Front Page Titles (by Subject) Number X.: Remarks upon the Appeal of the Pretender (young or old) to the People. - The Independent Whig, vol. 4 (1747)
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Number X.: Remarks upon the Appeal of the Pretender (young or old) to the People. - Thomas Gordon, The Independent Whig, vol. 4 (1747) 
The Independent Whig. Being a Collection of Papers All written, some of them published During the Late Rebellion (London: J. Peele, 1747). Vol. 4.
Part of: The Independent Whig, 4 vols.
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Remarks upon the Appeal of the Pretender (young or old) to the People.
BY the Stile of the Pretender’s Declaration he seems to rely, for his principal Support, upon the Stupidity and Infatuation of the Nation. He says, “his only Intention is, to reinstate his Subjects in the full Enjoyment of their Religion, Laws and Liberties.” When we are in the most copious Possession of all these Blessings, even to Profusion and Satiety, beyond all the Nations of the Earth, he comes from Rome, where Religion is founded in Fraud, Rapine and Cruelty, to reinstate us Protestants in the full Enjoyment of our Religion, which is accursed by Rome, and we are damned by Rome for holding it.
Just so Queen Mary reinstated her Subjects in the full Enjoyment of their Religion, by setting up the Papists to burn the Protestants, and pursued this her motherly Goodness and Protection of them in all their Rights, to the End of her detestable Life. She promised as fair as he does, promised the very same Things, and prosessed the same public Spirit.
What Reason can we have to believe that he will not follow her catholic Example, educated, as he is, in the same catholic Principles, which eternally infer the same catholic Spirit? Before we can take his Word, he must shew us, what he never can shew, that ever a Popish Prince kept his Engagements to Protestant Subjects, or that the Genius of Popery, and the Maxims of the Pope, will suffer him to keep them. Did his pretended Father keep them? He does not pretend to say that he did; he cannot pretend to say it: He knows that he did not; yet does not condemn, not even censure him, for not doing it, nor for breaking all his solemn Oaths, and invading all our Rights.
What therefore does he mean by his Intention “to reinstate his Subjects in the Enjoymen: of all their Rights?” I doubt he hath a double Meaning; first to mislead, if he can, such as already enjoy all their Rights; when at the same Time he intends, as his Education and Religion direct him, to spoil them of all. He would draw them the while to think that they are wrong’d of their Right, and he comes to restore them. Thus he gives weak Minds Hopes, in order to bring them to give him Admittance; and then, when they have made him Master, he will teach them what their Rights are; namely, to be redeemed from Heresy, and to be forced, for their Good, into the Bosom of the Catholic Church; to be ruled by an hereditary, indefeasible Sovereign, who will recal them from the Guilt of Rebellion, and rule them by the salutary Laws of absolute Monarchy. Liberty, as it is now understood and practised, can be none of their Rights, as by it his Father was dethroned, and himself stands excluded.
He therefore cannot mean English Protestant Liberty: If he did, his Declaration would be ridiculous; for what People upon Earth have so much Liberty as we? His present Attempt would, for the same Reason, be a Contradiction; since, whilst we enjoy our present Liberty, he can never reign. As little can be mean the present Protestant Religion, which excluded his Father for ever, and him from ever succeeding his Father.
This Language and these Promises are therefore mere Mockery to all Men of Sense, and Sugar-Plums to Children and Fools. It is equally absurd and deceitful to call us his Subjects: He is an Exile by Law, and can have no Subjects. We are not, we scorn to be his Subjects. By calling us his Subjects he disowns the Law; yet, mocking Sovereignty, and deriding us, he offers us a gracious Impossibility, of reinstating us in what we never wanted; what we enjoy above all Men, our Religion, Laws and Liberties.
Is not this pleasant? His Father ran Headlong to destroy all these, the Moment after he had sworn to preserve them all: King William restored them: King George has enlarged them; and steadily preserves them. In what Sense are they to be reinstated, but by being re-destroyed? As he is the visionary Representative of all his Subjects, that is, of all us, who are not his Subjects, by reinstating himself he concludes that we shall all be reinstated,—for we are all his.
Neither are such extravagant Doctrines and Demands unlike those preach’d up by the Court Sycophants in his Father’s Time, and too long before. It would be endless to cite Quotations and Sermons, and the Abuses then put upon God’s Word, on this Subject, by Men profanely calling themselves Religious, and prostituteing the Name of Protestants to Popish Purposes. One Illustration shall suffice here out of Thousands. Doctor Ball, Master of the Temple, taking for his Text the Words of our blessed Saviour, “Render unto Cæsar the Things that are Cæsar’s,” desired his Audience to observe, that the Words were Renderunto Cæsar, not Giveunto Cæsar; for that all was Cæsar’sbefore. The courtly Doctor goes on to shew all Men, that no Man had a Right to any Thing; that whatever Men had was Cæsar’s, and Cæsar ad a Right to all Things.
Ineed hardly add, that by Cæsar the Doctor meant King James, or King Charles (I forget which) Princes not very Cæsarean, but greedy of all the Rights which Doctor Ball conferred upon Cæsar; nor had he any other Reason for so conferring them. Had it been necessary to have derived these Princes from the Blood of Cæsar, ’tis not improbable that the courteous Divine would have invented a lineal Descent from him, found a Text for it, and branded as Atheists all who disputed it.
I cannot but here remark, with Concern, that the Divines of those Days, even some able Divines, whilst they contended against the Frauds and Horrors of Popery with irresistible Force and Success, yet with strange Inconsistency, and strange Zeal, maintained the wild Tenets of indefeasible Right, and blind Bondage to the Will of a Tyrant; even of a Popish Tyrant. It is one of the many and mighty Blessings attending the Revolution and Protestant Succession, that our Divines breathe a different Spirit, and contend, like good Englishmen, for Civil Liberty; and, like good Christians, for Liberty of Conscience,——Doctrines odious and decried in former Reigns.
The Pretender therefore, by Religion, Laws and Liberties, means such as his pretended Father, King James, pleased to allow his Subjects; for he strove to extinguish all the Laws of Religion and Liberty, which they claimed to themselves. By these Laws and Liberties, therefore, he cannot intend, and therefore we cannot understand him to intend, Ours. His Words are manifest Cant, the Cant of all Invaders. Who, that invades a Country, would not flatter it to obtain it? There is not a Tyrant in Europe but pretends to allow his Slaves great Rights and Privileges, and professes how tenderly he will maintain them in such. Old Louis, in every Step he took, and in every Edict he published, purposely to destroy the Edict of Nantz (and he was continually, by all Steps and Edicts, pushing that persidious Design) was careful constantly to declare, “That he would never violate the Edict of Nantz,” which he still faithlesly stiled the perpetual, the irrevocable Edict.
The only literal Meaning which the Pretender’s Words will bear, is a Meaning which he will not publicly own, nor like to have it discovered. “To reinstate all his Subjects in the Enjoyment of their Religion, Laws and Liberties,” is a very proper Declaration and Encouragement to most of those who own him for their Sovereign; to all bigotted Papists and hotheaded Nonjurors; to desperate Out-laws, starving Exiles, savage Highlanders, and Irish Rapparees; to all who claim Estates, forfeited by their own, or their Father’s Treason; and to all Traitors who gasp for the Estates and Properties of all real and true Subjects, who incur the Treason of opposing them.
To all that hungry Host such a Promise is a delicious Bait; a Redemption from Misery; a Call to Happiness; an Invitation to take Possession of the promised Land, with all its Wealth, and Milk and Honey. But it is a terrible Denunciation of Woe to us, the present Possessors, to be stripped and extirpated, destroyed or expelled, like the accursed Philistines: For, as God gave Canaan to the Jews, the Pope can give England to the Catholics; just as he did Half the Globe to the Spaniards, who have rendered it, by every Effort of savage Cruelty and devouring Tyranny, almost as waste as when God first created it.
By the same Rule of just Construction we find what he means by removing the Encroachments made upon aFreePeople. These Encroachments are the Revolution, the Protestant Succession, the Disestablishment of Popery, the Restraints upon Papists, the Settlement of Heresy, the Exclusion of Catholic Princes, and our Resistance of Catholic Tyranny.
These are Encroachments and Grievances with a Witness; terrible Grievances to the Pope; terrible Encroachments upon the Pope’s Pupil. Can he come, encouraged by the Pope, to mend the Condition of Protestants? For, by the Pope’s Encouragement he comes, armed with the Pope’s Blessing upon his Popish Endeavours, and with the Pope’s Curse against Protestants. Can he come by the Aid of France and Spain, to increase the Happiness and Strength, and to improve the Liberties of Englishmen? For, by the Aid of these Catholic Powers, he comes armed against England.
His Promises therefore, in any other Stile, are Derision———His Argument from Success, is a most rash and profane Argument, most used to wicked Purposes, and to colour wicked Courses: The blackest Criminals have at all Times urged it, as often as they have been successful. By the same Argument, Providence hath been much longer against him and his Family than for them: They have been Fifty-seven Years in Exile, and he hath had a Mock-Reign of a few Months over Out-laws in Arms. We, who oppose him, can more justly urge his own best Argument against him; we act under the Gospel and the Law, in Conformity to both, and have the best Claim to Favour from Providence. We therefore faithfully trust to Providence, and own ourselves indebted to it for the Revolution and Protestant Succession, as we hope soon to be for his utter Defeat and final Expulsion. Why such a Defeat hath not happened sooner, all Men lament, and most Men foresaw.
If he reason consistently, he must confess, that Providence hath forsaken him, and forced him to fly from the same antient Capital. How he got thither we all know, and he ought with Compunction to recollect. It was by the Treachery of Parricides in Authority, Men always gently used, faithfully protected, and even favoured by the Government.
He made War upon his Majesty, and his Majesty’s best Subjects, by the Aid of the worst. He did it by Surprize, at the Head of Barbarians and Rebels unprovoked, all of them mercifully used; many of them pardoned for former Treasons; many of them trusted; some of them preferred by his Majesty, ungratefully and unnaturally turning his own Arms against him; unfurnished with any Plea from Oppression, any Persecution for Conscience, any Encroachment upon the Laws, any Alarm from Arbitrary Power; under the most legal, the gentlest Administration; in full Possession of Liberty, surfeited with it, unworthy of it, and wantoning in it.
Such is the mad, the unhallowed Spirit and Character of this Rebellion, and such Glory does it reflect upon the Revolution, which was only an Effort and Scheme of Self-Defence, or rather, of Self-Preservation, against a crazy Tyrant’s defying Oaths, rending Piecemeal the Laws of God and Man, and making War upon Law and Conscience, and human Society.
Equally unfortunate is he in his Attack upon the Government, from the Faults found with it. The mildest Government is always the most boldly blamed; Fulness of Liberty is constantly exposed to the Abuse of Liberty; like Health and Wealth, and all other worldly Blessings: Ambition and Discontent will readily find Grievances, or as readily make them. Nay, the necessary Defence of Society is a Grievance to those who want to distress Society, or even to alter it for Ends of their own. Places and Employments, which are inseparable from Society, as without them it cannot be governed, are Grievances to such who want them and cannot get them; and the Possession of them is the surest Cure for railing at them. The Abuse of Parliaments comes with an evil and ill-judged Grace from his Pen, and is a preposterous Grievance out of his Mouth. King James hectored and defied Parliaments, would have extinguished Parliaments, and set up his weak Will, that is, Popery and Tyranny, in the Room of Law, of Gospel, and of Parliaments. The Excellency of our Laws is a Proof of the Excellency of our Parliaments, and a glorious Defence of them; neither can they have higher Praise, than that the Pretender and other Papists dislike them.
PENAL Laws are the stale Common-Place of all disaffected Men, and the eternal Subject of their Invectives, because they set Bounds to their Fury. It is natural fot Rebels to rail at the Laws that hamper and hang them. I wonder that the Pretender’s Manifesto should venture to mention Penal Laws, when before the Revolution almost every Penal Law was wrested into a Capital Law. Even the Defence of Law was made Capital; and so worthy an Englishman, and so great a Man as Algernoon Sidney, was arraigned for Libelling; for, so that excellent Book of his in Defence of Liberty against Tyranny, since printed and read with Applause, was then called; and that true Patriot was executed for publishing it, though it never went out of his Closet, nor was proved to be his Hand-writing. Harmless Words and Conversation became the Objects of Penal Laws, which were virulently stretched to make public Martyrs. I doubt it is the greatest Misfortune of this Government, that Penal Laws have been so little exerted; we see the Numbers and Boldness of Papists: Pray God we may not feel it.
He talks idly and loosely about former Miscarriages under King James, and the Outcries against them. He calls Outrages and Tyranny Miscarriages; the Invasion and Suspension of the Laws; the High Commission, an Inquisition set up to destroy this Protestant Church; the exacting of Money from the Subjects, without Law, and against Law; the Imprisonment of the Bishops of the Church, a Third of the Bench at once, for their modest Petition to be relieved from crying Oppression; an Army maintained against Parliament and People; many of the Officers Papists, commissioned against Law; many of them Irish Papists, the Butchers of Protestants in 41! or sprung from such Butchers, and still raging with the same Spirit of Butchery; Cities and Boroughs robbed of their Charters, their dear Birthright! Parliaments extinguished; Protestants displaced and oppressed; some burned, many banished; Popish Priests governing public Councils; Popery itself advancing with dreadful Strides, already possess’d of the Throne, and just invading the Church; barefaced Tyranny set up; Jefferies, and the other Instruments of Tyranny, wantoning in Oppression, sporting with the Lives and Fortunes of Men, and wading in Blood: All these frightful and consuming Woes; all this Train of Horrors, he calls Miscarriages; neither does he call them by this gentle Name explicitly, but only for Argument-sake, supposes them, and boldly adds, that “They have been more than atoned for by an Exile of his Family during Fifty-seven Years.”
This may pass for Reasoning amongst Banditti; Ruffians, desperate Partizans, and the Enthusiasts of Party; amongst savage Papists, attending him from Ignorance, Bogs and Mountains; but it is an Insult upon Common Sense; the more so, because he does not once blame King James for having committed such a Group of Tyrannical Excesses: So far is he from declaring that he is sorry for them, ashamed of them, and that they shall never be repeated; though had he so declared, we should not have so believed: His Religion permits him to promise fair, but damns him if he keeps his Promises.
By this odd Language, and as odd Silence, we may clearly see what he intends, and what we may certainly expect, even to see all reversed that was done at and since the Revolution, and all revived that was done before. What that was I have just shewed, and could still shew more tragically, had I Time to retail here all the Doings of James II. whose whole History is but one continued Strain of Perfidy Perjury, Bigotry and Tyranny; a little Heart full of great Ambition; a weak Head; and neither Head nor Heart in his own keeping.
It seems we have had an unlawful Government ever since the Revolution. Unhappily for him, this his Complaint hurts him bitterly. It is certain, that we have enjoy’d more Felicity and Liberty, since the Revolution, than this Nation ever knew since it was a Nation. It is certain, that Tyranny was never carried to such a Height as before the Revolution under his pretended Father.
Here is a Choice offered us, to continue what we are, Happy and Free; or, to relapse into the Servitude and Yoke put upon the Necks of our Forefathers by his Father. We have a hopeful Specimen, from his Son’s Behaviour in Scotland, what we may assuredly hope for in England. There he rules by wanton Will, by Sword and Target, chiefly by the Aid and Counsels of Mountaineers, who neither obey Law, nor can read it. These are his Measures of Government, for which he has full Powers from his Father at Rome. Whilst he is openly trampling upon all Laws, and all that Free Parliaments have done, and is acting what every Parliament must abhor, he mocks us with an Appeal to a Free Parliament: So acted and so talked King James, but would never stand the Trial. His whole Trust was in an Irish Army, as that of his Son is in one like it.
The Argument from Providence, taken from his Success, is equally ridiculous. Hath Providence led him to Victory, and the antient Capital of Scotland? Then Providence justifies lawless Invasion and Outrages, and the Violence of the Sword against the sacred Sanction of Laws.
With the same Inconsistency and Impotence, he talks of the miserable Situation of the Kingdom at Home and Abroad. Who hath contributed so highly as himself to make it miserable? Before he embroiled us, we rioted in Ease and Plenty; this gauled his great Patron, who therefore sent him to reduce Free Britons to the Condition of his own Subjects, who are hungry Slaves; nor is there so sure a Way to exalt France, as to sink and inslave Britain. Without this Design we should not have had this Visit. It is the Interest of France, and therefore the Business of France, to undo us. This is the Use she means to make of the Pretender; it is the Use which she made of King Charles and King James; who, from powerful Independent Sovereigns, demeaned themselves to be the Deputies and Co-adjutors of the French King, to enthral Europe; a Task never to be effected till they had enthralled their People. They became the Instruments and Confederates of France against their own Subjects. Thence arises the Zeal of France to establish, or, if you will, to reinstate the Pretender, as of a Race propitious to France: Thence her Hatred to King William, to King George, and to Liberty; and thence her Partiality and Succours to the Pretender. If France apprehended any Good from England, France, far from helping him, would help England against him.
This is, at present, the Persuasion of every true Englishman, and justly fills them All with their present universal hostile Hatred to France; and to the Pretender, as the Implement of France. The same Persuasion endears to them, with seasonable and unexampled Affection, their own excellent and matchless Constitution, and their own brave and excellent King George: God bless and prosper him, and blast the Devices of his Enemies!