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to consider, where the right lay, but which of the candidates was likelier to be true to the cause. This they used to illustrate by a very apt and decent similitude, of gaming with a sharper ;--if you cannot cheat as well as he, you are certainly undone.
Another cast of their politics was, that of endeavouring to impeach an innocent lady, * for no rea-, son imaginable, but her faithful and diligent service. to the queen, and the favour her majesty bore to her upon that account, when others had acted contrary in so shameful a manner. What else was the crime? Had she treated her royal mistress with insolence or neglect ? Had she enriched herself by a long practice of bribery, and obtained exorbitant grants? Had she engrossed her majesty's favours, without admitting any access but through her means? Had she heaped employments upon herself, her family, and dependants ? Had she an imperious haughty behaviour ? Or, after all, was it a perfect blunder, and mistake of one person for another? I have heard of a man, who lay all night on a rough pavement, and in the morning, wondering what it could possibly be that made him rest so ill, happening to see a feather under him, imputed the uneasiness of his lodging to that. I remember likewise the story of a giant in Rabelais, who used to feed upon windmills; but was unfortunately choked with a small lump of fresh butter, before a warm oven.
And here I cannot but observe, how very refined some people are in their generosity and gratitude.
• Mrs, afterwards Lady Masham.
+ The Examiner alludes to Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, who, during her long reign, was far from bearing her faculties meekly.
There is a certain great person, * (I shall not say of what sex,) who for many years past was the constant mark and butt, against which our present malecontents used to discharge their resentment; upon whom they bestowed all the terms of scurrility, that malice, envy, and indignation, could invent; whom they publicly accused of every vice that can possess a human heart; pride, covetousness, ingratitude, oppression, treachery, dissimulation, violence, and fury, all in the highest extremes: but of late they have changed their language on a sudden; that person is now the most faithful and just that ever served a prince; that person, originally differing from them in principles as far as east from west, but united in practice, and falling together, they are now reconciled, and find twenty resemblances between each other, which they could never discover before. Tanti est, ut placeam tibi perire !
But to return: How could it be longer suffered in a free nation, that all avenues to preferment should be shut up, except a very few; when one or two stood constant sentry, who docked all favours they handed down, or spread a huge invisible net between the prince and subject, through which nothing of value could pass ? And here I cannot but admire at one consequence from this management, which is of an extraordinary nature. Generally speaking, princes, who have ill ministers, are apt to suffer in their reputation, as well as in the love of the people; but it was not so with the
* The Earl of Nottingham, who became a convert to opposia tion, probably because he did not find himself distinguished in the new administration, as his zeal for high-church principles had, in his opinion, merited.
queen. When the sun is overcast by those clouds he exhales from the earth, we still acknowledge his light and influence, and at last find he can dispel
, and drive them down to the horizon. The wisest prince, by the necessity of affairs, the misrepresentations of designing men, or the innocent mistakes even of a good predecessor, may find himself encompassed by a crew of courtiers, whom time, opportunity, and success, have miserably corrupted : and if he can save himself and his people from ruin, under the worst administration, what may not his subjects hope for, when, with their universal applause, he changes hands, and makes use of the best
Another great objection with me against the late party, was the cruel tyranny they put upon conscience, by a barbarous inquisition, refusing to admit the least toleration or indulgence. They imposed a hundred tests; but could never be prevailed on to dispense with, or take off the smallest, or even to admit of occasional conformity ; but went on daily (as their apostle Tindal expresses it) narrowing their terms of communion, pronouncing nine parts in ten of the kingdom heretics, and shutting them out of the pale of their church. These very men, who talk so much of a comprehension in religion among us, how came they to allow so little of it in politics, which is their sole religion? You shall hear them pretending to bewail the animosities kept up between the church of England and dissenters, where the differences in opinion are so few and inconsiderable; yet, these very sons of moderation were pleased to excommunicate every man, who disagreed with them in the smallest article of their political creed, or, who refused to receive any new article, how difficult soever to digest, which the leaders imposed at pleasure to serve their own interest.
I will quit this subject for the present, when I have told one story: “ There was a great king in Scythia, whose dominions were bounded on the north by the poor mountainous territories of a petty lord, who paid homage, as the king's vassal. The Scythian prime minister, being largely bribed, indirectly obtained his master's consent to suffer this lord to build forts, and provide himself with arms, under pretence of preventing the inroads of the Tartars. This little depending sovereign, finding he was now in a condition to be troublesome, began to insist upon terms, and threatened upon every occasion to unite with the Tartars : upon which the prime minister, who began to be in pain about his head, proposed a match betwixt his master and the only daughter of this tributary lord, which he had the good luck to bring to pass; and from that time valued himself as author of a most glorious union, which indeed was grown of absolute necessity by his corruption.” This passage, cited literally from an old history of Sarmatia, I thought fit to set down, on purpose to perplex little smattering remarkers, and put them upon the hunt for an application.
* The author of the MEDLEY, one of those “smattering remarkers," did not fail to translate this piece of Sarmatian history into plain English. It contains that account of the Union, which Swift says was sanctioned by Lord Somers' avowal, and which afterwards, when published in the “ Public Spirit of the Whigs,” gave such bitter offence to the Scottish Peers, that they waited upon Queen Anne in a body to state their complaint against the author. “ England being bounded on the north by a poor mountainous people, called Scots, who were vassals to that crown; and the English prime minister, being largely bribed, obtained the 's consent for the Scots to arm and exercise themselves; and they, finding they were now in a condition to be troublesome, began to insist upon terms, and threatened, upon every occasion, to join with the French.' Upon which the prime minister, who began to be in pain about his head, set on foot a treaty to unite the two kingdoms, which he had the good luck to bring to pass, and from that time valued himself as author of a most glorious union, which, indeed, was grown of absolute necessity, by his corruption.”—Medley, No. 14.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 21, 1710.
pugnacem scirent sapiente minoren,
Arms to the gown the victory must yield.
I am very much at a loss how to proceed upon the subject intended in this paper, which a new incident has led me to engage in. The subject I mean is, that of soldiers and the army; but being a matter wholly out of my trade, I shall handle it in as cautious a manner as I am able.
It is certain, that the art of war has suffered great changes almost in every age and country of the world; however, there are some maxims relating to it, that will be eternal truths, and which every reasonable man must allow.
In the early times of Greece and Rome, the armies of those states were composed of their citizens, who took no pay, because the quarrel was their own; and therefore the war was usually de