Page images

"I have made Ford copy a small pamphlet, and send to the press, that I might not be known for its author; 'tis A Letter to the October Club, if you ever heard of such a thing." Journal to Stella, Jan. 18, 1711-12.

"I dined in the city, where my printer showed me a pamphlet, called Advice to the October Club, which he said was sent him by an unknown hand. I commended it mightily; he never suspected me; 'tis a two-penny pamphlet," Ibid.

Jan. 21.


"I was to-night at lord Masham's. Lord Dupplin took out my new tle pamphlet; and the secretary read a great deal to lord treasurer. They all commended it to the skies, and so did and they began a health to the author. But I doubt lord treasurer suspected; for he said, This is Dr. Davenant's style; which is his cant, when he suspects me. But I carried the matter very well. Lord treasurer put the pamphlet in his pocket, to read at home." Ibid. Jan. 23.

"The little two-penny Letter of Advice to the October (Club does not sell. I know not the reason; for it is finely written, I assure you; and, like a true author, I grow fond of it, because it does not sell. You know that is usual to writers, to condemn the judgment of the world. If I had hinted it to be mine, every body would have bought it: but it is a great secret." Ibid. Jan. 23.

"The pamphlet of Advice to the October Club begins now to sell; but I believe its fame will hardly reach Ireland: 'tis finely written, I assure you." Ibid. Feb. 1.

[ocr errors][merged small]

ABOUT the year, when her late majesty of blessed memory thought proper to change her ministry, and brought in Mr. Harley, Mr. St. John, sir Simon Harcourt, and some others; the first of these being made an earl and lord treasurer, he was soon after blamed by the friends for not making a general sweep of all the whigs, as the latter did of their adversaries upon her majesty's death, when they came into power. At that time a great number of parliament men, amounting to above two hundred, grew so warm upon the slowness of the treasurer in this part, that they formed themselves into a body under the name of the October Club*, and had many meetings, to consult upon some methods that might spur on those in power, so that they might make a quicker dispatch in removing all of the whig leaven from the

"Some months ago, the leading members of the House of Commons of the high church, or tory party, set up a club, which met once or twice at the Bell Tavern in King-street, Westminster; and which, being mainly composed of country gentlemen, who, when at home, generally drank October beer, was therefore called, The October Club. This society, during the whole first session of this parliament, had gone blindfold into all the measures of the present ministers; but many of them, who had hitherto been amused and deluded with vain promises of preferment, suspecting the prime manager to be an ambidextrous trickster, and being like to fly off, a friend to the lord treasurer wrote and published the following piece." Political State, Feb. 1711-12, p. 122; where an alphabetical list of the members of the October Club (159 in number) is given.-See a farther account of this club, and of the methods by which it was reduced, in the Dean's "Memoirs relating to the Change in the Queen's Ministry." On its dissolution, a considerable number of the

employments they still possessed. To prevent the ill consequences of this discontent among so many worthy members, the rest of the ministry joined with the treasurer, partly to pacify, and partly divide those, who were in greater haste than moderate men thought convenient. It was well known, that the supposed author met a considerable number of this club in a publick house, where he convinced them very plainly of the treasurer's sincerity, with many of those very reasons which are urged in the following discourse, beside some others which were not so proper to appear at that time in print.

The treasurer alleged in his defence, that such a treatment would not consist with prudence, because there were many employments to be bestowed, which required skill and practice; that several gentlemen, who possessed them, had been long versed, very loyal to her majesty, had never been violent party men, and were ready to fall into all honest measures for the service of their queen and country. But however, as offices became vacant, he would humbly recommend to her majesty such gentlemen, whose principles with regard both to church and state, his friends would approve of, and he would be ready to accept their recommendations. Thus the earl proceeded in procuring employments for those, who deserved them by their honesty and abilities to execute them; which I confess to have been a singularity not very likely to be imitated. However the gentlemen of this club still continued uneasy that no quicker progress was made in removals, until those who were least violent began to soften a little, or, by dividing them, the whole affair dropped. Dur

members belonging to it formed another, under the denomina tion of the March Club, which was however of no long dura- ́ tion; a circunstance owing to the prudent management of the ford treasurer Harley and Mr. secretary St. John. N.

ing this difficulty, we have been assured that the following discourse was very seasonably published with great success; showing the difficulties that the earl of Oxford lay under, and his real desire, that all persons in employment should be true loyal churchmen, zealous for her majesty's honour and safety, as well as for the succession in the house of Hanover, if the queen should happen to die without issue. This discourse having been published about the year 1711, and many of the facts forgotten, would not have been generally understood without some explanation, which we have now endeavoured to give, because it seems a point of history too material to be lost. We owe this piece of intelligence to an intimate of the supposed author.







SINCE the first institution of your society, I have always thought you capable of the greatest things. Such a number of persons, members of parliament, true lovers of our constitution in church and state, meeting at certain times, and mixing business and conversation together, without the forms and constraint necessary to be observed in publick assemblies, must very much improve each other's understanding, correct and fix your judgment, and prepare yourselves against any designs of the opposite party. Upon the opening of this session an incident has happened, to provide against the consequences whereof, will require your utmost vigilance and application. All this last summer, the enemy was working under ground, and laying their train; they gradually became more frequent and bold in their pamphlets and papers, while those on our side were dropped, as if we had no farther occasion for them. Some time before, an opportunity fell into their hands, which they have cultivated ever since; and thereby have endeavoured, in some sort, to turn those arts against us, which had been so effectually employed to their ruin a plain demonstration of their superiour skill at intrigue; to make a stratagem succeed a

« PreviousContinue »