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my talent)-May you never want opportunities of thus signalizing yourself; but be "transmitted to posterity," under the character of one who dares sacrifice every thing that is most dear to you (even your own darling labours) to promote the interest of our party; and stand sainted in the whig calendar, as a martyr for the cause! This is the sincere wish of the greatest (next yourself) of your lordship's admirers,
BISHOP FLEETWOOD'S PREFACE*.
"Ecce iterum Crispinus!"
THE Bishop of St. Asaph's famous Preface having been so much buffeted of late between advocates and opposers, I had a curiosity to inspect some of his other works. I sent to the booksellers in Duck Lane, and Little Britain, who returned me several of the sermons which belonged to that preface; among others, I took notice of that upon the death of the duke of Gloucester, which had a little preface of its own, and was omitted, upon mature deliberation, when those sermons were gathered up into a volume; though, considering the bulk, it could hardly be spared. It was a great masterpiece of art in this admirable author, to write such a sermon, as, by help of a preface, would pass for a tory discourse in one reign, and by omitting that preface, would denominate him a whig in another thus, by changing the position, the picture represents either the pope or the devil, the cardinal or the fool. I confess, it was malicious in me, and what few others would have done, to rescue those sermons out of their dust and oblivion; without which, if the author had
* Originally printed in the second volume of the Examiner. N.
so pleased, they might have passed for new preached, as well as new printed: neither would the former preface have risen up in judgment to confound the latter. But, upon second thoughts, I cannot tell why this wilfully-forgotten preface may not do the reverend author some service. It is to be presumed that the Spectator published the last with that intent: why therefore should not my publishing the first be for the same end? and I dare be confident, that the part I have chosen will do his lordship much more service; for here it will be found, that this prelate did, once in his life, think and write as became him; and that while he was a private clergyman, he could print a preface without fear of the hangman. I have chosen to set it at length, to prevent what might be objected against me, as an unfair representer, should I reserve any part of this admirable discourse, as well as to imitate the judicious Spectator; though I fear I shall not have so good contributions from our party, as that author is said to have from another, upon the like occasion; or, if I chance to give offence, be promised to have my losses made up to me, for my zeal in circulating prefaces. Without any such deep and politick designs, I give it to the world out of mere good nature, that they may find what conceptions the worthy author has formerly had of things, when his business was yet undone; so to silence a clamorous party, who, from the late preface, are too apt, how unjustly soever, to conclude, his lordship's principles are not agreeable to his preferments.
In this excellent preface, the worthy author
thought fit to charge the fanaticks and whigs, upon the duke of Gloucester's death, as people that would "try to make it a judgment of God upon us for our sins, by turning the kingdom into a commonwealth." The satire must certainly be determined to them; for neither the tories nor nonjurors were ever charged with such principles, but rather as carrying the regal authority too high, in asserting the divine right of kings. This species of government, which the learned prelate says, is "as ill fitted for our nature as popery is for our religion,” was, by some people, it seems, endeavoured to be brought in, whom he terms "an impudent and clamorous faction." Whether that impudent and clamorous faction would really do all those things he charges them with, is by the whigs denied, and charitable men may in part make a question: but that by this he did, and could then only mean the whigs, could be no question at all, since none else were ever charged with those crimes in these kingdoms; and they have always been so, though seldom indeed so heavily, unless by highflying tories or jacobites. It seems, his lordship had dreadful apprehensions of what they would "certainly do," and begs of God" evermore to preserve us from this species." And surely he was in the right; for that would be, indeed, giving us we know not what"-his lordship's enemies "will tell the rest with pleasure!"
END OF THE FOURTH VOLUME.
Marchant, Printer, Greville-Street, Holborn.