This page contains affiliate links. As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases.
  • 1898
Buy it on Amazon FREE Audible 30 days

families, whose sons are suffered to pass the most improvable seasons of their youth, in vice and idleness, have too much lessened their reputation; but even this misfortune we owe, among all the rest, to that Whiggish practice of reviling the Universities, under the pretence of their instilling pedantry, narrow principles, and high-church doctrines.

I would not be thought to undervalue merit and virtue, wherever they are to be found; but will allow them capable of the highest dignities in a state, when they are in a very great degree of eminence. A pearl holds its value though it be found in a dunghill; but however, that is not the most probable place to search for it. Nay, I will go farther, and admit, that a man of quality without merit, is just so much the worse for his quality; which at once sets his vices in a more public view, and reproaches him for them. But on the other side, I doubt, those who are always undervaluing the advantages of birth, and celebrating personal merit, have principally an eye to their own, which they are fully satisfied with, and which nobody will dispute with them about; whereas they cannot, without impudence and folly, pretend to be nobly born: because this is a secret too easily discovered: for no men’s parentage is so nicely inquired into, as that of assuming upstarts; especially when they affect to make it better than it is, as they often do, or behave themselves with insolence.

But whatever may be the opinion of others upon this subject, whose philosophical scorn for blood and families, reaches even to those that are royal, or perhaps took its rise from a Whiggish contempt of the latter; I am pleased to find two such instances of extraordinary merit, as I have mentioned, joined with ancient and honourable birth, which whether it be of real or imaginary value, hath been held in veneration by all wise, polite states, both ancient and modern. And, as much a foppery, as men pretend to think it, nothing is more observable in those who rise to great place or wealth, from mean originals, than their mighty solicitude to convince the world that they are not so low as is commonly believed. They are glad to find it made out by some strained genealogy, that they have some remote alliance with better families. Cromwell himself was pleased with the impudence of a flatterer, who undertook to prove him descended from a branch of the royal stem. I know a citizen,[15] who adds or alters a letter in his name with every plum he acquires: he now wants but the change of a vowel, to be allied to a sovereign prince in Italy; and that perhaps he may contrive to be done, by a _mistake_ of the graver upon his tombstone.

When I am upon this subject of nobility, I am sorry for the occasion given me, to mention the loss of a person who was so great an ornament to it, as the late lord president;[16] who began early to distinguish himself in the public service, and passed through the highest employments of state, in the most difficult times, with great abilities and untainted honour. As he was of a good old age, his principles of religion and loyalty had received no mixture from late infusions, but were instilled into him by his illustrious father, and other noble spirits, who had exposed their lives and fortunes for the royal martyr.

—-_Pulcherrima proles,
Magnanimi heroes nati melioribus annis._[17]

His first great action was, like Scipio, to defend his father,[18] when oppressed by numbers; and his filial piety was not only rewarded with long life, but with a son, who upon the like occasion, would have shewn the same resolution. No man ever preserved his dignity better when he was out of power, nor shewed more affability while he was in. To conclude: his character (which I do not here pretend to draw) is such, as his nearest friends may safely trust to the most impartial pen; nor wants the least of that allowance which, they say, is required for those who are dead.

[Footnote 1: No. 40 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: Writing to Stella, May 14th, 1711, Swift informs her: “Dr. Freind was with me, and pulled out a twopenny pamphlet just published called ‘The State of Wit,’ giving a character of all the papers that have come out of late. The author seems to be a Whig, yet he speaks very highly of a paper called ‘The Examiner,’ and says the supposed author of it is Dr. Swift” (vol. ii., p. 176, of present edition). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: Horace, “Odes,” III. xxiv. 21.

“The lovers there for dowry claim
The father’s virtue, and the mother’s fame.” P. FRANCIS.


[Footnote 4: “The Congratulatory Speech of William Bromley, Esq., … together with the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Answer.”–See also No. 42, _post_, pp. 273-4. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: See No. 33, _ante_, pp. 207-14. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: The writer of “A Letter to the Seven Lords” says this means “that there was a committee of seven lords, sent to a condemned criminal in Newgate, to bribe him with a pardon, on condition he would swear high treason, against his master.”

In Hoffman’s “Secret Transactions” (pp. 14, 15) the matter is thus referred to: “Who those persons were that offered Gregg his life, with great preferments and advantages (if he would but accuse his master) may not uneasily be guessed at, for most of the time he was locked up none but people of note, were permitted to come near him, who made him strange promises, and often repeated them.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: “He does, with his own impudence, and with the malice of a devil, bring in both Houses of P—- to say and mean the same thing…. It is matter of wonder … to see the greatest ministers of state we ever had (till now) treated by a poor paper-pedlar, every Thursday, like the veriest rascals in the kingdom…. I could, if it were needful, bring a great many instances, of this licentious way of the scum of mankind’s treating the greatest peers in the nation” (“A Letter to the Seven Lords”). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: The Earl of Galway was defeated by the Duke of Berwick at this battle on April 25th, 1707. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 9: The Allies, under the Duke of Savoy, unsuccessfully laid siege to Toulon from July 26th to August 21st, 1707. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 10: The Palatines, who were mostly Lutherans, came over to England in great numbers in May and June of 1709. So large was the immigration that the House of Commons, on April 14th, 1711, passed a resolution declaring that the inviting and bringing over of the Palatines “at the public expense, was an extravagant and unreasonable charge to the kingdom, and a scandalous misapplication of the public money.” Whoever advised it, said the resolution, “was an enemy to the Queen and this kingdom.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 11: A Committee, appointed January 13th, 1710/1, reported in April, 1711, that accounts for _L_35,302,107 18_s._ 9-5/8_d._(_sic_) had not been passed. On February 21st, 1711/2, the auditors presented a statement which showed that of these accounts (which went back to 1681), _L_6,133,571 had then been passed, and that a considerable portion of the remainder was waiting for technicalities only. On June 11th, 1713, it was reported that _L_24,624,436 had been either passed or “adjusted.” See “Journals of House of Commons,” xvi., xvii. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 12: Virgil, “Aeneid,” i. 135. “Whom I–but first this uproar must be quelled.”–R. KENNEDY. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 13: Tacitus, “Agricola,” 9. (Tacitus wrote “Haud semper,” etc.) “An opinion not founded upon any suggestions of his own, but upon his being thought equal to the station. Common fame does not always err, sometimes it even directs a choice” (“Oxford Translation” revised). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 14: Harley, who was created Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, May 23rd, 1711, and Sir Simon Harcourt, made Baron Harcourt, September 3rd, 1711. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 15: Sir Henry Furnese (1658-1712), Bart. He obtained his baronetcy June 18th, 1707, and was the first to receive that dignity since the Union. He sat in the House as Member for Bramber and Sandwich, and was twice expelled. He was, however, re-elected for Sandwich and represented that constituency until his death on November 30th, 1712.

The variety of ways in which his name has been spelt is quite remarkable. In the “Calendar of State Papers” for 1691 and 1692, the name is given as Furness, Furnese, and Furnes. The “Journals of the House of Commons,” recording his expulsion, speaks of him as Furnesse. When he was knighted (October 11th, 1691), the “Gazette” of October 19th printed it Furnace, and when he was made a baronet, the same journal had it Furnese. In the official “Return of Names of Members,” the name is given successively as, Furnace, Furnac, Furnice, Furnise, Furness and Furnese. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 16: Laurence Hyde, Earl of Rochester, second son of the first Earl of Clarendon (see No. 27, _ante_, p. 170). He undertook the defence of his father when the latter was impeached by the House of Commons, October 30th, 1667, on a charge of high treason. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 17: Virgil, “Aeneid,” vi. 648-9.

“Warriors, high souled, in better ages born, Great Teucer’s noble race, these plains adorn.”–J.M. KING.


[Footnote 18: “When the tumultuous perplexed charge of accumulated treasons was preferred against him by the Commons; his son Laurence, then a Member of that House, stept forth with this brave defiance to his accusers, that, if they could make out any proof of any one single article, he would, as he was authorized, join in the condemnation of his father” (Burton’s “Genuineness of Clarendon’s History,” p. 111). [T.S.]]

NUMB. 42.[1]


_——Quem cur distringere coner,
Tutus ab infestis latronibus?_[2]

I never let slip an opportunity of endeavouring to convince the world, that I am not partial, and to confound the idle reproach of my being hired or directed what to write in defence of the present ministry,[3] or for detecting the practices of the former. When I first undertook this paper, I firmly resolved, that if ever I observed any gross neglect, abuse or corruption in the public management, which might give any just offence to reasonable people, I would take notice of it with that innocent boldness which becomes an honest man, and a true lover of his country; at the same time preserving the respect due to persons so highly entrusted by so wise and excellent a Queen. I know not how such a liberty might have been resented; but I thank God there has been no occasion given me to exercise it; for I can safely affirm, that I have with the utmost rigour, examined all the actions of the present ministry, as far as they fall under general cognizance, without being able to accuse them of one ill or mistaken step. Observing indeed some time ago, that seeds of dissension[4] had been plentifully scattered from a certain corner, and fearing they began to rise and spread, I immediately writ a paper on the subject; which I treated with that warmth I thought it required: but the prudence of those at the helm soon prevented this growing evil; and at present it seems likely to have no consequences.

I have had indeed for some time a small occasion of quarrelling, which I thought too inconsiderable for a formal subject of complaint, though I have hinted at it more than once. But it is grown at present to as great a height, as a matter of that nature can possibly bear; and therefore I conceive it high time that an effectual stop should be put to it. I have been amazed at the flaming licentiousness of several weekly papers, which for some months past, have been chiefly employed in barefaced scurrilities against those who are in the greatest trust and favour with the Qu[een], with the first and last letters of their names frequently printed; or some periphrasis describing their station, or other innuendoes, contrived too plain to be mistaken. The consequence of which is, (and it is natural it should be so) that their long impunity hath rendered them still more audacious.

At this time I particularly intend a paper called the “Medley”; whose indefatigable, incessant railings against me, I never thought convenient to take notice of, because it would have diverted my design, which I thought was of public use.[5] Besides, I never yet observed that writer, or those writers, (for it is every way a “Medley”) to argue against any one material point or fact that I had advanced, or make one fair quotation. And after all, I knew very well how soon the world grow weary of controversy. It is plain to me, that three or four hands at least have been joined at times in that worthy composition; but the outlines as well as the finishing, seem to have been always the work of the same pen, as it is visible from half a score beauties of style inseparable from it. But who these Meddlers are, or where the judicious leaders have picked them up, I shall never go about to conjecture: factious rancour, false wit, abandoned scurrility, impudent falsehood, and servile pedantry, having so many fathers, and so few to own them, that curiosity herself would not be at the pains to guess. It is the first time I ever did myself the honour to mention that admirable paper: nor could I imagine any occasion likely to happen, that would make it necessary for me to engage with such an adversary. This paper is weekly published, and as appears by the number, has been so for several months, and is next to the “Observator,”[6] allowed to be the best production of the party. Last week my printer brought me that of May 7, Numb. 32. where there are two paragraphs[7] relating to the Speaker of the House of Commons, and to Mr. Harley; which, as little as I am inclined to engage with such an antagonist, I cannot let pass, without failing in my duty to the public: and if those in power will suffer such infamous insinuations to pass with impunity, they act without precedent from any age or country of the world.

I desire to open this matter, and leave the Whigs themselves to determine upon it. The House of Commons resolved, _nemine contradicente_, that the Speaker should congratulate Mr. Harley’s escape and recovery[8] in the name of the House, upon his first attendance on their service. This is accordingly done; and the speech, together with the chancellor of the exchequer’s, are printed by order of the House.[9] The author of the “Medley” takes this speech to task the very next week after it is published, telling us, in the aforesaid paper, that the Speaker’s commending Mr. Harley, for being “an instrument of great good” to the nation, was “ill-chosen flattery”; because Mr. Harley had brought the “nation under great difficulties, to say no more:” He says, that when the Speaker tells Mr. Harley, that Providence has “wonderfully preserved” him “from some unparalleled attempts” (for that the “Medley” alludes to) he only “revives a false and groundless calumny upon other men”; which is “an instance of impotent, but inveterate malice,”[10] that makes him [the Speaker] “still appear more vile and contemptible.” This is an extract from his first paragraph. In the next this writer says, that the Speaker’s “praying to God for the continuance of Mr. Harley’s life, as an invaluable blessing,[11] was a fulsome piece of insincerity, which exposes him to shame and derision”; because he is “known to bear ill will to Mr. Harley, to have an extreme bad opinion of him, and to think him an obstructor of those fine measures he would bring about.”

I now appeal to the Whigs themselves, whether a great minister of state, in high favour with the Qu[een], and a Speaker of the House of Commons, were ever publicly treated after so extraordinary a manner, in the most licentious times? For this is not a clandestine libel stolen into the world, but openly printed and sold, with the bookseller’s name and place of abode at the bottom. And the juncture is admirable, when Mr. H[arle]y is generally believed upon the very point to be made an earl, and promoted to the most important station of the kingdom:[12] nay, the very marks of esteem he hath so lately received from the whole representative body of the people, are called “ill-chosen flattery,” and “a fulsome piece of insincerity,” exposing the donors “to shame and derision.”

Does this intrepid writer think he has sufficiently disguised the matter, by that stale artifice of altering the story, and putting it as a supposed case? Did any man who ever saw the congratulatory speech, read either of those paragraphs in the “Medley,” without interpreting them just as I have done? Will the author declare upon his great sincerity, that he never had any such meaning? Is it enough, that a jury at Westminster-Hall would, perhaps, not find him guilty of defaming the Speaker and Mr. Harley in that paper? which however, I am much in doubt of too; and must think the law very defective, if the reputation of such persons must lie at the mercy of such pens. I do not remember to have seen any libel, supposed to be writ with caution and double meaning, in order to prevent prosecution, delivered under so thin a cover, or so unartificially made up as this; whether it were from an apprehension of his readers’ dullness, or an effect of his own. He hath transcribed the very phrases of the Speaker, and put them in a different character, for fear they might pass unobserved, and to prevent all possibility of being mistaken. I shall be pleased to see him have recourse to the old evasion, and say, that I who make the application, am chargeable with the abuse: let any reader of either party be judge. But I cannot forbear asserting, as my opinion, that for a m[inist]ry to endure such open calumny, without calling the author to account, is next to deserving it. And this is an omission I venture to charge upon the present m[inist]ry, who are too apt to despise little things, which however have not always little consequences.

When this paper was first undertaken, one design, among others, was, to _Examine_ some of those writings so frequently published with an evil tendency, either to religion or government; but I was long diverted by other enquiries, which I thought more immediately necessary, to animadvert upon men’s actions, rather than their speculations: to shew the necessity there was of changing the ministry, that our constitution in Church and State might be preserved; to expose some dangerous principles and practices under the former administration, and prove by many instances, that those who are now at the helm, are entirely in the true interest of prince and people. This I may modestly hope, hath in some measure been already done, sufficient to answer the end proposed, which was to inform the ignorant and those at distance, and to convince such as are not engaged in a party, from other motives than that of conscience. I know not whether I shall have any appetite to continue this work much longer; if I do, perhaps some time may be spent in exposing and overturning the false reasonings of those who engage their pens on the other side, without losing time in vindicating myself against their scurrilities, much less in retorting them. Of this sort there is a certain humble companion, a French _maitre de langues_,[13] who every month publishes an extract from votes, newspapers, speeches and proclamations, larded with some insipid remarks of his own; which he calls “The Political State of Great Britain:”[14] This ingenious piece he tells us himself, is constantly translated into French, and printed in Holland, where the Dutch, no doubt, conceive most noble sentiments of us, conveyed through such a vehicle. It is observable in his account for April, that the vanity, so predominant in many of his nation, has made him more concerned for the honour of Guiscard, than the safety of Mr. H[arle]y: And for fear we should think the worse of his country upon that assassin’s account,[15] he tells us, there have been more murders, parricides and villanies, committed in England, than any other part of the world. I cannot imagine how an illiterate foreigner, who is neither master of our language, or indeed of common sense, and who is devoted to a faction, I suppose, for no other reason, but his having more Whig customers than Tories, should take it into his head to write politic tracts of our affairs. But I presume, he builds upon the foundation of having being called to an account for his insolence in one of his former monthly productions,[16] which is a method that seldom fails of giving some vogue to the foolishest composition. If such a work must be done, I wish some tolerable hand would undertake it; and that we would not suffer a little whiffling Frenchman to neglect his trade of teaching his language to our children, and presume to instruct foreigners in our politics.

[Footnote 1: No. 41 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: Horace, “Satires,” II. i. 41-2. “Safe it lies
Within the sheath, till villains round me rise.”–P. FRANCIS. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: See No. 40, _ante_, and note, p. 259. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: In “A Discourse of the Contests and Dissensions … Athens and Rome,” 1701 (vol. i., pp. 227-270, of present edition). See also Swift’s reference to this pamphlet in his “Memoirs Relating to that Change,” etc. (vol. v., p. 379). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: “The Medley,” under Maynwaring, with occasional help from Addison and Steele, seems to have been published for the sole purpose of replying to the “Examiner.” No. 40 (July 2nd, 1711) begins: “The ‘Examiner’ is grown so insipid and contemptible that my acquaintance are offended at my troubling myself about him.” No. 45 (the final number, August 6th, 1711) expresses the writer’s “deep concern” for the loss of his “dear friend ‘The Examiner,’ who has at once left the world and me, quite unprovided for so great a blow.” When the “Examiner” was revived by W. Oldisworth in December, 1711, it was soon followed by a reappearance of “The Medley.” It started afresh with Numb. I. on March 3rd, 1712 (_i.e._ 1711/2), and continued until August 4th, 1712, the date of the publication of Numb. XLV. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: See No. 16, _ante_, and note p. 85. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: The two paragraphs appeared in No. 32 of “The Medley,” and the writer introduces them by a reference to “praise and censure, which I choose out of all the rest, because it only concerns the ‘Examiner’ to be well instructed in them, he having no other business but to flatter the new m[inistry], and abuse the old.” The first paragraph runs:

“In the first place, whenever any body would praise another, all he can say will have no weight or effect, if it be not true or probable. If therefore, for example, my friend should take it into his head to commend a man, _for having been an instrument of great good to a nation_, when in truth that very person had brought that same nation under great difficulties, to say no more; such ill-chosen flattery would be of no use or moment, nor add the least credit to the person so commended. Or if he should take that occasion to revive any false and groundless calumny upon other men, or another party of men; such an instance of _impotent but inveterate malice_, would make him still appear more vile and contemptible. The reason of all which is, that what he said was neither just, proper, nor real, and therefore must needs want the force of true eloquence, which consists in nothing else but in well representing things as they really are. I advise therefore my friend, before he praises any more of his heroes, to learn the common rules of writing; and particularly to read over and over a certain chapter in Aristotle’s first book of Rhetoric, where are given very proper and necessary directions, _for praising a man who has done nothing that he ought to be praised for_.”

There is no reference here to the Speaker. The reference is to the “Examiner”; nor is there any mention of Providence having wonderfully preserved him from some unparalleled attempts.

The second paragraph runs:

“But the ancients did not think it enough for men to speak what was true or probable, they required further that their orators should be heartily in earnest; and that they should have all those motions and affections in their own minds which they endeavoured to raise in others. He that thinks, says Cicero, to warm others with his eloquence, must first be warm himself. And Quintilian says, We must first be affected ourselves, before we can move others. This made Pliny’s panegyric upon Trajan so well received by his hearers, because every body knew the wonderful esteem and affection which he had for the person he commended: and therefore, when he concluded with a prayer to Jupiter, that he would take care of the life and safety of that great and good man, which he said contained in it all other blessings; though the expression was so high, it passed very well with those that heard him, as being agreeable to the known sentiments and affection of the speaker. Whereas, if my friend should be known to bear ill-will to another person, or to have an extreme bad opinion of him, or to think him an abstractor of those fine measures he would bring about, and should yet in one of his panegyrics pray to God for the continuance of that very person’s life, as ‘_an invaluable blessing_’; such a fulsome piece of insincerity would only expose him to shame and derision.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: The House of Commons resolved on April 11th, that the Speaker should congratulate Mr. Harley when he was able to attend the House. This was done on April 26th. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 9: The House of Commons, on April 27th, ordered, “That Mr. Speaker be desired to print his congratulatory speech … with the Answer of Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer to the same.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 10: The Speaker thanks God that Harley’s enemies had “not been able to accomplish what their inveterate, but impotent, malice, had designed.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 11: The Speaker prayed that Providence might “continue still to preserve so invaluable a life.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 12: Harley was appointed lord treasurer, May 30th, 1711, and created Earl of Oxford, May 23rd. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 13: Abel Boyer (1667-1729), author of a French dictionary, a French grammar, “History of William III.,” “History of Queen Anne,” “The Political State,” “The Post Boy” (1705-9), and many other works. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 14: “The Political State of Great Britain” was started in January, 1710/1, and continued monthly until 1740. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 15: See No. 33, _ante_, and note, p. 207. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 16: Boyer appeared before the House of Lords, March 6th, 1710/1, and owned that he was the compiler of “The Political State of Great Britain.” He was kept in custody till March 12th, when he was reprimanded, and discharged after he had paid his fees. His offence was that “an account is pretended to be given of the Debates and Proceedings of this House” (“Journals of House of Lords,” xix). The third number of “The Political State,” Boyer issued on March 17th, giving his reason for the delay in its appearance: “An unavoidable and unvoluntary avocation, of which I may give you an account hereafter, has obliged me to write to you a fortnight later than usual.” [T.S.]]

NUMB. 43.[1]


_Delicta majorum immeritus lues,
Romane; donec templa refeceris,
Aedesque labentes deorum_—-[2]

Several letters have been lately sent me, desiring I would make honourable mention of the pious design of building fifty churches, in several parts of London and Westminster, where they are most wanted; occasioned by an address of the convocation to the Queen,[3] and recommended by her Majesty to the House of Commons; who immediately promised, they would enable her “to accomplish so excellent a design,” and are now preparing a Bill accordingly. I thought to have deferred any notice of this important affair till the end of this session; at which time I proposed to deliver a particular account of the great and useful things already performed by this present Parliament. But in compliance to those who give themselves the trouble of advising me; and partly convinced by the reasons they offer; I am content to bestow a paper upon a subject, that indeed so well deserves it.

The clergy, and whoever else have a true concern for the constitution of the Church, cannot but be highly pleased with one prospect in this new scene of public affairs. They may very well remember the time, when every session of Parliament, was like a cloud hanging over their heads; and if it happened to pass without bursting into some storm upon the Church, we thanked God, and thought it an happy escape till the next meeting; upon which we resumed our secret apprehensions, though we were not allowed to believe any danger. Things are now altered; the Parliament takes the necessities of the Church into consideration, receives the proposals of the clergy met in convocation, and amidst all the exigencies of a long expensive war, and under the pressure of heavy debts, finds a supply for erecting fifty edifices for the service of God. And it appears by the address of the Commons to her Majesty upon this occasion (wherein they discovered a true spirit of religion) that the applying the money granted “to accomplish so excellent a design,”[4] would, in their opinion, be the most effectual way of carrying on the war; that it would (to use their own words) “be a means of drawing down blessings on her Majesty’s undertakings, as it adds to the number of those places, where the prayers of her devout and faithful subjects, will be daily offered up to God, for the prosperity of her government at home, and the success of her arms abroad.”

I am sometimes hoping, that we are not naturally so bad a people, as we have appeared for some years past. Faction, in order to support itself, is generally forced to make use of such abominable instruments, that as long as it prevails, the genius of a nation is overpressed, and cannot appear to exert itself: but when _that_ is broke and suppressed, when things return to the old course, mankind will naturally fall to act from principles of reason and religion. The Romans, upon a great victory, or escape from public danger, frequently built a temple in honour of some god, to whose peculiar favour they imputed their success or delivery: and sometimes the general did the like, _at his own expense_, to acquit himself of some pious vow he had made. How little of any thing resembling this hath been done by us after all our victories! and perhaps for that reason, among others, they have turned to so little account. But what could we expect? We acted all along as if we believed nothing of a God or His providence; and therefore it was consistent to offer up our edifices only to those, whom we looked upon as givers of all victory, in His stead.

I have computed, that fifty churches may be built by a medium, at six thousand pound for a church; which is somewhat _under_ the price of a subject’s palace: yet perhaps the care of above two hundred thousand souls, with the benefit of their prayers for the prosperity of their Queen and country, may be almost put in the balance with the domestic convenience, or even magnificence of any subject whatsoever.

Sir William Petty, who under the name of Captain Graunt, published some observations upon bills of mortality about five years after the Restoration;[5] tells us, the parishes in London, were even then so unequally divided, that some were two hundred times larger than others. Since that time, the increase of trade, the frequency of Parliaments, the desire of living in the metropolis, together with that genius for building, which began after the fire, and hath ever since continued, have prodigiously enlarged this town on all sides, where it was capable of increase; and those tracts of land built into streets, have generally continued of the same parish they belonged to, while they lay in fields; so that the care of above thirty thousand souls, hath been sometimes committed to one minister, whose church would hardly contain the twentieth part of his flock: neither, I think, was any family in those parishes obliged to pay above a groat a year to their spiritual pastor. Some few of those parishes have been since divided; in others were erected chapels of ease, where a preacher is maintained by general contribution. Such poor shifts and expedients, to the infinite shame and scandal, of so vast and flourishing a city, have been thought sufficient for the service of God and religion; as if they were circumstances wholly indifferent.

This defect, among other consequences of it, hath made schism a sort of necessary evil, there being at least three hundred thousand inhabitants in this town, whom the churches would not be able to contain, if the people were ever so well disposed: and in a city not overstocked with zeal, the only way to preserve any degree of religion, is to make all attendance upon the duties of it, as easy and cheap as possible: whereas on the contrary, in the larger parishes, the press is so great, and the pew-keeper’s tax so exorbitant, that those who love to save trouble and money, either stay at home, or retire to the conventicles. I believe there are few examples in any Christian country of so great a neglect for religion; and the dissenting teachers have made their advantages largely by it, “sowing tares among the wheat while men slept;” being much more expert at procuring contributions, which is a trade they are bred up in, than men of a liberal education.

And to say truth, the way practised by several parishes in and about this town, of maintaining their clergy by voluntary subscriptions, is not only an indignity to the character, but hath many pernicious consequences attending it; such a precarious dependence, subjecting a clergyman, who hath not more than ordinary spirit and resolution, to many inconveniences, which are obvious to imagine: but this defect will, no doubt, be remedied by the wisdom and piety of the present Parliament; and a tax laid upon every house in a parish, for the support of their pastor. Neither indeed can it be conceived, why a house, whose purchase is not reckoned above one-third less than land of the same yearly rent, should not pay a twentieth part annually (which is half tithe) to the support of the minister. One thing I could wish, that in fixing the maintenance to the several ministers in these new intended parishes, no determinate sum of money may be named, which in all perpetuities ought by any means to be avoided; but rather a tax in proportion to the rent of each house, though it be but a twentieth or even a thirtieth part. The contrary of this, I am told, was done in several parishes of the city after the fire; where the incumbent and his successors were to receive for ever a certain sum; for example, one or two hundred pounds a year. But the lawgivers did not consider, that what we call at present, one hundred pounds, will, in process of time, have not the intrinsic value of twenty; as twenty pounds now are hardly equal to forty shillings, three hundred years ago. There are a thousand instances of this all over England, in reserved rents applied to hospitals, in old chiefries, and even among the clergy themselves, in those payments which, I think, they call a _modus_.[6]

As no prince had ever better dispositions than her present Majesty, for the advancement of true religion, so there was never any age that produced greater occasions to employ them on. It is an unspeakable misfortune, that any designs of so excellent a Queen, should be checked by the necessities of a long and ruinous war, which the folly or corruption of modern politicians have involved us in, against all the maxims whereby our country flourished so many hundred years: else her Majesty’s care of religion would certainly have reached even to her American plantations. Those noble countries, stocked by numbers from hence, whereof too many are in no very great reputation for faith or morals, will be a perpetual reproach to us, till some better care is taken for cultivating Christianity among them. If the governors of those several colonies were obliged, at certain times, to transmit an exact representation of the state of religion, in their several districts; and the legislature here would, in a time of leisure, take that affair under their consideration, it might be perfected with little difficulty, and be a great addition to the glories of her Majesty’s reign.

But to waive further speculations upon so remote a scene, while we have subjects enough to employ them on at home; it is to be hoped, the clergy will not let slip any proper opportunity of improving the pious dispositions of the Queen and kingdom, for the advantage of the Church; when by the example of times past, they consider how rarely such conjunctures are like to happen. What if some method were thought on towards repairing of churches? for which there is like to be too frequent occasions, those ancient Gothic structures, throughout this kingdom, going every year to decay. That expedient of repairing or rebuilding them by charitable collections, seems in my opinion not very suitable, either to the dignity and usefulness of the work, or to the honour of our country; since it might be so easily done, with very little charge to the public, in a much more decent and honourable manner, while Parliaments are so frequently called. But these and other regulations must be left to a time of peace, which I shall humbly presume to wish may soon be our share, however offensive it may be to any, either abroad or at home, who are gainers by the war.

[Footnote 1: No. 42 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: Horace, “Odes,” III. vi. 1-3.

“Those ills your ancestors have done, Romans, are now become your own;
And they will cost you dear,
Unless you soon repair
The falling temples which the gods provoke.”


[Footnote 3: The minister and churchwardens of Greenwich applied to the House of Commons on February 14th, 1710/1, for aid in the rebuilding of their church. The House referred the application to a committee. On February 28th the lower house of Convocation sent a deputation to the Speaker expressing their satisfaction at what had been done. On his reporting this to the House on the following day, they expressed their readiness to receive information. The lower house of Convocation prepared a scheme and presented it to the Speaker on March 9th; this was referred to the committee on the 10th. Acting on a hint received from the court, the bishops and clergy presented an Address to the Queen on March 26th, and this was followed by a Message from Her Majesty, on the 29th, to the House of Commons, recommending that Parliament should undertake “the great and necessary work of building more churches.” On April 9th the House of Commons replied in an Address, promising to make provision, and resolved, on May 1st, to grant a supply for building fifty new churches in or about London and Westminster. On May 8th it fixed the amount at a sum “not exceeding L350,000.” In pursuance of this a Bill was introduced on May 18th, which received the Royal Assent on June 12th (9 Ann. c. 17). This Bill granted L350,000 (to be raised by a duty on coals) for building fifty new churches in London and Westminster.

In this connection it is interesting to remember that Swift, two years before, had recommended the building of more churches as part of his suggestions for “the advancement of religion.” See his “Project for the Advancement of Religion” (vol. iii., p. 45 of present edition). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: In their Address, on April 9th, 1711, the House of Commons said: “Neither the long expensive war, in which we are engaged, nor the pressure of heavy debts, under which we labour, shall hinder us from granting to your Majesty whatever is necessary, to accomplish so excellent a design, which, we hope, may be a means of drawing down blessings from Heaven on all your Majesty’s other undertakings, as it adds to the number of those places, where the prayers of your devout and faithful subjects will be daily offered up to God, for the prosperity of your Majesty’s government at home, and the success of your arms abroad.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: “Natural and Political Observations … upon the Bills of Mortality.” By John Graunt, 1662. The writer says in chap. x. that Cripplegate parish was two hundred times as big as some of the parishes in the city. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: An abbreviation of _modus decimandi_, a composition in lieu of payment of tithes. [T.S.]]

NUMB. 44.[1]


_Scilicet, ut possem curvo dignoscere rectum._[2]

Having been forced in my papers to use the cant-words of Whig and Tory, which have so often varied their significations, for twenty years past; I think it necessary to say something of the several changes those two terms have undergone since that period; and then to tell the reader what I have always understood by each of them, since I undertook this work. I reckon that these sorts of conceited appellations, are usually invented by the vulgar; who not troubling themselves to examine through the merits of a cause, are consequently the most violent partisans of what they espouse; and in their quarrels, usually proceed to their beloved argument of _calling names_, till at length they light upon one which is sure to stick; and in time, each party grows proud of that appellation, which their adversaries at first intended for a reproach. Of this kind were the Prasini and Veneti,[3] the Guelfs and Ghibellines,[4] Huguenots and Papists, Roundheads and Cavaliers,[5] with many others, of ancient and modern date. Among us of late there seems to have been a barrenness of invention in this point, the words Whig and Tory,[6] though they are not much above thirty years old, having been pressed to the service of many successions of parties, with very different ideas fastened to them. This distinction, I think, began towards the latter part of King Charles the Second’s reign, was dropped during that of his successor, and then revived at the Revolution, since which it has perpetually flourished, though applied to very different kinds of principles and persons. In that Convention of Lords and Commons,[7] some of both Houses were for a regency to the Prince of Orange, with a reservation of style and title to the absent king, which should be made use of in all public acts. Others, when they were brought to allow the throne vacant, thought the succession should immediately go to the next heir, according to the fundamental laws of the kingdom, as if the last king were actually dead. And though the dissenting lords (in whose House the chief opposition was) did at last yield both those points, took the oaths to the new king, and many of them employments, yet they were looked upon with an evil eye by the warm zealots of the other side; neither did the court ever heartily favour any of them, though some were of the most eminent for abilities and virtue, and served that prince, both in his councils and his army, with untainted faith. It was apprehended, at the same time, and perhaps it might have been true, that many of the clergy would have been better pleased with that scheme of a regency, or at least an uninterrupted lineal succession, for the sake of those whose consciences were truly scrupulous; and they thought there were some circumstances, in the case of the deprived bishops,[8] that looked a little hard, or at least deserved commiseration.

These, and other the like reflections did, as I conceive, revive the denominations of Whig and Tory.

Some time after the Revolution the distinction of high and low-church came in, which was raised by the Dissenters, in order to break the Church party, by dividing the members into high and low; and the opinions raised, that the high joined with the Papists, inclined the low to fall in with the Dissenters.

And here I shall take leave to produce some principles, which in the several periods of the late reign, served to denote a man of one or the other party. To be against a standing army in time of peace, was all high-church, Tory and Tantivy.[9] To differ from a majority of b[isho]ps was the same. To raise the prerogative above law for serving a turn, was low-church and Whig. The opinion of the majority in the House of Commons, especially of the country-party or landed interest, was high-flying[10] and rank Tory. To exalt the king’s supremacy beyond all precedent, was low-church, Whiggish and moderate. To make the least doubt of the pretended prince being supposititious, and a tiler’s son, was, in their phrase, “top and topgallant,” and perfect Jacobitism. To resume the most exorbitant grants, that were ever given to a set of profligate favourites, and apply them to the public, was the very quintessence of Toryism; notwithstanding those grants were known to be acquired, by sacrificing the honour and the wealth of England.

In most of these principles, the two parties seem to have shifted opinions, since their institution under King Charles the Second, and indeed to have gone very different from what was expected from each, even at the time of the Revolution. But as to that concerning the Pretender, the Whigs have so far renounced it, that they are grown the great advocates for his legitimacy: which gives me the opportunity of vindicating a noble d[uke] who was accused of a blunder in the House, when upon a certain lord’s mentioning the pretended Prince, his g[race] told the lords, he “must be plain with them, and call that person, not the pretended prince, but the pretended impostor:” which was so far from a blunder in that polite l[or]d, as his ill-willers give out, that it was only a refined way of delivering the avowed sentiments of his whole party.

But to return, this was the state of principles when the Qu[een] came to the crown; some time after which, it pleased certain great persons, who had been all their lives in the altitude of Tory-profession, to enter into a treaty with the Whigs, from whom they could get better terms than from their old friends, who began to be resty, and would not allow monopolies of power and favour; nor consent to carry on the war entirely at the expense of this nation, that they might have pensions from abroad; while another people, more immediately concerned in the war, traded with the enemy as in times of peace. Whereas, the other party, whose case appeared then as desperate, was ready to yield to any conditions that would bring them into play. And I cannot help affirming, that this nation was made a sacrifice to the immeasurable appetite of power and wealth in a very few, that shall be nameless, who in every step they made, acted directly against what they had always professed. And if his Royal Highness the Prince[11] had died some years sooner (who was a perpetual check in their career) it is dreadful to think how far they might have proceeded.

Since that time, the bulk of the Whigs appears rather to be linked to a certain set of persons, than any certain set of principles: so that if I were to define a member of that party, I would say, he was one “who believed in the late m[inist]ry.” And therefore, whatever I have affirmed of Whigs in any of these papers, or objected against them, ought to be understood, either of those who were partisans of the late men in power, and privy to their designs; or such who joined with them, from a hatred to our monarchy and Church, as unbelievers and Dissenters of all sizes; or men in office, who had been guilty of much corruption, and dreaded a change; which would not only put a stop to further abuses for the future, but might, perhaps, introduce examinations of what was past. Or those who had been too highly obliged, to quit their supporters with any common decency. Or lastly, the money-traders, who could never hope to make their markets so well of _premiums_ and exorbitant interest, and high remittances, under any other administration.

Under these heads, may be reduced the whole body of those whom I have all along understood for Whigs: for I do not include within this number, any of those who have been misled by ignorance, or seduced by plausible pretences, to think better of that sort of men than they deserve, and to apprehend mighty danger from their disgrace: because, I believe, the greatest part of such well-meaning people, are now thoroughly converted.

And indeed, it must be allowed, that those two fantastic names of Whig and Tory, have at present very little relation to those opinions, which were at first thought to distinguish them. Whoever formerly professed himself to approve the Revolution, to be against the Pretender, to justify the succession in the house of Hanover, to think the British monarchy not absolute, but limited by laws, which the executive power could not dispense with, and to allow an indulgence to scrupulous consciences; such a man was content to be called a Whig. On the other side, whoever asserted the Queen’s hereditary right; that the persons of princes were sacred; their lawful authority not to be resisted on any pretence; nor even their usurpations, without the most extreme necessity: that breaches in the succession were highly dangerous; that schism was a great evil, both in itself and its consequences; that the ruin of the Church, would probably be attended with that of the State; that no power should be trusted with those who are not of the established religion; such a man was usually called a Tory. Now, though the opinions of both these are very consistent, and I really think are maintained at present by a great majority of the kingdom; yet, according as men apprehend the danger greater, either from the Pretender and his party, or from the violence and cunning of other enemies to the constitution; so their common discourses and reasonings, turn either to the first or second set of these opinions I have mentioned, and are consequently styled either Whigs or Tories. Which is, as if two brothers apprehended their house would be set upon, but disagreed about the place from whence they thought the robbers would come, and therefore would go on different sides to defend it. They must needs weaken and expose themselves by such a separation; and so did we, only our case was worse: for in order to keep off a weak, remote enemy, from whom we could not suddenly apprehend any danger, we took a nearer and a stronger one into the house. I make no comparison at all between the two enemies: Popery and slavery are without doubt the greatest and most dreadful of any; but I may venture to affirm, that the fear of these, have not, at least since the Revolution, been so close and pressing upon us, as that from another faction; excepting only one short period, when the leaders of that very faction, invited the abdicating king to return; of which I have formerly taken notice.

Having thus declared what sort of persons I have always meant, under the denomination of Whigs, it will be easy to shew whom I understand by Tories. Such whose principles in Church and State, are what I have above related; whose actions are derived from thence, and who have no attachment to any set of ministers, further than as these are friends to the constitution in all its parts, but will do their utmost to save their prince and country, whoever be at the helm.

By these descriptions of Whig and Tory, I am sensible those names are given to several persons very undeservedly; and that many a man is called by one or the other, who has not the least title to the blame or praise I have bestowed on each of them throughout my papers.

[Footnote 1: No. 43 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: Horace, “Epistles,” II. ii. 44. “Fair truth from falsehood to discern.”–P. FRANCIS. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: There were four factions, or parties, distinguished by their colours, which contended in the ancient circus at Constantinople. The white and the red were the most ancient. In the sixth century the dissension between the green (or Prasini) and the blue (or Veneti) was so violent, that 40,000 men were killed, and the factions were abolished from that time. See also Gibbon’s “Rome,” chap. xl. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: The Guelfs were the Papal and popular party in Italy, and the Ghibellines were the imperial and aristocratic. It is said that these names were first used as war cries at the battle of Weinsberg in 1140. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: These terms came into use about 1641. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: Writing under date, 1681, Burnet says “At this time the distinguishing names of Whig and Tory came to be the denominations of the parties” (“Hist. Own Times,” i. 499) [T.S.]

_Whig a more_ was a nick name given to the western peasantry of Scotland, from then using the words frequently in driving strings of horses. Hence, as connected with Calvinistical principles in religion, and republican doctrines in policy, it was given as a term of reproach to the opposition party in the latter years of Charles II. These retorted upon the courtiers the word _Tory_, signifying an Irish free-booter, and particularly applicable to the Roman Catholic followers of the Duke of York. [S]

Macaulay’s explanation of the origin of these two terms is somewhat different from that given by Scott. “In Scotland,” he says, “some of the persecuted Covenanters, driven mad by oppression, had lately murdered the Primate, had taken aims against the government,” etc. “These zealots were most numerous among the rustics of the western lowlands, who were vulgarly called Whigs. Thus the appellation of Whig was fastened on the Presbyterian zealots of Scotland, and was transferred to those English politicians who showed a disposition to oppose the court, and to treat Protestant Nonconformists with indulgence. The bogs of Ireland, at the same time, afforded a refuge to Popish outlaws, much resembling those who were afterwards known as Whiteboys. These men were then called Tories. The name of Tory was therefore given to Englishmen who refused to concur in excluding a Roman Catholic prince from the throne.” (“History of England,” vol. i, chap. ii) [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: The Convention was summoned by the Prince of Orange in December, 1688. After a lengthened debate they resolved, on February 12th, 1688/9, that the Prince and Princess of Orange should “be declared King and Queen.” The Sovereigns were proclaimed on February 13th, and on the 20th the Convention was voted a Parliament. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: The bishops who were deprived for refusing to take the oath of allegiance to King William were: Sancroft, the Archbishop of Canterbury; Ken, Bishop of Bath; White, Bishop of Peterborough; Turner, Bishop of Ely; Frampton, Bishop of Gloucester; and Lloyd, Bishop of Norwich. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 9: Writing to Stella, under date October 10th, 1711, Swift complains that “The Protestant Post-Boy” says “that an ambitious tantivy, missing of his towering hopes of preferment in Ireland, is come over to vent his spleen on the late ministry,” etc. (vol. ii., p. 258, of present edition). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 10: “The most virtuous and pious enemy to their wicked principles [_i.e._, to those of the Calves-Head Club] is always cried down as a high-flyer, a Papist, and a traitor to his country” (“Secret History of the Calves-Head Club,” 7th edit., 1709). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 11: Prince George of Denmark died October 28th, 1708. [T.S.]]

NUMB. 45.[1]


_Magna vis est, magnum nomen, unum et idem sentieritis Senatus._[3]

Whoever calls to mind the clamour and the calumny, the artificial fears and jealousies, the shameful misrepresentation of persons and of things, that were raised and spread by the leaders and instruments of a certain party, upon the change of the last ministry, and dissolution of Parliament; if he be a true lover of his country, must feel a mighty pleasure, though mixed with some indignation, to see the wishes, the conjectures, the endeavours, of an inveterate faction entirely disappointed; and this important period wholly spent, in restoring the prerogative to the prince, liberty to the subject, in reforming past abuses, preventing future, supplying old deficiencies, providing for debts, restoring the clergy to their rights, and taking care of the necessities of the Church: and all this unattended with any of those misfortunes which some men hoped for, while they pretended to fear.

For my own part, I must confess, the difficulties appeared so great to me, from such a noise and shew of opposition, that I thought nothing but the absolute necessity of affairs, could ever justify so daring an attempt. But, a wise and good prince, at the head of an able ministry, and of a senate freely chosen; all united to pursue the true interest of their country, is a power, against which, the little inferior politics of any faction, will be able to make no long resistance. To this we may add one additional strength, which in the opinion of our adversaries, is the greatest and justest of any; I mean the _vox populi_, so indisputably declarative on the same side. I am apt to think, when these discarded politicians begin seriously to consider all this, they will think it proper to give out, and reserve their wisdom for some more convenient juncture.

It was pleasant enough to observe, that those who were the chief instruments of raising the noise, who started fears, bespoke dangers, and formed ominous prognostics, in order scare the allies, to spirit the French, and fright ignorant people at home; made use of those very opinions themselves had broached, for arguments to prove, that the change of ministers was dangerous and unseasonable. But if a house be swept, the more occasion there is for such a work, the more dust it will raise; if it be going to ruin, the repairs, however necessary, will make a noise, and disturb the neighbourhood a while. And as to the rejoicings made in France,[4] if it be true, that they had any, upon the news of those alterations among us; their joy was grounded upon the same hopes with that of the Whigs, who comforted themselves, that a change of ministry and Parliament, would infallibly put us all into confusion, increase our divisions, and destroy our credit; wherein, I suppose, by this time they are equally undeceived.

But this long session, being in a manner ended,[5] which several circumstances, and one accident, altogether unforeseen, have drawn out beyond the usual time; it may be some small piece of justice to so excellent an assembly, barely to mention a few of those great things they have done for the service of their QUEEN and country; which I shall take notice of, just as they come to my memory.

The credit of the nation began mightily to suffer by a discount upon exchequer bills, which have been generally reckoned the surest and most sacred of all securities. The present lord treasurer, then a member of the House of Commons, proposed a method, which was immediately complied with, of raising them to a _par_ with _specie_;[6] and so they have ever since continued.

The British colonies of Nevis and St. Christopher’s,[7] had been miserably plundered by the French, their houses burnt, their plantations destroyed, and many of the inhabitants carried away prisoners: they had often, for some years past, applied in vain for relief from hence; till the present Parliament, considering their condition as a case of justice and mercy, voted them one hundred thousand pound by way of recompense, in some manner, for their sufferings.

Some persons, whom the voice of the nation authorizes me to call her enemies, taking advantage of the general Naturalization Act, had invited over a great number of foreigners of all religions, under the name of Palatines;[8] who understood no trade or handicraft, yet rather chose to beg than labour;[9] who besides infesting our streets, bred contagious diseases, by which we lost in natives, thrice the number of what we gained in foreigners. The House of Commons, as a remedy against this evil, brought in a bill for repealing that Act of general Naturalization, which, to the surprise of most people, was rejected by the L[or]ds.[10] And upon this occasion, I must allow myself to have been justly rebuked by one of my weekly monitors, for pretending in a former paper, to hope that law would be repealed; wherein the Commons being disappointed, took care however to send many of the Palatines away, and to represent their being invited over, as a pernicious counsel.[11]

The Qualification Bill,[12] incapacitating all men to serve in Parliament, who have not some estate in land, either in possession or certain reversion, is perhaps the greatest security that ever was contrived for preserving the constitution, which otherwise might, in a little time, lie wholly at the mercy of the moneyed interest: And since much the greatest part of the taxes is paid, either immediately from land, or from the productions of it, it is but common justice, that those who are the proprietors, should appoint what portion of it ought to go to the support of the public; otherwise, the engrossers of money, would be apt to lay heavy loads on others, which themselves never touch with one of their fingers.

The public debts were so prodigiously increased, by the negligence and corruption of those who had been managers of the revenue; that the late m[iniste]rs, like careless men, who run out their fortunes, were so far from any thoughts of payment, as they had not the courage to state or compute them. The Parliament found that thirty-five millions had never been accounted for; and that the debt on the navy, wholly unprovided for, amounted to nine millions.[13] The late chancellor of the exchequer, suitable to his transcendent genius for public affairs, proposed a fund to be security for that immense debt, which is now confirmed by a law, and is likely to prove the greatest restoration and establishment of the kingdom’s credit.[14] Nor content with this, the legislature hath appointed commissioners of accompts, to inspect into past mismanagements of the public money, and prevent them for the future.[15]

I have, in a former paper, mentioned the Act for building fifty new Churches in London and Westminster,[16] with a fund appropriated for that pious and noble work. But while I am mentioning acts of piety, it would be unjust to conceal my lord high treasurer’s concern for religion, which have extended even to another kingdom: his lordship having some months ago, obtained of her Majesty a remission of the first-fruits and tenths to the clergy of Ireland,[17] as he is known to have formerly done for that reverend body in this kingdom.

The Act for carrying on a Trade to the South-Sea,[18] proposed by the same great person, whose thoughts are perpetually employed, and always with success, on the good of his country, will, in all probability, if duly executed, be of mighty advantage to the kingdom, and an everlasting honour to the present Parliament.[19]

I might go on further, and mention that seasonable law against excessive gaming;[20] the putting a stop to that scandalous fraud of false musters in the Guards;[21] the diligent and effectual enquiry made by the Commons into several gross abuses.[22] I might produce many instances of their impartial justice in deciding controverted election, against former example, and great provocations to retaliate.[23] I might shew their cheerful readiness in granting such vast supplies; their great unanimity, not to be broken by all the arts of a malicious and cunning faction; their unfeigned duty to the QUEEN; and lastly, that representation made to her Majesty from the House of Commons, discovering such a spirit and disposition in that noble assembly, to redress all those evils, which a long mal-administration had brought upon us.[24]

It is probable, that trusting only to my memory, I may have omitted many things of great importance; neither do I pretend further in the compass of this paper, than to give the world some general, however imperfect idea, how worthily this great assembly hath discharged the trust of those who so freely chose them; and what we may reasonably hope and expect from the piety, courage, wisdom, and loyalty of such excellent patriots, in a time so fruitful of occasions to exert the greatest abilities.

And now I conceive the main design I had in writing these papers, is fully executed. A great majority of the nation is at length thoroughly convinced, that the Qu[een] proceeded with the highest wisdom, in changing her ministry and Parliament. That under a former administration, the greatest abuses of all kinds were committed, and the most dangerous attempts against the constitution for some time intended. The whole kingdom finds the present persons in power, directly and openly pursuing the true service of their QUEEN and country; and to be such whom their most bitter enemies cannot tax with bribery, covetousness, ambition, pride, insolence, or any pernicious principles in religion or government.

For my own particular, those little barking pens which have so constantly pursued me, I take to be of no further consequence to what I have writ, than the scoffing slaves of old, placed behind the chariot, to put the general in mind of his mortality;[25] which was but a thing of form, and made no stop or disturbance in the shew. However, if those perpetual snarlers against me, had the same design, I must own they have effectually compassed it; since nothing can well be more mortifying, than to reflect that I am of the same species with creatures capable of uttering so much scurrility, dullness, falsehood and impertinence, to the scandal and disgrace of human nature.

[Footnote 1: No. 44 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: To Stella, about this time, Swift wrote giving a decided hint of the end of his term on “The Examiner.” Under date June 7th, 1711, he says: “As for the ‘Examiner,’ I have heard a whisper, that after that of this day, which tells what this Parliament has done, you will hardly find them so good. I prophesy they will be trash for the future; and methinks in this day’s ‘Examiner’ the author talks doubtfully, as if he would write no more” (vol. ii., pp. 192-3 of present edition). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: “Great is the power, great the name, of a Senate which is unanimous in its opinions.”–H.T. RILEY, [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: See No. 24, _ante_, and note on p. 145. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: The session did not actually close till June 12th. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: The House of Commons had resolved on January 16th, 1710/1, to provide for converting all non-specie exchequer bills into specie. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: The Act for licensing and regulating hackney coaches, etc. (9 Ann. c. 16) provided that a sum of L103,003 11_s._ 4_d._ should be distributed among those proprietors and inhabitants of Nevis and St. Christopher’s who had suffered “very great losses by a late invasion of the French.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: See note on p. 264. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 9: A petition was presented to the House of Commons on January 15th, 1710/1, against the Palatines as likely to spread disease and to become chargeable to the parish. [T.S.]

The exactions of the French armies in the Palatinate, in the year 1709, drove from their habitations six or seven thousand persons of all descriptions and professions, who came into Holland with a view of emigrating to British America. It was never accurately ascertained, with what view, or by whose persuasions, their course was changed, but, by direction from the English ministers, they were furnished with shipping to come to England. In the settlements, they would have been a valuable colony; but in the vicinity of London, this huge accession to the poor of the metropolis was a burthen and a nuisance. They were encamped on Blackheath, near Greenwich, where, so soon as their countrymen heard that they were supported by British charity, the number of the fugitives began to increase by recruits from the Continent, till government prohibited further importation. A general Naturalization Act, passed in favour of the French Protestants, greatly encouraged this influx of strangers. This matter was inquired into by the Tory Parliament, who voted, that the bringing over the Palatines was an oppression on the nation, and a waste of the public money, and that he who advised it was an enemy to his country. The unfortunate fugitives had been already dispersed; some of them to North America, some to Ireland, and some through Britain. The pretence alleged for the vote against them, was the apprehension expressed by the guardians of the poor in several parishes, that they might introduce contagious diseases; but the real reason was a wish to gratify the prejudice of the common people against foreigners, and to dimmish the number of Dissenters. [S.]]

[Footnote 10: See No. 26, _ante_, and note on p. 160. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 11: On the invitation of the lord lieutenant 3,000 Palatines were sent into Ireland in August, 1709, and 800 in the following February. Many of them subsequently returned to England in the hope that they would be sent to Carolina. Large numbers had been brought to England from Holland at the Queen’s expense, after the passing of the Naturalization Act. The government spent _L_22,275 in transporting 3,300 of them to New York and establishing them there, undertaking to maintain them until they could provide for themselves. These sums were to be repaid within four years. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 12: See No. 35, _ante_, and note on p. 225. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 13: See No. 41, _ante_, and note on p. 264. The debt on the navy is a portion of the thirty-five millions referred to. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 14: Harley proposed a scheme, on May 2nd, 1711, by which all public and national debts and deficiencies were to be satisfied. Resolutions were passed on May 3rd, and a Bill brought in on the 17th, which was the origin of the celebrated South Sea scheme referred to later in the text. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 15: The Bill for examining the Public Accounts (9 Ann. c. 18) became law on May 16th. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 16: See No. 43, _ante_, pp. 278 _et seq._ [T.S.]]

[Footnote 17: On August 15th, 1711, Swift wrote to Archbishop King: “He [the lord treasurer] told me, ‘he had lately received a letter from the bishops of Ireland, subscribed (as I remember) by seventeen, acknowledging his favour about the first-fruits'” (Scott’s edition, xv. 465). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 18: The South Sea Company was established in pursuance of the Act 9 Ann. c. 15. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 19: The disastrous results of the South Sea scheme, when the company failed in 1720-21, are matter of history. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 20: A Bill for the better preventing of Excessive and Deceitful Gaming, was introduced January 25th, 1710/1, passed April 11th, and obtained the Royal Assent, May 16th (9 Ann. c. 19). A similar bill, which had passed the House of Commons in 1709/10, was dropped in the House of Lords. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 21: A committee of the House of Commons was appointed, on February 5th, 1710/1 to inquire into alleged false musters in the Guards. A petition was presented to the House on February 13th, complaining that tradesmen were listed in Her Majesty’s Guards “to screen and protect them from their creditors.” A clause was inserted in the Recruiting Bill to remedy this evil (10 Ann. c. 12; see sec. 39), and the House passed a strong resolution against the practice, on May 26th, when considering the report of the committee. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 22: The House of Commons, on June 4th, presented a representation to the Queen on mismanagements and abuses. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 23: A large number of petitions to the House of Commons concerning controverted elections had been considered in December, 1710. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 24: Towards the close of the very long representation addressed to the Queen on June 4th, the Commons said: “We … beseech your Majesty … that you would employ in places of authority and trust such only, as have given good testimonies of their duty to your Majesty, and of their affection to the true interest of your kingdom.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 25: In a Roman triumph a slave accompanied the victorious general to whisper in his ear: “Remember that thou art but a man.” [T.S.]]

NUMB. 46.[1]


_Melius non tangere clamo_.[3]

When a general has conquered an army, and reduced a country to obedience, he often finds it necessary to send out small bodies, in order to take in petty castles and forts, and beat little straggling parties, which are otherwise, apt to make head and infest the neighbourhood: This case exactly resembles mine; I count the main body of the Whigs entirely subdued; at least, till they appear with new reinforcements, I shall reckon them as such; and therefore do now find myself at leisure to _Examine_ inferior abuses. The business I have left, is, to fall on those wretches that will be still keeping the war on foot, when they have no country to defend, no forces to bring into the field, nor any thing remaining, but their bare good-will towards faction and mischief: I mean, the present set of writers, whom I have suffered, without molestation, so long to infest the town. Were there not a concurrence from prejudice, party, weak understanding, and misrepresentation, I should think them too inconsiderable in themselves to deserve correction: But as my endeavour hath been to expose the gross impositions of the fallen party, I will give a taste, in the following petition, of the sincerity of these their factors, to shew how little those writers for the Whigs were guided by conscience or honour, their business being only to gratify a prevailing interest.

“_To the Right Honourable the present M[inist]ry, the humble Petition of the Party Writers to the late M[inist]ry._


“_That your petitioners have served their time to the trade of writing pamphlets and weekly papers, in defence of the Whigs, against the Church of England, and the Christian religion, and her Majesty’s prerogative, and her title to the crown: That since the late change of ministry, and meeting of this Parliament, the said trade is mightily fallen off, and the call for the said pamphlets and papers, much less than formerly; and it is feared, to our further prejudice, that the ‘Examiner’ may discontinue writing, whereby some of your petitioners will be brought to utter distress, forasmuch as through false quotations, noted absurdities, and other legal abuses, many of your petitioners, to their great comfort and support, were enabled to pick up a weekly subsistence out of the said ‘Examiner.’

“That your said poor petitioners, did humbly offer your Honours to write in defence of the late change of ministry and Parliament, much cheaper than they did for your predecessors, which your Honours were pleased to refuse.

“Notwithstanding which offer, your petitioners are under daily apprehension, that your Honours will forbid them to follow the said trade any longer; by which your petitioners, to the number of fourscore, with their wives and families, will inevitably starve, having been bound to no other calling._

“Your petitioners desire your Honours will tenderly consider the premisses, and suffer your said petitioners to continue their trade (those who set them at work, being still willing to employ them, though at lower rates) and your said petitioners will give security to make use of the same stuff, and dress it in the same manner, as they always did, and no other. _And your petitioners” &c._

[Footnote 1: No. 45 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: In his “Journal to Stella,” under date June 22nd, 1711, Swift writes: “Yesterday’s was a sad ‘Examiner,’ and last week was very indifferent, though, some little scraps of the old spirit, as if he had given some hints; but yesterday’s is all trash. It is plain the hand is changed.” (vol. ii., p, 195).

On November 2nd he gives the following account: “I have sent to Leigh the set of ‘Examiners’; the first thirteen were written by several hands; some good, some bad; the next three-and-thirty were all by one hand, that makes forty-six: then that author, whoever he was, laid it down on purpose to confound guessers; and the last six were written by a woman” (vol. ii., p. 273). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: Horace, “Satires,” II. i. 45. “‘Better not touch me, friend,’ I loud exclaim.”–P. FRANCIS. [T.S.]]



“THE SPECTATOR,” projected by Steele, assisted and made famous by Addison, was first started on March 1st, 1710/1, and continued to be issued daily until December 6th, 1712. An interval of eighteen months then occurred, during six of which these two writers were busy with “The Guardian.” On June 18th, 1714, however, “The Spectator” was resumed, and appeared daily until its final number on December 20th of that year. As with “The Tatler,” so with “The Spectator,” its success proved too great a temptation to be resisted; so that we find a spurious “Spectator” also. This was begun on Monday, January 3rd, 1714/5, and concluded August 3rd of the same year. Its sixty numbers (for it was issued twice a week) were afterwards published as “The Spectator, volume ninth and last.” The principal writer to this spurious edition was said to be Dr. George Sewell.

Of the contributions to Steele’s “Spectator,” by far the greater number were written by the projector and Addison. The other contributors were Eustace Budgell, John Hughes, John Byrom, Henry Grove, Thomas Parnell, “Orator” Henley, Dr. Zachary Pearce, Philip Yorke, and a few others whose identity is doubtful. Swift’s contribution consisted of one paper only, and (probably) a single paragraph in another. [T.S.]


_Nunquam aliud natura, aliud sapientia dicit._ JUV.[2]

FRIDAY, APRIL 27. 1711.

When the four Indian kings[3] were in this country about a twelvemonth ago, I often mixed with the rabble and followed them a whole day together, being wonderfully struck with the sight of everything that is new or uncommon. I have, since their departure, employed a friend to make many enquiries of their landlord the upholsterer[4] relating to their manners and conversation, as also concerning the remarks which they made in this country: for next to the forming a right notion of such strangers, I should be desirous of learning what ideas they have conceived of us.

The upholsterer finding my friend very inquisitive about these his lodgers, brought him some time since a little bundle of papers, which he assured him were written by King Sa Ga Yean Qua Rash Tow, and, as he supposes, left behind by some mistake. These papers are now translated, and contain abundance of very odd observations, which I find this little fraternity of kings made during their stay in the isle of Great Britain. I shall present my reader with a short specimen of them in this paper, and may perhaps communicate more to him hereafter. In the article of London are the following words, which without doubt are meant of the church of St. Paul.

“On the most rising part of the town there stands a huge house, big enough to contain the whole nation of which I am king. Our good brother E Tow O Koam king of the Rivers, is of opinion it was made by the hands of that great God to whom it is consecrated. The kings of Granajah and of the Six Nations believe that it was created with the earth, and produced on the same day with the sun and moon. But for my own part, by the best information that I could get of this matter, I am apt to think that this prodigious pile was fashioned into the shape it now bears by several tools and instruments; of which they have a wonderful variety in this country. It was probably at first an huge mis-shapen rock that grew upon the top of the hill, which the natives of the country (after having cut it into a kind of regular figure) bored and hollowed with incredible pains and industry, till they had wrought in it all those beautiful vaults and caverns into which it is divided at this day. As soon as this rock was thus curiously scooped to their liking, a prodigious number of hands must have been employed in chipping the outside of it, which is now as smooth as polished marble;[5] and is in several places hewn out into pillars that stand like the trunks of so many trees bound about the top with garlands of leaves. It is probable that when this great work was begun, which must have been many hundred years ago, there was some religion among this people; for they give it the name of a temple, and have a tradition that it was designed for men to pay their devotions in. And indeed, there are several reasons which make us think, that the natives of this Country had formerly among them some sort of worship; for they set apart every seventh day as sacred: but upon my going into one of those holy houses on that day, I could not observe any circumstance of devotion in their behaviour: There was indeed a man in black who was mounted above the rest, and seemed to utter something with a great deal of vehemence; but as for those underneath him, instead of paying their worship to the Deity of the place, they were most of them bowing and curtsying to one another, and a considerable number of them fast asleep.

“The Queen of the country appointed two men to attend us, that had enough of our language to make themselves understood in some few particulars. But we soon perceived these two were great enemies to one another, and did not always agree in the same story. We could make a shift to gather out of one of them, that this island was very much infested with a monstrous kind of animals, in the shape of men, called Whigs; and he often told us, that he hoped we should meet with none of them in our way, for that if we did, they would be apt to knock us down for being kings.

“Our other interpreter used to talk very much of a kind of animal called a Tory, that was as great a monster as the Whig, and would treat us as ill for being foreigners.[6] These two creatures, it seems, are born with a secret antipathy to one another, and engage when they meet as naturally as the elephant and the rhinoceros. But as we saw none of either of these species, we are apt to think that our guides deceived us with misrepresentations and fictions, and amused us with an account of such monsters as are not really in their country.

“These particulars we made a shift to pick out from the discourse of our interpreters; which we put together as well as we could, being able to understand but here and there a word of what they said, and afterwards making up the meaning of it among ourselves. The men of the country are very cunning and ingenious in handicraft works; but withal so very idle, that we often saw young lusty raw-boned fellows carried up and down the streets in little covered rooms by a couple of porters who are hired for that service. Their dress is likewise very barbarous, for they almost strangle themselves about the neck, and bind their bodies with many ligatures, that we are apt to think are the occasion of several distempers among them which our country is entirely free from. Instead of those beautiful feathers with which we adorn our heads, they often buy up a monstrous bush of hair, which covers their heads, and falls down in a large fleece below the middle of their backs; with which they walk up and down the streets, and are as proud of it as if it was of their own growth.

“We were invited to one of their public diversions, where we hoped to have seen the great men of their country running down a stag or pitching a bar, that we might have discovered who were the men of the greatest perfections in their country;[7] but instead of that, they conveyed us into an huge room lighted up with abundance of candles, where this lazy people sat still above three hours to see several feats of ingenuity performed by others, who it seems were paid for it.

“As for the women of the country, not being able to talk with them, we could only make our remarks upon them at a distance. They let the hair of their heads grow to a great length; but as the men make a great show with heads of hair that are none of their own, the women, who they say have very fine heads of hair, tie it up in a knot and cover it from being seen. The women look like angels, and would be more beautiful than the sun, were it not for little black spots[8] that are apt to break out in their faces, and sometimes rise in very odd figures. I have observed that those little blemishes wear off very soon; but when they disappear in one part of the face, they are very apt to break out in another, insomuch that I have seen a spot upon the forehead in the afternoon, which was upon the chin in the morning.”

The author then proceeds to shew the absurdity of breeches and petticoats, with many other curious observations, which I shall reserve for another occasion. I cannot however conclude this paper without taking notice, that amidst these wild remarks there now and then appears something very reasonable. I cannot likewise forbear observing, that we are all guilty in some measure of the same narrow way of thinking which we meet with in this abstract of the Indian journal; when we fancy the customs, dresses, and manners of other countries are ridiculous and extravagant, if they do not resemble those of our own.[9]

[Footnote 1: On March 16th, 1711, Swift writes to Stella: “Have you seen the ‘Spectator’ yet, a paper that comes out every day? ‘Tis written by Mr. Steele, who seems to have gathered new life, and have a new fund of wit; it is in the same nature as his ‘Tatlers,’ and they have all of them had something pretty. I believe Addison and he club.” On April 28th he writes again: “‘The Spectator’ is written by Steele with Addison’s help: ’tis often very pretty. Yesterday it was made of a noble hint I gave him long ago for his ‘Tatlers,’ about an Indian supposed to write his travels into England. I repent he ever had it. I intended to have written a book on that subject. I believe he has spent it all in one paper, and all the under hints there are mine too” (vol. ii., pp. 139 and 166 of present edition). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: Juvenal, “Satires,” xiv. 321.

“Nature and wisdom never are at strife.”–W. GIFFORD.


[Footnote 3: Steele’s paper on the four Indian kings appeared in “The Tatler” for May 13th, 1710 (No. 171):–“Who can convince the world that four kings shall come over here, and He at the Two Crowns and Cushion, and one of them fall sick, and the place be called King Street, and all this by mere accident?”–The so-called kings were four Iroquois chiefs who came over to see Queen Anne. The Queen saw them on April 19th, 1710. During their visit here Colonel Schuyler and Colonel Francis Nicholson were appointed to attend them. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: They lodged over the shop of Mr. Arne–father of Dr. Arne and Mrs. Cibber–in King Street, Covent Garden. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: The edition of 1712 has, “as the surface of a pebble.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: In “The Tatler” for February 4th, 1709/10 (No. 129), Steele prints a letter from “Pasquin of Rome,” in which he says: “It would also be very acceptable here to receive an account of those two religious orders which are lately sprung up amongst you, the Whigs and the Tories, with the points of doctrine, severities in discipline, penances, mortifications, and good works, by which they differ one from another.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: The edition of 1712 has: “the persons of the greatest abilities among them.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: See “The Spectator,” No. 81, and “The Examiner,” No. 32. The “black spots” are the patches ladies stuck on their faces. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 9: This paper is signed “C.”, in the edition of 1712, which is one of the signatures used by Addison. See, however, Swift’s “Journal,” quoted above. [T.S.]]

* * * * *

[The following paragraph in “The Spectator,” No. 575 Monday, August 2. 1714. is believed to have been contributed by Swift.]

“The following question is started by one of the schoolmen. Supposing the whole body of the earth were a great ball or mass of the finest sand, and that a single grain or particle of this sand should be annihilated every thousand years. Supposing then that you had it in your choice to be happy all the while this prodigious mass of sand was consuming by this slow method till there was not a grain of it left, on condition you were to be miserable for ever after; or, supposing that you might be happy for ever after, on condition you would be miserable till the whole mass of sand were thus annihilated at the rate of one sand in a thousand years: Which of these two cases would you make your choice?”



“THE INTELLIGENCER” was published in Dublin, commencing May 11th, 1728, and continued for nineteen numbers. On June 12th, 1731, Swift, writing to Pope, gives some account of its inception, and the amount of writing he did for it: “Two or three of us had a fancy, three years ago, to write a weekly paper, and call it an ‘Intelligencer.’ But it continued not long; for the whole volume (it was reprinted in London, and I find you have seen it) was the work only of two, myself, and Dr. Sheridan. If we could have got some ingenious young man to have been the manager, who should have published all that might be sent him, it might have continued longer, for there were hints enough. But the printer here could not afford such a young man one farthing for his trouble, the sale being so small, and the price one halfpenny; and so it dropped. In the volume you saw, (to answer your questions,) the 1, 3, 5, 7, were mine. Of the 8th I writ only the verses, (very uncorrect, but against a fellow we all hated [Richard Tighe],) the 9th mine, the 10th only the verses, and of those not the four last slovenly lines; the 15th is a pamphlet of mine printed before, with Dr. Sheridan’s preface, merely for laziness, not to disappoint the town: and so was the 19th, which contains only a parcel of facts relating purely to the miseries of Ireland, and wholly useless and unentertaining” (Scott’s edition, xvii. 375-6).

Of the contributions thus acknowledged, Nos. 1, 3, and 19 are reprinted here from the original edition; Nos. 5 and 7 were included by Pope in the fourth volume of “Miscellanies,” under the title “An Essay on the Fates of Clergymen”; No. 9 he entitled “An Essay on Modern Education”; No. 15 was a reprint of the pamphlet “A Short View of the State of Ireland”– these will be found in this edition under the above titles. The verses in No. 8 (“Mad Mullinix and Timothy”) and in No. 10 (“Tim and the Fables”) are in Swift’s “Poems,” Aldine edition, vol. iii., pp. 132-43.

The nineteen numbers of “The Intelligencer” were collected and published in one volume, which was reprinted in London in 1729, “and sold by A. Moor in St. Paul’s Church-yard.” Monck Mason never saw a copy of the London reprint referred to by Swift. He had in his possession the original papers; “they are twenty in number,” he says; “the last is double.” The second London edition, published in 12mo in 1730, as “printed for Francis Cogan, at the Middle-Temple-Gate in Fleet-street,” includes No. 20, “Dean Smedley, gone to seek his Fortune,” and also a poem, “The Pheasant and the Lark. A Fable.” In the poem, several writers are compared to birds, Swift being the nightingale:

“At length the nightingale was heard, For voice and wisdom long revered,
Esteemed of all the wise and good, The guardian genius of the wood;” etc.

The poem was written by Swift’s friend, Dr. Delany. The title-page of this second edition ascribes the authorship, “By the Author of a Tale of a Tub.”

“The Intelligencer,” in the words of W. Monck Mason, “served as a vehicle of satire against the Dean’s political and literary enemies; of these the chief were, Richard Tighe, Sir Thomas Prendergast, and Jonathan Smedley, Dean of Clogher” (“Hist, and Antiq. of St. Patrick’s,” pp. 376-7). [T.S.]



It may be said, without offence to other cities, of much greater consequence in the world, that our town of Dublin doth not want its due proportion of folly, and vice, both native and imported; and as to those imported, we have the advantage to receive them last, and consequently after our happy manner to improve, and refine upon them.

But, because there are many effects of folly and vice among us, whereof some are general, others confined to smaller numbers, and others again, perhaps to a few individuals; there is a society lately established, who at great expense, have erected an office of Intelligence, from which they are to receive weekly information of all important events and singularities, which this famous metropolis can furnish. Strict injunctions are given to have the truest information: in order to which, certain qualified persons are employed to attend upon duty in their several posts; some at the play-house, others in churches, some at balls, assemblies, coffee-houses, and meetings for quadrille,[2] some at the several courts of justice, both spiritual and temporal, some at the college, some upon my lord mayor, and aldermen in their public affairs; lastly, some to converse with favourite chamber-maids, and to frequent those ale-houses, and brandy-shops, where the footmen of great families meet in a morning; only the barracks and Parliament-house are excepted; because we have yet found no _enfans perdus_ bold enough to venture their persons at either. Out of these and some other store-houses, we hope to gather materials enough to inform, or divert, or correct, or vex the town.

But as facts, passages, and adventures of all kinds, are like to have the greatest share in our paper, whereof we cannot always answer for the truth; due care shall be taken to have them applied to feigned names, whereby all just offence will be removed; for if none be guilty, none will have cause to blush or be angry; if otherwise, then the guilty person is safe for the future upon his present amendment, and safe for the present, from all but his own conscience.

There is another resolution taken among us, which I fear will give a greater and more general discontent, and is of so singular a nature, that I have hardly confidence enough to mention it, although it be absolutely necessary by way of apology, for so bold and unpopular an attempt. But so it is, that we have taken a desperate counsel to produce into the world every distinguished action, either of justice, prudence, generosity, charity, friendship, or public spirit, which comes well attested to us. And although we shall neither here be so daring as to assign names, yet we shall hardly forbear to give some hints, that perhaps to the great displeasure of such deserving persons may endanger a discovery. For we think that even virtue itself, should submit to such a mortification, as by its visibility and example, will render it more useful to the world. But however, the readers of these papers, need not be in pain of being overcharged, with so dull and ungrateful a subject. And yet who knows, but such an occasion may be offered to us, once in a year or two, after we shall have settled a correspondence round the kingdom.

But after all our boasts of materials, sent us by our several emissaries, we may probably soon fall short, if the town will not be pleased to lend us further assistance toward entertaining itself. The world best knows its own faults and virtues, and whatever is sent shall be faithfully returned back, only a little embellished according to the custom of authors. We do therefore demand and expect continual advertisements in great numbers, to be sent to the printer of this paper, who hath employed a judicious secretary to collect such as may be most useful for the public.

And although we do not intend to expose our own persons by mentioning names, yet we are so far from requiring the same caution in our correspondents, that on the contrary, we expressly _charge_ and _command_ them, in all the facts they send us, to set down the names, titles, and places of abode at length; together with a very particular description of the persons, dresses, and dispositions of the several lords, ladies, squires, madams, lawyers, gamesters, toupees, sots, wits, rakes, and informers, whom they shall have occasion to mention; otherwise it will not be possible for us to adjust our style to the different qualities, and capacities of the persons concerned, and treat them with the respect or familiarity, that may be due to their stations and characters, which we are determined to observe with the utmost strictness, that none may have cause to complain.

[Footnote 1: In the “Contents” to both the editions of 1729 and 1730, this is called “Introduction.” Each of the numbers has a special title in this table, as follows:

No. I. Introduction.
II. The Inhospitable Temper of ‘Squire Wether. III. A Vindication of Mr. Gay, and the Beggar’s Opera. IV. The Folly of Gaming.
V. A Description of what the World calls Discretion. VI. A Representation of the Present Condition of Ireland. VII. The Character of Corusodes and Eugenio. VIII. A Dialogue between Mullinix and Timothy. IX. The foolish Methods of Education among the Nobility. X. Tim and Gay’s Fables.
XI. Proposals in Prose and Verse for, An Universal View of all the eminent Writers on the Holy Scriptures, &c. XII. Sir Ralph the Patriot turned Courtier. XIII. The Art of Story-Telling.
XIV. Prometheus’s Art of Man-making: And the Tale of the T–d. XV. The Services the Drapier has done his Country, and the Steps taken to ruin it.
XVI. The Adventures of the three Brothers, George, Patrick, and Andrew. XVII. The Marks of Ireland’s Poverty, shewn to be evident Proofs of its Riches.
XVIII. St. Andrew’s Day, and the Drapier’s Birth-Day. XIX. The Hardships of the Irish being deprived of their Silver, and decoyed into America.
[XX. Dean Smedley, gone to seek his Fortune. The Pheasant and the Lark. A Fable.]-[T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: A fashionable card game of the time. See also Swift’s poem, “The Journal of a Modern Lady” (Aldine edition, vol. i., pp. 214-23), and “A New Proposal for the better regulation … of Quadrille,” written by Dr. Josiah Hort, Bp. of Kilmore, in 1735/6 (afterwards Abp. of Tuam), and included by Scott in his edition of Swift (vii. 372-7). [T.S.]]


–_Ipse per omnes
Ibit personas, et turbam reddet in unam._[2]

The players having now almost done with the comedy, called the “Beggar’s Opera,”[3] for this season, it may be no unpleasant speculation, to reflect a little upon this dramatic piece, so singular in the subject, and the manner, so much an original, and which hath frequently given so very agreeable an entertainment.[4]

Although an evil taste be very apt to prevail, both here, and in London, yet there is a point which whoever can rightly touch, will never fail of pleasing a very great majority; so great, that the dislikers, out of dullness or affectation will be silent, and forced to fall in with the herd; the point I mean, is what we call humour, which in its perfection is allowed to be much preferable to wit, if it be not rather the most useful, and agreeable species of it.

I agree with Sir William Temple, that the word is peculiar to our English tongue, but I differ from him in the opinion, that the thing itself is peculiar to the English nation,[5] because the contrary may be found in many Spanish, Italian and French productions, and particularly, whoever hath a taste for true humour, will find a hundred instances of it in those volumes printed in France, under the name of _Le Theatre Italien_,[6] to say nothing of Rabelais, Cervantes, and many others.

Now I take the comedy or farce, (or whatever name the critics will allow it) called the “Beggar’s Opera”; to excel in this article of humour; and, upon that merit, to have met with such prodigious success both here, and in England.

As to poetry, eloquence and music, which are said to have most power over the minds of men, it is certain that very few have a taste or judgment of the excellencies of the two former, and if a man succeeds in either, it is upon the authority of those few judges, that lend their taste to the bulk of readers, who have none of their own. I am told there are as few good judges in music, and that among those who crowd the operas, nine in ten go thither merely out of curiosity, fashion, or affectation.

But a taste for humour is in some manner fixed to the very nature of man, and generally obvious to the vulgar, except upon subjects too refined, and superior to their understanding.

And as this taste of humour is purely natural, so is humour itself, neither is it a talent confined to men of wit, or learning; for we observe it sometimes among common servants, and the meanest of the people, while the very owners are often ignorant of the gift they possess.

I know very well, that this happy talent is contemptibly treated by critics, under the name of low humour, or low comedy; but I know likewise, that the Spaniards and Italians, who are allowed to have the most wit of any nation in Europe, do most excel in it, and do most esteem it.

By what disposition of the mind, what influence of the stars, or what situation of the climate this endowment is bestowed upon mankind, may be a question fit for philosophers to discuss. It is certainly the best ingredient toward that kind of satire, which is most useful, and gives the least offence; which instead of lashing, laughs men out of their follies, and vices, and is the character which gives Horace the preference to Juvenal.

And although some things are too serious, solemn or sacred to be turned into ridicule, yet the abuses of them are certainly not, since it is allowed that corruption in religion, politics, and law, may be proper topics for this kind of satire.

There are two ends that men propose in writing satire, one of them less noble than the other, as regarding nothing further than personal satisfaction, and pleasure of the writer; but without any view towards personal malice; the other is a public spirit, prompting men of genius and virtue, to mend the world as far as they are able. And as both these ends are innocent, so the latter is highly commendable. With regard to the former, I demand whether I have not as good a title to laugh, as men have to be ridiculous, and to expose vice, as another hath to be vicious. If I ridicule the follies and corruptions of a court, a ministry, or a senate; are they not amply paid by pensions, titles, and power, while I expect and desire no other reward, than that of laughing with a few friends in a corner. Yet, if those who take offence, think me in the wrong, I am ready to change the scene with them, whenever they please.

But if my design be to make mankind better, then I think it is my duty, at least I am sure it is the interest of those very courts and ministers, whose follies or vices I ridicule, to reward me for my good intentions; for, if it be reckoned a high point of wisdom to get the laughers on our side, it is much more easy, as well as wise to get those on our side, who can make millions laugh when they please.

My reason for mentioning courts, and ministers, (whom I never think on, but with the most profound veneration) is because an opinion obtains that in the “Beggar’s Opera” there appears to be some reflection upon courtiers and statesmen, whereof I am by no means a judge[7].

It is true indeed that Mr. Gay, the author of this piece, hath been somewhat singular in the course of his fortunes, for it hath happened, that after fourteen years attending the court, with a large stock of real merit, a modest, and agreeable conversation, a hundred promises, and five hundred friends [he] hath failed of preferment, and upon a very weighty reason. He lay under the suspicion of having written a libel, or lampoon against a great m[inister][8]. It is true that great m[inister] was demonstratively convinced, and publicly owned his conviction, that Mr. Gay was not the author; but having lain under the suspicion, it seemed very just, that he should suffer the punishment; because in this most reformed age, the virtues of a great m[inister] are no more to be suspected, than the chastity of Caesar’s wife.

It must be allowed, that the “Beggar’s Opera” is not the first of Mr. Gay’s works, wherein he hath been faulty, with regard to courtiers and statesmen. For, to omit his other pieces even in his Fables, published within two years past, and dedicated to the Duke of Cumberland, for which he was promised a reward[9]; he hath been thought somewhat too bold upon courtiers. And although it is highly probable, he meant only the courtiers of former times, yet he acted unwarily, by not considering that the malignity of some people might misinterpret what he said to the disadvantage of present persons, and affairs.

But I have now done with Mr. Gay as a politician, and shall consider him henceforward only as author of the “Beggar’s Opera,” wherein he hath by a turn of humour, entirely new, placed vices of all kinds in the strongest and most odious light; and thereby done eminent service, both to religion and morality. This appears from the unparalleled success he hath met with. All ranks parties and denominations of men, either crowding to see his opera, or reading it with delight in their closets, even ministers of state, whom he is thought to have most offended (next to those whom the actors more immediately represent) appearing frequently at the theatre, from a consciousness of their own innocence, and to convince the world how unjust a parallel, malice, envy, and disaffection to the government have made.

I am assured that several worthy clergymen in this city, went privately to see the “Beggar’s Opera” represented; and that the fleering coxcombs in the pit, amused themselves with making discoveries, and spreading the names of those gentlemen round the audience.

I shall not pretend to vindicate a clergyman, who would appear openly in his habit at a theatre, among such a vicious crew, as would probably stand round him, and at such lewd comedies, and profane tragedies as are often represented. Besides I know very well, that persons of their function are bound to avoid the appearance of evil, or of giving cause of offence. But when the lords chancellors, who are keepers of the king’s conscience, when the judges of the land, whose title is _reverend_, when ladies, who are bound by the rules of their sex, to the strictest decency, appear in the theatre without censure, I cannot understand, why a young clergyman who goes concealed out of curiosity to see an innocent and moral play, should be so highly condemned; nor do I much approve the rigour of a great p[rela]te, who said, “he hoped none of his clergy were there.” I am glad to hear there are no weightier objections against that reverend body, planted in this city, and I wish there never may. But I should be very sorry that any of them should be so weak, as to imitate a court chaplain in England, who preached against the “Beggar’s Opera,” which will probably do more good than a thousand sermons of so stupid, so injudicious, and so prostitute a divine[10].

In this happy performance of Mr. Gay, all the characters are just, and none of them carried beyond nature, or hardly beyond practice. It discovers the whole system of that commonwealth, or that _imperium in imperio_ of iniquity, established among us, by which neither our lives, nor our properties are secure, either in the highways, or in public assemblies, or even in our own houses. It shews the miserable lives, and the constant fate of those abandoned wretches; for how little they sell their lives and souls; betrayed by their whores, their comrades, and the receivers and purchasers of these thefts and robberies. This comedy contains likewise a satire, which, although it doth by no means affect the present age, yet might have been useful in the former, and may possibly be so in ages to come. I mean where the author takes occasion of comparing those common robbers to robbers of the public;[11] and their several stratagems of betraying, undermining, and hanging each other,[12] to the several arts of politicians in times of corruption.

This comedy likewise exposeth with great justice, that unnatural taste for Italian music among us,[13] which is wholly unsuitable to our northern climate, and the genius of the people, whereby we are over-run with Italian effeminacy, and Italian nonsense. An old gentleman said to me, that many years ago, when the practice of an unnatural vice grew so frequent in London, that many were prosecuted for it, he was sure it would be a forerunner[14] of Italian operas, and singers; and then we should want nothing but stabbing or poisoning, to make us perfect Italians.

Upon the whole, I deliver my judgment, that nothing but servile attachment to a party, affectation of singularity, lamentable dullness, mistaken zeal, or studied hypocrisy, can have the least reasonable objection against this excellent moral performance of the celebrated Mr. Gay.

[Footnote 1: See title in note above, p. 313. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: “He will go among the people, and will draw a crowd together.” [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: Gay’s “The Beggar’s Opera” was produced by Rich at the Theatre Royal in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, January 29th, 1727/8, and published in book form in 1728. It was shortly afterwards performed in Dublin, Bath, and other places. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: Writing to Pope, May 10th, 1728, Swift says: “Mr. Gay’s Opera has been acted here twenty times, and my lord lieutenant tells me it is very well performed; he has seen it often, and approves it much…. ‘The Beggar’s Opera’ has done its task, _discedat uti conviva satur_” (Scott’s edition, xvii. 188-9). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: In his essay “Of Poetry,” Sir William Temple, writing of dramatic poetry, says: “Yet I am deceived, if our English has not in some kind excelled both the modern and the ancient, which has been by force of a vein natural perhaps to our country, and which with us is called humour, a word peculiar to our language too, and hard to be expressed in any other;” etc.–“Works,” vol. i., p. 247 (1720). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: “Le Theatre Italian, ou le Recueil de toutes les Comedies et Scenes Francoises, qui out ete jouees sur le Theatre Italian.” The collection was edited by Evariste Gherardi, and published in 1695. Two further volumes were issued in 1698, the third containing complete plays. The collection was afterwards extended to six volumes. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: A modern writer says of it: “It bristles with keen, well-pointed satire on the corrupt and venal politicians and courtiers of the day” (W.H. Husk in Grove’s “Dict. of Music”).[T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: In the character of Robin of Bagshot Gay intended Sir Robert Walpole.[T.S.]]

[Footnote 9: Gay’s “Fables” was first published in 1727, with a dedication “To his Highness William Duke of Cumberland.” The Fables are said to have been “invented for his amusement.” Cumberland was the second