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come of the publick, if the present great majority had acted thus during the late administration, before the others were masters of that wealth they have squeezed out of the landed men, and with the strength of which they would now hold the kingdom at defiance?
Thus much I have thought fit to say, without pointing reflections upon any particular person, which I have hitherto but sparingly done, and that only towards those, whose characters are too profligate, that the managing of them should be of any consequence. Besides, as it is a talent I am not naturally fond of; fo, in the subjects I treat, it is generally needless. If I display the effects of avarice and ambition, of bribery and corruption, of gross immorality and irreligion; those, who are the least conversant in things, will easily know where to apply them. Not that I lay any weight upon the objections of such, who charge me with this proceeding : it is notorious enough, that the writers of the other side were the first aggressors. Not to mention their scurrilous libels, many years ago, directly levelled at particular persons ;
how many papers do now come out every week, full of rude invectives against the present ministry, with the first and last letters of their names to prevent mistakes? It is good fometimes to let these people see, that we neither want spirit nor materials to retaliate; and therefore, in this point alone, I shall follow their example, whenever I find myself fufficiently provoked; only with one addition, that whatever charges I bring either general or particular, shall be religiously true, founded either upon avowed facts, which none can deny, or such as I can prove from my own knowledge.
Being resolved publickly to confess any mistakes I have been guilty of, I do hereby humbly desire the reader's pardon for one of mighty importance, about a fact in one of
my papers said to be done in the cathedral of Gloucester. A whole Hydra of errors, in two words! For, as I am since informed, it was neither in the cathedral, nor city, nor county of Gloucester, but some other church of that diocese. If I had ever met any other objection of equal weight, although from the meanest hands, I should certainly have answered it.
Thursday, January 25, 1710.
Διαλεξάμενοί τινα ησυχή, το μεν σύμπαν επί τε
τη δυνατέια, και καλα των εχθρών συνωμοσαν. Summissa quaedam voce collocuti sunt, quo
rum summa erat de dominatione fibi con
firmanda, ac inimicis delendis, conjuratio. NOT many days ago I observed a knot
of discontented gentlemen, cursing the tories to Hell for their uncharitableness in affirming, that, if the late ministry had continued to this time, we should have had neither church nor monarchy left. They are usually so candid, as to call that the opinion of the party, which they hear in a coffee-house, or over a bottle, from some warm young people, whom it is odds but they have provoked to say more than they believed, by some positions as absurd and ridiculous of their own. And so it proved in this very instance: for, asking one of these gentlemen, what it was that provoked those, he had been disputing with, to advance such a paradox;
he assured me in a
it was nothing in the world, but that himself and some others of the company had made it appear, that the design of the present parliament, and ministry, was to bring in popery, arbitrary power, and the pretender : which I take to be an opinion fifty times more improbable, as well as more uncharitable, than what is charged upon the whigs : because I defy our adversaries to produce one single reason for suspecting such designs in the persons now at the helm; whereas I can, upon demand, produce twenty to shew, that some late men had strong views towards a commonwealth, and the alteration of the church.
It is natural indeed, when a storm is over, that hath only untiled our houses and blown down some of our chimnies, to consider what farther mischiefs might have ensued, if it had lasted longer. However, in the present case I am not of the opinion abovementioned. I believe the church and state might havelasted somewhat longer, although the late enemies to both had done their worst. I can hardly conceive, how things would have been so foon ripe for a
new revolution. I am convinced, that if they had offered to make such large and sudden strides, it must have come to blows; and, according to the computation we have now reason to think a right one, I can partly guess, what would have been the issue. Besides, we are sure the Queen would have interposed, before they came to extremities; and as little as they regarded the regal authority, would have been a check in their career.
But, instead of this question, What would have been the consequence, if the late ministry had continued; I will propose another, which will be more useful for us to consider; and that is, What we may reasonably expect they will do, if eveti they come into power again? This, we know, is the design and endeavour of all those scribbles, which daily Ay about in their favour; of all the false, insolent, and scandalous libels against the present administration ; and of all those engines, fet at work to sink the actions, and blow up the publick credit. As for those, who Thew their inclinations by writing, there is one consideration, which I wonder doth not