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of party in the whole treatise, and although it was
This is the more remarkable, because it is said that the man is no ill deciter in common cases of property, where party is out of the question; but when that intervenes, with ambition at heels to push it forward, it must needs confound any man of little spirit, and low birth, who hath no other endowment than that sort of knowledge, which, however possessed in the highelt degree, can possibly give no one good quality to the mind.
It is true, I have been much concerned, for several years past, upon account of the public as well as for myself, to see how ill a taste for wit and sense prevails in the world, which politics, and South - sea, and party, and opera's, and masquerades have introduced. For, besides many infipid papers which the malice of some has 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 alcribec soine writings to me,,
of which any man of com.i mon sense and literature would be heartily ashamed., I cannot forbear instancing a treatise called a Dedica. tion 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 impoffible for me to have been author of a treatise, 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 inquire 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 yery freely, whęther 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 outdone by the Earl of Oxford in my own trade as a scholar, and too good a courtier not to discover his contempt of those who would be men 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 arises 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 wish my endeavours had succeeded beto ter 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 have not been the worse, nor the Protestant fuccellion endangered.
But, whatever opportunities a constant attendance of four years might have given me for endea
vouring to do good offices to particular persons, I de serve at least to find tolerable quarter from those of the other party, for many of which I was a constant ada vocate with the Earl of Oxford, and for this I appeal to his Lordship : he knows how often I presed him in favour of Mr. Addison, Mr. Congreve, Mr. Rowe, and Mr. Steele; although I freely confess that his Lord. ship's kindness 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 remena brancer. For I can never forget the answer he gave to the late Lord Halifax, who upon the first change of the ministry interceded with him to spare Mr. Con. greve: it was by repeating these two lines of Virgil,
Non obtusa adeo gestamus pectora Poeni,
Nec tam adversus 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 my sleeve: which I do not say with any view towards making my court: for the new principles fixed to those of that denomina: tion, I did then, and do now froin iny 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 ca. pacity as ininisters, I look upon them as 'a race of peo. ple whose acquaintance no man would cont otherwise than upon the score of vanity or ambition. The firft. Beisp. Samul. 8.38. 1. Abth.
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 necellity of being a slave to men in power, but chose my friends by their personal nerit, 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. Steele), 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 meet at my Lord Sommers or Halifax, 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 ane: and yet in
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 thein in all their actions, cam„ quam in equo Trojano.“ But if I have never discovered by my words, writings, or actions, any party - vi. rulence, or dangerous designs against the present pow. ers; 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 sort, 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, whole opinions, unfortunátely differ from those which lead to favour and pre. ferment
I ought to let you know, that the thing we called a Whig in England, is a creature altogether different from those of the same denomination here; at least it was so during the reign of her late Majesty. Whether those on your
side have changed or no, it hath not been, my business to inquire. I remember my excellent friend Mr. Addison, when he first came over hither secretary to the Earl of 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 feemed 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 kingdoin: his Lordship accounted for it by that number of Crom, well's foldiers, adventurers established here, who were all of the sourest leaven, and the meanest birth, and whose posterity are now in pollellion of their lands and their principles. However, it must be consessed, that of late some people in this country are grown weary of quarrelling, because interest, the great inotive of quarrelling, it at an end; for it is hardly worth contending who shall be an exiseinan, a country - vicar, a crier in the courts, or an under - clerk.
You will perhaps be inclined to think, that a person so ill treated as I have been, must at some time or other, have discovered very dangerous opinions in gouvernement; in answer to which, I will tell you what my political principles were in the time of her late glorious Majesty, which I never contradicted by any action, writing, or discourse,