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On the other hand it was thought exceeding clear, that great men would understand the interest of the country, and the capacity of Servants, much better than the vulgar. 1: As also, that they were above all fufpicion of partiality, and would be sure always to send fit and accomplished Servants to every housebacBut alast the çontrary of all this was soon found by experience. They learned fpeedily to fell every place to the highest bidder, unless when they had a favourite or dependent to gratify, which indeed, at bottom, was the same thing. However, they were foon made dupes to the Servants, for when the profit of this fale was found out, the overseers and archoverseers gradually usurped the nominalion to themselves, and at last, it came to be made an addition to the
overgrown power of the Emperor.
It may easily be fuppofed, things were now in a fad fituation, and they continued fo, as tradition and written records assure us, for many ages. The lands lay uncultivated ; the people were reduced to the greatest misery imaginable ; they were forrily cloathed and worse fed. No body prospered but the Servants, or rather, only the upper ranks of them, the noble and honourable Servants, the overseers and archoverseers. To these indeed may be added the idle and fpeculative fort, who were settled in hives, in the most pleasant and fruitful vallies, in every
province. As for the poorer or lowest class of fervants, who actually did any work for the families, they were as much oppressed, aby this time, as their masters. Their wages were mostly taken up by lazy overseers, or exhausted by heavy taxes which they were obliged to pay to the emperor, and his court.
410 ili A terrible blow given to the Domination of the Ser
vants , and particularly to the Power of the Emperor..! mm 20: I. fi-))?(): 9f1
T appears to be a fact, tho' not very well accounted for by philofophers, that, when men have been long accustomed to slavery, they hug their chains, and become fo blinded, as to pride themselves in their misery itself. A poor peasant, in a neigbouring country, whose face is pale with kanger, and his family fcarce covered with rags, through the oppression of his prince, yet will be very ready to venture his life in vindication of the tyrant's honour, and count himself extremely happy to lay it down in defence of his perfon. So it happened with the people under confideration. They were so deluded by thefe Servants, that, as their condition, so their reason itself was turned upfide down. They gloried in the usurpation of the servants over them, worshipped them often as they passed, and stoutly defended all their rights and privileges...
If by chance it happened, (as there were always fome in every age) that one thought fit to complain of the floth, debauchery, avarice and tyranny of the Servants, his brethren immediately raised a hideous accufation against him, and the
stupid people generally joined in the cry. They immediately aflisted his fellow-fervants to seize him, to imprison him, and, according to the degree of his offence, to punish him. They firft, indeed, took the most charitable pains to convince him of his error. If, upon this, he was willing to recant, and folemnly to declare that the conduct of the Servants was admirable, and the character of them all unblameable, he was disa missed only with a good beating. But, if he was obstinate, and insisted on telling the truth, he was carried to a dreadful subterraneous place, and, there, put to the most horrid and shocking tortures, which at length ended in death.
However, at last, this mystery of iniquity got a terrible blow. One of the lower Servants, of an honest heart, and a determined resolute temper, being filled with indignation at the oppreffion which the rest were guilty of, fet himself to open the eyes of the publick, and expose their wickedness. He made a full discovery of all the frauds he had any how been acquainted with, and spared not the corruption of the Emperor's court. Laying down only this plain principle, that Servants were obliged to promote, at all times, the real intereft of their masters, he fet the abominable conduct of the covetous bloodfuckers in the moft odious light. Whenever he went to a fair, or other place of public concourse, he would get upon an eminence, and in a long discourse, endeavour to rouse the people from their
lethargy, and inflame them with resentment against their opprefforsá
widers This furnished his brethren with an opportunity of representing him as a difturber of the peace, and loading him with innumerable-calumnies. Many tumults were raised againft him, and he was often in imminent danger of his life. When he had narrowly escaped being stoned in publick, they would often hire defperadoes to affaflinate him in private; and, sometimes, attempted to bribe his intimate friends to take him off by poison. However, by a mixture of bravery and caution in himself, together with the affistance of some faithful friends, who saw how much he was promoting their interest, or rather, by a most fingular providence, he was always brought off safe. At last, a few of the other servants joined him, and they together opened the eyes of several provinces of the Empire. These came to a formal resolution of casting off the yoke of the Emperor, and settling the Servants upon a quite new, or rather bringing them back to the old, reasonable and natural foundation.
This was not brought about without a most violent and pertinacious oppofition. The Em- peror immediately founded the alarm, and set the Servants in motion throuhgout all his dominions. He could not be supposed, indeed, to look upon fuch a scheme with indifference ; for it plainly tended to strip him of a great part of his revenue and power : nor was it eafy to see where it would