Front Page Titles (by Subject) Trenchard: Some Reflections upon a Pamphlet, called, The Old Whig. Anno 1719. - A Collection of Tracts, vol. I
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Trenchard: Some Reflections upon a Pamphlet, called, The Old Whig. Anno 1719. - John Trenchard, A Collection of Tracts, vol. I 
A Collection of Tracts. By the Late John Trenchard, Esq; and Thomas Gordon, Esq; The First Volume. (London: F. Cogan, 1751).
Part of: A Collection of Tracts, 2 vols.
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Some Reflections upon a Pamphlet, called, The Old Whig.
SINCE the publishing of The Thoughts, the Town has been informed by two Pamphlets on the other Side; one intitled, Considerations, &c. and the other, The Old Whig. The last Gentleman seems to be sensible of his Defect in point of Length, and so promises another; which puts me in mind of a Country Girl who offer’d her Service to a Belle Lady. This Lady being over-nice, observed to the Wench that she made her Courtesies but very aukwardly: To which the other replied, Indeed, Madam, I make them very ill, but you shall have the more of them, the more of them, the more of them: And so she duck’d for half an Hour together.
However, to do Justice to this Author, I acknowledge he has unanswerably shewn the great Inconveniences which will happen to the Crown and People, if the Lords are multiplied too fast: and I was in great hopes he had convinced those who set him to work, of the Unreasonableness of Creating One and Thirty; or, if he will have it so, but Fifteen at once; when he gives us such shrewd Hints that we have too many already. But upon Perusal of his Performance the second time, I find that is not the Thing aimed at. We have a very good Ministry at present, which God bless; and the Author seems to be of my Opinion, that we shall never have such another: And therefore it is wise to secure them during their own Time, and let those who come next look to themselves.
I find this Gentleman is of the Opinion of the Law-Books, That the Crown is always in its Infancy; and therefore it is proper to take away from it all Knives, Scissars, &c. by which it might cut its Fingers. He thinks it is no safer to trust it with any Prerogative for its own Good, than for that of the People: Whereas I was weak enough to believe, the Weapons for its own Preservation could not be placed in better Hands than its own.
It’s evidently the Interest of the Crown to make Lords enough to keep the Ballance of the Government even; and yet not so many, as to make them terrible to itself. It’s as plain, in the Opinion of the Projectors themselves, that the Crown has never yet committed an Excess in the latter; since there were never so many Lords as there are now, and yet by their intending to make more, they confess they have not enough already. But why they should Prophecy that for the future the Crown and all other subsequent Ministers shall conspire against themselves as well as their Country, if such a Law does not pass, I can’t imagine. As for my part, I should think a Man stark mad, if he called out in the Streets Help! Help! that the Neighbours might come in, and hinder him from killing himself.
These Considerations, I am persuaded, would have some weight with our Author, if he did not think we were blessed with so foreseeing and virtuous a Ministry, as could minutely hit the just Proportion and Ballance of Power which will exactly suit the several Parts of our Constitution at present, and in all Generations to come, and that they will make no ill Use of any Power they are trusted with; to which I confess myself unable to give any Answer.
I agree also with our Author in several other useful Discoveries dispersed throughout his Pamphlet: As, that Men of great Estates had rather be Lords than Commoners, and that the more of them which are taken out of the House of Commons, the fewer will remain behind; that Commoners for the most part have more Wit than ——— ———; That Lords have not always been made for Merit; that the more of them are, the more Privileges there will be; (I don’t say, with the Author, the more Mischief:) That any Prerogative in the Crown against the Publick Interest will do more Harm than Good; that Ministers will do their own Business, whatever becomes of the King or People; that the Negative Power is useful to the Crown; that an ill King, if he has no more Wit, may throw his Troop of Horse into the House of Lords; (I pray God keep them out of the House of Commons!) With several other seasonable and important Maxims in Politicks, very necessary to be well understood in this Controversy.
And so having done him all the Justice due from a fair Adversary, in owning every thing which is material in his Pamphlet; I shall just hint at one or two things that I think are not so, and in which I cannot agree with him.
He says, though I admit with him that our present Government consists of three States, yet by the Reasoning of my Pamphlet I make them but two; and this seems to be his own Opinion: And the Reason is, according to his own Emphatical Way of Expression, that the King may add a Troop of Horse to the Lords, and then in all likelihood he may get a Majority. But notwithstanding this pregnant Objection, I can’t help thinking the Lords are one State with a Witness. They have an equal Power in making all Laws, and the Execution of them all in the last Instance, when they are made, without being accountable. They have the sole Possession of all Honours; their Persons are like Holy Ground, Sacred, and not to be profan’d or touched with Lay-hands; and whatever they think fit to do, we must say nothing of it at the peril of Scan’ Mag’. If they should commit High Treason or Felony, they can’t be punished unless they have a Mind to it: And as for any Judgment that can be given against them in other Courts for Crimes which are not Capital, they can appeal to themselves, and so cannot fail of equal Justice. There was once upon a Time a General Council of Ecclesiasticks, (who sure must be more Holy than any Laymen) who made a Canon that the Evidence of a Layman should not be valid against a Clergyman.
There is another thing in which this Author has express’d himself so cautiously, that I cannot tell whether we are agreed or not. He says, “the three States should be entirely separate and distinct from each other, so that no one of them may lie too much under the Influence and Controul of either of the Collateral Branches.” If he means by these significant Words too much, not at all, I beg leave to differ from him; and appeal to the Reader, whether he has not formed a State of War instead of a Civil State. But if he means they ought to have such an Influence and Controul upon one another, as to prevent coming to Extremes, I don’t see but we are well agreed and I beg of him to read over my Pamphlet once more.
However, there is one Point in which I must beg leave to differ altogether from him, and which indeed is the only thing he has offered against my Pamphlet; viz. If you trust a wise Body of Men with such Power, they will never play Paw-pay Tricks with it. But since we Authors for the most part have more Wit than Money, which may happen to be the Case of my present Brother; I doubt he will not be able to give good City-Security for it. And therefore I recommend to his Consideration, that in the Paper he has promised he will propose a Remedy, how we shall help ourselves if it happens otherwise.
So I conclude, with due Defference to his Performance; which I confess has said not only all the Subject will admit of, but a great deal more.