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SET FORTH IN THEIR GENEROUS ENCOURAGEMENT
OF THE AUTHOR OF THE CRISIS.
Some Observations on the Seasonableness, Candour, Erudition, and Style of that Treatise. 1713-14.
Upon the first publication of this pamphlet, all the
Scotch lords then in London went in a body, and complained to queen Anne of the affront put on them and their nation by the Author of this Treatise. Whereupon a proclamation was published by her Majesty, offering a reward of three hundred pounds for discovering him.
I CANNOT, without some envy, and a just resentment against the opposite conduct of others, reflect upon that generosity and tenderness, wherewith the heads, and principal members of a struggling faction, treat those who will undertake to hold a pen in their defence. And the behaviour of these patrons is yet the more laudable, because the benefits they confer are almost gratis. If any of their labourers can scratch out a pamphlet, they desire no more; there is no question offered about the wit, the style, the argument. Let a pamphlet come out upon demand, in a proper juncture, you shall be well and certainly paid; you shall be paid beforehand; every one of the party who is able to read, and can spare a shilling, shall be a subscriber; several thousands of each production, shall be sent among their friends through the kingdom: the work shall be reported admirable, sublime, unanswerable; shall serve to raise the sinking clamours, and confirm the scandal VOL. III.
of introducing popery and the pretender, upon the queen and her ministers.
Among the present writers on that side, I can recollect but three of any great distinction; which are, the Flying Post, Mr. Dunton, and the author of the Crisis. The first of these, seems to have been much sunk in reputation, since the sudden retreat of the only true, genuine, original author, Mr. Ridpath, who is celebrated by the Dutch Gazetteer, as one of the best pens in England. Mr. Dunton has been longer, and more conversant in books, than any of the three, as well as more voluminous in his productions: however, having employed his studies in so great a variety of other subjects, he has, I think, but lately turned his genius to politicks. His famous tract, entitled Neck or Nothing, must be allowed to be the shrewdest piece, and written with the most spirit, of any which has appeared from that side, since the change of the ministry it is indeed a most cutting satire upon the lord treasurer, and lord Bolingbroke; and I wonder none of our friends ever undertook to answer it. I confess, I was at first of the same opinion with several good judges, who from the style and manner, suppose it to have issued from the sharp pen of the earl of Nottingham; and I am still apt to think it
*Mr. Steele was expelled the house of commons for this pamphlet, at the very same time that the house of lords was moved against the dean for the Reply. The plan of the Crisis was laid and chiefly exccuted by Mr. Moore, of the Inner Temple; and many hints of it came from archbishop Tennison, whose steward obtained very large subscriptions for it. "Memoirs of Steele, 1731," p. 14.