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at present to own its parents, I can remember its whisper-hood. To conclude the nativity of this monster; when it comes into the world without a sting, it is stillborn; and whenever it loses its sting, it dies.
No wonder if an infant so miraculous in its birth should be destined for great adventures ; and accordingly we see it hath been the guardian spirit of a prevailing party for almost twenty years. conquer kingdoms without fighting, and sometimes with the loss of a battle. It gives and resumes employments; can sink a mountain to a mole-hill, and raise a mole-hill to a mountain ; hath presided for many years at committees of elections; can wash a black-a-moor white; make a faint of an atheist, and a patriot of a proAligate; can furnish foreign ministers with intelligence; and raise or let fall the credit of the nation. This goddess flies with a huge looking-glass in her hands to dazzle the croud, and make them see, according as she turns it, their ruin in their interest, and their interest in their ruin. In this glass you will behold your best friends clad
in coats powdered with fleurs de lis and triple crowns, their girdles hung round with chain, and beads, and wooden shoes ; and your worst enemies adorned with the ensigns of liberty, property, indulgence, moderation, and a cornucopia in their hands. Her large wings, like those of a flying fish, are of no use but while they are moist; she therefore dips them in mud, and soaring aloft scatters it in the eyes of the multitude, flying with great swiftness; but at every turn is forced to stoop in dirty ways for new supplies.
I have been sometimes thinking, if a man had the art of the second fight for feeing lyes, as they have in Scotland for seeing spirits, how admirably he might entertain himself in this town by observing the different shapes, sizes, and colours of those swarms of lyes, which buz about the heads of some people, like flies about a horse's ears in summer; or those legions hovering every
afternoon in Exchange-alley, enough to darken the air ; or over a club of difcontented grandees, and thence sent down in cargoes to be scattered at cle&ions.
There is one essential point wherein a political lyar differs from others of the faculty; that he ought to have but a short memory, which is necessary according to the various occasions he meets with every hour of differing from himself, and swearing to both sides of a contradiction, as he finds the persons disposed, with whom he hath to deal. In describing the virtues and vices of mankind it is convenient, upon every article, to have some eminent person in our eye, from whom we copy our description. I have strictly observed this rule; and my imagination this minute represents before me a certain great man famous for this talent, to the constant practice of which he owes his twenty years reputation of the most skilful head in England for the management of nice affairs. The superiority of his genius consists in nothing else, but an inexhaustible fund of political lyes, which he plentifully distributes every
minute he speaks, and by an unparallelled generosity forgets, and consequently contradicts, the next half hour.
* The late earl of Wharton, Vol. VIII.
He never yet considered, whether any proposition were true or false, but whether it were convenient for the present minute or company to affirm or deny it; so that if you think fit to refine upon him, by interpreting every thing he says, as we do dreams, by the contrary, you are still to seek, and will find yourself equally deceived whether you believe or no: the only remedy is to suppose, that you have heard fome inarticulate sounds without any meaning at all; and besides, that will take off the horror you might be apt to conceive at the oaths, wherewith he perpetually tags both ends of every proposition; although at the same time, I think, he cannot with any justice be taxed with perjury, when he invokes God and Chrift; because he hath often fairly given publick notice to the world, that he believes in neither.
Some people may think, that such an accomplishment as this can be of no great use to the owner, or his party, after it hath been often practised and is become notorious; but they are widely mistaken. Few lyes carry the inventor's mark, and
the most prostitute enemy tɔ truth may spread a thousand without being known for the author: besides, as the vileft writer hath his readers, so the greatest lyar hath his believers : and it often happens, that if a lye be believed only for an hour, it hath done its work, and there is no farther occasion for it. Falshood flies, and truth comes limping after it; so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late ; the jest is over, and the tale has had its effect: like a man, who has thought of a good repartee, when the discourse is changed, or the
company parted; or like a physician, who hath found out an infallible medicine, after the patient is dead.
Considering that natural disposition in many men to lye, and in multitudes to believe, I have been perplexed what to do with that maxim so frequent in every body's mouth; that truth will at last prevail. Here hath this island of ours, for the greatest part of twenty years, lain under the influence of such counsels and persons, whose principle and interest it was to corrupt our manners, blind our understanding, drain our wealth, and in time destroy