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Thursday, February 1, 1710,
Ea autem est gloria, laus rečte faétorum,
magnorumque in rempublicam meritorum: quae cum optimi cujusque, tum
etiam multitudinis, testimonio comprobatur. I AM thinking, what a mighty advan
tage it is to be entertained as a writer to a ruined cause
. I remember a fanatick preacher, who was inclined to come into the church, and take orders; but
upon mature thoughts was diverted from that design, when he considered, that the collections of the godly were a much heartier and readier penny, than he could get by wrangling for tithes. He certainly had reason; and the two cases are parallel
. If you write in defence of a fallen party, you are maintained by contribution, as a neceffary person ; you have little more to do than to carp and cavil at those, who hold the
pen on the other side : you are sure to be celebrated and caressed by all your party, to a man: you may affirm and deny
what you please without truth or probability, since it is but loss of time to contradict
you. Besides, commiseration is often on your side; and you have a pretence to be thought honest and disinterested for adhering to friends in distress : after which, if your friends ever happen to turn up again, you have a strong fund of merit towards
making your fortune. Then, you never fail to be well furnished with materials; every one bringing in his quota; and falshood being naturally more plentiful than truth: not to mention the wonderful delight of libelling men in power, and hugging yourself in a corner with mighty fatisfaction for what you have done.
It is quite otherwise with us, who engage as volunteers in the service of a flourishing ministry, in full credit with the Queen, and beloved by the people ; because they have no sinister ends or dangerous designs; but pursue with steddiness and resolution the true interest of both. Upon which account they little want, or desire, our assistance; and we may write, till the world is weary of reading, without having our pretences allowed either to a place,
or a penfion : besides, we are refused the common benefit of the party, to have our works cried up of course; the readers of our own side being as ungentle, and hard to please, as if we writ against them; and our papers never make their way in the world, but barely in proportion to their merit. The design of their labours, who write on the conquered fide, is likewise of greater importance than ours: they are like cordials for dying men, which must be repeated; whereas ours are, in the Scripture phrase, but meat fox babes : at least, all I can pretend, is to undeceive the ignorant, and those at a distance; but their task is to keep up the sinking spirits of a whole party:
After such reflections, I cannot be angry with those gentlemen for perpetually writing against me; it furnishes them largely with topicks: and is besides their proper business: neither is it affectation, or altogether scorn, that I do not reply. But as things are, we both act suitable to our feveral provinces : mine is by laying open fome corruptions in the late management to set those, who are ignorant, right in their opinions of persons and things: it is theirs to cover with fig-leaves all the faults of their friends, as well as they can. When I have produced my facts, and offered my arguments, I have nothing farther to ad vance; it is their office to deny, and difprove; and then let the world decide. If I were as they, my chief endeavour should certainly be to batter down the Examiner; therefore I cannot but
their defign. Besides, they have indeed another reason for barking incessantly at this paper : they have in their prints openly taxed a most ingenious person, as author of it; one who is in great, and very deserved, reputation with the world both on account of his poetical works, and his talents for publick business. They were wise enough to consider, what a fanction it would give their performances, to fall under the animadversion of such a pen; and therefore used all the forms of provocation commonly practised by little obscure
pedants, who are fond of distinguishing themselves by the fame of an adversary. So nice a taste have these judicious criticks in pretending to discover an author
by his style, and manner of thinking! not to mention the justice and candour of exhausting all the stale topicks of scurrility in reviling a paper, and then flinging at a venture the whole load upon one, who is entirely innocent; and whose greatest fault perhaps is too much gentleness towards. a party, from whose leaders he hath received quite contrary treatment.
The concern I have for the ease and reputation of fo deserving a gentleman, hath at length forced me much against my interest and inclination to let these angry people know, who is not the author of the Examiner. For I observed, the opinion began to spread; and I chose rather to sacrifice the honour I received by it, than let injudicious people entitle him to a performance, that perhaps he might have reason to be ashamed of: ftill faithfully promising never to disturb those worthy advocates; but suffer them in quiet to roar on at the Examiner, if they or their party find any
ease in it; as physicians say there is to people in torment, such as men in the gout, or women in labour.