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might receive his lordship's last hand. The third, and principal of this triumvirate, is the author of the Crisis; who, although he must yield to the Flying Post, in knowledge of the world, and skill in politicks; and to Mr. Dunton, in keenness of satire and variety of reading, has yet other qualitics enough to denominate him a writer of a superiour class to either; provided he would a little regard the propriety, and disposition of his words, consult the grammatical part, and get some information in the subject he in
tends to handle.
Omitting the generous countenance and encouragement that have been shown to the persons and productions of the two former authors, I shall here only consider the great favour conferred upon the last. It has been advertised for several months in The Englishman*, and other papers, that a pamphlet, called the Crisis, should be published at a proper time, in order to open the eyes of the nation. It was proposed to be printed by subscription, price a shilling. This was a little out of form; because subscriptions are usually begged only for books of great price, and such as are not likely to have a general sale. Notice was likewise given of what this pamphlet should contain; only an extract from certain acts of parliament relating to the succession, which at least must sink ninepence in the shilling, and leave but threepence for the author's political reflections; so that nothing very wonderful or decisive could be reasonably expected from this performance. But, a work was to be done, a hearty
* A paper written by the same author in favour of the preceding administration.
writer to be encouraged, and accordingly many thousand copies were bespoke. Neither could this be sufficient; for when we expected to have our bundles delivered us, all was stopped; the friends to the cause sprang a new project; and it was advertised that the Crisis could not appear, till the ladies had shown their zeal against the pretender, as well as the men; against the pretender, in the bloom of his youth, reported to be handsome, and endued with an understanding, exactly of a size to please the sex. I should be glad to have seen a printed list of the fair subscribers prefixed to this pamphlet; by which the chevalier might know, he was so far from pretending to a monarchy here, that he could not so much as pretend to a mistress.
At the destined period, the first news we hear, is of a huge train of dukes, earls, viscounts, barons, knights, esquires, gentlemen, and others, going to Sam. Buckley's, the publisher of the Crisis, to fetch home their cargoes, in order to transmit them by dozens, scores, and hundreds, into the several counties, and thereby to prepare the wills and understandings of their friends, against the approaching sessions. Ask any of them, whether they have read it, they will answer, no; but they have sent it every where, and it will do a world of good. It is a pamphlet they hear against the ministry; talks of slavery, France, and the pretender; they desire no more; it will settle the wavering, confirm the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, inflame the clamorous, although it never be once looked into. I am told by those who are expert in the trade, that the author and bookseller of this twelvepenny treatise, will be greater gainers, than from one edition of any folio
that has been published these twenty years. What needy writer would not solicit to work under such masters, who will pay us beforehand, take off as much of our ware as we please, at our own rates, and trouble not themselves to examine, either before or after they have bought it, whether it be staple, or
But, in order to illustrate the implicit munificence of these noble patrons, I cannot take a more effectual method than by examining the production itself; by which we shall easily find that it was never intended, farther than from the noise, the bulk, and the title of Crisis, to do any service to the factious cause. The entire piece consists of a title page, a dedication to the clergy, a preface, an extract from certain acts of parliament, and about ten pages of dry reflections on the proceedings of the queen and her servants; which his coadjutors, the earl of Nottingham, Mr. Dunton, and the Flying Post, had long ago set before us in a much clearer light.
In popish countries, when some impostor cries out, A miracle! a miracle! it is not done with a hope or intention of converting hereticks, but confirming the deluded vulgar in their errours; and so the cry goes round without examining into the cheat. Thus the whigs among us give about the cry, A pamphlet a pamphlet ! the Crisis! the Crisis! not with a view of convincing their adversaries, but to raise the spirits of their friends, recall their stragglers, and unite their numbers, by sound and impudence; as bees assemble and cling together by the noise of brass.
That no other effect could be imagined or hoped for, by the publication of this timely treatise, will
be manifest from some obvious reflexions upon the several parts of it; wherein the follies, the falsehoods, or the absurdities, appear so frequent, that they may boldly contend for number with the lines,
When the hawker holds this pamphlet toward you, the first words you perceive are, The Crisis ; or, A discourse, &c. The interpreter of Suidas gives four translations of the word Crisis, any of which may be as properly applied to this author's letter to the bailiff of Stockbridge. Next, what he calls a discourse, consists only of two pages, prefixed to twenty-two more, which contain extracts from acts of parliament; for, as to the twelve last pages, they are provided for themselves in the title, under the name of some seasonable remarks on the danger of a popish successor. Another circumstance worthy our information in the titlepage, is, that the crown has been settled by previous acts. I never heard of any act of parliament that was not previous to what it enacted, unless those two, by which the earl of Strafford and sir John Fenwick lost their heads, may pass for exceptions. A Discourse, representing from the most authentick Records, &c. He has borrowed this expression from some writer, who probably understood the words; but this gentleman has altogether misapplied them; and, under favour, he is wholly mistaken; for a heap of extracts from several acts of parliament, cannot be called a discourse; neither do I believe he copied them from the most authentick records, which, as I take it,
* Steele addressed a Letter to the bailiff of Stockbridge, who appears to have been returning officer for this borough, which Steele represented in parliament,
are lodged in the Tower, but out of some common printed copy. I grant there is nothing material in all this, farther than to show the generosity of our adversaries, in encouraging a writer, who cannot furnish out so much as a titlepage, with propriety
or common sense.
Next follows the dedication to the clergy of the church of England, wherein the modesty, and the meaning of the first paragraphs, are hardly to be matched. He tells them, he has made a comment upon the acts of settlement, which he lays before them, and conjures them to recommend, in their writings and discourses, to their fellow-subjects: and he does all this, out of a just deference to their great power and influence. This is the right whig scheme of directing the clergy what to preach. The archbishop of Canterbury's jurisdiction extends no farther, than over his own province; but the author of the Crisis constitutes himself vicar general over the whole clergy of the church of England. The bishops, in their letters or speeches to their own clergy, proceed no farther than to exhortation; but this writer, conjures the whole clergy of the church, to recommend his comment upon the laws of the land, in their writings and discourses. I would fain know, who made him a commentator upon the laws of the land; after which it will be time enough to ask him, by what authority he directs the clergy to recommend his comments from the pulpit or the press?
He tells the clergy, there are two circumstances which place the minds of the people under their direction; the first circumstance, is their education; the second circumstance, is the tenths of our lands. This