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and a great living authority; places himself in company with Gen. Stanhope and Mr. Hoadley ; and, in short, takes the most effectual method in his power, of ruining his Lordship in the opinion of every man, who is wise or good. I can only tell my Lord Harcourt, for his comfort, that these praises are encumbered with the doctrine of refiftance, and the true revolution-principles; and, provided he will not allow Mr. Steele for his commentator, he may hope to recover the honour of being libelled-again, as well as his sovereign and fellow-fervants.
We now come to the Crisis; where we meet with two pages, by way of introduction to those extracts from acts of parliament that constitute the body of his pamphlet. This introduction begins with a definition of liberty, and then proceeds in a panegyric upon that great blessing. His panegyric is made up of half a dozen shreds, like a school-boy's theme, beaten general topicks, where any other man alive might wander securely; but this politician, by venturing to vary the good old phrases, and give them a new turn, commits an hundred solecisms and absurdities. The weighty truths, which he endeavours to press upon his reader, are such as these; That liberty is a very good thing ; that without liberty, we cannot be free ; that health is good, and strength is good, but liberty is better than either ; that no man can be happy without the liberty of doing whatever his own mind tells him is best ; that men of quality love liberty, and common people love liberty; even women
and children love liberty; and you cannot please them better, than by letting them do what they please. Had Mr. Steele contented himself to deliver these and the like maxims in such intelligible terms, I could have found where we agreed, and where we differed. But let us hear some of these axioms, as he hath involved them. We cannot pollefs our fouls with pleasure and satisfaction, except we preserve in ourselves that inestimable bleffing, which we call liberty. By liberty, I desire to be understood to mean the happiness of mens living, &c —The true life of man consists in conducting it according to his own just sentiments and innocent inclinations—man's being is degraded below that of a free agent, when his affections and passions are no longer governed by the dictates of his own mind.Without liberty, our health (among other things) may be, at the will of a tyrant, employed to our own ruin, and that of our fellow-creatures. If there be any of these maxims which is not groíly defective in truth, in sense, or in grammar, I will allow them to pass for uncontrollable. By the first, omitting the pedantry of the whole expression, there are not above one or two nations in the world, where any one man can pobless his soul with pleasure and satisfaction. In the second, he desires to be understood to mean ; that is, he desires to be meant to mean, or to be understood to understand. In the third, the life of man consists in condučting his life. In the fourth he affirms, that mens beings are degraded, when their pasions are no longer governed by the dietates of their own
minds; directly contrary to the lessons of all moralifts and legislators; who agree unanimously, that the passions of men must be under the government of reason and law; neither are laws of any other use, than to correct the irregularity of our affections. By the last, our health is ruinous to ourselves and other men, when a tyrant pleases; which I leave to him to make out.
I cannot sufficiently commend our ancestors for transmitting to us the blessing of liberty ; yet having laid out their blood and treasure upon the purchase, I do not see how they acted parhmoniously; because I can conceive nothing more generous than that of employing our blood and treasure for the service of others. But I am suddenly struck with the thought, that I have found his meaning; our ancestors acted parsimoniously, because they only spent their own treasure for the good of their posterity; whereas we squandered away the treasures of our posterity too : but whether they will be thankful, and think it was done for the preservation of their liberty, must be left to themselves for a decision.
I verily believe, although I could not prove it in Westminster-hall before a Lord Chief Justice, that by enemies to our constitution, and enemies to our present efiablishment, Mr. Steele would desire to be understood to mean my Lord Treasurer and the rest of the ministry: by those who are grown supine, in proportion to the danger to which our liberty is every day more exposed, I should guess he means the tories : and, by honest men, who ought to look up
with a spirit that becomes honesty, he understands the whigs. I likewise believe, he would take it ill, or think me stupid, if I did not thus expound him. I say then, that, according to this expofition, the four great officers of state, together with the rest of the cabinet-council (except the archbishop of Canterbury *) are enemies to our establishment, making artful and open attacks upon our conftitution, and are now practising indirect arts, and mean subtilties, to weaken the security of those acts of parliament for settling the succession in the house of Hanover. The first and most notorious of these criminals, is Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, Lord High Treasurer, who is reputed to be chief minister : the second is, James Butler, Duke of Ormonde, who commands the army, and designs to employ it in bringing over the Pretender: the third is, Henry St John, Lord Viscount Bolingbroke, Secretary of State, who must be supposed to hold a constant correspondence at the court of Bar le Duc, as the late Earl of Godolphin did with that at St. Germains : and, to avoid tediousness, Mr. Bromley, I and the rest, are employed in their several districts to the same end. These are the opinions which Mr Steele and his faction, under the direction of their leaders, are endeavouring, with all their might, to propagate among the people of EngJand, concerning the present ministry; with what reservation to the honour, wisdom, or justice of the QUEEN, I cannot determine; who, by her
own * Dr. Tennison. Speaker of the house of Commons.
own free choice, after long experience of their abilities and integrity, and in compliance to the general wishes of her people, called them to her service. Such an accusation against persons in fo high trust, should require, I think, at least one single overt act to make it good. If there be no other choice of persons fit to serve the crown, without danger from the Pretender, except among those who are called the whig party, the Hanover succession is then indeed in a very defperate state: that illustrious family will have almost nine in ten of the kingdom against it, and those principally of the landed interest; which is most to be depended upon in such a nation as ours.'
I have now got as far as his extracts, which I shall not be at the pains of comparing with the originals, but suppose he hath gotten them, fairly transcribed : I only think, that, whoever is patentee for printing acts of parliament, may have a very fair action against him, for invasion of property : but this is none of my business to enquire into.
After two and twenty pages spent in reciting acts of parliament, he desires leave to repeat the history and progress of the union ; upon which I have some few things to observe.
This work, he tells us, was unsuccessfully attempted by several of her Majesty's predecessors; although I do not remember * it was ever thought on by any, except King James I. and the late Vol. II. Dd
King * The author's memory failed him a little in this affertion, as one of his answerers obferved.