Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

H E exorbitant Grants which have been made

-*- to some Favourites, have justly roused the Spirit of the Commons of England. The Earl of Portland particularly has so sar exceeded all Bounds of Modesty, that he has got little less than the Principality of Wales, and the Lands and Lordships that should support the Heir-Apparent of England, are given to this Lord. The House has this Day unanimously addressed against this Grant, and had a gracious Answer, that it should be resumed. They came into this Temper chiefly in Consequence of an incomparable Speech which Mr. Price the Lawyer made on the Occasion: It has that Eloquence and strong Reasoning in it, which are worthy the Character of a Man of Learning and Understanding, and that bold Freedom which becomes an Englijb Patriot in his Place in Parliament. When great Men obtain Grants like these, it is well they do not ask the Kingdom also. I send you an Extract of Mr. Price's Speech, viz. This Petition, fays he, tho' subscribed only by a sew Hands, has the Approbation of many Thousands who are not influenced by their own Interest, but act for the Honour of the Crown and Welsare of the British Nation.

If I could conceive how the Glory and Grandeur of England is, or can be upheld by a poor landless Crown, and a miserable necessitous People, I might then be easily persuaded to believe, that his Majesty is well advised to grant away all the Revenues of the Crown; and that his Govem

LETTER X.

1695-6.

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

ment will thereby be well secured, and his People best protected, when they have little or nothing left; but I am sure they are not EngliJh, but Foreign Politicians, who can revere the King, and yet hate his People. The Kings of England always reign best, when they have the Affections of their Subjects, of which they are secure when the People are sensible, the King is entirely in their Interest, and loves the Englijb Soil as well as the People's Money.

I must needs confess, that my Thoughts are troubled with strange Apprehensions of our deplorable State: We are in a Confederacy in War; and some of those Confederates our Enemies in Trade, tho' planted amongst us, some in the King's Council; some in the Army; and the Common Traders have possessed themselves of the Outskirts of this great City. We find some of them Naturalized, and others made Denizens : In every Parliament we find Endeavours for a general Naturalization', and that warmly sollicited from Court.

We fee our good Coin all gone, and our Confederates openly coining Dutch Money of a base Alloy for us. We fee most Places of Pewer and Profit given to Foreigners. We fee our Confederates in Conjunction with the Scots to ruin our Englijh Trade. We fee the Revenues of the Crown daily given away to one or other, who make Sale of them, and transmit their Estates elsewhere. We do not find any of them buy Lands or Estates amongst us; but what they can get'from us, they secure in their own Country. How can we hope for happy Days in England, when This great Lord, and the Other, Foreigners (tho' Naturalized) are in the Englijh, and also in the Dutch Councils? If these Strangers (tho' now Confederates) should be of different Interests (as most plainly they are in Point of Trade) to which Interest is it to be supposed those great Foreign Counsellors and Favourites would adhere? So that I foresee, that when we are reduced to extreme Poverty (as now we are very near it) we are to be supplanted by our Neighbours, and become a Colony to the Dutch.

I shall make no severe Remarks on this great Man, for his Greatness makes us Little, and will make the Crown both poor and precarious; and when God shall please to send us a Prince of Wales., he may have such a Present of a Crown made him as a Pope did to King John, who was Sur-named Sans-Terre, and was by his Father, King Henry the Second, made Lord of Ireland: Which Grant was confirmed by the Pope, who sent him a Crown of Peacock's Feathers, in Derision of his Power, and the Poverty of his Revenue.

I would have us to consider that we are Englijhmen; and must (like good Patriots) stand by our Country, and not suffer it to become tributary to Strangers. We have rejoiced that we have beat out of this Kingdom Popery and Slavery, and do now with as great Joy entertain Socinianism and Poverty, and yet we see our Properties daily given away, and our Liberties must soon follow.

I desire Redress rather than Punishment; therefore I shall neither move for an Impeachment against this noble Lord, nor for the Banishment of Him; but shall only beg that he may have no Power over us, nor we any Dependance upon Him.

Then he concluded with a Motion for the Address.

LET

LETTER XL

March 14, 1^93.9.

I Remember it was always your Opinion and mine, that Liberty might be in Danger as much under a Protestant Prince as under a Papist. It seems the collective Wisdom of the Nation is of the fame Judgment, for they have resolved to send the Red Coats to learn the Arts of Peace in all the Counties and Boroughs of the Kingdom. They make them in Effect free of all Corporations, and have resolved that seven thousand Men here, and twelve thousand in Ireland are a sussicient Land Force. The Courtiers had a large Field to expatiate in, concerning the embroiled Condition of Europe abroad (notwithstanding the new Peace,) and the dangerous extensive Disaffection at home: But the Genius of England has prevailed. We are not now to be Slaves. His Majesty, under whose Auspices we have learned to mortgage the Kingdom, is graciously pleased to suffer us to fee a Possibility of redeeming it. The Dutch Guards stuck much with Him, but they must also be gone. He is too wise a Prince, not to know that the Casuistry upon the Titles of contending Pretenders to the Crown, is but a Trifle in the Consideration of the Multitude; it surmounts their Theory. The true Ground and Reason of Loyalty or Disaffection in the Populace is nothing else but the Sense of their own present Happiness or Misery; and let who will reign, he can never have the Affections of a People whom he burthens with Taxes to pay for the Insurance of their own Slavery. A Prince perhaps may have his Option, whether he will govern a People by Force, or found his Authority upon their Affections: He has no Need of (and, I am much mistaken if he can have) Both.

The Courtiers have been very loud upon the Topick of our Obligation to the King, for the Benefits we have received from him, and in particular, for this last Act of Condescension: For my Part, it gives me the Spleen to hear such Stuff. Surely, these Men would make us believe that we were born the Slaves of some Eastern Monarch, that we enjoy our Liberties by a Gift revocable at Pleasure, and that they are not our Birth-right and Inheritance. Men who advance Notion* of this Tendency, deserve the Gibhet equally with Garnet the Jesuit, and Oliver Cromwell; as being equally Traitors to their Country.

The King indeed ran the Risque of conducting our Efforts for Liberty and Religion; we have succeeded, we have paid the Expence of the Undertaking, and raised him to the Throne for his Pains. What is more to be done? I hope I am a very good Protestant, but I am sure I never did design to truck away all other Rights os an Englishman for a Deliverance only from King Ja?nes's Ecclesiastical Tyranny. Were our other Rights extinguished, our Religion would be also precarious; Orthodox with Conjlantine, and Arian with Conflantius. Such a Deliverance would be Protestantism with a Witness. It would bring us under a very lively Description of bigotted Madness, which I shall not attempt to translate, but here transcribe to save you the Trouble of turning to it.

'Jupiter, ingentes qui das, adimisque Dolores,
Mater ait Pueri menses jam quinque cubantis,
Frigida s Puerum £>uartana reliquerit; ilia
Matii Die, qua tu indicts jejunia, nudus

In

« ZurückWeiter »