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  • 1898
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Cross. “The Whig Examiner” was written by Addison. Five numbers only were issued (September 14th to October 12th, 1710). “The light and comic style of Addison’s parody,” notes Scott, may be compared “with the fierce, stern, and vindictive tone of Swift’s philippic against the Earl of Wharton, under the name of Verres.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 12: “The Medley” (No. 11, December 11th, 1710) remarks of this adaptation from Cicero, that the writer “has added more rude reflections of his own than are to be found in that author, whose only fault is his falling too much into such reflections.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 13: See also Swift’s “Short Character,” etc. (vol. v., pp. 1-28 of present edition), and note _in loco_. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 14: Hawkesworth notes: “The story of the Lord Wharton is true; who, with some other wretches, went into a pulpit, and defiled it in the most filthy manner.” See also “Examiner,” No. 23, _post_. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 15: Probably Mrs. Coningsby. See Swift’s “Short Character” (vol. v., p. 27). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 16: The “Act for the Queen’s most gracious, general, and free pardon” was passed in 1708 (7 Ann., c. 22). The Earl of Wharton himself profited by this Act. A Mr. George Hutchinson gave Wharton L1,000 to procure his appointment to the office of Register of the Seizures. This was proved before the House of Commons in May, 1713, and the House resolved that it was “a scandalous corruption,” and that as it took place “before the Act of Her Majesty’s most gracious, general, and free pardon; this House will proceed no further in that matter.” (“Journals of House of Commons,” vol. xvii., p. 356.) [T.S.]]

NUMB. 19.[1]


_Quippe ubi fas versunt atque nefas: tot bella per orbem: Tam multae, scelerum facies_—-[2]

I am often violently tempted to let the world freely know who the author of this paper is; to tell them my name and titles at length; which would prevent abundance of inconsistent criticisms I daily hear upon it. Those who are enemies to the notions and opinions I would advance, are sometimes apt to quarrel with the “Examiner” as defective in point of wit, and sometimes of truth. At other times they are so generous and candid, to allow, it is written by a club, and that very great hands have fingers in it. As for those who only appear its adversaries in print, they give me but very little pain: The paper I hold lies at my mercy, and I can govern it as I please; therefore, when I begin to find the wit too bright, the learning too deep, and the satire too keen for me to deal with, (a very frequent case no doubt, where a man is constantly attacked by such shrewd adversaries) I peaceably fold it up, or fling it aside, and read no more. It would be happy for me to have the same power over people’s tongues, and not be forced to hear my own work railed at and commended fifty times a day, affecting all the while a countenance wholly unconcerned, and joining out of policy or good manners with the judgment of both parties: this, I confess, is too great a hardship for so bashful and unexperienced a writer.[3]

But, alas, I lie under another discouragement of much more weight: I was very unfortunate in the choice of my party when I set up to be a writer; where is the merit, or what opportunity to discover our wit, our courage, or our learning, in drawing our pens for the defence of a cause, which the Queen and both Houses of Parliament, and nine parts in ten of the kingdom, have so unanimously embraced? I am cruelly afraid, we politic authors must begin to lessen our expenses, and lie for the future at the mercy of our printers. All hopes now are gone of writing ourselves into places or pensions. A certain starveling author who worked under the late administration, told me with a heavy heart, above a month ago, that he and some others of his brethren had secretly offered their service dog-cheap to the present ministry, but were all refused, and are now maintained by contribution, like Jacobites or fanatics. I have been of late employed out of perfect commiseration, in doing them good offices: for, whereas some were of opinion that these hungry zealots should not be suffered any longer in their malapert way to snarl at the present course of public proceedings; and whereas, others proposed, that they should be limited to a certain number, and permitted to write for their masters, in the same manner as counsel are assigned for _other_ criminals; that is, to say all they can in defence of their client, but not reflect upon the court: I humbly gave my advice, that they should be suffered to write on, as they used to do; which I did purely out of regard to their persons: for I hoped it would keep them out of harm’s way, and prevent them from falling into evil courses, which though of little consequence to the public, would certainly be fatal to themselves. If I have room at the bottom of this paper, I will transcribe a petition to the present ministry, sent me by one of these authors, in behalf of himself and fourscore others of his brethren.

For my own part, notwithstanding the little encouragement to be hoped for at this time from the men in power, I shall continue my paper till either the world or myself grow weary of it: the latter is easily determined; and for the former, I shall not leave it to the partiality of either party, but to the infallible judgment of my printer. One principal end I designed by it, was to undeceive those well-meaning people, who have been drawn unaware into a wrong sense of things, either by the common prejudices of education and company, the great personal qualities of some party leaders, or the foul misrepresentations that were constantly made of all who durst differ from them in the smallest article. I have known such men struck with the thoughts of some late changes, which, as they pretend to think, were made without any reason visible to the world. In answer to this, it is not sufficient to allege, what nobody doubts, that a prince may choose his own servants without giving a reason to his subjects; because it is certain, that a wise and good prince will not change his ministers without very important reasons; and a good subject ought to suppose, that in such a case there are such reasons, though he be not apprised of them, otherwise he must inwardly tax his prince of capriciousness, inconstancy, or ill-design. Such reasons indeed, may not be obvious to persons prejudiced, or at great distance, or short thinkers; and therefore, if they be no secrets of state, nor any ill consequences to be apprehended from their publication; it is no uncommendable work in any private hand to lay them open for the satisfaction of all men. And if what I have already said, or shall hereafter say of this kind, be thought to reflect upon persons, though none have been named, I know not how it can possibly be avoided. The Queen in her speech mentions, “with great concern,” that “the navy and other offices are burthened with heavy debts, and desires that the like may be prevented for the time to come.”[4] And, if it be _now_ possible to prevent the continuance of an evil that has been so long growing upon us, and is arrived to such a height, surely those corruptions and mismanagements must have been great which first introduced them, before our taxes were eaten up by annuities.

If I were able to rip up, and discover in all their colours, only about eight or nine thousand of the most scandalous abuses,[5] that have been committed in all parts of public management for twenty years past, by a certain set of men and their instruments, I should reckon it some service to my country, and to posterity. But to say the truth, I should be glad the authors’ names were conveyed to future times along with their actions. For though the present age may understand well enough the little hints we give, the parallels we draw, and the characters we describe, yet this will all be lost to the next. However, if these papers, reduced into a more durable form, should happen to live till our grandchildren are men, I hope they may have curiosity enough to consult annals, and compare dates, in order to find out what names were then intrusted with the conduct of affairs, in the consequences whereof, themselves will so deeply share; like a heavy debt in a private family, which often lies an incumbrance upon an estate for three generations.

But leaving the care of informing posterity to better pens, I shall with due regard to truth, discretion, and the safety of my person from the men of the new-fangled moderation, continue to take all proper opportunities of letting the misled part of the people see how grossly they have been abused, and in what particulars: I shall also endeavour to convince them, that the present course we are in, is the most probable means, with the blessing of God, to extricate ourselves out of all our difficulties.

Among those who are pleased to write or talk against this paper, I have observed a strange manner of reasoning, which I should be glad to hear them explain themselves upon. They make no ceremony of exclaiming upon all occasions against a change of ministry, in so critical and dangerous a conjuncture. What shall we, who heartily approve and join in those proceedings, say in defence of them? We own the juncture of affairs to be as they describe: we are pushed for an answer, and are forced at last freely to confess, that the corruptions and abuses in every branch of the administration, were so numerous and intolerable, that all things must have ended in ruin, without some speedy reformation. This I have already asserted in a former paper; and the replies I have read or heard, have been in plain terms to affirm the direct contrary; and not only to defend and celebrate the late persons and proceedings, but to threaten me with law and vengeance, for casting reflections on so many great and honourable men, whose birth, virtue and abilities, whose morals and religion, whose love of their country and its constitution in Church and State, were so universally allowed; and all this set off with odious comparisons reflecting on the present choice. Is not this in plain and direct terms to tell all the world that the Qu[een] has in a most dangerous crisis turned out a whole set of the best ministers that ever served a prince, without any manner of reason but her royal pleasure, and brought in others of a character directly contrary? And how so vile an opinion as this can consist with the least pretence to loyalty or good manners, let the world determine.

I confess myself so little a refiner in the politics, as not to be able to discover, what other motive besides obedience to the Queen, a sense of public danger, and a true love of their country, joined with invincible courage, could spirit those great men, who have now under her Majesty’s authority undertaken the direction of affairs. What can they expect but the utmost efforts of malice from a set of enraged domestic adversaries, perpetually watching over their conduct, crossing all their designs, and using every art to foment divisions among them, in order to join with the weakest upon any rupture? The difficulties they must encounter are nine times more and greater than ever; and the prospects of interest, after the reapings and gleanings of so many years, nine times less. Every misfortune at home or abroad, though the necessary consequence of former counsels, will be imputed to them; and all the good success given to the merit of former schemes. A sharper has held your cards all the evening, played booty, and lost your money, and when things are almost desperate, you employ an honest gentleman to retrieve your losses.

I would ask whether the Queen’s speech does not contain her intentions, in every particular relating to the public, that a good subject, a Briton and a Protestant can possibly have at heart? “To carry on the war in all its parts, particularly in Spain,[6] with the utmost vigour, in order to procure a safe and honourable peace for us and our allies; to find some ways of paying the debts on the navy; to support and encourage the Church of England; to preserve the British constitution according to the Union; to maintain the indulgence by law allowed to scrupulous consciences; and to employ none but such as are for the Protestant succession in the house of Hanover.”[7] It is known enough, that speeches on these occasions, are ever digested by the advice of those who are in the chief confidence, and consequently that these are the sentiments of her Majesty’s ministers, as well as her own; and we see, the two Houses have unanimously agreed with her in every article. When the least counterpaces[8] are made to any of these resolutions, it will then be time enough for our malcontents to bawl out Popery, persecution, arbitrary power, and the Pretender. In the mean while, it is a little hard to think, that this island can hold but six men of honesty and ability enough to serve their prince and country; or that our safety should depend upon their credit, any more than it would upon the breath in their nostrils. Why should not a revolution in the ministry be sometimes necessary as well as a revolution in the crown? It is to be presumed, the former is at least as lawful in itself, and perhaps the experiment not quite so dangerous. The revolution of the sun about the earth was formerly thought a necessary expedient to solve appearances, though it left many difficulties unanswered; till philosophers contrived a better, which is that of the earth’s revolution about the sun. This is found upon experience to save much time and labour, to correct many irregular motions, and is better suited to the respect due from a planet to a fixed star.

[Footnote 1: No. 18 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: Virgil, “Georgics,” i. 505-6:

“For right and wrong we see perverted here: So many wars arise, such countless forms Of crime and evil agitate the globe.”–R. KENNEDY. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: This remark seems to have tickled the writer of the twelfth number of “The Medley,” who professed to be transported at the idea of the “Examiner” being a bashful writer. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: In her speech at the opening of Parliament on November 27th, 1710, the Queen said: “I cannot without great concern mention to you, that the Navy and other offices are burthened with heavy debts, which so far affect the public service, that I most earnestly desire you to find some way to answer those demands, and to prevent the like for the time to come.” (“Journals of House of Lords,” vol. xix., p. 166.) [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: “The Medley” (No. 13, December 25th, 1710) remarks: “When he … promises to discover ‘only about eight or nine thousand of their most scandalous abuses,’ without pretending to discover one; and when he audaciously reviles a general, whose services have been the wonder both of friends and enemies … all this he calls ‘defending the cause of the Q—- and both Houses of Parliament, and nine parts in ten of the kingdom.'” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: It was a general complaint, that the war in Spain had been neglected, in order to supply that army which was more immediately under the management of Marlborough. [S.]]

[Footnote 7: The quotation is not given verbatim, but is substantially correct. See “Journals of House of Lords,” vol. xix., p. 166. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: The word is defined by Dr. Murray as “a movement in a contrary or reverse direction; a movement or step against something.” [T.S.]]

NUMB. 20.[1]


_Sunt quibus in Satira videor nimis acer, et ultra Legem tendere opus: sine nervis altera, quicquid Composui, pars esse putat—-_[2]

When the printer came last week for his copy, he brought along with him a bundle of those papers,[3] which in the phrase of Whig coffee-houses have “swinged off” the “Examiner,” most of which I had never seen nor heard of before. I remember some time ago in one of the “Tatlers” to have read a letter,[4] wherein several reasons are assigned for the present corruption and degeneracy of our taste, but I think the writer has omitted the principal one, which I take to be the prejudice of parties. Neither can I excuse either side of this infirmity; I have heard the arrantest drivellers _pro_ and _con_ commended for their smartness even by men of tolerable judgment; and the best performances exploded as nonsense and stupidity. This indeed may partly be imputed to policy and prudence; but it is chiefly owing to that blindness, which prejudice and passion cast over the understanding: I mention this because I think it properly within my province in quality of _Examiner_. And having granted more than is usual for an enemy to do, I must now take leave to say, that so weak a cause, and so ruined a faction, were never provided with pens more resembling their condition, or less suited to their occasions.

_Non tali auxilio, nec defensoribus istis Tempus eget—-_[5]

This is the more to be wondered at, when we consider they have the full liberty of the press, that they have no other way left to recover themselves, and that they want not men of excellent parts to set their arguments in the best light they will bear. Now if two men would argue on both sides with fairness, good sense, and good manners, it would be no ill entertainment to the town, and perhaps be the most effectual means to reconcile us. But I am apt to think that men of a great genius are hardly brought to prostitute their pens in a very odious cause; which besides, is more properly undertaken by noise and impudence, by gross railing and scurrility, by calumny and lying, and by little trifling cavils and carpings in the wrong place, which those whifflers use for arguments and answers.

I was well enough pleased with a story of one of these answerers, who in a paper[6] last week found many faults with a late calculation of mine. Being it seems more deep learned than his fellows, he was resolved to begin his answer with a Latin verse, as well as other folks: His business was to look out for something against an “Examiner” that would pretend to _tax_ accounts; and turning over Virgil, he had the luck to find these words,

——_fugiant examina taxos;_[7]

so down they went, and out they would have come, if one of his unlucky prompters had not hindered it.

I here declare once for all, that if these people will not be quiet, I shall take the bread out of their mouths, and answer the “Examiner” myself;[8] which I protest I have never yet done, though I have been often charged with it; neither have those answers been written or published with my privity, as malicious people are pleased to give out; nor do I believe the common Whiggish report, that the authors are hired by the ministry to give my paper a value.

But the friends of this paper have given me more uneasiness with their impatience, than its enemies by their answers. I heard myself censured last week by some of the former, for promising to discover the corruptions in the late administration, but never performing any thing. The latter on the other side, are thundering out their anathemas against me for discovering so many. I am at a loss how to decide between these contraries, and shall therefore proceed after my own way, as I have hitherto done: my design being of more importance than that of writing only to gratify the spleen of one side, or provoke that of the other, though it may occasionally have both effects.

I shall therefore go on to relate some facts that in my humble opinion were no hindrance to the change of the ministry.

The first I shall mention, was that of introducing certain new phrases into the court style, which had been very seldom or never made use of in former times. They usually ran in the following terms: “Madam, I cannot serve you while such a one is in employment: I desire humbly to resign my commission, if Mr. —— continues secretary of state: I cannot answer that the city will lend money, unless my L– —— be pr[esiden]t of the c[ounc]il. I must beg leave to surrender, except —— has the staff. I must not accept the seals, unless —— comes into the other office.” This has been the language of late years from subjects to their prince.[9] Thus they stood upon terms, and must have their own conditions to ruin the nation. Nay, this dutiful manner of capitulating, had spread so far, that every understrapper began at length to perk up and assume: he “expected a regiment”; or “his son must be a major”; or “his brother a collector”, else he threatened to vote “according to his conscience.”

Another of their glorious attempts, was the clause intended in the bill for the encouragement of learning;[10] for taking off the obligation upon fellows of colleges in both Universities to enter upon holy orders: the design of which, as I have heard the undertakers often confess, was to remove the care of educating youth out of the hands of the clergy, who are apt to infuse into their pupils too great a regard for the Church and the Monarchy. But there was a farther secret in this clause, which may best be discovered by the first projectors, or at least the garblers of it; and these are known to be C[o]ll[i]ns[11] and Tindal,[12] in conjunction with a most pious lawyer their disciple.[13]

What shall we say to their prodigious skill in arithmetic, discovered so constantly in their decision of elections; where they were able to make out by the _rule of false_, that three were more than three-and-twenty, and fifteen than fifty? Nay it was a maxim which I never heard any of them dispute, that in determining elections, they were not to consider where the right lay, but which of the candidates was likelier to be true to “the cause.” This they used to illustrate by a very apt and decent similitude, of gaming with a sharper; if you cannot cheat as well as he, you are certainly undone.

Another cast of their politics was that of endeavouring to impeach an innocent l[a]dy, for no reason imaginable, but her faithful and diligent service to the Q[ueen],[14] and the favour her M[ajesty] bore to her upon that account, when others had acted contrary in so shameful a manner. What else was the crime? Had she treated her royal mistress with insolence or neglect? Had she enriched herself by a long practice of bribery, and obtaining exorbitant grants? Had she engrossed her M[ajest]y’s favours, without admitting any access but through her means? Had she heaped employments upon herself, her family and dependants? Had she an imperious, haughty behaviour? Or, after all, was it a perfect blunder and mistake of one person for another? I have heard of a man who lay all night on a rough pavement; and in the morning, wondering what it could possibly be, that made him rest so ill, happened to see a feather under him, and imputed the uneasiness of his lodging to that. I remember likewise the story of a giant in Rabelais,[15] who used to feed upon wind-mills, but was unfortunately choked with a small lump of fresh butter, before a warm oven.

And here I cannot but observe how very refined some people are in their generosity and gratitude. There is a certain great person[16] (I shall not say of what sex) who for many years past, was the constant mark and butt, against which our present malcontents used to discharge their resentment: upon whom they bestowed all the terms of scurrility, that malice, envy and indignation could invent; whom they publicly accused of every vice that can possess a human heart: pride, covetousness, ingratitude, oppression, treachery, dissimulation, violence and fury, all in the highest extremes: but of late, they have changed their language on a sudden; that person is now the most faithful and just that ever served a prince; that person, originally differing from them in principles, as far as east and west, but united in practice, and falling together, they are now reconciled, and find twenty resemblances between each other, which they could never discover before. _Tanti est ut placeam tibi perire._[17]

But to return: How could it be longer suffered in a free nation, that all avenues to preferment should be shut up, except a very few, when one or two stood constant sentry, who docked all favours they handed down; or spread a huge invisible net, between the prince and subject, through which nothing of value could pass? And here I cannot but admire at one consequence from this management, which is of an extraordinary nature: Generally speaking, princes who have ill ministers are apt to suffer in their reputation, as well as in the love of the people: but it was not so with the Q[ueen]. When the sun is overcast by those clouds he exhales from the earth, we still acknowledge his light and influence, and at last find he can dispel and drive them down to the horizon. The wisest prince, by the necessity of affairs, the misrepresentations of designing men, or the innocent mistakes, even of a good predecessor, may find himself encompassed by a crew of courtiers, whom time, opportunity and success, have miserably corrupted. And if he can save himself and his people from ruin, under the _worst_ administration, what may not his subjects hope for, when with their universal applause, he changes hands, and makes use of the _best_?

Another great objection with me against the late party, was the cruel tyranny they put upon conscience, by a barbarous inquisition, refusing to admit the least toleration or indulgence. They imposed a hundred tests, but could never be prevailed with to dispense with, or take off the smallest, nor even admit of _occasional_ conformity;[18] but went on daily (as their apostle Tindal expresseth it) narrowing their terms of communion; pronouncing nine parts in ten of the kingdom heretics, and shutting them out of the pale of their Church. These very men, who talk so much of a comprehension in religion among us, how came they to allow so little of it in politics, which is _their sole religion?_ You shall hear them pretending to bewail the animosities kept up between the Church of England and Dissenters, where the differences in opinion are so few and inconsiderable; yet these very sons of moderation were pleased to excommunicate every man who disagreed with them in the smallest article of their _political creed_, or who refused to receive any new article, how difficult soever to digest, which the leaders imposed at pleasure to serve their own interest.

I will quit this subject for the present, when I have told one story.[19] “There was a great king in Scythia, whose dominions were bounded to the north, by the poor, mountainous territories of a petty lord, who paid homage as the king’s vassal. The Scythian prime minister being largely bribed, indirectly obtained his master’s consent to suffer this lord to build forts, and provide himself with arms, under pretence of preventing the inroads of the Tartars. This little depending sovereign, finding he was now in a condition to be troublesome, began to insist upon terms, and threatened upon every occasion to unite with the Tartars: upon which, the prime minister, who began to be in pain about his head, proposed a match betwixt his master, and the only daughter of this tributary lord, which he had the good luck to bring to pass: and from that time, valued himself as author of a most glorious union, which indeed was grown of absolute necessity by his corruption.” This passage, cited literally from an old history of Sarmatia, I thought fit to set down, on purpose to perplex little smattering remarkers, and put them upon the hunt for an application.

[Footnote 1: No. 19 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: Horace, “Satires,” II. i. 1-3:

“There are, to whom too poignant I appear; Beyond the laws of satire too severe.
My lines are weak, unsinewed, others say.”–P. FRANCIS. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: One of these papers was “The Observator.” The issue for December 6th (vol. ix., No. 93) dealt largely with “The Examiner’s” attack on Verres (No. 18, _ante_), and the following number returned to the charge, criticizing the attacks made in Nos. 17 and 18 of “The Examiner” on the Duke of Marlborough. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: This appears to refer to “The Tatler,” No. 183 (June 10th, 1710), where Steele writes: “The ridicule among us runs strong against laudable actions. Nay, in the ordinary course of things, and the common regards of life, negligence of the public is an epidemic vice… It were to be wished, that love of their country were the first principle of action in men of business.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: Virgil, “Aeneid,” ii. 521-2:

“‘Tis not such aid or such defence as thine The time demands.”—R. KENNEDY.

[Footnote 6: The paper in all probability was “The Medley,” No. 10 (December 4th), which was mainly devoted to a reply to Swift’s “calculation” as to the rewards of the Duke of Marlborough. Scott thinks the answerer may have been Defoe, for in No. 114 (of vol. vii.) of his “Review of the State of the British Nation,” he has a passage evidently directed at Swift: “I know another, that is an orator in the Latin, a walking index of books, has all the libraries in Europe in his head, from the Vatican at Rome, to the learned collection of Dr. Salmon at Fleet-Ditch; but at the same time, he is a cynic in behaviour, a fury in temper, impolite in conversation, abusive and scurrilous in language, and ungovernable in passion. Is this to be learned? Then may I be still _illiterate_. I have been in my time, pretty well master of five languages, and have not lost them yet, though I write no bill over my door, or set _Latin quotations_ in the front of the ‘Review.’ But, to my irreparable loss, I was bred but by halves; for my father, forgetting Juno’s royal academy, left the language of Billingsgate quite out of my education: hence I am perfectly _illiterate_ in the polite style of the street, and am not fit to converse with the porters and carmen of quality, who grace their diction with the beauties of calling names, and curse their neighbour with a _bonne grace_.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: “Eclogues,” ix. 30:

“So may thy bees the poisonous yew forgo.” ARCHDN. F. WRANGHAM.

[Footnote 8: See No. 23, _post._ [T.S.]]

[Footnote 9: See Swift’s account of the intrigues of the Duke of Marlborough and Lord Godolphin to secure Harley’s dismissal in his “Memoirs Relating to that Change” (vol. v., pp. 370-371 of present edition), and “Some Considerations” (vol. v., pp. 421-422, _ibid._).]

[Footnote 10: The “Bill for the Encouragement of Learning” was introduced in the House of Commons, January 11th, 1709/10, passed March 14th, and obtained royal assent April 5th, 1710. There were several amendments, but the “Journals of the House of Commons” throw no light on their purport. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 11: Anthony Collins (1676-1729), the deist, who wrote “A Discourse of Free-Thinking” (1713), which received a reply from Swift (see vol. iii., pp. 163-192 of present edition). The most thorough reply, however, was made by Bentley, under the pen-name “Phileleutherus Lipsiensis.” Collins’s controversies with Dr. Samuel Clarke were the outcome of the former’s thinking on Locke’s teaching. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 12: Matthew Tindal (1657?-1733) was the author of “The Rights of the Christian Church Asserted” (1706), a work that created a great stir at the time, and occasioned many replies. Swift deals with him in his “Remarks upon a Book, intituled, ‘The Rights of the Christian Church'” (see vol. iii., pp. 79-124, also note on p. 9 of same volume of present edition). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 13: The pious lawyer was John Asgill (1659-1738), who was called to the bar in 1692. He was elected to Parliament for Bramber (1698-1700 and 1702-1707), but was expelled the House of Commons for blasphemy (see note on p. 9 of vol. iii, of present edition). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 14: Mrs. Masham, when Abigail Hill, was appointed bedchamber-woman to the Princess of Denmark. See vol. v., p. 365 of present edition. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 15: The giant Widenostrils had swallowed every pan, kettle, “dripping-pan, and brass and iron pot in the land, for want of windmills, which, were his daily food.” But he “choked himself with eating a huge lump of fresh butter at the mouth of a hot oven, by the advice of physicians.”–RABELAIS, iv. 17; Motteux’s translation. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 16: Daniel Finch, second Earl of Nottingham (1647-1730), was Secretary of State (1689-1693 and 1702-1704). He is the Don Diego Dismallo of “The Tatler” (No. 21). See also vol. v., p. 247, of present edition of Swift’s works. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 17: “It is worth while to perish that I may give you pleasure.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 18: The Occasional Conformity Bill was rejected in 1702, and again in 1703 and 1704. It was, however, passed in 1711; but repealed in 1718. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 19: “The Medley,” No. 14 (January 1st, 1710) [_sic_], translates this story into an account of the Union. It is the same story, in effect, which gave great offence to the Scotch peers when printed in “The Public Spirit of the Whigs.” The “Medley’s” version runs: “England being bounded on the north by a poor mountainous people called Scots, who were vassals to that crown, and the English prime minister, being largely bribed, obtained the Q—-‘s consent for the Scots to arm and exercise themselves; and they finding they were now in a condition to be troublesome, began to insist upon terms, and threatened upon every occasion to join with the French. Upon which the prime minister, who began to be in pain about his head, set on foot a treaty to unite the two kingdoms, which he had the good luck to bring to pass, and from that time valued himself as author of a most glorious union, which indeed was grown of absolute necessity by his corruption.” [T.S.]]

NUMB. 21.[1]


_—-Pugnacem scirent sapiente minorem._[2]

I am very much at a loss how to proceed upon the subject intended in this paper, which a new incident has led me to engage in: The subject I mean, is that of soldiers and the army; but being a matter wholly out of my trade, I shall handle it in as cautious a manner as I am able.

It is certain, that the art of war hath suffered great changes, almost in every age and country of the world; however, there are some maxims relating to it, that will be eternal truths, and which every reasonable man will allow.

In the early times of Greece and Rome, the armies of those states were composed of their citizens, who took no pay, because the quarrel was their own; and therefore the war was usually decided in one campaign; or, if it lasted longer, however in winter the soldiers returned to their several callings, and were not distinguished from the rest of the people. The Gothic governments in Europe, though they were of military institution, yet observed almost the same method. I shall instance only here in England. Those who held lands _in capite_ of the king, were obliged to attend him in his wars with a certain number of men, who all held lands from them at easy rents on that condition. These fought without pay, and when the service was over, returned again to their farms. It is recorded of William Rufus, that being absent in Normandy, and engaged in a war with his brother, he ordered twenty thousand men to be raised, and sent over from hence to supply his army;[3] but having struck up a peace before they were embarked, he gave them leave to disband, on condition they would pay him ten shillings a man, which amounted to a mighty sum in those days.

Consider a kingdom as a great family, whereof the prince is the father, and it will appear plainly that mercenary troops are only servants armed, either to awe the children at home; or else to defend from invaders, the family who are otherwise employed, and choose to contribute out of their stock for paying their defenders, rather than leave their affairs to be neglected in their absence. The art of making soldiery a trade, and keeping armies in pay, seems in Europe to have had two originals. The first was usurpation, when popular men destroyed the liberties of their country, and seized the power into their own hands, which they were forced to maintain by hiring guards to bridle the people. Such were anciently the tyrants in most of the small states in Greece, and such were those in several parts of Italy, about three or four centuries ago, as Machiavel informs us. The other original of mercenary armies, seems to have risen from larger kingdoms or commonwealths, which had subdued provinces at a distance, and were forced to maintain troops upon them, to prevent insurrections from the natives: Of this sort were Macedon, Carthage and Rome of old; Venice and Holland at this day; as well as most kingdoms of Europe. So that mercenary forces in a free state, whether monarchy or commonwealth, seem only necessary, either for preserving their conquests, (which in such governments it is not prudent to extend too far) or else for maintaining a war at distance.

In this last, which at present is our most important case, there are certain maxims that all wise governments have observed.

The first I shall mention is, that no private man should have a commission to be general for life,[4] let his merit and services be ever so great. Or, if a prince be unadvisedly brought to offer such a commission in one hand, let him (to save time and blood) deliver up his crown with the other. The Romans in the height and perfection of their government, usually sent out one of the new consuls to be general against their most formidable enemy, and recalled the old one, who often returned before the next election, and according as he had merit was sent to command in some other part, which perhaps was continued to him for a second, and sometimes a third year. But if Paulus Aemilius,[5] or Scipio[6] himself, had presumed to move the Senate to continue their commissions for life, they certainly would have fallen a sacrifice to the jealousy of the people. Caesar indeed (between whom and a certain general, some of late with much discretion have made a parallel) had his command in Gaul continued to him for five years, and was afterwards made perpetual Dictator, that is to say, general for life, which gave him the power and the will of utterly destroying the Roman liberty. But in his time the Romans were very much degenerated, and great corruptions crept into their morals and discipline. However, we see there still were some remains of a noble spirit among them; for when Caesar sent to be chosen consul, notwithstanding his absence, they decreed he should come in person, give up his command, and _petere more majorum._[7]

It is not impossible but a general may desire such a commission out of inadvertency, at the instigation of his friends, or perhaps of his enemies, or merely for the benefit and honour of it, without intending any such dreadful consequences; and in that case, a wise prince or state may barely refuse it without shewing any marks of their displeasure. But the request in its own nature is highly criminal, and ought to be entered so upon record, to terrify others in time to come from venturing to make it.

Another maxim to be observed by a free state engaged in war, is to keep the military power in absolute subjection to the civil, nor ever suffer the former to influence or interfere with the latter. A general and his army are servants hired by the civil power to act as they are directed from thence, and with a commission large or limited as the administration shall think fit; for which they are largely paid in profit and honour. The whole system by which armies are governed, is quite alien from the peaceful institutions of states at home; and if the rewards be so inviting as to tempt a senator to take a post in the army, while he is there on his duty, he ought to consider himself in no other capacity. I know not any sort of men so apt as soldiers are, to reprimand those who presume to interfere in what relates to their trade. When they hear any of us in a coffeehouse, wondering that such a victory was not pursued, complaining that such a town cost more men and money than it was worth to take it; or that such an opportunity was lost, of fighting the enemy; they presently reprove us, and often with justice enough, for meddling in matters out of our sphere, and clearly convince us of our mistakes in terms of art that none of us understand. Nor do we escape so; for they reflect with the utmost contempt of our ignorance, that we who sit at home in ease and security, never stirring from our firesides, should pretend from books, and general reason, to argue upon military affairs; which after all, if we may judge from the share of intellectuals in some who are said to excel that way, is not so very profound or difficult a science. But if there be any weight in what they offer, as perhaps there may be a great deal; surely these gentlemen have a much weaker pretence to concern themselves in matters of the cabinet, which are always either far above, or much beside their capacities. Soldiers may as well pretend to prescribe rules for trade, to determine points in philosophy, to be moderators in an assembly of divines, or direct in a court of justice, as to misplace their talent in examining affairs of state, especially in what relates to the choice of ministers, who are never so likely to be ill chosen as when approved by them. It would be endless to shew how pernicious all steps of this nature have been in many parts and ages of the world. I shall only produce two at present; one in Rome, and the other in England. The first is of Caesar, when he came to the city with his soldiers to settle the ministry, there was an end of their liberty for ever. The second was in the great rebellion against King Charles the First. The King and both Houses were agreed upon the terms of a peace, but the officers of the army (as Ludlow relates it) sets a guard upon the House of Commons, took a list of the members, and kept all by force out of the House, except those who were for bringing the King to a trial.[8] Some years after, when they erected a military government, and ruled the island by major-generals, we received most admirable instances of their skill in politics. To say the truth, such formidable sticklers[9] can have but two reasons for desiring to interfere in the administration; the first is that of Caesar and Cromwell, of which, God forbid, I should accuse or suspect any body; since the second is pernicious enough, and that is, to preserve those in power who are for perpetuating a war, rather than see others advanced, who they are sure will use all proper means to promote a safe and honourable peace.

Thirdly, Since it is observed of armies, that in the present age they are brought to some degree of humanity, and a more regular demeanour to each other and to the world, than in former times; it is certainly a good maxim to endeavour preserving this temper among them, without which they would soon degenerate into savages. To this end, it would be prudent among other things, to forbid that detestable custom of drinking to the damnation or confusion of any person whatsoever.

Such desperate acts, and the opinions infused along with them, into heads already inflamed by youth and wine, are enough to scatter madness and sedition through a whole camp. So seldom upon their knees to pray, and so often to curse! This is not properly atheism, but a sort of anti-religion prescribed by the Devil, and which an atheist of common sense would scorn as an absurdity. I have heard it mentioned as a common practice last autumn, somewhere or other, to drink damnation and confusion[10] (and this with circumstances very aggravating and horrid) to the new ministry, and to those who _had any hand_ in turning out the old; that is to say, to those persons whom her Majesty has thought fit to employ in her greatest affairs, with something more than a glance against the Qu[een] herself. And if it be true that these orgies were attended with certain doubtful words of standing by their g[enera]l, who without question abhorred them; let any man consider the consequence of such dispositions, if they should happen to spread. I could only wish for the honour of the Army, as well as of the Qu[een] and ministry, that a remedy had been applied to the disease, in the place and time where it grew. If men of such principles were able to propagate them in a camp, and were sure of a general for life, who had any tincture of ambition, we might soon bid farewell to ministers and parliaments, whether new or old.

I am only sorry such an accident has happened towards the close of a war, when it is chiefly the interest of those gentlemen who have posts in the army, to behave themselves in such a manner as might encourage the legislature to make some provision for them, when there will be no further need of their services. They are to consider themselves as persons by their educations unqualified for many other stations of life. Their fortunes will not suffer them to retain to a party after its fall, nor have they weight or abilities to help towards its resurrection. Their future dependence is wholly upon the prince and Parliament, to which they will never make their way, by solemn execrations of the ministry; a ministry of the Qu[een]’s own election, and fully answering the wishes of her people. This unhappy step in some of their brethren, may pass for an uncontrollable argument, that politics are not their business or their element. The fortune of war hath raised several persons up to swelling titles, and great commands over numbers of men, which they are too apt to transfer along with them into civil life, and appear in all companies as if it were at the head of their regiments, with a sort of deportment that ought to have been dropt behind, in that short passage to Harwich. It puts me in mind of a dialogue in Lucian,[11] where Charon wafting one of their predecessors over Styx, ordered him to strip off his armour and fine clothes, yet still thought him too heavy; “But” (said he) “put off likewise that pride and presumption, those high-swelling words, and that vain-glory;” because they were of no use on the other side the water. Thus if all that array of military grandeur were confined to the proper scene, it would be much more for the interest of the owners, and less offensive to their fellow subjects.[12]

[Footnote: 1: No. 20 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: Ovid, “Metamorphoses,” xiii. 353:

“Well assured, that art
And conduct were of war the better part.” J. DRYDEN.

[Footnote 3: A.D. 1093. See Matthew Paris. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: Lord Campbell, in his “Lives of the Chancellors” (vol. iv., p. 322), states that Marlborough, in order to increase the confidence of the allies, proposed “he should receive a patent as commander-in-chief for life.” On consulting with Lord Chancellor Cowper he was told that such a proceeding would be unconstitutional. Marlborough, however, petitioned the Queen, who rejected his application. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: Aemilius Paulus, the celebrated Roman general, and conqueror of Macedonia, was twice consul, and died B.C. 160. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: Scipio Africanus, the greatest of Roman generals and the conqueror of Carthage, who died _c._ B.C. 184. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: Julius Caesar “applied to the Senate to be exempted from the usual law, and to become a candidate in his absence” (“Dict. of Greek and Roman Biog.”). This was strongly opposed; so that to be a candidate it was necessary for him “to solicit after the custom of his ancestors.” [T.S.]

The “Examiner” seems to allude to the remarkable, and, to say the least, imprudent, article in “The Tatler,” No. 37. Such a passage, published by so warm an adherent of Marlborough as Steele, gives credit to Macpherson’s assertion, that there really was some intention of maintaining the Duke in power, by his influence in the army. It is even affirmed, that under pretence his commission under the great seal could not be superseded by the Queen’s order of dismissal, it was designed that he should assemble the troops which were in town, and secure the court and capital. To prevent which, his commission was superseded by another under the great seal being issued as speedily as possible. The industrious editor of “The Tatler,” in 1786, is of opinion, that the article was written by Addison; but the violent counsels which it intimates seem less congenial to his character than to that of Steele, a less reflecting man, and bred a soldier. It is worthy of notice, that the passage is cancelled in all subsequent editions of “The Tatler,” till restored from the original folio in that of 1786. This evidently implies Steele’s own sense, that more was meant than met the ear; and it affords a presumptive proof, that very violent measures had at least been proposed, if not agreed upon, by some of Marlborough’s adherents. [S.]]

[Footnote 8: General Ireton and Colonel Pride placed guards outside the entrances to the House of Commons “that none might be permitted to pass into the House but such as had continued faithful to the public interest” (Ludlow’s “Memoirs,” vol. i., p. 270). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 9: The judges of the field, in a formal duel, whose duty it was to interfere when the rules of judicial combat were violated, were called sticklers, from the wooden truncheons which they held in their hands. Hence the verb to _stickle_. [S.]]

[Footnote 10: In his “Journal to Stella” Swift writes, under date December 13th, 1710: “You hear the havoc making in the army: Meredyth, Macartney, and Col. Honeywood, are obliged to sell their commands at half value, and leave the army, for drinking destruction to the present ministry,” etc. (see vol. ii., p. 71, of present edition). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 11: “Dialogues of the Dead. X. Charon, Hermes, and a number of Ghosts.” Hermes required Lampichus to leave behind him his pride, folly, insolence, etc. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 12: Of this paper “The Medley,” No. 14 (January 1st, 1710 [_sic_]), says: “He not only writes whatever he believes or knows to be false, but plainly shows ’tis his business and duty to do so, and that this alone is the merit of his service.” [T.S.]]

NUMB. 22.[1]


_Nam et, majorum instituta tueri sacris, ceremoniisque retinendis, sapientis est.
–Ruituraque semper
Stat (mirum!) moles–_[3]

Whoever is a true lover of our constitution, must needs be pleased to see what successful endeavours are daily made to restore it in every branch to its ancient form, from the languishing condition it hath long lain in, and with such deadly symptoms.

I have already handled some abuses during the late management, and shall in convenient time go on with the rest. Hitherto I have confined myself to those of the State; but with the good leave of those who think it a matter of small moment, I shall now take liberty to say something of the Church.[4]

For several years past, there hath not I think in Europe, been any society of men upon so unhappy a foot, as the clergy of England, nor more hardly treated, by those very persons from whom they deserved much better quarter, and in whose power they chiefly had put it to use them so ill. I would not willingly misrepresent facts; but I think it generally allowed by enemies and friends, that the bold and brave defences made before the Revolution against those many invasions of our rights, proceeded principally from the clergy; who are likewise known to have rejected all advances made them to close with the measures at that time concerting; while the Dissenters, to gratify their ambition and revenge, fell into the basest compliances with the court, approved of all proceedings by their numerous and fulsome addresses, and took employments and commissions by virtue of the dispensing power, against the direct laws of the land.[5] All this is so true, that if ever the Pretender comes in, they will, next to those of his own religion, have the fairest claim and pretensions to his favour, from their merit and eminent services to his supposed father, who, without such encouragement, would probably never have been misled to go the lengths he did. It should likewise be remembered to the everlasting honour of the London divines, that in those dangerous times, they writ and published the best collection of arguments against Popery, that ever appeared in the world. At the Revolution, the body of the clergy joined heartily in the common cause (except a few, whose sufferings perhaps have atoned for their mistakes) like men who are content to go about, for avoiding a gulf or a precipice, but come into the old straight road again as soon as they can. But another temper had now begun to prevail. For as in the reign of K. Charles the First, several well-meaning people were ready to join in reforming some abuses; while others who had deeper designs, were still calling out for a thorough reformation, which ended at last in the ruin of the kingdom; so after the late king’s coming to the throne, there was a restless cry from men of the same principles, for a thorough revolution, which as some were carrying it on, must have ended in the destruction of the Monarchy and Church.

What a violent humour hath run ever since against the clergy, and from what corner spread and fomented, is, I believe, manifest to all men. It looked like a set quarrel against Christianity, and if we call to mind several of the leaders, it must in a great measure have been actually so. Nothing was more common in writing and conversation, than to hear that reverend body charged in gross with what was utterly inconsistent: despised for their poverty, hated for their riches; reproached with avarice, and taxed with luxury; accused for promoting arbitrary power, and resisting the prerogative; censured for their pride, and scorned for their meanness of spirit. The representatives of the lower clergy railed at for disputing the power of the bishops, by the known abhorrers of episcopacy; and abused for doing nothing in their convocations, by those very men who helped to bind up their hands. The vice, the folly, the ignorance of every single man, were laid upon the character; their jurisdiction, censures and discipline trampled under foot, yet mighty complaints against their excessive power.[6] The men of wit employed to turn the priesthood itself into ridicule. In short, groaning every where under the weight of poverty, oppression, contempt and obloquy. A fair return for the time and money spent in their education to fit them for the service of the Altar; and a fair encouragement for worthy men to come into the Church. However, it may be some comfort for persons of that holy function, that their Divine Founder as well as His harbinger, met with the like reception. “John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say he hath a devil; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, behold a glutton and a wine-bibber, &c.”

In this deplorable state of the clergy, nothing but the hand of Providence, working by its glorious instrument, the QUEEN, could have been able to turn the people’s hearts so surprisingly in their favour. This Princess, destined for the safety of Europe, and a blessing to her subjects, began her reign with a noble benefaction to the Church;[7] and it was hoped the nation would have followed such an example, which nothing could have prevented, but the false politics of a set of men, who form their maxims upon those of every tottering commonwealth, which is always struggling for life, subsisting by expedients, and often at the mercy of any powerful neighbour. These men take it into their imagination, that trade can never flourish unless the country becomes a common receptacle for all nations, religions and languages; a system only proper for small popular states, but altogether unworthy, and below the dignity of an imperial crown; which with us is best upheld by a monarch in possession of his just prerogative, a senate of nobles and of commons, and a clergy established in its due rights with a suitable maintenance by law. But these men come with the spirit of shopkeepers to frame rules for the administration of kingdoms; or, as if they thought the whole art of government consisted in the importation of nutmegs, and the curing of herrings. Such an island as ours can afford enough to support the majesty of a crown, the honour of a nobility, and the dignity of a magistracy; we can encourage arts and sciences, maintain our bishops and clergy, and suffer our gentry to live in a decent, hospitable manner; yet still there will remain hands sufficient for trade and manufactures, which do always indeed deserve the best encouragement, but not to a degree of sending every living soul into the warehouse or the workhouse.

This pedantry of republican politics hath done infinite mischief among us. To this we owe those noble schemes of treating Christianity as a system of speculative opinions, which no man should be bound to believe; of making the being and the worship of God, a creature of the state. In consequence of these, that the teachers of religion ought to hold their maintenance at pleasure, or live by the alms and charitable collection of the people, and be equally encouraged of all opinions: that they should be prescribed what to teach, by those who are to learn from them; and, upon default, have a staff and a pair of shoes left at their door;[8] with many other projects of equal piety, wisdom, and good nature.

But, God be thanked, they and their schemes are vanished, and “their places shall know them no more.” When I think of that inundation of atheism, infidelity, profaneness and licentiousness which were like to overwhelm us, from what mouths and hearts it first proceeded, and how the people joined with the Queen’s endeavours to divert this flood, I cannot but reflect on that remarkable passage in the Revelation,[9] where “the serpent with seven heads cast out of his mouth water after the woman like a flood, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood: But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had cast out of his mouth.” For the Queen having changed her ministry suitable to her own wisdom, and the wishes of her subjects, and having called a free Parliament; at the same time summoned the convocation, by her royal writ,[10] “as in all times had been accustomed,” and soon after their meeting, sent a most gracious letter[11] to the Archbishop of Canterbury, to be communicated to the bishops and clergy of his province; taking notice of “the loose and profane principles which had been openly scattered and propagated among her subjects: that the consultations of the clergy were particularly requisite to repress and prevent such daring attempts, for which her subjects, from all parts of the kingdom, have shown their just abhorrence. She hopes, the endeavours of the clergy, in this respect, will not be unsuccessful; and for her part, is ready to give them all fit encouragement, to proceed in the dispatch of such business as properly belongs to them; and to grant them powers requisite to carry on so good a work.” In conclusion, “earnestly recommending to them, to avoid disputes, and determining to do all that in her lies to compose and extinguish them.”

It is to be hoped, that this last part of her Majesty’s letter, will be the first she will please to execute; for, it seems, this very letter created the first dispute.[12] The fact whereof is thus related: The Upper House having formed an address to the QUEEN, before they received her Majesty’s letter, sent both address and letter together, to the Lower House, with a message, excusing their not mentioning the letter in the address, because this was formed before the other was received:[l3] The Lower House returned them, with a desire, that an address might be formed, with due regard and acknowledgments for the letter. After some difficulties, the same address was sent down again with a clause inserted, making some short mention of the said letter. This the Lower House did not think sufficient, and sent it back again with the same request: whereupon the archbishop, after a short consultation with _some_ of his brethren, immediately adjourned the convocation for a month, and no address at all was sent to the QUEEN.

I understand not ecclesiastical affairs well enough to comment upon this matter;[14] but it seems to me, that all methods of doing service to the Church and kingdom, by means of a convocation, may be at any time eluded, if there be no remedy against such an incident. And if this proceeding be agreeable to the institution, spiritual assemblies must needs be strangely contrived, very different from any lay senate yet known in the world. Surely, from the nature of such a synod, it must be a very unhappy circumstance, when the majority of the bishops draws one way, and that of the lower clergy another. The latter, I think, are not at this time suspected for any principles bordering upon those professed by enemies to episcopacy; and if they happen to differ from the greater part of the present set of bishops, I doubt it will call some things to mind, that may turn the scale of general favour on the inferior clergy’s side, who with a profound duty to her Majesty, are perfectly pleased with the present turn of affairs. Besides, curious people will be apt to enquire into the dates of some promotions, to call to mind what designs were then upon the anvil, and from thence make malicious deductions. Perhaps they will observe the manner of voting on the bishops’ bench, and compare it with what shall pass in the upper house of convocation. There is, however, one comfort, that under the present dispositions of the kingdom, a dislike to the proceedings of any of their lordships, even to the number of a majority, will be purely personal, and not turned to the disadvantage of the order. And for my part, as I am a true lover of the Church, I had rather find the inclinations of the people favourable to episcopacy in general, than see a majority of prelates cried up by those who are known enemies to the character. Nor, indeed, hath anything given me more offence for several years past, than to observe how some of that bench have been caressed by certain persons; and others of them openly celebrated by the infamous pens of atheists, republicans and fanatics.

Time and mortality can only remedy these inconveniencies in the Church, which are not to be cured like those in the State, by a change of ministry. If we may guess the temper of a convocation, from the choice of a prolocutor,[15] as it is usual to do that of a House of Commons by the speaker, we may expect great things from that reverend body, who have done themselves much reputation, by pitching upon a gentleman of so much piety, wit and learning, for that office; and one who is so thoroughly versed in those parts of knowledge which are proper for it. I am sorry that the three Latin speeches, delivered upon presenting the prolocutor, were not made public;[16] they might perhaps have given us some light into the dispositions of each house: and besides, one of them is said to be so peculiar in the style and matter, as might have made up in entertainment what it wanted in instruction.

[Footnote 1: No. 21 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: Under date January 1st, 1710/1, Swift writes to Stella: “Get the ‘Examiners,’ and read them; the last nine or ten are full of the reasons for the late change, and of the abuses of the last ministry; and the great men assure me they are all true. They are written by their encouragement and direction” (vol. ii., p. 88, of present edition). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3:

“For it is the part of a wise man to defend the institutions of his forefathers, and uphold the sacred rites and ceremonies. And ever threatening to fall
The mass–a marvel–stands.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: A pamphlet, ascribed to W. Wotton, was issued in reply to this paper. It was entitled, “The Case of the Present Convocation Consider’d; In Answer to the Examiner’s Unfair Representation of it, and Unjust Reflections upon it.” 1711.]

[Footnote 5: The Dissenters were at first disposed to make common cause with the Catholics in favour of the dispensing power claimed by James II.; and an address from the Presbyterians went so far as to praise the king for having “restored to God His empire over conscience.” [S.]]

[Footnote 6: “The Case etc. Consider’d,” remarks: “The boldest, and the most insolent book of that sort, is the ‘Rights of the Church’ … Yet how long was Dr. T[inda]ll, then Fellow of All Souls, suffered at Oxford after the ‘Rights’ appeared?” Dr. Matthew Tindal, author of “The Rights of the Christian Church” (1706), was a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, from 1678 till his death in 1733. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: “At this time [February, 1703/4] Queen Anne gave up the _first-fruits_ and _tenths_, which had long been possessed by the crown, to be appropriated to a fund for the increase of small livings. This fund is known as Queen Anne’s Bounty” (Lathbury’s “Hist. of Convocation,” second edition, p. 386). The Queen’s Message to Parliament was dated February 7th, 1703/4, and the Bill was introduced February 17th, and received the royal assent April 3rd, 1704. See also Swift’s “Answer” in the following number. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: A hint to withdraw. [T.S.] This is said to have been the mode in which the governors of a Dutch province were wont to give intimation to those who intermeddled with state affairs, that they would do wisely to withdraw themselves from the state. [S.]]

[Footnote 9: Swift notices his own misquotation in the succeeding number (_q.v._). See a further reference to the subject in No. 26. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 10: Convocation was assembled on November 25th, and the Latin sermon preached by Kennet. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 11: Queen Anne’s letter was printed in “The Daily Courant” for December 19th. It is dated December 12th, and says: “It is with great grief of heart we observe the scandalous attempts which of late years have been made to infect the minds of our good subjects by loose and profane principles openly scattered and propagated among them. We think the consultations of the clergy particularly requisite to repress these daring attempts and to prevent the like for the future. The just abhorrence that our subjects from all parts of the kingdom have expressed of such wicked principles and their abettors, give us good ground to hope that the endeavours of the clergy in this respect will not be unsuccessful. For our part we are ready to give them all fitting encouragement to proceed in the dispatch of such business as properly belongs to them, and to grant them such powers as shall be thought requisite,” etc. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 12: The Queen’s letter was intended to put an end to disputes in Convocation. She expressed her hope that her royal intentions would not be frustrated “by any unseasonable disputes between the two Houses of Convocation about unnecessary forms and methods of proceeding.” She earnestly recommended that such disputes might cease. The bishops prepared an address, but the Lower House insisted “on the enlarging the fourth paragraph, and upon answering the several heads of the Queen’s letter” (Chamberlen’s “History of Queen Anne,” p. 365, and “Daily Courant,” Dec. 19th). The real reason for the disputes between the two Houses at this time lay in the fact that the Upper House, owing to Tenison’s influence, was largely Low Church in sympathy, whereas the Lower House, with Atterbury as its leader, was of the High Church party. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 13: Dr. Smalridge (1662-1719) called for the Queen’s letter to be read. The Archbishop prorogued Convocation for two days, and then again until January 17th. An address to the Queen was presented on January 26th (Lathbury’s “History of Convocation,” second edition, p. 407). Smalridge was Dean of Carlisle, 1711-13, and Bishop of Bristol, 1714-19. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 14: “The Case etc. Consider’d” quotes on the title-page: “Jude 10. But these speak evil of those things which they know not.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 15: “Dr. Atterbury, in preference to Dr. Kennet, was chosen prolocutor by a great majority.”–TINDAL, iv. 206. [T.S.]]

Footnote 16: The Latin speeches were made on December 6th, when the prolocutor was presented to the Archbishop, by Dr. Smalridge, Atterbury, and Tenison. The one speech to which Swift refers may have been Tenison’s, whose style was fairly dull. [T.S.]

NUMB. 23.[1]


_Nullae sunt occultiores insidiae, quam eae quae latent in simulatione officii, aut in aliquo necessitudinis nomine._[3]

_The following answer is written in the true style, and with the usual candour of such pieces; which I have imitated to the best of my skill, and doubt not but the reader will be extremely satisfied with it._

_The Examiner cross-examined, or,
A full Answer to the last Examiner._

If I durst be so bold with this author, I would gladly ask him a familiar question; Pray, Sir, who made you an Examiner? He talks in one of his insipid papers, of eight or nine thousand corruptions,[4] while _we_ were at the head of affairs, yet, in all this time, he has hardly produced fifty:

_Parturiunt montes, &c._[5]

But I shall confine myself, at present, to his last paper. He tells us, “The Queen began her reign with a noble benefaction to the Church.” Here’s priestcraft with a witness; this is the constant language of your highfliers, to call those who are hired to teach _the religion of the magistrate_ by the name of the Church.[6] But this is not all; for, in the very next line he says, “It was hoped the nation would have followed this example.” You see the faction begins already to speak out; this is an open demand for the abbey-lands; this furious zealot would have us priest-ridden again, like our popish ancestors: but, it is to be hoped the government will take timely care to suppress such audacious attempts, else we have spent so much blood and treasure to very little purpose, in maintaining religion and Revolution. But what can we expect from a man, who at one blow endeavours to ruin our trade? “A country” (says he) “may flourish” (these are his own words) “without being the common receptacle for all nations, religions, and languages.” What! We must immediately banish or murder the Palatines; forbid all foreign merchants, not only the Exchange, but the kingdom; persecute the Dissenters with fire and faggot, and make it high-treason to speak any other tongue but English. In another place he talks of a “serpent with seven heads,” which is a manifest corruption of the text; for the words “_seven heads_” are not mentioned in that verse.[7] However, we know what serpent he would mean; a serpent with fourteen legs; or, indeed, no serpent at all, but seven great men, who were the best ministers, the truest Protestants, and the most disinterested patriots that ever served a prince.[8] But nothing is so inconsistent as this writer; I know not whether to call him a Whig or a Tory, a Protestant or a Papist; he finds fault with convocations; says, “they are assemblies strangely contrived;” and yet lays the fault upon us, that we bound their hands: I wish we could have bound their tongues too; but as fast as their hands were bound, they could make a shift to hold their pens, and have their share in the guilt of ruining the hopefullest party and ministry that ever prescribed to a crown. This captious gentleman is angry to “see a majority of prelates cried up by those who are enemies to the character”; now I always thought, that the concessions of enemies were more to a man’s advantage than the praise of his friends. “Time and mortality,” he says, “can only remedy these inconveniencies in the Church.” That is, in other words, when certain bishops are dead, we shall have others of our own stamp. Not so fast; you are not yet so sure of your game. We have already got one comfortable loss in Spain, though by a G[enera]l of our own.[9] For joy of which, our J[un]to had a merry meeting at the house of their great proselyte, on the very day we received the happy news. One or two more such blows would, perhaps, set us right again, and then we can employ “mortality” as well as others. He concludes with wishing, that “three letters, spoke when the prolocutor was presented, were made public.” I suppose he would be content with one, and that is more than we shall humour him to grant. However, I hope he will allow it possible to have grace, without either eloquence or Latin, which is all I shall say to his malicious innuendo.

Having thus, I hope, given a full and satisfactory answer to the Examiner’s last paper, I shall now go on to a more important affair; which is, to prove, by several undeniable instances, that the late m[inist]ry, and their abettors, were true friends to the Church. It is yet, I confess, a secret to the clergy, wherein this friendship did consist. For information therefore of that reverend body, that they may never forget their benefactors, as well as of all others who may be equally ignorant, I have determined to display _our_ merits to the world upon that weighty article. And I could wish, that what I am to say were to be written in brass, for an eternal memorial; the rather, because for the future, the Church must endeavour to stand unsupported by those patrons, who expired in doing it their last good office, and will never rise to preserve it any more.

Let us therefore produce the pious endeavours of these church-defenders, who were its patrons by their power and authority, as well as ornaments of it by their exemplary lives.

First, St. Paul tells us, “there must be heresies in the Church, that the truth may be manifest”; and therefore, by due course of reasoning, the more heresies there are, the more manifest will the truth be made. This being maturely considered by these lovers of the Church, they endeavoured to propagate as many heresies as they could, that the light of truth might shine the clearer.

Secondly, To shew their zeal for the Church’s defence, they took the care of it entirely out of the hands of God Almighty (because that was a foreign jurisdiction) and made it their own creature, depending altogether upon them; and issued out their orders to Tindal, and others, to give public notice of it.

Thirdly, Because charity is the most celebrated of all Christian virtues, therefore they extended theirs beyond all bounds; and instead of shutting the Church against Dissenters, were ready to open it to all comers, and break down its walls, rather than that any should want room to enter. The strength of a state, we know, consists in the number of people, how different soever in their callings; and why should not the strength of a Church consist in the same, how different soever in their creeds? For that reason, they charitably attempted to abolish the test, which tied up so many hands from getting employments, in order to protect the Church.

I know very well that this attempt is objected to us as a crime, by several malignant Tories, and denied as a slander by many unthinking people among ourselves. The latter are apt in their defence to ask such questions as these; Was your test repealed?[10] Had we not a majority? Might we not have done it if we pleased? To which the others answer, You did what you could; you prepared the way, but you found a fatal impediment from that quarter, whence the sanction of the law must come, and therefore to save your credit, you condemned a paper to be burnt which yourselves had brought in.[11] But alas! the miscarriage of that noble project for the safety of the Church, had another original; the knowledge whereof depends upon a piece of secret history that I shall now lay open.

These church-protectors had directed a Presbyterian preacher to draw up a bill for repealing the test; it was accordingly done with great art, and in the preamble, several expressions of civility to the established Church; and when it came to the qualifications of all those who were to enter on any office, the compiler had taken special care to make them large enough for all Christians whatsoever, by transcribing the very words (only formed into an oath) which Quakers are obliged to profess by a former Act of Parliament; as I shall here set them down.[12] “I _A.B._ profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His eternal Son, the true God, and in the Holy Spirit one God blessed for evermore; and do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration.” This bill was carried to the chief leaders for their approbation, with these terrible words turned into an oath: What should they do? Those few among them who fancied they believed in God, were sure they did not believe in Christ, or the Holy Spirit, or one syllable of the Bible; and they were as sure that every body knew their opinion in those matters, which indeed they had been always too sincere to disguise; how therefore could they take such an oath as that, without ruining their reputation with Tindal, Toland,[13] Coward,[14] Collins, Clendon,[15] and all the tribe of free-thinkers, and so give a scandal to weak unbelievers. Upon this nice point of honour and conscience the matter was hushed, the project for repealing the test let fall, and the Sacrament left as the smaller evil of the two.

Fourthly, These pillars of the Church, because “the harvest was great, and the labourers few,” and because they would ease the bishops from that grievous trouble of laying on hands: were willing to allow that power to all men whatsoever, to prevent that terrible consequence of unchurching those, who thought a hand from under a cloak as effectual as from lawn-sleeves. And indeed, what could more contribute to the advancement of true religion, than a bill of general naturalization for priesthood?

Fifthly, In order to fix religion in the minds of men, because truth never appears so fair as when confronted with falsehood; they directed books to be published, that denied the being of a God, the divinity of the Second and Third Person, the truth of all revelation, and the immortality of the soul. To this we owe that great sense of religion, that respect and kindness to the clergy, and that true love of virtue so manifest of late years among the youth of our nation. Nor could anything be more discreet, than to leave the merits of each cause to such wise impartial judges, who might otherwise fall under the slavery of believing by education and prejudice.

Sixthly, Because nothing so much distracts the thoughts, as too great a variety of subjects; therefore they had kindly prepared a bill, to prescribe the clergy what subjects they should preach upon, and in what manner, that they might be at no loss; and this no doubt, was a proper work for such hands, so thoroughly versed in the theory and practice of all Christian duties.

Seventhly, To save trouble and expense to the clergy, they contrived that convocations should meet as seldom as possible; and when they were suffered to assemble, would never allow them to meddle with any business; because they said, the office of a clergyman was enough to take up the whole man. For the same reason they were very desirous to excuse the bishops from sitting in Parliament, that they might be at more leisure to stay at home and look after their clergy.

I shall mention at present but one more instance of their pious zeal for the Church. They had somewhere heard the maxim, that _Sanguis martyrum est semen ecclesiae_;[16] therefore in order to sow this seed, they began with impeaching a clergyman: and that it might be a true martyrdom in every circumstance, they proceeded as much as possible against common law,[17] which the long-robe part of the managers knew was in a hundred instances directly contrary to all their positions, and were sufficiently warned of it beforehand; but their love of the Church prevailed. Neither was this impeachment an affair taken up on a sudden. For, a certain great person (whose Character has been lately published by some stupid and lying writer)[18] who very much distinguished himself by his zeal in forwarding this impeachment, had several years ago endeavoured to persuade the late King to give way to just such another attempt. He told his Majesty, there was a certain clergyman preached very dangerous sermons, and that the only way to put a stop to such insolence, was to impeach him in Parliament. The King enquired the character of the man; “O, sir,” said my lord, “the most violent, hot, positive fellow in England; so extremely wilful, that I believe he would be heartily glad to be a martyr.” The King answered, “Is it so? Then I am resolved to disappoint him”; and would never hear more of the matter; by which that hopeful project unhappily miscarried.

I have hitherto confined myself to those endeavours for the good of the Church, which were common to all the leaders and principal men of our party; but if my paper were not drawing towards an end, I could produce several instances of particular persons, who by their exemplary lives and actions have confirmed the character so justly due to the whole body. I shall at present mention only two, and illustrate the merits of each by a matter of fact.

That worthy patriot, and true lover of the Church, whom the late “Examiner” is supposed to reflect on under the name of Verres,[19] felt a pious impulse to be a benefactor to the Cathedral of Gloucester, but how to do it in the most decent, generous manner, was the question. At last he thought of an expedient: One morning or night he stole into the Church, mounted upon the altar, and there did that which in cleanly phrase is called disburthening of nature: He was discovered, prosecuted, and condemned to pay a thousand pounds, which sum was all employed to support the Church, as, no doubt, the benefactor meant it.

There is another person whom the same writer is thought to point at under the name of Will Bigamy.[20] This gentleman, knowing that marriage fees were a considerable perquisite to the clergy, found out a way of improving them _cent. per cent._ for the good of the Church. His invention was to marry a second wife while the first was alive, convincing her of the lawfulness by such arguments, as he did not doubt would make others follow the same example: These he had drawn up in writing with intention to publish for the general good; and it is hoped he may now have leisure to finish them.[21]

[Footnote 1: No. 22 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: _I. e._ 1710-11. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: Cicero, “in Verrem,” II. i. 15: “There are no intrigues more difficult to guard against than those which are concealed under a pretence of duty, or under the name of some intimate connexion.”–C.D. YONGE. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: See No. 19, _ante_ (not quoted correctly). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: Horace, “Ars Poetica,” 139:

“The mountains laboured with prodigious throes.”–P. FRANCIS. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: See No. 22, _ante_. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: The serpent, or dragon, is said to have seven heads in an earlier verse of the same chapter. See Rev. xii., 3, 9, 15. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: The Earl of Sunderland and Henry Boyle (Secretaries of State), Earl of Godolphin (Lord Treasurer), Lord Somers (President of the Council), Lord Cowper (Lord Chancellor), Duke of Marlborough (Captain General), and Horatio Walpole (Secretary of War). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 9: General Stanhope, at Brihuega, was surprised and compelled to surrender on December 9th, 1710. Oldmixon’s “Sequel” (p. 452) remarks: “The misfortune which happened to General Stanhope at Brihuega, where he was surrounded by the French and Spanish, armies, and after a most gallant defence, obliged to surrender himself with several English battalions prisoners of war, was some relief to high-church; … they did not stick to rejoice at it.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 10: The Test Act was passed in 1672 and repealed only in 1828. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 11: This paper was a pamphlet by Charles Leslie, published October, 1708, which was condemned to be burnt by the House of Commons in January, 1709/10. It was entitled, “A Letter from a Gentleman in Scotland to his Friend in England, against the Sacramental Test.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 12: This declaration was prescribed by the Act I William and Mary, c. 18, s. 13. It was repealed in 1871. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 13: John Toland, author of “Christianity not Mysterious” (1696) and other works. See note on p. 9 of vol. iii. of present edition. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 14: William Coward (1656-1725), physician, was the author of “Second Thoughts Concerning Human Soul” (1702), and “The Grand Essay; or A Vindication of Reason and Religion” (1703/4). Both these works were ordered by the House of Commons to be burnt, March 17th, 1703/4. See also note on p. 9 of vol. iii. of present edition. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 15: John Clendon was the author of “A Treatise of the Word Person” (17-09/10) which the House of Commons ordered to be burnt, March 24, 17-09/10. See also note on p. 185 of vol. iii. of present edition. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 16: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 17: For preaching a sermon at St. Paul’s on “Perils from false brethren” (November 5th, 1709), Dr. Sacheverell was, on the complaint of Mr. Dolben (December 13th), impeached in the House of Commons on December 14th, 1709, and in the House of Lords on December 15th. The sermon was printed and widely circulated, and Sacheverell received for it the thanks of the Lord Mayor. Mr. Dolben objected to Godolphin being referred to as Volpone. Out of this arose the famous Sacheverell trial, so disastrous in its effect on the Whig ministry. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 18: Lord Wharton. See vol. v., pp. 1-28 of present edition of Swift’s Works. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 19: Lord Wharton. But see correction in No. 25, _post_. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 20: See previous note on Lord Cowper. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 21: Cowper was at this time out of office. [T.S.]]

NUMB. 24.[1]


_Bellum ita suscipiatur, ut nihil aliud nisi Pax quaesita videatur._[3]

I am satisfied, that no reasonable man of either party, can justly be offended at any thing I said in one of my papers relating to the Army;[4] from the maxims I there laid down, perhaps many persons may conclude, that I had a mind the world should think, there had been occasion given by some late abuses among men of that calling; and they conclude right. For my intention is, that my hints may be understood, and my quotations and allegories applied; and I am in some pain to think, that in the Orcades on one side, and the western coasts of Ireland on the other, the “Examiner” may want a key in several parts, which I wish I could furnish them with. As for the French king, I am under no concern at all; I hear he has left off reading my papers, and by what he has found in them, dislikes our proceedings more than ever, and intends either to make great additions to his armies, or propose new terms for a peace: So false is that which is commonly reported, of his mighty satisfaction in our change of ministry: And I think it clear that his late letter of “Thanks to the Tories of Great Britain,”[5] must either have been extorted from him against his judgment, or was a cast of his politics to set the people against the present ministry, wherein it has wonderfully succeeded.

But though I have never heard, or never regarded any objections made against that paper, which mentions the army; yet I intended this as a sort of apology for it. And first, I declare, (because we live in a mistaking world) that in hinting at some proceedings, wherein a few persons are said to be concerned, I did not intend to charge them upon the body of the army. I have too much detested that barbarous injustice among the writers of a late party, to be ever guilty of it myself; I mean the accusing societies for the crimes of a few. On the other side, I must take leave to believe, that armies are no more exempt from corruptions than other numbers of men. The maxims proposed were occasionally introduced by the report of certain facts, which I am bound to believe is true, because I am sure, considering what has passed, it would be a crime to think otherwise. All posts in the army, all employments at court, and many others, are (or ought to be) given and resumed at the mere pleasure of the prince; yet when I see a great officer broke, a change made in the court or the ministry, and this under the most just and gracious Princess that ever reigned, I must naturally conclude it is done upon prudent considerations, and for some great demerit in the sufferers. But then; is not the punishment sufficient? Is it generous or charitable to trample on the unfortunate, and expose their faults to the world in the strongest colours? And would it not suit better with magnanimity as well as common good-nature, to leave them at quiet to their own thoughts and repentance? Yes without question, provided it could be so contrived that their very names, as well as actions, might be forgotten for ever; _such_ an act of oblivion would be for the honour of our nation, and beget a better opinion of us with posterity; and then I might have spared the world and myself the trouble of _examining_. But at present, there is a cruel dilemma in the case: The friends and abettors of the late ministry are every day publishing their praises to the world, and casting reflections upon the present persons in power. This is so barefaced an aspersion upon the Q[ueen], that I know not how any good subject can with patience endure it, though he were ever so indifferent with regard to the opinions in dispute. Shall they who have lost all power and love of the people, be allowed to scatter their poison; and shall not those, who are, at least, of the strongest side, be suffered to bring an antidote? And how can we undeceive the deluded remainder, but by letting them see, that those discarded statesmen were justly laid aside, and producing as many instances to prove it as we can? not from any personal hatred to them, but in justification to the best of queens. The many scurrilities I have heard and read against this poor paper of mine, are in such a strain, that considering the present state of affairs, they look like a jest. They usually run after the following manner: “What? shall this insolent writer presume to censure the late ministry, the ablest, the most faithful, and truest lovers of their country, and its constitution that ever served a prince? Shall he reflect on the best H[ouse] of C[ommons] that ever sat within those walls? Has not the Queen changed both for a ministry and Parliament of Jacobites and highfliers, who are selling us to France, and bringing over the Pretender?” This is the very sum and force of all their reasonings, and this their method of complaining against the “Examiner.” In _them_ it is humble and loyal to reflect upon the Q[ueen] and the ministry, and Parliament she has chosen with the universal applause of her people; in _us_ it is insolent to defend her Majesty and her choice, or to answer their objections, by shewing the reasons why those changes were necessary.

The same style has been used in the late case relating to some gentlemen in the army;[6] such a clamour was raised by a set of men, who had the boldness to tax the administration with cruelty and injustice, that I thought it necessary to interfere a little, by shewing the ill consequences that might arise from some proceedings, though without application to particular persons. And what do they offer in answer? Nothing but a few poor common-places against calumny and informers, which might have been full as just and seasonable in a plot against the sacred person of the Q[ueen].

But, by the way; why are these idle people so indiscreet to name those two words, which afford occasion of laying open to the world such an infamous scene of subornation and perjury, as well as calumny and informing, as I believe is without example: when a whole cabal attempted an action, wherein a condemned criminal refused to join with them for the reward of his life?[7] Not that I disapprove their sagacity, who could foretell so long before, by what hand they should one day fall, and therefore thought any means justifiable by which they might prevent it.

But waiving this at present, it must be owned in justice to the army, that those violences did not proceed so far among them as some have believed; nor ought the madness of a few to be laid at their doors. For the rest, I am so far from denying the due praises to those victorious troops, who did their part in procuring so many victories for the allies, that I could wish every officer and private soldier had their full share of honour in proportion to their deserts; being thus far of the Athenians’ mind, who when it was proposed that the statue of Miltiades should be set up alone in some public place of the city, said they would agree to it, _whenever he conquered alone_, but not before. Neither do I at all blame the officers of the army, for preferring in their hearts the late ministry before the present; or, if wishing alone could be of any use, to wish their continuance, because then they might be secure of the war’s continuance too: whereas, since affairs have been put into other hands, they may perhaps lie under some apprehensions of a peace, which no army, especially in a course of success, was ever inclined to, and which all wise states have in such a juncture, chiefly endeavoured. This is a point wherein the civil and military politics have always disagreed. And for that reason, I affirmed it necessary in all free governments, that the latter should be absolutely in subjection to the former; otherwise, one of these two inconveniencies must arise, either to be perpetually in war, or to turn the civil institution into a military.

I am ready to allow all that has been said of the valour and experience of our troops, who have fully contributed their part to the great successes abroad; nor is it their fault, that those important victories had no better consequences at home, though it may be their advantage. War is their trade and business: to improve and cultivate the advantages of success, is an affair of the cabinet; and the neglect of this, whether proceeding from weakness or corruption, according to the usual uncertainty of wars, may be of the most fatal consequence to a nation. For, pray let me represent our condition in such a light, as I believe both parties will allow, though perhaps not the consequences I shall deduce from it. We have been for above nine years, blessed with a QUEEN, who besides all virtues that can enter into the composition of a private person, possesses every regal quality that can contribute to make a people happy: of great wisdom, yet ready to receive the advice of her counsellors: of much discernment in choosing proper instruments, when she follows her own judgment, and only capable of being deceived by that excess of goodness which makes her judge of others by herself. Frugal in her management in order to contribute to the public, which in proportion she does, and that voluntarily, beyond any of her subjects; but from her own nature, generous and charitable to all that want or deserve; and in order to exercise those virtues, denying herself all entertainments of expense which many others enjoy. Then if we look abroad, at least in Flanders, our arms have been crowned with perpetual success in battles and sieges, not to mention several fortunate actions in Spain. These facts being thus stated, which none can deny, it is natural to ask how we have improved such advantages, and to what account they have turned? I shall use no discouraging terms. When a patient grows daily worse by the tampering of mountebanks, there is nothing left but to call in the best physicians before the case grows desperate: But I would ask, whether France or any other kingdom, would have made so little use of such prodigious opportunities, the fruits whereof could never have fallen to the ground, without the extremist degree of folly and corruption, and where those have lain, let the world judge? Instead of aiming at peace, while we had the advantage of the war, which has been the perpetual maxim of all wise states, it has been reckoned factious and malignant even to express our wishes for it; and such a condition imposed, as was never offered to any prince who had an inch of ground to dispute; _Quae enim est conditio pacis; in qua ei cum quo pacem facias, nihil concedi potest?_[8]

It is not obvious to conceive what could move men who sat at home, and were called to consult upon the good of the kingdom, to be so utterly averse from putting an end to a long expensive war, which the victorious, as well as conquered side, were heartily weary of. Few or none of them were men of the sword; they had no share in the honour; they had made large fortunes, and were at the head of all affairs. But they well knew by what tenure they held their power; that the Qu[een] saw through their designs, that they had entirely lost the hearts of the clergy; that the landed men were against them; that they were detested by the body of the people; and that nothing bore them up but their credit with the bank and other stocks, which would be neither formidable nor necessary when the war was at an end. For these reasons they resolved to disappoint all overtures of a peace, till they and their party should be so deeply rooted as to make it impossible to shake them. To this end, they began to precipitate matters so fast, as in a little time must have ruined the constitution, if the crown had not interposed, and rather ventured the accidental effects of their malice, than such dreadful consequences of their power. And indeed, had the former danger been greater than some hoped or feared, I see no difficulty in the choice, which was the same with his, who said, “he had rather be devoured by wolves than by rats.” I therefore still insist that we cannot wonder at, or find fault with the army, for concurring with a ministry who was for prolonging the war. The inclination is natural in them all, pardonable in those who have not yet made their fortunes, and as lawful in the rest, as love of power or love of money can make it. But as natural, as pardonable, and as lawful as this inclination is, when it is not under check of the civil power, or when a corrupt ministry joins in giving it too great a scope, the consequence can be nothing less than infallible ruin and slavery to a state.

After I had finished this Paper, the printer sent me two small pamphlets, called “The Management of the War,”_[9] written with some plausibility, much artifice, and abundance of misrepresentation, as well as direct falsehoods in point of fact. These I have thought worth _Examining_, which I shall accordingly do when I find an opportunity.

[Footnote 1: No. 23 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: I.e. 1710-11. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: Cicero, “De Officiis,” i. 23: “In the undertaking of a war there should be such a prospect, as if the only end of it were peace.”– SIR R. L’ESTRANGE. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: See “Examiner,” No. 21. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: Scott mistakes this as the pretended letter quoted in “The Medley,” No. 14. Swift refers to a half sheet printed for A. Baldwin in the latter part of 1710, and entitled: “The French King’s Thanks to the Tories of Great-Britain.” It was ascribed to Hoadly.

In this print Louis XIV. is made to thank the Tories for “what hath given me too deep and lasting impressions of respect, and gratitude, ever to be forgotten. If I should endeavour to recount all the numerous obligations I have to you, I should not know where to begin, nor where to make an end…. To you and your predecessors I owe that supineness and negligence of the English court, which, gave me opportunity and ability to form and prosecute my designs.” Alluding to William III. he says: “To you I owed the impotence of his life and the comfort of his death. At that juncture how vast were my hopes?… But a princess ascended your throne, whom you seemed to court with some personal fondness … She had a general whom her predecessor had wrought into the confidence and favour of the Allies…. It is with pleasure I have observed, that every victory he hath obtained abroad, hath been retrieved by your management at home…. What a figure have your tumults, your addresses, and the progresses of your Doctor, made in my Gazettes? What comfort have I received from them?… And with what impatience do we now wait for that dissolution, with the hopes of which you have so long flattered us ?… Blessed be the engines, to which so glorious events are owing. Republican, Antimonarchical, Danger of the Church, Non-resistance, Hereditary and Divine Right, words of force and energy!… How great are my obligations to all these!” In a postscript, King Louis is made to say further: “My Brother of England [i.e. the Pretender] … thanks you for … your late loyal addresses; your open avowal in them of that unlimited non-resistance by which he keeps up his claim,” etc. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: “Lieut.-Gen. Meredith, Major-Gen. Macartney, and Brigadier Honeywood were superseded, upon an information laid before the Q—-, that these three gentlemen had, in their cups, drank Damnation and Confusion to the new ministry, and to those who had any hand in turning out of the old.”–TINDAL, iv. 195. See also No. 21 and note, p. 127. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: William Gregg, a clerk in Harley’s office, who was convicted of a treasonable correspondence with France. See Swift’s “Some Remarks,” etc., in vol. v., p. 38, of present edition. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: “For what condition of peace is that in which nothing is conceded him with whom you are making peace?” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 9: The two pamphlets referred to were both written by Dr. Francis Hare, chaplain-general to the Duke of Marlborough, and afterwards Bishop of Chichester. The first was dated November 23rd, 1710, and was entitled, “The Management of the War. In a Letter to a Tory-Member.” The second was called, “The Management of the War. In a Second Letter to a Tory-Member,” and was dated November 30th, 1710. The pamphlets are again referred to in the twenty-ninth number of “The Examiner,” where the writer states that on second thoughts he has decided to deal with them “in a discourse by itself.” This he did. See note on p. 184. [T.S.]]

NUMB. 25.[1]


_Parva momenta in spem metumque impellunt animos._[3]

Hopes are natural to most men, especially to sanguine complexions, and among the various changes that happen in the course of public affairs, they are seldom without some grounds: Even in desperate cases, where it is impossible they should have any foundation, they are often affected, to keep a countenance, and make an enemy think we have some resource which they know nothing of. This appears to have been for some months past the condition of those people, whom I am forced, for want of other phrases, to called the _ruined party_. They have taken up since their fall, some real, and some pretended hopes. When the E. of S[underlan]d was discarded, they _hoped_ her M[ajesty] would proceed no farther in the change of her ministry, and had the insolence to misrepresent her words to foreign states. They _hoped_, nobody durst advise the dissolution of the Parliament. When this was done, and further alterations made at Court, they _hoped_ and endeavoured to ruin the credit of the nation. They likewise _hoped_ that we should have some terrible loss abroad, which would force us to unravel all, and begin again upon their bottom. But, of all their _hopes_, whether real or assumed, there is none more extraordinary than that which they now would seem to place their whole confidence in: that this great turn of affairs was only occasioned by a short madness of the people, from which they will recover in a little time, when their eyes are open, and they grow cool and sober enough to consider the truth of things, and how much they have been deceived. It is not improbable, that some few of the deepest sighted among these reasoners, are well enough convinced how vain all such _hopes_ must be: but for the rest, the wisest of them seem to have been very ill judges of the people’s dispositions, the want of which knowledge was a principal occasion to hasten their ruin; for surely had they suspected which way the popular current inclined, they never would have run against it by that impeachment. I therefore conclude, they generally are so blind, as to imagine some comfort from this fantastical opinion, that the people of England are at present distracted, but will shortly come to their senses again.

For the service therefore of our adversaries and friends, I shall briefly _examine_ this point, by shewing what are the causes and symptoms of a people’s madness, and how it differs from their natural bent and inclination.

It is Machiavel’s observation, that the people when left to their own judgment, do seldom mistake their true interests; and indeed they naturally love the constitution they are born under, never desiring to change but under great oppressions. However, they are to be deceived by several means. It has often happened in Greece, and sometimes in Rome, that those very men who have contributed to shake off a former tyranny, have, instead of restoring the old constitution, deluded the People into a worse and more ignominious slavery. Besides, all great changes have the same effect upon commonwealths that thunder has upon liquors, making the dregs fly up to the top: the lowest plebeians rise to the head of affairs, and there preserve themselves by representing the nobles and other friends to the old government, as enemies to the public. The encouraging of new mysteries and new deities, with the pretences of further purity in religion, hath likewise been a frequent topic to mislead the people. And, not to mention more, the promoting false reports of dangers from abroad, hath often served to prevent them from fencing against real dangers at home. By these and the like arts, in conjunction with a great depravity of manners, and a weak or corrupt administration, the madness of the people hath risen to such a height as to break in pieces the whole frame of the best instituted governments. But however, such great frenzies being artificially raised, are a perfect force and constraint upon human nature, and under a wise steady prince, will certainly decline of themselves, settling like the sea after a storm, and then the true bent and genius of the people will appear. Ancient and modern story are full of instances to illustrate what I say. In our own island we had a great example of a long madness in the people, kept up by a thousand artifices like intoxicating medicines, till the constitution was destroyed; yet the malignity being spent, and the humour exhausted that served to foment it; before the usurpers could fix upon a new scheme, the people suddenly recovered, and peaceably restored the old constitution.

From what I have offered, it will be easy to decide, whether this late change in the dispositions of the people were a new madness, or a recovery from an old one. Neither do I see how it can be proved that such a change had in any circumstance the least symptoms of madness, whether my description of it be right or no. It is agreed, that the truest way of judging the dispositions of the people in the choice of their representatives, is by computing the county-elections; and in these, it is manifest that five in six are entirely for the present measures; although the court was so far from interposing its credit, that there was no change in the admiralty, not above one or two in the lieutenancy, nor any other methods used to influence elections.[4] The free unextorted addresses[5] sent some time before from every part of the kingdom, plainly shewed what sort of bent the people had taken, and from what motives. The election of members for this great city,[6] carried contrary to all conjecture, against the united interest of those two great bodies, the Bank and East India Company, was another convincing argument. Besides, the Whigs themselves have always confessed, that the bulk of landed men in England was generally of Tories. So that this change must be allowed to be according to the natural genius and disposition of the people, whether it were just and reasonable in itself or not.

Notwithstanding all which, you shall frequently hear the partisans of the late men in power, gravely and decisively pronounce, that the present ministry cannot possibly stand.[7] Now, they who affirm this, if they believe themselves, must ground their opinion, upon the iniquity of the _last_ being so far established, and deeply rooted, that no endeavours of honest men, will be able to restore things to their former state. Or else these reasoners have been so misled by twenty years’ mismanagement, that they have forgot our constitution, and talk as if our monarchy and revolution began together. But the body of the people is wiser, and by the choice they have made, shew they _do_ understand our constitution, and would bring it back to the old form; which if the new ministers take care to maintain, they will and ought to stand, otherwise they may fall like their predecessors. But I think we may easily foresee what a Parliament freely chosen, without threatening or corruption, is likely to do, when no man shall be in any danger to lose his place by the freedom of his voice.

But, who are those advancers of this opinion, that the present ministry cannot hold? It must be either such as are afraid to be called to an account, in case it should hold; or those who keep offices, from which others, better qualified, were removed; and may reasonably apprehend to be turned out, for worthier men to come in their places, since perhaps it will be necessary to make some changes, that the public business of the nation may go on: or lastly, stock-jobbers, who industriously spread such reports that actions may fall, and their friends buy to advantage.

Yet these hopes, thus freely expressed, as they are more sincere, so they are more supportable, than when they appear under the disguise and pretence of fears. Some of these gentlemen are employed to shake their heads in proper companies; to doubt where all this will end; to be in mighty pain for the nation; to shew how impossible it is, that the public credit can be supported: to pray that all may do well in whatever hands; but very much to doubt that the Pretender is at the bottom. I know not any thing so nearly resembling this behaviour, as what I have often seen among the friends of a sick man, whose interest it is that he should die: The physicians protest they see no danger; the symptoms are good, the medicines answer expectation; yet still they are not to be comforted; they whisper, he is a gone man; it is not possible he should hold out; he has perfect death in his face; they never liked this doctor: At last the patient recovers, and their joy is as false as their grief.

I believe there is no man so sanguine, who did not apprehend some ill consequences from the late change, though not in any proportion to the good ones: but it is manifest, the former have proved much fewer and lighter than were expected, either at home or abroad, by the fears of our friends, or the hopes of our enemies. Those remedies that stir the humours in a diseased body, are at first more painful than the malady itself; yet certain death is the consequence of deferring them too long. Actions have fallen, and the loans are said to come in slowly. But beside, that something of this must have been, whether there had been any change or no; beside, that the surprise of every change, for the better as well as the worse, is apt to affect credit for a while; there is a further reason, which is plain and scandalous. When the late party was at the helm, those who were called the Tories, never put their resentments in balance with the safety of the nation, but cheerfully contributed to the common cause. Now the scene is changed, the fallen party seems to act from very different motives: they have _given the word about;_ they will keep their money and be passive; and in this point stand upon the same foot with Papists and Nonjurors. What would have become of the public, if the present great majority had acted thus, during the late administration? Had acted thus, before the others were masters of that wealth they have squeezed out of the landed men, and with the strength of that, would now hold the kingdom at defiance?

Thus much I have thought fit to say, without pointing reflections upon any particular person; which I have hitherto but sparingly done, and that only towards those whose characters are too profligate, that the managing of them should be of any consequence: Besides as it is a talent I am not naturally fond of, so, in the subjects I treat, it is generally needless. If I display the effects of avarice and ambition, of bribery and corruption, of gross immorality and irreligion, those who are the least conversant in things, will easily know where to apply them. Not that I lay any weight upon the objections of such who charge me with this proceeding: it is notorious enough that the writers of the other side were the first aggressors. Not to mention their scurrilous libels many years ago, directly levelled at particular persons; how many papers do now come out every week, full of rude invectives against the present ministry, with the first and last letters of their names to prevent mistakes? It is good sometimes to let these people see, that we neither want spirit nor materials to retaliate; and therefore in this point _alone_, I shall follow their example, whenever I find myself sufficiently provoked; only with one addition, that whatever charges I bring, either general or particular, shall be religiously true, either upon avowed facts which none can deny, or such as I can prove from my own knowledge.

Being resolved publicly to acknowledge any mistakes I have been guilty of; I do here humbly desire the reader’s pardon for one of mighty importance, about a fact in one of my papers, said to be done in the cathedral of Gloucester.[8] A whole Hydra of errors in two words: For as I am since informed, it was neither in the cathedral, nor city, nor county of Gloucester, but some other church of that diocese. If I had ever met any other objection of equal weight, though from the meanest hands, I should certainly have answered it.

[Footnote 1: No. 24 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: I.e. 1710-11. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: “The merest trifles affect our spirits, and fill us with hope or fear.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: See Swift’s “Memoirs Relating to that Change,” etc., vol. v., p. 386 of present edition. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: “The general ferment soon after [1710, summer] broke out into numerous addresses, of very different style and tenor, that were presented to the Queen. … The high-church addresses not only exceeded the others in number, but were also far better received; as complimenting the Queen with a more extensive prerogative, and an hereditary title” (Chamberlen’s “History of Queen Anne,” p. 347). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: At the general election in October and November, 1710, the City of London returned four Tories: Sir Wm. Withers, Sir R. Hoare, Sir G. Newland, and Mr. John Cass. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: Harley’s ministry continued in power until July, 1714. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: This act of Wharton’s was alluded to by the Duke of Leeds in the House of Lords on December 6th, 1705. See Dartmouth’s note on Burnet’s “Own Times,” vol. ii., p. 435, and compare “History of Parliament,” and “Journals of House of Lords.” When the Duke of Leeds insinuated pretty plainly to Wharton the nature of his offence, Dartmouth remarks that the “Lord Wharton was very silent for the rest of that day, and desired no further explanations.” [T.S.]]

NUMB. 26.[1]