Front Page Titles (by Subject) Seasonable Advice to the Electors of Great Britain; with a Word or two relating to the Influence of the Clergy in Elections. Anno 1722. - A Collection of Tracts, vol. 2
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Seasonable Advice to the Electors of Great Britain; with a Word or two relating to the Influence of the Clergy in Elections. Anno 1722. - John Trenchard, A Collection of Tracts, vol. 2 
A Collection of Tracts. By the Late John Trenchard, Esq; and Thomas Gordon, Esq; Vol. II. (London: F. Cogan, 1751).
Part of: A Collection of Tracts, 2 vols.
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Seasonable Advice to the Electors of Great Britain; with a Word or two relating to the Influence of the Clergy in Elections.
I’ll thunder in their Ears their Country’s Cause, And try to rouse up all that’s Roman in ’em.
YOU are now proceeding to a new Election, and what may depend upon it, God only knows! it behoves therefore every true Briton, to consider well with himself, and not to be be over-hasty in giving his Vote, but to weigh Matters thoroughly and impartially, since we cannot tell what may be the Consequences of this great Affair.
You will pardon me, therefore, my Countrymen, if I have the Presumption to direct you in this Juncture, when I tell you that it is out of the Love I owe to my dear Country; which I conceive I cannot better express at present, than in giving some seasonable Advice to those who have it in their Power to make us happy and glorious.
And though I would not be thought to know more than others, yet give me Leave to say, that what I have here set down are indisputable Points. Don’t wonder then, if I have not entered into smaller Matters, or Things of less Consequence, when those of a greater and higher Nature call for your Consideration; and without which, I will be bold to say, that all other Qualifications (how good soever) ought to be considered as nothing.
I have avoided to entertain you with false and scandalous Reports (though it is the Fashion of the present Time to do so) I have endeavoured to speak the Truth, and not harangue you with groundless Jealousies and nonsensical Observations. As therefore a whole Kingdom lies at Stake, as the Honour of your King, the Happiness of your Country, and the Security of our holy Religion are concerned, read and consider the following Advices.
In the first and chief Place, you should promote the Interest of those who are true Friends to his Majesty King George, and the Succession, as by Law established, in his Royal House; as it has been observed by a very great Man, That this is the very Life and Soul of these Kingdoms* : So you should fix your Eyes on those, who have shewn a particular Regard to the Protestant Succession, when most in Danger† . You cannot be too careful in this Point; you will do well to consider who are the Men that have obstructed the public Affairs, who you may have Reason to suspect of their Loyalty, let such be never thought on but with Disdain; on the contrary, espouse the Cause of those, whose Zeal for the Service of their King, have surmounted all private Views, and who have sacrificed their just Resentments to the public Good and Welfare.
The next Thing you are to consider of, is your Religion and Liberties; you will, therefore, take the greatest Pleasure in voting for those, who have been for strengthning the Protestant Interest, since without this, all other Hopes are vain and fruitless; on this depends your own and Posterity’s Happiness: O think, then, with how much Trouble, Anxiety and Loss of Blood, our Fore-fathers handed down our Religion and Liberties! Think what they underwent for our Sakes, to transmit us the Blessings we now enjoy! For Heaven’s Sake, then, put it not in the Power of any to lay Restraints on your Consciences; this is that Property whereby God has given every Man Power to judge for himself; that Person, therefore, who would fetter your Conscience, and lead captive your Reason (under whatever Denomination he may go) is only an Agent of Rome, and an Emissary of some designing Priests. Look to it then, that you fix on those who will guard your Liberties, and not destroy them. And though some Men would now seem the only Advocates for your Liberties, who when they have had it in their Power, have always endeavoured to subvert them; let these be watched against with the utmost Caution, these are the Men who make Mountains of Mole-hills, and would have all People use a magnifying Glass, as well as themselves.
But I am afraid there is another Consideration, which you will expect I should offer to you, and which, if rightly considered, may be as useful at this Time, as any thing that can be said; I mean our late Misfortunes in relation to the wicked Management of the South-Sea Scheme; though in my own Opinion I cannot think it so important as the others which I have offered to you. You cannot be ignorant how this has been made use of by designing Men, and how it has misled many well-meaning People; and here, Gentlemen, be not overhasty in your Censures on this Head. Consider, in the first Place, that all Men are liable to Mistakes, that there may be such a Thing in the World as involuntary Error; that Men may design very well, and the Consequences be very bad. I would not be here understood, that I am vindicating any who designed to plunder us, or was in the Bottom of that Mystery of Iniquity. No, I would only fet Matters right: Allowing, therefore, that two, or three, or more, should have been Plunderers, for God’s Sake don’t think a whole Community, or Party is guilty, don’t condemn a whole Administration for the Sake of a few who have corrupted themselves; this is a Way of thinking and acting that becomes abject Minds and low Spirits, and not that of Britons. For Shame, therefore, Gentlemen, rouse your wonted Zeal and Bravery, I don’t mean false Zeal (for that carries Men beyond the Bounds of Reason) but that Zeal which is commendable in a good Cause, and sure the glorious Cause of Liberty should have this Zeal; be not led therefore by any Mistakes, let not designing Men guide you to work your own Ruin, and though we were in as bad a Condition as they would represent (which thank God is not our Case) yet let us take Care not to trust those now, that we have formerly (for very good Reasons) opposed; for, can we think the Enemies of our Country are altered, or have they changed their Sentiments and Cause, have they kept themselves clear and honest in a Time of Degeneracy and Infatuation, or rather, have they not been as deeply concerned in our Misfortunes as others? In short, are they not the Men that now oppose the Healing of our Differences? Have we forgot their known Maxim, That no Government is worth serving without Jobs? Why then should we trust such, and think those now the only disinterested Men, who, when in Power, have been the most wicked and corrupt of any in the World?
But, Gentlemen, consider farther, if those Persons whom you call Plunderers, will not be your Choice, be sure take care that you do not change for those worst of Plunderers, even those that would sell, not only their own, but your Birth-right; these Plunderers exceed the worst of any others, as far as Heaven exceeds the Earth: You ought most seriously to consider this, think what it is that lies at Stake, ’tis your Liberties, and if ever you put it in the Power of those who are known Enemies to you, the Curse will fall on your own Heads as well as others; and the better to know these Enemies of the common Cause, think of the Men, who, though they have taken the Oaths to the King, yet think they owe him no Duty; who have abjured the Pretender, but not forgot him; who perhaps never engaged in any Rebellion or Invasion, yet have either in Words, pleasing Looks, or finally, by an avowed Silence, aided or wished well to a Popish Pretender; when the Cause of the King, the Protestant Religion, and the Liberties of England were in Danger. These are the Persons that when they have it in their Power, will plunder your Liberties, and these are the Plunderers you ought most to fear and despise. Let those, therefore, that would inslave you, know, that though some of you may have lost your Money, yet that you are resolved not to part with your Senses, nor to lose your Liberties; let them know, that the true British Spirit still prevails among you; and by the Choice you make, let the World see, that you have had a Regard to such, who have signalized themselves in Defence of the best King, and the best Cause in the World.
There is one Thing more which I must caution you against (which, Heaven be praised, is not so needful now as formerly) that you would take Care not to follow a Multitude to do Evil; by this I mean, that you would not follow the Clergy, i. e. that you will not be Priest-ridden; for however useful their Profession may be to our Souls, we find the Generality of them no great Friends to our Bodies. It may be therefore at some County Elections, you may behold great Numbers of the sacred Cloth, on the Side of what they call the C———h, for where the Carcasses are, there will the Eagles be gathered together. It is my Advice, Gentlemen, that you would shun the Side which has got the Majority of these spiritual Guides with them; unless the Priests should, at this Election, turn honest, which, not to say impossible, is at present very improbable. This Hint, therefore, may not be altogether useless; however, let not the Word C———h, guide you one Way or other, you know it is a stale Artifice, and an old Ecclesiastical Bite, that has formerly hurried great Numbers of ignorant People to work their own Destruction; let not therefore this senseless Noise of a Stone Wall, consecrated Bricks, and other holy Lumber, be of any Weight with you in this Affair; remember that empty Sounds and noisy Words are no Arguments; and to follow such, is at once to give up your Senses and Reason.
It is highly necessary that all Places, who send Representatives to Parliament, should fix on such Persons, who either know, or are interested in Trade and Commerce; and as we depend on Trade for our chief Support, so none can be better Judges who is fit to represent them, than the Inhabitants themselves; I only recommend it to them, that they would chuse such Gentlemen who are qualified for so great a Trust, either to gain new Advantages for our Trade, or redress such Grievances which may have obstructed it. I doubt not but there may be found out enough of that Character I have been pleading for; I insist on the Qualifications I have mentioned, as absolutely necessary, and without which I shall ever despair of seeing Truth and Justice prevail: But if we should be so happy as to know our true Interest, and distinguish between Light and Darkness, what glorious Effects may we not expect from so wished-for a Choice! we may then hope to see the King reign peaceably, and beloved at home, his Arms conquering or dreaded abroad, true Religion and Liberty flourish, and Virtue once more lift up its Head! We may then hope for an happy Union among all Protestants, whilst Rebellion, Bigotry, Persecution and Priestcraft shall lie groveling beneath our Feet.
A Gentleman of my Acquaintance having been at the Pains to paint a certain Set of Men in their hereditary Colours, I have (with his Leave) added it at the End of these Advices; perhaps it may be of some Service to those Genuine Sons of the Church, who have not seen their Pictures for a long Season; it may be useful to others, who have parted with their own Eyes to make use of the Parson’s: In short, ’tis offered to all that will take the Pains to read it; and then I doubt not but it will speak for itself.
[* ]Earl Cowper’s Speech at the giving Sentence to the Six Lords.
[† ]The King’s first Speech to his Parliament.