Page images

superior class to either; provided he would a little regard the propriety and disposition of his words, consult the grammatical part, and get some information in the subject he intends to handle.

Omitting the generous countenance and encouragement that have been shewn to the persons and productions of the two former authors, I shall here only consider the great favour conferred upon

the last. It hath been advertised for several months in the Englishman, * and other papers, that a pamphlet, called the Criss, should be published at a proper time, in order to open the eyes

of the nation. It was proposed to be printed by subscription, price a shilling. This was a little out of form; because subscriptions are usually begged only for books of great price, and such as are not likely to have a general fale. Notice was likewise given of what this pamphlet should contain ; only an extract from certain acts of parliament relating to the succession, which at least must fink nine-pence in the fhilling, and leave but three-pence for the author's political reflections; so that nothing very wonderful or decisive could be reasonably expected from this performance. But, a work was to be done, a hearty writer to be encouraged, and accordingly many thousand copies were bespoke. Neither could this be sufficient; for when we expected to have our bundles delivered us, all was stopt; the friends to the cause sprang a new project; and it VOL. II.



* A paper written by the same author, in favour of the preceding administration, Hawkes.

was advertised that the Crisis could not appear, till the ladies had shewn their zeal against the Pretender, as well as the mep; against the Pretender in the bloom of his youth, reported to be handsome, and endued with an understanding exactly of a size to please the sex. I should be glad to have seen a printed list of the fair subscribers prefixed to this pamphlet ; by which the Chevalier might know, he was so far from pretending to a monarchy here, that he could not so much as pretend to a mistress.

At the destined period, the first news we hear, is of a huge train of dukes, earls, viscounts, barons, knights, efquires, gentlemen, and others, going to Sam. Buckley's, the publisher of the Crisis, to fetch home their cargoes, in order to transmit them by dozens, scores, and hundreds, into the several counties, and thereby to prepare the wills and understandings of their friends against the approaching sessions. Ask any of them, whether they have read it ? they will answer, No; but they have sent it every-where, and it will do a world of good. It is a pamphlet, and a pamphlet, they hear, against the ministry; talks of slavery, France, and the Pretender: they desire no more: it will settle the wavering, confirm the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, inflame the clamorous, although it never be once looked into. I am told by those who are expert in the trade, that the author and bookfeller of this twelve-penny treatise will be greater gainers, than from one edition of any folio that hath


been published these twenty years. What needy writer would not folicit to work under such masters, who will pay us before-hand, take off as much of our ware as we please at our own rates, and trouble nor themselves to examine, either before or after they have bought it, whether it be staple or no ?

But in order to illustrate the implicit munificence of these noble patrons, I cannot take a more effectual method, than by examining the production itself; by which we shall easily find, that it was never intended, further than from the noise, the bulk, and the title of Crisis, to do any service to the factious caufe. The entire piece consists of a title page, a dedication to the clergy, a preface, an extract from certain acts of parliament, and about ten pages of dry reflections on the proceedings of the Queen and her servants; which his coadjutors, the Earl of Nottingham, Mr. Dunton, and the Flying Post, had long ago set before us in a much clearer light.

In popish countries, when some impostor cries out, A miracle! a miracle ! it is not done with a hope or intention of converting heretics, but confirming the deluded vulgar in their errors ; and so the cry goes round, without examining into the cheat. Thus, the whigs among us, give out the cry, A pamphlet! a pamphlet! The crisis ! the crisis! not with a view of convincing their adversaries, but to raise the spirits of their friends, recal their stragglers, and unite their numbers by found and impudence; as, bees afa Bb 2



semble and cling together by the noise of brass.

That no other effect could be imagined, or hoped for, by the publication of this timely trea. tise, will be manifest from some obvious reflections upon the several parts of it; wherein the follies, the falfhoods, or the absurdities, appear so frequent, that they may boldly contend for number with the lines.

When the hawker holds this pamphlet towards you, the first words you perceive, are, The crisis; or, A discourse, &c. The interpreter of Suidas gives four translations of the word crisis ; any of which may be as properly applied to this author's letter to the bailiff of Stockbridge. * Next, what he calls a discourfe, consists only of two pages, prefixed to twenty-two more, which contain extracts from acts of parliament; for as to the twelve last pages, they are provided for by themselves in the title, under the name of fome fenfonable remarks on the danger of a popish fucceffor. Another circumstance, worthy of our information, in the title-page, is, that the crown hath been fettled by previous acts. I never heard of any act of parliament that was not previous to what it enacted, unless those two, by which the Earl of Strafford and Sir John Fenwick lost their heads, may pass for exceptions. A discourse, reprefenting from the most authentic records, &c. He hath borrowed this expression from some writer, who probably understood the words ; but this gentleman hath altogether misapplied them; and, under favour, he is wholly mistaken; for a heap of extracts from several acts of parliament cannot be called a discourse; neither do I believe he copied them from the most authentic records, which, as I take it, are lodged in the Tower, but out of fome common printed copy. I grant, there is nothing material in all this, further than to shew the generosity of our adversaries, in encouraging a writer, who cannot furnish out so much as a. title page with propriety or common sense.

bably Steele addressed a letter to the Bailiff of Stockbridge, who appears to have been returning officer for this borough, which Steele represented in parliamentHawkes,

. Next follows the dedication to the clergy of the church of England, wherein the modesty and the meaning of the first paragraphs are hardly to be matched. He tells them, he hath made a comment upon the acts of settlement, which he lays before them, and conjures them to recommend in their writings and discourses to their fellow subjects 2 and he doth all this, out of a just deference to their great power and influence. This is the right whig scheme, of directing the clergy what to preach. The Archbishop of Canterbury's jurisdiction extends no farther than over his own province; but the author of the Crisis constitutes himself vicar, general over the whole clergy of the church of England. The bishops, in their letters or speeches to their own clergy, proceed no further than to exhortation ; but this writer conjures the whole clergy of the church, to recommend his comment upon the laws of the land, in their writings and discourses. " I would fain know, who made him a:


Bb 3

« PreviousContinue »