This work is in the public domain.
Homo sum humani nihil a me alienum puto.
DUBLIN: Printed by GEORGE FAULKNER in Essex-street. MDCCXLIX.
A Word to the Wise.
BE not startled, Reverend Sirs, to find yourselves addressed to by one of a different Communion. We are indeed (to our Shame be it spoken) more inclined to hate for those Articles, wherein we differ, than to love one another for those wherein we agree. But if we cannot extinguish, let us at least suspend our Animosities, and forgetting our religious Feuds, consider ourselves in the amiable Light of Countrymen and Neighbours. Let us for once turn our Eyes on those Things, in which we have one common Interest. Why should Disputes about Faith interrupt the Duties of civil Life? or the different Roads we take to Heaven prevent our taking the same Steps on Earth? do we not inhabit the same Spot of Ground, breath the same Air, and live under the same Government? why then should we not conspire in one and the same Design, to promote the common Good of our Country?
We are all agreed about the Usefulness of Meat, Drink, and Clothes, and without Doubt, we all sincerely wish our poor Neighbours were better supplied with them. Providence and Nature have done their Part; no Country is better qualified to furnish the Necessaries of Life, and yet no People are worse provided. In vain is the Earth fertile, and the Climate benign, if human Labour be wanting. Nature supplies the Materials, which Art and Industry improve to the Use of Man, and it is the Want of this Industry that occasions all our other Wants.
The Public hath endeavoured to excite and encourage this most useful Virtue. Much hath been done; but whether it be from the Heaviness of the Climate, or from the Spanish, or Scythian Blood that runs in their Veins, or whatever else may be the Cause, there still remains in the Natives of this Island a remarkable Antipathy to Labour. You, Gentlemen, can alone conquer their innate hereditary Sloth. Do you then, as you love your Country exert yourselves.
You are known to have great Influence on the Minds of your People, be so good as to use this Influence for their Benefit. Since other Methods fail, try what you can do. Be instant in Season, out of Season, reprove, rebuke, exhort. * Make them thoroughly sensible of the Sin and Folly of Sloth. Shew your Charity in clothing the naked and feeding the hungry, which you may do by the mere Breath of your Mouths. Give me Leave to tell you, that no Set of Men upon Earth have it in their Power to do good on easier Terms, with more Advantage to others, and less Pains or Loss to themselves. Your Flocks are of all others, most disposed to follow Directions, and of all others want them most; and indeed what do they not want?
The House of an Irish Peasant is the Cave of Poverty; within, you see a Pot and a little Straw, without, a Heap of Children tumbling on the Dunghill. Their Fields and Gardens are a lively Counterpart of Solomon’s Description in the Proverbs; I went, saith that wise King, by the Field of the slothful, and by the Vineyard of the Man void of Understanding, and lo! it was all grown over with Thorns, and Nettles had covered the Face thereof, and the Stone Wall thereof was broken down. * In every Road the ragged Ensigns of Poverty are displayed; you often meet Caravans of Poor, whole Families in a Drove, without Clothes to cover, or Bread to feed them, both which might be easily procured by moderate Labour. They are encouraged in this vagabond Life by the miserable Hospitality they meet with in every Cottage, whose Inhabitants expect the same kind Reception in their Turn, when they become Beggars themselves; Beggary being the last Refuge of these improvident Creatures.
If I seem to go out of my Province, or to prescribe to those who must be supposed to know their own Business, or to paint the lower Inhabitants of this Land in no very pleasing Colours, you will candidly forgive a well meant Zeal, which obligeth me to say Things, rather useful than agreeable, and to lay open the Sore in order to heal it.
But whatever is said must be so taken, as not to reflect on Persons of Rank and Education, who are no Way inferior to their Neighbours; nor yet to include all even of the lowest Sort, though it may well extend to the Generality, of those especially in the Western and Southern Parts of the Kingdom, where the British Manners have less prevailed. We take our Notions from what we see, mine are a faithful Transcript from Originals about me.
The Scythians were noted for Wandering, and the Spaniards for Sloth and Pride; our Irish are behind neither of these Nations from which they descend, in their respective Characteristics. Better is he that laboureth and aboundeth in all Things, than he that boasteth himself and wanteth Bread, saith the Son of Sirach, * but so saith not the Irishman. In my own Family a Kitchen-wench refused to carry out Cinders, because she was descended from an old Irish Stock. Never was there a more monstrous Conjunction than that of Pride with Beggary; and yet this Prodigy is seen every Day in almost every Part of this Kingdom. At the same Time these proud People are more destitute than Savages, and more abject than Negros. The Negros in our Plantations have a Saying, If Negro was not Negro, Irishman would be Negro. And it may be affirmed with Truth, that the very Savages of America are better clad and better lodged than the Irish Cottagers throughout the fine fertile Counties of Limerick and Tipperary.
Having long observed and bewailed this wretched State of my Countrymen, and the Insufficiency of several Methods set on Foot to reclaim them; I have recourse to your Reverences, as the dernier Resort. Make them to understand that you have their Interest at Heart, that you persuade them to work for their own Sakes, and that GOD hath ordered Matters so as that, they who will not work for themselves, must work for others. The Terrors of Debt, Slavery, and Famine should, one would think, drive the most slothful to Labour. Make them sensible of these Things, and that the Ends of Providence and Order of the World require Industry in human Creatures. Man goeth forth to his Work, and to his Labour until the Evening, saith the Psalmist, when he is describing the Beauty, Order and Perfection of the Works of God. But what saith the slothful Person? yet a little Sleep, a little Slumber, a little Folding of the Hands to Sleep. But what saith the Wiseman? so shall thy Poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy Want as an armed Man.
All Nature will furnish you with Arguments and Examples against Sloth, go to the Ant thou Sluggard, cries Solomon. The Ant, the Bee, the Beetle, and every Insect but the Drone reads a Lesson of Industry to Man. But the shortest and most effectual Lesson is that of Saint Paul, if any Man will not work neither should he eat. This Command was enjoined the Thessalonians and equally respects all Christians, and indeed all Mankind; it being evident by the Light of Nature, that the whole Creation works together for Good, and that no Part was designed to be useless; as therefore the Idle Man is of no Use, it follows that he hath no Right to a Subsistence. Let them work, saith the Apostle, and eat their own Bread; not Bread got by Begging, not Bread earned by the Sweat of other Men; but their own Bread, that which is got by their own Labour. Then shalt thou eat the Labour of thine Hands, saith the Psalmist, to which he adds, happy shalt thou be and it shall be well with thee; intimating, that to work and enjoy the Fruits thereof is a great Blessing.
A slothful Man’s Imagination is apt to dress up Labour in a horrible Masque; but, horrible as it is, Idleness is more to be dreaded, and a Life of Poverty (its necessary Consequence) is far more painful. It was the Advice of Pythagoras, to chuse the best Kind of Life, for that Use would render it agreeable, reconciling Men even to the roughest Exercise. By Practice, Pains become at first easie, and in the Progress pleasant; and this is so true, that whoever examines Things will find, there can be no such Thing as a happy Life without Labour, and that whoever doth not labour with his Hands, must in his own Defence labour with his Brains.
Certainly, planting and tilling the Earth is an Exercise not less pleasing than useful; it takes the Peasant from his smoaky Cabin into the fresh Air and the open Field, rendering his Lot far more desirable than that of the Sluggard, who lies in the Straw, or sits whole Days by the Fire.
Convince your People that not only Pleasure invites, but Necessity also drives them to labour. If you have any Compassion for these poor Creatures, put them in Mind how many of them perished in a late memorable Distress, through Want of that provident Care against a hard Season, observable not only in all other Men, but even in irrational Animals. Set before their Eyes in lively Colours, their own indigent and sordid Lives, compared with those of other People, whose Industry hath procured them hearty Food, warm Clothes, and decent Dwellings. Make them sensible what a Reproach it is, that a Nation which makes so great Pretensions to Antiquity, and is said to have flourished many Ages ágo in Arts and Learning, should in these our Days turn out a lazy, destitute, and degenerate Race.
Raise your Voices, Reverend Sirs, exert your Influence, shew your Authority over the Multitude, by engaging them to the Practice of an honest Industry, a Duty necessary to all, and required in all, whether Protestants, or Roman Catholics, whether Christians, Jews, or Pagans. Be so good among other Points to find Room for This, than which none is of more Concern to the Souls and Bodies of your Hearers, nor consequently deserves to be more amply, or frequently insisted on.
Many and obvious are the Motives that recommend this Duty. Upon a Subject so copious you can never be at a Loss for something to say. And while by these Means you rescue your Countrymen from Want and Misery, you will have the Satisfaction to behold your Country itself improved. What Pleasure must it give you to see these waste and wild Scenes, these naked Ditches and miserable Hovels exchanged for fine Plantations, rich Meadows, well tilled Fields, and neat Dwellings; to see People well fed and well clad, instead of famished, ragged Scarecrows; and those very Persons tilling the Fields that used to beg in the Streets.
Neither ought the Difficulty of the Enterprise to frighten you from attempting it. It must be confessed a Habit of Industry is not at once introduced; Neighbour nevertheless will emulate Neighbour, and the Contagion of good Example will spread as surely as of bad, though perhaps not so speedily. It may be hoped, there are many that would be allured by a plentiful and decent Manner of Life to take Pains, especially when they observe it to be attained by the Industry of their Neighbours, in no Sort better qualified than themselves.
If the same gentle Spirit of Sloth did not sooth our Squires as well as Peasants, one would imagine there should be no idle Hands among us. Alas! how many Incentives to Industry offer themselves in this Island, crying aloud to the Inhabitants for Work? Roads to be repaired, Rivers made navigable, Fisheries on the Coasts, Mines to be wrought, Plantations to be raised, Manufactures improved, and, above all, Lands to be tilled and sowed with all Sorts of Grain.
When so many Circumstances provoke and animate your People to Labour, when their private Wants, and the Necessities of the Public, when the Laws, the Magistrates, and the very Country calls upon them, you cannot think it becomes you alone to be silent, or hindmost in every Project for promoting the public Good. Why should you, whose Influence is greatest, be least active? why should you, whose Words are most likely to prevail, say least in the common Cause?
Perhaps it will be said, the Discouragements attending those of your Communion are a Bar against all Endeavours for exciting them to a laudable Industry. Men are stirred up to Labour by the Prospect of bettering their Fortunes, by getting Estates, or Employments; but those who are limited in the Purchase of Estates, and excluded from all civil Employments, are deprived of those Spurs to Industry.
To this it may be answered, that admitting these Considerations do, in some Measure, damp Industry and Ambition in Persons of a certain Rank, yet they can be no Let to the Industry of poor People, or supply an Argument against endeavouring to procure Meat, Drink, and Clothes. It is not proposed, that you should persuade the better Sort to acquire Estates, or qualify themselves for becoming Magistrates; but only that you should set the lowest of the People at Work, to provide themselves with Necessaries, and supply the Wants of Nature.
It will be alledged in Excuse of their Idleness, that the Country People want Encouragement to labour, as not haveing a Property in the Lands. There is small Encouragement, say you, for them to build, or plant upon another’s Land, wherein they have only a temporary Interest. To which I answer, that Life itself is but temporary; that all Tenures are not of the same Kind; that the Case of our English and the original Irish is equal in this Respect; and that the true Aborigines, or natural Irish are noted for Want of Industry in Improving even on their own Lands, whereof they have both Possession and Property.
How many industrious Persons are there in all civilized Countries, without any Property in Lands, or any Prospect of Estates, or Employments? Industry never fails to reward her Votaries. There is no one but can earn a little, and little added to little makes a Heap. In this fertile and plentiful Island, none can perish for Want but the Idle and Improvident. None who have Industry, Frugality, and Foresight but may get into tolerable, if not wealthy Circumstances. Are not all Trades and Manufactures open to those of your Communion? have you not the same free Use, and may you not make the same Advantage of Fairs and Markets as other Men? do you pay higher Duties, or are you liable to greater Impositions than your fellow Subjects? and are not the public Praemiums and Encouragements given indifferently to Artists of all Communions? have not, in Fact, those of your Communion a very great Share of the Commerce of this Kingdom in their Hands? and is not more to be got by this than by purchasing Estates, or possessing civil Employments, whose Incomes are often attended with large Expences?
A tight House, warm Apparel, and wholesome Food are sufficient Motives to labour. If all had them, we should be a flourishing Nation. And if those who take Pains may have them, those who will not take Pains are not to be pitied; they are to be looked on and treated as Drones, the Pest and Disgrace of Society.
It will be said, the Hardness of the Landlord cramps the Industry of the Tenant. But if Rent be high, and the Landlord rigorous, there is more need of Industry in the Tenant. It is well known that in Holland, Taxes are much higher, and Rent both of Land and Houses far dearer than in Ireland. But this is no Objection or Impediment to the Industry of the People, who are rather animated and spurred on to earn a Livelihood by Labour, that is not to be got without it.
You will say, it is an easy Matter to make a plausible Discourse on Industry, and its Advantages; but what can be expected from poor Creatures, who are destitute of all Conveniences for exerting their Industry, who have nothing to improve upon, nothing to begin the World with? I answer they have their four Quarters, and five Senses. Is it nothing to possess the bodily Organs sound and entire? That wonderful Machine the Hand, was it formed to be idle?
Was there but Will to work, there are not wanting in this Island either Opportunities, or Encouragements. Spinning alone might employ all idle Hands, (Children as well as Parents) being soon learned, easily performed, and never failing of a Market, requiring neither Wit nor Strength, but suited to all Ages and Capacities. The Public provides Utensils, and Persons for teaching the Use of them; but the Public cannot provide a Heart and Will to be industrious. These, I will not deny, may be found in several Persons in some other Parts of the Kingdom, and where-ever they are found, the comfortable Effects shew themselves. But seldom, very seldom are they found in these Southern People, whose Indolence figureth a Lion in the Way, and is Proof against all Encouragement.
But you will insist, how can a poor Man, whose daily Labour goes for the Payment of his Rent, be able to provide present Necessaries for his Family, much less to lay up a Store for the Future. It must be owned, a considerable Share of the poor Man’s Time and Labour goes towards paying his Rent. But how are his Wife and Children employed, or how doth he employ himself the rest of his Time? the same Work tires, but different Works relieve. Where there is a true Spirit of Industry, there will never be wanting something to do, without Doors, or within, by Candle-light, if not by Day-light. Labor ipse Voluptas, saith the Poet, and this is verified in Fact.
In England, when the Labour of the Field is over, it is usual for Men to betake themselves to some other Labour of a different Kind. In the Northern Parts of that industrious Land, the Inhabitants meet, a jolly Crew, at one anothers Houses, where they merrily and frugally pass the long and dark Winter Evenings; several Families by the same Light, and the same Fire, working at their different Manufactures of Wool, Flax, or Hemp; Company mean while mutually cheering and provoking to labour. In certain other * Parts you may see, on a Summer’s Evening, the common Labourers sitting along the Street of a Town, or Village, each at his own Door, with a Cushion before him making Bone-lace, and earning more in an Evening’s Pastime than an Irish Family would in a whole Day. Those People instead of closing the Day with a Game on greasy Cards, or lying stretched before the Fire, pass their Time much more chearfully in some useful Employment, which Custom hath rendered light and agreeable.
But admitting, for the various Reasons above alledged, that it is impossible for our Cottagers to be rich, yet it is certain they may be clean. Now bring them to be cleanly, and your Work is half done. A little washing, scrubbing, and rubbing, bestowed on their Persons and Houses, would introduce a sort of Industry, and Industry in any one Kind is apt to beget it in another.
Indolence in Dirt is a terrible Symptom, which shews itself in our lower Irish more, perhaps, than in any People on this Side the Cape of Good Hope. I will venture to add, that look throughout the Kingdom, and you shall not find a clean House inhabited by clean People, and yet wanting Necessaries; the same Spirit of Industry that keeps Folk clean, being sufficient to keep them also in Food and Rayment.
But alas! our poor Irish are wedded to Dirt upon Principle. It is with some of them a Maxim, that the Way to make Children thrive is to keep them dirty. And I do verily believe, that the Familiarity with Dirt, contracted and nourished from their Infancy, is one great Cause of that Sloth which attends them in every Stage of Life. Were Children but brought up in an Abhorrence of Dirt, and obliged to keep themselves clean, they would have something to do, whereas they now do nothing.
It is past all Doubt, that those who are educated in a supine Neglect of all Things, either profitable, or decent, must needs contract a Sleepiness and Indolence, which doth necessarily lead to Poverty, and every other Distress that attends it. Love not Sleep, cries Solomon, lest thou come to Poverty; open thine Eyes and thou shalt be satisfied with Bread. * It is therefore greatly to be wished, that you would persuade Parents, to inure their betimes to a Habit of Industry, as the surest Way to shun the Miseries that must otherwise befal them.
An early Habit, whether of Sloth, or Diligence, will not fail to shew itself throughout the whole Course of a Man’s Life. Train up a Child, saith the Wiseman, in the Way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. The first Tincture often leaves so deep a Stain as no After-thought or Endeavour can wash out. Hence Sloth in some Minds is Proof against all Arguments and Examples whatsoever, all Motives of Interest and Duty, all Impressions even of Cold and Hunger. This Habit rooted in the Child, grows up and adheres to the Man, producing a general Listlessness, and Aversion from Labour. This I take to be our great Calamity.
For admitting, that some of our Squires and Landlords are Vultures with Iron Bowels, and that their Hardness and Severity is a great Discouragement to the Tenant who will naturally prefer Want and Ease, before Want and Toil; it must at the same Time be admitted, that neither is the Landlord, generally speaking, so hard, nor the Climate so severe, nor the Soil so ungrateful, as not to answer the Husbandman’s Labour, where there is a Spirit of Industry; the Want of which is the true Cause of our national Distress. Of this there are many evident Proofs.
I have myself known a Man, from the lowest Condition of Life, without Friends or Education, not knowing so much as to write or read, bred to no Trade or Calling, by pure dint of Daylabour, Frugality, and Foresight, to have grown wealthy, even in this Island, and under all the abovementioned Disadvantages. And what is done by one, is possible to another.
In Holland a Child five Years old is maintained by its own Labour; in Ireland many Children of twice that Age do nothing but steal, or encumber the Hearth and Dunghill. This shameful Neglect of Education shews itself through the whole Course of their Lives, in a matchless Sloth bred in the very Bone, and not to be accounted for by any outward Hardship, or Discouragement whatever. It is the native Colour, if we may so speak, and Complexion of the People. Dutch, English, French, or Flemish cannot match them.
Mark an Irishman at Work in the Field; if a Coach, or Horseman go by, he is sure to suspend his Labour, and stand staring till they are out of Sight. A Neighbour of mine made it his Remark in a Journey from London to Bristol, that all the Labourers, of whom he enquired the Road, constantly answered without looking up, or interrupting their Work, except one who stood staring and leaning on his Spade, and him he found to be an Irishman.
It is a shameful Thing and peculiar to this Nation, to see lusty Vagabonds strolling about the Country, and begging without any Pretence to beg. Ask them why they do not labour to earn their own Livelihood, they will tell you, They want Employment; offer to employ them, and they shall refuse your Offer; or, if you get them to work one Day, you may be sure not to see them the next. I have known them decline even the lightest Labour, that of Haymaking, having at the same Time neither Clothes for their Backs, nor Food for their Bellies.
A sore Leg is an Estate to such a Fellow, and this may be easily got, and continued with small Trouble. Such is their Laziness, that rather than work they will cherish a Distemper. This I know to be true, having seen more than one Instance, wherein the second Nature so far prevailed over the first, that Sloth was preferred to Health. To these Beggars who make much of their Sores, and prolong their Diseases, you cannot do a more thankless Office than cure them, except it be to shave their Beards, which conciliate a Sort of Reverence to that Order of Men.
It is indeed a difficult Task to reclaim such Fellows from their slothful and brutal Manner of Life, to which they seem wedded with an Attachment that no temporal Motives can conquer; nor is there, humanly speaking, any Hopes they will mend, except their Respect for your Lessons, and Fear of Something beyond the Grave be able to work a Change in them.
Certainly, if I may advise, you should in Return for the Lenity and Indulgence of the Government, endeavour to make yourselves useful to the Public; and this will best be performed, by rousing your poor Countrymen from their beloved Sloth. I shall not now dispute the Truth or Importance of other Points, but will venture to say, that you may still find Time to inculcate this Doctrine of an honest Industry, and that this would by no Means be Time thrown away, if promoting your Country’s Interest, and rescuing so many unhappy Wretches of your Communion from Beggary, or the Gallows, be thought worth your Pains.
It should seem you cannot in your Sermons do better than inveigh against Idleness, that extensive Parent of many Miseries and many Sins; Idleness the Mother of Hunger and Sister of Theft; Idleness which, the Son of Sirach assures us, teacheth many Vices.
The same Doctrine is often preached from the Gallows. And indeed the Poverty, Nakedness, and Famine which Idleness entaileth on her Votaries, do make Men so wretched, that they may well think it better to dye than to live such Lives. Hence a Courage for all villainous Undertakings, which bringing Men to a shameful Death, do then open their Eyes when they are going to be closed for ever.
If you have any Regard (as it is not to be doubted) either for the Souls, or Bodies of your People, or even for your own Interest and Credit, you cannot fail to inveigh against this crying Sin of your Country. Seeing you are obnoxious to the Laws, should you not in Prudence try to reconcile yourselves to the Favour of the Public; and can you do this more effectually, than by co-operating with the public Spirit of the Legislature, and Men in Power?
Were this but done heartily, would you but be instant in Season, and out of Season, reprove, rebuke, exhort *, such is the Ascendent you have gained over the People, that we might soon expect to see the good Effects thereof. We might hope that our Garners would be soon full, affording all Manner of Store, that our Sheep would bring forth thousands, that our Oxen would be strong to labour, that there would be no breaking in, nor going out, (no Robbery, nor Migration for Bread) and that there would be no Complaining in our Streets §.
It stands you upon to act with Vigour in this Cause, and shake off the Shackles of Sloth from your Countrymen, the rather, because there be some who surmise, that yourselves have put them on. Right, or wrong, Men will be apt to judge of your Doctrines by their Fruits. It will reflect small Honour on their Teachers, if instead of Honesty and Industry those of your Communion are peculiarly distinguished by the contrary Qualities, or if the Nation converted by the great and glorious Saint Patrick should, above all other Nations, be stigmatised and marked out as good for nothing.
I can never suppose you so much your own Enemies, as to be Friends to this odious Sloth. But were this once abolished, and a laudable Industry introduced in its Stead, it may perhaps be asked, who are to be Gainers? I answer, your Reverences are like to be great Gainers; for every Penny you now gain, you would gain a Shilling: you would gain also in your Credit: and your Lives would be more comfortable.
You need not be told, how hard it is to rake from Rags and Penury a tolerable Subsistence; or how offensive to perform the Duties of your Function, amidst Stench and Nastiness; or how much Things would change for the better, in Proportion to the Industry and Wealth of your Flocks. Duty as well as Interest calls upon you to clothe the Naked, and feed the Hungry, by persuading them to eat (in the Apostle’s Phrase) their own Bread, or, as the Psalmist expresseth it, the Labour of their own Hands. By inspiring your Flocks with a Love of Industry, you will at once strike at the Root of many Vices, and dispose them to practise many Virtues. This therefore is the readiest Way to improve them.
Consult your Superiors. They shall tell you the Doctrine here delivered is a sound Catholic Doctrine, not limited to Protestants, but extending to all, and admitted by all, whether Protestants or Roman Catholics, Christians or Mahometans, Jews or Gentiles. And as it is of the greatest Extent, so it is also of the highest Importance. Saint Paul, expresly saith, That if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own House, he hath denied the Faith, and is worse than an Infidel *.
In vain then do you endeavour to make Men Orthodox in Points of Faith, if at the same Time in the Eyes of Christ and his Apostles, you suffer them to be worse than Infidels, than those who have no Faith at all. There is something it seems worse than even Infidelity; and to incite and stimulate you to put away that cursed Thing from among you, is the Design and Aim of this Address. The Doctrine we recommend is an evident Branch of the Law of Nature; it was taught by Prophets, inculcated by Apostles, encouraged and enforced by Philosophers, Legislators, and all wise States, in all Ages, and in all Parts of the World. Let me therefore intreat you to exert yourselves, to be instant in Season, and out of Season, rebuke, reprove, exhort. Take all Opportunities to drive the Lion out of the Way; raise your Voices, omit no Occasion, public or private, of awakening your wretched Countrymen from their sweet Dream of Sloth.
Many suspect your Religion to be the Cause of that notorious Idleness, which prevails so generally among the Natives of this Island, as if the Roman Catholic Faith was inconsistent with an honest Diligence in a Man’s Calling. But whoever considers the great Spirit of Industry that reigns in Flanders and France, and even beyond the Alps, must acknowledge this to be a groundless Suspicion. In Piedmont and Genoa, in the Milanese and the Venetian State, and indeed throughout all Lombardy, how well is the Soil cultivated, and what Manufactures of Silk, Velvet, Paper, and other Commodities flourish? The King of Sardinia will suffer no idle Hands in his Territories, no Beggar to live by the Sweat of another’s Brow; it has even been made penal at Turin, to relieve a strolling Beggar. To which I might add, that the Person whose Authority will be of greatest Weight with you, even the Pope himself, is at this Day endeavouring to put new Life into the Trade and Manufactures of his Country.
Though I am in no Secret of the Court of Rome, yet I will venture to affirm, that neither Pope, nor Cardinals, will be pleased to hear, that those of their Communion are distinguished above all others, by Sloth, Dirt, and Beggary; or be displeased at your endeavouring to rescue them from the Reproach of such an infamous Distinction.
The Case is as clear as the Sun; what we urge is enforced by every Motive that can work on a reasonable Mind. The Good of your Country, your own private Interest, the Duty of your Function, the Cries and Distresses of the Poor do with one Voice call for your Assistance. And if it is on all Hands allowed to be right and just, if agreeable both to Reason and Religion, if coincident with the Views both of your temporal and spiritual Superiors, it is to be hoped, this Address may find a favourable Reception, and that a Zeal for disputed Points, will not hinder your concurring to propagate so plain and useful a Doctrine, wherein we are all agreed.
When a Leak is to be stopped, or a Fire extinguished, do not all Hands cooperate without Distinction of Sect or Party? Or if I am fallen into a Ditch, shall I not suffer a Man to help me out, till I have first examined his Creed? Or when I am sick, shall I refuse the Physic, because my Physician doth, or doth not believe the Pope’s Supremacy?
Fas est et ab Hoste doceri. But in Truth, I am no Enemy to your Persons, whatever I may think of your Tenets. On the contrary, I am your sincere Well-wisher. I consider you as my Countrymen, as Fellow-Subjects, as professing Belief in the same Christ. And I do most sincerely wish, there was no other Contest between us but Who shall most compleatly practise the Precepts of Him by whose Name we are called, and whose Disciples we all profess to be.