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Thursday, May 08, 2014

Public Thievery

     The following is from Cato's Letters #22:

     That no man who is not a thief, will be an advocate for a thief;  that rogues are best protected by their fellows;  and that the strongest motive which any man can have for saving another from the gallows, is the fear of the same punishment for the same crimes:  And though these, and a thousand other such unwarrantable imputations, ought not, and have not made the least impression upon one conscious of his own virtue;  yet it is every man's duty, as well as interest, to remove the most distant causes of suspicion from himself, when he can do it consistent with his publick duty;  and therefore we are equally sure of this great man's endeavours too for bringing over Mr. {Robert} Knight.

       And the following is from #29 of the same:

     Let us hang up publick rogues, as well as punish private blasphemers.  The observance of religion, and the neglect of justice, are contradictions.  Let any man ask himself, whether a nation is more hurt by a few giddy, unthinking, young wretches, talking madly in their drink;  or by open, deliberate, and publick depredations committed by a junto of veteran knaves, who add to the injury, and their own guilt, by a shew of gravity, and a canting pretence to religion?  The late directors all pretended to be good Christians.  I would ask one question more;  namely, whether it had not been better for England, that the late directors, and their masters, had spent their nights and their days in the Hell Fire Club, than in contriving and executing execrable schemes to ruin England?  Pray, which of the two is your greater enemy, he who robs you of all that you have, but neither curses nor swears at you;  or he who only curses you or himself, and takes nothing from you?

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