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John Trenchard, A Collection of Tracts, vol. 2 [1751]

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John Trenchard, A Collection of Tracts. By the Late John Trenchard, Esq; and Thomas Gordon, Esq; Vol. II. (London: F. Cogan, 1751). http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2316

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Volume 2 of a two part collection of essays by Trenchard and Gordon which includes essays on British politics, religion, the creed of an Independent Whig, and prefaces to Cato’s Letters.

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Edition: current; Page: [1]
A COLLECTION OF TRACTS.
By the Late John Trenchard, Esq; and Thomas Gordon, Esq;
Vol. II.
LONDON:
Printed for F. Cogan, at the Middle Temple Gate, in Fleet-street; and T. Harris, in the Minories,
1751.
Edition: current; Page: [2] Edition: current; Page: [3]

A Collection of Tracts.

The Sense of the People concerning the present State of Affairs, with Remarks upon some Passages of our own and the Roman History. In a Letter to a Member of Parliament.
Anno 1721.

Si esset in iis fides, in quibus summa esse debebat, non laboraremus. Cic. 3. Epist.

Cum Pecuniam Publicam averterit, num fraude poterit carere Peculatus? Id. in Ant.

PREFACE.

I Am commissioned by the Author of the following Sheets, to acquaint the Reader, that the first Part of them was writ in Haste, before the late Recess, at the Request of a Edition: current; Page: [4]Gentleman in the Country; who, observing the great Uneasiness the People were in there, desired he would let him know what the Sense of the Town was; and that, in their own Language, as near as he could. How for his Demand is complied with, I leave him to judge. The Historical Relations that follow, though now joined to the former, were begun with a very different View; and if he finds some of them too prolix, he may be assured the Author (who is now at a Distance) did so too; and had he had more Time, they would have been shorter. There is one Thing more I am to tell him, and that is, that he is obliged to another for some Things in the latter Part; which, he hopes, will not be liked the worse for coming from a greater Man than himself. And now my Orders are obeyed. But since I have taken Pen in Hand, I think I’ll try my Talent too; and as my Friend has told him in the following Papers, how the great Men among the Romans acted in relation to their Country, I’ll shew him how the best and wisest of them used to talk upon the same Head.

When you have looked over all the Ties in Nature, you will find nothing dearer, says Cicero, no Obligation of greater Importance, than that by which we are every one of us tied to the Commonwealth. Our Parents, Children, Friends, are all dear to us; but our single Country is more than all the rest; and every honest Man is ready to lay down his Life for the Advantage of that sacred Interest. How execrable then is the barbarous Impiety of those Men, who have torn their Country to Pieces by all Sorts of Villany, and who not only have been, but are at this Instant, conspiring its Ruin and Destruction?

It is the Duty (says one of their great Men) and should be the principal Care of those that have the Administration of public Affairs, to see that every Individual be protected in his Property, and that the Poor and Simple may not be circumvented by the little Arts of cunning Men, or oppressed by the Power of great Ones: In short, that private Men may not be dispossessed of their Rights and Estates, under the Pretext of a public Good. And if to make my own Fortune (continues he) by the impoverishing another, is declared unlawful, not only by the Dictate of Nature, and the Rights of Nations, but by the particular Laws and Constitutions of all States; how detestable must Edition: current; Page: [5]those Governors be, who abusing that Confidence the plain and honest Part of Mankind, who are always Minors, repose in them, as their Trustees and Guardians, draw them, by plausible Appearances, into their Net, and so enrich themselves at the Expence of their Country.

“Plato’s Rule, says the abovementioned Orator, ought to be observed by all that are intrusted with the Administration of the Public. It was this: That they should in such Sort assert and defend the public Interest, that all their Actions should refer to that, without any Regard to their own private Advantage. Therefore, above all Things, let such keep themselves clear from the least Suspicion of Avarice. It is not only a mean Thing, but an impious, to make a Prey of the Commonwealth. This is a copious Subject, but I shall confine myself; only hinting at a Law of this brave People, which I would recommend to the Consideration of my Countrymen, and it being made by the Wisdom of the Nation, that is by the Senate, will shew, at once, the Sense of the whole Nation, with respect to the Conduct of Persons in the Administration. Donum ne capiunto, neve danto, neve pretenda, neve gerenda, neve gesta potestate.

The Sense of the People concerning the present State of Affairs, &c.

SIR,

IT is intirely in Obedience to your Request, that I send you this long Letter; which is nothing else but a plain and natural Account of the People’s Resentment of their common Injuries and Misfortunes; or, to put it in your Terms, The Sense of the People, as far as my Memory will serve me, in their own Words. The Authors of their Grievances are at last become intolerable to them; and Vengeance, however unprofitable, as they are told, is one chief End, which they propose as their future Security. Whoever thinks fit to withdraw or excuse himself from the Share he ought to bear in this Design, is suspected to be engaged in a Confederacy, which he is ashamed to avow: This Suspicion is so far from being just of you, that I could wish you would come and vindicate your Character to the Edition: current; Page: [6]Public, which was never so miserably necessitous of all honest Help as at present.

As I am now upon the Decline of a public Life, I have had an Opportunity of observing a great deal of the Variety and Inconstancy of public Affairs; but I never yet knew so great a Ferment, so prevailing a Dissatisfaction, as at present we see throughout the whole Kingdom. Parties have been preferred, discarded, restored, mixed, and the several Friends of each have, by Turns, complained of reciprocal Violence and Injury, Mismanagement and Corruption; but I don’t know that any of them have ever persuaded the whole Body of the People into their Quarrel. No private little Wrongs could have effected a Discontent so universal. That Administration must affect every one, which every one complains of. Indeed, when a Nation is plundered and oppressed, they cannot but feel and resent it.

They imagine now, that at the Opening of this Session, there was a Design carried on by some, whom they will needs have to be very ill Men, to secure, even in some Degree, the very late Directors; but we (say they) were not tame enough to admit or endure such an Attempt; so that they were forced to drop the Design, and join (at least) in the Cry against them, though they trembled at the Apprehension of every Fact that should be discovered. They could have been glad to have stood by their old Friends; but since that must not be, the next Trial was to compound for their own Security, by the Sacrifice of their Allies. But this Artifice is not satisfactory; the People tell you that the best and likeliest Means to come to the Bottom of their Misfortunes, is to begin at the Top. It is of very little Value to them how the lesser Cheats are disposed of; they were so by Profession, and have acted intirely in Character. If Daniel had been devoured in the Den, it is presumed that no body could have thought hardly of the Lions: No, no, the Authors of the Villainy are the Criminals; it is those that deliberately formed the Mischief, and that hired and retained their little Creatures to execute it, who chiefly deserve the Enquiry of a Parliament.

How comes it to pass, say they, while lesser Villains are punished every Day, that those who have pillaged Edition: current; Page: [7]the whole Country, shall escape? The greatest Subjects of the British Crown did not use to be too great to be accountable to a British Parliament. ’Tis in vain for me, or any one to answer to this, But you would not condemn any one without sufficient Evidence; they can all immediately reply, that they can point to Instances, and those modern ones too, where Resolutions have been taken, Censures founded, and other Persons have been condemned, and all this very justly, upon the same or less Evidence. But suppose (not grant) the Evidence defective; in Courts of Justice it often happens, that where there is not legal Proof enough to convict a Cheat, yet there is sufficient to satisfy any one present, that it would be Folly to trust him any more. A suspected Minister ought to be used as Cæsar did his Wife, he did not expect Demonstration. Reasonable Grounds of Suspicion are enough in both Cases, there being seldom above two privy to the Fact in either. If one tells them it is Prudence to wink at some Things, otherwise the whole may be thrown into Confusion, and then where are our Estates? The Answer is, that when such a Confusion is introduced, our Estates may indeed possibly be lost; but by the Toleration of the late Iniquity, and thereby the Encouragement of all future Villainies, by the Increase of Debts, the Decay of Trade, the Destruction of Manufactures, the Ruin of Credit, the Mismanagement of the Revenue, the Loss of Money to other Kingdoms, or the locking it up at home, and all this while, the Continuation of Taxes; by these, say they, Confusion is actually introduced, and our Estates are already lost.

T’other Day I happened to be in a Company, where, to my great Surprize, I heard a Gentleman endeavouring to moderate the public Displeasure. He told us, that as he sincerely lamented the Ruin of his Country, he was impatient for Redress, and hoped to see it made for ever unsafe for any one to play the same Game over again; but he ventured to add, that by going too fast, or changing Hands too soon, we ran a Risk, at least, of altering for the worse: That as we had, at present, a Possibility of extricating ourselves from our Misfortunes, by Length of Time and careful Management, we should take the surest Course, and not commit ourselves to the Edition: current; Page: [8]Administration of a Party, who, as they secretly rejoiced at our Miseries, will not fail to improve them to their own Advantage; whose Principles have often endangered the Liberties of these Kingdoms, and have entailed Slavery on the greatest Part of Europe.

But the whole Company, not enduring the Declaration, cried out, What then is Whiggism supported by Rapine and Injustice? If that be the Case; if the two Parties have changed their Ground; if those formerly reckoned Anti-courtiers are turned fawning, obsequious Dependants, in God’s Name let them fall. Whiggism carries in it the very Notion of Liberty, and Love to our Country; and then it follows, that the Punishment of public Horse-leeches, Parricides, must be the only Way to settle Whiggism, and to lay a Foundation for the Happiness of future Times.

In short, these are Pretences to screen some favourite Offenders; but when Things are come to Extremity, you can hoodwink us no longer. And we know very well, says one, what good Use was made of this Pretence, by the Event of a late Examination; so shallow, or so corrupt, are Englishmen grown. But give me the Man, Tros Rutilusve, Whig or Tory, that prefers the true Interest of England to that of any other Country or People whatever; that encourages Trade, and studies to administer the Treasure of the People thriftily and prudently.

Such, Sir, is the Sense of the People; and if I give it you in their own Words, it is because it was your Desire I should do so, that you might the better judge at what they drive.

I perceive it is Matter of great Admiration to some, the extraordinary Address that has been shewn in the secret Management of this Affair: That the whole Transaction of 574,500 l. fictitious Stock should only be with the Privacy of one single Man, that, in case of Danger, all might be stifled by his withdrawing, and all other Proof neglected and discouraged by the Name of Hearsay Evidence; though, by the By, some will have it that Letters and Notes under one’s own Hand are more than Hearsay Evidence, and that the Practices of burning, blotting, razing, and interpolating, have been thought so much more than Presumption, that they have, upon Edition: current; Page: [9]less Occasion, been admitted as a tolerable Degree of Proof in a certain Place.

But what I would infer, says another, from Knight’s Withdrawing, is the premeditated Villainy of the whole. The Actors, whoever they were, had indeed prodigious Foresight, by the Caution taken to prevent Discovery; they foresaw their Guilt, the Success of it, the Turn of Affairs, the universal Calamity, and consequently their own Safety in the Secrecy of one: Had there been more, some of them might have squeaked, or at least not all of them escaped; or if they had, it would have had a worse Aspect than at present. In fine, they foresaw this very Examination; but the Want of Judgment, as I hope, at least, appeared in believing they had provided sufficiently against it, and imagining they were to be at Ease in the Affluence of princely Fortunes, amidst the Misery of their Fellow Subjects.

Some People have observed, that the Execution of the late pernicious Scheme, was scarcely attended with more Villainy than Madness and Folly; Furor rapiendi ac prædandi occæcavit oculos. The monstrous Avarice of our Plunderers has undone themselves as well as the Nation: Each of the thirty little Cheats might have got their 100,000 l. a-piece, and a few others have doubled that Sum, without running any Risk; nay, perhaps, have received Thanks for their great Care of public Credit. So mean, fawning, obsequious, as well as indolent and corrupt are we grown, that nothing but the prodigious Enormity of the Guilt, the Universality of our Misery, has forced us into the Enquiry we are now making.

As to the Event and Success of this Enquiry; I shall not be disappointed (says another) if nothing comes of it. The Nature of the Task is attended with so many Difficulties, and the Discouragements the Enquirers meet with from other Quarters so great, that they have need of more than ordinary Constancy and Resolution to persist in the Discharge of so uneasy a Trust: However, they have the Satisfaction to know, that the whole Weight of the Nation is on their Side; that they have the Blessings of all honest Men at present, and shall be ever mentioned with Honour in the Annals of their Country.

Edition: current; Page: [10]

Yes, says one that stood by, their Country can never do them too much Honour, while they continue to have the same Regard for it they have hitherto shewn: And as for what some People would insinuate, it is done with an ill Design; that they will grow cool, and their Courage abate from the many Difficulties they meet with, and so prove like the Dog of Antwerp, who had used a long while to carry home his Master’s Meat from the Market with great Integrity: At last, being harder beset by some more resolute Curs than ordinary, when he found he could defend it no longer, he fell on himself: Since it is to no Purpose to hold out, says he, I had as good have my Share.

For my Part, says one that had been listening to this Discourse, I am apt to think Matters might have been carried, long ago, with more Ease, if some of another List had been employed. As now the Enquiry is prosecuted with an Air of Business and Concern, it might then have looked like an Affair of Pleasantry and Amusement, and been received and supported with a tolerable Degree of good Humour; but we see what would be the Consequence of frequent Ballots.

The Conversation is still the same, wherever you go. I must own I heartily wish that they, whose Business it is, would put a Stop to it; which is only to be done, as far as I can guess, by giving up Offenders be they who they will. Some will have it that Matters were managed wrong at first: They ought to have been secured immediately. If one should reply, Would you have condemned and punished them before you had heard them? No, say they, they were sufficiently heard (unless you’ll quibble upon the Word) when the Books were first produced, which, in an Hour’s Perusal, discovered Villainy enough to have justified their Confinement; and then we had not been sending to Vienna, Brussels, &c. then we had at least hid our Shame, and not been refused this little Fellow; than which, I think, nothing shews our Misery more.

The Contempt which our good Friends and Allies have for us, is evident from the little Art they use to hide it: And their refusing to deliver him up under the Pretence of some Privileges of the High and Mighty Edition: current; Page: [11]States of Brabant, can’t, methinks, but raise Indignation in every English Breast. We are poor, and it seems our Allies know it, and therefore despise us. But let them beware how they rouse the Lion; other Answers have formerly been returned the Crown of England: And though a British House of Commons may and will always hear Reason, they will not suffer themselves to be trisled with, whoever else may.

As for me, cries another, I am so fully persuaded of the Emperor’s Justice and Gratitude, that nothing will be wanting on his Part, I am sure, to deliver up a Man, who, as he was last Year made a Tool for the Destruction of the Nation, may now be the Instrument of saving it. And his Imperial Majesty, I think, can’t but have Interest and Authority enough with his own Subjects, to gain so small a Point; who, it is well known, though he is as just and mild a Prince as any upon Earth, yet has formerly shewn those very Subjects, that he knows how to assert his Prerogative, and punish all their Pretences to Right, which contradict his just Will and Pleasure.

We the rather expect to see Mr. Knight in England (as others say) not so much, because it is such a Trifle to the Emperor to grant, and at the same time so valuable a Favour to us; but that we are informed, that his coming over is earnestly desired, even by those who cannot but have Weight in what they ask of that Prince; and who seem concerned in the Discoveries which he is expected to make, as the only Way to clear up their Innocence, and wipe away the Suspicion which has been most unjustly thrown upon their Characters. If these People are in earnest, they are very happy in having an Opportunity of pressing this Matter more successfully than others can. We own, say they, we should be glad to see Knight, were it only to be satisfied that such a Parcel of Stock was honestly paid for; such a Name and Letter was forged; such a mysterious Transaction, such a blind Account was clearly upon another Score than is generally supposed, and had no Relation at all to South-Sea.

This Discourse was followed by a needless Calculation of the Length of Time in which we might hope to see Knight, if he was sent over at all. “As the nearest Way to Vienna has been lately found out to be by Edition: current; Page: [12]Brussels;so, for ought we know, the nearest Way from Brussels may hereafter he thought to be by Vienna. And though Gentlemen should be persuaded to attend the Service of their Country till he comes, to the Detriment of their own private Affairs; whether other Persons will think proper to desire or impose such a Hardship upon them, we cannot determine.”

However, continued they, ’tis certain there was a shorter Way of going to work at first, which is not yet altogether too late to try. The old Parliamentary Method was to represent their Grievances, and get them redressed as soon as they met, before they would go upon any other Considerations whatever. It was not for Want of Grievances, some tell us, whatever else might be wanting, that this Method was not used at first. If this Way of Proceeding had been taken, Knight could hardly have withdrawn, or perhaps it might have been convenient to have had him here again ere this, to have avoided the Explication of many other Complaints of a different Nature that might have been set on Foot; but whether that Point had been gained, several other valuable Advantages would have been secured.

There is a remarkable Proof of this Right of Parliament in Richard the Second’s Time, and Things of this Sort are never the worse for being old. “Some undeserved Favours, says my Author, shewn to a Minion, the Exorbitances of great Officers, and other public Miscarriages as to the Revenue, had made no small Impressions on the Minds of many of the Lords, as well as Commons, when Richard called a Parliament. They, soon after they were assembled, joined in this Message to him (Henry Knighton’s Words, who lived at the very time, are these) That the Chancellor and Treasurer ought to be removed from their Offices, because they were not for the Good of the King and Kingdom; and because also they had such Matters to treat of with one of them, as could not be treated of, while he remained in that Office.

The King, who no doubt, thought this a very bold Way of proceeding in his Subjects, assured them, He would not remove his meanest Scullion Boy at their Instance, and advised them to hasten the Business of Parliament; Edition: current; Page: [13]by which is meant the Supply of his Expences for his Wars, Houshold, and other Charges. But the Lords and Commons, by joint Consent, replied, That they neither could nor would dispatch the least Article, till he (who, as the Historian says, was then lingering at Eltham) would come to them, and remove Michael de Pole, the Chancellor, from his Office.

The King’s Answer to this, not pleasing them, the Parliament sent him this Message. “Sir, The Prelates, Lords, and whole People of the Commons of England, after several loyal and honest Wishes, intimate these Things unto you, that they have it confirmed by ancient Constitution, which none can contradict, that the King ought to call a Parliament once a Year, as the highest Court of the Realm, wherein Equity ought to shine bright, where, as well Poor as Rich, ought to find Refreshment, by removing all kind of Abuses, where public Grievances are to be redressed, and with the most prudent Counsel, the State of the Nation is to be treated of, that the King’s and Nation’s Enemies at Home, as well as Abroad, may be discovered and punished, and the necessary Burdens of the King and Kingdom may with more Ease (the public Want considered) be supplied. And they conceive also, that since they are to support the public Charge, they should have the ordering and supervisal too, how and by whom their Goods and Fortunes are expended.

What follows in this Remonstrance is still freer; to which the King making a threatening Answer, the Lords and Commons, after giving him some seasonable Advice, relating to his Threats, proceed in these Words.

“The People of England have, in your Time, sustained so many Taxes for the Support of your Wars, as that now they are reduced to such incredible Poverty, that they can neither pay their Rents, nor assist their King, nor even afford themselves the Necessaries of Life: And all this is brought to pass by the evil Ministers of the King, who have ill-governed both King and Kingdom to this Day: And unless we do quickly set our helping Hands to the Work, and raise the healing Prop, the Kingdom of England will, in less Time than we think of, be miserably subverted.

Edition: current; Page: [14]

“But there is yet one Part of our Message on the Behalf of your People to be imparted to you, That we have an ancient Constitution (not many Ages since experimented) it grieves us to mention it: That if the King, through any evil Counsel whatever, or through a weak Obstinacy, or Contempt of his People, shall alienate himself from them, and refuse to govern by the Laws and Statutes of the Realm; if he shall throw himself headlong into wild Designs, and stubbornly execute his own singular arbitrary Will,———Then follows the Right of the People, dreadfully asserted. But they afterwards go on,

“That this Kingdom may not, by your evil Counsellors be subverted, this Kingdom so honourable, and above all the Nations in the World, most famous in War, may not now, in your Time, through the Distractions of ill Government, be miserably laid waste; That the Title and Inscription of these Miseries, may never be placed as a scandalous Mark upon your Reign, and this unhappy Age: Recal, we beseech you, your Royal Mind from such foolish and pernicious Counsels; and whosoever they are that suggest such Matters to you, do not only not hearken to them, but totally remove them from you; for in Time of Danger it will be found they can no ways effectually serve you.

The Reason and Honesty of this wrought so much upon the King, that in three Days Time he came to his Parliament, though with some Reluctance; when Michael de Pole was impeached of high Crimes and Misdemeanors, and turned out of his Office, and another put in his Place by Consent of Parliament, as was likewise the Treasurer, another Favourite.

But it ought to be remembered, for the Instruction of these Times, that upon the King’s desiring a Supply at the same time, that he seemed to hesitate at the discarding Pole, the Commons answered, That he did not need the Tallage of his Subjects, who might so easily furnish himself of so great a Sum of Money from him that was his Debtor, as the Articles of Impeachment set forth.

As for Robert de Vere, Duke of Ireland, the King’s most dangerous Favourite, the Parliament, to shew their Edition: current; Page: [15]Prudence and Moderation, chose rather to give him a vast Sum of Money, upon Condition that he would go to Ireland, than to endure the Influence of his Counsels near the King’s Person. But after all this, the good Commons had no sooner gained their Points, than they freely gave the King a Supply.

Before they broke up (continues my Author) the Parliament observing, by the Covetousness of the King’s Ministers, that the public Revenue was vainly lavished, the King insufferably abused (partly through Negligence to search out the Truth, partly through a resolute Humour to support those beyond Reason, whom he had once advanced) that the common People, by continual and grievous Burdens, were miserably impoverished; the Rents of the great Men much impaired, and their poor Tenants, in many Places, forced to abandon their Husbandry, and leave their Farms empty and desolate; and that by all this the King’s Officers alone became immeasurably rich: They therefore chose a Number of considerable Men to inspect, treat of, and determine, all Affairs, Causes and Complaints, arising from the Death of Edward III. to that Time; as likewise of the King’s Expences and his Ministers, and all other Grievances happening within that Time.

The Historian farther observes, That when the Parliament endeavoured at an Act of Resumption, the just and frequent Way to repair the languishing Condition of the Nation, Michael de Pole told the King, it was to the King’s Dishonour, ad dedecus Regis, and forced him from it; to which the Commons answered, “Although they were wearied out by Toils and Expences, they would never grant the King a Subsidy, until, by Authority of Parliament, he should actually resume all that belonged to the Crown of England. And that it was more to the Dishonour of the King to leave so many of his poor Subjects in intolerable Want.” Yet could not all good Counsel work, till by Parliament that great Man was banished; which was no sooner done, but an Act of Resumption followed; so true it is, and it ought to be a perpetual Lesson to Posterity, That whenever the People of England desire to redress Grievances, and recover what they have been plundered of, the Work must begin Edition: current; Page: [16]with the Impeachment of corrupt Ministers. The Weight of a Parliament will ever bear down a bad Man, how great soever.

It is certain, a King who would reform the State for the general Ease and Benefit of his People, must expect to meet with some Difficulties, especially if those nearest him, and who have his Ear, are Partakers in the Abuses he would correct: All Sort of Rubs will be laid in the Way, and the Fears of such as may be called to an Account, will make them set all kind of Engines at Work. They who are conscious of their Guilt, and apprehensive that the Justice of the Nation should take Notice of their Thefts and Rapines, will try to give all Things a false Turn, and fill every Place with their false Suggestions; they’ll accuse innocent or less guilty Persons, that so by putting the People upon a wrong Scent, they may avoid the Pursuers, and escape unpunished.

Sometimes they will spirit the Chief, if not the only, Evidence away: At other Times they will endeavour to blast the Reputation of such as would enquire into their Actions. And though, perhaps, there are no other possible Ways left to supply the State, but by making them disgorge, and bringing them to a Restitution, yet they will pretend that all Motions leading thereto, and all Enquiries of this Nature, are nothing but Spite, the Effects of Discontent, and the Result of Faction. And that the full Knowledge of their Crimes may never reach the Prince’s Ear, they endeavour to engross him to themselves, by misrepresenting all that are not of their Cabal, as dissaffected to his Person and Government. They’ll find out false Colours for their Proceedings, and cover their Corruption and Rapine with the Pretence of their Master’s Service; nay, rather than fail, they’ll throw the Odium of the whole upon him.

By these false Suggestions, well meaning Persons have often been frightened from reaching at great Offenders: And even the best Patriots, by seeing with what Warmth and Zeal Corruptions are defended, have been wearied into Silence; and this has made some of our Kings believe, that either the Offenders were got above the Laws, or that the People consented to those Things they did not think fit to punish. But wise Princes see through all this. Edition: current; Page: [17]They know that an honest Minister will be content with moderate Gains; and that no Merit can give a Man a Title to rob the Public: That a few may complain without Reason; but that there is Occasion for Redress when the Cry is universal.

They see through all their little Artifices, and cannot but be sensible, whatever Colours they may give to their Villainy, that Mankind must abhor to behold a few enriched with the Spoils of a whole Country, and to see private Persons securing to themselves, in spight of Parliament, a vast ill-gotten Wealth in the Poverty of the Public; and therefore they will be the first to desire every Thing should be looked into, and all possible Thrist set on Foot that may ease the People: They will make Choice of such Ministers as are likeliest to handle the Nation’s Money with the cleanest Hands: They will propose, with Pleasure, themselves, that those Evils may be corrected, which a few have committed at the Expence of the whole Kingdom; that the Thefts upon the Public be looked into and punished. They will not stay to be asked, that those Servants may be called to an Account who have broken their Trust, and in their Offices consented to the Plunder of the Nation, though they should have had no Share in it themselves, knowing that our Laws put little Difference between a Minister that contracts actual Guilt himself, and him who permits others to commit a Crime, which by the Authority of his Office he might have prevented.

And indeed the Reason is plain; for it is the Interest of Princes, when they come to understand the true State of Things, so to do. They cannot be unwilling to prevent their own Ruin; and such a King never wants Assistance, who will look into Abuses: And their Faction, who have been guilty of Mal-Administration, will be found very weak, when he is once in earnest to have what has been amiss amended, because but a few are Gainers by Misgovernment, and a Multitude are injured by it.

’Tis true, Plunderers have now and then out-braved the Laws and escaped, when in their Depredations upon the Public, there have been a great many concerned, and they became safe by the Multitude of those who Edition: current; Page: [18]have been Partakers in the Booty; and yet there are Examples in former Reigns, where the true Lovers of our Constitution have couragiously attacked and brought to Condemnation Men in the highest Posts of Authority, and those fortified by the Multitude of the Persons concerned in the Plunder; and shall not the popular Hue and Cry, which so hotly pursues the Robbers at this time, the Wants of the Nation calling so loud for Vengeance, the universal Voice of the People, crying Refund, Refund, awaken some honest Patriots, some brave Spirits, to insist upon the most rigorous Punishment of a few; I say a very few Miscreants (would I could call their Booty small too) given up by the whole Body of the Kingdom, and detested by all Mankind, but their Associates?

And how is this great and honest Design likely to be better executed than by imitating the Parliaments of Richard the Second, (though perhaps it had been as proper sooner) in asserting the immediate Necessity of redressing Grievances, and rejecting every other Consideration, till that is done; which is not only the ancient Constitution of this Government, but the most probable Way to come at Offenders, when timely taken, by shewing a proper Resolution in their Prosecution, and by that Means giving them no Opportunity to concert Measures with the Accomplices in their Crimes, or to withdraw themselves or their Effects from Justice.

Whether or no Richard’s Parliament did prudently in giving so great a Power to a select Number of Men, after they were dismissed, I shall not decide; but they certainly took one Method, not only wise but Parliamentary; I mean, that they themselves, during their Session, went into a Committee of the whole House, to consider of the State of the Nation; and this plainly gained them their Point. This is always the great Day of a Parliament, and valuable to Englishmen: Then the Subject feels his Strength, and vindicates his Liberties. And whether the Representatives of the People assembled at this Day in Parliament (than which I am sure there never was any that better understood their Duty to their King and Country) will follow the same Method, Time will shew.

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This was the Way the Parliament took in the Reign of Edward the IId. when they wanted to get rid of a most pernicious Favourite, Pierce Gaveston, a Frenchman, who had so possessed the King, that he entirely neglected the Counsels of his Nobles, and the Affairs of State. In his first Parliament, they unanimously besought the King to advise and treat with his Nobles concerning the State of the Kingdom; and at the same time falling themselves into a very strict Examination of Affairs on their Part; they urged the Matter with such good Success, that the King consented that they should reduce into Articles, all that was necessary for the Good of the Nation, and took an Oath to ratify all their Resolutions. Amongst the e Articles, after requiring the Observation and Execution of Magna Charta, with all other necessary Ordinances; They insist that, all Strangers should be banished the Court and Kingdom; and all ill Counsellors removed; That the King should not begin any War, or go any where out of the Kingdom, without the Common Council of his People. Walsingham says upon this Head, p. 99, That the Barons librato utrobique periculo, inveniunt, quod vivente Petro, esse non poterat Pax in Regno, nec Rex abundare Thesauro: So they never rested till he was banished the Kingdom.

It seems likewise, that in this Reign the Ladies were begging and intriguing at Court: For the Lady Vescey was accused of having procured to Sir Henry Beaumont, her Brother, and others, several Lands, Rents, Tenements, Franchises, and Offices, by which means the Kingdom came to be loaded with Taxes and Impositions; for which she was ordered to leave the Court, without ever returning to make any Stay there.

The very Talk only of such an Enquiry into the State of the Nation, has made a Ministry sometimes very wisely produce an Offender, give up one or more of their own Number, or redress some Grievances chiefly complained of, lest by not preventing such an Enquiry, they might run a Risque of being obliged to redress more Grievances than perhaps at first were thought of. A principal Point shall be yielded sometimes to avoid farther Trouble.

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This has no relation to us at present. We all know how far our Great Men are from such Apprehensions; how little Reason a Ministry have to fear any thing that might be trumped up upon such an Enquiry. I am satisfied Gibraltar is still in our Hands; and I am as well satisfied, notwithstanding the Expence of our Fleet, with so many Thousands on board, there can be no Danger of a War with the Czar, which indeed can never be of any Service to England.

As for what is past in the Mediterranean: If it has cost us Money, we have got Honour, by shewing how well we can fight upon the least Oceasion. No, no, when those who are suspected of having had Part in the late traiterous Design, and the Gains of it, have acquitted themselves in that Point, to the Satisfaction of all honest Men, I will venture them innocent of a hundred other Miscarriages, which some peevish People pretend to charge them with.

In the Reign of Edward II. the Instance happened which the Parliament of Richard II. referred to in their Message, as we have cited it above. The Story is this: Hugh Spencer, being made Lord Chamberlain, and a Man of equal Insolence and Ambition with Gaveston, so insinuated himself with the King, that he succeeded to all that Favourite’s Authority, and also to the Hatred of the People. Spencer the Father was, for his Son’s Sake, taken into Play, and made Earl of Winchester, as he himself was Earl of Glocester.

Upon which the Earls of Lancaster and Hereford, with many other Barons, assembled and swore mutually to live and die in Maintenance of the Rights of the Kingdom; and in procuring the Banishment of the Spencers, whom they held as the Seducers of the King, and Oppressors of the State, suffering nothing to be obtained but by their Means, which was a Mischief most intolerable to the State: “For that when all Graces and Dispatches were to pass out but at one Door, the King’s Benignity was diminished, and Corruption was introduced to the Overthrow of Justice and good Order.” In short, these Lords procured the Spencers to be banished in Parliament. May all Ministers, who exercise the same Monopoly, meet with the same Fate.

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However, as the King was rather forced to this, than convinced of his Duty in it, Means were found to elude the Effect of the Sentence, and Spencer the Son made shift to hide himself in England, with the King’s Connivance, till a fair Occasion should offer for his Return, which happened soon after, but to the utter Ruin of both; for the Queen being disgusted, as well as Lords and Commons, she ordered Matters so, as to get a sufficient Power; who declaring that their Design was only to deliver the Kingdom from evil Counsellors, they were easily successful. The Favourites were hanged with the utmost Ignominy, and the unhappy King solemnly deposed, as unfit to govern, for these Reasons among others: “For that in all his Reign he had been misled, and governed by others, who gave him evil Counsel, to the Dishonour of himself and the Destruction of his People, not considering or knowing whether it was good or evil; nor would remedy those Things, when he was petitioned by the Chief Men of his Kingdom, nor suffer them to be redressed.” So wrong is it to trifle with a Parliament, who by their Misfortunes are become seriously in earnest.

A late Great Man of the same Name with those just mentioned, who was certainly a wise Man too, no sooner found he began to be pecked at, with some Eagerness, by a House of Commons, but he came to the King and resigned his Staff, telling him he found he was not able to do him any Service in a public Post: He did not expose his Master for his own private Interest, nor attempt to screen himself behind the Affection which the People might bear to the Person of the King. There ought to be no absenting for a little while, no laying down one Post and keeping others. When a Nation is exasperated, and a Minister is become heartily disagreeable, the only Way for an honest Servant to express his Love to his Master, is to yield up all; and the most popular Thing a Prince can do, is, to give up those that are disgustful to his People.

Thus did Harry the Eighth, than whom certainly there never was a more positive Prince. Because, says the Historian, the Authors of Oppression and Injustice are always most odious; and nothing gives a People Edition: current; Page: [22]more Satisfaction, than to see their Persecutors punished: He caused Empson and Dudley, the two chief Actors in the late rapacious Proceedings, to be committed to the Tower; and divers of the inferior Agents, called Aiders and Abettors, to be set in the Pillory: Soon after this he calls a Parliament, where the principal Proceedings were, with regard to Empson’s and Dudley’s Extortions: Upon which the King, that he might enlarge the People’s Confidence and Affection towards him, was willing to restrain something of his own Authority. In short, Empson and Dudley were attainted of High Treason; and the King, to satisfy the importunate Clamours of his People, caused them both to be beheaded; by which he gained the Affection of the Nation, and was in perfect Peace and Safety with his People.

If a House of Commons cannot attack a Minister, or even a Ministry, upon a popular Grievance, but immediately the King and Ministry must be blended together; and they are wicked enough to try to cast the Odium upon him, or to screen themselves by him; there is an End of our Constitution. ’Tis indeed, a very true and a very just Maxim with us, that the King can do no wrong, but it ought to be carried no farther; we must not add nor his Ministry neither; for in that Case, none but the Tools of Ministers can ever be punished for the greatest Abuses; which would be a sad Case in the present Misery and Poverty we are reduced to.

Let us suppose that Harry the Eighth had tacitly encouraged Empson and Dudley in plundering the Subjects, and had had no inconsiderable Share of the Gains himself, as it is certain Harry the Seventh had; would it, or indeed ought it, to have availed them any Thing, (when the Parliament were enquiring into their Actions) to have told the King, “Sir, you have had your Share of this Booty; they strike at you more than at us; you must screen us (happen what will) or else more may come out than is proper to be known.” Could any thing have raised the Indignation of the whole Nation against them more than this, if it was known? And as for the Prince, he might well have answered them; “I will not be accountable for this Mischief, by taking it upon myself; I was not let into the Secret; I understood Edition: current; Page: [23]no Harm by it; You ought to have advised me better; but since I now find that you only drew me in to hide your own Avarice, depend upon it, I shall the more willingly give you up to the just Resentment of my People, and I am justified in it, both by the Laws of God and my Kingdom.”

Having made a few Remarks upon some Passages in our English History; it may not be amiss to give some Instances of the good Oeconomy, and the steady and unbiassed Virtue of the Romans, since it was by these, and these alone, they became so great and powerful.

Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, was very desirous to conclude a Peace with the Romans; in order to which, having got Fabricius alone, he tries in the following Speech to corrupt him.

“As I desire to have all the rest of the Romans for my Friends, so especially you C. Fabricius, who I esteem as a Person that excels all others for your Conduct, as well in Civil as Military Affairs; yet I am sorry to see you wanting in one Point, I mean of an Estate, that may enable you to live in that Port, which becomes a Person of your Quality. But I will not suffer this Injury of Fortune to be any longer troublesome to you, and I will bestow on you so much Gold and Silver, as shall make you richer than any of your Fellow-Citizens; for I reckon it becomes one in my Condition to relieve such great Men as are poor, who have always aimed more at getting Honour than Money: Yet I would not have made you this Offer, if the Honour of this Benefit accrued to me with Dishonour to yourself; but now because you come not upon any perfidious Design, or that which is at all unworthy your Character, why should you refuse a small Present offered you, out of Kindness, by a Friend; for I ask nothing of you but what may, yea, and ought to be done by any honest Man, that is a Lover of his Country; that you will endeavour to carry it for making Peace with me in the Senate, who have already gained a Battle, and bring them off from their Obstinacy to a more moderate Temper.

Fabricius had too much Honesty to accept the Money, and too much good Sense not to know he could not Edition: current; Page: [24]long be of that Weight he was of, in his Country, if he had. After a short Pause, he made this Answer.

“If I am observed to have any Skill in the Management of Civil or Military Affairs, ’tis needless for me to say any Thing in it, since you have believed others so much concerning it. But if you suppose I am in a worse Condition, because I am poor, than any other Roman, you are mightily mistaken; for whilst I do my Duty with Contempt of Wealth, I feel no Misery: I bear the greatest Offices among us; I manage the most important Wars: I am employed in the most honourable Embassies; the Charge of Religion is committed to my Care; I am called to the Senate, and consulted with concerning the weightiest Affairs of State: Therefore as much as being the poorest of all. I come not short of any of the Wealthiest in what is good and commendable, why should I complain of my Fortune? This as to my public Capacity. In my private one, my Poverty is so far from being a Burthen to me, that, on the contrary, when I compare myself with your rich Men, my Condition seems insinitely happier than theirs; and I count myself one of those few, that have attained the greatest Happiness of this World: For since it seems but an idle Thing to me to cover Superfluities, and with all, my little Spot of Ground, which I labour myself, if well cultivated, will supply me with Necessaries, I do not know why I should be solicitous for more Wealth: But if the Possession thereof renders a Man any thing happier, as to you Kings the Matter seems; which is the best way of getting Wealth, to receive it from you dishonourably, or to get it myself hereafter honourably? My good Successes in the Service of the State have given me brave Opportunities to improve my Fortune, as at other Times often, so especially four Years ago, when being Consul, I was sent with an Army against the Lucanians, Samnites and Brutians, and wasted their large Territories; and having routed them in several Battles, took and rifled their rich Towns; from which Booty, after I had given Largesses to my Soldiers, and repaid private Persons, whatever they had lent Edition: current; Page: [25]the State, upon the Occasions of the War, there remained the Sum of 400 Talents, which I laid up in the public Treasury. Seeing therefore, that I have thus refused to make my Fortune by honourable Means, out of this Booty, which was in my Hands; and like Val. Publicola, and many other noble Romans, who have raised the State to this Pitch, preferred Honour before Interest; shall I now take Bribes of you, quitting an honest Way of getting an Estate, for one as infamous as dangerous? But now what do you think would be the Issue of the Matter, if the Thing should be discovered (and it cannot be concealed) to those Magistrates called Censors, from their Authority in reforming Manners, and that they should impeach me of Bribery?

’Tis added by most, that Pyrrhus tried his Constancy and Resolution more importunately a second time: After other large Promises, offering to him Part of his Kingdom. All this I thought pertinent and useful to mention, as related by several Authors, to shew how the Greatness of the Romans took its Rise, as well from the Thrift that was shewed in all Matters relating to the Public (this wise Nation making almost every foreign Expedition bear its own Charge) as from the Integrity and Disinterestedness of their great Men and Ministers. These were the Manners of those Days; such the Tempers and Dispositions of those Persons by whom the Roman State being buoyed up through so many Difficulties and Calamities, arrived at such an incomparable Grandeur of Empire and Renown. By these, and the like Instances, we may learn how Men ought to be qualified, if instead of being cried up by a few Creatures of their own, pensioned for that very Purpose, they intend to be heartily admired, cherished and beloved by the Body of their Fellow-Citizens; and to leave their Posterity a more flourishing State than they received from their Forefathers. Great Men did not then strive to exceed in Wealth and Luxury at their Country’s Cost, but in Courage and Conduct, in Resolution and Fidelity to their Country: And these which I have cited, and the like, were no warm Expressions arising from Passion, nor premeditated by the Speakers, the more plausibly to Edition: current; Page: [26]carry on some secret Intrigue; but these Men being rather admirable than imitable in our Days, by the constant Tenor of their Actions verified their Words.

This same Fabricius, when he had but two Pieces of Plate in his House, a Salt-seller, and a Dish, with a Stand of Horn to hold it, and the Ambassadors of the Samnites would have presented him with Money and rich Furniture, he told them, “As long as I can rule my Appetite, I shall want nothing; carry you the Money to them that want it.” In fine, he lived so all his Life, that he left nothing at his Death, and his Daughters were portioned by the Senate. The chief Men lived then with the same Continence and Moderation. Q. Fabius Maximus, a Person who had often borne the greatest Offices, having been once Censor, refused the Office a second Time, saying, It was not for the Interest of the Commonwealth to have the same Men often chosen Censors. He likewise died so poor, that his Son was forced to receive Money from the Public for his Funeral. Curius, out of a like Generosity and Greatness of Mind, contemned the Sabines Presents, as Fabricius had done those of the Samnites. Paulus Æmilius, upon his Victory over Perseus, brought so much Money into the public Treasury, that one Captain’s Booty delivered the People from any farther Need of Taxes; and this he did without any other Advantage to his Family, than the honourable and immortal Memory of his Name and Action. Africanus the younger got as little by the Destruction of Carthage, and his Fellow-Censor L. Munimius as little as either of them, by the Ruins of the rich City of Corinth. But his Business was rather the Ornament and Lustre of his Country, than that of his House: Although in giving Reputation to the one, he could not fail of doing the like to the other.

I have been the longer upon this, because of the Usefulness of such Examples. The chief End of History being to give us good Rules, whereby we should square our own Actions, and to point out to us the several Steps by which a Nation arrives at, and preserves, a strong, vigorous, and flourishing Constitution, and becomes great and considerable with its Neighbours. Here we have a great Man behaving himself like a faithful Steward Edition: current; Page: [27]to the Commonwealth, accounting exactly for what Monies he had taken, and lodging them in the public Treasury. Here’s a Statesman treating all the Offers and advantageous Conditions made him with Contempt, and refusing even a Share in a Crown; and that when the Thing desired of him seemed rather of Service than prejudicial to the Commonwealth; at least, it was of such a Nature as might have bore the most plausible Colours, and the Author of it very easily have been screened: But an honest Man will always reason thus; Sure I need no such Inducements to promote the Good of my Country, and nothing shall tempt me to wrong it.

There is nothing more common among this brave People than Examples of this Sort: Scipio, Cato Uticensis, Flaminius, and an hundred more, are Patterns for such to follow, as will handle Matters of Government with Integrity and Virtue. These did not think of building up Fortunes to themselves, but of enriching the State. They were so far from taking Presents to facilitate the passing of a Bill in the Senate, or appropriating to secret Services what was designed to raise public Credit, and pay the Nation’s Debts, that, like good Trustees, they treasured up, for the Services of the Public, what they drew from others, and scorned to convert any Part of it, by little under-hand Subtilties and Distinctions, to their own Use. Thus they took Care that Poverty should not grow upon the Public, as the only Means good Rulers have to prevent the burthening the People with Taxes, a Matter with them ever studiously avoided.

By this honest Oeconomy (for I cannot repeat it too often) Rome arrived to that high Pitch of Greatness, which they had never reached, had their Consuls, Prætors, Ædiles, and what is worse, their Quæstors, Treasurers, been permitted to dissipate the Revenue, take Bribes with Impunity, and, leaving the Nation still in Pawn, to enrich themselves by what was laid up to discharge the heavy Engagements they sometimes lay under by long expensive Wars. Habere quæstui Rempub. (it is a Roman Consul speaks) non modo turpe est, sed etiam sceleratum & nefarium. No; they knew this would reflect upon the Dignity and Majesty of the Commonwealth, which they always kept sacred; that by such Edition: current; Page: [28]Proceedings public Credit must sink at once; and then, if a War had overtaken them, their Ruin was inevitable; for when the Public is exhausted, and when private Men are so impoverished as not to be in a Condition to help the Public, the Nation must be left naked and defenceless, they must become contemptible to their Allies, and a Prey to those that will invade them.

Nor is this the Business only of good Rulers in a well ordered Republic: The best and wisest Princes have ever been the most frugal of the public Money, and have looked very narrowly into their own Affairs; and chiefly such as relate to their Income and Revenue. And, indeed, there is this good Reason for it, among many others; if a good Prince neglects that which is so much his own Concern, and leaves a Matter so important to himself wholly to his Ministers, they will ever endeavour to keep him in Ignorance, that they may, with the greater Impunity, prey upon him: They grow corrupt and ravenous, the Commonwealth is devoured, and nothing but Want and Misery ensues: And when he finds out his Fault, and sets himself seriously to disengage the Public, and put the Revenue in Order, he is forced, against his Inclination, to add heavy Burthens, and oppress the People with Taxes; and so he loses their Hearts, and they that Reverence they ought to have for him. Vespasian, though a very excellent Emperor, and one that aimed at nothing but the Good of Mankind, that he might put Things in Order, and discharge the Public of a great Debt, was forced to continue the old Impositions, add new ones, exercise divers sordid Monopolies, and make open Traffic of Places and Preferments: By all which he lost the Character he so well deserved by his many other excellent Qualities; and Posterity will scarce allow him a Rank among good Princes. Thus it appears how much it imports the Ruler of a Nation with careful Eyes to look after his Treasure himself, since the Want of it will compel the best of Men to the worst of Actions, by which he becomes odious at the present, and in After-ages his Virtue will be censured.

However, next to preventing so great an Evil, the safest Way, if it does happen, is, as is already said, Edition: current; Page: [29]frankly to give up the Offenders; and make them answer for their Actions in that Place, to which the Constitution has entrusted the Enquiry into, and Punishment of such Offences. A Prince should never suffer any thing that is corrupt or venal in his Palace. We have a very remarkable Instance of this in Constantine: An Instance never to be forgotten, either by a good King or a free People. He, without staying for Addresses or Petitions from the several Cities and Provinces of the Empire, proceeded, of his own Accord, to remedy the Disorders crept into the Government by a rapacious Ministry. He thought it below him to protect and screen a Minion or Favourite for any Reason whatsoever, but corrected Rapine, Oppression, and Bribery, in the ministerial Parts of the Government, by a solemn EDICT, inviting all sorts of People, to accuse such of his Ministers and Officers as had been corrupt.

I know, says a celebrated Author, many Obstacles will be thrown in the Way, to baffle such a Reformation. But a wise and resolute Prince, will easily surmount all Opposition. The Cabals of a Party, the Difficulties some may pretend to bring upon his Affairs; no, nor the vast Sums of Money, at first fraudulently gotten, and now laid out to prevent Enquiry; neither them, nor a thousand other Obstacles, will ever terrify or discourage such a one, bent to reform the State, who has the Love of his People, and whose Interest is one and the same with theirs. Much less need he apprehend the mercenary and unconstant Crew of Place-Hunters, whose Designs are always seen through, who are despised as soon as known, and who only lead one another. We have never yet heard of a Tumult raised to rescue a Minister, whom his Master desired to bring to a fair Account; on the contrary, to see a few enriched with the Spoils of a Country, has been the Occasion of many popular Seditions, which wise Kings have appeased, by a just and timely Sacrifice. To conclude: If a King be severe in looking into his Accounts, if he be careful of the public Money, if he examine into the Corruption of his Officers, if he enquire into the sudden and exorbitant Wealth of those Edition: current; Page: [30]who have had the handling of his Treasure, if he rigorously punish such as, in breach of their Trust, and contrary to their Oaths, have converted to their own Use what belongs to the State; if he abandon and resigns into the Hands of Justice such as have robbed him and the Public; and if he take back what was too great to give, and much too great to be asked, it is with the universal Applause of the People, whom this Care relieves from frequent and heavy Taxes, he will be justified by the Voices of all Mankind, in pursuing the Ends for which he was called by the People, and his Name will be great to all future Generations.

Nemo est tam stultus qui non intelligat, si dormierimus hoc tempore, non modo crudelem & superbam Dominationem nobis sed & ignominiosam & flagitiosam esse ferendam.

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A compleat History of the late Septennial Parliament; wherein all their Proceedings are particularly enquired into, and faithfully related; with proper Remarks, and many secret Memoirs interspersed, concerning the late Times. To which is prefixed, Honest Advice to the Freeholders of Great-Britain.
Anno 1722.

PREFACE.

THIS Preface, to my History of the Septennial Parliament, is principally designed for the Freeholders of England. And I hope, after what I have communicated to the Public, there will be very little Occasion for much to be said, to biass Them in the Choice of proper Representatives, at the approaching Election.

I think that they ought, in Justice to Themselves, to be very cautious in the Electing many of our late Representatives; I would have them well consider of their past Behaviour, before they venture to chuse them again; they have already done Mischief sufficient, and more than their Children, or even their Grand-children, will ever see remedied.

But as several Members of the last Parliament were made by the worst of Means; by double and false Returns, by Bribery, and every Thing else that could promise and foretel Miseries to the Subject, what could we expect but extraordinary and unprecedented Proceedings from Them?

If in the present Election, the like Measures should be taken, our future Parliament, instead of retrieving the late Misconducts, will undoubtedly compleat the Ruin their Brethren not only begun, but made such a Progress in: I must Edition: current; Page: [32]therefore warn all our Freeholders of this just Apprehension; and endeavour to rouse them from a Negligence and Supineness which may be otherwise fatal to these Kingdoms.

I am to tell them, That if they put themselves on the Footing of Slavery, by selling themselves, they must expect nothing less than Slavery, and then to be abject Slaves: That the Members of Parliament do not Buy without an Intention of Selling them; and that, by Means of Bribery and Corruption, they may sell their latest Posterity (and many others) as well as themselves.

This should be well weighed and considered: And further, if they accept of Bribes, through the Necessity of the Times, this will, in a very short Space, encrease their Necessities, because the Times will inevitably grow worse, by the Management of corrupt Members; and none but corrupt Members will offer them Bribes. And if Elections are publickly bought in a certain Alley, may not our Liberties be as publickly sold in a more noted Place?

A great many ill Men will endeavour to squeeze themselves into Boroughs, in the present Election, to be thereby skreened from the just Resentment of an injured People. I hope our Electors will be upon their Guard against these Men, who are Enemies to the Public. It will be a Step to public Justice to oppose them, and a Justice to themselves to spew them out with Contempt and Ignominy.

Our Electors are in the reverse Condition to the Wife of Lot: They have the last Necessity of looking back, at the same time they look forward; and they must not, like Watermen, look one Way and row another; if they do, they will not, like them, escape the Rocks and Dangers in their Passage.

They must be steady and indefatigable in pursuit of what alone can make us a happy People; in the Pursuit of Honesty and Integrity. They must not be tempted by the golden Apple; nor their Wives and Partners of their Cares be misled, to influence them, by the Intrigues of Men, who will espouse them only till their Election is sure.

I shall wind up all with this short Advice to our Freeholders, and other Electors. Let not such Members be chosen, for the future Parliament, who are suspected of being Pensioners to a Court, or who are capable of being Edition: current; Page: [33]bribed into Silence. Let none that advanced the Septennial Law, have your Votes and Interests; the Mischiefs from hence are but too apparent. Those worthy Gentlemen who had provided us Barracs, and themselves Palaces, are by all Means to be excluded: So are likewise our South-Sea Scheme-men, and the Setters up of Bubbles; the Rejectors of good Laws, and the Enactors of bad ones. Let not those be elected, who are the Skreeners of Villains, aud Plunderers of the Public.

Chuse such for your Representatives, who are fit to represent you; such as are just, honest, and uncorrupted; such as have Estates and Possessions amongst you, too great to be lost; such as will attend the Business of the Kingdom, upon all Occasions; and such as will repeal the bad Laws the last Parliament enacted, and enact the good ones they rejected.

Then will you acquit yourselves, like Englishmen; like Lovers of your Country, and of yourselves; and secure to Posterity those Blessings, that will make your Names and Memories venerable to future Ages.

A true History of the Septennial Parliament, &c.

WHENEVER any Thing has happened, in any Age or Country, that is memorable and extraordinary, whether it has a Tendency either to Good or Evil, it is no more than what is common for some bold and faithful Historian to transmit it to Posterity.

That we have in our Times, had great and extraordinary Events, none will be so bold as to deny: We have seen, and that fatally too, that every Thing may be in Danger under the plausible Appearance of doing Good; that Men of all Ranks and Degrees have, without Distinction, plundered one another; that the Widow and the Orphan have been totally despoiled, to add to the Grandeur of public Robbers (for such I must term the Authors of our Miseries) that Honour and Honesty, in most Parts of the Globe, have nothing remaining but Edition: current; Page: [34]their very Names; and that even common Humanity is banished this Kingdom.

I do not wholly attribute this Depravity of human Nature to the powerful Influence of the Parliament of Britain; but as Examples are in all Cases forcible, and incite Imitation, I cannot excuse our late Representatives; many of whom have been justly prosecuted for unprecedented Crimes, some been imprisoned, some accused of Bribery, and many of Corruption; and if they have not met with the Punishment that has been their Due, it has not been owing to the Innocence of themselves, or of their Judges and Companions.

A general Corruption spread its baleful Qualities throughout the whole Body; they sported at the Calamities of the Persons they represented; they relieved their Fellow-Subjects, by taking farther from them; and with some other Persons, they endeavoured to dispose of the Remainder of their Properties; as if, to take away a Half or two Thirds of our Fortunes, were not enough, without stripping us of All.

So much Mischief has been done in one fatal Year, that a History of that alone would furnish a Volume; so black a Catalogue of Crimes, I am confident, never appeared against any Set of Men, as some lately in Power; and though the South Sea Directors were the apparent Actors in this national Tragedy, yet others were concerned with them. We have had L—ds and C———ns accused of taking Bribes, who accepted of Stock, to pass a Law for the Ruin of their Country; for what could it mean but universal Ruin, where a Company of Sharpers had an unlimited Power to act as they pleased, by Authority of Law.

I never knew till lately, nor I dare say any other, that an Act of Parliament of any Importance relating to the Public (as this was the greatest) was wholly without one single Proviso, or conditional Clause; as was the Case of this Law. There was granted every where Power to cheat and defraud, and no where any Guard provided against it; as though in the Affairs of Money, and of the Cash of a Kingdom, where there is the greatest Temptation to be Rogues, all were to be supposed Edition: current; Page: [35]to be honest Men, and not so much as one to be suspected.

If this Statute was drawn up by the South Sea Directors, or any Council employed by them, and the Members of Parliament were actually bribed into it (by the Acceptance of Stock, or otherwise) as one would think it might, there is no Infamy or Calumny so great as they do not deserve: And if, speaking more favourably, they were drawn into it, either by Surprise, or want of considering it, or through their own Ignorance, they are even then justly to be blamed; for the Consequence is the same, whether a Man, or a Society of Men, be robbed of Possessions, either by the Design or Negligence of the Agents concerned.

We read of an Insanum Parliamentum, in the Reign of King Henry III. But what Title will be due to the Septennial Parliament, beyond its common Acceptation, I leave the Members themselves, as well as some future Historian, to judge. I do not say they were an Assembly of R—bb—rs (such an Expression is too harsh for me to be guilty of) but if any other Persons had taken the same Pains to ease us of our Money, as they have done, we should have justly conferred the Title upon them. There is not a Man in the Kingdom (not let into the Secret) but has been a Sufferer by them; and the just Complaints and Petitions of the Injured, who have only petitioned for their own, have been rejected with Scorn and Indignation.

It was never questioned, till in the late Times, that an injured and oppressed Subject had a Right in a peaceable manner to petition for Relief, at least to those who were only Servants to the Public: But alas! this has been disputed; and our Servants, whom we invested with Power to take Care of our Rights, Liberties, and Properties, have been the greatest Invaders of them; and instead of advancing, have prevented our Redress; which I think is apparent in the Case of the subscribing Annuitants.

Indeed, in the Upper House of Parliament, we have had Patriots, who have exerted themselves for the public Welfare, to their immortal Honour: A noble Peer, who lately adorned the highest Station in our Courts of Edition: current; Page: [36]Judicature, has shewn his Eloquence like a Cicero, though he had not Cicero’s Success; but we have not now a Roman Age, or a Roman People, to expect it. He early protested (joined by many others, the true Protectors of our Liberties) against what was pernicious to the Public, and which occasioned the altering some of our Laws; but the great Law (the Law of Ruin) which he gloriously opposed, it was not in this Power, after all his Endeavours, and arduous Struggles, to prevent or annul.

It is more to the Honour of this noble Lord, and his glorious Associates, that they have made this Stand against the enacting of some Laws, than to be Makers of all the Laws some Parliaments have passed, and particularly the late one, though it has been of longer Duration than any Parliament since that of the Rump, to which, its Proceedings, in many Instances, may be very justly compared.

But when I give myself a Liberty of speaking of the Septennial Parliament, I would not be thought to mean every Member of it. There were several very honest well-meaning Gentlemen in it (and some I could particularly mention) who would not, on any Terms, be the Authors of Miseries to their Fellow-Subjects; but these were but few in Number, and (what has been the greatest Excuse to them) there always appeared a great Majority against them.

Yet so much have our Parliaments in general in this Age degenerated from their ancient Constitution, that as formerly they were composed of all Men of Honour, Honesty, and Integrity, and Patriots of their Country’s Service, we have lately seen a Member of the House of Commons, convicted at a Bar of Justice, of the highest and blackest Frauds; one supposed to be a Confederate with Highwaymen and Pick-pockets; from whence one might imagine, that some of the excellent Qualities instilled into the Pupils of the famous Jonathan Wild, were a necessary Qualification for a M———r of P———t.

For what is as strange, as the other is monstrous, our Houses of Parliament have suffered one thus convicted of Frauds and Deceits, to have the Honour to sit with them, without voting his Expulsion, which is a sufficient Scandal to that August Assembly; though I do not pretend Edition: current; Page: [37]to insinuate from this, that they are all equally guilty with the Criminal condemned, whatever Construction may be some Persons be put upon their Silence.

If punishing the Guilty, be an Argument of Innocence in the Persons condemning, this should have been done: And I for my Part, if I had been a Representative of the Septennial Parliament, and were to have sat in the House but three Hours longer, I should not have been easy till I had voted an Expulsion of an unworthy Member, who was a Reproach to the Whole; I should have endeavoured to sit at least two of the Hours free from the Imputation of looking over Crimes.

A Negligence of this Kind is undoubtedly criminal; Crimes are inferred from it; and it certainly behov’d every Member of the House of Commons, whether guilty or not of Offences of the like Nature, to have excluded him their Body; because without it, they not only bring a Disgrace upon themselves, but also upon future Parliaments which shall be their Successors.

We have experienced Negligences of Omission as well as Commission: We have had slender Houses on the greatest Debates, in Matters of the greatest Importance; some Members have withdrawn for one Reason, some for another; some out of a Consciousness of their own Guilt; some to serve some great Person; others in Expectation of Places and Preferments, and others perhaps for M———. It is not long since that above Sixty withdrew in the Space of a Day, when a Case of Bribery, laid to the Charge of a Minister of Justice, was tried at their Bar.

Oh England! what wilt thou come to, if the Executioners of thy Laws, and those who ought to be the Punishers of Crimes, are found to be guilty, and the Promoters of them! But what can we say, when Bribery is so common, as to have little or no Notice; like a beauteous prostituted Whore, who by Custom becomes fashionable, and the Object of Esteem, in a vicious Age. Whether this be a proper Allusion, I submit to the Dalers in Elections, who buy their Seats in the Parliament House, in order to sell their Country, and stock-job Boroughs in Exchange Alley, with no other Views than to Edition: current; Page: [38]secure to the Purchasers a National Plunder, or Places of Profit at the public Cost.

As to what has happened for some Years past, great have been the Artifices used to make Corruption universal; one Member of Parliament has endeavoured to corrupt another, to justify his own Conduct; as if by Numbers of Guilty, Innocence were preserved: One has laughed at another who has been less in the Mire than himself, and at all Times given his helping Hand to plunge him into Circumstances equal with himself: And Honesty and Plain-dealing have been so long ridiculed, that, besides the Jest of it, Ruin and Destruction are the general Attendants that wait upon them.

This is a melancholy Reflection, and very discouraging to all honest Spirits; it makes Life almost a Burthen to a religious and even a moral Mind; but such is our Case, and it must be submitted to; though not upon the whole, to be imputed to our Senators; but this I must own, they have had a very great Share in these direful Misfortunes, which have rushed in upon us like a Torrent, and overset every thing.

Thus much as an Introduction to what I have to say: I shall now examine into the several Proceedings of the Septennial Parliament, which will set what I have asserted in a clearer Light, by illustrating that which has been the Foundation of it, and make appear particularly what our great Representatives have done for the public Benefit, and what they have done with more private Views; what they have designed in favour of Liberty, and what they have done against it; what they have transacted to favour Religion, and in what they have checked it; and lastly, what has been enacted with the Wisdom of Senators, and what has been done thro’ Ignorance or Error.

Soon after the Accession of King George to the Crown, a new Parliament was called, and in the first Year of his Reign a great many Statutes were enacted: The first Act was for the better Support of his Majesty’s Houshold: It granted the Duties of Excise upon Beer, Ale, and other Liquors, that were granted to King Charles II. King William and Queen Mary, and the late Queen, to his present Majesty: And to extinguish the Hopes of the Edition: current; Page: [39]Pretender and his Friends, it ordered a Reward of 100,000 l. to any Person who should seize and secure the Person of the Pretender, whenever he should land, or attempt to land, in any of his Majesty’s Dominions.

This was the first Law made in this Reign; and I have no Comment on the Christian Usage of setting a Price upon any Man’s Head, though it may be here expected from me. The first Laws enacted by the Septennial Parliament were for granting an Aid to his Majesty, to be raised by a Land Tax of 2 s. in the Pound, for the Service of the Year; and for charging and continuing the Duties on Malt, Mum, Cyder, &c. And these were necessary for the Support of the Honour and Dignity of the Crown on his most excellent Majesty’s coming to the Throne.

Other Statutes were for further Limitation of the Crown; for the better regulating the Forces; for preventing Mutiny and Desertion; for the further Security of his Majesty’s Person and Government, and the Succession of the Crown; for making the Militia more useful; for Payment of Arrears for Work and Materials employed in the Building Blenheim House; for the Attainder of James Duke of Ormond, Henry Viscount Bolingbroke, and others, of High Treason; for encouraging all Superiors, Vassals, Landlords, and Tenants, in Scotland, who shall continue loyal to King George, and discouraging those as shall be guilty of rebellious Practices; for enabling his Majesty to settle a Revenue of 50,000 l. per Annum (to be paid out of the Revenues of the Post-Office and the Duties of Excise) on her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, in case she shall survive his Royal Highness the Prince: The Revenue of the Prince, as first settled by Parliament, was 100,000 l. a Year, out of the Duties of the Post-Office, &c. And out of the Subsidies of Tonnage and Pound-age, the King has 700,000 l. a Year allowed him for Supporting of his Houshold.

Besides these Laws, many others were enacted; as for enlarging the Capital Stock of the South Sea Company; for appointing Commissioners to take, examine, and state the Debts due to the Army; to prevent Disturbances by Seamen and others, and to preserve Naval Stores; to impower his Majesty to secure and detain Edition: current; Page: [40]Persons suspected to be conspiring against his Government, to indemnify such Perions who acted in Defence of his Majesty’s Person and Government, and for the Preservation of the Peace, in the Time of Rebellion, from Suits and Prosecutions; to appoint Commissioners for enquiring into the Estates of Traitors, and Popish Recusants, and for raising Money out of them for the Use of the Public, &c.

But the most extraordinary Laws that were made, during this Session of Parliament, were, the Statute for repealing so much of the Act of the 12th and 13th of King William, intitled, An Act for the further Limitation of the Crown, and better Securing the Rights and Liberties of the Subject, as enacts, that no Person who should come to the Possession of the Crown, should go out of the Dominions of England, Scotland, or Ireland, without Consent of Parliament; the Act for the more easy and speedy Trial of such Persons as have levied, or shall levy War against his Majesty; and an Act for preventing Tumults, and riotous Assemblies.

By the former of these Laws, the Restraint on the Prerogative, which obliged the King to a constant Residence amongst us, is taken off; so that his Majesty may at his Pleasure, at any Time, go into his Foreign Dominions, or into any other Country, without any Account to, or Leave of, his Parliament; which in general Opinion has very much contributed to the Impoverishment of the Cities of London and Westminster, and doubtless had a different Effect as to some other Towns and Cities abroad. By the Second of these Statutes, Persons guilty of Treason, and who were in Arms in the Rebellion, were to be tried for the same before such Commissioners, and in such County as his Majesty should appoint; whereas before this Law, the Offenders were to be tried in the County where the Fact was committed, by Jurors of the same County, who were supposed to be the best Judges of the Fact committed, it being within their Knowledge: And by the last of the Laws I have mentioned, the Rioters were executed in Salisbury-court, as guilty of Felony, who, before this Law, would have been only punished with Fine and Imprisonment.

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How far these Statutes, with the Act for enlarging the Time of Continuance of Parliaments from three to seven Years (also past in the first Session of the Septennial Parliament) have altered our Constitution, and the Rights and Liberties of the Subjects, built upon former Laws, is too obvious for me to expatiate upon. It was expected from our great Legislators, after a temporary Use of extraordinary Laws, made on an extraordinary Occasion, that when the Occasion ceased, the Laws would also cease; but this has been forgotten by them, as has also every Thing else, wherein they have not found their immediate Advantage.

In the second Session of the Septennial Parliament, few Acts were made. A Land-Tax of four Shillings in the Pound was granted, and the Duties on Malt, Mum, &c. for the Service of the Year, continued: Several Laws were made for redeeming the yearly Funds of the South-Sea Company, and the Bank of England; and settling on those Companies other yearly Funds, after the Rate of 5 l. per Cent. per Annum, redeemable by Parliament; and for obliging them to advance further Sums to the Government. There were also made, An Act for the better regulating of Pilots for the conducting of Ships up the River of Thames; for the better Preservation of the Game; for the better enabling Sheriffs to sue out their Patents and pass their Accounts; and an Act for the King’s most gracious, general, and free Pardon.

The last mentioned Law runs thus: “All his Majesty’s Subjects, as well Spiritual as Temporal, of the Realm of Great Britain, their Heirs and Successors, and all Cities, Boroughs, Shires, &c. shall be by the Authority of this Parliament, acquitted, pardoned, released and discharged, against the King, his Heirs and Successors, from all Treasons, Misprisions of Treasons, Felony, treasonable and seditious Words and Libels, seditious and unlawful Meetings, and all Offences of Premunire; and also from all Riots, Routs, Offences, Contempts, Trespasses, Wrongs, Deceits, Misdemeanors, Forfeitures, Penalties, Pains of Death, Pains corporal and pecuniary, and generally from all other Things, Causes, Quarrels, Suits, Judgments and Executions, in this Act not excepted, which have Edition: current; Page: [42]been committed, incurred, or forfeited, before the 6th of May, 1717.

The Exceptions in the Act extend to all such as were, on the said 6th of May in the Service of the Pretender; all who had levied War against his Majesty, &c. all voluntary Murders, petit Treasons, and wilful Poisonings, burning of Houses, Piracies, and Robberies on the Seas, Burglaries and Robberies, Sodomy and Buggery, Rapes, Perjury, Forgery, &c. and also particularly, as to Persons, Robert Earl of Oxford, Simon Lord Harcourt, Matthew Prior, Thomas Harvey, Arthur Moor, &c. Esquires; and all such Persons who had been impeached in Parliament before the 6th of May 1717, whose Impeachments remained undetermined.

The Exception in respect to Persons in subsequent Statutes, I think has been omitted; nor, by what has happened since, is it thought any Reflection on them, that they were ever inferted in any Exception: The Acquittal of the Earl of Oxford, after impeached by Parliament, and brought on his Trial, by a Disagreement of the two Houses, as to the Form and Manner of the Prosecution, especially of the House of Commons, sufficiently justifies the Conduct of that Earl, or sufficiently blackens the Character of others; for it cannot be supposed that the Niceties of Form only, should permit a Traitor to his Country to pass with Impunity in that High Court of Justice, unless there were some other Artifices used to skreen him from Punishment, such as it is said have been lately practised with the like Success.

Some will have it to be occasioned by a Disgust the chief Manager against him took at a Disappointment he met with in the satisfying his Desires after Places and Preferments (since liberally conferred on him and his Family, even to almost one hundred thousand Pounds a Year Revenue) but I take it to be a different Cause; and that no Opportunity but the Want of Matter sufficient for Conviction of Treason, gave the Occasion of the Acquittal of the Earl abovementioned.

But what may be the Reflections on this extraordinary Event? The Ax was carried before the Offender not to be used, but to amuse; to blacken and not to execute; to mock the most august Court of Judicature in the Edition: current; Page: [43]World; or to convince Mankind that the sharpest Edge of the most destructive Instrument, in the Hand of Justice, may be blunted by Metal more soft, and of a different Hue.

The third Session of this Parliament began with a Land-Tax, the usual Business, of three Shillings in the Pound: The Statute for Continuance of the Duties on Malt, &c. and for appropriating the Supplies granted in this Session of Parliament. And an Act was passed in this Session, to enable his Majesty to be Governor of the South Sea Company: The Statute enacted, That his Majesty is, and shall be, capable of being and continuing, Governor of the South Sea Company, for such Time or Times as are prescribed by the Charter granted to the said Company for the Continuance of any Governor therein: And his Majesty is exempted from the Oaths necessary to qualify a Subject to be Governor of the said Company, and all other Acts, unless it be relating to his Majesty’s Share of the Capital Stock. Thus was his Majesty qualified to be at the Head of a Set of Men who have plundered the Public.

The other Acts of this Session were for punishing Mutiny and Desertion, and for the better Payment of the Army and their Quarters: For vesting the forfeited Estates in Great Britain and Ireland in Trustees, to be sold for the Use of the Public: For impowering the Commissioners appointed to put in Execution the Act of the 9th and 10th Years of Queen Anne, for building fifty new Churches in and about the Cities of London and Westminster, to direct the Parish-Church of St. Giles’s in the Fields, in the County of Middlesex, to be rebuilt instead of one of the said fifty new Churches: And an Act for the further preventing Robbery, Burglary, and other Felonies, and for the more effectual Transportation of Felons.

The first of these Statutes is a temporary Law, often renewed, as the Exigency of Times requires it, to regulate that Body of Men who are the Guardians of our Liberties, next to the Laws, and the great Bulwark of the Protestant Succession, on which our Hopes (by no Means frustrated) have so much depended. The second mentioned Statute has indeed very well ordained, that the forfeited Estates should be vested in Trustees, viz. Richard Edition: current; Page: [44]Grantham, Esq; George Treby, Esq; Arthur Ingram, Esq; George Gregory, Esq; Sir Richard Steele, Sir Henry Houghton, Patrick Haldane, Esq; Sir Thomas Hales, Robert Munroe, Esq; Henry Cunningham, Esq; Denis Bond, Esq; John Birch, Esq; and Sir John Eyles, to be sold for the Use of the Public: But Quere how much of the Money arising by the Sales of these Estates has been hitherto appropriated to any public Use? I do not remember that any particular Disposition of this Money has been made by Parliament; and, till this appears, the Public has a Right, if not to enquire into it, at least to expect that it should be thus disposed of. The third mentioned Statute I have no Comment upon, further than to observe, that it was not intended by the Act made by Queen Anne, that fewer than fifty new Churches should be built in this City: But she was truly religious, and for encouraging the Church, which is more than can be said of all our Princes.

As to the Act for Transportation of Felons, it is the only good Law that has been made by the Septennial Parliament, which is put in Execution: It has freed us from a great many Robbers, Thieves, and Pick-pockets, who have been taken in the Facts; but the greatest Robbers, the Robbers of the Public, have escaped this Law; and if, instead of it, an Ordinance had been made for Transportation of the Parliament, before the Year one thousand seven hundred and twenty, it would have been happy for this Nation: We should then have escaped the general.

Transportation is the least a great many of our Members have deserved at our Hands; some have deserved more; many late Offenders have ended their Lives ignominiously at the Gallows, by far less criminal, and who have been driven to a Necessity of extraordinary Means for the Support of Life, through the extraordinary Conduct of some Persons, who, deserving the like Punishment, are in the Possession of Titles and Honours, Affluence and Plenty, and feed luxuriously on the Spoils of the Widow and Orphan. But the Poet has observed,

  • That little Villains must submit to Fate,
  • That great Ones may enjoy the World in State.
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The Statute for Transportation of Felons, requires particular Notice, as it is a Law for the public Benefit; wherefore I insert an Abstract of the most material Part of it. By this Statute it is enacted, “That where any Persons have been convicted of any Offence within the Benefit of the Clergy, and are liable to be whipt or burnt in the Hand, or have been ordered to any Work-house before a certain Time: As also, where any Persons shall be hereafter convicted of grand or petit Larceny, or any felonious Stealing of Money, or Goods and Chattels, either from the Person or the House of any other, or in any other Manner, and who by Law shall be intitled to the Benefit of Clergy, and liable only to the Penalties of Burning in the Hand or Whipping (except Persons convicted for receiving or buying stolen Goods, knowing them to be stolen) it shall be lawful for the Court before whom they were convicted, or any Court held at the same Place, with like Authority, instead of ordering such Offenders to be burnt in the Hand, or whipt, to order that they shall be sent to some of his Majesty’s Plantations in America for seven Years; and that Court before whom they were convicted, or any subsequent Court held at the same Place, with like Authority as the former, shall have Power to transfer, and make over such Offenders, by Order of Court, to the Use of any Persons, and their Assigns, who shall contract for the Performance of such Transportation for seven Years: And where any Person shall be convicted or attainted of any Offences, for which Death, by Law, ought to be inflicted, and his Majesty shall extend his Royal Mercy to such Offenders, on Condition of Transportation to any Part of America, on such Intention of Mercy being signified by one of the principal Secretaries of State, it shall be lawful for any Court, having proper Authority, to allow such Offenders the Benefit of a Pardon, under the Great Seal, and to order the like Transportation to any Person who will contract for the Performance, and to his Assigns, of any such Offenders, for the Term of fourteen Years, if the Condition of Transportation be general, or else for such other Term as shall be made Edition: current; Page: [46]Part of the Condition, if any particular Time is limited by his Majesty: And the Persons contracting, or their Assigns shall, by Virtue of such Order of Transfer, have a Property in the Service of such Offenders for such Term of Years.

“Persons convicted of receiving or buying stolen Goods, knowing them to be stolen, are liable to Transportation for fourteen Years: And if any Offender ordered to be transported for any Term of seven or fourteen Years, or other Time, shall return into Great Britain or Ireland, before the End of his Term, he shall be punished as a Person attainted of Felony without Benefit of Clergy, and Execution shall be awarded accordingly. But his Majesty may, at any time, pardon the Transportation, and allow of the Return of the Offender, he paying his Owner a reasonable Satisfaction.”

The other Statutes of Importance in this Session, were for regulating the Trade in the Bone-lace, and the Wearing of Buttons; by the last of which, Taylors, &c. are prohibited to make Cloaths with Buttons made of Cloth, Serge, Drugget, Frize, Camblet, &c. under certain Penalties.

In the fourth Year of the Septennial Parliament, a great many Laws were enacted, both public and private. The first of a public Nature was for granting a Land-Tax of three Shillings in the Pound: The next for continuing the Duties on Malt, Mum, Cyder, &c. for the Service of the Year: And for applying of Monies to be raised by Way of Lottery: And these are succeeded with an Act for strengthening the Protestant Interest in these Kingdoms: An Act for punishing Mutiny and Desertion, and the better Payment of the Army: And an Act for quieting and establishing Corporations.

The Act for strengthening the Protestant Interest is placed in our Statute Books under the Head of Religion, and was made for repealing Part of a Law made in the 10th Year of the Reign of Queen Anne, and of another Law made 12° Anno of the same Reign: One was intitled, An Act for preserving the Protestant Religion, by better securing the Church of England; and the other for preventing the Growth of Schism: The former enacted, Edition: current; Page: [47]That if any Person, who had any Office, Civil or Military, or who received any Pay or Salary, by Patent or Grant from the Crown, or who should receive any Fee or Wages of the Queen, her Heirs or Successors, or should have any Place of Command or Trust in England, &c. or be admitted into any Employment in the Houshold; or if any Magistrate of a Corporation, who by the 13 and 25 Car. II. or either of them, were obliged to receive the Sacrament, should, after their Admission into their Offices, or after having such a Patent or Grant, or Place of Trust, and during their Continuance in such Office, be present at any Conventicle for the Exercise of Religion, at which there should be ten Persons or more assembled, or should be knowingly present at any Meeting where the Royal Family should not be prayed for in express Words, though the Liturgy of the Church of England were used, they were to incur a Penalty of 40 l. and be disabled to hold any Office or Employment whatsoever. This was what was called the Act of Conformity.

The Law against Schism ordained, that if any Person should keep any public or private School or Seminary, or teach any Youth as Tutor or Schoolmaster, before he should have subscribed the Declaration of 14 Car. II. (viz. That he would conform to the Liturgy of the Church of England) and should have obtained a Licence from the Archbishop or Bishop of the Diocese, he should be committed to the common Gaol for three Months. Persons keeping Schools were also to receive the Sacrament of the Church of England, to take the Oaths, and subscribe the Declaration against Transubstantiation; and they were not to resort to any Conventicles or Meetings.

These were the Laws relating to the Church of England, made by the late Queen Anne, and repealed by the 5 Geo. It seems the Protestant Interest was to be strengthened by annihilating a Law made for preserving the Protestant Religion, and better securing the Church; and of a Law against Schism, which did not extend, as to Seminaries of Learning, to the Tuition and Teaching of Youth in Reading, Writing, or Mathematical Learning in the English Tongue.

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I have mentioned thus much of the Statutes made in the late Reign, to shew to the Reader what it is that has been repealed, that he may the better judge of the Conduct of the Septennial Parliament in this Particular, and see what was our Law before it was altered. But this must be said in Behalf of our Parliament, in the second Section of the Act of Repeal, they enacted, That if any Mayor, Bailiff, or other Magistrate of a Corporation, shall resort to, or be present at, any public Meeting for religious Worship, other than the Church of England as by Law established, in the Gown or other peculiar Habit, or attended with the Mace, or other Ensigns of his Office, every such Mayor, &c. being thereof convicted, shall be disabled to hold such Office or Employment, and be adjudged incapable to bear any public Office.

The Act for quieting Corporations, was made on a Neglect of taking the Oath and subscribing the Declaration of the Solemn League and Covenant (difused for many Years, though required by the Act 13 Car. II.) to confirm Members of Corporations in their Offices, notwithstanding the Omission to take the said Oath, or to subscribe the said Declaration; and to indemnify them from all Incapacities, Disabilities, and Forfeitures, arising from such Omission. It also repeals so much of the Statute as required the taking the said Oath, and subscribing the Declaration. The Objection to this Omission, was first started by a cunning Attorney in the West, to make his Terms with the Officers of a certain Corporation, with whom he was at Variance: And he carried his Point, having proved, that by the Omission of a Part of their Qualification, the Acts of all the Corporations in England were null and void.

By this Law in favour of Corporations, it is also ordained, That all Members of Corporations, and every Person in Possession of any Office at the Time of making this Statute, required by the said Act of 13 Car. II. to take the Sacrament according to the Church of England, within one Year next before their Election, shall be confirmed in their several Offices, notwithstanding their Omission to take the said Sacrament, and be indemnified from all Incapacities, Disabilities, &c. And none of Edition: current; Page: [49]their Acts shall be questioned or avoided by Reason of such Omission.

The further Acts of this Session of the Septennial Parliament, are, An Act for continuing Duties upon Coals, &c. for establishing certain Funds to raise Money, as well to proceed in the Building of new Churches, as also to compleat the Supply granted to his Majesty: An Act against clandestine running of uncustomed Goods, and for preventing of Frauds relating to the Customs: An Act to continue the Commissioners appointed to examine, state, and determine the Debts due to the Army, and to examine and state the Demands of several foreign Princes and States for Subsidies during the late War: A Statute for the better securing the lawful Trade of his Majesty’s Subjects to and from the East Indies: An Act for recovering the Credit of the British Fishery: Acts for preventing Mischiefs which may happen by keeping too great Quantities of Gun-powder in or near the Cities of London and Westminster; for Prevention of Inconveniencies arising from seducing Artificers into foreign Parts; for the better preventing Frauds committed by Bankrupts; for making more effectual the Laws for Discovery and Punishment of Deer-Stealers; and the several Statutes for Repairing and Amending the Highways of this Kingdom.

The Law for recovering the Credit of our Fishery, was a well designed Law; but why did not our Parliament examine into this sooner? When a Trade is wholly lost, it is then too late to make Laws for its Preservation; which I fear is the Case of the British Fishery. The Statute for preventing the seducing of Artificers into foreign Parts, might also be a good Law; but unless our Artificers are encouraged at home, no one can blame them for going abroad: If they are here starving, through the Badness of the Times (as I am very apprehensive too many are) they are then under a Necessity of going into those Parts of the World, howsoever remote, where they can acquire a Subsistance in Life: And as to the Law against Bankrupts, it has been found to be necessary, when we have a large Army of these Sorts of People, and it has been justly observed, that it is almost unfashionable not to be a Bankrupt.

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Our Parliament, in this Session, shewed themselves industriously inclined to the Preservation of the Game, particularly of Deer; expecting, I presume, soon to enlarge their Landed Territories, out of the Plunder of their Fellow-Subjects, (for we are now advancing to the fatal Annal) they enacted, “That if, after the 1st of May 1719, any Person shall enter any Park, Paddock, or other inclosed Ground, where Deer are usually kept, and wilfully wound or kill any Red or Fallow Deer, without the Consent of the Owner, or Person intrusted with the Custody of such Park, &c. or shall be assisting therein; on his being indicted for such Offence, before any Judge of Gaol Delivery for the County wherein such Park shall be, and Conviction thereof by Verdict or Confession, he shall be sent to some of his Majesty’s Plantations in America for seven Years; and the Court before whom he shall be convicted, or any subsequent Court, held at the same Place, with like Authority, shall have Power to convey, transfer, and make over such Offender, by Order of Court, to the Use of any Person who shall contract for the Performance of such Transportation.

“If the Keeper, or other Officer, of any Forest, &c. where Deer are usually kept, shall be convicted on the Statute 3 and 4 William and Mary, for killing or taking away any Red or Fallow Deer, or for being aiding therein, without Consent of the Owner, or Person chiefly intrusted with the Custody of such Forest, &c. he shall forfeit 50 l. for each Deer so killed, to be levied by Distress: And for want of Distress, be imprisoned for three Years. without Bail or Mainprize, and be set on the Pillory two Hours, on some Market-day, in the Town next the Place where the Offence was committed.”

By these Clauses, in this Law, we may see how careful our Representatives have been as to the preserving of Beasts Feræ Naturæ, originally in common to Mankind, and which all had a Property in. I do not question the Authority of our Senate in making of Laws; but those Things wherein the People had an original Right, they will think hard to be taken from them, without parting Edition: current; Page: [51]with that Right in a Manner agreeable to the general Disposition of Property.

So careful, I say, have our Members of Parliament shewn themselves in a Case of Diversion only, and a disputed Property; they have made Transportation, Fines, and Imprisonment, the Punishment of Offences in the Injury of Beasts (nay, some have gone farther, by proposing it to be Felony to kill any Sort of Game) when they have intirely neglected the highest Concern of the Nation; a Concern relating to the Lives, the Fortunes, and established Property of the Human Species, and their Fellow-Subjects, who chose them for their Representatives,

This will sound but illy to Posterity; and to shew that this blessed Parliament delighted in Trifles attended with Mischiefs, as well as in Matters of Moment that were fatal, I shall here insert a Part of the Statute made for the more effectual amending of the Highways. It is enacted, “That no Waggon travelling for Hire, shall have the Wheels bound with Streaks or Tire of a less Breadth than two Inches and a Half, when worn, on Pain of forfeiting all the Horses above three in Number, with all the Geers, &c. If any Person shall hinder, or attempt to hinder, with Force, or otherwise, the seizing, distraining, or carrying away of any Seizure or Distress, for the Forfeiture aforesaid, or shall rescue the same, or use any Violence to the Persons concerned in making such Seizure, every such Person, on Oath thereof made by one or more Witnesses before a Justice of Peace, shall be sent to the common Gaol, there to remain for three Months, without Bail, and forfeit the Sum of ten Pounds, to be levied on his Goods and Chattels, by Warrant from the Justice of Peace before whom convicted.

By Virtue of this Law, all our Waggoners in England, who travelled for Hire, were immediately obliged to furnish themselves with new Waggons, to avoid the Penalties, and carry on their Business: They were forced to part with their old Waggons, experienced to be good, and perfectly useful, for any thing they could get; and to take up with new Waggons that were considerably worse for their Service at the dearest Prices; Edition: current; Page: [52]and, at the same time, limited to the same Number of Horses as before, though adding to the Breadth of the Wheels makes a very great Difference on this Account; and all this was done to satisfy the Revenge of a Member, who had the woeful Misfortune of pitching his Head into a Mire, in a Road which was never known to be good.

It is by this Statute our Waggoners, and inland Traders, who have Dependance upon them for the Carriage of their Goods, have been liable to great Hardships and Expences, without any Redress, though they lately petitioned our wise Law-makers to take their Case into Consideration.

Before I quit this Session of Parliament, I am to take some Notice of the Peerage Bill, brought into the House of Lords, for limiting the Number of Peers to sit in that House. This Subject employed all Conversations for a considerable Time, and made so great a Noise in Town, that many were the Pamphlets that were written for and against it: The Court was for this Bill, which was a politic Game the Public could not easily understand, for it was parting with a Branch of the Prerogative; the Lords, you may be sure, joined with the Court, as it might be a Means of preserving the Dignity of the Peerage, and the Commons vigorously opposed both, for they expected themselves all to be Lords, so that the Bill, after many Debates, dropped in its Progress.

A great many discerning Persons were Sticklers for this Bill, who were of neither House of Parliament, because they apprehended ill Consequences from the Increase of the Number of our Peers (above sixty Promotions to the Peerage having been already made in this Reign): By that noble Body’s growing too great, the Commons of England, who ought to be the Protectors of our Liberties, may be in Danger of losing their Rights and Privileges, and other Inconveniencies may ensue, which, at the Time of this Bill, was foreseen; though it is likely the Court had another Reason for their advancing a Law of this Nature, not safe to be mentioned, when we have a Successor to the Crown now amongst us.

The History of the particular Debates on this Bill, is too long to be inserted in this Treatise; I shall therefore Edition: current; Page: [53]omit it, and proceed to that Annal of our Septennial Parliament, which will sound dreadful to Posterity, the fatal Year 1720.

The fifth Session of the Septennial Parliament, began with a Land Tax of three Shillings in the Pound; an Act for continuing the Duties on Malt, Mum, Cyder, &c. A Statute for laying a Duty on wrought Plate; An Act for the Prevention of Frauds in the Revenues, Excise, Post-Office, &c. A Law for punishing Mutiny and Desertion; and an Act to appoint Commissioners to examine, state, and determine the Debts due to the Army.

But the greatest Act of this Session, was the Act for enabling the South Sea Company to increase their Capital Stock and Fund, by redeeming public Debts; and for raising Money, to be applied for lessening several of the public Debts and Incumbrances. It recites, That the Commons being desirous to lessen the public Debts, as fast as might be, and that the public Duties might be settled, so that the South Sea Company’s Annuity, or yearly Fund, for their then present and to be increased Capital, might be continued to Midsummer 1727, and afterwards reduced to four Pounds per Cent. and thenceforth be redeemable by Parliament, did grant that the Rates of Excise, and Duties on Pepper, &c. granted in the Reign of Queen Anne, and the Duties on Coals granted 5 Geo. should be continued and made perpetual, to secure to the South Sea Company the Payments intended to be made by this Act.

The South Sea Company, in Consideration of the Liberty given them of increasing their Capital Stock and Fund, (I think to forty millions, an immense Sum) by taking in of all the redeemable Debts, &c. were to pay into the Exchequer, towards discharging the Principal and Interest of such national Debts and Incumbrances as were incurred before the 25th of December 1716, the Sum of four millions one hundred and fifty thousand Pounds and upwards; and also four Years and a Half’s Purchase on the Terms of Annuities that should be taken in by Subscription; for which they were to be paid an Annuity (by weekly or other Payments) out of the Moneys arising by the public Duties above mentioned, ordered into the Exchequer for their Use.

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To enable the Company immediately to raise the four millions and one hundred and fifty thousand Pounds, and the four Years and a Half’s Purchase on Annuities, they were impowered to make Calls of Money upon their Members, to open Books of Subscriptions, or grant Annuities redeemable by the Company, or to raise Money by any other Methods they should think fit. And the Company was likewise enabled to borrow Money upon any Contracts, Bills, or Bonds, under their common Seal, or on the Credit of their Capital Stock, at such Rates of Interest, for any Time not less than six Months, as they should think proper, and should be to the Satisfaction of the Lenders.

They were impowered to take in by Subscription all or any of the Annuities, for long and short Terms of Years (formerly granted for Money lent to the Crown) as the only Means of paying those Debts and public Incumbrances.

This is a Part of this Law, enacted by the Septennial Parliament: Let us now examine a little into the Use that was made of it. This Act was no sooner passed into a Law, but the South Sea Stock considerably advanced; in a few Weeks Time it rose from 100 to 200, and 300 per Cent. Price. This drew a vast Concourse of People of all Ranks and Conditions, to Exchange-Alley; Stars and Garters were here more frequently seen than at Court; and our Ladies of the greatest Quality abandoned their Palaces, and promiscuously mixed with Thieves, Stockjobbers, Lords, and Pickpockets: They attended the Exchange both Day and Night, to try their Fortunes with a Set of Sharpers, and for some Time were considerable Gainers by the Stocks.

The Directors observing this Success, immediately set on Foot their Money-Subscriptions; the first they took in low, I think at 300 per Cent. and finding it full sooner than they expected, they set others on Foot, till they came to 1000 per Cent. for 100 l. Stock; and such was the Madness of the People that they ventured in all the Subscriptions; but it was in a great Measure owing to the Management of the Directors, who gave it out to be a Favour, that they permitted any to be Subscribers Edition: current; Page: [55]but their Friends, and filled up what was wanting with fictitious Names.

These Subscriptions not only raised the Stock to almost ten Times its Value, but likewise drew in the Subscribers of Government Annuities; which the Directors also at first made a Favour to them, that happy was the Man (in the then Opinion) who could first subscribe to his Ruin. Our greatest Men of the Kingdom for Sense and Abilities, as well as Fortunes, were drawn into it; for we had Statesmen, Judges, and Bishops, who were taken with the Bait, as well as Tinkers, Coblers, and old Women. But when the Subscribers and Buyers of Stock began to consider what they had done, and the great Disproportion between the real Value and the Prices they had given, they then reflected on their Conduct, and were more fond of selling out (especially the Foreigners, here in great Numbers) than ever they were of buying in, which occasioned the first Fall of the South Sea Stock.

The Directors finding that they had gone too far in taking in Subscriptions, to keep up the Spirit of the People, and the Price of their Stocks, lent to the Proprietors 400 per Cent. on their Capital, by which Means they were enabled to purchase further: They made a Declaration of Dividends of 20, 30, and 50 per Cent. the latter for the Term of twelve Years, and cooked up a fictitious Contract with the Bank, which supported the Stock for some Time longer: But the Price being so very exorbitant, and more than all the Money in England, or in Europe, could satisfy, if all the Stock were to be sold, which now was the Case, for all would be Sellers, it fell from 1000 per Cent. in a very few Months, to 400 and 300, before the Parliament could meet to pass any Law, or do any Thing in its Favour.

For the King being abroad, at Hanover, he could not easily quit his German Dominions to come to our Assistance; and a Parliament could not well be called at this extraordinary Juncture without his Royal Presence: His Majesty’s Absence, on this Occasion, was a great Misfortune to his Subjects; it was at least three or four Months before the King came over; and by what happened in the mean time, we were sufficiently sensible Edition: current; Page: [56]that the Complaisance shewn to our King by his condescending Parliament, in repealing the Clause in the Act of Succession, which had obliged his Majesty’s Residence in England, was a Complaisance as disagreeable to his People, as it could be acceptable to his Majesty.

But when our Parliament met, what did they do for the public Benefit, and to retrieve Misconducts? Why truly, they made several Votes and Resolutions, and ordered a Committee to be appointed, to enquire into Proceedings, which were succeeded with some Laws for restoring Public Credit: But all was too late; the Mischief was already done, and could not be undone; instead of raising the Stock, they brought it to 100. And the South Sea Dividends of 30 and 50 per Cent. which had been formerly declared, were now sunk in their Books to 10, 8, and 7.

The Subscribers for Stock at 1000 and 500, were not now able to go on with their Subscriptions; they were released by the Parliament; the South Sea Company had remitted them a great Part of their Debt to the Government, on Condition of allowing additional Stock to Proprietors: But the Subscribers of Government Annuities were obliged to the Terms of 300, when the Stock would not yield 100, and prevented by a Law from asserting their Right at Law in contesting their Subscriptions, which being agreed to on the Side of the Directors only, and not of the Proprietors, as the Statute directed, were in all legal Construction no Subscriptions at all, but a notorious Fraud and Imposition of the Directors, and those employed by them.

Instead of paying the public Debts, the South Sea Managers brought every body in Debt, and Ruin upon All Men but themselves: Nay, they did not stick to plunder their dearest Friends and Relations, to raise their own Fortunes; and those who were not let into the Secret, were one Day in a Coach, and the next in a Prison, but the latter they were sure of: Strange were the Reverses of Fortune in a very few Weeks; we saw the lowest and most awkward Mechanics surrounded with Equipages, and in the Palaces of Noblemen; and our ancient Gentry destitute of Habitations, and reduced to the extremest Poverty.

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Suicides and Self-Violences were now become so common, that we seldom had a Week without many Occurrences of News of this Kind, besides great Numbers who submitted to their Fate, by pining away with Grief, Penury and Want. This has been the Case of many of the Annuitants, as to whom the public Faith has been more broken by the Septennial Parliament, than in any other extraordinary Transaction they have been guilty of: The Annuitants could not expect that in an Affair of lending their Money to the Government, and for which our former Parliaments had engaged, that they should be tied down by a Law to their Ruin and Destruction.

But as what I have mentioned is not sufficient to display the whole Scene of Vìllainy of the South Sea Directors, and others concerned with them, and the several Steps and Proceedings of our Parliament concerning the same, I shall here insert the Resolutions and Orders of the House of Lords and Commons, made and passed, relating to the South Sea Managers, and the dreadful Punishment that ensued thereupon.

Resolutions of the Lords and Commons, relating to the South Sea Directors.

The Lords Resolutions.

JAnuary 13, 1720. After Accompts were ordered to be given, and a Committee to be appointed by the Commons, the Lords first Resolved, That the Directors in making Loans on their Stock and Subscriptions, were guilty of a Breach of Trust, and ought to make good the Losses which the Company has sustained thereby out of their private Estates.

Jan. 16,—Ordered a Bill to incapacitate the Sub and Deputy-Governor, and Directors of the South Sea Company, from being Directors in any of the three Corporations of the Bank, India, and South Sea.

Jan. 27,—Resolved, That the taking in Stock without a valuable Consideration, for any Person in the Administration, during the Time that the Bill of the South Sea Company was depending in Parliament, was a dangerous and notorious Corruption.

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February 1.—Resolved, That the Directors of the South Sea Company having bought Stock for the Company, under Pretence of supporting Public Credit, and at the same time gave Orders to sell their own Stock, was a notorious Fraud, and a Breach of Trust, and are the Causes of the Turn of Affairs with respect to public Credit.

The Commons Resolutions.

DEcember 29, 1720.—Ordered the Directors of the South Sea Company do lay before the House an Account of the Reasons that induced them to take the 3d and 4th Subscriptions at 1000, and to declare the Dividends of 30 and 50 per Cent.

Jan. 4.—Resolved, That a Bill be brought in to prevent the Directors of the South Sea Company going out of the Kingdom, or disposing of, or alienating, any Part of their Estates; and to make it Felony to depart the Realm, &c.

Jan. 20.—Resolved, That all Subscriptions of public Debts shall remain in the present State, unless altered for the Ease and Relief of the Proprietors, or set aside by due Course of Law.

Feb. 13.—Resolved not to reject the Petition of the South Sea Company, praying to be relieved with respect to the Seven Millions, all the Money the South-Sea Company was to pay the Government.

Feb. 17.—Agreed to postpone the Payment of the Seven Millions a Year longer.

Feb. 18.—Resolved, That the Loss the South Sea Company may sustain by the Monies lent on Stock and Subscriptions (above Two Millions) shall be made good out of the Estates of the late Sub and Deputy-Governors, and Directors of the said Company: And that the taking in of Stock for any Member of either House, while the South Sea Bill was depending, was a dangerous Corruption.

Feb. 21.—Resolved, That all those Persons who had Stock taken in for them, whilst the South Sea Bill was depending, and paid no Money for it (about Seven hundred thousand Pounds worth) ought to refund the Difference to the Company. And ordered in a Bill.

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Feb. 25.—Resolved, That the Deficiencies of the Payments on the 3d and 4th Subscription (amounting to above a Million) ought to be made good out of the Estates of the Directors; and referred to the Secret Committee to proceed in the Affair relating to the Stock taken in whilst the South Sea Bill was depending.

From all these glorious Resolutions, which discover the most secret and vilest Frauds of Persons in Power, as well as in Directors of the South Sea Company, we had Reason to expect a great deal would be done: That the Directors were to give in Reasons for what they had done; that an adequate Punishment would be inflicted on those who had been guilty of such notorious Corruptions and Breaches of Trust; and who had accepted of Stock while the South Sea Bill was depending, without paying any Money for the same; but instead of it, this mighty Noise vanished in Smoak.

’Tis true, Acts of Parliament were made to restrain the Directors of the South Sea Company from going out of the Kingdom; to raise Money out of their Estates; and to disable them from holding any public Places and Preferments. And the Secret Committee, which was composed of some very honest Gentlemen, as the Lord Molesworth, Archibald Hutcheson, Esq; Thomas Broderick, Esq; Sir Jos. Jekyll, Edward Wortley Montague, Esq; Edward Jeffreys, Esq; Dixey Windsor, Esq; and several others, by their diligent Enquiries, made a Discovery of vast Quantities of Stock transferred to Persons without any apparent Consideration; especially of Fifty Thousand Pounds to a noble E—l, and considerable Sums to others in the House of Commons, not to mention particularly the Ladies at Court: Yet what did this end in, any further than the acquitting of one Gentleman, and the imprisoning of another? And if the noble L—was in any manner of Danger from so vigorous a Prosecution, he was afterwards sheltered by an Act of Indemnity.

This was all that was done by the Septennial Parliament, after all this Clamour; but therein, perhaps, they have shewn their Prudence, more than in any other Proceedings; they best knew how far a Charge of this Edition: current; Page: [60]Kind might affect their whole Body. And as to the Directors Estates, they gave in Inventories so very inferior to their real Fortunes, that the whole amounted to little more than two Millions; when many of the Directors were very well known to be singly worth near a Million of Money: And yet our Parliament was satisfied with them, and through a great deal of Christian Compassion to these Agents of Iniquity, their Fellow Labourers, allowed them above three hundred and fifty thousand Pounds (some of them their whole Money) out of the Estimates they had given in.

The Schedules of Estates and Allowances are as follow:

A general Inventory or Schedule of the Estates of the Directors of the South-Sea Company, as given by themselves, their Debts deducted.
l. s. d.
Sir John Fellows, Bart. the Sub-Governor } 239,596 0 0
Charles Joye, Esq; Deputy-Governor 40,105 0 0
William Astell, Esq; Director 44,051 0 0
Sir Lambert Blackwell, Bart. 83,529 0 0
Sir John Blunt, Bart. 183,349 0 0
Sir Robert Chaplin, Bart. 45,875 0 0
Sir William Chapman, Knt. 39,161 0 0
Robert Chester, Esq; 140,372 0 0
Stephen Child, Esq; 52,437 0 0
Peter Delaporte, Esq; 17,151 0 0
Francis Eyles, Esq; 34,329 0 0
James Edmonson, Esq; 44,950 0 0
Edward Gibbon, Esq; 105,043 0 0
John Gore, Esq; 38,936, 0 0
Sir William Hammond, Knt. 22,707 0 0
Francis Hawes, Esq; 40,031 0 0
Richard Horsey, Esq; 15,222 0 0
Richard Holditch, Esq; 39,527 0 0
Sir Theodore Janssen, Knt. and Bart. 226,278 0 0
Sir Jacob Jacobson, Knt. 50,928 0 0
Arthur Ingram, Esq; 12,100 0 0
Sir John Lambert, Bart. 17,814 0 0
Sir Harcourt Master, Kt. 11,814 0 0
William Morley, Esq; 1,869 0 0
Ambrose Page, Esq; 34,817 0 0
Col. Hugh Raymond 64,373 0 0
Samuel Read, jun. Esq; 117,297 0 0
Thomas Reynolds, Esq; 18,368 0 0
Jacob Sawbridge, Esq; 77,254 0 0
William Tillard, Esq; 19,175 0 0
John Turner, Esq; (all Directors) 881 0 0
Robert Surman, Deputy Cashier 112,321 0 0
John Grigshy, Accomptant 31,687 0 0
Total 2,023,347 0 0
The Schedule of Allowances to be made the Directors of the South-Sea Company out of their Estates.
l. s. d.
To Sir John Fellows, Sub Governor 10,000 0 0
To Charles Joye, Esq; the Deputy-Governor } 5,000 0 0
To William Astell, Esq; Director 10,000 0 0
To Sir Lambert Blackwell 15,000 0 0
To Sir John Blunt 5,000 0 0
To Sir Robert Chaplin 10,000 0 0
To Sir William Chapman 10,000 0 0
To Robert Chester, Esq; 10,000 0 0
To Stephen Child, Esq; 10,000 0 0
To Peter Delaporte, Esq; 10,000 0 0
To Francis Eyles, Esq; 20,000 0 0
To James Edmonson, Esq; 3,000 0 0
To Edward Gibbon, Esq; 10,000 0 0
To John Gore, Esq; 20,000 0 0
To Sir William Hammond 10,000 0 0
To Francis Hawes, Esq; 5,000 0 0
To Richard Horsey, Esq; 10,000 0 0
To Richard Holditch, Esq; 5,000 0 0
To Sir Theodore Janssen 50,000 0 0
To Sir Jacob Jacobson 11,000 0 0
To Arthur Ingram, Esq; 12,000 0 0
To Sir John Lambert 5,000 0 0
To Sir Harcourt Master 5,000 0 0
To William Morley, Esq; 1,800 0 0
To Ambrose Page, Esq; 10,000 0 0
To Hugh Raymond, Esq; 30,000 0 0
To Samuel Read, Esq; 10,000 0 0
To Thomas Reynolds, Esq; 14,000 0 0
To Jacob Sawbridge, Esq; 5,000 0 0
To William Tillard, Esq; 15,000 0 0
To John Turner, Esq; 800 0 0
To Robert Surman 5,000 0 0
To John Grigsby 2,000 0 0
Total 354,600 0 0

By these two Schedules (the first valuing South Sea Stock at 150 per Cent.) it appears how sparing our Directors were in giving in the real Estimates of their Estates; and how truly indulgent to them the Septennial Parliament have behaved themselves, at a Time it was expected, and that very justly, that the South Sea Directors would have been rewarded with Halters, and not have had Allowances so considerable, as Fifty Thousand Pounds to any one Man, for ruining their Country.

What I have said, may serve as a short History of the Parliament’s Proceedings relating to the South Sea Scheme: I shall now take Notice of the other Statutes made and passed in this Session of Parliament, particularly concerning the Bubbles.

Besides the Statutes I have mentioned, the following Laws were enacted: An Act for making forth new Exchequer Bills, not exceeding One Million, at a certain Interest, and for lending the same to the South Sea Com-Company, upon Security of repaying it into the Exchequer, for Uses to which the Fund for lessening the public Debts, called the Sinking Fund, is applicable. An Act for securing Powers granted by Charters for Assurance of Ships and Merchandize. An Act for Relief of Insolvent Debtors. And another for the Building and Repairing of Goals. And Acts for making the Rivers Idle, Douglas, &c. navigable.

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As to the first of these Laws, I do not admire that the South Sea Funds were called by the Names of the Sinking Funds; I take it they have sufficiently sunk our Pockets: The Statute in favour of the Corporations of Assurances, were granted to raise 600,000 l. for the Use of his Majesty, to discharge the Debts of his Civil Government. The Act for Relief of Insolvent Debtors, was the first of the Kind that had been made in his Reign (in other Reigns, Acts of Grace were more frequent) and subjected the Debtors to unusual Hardships: And the Statute for building of Gaols, was an Act that was convenient, when our Gaols would not contain the Number of Debtors liable to Commitment to our Prisons.

The Statutes for making the Rivers Idle and Douglas navigable, were immediately converted into Bubbles; for this being the Year of Bubbles, wherein above one Hundred of all Sorts were set up, encouraged by the Grand National Bubble, the South Sea, if a Man had but a House to build, an Elbow Chair, or a Table to make, he was for raising Money upon his Project, before any thing was done, and where nothing was intended to be done; and even Necessary Houses were a Bubble amongst the rest, though but few of the Proprietors could live upon the Product, when their Money, which should have bought them Provisions, was distributed to the Projectors.

Mines of all Sorts were now the greatest Bubbles; all Persons expected Silver and Gold, Brass and Copper, though none could find it in any Situation, but in the Continuances of the Cheats that set them on foot: Yet all of them succeeded a while, till by the Clause in the Act for securing to the Corporations for Assurance of Merchandize certain Privileges, they were declared to be Cheats and public Nusances; which at once crushed them, and gave the South Sea Company the greatest Blow it had then received, though it was manifestly designed for its Service.

The Traders in Exchange Alley having a greater Advantage in the small Bubbles than in the National One, had employed their Money in those, and neglected to deal in the South Sea Stock: And this occasioned the Edition: current; Page: [64]Clause I have referred to; for the South Sea Managers were resolved to have the whole Game of Bubbles (so exceeding profitable) to themselves only; but the Consequence did not answer their Expectation: With the Bubbles sunk the Stocks, which the politic Managers could never afterwards rise: People began now to mistrust every thing, when the Use of Patents was denied; those who acted in Bubbles, erected on Patents, thought they had the same Right to proceed, as those that had the Sanction of an Act of Parliament: And it being denied, public Credit immediately dwindled, and fell away to nothing; whereupon the general Calamity soon ensued.

Thus much for the Bubbles, as to their Rise and Overthrow; which extended to Scotland and Ireland, as well as to England: And the Kingdom of Ireland is very much obliged to the Septennial Parliament for a Law of a different Kind from what I have taken Notice of. In this Session, a Statute was made for the better securing the Dependency of Ireland upon the Crown of Great Britain; wherein it is enacted, That the House of Lords of Ireland have not, nor of Right ought to have any Jurisdiction to judge of, assirm, or reverse any Judgment, Sentence, or Decree, given, or made in any Court within the said Kingdom; and that all Proceedings before the said House of Lords, on any such Judgment, Sentence, or Decree, shall be null and void to all Intents and Purposes.

I presume the Design of this Law was to aggrandize one House of Lords at the Expence of another; and though I am no Advocate on either Side, I doubt not but the Lords of the Kingdom of Ireland, at the Time of passing this Statute, thought it an Infringement on their Rights and Privileges.

In the sixth Session of the Septennial Parliament the Statute was made for restraining the Directors of the South Sea Company from leaving the Kingdom, for the Space of one Year, that they might be upon the Spot to receive the Doom that was reserved for them, the terrible one I have mentioned, of parting with a quarter Part of their Estates (a great deal of it returned them) as an Atonement for the Crimes they had been Edition: current; Page: [65]guilty of, in cheating a whole Nation, and doing their utmost towards its Destruction: They were now obliged to deliver, on Oath before one of the Barons of the Exchequer, the Inventories of their Real and Personal Estates, such as I have already inserted to their Honour.

The Clause for Allowances to the Directors was now also passed, being included in the Statute for vesting their Estates in certain Trustees, viz. Sir John Eyles, Sir Tho, Crosse, John Rudge, Matthew Lant, Roger Hudson, Edmond Halsey, John Lade, Gabriel Roberts, and Richard Hopkins, Esquires, to the Intent to be sold for certain Uses. We had also an Act passed this Session, for raising a Sum not exceeding five hundred thousand Pounds, by charging Annuities upon the Civil List Revenues, till redeemed by the Crown; which shews, that the Civil List was still in Debt, notwithstanding the extraordinary Provision of the last Session of Parliament.

The further Acts were; for a Land Tax of 3s. in the Pound; for continuing the Duties on Malt, Mum, &c. for punishing Mutiny and Desertion; to state the Debts of the Army; to prohibit the Wear of Callicoes in this Kingdom, out of Respect to the Ladies, it being their favourite Dress; to regulate Journeymen Taylors, who having extraordinary Employment in making the fine Cloaths of the South Sea Directors, were grown very mutinous; an Act to enable the South Sea Company to ingraft Part of their Capital Stock and Fund into the Stock and Fund of the Bank of England; and another Part thereof into the Stock and Fund of the East India Company; a Statute for the Restoration of public Credit; an Act for the King’s most Gracious, General and Free Pardon; and a Statute for Repealing an Act made in the late Reign, obliging Ships to perform Quarentine; and for the better preventing the Plague being brought from foreign Parts into the Kingdom of Great Britain.

The Act for Ingraftment of South Sea Stock into the Stock and Funds of the Bank of England and India Company, has been an Encouragement to the Directors, and others, to endeavour to force an Ingraftment on those Companies without any Act of Parliament, and without the Consent of the Proprietors of Stock. Mr. Edition: current; Page: [66]Hopkins and some others, on a late Motion in the South Sea House, made extraordinary Speeches, to shew how reasonable it was for an Englishman to part with his Estate without his Consent; and menaced the Proprietors to comply with his Proposition, for that otherways some Great Persons, in whose Power it was to do them great Injury, would highly resent it. Though all would not do, for a General Court carried the Question against them, though the Endeavours to obstruct it were very extraordinary and unprecedented.

A certain Courtier very much laboured for this Ingraftment to be made, to lessen the Power of the South Sea Company: He was for bringing the Capital Stock of the three great Companies, as near an Equality as might be, that he might the more easily bring them into all his Schemes, or on their Refusal, ruin them at his Pleasure. This was foreseen; which occasioned the Stand that was made, and disappointed, for a Time, the great Expectations of the Person that promoted it.

The Statute relating to the Restoring of Credit, I have already observed, had a contrary Effect to the Design and Intention of it, for the Reasons I have mentioned: It indeed gave an Addition of Stock to Proprietors, and remitted great Sums due from the South Sea Company to the Government; but at the same time sunk the Price of the Stocks: And what was a little uncommon, to make an Opportunity for enacting this Law, the Septennial Parliament was prorogued for a Week only, to create a new Session, that they may proceed to tie down the subscribing Annuitants after they had voted, That the Subscriptions should remain as they did, unless set aside by due Course of Law; which they could not do without a new Session: So that the Law, by this Act of Parliament, was interrupted in its Course, and the Annuitants forced to accept of Stock which did not amount to above a third Part in Value of their respective Debts and Annuities.

But there is one good Clause in this Statute, relating to Contracts, at this Time very numerous, and impossible, by the Fall of Stock to be complied with: It enacted, “That no Special Bail shall be required in any Action brought upon any Contract made since the 1st of Edition: current; Page: [67]December 1719, and before the 1st of December, 1720, for the Sale or Purchase of any Subscription or Stock of the South Sea Company, or any other Company; and that no Execution shall be awarded upon any Judgment obtained in any Action brought upon such Contract, until the End of the next Session of Parliament.”

This Interruption of the Law, was very favourable to a great many Persons; and, I think, this Clause has been since continued.

In respect to the Act for a General Pardon, it is easily known for whom it was designed: I have hinted at the Use of this Law, in my Notice of the Punishment of the late South Sea Directors, and others their Confederates. It enacts, “That all his Majesty’s Subjects of Great Britain, their Heirs, &c. shall be Acquitted, Pardoned, and Discharged, from all Treasons, Misprisions of Treasons, Felonies, &c. And all Riots, Routs, Offences, Trespasses, Wrongs, Deceits, Misdemeanors, Forfeitures and Penalties, which are not excepted, done before the 24th of June, 1721”.

Now, I don’t know any Persons that had at this Time been guilty of Treason or Felony, to require a Statute of this Kind, unless it were the Directors of the South Sea Company, who were under Prosecution, and Excepted out of the Act; which plainly shews, that this Act was made for no Use at all, or to skreen some Persons not called to Account, from Crimes of another Nature, though equal in Consequence.

As for the Quarentine Act, it being a Statute that has made a very great Noise, more perhaps than any other Law that has been enacted within the Memory of Man, I shall here insert an Abstract of such Parts of the same as are mostly necessary to be communicated to the Public; and I hope the Length of it will not be a Burden to the Reader.

This Statute enacts, “That during the Infection, and in all future Times, when any Country or Place shall be infected with the Plague, all Ships, Persons, Goods and Merchandises, coming in such Ships into any Port in Great Britain or Ireland, from any Place so infected, or from any Place the Inhabitants whereof are known to trade with any Country actually infected, or from Edition: current; Page: [68]any Place from whence his Majesty, with the Advice of the Privy Council, shall judge it probable that the Infection may be brought, shall be obliged to make their Quarentine in such Place, for such Time, and in such Manner, as by Proclamation shall be directed and notified: And till such Ship, Persons, or Goods, shall be discharged from Quarentine, no Person or Goods shall be brought on Shore, or be put on board any other Ship, in any Place within his Majesty’s Dominions, unless by proper Licence: And all such Ships, Persons and Goods, and all Vessels receiving any Goods or Persons out of them, are to be subject to such Orders concerning Quarentine, and the Prevention of Infection, as shall be ordered by Proclamation.

“When any Country shall be infected, and an Order shall be made and notified as aforesaid, concerning Quarentine, as often as any Ship shall attempt to enter into any Port, the principal Officer in such Port, or others authorized to see Quarentine performed, are to go to such Ship, and at convenient Distance demand of the Person having Charge of the same, the Name of the Commander; at what Place the Cargo was taken on board? what Places the Ship landed at? whether such Places were infected? how long the Ship had been in her Passage? how many Persons were on board when the Ship set sail? whether any Persons during the Voyage had been, or shall be then infected? how many died in the Voyage, and of what Distemper? what Ships he or his Company went on board, or had any of their Company come on board his Ship? and to what Place such Ships belonged? and also the true Contents of his Lading? And in case, on the Examination, it appears that any Person on board is infected, then the Officers of any Ships of War, or Forts, or Garisons, and all other Officers, &c. on Notice given to them, are to resist the Entrance of such Ship into any Port, or to oblige such Ship to depart, and to use all necessary Means, by firing of Guns, or any kind of Force and Violence whatsoever: And if such Ship shall come from Places visited with the Plague, or have any Persons or Goods infected on board, and the Master, or other Commander Edition: current; Page: [69]shall not discover it, he shall be guilty of Felony, and suffer accordingly: And if he shall not make a true Discovery in any of the other Particulars, he shall forfeit 200 l.

“If any Master shall quit the Ship, or suffer any other so to do, before Quarentine is performed; or shall not, after due Notice, cause the Ship and Lading to be conveyed into the Place appointed for Quarentine, then every such Ship shall be forfeited, and the Master shall also forfeit the Sum of 200 l. And if any Persons shall quit the ship by going on shore, or on board any other Ship, they may, by Force and Violence, be compelled to return on board; and shall be imprisoned six Months, and likewise be subject to 200 l. Forfeiture.

“If at any time hereafter, any Place in Great Britain or Ireland, &c. shall be infected, and the same shall be made appear to his Majesty in Council, during the Continuance of such Calamity, his Majesty may make such Orders concerning Quarentine, as shall be necessary for the Safety of his Subjects, and notify the same by Proclamation: And all Persons Civil and Military are to render due Obedience to all Orders and Regulations so made and notified.

“His Majesty may order Ships to be provided, or cause Lazarets for entertaining Persons infected, and obliged to perform Quarentine, and Sheds and Tents to be erected, to continue for such Time as his Majesty shall think proper, in convenient Places, to be allowed by Justices of the Peace, in any waste Grounds, &c. And the proper Officers may compel all Persons infected, or obliged to perform Quarentine, and all Goods to be conveyed to some of those Ships, Lazarets, or Tents, according to the Orders made and notified.

“If any Persons infected, or obliged to perform Quarentine, shall refuse to repair, after due Notice, to the Places appointed; or having been placed there, shall attempt to escape, the Watchmen may, by any kind of Violence, compel them to repair, or to return, to such Ship, Lazaret, &c. and such refusing or escaping shall be Felony. And if any Persons, Edition: current; Page: [70]not infected, shall presume to enter any Ship, or Lazaret, whilst any Person infected, or under Quarentine, shall be therein, and shall return, unless by Licence, then the Watchman may, by any kind of Violence, compel them to repair into such Ship or Lazaret, there to continue and perform Quarentine; and such Persons returning shall be guilty of Felony.

“If any Place shall be infected, his Majesty may cause Lines or Trenches to be cast up about such Place, at a convenient Distance, to cut off the Communication between the Place infected, and the rest of the Country; and prohibit all Persons and Goods to be carried over such Lines, unless by Licence: And if any Person within the Lines shall attempt to come out of the same, the Watchmen, &c. may, by any kind of Violence, compel them to return: And Persons coming out of the Lines without Licence, shall be guilty of Felony.

“Any two Justices of the Peace, next to the Place where any Ship shall be performing Quarentine, or wherein any infected Place shall be situate, or Lines made, may order the Inhabitants about the same to keep sufficient Watches by Day and Night, who are not to permit any Persons or Goods to depart out or be removed from such Lines: And if any Inhabitant refuse to keep such Watch, on Conviction thereof he shall forfeit not exceeding 100 l. nor less than 10 l. at the Discretion of the Justices, and shall be committed to Prison for two Months.

“If any Officer of the Customs, or any other Officer, shall be guilty of any wilful Breach of Trust, he shall forfeit his Office, and be incapacitated, and also forfeit 200 l. And if any Officer appointed to see Quarentine performed, or any Watchman, shall knowingly suffer any Person, Ship, or Goods to depart, or to be conveyed out of a Town or Place infected, he shall be guilty of Felony.

“If it shall appear, that any Ship shall come from any Place infected, or be loaden with any Cargo taken on board at any Place infected, or from any Ship infected; or there shall be any Persons or Goods on board actually infected, his Majesty, by Order of Edition: current; Page: [71]Council, may order such Ship, with the Goods, &c. to be burnt, for preventing the Spreading of the Infection.

“All Goods, after Quarentine performed, are to be opened and aired, in such Place, and for such Time, and in such Manner, as shall be directed by his Majesty’s Order: And on Proof thereof, by two credible Witnesses, before the Customer, or others appointed, such Goods shall be forthwith discharged.

“When a Ship has performed Quarentine, on Proof made of it upon Oath by the Master, and two Persons belonging to the Ship, and of two credible Witnesses, that the Ship and Persons have duly performed Quarentine, and that they are free from Infection, then the Customer, &c. with two Justices of the Peace, are to give Certificates thereof, and thereupon such Ship and Persons shall be liable to no further Restraint.

These are the most material Clauses in the Quarentine Act; and some of them are so very extraordinary, that if our Protestant Parliament had not exactly copied after France, it is impossible they could ever have been thought of. In France, the poor miserable People visited with the Plague, were, by Force and Violence, removed from their Habitations (the only Place of Comfort in time of Sickness) to stinking Lazarets, where, by their Removal, and want of Necessaries, they soon saw a Period of their Lives: And thus, it seems, were the People of Great Britain to be served. In France, Lines and Trenches were cast up to confine the Distemper and the People within due Bounds, and to prevent the bringing them Provisions; and in England the same Methods were to be taken. In France, Pest-houses were built, for the Reception of Persons that should be infected; and here we were to have Barracks erected, though perhaps for another Purpose, to wit, to receive an armed Force.

The Barbarity and Inconsistency of these three Clauses, are so very apparent, that no Country, but an arbitrary Government, could possibly have furnished us with Precedents for them: And we may observe, with what Artifice the Statute is penned to make them go down. The Statute enacts, That his Majesty may order Ships, or cause Lazarets to be provided for entertaining Persons infected Edition: current; Page: [72]and obliged to perform Quarentine. Here the Word Ship is put before the Word Lazaret (which is observed throughout the whole Act) to make us understand the Act only related to Quarentine at Sea; which the generality of the People believed, without knowing or considering rightly, the Meaning of the Word Lazaret, and Posthouse at Land.

Then the Words Tents, and Sheds, are inserted just before the ordering the opening and airing of Goods, as if only designed for those Purposes. But when the Populace were alarmed with Reports of Designs to build Barracks in several Parts of the Kingdom, to receive Persons infected with the Plague, and the Plague had made its Approaches nearer to us, they then grew very uneasy and turbulent, and by their perpetual Clamour against the Contrivers of this Law, at length they got the extraordinary Clause repealed.

But it was above a Year after the Act was granted that this was done: And after Petitions had been presented to both Lords and Commons, which in one House were rejected, and, at first, by the other House received with very little Notice, though afterwards it was carried, on the repeated Outcries of the People, when a new Election was near approaching, and on duly considering the excellent Protest made by the Lord Cowper, and others, upon rejecting the Petition of the City of London.

Whether our Parliament passed this Law designedly, or not so, is not material to enquire into: That some of them must design it is certain; for certainly all of them could not be ignorant of what they were doing: And if the generality of our Representatives, by their great Penetration, could not discover the Design of this Law, I think I may say, that the Members of the Septennial Parliament have shewn themselves as remarkable for their Wisdom as their Honesty.

Now I come to the seventh and last Session of this glorious Parliament. When the Parliament was assembled, the first Thing they took into Consideration was the Charges of the Year, and the Debts of the Nation, of which they ordered Estimates to be given in, particularly of the Navy Debt, and Debts due to the Army. They also ordered Accounts to be laid before them of Edition: current; Page: [73]the Customs, and other Revenues, and seemed, for some time, to be pretty warm in calling Persons to Account for Mismanagements.

The Lords went into a Committee to consider of the Causes of contracting so large a Navy Debt, when every Year Provision had been made for the Navy. Great Debates arose on this Head, at several Meetings, but they came to no Resolution. The Lords were for having the Treaties with Spain laid before them; but this was opposed, and on the Question being put, it was carried against it. They also resolved, that an Address should be presented to his Majesty, for an Account how the Spanish Ships of War, taken in the Engagement in the Mediterranean (on our espousing the Cause of the Emperor against Spain) had been disposed of: And the Address being presented by the Lords, the Papers were delivered them, which not being satisfactory, a Motion was made for a Representation to the King, but it passed in the Negative.

By these Negative Proceedings in the Upper House, it was easy to be seen that every thing here went in favour of the Court, or the Court Favourites: And this manifested itself further, when the Lords rejected, by a very great Majority, the Petition of the City against the Quarentine Act. In the Lower House of Parliament, there appeared the same kind of Spirit; for the Commons had very great Debates before they would order in a Bill for the Repeal of this Statute: There were 75 Members against it, when the House was so thin as not to exceed the Number of 190 on this great Occasion. A List of this Number of 75, and also several other Lists of this Nature, would be an acceptable Curiosity to the Public; and there’s no doubt but they will be published.

Upon many Occasions, this Sessions, there were very thin Houses: And tho’ frequent Orders were made for a Call of the House, yet it was never once called. I don’t see to what Purpose our Members of Parliament are elected, if they are not constantly to appear, and sit in the House: And it is undoubtedly, rightly considered, a very great Breach of Trust in them, not to be present when any Thing of Importance is transacting in the Senate.

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But to proceed to the Business of the Parliament: They resolved, That seven thousand Seamen should be allowed for the Service of the Year; and to continue the Number of Forces of the former Year, viz. fourteen thousand three hundred Men; they made a Provision for paying them, and granted to his Majesty one Million of Money to discharge the Debts of the Navy. They granted a Land Tax of 2 s. in the Pound, and no more; continued the Duties on Malt, &c. and made an Act to punish Mutiny and Desertion.

They passed a Law to enable his Majesty to prohibit Commerce with any Kingdom or Country, for the better Prevention of the Plague being brought to us; at which Time, and not before, the Objection was found out to the Quarentine Act, in the Manner I have mentioned: They likewise made a Statute against the clandestine Running of customed Goods, and also to prevent the Plague; which has a Clause in it very disadvantageous to our Merchants. A Bill was now passed for the further Encouragement of the Importation of naval Stores; for taking off Duties on Merchandize, and annulling Duties on Soap and Candles; and for the better suppressing of Pyrates at Sea, which were now very numerous, and grown very formidable.

Amongst other Statutes, a Law was made to impower the South Sea Company to sell so much of their Stock as would enable them to pay their Debts; though the Parliament refused to comply with the Petition of the South Sea Subscribers, praying to be relieved by a Distribution of the two Millions (in the Hands of the Company) which they thought they had reason to expect.

The Septennial Parliament also, in this Year, passed an Act for altering the Form of the Quakers Affirmation, which, I am informed, exempts them from the Use of the Word God in their solemn Declarations: And this was carried in both Houses, notwithstanding the Clergy of the City of London petitioned against it, as impious, and contrary to Religion; but our Members wanted the Assistance of these People in their Elections, and thought it no great Difficulty to give them a Licence to have nothing Edition: current; Page: [75]to do with that great and awful Power they had themselves so little Concern with.

Next to this, in Complaisance to the City, and to do what they could towards the Ruin of it, a Bill was brought into the House for building a Bridge over the Thames at Westminster: It seems the Archbishop’s Horses had received great Colds in passing the Lambeth Ferry, and to prevent this Mischief, thousands of People were to be ruined at the other End of the Town; but on hearing the Council for the City, and on the very great Clamour made against it, this Bill was dropped.

About this Time also a Bill was ordered, to prohibit the Practice of building Ships for Foreigners; it is observable that this was done after a Fleet of Ships of 60 and 70 Guns each had been built for France, under the Notion of Missisippi Merchantmen, though every one knew, by the Manner of building them, that they were otherways designed, and that they might one Day meet us to dispute the Empire of the Sea: But this, as it had all along been connived at, so now it was only considered in the House of Lords, without ever being examined into by the House of Commons, to the best of my Remembrance.

The Bill for better securing the Freedom of Elections, was now brought into the House of Commons, on a Motion made by Mr. Archibald Hutcheson; and it pretty easily passed this House, though it was generally apprehended, that it was owing to a good Understanding with the House of Lords, and to an Assurance that there it would be rejected, as it was on its second Reading: The Lords adjudged it incompatible with their Privileges, and therefore threw it out; but to the Honour of some of our Peers be it remembered, the rejecting this Law was opposed: for Protests were entered against it, by many noble Lords, though Debates arising upon them, the Protests that were made were ordered to be expunged.

As this Bill, which proposed the securing to us, what is most valuable to a free People, the Freedom of our Elections, has many excellent Clauses in it, tending to the Suppression of Bribery, from whence is our greatest Danger, I shall insert it at large, whereby the Reader may the better judge of its Use, if it had passed.

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The Copy of a Bill for better securing the Freedom of Elections of Members to serve for the Commons in Parliament.

FOR better securing the Freedom of Elections of Members to serve for the Commons in Parliament, and further regulating such Elections, and for more effectual preventing corrupt and irregular Practices and Proceedings, in electing and returning such Members; be it enacted by the King’s most excellent Majesty, and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same, that the Messenger attending the Great Seal, or other Officer, or Person who shall be appointed, employed, or intrusted by the Lord Chancellor, Lord Keeper, or Lords Commissioners of the Great Seal, for the time being, to carry, send, or deliver, any Writ or Writs, to be issued after the 25th of March 1722, for the Election of any Member or Members to serve in Parliament for any County, City, Borough, Town, or Place, within England, Wales, or the Town of Berwick upon Tweed, shall deliver, or cause such Writ or Writs to be delivered to the Sheriff, or other proper Officer, to whom the Execution thereof doth belong, and to no other Person whatsoever, within the respective Times following (that is to say) to such Sheriff, or Officer, whose then Place of Abode shall be within thirty Miles of the City of Westminster, within one Day next after the Delivery of such Writ or Writs to such Messenger, Officer, or Person intrusted as aforesaid; and to such Sheriff, or other Officer, whose then Place of Abode shall be above thirty Miles distant from Westminster, and within sixty Miles thereof, within two Days next after the Delivery as aforesaid; and all such Writs shall be so delivered in like Proportion of Time, for any greater Distance than sixty Miles from Westminster: And that every Messenger, or Person having or carrying any such Writ or Writs, shall not delay the same, but shall be obliged to travel immediately therewith, with all Expedition, after the Rate of thirty Miles Edition: current; Page: [77]every Day at the least, after the Receipt thereof, until the Delivery of the same to the Sheriff, or other proper Officer aforesaid; and any Person wilfully offending in the Premises, shall, for every such Offence, forfeit the Sum of 100 l. of lawful Money of Great Britain, to be recovered and applied in the manner hereafter mentioned.

And be it further enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, that the Messenger, or Person carrying such Writ or Writs, shall upon the Delivery thereof to the Sheriff, or proper Officer aforesaid, take a Receipt or Receipts for the same, which Receipt or Receipts the Sheriff, or proper Officer, is hereby required to give gratis, expressing the particular Days of the Receipt of such Writ or Writs, and the same Receipts shall be delivered by such Messenger, into the Office of the Clerk of the Crown, there to be filed and kept.

And be it further enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, that all Bonds, Contracts, or Agreements, given or made to any Sheriff, or other Returning Officer, to indemnify, or save harmless such Sheriff ot Returning Officer, for making a Return of any Member to serve in Parliament, or to pay to such Sheriff or Returning Officer, any Sum or Sums of Money, by Way of Gratuity or Reward, for making such a Return, or otherwise in respect thereof, are hereby declared to be null and void.

And be it further enacted, That every Person giving or making, and every Sheriff or Returning Officer accepting or taking such Bond or Agreement, shall respectively, for every such Offence, forfeit the Sum of one thousand Pounds, to be recovered and applied in manner herein after mentioned, and shall, from thenceforth, be incapable of holding or executing any Office or Employment of Profit or Trust under the Crown, or of being elected to serve in the House of Commons for any County or Place whatsoever.

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That upon every future Election of any Member or Members to serve for the Commons in Parliament, every Elector, or Person having, or claiming to have, a Right to vote, or to be polled, at such Election, shall, before Edition: current; Page: [78]he is admitted to poll at the same Election (if required by any of the Candidates or Electors present) take the following Oath (or being one of the People called Quakers, shall make the solemn Affirmation appointed for Quakers) that is to say,

I, A. B. do swear (or affirm) that I have not received, or had, by myself or any other Person whatsoever, directly, or indirectly, any Sum or Sums of Money, Office, Place, Employment, Gift, or Reward, or any Promise or Security for any Money, Office, Employment, Gift, or Reward whatsoever, in order to give my Vote at this Election.

Which Oath, or Affirmation, the Officer, or Officers presiding or taking the Poll at such Election is, and are hereby impowered and required (upon such Request) to administer gratis, upon Pain to forfeit for every Neglect, or Refusal so to do, the Sum of forty Pounds of lawful Money of Great Britain.

And be it further enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That if any Person taking the Oath or Affirmation herein before mentioned, shall be guilty of wilful and corrupt Perjury, or of false affirming, and be thereof convicted, he and they, for every such Offence, shall incur and suffer the Pains and Penalties which are by Law enacted or inflicted in Cases of wilful and corrupt Perjury; and from and after such Conviction, shall be incapable of Voting in any Election of any Member or Members to serve for the Commons in Parliament.

And be it further enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That if, after the 25th Day of March, 1722, any Person or Persons, who, by Virtue of his or their Office or Employment, Offices or Employments, shall have the Power of issuing, or directing the Issuing, of any public Money or Moneys belonging to the Crown, shall order, give, issue, or promise to be concerted, in the ordering, giving, issuing, or promising any Sum or Sums of Money belonging to the Crown or the Public, to any Person or Persons, in order to influence the Election or Return of any Member or Members, to serve for the Commons in Parliament, or the Vote or Votes of any Edition: current; Page: [79]Elector or Electors in such Election, every such Officer, knowing the same to be issued for such corrupt Purposes, being thereof lawfully convicted, shall forfeit the Sum of 1000 l. of lawful Money of Great Britain, to be recovered and applied as herein after is directed, and shall be, ever after such Conviction, incapable of having, holding, enjoying, or executing any Office, Employment, or Place of Trust or Profit under the Crown, or of having or receiving any Benefit or Profit arising by, or from any such Office, Place, or Employment, or of having any Allowance or Pension from the Crown whatsoever; and shall be also disabled to sit or vote as a Member of the House of Commons.

And be it further enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That from and after the 25th of March 1722, every Person who shall be elected a Member of the House of Commons, for that Part of Great Britain called England, the Dominion of Wales, and Town of Berwick upon Tweed, or returned as such (except the eldest Sons of Peers, or of Persons qualified to serve as Knights of Shires, and the Members to serve for the two Universities in that Part of Great Britain called England,) shall be incapable to vote or sit in the said House during any Debate there, after their Speaker is chosen, until such Member shall have given into the Clerk of the House of Commons, a Paper signed by himself, containing a Recital or Particular of the Lands, Tenements, and Hereditaments, whereby he makes out his Qualification required by an Act passed in the 9th Year of the Reign of her late Majesty Queen Anne, (intitled, An Act for securing the Freedom of Parliaments, by the further qualifying the Members to sit in the House of Commons) and of such Lands, Tenements, and Hereditaments, whereof the Party hath not been in Possession, and in actual Perception of the Profits for one Year, to his own Use, before the Election: He shall also insert in the same Paper from what Person, and by what Conveyance or Act in Law, he claims and derives the same; and also the Consideration, if any paid, and the Names and Places of Abode of the Witnesses to such Conveyances and Payment, and until he shall have also taken the following Oath, viz. I A. B. do swear, that I truly and bona fide, have an Estate in Edition: current; Page: [80]Law or Equity, to or for my own Use or Benefit, of, or in Lands, Tenements, or Hereditaments (over and above what will satisfy and clear all Incumbrances that may affect the same) of the annual Value of 600 l. above Reprizes, which do qualify me to be elected and returned to serve as a Member for the County of ———, according to the Tenor and true Meaning of an Act passed in the 9th Year of her late Majesty Queen Anne, (intitled, An Act for securing the Freedom of Parliaments, by the further qualifying the Members to fit in the House of Commons) and that my said Lands, Tenements, or Hereditaments are lying, and being within the Parishes, Townships, and Places mentioned in the Particular by me given in to the Clerk of the House of Commons: And in case such Person is returned to serve for any City, Borough, or Cinque-Port, then the said Oath shall relate duly to the Value of 300 l. per annum, and be taken to the same Effect (mutatis mutandis) as is hereby prescribed for the Oath of a Person to serve as a Member of such County as aforesaid: Which Oath shall be solemnly and publickly made between the Hours of nine in the Morning, and four in the Afternoon, by every such Member of the House of Commons, at the Table, in the Middle of the said House, and while a full House of Commons is there duly sitting, with their Speaker in his Chair.

And whereas, contrary to the true Meaning of the Laws now in being, for regulating the Electors of Parliament, to serve in Parliament for the Shires and Stewartries of that Part of Great Britain called Scotland, some of the Freeholders and Electors have sometimes presumed to separate themselves from the general Meeting of the Freeholders and Electors, and have, to make disputed Elections, elected separately a Member to serve in Parliament, and certified such Election to the Sheriff, or other Returning Officer; which Practices are of dangerous Consequence: For the preventing the like for the future, Be it declared and enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That all such Separations and Certifications are, and shall be taken and deemed to be illegal, and utterly null and void, and that no Preses or Clerk, or other Person whatsoever, shall presume to return any Person to the Sheriff or Returning Officer (other than, and except Edition: current; Page: [81]the Preses and Clerks chosen in the Place where the Sheriffs Court, or Steward’s Court, is usually held, by the Majority of the Freeholders and Electors, inrolled, and upon Pain to forfeit as in the Case of a false Return).

And be it further enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That any Sheriff, or other Returning Officer, who shall take upon him to make a Return of any other Person but who is certified to him by the Clerk and Preses of the said Meeting, to have been elected by the Majority of the Freeholders inrolled, shall be liable to forfeit and pay 1000 l. Sterling, over and above the Penalties by Law, intitled upon Returning Officers making false Returns. And be it further enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That all pecuniary Penalties inflicted by this Act, shall be to the Informer or Prosecutor, who shall prosecute the Offender or Offenders, to Conviction, with full Costs, where such Penalties shall not exceed the Sum of 100 l. And of all other Penalties hereby inflicted, two Thirds shall be to such Informer or Prosecutor, with full Costs, and the other Third to the Poor of the Parish, or Place where the Offence shall be committed; and the said Penalties shall be recovered by Action of Debt, Bill, Plaint, or Information, in any of his Majesty’s Courts of Record at Westminster, or before the Lords of the Session in Scotland respectively. And in none of the Cases aforesaid, shall any Essoign, Privilege of Parliament, or other Privilege, Protection, or Wager of Law, be granted or allowed, nor any more than one Imparlance. Provided always, that every Information, Action, or Prosecution, grounded upon this Act, shall be commenced within the Space of one Year, next after the Cause of Action shall arise, or the Offence be committed, and not afterwards.

The first Part of this Bill was drawn up upon occasion of a pretended Election for the Borough of Minehead (on a Vacancy there) in favour of Mr. Richard Lane, who took the Writ from the Person ordered to convey it to the Returning Officer, and kept it in his Pocket till the very Day of Election, and yet he escaped unpunished, though the Messenger directed to carry the Writ was taken into Custody of the Serjeant at Arms: The other Edition: current; Page: [82]Parts of this Bill are home against Bribery, false Returns, and the Influence of the Exchequer, and to the utmost strict as to the Estates and Qualifications of Members of Parliament. Upon the whole, this Bill was gloriously designed; and I hope to see the Time (though it may not be very soon) when it will be enacted into a Law.

Thus I have gone through my Narrative, or History of the Septennial Parliament, the first of its Kind in Great Britain; whereby I have demonstrated how truly they have distinguished themselves in the making many excellent Laws, and rejecting of others; in their strict Attachment to our ancient Constitution, and not altering the same above once in a Session; in guarding the Rights, Liberties, and Properties of the Subject, like true Watchmen, upon all Emergencies; in relieving those Persons for whom the public Faith was engaged, and the punishing of Cheats and National Robbers; in easing our Pockets of the Burden of our Coin, and designing us Barracks for our future Residence; and lastly, in all these their Wisdom and Penetration, as well as Justice and Equity; on all which Accounts, I think, I may say, they have vastly exceeded all that ever went before them.

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An Essay on the Practice of Stock-jobbing, and some Remarks on the right Use, and regular Improvement of Money. In a Letter to a Gentleman, and a Proprietor of South-Sea Stock.
Anno 1724.

Thomas Gordon
Gordon, Thomas
SIR,

SINCE you was pleased to communicate your Desire to know my Sentiments and Opinion concerning the modern Practice of Stock-jobbing; in Compliance with your Request, I send you my impartial Thoughts in this Letter; which comes to acquaint you, that the irregular Method of acquiring Riches by Stock-jobbing, was always inconsistent with my deliberate Judgment, as being contrary to the natural and clear Dictates of Reason, as well as the plain Admonition of Conscience, directing and instructing us to govern our Words and Actions, according to the strict Laws, and sacred Rules of Truth, Justice, and Equity.

By the Practice of Stock-jobbing, I think it necessary to inform you, that I apprehend and mean those guileful Arts, and unjust Attempts, which are used to raise and sink the public Stocks of this Nation with no other View, or better Design, than to gratify the immoderate and insatiable Desires of some covetous and ambitious Persons, at the Expence of lessening the Substance, and procuring the irreparable Loss and Calamity of others.

These irregular and deceitful Methods of growing rich, and obtaining a plentiful Estate with great Dispatch and Speed, have been (sometimes) maintained and carried on, partly by spreading false Reports concerning the public Affairs, either Foreign or Domestic, in such a manner, as may influence the Buyers and Sellers Edition: current; Page: [84]of Stock; and partly by forming clandestine Clubs, and secret Cabals, to invent divers Schemes, and various Projects, promoting the unequal Advantage and Interest of separate Parties, and exciting Discord and Sedition.

But more especially these extraordinary Means, and effectual Measures of attaining and increasing Wealth, have been further advanced, and in a great Measure, supported by a peculiar Custom of giving Money for the Refusal of Stock, and obliging one Person to transfer and deliver it to another at such a distant Time, and particular Price, as is agreed on between the several Parties concerned, who generally make it a verbal Contract. By Advantage whereof, it happens at certain Times, that a large Quantity of Stock is locked up, and kept from being bought or sold for a considerable while, and the Remainder being reduced to a lesser Bulk, more easily is raised to an immoderate Height, by the leading Men, and chief Managers of their Design, who always embrace the sudden Opportunity of selling large Parcels of their own Stock, in such a favourable and lucky Season; whilst that which continues unsold, soon after sinking faster than the former rose, by this crafty Device, is brought to a much lower Price, and smaller Value; which often occasions an irretrievable Damage in the Estates and Fortunes of the other Proprietors.

Some Persons, who endeavour to disguise and colour bad Actions with quaint Words, and specious Phrases, call this artful Management by the French Terms of Finesse and Chicanery, which really is no better, nor worse, than gainful Fraud, and profitable Knavery.

By which Means, and by the Invention of such subtle Projects, and cunning Contrivances, a great Number of honest and well-meaning People, are not only liable to be deprived of Part of their lawful Property, and are exposed to the constant Hazard of many bitter Disappointments, and grievous Misfortunes; but the English Nation in general, perhaps, at some Time or other, will be in Danger of having its Strength impaired, and Riches exhausted; in as much as the extraordinary Profit, and excessive Gain which redounds to the Stockjobbers Interest, will always encourage and invite Strangers Edition: current; Page: [85]and Foreigners to come hither, in hopes of pursuing the same delightful Game, and making the same Advantage, as others have done of the Rise of Stock; which being exchanged for current Money, by several Ways may be transmitted, and conveyed from this Nation, to other remote Countries.

I do not pretend positively to assert, or foretel, that the common Practice, and fashionable Custom of Stock-jobbing, will certainly be attended with any such terrible Calamity; but I am fully persuaded by impartial Reason, and convinced by Experience, that those many artful Means, and particular Measures which have been concerted, and usually are employed to raise Stock to an excessive Price above its due and intrinsic Value; and chiefly the forementioned Practice of giving Money for the Refusal of Stock, and making fictitious Contracts and Bargains, does naturally tend to produce great Disquietude, anxious Trouble and Sorrow in the Minds of private Persons; and in like manner does contribute to sow the Seeds of public Contention, wild Disorder and Confusion; and seems to presage (if not by proper Authority prevented) further Mischief, and other future Disasters.

As the general Happiness and Welfare of any particular Kingdom or Nation, does very much consist and depend on the common Industry and Frugality of its numerous People and Inhabitants, the regular Improvement of Trade, the free Circulation of Money, and its just Application to all the useful Ends and Exigencies of Life; so nothing contributes more to impoverish a Nation, than to encourage and countenance crafty and ill-designing Persons to invent unrighteous and self interested Schemes (under the specious Pretence of doing Good) and give an ill Example of getting Riches by dishonourable and injurious Ways, by restraining or suppressing the current Coin, by an unequal and lavish Distribution of it to some, and by prohibiting the Use of it to others, and by hindering the necessary Growth and Increase of Trade and Commerce.

If we truly reflect on the unhappy Circumstances of those who have lately formed a black and execrable Conspiracy against a just and merciful Prince, and well-regulated Edition: current; Page: [86]Government, it appears very probable, that several of those Gentlemen, and others, concerned in that Conspiracy, have been made the wretched Tools of mercenary Stock-jobbers.

Such Persons who delight to fish in troubled Waters, never fail to watch and improve every convenient Opportunity of embroiling the peaceable State of public Affairs, whensoever it serves their private Interest, or gratifies their covetous Desires; and forasmuch as any sudden or surprizing Tumult raised among the Populace, gives them a greater Power to depreciate the Credit of the Nation, and sink its various Stocks, when it promotes their ambitious Designs, or turns to their personal Advantage.

It is a melancholy Consideration, and cannot but excite painful Impressions of sincere Grief, and lively Sorrow in every generous and compassionate Person, that surveys the ruinous Effects, and pernicious Consequences of Stock-jobbing.

How many* People of all Ranks and Conditions, have suffered the Loss of a considerable Part of their rightful Property, and necessary Means of their Subsistence, and have Reason to date their Affliction from that very Time in which they consented to submit their various Estates and Fortunes to the adventurous and unskilful Management of unjust Directors, and ambitious Stock-jobbers.

If we consult the Wisdom of former Ages, and enquire into the ancient Customs and Usage of other Nations, justly celebrated for their prudent and excellent Conduct, in governing the People committed to the supreme Magistrate’s Charge, we shall find by searching their respective Records, that the most eminent Legislators have framed several good and righteous Laws, to punish all criminal Disorders of this Nature.

The ancient Romans had no less than Five Laws to reform the common and excessive Abuses of Money, and many others were made and enacted by them, to regulate extravagant Expences.

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The Jews inhabiting a fertile and plentiful Country, and being amply furnished with the distinguished Blessings of Nature and Providence, were expresly commanded by God, not to receive any Profit or Advantage from Usury amongst their Native Countrymen.

Although this Precept does not immediately concern us, who dwell in a different Climate, and being a trading People, are governed by different Laws; nevertheless, it ought to instruct us, that true Riches does not consist in collecting useless Hoards of Pelf, and perverting the needful Aids and Service of Money, to promote the base and little Designs of covetous and worldly-minded Persons; but ought rather to be employed in Acts of Piety and Charity, in setting the industrious Poor to work, in improving and increasing the natural Products of the Earth, in cultivating useful Arts and Sciences, and advancing solid Learning, and universal Knowledge to the utmost Perfection.

Amongst the many excellent Laws and Statutes which our English Legislature has formed for the Benefit of Mankind, and good of Posterity, such of them as heretofore have been enacted by our Ancestors, to rectify the irregular Abuse of Money, and reform the vicious Excess and Expence thereof (excepting those Laws which relate to Gaming and Usury) are either disused, as exceeding old, and out of Date, or being temporary, and limited to a particular Time, are now expired.

As nothing is more evident than that Money is an unprofitable Drug, and carries little or no intrinsic Value, unless it is circulated in Trade, and exchanged for Things more valuable; whereas Land and live Stock increase by keeping, and Manufactures are useful whilst kept. It would be a noble Design, and richly deserving the due Applauses of all honest and upright Men, if some proper and expedient Method could be invented, to turn our current Money into its right Channel, by augmenting foreign and domestic Trade, and especially by promoting the necessary and laborious Arts of Tillage and Husbandry; a competent Portion whereof employed this way, would be found more profitable and conducive Edition: current; Page: [88]to the real Welfare and Advantage of Mankind, than the Wealth of both the Indies, should it be locked up, and lie unimproved in covetous and uncharitable Persons Hands.

According to the Computation of an ingenious* Author, it appears a manifest Truth, that the yearly Revenue arising from the Labour of our English People, amounts to near eight or nine Times as much as the annual Rent of all the plowed Lands throughout the Kingdom.

And supposing there are ten Millions of Acres of waste Land, if Five Thousand Poor that want Employment, were set to work in cultivating the sixth Part of the foresaid waste Lands, would make the whole yearly Product to the Kingdom worth above two Millions Sterling; which annual Profit computed at twenty Years Purchase, it adds more than forty Millions Sterling to the general Stock and Value of the Nation; and upon the whole Tract and Extent of waste Land throughout the Kingdom, we might keep two Millions and a half of People more than we have, and by this Means add an immense Treasure to the Value thereof.

From whence it may plainly be inferred, and clearly seen, that next to the Favour of God, upon the Increase of regular labouring People, does very much depend the greatest Wealth, Strength and Honour of the Nation.

The Kingdom and Empire of China, is ten times as big as Great Britain, and yet there is no waste Land in that spacious Country, and (as it is generally said) they are the richest People in the World; and though they have twenty times more Inhabitants than we, yet the Poor there are well and decently clad, and are all employed; they providing suitable Work even for the Lame, Blind and Dumb.

Our Riches consist very little in our Money, in Comparison of the other Parts of our Estates; for, what is fourteen Millions of Money in this Kingdom, to three hundred Millions which the Nation may be valued at; or the Money every private Man is Master of, in Comparison Edition: current; Page: [89]of the Value of all the rest of his Estate in Land, Houses, or Goods.

I remember the late celebrated Archbishop of Cambray, in some Part of his Book (called The Adventures of Telemachus) compares a rich and populous City, abounding with a great Number of useless Artisans, and a barren uncultivated Country around it, to a Person that has a Head of an extraordinary Bulk, and prodigious Size, and all his other Parts extremely consumed, and almost wasted to a Skeleton.

Wherefore no Person has Reason to overvalue himself on account of his imaginary Wealth, consisting in Heaps of hoarded Money, numerous Stocks, or costly Furniture; since all these are but the Carcase of Riches, without the Labour of the People, and so long as Covetousness eats out the Life and Soul of them.

As it is the undoubted Right and Privilege of every Subject of Great Britain, to seek and implore a Redress of Grievances, from the supreme and illustrious Assembly of the Nation; with due Submission it is earnestly desired by many sincere and public-spirited People, that some peculiar and effectual Means would be used to prevent and suppress the Mischief of fraudulent Stock-jobbing; either by declaring all fictitious Contracts hereafter illegal and void, which shall not be immediately complied with, and punctually fulfilled; and by inflicting a proper Punishment on all Persons assuming a false Power, and pretending to sell and buy Stock for themselves, or others, who have neither Money to purchase, nor Stock to deliver; or by such other Ways and Means as shall seem most adviseable and agreeable to the sage Council and consummate Wisdom of the Parliament.

At the same time it is much to be wished, and further desired, that some additional new Laws, by the supreme Legislature, would be made and established, as well for the Advantage and Benefit of Trade, as for the Improvement of Manufactures, for the Enlargement of Hospitals and Workhouses, for the Relief and Support of the miserable Poor residing and continuing in Gaols and Prisons (as being reduced to extreme Distress, and treated with greater Rigour and Severity in this Nation than other Countries.) But more particularly for employing Edition: current; Page: [90]the industrious Poor in tilling and improving some Part of those waste Lands within this spacious Kingdom, which hitherto have lain neglected, and never been cultivated.

By which Means, and by the Favour and Protection of divine Providence, it is exceeding probable, that the public national Credit, which has lately been diminished by the unhappy Schemes, and unsuccessful Projects of Stock-jobbers, at length would be restored to its former Lustre, and ancient Dignity; our Trade, and various Stores increase, and solid Wealth and Plenty, lasting Prosperity and Happiness, be transmitted to future Ages, and succeeding Generations.

I am, SIR,
Your most obedient,
And faithful Servant, &c.
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An authentic Narrative of the late Proceedings and cruel Execution at Thorn; with two Letters written upon that Occasion by Britannicus, in the London Journal. To which is prefixed, An Account of the Rights and Privileges of the City of Thorn.
Anno 1725.

The INTRODUCTION.

TO give a particular Account of Prussia, and the Privileges of its Cities, I must begin from the first Institution of those Knights who conquered it. This happened about the Year 1100, or very little after; but so inconsiderable was the Foundation, that no Notice was taken of them till the Year 1190 or 91, when an Expedition to the Holy Land was undertaken by Richard I. of England, and Philip of France; but these Actions are foreign to my present Purpose. I shall just observe, that these Knights were called Fratres Hospitii Hierosolymitani, for their great Hospitality; Mariani, for their Devotion to the Virgin Mary; Teutonici, from their Nation, being all Germans; Equites Cruciferi, from their Arms; and are still known by the Name of the Teutonic Order.

About the Year 1203, another Order of Knights, called Ensiferi, appeared in the North; and in 35 Years, the whole Time of their Duration, they took from the Danes, Revel, Estonia, and all that belonged to them in Livonia. But finding the Enemy too strong for them, and the second Great Master being dead, they proposed calling in to their Assistance the powerful Teutonic Order, which was upon the Point of being Edition: current; Page: [92]quite driven out of Palestine, as not having sufficient Forces to withstand the Saracens. These readily embraced the Offer, and in the Year 1238, they were united in the Presence of the Pope, retaining the Name of the Teutonic Order.

Prussia was at this Time inhabited by Heathens, who were very troublesome to Conradus, Duke of Masovia, who called the Teutonics to his Assistance; and they readily engaged in a War against the Pagans: But notwithstanding all their Bravery, and several Crusadoes that were raised in their Favour, they were 53 Years before they conquered all Prussia, and extirpated the Natives; but at length they effected it, and all that Tract of Land became subject to the great Master of that Order.

But in Process of Time, these Knights, corrupted by Wealth and Power, grew very degenerate, and exercised such Tyranny over the People, that Prussia was ripe for a Revolt; and Uladislaus Jagello, the brave King of Poland, having in a pitched Battle, overthrown the Knights, the most adjacent Parts of the Kingdom shook off the Yoke they groaned under, and put themselves under that Monarch’s Protection; and all Prussia had done the same, had not the Pope interposed between them; and by his Mediation it was agreed, that seventy Towns and Castles, which were specified, should be delivered to the King of Poland, and the remaining Part of Prussia should be held by the Teutonic Order, as a Fief of the Kingdom of Poland. In which State it continued till 1657, when all that Tract called Ducal Prussia, was, with Sovereign Power, transferred to the illustrious House of Brandenburgh, and that Part called Royal Prussia was to remain to the Crown of Poland; which, however, was not at that Time wholly under its Subjection, some Part of it, particularly Thorn, being then taken from them by Sweden.

The Knights of this Order, or at least the Remains of them who were under a Heer-Meister, were obliged to retire to Livonia, where they again carried on several Wars. After the Reformation of Martin Luther, they accepted the Confession of Augsburg, as did the greatest Part of Prussia; and the full and free Exercise Edition: current; Page: [93]of their Religion was granted them, provided they would tolerate the Roman Catholics amongst them; but the Knights being at last worsted by their Neighbours, were obliged to seek the Protection of the neighbouring Potentates. The Town of Revel, with Part of Estonia, made Peace with Sweden, and paid Homage to Ericus, whilst the Heer-Meister and the Marquis of Brandenburg did the same to the King of Poland, for themselves and all those Places which had formerly belonged to them, and which, as fast as they could be recovered from the Enemies, should also appertain to the Crown of Poland, and Great Dutchy of Lithuania; but upon Condition, that the King and his Successors should maintain them in the Confession of Augsburg, and not suffer any Innovations to be made therein; but should confirm to all the Provinces their Privileges, Laws and Liberties in Temporal and Spiritual Things, &c. This Pacta Subjectionis being concluded, was sworn to on both Sides, at a Dyet held at Wilna, the 28th of November, in the Year 1561, and is confirmed by every King of Poland in the Oath he takes at his Election, when the Maintenance of the established Religion in the several Parts of his Dominions, is solemnly promised.

In the War between Charles Gustavus of Sweden, and John Casimir, King of Poland, some Part of Polish Prussia was conquered; amongst others, the Swedes took Thorn in the Year 1655; but the King dying, and his Successor being but five Years old, the Treaty which had been begun in his Life-time was renewed, and the Monastery of Oliva pitched upon for the Place, where it was at length concluded, and signed the 3d of May, 1660, between the Poles and Swedes as Principals, and the Emperor and Elector of Brandenburgh as Allies, each Party becoming Guarantee for the whole Treaty. The King of France too appeared as Mediator and Guarantee; but the Emperor refusing to accept him as such, he was not named in the Treaty exchanged with his Imperial Majesty. It was at the same time stipulated, that at the Exchange of the Ratifications, each treating Party should have the Liberty of naming other Guarantees, by which means the Elector of Hanover also became one.

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By this Treaty, Thorn and the other conquered Places were restored to Poland, with this Covenant*, “That the Towns of Polish Prussia, which, during this War, have been in the Emperor and the King of Sweden’s Power, shall likewise preserve all their Rights, Liberties and Privileges, in Matters Ecclesiastical and Civil, which they had enjoyed before this War (in preserving the free Exercise of the Catholic and Protestant Religion, as they had before the War) and his Polish Majesty shall have, for the future, the same Goodness he formerly had for them, and defend with the same Care the Territories of those Towns, their Magistrates, Communities, Citizens, Inhabitants, and Subjects. They shall likewise have Power given them to repair and rebuild the public and private Edifices ruined by the War, &c.

The City of Thorn is governed by a President, a Vice-President, a Burgrave, a Vice-Burgrave, and the City Council, who, according to their Charter, ought all of them to be Lutherans: They dispose of the Command of the Militia, and the Officers too should be Lutherans; but they are to tolerate the Roman Catholics amongst them. There has, since the Reformation, been a very fine College there, where the Lutheran Youth of Poland in general, used to be educated, the best Churches of the Place were theirs, even since the Peace of Oliva, that is, within these 65 Years: But they have been, by Degrees, very much encroached upon by the Roman Catholics, especially by the Jesuits, who having got a College there also, seduce as many of the Lutheran Youth as they can: Nor do they care by what Means they compass their Ends; for if they can but once excite a Quarrel, they are sure to get by it; for though the Mob should do no Mischief, they’ll take Care to do enough, and lay it upon them.

The Poles are very great Bigots; and having now intirely subjected these Towns, which at first only put themselves under the Protection of the King, they use them in a very arbitrary Manner; and if a religious Difference arises, they have generally no Regard to Justice Edition: current; Page: [95]or Treaties, but sacrifice all that dare oppose the Catholics. By these Means Thorn has suffered more than once; and the Jesuits, who are never accused of being over conscientious, know how to make the best Use of this Spirit of Bigotry, and to acquire new Possessions, and new Riches, which they have no Title to. An Example of which was seen in this last Commotion; for though it was evidently known, that the College of the Jesuits, with all their Furniture, &c. was not worth above 30,000 Florins at most, yet they offered to swear the Damage they had sustained at 30,600. The Commissioners, after having examined into the Mischief done, allowed them 22,000, which was about double of what they really suffered, whether from the Mob or themselves, besides which, the Vice-President’s House and Gardens, adjoining to the College, was given to them.

In the other Differences that have happened between the Jesuits and the unhappy Lutherans, the latter, tho’ always the least guilty, have always been punished, and the former rewarded; but this was never done in so flagrant a Manner before: Till now they contented themselves with fining them, or taking a Church at a Time; but by this last Judgment against the Protestants, they have deprived them of their Rights, Estates, Religion, and Lives.

That what I here suggest has real Foundation, and that the Jesuits themselves were the original Contrivers and Fomenters of this Tumult, with this View, appears clearly from the Letters of the Kings of Denmark and Prussia; and that the Roman Clergy have been at all Times capable of such a Conduct, is also undeniably evident, from a Letter written by Sir Henry Neville, Ambassador in France, to Secretary Cecill.

“There happened upon Corpus Christi Day last at Limoges, a Matter which doth easily discover the Passion and Malice yet remaining in the Popish Side here against the Protestants. Certain Priests themselves went into the Church in the Night, and broke down some Images, and (as they say) cast the Sacrament about the Church. In the Morning the People assembling, a great Exclamation was made by the Priests of this Outrage, and some principal Men of the Religion Edition: current; Page: [96]in that Town, charged by Name to be the Doers of it. The People by and by grew in Fury, and would have proceeded to the present Execution of them, taking Arms, as I am informed, for that Purpose, and the other Side arming themselves likewise for their own Defence. Monsieur de Salignac, Governor of the Town, arriving and examining the Matter, found that one of the Religion was charged by Name to have been an Actor in it, who had been in his Company all that Night: Whereupon, suspecting the Matter, he caused some of the principal Accusers to be severely examined, and namely, one offered to depose that he had seen this Man there, whom Monsieur de Salignac knew to be absent; and threatening him with the Torture, drew the Confession from him of the whole Practice, and that they had done it to the Intent to have moved the People to a Sedition, and to have cut the Throats of them of the Religion: Hereupon some of them were apprehended, and some fled. What Justice will be done hereupon is much expected. This Matter will be disguised, I am sure, to your Honour, by the French Ambassador; but this is the Truth of it, as I received it from Monsieur de Bellievre, of whose Sincerity I find more Cause daily to believe than in Monsieur de Villeroy’s; who, when I was with him at Constans, denied that there was any such Matter at all, and since hath sought to disguise it to me as much as he could, suppressing all that toucheth the Priests.” Winwood’s Coll. Vol. I. p. 55. Ann. 1599.

The Behaviour of the Roman Catholics in Poland upon this Occasion, is very remarkable, and agreeable to the Conduct of this worst Part of their Clergy; for the Letters from Warsaw, Cracow, Lemberg, and other Places in Poland say, that the dreadful Execution at Thorn, has filled both the Romish Clergy and common People with extraordinary Joy; and as there is no other Popish Country, where People of Distinction, as well as the Vulgar, pay more Reverence and Devotion to Images than they do in the abovesaid Kingdom, some are still of Opinion, that this Execution, as severe as it was, is no sufficient Atonement Edition: current; Page: [97]for the Prosanation of such an Image as that of the holy Virgin.

But we hope there will soon be some effectual Methods taken to redress these unhappy Sufferers at Thorn; for besides the Letters inserted in the following Papers, it is assured that the King of Great Britain has written to the King of Poland with his own Hand, on their Behalf; and from Berlin we have Advice, that his Prussian Majesty having been informed, that the Roman Catholics, notwithstanding their enormous and unheard of Proceedings at Thorn, are still going on with their Persecutions, and labouring at the total Oppression of the Protestant Citizens of that Town, has sent to his Polish Majesty at Dresden another Letter, in much stronger Terms than the former, concluding that his Polish Majesty would be pleased to interpose and exert his Royal Authority to put a Stop to these farther Proceedings; in Default whereof, he says, he must expect to see this Affair redressed in another Manner, and with great Eclat.

An authentic Narrative of the late Proceedings and cruel Execution at Thorn.

THE Tumult at Thorn, and the Proceedings thereupon, have made so much Noise in the World, and the Affair so nearly concerns the Protestant Interest and the Reformed Religion in general, that it is highly requisite an authentic Account of it should be delivered down to Posterity, and every original Piece preserved that relates to it.

This Affair was long talked of, before we could come at any real Account of it. The first Piece which can be called authentic, was that which was sent by the Council of that City to the King of Poland, and is as follows:

ON the 16th of July, (O. S.) the ordinary Procession being arrived at St. James’s Church-yard, which Church had been taken from the Lutherans, contrary to the Peace of Oliva, there were there a great Number of the Citizens Children to see the Procession pass, with Edition: current; Page: [98]their Hats under their Arms, according to Custom; but a Student of the Jesuits College, not satisfied with that Mark of Civility and Respect, would needs have them kneel down, and gave them bad Language and Blows. About two Hours after the Procession, the same Student, with several of his Comrades, came again, and insulted several other young People, without the least Provocation on their Part; but in the End, this troublesome young Man was seized by the Soldiers of the Garison, and brought to the Guard, after he had wounded several Citizens with Stones. Next Day the Students got together again, and meeting one of the Citizens whom they had abused the Day before, they would oblige him to get their Comrade set at Liberty; but the Man had the good Fortune to get out of their Hands, and went for Safety to his own House, whither they pursued him Sword in Hand. In the mean time, the President of the City had given Orders for setting the Student at Liberty, at the Request of the Rector of the Jesuits College; but another Student being likewise carried to the Guard-Room, his Comrades would oblige the President to set him at Liberty also, which he refused to do till he had spoke to the Rector. Upon this the outragious Students ran furiously to the Guard-Room, to rescue their Comrade; but being repulsed, they sought to revenge themselves upon a Townsman, whom they pursued Sword in Hand to the Burgrave’s House, where he took Shelter. After that, they attacked a Lutheran Student, who was at the Door of his Lodgings in his Night-Gown; whom they dragged by the Hair as far as their own College, threw him into the Canal, and beat him severely: Which done, they sallied out with Sabres in their Hands, and wounded several People that came to the Student’s Assistance; but the President having sent thither the Town-Guard, they were obliged to betake themselves to their College. The President, at the same time, reclaimed the Lutheran Student, but the Rector would not let him go till the Student of his College was set at Liberty first. Whilst this Exchange was making, some of the Trained-Bands of the Town were ordered to post themselves before the Jesuits College, to protect them from the enraged Populace; but when the Students Edition: current; Page: [99]fired upon them, and threw Stones from within, it was not possible to restrain the People, who forced open the Gate, and were doing what they could to revenge the Students Cruelty; when in that very Instant, the Town-Clerk, who had got the Lutheran Student set at Liberty, came and obliged them to retire. It was then thought that the Riot was over; but the Guards that were posted before the College had scarce marched off, when the Students from within fired again, and threw Stones at the People, who forced open the Gate again, plundered the College, and committed great Disorders, till a Detachment of the Garison and Trained Bands came to the Jesuits Assistance, and dispersed the People, &c.

To invalidate this Account, the Jesuits drew up another, which they also dispatched to Court, which ran thus:

A faithful and true Catholic Account of the horrid Tumult, and most barbarous Profanation of the Chapels, and sacred Oratories, together with the overthrowing of the Altars, pulling down and afterwards sacrilegiously burning, in the open Street, the Images of our Saviour, the most blessed Virgin, and other Saints, accompanied with infinite Blasphemies and Mockeries; and lastly, of the pillaging of the whole College of the Jesuits at Thorn, committed by the Hereticks of the same City, on the 27th of July 1724.

LEST the Heretics should, according to their Custom, excuse and palliate, by artful Lies and Calumnies, their impious Attempts and Outrages, we shall here give the Reader a short, but faithful, Account of what has passed. But first of all it will be necessary to lay down a fundamental Caution, sufficient to enervate and invalidate any Accounts that come from Heretics, on what Head soever. This Caution is grounded upon the very Principles of their Faith: By which it will appear, that even in worldly Affairs, infinitely more Credit is to be given to a Catholic Evidence or Writing, than to those of the Dissenters; since the Roman Catholics assert and believe, that they are able, and ought, on Edition: current; Page: [100]Pain of eternal Damnation, to keep God’s Commandments, whereof the following is not the least, Thou shalt not bear false Witness (much less in Writing, because it descends to Posterity) against thy Neighbour, were he even a Jew: Which Commandment the Catholics hope and strive, with the Grace of God, to observe; whereas the Heretics are of a quite different Opinion, maintaining an Impossibility to keep God’s Commandments, and consequently the abovesaid. For which Reason, the Observance of God’s Laws is what troubles them the least: Nay, they are justly afraid, that the more they strive to act and to live up to God’s Commands, the more they trespass upon their System of Faith, by obstinately resisting God’s pre-necessitating Will, by which they are actuated and forcibly influenced in all their Doings, whether good or bad; insomuch, that should they tell any Truth, or do any Good, through their own Choice and Free-will, they would (in their Opinion) betray a Diffidence as to the only saving Faith, and detract from the Fulness of Christ’s Satisfaction, and his infinite Merits.

On the 27th of July last, being one of the holy Virgin’s Festivals, when the holy Sacrament was carried in Procession round about St. James’s Church, a mean Lutheran Burgher came to gaze at it with his Hat on, and uttered several Blasphemies, with an Intent to provoke the Catholics; for which a Student of the Jesuits, being fired with a holy Zeal and Indignation, chastised him only by pulling off his Hat. No sooner was the Procession over, but the Lutherans gathering together in the abovesaid Church-yard, without regard to that sacred Place, and the Church Immunities, fell upon the said Student, beat him barbarously, and dragged him, covered with Blood, to the Guard-House, where this Avenger of God’s Honour was ignominiously kept till the next Day: Upon which some Catholic Students, according to their Duty, went peaceably to the Burgrave of the City, most humbly desiring him to release the Prisoner, assuring him withal, that he should appear when required. But they were answered, Let those who committed him release him. Then they went to the President of the City, who having likewise given them a frivolous Answer, Edition: current; Page: [101]they followed the Burgrave’s Advice, and applied themselves to the Burgher, whom they desired, in a civil manner to get the Student set at Liberty, since he had been the Occasion of his Confinement, engaging for his Appearance before any competent Court; but instead of complying, the said Burgher got one of those interceeding innocent Students also committed, without the least Cause or Offence given. The Students being thus baffled, went again to the President, in order to sollicit the Release of their Comrade, who was last committed; but the President’s Domestics, far from admitting them, laughed at them, and forcibly turned them out of Doors with opprobrious Language. When the Catholics perceived that nothing would do, and being no longer able to bear the Injuries this Uncatholic City had done them, and especially of late, when a Student of a noble Family was seized in his Chamber at Midnight, almost undressed, to the great Disgrace of the Catholic Nobility, and from thence kicked down Stairs, and hurried away to Prison, where he was kept all Night; and though his Innocence appeared next Day, he could never obtain any Satisfaction for the Affront given him. The Jesuit Students and the Nobility, having often met with such premeditated Treatments from the Lutherans, and being afresh irritated by what happened last, they seized and carried away a Lutheran Student, though without the Knowledge of the Fathers Jesuits, and brought him into their College; however, without any Design to return the same ill Usage, but only in View to exchange this Dissenting Student for the two Catholics under Arrest, assuring him that he should be set free again without any farther Molestation. But then it was that the Mob rose, not so much by the Connivance, as by the Instigation of the Magistrates, the Gates being purposely shut sooner that Day than usual, having for their Leader the Town-Clerk, who excited the People to break the Windows of the College, instead of demanding the Lutheran, who would have been immediately delivered: By which it was evident, that they aimed not so much at having the Lutheran Student released, as to shew their Fury and long premeditated Vengeance against the Jesuits, for having brought over so many Lutherans to the Catholic Edition: current; Page: [102]Church. Afterwards they broke open the Doors, whilst the City Guards which were come up, far from checking them, encouraged them, in Hopes of sharing in the Booty, in case of Resistance: But seeing that the Aggressors were in no Danger from those within the Schools and the College, who were only armed with religious Innocence, they withdrew, by Order of one of the Consuls, who did not so much as give the least Rebuke to the Aggressors. Whereupon the enraged Mob seeing their Censor gone, and their Crime countenanced, rushed furiously into the Schools, broke and overturned whatever they found in their Way, and afterwards forced open the Chapel and Oratories, where they demolished the Altars, hewed down the sacred Statues, and tore and hacked to Pieces the Images, and especially that of the holy Virgin; and what is most abominable, dragged to the public Square before the Schools, the Statues of the blessed Virgin, of St. Xaverius, Casimir, and others, where they burnt them openly, impiously exulting and leaping all the while over the Fire, borrowing these blasphemous Words from the Jews and Heathens, Now, now, Woman, save thyself! since the Papists boast so much of the Help thou offerdest them; and then scoffingly cried out, Vivat Jesus, Maria, Joseph! And not contented with having thus insulted the greatest Saints, they returned a second Time to the College; where having with still greater Fury forced the Gates, they beat and abused most cruelly all those of the holy Order that came in their Way; most of which were obliged to hide themselves in Holes and under the Roof to save their Lives, whilst those Miscreants were busy in breaking open their Cells, and carrying away their Goods: Which done, they forced open the Chapel Door, which was curiously carved, with their Hatchets, cut to Pieces all the Images of Saints, and vented their unbounded Fury even upon two Crucifixes, one of which was split with an Ax, and the other stabbed with Swords and shattered with their Fire-arms. Having now nothing left to demolish and to rob, they went to find out God’s Servants to put them to Death; upon which the Commandant of the City, whose Assistance was till then vainly implored, under Pretence that his Men were to be employed against the Enemy, and Edition: current; Page: [103]not against the Citizens, being informed of the utmost Danger the Fathers and others of the College were in, thought fit to appease the Tumult at Midnight, by forcing out of the College those impious Wretches: Without which Succours, though they came very late, all the Jesuits, and even all the Roman Catholics of that Heretic City, would probably have lost their Lives. How they have behaved themselves in the following Days, and what they have done after more mature Deliberation; how they braved afterwards the King and the Senate’s Authority; and how they almost renewed the Sedition when the Crown Troops were sent against them, is sufficiently known, and shews a premeditated Conspiration against the Catholics; which, however, we refer to the Judgment of those who have the supreme Judicature and Power in their Hands. As for us, we pray heartily for their Repentance, and that they may be converted, and return to the Communion of their Forefathers, and so live.

[Thus far the Jesuits Account.]

I shall observe here, that this Tumult happened much about the Time when they were chusing Nuncios for the Dyet; or, to give the English Reader a juster Idea, Members of the Polish Parliament; and these, as well as their Electors, the Jesuits thought necessary to spirit up beforehand in their Cause: Every Sunday they appeared in the Pulpits, and filled the Minds of their Hearers with the Danger of the Catholic Church, and the Peril they were in amongst false Brethren. Their Discourses produced the desired Effect; as will be seen when I come to speak of the Dyet.

But lest any Time should be lost, they dispatched other Emissaries to Court to deny and confute all the Protestants might say; and with such Success there, that Commissioners were appointed to go to the City and examine into the Matter, in order to make the Report; but these did not consist of an equal Number of Catholics and Lutherans, as the Nature of the Cause required, but was a Commission wholly composed of Papists, Men whom the Jesuits knew they could very well depend upon.

Edition: current; Page: [104]

Alarmed at the News of this Commission, the Lutherans immediately dispatched an Express to Court, to desire that the Persons appointed to examine into this Affair, might be half Lutherans and half Papists; but in the mean time the Commissioners proceeded, and soon dispatched their Business.

The Report being made, Instructions were given to the Assessorial Tribunal, or High Court of Justice, to proceed to the Trial of the Protestants of Thorn; the Attorney-General was ordered to prosecute, and the Jesuits sent in their Depositions.

The Lutherans now saw a Storm gathering against them, and began to apprehend the Consequences of it; but yet they flattered themselves, that when brought to a Trial, they should be honourably acquitted, it being their Right and Privilege to be tried by a Commission, one half of which should be composed of Protestants; but they only flattered themselves, that Regard would be had to Right. The Assessorial Tribunal consisting also of all staunch Roman Catholics, were the Persons ordered to take Cognizance of the Affair, and Sentence was soon passed upon the Magistrates and others, and that in a very extraordinary manner; for far from being present at their Trials, they did not so much as know the Day when they were to come on; nor was the Cause judged upon the Place, or in the County where the Fact was committed; the Criminals, as they were deemed, being at that Time exercising their Office, or at least in their own Houses at Thorn, whilst the Prosecution against them was carrying on at Warsaw.

The Sentence or Decree pronounced by the Assessorial Tribunal on this Occasion, was, that the President and Vice-President should lose their Heads, for not having endeavoured to appease the Tumult, as they were by their Offices obliged; and that their Estates should be confiscated to defray the Charges the Town had been at on this Occasion.

Gerard Thomas, Burgrave, and Quinmerman, Vice-Burgrave, both Lords of Thorn, were declared infamous, and incapable hereafter of holding any Place of Trust, and were also to be imprisoned, and to pay a certain Fine for Neglect of their Duty, in not having pacified Edition: current; Page: [105]the Tumult: And two Officers of the Garison of Thorn were fined and committed to the Tower, because they did not hinder the Populace firing again upon the Jesuits College.

Harder, Moab, and Thirteen more specified in the Sentence, were condemned to lose their Heads, as having been the first Aggressors in the Jesuits College; and some others accused of having burnt the sacred Image of the Virgin Mary, were sentenced to have their Right Hands cut off, then to be quartered, and their Bodies to be burned under the Gallows.

The Church of St. Maria belonging to the Lutherans, was by the same Sentence taken away from them, and given to the Roman Catholics, and the Lutherans ordered to buy Plate for the Altar to be there erected. The Lutheran College, to which all the Protestant Youths of Poland and Lithuania used to be sent, is to be removed a League out of Town. The Town is to pay the Jesuits for the Damage they have received in the Tumult. The Magistrates and Council of Thorn, which were all Lutherans, according to their Constitution, are for the future to consist of half Protestants and half Papists, and all the Officers must henceforward be Roman Catholics. Several other Citizens were sentenced to be whipt and imprisoned, and to pay a Fine, which is to be employed in erecting a Pillar in the Place where the Image of the Virgin Mary was burnt, for a perpetual Memorial.

The Nuncios of the Dyet, as I before observed, had been spirited up in this Cause, and that to such a Degree, that when they assembled, they refused entering upon any Affair, till the Jesuits should have received Satisfaction, and the City of Thorn be punished for the Riot; and this certainly hastened the Sentence.

The Dyet not content that this Decree was given by the Assessorial Tribunal, fearing lest it should be mitigated, ordered it to be brought before them; although it was an Affair that they had not the least to do with, nor was it their Business to take any Cognizance of it: But notwithstanding all this, it was brought before them, and they unanimously (the only Instance of their Unanimity during their six Weeks sitting) confirmed it into a Law. The whole Resolutions of the Dyet consisted Edition: current; Page: [106]but of four Articles; and This, which was the Third, was much longer than the Two first, though they related to the Safety and Protection of the Kingdom. I am not willing to quote Authorities, without inserting them at length, and therefore shall give my Readers a Translation of this Article.

III. ‘As the Inhabitants of Thorn, in Defiance of the Constitutions, and the Decrees of our serene Predecessors, and even in Contempt of all Laws both Divine and Human, have, by the Connivance of their Superiors, and upon a slight Occasion, lifted up their insolent Hands against the Persons and Places dedicated to God, wherein they have behaved themselves with the greatest Boldness and Assurance, because the like Disorders passed formerly with Impunity; insomuch, that the orthodox Religion, the public Safety, and the Liberty of the Church, have not only suffered great Violence, but, which is yet more scandalous, the Laws are become contemptible.

‘And forasmuch as it highly concerns us, and the States of the Republic, that our Subjects and Inhabitants should live peaceably, and mutually support one another; therefore, to the End, that instead of so manifest Contempt of God and the whole Cœlestial Hierarchy, sacred Persons and Gods upon Earth should be reverenced and respected according to the divine Will, and that the Laws of the Kingdom be likewise maintained, the Decree issued from our Assessorial Tribunal at the Instances of our Sollicitor-General, and the Reverend Fathers the Jesuits of the College of Thorn, against the Magistrates of the said City, the Seditious and Ringleaders of the Tumult, shall be forthwith executed in its full Extent: We hereby strictly charge our Crown Generals to assist the Commissaries appointed to execute that Sentence, to furnish and to march as many Troops as will be necessary for that Purpose, but without departing from the Military Discipline established by the new Law.”

When this Decree came down to Thorn, it very much surprized its Inhabitants; but there was Time enough Edition: current; Page: [107]left for his Prussian Majesty and the other Protestant Princes to interpose, and stop the Execution of the Sentence; and immediately accordingly the Kings of Prussia and Denmark dispatched Expresses to his Polish Majesty, with the following Letters.

Frederick William, R.
Frederick William, R.
Nov. 28. 1724
Berlin,

The King of Prussia’s Letter to the King of Poland.

WE cannot forbear acquainting your Majesty how deeply we have been afflicted by the severe Sentence lately passed and published against the Inhabitants of Thorn, on account of the unhappy Tumult arisen there. Nothing indeed could more move our Compassion, than to see these poor People of our Communion proceeded against, not only with Fire and Sword, under the Pretence of avenging God’s Honour, but also with taking away their Church and School, and overturning the Constitution of that City, in order to compleat the Oppression of the Protestant Inhabitants. Had the City of Thorn been guilty of an open and avowed Rebellion against your Majesty, and even of the highest Crimes, what harder Decree than this could have been pronounced against them? But as the whole Matter in Question turns upon inflicting Punishments for a Tumult raised by the Populace against some wretched Jesuits, though the same Tumult has been maliciously occasioned and fomented by the same your Majesty cannot but judge, according to your great Wisdom, that the severe Punishment determined by the Sentence, bears no manner of Proportion with the Excess committed; and that it is against all Reason, that for the Sake of a few People’s Miscarriage, so many Innocents should suffer, and a whole Town be ruined. Nay, all the reasonable World will naturally conclude, as it is too manifest by the numberless Circumstances of this Affair, that such a terrible Sentence, far from being founded upon an impartial Administration of Justice, intirely proceeded from a venomous Hatred on account of their Religion, inflamed by all the Artifices and false Suggestions of the Jesuits; and that they boldly laid hold of this Opportunity to take away the Lives and Estates of the poor Dissenters at Thorn, and even to deprive them at once of their Edition: current; Page: [108]Rights and Privileges. Your Majesty’s Justice and Propension to protect Innocence oppressed, being so well known, we hope you will never permit the Execution of such a bloody Sentence, by which the Glory of your Majesty’s Reign would be for ever tarnished. We therefore most earnestly desire your Majesty to put a Stop to that Execution, and to have the whole Affair a-new and thoroughly examined by an impartial Commission, composed of just and moderate Members of both Religions; to admit the Impeached to plead and defend their Innocence; and if any be found guilty, to shew rather Mercy than the strictest Justice; and especially to protect and maintain that City in their Privileges and Liberties; but above all, to prevent the Effusion of so much Christian Blood, which cannot be spilt without the greatest Cruelty. Your Majesty will not take it amiss that we concern ourselves so far for that City, since we are bound in Conscience to do it, in an Affair which affects those that are of the same Communion with us; besides, that we are fully intitled by the Peace of Oliva to stand up for the Preservation of that City, and all that has been stipulated for them, as well as for the other Cities of Polish Prussia, by the Instrument of the said Treaty, and to defend them as far as it is requisite. We are likewise convinced, that the other Powers concerned in the Peace of Oliva, and particularly the Guarantees, cannot see with Indifference, the said Treaty of Peace thus infringed and invalidated by the abovementioned Execution. On the other hand, your Majesty may be assured, that you will highly oblige as well Us as all other Protestant Powers in Europe, by taking under your Protection this poor City, almost reduced to Despair, and preserving it from the utter Ruin it is threatned with, and which may be attended with dangerous Consequences. We refer Us to what our Major-General and Envoy Extraordinary Van Schwrin, and his Brother our Counsellor of Finances, &c. will have the Honour to represent further to your Majesty on that Head. In Expectation of a favourable and so much desired Declaration, We remain, &c.

Frederick-William, King, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [109]
Frederick William, R.
Frederick William, R.

The King of Denmark’s Letter to the King of Poland.

YOUR Majesty will undoubtedly call to mind the several Representations we have made to you, and to the Republic of Poland, in a brotherly and cordial Manner; and among others, those we have made by our last Letter of the 14th of June, in favour of those of our Communion in Poland and Lithuania, who are called Nonconformists, and who are daily oppressed by the Romish Clergy.

We flattered ourselves, that our Intercessions would have engaged your Majesty to put a Stop to those unheard-of Proceedings, to protect their Churches, to cause those that have been taken from them since the Peace of Oliva to be restored, to maintain them in the peaceable Exercise of their Religion, and to redress all their other Grievances; and we founded our Hopes upon your Majesty’s known Equity.

But we have seen with Grief, that not only your Majesty and the Republic of Poland have entirely disregarded our just Representations, but also that they continue to take away their Churches; and that they are more and more endeavouring, under any Pretext and by indirect Means, to deprive them entirely of their Rights and Privileges, confirmed to them by the fundamental Law of the Kingdom of Poland.

Our Concern increased beyond Expression, when we saw the dreadful Sentence of the last Assessorial Tribunal of Warsaw against the poor City of Thorn and its Protestant Inhabitants, by which several Persons of Note and others have not only been condemned to one of the most cruel and infamous Deaths, on account of a Tumult and some Excesses of the Populace against the Jesuits, but their Church moreover taken from them, their Schools demolished, the Form of their Regency subverted; in a Word, their Privileges so dearly bought and confirmed by the Peace of Oliva, destroyed, and all without other Ground than the false Depositions of the Jesuits, and the Declarations of Witnesses of the same Stamp with the Jesuits, without giving the Accused a sufficient Time to prepare for their Defence, nor so Edition: current; Page: [110]much as a Hearing; having thus being condemned in such a hasty and tumultous manner, that few Instances can be produced of such a Partiality and Injustice.

This affords us ground to believe, that the Jesuits have themselves raised this Tumult, with a View to have an Opportunity to deprive at once the Protestants in a most horrid manner of their Lives, Honours, Estates and Privileges: The rather, since the Hatred of the Roman Clergy is grown to such a Pitch, that unless God interposes, the Protestant Religion will be utterly extinguished in all Poland and Lithuania, notwithstanding the Precautions taken to assure their Liberties and Privileges, as well by the fundamental Laws of the Kingdom of Poland, as by the Capitulations confirmed at the Election of successive Kings, and even by your Majesty in a most solemn manner, and by the most sacred Oaths.

Your Majesty will easily judge, that we cannot see, without the deepest Concern and Compassion, all those unprecedented Persecutions against those of our Communion: And we hope your Majesty will have Regard to the just Prerogatives of that poor City, and take to Heart the sad Condition it is reduced to, by reversing the unjust Sentence of the Assessorial Tribunal of Warsaw, and by establishing an impartial Tribunal, composed of just and moderated Members of both Religions, in order to examine a-new and determine that Affair.

By so acting, your Majesty will not only do a Work acceptable to God, who can no ways delight in the bloody Sacrifice of so many innocent Persons, and who has reserved to himself alone the Power over Consciences; but you will likewise prevent your Glory from being tarnished by the Execution of so many valuable Persons, whose Blood would cry to Heaven for Vengeance And by relieving those of our Communion, your Majesty will give us a signal Proof of your Friendship towards us, which will engage us to shew, on all Occasions, that we are with Attachment, &c.

FREDERICK IV.
Edition: current; Page: [111]

These Intercessions produced no Effect, for about the Beginning of December, Prince Lubomirsky came before Thorn with 2400 Men, of the Crown Troops, which were posted in all the Avenues; after which, he sent a Detachment of 150 Dragoons into the City, to secure all such as were specified in the Decree issued out of the Court of Chancery at Warsaw. Mess. Rosner and Czarnich, one the President, and the other Vice-President, were seized in the Morning in the Church, during divine Service. The Dragoons having thus executed their Orders, Prince Lubomirsky entered the City with 800 Men, and ordered presently a Scaffold to be erected. The City Council would have made an Appeal to the King, but the Prince opposed it; however, three or four Expresses were dispatched, one of which was sent to the King, with most submissive Representations and Entreaties to grant a Respite, to get Time for the Protestant Powers to interpose their good Offices; urging withal, that the Clemency the Emperor has of late shewed to the City of Hamburgh, might serve as a Precedent for that of Thorn; and the rather since by the Tumult at Hamburgh, where the Imperial Ambassador’s Hotel and Chapel were demolished, the Majesty of the Emperor was struck at; whereas the Tumult at Thorn was only attended by some Disorders committed in the College of the Jesuits; and yet his Imperial Majesty contented himself with laying a Fine upon the City of Hamburgh, and obliging the Magistrates to send a solemn Deputation to Vienna to ask Pardon. But the Jesuits fearing these Representations should take Effect, engaged Prince Lubomirski to dispatch likewise an Express to the Court, not only to prevent the suspending of the Execution, which was fixed on the 15th of December, but to get Leave to have it done eight Days sooner; in which having succeeded according to their Wishes, it was performed on the 7th, when ten Persons were executed: The Particulars of which are as follow:

At One o’Clock in the Morning, the Cavalry entered the City, and surrounded the old Town House: At Five o’Clock M. Rosner, First President, was conducted thither from his own House by twenty Soldiers, and immediately Edition: current; Page: [112]beheaded in the Inner Court by the Light of Flambleaux. At Eight o’Clock the Infantry were posted at the four Avenues of the Market, in the Middle whereof the Scaffold was erected; and an Hour after Mess. Masout, Hermets, Becker, Marty, and Meus, were publickly beheaded, their Right Hands having been first cut off. Soon after, Mess. Karoefe, Haffen, and Schulten underwent the like Execution upon the same Scaffold, with this Addition, that their Bodies were afterwards burnt under the Gallows. A Butcher’s Boy, who closed that bloody Scene, had his noble Parts torn from him, and slapped in his Face, before he was beheaded, whose Body was afterwards quartered. At three o’Clock in the Afternoon, the Commissioners who had assisted at this horrid Execution, went to the great Lutheran Church of St. Maria, accompanied by some Bernardine and Carmelite Friars, to take Possession of it; and the next Day they sung Te Deum in it, assisted by the Jesuits and the other Roman Clergy of that City, to give solemn Thanks for having their Vows accomplished.

M. Czarnich, Vice-President of Thorn, has obtained his Pardon from the King of Poland, but he loses his Place, and his House adjoining to the Jesuits College is confiscated for the Benefit of those Fathers; besides which, he is to pay a considerable Sum of Money. A Citizen named Heyder who in the Tumult had returned one of the Students of the Jesuits a Slap on the Face, and stood condemned to die for it, is likewise pardoned, after having abjured the Lutheran Religion. M. Rosner, the President, might have saved his Life on the same Condition, but he manfully preferred Death, which he suffered like a true Martyr. Since the Execution of the 7th, several Citizens have been whipped. The Writings of the Lutheran Ministers, who have made their Escape from Thorn, have been burnt by the common Hangman at the four Corners of the Town House. The Keys of the great Lutheran Church having been delivered, tho’ with Protestation, into the Hands of the Commissioners, they gave the same on the Day of the Execution, to the Bernardine Fryars, who consecrated that Church the next Day; so that the Lutherans were obliged to perform divine Service in the House where the Elders meet. The Edition: current; Page: [113]Jesuits had drawn up and given in an Account of the Damage they pretend to have suffered in that Tumult, amounting to 30620 Florins; but the Palatine Rebinski, one of the Commissioners, reduced it to 22000 Florins, half of which Sum has been already paid down, and the rest assigned upon the Revenues of the City Lands. This done, the Commissioners made the Inventory of all the Effects of the President who had been beheaded.

They tell us, at the same time, that the King of Poland would willingly have moderated this Sentence, and spared the Lives of those who suffered, had he not been prevented by the Precipitation of the Commissioners of the Assessorial Tribunal, who hastened the Execution, and had it performed eight Days sooner than was at first intended: And to prove this, they quote a Letter written by him to those Magistrates of Thorn, who had petitioned in behalf of the Vice-President, and of which the following is a Copy.

THE Contents of your most humble Intercession in favour of John Henry Czernick, Vice-President Burgomaster, dated the 9th Instant, have been respectfully communicated to us: As we take much at Heart the sad Condition which the good City of Thorn has been reduced to by the late Tumult, after having been otherwise exposed to great Calamities, we had heartily wished that the Conjunctures could have permitted to pronounce, in our Name, a less rigorous Sentence, or at least to moderate it in its Execution: And the Pardon we have granted of our own Accord, even before your Letter of Intercession arrived, will shew you, that we are rather inclined to act according to the Impulses of our fatherly Tenderness, than conformably to the Rigour of Justice.

But those who do not judge so favourably of his Polish Majesty’s good Intentions in this Case, on the other hand alledge, that he has punished some of them further than he had need; strict Orders having been sent to the Magistrates of Dantzick, not to give the Fugitives of Thorn any Shelter, Lodging, or any other Assistance Edition: current; Page: [114]in their City; but on the other hand, to arrest and deliver them up into the Hands of Justice.

What may be the Consequence of such a severe Execution is not yet known: But the King of Prussia thought this Affair so much concerned every Protestant Power, that, not content with barely writing to the King of Poland, he dispatched Expresses to the Courts of Great Britain, Denmark, and Sweden, with Letters to the several Monarchs, with which I shall close this Piece.

Frederick William, R.
Frederick William, R.
Dec. 2. 1724
Berlin,

The King of Prussia’s Letter to the King of Great Britain.

[N. B. This is the same with those written to their Danish and Swedish Majesties, save only that in the Letter to the King of Denmark, the last Paragraph is left out, and that the same Paragraph in that to the King of Sweden, has the Word Compaciscent instead of Guarantee.

YOUR Majesty cannot be ignorant of the most dreadful Sentence issued from the last Assessorial Tribunal of Warsaw against the poor City of Thorn, and its Protestant Inhabitants, by which several considerable Persons, and others of the same Communion, on Account of a Tumult raised by the Populace against the Jesuits, and the Excesses committed on that Occasion, have been condemned to a rigorous and most infamous Death; the City deprived of their Church and School; the whole Constitution of their Magistracy overturned; and, in a word, all their Privileges, acquired at so dear a Rate, and confirmed to them by the Treaty of Oliva, taken from them; and all this upon the false Reports of the Jesuits, and the Evidence they have suborned to make their Relation more plausible, and without so much as giving the Impeached a due Hearing for their Defence; the whole being carried on in so unjust and crying a Manner, that few Precedents of such cruel Injustice can be produced. The Fury of the Romish Clergy in Poland is come to such a Height, that they are now endeavouring not only at the total Ruin of the City of Thorn, but likewise at the utter Extirpation of all the Edition: current; Page: [115]Dissenters in that Kingdom, which they do not scruple to boast publickly of: Accordingly, certain Constitutions tending thereto were ready prepared, and would have been published, had the last limited Dyet been brought to its designed End, whereby the Remainder of the Protestant Churches in Poland and Lithuania had been at once destroyed.

The Constitutions of the Kingdom of Poland, and especially the Pacta Conventa, or the Capitulations which the Republic makes with the Kings at their Election, and particularly those made and corroborated by the most solemn Oaths by the present King, concerning the Protection of the Dissenters, are indeed couched in Terms so binding and advantageous to them, that nothing more could be desired; but no Manner of Regard is had to it, and the Court of the King of Poland, by an unaccountable Connivance and Relaxation, gives the Romish Clergy in Poland such a Latitude in all their projected Persecutions against the Protestants, that if God Almighty does not interpose by some extraordinary Ways and Means, nothing can be expected from it but the Loss of all the Protestant Churches still subsisting in Poland and Lithuania. In short, this Affair is come to that Pass, that it is not possible for the Protestant Powers in Europe, and particularly your Majesty, who has already given so many glorious Instances of your indefatigable Care for the Preservation of God’s Church, to look on the total Oppression of those of their Communion, without being moved with the deepest Compassion, and animated to an equally pious and glorious Endeavour to rescue and protect oppressed Innocence. As for my Part, I am ready and willing, as bound in Conscience, faithfully to assist your Majesty in every Thing which you will judge fit and expedient for this End, and to contribute the utmost of my Power towards it. I have also wrote a Letter to his Polish Majesty, in favour of the City of Thorn, of which I send your Majesty a Copy here inclosed: But as I am apprehensive that my Intercession alone, without being backed and seconded by your Majesty, will not be powerful enough to avert the great Calamity that City, and all the Protestants in Poland and Lithuania are threatened with, I leave it to your Edition: current; Page: [116]Majesty’s great Wisdom, whether it would not be proper to send an express Minister to Poland, and to take other convenient Measures in behalf of this distressed People. I have already ordered my Ministers in Poland to act in such Case in Concert with your Majesty’s Minister, in order to prevent the Effusion of so much innocent Christian Blood; to preserve and maintain that City in their Constitution, Privileges and Liberties, and to procure some Relief to the rest of the Protestants in Poland and Lithuania.

Your Majesty, by being a Guarantee of the Treaty of Oliva, is every way intitled to concern yourself, in a particular Manner, for the City of Thorn, and the Preservation of their Rights and Privileges; which leaves me no manner of Doubt that your Majesty will magnanimously resolve it, and do all that will be requisite on this Occasion. I remain, &c.

FREDERICK WILLIAM, R.

Two Papers written by Britannicus, upon Occasion of the foregoing cruel Execution at Thorn, and printed in the London Journal.

PAPER I.

THERE is nothing more observable in human Nature, than that Forgetfulness and Insensibility of the greatest Evils which is seen to come upon Men (even of those Evils which have threatened Ruin to themselves, and every Thing that is dear to them) when a little Distance of Time or Place has intervened, and they have found themselves for a Season at Ease from the immediate Apprehensions of them. What one Man or Woman was there amongst us, who, in the Year 1688, did not start at the Dread of Popery, and of the Methods of Support which constantly attend it, and were then understood to be inseparable from it? But, as the Years have run on, and Ease and Freedom with them, and Opportunities been given, of dressing it up in a more Edition: current; Page: [117]pleasing, or less horrible Gain [Editor: word?] the Impression is almost worn away in some, and in others, even a Discontent at the Expence and Trouble of keeping it out, is sprung up in the Room of it. Thus again, it struck Protestants to the Heart once, to see whole Families, and numerous Crowds of unhappy Men and Women, driven from their native Country, where they lived under a warm Sun, and in a fruitful Abundance, and forced to seek Refuge in the Charity and Hospitality of other Nations: But a Tract of Time has had its Course since, and all this can be now looked upon with a much more calm and sedate Temper. It pleases Providence therefore, at several Intervals of Time, to permit Appearances and Facts, which may either keep us awake, if we are so; or, if we are not, may rouse us up from a Sleep, which, if it continues, must be a Sleep unto Death and Destruction. I own, I have Enthusiasm enough to lead me to interpret what has passed abroad at Thorn in some such Manner as this. The Protestant World seems to be in a Lethargy. It is Goodness in the Governor of all Things, to alarm and shock it into some Sense of those Evils, which are never far removed from it, and ever going forward, in the Contrivance of some Men, against it. Here, therefore, is an Instance presented before its Eyes, of the implacable Malice and great Power of its greatest Enemies, and a flagrant Proof of what all are to expect, wherever the same Powers, and the same Malice, can prevail. And if Men will not be roused by such Terrors as these, they have nothing to blame but their own wilful and mad Stupidity.

Far be it from any of us to imagine, that Tumults and Seditions, Uproars and Outrages, should not be severely judged; and every Man concerned in them punished, in Proportion to the Part he bore in the Guilt, and this let the Pretence be what it will. No Zeal for, or against, any thing in Religion, can justify the Breach of all or any of the Duties of social Life. Nay, I will say, such Evils are rather aggravated, by making what was designed for the Peace and Quiet of the World, the Instrument and Occasion of Violence and Disorder. Did any Protestants therefore break into the temporal Rights and Privileges of others, moved by a mistaken and misapplied Edition: current; Page: [118]Zeal, who would have blamed a due Punishment of the Persons concerned? Did others provoke them to this, by any improper Behaviour, let those also suffer something, or else let it pass as some Mitigation of the other. This is not the Point. The Particulars which give the greatest Apprehension, and raise the most uneasy Sensations, are these: The Power and Interest which the Jesuits, upon every Occasion, shew themselves to have, and which they, in a particular Manner, have made too manifest in this Affair: The Sentence and Manner of executing it, enough to strike Horror into every Heart, that comes to the Knowledge of it, and to make every Ear tingle that hears it: The Consequences of it, beyond the Punishment of either the real or supposed Delinquent: The Evidence from the whole, that the great View was to the diminishing, and, in Time, extinguishing, not only that particular Branch of Protestantism, but every Thing that presumes to exalt itself against arbitrary Decisions and implicit Obedience.

The Society of Jesuits were the chief and original Movers of this Tragedy: And that they have Interest enough in States and Kingdoms, to display such Scenes when they please, is but a melancholy Consideration to any Protestants or Freemen, who have ever heard of that Name. That every Member of that Society is of the same fiery Make, or inflexible Bigotry, it is rash and groundless to imagine. But that, speaking of them as a Body, they are the worst, the most terrible, the most to be dreaded by all who value any Rights, whether Religious or Civil; for this we have the Testimony of the very best of the Romish Communion, both for Temper and Learning, to bear us out, besides the Experience of many Facts to appeal to. That there is a certain and established Difference between some Members of that Church and others, is not to be denied or disowned; though, whether any of them can be truly such, and not be liable to the Commands of their Superiors, even so far as as to be put off from the Bias of all their Good-nature, and to extinguish every Spark of their natural or religious Humanity, for the Propagation of their Sect, I will not now enquire. But it is certain, that there is thus far a Difference, that many of them have not such Edition: current; Page: [119]a blind Bigotry, as to be perpetually busy in the forming and carrying on those Schemes of pernicioas Ruin and Destruction, in which others take a Delight to be the first and principal Designers and Actors. Amongst the latter, none more remarkable than those who have honoured themselves with the sacred Name of Jesus: not in order to imitate his unbounded Love, but under so good a Title to cover, if possible, from unwary Eyes, their own contrary Temper, and opposite Schemes of Action. From small Beginnings, this Society has raised itself to an immense Bigness and Power. Their Reputation was high some time ago, for the Learning and Knowledge of some of their Members; and these gained them Access into many Places where their other Qualities would not have done it. But as all Knowledge and Enquiry into any Truths, become suspected as dangerous to a Religion which hates the Light, because that which makes manifest is Light; and because one Truth may unfortunately lead to another not so harmless: This Path to Reputation and Interest has been rather shut up of late Years, and they have (after Riches, and all the Strength Riches can procure, have flowed in upon them) chose to gain Ground by a greater Zeal, a hotter Bigotry, a more unlimited and voluntary Obedience to the Holy See, and a more determined Laboriousness in the extensive Propagation of the Romish Profession, than any other Sect of that vast Body has been able to do. When this Society therefore gains Ground, and shews its Strength, amongst the Rulers of this World, all Protestants, and every Soul that has a Feeling of what the Freedom of social Creatures, and the Happiness of rational Creatures, in any Degree mean, must mourn at the Sight, and esteem it an Appearance of a growing Evil, which threatens them all with the same Miseries, which it executes upon some, as fast as Power and Opportunity shall give Leave. Whoever they are that come into such Hands, have no Remedy left but cursed Hypocrisy, or uneasy Patience, under the inexpressible Discipline of hardened Hearts and darkened Understandings.

The Sentence, and the Manner of the Execution of it at Thorn, was worthy of such Movers, and agreeable to Edition: current; Page: [120]those who had Interest enough to bring it about. But here, what shall we believe? The Jesuits have already begun their After-game; and putting all their Strength upon the Weakness of others, would persuade the World that the Suffering Part is not at all to be credited in their Relation either of the Crime or the Punishment, and that for this Reason, because they are Heretics. This impudent Reason, stupid as it is, may move their own Partizans, and weigh with Bigots and Slaves. But I am speaking to others; and I affirm, that we are justified, even in thinking the worst we can think (in this Case) of the triumphant Side, and the most favourably of the other, from this very low and mean Proceeding, from this senseless Reason given, merely to prevent every one of their own Religion asking a Question about the Truth of the Facts. The Crime, I may conclude, was not quite so great as a Papist himself is made to think it, and the Punishment much greater than the Crime, even to a Degree sufficient to raise an universal Horror; because the Society which managed the whole, the Society so famous for Sincerity and Truth, claim to themselves the sole Privilege of telling the whole Story, and of being believed in what they say. The poor Lutherans must not be regarded, because they are Heretics. Thus, I say, they may deal with their own Scholars and Slaves, if there are any Slaves enough to bear it.

But the Facts in the public Face of the World speak enough, without intirely relying on the Relations of either Party concerned. A Tumult raised, and in this popular Tumult Outrages committed, as it is too often and almost always seen; the Magistrates not able to compose this so soon as it ought to have been; for, as to their Will to do it, Interest and Self-Preservation, and the certain Prospect of Punishment, are Demonstrations of it; the Jesuits, the Sufferers, prosecute the Complaint; a terrible Sentence is obtained; an Army is sent to protect the Execution of it; when there were some Hopes, upon humble Submissions, to obtain so small a Favour as a Respite, the General is engaged by these cruel Men, to cut off all Hope of that, and by his Letters to procure an Order to proceed to the Execution eight Days before the Day appointed in the Sentence; a Edition: current; Page: [121]Circumstance, I believe, hardly heard of in any other Case, and intirely to be ascribed to the restless Zeal of this Society, and their Impatience to bear the Thought of even a Possibility of Mercy: Thus, before any Interposition from other Powers could be, several of the chief Magistrates are destroyed; insulting Cruelties added to the Execution of some others; and (what adds to the Pageantry, and makes the whole look like a Work of Zeal for their Church, and not of a due Sense of their Privileges invaded) some mean Persons saved from Death, merely on Account of the changing their Religion, and the brave Man who died first, tempted and tortured with that wicked Offers, whilst a cruel Death stared him in the Face. This was adding Insult to Cruelty, and a much greater inward Barbarity to the external Terror of the Sword. This, and the other Proceedings, Banishments, Confiscation of Goods, Alteration of the governing Council, seizing the Lutheran Churches, and instating the Romanists in them.

What are all these Excesses of Rigour, but strong Presumptions that the whole Scene was originally laid with this very View; and that those who have had Interest to profit so enormously by a Tumult, had Cunning and Power enough in the Town, to nurse and cherish and provoke it into what at last it came to? But this is only a Surmise, perhaps weak and without Ground. I need it not. What appears is alone sufficient to create Horror in the best Part of the Romanists themselves, and once more to shew all Protestants their Danger, their Interest, and their Duty. I shall proceed upon this Subject in the next Paper.

Britannicus.

PAPER II.

IN speaking of the Affair at Thorn (which has lately made so much Noise in the World, and I hope will make a great deal more) one hardly knows either where to begin or where to leave off. I have already considered the chief and original Movers of that Tragedy, and the terrible Sentence procured against the Protestants, and the cruel Execution of it. I will now go on to some other Points, arising from this Subject, of the utmost Edition: current; Page: [122]Importance to all who love, or hope for, Freedom in Religion, or Happiness in Civil Life; two Things which constant Experience has shewn to be so inseparable from one another, as infallibly to flourish and decay, to live and die together.

The Consequences of this Scene of Power without Mercy, ought to be thought of by every Protestant, as they extend much beyond the Punishment of those unhappy Men at Thorn, who fell under the Rage and devouring Fury of it. And thus, I think, is it to be taken by all who differ from the Church of Rome, that, when they see so much Power in the Hands of the Jesuits, they see it in the Hands of Persons determined to use it to their Destruction, hardened in all the Paths that can lead to it, and devoted, more than any other Body in the World, in Heart and Soul, to the good Work of propagating their own Faction, and enlarging the Bounds of their own Church, by all the Methods that the Wit of Man can invent, and the Strength of Man can execute. I know how natural it is for Protestants in Great Britain, who have been long at Rest, and out of all View of the Scene of such Actions, to think inwardly with themselves, we are at a Distance from the Influence of this Matter, we are sorry for the Sufferings of miserable Men; but hope this Affair does not nearly touch us, under a Constitution like ours, and in our Situation, fenced round, as we are, by the natural Bulwark of the Sea, from the rest of the World. But let not any one thus think or say, What is this to us? Give me Leave to affirm, that it is of the most concerning Consequence to us all, from the highest to the lowest, from the Prince upon the Throne to the meanest of his Subjects. And as, abroad, the Calvinist as well as the Lutheran is touched by it, so, at home, from the most rigid Churchman to the most distant Quaker, through all the intermediate Differences of moderate Men, Latitudinarians, Presbyterians, Independents, Baptists, every Church, and every Man, whether orthodox or heretical, whether regular or irregular, is intimately concerned in this Affair. Nay, abstractedly from all Considerations of Religion, every Man who has the least Sense of civil Liberty, the least Regard to the Happiness of himself or his Fellow-creatures Edition: current; Page: [123]in human Society, must think himself interested in it.

Every Advance, and every Step which the Power of such Bigotry makes in the World, is an Advance and a Step towards the total Suppression and Ruin of every one of these, and of all other Denominations distinct from those who are Slaves to Rome. You cannot think that such Policy and such Zeal mixed together, confine their Views within the narrow Bounds of a single Town, or that it can be any sufficient Satisfaction to the Bigotry of Jesuitism, to get the better of the Lutherans at Thorn. Alas! these are but poor Morsels for such Appetites. It is every Town and every Country, every Church and every Kingdom of the known World, that they make the constant Care and Burthen of their religious Ambition. They pant after us all in the Bowels of their tender Mercies, which are as cruel as Cruelty itself, and can never be at rest till our Hearts or our Tongues (for it is much one to them which of the two they procure) till our Religion, or our Estates, are all theirs. Unlike all other Sects, and all other Bodies in the same Communion, they are never diverted, either by Learning or Devotion, either by their own private Studies, or pious Exercises, from the one main constant View of subjugating all to the Faith, not of Jesus, but of the Society of Jesus. To this Design they have consecrated all their Labours, and from this they are never known to decline. When we see them therefore, powerful in the Cabinets of Princes, and successfully dextrous in recommending themselves to the mighty Men of this World, by their Intrigues, and by their Interest in managing the Bigotry of those under them; if we forget or deny that this touches us, that this is so much gained against us, that this points very terribly at every Protestant, and every Christian in Europe, who is the Disciple of Christ, and not of Rome: If we forget this, I say, we forget ourselves, and what we are, and what our Interest is, and what our only Hope and Desire ought to be. Every successful Exercise of Power is an Accession of more; and every Act of Violence, not redressed, gives Strength and Encouragement to proceed to others. A Terror and Feebleness is thus struck into the opposite Parts, and Spirits and Edition: current; Page: [124]Vigour are added to the Oppressors: And when they find their Strength, and that they can shew it effectually in the Destruction of some they hate, what shall hinder them, as Power and Time come on together, from exerting the same upon all others whom they equally hate, and are equally sworn to destroy from off the Earth?

But we of this Nation have still a nearer Concern in this Affair, if all religious and civil Rights are of any Concern to us. Every Advance of the Power of Bigotry abroad, threatens us with a Popish Pretender at home; and, together with him, all the Train of his Attendaats, Superstition and Cruelty. None such fast Friends to his Cause; none so unmoveable in the Prosecution of it; none so desperate in what they once admit into their Hearts, as that Society which was the Mover of this Tragedy we have now been speaking of. Every Experiment, therefore, of their Strength, tends, by Degrees, to shake the Throne of our King, and to weaken our future Hopes of Happiness under the succeeding Branches of his Family, as it paves the Way to every thing contrary to a Protestant Establishment. And this, methinks, should weigh with all Protestants who would not be miserable, whether they have the same Notions of Happiness with others, or not. The Point to such Persons is not, whether they love their present Superiors, or whether they perfectly approve of their Administration; but whether they can bear all the Miseries of Popish Bigotry, and will choose to exchange Liberty for Chains, Property for arbitrary Will, the Ease and Security of a Subject of a Protestant Prince, and of a Member of a Protestant Church, for the fiery Operations of Jesuitism, and the Cruelties of Thorn, and indeed of every other Place where the same Zeal has had the same Room to display itself. This should be no light Consideration to the most discontented Protestant amongst us, who is one truly and sincerely; that, as a Protestant, he is not concerned in any the least Accession of Power to that Popish Interest abroad, which, if it increases, will, sooner or later, end in a Popish Interest, and a Popish Settlement here; and that, as the Pretender (who is to reap the Benefit of this) is as famous for determined Bigotry, as the Body of Jesuits themselves, let him but once get Footing here, by Edition: current; Page: [125]what Means they please (even by the Help of Protestant Hands lifted up against themselves) yet still it can end in nothing but the Administration of those whom his own Bigotry will point out to his Choice, that is, in nothing but the same Measures of Ruin and Devastation, by which the same Bigotry has ever worked, and ever will work, till human Nature be totally altered. And if they can have any Comfort in such a View, much Good may it do them! But let them sometimes, in the Midst of it, cast their Eyes abroad upon the Protestants at Thorn, and think within their own Breasts, whether, if they themselves ever come within the Sphere of Action of the same Body, they will not feel the same destructive Force, and be swallowed up in the same Whirlpool. Let not a little Prejudice, or the imaginary Want of something we may wish for, extinguish all common Sense, or take away all Regard to ourselves, and our latest Posterity.

But we must not leave this Affair here. If Protestants do not learn some good Lesson from it, besides a Zeal against an implacable Enemy, it is, if I may say so, an Act of Providence lost upon them. They have, many of them, been often very busy in interpreting Providences: Here is one that may very easily be understood; but, perhaps, as many others have been, it will be applied by the Multitude only to their Neighbours, and not to themselves. The Cruelties at Thorn, which you are so moved at, should make you cast your Thoughts upon that Spirit which is the Cause of them; and those Thoughts should make you abhor and fly from the first Motions, the least Beginnings, of that Temper in yourselves. Inward Censures of one another, on Account of religious Differences; hard Sentences and Judgments of private Men against one another; the Violence of Words; the Refusal of mutual Communications of Friendship; the calling in worldly Assistances to aggrieve or hurt or ruin one another, in any Degree, or in any Instance; these are the Motions of the same Spirit, going on from one Degree to another, till it ends in the open Avowal of Fire and Faggot, Swords and Gibbets. These, whenever they are seen amongst Protestants, are the Strength of your Enemies, the only Defences of their Barbarities, and the only Arguments by which they can Edition: current; Page: [126]cover or excuse their own Practices. Take from them these Arms, and you leave them utterly indefensible in that Conduct, which God and Nature, Reason and Revelation, all condemn. The Outrage of Persecution did not begin all at once, but grew up by slow Degrees. If it had not, the Notion of it could not have been borne by any human Mind. First, it was only a mental Uneasiness at those who differed. Then it proceeded to verbal Declarations, at which it stopped but a short Time. For when it was once come to hard Words, it was natural to proceed to Blows, almost as soon as the Balance of Power weighed on one Side more than the other. Moderate Penalties were the first Essays; but when they had no other Effect but to provoke the Spirits of Opposers, Punishments too great for human Nature easily to think of, succeeded in their Place. And upon these now the Popish Interest rests itself.

God be thanked, the Protestant World is generally come to a much greater Sense of the Duty of mutual Love and Forbearance than once was experienced in it. But when by such an Instance as this at Thorn, their Sense is again quickened, and they are called upon to see and acknowledge the Deformity of the Spirit of Cruelty, made keen by religious Differences, it is their Duty to search to the Root of the Matter, to guard against the first Motions of such a Spirit amongst themselves, and to implant in their Souls the contrary Temper of universal Charity; from the mere Want of which, such unspeakable Evils have come upon human Society, and such inexcusable Scandals upon the Christian Name.

Britannicus.
Edition: current; Page: [[127]]
Cato
Cato

A short View of the Conspiracy, with some Reflections on the Present State of Affairs. In a Letter to an Old Whig in the Country. By Cato.
Anno 1723.

Id facinus ego in primis memorabile existimo, sceleris atque periculi Novitate. Igitur de Conjuratione, quam verissimè potero, paucis absolvam: eo magis quod mihi a spe, metu, partibus Reipublicæ Animus liber est.

Sallust.
SIR,

THE late execrable Design against the British Liberty does not employ the Thoughts of this Nation only, but affords Matter of Speculation for all Europe. The Danish Conspiracy is scarce thought to deserve that Name, when compared to what was carrying on in England; and Paul Juel’s Schemes are accounted trifling, to the far more black and hellish Designs of our Jacobites here.

In your last you desire my Sentiments on the present State of Affairs, which you say would be useful not onto yourself, but to many others in your Country. As I can refuse you nothing, I shall endeavour to give you a faithful Abstract of the most material Transactions; which that I may do with the greater Clearness, I shall look back on some past Occurrences, which the Hurry of your own Business may have hindered you from reflecting upon, or perhaps has since made you forget.

You may very well remember, Sir, how every Thing stood when you left the Town; the Distractions and general Uneasiness which attended the fatal Execution of the South Sea Scheme; the Apprehension of the Plague, and the Alarm given on the first Discovery of a Plot, which every one received just as they were disposed to Edition: current; Page: [128]receive any Information from the Ministry: The Factious secretly rejoiced at the Opportunity which they thought was now given them of compassing their Ends; the Lovers of their Country trembled at the Thoughts of the dark Designs and artful Cabals of Rome at so dreadful a Juncture; whilst we, who fancied ourselves the only wise Men in the Nation, laughed at and ridiculed all that was advanced on this Head, thinking it only a politic Step, a new Subject invented to drown all Thoughts of the old One; and in short, a Plot to stifle our Resentments against the South Sea Transactions.

But we now see the Greatness of our Folly in the midst of our fancied Wisdom; we had then forgot the previous Steps always taken by the Jacobites when they had schemed out any important Design, and that they never attempted any thing of Consequence, but they first paved the Way for it, by poisoning the Minds of the People from the Press, which at such Times always groaned under the Weight of Scandal and seditious Libels.

Accordingly you cannot but remember the numerous Pamphlets published against the Administration, besides many of my Writings, which were all forced into their Service. In one Paper we had the Chief Minister exposed under the Character of Cataline; in another, the whole Iniquity of the South Sea Scheme was charged, as if contrived by the Men in Power; though at present we all know that it was only the casual Effect of the Madness and Avarice of the People, joined with the Villainy of some of the Directors. In a Third, a great Man who was contriving to save us from Ruin, was exposed to the Rage of the Populace, under the Character of a Screener of the Guilty. In a Fourth, the Sense of the People was assumed, and the general Voice was wrested to be turned against all in the Administration. Nor did they stop here: The King himself was in one of the Prints represented under the Image of the most odious Roman Tyrant; and in two other infamous Libels, his Person and Family were abused in the vilest manner, under the Title of The Benefits and Advantages of the Hanover Succession. So little indeed was their Design perceived by myself, that I own many Things dropped Edition: current; Page: [129]from my Pen, which seemed calculated for the Service of the Faction; and so insensible was I of the projected Insurrection, that I inveighed against the Forces encamped on that Occasion, with the Zeal always shewn by us Old Whigs against standing Armies. The Fears of arbitrary Government were set in the worst Point of Light, and the very Means of preserving us were represented as the designed Means of enslaving us; for had these Fears and Clamours prevailed, and the King’s Forces been disbanded, their Success would have been unquestionable.

A Parliament being to be chosen about this Time, all Methods were taken to get one least averse to their grand Purpose; and the better to succeed, the Freeholder was brought upon the Stage; a Paper fraught with the utmost Malice against the present Government. They knew full well that their own Faction would take the Hint, and they were in Hopes of biassing the honest unthinking Men of the Nation; the Doctrine of Passive Obedience was forgot, and the Lawfulness of Resistance preached up in many Places. To destroy the King’s Title to the Crown, the Revolution was openly censured and condemned, particularly in A short Review of the English History; and another Work of the same Nature, by a very great Man, was prepared for the Press, and designed to be published about the same time.

It was not in the least surprizing indeed, that the South Sea Business should be the constant Topic of so many People: In a General Court of that Company it was their Business to talk of it, in the Senate their Duty, in order to redress the Grievances of the People, and to restore public Credit. The Merchant, scarce able to pursue his Trade, might be allowed to complain; and it was natural in the unhappy Sufferers to rail, and, as it is usual, though without any just Grounds, blindly to attribute every thing that miscarries in a State to the Persons then in Power. The Ministry were railed at, whilst they with Pity looked on the Misfortunes of their Fellow Subjects, and compassionating their Losses, were above resenting their opprobrious Language. In all this, I say, there was nothing surprizing: But to hear those who should be the Ministers of God’s Word, amusing Edition: current; Page: [130]themselves with Mercantile Affairs, and a Scheme for paying National Debts, descanted on in a Place so sacred as the Pulpit, was something shocking indeed; and this not by a Sufferer, but by a Country Curate, or petty Town Lecturer, perhaps, who never had a Groat to lose in this or any other Company. What could be the Aim of their Reflections and Insinuations? Is it not natural to suppose, that it was to persuade the Vulgar, that Heaven was angry at what was done, and had marked out the first Contrivers of it for the Objects of its Wrath and Vengeance; and who at that time were supposed, or at least insinuated to be, the Contrivers of it, I need not inform you. Yet cannot the destructive Execution of a felonious Scheme be mentioned by a Preacher, without his having a Fling at the late Parliament: This, it seems, was a ‘National Judgment for the National Crimes of Avarice and Ambition, which spread themselves almost over every Order and Degree of Men amongst us; and in attempting to corrupt the Representatives of our Nation, would have made them, like the Jewish Sanhedrim and Consistory; which, by the Prophet’s Account, must have been a Body of as designedly wicked Men, as ever met together to betray a Constitution.’

Nor must, in such a Case as this, the Ministry be forgotten. As I would not be thought to advance what is not strictly Fact, I will not assert, that in any of the printed Sermons a Priest had the Impudence to charge them with Bribery and Corruption; but I’ll take notice of one Paragraph in a Sermon preached about the Time I have been talking of, and leave you to judge whether or no there be any such thing strongly insinuated.

‘We shall be less surprized at these Things, says the Preacher, when we pass into the Temple of the Lord, and see the wonderful and horrible Thing———The Priests teaching for Hire, and the Prophets divining for Money or Preferment:’ (By the by, I should be glad to know whether this very Sermon was preached gratis; but to my Purpose) ‘suting their Doctrines to the Times, and forbearing at least, if not allowing the Vices of the Great and Powerful. I do not remember to have read or heard of any modern Sermon at Court against Edition: current; Page: [131]the Vices and Temptations most incident to high and exalted Stations; such as Bribery and Corruption, or Riot, or Luxury, or the probable Iniquities of a Masquerade. But Love, and Peace, and Charity, and Forbearance, and Toleration, the Duty of Ministers of the Gospel, and Cæsar’s undisputed Title, which are in themselves very good Topics, properly insisted on, are there excellently well displayed and inculcated into an Audience, whose Sphere of Action requires, for the most Part, monitory Discourses of another Nature. And would to God this were the worst; and that Fearfulness, or Flattery, or Omissions, were our greatest Faults. But when Doctrines are advanced in direct Contradiction to the plainest Words of Scripture———”

I will not trouble you with a longer Quotation, I dare say you are already beforehand with me, and imagine what Subject he is going upon; and indeed it would be surprizing to meet with such a Sermon, and not one Fling at the Bishop of Hereford; to whose eternal Praise be it recorded, that he has been reviled in almost every Writing, which since his Majesty’s happy Accession to the Throne has been published, reflecting on his sacred Person, the Protestant Succession, or his faithful Ministers. Mistake me not, Sir, I only observe this in passing, to the Praise of that great good Man, but do not pretend to say that there are any such Reflections in this Sermon, either on the King or his Ministry; but vile ones there are upon the Bishop, unbecoming the Stile of a Gentleman, and ill suiting with the Charity we might expect in a Priest; but take his own Words.

‘I cannot but affirm, that I look upon the modern Growth and Encouragement of Schism, the open Profession of Heresy, the numerous daily Attacks made upon our Church, to be justly chargeable upon the corrupt Explication of those Words of our Saviour—My Kingdom is not of this World; whereby a greater Latitude has been given to Men desirous of Change, than ever yet the CHURCH thought of or approved. Nay, Popery itself, to which it directly tends, Edition: current; Page: [132]never at its worst allowed such unconditional Indulgences. I say it directly tends to Popery———

For my Part, I have Charity enough in me to believe this Preacher very ignorant; for upon entring on this Subject, he repeats what he before said, to wit, that he disclaimed all Hypocrisy and Dissimulation: And in a Place so sacred, sure no Man could condemn Prevarication, and at the same time prevaricate. It must therefore be the very Extreme of Ignorance to advance, that the Doctrines of this pious Man tend directly to Popery, when all his Aim, all his Labour has been only to root out the very Appearance of Popery from amongst us; which one while seemed like a Torrent rushing in upon us, when all Christian Charity was banished from amongst us, and Persecution shook her Iron Rod over this Nation.

You will be apt, I am afraid, to say, that I digress from my Purpose, and ask what these Doctrines have to do with the late Conspiracy, which was the Subject you desired me inform you of. Reflect a little, and the thing will answer itself: Dr. Hoadley owes his Preferment to his present Majesty, and that just and sagacious Prince not only raised him to the Episcopal Dignity, but has since translated him to a better See; he has taken him under his gracious Protection, and defended him from the ravenous Vultures that would have devoured him: The Reflections do not therefore fall upon him only, but on the best of Princes at the same time; and when the Bishop is railed at from so sacred a Place, the credulous deluded People are taught, that either the King knows not whom he prefers, or prefers impious Men, unfit for the Charge of Pastors, and who betray the Trust reposed in them.

Nor are these the only Insinuations that are to be met with in Sermons of that Time; you know what Noise the Bill for preserving us from the Plague, made in the World, and what handle the Building of Barracks was made both against the King and his Ministers. This indeed might be a proper Subject for the Politician to discuss, or a Senate to debate; but to hear a Pulpit-Orator cry, In vain shall we build Barracks for restoring the Sick, and preserving the Sound, is Impudence to the Edition: current; Page: [133]highest Degree. In the same Author we find a much stronger Insinuation, for after mentioning the Blessings of Peace (meaning the glorious Utrecht Peace) he tells us, that God has preserved our Religion, and not yet deprived us of our Liberties. But I am really surprized at nothing that could come from a Man, who, in reckoning the Punishments we have suffered for our Sins, says, Hence we have seen Princes become Vagabonds, and beg their Bread, and Nobles seek it out of desolate Places.

I cannot drop this Subject without taking Notice of two other Sermons, though I shall not dwell upon them, the Preachers not having been imprudent enough to print their Discourses; the former in a Country Congregation, just at the Time that a Report was spread, that there was another Rising in Scotland: The Discourse was introduced as a moral one, and in the Proëmium nothing was touched upon but the Heinousness of Sin; but when he came to describe a Sinner, we had the Character of an Old Whig drawn in the Light he is usually set off by a Jacobite Pencil; nor was the 30th of January, and the Repeal of the Schism Bill, forgotten. In short, when we were all made sensible whom he meant, the Discourse was concluded with a Quotation of one of the Prophets (for you may observe, that at such times they are always fond of dealing in Prophecies) Let them remember that Destruction shall come upon them from the North. But the Preacher having since given an Account of his Stewardship, and received the Rewards or Punishments he deserved, according to the Works done in the Flesh, whether they were good, or whether they were bad; I shall leave him, and proceed to the other, whom I still believe living.

It was at about ten Miles Distance from Town, in a very large Village, and at a Season of the Year when all People of Quality and Fashion are retired to their Country Seats; and I know no Church that at such time has a more polite Audience. Here our brawny Pastor came as a Missionary, for he was a Stranger to the Place; and what is not usual for a Stranger, twice ascended that Pulpit in one Day. That his Audience might be the better prepared to receive what he had to say, the Morning was employed in insinuating the Dignity Edition: current; Page: [134]of his Calling, and teaching his Hearers, that implicitly to believe what was taught by orthodox Priests, was the ready Way to Heaven. This was an excellent Foundation to build upon, and such a Position once laid down, what might not be advanced? His Afternoon’s Text was, If I say the Truth, why do ye not believe me? And in his Introduction he told the Audience, that his Words might much better be applied to Christians now-a-days, than to the Jews of old; and coming to shew the Cause of our Unfaithfulness, he attributed it to Ignorance and the Prejudice of Education, or to the Sanctity and Sublimity of the Gospel. That he might have the more Time to dwell upon his second Head, he soon went through the first, and in a Trice dispatched all Kinds of Dissenters promiscuously to Hell. In his second Part he introduced, I really cannot tell you how, but introduce he did, the then Bishop of Bangor; for, as I before observed, he never escaped the Censure of such Men as these, who always honour him with their Reproaches; for the Revilings and Scoffs of wicked Men are always an Encomium to the Just and Pious.

The Danger of the Church was a worn-out Cant, and therefore he determined to try what Effect the Danger of Religion in general could have on the Minds of sober and well-disposed People. To this End he took care to insinuate, and that grosly too, that every Man in Power was little better than an Atheist, when such heterodox Men were raised to the Prelature; but lest there should be some of the Bishop’s Friends present, who were not to be taken with such an Example, he went on to shew us how in the Days of old, when Piety flourished, Persecution was deemed a Christian Virtue, and that the Arians were openly branded and punished; but that there now was no pious Man in Authority, for there was no Inquisition established to punish Deists and Free-Thinkers, and to rack such heterodox Wretches as pretended to expose the Ministers of the Gospel in so scandalous a manner as the Independent Whig had done. But this is a Subject, which for some particular Reasons I shall chuse to drop.

I would not have you think that I strain or wrest the Meaning of this Preacher; I do not indeed tell Edition: current; Page: [135]you that these were his very Words, but I can assur you they were the Sense of them, and not only under derstood so by myself, but by several Persons of Worth and Honour who were there present; nor can I have forgot what was then said, though now very near two Years ago; for there was something so remarkable in the Sermon, that I that very Evening took Notes of it, to which on this Occasion I have had Recourse.

As I do not in the least question but that this Letter will be communicated to some of your Tory Acquaintance, I would be beforehand with them, and answer an Objection which I am certain they will make, to wit, that in so large a Body of Men ’tis impossible they should all be good; but that we ought not to cast a Reflection upon the Clergy for three or four Sermons; for, say they, your Correspondent has quoted no more. True, I have not, though I can say I have heard a great many more of the same Nature, but durst not trust my Memory so far as to cite them, lest I should commit an Error, and wrong any Person; and indeed after having been scandalized with these and several other virulent Libels, I always took Care beforehand to enquire into the Character of the Preacher, and never expose myself to the Hearing of false Doctrines delivered from a Place so sacred. But notwithstanding this, I am afraid Jacobitism has been too often favoured by those who stile themselves Christ’s Ambassadors, nor have they yet done with the Topic, witness the late Presentation of the Grand Jury at Winchester.

Besides these, a vast Number of them came Volunteers into the Service, and very artfully spread the Poison amongst the honest well-meaning Part of the People; for such generally are the Frequenters of our Charity Sermons, whose Design in coming to Church at those Times is to bestow their Mite towards the Education of poor needy Children and forsaken Orphans; but lest some of them should resent whatever might be advanced reflecting on the Government, our common known Preachers would not venture at such a Thing, but some itinerant ones came and offered their Service; Country Curates, most of them, I suppose, who, safe in their own native Obscurity, came up to Town; conceited Edition: current; Page: [136]and ambitious, thought Preferment their due, vented their Spleen against the Ministry, because they were not preferred, and did all that in them lay to stir up the People, then trembling at the Thoughts of what they had done, hurried down in the Country again, and were never heard of more. I need not dwell upon this Article, the Truth of it is sufficiently known, and such Men were too frequently made use of to raise the Seeds of Discontent in the Minds of their Hearers, and to pave the Way for an Invasion.

I would not by any thing I have here advanced, be thought to reflect on the whole Body of the Clergy; Heaven forbid! that for the Crimes of some, I should condemn all. I know there are a great Number of them, who tread as closely as they can in the Steps of the Primitive Christians, and not meddling with the Kingdom of this World, strive to inculcate Piety and Morality, and sound Doctrine in their Audience; whilst others, truly zealous for the Church and Protestant Religion, engage their Adversaries, and without much Difficulty convince the Impartial, that this Church and Religion is much more secure at present, than it would be under a Popish Prince.

Whilst the Reverend Zealots in this Cause were thus taken up, Means were thought of for seducing the very Vulgar and the Scum of Mankind, Fellows unfit for any thing but heading a Mob, or Heel-piecing a Shoe; and as Sermons were above their Sphere, they must be amused in their favourite Alehouses or respective Stalls; for this End, Numbers of seditious Ballads were printed, and sung about the Streets. How greedily did the deluded Mob suck in the Poison, when the Praises of pretty Jemmy were chaunted; and the listening Wretches were encouraged, they say, by the surrounding Wenches, who, as I have been informed, upon a solemn Promise that they would be true to the Cause, often granted them the Favour; for our Filles de Joye have ever been very zealous for the Chevalier, whom, with his Followers, they constantly remember in their Prayers, and whom they are fully determined to stand by to the last.

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The mentioning of treasonable Ballads, publickly sung in the Streets, will perhaps surprize you; but I can assure you, that nothing was more frequent here one while, and which the Records of Bridewell and the Work-house will still justify; several of them having been committed there by some worthy Magistrates of the City, who were resolved to put a Stop to this growing Evil, but in vain; they were of the Hydra Nature, and one was no sooner taken off, but two started up in its room; and this Method was constantly practised whilst they had Hopes left, and there was any Spirit remaining in the Party; such doubtless was the Encouragement given to these petty Retailers of Treason.

I will not trouble you with any farther Retrospects, but proceed directly to the Time when the grand Business was to have been brought upon the Stage, and that was at the Election of a new Parliament. As to what foreign Correspondence was carrying on at that Time, what Application made to Potentates for a Supply, what Schemes projected among themselves, and things of this Nature, I must refer you to the Report and Appendix, which I now send you, and in which you will find all the dark Designs and hellish Contrivances of the blackest of Traitors, traced out and unravelled by a wise and sagacious Committee of the Honourable House of Commons; who have not more distinguished themselves by the prudent Choice of such a Committee, than the Committee distinguished themselves by their indefatigable Pains and deep Penetration. And indeed to this Report most of your Friends are indebted for the Share of Reason they at present enjoy; it thoroughly convinced them of their Errors, and they have not been ashamed to own it; even your old Crony Mr. ———, who was always the loudest in ridiculing the Plot, not only in Company, but in all Places, has very frankly recanted, and that in a public manner too, and ingenuously confessed, that no Man in his Senses could read the Report, and doubt the Truth of the Plot.

It was on all hands believed, and by the Jacobites entirely depended upon, that while the several Counties, Towns, and Boroughs of this Kingdom were proceeding Edition: current; Page: [138]in the Choice of Representatives in a new Parliament, his Majesty would make a Tour to his German Dominions; and what time so proper for their Undertaking as when the King was absent, and we had no Parliament? and therefore now or never the grand Work was to be done.

The very Day the Parliament was dissolved, which, to the best of my Remembrance, was the 10th of March, the Heads of the Party got together, and, in order to amuse the People, and see what Numbers they could raise on Occasion, ventured to make some Bonefires, imitating the Rejoicings which were made at the Dissolution of Oliver’s Rump Parliament; and our Streets rung with the Cries of the Hawkers, who were dispersing the last Will and Testament of the old deceased Parliament, the Character of the Rump Parliament, &c. But on this Occasion none exerted themselves with such undaunted Impudence as the Freeholder; who, I think, had not made his Appearance in the World above six Weeks before, and therefore for what Purpose set up we may easily imagine. He had, from his first coming out, dealt in very bitter Invectives, but the Moment the Parliament was dissolved, he gave an unbounded Loose. I would not willingly repeat any - thing after him that should give Offence, but, as I suppose, this Paper was confined to the Town, and probably never reached you, I’ll give you a Paragraph, and that one of the modestest too, published in the first Paper, which came out after the Proclamation, and in which he gives, at least as he pretends, an Account of whatever was transacted by the late Parliament.

‘The second and third Sessions, says he, had nothing remarkable in them but the Act for a general Indemnity, and the Tryal of the Lord Oxford, which was the only Case but one wherein the two Houses differed during so long Continuance: and if they had differed in some more material Points, others, perhaps, might have escaped Misery as well as that noble Lord. They likewise passed a famous Act, to qualify his Majesty to be Governor of the South Sea Company, without taking the Oaths necessary for that Office; and another against wearing Cloth Buttons.’

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I must take notice of one Thing more in the same Paper, and that is his Observation upon the repealing of the Schism Bill. This zealous Churchman, fond of Persecution, endeavours to represent one of the most glorious, most charitable, and most Christian-like Acts of that Parliament, as a Thing prejudicial to the Church, nay to the Protestant Religion: But take his own Words. ‘These Laws made by one Parliament for the Security of the Protestant Religion, were, by another Parliament repealed, for the Security of the Protestant Interest.

I have already told you, that I would not repeat any of those Passages which had given Offence; and if these are his modest Expressions, you may easily guess what the others must be: And yet, when the Printer was brought to his Tryal, it was insinuated by the Party to be a Breach of the Liberty of the Subject, who was no longer now allowed to complain of his Grievances; that it was for siding with the Church Party, with a great deal of Common-place Cant of the same Nature. And now I mention the Prosecution against him, I suppose you’ll be curious to know what Punishment he met with; he was tried and convicted, but not yet sentenced.

I would have Men, who have met with such Mildness and undeserved Mercy, seriously reflect on what they might have expected, had they been guilty of libelling a Government any where amongst our Neighbours; and that I may not be thought to quote the severest, I would only have them imagine, that they did the same thing at Paris: If they do not know what Fate they might have expected there, I can easily inform them; they would have gone, with all their Abettors, to the Bastile, and never have seen the Day-light more till they had been removed to Grave-Square, there on a Wheel or Gibbet to have ended their Days. But I am digressing from my Purpose.

The Conspirators here having, in vain, applied themselves to several foreign Potentates for Assistance to carry on their treasonable Designs, resolved now to venture upon their own Strength; and, as I before observed, thought no Time so favourable as that of the Elections, when Mobs and Riots are too frequent. How restless Edition: current; Page: [140]their Endeavours were, we are all very sensible; the repeated Cries which were every where heard, of No Septennial Parliament (a Word that was made Use of as a Bugbear to frighten and biass the People) the repeated Huzzas of Down with the Rumps, often mixed with the Shouts of High Church and Ormond for ever! plainly demonstrate, that there were too many whose whole Time was employed in seducing and deluding the Vulgar: and I wish to God some of the Clergy had not a considerable Share in all these Disturbances, especially as you will find observed in the Report, that the two most riotous Elections of any throughout the Kingdom, were that of Westminster, a Place under the immediate Influence of the Bishop of Rochester, and that of Coventry, which appears to have been animated by Carte, a Nonjuring Clergyman, an Agent of the Bishop’s, and one employed by him in managing his treasonable Correspondence.

But as a Mob was not of itself sufficient to bring the mighty Work to bear, Money was raised here in England, partly, I suppose, given by those who most impatiently longed to see their Country involved in Blood and Ruin, the other Part lent upon the Chevalier’s Notes; and with these Sums, Ships were provided, such as the Revolution, and some others yet untaken, and some hired here in England; and the late Duke of Ormond, with a great Number of Officers, and large Quantities of Arms and Ammunition, was to have come over and headed the Enterprize.

But we now see that we had a wise and vigilant Ministry, who had nothing at heart but the Service of their King, and the Good of their Fellow-Subjects, who denied themselves Rest that they might give it to their Country, and were perpetually labouring to procure Ease to others. How indefatigably they countermined every Measure of the Conspirators, the Event sufficiently witnesses; and that with such Prudence, that the Conspirators never mistrusted that their Designs were betrayed. How were they surprized to see every Step they took prove a wrong Step, their Intentions abortive, and all their Projects miscarry! Little they thought that the Ministers, like so many Guardian Angels of the Land Edition: current; Page: [141]were perpetually watching for its Welfare, turned the Edge of their Arrows, and diverted the threatening Fate. In short, they had the Mortification to see all the Elections of England over without having been able to strike a Stroke; and what was a double Mortification to them, began to be pretty well assured, that their restless Endeavours were all in vain, and that we had a Parliament returned to whom our Liberties and the Protestant Interest were equally dear.

If I may presume to dive into the Secrets of those who are at the Helm of Affairs, I am apt to imagine, that they did believe all these Disappointments, joined together, would intirely damp the Jacobite Party, and make them sit down contented with the Enjoyment of what they willingly would, but could not, deprive themselves of; but such was the Infatuation of these Wretches, they were not to be baulked. One would have thought them something of the Nature of the Tyrant Antæus, and if from every Fall they did not gather new Strength, at least they did new Rage; which grew to such a Height from their last Disappointment, that it was thought unsafe to conceal it any longer, and Preparations must be made to repel their desperate Rage by open Force. Accordingly on Monday the 7th of May 1722, a Camp was marked out in Hyde-Park, to which the Troops of his Majesty’s Houshold marched the next and following Days. All Officers were ordered to repair to their respective Commands; Lieutenant-General Macartney was dispatched to Ireland, to bring over some Troops from thence into the West of England, and Instructions were sent to Mr. Horace Walpole, who some few Days before went over to Holland, to desire the States to keep the Guaranty Troops in a Readiness to be transported to England; for his Majesty was very tender of putting his Subjects to any more Charges than what were absolutely necessary for their own Security; and therefore he would not bring over the Dutch Forces, till it should be unsafe to delay it any longer. And his Majesty was pleased to give Notice of the Conspiracy to the Lord Mayor, thereby to prevent any Tumult in the City.

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Townshend
Townshend
May 8, 1722
Whitehall,
My Lord,

HIS Majesty having nothing more at Heart than the Peace and Safety of his good City of London, the Protection of its Inhabitants, and the Support of public Credit; has commanded me to acquaint your Lordship, that he has received repeated and unquestionable Advices, that several of his Subjects, forgetting the Allegiance they owe to his Majesty, as well as the natural Love they ought to bear to their Country, have entered into a wicked Conspiracy, in concert with Traytors abroad, for raising a Rebellion in this Kingdom in favour of a Popish Pretender, with a traiterous Design to overthrow our excellent Constitution both in Church and State, and to subject a Protestant free People to Tyranny and Superstition: But I am persuaded, that it will be a great Satisfaction to your Lordship and the City to find, that at the same time that I am ordered to inform you of this Design, I am likewise commanded by his Majesty to let you know, that he is firmly assured, that the Authors of it neither are, nor will be supported, nor even countenanced by any foreign Power. And as his Majesty has had timely Notice of their wicked Machinations, and has made the proper Dispositions for defeating them, he has no Reason to doubt, but, by the Continuance of the Blessing of Almighty God, and the ready Assistance of his faithful Subjects, this Effort of the Malice of his Enemies will be turned to their own Confusion.

His Majesty makes no doubt but your Lordship, pursuant to the Trust reposed in you, will, in Conjunction with the other Magistrates of his good City of London, exert, with the utmost Care and Vigilance, your Authority, at so important a Conjuncture, for the Preservation of the public Peace, and the Security of the City. I am, &c.

TOWNSHEND.

The next Day his Majesty in Council was pleased to sign and order a Proclamation forthwith to be published, for putting the Laws in Execution against Papists and Nonjurors, and for commanding all Papists, and reputed Edition: current; Page: [143]Papists, to depart from the Cities of London and Westminster, and from within ten Miles of the same; and for confining Papists, and reputed Papists, to their Habitations, and for putting in Execution the Laws against Riots and Rioters.

The Conspirators, who were always upon the Watch to gather some Advantage, if possible, even from every Disappointment, took this Opportunity to spread several Reports detrimental to public Credit, and those amongst them who had any Money in the Bank began a Run upon it; and South Sea Stock, which at that time was about 90, fell to about 77: And by these Means they hoped to spread new Discontents amongst the People, especially amongst the unhappy Sufferers in this Company; but this Design also miscarried, and in some Days Stock gradually rose till it reached its former Value.

But still the Party had some Hopes left, or rather were resolved to attempt something for their Cause; and in this they were the more encouraged by the Death of the Duke of Marlborough, who died at Windsor on the 16th of June, about four in the Morning; and as they were satisfied that he must have a magnificent Burial, at which there would be a vast Concourse of People, they thought it might be a very proper Time for putting their Design in Execution, and we are told that they had accordingly taken Measures for this Purpose; but the Burial was not on the appointed Day, and the deferring of it, once more disappointed their Projects.

The last time they fixed was at the breaking up of the Camp; to which End they had taken Care to corrupt some of the old Serjeants, and were endeavouring to corrupt as many more Veterans as they possibly could; but this Attempt you will find much more particularly related in Layer’s Tryal, which I have already sent you, and in the Report, which you will receive with this Letter.

That you may read the Appendix with much more Ease than I have done, I have herein inclosed you an Explanation of all the fictitious Names made use of by the Conspirators, that you may at once see who are the Persons meant, without being obliged to turn over to the Report, in which they are explained.

Edition: current; Page: [144]
An Alphabetical Key to the REPORT.
ABel His Majesty.
Armstrong and Company Not yet decyphered.
Burford E—of O———y.
Bonnaville Christopher Glascock, Dillon’s Secretary.
James Baker }George Kelly, alias Johnson.
Brisac }
Beautiful Squire Christopher Layer.
Mr. or Mrs. Burton Mrs. Spelman, alias Yellop.
B——— Brown, an Irish Merchant at Bilbca.
Brokers Agents.
Barrels Army.
Barker Some considerable Person in France, whose true Name is not yet discovered.
The Chief }Pretender.
Mrs. Chaumont }
N. Clifton }L. N—and G—.
N. Crone }
N. Cleaton }
Lord Crawford L. L———.
Cane }General Dillon.
Chivers }
Chitwood }
Sir John Christy Sir John d’Obrian, another of Dillon’s Secretaries.
Carpenters Scots Soldiers.
Coutade George Kelly, alias Johnson.
Crow James Talbot.
Colins Colin Campbell of Glenderoul.
Clynton Not yet decyphered.
Dixwell }General Dillon.
Digby }
Duplessis }
Disode Glascock, Dillon’s Secretary.
Du Bois Bishop of Rochester.
Dupuy George Kelly, alias Johnson.
Dumville }Not yet decyphered.
Dodsworth }
Fly Sir Redmund Everard.
F. M. Francis Macnamara.
Freeman }Pretender.
Farmer }
Mr. Frampton Mr. William Moor.
Finch }Not yet decyphered.
Fox }
Forester }
D. Gainer }General Dillon.
D. Gregory }
Glasgow Glascock, Dillon’s Secretary.
Gerrard Sir John d’Obrian, Dillon’s Secretary.
G. H. George Kelly, alias Johnson.
Goods Irish Soldiers.
Girt A hundred Men.
Hews His Majesty.
Houlder The late Duke of Ormond.
Howell Glascock, Dillon’s Secretary.
Hatsield }George Kelly, alias Johnson.
Hawksby }
Hubberts Dennis Kelly.
Ho }Sir Harry G———g.
Hore }
Hawley Not yet decyphered.
Hancock George Kelly, alias Johnson.
Hacket Not yet decyphered.
Jackson }Pretender.
Joseph }
Mrs. Jones D. of N———.
T. Jones }Bishop of Rochester.
T. Illington }
J. J. }George Kelly, alias Johnson.
James Johnson }
Ireton }
Justus Bishop of Rochester.
Mrs. Kinders Mrs. Hughes, Nurse to the young Pretender.
Kirton }Dennis Kelly.
Killigrew }
Lane Late Earl of Mar.
Lunelle George Kelly, alias Johnson.
Law Suit Pretender’s Cause.
Lowty The Ministry.
Malcom Pretender.
Mrs. Malcom The Pretendress.
Masorneuve George Kelly.
M. Morgan.
Mansfield }Late Duke of Ormond.
Medley }
Musgrave }Late Earl of Mar.
Morfield }
Moore Nicholas Wogan.
Maxwell A Relation of the late Earl of Mar.
Naunton Bishop of Rochester.
Nowell Captain Halstead.
Quitwell }Glascock, Dillon’s Secretary.
Querry }
Sir Red Redmund Everard.
Rig Bishop of Rochester.
Rogers John Plunkett.
G. Roberts Glascock, Dillon’s Secretary.
Standwell Pretender.
Steele Regent.
St. John Glascock, Dillon’s Secretary.
Anthony Saunders }George Kelly, alias Johnson.
Arthur Stephens }
Stanford }Dennis Kelly.
St. George }
Mr. Sandford }
G. Sampson }Sir Harry G———g.
G. Saunders }
G. Stephenson }
G. Sandford }
Sanders Thomas Carte, a Nonjuring Parson.
Saddles Regiments.
Saddlers }Irish Soldiers.
Sophisters }
Symms }L. N———and G———.
Symons }
Skinner Stanley.
Stocks The Conspiracy.
Tom Late Duke of Ormond.
Thomas }Thomas Carte.
Trotter }
Tanners Tories.
Joshua Vernon }George Kelly, alias Johnson.
James Vernon }
Watson Late Earl Marishal.
Weston Bishop of Rochester.
Wilkins George Kelly, alias Johnson.
Mrs. Williams Mr. Harvey of Comb.
George Williams Thomas Carte.
Waggs Whigs.
Wine An Invasion.
Walton One Morgan, Intendant of the Pretender’s Ships at Cadiz.
Xoland Nicholas Wogan.
1387 Bishop of Rochester.

I am afraid that I have been something tedious in the narrative Part of my Epistle, and therefore, without detaining you any longer, I’ll just take Notice of the present State of our Affairs, and answer some of the Cries which are often heard amongst the disaffected and deluded Part of the Nation.

Although we may, from the Measures which have been taken to prevent the intended Stroke of the Conspirators, hope that we now are safe, yet ought we not to rest too secure, and thereby give our Enemies an Opportunity of compassing their Ends. Their Endeavours, we find, are restless: George Kelly had been taken up on Suspicion of treasonable Practices, he was bailed out; you see the first Use he makes of his Liberty is to settle a new Key of fictitious Names with his Correspondents abroad, and the very Moment that, by the Indulgence of our Constitution, he had got out of Custody, he employed the Liberty he had recovered to subvert that Constitution by which he had obtained it. Nor is he the only Example I can quote; after the imprisoning of the Chiefs of this Design, they could not give over, and Edition: current; Page: [148]Mackintosh was seized at Gravesend, as he was coming here to form new Schemes, in Conjunction with the yet undiscovered Traitors.

But, say you, when the Chiefs are seized, and all their Projects countermined, what Need have we of an Addition of Forces? of what Service is an Army when our Enemies are defeated? New Taxes must surely be laid, in order to make a Provision for an additional four thousand Men, and this is what the generality of the People so loudly complain of; and I suppose you would go farther, and say, Are our Liberties and Properties intirely safe, whilst there are such Numbers of Forces on Foot?

Look a little backwards, and reflect on the loud Clamours which were lately made against a Standing Army, and to bear a Part in which we also were drawn. What was the Aim of the Jacobites in all this? To get the Army disbanded, which, if done, they had certainly compassed our Ruin, and subverted our Constitution, and we should not only have lost all that was dear and valuable, but should have been perpetually cursed with the tormenting Reflection, that we ourselves had contributed all that in us lay to our Ruin, and vigorously assisted the Conspirators in the Completion of it.

I allow you, indeed, that a great Number of their Chiefs are taken up, and thereby, one would think, incapacitated to do further Mischief; but are we therefore safe? I wish I could say we were; but you will find by the Report, that a great many were engaged in the criminal Correspondence, whose Names are not yet discovered, and who, perhaps, are capable of doing the greatest Mischief. The Example of those two I have just above quoted, sufficiently convinces us how restless the Faction is, and spite of all the Vigilance of their Guards, there are those of greater Distinction than Kelly or Mackintosh, who, even from their Prison, have sown the Seeds of Discord; who, under all Adversities, take Care to keep up the Spirit of their Party, and with their Blessings endeavour to curse the Nation. Nor ought we ever to rest secure, and without Apprehension, whilst there are such turbulent Spirits as an Alberoni or Francisco living. It is a Catholic Cause they are carrying on, and therefore Edition: current; Page: [149]the Number of our General Officers ought to answer that of the Roman Conclave, and we should at least keep as many Soldiers on Foot as there are Jesuits abroad.

But if you seriously consider the Charges which must arise from the keeping up these additional Forces, you will find them to be much less than you perhaps at first imagined. Here are no Officers of any kind to be provided for, but such a Number of private Men who are incorporated into the old Regiments. And at the very first opening of the Parliament, when the carrying on of a Conspiracy was declared from the Throne, his Majesty did not from hence take Occasion to ask for large Supplies, as ancient Stories say has been often practised; far from it, he directed the Commons, who doubtless would raise Money sufficient for the Defence of the Nation, to order the Provisions they should make for defraying the Expences which the treasonable Practices of our Enemies had put us to, with such Frugality as very little to exceed the Supplies of the last Year. And indeed such Measures are now taking, that it is to be hoped our Catholics will be obliged to pay the Charges of their Catholic Plot.

But suppose the Expences had been much greater, suppose that they had all fallen upon us, are then our Liberties of so little Value that they are not worth our being at some Charges to preserve them? Have so much Blood, and so many Millions been spent, since the Revolution, in the Defence of our excellent Constitution, and shall we at once destroy the Work of thirty-five Years, rather than add a few thousands to the already disbursed Sums? Or shall we lose all that we have, rather than give an inconsiderable Part of it to secure the rest? For Shame, after having been so zealous in this Cause for so many Years, and engaged in so many prudent Undertakings, don’t let us slacken at once, and act like Madmen. If we must bow to the Yoke, we had much better have done it at once, and all our Resistance would serve only to sharpen the Resentment of Popish Zealots, and our former Endeavours after Happiness increase our Misery.

The other Objection, though not mentioned by you, I have often heard from several deluded People, and Edition: current; Page: [150]very well know you mean it: I know it, because I have several times inconsiderably asked the Question myself, Whether we could depend upon our Liberties and Properties being entirely safe, whilst there are such Numbers of Forces on Foot¿

I have already answered the latter Part of this Question, to wit, that our Standing Army is not greater than what is absolutely necessary for our Defence; but suppose it considerable enough to inslave us, suppose (tho’ there be not the least Ground for such a Supposition) that we had Reason to apprehend his Majesty designed to make himself absolute, shall we therefore clamour for the disbanding of the Army, and make ourselves an easy Prey for the Pretender and his Faction? If we do, we are sure of having one bred up in the Notions of absolute Monarchy, Tyranny, and Persecution. We shall not be a Monarch’s Slaves, but a Slave’s Slaves, for such he is to Priests and Jesuits. A holy Office of Inquisition would soon be established, before whose dread Tribunal we must all appear; Church Lands must be restored to Popish Priests; we should see the Scum of Mankind wallowing in Riches, aud lording it over their Betters, with all the haughty Insolence of Churchmen, whilst we must crouch beneath their Feet, and never presume to contradict or question one Syllable of what they say; for certain as we do, we should be hurried to a Bishop’s Dungeon, or Inquisition Prison, there to pine on Bread and Water, and ever now and then to taste the Torments of a Rack, till, out of Compassion to our Sufferings, the merciful Priests should condescend to put an End to our Pains, by exposing us to the Crowd on a Wheel, or exalted Gibbet, as Traitors to God and his holy Ambassadors, and Blasphemers against his Word, thereby to deter the rest of Mankind from presuming to offend a Priest.

Were we, on the other hand, to be subdued by his present Majesty, were he to gain an absolute Power over us, we should still be governed by the Temporal Arm; which, compared to the Ecclesiastic, is Liberty indeed. We should have on the Throne a Prince, whose Laws would be absolute, but whose Will is mild; who, though truly pious, is not to be Priest-ridden, or swayed by Edition: current; Page: [151]superstitious Fears: A Monarch whose Principles make him averse to Persecution, and whose Fault (if I may presume to charge him with any) is a Temper too much inclined to Mercy; of which we have had so many, and such conspicuous Examples, that ’twould be needless to quote any. Had he been less compassionate, this Conspiracy would not probably ever have been formed; doubtless several of the Chief would have been taken off at the Time of the Preston Rebellion, and the ungrateful Wretches would not have had it in their Power to have attempted against the Life of a Prince, to whose Mercy they owe their own.

But, thank Heaven, we have not the least Reason, the least Grounds to apprehend any such thing. What Attempts have been made towards it? Whose Properties has his Majesty seized upon? What Alteration has he made in our Religion? Whom has he persecuted? Whose Heritage has he plundered, and whom has he unjustly put to Death? Far from it, he has always been tender of the Liberty of the Subject, has always shunned the least Occasion of giving us any Umbrage. When the Bill for better preserving us from the Plague, and for building Barracks, was passed and signed, what Prince but himself would have parted with the extensive Power given him in it? and yet when his Majesty was informed that his Subjects were uneasy at it, when he had seriously considered and found that the Power given him there might touch their Liberties, if he pleased to make an ill Use of it, how readily did he give it up! the Parliament had another Sessions chiefly for the Repeal of that Bill, and it was at the Desire of his Majesty, and by the Interest of his Ministry, that it was repealed.

When a Man has ignorantly been led into wrong Measures, the best, the wisest, the most honourable thing he can do, as soon as he opens his Eyes, is to abandon his wicked Companions, and, as much as in him lies, to make Atonement for the Mischief he may have done. This at present is our Case; the Monkey has too long made use of the Cat’s Paw: By artfully spreading the Poison amongst us, they have made us the loudest in the Clamours raised against the best of Edition: current; Page: [152]Kings, and the wisest of Ministers. But e’er yet it be too late, let us convince them, that we tread in their dangerous Footsteps only whilst we are hood-winked, and that having recovered the Light of Reason, we all unanimously join against the common Enemies of our Country, of our Religion, and of our Liberties; and that we will never bow down our Necks to a bigotted Fugitive, or court the Yoke of Superstition and Slavery. We were upon the Brink of Ruin, and just ready to throw ourselves down the Precipice; but let the Danger of the Fall, and the Horror which presents itself before our Eyes, warn us, whilst yet ’tis time, to fly the Destruction which would inevitably attend us.

As for those infatuated Wretches, with whom solid Argument has no Weight, who shut their Eyes lest they should see, or who are obstinately bent to pursue their destructive Purposes, let such, if they won’t give themselves Time to reflect on their own Ruin, but for a Moment consider what they entail upon their Posterity, and I dare say it will fright them into Reason, and shock them into Understanding: Beggary, Ignorance, and Slavery will be the undoubted Portion of their Children, and they may account themselves happy if they are allowed to enjoy these unmolested.

The Noble ought to consider that he will soon be upon a Level with the very Scum of the World; for besides protecting Cardinals, Confessors, and such like People, who often rise from the Dunghill, let him turn his Eyes upon the mock Monarch’s Court, and see Titles conferred upon base-born Beggars, Persons adorned with Robes and Garters, who were born to Liveries and Shoulder-knots, zealous Persecutors made Prime Ministers, and unskilled Attornies at once leaping into the Chancellor’s Seat. Let our Commoners remember, that they must never more expect to represent their Country; for what has an absolute Monarch to do with Parliaments? Their Estates will be taken from them to reward those who, in the worst of Times, as they call it, have been true to his Cause; or suppose they should not, all the Church Lands, which are half the Lands of the Kingdom, must be restored; and of what remains, twenty Shillings in the Pound would not suffice Edition: current; Page: [153]to pay the Interest of the Chevalier’s Debts. The Merchant, who has ventured his Life, and all his Wealth upon the tempestuous Seas, returning home, must, after the Example of some of our Neighbours, unlade his Treasure in the Royal Storehouses, and be content with what Part of it his Monarch pleases to give him. The Soldier must rest at home in inglorious Ease, and if there be a War, must see fawning Cowards enjoy those Places of Honour which are due to his Valour, for such doubtless would be his Favourites. What else can be expected from one, who when he had an Army more numerous than that by which he was opposed, and had not a single Foot of Land to stake against three Kingdoms, yet would not draw a Sword, or venture one Combat, for the glorious Prize? And what Man of true Valour would fight for such a one?

Let a Man of Learning consider, that in such Days Learning would be a capital Crime, and that nothing less than Fire and Faggot would be the Reward of one who would pretend to understand the Scriptures, or to have them by him in his Mother-Tongue. Let the Oppressed, and those who would seek Protection under a Monarch’s Wing, reflect, what Compassion, what paternal Love he could have for his People, who has none for his Child; an Infant who never was capable of offending him, but whom he would have exposed* to the Rage of a Civil War, that he might have continued safe at home.

Is there a Man truly devout, or that has one Grain of Religion in him, that will stand up for one bred in Italian Superstition, or a true Englishman, who desires a King nursed up in French Politics? The Man who really loves his Country and Fellow-subjects, cannot want to see them governed by one, who has all his Life-time been taught to look upon them as Traitors.

But here is another Set of People, amongst whom I could heartily wish that there were none in this Interest, because their Influence over the Minds of the People is very great; I mean our Clergy. I will not pretend to point out any particular Persons amongst them, and if Edition: current; Page: [154]I do suspect any, I heartily wish I may wrong them; but if there be any such, how great must their Infatuation be? Can they pretend to be Ministers of God’s Word, and want to see that Word abolished? for such in effect it would be, and its Place usurped by human Tradition. Can they stile themselves zealous Protestants, and want to put themselves under the Government of a Romish Bigot? Can they cry out, that the Church is in Danger, and yet endeavour to bring in a Papist to rescue and defend her; the very Fundamentals of whose Religion teach him, that ’tis his Duty to destroy it, and believes that neglecting an Opportunity of doing it would be Damnation eternal.

What End therefore can any mistaken Reverend Zealot propose to himself in an Attempt of this Nature? his Interest probably; for, say they, the Church Lands would then be restored to us. True, they would be restored, but not to them. The Chevalier would bring over Priests enough to take double Possession of all our Livings, were the Number of them double, and the abounding Convents would swarm with preaching Monks and Jesuits; but not a Member of the Church of England must expect any Preferment, not even if they should renounce their own Religion, and embrace the Catholic. Indeed, should there happen to be some petty Cure, unworthy the Acceptance of an old staunch Believer, the Proselyte might hope to come in for it; but that’s the highest he must ever aim at.

To convince them that this is not a new-started Notion, I will take the Liberty of quoting a Fact which happened in the Year 853, with the Opinion of the Ecclesiastics of those Days, relating to the Usage they must expect from a Prince of a different Persuasion, The Story is this, ‘Amand, King of Sweden, having, by his tyrannical Government, justly enraged his Subjects against him, they rose and drove him out of the Kingdom, and called in Olaus, a pious Prince, to reign in his stead. This Olaus being converted to the Christian Faith by Ansgarius, afterwards Bishop of Bremen, took care that this Doctrine should be preached in his Dominions, and to that End called in some few Priests, whom he took under his Protection, and, who settling Edition: current; Page: [155]at Upsal, formed a Convent, or kind of little University.

‘Mean while the Heathens of that City began loudly to inveigh against the Christians, as having interrupted their Sacrifices (for they had a miraculous Idol at Upsal, to which they were wont to sacrifice human Creatures) and the Minds of the Superstitious were poisoned with the Danger of their Religion, tho’ no Force had ever been used to make them embrace the Christian Faith. The Agents of Amand took Care to foment these Discontents, and managed their Affairs so very dextrously, that they at last won over even those infatuated Priests to their Party, who blindly embracing the Notion of Amand’s being their lawful Sovereign, preached up the Doctrine of Hereditary and Indefeasible Right. At length, but too late, they opened their Eyes, and saw their Folly; then it was they would willingly have atoned for past Crimes; and thoroughly convinced of their Error, they presented a Kind of Address to Olaus, to the Sense of which I have directly kept close, though I have somewhat altered the barbarous Phrase, and dressed it up in a modern Stile,’

To his Highness Prince Olaus, King of the Swedes and Goths; The humble Address of the Ecclesiastics residing at Upsal, under the Protection of his Highness.

REflecting on our former Crimes, ’tis with Shame and Confusion we approach the Throne of your Highness; but if a sincere Repentance, and a hearty Resolution of Amendment can make us find Grace in your Sight, none of your rebelling Subjects shall be better intitled to your Pardon. We confess, Great Sir, that we have endeavoured the Subversion of your Government, and joining with your Enemies, have used our utmost Arts to bring in a bigotted Pretender. Strange Infatuation! that we should have been so blind to Reason, to the Dictates of Religion, and to our own Interest! for had we compassed our Ends, what could we have proposed to ourselves? How ridiculous is it Edition: current; Page: [156]to think that a Heathen Tyrant would protect the Christian Faith, or that he would maintain us in the Enjoyment of the Property which your Highness has bestowed upon us. Far from it, our holy Scriptures would have been trampled upon, the Priests of the Idol would have taken Possession of what we now have, and all that we could hope, for having been instrumental in settling the Crown upon the Tyrant’s Head, would be the Favour of being the last sacrificed to the Idol,

Full of these Sentiments we beg Leave to approach your Highness, and to assure you, that our future Doctrines shall, in some measure, atone for our past. We have indeed usurped a Province which in no wise belonged to us, and neglecting the Business of true Pastors, and the Concern of Souls, we have busied our Heads with Politics, and taken upon us to act as Ministers of State; a Fault which we never more would be guilty of, did we not in Conscience think ourselves obliged to set the Minds of those People to rights, whom we have led astray, and to remove the dangerous Notions which we have inculcated in the Youth committed to our Care. This done, we will always content ourselves with preaching the pure Christian Faith, and carefully instructing your Subjects in it, always remembring that we have nothing to do with the Kingdom of this World.

The Hopes we have of being intirely freed from those who shall prove actually guilty, is no small Joy to the Well-wishers of the Government. Layer, who has been a principal Agent in the Conspiracy, you know, lies under Sentence of Death; and as, ’tis said, that he has not been very ingenuous in his Confession, ’tis generally believed that he will at last be executed. Plunket has been found guilty, and he will be imprisoned during the Pleasure of his Majesty, his Heirs and Successors, and ’tis made Felony for him to attempt to escape, or for any one to assist him in such an Attempt, and what he has is confiscated, Kelly’s Fate is the same; and the Bishop, ’tis probable, will be deprived of his Ecclesiastical Revenues, and banished.

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There are some who love to make a Noise at every Measure that is taken against Conspirators, and therefore ’tis no Wonder that proceeding against him, by way of Bill, should be clamoured at, though it was the Method those very Persons would lately have had used against the South Sea Directors. I know that you are well versed in old Law-Cases, and therefore I will not trouble you with the many Precedents that former Reigns have furnished us with, of Proceedings in this Manner; and indeed it is very necessary, that extraordinary Steps should sometimes be taken in Cases of Treason, without which a Nation never will be safe. I will not say that our Laws are deficient, but in some Cases they are too tender; and it is very possible for Wretches to compass and imagine the Ruin of their King and Country, and yet to screen themselves from what is called a legal Conviction. But in this Case it proves otherwise, and those who have been loudest in their Clamours, against such a Way of Proceeding, have since owned, that there was Evidence enough to convict any of them in a common Court of Justice, and that the Punishment inflicted on them was too small for their Crimes.

I will not trouble you any farther. I hope by this time that you are pretty well convinced, that we have too long been in Error; and do not let Pity for those, who would have shewn you none, move your Heart: Or, to arm your Mind with Resentment against Traitors, remember that, if you can forget the Injury that might be intended to you in particular, a British Soul ought never to forgive an Attempt to ruin his Country. ’Tis not our Cause only, but the glorious Cause of LIBERTY that we fight. LIBERTY, in the Defence of which so much Blood has already been shed, such Sums have been spent; LIBERTY, which if we could not procure for ourselves, would be cheap bought for our Posterity with the Loss of our Lives; without which, Grandeur is nothing more than golden Fetters, Riches Beggary, and Life a State far worse than Death. But I need not dwell any longer upon this Subject, to one who knows the Value of it so very well, whose Birth and Principles have long since inculcated Edition: current; Page: [158]that old Roman Maxim in him, That Slavery is worse than Death, and that to live is to be free. I am,

SIR,
Your humble Servant,
CATO.

POSTSCRIPT.

SINCE my setting down to write this Letter, there has been published a Report of the House of Lords, which I have also taken Care to send you, and which was made by the Duke of Dorset, and a Committee of six other Temporal, and two spiritual Lords. And can any Man in his Senses now doubt of the Truth of a Plot, when both Houses have concurred thus unanimously in acknowledging one, and proceeding against the Offenders? When the Facts have been enquired into by Men of such Sense, Justice, Honour, and Probity, and again confirmed by them in a judicial Capacity. I would have you carefully read over the Appendix, annexed to this last Report, and observe what is contained in the Papers taken about the Officers who were seized by Captain Scott on board the Revolution; and by these you will find most of those Things, which were only suggested in the first Report, absolutely confirmed.

But there has happened one Thing, which has gone farther in satisfying the Incredulous, and bringing them over to Reason. You know it was every where whispered by those who wish so, that the King had not Evidence sufficient legally to convince these Men; and as they have managed it, he did indeed not want any. In the Defence which they made, they thought fit to call their Evidences; but such, that out of their own Mouths they might have been condemned. What manifest Perjuries, what direct Contradictions, and what notorious Falshoods were heard from them? they have opened the Eyes of half the Blind; and indeed so very true is that Remark of Ovid’s, Heu! quam difficile est Crimen non prodere———Some Edition: current; Page: [159]of them in the Height of their Defence, and when they have been endeavouring to justify themselves, have accused themselves more effectually than all the King’s Counsel could have done. Such may ever be the Fate of Traitors! Whilst they are endeavouring the Ruin of their Country, may they compass their own, and in attempting to enslave us, let them lose their Liberties!

I had almost forgot to take Notice of one Thing, and that is, if I may be permitted the Expression, the unprecedented Lenity shewn to those who stand accused of Treason. Several amongst them, who had a considerable Share in the Plot, and who, in any other Reign, would have been sent to Newgate, have been so far indulged as to be committed to the Tower. Those amongst them, who would have been unable to have supported themselves in a Prison, have been kept at a Messenger’s House, and there fed at the Government’s Charges; and those against whom there were very strong Suspicions, but no direct Proofs, have been admitted to Bail, and in Effect restored to Liberty, barely upon giving a pecuniary Security, that if called upon they would make their Appearance.

There is another Piece of Lenity which has been shewn them, and that is the extreme Patience with which they have been heard. It is indeed, you will say, but reasonable, when a Man’s All is concerned, that he should be allowed to plead in Defence of his Property; I own it, and whenever Justice has been strictly executed, great Regard has been had to Men in their Circumstances; but, at the same time, Care has always been taken that they should keep close to the Point in making what Defence they could, but never were allowed to amuse or trifle with a Court. Yet in the Case of these Criminals, not one, but several Days have been taken up with their Defence, and the Evasions and trifling Arguments they have made use of; and this, not before a common Court of Justice, but our supreme Court of Judicature. If any thing farther, that’s material, relating to this Conspiracy, should offer, you may depend upon hearing from me very speedily again.

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Royal Gallantry: or, the Amours of a certain K--g of a certain Country, who kept his C--rt at a certain Place, much in the same Latitude with that of W-st-m-nst-r, related in the unhappy Adventures of Palmiris and Lindamira; in which the Characters of Tersander and Cæsarina are vindicated from the Aspersions that have been, or may be, cast upon them; and the unfortunate Death of the former set in a true Light. Done from the French, by Cato.
Anno 1723.

Ego intus & in cute novi.

IT is a standing Maxim with a great Number of People, that the evil Actions of K--gs ought never to be exposed; but the Justice of such a Notion I shall leave to the Determination of every impartial Reader: For once, however, I shall beg leave to transgress their Rule, that I may faithfully relate an Adventure, in which, should I offer to draw a Veil over the Actions of a certain M-n-rch, I must, in every Circumstance, depart from the Truth.

Palmiris, a Gentleman of an ancient English Family, losing his Father and Mother very young, found himself, when he came to Age, Master of an affluent Fortune. A Desire of travelling, natural to one of his Years, soon made him quit his native Shore, and the Kingdom of France was the first his Curiosity led him to, whose Scepter was then swayed by St. Louis. It was much Edition: current; Page: [161]about the Time this pious Monarch was preparing for an Expedition to the Holy Land, with a Design to assist all the Eastern Christians, and Palmiris determined to accompany him thither, not so much out of Piety, for he was too young for any serious Thought of that Nature, but out of a Desire of signalizing himself by some glorious Action.

To this End he appeared at the Court of France with an Equipage becoming his Quality and Fortune, and was extremely well received by the King and both the Queens; nor was it long before he found himself in the good Graces of the Ladies, and indeed how could he miss of being a Favourite amongst them! He was complaisant, generous and gallant, and equally indebted to Nature for the Beauties of his Body and the Endowments of his Mind. Several of them formed Designs upon his Heart; and as he was far from being of a savage Temper, as many as would fall in with him his own Way, had no Reason to complain of him. But Death and Love are two fatal Deities, whose Power every one must sooner or later feel. Palmiris had not long enjoyed the Pleasure of intriguing with the French Ladies, before he saw the beauteous Lindamira; he saw and loved her, but loved her to Madness, even to Marriage-Madness. On the other hand, Lindamira looked upon him as an agreeable Lover, as well as a Man who was able to raise her to that Fortune she so justly deserved; for her Friends, though Persons of Quality, had lived in a very extravagant Manner, and found themselves utterly unable to give her a Fortune.

Often would she think of the Advances made her by Palmiris, and one while fancy they were only the Effect of an habitual Gallantry; and at another time, that his Designs perhaps were not honourable, Then would she consider, if she did marry him, she must resolve to abandon her native Country, but this she found would be no great Difficulty to her, and she wished that there was no other Obstacle to prevent it: On the other hand, Palmiris felt as many Disquiets; he feared that Lindamira would never love him well enough to forsake her Friends, her Country, and her Relations, to follow him; another time he dreaded, that if she should abandon all for him, not Edition: current; Page: [162]Love, but Interest, might be the Motive of her doing it; and that it was not his Person but his Estate that she liked.

Our Lover resolved to come to an Eclaircissement with her, and frankly told her his Mind; she answered him in so very ingenuous a Manner, that he was both satisfied and inflamed, and he pressed her that Moment to compleat his Happiness, by letting the Priest join them: She consented, their Majesties approved the Match, the Nuptials were celebrated with a great deal of Pomp and Magnificence, and their Majesties honoured them with their Presence.

Our Lovers now thought themselves completely happy; but alas! how short is the Date of human Happiness? The King was not to embark for this Expedition of three Months, and in that Time Palmiris determined to return to Eng—d, and put his Lindamira in Possession of his Estate, that if any Accident should befal him in the Holy War, no body might dispute her Title to it. Full of this Resolution they took their Leaves of the King, Queens, and all their Friends; and leaving the Court of France they landed in Eng—nd, just that Day Month after the Consummation of their Marriage.

At his Arrival, Palmiris waited upon the K--g of Eng—d, and presented Lindamira to him. I shall slightly pass over this Source of their reciprocal Misfortunes, and barely say that the M-n--ch thought her too beautiful, for the first time he saw her he admired her, nor was he satisfied in doing it himself, but every body round him must admire her too; he was lavish in her Praise, and the Courtiers who knew his amorous Disposition, were soon convinced that Lindamira was far from being indifferent to him.

The next Morning he sent to know whether a Visit from him would not be troublesome: Lindamira little suspected the Motive of his acting thus, but thought that it was all Complaisance to the Wife of the noble Palmiris, and one who was a Stranger in that Kingdom, She therefore returned a very respectful Answer, and held herself in a Readiness to receive him, though she made no Preparations for his Reception; she did not Edition: current; Page: [163]deck herself to look lovely in his Eye, her whole Aim and Ambition being only to please her dear Palmiris.

Satisfied with her Answer, the M-n--ch flew to her House with all the eager Haste of an impatient Lover (for such he was already and though naturally very bold, yet when he came in her Presence, her Beauty and his own Love intirely dashed him, and he was not able to utter one Word of what he had just before resolved to say; all he could do was to praise the Choice of Palmiris, and tell her that he himself would take such Care to make his Court and Country agreeable to her, that he hoped she would never entertain the least Thought of leaving them; and to all his Compliments and Promises, she answered with so much Wit and Modesty, that it still further inflamed the M-n--ch’s Heart.

The next Day he sent to invite her to a Ball, given by the Princess Cæsarina his Sister; and at the same time a very fine Set of Rubies and Diamonds in his Sister’s Name, who invited her, in the most obliging Manner she could, to come that Evening to the Ball she gave, and to come dressed in those Jewels she sent her. Lindamira was not accustomed to Adventures of this Kind, and was at a Loss how to behave herself; but at length reflecting that this might be wholly an Action of the Princess, she accepted the Present, and appeared in it that very Night.

It was no Wonder that a Person made as Lindamira was, should be adored by all that saw her. Her Face was truly oval; her Eyes were large, black, and sparkling, full of Life and Fire; her Hair too was black, and fell in large Ringlets on her snowy Neck; her Nose was beautifully turned; in her Cheeks were the Roses and Lillies blended; her Chest was full, and might for Colour vie with the driven Snow; her Shape was one of the finest and easiest that ever was seen, and her Gait at once majestic and genteel. Such was the beauteous Lindamira, and such she appeared at Court. Cæsarina perceived her Brother’s good Will towards her (for such only at that time she took it to be) and to make her Court, she scarce ever passed an Evening without sending for Lindamira: The K--g never failed being at his Sister’s Apartment, where he saw his fair Charmer, but he never Edition: current; Page: [164]offered to talk to her of Love, and she alas! little mistrusted his Thoughts or Design.

Things were upon this Foot when Palmiris received an Express from the King of France, to acquaint him that he was just preparing to embark. This News extremely afflicted Lindamira, and grieved Palmiris too, who could not unconcerned behold the Sorrow of one who was so dear to him; one by whom he was so dearly loved; the Thoughts of parting with her was almost Death to him, and yet he was obliged to do it; his Honour was engaged to follow Louis to the Holy Land.

What passed between this loving Couple at their Parting, would be something foreign to my Purpose. Suffice it that nothing could comfort Lindamira for the Absence of her dear Palmiris. Cæsarina went to see her, but even Cæsarina’s coming did but increase her Sorrow. As for the K--g’s Part, nothing could exceed his Joy at the setting out of a Man whom he looked upon as his happy Rival; the oftener he reflected on his Merit, the more he hated him: However, to dissemble a little longer, he went to see Lindamira, and pretended that he was extremely grieved at the going of her Husband.

Lindamira was breeding when Palmira went, and even sicker than Women generally are at such a Time: This, joined to the Grief of parting with her Husband, threw her into a violent Fever; her Royal Lover sent all his Physicians to her, and was himself going every Hour of the Day to enquire how she did; in short, such Care was taken of her, that the K--g soon had the Satisfaction of hearing by the Physicians that she was intirely out of Danger; but though her Sickness wore off, yet did the Cause of it, her Grief, remain; every Method that could be thought of was used to divert her, but she refused being present at any of the prepared Diversions.

Things did not long continue in this State. The K--g’s Love daily increased, and he no longer was obliged to lay himself under any Constraint on account of Palmiris, who was already at a sufficient Distance. Upon this he resolved to make the Fair-one acquainted with his Sentiments, and thinking that Lindamira would be with Cæsarina, he went and found her there: ‘How Edition: current; Page: [165]long, Madam, said he, shall we see that Melancholly in your Looks; and how little does he deserve it who is the Cause of it! Had I the Happiness of being thus loved, I should not have thought of quitting———.’ Hold, my Liege interrupted Lindamira, you injure Palmiris now; and could he break his Promise, and forfeit his Honour; a Promise given, an Honour engaged too before he was mine, I should think him unworthy of my Love. ‘Consider what you say, Madam, replied the K--g, Should you think that Man unworthy of your Love, who doated on you to such a Degree, that for your Company he could forget all Ties, all Obligations, and make it his whole Happiness to spend his Time at your Feet.’ I have already told you my Thoughts on this Matter, replied Lindamira, I am heartily grieved that Palmiris ever engaged himself to accompany King Louis in his Expedition; but after such an Engagement, I should have been more grieved had he staid with me. But let us drop a Discourse which can by no means be agreeable to me. As she said this she left him, and went close up to Cæsarina’s Bed, and notwithstanding that he followed her, yet could he not all that Evening, nor for several Days after, find an Opportunity of speaking to her in private, for Lindamira began to be too sensible of his Design, and her whole Study was how to avoid him.

This Method succeeded but a very little while, the M-n--ch, who was naturally very hasty, could not brook the frequent Disappointments he met with, and finding that Lindamira, whenever she saw him, mixed with Company, he came up to her, and made Signs for every body else to retire, and he soon convinced the Fair-one, that if good Words would not prevail, he would make use of violent Means. The two first Times, indeed, he spoke to her of Love, he pleaded his Cause like a Lover, but the third Time he put on the Master, and let her see he would be hearkened to. You would have me bestow my Heart upon you, said she one Day to him that he had been threatening, but it is not in my Power to give it you, I have already bestowed it on my Palmiris, and for him will I ever reserve it. As for my Life, it is in your Power, you may dispose of it just as you please, my Heart is my own; you see, Sir, I Speak my Mind boldly, nor need I fear violating Edition: current; Page: [166]my Duty in so doing, I am not born your Subject. ‘But you are become my Subject, replied the King hastily, by marrying a Subject of mine, and one on whom I will revenge your Cruelty.’ He is at such a Distance, replied Lindamira, that I need not much fear your Threats; and, as for my Part, I believe I might spend my Time, during his Absence much more agreeably in France than I possibly can in Eng—d. ‘I am glad I know your Intent, replied the K--g, I shall find Means of disappointing it;’ and calling Tersander, one of the Captains of his Guards, he ordered him, on pain of his Life, strictly to watch Lindamira.

I am a Prisoner then, cried the Fair-one? ‘No, Madam, said the M-n--ch, you may go wherever you please about this Court or City, only Tersander shall always accompany you with twenty Guards, but at such a Distance, that they shall rather seem meant for Honour than Confinement.’ This Proceeding very much surprised and grieved Lindamira; and Tersander, whose Quality and Merits were very great, was really afflicted at being employed on so ungrateful a Task, nor could he forbear letting Lindamira know with how much Reluctancy he obliged the King his Master.

Cæsarina being informed of what her Brother had done, was very much surprised at it; she was not unacquainted with his hasty Temper, but did not think that his Passion could have hurried him on to so extravagant an Action. She went to see Lindamira, who complained to her of the Violence used towards her, and the Princess promised that she would use her utmost Instances to the King her Brother to have her set at Liberty again.

Mean while the fair Captive was very strictly guarded, but, however, with so much Respect, that had she been a Queen, Tersander could not possibly have shewn her more; at first Compassion and Civility were the Motives of his behaving himself thus towards her, but it was not long before he found himself more nearly concerned for her. Lindamira was young, was beautiful, was unfortunate, this was enough to touch the Heart of the generous Tersander: However, his Passion did not in the Beginning alarm him, he was really ignorant of it, and for a long time believed his Concern the Effect of Edition: current; Page: [167]Pity; a Pity which Lindamira deserved, and which he therefore indulged, insomuch that he did not perceive his Love, till it was grown to such a Height, it was no longer in his Power to banish or suppress it. All that he could do was firmly to resolve to hide his Passion from the beauteous Lindamira for ever.

Whilst Tersander thus privately languished for the Fair-one, the King constantly visited her every Day, and sometimes made use of Intreaties, at other times of Threats; but they both produced the same Effect, and conspired to make him the more hated; and she had determined, in case any Violence should be offered her, to put an End to her miserable Life; nor did she scruple intrusting Tersander with her Design, whose Merit and Generosity she was not unacquainted with, and he, charmed with the Confidence she reposed in him, promised her that he would leave no Means untried to divert his Master from the Execution of his unjust Designs. Lindamira thanked him in so civil and so obliging a Manner, that it touched his Soul. ‘Fear nothing, Madam, said he, such Virtue will be the immediate Care of Heaven, who will never abandon you to the Fury of a—, and should your Life be in Danger, I shall know no Master.’

You are too generous, replied Lindamira, but it would be base in me to abuse so much good Nature, nor will I ever suffer you to expose your Life and Fortune for an unhappy Wretch; no, Tersander, you must live and be faithful to your Master, whilst I die innocent of the Ruin of so brave a Man. ‘I have already told you, Madam, replied Tersander, that I shall not think any Man my Master, who can be base enough to attempt any thing against the Life and Honour of so deserving a Lady, in whose Defence, had I a thousand Lives, I would sacrifice them all.’ He added several other Things to the same Purpose, and then informed her, That he was not born a Subject of the King of England’s, but was a Native of Scotland; he conjured her therefore not to disquiet herself with Fears of what might happen; for if there should be any Likelihood of the King’s using Violence, he would take care to favour her Escape, which he might easily do, since the Guards round her were all intirely Edition: current; Page: [168]devoted to him. Mean while he would go and make sure of a Vessel on board which they might fly. Lindamira thanked him as he deserved, and having accepted his Offer, she desired it might not be delayed, and left him to go to prepare every thing for her Flight,

Pursuant to her Promise, Cæsarina spoke to her Brother, and urged every thing that she could think of to make him behave himself in another manner towards Lindamira. She represented the Noise his Treatment would make in all Foreign Courts, especially in that of France; that she had been brought up near the Queen Dowager Blanche, at present Regent of that Kingdom, who esteemed her in the highest Degree imaginable: But all that Cæsarina could urge was in vain, and she was forced to rest satisfied with having fulfilled her Promise, though she found she could do nothing for the Service of her Fair Friend.

The French Ambassador at the Eng—sh Court happened to be pretty nearly related to Lindamira; upon which he went to the K—g, and desired to know the Reasons why the Fair-one was confined, and in what she had offended. This Pr—ce answered, That he was accountable to no one for his Actions. The Ambassador replied, That she was a Native of France, and that consequently the King his Master must interest himself in her Cause: She has lost that Quality, answered the M—n—rch, in marrying a Subject of mine, she is herself become mine, and if she offends, ’tis in my Power to punish her as I please; as he said this, he turned his Back upon the Ambassador, and left him extremely grieved, that it was not in his Power to serve his Fair Kinswoman.

Before the K—g came to the last Extremity with Lindamira, he sent for an Aunt of her Husband’s, by Name Circe; well knowing, that to debauch a Woman there was nothing like another Woman, and she was one of those who think that every thing ought to be sacrificed to one’s Fortune, and that a Cr—ned Lover ought never to sigh in vain. This was the Tool this Pr—nce made use of, and having given her Instructions, she flew to her Niece’s: Never, said she, was I more surprized, than at the News of your Disgrace. Is there any thing Edition: current; Page: [169]that I can do for your Service? I can assure you I shall think nothing a Trouble that will by any means conduce to your Quiet. I thank you, Madam, replied Lindamira; ’tis very good of you thus to visit the Distressed. I come not only to visit you, replied Circe, but to advise you too, your Misfortunes have troubled me; Heaven knows! I could not love you dearer were you my own Child.

Circe’s Protestations of Friendship drew the Tears into Lindamira’s Eyes, and the subtle Aunt seeing her moved; You are unhappy, Child, said she, but you yourself are the chief Cause of your Unhappiness; you have behaved yourself too haughtily towards the K—g, and in Prudence you ought to have kept upon better Terms with one who has an absolute Power in his Hands. The very Motive which induced you to it, ought to have made you behave yourself in a quite different Manner; ’twas because you love your Husband, and yet you ruin both his Fortune and your own. I know the Merits of being strictly faithful and virtuous; yet for the Sake of appearing so to the whole World, we ought not to ruin ourselves, we ought rather to behave ourselves with Prudence and Mildness; even Palmiris, your beloved Palmiris, for whose Sake you do all this, will not thank you for having made the King his Enemy; he has some private Reasons for desiring to keep a good Understanding with him, such as may not perhaps be fit to be told his Wife.

If they are not, replied Lindamira hastily, you would do better not to mention them at all; however, I must beg the Liberty, Madam, of saying, that you do not thoroughly know my Palmiris, he is a Man of Honour, he sincerely loves me; and therefore, I am sure he will be well satisfied with my Behaviour, and if not, I shall at least have Reason to be satisfied myself, in knowing that I have performed my Duty.

I see, replied Circe, that you are obstinately resolved to maintain the Justness of your Proceeding; but I have Charity enough at once to undeceive you, by letting you know, that when your Husband left Eng—nd, he was desperately in Love with the Princess Cæsarina, nor was his Love despised. No body, I am sure, can Edition: current; Page: [170]better be acquainted with the Truth of this Amour than myself, since I carried all the Letters that passed between them. I hope, interrupted Lindamira, her Cheeks glowing, that for the future they will employ some body whom they can better trust, and who will not make it their Business to reveal Secrets which are not so much as enquired after. Your Reproach seems very just, replied Circe; but I can assure you, my Dear, I would not discover them to any one else, nor even to you, had it not moved my Compassion to see you ruin yourself for an ungrateful Wretch, who does not deserve your Love. You call that Compassion, replied Lindamira, which in effect is the greatest Cruelty: No, had you had any Pity, you would have concealed a Thing from me, which whilst I was ignorant of, could never injure me; but the Knowledge of which must certainly make me miserable.

As she spoke these last Words, one of Cæsarina’s Servants came to tell her, that his Mistress was just coming to see her. This Name caused some Emotion in Lindamira, and filled Circe with Fear, lest her Niece should mention their Conversation to the Princess; upon this she resolved to retire, and recommending Secrecy to Lindamira, she told her, that the next time she came to see her, she would bring with her some of the Letters which passed between them, and as she said this, she left the Fair-one, who returned her no Answer, but threw herself upon the Bed, and a Moment after Cæsarina came up, and having caressed her, gave her an Account of what she had urged to her Brother in her Favour; Lindamira thanked her, but so very faintly, that the Princess found she must be ill, and rising, she drew near the Bed, and went to feel her Pulse, she found her without any Sign of Life; for it so struck Lindamira to the Heart, to think she had been obliged to thank her Rival, that through Grief she swooned away; the Princess called for Help, and upon the Application of proper Remedies, she was brought to herself again.

Nothing could exceed Cæsarina’s Concern, to see her fair Friend thus afflicted, and she accused her Brother’s Severity for what had happened; but was far from suspecting the real Cause of this immoderate Grief; little did she think that Lindamira looked upon her as a happy Edition: current; Page: [171]Rival, who had robbed her of a Heart, the Possession of which only could make her happy; the more the Princess endeavoured to serve and assist her, the greater was her Grief. Unhappy Effects of Jealousy, that the best and most friendly Actions should thus appear odious to the Eyes of the Jealous!

As Lindamira was very faint and weak, the Physicians who had been called in, acquainted the Princess, that a longer Visit would be of dangerous Consequence, and that if any thing, Repose must do her good. Upon this, she embraced the beauteous Distressed, conjuring her not to give such way to Grief, and assuring her, that she would leave no Means untried that might restore her Liberty; Lindamira, unable to answer, pressed her Hand, and the Princess left her. As soon as she was gone, she desired that every body else might leave her, which they did, no one staying with her but the faithful Belisinda, her Nurse’s Daughter, one whom from her Infancy she had retained in her Service, and who had always been the Confident of her most secret Affairs.

Lindamira now seeing herself at Liberty, began loudly to complain of her Misfortunes, which before scarce deserved that Name. Is it possible, Palmiris, said she, that thou should’st prove faithless to me? Could not all my Love preserve me your Heart? That Heart in which is centred all my Happiness! Is it no longer mine? No, ’tis another’s now. Heavens! Can I survive the Loss? What on Earth is now worthy staying for? Happy Cæsarina! Palmiris loves you. Her Words were accompanied with such Sighs and Tears, that had even Circe, the Contriver of all this Mischief, been there, she could not, unconcerned, have heard and seen them, but moved with Compassion, she must have confessed her Falshood, and set Lindamira’s Mind at ease.

Belisinda hearing the Complaints of her Mistress, and the fresh Cause of her Grief, drew nearer to the Bed: Have you seriously reflected on the Words you are now uttering, Madam, said she, and have you certain Proofs of your Husband’s Infidelity? Too certain, replied Lindamira, he loves the Princess, and is beloved again, and Circe has promised to shew me some of the Letters which Edition: current; Page: [172]he sent by her to the Princess. You must excuse me, Madam, said Belisinda, if I cannot have an implicit Faith in all she says; nor do I see the least Probability of Truth in her Story; for had Palmiris given her Letters for the Princess, would she have dared to have kept them? Would a Lover, who has free Access to his Mistress, and who is beloved by her again, never have complained of Letters he had sent her, and to which he had received no Answer? There is certainly some Design in this Story, which, I must confess, I do not comprehend, but which Time will certainly discover. Besides, Madam, till this very Day, Circe never gave you such Assurances of her Friendship, as to persuade you that she would sacrifice the Princess to it; I very much suspect the Advice she has given you. Reflect seriously, Madam, on all she has said, and you will soon see that you have been too hasty in believing her, to the Disadvantage of your Husband. They tell you that he loves the Princess: Had he, Madam, it would have been impossible that their Amours should be a Secret. Those whom their Births and Fortunes have set up to view, in so elevated a Rank, cannot conceal their Actions from the busy prying World. Nor is this all that I can urge, Cæsarina has always behaved herself in a manner suitable to her high Station, and her Virtues have been admired by the whole Court. How many Princes and foreign Potentates have sought her Love, but sought in vain; and yet you’ll believe that she has settled her Affections upon one who never made it his Study to win her Favour; a married Man, one newly married too, and that to a beautiful young Lady who dotes on him. These Things, Madam, seem contrary to Sense and Reason.

What is contrary to Sense and Reason, replied Lindamira hastily! To love Palmiris! Yes, Madam, replied Belisinda, for the Princess to love him. If she should, I am sure I should think her destitute of Sense and Reason; and that she is not, we all know. Believe me, Madam, this must be the Effect of Circe’s Malice, for some particular View, which will one Day or other be discovered, and then, Madam, you will repent your having unjustly suspected a Husband who passionately Edition: current; Page: [173]loves you, and a virtuous Princess who is so much your Friend.

Spite of her Jealousy Lindamira was satisfied that there was a great deal of Truth in what Belisinda urged; with Patience she listened to her whole Discourse, and hoped that it was true, so fond are we of believing every thing we wish: However, she persisted in her Resolution of seeing the Letters which Circe had promised to shew her. Belisinda well pleased with the Effect her Discourse had over the Mind of her Mistress, would not, by any Means, oppose her Desire of seeing those Letters, justly believing that Circe had none to produce; and this prudent Girl timed her Discourse with so much Discretion, that she took an Opportunity of speaking of Palmiris, and the Love he bore her: What extreme Sorrow there appeared in his Looks whenever he was out of her Sight after receiving the Express from France, though in her Presence he endeavoured to conceal his Grief, that she partly restored to her Mistress that Peace of Mind which Circe had robbed her of, and being very sensible that Repose was the Thing her Mistress wanted most, she conjured her to get herself to rest, urging, that if she had no Regard to her own Life, she ought to have some for the dear Babe she was now big with.

Lindamira would willingly have followed the Advice of this faithful Girl, but the present distracted State of her Mind would not let her enjoy the least Quiet, and she spent the greatest Part of the Night in reflecting on the Words of Circe. As soon as she saw Day-light she called for her Table-Book, that she might write to her, which she did in the following Manner:

LINDAMIRA to CIRCE.

I Write to you, Madam to remind you of your Promises; compleat the Work, I beseech you, which you have begun, and convince me of the Infidelity of Palmiris. The State of Uncertainty I now live in, is ten thousand times more cruel than Death itself; to alleviate my Misfortunes you must confirm them.

Lindamira having made an End of writing gave the Letter to Belisinda, and bid her haste to Circe, and desire Edition: current; Page: [174]her to send what she mentioned in it. The trusty Messenger flew to obey the Orders of her Mistress, tho’ it was not yet a fit Hour to wait on Ladies; but she knew how impatiently Lindamira would expect an Answer, and therefore she went that Moment. At Circe’s Door she was told that she had been out of Order, and had not slept all that Night, that her Woman was in her Chamber with her, and therefore it would be impossible to receive an Answer from her, or so much as to deliver the Letter. Grieved at the Disappointment, Belisinda hastened to her Mistress, and told her of it, adding, that she believed her Aunt feigned herself ill; nor was she in the least out in her Guess, for Circe was gone to give the King an Account of the preceding Day’s Conversation.

It was with a great deal of Concern that this Prince heard what she had to relate, but not with that Concern which might be expected from a Lover; he was not disquieted at the Thoughts of having given his Mistress any Uneasiness, but was enraged to think that she should so sincerely love the Man he hated, and he immediately formed the Resolution of having Palmiris put to Death. Circe heard him with a great deal of Patience, and gave way to the first Transports of his Anger, and then began to sooth him a little; she represented that this was not the way of gaining his End and enjoying his Mistress, that they must now think of the Means of satisfying the jealous Curiosity of Lindamira, who doubtless would be very pressing to see the Letters she had mentioned; that their Business now was to get some of Palmiris’s Letters, that she might counterfeit the Hand, and feign one from him to the Princess; that to come at such a Letter they must bribe one of Lindamira’s Maids, who could probably help them to one of them; that she had lately taken an English Girl into her Service, who might, she thought, be the more easily corrupted, she being, as it were, a mere Stranger to her Mistress, besides which she knew a Gentleman in whom she could confide, and who was acquainted with this very Maid, and by their Means she hoped to compass her Ends.

The King intirely approved of her Contrivance, and that she might the better execute it without Interruption, he advised her to feign herself sick, and to keep her Edition: current; Page: [175]Chamber, that she might not be obliged to intrust any of her Women with the Secret; she promised that she would, and hastening home she sent for the Gentleman whom she designed to employ, and who, as the Writers of that Age assure us, was very intimately acquainted with her, and giving him his Instructions, she bad him hasten about the Business with all possible Speed.

Nothing could be a greater Pleasure to Orontes (for so was the Gentleman called) than the Errand on which he was sent. Two Years had he been in Love with this Maid, and had the Satisfaction of not being ill received whenever he dared go near her, but that was very seldom, so much did he dread the Jealousy of this wicked Woman, on whom he had a great deal of Dependance; but as she now gave him an Opportunity herself, he flew with eager Haste towards Cleona, and what is very natural in a Lover, he fairly discovered the whole Intrigue to her, and let her know on what Business he was employed. Cleona seemed very well pleased that he dealt thus ingenuously with her, and could not forbear expressing her Satisfaction to her Lover; but as she hated Circe, whom she looked upon as a happy Rival, she could not think of doing any thing for her Service, and therefore told him she would never consent to, much less be instrumental, in doing any treacherous thing by her Mistress; her Opinion therefore was, that Lindamira should be let into the Secret, and that Circe’s Intent should be discovered to her, by which Means they would get the Letters of her, which would be of the same Service to him, being well assured that her Mistress would keep a Secret of such Importance to herself, and that if Circe had any Mind to do him a Piece of Service, she would now have a fair Opportunity of recommending him to the King.

Her Words put Orontes into a strange Confusion, being sensible that this was all the Effect of her Jealousy, and he urged every thing which he thought might divert her from her Resolution, but all in vain; and she at length desired him to leave her, being weary of seeing him so zealous in the Service of one who was really odious to her. This Command thunder-struck Orontes, and he heartily wished that he had never undertook this Business, in which he saw himself brought to a sad Dilemma; for Edition: current; Page: [176]he must either betray one who confided in him, and on whom his Fortune depended, or for ever disoblige and lose the Object of his Wishes; he therefore said all he could to move her, but she, instead of hearkening to him, in a very imperious Manner told him, that he must either that Moment give his free Consent to what she had proposed, or resolve never to see her Face more. Orontes was obliged to comply; not only Love persuaded him to it, but he was very sensible, that she was Mistress of his Secret, and could make what Use of it she would.

Cleona, pleased with the Thoughts of his sacrificing her Rival to her, promised she would take care that his Confidence in her should never hurt him, and they then began to consider of the future Methods they must take, and of the Answer which Orontes should return; and after a little Consultation, they concluded he should go back to Circe, and tell her that all his soft Speeches and Gallantry had not had the least Effect upon Cleona; but that he had observed she was of a mercenary Temper, and might, he believed, be won by rich Presents. I do not suppose this Pair of Turtles left one another without cooing of their Love a little; but that being a thing foreign to my Purpose, I shall wholly pass it over.

As soon as Orontes was gone, Cleona ran to her Mistress’s Apartment, and informed her of all that had passed. It is impossible to express the Joy and Surprize of Lindamira at what she heard; a thousand times she embraced her, assuring her she never should forget that to her she owed the whole Quiet of her Life; she then promised her, that she would give her some of Palmiris’s Letters, and hoped, with all her Heart, they would contribute to the making of her Fortune, but that if they did not, she should always share hers. Then reflecting how unjustly she had accused her Palmiris, she begged his Pardon a thousand and a thousand times, after which she sent for Belisinda, and told her all she had heard; but Belisinda was not in the least surprised at it, she had all along believed Palmiris innocent and Circe false.

It was not long before Tersander came into her Chamber, and informed her, that Orders were given not to suffer any Courier to pass without examining his Letters: ‘I believe, Madam, said he, that you have chiefly contributed Edition: current; Page: [177]towards this Order, for they are certainly unwilling here that the Court of France should know in what manner you are treated amongst us.’ As he spoke, he observed Lindamira, but was surprized to see that, instead of appearing concerned, Joy sparkled in her Eyes, a greater Joy than she had shewn ever since the going of Palmiris. ‘Ha, Madam, said he, what happy Change can occasion this unusual Gladness? Has the King given up his Pretensions to you, and will he torment you no more?’ You mistake the Cause of my Joy, replied Lindamira, the King is still the same; but if there appears any Satisfaction in my Looks, I have good Reason to be satisfied; and such is my Esteem for you, that I shall not make you a Stranger to the Cause of it. She then related to him all the Treachery of Circe, and the Discovery of it made to her by Cleona; Tersander was shocked at the Impudence of the former, and highly commended the Fidelity of the latter; then thanked Lindamira for her Esteem, and the Confidence she reposed in him.

Mean while Orontes returned to Circe, and gave her an Account of what had been done, at least of what Cleona and he had resolved to tell her had been done, and she was very well pleased with his Negociations, pleased that Cleona would not hearken to his Gallantry and soft Speeches; and she rather chose that it should cost the King some fine Present than cost her the Heart of her Lover; for had he found Encouragement, who knew how false he might prove; Cleona was young, was lovely; how easily might she rob an old Woman of a Gallant, who had no Charms but those of Interest to retain him. Pleased therefore with his Success better than if he had succeeded, she immediately wrote to the King, acquainting him with the Negociation of Orontes, and his Report, and he sent her for an Answer, that in less than an Hour he would come to see her, which he accordingly did, and brought a little Box set round with Diamonds, as a Present for Cleona; and at the same time he told Circe he had a Design to take Orontes into his Service, and to give him some military Post.

Nothing could delight Circe more than this Assurance that her Lover would be preferred; and she dwelt a considerable time in Praise of his Merit and Fidelity; that Edition: current; Page: [178]done, she dispatched him to Cleona with the Bribe; there they agreed, that he should return and inform his Principals, that as soon as ever Lindamira was asleep, she would steal some of her Letters out of her Cabinet; and to prevent any Suspicion of there being a right Understanding between Lindamira and Cleona, Belisinda was twice sent to Circe’s House, to ask for those Letters which she had promised to shew her. The first time she was told that Circe was so very ill she could not be seen, the second she was introduced to her, and this subtle Woman assured her, that as soon as ever her Health would permit her to stir out of Doors, she would wait upon her, and would bring the Letters with her.

Mean while Cleona having got the rich Present which Orontes had brought her, hastened up to her Mistress and shewed it her, who immediately gave her two of Palmiris’s Letters. Betimes next Morning Orontes came and received them of Cleona, and carried them to Circe. Nothing could exceed the Joy of this wicked Woman at the Sight of the Letters. She immediately got a Person who was pretty well versed in that kind of Business, and having prepared a Letter for him, he copied it; and in it counterfeited the Hand of Palmiris so very artfully, that had not Lindamira been beforehand acquainted with what they were doing, she herself must have been deceived by it.

At soon as Circe was thus prepared, she went and paid Lindamira a Visit, and seeing her very much concerned, ‘I am heartily sorry, my Dear, said she, that I ever mentioned to you the Love your Husband bears the Princess; had I thought it would have given you so much Uneasiness, as I find it has since done, I am sure I never would have said a Word of it: However, I advise you to rest satisfied with what you do know; you may have the Satisfaction of sometimes thinking that I have deceived you; and of what Service would the Sight of one of his Letters be to you, unless to confirm his Falshood. Be advised, my Dear, and do not endeavour to make yourself more miserable.’ I know so much of the Matter already, replied Lindamira, that it is in vain to desire me not to enquire after more of it; do not fear therefore shewing me the Letter, which I can assure Edition: current; Page: [179]you will not make me more miserable; I have already told you that there is nothing more cruel than a State of Uncertainty. ‘Since you will have it, answered Circe, I’ll satisfy you.’ As she said this, she gave her a Letter, in which she read the following Words:

Palmiris to the Princess Cæsarina.

HOW can you suspect, my charming Princess, that another shares my Heart with you? Alas! did you know my real Sentiments, you would not thus unjustly accuse me, nor doubt the Sincerity of so violent a Passion; what shall I do to satisfy you? Shall I send Lindamira back into France? Let my divine Princess but say this would be grateful to her, and if I don’t immediately offer her this Sacrifice, I am willing that you should for ever doubt of the Love of her

PALMIRIS.

Though Lindamira knew the whole to be Invention, and a Contrivance of the wicked Circe’s, yet could she not forbear being immediately vexed at what she read; so very disagreeable is even the Mention of all Sacrifices of this Nature to Persons who really love; but recovering herself, and willing to carry on the Deceit, ‘I should, said she, have been very much obliged to the Princess, had she sent me back to France, at least, I should not have been, as at present I am, exposed to the Violence of a Prince whom I dread.’ Will you still fly into Passions, replied Circe, which are so very prejudicial to you? You not only afflict yourself, but all those about you who wish you well.

I am sorry, answered Lindamira, that I should make any one else uneasy; but to behave myself otherwise, I must be very insensible of my present Condition; I have lost my Liberty; would that were all; I have lost Palmiris too! And are those Losses to be tamely bore? No, surely I may have the Liberty of complaining, at least; nor need I care if my Complaints displease any one. I have nothing more but my Life to lose, which my Misfortunes have already made wretched, even odious to me. ‘That is your own Fault, replied Circe, and it is still in your Power to change your Misery into Happiness. You are gay, Edition: current; Page: [180]you are beautiful, you are served and adored by a potent M—n———ch: How many thousands would almost give their Lives to be in your Condition! And, who would not, like you, oppose their own Fortunes? A Time will come when you will plainly see your Fault; but perhaps that Time and Repentance will come too late. Think seriously of what I say, you know my Opinion of the Matter; I have given you the best Advice I could, and if you have any Sense, I am sure you will follow it.’ As she said this, she left her, not caring at that Time to stay for Lindamira’s Answer.

We may easily judge how Lindamira received this Advice, and what Resentment she shewed the next time Circe came to see her; but notwithstanding this, the wicked Woman would come to her House, and perpetually plague her with her pernicious Counsels, and when she found that they were far from producing the desired Effect, she went to the K—g, and told him he ought to send her to some adjacent Castle, where no body should be allowed to visit her, and where she should not so much as have any of her own Women, except Cleona, whose Fidelity she was well assured of, and by whom they might from time to time be let into her Mistress’s Sentiments; that perhaps the Desire of recovering her Liberty would make her comply; above all, the Princess, she said, must not be allowed to visit her, lest she should say any thing of the Letter to her; and that it was her Opinion, that her Guards ought to be changed, that in having all strange Faces about her, the Confinement might seem more intolerable.

I have already observed, that the K—g was of a pretty violent Temper, his frequent Disappointments had increased his Passion, and it was now inflamed by the hellish Advice of a wicked Woman; upon which he promised that he would send her to a Castle about ten Miles distant from thence, and that he would make Orontes Governor of it, where he should have an Officer and fifty Soldiers under him; that he would go and see her himself, but that he would have Circe frequently visit her, and endeavour to make her change her Sentiments. This wicked Woman promised him she would, Edition: current; Page: [181]adding, that he need not question her Service, since she had already sacrificed her own Nephew to him. The Pr—ce thanked her, and assured her, that she should not find him ungrateful.

As soon as she had left him, she sent for Orontes, and gave him an Account of his Commission, and he immediately waited upon and thanked the Giver, who ordered him to prepare every thing for his setting out in three Days time; when you are there, continued he, on pain of your Life, watch the Prisoner close, nor dare to stir out of the Castle till further Orders, and therefore ’tis I give you three Days, that you may get every thing ready which you shall have Occasion for. After this he bid him immediately hasten to Cleona, and know of her, whether as yet there was the least Alteration to be seen in her Mistress.

Orontes having received his Orders, hastened to Cleona, and told her what Measures had been taken to make her Mistress comply; upon which the frighted Maid flew up to Lindamira’s Apartment, where Tersander at that time was, and knowing how much she confided in that young Nobleman, she told her before him, what she had just heard from her Lover. Lindamira one would have thought might, by this time, be pretty well accustomed to ill Usage, nor were there any fresh Persecutions but she might have expected; but yet she was unable to bear the Shock of this, and the near Prospect she now had of her Misery, surprised and frighted her in the greatest Degree imaginable.

Tersander perceiving the Trouble of her Soul, ‘Why this Confusion, Madam, said he, ’tis no longer time to hesitate; you must resolve to fly whilst ’tis in your Power to do so, at the End of two Days more ’twould be fruitless to attempt an Escape’ Since I must, I will resolve to go, replied Lindamira, and though the Thoughts of such a precipitated Flight are very ungrateful to me, yet are they not so cutting as those of staying here in the Power of a wicked Woman, and a Man who may perhaps use me with Violence. But, alas! there is another Thought as cruel as either of them, Must you, generous Tersander, abandon every thing for the Sake of an unhappy Wretch, who will not have it in her Power to make Edition: current; Page: [182]you any Amends? Must you ruin yourself for me? Would that my Life only were in Danger, Heaven knows how joyfully I would lose it rather than——— ‘How joyfully you would lose it, Madam, interrupted Tersander, how cruelly you talk. Do you envy me the Happiness of serving you; or, do you think me unworthy of it?’

No, my Lord, replied Lindamira, I think you too worthy of it; and I must esteem you as much as I do, to be beholding to you for so important a Piece of Service, but how dear will that Service cost you, I shudder every time I think of it. ‘For Heaven’s Sake, dear Madam, answered Tersander, do not grieve thus, but be persuaded that nothing can be greater than the Satisfaction I shall feel in delivering you out of the Hands of your Enemies, and this will be more than Atonement for the little I can lose in doing it. I must beg your Pardon for a little while, I’ll hasten and prepare every thing necessary for our Flight, and in the Evening, Madam, I’ll return and give you an Account of what I have done.’

Tersander having left her, Lindamira remained in a Condition not to be expressed, nor easily to be imagined. She thought her Condition miserable indeed, to see herself under the Necessity of flying with a young Nobleman, and to leave her Enemies such a probable Story to blacken her Reputation, and destroy her Fame. This Apprehension touched her very Soul, Tersander left a fine Estate, and an honourable Post, and would a censorious World, who did not know her, think that this was only an Effect of Friendship! This was the Subject of that Evening’s Grief, but Belisinda, from whom she concealed nothing, comforted her a little; assuring her, that all Eng—nd knew what ill Usage she had met with, and therefore it would not be in the Power of her Enemies to injure her Fame. Every body knew she was confined, and what could be more natural, than an Endeavour to recover one’s Liberty; that her Reputation would be more endangered by staying with one in whose Power she was, whose Love and whose Violence were too well known, than it could be by flying with a Edition: current; Page: [183]Man, whose Virtue and Generosity few were unacquainted with.

There was so much Truth in what Belisinda said, that Lindamira could not possibly refute it; yet ’twas with Grief she found herself obliged to leave Eng—nd in that manner, and had there been any Possibility of avoiding it, without running a far greater Danger, she never would have done it, but a just Dread of what might happen, and Belisinda’s Persuasions, at length determined her to seek her Safety by Flight.

That Night Tersander returned to inform her, that by his Order the Vessel was sailed, and now lay concealed behind a Rock at some Distance from the Port, whilst the Long-boat, with six lusty Rowers, waited to carry them on board; he therefore desired her not to defer her going any longer than the next Night, and the better to conceal her Intent, he would have her feign herself very much out of Order, that no body might be surprized at her going to-bed sooner than usual. Lindamira returned him many Thanks for the Trouble he gave himself on her account, and promised that at the appointed Time she would be ready to go with him.

The Thought of leaving the Princess, who on all Occasions had been so kind, without seeing or thanking her, very much troubled Lindamira, at length she resolved to leave a Letter for her, which she immediately wrote in the following manner:

Lindamira to the Princess Cæsarina.

’TIS with the greatest Grief imaginable, Madam, I find myself obliged to fly this Country, without taking my Leave of you; I never could have done it, and would have trusted you with my Design, had I not feared that the K—g your Brother would have been incensed against you; I am fully persuaded that this great Pr—ce will again become good and just, as soon as the unfortunate Wretch, whose Miseries he has occasioned, is out of his sight; and who, notwithstanding what he has done, wishes him all Health and Prosperity. His Honour bids him forget me, mine orders me fly this dangerous Place, lest by a longer Stay, a Blemish Edition: current; Page: [184]might be cast upon it. Pity my Fate, illustrious Princess, which thus forces me from you; bestow a compassionate Sigh, and shed a friendly Tear when you reflect on the Misery of the unfortunate Lindamira.

Having finished this Letter, she sealed it up, and her Mind being a little more at ease, she looked for her Money and Jewels, and putting them up in a little strong Box, she gave it to Tersander, who carried it away with him. Pursuant to his Advice, she pretended to be much out of Order the next Day, and lay a-bed till Seven in the Evening; at which time Tersander came to her, and brought Man’s Apparel, both for her and Belisinda, which they put on, and tying up their Hair, they turned them, Cavalier-like, under their Hats.

Lindamira could not forbear sighing to see herself in this Condition; and sending for Cleona, she asked her whether she would accompany her in her Flight; but this prudent Maid answered, That if she appeared to be in the Secret, ’twould be plain that Orontes had betrayed his Trust, and that it would be much better for her to stay, and pretend to be very much surprized at her Flight.

Notwithstanding that Lindamira would have been glad to have carried so faithful a Servant with her, yet was there so much Truth in what she said, that she could not urge her any further; but giving her all her Cloaths and a fine Diamond Ring, she tenderly embraced her, assuring her, she never should forget the Service she had done her. Then laying the Letter which she had written to the Princess upon the Table, she bid Cleona go down and tell the Servants they should make no Noise, for their Mistress was gone to Bed, charging her not to take Notice of her Flight till the next Morning.

This poor Girl could not see her Mistress going, without shedding a Flood of Tears; and after the necessary Adieus, Tersander conducted her down a private Stairs through the Garden, the Back-Door of which went out into a little Street, where they found six Guards waiting with three spare Horses for Tersander and the two disguised Ladies, who mounting, they hastened to the Port where the Guards left them, and they soon reached their Edition: current; Page: [185]Vessel; that very Moment they hoisted Sail, and the Wind blowing fair, they were not long in crossing the Seas.

Lindamira’s Reckoning was now out, and she expected every Moment to fall in Labour; even on Shipboard she felt some Pains. This made her stay at Boulogne, where, in a Fortnight’s time she was brought to-bed of a fine Boy. Before her Lying-in, she writ a Letter to the Queen-Mother of France, which Tersander was to carry, that he might at length inform the virtuous Princess of all that had passed; but as he could not think of leaving her in that Condition, he determined to stay till the great Danger was over.

Three Days after her being brought to-bed, Tersander set out for the Court of France; where he waited on the Queen-Regent, delivered Lindamira’s Letter, and in order related every thing that happened to her since her leaving France. The good Queen, who sincerely loved her, was grieved at her Misfortunes, and commended Tersander for his generous Action in delivering her out of such a Danger; assuring him, that his Merit should go unrewarded: She further told him, that Lindamira should remain under her Protection, and that she would take care both of her and her Son; that she herself would write to her, and that as soon as she had recovered Strength enough to travel, Tersander should go down and fetch her up to Court with a suitable Equipage. This was as much as Lindamira could desire, and one would now have thought her Misfortunes at an End; but alas! they were to last as long as her Life. But to return to Eng—nd:

Cleona in every Particular observed her Mistress’s Directions, and took no Notice till the next Morning ten o’Clock, the usual Time of her going into her Chamber, and then she pretended to be very much surprized. The undissembled Tears which she shed for the Loss of her Mistress, confirmed People in the Opinion that she was intirely innocent of her Flight, and she acted her Part so very well, that she was never once mistrusted; and happy for her it was she could act it so! for had the K—g in his first Passion suspected her, he doubtless would have sacrificed her in his Rage.

Edition: current; Page: [186]

’Tis impossible to express his Concern, his Behaviour, his Despair, when the News was brought him, and on this Occasion he did a thousand things unworthy of so great a P—nce. At first he would have followed Lindamira, had not Cæsarina represented to him that she was sailed the Night before with a brisk favourable Gale, and that before he could be well a-shipboard, she doubtless would have reached the Coast of France, that he might indeed send out some armed Vessels after her, but that his own Person was too precious to be exposed on so trifling an Occasion; that leaving his Kingdom might be of a dangerous Consequence, and produce evil Effects on the Minds of his Subjects, naturally too prone to revolt; that he ought to do nothing which might make People forget the Respect due to him, and that he would become the Laughing stock of all Europe, should he leave his Dominions to run after a Woman who did not love him.

This P—nce gave such Way to Grief and Despair, that he did not listen to what his Sister said, and heard only the five or six last Words, upon which interrupting her, he cried out, ‘True, she does not love; but, is she less amiable? She scorns me, and therefore I love her, for her Resistance displays her Virtues and the Beauties of her Soul: Alas! had she seen me before she had Palmiris, she might have loved me instead of him; she might have done and felt for me, what she now does and feels for him. Had Heaven bestowed my Cr———n upon Palmiris, and given me his Lindamira’s Heart, how happy should I have thought myself! But if I must be miserable I am resolved not to be miserable alone, Palmiris and Lindamira shall share the Misfortunes which they have heaped upon me.’ As he said this he left his Sister, and immediately sent for Circe.

It was not long before this wicked Woman came, and seeing how ill her Master brooked Lindamira’s Flight, she pretended to be full of Despair, and vowed that there was nothing but she would do to make Lindamira repent her Cruelty; that doubtless she must have been in Love with Tersander, else would she never have fled with him as she has done; that she would send her Husband Word of it; and in short, that she would Edition: current; Page: [187]reduce her to so very low a Condition, that she should come and humbly implore his Protection.

‘I could heartily wish, replied the M-n-rch, that she was under a Necessity of doing it; I am sure I would grant it her with all my Heart, but she’s too haughty, and hates me too much to be obliged to me for it, even though I should offer it her, let her Condition be never so bad.’ I cannot tell that, replied the fawning Wretch; however, I’ll promise to reduce her to such a Condition, that she shall stand in Need of it; I’ll immediately send Palmiris Word, that his Wife was desperately in Love with Tersander, that I suspected it, and did every thing I could to save the Honour of our Family, but in vain; for seeing that she could not indulge her Passion here, she had sled away with him by Night, and I think the best Way would be to dispatch an Express immediately with the Letter, lest they should be beforehand with us, and give him Notice of all that has passed. She said, and without waiting for an Answer, she set her down, and writ the following Epistle:

CIRCE to PALMIRIS.

Dear Nephew,

IT is impossible to express the Grief I feel at being obliged to send you so ungrateful a Piece of News, but the Thing is already so very public, and so much talked of throughout the whole Kingdom, that it would be in vain to conceal it from you; I have done all that lay in my Power to divert the threatening Evil, but in vain, and find that the more Obstacles you lay in the Way of Lovers, the more ardently they love; we have seen a fatal Experiment of this Truth in our Family. Alas! How shall I tell you that Lindamira is run away with Tersander; when I perceived her growing Love, and found that all good Advice was thrown away upon her, I conjured the King our Master to command him never to see her more; he did so, but that in such a manner, that you never can enough express your Gratitude towards him; and I can assure you, that if she was in his Kingdom, he would leave no Means untried to get her out of his Hands again; but she is got safe with her Edition: current; Page: [188]Paramour into France. You are a prudent and discreet Man, and know better than I can tell you what is to be done in such a Case. Alas! I cannot serve you, I can only pity your Misfortunes, and mourn the Disgrace of our Family, which is become the Jest of all England, and at which no body can be more afflicted than the unhappy

CIRCE.

Having sealed up this Letter, she sent for a Man in whom she could confide, one fit for her Purpose, and who was as wicked as herself; to him she delivered this Letter, ordering him to hasten with it to Palmiris, who was at that time with the King of France at the Siege of Damietta. She then gave him necessary Instructions how he should answer the several Questions which Palmiris might ask him concerning the Flight of Tersander and Lindamira, and what the World said of their Amours: This done he set out, and in a short time reached the Place he was sent to, and delivered his Letter.

I will not pretend to describe the Effect it produced on the Mind of Palmiris, and the various Tumults of his Soul whilst he read this; for he was a Man of strict Honour, and at the same time loved his Wife to Dotage. This may be sufficient to give the Reader an Idea of the Struggles he felt in his Breast whilst he was reading this fatal Letter, and having finished it, he very abruptly left the Messenger and went into his Chamber and pondered as well as he could upon it. At first he determined to engage in the thickest of the Battle, and to seek certain Death to ease his raging Pain; but his Despair soon gave way to Thoughts of Vengeance.

‘He shall die, cried Palmiris, this Spoiler of my Honour, this Tersander shall die; and can the ungrateful Lindamira, whom I have so dearly loved, and who has so basely deceived me, can she hope to escape my Vengeance? No, the false Woman too shall die, and bear her Minion Company to the infernal Shades. Alas! I rave, how is it she shall die? Can I imbrue my Hands in her Blood? Can I so much as resolve her Death? Base and ungrateful as she is, and the sole Edition: current; Page: [189]Cause of all my Misfortunes, yet cannot I be so unnaturally cruel. Let her live then, and let her Life be her Punishment, for she shall live to mourn the Loss of her beloved Tersander, she shall live to see him expire; for even in her Presence will I pierce his Heart. Thus shall her Grief be far worse than Death itself. For the Love I once bore her I will not offer any kind of Violence to her Person, but in another’s she shall doubly suffer: Ungrateful Woman! could’st thou but see what Heart thou hast betrayed, what Husband thou hast lost, one, who, spite of the many Injuries thou hast done him, cannot resolve to hurt thee; sure thou would’st repent thy base Perfidiousness.

He said a thousand other Things much to the same Purpose, and at last determined that very Night to set out for France, in quest of Tersander and Lindamira, and to this End he called his Squire, and bid him immediately go and prepare every thing for his Departure, adding, that he would have no body but himself and a Valet de Chambre follow him; as for the rest of his Equipage, they should wait till farther Orders.

This done he waited upon the King of France, and shewed him the Letter he had just received, at the same time giving him an Account of his setting out that Night, and the Reasons that induced him so to do. The good Prince read it, and heard him with a great deal of Surprize, then turning towards Palmiris, ‘It is impossible, said he, to answer for the Actions of others, but yet can I not believe what is said here of your Wife; she was brought up with Blanche my Mother, than whom a more virtuous and deserving Woman does not breathe, and Lindamira was very high in her Esteem; beware, lest you commit some rash Action, which you may vainly repent for ever after. Even suppose that Lindamira be guilty, yet ought you not to seek the Blood of her Lover; leave Vengeance to Heaven, who surely will repay it, but do you learn to forgive as you hope for Forgiveness. I would not hinder you from applying proper Remedies to the Dishonour of your House, but I would have you be beforehand assured, that they are proper ones; Corrosives have often Edition: current; Page: [190]been used without Success, where Lenitives would infallibly have done.’

These were the last Words which the good Monarch spoke to him, after which he ordered him the necessary Passes and Guards to the Port, where Palmiris embarked, and during his whole Journey and Voyage, not the least Accident happened to him. On another Occasion one might have said the Wind was favourable, but now it was far from being so, since it contributed towards, at least hastened, his Misfortunes.

But to return to Lindamira, whom we left at Boulogne, where she was delivered, and now impatiently expected the Return of Tersander with an Answer from the Queen-Mother. Scarce had she been brought to bed a Fortnight, before she fell into a violent Fever, in a Place where she knew no body, and had no one but Belisinda to assist and comfort her, who was now far from being capable of doing it, finding herself in the utmost Want of Comfort and Assistance. She saw a Mistress whom she dearly loved lying dangerously ill, and knew no body to apply to for Advice: Often would she bewail Tersander’s going, and think that he left Lindamira much sooner than he ought to have done; she wrote him a Letter, acquainting him with the present Condition of her Mistress, and how sensible they were of his Loss, conjuring him, by all that he held dear in the World, to return back to Boulogne.

We may easily suppose how afflicting this News was to Tersander, he recalled every Charm of Lindamira, all her Beauties and Virtues to mind, then reflected that these Charms, these Beauties, and these Virtues, would not, perhaps, much longer have a Being; and this Apprehension gave him all the Pain that a Love-sick Heart is capable of feeling at the Apprehensions of losing its adored Object; he then determined immediately to hasten to her, and therefore he went directly to wait upon the Queen, to whom he shewed Belisinda’s Letter, desiring, at the same time, leave to hasten back to Lindamira. The good Princess having perused the Letter, seemed extremely concerned at her Illness, and told Tersander, that far from delaying him, she conjured him to make all the Haste back he could, telling him, that whilst he Edition: current; Page: [191]prepared himself to get on Horseback, she would write to the Governor of Boulogne, to order him to take particular Care of Lindamira during her Illness, and not to let her want any kind of thing whatsoever.

The Moment Tersander had received his Dispatches he got on Horseback, nor would he have been long in his Journey, had not he met with an unfortunate Accident. Passing through a Forest he was set upon by four Highwaymen, who bid him deliver, but he, not daunted at their Odds, drew his Sword, and behaved himself with so much Bravery that he laid two of them breathless on the Ground, and the other two, dreading the Fate of their Companions, fled with all possible Speed. In the Engagement Tersander had received no other Hurt but a slight Wound in his Arm, which having bound up with his Handkerchief, he was about to continue his Journey; but on a sudden he heard a rustling amongst the Trees behind him, and ere he could turn about, an Arrow pierced his Body, insomuch that he did not ride above an hundred Paces before he fell.

This Wound he received from one of the Rogues, who had just fled from him, who not daring to encounter him again, yet willing to revenge the Death of his Companions, and his own Disgrace, fetched a Compass round, and came behind him whilst he was binding up his Wound, and shot an Arrow at him; but not knowing what Execution it had done, and seeing Tersander ride off, durst not follow him, but alighting from his Horse, he drew his Companions out of the Road into the thickest Part of the Forest, and then left it himself.

Mean while the brave Man was perishing for want of timely Assistance; and so great a Quantity of Blood did he lose, that he remained without any visible Sign of Life; when, as Heaven would have it, two Friars accidentally passed that Way, who at first believed him dead; but laying their Hands upon his Heart, and finding still some little Warmth there, they resolved not to despair; but one of them running hastily to a neighbouring Fountain brought some Water, and with it washed the Wound, and threw some in his Face; the excessive Cold of this Water made Tersander shew some Signs of Life, and the Edition: current; Page: [192]good Fathers thanked Heaven for sending them thus timely to his Assistance.

He who had run for Water to the Fountain had met a Shepherd there, whom he immediately dispatched to the next Hamlet for more Help; as these good Fathers were very much esteemed all over the Country, the Shepherds left their Flocks, and the Labourers their Cottages, to come to them, and they found the two good Men very busy about one, who by some short, but deep Sighs, shewed that he might still be reckoned in the Number of the Living. Upon this, some of them began to gather Herbs, whose Virtues were well known to them; and which, as soon as applied to the Wound stopped the Blood, whilst others cut down Boughs, and with them made a Hand-Litter to carry the Patient to the Convent, where, as soon as he was brought, his Wounds were regularly dressed; all the Fathers were very busy about him, but none more than those two who had found him, and who continued with him, not only the rest of that Day, but the whole Night too; during which time he never came to himself again, so as to have any Knowledge of Things, but was perpetually fainting away; so excessive a Quantity of Blood had he lost, and to so weak a Condition had that Loss reduced him.

Four and twenty Hours after the first Dressing of his Wound, his Apparel was taken off, at which time the Surgeon assured that the Wound, though large, was not mortal; and that if nothing extraordinary happened to him, he did not question but he would do well again. This News extremely rejoiced the Holy Fathers; but their Joy was short-liv’d, for the third Day he fell into a Fever, and was very light-headed, at which time he talked much of Lindamira; this first Fever continued thirty Hours upon him, at the End of which he recovered his Senses, and then it was that he first became sensible of his Condition, and thought on Lindamira’s; the Remembrance of her Danger drew Tears from his Eyes, and made him utter Complaints which would have touched the very hardest and most barbarous Hearts.

Would he cry, shall my Life, whose every Hour I devoted to the beauteous Lindamira, be of no Service to her then? Shall my cruel Fortune deprive me Edition: current; Page: [193]of the Means of assisting her, and of doing her those good Offices which a Stranger, with the common Sentiments of Humanity, would joyfully have done? Perhaps, alas! this Moment is her last, and she is now closing those lovely Eyes, in whose Looks were centered all my Happiness: Even now, perhaps, with her dying Words she accuses me of Delay, and cries, Is this Neglect the Mark of that respectful Passion which was once your Boast? Instead of hastening to my Assistance, dost thou, for the Sake of a few Wounds indulge thyself, and by thy over Care endeavour to survive me? And yet you think you love me? No, ungrateful Man, you are as unworthy of the Name of Love as you are of my Esteem, with which I had hitherto all along honoured you.

Here he paused a little while, and then resuming his Discourse; And can I bear these Reproaches? No, let me rather die a thousand thousand Deaths than live to deserve them; especially seeing that my Life can be of no Service to Lindamira. As he said this, he began to tear off the Rollers, and other Things with which his Wounds were bound; but one of the Fathers being in the Room with him, and seeing to what Extravagance his Passion hurried him, ran and laid hold of him, nor was it a very difficult Matter to prevent his executing what he had threatened, for he was so very weak, one might easily master him. The great Difficulty was to calm his Thoughts and make him wholly alter his Resolution. To this End he represented to him the Heinousness of the Crime he was about to commit, and with Arguments and Instructions, both Divine and Moral, he convinced him of the Unreasonableness of his Action; but still his Passion was so great, that it prevailed over Reason; however, the Father inquiring further into as many Particulars of the Story, as Tersander thought fit to tell him, represented that the Lady he spoke of might still be alive, and want his Assistance, that if nothing else could weigh with him, at least, for her Sake, he ought to take Care of his Health; at the same time he delivered him a Packet which had been found in his Pocket, and in which were inclosed the Queen’s Letters, with some Jewels and Money he had Edition: current; Page: [194]about him. Tersander then first began to think of his Business, and he conjured the Father to procure him some body to go with a Letter to Boulogne; the good Man told him he would, upon Condition that he should endeavour to compose himself to Rest: Tersander promised he would do any thing, and then dictating a Letter to Belisinda, the Father wrote it for him, and with this and the other he dispatched a Courier.

Mean while Lindamira continued very ill of a violent Fever, and Belisinda laboured under the greatest Afflictions imaginable, her Mistress was as bad, and much weaker than ever. Tersander might easily have returned by this time, but he not only was not come, but had not so much as writ to her. This very much surprized her, she knew not what to think of it, and Tersander had till now behaved himself in such a manner, as to make her believe him her Mistress’s sincere Friend.

Things were upon this Foot, when the Courier dispatched from the Monastery arrived, and delivered Tersander’s Letter to Belisinda. His Misfortune touched her to the Heart, and she related to Lindamira Part of what had happened; however, she concealed the Worst of the Story in not mentioning his Danger. She barely told her, that he had received a slight Wound, and that it was not safe for him to travel as yet. We may easily imagine how sensibly Lindamira was grieved, there being no Woman of a more grateful Temper, and Tersander having suffered this new Misfortune on her Account, and though it was dangerous for her to do it, yet could nothing dissuade her from returning an Answer to his Letter by the same Courier, and calling for a Table-book, she writ the following Words:

Lindamira to Tersander.

‘YOU pitied my Misfortunes, generous Tersander; but how dear has your Pity cost you! I leave you to judge the Greatness of my Trouble, when I reflect on the many and great Obligations I lay under to you, and that I can make no return, but with my Thanks and Tears; poor Amends, for the many Miseries brought on you by the unfortunate

LINDAMIRA.
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Whilst Lindamira was writing, the Courier hastened to the Castle, and delivered the Queen’s Packet to the Governor, who received it with all the Respect and Deference due from a Subject to his Sovereign; and having inquired, and been informed where the Lady lived, who was by her Majesty recommended to his Care, he got into his Chariot, and hastened away to Lindamira’s Lodgings, which he entered the Moment she had done writing to Tersander.

As much as her Sickness had altered her, yet was Lindamira still beauteous to a Miracle, nor could the Governor forbear admiring her, but, his first Surprize over, he saluted her with a great deal of Respect, and told her what Orders he had just received from the Queen; he therefore desired that she would suffer herself to be carried to the Castle, where she might be taken much better Care of than in her Lodging. Lindamira thanked him for his courteous Offer, but told him she was not in a Condition to be removed; but Altamont (for so was the Governor called) being a Man of Sense, and thinking that the Lady had some stronger Objection to the Castle, than her present Condition, smiled upon her. I am so very much accustomed, Madam, said he, to receive Denials from the Fair Sex, that I really now expected it; however, I’ll hasten home, and send some body to you, who, if I may be allowed to say it, will deserve to be kindly received, and to have their Prayers granted, and I dare say, you will not be so cruel to them as you are to me. As he said this he left the Room, and without giving Lindamira Time to answer, he hastened to the Castle, to desire his two Sisters to wait upon Lindamira, who really were Ladies of infinite Merit.

The Eldest of them, named Erminia, was a regular Beauty, and there was something in her Gait so majestic, and at the same time so sprightly in her Face, that one could not look upon her without Admiration. Harriot was fair, and one of the most agreeable Women in Nature; her Features, indeed, if you took them to pieces, were not so regular as her Sister’s; but if, without entring into such a Particular, you looked upon them both at once, ’twas impossible to know where to Edition: current; Page: [196]give the Preference, nor did they rival one another less in Wit and good Sense than in Beauty.

As to oblige each other was the chief Study of the Brother and Sisters, they hastened to Lindamira, and kindly intreated her to accept of the Apartment which their Brother had offered. It was impossible to deny such fair Petitioners, Lindamira therefore consented, and they overjoyed at their Success, sent for their Chair, and had her carried to the Castle, where Altamont received her with all possible Deference and Respect. The two Sisters were perpetually with her, and unwilling to trust Servants, they themselves waited upon her, and gave her early Proofs of their growing Friendship. And, indeed, such was the Care they took of her, and such the Diligence and Skill of the Physicians, that within two or three Days after her being brought thither, her Fever was changed into an Intermitting one.

Altamont waited on Lindamira, as often as her Health and Decency would permit him, and he had the Satisfaction of seeing how careful his Sisters were of her. Harriot, who was naturally all Gaiety, endeavoured to chear Lindamira’s drooping Spirits; but, alas! she was a Stranger to Joy, every Day almost did she write to her dear Palmiris, but received no Answer from him.

Observing the Friendship and Tenderness with which the two Sisters received her, Lindamira out of Gratitude related her Adventures to them, and by that shewed them how great a Confidence she reposed in them. Her Story increased their Love and Admiration, and Erminia embracing her as soon as she had done, dear Lindamira, said she, your Misfortunes are drawing to an End, Heaven has made a Trial of your Virtue, and will now take it under its immediate Protection, and safely conduct home your illustrious Husband. I can assure you, continued Harriot, that his Presence would rejoice me almost as much as the beauteous Lindamira, and I am already promising myself, that at sight of him, that Melancholy will vanish, and Smiles adorn that lovely Face. I am much obliged to you, Ladies, replied Lindamira, and am sorry that I cannot wear that Chearfulness which I was once wont to do; but whether it proceeds from the Number of my past Miseries, or whether it be the Edition: current; Page: [197]Foreboding of some new and dreadful one, I cannot tell; but my Heart has intirely given itself up a Prey to Grief.

Mean while Tersander dispatched a Courier every Week, to inquire how Lindamira did; Belisinda wrote to him as often as she could; and when any thing hindered her, the beauteous Harriot, who greatly esteemed him for what he had done, took the Task upon her, and in this manner they spent five Months; at the End of which Tersander found himself able to get on Horseback: He therefore took his Leave of the charitable Monks, and made them a considerable Present, particularly thanked those who had given him timely Assistance, who blessed him; and then taking one of the Couriers, whom he had often sent to Boulogne for his Guide, he hastened thither with all the little Speed his late Indisposition would allow of, and in a few Days reached the Place.

’Tis impossible to express his Joy at the Sight of one so dear to him as Lindamira was, and whose imaginary Death had made him attempt against his own Life. Erminia was present at their first Interview, yet did not entertain the least Suspicion of his loving her, such a perfect Master was Tersander of his Passion, that not one Look, or one Action, exceeded the Bounds of sincere disinterested Friendship.

On the other hand Lindamira’s Joy, at seeing him again was exceeding great, and presenting him to the beauteous Erminia, Sister, said she (for so they called one another) this is the generous Tersander, to whom I am so infinitely obliged. Erminia, without giving him Time to answer, approached him in the most obliging manner imaginable: As I have an infinite Value for that Lady, said she, and every thing that concerns her, I cannot without the greatest Pleasure, see a Gentleman, whose Friendship and Generosity has been so very serviceable to her. The beauteous Lindamira, interrupted Tersander, (whose Modesty would not suffer him to hear a Discourse of this Nature) is pleased to extol some trifling Services which I have done her, and which the Honour of serving her has sufficiently over-paid.

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Here their Conversation was interrupted by the coming in of Harriot, whom Tersander saluted with a great deal of Respect, and thanked for the Trouble she had taken in writing to him, and the Comfort she had thereby administered him, during the Time that he lay ill of his Wounds; but he had not Time for saying all that Gratitude could inspire, for Altamont being by Belisinda acquainted with Tersander’s Arrival, hastened up to Lindamira’s Chamber, and entered it with that Air of Gallantry which accompanied every Action of his Life.

This Interview had something very extraordinary in it; for this heroic Couple, who had never seen one another before, conceived as much Esteem for each other, as Sympathy can inspire in two noble Souls. Their mutual Surprize made them both continue silent for some little Time; at length they broke it, to express their Wonder and Admiration, and they protested to each other an eternal Friendship, and to give the first Proofs of it, Altamont obliged the other to accept of an Apartment in the Castle.

We may easily imagine Tersander’s Joy, to see himself lodged beneath the same Roof with Lindamira, when every Pleasure of his Life, every Hope was centered in the Satisfaction of seeing and conversing with her, nor was there any thing which hindered him from being compleatly happy, but seeing her perpetually uneasy.Be never sought an Opportunity of speaking to her in private, far from it, he always shunned such a one, and so disinterested was his Love, he would willingly have ventured his Life to have restored her to her dear Palmiris.

But whilst he thus privately sighed for Lindamira, he undesignedly made a glorious Conquest; for the gay Harriot, who had often derided the Power of Love, and unmoved, had beheld half the Nobles of France sighing at her Feet, could not with the same Insensibility behold Tersander. As soon as she perceived her growing Passion, she struggled with it, and did all she could to banish it from her Heart, but in vain; Tersander’s superior Merit triumphed over all the weak Arguments of Female Pride: Nor did his Words and Actions, though unknowingly, contribute a little to the Feeding of this Edition: current; Page: [199]Flame. Harriot’s Letters had often, during his Illness eased his Pain, Tersander was of a grateful Temper, and laid hold on all Occasions to express his Gratitude. Lovers are too apt to flatter themselves. She interpreted every thing he said or did to her Advantage, and by this Means she confirmed her Passion, yet so carefully concealed it, that had not cruel Fortune accidentally betrayed it, ’twould still have been a Secret to the World.

Lindamira finding herself a little better, Altamont did every thing he could to divert her, Feasts, Music, and all Kinds of sumptuous Entertainments were frequently prepared; but this was far from producing the desired Effect; Lindamira wanted Solitude, nor was she ever easy, but when she could freely indulge herself in thinking on her dear Palmiris; she therefore desired the Governor, that for change of Air she might retire to his Country Seat, which was five or six Miles out of the Town, and situated in the midst of a Forest; hither Erminia and her Sister, with Tersander, accompanied her, and Altamont visited them as often as his Business would permit him.

Such a rural Situation could not be more agreeable to Lindamira than it was to Harriot, there were very fine Walks in the Forest, and which she frequented more than any of the rest. Early as the Morning dawned, for her Eyes were become Strangers to Sleep, she rose, and followed by one Maid only, she would go and lose herself in the thickest of the Forest; one particular Place she most delighted in, which Nature had embellished more than Art could possibly have done; there the interwoven Branches of the tallest Trees almost denied a Passage to the Rays of the Sun; beneath a crystal Spring bubbled up, and rolled its Silver Waters through a natural Channel, on a fine yellow Sand: There the perpetual Working of the Water formed a Cavity, and shewed the wondering Eye a transparent Bason bordered with Moss. Here Harriot counterfeiting her Hand, lest it should be known, would wound the Bark to carve Tersander’s Name, and sometimes mingling her Cypher with his, would crown them with a Lover’s Knot.

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One Morning having rose earlier than usual, she sought this Place, and amused herself in her wonted manner, sometimes reflecting on Tersander’s Merit, sometimes carving his Name on the Trees; when on a sudden she was interrupted by the Sound of Feet which moved that Way, and not questioning but that somebody was making up towards the Fountain, she with her Maid retired behind the Trees, but in her retiring opened such a Passage that she could easily see two Men coming thither. He who by his noble Mein, and the Deserence paid him appeared to be the Master, wore black Armour, and round the Extremity of it a little Ridge of Gold; on his Head-piece streamed a large Number of Feathers, partly Flame-coloured, partly black; on his Shield a Lioness was painted tearing a Heart to pieces, with this Motto:

How cruelly thou tearest the Heart I gave thee.

Laying himself down near the Fountain, the Stranger unlaced his Helmet, and Harriot was surprized at the Sight of so noble and so beautiful a Face; for tho’ it was pale, yet were the Features bold, just, and regular, and one might have sworn that the Paleness was occasioned by some corroding Grief. He did not long continue silent, but looking about him, then turning towards the other, ‘Are you very sure, said he, that you have described the Place in such a manner, that he may find it?’ You need not doubt it it, Sir, replied the other, he told me he knew it well, and received the Letter in such a manner, that I am too fully persuaded he will not foil the Appointment.

‘’Tis well, replied the former, I shall at least be revenged on him; but tell me sincerely what thou hast heard of my faithless Wretch. I am told, Sir, replied he, that she leads a very melancholy and solitary Life, and that she is seldom seen in public.’ Then her Conscience does upbraid her with her Crime, replied the Knight. Alas! if her Reason does but out-live her Passion, she will see the Heinousness of her Sin, and never forgive herself; and yet, to my Confusion be it spoken, I still love this wicked Woman. Here he stopped to wipe away Edition: current; Page: [201]the Tears, which spite of what he could do, began to flow, and then resuming his Discourse, ‘Fool that I am, cried he, to love one who has thus basely dishonoured me.’

He could not proceed, being interrupted by the Arrival of two Men; at the Approach of whom he hastily put on his Head-piece. Harriot was surprized to see that the foremost of these Men was Tersander, and so great was her Confusion, that she had not the Power to speak or move, neither was there much Time for her to consider what she ought to do; for Tersander approaching the other, ‘Whoever you are, said he, who with so much Animosity pursue my Life, I come to convince you, that whenever I shall think fit to defend it, it shall be no such easy Matter to deprive me of it.’

At this the Stranger looking scornfully on him, It will not, Traytor, cried he, be in thy Power to defend it. Justice and Honour fight my Cause; if your Courage be equal to your Insolence, follow me, and you shall know who it is you have injured. He said, and hastening to the Place where his Horse was tied, he mounted, and gallopped into a neighbouring Vale, Tersander did the same, and without Loss of Time, each took a Lance from his Squire, and poising them well, they were in the very first Course shivered to pieces; upon which they drew their Swords, and a dreadful Combat soon ensued; for on the one hand, Honour and Jealousy excited Palmiris, the unhappy deceived Palmiris! whilst on the other, Tersander was enraged to see a Stranger, one whom he was assured he had never injured, pursue his Life so eagerly.

I here want Colours to paint Harriot during this fatal Combat, and the Struggles of Love and Honour within her; the latter bid her still conceal herself, for what besides Love could have brought her thus early to that solitary Place, and should she now endeavour to part them, in her Hurry and Distraction some Fondness might betray her Heart: However, Love soon prevailed, and all these Considerations were at once forgot. Swiftly she ran to the Place where our two Combatants with equal Strength and equal Courage were with redoubled Blows seeking each other’s Life; she was Edition: current; Page: [202]resolved to fling herself betwixt them, and to share the Danger with her dear Tersander; but, alas! the Resolution was formed too late, and the very Moment she reached the Field of Battle, our two valiant Knights gave each other a mortal Wound, and both fell from their Horses.

Harriot immediately ran, and catching Tersander in her Arms, she pulled off his Head-piece; but, alas! she could find no Life in him, his Blood flowed swistly from his Wound, but his Eyes were closed. Unable to utter a Word, she washed his Wounds, and sprinkled his Face with her Tears, and this joined to the Freshness of the Air, made him come to himself again. The first Object he beheld, when he opened his Eyes, was the beauteous Harriot drowned in Tears, upon which, fixing his dying Looks upon her, he spoke to her, tho’ with a very faultring Voice, ‘I die, charming Harriot, but die transported at your Generosity. How glorious, how worthy of Envy is Death made by those precious Tears!’ Do not, Tersander, replied Harriot, attribute my Grief to my Generosity, whilst it proceeds from quite another Source: Alas! I rave, but you are dying, and must not die ignorant of my Passion.

She had not time to proceed, or Tersander to answer; for Palmiris’s Squire finding that his Master had some Life in him, and fearing that he might perish for want of timely Assistance, ran up and down the Forest calling for Help, when accidentally he met Altamont, followed by his Servants, who was coming to pay Lindamira and her Sisters a Visit; at sight of him, he threw himself at his Feet, ‘For Heaven’s Sake, Sir, said he, if generous Pity can move your Soul, shew it now, and haste to save the Life of the illustrious Palmiris.The illustrious Palmiris, cried Altamont, surprized and shocked at the Name, What Palmiris is that, sure not the Husband of Lindamira! ‘’Tis the same, replied the Squire, and that unhappy Marriage is the Source of his present Misfortunes.’

Grieved at what he heard, Altamont immediately dispatched some Servants to the next Town for a Surgeon and Litter, that they might carry Palmiris to his House, and then ordered the Squire to conduct him to the Place Edition: current; Page: [203]where Palmiris was; but Gods! who can describe his Grief and Surprize, when coming there, he saw his dear Brother, for so he called Tersander, dying in his Sister’s Arms. This Sight soon made him forget on what Occasion he came thither, and not once thinking on Palmiris, he ran and flung his Arms round his Brother’s Neck, but so lively was his Sorrow, that it choaked the Passage of his Words.

Tersander broke Silence first, ‘My dear Altamont, said he, Death is about to part us, that grim Tyrant of Nature will no longer let me enjoy your Company, but spight of his Efforts still let me live in my dear Brother’s Heart. Oh! Altamont, let the Remembrance of me be lasting as your Life.’ How dear, how precious, how painful will that Remembrance be, replied Altamont, and who could have thought that the long-wished-for Return of Palmiris would have proved so fatal to us, ‘Of Palmiris! cried Tersander.Are you then ignorant, answered Altamont, that ’twas with Palmiris you fought. ‘Immortal Gods! cried Tersander, as loud as his present Condition would permit him, Are you Just, and could you suffer the unfortunate Tersander to draw his Sword against Lindamira’s Husband. Oh! wretched Tersander! you will die hated by Lindamira, and thy Memory will for ever be odious to her.’

Here his Weakness disordered his proceeding; but having recovered Strength enough to speak again, ‘My dear Brother, said he, taking Altamont by the Hand, by our past Friendship, I conjure you fly to the Assistance of Palmiris, unless you would see Tersander die in despair.’ Altamont, to please him, went towards Palmiris, having first given Tersander a Table book, which he asked for, and on which, with a great deal of Pain and Difficulty, he wrote the following Words:

The dying Tersander to the virtuous Lindamira.

‘I Die, Madam, and die the most unhappy, the most innocent of Men; I have shed that Blood which was dear to you, nor can I pretend to justify myself, by saying that I did not know Palmiris, for I ought to have known him. Accursed Hand! thus to deprive Edition: current; Page: [204]you of your dear Husband; how wretched am I to be the Cause of so much Grief in you! Alas! did not my Wounds, yet would my Sorrows, soon put an End to my Life;———My Strength fails me, and I cannot tell you all that I intended; but yet, divine Lindamira, even you yourself must own, that so much Love, so much Respect, deserved a better Fate. Pardon me, Madam, if sensible of my present Condition, I presume to reveal my Passion. Had I lived, you never should have known how dear you was to me, and I now talk of it at a Time when I can hope nothing, not even that you should bestow a Sigh upon my unhappy Destiny. I am too well acquainted with your Virtue to flatter myself with a Thought of this Nature; my only Comfort, after what I have done, is, that I am dying. Adieu, divine Lindamira. Alas! if it be possible, do not hate the Memory of the unhappy

TERSANDER.

As soon as he had done writing, he gave the Table-book to the afflicted Harriot, who, with her Maid, was endeavouring to stop the Blood which flowed very fast, and he desired her to deliver it to Lindamira. Scarce had he done speaking when the Surgeons arrived, and examining his Wounds, they told him that he had not an Hour to live, nor must they pretend to remove him from the Place where he lay, for if they did, he inevitably would die that very Moment. Tersander heard his Sentence with a great deal of Courage, and desired that a holy Father might be sent for, in whose Arms he shortly after breathed his last.

Mean while Altamont, who had drawn near Palmiris, found him in a Condition which very much surprized him; his half-opened Eyes were fixed upon no Object, but wandered up and down, as looking for something which was not before him. Disdain sat plainly confessed in his Face, but that Disdain did not seem directed to any one present, and it plainly appeared that his Imagination was hard at work. Altamont upon this took him by the Hand, and called him by his Name, but he returned no Answer, nor did he seem sensible of Edition: current; Page: [205]any one’s being present before him. Altamont seeing this, would have left him, and returned to his dear Tersander, but that Satisfaction was denied him; he was told that his Brother had but a few Moments more to live, and those were justly due to Heaven.

I will not undertake to describe the Grief, either of the Governor, or of his beauteous Sister, when by their Retinue they were in a manner forced out of the Forest, and led towards their Seat. The Horror which plainly sat confessed in their Faces, alarmed the Servants, and some of them ran up to Erminia’s Chamber, where Lindamira also was, and told them they feared some dreadful Accident had happened; for Altamont and Harriot were like People in despair; frightened at this News, they both ran to her Chamber, and found her on her Bed and Altamont near her. Harriot had no sooner fixed his Eyes upon the virtuous Matron, but she cried out, Lindamira! unhappy Lindamira! what will become of you; as she said this, she gave her the Table-book, in which Tersander had writ his Letter.

Thunder-struck at these Words, Lindamira had scarce Power to reach out her Hand to take the Letter; at length she did, and with much ado opened and read it; but, Gods! who can describe her in the midst of her Sorrow, Confusion, and Despair? It was too strong for Nature to support, and she fell down on Harriot’s Bed, deprived of Sense and Knowledge. For full two Hours Space was every Art, every Remedy that could be thought of to bring her to herself employed in vain. Cruel Art! killing Remedies! for Death was now to be preferred far beyond Life, and to restore her to Life was only to prolong those Miseries which Death alone could cure.

Whilst she lay in this Condition, the Surgeons dressed Palmiris’s Wounds; but as they declared they knew not what to think of them till they took off the first Apparel, they ordered him to be brought to Altamont’s House, and Erminia (though beyond all Measure afflicted at the Death of the generous Tersander, and to see three Persons thus dear to her, overwhelmed with Sorrows) yet being informed that he was brought in, went immediately to see Lindamira’s Husband. Fixing her Edition: current; Page: [206]Eyes upon him, she drew towards his Bed-side with that majestic Air, which at once commanded Love and Respect, ‘Alas, Sir, said she, on what slight Quarrel have you exposed a Life so dear, so precious to the beauteous Lindamira, for I cannot believe that your Encounter was premeditated, or that you knowingly attacked the brave, the generous Tersander, your Protector and Defender, ond one to whom you are so infinitely obliged.’ Sure you know me not, replied Palmiris, if you did you would not talk thus to me. Is my Life dear to one who has basely forsaken me? Or, am I obliged to the Man who has robbed me of my Honour? Believe me, Madam, I know my Misfortuues too well to be persuaded out of them.

‘You are mistaken, Palmiris, answered Erminia, costing an Eye of Pity on him, you do not know them yet, your Misfortunes are much greater than you imagine, look on yourself as unjust and ungrateful, reflect on every Crime those two Vices can have made you commit, and even then you will have but a faint Idea of them.’ Once more, Madam, replied Palmiris, I am but too sensible of my Miseries and Disgrace, and tho’ at such a Distance, I have had a faithful Account of all that passed; I know what Loose she gave to her blind foolish Passion, and her Amours and Flight with Tersander are become the Talk of a whole Kingdom.

‘Infatuated unhappy Man! cried Erminia, interrupting him, and have you then foully suspected the most generous of Men, and most virtuous of Women? I can no longer leave you in this Error, and though you are not in a Condition to hear a long Narration, yet is it of such Importance that you should be convinced of your Blindness, that I shall wave all other Considerations, and let you know what you are still ignorant of.’ She then related all that had happened to Lindamira since his leaving Eng———nd.

Whilst Erminia was speaking, Palmiris never interrupted her, but with deep-fetched Sighs, and as soon as she had finished, ‘Good Gods, cried he as loud as his little remaining Strength would permit him, what have I done to merit this dreadful Punishment! Alas, how justly did you say that I was still a Stranger to my Edition: current; Page: [207]Misfortunes. I thought myself innocent and just, and I prove the most guilty of Mankind; I have suspected even Virtue itself, and destroyed a Life in the Defence of which had I had a Thousand, I ought to have sacrificed them all. Alas! Madam, how shall I see my Lindamira again! how will she bear the Sight of such an ungrateful Wretch! Oh Tersander! generous Tersander! how have you been rewarded for preserving the Honour of Palmiris! My Death, Madam, will soon make some little Atonement for my Crime; but ere I breathe my last, let me once more see Lindamira; do not deny me this Favour; though my Crimes are great, yet are they not wholly my own; too much Credulity has occasioned them all. Cursed Circe! thou Author of all this Mischief, thou Horror of thy Sex, how wilt thou ever again dare lift up thy Eyes toward Heaven.’

Here he was interrupted by the Arrival of Lindamira, who, as soon as she recovered out of the Swoon, had, by Belisinda, been informed that her Palmiris was not dead, nor his Life yet despaired of, but that being dressed by the Surgeons, he had been brought into the House, upon which she hastily flew to his Chamber. Never was there a more moving Scene than this Meeting; they threw their Arms about each other’s Necks, unable to utter any thing more than my Palmiris! and my Lindamira! in this manner they continued some considerable time, till at length Palmiris broke Silence: ‘Lindamira, my dear Lindamira, said he, after my unjust Suspicions, and the fatal Effects of them, I must not think of Life. Your present Goodness does but make my Guilt the greater, and add to my Misfortunes; we must take from before your Eyes a Man who yet makes you prove ungrateful to the Memory of your brave Defender, to whom you are too much obliged to think of living with your Murderer; my Hands imbrued in his Blood, shall never be folded about your lovely Neck, and in me you would always behold the Object of your Love and Grief.’

Alas, my dear Husband, interrupted Lindamira, banish those cruel Thoughts, and live; I have already forgot your Crime, and my Love forgives all that you have thought Edition: current; Page: [208]or done. Should you any longer persist in the Resolution of dying, I shall believe that your once boasted Passion is at an End, or that you are not cured of your unjust Suspicions; or if this will not weigh with you, remember that the Threads of our Life are so interwoven, that there is no cutting the one without the other, and that one Fate attends us both. Alas! what need I talk of Fate and Death; let us live, and live happily, even the Ghost of the generous Tersander, if he can behold our Actions, will be well pleased that we should live to retain a grateful Sense of all his Kindnesses, for I believe you just enough to desire that the Services of this brave Man should still be fresh in my Memory. If you yet doubt any thing of what has been said to you, see what with his dying Hand he has wrote. As she said, she gave him the Letter; which Palmiris could not read without shedding a Flood of Tears.

The Surgeons hearing that Lindamira was the Wife of Palmiris, that they had some time been absent from each other, and that she was now in the Room with him, hastened thither, and found his Mind in a strange Agitation; they told him, that if she had any Value for her Husband, she ought to hinder him from speaking as much as possibly she could, for long Conversations were certain Death to him. Upon this Erminia thought fit to leave them, and hastening to her Sister’s Apartment, where she had left her Brother too, she told them all that had passed between Palmiris and Lindamira.

Altamont unmoved, heard her Tale, or rather did not hear it at all; he was wholly taken up with Reflections on his dear Brother’s Death. Not so with the beauteous Harriot, who starting from her Bed in the most violent Passion; Lindamira, ungrateful Lindamira, cried she, and canst thou caress the Murderer of that brave Man who sacrificed his Life and Fortune to thee? one who so tenderly, so sincerely loved thee? Oh Tersander! unhappy Tersander! on whom hadst thou bestowed thy Heart? on one who asks Leave of thy mortal Foe to remember thee. No, forget him in complaisance to thy Husband; unjust Lindamira, forget him, still shall he live, still shall his Memory flourish in my Heart, then shall he be disturbed by no Idea of his base Murderer whom I abbor and detest.

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She said several other Things to the same Purpose, and having vented her Passion, and growing a little more cool, she desired that her Brother would give her Leave for a little while to retire into a Convent amongst some pious Maids, who devote their whole Time to the Service of Heaven. Altamont and Erminia did all they possibly could to divert her from this Resolution, but in vain; and she was fully determined not to sleep beneath the same Roof with the Murderer of Tersander. When they found all their Arguments and Persuasions fruitless, Erminia would have accompanied her thither, but Harriot refused the Offer, and conjured her to stay with their dear Brother. Followed therefore by the faithful Tarquinia only, she hastened to the Convent, there her first Care was to raise a Monument to the Memory of the brave Tersander, for which she composed an Epitaph herself; and every Morning, for there she spent the Remainder of her Days, her first Task was to go and wash this Monument with her Tears.

But to return to Lindamira, whom we left betwixt Hope and Fear, and who impatiently waited for the Time when the Surgeons would take off the Apparel, that she might know something more certain of her Fate; for still her Hopes prevailed. Alas! how vainly do we believe what we ardently wish? At length, the Time came, and upon searching his Wounds, the Surgeons pronounced them mortal; adding, that they did not believe he had three Hours more to live. Palmiris with undaunted Courage heard his Sentence, but not so the virtuous Lindamira, whose Despair it was impossible to express. His whole Care was to comfort her; to this End he represented how odious Life would be to him, and how just his Death and the Decrees of Heaven were; but finding that this would avail nothing with her, he called for his Son, and tenderly embracing him, he conjured her, if no other Consideration would weigh with her, at least for the dear Infant’s Sake, to spare her Life, that she might see him virtuously educated, and early taught to banish foolish Credulity from his Heart, that he might shun his Father’s Crimes and Misfortunes.

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Here Lindamira struggled some time before she could speak; at length her Words finding a Passage, ‘You die, said she, and yet you would have me live; alas! did you love me with half the Sincerity and Fondness I love you, you would know what an Impossibility you require; our Lives are inseparable, and in Death we shall again be united. Heaven, who is all merciful, will not let me survive you, and by that Means plunge me into new and far greater Miseries than I have hitherto experienced, and the same all-gracious Heaven will be a Father to our innocent Babe.

Here Grief again stopped her Voice, and so lively were her Sorrows, that they deprived her of Knowledge, and she swooned away upon his Bed. Palmiris, whose Strength decayed apace, was unable to bear this violent Shock, but with a Groan breathed his last; and, as if their two Bodies had been but informed by one Soul, she that Moment expired in his Arms.

Edition: current; Page: [(211)]
Thomas Gordon
Gordon, Thomas
Edinburgh

A Letter to a Gentleman at Edinburgh, concerning the busy and assuming Spirit of the Ecclesiastics, and their extravagant Demands upon the Laity.
Anno 1725.

SIR,

YOU desire to know something of the present Spirit and Conduct of our Clergy; a Curiosity to which you are prompted by the Behaviour of your own, who, you say, are so zealous for the Welfare of your Souls, as to concern themselves in all your Affairs, even in such as relate only to your Persons, Families, and Diversions. That, in former Times, the holy Men, their Predecessors, were wont to mix their reverend Spite and Impertinence with their ghostly Care, to confound Spirituals with Temporals, and to dictate in all Things, is what I have heard; but was in Hopes, that a freer Spirit, with an Increase of Liberty and Sense, had put an End to such Ecclesiastical Intrusion, and taught the present Set, that as their Ministry is known to be bounded by the Bible, and the Civil Constitution, they ought to keep themselves warily within the Limits of their Ministry; that if they break the Bounds within which they are placed, and usurp a Jurisdiction which they have not Force to maintain, People will scorn their Fairy Dominion, and they will lose their Credit by grasping at Power. The Authority of Nurses and Pedagogues is confined to Infants and Pupils; it is stinted in Time, as well as in Measure, and ends where Childhood ends, and where the Years of Discretion begin. Should an old Woman take upon her to direct my Youth, because she fed and whipped me when I was a Babe, or should my Tutor, who taught me to decline Verbs, or to chatter Logic, when I was a Boy, seek with his pedantic Edition: current; Page: [212]Talents to controul me, when a Man, I should be apt to think the Nurse and the Tutor, though perhaps alike wise, yet alike unfit for Mastership and Government.

The Province of our spiritual Nurses is restrained to Offices purely spiritual. In the Conduct of domestic and civil Life, in the Rules of good Sense and Business, or even in those of just Thinking and Reasoning, they are, generally, of all Men, the most unfit to direct or advise. Besides their eminent Inexperience, besides the Narrowness of their Spirit, and that their Judgment is as defective and aukward, as is their Address and Behaviour, they generally meddle with the Affairs of other Men from Motives intirely despicable and selfish, from Pride and Peevishness, from Resentment or Revenge, or for some paltry Advantage, for a Fondness of being courted or feared, of being thought wise and important, or from some other Consideration unworthy of a Man of Sense, or Honour, or Spirit.

It is to no Purpose to say, that they only aim at correcting Vice and ill Principles. For they often create Vice, and find it where it is not, in harmless Mirth and Amusement, and in Recreations where not only all Decency and regular Behaviour is observed, but where Vice and Impertinence are ridiculed and lashed, and where Lessons of Morality and Honour are recommended and inforced. And for ill Principles, what they call so, are often no other than harmless Speculations and Inquiries after Truth, or the Result of such Inquiries; often the most noble and beneficent Notions, such as represent the Deity uniform, dispassionate, and impartial, abhorring human Cruelties, forgiving human Weaknesses and Mistakes, pleased with a sincere Heart, nor expecting more from his Creatures than he has given them, and disengaged from all little Prejudices in favour of Sects and Parties.

This creating and multiplying of Sins, and finding Transgressions where the Bible finds none, has what the World calls Policy in it; because the more Sin abounds, the more necessary ghostly Men are thought; and this Policy they have improved so notably, where they have been encouraged, or even suffered, that they have turned almost every thing into Sin, except what is the most wretched and unmanly of all Sins, that of adoring and Edition: current; Page: [213]obeying Priests. But this Policy is attended with one flagrant Inconvenience: Every Man of Discernment will be apt to ask, If Iniquities are thus increased, and Men grow daily worse, in spite of such numerous Monitors, in spite of their holy Counsels, their pious Examples, their awful and repeated Denunciations; then what avails an expensive Army of Priests, who own themselves daily conquered, and utterly unequal to the adverse Host? This looks like a Confession, that either Satan fears them not, or that they do not all that might be done against Satan.

In Popish Countries there are several Transactions, which appear like palpable Juggles between the Devil and the Friars, particularly in the Business of Exorcism, and casting out evil Spirits: The Devil in Possession often holds out a long and inveterate Siege, and when he is at last ejected, he is free to enter into the same Person again, or into somebody else. If they have indeed Power over the Devil, why do they not cast him quite out of the World, at least out of the Country? Would we not think that a General mocked us, if he asserted, that he had beaten the Enemies every-where driven them out of every Town, and every particular Place, but still they were as strong as ever, and still ravaging the Country? I should think that he and his Troops deserved to be broken, notwithstanding his boasted Skill, and invisible Feats.

Methinks it is not the deepest Craft for holy Men, armed with such high Powers, to be always appearing in a Fright, and crying for Help from unhallowed Laymen, upon every Phantom of Danger. Against the Cause of God, we are assured by himself, that the Gates of Hell shall not prevail; and to such as maintain his Cause by his own Assistance, what Danger is to be apprehended, what human Assistance can be wanted? The Apostles wanted none against the whole Pagan World, against all the Hosts of Jewish and Pagan Priests, breathing Persecution and deadly Rage: Yet the Apostles had no Establishment, no Revenues, no privileged Tribunals to harangue in, no Laws against Heretics or Gainsayers, nor even against Blasphemers; and were but a few Men, Edition: current; Page: [214]dispersed over the World, without Money, without Mobs, and even without University Education.

At present, and for many Ages past, we have had Apostolic Men by Thousands in every Country, and Millions of Money they have cost almost every Country to maintain them. They are protected by Laws sufficiently indulgent, and without Number. Schools are erected and supported at the public Expence for their Education; they themselves govern these Schools, and conduct the National Teaching, both in the Schools and in the Pulpits. The first Thing learned by Infants is to reverence them; they catechise us when Children, they instruct our Youth, and when we are Men, we are not manumitted from their Instruction. Young Women are partial to them, old ones adore them. When we are in Health we wait upon them for Admonition; and, when sick, receive their Counsel and Discipline at home. ’Tis they that exhort, they that rebuke, they that preach to the People, they that pray for them; it is they who administer the Seals of the Covenant, work a holy and imperceptible Change in Wine, and Bread, and Water, and they who utter ineffable Mysteries: They bless, they curse; they offer Heaven, they possess Earth; they denounce Damnation; they cry aloud, they threaten, they terrify: They are Ambassadors from God; they know his Will; they bear his Authority; they communicate his Intentions, deliver his Commands, distribute his Rewards and Terrors, apply his Blessings and Judgments: They shut the Gates of Paradise; they open those of Hell; they admit us into Christ’s holy Church, they nurture us in it, or exclude us out of it, and are daily apprising us of their own Power and Importance.

Now what can annoy, what ought to frighten or alarm Men, thus endowed and reverenced, thus adored and exalted, thus dear to Heaven, thus absolute upon Earth, thus encompassed and guarded by Securities divine and human, so signal and many? It is too great a Compliment to the Powers of Darkness, and, in my Opinion, inconsistent with Orthodoxy, to suppose them a Match, much more an Overmatch, for the Children of Light, especially for the Envoys and Representatives of the Almighty. This would be introducing a terrible Edition: current; Page: [215]Doctrine amongst Men; it would be finding a Reason and an Apology for the Worship paid by the wild Indians to the Evil Spirit; who being an Enemy to God, and long since vanquished and damned, can never be an Object of Terror to sound Believers: The Wicked One has no Armour that is Proof against a lively Faith, which, as it can remove Mountains, must easily drive away Satan. It is therefore want of Faith to fear the Devil, whom even Free-thinkers and Unbelievers fear not. It is indeed Matter of Lamentation, that Christians, yea the Directors and Conductors of Christians, should have less Courage than Men who are given up to a reprobate Mind; Men left to uncovenanted Mercy, and without Shield or Fence against the Assaults of the Enemy.

You therefore surprise me, by telling me, as you do, that a Pantomime, a poor Player, Tony Ashton, and his Comedians, have been able to ruffle and disquiet the Minds of the Reverend Ministers of the Kirk. What Tools he brings with him, terrible to the Hierarchy, I cannot conceive. The Laws, the Gospel, and private Persons, are protected by the Civil Power: And if Tony can hurt and insult neither Religion, nor Cæsar, nor Particulars, how comes he to occasion such Uproars and Alarms?

Doubtless there are several Plays too gross and licentious; and so, sometimes, have been many Sermons: Yet, when a Preacher has abused the Privilege of Preaching, advanced wild Opinions, and uttered dangerous and ridiculous Follies, as, upon Occasions, has happened, it has not been allowed to interrupt or contradict him. Nay, when the Civil Power has questioned him for insulting or calumniating the Civil Administration, his Brethren have waxed wroth and outrageous, that any of their Body should be questioned at any Tribunal but their own: A Right and Impunity, which, I think, are claimed as sturdily by the Fathers of the Kirk, as by our High-Church, or the High-Church in Italy.

But as this extravagant Claim implies, that all Rights and Powers whatsoever do, directly or indirectly, appertain to themselves, and dooms all Men to a vile and blind Dependence upon the Clergy in all Things; so it Edition: current; Page: [216]should warn every Man, who would not blindly tread in the Steps, and hang by the Cloak or the Cassock of a Pedagogue, to preserve an Independence upon the Clergy in all Things where the Clergy have nothing to do. Other Commission, than that of counselling and exhorting such as will hear them, I know none that our Blessed Saviour has given them; and this he has given to all Men.

What have the Parsons to do with our Recreations and Amusements? Does the Gaiety and Openness of the Spirit, occasioned by Festivity and Diversion, lead to Sin and Lubricity? Who told them so? Upon me it had never any such Effect; and by what Rule do they judge? In my Opinion, the opposite Commotions of Spirit, those of Bitterness, Ferocity, and Uncharitableness, are in themselves sinful; odious and unsociable I am sure they are, and the genuine Attributes of Monks and Cynics.

With Pretences equally just, may they claim the Direction of our Persons, Tables, and Dress. The Ladies must not wear fine Silks, nor the Men fine Perriwigs, for Fear of exciting Concupiscence, and alluring one another: Nay, they must not wear fine Linen, nor wash their Faces, for the like Theological Reason. They must not enter a Tavern, for fear of being drunk; nor be merry, for fear of being profane; nor eat a good Meal, nor deal in Sauces and Dainties, for fear of pampering the Flesh.

There is no Length to which such impertinent Reasoning, when it is once admitted, will not go: And, in Effect, we see that in every thing which passes within the Heart of Man or Woman, or in their Dress, Eating, Drinking, and general Oeconomy, the Romish Priests act the Busy-body, and assume to be Comptrollers even in the conjugal Pleasures, those between a Man and his Wife, they assert a Right to be informed and to dictate. They of that Religion know this by Experience; and by reading their Books of Confession and Casuistry, every one may know it. What, in the Name of Wonder, is it to a Man who deals in Spirituals, whether, when a Woman, in Bed with her Husband, lays her Leg upon his, he is to take it for a Signal and obey it, though she Edition: current; Page: [217]say never a Word? Yet this Query is put by a grave Casuist, and answered in the Affirmative; Imo, certe, says he, propter Modestiam Sexus. So favourable was the good Doctor to the Ladies!

This meddling of theirs in every thing, and meddling like Masters and Governors, will make People tired and uneasy to be under their Direction in any thing: So that where they are not armed with the Civil Sword, and the Terrors of an Inquisition, as, I thank God heartily, they are not like to be with us; they will lose the Credit which they might otherwise preserve, and grow contemptible by being troublesome and impertinent. The Pulpit is their Province, and even that is a Province which they should exercise with Modesty and Wariness; especially in a Generation like this, when People have learnt to assert their natural Liberty, and the Use of their Senses, and to dispute the Truth of Positions which they judge to be doubtful or false, however imperiously maintained by Men of Reverence and Name.

That Authority which depends only or chiefly upon the Esteem and Opinions of Men, is exceeding precarious, and will decay or perish as those Opinions alter, or that Esteem is lost, or lessens. Many have lost all Credit, by carrying it too high, or by maintaining it by false and deceitful Supports. What has been the Consequence of all the wild and unmeasurable Claims contended for in behalf of Churchmen, by Dr. Hickes, Mr. Lesley, and the other Champions of that Cause? It is true, they were greedily swallowed by many of the selfish and aspiring Clergy; infatuated many weak Brains amongst them, and deceived several of the People, chiefly the Vulgar in Condition of Understanding: But their Triumph was short and contemptible. These extravagant Demands for extravagant Power in Ecclesiastics, occasioned a Number of such Answers, as have not only set the Authority of Churchmen very low in the Opinion of almost all Men, and demonstrated, that from Christ they derive no Power or Revenue at all, but, for all that they have, must be beholden to Laymen and the Law; but they have likewise, by Reasoning and Examples upon that Subject, shewn the Spirit Edition: current; Page: [218]of the Ecclesiastics almost in all Times, to have been so tyrannical, vindictive, and rapacious, that most Men are become loth to trust them with over-much Wealth or Power, or indeed with any, independent upon the Civil Government.

As the Writings of these Divines were visionary, absurd, and indeed arrogant, full of Principles destructive of Civil Liberty, and all Liberty, opposite to the Spirit of the Reformation, and contrary to all good Sense, and all Modesty; and yet greedily read and approved by Numbers of the inferior Clergy; Men who had better Sense and Discernment, and wished well to the free Constitution of their Country, conceived Indignation at the propagating and encouraging of Notions so wild and mischievous; and have exposed them so effectually, that such Notions, and the Authors of them, are now as much contemned, as they were insolent and chimerical. Such, in truth, was the Scheme of these Nonjurors, and their Followers; so exorbitant and wicked it was, that nothing but blind Popery, settled in the Church, and absolute Tyranny in the State, could have supported it; and I think, it is plain, that both these Supports were intended to be introduced. Indeed, the Scheme itself necessarily implied them; and without them, it was a mere Dream.

It is true, that some of these high Contenders for unbounded Power in the Church and the Crown, wrote against Popery, and set Bounds to the Prerogative in Church Matters. But it is equally true, that they only contended against the Popery of the Pope, and against owning the Jurisdiction of Rome: They, at the same time boldly asserted a Power to themselves equal to that of the Pope; asserted all the dreadful, all the selfish and lucrative, and most of the extravagant Positions of Popery; such as the Right of knowing Hearts by Confession; the Power of Damning and Saving; Prayers for the Dead; Extreme Unction; great and princely Power and Revenues, all holden in their own Right, without depending upon the Civil Power, and even in spight of it. If I must be enslaved or oppressed by an imperious, assuming Priesthood, what is the Difference to me, whether my Oppressor live at Rome, or Canterbury, or Edinburgh.

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The Manner also in which these High-church Writers treat the Crown, is most insolent, shameless, and dishonest: They exempt themselves, and all that is theirs, which is whatever they have a mind to call so, from all Cognizance or Authority of the Civil Power of the Prince. Their Persons, they say, are sacred, as well at his; nay, more sacred, and their Possessions defended by Privileges divine: So that though they surrender him the Laity, to be used or spoiled, fleeced or flayed, as he pleases; though they bely the holy Name of God to sanctify Oppression, to secure the Oppressor, and to terrify the poor abused Sufferers from lifting up their Hand, or even their Voice and Complaints, for Relief; though they call every Attempt to preserve their Persons and Property, and to resist insulting Spoilers, a resisting of God, and for it threaten Damnation; yet, if he dare but to touch themselves, dare to meddle with their Revenues, to enter the Sanctuary, or to claim any Share of their Wealth or Jurisdiction, Heaven and Earth are summoned to assist them, and to resist him; Woes are denounced against the faint Heart, and feeble Hand; and the Crosier is reared against the Sceptre.

Is not such impudent Conduct enough to open the Eyes of all Men, even of the most stupid, bigotted, and blind? To see Religion turned into a manifest Market of Power and Wealth; the great God made the Voucher of an execrable Bargain between the Oppressors of Men in their Persons, and the Oppressors of Men in their Consciences; to see Men tied up, or let loose, made tame or furious, crouching under unrelenting Tyranny, or armed against legal Power, just as they are directed, scared, or inflamed by Priests! To see these Priests claiming to themselves all sorts of Privileges, and Wealth and Power without Bounds; to see them assuming Principalities and Power, by virtue of Successorship to the poor, wandering, and persecuted Apostles; and yet denying the abused Laity, from whom they have all things, to have a Right to any thing, not even to their Property, and their Senses! Will such Clergymen, after this, complain that such Clergymen are not reverenced? Men, who by their extravagant Edition: current; Page: [220]and selfish Positions, discover a Spirit so unchristian and unsociable; such a one as undermines all the Rights and Pleasure of human Society, and of human Life. They are, indeed, contemned; and upon themselves they have drawn that Contempt. Will they complain of the Growth of Infidelity and Profaneness, when, by their Example and Principles, they had shewn that they had meant to debase Religion as far as it could be debased, by turning it into an Engine for Dominion and Opulence; and perverted the Gospel into a Scheme of Grandeur, Absurdities, and Persecution? What has propagated Infidelity so much as their own selfish Tenets and Conduct, and the vile Use which they made of the Bible; as if it had been nothing else but a Patent to exalt Priests, and inslave the Laity? Of all the Latitudinarian Books in the World, the Writings of High-church Men are the most fraught with mischievous and horrible Positions.

I wish, for the Honour of the whole Body of the Clergy, that the Convocation had at any time branded such infamous and pestilent Doctrines, by some just and public Censure, such as they have been very free to bestow upon Books and Propositions which defend the common Rights of Conscience and Society. By their utter Silence in this Matter, they have administered a Handle to some for suspecting (I hope unjustly) that, to Assemblies of Clergymen, the Happiness of the Laity was of little Concernment, and Liberty of Conscience a Matter of Offence: That they had Views irreconcileable to the Reformation, and the Establishment, and were pursuing an Interest opposite to that of the Public. What heightened this Suspicion, was the manifest Partiality of their Conduct: While they were assiduously searching after Books which defended the Civil Rights of Society, and the unalienable Right of all Men to think for themselves, in order to censure them; and in doing it, did notoriously misrepresent them; they thought fit to pass over Books which asserted the blackest of all Iniquities, that of Persecution; Books which reviled the Constitution, struck at the Root of public Liberty, contended for public Servitude (in the Laity only) and boldly revived and maintained the most dangerous Edition: current; Page: [221]and impudent Opinions of Popery. And when such impious Writings were laid before them, their Boldness and pestilent Tendency shewn, and Passages quoted out of them, shocking to the Ears of Freemen and Protestants; still that Reverend Body persisted to make no Animadversions.

What Conclusion, advantageous to their Reputation, could be drawn from a Proceeding so evidently unequitable and unjust, when a Set of Men, assuming to be Judges, were apparently Parties, and had so little Regard, or rather so much Aversion, to righteous Judgment, that upon Truths the most obvious, upon Principles the most benevolent, their Wrath and Anathemas fell; while the most daring Arraignment of private Conscience, and the most bare-faced Insults upon public Liberty, Civil and Christian, incurred no Blame? In one, for Example, it was a heinous Crime, and loudly censured, to have said, “That our Saviour’s Kingdom was not of this World;” though after our Saviour himself he said it. But it proved to the Convocation no Matter of Offence, for another to have impiously maintained, that “Heaven itself waited for the Sentence from the Priest’s Mouth, and God himself followed the Judgment of the Priest”———That “Kings and Queens are to bow down before the Priest, with their Faces towards the Earth, and to lick up the Dust of his Feet;” with many other mischievous and unhallowed Extravagancies, to the Disgrace of Religion and common Sense. Was this the Way to be reverenced, to utter, as the Oracles of God, such impudent and poisonous Falshoods, or to defend them, or not to stigmatize them? Was it not rather a Way to forfeit all common Respect, and to incur universal Indignation and Scorn?

A Family is a small State, as a State is a great Family. Now, suppose the Master or Prince of a Family take into his Service a Chaplain, and give him Bread and Wages; Does this same Chaplain take a Method to be reverenced or believed, if he tell the Man who maintains him, “I am your spiritual Prince, you are my spiritual Subject; I can absolve or damn you: You must tell me all the Secrets of your Heart, let me Edition: current; Page: [222]judge of your Thoughts; submit without Murmuring or Hesitation to my Dictates and Censure, and be obedient to my Discipline. You must call me your Chaplain in no other Sense than you say, My Lord, and My God. You ought to fall down before me, and lick up the Dust of my Feet. My Government in your Family, as a Priest, is farther above yours, as you are a Layman, than Heaven is above the Earth; and my Revenue ought to be greater than yours, though you are a Prince in your House.

“And to make you Amends for thus sharing with you in your Power and Riches, I do hereby, in the Name of Heaven, doom all your Children and Servants, that is, all your Lay-Domestics, to be your Slaves, without Reserve; and I do assert your Authority over them, be it ever so cruel, unnatural and destructive, to be the Ordinance of God; and you to be his Vicegerent, however wicked and unlike God you prove. But my Person and Property you must not touch; for I am a sacred Person; in all the Money and Power which I take from you, I am independent and unaccountable; for I am the Lord’s Priest, and my Wealth is God’s Wealth. It would be Sacrilege in you to meddle with either; if you do, you will be damned; and if I can persuade your Lady, or your Son, to give me any Lands or Treasure, for the Good of their Souls, whatever Artifices I use to draw such Donations from them, you must protect me in the Possession, against your Grand-children, or any other Claimant whatsoever; for to take it from me, or from any future Chaplain for ever, would be to rob God and the Church.

“Moreover, if any of your Family, your Lady, Children, or Servants, should presume to differ in Opinion from me, and follow their own Conscience, this is Schism, it is a damnable Sin; for out of the Church, that is, without my Permission and Management, there is no Salvation: And such Schisinatics, Heretics, and Gainsayers, you must prosecute, that is, fine, imprison, whip, hang, or burn, as I shall direct you: If you do not, you favour Heretics and Schismatics, and I will excommunicate you, that is, Edition: current; Page: [223]deliver you to the Devil; and then you are unworthy of any Authority, and I will excite your Family to turn you out of your House, unless by Submission to me you shew yourself penitent, and worthy to be restored: Upon this Condition I will recal you, and turn off the Person that I put in your Room, whom I will call an Usurper, if he do not humour me in all Things. For, ’tis I who can preserve Obedience, or stir up Strife and Fighting in your Family, and teach them the Necessity of obeying or resisting, by the Terrors of Divine Vengeance, which is always armed when I am angry, and asleep when I am pleased.”

Now, would Pretences and Claims, thus impious and shameless, be borne from any particular Chaplain, by his particular Lord or Patron? And yet are not such Claims asserted by the High Clergy in general? And do they not affect every individual Layman, by affecting the whole Body of the Laity? They treat us to our Faces, like Vassals blind and tame, and doom us without Ceremony, to bear Invasion and Tyranny with meek Hearts, and Hands bound. All that we have, is hardly enough for them. Yet were we to treat them as they treat one another, a very small Competency would appear a sufficient Appointment and Maintenance for the Successors of the Apostles. Do we not frequently see a Reverend Doctor possess three, five, nay eight hundred Pounds a Year, sometimes more than a thousand; and yet out of this great Revenue, which he thinks not too much, and hardly enough, though he do nothing for it, give no more than fifteen, twenty, thirty, or at most forty Pounds a Year to a Curate, for doing the whole Duty of the Parish? If this be enough for the Labour of a Clergyman, why do the Laity give any-where more? If it be not, why does the rich Doctor give so little? The Curate is furnished with all necessary Abilities and Qualifications as well as the Doctor, and has the same spiritual Powers, to baptize, to give Absolution and the Communion, to marry, preach, pray, bury, visit the Sick, and to take Tithes, if he had any to take.

Thus, in the Opinion of former Bishops, (Governors of the Church) who often kept Curates themselves, when they still retained a good fat Living in Commendam: Edition: current; Page: [224]and thus in the common Practice of the inferior Clergy, Wages sometimes not much higher than those of a Carter, scarce ever so high as those of an Exciseman, are sufficient for doing all the Functions of a Clergyman. Would this not seem a Rule to the Laity, a Rule taken from the best Authority in the World, that of the Practice of the Clergy, how to rate the Work and Worth of a Clergyman? Why should they expect that Laymen should value the Labour and Use of a Clergyman higher, than the Clergy themselves do in Fact value it? They will not say, that three, or five, or eight, or ten hundreds a Year, is little enough for the Sagacity of chusing, and the Trouble of hiring, a Curate for twenty, or thirty, or forty, though sometimes things equally foolish and absurd are said; for there are many Laymen who can drive a hard Bargain, and pinch their Workmen, and we too often find the Reverend Deputy of a great Doctor full as bad and insufficient as if the Church-wardens had picked him up and hired him. I would therefore be glad to know why any Man, why especially a Minister of the Gospel, who should labour in Season, and out of Season, should have any Revenue, especially a great Revenue, for nothing?

But I ramble from my first Design, though, perhaps, had I pursued it, I should not have tired you less. But I am like other Authors, who, whilst they please themselves, think that they are furnishing Delight to their Reader. To your Information I pretend not to add any Thing, not even in telling you that I am, with great Affection and Sincerity,

SIR, Your Faithful Servant,
G.
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M. S. Johannis Trenchard, Armigeri.

QUI, quamvis antiqua stirpe ortus, multisque opibus florens,

Neque domo, neque pecunia, præcipuam sibi laudem Assecutus est.

Quam alii claritudine generis,

(Majoribus innixi)

Quam alii divitiis

Gloriam ostentant fortuitam & inanem, Ille virtute ingenioque

Sinceram, propriamque, & mansuram sibi comparavit:

Solertia & morum sanctitate, imaginibus domus, Præluxit.

Vim animi, integritatem vitæ, in patriam fuosque caritatem

Pauci equârunt; antecessere nulli.

Pueritia vix egressus, Foro vacavit,

Legum peritus, causisque orandis validus: Sed jurgiis Forensibus atque lucro statim valedicens, Secessum dilexit, vitamque privatam.

Reip. tamen curam, nunquam sibi neglectam, Neque deposuit, nec frustra exercuit;

Dominationis cujusvis generis hostis perpetuus, Et vere timendus;

Libertatis, priscique moris,

Custos rigidus, Vindex acer.

Edition: current; Page: [227]

A Monument Sacred to the Memory of John Trenchard, Esq;

A Gentleman descended from an ancient Family,

And conspicuous for abundant Wealth:

Yet neither from his Race nor his Fortune,

Did he derive his principal Renown.

Some boast a Glory derived from the Lustre of their Lineage;

And rely upon the Merits of their Ancestors:

Others vaunt the Glory of their Wealth.

Vain and accidental is all such Glory.

His was of his own acquiring, without Allay,

Personal and permanent,

The pure Result of his Virtue and Parts.

In his native Accomplishments, and in the Sanctimony of his Morals,

He gained Splendor surpassing that of his House.

In Vigour of Spirit, in Integrity of Life,

In Tenderness to his Country, to his Kindred and Friends,

Few ever equalled him,

None ever surpassed him.

Whilst yet a Youth he attended the Bar,

Learned in the Laws, and a powerful Pleader.

But soon abandoning the Strife of Suits,

And the Pursuit of Gain,

He preferred Retirement and a private Life.

His Concern however for the Public

(A Concern ever inseparable from his Thoughts)

He neither renounced, nor exercised in vain;

Of Encroachments and Domination of every kind

A constant and a formidable Foe;

Of public Liberty, and primitive Institutions,

A rigid Assertor, a powerful Champion.

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Simul naturæ humanæ, pravitatis hominum,

Ambitusque & calliditatis Potentium,

Gnarus, ac probe suspicax,

Prætextus eorum a consultis, a Domino Magistratum,

Discriminare valuit;

Vimque & superbiam, quandocunque lacesserant,

Summa facundia increpare ausus est.

Missionem exercitus

Post finem belli Gallici, Gulielmo Principe,

Oratione scripta, adhuc Juvenis

Efflagitavit atque obtinuit,

Invitis Aulicis & frementibus.

Par ipse summis negotiis,

Et honores meritus, sed aspernatus,

Artibus privati præcelluit.

Mystarum Rabiem,

Tristes Fanaticorum ineptias,

Libertati civum atque bonis inhiantium,

Semper aversatus;

Petulantium istorum & aviditatem

Ac iter redarguit & coercuit:

Nec Deum Opt. Max.

Truculentiæ effræni, vel vociferatui inani annuere,

Aut lapsu & erroribus mentis offendi Ratus est.

Annos V. post L. vixit, sibi satis;

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From Observation he knew, from a just Principle he suspected,

The Frailty of human Nature, and the Pravity of Men,

With the Ambition and Artifices of Men in Power:

Between their avowed Pretences, and real Pursuit,

He could well distinguish,

As between the worthy Magistrate and the lawless Ruler;

Ever resolute to encounter every public Violence,

And all the Insolence of Power,

With consummate Eloquence.

The Disbanding the Army after the French War,

In the Reign of King William,

By an Argument written and published,

Even in his Youth he undertook to procure,

Urged it with great Force,

And even succeeded.

In Opposition to the Efforts and Rage of the Courtiers:

To the highest Affairs his Abilities were equal:

But deserving public Honours,

And despising them,

He shone in the Accomplishments of private Life.

To the wild Fury of all Visionaries and Mystists,

To the direful Fooleries of all Bigots,

His Enmity was bent and perpetual,

As Men ever ravening against the Liberty, against the Possessions,

Of their Fellow-Citizens.

Eloquently he exposed, zealously he restrained,

The petulant Spirit and Avarice of such Men.

That the God of Nature, supremely Great, supremely Good,

Could ever approve wanton Cruelty, or devout

Clamour, and empty Sounds,

Or could ever be offended with the Mistakes and Roamings of the human Soul,

Was what his rational Heart could never conceive.

To the Age of almost fifty-five he lived,

An Age to himself sufficiently long;

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At non Patriæ, non amicis, nec uxori.

Cæterum, ut sine labe vitam transegerat,

Mortem absque formidine obiit,

Liberis viris & bonis nunquam non desiderandus;

Decemb. XVI. An. Ch. MDCCXXIII.

Manent Monumenta ingenii, semperque manebunt,

Scriptis multi generis sacrata.

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But not so to his Country, nor to his Friends, nor to his Lady.

As he had passed his Life without Blemish,

He encountered Death without Fear.

A Man by all virtuous Men and Freemen Worthy to be for ever lamented.

He died on the sixteenth of December 1723.

Of his Genius and Abilities there are Monuments remaining,

Such as will for ever remain,

Consecrated to Time and Posterity in Writings of various Kinds.

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The Craftsmen: A Sermon, or Paraphrase upon several Verses of the xixth Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. Composed in the Style of the late Daniel Burgess.
Anno 1723.

Nihil rerum mortalium tam instabile ac fluxum est, quam fama potentiæ non sua vi nixæ.

Tacit.

ADVERTISEMENT.

WHAT gave Occasion to the following Sermon, was the Threats of a most Reverend Prelate, and some of his Brethren, to suppress the Independent Whig, which then came out weekly, by an Inquisition very extraordinary, and unknown to our Constitution. To defeat therefore such a Prelatical and Unchristian Design, and, if possible, to shame the Authors of it, with other fierce and interested Bigots, out of all Methods of Violence in Matters of Religion and Opinion, this Sermon was composed and published, with no ill Success.

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The Craftsmen: A Sermon, or Paraphrase, upon several Verses in the 19th Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.

I Shall not this Day, my Beloved, as the usual Manner is, accost you with the Scraps of a Verse, or only with a whole Verse out of any Part of the Gospel; which Method is often made use of in such Places as this, purely to avoid telling what goes before, or comes after; but shall chuse for my Text the greatest Part of the xixth Chapter of the Acts: And in discoursing upon this Portion of Scripture, so fruitful in good Instructions and Examples, I shall confine myself to the following Method.

I. First, I shall make some general Observations upon the Behaviour of the Apostle Paul in his Ministry.

II. Secondly, I shall discourse more particularly upon several Verses in this Chapter: And,

III. Thirdly, and Lastly, I shall draw, from the whole, some useful and seasonable Inferences, and then conclude.

I. I shall make some general Observations upon the Apostle Paul. And first of all, my Brethren, it is noteworthy, that Paul made the greatest Change that ever Man did, even from a Persecutor to an Apostle; two Characters as opposite as is that of Lucifer to an Angel of Light. As soon as Light from the Lord fell upon him, he no longer breathes Threatnings and Slaughter against the Disciples of the Lord, as he had in Fore-time, nor puts in Execution the Orders he had about him from the High-Priest, or Archbishop of the Jews, to bring the first Christians and Dissenters of those Days bound to Jerusalem. On the contrary, though he was just before an hard-hearted Persecutor for the Church by Law established, on a sudden he becomes a Lover of the Saints; and now, Behold he prayeth! Acts ix. 11.

1st, Let us learn a Lesson from hence, dearly beloved, as we go along; namely, that as soon as the Fear of the Lord entereth into a Man’s Heart, the Sword of Persecution droppeth out of his Hand. Peace, which is the Edition: current; Page: [234]Badge of the Gospel, and Cruelty, which is the Coat of Arms of Satan, cannot dwell together. Behold, he prayeth!

2dly, It is observable, that when a Zealot leaves his Party, and turns Christian, how very apt the High Party are, ungratefully to forget all his former wicked Merit, which made him dear to them, and to persecute him for apostatizing into Mercy and Grace. While Paul continued the fiery Flail of the Godly, the Priests held him in high Favour, and trusted him with their Ecclesiastical Commission: And for what? Why, to bring bound to Jerusalem all those of this Way: Of what Way? Why, all that forsook the established Synagogue, and followed Christ.

3dly, Observe, my Brethren, that Conscience and Non-conformity had the Powers of the World against them seventeen hundred Years ago. Paul, the Blasphemer, had a Post; but Paul the Convert, Paul the Saint, is allowed no Toleration; yea, they watched the Gates Day and Night to kill him; for, Behold, he prayeth!

4thly, It is observable from the whole History of Paul, that the Grace of God makes a Man both meek under Sufferings, and bold for Christ. Here our Convert neither returns the Injury, nor slacks his Pace in planting the Gospel; both hard Tasks! He risked his Life, and laboured in the Vineyard, without Pay; a rare Thing in this our Day! when the first Motive for overseeing of Souls, is so much a Year. The Apostle drove no Bargain about Preaching, nor made a Market of Salvation.

Oh! my Beloved, how many dignified Drones have we in our Time, who set up for a Likeness to the Apostles without any Likeness; who take great Sums for Mock Apostleship, when nothing thrives by their Ministry but their Bellies! This, my Friends, is lamentable, but it is lamentably true.

II. I haste now to my second general Head, and will discourse particularly upon several Verses in this Chapter.

I begin with Verse the 8th, And he went into the Synagogue, and spake boldly for the Space of three Months, disputing Edition: current; Page: [235]and persuading the Things concerning the Kingdom of God.

1st, And he went into the Synagogue. Observe we here, 1st, my beloved Brethren, that as great Bigots as the Jews were, and as great a Dissenter as Paul was, yet they suffered him to preach in their Synagogues or Churches. He had a clear Stage, though perhaps not equal Favour. Now think ye, my Friends, if the same Apostle should come amongst us here in London, at this time, that he would be permitted to preach in his own Church, unless he first qualified himself according to the Forms and Ceremonies of the Church of England by Law established? Or would he, trow ye, get any Preferment, that the black Dons could hinder him from, in case he persisted to preach what his Master preached before him, namely, that Christ’s Kingdom was not of this World.

2dly, My Beloved, we may see here the great Point of Paul’s Preaching; He disputed and persuaded the Things concerning the Kingdom of God. Not a Word of his own spiritual Dominion; not a Word of Episcopal Sovereigns, who were to descend, as it were, from his Loins, and who, without his Inspiration or Miracles, were to succeed him in what he never had, worldly Wealth, worldly Grandeur, and worldly Power; Things which always mar the Kingdom of God, instead of promoting it, there being no Fellowship between Christ and Belial.

Let us now proceed to the 9th Verse, and see what that says; But when divers were hardened (observe he says, when divers were hardened) and believed not, but spake Evil of that Way before the Multitude, he departed from them, and separated the Disciples, disputing daily in the School of one Tyrannus.

The Priests, no doubt, who traded in Ceremonies, and knew nothing of Jesus Christ, or of inward Holiness, were nettled at a new Religion, which taught Men a plain Path to Heaven, without the Incumbrances of Sacrifices, or Priests, or Fopperies; a Religion that had a professed Enmity to all secular Gain, and all holy Trifleing.

Marvel not at it, my Brethren; a Religion without a Hierarchy, and Godliness without Gain, will never Edition: current; Page: [236]please any Set of High Priests: Nothing will go down with them but Pride and Grimace, and the ready Penny. Poor Paul had nothing about him of all this, nor did he teach a Religion that had. All that he brought was a Christ crucified, and Salvation in and through him. They therefore spake Evil of that Way before the Multitude; that is, the Priests told the People, that Paul was an Heretic, and his Doctrine was Schism; but for themselves, they had Antiquity and the Fathers on their Side, with an Orthodox Church full of decent Types and Ceremonies.

There needed no more to prevent the Apostle from doing any Good among them: So he departed from them. This was all the Punishment he inflicted on them, and this was enough. He who had the Holy Ghost could have inflicted Death or Misery on them; but it was opposite to the Genius of his Religion, which allows spiritual Pastors to feed their Flocks, but not to force them, nor to punish them, if they refuse to feed. If a Man has not a Mind to be saved, he has the worst of it himself; and what is it to the Priests? as Master Selden well remarketh.

This, my Brethren, was the primitive Excommunication. If you could work no Good upon a Man, or if that Man worked Mischief to you, or gave you Scandal, why you would not keep Company with him. But to give him to the Devil, because he was already going to the Devil of himself, is to be a Minister of Christ the backward way. Besides, there was no need of it. The Apostle, in my Text, neither curses these unbelieving High-Churchmen, who hardened themselves against him, nor censures them, nor fines them; all which he who had the Power of Miracles could have done, had he liked it. He barely departed from them. And if he did not damn them for the Sake of their Souls, so neither did he surrender them to Beelzebub for the Sake of their Money. He demanded not a grey Groat of them; so far was he from telling them, Gentlemen, I am your Spiritual Prince, pray pay me my Revenues. Paul was a Witness of the Resurrection, a disinterested Witness, and claimed no Dues; though others since do in his Name, without being real Edition: current; Page: [237]Witnesses of the Resurrection, or disinterested Witnesses of any thing else about it.

Disputing daily in the School of one Tyrannus. Mark here, my Beloved, that both Schools and Synagogues, or Churches, were open to him, though he was but a New-Comer, and a Non-conformist. Mark, moreover, that he barely disputed, or reasoned. He was a Stranger to the Doctrine of Compulsion. He was an Apostle, by virtue of whose Words and Power, all Clerical Acts are pretended to be done ever since: And yet he himself did none, satisfying himself with saving Souls by Exhortation, and the Assistance of the Spirit, which are not Clerical Acts. He was the chief Pastor upon Earth, and held his Commission immediately from God; but he imposed nothing but his Advice, Reason and good Words, upon those that heard him. He could have forced them (had the Spirit so directed) to have swallowed implicitly all that he had said, and either destroyed or distressed all who refused. But the Lord Christ, my Brethren, in his Dealings with Human Kind, never uses Means that are inhuman.

Here you may distinguish the Spirit of Christ from the Spirit of High-Church. For trow ye, my Friends, that Christ or his Apostles ever delegated to weak and passionate Men, Powers and Privileges, which, infallible and inspired as they were, they never assumed to themselves? Let us wonder, my Brethren, at the Impudence of some Men in Black!

And this continued for the Space of two Years. Observe, it is not said, that he kept a Curate all the while.

Let us go on to some following Verses: And God wrought special Miracles by the Hands of Paul; so that from his Body were brought unto the Sick Handkerchiefs or Aprons, and the Diseases departed from them, and the evil Spirits went out from them, ver. 11, 12.

Observe, here are certain Signs of a Power from God; and they who pretend a Power from him, without manifesting the same by certain Signs, are certainly Cheats and Impostors. For a Power given by the Allwise God, must be given for some certain End, which will infallibly be brought about. It is not consistent with his Wisdom and Goodness to give it, and Edition: current; Page: [238]yet leave uncertain, that he has given it, when a plain Manifestation of it is of the utmost Importance to the World, and to the Purposes for which it is given. If a Man bring not infallible Proofs of his Power, how shall I know that he has it? Demonstration must go before Conviction, and Conviction before Consent. We cannot embrace for Truth, what we take to be a Lye. All which will farther appear from the following Verses.

Then certain of the vagabond Jews, Exorcists, took upon them to call, over them which had evil Spirits, the Name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus, whom Paul preacheth. ver. 13.

We may perceive here, that the Apostles had Apes in their own Time; Fellows who set up for their Successors, before they themselves were dead. They were Exorcists or Conjurers, so called, I presume, from their pretending to dispossess haunted Houses, by the Dint of Spells and Forms of Words. They had now got a new Form of Words, and were going to work with them as fast as they could, boasting, no doubt, great Things of their own Power. And indeed they took a politic Method to resemble the Apostle, had they succeeded in it; but they miscarried miserably, as will be shewn anon.

But what shall we say of some Moderns, (more shameless than these vagabond Jews) who will, right or wrong, be Successors to the Apostles, without doing any thing that is Apostolic, but what every reasonable Man may do as well? They shew no Signs but those of Gracelesness and Pride; and do no Wonders but in the Luxury of their Lives.

And there were seven Sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and Chief of the Priests, which did so. v. 14. More Mimickers of Miracles! We see the Trade was growing sweet, but the Sauce proved sour; for the evil Spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? An angry and contemptuous Question, but full of good Sense; but the worst follows: And the Man in whom the evil Spirit was, leapt upon them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that House naked and wounded.

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1. Observe here, first, that we may easily learn what Power Men have from God, by their Power over the Devil. When Paul gave the Word of Command, the Devil did not stand shilly-shally, nor pretend to parly with one who was employed as the Lord’s General against the Power of Darkness, but was forced to march Bag and Baggage; and glad, no doubt, that he could troop off in a whole Skin.

But it is quite otherwise, when Interlopers and Craftsmen, in hopes to make a Penny of Satan, pretend to drive him out of his Quarters, though they come in the Name of the Lord. The Devil, in this Case, sets up a Flag of Defiance, and tells them they are Scoundrels to their Faces; Who are ye? Well spoken, Satan! They were Vagabonds, Jews, and Priests, and the Devil chastised them accordingly: They sled out of that House naked and wounded. The Devil got the Day, and remained Master of the Field and the Baggage: He prevailed against them. They forged a Commission, and the Lord Jesus, whose Name they abused, would not stand by them.

2. Let us here, 2dly, my Friends, think it no Shame to learn a Lesson from the Devil, and take no Man’s Word, who pretends to command us in Matters of Faith, and spiritual Obedience, though he come in the Name of the Lord. Let us examine him first, and try our own Strength upon them. Who are ye? A pat Question, and a proper! Let us, beloved, never lose sight of it, especially when any Man would controul our Belief. Be not determined by outside Shape and Colour. A long Gown may cover an Exorcist, but let us peep into his Inside, search his Life and Principles; let us try whether he is an Apostle in his Heart, and his Actions; and if he be not, let us despise him; yea, let us prevail against him.

3. Observe, 3dly, what great and solemn Rogueries are carried on in the Name of Christ and his Apostles; even Conjurers and Formalists reap their Harvest, as it were, with the Sickle of the Gospel. And if such bold Cheats could be practised, as it were, under this great Apostle’s Nose, what may not be done now he is so far off? How many Exorcists, how many Sons of Sceva, trow ye, have we, at this Time, among us, and in this inlightened Edition: current; Page: [240]Protestant Country? Great Numbers, God wot! yea, great Societies. Every Man, who, in the Name of Christ, or Paul, claims to himself Gain or Dominion, is a Son of Sceva, and can be no guard against the Devil, who despises him. Judge ye now what Swarms we have!

4. Observe from hence, 4thly and lastly, the true Reason of the great Wickedness which is in the World; namely, because we maintain an Army against the Devil, of whom he standeth not in Awe. In the first Ages he was driven out of the Corner, and now he possesses every Corner; for why? they had Apostles, and we have the Sons of Sceva.

And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their Deeds, v. 18. that is, many who had been deluded and misled by these reverend Deceivers, were now undeceived.

And many also of them which used curious Arts, brought their Books together, and burnt them before all Men; and they counted the Price of them, and found it fifty thousand Pieces of Silver, v. 19.

How fertile must the World then have been in mysterious and conjuring Books! What Systems of Nonsense and Knavery must have been here! What Glosses, Commentaries, and Riddles! For we may be sure, my Beloved, these were not Books of useful Knowlege and Learning, or Books that taught Virtue and Morality, since such, without doubt, the Apostle would have preserved: But they were juggling and conjuring Books, such as contained Heathen Traditions, with false Miracles, and false Doctrines, and were probably full of metaphysical Distinctions, and the controversial Divinity of those Days; such as Bundles of foolish Sermons, Pagan Systems, Articles of their Faith, Formularies, lying Mysteries, cabalistical Nonsense, and the High-Church Pamphlets of that Age; all opposite to the divine Truths uttered by Paul.

So mightily grew the Word of God, and prevailed, ver. 20. Take Notice here, Men and Brethren, that the ready Way to make the Word of God grow and prevail, was to burn all the Priests Books. Oh, my Beloved, Edition: current; Page: [241]that our Eyes were so opened! what Fuel should we have for Bonfires!

Nothing occurs remarkable between this and the 23d Verse, which tells us, that the same time there arose no small Stir about that Way. And then follows the Reason, v. 24, 25, 26, 27. For a certain Man named Demetrius, a Silversmith, which made Silver Shrines for Diana, brought no small Gain unto the Craftsmen, whom he called together, with the Workmen of the like Occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this Craft we have our Wealth: Moreover, you see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much People, saying, That they be no Gods which are made with Hands; so that not only this our Craft is in Danger to be set at nought; but also, that the Temple of the great Goddess Diana should be despised, and her Magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the World worshippeth.

A notable Speech, and a fair Confession! He kept a Shop for the Deity, and got a World of Money by this godly Trade; and rather than lose it, he will oppose Christianity, and maintain his Craft against Jesus Christ.

This mechanical Priest, and his Brethren, Retainers to Diana, had lost many kind Customers by Paul’s Preaching; their holy Gear began to lie upon their Hands; Folks Eyes were opened, and the Cheat was disclosed: Upon which the Reverend Dr. Demetrius, and the whole Convocation of Priests and Craftsmen, resolve to accuse the Apostle as an Enemy to the Church, and an Underminer of its Rights and Interests. Sirs, says Mr. Prolocutor, ye know that by this Craft we have our Wealth. “Now, if this Paul goes on to persuade People, as he does, that all our Gain is built on Deceit, and that our Trade is of human Institution, our Function will fall into Contempt, and we into Beggary.”

All this was artfully addressed to the Interest and Avarice of his Brother Craftsmen, who sharing the Benefit of the Cheat, and living plentifully upon Ecclesiastical Revenues of the established Church of Diana, had Motives sufficient to engage them in the Defence of the said Church and Cheat.

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Now he has a Knack for catching the Bigots, by telling them what Danger there was of the Church; and left the Temple of the great Goddess Diana should be despised, and her Magnificence be destroyed, whom all Asia and the World worshipped. What pity it was, that so pure and primitive a Church, and the most orthodox and best constituted Church in all Asia, should be in such piteous Danger!

1. Observe here, first, dearly Beloved, what false Knaves, and godless Infidels, these priestly Crew were. If they believed that their Mistress, the Goddess, who had indeed the best accustomed Church in all Asia, was as great as they pretended her to be, why did they mistrust her Power to protect her own Grandeur, and defend herself? Especially against a single Man, whom they represented as an Enemy to the Gods and their Church, and who was consequently the more easily to be defeated or destroyed? But if they knew her unable to defend her Divinity, and support her Church, with them, her Priests, and Tradesmen; then were they in reality Cheats and Unbelievers, though outwardly grave and zealous Votaries.

2. Take Notice, in the 2d Place, of the wide Difference that there is between these High Priests Church, and the Bible Church! The Priests Church being a Trading Church, and Money being her End, and Grimace her Ware, which were the Source of their Authority and Reverence; whatever enlightened the People, marred the Market of the Priests. By this Craft we have our Wealth: “While we can by Bawling and Lying put off our Trumpery for Religion, it will always sell well; otherwise it will not be worth a Groat; let us contend for our Trumpery, and cry, The Church!” Accordingly we find the Auditory in the next Verse actually practising the Advice given them by this High-Church Preacher, and roaring for Diana of Ephesus; or, which is the same thing, For the Church. By this Craft we have our Wealth.

This, my Friends, was the Spirit of the Priests Church, so opposite to that of the Bible-Church; which being founded upon a Rock, fears neither Rain, nor Storms, nor Dissenters, nor False Brethren; yea, she is founded Edition: current; Page: [243]upon a Rock, which Rock is Christ; and whoever trusts in him, and believes the Scripture, cannot think his Church in Danger. Indeed if his Church is founded upon Hoods, and Caps, and Cringes, and Forms, and filthy Lucre, he may well dread the Judgment of God, and the Reason of Man; for they are both against him and his Dowdy, and his Church will totter as soon as ever common Sense takes it by the Collar. By fearing for the Superstructure, he owns the Foundation to be sandy. By this Craft we have our Wealth.

These Craftsmen keep a Rout about the Danger of their Church. Why, my Brethren, it ought to be in Danger, like a sorry Bundle of Inventions and Gimcracks, as it was. But for the pure, the primitive Church of Christ, the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. Yea, the Craftsmen shall not prevail against it, who are the sorest Enemies which it ever had———It is founded upon a Rock. Paul does not once complain, in all the New Testament, that his Church was in Danger, nor does any other of the Apostles or Evangelists. Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but the Word of the Lord abideth for ever. What say our Craftsmen to this? Either they know it not, or believe it not. Paul, whenever he mentions Dangers or Perils, in his Epistles, means Perils to his own Person: Nor did he, by his own Person, ever in all his Life, mean the Church. But Paul had the Spirit of God; he was no Craftsman.

We, my Beloved, who are Christians, trust to the Veracity of God, that he will for ever defend the holy Revelation that he has given us. Let us, on our Part, treat it as becomes its Dignity and omnipotent Author. Let us not turn our Religion into a Play, nor dishonour it with Baubles, as the Manner of the Popish Craftsmen is, who convert their Churches into Puppet-shews and Music-meetings; and then, when they are laughed at, cry they are in Danger. Pretty Fellows! to raise our Mirth whether we will or no, and then make us choak ourselves to keep it in. Their Craft is in Danger to be set at nought. They know its Value, and quake lest other People should know it too. Oh the Impudence of Craftsmen! how boldly they mock God, and in his Name pick Pockets!

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3. Let us observe, 3dly, my Brethren, that the Christian Religion, which prevailed against all the Powers of the World, cannot be in Danger from all the Powers of the World: And every Church may be in Danger but a Christian Church. Let us praise the Lord, my Christian Friends, that our Church is safe.

Proceed we now to the 28th Verse: And when they heard these Sayings they were full of Wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

1. We may remark here, 1st, my Friends, the violent Effects of a hot Sermon, however absurd and villainous. Here is Dr. Demetrius, whose Craft was all his Religion, lugs Heaven into a Dispute about his Trade, and tacks the Salvation of his Hearers to the Gain which he made of his Shrines; yet this awakened no Indignation in the seduced and ill-judging Auditory; but strait they were full of Wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians: The Church! the Church!

2. 2dly, We may remark, that Ignorance is the Mother of Zeal. They were full of Wrath. For what? Why for Diana of Ephesus. A God created by a Stone-cutter; an insensible Piece of Rock, guarded by a Band of Priests, who, hard as it was, picked a fine Livelihood out of it. But Paul had opened some Mens Eyes, and the Loaves began to come in but slowly. This enraged the Craftsmen, and they enraged the People. The Priests lost Customers, and the People lost their Senses. Such is the Power of Delusion over dark and slavish Minds! Let but the Priest point at a Windmill, and cry the Church is falling, his Congregation will venture their Brains to stop the Sails. What a rare Army does Zeal raise, when Religion and Reason do not spoil the Muster, or stop their March?

The next is the 29th Verse; And the whole City was filled with Confusion; and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, Men of Macedonia, Paul’s Companions in Travel, they rushed with one Accord into the Theatre.

And the whole City was filled with Confusion. Who doubts it, when Church was the Cry, and the Priests had begun it? Give them but their Way, and allow them but to assert their own Claims, they will quickly turn all things, human and divine, topsy-turvy. Here is a whole Edition: current; Page: [245]City thrown into Confusion, purely because a Branch of the priestly Trade, infamous, forged and irreligious, was like to fall before the Word of God preached by Paul.

1st, This shews, Sirs, that there is nothing so lying, and so vile, that they will not justify. They knew that their Church was a Creature of their own composing; that the Worship performed in it was burlesque Worship, contrived by themselves, and paid to a senseless Image; and they knew that the whole was an impudent Delusion, framed by human Invention. And yet, you see, my Beloved, how they raise Heaven and Earth in Defence of their Forgeries and Superstitions. Not a Tittle will they part with, not a Shrine, not a Ceremony. No, rather than this, they publish Lies, they deceive the People, they decry sober Piety, they raise a Sedition, and confound all things. By this Craft we have our Wealth.

2. Behold here, 2dly, the different Behaviour of Truth and Falshood; or, in other Words, of Paul and the Craftsmen! When Men contend for Truth, they do it calmly, because they are sure it will support itself. But Error, conscious of its weak Foundation, flies instantly, for Support, to Rage and Oppression. Paul reasons peaceably and powerfully; Demetrius deceives, scolds, and raises a Mob. But I defy the Craftsmen to shew me one Mob of Paul’s raising in all the New Testament.

The Apostle wanted no Mob; he neither blended Politics nor Gain with his Doctrine; he had no factious Designs; he meddled not with human Affairs; he taught Peace, and he practised it; he had no Grimace to support; no mock Reverence to acquire or defend; he abhorred pious Fraud, and exposed it; he shewed the People the manifest Truths of the Gospel, and of Reason, and that presently opened their Eyes to see the impious Delusions, and bold Impositions of the reigning Priests; and hence began the Rage of Dr. Demetrius and his Mob.

3. From this you may learn, 3dly, my Friends, that one Man, with Truth on his Side, is enough to frighten a whole Army, yea, a whole Hierarchy of Craftsmen, and to defeat them, if he has but a fair Hearing. You Edition: current; Page: [246]see also the graceless Methods that red-hot High Priests take to confute such a Man: First, they dress him up as an Atheist, and an Enemy to the Church, and then set the Mob upon him; for the Law was not against Paul, as we shall see presently, and yet they meant to destroy Paul against Law. An implacable Tribe! No Power can satisfy them, that has either Mercy in it, or Bounds to it: Craft is their Calling, and Lyes and Violence the Tools of their Trade.

Oh, my Christian Friends! what Wolves are Men, yea, what Wolves are Priests, when they have hardened themselves against the Grace of God? Without Meekness and Peace there can be no such thing as the Fear of the Lord, Witness Dr. Demetrius, and those that are like him, Let us pray for their Amendment, that it would please the Lord to take away their reprobate Mind.

And having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, Men of Macedonia, Paul’s Companions in Travel, they rushed with one Accord into the Theatre.

Gaius and Aristarchus, Dissenters to be sure, and Non-conformist Preachers! Men of Macedonia; Foreigners too, ever the Aversion of High-Church! Paul’s Companions in Travel. How! bare Companions? Methinks that is something familiar, unless, perhaps, they were Lords Archbishops of some Country where they did not reside. But Paul, you see, had no spiritual Pride, nor received his Fellow-Christians upon the Knee, as some who pretend to be his Successors at Rome, and elsewhere, do in our Days.

They rushed with one Accord into the Theatre. Ay, they had got their Prey, a Brace of Non-cons, and carried them into the Play-house to bait them. What hooping and hallooing, I warrant ye, about the two godly Christians? How many Fanatics, think ye, they were called, and Disturbers of the Peace of Diana’s High-Church? Doubtless they were charged with writing Books and Papers against Diana’s Clergy, and the established Gewgaws; and perhaps Paul was suspected for having a Hand in them, and some of his Epistles were produced to make good the Charge. Well! here they are, the Priests their Accusers, the Mob their Judges, and Truth Edition: current; Page: [247]their Crime! Men and Wickedness are still the same; we have seen the like in our Times.

And when Paul would have entered in unto the People, the Disciples suffered him not, ver. 30. Here is, on one hand, the Boldness of a Man, who has God for his Guide, and on the other, the Prudence of Men, who knew the Mercy of Priests and Mobs. And therefore certain of the Chief of Asia, which were his Friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the Theatre.

The 32d Verse is pregnant with Instruction: Some therefore cried one thing, and some another; for the Assembly was confused, and the more Part knew not wherefore they were come together.

Some cried one thing, and some another. The true Genius of a Rabble, led by their Priests and their Passions, against Peace and against Religion! They are united in their Zeal to do Mischief, but they differ how they shall go about it. They are for the Church. Diana’s Church, it is true; and shew it by Rage and Noise: But they are under no Rules, except the general one taught them by the Craftsmen, namely, to be fierce for the Church, against the Apostle; for the rest, every Man is his own Master, and every Man will be heard first.

A rare Picture for our present Mob, headed by one of themselves in a Gown; I mean, our modern Demetrius. I think the Man is no great Craftsman; but he has got Diana in his Head, and he himself is in the Head of the Rabble: But, as to the Point of Understanding, we may throw him and his Rabble together into one short Prayer, and cry with our blessed Lord, when the Jewish Priests were putting him to Death, for bearing Witness against their carnal Inventions, their Hypocrisy, and their Cruelty; Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

The Assembly was confused. There was no Order, no Reason, no Moderation among them. The very Type of our High-Church Mob again! And the more Part knew not wherefore they were come together; that is, tho’ as I said before, they came determined to do Mischief, yet they were at a Loss what Species of it to go about, till their General, the Priest, gave them the Word. Oh, Edition: current; Page: [248]my Beloved, let us lament the horrible State of those poor unregenerate Souls, whose Pastors feed them with Poison instead of the Food of Life, and teach them Rage instead of Religion. Take Warning, Sirs, I say unto you, take Warning; beware of Diana, and her Craftsmen; and cleave to your Bibles, as you love your Souls.

And they drew Alexander out of the Multitude, the Jews (the believing Jews) putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with his Hand, and would have made his Defence unto the People. But when they knew that he was a Jew (that is, a believing Jew) all with one Voice, about the Space of two Hours, cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians! ver. 33, 34.

Was there ever such a Couple of Twin-cases as theirs and ours! Verily, our High-Church Bigots and Ragamuffins are the undoubted Descendants of Diana’s Tories at Ephesus sixteen hundred Years ago. Nor is the Breed one whit mended; they are still the Black-guard of the Craftsmen, blind, outrageous, and loud.

We too, my Brethren, would, like the good Alexander in my Text, make our Defence unto the People; and they will not hear us. Pray mark the different Manner of our disputing from theirs, and the contrary Arguments we use; we appeal to the Bible; they cry the Church! and answer the Word of the Lord with a Brickbat: Oh horrible!

Great is Diana of the Ephesians! High-Church for ever! and ’tis likely they swore to it. This was the Cry for the Space of two Hours. Poor Souls! it was all that they could say, and all that their Priests had taught them to say, Great is Diana of the Ephesians! Was ever Church more pithily defended! Certainly the Craftsmen of our Days have learned their Logic from their Ephesian Predecessors. Great is Diana of the Ephesians! I have heard a Sermon, a full Hour long, upon the same Subject, and yet not more said, nor better.

You have already, my Beloved, heard two Speeches, one from the Craftsmen, and the other from the Mob. Dr. Demetrius being in the Chair, tells his Brethren of the Trade, that by his Craft (observe, by this Craft!) they had their Wealth. This is the first Part of his Sermon; Edition: current; Page: [249]and in troth, he puts the best Leg foremost, and uses his strongest Argument first: He fairly puts the Stress of his Faith upon the ready Rhino, and in the very Dawn of his Discourse, shews himself to be orthodox. I dare say, the whole Convocation was convinced. He has, however, a rare Gudgeon behind for the Mob; and what should that be, trow ye, but a Charge of Heresy against Paul? The Apostle had the Assurance to publish, forsooth, that they be no Gods which are made with Hands: Terrible Atheism against the established Divinity! and you see what a bitter Spirit it raised.

This, my Friends, was the Priest’s Speech or Sermon: Now, hear the Mob’s Speech once more; for it is a Rarity, as we say in Berkshire, Why they cried out till their Throats were jaded, Great is Diana of the Ephesians; and lugged a Couple of painful Dissenting Ministers into the Bear-Garden, where I am sorry we must leave them to the Mercy of High-Church Men.

Now, my Christian Friends, you shall hear a third Speech, which by his Honesty, Moderation, and good Sense, will refresh you after all the Knavery and Impudence in the Craftsmen, and all this Sottishness and Fury in the People.

And when the Town-Clerk had appeased the People, he said, Ye Men of Ephesus, what Man is there, that knoweth not how that the City of the Ephesians is a Worshipper of the great Goddess Diana, and of the Image which fell down from Jupiter? Seeing then that these Things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and do nothing rashly: For ye have brought hither these Men, which are neither Robbers of Churches, nor yet Blasphemers of your Goddess. Wherefore, if Demetrius, and the Craftsmen which are with him, have a Matter against any Man, the Law is open, and there are Deputies: Let them implead one another, ver. 35, 36, 37, 38.

This is the Speech of a Layman, and a Lawyer! Think ye not, my Friends, that he was a Low-Church Man? I wot he was.

Seeing then that these Things cannot be spoken against. Right, Mr. Town-Clerk! their dowdy Image was established by Law; and if it had been a Broom-stick, it would have had the Priests on its Side, and must have Edition: current; Page: [250]been worshipped: Where the Carcase is, there will the Ravens be gathered together.

Ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly. So they would, if the Priests had let them alone. But the Craftsmen had goaded their Sides with the Cry of the Church, till the poor Reprobates were stark mad.

What Man is there, that knoweth not, &c. Why, every body knew, that Madam Diana’s Palace at Ephesus had more Superstition and Peter-pence paid to it, and consequently had a greater Swarm of Chaplains, than all the Divinity-Shops of Asia besides. She had Men and Money of her Side. What! could not all this secure her? No; her Bully-boys were afraid of Jesus Christ, and two or three Dissenting Teachers, his Servants.

And the Image which fell down from Jupiter. Fell down from Jupiter! what great Lyars some Priests are, my Beloved! They will needs fetch all their Fables, and filthy Ware, out of Heaven itself; and yet who has less Interest there? Their very Ballads and Raree-shews are fathered upon Divine Right. Oh, Sirs, the brazen Front of some Men! The Town-Clerk here conforms himself to their Manner of speaking: But, take my Word for it, the Man knew better.

The Image which fell down from Jupiter. As I was just now saying, all the Priests Lumber comes from God; and yet they are scared out of their Wits, lest Men should take it from them; as if God could not defend his own Gifts and Institutions. This preposterous Conduct bewrays them. Either they believe not in God, or know that they belye him: Both Cases, my Brethren, are very common. Whosoever feareth the Lord, need not fear what Man can do unto him.

Mr. Town-Clerk proceeds: For ye have bronght hither these Men, which are neither Robbers of Churches, nor yet Blasphemers of your Goddess.

Well urged, “If the Men are innocent, why do you abuse them? If they preach false Doctrine, why do ye not confute them? If they come not to your Established Church, why do ye not convince them, that they ought to come? Or, because you cannot answer them, do ye therefore mob them? It is plain, Edition: current; Page: [251]that the honest Men have neither stolen any of your Madam’s consecrated Trinkets, nor called her Whore.”

Wherefore, if Demetrius, and the Craftsmen which are with him, have a Matter against any Man, the Law is open, and there are Deputies: Let them implead one another.

Better still! This is Reasoning now; a Practice which the Craftsmen do not care for; the Arm of Flesh is their best Argument, and at that too they are generally laid in the Dirt. “Gentlemen (says the Town-Clerk) it is evident, that ye distrust your Cause, by not trusting the Merits of it to the Law. All external Advantages are for you; ye are in your own Town; ye have most Friends, and most Money; and let me tell you too, Gentlemen, you have most Assurance; else I should never have found you here bawling for your Church, and breaking the Law, and to your eternal Scandal, besetting with your Numbers a few harmless Men, whose only Arms lie in the Innocence of their Lives, and in the Force of what they say. If you are vanquished at these Weapons, have the Honesty to own it, or for Shame be silent. If these Men, Gentlemen, speak against the Law, why punish ye them not by the Law? But if ye have no Law against them, neither have they any Transgression.”

What Answer, trow ye, did the Craftsmen, or the Calves, the Multitude, make to this? Why, verily, such an Answer, I guess, as they are wont to make to us every Day: I suppose they damned him for a Whig, and so got drunk, and went home.

Oh, my Friends, the deplorable Condition of Men that are out of Christ! And such are they who take their Religion from the Craftsmen. The Worshippers of Diana would have been as outrageous for one of her Beagles, had the Craftsmen told them, that the Beagle came down from Jupiter. My Brethren, let us cleave to our Bibles; yea, I say unto you, let us cleave to our Bibles.

III. I come now to my third and last general Head, namely, to end my Discourse with a short Word of Application; having, as I went along, anticipated myself, and made several Observations which would else have arisen patly here.

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The great Inference I shall make is, that Craftsmen, or High-Church Men, are at Odds with Conscience and Truth, and afraid of them. And, indeed, to do them Justice, though in relation to God and Religion, there is no believing what they say; yet, whenever they reason from their own Interests, they reason well: By this Craft we have our Wealth. As to their Flourish about Diana, and her High-Church, it has not, in point of Argument, common Sense in it. All they assert is, that all Asia worshipped her; as if, because Diana was then uppermost, therefore Jesus Christ ought to have been kept undermost: They could not stand Paul’s Logic; he appealed to Facts, he appealed to Reason, he appealed to Conscience.

They therefore (that is, Diana’s High Priests, or the Overseers of her Fopperies, and Fingerers of her Gain) form a Design to oppress a Man whom they could not answer. There was no bearing it, that Men should be conducted in their Religion by inward Conviction, and the Grace of God, and not by them, who had no Advantage from either, for the Support of their Impositions.

Beside, if all external Trumpery and Grimace in Religion were certainly ridiculous and vain, as the Christian Religion certainly teaches; if Postures, Cringes, Shrines, Music, and the like bodily Devotion, were so far from signifying any thing, that they were a certain and pernicious Contradiction to the simple Institution of Jesus, whose Will was fulfilled by believing in him, and living well; then were the Craftsmen like to be but little reverenced, and to have but little Custom for their Shrines, and their small Wares. A Priest dressed up in an antic Coat, and making Mouths before a dead Image, would make a merry Figure before the People, instead of an awful one, as formerly; and in the midst of all their holy Hubbub and Solemnity, a Christian need but ask them one short Question, Who required these Things at your Hand? and they were confounded.

What do they therefore in this Case? Do they defend the Church-gear by Reason, or by Reason confute Paul? No: Paul asserted, that that they be no Gods which are made with Hands; the most self-evident Truth that ever was asserted by any Man. They cannot answer it; nor Edition: current; Page: [253]yet will they own themselves in the Wrong; but they will punish the Apostle for being in the Right. Well, in order to do this, do they go to Law with him? Not that neither: Paul and his Companions had offended no Law: They were peaceable Men, they were loyal Subjects, and good Livers: They were Contenders for Virtue and Piety; and they had not uttered a Syllable against Diana’s Idol, but what resulted from the eternal Truths which they delivered.

What Course then do the Craftsmen take with them? Why, a very extraordinary one in itself, but very common with them; even the Course of unprecedented Power and Oppression. They were chargeable with no legal Crime: All their Offence was, that they enraged the Craftsmen, by opening the Gospel Day-light upon the dark Minds of the misled Multitude. They therefore shew their Rage, and have the innocent Men seized, and deprived of their Liberty, without the Shadow of any legal Process against them. Nay, it does not appear, that they had found a Name for the Crime that they alledged; but the Men were confined at Random, and probably put to great Charges.

This shews their Spirit; and that priestly Rage will be gratified over the Belly of Truth, of Innocence, of Humanity, of Law, and of Religion itself. It cannot brook the least good Office done to human Kind; all its Absurdities are sacred; and yet nothing is sacred enough to mollify or restrain it, ever unforgiving, ever gnashing its Teeth. Truth will perpetually be its Foe, and therefore it will perpetually be in a Flame.

And this shews too the Amiableness of an opposite Spirit; I mean, the amiable Spirit of the Gospel. Where did ever our blessed Saviour, who held all Power in Heaven and Earth, and could command Legions of Angels; where, or when did he, in the midst of Dangers, Opposition, and Abuses, ever oppress or punish even his unbelieving and implacable Enemies? Where did ever Paul, who had the Power and Assistance of the Holy Ghost, and who had the Power and Assistance of Miracles; where and when did he ever shew any Resentment to his bitterest Foes among the Jews, or his most idolatrous Gainsayers among the Gentiles?

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And what Account is to be given for this diametrical Opposition between these two Spirits; I mean the Spirit of the Gospel, and the Spirit of High Priests? Why, none but this, that Christ and his Apostles sought no Empire but over Wickedness and Error, by the sole Means of Grace, Gentleness, and Persuasion; and they who have opposite Ends to serve, must bring them about by Delusion, Violence, and Force, This, I will maintain, is a certain Criterion to mark out Truth and Falshood, and true and false Teachers: And I defy all the Priests upon Earth to shew, that the internal Religion of Jesus wants, for its Stay, or its Advancement, the external Influence of worldly Power. It was always purest, and flourished most, when all human Power was against it. Slaves and Hypocrites may be made by it; but Religion rejoices in Liberty and Sincerity.

When Men are angry in Defence of their Opinions, and oppress for their Sake, let them not belye Christ, and say, it is for him; but let their Passions be made to answer for what nothing but their Passions can produce. Why must Ambition, Avarice, and Revenge, be fathered upon Religion, which abhors them all? Why must Bitterness and Cruelty be laid at the Door of the Father of Mercies? Pudet hæc opprobria nobis, &c.

We cannot bear such Violence offered to our Reason, and our Language, as any longer to hear Things called by wrong and unnatural Names, or to see barbarous and impious Actions varnished over with holy Colours, and Godly Pretences. Its gets the better of our Patience, and is an Affront to our Religion. We cannot find Christ in the Actions of Belial; nor can we see the holy Man in the Oppressor. They that would resemble Jesus Christ, must do as he did, and not do what he never did; and they who will in any Case follow the religious Measures taken here by Idolaters of Diana, in the Case of Paul, must forego their Title to Christianity, and argue as these Idolaters did, By this Craft we have our Wealth: And then the Religion of the New Testament will not be profaned in their Quarrel.

But why seize Paul, or any body that belonged to him? Is one Man such a Terror to many, that he must be punished before it appears that he deserved any Edition: current; Page: [255]Punishment at all, and before he is heard? Or, is it dangerous to hear him? And are they afraid of his Defence in a legal Trial, as much as of his Preaching, and of his Reasoning?

It is plain, that downright Oppression, that is, Power without Law, was the whole Scope of their Proceedings, and Revenge their only Motive. It is plain, that Paul was not running away: His whole Business was to publish Truth; he was at Ephesus on Purpose; he did it every Day; he preached in Public; he taught in their Synagogues, he disputed in their Schools: And he did all this so publicly and so effectually, that the Arch-Craftsman charges him with having persuaded and turned away much People. Ay, that griped; his Reasoning prevailed, and the Craft was in Danger.

Let us now, my Beloved, mark the very different Situation of Paul and his Adversaries; they were in Possession of an established Church, and of all its Revenues, and of the Superstition of the People, who run mad for the Church at the Pleasure of the Priest. The Law, no doubt, was partial to them, being made by Men of their own Religion; and the Judges and Magistrates were all of the same. The People were of Opinion, that their Church was of divine Institution, and that Heaven was on their Side. The Philosophers, and all they who governed their Schools, and had the Education of Youth, were of that Church, being every one Heathens, except perhaps a few, who judged for themselves, and could distinguish Natural Religion, instituted by God, from the absurd Medley of Rituals, invented by the Priests. The Christian Religion was as yet but in its Infancy. In short, the Craftsmen governed all Things; Earth was in their Possession, and Heaven they pretended was their Champion.

Here are Securities and Advantages enough to put Truth out of Countenance, had Truth been amongst them. In reality, she wants not so many: But Falshood can never have enough. The Craftsmen knew this, and shewed that they did so, by their outragious Behaviour.

Let us now view Paul, and see what terrible Arms he bears, that are so frightful to the Craftsmen; he was a Stranger, he was a Dissenter; he had no Equipage to Edition: current; Page: [256]dazzle People’s Eyes; no pompous Garments to win their Reverence, nor Wealth to bribe their Affections; he sought no Popularity, by indulging Men in their Vices, or encouraging them in their Errors. In short, all the numerous Advantages of his Adversaries, the Priests, were so many Obstacles and Disadvantages to him, the Apostle. To conclude, he had only Truth on his Side; which rendered him an Over-match for all the Priests then in the World. All the Privilege, all the Advantage, which he desired, was a fair Hearing. This, it seems, he had obtained of the Town; and it had its Effect. Here was his Crime, and here began the priestly Fury, the fiercest, the most brutish of all others.

Shameless Men! Was it not enough, that Reason and Religion were both against you; and that you would neither be Proselytes to them yourselves, nor suffer, with your Wills, that others should; but must you likewise be proclaiming their invincible Power, and your own Imbecility and Nakedness, by virulently using direct, undisguised Force, to stop their Mouths? What Impudence! What Folly!

What! you that boasted your Conformity to the Law, and your Establishment by the Law! that you were the Possessors of all Scholarship! that were Properietors of the Arts and Sciences, and of the great Endowments given for their Support! you that instructed the Young and the Old, and controuled the Consciences of both! you that were the sacred Administrators of Religion! you that shut and opened Heaven and Hell! you that were the Privy-Counsellors of the Gods! In the Name of Amazement what could undermine you; what could annoy you? Or, if you are not hurt yourselves, why do you oppress others? By this Method you do but shew your cloven Feet. Jesus we know, and Paul we know; but who are ye?

G.
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Thomas Gordon
Gordon, Thomas

A Serious Expostulation with the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of London, on his Letter to the Clergy and People of London and Westminster.
Anno 1750.

Those eighteen, upon whom the Tower of Siloam fell and slew them, think ye that they were Sinners above all Men that dwelt in Jerusalem?

Luke xiii. 4.
My LORD,

THE two successive Shocks of an Earthquake, which have lately alarmed the Cities of London and Westminster, and your Lordship’s Letter on the Occasion to the Clergy, and Inhabitants of those Cities, have led me to search into History for a memorable Instance of greater Calamities, and of the Conduct observed in the Midst of real Desolation by a celebrated spiritual Pastor, who afterwards attained to the Episcopal Dignity. In that melancholy Æra, while the Nation, single, and unallied, was struggling with three great Powers confederated against her, when a Pestilence had exhausted the City of London in 1665, and a Fire in the subsequent Year had laid thirteen thousand of its Buildings in Ashes; that very City, whose Zeal in promoting, but a sew Years before, a Cause the most obnoxious to the Church, had merited the whole Resentment of the Clergy, could yet draw from the justly admired Dr. Sprat, the following generous, and manly Consolation, together with the most laboured Applause, which his Eloquence could furnish, in Honour of the Constancy, Magnanimity, and Vigour, exerted by the Inhabitants, both in supporting, and repairing the heavy and general Calamity.

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‘The Plague was indeed an irreparable Damage to the whole Kingdom; but that which chiefly added to the Misery, was the Time wherein it happened. For what could be a more deplorable Accident, than that so many brave Men should be cut off by the Arrow that flies in the Dark, when our Country was ingaged in a foreign War, and when their Lives might have been honourably ventured on a glorious Theatre in its Defence? And we had scarce recovered this first Misfortune, when we received a second and a deeper Wound; which cannot be equalled in all History, if either we consider the Obscurity of its Beginning, the irresistable Violence of its Progress, the Horror of its Appearance, or the Wideness of the Ruin it made, in one of the most renowned Cities of the World.

‘Yet when, on the one Side, I remember what Desolation these Scourges of Mankind have left behind them; and, on the other, when I reflect on the Magnanimity wherewith the English Nation did support the Mischiefs; I find, that I have not more Reason to bewail the one, than to admire the other.

‘Upon our Return, after the abating of the Plague, what else could we expect, but to see the Streets unfrequented, the River forsaken, the Fields deformed with the Graves of the Dead, and the Terrors of Death still abiding on the Faces of the Living? But instead of such dismal Sights, there appeared almost the same Throngs in all public Places, the same Noise of Business, the same Freedom of Converse, and, with the Return of the King, the same Chearfulness returning on the Minds of the People as before.

‘Nor was their Courage less, in sustaining the second Calamity, which destroyed their Houses and Estates. This the greatest Losers indured with such undaunted Firmness of Mind, that their Example may incline us to believe, that not only the best natural, but the best moral Philosophy too, may be learned from the Shops of Mechanics. It was, indeed, an admirable Thing to behold, with what Constancy the meanest Artificers saw all the Labours of their Lives, and the Support of their Families, devoured in an Instant. The Affliction, it is true, was widely spread over the whole Nation; Edition: current; Page: [259]every Place was filled with Signs of Pity and Commiseration; but those who had suffered most, seemed the least affected with the Loss: No unmanly Bewailings were heard in the few Streets that were preserved; they beheld the Ashes of their Houses, and Gates, and Temples, without the least Expression of Pusillanimity. If Philosophers had done this, it had well become their Profession of Wisdom; if Gentlemen, the Nobleness of their Breeding and Blood would have required it: But that such Greatness of Heart should be found amongst the poor Artisans, and the obscure Multitude, is no doubt one of the most honourable Events that ever happened. Yet still there is one Circumstance behind, which may raise our Wonder higher; and that is, that amidst such horrible Ruins, they still prosecuted the War with the same Vigour and Courage, against three of the most powerful States of all Europe. What Records of Time, or Memory of past Ages, can shew us a greater Testimony of an invincible and heroic Genius than this, of which I now speak? That the Sound of the Heralds proclaiming new Wars should be pleasant to the People, when the sad Voice of the Bellman was scarce yet gone out of their Ears? That the Increase of their Adversaries Confederates, and of their own Calamities, should be so far from affrighting them, that they rather seemed to receive from thence a new Vigour and Resolution? and that they should still be eager upon Victories and Triumphs, when they were thought almost quite exhausted, by so great Destructions?’ Hist. of the Royal Society, p. 120.

The fatal Alteration both in the Temper of the People, and in the Conduct of their spiritual Guides under the bare Apprehension of Calamity, may be evidently seen by the late shameful Desertion of London and Westminster, and by your Lordship’s Letter. Happy had it been for the Reputation of the People and Pastor, if another Sprat had appeared among us at this Time of our apprehended Misfortunes.

Far from awakening the superstitious Fears of the Multitude, or perverting their Fortitude and Vigour to Humiliation and Despair, as he then took the manly Part of supporting their Spirit by Consolation and Praise, so Edition: current; Page: [260]now would he undoubtedly have employed his masterly Pen in administring Comfort to a People already too much terrified with an Appearance, neither uncommon, nor dangerous, in this Country. He would not have snatched an Occasion, like this, to deject the Courage, to blind the Reason, and inhance the Terrors of his Countrymen, by construing a meer Accident of Nature into a Judgment from Heaven, well knowing, that this has been one of the primary Arts practised by Priestly-pride, and endured by Lay-bigotry in the neighbouring Nations, till the Liberty and Understanding of Europe, for the greatest Part, have been subjected to an implicit and servile Dependence on the most cruel, the most insolent and ignorant Clergy. He would not have offered Arguments, which should have given co-operating Aid to the Dreams of a poor lunatic Soldier, nor, in order to distinguish this great Metropolis as the single Mark of God’s Anger, have rashly hazarded his principal Argument on the Locality of the Earthquake, nor, in Consequence of the same Appearances in different, and more distant Parts of the Kingdom, have found himself exposed to the most mortifying Confusion, without the Possibility of Shelter or Defence. He would have protected us against the Terrors in our own Bosoms, against the Visions of Enthusiasts, and against the uncharitable Denunciation of Almighty Vengeance on two Cities, one of which, at least, may stand up and challenge all others to produce equal Examples of Vigilance, Discretion, and Impartiality, in the constant Administration of Justice, tempered with Humanity and Mercy. He would have spared us the Disgrace of adding one more Instance of national Pusillanimity to that shameful Panic in the late Rebellion; two Marks of Dishonour, which together serve but too plainly to demonstrate, that all that Constancy and Magnanimity, which a Century past were the just Subjects of his Praise, have now no longer an Existence in this Country. He would have convinced our Understanding, that there is no Retreat from that supreme Hand, which is felt every Moment of Life in the various Operations of Nature; that to search and discover her most hidden Laws is the laudable Object of our Enquiry, and the sublimest Exertion of those Lights Edition: current; Page: [261]imparted to us by our Creator; that already these successful Discoveries have, in many Circumstances removed the Fears, and erased the Superstition of Mankind; that hence, if left to the Guidance of Reason, we are led to believe, that the most inscrutable Appearances of Nature, however formidable and destructive, are but the Effects of natural Causes, a Satisfaction to all, whether fearing, or feeling such Disasters, that they are not driven from the Earth by the distinguished Wrath of their Maker, to become immediate Partakers of eternal Vengeance; herein Philosophy inforcing, and uniting with the most comfortable Doctrine of Christ, who declares for the Quiet of our Minds under such general and unavoidable Misfortunes, that neither those Galileans, whom the cruel Hand of a Tyrant was permitted to destroy, nor those whom a falling Tower overwhelmed with its Ruins, were more sinful than other Men.

But if, amid real or apprehended Danger, the individual Sinner will take Warning for himself, and call his own Heart to a strict Account; if those, whom the Excess of Riot and Debauch have carried to Violence and Outrage, will make due Compensation to their insulted Neighbour; if those who have built their Fortunes on Extortion and Rapine, will make a due Retribution to the Injured; if those who are grown grey in one continued Course of Venality and Corruption, and have sold their Consciences and their Country to satiate the Thirst of Wealth and Power, will employ their scanty Remains of Time in repairing the Ruins which their own Prostitution hath made, then may such Sinners be allowed to make a laudable Use of the dreadful Phænomena in Nature. But I leave to your Lordship, the Perusal of the following Extract from Dr. Sprat, where he most amply delivers his Sense of those, who impute these public Calamities to the Sins of others, as well as his Opinion in favour of those whom you stile little Philosophers.

‘Thus far, I trust, it will be confessed, that Experiments are unblameable. But yet there is much more behind, of which many pious Men are wont to express their Jealousy. For though they shall be brought to allow, that all these Doctrines which I have named, Edition: current; Page: [262]may seem to remain safe amidst the Studies of Natural Things; yet they still whisper, that they may chance, by Degrees, to make the Sincerity of Devotion appear ridiculous, and to bring the Strictness of holy Life out of Fashion: And that so they will silently, and by Piece-meals, demolish Religion, which they dare not openly encounter. I will therefore next endeavour the Removal of these Scruples, though I sufficiently understand that it is a very difficult Work, to confute such popular and plausible Errors, which have the Pretence of the Cause of God to confirm them.

‘The chief Substance of real and sober Piety is contained in the devout Observation of all those Ways, whereby God has been pleased to manifest his Will, and in a right Separation of our Minds from the Lusts and Desires of the World. The most remarkable Means, whereby he has made known his Pleasure, are those which have been fixed and revealed in his Word, or else the extraordinary Signs of his Authority and Command.

‘Concerning our Acknowledgment of his revealed Will in the Scripture, I have already spoken. And our Obedience to the latter, consists chiefly of two Kinds; an humble Submission to divine Prophecies, and a careful Observance of all remarkable Providences. In both which experimental Philosophy may well be justified. It may perhaps correct some Excesses which are incident to them: But it declares no Enmity against the Things themselves.

‘The Sum of the whole Doctrine of Prophecies is this, that the great Creator of the World has the Prerogative of foreseeing, appointing, and predicting all future Events: That he has often, in former Ages, made use of this Power, by the Visions and Raptures of holy Men inspired from above; that his infinite Wisdom has still the like Ability to do the same; that whenever such Predictions are accompanied with undeniable Testimonies of their being sent from Heaven, they ought to be preferred before all human Laws.

‘The true Foundation of divine Prodigies, is much of the same Nature with the other: It relies on these Suppositions, that all the Creatures are subject to God’s Edition: current; Page: [263]Word, by which they were made; that he can alter their Courses, exalt or destroy their Natures, and move them to different Ends from their own, according to his Pleasure; that this he has often done heretofore; that still his Arm is not weakened, nor the same Omnipotence diminished; that still he may change the wonted Law of the Creation, and dispose of the Beings and Motions of all Things without Controul; and that when this is done, it is with a peculiar Design of punishing, or rewarding, or forewarning Mankind.

‘To the Belief and Assertion of these Doctrines, we are obliged by the very End of Religion itself. But yet their counterfeit Colours have seduced many virtuous Minds into manifold Mischiefs.

‘The Mistakes about Prophecies may arise, either from our abusing of the old, or a vain setting-up of new. We err in the first, when we translate the ancient Prophecies from those Times and Countries, which they did properly regard, to others which they do not concern. And we offend in the second, when we admit of new prophetical Spirits in this Age, without the uncontroulable Tokens of heavenly Authority.

‘We are guilty of false Interpretations of Providences and Wonders, when we either make those to be Miracles that are none, or when we put a false Sense on those that are real; when we make general Events to have a private Aspect, or particular Accidents to have some universal Signification. Though both these may seem at first to have the strictest Appearance of Religion, yet they are the greatest Usurpations on the Secrets of the Almighty, and unpardonable Presumptions on his high Prerogatives of Punishment and Reward.

‘And now, if a moderating of these Extravagancies must be esteemed Prophaneness, I profess I cannot absolve the experimental Philosopher. It must be granted, that he will be very scrupulous in believing all Manner of Commentaries on prophetical Visions, in giving Liberty to new Predictions, and in assigning the Causes, and marking out the Paths of God’s Judgments amongst his Creatures.

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‘He cannot suddenly conclude all extraordinary Events to be the immediate Finger of God, because he familiarly beholds the inward Workings of Things; and thence perceives that many Effects, which use to affright the Ignorant, are brought forth by the common Instruments of Nature. He cannot be suddenly inclined to pass Censure on Men’s eternal Condition, from any temporal Judgments that may befal them; because his long Converse with all Matters, Times and Places, has taught him the Truth of what the Scripture says, that all Things happen alike to all. He cannot blindly consent to all Imaginations of devout Men, about future Contingencies; seeing he is so rigid in examining all particular Matters of Fact: He cannot be forward to assent to spiritual Raptures and Revelations, because he is truly acquainted with the Tempers of Men’s Bodies, the Composition of their Blood, and the Power of Fancy; and so better understands the Difference between Diseases and Inspirations.

‘But in all this he commits nothing that is irreligious. It is true, to deny God has heretofore warned the World of what was to come, is to contradict the very Godhead itself; but to reject the Sense which any private Man shall fasten to it, is not to disdain the Word of God, but the Opinions of Men like ourselves. To declare against the Possibility that new Prophets may be sent from Heaven, is to insinuate that the same infinite Wisdom, which once shewed itself that Way, is now at an end. But to slight all Pretenders, that come without the Help of Miracles, is not a Contempt of the Spirit, but a just Circumspection, that the Reason of Men be not over-reached. To deny that God directs the Course of human Things, is Stupidity; but to hearken to every Prodigy that Men frame against their Enemies, or for themselves, is not to reverence the Power of God, but to make that serve the Passions, and Interests, and Revenges of Men.

‘It is a dangerous Mistake, into which many good Men fall, that we neglect the Dominion of God over the World, if we do not discover, in every Turn of human Actions, many supernatural Providences and miraculous Events. Whereas it is enough for the Honour Edition: current; Page: [265]of his Government, that he guides the whole Creation in its wonted Course of Causes and Effects: As it makes as much for the Reputation of a Prince’s Wisdom, that he can rule his Subjects peaceably, by his known and standing Laws, as that he is often forced to make use of extraordinary Justice to punish, or reward.

‘Let us then imagine our Philosopher to have all Slowness of Belief, and Rigour of Trial, which by some is miscalled a Blindness of Mind and Hardness of Heart. Let us suppose that he is most unwilling to grant that any thing exceeds the Force of Nature, but where a full Evidence convinces him. Let it be allowed, that he is always alarmed, and ready on his Guard, at the Noise of any miraculous Event, lest his Judgment should be surprized by the Disguises of Faith. But does he by this diminish the Authority of ancient Miracles? Or does he not rather confirm them the more, by confining their Number, and taking Care that every Falshood should not mingle with them? Can he by this undermine Christianity, which does not now stand in need of such extraordinary Testimonies from Heaven? Or do they not rather indanger it, who still venture all its Truths on so hazardous a Chance? Who require a Continuance of Signs and Wonders, as if the Works of our Saviour and his Apostles had not been sufficient: Who ought to be esteemed the most carnally minded, the Enthusiast, that pollutes his Religion with his own Passions, or the Experimenter, that will not use it to flatter and obey his own Desires, but to subdue them? Who is to be thought the greatest Enemy of the Gospel, he that loads Men’s Faiths by so many improbable Things, as will go near to make the Reality itself suspected, or he that only admits a few Arguments to confirm the Evangelical Doctrines, but then chooses those that are unquestionable? It cannot be an ungodly Purpose to strive to abolish all holy Cheats, which are of fatal Consequence, both to the Deceivers and those that are deceived: To the Deceivers, because they must needs be Hypocrites, having the Artifice in their keeping: To the Deceived, because if their Eyes shall be ever opened, and they chance to find, that Edition: current; Page: [266]they have been deluded in any one Thing, they will be apt not only to reject that, but even to despise the very Truths themselves, which they had before been taught by those Deluders.

‘It were indeed to be confessed, that this Severity of Censure on religious Things, were to be condemned in Experimenters, if while they deny any Wonders, that are falsely attributed to the true God, they should approve those of Idols or false Deities. But that is not objected against them. They make no Comparison between his Power, and the Works of any others, but only between the several Ways of his own manifesting himself. Thus if they lessen one Heap, yet they still increase the other: In the main they diminish nothing of his Right. If they take from the Prodigies, they add to the ordinary Works of the same Author. And those ordinary Works themselves, they do almost raise to the Height of Wonders, by the exact Discovery which they make of their Excellencies: While the Enthusiast goes near to bring down the Price of the true and primitive Miracles, by such a vast, and such a negligent augmenting of their Number.

‘By this I hope it appears, that this inquiring, this scrupulous, this incredulous Temper is not the Disgrace, but the Honour of Experiments. And therefore I will declare them to be the most seasonable Study, for the present Temper of our Nàtion. This wild amusing Men’s Minds with Prodigies, and Conceits of Providences, has been one of the most considerable Causes of those spiritual Distractions of which our Country has long been the Theatre. This is a Vanity, to which the English seem to have been always subject above others. There is scarce any modern Historian, that relates our foreign Wars, but he has this Objection against the Disposition of our Countrymen, that they used to order their Affairs of the greatest Importance, according to some obscure Omens or Predictions, that passed about amongst them, on little or no Foundations. And at this Time, especially this last Year, this gloomy and ill-boding Humour has prevailed. So that it is now the fittest Season for Experiments to arise, to teach us a Wisdom which springs from the Depths of Edition: current; Page: [267]Knowledge, to shake off the Shadows, and to scatter the Mists which fill the Minds of Men with a vain Consternation. This is a Work well becoming the most Christian Profession. For the most apparent Effect which attended the Passion of Christ, was the putting of an eternal Silence on all the false Oracles, and dissembled Inspirations of ancient Times.

‘There have been, it is true, some peculiar Occasions wherein God was pleased to convince the World from Heaven in a visible Manner. But if we consider the Arguments that used to move him to it, we may conclude that such wonderful Signs are not often now to be expected.

‘He has either done it in Times of gross Ignorance, or in the Beginning of a new Way of Religion, or for the peculiar Punishment of some prevailing Wickedness: Upon the Account of the two first, we have no Reason to expect Wonders in this Age; because all Sorts of Knowledge do so much abound, and because we have a Religion already established, against which the Gates of Hell shall never prevail.

‘The third Time has been, when God has taken to himself the exemplary Punishment of some heinous Sin. From this, indeed, our Age is no more exempted, than it is free from those Vices that are wont to provoke the Divine Vengeance. This then we confess, that even at this present God may declare himself against the Iniquities of Men, by the supernatural Tokens of his Displeasure: But yet the Interpretation of such Punishments ought to be handled with the greatest Tenderness. For as it is said of the last and general Judgment, that no Man knows the Time when it shall happen; so we may also affirm of these particular Judgments, that there is no Man who understands the Circumstances, or Occasions of their Infliction, but they are one of the deepest Parts of God’s unsearchable Councils.

‘Whenever therefore a heavy Calamity falls from Heaven on our Nation, an universal Repentance is required; but all particular Applications of private Men, except to their own Hearts, is to be forborn. Every Man must bewail his own Transgressions, which have Edition: current; Page: [268]increased the public Misery. But he must not be too hasty in assigning the Causes of Plagues, or Fires, or Inundations, to the Sins of other Men. Whoever thinks that Way to repent, by condemning the Miscarriages of those Parties that differ from his own, and by reproving them as the Authors of such Mischiefs, he is grosly mistaken: For that is not to repent, but to make a Satire: That is not an Act of Humiliation, but the greatest spiritual Pride.’

But you, my Lord, come in all Humility, not as our Accuser, but as our faithful Servant and Monitor in Jesus Christ, and tell us, that your Heart’s Desire and Prayer to God is for us, that we may be saved. Whom do you mean to save, my good Lord? Those who frequent Plays, Operas, Music, Dancings, Gardens, Cock-fighting and Prize-fighting? And why not those who frequent Masquerades, and Venetian Balls? Surely your Lordship cannot be a Stranger to the frequent legal Presentments, which, founded on the declared Sense of all sober Men, have stigmatized these dissolute Assemblies with the severest public Censure; nor can you be ignorant, that Venetian Balls, in their own native Soil, exhibit or occasion the most various Scenes of exaggerated Lewdness, which that most lewd, and effeminate of all Regions, Italy, can produce? Or did you, in the Innocence of your Heart, take it for granted, that our Imitations of these Balls were so purified by the Presence of the Greatest, as to make you fear the Censure of Uncharitableness, at least of Indelicacy, had they been included in your black Catalogue of sinful Recreations? Who knows, my Lord, that your courtly Omission of this new imported Diversion has not been the Means of sanctifying its further Use, for the very next Day after the expected Earthquake I observed one of these Venetian Balls advertised in the public Papers, as the first Place for our affrighted Countrymen to assemble and rejoice in, after the Dissipation of their Fears.

Yet, contrary to my first Design, I trifle with a serious Subject: I feel for the Vices of this Nation as much as your Lordship, not principally for those Vices which you enumerate; they merit but a small Degree of Animadversion and Concern, when compared with those Edition: current; Page: [269]which shall now become the Subject of a more impartial and unspairing Detail than yours; Enormities which you, though professing to unfold the Sins of a whole People, in the awful Name of Christ Jesus, have thought proper to pass over in Silence, and conceal.

That all-beholding Eye, which controuls the Universe, pierces through all Disguises, and perceives, that the Diffusion of Vice through this Nation is derived from one Source, the Corruption of the Great; which, promoted by the most assiduous Arts, and vindicated by venal Eloquence, has at length absorbed all Regard for the Community into the two selfish Passions of Ambition and Avarice: And, when the most vigorous Effort was made to purge that Place, which, once cleansed, would have transfused its own Purity through all Orders and Degrees of Men, did not the flagitious Opposition to that Attempt, so essential to the very Being of Virtue, and solicited by the earnest and universal Cry of the People, produce an Instance of supererogatory Prostitution, which drew Wonder even from a Minister? For Want of this Barrier to confine Corruption, Honesty has been put up to public Sale, and found its Price to the Cost of a Nation, twice betrayed; hence a Loose has been given to public Profusion, and Rapine, unchecked, and unchastised; and the illicit Gains have been as profusely squandered by Individuals in Luxury, Sensuality, and every unmanly Gratification; and hence the Means of obtaining these ignominious Emoluments have been purchased by involving the Nation in Perjury, Treachery, and a general Dissolution of Manners. Ridicule and Contempt have been cast on the Laws, and principally by those whose Influence and Power should have given them Countenance and Effect: The recent Prohibition of Gaming, calculated to extirpate that Offspring of Avarice, that Parent of Selfishness, that Enemy to Humanity, Compunction, and every social Virtue, has been shamefully baffled by the Shelter afforded to that Enormity under the privileged Roofs of the Great, and met with a more open and contumelious Disregard from Personages invested with the most sacred Ensigns of Authority, in Places of public Resort, among the Gay, the Giddy, and the Young, where the native Allurements Edition: current; Page: [270]of Vice have long been too prevalent to want Aid and Encouragement from such venerable and powerful Auxiliaries: The flagrant Example of those in high Station has necessarily extended its pernicious Effects to the lowest; then who has most Right to complain, either to God, or Man, a People abandoned by their Superiors to Corruption, or those who have encouraged the Example of Profligacy, to complain of the People?

Severity and Decency of Manners in high Life would command a similar Behaviour in the Multitude; a strict Execution of the Laws would come in Aid; since the virtuous Great must know, that the due Exertion of the legal Power is a principal Part of their Duty: Idleness, Debauchery, and wanton Recreations would not then have a Being among us to become the Objects of Animadversions and Censure, which leaving the Fountain-head of Vice untouched, and attempting the impracticable Task of restraining the Torrent at a Distance from its Source, most clearly denote the Parade of Reformation without the Reality, or even the Intention.

You conclude with recommending to the Masters and Mistresses of Families, a religious and moral Education of their Children; address yourself, my Lord, to the Offspring of high Life, as well as to the Children and Apprentices of Tradesmen; nor confine yourself to the general Phrases of Religion and Morality, but explain to the Great, wherein a religious and moral Education consists: Teach them to instil into the Bosoms of their Youth, Moderation and Oeconomy, Benevolence and Charity, to love their Neighbour as themselves, and to do unto others, as they would they were done unto; and early to know, and never to forget, that as the Public protects them in the Possession of superior Honours and Emoluments, so that Public in Return expects, and merits from their Hands, a superior and more disinterested Care of its Welfare, than from others.

Let those who are designed for the holy Cloth, and to be real Ornaments of the Church, be taught to acquire a double Portion of Humility; let Hypocrisy, Flattery, and above all, Avarice be rooted from their Hearts; let them, if engaged in Controversy, be instructed to disdain the Prostitution of advancing at one Time Doctrines Edition: current; Page: [271]and Opinions, which may be consuted out of their own Writings at another; let them be taught to shun, like Perdition, the Smiles, the Hints, the Whispers from Court-Closets; and, if endowed with the most distinguished Abilities, and adorned with all the Acquirements of Learning, let them avoid the School of Politics, as incompatible with the Churchman’s Sanctity, lest all their Accomplishments, both from Art and Nature, be rendered fatal, instead of useful to Society; and when they rise to that Degree of Dignity, where the Rights, Privileges, and Liberty of a Nation are intrusted to their Consciences and Protection, amid their many Advantages let them remember, that they are made for their Country, and not their Country for them, to be sold on every Occasion, which offers a better Preferment.

If those of exalted Condition, both in Church and State, would frame their Conduct on Principles, like these, the Manners of the middling and inferior Classes would be free from Blame; but without the Example of the Great, no Laws, no Warnings, no threatened Judgments can save a People from Destruction, I mean from Slavery.

I am,
My Lord,
Your Lordship’s
Most obedient,
And most humble Servant,
A Citizen of LONDON.
Edition: current; Page: [272]

Seasonable Advice to the Electors of Great Britain; with a Word or two relating to the Influence of the Clergy in Elections.
Anno 1722.

I’ll thunder in their Ears their Country’s Cause, And try to rouse up all that’s Roman in ’em.

Mr. Addison’s Cato.
Gentlemen,

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.

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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 Edition: current; Page: [274]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 Edition: current; Page: [275]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 Edition: current; Page: [276]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 Edition: current; Page: [277]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.

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The true Picture of a Modern Tory; or a High-Churchman painted to the Life.
Anno 1722.

A Tory is a Monster, with an English Face, a Popish Heart, and an Irish Conscience; a Creature of a large Forehead, a prodigious Mouth, supple Hams, and no Brains: Noise and Debauchery, Oaths and Beggary, are the four Elements that compose him; his Arms are those of Isachar, an Ass couchant, of which the two Supporters are Passive Obedience and Non-Resistance. He seems to be descended from Esau, for he would fain truck away an invaluable Birth-right for a Popish Pretender; he has so great a Kindness for Popery and Slavery, that whenever they shall make a Match, he’ll be sure to put in for a Bride-man: But though some would fetch his Descendant from Esau, yet others (not without Reason) run his Pedigree a great deal higher, and take him to be a Noadite, or one of the Race of Cain, that would fain be persecuting his Brother, merely because he is more righteous than himself.

With respect to the State, a High-Churchman is a Caterpillar that devours every green Thing in a flourishing Kingdom, and would stab Liberty and Property to the Heart, that he and his Fellow-Brutes, like Beasts of Prey, might live wholly on Spoil and Rapine; they are fit only to be Subjects to Nebuchadnezzar, when (bereaved of human Sense) he herded with the wild Asses of the Desart. Though they boast themselves Englishmen, yet they act in all things like Antipodes to their native Country, and seem rather the Spawn of some staunch [Editor: word?] Jesuit; they are a Sort of wild Boars, that would fain root out the Constitution, and break the Balance of our happy Government, by rendering that despotic, which is Edition: current; Page: [279]established and bounded by Law: He is so certain that Monarchy is Jure Divino, that he looks upon all People, living under Aristocracy’s or Democracy’s, to be in a State of Damnation; and fancies that the Grand Seignior, the Czar of Muscovy, and the French King dropt down from Heaven with Crowns on their Heads, and that all their Subjects (except the Priests) were born with Saddles on their Backs. A right High-Flyer is as fond of Slavery, as others are of Liberty, and will be at as much Charge and Pains to obtain it; for he envies the Happiness of Canvas Breeches and Wooden Shoes: He admires the Mercy of the Inquisition, and prays for an Ecclesiastical Commission; he rails at Magna Charta as the Seed-plot of Sedition, and swears it was first obtained by Rebellion, and that all our Fore-fathers were Fools and Rogues, and did not understand Prerogative: He wonders why People should squander away their Time at the Inns of Court, or what need there is either of the Common Law, or the Statute-Book, since the King may at any time, with quicker Dispatch, declare his Pleasure in any Point or Controversy. But ’tis plain he means not his Majesty King George, whom he acknowledges to be so, because he has taken the Oaths to him. He will indeed boast of his Loyalty, but we never see any thing of it, unless it be to undermine the Government, he roars and swaggers, and promises Mountains, but performs Nothing, and by Lies and Misrepresentations, gives false Measures; and if he happens to be in a Place, or wear the King’s Cloth, it is not the Cause but the Crust that he barks for.

With relation to the Church, our Tory is either a Crab Protestant, that crawls backwards as fast as he can to Rome, or is at best but a Cats-foot, wherewith the Romish Monkies claw the Protestant Religion; he is one that does their Drudgery, though he has not the Wit to see it, and the Wages he must expect, is Polyphemus’s Courtesies, to be devoured last: He is a Flambeau, kindled by the Jesuits, and flung in to make a Combustion among us: He pretends High for the Church of England, but as he understands not her Doctrines, so he dishonours her by his lewd Conversation; the only Proof both of his Religion and Courage is, that he swears most fervently; Edition: current; Page: [280]his Christianity consists in cursing all those that differ from him; his Tongue is always tipped with Damme, and Forty-One, and upon all Occasions belches out Huzza’s as fast as Mount Ætna does Fire and Brimstone.

He mortally hates Occasional Conformity, though himself can occasionally be present at Mass; and whilst he clamours at Dissenters for not coming to Church, he thinks it canonical enough to sleep over the Sabbath Day, to digest the Fumes of Saturday’s Debauch; or else he takes a Walk in St. Paul’s, peeps at the Preacher, and presently retires to the Tavern for a Whet to Dinner; if he happen to be of a more serious Temper, he is as superstitious a Bigot as any in the Romish Church, and he had rather have no Preaching, than that the Surplice should be left off, and thinks his Child not christened, if it be not done with the Sign of the Cross; he counts Opus Operatum sufficient, and thinks it a greater Abomination to eat Flesh on a Friday, than to defile his Neighbour’s Bed; and he abhors more, not to bow at the Syllables of the Word Jesus, than to swear by the Name of God; he is sure the Priests have a Divine Right from Jesus Christ, to do as much Wickedness as they please, and that it is the Duty of the Laity to bow down to them with their Faces to the Earth; he is fully persuaded, that the Clergy are so like the Apostles, that they came in an uninterrupted Succession from them; tho’ he seems to believe there are not more Gods than One, yet he knows there is no going to Heaven without a Ticket from the Lord’s Ambassadors, whom he firmly believes have the sole Right of disposing of Heaven and Hell: If you talk soberly with him about Religion, he slaps you over the Face with Heresy, Schism, and Faction, tells you he is of the Church, as by Law established, and so you are at once confuted by his unanswerable Arguments; he combats Truth with Curses, and Mercy with Madness; he takes Mischief for Merit, and his Priest for his Maker. In a Word, a Tory is a Tool of Rome, an Emissary of the Pretender’s, a Friend to Priestcraft, an Enemy to his King and Country, and an Underminer of our happy Constitution, both in Church and State.

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A Sermon preached before the Learned Society of Lincoln’s-Inn, on January 30, 1732, from Job xxxiv. 30. That the Hypocrite reign not, lest the People be insnared.
Anno 1733.

Fieri potest, quod fit in multis quæstionibus, ut res verbosior illa sit, hæc brevior.

Cic.

IN the thirty-fourth Chapter of the Book of Job, and the thirtieth Verse, it is thus written: - - - That the Hypocrite reign not, lest the People be insnared.

Friends, Brethren, and Countrymen,

I present myself before you, on this Occasion, with the greater Alacrity and Assurance, for that I am conscious of no Engagement to any Party or Opinion repugnant to Truth, and the general Interest of my Country: I am under no Pay or Influence to support ancient Prejudices and false Reasonings: under no Biass to flatter particular Fraternities and Factions, nor awed by the Fear of offending them. For the Rule and Guide of my Politics, I have the Constitution and History of England; and in my Religion, I am governed by the Bible and common Sense. He who walks by these Rules walks securely; and he who follows the arbitrary Notions, sophistical Distinctions, and bare Averments of Men, is sure to be deceived, at least can never know that he is not.

That the Hypocrite reign not, left the People be insnared.

The Task which from these Words I propose to myself, is to defend the Right of every Man to private Judgment Edition: current; Page: [282]and Opinion, to shew the Absurdity and Wickedness of setting up Authority against Conscience, and to manifest the pernicious Tendency and Effects of Power and immoderate Wealth in the Clergy. As I go along, I shall apply my Reasoning to the Purpose of the Day; and, at the Conclusion, add a Word concerning the unhappy Prince, whose Blood was shed on this Day; with the proper Use to be made of it.

Good Sense is our first and last Guide, since by that we are to judge of all other Guides; and there is more Sound than Meaning in the Objection which some make to the Guidance of Reason, when they ask, “Whether we are to judge of that by which we are to be judged,” namely, the holy Scriptures; since we must recur to Reason to know whether the Scriptures be holy, and whether we are to be judged by them. ’Tis to little Purpose to tell us, that “for this we must take the Word and Authority of holy Men.” For, we must still consult our Reason whether these be holy Men or no, and whether we ought to believe them or no; seeing there are many Sets of Men all pretending to be holy, all claiming this Authority to themselves only, and all denying it to every other Set.

Our Reason must therefore determine, which of all these are the most holy, and whether any of them be more so than ourselves. If the Ways of Holiness and of Knowledge be as obvious to us as to them, we may have as much of either as they have; and, in Truth, the Sources of both are as open to us as to them. Besides, it ought to mortify their Pride, and be a Lesson of Humility to them, as it is surely one of Caution to us, to see that they never agree with one another; that even those of the same Society, professing the same Faith, subscribing the same Articles, and professing to believe the same Scriptures, agree not in the Rules and Explanations which they exhibit to us. Great is their Variance, not only about Ceremonies, Circumstantials and Discipline, but even about Essentials, about Principles to be believed, about Duties to be practised, and even about the Nature, Operations, and Attributes of the Deity; nay, equally great and signal is their Want of mutual Charity, as is their Want of Concord. Are these to be Edition: current; Page: [283]our Guides, who thus pull us various and opposite Ways? Can they teach mutual Love and Forbearance, who hate and revile each other? And is it not notable Want of Modesty in them, who cannot agree with one another, to expect that we should agree with them all, or with any of them, when we approve not, or comprehend not, what they say, or when what they say is evidently for their Interest and against ours, as all their Aims at Power and Wealth evidently are?

This Reasoning, if it be true, as I think it is, will serve to condemn Archbishop Laud and his Associates, who exacted a blind Obedience to their own Tenets and Schemes, a rigid Conformity to all their Ceremonies, Inventions, and Innovations, and cruelly persecuted all who preferred Conscience to Complaisance, and were better Christians than Churchmen and Courtiers.

Surely it ought to check and cool the Fierceness of Religionists of all Sorts towards each other about Difference in Opinion, to behold how flaming and rigorous every Man is in behalf of his own; to behold the most ridiculous and pernicious Opinions defended with equal Obstinacy and Bitterness. The Jew, the Papist, the Mahometan, the Banian, have all equal Satisfaction in their own several Systems, have all equal Detestation for one another, and for every different Sect.

Is not this a pregnant Proof, that all this furious Zeal is false Zeal, that it is all miserable Bigotry and Prejudice, or constitutional Intemperance of Spirit? A zealous Jew, had he been bred a Papist, would have been equally zealous for Popery, and perhaps for burning those very Jews who are now his Brethren. Had the late Dr. Sacheverel been educated in the Scottish Kirk, he would, doubtless, have breathed as fierce Persecution against Prelacy as he has done for it, and treated it with as foul and uncomely Names, as he treated Dissenters and false Brethren.

The same is true of Archbishop Laud, and of other hasty and passionate Zealots; provided always, that all other Preferments in another Way be taken away; else the Batteries of their Zeal are often quickly changed, and turned against the Party for whom they were first erected: Witness Parker, Bishop of Oxford, and Ward, Edition: current; Page: [284]Bishop of Sarum, once both holy, praying, and rigid Presbyterians, afterwards both rigid Persecutors of Presbyterians. Is it not probable that they would have died Presbyterians, had the Church Preserments been out of their Reach?

This Consideration therefore, that every Man is fond of his own Opinions, and not the less fond for their being very foolish and extravagant, ought to keep Men from quarrelling about any Opinions, and to look upon those who promote such Quarrels as Monsters, and their worst Enemies. This Enmity about Notions, Chimeras, Ceremonies, and other idle Disputes; this War about Words, and Creeds, and Articles, a War and Dispute which have produced such mighty Bloodshed and Desolation in the World, has been the sole Work and Contrivance of ambitious Clergymen; who, for Ends of their own, and the Gratification of their Pride and Fury, and other evil Passions, had the Art and Cruelty to make the Laity thus to persecute and butcher one another. What infamous Inhumanity was this in Clergymen? What Frenzy and Infatuation in the Laity? But such are ever the Effects of implicit Belief, which is naturally followed by implicit Obedience, which is the certain Beginning as well as the certain Consequence of Slavery. All this Evil, Uncharitableness, and Barbarity, arose from the wicked and impossible Attempt to force or suppress private Judgment and Conscience. Of such mighty Consequence it is, that the Hypocrite reign not; since, where-ever he does, the People will surely be insnared.

What added to this Evil and Insolence, this hellish Cruelty upon the Score of Opinion, and made it still more provoking and intolerable was, that it was all perpetrated in the Name of Christ, of the meek Jesus, and said to be for his Church and Cause: A Declaration so impudent and incredible, that it could only be made by Men who were void of Shame, to Men who wanted Eyes. It was as false as the Gospel was true; nor could a Revelation which inspired or warranted any Degree of Bitterness or Cruelty, ever have come from God, or from any but the Antagonist of God and Enemy of Man, from Hypocrites reigning, that is, tyrannizing in the Name of the Lord.

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Yet so these hardened Deluders argued, trusting to the Power of Delusion; especially when to that Power of Delusion they had added a good Share of secular Power. And before they could make the Laity such blind Tools as to be the Tormentors and Executioners of one another, they had eradicated every Grain and Principle of Charity out of their Hearts, yet made them believe themselves the only true Christians.

This was the Use which such Clergymen made of the boundless Trust and Power given them by the Laity; and over the Laity they exercised it without Bounds or Mercy. Such was the Power of Laud and the Clergy of his Time, and such the unhallowed and inhuman Use which they made of it; yet that Use was the usual and natural Use, the Power itself being unnatural. Indeed, worldly Power and Opulence in such as preach the Gospel, are so repugnant to the Spirit and Precepts of the Gospel, that it is no Wonder they cannot thrive or indeed subsist together; but the Gospel must either destroy them, or they the Gospel. It is too visible on which Side the Victory has chiefly turned. Whatever fills Men with Pride and Hatred, and prompts them to Severity and Revenge, may be Popery or Mahometanism, but is just as contrary to Christianity, as Christianity is to all Pride and Hatred, to all Rigour and Vengeance.

From hence it is plain who they are, what Set of Men, that have hurt and abused, perverted and abolished Christianity most. I am sorry to say it, but it is too true, that in many Countries, and at many Times, the Church and Religion have been very distinct and opposite Things: Sure I am, that I have seen very good Churchmen who were very bad Christians, and some who were no Christians at all. I will not say that Laud was no Christian; but I may boldly affirm, that he resembled not the first Christians, nor possessed a Christian Temper: An extreme good Churchman I readily own him.

That it is not Religion or Christianity, but chiefly, if not only, Passion and Prejudice, which determine Men to a Fondness for their own Set of Notions and for their own Community, appears from hence, that if a vicious Man be on their Side, especially if he profess much Zeal for his Party, they cherish and extol him; whilst upon Edition: current; Page: [286]a very unblameable and pious Man, who is not of their Party, they are apt to bestow very ill Language, and often ill Usage. This is not the Spirit of true Religion, but of Passion and Partiality: Yet this Spirit too many derive from their particular Religion, which they think the best, but which surely is very bad; and it were better they had none, than one which banishes their Reason and Humanity. Now, if such a Spirit should ever happen to possess those who profess to be our Guides, we may judge how wise and safe it would be to trust to their Guidance, or even to own them as Guides. Had there been no such Guides about an hundred Years ago, we should not, in all Likelihood, have had this Day now to solemnize. The strange Doctrines and bitter Oppressions in those Days, naturally produced such a Day as this Day.

It is not Religion, at least not the Christian Religion, that heats and animates such Men; it is only Faction, a Complication of evil and unhallowed Passions. Whoever loves or hates, blesses or curses, from Anger or Fondness, from Obligation or Resentment, belies Religion, if he pretend, under its holy Name, to hide base Ends, and a worldly and partial Heart. It is by such selfish and unworthy Ways that the Church and Religion have sometimes come to signify contradictory Things: It is thus that Men who have had no Religion or Virtue, have been extolled as excellent Churchmen: It is thus that Men of the highest Religion and Virtue, have been, and often are, reviled and condemned as bad Churchmen; and it is thus that pious Christians have been punished, sometimes burned, by such as were special Churchmen, but not Christians. And indeed, whenever such false Zealots manifest such a Spirit of Impatience, of Rage and Reviling, they cannot give a clearer Proof that such Spirit is not of Christ, since it is so opposite to his Spirit. Nor can Men who shew themselves full of Bitterness and want of Charity, be at all commissioned by him, who was all Meekness, and gave to his Disciples a new Commandment, that they should love one another, and even love their Enemies. Yet who so sudden to wax wroth as many of his pretended Successors? Who more forward and unmanly in calling unseemly Names; a Edition: current; Page: [287]Practice as common with many of them, as with the meanest Men, and even the lowest Sort of Women? Heretic, Atheist, Infidel, are amongst such Churchmen Words of Reproach, equivalent to the foul Language which the Vulgar throw at one another, and equally shocking to well-bred Men and true Christians.

Surely, from Men who come from God, and are Vicegerents to his Son, one would naturally expect a Godlike Behaviour, with an uncommon Store of Christian Meekness and Benevolence. How does Rage, how do gross Names of Abuse, how does Uncharitableness, Revenge, Avarice, Ambition, and the most savage Passions and Demeanour, suit with a Commission from Heaven, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost?

I proceed now to discourse more directly upon the undue Wealth and Power of the Clergy, and the great Evils attending the same; from whence will appear the Calamities and certain Thraldom attending the Reign of Hypocrites.

The Clergy, whenever they were left to take as much Power and Wealth as they pleased, rarely thought the Whole too much; nor do I remember any Instance where-ever they owned that they had enough. Thus they have ingrossed some Countries whole; of others the greatest and best Parts; and as much as they could of all. Where they have the Soil, they have the Power in Course; and where they have both (that is to say in Popish Countries) they are the most unmerciful of all Landlords, and the most oppressive of all Magistrates, Look over the fine Continent of Italy, and other Climes where Priests riot and tyrannize, you will find the Laity there and every where starving, when the Clergy are the Land Owners.

Ought not the Laity in other Countries to take Warning by this? And is it not monstrous and unnatural for any Number of Laymen to concur with the Clergy in their exorbitant Claims? Should not the Laity too learn, by the Example of the Clergy, to take Care of themselves? What Wealth the Clergy have, they have from the Laity: By the Power that they seek or assume, they would bind and govern the Laity. Is it natural, or just, Edition: current; Page: [288]or wise in the Laity, to impoverish themselves in order to enrich the Clergy, to forge their own Chains, to exalt their own Creatures and Pensioners into Tyrants and Taskmasters; or to suffer them so to exalt themselves? Can they forget the Insolence and Tyranny of Archbishop Laud, the terrible Height of Power which he had usurped, with his aspiring Views to raise the Clergy above the Laity and the Law? Can they forget his saucy Declaration, that he hoped to see the Time when ne'er a Jack Gentleman in England should dare to be covered before the meanest Priest? And as an Indication how much many of the Clergy thought, and wished, and designed, as he did, they of this Stamp have been ever since adoring and extolling this usurping Archpriest, this Persecutor and Oppressor, this Instrument and Prompter of Oppression.

The Man who contends for Power and Riches to the Priests, is ever popular with the High-Priesthood, ever their Darling; nor are they always over anxious about the Soundness of either his Faith or Mora’s. Is not this too a Rule and Example to the Laity? And ought not the Laity to prize and protect, and encourage any Layman who asserts the Rights and Privileges of his Brethren the Laity? Is it not equally fair, and grateful, and honourable, to cherish and esteem any Clergyman, or Number of Clergymen, who are candid enough to maintain the Interest and Independency of the Laity? Is it not foolish, ungrateful, dishonest, and even barbarous, to revile or evil-intreat such Clergymen; to abuse and weaken these our Friends, and to join with our Enemies, with such as would enthral us, and bring us under their blind Guidance? Where the Clergy are opulent, do not the People starve? Where the Clergy have Power, are not the People Slaves? Is it not thus in Spain, thus in Italy? In these Countries, where they are Proprietors of all Things, and govern all Men, can they be even said to be Teachers, or even to be Christians? No; their Teaching is deceiving, their Doctrines are Lies and Impieties, and their Lives antichristian. Christianity and Truth would undo them. They have therefore banished Christianity and erected the Priesthood; and for Christ and Truth, they preach themselves and Fables. Every Edition: current; Page: [289]one, from the least even unto the greatest, is given to Covetousness; from the Prophet even to the Priest, every one dealeth falsely. Jer. viii. 10.

This is the Effect of Power and Wealth in Churchmen; two Things which have proved such a certain and heavy Curse upon Religion and the World, as if the holy Author of both meant thence to convince Mankind, how pernicious, how destructive they every-where are to his Church and People, and to warn all Men and Nations against suffering or encouraging them.

Great Power and Revenues in Churchmen have not only produced and multiplied every Mischief formerly known in the World, but also produced Mischiefs so new and terrible, as the World, even the Pagan World, never knew before; such as Persecution and Butchery for Conscience and Opinion, Wars and national Massacres for Religion, with that mighty Compendium of all that is horrid, treacherous, and cruel, upon Earth, the execrable Tribunal of the Inquisition. What had Paganism so shocking and horrible, as to be compared to this? Not even their human Sacrifices, which were few in Comparison, occasional, and stated. The Inquisition is a continual human Slaughter-house; and in it Men, Myriads of Men, have been immolated, after tedious Macerations in dark and frightful Dungeons, after unrelenting Racks and Tortures, with every Species of Treachery, Misery and Terror; and all for the best Thing which they could do, for their Sincerity and Piety in worshipping the Deity in the Way which they were persuaded he liked best.

Now, as the Inquisition is nothing but the highest Improvement of Persecution, which begins with Tests and negative Penalties, but ends in Fires and Halters, I will enumerate a few of the many Causes for which Men are committed to it; and they are such, and so various, that no Man, who in the least exercises his own Faculties, or practises common Charity and Mercy, or even has common Commerce with the World, can avoid it.———If he has heard a Heretic preach or pray (that is, if he has thus heard the best and wisest Man upon Earth, who differs from the Extravagancies of Churchmen:) If when he is summoned he appear not: If being excommunicate, Edition: current; Page: [290]he sue not for Absolution: If a Heretic (for Example, a Mr. Locke, or a Sir Isaac Newton) be his Friend: If he do any Act of Kindness for a Heretic; visit him, treat him, assist him, or shew him Pity, or give him Counsel: If he suspect the Truth of their lying Legends and forged Miracles: If he assert the Indifference of Meats or of Days, or interpret Scripture according to his own and to common Sense: If he conceal any Heresy, his own or other People’s: If he spare Father or Mother, Wife or Child,———he is for these, or any of these Causes, and for a thousand others, liable to the unparallel’d Cruelties of the Inquisition. Let me add, that by Heresy is meant every conscientious, honest, rational, and benevolent Opinion, differing from the senseless, narrow, barbarous Whims and Grimaces of the Priests.

As a Proof what quick Havock such a Tribunal must make in a Country, Cardinal Turquemeda, the first Inquisitor-General in Spain, even in the Infancy of the Inquisition, brought an hundred thousand Souls into it in the small Space of fourteen Years: Of these, six thousand were burnt alive. Observe too, that when such Persons are seized, all that they have is also seized, and their Families left to starve, or sent thither too, if they shew Pity, or attempt Assistance.

Can the merciful and wise God, can the meek and compassionate Jesus, who laid down his Life for Men, have any thing to do with such a Church, or with such hellish Instruments and Butchers, impudently calling themselves holy, and their Scene of Butchery the holy Office? Wisely did our first Reformers disown her being a Church: Laud, afterwards, and his Followers, laboured to restore her Credit, contended for her being a true Church, and even derived themselves from her; nay, strove to shew themselves worthy of the Kindred and Descent, by assuming her Pride and Cruelties: Witness their numerous Imprisonments, excessive Fines, Whippings, Dismembrings, and other Barbarities; to their own Infamy, and to the Dishonour of Protestants and of our Nation.

Equal to its other Horrors is the black Treachery practised by that detestable Court, and by all who belong to, Edition: current; Page: [291]or assist it. In order to insnare a Man into the Inquisition, they will travel Countries, and cross the Seas, to become acquainted with him; will court, caress and flatter him, treat him, make him Presents, lend him Money, administer to his Pleasures, seem to love and adopt his Opinions, rail at the Church, curse his Persecutors and the Inquisition, and swear him an eternal Friendship———all with a black and murderous Purpose, to seize him in a proper Place, and carry him off to the Fires and Racks of that infernal Tribunal. But where the Interest of that Church is concerned, Villainy changes its Nature, and becomes meritorious; and the blackest Perfidy, and even Perjury, is esteemed and practised as good Policy. Thus the Pope’s Legate, at the Head of a Crusade against the Albigenses, entrapped their Protector and General, the Count de Beziers, solemnly sworn not to hurt him, and then seized and imprisoned him.

Let me just add upon this Head, that Blasphemy, or any outrageous Words and Defiance offered to Almighty God, is not punishable, nor cognizable in the Inquisition. The great Crime and Pursuit there is Heresy; that is to say, Blasphemy against the Trade and Opinion of Priests. So that any profane Wretch may blaspheme God without Fear of the Inquisitors, provided he blaspheme like a good Churchman, and say nothing against the Priests or their Gear: But if Heresy be mixed with his Blasphemy, he cannot hope to escape. Most remarkable too and shocking is the Impudence and Hypocrisy of these Inquisitors, when after having long starved in their horrid Dungeons the wretched Offender; after having long terrified, misused and tortured him, they at last deliver him over to the secular Arm: They have the solemn Assurance, to beseech the Civil Magistrate, in the Bowels of Jesus Christ, not to hurt his Life or Limb; yet would excommunicate the Civil Magistrate, if he did not burn him alive.———Such is the terrible Power and Falshood of Hypocrites reigning.

I am far from thinking that what I have said about the Inquisition is a Digression. That terrible Part of Popery, or indeed any other Part of Popery, which is all terrible, is too little known in England. For some time after the Reformation, a due Horror was kept up Edition: current; Page: [292]amongst the People by our Preachers against the Church of Rome: And it was done like Protestants, and is their Duty at all times; and they who omit it are unworthy of the Name, and I doubt have dark and unprotestant Designs. But when our Clergy began to contend for equal Dominion and Wealth, they found that they could not consistently rail at the Church of Rome, and yet follow her Example. And so far altered was their Stile at last, that instead of painting and reviling her, as an old withered Harlot, the Mother of Abominations and Whoredoms, and drunk with the Blood of the Saints, it became fashionable to defend her, nay, to praise her, and even to punish such as exposed her; such uncommon Friends she found in Laud and his Adherents. It is true, he and some others of that Cast wrote Books against some Parts of Popery. But what signified writing against Papists, when he was introducing and practising Popery at home? For, all Cruelty, or even Severity for Opinion, and all Authority assumed over Conscience and the Soul, is Popery, by whatever Name it be called. Besides, it was natural for Laud, who was acting as Pope himself, to deny the Power of the other Pope, at least here; and for the bare Notions, the Ceremonies, the Grimaces and Mummery of Popery, they are of little Consequence, any farther than as they tend to introduce and preserve its Power, by creating or continuing Delusion in the People.

Laud and his Adherents were notorious Persecutors; and all Persecution is Popery; and every Degree of it, even the smallest Degree is an Advance towards the Inquisition. As negative Penalties are the first Degree, so Death and Burning is the last and highest; all the other Steps are but natural Gradations following the first Degree, and introducing the last. For the smallest implies the Necessity of a greater, where the former fails; and consequently of the greatest of all, which is the Inquisition.

Was it now at all wonderful, that Laud and his Associates were chargep with being Papists, when they were openly introducing and exerting all the terrible Parts of Popery, Church Power and Persecution, and thus establishing Church Tyranny and an Inquisition? Edition: current; Page: [293]For, it was thus that that bloody Court was established; and the like Claims and Practices will always introduce and establish it. Madam de Motteville, in the Memoirs of Anne of Austria, says expresly, upon the Authority and Information of King Charles the First’s Queen, that Laud was a good Catholic in his Heart. It is certain, that he brought in what was most terrible in Popery, its Power and Cruelty, with not a few of its Fooleries and Superstitions. Whoever is a Tyrant and Persecutor is a Papist, in the only Sense of the Word that Protestants and Freemen are concerned about.

Let such as claim Power to controul Conscience and Opinion consider this, if they have not considered it already. Let those too over whom such Power is claimed consider it, and look upon the Men who claim it, as Enemies and Deceivers, that would seduce them in order to inslave them. How would any Man, any Protestant (who dares own his Opinion) like the Inquisition? Without doubt he would abhor it: Let him likewise abhor the Ways and Practices that lead to it; for it is supported entirely by the Power of the Clergy, which never has, never can produce any Good. As Dominion over Thoughts and Notions is in itself a Monster, the greatest of all Monsters, it must be supported by monstrous Means, even by Priests wielding or directing the Civil Sword; the pretended Followers of the humble Jesus, treading upon the Necks of Nations, engrossing their Wealth, and spilling their Blood.

Is any Man fond of his Liberty, as all Men naturally are, and of his own Opinions (for this too is natural) and of examining all Opinions; which every Man has a Right to do? Would he worship God after his own Way, be subject to no Man’s insolent Rebukes and Controul, be exempt from vexatious Suits and Prosecutions, from clerical Curses followed with Civil Punishments, with Dungeons, and (as they say) with Damnation? Would he preserve his Conscience, his Person, his Time and his Property, and all that is dear to him, safe and intire? He is in consequence of all this obliged for ever to oppose all Power in the Clergy, at it has been ever found utterly repugnant to whatever Edition: current; Page: [294]is dear to Men and Societies. I know not that ever they possessed Power without using it perniciously: I know not that ever they could persecute, and did not persecute: Such of them as had most argued and inveighed against Persecution, when they were under it, exercised it afterwards without Shame or Remorse, whenever they got the Rod into their own Hands. Thus the Catholics acted against the Arians; thus the latter acted against the former; both complaining heavily of Persecution, both heavy Persecutors.

St. Athanasius could at one time argue, “that the Devil does therefore use Violence, because he has a bad Cause, and the Truth is not on his Side. Jesus Christ, on the contrary, uses only Exhortations, because his Cause is good: If any Man will be my Disciple, let him follow me. He forces no Man to follow him; nor enters by Force where he is shut out,” Whence that Father observes, “that this persecuting Sect could not be of God.” So argued all the Orthodox upon that Occasion, and I think very truly. St. Hilary urges the same Argument to an Arian Emperor and Persecutor, and denies the Arians to be the true Church, for this very Reason. But the Orthodox, when they were uppermost, changed their Tone; and never were there more merciless Persecutors, Oppressors, and Butchers than they. Hence their own Reasoning has been frequently turned upon them; and the Heretics have charged them, in their Turn, as being none of Christ’s Flock, because they had renounced his Spirit, and exercised Force and Cruelty. The Donatists particularly insulted them upon this unchristian Inconsistency.

But so it hath eternally happened, that no Reasoning, not even their own Reasoning, could ever restrain Churchmen, orthodox or heterodox, when they were invested with Power, or with the Direction of Power, from using it violently. The Presbyterians justly exclaimed against the Violence and Tyranny of Archbishop Laud and his Brethren, for harassing, imprisoning, fining, and persecuting them, and even driving them from their native Homes, to seek Peace and Shelter, and the quiet Worship of God in the Woods of America. He Edition: current; Page: [295]had converted the High Commission Court into an Inquisition; nay, every Bishop’s Court was become an Inquisition; and many of the best Churchmen were silenced, fined, and even deprived, for adhering honestly to the Doctrines of the Reformation, to primitive Strictness of Manners, and for observing the Sabbath.

Did the Presbyterians afterwards, these very Presbyterians, who had thus groaned and smarted under Persecution, and complained of its Injustice and Fury, exercise Charity and Forbearance towards others who dissented from them, when they were become Masters of Ecclesiastical Rule? No: Never was a more bitter, untolerating Race, or more rigorous Exactors of Conformity. Every Man who differed from them was an Enemy to the State, an Innovator, forsooth, whom it behoved the State to suppress. They had forgot that Laud had brought the same Charge against them but a little before, and how unmercifully they had been then used as public Incendiaries, Enemies, and Innovators. Nor do any Set of Priests fail to draw down, if they can, the Anger of the Crown upon any Man who has merited theirs. Thus the Monks of St. Denis in France, in the twelfth Century, accused the famous Abelard, then amongst them, with being an Enemy to the Glory and Crown of France, only for denying that their Founder was Dionysius the Areopagite, mentioned in the New Testament. It is indeed a Charge which all domineering Priests in the World have ever brought, will ever bring, against all who offend them, against all who withdraw from their Power, and disown their Systems. The Presbyterians, when undermost, felt this to be true, both before and afterwards; and always when they felt it, exclaimed against it; but took it up themselves without blushing, as soon as ever they tasted of Dominion.

The Churchmen too, they who had persecuted the Presbyterians without all Mercy, the Moment they found themselves persecuted by Presbyterians, made heavy Outcries against Persecution, and preached and wrote for Toleration. It was then that Dr. Taylor published his Book, intitled, The Liberty of Prophesying: An excellent Book it is, and was then extremely applauded by his Brethren of the Episcopal Profession. But did these Edition: current; Page: [296]Churchmen, did even Dr. Taylor, after the Restoration, observe their own Reasoning and Writings for Indulgence to Dissenters? No; it was the great Business of the Churchmen, when they had resumed their old Seats and Revenues, to preach, to write, to solicit severe Laws, and then the Execution of these Laws, against their Protestant Brethren, during all that long Reign.

Was not all this strangely inconsistent, as well as strangely unchristian, on both Sides? And was it not strange Madness, as well as Wickedness, in the Civil Power, to gratify the sour and aspiring Spirit of the Ecclesiastics, by plaguing and punishing the People about Religion? There is no End of their Demands, nor of the Unreasonableness of such Demands. In Spain, where they profess to burn Heretics, that is to say, Protestants, they complain of it at the same time, as Persecution in a Protestant Country, to imprison a Romish Priest, however factious and busy he be in perverting of Protestants. The High Clergy in England, though avowed Enemies to a Toleration here, would think it terrible Persecution to deny it to themselves, or their Brethren in Scotland. Ay, but we of the Church of England are the true Church of Christ, says the English Episcopalian: And so says Rome of herself, so says Scotland, so says Geneva and Greece, and so say all Churches in the World; and each of them would persecute and abolish all the rest as false or defective.

This is not the Spirit of Religion, nor of its Author, but an open Departure from that Spirit. It is the Spirit of Faction and Fury, which utterly blinds Men, and extinguishes that of Peace and Charity, without which Men cannot be Followers of Christ. Did we not daily see it, it would be incredible, to what Extravagancies religious Disputes will carry Men. Daniel Tilenus, a learned Man, and public Professor (I think, of Divinity) became so heated in favour of Arminiasm, in opposition to Calvinism and Predestination, that he declared, were he obliged to change his Religion, he would turn Turk sooner than Calvinist; for he denied that the Calvinists believed in God, and owned that the Turks did. Grotius, when Ambassador for Sweden in France, had two Chaplains, a Calvinist and a Lutheran, Edition: current; Page: [297]who preached by Turns. What they principally laboured was to revile one another, and their Sermons were only Invectives. The Ambassador, tired and ashamed of the Extravagancies of these reverend Madmen, begged them to explain the Gospel, without wounding Christian Charity. This good Advice neither of them relished. His Lutheran Chaplain particularly replied, that he must preach what God inspired; and went on in the old Strain. For, all the Ravings of hot-headed Divines are fathered upon God. Grotius at last ordered him either to forbear railing or preaching. The meek Preacher turned away in great Wrath, expressing his Amazement, that a Christian Ambassador should shut the Mouth of the Holy Ghost. This he thought terrible Usage, and Persecution, and published his Complaints every where, that Grotius had shut the Mouth of the Holy Ghost; that is, his Chaplain’s Mouth.

I return to consider the Consequences of Power and great Wealth in the Clergy. These Acquirements of Opulence and Dominion were so foreign to the first preaching of the Gospel, so little known to its Author, and his Disciples, that ’tis no Wonder they assorted so ill with it, and at last so strangely transformed it, and even banished all but the Name. What can be seen of Christ and his Humility, of the Apostles and their Poverty, in the Pomp and Pride, in the Fierceness and Domination of Priests? Is ought of the Plainness and Simplicity of the Gospel to be found in the Intricacies of School Divinity, in the endless Wranglings and wonderful Distinctions of Ecclesiastics? Does the Pope, or such as resemble, or would resemble the Pope, bear any Likeness of Christ, or of St. Peter? Did the Ambition of the Bishops and Clergy, their Avidity for Power and rich Churches, for which they contended with Blows, and Bloodshed and Slaughter, come from Christ, or from the Genius of his Religion? Were the Seditions, Tumults and War which ensued such ambitious Pursuits, the Effects of a Christian, or of a Clerical Spirit? Yet were not such Evils and terrible Calamities immediately derived from the Thirst of the Clergy after Grandeur and Authority?

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At first they had no Revenue but Alms, and of these Alms they had only a Share; but to that Share they at last added (I had almost said feloniously) the Whole, cheating the Donors, and robbing the Poor. They afterwards greatly enlarged these Revenues (which were at first chiefly usurped) by Arts and Contrivances sufficiently wicked and vile, even by deceiving silly Women and Bigots, and selling them Salvation for present Money and Rents; by terrifying the Weak and Dying, and forcing them to compound for Heaven, by parting with all that they possessed on Earth. Father Paul, that rational and honest Clergyman, says, that the Church is beholden for her greatest Legacies and Donations, to the Bounty of infamous Women, Strumpets and Prostitutes, or to that of peevish People, who thus gratified their Spite towards their own Blood and Relations. And as the Church had no Riches but what were freely given her, or taken or gotten unjustly by her; so she had no Power but what was either begged or usurped. What Use they have made of both, we have already seen. It is most natural, that what is ill gotten, should be ill used.

It would make a curious History, to discover and explain minutely, from what particular Men, and by what particular Arts and Application, every Farm, every Estate and Donation, now possessed by Churchmen, was at first acquired. I question, whether any Revenues in the World were ever so wickedly procured; since to inrich the Church, all Means, even Wickedness, Murder and Impiety, were deemed lawful. Thus Assassins and Blasphemers merited Protection and Absolution; Tyranny and Oppression were warranted and sanctified; holy Snares were laid, false Terrors spread, Miracles forged, God’s Name belied, and Jesus and his blessed Mother profanely personated by Priests, to delude Enthusiasts; as if these heavenly Beings had thus honoured them with a Visit in Person.

It were endless to enumerate all the Arts and Impieties, Impostures and Lies, by which Churchmen formerly filled their Coffers, at the Expence, and through the Stupidity of Laymen. And though no Possessions were ever so impiously obtained, I never heard any Instance Edition: current; Page: [299]of their parting with them from Remorse or Shame, even whilst the right Heirs, by being thus deprived of their Estates, were starving, and the Possessors (or rather Usurpers) gorged with more Wealth than they could use even in their Luxury and Debauches. Whatever was once annexed to the Church, in these Days of Usurpation and Darkness (however knavishly or violently obtained) was forthwith sacred and unalienable; nay, it became no less than Sacrilege, to divest her of what she had gained by Robbery and Fraud. For, whatever was once hers, even her Frauds and Crimes, were holy; and it was profane to censure them, or indeed to see them; and he was profane, nay atheistical, who did it. Whoever found Fault with the Church, was an Enemy to the Church; and he who was an Enemy to the Church, was an Atheist. Hence the frequent and ridiculous Application of Atheism and Blasphemy, till these two Words, of themselves very awful, grew contemptible. As to the Quantity of the Church’s Wealth, she never knew any Stint or Bounds; but whilst the Laity had to give, she took, till in some Countries she had all, and they Rags and no Bread.

Even in this Protestant Nation, it is computed, that they have a fifth Part of our Wealth; yes, that fifteen or twenty thousand Priests are endowed with the fifth Part of the Property of eight Millions of People. Are they satisfied with this? And do they never aim at more, or complain of this as too little? If they do, ’tis not for the Reputation of their Modesty: I am sorry to add, that they are in a Way of draining and monopolizing all the Wealth of England. It is thought, that the Revenue of the Churchmen is at present as large as in the Times of Popery, notwithstanding the Demolition of so many Monasteries, and the Seizure of their Revenues; considering that the Clergy then maintained the Poor, who are now supported chiefly by the Laity, at an immense Charge, no less than two Millions a Year. There are indeed some Individuals who have very small Salaries: But whose Fault is that? Are there not others, who wallow in Thousands, yet do less Duty than such as are in constant Service with Appointments of ten or twenty Pounds a Year? Why should not the Wealth of Edition: current; Page: [300]the Church be more equally and charitably divided. But so it often is, that the more Churchmen have, the more they seek, yet the less they do. To all this I wish it were not in my Power to add, but it is true, and I must add it, that whatever Corruptions have crept into the Church, did so by the Contrivance, at least by the Connivance, of Churchmen, and were never afterwards removed by their Consent.

They are always forward to complain of Innovations, and of disturbing Things that are settled. But who have made more Innovations than Churchmen? Who have more disturbed and changed Religion and States, by their Ambition, by their Disputes, by their turbulent Behaviour and exorbitant Claims? And, who are so much given to change? What Changes, what violent and lawless Changes were there not wrought by Laud and his Brethren in his Time, and always attempted by those of his Spirit ever since? The Laity have been only on the defensive, warding off the Attempts and monstrous Demands of such of the Clergy, and answering their wild Writings. What is a great Part of Ecclesiastical History, but a continual Detail and Repetition of the Efforts of the Clergy to govern Mankind, and to master the World? Was not this an Innovation with a witness, a Propensity to change, and actual and alarming Change? Were they not continually attempting to be what they were not, to have what they had not, still to be richer, still to be greater? Could there be a greater Change than from the Almsmen of the People to become Lords and Princes; from Poverty and Humility, to rise to Mitres and Diadems, and Dominion? And could such a Change, a Change so mighty and unnatural, be accomplished without turning the World upside down?

This is something more than quieta movere, something more than disturbing Things that were quiet. Did not Laud actually master and abolish the Laws of his Country, assert the Independency of the Clergy upon the Civil Power, and terrify the Judges from issuing Prohibitions, as they were actually sworn to do? And did the Spirit of Laud, and this Passion in the Clergy of his Stamp, for Dominion, Independency, and Princely Edition: current; Page: [301]Revenues, die with Laud? No: They have even improved upon his Scheme, and added, if possible, to his wild and enslaving Pretensions; and, as a Proof that they were the Pretensions of the Body, at least of the Majority, the Convocation could never be persuaded to censure them.

In short, whoever doubts, whether they (I mean all along, such of the Clergy as ambitiously pursued Power) have not been the Authors of Changes in the World, of great and calamitous Changes; whether they have not themselves changed and degenerated from their Patterns and Original, need only read History, and compare them with Christ and his Apostles, compare their Pretensions, Pomp, Luxury, and Possessions, with the Simplicity, Humility, Labour, and Disinterestedness of the Primitive Christians.

The Truth, I doubt, is, when they make this Complaint, which is very usual with them, then it is not safe to disturb Things which are established, they only mean to discourage People from disturbing them in their favourite Pursuit after Power and Riches. Whatever is established by the New Testament and the Law, no Man that I know is for disturbing. But if they have Aims and Demands which are neither warranted by Christ nor the Constitution, it is right, and christian, and legal, to disturb, and even to defeat them.

Such high Claimers, therefore, of Princely Rule and Opulence (if there be any such) are the Men given to change; and it is always just to oppose Usurpation, to redress Grievances, remove Nuisances, and to attack Fraud, Avarice, and Nonsense.

It would be endless to deduce Particulars. But suppose any assuming Clergyman were so extravagant and daring, and had so little Regard to Conscience and public Tranquillity, as to attempt to establish an Ecclesiastical Tribunal in our Colonies abroad, to the Terror and Affliction of our Brethren there, who were many of them first driven thither by the Oppression and Barbarity of such Courts here, especially in Archbishop Laud’s Reign; would not such an Attempt tend to a bold Innovation, and discover a busy, an arrogant and dangerous Spirit in such a Clergyman; and would he Edition: current; Page: [302]not be a good Subject and an honest Man, who set himself against such a lewd Attempt, and exposed its wicked Tendency?

Suppose any other Clergyman such an Enemy to the Civil Constitution, and to the Church of England, or such a Deserter from it, as to contend for the Indepency of the Clergy, for their Exemption from the Civil Laws, nay for trying a Clergyman when he is tried, by a Jury of Clergymen; would not such a Man deserve severe Animadversion and Punishment; and would it not be honest and meritorious, to defend the Laws, and repulse this their Enemy, this Innovator, this Papist?

Suppose any other designing Priest, fond of promoting Superstition for the Ends of Authority and Gain, should abuse the Credulity of the People, by pretending to convey Holiness into Ground and Stone Walls; as if Earth or Stone, or any thing inanimate, were susceptible of Sanctity, or their Quality to be altered by solemn Words; and all this without any Colour of Warrant from Law or Gospel, but in Opposition to the Spirit of both; would not such a crafty Priest be a false Guide, an Innovator, who relinquished Truth and the Protestant Religion, to promote Error, and to introduce Popery and Delusion? And would not he who resisted and confuted him, be a Friend to Society, a Defender of Truth, and a Foe to Fraud?

Suppose any Clergymen so bent upon exalting Churchmen and their Revenue (for the sure Way of raising Them is to raise That) that he encouraged Designs and Schemes for transferring the whole Wealth of a Nation, by no slow Degrees, into the Coffers of the Clergy; would not such a Man be a Promoter of Change, of a universal and melancholy Change, and a declared Enemy to the Laity? And would it not be becoming Laymen, nay, incumbent on them, to be upon their Guard, to secure their Estates, and to preserve themselves and Posterity from Poverty and Vassalage?

Suppose (once more) that any other Clergyman should have the Boldness to declare publickly, that a Brother Clergyman (a Bishop, for Example) still continued a true Bishop of the Church of Christ, even though he stood convicted of, and deprived for the highest and Edition: current; Page: [303]blackest Crimes, namely, Perjury, Disloyalty, Conspiracy, Treason and Rebellion; would not such a Declaration be highly insolent, scandalous, and punishable? To tell those who make Priests, that they cannot unmake them, nor one of them, would be to tell them, that Priests are above the Law and the Laity; that the Clergy have a Power and Designation which Laymen cannot take away, though the Laity and the Law actually create them, and confer upon them the only Designation that they can have, nay, confer their whole Office; nor does our Constitution particularly own, or know any Character in any Subject whatsoever, but what the Law alone bestows; and all the Clergy renounce upon Oath all Power whatsoever but what they derive from hence. An Act of Parliament would to-morrow effectually degrade all the Clergy in Great Britain; that is, reduce them all to Laymen, and create so many Priests immediately out of the Laity, without a Jot more Apparatus or Ceremony. Whoever is declared to be a Priest by any Society, is a Priest to them, and ceases to be one the Moment they declare him none. The strange Notion of an indelible Character is arrant Nonsense and true Priestcraft, nay the Ground-work of all Priestcraft. Would it therefore be borne by an Assembly of Law-makers, so tender of their Liberties and of Protestantism as ours are, to have this same indelibel Character, this Root of Popery, maintained to their Faces? And would it not draw down their Indignation and Censures upon the bold Offender, I had almost said, Deceiver? Surely it would; and therefore

I mention these Instances as bare Possibilities, which can never be suffered in this free Protestant Country, but are common in Popish Countries, nay, are some of the reigning Tenets and Practices which support Popery. How zealous Laud was in such Popish Practices and Tenets, I have not now Time to explain. Read his Life and Trial.

It is now high Time to draw towards a Conclusion, by considering briefly what produced the Tragedy of this Day; a Consideration which will lead us to see how such Tragedies are to be prevented. The immediate Instruments of the King’s Murder were violent Men, supported by a powerful Army, gained and commanded Edition: current; Page: [304]by a Usurper. This Power in the Army, and his Power over it, were the Effects of the Civil War, which was itself caused by the Misunderstanding and Struggle between the King and Parliament. What originally produced this Misunderstanding, which produced all the rest, is what we are principally to attend to. It is of much less Moment to know by what Hands the King fell, than to know how such Hands, or any Hands, came to be lifted up against him.

Now, if we enquire into the first Cause, from which all the rest naturally followed, we shall find that the Violence of his Reign caused his violent End. It is not to be denied nor disguised, that from the very Beginning the Court aimed at arbitrary Power, openly pursued it, and for fifteen Years together practised it, raising Money without Law, and against Law; which was Robbery in those who enforced the Collection of it; imprisoning Men, the best and greatest Men, without Law and against Law; which was lawless Cruelty; seizing the Lands and Estates of others, without Right and against Right; which was flagrant Oppression and Violence; assuming and exercising a Power to dispense with Laws, that is, a Power to make and annul Laws; which was manifest Usurpation; and, in short, establishing an Arbitrary and Turkish Authority over the Persons, and Rights and Fortunes of the People; which was apparent and undeniable Tyranny.

Between Law and Violence, between Right and Tyranny, there is no Medium, no more than between Justice and Oppression. If King Charles had no Right to act thus, then his acting thus was Tyranny. If he had a Right, of what Force are Laws and Oaths, and where is our Constitution, and boasted Birthrights of Englishmen, and our ancient Magna Charta? Why was his Son King James turned out? why declared to have forfeited? And I would ask the Admirers and Defenders of King Charles I. how they would have liked, how borne such Violences, such lawless Doings and Misrule in King William; how in the late Reign; how in this? How would they have relished the Imprisonment of their Persons, Taxes laid on and exacted without Consent of Parliament, arbitrary and excessive Fines, their Edition: current; Page: [305]Estates seized, their Families impoverished or famishing? Doubtless, no Men would have been louder in the Cry of Tyranny; and very just and natural would have been such a Cry. No sort of Men talk more warmly and frequently now in favour of Liberty and Law. How do they reconcile such Zeal and Professions with an Approbation of the Reign of King Charles I. which was one continued Series of Oppressions, had abolished Liberty and Law, and established universal Slavery? How would they have borne such terrible and tyrannical Usage? Very impatiently, I dare say. If they say otherwise, no reasonable Man will believe them, nor have they, upon Trial, ever shewed much Passiveness of Spirit. Besides, if they justify the enslaving Measures then; they are not in earnest, or utterly inconsistent with themselves now, when they extol public Liberty, and are for restraining Kings and their Ministers to Reason and Law.

What we have therefore to do on this Day, is not only to abhor the bloody Death of the King, and wicked Instruments of it, but to abhor also his evil and wicked Government for fifteen Years together; abhor the impious Principles which were then countenanced and prevailed, with the traiterous and ungodly Broachers and Promoters of such; and all the evil and arbitrary Counsellors then and since. And as we lament his latter End, let us detest the Beginning and Course of his Reign, which was as enormous and guilty, as his Catastrophe was mournful and barbarous. Was it crying Guilt thus to cut him off, as surely it was? Was it not also crying Guilt in the Crown, to abandon its Duty, to violate the Coronation Oath, to tread upon Law and Justice, to persecute Conscience, to rob and oppress the People, and from limited and lawful, to become lawless and arbitrary? And is it not equally reasonable, equally becoming us, as Englishmen and Freemen, to commemorate and detest an Administration so pernicious and devouring, Measures so black and lawless? Is it not our Duty to take Warning by them, and whenever we are threatened with them, to guard against them; to watch every Principle of Slavery, and suppress it betimes; to rejoice that we live in happier Times, live in a free Government, Edition: current; Page: [306]and under the free Course of the Laws; to pray for the Continuance of such an invaluable Blessing, and be dutiful and assisting to that good and great Prince who secures it to us, and claims nothing to himself, but what our Parliaments and the known Laws give him?

Let us also learn a Lesson from the Behaviour of the Clergy at that Time; and as they were then become wanton with extravagant Power, and used it very cruelly, in persecuting and oppressing their Fellow-Subjects; let us take Care for the future, that they who are set apart for the Purposes of Holiness, be not spoiled by the unnatural Possession and Exercise of worldly Business and Authority. Methinks it is profaning holy Men, as they are, to embark them in secular Affairs, in the Commerce and Occupations of Laymen and Worldlings. As they miserably misled that unhappy Prince, King Charles I. it may serve as a Warning to other Princes from being led by them: And as they promoted and justified all unlawful and merciless Impositions upon the Laity; as they contended that we were obliged to undergo all Servitude, to be tame Slaves to the mere Will of the Prince, and to obey it as our only Law; we may from hence infer, that whenever they leave preaching the Gospel, and turn Courtiers and Politicians, they are out of their Element, and thence grow more wild and extravagant, as well as more wicked, and shameless and false than other Men are.

It would never have entered into the Heart of a Layman, that the merciful God authorised Iniquity, Perjury, Perfidiousness and Tyranny; and that any miserable Wretch, who had all these crying Sins to answer for, was still sacred, and the Vicegerent of God; or that God, who hates Wickedness, had forbid to resist, that is, to remedy the highest and most complicated Wickedness, nay damned all who had Sense and Virtue enough to do so.

These Positions were Monsters, formed by Clergymen out of their Sphere, and in high Fashion with Laud and his Associates. Was it very natural for the Laity to love and reverence such Clergymen, or these monstrous Positions? The Lord said unto me, The Prophets prophesy Lies in my Name; I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: They prophesy unto you a Edition: current; Page: [307]false Vision and Divination, and a Thing of nought, and the Deceit of their Hearts. Jer. xiv. 14. Would it not therefore be prudent to keep all Clergymen from thus exposing themselves to Hate and Ridicule, and from promoting Mischief and Misery amongst the Laity? And is not this their Guilt infinitely more heinous and aggravated than that of the greatest private Sinner can be, as it affects and involves whole Nations, and is impiously covered with the Veil of Religion?

According to this Rule, and I think it a true Rule, the blackest Felon that ever suffered, was an Innocent in Comparison of Laud, and those of his Leaven; and had Laud consumed his Time in Debauchery, he could have done but small Hurt, compared to what he did as a Troubler and Seducer of the World. His Morals, as a private Man, did but heighten his Credit to do Mischief. With what an ill Grace must such Men rebuke private Vice and the Detail of Sins, they who vend and commit Sins by the Gross? This is indeed to swallow Camels and strain at Gnats. Crimes are to be measured by their Consequences; and he who persecutes Men, he who misleads them and enslaves them, is the most guilty, the most monstrous and gigantic of all Criminals. Had Laud been a Parish Priest, and confined himself to the Duties of one; or being a Bishop, had he done so; he, who was a Man of Learning and Morals, might have been an innocent, nay, an useful Man. But as he and his Brethren would needs sway the Court and the Nation, they overturned both by the wickedest of all Means, even by an Excess of Tyranny and Oppression. It was they who raised, or at least increased the Storm, which at last ruined the Public, and overwhelmed them in the public Ruins.

These therefore are the Things and Persons now proper to be commemorated. From these we are to take our Marks and Warnings against a Relapse into the like evil Days and Calamities: And if there be any Curse still subsisting, derived from the King’s Blood, it must justly lie upon them who approve the Men and Measures that first rendered him arbitrary and oppressive, and thence unpopular and distrusted. Here the Evil began, and from hence it was propagated like a Train. Had Edition: current; Page: [308]he always ruled, as he afterwards too late proposed to rule, when Men were irritated and engaged, and full of Distrust, there had been no civil War, nor a conquering Army, nor an Oliver, nor consequently Royal Blood spilt. His Design and Promises to govern better afterwards (when he found that the Laws and Constitution would prevail) have been often urged and repeated, and are a Confession that he had governed ill before. Perhaps he meant to perform them. It is certain his Misrule had been sadly felt; nor is there any Proof but his Word, that he intended to change: That Word had been often and egregiously broken, especially in the Bill of Rights, which he solemnly promised to observe; yet he afterwards openly violated that just Bill.

How this Prince comes to be still so extremely popular amongst many of the Clergy, and consequently amongst many of the Laity, influenced by them, is obvious enough. He was a very great Bigot to the Church, to Ceremonies and Shew in Religion, and to the Power and Pomp of Churchmen. These he cherished, and exalted, and obeyed; invested them with his own Power, and surrendered to them almost the whole Supremacy; and not only suffered them to enjoy the Use of it as a Present from him, but suffered them to seize it for themselves, and even to deny his Title to it. For such Court and Favour to them, for humouring them in their Persecution of the Puritans, for his glutting them with Power, and becoming their Creature, rather than Sovereign and Head of the Church, they promoted and consecrated all the Excesses, Oppressions, and lawless Measures of his Reign, because all these Violences were exercised over the Laity; and the Churchmen were so far from feeling them, that they shared in his Domination, and acted the King too in their Place and Turn. This is the true Source of so much Merit and Praise; for this he is adored and sainted; for this he has been often compared to Jesus Christ in his Sufferings; and for this the Guilt of murdering him has been represented as greater than that of crucifying our blessed Saviour.

These their Panegyrics are, in truth, partial and shameful in all Respects, as well as impious and profane; since thence they who utter them make it evident, Edition: current; Page: [309]that they care not how a Prince abuses his Trust, and oppresses his Lay Subjects, if he will but humour and aggrandize the Clergy; else why so much Incense and Applause bestowed upon a Prince who actually did so? This is partial and dishonourable; nor can there be a greater Insult upon the Laity, than to desire, or even hope, that they should join in such Praises and Applause. They who feel Oppression, cannot extol him who commits it, nor reckon him a good King, who uses them like Slaves.

No Sort of Men are more tender than the Clergy, when their Property, or Persons, or Privileges are touched, or more severe and resenting, or even more unforgiving towards such as meddle with either. I fear much, that had the Clergy been then used as the Laity were, treated like mean Slaves, worried with arbitrary Power and Impositions, and imprisoned upon mere Will and Command, this Day would not have been commemorated at all, or perhaps commemorated in a very different Manner. Why should not the Laity too have felt and resented Indignities done, and Violences committed against the Laity? Was it natural or possible to praise and honour the Author of such Violence and Indignities? When the Clergy were pleased and gratified, they might rejoice, though it be not generous to triumph when others suffer, nay, by their Sufferings. But the Laity could not express Joy, when they had just Cause to sorrow and mourn; or was it possible they should?

Such is the Difference between the Laity and the High Clergy, with regard to King Charles I. and Archbishop Laud. They adore the Archbishop, because he raised their Power beyond all Reason and Law, and was furious in the Exercise of such usurped Power: They adore the King for suffering such Encroachment, for being subservient to the Pride and Pursuits of Churchmen, and for dividing the Sovereignty with them. But as both the King and the Archbishop abused their Power, oppressed and persecuted the Laity, the Laity can commend neither; and have good Reason to pray, that they may never see such a King, nor such an Archbishop, any more for ever, and bless God for their present happy and different Situation. This is indeed just and copious Edition: current; Page: [310]Cause for Joy and Thanksgiving. King George reigns, the Laws prevail, Dissenters and private Conscience are protected, the Clergy have their Dues, and to all Men their Property is religiously secured. This is Protection, this is Liberty, this is Renown, and we are happy, and ought to be dutiful and content.

As to such Churchmen who will be contending, that the Clergy are a distinct Body from the Laity, with separate Interests and Views, they cannot be surprized to see, that the Laity improve the Hint and Example, and take Care of themselves. It is very natural for the Laity to remember, that they alone give and continue to the Clergy what they have, and make them what they are. It is natural for them to be alarmed, when they hear the lawless Rule of King Charles I. applauded, his lawless and oppressive Measures justified or excused, and himself sainted and adored. This is a bold and awakening Insult, and a full Declaration, that if High-Churchmen can but flourish and domineer as they did then, they care not how much the Laity droop and decay; nay, approve and encourage the Bonds and Distresses of the Laity: And as a Proof how violently in earnest such High-Churchmen are in their Panegyrics upon that King and his Reign, they treat as Monsters and false Brethren, all impartial Clergymen, that refuse to falsify and daub as they do; insomuch that such reasonable and moderate Clergymen as confess the Truth, and love the Law and the Laity, and are willing to do Justice to both, are scorned and derided, and reviled, as bad Churchmen, that is, as Friends to the Constitution, to Liberty, and Laymen, and such only as the Laity ought to esteem. Surely the Laity cannot but consider as open Foes, such Men as vindicate the Oppression and Bondage of the Laity: And that the Laity were thus used by that King, is Fact; and it is Fact also, that in using the Laity thus, he was abetted and prompted by all High-Churchmen then, and justified by all such ever since. Is it not full time for us Laymen to see these Things, to resent such Insults, and to mark such Insulters? Is it not fair in us, is it not natural for us, to distinguish with all Countenance and Favour, those Clergymen alone, who contend for the Liberty and Rights Edition: current; Page: [311]of the Laity, and condemn all the mad and extravagant Claims, and all the selfish and violent Tenets of High-Churchmen?

As to the black Fact committed on this Day, all Men agree to condemn and abhor it, as utterly unlawful, violent, and full of Guilt. But this is not enough for High-Churchmen, unless all the Oppressions and Excesses, all the wicked Counsellors and Instruments of that Reign be likewise excused, if not extolled. This is what they themselves have ever confidently undertaken to do, in the Face of the most glaring Truth and Facts. How we Laymen ought to consider this Day, and these Men, I have already said. In truth, had not there been such Men then, there had not been such a Day now. By them the unhappy King, of himself, very vain of unbounded Power, and fond of setting Royalty above Right, was abetted and encouraged to pursue such Measures as ended in much Misery to him, as well as to his People: By such Men his Son was tempted to try the same dangerous and guilty Experiment; and by trusting to such Men, to their unnatural Whims and deadly Flattery, he lost his Crown and his Honour, lived an Exile, and died a Beggar.

From hence, and from all that has been said, let us learn a Lesson proper for this Day, and for every Day; that is, let us take great Care, according to the Words and Warning of my Text, that the Hypocrite reign not, lest the People be insnared.

P. S. The Author of this Sermon finding his Matter increase, and his Sermon already too long, reserves what he has farther to say, to a Supplement, which he will soon publish, addressed to a very important and most solemn Churchman.

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A Supplement to the Sermon preached at Lincoln’s-Inn, on January 30. 1732. Addressed to a very important and most solemn Churchman, Sollicitor-General for Causes Ecclesiastical.
Anno 1733.

Holy Father,

I Apply to you without Form or Compliment, about certain Doubts and Difficulties, which, I am told, no Man is so fit as you to answer and resolve. Your great Abilities (I do not say in Divinity; for that is a very different thing, but) in Canons, Distinctions, Discipline, and all Parts of Church-Attorneyship, are allowed by all Men; even such as dispute his Majesty’s Title to the Crown, allow you that of an Excellent Churchman. As I aim at no Preferment, and therefore bring no Incense, I was willing to shew you, that it was possible to dedicate to you without Worship or Daubing. Besides, I take this my Address to you to be exceeding suitable; since you, who have made Church-Power and Church-Revenues so much your Care and Pursuit, are a proper Judge, whether what I have said of the evil Influence of Church-Power and Revenue over Religion and human Society be true.

You, who must have traced Ecclesiastical Grandeur up to its first Sources, and marked its Progress, Improvements and Variations, can readily explain how it arose, how it was used, whether righteously acquired, whether honestly employed, how it affected the Laity, how the Clergy; what Tendency it had to advance Religion and civil Happiness, what Success in mending the Morals, and increasing the Humility and pious Labours of Churchmen.

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You, who are known to contend for Ecclesiastical Authority, can demonstrate what that Authority is, whence derived, by whom and over whom to be exercised, how to be reconciled to Conscience, Christianity, and common Sense; whether it can produce or preserve Conviction, and make Men Christians, or continue them so; and whether such Authority be consistent with Reason and Grace, or whether Reason and Grace do not exclude and destroy such Authority; as also how such Authority consists with the Oaths of the Clergy, who swear to renounce all Claim to any Power of any Kind or Sort whatsoever, but what they derive from the Crown.

Pray tell us, what any Clergyman can do, which any Layman, who can read and write, cannot do, and may not do, if the Law appoint him? Is it not the Law alone, which has the Power to qualify, and can alone disqualify? Whoever maintains the contrary, incurs a Præmunire. Have the Clergy any Revelation but the Bible? And is not such Revelation made to the Laity, and indeed, without Restriction, to all Men? And are not the necessary and practical Parts of the Bible very plain and intelligible to Laymen? And have Clergymen ever agreed about explaining the dark Parts? I wish none had ever endeavoured to darken the clearest Parts of it, or to hide and suppress the Whole. If the Assertion of any Powers invisible in Men, that is, Powers which have no visible Effect, be other than a Dream and Forgery; you will do well to shew what they are, whence they are, and how they effect their strange and invisible Feats. To read Prayers, and Scriptures, and Sermons; to give Bread and Wine, and say Words over them; to sprinkle Water upon Babes; to declare what offends God and his Law; and to wear Gowns and Bands, and broad Hats, are Exploits which may be performed by very mean Men amongst the Laity: And to judge and declare who are qualified to perform them, is a Task as easy as the rest. Will you say, that such Functions are less effectual in a Layman, or more so in a Clergyman? Who told you so? It may be so said in the old Popish Canons, or Schoolmen, and Edition: current; Page: [314]in the extravagant Writings of some Ecclesiastics; but no where in the New Testament.

Will you say, that God blesses any pious Office done by a Layman, less than when done by a Clergyman? And what Idea would this give us of God? Will you say that a little Infant, free from Offence, and incapable of offending, is therefore debarred from Heaven, or any Part of Bliss, because he dies unbaptized, or was baptized by a Layman? And what Idea does such a Tenet exhibit of the divine Being? Or, if a Layman can do this sacred Office effectually, why not more Offices, and all?

You know what impious Notions many Clergymen have broached and held about Baptism, as if no Salvation could be had without it, and no Baptism without them. This is one of the monstrous, I had almost said blasphemous, Whims resulting from the other monstrous Whim, that of an indelible Character; which is a Whim so very strange and inconceivable, that where ’tis once believed and established, ’tis no wonder to see the wildest Extravagancies, and even Impossibilities and Contradictions maintained and believed in consequence of it: Since from any senseless Position whatsoever, endless Deductions of Nonsense can be drawn, and may seem naturally to follow; and one Contradiction shall produce, and illustrate, and prove an hundred Contradictions. Thus, if either the indelible Character, or apostolic Succession, or Infallibility, or Power of binding and loosing be but allowed; from these, or any of these, all the most fraudulent, fanatical, and engrossing Claims of the Pope and Popish Clergy, may be deduced and established.

May not a Layman perform all spiritual Offices, where there are no Clergymen? Is a Chapter of the Bible less edifying, when read by a Layman, than when read by a Clergyman? I ask this the rather, because I knew a Tradesman, who read Prayers and the Scripture on Sundays, at a foreign Fishery, where there were no Clergy, and he was therefore thought proper to be put into Deacon’s Orders, as if he had been thence the better qualified for reading Prayers and the Bible. Was this Employment in him, either more sacred, or more effectual Edition: current; Page: [315]afterwards than before? If it was, what an Idea does this too give us of the Great God? Or, have the Clergy succeeded better than Laymen, in appointing one another? Father Paul says, and History says, the contrary. That excellent Writer lays it down as Fact, that the best Bishops were made by Princes; and that whenever the Clergy had the conducting of their own Elections, infinite Disorders ensued: So little, or so ill Effect had their indelible Character in making and appointing one another. Was not this Pretence to an indelible Character, one great Source of Popery and the Inquisition, and of all the Terrors, Frauds, and Deformities of Priestcraft? And was it not natural for Indelibility to produce Infallibility; and is there more to be said for the former than for the latter?

I should also be glad to hear you discourse rationally about Pluralities and Commendams, and shew their Consistency with the Duty and Call of such Churchmen as possess them. As they who do not reside, do not labour, Should such as do no Work, receive Pay? Beneficium propter officium, was the Stile of old; and Benefices were given for spiritual Purposes. Indeed, the temporal Part was only considered in a second and circumstantial Sense. “Afterwards, says Father Paul, the spiritual Part was forgot, and nothing but the Profits regarded.” This was lamentable Corruption; yet such as dealt in it, and, in truth, in little else, called themselves holy Men; that is, the most sordid, the most corrupt and covetous, such as made Traffic of Churches and Souls, assumed to be holy, and claimed an indelible Character.

In the primitive Times, it was scandalous and forbidden, that any Clerk should quit his Cure, though ever so poor, for another though richer. It was alledged and ordained, That if any Bishop despised his Bishopric for being small, and sought after a greater Diocese and larger Rents, he should not only never obtain the greater Bishopric, which through Avarice he desired, but even lose that which he already possessed, and thro’ Pride despised. What can be a more sacred Trust than a Trust of Souls; what so important? Does it not require all the Time and Attention that mortal Men can Edition: current; Page: [316]bestow? And how is such Duty to be reconciled to Pluralities and Commendams, how to Non-residence? The holding of more Churches than one, was adjudged by some principal Fathers of the primitive Church, to be spiritual Polygamy: And I question, whether a Plurality of Wives, though Felony by our Law, be so sinful, or can have such bad Consequences, when we consider that some Pastors, who are greatly endowed, hardly ever see the Faces of their Flocks: Some have several Flocks, and feed none of them, but take vast Pay for nothing, and employ Underlings for poor Wages. If these Underlings, and these poor Wages are sufficient, as by their Practice these great Clergymen shew that they think, Is it not natural for the Laity to desire to make as good Bargains as the Clergy? Is it not natural to conclude, that since the highest and most solemn Offices may be performed at a small Expence, as is manifest from the hiring of Curates, it would be but Prudence to save such high Revenues given to such as do nothing but hire others?

How a spiritual Trust once conferred, could be afterwards delegated to another, the Trust itself transferred, and the Advantages reserved, I could never yet account either from the Gospel of Christ, or from the natural Ideas of Morality! Yet are not great Revenues daily desired upon the Erection of any new Church, though he who is to enjoy them, often does no Duty at all, but leaves it to a cheap Hireling? And is not that Service for which the Parish is to pay many Hundreds a Year, often performed for thirty or forty Pounds a Year? Some Civil Trusts may be thus executed by Deputies; but is this a Way to deal (I had almost said to traffic) with Souls, and to be answerable for them? Is this spiritual Fathership? Is this apostolic, or are those who do so still Successors to the Apostles? I should be glad to hear you explain this, and shew whether any Man who prosessed to turn Religion into a Trade, could act in a different or more lucrative manner.

I have likewise some Doubts to propose to you about Excommunication, which, I fear, is little understood, and greatly abused. If it were originally no more than turning a Man out of a Society with the Laws of which Edition: current; Page: [317]he would not comply, as was really the Case, and as is daily done in common Clubs, and in Juntoes of Traders; is it not notorious Abuse, as well as extremely daring and wicked, to construe it into the dismal Delivery of a Soul to the Devil and Damnation? Will you say, dare you venture to say, that a Person excommunicated is in the Power of Satan, and that such a Sentence sends him thither? If it do, they who pronounce it must be the most wicked and impious of all Men; nor can any earthly Consideration excuse them. Is it for Tithe? Then is their Tithe dearer to them than an immortal Soul. Is it not for Tithe, but for Contumacy, in not appearing and owning their Jurisdiction? Then is their Pride and Jurisdiction of more Weight with them, than the Salvation of Men? But if Excommunication have no such Effect, why is not the Bug-bear removed, by explaining it into a reasonable and a christian Meaning? Or rather, why is a Practice which cannot be of God, suffered to continue, why impiously continued in his Name? And can any Man who defends Excommunication, argue against Purgatory? The temporal Effects of it are sufficiently heavy and hard; so hard, that nothing under the highest Consideration can justify the Man who brings them down upon another. Its spiritual Operation, were it true, would indeed be shocking and frightful. But who would affront the Divine Being, by believing that he, the Author of Mercy and Wisdom, could contradict his own Nature to gratify the Peevishness and Cruelty of weak and revengeful Men?

They who are apt to bring the Charge of Blasphemy against others, often upon very small, sometimes upon very ludicrous Occasions, would do well to consider, Whether there can be higher Blasphemy, than to assert a Power in Man of directing or obliging the Almighty; a Privilege to apply the Might and Terrors of Omnipotence to the Perdition of Men? I presume you will not say of Excommunication, what I am told the reverend Dr. Fiddes says of Popish Indulgences in his History of Henry VIII. That they were a Treasure which the Church had been long in Possession of.

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I leave it therefore to your Judgment, whether this spiritual Engine be for the Service of Christ’s Church, or for the Credit of such as call themselves his Ministers; and whether what is shocking to Sense and Humanity, can ever be true in Religion, or a Part of Religion, I mean of the Christian Religion.

I would also humbly propose it to your serious Thoughts, whether amongst your public Admonitions and Reproofs to the Laity, you might not think it adviseable, and find Cause, to let your Brethren the Clergy have their Share. Are there no prevailing Mistakes or Disorders amongst them? No strange and unreasonable Claims maintained by them who are called Orthodox, no extravagant Writings published, no wild and passionate Sermons preached? Is Orthodoxy alone never preferred by you to eminent Piety and Sufficiency, under Suspicion of Heterodoxy? Is the Man who asserts Christ’s Kingdom not to be of this World, as dear to you as they who would found worldly Power upon the Gospel of Christ, and erect a Priesthood with Power, in virtue of being Successors to him, who had no Power, and disclaimed all Power? Are you equally tender to the Failings of Laymen, as to those of Clergymen? Or, is it your Opinion and Policy, that the same should be concealed and dissembled, at least not exposed to the profane Laity?

I remember an Instance, where I thought the Partiality of a more than Reverend Clergyman too apparent; for whilst He manifested much just Zeal for capitally punishing certain beastly Offenders against the Law, and Purity and Design of Nature, I mean Lay-Offenders; all His Zeal cooled, at least produced small Effect, in the Case of a Brother Doctor found to have been flagrantly guilty of that Abomination for many Years, and often in a very sacred Place; yet this Doctor escaped with an Admonition and a small Fine, in a Court too where that more than Reverend Clergyman was thought to have no small Influence. And I suppose, that that unnatural Sinner was still esteemed to be a true Minister of the Church, since he is still left to act as such, and to receive the Stipend of such, doubtless to the great Edification of Souls, and Credit of Orthodoxy and of Episcopal Edition: current; Page: [319]Courts. So far was that more than Reverend Clergyman from applying, on this Occasion, to the secular Arm, though He had just before praised it for finding out, and pouring down its deadly Terrors upon, such bestial Criminals.

A little of your public and private Advice to your Brethren, recommending to them more Meekness and Moderation, with a Behaviour more complaisant and less litigious towards the People, would be of use. I hear that you give them very different Advice, even to be as troublesome and vexatious to their People as they can, by departing from settled Customs, and starting new Demands. Such Advice is by no means proper for them, nor do they want it. It is certain, they would do well not to render themselves daily more unpopular and obnoxious by Haughtiness, Greediness, and Law-Suits. My Lord Clarendon owns, that the Clergy of that Time, supported and animated by Archbishop Laud, grew assuming, and lived not well with their Neighbours in the Country. This bred ill Blood towards them; and when they were pulled down, it was remembered how insolently they had behaved when uppermost: Hence the easier Way was made for the sowre and gloomy Set who succeeded them.

The present daily Increase of their Property, their Monopoly of Advowsons, their breaking all the Modus’s, their frequent Success in troublesome Suits, and their apparent Fondness of such, help to sooth and exalt them: But all this is seen, and felt, and regretted by the whole Body of the Laity, it may bring a Storm strong enough to overthrow all these Advantages. Perhaps too, Abuses, not now thought of, will be then sought, and found, and severely redressed.

This Thought is really painful to me; in the Sincerity of my Heart I speak it; for I dread all great Changes, and all Approaches towards such. I would therefore have the Clergy provoke none: They must not, in this inlightened Age, and an Age of Liberty, think themselves a Match for the Laity, were the Laity once tempted to exert themselves. Perhaps they were never less a Match for the Laity than now. Times and Countries have been, when the People were so blind, or Edition: current; Page: [320]so awed, that though Religion was turned publickly into Power and Gain, they could not perceive it, or durst not censure it. Such Times are no longer, nor is England that Country now.

Modesty and Meekness, in the Language and Writings of the Clergy, is likewise always commendable, and no more than good Policy. The fierce and provoking Stile is not the Christian, nor the gaining Stile; and Pride and Passion are ill Proofs of Religion. But most unpardonable is the Practice of such, who, when a Man differs from them in any Ecclesiastical Point, though utterly foreign from Religion, yet charge him confidently with Infidelity, let his Stile be ever so Christian, and his Professions for Christianity ever so strong. This Practice, follow it who will, is unchristian and malicious, but shamefully common. I therefore like Dr. Conybear’s late Book for his Temper and Civility; nor, as far as I have looked into it, could I find any Strokes of Pertness or Anger; two Ingredients very common in the Works of Ecclesiastics. Another Doctor, of some Name in Controversy, and an Advocate and an Answerer on the same Side, hath shewn such wild Trausports, such Virulence and Scurrility, that it is not to be determined, whether the Madman, the Scold, or the Executioner, predominate most in his Composition.

I have heard that even you, holy Father, with all your Affectation of Smoothness and Temper, have treated Gentlemen with very coarse Names, for no other Reason, than that they differed from you about Matters of Power and Speculation. This was not wise: (that it was ill-bred, I do not wonder) and it might tempt, and perhaps warrant Gentlemen so used to treat you very roughly. A Monster is by no means a proper Name for Gentlemen, some of them as well esteemed and as generally beloved as you are. I could paint such Usage in Colours which you would not like. I could likewise draw such a Character of some who are dead (for upon the Dead and Living, Monster and Infidel are Names which, it seems, you freely throw): I say, I could represent some of them in such Lights, such true Lights, as would equal, and, I doubt, much foil the best that you can be shown in. I could represent their Edition: current; Page: [321]amiable and benevolent Minds, their great Knowledge, their elevated Capacity, their universal Integrity and Love of Mankind, their Scorn of Hypocrisy and little Party Views, of narrow Spirits, and of every mean and selfish Artifice.

But I want Room and Time to enter fully into the pleasing and mournful Theme. Neither do I think myself qualified to make equal Returns to coarse Usage. Let me just say, that the Words Infidel and Infidelity, as they are grown Terms of Anger and Reproach, can seldom become the Mouth or Pen of a candid or well-bred Man. Pardon me, when I assert, that every Man living has as good a Right to differ in Opinion from you, as you have to differ from him: If you think, or maintain the contrary, you have a monstrous Share of Pride or Folly; nor do I know a greater Monster amongst Men, than the solemn Hypocrite, who pretends to derive Pomp and Power, and worldly Wealth out of the New Testament; who would confine the uncontroulable Freedom of the Soul by human Articles and Restrictions, and treats such as follow Reason and not him, with Spite and saucy Language.———But I check myself; nor will I finish my Picture of this Sort of Monster, lest the Likeness might be too glaring. I therefore return to advise you; and here let me assure you, that it is repugnant to all Candor, and unworthy your Character, to descend to mean Solicitations, and to teaze for Prosecutions against such Writings and Authors as thwart you. In Matters of Religion, no Book which can be answered, ought to be prosecuted; nor can you find any Honour in such Prosecution, no more than you can shew Charity in procuring it. A Minister of Truth begging the Aid of worldly Penalties, in a Dispute about Spirituals, makes a poor, a strange, and a scandalous Figure. Such Conduct seems only to suit with worldly Designs, and to bewray, if not the Weakness of his Cause, at least his Insufficiency to defend it.

To oppose Force to just Reasoning, is unjust; to answer false Reasoning by Force, it foolish and needless. A bad Cause is quickly refuted, a good Cause easily defended; and Christianity, though it can bear much Severity and Violence, can never exercise nor warrant any; Edition: current; Page: [322]nor was the Christian Name ever more abused, than when prostituted to justify Rigour and Violence: And Punishment for Opinion might indeed be of Ecclesiastical, but could never be of Christian Pedigree.

You have, Holy Father, the Reputation of a strong Churchman; and Charity obliges me to believe you a Christian; (for the Christian Spirit is not suspicious no more than revengeful) be the Churchman still; but let the Christian predominate, and then I dare say you will never sollicit another Prosecution. The Clergy, to a Man, believe your Heart bent upon Church Power, and upon all the Means that lead to it. You have also thoroughly convinced the Laity in this Point, though ’tis said that you had rather they were not so convinced, and are wont to speak to them in a Stile not at all savouring of a Passion for sacerdotal Rule: Which Behaviour in you is only artful, and must not be called false or insincere, since Insincerity is not a Christian Virtue. But such Art, when found out, loses its Use: You would therefore do well to drop such of your grand Views as bode not well towards the Laity; for they are upon their Guard, and I would not have you put them upon trying their Strength and Mettle.

Rather take a contrary and securer Method; surrender your weak Passes, give up indefensible Points, claim nothing but what the Constitution gives you, affect not to be more than what the Law makes you; separate not yourself and Brethren too much from the Laity; for woe be to you, if ever they should separate themselves from you. If upon Examination you find any Milstones about the Neck of your Cause, any excessive Absurdities, any contradictory Tenets, any terrible Claims, any hurtful or oppressive Practices, any unpopular Principles or Rules, such as square not with the general Interests and Sentiments of the Laity: Begin, O holy Father, to throw off such Milstones into the Sea, lest they pull you thither after them. ’Tis better to quit, with a good Grace, even the most favourite Point or Mistake, than be forced to quit it with Shame and the Imputation of Obstinacy.

What those Milstones, those indefensible Points are, I pretend not farther to explain to one of your Sagacity. Edition: current; Page: [323]Some of them I have named. In your Researches for others, perhaps it may merit some Inquiry, or perhaps very little, whether Ecclesiastical Courts be any considerable Support or Credit to the Cause of the Church (for I think Religion has little to do with them). I will venture to say, that Excommunication is a Matter of very serious, of very melancholy Attention to every Man who believes in God, and has a Regard for the Bodies or Souls of Men. Are there not moreover some Things in the Oath given to Church-wardens, hard, if not impossible to he kept; either obliging them to be perjured themselves, or uneasy, and even intolerable to their Neighbours? And are there not certain odd and contradictory Oaths in the Universities, which are a Scandal to Religion, and a Contradiction to Learning, and even to Morality? And, does it not become the Zeal of any Christian Pastor, to remove all such Scandals? And, would they not be removed, if Religion were as much considered, as Ecclesiastical Policy and Power?

I would likewise humbly propose, whether a true, a good, or even a Christian Use has been generally made of the 30th of January? whether those of your Order have generally acted upon it like Ambassadors of Truth and Peace? and whether either the Civil Government of King Charles I. or the Ecclesiastical Government of Archbishop Laud, be proper Patterns to be followed in a free and Christian Country? I think that, in my Sermon, I have amply shewn that they are not. Let me add here one remarkable Passage out of Rushworth: “About this Time (in the Year 1636) the new Statutes for the University of Oxford were finished and published in Convocation. The Preface disparaged King Edward the VIth’s Times and Government, declaring the Discipline of the University was discomposed by that King’s Injunctions, and that it did revive and flourish again in Queen Mary’s Days under Cardinal Pool; when, by the much-to-be desired Felicity of those Times, an inbred Candor supplied the Defect of Statutes.”

Was there ever in any Declaration, even from the Vatican, more of the Popish Stile and Spirit? The Times and Government of that excellent Prince, that pious Protestant Edition: current; Page: [324]and Reformer, Edward the VIth. are traduced by an English Convocation, for his having unsettled the old Popish Discipline, and reduced it nearer to the Genius of the Reformation. The Days of that Popish Bigot, Queen Mary, are wished for; that is, the Days when Popery, with all its Power and Fury, was restored, the Protestant Religion abolished, and Protestants openly and mercilesly burned; a Romish Cardinal is mentioned and extolled for his Church Government, and Popish Superstition, and Bigotry, and blind Obedience, are represented as inbred Candor.

Say, Holy Father, were the Members of this Convocation Protestants, or was Laud, who governed them, a Protestant? And, was it any Hardship or Wonder, that he and they were represented as Papists? And what was that King who submitted to, and assisted them in, all their violent and popish Pursuits? nay, was their Advocate against himself; when, instead of asserting his Prerogative and Supremacy, and supporting the University of Cambridge, who opposed Laud’s Visitation of them, as what he could not undertake without the King’s Commission; he, even the King in Person, argued for this Usurpation, for this Invasion of his Royalty, for this Seizure and Impropriation of his Power and Dignity?

Strange Condescension and Folly in him, as well as Inconsistency of Character! fond of exalting the Prerogative over the Belly of Law and Justice where the Laity were concerned, yet poorly laying it under the Feet of the Clergy, where the Protection of his People, and his own Duty and Honour, called upon him to preserve and exert it. I shall here add a further Catalogue of his Oppressions, as the same are summed up in a lively manner, by the late excellent Mr. Trenchard, in his Short History of Standing Armies in England.

——— “This King’s whole Reign was one continued Act against the Laws: He dissolved his first Parliament for presuming to enquire into his Father’s Death, though he lost a great Sum of Money by it, which they had voted him: He entered at the same time into a War with France and Spain, upon the private Piques of Buckingham, who managed them to the Edition: current; Page: [325]eternal Dishonour and Reproach of the English Nation; witness the ridiculous Enterprizes upon Cadiz and the Isle of Rhee: He delivered Pennington’s Fleet into the French Hands, betrayed the poor Rochellers, and suffered the Protestant Interest in France to be quite extirpated: He raised Loans, Excises, Coat and Conduct-Money, Tunnage and Poundage, Knighthood and Ship-Money, without Authority of Parliament; imposed new Oaths on the Subjects to discover the Value of their Estates; imprisoned great Numbers of the most considerable Gentry and Merchants for not paying his arbitrary Taxes; some he sent beyond Sea, and the poorer Sort he pressed for Soldiers: He kept Soldiers on free Quarter, and executed Martial Law upon them: He granted Monopolies without Number, and broke the Bounds of the Forests: He erected arbitrary Courts, and enlarged others; as the High Commission Court, Star-chamber, Court of Honour, Court of Requests, &c. and unspeakable Oppressions were committed in them, even to Men of the first Quality. He commanded the Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Lincoln not to come to Parliament; committed and prosecuted a great many of the most eminent Members of the House of Commons for what they did there, some for no Cause at all; and would not let them have the Benefit of Habeas Corpus: Suspended and confined Archbishop Abbot, because he would not license a Sermon that asserted despotic Power, whatever other Cause was pretended: He suspended the Bishop of Gloucester for refusing to swear never to consent to alter the Government of the Church: Supported all his arbitrary Ministers against the Parliament, telling them, he wondered at the foolish Impudence of any one to think he would part with the meanest of his Servants upon their Account: And indeed in his Speeches, or rather Menaces, he treated them like his Footmen, calling them undutiful, seditious, and Vipers: He brought unheard-of Innovations into the Church, preferred Men of arbitrary Principles, and inclinable to Popery, especially those Firebands Laud, Montague, and Manwaring, one of whom had been complained of in Edition: current; Page: [326]Parliament, another impeached for advancing Popery, and the third condemned in the House of Lords: He dispensed with the Laws against Papists, and both encouraged and preferred them: He called no Parliament for twelve Years together, and in that time governed as arbitrarily as the Grand Signior: He abetted the Irish Massacre, as appears by their producing a Commission under the Great Seal of Scotland; by the Letter of Charles the Second, in favour of the Marquis of Antrim; by his stopping the Succours that the Parliament sent to reduce Ireland, six Months under the Walls of Chester; by his entering into a Treaty with the Rebels, after he had engaged his Faith to the Parliament to the contrary; and bringing over many Thousands of them to fight against his People.———

“Upon Pretence of the Spanish and French War, he raised many thousand Men, who lived upon free Quarter, and robbed and destroyed where-ever they came: But being unsuccessful in his Wars abroad, and pressed by the Clamours of the People at home, he was forced to disband them. In 1627 he sent over 30000 l. to Holland, to raise three thousand German Horse to force his arbitrary Taxes; but this Matter taking Wind, and being examined by the Parliament, Orders were sent to countermand them. In the 15th Year of his Reign, he gave a Commission to Strafford to raise eight thousand Irish to be brought into England: But before they could get hither, the Scots were in Arms for the like Oppressions, and marched into Northumberland; which, forcing him to call a Parliament, prevented that Design, and so that Army was disbanded. Soon after he raised an Army in England to oppose the Scots, and tampered with them to march to London, and dissolve the Parliament: But this Army being composed, for the most part, of the Militia, and the Matter being communicated to the House, who immediately fell on the Officers that were Members, as Ashburnham, Wilmot, Pollard, &c. the Design came to nothing.”

I could quote much more from the same Pamphlet; but, to use the Words of the Author, it is endless to enumerate Edition: current; Page: [327]all the Oppressions of his Reign. What think you, holy Father, of the Panegyrics made upon such a Prince for almost a Century past by the Clergy, or of the Clergy who made and make those Panegyrics either upon him or Laud?

I think nothing is more manifest, than that in those Days there was a settled Purpose, both in the Court and in the Churchmen, to overturn the Reformation and the Constitution; nay, each of these Designs was well nigh accomplished; and it was already the Fashion, not only to treat such who adhered to the Law against the Violence and mad Maxims which then prevailed, as Traitors; but the Name of Traitors and Rebels were, by Laud’s Followers and Creatures, bestowed upon our first pious Reformers; and with the Reformation itself great Faults were found, especially with those Parts of it which retrenched the Wealth and Power of the Clergy: Popish Ceremonies were daily restored, with the Bowings, Grimaces, Pictures, and Forms usually seen at Popish Chapels and Masses; and all Men were persecuted, many ruined, who opposed such scandalous Innovations, tending only to advance Superstition and Priestcraft.

Why many of these Innovations, and such Defection from the Reformation still continue, I leave you, Holy Father, to consider and explain. I desire this of you the rather, for that I am told, that you often hold up your Hands, and wonder how Clergymen can, by their Writings, contradict what they have once subscribed.

That you should wonder at this, is indeed matter of Wonder. Is there one of you that conforms to the genuine Sense, or even to the Words of the Articles? Are not these Articles Calvinistical? Were they not composed by Calvinists? And are you not now, and have been long, all Arminians? And do you not preach and write against the Presbyterians who defend Predestination, which is one of your own Articles?

Will you say that Articles, will you say that Oaths, are to be taken in a Sense different from the Words, different from the Meaning of those who compose them? If you do, then you maintain that Papists, nay, that Mahometans may subscribe our Protestant Articles, and Edition: current; Page: [328]be still Mahometans and Papists; and that Jacobites may take the State Oaths, and be still Jacobites.

What Subscriptions or Declarations, or indeed what other Ties can bind Men, who, after they have solemnly testified that they are called by the Holy Ghost, yet subscribe the direct contrary to what they believe, subscribe the Doctrines of Calvin, yet remain Antagonists to Calvin? Is this Practice, this solemn Assertion of a Falsehood, for the Honour of Religion, or of Churchmen? Or, is it not the direct Method to harden Men against Truth and Conscience, and to turn holy Things into Contempt? Yet you still go on to subscribe those Articles, still to disbelieve and contradict them, yet never attempt to alter or abolish them. Does such contradictory Doings shew any Regard for Religion, or for Truth or Decency?

After such Departure from the doctrinal Articles, you cannot, with any Decency, blame such who differ from your Notions about Church Power and Discipline. The Church and Constitution of England neither owns nor knows any Clergymen but such who derive all their Power from the Law: All others are Pretenders, or rather Deserters, and would be Usurpers, if the Laity and the Law would let them. Such Clergymen therefore as disclaim all Power, and Pomp, and Revenue whatsoever, but what the Law and Laymen give them, are the only Clergy that Laymen ought to reverence, or indeed acknowledge: All the rest, who assert a prior Right, and have superior Demands, should be considered as lurking Enemies, or bold Invaders, and carefully watched and resisted. Nor is it small want of Modesty in you, and such as are like you, to censure such Clergymen as adhere to the Law and Constitution, whilst you assume to yourselves a Latitude to dissent from your very Articles, with spiritual Characters and Powers, superior to the Law, and independent upon it.

Can any Layman, who has common Sense, or common Notions of Truth and Liberty, bear with Patience a Spirit so arrogant, with such a saucy and inconsistent Behaviour? Far different, and indeed quite opposite was the Spirit of the Reformation. Nor is Reverence due to any Clergyman in whom this last Spirit is not found. Edition: current; Page: [329]Neither are they at all Clergymen of the Church of England, in whom the contrary Spirit is found. Can any Layman be at a Moment’s Loss to know, what Sort of Clergymen are most useful and amiable to him; they who set up to command him, and consequently to put Chains upon him; or they who claim only the Liberty to instruct and advise him, and therefore leave him still as free as he was before?

Be pleased also, holy Father, to instruct me in the Nature and Efficacy of Absolution. Is it authoritative, and proceeding from the Power of the Priest only? or is it conditional, and only a Declaration that God will accept, or hath accepted sincere Repentance? If God pardons, upon Repentance, what Force is in Absolution, or what Use, further than to ease poor Sinners, by assuring them, that if they have repented, God has forgiven them? If this be all, any Man, even the Sinner himself, may pronounce such a Declaration upon himself. Or does God stay to forgive, even after Repentance, till the Priest pronounces Absolution? If so, has not the Priest a greater Share than God in saving Men: nay, a superior Power, if his Part comes first, and his Absolution takes place of, and introduces God’s Pardon? If Repentance suffices without a Priest or Absolution, then what signifies either upon such Occasion, further than for a Declaration of Comfort? And without Repentance, what avails Absolution? Will you say that it avails? Or has our blessed Saviour ever said so? You must needs know what extravagant Positions, and what impious Claims of Power, have been confidently derived from this Privilege of Priests to pronounce Absolution, as if it inferred a Power to damn and save; tho’ it be really no more than what any Man may pronounce to another, or to himself, or to many, if they desire it, or will hear it. Has not this, therefore, as well as many other pious Practices, been horribly abused and perverted by the ungodly Craft of selfish Priests?

Whilst I am giving you all this Trouble, and tiring you with so many Questions, permit me, holy Father, to mix a little Comfort with so much Freedom and Importunity. I am told that your Ease and Rest are greatly interrupted and broken by the Increase and Prevalence Edition: current; Page: [330]of Free-thinking. Be not too much frightened; the Mob and the Many will always be orthodox, always true to the Church, to Holy-days, and pious Rioting, for Reasons too apparent to need mention. The Number of Free-thinkers, that is, of Men who bring all Things to the Bar and Trial of right Reason, can never be so very great as justly to alarm the Clergy, can never greatly diminish the Majority of a Country, who will always be of the Church in vogue, always have Religion, if not that of Reason and Nature, yet surely that of Authority and of the Priesthood, who are themselves always conformable to Establishments and to Tithes, and the prevailing Faith.

I doubt it will not be equally pleasing to you, to be told, at least to have the Public told, that it is by no means Free-thinking which fills the Gaols, or loads the Gallows, or even peoples Exchange-Alley, or increases public or private Knavery, or contributes at all towards it. Was the South-Sea Scheme the Effect of Free-thinking? Sir John Blunt was a great Saint and Frequenter of the Ordinances; nor were any of his Confederates suspected of Deism. Was it Free-thinking that contrived or promoted national Massacres, that of Ireland or of Paris? Has it produced or assisted the Inquisition or Persecution? Was the Monk St. Dominic a Free-thinker, or was Bishop Laud one? Has Free-thinking encouraged, or have Free-thinkers perpetrated particular Murders or Assassinations? Was Ravillac a Free-thinker? Or was he who murdered the Prince of Orange? Or was he one who offered to murder the late King? Are the Banditti and Assassins in Italy Free-thinkers? Are not these Villains good Catholics, and Frequenters of Churches? Do any of our own Thieves die Free-thinkers? Do they not generally die good Churchmen, Catholic or Protestant, and always of some Religion? Was the famous Murderess Sarah Malcolm a Free-thinker? Did she die one, or declare that she had lived one?

No; Holy Father: Free-thinking has no Proselytes in Newgate or Exchange-Alley. I doubt it will be found that it is not Free-thinking that steals in Shops, or cheats behind Counters, or robs Houses, or cuts Throats. Nor is it Free-thinking that absolves Criminals of any sort, Edition: current; Page: [331]much less Traitors and Assassins; nor consequently encourages such Crimes. I could, had I time, enlarge with Success on this Subject, and convince all Men, that Free-thinking disclaims all Alliance with Vice and Mobs, and dissolute Men; and leaves all Knaves, Profligates, and Hypocrites, to Conformity and Creeds, and the numerous Train of Orthodoxy.

It seems you have likewise found great Evils occasioned by People’s not coming to Church. My own Opinion is, that when People find themselves edified by going, they will go; when they are not edified, their going avails not. If the People had the Choice of their own Ministers, as in the primitive Times they had, it is more than probable they would go oftener. But when they neither like the Man nor the Matter, it is not likely that they will hear either. I was therefore surprized to hear that some of your Scouts and humble Agents (employed, I suppose, to try the Pulse of the Public) have mentioned compulsory Laws, still in Force, to oblige People to go to Church. Pray, can you reconcile such a Law, if there be one, to the Principles and Laws of Toleration! Could any such Law be at first procured but by the Solicitations of the persecuting Clergy? Or could any but Persecutors sollicit such a Law? Is it just or christian, to force any Man to hear what or whom he likes not? Would a High-churchman care to be forced to hear a Presbyterian Preacher, suppose in a Country where there were no other, as in Geneva? And should he not do as he would be done by? No penal Laws whatsoever were, or ever could be, prompted by a Christian Spirit. And besides this Consideration, I wonder how any Man can contend for the Continuance of Tests and Penalties here in England, as you do, and yet be against the Exercise of such in Scotland. Is this equal Justice, or equal Charity?

I should be quite too tedious to my Readers and myself (to you, Holy Father, I have been so already) should I but touch every Topic that deserves your Animadversion and that of the Public. I cannot forbear mentioning one Practice very common amongst you Churchmen, though it be destitute of all Candor, of all Truth and Charity. Whenever any clerical Folly, or Artifice, or Edition: current; Page: [332]Usurpation, or false Position, is attacked, he who does so, scarce ever fails of being accused, of having attacked whatever is serious and sacred; and he is confidently charged with Irreligion, though he has evidently espoused and defended Religion against such as had profaned it, and blended it with Superstition and Power.

This Method of yours may have some Effect upon the Vulgar; but with Men of Sense, it hurts you, by discovering what you mean by Things serious and sacred. If by these Words you understood only the Gospel, and Conscience, and the Duties enjoined by either, you could have taken no Offence at any Writings which commend and vindicate Christianity, and only expose what weakens and defaces it, even the Pride and Violence of domineering and superstitious Priests. That there are such Priests, I presume you will not deny; nor that such Priests act not in all Things, or indeed hardly in any, upon the Foot and Motives of the Gospel.

That my late Sermon is intirely upon the Christian Scheme, and in the Christian Stile, I aver, and every Man may perceive; and therefore no Man, who regards Christianity and civil Liberty, can possibly dislike it. What it attacks is clerical Wantonness, clerical Superstition and Fury, Tyranny and Usurpation, both in the State and in the Church. If therefore that Sermon provoke you, it is manifest what pleases you, what you approve, and what you pursue. For myself I can say truly, and therefore boldly, that my Writings are intirely conformable to the Religion and Laws of my Country: Nor can any impartial Judge affirm of that Sermon, or of any Performance of mine (if there be any more of mine, besides that and this) what I have often heard the ablest Lawyers in this Nation affirm of a bulky Performance of yours, That it is a Libel upon the Laws and Constitution of England, and ought to be burned by the Hand of the common Hangman.

Here I humbly bend my Knee, Holy Father, and kissing your Vestment, subscribe myself, with profound Adoration,

Your Great Admirer and Dutiful Son,
A Layman.
Edition: current; Page: [(333)]
Thomas Gordon
Gordon, Thomas
5 March 1733
Lincoln’s Inn,

A Letter to the Reverend Dr. Codex, on the Subject of his modest Instruction to the Crown, inserted in the Daily Journal of February 27th, 1733. From the Second Volume of Burnet’s History.
Anno 1734.

The Fourth Edition, Corrected and Enlarged.

Reverend SIR,

THE Vacancy now in the Church hath been long unsupplied, and the World have beheld this Accident with that Regard which is so justly due to Supreme Authority. No Man hath presumed to allow himself Liberties on this Subject beyond the decent Bounds of private Animadversion; and to these reasonable Limits such Persons as are the most tenderly interested in this Affair, would have restrained their Reflections, had not you, Sir, made your Appeals to the Populace, as privileged beyond other Men, how much soever above you in Rank, or Dignity, or Merit.

What I mean by your making Appeals to the Populace is best to be explained by reciting a Paragraph inserted by your Direction in the Daily Journal of February the 27th. Your Care and Expence, at all Times bestowed in so judicious a Manner, can never be too much applauded, but it deserves a most particular Acknowledgment, that you should be at the Trouble and Charge of informing the Public, in a Paper of Coffee-house Intelligence, That ‘In the second Volume of Bishop Burnet’s History, p. 119. published a few Days since, there is this remarkable Passage, viz.

‘The State of Ireland leads me to insert here a very particular Instance of the Queen’s pious Care in the Edition: current; Page: [334]disposing of Bishoprics. Lord Sidney was so far engaged in the Interest of a great Family of Ireland, that he was too easily wrought on to recommend a Branch of it to a vacant See. The Representation was made with an undue Character of the Person; so the Queen granted it; but when she understood that he lay under a very bad Character, she wrote a Letter, in her own Hand, to Lord Sidney, letting him know what she had heard, and ordered him to call for six Irish Bishops, whom she named to him, and to require them to certify to her their Opinion of that Person. They all agreed, that he laboured under an ill Fame, and till that was examined into, they did not think it proper to promote him, so that the Matter was let fall. I do not name the Person, for I intend not to leave a Blemish on him, but set this down as an Example sit to be imitated by Christian Princes.’

This prudent and modest Instruction, which you thus have set forth for Christian Princes, will undoubtedly draw their Acknowledgments, as well as mine, in your Favour. To Persons of their Distinction, who cannot have the Leisure, or Opportunity, or Inclination, of tracing your Steps, as I have done, the Consideration, that none but you could be sufficiently interested to set forth this remarkable Paragraph, as you call it, and that none but you could possibly consider it as remarkable, more than any other Paragraph: This will to them be as proper a Ground for their Thanks as if they were in the same Light with myself, and possessed the same Evidence which I am Master of, concerning the Person who handed it to the Press, and paid for its being inserted in that Paper.

If the Merit of so much Zeal to find out fit Examples for the Imitation of Christian Princes, could admit of any Delay, it might possibly be objected to the Manner of such a Procedure, that Princes may be applied to by much more decent Means of Information, than by a Paragraph inserted in a common News-Paper, for the Amusement of Coffee-houses. It may be objected, that the Dignity of Princes forbids any particular Subject to dictate publicly to their Conduct, or to make that Counsel public which he submits to their private Consideration: Edition: current; Page: [335]That to exhibit Instructions to Frinces for the Exercise of any particular Prerogative, or for the Decision of any depending Contest, and to do this in one of the Daily Papers, is a rude Attempt upon the Liberty of the Royal Judgement; an Attempt that rather prescribes to Princes than advises them; an Attempt that lays a Foundation for Clamour and Abuse. It doth not so much convey Matter of Consideration to Princes as it points out a Matter of Censure to partial unexamining Men; so that the Prince who is thus directed by a public Advertisement of an Example fit for him to imitate, must, if he act otherwise than the Instruction requires him to act, either descend to publish minute Accounts in Justification of his own Conduct; or he will be reproached for the free Use of his own Judgment in the Exercise of his own lawful Authority, and will be said to have acted contrary to an Example fit for all Christian Princes to imitate.

Give me leave, Sir, to warn you on this Head with all the Caution of a Friend. You convey to the World a Paragraph suggesting the Character of a Person whom you do not approve, to be very bad; you insinuate that he labours under an ill Fame, endeavouring thereby to draw the Displeasure of his Prince upon him. You ought to be strictly careful, on a double Account, in all Attempts of this Nature, that you do not indulge your own Malice against such Persons as you accuse, and that you do not furnish Matter to the Malice of others against those Princes whom you thus propose to influence.

If you, Sir, should ever have had the Honour and Happiness of free Approaches to such Princes, it may still inflame the Charge against you, that you take the Freedom of instructing them in their Behaviour by Paragraphs printed in News Papers: And perhaps some Princes might be of Opinion, that a Person who knew no better how to employ the Privilege of advising them, should, for the future, have no other Means of conveying Advice to them.

If such a Paragraph can be remarkable more than any other, if such an Example can be fit for Imitation, more than any other mentioned by the Reverend Historian, it can be so in no other View than this, that particular Edition: current; Page: [356]Princes have now a parallel Case before them. And if you mean any thing at all, you must intend to suggest, that there is a present Recommendation to a vacant See, which appears to you in the same Light with Lord Sidney’s Recommendation to a Bishopric in Ireland. You thus suggest that a Great Counsellor of the Crown hath recommended a Person to the Favour of the Crown, with an undue Representation of his Character; that such Person lies under a very bad Character; that he ought not to be promoted till six Bishops have certified their Opinion of him; that if they these six Bishops agree he labours under an ill Fame, he is not to be promoted. And this is set down as an Example sit for Christian Princes to imitate.

If this is a Method of trying and stigmatizing Characters that I should make Exceptions to, I would not be understood to reflect, at this Distance of Time, on the Wisdom or Justice of that excellent Queen under whom this first Instance happened. We can have no other Lights of such a Transaction, than what this Paragraph in Burnet’s History affords us; and we may in Charity believe, that the Accident was circumstanced as he relates it to have been, that the Person set aside did labour under an ill Fame; that the Queen heard it from no malicious Whisperers, or interested Tale-bearers; that it could not answer any selfish Purpose to represent him as one of a bad Character, if he really deserved a good one; that the six Bishops who were referred to, and who certified their ill Opinion of him, were equal, unbiassed, indifferent Judges, incapable of any Intention to shake off their due Dependency on the Royal Supremacy; incapable of any Scheme or Project to turn their Hierarchy into an Aristocracy; incapable of setting on Foot a Cabal to take the Nomination of Bishops to themselves, in Prejudice and Dishonour of the Crown; incapable of any malicious Design to defame and stigmatize all Men, however virtuous or deserving, who would not conform to the Obedience required, and become subservient to the Intrigues carried on by such a spiritual Cabal; incapable likewise of being the Creatures and Slaves of a proud, ambitious, and mercenary Prelate, who aspired Edition: current; Page: [337]to engross Ecclesiastical Power, and to usurp on the sacred Prerogatives of the King his Sovereign.

I make these liberal Concessions in favour of those six Bishops, because however willing I am to think candidly of their Certificate, that the Man whom they set aside laboured under an ill Fame, yet it is too plain, should such a Method prevail of trying and disqualifying Candidates for Ecclesiastical Preferments, it must give a dangerous Scope to all the Practices which I have enumerated, and therefore I do not think it a fit Example for Christian Princes to imitate, nor a fit Example for a free People to be fond of.

I need not tell you, Sir, how odious the Cabals of Ecclesiastics are to the Laws of this Kingdom; you very well know the Law that restrains the B———ps from meeting together without the King’s Authority in any Company beyond a certain Number; you know the Supremacy which you have all sworn to maintain in the Crown; you likewise know, that in virtue of this Prerogative, the Crown hath an uncontroulable Power of making Bishops and Dignitaries in the Church, which before the Reformation Ecclesiastics had wickedly incroached on, pretending to the Right of electing one another, and that the Confirmation of such Elections belonged to a sovereign Pontiff: All which, Sir, you have renounced by your Oaths, are ipso facto excommunicate, if you pretend to any such exorbitant Power, and incur the Penalties of a Premunire, whereby you forfeit your Goods and Chattels, the Revenue of your Lands, and the Liberty of your Person.

It avails nothing at all in Sense of Justice, or to the Safety of Mankind, that these wise Provisions were made by our Ancestors, if B———ps, eluding the Laws, and their Oaths, shall ever claim that Power from the Grace of the Crown, which they renounce all Right to by the most solemn Sacraments. It would be a much more dangerous Practice than any which can be attempted; because, at the same time that it might seem to acknowledge the Force of the Law, it would destroy the Effect of it, and whilst it might speciously submit to the Forms of the Constitution, would subvert the Foundation of it.

Edition: current; Page: [338]

You will therefore allow me, Sir, to consider this Scheme of trying all Candidates for Preserment in the Church with more Indignation, as it tends to give a Junto of B———ps a Negative upon the Nomination to any Bishopric, than it might be proper to express, with regard to that Malice and Defamation which may at any time be employed to deprive a particular Person of the Advancement intended him.

It must be admitted, that nothing can be more cruel, dishonest, and detestable, than to defame an innocent Man, and to fix, by malicious Arts, an ill Fame upon him, in order to make him lose his Preferment. But there are Views and Designs which may be the Motives of such an Attempt, and which will make it infinitely more alarming than any Hardship done to a single Person. There may be the Project of bringing all Promotions in the Church into the Hands of a few ambitious arbitrary Churchmen, so that the highest Counsellor of the Crown shall not recommend the Friend whom he best loves, and the Man whom he most approves, without exposing such Person to be deprived of his Reputation by those who may be averse to his Advancement: And the Prince on the Throne, if he shall espouse the innocent Party, after such Reverend Defamers have testified their Dislike of him, shall be exposed to the same Ecclesiastical Malice, nay, shall be set sorth to all his Subjects, by one who is the Creature of his Power, and the Abuser of his Favour, as an Example not fit for Christian Princes to imitate.

It is Part of the Impeachment of the House of Commons against Archbishop Laud, Article VI. “That he traiterously assumed to himself a Papal and Tyrannical Power, both in Ecclesiastical and Temporal Matters, over his Majesty’s Subjects in this Realm of England, and in other Places, to the Disherison of the Crown, Dishonour of his Majesty, and Derogation of his supreme Authority in Ecclesiastical Matters.”

The Commons proceed in the Eighth Article of that Impeachment, to charge him, “That for the better advancing of his traiterous Purpose and Design, he did abuse the great Power and Trust his Majesty reposed in him; and did intrude upon the Places of divers Edition: current; Page: [339]great Officers, and upon the Right of other of his Majesty’s Subjects, whereby he did procure to himself the Nomination of sundry Persons to Ecclesiastical Dignities, Promotions and Benefices belonging to his Majesty, and divers of the Nobility and Clergy, and others; and hath taken upon him the Commendation of Chaplains to the King, by which means, he hath preferred to his Majesty’s Service, and to other great Promotions in the Church, such as have been Popishly affected, or otherwise, unfound and corrupt, both in Doctrines and Manners.”

I chuse, Sir, to cite these Articles for your Consideration, to shew you the Sense and Judgment of Parliament, on the Matter before us; and if it should ever appear in a National Enquiry, that B———ps have assumed to themselves the Nomination of Bishops, that they have haughtily and arbitrarily claimed the sole Right of advising and recommending in Ecclesiastical Promotions, pretending that the highest Counsellor of the Crown hath no Right to offer his Advice, on such Occasions, it may beget a Question, which I am afraid, some Persons will know not how to answer.

For Instance, if an insolent domineering Prelate should ever pretend to advance it as his Right, to nominate Bishops in the Manner as the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain advises the Crown, in the Nomination of Judges, if he should be arrogant enough to affirm, that he might as properly interfere in supplying the Vacancies of Westminster-Hall, as that Great Officer may recommend to vacant Sees, there can be no Difference made between such a Behaviour, and the Case of Laud himself, as described in these Articles of Impeachment before us.

The Clergy of this Kingdom have sworn to the Royal Supremacy, and hold all their Powers, Emoluments and Ecclesiastical Offices, by the Gift of the Civil Government; and as the Order of Bishops arises from the Institution of Temporal Laws, its Vacancies are to be supplied by the Mediation of Temporal Officers. You know, Sir, it is the Great Seal alone, that hath any Virtue or Effect in the Ordination of Bishops. Without it the Clergy can have no Dignitaries amongst them, and the Holy Ghost must cease in this Kingdom, as to its Edition: current; Page: [340]Effect in conferring of Characters. The Chancellor may refuse to affix this Seal, if he shall see Cause in his own Discretion; for, neither the Conge d’Elire, nor any Instrument which relates to the making of Bishops, are Writs of Right, nor is he bound to pass them ex officio, nor implicitly to obey the Warrants which transmit them to him. He hath no Perils or Fears attending his Refusal; though if he shall think it proper to affix the Great Seal in such Cases, the Clergy of all Orders and Degrees must obey it, on pain of the most severe Penalties. To seal such Instruments of Nomination is, on his Part, an Act of Conscience, wherein he is to advise with his free Judgment, and freely to offer the King his Opinion: But, if he seals them, the Conformity of the Church and their Obedience to the Crown, are Acts of the highest Necessity, wherein they are no more allowed a Latitude of judging or considering, than Sheriffs are in obeying the King’s Writs of Execution. They perform them as Acts of the most simple and unconditional Obedience, which admit of no Delays, nor Deliberations, nor Rescriptions to the Prince. When the Clergy of this Kingdom are without Bishops, they have no Right to any but from the King’s Pleasure, who may keep the See vacant to an indefinite Term; for no Time lapses with the Crown. When it is the Royal Pleasure, that such vacant See shall be supplied, the Chapter of the Diocese have Leave to elect, and Letters missive pass with the Conge d’Elire, requiring them to elect such Person as the King therein nominates. If they do not return the Conge d’Elire, according to the Requisition of the Letters missive, within twelve Days, the Act of Parliament made in the five and twentieth Year of Henry VIII. Chapter the twentieth, expresly says, “that the King’s Highness, his Heirs or Successors, at their Liberty and Pleasure, shall nominate and present, by their Letters Patents under their Great Seal, such a Person to the said Archbishopric or Bishopric, as they shall think able and convenient for the same.”

The Statute proceeds in the next Section thus: “And be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that whenever any such Presentment or Nomination shall be made by the King’s Highness, his Heirs or Successors, Edition: current; Page: [341]by Virtue and Authority of this Act, and according to the Tenor of the same, That then every Archbishop and Bishop, to whose Hands any such Presentment and Nomination shall come, shall with all Speed and Celerity invest and consecrate the Person nominate and presented by the King’s Highness, his Heirs or Successors, to the Office and Dignity that such Person shall be so presented unto, and give and use to him all Benedictions, Ceremonies, and Things requisite for the same.”

The same Statute proceeds still more vigorously in the sixth and seventh Sections of the aforesaid Cap. 20. viz. “VI. And be it further enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That every Person and Persons being hereafter chosen, elected, nominate, presented, invested and consecrated to the Dignity or Office of any Archbishop or Bishop within this Realm, or within any other the King’s Dominions, according to the Form, Tenor, and Effect of this present Act, and suing their Temporalities out of the King’s Hands, his Heirs or Successors, as hath been accustomed, and making a corporal Oath to the King’s Highness, and to none other in Form as afore rehearsed, shall and may from henceforth be trononised and installed as the Case shall require; (2) And shall have and take their only Restitution out of the King’s Hands, of all the Possessions and Profits belonging to the said Archbishopric or Bishopric whereunto they shall be so elected or presented, and shall be obeyed in all manner of Things, according to the Name, Title, Degree and Dignity that they shall be chosen or presented unto, and do and execute in every Thing and Things touching the same as any Archbishop or Bishop of this Realm, without offending the Prerogative Royal of the Crown, and the Laws and Customs of this Realm might at any Time heretofore do.

VII. “And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That if the Dean and Chapter of any Cathedral Church where the See of an Archbishop or Bishop is within any of the King’s Dominions after such Licence [or Conge d’Elire] as is afore rehearsed, shall be delivered to them, proceed not to Election, and Edition: current; Page: [342]signify the same according to the Tenor of this Act within the Space of twenty Days next, after such Licence shall come to their Hands: (2) Or else if any Archbishop or Bishop within the King’s Dominions, after any such Election, Nomination or Presentation, shall be signified unto them by the King’s Letters Patent, shall refuse, and do not confirm, invest, and consecrate, with all due Circumstance, as is aforesaid, every such Person as shall be so elected, nominated or presented, and to them signified, as is above-mentioned, within twenty Days, next after the King’s Letters Patent of such Signification or Presentation shall come to their Hands. (3) Or else, if any of them, or any other Person or Persons admit, maintain, allow, do or execute any Censures, Excommunications, Interdictions, Inhibitions, or any other Act or Process, of what Nature, Name, or Quality soever it be to the contrary, or lett, or Hindrance of due Execution of this Act, (4) That then every Dean, and particular Person of the Chapter, and every Archbishop and Bishop, and all other Persons so offending, and doing contrary to this Act, or any Part thereof, and their Aiders, Counsellors, Abettors, shall run in the Dangers, Pains and Penalties of the Estatute of Provision and Premunire, made in the five and twentieth Year of King Edw. III. and in the sixteenth Year of King Richard II.” Vide 1 Eliz. 1 and 8 Eliz. 1.

Thus the Law of the Kingdom, makes the Clergy of the Kingdom, howsoever dignified or distinguished, the meer passive involuntary Agents of the Crown, moved by the absolute Will of the Sovereign, signified to them by Writ or Patent under the Great Seal, to be issued or refused according to the Conscience of him who hath Custody thereof. Whomsoever the Pleasure of the Crown shall prefer as a Bishop, the Clergy have the Honour to adopt as their Election. And though he is to all Intents and Purposes, a Bishop without their Election, yet still they are under the strictest Necessity to elect and confirm him, how little soever he, or the King presenting him, stands in need of their Election or Confirmation; which the Wisdom of our Law hath apparently Edition: current; Page: [343]enacted to shew, that they, the Clergy, are at the same time entirely useless, yet absolutely dependent. They are without Power, to do any thing in the Case, but to shew their most humble Obedience. They are, without the smallest Portion of Liberty, to delay, or deliberate about the Election or Consecration required of them. They may, by the King’s Permit, make his Nominee their Bishop, who whether they will or not, must in all Events, by the King’s Patents, be made their Bishop. Whether he is made by Election or Nomination, they must consecrate him, and whether he is elected or consecrated, the King’s Authority, which in that Case can create, will likewise install him Bishop with full Episcopal Power, so that the Great Seal makes him a Bishop of his particular Church, and makes him at the same time, Bishop of the Church at large. Thus whilst the Clergy are bound by all these penal Laws, the Chancellor is under the Injunctions of none; and it is most clear, that as well the Mandates of Consecration, as the Letters of Nomination, are equally trusted to the Discretion and Remonstrances of the Lord Chancellor, for the Time being, equally to be obeyed by the Clergy implicitly, and under the strictest Penalties; whereby it must appear, that the Power of the Great Seal is the only Source of Ecclesiastical Holiness, and Stamp of imagined indelible Characters.

Thus in the making of Bishops or other Dignitaries, Submission, absolute and unreserved Submission to Royal Prerogative, is the only Share which the Clergy are, by the Laws of England intitled to; but the Chancellor, who affixes the Great Seal to every Instrument of Election or Creation, He, who by his Office gives Life to every Nomination of Bishops, Dignitaries, and Churchmen preferred by the Crown, it is his Right, and it is his Duty to advise the Crown. It belongs so justly to his Province, that were he to neglect it, there can be no Doubt that it would be a Crime in his Conduct, and he is so far from being restrained as Churchmen are from advising in these Matters, that he is sworn to it when he receives the Great Seal, nor ought to affix that Seal in such Cases, until he hath discharged this Duty.

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Do you not see that the highest Churchman of this Kingdom was impeached in Parliament, for that notwithstanding he had taken the Oath of Supremacy, he took to himself the Nomination of Ecclesiastical Dignitaries, in high Dishonour and Disherison of the Crown. Shall then a subordinate Churchman pretend more Right to advise the Crown in the Exercise of this Prerogative, than his Metropolitan is by Law intitled to? And, shall he, with superior Insolence, pretend a greater Right than the Great Keeper of the King’s Conscience? That Officer, whose Capacity for advising and judging in Ecclesiastical Promotions the Law of this Kingdom acknowledges with the most favourite Distinction, by reposing so high a Confidence in his Wisdom and Integrity, that it is the inherent Right of the Great Seal to present to All the Livings in England, valued in the King’s Books under 20 l. per Annum. The Person who hath Custody of that Seal supplies all Vacancies in the Church of this sort, by his own official Authority, without any Warrant whatever. Can it, after this hath been mentioned, be doubted, where the Law of England hath vested the Presentations of the King, to so vast an Extent in the pure Discretion of his Chancellor, that it hath not given him as large a Right to advise in Promotions above that Value, as it hath given him plenary Power to dispose of all under that Value? And, can it be conceived, that this Officer of the Crown, who hath Authority to act in this Extent for the Crown, hath not a much more extensive Province to act in as an Adviser of the Crown? Shall then a subordinate Churchman, whom the Laws have expresly restrained from acting or advising at all, proceed against the fundamental Principles of the Constitution, incroaching upon the Rights of the Seal, and intruding upon the Royal Prerogative? And, shall not the Chancellor of Great Britain remember the Oath which he swore when the King delivered the Seals into his Keeping, “That he shall not know, or suffer the Hurt or Disheriting of the King, or that the Rights of the Crown be decreased by any Means, as far forth as he may let or hinder; and if he may not let or hinder it, he shall make it clearly and expresly known to the King with his true Advice and Counsel.”

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You have now, Sir, seen, that this Great Officer hath an undoubted Right of advising, as well in the Nomination of Bishops as of Judges; and that Churchmen have no Right of interfering in the Nomination of either. This is most evident from the Laws, and apparent from Reason. If the Head of that learned Profession is advised with in the Promotion of Judges, it is most undoubtedly true, that none are so fit as Lawyers to recommend those who are best skilled in the Science of Laws; and it can by no means in the World hurt or endanger the Public, that they recommend one another: On the other hand, it is as true, that the Case is very different in the Church, where the essential Qualifications of Priests being Charity, Humility, and Christian Piety, may easily be judged of by the Meanest of the People; where likewise the due Discharge of the Trust reposed in them depends more on their Honesty and Moderation, than on their Learning and School Sufficiency; and where the Course of Church Preferment cannot arise from a Cabal of Churchmen, without indangering the Royal Prerogative as well as the Rights of the People.

It would not indeed surprize any Man, who knows the World, if he should hear a Churchman pretend, that “he has as much Right to nominate Judges, as a Chancellor hath to advise in the Nomination of Bishops.” I fear such aspiring immoderate Men, would be glad to nominate one, as well as the other, if it might be permitted them; and considering that wonderful Codex, which you have compiled, I should think it extremely natural, that one of your Talents and Temper, in framing a System of Law, should have an extraordinary Passion for introducing a Set of Judges to support it. You will give me Leave to refresh your Memory with some Particulars in our History. When Bishops nominated Bishops, they made themselves Chancellors likewise. When they once incroached so far on the Rights of the Great Seal, they soon obtained the Custody of it, as the Privilege of their Function. But the Reformation of the Church restored the Authority of the Law, and when an exorbitant Churchman began to unravel the Reformation, he made it a Part of his Edition: current; Page: [346]Scheme, to subdue the Power of the Law. He took the Nomination of Bishops to himself; he took upon him the Power of controuling the Courts of Justice, and as a Commencement of his Claim, in making of Judges, he prevailed on the King, to injoin the Lord Chancellor, that half of the Masters in Chancery should be appointed from among the Doctors of the Civil Law, because Civilians usually practise and officiate in the Courts of the Bishops.

This Usurpation of a Papal and Tyrannical Power, both in Spiritual and Temporal Affairs, to use the Words of the Commons in their Impeachment against him, drew the Weight of that Prosecution upon him, and as the Lord Clarendon wisely observes, the Justice of the Kingdom, will at some time or other, be too hard for the strongest Opposers and Oppressors of it.

It is to be hoped, that after so heavy a Censure on one who was placed at the Head of his Profession, for assuming illegal Powers, and unwarrantable Functions, no subordinate Churchman, will ever pretend to act in that Capacity, which, if it were a lawful one, could only belong to the Head of his Order. What would you, Sir, say, if ever your Fate should mount you up to the Top of the Ladder Ecclesiastical, and one of your Suffragans should assume, in Exclusion of yourself, the most exorbitant Powers, that any in your own exalted Station ever pretended to; despising the Authority of the Law; invading the Rights of the Crown; dictating to Lords High Chancellors what belongs to their Office; and dictating to the King, his Sovereign, by public Instructions in printed Papers, what Examples are fit for Christian Princes to imitate.

I hope, Sir, you will agree with me, that if ever any such daring Pretender to lawless and unrighteous Domination over us should appear amongst us, it will be our Duty, and I trust we shall neither want Spirit nor Means, to defeat him. An honest Englishman, and a dutiful Subject, must be moved in this Case, by the strongest Dictates, which Love to his Country, or Allegiance to his Prince, can in any Case suggest to him. Whenever an assuming Prelate, whose selfish and arbitrary Views are as evident as his Malice and Cruelty against all who Edition: current; Page: [347]oppose them; whenever such a Prelate shall lay claim to the Nomination of Persons to Ecclesiastical Promotions, Dignities and Benefices in the Disposition of the Crown, the Success of his Attempt must indanger the King, and the fundamental Constitution. If once he prevail in this Practice, and gain such an undue Share of Favour, as to recommend in supplying vacant Sees, and to set aside in such Promotions, all who are disagreeable to himself, he will bring the whole Power of the Crown in Ecclesiastical Affairs, into his own Possession; he will draw all the Church Endowments and Dignities belonging to the Royal Nomination, within the Circle of his own Creatures and Dependents; he will divest the King of his princely Prerogative, to reward the Merit of his most deserving Subjects, and to attach the Affections and Gratitude of those who might be most useful to his Service: And when such a Prelate hath long proceeded in this Course of advancing to the highest Stations, and the most valuable Promotions, his own Set of Flatterers and Slaves, it will not, I fear, be found that they hold themselves under Obligations to their Prince, but to this Protestant Pontiff, who will teach them, that the Power delegated to them by the Crown, may be a Weapon in their Hands, to wound the Prerogative of the Crown. Whatever Usurpations he shall attempt on the King’s Authority, he will incite them to join with him in, for the Advancement of their common Ambition: And if such Ambition and Insolence shall at any time be repressed by a Prince jealous of his Honour, and justly attentive to the Preservation of the ancient Rights belonging to his Crown, they will threaten to cabal against him; they will tamper with Civil Factions, to revenge the just Rebukes which they may receive from their injured and offended Sovereign; they will contrive Bargains with Parties, to distress the Crown for the Exaltation of themselves; they will employ the Weight and Interest of their Temporalities to make Divisions in the People, to influence the public Councils, and even Parliamentary Elections: Evils, none of which can happen, if the Crown shall retain to itself intire, the Exercise of its own Prerogatives: For, if the Prince on the Throne shall continue to advise with his Civil Edition: current; Page: [348]Counsellors, or resort to his own Knowledge of Mankind, in all his Nominations to Ecclesiastical Dignities; if he shall constantly promote Men whom he knows to deserve his Favour, and to regard him with faithful Affection, if he does this without the Interposition of any selfish designing Churchman, however possible it is, that some Mistakes may happen in Particulars, yet on the whole, it is morally impossible, that the Dependence of those he promotes can belong to any Interest but to that of the Crown; they will owe the Crown their natural Gratitude; and having received the Favour of their Advancement from the King alone, none will stand in the Way to intercept that Duty and Service which they ought to return him; whereas if he should, at any time to come, suffer his Church Promotions to be modelled by any single Prelate, he will see that Prelate vested in a short time with a Power almost able to controul supreme Authority; he will see the Devotion which ought to be paid to him alone, in right of his Royalty, paid in his high Dishonour and Wrong to a Priest, a proud assuming Priest, who will threaten, that if his own Creatures are not advanced, or if any Person, disagreeable to his Humours or Interests, shall be advanced, that he will never be seen in the Court, nor appear in the Service of his Prince; and even that he will arm all the Ecclesiastics in the Kingdom with Clamour and Fury, to avenge his unchristian Quarrel.

Such a Spirit as this, or any that resembles it, ought to be suppressed with early Care. There is no Service to a Court, that can pretend to palliate the Growth of such alarming Encroachments upon the Power of the Crown, and there is no Encroachment upon the Regal Prerogative, so dangerous to Mankind, to Civil Liberty, and common Safety, as the Usurpation of Ecclesiastics. If ever the least Sign of such Encroachment should appear, stop the Progress of it immediately. If indulgent Grace and Favour may at any time suffer it to go too far, let nothing be neglected to restrain it. Nothing can be too great a Venture, to risque in the Undertaking. Nothing can be a more dreadful Hazard, nay, more certain Ruin, than to suffer that it should proceed. If ever its Progress should appear to be beyond Restraint, Edition: current; Page: [349]the Power of the Crown, the Legal Prerogative of the King, is then swallowed up, perhaps, beyond Recovery; and the Prince on the Throne, who should suffer his Clergy to flatter him out of his most essential Authority, would find such Flatterers become his Tyrants, and the Power with which he parted to oblige them, would be employed to distress his Affairs; nay, to destroy himself and his Family; he would be but the Cypher of Royalty; he would be environed by the Power of the Church, and engrossed by a vile Cabal of insolent Ecclesiastics.

It is most evident, that the Growth of this Ecclesiastical Tyranny would take its Rise, Sir, from that Scheme which you propose for the trying and disqualifying Candidates to Church Preferments; I must therefore adhere to my former Opinion, that the Example which you advertised for the Use of Christian Princes, in the Daily Journal of February 27, is not fit for Christian Princes to imitate.

I am apt to fear you have made an ill Applicatson of an excellent Treatise set forth some Years since by a reverend and eminent Person, to conciliate the Minds of the Clergy, when they were divided by a Commitment of one of their Bishops, on a Charge of High Treason. This Letter to the Clergy, which was published in the Year 1722, is still preserved in the 24th Volume of the Political State of Great Britain; and as it is there said, by Mr. Abel Boyer, was generally reported to have been written by the R. R. Dr. G———n then L——— B——— of L———ln. Now, since so great an Authority must have passed into every Man’s Hands, it must be confessed, there were some Passages in that Letter, which coming from one so deservedly trusted in the Depth of Ecclesiastical Secrets, may possibly have misled the Weak and Undiscerning, to entertain false and incongruous Notions of the Manner in which our Church is governed.

I fear, most worthy Dr. Codex, you have imagined, that such a Scheme as you have proposed for trying of Ecclesiastical Candidates, might one Day or other prevail, because the Rev. Dr. G———n, if he was the Author of that Letter, after he hath said in the first Division Edition: current; Page: [350]of his Discourse, Par. IV. that it had been his Majesty’s continual and prudent Rule to consult or be directed by his Bishops, in the Disposal of Preferments of every Rank in the Church, proceeds in this manner to exult upon the Occasion, “What, says the Reverend Writer, can shew a greater Trust placed in, or Deference paid to, his Bishops, than to share as it were his Royal Prerogative with them, and make himself but a kind of Executor of their Pleasure.———Here then adds the Letter-Writer, let us, the Clergy, rejoice, &c.

Now, should this amazing Passage be thought too much for a modest Clergyman to say of his own Order or of his anointed Head, should it be thought stupendous Insolence, to tell the World that the K——— himself is directed by B———ps, that he shares his Royal Prerogative with Ecclesiastics, and is but an Executor of their Pleasure: Let us ask ourselves at the same time, hath not this very Clergyman, who writes in this manner during thirty or forty Years past, both preached and sworn to maintain the Royal Supremacy of the King his Sovereign in all Causes, and over all Persons as well Ecclesiastical as Civil? And how is such a Clergyman to be regarded, when after having intitled himself to so many Dignities and Emoluments, by the Repetition of such Oaths, he shall, in Defiance of them, affirm that the K——— himself, his supreme Head and Sovereign, hath been directed by B———ps, who have sworn to be directed by him; or that a Prince of so sublime a Dignity could ever submit to such Dishonour and Disherison of his Crown, as to share his Royal Prerogatives with his Ecclesiastics: And what is still more injurious to Imperial Majesty, and ignominious to his sacred Character, that He, our Sovereign Lord the K———g could ever make himself to be considered and spoken of as but the Executor of the Pleasure of Priests!

Were these Expressions ever to be described in the Language of an Impeachment, and in the vigorous Stile of Parliaments, they would be charged by an House of Commons, as insolent, wicked and traiterous Words, expressed in high Contempt and Derogation of the Royal Authority, in Diminution of the supreme Dignity of Edition: current; Page: [351]the Imperial Crown of these Kingdoms, and highly disrespectful to the sacred Person of our Lord the K———, tending to infuse groundless Jealousies into his Majesty’s Subjects, that his Royal Prerogative is shared, and his Administration directed, to the Prejudice of the People, and to the Dishonour of the Crown, and tending to lessen that Reverence which all his Majesty’s Subjects owe to him their liege Lord and Sovereign.

Yet whilst the Meaning of this Reverend Letter-writer comes under these alarming Considerations, we are still, if possible, startled more by what he says in the second Part of his Discourse, Section I. Par. V. where enumerating the Oaths taken by Clergymen, among which the Oath of Supremacy is one, he adds, “That after this Gordion Knot is fastened on the Consciences of Clergymen, which no Art or Time can loosen, and which nothing but Violence and Wickedness can cut, how must they appear to the World? How black, how detestable, if they act contrary to this sacred Engagement? How much must the Christian Religion, how much must even Natural Religion be weakened by such a Behaviour in the Clergy? Believe me, Brethren, continues the Writer, that no Imputation, no Stain can fix so fast to our Church as this. It is a Stab almost in a vital Part, and only a visible contrary Behaviour in us can be the effectual Remedy in a Case of so much Danger.”

Tell me, Sir, what your Opinion must be of a Writer, who, whilst he was cherishing such a Spirit and Disposition in his own Mind, and whilst he was advancing such Pretensions, in the Letter which he was writing, hath in the same Breath loaded them with such Weight of Guilt and Infamy, as the last recited Paragraph contains.

Dr. G———n, or the Author of that Letter, was likewise pleased to say in the sixth Paragraph of his first Division, in this Discourse, That it had been experienced, that it was much safer to lay the Loins of the Law upon a Layman, than the little Finger of it upon a Clergyman.

However possible it is that vain and ignorant Men may feed their Hopes with such Imaginations, let me as a Friend, warn you not to err on this Head, for if ever Edition: current; Page: [352]your Practices shall deserve a public Enquiry, or an exemplary Punishment, you will find, as the worthy Lord Clarendon said, That the Justice of the Kingdom will one Day or other be too hard for you, however strongly you may oppose or oppress it.

Do not therefore indulge a Dream which reflects so much Dishonour on the Justice of the Kingdom. Do not imagine, that in these Times it can be at all safer to lay the Loins of the Law on a Layman, than the little Finger of it on a Clergyman. Dr. G———n, however he happened to drop this Expression, will be so far from supporting you, that he will be cited to shew you the Folly and Wickedness of such vain Apprehensions.

Give me leave then, Sir, to lay before you his Sentiments on the Crimes of Ecclesiastics, and the Punishments which Societies ought to provide against them. A Lesson which I hope will have some Influence on your Conduct, as it comes from such Authority.

In the tenth Paragraph of the last cited Division of his Letter, he addresses himself to the Clergy in this remarkable Manner.

“I presume, says he to his Reverend Brethren, there is no Protestant among us who believes that a Bishop, as a Bishop, is, or ought to be, exempt, from civil Enquiries. That erroneous Notion was banished from our Isle with Popery, long ago, and the King’s Supremacy over all his Subjects is not doubted of by any Member of our Church. Indeed, when a Prelate acts within his proper Sphere, a larger Portion of Respect is due———But whenever any one of that high Station acts contrary to his Religious Character, and strikes at the Establishment of his Country, it is his Interest that his sacred Office be not regarded in the Question, lest it serve only to aggravate the Crimes proved against him; or to speak in the Language of the great St. Paul, to make his Sin exceeding sinful. It may be considered further, that a Crime against the Constitution is equally dangerous, whether it be carried on by Lay or Episcopal Hands, by one that wears a Sword, or a Habit of Lawn. That State must be unwise to a Proverb, which will not take the same necessary Precautions against the one as the other; for, the Edition: current; Page: [353]Care of the Public is above any private Regard, because it includes in it all other Relations, whether natural, civil, or ecclesiastical——— For my Part, says Dr. G———n, I cannot but look upon this as an Instance of steady and impartial Justice, such as every Government ought to observe; and I would not wish myself a Member of a more Platonic Commonwealth, than where every Man who enters into such Measures as endanger my Liberty, my Property, or my Religion, be he civil or sacred, wear he a Garter or a Mitre, is, upon Discovery of his Designs, brought to a fair Trial, and does, upon Conviction, pay that Debt of Punishment which the known Laws of his Country demand.”

In the next Paragraph, he still speaks in the same just and forcible Manner, “That the Justice and Safety of the Nation require that all Delinquents be considered and censured as Delinquents, without any Regard to the Office, or Title, or Honour, which they bear.”

I hope, Sir, after this you will never delude yourself to think, that it can be safer to lay the Loins of the Law on a Layman, than the little Finger of it on a Clergyman. You will be of Opinion with me, that it is a Position full of Insolence and Scandal to the Justice of the Kingdom; a Position which is fraught with Malice against our Constitution, and which imputes the most partial, oppressive, and unjust Proceedings to the good People of England.

If, Sir, you should still entertain any Fondness for these detestable Notions, let me expostulate with you in the admirable Words of the Reverend Writer, in the third Paragraph of his first Division, where he tells us, he is appeasing the little Jealousies and Suspicions which such as you are apt to harbour in you.

“I know, says Dr. G———n, that it is natural for Men of all Societies, even of incorporated Trades, though never so mean in the Esteem of the World, to be alarmed at any Thing which may seem to reflect Dishonour on them as a Body, or which brings the Persons of their particular Governors in Danger; for, where there is an Union of Interest, there is always a common Jealousy of Danger. But why should Edition: current; Page: [354]not we, Gentlemen, addressing himself to the Clergy, we who are bred up to Letters, and have received that generous Education in our Universities, which is usually thought not unworthy the Youth of the highest Quality; why should not we, who understand how to distinguish and separate those things in our Minds which the unwise and unlearned confound, see clearly, that it may be reasonable and necessary for the Government to animadvert upon one of our Order, even in the strictest Manner, at the same time that it reverences the holy Function with which he is invested.”

You will not imagine, now you have heard such Recitals from this judicious Divine, nor durst you suggest, that Dr. G———n can possibly serve you as an Authority in any of your unwarrantable Claims, or cover you from the Censures due to your unlawful Usurpations. If any thing, Sir, could reclaim you to the Humility of a Christian Clergyman, or to the Duty and Allegiance of an English Subject; if any thing could inspire you with a just Sense of your Oaths and Obligations, it must be the Words of this great and able Churchman, whose Letter of Advice to the Clergy, I can never be weary of transcribing.

The second Part of his Discourse, Section the first, is opened in these Words. “Give me leave to represent that with too many Men, we the Clergy lay under the Scandal of being a restless and ungovernable Body. The Charge, I know, is not a true one, but it would grieve the Heart of a good Man, to find that there should be any the least Handle for such an unworthy Aspersion; for, Sedition, or Designs against the Constitution, is in a Clergyman an accumulated Crime; it is a whole Cluster of Sins in one, and as many more Aggravations when committed by us than by any others. For,

“We have solemnly dedicated ourselves to the Ministry of holy Things, we have turned our Backs upon the Cares of a secular Calling, and have confined ourselves to the more immediate Service of Religion; so that for us to be concerned in public Affairs, which are not made a Part of our Duty by the Laws, even though we should act in them uprightly, is hardly Edition: current; Page: [355]justifiable, and may well seem a temporary Departure from the Business of our Calling: Besides, we never had yet much Reputation for our Skill in judging of public Matters—Why then should we quit that sacred Province in which our Fellow Subjects will easily allow us to be able Judges of Divinity, for that in which (let us confess it freely for all the World knows it, and I think it for our Credit) we are not, we cannot well be Judges of Politics.

“We are all of us Men appointed to promote the Peace of Mankind, and to preach the Doctrine of Obedience to the higher Powers in being, and of mutual Love and good Will to one another; and can it seem less than a vile Hypocrisy, or a direct Disbelief of the great Truths of Scripture, if we give any just Occasion for our civil Governors to suspect us as seditious and disobedient Subjects? We say, and rightly too, in our Sermons, that we are an Order of Men necessary to Government: Let us then, by our Actions, prove this Truth to those who think otherwise of us. We are some of us eloquent and copious, in proving that Society cannot long subsist without Teachers of Religion: Let us then, I beseech you, make it visible to all Men, that we endeavour to support the Society in which we are so happily planted, and labour, with all our Power, to disappoint the Attempts of those who would overturn it.

“We of all Men do, with an ill Grace, endeavour to work up our Audience into Fury, especially against the State; it is the very Reverse of our Profession, and is just such a Solecism in Divinity as Superstition in Philosophy.

“We are to consider ourselves still further, as in some sort Pensioners to the State in which we live. Left this be not understood as it is meant, give me leave to express myself more clearly, by saying, that though we have a Claim from Scripture and Reason, to a Maintenance in the Labour of the Gospel, yet the particular Assignment of that Portion which we enjoy, is the Free Gift of our Government; or if any one will make a Difficulty in allowing this, yet he cannot deny that the large Revenues, as well as the Honours Edition: current; Page: [356]attending the higher Stations of the Church, do intirely flow from the Bounty of our Laws, and are the Pensions which a wise Society pays to its distinguished Ecclesiastics, for the Reward of their uncommon Piety and Learning, and of the Pattern which they are supposed to give, of Submission to their civil Governors. Some of us enjoy not only what is necessary for supporting us in the sacred Business of our Calling, but have an Abundance sufficient to make us sit down in the Rank of the Great and Wealthy. And I have often thought, that if some amongst us, who have been the warmest Advocates for the divine Right of our Incomes, were strictly to take the Measure of them from what is said concerning them in the Gospel, they would lose at least one half of their Revenues in the dangerous Experiment, and perhaps have but the Tythe left them of what they now enjoy from the Munificence of the Legislature. This therefore is an Argument of much Weight! and may teach us, that as our civil Governors are our Benefactors, whoever resists them must appear basely unthankful, and cannot shake off his Obedience, without taking upon himself a full Load of the Infamy of Ingratitude.”

I have now compleated such Extracts from this Letter of Dr. G———n, as can be sit for your Attention, most Reverend Dr. Codex. You have now seen the Judgment of Parliament in the Impeachment of a former spiritual Offender, for taking to himself the Royal Nomination to ecclesiastical Dignities, and intruding upon the Place of great Officers appointed to advise the Crown. You have seen the severe Animadversions of the grave Author, your Reverend Brother, so often cited against you; and it may be expected you will not hereafter advance a Claim of Right, that any of your Profession should direct the K———, or that any Ecclesiastic whatever should share his Royal Prerogative, or that his Majesty should make himself but the Executor of your Pleasure.

It is however clear and incontestable, that this will be the Case, this daring and dangerous Encroachment will be carried on, if ever a governing Prelate should assume to himself the Right of repudiating Characters, when they shall be recommended to ecclesiastical Preferment. Edition: current; Page: [357]Let any Man consider the Consequence of this Practice, and he must see, that Ambition and Avarice would by such Means have the largest Opportunity of extending their most destructive and rapacious Projects. If an Inquisition were lodged in the Hands of one or more Churchmen, to try and judge any Candidate for Royal Promotion in the Church: If this might be done by the Evidence of low and profligate Persons; by Discoveries of loose Words and private Conversations, pretended to have happened at any former Distance of Time, so that the Opportunities may be irrecoverably lost, of recollecting every material Circumstance, of setting Things in their true Lights, and bringing those who were present, besides the infamous Informer, to bear Witness of what was really spoke in his Hearing: If this, I say, is to be the Scheme and Process of such an Inquisition, no arbitrary Churchman, in future Times, will ever be without a Retinue of Ecclesiastical Affidavit Makers, and Spiritual Preferment Stoppers, who will prostitute their Oaths and Inventions, to blast the Characters of all Men, who may be likely to rise in the Church contrary to his Interests, so that he may indulge his Love of Power, his Lust of Lucre, his Envy, his Hatred, his Caprice or Whim, to ruin the fairest Reputations: And as the best Men in the World will be the most obnoxious to his Resentments, the most formidable to his Power, and the most to be dreaded by his jealous Ambition, such Men will be the first to feel the Fury of his Inquisition, and to be defamed by the pestilent Tribe of his abandoned Informers.

Such were the Practices common in this Kingdom, before the Reformation of the Church, when Edmund, the cruel and violent Bishop of London, eclipsed the Power of the Crown, branded the most deserving of the Clergy, and butchered the most innocent of the Laity. As he carried on every iniquitous Project, he retained every infamous Prostitute; and a memorable Instance of his vengeful Temper occurs to my present Recollection. He had seen a Clergyman rise to a Deanary by the Assistance of very honourable Patrons, whose Power he considered with as much Awe as he beheld it employed to his sore Vexation: Whilst the Affair depended, he had Edition: current; Page: [358]tried every decent Artifice to defeat them; he was not immediately willing to break with them, and thought that his Ends might be carried by smooth Expedients; but when once he found his Intrigues were baffled by their superior Discernment, and the Promotion was obtained so much to his Disappointment, he gave the utmost Scope to his Malice and Revenge. The first vacant Bishopric was made use of as the fittest Occasion for the Exercise of both. The very Person whose Advancement he had so lately laboured to obstruct, did he himself officiously name to supply that vacant See, when no Man asked or expected it: And this most insidious Offer he made with express Design to possess himself of a proper Opportunity, whereby he defamed the Person, and set him aside in the Promotion which he with so much Treachery had officiously pretended to design in his Favour; making his Reputation the Butt of spiritual Informers, and fixing his Prelatical Brand on his Name, as a lasting Punishment due to that Ecclesiastic who had dared to rise in the Church without his Consent, and as a perpetual Incapacity ever to rise in any future Instance. I must not dismiss this Affair without a just Remark. It was the Glory of a most renowned Protestant Queen, that she mortified the Pride, and crushed the Power of this unchristian Prelate.

If I should view this Scheme of an Inquisition, in the Lights of your own Interest, I believe I could easily deter you from pursuing any such pernicious and detestable Project. Are you, Sir, so warm in your Situation, that you desire no earthly Advancement, or are you so secure in your Reputation, that such a Method of Practice, such an Inquisition, might not easily destroy it? And are you sure that you have no Enemy in the World, whose Aversion to your higher Promotion, might not induce to seek out Witnesses of your former Life and Behaviour? Think then, that if a proud, ambitious, and malicious Prelate, should ever have the Opportunity of obstructing your Exhaltation, by fixing a Stain on your Character, Whether his Resort among your old Comrades might not furnish such an Adversary with fit Instruments to asperse you? And whether the Lure of his Edition: current; Page: [359]Favour, might not seduce some hungry starving Ecclesiastic, to testify that which every Man would reject with Scorn, were it not sanctified by those Solemnities which provoke our Abhorrence? Suppose that any one should have so much Ill-will, and allow himself so large a Liberty, as to aver against you, Sir, that thirty Years since, or upwards, you were a most virulent Jacobite, and not only expressed the utmost Rancour against the Revolution, but pledged, in divers Companies, the most unlawful Healths, and refused the Oaths by Law required: Or that such a Charge hath been so notorious, and you so extremely sensible of its Weight against you, that the last Incumbent of the See now vacant, was by your Arts and Influence obstructed for ten Years together, in his Rise to a Bishopric, because he had said, that you was a Jacobite by Nature, and a Whig by Grace. Do you not think, that were it possible to procure such Depositions, it would be very hard upon you, if Encouragement should be given to evil or envious Men, in the Business of defaming you, and that such Defamation should prevent you from the Benefit of such Promotions, as the greatest Persons had endeavoured to procure, or Royal Favour intended to give you? And would you have been content to have lost a Bishopric, or would you be willing to hazard an higher Promotion on such an Experiment, as bringing to Light the Iniquities which might be possibly charged on the Course of the Life, in a Train of Exactions, Extortions, Oppressions, and Acts of Injustice?

Do not therefore recommend such Schemes to the Public, or to the Crown, as must, and will be, one Day or other, the Introduction of this Practice, and may be the Destruction of your own Credit. If you did but reflect on what some Men have done, you would tremble to consider what Persons of their Complection may do. I have heard of a Churchman, who promoted a Prosecution against a very scandalous Offence: and on the Accusation of that unnatural Sin, many were pursued, even to the last Sentence and Execution of the Law. This Person, with great Oftentation, boasted of this Service which he had performed to the Cause of Religion Edition: current; Page: [360]and Virtue. It nevertheless happened, that a Priest, in the District where he had Authority, a Man of the most profligate Principles, and in all Respects of the most infamous Character, was known to him by the meritorious Distinction of a most violent Bigot; as he was known to all the World by every immoral Practice, and by his avowed Disaffection to the Royal Family. This wicked Man, and what better could be expected from him, was as unnatural in his Vices, as he was odious in his Behaviour. He had long been made scandalous by his most shocking Amours, and at length was exposed by one of a flagrant kind carried on with the Clerk of his own Parish; he had, by his Practices on this Person, brought him into the Hands, and under the Operations of Surgeons. The Fact was too notorious for the Crime to pass unpunished, The honest Laity thought it a Matter fit for the Cognizance and Correction of the civil Magistrate; but whilst this Purpose was in Agitation, his Reverend Superior interposed, for the Honour of his Order, desiring that this vile Delinquent might be first prosecuted in the spiritual Court, where having once been formally divested of his Ecclesiastical Character, he might then be decently delivered up to the Secular Power, and punished in his Lay Capacity, for Crimes which he actually had attempted in his Clerical Habit. The Prosecution under this Management, was begun, was spun out with tedious Delays, and after the most trifling Defence, was at length concluded to the Condemnation of the accused Party. An Appeal was then lodged, was protracted in an extraordinary Manner, and the Appellant found Guilty again of those unnatural Practices which had been laid to his Charge. See now the Use of these Delays! The Prosecution had been so long depending, that it would have had no Countenance in the Civil Courts, had an Indictment been preferred so long after the Fact was committed. The Father of the Flock having therefore, with this Design, prevailed by his Influence, that the Process should continue so long depending, did, at last, with great Humility and brotherly Love, by his good Offices, moderate the Judgment, and screen the unnatural Offender from Justice, so that the Edition: current; Page: [361]spiritual Judge condemned him as guilty of all those unnatural Practices, yet discharged him by a Commutation of 100 l. Costs, reproving him in the gravest Style for this criminal Conversation with his Clerk, and enjoining him not to commit such filthy Sins in Time to come. Thus was Justice disarmed of her Power to punish the worst Offences! Thus did an intriguing Ecclesiastic screen Enormities in his own Order, which he had followed with all the Vengeance of Law in the Case of other Men; And do you not think, that were such a Man to be intrusted with supreme Power in the Church, he would employ it as wickedly and as partially, in stigmatizing some, as he hath employed it in screening of others? And that as he can protect the worst sort of Men in their Crimes, for being subservient to his exorbitant Projects, he would blacken the fair Reputation of others, for being too honest to join in supporting his Iniquities?

Such Behaviour in any Churchman, contributes more than all the Works of Infidelity, to blemish the Honour, and subvert the Foundation, of the Christian Religion. Those who have the Cause of Virtue and Piety most at Heart, lose their Zeal in the Service or the Support of a Church, whilst they see Churchmen acting in such a Manner, and Church Authority prostituted to such unchristian Ends. One Pastor of this Complection confutes all the Pastoral Letters that ever were written; and the World will be apt, however unjustly, to conceive, that nothing was ever charged on Ecclesiastics, which was not true, if ever they shall see there is nothing immoral, but what some of the Order can commit, especially if such Offenders should be of such Rank, that their Example cannot be of more extensive Influence, than it ought to be of lasting Infamy.

But if ever we should have the Misfortune to see the Scheme which you have recommended to the Imitation of Christian Princes, obtain under our Constitution; if ever we should see a dishonest and a defaming Churchman, endeavour by his Calumnies and his Informers, to propagate Falshoods, and promote Perjuries, thereby to disgrace an innocent Man, whose Merit he envies, and whose Integrity he looks on with fearful Eyes; if thus Edition: current; Page: [362]he shall labour to circumvent the most worthy, and ruin the most amiable Character, may there never be wanting a great and powerful Patron to sustain the Cause of Innocence, whose Authority to protect him, may be as irresistible as that Eloquence with which he shall vindicate his Fame, and whose Honour shall make him incapable of giving up his Friend to the Loss of his dearest Reputation, when the Favour which he sought to procure him, shall have incited such scandalous Church Jobbers to disgrace him.

It is a Security, as it is a Comfort to us, that the Honour of the Crown, and the Wisdom of that Prince who wears it, will never permit his Favours in the Church to be ingrossed by any ambitious Churchman, nor his Royal Grace, at any Time intended to be conferred on a deserving Clergyman, to be intercepted by the base Attempts of prostitute Informers. He will be too jealous of his Imperial Dignity, to suffer that any Ecclesiastic whatever shall openly boast, in Derogation of his Royal Supremacy, That the K——— is directed by him, that his Majesty shares his Royal Prerogatives with him, and makes himself but the Executor of his Pleasure.

Our Sovereign, Sir, is not to be treated with such Insolence and Pride. He hath shewn to the World that he will be King of his People; and will be as far from allowing an ambitious Churchman to divide his sovereign Authority, as he will be from suffering any such Scheme of Ambition to be carried on by the vile Arts of perjured Information. He will neither gratify the Wicked in their unjust Usurpations, to the Diminution of his own Glory, nor give up the Worthy and Innocent a Prey to their vindictive Revenge. He will, whenever he finds it expedient, abate the Pride of such Men, though they should be as insolent in their Threats of opposing his Service, as they were indecent in their Boasts of making him the more Executor of their Pleasure; and they will see, when they provoke his Royal Indignation, that in the steady Course of impartial Justice, it is as safe to inflict the Punishment of Law on an offending Clergyman, as on any Layman whatever.

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As this is the Light in which every faithful Subject regards his Prince, I hope, Sir, that since it is your Duty, you will soon find it to be your Interest to treat his Royal Person with the same Respect and Decency; and that you will apply to Christian Princes, on future Occasions, in a much more becoming Manner, than by Paragraphs printed in the Daily Papers, setting forth to the World what Examples are fit for such Princes to imitate.

I am, SIR, Your most humble Servant, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [(364)]
Thomas Gordon
Gordon, Thomas

The Preface to the Fourth Collection of Cato’s Letters.

I Readily comply with the Desire of the Publisher to write a short Preface to the new Collection he has made of my Letters for the last four Months. I am more concerned than surprized, that these Letters should be ill understood, and maliciously apprehended by those, who, having no Principles of their own, are apt to wrest my Principles to favour their own Prejudices.

These Men are Friends to Truth out of Anger or Chance, and not for her own Sake. I am, however, glad that they have been brought to read and approve a general Condemnation of their own Scheme. It is more than ever they did before; and I am not without Hopes, that what they have begun in Passion may end in Conviction: I am happy, if I may have been the Means of bringing those Men to think for themselves, whose Character it has been to let other Men think for them———a Character which is the highest Shame and the greatest Unhappiness of a rational Being. These Papers having opened the Principles of Liberty and Power, and rendered them plain to every Understanding, may, perhaps, have their Share in preventing, for the time to come, such Storms of Zeal for Nonsense and Falshood, as have thrown these Kingdoms more than once into Convulsions. I hope I have helped to cure and remove those monstrous Notions of Government, which were instilled by the crafty Few into the ignorant Many.

For those who profess to entertain the same Sentiments with myself upon this Subject, and yet have been offended; as this their Offence was neither my Fault nor Intention, I can only be sorry, for their Sakes, that the Principles which they avowed at all Times, should happen Edition: current; Page: [365]to displease them at any Time. I am willing to believe that it was not the Doctrine, but the Application that disobliged them.———Nor am I answerable for this; they themselves made it, and often made it wrong. I abhor all Attacks upon the Persons and private Characters of Men, and all little Stories and Calumnies invented or revived to blacken them. These are base and dishonest Practices; the Work and Ambition of little and malicious Minds only. Nor wanted I any such ill-bred and contemptible Artifices to gain Readers. I attended only to general Reasonings about public Virtue and Corruption, unbiassed by Pique or Favour to any Man. I can say this with as much Truth as any Writer ever could. As I have abused no Man’s Person, and courted no Man’s Fortune, I have dreaded no Man’s Resentment.

The Faults found with these Letters are so frivolous and ill grounded, that to mention them is almost sufficient to answer and expose them. The putting some Words in Italics, or different Letters, has given Offence; and I own, in some Instances it has been indiscreet: But though it was none of my Doing, and I have often blamed it, yet I dare answer that it was not maliciously done. However, I have directed it to be altered in this Collection.

Other Letters and Passages and Advertisements in the Journal, have been dishonestly blended with Cato’s Letters; and when they were called Crimes, Cato has been called the Criminal—A wicked and a base Charge! Any intelligent Man may see that Cato has nothing farther to do with the Journal, than the writing those Letters which are signed with his Name.

I know it has been said, and but said, that Cato has spoken disrespectfully, nay insolently, of the King. If this were true, I should be the first to own that all the Clamour raised against me, was just upon me. But the Papers vindicate themselves; and it is certain, that no Prince was ever treated with more Duty and Regard, in any public or private Writings, than his present Majesty has been in these. In Point of Affection and Principle his Majesty has not a better Subject than myself; and if he has any bad ones, they are none of my making. I Edition: current; Page: [366]know that this Nation cannot be saved without this King; and I am still persuaded, that nothing tended more to his Advantage and Popularity, or more to the Credit of the Ministry, or more to the Security of the Subject, than the pursuing, with quick and impartial Vengeance, those Men who were Enemies to all Men. And I have the Votes and Proceedings of Parliament, to shew that that great and honourable Assembly were guided by the same Sentiments, as were the whole Nation.

But it seems I once spoke Latin to his Majesty, and spoke to him in the singular Number——— quis te vituperavit. If this be a Libel, they who make it so, are the Libellers. In itself it is a Panegyric; nor could it be a Satyr in my Mouth, who have ever thought and spoken dutifully of the King, and endeavoured that all others should do so. As to the Word, Te, addressed to his Majesty in the singular Number, which is the Objection, I am told, of some able Lawyers; I would, in answer, acquaint these learned Goths, that the Purity of the Latin Tongue warrants that way of speaking, and no other, and that none but Monks and Pedants practise any other. VOS regere imperium———And hæ VOBIS erunt artes———would be beautiful Emendations in a new Edition of Virgil. But as the above ridiculous Objection was made by no Lawyer of Genius or Politeness, it is no Reflection upon his Brethren.

Thus much I think is more than a sufficient Defence against this Latin Crime; which however I have cancelled, though not for their Sakes who make it one.

In answer to those deep Politicians, who have been long puzzled to know who were meant by Cicero and Brutus; intending to deal candidly with them, and put them out of Pain and Doubt, I assure them that Cicero and Brutus were meant: That I know no present Characters or Story that will fit theirs; and that those Letters were translated for the Service of Liberty in general, without intending by them either Reproof or Praise to any Man living. And if these guessing Sages are in Perplexity about any other Passages in Cato’s Letters, it is ten to one but the same Answer will relieve them.

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In Brutus’s Letters it is said, we do not dispute about the Qualifications of a Master; we will have no Master. Which is the genuine Sense of the Latin—Nisi forte non de servitute, sed de conditione serviendi recusandum est a nobis. From hence some have inferred, that, because Brutus was against having a Master, therefore I am against having a King—a strange Construction, and a wild Consequence! As if in translating Brutus’s Letter, I was not to follow the Sense of Brutus; or as if there was no Difference in England between a King and a Master, which are just as opposite as King and Tyrant. In a neighbouring Kingdom, indeed, they say that their Monarch is born Master of the Kingdom, and I believe they feel it too; as they do with a Witness in Turkey———But I hope it is not so here. We have a King made and bound by the Law; Brutus having killed one Usurper, was opposing another, overturning by Violence all Law. Where is the Parity, or Room for it?

It may, perhaps, be expected I should say something here of a late Attempt, to answer this and all other Writings, in a Way that was never before taken, nor heard of———a new Way without a new Occasion! And a Way more terrible to Liberty than to me! Nothing is the best Thing I can say of it; and even for that I deserve the Thanks of the Projectors: May it be for ever covered with Oblivion! A Wish, in which I dare say I have their hearty Concurrence. No Man desires to be remembered but with Honour.

Thus much by way of Preface, I thought might be modesty said, in defence of a Paper which has more Friends and Readers, than any Paper that has hitherto appeared in the World; and for its Foes, they are, as to their Number, inconsiderable.

As to myself, who perhaps have more public Spirit than private Prudence, having done my Duty, I can say with Tully, Quid est, proh deûm hominumque fidem! In quo ego Reip. plas hoc tempore prodesse possim?———Quid est, quod aut populo Rom. gratius esse debeat, aut sociis extcrisq; nationibus optatius esse possit, aut saluti fortunisque omnium accommodatius sit?———Quis tandem esset qui meum concilium aut factum posset reprehendere?

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“I appeal to Heaven and Earth, whether I could have done more for the Benefit of the Public in this its woful Distress?———What more agreeable to the Interest and the Wishes of our People at home, what more conducive to our Reputation abroad, or what more desirable for the Security of the universal Rights and Properties of all Men? What Falshood have I uttered, what evil Counsel have I given, and do the Innocent accuse me?

Cato
Cato

The Preface to the Sixth Collection of Cato’s Letters.

I Have said so much by way of Preface to the other Collections of these Papers, that little is left for me to say in This. The present is a Collection of all the Papers written last Winter and till now upon Government, ex proposito, and in a System; and those about Caesar being near a-kin to the Design, and containing a good Part of the Argument, I have joined them to the rest, as I have done two late ones about Elections, for the same Reason; and to the Whole I have prefixed one written last October, concerning the general ill Condition of Mankind.

I leave the Argument handled in these Letters to justify itself, as it is stated there, I cannot help thinking it is supported by the united Consent of Experience, Reason, and Nature; and is not like to be shaken by any thing that can be said against it. The Sum of the Question is, Whether Mankind have a Right to be happy? or, whether any Man has a Right to make them miserable?

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I am not so much surprized, that many of the Tories should assent to the Lawfulness of killing Cæsar, because Men out of Power are naturally in the Interest of Liberty; as I am sorry that any of the Whigs should deny it. Is the Unlawfulness of killing Tyrants maintained at last by the Whigs, whose very Spirit and Character is founded upon the very opposite Principle? I wish they would define and explain this modern Whigism, especially upon the Principles of the old, and distinguish it from the most obnoxious Part of Toryism. I doubt I have set them a hard Task.

They who wildly apply to the Court what has been said about Cæsar, make the Court but an ill Compliment, whatever they may intend. How can any Court, which does not do what Cæsar did, be affected with what was done to Cæsar, or with what is said about him?

CATO.
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The Creed of an Independent Whig; with an orthodox Introduction, concerning Canons, Councils, Mysteries, Miracles, and Church Authority.
Anno 1720.

To all Believers, the orthodox Author sendeth Greeting;

THE Opinions of Mankind are as various as their Complexions; and he must be a very bad Marksman, who shoots among a Crowd of People, and misses every one: But notwithstanding there is such a Diversity of Faith in the World, yet I am persuaded I shall meet with many who will heartily embrace my Sentiments in the following Creed. I challenge the Universe to disprove any one Article; and what makes me the more sanguine herein, is, that I am very well assured that there is not a Tenet which can be justly called Pseudodox.

I am sensible of the numerous Herds of Bigots, who will not allow a Man to have a Competency of orthodox Learning, who has not trifled away a few Years at a University; but if we would follow the Example of the good Husbandman, and purge our Granaries, we should quickly find more Tares than good Corn.

It grieves me to see that the World has such a just Cause to reflect on Alma Mater, and affirm, that (for many Years past, and even to this Day) instead of administring wholesome Nourishment, she has, and does, viciate the most hale Constitutions. Oh, that she would retrieve her lost Reputation of being one of the best Edition: current; Page: [371]Nurses in Christendom! But her Milk is become sour, and curdles in each tender Stomach.

I have spent many a tedious Night in searching diligently into the Lives and Characters of the primitive Believers; nor have I been remiss in endeavouring to discover the Manners and Behaviour of the Moderns: For the Satisfaction therefore of our Houshold, to corroborate the Weak, to establish the Wavering, and in full and certain Hope of making Proselytes, I have with much Pains and Watching, Fatigue and Study, finished my Creed; a Work much desired, and long wanted.

Take heed, my Brethren, that ye do not relapse into Infidelity; let me caution ye not to be deluded by the Wiles and Artifices of a particular Set of People called Hocus-Pocus Blades: These Sons of the Craft pretend to prove a Succession of Legerdemain Gentlemen from the first Juglers, and treading in the Paths of their Predecessors, have entered into a mutual Compact to bambouzle our Senses, and to deprive Mankind of Reason.

These Men have more Ways of imposing upon you, than by their Hands, though I must acknowledge That to be the chief Imposition of any. You may safely belive one Thing which they tell you, though at the same time they would not have you give Credit to their Words, viz. If your Eyes are not as nimble as your Fingers, they will deceive you.

So I have seen a Carpet laid, and when the proper Utensils were spread upon the Table, a Jugler begin his Farce with this short Prologue.

  • Behold my little Cups and little Ball;
  • See, there are no false Bottoms here at all.

You may easily judge from this inimitable Piece of Poetry, that the subsequent Oratory must needs be very elegant. He has an admirable Knack of deluding the Credulous with three little Balls, which you see him place fairly under three Cups; but by using a few of his Rhetorical Flourishes, as Presto, pass, begone; the three Balls are not to be found, but instead of them, you behold one large one. Now, to convince you that he is a Master of Art, he again pronounces the aforementioned Edition: current; Page: [372]Words, which are of such Efficacy, that the one Balvanishes, and the Three appear in statu quo. Nay, he will bring back the one Ball, and change it into a living Body; as a Hen, a Chicken, or the like: How great then is the miraculous Power of Hocus-Pocus? But I should have told you, that if you have but Ten-pence in your Pocket, he will demand one with an authoritative Air, which you must pay for being deluded; so that he is sure to have you here or there, as he terms it in the Prologue.

There are another Set of People, whom you ought carefully to avoid, Men of pretended Sanctity, I mean Priests, whose Love to their Bottle and Mistress exceeds any Layman’s. And by the Bye you may note (for it is an Axiom that will not bear Contradiction) that much outward Piety is an infallible Indication of an Exuberance of inward Knavery. They will offer to persuade you that they can wash an Æthiopian white, and release you from your Debts; but beware that you rely not on their Words, lest you incense your Creditor, and he casts you into Prison for being insolvent.

A Priest, with much Importunity, was prevailed upon to quit his Pipe and Glass, and attend a Gentleman who was making his Exit. The holy Father was very diligent in the Execution of his Office, and performed all the superstitious Ceremonies customary to be done to a dying Person. It happened, that while he was pronouncing the Absolution, and one Hand was signing the Gentleman with the Mark of the Cross, the other (through Inadvertency rather than Design) was very busy in picking his Pocket; the sick Man’s Thoughts were not so very intent upon the other World, as might be expected from one in his Condition, but observing what the Priest was doing, starts up in his Bed, and laid hold of his Breeches. By this sudden Motion he broke an Imposthume which was within him, and had caused his being so very weak; and recovering his Health in a few Days, renounced the Heterodox Faith in which he had been educated, and embraced and adhered to that which was orthodox.

The last Advice which I shall give you is, to weigh Things maturely before you proceed to a final Determination: Edition: current; Page: [373]Condemn not other People because they cannot be of the same Opinion with you in all Matters; for by the same Parity of Reason, they may condemn you. Remember that there are more Ways to the Wood than one. Does that Man merit the Name of Saint, Pope, or Bishop, who in a diabolical Passion shall pronounce whole Nations damned, who cannot swallow all and singular of his Absurdities? Who shall deliver over to the Devil and his Angels the major Part, not only of the Christian World, but also of all the Inhabitants of the Earth, to be tormented in Hell for ever; merely because they will not sacrifice their Reason (that noble Characteristic of Man, that Portion of Divine Goodness) to Forgeries and Blasphemy? Must we be damned for opposing this false Doctrine? This is a hard Saying, and who can bear it?

As I have laboured hard in the Vineyard, so I hope I have brought forth Wine; and they who approve the Juice of my Grapes, shall drink, make their Hearts glad, and be welcome. I will force no Man; Compulsion is neither hospitable nor lawful; I shall therefore allow a Liberty to all Men, observing the golden Rule, of doing as I would be done unto. I shall not speak in dark Parables to deceive any Man, but am willing to declare the Truth, and abide by it, tho’ perhaps this may be deemed a Work too dirty for the Sons of Levi to meddle with; which Practice I recommend to you my Fellow Believers, and persuade myself you will fight manfully under so glorious a Banner, even though the Jesuits, or any of the Order of Friar Francis should oppose you.

The INTRODUCTION.

THE Imposition of Creeds is looked upon by all thinking People to be analogous to the Imposition of ——— something else; and, indeed, if the Traditions of Men are not to be admitted as a Standard of Faith, which no Protestant will allow, I do affirm, that we ought not to depend on the Decrees of Councils and Synods. The former has been condemned by our Saviour Christ, and the latter cannot be deemed orthodox, Edition: current; Page: [374]if we look into the History of the Ancients; because each of them has censured and declared some, if not all the Articles of their Predecessors to be heterodox.

From hence I would infer, that their Credenda were not the Dictates of a Divine Spirit, because they contradict and clash against each other; but were rather the seeming Opinions of such as were biassed by Interest or Policy. I do not say absolutely that this is a true State of the Case, but to me it seems to carry a Face of Probability; and as I will not pin my Faith upon the Assertion of any Body of Men whatever, so I shall leave every Man at Liberty to believe what, and as much as he judges requisite. Provided, nevertheless, that no Man shall believe all, because he will not then leave a Share for his Neighbours; and I must needs own I hate a Monopoly of any Kind; for which Reason I wish there were a Law to prevent ingrossing of———.

He that can read, and has a common Portion of Reason, may find such plain and easy Directions in the New Testament, as will instruct him how to find the ready Way to Heaven; by which he will avoid the tedious Ambages of a mercenary Guide. I think that the Gentleman managed the Tack with Prudence, who resolving to travel to the Lands-End, contracted for the Journey: If he had hired a Guide by the Day, no doubt but the Fellow would have conducted him the farthest Way about.

Happy the Man who swallows the Absurdities of the Popish Religion; he need not be anxious of his Welfare hereafter; and I could name another Religion, which has gained so much Ground, that it is thought ’twill come up with, if not overtake, the former: They resemble the Bank and the South-Sea Companies in vying with each other; and I wish that we may not at last discover a Mississipi in both.

That the Bible is the Rule of Faith, abstracted from its Interpolations and erroneous Translations, dare not be denied by the most consummate Priest-craft; and therefore he who endeavours to persuade me that such Articles are necessary to Salvation, which are not made fundamental in Scripture, palms his own, or another’s Edition: current; Page: [375]Suggestions upon me, and gives great Cause of Suspicion that there is some vile Roguery at the Bottom.

How pathetically does St. Paul speak! how noble are his Thoughts! how beautiful and how amiable his Description of Charity! and he concludes with assuring us, that all Moral Virtues, that even Faith without Charity availeth nothing. If therefore Charity is so essential, what Opinion must we entertain of that Creed, in which Uncharitableness is placed in the most glaring Light, and made an Article of Faith! a Creed, whose Author, or Authors, cannot be proved, nor its Tenets plainly made out from Scripture.

There is a Religion which has three Creeds, and yet properly speaking, they Three are but One. This is very Emblematical, and I love an out-of-the-way Fancy; ’tis something new, and may be of great Emolument in this improving Age.

I could mention a Creed, which has its Title from some Men, who were as little concerned in the Composure of it, as the late King’s James’s Queen: And there is one Article or two, which have been proved by a Gentleman now living, to be foisted upon us by some zealous ———*: This Gentleman is as well versed in the Divinity, as in the Laws of his Country; and if Merit may be allowed to take Place, he ought not to give the Right-hand to any of the Long petticoat Tribe, of what Denomination soever.

I have Reason to imagine, that there is not a Shop where Titery, Quorum, or Gin (call it by what Name you will) is sold, but what has its peculiar Devotees, and peculiar Sect of Faith. And if it be an undeniable Maxim, that Orthodoxy must surely be found where the Spirit is most predominant, then the Distiller can furnish us with Infallibility, either by Wholesale or Retail.

Faith has of late Years been bandied about like a Ball in a Tennis-Court; and every old Woman believes, as justly as any young Levite, that she has a Right to dabble in Politics, find Fault with the Administration, and meliorate our Constitution; and truly I think the one has as legal Pretensions as the other.

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Si. Toby* is a very eminent Lawyer, and took the Oaths when tendered to him; declaring, that he defied any Parliament to frame an Oath which he would refuse; for, says he, I will trust G—d with my Soul, before I will trust Man with my Estate. How stupendous is some Men’s Faith! no doubt but the Knight had an Exuberance; and though I will not say that he can remove a Mountain, yet I affirm he has removed many a weighty Cause.

The Creeds of the Papists are innumerable; I shall therefore recite only two Articles of their voluminous Catalogue, the Legend which carry the surest Face of Probability: This I propose to do with all the Brevity imaginable.

‘St. Agatha was a Virgin of the strictest Virtue, Piety, and regular Way of living; she was the Domina of a Nunnery, to which some Corn-Fields were appropriated for the Support of the Faithful. It happened, that some wild Geese infested those Fields, and eat up the Fruits of the Earth; but upon Complaint to the Saint, she ordered ’em to surrender themselves Prisoners to the Steward, who confined the passive Enemy in the Barn. It happened that one of the Sisterhood was in a longing Condition, and yet she had preserved her Chastity; and by the Consent of some others, killed one of the Geese, and eat it. St. Agatha taking into Consideration the Sufferings of the Captives, who had fasted forty Days, which was Penance enough, as she thought, dismissed ’em; however not without a Reprimand for the Sacrilege they had committed, and upon Promise not to offend for the future. The Prisoners were released, but hovered about the Nunnery for three Days. St. Agatha commanded their Leader to declare their Grievance, who, in a prostrate manner, thus spoke; O thou merciful and forgiving Virgin, some of your Houshold have killed and eaten one of our Flock, contrary to the Articles to which we consented. The compassionate Saint inquired into the Merits of the Complaint, and finding them to be true, commanded the Goose to rise from the [Editor: illegible word], assume its Feathers, which had been Edition: current; Page: [377]scattered by the Wind, and join with its Associates.’ This was effected as soon as spoken; but ’tis said that all the Flock soon turned Tail.

‘The Devil appeared to St. Francis in the Shape of a Flea, who being as nimble as one of the French Harlequins, skipped up and down, to and fro, and disturbed the Friar in his nocturnal Lucubrations. The pious old Man, by incessant Prayer, prevailed to have Dominion over the Devil, and confine him to stand Centinel on the Page of his Book when he left off reading.

‘This he did constantly till the Time of his Confinement was elapsed. But the Devil resolving to tempt him again, essayed many Ways to delude the Saint, but did not prove successful; for the Friar having a Power given him, ordered him upon Duty a second time, to hold a Candle in his Hand, which he was forced to obey, till he burned his Fingers to the Stumps; and then he was released.’ Some People affirm, that ’tis a hard thing to hold a Candle to the Devil, but sure ’tis the Devil to hold a Candle to a Friar. ‘However the restless Fiend would not desist, but (not regarding the Proverb, Beware of the third Time) makes another Essay, with all the Rashness and vain Hopes of a Modern Tory. The good Saint Francis finding that wholesome Severities rendered the Devil more obstinate and daring, made a Noose of his Girdle, and slipping it about Satan’s Neck, hanged him on a Beam in the Monastery, till he was dead, dead, dead.’

I shall now hasten to a Conclusion, believing that a Word to the Wise is sufficient; and shall only give this Advice to my Readers,

——— Cum socio credere finge tuo.

This, I hope, will not be looked upon as an Encouragement of, or promoting Hypocrisy; for we ought to become all Things to all Men, in order to save some.

Edition: current; Page: [378]

The CREED.

I BELIEVE that no Bishop nor Presbyter, Priest or Deacon, of what Church or Persuasion soever, whether England, Rome, or Geneva, can remit Sins; and he that pretends to it, does blasphemously usurp the Prerogative of God, and surreptitiously make void the Mediatorship of Christ.

I believe that the Protestant Religion is the most pure and undefiled of any Religion in the Universe; nevertheless it may admit of Emendations.

I believe that the Mystery of the Blessed Trinity cannot be proved by the Light of Nature; and he that attempts to do it must be a Man of much Vanity, and an Impostor. His Vanity is manifested in asserting what is in its own Nature absurd which no Man of Learning, Piety, and Integrity ever; essayed; and his imposing upon the Credulity of the World, his empty Arguments, Self-Contradictions, and ridiculous Sophistry declare him to be a Knave.

I believe that the Inferior Clergy are a Sett of Clean, Spruce, Sociable, Fashionable, Spiritual Beaus.

I believe that King George (whom God long preserve) has a just Title by the Laws of God and Man to the Imperial Crown of these Realms; and that the Person called the Pretender was not begotten by King James, or came from the Body of his Queen Mary.

I believe that it is necessary to have a Regimen in the Church, such as is now Established; and that they ought not to be independent on the State.

I believe that the Clergy exercise a Jurisdiction, which Christ and his Apostles never did, or ever gave them Authority to do.

I believe that few of the inferior Clergy adhere to the Canons of the Church, or to the Oaths they have taken, or the Subscriptions they have made.

I believe there are three Things, which will prove a Blot to Old England for ever: The Case of the Rochellers, the horrid Regicide of King Charles the First, and the Sacrifice of the brave Catalans.

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I believe that Church-Organs are not very edifying to such who have no good Ear, or Judgment in Music.

I believe that the Nonjuring-Clergy are Men of more Conscience and Probity than Those who for Interest swear Allegiance to King George, yet disown him in their Hearts, and countenance Rebellion. ——— It was not my Enemy did this; but thou my Familiar, my Friend, and Acquaintance, whom I trusted.

I believe that St. Paul was no Prevaricator, maugre the Opinion of Mr. Secretary H—gs; but I concur with that pious Gentleman in saying there are many erroneous Translations in the Bible; and ’tis hoped that he will speedily favour the World with his new Version of the Revelations; a Piece of many Years Work.

I believe his Subscribers would rejoice to see their Money returned, or to have the long promised Book.

I believe that the Apostles and Primitive Christians soon wrought the Redemption of their Brother’s Covering, when St. Paul told them that he left his Cloak at Troas; but had that Declaration been made in our Days, I Believe it might have laid dormant till Moth-Eaten.

I believe it was once deemed a Crime to speak in Favour of the Hanover Succession; I Believe such evil Times will never return.

I believe I shall not be hanged for plotting against his Majesty King George, or any of his Family, being Protestants.

I believe it is no Crime to drink to the Memory of the Dead, especially to a certain Monarch lately deceased; with Submission to that once great Lover of King William, of ever Glorious and Immortal Memory, Dr. Peter Browne, the present Bishop of Cork.

I believe the surest way to get a good Place is not to stand in need of one.

I believe I shall displease some People, and please others.

I believe that as the Corruption of the Army in the late Wars proceeded from the many Upstarts who were in it, seeing there were Men in Commission, who had no other Qualifications to recommend them than their being Pimps, Pages, or Valets; so the Corruption of the High Clergy proceeded from the Ordination of Beardless Young Men, and Indigent Souls.

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I believe that Religion is not a Cheat, though many of its Professors do justly fall under that Denomination.

I believe that St. Paul spoke Truth, when he said, He that covets the Office of a Bishop covets a good Thing.

I believe that all Men have Portions in this World; and therefore I advise them to follow my Example, and each Man take unto him a Wife.

I believe it is better to Marry than Burn; yet Marriage produces many a Heart Burn.

I believe that a Rich Man’s getting into a Shop-keeper’s Book is like a Lawyer’s getting a Foot into a poor Man’s Estate; if he can make no farther Encroachment, he will be sure to keep his Possession.

I believe that Daniel de Foe was in the Right when he said,

Of all the Plagues with which Mankind are curst,

Ecclesiastic Tyranny’s the worst.

I believe that the People of England talk more of Religion, and practise it less than any one Nation under the Sun.

I believe that a Beau, who has Wit, and a Courtier that’s affable are as great Rarities as a Brace of Wood-cocks at Mid-summer.

I believe that Great-Britain is the Land of Promise.

I believe that Dr. Sacheverell will not be fobb’d off with an Irish Bishoprick.

I believe that a Westminster Justice has a good Benefit Ticket.

I believe that a Day of Judgment will come, when the Secrets of all Hearts will be opened; and then we shall see ’Squires who have no Right to their Estates, Lords who have no Title to their Honour, and Soldiers who fought more for Interest than Principle.

I believe the Pretender will not want an Heir, provided the Polish Young Princess be fruitful.

I believe there is many a broad-shouldered brawny-backed Priest in Italy; and the Rhemish Bible asserts, we may do Evil that Good may come of it.

I believe the best Way to reform the Age, is for the Inferior Clergy to begin a Reformation of themselves.

I believe that the Czar will be glad to make Peace, when the Squadrons of England and the Allies appear in the Baltick.

I believe that the Regulation of the Army was very apropos.

Edition: current; Page: [381]

I believe there’s as much Honesty in a Stock-Jobber, as Sincerity in a Jew, or Chastity in a Bawd.

I believe that Exchange-Alley has ruined more Families, than the Groom-Porters or the Royal-Oak-Lottery.

I believe we have very good Laws, but very ill executed,

I believe that many a Scoundrel jumps into Preferment, while many a Loyal Poor Gentlemen loses his Aim.

I believe there is little Regard to Merit.———Gold has an attractive Virtue,

I believe there are more Plays than are good, more Sermons than are orthodox, and more Whores than will ever be reclaimed.

I believe there are four, I may say five, Things in this World, which we shall not be troubled with in the World to come. Saucy Valets, Corrupted Juries, Perjured Clergymen, Cannibal Creditors, and Scoundrel Attorneys.

I believe that the Word Church, an innocent Word in its Nature, has done more Mischief, than ever I fear it will do Good; for when Artfully mouth’d by a Priest, it stirs up the People to Rebellion, and is made a Cloak for Murder and Treason.

I believe that the Author of the Independent Whig is a facetious, witty, smart Fellow; but hang him, he’ll ne’er make Proselytes, because he has such an unseasonable Knack of speaking much Truth.

I believe there are many, who go to Church with the same Intention which draws ’em to a Play-House; to see and be seen. But sure he must needs be endued with the Apathy of a Stoic, who cannot be moved with the Gestures of Harlequin, or the Grimaces of Scaramouch.

I believe there is as much Sanctity in a Black-Cloak as in Black-Gown.

I believe that many a Man has paid through the Nose for taking up Linnen, and being benevolent to his Neighbour.

I believe the Poor Prisoners will greatly rejoice when the Bill for the Relief of Insolvent Debtors has passed.

I believe if every one’s Faults were wrote in the Forehead, Masks would be much more in Fashion than Hoop-Petticoats.

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I believe that he who has a good Wife ought to make much of her; for ’tis a thousand to one if e’er he gets another.

I believe that he who marries, does well; but he who does not marry, may do better. And if there be no Harmony without a Dissonant, Matrimony must sure be a pleasant State.

I believe if there be any such Place as Purgatory, it must be in Newgate or the Marshalsea.

I believe the Apostles never took Money for Baptizing those who required it, or for Visiting the Sick; I wish I could say as much for all our inferior Clergy.

I believe I shall never become a Subscriber to the Charitable Society in Spring-Garden, even though I should be worth Fifty Pounds, and all my Debts paid.

I believe I have very good Reasons for saying so.

I believe that the Westminster Bubble will never catch half as many Gudgeons as have been hooked by the Bubbles about the Royal Exchange.

I believe that the Man is unworthy to eat the King’s Bread, who reflects on the late Expedition to Vigo.

I believe Mr. Law is as much embarrassed to keep up the Credit of his Mississipi Project, as our Neighbours the D—to find Ways and Means to make good Deficiencies.

I believe that the Great Athanasius was not so wicked as some Writers have made him; and I believe there is no Necessity for putting him into the Kalendar.

I believe he was not the Author of the Creed which goes by his Name.

I believe the Story is true of the Butcher’s cleaving the Pericranium of a Levite, whom he caught in Bed with his Wife; and that the Clergyman spoke from his Heart, when (upon the Jury’s acquitting the Butcher of Murder) he said, If such Things are suffered, there will be no living for us.

I believe that Sir Harry Wotton spoke with the Spirit of an Englishman, who, when he was asked by a Monk, Where was your Religion before Luther? answered without Hesitation, In the Bible, where yours never was.

I believe there was many an honest Gentleman in the Army, who never said Amen heartily to the following Edition: current; Page: [383]Petition in our Common-Prayer-Book; Give Peace in our Time, O Lord.

I believe that Self-preservation is the first Law of Nature, and consequently that Resistance is lawful on many Accounts, any thing contained in Dr. Sacheverell’s Doctrine to the contrary, notwithstanding.

I believe that Aristocracy is inconsistent with the Constitution of Great Britain.

I believe there are many of our British Youth who glory in deflouring a Virgin: ’Tis stabbing a Person that’s weak and defenceless; and I believe the Mock Hero will gain as little Applause by the Action, as a General who should draw down all his Forces and Artillery, to oblige a poor Country Village to surrender.

I believe that Lord have Mercy upon us ought to be writ on every Man’s Door, if it be a damnable Sin to resist upon any Pretence whatsoever.

I believe there is Priest-craft in England, as well as in Popish Countries.

I believe that one Man cannot serve two Masters; if so, how can Pluralities be justified?

I believe that no Ecclesiastic has Power to force or bind Men’s Consciences.

I believe there are more Ways to Paradise-Row, than going through Chelsea-College.

I believe that Three are more than One, and One is not as many as Three.

I believe it is better to continue the War with Spain, than to give up Gibraltar or Port-Mahon.

I believe he’s no Friend to Great Britain, who would advise the Surrender of either.

I believe that those B———s were Protestants who signed an Address to his Majesty, declaring their Detestation of the late unnatural Rebellion.

I believe that the late Duke of Ormond repents his flying from England.

I believe he had never been impeached had he staid,

I believe he has Reason to curse the Hour in which he was Priest-guided.

I believe that Scammony is a Drug of the Convolvulus or Caterpillar kind; that our present Scammony is different Edition: current; Page: [384]from the Scammony of the Ancients, and is adulterated; that which is black is not much esteemed.

I believe that Scammony wants a Corrector, and is very adhesive.

I believe that the Compilers of our Common-Prayer-Book were very sensible, that every Man must needs be in a languishing Condition, who enters into the State of Matrimony; else why did they place the Visitation of the Sick immediately after that Piece of Formality.

I believe that Cardinal Alberoni is in Lim. Pat.

I believe that the Jacobite Faction do not relish his Confinement.

I believe there are many in Places of Profit, who were averse to the Hanover Succession.

I believe I could name some.

I believe a perpetual Motion may be found at Billingsgate.

I believe that some of our inferior High Clergy have studied Rhetoric in the Billingsgate Grammar.

I believe that too much Learning will ne’er make ’em mad.

I believe that Tory and Traitor begin with a Letter, so do Priest-craft and Perjury.

I believe I need not pause long to determine, whether they are synonimous Terms.

I believe that to find out a Longitude, a Man would do well to attend a Law-Suit in the Chancery of Ireland.

I believe that a Woman is generally at the Bottom of Mischief, and that great Mischief is generally at the Bottom of a Woman.

I believe I could prove, by the Rule of Good-fellowship, that a Beau makes a Figure only among Cyphers, and that he is a Cypher among Figures.

I believe that my very good Friend, Mr. Congreve, was in the Right, when he questioned whether the Bible saved more Souls in Westminster-Abbey, than it damned in Westminster-Hall.

I believe that some Lords are wise, and some are otherwise.

I believe that Father Abraham was older than his Son Isaac.

I believe that three Groats make one Shilling, and not three Shillings.

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I believe that the Anathemas of our inferior Clergy are not ratified in Heaven; and that there is a Power on Earth which can reverse them, maugre the Opinion of the charitable and meek Dr. Sacheverell.

I believe that the said Gentlemen love Eating and Drinking as well as their Neighbours.

I believe that some Lords deserve to be Kenmurized who now sleep in a whole Skin.

I believe that Gregg was a Fool and a Traitor.

I believe ———

Sat est quod sufficit.

There are now in the Press, and will speedily be published, the following Books, viz.

1. THE Independency, Supremacy, and Divinity of the P——— Clergy asserted. By Harry of Holbourn.

2. A Canker in some Men’s Estates, or the Necessity of restoring Abby-Lands. By St. Michael of Hammersmith.

3. Faith without Reason: Or, The Laity have no Right to their Senses. By the wealthy Dean of C———r.

4. Modern and orthodox Inconsistencies: Or, Papists better Friends to the* Church than Dissenters. By Luke Presbyter.

5. St. Peter robbed of his Keys: Or, the Porters of Heaven found guilty of Fraud and Corruption. By twelve Laymen.

6. An Argument proving that to preach the Lawfulness of Vice and Immorality, is the most effectual Method to prevent those Evils. By a Lover of the Mathematics.

Nitimur in Vetitum.

7. The Clergy reformed. A very valuable Piece.

Diu multumq; desideratum.

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Priestianity: or, A View of the Disparity between the Apostles and the Modern inferior Clergy.
Anno 1720.

The PREFACE.

TO promote Peace and Quietness, to endeavour a Reconciliation among Neighbours, is undoubtedly a Duty incumbent on all Mankind; but surely They, who call themselves the Servants of the Lord, the Successors and Followers of the Apostles, are under a double Obligation to perform this Christian Office. If we make a Scrutiny into the Actions and Ingratitude of the Inferior Clergy, we shall find, that, Viper-like, they attempt to sting the Bosom, which took Compassion on them, nourished them, and gave them (as it were) second Life. If we search for the Original of our domestic Feuds and petty Quarrels, we shall discover that they are caused by the Chaplain, or one of his Tribe; at least it will appear, that he was the Encourager, if not the Author, of them. When a Shepherd will intrust a Wolf with the Care of his Flock, then I shall consent that a Priest may be Superintendant of my Family.

Whether it be by Nature or Compact, I shall not at present inquire; but it is demonstrable beyond Contradiction, that a Priest is no sooner admitted into a Family, than he begins to worm himself into every Secret; and when he has discovered their Failings (for who is there that does not fall seven Times every Day?) he lords it over them with a supercilious Countenance, and haughtily usurps an arbitrary Sway. He glories that he has it in his Power to create Quarrels, and foment Animosities; he expects great Advantage from troubled Waters, and, if Threats will not prevail, creates Divisions in the Family, disunites the Edition: current; Page: [387]Affections (those mutual Bands of harmonious Wedlock) and seruples not to put asunder whom God has joined. But these spiritual Busy-bodies do often meet with Punishment; though not in proportion to their Demerit: The good Man of the Family (to use the Country Phrase) perceiving the Tricks and Artifices of the well-fed Levite (not to mention his Amours and Intrigues) gives him a Dimittis, and reduces him to his primitive Necessity of Preaching and Praying for Bread.

If as due Care was taken in the Execution of our Laws, as in the Enacting them, it would conduce much to the Preservation and Continuance of that Oeconomy and good Order, that Amity and even Temper, which is requisite in every Family. There is a Penalty on every Master and Mistress, who shall take any Servants without a Certificate of their good Behaviour from the Person by whom they were last employed; and this Law was thought to be so reasonable and just in its Nature (and who can make any Objection to it?) that it affects all Men alike: The highest Quality are as liable to this Penalty, as the inferior Subjects. If therefore they, who are resolved to keep Chaplains (whether from a Motive of Pride, and to gain the Esteem of the World, or for Fashion-sake only) would demand a Certificate from such as cringe for the Office; we should find few Levites, who could produce Credentials sufficient to intitle them to a second Reception. Besides, much Confusion and Heart-burnings might be avoided by complying with this Law; and much more be prevented, if no Priest were admitted to direct or dictate to a Family, but when he appears in his consecrated Asylum.

A Levite, take him in the Capacity of a Chaplain or Parish-Priest, is but a menial Servant; and I have met with one only, (and never heard of another) who was so just to his own Conscience, and ingenious to the World, to confess that undeniable Position. Will they preach or pray without Hire? No. Will they guide and direct you without a Reward? No. Are they not maintained by the Parish, or by such Persons who unhappily take them into their Houses? No Man can deny it. Why therefore should they disown the Appellation which their Wages intitle them to? We can assign no other Reason than an innate Disposition to Pride and Arrogance. If they were kept at that Distance, Edition: current; Page: [388]which is absolutely necessary for the Humiliation of a Servant, they would be more mannerly and less aspiring. A pampered Chaplain flatters himself with having as much Right to my Lady’s Favours as her Lap-dog, and no doubt but he would willingly supply his Place; while the Parish-Priest, through our Indulgence and Familiarity, first assumes to be our Equal, and then commands Admittance to our Wives and Daughters. There is one Thing worthy of our Notice, clean Straw and slender Diet (to speak in the Language of Sportsmen) preserves a Spaniel’s Nose, and causes him to remember his Duty.

I know not any Subject which is so liable to Laughter and Ridicule, no Topic, which lays so justifiable a Foundation for Banter, as to hear the Inferior Clergy affirm, that they are indued with the Holy Ghost. If they studied to do Religion a Disservice, they could not more effectually accomplish it, than by such an Assertion. I own, indeed, that they pretend as much to Religion, as the Warming-pan Gentleman does to the Crown of Great-Britain; but their Actions manifest a Distrust of their Doctrine, and run counter to their own Rules. From what Period of Time do they date the Gift of Inspiration? From the Moment, no doubt, of their Ordination: It will follow, therefore, that all who receive Holy Orders, are endued with that divine Blessing. If this be granted, then it is impossible for a Priest to preach or write amiss, or indeed to be guilty of any Crime. But we are convinced by Experience, that they preach and write what is not Orthodox, and lead enormous and irregular Lives: From whence it is evident, that they pretend to have that heavenly Gift, which they have not.

Can the Holy Ghost speak with a double Tongue? No Man sure will be so presumptuous to own such glaring Blasphemy: And yet we must give Credit to this, if we believe or acknowledge the Tribe of Levi to be inspired. For let us enquire into the Tenets of the Priests of Rome, and those of England (omitting all others) and we shall find them as opposite to each other as North to South: Yet no Man will deny the Validity of their Ordination. Nay, let us compare the Doctrine of our English Priests with one another, and we shall find them to clash violently; so that we are brought under this Dilemma, that the Holy Ghost contradicts himself, Edition: current; Page: [389]or the Priests are not inspired: It is execrable Blasphemy to assert the former, and a obld but necessary Truth to affirm the latter.

It is impossible to foretel what may be the Fate of the ensuing Treatise; but if I were certain that it would meet an ill Reception from the World, yet it should not give me the least Uneasiness. I am sensible, that many a Book has been made a Sacrifice for telling what is [improperly called] unseasonable Truth; because (like a Mirror) it discovers those Deformities, which Flattery might have varnished over.

When I behold a Priest with so much Sanctity in his Countenance, that it portends the D———l and all of ——— in his Heart, it calls to my Remembrance, what History informs us of a certain Apple in the Eastern Parts of the World: This Fruit has a beautiful Outside, whose Temptation is so very strong, that it allures many an unwary Traveller to partake of its hidden Poison. As therefore our Nature is so easy to be imposed upon, we ought to be very circumspect, and guard ourselves from the Wiles and Sophistry of Priestcraft. And indeed it behoves us to be doubly watchful, and keep a strict Eye upon our Children, when we suffer them to be tutored by a Priest, or imbibe their Sentiments. For we know by woful Experience, that they will infuse such Principles into them, as are most consistent with Priestly Interest, and will advance their Power and Authority.

There is not one Observation in this Book, but might furnish Matter enough for a large Volume; but I have used all the Brevity imaginable, because I would not tire my Reader with dwelling too long upon the same Subject, nor be thought to aggravate the Crime, which I endeavour to expose.

As I have no personal Pique against any Clergyman, or against the Body of the Clergy in general, so I cannot justly be charged with writing out of Envy or Revenge; my sole Intent being only to expose their Vices, in hopes they will one Day convince us of a thorough Reformation: And it is my constant Custom to put forth some pious Ejaculation, so I beseech Almighty God, that as Charity covers a Multitude of Sins, he would pour down a double Portion of this Blessing on all Priests, who are in so great Need of it.

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Mr. Collier tells us, that Chaplains are like so many Houshold-Gods, aud ought to be esteemed as such: To which Orthodox Report I readily consent. But tho’ this was intended as a Compliment to his Reverend Brethren, yet, in my Opinion, there cannot be a more severe Satyr against them. For we are sensible, that the Houshold Deities of the Ancients were errant Blockheads, kept more for Show than Use; they had nothing in them, and were justly deemed to be Lumber, and superstitious Trumpery. And indeed if every Chaplain had his Sportula, as his Office naturally requires, each Family might fare the better, and the Sanctified Interloper would learn Humility.

It was customary with Archbishop Laud to say, that he hoped to see the Time, when ne’er a Jack Gentleman in England should dare to stand before a Clergyman with his Hat on. Such an haughty and imperious Expression manifested the genuine Spirit of the Sons of High-Church: And no doubt but this Upstart, Semi-Protestant Prelate, would have endeavoured to fulfill his Hopes, had not God Almighty, thro’ his infinite Goodness, thought fit to cut him short, and deliver our World from such a Plague. But in Return to his graceless Grace’s meek and humble Wish, the Author of the following Pages heartily and fervently desires, that a Day may speedily come, when ne’er a Scoundrel who pretends to Divinity, [whether a Strippling, or an overgrown Pensioner] shall be admitted into the Company of his Betters, be they Gentlemen or Peasants, except he supplicates with his Hat in his Hand; even tho’ he be equipp’d with his Spiritual Harness.

I am the more sanguine in my Expectations, because I perceive that the British Spirit begins to re-assume its Reason; that it shakes off the Bigotry of Priestcraft, and daily disesteems the Delusion of jugling Impostors. Can there be a greater Slur upon an Englishman, than to say that he dares to act bravely, yet dares not to think freely? Is not Liberty of the Mind preferable to the Liberty of the Body? If therefore we have preserved the One from Foreign Enemies at the Expence of our Blood and Treasure, we ought to secure the Other from Domestic Invaders. And let us always lay before us this salutary and glorious Maxim,

Non minor est virtus, quàm quærere, parta tueri.

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It would puzzle the wisest Heads in the Universe to account for the Defection among his Majesty’s Subjects, and the Alienation of their Allegiance, did they not consider the Power of Priestly Men. The bad Clergy are like so many malevolent Planets, which shed their baleful Insluence, and affect the Inhabitants of this World; And how many are there, who eagerly swallow whatever proceeds from the Mouth of a Priest? They take for good Food and wholesome Nourishment, what they too often find by Experience to be rank Poison to their Minds. Such are the direful Effects of Bigotry and the Want of Thought! Such the pernicious Consequence of sacrificing our Reason to the arbitrary haughty Will of an aspiring Chorahite!

How like Patriots and Britons did the People in the West behave themselves at the Time of the Revolution! They were truly sensible that they must inevitably have sacrificed their Religion, Liberties and Properties to the Humour of Tyranny, had they not joined King William of ever Glorious and Immortal Memory. And indeed Twelve Years are not elapsed, fince those very People (of my own Knowledge I speak it) retain’d a just Sense of those inestimable Blessings, which their Monarch had secured and confirmed to them: Nor did they fail to manifest their Gratitude, and acknowledge the Goodness of their Benefactor with unfeigned Hearts, upon every Occasion.

But alas! Tempora mutantur———And how many of these once Glorious Men have (to their eternal Shame) converted their Loyalty into Rebellion! The Unanimity, Love and Affection, which was formerly so conspicuous among them, is now changed into Discord, Hatred, and burning Envy. They will not hearken to Reason, nor suffer themselves to be convinced of their Errors; no Arguments can prevail with them, or the plainest Demonstrations work upon ’em. They are stupid and obstinate, and will not be undeceived: They have Eyes, but see not; Ears, and hear not: Which confirms the following Observation, that they who are debauch’d in their Principles, will quickly be so in their Intellectuals.

Now if we enquire into the Time and Cause of this unhappy and deplorable Metamorphosis, we shall quickly be able to give entire Satisfaction in those Particulars. Whig and Tory, High-Church and Low-Church, [Words of Ignominy, Edition: current; Page: [392]invented to nourish Faction] were perfect Strangers to our Ears, or at least grown obsolete, and buried in Oblivion; but when the Spiritual Hydra began to belch forth his Poison, when the Convicted Priest went his Progress, the Air was corrupted with his Breath, and the fell Contagion spread it self far and near. The Snakes, which had lain so long in the Grass, began to shew their Heads, and hiss; they stung many, and did much Mischief for the Space of four Years, or thereabouts: But Providence deprived them of their Sting in due Season, and now the Party-coloured Animals are insignificant.

Had this sturdy Boutefeu been endued with a just Sense of the Priesthood, he must needs have known, that Humility was one of the fundamental Pillars that supported it; and consequently that he was sapping her Foundation, when he rode in Triumph round the Country (rejoicing in the Pride of his Heart) attended with factious Crowds, and received by disaffected Magistrates. But had he been treated according to his Demerit, a Cat-of-nine-tails and a Cart would have graced him better, and his Progress ought to have been from Newgate to Tyburn.

From hence we may date the Æra of all those Animosities and Heart-burnings, those Divisions, Seditions and Rebellions, which have plagued our Sion: And as they had their first Rise from the Pulpit, so they are as wickedly and industriously fomented from Pulpits or private Conversation to this Day.

I do not so much wonder, that the Vulgar, and more illiterate Part of the Kingdom were seduced and deluded with the specious and false Notion of the Church being in Danger, when I reflect, that too many Men of Parts and Education fell under the same Infatuation: But that they should still continue under that Delusion is unaccountable.

If the Church had no better Friends to protect and support her than her black Guard, we might justly say, that she were in Danger; but as it is manifest, that she flourishes under the Guardianship of the best and most pious of Princes, to Him surely we ought to return cur sincere and hearty Thanks, and pay the Allegiance and Love to Him, which our Duty requires from us, and our Religion calls upon us to perform.

As the inferior Clergy call themselves the Physicians of the Soul, so they ought to confine themselves to that particular Practice; but when they deviate from this, and pretend Edition: current; Page: [393]to a Knowledge of what is beyond their Sphere, they may truly be called spiritual Quacks, and no Regard ought to be paid them. He runs a great Risque who ventares himself under their Management; and ten to one but he comes off a Sufferer in the End.

Notwithstanding the Case is so plain and undeniable, yet they have rivetted themselves into the good Opinion of the common Herd, who not allowing themselves Time to think, place an implicit Faith in these Empirics; and not admitting the Advice of able Judges and sound Practitioners, their Wounds must turn to a Gangrene. So Mountebanks, by their Assurance and Volubility of Tongue, vend their poisonous Packets at a cheap Rate, and ingratiate themselves with the Vulgar; while regular Physicians and Surgeons, who make the Health of Man their Study, are laughed at and despised, their Practice postponed, and their salutary Prescriptions and Medicines set at nought, undervalued, and neglected.

An ill Story in the Mouth of a Clergyman runs like Hedge-firing from one to another, till it has passed the whole Line: And no Consideration is had, whether there are any justifiable Grounds for such a calumnious Rumour. And indeed if they will not spare their own Fraternity, (as we have a recent Instance of their not doing so, in a late Controversy among the Doctors of the Church;) how should the Laity expect to find better Quarter from such Hands. Fama vulgi is a weak and bad Foundation, yet we know that too many Reputations have been sacrificed upon no other Proof: So that such Clergymen, who give a Loose to their Tongues, and mangle a Man’s Character, may not improperly be called Spiritual Butchers.

He that relates a Tale to any of the inferior Clergy, with a Design that it should pass no further, will find himself miserably baulked in his Expectation: It could not possibly spread further, had he put it into the Gazette. Examples of this Kind are numerous; but I shall only mention one, which is of the freshest Date.

A Gentleman, without Premeditation, or any malicious Intent, told a young Priest, in private Conversation, a Story which he had heard relating to one of his Acquaintance. It is not proper to mention the Particulars, because the Words are of a glaring Nature; and the Gentleman, I find (having Edition: current; Page: [394]traced the Story) is intirely innocent of what he is charged with, the Accusation being as false as scandalous. However, the Suckling in Divinity growing big with his Burden, and impatient to be delivered, hastes to the usual Place of Rendezvous, and there disembogues himself to his Fraternity, who, you may rest assured, resolved that the Story should not lie dormant. How consistent the rash Behaviour of this pious Strippling was with good Fellowship and Charity, I leave the World to judge; nay, I’ll submit it even to his own Friend’s Determination.———He that has a Mind to be further informed, need go no farther than the Charter-house Coffee-house, and associate himself with the Black Locusts.

I little thought, when I began this Preface, that I should have dwelt so long upon such a dirty and unsavory Subject. I shall therefore conclude with the following Epistle, which was sent to Cardinal Alberoni during his Administration of foreign Affairs.

May it please your Eminence,

“WE have an High-church Priest among us, who condemns your Politics in endeavouring to excite the People of France to Commotion and Rebellion, while others applaud your Design: For this Son of Levi alledges, that you have only copied after him, with this Difference: You acted by Agents no way qualified for so grand an Enterprize; but he rode about the Country, poisoning, vivâ voce, the Minds of the deluded People, who most eagerly imbibed the Venom. Thus he had [as he most impiously terms it] his Desire over his Enemies, by appearing in propriâ personâ; whose brawny Shoulders and smooth Face, recommended him to the kind Graces of the Fair Sex, who at that time were Ladies of the Ascendant over their Husbands, and their Purses.

“To dissipate that chagrin Air, which is no way agreeable to a Person of your sanguine Temper and Vivacity, permit me to relate a Tavern Jest. I was lately invited to drink a Glass at the Pope’s Head; our Room was commodious, our Wine had a true Flavour, but every Man complained of the cold Edition: current; Page: [395]Weather. One of the Company called for the Cardinal, another for the Doctor, the Fire being much upon a Level with the Credit of us Tories, viz. almost extinct. I could not for my Life imagine what they would be at, till I saw the Drawer come up with an Instrument in his Hand, ycleped a Fire-pan; I quickly perceived, that its Property was to raise a Flame in an Instant. I smiled to myself, judging the Appellation to be very à propos.

“The Question was put, Whether your Eminence could not lay a juster Claim to this Tool of Combustion, than the Doctor? After a long Debate, it was carried in the Negative; being urged strenuously, and proved to a Demonstration, that the Doctor had been a more successful Engineer (and your Senior) in setting Fire to the Mines he had laid, and inflaming a whole Nation. However, it was agreed, nemine contradicente, that if you can make Interest at Rome for the Doctor to fill one of the Vacancies in the sacred College, he shall give you the Right Hand in this Affair, and promise to renounce all Claim and Title to it for himself, and his Heirs for ever. I have the Honour to be

Your Eminency’s, &c.
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Priestianity: Or a View of the Disparity between the Apostles and the modern inferior Clergy.

THAT the Contempt of the modern inferior Clergy increases daily, is obvious to every Man; nor will it be otherwise, while Men are allowed to see with their own Eyes, and hear with their own Ears, except the Sons of Levi begin a Reformation among themselves. Vain and groundless is the Cause which they assign for the Disrespect that is shewn to them, viz. a Combination of a Set of People, who call themselves Free-thinkers, to asperse the Gentlemen of the Long Petticoat Tribe, and cast an Odium upon them: And this, they say, is done without any justifiable Foundation, without any Regard to their Function, which ought to be held sacred.

I know no Man who disesteems the Priesthood: But since there is almost a total Defection among the Priests, and no Sign of Amendment; since they are become supine and indolent, and will not put a Stop to the growing Evil, which may easily be effected; since their Principles are bad, and their Morals worse, it is a Duty incumbent on every Christian to reprove them openly. For he that respects and countenances such Persons, may be justly said to approve their wicked Ways, or at least to encourage them to persevere therein.

There is a Nescio quid in the Face of a good Clergyman, which naturally commands Reverence and Respect; and he merits not the Name of Man, who pays them not with Chearfulness. But there is somewhat so Tour and distasteful in the Looks of a bad Clergyman, that he draws an Odium from us instead of Esteem: To the former therefore of these Gentlemen we are willing, and rejoice to grant such Honours as may justly be attributed to them; but no honest Man can allow that the latter have the least Pretence to a Share of them. God Almighty seems to have set a Mark upon these reprobate Animals, as he did upon Cain; and which is hourly visible in the scattered Jews, and the perjured Bailiffs: And as Providence never did any thing in vain, we certainly Edition: current; Page: [397]deserve to be censured, if we neglect and despise so salutary a Caution, or endeavour not to shun such common Enemies to our Peace and good Society.

I cannot chime in with the black and numerous Herd, who would persuade us, that an equal Respect ought to be paid to all Persons in holy Orders, without enquiring into their Worth and Merit. I must confess, that their Argument to enforce this Acknowledgment seems to carry a good Colour with it, namely, their being the immediate and peculiar Servants of Christ: And therefore, they say, we ought to honour them for their Master’s Sake. But with Submission to these aspiring, pious Men, we may argue, by the same Parity of Reason, that a Traitor, a Murderer, or a Profligate, might claim a due Deference from us, because they have been employed in some honourable Family, or descended from ancient and Praise-worthy Ancestors. So that the Argument which they bring to countenance, or rather to support their Assertion, is so far from being of any Service to them, that it quite overthrows it: And this is demonstrable from the following Maxim, which will not admit a Contradiction or Exception.

  • ———Tantum conspectius in se
  • Crimen habet, quanto major, qui peccat habetur.

Now, since these Abiramites, these false Apostles, would deceive us with an Opinion of their being Successors to Christ, and his Disciples; since they claim a Privilege extraordinary, and an uncommon Respect from thence; I shall make a Scrutiny into their Morals and Behaviour, and shew how alien their Characters are from the holy Twelve, and their Brethren. This I purpose to do with all the Sincerity imaginable; and so ingenuous a Declaration will surely take away all Umbrage of Malice or Partiality.

Many substantial and very good Reasons may be given for our Saviour’s chusing such laborious and painstaking Men for his Apostles; to mention which would be digressive from my present Purpose; I shall therefore avoid all Ambages, and begin with observing, that the Apostles were Men of such a mean Extraction, that there Edition: current; Page: [398]was no room to boast of their Pedigree, if their Inclinations had prompted them to it. It would be no difficult Matter to prove, that most of the Clergy are upon a Level with them in this Particular; but as they are willing that the censorious World may remain in Ignorance of their Affinity to each other as to this Point, I shall keep my Mouth as it were with a Bridle, being always cautious not to lay a Stumbling-block of Offence in the Way of our weak Brethren. Wherefore I now proceed to my second Observation, namely,

That the Apostles had an immediate Commission from Christ to preach the Gospel, and baptize all Nations, with a Power to remit or retain Men’s Sins.

The Clergy pretend to have the same equal Power and Authority, though not immediately from Christ; for they assert, that their Commission is derived from the Apostles by a long Succession, who granted to their Successors for ever such Power as Christ had invested them with. I am apt to think, if any Man should question the Validity of their Power, they would chuse to plead Prescription for remitting or retaining Sins, rather than be put to prove it.