Obrázky na stránke

to give reputation and success to the Revolution, * were not only laid aside as dangerous and useless, but loaden with the scandal of Jacobites, men of arbitrary principles, and pensioners to France; while truth, who is said to lie in a well, seemed now to be buried there under a heap of stones. But I remember it was a usual complaint among the Whigs, that the bulk of the landed men was not in their interests, which some of the wisest looked on as an ill omen; and we saw it was with the utmost diffi. culty that they could preserve a majority, while the court and ministry were on their side, till they had learned those admirable expedients for deciding elections, and influencing distant boroughs, by powerful motives from the city. But all this was mere force and constraint, however upheld by most dextrous artifice and management, until the people began to apprehend their properties, their religion, and the monarchy itself in danger; when we saw them greedily laying hold on the first occasion to interpose. But of this mighty change in the dispositions of the people, I shall discourse more at large in some following paper; wherein I shall endeavour to undeceive or discover those deluded or deluding persons, who hope or pretend it is only a short madness in the vulgar, from which they may soon recover; whereas, I believe, it will appear to be very different in its causes, its symptoms, and its consequences; and prove a great example to illustrate the maxim I lately mentioned ; that truth (however sometimes late) will at last prevail.

Alluding to the Tories in general, and perhaps in particular to Thomas Duke of Leeds, who assisted greatly in the Revolution, yet continued a steady Tory, and avowed at Sacheverel's trial, that, had he known the Prince of Orange designed to ąssume the crown, he never would have drawn a sword for him.

No. XV.


medioque ut limite curras,
Icare, ait, moneo : ne si demissior ibis,
Unda gravet pennas ; si celsior, ignis adurat.

My boy, take care
To wing thy course along the middle air;
If low, the surges vet thy flagging plumes ;
If high, the sun the melting wax consumes.

It must be avowed, that for some years past, there have been few things more wanted in England than such a paper as this ought to be: and such I will endeavour to make it as long as it shall be found of any use, without entering into the violences of either party. Considering the many grievous misrepresentations of persons and things, it is highly requisite at this juncture, that the people throughout the kingdom should, if possible, be set right in their opinions by some impartial hand; which has never been yet attempted; those, who have hitherto undertaken it, being, upon every account, the least qualified of all human kind for such work.

We live here under a limited monarchy, and under the doctrine and discipline of an excellent church. We are unhappily divided into two parties, both which pretend a mighty zeal for our religion and government, only they disagree about the means. The evils we must fence against are, on one side, fanaticism and infidelity in religion, and anarchy, under the name of a commonwealth, in government; on the other side, popery, slavery, and the Pretender from France. Now, to inform and direct us in our sentiments upon these weighty points, here are, on one side, two stupid illiterate scribblers, both of them fanatics by profession, I mean the Review, * and Observator; † on the other side, we have an open Nonjuror, $ whose character and person, as well as learning and good sense, discovered

upon other subjects, do indeed deserve respect and esteem ; but his Rehearsal, and the rest of his political papers, are yet more pernicious than those of the former two. If the generality of the people know not how to talk or think, until they have read their lesson in the papers of the week, what a ipisfortune is it that their duty should be conveyed to them through such vehicles as those ! For, let some gentlemen think what they please, I cannot but suspect that the two worthies I first mentioned, have, in a degree, done mischief among us; the mock authoritative manner of the one, and the insipid mirth of the other, however insupportable to reasonable ears, being of a level with great numbers among the lowest part of mankind. Neither was the author of the Rehearsal, while he continued that paper, less infectious to many persons of better figure, who, perhaps, were as well qualified, and much less prejudiced, to judge for themselves.

* The Review was a paper published weekly by Daniel De Foe, who by no means deserved the harsh epithets here bestowed on him. He turned with the tide, and became temperately favourable to Harley's administration. About this time, however, he had written down his own reputation; his Review, as the author of the State of Wit assures us, having become altogether con-. temptible. “ This fellow,” adds the author of that piece, “ who had excellent natural parts, but wanted a small foundation of learning, is a lively instance of those wits, who, as an ingenious author


will endure but one skimming.” + The OBSERVATOR was published by John Tutchin, who had been a follower of Monmouth in his ill-fated invasion, and was sentenced by the brutal Jefferies to be flogged repeatedly, and through several towns in the west of England ; a sentence so hor. rible, that he applied by petition to the king to have it changed to banging. When James died in exile, Tutchin, whose personal sufferings had most naturally steeled him against compassionating the author of them, wrote a libel on his memory. This procured him a severe beating from some of the Jacobite party. Tutchin died in great poverty. Pope has classed him with De Foe in the celebrated couplet

Earless on high stood unabashed De Foe,

And Tutchin flagrant from the scourge below. When the Examiner opened its thunder against the Whigs, Tutchin's Observator began to shew, that there were better talents than those of the ostensible author engaged in defending their cause.

The Reverend Charles Lesley, a Nonjuring clergyman, who openly wrote in favour of the Jacobite interest, in a periodical paper called the REHEARSAL.

It was this reason that moved me to take the matter out of those rough, as well as those dirty hands; to let the remote and uninstructed part of the nation see, that they have been misled on both sides, by mad ridiculous extremes, at a wide distance on each side of the truth ; while the right path is so broad and plain as to be easily kept, if they were once put into it.

Farther: I had lately entered on a resolution to take little notice of other papers, unless it were such, where the malice and falsehood had so great a mixture of wit and spirit as would make them dangerous : which, in the present circle of scribblers, from twelve-pence to a halfpenny, I could easily foresee would not very frequently occur. But here again I am forced to dispense with my resolution, although it be only to tell my reader what measures I am likely to take on such occasions for the future. I was told, that the paper called The Observator, was twice filled last week with remarks upon a late Examiner. These I read with the first opportunity, and, to speak in the news-writers phrase, they gave me occasion for many speculations. I observed, with singular pleasure, the nature of those things which the owners of them usually call answers, and with what dexterity this matchless author had fallen into the whole art and cant of them. To transcribe here and there three or four detached lines of least weight in a discourse, and by a foolish comment mistake every syllable of the meaning, is what I have known many, of a superior class to this formidable adversary, entitle an Answer. * This is what he has exactly done, in about thrice as many words as my whole discourse; which is so mighty an advantage over me, that I shall by no means engage in so unequal a combat; but, as far as I can judge of my own temper, entirely dismiss him for the future; heartily wishing he had a match exactly of his own size to meddle with, who should only have the odds of truth and honesty ; which, as I take it, would be an effectual way to silence him for ever. Upon this occasion I cannot forbear a short story of a fanatic farmer, who lived in my neighbourhood, and was so great a disputant in religion, that the servants in all the families thereabouts reported how he had confuted the bishop and all his clergy. I had then a footman, who was fond of reading the Bible : and I borrowed a comment for him, which he studied so close, that in a month or two I thought him a match for the farmer. They disputed at several houses,

* Swift has given an humourous specimen of such an Answer in No. XXII. of the Examiner.

« PredošláPokračovať »