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LETTER OF THANKS
LORD BISHOP OF ST. ASAPH,
IN THE NAME OF
THE KITCAT CLUB.
TO WHICH ARE ADDED,
REMARKS ON THE BISHOP'S PREFACE.
FIRST PRINTED IN 1712.
" Do you know that Grub-street is dead and gone last week? No more ghosts or murders now for love or money. I plied it close the last fortnight, and published at least seven papers of my own, beside some of other people's; but now every single half sheet pays a halfpenny to the queen. The Observator is fallen; the Medleys are jumbled together with the Flying post; the Examiner is deadly sick; the Spectator keeps up, and doubles its price: I know not how long it will hold. Have you seen the red stamp the papers are marked with? methinks the stamping is worth a halfpenny."
Journal to Stella, Aug. 7, 1712.
One of these was probably the pamphlet here reprinted. N.
THE BISHOP OF ST. ASAPH*.
It was with no little satisfaction I undertook the pleasing task, assigned me by the gentlemen of the Kitcat clubt, of addressing your lordship with thanks for your late service so seasonably done to our sinking cause, in reprinting those most excellent discourses, which you had for
This club, which consisted of the most distinguished wits and statesmen among the whigs, was remarkable for the strictest zeal toward the house of Hanover. They met at a little house în Shire lane, and took their title from the real name of a pastrycook who excelled in making mutton pies, which were regularly a part of their entertainment. The portraits of this society, drawn by sir Godfrey Kneller, were all at Barnes, in the possession of the late Mr. Jacob Tonson, whose father was their secretary; and are now in the possession of William Baker, esq. late M.P. for the county of Hertford, at his house in Hill street. Sir Godfrey's own portrait is among them, of a smaller size than the others. From these portraits, "Kitcat" became a technical term in painting.--Dr. King, who was undoubtedly a first rate writer de re culinarid, has pointed out the merits of their proveditor, in his admirable Art of Cookery.
"Immortal made as Kitcat by his pies!" N.
merly preached with so great applause, though they were never heard of by us till they were recommended to our perusal by the Spectator, who some time since, in one of his papers *, entertained the town with a paragraph out of the Postboy, and your lordship's extraordinary preface.
The world will perhaps be surprised, that gentlemen of our complexion, who have so long been piously employed in overturning the foundations of religion and government, should now stoop to the puny amusement of reading and commending sermons. But your lordship can work miracles, as well as write on them; and I dare assure your lordship and the world, that there is not an atheist in the whole kingdom (and we are no inconsiderable party) but will readily subscribe to the principles so zealously advanced and so learnedly maintained in those discourses.
I cannot but observe with infinite delight, that the reasons your lordship gives for reprinting those immortal pieces are urged with that strength and force which is peculiar to your lordship's writings, and is such as all who have any regard for truth, or relish for good writing, must admire, though none can sufficiently commend.
In a word, the preface is equal to the sermons: less than that ought not, and more cannot, be said of it. In this you play the part of a prophet, with the same address as that of a preacher in those ; and, in a strain no ways inferior to Jeremiah, or
The Spectator, No. 384, May 21, 1712.-The preface was severely reprehended by the Examiner, No. 27, May 29; and more humourously in the remarks annexed to this letter. N.
of those old pretenders to inspiration, sagely foretel those impending miseries which seem to threaten these nations, by the introduction of popery and arbitrary power. This a man of less penetration than your lordship, without a spirit of divination, or going to the devil for the discovery, may justly "fear and presage, from the natural tendency of several principals and practices which have of late been so studiously revived." I know your lordship means those long since exploded doctrines of obedience, and submission to princes, which were only calculated to make "a free and happy people slaves and mise rable." Who but asses, and packhorses, and beasts of burden, can entertain such servile notions? What shall the lives and liberties of a freeborn nation be sacrificed to the pride and ambition, the humour and caprice of any one single person? Kings and princes are the creatures of the people, mere state pageants, more for show than use; and shall we fall down and worship those idols, those golden calves of our own setting up? No, never, as long as I can hold a sword, or your lordship
It was suitable to that admirable foresight, which is so conspicuous in every part of your lordship's conduct, to take this effectual method of delivering yourself from the reproaches and curses of posterity, by publicly declaring to all the world, that though, in the constant course of your ministry, you have never failed, on proper occasions, to recommend the loving, honouring, and reverencing the prince's person," so as never to break his royal shins, nor tread upon his heels;