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

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[Greek: Dialexamenoi tina haesuchae, to men sumpan epi te tae dunas eia
kai kata ton echthron sunomosan.]

_Summissa quaedam voce collocuti sunt; quorum summa erat de dominatione
sibi confirmanda, ac inimicis delendis conjuratio._[2]

Not many days ago I observed a knot of discontented gentlemen cursing the
Tories to Hell for their uncharitableness, in affirming, that if the late
ministry had continued to this time, we should have had neither Church
nor Monarchy left. They are usually so candid as to call that the opinion
of a party, which they hear in a coffeehouse, or over a bottle from some
warm young people, whom it is odds but they have provoked to say more
than they believed, by some positions as absurd and ridiculous of their
own. And so it proved in this very instance: for, asking one of these
gentlemen, what it was that provoked those he had been disputing with, to
advance such a paradox? he assured me in a very calm manner, it was
nothing in the world, but that himself and some others of the company had
made it appear, that the design of the present P[arliamen]t and
m[inistr]y, was to bring in Popery, arbitrary power, and the Pretender:
which I take to be an opinion fifty times more improbable, as well as
more uncharitable, than what is charged upon the Whigs: because I defy
our adversaries to produce one single reason for suspecting such designs
in the persons now at the helm; whereas I can upon demand produce twenty
to shew, that some late men had strong views towards a commonwealth, and
the alteration of the Church.

It is natural indeed, when a storm is over, that has only untiled our
houses, and blown down some of our chimneys, to consider what further
mischiefs might have ensued, if it had lasted longer. However, in the
present case, I am not of the opinion above-mentioned; I believe the
Church and State might have lasted somewhat longer, though the late
enemies to both had done their worst: I can hardly conceive how things
would have been so soon ripe for a new revolution. I am convinced, that
if they had offered to make such large and sudden strides, it must have
come to blows, and according to the computation we have now reason to
think a right one, I can partly guess what would have been the issue.
Besides, we are sure the Q[uee]n would have interposed before they came
to extremities, and as little as they regarded the regal authority, would
have been a check in their career.

But instead of this question; What would have been the consequence if the
late ministry had continued? I will propose another, which will be more
useful for us to consider; and that is, What we may reasonably expect
they will do, if ever they come into power again? This, we know, is the
design and endeavour of all those scribbles that daily fly about in their
favour; of all the false, insolent, and scandalous libels against the
present administration; and of all those engines set at work to sink the
actions, and blow up the public credit. As for those who shew their
inclinations by writing, there is one consideration, which I wonder does
not sometimes affect them: for how can they forbear having a good opinion
of the gentleness and innocence of those, who permit them to employ their
pens as they do? It puts me in mind of an insolent pragmatical orator
somewhere in Greece, who railing with great freedom at the chief men in
the state, was answered by one who had been very instrumental in
recovering the liberty of the city, that "he thanked the gods they had
now arrived to the condition he always wished them, when every man in
that city might securely say what they pleased." I wish these gentlemen
would however compare the liberty they take with what their masters used
to give: how many messengers and warrants would have gone out against any
that durst have opened their lips, or drawn their pens, against the
persons and proceedings of their juntoes and cabals? How would their
weekly writers have been calling out for prosecution and punishment? We
remember when a poor nickname,[3] borrowed from an old play of Ben
Jonson, and mentioned in a sermon without any particular application, was
made use of as a motive to spur an impeachment. But after all, it must be
confessed, they had reasons to be thus severe, which their successors
have not: _their_ faults would never endure the light; and to have
exposed them sooner, would have raised the kingdom against the actors,
before the time.

But, to come to the subject I have now undertaken; which is to _examine_,
what the consequences would be, upon supposition that the Whigs were now
restored to their power. I already imagine the present free P[arliamen]t
dissolved, and another of a different epithet met, by the force of money
and management. I read immediately a dozen or two stinging votes against
the proceedings of the late ministry. The bill now to be repealed would
then be re-enacted, and the birthright of an Englishman reduced again to
the value of twelvepence.[4] But to give the reader a stronger
imagination of such a scene; let me represent the designs of some men,
lately endeavoured and projected, in the form of a paper of votes.

"Ordered, That a Bill be brought in for repealing the Sacramental Test.

"A petition of T[in]d[a]l, C[o]ll[in]s, Cl[en]d[o]n, C[o]w[ar]d,
T[o]l[a]nd,[5] in behalf of themselves and many hundreds of their
disciples, some of which are Members of this honourable H[ouse], desiring
that leave be given to bring in a Bill for qualifying Atheists, Deists
and Socinians, to serve their Country in any employment.

"Ordered, That leave be given to bring in a Bill, according to the prayer
of the said petition, and that Mr. L[ec]h[me]re[6] do prepare and bring
it in.

"Ordered, That a Bill be brought in for removing the education of youth
out of the hands of the Clergy.

"Another, to forbid the Clergy preaching certain duties in religion,
especially obedience to Princes.

"Another, to take away the jurisdiction of Bishops.

"Another, for constituting a General for life; with instructions to the
committee, that care may be taken to make the war last as long as the
life of the said General.

"A Bill of Attainder against C[harles] D[uke] of Sh[rewsbury], J[ohn]
D[uke] of B[uckingham], L[aurence] E[arl] of R[ochester], Sir S[imon]
H[arcourt], k[nigh]t, R[obert] H[arley], H[enry] S[t. John],[7] Esqs;
A[bigail] M[asham], spinster,[8] and others, for high treason against the

"Resolved, That S[ara]h D[uchess] of M[arlborough] hath been a most
dutiful, just, and grateful servant to Her M[ajest]y.

"Resolved, That to advise the dissolution of a W[hi]g Parliament, or the
removal of a W[hi]g Ministry, was in order to bring in Popery and the
Pretender; and that the said advice was high treason.

"Resolved, That by the original compact the Government of this Realm is
by a junto, and a K[ing] or Qu[een]; but the Administration solely in the

"Ordered, That a Bill be brought in for further limiting the Prerogative.

"Ordered, That it be a standing order of this H[ouse] that the merit of
elections be not determined by the number of voices, or right of
electors, but by weight; and that one Whig shall weigh down ten Tories.

"A motion being made, and the question being put, that when a Whig is
detected of manifest bribery, and his competitor being a Tory, has ten to
one a majority, there shall be a new election; it passed in the negative.

"Resolved, That for a K[ing] or Q[ueen] of this Realm, to read or examine
a paper brought them to be signed by a j[un]to Minister, is arbitrary and
illegal, and a violation of the liberties of the people."

* * * * *

These and the like reformations would, in all probability, be the first
fruits of the Whigs' resurrection; and what structures such able artists
might in a short time build upon such foundations, I leave others to
conjecture. All hopes of a peace cut off; the nation industriously
involved in further debts to a degree, that none would dare undertake
the management of affairs, but those whose interest lay in ruining the
constitution. I do not see how the wisest prince under such necessities
could be able to extricate himself. Then, as to the Church, the bishops
would by degrees be dismissed, first from the Parliament, next from their
revenues, and at last from their office; and the clergy, instead of their
idle claim of independency on the state, would be forced to depend for
their daily bread on every individual. But what system of future
government was designed; whether it were already digested, or would have
been left for time and incidents to mature, I shall not now _Examine_.
Only upon this occasion I cannot help reflecting on a fact, which it is
probable, the reader knows as well as myself. There was a picture drawn
some time ago, representing five persons as large as the life, sitting at
council together like a Pentarchy. A void space was left for a sixth,
which was to have been the Qu[een], to whom they intended that honour:
but her M[ajest]y having since fallen under their displeasure, they have
made a shift to crowd in two better friends in her place, which makes it
a complete Heptarchy.[9] This piece is now in the country, reserved till
better times, and hangs in a hall, among the pictures of Cromwell,
Bradshaw, Ireton, and some other predecessors.

I must now desire leave to say something to a gentleman, who has been
pleased to publish a discourse against a paper of mine relating to the
convocation.[10] He promises to set me right, without any undue
reflections or undecent language. I suppose he means in comparison with
others, who pretend to answer the "Examiner": So far he is right; but if
he thinks he has behaved himself as becomes a candid antagonist, I
believe he is mistaken. He says, in his title-page, my "representations
are unfair, and my reflections unjust." And his conclusion is yet more
severe,[11] where he "doubts I and my friends are enraged against the
Dutch, because they preserved us from Popery and arbitrary power at the
Revolution; and since that time, from being overrun by the exorbitant
power of France, and becoming a prey to the Pretender." Because this
author seems in general to write with an honest meaning, I would
seriously put to him the question, whether he thinks I and my friends
are for Popery, arbitrary power, France and the Pretender? I omit other
instances of smaller moment, which however do not suit in my opinion with
due reflection or decent language. The fact relating to the convocation,
came from a good hand, and I do not find this author differs from me
in any material circumstance about it. My reflections were no more than
what might be obvious to any other gentleman, who had heard of their late
proceedings. If the notion be right which this author gives us of a Lower
House of Convocation, it is a very melancholy one,[12] and to me seems
utterly inconsistent with that of a body of men whom he owns to have a
negative; and therefore, since a great majority of the clergy differs
from him in several points he advances, I shall rather choose to be of
their opinion than his. I fancy, when the whole synod met in one house,
as this writer affirms, they were upon a better foot with their bishops,
and therefore whether this treatment so extremely _de haut en bas_, since
their exclusion, be suitable to primitive custom or primitive humility
towards brethren, is not my business to enquire. One may allow the divine
or apostolic right of Episcopacy, and their great superiority over
presbyters, and yet dispute the methods of exercising the latter, which
being of human institution, are subject to encroachments and usurpations.
I know, every clergyman in a diocese has a good deal of dependence upon
his bishop, and owes him canonical obedience: but I was apt to think,
when the whole representative of the clergy met in a synod, they were
considered in another light, at least since they are allowed to have a
negative. If I am mistaken, I desire to be excused, as talking out of my
trade: only there is one thing wherein I entirely differ from this
author. Since in the disputes about privileges, one side must recede;
where so very few privileges remain, it is a hundred to one odds, the
encroachments are not on the inferior clergy's side; and no man can blame
them for insisting on the small number that is left. There is one fact
wherein I must take occasion to set this author right; that the person
who first moved the QUEEN to remit the first-fruits and tenths to the
clergy, was an eminent instrument in the late turn of affairs;[13] and as
I am told, has lately prevailed to have the same favour granted for the
clergy of Ireland.[14]

But I must beg leave to inform the author, that this paper is not
intended for the management of controversy, which would be of very little
import to most readers, and only misspend time, that I would gladly
employ to better purposes. For where it is a man's business to entertain
a whole room-full, it is unmannerly to apply himself to a particular
person, and turn his back upon the rest of the company.

[Footnote 1: No. 25 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: "They met and whispered together; and their entire aim was
the confirmation of their own power and an oath for the destruction of
their enemies." [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: The following is the passage in Sacheverell's sermon in
which the nickname is used: "What dependence can there be upon a man of
no principles? ... In what moving and lively colours does the holy
Psalmist paint out the crafty insidiousness of such wily Volpones!"
Godolphin, in spite of Somers's protest against such action, brought
about the preacher's impeachment, for this description of himself, as he
took it. See also vol. v., p. 219 and note of present edition. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: An attempt was made to repeal the Act for Naturalizing
Foreign Protestants (7 Ann. c. 5), which received the royal assent, March
23rd, 170-8/9, by a Bill which passed the House of Commons, January 31st,
171-0/1, but was thrown out by the Lords, February 5th. Persons
naturalized under this Act had to pay a fee of one shilling on taking the
prescribed oath of allegiance. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: See Nos. 20 and 23, _ante_, and notes pp. 118 and 141.

[Footnote 6: Nicholas Lechmere (1675-1727), member for Appleby (1708-10),
Cockermouth (1710-17), and Tewkesbury (1717-21), was one of the
managers in the impeachment of Sacheverell. He, with Addison,
Hoadly, and Minshull corrected Steele's draft of "The Crisis" for
publication. He was created Lord Lechmere in 1721, after he had held
the offices of solicitor-general (1714-18) and attorney-general (1718-20).
See also vol. v., p. 326 note, of present edition. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: "R.H. H.S. Esqs;" in both editions. In Faulkner's collected
reprint the second name was altered to William Shippen, and Scott
follows Faulkner; but there can be no doubt that the initials were
intended for St. John, since the persons named were those who succeeded
to the places of the dismissed ministers. Shippen was a prominent
member of the October Club, but he did not hold any public office.

[Footnote 8: In No. 19 of "The Medley," the writer calls "The Examiner"
to account for writing Abigail Masham, _spinster_. She was then Mrs.
Masham. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 9: See No. 23, _ante_, and notes p. 138. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 10: "The Case of the Present Convocation Consider'd; In Answer
to the Examiner's Unfair Representation of it, and Unjust Reflections
upon it." 1711, See note p. 129. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 11: "They [the Dutch] have a right to put us in mind, that
without their assistance in 1688, Popery and arbitrary power must, without
a miracle, have over-run us; and that even since that time, we must have
sunk under the exorbitant power of France, and our Church and Queen
must have been a prey to a Pretender imposed upon us by this exorbitant
power, if that tottering commonwealth ... had not heartily joined with
us.... But I forget my self, and I doubt, allege those very things in
their favour, for which the 'Examiner' and his friends, are the most
enraged against them." ("The Case," etc., p. 24). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 12: They [_i.e._ the bishops] say that the prolocutor is "the
referendary of the lower house, _i.e._ one who is to carry messages and
admonitions from the upper house to the lower, and to represent their
sense, and to carry their petitions to the upper: That originally the
synod met all in one house in this, as it still does in the other
province." ("The Case," etc., p. 14). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 13: Bishop Burnet had made a similar proposal to Queen Mary
several years before, "so that she was fully resolved, if ever she had
lived to see peace and settlement, ... to have applied it to the
augmentation of small benefices." He had also laid it very fully before
the Princess of Denmark in the reign of King William ("Hist. Own Times,"
ii. 370).

"This very project ... was first set on foot by a great minister in the
last reign. It was then far advanced, and would have been finished, had
he stayed but a few months longer in the ministry" ("The Case," etc., p.
23). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 14: Swift's own Memorial to Harley, petitioning the Queen to
surrender the first-fruits in Ireland is given in Scott's edition (vol.
xv., pp. 381-4). It was on behalf of these first-fruits that Swift came
to England, in 1707, on a commission from Archbishop King. Then he made
his application as a Whig to a Whig government, but failing with Somers
and Halifax both in this and in his hopes for advancement, he joined
Harley's fortunes. [T.S.]]

NUMB. 27.[1]


_Ea autem est gloria, laus recte factorum, magnorumque in rempublicam
meritorum: Quae cum optimi cujusque, tum etiam multitudinis testimonio

I am thinking, what a mighty advantage it is to be entertained as a
writer to a ruined cause. I remember a fanatic preacher, who was inclined
to come into the Church, and take orders; but upon mature thoughts was
diverted from that design, when he considered that the collections of the
_godly_ were a much heartier and readier penny, than he could get by
wrangling for tithes. He certainly had reason, and the two cases are
parallel. If you write in defence of a fallen party, you are maintained
by contribution as a necessary person, you have little more to do than to
carp and cavil at those who hold the pen on the other side; you are sure
to be celebrated and caressed by all your party, to a man. You may affirm
and deny what you please, without truth or probability, since it is but
loss of time to contradict you. Besides, commiseration is often on your
side, and you have a pretence to be thought honest and disinterested, for
adhering to friends in distress. After which, if your party ever happens
to turn up again, you have a strong fund of merit towards making your
fortune. Then, you never fail to be well furnished with materials, every
one bringing in his _quota_, and falsehood being naturally more plentiful
than truth. Not to mention the wonderful delight of libelling men in
power, and hugging yourself in a corner with mighty satisfaction for what
you have done.

It is quite otherwise with us, who engage as volunteers in the service of
a flourishing ministry, in full credit with the Q[uee]n, and beloved by
the people, because they have no sinister ends or dangerous designs, but
pursue with steadiness and resolution the true interests of both. Upon
which account they little want or desire our assistance; and we may write
till the world is weary of reading, without having our pretences allowed
either to a place or a pension: besides, we are refused the common
benefit of the party, to have our works cried up of course; the readers
of our own side being as ungentle and hard to please, as if we writ
against them; and our papers never make their way in the world, but
barely in proportion to their merit. The design of _their_ labours who
write on the conquered side, is likewise of greater importance than ours;
they are like cordials for dying men, which must be repeated; whereas
ours are, in the Scripture phrase, but "meat for babes": at least, all I
can pretend, is to undeceive the ignorant and those at distance; but
their task is to keep up the sinking spirits of a whole party.

After such reflections, I cannot be angry with those gentlemen for
perpetually writing against me: it furnishes them largely with topics,
and is besides, their proper business: neither is it affectation, or
altogether scorn, that I do not reply. But as things are, we both act
suitable to our several provinces: mine is, by laying open some
corruptions in the late management, to set those who are ignorant, right
in their opinions of persons and things: it is theirs to cover with
fig-leaves all the faults of their friends, as well as they can: When I
have produced my facts, and offered my arguments, I have nothing farther
to advance; it is their office to deny and disprove; and then let the
world decide. If I were as they, my chief endeavour should certainly be
to batter down the "Examiner," therefore I cannot but approve their
design, Besides, they have indeed another reason for barking incessantly
at this paper: they have in their prints openly taxed a most ingenious
person as author of it;[4] one who is in great and very deserved
reputation with the world, both on account of his poetical works, and his
talents for public business. They were wise enough to consider, what
a sanction it would give their performances, to fall under the
animadversion of such a pen; and have therefore used all the forms of
provocation commonly practised by little obscure pedants, who are fond of
distinguishing themselves by the fame of an adversary. So nice a taste
have these judicious critics, in pretending to discover an author by his
style and manner of thinking: not to mention the justice and candour of
exhausting all the stale topics of scurrility in reviling a paper, and
then flinging at a venture the whole load upon one who is entirely
innocent; and whose greatest fault, perhaps, is too much gentleness
toward a party, from whose leaders he has received quite contrary

The concern I have for the ease and reputation of so deserving a
gentleman, hath at length forced me, much against my interest and
inclination, to let these angry people know who is _not_ the author of
the "Examiner."[5] For, I observed, the opinion began to spread, and I
chose rather to sacrifice the honour I received by it, than let
injudicious people entitle him to a performance, that perhaps he might
have reason to be ashamed of: still faithfully promising, never to
disturb those worthy advocates; but suffer them in quiet to roar on at
the "Examiner," if they or their party find any ease in it; as physicians
say there is, to people in torment, such as men in the gout, or women in

However, I must acknowledge myself indebted to them for one hint, which I
shall now pursue, though in a different manner. Since the fall of the
late ministry, I have seen many papers filled with their encomiums; I
conceive, in imitation of those who write the lives of famous men, where,
after their deaths, immediately follow their characters. When I saw the
poor virtues thus dealt at random, I thought the disposers had flung
their names, like valentines into a hat, to be drawn as fortune pleased,
by the j[u]nto and their friends. There, Crassus[6] drew liberty and
gratitude; Fulvia,[7] humility and gentleness; Clodius,[8] piety and
justice; Gracchus,[9] loyalty to his prince; Cinna,[10] love of his
country and constitution; and so of the rest. Or, to quit this allegory,
I have often seen of late, the whole set of discarded statesmen,
celebrated by their judicious hirelings, for those very qualities which
their admirers owned they chiefly wanted. Did these heroes put off and
lock up their virtues when they came into employment, and have they now
resumed them since their dismissions? If they wore them, I am sure it was
_under_ their greatness, and without ever once convincing the world of
their visibility or influence.

But why should not the present ministry find a pen to praise them as well
as the last? This is what I shall now undertake, and it may be more
impartial in me, from whom they have deserved so little. I have, _without
being called_, served them half a year in quality of champion,[11] and by
help of the Qu[een] and a majority of nine in ten of the kingdom, have
been able to protect them against a routed cabal of hated politicians,
with a dozen of scribblers at their head; yet so far have they been from
rewarding me suitable to my deserts, that to this day they never so much
as sent to the printer to enquire who I was; though I have known a time
and a ministry, where a person of half my merit and consideration would
have had fifty promises, and in the mean time a pension settled on him,
whereof the _first quarter_ should be honestly paid. Therefore my
resentments shall so far prevail, that in praising those who are now at
the head of affairs, I shall at the same time take notice of their

Was any man more eminent in his profession than the present l[or]d
k[eepe]r,[12] or more distinguished by his eloquence and great abilities
in the House of Commons? And will not his enemies allow him to be fully
equal to the great station he now adorns? But then it must be granted,
that he is wholly ignorant in the speculative as well as practical part
of polygamy: he knows not how to metamorphose a sober man into a
lunatic:[13] he is no freethinker in religion, nor has courage to be
patron of an atheistical book,[14] while he is guardian of the Qu[een]'s
conscience. Though after all, to speak my private opinion, I cannot think
these such mighty objections to his character, as some would pretend.

The person who now presides at the council,[15] is descended from a great
and honourable father, not from the dregs of the people; he was at the
head of the treasury for some years, and rather chose to enrich his
prince than himself. In the height of favour and credit, he sacrificed
the greatest employment in the kingdom to his conscience and honour: he
has been always firm in his loyalty and religion, zealous for supporting
the prerogative of the crown, and preserving the liberties of the people.
But then, his best friends must own that he is neither Deist nor
Socinian: he has never conversed with T[o]l[a]nd, to open and enlarge his
thoughts, and dispel the prejudices of education; nor was he ever able to
arrive at that perfection of gallantry, to ruin and imprison the husband,
in order to keep the wife without disturbance.[16]

The present l[or]d st[ewa]rd[17] has been always distinguished for his
wit and knowledge; is of consummate wisdom and experience in affairs; has
continued constant to the true interest of the nation, which he espoused
from the beginning, and is every way qualified to support the dignity of
his office: but in point of oratory must give place to his

The D. of Sh[rewsbur]y[19] was highly instrumental in bringing about the
Revolution, in which service he freely exposed his life and fortune. He
has ever been the favourite of the nation, being possessed of all the
amiable qualities that can accomplish a great man; but in the
agreeableness and fragrancy of his person, and the profoundness of his
politics, must be allowed to fall very short of ----.[20]

Mr. H[arley] had the honour of being chosen Speaker successively to three
Parliaments;[21] he was the first of late years, that ventured to restore
the forgotten custom of treating his PRINCE with duty and respect. Easy
and disengaged in private conversation, with such a weight of affairs
upon his shoulders;[22] of great learning, and as great a favourer and
protector of it; intrepid by nature, as well as by the consciousness of
his own integrity, and a despiser of money; pursuing the true interest of
his PRINCE and country against all obstacles. Sagacious to view into the
remotest consequences of things, by which all difficulties fly before
him. A firm friend, and a placable enemy, sacrificing his justest
resentments, not only to public good, but to common intercession and
acknowledgment. Yet with all these virtues it must be granted, there is
some mixture of human infirmity: His greatest admirers must confess his
skill at cards and dice to be very low and superficial: in horse-racing
he is utterly ignorant:[23] then, to save a few millions to the public,
he never regards how many worthy citizens he hinders from making up their
plum. And surely there is one thing never to be forgiven him, that he
delights to have his table filled with black coats, whom he uses as if
they were gentlemen.

My Lord D[artmouth][24] is a man of letters, full of good sense, good
nature and honour, of strict virtue and regularity in life; but labours
under one great defect, that he treats his clerks with more civility and
good manners, than others, in his station, have done the Qu[een].[25]

Omitting some others, I will close this character of the present
ministry, with that of Mr. S[t. John],[26] who from his youth applying
those admirable talents of nature and improvements of art to public
business, grew eminent in court and Parliament at an age when the
generality of mankind is employed in trifles and folly. It is to be
lamented, that he has not yet procured himself a busy, important
countenance, nor learned that profound part of wisdom, to be difficult of
access. Besides, he has clearly mistaken the true use of books, which he
has thumbed and spoiled with reading, when he ought to have multiplied
them on his shelves:[27] not like a great man of my acquaintance, who
knew a book by the back, better than a friend by the face, though he
had never conversed with the former, and often with the latter.

[Footnote 1: No. 26 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: Writing to Stella, under date February 3rd, 1710/1, Swift
says: "They are plaguy Whigs, especially the sister Armstrong [Mrs.
Armstrong, Lady Lucy's sister], the most insupportable of all women
pretending to wit, without any taste. She was running down the last
'Examiner,' the prettiest I had read, with a character of the present
ministry" (vol. ii., p. 112 of present edition.) [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: "For that is true glory and praise for noble deeds that
deserve well of the state, when they not only win the approval of the
best men but also that of the multitude." [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: It was reported that the author of "The Examiner" was
Matthew Prior, late under-secretary of state. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: To Stella Swift wrote in his "Journal," under date February
9th:--"The account you give of that weekly paper [_i.e._ 'The Examiner,']
agrees with us here. Mr. Prior was like to be insulted in the street for
being supposed the author of it, but one of the last papers cleared him.
Nobody knows who it is, but those few in the secret. I suppose the
ministry and the printer" (vol. ii., p. 116 of present edition).]

[Footnote 6: The Duke of Marlborough. See "The Examiner," No. 28,
p. 177. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: The Duchess of Marlborough. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: Earl of Wharton, notorious for his profligacy. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 9: This may refer to Godolphin. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 10: Probably Earl Cowper. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 11: This applies to the paper. "The Examiner" had existed for
six months, but Swift had written it for only three months, at this time.

[Footnote 12: Sir Simon Harcourt (1661?-1727) who was lord chancellor,
1713-14. He was made lord keeper, October 19th, 1710, after Cowper
resigned the chancellorship. In the Sacheverell trial Harcourt was the
doctor's counsel. He was created Baron Harcourt in 1711. See also note on
p. 213 of vol. v. of present edition. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 13: This refers to the case of Richard, fifth Viscount Wenman,
against whom Cowper, in 1709, granted a commission of lunacy. He was
under the care of Francis Wroughton, Esq., whose sister, Susannah, he had
married in the early part of 1709. His brother-in-law sued him for
payment of his sister's portion, and asked that trustees be appointed for
his estate. Cowper decided against Wenman, and the commission granted.

The case is referred to in No. 40 of "The Tatler" (July 12th, 1709).
Campbell says ("Chancellors," iv. 330) the commission "very properly
issued." Luttrell in his "Diary" (July 30th, 1709) notes that "the jury
yesterday brought it in that he [Wenman] was no idiot" (vi. 470). Lord
Wenman died November 28th, 1729. See also Nos. 18 and 23, _ante_, and
note, p. 101. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 14: Tindal dedicated to Cowper "a pious work which was not
altogether orthodox" (Campbell's "Chancellors," iv. 330). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 15: Laurence Hyde (1641-1711), created Earl of Rochester in
1682, was appointed lord president of the council, September 21st, 1710,
succeeding Somers. See also No. 41, _post._ Swift unkindly sneers at
Somers's low birth. See note on Somers on p. 29 of vol. i. of present
edition. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 16: Mrs. Manley, in her "Memoirs of Europe towards the Close of
the Eighth Century," has something very characteristic to say on this
subject. Speaking of Somers under the name Cicero, she says: "Cicero,
Madam, is by birth a plebeian" ... "Cicero himself, an oracle of wisdom,
was whirled about by his lusts, at the pleasure of a fantastic worn-out
mistress. He prostituted his inimitable sense, reason, and good nature,
either to revenge, or reward, as her caprice directed; and what made this
commerce more detestable, this mistress of his was a wife!" ... "that she
was the wife of an injured friend! a friend who passionately loved her,
and had tenderly obliged him, rather heightened his desires" (i., 200;
ii., 54, 83). The mistress is said to be Mrs. Blunt, daughter of Sir R.
Fanshaw. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 17: John Sheffield (1647-1721), third Earl of Mulgrave, was
created Marquess of Normanby, 1694, and Duke of Buckingham and Normanby
in 1702/3. He succeeded the Duke of Devonshire as lord steward of the
household on September 21st, 1710. He was the author of a poetical "Essay
on Poetry," and an interesting prose "Account of the Revolution." As
patron to Dryden he received the dedication of that poet's "Aurengzebe."
Pope edited his collected works in 1722-23. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 18: William Cavendish (1673?-1729) succeeded his father as
second Duke of Devonshire in 1707. He was lord steward, 1707-10, and
lord president, 1716-17.]

[Footnote 19: Charles Talbot, Duke of Shrewsbury, is styled by Swift
elsewhere (Letter to Archbishop King, October 20th, 1713; Scott's
edition, xvi. 71), "the finest gentleman we have" (see note on p. 377 of
vol. v. of present edition). He was lord chamberlain, 1710-14. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 20: Henry de Grey (1664?-1740) succeeded his father as eleventh
Earl of Kent in 1702. He was created Marquess of Kent, 1706, and Duke
of Kent, 1710. He held the office of lord chamberlain of the household
from 1704 to 1710. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 21: Harley was first chosen Speaker, February 10th, 1700/1, for
a Parliament that lasted nine months; then again, December 30th, 1701,
for a Parliament that lasted only six months; and finally October 20th or
21st, 1702. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 22: "The Queen dismissed the Earl of Godolphin from being lord
treasurer, and put the treasury in commission: Lord Powlet was the first
in form, but Mr. Harley was the person with whom the secret was lodged"
(Burnet, "Own Times," ii. 552-3). He was appointed August 10th, 1710.

[Footnote 23: Godolphin was very devoted to the turf. See Swift's poem
entitled, "The Virtues of Sid Hamet's Rod" (Aldine edition, iii. 10).

[Footnote 24: William Legge (1672-1750) succeeded his father as second
Lord Dartmouth in 1691, and was created Earl of Dartmouth in 1711. On
June 14th, 1710, he was appointed secretary of state in place of the Earl
of Sunderland. See note on p. 229 of vol. v. of present edition. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 25: The Earl of Sunderland was rude and overbearing in his
manner towards the Queen. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 26: Henry St. John (1678-1751) was created Viscount Bolingbroke
in 1712. He was secretary of war, 1704-1708, and secretary of state,
1710-14. In 1715 he was attainted and left England to enter the service
of the Pretender. See also Swift's "An Enquiry," etc. (vol. v., p. 430 of
present edition). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 27: "Those more early acquaintance of yours, your books, which
a friend of ours once wittily said, 'Your L--p had mistaken the true use
of, by thumbing and spoiling them with reading'" ("A Letter to the
Rt. Hon. the Ld. Viscount B--ke," 1714-15). [T.S.]]

NUMB. 28.[1]


_Caput est in omni procuratione negotii et muneris publici, ut
avaritiae pellatur etiam minima suspicio._[2]

There is no vice which mankind carries to such wild extremes as that of
avarice: Those two which seem to rival it in this point, are lust and
ambition: but, the former is checked by difficulties and diseases,
destroys itself by its own pursuits, and usually declines with old age:
and the latter requiring courage, conduct and fortune in a high degree,
and meeting with a thousand dangers and oppositions, succeeds too seldom
in an age to fall under common observation. Or, is avarice perhaps the
same passion with ambition, only placed in more ignoble and dastardly
minds, by which the object is changed from power to money? Or it may be,
that one man pursues power in order to wealth, and another wealth in
order to power; which last is the safer way, though longer about, and
suiting with every period as well as condition of life, is more generally

However it be, the extremes of this passion are certainly more frequent
than of any other, and often to a degree so absurd and ridiculous, that
if it were not for their frequency, they could hardly obtain belief. The
_stage_, which carries other follies and vices beyond nature and
probability, falls very short in the representations of avarice; nor are
there any extravagances in this kind described by ancient or modern
comedies, which are not outdone by an hundred instances, commonly told,
among ourselves.

I am ready to conclude from hence, that a vice which keeps so firm a hold
upon human nature, and governs it with so unlimited a tyranny, since it
cannot be wholly eradicated, ought at least to be confined to particular
objects, to thrift and penury, to private fraud and extortion, and never
suffered to prey upon the public; and should certainly be rejected as the
most unqualifying circumstance for any employment, where bribery and
corruption can possibly enter.

If the mischiefs of this vice, in a public station, were confined to
enriching only those particular persons employed, the evil would be more
supportable; but it is usually quite otherwise. When a steward defrauds
his lord, he must connive at the rest of the servants, while they are
following the same practice in their several spheres; so that in some
families you may observe a subordination of knaves in a link downwards to
the very helper in the stables, all cheating by concert, and with
impunity: And even if this were all, perhaps the master could bear it
without being undone; but it so happens, that for every shilling the
servant gets by his iniquity, the master loses twenty; the perquisites
of servants being but small compositions for suffering shopkeepers to
bring in what bills they please.[3] It is exactly the same thing in a
state: an avaricious man in office is in confederacy with the whole
_clan_ of his district or dependence, which in modern terms of art is
called, "To live, and let live;" and yet _their_ gains are the smallest
part of the public's loss. Give a guinea to a knavish land-waiter, and
he shall connive at the merchant for cheating the Queen of an hundred. A
brewer gives a bribe to have the privilege of selling drink to the Navy;
but the fraud is ten times greater than the bribe, and the public is at
the whole loss.[4]

Moralists make two kinds of avarice; that of Catiline, _alieni appetens,
sui profusus;_[5] and the other more generally understood by that name;
which is, the endless desire of hoarding: But I take the former to be
more dangerous in a state, because it mingles well with ambition, which I
think the latter cannot; for though the same breast may be capable of
admitting both, it is not able to cultivate them; and where the love of
heaping wealth prevails, there is not in my opinion, much to be
apprehended from ambition. The disgrace of that sordid vice is sooner apt
to spread than any other, and is always attended with the hatred and
scorn of the people: so that whenever those two passions happen to meet
in the same subject, it is not unlikely that Providence hath placed
avarice to be a check upon ambition; and I have reason to think, some
great ministers of state have been of my opinion.

The divine authority of Holy Writ, the precepts of philosophers, the
lashes and ridicule of satirical poets, have been all employed in
exploding this insatiable thirst of money, and all equally controlled by
the daily practice of mankind. Nothing new remains to be said upon the
occasion, and if there did, I must remember my character, that I am an
_Examiner_ only, and not a Reformer.

However, in those cases where the frailties of particular men do nearly
affect the public welfare, such as a prime minister of state, or a great
general of an army; methinks there should be some expedient contrived, to
let them know impartially what is the world's opinion in the point:
Encompassed with a crowd of depending flatterers, they are many degrees
blinder to their own faults than the common infirmities of human nature
can plead in their excuse; Advice dares not be offered, or is wholly
lost, or returned with hatred: and whatever appears in public against
their prevailing vice, goes for nothing; being either not applied, or
passing only for libel and slander, proceeding from the malice and envy
of a party.

I have sometimes thought, that if I had lived at Rome in the time of the
first Triumvirate, I should have been tempted to write a letter, as from
an unknown hand, to those three great men, who had then usurped the
sovereign power; wherein I would freely and sincerely tell each of them
that fault which I conceived was most odious, and of most consequence
to the commonwealth: That, to Crassus, should have been sent to him after
his conquests in Mesopotamia, and in the following terms.[6]

"_To Marcus Crassus, health._

"_If you apply as you ought, what I now write,[7] you will be more
obliged to me than to all the world, hardly excepting your parents or
your country. I intend to tell you, without disguise or prejudice, the
opinion which the world has entertained of you: and to let you see I
write this without any sort of ill will, you shall first hear the
sentiments they have to your advantage. No man disputes the gracefulness
of your person; you are allowed to have a good and clear understanding,
cultivated by the knowledge of men and manners, though not by literature.
You are no ill orator in the Senate; you are said to excel in the art of
bridling and subduing your anger, and stifling or concealing your
resentments. You have been a most successful general, of long experience,
great conduct, and much personal courage. You have gained many important
victories for the commonwealth, and forced the strongest towns in
Mesopotamia to surrender, for which frequent supplications have been
decreed by the Senate. Yet with all these qualities, and this merit, give
me leave to say, you are neither beloved by the patricians, or plebeians
at home, nor by the officers or private soldiers of your own army abroad:
And, do you know, Crassus, that this is owing to a fault, of which you
may cure yourself, by one minutes reflection? What shall I say? You are
the richest person in the commonwealth; you have no male child, your
daughters are all married to wealthy patricians; you are far in the
decline of life; and yet you are deeply stained with that odious and
ignoble vice of covetousness:[8] It is affirmed, that you descend even to
the meanest and most scandalous degrees of it; and while you possess so
many millions, while you are daily acquiring so many more, you are
solicitous how to save a single sesterce, of which a hundred ignominious
instances are produced, and in all men's mouths. I will only mention that
passage of the buskins,[9] which after abundance of persuasion, you would
hardly suffer to be cut from your legs, when they were so wet and cold,
that to have kept them on, would have endangered your life.

"Instead of using the common arguments to dissuade you from this weakness,
I will endeavour to convince you, that you are really guilty of it, and
leave the cure to your own good sense. For perhaps, you are not yet
persuaded that this is your crime, you have probably never yet been
reproached for it to your face, and what you are now told, comes from one
unknown, and it may be, from an enemy. You will allow yourself indeed to
be prudent in the management of your fortune; you are not a prodigal,
like Clodius[10] or Catiline, but surely that deserves not the name of
avarice. I will inform you how to be convinced. Disguise your person; go
among the common people in Rome; introduce discourses about yourself;
inquire your own character; do the same in your camp, walk about it in
the evening, hearken at every tent, and if you do not hear every mouth
censuring, lamenting, cursing this vice in you, and even you for this
vice, conclude yourself innocent. If you are not yet persuaded, send for
Atticus,[11] Servius Sulpicius, Cato or Brutus, they are all your
friends; conjure them to tell you ingenuously which is your great fault,
and which they would chiefly wish you to correct; if they do not all
agree in their verdict, in the name of all the gods, you are acquitted.

"When your adversaries reflect how far you are gone in this vice, they are
tempted to talk as if we owed our success, not to your courage or
conduct, but to those veteran troops you command, who are able to conquer
under any general, with so many brave and experienced officers to lead
them. Besides, we know the consequences your avarice hath often
occasioned. The soldier hath been starving for bread, surrounded with
plenty, and in an enemy's country, but all under safeguards and
contributions; which if you had sometimes pleased to have exchanged for
provisions, might at the expense of a few talents in a campaign, have so
endeared you to the army, that they would have desired you to lead them
to the utmost limits of Asia. But you rather chose to confine your
conquests within the fruitful country of Mesopotamia, where plenty of
money might be raised. How far that fatal greediness of gold may have
influenced you, in breaking off the treaty[12] with the old Parthian King
Orodes,[13] you best can tell; your enemies charge you with it, your
friends offer nothing material in your defence; and all agree, there is
nothing so pernicious, which the extremes of avarice may not be able to

"The moment you quit this vice, you will be a truly great man; and still
there will imperfections enough remain to convince us, you are not a god.

Perhaps a letter of this nature, sent to so reasonable a man as Crassus,
might have put him upon _Examining_ into himself, and correcting that
little sordid appetite, so utterly inconsistent with all pretences to a
hero. A youth in the heat of blood may plead with some shew of reason,
that he is not able to subdue his lusts; An ambitious man may use the
same arguments for his love of power, or perhaps other arguments to
justify it. But, excess of avarice hath neither of these pleas to offer;
it is not to be justified, and cannot pretend temptation for excuse:
Whence can the temptation come? Reason disclaims it altogether, and it
cannot be said to lodge in the blood, or the animal spirits. So that I
conclude, no man of true valour and true understanding, upon whom this
vice has stolen unawares, when he is convinced he is guilty, will suffer
it to remain in his breast an hour.

[Footnote 1: No. 27 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: "It is of the greatest importance in the discharge of every
office of trade, or of the public treasury, that the least suspicion of
avarice should be avoided." [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: The Commissioners for examining the public accounts reported
to the House of Commons (December 21st, 1711) that the Duke of
Marlborough had received from Sir Solomon de Medina (army contractor
for bread) and his predecessor, during the years 1702 to 1711,
a sum of L63,319 3s. 7d. "In this report was contained the deposition
of Sir Solomon Medina, charging the Duke of Marlborough and
Adam Cardonell, his secretary, of various peculations, with regard to
the contracts for bread and bread-wagons for the army in Flanders."
The Duke admitted the fact in a letter to the Queen, dated November
10th, 1711, but said that the whole sum had "been constantly employed
for the service of the public, in keeping secret correspondence,
and in getting intelligence of the enemy's motions and designs"
(Macpherson's "Great Britain," ii. 512; Tindal's "History," iv.
232; and "Journals of House of Commons," xvii. 16). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: See the remarks in No. 39, _post_, p.250. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: Sallust, "Catiline," 5. "Greedy of what was not his own,
lavish of what was." Catiline was extravagant and profligate, and quite
unscrupulous in the pursuit of his many pleasures. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: A most severe censure on the Duke of Marlborough. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: Commenting on this "The Medley" (No. 20, February 12th,
1711) remarks: "Of all that ever made it their business to defame,
there never was such a bungler sure as my friend. He writes a letter
now to Crassus, as a man marked out for destruction, because that hint
was given him six months ago; and does not seem to know yet that he
is still employed, and that in attacking him, he affronts the Q[uee]n."

Writing to Stella, under date February 18th, Swift says: "Lord Rivers,
talking to me the other day, cursed the paper called 'The Examiner,' for
speaking civilly of the Duke of Marlborough: this I happened to talk of
to the Secretary [St. John], who blamed the warmth of that lord, and some
others, and swore, that, if their advice were followed, they would be
blown up in twenty-four hours" (vol. ii., p. 123 of present edition).

[Footnote 8: To Stella Swift writes somewhat later (March 7th): "Yes, I
do read the 'Examiners,' and they are written very finely as you judge.
I do not think they are too severe on the Duke; they only tax him of
avarice, and his avarice has ruined us. You may count upon all things in
them to be true. The author has said, it is not Prior; but perhaps it may
be Atterbury" (vol. ii., p. 133 of present edition). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 9: Wet stockings. [FAULKNER.]]

[Footnote 10: Clodius Albinus, the Roman general, died 197 A.D. The
reference here is to the Earl of Wharton (see No. 27, _ante_, p. 169).

[Footnote 11: T. Pomponius Atticus, the friend and correspondent of
Cicero. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 12: The Treaty of Gertruydenberg (see No. 14, _ante_, and note
on p. 77; see also note on pp. 201-2 of vol. v. of present edition).

[Footnote 13: Orodes I. (Arsaces XIV.), King of Parthia, defeated
Crassus, B.C. 53. [T.S.]]

NUMB. 29.[1]


_Inultus ut tu riseris Cotyttia?_[2]

An Answer to the "Letter to the Examiner."[3]

London, Feb. 15, 1710/11.


Though I have wanted leisure to acknowledge the honour of a letter you
were pleased to write to me about six months ago; yet I have been very
careful in obeying some of your commands, and am going on as fast as I
can with the rest. I wish you had thought fit to have conveyed them to me
by a more private hand, than that of the printing-house: for though I was
pleased with a pattern of style and spirit which I proposed to imitate,
yet I was sorry the world should be a witness how far I fell short in

I am afraid you did not consider what an abundance of work you have cut
out for me; neither am I at all comforted by the promise you are so kind
to make, that when I have performed my task,[4] "D[olbe]n shall blush in
his grave among the dead, W[alpo]le among the living, and even Vol[pon]e
shall feel some remorse." How the gentleman in his grave may have kept
his countenance, I cannot inform you, having no acquaintance at all with
the sexton; but for the other two, I take leave to assure you, there have
not yet appeared the least signs of blushing or remorse in either, though
some very good opportunities have offered, if they had thought fit to
accept them; so that with your permission, I had rather engage to
continue this work till they are in their graves too, which I am sure
will happen much sooner than the other.

You desire I would collect "some of those indignities offered last year
to her M[ajest]y." I am ready to oblige you; and have got a pretty
tolerable collection by me, which I am in doubt whether to publish by
itself in a large volume in folio, or scatter them here and there
occasionally in my papers. Though indeed I am sometimes thinking to
stifle them altogether; because such a history will be apt to give
foreigners a monstrous opinion of our country. But since it is your
absolute opinion, the world should be informed; I will with the first
occasion pick out a few choice instances, and let them take their chance
in the ensuing papers. I have likewise in my cabinet certain quires of
paper filled with facts of corruption, mismanagement, cowardice,
treachery, avarice, ambition, and the like, with an alphabetical table,
to save trouble. And perhaps you will not wonder at the care I take to be
so well provided, when you consider the vast expense I am at: I feed
weekly two or three wit-starved writers, who have no other visible
support; besides several others that live upon my offals. In short, I am
like a nurse who suckles twins at one time, and has likewise one or two
whelps constantly to draw her breasts.

I must needs confess, (and it is with grief I speak it) that I have been
the innocent cause of a great circulation of dullness: at the same time,
I have often wondered how it has come to pass, that these industrious
people, after poring so constantly upon the "Examiner,"[5] a paper writ
with plain sense, and in a tolerable style, have made so little
improvement. I am sure it would have fallen out quite otherwise with me;
for, by what I have seen of their performances (and I am credibly
informed they are all of a piece) if I had perused them till now, I
should have been fit for little but to make an advocate in the same

You, Sir, perhaps will wonder, as most others do, what end these angry
folks propose, in writing perpetually against the "Examiner": it is not
to beget a better opinion of the late ministry, or with any hope to
convince the world that I am in the wrong in any one fact I relate; they
know all that to be lost labour; and yet their design is important
enough: they would fain provoke me by all sort of methods, within the
length of their capacity, to answer their papers; which would render mine
wholly useless to the public; for if it once came to rejoinder and reply,
we should be all upon a level, and then their work would be done.

There is one gentleman indeed, who has written three small pamphlets upon
"the Management of the War," and "the Treaty of Peace:"[6] These I had
intended to have bestowed a paper in _Examining_, and could easily have
made it appear, that whatever he says of truth, relates nothing at all to
the evils we complain of, or controls one syllable of what I have ever
advanced. Nobody that I know of did ever dispute the Duke of
M[arlboroug]h's courage, conduct or success, they have been always
unquestionable, and will continue to be so, in spite of the malice of his
enemies, or, which is yet more, the _weakness of his advocates_. The
nation only wished to see him taken out of ill hands, and put into
better. But, what is all this to the conduct of the late m[i]n[i]stry,
the shameful mismanagements in Spain, or the wrong steps in the treaty of
peace, the secret of which will not bear the light, and is consequently
by this author very poorly defended? These and many other things I
would have shewn; but upon second thoughts determined to have done it in
a discourse by itself,[7] rather than take up room here, and break into
the design of this paper, from whence I have resolved to banish
controversy as much as possible. But the postscript to his third pamphlet
was enough to disgust me from having any dealings at all with such a
writer; unless that part was left to some footman[8] he had picked up
among the boys who follow the camp, whose character it would suit much
better than that of the supposed author.[9] At least, the foul language,
the idle impotent menace, and the gross perverting of an innocent
expression in the 4th "Examiner,"[10] joined to that respect I shall ever
have for the function of a divine, would incline me to believe so. But
when he turns off his footman, and disclaims that postscript, I will tear
it out, and see how far the rest deserves to be considered.

But, Sir, I labour under a much greater difficulty, upon which I should
be glad to hear your advice. I am worried on one side by the Whigs for
being too severe, and by the Tories on the other for being too gentle. I
have formerly hinted a complaint of this; but having lately received two
peculiar letters, among many others, I thought nothing could better
represent my condition, or the opinion which the warm men of both sides
have of my conduct, than to send you a transcript of each. The former is
exactly in these words.

"_To the 'Examiner.'_


"_By your continual reflecting upon the conduct of the late m[i]n[i]stry,
and by your encomiums on the present, it is as clear as the sun at noon-
day, that your are a Jesuit or Nonjuror, employed by the friends of the
Pretender, to endeavour to introduce Popery, and slavery, and arbitrary
power, and to infringe the sacred Act of Toleration of Dissenters. Now,
Sir, since the most ingenious authors who write weekly against you, are
not able to teach you better manners, I would have you to know, that
those great and excellent men, as low as you think them at present, do
not want friends that will take the first proper occasion to cut your
throat, as all such enemies to moderation ought to be served. It is well
you have cleared another person[11] from being author of your cursed
libels; though d--mme, perhaps after all, that may be a bamboozle too.
However I hope we shall soon ferret you out. Therefore I advise you as a
friend, to let fall your pen, and retire betimes; for our patience is now
at an end. It is enough to lose our power and employments, without
setting the whole nation against us. Consider three years is the life of
a party; and d--mme, every dog has his day, and it will be our turn next;
therefore take warning, and learn to sleep in a whole skin, or whenever
we are uppermost, by G--d you shall find no mercy._"

The other letter was in the following terms.

"_To the 'Examiner.'_


"_I am a country member, and constantly send a dozen of your papers down
to my electors. I have read them all, but I confess not with the
satisfaction I expected. It is plain you know a great deal more than you
write; why will you not let us have it all out? We are told, that the
Qu[een] has been a long time treated with insolence by those she has
most obliged; Pray, Sir, let us have a few good stories upon that head.
We have been cheated of several millions; why will you not set a mark on
the knaves who are guilty, and shew us what ways they took to rob the
public at such a rate? Inform us how we came to be disappointed of peace
about two years ago: In short, turn the whole mystery of iniquity
inside-out, that every body may have a view of it. But above all, explain
to us, what was at the bottom of that same impeachment: I am sure I never
liked it; for at that very time, a dissenting preacher in our
neighbourhood, came often to see our parson; it could be for no good, for
he would walk about the barns and stables, and desire to look into the
church, as who should say, These will shortly be mine; and we all
believed he was then contriving some alterations against he got into
possession: And I shall never forget, that a Whig justice offered me then
very high for my bishop's lease. I must be so bold to tell you, Sir, that
you are too favourable: I am sure, there was no living in quiet for us
while they were in the saddle. I was turned out of the commission, and
called a Jacobite, though it cost me a thousand pound in joining with
the Prince of Orange at the Revolution. The discoveries I would have you
make, are of some facts for which they ought to be hanged; not that I
value their heads, but I would see them exposed, which may be done upon
the owners' shoulders, as well as upon a pole, &c."_

These, Sir, are the sentiments of a whole party on one side, and of
considerable numbers on the other: however, taking the _medium_ between
these extremes, I think to go on as I have hitherto done, though I am
sensible my paper would be more popular, if I did not lean too much to
the favourable side. For nothing delights the people more than to see
their oppressors humbled, and all their actions, painted with proper
colours, set out in open view. _Exactos tyrannos densum humeris bibit
aure vulgus._[12]

But as for the Whigs, I am in some doubt whether this mighty concern they
shew for the honour of the late ministry, may not be affected, at least
whether their masters will thank them for their zeal in such a cause. It
is I think, a known story of a gentleman who fought another for calling
him "son of a whore;" but the lady desired her son to make no more
quarrels upon that subject, _because it was true_. For pray, Sir; does it
not look like a jest, that such a pernicious crew, after draining our
wealth, and discovering the most destructive designs against our Church
and State, instead of thanking fortune that they are got off safe in
their persons and plunder, should hire these bullies of the pen to defend
their reputations? I remember I thought it the hardest case in the world,
when a poor acquaintance of mine, having fallen among sharpers, where he
lost all his money, and then complaining he was cheated, got a good
beating into the bargain, for offering to affront gentlemen. I believe
the only reason why these purloiners of the public, cause such a clutter
to be made about their reputations, is to prevent inquisitions, that
might tend towards making them refund: like those women they call
shoplifters, who when they are challenged for their thefts, appear to be
mighty angry and affronted, for fear of being searched.

I will dismiss you, Sir, when I have taken notice of one particular.
Perhaps you may have observed in the tolerated factious papers of the
week, that the E[arl] of R[ochester][13] is frequently reflected on for
having been ecclesiastical commissioner and lord treasurer, in the reign
of the late King James. The fact is true; and it will not be denied to
his immortal honour, that because he could not comply with the measures
then taking, he resigned both those employments; of which the latter was
immediately supplied by a commission, composed of two popish lords and
the present E[ar]l of G[o]d[o]l[phi]n.[14]

[Footnote 1: No. 28 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: Horace, "Epodes," xvii. 56.

"Safely shalt thou Cotytto's rites
Divulge?"--J. DUNCOMBE.


[Footnote 3: "A Letter to the Examiner. Printed in the year, 1710,"
appeared shortly after the issue of the second number of "The Examiner."
It was attributed to St. John. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: The writer of the "Letter" invited the "Examiner" to "paint
... the present state of the war abroad, and expose to public view those
principles upon which, of late, it has been carried on ... Collect some
few of the indignities which have been this year offered to her
Majesty.... When this is done, D----n shall blush in his grave among the
dead, W----le among the living, and even Vol----e shall feel some
remorse." [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: "The Medley" treated "The Examiner" with scant courtesy, and
never failed to cast ridicule on its work. In No. 21 (February 19th,
1711) the writer says: "No man of common sense ever thought any body
wrote the paper but Abel Roper, or some of his allies, there being not
one quality in 'The Examiner' which Abel has not eminently distinguished
himself by since he set up for a political writer. 'Tis true, Abel is the
more modest of the two, and it never entered into his head to say, as my
friend does of his paper, 'Tis writ with plain sense and in a tolerable
style.'" In No. 23 (March 5th) he says: "There is indeed a great
resemblance between his brother Abel and himself; and I find a great
dispute among the party, to which of them to give the preference. They
are both news writers, as they utter things which no body ever heard of
_but from their papers_."

Abel Roper conducted the Tory paper called "The Post Boy." (See note on
p. 290 of vol. v. of present edition.) [T.S.] ]

[Footnote 6: Two of these pamphlets were already referred to in a
postscript to No. 24 of "The Examiner" (see note, p. 151). The third was
"The Negotiations for a Treaty of Peace, in 1709. Consider'd, In a Third
Letter to a Tory-Member. Part the First." Dated December 22nd, 1710, The
"Fourth Letter" was dated January 10th, 1710/11. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: It may be that Swift's intention was carried out in two
pamphlets, one entitled, "An Examination of the Management of the War. In
a Letter to My Lord * * *," published March 3rd, 1710/1; and the other
styled, "An Examination of the Third and Fourth Letters to a Tory
Member, relating to the Negociations for a Treaty of Peace in 1709. In
a Second Letter to My Lord * * *" [With a Postscript to the Medley's
Footman], published March 15th of the same year. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: The postscript to "An Examination of the Third and Fourth
Letters" mentions a pamphlet, "An Answer to the Examination of the
Management of the War," by the Medley's Footman. "The Medley," No. 21
(February 19th), remarks: "He could also prove there were wrong steps in
the Treaty of Peace, the Allies would have all; but he won't do it,
because he is treated like a footman." [T.S.]]

[Footnote 9: _I. e._ Dr. Francis Hare. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 10: Dr. Hare, in the postscript to his third pamphlet, said:
"The Examiner is extremely mistaken, if he thinks I shall enter the lists
with so prostitute a writer, who can neither speak truth, nor knows when
he hears it." He calls the writer "a mercenary scribbler," and speaks of
his paper as "weekly libels." He then quotes an expression from the
fourth number (published before Swift undertook "The Examiner"), and
concludes by saying that he had met more than his match in the
ingenious writer of "The Medley," even were he much abler than he is.

The fourth "Examiner" had printed a "Letter from the Country," in which
the following passage occurs: "Can any wise people think it possible,
that the Crown should be so mad as to choose ministers, who would not
support public credit? ... This is such a wildness as is never ... to be
met with in the Roman story; except in a devouring Sejanus at home, or an
ambitious Catiline at the head of a mercenary army."

The writer of "An Examination of the Third and Fourth Letters," says:
"The words indeed are in the paper quoted, that is, 'The Examiner,' No.
4, but the application is certainly the proper thought of the author of
the postscript" (p. 28). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 11: _I. e._ Prior. See No. 27, p. 168. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 12: Horace, "Odes," II. xiii. 31-2.
"Tyrants slain,
In thicker crowds the shadowy throng
Drink deeper down the martial song."--P. FRANCIS.

[Footnote 13: Laurence Hyde, Earl of Rochester, was lord treasurer from
168 4/5 to 168 6/7, when five commissioners were appointed: Lord
Belasyse, Lord Godolphin, Lord Dover, Sir John Ernle (chancellor of the
exchequer), and Sir Stephen Foxe. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 14: "The Medley," No. 22 (February 26th, 1711) remarks on this:
"He might have said with as much truth, 'twas supplied by my Lord G----
and two Protestant knights, Sir Stephen Fox and Sir John Ernle." [T.S.]]

NUMB. 30.[1]


_Laus summa in fortunae bonis, non extulisse se in potestate, non fuisse
insolentem in pecunia, non se praetulisse aliis propter abundantiam

I am conscious to myself that I write this paper with no other intention
but that of doing good: I never received injury from the late ministry,
nor advantage from the present, further than in common with every good
subject. There were among the former one or two, who must be allowed to
have possessed very valuable qualities; but proceeding by a system of
politics, which our constitution could not suffer; and discovering a
contempt of all religion, but especially of that which hath been so
happily established among us ever since the Reformation, they seem to
have been justly suspected of no very good inclinations to either.

It is possible, that a man may speculatively prefer the constitution of
another country, or an Utopia of his own, before that of the nation where
he is born and lives; yet from considering the dangers of innovation, the
corruptions of mankind, and the frequent impossibility of reducing ideas
to practice, he may join heartily in preserving the present order of
things, and be a true friend to the government already settled. So in
religion; a man may perhaps have little or none of it at heart; yet if he
conceals his opinions, if he endeavours to make no proselytes, advances
no impious tenets in writing or discourse: if, according to the common
atheistical notion, he believes religion to be only a contrivance of
politicians for keeping the vulgar in awe, and that the present model is
better adjusted than any other to so useful an end: though the condition
of such a man as to his own future state be very deplorable; yet
Providence, which often works good out of evil, can make even such a
man an instrument for contributing toward the preservation of the Church.

On the other side, I take a state to be truly in danger, both as to its
religion and government, when a set of ambitious politicians, bred up in
a hatred to the constitution, and a contempt for all religion, are forced
upon exerting these qualities in order to keep or increase their power,
by widening their bottom, and taking in (like Mahomet) some principles
from every party, that is any way discontented at the present faith and
settlement; which was manifestly our case. Upon this occasion I remember
to have asked some considerable Whigs, whether it did not bring a
disreputation upon their body, to have the whole herd of Presbyterians,
Independents, Atheists, Anabaptists, Deists, Quakers and Socinians,
openly and universally listed under their banners? They answered, that
all this was absolutely necessary, in order to make a balance against
the Tories, and all little enough: for indeed, it was as much as they
could possibly do, though assisted with the absolute power of disposing
every employment; while the bulk of English gentry kept firm to their old
principles in Church and State.

But notwithstanding whatever I have hitherto said, I am informed, several
among the Whigs continue still so refractory, that they will hardly allow
the heads of their party to have entertained any designs of ruining the
constitution, or that they would have endeavoured it, if they had
continued in power, I beg their pardon if I have discovered a secret; but
who could imagine they ever intended it should be one, after those overt
acts with which they thought fit to conclude their farce? But perhaps
they _now_ find it convenient to deny vigorously, that the question may
remain; "Why was the old ministry changed?" which they urge on without
ceasing, as if no occasion in the least had been given, but that all were
owing to the insinuations of crafty men, practising upon the weakness of
an easy pr[inc]e. I shall therefore offer among a hundred, one reason for
this change, which I think would justify any monarch that ever reigned,
for the like proceeding.

It is notorious enough, how highly princes have been blamed in the
histories of all countries, particularly of our own; upon the account of
minions; who have been ever justly odious to the people, for their
insolence and avarice, and engrossing the favour of their masters.
Whoever has been the least conversant in the English story cannot but
have heard of Gaveston[3], the Spencers[4], and the Earl of Oxford[5];
who by the excess and abuse of their power, cost the princes they served,
or rather governed, their crowns and lives. However, in the case of
minions, it must at least be acknowledged that the prince is pleased and
happy, though his subjects be aggrieved; and he has the plea of
friendship to excuse him, which is a disposition of generous minds.
Besides, a wise minion, though he be haughty to others, is humble and
insinuating to his master, and cultivates his favour by obedience and
respect. But _our_ misfortune has been a great deal worse: we have
suffered for some years under the oppression, the avarice and insolence
of those, for whom the Qu[ee]n had neither esteem nor friendship; who
rather seemed to snatch their own dues, than receive the favour of their
sovereign, and were so far from returning respect, that they forgot
common good manners. They imposed on their prince, by urging the
necessity of affairs of their own creating: they first raised
difficulties, and then offered them as arguments to keep themselves in
power. They united themselves against nature and principle, to a party
they had always abhorred, and which was now content to come in upon any
terms, leaving them and their creatures in full possession of the court.
Then they urged the formidable strength of that party, and the dangers
which must follow by disobliging of it. So that it seems almost a
miracle, how a prince, thus besieged on all sides, could _alone_ have
courage and prudence enough to extricate herself.

And indeed there is a point of history relating to this matter, which
well deserves to be considered. When her M[ajest]y came to the crown, she
took into favour and employment, several persons who were esteemed the
best friends of the old constitution; among whom none were reckoned
further gone in the high church principles (as they are usually called)
than two or three, who had at that time most credit, and ever since, till
within these few months, possessed all power at court. So that the first
umbrage given to the Whigs, and the pretences for clamouring against
France and the Pretender, were derived from them. And I believe nothing
appeared then more unlikely, than that such different opinions should
ever incorporate; that party having upon former occasions treated those
very persons with enmity enough. But some l[or]ds then about court, and
in the Qu[een]'s good graces, not able to endure those growing
impositions upon the prince and people, presumed to interpose, and were
consequently soon removed and disgraced: However, when a most exorbitant
grant was proposed,[6] antecedent to any visible merit, it miscarried in
Parliament, for want of being seconded by those who had most credit in
the House, and who having always opposed the like excesses in a former
reign, thought it their duty to do so still, to shew the world that the
dislike was not against persons but things. But this was to cross the
oligarchy in the tenderest point, a point which outweighed all
considerations of duty and gratitude to their prince, or regard to the
constitution. And therefore after having in several private meetings
concerted measures with their old enemies, and granted as well as
received conditions, they began to change their style and their
countenance, and to put it as a maxim in the mouths of their emissaries,
that England must be saved by the Whigs. This unnatural league was
afterwards cultivated by another incident; I mean the Act of Security,[7]
and the consequences of it, which every body knows; when (to use the
words of my correspondent)[8] "the sovereign authority was parcelled out
among a faction, and made the purchase of indemnity for an offending
M[iniste]r:" Thus the union of the two kingdoms improved that between the
ministry and the j[u]nto, which was afterwards cemented by their mutual
danger in that storm they so narrowly escaped about three years ago;[9]
but however was not quite perfected till the Prince's death;[10] and then
they went lovingly on together, both satisfied with their several shares,
at full liberty to gratify their predominant inclinations; the first,
their avarice and ambition; the other, their models of innovation in
Church and State.

Therefore, whoever thinks fit to revive that baffled question, "Why was
the late ministry changed?" may receive the following answer; That it was
become necessary by the insolence and avarice of some about the Qu[een],
who in order to perpetuate their tyranny had made a monstrous alliance
with those who profess principles destructive to our religion and
government: If this will not suffice, let him make an abstract of all the
abuses I have mentioned in my former papers, and view them together;
after which if he still remains unsatisfied, let him suspend his opinion
a few weeks longer. Though after all, I think the question as trifling as
that of the Papists, when they ask us, "where was our religion before
Luther?" And indeed, the ministry was changed for the same reason that
religion was reformed, because a thousand corruptions had crept into the
discipline and doctrine of the state, by the pride, the avarice, the
fraud, and the ambition of those who administered to us in secular

I heard myself censured the other day in a coffee-house, for seeming to
glance in the letter to Crassus,[11] against a great man, who is still in
employment, and likely to continue so. What if I had really intended that
such an application should be given it? I cannot perceive how I could be
justly blamed for so gentle a reproof. If I saw a handsome young fellow
going to a ball at court with a great smut upon his face, could he take
it ill in me to point out the place, and desire him with abundance of
good words to pull out his handkerchief and wipe it off; or bring him to
a glass, where he might plainly see it with his own eyes? Does any man
think I shall suffer my pen to inveigh against vices, only because they
are charged upon persons who are no longer in power? Every body knows,
that certain vices are more or less pernicious, according to the stations
of those who possess them. For example, lewdness and intemperance
are not of so bad consequences in a town rake as a divine. Cowardice in a
lawyer is more supportable than in an officer of the army. If I should
find fault with an admiral because he wanted politeness, or an alderman
for not understanding Greek; that indeed would be to go out of my way,
for an occasion of quarrelling; but excessive avarice in a g[enera]l, is
I think the greatest defect he can be liable to, next to those of courage
and conduct, and may be attended with the most ruinous consequences, as
it was in Crassus, who to that vice alone owed the destruction of himself
and his army.[12] It is the same thing in praising men's excellencies,
which are more or less valuable, as the person you commend has occasion
to employ them. A man may perhaps mean honestly, yet if he be not able to
spell, he shall never have my vote for a secretary: Another may have wit
and learning in a post where honesty, with plain common sense, are of
much more use: You may praise a soldier for his skill at chess, because
it is said to be a military game, and the emblem of drawing up an army;
but this to a tr[easure]r would be no more a compliment, than if you
called him a gamester or a jockey.[13]

P.S. I received a letter relating to Mr. Greenshields; the person who
sent it may know, that I will say something to it in the next paper.

[Footnote 1: No. 29 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: "Tractanda in laudationibus etiam haec sunt naturae et
fortunae bona, in quibus est summa laus: non extulisse," etc.--CICERO,
_De Oratore_ ii. 84.

"These blessings of nature and fortune fall within the province of
panegyric, the highest strain of which is, that a man possessed power
without pride, riches without insolence, and the fullness of fortune
without the arrogance of greatness."--W. GUTHRIE. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: Piers Gaveston, Earl of Cornwall, the favourite of Edward
II. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: Hugh le Despencer, Earl of Winchester, and his son of the
same name, both favourites of Edward II., and both hanged in 1326.

[Footnote 5: Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford, favourite of Richard II.

[Footnote 6: See No. 17, _ante_, and note, p. 95. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: The Bill of Security passed the Scottish Parliament in 1703,
but was refused the Royal Assent. It provided for the separation of the
Crowns of England and Scotland unless security was given to the latter
for full religious and commercial independence. It was again passed
in 1704. (See also note in vol. v., p. 336 of present edition.) [T.S.]]

[Footnote 8: The writer of the "Letter" does not ascribe this result to
the Act of Security, but to the Queen raising some of her servants to the
highest degree of power who were unable "to associate with, men of
honester principles than themselves," which led to "subjection to the
will of an arbitrary junto and to the caprice of an insolent woman." [T.

[Footnote 9: The Duke of Marlborough and Lord Godolphin threatened to
resign in February, 1707/8, unless Harley was dismissed. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 10: Prince George died October 28th, 1708. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 11: "The Medley," No. 20 (February 12th) was largely taken up
with remarks on this letter, which appeared in "The Examiner," No. 28.
See passage there quoted in the note, p. 177. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 12: Crassus was defeated by Orodes, King of Parthia, through
the treachery of Ariamnes. After Crassus was beheaded Orodes caused
molten gold to be poured into his mouth. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 13: Godolphin. See No. 27, _ante_, p. 172. [T.S.]]

NUMB. 31.[1]


_Quae enim domus tam stabilis, quae tam firma civitas est, quae non odiis
atque discidiis funditus possit everti?_[2]

If we examine what societies of men are in closest union among
themselves, we shall find them either to be those who are engaged in some
evil design, or who labour under one common misfortune: Thus the troops
of _banditti_ in several countries abroad, the knots of highwaymen in our
own nation, the several tribes of sharpers, thieves and pickpockets, with
many others, are so firmly knit together, that nothing is more difficult
than to break or dissolve their several gangs. So likewise those who are
fellow-sufferers under any misfortune, whether it be in reality or
opinion, are usually contracted into a very strict union; as we may
observe in the Papists throughout this kingdom, under those real
difficulties which are justly put on them; and in the several schisms of
Presbyterians, and other sects, under that grievous persecution of the
modern kind, called want of power. And the reason why such confederacies,
are kept so sacred and inviolable, is very plain, because in each of
those cases I have mentioned, the whole body is moved by one common
spirit, in pursuit of one general end, and the interest of individuals is
not crossed by each other, or by the whole.

Now, both these motives are joined to unite the high-flying Whigs at
present: they have been always engaged in an evil design, and of late
they are faster rivetted by that terrible calamity, the loss of power. So
that whatever designs a mischievous crew of dark confederates may
possibly entertain, who will stop at no means to compass them, may be
justly apprehended from these.

On the other side, those who wish well to the public, and would gladly
contribute to its service, are apt to differ in their opinions about the
methods of promoting it, and when their party flourishes, are sometimes
envious at those in power, ready to overvalue their own merit, and be
impatient till it is rewarded by the measure they have prescribed for
themselves. There is a further topic of contention, which a ruling party
is apt to fall into, in relation to retrospections, and enquiry into past
miscarriages; wherein some are thought too warm and zealous; others too
cool and remiss; while in the meantime these divisions are industriously
fomented by the discarded faction; which though it be an old practice,
hath been much improved in the schools of the Jesuits, who when they
despaired of perverting this nation to popery, by arguments or plots
against the state, sent their emissaries to subdivide us into schisms.[3]
And this expedient is now with great propriety taken up by our men of
incensed moderation, because they suppose themselves able to attack the
strongest of our subdivisions, and so subdue us one after another.
Nothing better resembles this proceeding, than that famous combat between
the Horatii and Curiatii,[4] where two of the former being killed, the
third, who remained entire and untouched, was able to kill his three
wounded adversaries, after he had divided them by a stratagem. I well
know with how tender a hand all this should be touched; yet at the same
time I think it my duty to warn the friends as well as expose the enemies
of the public weal, and to begin preaching up union upon the first
suspicion that any steps are made to disturb it.

But the two chief subjects of discontent, which, in most great changes,
in the management of public affairs, are apt to breed differences among
those who are in possession, are what I have just now mentioned; a desire
of punishing the corruptions of former managers; and the rewarding merit,
among those who have been any way instrumental or consenting to the
change. The first of these is a point so nice, that I shall purposely
waive it; but the latter I take to fall properly within my district: By
merit I here understand that value which every man puts upon his own
deservings from the public. And I believe there could not be a more
difficult employment found out, than that of paymaster general to this
sort of merit; or a more noisy, crowded place, than a court of
judicature, erected to settle and adjust every man's claim upon that
article. I imagine, if this had fallen into the fancy of the ancient
poets, they would have dressed it up after their manner into an agreeable
fiction, and given us a genealogy and description of merit, perhaps not
very different from that which follows.

_A Poetical Genealogy and Description of_ MERIT.

That true Merit, was the son of Virtue and Honour; but that there was
likewise a spurious child who usurped the name, and whose parents were
Vanity and Impudence. That, at a distance, there was a great resemblance
between them, and they were often mistaken for each other. That the
bastard issue had a loud shrill voice, which was perpetually employed in
cravings and complaints; while the other never spoke louder than a
whisper, and was often so bashful that he could not speak at all. That in
all great assemblies, the false Merit would step before the true, and
stand just in his way; was constantly at court, or great men's levees, or
whispering in some minister's ear. That the more you fed him, the more
hungry and importunate he grew. That he often passed for the true son of
Virtue and Honour, and the genuine for an impostor. That he was born
distorted and a dwarf, but by force of art appeared of a handsome shape,
and taller than the usual size; and that none but those who were wise and
good, as well as vigilant, could discover his littleness or deformity.
That the true Merit had been often forced to the indignity of applying to
the false, for his credit with those in power, and to keep himself from
starving. That he filled the antechambers with a crew of his dependants
and creatures, such as projectors, schematises, occasional converts to a
party, prostitute flatterers, starveling writers, buffoons, shallow
politicians, empty orators, and the like, who all owned him for their
patron, and grew discontented if they were not immediately fed.

This metaphorical description of false Merit, is, I doubt,
calculated for most countries in Christendom; and as to
our own, I believe it may be said with a sufficient reserve of charity,
that we are fully able to reward every man among us according to his real
deservings. And I think I may add, without suspicion of flattery, that
never any prince had a ministry with a better judgment to distinguish
between false and real merit, than that which is now at the helm; or
whose inclination as well as interest it is to encourage the latter. And
it ought to be observed, that those great and excellent persons we see at
the head of affairs, are of the Qu[een]'s own personal voluntary choice;
not forced upon her by any insolent, overgrown favourite; or by the
pretended necessity of complying with an unruly faction.

Yet these are the persons whom those scandals to the press, in their
daily pamphlets and papers, openly revile at so ignominious a rate, as I
believe was never tolerated before under any government. For surely no
lawful power derived from a prince, should be so far affronted, as to
leave those who are in authority exposed to every scurrilous libeller.
Because in this point I make a mighty difference between those who are
_in_, and those who are _out_ of power; not upon any regard to their
persons, but the stations they are placed in by the sovereign. And if my
distinction be right, I think I might appeal to any man, whether if a
stranger were to read the invectives which are daily published against
the present ministry, and the outrageous fury of the authors against me
for censuring the _last_; he would not conclude the Whigs to be at this
time in full possession of power and favour, and the Tories entirely at
mercy? But all this now ceases to be a wonder, since the Qu[een] herself
is no longer spared; witness the libel published some days ago under the
title of "A Letter to Sir J[aco]b B[an]ks,"[5] where the reflections upon
her sacred Majesty are much more plain and direct, than ever the
"Examiner" thought fit to publish against the most obnoxious persons in a
m[inistr]y, discarded for endeavouring the ruin of their prince and
country. Caesar indeed threatened to hang the pirates for presuming to
disturb him while he was their prisoner aboard their ship.[6] But it was
Caesar who did so, and he did it to a crew of public robbers; and it
became the greatness of his spirit, for he lived to execute what he had
threatened. Had _they_ been in his power, and sent such a message, it
could be imputed to nothing but the extremes of impudence, folly or

I had a letter last week relating to Mr. Greenshields[7] an Episcopal
clergyman of Scotland, and the writer seems to be a gentleman of that
part of Britain. I remember formerly to have read a printed account of
Mr. Greenshields's case, who has been prosecuted and silenced for no
other reason beside reading divine service, after the manner of the
Church of England, to his own congregation, who desired it: though, as
the gentleman who writes to me says, there is no law in Scotland against
those meetings; and he adds, that the sentence pronounced against Mr.
Greenshields, "will soon be affirmed, if some care be not taken to
prevent it." I am altogether uninformed in the particulars of this case,
and besides to treat it justly, would not come within the compass of my
paper; therefore I could wish the gentleman would undertake it in a
discourse by itself; and I should be glad he would inform the public in
one fact, whether Episcopal assemblies are freely allowed in Scotland? It
is notorious that abundance of their clergy fled from thence some years
ago into England and Ireland, as from a persecution; but it was alleged
by their enemies, that they refused to take the oaths to the government,
which however none of them scrupled when they came among us. It is
somewhat extraordinary to see our Whigs and fanatics keep such a stir
about the sacred Act of Toleration, while their brethren will not allow a
connivance in so near a neighbourhood; especially if what the gentleman
insists on in his letter be true, that nine parts in ten of the nobility
and gentry, and two in three of the commons, be Episcopal; of which one
argument he offers, is the present choice of their representatives in
both Houses, though opposed to the utmost by the preachings, threatenings
and anathemas of the kirk. Such usage to a majority, may, as he thinks,
be of dangerous consequence; and I entirely agree with him. If these be
the principles of high kirk, God preserve at least the southern parts
from their tyranny!

[Footnote 1: No. 30 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: Cicero, "De Amicitia," vii. "For what family is so firmly
rooted, what state so strong, as not to be liable to complete overthrow
from hatred and strife."--G.H. Wells. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 3: Refers to the October Club. See Swift's "Memoirs Relating to
that Change," etc. (vol. v., pp. 385-6 of present edition). [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: The contest is the subject of one of Macaulay's "Lays."
Three brothers named Horatius fought with three named Curiatius, and the
fight resulted in Publius Horatius being the sole survivor. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: In his letter to the Earl of Peterborough, dated February,
1710/1 (Scott, vol. xv., pp. 422-3), Swift speaks more favourably of this
pamphlet. His remarks to the Earl throw considerable light on Swift's own
position as a Tory: "The piece is shrewdly written; and, in my opinion,
not to be answered, otherwise than by disclaiming that sort of passive
obedience which the Tories are charged with. This dispute would soon be
ended, if the dunces who write on each side would plainly tell us what the
object of this passive obedience is in our country; for I dare swear nine
in ten of the Whigs will allow it to be the legislature, and as many of
the Tories deny it to the prince alone; and I hardly ever saw a Whig
and a Tory together, whom I could not immediately reconcile on that
article when I made them explain themselves."

The pamphlet was written by a Mr. Benson in reply to Sir Jacob Banks,
who, as member for Minehead, had, in 1709-10 presented an address from
his constituents in which it was pretty broadly avowed that subjects must
obey their monarch, since he was responsible to God alone. The writer of
the letter institutes a clever parallel between England and Sweden. See
note to No. 14, _ante_, and No. 34, _post_, pp. 75 and 216. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 6: Julius Caesar was captured by pirates off the coast of
Miletus (_c._ 75 B.C.) and held to ransom. The threat of crucifixion he
then held out to his captors he afterwards fulfilled. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 7: The Rev. James Greenshields was imprisoned (September 15th,
1709) for conducting in Edinburgh the service according to the English
Prayer Book. He appealed to the House of Lords, and the judgment against
him was reversed, March 1st. 1710/1 ("Journals of House of Lords," xix).

NUMB. 32.[1]


_----Garrit aniles
Ex re fabellas_.[2]

I had last week sent me by an unknown hand, a passage
out of Plato,[3] with some hints how to apply it. That author puts a
fable into the mouth of Aristophanes, with an account of the original of
love. That, mankind was at first created with four arms and legs, and all
other parts double to what they are now; till Jupiter, as a punishment for
his sins, cleft him in two with a thunderbolt, since which time we are
always looking for our _other half_; and this is the cause of love. But
Jupiter threatened, that if they did not mend their manners, he would give
them t'other slit, and leave them to hop about in the shape of figures in
_basso relievo_. The effect of this last threatening, my correspondent
imagines, is now come to pass; and that as the first splitting was the
original of love, by inclining us to search for our t'other half, so the
second was the cause of hatred, by prompting us to fly from our other side,
and dividing the same body into two, gave each slice the name of a party.

I approve the fable and application, with this refinement upon it. For
parties do not only split a nation, but every individual among them,
leaving each but half their strength, and wit, and honesty, and good
nature; but one eye and ear for their sight and hearing, and equally
lopping the rest of the senses: Where parties are pretty equal in a
state, no man can perceive one bad quality in his own, or good one in his
adversaries. Besides, party being a dry disagreeable subject, it renders
conversation insipid or sour, and confines invention. I speak not here of
the leaders, but the insignificant crowd of followers in a party, who
have been the instruments of mixing it in every condition and
circumstance of life. As the zealots among the Jews bound the law about
their foreheads, and wrists, and hems of their garments; so the women
among us have got the distinguishing marks of party in their muffs, their
fans, and their furbelows. The Whig ladies put on their patches in a
different manner from the Tories.[4] They have made schisms in the
playhouse, and each have their particular sides at the opera: and when a
man changes his party, he must infallibly count upon the loss of his
mistress. I asked a gentleman the other day, how he liked such a lady?
but he would not give me his opinion till I had answered him whether she
were a Whig or a Tory. Mr.----[5] since he is known to visit the present
m[inist]ry, and lay some time under a suspicion of writing the
"Examiner," is no longer a man of wit; his very poems have contracted a
stupidity many years after they were printed.

Having lately ventured upon a metaphorical genealogy of Merit, I thought
it would be proper to add another of Party, or rather, of Faction, (to
avoid mistake) not telling the reader whether it be my own or a
quotation, till I know how it is approved; but whether I read or dreamed
it, the fable is as follows.

"_Liberty, the daughter of Oppression, after having brought forth several
fair children, as Riches, Arts, Learning, Trade, and many others, was at
last delivered of her youngest daughter, called Faction; whom Juno, doing
the office of the midwife, distorted in its birth, out of envy to the
mother, from whence it derived its peevishness and sickly constitution.
However, as it is often the nature of parents to grow most fond of their
youngest and disagreeablest children, so it happened with Liberty, who
doted on this daughter to such a degree, that by her good will she would
never suffer the girl to be out of her sight. As Miss Faction grew up,
she became so termagant and froward, that there was no enduring her any
longer in Heaven. Jupiter gave her warning to be gone; and her mother
rather than forsake her, took the whole family down to earth. She landed
at first in Greece, was expelled by degrees through all the Cities by her
daughter's ill-conduct; fled afterwards to Italy, and being banished
thence, took shelter among the Goths, with whom she passed into most
parts of Europe; but driven out every where, she began to lose esteem,
and her daughter's faults were imputed to herself. So that at this time,
she has hardly a place in the world to retire to. One would wonder what
strange qualities this daughter must possess, sufficient to blast the
influence of so divine a mother, and the rest of her children: She always
affected to keep mean and scandalous company; valuing nobody, but just
as they agreed with her in every capricious opinion she thought fit to
take up; and rigorously exacting compliance, though she changed her
sentiments ever so often. Her great employment was to breed discord among
friends and relations, and make up monstrous alliances between those
whose dispositions least resembled each other. Whoever offered to
contradict her, though in the most insignificant trifle, she would be
sure to distinguish by some ignominious appellation, and allow them to
have neither honour, wit, beauty, learning, honesty or common sense. She
intruded into all companies at the most unseasonable times, mixed at
balls, assemblies, and other parties of pleasure; haunted every coffee-
house and bookseller's shop, and by her perpetual talking filled all
places with disturbance and confusion. She buzzed about the merchant in
the Exchange, the divine in his pulpit, and the shopkeeper behind his
counter. Above all, she frequented public assemblies, where she sat in
the shape of an obscene, ominous bird, ready to prompt her friends as
they spoke_."

If I understand this fable of Faction right, it ought to be applied to
those who set themselves up against the true interest and constitution of
their country; which I wish the undertakers for the late m[inistr]y would
please to take notice of; or tell us by what figure of speech they
pretend to call so great and _unforced_ a majority, with the Qu[een] at
the head, by the name of "the Faction": which is unlike the phrase of the
Nonjurors, who dignifying one or two deprived bishops, and half a score
clergymen of the same stamp, with the title of the "Church of England,"
exclude all the rest as schismatics; or like the Presbyterians, laying
the same accusation, with equal justice, against the established

And here it may be worth inquiring what are the true characteristics of a
faction, or how it is to be distinguished from that great body of the
people who are friends to the constitution? The heads of a faction, are
usually a set of upstarts, or men ruined in their fortunes, whom some
great change in a government, did at first, out of their obscurity
produce upon the stage. They associate themselves with those who dislike
the old establishment, religious and civil. They are full of new schemes
in politics and divinity; they have an incurable hatred against the old
nobility, and strengthen their party by dependants raised from the lowest
of the people; they have several ways of working themselves into power;
but they are sure to be called when a corrupt administration wants to be
supported, against those who are endeavouring at a reformation; and they
firmly observe that celebrated maxim of preserving power by the same arts
it is attained. They act with the spirit of those who believe their _time
is but short;_ and their first care is to heap up immense riches at the
public expense; in which they have two ends, beside that common one of
insatiable avarice; which are, to make themselves necessary, and to keep
the Commonwealth in dependence: Thus they hope to compass their design,
which is, instead of fitting their principles to the constitution, to
alter and adjust the constitution to their own pernicious principles.

It is easy determining by this test, to which side the name of faction
most properly belongs. But however, I will give them any system of law or
regal government, from William the Conqueror to this present time, to try
whether they can tally it with their late models; excepting only that of
Cromwell, whom perhaps they will reckon for a monarch.

If the present ministry, and so great a majority in the Parliament and
Kingdom, be only a faction, it must appear by some actions which answers
the idea we usually conceive from that word. Have they abused the
prerogatives of the prince, or invaded the rights and liberties of the
subject? Have they offered at any dangerous innovations in Church or
State? Have they broached any doctrines of heresy, rebellion or tyranny?
Have any of them treated their sovereign with insolence, engrossed and
sold all her favours, or deceived her by base, gross misrepresentations
of her most faithful servants? These are the arts of a faction, and
whoever has practised them, they and their followers must take up with
the name.

It is usually reckoned a Whig principle to appeal to the people; but that
is only when they have been so wise as to poison their understandings
beforehand: Will they now stand to this appeal, and be determined by
their _vox populi_, to which side their title of faction belongs? And
that the people are now left to the natural freedom of their
understanding and choice, I believe our adversaries will hardly deny.
They will now refuse this appeal, and it is reasonable they should; and I
will further add, that if our people resembled the old Grecians, there
might be danger in such a trial. A pragmatical orator told a great man at
Athens, that whenever the people were in their rage, they would certainly
tear him to pieces; "Yes," says the other, "and they will do the same to
you, whenever they are in their wits." But God be thanked, our populace
is more merciful in their nature, and at present under better direction;
and the orators among us have attempted to confound both prerogative and
law, in their sovereign's presence, and before the highest court of
judicature, without any hazard to their persons.

[Footnote 1: No. 31 in the reprint. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 2: Horace, "Satires," II. vi. 77-8.
"To club his part in pithy tales."--P. FRANCIS.

[Footnote 3: The "Symposium," 189-192. [T.S.]]

[Footnote 4: See "The Spectator," No. 81 (June 2nd, 1711): "Their patches
were placed in those different situations, as party signals to
distinguish friends from foes." [T.S.]]

[Footnote 5: Matthew Prior. [T.S.]]

NUMB. 33.[1]


_Non ea est medicina, cum sanae parti corporis scalpellum adhibetur,
atque integrae; carnificina est ista, et crudelitas. Hi medentur
Reipublicae qui exsecant pestem aliquam, tanquam strumam Civitatis_.[3]

I am diverted from the general subject of my discourses, to reflect upon
an event of a very extraordinary and surprising nature: A great minister,
in high confidence with the Queen, under whose management the weight of
affairs at present is in a great measure supposed to lie; sitting in
council, in a royal palace, with a dozen of the chief officers of the
state, is stabbed at the very board,[4] in the execution of his office,
by the hand of a French Papist, then under examination for high treason.
The assassin redoubles his blow, to make sure work; and concluding the
chancellor was dispatched, goes on with the same rage to murder a
principal secretary of state: and that whole noble assembly are forced to
rise, and draw their swords in their own defence, as if a wild beast had
been let loose among them.

This fact hath some circumstances of aggravation not to be paralleled by
any of the like kind we meet with in history. Caesar's murder being
performed in the Senate, comes nearest to the case; but that was an
affair concerted by great numbers of the chief senators, who were
likewise the actors in it, and not the work of a vile, single ruffian.
Harry the Third of France was stabbed by an enthusiastic friar,[5] whom
he suffered to approach his person, while those who attended him stood at
some distance. His successor met the same fate in a coach, where neither
he nor his nobles, in such a confinement, were able to defend themselves.
In our own country we have, I think, but one instance of this sort, which
has made any noise, I mean that of Felton, about fourscore years ago: but
he took the opportunity to stab the Duke of Buckingham in passing through
a dark lobby, from one room to another:[6] The blow was neither seen nor
heard, and the murderer might have escaped, if his own concern and
horror, as it is usual in such cases, had not betrayed him. Besides, that
act of Felton will admit of some extenuation, from the motives he is said
to have had: but this attempt of Guiscard seems to have outdone them all
in every heightening circumstance, except the difference of persons
between a king and a great minister: for I give no allowance at all to
the difference of success (which however is yet uncertain and depending)
nor think it the least alleviation to the crime, whatever it may be to
the punishment.

I am sensible, it is ill arguing from particulars to generals, and that
we ought not to charge upon a nation the crimes of a few desperate
villains it is so unfortunate to produce: Yet at the same time it must be
avowed, that the French have for these last centuries, been somewhat too
liberal of their daggers, upon the persons of their greatest men; such
as the Admiral de Coligny,[7] the Dukes of Guise,[8] father and son, and
the two kings I last mentioned. I have sometimes wondered how a people,
whose genius seems wholly turned to singing and dancing, and prating, to
vanity and impertinence; who lay so much weight upon modes and gestures;
whose essentialities are generally so very superficial; who are usually
so serious upon trifles, and so trifling upon what is serious, have been
capable of committing such solid villanies; more suitable to the gravity
of a Spaniard, or silence and thoughtfulness of an Italian: unless it be,
that in a nation naturally so full of themselves, and of so restless
imaginations, when any of them happen to be of a morose and gloomy
constitution, that huddle of confused thoughts, for want of evaporating,
usually terminates in rage or despair. D'Avila[9] observes, that Jacques
Clement was a sort of buffoon, whom the rest of the friars used to make
sport with: but at last, giving his folly a serious turn, it ended in
enthusiasm, and qualified him for that desperate act of murdering his

But in the Marquis de Guiscard there seems to have been a complication of
ingredients for such an attempt: He had committed several enormities in
France, was extremely prodigal and vicious; of a dark melancholy
complexion, and cloudy countenance, such as in vulgar physiognomy is
called an ill look. For the rest, his talents were very mean, having a
sort of inferior cunning, but very small abilities; so that a great man
of the late m[inist]ry, by whom he was invited over,[10] and with much
discretion raised at first step from a profligate popish priest to a
lieutenant-general, and colonel of a regiment of horse, was forced at
last to drop him for shame.[11]

Had such an accident happened[12] under that m[inis]try, and to so
considerable a member of it, they would have immediately charged it upon
the whole body of those they are pleased to call "the faction." This
would have been styled a high-church principle; the clergy would have
been accused as promoters and abettors of the fact; com[mittee]s would
have been sent to promise the criminal his life provided they might have
liberty to direct and dictate his confession: and a black list would have
been printed of all those who had been ever seen in the murderer's
company. But the present men in power hate and despise all such
detestable arts, which they might now turn upon their adversaries with
much more plausibility, than ever these did their honourable negotiations
with Gregg.[13]

And here it may be worth observing how unanimous a concurrence there is
between some persons once in great power, and a French Papist; both
agreeing in the great end of taking away Mr. Harley's life, though
differing in their methods: the first proceeding by subornation, the
other by violence; wherein Guiscard seems to have the advantage, as
aiming no further than his life; while the others designed to destroy at
once both that and his reputation. The malice of both against this
gentleman seems to have risen from the same cause, his discovering
designs against the government. It was Mr. Harley who detected the
treasonable correspondence of Gregg, and secured him betimes; when a
certain great man who shall be nameless, had, out of the depth of his
politics, sent him a caution to make his escape; which would certainly
have fixed the appearance of guilt[14] upon Mr. Harley: but when that was
prevented, they would have enticed the condemned criminal with promise of
a pardon, to write and sign an accusation against the secretary. But to
use Gregg's own expression, "His death was nothing near so ignominious,
as would have been such a life that must be saved by prostituting his
conscience." The same gentleman lies now stabbed by his other enemy, a
Popish spy, whose treason he has discovered. God preserve the rest of
her Majesty's ministers from such Protestants, and from such Papists!

I shall take occasion to hint at some particularities in this surprising
fact, for the sake of those at distance, or who may not be thoroughly
informed.[15] The murderer confessed in Newgate, that his chief design
was against Mr. Secretary St. John, who happened to change seats with Mr.
Harley, for more convenience of examining the criminal:[16] and being
asked what provoked him to stab the chancellor? he said, that not being
able to come at the secretary, as he intended, it was some satisfaction
to murder the person whom he thought Mr. St. John loved best.[17]

And here, if Mr. Harley has still any enemies left, whom his blood spilt
in the public service cannot reconcile, I hope they will at least admire
his magnanimity, which is a quality esteemed even in an enemy: and I
think there are few greater instances of it to be found in story. After
the wound was given, he was observed neither to change his countenance,
nor discover any concern or disorder in his speech: he rose up, and
walked along the room while he was able, with the greatest tranquillity,
during the midst of the confusion. When the surgeon came, he took him
aside, and desired he would inform him freely whether the wound
were mortal, because in that case, he said, he had some affairs to
settle, relating to his family. The blade of the penknife, broken by the
violence of the blow against a rib, within a quarter of an inch of the
handle, was dropt out (I know not whether from the wound, or his clothes)
as the surgeon was going to dress him; he ordered it to be taken up, and
wiping it himself, gave it some body to keep, saying, he thought "it now
properly belonging to him." He shewed no sort of resentment, or spoke one
violent word against Guiscard, but appeared all the while the least
concerned of any in the company--a state of mind, which in such an

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