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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 1710.
longa est injuria, longæ
The tale is intricate, perplex'd, and long:
IT is a practice I have generally followed, to converse in equal freedom with the deserving men of both parties; and it was never without some contempt, that I have observed persons wholly out of employment, affect to do otherwise. I doubted, whether any man could owe so much to the side he was of, although he were retained by it; but without some great point of interest, either in possession or prospect, I thought it was the mark of a low and narrow spirit.
It is hard that for some weeks past, I have been forced, in my own defence, to follow a proceeding that I have so much condemned in others. But several of my acquaintance among the declining party, are grown so insufferably peevish and sple
* For a particular history of the dean's share in this periodica paper see the eighteenth volume of this collection.
netic, profess such violent apprehensions for the publick, and represent the state of things in such formidable ideas, that I find myself disposed to share in their afflictions; although I know them to be groundless and imaginary, or, which is worse, purely affected. To offer them comfort one by one, would be not only an endless, but a disobliging task. Some of them, I am convinced, would be less melancholy, if there were more occasion. I shall therefore, instead of hearkening to farther complaints, employ some part of this paper for the future, in letting such men see, that their natural, or acquired fears, are ill-founded, and their artificial ones, as ill-intended; that all our present inconveniences, are the consequence of the very counsels they so much admire, which would still have increased, if those had continued; and that neither our constitution in church or state, could probably have been long preserved, without such methods, as have been already taken.
The late revolutions at court, have given room to some specious objections, which I have heard repeated by well-meaning men, just as they had taken them up on the credit of others, who have worse designs.] They wonder, the Queen would choose to change her ministry at this juncture, and thereby give uneasiness to a general, who hath been so long successful abroad, and might think himself injured, if the entire ministry were not of his own nomination; that there were few complaints of any consequence against the late men in power, and none at all in parliament, which, on the contrary, paffed votes in favour of the chief minister; that if her majesty had a mind to introduce the other party, it
would have been more seasonable after a peace, which now we have made desperate, by spiriting the French, who rejoice in these changes, and by the fall of our credit, which unqualifies us for carrying on the war; that the parliament, so untimely dissolved, had been diligent in their supplies, and dutiful in their behaviour; that one consequence of these changes appears already, in the fall of the stocks; that we may soon expect more and worse; and lastly, that all this naturally tends to break the settlement of the crown, and call over the Pretender.
These, and the like notions, are plentifully scattered abroad by the malice of a ruined party, to render the Queen and her administration odious, and to inflame] the nation. And these are what, upon occasion, I shall endeavour to overthrow, by discovering the falshood and absurdity of them.
It is a great unhappiness when, in a government constituted like ours, it should be so brought about, that the continuance of a war must be for the interest of vast numbers (civil, as well as military) who otherwise would have been as unknown as their original. I think our present condition of affairs is admirably described by two verses in Lucan :
Hinc ufura vorax, avidumque in tempore fœnus,
which, without any great force upon the words, may be thus translated:
Hence, are derived those exorbitant interests and annuities; hence, those large discounts for advance and prompt payment; hence, publick credit is
shaken; and hence, great numbers find their profit in prolonging the war.
It is odd, that among a free trading people, as we call ourselves, there should so many be found to close in with those counsels, who have been ever averse from all overtures towards a peace: but yet there is no great mystery in the matter. Let any man observe the equipages in this town, he shall find the greater number of those who make a figure, to be a species of men quite different from any that were ever known before the Revolution; consisting either of generals and colonels, or of those, whose whole fortunes lie in funds and stocks; so that power, which according to the old maxim was used to follow land, is now gone over to money; and the country gentleman is in the condition of a young heir, out of whose estate a scrivener receives half the rents for interest, and has a mortgage on the whole; and is therefore always ready to feed his vices and extravagances, while there is any thing left. So that, if the war continue some years longer, a landed man will be little better than a farmer of a rack-rent to the army, and to the public funds.
It may perhaps be worth inquiring, from what beginnings, and by what fteps, we have been brought into this desperate condition and in search of this, we must run up as high as the Revolution.
Most of the nobility and gentry, who invited over the prince of Orange, or attended him in his expedition, were true lovers of their country, and its constitution in church and state; and were brought to yield to those breaches in the succession of the crown, out of a regard to the necessity of the king