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might probably put a stop to theirs v therefore, they gave the inquisitive world to understand, that there was something too strong against many great men, as well as the succeeding system of publick affairs in general, in the Dean's history of the four last years of the queen's reign, to admit of a publication, in our times; and, with this poor insinuation, excused themselves, and satisfied the weakly well affected, in suppressing the manifestation of displeasing truths, of however great importance to society.
This manuscript has now fallen into the hands of a man who never could associate with, or even approve, any of the parties or factions that have differently distracted, it might be said disgraced, these kingdoms; because he has as yet known none whose motives, or rules of action were truth and the publick good alone; of one, who judges that perjured magistrates of all denominations, and the most exalted minions, may be exposed, deprived, or cut off, by the fundamental laws of his country; and who, upon these principles, from his heart, approves and glories in the virtues of his predecessors, who revived the true spirit of the British polity, in laying aside a priest-ridden,. a hen-pecked, tyrannical tool, who had overturned the political constitution of his country, and in reinstituting the dissolved body politick, by a revolution, supported by the laws of nature and the realm, as the only means of preserving the natural and legal, the civil and religious liberties of the members of the commonwealth.
Truth, in this man's estimation, can hurt no good cause. And falsehood and fraud, in religion
and politicks, are ever to be detected, to be exploded.
Insinuations, that this history contained something injurious to the present establishment, and therefore necessary to be suppressed, serve better the purposes of mistaken or insidious malecontents, than the real publication can. And, if any thing were by this or any other history to be shown essentially erroneous in our politicks, who, that calls himself a Briton, can be deemed such an impious slave, as to conceal the destructive evil? The editor of this work disdains and abhors the servile thought ; and wishes to live no longer, than he dares to think, speak, write, and, in all things, to act worthy of a Briton.
From this regard to truth and to his country, the editor of this history was glad of an opportunity of rescuing such a writing from those who meant to suppress it: the common cause, in his estimation, required and demanded it should be done; and the sooner it is published, he judged, the better; for, if the conduct of the queen and her ministers does not deserve the obloquy that has been long industriously cast upon it; what is more just than to vindicate it? what more reasonable, than that this should be done, while living witnesses may yet be called, to prove or disprove the several allegations and assertions; since, in a few years more, such witnesses may be as much wanting as to prevent a canonization, which is therefore prudently procrastinated for above an age? Let us then coolly hear what is to be said on this side the question, and judge like Britons.
The editor would not be thought to justify the author of this history in all points, or even to attempt to acquit him of unbecoming prejudices and partiality: without being deeply versed in history or politicks, he can see his author, in many instances, blinded with passions that disgrace the historian; and blending, with phrases worthy of a Cæsar or a Cicero, expressions not to be justified by truth, reason, or common sense; yet think him a most powerful orator, and a great historian.
No unprejudiced person will blame the Dean for doing all that is consistent with truth and decency to vindicate the government of the queen, and to exculpate the conduct of her ministers and her last general; all good men would rejoice at such a vindication. But, if he meant no more than this, his work would ill deserve the title of history. That he generally tells truth, and founds his most material assertions upon facts, will, I think, be found very evident. But, there is room to suspect, that while he tells no more than the truth, he does not tell the whole truth. However, he makes it very clear that the queen’s allies, especially our worthy friends the Dutch, were much to blame for the now generally condemned conduct of the queen, with
, regard to the prosecution of the war and the bringing about the peace.
The author's drawings of characters are confessedly partial: for he tells us openly, he means not to give characters intire, but such parts of each man's particular passions, acquirements, and habits, as he was most likely to transfer into his political schemes. What writing, what sentence,
what character, can stand 'this torture :- What extreme perversion may not, let me say, does not this produce?-Yet thus does he choose to treat all men, that were not favourers of the latest measures of the queen; when the best that has been said for her, shows no more than that she was blindfolded and held in leading-strings by her ministers.
He does not spare a man, confessed by all the world to have discharged the duties of his function like a soldier, like a hero. But charges prince Eugene with raising and keeping up a most horrible mob, with intent to assassinate Harley. For all which odious charges, he offers not one individual point of proof.
He is not content with laying open again the many faults already publickly proved upon the late duke of Marlborough; but insinuates a new crime, by seeming to attempt to acquit him of aspiring at the throne. But this is done in a manner peculiar to this author.
On the other hand, he extols the ministers, and minions of the queen in the highest terms; and while he robs their antagonists of every good quality, generally gives those wisdom and every virtue that can adorn human nature.
He is not ashamed to attempt to justify, what all thinking good men must condemn, the queen's making twelve peers at once, to serve a particular turn.
All these may be ascribed to the strength of his passions, and to the prejudices, early imbibed, in favour of his indulgent royal mistress and her favourites and servants. The judicious will look