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Thursday, February 22, 1710.
'Laus summa in fortunae bonis, non extulisse
se in potestate, non fuisse insolentem in pecunia, non se praetulisse aliis propter abundantiam fortunae. AM conscious to myself, that I write this paper with no
with no other intention but that of doing good. I never received injury from the late ministry; nor advantage from the present, farther than in common with every good subject. There were among the former one or two, who must be allowed to have possessed very
valuable qualities; but proceeding by a system of politicks which our constitution could not suffer, and discovering a contempt of all religion, especially of that which hath been so happily established among us ever since the reformation; they seem to have been justly suspected of no very good inclinations to either.
It is possible, that a man may speculatively prefer the constitution of another country, or an Utopia of his
before that of the nation where he is born and lives; yet, from considering the dangers of innovation, the corruptions of mankind, and the frequent impossibility of reducing ideas to practice, he may join heartily, in preserving the present order of things, and be a true friend to the government already settled. So in religion, a man may perhaps have little or none of it at heart; yet if he conceals his opinions, if he endeavours to make no profelytes, advances no impious tenets in writing or discourse; if according to the common atheistical notion, he believes religion to be only a contrivance of politicians for keeping the vulgar in awe; and that the present model is better adjusted than any other to so useful an end ; although the condition of such a man, as to his own future state, be very deplorable; yet providence, which often works good out of evil, can make even such a man an instrument for contributing towards the preservation of the church.
On the other side; I take a state to be truly in danger, both as to its religion and
government, when a sett of ambitious politicians, bred up in a hatred to the conftitution, and a contempt for all religion, are forced upon exerting these qualities in order to keep or increase their power, by widening their bottom, and taking in (like Mahomet) some principles from every party, that is in any way discontented at the present faith and settlement; which was manifestly our case. Upon this occasion, I remember to have asked some considerable whigs, whether it did not bring a difreputation upon their body, to have the whole herd of presbyterians, independents, atheists, anabaptists, deists, quakers, and focinians openly and universally listed under their banners ? They answered, that all this was absolutely necessary in order to make a balance against the tories; and all little enough: for indeed, it was as much as they could possibly do, although affifted with the absolute power of disposing every employment; while the bulk of the englis gentry kept firm to their old principles in church and state.
But notwithstanding what I have hitherto said, I am informed, several among
the whigs continue still so refractory, that they will hardly allow the heads of their party to have entertained any designs of ruining the constitution; or that they would have endeavoured it, if they had continued in power. I beg their pardon, if I have discovered a secret ; but who could imagine they ever intended it should be one after those overt acts, with which they thought fit to conclude their farce ? But perhaps they now find it convenient to deny vigorously; that the question may remain, why was the old ministry changed, which they urge on without ceasing, as if no occasion in the least had been given; but that all were owing to the insinuations of crafty men, practising upon the weakness of an easy prince: I shall therefore offer among an hundred one reason for this change, which I think would justify any monarch, who ever reigned, for the like proceeding.
It is notorious enough, how highly princes have been blamed in the histories of all countries, particularly of our own, upon the account of their minions, who have been ever justly odious to the people
for their insolence and avarice, and engrofsing the favours of their masters. Whoever hath been the least conversant in the
englifh story, cannot but have heard of Gavelton, the Spencers, and some others; who by the excess and abuse of their power cost the princes they served, or rather governed, their crowns and lives. However, in the case of minions, it must at least be acknowledged, that the prince is pleased and happy, although his subjects be aggrieved ; and he has the plea of friendship to excuse him, which is a disposition of generous minds. Besides, a wise minion, although he be haughty to others, is humble and insinuating to his master, and cultivates his favour by obedience and refpect. But our misfortune hath been a great deal worse; we have suffered for some years under the oppression, the avarice, and insolence of those, for whom the Queen had neither esteem nor friendship; who rather seemed to snatch their own dues, than receive the favour of their sovereign; and were so far from returning respect, that they forgot common good manners. They imposed on their prince,