not thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine, unto this day; was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And Balaam said, Nay.

* In defence of dividing commons it is alleged that land in a state of inclosure and tillage, is of more advantage to the community at large. Very true; it is so. But why should the poor alone be robbed for the public good? If the welfare of the community require tillage and inclosure, let those who have the right to the common, share the rent of the same, when it is inclosed. If you say for how long? I say for ever. For while the right to the common remains, the right to the produce, or rent, remains also. For no generation has a right to sell or squander away the rights of future generations.