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be but just to impute it to some powerful, though unknown impediments, wherein the ministry is more to be lamented than blamed. But there is good reason to hope, from the vigorous proceedings of the court, that these impediments will in a short time effectually be removed: and one great motive to hasten the removal of them, will doubtless be, the reflection upon those dangerous consequences, which had like to have ensued upon not removing them before. Besides, after so plain and formidable a conviction, that mild and moderate methods meet with no other reception or return, than to serve as opportunities to the insatiable malice of an enemy; power will awake to vindicate itself, and disarm its opposers, at least of all offensive weapons.
Consider, if you please, how hard beset the present ministry has been on every side: by the impossibility. of carrying on the war any longer, without taking the most desperate courses; or of recovering Spain from the house of Bourbon, although we could continue it many years longer: by the clamours of a faction against any peace without that condition, which the most knowing among themselves allowed to be impracticable; by the secret cabals of foreign ministers, who endeavoured to inflame our people, and spirited up a sinking faction to blast our endeavours for peace, with those popular reproaches of France and the pretender; not to mention the danger they have been in, from private insinuations, of such a nature as it was almost impossible to fence against. These clouds now begin to blow over, and those who are at the heim, will have leisure to look about them, and complete what yet remains to be done.
That confederate body, which now makes up the
* Ifad like a bad phrase; it should be which were likely, to have ensued, &c.' S.
adverse party, consists of a union so monstrous and unnatural, that in a little time it must of necessity fall to pieces. The dissenters, with reason, think themselves betrayed and sold by their brethren. What they have been told, that the present bill against occasional conformity was to prevent a greater evil, is an excuse too gross to pass; and if any other profound refinement were meant, it is now come to nothing. The remaining sections of the party have no other tie, but that of an inveterate hatred and ran-' cour against those in power, without agreeing in any other common interest, not cemented by principle, or personal friendship: I speak particularly of their leaders; and although I know that court enmities: are as inconstant as its friendships, yet from the difference of temper and principle, as well as the scars remaining of former animosities, I am persuaded their league will not be of long continuance: I know several of them, who will never pardon those with whom they are now in confederacy; and when once they see the present ministry thoroughly fixed, they will grow weary of hunting upon a cold scent, or playing a desperate game, and crumble away.
On the other side, while the malice of that party continues in vigour, while they yet feel the bruises of their fall, which pain them afresh since their late disappointment, they will leave no arts untried to recover themselves; and it behoves all, who have any regard for the safety of the queen or her kingdom, to join unanimously against an adversary, who will return full fraught with vengeance, upon the first opportunity that shall offer: and this perhaps is more to be regarded, because that party seem yet to have a reserve of hope in the same quarter, whence their last reinforcement came. Neither can any thing cultivate this hope of theirs so much, as a disagreement among ourselves, founded upon a jealousy of the mi
nistry; who I think need no better a testimony of their good intentions, than the incessant rage of the party leaders against them.
There is one fault, which both sides are apt to charge upon themselves, and very generously commend their adversaries, for the contrary virtue. The tories acknowledge, that the whigs outdid them in rewarding their friends, and adhering to each other: the whigs allow the same to the tories. I am apt to think, that the former may a little excel the latter in this point; for, doubtless, the tories are less vindictive of the two; and whoever is remiss in punishing, will probably be so in rewarding: although, at the same time, I well remember the clamours often raised during the reign of that party, against the leaders, by those who thought their merits were not rewarded; and they had reason on their side, because it is no doubt a misfortune to forfeit honour and conscience for nothing but surely the case is very different at this time, when, whoever adheres to the administration, does service to GoD, his prince, and his country, as well as contributes to his own private interest and safety.
But if the whig leaders were more grateful in rewarding their friends, it must be avowed likewise, that the bulk of them were in general more zealous for the service of their party, even when abstracted from any private advantage, as might be observed in a thousand instances; for which I would likewise commend them, if it were not unnatural for mankind, to be more violent in an ill cause, than a good
The perpetual discord of factions, with several changes of late years in the very nature of our government, have controlled many maxims among us. The court and country party, which used to be the old division, seems now to be ceased, or suspended,
for better times, and worse princes. The queen and ministry are at this time fully in the true interest of the kingdom; and therefore the court and country are of a side; and the whigs, who originally were of the latter, are now of neither, but an independent faction nursed up by the necessities, or mistakes, of a late good, although unexperienced prince. Court and country ought therefore to join their forces against these common enemies, until they are entirely dispersed and disabled. It is enough to arm ourselves against them, when we consider that the greatest mis fortunes which can befall the nation, are what would most answer their interest and their wishes; a pers petual war increases their money, and breaks and beggars their landed enemies. The ruin of the church would please the dissenters, deists, and socinians, whereof the body of their party consists. A commonwealth, or a protector, would gratify the republican principles of some, and the ambition of others among them.
Hence I would infer, that no discontents of an inferiour nature, such I mean as I have already men tioned, should be carried so far as to give any ill impression of the present ministry. If all things have not been hitherto done as you, gentlemen, could rea◄ sonably wish, it can be imputed only to the secret instruments of that faction. The truth of this has appeared from some late incidents, more visibly than formerly. Neither do I believe that any one will now make a doubt, whether a certain person be im earnest, after the united and avowed endeavours of a whole party, to strike directly at his head.
When it happens by some private cross intrigues, that a great man has not that power which is thought due to his station, he will however probably desire the reputation of it, without which he neither can preserve the dignity, nor hardly go through the
common business of his place; yet is it that repu tation to which he owes all the envy and hatred of others, as well as his own disquiets. Mean time, his expecting friends impute all their disappointments to some deep design, or to his defect of good will; and his enemies are sure to cry up his excess of power, especially in those points where they are confident it is most shortened. A minister, in this difficult case, is sometimes forced to preserve his credit, by forbearing what is in his power, for fear of discovering how far the limits extend of what is not; or, perhaps, for fear of showing an inclination contrary to that of his master. Yet all this while he lies under the reproach of delay, unsteadiness, or want of sincerity. So that there are many inconveniences and dangers, either in discovering, or concealing the want of power. Neither is it hard to conceive, that ministers may happen to suffer for the sins of their predecessors, who, by their great abuses and monopolies of power and favour, have taught princes to be more thrifty for the future, in the distribution of both. And as in common life, whoever has been long confined, is very fond of his liberty, and will not easily endure the very appearance of restraint, even from those who have been the instruments of setting him free; so it is with the recovery of power, which is usually attended with an undistinguished jealousy, lest it should be again invaded. In such a juncture, I cannot discover why a wise and honest man should venture to place himself at the head of affairs, upon any other regard than the safety of his country, and the advice of Socrates, to prevent an ill man from coming in.
Upon the whole, I do not see any one ground of suspicion or dislike, which you, gentlemen, or others who wish well to their country, may have enter tained about persons or proceedings, but what may