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Happiness to the more general Concerns of the Public, and the Peace and Prosperity of Mankind.
Their Intent was to give a true Idea of our valuable Conftitution; to revive in the Minds of the People its genuine Spirit; to fhew the fatal effects of Favouritifm; to. guard against the enormous Power of the Crown, and to expofe the wicked Tranfactions of its corrupt Minifters.
At a Time, when not only from the Degeneracy of Parliaments; but from the monftrous Increase of the Prerogative, the Freedom of the Inhabitants of these Kingdoms is brought almost to the Brink of Deftruction; it is apprehended, the Republication of these spirited Papers, as a kind of WARNING VOICE to the People, will appear with peculiar Propriety; efpecially, as this Collection is much more Complete than any ever before printed, and contains many valuable Original Pieces that would have been for ever loft to the World by their first Mode of Publication. Indeed, it gives us no little Concern to obferve
that we have too much Occafion to use every Effort to awaken our lukewarm Fellow-Citizens, out of the political Lethargy, in which they are now involved from the Spirit of Luxury and Profufion, which prevails over most Ranks of People: For when once the major Part of the Individuals is vitiated, there is no Mifchief, however remote it may seem to lie from us, that is not actually at the Door; and the Change from Liberty to Slavery, from Plenty, to general Distress, is often fo precipitate in Countries thus corrupted, that the fame Men, who have enjoyed the Benefits of the pureft Conftitution at the Commencement of their Exiftence, have lived, not only to fee the Introduction, but to groan under the Burden of the most severe Tyranny..
Alarmed at the fatal Concurrence of the above Circumstances, the Editors, addrefs thefe Volumes to the Confideration of their Countrymen; entreating them to remember, that as they have had the happiness of living under, (what was once faid to be) the beft Conftitution in the World, they fhould refolve to preferve it untainted and
inviolate. And as it has been delivered
June 1, 1772.
Numb. I. Saturday, June 5, 1762.
SEJANUS, WOLSEY, hurt not honeft FLEURY,
HE liberty of the prefs is the birth-right of a BRITON, and is juftly efteemed the firmeft bulwark of the liberties of this country. It has been the terror of all bad minifters; for their dark and dangerous defigns, or their weakness, inability, and duplicity, have thus been detected and fhewn to the public, generally in too strong and just colours for them long to bear up against the odium of mankind. Can we then be furprized that fo various and infinite arts have been employed, at one time entirely to fet afide, at another to take off the force, and blunt the edge, of this moft facred weapon,. given for the defence of truth and liberty? A wicked and corrupt adminiftration must natuVOL. I. rally
rally dread this appeal to the world; and will be for keeping all the means of information equally from the prince, parliament, and people. Every method will then be tried, and all arts put in practice, to check the spirit of knowledge and enquiry. Even the courts of juftice have in the most dangerous way, because under the fanction of law, been drawn in to fecond the dark views of an arbitrary ministry, and to stifle in the birth all infant virtue. From this motive, in former times, the King's-bench has inflicted the moft grievous punishments of fine, pillory, or imprisonment, or perhaps all three, on fome who have ftood forth the champions of their country, and whose writings have been the honour of their age and nation.
Under the government of a STUART, which has been fo fatal to ENGLAND, the most daring encroachments have been made on the favourite liberties of the people, and the freedom of the prefs has been openly violated. Even a Licenser of the prefs has been appointed. Nothing but the vileft minifterial trash, and falfhoods fabricated by a wicked party, had then the fanction of this tool of power; nor of confequence could any production, breathing the spirit of liberty, have a chance of being ushered to light. The imprimatur of the minifter was fcarcely ever given, but to compofitions equally disgraceful to