It is true, I have been much concerned, for feveral years past, upon account of the publick as well as for myself, to see how ill a taste for wit and fense prevails in the world, which Politics, and South-fea, and Party, and Opera's, and Masquerades have introduced. For, besides many infipid papers which the malice of some hath entitled me to, there are many persons appearing to wish me well, and pretending to be judges of my style and manner, who have yet ascribed some writings to me, of which any man of common sense and literature would be heartily ashamed. I cannot forbear instancing a Treatise called a Dedication upon Dedications, which many would have to be mine, although it be as empty, dry, and servile a composition, as I remember at any time to have read. But above all, there is one Circumstance which makes it impossible for me to have been Author of a Treațise, wherein there are several pages containing a Panegyric on King George, of whose character and person I am utterly ignorant, nor ever had once the curiosity to enquire into either, living at so great a distance as I do, and having long done with whatever can relate to public matters.

Indeed I have formerly delivered my thoughts very freely, whether I were asked or no ; but never affected to be a Counsellor, to which I had no manner of call. I was humbled enough to see myself so far out-done by the Earl of Oxford in my own trade as a Scholar, and too good a courtier not to concerning the law of the twelve tables, may be modeftly applied to ours. Fremant omnes licet, dicam quod “ fentio : bibliothecas mehercule omnium Philosopho

rum unum mihi videtur Pandectarum volumen et au. “thoritatis pondere et utilitatis ubertate superare." But the best proof of its moral efficacy is the manners of its professors : and these, in every age, have been such as were the first improved, or the last corrupted.


[ocr errors]

discover his contempt of those who would be meti of importance out of their sphere. Besides, to say the truth, although I have known many great Ministers ready enough to hear Opinions, yet I have hardly seen one that would ever descend to take Advice; and this pedantry ariseth from a Maxim themselves do not believe at the same time they practise by it, that there is something profound in Politics, which men of plain honest sense cannot arrive to.

I only with my endeavours had succeeded better in the great point I had at heart, which was that of reconciling the Ministers to each other. This might have been done, if others, who had more concern and more influence, would have acted their parts ; and, if this had succeeded, the public intereft both of Church and State would not have been the worse, nor the Protestant Succeffion endangered.

But, whatever opportunities a constant attendance of four years might have given me for endeavouring to do good offices to particular persons, I deserve at least to find tolerable quarter from those of the other Party ; for many of which I was a constant advocate with the Earl of Oxford, and for this I appeal to his Lordship: He knows how often I pressed him in favour of Mr. Addison, Mr. Congreve, Mr. Row, and Mr. Steel; although I freely confess that his Lordship's kind ness to them was altogether owing to his generous notions, and the esteem he had for their wit and parts, of which I could only pretend to be a remembrancer. For I can never forget the answer he gave to the late Lord Hallifax, who upon the first change of the Ministry interceded with him to spare Mr. Congreve : It was by repeating these two lines of Virgil,

Non obtufa adeo geftamus peétora Pceni, - Nec tam aversus equos Tyria Sol jungit ab urbe.



Pursuant to which, he always treated Mr. Congreve with the greatest personal civilities, assuring him of his constant favour and protection, and adding that he would study to do something better for him,

I remember it was in those times a usual subject of raillery towards me among the Ministers, that I never came to them without a Whig in

sleeve; which I do not say with any view towards making my Court: For, the new Principles * fixed to those of that denomination, I did then, and do now from my heart abhor, detest, and abjure, as wholly degenerate from their predecessors. I have conversed in some freedom with more Ministers of State of all parties than usually happens to men of my level, and, I confess, in their capacity as Ministers, I look upon them as a race of people whore acquaintance no man would court, otherwise than upon the score of Vanity or Ambition. The first quickly wears off (and is the Vice of low minds, for a man of spirit is too proud to be vain) and the other was not my case. Besides, having never received more than one small favour, I was under no necessity of being a flave to men in power, but chofe my friends by their personal merit, without examining how far their notions agreed with the politics then in vogue. I frequently conversed with Mr. Addison, and the others I named (except Mr. Steel) during all my Lord Oxford's Ministry, and Mr. Addison's friendship to me continued inviolable, with as much kindness as when we used to

* He means particularly the principle at that time charged upon chem, by their Enemies, of an intention to proscribe the Taries,



meet at my Lord Sommers * or Hallifax, who were leaders of the opposite Party.

I would infer from all this, that it is with great injustice I have these many years been pelted by your Pamphleteers, merely upon account of some regard which the Queen's last Ministers were pleased to have for me: and yet in my conscience I think I am a partaker in every ill design they had against the Protestant Succession, or the Liberties and Religion of their Country; and can say with Cicero, " that I should be proud to be included with them c in all their actions tanquam in equo Trojano.But if I have never discovered by my words, writings, or actions, any Party virulence t, or dangerous designs against the present powers ; if my friendship and conversation were equally shewn among those who liked or disapproved the proceedings then at Court, and that I was known to be a common Friend of all deserving persons of the latter fort, when they were in distress; I cannot but think it hard, that I am not suffered to run quietly among the common herd of people, whose opini ons unfortunately differ from those which lead to Favour and Preferment

I ought to let you know, that the Thing we called a Whig in England is a creature altogether different from those of the fame denomination here; at least it was so during the reign of her late Majesty. Whether those on your side have changed or no I, it hath not been my business to enquire. I remember my excellent friend Mr. Addison, when he first came over hither Secretary to the Earl of

* Lord Sommers had very warmly recommended Dr. Swift to the favour of Lord Wharton when he went the Queen's Lieutenant into Ireland, in the year 1709.

+ The Examiners, I suppose, were not then published amongst the Dean's works. He lays before, that they had changed.


Wharton then Lord Lieutenant, was extremely offended at the conduct and discourse of the Chief Managers here: He told me they were a sort of people who seemed to think, that the principles of a Whig consisted in nothing else but damning the Church, reviling the Clergy, abetting the Dissenters, and speaking contemptibly of revealed Religion.

I was discoursing some years ago with a certain Minister about that whiggith or fanatical Genius, so prevalent among the English of this kingdom ! his Lordship accounted for it by that number of Cromwell's Soldiers, adventurers established here, who were all of the sourest leven, and the meanest birth, and whose pofterity are now in poffeffion of their lands and their principles. However, it must be confeffed, that of late some people in this country are grown weary of quarrelling, because interest, the great motive of quarrelling, is at an end; for, it is hardly worth contending who shall be an Exciseman, a Country-Vicar, a Cryer in the Courts, or an Under-Clerk.

You will perhaps be inclined to think, that a perfon so ill treated as I have been, must at some time or other have discovered very dangerous opinions in government; in answer to which, I will tell you what my Political principles were in the time of her late glorious Majesty, which I never contradictéd by any action, writing, or discourse.

First, I always declared myself against a Popish Succeffor to the Crown, whatever Title he might have by the proximity of blood: Neither did I ever regard the right line, except upon two accounts : first, as it was established by law; and fecondly, as it hath much weight in the opinions of the people. For necessity may abolish any Law, but cannot alter the sentiments of the vulgar; Right of inheritance being perhaps the qnost popular of

« VorigeDoorgaan »