Page images


THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 1711.

Meliùs non tangere, clumo.

WHEN a general has conquered an army, and reduced a country to obedience, he often finds it neces sary to send out small bodies, in order to take in petty castles and forts, and beat little straggling parties, which are otherwise apt to make head, and infest the neighbourhood. This case exactly resembles mine. I count the main body of the whigs entirely subdued at least till they appear with new reinforcements, I shall reckon them as such; and therefore do now find myself at leisure to examine inferiour abuses, The business I have left is, to fall on those wretches that will be still keeping the war on foot, when they have no country to defend, no forces to bring into the field, nor any thing remaining, but their bare good will toward faction and mischief: I mean the present set of writers, whom I have suffered without molestation, so long to infest the town. Were there

not a concurrence from prejudice, party, weak understanding, and misrepresentation, I should think them too inconsiderable in themselves to deserve correction. But as my endeavour has been to expose the gross impositions of the fallen party, I will give a taste, in the following petition, of the sincerity of these their factors, to show how little those writers for the whigs were guided by conscience or honour, their business being only to gratify a prevailing in

[blocks in formation]

"To the right honourable the present ministry; the humble petition of the party writers to the late ministry,


"That your petitioners have served their time to the trade of writing pamphlets and weekly papers, in defence of the whigs, against the church of England, and the christian religion, and her majesty's prerogative, and her title to the crown: That, since the late change of ministry, and meeting of this parliament, the said trade is mightily fallen off, and the call for the said pamphlets and papers much less than formerly; and it is feared, to our farther prejudice, that the Examiner may discontinue writing, whereby some of your petitioners will be brought to utter distress, forasmuch as, through false quotations, noted absurdities, and other legal abuses, many of your petitioners, to their great comfort and support, were enabled to pick up a weekly subsistence out of the said Examiner.

"That your said poor petitioners did humbly offer your honours to write in defence of the late change of ministry and parliament, much cheaper than they did for your predecessors; which your honours were pleased to refuse.

"Notwithstanding which offer, your petitioners are under daily apprehensions, that your honours will forbid them to follow the said trade any longer; by which your petitioners, to the number of fourscore, with their wives and families, will inevitably starve, having been bound to no other calling.

"Your petitioners desire your honours will tenderly consider the premises, and suffer your said petitioners to continue their trade (those who set them at work being still willing to em

ploy them, though at lower rates), and your said petitioners will give security to make use of the same stuff, and dress in the same manner, as they always did, and no other. And your petitioners, &c."







In a Letter from a Person of Honour

Written in January, 1711-12.

* Supposed at the time to have been lord Harcourt. N.

« PreviousContinue »