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The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, D. D., Volume IX; by Jonathan Swift

Part 7 out of 7

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son of George, Prince of Wales, and was afterwards known as "the

[Footnote 10: Dr. Thomas Herring, preacher at Lincoln's Inn, and
afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, preached a sermon against "The
Beggar's Opera" in March, 1727-8. It is referred to in a letter to the
"Whitehall Evening Post," dated March 30th, 1728, reprinted in the
Appendix to "Letters from Dr. T. Herring to W. Duncombe," 1777. As
Archbishop of York, Herring interested himself greatly, during the
rebellion of 1745, in forming an association for the defence of the
liberties of the people and the constitution of the country. Writing to
Swift, under date May 16th, 1728, Gay remarks: "I suppose you must have
heard, that I had the honour to have had a sermon preached against my
works by a court-chaplain, which I look upon as no small addition to my
fame" (Scott, xvii. 194). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 11: The edition of 1729 has "those common robbers of the
public." [T.S.]]

[Footnote 12: Peachum says: "Can it be expected that we should hang our
acquaintance for nothing, when our betters will hardly save theirs
without being paid for it?"--Act II., sc. x. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 13: The rivalry between Handel and the Italian composers had
then been keen for nearly twenty years. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 14: The edition of 1729 has "the fore-runner." [T.S.]]


_Having on the 12th of October last, received a letter signed_ ANDREW
DEALER, _and_ PATRICK PENNYLESS; _I believe the following_ PAPER, _just
come to my hands, will be a sufficient answer to it[2]._

_Sic vos non vobis vellera fertis oves._


I am a country gentleman, and a Member of Parliament, with an estate of
about 1400_l_. a year, which as a Northern landlord, I receive from above
two hundred tenants, and my lands having been let, near twenty years ago,
the rents, till very lately, were esteemed to be not above half value;
yet by the intolerable scarcity of silver[4], I lie under the greatest
difficulties in receiving them, as well as in paying my labourers, or
buying any thing necessary for my family from tradesmen, who are not able
to be long out of their money. But the sufferings of me, and those of my
rank, are trifles in comparison, of what the meaner sort undergo; such as
the buyers and sellers, at fairs, and markets; the shopkeepers in every
town, the farmers in general. All those who travel with fish, poultry,
pedlary-ware, and other conveniencies to sell: But more especially
handicrafts-men, who work for us by the day, and common labourers, whom I
have already mentioned. Both these kinds of people, I am forced to
employ, till their wages amount to a double pistole,[5] or a moidore,
(for we hardly have any gold of lower value left among us) to divide it
among themselves as they can; and this is generally done at an ale-house
or brandy shop; where, besides the cost of getting drunk, (which is
usually the case) they must pay tenpence or a shilling, for changing
their piece into silver, to some huckstering fellow, who follows that
trade. But what is infinitely worse, those poor men for want of due
payment, are forced to take up their oatmeal, and other necessaries of
life, at almost double value, and consequently are not able, to discharge
half their score, especially under the scarceness of corn, for two years
past, and the melancholy disappointment of the present crop.

The causes of this, and a thousand other evils, are clear and manifest to
you and all other thinking men, though hidden from the vulgar: these
indeed complain of hard times, the dearth of corn, the want of money, the
badness of seasons; that their goods bear no price, and the poor cannot
find work; but their weak reasonings never carry them to the hatred, and
contempt, borne us by our neighbours, and brethren, without the least
grounds of provocation, who rejoice at our sufferings, although sometimes
to their own disadvantage; of the dead weight upon every beneficial
branch of our trade;[6] of half our revenues sent annually to England,
and many other grievances peculiar to this unhappy kingdom, excepted for
our sins, which keep us from enjoying the common benefits of mankind, as
you and some other lovers of their country, have so often observed, with
such good inclinations, and so little effect.

It is true indeed, that under our circumstances in general, this
complaint for the want of silver, may appear as ridiculous, as for a man
to be impatient, about a cut finger, when he is struck with the plague;
and yet a poor fellow going to the gallows, may be allowed to feel the
smart of wasps, while he is upon Tyburn Road. This misfortune is too
urging,[7] and vexatious in every kind of small traffic, and so hourly
pressing upon all persons in the country whatsoever, that a hundred
inconveniences, of perhaps greater moment in themselves, have been
timely[8] submitted to, with far less disquietude and murmurs. And the
case seems yet the harder, if it be true, what many skilful men assert,
that nothing is more easy, than a remedy; and, that the want of silver,
in proportion to the little gold remaining among us, is altogether as
unnecessary, as it is inconvenient. A person of distinction assured me
very lately, that, in discoursing with the lord lieutenant,[9] before his
last return to England, his excellency said, "He had pressed the matter
often, in proper time and place, and to proper persons; and could not see
any difficulty of the least moment, that could prevent us from being easy
upon that article."[10]

Whoever carries to England, twenty-seven English shillings, and brings
back one moidore, of full weight, is a gainer of ninepence Irish; in a
guinea, the advantage is threepence, and twopence in a pistole. The
BANKERS, who are generally masters of all our gold, and silver, with this
advantage, have sent over as much of the latter, as came into their
hands. The value of one thousand moidores in silver, would thus amount in
clear profit, to 37_l_. 10,_s_. The shopkeepers, and other traders, who
go to London to buy goods, followed the same practice, by which we have
been driven into this insupportable distress.

To a common thinker, it should seem, that nothing would be more easy,
than for the government to redress this evil, at any time they shall
please. When the value of guineas was lowered in England, from 21_s_.
6_d_. to only 21_s_.[11] the consequences to this kingdom, were obvious,
and manifest to us all; and a sober man, may be allowed at least to
wonder, though he dare not complain, why a new regulation of coin among
us, was not then made; much more, why it hath never been since. It would
surely require no very profound skill in algebra, to reduce the
difference of ninepence in thirty shillings, or threepence in a guinea,
to less than a farthing; and so small a fraction could be no temptation,
either to bankers, to hazard their silver at sea, or tradesmen to load
themselves with it, in their journeys to England. In my humble opinion,
it would be no unseasonable condescension, if the government would
graciously please, to signify to the poor loyal Protestant subjects of
Ireland, either that this miserable want of silver, is not possible to be
remedied in any degree, by the nicest skill in arithmetic; or else, that
it doth not stand with the good pleasure of England, to suffer any silver
at all among us. In the former case, it would be madness, to expect
impossibilities: and in the other, we must submit: For, lives, and
fortunes are always at the mercy of the CONQUEROR.

The question hath been often put in printed papers, by the DRAPIER,[12]
and others, or perhaps by the same WRITER, under different styles, why
this kingdom should not be permitted to have a mint of its own, for the
coinage of gold, silver, and copper, which is a power exercised by many
bishops, and every petty prince in Germany. But this question hath never
been answered, nor the least application that I have heard of, made to
the Crown from hence, for the grant of a public mint, although it stands
upon record, that several cities, and corporations here, had the liberty
of coining silver. I can see no reasons, why we alone of all nations, are
thus restrained, but such as I dare not mention; only thus far, I may
venture, that Ireland is the first imperial kingdom, since Nimrod, which
ever wanted power, to coin their own money.

I know very well, that in England it is lawful for any subject, to
petition either the Prince, or the Parliament, provided it be done in a
dutiful, and regular manner; but what is lawful for a subject of Ireland,
I profess I cannot determine; nor will undertake, that your printer shall
not be prosecuted, in a court of justice, for publishing my wishes, that
a poor shopkeeper might be able to change a guinea, or a moidore, when a
customer comes for a crown's worth of goods. I have known less crimes
punished with the utmost severity, under the title of disaffection: And,
I cannot but approve the wisdom of the ancients, who, after Astraea had
fled from the earth,[13] at least took care to provide three upright
judges for Hell. Men's ears among us, are indeed grown so nice, that
whoever happens to think out of fashion, in what relates to the welfare
of this kingdom, dare not so much as complain of the toothache, lest our
weak and busy dabblers in politic should be ready to swear against him
for disaffection.

There was a method practised by Sir Ambrose Crawley,[14] the great dealer
in iron-works, which I wonder the gentlemen oL our country, under this
great exigence, have not thought fit to imitate. In the several towns,
and villages, where he dealt, and many miles round, he gave notes,
instead of money, from twopence, to twenty shillings, which passed
current in all shops, and markets, as well as in houses, where meat, or
drink was sold. I see no reason, why the like practice, may not be
introduced among us, with some degree of success, or at least may not
serve, as a poor expedient, in this our blessed age of paper, which, as
it dischargeth all our greatest payments, may be equally useful in the
smaller, and may just keep us alive, till an English Act of Parliament
shall forbid it.

I have been told, that among some of our poorest American colonies, upon
the continent, the people enjoy the liberty of cutting the little money
among them into halves, and quarters, for the conveniences of small
traffic. How happy should we be in comparison of our present condition,
if the like privilege, were granted to us, of employing the shears, for
want of a mint, upon our foreign gold; by clipping it into half-crowns,
and shillings, and even lower denominations; for beggars must be content
to live upon scraps; and it would be our felicity, that these scraps
would never[15] be exported to other countries, while any thing better
was left.

If neither of these projects will avail, I see nothing left us, but to
truck and barter our goods, like the wild Indians, with each other, or
with our too powerful neighbours; only with this disadvantage on our
side, that the Indians enjoy the product of their own land, whereas the
better half of ours is sent away without so much as a recompense in
bugles, or glass, in return.

It must needs be a very comfortable circumstance, in the present
juncture, that some thousand families are gone, or going, or preparing to
go, from hence, and settle themselves in America. The poorer sort, for
want of work; the farmers whose beneficial bargains, are now become a
rack-rent, too hard to be borne. And those who have any ready money,
or can purchase any, by the sale of their goods, or leases; because they
find their fortunes hourly decaying; that their goods will bear no price,
and that few or none, have any money to buy the very necessaries of life,
are hastening to follow their departed neighbours. It is true, corn among
us, carries a very high price; but it is for the same reason, that rats,
and cats, and dead horses, have been often bought for gold, in a town

There is a person of quality in my neighbourhood, who twenty years ago,
when he was just come to age, being unexperienced, and of a generous
temper, let his lands, even as times went then, at a low rate, to able
tenants, and consequently by the rise of land, since that time, looked
upon his estate, to be set at half value. But numbers of these tenants,
or their descendants are now offering to sell their leases by cant, even
those which were for lives, some of them renewable for ever, and some
fee-farms, which the landlord himself hath bought in, at half the price
they would have yielded seven years ago. And some leases let at the same
time, for lives, have been given up to him, without any consideration at

This is the most favourable face of things at present among us, I say,
among us of the North, who are esteemed the only thriving people of the
kingdom: And how far, and how soon, this misery and desolation may
spread, is easy to foresee.

The vast sums of money daily carried off, by our numerous adventurers to
America, have deprived us of our gold in these parts, almost as much as
of our silver.

And the good wives who came[16] to our houses, offer us their pieces of
linen, upon which their whole dependence lies, for so little profit, that
it can neither half pay their rents, nor half support their families.

It is remarkable, that this enthusiasm spread among our northern people,
of sheltering themselves in the continent of America, hath no other
foundation, than their present insupportable condition at home. I have
made all possible inquiries, to learn what encouragement our people have
met with, by any intelligence from those plantations, sufficient to make
them undertake so tedious, and hazardous a voyage in all seasons of the
year; and so ill accommodated in their ships, that many of them have died
miserably in their passage; but, could never get one satisfactory answer.
Somebody, they know not who, had written a letter to his friend, or
cousin, from thence, inviting him by all means, to come over; that it was
a fine fruitful country, and to be held for ever, at a penny an acre. But
the truth of the fact is this, The English established in those colonies,
are in great want of men to inhabit that tract of ground, which lies
between them, and the wild Indians, who are not reduced under their
dominion. We read of some barbarous people, whom the Romans placed in
their armies, for no other service, than to blunt their enemies' swords,
and afterwards to fill up trenches with their dead bodies. And thus our
people who transport themselves, are settled in those interjacent tracts,
as a screen against the insults of the savages, and many have as much
land, as they can clear from the woods, at a very reasonable rate, if
they can afford to pay about a hundred years' purchase by their labour.
Now beside the fox's reasons which inclines all those, who have already
ventured thither, to represent everything, in a false light, as well for
justifying their own conduct, as for getting companions, in their misery;
so, the governing people in those plantations, have wisely provided,[17]
that no letters shall be suffered to pass from thence hither, without
being first viewed by the council, by which our people here, are wholly
deceived in the opinions, they have of the happy condition of their
friends, gone before them. This was accidentally discovered some months
ago, by an honest man who having transported himself, and family thither,
and finding all things directly contrary to his hope, had the luck to
convey a private note, by a faithful hand, to his relation here,
entreating him, not to think of such a voyage, and to discourage all his
friends from attempting it. Yet this, although it be a truth well known,
hath produced very little effects; which is no manner of wonder, for as
it is natural to a man in a fever to turn often, although without any
hope of ease, or when he is pursued to leap down a precipice, to avoid an
enemy just at his back; so, men in the extremest degree of misery, and
want, will naturally fly to the first appearance of relief, let it be
ever so vain, or visionary.

You may observe, that I have very superficially touched the subject I
began with, and with the utmost caution: for I know how criminal the
least complaint hath been thought, however seasonable or just, or
honestly intended, which hath forced me to offer up my daily prayers,
that it may never, at least in my time, be interpreted by innuendoes as a
false scandalous, seditious, and disaffected action, for a man to roar
under an acute fit of the gout, which beside the loss and the danger,
would be very inconvenient to one of my age, so severely afflicted with
that distemper.

I wish you good success, but I can promise you little, in an ungrateful
office you have taken up, without the least view, either to reputation or
profit. Perhaps your comfort is, that none but villains, and betrayers of
their country, can be your enemies. Upon which, I have little to say,
having not the honour, to be acquainted with many of that sort, and
therefore, as you easily may believe, am compelled to lead a very retired

I am Sir,
Your most obedient,
Humble servant,


County of Down,
Dec. 2d. 1728.

[Footnote 1: See title for this in note above to No. 1, p. 313. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: No. 19 of "The Intelligencer" is a reprint of a tract which
I have not been able to find. It appeared again in 1736 under the title:
"A Letter from the Revd. J.S.D.S.P.D. to a Country Gentleman in the
North of Ireland."[T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: "Apud Donati Vitam," 17:

"Thus do ye sheep grow fleeces for others."--W.F.H. KING.


[Footnote 4: Writing to Dr. Sheridan, under date September 18th, 1728,
Swift says: "I think the sufferings of the country for want of silver
deserves a paper, since the remedy is so easy, and those in power so
negligent" (Scott, xvii. 204). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: The price of the pistole in Ireland was fixed at 18_s_.
6_d_., the double pistole at _L_1 17_s_., and the moidore _L_1 10_s_.
These prices were fixed by order of the Lords Justices, July 30th, 1712.
In 1737 the moidore was reduced to _L_1 9_s_. 3_d_. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: "A Letter," etc., referred to in note on preceding page,
has: "They consider not the dead weight upon every beneficial branch of
our trade; that half our revenues are annually sent to England; with
many other grievances peculiar to this unhappy kingdom; which keep
us," etc. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: The 1736 edition of "A Letter," etc., has "is so urging."

[Footnote 8: The 1736 edition of "A Letter," etc., has "tamely."

[Footnote 9: John Carteret (1690-1763) succeeded his father as second
Baron Carteret in 1695, and his mother as Earl Granville in 1744. He was
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1724 to 1730. See Swift's "Vindication
of ... Lord Carteret" in vol. vi. of present edition. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 10: "A Letter," etc. (1736 edition), has "being made easy upon
this article." [T.S.]]

[Footnote 11: On December 22nd, 1717, the price of the guinea was
reduced, by a proclamation, from 21_s_. 6_d_. to 21_s_. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 12: See vol. vii. of present edition of Swift's Works, dealing
with the Drapier Letters. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 13: Astraea withdrew from the earth at the close of the Golden
Age. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 14: Sir Ambrose Crowley (or Crawley), Liveryman of the
Drapers' Company and Alderman for Dowgate Ward, sat in Parliament for
Andover in 1713. He was satirized in "The Spectator" (No. 299,
February 12th, 1711/2) as Sir John Enville, and in "The Tatler" (No.
73, September 27th, 1709) as Sir Arthur de Bradley. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 15: "A Letter," etc. (1736), has "could never." [T.S.]]

[Footnote 16: The reprint of 1730, and "A Letter," etc. (1736), have "who
come." [T.S.]]

[Footnote 17: "A Letter," etc. (1736), has: "The governing people in
those plantations, have also wisely provided," etc. [T.S.]]


ALMANZA, battle of
Anne, Queen, her change of ministry in 1710;
and the Church;
establishment of Queen Anne's bounty;
letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Aretino, Pietro.
Army, essays on the.
Asgill, John.
Astell, Mrs. Mary.
Atterbury, Bishop, his character in "The Tatler";
contributes to "The Examiner";
his influence in Convocation.
Avarice, essay on.

Bank, the, in the Whig interest.
"Banks, Sir Jacob, Letter to".
Bickerstaff, Isaac, Steele's pseudonym.
Birth, value of.
Boyer, Abel.
Boyle, Henry.
Bromley, Clobery.
Bromley, William, speaker;
"Congratulatory Speech of".
Buckingham, George Villiers, Duke of, assassination of.
Buckingham and Normanby, John, Duke of.
Burgess, Daniel.
Burnet, Bishop.

Caesar, Julius.
Calves-Head Club, the.
Carew, John, speech at the execution of.
Carteret, Lord.
Chamber of Fame.
Charles V. and Aretino.
Church, the, resolution in Parliament as to the state of;;
essay on
answer to essay on;
the Whigs and.
Churches, scheme for building new.
Clement, Jacques.
Clendon, John.
Coffee-houses, signification of the.
Coin, clipping of.
Coligny, Admiral de, assassination of.
Collins, Anthony.
Coningsby, Mrs.
Court of Alienation.
Coward, William.
Cowper, Earl.
Crackanthorpe, Mrs.
Crassus, Marcus, the Duke of Marlborough attacked under the name of.
Crawley, Sir Ambrose.

D'Ancre, Marechal.
Daniel, Samuel.
Dartmouth, Lord.
Defoe, Daniel, edited "The Review".
Devonshire, William, 2nd Duke of.
Dissenters, the,
under James II.;
essay on;
Whigs and.
Dodwell, Henry.
Dyet, Richard.

Eloquence, essay on;
further references to,
Elstob, Mrs. Elizabeth.
English tongue, corruption of the.
"Examiner, The," establishment of.
"Examiner, Letter to the."

fable of;
true characteristics of.
Felton, John.
"Female Tatler, The".
Ford, James.
Freind, Dr.
"French King's Thanks to the Tories of Great Britain, The".
Furnese, Sir Henry.

Gay, John,
on "The Examiner";
vindication of his "Beggar's Opera";
his fables.
George, Prince, of Denmark.
Gertruydenberg, treaty of.
Godolphin, Lord, his change of politics;
dismissal of;
nicknamed "Volpone";
his intrigues against Harley;
as "Gracchus";
devoted to the turf;
ministry of.
Good manners, essay on.
Greenshields, Rev. James.
Gregg, William.
Guiscard, Marquis de;
account of.
Guise, Dukes of, assassination of,.

Harcourt, Sir Simon.
Hare, Dr. Francis.
Harley, Robert, attempted assassination of;
made Earl of Oxford;
the Speaker's congratulation on his escape;
his scheme for securing debts;
his remission of first-fruits to the Irish Clergy.
Harley, Thomas,
Harrison, William, contributed to "The Tatler";
new issue of "The Tatler" by.
Hastings, Lady Elizabeth.
Henry III, of France, assassination of.
Henry IV. of France, assassination of.
Herring, Dr. Thomas.
Hickes, George.
Honeywood, General, superseded.
Hooker, Richard.

Indemnity, Act of (1708).
Indian Kings, the, in London.
"Intelligencer, The".
Ireland, scarcity of silver in.
Isaac, Mr., a dancing-master.
Italian music, the taste for.

James II., King, and the Dissenters;
and the Whigs.

Kent, Duke of.

Learning, Bill for the Encouragement of.
Lechmere, Nicholas.
Leeds, Duke of.
Leslie, Rev. Charles.
"Lewis, Erasmus, The Vindication of".
Lions, dream of the.
Lorrain, Paul.
Louis XIV.

Macartney, General, superseded.
"Management of the War, The," pamphlets by Dr. Hare.
Manley, Mrs., attacked as "Madonella";
her "Memoirs of Europe".
Marlborough, Duke of
the Treaty of Gertruydenberg;
his change of politics;
rewards and grants to;
his intrigues against Harley;
his proposal to be made Commander-in-chief for life;
attacked by Swift under the name of "Crassus";
charged with peculations with regard to bread contracts;
threatened resignation of in 1708.
Marlborough, Duchess of.
Masham, Mrs.
Matveof, Muscovite Ambassador, arrest of.
Medina, Sir Solomon de, and the Duke of Marlborough.
"Medley, The," attack by Swift on;
and see notes to "The Examiner," _passim_
Menage, Gilles.
Meredith, General, superseded.
Merit, genealogy and description of.
Milton, John.
Ministry, reasons for the change of;
"Mob," Swift's dislike of the word.
More, Henry.
Morphew, the publisher.

Naturalization Act.
Naunton, Sir Robert.
Norris, John.
Nottingham, Earl of.

"Observator, The".
Occasional Conformity Bill, the.
October Club, the.
Oldisworth, William;
revival of "The Examiner" by.
Osborne, Francis.
Oxford University, decree of.

Palatines, the.
Parsons, Robert.
Partridge, John.
Passive obedience, doctrine of;
according to the Whigs;
according to the Tories;
Peace, Address to the Queen concerning (1707).
People, madness of the.
Peterborough, Earl of, letter from Swift to.
Petty, Sir William.
Platonic ladies.
Political Lying, the Art of.
"Political State of Great Britain, The"
Popery, the Tories and.
Pretender, the, party capital made out of;
and the Whigs.
Prior, Matthew, contributes to "The Examiner";
stated to be the author of "The Examiner".

Qualification Bill.

Racan, Mons.
Radcliffe, Dr John.
"Rehearsal, The".
Repington, Mr.
"Review, The".
Ridge, Thomas.
Rivers, Earl, appointed Lieutenant of the Tower.
Rochester, Laurence Hyde, Earl of.
Roper, Abel, suspected as author of "The Examiner".

Sacheverell, Dr.
St. Christopher's.
St John, Henry, and "The Examiner,"
character of;
"A Letter to The Examiner" attributed to;
attempted assassination of;
his hatred of Harley.
Scythia, story of the king of.
Security, Bill of.
Sewell, Dr. George.
Shippen, William.
Shrewsbury, Charles, Duke of.
Silver, scarcity of, in Ireland.
Smalridge, Dr.
Somers, Lord.
South Sea Company, establishment of the.
"Spectator, The".
Stanhope, General.
Stanley, Dr William.
Steele, Richard, and "The Tatler";
article on Marlborough in "The Taller" by;
and "The Spectator".
Suckling, Sir John.
Sunderland, Earl of.
Swift, Jonathan, his contributions to "The Tatler";
supports Harrison with the new "Tatler";
his contentions to "The Examiner";
his memorial to Harley regarding the first-fruits in Ireland;
his contribution to "The Spectator";
his contributions to "The Intelligencer".

"Tatler, The," founding and success of;
authorship of papers in;
discontinued by Steele;
new issues of.
Taxes, increase of.
Temple, Sir William, on humour.
Temson, Archbp.
Test Act, the.
Tindal, Matthew.
Titus, Colonel Silas.
Toland, John.
Tones, principles of the, explained.
Tory, origin of the word.
Toulon, siege of.
Trapp, Dr. Joseph.
Tutchin, John, editor of "The Observator".
Twisden, Heneage.

Verres (Lord Wharton).

Walpole, Horatio.
War, many people interested in continuance of the;
pamphlets on the management of the.
Wenman, Viscount.
Wharton, Lord;
as "Clodius";
attacked by Swift under the name of Verres;
desecration of a church by.
Whig and Tory, designation of the words.
"Whig Examiner, The".
Whigs, principles of the, explained;
and Dissenters;
and the Pretender.
Wotton, Sir Henry.
Wotton, W., his "Case of the Present Convocation considered".

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