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comment.itor upon the laws of the land: after which, it will be time enough to ask him, by what authority he directs the clergy to recommend his comments from the pulpit or the press ?
He tells the clergy, there are two circumstances which place the minds of the people under their direction : the first circumstance, is their education ; the second circumflance, is the tenths of our lands. This last, according to the Latin phrase, is spoken ad invidiam ; for he knows well enough, they have not a twentieth : but if you take it in his own way, the landlord has nine parts in ten of the peoples minds under his direction.' Upon this rock the author before us is perpetually splitting, as often as he ventures out beyond the narrow bounds of his literature. He hath a confused remembrance of words since he left the university, but hath lost half their meaning, and puts them together with no regard, except to their cadence; as I remember a fellow bailed up maps in a gentleman's closet, fome fideling, others upside down, the better to adjust them to the pannels.
I am sensible it is of little consequence to their cause, whether this defender of it understands grammår or no; and, if what he would fain fay, discovered him to be a 'well-wisher to reason or truth, I would be ready to make large allowances. But when, with great difficulty, I descry a composition of rancour and falsebood, intermixed with plaufible nonsense, I feel a struggle between contempt and indignation, at seeing the character of
à cenfor, a guardian, an Englibman, a commentator on the laws, an instructor of the clergy, assumed by a child of obfcurity, without one fingle qualification to support them.
This writer, who either affects, or is commanded of late to copy after the Bp. of Sarum, hath, out of the pregnancy of his invention, found out an old way of insinuating the grofielt reflections under the appearance of admonitions; and is fo judicious a follower of the prelate, that he taxes the clergy for inflaming their people with apprehenfions of danger to them and their conflitution, from inen, who are innocent of such designs ;. when he must needs confess, the whole design of his pamy phlet, is to inflame the people with apprehensions of danger from the present ministry, whom we believe to be at least as innocent men as the last.
What shall I say to a pamphlet, where the malice and falfhood of every line would require an answer, and where the dulness and absurdities will not deserve one ?
By his pretending to have always maintained an inviolable respect to the clergy, he would in- . sinuate, that thofe papers among the Tatlers and Spectators, where the whole order is abused, were not his own. I will appeal to all who know the flatness of his style, and the barrenness of his invention, whether he doth not grolly prevaricate ? Was he ever able to walk without leading-strings, or swim without bladders, without being discovered by his hobbling and his finking ? hath he adhered to his character in his paper called the Eng
lishman, whereof he is allowed to be fole authors. without any competition ? what does he think of the letter signed by himself, which relates to Molefworth, * in whose defence he affronts the whole convocation of Ireland ?
It is a wise maxim, that because the clergy are no civil lawyers, they ought not to preach obedience to governors; and therefore, they ought not to preach temperance, because they are no physicians. Examine all this author's writings, and then point me out a divine, who knoweth less of the constitution of England than he; witness thofe many egregious blunders in his late papers, where he pretends to dabble in the subject.
But the clergy have, it seems, imbibed their notions of power and obedience, abhorrent from our laws, from the pompous ideas of imperial greatness and the submiffion to absolute emperors. This is gross ignorance, beluw a school-boy in his Lucius Flo
The Roman history wherein lads are instructed, reacheth little above eight hundred years, and the authors do every where instil republican principles ; and from the account of nine in twelve of the first emperors, we learn to have a detestation against tyranny. The Greeks carry this point yet a great deal higher, which none
* The right honourable Robert Molesworth, Efq; one of the privy council, and member of the House of Commons, created a peer by K. George I. The lower house of convocation there, preferred a complaint against him for disrespectful words, which. being represented in England, he was removed from the council : to justify him against this complaint, was the subject of Steele's letter. Hawkes.
can be ignorant of, who hath read or heard them quoted. This gave Hobbes the occasion of advancing a position directly contrary, That the youth of England were corrupted in their polititical principles, by reading the histories of Rome and Greece ; which, having been written under republics, taught the readers to have ill notions of monarchy. In this assertion, there was something specious; but that advanced by the Crisis, could only iffue from the profoundest ignorance.
But, would you know his scheme of education for
young gentlemen at the university ? it is, That they should spend their time in perusing those acts of parliament, whereof his pamphlet is an extract, which if it had been done, the kingdom would not be in its present condition ; but every member sent into the world, thus infructed, since the revolution, would have been an advocate for our rights and liberties.
Here now is a project for getting more money by the Crisis; to have it read by tutors in the universities. I thoroughly agree with him, that if our students had been thus employed for twenty years past, the kingdom had not been in its prefent condition : but we have too many of such proficients already among the young nobility and gentry, who have gathered up their politics from chocolate houses and factious clubs; and who, if they had spent their time in hard study at Oxford or Cambridge, we might indeed have said, that the factious part of this kingdom had not been in its present condition, or have fuffered themselves
to be taught, that a few acts of parliament, relating to the succession, are preferable to all other civil institutions whatsoever. Neither did I ever before hear, that an act of parliament relating to one particular point, could be called a civil conftitution.
He spends almost a quarto page, in telling the clergy, that they will be certainly perjured, if they bring in the Pretender, whom they have abjured; and he wisely reminds them, that they have sworn, without equivocation or mental reservation ; otherwise, the clergy might think, that as soon as they received the Pretender, and turned Papists, they would be free from their oath. : This honest, civil, ingenious gentleman, knows in his conscience, that there are not ten clergymen in England, except non-jurors, who do not abhor the thoughts of the Pretender reigning over us, much more than himself. But this is the fpittle of the Bp. of Sarum, * which our author licks up, and swallows, and then coughs out again, with an addition of his own phlegm. I would fain suppose the body of the clergy were to return an answer, by one of their members, to these worthy counsellors. I conceive, it might be in the following terms:
“ My Loril and Gentleman, “The clergy command me to give you thanks “ for your advice; and if they knew any crimes, 6 froin which either of you were as free, as they “ are from those which you so earnestly exhort
them * Dr. Gilbert Burnet.