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  • 1898
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exigency, nothing but innocence can give, and is truly worthy of a Christian philosopher.

If there be really so great a difference in principle between the high-flying Whigs, and the friends of France, I cannot but repeat the question, how come they to join in the destruction of the same man? Can his death be possibly for the interest of both? or have they both the same quarrel against him, that he is perpetually discovering and preventing the treacherous designs of our enemies? However it be, this great minister may now say with St. Paul, that he hath been “in perils by his own countrymen, and in perils by strangers.”

In the midst of so melancholy a subject, I cannot but congratulate with our own country, that such a savage monster as the Marquis de Guiscard, is none of her production; a wretch perhaps more detestable in his own nature, than even this barbarous act has been yet able to represent him to the world. For there are good reasons to believe, from several circumstances, that he had intentions of a deeper dye, than those he happened to execute;[18] I mean such as every good subject must tremble to think on. He hath of late been frequently seen going up the back stairs at court, and walking alone in an outer room adjoining to her Ma[jest]y’s bed-chamber. He has often and earnestly pressed for some time to have access to the Qu[een], even since his correspondence with France; and he has now given such a proof of his disposition, as leaves it easy to guess what was before in his thoughts, and what he was capable of attempting.

It is humbly to be hoped, that the legislature[19] will interpose on so extraordinary an occasion as this, and direct a punishment[20] some way proportionable to so execrable a crime.

_Et quicunque tuum violavit vulnere corpus, Morte luat merita_—-[21]

[Footnote 1: No. 32 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: To this number the writer of “The Political State of Great Britain” made a pretty tart reply. In the issue for April, 1711, pp. 315-320 he says: “One of the Tory writers, shall I call him? or rather libellers–one who presumptuously sets up for an Examiner–who, in order, as he fondly expects, to make his court to some men in power, with equal insolence and malice, makes it his weekly business to slander the moderate party; who, without the least provocation, brandishes his virulent pen against the best men … instances in the murders of Caesar, Henry III. and Henry IV. of France, and of the Duke of Buckingham; and having extenuated the last, ‘from the motives Felton is said to have had,’ he concludes,” etc. The writer further goes on to say: “As to the imputation of villanous assassinations, which the Examiner charges so home on the French nation, I am heartily sorry he has given them so fair an opportunity to retort the unfair and unjust argument from particulars to generals. For, without mentioning Felton, whose crime this writer has endeavoured _to extenuate_, no foreign records can afford a greater number of murders, parricides, and, to use the Examiner’s expression, solid villanies, than our English history.” Swift retorted on this writer in No. 42, _post_, pp. 276, 277. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: Cicero, “Pro Sestio,” 65. “But that is not a remedy when the knife is applied to some sound and healthy part of the body; that is the act of an executioner and mere inhumanity. Those are the men who really apply healing remedies to the republic, who cut out some pestilence as if it were a wen on the person of the state.”–C.D. YONGE. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: This refers to the attempted assassination of Harley and St. John by the Marquis de Guiscard. See Swift’s “Memoirs Relating to that Change,” etc. (vol. v., pp. 387-9 of present edition). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: Henri III. was assassinated by Jacques Clement, a Dominican friar, August 1st, 1589. Henri IV. was assassinated by Francois Ravaillac, May 14th, 1610. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: George Villiers, fourth Duke of Buckingham, was stabbed by Lieut. John Felton, August 23rd, 1628. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: Admiral de Coligny was assassinated August 23rd, 1572. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: Francois de Lorraine, Due de Guise, was shot in 1563. His son and successor (Henri le Balafre) was killed December 23rd, 1588. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 9: Davila was the author of “Historia delle Guerre Civili di Francia” (_c._ 1630). He was assassinated in 1631. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 10: “The first thing I would beg of this libeller,” asks “The Medley” (No. 25, March 19th, 1711), “is to make out what he affirms of his being ‘invited over.’ If he would but prove that one particular, I would forgive him all his lies past and yet to come.”

Of course. Swift’s extreme phrase of “invited over” referred to the fact that Guiscard had a Whig commission in the army. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 11: Antoine de Guiscard, at one time Abbe de la Bourlie, was born in 1658. For misconduct he was compelled, in 1703, to forsake his benefice and his country, and he undertook the cause of the Protestant Camisards in the Cevennes, in their insurrection against Louis XIV. It is known that he had been envoy to Turin, and had received a pension from Holland. On taking refuge in England he obtained a pension from the government, and by means of the influence of the Duke of Ormonde, who was his brother’s friend, became a frequenter in fashionable circles. The death, however, of his friend Count Briancon seems to have deprived him of means. He fell into bad ways, became poor, and solicited a pension from the Queen, through St. John whose acquaintance he had made. A pension of L500 was granted him; but this sum Harley reduced. Afraid that even this means of a livelihood would be taken from him he opened a treasonable correspondence with one Moreau, a Parisian banker. The rest of the story of this poor wretch’s life may be gathered from the excellent account of the Harley-Guiscard incident given by W. Sichel in his “Bolingbroke and his Times” (pp. 308-313).

N. Luttrell has several entries in his Diary relating to Guiscard and the attempted assassination of Harley, and there is a long account of him in Boyer’s “Political State” (vol. i., pp. 275-314). See also Portland MS., vol. iv., Wentworth Papers, and Swift’s “Journal to Stella,” and “Some Remarks,” etc. (vol. v. of present edition). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 12: “Had such an accident … against the secretary.” The writer of “A Letter to the Seven Lords” (1711) quotes this passage, and remarks that “The Examiner” “intended seriously to charge you all, with subornation, in order to proceed to murder.” See also Swift’s “Some Remarks,” etc. (vol. v., pp. 29-53 of present edition). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 13: See note on p. 263. Also note on p. 30 of vol. v. of present edition. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 14: William Gregg declared in his last confession that Mr. Harley “was not privy to my writing to France, directly nor indirectly,” and he thanked God for touching his “conscience so powerfully … as to prevent my prostituting the same to save my life.”–“William Gregg’s Paper,” “Published by Authority,” 1708. Gregg told the Rev. Paul Lorrain “that he was profferred his life, and a great reward, if he would accuse his master” (F. Hoffman’s “Secret Transactions,” 1711, p. 8). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 15: Swift furnished Mrs. Manley with hints for her pamphlet entitled, “A True Narrative Of what pass’d at the Examination Of the Marquis De Guiscard,” 1711. See note on p. 41 of vol. v. of present edition. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 16: “The matter was thus represented in the weekly paper called ‘The Examiner’; which Mr. St. John perused before it was printed, but made no alteration in that passage.” Swift’s “Memoirs Relating to that Change,” etc. (vol v., p. 389 of present edition). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 17: Guiscard could hardly have been aware of St. John’s true sentiments towards Harley. In 1717 Bolingbroke, writing in his “Letter to Sir William Windham,” says: “I abhorred Oxford to that degree, that I could not bear to be joined with him in any case” (edit. 1753, p. 94). And yet, when it was feared that Harley might die from his wound, St. John remarked to Swift that “he was but an ill dissembler” and Harley’s life was “absolutely necessary.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 18: “It was thought he had a design against the Queen’s person, for he had tried by all the ways that he could contrive to be admitted to speak with her in private.” (BURNET’S “Own Times,” ii., 566). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 19: An Act to make an Attempt on the Life of a Privy Councillor in the Execution of his Office to be Felony without Benefit of Clergy (9 Ann. c. 21). This Act, which indemnified all those who had caused Guiscard’s death, was recommended in a Royal Message, March 14th, introduced April 5th, passed the House of Commons, April 19th, and received the Royal Assent, May 16th, 1711. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 20: Writing to Stella, under date March 15th, Swift says: “I am sorry he [Guiscard] is dying; for they had found out a way to hang him. He certainly had an intention to murder the Queen.” Two days later he says: “The coroner’s inquest have found that he was killed by bruises received from a messenger, so to clear the cabinet counsellors from whom he received his wounds.” (Vol. ii., p. 139 of present edition.) [T.S.]]

[Footnote 21:
“He who profaned thy body by a wound Must pay the penalty of death.”

NUMB. 34.[1]


_De Libertate retinenda, qua certe nihil est dulcius, tibi assentior._[2]

The apologies of the ancient Fathers are reckoned to have been the most useful parts of their writings, and to have done greatest service to the Christian religion, because they removed those misrepresentations which had done it most injury. The methods these writers took, was openly and freely to discover every point of their faith, to detect the falsehood of their accusers, and to charge nothing upon their adversaries but what they were sure to make good. This example has been ill followed of later times; the Papists since the Reformation using all arts to palliate the absurdities of their tenets, and loading the Reformers with a thousand calumnies; the consequence of which has been only a more various, wide, and inveterate separation. It is the same thing in civil schisms: a Whig forms an image of a Tory, just after the thing he most abhors, and that image serves to represent the whole body.

I am not sensible of any material difference there is between those who call themselves the Old Whigs, and a great majority of the present Tories; at least by all I could ever find, from examining several persons of each denomination. But it must be confessed that the present body of Whigs, as they now constitute that party, is a very odd mixture of mankind, being forced to enlarge their bottom by taking in every heterodox professor either in religion or government, whose opinions they were obliged to encourage for fear of lessening their number; while the bulk of the landed men and people were entirely of the old sentiments. However, they still pretended a due regard to the monarchy and the Church, even at the time when they were making the largest steps towards the ruin of both: but not being able to wipe off the many accusations laid to their charge, they endeavoured, by throwing of scandal, to make the Tories appear blacker than themselves, that so the people might join with _them_, as the smaller evil of the two.

But among all the reproaches which the Whigs have flung upon their adversaries, there is none hath done them more service than that of _passive obedience_, as they represent it, with the consequences of non-resistance, arbitrary power, indefeasible right, tyranny, popery, and what not? There is no accusation which has passed with more plausibility than this, nor any that is supported with less justice. In order therefore to undeceive those who have been misled by false representations, I thought it would be no improper undertaking to set this matter in a fair light, which I think has not yet been done. A Whig asks whether you hold passive obedience? you affirm it: he then immediately cries out, “You are a Jacobite, a friend of France and the Pretender;” because he makes you answerable for the definition he has formed of that term, however different it be from what you understand. I will therefore give two descriptions of passive obedience; the first as it is falsely charged by the Whigs; the other as it is really professed by the Tories, at least by nineteen in twenty of all I ever conversed with.

Passive Obedience as charged by the Whigs.

_The doctrine of passive obedience is to believe that a king, even in a limited monarchy, holding his power only from God, is only answerable to Him. That such a king is above all law, that the cruellest tyrant must be submitted to in all things; and if his commands be ever so unlawful, you must neither fly nor resist, nor use any other weapons than prayers and tears. Though he should force your wife or daughter, murder your children before your face, or cut off five hundred heads in a morning for his diversion, you are still to wish him a long prosperous reign, and to be patient under all his cruelties, with the same resignation as under a plague or a famine; because to resist him would be to resist God in the person of His vicegerent. If a king of England should go through the streets of London, in order to murder every man he met, passive obedience commands them to submit. All laws made to limit him signify nothing, though passed by his own consent, if he thinks fit to break them. God will indeed call him to a severe account, but the whole people, united to a man, cannot presume to hold his hands, or offer him the least active disobedience. The people were certainly created for him, and not he for the people. His next heir, though worse than what I have described, though a fool or a madman, has a divine undefeasible right to succeed him, which no law can disannul; nay though he should kill his father upon the throne, he is immediately king to all intents and purposes, the possession of the crown wiping off all stains. But whosoever sits on the throne without this title, though never so peaceably, and by consent of former kings and parliaments, is an usurper, while there is any where in the world another person who hath a nearer hereditary right, and the whole kingdom lies under mortal sin till that heir be restored; because he has a divine title which no human law can defeat._

This and a great deal more hath, in a thousand papers[3] and pamphlets, been laid to that doctrine of passive obedience, which the Whigs are pleased to charge upon us. This is what they perpetually are instilling into the people to believe, as the undoubted principles by which the present ministry, and a great majority in Parliament, do at this time proceed. This is what they accuse the clergy of delivering from the pulpits, and of preaching up as doctrines absolutely necessary to salvation. And whoever affirms in general, that passive obedience is due to the supreme power, he is presently loaden by our candid adversaries with such consequences as these. Let us therefore see what this doctrine is, when stripped of such misrepresentations, by describing it as really taught and practised by the Tories, and then it will appear what grounds our adversaries have to accuse us upon this article.

Passive Obedience, as professed and practised by the Tories.

_They think that in every government, whether monarchy or republic, there is placed a supreme, absolute, unlimited power, to which passive obedience is due. That wherever is entrusted the power of making laws, that power is without all bounds, can repeal or enact at pleasure whatever laws it thinks fit, and justly demands universal obedience and non-resistance. That among us, as every body knows, this power is lodged in the king or queen, together with the lords and commons of the kingdom; and therefore all decrees whatsoever, made by that power, are to be actively or passively obeyed. That the administration or executive part of this power is in England solely entrusted with the prince, who in administering those laws, ought to be no more resisted than the legislative power itself. But they do not conceive the same absolute passive obedience to be due to a limited prince’s commands, when they are directly contrary to the laws he has consented to, and sworn to maintain. The crown may be sued as well as a private person; and if an arbitrary king of England should send his officers to seize my lands or goods against law, I can lawfully resist them. The ministers by whom he acts are liable to prosecution and impeachment, though his own person be sacred. But if he interposes his royal authority to support their insolence, I see no remedy, till it grows a general grievance, or till the body of the people have reason to apprehend it will be so; after which it becomes a case of necessity, and then I suppose a free people may assert their own rights, yet without any violation to the person or lawful power of the prince. But although the Tories allow all this, and did justify it by the share they had in the Revolution, yet they see no reason for entering upon so ungrateful a subject, or raising controversies upon it, as if we were in daily apprehensions of tyranny, under the reign of so excellent a princess, and while we have so many laws[4] of late years made to limit the prerogative; when according to the judgment of those who know our constitution best, things rather seem to lean to the other extreme, which is equally to be avoided. As to the succession; the Tories think an hereditary right to be the best in its own nature, and most agreeable to our old constitution; yet at the same time they allow it to be defeasible by Act of Parliament, and so is_ Magna Charta _too, if the legislature thinks fit; which is a truth so manifest, that no man who understands the nature of government, can be in doubt concerning it._

These I take to be the sentiments of a great majority among the Tories, with respect to passive obedience: and if the Whigs insist, from the writings or common talk of warm and ignorant men, to form a judgment of the whole body, according to the first account I have here given, I will engage to produce as many of their side, who are utterly against passive obedience even to the legislature; who will assert the last resort of power to be in the people, against those whom they have chosen and trusted as their representatives, with the prince at the head; and who will put wild improbable cases to shew the reasonableness and necessity of resisting the legislative power, in such imaginary junctures. Than which however nothing can be more idle; for I dare undertake in any system of government, either speculative or practic, that was ever yet in the world, from Plato’s “Republic” to Harrington’s “Oceana,”[5] to put such difficulties as cannot be answered.

All the other calumnies raised by the Whigs may be as easily wiped off; and I have charity to wish they could as fully answer the just accusations we have against them. Dodwell, Hicks, and Lesley,[6] are gravely quoted, to prove that the Tories design to bring in the Pretender; and if I should quote them to prove that the same thing is intended by the Whigs, it would be full as reasonable, since I am sure they have at least as much to do with Nonjurors as we. But our objections against the Whigs are built upon their constant practice for many years, whereof I have produced a hundred instances, against any single one of which no answer hath yet been attempted, though I have been curious enough to look into all the papers I could meet with that are writ against the “Examiner”; such a task as I hope no man thinks I would undergo for any other end, but that of finding an opportunity to own and rectify my mistakes; as I would be ready to do upon call of the meanest adversary. Upon which occasion, I shall take leave to add a few words.

I flattered myself last Thursday, from the nature of my subject, and the inoffensive manner I handled it, that I should have one week’s respite from those merciless pens, whose severity will some time break my heart; but I am deceived, and find them more violent than ever. They charge me with two lies and a blunder. The first lie is a truth, that Guiscard was invited over:[7] but it is of no consequence; I do not tax it as a fault; such sort of men have often been serviceable: I only blamed the indiscretion of raising a profligate abbot, at the first step, to a lieutenant-general and colonel of a regiment of horse, without staying some reasonable time, as is usual in such cases, till he had given some proofs of his fidelity, as well as of that interest and credit he pretended to have in his country: But that is said to be another lie, for he was a Papist, and could not have a regiment. However this other lie is a truth too; for a regiment he had, and paid by us, to his agent Monsieur Le Bas, for his use. The third is a blunder, that I say Guiscard’s design was against Mr. Secretary St. John, and yet my reasonings upon it, are, as if it were personal against Mr. Harley. But I say no such thing, and my reasonings are just; I relate only what Guiscard said in Newgate, because it was a particularity the reader might be curious to know (and accordingly it lies in a paragraph by itself, after my reflections)[8] but I never meant to be answerable for what Guiscard said, or thought it of weight enough for me to draw conclusions from thence, when I had the Address of both Houses to direct me better; where it is expressly said,[9] “That Mr. Harley’s fidelity to her Majesty, and zeal for her service, have drawn upon him the hatred of all the abettors of Popery and faction.”[10] This is what I believe, and what I shall stick to.

But alas, these are not the passages which have raised so much fury against me. One or two mistakes in facts of no importance, or a single blunder, would not have provoked them; they are not so tender of my reputation as a writer. All their outrage is occasioned by those passages in that paper, which they do not in the least pretend to answer, and with the utmost reluctancy are forced to mention. They take abundance of pains to clear Guiscard from a design against Mr. Harley’s life, but offer not one argument to clear their other friends, who in the business of Gregg, were equally guilty of the same design against the same person; whose tongues were very swords, and whose penknives were axes.

[Footnote 1: No. 33 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: Cicero, “Ep. ad Att.,” xv. 13. “As to the maintenance of liberty–surely the most precious thing in the world–I agree with you.”–E.S. SHUCKBURGH.]

[Footnote 3: The following pamphlets may be instanced:–“Julian the Apostate,” [by S. Johnson], 1682; “[Passive Obedience] A Sermon preached before the … Lord Mayor,” etc., by B. Calamy, 1683; “Passive Obedience Stated and Asserted,” by T. Pomfret, 1683; “The Doctrine of Non-Resistance,” [by E. Bohun], 1689; “History of Passive Obedience,” [by A. Seller], 1689; “A Discourse concerning the Unreasonableness,” etc. [by E. Stillingfleet], 1689; “Christianity, a Doctrine of the Cross,” [by J. Kettlewell], 1691; and “The Measures of Submission,” by B. Hoadly, 1706. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: The Act declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject (1 Will. and Mary, Sess. 2, c. 2), and the Act for the Further Limitation of the Crown (12 and 13 Will. III. c. 2), limited the power of the Crown in various respects. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: “The Commonwealth of Oceana,” by James Harrington, 1656. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: Henry Dodwell (1641-1711), non-juror, and author of “An Admonitory Discourse … Schism” (1704), “Occasional Communion” (1705), etc.

George Hickes (1642-1715), non-juror. Dean of Worcester (1683-91), and author of “The Pretences of the Prince of Wales Examined, and Rejected” (1701).

Charles Leslie, see No. 16, _ante_, and note, p. 85. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: “Such, a vile slanderer is the ‘Examiner,’ who says: ‘he was invited over by the late ministry, preferred to a regiment, and made lieut.-general,’ when there is an Act of Parliament against Papists being so.”–“The Medley,” No. 25 (March 19th). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: See No. 33, _ante_, p. 212. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 9: This is fairly quoted, changing the person. See Swift’s remarks in the following number. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 10: “A Letter to the Seven Lords” says: “The Examiner knows _you_ are as much intended by ‘faction,’ as Guiscard was by ‘Popery.'” [T.S.]]

NUMB. 35.[1]


_–Sunt hic etiam sua praemia laudi; Sunt lacrimae rerum, et mentem mortalia tangunt._[2]

I begin to be heartily weary of my employment as _Examiner_; which I wish the m[inist]ry would consider, with half so much concern as I do, and assign me some other with less pains, and a larger pension. There may soon be a vacancy, either on the bench, in the revenue, or the army, and I am _equally_ qualified for each: but this trade of _Examining_, I apprehend may at one time or other go near to sour my temper. I did lately propose that some of those ingenious pens, which are engaged on the other side, might be employed to succeed me, and I undertook to bring them over for _t’other crown;_ but it was answered, that those gentlemen do much better service in the stations where they are. It was added, that abundance of abuses yet remained to be laid open to the world, which I had often promised to do, but was too much diverted by other subjects that came into my head. On the other side, the advice of some friends, and the threats of many enemies, have put me upon considering what would become of me if _times should alter._ This I have done very maturely, and the result is, that I am in no manner of pain. I grant, that what I have said upon occasion, concerning the late men in power, may be called satire by some unthinking people, as long as that faction is down; but if ever they come into play again, I must give them warning beforehand, that I shall expect to be a favourite, and that those pretended advocates of theirs, will be pilloried for libellers. For I appeal to any man, whether I ever charged that party, or its leaders, with one single action or design, which (if we may judge by their former practices) they will not openly profess, be proud of, and score up for merit, when they come again to the head of affairs? I said, they were insolent to the Qu[een]; will they not value themselves upon that, as an argument to prove them bold assertors of the people’s liberty? I affirmed they were against a peace; will they be angry with me for setting forth the refinements of their politics, in pursuing the _only_ method left to preserve them in power? I said, they had involved the nation in debts, and engrossed much of its money; they go beyond me, and boast they have got it all, and the credit too. I have urged the probability of their intending great alterations in religion and government: if they destroy both at their next coming, will they not reckon my foretelling it, rather as a panegyric than an affront? I said,[3] they had formerly a design against Mr. H[arle]y’s life: if they were now in power, would they not immediately cut off his head, and thank me for justifying the sincerity of their intentions? In short, there is nothing I ever said of those worthy patriots, which may not be as well excused; therefore, as soon as they resume their places, I positively design to put in my claim; and, I think, may do it with much better grace, than many of that party who now make their court to the present m[inist]ry. I know two or three great men, at whose levees you may daily observe a score of the most forward faces, which every body is ashamed of, except those that wear them. But I conceive my pretensions will be upon a very different foot: Let me offer a parallel case. Suppose, King Charles the First had entirely subdued the rebels at Naseby, and reduced the kingdom to his obedience: whoever had gone about to reason, from the former conduct of those _saints_, that if the victory had fallen on their side, they would have murdered their prince, destroyed monarchy and the Church and made the king’s party compound for their estates as delinquents; would have been called a false, uncharitable libeller, by those very persons who afterwards gloried in all this, and called it the “work of the Lord,” when they happened to succeed. I remember there was a person fined and imprisoned for _scandalum magnatum_, because he said the Duke of York was a Papist; but when that prince came to be king, and made open profession of his religion, he had the justice immediately to release his prisoner, who in his opinion had put a compliment upon him, and not a reproach: and therefore Colonel Titus,[4] who had warmly asserted the same thing in Parliament, was made a privy-councillor.

By this rule, if that which, for some politic reasons, is now called scandal upon the late m[inist]ry, proves one day to be only an abstract of such a character as they will assume and be proud of; I think I may fairly offer my pretensions, and hope for their favour. And I am the more confirmed in this notion by what I have observed in those papers, that come weekly out against the “Examiner.” The authors are perpetually telling me of my ingratitude to my masters, that I blunder, and betray the cause; and write with more bitterness against those that hire me, than against the Whigs. Now I took all this at first only for so many strains of wit, and pretty paradoxes to divert the reader; but upon further thinking I find they are serious. I imagined I had complimented the present ministry for their dutiful behaviour to the Queen; for their love of the old constitution in Church and State; for their generosity and justice, and for their desire of a speedy, honourable peace: but it seems I am mistaken, and they reckon all this for satire, because it is directly contrary to the practice of all those whom they set up to defend, and utterly against all their notions of a good ministry. Therefore I cannot but think they have reason on their side: for suppose I should write the character of an honest, a religious, and a learned man; and send the first to Newgate, the second to the Grecian Coffee-house, and the last to White’s;[5] would they not all pass for satires, and justly enough, among the companies to whom they were sent?

Having therefore employed several papers in such sort of panegyrics, and but very few on what they understand to be satires; I shall henceforth upon occasion be more liberal of the latter, of which they are like to have a taste, in the remainder of this present paper.

Among all the advantages which the kingdom hath received by the late change of ministry, the greatest must be allowed to be the calling of the present Parliament, upon the dissolution of the last. It is acknowledged, that this excellent assembly hath entirely recovered the honour of P[arliamen]ts, which had been unhappily prostituted for some years past by the factious proceedings of an unnatural majority, in concert with a most corrupt administration. It is plain, by the present choice of members, that the electors of England, when left to themselves, do rightly understand their true interest. The moderate Whigs begin to be convinced that we have been all this while in wrong hands, and that things are now as they should be. And as the present House of Commons is the best representative of the nation that hath ever been summoned in our memories; so they have taken care in their first session, by that noble Bill of Qualification,[6] that future Parliaments should be composed of landed men, and our properties lie no more at mercy of those who have none themselves, or at least only what is transient or imaginary. If there be any gratitude in posterity, the memory of this assembly will be always celebrated; if otherwise, at least we, who share in the blessings they derive to us, ought with grateful hearts to acknowledge them.

I design, in some following papers, to draw up a list (for I can do no more) of the great things this Parliament hath already performed, the many abuses they have detected; their justice in deciding elections without regard of party; their cheerfulness and address in raising supplies for the war, and at the same time providing for the nation’s debts; their duty to the Queen, and their kindness to the Church. In the mean time I cannot forbear mentioning two particulars, which in my opinion do discover, in some measure, the temper of the present Parliament; and bear analogy to those passages related by Plutarch, in the lives of certain great men; which, as himself observes, “Though they be not of actions which make any great noise or figure in history, yet give more light into the characters of persons, than we could receive from an account of their most renowned achievements.”

Something like this may be observed from two late instances of decency and good nature, in that illustrious assembly I am speaking of. The first was, when after that inhuman attempt upon Mr. Harley, they were pleased to vote an Address to the Queen,[7] wherein they express their utmost detestation of the fact, their high esteem and great concern for that able minister, and justly impute his misfortunes to that zeal for her Majesty’s service, which had “drawn upon him the hatred of all the abettors of Popery and faction.” I dare affirm, that so distinguishing a mark of honour and good will from such a Parliament, was more acceptable to a person of Mr. H[arle]y’s generous nature, than the most bountiful grant that was ever yet made to a subject; as her Majesty’s answer, filled with gracious expressions in his favour, adds more to his real glory, than any _titles_ she could bestow. The prince and representatives of the whole kingdom, join in their concern for so important a life. These are the true rewards of virtue, and this is the commerce between noble spirits, in a coin which the giver knows where to bestow, and the receiver how to value, though neither avarice nor ambition would be able to comprehend its worth.

The other instance I intended to produce of decency and good nature, in the present House of Commons, relates to their most worthy Speaker;[8] who having unfortunately lost his eldest son,[9] the assembly, moved with a generous pity for so sensible an affliction, adjourned themselves for a week, that so good a servant of the public, might have some interval to wipe away a father’s tears: And indeed that gentleman has too just an occasion for his grief, by the death of a son, who had already acquired so great a reputation for every amiable quality, and who might have lived to be so great an honour and an ornament to his ancient family.

Before I conclude, I must desire one favour of the reader, that when he thinks it worth his while to peruse any paper writ against the “Examiner,” he will not form his judgment by any mangled quotation out of it which he finds in such papers, but be so just to read the paragraph referred to; which I am confident will be found a sufficient answer to all that ever those papers can object. At least I have seen above fifty of them, and never yet observed one single quotation transcribed with common candour.

[Footnote: 1 No. 34 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote: 2 Virgil, “Aeneid,” i. 461-2. “Even here
Has merit its reward. Woe wakens tears, And mortal sufferings touch the heart of man.”–R. KENNEDY. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: See No. 33, _ante_, p. 211. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: Silas Titus (1622-1704) was the author of “Killing no Murder,” published in 1657. He sat in Parliament successively for Ludgershall, Lostwithiel, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, and Ludlow, In 1688 he was made a privy councillor. In his notes on Burnet Swift says: “Titus was the greatest rogue in England” (Burnet’s “Own Times,” i. 11). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: For the signification of these coffee-houses see the remarks prefixed to the “Tatlers” in this volume, p. 4. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: An Act for Securing the Freedom of Parliaments (9 Ann. c. 5) provided that English members should show a land qualification. It was introduced December 13th, 1710, and received the Royal Assent, February 28th. See also No. 45, _post_, p. 294. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: The Address to the Queen was presented on March 13th, Swift somewhat strengthens the language of the address, the original words stating that the Houses had “to our great concern been informed,” etc.; and “we cannot but be most deeply affected to find such an instance of inveterate malice, against one employed in your Majesty’s council,” etc. The Queen, in her reply, referred to “that barbarous attempt on Mr. Harley, whose zeal and fidelity in my service must appear yet more eminently by that horrid endeavour,” etc.–“Journals of House of Lords,” xix.; “Journals of House of Commons,” xvi. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: William Bromley (1664-1732) was Speaker from 1710 till 1713. See note on p. 334 of vol. v. of present edition. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 9: Clobery Bromley (1688-1711) was elected M.P. for Coventry, December, 1710. Only a few days before his death he had been appointed one of the commissioners to examine the public accounts. “The House being informed [March 20th] that Clobery Bromley, Esq., son to the Speaker, died that morning; out of respect to the father, and to give him time, both to perform the funeral rites, and to indulge his just affliction, they thought fit to adjourn to” the 26th.–“Hist. and Proc. of House of Commons,” iv. 199.

Swift wrote to Stella on the matter under date March 20th, 1711: “The Speaker’s eldest son is just dead of the small pox, and the House is adjourned a week, to give him time to wipe off his tears. I think it very handsomely done; but I believe one reason is, that they want Mr. Harley so much” (vol. ii., p. 141 of present edition). [T.S.]]

NUMB. 36.[1]


_Nullo suo peccato impediantur, quo minus alterius peccata demonstrare possint._[2]

I have been considering the old constitution of this kingdom, comparing it with the monarchies and republics whereof we meet so many accounts in ancient story, and with those at present in most parts of Europe: I have considered our religion, established here by the legislature soon after the Reformation: I have likewise examined the genius and disposition of the people, under that reasonable freedom they possess: Then I have turned my reflections upon those two great divisions of Whig and Tory, (which, some way or other, take in the whole kingdom) with the principles they both profess, as well as those wherewith they reproach one another. From all this, I endeavour to determine, from which side her present M[ajest]y may reasonably hope for most security to her person and government, and to which she ought, in prudence, to trust the administration of her affairs. If these two rivals were really no more than _parties_, according to the common acceptation of the word, I should agree with those politicians who think, a prince descends from his dignity by putting himself at the head of either; and that his wisest course is, to keep them in a balance; raising or depressing either as it best suited with his designs. But when the visible interest of his crown and kingdom lies on one side, and when the other is but a faction, raised and strengthened by incidents and intrigues, and by deceiving the people with false representations of things; he ought, in prudence, to take the first opportunity of opening his subjects’ eyes, and declaring himself in favour of those, who are for preserving the civil and religious rights of the nation, wherewith his own are so interwoven.

This was certainly our case: for I do not take the heads, advocates, and followers of the Whigs, to make up, strictly speaking, a national party; being patched up of heterogeneous, inconsistent parts, whom nothing served to unite but the common interest of sharing in the spoil and plunder of the people; the present dread of their adversaries, by whom they apprehended to be called to an account, and that general conspiracy, of endeavouring to overturn the Church and State; which, however, if they could have compassed, they would certainly have fallen out among themselves, and broke in pieces, as _their predecessors_ did, after they destroyed the monarchy and religion. For, how could a Whig, who is against all discipline, agree with a Presbyterian, that carries it higher than the Papists themselves? How could a Socinian adjust his models to either? Or how could any of these cement with a Deist or Freethinker, when they came to consult upon settling points of faith? Neither would they have agreed better in their systems of government, where some would have been for a king, under the limitations of a Duke of Venice; others for a Dutch republic; a third party for an aristocracy, and most of them all for some new fabric of their own contriving.

But however, let us consider them as a party, and under those general tenets wherein they agreed, and which they publicly owned, without charging them with any that they pretend to deny. Then let us _Examine_ those principles of the Tories, which their adversaries allow them to profess, and do not pretend to tax them with any actions contrary to those professions: after which, let the reader judge from which of these two parties a prince hath most to fear; and whether her M[ajest]y did not consider the ease, the safety and dignity of her person, the security of her crown, and the transmission of monarchy to her Protestant successors, when she put her affairs into the present hands.

Suppose the matter were now entire; the Qu[een] to make her choice, and for that end, should order the principles on both sides to be fairly laid before her. First, I conceive the Whigs would grant, that they have naturally no very great veneration for crowned heads; that they allow, the person of the prince may, upon many occasions, be resisted by arms; and that they do not condemn the war raised against King Charles the First, or own it to be a rebellion, though they would be thought to blame his murder. They do not think the prerogative to be yet sufficiently limited, and have therefore taken care (as a particular mark of their veneration for the illustrious house of Hanover) to clip it closer against next reign; which, consequently, they would be glad to see done in the present: not to mention, that the majority of them, if it were put to the vote, would allow, that they prefer a commonwealth before a monarchy. As to religion; their universal, undisputed maxim is, that it ought to make no distinction at all among Protestants; and in the word Protestant they include every body who is not a Papist, and who will, by an oath, give security to the government. Union in discipline and doctrine, the offensive sin of schism, the notion of a Church and a hierarchy, they laugh at as foppery, cant and priestcraft. They see no necessity at all that there should be a national faith; and what we usually call by that name, they only style the “religion of the magistrate.”[3] Since the Dissenters and we agree in the main, why should the difference of a few speculative points, or modes of dress, incapacitate them from serving their prince and country, in a juncture when we ought to have all hands up against the common enemy? And why should they be forced to take the sacrament from our clergy’s hands, and in our posture, or indeed why compelled to receive it at all, when they take an employment which has nothing to do with religion?

These are the notions which most of that party avow, and which they do not endeavour to disguise or set off with false colours, or complain of being misrepresented about, I have here placed them on purpose, in the same light which themselves do, in the very apologies they make for what we accuse them of; and how inviting even these doctrines are, for such a monarch to close with, as our law, both statute and common, understands a King of England to be, let others decide. But then, if to these we should add other opinions, which most of their own writers justify, and which their universal practice has given a sanction to, they are no more than what a prince might reasonably expect, as the natural consequence of those avowed principles. For when such persons are at the head of affairs, the low opinion they have of princes, will certainly tempt them to violate that respect they ought to bear; and at the same time, their own want of duty to their sovereign is largely made up, by exacting greater submissions to themselves from their fellow-subjects: it being indisputably true, that the same principle of pride and ambition makes a man treat his equals with insolence, in the same proportion as he affronts his superiors; as both Prince and people have sufficiently felt from the late m[inist]ry.

Then from their confessed notions of religion, as above related, I see no reason to wonder, why they countenanced not only all sorts of Dissenters, but the several gradations of freethinkers among us (all which were openly enrolled in their party); nor why they were so very averse from the present established form of worship, which by prescribing obedience to princes from the topic of conscience, would be sure to thwart all their schemes of innovation.

One thing I might add, as another acknowledged maxim in that party, and in my opinion, as dangerous to the constitution as any I have mentioned; I mean, that of preferring, on all occasions, the moneyed interest before the landed; which they were so far from denying, that they would gravely debate the reasonableness and justice of it; and at the rate they went on, might in a little time have found a majority of representatives, fitly qualified to lay those heavy burthens on the rest of the nation, which themselves would not touch with one of their fingers.

However, to deal impartially, there are some motives which might compel a prince, under the necessity of affairs, to deliver himself over to that party. They were _said_ to possess the great bulk of cash, and consequently of credit in the nation, and the heads of them had the reputation of presiding over those societies who have the great direction of both:[4] so that all applications for loans to the public service, upon any emergency, must be made through them; and it might prove highly dangerous to disoblige them, because in that case, it was not to be doubted, that they would be obstinate and malicious, ready to obstruct all affairs, not only by shutting their own purses, but by endeavouring to sink credit, though with some present imaginary loss to themselves, only to shew, it was a creature of their own.

From this summary of Whig-principles and dispositions, we find what a prince may reasonably fear and hope from that party. Let us now very briefly consider, the doctrines of the Tories, which their adversaries will not dispute. As they prefer a well-regulated monarchy before all other forms of government; so they think it next to impossible to alter that institution here, without involving our whole island in blood and desolation. They believe, that the prerogative of a sovereign ought, at least, to be held as sacred and inviolable as the rights of his people, if only for this reason, because without a due share of power, he will not be able to protect them. They think, that by many known laws of this realm, both statute and common, neither the person, nor lawful authority of the prince, ought, upon any pretence whatsoever, to be resisted or disobeyed. Their sentiments, in relation to the Church, are known enough, and will not be controverted, being just the reverse to what I have delivered as the doctrine and practice of the Whigs upon that article.

But here I must likewise deal impartially too, and add one principle as a characteristic of the Tories, which has much discouraged some princes from making use of them in affairs. Give the Whigs but power enough to insult their sovereign, engross his favours to themselves, and to oppress and plunder their fellow-subjects; they presently grow into good humour and good language towards the crown; profess they will stand by it with their lives and fortunes; and whatever rudenesses they may be guilty of in private, yet they assure the world, that there never was so gracious a monarch. But to the shame of the Tories, it must be confessed, that nothing of all this hath been ever observed in them; in or out of favour, you see no alteration, further than a little cheerfulness or cloud in their countenances; the highest employments can add nothing to their loyalty, but their behaviour to their prince, as well as their expressions of love and duty, are, in all conditions, exactly the same.

Having thus impartially stated the avowed principles of Whig and Tory; let the reader determine, as he pleases, to which of these two a wise prince may, with most safety to himself and the public, trust his person and his affairs; and whether it were rashness or prudence in her M[ajest]y to make those changes in the ministry, which have been so highly extolled by some, and condemned by others.

[Footnote 1: No. 35 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: “None are prevented by their own faults from pointing out the faults of another.”–H.T. RILEY. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: See Swift’s “Letter Concerning the Sacramental Test” (vol. iv., p. 11 of present edition). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: The Bank and the East India Company. The former was so decidedly in the Whig interest, that the great Doctor Sacheverell, on appearing to give his vote for choosing governors and directors for the Bank, was very rudely treated. Nor were the ministry successful in an attempt made about that time to put these great companies under Tory management. [S.] And see No. 25, _ante_, pp. 154-5. [T.S.]]

NUMB. 37.[1]


_Tres species tam dissimiles, tria talia texta Una dies dedit exitio—-_[2]

I write this paper for the sake of the Dissenters, whom I take to be the most spreading branch of the Whig party, that professeth Christianity, and the only one that seems to be zealous for any particular system of it; the bulk of those we call the Low Church, being generally indifferent, and undetermined in that point; and the other subdivisions having not yet taken either the Old or New Testament into their scheme. By the Dissenters therefore, it will easily be understood, that I mean the Presbyterians, as they include the sects of Anabaptists, Independents, and others, which have been melted down into them since the Restoration. This sect, in order to make itself national, having gone so far as to raise a Rebellion, murder their king, destroy monarchy and the Church, was afterwards broken in pieces by its own divisions; which made way for the king’s return from his exile. However, the zealous among them did still entertain hopes of recovering the “dominion of grace;” whereof I have read a remarkable passage, in a book published about the year 1661 and written by one of their own side. As one of the regicides was going to his execution, a friend asked him, whether he thought the cause would revive? He answered, “The cause is in the bosom of Christ, and as sure as Christ rose from the dead, so sure will the cause revive also.”[3] And therefore the Nonconformists were strictly watched and restrained by penal laws, during the reign of King Charles the Second; the court and kingdom looking on them as a faction, ready to join in any design against the government in Church or State: And surely this was reasonable enough, while so many continued alive, who had voted, and fought, and preached against both, and gave no proof that they had changed their principles. The Nonconformists were then exactly upon the same foot with our Nonjurors now, whom we double tax, forbid their conventicles, and keep under hatches; without thinking ourselves possessed with a persecuting spirit, because we know they want nothing but the power to ruin us. This, in my opinion, should altogether silence the Dissenters’ complaints of persecution under King Charles the Second; or make them shew us wherein they differed, at that time, from what our Jacobites are now.

Their inclinations to the Church were soon discovered, when King James the Second succeeded to the crown, with whom they unanimously joined in its ruin, to revenge themselves for that restraint they had most justly suffered in the foregoing reign; not from the persecuting temper of the clergy, as their clamours would suggest, but the prudence and caution of the legislature. The same indulgence against law, was made use of by them and the Papists, and they amicably employed their power, as in defence of one common interest.

But the Revolution happening soon after, served to wash away the memory of the rebellion; upon which, the run against Popery, was, no doubt, as just and seasonable, as that of fanaticism, after the Restoration: and the dread of Popery, being then our latest danger, and consequently the most fresh upon our spirits, all mouths were open against that; the Dissenters were rewarded with an indulgence by law; the rebellion and king’s murder were now no longer a reproach; the former was only a civil war, and whoever durst call it a rebellion, was a Jacobite, and friend to France. This was the more unexpected, because the Revolution being wholly brought about by Church of England hands, they hoped one good consequence of it, would be the relieving us from the encroachments of Dissenters, as well as those of Papists, since both had equally confederated towards our ruin; and therefore, when the crown was new settled, it was hoped at least that the rest of the constitution would be restored. But this affair took a very different turn; the Dissenters had just made a shift to save a tide, and joined with the Prince of Orange, when they found all was desperate with their protector King James. And observing a party, then forming against the old principles in Church and State, under the name of Whigs and Low-Churchmen, they listed themselves of it, where they have ever since continued.

It is therefore, upon the foot they now are, that I would apply myself to them, and desire they would consider the different circumstances at present, from what they were under, when they began their designs against the Church and monarchy, about seventy years ago. At that juncture they made up the body of the party, and whosoever joined with them from principles of revenge, discontent, ambition, or love of change, were all forced to shelter under their denomination; united heartily in the pretences of a further and purer Reformation in religion, and of advancing the “great work” (as the cant was then) “that God was about to do in these nations,” received the systems of doctrine and discipline prescribed by the Scots, and readily took the Covenant;[4] so that there appeared no division among them, till after the common enemy was subdued.

But now their case is quite otherwise, and I can hardly think it worth being of a party, upon the terms they have been received of late years; for suppose the whole faction should at length succeed in their design of destroying the Church; are they so weak to imagine, that the new modelling of religion, would be put into their hands? Would their brethren, the Low-Churchmen and Freethinkers, submit to their discipline, their synods or their classes, and divide the lands of bishops, or deans and chapters, among them? How can they help observing that their allies, instead of pretending more sanctity than other men, are some of them for levelling all religion, and the rest for abolishing it? Is it not manifest, that they have been treated by their confederates, exactly after the same manner, as they were by King James the Second, made instruments to ruin the Church, not for their sakes, but under a pretended project of universal freedom in opinion, to advance the dark designs of those who employ them? For, excepting the anti-monarchical principle, and a few false notions about liberty, I see but little agreement betwixt them; and even in these, I believe, it would be impossible to contrive a frame of government, that would please them all, if they had it now in their power to try. But however, to be sure, the Presbyterian institution would never obtain. For, suppose they should, in imitation of their predecessors, propose to have no King but our Saviour Christ, the whole clan of Freethinkers would immediately object, and refuse His authority. Neither would their Low-Church brethren use them better, as well knowing what enemies they are to that doctrine of unlimited toleration, wherever they are suffered to preside. So that upon the whole, I do not see, as their present circumstances stand, where the Dissenters can find better quarter, than from the Church of England.

Besides, I leave it to their consideration, whether, with all their zeal against the Church, they ought not to shew a little decency, and how far it consists with their reputation, to act in concert with such confederates. It was reckoned a very infamous proceeding in the present most Christian king, to assist the Turk against the Emperor: policy, and reasons of state, were not allowed sufficient excuses, for taking part with an infidel against a believer. It is one of the Dissenters’ quarrels against the Church, that she is not enough reformed from Popery; yet they boldly entered into a league with Papists and a popish prince, to destroy her. They profess much sanctity, and object against the wicked lives of some of our members; yet they have been long, and still continue, in strict combination with libertines and atheists, to contrive our ruin. What if the Jews should multiply, and become a formidable party among us? Would the Dissenters join in alliance with them likewise, because they agree already in some general principles, and because the Jews are allowed to be a “stiffnecked and rebellious people”?

It is the part of wise men to conceal their passions, when they are not in circumstances of exerting them to purpose: the arts of getting power, and preserving indulgence, are very different. For the former, the reasonable hopes of the Dissenters, seem to be at an end; their comrades, the Whigs and Freethinkers, are just in a condition proper to be forsaken; and the Parliament, as well as the body of the people, will be deluded no longer. Besides, it sometimes happens for a cause to be exhausted and worn out, as that of the Whigs in general, seems at present to be: the nation has had enough of it. It is as vain to hope restoring that decayed interest, as for a man of sixty to talk of entering on a new scene of life, that is only proper for youth and vigour. New circumstances and new men must arise, as well as new occasions, which are not like to happen in our time. So that the Dissenters have no game left, at present, but to secure their indulgence: in order to which, I will be so bold to offer them some advice.

First, That until some late proceedings are a little forgot, they would take care not to provoke, by any violence of tongue or pen, so great a majority, as there is now against them, nor keep up any longer that combination with their broken allies, but disperse themselves, and lie dormant against some better opportunity: I have shewn, they could have got no advantage if the late party had prevailed; and they will certainly lose none by its fall, unless through their own fault. They pretend a mighty veneration for the Queen; let them give proof of it, by quitting the ruined interest of those who have used her so ill; and by a due respect to the persons she is pleased to trust at present with her affairs: When they can no longer hope to govern, when struggling can do them no good, and may possibly hurt them, what is left but to be silent and passive?

Secondly, Though there be no law (beside that of God Almighty) against _occasional conformity_,[5] it would be prudence in the Dissenters to use it as tenderly as they can: for, besides the infamous hypocrisy of the thing itself, too frequent practice would perhaps make a remedy necessary. And after all they have said to justify themselves in this point, it still continues hard to conceive, how those consciences can pretend to be scrupulous, upon which an employment has more power than the love of unity.

In the last place, I am humbly of opinion, That the Dissenters would do well to drop that lesson they have learned from their directors, of affecting to be under horrible apprehensions, that the Tories are in the interests of the Pretender, and would be ready to embrace the first opportunity of inviting him over. It is with the worst grace in the world, that they offer to join in the cry upon this article: as if those, who alone stood in the gap against all the encroachments of Popery and arbitrary power, are not more likely to keep out both, than a set of schismatics, who to gratify their ambition and revenge, did, by the meanest compliances, encourage and spirit up that unfortunate prince, to fell upon such measures, as must, at last, have ended in the ruin of our liberty and religion.

_I wish those who give themselves the trouble to write to the “Examiner” would consider whether what they send be proper for such a paper to take notice of: I had one letter last week, written, as I suppose, by a divine, to desire I would offer some reasons against a Bill now before the Parliament for Ascertaining the Tithe of Hops;[6] from which the writer apprehends great damage to the clergy, especially the poorer vicars: If it be, as he says, (and he seems to argue very reasonably upon it) the convocation now sitting, will, no doubt, upon due application, represent the matter to the House of Commons; and he may expect all justice and favour from that great body, who have already appeared so tender of their rights.

A gentleman, likewise, who hath sent me several letters, relating to personal hardships he received from some of the late ministry; is advised to publish a narrative of them, they being too large, and not proper for this paper._

[Footnote 1: No. 36 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2:
“Three different forms, of threefold threads combined, The selfsame day in common ruin joined.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: It is recorded in “The Speeches and Prayers of … Mr. John Carew,” 1660, and in “Rebels no Saints,” 1661, that at the execution of John Carew, on October 15th, 1660: “One asked him if he thought there would be a resurrection of the cause? He answered, he died in the faith of that, as much as he did that his body should rise again.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: The Scotch General Assembly approved the “Solemn League and Covenant” on August 17th, 1643; it was publicly taken by the House of Commons at St. Margaret’s, Westminster, on September 25th. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: Such a law was passed December 20th, 1711. It was entitled “An Act for preserving the Protestant Religion” (10 Ann, c. 6), and required persons appointed to various offices to conform to the Church of England for one year and to receive the Sacrament three times. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: Leave was given for a Bill for Ascertaining the Tithe of Hops, March 26th, 1711, and the Bill was presented May 10th. It does not appear to have gone any further. [T.S.]]

NUMB. 38.[1]


_Semper causae eventorum magis movent quam ipsa eventa.[2]_

I am glad to observe, that several among the Whigs have begun very much to change their language of late. The style is now among the reasonable part of them, when they meet a man in business, or a Member of Parliament; “Well, gentlemen, if you go on as you have hitherto done, we shall no longer have any pretence to complain.” They find, it seems, that there have been yet no overtures made to bring in the Pretender, nor any preparatory steps towards it. They read no enslaving votes, nor bills brought in to endanger the subject. The indulgence to scrupulous consciences,[3] is again confirmed from the throne, inviolably preserved, and not the least whisper offered that may affect it. All care is taken to support the war; supplies cheerfully granted, and funds readily subscribed to, in spite of the little arts made use of to discredit them. The just resentments of some, which are laudable in themselves, and which at another juncture it might be proper to give way to, have been softened or diverted by the calmness of others. So that upon the article of present management, I do not see how any objection of weight can well be raised.

However, our adversaries still allege, that this great success was wholly unexpected, and out of all probable view. That in public affairs, we ought least of all others, to judge by events; that the attempt of changing a ministry, during the difficulties of a long war, was rash and inconsiderate: That if the Qu[een] were disposed by her inclinations, or from any personal dislike, for such a change, it might have been done with more safety, in a time of peace: That if it had miscarried by any of those incidents, which in all appearance might have intervened, the consequences would perhaps have ruined the whole confederacy; and, therefore, however it hath now succeeded, the experiment was too dangerous to try.

But this is what we can by no means allow them. We never will admit rashness or chance to have produced all this harmony and order. It is visible to the world, that the several steps towards this change were slowly taken, and with the utmost caution. The movers observed as they went on, how matters would bear, and advanced no farther at first, than so as they might be able to stop or go back, if circumstances were not mature. Things were grown to such a height, that it was no longer the question, whether a person who aimed at an employment, were a Whig or a Tory, much less, whether he had merit or proper abilities for what he pretended to: he must owe his preferment only to the favourites; and the crown was so far from nominating, that they would not allow it a negative. This, the Qu[een] was resolved no longer to endure, and began to break into their prescription, by bestowing one or two places of consequence,[4] without consulting her ephori; after they had fixed them for others, and concluded as usually, that all their business was to signify their pleasure to her M[ajest]y. But though the persons the Qu[een] had chosen, were such as no objection could well be raised against upon the score of party; yet the oligarchy took the alarm;[5] their sovereign authority was, it seems, called in question; they grew into anger and discontent, as if their undoubted rights were violated. All former obligations to their sovereign now became cancelled; and they put themselves upon the foot of people, who were hardly used after the most eminent services.

I believe all men, who know any thing in politics, will agree, that a prince thus treated, by those he has most confided in, and perpetually loaded with his favours, ought to extricate himself as soon as possible; and is then only blamable in his choice of time, when he defers one minute after it is in his power; because, from the monstrous encroachments of exorbitant avarice and ambition, he cannot tell how long it may continue to be so. And it will be found, upon enquiring into history, that most of those princes, who have been ruined by favourites, have owed their misfortune to the neglect of early remedies; deferring to struggle till they were quite sunk.

The Whigs are every day cursing the ungovernable rage, the haughty pride, and unsatiable covetousness of a certain person,[6] as the cause of their fall; and are apt to tell their thoughts, that one single removal might have set all things right. But the interests of that single person, were found, upon experience, so complicated and woven with the rest, by love, by awe, by marriage, by alliance, that they would rather confound heaven and earth, than dissolve such an union.

I have always heard and understood, that a king of England, possessed of his people’s hearts, at the head of a free Parliament, and in full agreement with a great majority, made the true figure in the world that such a monarch ought to do, and pursued the real interest of himself and his kingdom. Will they allow her M[ajest]y to be in those circumstances at present? And was it not plain by the addresses sent from all parts of the island,[7] and by the visible disposition of the people, that such a Parliament would undoubtedly be chosen? And so it proved, without the court’s using any arts to influence elections.

What people then, are these in a corner, to whom the constitution must truckle? If the whole nation’s credit cannot supply funds for the war, without humble application from the entire legislature to a few retailers of money, it is high time we should sue for a peace. What new maxims are these, which neither we nor our forefathers ever heard of before, and which no wise institution would ever allow? Must our laws from henceforward pass the Bank and East India Company, or have their royal assent before they are in force?

To hear some of those worthy reasoners talking of credit, that she is so nice, so squeamish, so capricious; you would think they were describing a lady troubled with vapours or the colick, to be only removed by a course of steel, and swallowing a bullet. By the narrowness of their thoughts, one would imagine they conceived the world to be no wider than Exchange Alley. It is probable they may have such a sickly dame among them, and it is well if she has no worse diseases, considering what hands she passes through. But the national credit is of another complexion; of sound health, and an even temper, her life and existence being a quintessence drawn from the vitals of the whole kingdom. And we find these money-politicians, after all their noise, to be of the same opinion, by the court they paid her, when she lately appeared to them in the form of a _lottery_.[8]

As to that mighty error in politics, they charge upon the Qu[een], for changing her ministry in the height of a war, I suppose, it is only looked upon as an error under a Whiggish administration; otherwise, the late King has much to answer for, who did it pretty frequently. And it is well known, that the late ministry of famous memory, was brought in during this present war,[9] only with this circumstance, that two or three of the chief, did first change their own principles, and then took in suitable companions.

But however, I see no reason why the Tories should not value their wisdom by events, as well as the Whigs. Nothing was ever thought a more precipitate rash counsel, than that of altering the coin at the juncture it was done;[10] yet the prudence of the undertaking was sufficiently justified by the success. Perhaps it will be said, that the attempt was necessary, because the whole species of money, was so grievously clipped and counterfeit. And, is not her Majesty’s authority as sacred as her coin? And has not that been most scandalously clipped and mangled, and often counterfeited too?

It is another grievous complaint of the Whigs, that their late friends, and the whole party, are treated with abundance of severity in print, and in particular by the “Examiner.” They think it hard, that when they are wholly deprived of power, hated by the people, and out of all hope of re-establishing themselves, their infirmities should be so often displayed, in order to render them yet more odious to mankind. This is what they employ their writers to set forth in their papers of the week; and it is humoursome enough to observe one page taken up in railing at the “Examiner” for his invectives against a discarded ministry; and the other side filled with the falsest and vilest abuses, against those who are now in the highest power and credit with their sovereign, and whose least breath would scatter them into silence and obscurity. However, though I have indeed often wondered to see so much licentiousness taken and connived at, and am sure it would not be suffered in any other country of Christendom; yet I never once invoked the assistance of the gaol or the pillory, which upon the least provocation, was the usual style during their tyranny. There hath not passed a week these twenty years without some malicious paper, scattered in every coffee-house by the emissaries of that party, whether it were down or up. I believe, they will not pretend to object the same thing to us. Nor do I remember any constant weekly paper, with reflections on the late ministry or j[u]nto. They have many weak, defenceless parts, they have not been used to a regular attack, and therefore it is that they are so ill able to endure one, when it comes to be their turn. So that they complain more of a few months’ truths from us, than we did of all their scandal and malice, for twice as many years.

I cannot forbear observing upon this occasion, that those worthy authors I am speaking of, seem to me, not fairly to represent the sentiments of their party; who in disputing with us, do generally give up several of the late m[inist]ry, and freely own many of their failings. They confess the monstrous debt upon the navy, to have been caused by most scandalous mismanagement; they allow the insolence of some, and the avarice of others, to have been insupportable: but these gentlemen are most liberal in their praises to those persons, and upon those very articles, where their wisest friends give up the point. They gravely tell us, that such a one was the most faithful servant that ever any prince had; another the most dutiful, a third the most generous, and a fourth of the greatest integrity. So that I look upon these champions, rather as retained by a cabal than a party, which I desire the reasonable men among them would please to consider.

[Footnote 1: No. 37 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: Cicero, “Ep. ad Att.,” ix. 5. “I am always more affected by the causes of events than by the events themselves.”–E.S. SHUCKBURGH. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: “I am resolved … to maintain the indulgence by law allowed to scrupulous consciences” (Queen Anne’s Speech, November 27th, 1710). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: The Queen appointed Earl Rivers to the lieutenancy of the Tower without the Duke of Marlborough’s concurrence. See “Memoirs Relating to that Change,” etc. (vol. v., pp. 375-7 of present edition). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: “Upon the fall of that great minister and favourite [Godolphin], that whole party became dispirited, and seemed to expect the worst that could follow”. (Swift’s “Memoirs Relating to that Change,” etc., vol v., p. 378 of present edition). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: The Duchess of Marlborough. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: “The bulk of the high-church, or Tory-party … were both very industrious in procuring addresses, which, under the pretence of expressing their loyalty to the Queen, and affection to the Church established, were mainly levelled, like so many batteries, against the ministry and Parliament,” etc. (Boyer’s “Annals of Queen Anne,” ix. 158-9). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: An Act for reviving … certain Duties (9 Ann., c. 6), provided that L1,500,000 should be raised “by way of a lottery.” It was introduced February 15th, and received the Royal Assent March 6th, 1710/1 [T.S.]]

[Footnote 9: The Queen appointed a ministry with Lord Godolphin as lord treasurer in the first months of her reign, May-July, 1702. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 10: The clipping of coin had become so widespread that it was absolutely imperative that steps should be taken to readjust matters. It was resolved, therefore, in 1695, to call in all light money and recoin it. The matter was placed in charge of the then chancellor of the exchequer, Charles Montague, afterwards Earl of Halifax, and he, with the assistance of Sir Isaac Newton, successfully accomplished the very arduous task. It cost the nation about L2,200,000, and a considerable inconvenience owing to lack of coins. [T.S.]]

NUMB. 39.[1]


_Indignum est in ed civitate, quae legibus continetur, discedi a legibus._[2]

I[3] have been often considering how it comes to pass, that the dexterity of mankind in evil, should always outgrow, not only the prudence and caution of private persons, but the continual expedients of the wisest laws contrived to prevent it. I cannot imagine a knave to possess a greater share of natural wit or genius, than an honest man. I have known very notable sharpers at play, who upon all other occasions, were as great dunces, as human shape can well allow; and I believe, the same might be observed among the other knots of thieves and pickpockets, about this town. The proposition however is certainly true, and to be confirmed by an hundred instances. A scrivener, an attorney, a stock-jobber, and many other retailers of fraud, shall not only be able to overreach others, much wiser than themselves, but find out new inventions, to elude the force of any law made against them. I suppose, the reason of this may be, that as the aggressor is said to have generally the advantage of the defender; so the makers of the law, which is to defend our rights, have usually not so much industry or vigour, as those whose interest leads them to attack it. Besides, it rarely happens that men are rewarded by the public for their justice and virtue; neither do those who act upon such principles, expect any recompense till the next world: whereas fraud, where it succeeds, gives present pay; and this is allowed the greatest spur imaginable both to labour and invention. When a law is made to stop some growing evil, the wits of those, whose interest it is to break it with secrecy or impunity, are immediately at work; and even among those who pretend to fairer characters, many would gladly find means to avoid, what they would not be thought to violate. They desire to reap the advantage, if possible, without the shame, or at least, without the danger. This art is what I take that dexterous race of men, sprung up soon after the Revolution, to have studied with great application ever since, and to have arrived at great perfection in it. According to the doctrine of some Romish casuists, they have found out _quam prope ad peccatum sine peccato possint accedere_.[3] They can tell how to go within an inch of an impeachment, and yet come back untouched. They know what degree of corruption will just forfeit an employment, and whether the bribe you receive be sufficient to set you right, and put something in your pocket besides. How much to a penny, you may safely cheat the Qu[ee]n, whether forty, fifty or sixty _per cent._ according to the station you are in, and the dispositions of the persons in office, below and above you. They have computed the price you may securely take or give for a place, or what part of the salary you ought to reserve. They can discreetly distribute five hundred pounds in a small borough, without any danger from the statutes, against bribing elections. They can manage a bargain for an office, by a third, fourth or fifth hand, so that you shall not know whom to accuse; and win a thousand guineas at play, in spite of the dice, and send away the loser satisfied: They can pass the most exorbitant accounts, overpay the creditor with half his demands, and sink the rest.

It would be endless to relate, or rather indeed impossible to discover, the several arts which curious men have found out to enrich themselves, by defrauding the public, in defiance of the law. The military men, both by sea and land, have equally cultivated this most useful science: neither hath it been altogether neglected by the other sex; of which, on the contrary, I could produce an instance, that would make ours blush to be so far outdone.

Besides, to confess the truth, our laws themselves are extremely defective in many articles, which I take to be one ill effect of our best possession, liberty. Some years ago, the ambassador of a great prince was arrested,[4] and outrages committed on his person in our streets, without any possibility of redress from Westminster-Hall, or the prerogative of the sovereign; and the legislature was forced to provide a remedy against the like evils in times to come. A commissioner of the stamped paper[5] was lately discovered to have notoriously cheated the public of great sums for many years, by counterfeiting the stamps, which the law had made capital. But the aggravation of his crime, proved to be the cause that saved his life; and that additional heightening circumstance of betraying his trust, was found to be a legal defence. I am assured, that the notorious cheat of the brewers at Portsmouth,[6] detected about two months ago in Parliament, cannot by any law now in force, be punished in any degree, equal to the guilt and infamy of it. Nay, what is almost incredible, had Guiscard survived his detestable attempt upon Mr. Harley’s person, all the inflaming circumstances of the fact, would not have sufficed, in the opinion of many lawyers, to have punished him with death;[7] and the public must have lain under this dilemma, either to condemn him by a law, _ex post facto_ (which would have been of dangerous consequence, and form an ignominious precedent) or undergo the mortification to see the greatest villain upon earth escape unpunished, to the infinite triumph and delight of Popery and faction. But even this is not to be wondered at, when we consider, that of all the insolences offered to the Qu[een] since the Act of Indemnity, (at least, that ever came to my ears) I can hardly instance above two or three, which, by the letter of the law could amount to high treason.

From these defects in our laws, and the want of some discretionary power safely lodged, to exert upon emergencies; as well as from the great acquirements of able men, to elude the penalties of those laws they break, it is no wonder, the injuries done to the public, are so seldom redressed. But besides, no individual suffers, by any wrong he does to the commonwealth, in proportion to the advantage he gains by doing it. There are seven or eight millions who contribute to the loss, while the whole gain is sunk among a few. The damage suffered by the public, is not so immediately or heavily felt by particular persons, and the zeal of prosecution is apt to drop and be lost among numbers.

But imagine a set of politicians for many years at the head of affairs, the game visibly their own, and by consequence acting with great security: may not these be sometimes tempted to forget their caution, by length of time, by excess of avarice and ambition, by the insolence or violence of their nature, or perhaps by a mere contempt for their adversaries? May not such motives as these, put them often upon actions directly against the law, such as no evasions can be found for, and which will lay them fully open to the vengeance of a prevailing interest, whenever they are out of power? It is answered in the affirmative. And here we cannot refuse the late m[inistr]y their due praises, who foreseeing a storm, provided for their own safety, by two admirable expedients, by which, with great prudence, they have escaped the punishments due to pernicious counsels and corrupt management. The first, was to procure, under pretences hardly specious, a general Act of Indemnity,[8] which cuts off all impeachments. The second, was yet more refined: suppose, for instance, a counsel is to be pursued, which is necessary to carry on the dangerous designs of a prevailing party, to preserve them in power, to gratify the immeasurable appetites of a few leaders, civil and military, though by hazarding the ruin of the whole nation: this counsel, desperate in itself, unprecedented in the nature of it, they procure a majority to form into an address,[9] which makes it look like the sense of the nation. Under that shelter they carry on their work, and lie secure against after-reckonings.

I must be so free to tell my meaning in this, that among other things, I understand it of the address made to the Qu[een] about three years ago, to desire that her M[ajest]y would not consent to a peace, without the entire restitution of Sp[ai]n.[10] A proceeding, which to people abroad, must look like the highest strain of temerity, folly, and gasconade. But we at home, who allow the promoters of that advice to be no fools, can easily comprehend the depth and mystery of it. They were assured by this means, to pin down the war upon us, consequently to increase their own power and wealth, and multiply difficulties on the Qu[een] and kingdom, till they had fixed their party too firmly to be shaken, whenever they should find themselves disposed to reverse their address, and give us leave to wish for a peace.

If any man entertains a more favourable opinion of this monstrous step in politics; I would ask him what we must do, in case we find it impossible to recover Spain? Those among the Whigs who believe a God, will confess, that the events of war lie in His hands; and the rest of them, who acknowledge no such power, will allow, that Fortune hath too great a share in the good or ill success of military actions, to let a wise man reason upon them, as if they were entirely in his power. If Providence shall think fit to refuse success to our arms, with how ill a grace, with what shame and confusion, shall we be obliged to recant that precipitate address, unless the world will be so charitable to consider, that parliaments among us, differ as much as princes, and that by the fatal conjunction of many unhappy circumstances, it is very possible for our island to be represented sometimes by those who have the least pretensions to it. So little truth or justice there is in what some pretend to advance, that the actions of former senates, ought always to be treated with respect by the latter; that those assemblies are all equally venerable, and no one to be preferred before another: by which argument, the Parliament that began the rebellion against King Charles the First, voted his trial, and appointed his murderers, ought to be remembered with respect.

But to return from this digression; it is very plain, that considering the defectiveness of our laws, the variety of cases, the weakness of the prerogative, the power or the cunning of ill-designing men, it is possible, that many great abuses may be visibly committed, which cannot be legally punished: especially if we add to this, that some enquiries might probably involve those, whom upon other accounts, it is not thought convenient to disturb. Therefore, it is very false reasoning, especially in the management of public affairs, to argue that men are innocent, because the law hath not pronounced them guilty.

I am apt to think, it was to supply such defects as these, that satire was first introduced into the world; whereby those whom neither religion, nor natural virtue, nor fear of punishment, were able to keep within the bounds of their duty, might be withheld by the shame of having their crimes exposed to open view in the strongest colours, and themselves rendered odious to mankind. Perhaps all this may be little regarded by such hardened and abandoned natures as I have to deal with; but, next to taming or binding a savage animal, the best service you can do the neighbourhood, is to give them warning, either to arm themselves, or not come in its way.

Could I have hoped for any signs of remorse from the leaders of that faction, I should very gladly have changed my style, and forgot or passed by their million of enormities. But they are every day more fond of discovering their impotent zeal and malice: witness their conduct in the city about a fortnight ago,[11] which had no other end imaginable, beside that of perplexing our affairs, and endeavouring to make things desperate, that themselves may be thought necessary. While they continue in this frantic mood, I shall not forbear to treat them as they deserve; that is to say, as the inveterate, irreconcilable enemies to our country and its constitution.

[Footnote 1: No. 38 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: “It is a shameful thing in a state which is governed by laws, that there should be any departure from them.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: This paper called forth a reply which was printed in two forms, one with the title: “A Few Words upon the Examiner’s Scandalous Peace” (London, 1711), and the other, “Reflections upon the Examiner’s Scandalous Peace” (London: A. Baldwin, 1711). A careful comparison of these pamphlets shows that the text corresponds page for page. The author commences: “Though ‘The Examiner’ be certainly the most trifling, scurrilous, and malicious writer that ever appeared, yet, in spite of all his gross untruths and absurd notions, by assuming to himself an air of authority, and speaking in the person of one employed by the ministry, he sometimes gives a kind of weight to what he says, so as to make impressions of terror upon honest minds.” Then, after quoting several of the Queen’s Speeches to Parliament, and the Addresses in reply, he observes: “The ‘Examiner’ is resolved to continue so faithful to his principal quality of speaking untruths, that he has industriously taken care not to recite truly the very Address he makes it his business to rail at;” and he points out that it was not the “restitution of Spain,” but the restoration of the Spanish Monarchy to the House of Austria that was desired. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: “How near to sin they can go without actually sinning.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: The Muscovite Ambassador (A.A. Matveof) was arrested and taken out of his coach by violence. A Bill was brought into the House of Commons “for preserving the Privileges of Ambassadors,” February 7th, 1708/9, and obtained the Royal Assent, April 21st, 1709 (7 Ann. c. 12).

Matveof, it seemed, was arrested by his creditors, who feared that, since he had taken leave at Court, they would never be paid. Peter the Great was angry at the indignity thus offered his representative, and was only unwillingly pacified by the above Act. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: Richard Dyet, J.P., “is discovered to have counterfeited stamped paper, in which he was a commissioner; and, with his accomplices, has cheated the Queen of L100,000” (Swift’s “Journal to Stella,” October 3rd, 1710, vol. ii., p. 20 of present edition). He was tried for felony at the Old Bailey, January 13th, 1710/1, and was acquitted, because his offence was only a breach of trust. He was, however, re-committed for trial on the charge of misdemeanour. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: “Some very considerable abuses,” the chancellor of the exchequer informed the House of Commons on January 3rd, 1710/1, “have been discovered in the victualling.” It appears that the seamen in the navy were allowed seven pints of beer per day, during the time they were on board. In port, of course the sailors were permitted to go ashore, but the allowance was still charged to the ship’s account; and became a perquisite of the purser. It often happened that the contractors did not send in the full amount of beer paid for, but gave the purser money in exchange for the difference. The scandal was brought to the attention of the House as stated, and a committee was appointed to inquire into the abuse. On February 15th the House considered the committee’s report, and it was found that Thomas Ridge, Member for Portsmouth, contracted to supply 5,513 tons of beer, and had delivered only 3,213. Several other brewers of Portsmouth had been guilty of the same fraud. Mr. Ridge was expelled the House the same day. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: See Swift’s “Journal,” quoted in notes to No. 33, _ante_, p. 214. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: This Act was passed in 1708. See No. 18, _ante_, and note, p. 105. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 9: The Address from both Houses, presented to the Queen, February 18th, 1709/10, prayed that she “would be pleased to order the Duke of Marlborough’s immediate departure for Holland, where his presence will be equally necessary, to assist at the negotiations of peace, and to hasten the preparations for an early campaign,” etc. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 10: The Address of both Houses to the Queen, presented on December 23rd, 1707, urged: “That nothing could restore a just balance of power in Europe, but the reducing the whole Spanish monarchy to the obedience of the House of Austria; and … That no peace can be honourable or safe, for your Majesty or your allies, if Spain, the West Indies, or any part of the Spanish Monarchy, be suffered to remain under the power of the House of Bourbon.” The resolutions as carried in the House of Lords on December 19th did not include the words “or any part of the Spanish Monarchy”; these words were introduced on a motion by Somers who was in the chair when the Select Committee met on December 20th to embody the resolutions in proper form. The altered resolution was quickly hurried through the Lords and agreed to by the Commons, and the Address as amended was presented to the Queen. By this bold move Somers prolonged the war indefinitely. See also note at the commencement of this number. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 11: This refers to the election of the governor and directors of the Bank of England on April 12th and 13th. All the Whig candidates were returned, and Sir H. Furnese was on the same day chosen Alderman for Bridge Within. See also No. 41, _post_, p. 267, [T.S.]]

NUMB. 40.[1]


_Quis tulerit Gracchos de seditione querentes?_[2]

There have been certain topics of reproach, liberally bestowed for some years past, by the Whigs and Tories, upon each other. We charge the former with a design of destroying the established Church, and introducing fanaticism and freethinking in its stead. We accuse them as enemies to monarchy; as endeavouring to undermine the present form of government, and to build a commonwealth, or some new scheme of their own, upon its ruins. On the other side, their clamours against us, may be summed up in those three formidable words, Popery, Arbitrary Power, and the Pretender. Our accusations against them we endeavour to make good by certain overt acts; such as their perpetually abusing the whole body of the clergy; their declared contempt for the very order of priesthood; their aversion for episcopacy; the public encouragement and patronage they gave to Tindall, Toland, and other atheistical writers; their appearing as professed advocates, retained by the Dissenters, excusing their separation, and laying the guilt of it to the obstinacy of the Church; their frequent endeavours to repeal the test, and their setting up the indulgence to scrupulous consciences, as a point of greater importance than the established worship. The regard they bear to our monarchy, hath appeared by their open ridiculing the martyrdom of King Charles the First, in their Calves-head Clubs,[3] their common discourses and their pamphlets: their denying the unnatural war raised against that prince, to have been a rebellion; their justifying his murder in the allowed papers of the week; their industry in publishing and spreading seditious and republican tracts; such as Ludlow’s “Memoirs,” Sidney “Of Government,”[4] and many others; their endless lopping of the prerogative, and mincing into nothing her M[ajest]y’s titles to the crown.

What proofs they bring for our endeavouring to introduce Popery, arbitrary power, and the Pretender, I cannot readily tell, and would be glad to hear; however, those important words having by dexterous management, been found of mighty service to their cause, though applied with little colour, either of reason or justice; I have been considering whether they may not be adapted to more proper objects.

As to Popery, which is the first of these, to deal plainly, I can hardly think there is any set of men among us, except the professors of it, who have any direct intention to introduce it among us: but the question is, whether the principles and practices of us, or the Whigs, be most likely to make way for it? It is allowed, on all hands, that among the methods concerted at Rome, for bringing over England into the bosom of the Catholic Church; one of the chief was, to send Jesuits and other emissaries, in lay habits, who personating tradesmen and mechanics, should mix with the people, and under the pretence of a further and purer reformation, endeavour to divide us into as many sects as possible, which would either put us under the necessity of returning to our old errors, to preserve peace at home; or by our divisions make way for some powerful neighbour, with the assistance of the Pope’s permission, and a consecrated banner, to convert and enslave us at once. If this hath been reckoned good politics (and it was the best the Jesuit schools could invent) I appeal to any man, whether the Whigs, for many years past, have not been employed in the very same work? They professed on all occasions, that they knew no reason why any one system of speculative opinions (as they termed the doctrines of the Church) should be established by law more than another; or why employments should be confined to the religion of the magistrate, and that called the Church established. The grand maxim they laid down was, That no man, for the sake of a few notions and ceremonies, under the names of doctrine and discipline, should be denied the liberty of serving his country: as if places would go a begging, unless Brownists, Familists, Sweet-singers, Quakers, Anabaptists and Muggletonians, would take them off our hands.

I have been sometimes imagining this scheme brought to perfection, and how diverting it would look to see half a dozen Sweet-singers on the bench in their ermines, and two or three Quakers with their white staves at court. I can only say, this project is the very counterpart of the late King James’s design, which he took up as the best method for introducing his own religion, under the pretext of an universal liberty of conscience, and that no difference in religion, should make any in his favour. Accordingly, to save appearances, he dealt some employments among Dissenters of most denominations; and what he did was, no doubt, in pursuance of the best advice he could get at home or abroad; and the Church thought it the most dangerous step he could take for her destruction. It is true, King James admitted Papists among the rest, which the Whigs would not; but this is sufficiently made up by a material circumstance, wherein they seem to have much outdone that prince, and to have carried their liberty of conscience to a higher point, having granted it to all the classes of Freethinkers, which the nice conscience of a Popish prince would not give him leave to do; and was therein mightily overseen; because it is agreed by the learned, that there is but a very narrow step from atheism, to the other extreme, superstition. So that upon the whole, whether the Whigs had any real design of bringing in Popery or no, it is very plain, that they took the most effectual step towards it; and if the Jesuits had been their immediate directors, they could not have taught them better, nor have found apter scholars.

Their second accusation is, That we encourage and maintain arbitrary power in princes, and promote enslaving doctrines among the people. This they go about to prove by instances, producing the particular opinions of certain divines in King Charles the Second’s reign; a decree of Oxford University,[5] and some few writers since the Revolution. What they mean, is the principle of passive obedience and non-resistance, which those who affirm, did, I believe, never intend should include arbitrary power. However, though I am sensible that it is not reckoned prudent in a dispute, to make any concessions without the last necessity; yet I do agree, that in my own private opinion, some writers did carry that tenet of passive obedience to a height, which seemed hardly consistent with the liberties of a country, whose laws can be neither enacted nor repealed, without the consent of the whole people. I mean not those who affirm it due in general, as it certainly is to the Legislature, but such as fix it entirely in the prince’s person. This last has, I believe, been done by a very few; but when the Whigs quote authors to prove it upon us, they bring in all who mention it as a duty in general, without applying it to princes, abstracted from their senate.

By thus freely declaring my own sentiments of passive obedience, it will at least appear, that I do not write for a party: neither do I, upon any occasion, pretend to speak their sentiments, but my own. The majority of the two Houses, and the present ministry (if those be a party) seem to me in all their proceedings, to pursue the real interest of Church and State: and if I shall happen to differ from particular persons among them, in a single notion about government, I suppose they will not, upon that account, explode me and my paper. However, as an answer once for all, to the tedious scurrilities of those idle people, who affirm, I am hired and directed what to write;[6] I must here inform them, that their censure is an effect of their principles: The present m[inistr]y are under no necessity of employing prostitute pens; they have no dark designs to promote, by advancing heterodox opinions.

But (to return) suppose two or three private divines, under King Charles the Second, did a little overstrain the doctrine of passive obedience to princes; some allowance might be given to the memory of that unnatural rebellion against his father, and the dismal consequences of resistance. It is plain, by the proceedings of the Churchmen before and at the Revolution, that this doctrine was never designed to introduce arbitrary power.[7]

I look upon the Whigs and Dissenters to be exactly of the same political faith; let us, therefore, see what share each of them had in advancing arbitrary power. It is manifest, that the fanatics made Cromwell the most absolute tyrant in Christendom:[8] The Rump abolished the House of Lords; the army abolished the Rump; and by this army of _saints_, he governed. The Dissenters took liberty of conscience and employments from the late King James, as an acknowledgment of his dispensing power; which makes a King of England as absolute as the Turk. The Whigs, under the late king, perpetually declared for keeping up a standing army, in times of peace; which has in all ages been the first and great step to the ruin of liberty. They were, besides, discovering every day their inclinations to destroy the rights of the Church; and declared their opinion, in all companies, against the bishops sitting in the House of Peers: which was exactly copying after their predecessors of ‘Forty-one. I need not say their real intentions were to make the king absolute, but whatever be the designs of innovating men, they usually end in a tyranny: as we may see by an hundred examples in Greece, and in the later commonwealths of Italy, mentioned by Machiavel.

In the third place, the Whigs accuse us of a design to bring in the Pretender; and to give it a greater air of probability, they suppose the Qu[een] to be a party in this design; which however, is no very extraordinary supposition in those who have advanced such singular paradoxes concerning Gregg and Guiscard. Upon this article, their charge is general, without ever offering to produce an instance. But I verily think, and believe it will appear no paradox, that if ever he be brought in, the Whigs are his men. For, first, it is an undoubted truth, that a year or two after the Revolution, several leaders of that party had their pardons sent them by the late King James,[9] and had entered upon measures to restore him, on account of some disobligations they received from King William. Besides, I would ask, whether those who are under the greatest ties of gratitude to King James, are not at this day become the most zealous Whigs? And of what party those are now, who kept a long correspondence with St. Germains?

It is likewise very observable of late, that the Whigs upon all occasions, profess their belief of the Pretender’s being no impostor, but a real prince, born of the late Queen’s body:[10] which whether it be true or false, is very unseasonably advanced, considering the weight such an opinion must have with the vulgar, if they once thoroughly believe it. Neither is it at all improbable, that the Pretender himself puts his chief hopes in the friendship he expects from the Dissenters and Whigs, by his choice to invade the kingdom when the latter were most in credit: and he had reason to count upon the former, from the gracious treatment they received from his supposed father, and their joyful acceptance of it. But further, what could be more consistent with the Whiggish notion of a revolution-principle, than to bring in the Pretender? A revolution-principle, as their writings and discourses have taught us to define it, is a principle perpetually disposing men to revolutions: and this is suitable to the famous saying of a great Whig, “That the more revolutions the better”; which how odd a maxim soever in appearance, I take to be the true characteristic of the party.

A dog loves to turn round often; yet after certain revolutions, he lies down to rest: but heads, under the dominion of the moon, are for perpetual changes, and perpetual revolutions: besides, the Whigs owe all their wealth to wars and revolutions; like the girl at Bartholomew-fair, who gets a penny by turning round a hundred times, with swords in her hands.[11]

To conclude, the Whigs have a natural faculty of bringing in pretenders, and will therefore probably endeavour to bring in the great one at last: How many _pretenders_ to wit, honour, nobility, politics, have they brought in these last twenty years? In short, they have been sometimes able to procure a majority of pretenders in Parliament; and wanted nothing to render the work complete, except a Pretender at their head.

[Footnote 1: No. 39 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: Juvenal, “Satires,” ii. 24.

“Who his spleen could rein,
And hear the Gracchi of the mob complain?”–W. GIFFORD.


[Footnote 3: The Calves-Head Club “was erected by an impudent set of people, who have their feast of calves-heads in several parts of the town, on the 30th of January; in derision of the day, and defiance of monarchy” (“Secret History of the Calves-Head Club,” 1703). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: These works can hardly be called “tracts.” Algernon Sidney’s “Discourses concerning Government” (1698), is a portly folio of 467 pages, and Ludlow’s “Memoirs” (1698-9) occupy three stout octavo volumes. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: On July 21st, 1683, the University of Oxford passed a decree condemning as “false, seditious, and impious,” a series of twenty-seven propositions, among which were the following:

“All civil authority is derived originally from the people.”

“The King has but a co-ordinate power, and may be over-ruled by the Lords and Commons.”

“Wicked kings and tyrants ought to be put to death.”

“King Charles the First was lawfully put to death.”

The decree was reprinted in 1709/10 with the title, “An Entire Confutation of Mr. Hoadley’s Book, of the Original of Government.” It was burnt by the order of the House of Lords, dated March 23rd, 1709/10. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: In a letter to Dr. Chenevix, Bishop of Waterford (dated May 23rd, 1758), Lord Chesterfield, speaking of Swift’s “Last Four Years,” says that it “is a party pamphlet, founded on the lie of the day, which, as Lord Bolingbroke who had read it often assured me, _was coined and delivered out to him, to write ‘Examiners’ and other political papers upon_” (Chesterfield’s “Works,” ii. 498, edit. 1777). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: From this and many previous passages it is obvious, that, in joining the Tories, Swift reserved to himself the right of putting his own interpretation upon the speculative points of their political creed. [S.]]

[Footnote 8: See Swift’s “Presbyterians’ Plea of Merit,” and note, vol. iv., p. 36, of present edition. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 9: James II. sent a Declaration to England, dated April 20th, 1692, in which he promised to pardon all those who should return to their duty. He made a few exceptions, and among these were Ormonde, Sunderland, Nottingham, Churchill, etc. It is said that of Churchill James remarked that he never could forgive him until he should efface the memory of his ingratitude by some eminent service. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 10: “The Pretended Prince of Wales,” as he is styled in several Acts of Parliament, was first called “the Pretender” in Queen Anne’s speech to Parliament on March 11th, 1707/8. She then said: “The French fleet sailed from Dunkirk, Tuesday, at three in the morning, northward, with the Pretender on board.” The same epithet is employed in the Addresses by the two Houses in reply to this speech.

It was currently reported that he was not a son of James II. and Queen Mary. Several pamphlets were written by “W. Fuller,” to prove that he was the son of a gentlewoman named Grey, who was brought to England from Ireland in 1688 by the Countess of Tyrconnel. See also note on p. 409 of vol. v. of present edition. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 11: An exhibition described at length in Ward’s “London Spy.” The wonder and dexterity of the feat consisted in the damsel sustaining a number of drawn swords upright upon her hands, shoulders, and neck, and turning round so nimbly as to make the spectators giddy. [S.]]

NUMB. 41.[1]


_Dos est magna parentium virtus._[3]

I took up a paper[4] some days ago in a coffee-house; and if the correctness of the style, and a superior spirit in it, had not immediately undeceived me, I should have been apt to imagine, I had been reading an “Examiner.” In this paper, there were several important propositions advanced. For instance, that “Providence raised up Mr. H[arle]y to be an instrument of great good, in a very critical juncture, when it was much wanted.” That, “his very enemies acknowledge his eminent abilities, and distinguishing merit, by their unwearied and restless endeavours against his person and reputation”: That “they have had an inveterate malice against both”: That he “has been wonderfully preserved from _some_ unparalleled attempts”; with more to the same purpose. I immediately computed by rules of arithmetic, that in the last cited words there was something more intended than the attempt of Guiscard, which I think can properly pass but for _one_ of the “some.” And, though I dare not pretend to guess the author’s meaning; yet the expression allows such a latitude, that I would venture to hold a wager, most readers, both Whig and Tory, have agreed with me, that this plural number must, in all probability, among other facts, take in the business of Gregg.[5]

See now the difference of styles. Had I been to have told my thoughts on this occasion; instead of saying how Mr. H[arle]y was “treated by some persons,” and “preserved from some unparalleled attempts”; I should with intolerable bluntness and ill manners, have told a formal story, of a com[mitt]ee[6] sent to a condemned criminal in Newgate, to bribe him with a pardon, on condition he would swear high treason against his master, who discovered his correspondence, and secured his person, when a certain grave politician had given him warning to make his escape: and by this means I should have drawn a whole swarm of hedge-writers to exhaust their catalogue of scurrilities against me as a liar, and a slanderer. But with submission to the author of that forementioned paper, I think he has carried that expression to the utmost it will bear: for after all this noise, I know of but two “attempts” against Mr. H[arle]y, that can really be called “unparalleled,” which are those aforesaid of Gregg and Guiscard; and as to the rest, I will engage to parallel them from the story of Catiline, and others I could produce.

However, I cannot but observe, with infinite pleasure, that a great part of what I have charged upon the late prevailing faction, and for affirming which, I have been adorned with so many decent epithets, hath been sufficiently confirmed at several times, by the resolutions of one or the other House of Parliament.[7] I may therefore now say, I hope, with good authority, that there have been “some unparalleled attempts” against Mr. Harley. That the late ministry were justly to blame in some management, which occasioned the unfortunate battle of Almanza,[8] and the disappointment at Toulon.[9] That the public has been grievously wronged by most notorious frauds, during the Whig administration. That those who advised the bringing in the Palatines,[10] were enemies to the kingdom. That the late managers of the revenue have not duly passed their accounts,[11] for a great part of thirty-five millions, and ought not to be trusted in such employments any more. Perhaps in a little time, I may venture to affirm some other paradoxes of this kind, and produce the same vouchers. And perhaps also, if it had not been so busy a period, instead of one “Examiner,” the late ministry might have had above four hundred, each of whose little fingers would be heavier than my loins. It makes me think of Neptune’s threat to the winds:

_Quos ego–sed motos praestat componere fluctus._[12]

Thus when these sons of Aeolus, had almost sunk the ship with the tempests they raised, it was necessary to smooth the ocean, and secure the vessel, instead of pursuing the offenders.

But I observe the general expectation at present, instead of dwelling any longer upon conjectures who is to be punished for past miscarriages, seems bent upon the rewards intended to those, who have been so highly instrumental in rescuing our constitution from its late dangers. It is the observation of Tacitus, in the life of Agricola, that his eminent services had raised a general opinion of his being designed, by the emperor, for praetor of Britain. _Nullis in hoc suis sermonibus, sed quia par videbatur:_ and then he adds, _Non semper errat fama, aliquando et eligit._[13] The judgment of a wise prince, and the general disposition of the people, do often point at the same person; and sometimes the popular wishes, do even foretell the reward intended for some superior merit. Thus among several deserving persons, there are two,[14] whom the public vogue hath in a peculiar manner singled out, as designed very soon to receive the choicest marks of the royal favour. One of them to be placed in a very high station, and both to increase the number of our nobility. This, I say, is the general conjecture; for I pretend to none, nor will be chargeable if it be not fulfilled; since it is enough for their honour, that the nation thinks them worthy of the greatest rewards.

Upon this occasion I cannot but take notice, that of all the heresies in politics, profusely scattered by the partisans of the late administration, none ever displeased me more, or seemed to have more dangerous consequences to monarchy, than that pernicious talent so much affected, of discovering a contempt for birth, family, and ancient nobility. All the threadbare topics of poets and orators were displayed to discover to us, that merit and virtue were the only nobility; and that the advantages of blood, could not make a knave or a fool either honest or wise. Most popular commotions we read of in histories of Greece and Rome, took their rise from unjust quarrels to the nobles; and in the latter, the plebeians’ encroachments on the patricians, were the first cause of their ruin.

Suppose there be nothing but opinion in the difference of blood; every body knows, that authority is very much founded on opinion. But surely, that difference is not wholly imaginary. The advantages of a liberal education, of choosing the best companions to converse with; not being under the necessity of practising little mean tricks by a scanty allowance; the enlarging of thought, and acquiring the knowledge of men and things by travel; the example of ancestors inciting to great and good actions. These are usually some of the opportunities, that fall in the way of those who are born, of what we call the better families; and allowing genius to be equal in them and the vulgar, the odds are clearly on their side. Nay, we may observe in some, who by the appearance of merit, or favour of fortune, have risen to great stations, from an obscure birth, that they have still retained some sordid vices of their parentage or education, either insatiable avarice, or ignominious falsehood and corruption.

To say the truth, the great neglect of education, in several noble