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gold in these parts, almost as much as of our silver. And the good wives who come to our houses, offer us their pieces of linen, upon which their whole dependence lies, for so little profit, that it can neither half pay their rents, nor half support their families.
It is remarkable, that this enthusiasm spread among our northern people, of sheltering themselves in the continent of America, has no other foundation than their present insupportable condition at home. I have made all possible inquiries to learn what encouragement our people have met with, by any intelligence from those plantations, sufficient to make them undertake so tedious and hazardous a voyage in all seasons of the year, and so ill accommodated in their ships, that many of them have died miserably in their passage, but could never get one satisfactory answer. Somebody, they knew not who, had written letters to his friend or cousin from thence, inviting him by all means to come over; that it was a fine fruitful country, and to be held for ever at a penny an acre. But the truth of the fact is this: the English established in those colonies are in great want of men to inhabit that tract of ground which lies between them and the wild Indians, who are not reduced under their dominion. We read of some barbarous people, whom the Romans placed in their army for no other service than to blunt their enemies' swords, and afterward to fill up trenches with their dead bodies. And thus our people, who transport themselves, are settled into those interjacent tracts, as a screen against the insults of the savages; and many have as much land as they can clear from the woods, at a very reasonable rate, if they can afford to pay about a hundred years' purchase
by their labour. Now, beside the fox's reason,* which inclines all those who have already ventured thither to represent everything in a false light, as well for justifying their own conduct, as for getting companions in their misery, the governing people in those plantations have also wisely provided, that no letters shall be suffered to pass from thence hither, without being first viewed by the council; by which, our people here are wholly deceived in the opinions they have of the happy condition of their friends gone before them. This was accidentally discovered some months ago by an honest man, who, having transported himself and family thither, and finding all things directly contrary to his hope, had the luck to convey a private note by a faithful hand to his relation here, entreating him not to think of such a voyage, and to discourage all his friends from attempting it. Yet this, although it be a truth well known, has produced very little effect; which is no manner of wonder; for, as it is natural to a man in a fever to turn often, although without any hope of ease; or, when he is pursued, to leap down a precipice, to avoid an enemy just at his back; so, men in the extremest degree of misery and want, will naturally fly to the first appearance of relief, let it be ever so vain or visionary.
You may observe, that I have very superficially touched the subject I began with, and with the utmost caution; for I know how criminal the least complaint has been thought, however seasonable or just or honestly intended, which has forced me to offer up my daily prayers, that it may never, at least in my time, be interpreted by
* The fox, who, having lost his tail, would have persuaded the rest to cut off theirs.
inuendoes as a false, scandalous, seditious, and disaffected action, for a man to roar under an acute fit of the gout; which, beside the loss and the danger, would be very inconvenient to one of my age, so severely afflicted with that distemper.
I wish you good success, but I can promise you little, in an ungrateful office you have taken up without the least view either to reputation or profit. Perhaps your comfort is, that none but villains and betrayers of their country can be your enemies. Upon which I have little to say, having not the honour to be acquainted with many of that sort; and therefore, as you may easily believe, am compelled to lead a very retired life.
I am, Sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,
PREFACE TO TEMPLE'S WORKS.
SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE having bequeathed to Swift the care and property of his Posthumous Works, he published, in 1700, "Letters written by Sir William Temple, Bart., and other Ministers of State, both at home and abroad; containing an Account of the most important Transactions that passed in Christendom, from 1665 to 1672: Reviewed by Sir William Temple some time before his death, and published by Jonathan Swift, Domestic Chaplain to his Excellency the Earl of Berkeley, one of the Lords Justices of Ireland." The publication was accompanied by the following Dedication and Preface.
TO THE TWO FIRST VOLUMES OF
SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE'S LETTERS.
To his most sacred Majesty, William the Third, King of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, &c. These letters of Sir William Temple having been left to my care, they are most humbly presented to your Majesty,
And obedient Subject,
* "Neither this Dedication, nor tenderness for the man whom once he had loaded with confidence and fondness, revived in King William the remembrance of his promise. Swift awhile attended the Court, but soon found his solicitations hopeless."-JOHNSON.
THE collection of the following letters is owing to the diligence of Mr Thomas Downton, who was one of the secretaries during the whole time wherein they bear date; and it has succeeded very fortunately for the public, that there is contained in them an account of all the chief transactions and negotiations which passed in Christendom during the seven years wherein they are dated; as the war from Holland, which began in 1665; the treaty between his Majesty and the Bishop of Munster, with the issue of it; the French invasion of Flanders in the year 1667; the peace concluded between Spain and Portugal by the King's mediation; the treaty at Breda; the triple alliance; the peace at Aix-la-Chapelle, in the first part; and in the second part, the negotiations in Holland in consequence of those alliances, with the steps and degrees by which they came to decay; the journey and death of Madam; the seizure of Lorrain and his excellency's recalling; with the first unkindness between England and Holland, upon the yacht's transporting his lady and family; and the beginning of the second Dutch war in 1672. With these are intermixed several letters, familiar and pleasant.
I found the book among Sir William Temple's papers, with many others, wherewith I had the opportunity of being long conversant, having passed several years in his family.