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Title: The Works of Samuel Johnson, Vol. 6
       Reviews, Political Tracts, and Lives of Eminent Persons

Author: Samuel Johnson

Release Date: December 1, 2003 [EBook #10350]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by David Widger, Jonathan Ingram, Tom Allen
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.





































MORIN [47].

BURMAN [50].



CAVE [59].



ASCHAM [89].






Letter on Du Halde's history of China.

Review of the account of the conduct of the dutchess of Marlborough.

Review of memoirs of the court of Augustus.

Review of four letters from sir Isaac Newton.

Review of a journal of eight days' journey.

Reply to a paper in the Gazetteer.

Review of an essay on the writings and genius of Pope.

Review of a free enquiry into the nature and origin of evil.

Review of the history of the Royal Society of London, &c.

Review of the general history of Polybius.

Review of miscellanies on moral and religious subjects.

Account of a book entitled an historical and critical enquiry into the
evidence produced by the earls of Moray and Morton against Mary queen of
Scots, &c.

Marmor Norfolciense; or, an essay on an ancient prophetical inscription
in monkish rhyme, lately discovered near Lynn, in Norfolk.

Observations on the state of affairs in 1756.

An introduction to the political state of Great Britain.

Observations on the treaty between his Britannic majesty and his
imperial majesty of all the Russias, &c.

Introduction to the proceedings of the committee appointed to manage the
contributions for clothing French prisoners of war.

On the bravery of the English common soldiers.


Prefatory observations to political tracts.

The False Alarm. 1770.

Prefatory observations on Falkland's islands.

Thoughts on the late transactions respecting Falkland's islands.

The Patriot.

Taxation no tyranny; an answer to the resolutions and address of the
American congress. 1775.


Father Paul Sarpi.



Sir Francis Drake.


Additional account of the life of Barretier in the Gentleman's Magazine,






King of Prussia.







There are few nations in the world more talked of, or less known, than the Chinese. The confused and imperfect account which travellers have given of their grandeur, their sciences, and their policy, have, hitherto, excited admiration, but have not been sufficient to satisfy even a superficial curiosity. I, therefore, return you my thanks for having undertaken, at so great an expense, to convey to English readers the most copious and accurate account, yet published, of that remote and celebrated people, whose antiquity, magnificence, power, wisdom, peculiar customs, and excellent constitution, undoubtedly deserve the attention of the publick.

As the satisfaction found in reading descriptions of distant countries arises from a comparison which every reader naturally makes, between the ideas which he receives from the relation, and those which were familiar to him before; or, in other words, between the countries with which he is acquainted, and that which the author displays to his imagination; so it varies according to the likeness or dissimilitude of the manners of the two nations. Any custom or law, unheard and unthought of before, strikes us with that surprise which is the effect of novelty; but a practice conformable to our own pleases us, because it flatters our self-love, by showing us that our opinions are approved by the general concurrence of mankind. Of these two pleasures, the first is more violent, the other more lasting; the first seems to partake more of instinct than reason, and is not easily to be explained, or defined; the latter has its foundation in good sense and reflection, and evidently depends on the same principles with most human passions.

An attentive reader will frequently feel each of these agreeable emotions in the perusal of Du Halde. He will find a calm, peaceful satisfaction, when he reads the moral precepts and wise instructions of the Chinese sages; he will find that virtue is in every place the same; and will look with new contempt on those wild reasoners, who affirm, that morality is merely ideal, and that the distinctions between good and ill are wholly chimerical.

But he will enjoy all the pleasure that novelty can afford, when he becomes acquainted with the Chinese government and constitution; he will be amazed to find that there is a country where nobility and knowledge are the same, where men advance in rank as they advance in learning, and promotion is the effect of virtuous industry; where no man thinks ignorance a mark of greatness, or laziness the privilege of high birth.

His surprise will be still heightened by the relations he will there meet with, of honest ministers, who, however incredible it may seem, have been seen more than once in that monarchy, and have adventured to admonish the emperours of any deviation from the laws of their country, or any errour in their conduct, that has endangered either their own safety, or the happiness of their people. He will read of emperours, who, when they have been addressed in this manner, have neither stormed, nor threatened, nor kicked their ministers, nor thought it majestick to be obstinate in the wrong; but have, with a greatness of mind worthy of a Chinese monarch, brought their actions willingly to the test of reason, law, and morality, and scorned to exert their power in defence of that which they could not support by argument.

I must confess my wonder at these relations was very great, and had been much greater, had I not often entertained my imagination with an instance of the like conduct in a prince of England, on an occasion that happened not quite a century ago, and which I shall relate, that so remarkable an example of spirit and firmness in a subject, and of conviction and compliance in a prince, may not be forgotten. And I hope you will look upon this letter as intended to do honour to my country, and not to serve your interest by promoting your undertaking.

The prince, at the christening of his first son, had appointed a noble duke to stand as proxy for the father of the princess, without regard to the claim of a marquis, (heir apparent to a higher title,) to whom, as lord of the bedchamber, then in waiting, that honour properly belonged. —The marquis was wholly unacquainted with the affair, till he heard, at dinner, the duke's health drunk, by the name of the prince he was that evening to represent. This he took an opportunity, after dinner, of inquiring the reason of, and was informed, by the prince's treasurer, of his highness's intention. The marquis immediately declared, that he thought his right invaded, and his honour injured, which he could not bear without requiring satisfaction from the usurper of his privileges; nor would he longer serve a prince who paid no regard to his lawful pretensions. The treasurer could not deny that the marquis's claim was incontestable, and, by his permission, acquainted the prince with his resolution. The prince, thereupon, sending for the marquis, demanded, with a resentful and imperious air, how he could dispute his commands, and by what authority he presumed to control him in the management of his own family, and the christening of his own son. The marquis answered, that he did not encroach upon the prince's right, but only defended his own: that he thought his honour concerned, and, as he was a young man, would not enter the world with the loss of his reputation. The prince, exasperated to a very high degree, repeated his commands; but the marquis, with a spirit and firmness not to be depressed or shaken, persisted in his determination to assert his claim, and concluded with declaring that he would do himself the justice that was denied him; and that not the prince himself should trample on his character. He was then ordered to withdraw, and the duke coming to him, assured him, that the honour was offered him unasked; that when he accepted it, he was not informed of his lordship's claim, and that now he very willingly resigned it. The marquis very gracefully acknowledged the civility of the duke's expressions, and declared himself satisfied with his grace's conduct; but thought it inconsistent with his honour to accept the representation as a cession of the duke, or on any other terms than as his own acknowledged right. The prince, being informed of the whole conversation, and having, upon inquiry, found all the precedents on the marquis's side, thought it below his dignity to persist in an errour, and, restoring the marquis to his right upon his own conditions, continued him in his favour, believing that he might safely trust his affairs in the hands of a man, who had so nice a sense of honour, and so much spirit to assert it.






The universal regard, which is paid by mankind to such accounts of publick transactions as have been written by those who were engaged in them, may be, with great probability, ascribed to that ardent love of truth, which nature has kindled in the breast of man, and which remains even where every other laudable passion is extinguished. We cannot but read such narratives with uncommon curiosity, because we consider the writer as indubitably possessed of the ability to give us just representations, and do not always reflect, that, very often, proportionate to the opportunities of knowing the truth, are the temptations to disguise it.

Authors of this kind have, at least, an incontestable superiority over those whose passions are the same, and whose knowledge is less. It is evident that those who write in their own defence, discover often more impartiality, and less contempt of evidence, than the advocates which faction or interest have raised in their favour.

It is, however, to be remembered, that the parent of all memoirs, is the ambition of being distinguished from the herd of mankind, and the fear of either infamy or oblivion, passions which cannot but have some degree of influence, and which may, at least, affect the writer's choice of facts, though they may not prevail upon him to advance known falsehoods. He may aggravate or extenuate particular circumstances, though he preserves the general transaction; as the general likeness may be preserved in painting, though a blemish is hid or a beauty improved.

Every man that is solicitous about the esteem of others, is, in a great degree, desirous of his own, and makes, by consequence, his first apology for his conduct to himself; and when he has once deceived his own heart, which is, for the greatest part, too easy a task, he propagates the deceit in the world, without reluctance or consciousness of falsehood.

But to what purpose, it may be asked, are such reflections, except to produce a general incredulity, and to make history of no use? The man who knows not the truth cannot, and he who knows it, will not tell it; what then remains, but to distrust every relation, and live in perpetual negligence of past events; or, what is still more disagreeable, in perpetual suspense?

That by such remarks some incredulity is, indeed, produced, cannot be denied; but distrust is a necessary qualification of a student in history. Distrust quickens his discernment of different degrees of probability, animates his search after evidence, and, perhaps, heightens his pleasure at the discovery of truth; for truth, though not always obvious, is generally discoverable; nor is it any where more likely to be found than in private memoirs, which are generally published at a time when any gross falsehood may be detected by living witnesses, and which always contain a thousand incidents, of which the writer could not have acquired a certain knowledge, and which he has no reason for disguising.

Such is the account lately published by the dutchess of Marlborough, of her own conduct, by which those who are very little concerned about the character which it is principally intended to preserve or to retrieve, may be entertained and instructed. By the perusal of this account, the inquirer into human nature may obtain an intimate acquaintance with the characters of those whose names have crowded the latest histories, and discover the relation between their minds and their actions. The historian may trace the progress of great transactions, and discover the secret causes of important events. And, to mention one use more, the polite writer may learn an unaffected dignity of style, and an artful simplicity of narration.

The method of confirming her relation, by inserting, at length, the letters that every transaction occasioned, has not only set the greatest part of the work above the danger of confutation, but has added to the entertainment of the reader, who has now the satisfaction of forming to himself the characters of the actors, and judging how nearly such, as have hitherto been given of them, agree with those which they now give of themselves.

Even of those whose letters could not be made publick, we have a more exact knowledge than can be expected from general histories, because we see them in their private apartments, in their careless hours, and observe those actions in which they indulged their own inclinations, without any regard to censure or applause.

Thus it is, that we are made acquainted with the disposition of king William, of whom it may be collected, from various instances, that he was arbitrary, insolent, gloomy, rapacious, and brutal; that he was, at all times, disposed to play the tyrant; that he had, neither in great things, nor in small, the manners of a gentleman; that he was capable of gaining money by mean artifices, and that he only regarded his promise when it was his interest to keep it.

There are, doubtless, great numbers who will be offended with this delineation of the mind of the immortal William, but they whose honesty or sense enables them to consider impartially the events of his reign, will now be enabled to discover the reason of the frequent oppositions which he encountered, and of the personal affronts which he was, sometimes, forced to endure. They will observe, that it is not always sufficient to do right, and that it is often necessary to add gracefulness to virtue. They will recollect how vain it is to endeavour to gain men by great qualities, while our cursory behaviour is insolent and offensive; and that those may be disgusted by little things, who can scarcely be pleased with great.

Charles the second, by his affability and politeness, made himself the idol of the nation, which he betrayed and sold. William the third was, for his insolence and brutality, hated by that people, which he protected and enriched:—had the best part of these two characters been united in one prince, the house of Bourbon had fallen before him.

It is not without pain, that the reader observes a shade encroaching upon the light with which the memory of queen Mary has been hitherto invested—the popular, the beneficent, the pious, the celestial queen Mary, from whose presence none ever withdrew without an addition to his happiness. What can be charged upon this delight of human kind? Nothing less than that she wanted bowels, and was insolent with her power; that she was resentful, and pertinacious in her resentment; that she descended to mean acts of revenge, when heavier vengeance was not in her power; that she was desirous of controlling where she had no authority, and backward to forgive, even when she had no real injury to complain of.

This is a character so different from all those that have been, hitherto, given of this celebrated princess, that the reader stands in suspense, till he considers the inconsistencies in human conduct, remembers that no virtue is without its weakness, and considers that queen Mary's character has, hitherto, had this great advantage, that it has only been compared with those of kings.

The greatest number of the letters inserted in this account, were written by queen Anne, of which it may be truly observed, that they will be equally useful for the, confutation of those who have exalted or depressed her character. They are written with great purity and correctness, without any forced expressions, affected phrases, or unnatural sentiments; and show uncommon clearness of understanding, tenderness of affection, and rectitude of intention; but discover, at the same time, a temper timorous, anxious, and impatient of misfortune; a tendency to burst into complaints, helpless dependance on the affection of others, and a weak desire of moving compassion. There is, indeed, nothing insolent or overbearing; but then there is nothing great, or firm, or regal; nothing that enforces obedience and respect, or which does not rather invite opposition and petulance. She seems born for friendship, not for government; and to be unable to regulate the conduct of others, otherwise than by her own example.

That this character is just, appears from the occurrences in her reign, in which the nation was governed, for many years, by a party whose principles she detested, but whose influence she knew not how to obviate, and to whose schemes she was subservient against her inclination.

The charge of tyrannising over her, which was made, by turns, against each party, proves that, in the opinion of both, she was easily to be governed; and though it may be supposed, that the letters here published were selected with some regard to respect and ceremony, it appears, plainly enough, from them, that she was what she has been represented, little more than the slave of the Marlborough family.

The inferiour characters, as they are of less importance, are less accurately delineated; the picture of Harley is, at least, partially drawn: all the deformities are heightened, and the beauties, for beauties of mind he certainly had, are entirely omitted.







The first effect, which this book has upon the reader, is that of disgusting him with the author's vanity. He endeavours to persuade the world, that here are some new treasures of literature spread before his eyes; that something is discovered, which, to this happy day, had been concealed in darkness; that, by his diligence, time has been robbed of some valuable monument which he was on the point of devouring; and that names and facts, doomed to oblivion, are now restored to fame.

How must the unlearned reader be surprised, when he shall be told that Mr. Blackwell has neither digged in the ruins of any demolished city, nor found out the way to the library of Fez; nor had a single book in his hands, that has not been in the possession of every man that was inclined to read it, for years and ages; and that his book relates to a people, who, above all others, have furnished employment to the studious, and amusements to the idle; who have scarcely left behind them a coin or a stone, which has not been examined and explained a thousand times; and whose dress, and food, and household stuff, it has been the pride of learning to understand.

A man need not fear to incur the imputation of vicious diffidence or affected humility, who should have forborne to promise many novelties, when he perceived such multitudes of writers possessed of the same materials, and intent upon the same purpose. Mr. Blackwell knows well the opinion of Horace, concerning those that open their undertakings with magnificent promises; and he knows, likewise, the dictates of common sense and common honesty, names of greater authority than that of Horace, who direct, that no man should promise what he cannot perform.

I do not mean to declare, that this volume has nothing new, or that the labours of those who have gone before our author, have made his performance an useless addition to the burden of literature. New works may be constructed with old materials; the disposition of the parts may show contrivance; the ornaments interspersed may discover elegance.

It is not always without good effect, that men, of proper qualifications, write, in succession, on the same subject, even when the latter add nothing to the information given by the former; for the same ideas may be delivered more intelligibly or more delightfully by one than by another, or with attractions that may lure minds of a different form. No writer pleases all, and every writer may please some.

But, after all, to inherit is not to acquire; to decorate is not to make; and the man, who had nothing to do but to read the ancient authors, who mention the Roman affairs, and reduce them to common places, ought not to boast himself as a great benefactor to the studious world.

After a preface of boast, and a letter of flattery, in which he seems to imitate the address of Horace, in his "vile potabis modicis Sabinum"—he opens his book with telling us, that the "Roman republic, after the horrible proscription, was no more at bleeding Rome. The regal power of her consuls, the authority of her senate, and the majesty of her people, were now trampled under foot; these [for those] divine laws and hallowed customs, that had been the essence of her constitution—were set at nought, and her best friends were lying exposed in their blood."

These were surely very dismal times to those who suffered; but I know not, why any one but a schoolboy, in his declamation, should whine over the commonwealth of Rome, which grew great only by the misery of the rest of mankind. The Romans, like others, as soon as they grew rich, grew corrupt, and, in their corruption, sold the lives and freedoms of themselves, and of one another.

"About this time, Brutus had his patience put to the highest trial: he had been married to Clodia; but whether the family did not please him, or whether he was dissatisfied with the lady's behaviour during his absence, he soon entertained thoughts of a separation. This raised a good deal of talk, and the women of the Clodian family inveighed bitterly against Brutus—but he married Portia, who was worthy of such a father as M. Cato, and such a husband as M. Brutus. She had a soul capable of an exalted passion, and found a proper object to raise and give it a sanction; she did not only love but adored her husband; his worth, his truth, his every shining and heroic quality, made her gaze on him like a god, while the endearing returns of esteem and tenderness she met with, brought her joy, her pride, her every wish to centre in her beloved Brutus."

When the reader has been awakened by this rapturous preparation, he hears the whole story of Portia in the same luxuriant style, till she breathed out her last, a little before the bloody proscription, and "Brutus complained heavily of his friends at Rome, as not having paid due attention to his lady in the declining state of her health."

He is a great lover of modern terms. His senators and their wives are gentlemen and ladies. In this review of Brutus's army, who was under the command of gallant men, not braver officers than true patriots, he tells us, "that Sextus, the questor, was paymaster, secretary at war, and commissary general; and that the sacred discipline of the Romans required the closest connexion, like that of father and son, to subsist between the general of an army and his questor. Cicero was general of the cavalry, and the next general officer was Flavius, master of Ihe artillery, the elder Lentulus was admiral, and the younger rode in the band of volunteers; under these the tribunes, with many others, too tedious to name." Lentulus, however, was but a subordinate officer; for we are informed afterwards, that the Romans had made Sextus Pompeius lord high admiral in all the seas of their dominions. Among other affectations of this writer, is a furious and unnecessary zeal for liberty; or rather, for one form of government as preferable to another. This, indeed, might be suffered, because political institution is a subject in which men have always differed, and, if they continue to obey their lawful governours, and attempt not to make innovations, for the sake of their favourite schemes, they may differ for ever, without any just reproach from one another. But who can bear the hardy champion, who ventures nothing? who, in full security, undertakes the defence of the assassination of Cassar, and declares his resolution to speak plain? Yet let not just sentiments be overlooked: he has justly observed, that the greater part of mankind will be naturally prejudiced against Brutus, for all feel the benefits of private friendship; but few can discern the advantages of a well-constituted government [3].

We know not whether some apology may not be necessary for the distance between the first account of this book and its continuation. The truth is, that this work, not being forced upon our attention by much publick applause or censure, was sometimes neglected, and sometimes forgotten; nor would it, perhaps, have been now resumed, but that we might avoid to disappoint our readers by an abrupt desertion of any subject.

It is not our design to criticise the facts of this history, but the style; not the veracity, but the address of the writer; for, an account of the ancient Romans, as it cannot nearly interest any present reader, and must be drawn from writings that have been long known, can owe its value only to the language in which it is delivered, and the reflections with which it is accompanied. Dr. Blackwell, however, seems to have heated his imagination, so as to be much affected with every event, and to believe that he can affect others. Enthusiasm is, indeed, sufficiently contagious; but I never found any of his readers much enamoured of the glorious Pompey, the patriot approv'd, or much incensed against the lawless Caesar, whom this author, probably, stabs every day and night in his sleeping or waking dreams.

He is come too late into the world with his fury for freedom, with his Brutus and Cassius. We have all, on this side of the Tweed, long since settled our opinions: his zeal for Roman liberty and declamations against the violators of the republican constitution, only stand now in the reader's way, who wishes to proceed in the narrative without the interruption of epithets and exclamations. It is not easy to forbear laughter at a man so bold in fighting shadows, so busy in a dispute two thousand years past, and so zealous for the honour of a people, who, while they were poor, robbed mankind, and, as soon as they became rich, robbed one another. Of these robberies our author seems to have no very quick sense, except when they are committed by Caesar's party, for every act is sanctified by the name of a patriot.

If this author's skill in ancient literature were less generally acknowledged, one might sometimes suspect, that he had too frequently consulted the French writers. He tells us, that Archelaus, the Rhodian, made a speech to Cassius, and, in so saying, dropt some tears; and that Cassius, after the reduction of Rhodes, was covered with glory.—Deiotarus was a keen and happy spirit—the ingrate Castor kept his court.

His great delight is to show his universal acquaintance with terms of art, with words that every other polite writer has avoided and despised. When Pompey conquered the pirates, he destroyed fifteen hundred ships of the line.—The Xanthian parapets were tore down.—Brutus, suspecting that his troops were plundering, commanded the trumpets to sound to their colours.—Most people understood the act of attainder passed by the senate.—The Numidian troopers were unlikely in their appearance.— The Numidians beat up one quarter after another.—Salvidienus resolved to pass his men over, in boats of leather, and he gave orders for equipping a sufficient number of that sort of small craft.—Pompey had light, agile frigates, and fought in a strait, where the current and caverns occasion swirls and a roll.—A sharp out-look was kept by the admiral.—It is a run of about fifty Roman miles.—Brutus broke Lipella in the sight of the army.—Mark Antony garbled the senate. He was a brave man, well qualified for a commodore.

In his choice of phrases he frequently uses words with great solemnity, which every other mouth and pen has appropriated to jocularity and levity! The Rhodians gave up the contest, and, in poor plight, fled back to Rhodes.—Boys and girls were easily kidnapped.—Deiotarus was a mighty believer of augury.—Deiotarus destroyed his ungracious progeny.—The regularity of the Romans was their mortal aversion.—They desired the consuls to curb such heinous doings.—He had such a shrewd invention, that no side of a question came amiss to him.—Brutus found his mistress a coquettish creature.

He sometimes, with most unlucky dexterity, mixes the grand and the burlesque together; the violation of faith, sir, says Cassius, lies at the door of the Rhodians by reite-rated acts of perfidy.—The iron grate fell down, crushed those under it to death, and catched the rest as in a trap.—When the Xanthians heard the military shout, and saw the flame mount, they concluded there would be no mercy. It was now about sunset, and they had been at hot work since noon.

He has, often, words, or phrases, with which our language has hitherto had no knowledge.—One was a heart-friend to the republic—A deed was expeded.—The Numidians begun to reel, and were in hazard of falling into confusion.—The tutor embraced his pupil close in his arms.—Four hundred women were taxed, who have, no doubt, been the wives of the best Roman citizens.—Men not born to action are inconsequential in government.—Collectitious troops.—The foot, by their violent attack, began the fatal break in the Pharsaliac field.—He and his brother, with a politic, common to other countries, had taken opposite sides.

His epithets are of the gaudy or hyperbolical kind. The glorious news—eager hopes and dismal fears—bleeding Rome—divine laws and hallowed customs—merciless war—intense anxiety.

Sometimes the reader is suddenly ravished with a sonorous sentence, of which, when the noise is past, the meaning does not long remain. When Brutus set his legions to fill a moat, instead of heavy dragging and slow toil, they set about it with huzzas and racing, as if they had been striving at the Olympic games. They hurled impetuous down the huge trees and stones, and, with shouts, forced them into the water; so that the work, expected to continue half the campaign, was, with rapid toil, completed in a few days. Brutus's soldiers fell to the gate with resistless fury; it gave way, at last, with hideous crash.—This great and good man, doing his duty to his country, received a mortal wound, and glorious fell in the cause of Rome; may his memory be ever dear to all lovers of liberty, learning, and humanity! This promise ought ever to embalm his memory.—The queen of nations was torn by no foreign invader.—Rome fell a sacrifice to her own sons, and was ravaged by her unnatural offspring: all the great men of the state, all the good, all the holy, were openly murdered by the wickedest and worst.—Little islands cover the harbour of Brindisi, and form the narrow outlet from the numerous creeks that compose its capacious port.—At the appearance of Brutus and Cassius, a shout of joy rent the heavens from the surrounding multitudes.

Such are the flowers which may be gathered, by every hand, in every part of this garden of eloquence. But having thus freely mentioned our author's faults, it remains that we acknowledge his merit; and confess, that this book is the work of a man of letters, that it is full of events displayed with accuracy, and related with vivacity; and though it is sufficiently defective to crush the vanity of its author, it is sufficiently entertaining to invite readers.






Containing some arguments in proof of a Deity [4].

It will certainly be required, that notice should be taken of a book, however small, written on such a subject, by such an author. Yet I know not whether these letters will be very satisfactory; for they are answers to inquiries not published; and, therefore, though they contain many positions of great importance, are, in some parts, imperfect and obscure, by their reference to Dr. Bentley's letters.

Sir Isaac declares, that what he has done is due to nothing but industry and patient thought; and, indeed, long consideration is so necessary in such abstruse inquiries, that it is always dangerous to publish the productions of great men, which are not known to have been designed for the press, and of which it is uncertain, whether much patience and thought have been bestowed upon them. The principal question of these letters gives occasion to observe, how even the mind of Newton gains ground, gradually, upon darkness.

"As to your first query," says he, "it seems to me, that if the matter of our sun and planets, and all the matter of the universe, were evenly scattered, throughout all the heavens, and every particle had an innate gravity towards all the rest, and the whole space, throughout which this matter was scattered, was but finite, the matter on the outside of this space would, by its gravity, tend towards all the matter on the inside, and, by consequence, fall down into the middle of the whole space, and there compose one great spherical mass. But if the matter was evenly disposed throughout an infinite space, it could never convene into one mass, but some of it would convene into one mass, and some into another, so as to make an infinite number of great masses, scattered, at great distances, from one to another, throughout all that infinite space. And thus might the sun and fixed stars be formed, supposing the matter were of a lucid nature. But how the matter should divide itself into two sorts, and that part of it, which is fit to compose a shining body, should fall down into one mass, and make a sun, and the rest, which is fit to compose an opaque body, should coalesce, not into one great body, like the shining matter, but into many little ones; or, if the sun, at first, were an opaque body, like the planets, or the planets lucid bodies, like the sun, how he alone should be changed into a shining body, whilst all they continue opaque, or all they be changed into opaque ones, whilst he remains unchanged, I do not think more explicable by mere natural causes, but am forced to ascribe it to the counsel and contrivance of a voluntary agent."

The hypothesis of matter evenly disposed through infinite space, seems to labour with such difficulties, as makes it almost a contradictory supposition, or a supposition destructive of itself.

"Matter evenly disposed through infinite space," is either created or eternal; if it was created, it infers a creator; if it was eternal, it had been from eternity "evenly spread through infinite space;" or it had been once coalesced in masses, and, afterwards, been diffused. Whatever state was first must have been from eternity, and what had been from eternity could not be changed, but by a cause beginning to act, as it had never acted before, that is, by the voluntary act of some external power. If matter, infinitely and evenly diffused, was a moment without coalition, it could never coalesce at all by its own power. If matter originally tended to coalesce, it could never be evenly diffused through infinite space. Matter being supposed eternal, there never was a time, when it could be diffused before its conglobation, or conglobated before its diffusion.

This sir Isaac seems, by degrees, to have understood; for he says, in his second letter: "The reason why matter, evenly scattered through a finite space, would convene in the midst, you conceive the same with me; but, that there should be a central particle, so accurately placed in the middle, as to be always equally attracted on all sides, and, thereby, continue without motion, seems to me a supposition fully as hard as to make the sharpest needle stand upright upon its point on a looking-glass. For, if the very mathematical centre of the central particle be not accurately in the very mathematical centre of the attractive power of the whole mass, the particle will not be attracted equally on all sides. And much harder is it to suppose all the particles, in an infinite space, should be so accurately poised, one among another, as to stand still in a perfect equilibrium. For I reckon this as hard as to make not one needle only, but an infinite number of them, (so many as there are particles in an infinite space,) stand accurately poised upon their points. Yet I grant it possible, at least, by a divine power; and, if they were once to be placed, I agree with you, that they would continue in that posture without motion, for ever, unless put into new motion by the same power. When, therefore, I said, that matter evenly spread through all space, would convene, by its gravity, into one or more great masses, I understand it of matter not resting in an accurate poise."

Let not it be thought irreverence to this great name, if I observe, that by "matter evenly spread" through infinite space, he now finds it necessary to mean "matter not evenly spread." Matter not evenly spread will, indeed, convene, but it will convene as soon as it exists. And, in my opinion, this puzzling question about matter, is only, how that could be that never could have been, or what a man thinks on when he thinks on nothing.

Turn matter on all sides, make it eternal, or of late production, finite or infinite, there can be no regular system produced, but by a voluntary and meaning agent. This the great Newton always asserted, and this he asserts in the third letter; but proves, in another manner, in a manner, perhaps, more happy and conclusive.

"The hypothesis of deriving the frame of the world, by mechanical principles, from matter evenly spread through the heavens, being inconsistent with my system, I had considered it very little, before your letter put me upon it, and, therefore, trouble you with a line or two more about it, if this comes not too late for your use.

"In my former, I represented, that the diurnal rotations of the planets could not be derived from gravity, but required a divine arm to impress them. And though gravity might give the planets a motion of descent towards the sun, either directly, or with some little obliquity, yet the transverse motions, by which they revolve in their several orbs, required the divine arm to impress them, according to the tangents of their orbs. I would now add, that the hypothesis of matter's being, at first, evenly spread through the heavens, is, in my opinion, inconsistent with the hypothesis of innate gravity, without a supernatural power to reconcile them, and, therefore, it infers a deity. For, if there be innate gravity, it is impossible now for the matter of the earth, and all the planets and stars, to fly up from them, and become evenly spread throughout all the heavens, without a supernatural power; and, certainly, that which can never be hereafter, without a supernatural power, could never be heretofore, without the same power."






From Portsmouth to Kingston upon Thames, through Southampton, Wiltshire, &c. with miscellaneous thoughts, moral and religious; in sixty-four letters: addressed to two ladies of the partie. To which is added, an Essay On Tea, considered as pernicious to health, obstructing industry, and impoverishing the nation; with an account of its growth, and great consumption in these kingdoms; with several political reflections; and thoughts on publick love: in thirty-two letters to two ladies. By Mr. H.


[From the Literary Magazine, vol. ii. No. xiii. 1757.]

Our readers may, perhaps, remember, that we gave them a short account of this book, with a letter, extracted from it, in November, 1756. The author then sent us an injunction, to forbear his work, till a second edition should appear: this prohibition was rather too magisterial; for an author is no longer the sole master of a book, which he has given to the publick; yet he has been punctually obeyed; we had no desire to offend him; and, if his character may be estimated by his book, he is a man whose failings may well be pardoned for his virtues.

The second edition is now sent into the world, corrected and enlarged, and yielded up, by the author, to the attacks of criticism. But he shall find in us, no malignity of censure. We wish, indeed, that, among other corrections, he had submitted his pages to the inspection of a grammarian, that the elegancies of one line might not have been disgraced by the improprieties of another; but, with us, to mean well is a degree of merit, which overbalances much greater errours than impurity of style.

We have already given, in our collections, one of the letters, in which Mr. Hanway endeavours to show, that the consumption of tea is injurious to the interest of our country. We shall now endeavour to follow him, regularly, through all his observations on this modern luxury; but, it can scarcely be candid not to make a previous declaration, that he is to expect little justice from the author of this extract, a hardened and shameless tea-drinker, who has, for twenty years, diluted his meals with only the infusion of this fascinating plant; whose kettle has scarcely time to cool; who with tea amuses the evening, with tea solaces the midnight, and, with tea, welcomes the morning.

He begins by refuting a popular notion, that bohea and green tea are leaves of the same shrub, gathered at different times of the year. He is of opinion, that they are produced by different shrubs. The leaves of tea are gathered in dry weather; then dried and curled over the fire, in copper pans. The Chinese use little green tea, imagining, that it hinders digestion, and excites fevers. How it should have either effect, is not easily discovered; and, if we consider the innumerable prejudices, which prevail concerning our own plants, we shall very little regard these opinions of the Chinese vulgar, which experience does not confirm.

When the Chinese drink tea, they infuse it slightly, and extract only the more volatile parts; but though this seems to require great quantities at a time, yet the author believes, perhaps, only because he has an inclination to believe it, that the English and Dutch use more than all the inhabitants of that extensive empire. The Chinese drink it, sometimes, with acids, seldom with sugar; and this practice our author, who has no intention to find anything right at home, recommends to his countrymen.

The history of the rise and progress of tea-drinking is truly curious. Tea was first imported, from Holland, by the earls of Arlington and Ossory, in 1666; from their ladies the women of quality learned its use. Its price was then three pounds a pound, and continued the same to 1707. In 1715, we began to use green tea, and the practice of drinking it descended to the lower class of the people. In 1720, the French began to send it hither by a clandestine commerce. From 1717 to 1726, we imported, annually, seven hundred thousand pounds. From 1732 to 1742, a million and two hundred thousand pounds were every year brought to London; in some years afterwards three millions; and in 1755, near four millions of pounds, or two thousand tons, in which we are not to reckon that which is surreptitiously introduced, which, perhaps, is nearly as much. Such quantities are, indeed, sufficient to alarm us; it is, at least, worth inquiry, to know what are the qualities of such a plant, and what the consequences of such a trade.

He then proceeds to enumerate the mischiefs of tea, and seems willing to charge upon it every mischief that he can find. He begins, however, by questioning the virtues ascribed to it, and denies that the crews of the Chinese ships are preserved, in their voyage homewards, from the scurvy by tea. About this report I have made some inquiry, and though I cannot find that these crews are wholly exempt from scorbutick maladies, they seem to suffer them less than other mariners, in any course of equal length. This I ascribe to the tea, not as possessing any medicinal qualities, but as tempting them to drink more water, to dilute their salt food more copiously, and, perhaps, to forbear punch, or other strong liquors.

He then proceeds, in the pathetick strain, to tell the ladies how, by drinking tea, they injure their health, and, what is yet more dear, their beauty.

"To what can we ascribe the numerous complaints which prevail? How many sweet creatures of your sex languish with a weak digestion, low spirits, lassitudes, melancholy, and twenty disorders, which, in spite of the faculty, have yet no names, except the general one of nervous complaints? Let them change their diet, and, among other articles, leave off drinking tea, it is more than probable, the greatest part of them will be restored to health."

"Hot water is also very hurtful to the teeth. The Chinese do not drink their tea so hot as we do, and yet they have bad teeth. This cannot be ascribed entirely to sugar, for they use very little, as already observed; but we all know, that hot or cold things, which pain the teeth, destroy them also. If we drank less tea, and used gentle acids for the gums and teeth, particularly sour oranges, though we had a less number of French dentists, I fancy this essential part of beauty would be much better preserved.

"The women in the United Provinces, who sip tea from morning till night, are also as remarkable for bad teeth. They also look pallid, and many are troubled with certain feminine disorders, arising from a relaxed habit. The Portuguese ladies, on the other hand, entertain with sweetmeats, and yet they have very good teeth; but their food, in general, is more of a farinaceous and vegetable kind than ours. They also drink cold water, instead of sipping hot, and never taste any fermented liquors; for these reasons, the use of sugar does not seem to be at all pernicious to them."

"Men seem to have lost their stature and comeliness, and women their beauty. I am not young, but, methinks, there is not quite so much beauty in this land as there was. Your very chambermaids have lost their bloom, I suppose, by sipping tea. Even the agitations of the passions at cards are not so great enemies to female charms. What Shakespeare ascribes to the concealment of love, is, in this age, more frequently occasioned by the use of tea."

To raise the fright still higher, he quotes an account of a pig's tail, scalded with tea, on which, however, he does not much insist.

Of these dreadful effects, some are, perhaps, imaginary, and some may have another cause. That there is less beauty in the present race of females, than in those who entered the world with us, all of us are inclined to think, on whom beauty has ceased to smile; but our fathers and grandfathers made the same complaint before us; and our posterity will still find beauties irresistibly powerful.

That the diseases, commonly called nervous, tremours, fits, habitual depression, and all the maladies which proceed from laxity and debility, are more frequent than in any former time, is, I believe, true, however deplorable. But this new race of evils will not be expelled by the prohibition of tea. This general languor is the effect of general luxury, of general idleness. If it be most to be found among tea-drinkers, the reason is, that tea is one of the stated amusements of the idle and luxurious. The whole mode of life is changed; every kind of voluntary labour, every exercise that strengthened the nerves, and hardened the muscles, is fallen into disuse. The inhabitants are crowded together in populous cities, so that no occasion of life requires much motion; every one is near to all that he wants; and the rich and delicate seldom pass from one street to another, but in carriages of pleasure. Yet we eat and drink, or strive to eat and drink, like the hunters and huntresses, the farmers and the housewives, of the former generation; and they that pass ten hours in bed, and eight at cards, and the greater part of the other six at the table, are taught to impute to tea all the diseases which a life, unnatural in all its parts, may chance to bring upon them.

Tea, among the greater part of those who use it most, is drunk in no great quantity. As it neither exhilarates the heart, nor stimulates the palate, it is commonly an entertainment merely nominal, a pretence for assembling to prattle, for interrupting business, or diversifying idleness. They, who drink one cup, and, who drink twenty, are equally punctual in preparing or partaking it; and, indeed, there are few but discover, by their indifference about it, that they are brought together not by the tea, but the tea-table. Three cups make the common quantity, so slightly impregnated, that, perhaps, they might be tinged with the Athenian cicuta, and produce less effects than these letters charge upon tea.

Our author proceeds to show yet other bad qualities of this hated leaf.

"Green tea, when made strong, even by infusion, is an emetick; nay, I am told, it is used as such in China; a decoction of it certainly performs this operation; yet, by long use, it is drunk by many without such an effect. The infusion also, when it is made strong, and stands long to draw the grosser particles, will convulse the bowels: even in the manner commonly used, it has this effect on some constitutions, as I have already remarked to you from my own experience.

"You see I confess my weakness without reserve; but those who are very fond of tea, if their digestion is weak, and they find themselves disordered, they generally ascribe it to any cause, except the true one. I am aware that the effect, just mentioned, is imputed to the hot water; let it be so, and my argument is still good: but who pretends to say, it is not partly owing to particular kinds of tea? perhaps, such as partake of copperas, which, there is cause to apprehend, is sometimes the case: if we judge from the manner in which it is said to be cured, together with its ordinary effects, there is some foundation for this opinion. Put a drop of strong tea, either green or bohea, but chiefly the former, on the blade of a knife, though it is not corrosive, in the same manner as vitriol, yet there appears to be a corrosive quality in it, very different from that of fruit, which stains the knife."

He afterwards quotes Paulli, to prove, that tea is a "desiccative, and ought not to be used after the fortieth year." I have, then, long exceeded the limits of permission, but I comfort myself, that all the enemies of tea cannot be in the right. If tea be a desiccative, according to Paulli, it cannot weaken the fibres, as our author imagines; if it be emetick, it must constringe the stomach, rather than relax it.

The formidable quality of tinging the knife, it has in common with acorns, the bark, and leaves of oak, and every astringent bark or leaf: the copperas, which is given to the tea, is really in the knife. Ink may be made of any ferruginous matter, and astringent vegetable, as it is generally made of galls and copperas.

From tea, the writer digresses to spirituous liquors, about which he will have no controversy with the Literary Magazine; we shall, therefore, insert almost his whole letter, and add to it one testimony, that the mischiefs arising, on every side, from this compendious mode of drunkenness, are enormous and insupportable; equally to be found among the great and the mean; filling palaces with disquiet, and distraction, harder to be borne, as it cannot be mentioned; and overwhelming multitudes with incurable diseases, and unpitied poverty.

"Though tea and gin have spread their baneful influence over this island, and his majesty's other dominions, yet, you may be well assured, that the governors of the Foundling Hospital will exert their utmost skill and vigilance, to prevent the children, under their care, from being poisoned, or enervated by one or the other. This, however, is not the case of workhouses: it is well known, to the shame of those who are charged with the care of them, that gin has been too often permitted to enter their gates;—and the debauched appetites of the people, who inhabit these houses, has been urged as a reason for it.

"Desperate diseases require desperate remedies: if laws are rigidly executed against murderers in the highway, those who provide a draught of gin, which we see is murderous, ought not to be countenanced. I am now informed, that in certain hospitals, where the number of the sick used to be about 5600 in 14 years,

  From 1704 to 1718, they increased to 8189;
  From 1718 to 1734, still augmented to 12,710;
  And from 1734 to 1749, multiplied to 38,147.

"What a dreadful spectre does this exhibit! nor must we wonder, when satisfactory evidence was given, before the great council of the nation, that near eight millions of gallons of distilled spirits, at the standard it is commonly reduced to for drinking, was actually consumed annually in drams! the shocking difference in the numbers of the sick, and, we may presume, of the dead also, was supposed to keep pace with gin; and the most ingenious and unprejudiced physicians ascribed it to this cause. What is to be done under these melancholy circumstances? shall we still countenance the distillery, for the sake of the revenue; out of tenderness to the few, who will suffer by its being abolished; for fear of the madness of the people; or that foreigners will run it in upon us? There can be no evil so great as that we now suffer, except the making the same consumption, and paying for it to foreigners in money, which I hope never will be the case.

"As to the revenue, it certainly may be replaced by taxes upon the necessaries of life, even upon the bread we eat, or, in other words, upon the land, which is the great source of supply to the public, and to individuals. Nor can I persuade myself, but that the people may be weaned from the habit of poisoning themselves. The difficulty of smuggling a bulky liquid, joined to the severity which ought to be exercised towards smugglers, whose illegal commerce is of so infernal a nature, must, in time, produce the effect desired. Spirituous liquors being abolished, instead of having the most undisciplined and abandoned poor, we might soon boast a race of men, temperate, religious, and industrious, even to a proverb. We should soon see the ponderous burden of the poor's rate decrease, and the beauty and strength of the land rejuvenate. Schools, workhouses, and hospitals, might then be sufficient to clear our streets of distress and misery, which never will be the case, whilst the love of poison prevails, and the means of ruin is sold in above one thousand houses in the city of London, in two thousand two hundred in Westminster, and one thousand nine hundred and thirty in Holborn and St. Giles's.

"But if other uses still demand liquid fire, I would really propose, that it should be sold only in quart bottles, sealed up, with the king's seal, with a very high duty, and none sold without being mixed with a strong emetic.

"Many become objects of charity by their intemperance, and this excludes others, who are such by the unavoidable accidents of life, or who cannot, by any means, support themselves. Hence it appears, that the introducing new habits of life, is the most substantial charity; and that the regulation of charity-schools, hospitals, and workhouses, not the augmentation of their number, can make them answer the wise ends, for which they were instituted.

"The children of beggars should be also taken from them, and bred up to labour, as children of the public. Thus the distressed might be relieved, at a sixth part of the present expense; the idle be compelled to work or starve; and the mad be sent to Bedlam. We should not see human nature disgraced by the aged, the maimed, the sickly, and young children, begging their bread; nor would compassion be abused by those, who have reduced it to an art to catch the unwary. Nothing is wanting but common sense and honesty in the execution of laws.

"To prevent such abuse in the streets, seems more practicable than to abolish bad habits within doors, where greater numbers perish. We see, in many familiar instances, the fatal effects of example. The careless spending of time among servants, who are charged with the care of infants, is often fatal: the nurse frequently destroys the child! the poor infant, being left neglected, expires whilst she is sipping her tea! This may appear to you as rank prejudice, or jest; but, I am assured, from the most indubitable evidence, that many very extraordinary cases of this kind have really happened, among those whose duty does not permit of such kind of habits.

"It is partly from such causes, that nurses of the children of the public often forget themselves, and become impatient when infants cry; the next step to this is using extraordinary means to quiet them. I have already mentioned the term killing nurse, as known in some workhouses: Venice treacle, poppy water, and Godfrey's cordial, have been the kind instruments of lulling the child to his everlasting rest. If these pious women could send up an ejaculation, when the child expired, all was well, and no questions asked by the superiors. An ingenious friend of mine informs me, that this has been so often the case, in some workhouses, that Venice treacle has acquired the appellation of 'the Lord have mercy upon me,' in allusion to the nurses' hackneyed expression of pretended grief, when infants expire! Farewell."

I know not upon what observation Mr. Hanway founds his confidence in the governours of the Foundling Hospital, men of whom I have not any knowledge, but whom I entreat to consider a little the minds, as well as bodies, of the children. I am inclined to believe irreligion equally pernicious with gin and tea, and, therefore, think it not unseasonable to mention, that, when, a few months ago, I wandered through the hospital, I found not a child that seemed to have heard of his creed, or the commandments. To breed up children in this manner, is to rescue them from an early grave, that they may find employment for the gibbet; from dying in innocence, that they may perish by their crimes.

Having considered the effects of tea upon the health of the drinker, which, I think, he has aggravated in the vehemence of his zeal, and which, after soliciting them by this watery luxury, year after year, I have not yet felt, he proceeds to examine, how it may be shown to affect our interest; and first calculates the national loss, by the time spent in drinking tea. I have no desire to appear captious, and shall, therefore, readily admit, that tea is a liquor not proper for the lower classes of the people, as it supplies no strength to labour, or relief to disease, but gratifies the taste, without nourishing the body. It is a barren superfluity, to which those who can hardly procure what nature requires, cannot prudently habituate themselves. Its proper use is to amuse the idle, and relax the studious, and dilute the full meals of those who cannot use exercise, and will not use abstinence. That time is lost in this insipid entertainment cannot be denied; many trifle away, at the tea-table, those moments which would be better spent; but that any national detriment can be inferred from this waste of time, does not evidently appear, because I know not that any work remains undone, for want of hands. Our manufactures seem to be limited, not by the possibility of work, but by the possibility of sale.

His next argument is more clear. He affirms, that one hundred and fifty thousand pounds, in silver, are paid to the Chinese, annually, for three millions of pounds of tea, and, that for two millions more, brought clandestinely from the neighbouring coasts, we pay, at twenty-pence a pound, one hundred sixty-six thousand six hundred and sixty-six pounds. The author justly conceives, that this computation will waken us; for, says he: "the loss of health, the loss of time, the injury of morals, are not very sensibly felt by some, who are alarmed when you talk of the loss of money." But he excuses the East India company, as men not obliged to be political arithmeticians, or to inquire so much, what the nation loses, as how themselves may grow rich. It is certain, that they, who drink tea, have no right to complain of those that import it; but if Mr. Hanway's computation be just, the importation, and the use of it, ought, at once, to be stopped by a penal law.

The author allows one slight argument in favour of tea, which, in my opinion, might be, with far greater justice, urged both against that and many other parts of our naval trade. "The tea-trade employs," he tells us, "six ships, and five or six hundred seamen, sent annually to China. It, likewise, brings in a revenue of three hundred and sixty thousand pounds, which, as a tax on luxury, may be considered as of great utility to the state." The utility of this tax I cannot find: a tax on luxury is no better than another tax, unless it hinders luxury, which cannot be said of the impost upon tea, while it is thus used by the great and the mean, the rich and the poor. The truth is, that, by the loss of one hundred and fifty thousand pounds, we procure the means of shifting three hundred and sixty thousand, at best, only from one hand to another; but, perhaps, sometimes into hands by which it is not very honestly employed. Of the five or six hundred seamen, sent to China, I am told, that sometimes half, commonly a third part, perish in the voyage; so that, instead of setting this navigation against the inconveniencies already alleged, we may add to them, the yearly loss of two hundred men, in the prime of life; and reckon, that the trade of China has destroyed ten thousand men, since the beginning of this century.

If tea be thus pernicious, if it impoverishes our country, if it raises temptation, and gives opportunity to illicit commerce, which I have always looked on, as one of the strongest evidences of the inefficacy of our law, the weakness of our government, and the corruption of our people, let us, at once, resolve to prohibit it for ever.

"If the question was, how to promote industry most advantageously, in lieu of our tea-trade, supposing every branch of our commerce to be already fully supplied with men and money? If a quarter the sum, now spent in tea, were laid out, annually, in plantations, in making public gardens, in paving and widening streets, in making roads, in rendering rivers navigable, erecting palaces, building' bridges, or neat and convenient houses, where are now only huts; draining lands, or rendering those, which are now barren, of some use; should we not be gainers, and provide more for health, pleasure, and long life, compared with the consequences of the tea-trade?"

Our riches would be much better employed to these purposes; but if this project does not please, let us first resolve to save our money, and we shall, afterwards, very easily find ways to spend it.






It is observed, in Le Sage's Gil Bias, that an exasperated author is not easily pacified. I have, therefore, very little hope of making my peace with the writer of the Eight Days' Journey; indeed so little, that I have long deliberated, whether I should not rather sit silently down, under his displeasure, than aggravate my misfortune, by a defence, of which my heart forbodes the ill success. Deliberation is often useless. I am afraid, that I have, at last, made the wrong choice, and that I might better have resigned my cause, without a struggle, to time and fortune, since I shall run the hazard of a new oifence, by the necessity of asking him, why he is angry.

Distress and terrour often discover to us those faults, with which we should never have reproached ourselves in a happy state. Yet, dejected as I am, when I review the transaction between me and this writer, I cannot find, that I have been deficient in reverence. When his book was first printed, he hints, that I procured a sight of it before it was published. How the sight of it was procured, I do not now very exactly remember; but, if my curiosity was greater than my prudence, if I laid rash hands on the fatal volume, I have surely suffered, like him who burst the box, from which evil rushed into the world.

I took it, however, and inspected it, as the work of an author not higher than myself; and was confirmed in my opinion, when I found, that these letters were not written to be printed. I concluded, however, that, though not written to be printed, they were printed to be read, and inserted one of them in the collection of November last. Not many days after, I received a note, informing me, that I ought to have waited for a more correct edition. This injunction was obeyed. The edition appeared, and I supposed myself at liberty to tell my thoughts upon it, as upon any other book, upon a royal manifesto, or an act of parliament. But see the fate of ignorant temerity! I now find, but find too late, that, instead of a writer, whose only power is in his pen, I have irritated an important member of an important corporation; a man, who, as he tells us in his letters, puts horses to his chariot.

It was allowed to the disputant of old to yield up the controversy, with little resistance, to the master of forty legions. Those who know how weakly naked truth can defend her advocates, would forgive me, if I should pay the same respect to a governour of the foundlings. Yets the consciousness of my own rectitude of intention incites me to ask once again, how I have offended.

There are only three subjects upon which my unlucky pen has happened to venture: tea; the author of the journal; and the foundling-hospital.

Of tea, what have I said? That I have drank it twenty years, without hurt, and, therefore, believe it not to be poison; that, if it dries the fibres, it cannot soften them; that, if it constringes, it cannot relax. I have modestly doubted, whether it has diminished the strength of our men, or the beauty of our women; and whether it much hinders the progress of our woollen or iron manufactures; but I allowed it to be a barren superfluity, neither medicinal nor nutritious, that neither supplied strength nor cheerfulness, neither relieved weariness, nor exhilarated sorrow: I inserted, without charge or suspicion of falsehood, the sums exported to purchase it; and proposed a law to prohibit it for ever.

Of the author I unfortunately said, that his injunction was somewhat too magisterial. This I said, before I knew that he was a governour of the foundlings; but he seems inclined to punish this failure of respect, as the czar of Muscovy made war upon Sweden, because he was not treated with sufficient honours, when he passed through the country in disguise. Yet, was not this irreverence without extenuation. Something was said of the merit of meaning well, and the journalist was declared to be a man, whose failings might well be pardoned for his virtues. This is the highest praise which human gratitude can confer upon human merit; praise that would have more than satisfied Titus or Augustus, but which I must own to be inadequate and penurious, when offered to the member of an important corporation.

I am asked, whether I meant to satirize the man, or criticise the writer, when I say, that "he believes, only, perhaps, because he has inclination to believe it, that the English and Dutch consume more tea than the vast empire of China." Between the writer and the man, I did not, at that time, consider the distinction. The writer I found not of more than mortal might, and I did not immediately recollect, that the man put horses to his chariot. But I did not write wholly without consideration. I knew but two causes of belief, evidence and inclination. What evidence the journalist could have of the Chinese consumption of tea, I was not able to discover. The officers of the East India company are excluded, they best know why, from the towns and the country of China; they are treated, as we treat gipsies and vagrants, and obliged to retire, every night, to their own hovel. What intelligence such travellers may bring, is of no great importance. And, though the missionaries boast of having once penetrated further, I think, they have never calculated the tea drunk by the Chinese. There being thus no evidence for his opinion, to what could I ascribe it but inclination.

I am yet charged, more heavily, for having said, that "he has no intention to find any thing right at home." I believe every reader restrained this imputation to the subject which produced it, and supposed me to insinuate only, that he meant to spare no part of the tea-table, whether essence or circumstance. But this line he has selected, as an instance of virulence and acrimony, and confutes it by a lofty and splendid panegyrick on himself. He asserts, that he finds many things right at home, and that he loves his oountrv almost to enthusiasm.

I had not the least doubt, that he found, in his country, many things to please him; nor did I suppose, that he desired the same inversion of every part of life, as of the use of tea. The proposal of drinking tea sour showed, indeed, such a disposition to practical paradoxes, that there was reason to fear, lest some succeeding letter should recommend the dress of the Picts, or the cookery of the Eskimaux. However, I met with no other innovations, and, therefore, was willing to hope, that he found something right at home.

But his love of his country seemed not to rise quite to enthusiasm, when, amidst his rage against tea, he made a smooth apology for the East India company, as men who might not think themselves obliged to be political arithmeticians. I hold, though no enthusiastick patriot, that every man, who lives and trades under the protection of a community, is obliged to consider, whether he hurts or benefits those who protect him; and that the most which can be indulged to private interest, is a neutral traffick, if any such can be, by which our country is not injured, though it may not be benefited.

But he now renews his declamation against tea, notwithstanding the greatness or power of those that have interest or inclination to support it. I know not of what power or greatness he may dream. The importers only have an interest in defending it. I am sure, they are not great, and, I hope, they are not powerful. Those, whose inclination leads them to continue this practice, are too numerous; but, I believe their power is such, as the journalist may defy, without enthusiasm. The love of our country, when it rises to enthusiasm, is an ambiguous and uncertain virtue: when a man is enthusiastick, he ceases to be reasonable; and, when he once departs from reason, what will he do, but drink sour tea? As the journalist, though enthusiastically zealous for his country, has, with regard to smaller things, the placid happiness of philosophical indifference, I can give him no disturbance, by advising him to restrain, even the love of his country, within due limits, lest it should, sometimes, swell too high, fill the whole capacity of his soul, and leave less room for the love of truth.

Nothing now remains, but that I review my positions concerning the foundling hospital. What I declared last month, I declare now, once more, that I found none of the children that appeared to have heard of the catechism. It is inquired, how I wandered, and how I examined. There is, doubtless, subtlety in the question; I know not well how to answer it. Happily, I did not wander alone; I attended some ladies, with another gentleman, who all heard and assisted the inquiry, with equal grief and indignation. I did not conceal my observations. Notice was given of this shameful defect soon after, at my request, to one of the highest names of the society. This, I am now told, is incredible; but, since it is true, and the past is out of human power, the most important corporation cannot make it false. But, why is it incredible? Because, in the rules of the hospital, the children are ordered to learn the rudiments of religion. Orders are easily made, but they do not execute themselves. They say their catechism, at stated times, under an able master. But this able master was, I think, not elected before last February; and my visit happened, if I mistake not, in November. The children were shy, when interrogated by a stranger. This may be true, but the same shiness I do not remember to have hindered them from answering other questions; and I wonder, why children, so much accustomed to new spectators, should be eminently shy.

My opponent, in the first paragraph, calls the inference that I made from this negligence, a hasty conclusion: to the decency of this expression I had nothing to object; but, as he grew hot in his career, his enthusiasm began to sparkle; and, in the vehemence of his postscript, he charges my assertions, and my reasons for advancing them, with folly and malice. His argumentation, being somewhat enthusiastical, I cannot fully comprehend, but it seems to stand thus: my insinuations are foolish or malicious, since I know not one of the governours of the hospital; for, he that knows not the governours of the hospital, must be very foolish or malicious.

He has, however, so much kindness for me, that he advises me to consult my safety, when I talk of corporations. I know not what the most important corporation can do, becoming manhood, by which my safety is endangered. My reputation is safe, for I can prove the fact; my quiet is safe, for I meant well; and for any other safety, I am not used to be very solicitous.

I am always sorry, when I see any being labouring in vain; and, in return for the journalist's attention to my safety, I will confess some compassion for his tumultuous resentment; since all his invectives fume into the air, with so little effect upon me, that I still esteem him, as one that has the merit of meaning well; and still believe him to be a man, whose failings may be justly pardoned for his virtues [6].






This is a very curious and entertaining miscellany of critical remarks and literary history. Though the book promises nothing but observations on the writings of Pope, yet no opportunity is neglected of introducing the character of any other writer, or the mention of any performance or event, in which learning is interested. From Pope, however, he always takes his hint, and to Pope he returns again from his digressions. The facts, which he mentions, though they are seldom anecdotes, in a rigorous sense, are often such as are very little known, and such as will delight more readers than naked criticism.

As he examines the works of this great poet, in an order nearly chronological, he necessarily begins with his pastorals, which, considered as representations of any kind of life, he very justly censures; for there is in them a mixture of Grecian and English, of ancient and modern images. Windsor is coupled with Hybla, and Thames with Pactolus. He then compares some passages, which Pope has imitated, or translated, with the imitation, or version, and gives the preference to the originals, perhaps, not always upon convincing arguments.

Theocritus makes his lover wish to be a bee, that he might creep among the leaves that form the chaplet of his mistress. Pope's enamoured swain longs to be made the captive bird that sings in his fair one's bower, that she might listen to his songs, and reward him with her kisses. The critick prefers the image of Theocritus, as more wild, more delicate, and more uncommon.

It is natural for a lover to wish, that he might be any thing that could come near to his lady. But we more naturally desire to be that which she fondles and caresses, than that which she would avoid, at least would neglect. The snperiour delicacy of Theocritus I cannot discover, nor can, indeed, find, that either in the one or the other image there is any want of delicacy. Which of the two images was less common in the time of the poet who used it, for on that consideration the merit of novelty depends, I think it is now out of any critick's power to decide.

He remarks, I am afraid, with too much justice, that there is not a single new thought in the pastorals; and, with equal reason, declares, that their chief beauty consists in their correct and musical versification, which has so influenced the English ear, as to render every moderate rhymer harmonious.

In his examination of the Messiah, he justly observes some deviations from the inspired author, which weaken the imagery, and dispirit the expression.

On Windsor Forest, he declares, I think without proof, that descriptive poetry was by no means the excellence of Pope; he draws this inference from the few images introduced in this poem, which would not equally belong to any other place. He must inquire, whether Windsor forest has, in reality, any thing peculiar.

The Stag-chase is not, he says, so full, so animated, and so circumstantiated, as Somerville's. Barely to say, that one performance is not so good as another, is to criticise with little exactness. But Pope has directed, that we should, in every work, regard the author's end. The stag-chase is the main subject of Somerville, and might, therefore, be properly dilated into all its circumstances; in Pope, it is only incidental, and was to be despatched in a few lines.

He makes a just observation, "that the description of the external beauties of nature, is usually the first effort of a young genius, before he hath studied nature and passions. Some of Milton's most early, as well as mos't exquisite pieces, are his Lycidas, l'Allegro, and il Penseroso, if we may except his ode on the Nativity of Christ, which is, indeed, prior in order of time, and in which a penetrating critick might have observed the seeds of that boundless imagination, which was, one day, to produce the Paradise Lost."

Mentioning Thomson, and other descriptive poets, he remarks, that writers fail in their copies, for want of acquaintance with originals, and justly ridicules those who think they can form just ideas of valleys, mountains, and rivers, in a garret in the Strand. For this reason, I cannot regret, with this author, that Pope laid aside his design of writing American pastorals; for, as he must have painted scenes, which he never saw, and manners, which he never knew, his performance, though it might have been a pleasing amusement of fancy, would have exhibited no representation of nature or of life.

After the pastorals, the critick considers the lyrick poetry of Pope, and dwells longest on the ode on St. Cecilia's day, which he, like the rest of mankind, places next to that of Dryden, and not much below it. He remarks, after Mr. Spence, that the first stanza is a perfect concert: the second he thinks a little flat; he justly commends the fourth, but without notice of the best line in that stanza, or in the poem:

  "Transported demi-gods stood round,
  And men grew heroes at the sound."

In the latter part of the ode, he objects to the stanza of triumph:

  "Thus song could prevail," &c.

as written in a measure ridiculous and burlesque, and justifies his answer, by observing, that Addison uses the same numbers in the scene of Rosamond, between Grideline and sir Trusty:

  "How unhappy is he," &c.

That the measure is the same in both passages, must be confessed, and both poets, perhaps, chose their numbers properly; for they both meant to express a kind of airy hilarity. The two passions of merriment and exultation are, undoubtedly, different; they are as different as a gambol and a triumph, but each is a species of joy; and poetical measures have not, in any language, been so far refined, as to provide for the subdivisions of passion. They can only be adapted to general purposes; but the particular and minuter propriety must be sought only in the sentiment and language. Thus the numbers are the same in Colin's Complaint, and in the ballad of Darby and Joan, though, in one, sadness is represented, and, in the other, tranquillity; so the measure is the same of Pope's Unfortunate Lady, and the Praise of Voiture.

He observes, very justly, that the odes, both of Dryden and Pope, conclude, unsuitably and unnaturally, with epigram.

He then spends a page upon Mr. Handel's musick to Dryden's ode, and speaks of him with that regard which he has generally obtained among the lovers of sound. He finds something amiss in the air "With ravished ears," but has overlooked, or forgotten, the grossest fault in that composition, which is that in this line:

  "Revenge, revenge, Timotheus cries,"

He has laid much stress upon the two latter words, which are merely words of connexion, and ought, in musick, to be considered as parenthetical.

From this ode is struck out a digression on the nature of odes, and the comparative excellence of the ancients and moderns. He mentions the chorus which Pope wrote for the duke of Buckingham; and thence takes occasion to treat of the chorus of the ancients. He then comes to another ode, of "The dying Christian to his Soul;" in which, finding an apparent imitation of Flatman, he falls into a pleasing and learned speculation, on the resembling passages to be found in different poets.

He mentions, with great regard, Pope's ode on Solitude, written when he was but twelve years old, but omits to mention the poem on Silence, composed, I think, as early, with much greater elegance of diction, musick of numbers, extent of observation, and force of thought. If he had happened to think on Baillet's chapter of Enfans célèbres, he might have made, on this occasion, a very entertaining dissertation on early excellence.

He comes next to the Essay on Criticism, the stupendous performance of a youth, not yet twenty years old; and, after having detailed the felicities of condition, to which he imagines Pope to have owed his wonderful prematurity of mind, he tells us, that he is well informed this essay was first written in prose. There is nothing improbable in the report, nothing, indeed, but what is more likely than the contrary; yet I [8] cannot forbear to hint to this writer, and all others, the danger and weakness of trusting too readily to information. Nothing but experience could evince the frequency of false information, or enable any man to conceive, that so many groundless reports should be propagated, as every man of eminence may hear of himself. Some men relate what they think, as what they know; some men, of confused memories and habitual inaccuracy, ascribe to one man, what belongs to another; and some talk on, without thought or care. A few men are sufficient to broach falsehoods, which are afterwards innocently diffused by successive relaters.

He proceeds on, examining passage after passage of this essay; but we must pass over all these criticisms, to which we have not something to add or to object, or where this author does not differ from the general voice of mankind. We cannot agree with him in his censure of the comparison of a student advancing in science, with a traveller passing the Alps, which is, perhaps, the best simile in our language; that, in which the most exact resemblance is traced between things, in appearance, utterly unrelated to each other. That the last line conveys no new idea, is not true; it makes particular, what was before general. Whether the description, which he adds from another author, be, as he says, more full and striking than that of Pope, is not to be inquired. Pope's description is relative, and can admit no greater length than is usually allowed to a simile, nor any other particulars than such as form the correspondence.

Unvaried rhymes, says this writer, highly disgust readers of a good ear. It is, surely, not the ear, but the mind that is offended. The fault, arising from the use of common rhymes, is, that by reading the past line, the second may be guessed, and half the composition loses the grace of novelty.

On occasion of the mention of an alexandrine, the critick observes, that "the alexandrine may be thought a modern measure, but that Robert of Gloucester's Wife is an alexandrine, with the addition of two syllables; and that Sternhold and Hopkins translated the Psalms in the same measure of fourteen syllables, though they are printed otherwise."

This seems not to be accurately conceived or expressed: an alexandrine, with the addition of two syllables, is no more an alexandrine, than with the detraction of two syllables. Sternhold and Hopkins did, generally, write in the alternate measure of eight and six syllables; but Hopkins commonly rhymed the first and third; Sternhold, only the second and fourth: so that Sternhold may be considered, as writing couplets of long lines; but Hopkins wrote regular stanzas. From the practice of printing the long lines of fourteen syllables in two short lines, arose the license of some of our poets, who, though professing to write in stanzas, neglect the rhymes of the first and third lines.

Pope has mentioned Petronius, among the great names of criticism, as the remarker justly observes, without any critical merit. It is to be suspected, that Pope had never read his book, and mentioned him on the credit of two or three sentences which he had often seen quoted, imagining, that where there was so much, there must necessarily be more. Young men, in haste to be renowned, too frequently talk of books which they have scarcely seen.

The revival of learning, mentioned in this poem, affords an opportunity of mentioning the chief periods of literary history, of which this writer reckons five: that of Alexander, of Ptolemy Philadelphus, of Augustus, of Leo the tenth, of queen Anne.

These observations are concluded with a remark, which deserves great attention: "In no polished nation, after criticism has been much studied, and the rules of writing established, has any very extraordinary book ever appeared."

The Rape of the Lock was always regarded, by Pope, as the highest production of his genius. On occasion of this work, the history of the comick-heroick is given; and we are told, that it descended from Fassoni to Boileau, from Boileau to Garth, and from Garth to Pope. Garth is mentioned, perhaps, with too much honour; but all are confessed to be inferiour to Pope. There is, in his remarks on this work, no discovery of any latent beauty, nor any thing subtle or striking; he is, indeed, commonly right, but has discussed no difficult question.

The next pieces to be considered are, the Verses to the Memory of an unfortunate Lady, the Prologue to Cato, and Epilogue to Jane Shore. The first piece he commends. On occasion of the second, he digresses, according to his custom, into a learned dissertation on tragedies, and compares the English and French with the Greek stage. He justly censures Cato, for want of action and of characters; but scarcely does justice to the sublimity of some speeches, and the philosophical exactness in the sentiments. "The simile of mount Atlas, and that of the Numidian traveller, smothered in the sands, are, indeed, in character," says the critick, "but sufficiently obvious." The simile of the mountain is, indeed, common; but that of the traveller, I do not remember. That it is obvious is easy to say, and easy to deny. Many things are obvious, when they are taught.

He proceeds to criticise the other works of Addison, till the epilogue calls his attention to Rowe, whose character he discusses in the same manner, with sufficient freedom and sufficient candour.

The translation of the epistle of Sappho to Phaon is next considered; but Sappho and Ovid are more the subjects of this disquisition, than Pope. We shall, therefore, pass over it to a piece of more importance, the epistle of Eloisa to Abelard, which may justly be regarded, as one of the works on which the reputation of Pope will stand in future times.

The critick pursues Eloisa through all the changes of passion, produces the passages of her letters, to which any allusion is made, and intersperses many agreeable particulars and incidental relations. There is not much profundity of criticism, because the beauties are sentiments of nature, which the learned and the ignorant feel alike. It is justly remarked by him, that the wish of Eloisa, for the happy passage of Abelard into the other world, is formed according to the ideas of mystick devotion.

These are the pieces examined in this volume: whether the remaining part of the work will be one volume, or more, perhaps the writer himself cannot yet inform us [9]. This piece is, however, a complete work, so far as it goes; and the writer is of opinion, that he has despatched the chief part of his task; for he ventures to remark, that the reputation of Pope, as a poet, among posterity, will be principally founded on his Windsor Forest, Rape of the Lock, and Eloisa to Abelard; while the facts and characters, alluded to in his late writings, will be forgotten and unknown, and their poignancy and propriety little relished; for wit and satire are transitory and perishable, but nature and passion are eternal.

He has interspersed some passages of Pope's life, with which most readers will be pleased. When Pope was yet a child, his father, who had been a merchant in London, retired to Binfield. He was taught to read by an aunt; and learned to write, without a master, by copying printed books. His father used to order him to make English verses, and would oblige him to correct and retouch them over and over, and, at last, could say, "These are good rhymes."

At eight years of age, he was committed to one Taverner, a priest, who taught him the rudiments of the Latin and Greek. At this time, he met with Ogleby's Homer, which seized his attention; he fell next upon Sandys's Ovid, and remembered these two translations, with pleasure, to the end of his life.

About ten, being at school, near Hyde-park corner, he was taken to the playhouse, and was so struck with the splendour of the drama, that he formed a kind of play out of Ogleby's Homer, intermixed with verses of his own. He persuaded the head boys to act this piece, and Ajax was performed by his master's gardener. They were habited according to the pictures in Ogleby. At twelve, he retired, with his father, to Windsor forest, and formed himself by study in the best English poets.

In this extract, it was thought convenient to dwell chiefly upon such observations, as relate immediately to Pope, without deviating, with the author, into incidental inquiries. We intend to kindle, not to extinguish, curiosity, by this slight sketch of a work, abounding with curious quotations and pleasing disquisitions. He must be much acquainted with literary history, both of remote and late times, who does not find, in this essay, many things which he did not know before; and, if there be any too learned to be instructed in facts or opinions, he may yet properly read this book, as a just specimen of literary moderation.






This is a treatise, consisting of six letters, upon a very difficult and important question, which, I am afraid, this author's endeavours will not free from the perplexity which has entangled the speculatists of all ages, and which must always continue while we see but in part. He calls it a Free Enquiry, and, indeed, his freedom is, I think, greater than his modesty. Though he is far from the contemptible arrogance, or the impious licentiousness of Bolingbroke, yet he decides, too easily, upon questions out of the reach of human determination, with too little consideration of mortal weakness, and with too much vivacity for the necessary caution.

In the first letter, on evil in general, he observes, that, "it is the solution of this important question, whence came evil? alone, that can ascertain the moral characteristic of God, without which there is an end of all distinction between good and evil." Yet he begins this inquiry by this declaration: "That there is a supreme being, infinitely powerful, wise, and benevolent, the great creator and preserver of all things, is a truth so clearly demonstrated, that it shall be here taken for granted." What is this, but to say, that we have already reason to grant the existence of those attributes of God, which the present inquiry is designed to prove? The present inquiry is, then, surely made to no purpose. The attributes, to the demonstration of which the solution of this great question is necessary, have been demonstrated, without any solution, or by means of the solution of some former writer.

He rejects the Manichean system, but imputes to it an absurdity, from which, amidst all its absurdities, it seems to be free, and adopts the system of Mr. Pope. "That pain is no evil, if asserted with regard to the individuals who suffer it, is downright nonsense; but if considered as it affects the universal system, is an undoubted truth, and means only, that there is no more pain in it, than what is necessary to the production of happiness. How many soever of these evils, then, force themselves into the creation, so long as the good preponderates, it is a work well worthy of infinite wisdom and benevolence; and, notwithstanding the imperfections of its parts, the whole is, most undoubtedly, perfect." And, in the former part of the letter, he gives the principle of his system in these words: "Omnipotence cannot work contradictions; it can only effect all possible things. But so little are we acquainted with the whole system of nature, that we know not what are possible, and what are not; but if we may judge from that constant mixture of pain with pleasure, and inconveniency with advantage, which we must observe in every thing around us, we have reason to conclude, that, to endue created beings with perfection, that is, to produce good, exclusive of evil, is one of those impossibilities, which even infinite power cannot accomplish."

This is elegant and acute, but will by no means calm discontent, or silence curiosity; for, whether evil can be wholly separated from good or not, it is plain, that they may be mixed, in various degrees, and, as far as human eyes can judge, the degree of evil might have been less, without any impediment to good.

The second letter, on the evils of imperfection, is little more than a paraphrase of Pope's epistles, or, yet less than a paraphrase, a mere translation of poetry into prose. This is, surely, to attack difficulty with very disproportionate abilities, to cut the Gordian knot with very blunt instruments. When we are told of the insufficiency of former solutions, why is one of the latest, which no man can have forgotten, given us again? I am told, that this pamphlet is not the effort of hunger; what can it be, then, but the product of vanity? and yet, how can vanity be gratified by plagiarism or transcription? When this speculatist finds himself prompted to another performance, let him consider, whether he is about to disburden his mind, or employ his fingers; and, if I might venture to offer him a subject, I should wish, that he would solve this question: Why he, that has nothing to write, should desire to be a writer?

Yet is not this letter without some sentiments, which, though not new, are of great importance, and may be read, with pleasure, in the thousandth repetition.

"Whatever we enjoy, is purely a free gift from our creator; but, that we enjoy no more, can never, sure, be deemed an injury, or a just reason to question his infinite benevolence. All our happiness is owing to his goodness; but, that it is no greater, is owing only to ourselves; that is, to our not having any inherent right to any happiness, or even to any existence at all. This is no more to be imputed to God, than the wants of a beggar to the person who has relieved him: that he had something, was owing to his benefactor; but that he had no more, only to his own original poverty."

Thus far he speaks what every man must approve, and what every wise man has said before him. He then gives us the system of subordination, not invented, for it was known, I think, to the Arabian metaphysicians, but adopted by Pope, and, from him, borrowed by the diligent researches of this great investigator.

"No system can possibly be formed, even in imagination, without a subordination of parts. Every animal body must have different members, subservient to each other; every picture must be composed of various colours, and of light and shade; all harmony must be formed of trebles, tenours, and bases; every beautiful and useful edifice must consist of higher and lower, more and less magnificent apartments. This is in the very essence of all created things, and, therefore, cannot be prevented, by any means whatever, unless by not creating them at all."

These instances are used, instead of Pope's oak and weeds, or Jupiter and his satellites; but neither Pope, nor this writer, have much contributed to solve the difficulty. Perfection, or imperfection, of unconscious beings has no meaning, as referred to themselves; the base and the treble are equally perfect; the mean and magnificent apartments feel no pleasure or pain from the comparison. Pope might ask the weed, why it was less than the oak? but the weed would never ask the question for itself. The base and treble differ only to the hearer, meanness and magnificence only to the inhabitant. There is no evil but must inhere in a conscious being, or be referred to it; that is, evil must be felt, before it is evil. Yet, even on this subject, many questions might be offered, which human understanding has not yet answered, and which the present haste of this extract will not suffer me to dilate.

He proceeds to an humble detail of Pope's opinion: "The universe is a system, whose very essence consists in subordination; a scale of beings descending, by insensible degrees, from infinite perfection to absolute nothing; in which, though we may justly expect to find perfection in the whole, could we possibly comprehend it; yet would it be the highest absurdity to hope for it in all its parts, because the beauty and happiness of the whole depend altogether on the just inferiority of its parts; that is, on the comparative imperfections of the several beings of which it is composed.

"It would have been no more an instance of God's wisdom to have created no beings, but of the highest and most perfect order, than it would be of a painter's art to cover his whole piece with one single colour, the most beautiful he could compose. Had he confined himself to such, nothing could have existed but demi-gods, or archangels, and, then, all inferior orders must have been void and uninhabited; but as it is, surely, more agreeable to infinite benevolence, that all these should be filled up with beings capable of enjoying happiness themselves, and contributing to that of others, they must, necessarily, be filled with inferior beings; that is, with such as are less perfect, but from whose existence, notwithstanding that less perfection, more felicity, upon the whole, accrues to the universe, than if no such had been created. It is, moreover, highly probable, that there is such a connexion between all ranks and orders, by subordinate degrees, that they mutually support each other's existence, and every one, in its place, is absolutely necessary towards sustaining the whole vast and magnificent fabric.

"Our pretences for complaint could be of this only, that we are not so high in the scale of existence as our ignorant ambition may desire; a pretence which must eternally subsist, because, were we ever so much higher, there would be still room for infinite power to exalt us; and, since no link in the chain can be broke, the same reason for disquiet must remain to those who succeed to that chasm, which must be occasioned by our preferment. A man can have no reason to repine, that he is not an angel; nor a horse, that he is not a man; much less, that, in their several stations, they possess not the faculties of another; for this would be an insufferable misfortune."

This doctrine of the regular subordination of beings, the scale of existence, and the chain of nature, I have often considered, but always left the inquiry in doubt and uncertainty.

That every being not infinite, compared with infinity, must be imperfect, is evident to intuition; that, whatever is imperfect must have a certain line which it cannot pass, is equally certain. But the reason which determined this limit, and for which such being was suffered to advance thus far, and no farther, we shall never be able to discern. Our discoverers tell us, the creator has made beings of all orders, and that, therefore, one of them must be such as man; but this system seems to be established on a concession, which, if it be refused, cannot be extorted.

Every reason which can be brought to prove, that there are beings of every possible sort, will prove, that there is the greatest number possible of every sort of beings; but this, with respect to man, we know, if we know any thing, not to be true.

It does not appear, even to the imagination, that of three orders of being, the first and the third receive any advantage from the imperfection of the second, or that, indeed, they may not equally exist, though the second had never been, or should cease to be; and why should that be concluded necessary, which cannot be proved even to be useful?

The scale of existence, from infinity to nothing, cannot possibly have being. The highest being not infinite, must be, as has been often observed, at an infinite distance below infinity. Cheyne, who, with the desire inherent in mathematicians to reduce every thing to mathematical images, considers all existence as a cone; allows that the basis is at an infinite distance from the body; and in this distance between finite and infinite, there will be room, for ever, for an infinite series of indefinable existence.

Between the lowest positive existence and nothing, wherever we suppose positive existence to cease, is another chasm infinitely deep; where there is room again for endless orders of subordinate nature, continued for ever and for ever, and yet infinitely superiour to nonexistence.

To these meditations humanity is unequal. But yet we may ask, not of our maker, but of each other, since, on the one side, creation, wherever it stops, must stop infinitely below infinity, and on the other, infinitely above nothing, what necessity there is, that it should proceed so far, either way, that beings so high or so low should ever have existed? We may ask; but, I believe, no created wisdom can give an adequate answer.

Nor is this all. In the scale, wherever it begins or ends, are infinite vacuities. At whatever distance we suppose the next order of beings to be above man, there is room for an intermediate order of beings between them; and if for one order, then for infinite orders; since every thing that admits of more or less, and consequently all the parts of that which admits them, may be infinitely divided. So that, as far as we can judge, there may be room in the vacuity between any two steps of the scale, or between any two points of the cone of being, for infinite exertion of infinite power.

Thus it appears, how little reason those, who repose their reason upon the scale of being, have to triumph over them who recur to any other expedient of solution, and what difficulties arise, on every side, to repress the rebellions of presumptuous decision: "Qui pauca considerat, facile pronunciat." In our passage through the boundless ocean of disquisition, we often take fogs for land, and, after having long toiled to approach them, find, instead of repose and harbours, new storms of objection, and fluctuations of uncertainty.

We are next entertained with Pope's alleviations of those evils which we are doomed to suffer.

"Poverty, or the want of riches, is generally compensated by having more hopes, and fewer fears, by a greater share of health, and a more exquisite relish of the smallest enjoyments, than those who possess them are usually blessed with. The want of taste and genius, with all the pleasures that arise from them, are commonly recompensed by a more useful kind of common sense, together with a wonderful delight, as well as success, in the busy pursuits of a scrambling world. The sufferings of the sick are greatly relieved by many trifling gratifications, imperceptible to others, and, sometimes, almost repaid by the inconceivable transports occasioned by the return of health and vigour. Folly cannot be very grievous, because imperceptible; and I doubt not but there is some truth in that rant of a mad poet, that there is a pleasure in being mad, which none but madmen know. Ignorance, or the want of knowledge and literature, the appointed lot of all born to poverty and the drudgeries of life, is the only opiate capable of infusing that insensibility, which can enable them to endure the miseries of the one, and the fatigues of the other. It is a cordial, administered by the gracious hand of providence, of which they ought never to be deprived by an ill-judged and improper education. It is the basis of all subordination, the support of society, and the privilege of individuals; and I have ever thought it a most remarkable instance of the divine wisdom, that, whereas in all animals, whose individuals rise little above the rest of their species, knowledge is instinctive; in man, whose individuals are so widely different, it is acquired by education; by which means the prince and the labourer, the philosopher and the peasant, are, in some measure, fitted for their respective situations."

Much of these positions is, perhaps, true; and the whole paragraph might well pass without censure, were not objections necessary to the establishment of knowledge. Poverty is very gently paraphrased by want of riches. In that sense, almost every man may, in his own opinion, be poor. But there is another poverty, which is want of competence of all that can soften the miseries of life, of all that can diversify attention, or delight imagination. There is yet another poverty, which is want of necessaries, a species of poverty which no care of the publick, no charity of particulars, can preserve many from feeling openly, and many secretly.

That hope and fear are inseparably, or very frequently, connected with poverty and riches, my surveys of life have not informed me. The milder degrees of poverty are, sometimes, supported by hope; but the more severe often sink down in motionless despondence. Life must be seen, before it can be known. This author and Pope, perhaps, never saw the miseries which they imagine thus easy to be borne. The poor, indeed, are insensible of many little vexations, which sometimes imbitter the possessions, and pollute the enjoyments, of the rich. They are not pained by casual incivility, or mortified by the mutilation of a compliment; but this happiness is like that of a malefactor, who ceases to feel the cords that bind him, when the pincers are tearing his flesh.

That want of taste for one enjoyment is supplied by the pleasures of some other, may be fairly allowed; but the compensations of sickness I have never found near to equivalence, and the transports of recovery only prove the intenseness of the pain.

With folly, no man is willing to confess himself very intimately acquainted, and, therefore, its pains and pleasures are kept secret. But what the author says of its happiness, seems applicable only to fatuity, or gross dulness; for that inferiority of understanding, which makes one man, without any other reason, the slave, or tool, or property of another, which makes him sometimes useless, and sometimes ridiculous, is often felt with very quick sensibility. On the happiness of madmen, as the case is not very frequent, it is not necessary to raise a disquisition, but I cannot forbear to observe, that I never yet knew disorders of mind increase felicity: every madman is either arrogant and irascible, or gloomy and suspicious, or possessed by some passion, or notion, destructive to his quiet. He has always discontent in his look, and malignity in his bosom. And, if he had the power of choice, he would soon repent who should resign his reason to secure his peace.

Concerning the portion of ignorance necessary to make the condition of the lower classes of mankind safe to the publick, and tolerable to themselves, both morals and policy exact a nicer inquiry than will be very soon or very easily made. There is, undoubtedly, a degree of knowledge which will direct a man to refer all to providence, and to acquiesce in the condition with which omniscient goodness has determined to allot him; to consider this world as a phantom, that must soon glide from before his eyes, and the distresses and vexations that encompass him, as dust scattered in his path, as a blast that chills him for a moment, and passes off for ever.

Such wisdom, arising from the comparison of a part with the whole of our existence, those that want it most cannot possibly obtain from philosophy; nor, unless the method of education, and the general tenour of life are changed, will very easily receive it from religion. The bulk of mankind is not likely to be very wise or very good; and I know not, whether there are not many states of life, in which all knowledge, less than the highest wisdom, will produce discontent and danger. I believe it may be sometimes found, that a little learning is, to a poor man, a dangerous thing. But such is the condition of humanity, that we easily see, or quickly feel the wrong, but cannot always distinguish the right. Whatever knowledge is superfluous, in irremediable poverty, is hurtful, but the difficulty is to determine when poverty is irremediable, and at what point superfluity begins. Gross ignorance every man has found equally dangerous with perverted knowledge. Men, left wholly to their appetites and their instincts, with little sense of moral or religious obligation, and with very faint distinctions of right and wrong, can never be safely employed, or confidently trusted; they can be honest only by obstinacy, and diligent only by compulsion or caprice. Some instruction, therefore, is necessary, and much, perhaps, may be dangerous.

Though it should be granted, that those who are born to poverty and drudgery, should not be deprived, by an improper education, of the opiate of ignorance; even this concession will not be of much use to direct our practice, unless it be determined, who are those that are born to poverty. To entail irreversible poverty upon generation after generation, only because the ancestor happened to be poor, is, in itself, cruel, if not unjust, and is wholly contrary to the maxims of a commercial nation, which always suppose and promote a rotation of property, and offer every individual a chance of mending his condition by his diligence. Those, who communicate literature to the son of a poor man consider him, as one not born to poverty, but to the necessity of deriving a better fortune from himself. In this attempt, as in others, many fail and many succeed. Those that fail, will feel their misery more acutely; but since poverty is now confessed to be such a calamity, as cannot be borne without the opiate of insensibility, I hope the happiness of those whom education enables to escape from it, may turn the balance against that exacerbation which the others suffer.

I am always afraid of determining on the side of envy or cruelty. The privileges of education may, sometimes, be improperly bestowed, but I shall always fear to withhold them, lest I should be yielding to the suggestions of pride, while I persuade myself that I am following the maxims of policy; and, under the appearance of salutary restraints, should be indulging the lust of dominion, and that malevolence which delights in seeing others depressed.

Pope's doctrine is, at last, exhibited in a comparison, which, like other proofs of the same kind, is better adapted to delight the fancy than convince the reason.

"Thus the universe resembles a large and well-regulated family, in which all the officers and servants, and even the domestic animals, are subservient to each other, in a proper subordination: each enjoys the privileges and perquisites peculiar to his place, and, at the same time, contributes, by that just subordination, to the magnificence and happiness of the whole."

The magnificence of a house is of use or pleasure always to the master, and sometimes to the domesticks. But the magnificence of the universe adds nothing to the supreme being; for any part of its inhabitants, with which human knowledge is acquainted, an universe much less spacious or splendid would have been sufficient; and of happiness it does not appear, that any is communicated from the beings of a lower world to those of a higher.

The inquiry after the cause of natural evil is continued in the third letter, in which, as in the former, there is mixture of borrowed truth, and native folly, of some notions, just and trite, with others uncommon and ridiculous.

His opinion of the value and importance of happiness is certainly just, and I shall insert it; not that it will give any information to any reader, but it may serve to show, how the most common notion may be swelled in sound, and diffused in bulk, till it shall, perhaps, astonish the author himself.

"Happiness is the only thing of real value in existence, neither riches, nor power, nor wisdom, nor learning, nor strength, nor beauty, nor virtue, nor religion, nor even life itself, being of any importance, but as they contribute to its production. All these are, in themselves, neither good nor evil: happiness alone is their great end, and they are desirable only as they tend to promote it."

Success produces confidence. After this discovery of the value of happiness, he proceeds, without any distrust of himself, to tell us what has been hid from all former inquirers.

"The true solution of this important question, so long and so vainly searched for by the philosophers of all ages and all countries, I take to be, at last, no more than this, that these real evils proceed from the same source as those imaginary ones of imperfection, before treated of, namely, from that subordination, without which no created system can subsist; all subordination implying imperfection, all imperfection evil, and all evil some kind of inconveniency or suffering: so that there must, be particular inconvenieucies and sufferings annexed to every particular rank of created beings by the circumstances of things, and their modes of existence.

"God, indeed, might have made us quite other creatures, and placed us in a world quite differently constituted; but then we had been no longer men, and whatever beings had occupied our stations in the universal system, they must have been liable to the same inconveniencies."

In all this, there is nothing that can silence the inquiries of curiosity, or culm the perturbations of doubt. Whether subordination implies imperfection may be disputed. The means respecting themselves may be as perfect as the end. The weed, as a weed, is no less perfect than the oak, as an oak. That imperfection implies evil, and evil suffering, is by no means evident. Imperfection may imply privative evil, or the absence of some good, but this privation produces no suffering, but by the help of knowledge. An infant at the breast is yet an imperfect man, but there is no reason for belief, that he is unhappy by his immaturity, unless some positive pain be superadded. When this author presumes to speak of the universe, I would advise him a little to distrust his own faculties, however large and comprehensive. Many words, easily understood on common occasions, become uncertain and figurative, when applied to the works of omnipotence. Subordination, in human affairs, is well understood; but, when it is attributed to the universal system, its meaning grows less certain, like the petty distinctions of locality, which are of good use upon our own globe, but have no meaning with regard to infinite space, in which nothing is high or low. That, if man, by exaltation to a higher nature, were exempted from the evils which he now suffers, some other being must suffer them; that, if man were not man, some other being must be man, is a position arising from his established notion of the scale of being. A notion to which Pope has given some importance, by adopting it, and of which I have, therefore, endeavoured to show the uncertainty and inconsistency. This scale of being I have demonstrated to be raised by presumptuous imagination, to rest on nothing at the bottom, to lean on nothing at the top, and to have vacuities, from step to step, through which any order of being may sink into nihility without any inconvenience, so far as we can judge, to the next rank above or below it. We are, therefore, little enlightened by a writer who tells us, that any being in the state of man must suffer what man suffers, when the only question that requires to be resolved is: Why any being is in this state. Of poverty and labour he gives just and elegant representations, which yet do not remove the difficulty of the first and fundamental question, though supposing the present state of man necessary, they may supply some motives to content.

"Poverty is what all could not possibly have been exempted from, not only by reason of the fluctuating nature of human possessions, but because the world could not subsist without it; for, had all been rich, none could have submitted to the commands of another, or the necessary drudgeries of life; thence all governments must have been dissolved, arts neglected, and lands uncultivated, and so an universal penury have overwhelmed all, instead of now and then pinching a few. Hence, by the by, appears the great excellence of charity, by which men are enabled, by a particular distribution of the blessings and enjoyments of life, on proper occasions, to prevent that poverty, which, by a general one, omnipotence itself could never have prevented; so that, by enforcing this duty, God, as it were, demands our assistance to promote universal happiness, and to shut out misery at every door, where it strives to intrude itself.

"Labour, indeed, God might easily have excused us from, since, at his command, the earth would readily have poured forth all her treasures, without our inconsiderable assistance; but, if the severest labour cannot sufficiently subdue the malignity of human nature, what plots and machinations, what wars, rapine, and devastation, what profligacy and licentiousness, must have been the consequences of universal idleness! So that labour ought only to be looked upon, as a task kindly imposed upon us by our indulgent creator, necessary to preserve our health, our safety, and our innocence."

I am afraid, that "the latter end of his commonwealth forgets the beginning." If God could easily have excused us from labour, I do not comprehend why he could not possibly have exempted all from poverty. For poverty, in its easier and more tolerable degree, is little more than necessity of labour; and, in its more severe and deplorable state, little more than inability for labour. To be poor is to work for others, or to want the succour of others, without work. And the same exuberant fertility, which would make work unnecessary, might make poverty impossible.

Surely, a man who seems not completely master of his own opinion, should have spoken more cautiously of omnipotence, nor have presumed to say what it could perform, or what it could prevent. I am in doubt, whether those, who stand highest in the scale of being, speak thus confidently of the dispensations of their maker:

  "For fools rush in, where angels fear to tread."

Of our inquietudes of mind, his account is still less reasonable: "Whilst men are injured, they must be inflamed with anger; and, whilst they see cruelties, they must be melted with pity; whilst they perceive danger, they must be sensible of fear." This is to give a reason for all evil, by showing, that one evil produces another. If there is danger, there ought to be fear; but, if fear is an evil, why should there be danger? His vindication of pain is of the same kind: pain is useful to alarm us, that we may shun greater evils, but those greater evils must be pre-supposed, that the fitness of pain may appear.

Treating on death, he has expressed the known and true doctrine with sprightliness of fancy, and neatness of diction. I shall, therefore, insert it. There are truths which, as they are always necessary, do not grow stale by repetition

  "Death, the last and most dreadful of all evils,
  is so far from being one, that it is the infallible
  cure for all others.

  To die, is landing on some silent shore,
  Where billows never beat, nor tempests roar.
  Ere well we feel the friendly stroke, 'tis o'er.


For, abstracted from the sickness and sufferings usually attending it, it is no more than the expiration of that term of life God was pleased to bestow on us, without any claim or merit on our part. But was it an evil ever so great, it could not be remedied, but by one much greater, which is, by living for ever; by which means, our wickedness, unrestrained by the prospect of a future state, would grow so insupportable, our sufferings so intolerable by perseverance, and our pleasures so tiresome by repetition, that no being in the universe could be so completely miserable, as a species of immortal men. We have no reason, therefore, to look upon death as an evil, or to fear it as a punishment, even without any supposition of a future life: but, if we consider it, as a passage to a more perfect state, or a remove only in an eternal succession of still-improving states, (for which we have the strongest reasons,) it will then appear a new favour from the divine munificence; and a man must be as absurd to repine at dying, as a traveller would be, who proposed to himself a delightful tour through various unknown countries, to lament, that he cannot take up his residence at the first dirty inn, which he baits at on the road.

"The instability of human life, or of the changes of its successive periods, of which we so frequently complain, are no more than the necessary progress of it to this necessary conclusion; and are so far from being evils, deserving these complaints, that they are the source of our greatest pleasures, as they are the source of all novelty, from which our greatest pleasures are ever derived. The continual succession of seasons in the human life, by daily presenting to us new scenes, render it agreeable, and, like those of the year, afford us delights by their change, which the choicest of them could not give us by their continuance. In the spring of life, the gilding of the sunshine, the verdure of the fields, and the variegated paintings of the sky, are so exquisite in the eyes of infants, at their first looking abroad into a new world, as nothing, perhaps, afterwards can equal: the heat and vigour of the succeeding summer of youth, ripens for us new pleasures, the blooming maid, the nightly revel, and the jovial chase: the serene autumn of complete manhood feasts us with the golden harvests of our worldly pursuits: nor is the hoary winter of old age destitute of its peculiar comforts and enjoyments, of which the recollection and relation of those past, are, perhaps, none of the least: and, at last, death opens to us a new prospect, from whence we shall, probably, look back upon the diversions and occupations of this world, with the same contempt we do now on our tops and hobby horses, and with the same surprise, that they could ever so much entertain or engage us."

I would not willingly detract from the beauty of this paragraph; and, in gratitude to him who has so well inculcated such important truths, I will venture to admonish him, since the chief comfort of the old is the recollection of the past, so to employ his time and his thoughts, that, when the imbecility of age shall come upon him, he may be able to recreate its languors, by the remembrance of hours spent, not in presumptuous decisions, but modest inquiries; not in dogmatical limitations of omnipotence, but in humble acquiescence, and fervent adoration. Old age will show him, that much of the book, now before us, has no other use than to perplex the scrupulous, and to shake the weak, to encourage impious presumption, or stimulate idle curiosity.

Having thus despatched the consideration of particular evils, he comes, at last, to a general reason, for which evil may be said to be our good. He is of opinion, that there is some inconceivable benefit in pain, abstractedly considered; that pain, however inflicted, or wherever felt, communicates some good to the general system of being, and, that every animal is, some way or other, the better for the pain of every other animal. This opinion he carries so far, as to suppose, that there passes some principle of union through all animal life, as attraction is communicated to all corporeal nature; and, that the evils suffered on this globe, may, by some inconceivable means, contribute to the felicity of the inhabitants of the remotest planet.

How the origin of evil is brought nearer to human conception, by any inconceivable means, I am not able to discover. We believed, that the present system of creation was right, though we could not explain the adaptation of one part to the other, or for the whole succession of causes and consequences. Where has this inquirer added to the little knowledge that we had before? He has told us of the benefits of evil, which no man feels, and relations between distant parts of the universe, which he cannot himself conceive. There was enough in this question inconceivable before, and we have little advantage from a new inconceivable solution.

I do not mean to reproach this author for not knowing what is equally hidden from learning and from ignorance. The shame is, to impose words, for ideas, upon ourselves or others. To imagine, that we are going forward, when we are only turning round. To think, that there is any difference between him that gives no reason, and him that gives a reason, which, by his own confession, cannot be conceived.

But, that he may not be thought to conceive nothing but things inconceivable, he has, at last, thought on a way, by which human sufferings may produce good effects. He imagines, that as we have not only animals for food, but choose some for our diversion, the same privilege may be allowed to some beings above us, who may deceive, torment, or destroy us, for the ends, only, of their own pleasure or utility. This he again finds impossible to be conceived, but that impossibility lessens not the probability of the conjecture, which, by analogy, is so strongly confirmed. I cannot resist the temptation of contemplating this analogy, which, I think, he might have carried further, very much to the advantage of his argument. He might have shown, that these "hunters, whose game is man," have many sports analogous to our own. As we drown whelps and kittens, they amuse themselves, now and then, with sinking a ship, and stand round the fields of Blenheim, or the walls of Prague, as we encircle a cockpit. As we shoot a bird flying, they take a man in the midst of his business or pleasure, and knock him down with an apoplexy. Some of them, perhaps, are virtuosi, and delight in the operations of an asthma, as a human philosopher in the effects of the air-pump. To swell a man with a tympany is as good sport as to blow a frog. Many a merry bout have these frolick beings at the vicissitudes of an ague, and good sport it is to see a man tumble with an epilepsy, and revive and tumble again, and all this he knows not why. As they are wiser and more powerful than we, they have more exquisite diversions; for we have no way of procuring any sport so brisk and so lasting, as the paroxysms of the gout and stone, which, undoubtedly, must make high mirth, especially if the play be a little diversified with the blunders and puzzles of the blind and deaf. We know not how far their sphere of observation may extend. Perhaps, now and then, a merry being may place himself in such a situation, as to enjoy, at once, all the varieties of an epidemical disease, or amuse his leisure with the tossings and contortions of every possible pain, exhibited together.

One sport the merry malice of these beings has found means of enjoying, to which we have nothing equal or similar. They now and then catch a mortal, proud of his parts, and flattered either by the submission of those who court his kindness, or the notice of those who suffer him to court theirs. A head, thus prepared for the reception of false opinions, and the projection of vain designs, they easily fill with idle notions, till, in time, they make their plaything an author; their first diversion commonly begins with an ode or an epistle, then rises, perhaps, to a political irony, and is, at last, brought to its height, by a treatise of philosophy. Then begins the poor animal to entangle himself in sophisms, and flounder in absurdity, to talk confidently of the scale of being, and to give solutions which himself confesses impossible to be understood. Sometimes, however, it happens, that their pleasure is without much mischief. The author feels no pain, but while they are wondering at the extravagance of his opinion, and pointing him out to one another, as a new example of human folly, he is enjoying his own applause and that of his companions, and, perhaps, is elevated with the hope of standing at the head of a new sect.

Many of the books which now crowd the world, may be justly suspected to be written for the sake of some invisible order of beings, for surely they are of no use to any of the corporeal inhabitants of the world. Of the productions of the last bounteous year, how many can be said to serve any purpose of use or pleasure! The only end of writing is to enable the readers better to enjoy life, or better to endure it; and how will either of those be put more in our power, by him who tells us, that we are puppets, of which some creature, not much wiser than ourselves, manages the wires! That a set of beings, unseen and unheard, are hovering about us, trying experiments upon our sensibility, putting us in agonies, to see our limbs quiver; torturing us to madness, that they may laugh at our vagaries; sometimes obstructing the bile, that they may see how a man looks, when he is yellow; sometimes breaking a traveller's bones, to try how he will get home; sometimes wasting a man to a skeleton, and sometimes killing him fat, for the greater elegance of his hide.

This is an account of natural evil, which though, like the rest, not quite new, is very entertaining, though I know not how much it may contribute to patience. The only reason why we should contemplate evil is, that we may bear it better; and I am afraid nothing is much more placidly endured, for the sake of making others sport.

The first pages of the fourth letter are such, as incline me both to hope and wish that I shall find nothing to blame in the succeeding part. He offers a criterion of action, on account of virtue and vice, for which I have often contended, and which must be embraced by all who are willing to know, why they act, or why they forbear to give any reason of their conduct to themselves or others.

"In order to find out the true origin of moral evil, it will be necessary, in the first place, to enquire into its nature and essence; or, what it is that constitutes one action evil, and another good. Various have been the opinions of various authors on this criterion of virtue; and this variety has rendered that doubtful, which must, otherwise, have been clear and manifest to the meanest capacity. Some, indeed, have denied, that there is any such thing, because different ages and nations have entertained different sentiments concerning it; but this is just as reasonable, as to assert, that there are neither sun, moon, nor stars, because astronomers have supported different systems of the motions and magnitudes of these celestial bodies. Some have placed it in conformity to truth, some to the fitness of things, and others to the will of God: but all this is merely superficial: they resolve us not, why truth, or the fitness of things, are either eligible or obligatory, or why God should require us to act in one manner rather than another. The true reason of which can possibly be no other than this, because some actions produce happiness, and others misery; so that all moral good and evil are nothing more than the production of natural. This alone it is that makes truth preferable to falsehood, this, that determines the fitness of things, and this that induces God to command some actions, and forbid others. They who extol the truth, beauty, and harmony of virtue, exclusive of its consequences, deal but in pompous nonsense; and they, who would persuade us, that good and evil are things indifferent, depending wholly on the will of God, do but confound the nature of things, as well as all our notions of God himself, by representing him capable of willing contradictions; that is, that we should be, and be happy, and, at the same time, that we should torment and destroy each other; for injuries cannot be made benefits, pain cannot be made pleasure, and, consequently, vice cannot be made virtue, by any power whatever. It is the consequences, therefore, of all human actions that must stamp their value. So far as the general practice of any action tends to produce good, and introduce happiness into the world, so far we may pronounce it virtuous; so much evil as it occasions, such is the degree of vice it contains. I say the general practice, because we must always remember, in judging by this rule, to apply it only to the general species of actions, and not to particular actions; for the infinite wisdom of God, desirous to set bounds to the destructive consequences, which must, otherwise, have followed from the universal depravity of mankind, has so wonderfully contrived the nature of things, that our most vitious actions may, sometimes, accidentally and collaterally, produce good. Thus, for instance, robbery may disperse useless hoards to the benefit of the public; adultery may bring heirs, and good humour too, into many families, where they would otherwise have been wanting; and murder, free the world from tyrants and oppressors. Luxury maintains its thousands, and vanity its ten thousands. Superstition and arbitrary power contribute to the grandeur of many nations, and the liberties of others are preserved by the perpetual contentions of avarice, knavery, selfishness, and ambition; and thus the worst of vices, and the worst of men, are often compelled, by providence, to serve the most beneficial purposes, contrary to their own malevolent tendencies and inclinations; and thus private vices become public benefits, by the force only of accidental circumstances. But this impeaches not the truth of the criterion of virtue, before mentioned, the only solid foundation on which any true system of ethics can be built, the only plain, simple, and uniform rule, by which we can pass any judgment on our actions; but by this we may be enabled, not only to determine which are good, and which are evil, but, almost mathematically, to demonstrate the proportion of virtue or vice which belongs to each, by comparing them with the degrees of happiness or misery which they occasion. But, though the production of happiness is the essence of virtue, it is by no means the end; the great end is the probation of mankind, or the giving them an opportunity of exalting or degrading themselves, in another state, by their behaviour in the present. And thus, indeed, it answers two most important purposes: those are, the conservation of our happiness, and the test of our obedience; or, had not such a test seemed necessary to God's infinite wisdom, and productive of universal good, he would never have permitted the happiness of men, even in this life, to have depended on so precarious a tenure, as their mutual good behaviour to each other. For it is observable, that he, who best knows our formation, has trusted no one thing of importance to our reason or virtue: he trusts only to our appetites for the support of the individual, and the continuance of our species; to our vanity, or compassion, for our bounty to others; and to our fears, for the preservation of ourselves; often to our vices, for the support of government, and, sometimes, to our follies, for the preservation of our religion. But, since some test of our obedience was necessary, nothing, sure, could have been commanded for that end, so fit, and proper, and, at the same time, so useful, as the practice of virtue; nothing could have been so justly rewarded with happiness, as the production of happiness, in conformity to the will of God. It is this conformity, alone, which adds merit to virtue, and constitutes the essential difference between morality and religion. Morality obliges men to live honestly and soberly, because such behaviour is most conducive to public happiness, and, consequently, to their own; religion, to pursue the same course, because conformable to the will of their creator. Morality induces them to embrace virtue, from prudential considerations; religion, from those of gratitude and obedience. Morality, therefore, entirely abstracted from religion, can have nothing meritorious in it; it being but wisdom, prudence, or good economy, which, like health, beauty, or riches, are rather obligations conferred upon us by God, than merits in us towards him; for, though we may be justly punished for injuring ourselves, we can claim no reward for self-preservation; as suicide deserves punishment and infamy, but a man deserves no reward or honours for not being guilty of it. This I take to be the meaning of all those passages in our scriptures, in which works are represented to have no merit without faith; that is, not without believing in historical facts, in creeds, and articles, but, without being done in pursuance of our belief in God, and in obedience to his commands. And now, having mentioned scripture, I cannot omit observing, that the christian is the only religious or moral institution in the world, that ever set, in a right light, these two material points, the essence and the end of virtue, that ever founded the one in the production of happiness, that is, in universal benevolence, or, in their language, charity to all men; the other, in the probation of man, and his obedience to his creator. Sublime and magnificent as was the philosophy of the ancients, all their moral systems were deficient in these two important articles. They were all built on the sandy foundations of the innate beauty of virtue, or enthusiastic patriotism; and their great point in view was the contemptible reward of human glory; foundations, which were, by no means, able to support the magnificent structures which they erected upon them; for the beauty of virtue, independent of its effects, is unmeaning nonsense; patriotism, which injures mankind in general, for the sake of a particular country, is but a more extended selfishness, and really criminal; and all human glory, but a mean and ridiculous delusion.

"The whole affair, then, of religion and morality, the subject of so many thousand volumes, is, in short, no more than this: the supreme being, infinitely good, as well as powerful, desirous to diffuse happiness by all possible means, has created innumerable ranks and orders of beings, all subservient to each other by proper subordination. One of these is occupied by man, a creature endued with such a certain degree of knowledge, reason, and freewill, as is suitable to his situation, and placed, for a time, on this globe, as in a school of probation and education. Here he has an opportunity given him of improving or debasing his nature, in such a manner, as to render himself fit for a rank of higher perfection and happiness, or to degrade himself to a state of greater imperfection and misery; necessary, indeed, towards carrying on the business of the universe, but very grievous and burdensome to those individuals who, by their own misconduct, are obliged to submit to it. The test of this his behaviour is doing good, that is, cooperating with his creator, as far as his narrow sphere of action will permit, in the production of happiness. And thus the happiness and misery of a future state will be the just reward or punishment of promoting or preventing happiness in this. So artificially, by this means, is the nature of all human virtue and vice contrived, that their rewards and punishments are woven, as it were, in their very essence; their immediate effects give us a foretaste of their future, and their fruits, in the present life, are the proper samples of what they must unavoidably produce in another. We have reason given us to distinguish these consequences, and regulate our conduct; and, lest that should neglect its post, conscience also is appointed, as an instinctive kind of monitor, perpetually to remind us both of our interest and our duty."

"Si sic omnia dixisset!" To this account of the essence of vice and virtue, it is only necessary to add, that the consequences of human actions being sometimes uncertain, and sometimes remote, it is not possible, in many cases, for most men, nor in all cases, for any man, to determine what actions will ultimately produce happiness, and, therefore, it was proper that revelation should lay down a rule to be followed, invariably, in opposition to appearances, and, in every change of circumstances, by which we may be certain to promote the general felicity, and be set free from the dangerous temptation of doing evil that good may come. Because it may easily happen, and, in effect, will happen, very frequently, that our own private happiness may be promoted by an act injurious to others, when yet no man can be obliged, by nature, to prefer, ultimately, the happiness of others to his own; therefore, to the instructions of infinite wisdom, it was necessary that infinite power should add penal sanctions. That every man, to whom those instructions shall be imparted, may know, that he can never, ultimately, injure himself by benefiting others, or, ultimately, by injuring others benefit himself; but that, however the lot of the good and bad may be huddled together in the seeming confusion of our present state, the time shall undoubtedly come, when the most virtuous will be most happy.

I am sorry, that the remaining part of this letter is not equal to the first. The author has, indeed, engaged in a disquisition, in which we need not wonder if he fails, in the solution of questions on which philosophers have employed their abilities from the earliest times,

  "And found no end, in wand'ring mazes lost."

He denies, that man was created perfect, because the system requires subordination, and because the power of losing his perfection, of "rendering himself wicked and miserable, is the highest imperfection imaginable." Besides, the regular gradations of the scale of being required, somewhere, "such a creature as man, with all his infirmities about him; and the total removal of those would be altering his nature, and, when he became perfect, he must cease to be man."

I have already spent some considerations on the scale of being, of which, yet, I am obliged to renew the mention, whenever a new argument is made to rest upon it; and I must, therefore, again remark, that consequences cannot have greater certainty than the postulate from which they are drawn, and that no system can be more hypothetical than this, and, perhaps, no hypothesis more absurd.

He again deceives himself with respect to the perfection with which man is held to be originally vested. "That man came perfect, that is, endued with all possible perfection, out of the hands of his creator, is a false notion derived from the philosophers.—The universal system required subordination, and, consequently, comparative imperfection." That man was ever endued with all possible perfection, that is, with all perfection, of which the idea is not contradictory, or destructive of itself, is, undoubtedly, false. But it can hardly be called a false notion, because no man ever thought it, nor can it be derived from the philosophers; for, without pretending to guess what philosophers he may mean, it is very safe to affirm, that no philosopher ever said it. Of those who now maintain that man was once perfect, who may very easily be found, let the author inquire, whether man was ever omniscient, whether he was ever omnipotent; whether he ever had even the lower power of archangels or angels. Their answers will soon inform him, that the supposed perfection of man was not absolute, but respective; that he was perfect, in a sense consistent enough with subordination, perfect, not as compared with different beings, but with himself in his present degeneracy; not perfect, as an angel, but perfect, as man.

From this perfection, whatever it was, he thinks it necessary that man should be debarred, because pain is necessary to the good of the universe; and the pain of one order of beings extending its salutary influence to innumerable orders above and below, it was necessary that man should suffer; but, because it is not suitable to justice, that pain should be inflicted on innocence, it was necessary that man should be criminal.

This is given as a satisfactory account of the original of moral evil, which amounts only to this, that God created beings, whose guilt he foreknew, in order that he might have proper objects of pain, because the pain of part is, no man knows how or why, necessary to the felicity of the whole.

The perfection which man once had, may be so easily conceived, that, without any unusual strain of imagination, we can figure its revival. All the duties to God or man, that are neglected, we may fancy performed; all the crimes, that are committed, we may conceive forborne. Man will then be restored to his moral perfections; and into what head can it enter, that, by this change, the universal system would be shaken, or the condition of any order of beings altered for the worse?

He comes, in the fifth letter, to political, and, in the sixth, to religious evils. Of political evil, if we suppose the origin of moral evil discovered, the account is by no means difficult; polity being only the conduct of immoral men in publick affairs. The evils of each particular kind of government are very clearly and elegantly displayed, and, from their secondary causes, very rationally deduced; but the first cause lies still in its ancient obscurity. There is, in this letter, nothing new, nor any thing eminently instructive; one of his practical deductions, that "from government, evils cannot be eradicated, and their excess only can be prevented," has been always allowed; the question, upon which all dissension arises, is, when that excess begins, at what point men shall cease to bear, and attempt to remedy.

Another of his precepts, though not new, well deserves to be transcribed, because it cannot be too frequently impressed.

"What has here been said of their imperfections and abuses, is, by no means, intended as a defence of them: every wise man ought to redress them to the utmost of his power; which can be effected by one method only, that is, by a reformation of manners; for, as all political evils derive their original from moral, these can never be removed, until those are first amended. He, therefore, who strictly adheres to virtue and sobriety in his conduct, and enforces them by his example, does more real service to a state, than he who displaces a minister, or dethrones a tyrant: this gives but a temporary relief, but that exterminates the cause of the disease. No immoral man, then, can possibly be a true patriot; and all those who profess outrageous zeal for the liberty and prosperity of their country, and, at the same time, infringe her laws, affront her religion, and debauch her people, are but despicable quacks, by fraud or ignorance increasing the disorders they pretend to remedy."

Of religion he has said nothing but what he has learned, or might have learned, from the divines; that it is not universal, because it must be received upon conviction, and successively received by those whom conviction reached; that its evidences and sanctions are not irresistible, because it was intended to induce, not to compel; and that it is obscure, because we want faculties to comprehend it. What he means by his assertion, that it wants policy, I do not well understand; he does not mean to deny, that a good christian will be a good governour, or a good subject; and he has before justly observed, that the good man only is a patriot.

Religion has been, he says, corrupted by the wickedness of those to whom it was communicated, and has lost part of its efficacy, by its connexion with temporal interest and human passion.

He justly observes, that from all this no conclusion can be drawn against the divine original of christianity, since the objections arise not from the nature of the revelation, but of him to whom it is communicated.

All this is known, and all this is true; but why, we have not yet discovered. Our author, if I understand him right, pursues the argument thus: the religion of man produces evils, because the morality of man is imperfect; his morality is imperfect, that he may be justly a subject of punishment; he is made subject to punishment, because the pain of part is necessary to the happiness of the whole; pain is necessary to happiness, no mortal can tell why, or how.

Thus, after having clambered, with great labour, from one step of argumentation to another, instead of rising into the light of knowledge, we are devolved back into dark ignorance; and all our effort ends in belief, that for the evils of life there is some good reason, and in confession, that the reason cannot be found. This is all that has been produced by the revival of Chrysippus's untractableness of matter, and the Arabian scale of existence. A system has been raised, which is so ready to fall to pieces of itself, that no great praise can be derived from its destruction. To object, is always easy, and, it has been well observed by a late writer, that "the hand which cannot build a hovel, may demolish a temple [11]."







In which the most considerable papers communicated to the society, which have, hitherto, not been published, are inserted, in their proper order, as a supplement to the Philosophical Transactions. By Thomas Birch, D. D. secretary to the Royal society, 2 vols. 4to.

This book might, more properly, have been entitled by the author, a diary than a history, as it proceeds regularly from day to day, so minutely, as to number over the members present at each committee, and so slowly, that two large volumes contain only the transactions of the eleven first years from the institution of the society.

I am, yet, far from intending to represent this work as useless. Many particularities are of importance to one man, though they appear trifling to another; and it is always more safe to admit copiousness, than to affect brevity. Many informations will be afforded by this book to the biographer. I know not where else it can be found, but here, and in Ward, that Cowley was doctor in physick. And, whenever any other institution, of the same kind, shall be attempted, the exact relation of the progress of the Royal society may furnish precedents.

These volumes consist of an exact journal of the society; of some papers delivered to them, which, though registered and preserved, had been never printed; and of short memoirs of the more eminent members, inserted at the end of the year in which each died.

The original of the society is placed earlier in this history than in that of Dr. Sprat. Theodore Haak, a German of the Palatinate, in 1645, proposed, to some inquisitive and learned men, a weekly meeting, for the cultivation of natural knowledge. The first associates, whose names ought, surely, to be preserved, were Dr. Wilkins, Dr. Wallis, Dr. Goddard, Dr. Ent, Dr. Glisson, Dr. Merret, Mr. Foster of Gresham, and Mr. Haak. Sometime afterwards, Wilkins, Wallis, and Goddard, being removed to Oxford, carried on the same design there by stated meetings, and adopted into their society Dr. Ward, Dr. Bathurst, Dr. Petty, and Dr. Willis.

The Oxford society coming to London, in 1659, joined their friends, and augmented their number, and, for some time, met in Gresham college. After the restoration, their number was again increased, and on the 28th of November, 1660, a select party happening to retire for conversation, to Mr. Rooke's apartment in Gresham college, formed the first plan of a regular society. Here Dr. Sprat's history begins, and, therefore, from this period, the proceedings are well known [12].







This appears to be one of the books, which will long do honour to the present age. It has been, by some remarker, observed, that no man ever grew immortal by a translation; and, undoubtedly, translations into the prose of a living language must be laid aside, whenever the language changes, because the matter being always to be found in the original, contributes nothing to the preservation of the form superinduced by the translator. But such versions may last long, though they can scarcely last always; and there is reason to believe that this will grow in reputation, while the English tongue continues in its present state.

The great difficulty of a translator is to preserve the native form of his language, and the unconstrained manner of an original writer. This Mr. Hampton seems to have attained, in a degree of which there are few examples. His book has the dignity of antiquity, and the easy flow of a modern composition.

It were, perhaps, to be desired, that he had illustrated, with notes, an author which must have many difficulties to an English reader, and, particularly, that he had explained the ancient art of war; but these omissions may be easily supplied, by an inferiour hand, from the antiquaries and commentators.

To note omissions, where there is so much performed, would be invidious, and to commend is unnecessary, where the excellence of the work may be more easily and effectually shown, by exhibiting a specimen [13].







This volume, though only one name appears upon the first page, has been produced by the contribution of many hands, and printed by the encouragement of a numerous subscription, both which favours seem to be deserved by the modesty and piety of her on whom they were bestowed.

The authors of the esssays in prose seem, generally, to have imitated, or tried to imitate, the copiousness and luxunance of Mrs. Rowe; this, however, is not all their praise, they have laboured to add to her brightness of imagery, her purity of sentiments. The poets have had Dr. Watts before their eyes, a writer who, if he stood not in the first class of genius, compensated that defect, by a ready application of his powers to the promotion of piety. The attempt to employ the ornaments of romance in the decoration of religion was, I think, first made by Mr. Boyle's Martyrdom of Theodora; but Boyle's philosophical studies did not allow him time for the cultivation of style, and the completion of the great design was reserved for Mrs. Rowe. Dr. Watts was one of the first who taught the dissenters to write and speak like other men, by showing them, that elegance might consist with piety. They would have both clone honour to a better society, for they had that charity which might well make their failings forgotten, and with which the whole Christian world might wish for communion. They were pure from all the heresies of an age, to which every opinion is become a favourite, that the universal church has, hitherto, detested.

This praise the general interest of mankind requires to be given to writers who please, and do not corrupt, who instruct, and do not weary. But to them all human eulogies are vain, whom, I believe applauded by angels and numbered with the just [14].






Into the evidence produced by the earls of MORAY and MORTON against


With an examination of the reverend Dr. Robertson's Dissertation, and Mr. Hume's History, with respect to that evidence [16].

We live in an age, in which there is much talk of independence, of private judgment, of liberty of thought, and liberty of press. Our clamorous praises of liberty sufficiently prove that we enjoy it; and if, by liberty, nothing else be meant, than security from the persecutions of power, it is so fully possessed by us, that little more is to be desired, except that one should talk of it less, and use it better.

But a social being can scarcely rise to complete independence; he that has any wants, which others can supply, must study the gratification of them, whose assistance he expects; this is equally true, whether his wants be wants of nature, or of vanity. The writers of the present time are not always candidates for preferment, nor often the hirelings of a patron. They profess to serve no interest, and speak with loud contempt of sycophants and slaves.

There is, however, a power, from whose influence neither they, nor their predecessors, have ever been free. Those, who have set greatness at defiance, have yet been the slaves of fashion. When an opinion has once become popular, very few are willing to oppose it. Idleness is more willing to credit than inquire; cowardice is afraid of controversy, and vanity of answer; and he that writes merely for sale, is tempted to court purchasers by flattering the prejudices of the publick.

It has now been fashionable, for near half a century, to defame and vilify the house of Stuart, and to exalt and magnify the reign of Elizabeth. The Stuarts have found few apologists, for the dead cannot pay for praise; and who will, without reward, oppose the tide of popularity? yet there remains, still, among us, not wholly extinguished, a zeal for truth, a desire of establishing right, in opposition to fashion. The author, whose work is now before as, has attempted a vindication of Mary of Scotland, whose name has, for some years, been generally resigned to infamy, and who has been considered, as the murderer of her husband, and condemned by her own letters.

Of these letters, the author of this vindication confesses the importance to be such, that, "if they be genuine, the queen was guilty; and, if they be spurious, she was innocent." He has, therefore, undertaken to prove them spurious, and divided his treatise into six parts.

In the first is contained the history of the letters from their discovery by the earl of Morton, their being produced against queen Mary, and their several appearances in England, before queen Elizabeth and her commissioners, until they were finally delivered back again to the earl of Morton.

The second contains a short abstract of Mr. Goodall's arguments for proving the letters to be spurious and forged; and of Dr. Robertson and Mr. Hume's objections, by way of answer to Mr. Goodall, with critical observations on these authors.

The third contains an examination of the arguments of Dr. Robertson and Mr. Hume, in support of the authenticity of the letters.

The fourth contains an examination of the confession of Nicholas Hubert, commonly called French Paris, with observations, showing the same to be a forgery.

The fifth contains a short recapitulation, or summary, of the arguments on both sides of the question.

The last is an historical collection of the direct or positive evidence still on record, tending to show what part the earls of Murray and Morton, and secretary Lethington, had in the murder of the lord Darnley.

The author apologizes for the length of this book, by observing, that it necessarily comprises a great number of particulars, which could not easily be contracted: the same plea may be made for the imperfection of our extract, which will naturally fall below the force of the book, because we can only select parts of that evidence, which owes its strength to its concatenation, and which will be weakened, whenever it is disjoined.

The account of the seizure of these controverted letters is thus given by the queen's enemies.

"That in the castell of Edinburgh, thair was left be the erle of Bothwell, before his fleeing away, and was send for be ane George Dalgleish, his servand, who was taken be the erle of Mortoun, ane small gylt coffer, not fully ane fute lang, garnisht in sindrie places with the roman letter F. under ane king's crowne; wharin were certane letteris and writings weel knawin, and be aithis to be affirmit to have been written with the quene of Scottis awn hand to the erle."

The papers in the box were said to be eight letters, in French, some love-sonnets in French also, and a promise of marriage by the queen to Bothwell.

To the reality of these letters our author makes some considerable objections, from the nature of things; but, as such arguments do not always convince, we will pass to the evidence of facts.

On June 15, 1567, the queen delivered herself to Morton, and his party, who imprisoned her.

June 20, 1567, Dalgleish was seized, and, six days after, was examined by Morton; his examination is still extant, and there is no mention of this fatal box.

Dec. 4, 1567, Murray's secret council published an act, in which is the first mention of these letters, and in which they are said to be written and subscrivit with her awin hand. Ten days after, Murray's first parliament met, and passed an act, in which they mention previe letters written halelie [wholly] with her awin hand. The difference between written and subscribed, and wholly written, gives the author just reason to suspect, first, a forgery, and then a variation of the forgery. It is, indeed, very remarkable, that the first account asserts more than the second, though the second contains all the truth; for the letters, whether written by the queen or not, were not subscribed. Had the second account differed from the first only by something added, the first might have contained truth, though not all the truth; but as the second corrects the first by diminution, the first cannot be cleared from falsehood.

In October, 1568, these letters were shown at York to Elisabeth's commissioners, by the agents of Murray, but not in their publick character, as commissioners, but by way of private information, and were not, therefore, exposed to Mary's commissioners. Mary, however, hearing that some letters were intended to be produced against her, directed her commissioners to require them for her inspection, and, in the mean time, to declare them false and feigned, forged and invented, observing, that there were many that could counterfeit her hand.

To counterfeit a name is easy, to counterfeit a hand, through eight letters very difficult. But it does not appear that the letters were ever shown to those who would desire to detect them; and, to the English commissioners, a rude and remote imitation might be sufficient, since they were not shown as judicial proofs; and why they were not shown as proofs, no other reason can be given, than they must have then been examined, and that examination would have detected the forgery.

These letters, thus timorously and suspiciously communicated, were all the evidence against Mary; for the servants of Bothwell, executed for the murder of the king, acquitted the queen, at the hour of death. These letters were so necessary to Murray, that he alleges them, as the reason of the queen's imprisonment, though he imprisoned her on the 16th, and pretended not to have intercepted the letters before the 20th of June.

Of these letters, on which the fate of princes and kingdoms was suspended, the authority should have been put out of doubt; yet that such letters were ever found, there is no witness but Morton who accused the queen, and Crawfurd, a dependent on Lennox, another of her accusers. Dalgleish, the bearer, was hanged without any interrogatories concerning them; and Hulet, mentioned in them, though then in prison, was never called to authenticate them, nor was his confession produced against Mary, till death had left him no power to disown it.

Elizabeth, indeed, was easily satisfied; she declared herself ready to receive the proofs against Mary, and absolutely refused Mary the liberty of confronting her accusers, and making her defence. Before such a judge, a very little proof would be sufficient. She gave the accusers of Mary leave to go to Scotland, and the box and letters were seen no more. They have been since lost, and the discovery, which comparison of writing might have made, is now no longer possible. Hume has, however, endeavoured to palliate the conduct of Elizabeth, but "his account," says our author, "is contradicted, almost in every sentence, by the records, which, it appears, he has himself perused."

In the next part, the authenticity of the letters is examined; and it seems to be proved, beyond contradiction, that the French letters, supposed to have been written by Mary, are translated from the Scotch copy, and, if originals, which it was so much the interest of such numbers to preserve, are wanting, it is much more likely that they never existed, than that they have been lost.

The arguments used by Dr. Robertson, to prove the genuineness of the letters, are next examined. Robertson makes use, principally, of what he calls the internal evidence, which, amounting, at most, to conjecture, is opposed by conjecture equally probable.

In examining the confession of Nicholas Hubert, or French Paris, this new apologist of Mary seems to gain ground upon her accuser. Paris is mentioned, in the letters, as the bearer of them to Bothwell; when the rest of Bothwell's servants were executed, clearing the queen in the last moment, Paris, instead of suffering his trial, with the rest, at Edinburgh, was conveyed to St. Andrew's, where Murray was absolute; put into a dungeon of Murray's citadel; and, two years after, condemned by Murray himself, nobody knew how. Several months after his death, a confession in his name, without the regular testifications, was sent to Cecil, at what exact time, nobody can tell.

Of this confession, Leslie, bishop of Ross, openly denied the genuineness, in a book printed at London, and suppressed by Elizabeth; and another historian of that time declares, that Paris died without any confession; and the confession itself was never shown to Mary, or to Mary's commissioners. The author makes this reflection:

"From the violent presumptions that arise from their carrying this poor ignorant stranger from Edinburgh, the ordinary seat of justice; their keeping him hid from all the world, in a remote dungeon, and not producing him, with their other evidences, so as he might have been publickly questioned; the positive and direct testimony of the author of Crawfurd's manuscript, then living, and on the spot at the time; with the publick affirmation of the bishop of Ross, at the time of Paris's death, that he had vindicated the queen with his dying breath; the behaviour of Murray, Morton, Buchanan, and even of Hay, the attester of this pretended confession, on that occasion; their close and reserved silence, at the time when they must have had this confession of Paris in their pocket; and their publishing every other circumstance that could tend to blacken the queen, and yet omitting this confession, the only direct evidence of her supposed guilt; all this duly and dispassionately considered, I think, one may safely conclude, that it was judged not fit to expose, so soon, to light this piece of evidence against the queen; which a cloud of witnesses, living, and present at Paris's execution, would, surely, have given clear testimony against, as a notorious imposture."

Mr. Hume, indeed, observes: "It is in vain, at present, to seek for improbabilities in Nicholas Hubert's dying confession, and to magnify the smallest difficulties into a contradiction. It was certainly a regular judicial paper, given in regularly and judicially, and ought to have been canvassed at the time, if the persons, whom it concerned, had been assured of their innocence." To which our author makes a reply, which cannot be shortened without weakening it:

"Upon what does this author ground his sentence? Upon two very plain reasons, first, that the confession was a judicial one, that is, taken in presence, or by authority of a judge. And secondly, that it was regularly and judicially given in; that must be understood during the time of the conferences before queen Elizabeth and her council, in presence of Mary's commissioners; at which time she ought to have canvassed it," says our author, "if she knew her innocence.

"That it was not a judicial confession, is evident: the paper itself does not bear any such mark; nor does it mention, that it was taken in presence of any person, or by any authority whatsoever; and, by comparing it with the judicial examinations of Dalgleish, Hay, and Hepburn, it is apparent, that it is destitute of every formality, requisite in a judicial evidence. In what dark corner, then, this strange production was generated, our author may endeavour to find out, if he can.

"As to his second assertion, that it was regularly and judicially given in, and, therefore, ought to have been canvassed, by Mary during the conferences; we have already seen, that this, likewise, is not fact: the conferences broke up in February, 1569: Nicholas Hubert was not hanged till August thereafter, and his dying confession, as Mr. Hume calls it, is only dated the 10th of that month. How, then, can this gentleman gravely tell us, that this confession was judicially given in, and ought to have been, at that very time, canvassed by queen Mary and her commissioners? Such positive assertions, apparently contrary to fact, are unworthy the character of an historian, and may, very justly, render his decision, with respect to evidences of a higher nature, very dubious. In answer, then, to Mr. Hume: As the queen's accusers did not choose to produce this material witness, Paris, whom they had alive and in their hands, nor any declaration or confession, from him, at the critical and proper time for having it canvassed by the queen, I apprehend our author's conclusion may fairly be used against himself; that it is in vain, at present, to support the improbabilities and absurdities in a confession, taken in a clandestine way, nobody knows how, and produced, after Paris's death, by nobody knows whom, and, from every appearance, destitute of every formality, requisite and common to such sort of evidence: for these reasons, I am under no sort of hesitation to give sentence against Nicholas Hubert's confession, as a gross imposture and forgery."

The state of the evidence relating to the letters is this:

Morton affirms, that they were taken in the hands of Dalgleish. Hie examination of Dalgleish is still extant, and he appears never to have been once interrogated concerning the letters.

Morton and Murray affirm, that they were written by the queen's hand; they were carefully concealed from Mary and her commissioners, and were never collated by one man, who could desire to disprove them.

Several of the incidents mentioned in the letters are confirmed by the oath of Crawfurd, one of Lennox's defendants, and some of the incidents are so minute, as that they could scarcely be thought on by a forger. Crawfurd's testimony is not without suspicion. Whoever practises forgery, endeavours to make truth the vehicle of falsehood.

Of a prince's life very minute incidents are known; and if any are too slight to be remarked, they may be safely feigned, for they are, likewise, too slight to be contradicted. But there are still more reasons for doubting the genuineness of these letters. They had no date of time or place, no seal, no direction, no superscription.

The only evidences that could prove their authenticity were Dalgleish and Paris; of which Dalgleish, at his trial, was never questioned about them; Paris was never publickly tried, though he was kept alive through the time of the conference.

The servants of Bothwell, who were put to death for the king's murder, cleared Mary with their last words.

The letters were first declared to be subscribed, and were then produced without subscription.

They were shown, during the conferences at York, privately, to the English commissioners, but were concealed from the commissioners of Mary.

Mary always solicited the perusal of these letters, and was always denied it.

She demanded to be heard, in person, by Elizabeth, before the nobles of England and the ambassadours of other princes, and was refused.

When Mary persisted in demanding copies of the letters, her commissioners were dismissed with their box to Scotland, and the letters were seen no more.

The French letters, which, for almost two centuries, have been considered as originals, by the enemies of Mary's memory, are now discovered to be forgeries, and acknowledged to be translations, and, perhaps, French translations of a Latin translation. And the modern accusers of Mary are forced to infer, from these letters, which now exist, that other letters existed formerly, which have been lost, in spite of curiosity, malice, and interest.

The rest of this treatise is employed in an endeavour to prove, that Mary's accusers were the murderers of Darnly: through this inquiry it is hot necessary to follow him; only let it be observed, that, if these letters were forged by them, they may easily be thought capable of other crimes. That the letters were forged, is now made so probable, that, perhaps, they will never more be cited as testimonies.






Or, an essay on an ancient prophetical inscription, in monkish rhyme, lately discovered near Lynn, in Norfolk. By Probus Britannicus [17].

In Norfolk, near the town of Lynn, in a field, which an ancient tradition of the country affirms to have been once a deep lake, or meer, and which appears, from authentick records, to have been called, about two hundred years ago, Palus, or the marsh, was discovered, not long since, a large square stone, which is found, upon an exact inspection, to be a kind of coarse marble of a substance not firm enough to admit of being polished, yet harder than our common quarries afford, and not easily susceptible of injuries from weather or outward accidents.

It was brought to light by a farmer, who, observing his plough obstructed by something, through which the share could not make its way, ordered his servants to remove it. This was not effected without some difficulty, the stone being three feet four inches deep, and four feet square in the superficies; and, consequently, of a weight not easily manageable. However, by the application of levers, it was, at length, raised, and conveyed to a corner of the field, where it lay, for some months, entirely unregarded; nor, perhaps, had we ever been made acquainted with this venerable relick of antiquity, had not our good fortune been greater than our curiosity.

A gentleman, well known to the learned world, and distinguished by the patronage of the Maecenas of Norfolk, whose name, was I permitted to mention it, would excite the attention of my reader, and add no small authority to my conjectures, observing, as he was walking that way, that the clouds began to gather, and threaten him with a shower, had recourse, for shelter, to the trees under which this stone happened to lie, and sat down upon it, in expectation of fair weather. At length he began to amuse himself, in his confinement, by clearing the earth from his seat with the point of his cane; and had continued this employment some time, when he observed several traces of letters, antique and irregular, which, by being very deeply engraven, were still easily distinguishable.

This discovery so far raised his curiosity, that, going home immediately, he procured an instrument proper for cutting out the clay, that filled up the spaces of the letters; and, with very little labour, made the inscription legible, which is here exhibited to the publick:


  Cum lapidem hunc, magni
  Qui nunc jacet incola stagni,
  Vel pede equus tanget,
  Vel arator vomere franget,
  Sentiet aegra metus,
  Effundet patria fletus,
  Littoraque ut fluctu,
  Resonabunt oppida luctu:
  Nam foecunda rubri
  Serpent per prata colubri,
  Gramina vastantes,
  Flores fructusque vorantes.
  Omnia foedantes,
  Vitiantes, et spoliantes;
  Quanquam haud pugnaces,
  Ibunt per cuncta minaces,
  Fures absque timore,
  Et pingues absque labore.
  Horrida dementes
  Rapiet discordia gentes;
  Plurima tunc leges
  Mutabit, plurima reges
  Natio; conversa
  In rabiem tunc contremet ursa


  Cynthia, tunc latis
  Florebunt lilia pratis;
  Nec fremere audebit
  Leo, sed violare timebit,
  Omnia consuetus
  Populari pascua lætus.
  Ante oculos natos
  Calceatos et cruciatos
  Jam feret ignavus,
  Vetitaque libidine pravus.
  En quoque quod mirum,
  Quod dicas denique dirum,
  Sanguinem equus sugit,
  Neque bellua victa remugit!

These lines he carefully copied, accompanied, in his letter of July 19, with the following translation.


  Whene'er this stone, now hid beneath the lake,
  The horse shall trample, or the plough shall break,
  Then, O my country! shalt thou groan distrest,
  Grief swell thine eyes, and terrour chill thy breast.
  Thy streets with violence of woe shall sound,
  Loud as the billows bursting on the ground.
  Then through thy fields shall scarlet reptiles stray,
  And rapine and pollution mark their way.
  Their hungry swarms the peaceful vale shall fright,
  Still fierce to threaten, still afraid to fight;
  The teeming year's whole product shall devour,
  Insatiate pluck the fruit, and crop the flow'r;
  Shall glutton on the industrious peasants' spoil,
  Rob without fear, and fatten without toil;
  Then o'er the world shall discord stretch her wings;
  Kings change their laws, and kingdoms change their kings.
  The bear, enrag'd, th' affrighted moon shall dread;
  The lilies o'er the vales triumphant spread;
  Nor shall the lion, wont of old to reign
  Despotick o'er the desolated plain,
  Henceforth th' inviolable bloom invade,
  Or dare to murmur in the flow'ry glade;
  His tortur'd sons shall die before his face,
  While he lies melting in a lewd embrace;
  And, yet more strange! his veins a horse shall drain,
  Nor shall the passive coward once complain.

I make not the least doubt, but that this learned person has given us, as an antiquary, a true and uncontrovertible representation of the writer's meaning; and, am sure, he can confirm it by innumerable quotations from the authors of the middle age, should he be publickly called upon by any man of eminent rank in the republick of letters; nor will he deny the world that satisfaction, provided the animadverter proceeds with that sobriety and modesty, with which it becomes every learned man to treat a subject of such importance.

Yet, with all proper deference to a name so justly celebrated, I will take the freedom of observing, that he has succeeded better as a scholar than a poet; having fallen below the strength, the conciseness, and, at the same time, below the perspicuity of his author. I shall not point out the particular passages in which this disparity is remarkable, but content myself with saying, in general, that the criticisms, which there is room for on this translation, may be almost an incitement to some lawyer, studious of antiquity, to learn Latin.

The inscription, which I now proceed to consider, wants no arguments to prove its antiquity to those among the learned, who are versed in the writers of the darker ages, and know that the Latin poetry of those times was of a peculiar cast and air, not easy to be understood, and very difficult to be imitated; nor can it be conceived, that any man would lay out his abilities on a way of writing, which, though attained with much study, could gain him no reputation; and engrave his chimeras on a stone, to astonish posterity.

Its antiquity, therefore, is out of dispute; but how high a degree of antiquity is to be assigned it, there is more ground for inquiry than determination. How early Latin rhymes made their appearance in the world, is yet undecided by the criticks. Verses of this kind were called leonine; but whence they derived that appellation, the learned Camden [18] confesses himself ignorant; so that the style carries no certain marks of its age. I shall only observe farther, on this head, that the characters are nearly of the same form with those on king Arthur's coffin; but whether, from their similitude, we may venture to pronounce them of the same date, I must refer to the decision of better judges.

Our inability to fix the age of this inscription, necessarily infers our ignorance of its author, with relation to whom, many controversies may be started, worthy of the most profound learning, and most indefatigable diligence.

The first question that naturally arises is: Whether he was a Briton or a Saxon? I had, at first, conceived some hope that, in this question, in which not only the idle curiosity of virtuosos, but the honour of two mighty nations, is concerned, some information might be drawn from the word patria, my country, in the third line; England being not, in propriety of speech, the country of the Saxons; at least, not at their first arrival. But, upon farther reflection, this argument appeared not conclusive, since we find that, in all ages, foreigners have affected to call England their country, even when, like the Saxons of old, they came only to plunder it.

An argument in favour of the Britons may, indeed, be drawn from the tenderness, with which the author seems to lament his country, and the compassion he shows for its approaching calamities. I, who am a descendant from the Saxons, and, therefore, unwilling to say any thing derogatory from the reputation of my forefathers, must yet allow this argument its full force; for it has been rarely, very rarely, known, that foreigners, however well treated, caressed, enriched, flattered, or exalted, have regarded this country with the least gratitude or affection, till the race has, by long continuance, after many generations, been naturalized and assimilated.

They have been ready, upon all occasions, to prefer the petty interests of their own country, though, perhaps, only some desolate and worthless corner of the world. They have employed the wealth of England, in paying troops to defend mud-wall towns, and uninhabitable rocks, and in purchasing barriers for territories, of which the natural sterility secured them from invasion.

This argument, which wants no particular instances to confirm it, is, I confess, of the greatest weight in this question, and inclines me strongly to believe, that the benevolent author of this prediction must have been born a Briton.

The learned discoverer of the inscription was pleased to insist, with great warmth, upon the etymology of the word patria, which signifying, says he, the land of my father, could be made use of by none, but such whose ancestors had resided here; but, in answer to this demonstration, as he called it, I only desired him to take notice, how common it is for intruders of yesterday to pretend the same title with the ancient proprietors, and, having just received an estate, by voluntary grant, to erect a claim of hereditary right.

Nor is it less difficult to form any satisfactory conjecture, concerning the rank or condition of the writer, who, contented with a consciousness of having done his duty, in leaving this solemn warning to his country, seems studiously to have avoided that veneration, to which his knowledge of futurity, undoubtedly, entitled him, and those honours, which his memory might justly claim from the gratitude of posterity; and has, therefore, left no trace, by which the most sagacious and diligent inquirer can hope to discover him.

This conduct, alone, ought to convince us, that the prediction is of no small importance to mankind, since the author of it appears not to have been influenced by any other motive, than that noble and exalted philanthropy, which is above the narrow views of recompense or applause.

That interest had no share in this inscription, is evident beyond dispute, since the age in which he lived received neither pleasure nor instruction from it. Nor is it less apparent, from the suppression of his name, that he was equally a stranger to that wild desire of fame, which has, sometimes, infatuated the noblest minds.

His modesty, however, has not been able wholly to extinguish that curiosity, which so naturally leads us, when we admire a performance, to inquire after the author. Those, whom I have consulted on this occasion; and my zeal for the honour of this benefactor of my country has not suffered me to forget a single antiquary of reputation, have, almost unanimously, determined, that it was written by a king. For where else, said they, are we to expect that greatness of mind, and that dignity of expression, so eminently conspicuous in this inscription!

It is with a proper sense of the weakness of my own abilities, that I venture to lay before the publick the reasons which hinder me from concurring with this opinion, which I am not only inclined to favour by my respect for the authors of it, but by a natural affection for monarchy, and a prevailing inclination to believe, that every excellence is inherent in a king.

To condemn an opinion so agreeable to the reverence due to the regal dignity, and countenanced by so great authorities, without a long and accurate discussion, would be a temerity justly liable to the severest censures. A. supercilious and arrogant determination of a controversy of such importance, would, doubtless, be treated by the impartial and candid with the utmost indignation.

But as I have too high an idea of the learning of my contemporaries, to obtrude any crude, hasty, or indigested notions on the publick, I have proceeded with the utmost degree of diffidence and caution; I have frequently reviewed all my arguments, traced them backwards to their first principles, and used every method of examination to discover, whether all the deductions were natural and just, and whether I was not imposed on by some specious fallacy; but the farther I carried my inquiries, and the longer I dwelt upon this great point, the more was I convinced, in spite of all my prejudices, that this wonderful prediction was not written by a king.

For, after a laborious and attentive perusal of histories, memoirs, chronicles, lives, characters, vindications, panegyricks and epitaphs, I could find no sufficient authority for ascribing to any of our English monarchs, however gracious or glorious, any prophetical knowledge or prescience of futurity; which, when we consider how rarely regal virtues are forgotten, how soon they are discovered, and how loudly they are celebrated, affords a probable argument, at least, that none of them have laid any claim to this character. For why should historians have omitted to embellish their accounts with such a striking circumstance? or, if the histories of that age are lost, by length of time, why was not so uncommon an excellence transmitted to posterity, in the more lasting colours of poetry? Was that unhappy age without a laureate? Was there then no Young [19] or Philips [20], no Ward [21] or Mitchell [22], to snatch such wonders from oblivion, and immortalize a prince of such capacities? If this was really the case, let us congratulate ourselves upon being reserved for better days; days so fruitful of happy writers, that no princely virtue can shine in vain. Our monarchs are surrounded with refined spirits, so penetrating, that they frequently discover, in their masters, great qualities, invisible to vulgar eyes, and which, did not they publish them to mankind, would be unobserved for ever.

Nor is it easy to find, in the lives of our monarchs, many instances of that regard for posterity, which seems to have been the prevailing temper of this venerable man. I have seldom, in any of the gracious speeches delivered from the throne, and received, with the highest gratitude and satisfaction, by both houses of parliament, discovered any other concern than for the current year, for which supplies are generally demanded in very pressing terms, and, sometimes, such as imply no remarkable solicitude for posterity.

Nothing, indeed, can be more unreasonable and absurd, than to require, that a monarch, distracted with cares and surrounded with enemies, should involve himself in superfluous anxieties, by an unnecessary concern about future generations. Are not pretenders, mock-patriots, masquerades, operas, birthnights, treaties, conventions, reviews, drawing-rooms, the births of heirs, and the deaths of queens, sufficient to overwhelm any capacity but that of a king? Surely, he that acquits himself successfully of such affairs may content himself with the glory he acquires, and leave posterity to his successours.

That this has been the conduct of most princes, is evident from the accounts of all ages and nations; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought that I have, without just reasons, deprived this inscription of the veneration it might demand, as the work of a king.

With what laborious struggles against prejudice and inclination, with what efforts of reasoning, and pertinacity of self-denial, I have prevailed upon myself to sacrifice the honour of this monument to the love of truth, none, who are unacquainted with the fondness of a commentator, will be able to conceive. But this instance will be, I hope, sufficient to convince the publick, that I write with sincerity, and that, whatever my success may be, my intentions are good.

Where we are to look for our author, it still remains to be considered; whether in the high road of publick employments, or the by-paths of private life.

It has always been observed of those that frequent a court, that they soon, by a kind of contagion, catch the regal spirit of neglecting futurity. The minister forms an expedient to suspend, or perplex, an inquiry into his measures, for a few months, and applauds and triumphs in his own dexterity. The peer puts off his creditor for the present day, and forgets that he is ever to see him more. The frown of a prince, and the loss of a pension, have, indeed, been found of wonderful efficacy to abstract men's thoughts from the present time, and fill them with zeal for the liberty and welfare of ages to come. But, I am inclined to think more favourably of the author of this prediction, than that he was made a patriot by disappointment or disgust. If he ever saw a court, I would willingly believe, that he did not owe his concern for posterity to his ill reception there, but his ill reception there to his concern for posterity.

However, since truth is the same in the mouth of a hermit, or a prince, since it is not reason, but weakness, that makes us rate counsel by our esteem for the counsellor, let us, at length, desist from this inquiry, so useless in itself, in which we have room to hope for so little satisfaction. Let us show our gratitude to the author, by answering his intentions, by considering minutely the lines which he has left us, and examining their import without heat, precipitancy, or party-prejudices; let us endeavour to keep the just mean, between searching, ambitiously, for far-fetched interpretations, and admitting such low meaning, and obvious and low sense, as is inconsistent with those great and extensive views, which it is reasonable to ascribe to this excellent man.

It may be yet further asked, whether this inscription, which appears in the stone, be an original, and not rather a version of a traditional prediction, in the old British tongue, which the zeal of some learned man prompted him to translate and engrave, in a more known language, for the instruction of future ages: but, as the lines carry, at the first view, a reference both to the stone itself, and, very remarkably, to the place where it was found, I cannot see any foundation for such a suspicion.

It remains, now, that we examine the sense and import of the inscription, which, after having long dwelt upon it, with the closest and most laborious attention, I must confess myself not yet able fully to comprehend. The following explications, therefore, are, by no means, laid down as certain and indubitable truths, but as conjectures not always wholly satisfactory, even to myself, and which I had not dared to propose to so enlightened an age, an age which abounds with those great ornaments of human nature, skepticks, antimoralists, and infidels, but with hopes that they would excite some person of greater abilities, to penetrate further into the oraculous obscurity of this wonderful prediction.

Not even the four first lines are without their difficulties, in which the time of the discovery of the stone seems to be the time assigned for the events foretold by it:

  "Cum lapidem hunc, magni
  Qui nunc jacet incola stagni,
  Vel pede equus tanget,
  Vel arator vomere franget,
  Sentiet ægra metus,
  Effundet patria fletus,
  Littoraque ut fluctu,
  Resonabunt oppida luctu."

  "Whene'er this stone, now hid beneath the lake,
  The horse shall trample, or the plough shall break,
  Then, O my country, shall thou groan distrest,
  Grief in thine eyes, and terrour in thy breast.
  Thy streets with violence of woe shall sound,
  Loud as the billows bursting on the ground."

"When this stone," says he, "which now lies hid beneath the waters of a deep lake, shall be struck upon by the horse, or broken by the plough, then shalt thou, my country, be astonished with terrours, and drowned in tears; then shall thy towns sound with lamentations, as thy shores with the roarings of the waves." These are the words literally rendered, but how are they verified! The lake is dry, the stone is turned up, but there is no appearance of this dismal scene. Is not all, at home, satisfaction and tranquillity? all, abroad, submission and compliance? Is it the interest, or inclination, of any prince, or state, to draw a sword against us? and are we not, nevertheless, secured by a numerous standing army, and a king who is, himself, an army? Have our troops any other employment than to march to a review? Have our fleets encountered any thing but winds and worms? To me the present state of the nation seems so far from any resemblance to the noise and agitation of a tempestuous sea, that it may be much more properly compared to the dead stillness of the waves before a storm.

  "Nam foecunda rubri
  Serpent per prata colubri,
  Gramina vastantes,
  Flores fructusque vorantes,
  Omnia foedantes,
  Vitiantes, et spoliantes;
  Quanquam haud pugnaces,
  Ibunt per cuncta minaces,
  Fures absque timore,
  Et pingues absque labore."

  "Then through thy fields shall scarlet reptiles stray,
  And rapine and pollution mark their way;
  Their hungry swarms the peaceful vale shall fright,
  Still fierce to threaten, still afraid to fight;
  The teeming year's whole product shall devour,
  Insatiate pluck the fruit, and crop the flow'r;
  Shall glutton on the industrious peasants' spoil,
  Rob without fear, and fatten without toil."

He seems, in these verses, to descend to a particular account of this dreadful calamity; but his description is capable of very different senses, with almost equal probability:

"Red serpents," says he, (rubri colubri are the Latin words, which the poetical translator has rendered scarlet reptiles, using a general term for a particular, in my opinion, too licentiously,) "Red serpents shall wander o'er her meadows, and pillage, and pollute," &c. The particular mention of the colour of this destructive viper may be some guide to us in this labyrinth, through which, I must acknowledge, I cannot yet have any certain path. I confess, that, when a few days after my perusal of this passage, I heard of the multitude of lady-birds seen in Kent, I began to imagine that these were the fatal insects, by which the island was to be laid waste, and, therefore, looked over all accounts of them with uncommon concern. But, when my first terrours began to subside, I soon recollected that these creatures, having both wings and feet, would scarcely have been called serpents; and was quickly convinced, by their leaving the country, without doing any hurt, that they had no quality, but the colour, in common with the ravagers here described.

As I am not able to determine any thing on this question, I shall content myself with collecting, into one view, the several properties of this pestiferous brood, with which we are threatened, as hints to more sagacious and fortunate readers, who, when they shall find any red animal, that ranges uncontrouled over the country, and devours the labours of the trader and the husbandman; that carries with it corruption, rapine, pollution, and devastation; that threatens without courage, robs without fear, and is pampered without labour, they may know that the prediction is completed. Let me only remark further, that if the style of this, as of all other predictions, is figurative, the serpent, a wretched animal that crawls upon the earth, is a proper emblem of low views, self-interest, and base submission, as well as of cruelty, mischief, and malevolence.

I cannot forbear to observe, in this place, that, as it is of no advantage to mankind to be forewarned of inevitable and insurmountable misfortunes, the author, probably, intended to hint to his countrymen the proper remedies for the evils he describes. In this calamity, on which he dwells longest, and which he seems to deplore with the deepest sorrow, he points out one circumstance, which may be of great use to disperse our apprehensions, and awaken us from that panick which the reader must necessarily feel, at the first transient view of this dreadful description. These serpents, says the original, are "haud pugnaces," of no fighting race; they will threaten, indeed, and hiss, and terrify the weak, and timorous, and thoughtless, but have no real courage or strength. So that the mischief done by them, their ravages, devastations, and robberies, must be only the consequences of cowardice in the sufferers, who are harassed and oppressed, only because they suffer it without resistance. We are, therefore, to remember, whenever the pest, here threatened, shall invade us, that submission and tameness will be certain ruin, and that nothing but spirit, vigilance, activity, and opposition, can preserve us from the most hateful and reproachful misery, that of being plundered, starved, and devoured by vermin and by reptiles.

  "Horrida dementes
  Rapiet discordia gentes;
  Plurima tunc leges
  Mutabit, plurima reges

  "Then o'er the world shall discord stretch her wings,
  Kings change their laws, and kingdoms change their kings."

Here the author takes a general survey of the state of the world, and the changes that were to happen, about the time of the discovery of this monument, in many nations. As it is not likely that he intended to touch upon the affairs of other countries, any farther than the advantage of his own made it necessary, we may reasonably conjecture, that he had a full and distinct view of all the negotiations, treaties, confederacies, of all the triple and quadruple alliances, and all the leagues offensive and defensive, in which we were to be engaged, either as principals, accessaries, or guarantees, whether by policy, or hope, or fear, or our concern for preserving the balance of power, or our tenderness for the liberties of Europe. He knew that our negotiators would interest us in the affairs of the whole earth, and that no state could either rise or decline in power, either extend or lose its dominions, without affecting politicks, and influencing our councils.

This passage will bear an easy and natural application to the present time, in which so many revolutions have happened, so many nations have changed their masters, and so many disputes and commotions are embroiling, almost in every part of the world.

That almost every state in Europe and Asia, that is, almost every country, then known, is comprehended in this prediction, may be easily conceived, but whether it extends to regions at that time undiscovered, and portends any alteration of government in Carolina and Georgia, let more able or more daring expositors determine:

  In rabiem tunc contremet ursa

  "The bear, enrag'd, th' affrighted moon shall dread."

The terrour created to the moon by the anger of the bear, is a strange expression, but may, perhaps, relate to the apprehensions raised in the Turkish empire, of which a crescent, or new moon, is the imperial standard, by the increasing power of the emperess of Russia, whose dominions lie under the northern constellation, called the Bear.

             "Tunc latis
  Florebunt lilia pratis."

  "The lilies o'er the vales triumphant spread."

The lilies borne by the kings of France are an apt representation of that country; and their flourishing over wide-extended valleys, seems to regard the new increase of the French power, wealth, and dominions by the advancement of their trade, and the accession of Lorrain. This is, at first view, an obvious, but, perhaps, for that very reason not the true sense of the inscription. How can we reconcile it with the following passage:

  "Nec fremere audebit
  Leo, sed violare timebit,
  Omnia consuetus
  Populari pascua laetus."

  "Nor shall the lion, wont of old to reign
  Despotick o'er the desolated plain,
  Henceforth, th' inviolable bloom invade,
  Or dare to murmur in the flow'ry glade,"

in which the lion that used, at pleasure, to lay the pastures waste, is represented, as not daring to touch the lilies, or murmur at their growth! The lion, it is true, is one of the supporters of the arms of England, and may, therefore, figure our countrymen, who have, in ancient times, made France a desert. But can it be said, that the lion dares not murmur or rage, (for fremere may import both,) when it is evident, that, for many years, this whole kingdom has murmured, however, it may be, at present, calm and secure, by its confidence in the wisdom of our politicians, and the address of our negotiators:

  "Ante oculos natos
  Calceatos et cruciatos
  Jam feret ignavus,
  Vetitaque libidine pravus."

  "His tortur'd sons shall die before his face,
  While he lies melting in a lewd embrace."

Here are other things mentioned of the lion, equally unintelligible, if we suppose them to be spoken of our nation, as that he lies sluggish, and depraved with unlawful lusts, while his offspring is trampled and tortured before his eyes. But in what place can the English be said to be trampled or tortured? Where are they treated with injustice or contempt? What nation is there, from pole to pole, that does not reverence the nod of the British king? Is not our commerce unrestrained? Are not the riches of the world our own? Do not our ships sail unmolested, and our merchants traffick in perfect security? Is not the very name of England treated by foreigners in a manner never known before? Or if some slight injuries have been offered; if some of our petty traders have been stopped, our possessions threatened; our effects confiscated; our flag insulted; or our ears cropped, have we lain sluggish and unactive? Have not our fleets been seen in triumph at Spithead? Did not Hosier visit the Bastimentos, and is not Haddock now stationed at Port Mahon?

  "En quoque quod mirum,
  Quod dicas denique dirum,
  Sanguinem equus sugit,
  Neque bellua victa remugit!"

  "And, yet more strange! his veins a horse shall drain,
  Nor shall the passive coward once complain!"

It is farther asserted, in the concluding lines, that the horse shall suck the lion's blood. This is still more obscure than any of the rest; and, indeed, the difficulties I have met with, ever since the first mention of the lion, are so many and great, that I had, in utter despair of surmounting them, once desisted from my design of publishing any thing upon this subject; but was prevailed upon by the importunity of some friends, to whom I can deny nothing, to resume my design; and I must own, that nothing animated me so much as the hope, they flattered me with, that my essay might be inserted in the Gazetteer, and, so, become of service to my country.

That a weaker animal should suck the blood of a stronger, without resistance, is wholly improbable, and inconsistent with the regard for self-preservation, so observable in every order and species of beings. We must, therefore, necessarily endeavour after some figurative sense, not liable to so insuperable an objection.

Were I to proceed in the same tenour of interpretation, by which I explained the moon and the lilies, I might observe, that a horse is the arms of H——. But how, then, does the horse suck the lion's blood! Money is the blood of the body politick.—But my zeal for the present happy establishment will not suffer me to pursue a train of thought, that leads to such shocking conclusions. The idea is detestable, and such as, it ought to be hoped, can enter into the mind of none but a virulent republican, or bloody jacobite. There is not one honest man in the nation unconvinced, how weak an attempt it would be to endeavour to confute this insinuation; an insinuation which no party will dare to abet, and of so fatal and destructive a tendency, that it may prove equally dangerous to the author, whether true or false.

As, therefore, I can form no hypothesis, on which a consistent interpretation may be built, I must leave these loose and unconnected hints entirely to the candour of the reader, and confess, that I do not think my scheme of explication just, since I cannot apply it, throughout the whole, without involving myself in difficulties, from which the ablest interpreter would find it no easy matter to get free.

Being, therefore, convinced, upon an attentive and deliberate review of these observations, and a consultation with my friends, of whose abilities I have the highest esteem, and whose impartiality, sincerity, and probity, I have long known, and frequently experienced, that my conjectures are, in general, very uncertain, often improbable, and, sometimes, little less than apparently false, I was long in doubt, whether I ought not entirely to suppress them, and content myself with publishing in the Gazetteer the inscription, as it stands engraven on the stone, without translation or commentary, unless that ingenious and learned society should favour the world with their own remarks.

To this scheme, which I thought extremely well calculated for the publick good, and, therefore, very eagerly communicated to my acquaintance and fellow-students, some objections were started, which, as I had not foreseen, I was unable to answer.

It was observed, first, that the daily dissertations, published by that fraternity, are written with such profundity of sentiment, and filled with such uncommon modes of expression, as to be themselves sufficiently unintelligible to vulgar readers; and that, therefore, the venerable obscurity of this prediction, would much less excite the curiosity, and awaken the attention of mankind, than if it were exhibited in any other paper, and placed in opposition to the clear and easy style of an author generally understood.

To this argument, formidable as it was, I answered, after a short pause, that, with all proper deference to the great sagacity and advanced age of the objector, I could not but conceive, that his position confuted itself, and that a reader of the Gazetteer, being, by his own confession, accustomed to encounter difficulties, and search for meaning, where it was not easily to be found, must be better prepared, than any other man, for the perusal of these ambiguous expressions; and that, besides, the explication of this stone, being a task which nothing could surmount but the most acute penetration, joined with indefatigable patience, seemed, in reality, reserved for those who have given proofs of both, in the highest degree, by reading and understanding the Gazetteer.

This answer satisfied every one but the objector, who, with an obstinacy not very uncommon, adhered to his own opinion, though he could not defend it; and, not being able to make any reply, attempted to laugh away my argument, but found the rest of my friends so little disposed to jest upon this important question, that he was forced to restrain his mirth, and content himself with a sullen and contemptuous silence.

Another of my friends, whom I had assembled on this occasion, having owned the solidity of my answer to the first objection, offered a second, which, in his opinion, could not be so easily defeated.

"I have observed," says he, "that the essays in the Gazetteer, though written on very important subjects, by the ablest hands which ambition can incite, friendship engage, or money procure, have never, though circulated through the kingdom with the utmost application, had any remarkable influence upon the people. I know many persons, of no common capacity, that hold it sufficient to peruse these papers four times a year; and others, who receive them regularly, and, without looking upon them, treasure them under ground for the benefit of posterity. So that the inscription may, by being inserted there, sink, once more, into darkness and oblivion, instead of informing the age, and assisting our present ministry in the regulation of their measures."

Another observed, that nothing was more unreasonable than my hope, that any remarks or elucidations would be drawn up by that fraternity, since their own employments do not allow them any leisure for such attempts. Every one knows that panegyrick is, in its own nature, no easy task, and that to defend is much more difficult than to attack; consider, then, says he, what industry, what assiduity it must require, to praise and vindicate a ministry like ours.

It was hinted, by another, that an inscription, which had no relation to any particular set of men amongst us, but was composed many ages before the parties, which now divide the nation, had a being, could not be so properly conveyed to the world, by means of a paper dedicated to political debates.

Another, to whom I had communicated my own observations, in a more private manner, and who had inserted some of his own arguments, declared it, as his opinion, that they were, though very controvertible and unsatisfactory, yet too valuable to be lost; and that though to insert the inscription in a paper, of which such numbers are daily distributed at the expense of the publick, would, doubtless, be very agreeable to the generous design of the author; yet he hoped, that as all the students, either of politicks or antiquities, would receive both pleasure and improvement from the dissertation with which it is accompanied, none of them would regret to pay for so agreeable an entertainment.

It cannot be wondered, that I have yielded, at last, to such weighty reasons, and such insinuating compliments, and chosen to gratify, at once, the inclinations of friends, and the vanity of an author. Yet, I should think, I had very imperfectly discharged my duty to my country, did I not warn all, whom either interest or curiosity shall incite to the perusal of this treatise, not to lay any stress upon my explications.

How a more complete and indisputable interpretation may be obtained, it is not easy to say. This will, I suppose, be readily granted, that it is not to be expected from any single hand, but from the joint inquiries, and united labours, of a numerous society of able men, instituted by authority, selected with great discernment and impartiality, and supported at the charge of the nation.

I am very far from apprehending, that any proposal for the attainment of so desirable an end, will be rejected by this inquisitive and enlightened age, and shall, therefore, lay before the publick the project which I have formed, and matured by long consideration, for the institution of a society of commentators upon this inscription.

I humbly propose, that thirty of the most distinguished genius be chosen for this employment, half from the inns of court, and half from the army, and be incorporated into a society for five years, under the name of the Society of Commentators.

That great undertakings can only be executed by a great number of hands, is too evident to require any proof; and, I am afraid, all that read this scheme will think, that it is chiefly defective in this respect, and that when they reflect how many commissaries were thought necessary at Seville, and that even their negotiations entirely miscarried, probably for want of more associates, they will conclude, that I have proposed impossibilities, and that the ends of the institution will be defeated by an injudicious and ill timed frugality.

But if it be considered, how well the persons, I recommend, must have been qualified, by their education and profession, for the provinces assigned them, the objection will grow less weighty than it appears. It is well known to be the constant study of the lawyers to discover, in acts of parliament, meanings which escaped the committees that drew them up, and the senates that passed them into laws, and to explain wills, into a sense wholly contrary to the intention of the testator. How easily may an adept in these admirable and useful arts, penetrate into the most hidden import of this prediction? A man, accustomed to satisfy himself with the obvious and natural meaning of a sentence, does not easily shake off his habit; but a true-bred lawyer never contents himself with one sense, when there is another to be found.

Nor will the beneficial consequences of this scheme terminate in the explication of this monument: they will extend much further; for the commentators, having sharpened and improved their sagacity by this long and difficult course of study, will, when they return into publick life, be of wonderful service to the government, in examining pamphlets, songs, and journals, and in drawing up informations, indictments, and instructions for special juries. They will be wonderfully fitted for the posts of attorney and solicitor general, but will excel, above all, as licensers for the stage.

The gentlemen of the army will equally adorn the province to which I have assigned them, of setting the discoveries and sentiments of their associates in a clear and agreeable light. The lawyers are well known not to be very happy in expressing their ideas, being, for the most part, able to make themselves understood by none but their own fraternity. But the geniuses of the army have sufficient opportunities, by their free access to the levee and the toilet, their constant attendance on balls and assemblies, and that abundant leisure which they enjoy, beyond any other body of men, to acquaint themselves with every new word, and prevailing mode of expression, and to attain the utmost nicety, and most polished prettiness of language.

It will be necessary, that, during their attendance upon the society, they be exempt from any obligation to appear on Hyde park; and that upon no emergency, however pressing, they be called away from their studies, unless the nation be in immediate danger, by an insurrection of weavers, colliers, or smugglers.

There may not, perhaps, be found in the army such a number of men, who have ever condescended to pass through the labours, and irksome forms of education in use, among the lower classes of people, or submitted to learn the mercantile and plebeian arts of writing and reading. I must own, that though I entirely agree with the notions of the uselessness of any such trivial accomplishments in the military profession, and of their inconsistency with more valuable attainments; though I am convinced, that a man who can read and write becomes, at least, a very disagreeable companion to his brother soldiers, if he does not absolutely shun their acquaintance; that he is apt to imbibe, from his books, odd notions of liberty and independency, and even, sometimes, of morality and virtue, utterly inconsistent, with the desirable character of a pretty gentleman; though writing frequently stains the whitest finger, and reading has a natural tendency to cloud the aspect, and depress that airy and thoughtless vivacity, which is the distinguishing characteristick of a modern warriour; yet, on this single occasion, I cannot but heartily wish, that, by a strict search, there may be discovered, in the army, fifteen men who can write and read.

I know that the knowledge of the alphabet is so disreputable among these gentlemen, that those who have, by ill fortune, formerly been taught it, have partly forgot it by disuse, and partly concealed it from the world, to avoid the railleries and insults to which their education might make them liable: I propose, therefore, that all the officers of the army may be examined upon oath, one by one, and that if fifteen cannot be selected, who are, at present, so qualified, the deficiency may be supplied out of those who, having once learned to read, may, perhaps, with the assistance of a master, in a short time, refresh their memories.

It may be thought, at the first sight of this proposal, that it might not be improper to assign, to every commentator, a reader and secretary; but, it may be easily conceived, that not only the publick might murmur at such an addition of expense, but that, by the unfaithfulness or negligence of their servants, the discoveries of the society may be carried to foreign courts, and made use of to the disadvantage of our own country.

For the residence of this society, I cannot think any place more proper than Greenwich hospital, in which they may have thirty apartments fitted up for them, that they may make their observations in private, and meet, once a day, in the painted hall to compare them.

If the establishment of this society be thought a matter of too much importance to be deferred till the new buildings are finished, it will be necessary to make room for their reception, by the expulsion of such of the seamen as have no pretensions to the settlement there, but fractured limbs, loss of eyes, or decayed constitutions, who have lately been admitted in such numbers, that it is now scarce possible to accommodate a nobleman's groom, footman, or postilion, in a manner suitable to the dignity of his profession, and the original design of the foundation.

The situation of Greenwich will naturally dispose them to reflection and study: and particular caution ought to be used, lest any interruption be suffered to dissipate their attention, or distract their meditations: for this reason, all visits and letters from ladies are strictly to be prohibited; and if any of the members shall be detected with a lapdog, pack of cards, box of dice, draught-table, snuffbox, or looking-glass, he shall, for the first offence, be confined for three months to water gruel, and, for the second, be expelled the society.

Nothing now remains, but that an estimate be made of the expenses necessary for carrying on this noble and generous design. The salary to be allowed each professor cannot be less than 2,000l. a year, which is, indeed, more than the regular stipend of a commissioner of excise; but, it must be remembered, that the commentators have a much more difficult and important employment, and can expect their salaries but for the short space of five years; whereas a commissioner (unless he imprudently suffers himself to be carried away by a whimsical tenderness for his country) has an establishment for life.

It will be necessary to allow the society, in general, 30,000l. yearly, for the support of the publick table, and 40,000l. for secret service.

Thus will the ministry have a fair prospect of obtaining the full sense and import of the prediction, without burdening the publick with more than 650,000l. which may be paid out of the sinking fund; or, if it be not thought proper to violate that sacred treasure, by converting any part of it to uses not primarily intended, may be easily raised by a general poll-tax, or excise upon bread.

Having now completed my scheme, a scheme calculated for the publick benefit, without regard to any party, I entreat all sects, factions, and distinctions of men among us, to lay aside, for a time, their party-feuds and petty animosities; and, by a warm concurrence on this urgent occasion, teach posterity to sacrifice every private interest to the advantage of their country.

[In this performance, which was first printed in the year 1739, Dr. Johnson, "in a feigned inscription, supposed to have been found in Norfolk, the country of sir Robert Walpole, then the obnoxious prime minister of this country, inveighs against the Brunswick succession, and the measures of government consequent upon it. To this supposed prophecy, he added a commentory, making each expression apply to the times, with warm anti-Hanoverian zeal."—Boswell's Life, i.]






The time is now come, in which every Englishman expects to be informed of the national affairs, and in which he has a right to have that expectation gratified. For whatever may be urged by ministers, or those whom vanity or interest make the followers of ministers, concerning the necessity of confidence in our governours, and the presumption of prying, with profane eyes, into the recesses of policy, it is evident, that this reverence can be claimed only by counsels yet unexecuted, and projects suspended in deliberation. But when a design has ended in miscarriage or success, when every eye, and every ear, is witness to general discontent, or general satisfaction, it is then a proper time to disentangle confusion, and illustrate obscurity; to show by what causes every event was produced, and in what effects it is likely to terminate; to lay down, with distinct particularity, what rumour always huddles in general exclamations, or perplexes by undigested narratives; to show whence happiness or calamity is derived, and whence it may be expected; and honestly to lay before the people, what inquiry can gather of the past, and conjecture can estimate of the future.

The general subject of the present war is sufficiently known. It is allowed, on both sides, that hostilities began in America, and that the French and English quarrelled about the boundaries of their settlements, about grounds and rivers, to which, I am afraid, neither can show any other right than that of power, and which neither can occupy but by usurpation, and the dispossession of the natural lords and original inhabitants. Such is the contest, that no honest man can heartily wish success to either party.

It may, indeed, be alleged, that the Indians have granted large tracts of land both to one and to the other; but these grants can add little to the validity of our titles, till it be experienced, how they were obtained; for, if they were extorted by violence, or induced by fraud; by threats, which the miseries of other nations had shown not to be vain; or by promises, of which no performance was ever intended, what are they but new modes of usurpation, but new instances of crueltv and treachery?

And, indeed, what but false hope, or resistless terrour, can prevail upon a weaker nation to invite a stronger into their country, to give their lands to strangers, whom no affinity of manners, or similitude of opinion, can be said to recommend, to permit them to build towns, from which the natives are excluded, to raise fortresses, by which they are intimidated, to settle themselves with such strength, that they cannot afterwards be expelled, but are, for ever, to remain the masters of the original inhabitants, the dictators of their conduct, and the arbiters of their fate?

When we see men acting thus against the precepts of reason, and the instincts of nature, we cannot hesitate to determine, that, by some means or other, they were debarred from choice; that they were lured or frighted into compliance; that they either granted only what they found impossible to keep, or expected advantages upon the faith of their new inmates, which there was no purpose to confer upon them. It cannot be said, that the Indians originally invited us to their coasts; we went, uncalled and unexpected, to nations who had no imagination that the earth contained any inhabitants, so distant and so different from themselves. We astonished them with our ships, with our arms, and with our general superiority. They yielded to us, as to beings of another and higher race, sent among them from some unknown regions, with power which naked Indians could not resist and, which they were, therefore, by every act of humility, to propitiate, that they, who could so easily destroy, might be induced to spare.

To this influence, and to this only, are to be attributed all the cessions and submissions of the Indian princes, if, indeed, any such cessions were ever made, of which we have no witness, but those who claim from them; and there is no great malignity in suspecting, that those who have robbed have also lied.

Some colonies, indeed, have been established more peaceably than others. The utmost extremity of wrong has not always been practised; but those that have settled in the new world, on the fairest terms, have no other merit than that of a scrivener, who ruins in silence, over a plunderer that seizes by force; all have taken what had other owners, and all have had recourse to arms, rather than quit the prey on which they had fastened.

The American dispute, between the French and us, is, therefore, only the quarrel of two robbers for the spoils of a passenger; but, as robbers have terms of confederacy, which they are obliged to observe, as members of the gang, so the English and French may have relative rights, and do injustice to each other, while both are injuring the Indians. And such, indeed, is the present contest: they have parted the northern continent of America between them, and are now disputing about their boundaries, and each is endeavouring the destruction of the other, by the help of the Indians, whose interest it is that both should be destroyed.

Both nations clamour, with great vehemence, about infractions of limits, violation of treaties, open usurpation, insidious artifices, and breach of faith. The English rail at the perfidious French, and the French at the encroaching English: they quote treaties on each side, charge each other with aspiring to universal monarchy, and complain, on either part, of the insecurity of possession near such turbulent neighbours.

Through this mist of controversy, it can raise no wonder, that the truth is not easily discovered. When a quarrel has been long carried on between individuals, it is often very hard to tell by whom it was begun. Every fact is darkened by distance, by interest, and by multitudes. Information is not easily procured from far; those whom the truth will not favour, will not step, voluntarily, forth to tell it; and where there are many agents, it is easy for every single action to be concealed.

All these causes concur to the obscurity of the question: By whom were hostilities in America commenced? Perhaps there never can be remembered a time, in which hostilities had ceased. Two powerful colonies, inflamed with immemorial rivalry, and placed out of the superintendence of the mother nations, were not likely to be long at rest. Some opposition was always going forward, some mischief was every day done or meditated, and the borderers were always better pleased with what they could snatch from their neighbours, than what they had of their own.

In this disposition to reciprocal invasion, a cause of dispute never could be wanting. The forests and deserts of America are without landmarks, and, therefore, cannot be particularly specified in stipulations; the appellations of those wide-extended regions have, in every mouth, a different meaning, and are understood, on either side, as inclination happens to contract or extend them. Who has yet pretended to define, how much of America is included in Brazil, Mexico, or Peru? It is almost as easy to divide the Atlantick ocean by a line, as clearly to ascertain the limits of those uncultivated, uninhabitable, unmeasured regions.

It is, likewise, to be considered, that contracts concerning boundaries are often left vague and indefinite, without necessity, by the desire of each party, to interpret the ambiguity to its own advantage, when a fit opportunity shall be found. In forming stipulations, the commissaries are often ignorant, and often negligent; they are, sometimes, weary with debate, and contract a tedious discussion into general terms, or refer it to a former treaty, which was never understood. The weaker part is always afraid of requiring explanations, and the stronger always has an interest in leaving the question undecided: thus it will happen, without great caution on either side, that, after long treaties, solemnly ratified, the rights that had been disputed are still equally open to controversy.

In America, it may easily be supposed, that there are tracts of land not yet claimed by either party, and, therefore, mentioned in no treaties; which yet one, or the other, may be afterwards inclined to occupy; but to these vacant and unsettled countries each nation may pretend, as each conceives itself entitled to all that is not expressly granted to the other.

Here, then, is a perpetual ground of contest; every enlargement of the possessions of either will be considered as something taken from the other, and each will endeavour to regain what had never been claimed, but that the other occupied it.

Thus obscure in its original is the American contest. It is difficult to find the first invader, or to tell where invasion properly begins; but, I suppose, it is not to be doubted, that after the last war, when the French had made peace with such apparent superiority, they naturally began to treat us with less respect in distant parts of the world, and to consider us, as a people from whom they had nothing to fear, and who could no longer presume to contravene their designs, or to check their progress.

The power of doing wrong with impunity seldom waits long for the will; and, it is reasonable to believe, that, in America, the French would avow their purpose of aggrandizing themselves with, at least, as little reserve as in Europe. We may, therefore, readily believe, that they were unquiet neighbours, and had no great regard to right, which they believed us no longer able to enforce.

That in forming a line of forts behind our colonies, if in no other part of their attempt, they had acted against the general intention, if not against the literal terms of treaties, can scarcely be denied; for it never can be supposed, that we intended to be inclosed between the sea and the French garrisons, or preclude ourselves from extending our plantations backwards, to any length that our convenience should require.

With dominion is conferred every thing that can secure dominion. He that has the coast, has, likewise, the sea, to a certain distance; he that possesses a fortress, has the right of prohibiting another fortress to be built within the command of its cannon. When, therefore, we planted the coast of North America, we supposed the possession of the inland region granted to an indefinite extent; and every nation that settled in that part of the world, seems, by the permission of every other nation, to have made the same supposition in its own favour.

Here, then, perhaps, it will be safest to fix the justice of our cause; here we are apparently and indisputably injured, and this injury may, according to the practice of nations, be justly resented. Whether we have not, in return, made some encroachments upon them, must be left doubtful, till our practices on the Ohio shall be stated and vindicated. There are no two nations, confining on each other, between whom a war may not always be kindled with plausible pretences on either part, as there is always passing between them a reciprocation of injuries, and fluctuation of encroachments.

From the conclusion of the last peace, perpetual complaints of the supplantations and invasions of the French have been sent to Europe, from our colonies, and transmitted to our ministers at Paris, where good words were, sometimes, given us, and the practices of the American commanders were, sometimes, disowned; but no redress was ever obtained, nor is it probable, that any prohibition was sent to America. We were still amused with such doubtful promises, as those who are afraid of war are ready to interpret in their own favour, and the French pushed forward their line of fortresses, and seemed to resolve, that before our complaints were finally dismissed, all remedy should be hopeless.

We, likewise, endeavoured, at the same time, to form a barrier against the Canadians, by sending a colony to New Scotland, a cold uncomfortable tract of ground; of which we had long the nominal possession, before we really began to occupy it. To this, those were invited whom the cessation of war deprived of employment, and made burdensome to their country; and settlers were allured thither by many fallacious descriptions of fertile valleys and clear skies. What effects these pictures of American happiness had upon my countrymen, I was never informed, but, I suppose, very few sought provision in those frozen regions, whom guilt, or poverty, did not drive from their native country. About the boundaries of this new colony there were some disputes; but, as there was nothing yet worth a contest, the power of the French was not much exerted on that side; some disturbance was, however, given, and some skirmishes ensued. But, perhaps, being peopled chiefly with soldiers, who would rather live by plunder than by agriculture, and who consider war as their best trade, New Scotland would be more obstinately defended than some settlements of far greater value; and the French are too well informed of their own interest, to provoke hostility for no advantage, or to select that country for invasion, where they must hazard much and can win little. They, therefore, pressed on southward, behind our ancient and wealthy settlements, and built fort after fort, at such distances that they might conveniently relieve one another, invade our colonies with sudden incursions, and retire to places of safety, before our people could unite to oppose them.

This design of the French has been long formed, and long known, both in America and Europe, and might, at first, have been easily repressed, had force been used instead of expostulation. When the English attempted a settlement upon the island of St. Lucia, the French, whether justly or not, considering it as neutral, and forbidden to be occupied by either nation, immediately landed upon it, and destroyed the houses, wasted the plantations, and drove, or carried away, the inhabitants. This was done in the time of peace, when mutual professions of friendship were daily exchanged by the two courts, and was not considered as any violation of treaties, nor was any more than a very soft remonstrance made on our part.

The French, therefore, taught us how to act; but an Hanoverian quarrel with the house of Austria, for some time, induced us to court, at any expense, the alliance of a nation, whose very situation makes them our enemies. We suffered them to destroy our settlements, and to advance their own, which we had an equal right to attack. The time, however, came, at last, when we ventured to quarrel with Spain, and then France no longer suffered the appearance of peace to subsist between us, but armed in defence of her ally.

The events of the war are well known: we pleased ourselves with a victory at Dettingen, where we left our wounded men to the care of our enemies, but our army was broken at Fontenoy and Val; and though, after the disgrace which we suffered in the Mediterranean, we had some naval success, and an accidental dearth made peace necessary for the French, yet they prescribed the conditions, obliged us to give hostages, and acted as conquerors, though as conquerors of moderation.

In this war the Americans distinguished themselves in a manner unknown and unexpected. The New English raised an army, and, under the command of Pepperel, took cape Breton, with the assistance of the fleet. This is the most important fortress in America. We pleased ourselves so much with the acquisition, that we could not think of restoring it; and, among the arguments used to inflame the people against Charles Stuart, it was very clamorously urged, that if he gained the kingdom, he would give cape Breton back to the French.

The French, however, had a more easy expedient to regain cape Breton, than by exalting Charles Stuart to the English throne. They took, in their turn, fort St. George, and had our East India company wholly in their power, whom they restored, at the peace, to their former possessions, that they may continue to export our silver.

Cape Breton, therefore, was restored, and the French were reestablished in America, with equal power and greater spirit, having lost nothing by the war, which they had before gained.

To the general reputation of their arms, and that habitual superiority which they derive from it, they owe their power in America, rather than to any real strength or circumstances of advantage. Their numbers are yet not great; their trade, though daily improved, is not very extensive; their country is barren; their fortresses, though numerous, are weak, and rather shelters from wild beasts, or savage nations, than places built for defence against bombs or cannons. Cape Breton has been found not to be impregnable; nor, if we consider the state of the places possessed by the two nations in America, is there any reason upon which the French should have presumed to molest us, but that they thought our spirit so broken, that we durst not resist them; and in this opinion our long forbearance easily confirmed them.

We forgot, or rather avoided to think, that what we delayed to do, must be done at last, and done with more difficulty, as it was delayed longer; that while we were complaining, and they were eluding, or answering our complaints, fort was rising upon fort, and one invasion made a precedent for another.

This confidence of the French is exalted by some real advantages. If they possess, in those countries, less than we, they have more to gain, and less to hazard; if they are less numerous, they are better united.

The French compose one body with one head. They have all the same interest, and agree to pursue it by the same means. They are subject to a governour, commissioned by an absolute monarch, and participating the authority of his master. Designs are, therefore, formed without debate, and executed without impediment. They have yet more martial than mercantile ambition, and seldom suffer their military schemes to be entangled with collateral projects of gain: they have no wish but for conquest, of which they justly consider riches as the consequence.

Some advantages they will always have, as invaders. They make war at the hazard of their enemies: the contest being carried on in our territories, we must lose more by a victory, than they will suffer by a defeat. They will subsist, while they stay, upon our plantations; and, perhaps, destroy them, when they can stay no longer. If we pursue them, and carry the war into their dominions, our difficulties will increase every step as we advance, for we shall leave plenty behind us, and find nothing in Canada, but lakes and forests, barren and trackless; our enemies will shut themselves up in their forts, against which it is difficult to bring cannon through so rough a country, and which, if they are provided with good magazines, will soon starve those who besiege them.

All these are the natural effects of their government and situation; they are accidentally more formidable, as they are less happy. But the favour of the Indians, which they enjoy, with very few exceptions, among all the nations of the northern continent, we ought to consider with other thoughts; this favour we might have enjoyed, if we had been careful to deserve it. The French, by having these savage nations on their side, are always supplied with spies and guides, and with auxiliaries, like the Tartars to the Turks, or the Hussars to the Germans, of no great use against troops ranged in order of battle, but very well qualified to maintain a war among woods and rivulets, where much mischief may be done by unexpected onsets, and safety be obtained by quick retreats. They can waste a colony by sudden inroads, surprise the straggling planters, frighten the inhabitants into towns, hinder the cultivation of lands, and starve those whom they are not able to conquer







Written in the year 1756 [25].

The present system of English politicks may properly be said to have taken rise in the reign of queen Elizabeth. At this time the protestant religion was established, which naturally allied us to the reformed state, and made all the popish powers our enemies.

We began in the same reign to extend our trade, by which we made it necessary to ourselves to watch the commercial progress of our neighbours; and if not to incommode and obstruct their traffick, to hinder them from impairing ours.

We then, likewise, settled colonies in America, which was become the great scene of European ambition; for, seeing with what treasures the Spaniards were annually enriched from Mexico and Peru, every nation imagined, that an American conquest, or plantation, would certainly fill the mother country with gold and silver. This produced a large extent of very distant dominions, of which we, at this time, neither knew nor foresaw the advantage or incumbrance; we seem to have snatched them into our hands, upon no very just principles of policy, only because every state, according to a prejudice of long continuance, concludes itself more powerful, as its territories become larger.

The discoveries of new regions, which were then every day made, the profit of remote traffick, and the necessity of long voyages, produced, in a few years, a great multiplication of shipping. The sea was considered as the wealthy element; and, by degrees, a new kind of sovereignty arose, called naval dominion.

As the chief trade of the world, so the chief maritime power was at first in the hands of the Portuguese and Spaniards, who, by a compact, to which the consent of other princes was not asked, had divided the newly discovered countries between them; but the crown of Portugal having fallen to the king of Spain, or being seized by him, he was master of the ships of the two nations, with which he kept all the coasts of Europe in alarm, till the armada, which he had raised, at a vast expense, for the conquest of England, was destroyed, which put a stop, and almost an end, to the naval power of the Spaniards.

At this time, the Dutch, who were oppressed by the Spaniards, and feared yet greater evils than they felt, resolved no longer to endure the insolence of their masters: they, therefore, revolted; and, after a struggle, in which they were assisted by the money and forces of Elizabeth, erected an independent and powerful commonwealth.

When the inhabitants of the Low Countries had formed their system of government, and some remission of the war gave them leisure to form schemes of future prosperity, they easily perceived, that, as their territories were narrow, and their numbers small, they could preserve themselves only by that power which is the consequence of wealth; and that, by a people whose country produced only the necessaries of life, wealth was not to be acquired, but from foreign dominions, and by the transportation of the products of one country into another.

From this necessity, thus justly estimated, arose a plan of commerce, which was, for many years, prosecuted with industry and success, perhaps never seen in the world before, and by which the poor tenants of mud-walled villages, and impassable bogs, erected themselves into high and mighty states, who put the greatest monarchs at defiance, whose alliance was courted by the proudest, and whose power was dreaded by the fiercest nation. By the establishment of this state, there arose, to England, a new ally, and a new rival.

At this time, which seems to be the period destined for the change of the face of Europe, France began first to rise into power, and, from defending her own provinces with difficulty and fluctuating success, to threaten her neighbours with encroachments and devastations. Henry the fourth having, after a long struggle, obtained the crown, found it easy to govern nobles, exhausted and wearied with a long civil war, and having composed the disputes between the protestants and papists, so as to obtain, at least, a truce for both parties, was at leisure to accumulate treasure, and raise forces, which he purposed to have employed in a design of settling for ever the balance of Europe. Of this great scheme he lived not to see the vanity, or to feel the disappointment; for he was murdered in the midst of his mighty preparations.

The French, however, were, in this reign, taught to know their own power; and the great designs of a king, whose wisdom they had so long experienced, even though they were not brought to actual experiment, disposed them to consider themselves as masters of the destiny of their neighbours; and, from that time, he that shall nicely examine their schemes and conduct, will, I believe, find that they began to take an air of superiority, to which they had never pretended before; and that they have been always employed, more or less openly, upon schemes of dominion, though with frequent interruptions from domestick troubles, and with those intermissions which human counsels must always suffer, as men intrusted with great affairs are dissipated in youth, and languid in age; are embarrassed by competitors, or, without any external reason, change their minds.

France was now no longer in dread of insults, and invasions from England. She was not only able to maintain her own territories, but prepared, on all occasions, to invade others; and we had now a neighbour, whose interest it was to be an enemy, and who has disturbed us, from that time to this, with open hostility, or secret machinations.

Such was the state of England, and its neighbours, when Elizabeth left the crown to James of Scotland. It has not, I think, been frequently observed, by historians, at how critical a time the union of the two kingdoms happened. Had England and Scotland continued separate kingdoms, when France was established in the full possession of her natural power, the Scots, in continuance of the league, which it would now have been more than ever their interest to observe, would, upon every instigation of the French court, have raised an army with French money, and harassed us with an invasion, in which they would have thought themselves successful, whatever numbers they might have left behind them. To a people warlike and indigent, an incursion into a rich country is never hurtful. The pay of France, and the plunder of the northern countries, would always have tempted them to hazard their lives, and we should have been under a necessity of keeping a line of garrisons along our border.

This trouble, however, we escaped, by the accession of king James; but it is uncertain, whether his natural disposition did not injure us more than this accidental condition happened to benefit us. He was a man of great theoretical knowledge, but of no practical wisdom; he was very well able to discern the true interest of himself, his kingdom, and his posterity, but sacrificed it, upon all occasions, to his present pleasure or his present ease; so conscious of his own knowledge and abilities, that he would not suffer a minister to govern, and so lax of attention, and timorous of opposition, that he was not able to govern for himself. With this character, James quietly saw the Dutch invade our commerce; the French grew every day stronger and stronger; and the protestant interest, of which he boasted himself the head, was oppressed on every side, while he writ, and hunted, and despatched ambassadours, who, when their master's weakness was once known, were treated, in foreign courts, with very little ceremony. James, however, took care to be flattered at home, and was neither angry nor ashamed at the appearance that he made in other countries.

Thus England grew weaker, or, what is, in political estimation, the same thing, saw her neighbours grow stronger, without receiving proportionable additions to her own power. Not that the mischief was so great as it is generally conceived or represented; for, I believe, it may be made to appear, that the wealth of the nation was, in this reign, very much increased, though, that of the crown was lessened. Our reputation for war was impaired; but commerce seems to have been carried on with great industry and vigour, and nothing was wanting, but that we should have defended ourselves from the encroachments of our neighbours.

The inclination to plant colonies in America still continued, and this being the only project in which men of adventure and enterprise could exert their qualities, in a pacifick reign, multitudes, who were discontented with their condition in their native country, and such multitudes there will always be, sought relief, or, at least, a change, in the western regions, where they settled, in the northern part of the continent, at a distance from the Spaniards, at that time almost the only nation that had any power or will to obstruct us.

Such was the condition of this country, when the unhappy Charles inherited the crown. He had seen the errours of his father, without being able to prevent them, and, when he began his reign, endeavoured to raise the nation to its former dignity. The French papists had begun a new war upon the protestants: Charles sent a fleet to invade Rhée and relieve Rochelle, but his attempts were defeated, and the protestants were subdued. The Dutch, grown wealthy and strong, claimed the right of fishing in the British seas: this claim the king, who saw the increasing power of the states of Holland, resolved to contest. But, for this end, it was necessary to build a fleet, and a fleet could not be built without expense: he was advised to levy ship-money, which gave occasion to the civil war, of which the events and conclusion are too well known.

While the inhabitants of this island were embroiled among themselves, the power of France and Holland was every day increasing. The Dutch had overcome the difficulties of their infant commonwealth; and, as they still retained their vigour and industry, from rich grew continually richer, and from powerful more powerful. They extended their traffick, and had not yet admitted luxury; so that they had the means and the will to accumulate wealth, without any incitement to spend it. The French, who wanted nothing to make them powerful, but a prudent regulation of their revenues, and a proper use of their natural advantages, by the successive care of skilful ministers, became, every day, stronger, and more conscious of their strength.

About this time it was, that the French first began to turn their thoughts to traffick and navigation, and to desire, like other nations, an American territory. All the fruitful and valuable parts of the western world were, already, either occupied, or claimed; and nothing remained for France, but the leavings of other navigators, for she was not yet haughty enough to seize what the neighbouring powers had already appropriated.

The French, therefore, contented themselves with sending a colony to Canada, a cold, uncomfortable, uninviting region, from which nothing but furs and fish were to be had, and where the new inhabitants could only pass a laborious and necessitous life, in perpetual regret of the deliciousness and plenty of their native country.

Notwithstanding the opinion which our countrymen have been taught to entertain of the comprehension and foresight of French politicians, I am not able to persuade myself, that when this colony was first planted, it was thought of much value, even by those that encouraged it; there was, probably, nothing more intended, than to provide a drain, into which the waste of an exuberant nation might be thrown, a place where those who could do no good might live without the power of doing mischief. Some new advantage they, undoubtedly, saw, or imagined themselves to see, and what more was necessary to the establishment of the colony, was supplied by natural inclination to experiments, and that impatience of doing nothing, to which mankind, perhaps, owe much of what is imagined to be effected by more splendid motives.

In this region of desolate sterility they settled themselves, upon whatever principle; and, as they have, from that time, had the happiness of a government, by which no interest has been neglected, nor any part of their subjects overlooked, they have, by continual encouragement and assistance from France, been perpetually enlarging their bounds, and increasing their numbers.

These were, at first, like other nations who invaded America, inclined to consider the neighbourhood of the natives, as troublesome and dangerous, and are charged with having destroyed great numbers; but they are now grown wiser, if not honester, and, instead of endeavouring to frighten the Indians away, they invite them to inter-marriage and cohabitation, and allure them, by all practicable methods, to become the subjects of the king of France.

If the Spaniards, when they first took possession of the newly discovered world, instead of destroying the inhabitants by thousands, had either had the urbanity or the policy to have conciliated them by kind treatment, and to have united them, gradually, to their own people, such an accession might have been made to the power of the king of Spain, as would have made him far the greatest monarch that ever yet ruled in the globe; but the opportunity was lost by foolishness and cruelty, and now can never be recovered.

When the parliament had finally prevailed over our king, and the army over the parliament, the interests of the two commonwealths of England and Holland soon appeared to be opposite, and a new government declared war against the Dutch. In this contest was exerted the utmost power of the two nations, and the Dutch were finally defeated, yet not with such evidence of superiority, as left us much reason to boast our victory: they were obliged, however, to solicit peace, which was granted them on easy conditions; and Cromwell, who was now possessed of the supreme power, was left at leisure to pursue other designs.

The European powers had not yet ceased to look with envy on the Spanish acquisitions in America, and, therefore, Cromwell thought, that if he gained any part of these celebrated regions, he should exalt his own reputation, and enrich the country. He, therefore, quarrelled with the Spaniards upon some such subject of contention, as he that is resolved upon hostility may always find; and sent Penn and Venables into the western seas. They first landed in Hispaniola, whence they were driven off, with no great reputation to themselves; and that they might not return without having done something, they afterwards invaded Jamaica, where they found less resistance, and obtained that island, which was afterwards consigned to us, being probably of little value to the Spaniards, and continues, to this day, a place of great wealth and dreadful wickedness, a den of tyrants and a dungeon of slaves.

Cromwell, who, perhaps, had not leisure to study foreign politicks, was very fatally mistaken with regard to Spain and France. Spain had been the last power in Europe which had openly pretended to give law to other nations, and the memory of this terrour remained, when the real cause was at an end. We had more lately been frighted by Spain than by France; and though very few were then alive of the generation that had their sleep broken by the armada, yet the name of the Spaniards was still terrible and a war against them was pleasing to the people.

Our own troubles had left us very little desire to look out upon the continent; an inveterate prejudice hindered us from perceiving, that, for more than half a century, the power of France had been increasing, and that of Spain had been growing less; nor does it seem to have been remembered, which yet required no great depth of policy to discern, that of two monarchs, neither of which could be long our friend, it was our interest to have the weaker near us; or, that if a war should happen, Spain, however wealthy or strong in herself, was, by the dispersion of her territories, more obnoxious to the attacks of a naval power, and, consequently, had more to fear from us, and had it less in her power to hurt us.

All these considerations were overlooked by the wisdom of that age; and Cromwell assisted the French to drive the Spaniards out of Flanders, at a time when it was our interest to have supported the Spaniards against France, as formerly the Hollanders against Spain, by which we might, at least, have retarded the growth of the French power, though, I think, it must have finally prevailed.

During this time our colonies, which were less disturbed by our commotions than the mother-country, naturally increased; it is probable that many, who were unhappy at home, took shelter in those remote regions, where, for the sake of inviting greater numbers, every one was allowed to think and live his own way. The French settlement, in the mean time, went slowly forward, too inconsiderable to raise any jealousy, and too weak to attempt any encroachments.

When Cromwell died, the confusions that followed produced the restoration of monarchy, and some time was employed in repairing the ruins of our constitution, and restoring the nation to a state of peace. In every change, there will be many that suffer real or imaginary grievances, and, therefore, many will be dissatisfied. This was, perhaps, the reason why several colonies had their beginning in the reign of Charles the second. The quakers willingly sought refuge in Pennsylvania; and it is not unlikely that Carolina owed its inhabitants to the remains of that restless disposition, which had given so much disturbance to our country, and had now no opportunity of acting at home.

The Dutch, still continuing to increase in wealth and power, either kindled the resentment of their neighbours by their insolence, or raised their envy by their prosperity. Charles made war upon them without much advantage; but they were obliged, at last, to confess him the sovereign of the narrow seas. They were reduced almost to extremities by an invasion from France; but soon recovered from their consternation, and, by the fluctuation of war, regained their cities and provinces with the same speed as they had lost them.

During the time of Charles the second, the power of France was every day increasing; and Charles, who never disturbed himself with remote consequences, saw the progress of her arms and the extension of her dominions, with very little uneasiness. He was, indeed, sometimes driven, by the prevailing faction, into confederacies against her; but as he had, probably, a secret partiality in her favour, he never persevered long in acting against her, nor ever acted with much vigour; so that, by his feeble resistance, he rather raised her confidence than hindered her designs.

About this time the French first began to perceive the advantage of commerce, and the importance of a naval force; and such encouragement was given to manufactures, and so eagerly was every project received, by which trade could be advanced, that, in a few years, the sea was filled with their ships, and all the parts of the world crowded with their merchants. There is, perhaps, no instance in human story, of such a change produced in so short a time, in the schemes and manners of a people, of so many new sources of wealth opened, and such numbers of artificers and merchants made to start out of the ground, as was seen in the ministry of Colbert.

Now it was that the power of France became formidable to England. Her dominions were large before, and her armies numerous; but her operations were necessarily confined to the continent. She had neither ships for the transportation of her troops, nor money for their support in distant expeditions. Colbert saw both these wants, and saw that commerce only would supply them. The fertility of their country furnishes the French with commodities; the poverty of the common people keeps the price of labour low. By the obvious practice of selling much and buying little, it was apparent, that they would soon draw the wealth of other countries into their own; and, by carrying out their merchandise in their own vessels, a numerous body of sailors would quickly be raised.

This was projected, and this was performed. The king of France was soon enabled to bribe those whom he could not conquer, and to terrify, with his fleets, those whom his armies could not have approached. The influence of France was suddenly diffused all over the globe; her arms were dreaded, and her pensions received in remote regions, and those were almost ready to acknowledge her sovereignty, who, a few years before, had scarcely heard her name. She thundered on the coasts of Africa, and received ambassadours from Siam.

So much may be done by one wise man endeavouring, with honesty, the advantage of the publick. But that we may not rashly condemn all ministers, as wanting wisdom or integrity, whose counsels have produced no such apparent benefits to their country, it must be considered, that Colbert had means of acting, which our government does not allow. He could enforce all his orders by the power of an absolute monarch; he could compel individuals to sacrifice their private profit to the general good; he could make one understanding preside over many hands, and remove difficulties by quick and violent expedients. Where no man thinks himself under any obligation to submit to another, and, instead of cooperating in one great scheme, every one hastens through by-paths to private profit, no great change can suddenly be made; nor is superiour knowledge of much effect, where every man resolves to use his own eyes and his own judgment, and every one applauds his own dexterity and diligence, in proportion as he becomes rich sooner than his neighbour.

Colonies are always the effects and causes of navigation. They who visit many countries find some, in which pleasure, profit, or safety invite them to settle; and these settlements, when they are once made, must keep a perpetual correspondence with the original country to which they are subject, and on which they depend for protection in danger, and supplies in necessity. So that a country, once discovered and planted, must always find employment for shipping, more certainly than any foreign commerce, which, depending on casualties, may be sometimes more, and sometimes less, and which other nations may contract or suppress. A trade to colonies can never be much impaired, being, in reality, only an intercourse between distant provinces of the same empire, from which intruders are easily excluded; likewise the interest and affection of the correspondent parties, however distant, is the same.

On this reason all nations, whose power has been exerted on the ocean, have fixed colonies in remote parts of the world; and while those colonies subsisted, navigation, if it did not increase, was always preserved from total decay. With this policy the French were well acquainted, and, therefore, improved and augmented the settlements in America and other regions, in proportion as they advanced their schemes of naval greatness.

The exact time, in which they made their acquisitions in America, or other quarters of the globe, it is not necessary to collect. It is sufficient to observe, that their trade and their colonies increased together; and, if their naval armaments were carried on, as they really were, in greater proportion to their commerce, than can be practised in other countries, it must be attributed to the martial disposition at that time prevailing in the nation, to the frequent wars which Lewis the fourteenth made upon his neighbours, and to the extensive commerce of the English and Dutch, which afforded so much plunder to privateers, that war was more lucrative than traffick.

Thus the naval power of France continued to increase during the reign of Charles the second, who, between his fondness of ease and pleasure, the struggles of faction, which he could not suppress, and his inclination to the friendship of absolute monarchy, had not much power or desire to repress it. And of James the second it could not be expected, that he should act against his neighbours with great vigour, having the whole body of his subjects to oppose. He was not ignorant of the real interest of his country; he desired its power and its happiness, and thought rightly, that there is no happiness without religion; but he thought very erroneously and absurdly, that there is no religion without popery.

When the necessity of self-preservation had impelled the subjects of James to drive him from the throne, there came a time in which the passions, as well as interest of the government, acted against the French, and in which it may, perhaps, be reasonably doubted, whether the desire of humbling France was not stronger, than that of exalting England: of this, however, it is not necessary to inquire, since, though the intention may be different, the event will be the same. All mouths were now open to declare what every eye had observed before, that the arms of France were become dangerous to Europe; and that, if her encroachments were suffered a little longer, resistance would be too late.

It was now determined to reassert the empire of the sea; but it was more easily determined than performed: the French made a vigorous defence against the united power of England and Holland, and were sometimes masters of the ocean, though the two maritime powers were united against them. At length, however, they were defeated at La Hogue; a great part of their fleet was destroyed, and they were reduced to carry on the war only with their privateers, from whom there was suffered much petty mischief, though there was no danger of conquest or invasion. They distressed our merchants, and obliged us to the continual expense of convoys and fleets of observation; and, by skulking in little coves and shallow waters, escaped our pursuit.

In this reign began our confederacy with the Dutch, which mutual interest has now improved into a friendship, conceived by some to be inseparable; and, from that time, the states began to be termed, in the style of politicians, our faithful friends, the allies which nature has given us, our protestant confederates, and by many other names of national endearment. We have, it is true, the same interest, as opposed to France, and some resemblance of religion, as opposed to popery; but we have such a rivalry, in respect of commerce, as will always keep us from very close adherence to each other. No mercantile man, or mercantile nation, has any friendship but for money, and alliance between them will last no longer, than their common safety, or common profit is endangered; no longer than they have an enemy, who threatens to take from each more than either can steal from the other.

We were both sufficiently interested in repressing the ambition, and obstructing the commerce of France; and, therefore, we concurred with as much fidelity, and as regular cooperation, as is commonly found. The Dutch were in immediate danger, the armies of their enemies hovered over their country, and, therefore, they were obliged to dismiss, for a time, their love of money, and their narrow projects of private profit, and to do what a trader does not willingly, at any time, believe necessary, to sacrifice a part for the preservation of the whole.

A peace was at length made, and the French, with their usual vigour and industry, rebuilt their fleets, restored their commerce, and became, in a very few years, able to contest again the dominion of the sea. Their ships were well built, and always very numerously manned; their commanders, having no hopes but from their bravery, or their fortune, were resolute, and, being very carefully educated for the sea, were eminently skilful.

All this was soon perceived, when queen Anne, the then darling of England, declared war against France. Our success by sea, though sufficient to keep us from dejection, was not such as dejected our enemies. It is, indeed, to be confessed, that we did not exert our whole naval strength; Marlborough was the governour of our counsels, and the great view of Marlborough was a war by land, which he knew well how to conduct, both to the honour of his country and his own profit. The fleet was, therefore, starved, that the army might be supplied, and naval advantages were neglected, for the sake of taking a town in Flanders, to be garrisoned by our allies. The French, however, were so weakened by one defeat after another, that, though their fleet was never destroyed by any total overthrow, they at last retained it in their harbours, and applied their whole force to the resistance of the confederate army, that now began to approach their frontiers, and threatened to lay waste their provinces and cities.

In the latter years of this war, the danger of their neighbourhood in America, seems to have been considered, and a fleet was fitted out, and supplied with a proper number of land forces, to seize Quebec, the capital of Canada, or New France; but this expedition miscarried, like that of Anson against the Spaniards, by the lateness of the season, and our ignorance of the coasts on which we were to act. We returned with loss, and only excited our enemies to greater vigilance, and, perhaps, to stronger fortifications.

When the peace of Utrecht was made, which those, who clamoured among us most loudly against it, found it their interest to keep, the French applied themselves, with the utmost industry, to the extension of their trade, which we were so far from hindering, that, for many years, our ministry thought their friendship of such value, as to be cheaply purchased by whatever concession.

Instead, therefore, of opposing, as we had hitherto professed to do, the boundless ambition of the house of Bourbon, we became, on a sudden, solicitous for its exaltation, and studious of its interest. We assisted the schemes of France and Spain with our fleets, and endeavoured to make these our friends by servility, whom nothing but power will keep quiet, and who must always be our enemies, while they are endeavouring to grow greater, and we determine to remain free.

That nothing might be omitted, which could testify our willingness to continue, on any terms, the good friends of France, we were content to assist, not only their conquests, but their traffick; and, though we did not openly repeal the prohibitory laws, we yet tamely suffered commerce to be carried on between the two nations, and wool was daily imported, to enable them to make cloth, which they carried to our markets, and sold cheaper than we.

During all this time they were extending and strengthening their settlements in America, contriving new modes of traffick, and framing new alliances with the Indian nations. They began now to find these northern regions, barren and desolate as they are, sufficiently valuable to desire, at least, a nominal possession, that might furnish a pretence for the exclusion of others; they, therefore, extended their claim to tracts of land, which they could never hope to occupy, took care to give their dominions an unlimited magnitude, have given, in their maps, the name of Louisiana to a country, of which part is claimed by the Spaniards, and part by the English, without any regard to ancient boundaries, or prior discovery.

When the return of Columbus from his great voyage had filled all Europe with wonder and curiosity, Henry the seventh sent Sebastian Cabot to try what could be found for the benefit of England: he declined the track of Columbus, and, steering to the westward, fell upon the island, which, from that time, was called by the English Newfoundland. Our princes seem to have considered themselves as entitled, by their right of prior seizure, to the northern parts of America, as the Spaniards were allowed, by universal consent, their claim to the southern region for the same reason; and we, accordingly, made our principal settlements within the limits of our own discoveries, and, by degrees, planted the eastern coast, from Newfoundland to Georgia.

As we had, according to the European principles, which allow nothing to the natives of these regions, our choice of situation in this extensive country, we naturally fixed our habitations along the coast, for the sake of traffick and correspondence and all the conveniencies of navigable rivers. And when one port or river was occupied, the next colony, instead of fixing themselves in the inland parts behind the former, went on southward, till they pleased themselves with another maritime situation. For this reason our colonies have more length than depth; their extent, from east to west, or from the sea to the interior country, bears no proportion to their reach along the coast, from north to south.

It was, however, understood, by a kind of tacit compact among the commercial powers, that possession of the coast included a right to the inland; and, therefore, the charters granted to the several colonies, limit their districts only from north to south, leaving their possessions from east to west unlimited and discretional, supposing that, as the colony increases, they may take lands as they shall want them, the possession of the coasts, excluding other navigators, and the unhappy Indians having no right of nature or of nations.

This right of the first European possessour was not disputed, till it became the interest of the French to question it. Canada, or New France, on which they made their first settlement, is situated eastward of our colonies, between which they pass up the great river of St. Lawrence, with Newfoundland on the north, and Nova Scotia on the south. Their establishment in this country was neither envied nor hindered; and they lived here, in no great numbers, a long time, neither molesting their European neighbours, nor molested by them.

But when they grew stronger and more numerous, they began to extend their territories; and, as it is natural for men to seek their own convenience, the desire of more fertile and agreeable habitations tempted them southward. There is land enough to the north and west of their settlements, which they may occupy with as good right as can be shown by the other European usurpers, and which neither the English nor Spaniards will contest; but of this cold region, they have enough already, and their resolution was to get a better country. This was not to be had, but by settling to the west of our plantations, on ground which has been, hitherto, supposed to belong to us.

Hither, therefore, they resolved to remove, and to fix, at their own discretion, the western border of our colonies, which was, heretofore, considered as unlimited. Thus by forming a line of forts, in some measure parallel to the coast, they inclose us between their garrisons, and the sea, and not only hinder our extension westward, but, whenever they have a sufficient navy in the sea, can harass us on each side, as they can invade us, at pleasure, from one or other of their forts.

This design was not, perhaps, discovered as soon as it was formed, and was certainly not opposed so soon as it was discovered: we foolishly hoped, that their encroachments would stop; that they would be prevailed on, by treaty and remonstrance, to give up what they had taken, or to put limits to themselves. We suffered them to establish one settlement after another, to pass boundary after boundary, and add fort to fort, till, at last, they grew strong enough to avow their designs, and defy us to obstruct them.

By these provocations, long continued, we are, at length, forced into a war, in which we have had, hitherto, very ill fortune. Our troops, under Braddock, were dishonourably defeated; our fleets have yet done nothing more than taken a few merchant ships, and have distressed some private families, but have very little weakened the power of France. The detention of their seamen makes it, indeed, less easy for them to fit out their navy; but this deficiency will be easily supplied by the alacrity of the nation, which is always eager for war.

It is unpleasing to represent our affairs to our own disadvantage; yet it is necessary to show the evils which we desire to be removed; and, therefore, some account may very properly be given of the measures which have given them their present superiority.

They are said to be supplied from France with better governours than our colonies have the fate to obtain from England. A French governour is seldom chosen for any other reason than his qualifications for his trust. To be a bankrupt at home, or to be so infamously vitious, that he cannot be decently protected in his own country, seldom recommends any man to the government of a French colony. Their officers are commonly skilful, either in war or commerce, and are taught to have no expectation of honour or preferment, but from the justice and vigour of their administration.

Their great security is the friendship of the natives, and to this advantage they have certainly an indubitable right; because it is the consequence of their virtue. It is ridiculous to imagine, that the friendship of nations, whether civil or barbarous, can be gained and kept but by kind treatment; and, surely, they who intrude, uncalled, upon the country of a distant people, ought to consider the natives as worthy of common kindness, and content themselves to rob, without insulting them. The French, as has been already observed, admit the Indians, by intermarriage, to an equality with themselves; and those nations, with which they have no such near intercourse, they gain over to their interest by honesty in their dealings. Our factors and traders, having no other purpose in view than immediate profit, use all the arts of an European counting-house, to defraud the simple hunter of his furs.

These are some of the causes of our present weakness; our planters are always quarrelling with their governour, whom they consider as less to be trusted than the French; and our traders hourly alienate the Indians by their tricks and oppressions, and we continue every day to show, by new proofs; that no people can be great, who have ceased to be virtuous.






Between his Britannick majesty and imperial majesty of all the Russias, signed at Moscow, Dec. 11, 1742; the treaty between his Britannick majesty and the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel, signed June 18, 1755; and the treaty between his Britannick majesty and her imperial majesty of all the Russias, signed at St. Petersburg, Sept. 19/20, 1755 [26].

These are the treaties which, for many months, filled the senate with debates, and the kingdom with clamours; which were represented, on one part, as instances of the most profound policy and the most active care of the publick welfare, and, on the other, as acts of the most contemptible folly and most flagrant corruption, as violations of the great trust of government, by which the wealth of Britain is sacrificed to private views and to a particular province.

What honours our ministers and negotiators may expect to be paid to their wisdom; it is hard to determine, for the demands of vanity are not easily estimated. They should consider, before they call too loudly for encomiums, that they live in an age, when the power of gold is no longer a secret, and in which no man finds much difficulty in making a bargain, with money in his hand. To hire troops is very easy to those who are willing to pay their price. It appears, therefore, that whatever has been done, was done by means which every man knows how to use, if fortune is kind enough to put them in his power. To arm the nations of the north in the cause of Britain, to bring down hosts against France, from the polar circle, has, indeed, a sound of magnificence, which might induce a mind unacquainted with publick affairs to imagine, that some effort of policy, more than human, had been exerted, by which distant nations were armed in our defence, and the influence of Britain was extended to the utmost limits of the world. But when this striking phenomenon of negotiation is more nearly inspected, it appears a bargain, merely mercantile, of one power that wanted troops more than money, with another that wanted money, and was burdened with troops; between whom their mutual wants made an easy contract, and who have no other friendship for each other, than reciprocal convenience happens to produce.

We shall, therefore, leave the praises of our ministers to others, yet not without this acknowledgment, that if they have done little, they do not seem to boast of doing much; and, that whether influenced by modesty or frugality, they have not wearied the publick with mercenary panegyrists, but have been content with the concurrence of the parliament, and have not much solicited the applauses of the people.

In publick, as in private transactions, men more frequently deviate from the right, for want of virtue, than of wisdom; and those who declare themselves dissatisfied with these treaties, impute them not to folly, but corruption.

By these advocates for the independence of Britain, who, whether their arguments be just, or not, seem to be most favourably heard by the people, it is alleged, that these treaties are expensive, without advantage; that they waste the treasure, which we want for our own defence, upon a foreign interest; and pour the gains of our commerce into the coffers of princes, whose enmity cannot hurt, nor friendship help us; who set their subjects to sale, like sheep or oxen, without any inquiry after the intentions of the buyer; and will withdraw the troops, with which they have supplied us, whenever a higher bidder shall be found.

This, perhaps, is true; but whether it be true, or false, is not worth inquiry. We did not expect to buy their friendship, but their troops; nor did we examine upon what principle we were supplied with assistance; it was sufficient that we wanted forces, and that they were willing to furnish them. Policy never pretended to make men wise and good; the utmost of her power is to make the best use of men, such as they are, to lay hold on lucky hours, to watch the present wants, and present interests of others, and make them subservient to her own convenience.

It is further urged, with great vehemence, that these troops of Russia and Hesse are not hired in defence of Britain; that we are engaged, in a naval war, for territories on a distant continent; and that these troops, though mercenaries, can never be auxiliaries; that they increase the burden of the war, without hastening its conclusion, or promoting its success; since they can neither be sent into America, the only part of the world where England can, on the present occasion, have any employment for land-forces, nor be put into our ships, by which, and by which only, we are now to oppose and subdue our enemies.

Nature has stationed us in an island, inaccessible but by sea; and we are now at war with an enemy, whose naval power is inferiour to our own, and from whom, therefore, we are in no danger of invasion: to what purpose, then, are troops hired in such uncommon numbers? To what end do we procure strength, which we cannot exert, and exhaust the nation with subsidies, at a time when nothing is disputed, which the princes, who receive our subsidies, can defend? If we had purchased ships, and hired seamen, we had apparently increased our power, and made ourselves formidable to our enemies, and, if any increase of security be possible, had secured ourselves still better from invasions: but what can the regiments of Russia, or of Hesse, contribute to the defence of the coasts of England; or, by what assistance can they repay us the sums, which we have stipulated to pay for their costly friendship?

The king of Great Britain has, indeed, a territory on the continent, of which the natives of this island scarcely knew the name, till the present family was called to the throne, and yet know little more than that our king visits it from time to time. Yet, for the defence of this country, are these subsidies apparently paid, and these troops evidently levied. The riches of our nation are sent into distant countries, and the strength, which should be employed in our own quarrel, consequently impaired, for the sake of dominions, the interest of which has no connexion with ours, and which, by the act of succession, we took care to keep separate from the British kingdoms.

To this the advocates for the subsidies say, that unreasonable stipulations, whether in the act of settlement, or any other contract, are, in themselves, void; and that if a country connected with England, by subjection to the same sovereign, is endangered by an English quarrel, it must be defended by English force; and that we do not engage in a war, for the sake of Hanover, but that Hanover is, for our sake, exposed to danger.

Those who brought in these foreign troops have still something further to say in their defence, and of no honest plea is it our intention to defraud them. They grant, that the terrour of invasion may, possibly, be groundless; that the French may want the power, or the courage, to attack us in our own country; but they maintain, likewise, that an invasion is possible, that the armies of France are so numerous, that she may hazard a large body on the ocean, without leaving herself exposed; that she is exasperated to the utmost degree of acrimony, and would be willing to do us mischief, at her own peril. They allow, that the invaders may be intercepted at sea, or that, if they land, they may be defeated by our native troops. But they say, and say justly, that danger is better avoided than encountered; that those ministers consult more the good of their country, who prevent invasion, than repel it; and that, if these auxiliaries have only saved us from the anxiety of expecting an enemy at our doors, or from the tumult and distress which an invasion, how soon soever repressed, would have produced, the publick money is not spent in vain.

These arguments are admitted by some, and by others rejected. But even those that admit them, can admit them only as pleas of necessity; for they consider the reception of mercenaries into our country, as the desperate "remedy of desperate distress;" and think, with great reason, that all means of prevention should be tried, to save us from any second need of such doubtful succours.

That we are able to defend our own country, that arms are most safely entrusted to our own hands, and that we have strength, and skill, and courage, equal to the best of the nations of the continent, is the opinion of every Englishman, who can think without prejudice, and speak without influence; and, therefore, it will not be easy to persuade the nation, a nation long renowned for valour, that it can need the help of foreigners to defend it from invasion. We have been long without the need of arms by our good fortune, and long without the use by our negligence; so long, that the practice, and almost the name, of our old trained bands is forgotten; but the story of ancient times will tell us, that the trained bands were once able to maintain the quiet and safety of their country; and reason, without history, will inform us, that those men are most likely to fight bravely, or, at least, to fight obstinately, who fight for their own houses and farms, for their own wives and children.

A bill was, therefore, offered for the prevention of any future danger or invasion, or necessity of mercenary forces, by reestablishing and improving the militia. It was passed by the commons, but rejected by the lords. That this bill, the first essay of political consideration, as a subject long forgotten, should be liable to objection, cannot be strange; but surely, justice, policy, common reason, require, that we should be trusted with our own defence, and be kept, no longer in such a helpless state as, at once, to dread our enemies and confederates.

By the bill, such as it was formed, sixty thousand men would always be in arms. We have shown [27] how they may be, upon any exigence, easily increased to a hundred and fifty thousand; and, I believe, neither our friends nor enemies will think it proper to insult our coasts, when they expect to find upon them a hundred and fifty thousand Englishmen, with swords in their hands.






Appointed to manage the contributions begun at London, December 18, 1758, for clothing French prisoners of war.

The committee intrusted with the money, contributed to the relief of the subjects of France, now prisoners in the British dominions, here lay before the publick an exact account of all the sums received and expended, that the donors may judge how properly their benefactions have been applied.

Charity would lose its name, were it influenced by so mean a motive as human praise; it is, therefore, not intended to celebrate, by any particular memorial, the liberality of single persons, or distinct societies; it is sufficient, that their works praise them.

Yet he, who is far from seeking honour, may very justly obviate censure. If a good example has been set, it may lose its influence by misrepresentation; and, to free charity from reproach is itself a charitable action.

Against the relief of the French only one argument has been brought; but that one is so popular and specious, that, if it were to remain unexamined, it would, by many, be thought irrefragable. It has been urged, that charity, like other virtues, may be improperly and unseasonably exerted; that, while we are relieving Frenchmen, there remain many Englishmen unrelieved; that, while we lavish pity on our enemies, we forget the misery of our friends.

Grant this argument all it can prove, and what is the conclusion?—That to relieve the French is a good action, but that a better may be conceived. This is all the result, and this all is very little. To do the best can seldom be the lot of man: it is sufficient if, when opportunities are presented, he is ready to do good. How little virtue could be practised, if beneficence were to wait always for the most proper objects, and the noblest occasions; occasions that may never happen, and objects that may never be found.

It is far from certain, that a single Englishman will suffer by the charity to the French. New scenes of misery make new impressions; and much of the charity, which produced these donations, may be supposed to have been generated by a species of calamity never known among us before. Some imagine, that the laws have provided all necessary relief, in common cases, and remit the poor to the care of the publick; some have been deceived by fictitious misery, and are afraid of encouraging imposture; many have observed want to be the effect of vice, and consider casual alms-givers as patrons of idleness. But all these difficulties vanish in the present case: we know, that for the prisoners of war there is no legal provision; we see their distress, and are certain of its cause; we know that they are poor and naked, and poor and naked without a crime.

But it is not necessary to make any concessions. The opponents of this charity must allow it to be good, and will not easily prove it not to be the best. That charity is best, of which the consequences are most extensive: the relief of enemies has a tendency to unite mankind in fraternal affection; to soften the acrimony of adverse nations, and dispose them to peace and amity; in the mean time, it alleviates captivity, and takes away something from the miseries of war. The rage of war, however mitigated, will always fill the world with calamity and horrour; let it not, then, be unnecessarily extended; let animosity and hostility cease together; and no man be longer deemed an enemy, than while his sword is drawn against us.

The effects of these contributions may, perhaps, reach still further. Truth is best supported by virtue: we may hope, from those who feel, or who see, our charity, that they shall no longer detest, as heresy, that religion, which makes its professors the followers of him, who has commanded us to "do good to them that hate us."






By those who have compared the military genius of the English with that of the French nation, it is remarked, that "the French officers will always lead, if the soldiers will follow;" and that "the English soldiers will always follow, if their officers will lead."

In all pointed sentences, some degree of accuracy must be sacrificed to conciseness; and, in this comparison, our officers seem to lose what our soldiers gain. I know not any reason for supposing that the English officers are less willing than the French to lead; but it is, I think, universally allowed, that the English soldiers are more willing to follow. Our nation may boast, beyond any other people in the world, of a kind of epidemick bravery, diffused equally through all its ranks. We can show a peasantry of heroes, and fill our armies with clowns, whose courage may vie with that of their general.

There may be some pleasure in tracing the causes of this plebeian magnanimity. The qualities which, commonly, make an army formidable, are long habits of regularity, great exactness of discipline, and great confidence in the commander. Regularity may, in time, produce a kind of mechanical obedience to signals and commands, like that which the perverse cartesians impute to animals; discipline may impress such an awe upon the mind, that any danger shall be less dreaded, than the danger of punishment; and confidence in the wisdom, or fortune, of the general may induce the soldiers to follow him blindly to the most dangerous enterprise.

What may be done by discipline and regularity, may be seen in the troops of the Russian emperess, and Prussian monarch. We find, that they may be broken without confusion, and repulsed without flight.

But the English troops have none of these requisites, in any eminent degree. Regularity is, by no means, part of their character: they are rarely exercised, and, therefore, show very little dexterity in their evolutions, as bodies of men, or in the manual use of their weapons, as individuals; they neither are thought by others, nor by themselves, more active, or exact, than their enemies, and, therefore, derive none of their courage from such imaginary superiority.

The manner in which they are dispersed in quarters, over the country, during times of peace, naturally produces laxity of discipline: they are very little in sight of their officers; and, when they are not engaged in the slight duty of the guard, are suffered to live, every man his own way.

The equality of English privileges, the impartiality of our laws, the freedom of our tenures, and the prosperity of our trade, dispose us very little to reverence superiours. It is not to any great esteem of the officers, that the English soldier is indebted for his spirit in the hour of battle; for, perhaps, it does not often happen, that he thinks much better of his leader than of himself. The French count, who has lately published the Art of War, remarks, how much soldiers are animated, when they see all their dangers shared by those who were born to be their masters, and whom they consider, as beings of a different rank. The Englishman despises such motives of courage: he was born without a master; and looks not on any man, however dignified by lace or titles, as deriving, from nature, any claims to his respect, or inheriting any qualities superiour to his own.

There are some, perhaps, who would imagine, that every Englishman fights better than the subjects of absolute governments, because he has more to defend. But what has the English more than the French soldier? Property they are both, commonly, without. Liberty is, to the lowest rank of every nation, little more than the choice of working or starving; and this choice is, I suppose, equally allowed in every country. The English soldier seldom has his head very full of the constitution; nor has there been, for more than a century, any war that put the property or liberty of a single Englishman in danger.

Whence, then, is the courage of the English vulgar? It proceeds, in my opinion, from that dissolution of dependence, which obliges every man to regard his own character. While every man is fed by his own hands, he has no need of any servile arts; he may always have wages for his labour; and is no less necessary to his employer, than his employer is to him. While he looks for no protection from others, he is naturally roused to be his own protector; and having nothing to abate his esteem of himself, he, consequently, aspires to the esteem of others. Thus every man that crowds our streets is a man of honour, disdainful of obligation, impatient of reproach, and desirous of extending his reputation among those of his own rank; and, as courage is in most frequent use, the fame of courage is most eagerly pursued. From this neglect of subordination, I do not deny, that some inconveniencies may, from time to time, proceed: the power of the law does not, always, sufficiently supply the want of reverence, or maintain the proper distinction between different ranks; but good and evil will grow up in this world together; and they who complain, in peace, of the insolence of the populace, must remember, that their insolence in peace is bravery in war.






  Fallitur, egregio quisquis sub principe credit
  Servitium, nunquam libertas gratior extat
  Quam sub rege pio.







On Johnson's character, as a political writer, we cannot dwell with pleasure, since we cannot speak of it with praise. In the following pamphlets, however, though we cannot honestly subscribe to their doctrines, we must admire the same powers of composition, the same play of imagination, the same keen sarcasm and indignant reproof, that embellish his other productions. He might, and did, think wrongly on these subjects, but he never wrote what he did not believe to be true, and, therefore, must be acquitted of all charges of servility or dishonesty. The False Alarm was published in 1770, and "intended," says Mr. Boswell, "to justify the conduct of the ministry, and their majority in the house of commons, for having virtually assumed it as an axiom, that the expulsion of a member of parliament was equivalent to exclusion, and thus having declared colonel Lutterel to be duly elected for the county of Middlesex, notwithstanding Mr. Wilkes had a great majority of votes. This being justly considered as a gross violation of the right of election, an alarm for the constitution extended itself all over the kingdom. To prove this alarm to be false, was the purpose of Johnson's pamphlet; but even his vast powers are inadequate to cope with constitutional truth and reason, and his argument failed of effect; and the house of commons have since expunged the offensive resolution from their journals. That the house of commons might have expelled Mr. Wilkes repeatedly, and as often as he should be rechosen, was not to be denied; but incapacitation cannot be but by an act of the whole legislature. It was wonderful to see how a prejudice in favour of government in general, and an aversion to popular clamour, could blind and contract such an understanding as Johnson's in this particular case." Where Boswell expresses himself with regard to Johnson, in terms so reprehensive as the above, we cannot be accused of severity in repeating his just censure. Several answers appeared, but, perhaps, all of them, in compliance with the excited feelings of the times, dealt rather in personal abuse of Johnson, as a pensioner and hireling, than in fair and manly argument. The chief were, the Crisis; a Letter to Dr. Samuel Johnson; and, the Constitution Defender and Pensioner exposed, in Remarks on the False Alarm.






One of the chief advantages derived by the present generation from the improvement and diffusion of philosophy, is deliverance from unnecessary terrours, and exemption from false alarms. The unusual appearances, whether regular or accidental, which once spread consternation over ages of ignorance, are now the recreations of inquisitive security. The sun is no more lamented when it is eclipsed, than when it sets; and meteors play their coruscations without prognostick or prediction.

The advancement of political knowledge may be expected to produce, in time, the like effects. Causeless discontent, and seditious violence, will grow less frequent and less formidable, as the science of government is better ascertained, by a diligent study of the theory of man. It is not, indeed, to be expected, that physical and political truth should meet with equal acceptance, or gain ground upon the world with equal facility. The notions of the naturalist find mankind in a state of neutrality, or, at worst, have nothing to encounter but prejudice and vanity; prejudice without malignity, and vanity without interest. But the politician's improvements are opposed by every passion that can exclude conviction or suppress it; by ambition, by avarice, by hope, and by terrour, by publick faction, and private animosity.

It is evident, whatever be the cause, that this nation, with all its renown for speculation and for learning, has yet made little proficiency in civil wisdom. We are still so much unacquainted with our own state, and so unskilful in the pursuit of happiness, that we shudder without danger, complain without grievances, and suffer our quiet to be disturbed, and our commerce to be interrupted, by an opposition to the government, raised only by interest, and supported only by clamour, which yet has so far prevailed upon ignorance and timidity, that many favour it, as reasonable, and many dread it, as powerful.

What is urged by those who have been so industrious to spread suspicion, and incite fury, from one end of the kingdom to the other, may be known, by perusing the papers which have been, at once, presented as petitions to the king, and exhibited in print as remonstrances to the people. It may, therefore, not be improper to lay before the publick the reflections of a man, who cannot favour the opposition, for he thinks it wicked, and cannot fear it, for he thinks it weak.

The grievance which has produced all this tempest of outrage, the oppression in which all other oppressions are included, the invasion which has left us no property, the alarm that suffers no patriot to sleep in quiet, is comprised in a vote of the house of commons, by which the freeholders of Middlesex are deprived of a Briton's birthright—representation in parliament.

They have, indeed, received the usual writ of election; but that writ, alas! was malicious mockery: they were insulted with the form, but denied the reality, for there was one man excepted from their choice:

  "Non de vi, neque cæde, nec veneno,
  Sed lis est mihi de tribus capellis."

The character of the man, thus fatally excepted, I have no purpose to delineate. Lampoon itself would disdain to speak ill of him, of whom no man speaks well. It is sufficient, that he is expelled the house of commons, and confined in gaol, as being legally convicted of sedition and impiety.

That this man cannot be appointed one of the guardians and counsellors of the church and state, is a grievance not to be endured. Every lover of liberty stands doubtful of the fate of posterity, because the chief county in England cannot take its representative from a gaol.

Whence Middlesex should obtain the right of being denominated the chief county cannot easily be discovered; it is, indeed, the county where the chief city happens to stand, but, how that city treated the favourite of Middlesex, is not yet forgotten. The county, as distinguished from the city, has no claim to particular consideration. That a man was in gaol for sedition and impiety, would, I believe, have been, within memory, a sufficient reason why he should not come out of gaol a legislator. This reason, notwithstanding the mutability of fashion, happens still to operate on the house of commons. Their notions, however strange, may be justified by a common observation, that few are mended by imprisonment, and that he, whose crimes have made confinement necessary, seldom makes any other use of his enlargement, than to do, with greater cunning, what he did before with less.

But the people have been told, with great confidence, that the house cannot control the right of constituting representatives; that he who can persuade lawful electors to choose him, whatever be his character, is lawfully chosen, and has a claim to a seat in parliament, from which no human authority can depose him.

Here, however, the patrons of opposition are in some perplexity. They are forced to confess, that, by a train of precedents, sufficient to establish a custom of parliament, the house of commons has jurisdiction over its own members; that the whole has power over individuals; and that this power has been exercised sometimes in imprisonment, and often in expulsion.

That such power should reside in the house of commons, in some cases, is inevitably necessary; since it is required, by every polity, that where there is a possibility of offence, there should be a possibility of punishment. A member of the house cannot be cited for his conduct in parliament before any other court; and, therefore, if the house cannot punish him, he may attack, with impunity, the rights of the people, and the title of the king.

This exemption from the authority of other courts was, I think, first established in favour of the five members in the long parliament. It is not to be considered as an usurpation, for it is implied in the principles of government. If legislative powers are not coordinate, they cease, in part, to be legislative; and if they be coordinate, they are unaccountable; for to whom must that power account, which has no superiour?

The house of commons is, indeed, dissoluble by the king, as the nation has, of late, been very clamorously told; but while it subsists it is coordinate with the other powers, and this coordination ceases only, when the house, by dissolution, ceases to subsist.

As the particular representatives of the people are, in their publick character, above the control of the courts of law, they must be subject to the jurisdiction of the house; and as the house, in the exercise of its authority, can be neither directed nor restrained, its own resolutions must be its laws, at least, if there is no antecedent decision of the whole legislature.

This privilege, not confirmed by any written law or positive compact, but by the resistless power of political necessity, they have exercised, probably, from their first institution, but certainly, as their records inform us, from the 23rd of Elizabeth, when they expelled a member for derogating from their privileges.

It may, perhaps, be doubted, whether it was originally necessary, that this right of control and punishment should extend beyond offences in the exercise of parliamentary duty, since all other crimes are cognizable by other courts. But they who are the only judges of their own rights, have exerted the power of expulsion on other occasions, and when wickedness arrived at a certain magnitude, have considered an offence against society, as an offence against the house.

They have, therefore, divested notorious delinquents of their legislative character, and delivered them up to shame or punishment, naked and unprotected, that they might not contaminate the dignity of parliament.

It is allowed, that a man attainted of felony cannot sit in parliament, and the commons probably judged, that, not being bound to the forms of law, they might treat these as felons, whose crimes were, in their opinion, equivalent to felony; and that, as a known felon could not be chosen, a man, so like a felon that he could not easily be distinguished, ought to be expelled.

The first laws had no law to enforce them; the first authority was constituted by itself. The power exercised by the house of commons is of this kind; a power rooted in the principles of government, and branched out by occasional practice; a power which necessity made just, and precedents have made legal.

It will occur, that authority thus uncontroulable may, in times of heat and contest, be oppressively and injuriously exerted, and that he who suffers injustice is without redress, however innocent, however miserable.

The position is true, but the argument is useless. The commons must be controlled, or be exempt from control. If they are exempt, they may do injury which cannot be redressed, if they are controlled, they are no longer legislative.

If the possibility of abuse be an argument against authority, no authority ever can be established: if the actual abuse destroys its legality, there is no legal government now in the world.

This power, which the commons have so long exercised, they ventured to use once more against Mr. Wilkes, and, on the 3rd of February, 1769, expelled him the house, "for having printed and published a seditious libel, and three obscene and impious libels."

If these imputations were just, the expulsion was, surely, seasonable; and that they were just, the house had reason to determine, as he had confessed himself, at the bar, the author of the libel which they term seditious, and was convicted, in the King's Bench, of both the publications.

But the freeholders of Middlesex were of another opinion. They either thought him innocent, or were not offended by his guilt. When a writ was issued for the election of a knight for Middlesex, in the room of John Wilkes, esq. expelled the house, his friends, on the sixteenth of February, chose him again.

On the 17th, it was resolved, "that John Wilkes, esq. having been, in this session of parliament, expelled the house, was, and is, incapable of being elected a member to serve in this present parliament."

As there was no other candidate, it was resolved, at the same time, that the election of the sixteenth was a void election.

The freeholders still continued to think, that no other man was fit to represent them, and, on the sixteenth of March, elected him once more. Their resolution was now so well known, that no opponent ventured to appear.

The commons began to find, that power, without materials for operation, can produce no effect. They might make the election void for ever, but if no other candidate could be found, their determination could only be negative. They, however, made void the last election, and ordered a new writ.

On the 13th of April was a new election, at which Mr. Lutterel, and others, offered themselves candidates. Every method of intimidation was used, and some acts of violence were done, to hinder Mr. Lutterel from appearing. He was not deterred, and the poll was taken, which exhibited, for

  Mr. Wilkes       1143
  Mr. Lutterel      296

The sheriff returned Mr. Wilkes; but the house, on April the fifteenth, determined that Mr. Lutterel was lawfully elected.

From this day began the clamour, which has continued till now. Those who had undertaken to oppose the ministry, having no grievance of greater magnitude, endeavoured to swell this decision into bulk, and distort it into deformity, and then held it out to terrify the nation.

Every artifice of sedition has been since practised to awaken discontent and inflame indignation. The papers of every day have been filled with exhortations and menaces of faction. The madness has spread through all ranks, and through both sexes; women and children have clamoured for Mr. Wilkes; honest simplicity has been cheated into fury, and only the wise have escaped infection.

The greater part may justly be suspected of not believing their own position, and with them it is not necessary to dispute. They cannot be convinced who are convinced already, and it is well known that they will not be ashamed. The decision, however, by which the smaller number of votes was preferred to the greater, has perplexed the minds of some, whose opinions it were indecent to despise, and who, by their integrity, well deserve to have their doubts appeased.

Every diffuse and complicated question may be examined by different methods, upon different principles; and that truth, which is easily found by one investigator, may be missed by another, equally honest and equally diligent.

Those who inquire, whether a smaller number of legal votes can elect a representative in opposition to a greater, must receive, from every tongue, the same answer.

The question, therefore, must be, whether a smaller number of legal votes shall not prevail against a greater number of votes not legal.

It must be considered, that those votes only are legal which are legally given, and that those only are legally given, which are given for a legal candidate.

It remains, then, to be discussed, whether a man expelled can be so disqualified by a vote of the house, as that he shall be no longer eligible by lawful electors.

Here we must again recur, not to positive institutions, but to the unwritten law of social nature, to the great and pregnant principle of political necessity. All government supposes subjects; all authority implies obedience: to suppose in one the right to command what another has the right to refuse, is absurd and contradictory; a state, so constituted, must rest for ever in motionless equipoise, with equal attractions of contrary tendency, with equal weights of power balancing each other.

Laws which cannot be enforced can neither prevent nor rectify disorders. A sentence which cannot be executed can have no power to warn or to reform. If the commons have only the power of dismissing, for a few days, the man whom his constituents can immediately send back; if they can expel, but cannot exclude, they have nothing more than nominal authority, to which, perhaps, obedience never may be paid.

The representatives of our ancestors had an opinion very different: they fined and imprisoned their members; on great provocation, they disabled them for ever; and this power of pronouncing perpetual disability is maintained by Selden himself.

These claims seem to have been made and allowed, when the constitution of our government had not yet been sufficiently studied. Such powers are not legal, because they are not necessary; and of that power which only necessity justifies, no more is to be admitted than necessity obtrudes.

The commons cannot make laws; they can only pass resolutions, which, like all resolutions, are of force only to those that make them, and to those, only while they are willing to observe them.

The vote of the house of commons has, therefore, only so far the force of a law, as that force is necessary to preserve the vote from losing its efficacy; it must begin by operating upon themselves, and extend its influence to others, only by consequences arising from the first intention. He that starts game on his own manor, may pursue it into another.

They can properly make laws only for themselves: a member, while he keeps his seat, is subject to these laws; but when he is expelled, the jurisdiction ceases, for he is now no longer within their dominion.

The disability, which a vote can superinduce to expulsion, is no more than was included in expulsion itself; it is only a declaration of the commons, that they will permit no longer him, whom they thus censure, to sit with them in parliament; a declaration made by that right, which they necessarily possess, of regulating their own house, and of inflicting punishment on their own delinquents.

They have, therefore, no other way to enforce the sentence of incapacity, than that of adhering to it. They cannot otherwise punish the candidate so disqualified for offering himself, nor the electors for accepting him. But if he has any competitor, that competitor must prevail, and if he has none, his election will be void; for the right of the house to reject annihilates, with regard to the man so rejected, the right of electing.

It has been urged, that the power of the house terminates with their session; since a prisoner, committed by the speaker's warrant, cannot be detained during the recess. That power, indeed, ceases with the session, which must operate by the agency of others; because, when they do not sit, they can employ no agent, having no longer any legal existence; but that which is exercised on themselves revives at their meeting, when the subject of that power still subsists: they can, in the next session, refuse to re-admit him, whom, in the former session, they expelled. That expulsion inferred exclusion, in the present case, must be, I think, easily admitted. The expulsion, and the writ issued for a new election were in the same session, and, since the house is, by the rule of parliament, bound for the session by a vote once passed, the expelled member cannot be admitted. He that cannot be admitted, cannot be elected; and the votes given to a man ineligible being given in vain, the highest number for an eligible candidate becomes a majority.

To these conclusions, as to most moral, and to all political positions, many objections may be made. The perpetual subject of political disquisition is not absolute, but comparative good. Of two systems of government, or two laws relating to the same subject, neither will ever be such as theoretical nicety would desire, and, therefore, neither can easily force its way against prejudice and obstinacy; each will have its excellencies and defects; and every man, with a little help from pride, may think his own the best.

It seems to be the opinion of many, that expulsion is only a dismission of the representative to his constituents, with such a testimony against him, as his sentence may comprise; and that, if his constituents, notwithstanding the censure of the house, thinking his case hard, his fault trifling, or his excellencies such as overbalance it, should again choose him, as still worthy of their trust, the house cannot refuse him, for his punishment has purged his fault, and the right of electors must not be violated.

This is plausible, but not cogent. It is a scheme of representation, which would make a specious appearance in a political romance, but cannot be brought into practice among us, who see every day the towering head of speculation bow down unwillingly to groveling experience.

Governments formed by chance, and gradually improved by such expedients, as the successive discovery of their defects happened to suggest, are never to be tried by a regular theory. They are fabricks of dissimilar materials, raised by different architects, upon different plans. We must be content with them, as they are; should we attempt to mend their disproportions, we might easily demolish, and difficultly rebuild them.

Laws are now made, and customs are established; these are our rules, and by them we must be guided.

It is uncontrovertibly certain, that the commons never intended to leave electors the liberty of returning them an expelled member; for they always require one to be chosen in the room of him that is expelled, and I see not with what propriety a man can be rechosen in his own room.

Expulsion, if this were its whole effect, might very often be desirable. Sedition, or obscenity, might be no greater crimes in the opinion of other electors, than in that of the freeholders of Middlesex; and many a wretch, whom his colleagues should expel, might come back persecuted into fame, and provoke, with harder front, a second expulsion.

Many of the representatives of the people can hardly be said to have been chosen at all. Some, by inheriting a borough, inherit a seat; and some sit by the favour of others, whom, perhaps, they may gratify by the act which provoked the expulsion. Some are safe by their popularity, and some by their alliances. None would dread expulsion, if this doctrine were received, but those who bought their elections, and who would be obliged to buy them again at a higher price.

But as uncertainties are to be determined by things certain, and customs to be explained, where it is possible, by written law, the patriots have triumphed with a quotation from an act of the fourth and fifth of Anne, which permits those to be rechosen, whose seats are vacated by the acceptance of a place of profit. This they wisely consider as an expulsion, and from the permission, in this case, of a reelection, infer, that every other expulsion leaves the delinquent entitled to the same indulgence. This is the paragraph:

"If any person, being chosen a member of the house of commons, shall accept of any office from the crown, during such time as he shall continue a member, his election shall be, and is hereby declared to be void; and a new writ shall issue for a new election, as if such person, so accepting, was naturally dead. Nevertheless such person shall be capable of being again elected, as if his place had not become void as aforesaid."

How this favours the doctrine of readmission, by a second choice, I am not able to discover. The statute of the thirtieth of Charles the second had enacted, that "he who should sit in the house of commons, without taking the oaths, and subscribing the test, should be disabled to sit in the house during that parliament, and a writ should issue for the election of a new member, in place of the member so disabled, as if such member had naturally died."

This last clause is, apparently, copied in the act of Anne, but with the common fate of imitators. In the act of Charles, the political death continued during the parliament; in that of Anne it was hardly worth the while to kill the man whom the next breath was to revive. It is, however, apparent, that in the opinion of the parliament, the dead-doing lines would have kept him motionless, if he had not been recovered by a kind exception. A seat vacated could not be regained, without express permission of the same statute.

The right of being chosen again to a seat thus vacated, is not enjoyed by any general right, but required a special clause and solicitous provision.

But what resemblance can imagination conceive between one man vacating his seat by a mark of favour from the crown, and another driven from it for sedition and obscenity? The acceptance of a place contaminates no character; the crown that gives it, intends to give with it always dignity, sometimes authority. The commons, it is well known, think not worse of themselves, or others, for their offices of profit; yet profit implies temptation, and may expose a representative to the suspicion of his constituents; though, if they still think him worthy of their confidence, they may again elect him.

Such is the consequence. When a man is dismissed by law to his constituents, with new trust and new dignity, they may, if they think him incorruptible, restore him to his seat; what can follow, therefore, but that, when the house drives out a varlet, with publick infamy, he goes away with the like permission to return?

If infatuation be, as the proverb tells us, the forerunner of destruction, how near must be the ruin of a nation that can be incited against its governours by sophistry like this! I may be excused, if I catch the panick, and join my groans, at this alarming crisis, with the general lamentation of weeping patriots.

Another objection is, that the commons, by pronouncing the sentence of disqualification, make a law, and take upon themselves the power of the whole legislature. Many quotations are then produced to prove, that the house of commons can make no laws.

Three acts have been cited, disabling members, for different terms, on different occasions; and it is profoundly remarked, that if the commons could, by their own privilege, have made a disqualification, their jealousy of their privileges would never have admitted the concurrent sanction of the other powers.

I must for ever remind these puny controvertists, that those acts are laws of permanent obligation; that two of them are now in force, and that the other expired only when it had fulfilled its end. Such laws the commons cannot make; they could, perhaps, have determined for themselves, that they would expel all who should not take the test, but they could leave no authority behind them, that should oblige the next parliament to expel them. They could refuse the South sea directors, but they could not entail the refusal. They can disqualify by vote, but not by law; they cannot know that the sentence of disqualification pronounced to-day may not become void to-morrow, by the dissolution of their own house. Yet, while the same parliament sits, the disqualification continues, unless the vote be rescinded; and, while it so continues, makes the votes, which freeholders may give to the interdicted candidate, useless and dead, since there cannot exist, with respect to the same subject, at the same time, an absolute power to choose and an absolute power to reject.

In 1614, the attorney general was voted incapable of a seat in the house of commons; and the nation is triumphantly told, that, though the vote never was revoked, the attorney general is now a member. He, certainly, may now be a member, without revocation of the vote. A law is of perpetual obligation; but a vote is nothing, when the voters are gone. A law is a compact reciprocally made by the legislative powers, and, therefore, not to be abrogated but by all the parties. A vote is simply a resolution, which binds only him that is willing to be bound.

I have thus punctiliously and minutely pursued this disquisition, because I suspect, that these reasoners, whose business is to deceive others, have sometimes deceived themselves, and I am willing to free them from their embarrassment, though I do not expect much gratitude for my kindness.

Other objections are yet remaining, for of political objections there cannot easily be an end. It has been observed, that vice is no proper cause of expulsion; for if the worst man in the house were always to be expelled, in time none would be left; but no man is expelled for being worst, he is expelled for being enormously bad; his conduct is compared, not with that of others, but with the rule of action.

The punishment of expulsion, being in its own nature uncertain, may be too great or too little for the fault.

This must be the case of many punishments. Forfeiture of chattels is nothing to him that has no possessions. Exile itself may be accidentally a good; and, indeed, any punishment, less than death, is very different to different men.

But, if this precedent be admitted and established, no man can, hereafter, be sure that he shall be represented by him whom he would choose. One half of the house may meet early in the morning, and snatch an opportunity to expel the other, and the greater part of the nation may, by this stratagem, be without its lawful representatives.

He that sees all this, sees very far. But I can tell him of greater evils yet behind. There is one possibility of wickedness, which, at this alarming crisis, has not yet been mentioned. Every one knows the malice, the subtlety, the industry, the vigilance, and the greediness of the Scots. The Scotch members are about the number sufficient to make a house. I propose it to the consideration of the supporters of the bill of rights, whether there is not reason to suspect that these hungry intruders from the north are now contriving to expel all the English. We may then curse the hour in which it was determined, that expulsion and exclusion are the same; for who can guess what may be done, when the Scots have the whole house to themselves?

Thus agreeable to custom and reason, notwithstanding all objections, real or imaginary, thus consistent with the practice of former times, and thus consequential to the original principles of government, is that decision, by which so much violence of discontent has been excited, which has been so dolorously bewailed, and so outrageously resented.

Let us, however, not be seduced to put too much confidence in justice or in truth: they have often been found inactive in their own defence, and give more confidence than help to their friends and their advocates. It may, perhaps, be prudent to make one momentary concession to falsehood, by supposing the vote in Mr. Lutterel's favour to be wrong.

All wrong ought to be rectified. If Mr. Wilkes is deprived of a lawful seat, both he and his electors have reason to complain; but it will not be easily found, why, among the innumerable wrongs of which a great part of mankind are hourly complaining, the whole care of the publick should be transferred to Mr. Wilkes and the freeholders of Middlesex, who might all sink into nonexistence, without any other effect, than that there would be room made for a new rabble, and a new retailer of sedition and obscenity. The cause of our country would suffer little; the rabble, whencesoever they come, will be always patriots, and always supporters of the bill of rights.

The house of commons decides the disputes arising from elections. Was it ever supposed, that in all cases their decisions were right? Every man, whose lawful election is defeated, is equally wronged with Mr. Wilkes, and his constituents feel their disappointment, with no less anguish than the freeholders of Middlesex. These decisions have often been apparently partial, and, sometimes, tyrannically oppressive. A majority has been given to a favourite candidate, by expunging votes which had always been allowed, and which, therefore, had the authority by which all votes are given, that of custom uninterrupted. When the commons determine who shall be constituents, they may, with some propriety, be said to make law, because those determinations have, hitherto, for the sake of quiet, been adopted by succeeding parliaments. A vote, therefore, of the house, when it operates as a law, is to individuals a law only temporary, but to communities perpetual.

Yet, though all this has been done, and though, at every new parliament, much of this is expected to be done again, it has never produced, in any former time, such an alarming crisis. We have found, by experience, that though a squire has given ale and venison in vain, and a borough has been compelled to see its dearest interest in the hands of him whom it did not trust, yet the general state of the nation has continued the same. The sun has risen, and the corn has grown, and, whatever talk has been of the danger of property, yet he that ploughed the field commonly reaped it; and he that built a house was master of the door; the vexation excited by injustice suffered, or supposed to be suffered, by any private man, or single community, was local and temporary, it neither spread far, nor lasted long.

The nation looked on with little care, because there did not seem to be much danger. The consequence of small irregularities was not felt, and we had not yet learned to be terrified by very distant enemies.

But quiet and security are now at an end. Our vigilance is quickened, and our comprehension is enlarged. We not only see events in their causes, but before their causes; we hear the thunder while the sky is clear, and see the mine sprung before it is dug. Political wisdom has, by the force of English genius, been improved, at last, not only to political intuition, but to political prescience.

But it cannot, I am afraid, be said, that as we are grown wise, we are made happy. It is said of those who have the wonderful power called second sight, that they seldom see any thing but evil: political second sight has the same effect; we hear of nothing but of an alarming crisis, of violated rights, and expiring liberties. The morning rises upon new wrongs, and the dreamer passes the night in imaginary shackles.

The sphere of anxiety is now enlarged; he that hitherto cared only for himself, now cares for the publick; for he has learned, that the happiness of individuals is comprised in the prosperity of the whole; and that his country never suffers, but he suffers with it, however it happens that he feels no pain.

Fired with this fever of epidemick patriotism, the tailor slips his thimble, the draper drops his yard, and the blacksmith lays down his hammer; they meet at an honest ale-house, consider the state of the nation, read or hear the last petition, lament the miseries of the time, are alarmed at the dreadful crisis, and subscribe to the support of the bill of rights.

It sometimes, indeed, happens, that an intruder, of more benevolence than prudence, attempts to disperse their cloud of dejection, and ease their hearts by seasonable consolation. He tells them, that though the government cannot be too diligently watched, it may be too hastily accused; and that, though private judgment is every man's right, yet we cannot judge of what we do not know; that we feel at present no evils which government can alleviate, and that the publick business is committed to men, who have as much right to confidence as their adversaries; that the freeholders of Middlesex, if they could not choose Mr. Wilkes, might have chosen any other man, and that "he trusts we have within the realm, five hundred as good as he;" that even if this, which has happened to Middlesex, had happened to every other county, that one man should be made incapable of being elected, it could produce no great change in the parliament, nor much contract the power of election; that, what has been done is, probably, right; and that if it be wrong, it is of little consequence, since a like case cannot easily occur; that expulsions are very rare, and if they should, by unbounded insolence of faction, become more frequent, the electors may easily provide a second choice.

All this he may say, but not half of this will be heard; his opponents will stun him and themselves with a confused sound of pensions and places, venality and corruption, oppression and invasion, slavery and ruin.

Outcries, like these, uttered by malignity, and echoed by folly; general accusations of indeterminate wickedness; and obscure hints of impossible designs, dispersed among those that do not know their meaning, by those that know them to be false, have disposed part of the nation, though but a small part, to pester the court with ridiculous petitions.

The progress of a petition is well known. An ejected placeman goes down to his county or his borough, tells his friends of his inability to serve them, and his constituents of the corruption of the government. His friends readily understand that he who can get nothing, will have nothing to give. They agree to proclaim a meeting; meat and drink are plentifully provided; a crowd is easily brought together, and those who think that they know the reason of their meeting, undertake to tell those who know it not; ale and clamour unite their powers; the crowd, condensed and heated, begins to ferment with the leaven of sedition: all see a thousand evils, though they cannot show them; and grow impatient for a remedy, though they know not what.

A speech is then made by the Cicero of the day; he says much, and suppresses more; and credit is equally given to what he tells, and what he conceals. The petition is read, and universally approved. Those who are sober enough to write, add their names, and the rest would sign it, if they could.

Every man goes home and tells his neighbour of the glories of the day; how he was consulted, and what he advised; how he was invited into the great room, where his lordship called him by his name; how he was caressed by sir Francis, sir Joseph, or sir George; how he eat turtle and venison, and drank unanimity to the three brothers.

The poor loiterer, whose shop had confined him, or whose wife had locked him up, hears the tale of luxury with envy, and, at last, inquires what was their petition. Of the petition nothing is remembered by the narrator, but that it spoke much of fears and apprehensions, and something very alarming, and that he is sure it is against the government; the other is convinced that it must be right, and wishes he had been there, for he loves wine and venison, and is resolved, as long as he lives, to be against the government.

The petition is then handed from town to town, and from house to house; and, wherever it comes, the inhabitants flock together, that they may see that which must be sent to the king. Names are easily collected. One man signs, because he hates the papists; another, because he has vowed destruction to the tumpikes; one, because it will vex the parson; another, because he owes his landlord nothing; one, because he is rich; another, because he is poor; one, to show that he is not afraid; and another, to show that he can write.

The passage, however, is not always smooth. Those who collect contributions to sedition, sometimes apply to a man of higher rank and more enlightened mind, who, instead of lending them his name, calmly reproves them for being seducers of the people.

You who are here, says he, complaining of venality, are yourselves the agents of those who having estimated themselves at too high a price, are only angry that they are not bought. You are appealing from the parliament to the rabble, and inviting those who, scarcely, in the most common affairs, distinguish right from wrong, to judge of a question complicated with law written and unwritten, with the general principles of government, and the particular customs of the house of commons; you are showing them a grievance, so distant that they cannot see it, and so light that they cannot feel it; for how, but by unnecessary intelligence and artificial provocation, should the farmers and shopkeepers of Yorkshire and Cumberland know or care how Middlesex is represented? Instead of wandering thus round the county to exasperate the rage of party, and darken the suspicions of ignorance, it is the duty of men like you, who have leisure for inquiry, to lead back the people to their honest labour; to tell them, that submission is the duty of the ignorant, and content the virtue of the poor; that they have no skill in the art of government, nor any interest in the dissensions of the great; and when you meet with any, as some there are, whose understandings are capable of conviction, it will become you to allay this foaming ebullition, by showing them, that they have as much happiness as the condition of life will easily receive; and that a government, of which an erroneous or unjust representation of Middlesex is the greatest crime that interest can discover, or malice can upbraid, is government approaching nearer to perfection, than any that experience has known, or history related.

The drudges of sedition wish to change their ground; they hear him with sullen silence, feel conviction without repentance, and are confounded, but not abashed; they go forward to another door, and find a kinder reception from a man enraged against the government, because he has just been paying the tax upon his windows.

That a petition for a dissolution of the parliament will, at all times, have its favourers, may be easily imagined. The people, indeed, do not expect that one house of commons will be much honester or much wiser than another; they do not suppose that the taxes will be lightened; or, though they have been so often taught to hope it, that soap and candles will be cheaper; they expect no redress of grievances, for of no grievances, but taxes, do they complain; they wish not the extension of liberty, for they do not feel any restraint; about the security of privilege or property they are totally careless, for they see no property invaded, nor know, till they are told, that any privilege has suffered violation.

Least of all do they expect, that any future parliament will lessen its own powers, or communicate to the people that authority which it has once obtained.

Yet a new parliament is sufficiently desirable. The year of election is a year of jollity; and, what is still more delightful, a year of equality: the glutton now eats the delicacies for which he longed when he could not purchase them, and the drunkard has the pleasure of wine, without the cost: the drone lives awhile without work, and the shopkeeper, in the flow of money, raises his price: the mechanick, that trembled at the presence of sir Joseph, now bids him come again for an answer: and the poacher, whose gun has been seized, now finds an opportunity to reclaim it. Even the honest man is not displeased to see himself important, and willingly resumes, in two years, that power which he had resigned for seven. Few love their friends so well as not to desire superiority by unexpensive benefaction.

Yet, notwithstanding all these motives to compliance, the promoters of petitions have not been successful. Few could be persuaded to lament evils which they did not suffer, or to solicit for redress which they do not want. The petition has been, in some places, rejected; and, perhaps, in all but one, signed only by the meanest and grossest of the people.

Since this expedient, now invented or revived, to distress the government, and equally practicable, at all times, by all who shall be excluded from power and from profit, has produced so little effect, let us consider the opposition as no longer formidable. The great engine has recoiled upon them. They thought, that the terms, they sent, were terms of weight, which would have amazed all, and stumbled many; but the consternation is now over, and their foes stand upright, as before.

With great propriety and dignity the king has, in his speech, neglected or forgotten them. He might easily know, that what was presented, as the sense of the people, is the sense only of the profligate and dissolute; and, that whatever parliament should be convened, the same petitioners would be ready, for the same reason, to request its dissolution.

As we once had a rebellion of the clowns, we have now an opposition of the pedlers. The quiet of the nation has been, for years, disturbed by a faction, against which all factions ought to conspire; for its original principle is the desire of leveling; it is only animated, under the name of zeal, by the natural malignity of the mean against the great.

When, in the confusion which the English invasions produced in France, the villains, imagining that they had found the golden hour of emancipation, took arms in their hands, the knights of both nations considered the cause as common, and suspending the general hostility, united to chastise them.

The whole conduct of this despicable faction is distinguished by plebeian grossness, and savage indecency. To misrepresent the actions and the principles of their enemies is common to all parties; but the insolence of invective, and brutality of reproach, which have lately prevailed, are peculiar to this.

An infallible characteristick of meanness is cruelty. This is the only faction, that has shouted at the condemnation of a criminal, and that, when his innocence procured his pardon, has clamoured for his blood.

All other parties, however enraged at each other, have agreed to treat the throne with decency; but these low-born railers have attacked not only the authority, but the character of their sovereign, and have endeavoured, surely without effect, to alienate the affections of the people from the only king, who, for almost a century, has much appeared to desire, or much endeavoured to deserve them. They have insulted him with rudeness, and with menaces, which were never excited by the gloomy sullenness of William, even when half the nation denied him their allegiance; nor by the dangerous bigotry of James, unless, when he was finally driven from his palace; and with which scarcely the open hostilities of rebellion ventured to vilify the unhappy Charles, even in the remarks on the cabinet of Naseby.

It is surely not unreasonable to hope, that the nation will consult its dignity, if not its safety, and disdain to be protected or enslaved by the declaimers, or the plotters of a city tavern. Had Rome fallen by the Catilinarian conspiracy, she might have consoled her fate by the greatness of her destroyers; but what would have alleviated the disgrace of England, had her government been changed by Tiler or by Ket?

One part of the nation has never before contended with the other, but for some weighty and apparent interest. If the means were violent, the end was great. The civil war was fought for what each army called, and believed, the best religion and the best government. The struggle in the reign of Anne, was to exclude or restore an exile king. We are now disputing, with almost equal animosity, whether Middlesex shall be represented, or not, by a criminal from a gaol.

The only comfort left, in such degeneracy, is, that a lower state can be no longer possible.

In this contemptuous censure, I mean not to include every single man. In all lead, says the chymist, there is silver; and in all copper there is gold. But mingled masses are justly denominated by the greater quantity, and when the precious particles are not worth extraction, a faction and a pig must be melted down together to the forms and offices that chance allots them:

  "Fiunt urceoli, pelves, sartago, patellæ."

A few weeks will now show, whether the government can be shaken by empty noise, and whether the faction, which depends upon its influence, has not deceived, alike, the publick and itself. That it should have continued till now, is sufficiently shameful. None can, indeed, wonder that it has been supported by the sectaries, the natural fomenters of sedition, and confederates of the rabble, of whose religion little now remains but hatred of establishments, and who are angry to find separation now only tolerated, which was once rewarded; but every honest man must lament, that it has been regarded with frigid neutrality by the tories, who, being long accustomed to signalize their principles by opposition to the court, do not yet consider, that they have, at last, a king, who knows not the name of party, and who wishes to be the common father of all his people.

As a man inebriated only by vapours soon recovers in the open air; a nation discontented to madness, without any adequate cause, will return to its wits and its allegiance, when a little pause has cooled it to reflection. Nothing, therefore, is necessary, at this alarming crisis, but to consider the alarm as false. To make concessions is to encourage encroachment. Let the court despise the faction, and the disappointed people will soon deride it.






The following thoughts were published in 1771; from materials furnished to the author by the ministry. His description of the miseries of war is most eloquently persuasive, and his invectives against the opposition, and their mysterious champion, abound with the most forcible and poignant satire. In a letter to Mr. Langton, from Johnson, we find that lord North stopped the sale, before many copies had been dispersed. Johnson avowed to his friend, that he did not distinctly know the reason of the minister's conduct; but, in all probability, it was dictated by a dread of the effects of unqualified asperity, and, accordingly, in the second edition, many of the more violent expressions were softened down or expunged. It has been thought, by some, that Dr. Johnson rated the value of the Falkland islands to England too low.—ED.






To proportion the eagerness of contest to its importance seems too hard a task for human wisdom. The pride of wit has kept ages busy in the discussion of useless questions, and the pride of power has destroyed armies, to gain or to keep unprofitable possessions.

Not, many years have passed, since the cruelties of war were filling the world with terrour and with sorrow; rage was at last appeased, or strength exhausted, and, to the harassed nations peace was restored with its pleasures and its benefits. Of this state all felt the happiness, and all implored the continuance; but what continuance of happiness can be expected, when the whole system of European empire can be in danger of a new concussion, by a contention for a few spots of earth, which, in the deserts of the ocean, had almost escaped human notice, and which, if they had not happened to make a seamark, had, perhaps, never had a name!

Fortune often delights to dignify what nature has neglected; and that renown which cannot be claimed by intrinsick excellence or greatness, is, sometimes, derived from unexpected accidents. The Rubicon was ennobled by the passage of Caesar, and the time is now come, when Falkland's islands demand their historian.

But the writer, to whom this employment shall be assigned, will have few opportunities of descriptive splendour, or narrative elegance. Of other countries it is told, how often they have changed their government; these islands have, hitherto, changed only their name. Of heroes to conquer, or legislators to civilize, here has been no appearance; nothing has happened to them, but that they have been, sometimes, seen by wandering navigators, who passed by them in search of better habitations.

When the Spaniards, who, under the conduct of Columbus, discovered America, had taken possession of its most wealthy regions, they surprised and terrified Europe, by a sudden and unexampled influx of riches. They were made, at once, insupportably insolent, and might, perhaps, have become irresistibly powerful, had not their mountainous treasures been scattered in the air, with the ignorant profusion of unaccustomed opulence.

The greater part of the European potentates saw this stream of riches flowing into Spain, without attempting to dip their own hands in the golden fountain. France had no naval skill or power; Portugal was extending her dominions in the east, over regions formed in the gaiety of nature; the Hanseatick league, being planned only for the security of traffick, had no tendency to discovery or invasion; and the commercial states of Italy, growing rich by trading between Asia and Europe, and not lying upon the ocean, did not desire to seek, by great hazards, at a distance, what was, almost at home, to be found with safety.

The English, alone, were animated by the success of the Spanish navigators, to try if any thing was left that might reward adventure, or incite appropriation. They sent Cabot into the north, but in the north there was no gold or silver to be found. The best regions were pre-occupied, yet they still continued their hopes and their labours. They were the second nation that dared the extent of the Pacifick ocean, and the second circumnavigators of the globe.

By the war between Elizabeth and Philip, the wealth of America became lawful prize, and those who were less afraid of danger than of poverty, supposed that riches might easily be obtained by plundering the Spaniards. Nothing is difficult, when gain and honour unite their influence; the spirit and vigour of these expeditions enlarged our views of the new world, and made us first acquainted with its remoter coasts.

In the fatal voyage of Cavendish, (1592,) captain Davis, who, being sent out as his associate, was afterwards parted from him, or deserted him, as he was driven, by violence of weather, about the straits of Magellan, is supposed to have been the first who saw the lands now called Falkland's islands, but his distress permitted him not to make any observation; and he left them, as he found them, without a name.

Not long afterwards, (1594,) sir Richard Hawkins being in the same seas, with the same designs, saw these islands again, if they are, indeed, the same islands, and, in honour of his mistress, called them Hawkins's maiden land.

This voyage was not of renown sufficient to procure a general reception to the new name; for when the Dutch, who had now become strong enough not only to defend themselves, but to attack their masters, sent (1598) Verhagen and Sebald de Wert into the South seas, these islands, which were not supposed to have been known before, obtained the denomination of Sebald's islands, and were, from that time, placed in the charts; though Frezier tells us, that they were yet considered as of doubtful existence.

Their present English name was, probably, given them (1689) by Strong, whose journal, yet unprinted, may be found in the Museum. This name was adopted by Halley, and has, from that time, I believe, been received into our maps.

The privateers, which were put into motion by the wars of William and Anne, saw those islands, and mention them; but they were yet not considered as territories worth a contest. Strong affirmed that there was no wood; and Dampier suspected that they had no water.

Frezier describes their appearance with more distinctness, and mentions some ships of St. Malo's, by which they had been visited, and to which he seems willing enough to ascribe the honour of discovering islands, which yet he admits to have been seen by Hawkins, and named by Sebald de Wert. He, I suppose, in honour of his countrymen, called them the Malouines, the denomination now used by the Spaniards, who seem not, till very lately, to have thought them important enough to deserve a name.

Since the publication of Anson's voyage, they have very much changed their opinion, finding a settlement in Pepys's, or Falkland's island, recommended by the author as necessary to the success of our future expeditions against the coast of Chili, and as of such use and importance, that it would produce many advantages in peace, and, in war, would make us masters of the South sea.

Scarcely any degree of judgment is sufficient to restrain the imagination from magnifying that on which it is long detained. The relater of Anson's voyage had heated his mind with its various events; had partaken the hope with which it was begun, and the vexation suffered by its various miscarriages, and then thought nothing could be of greater benefit to the nation, than that which might promote the success of such another enterprise.

Had the heroes of that history even performed and attained all that, when they first spread their sails, they ventured to hope, the consequence would yet have produced very little hurt to the Spaniards, and very little benefit to the English. They would have taken a few towns; Anson and his companions would have shared the plunder or the ransome; and the Spaniards, finding their southern territories accessible, would, for the future, have guarded them better.

That such a settlement may be of use in war, no man, that considers its situation, will deny. But war is not the whole business of life; it happens but seldom, and every man, either good or wise, wishes that its frequency were still less. That conduct which betrays designs of future hostility, if it does not excite violence, will always generate malignity; it must for ever exclude confidence and friendship, and continue a cold and sluggish rivalry, by a sly reciprocation of indirect injuries, without the bravery of war or the security of peace.

The advantage of such a settlement, in time of peace, is, I think, not easily to be proved. For what use can it have, but of a station for contraband traders, a nursery of fraud, and a receptacle of theft! Narborough, about a century ago, was of opinion, that no advantage could be obtained in voyages to the South sea, except by such an armament as, with a sailor's morality, might trade by force. It is well known, that the prohibitions of foreign commerce, are, in these countries, to the last degree, rigorous, and that no man, not authorized by the king of Spain, can trade there but by force or stealth. Whatever profit is obtained must be gained by the violence of rapine, or dexterity of fraud.

Government will not, perhaps, soon arrive at such purity and excellence, but that some connivance, at least, will be indulged to the triumphant robber and successful cheat. He that brings wealth home is seldom interrogated by what means it was obtained. This, however, is one of those modes of corruption with which mankind ought always to struggle, and which they may, in time, hope to overcome. There is reason to expect, that, as the world is more enlightened, policy and morality will, at last, be reconciled, and that nations will learn not to do what they would not suffer.

But the silent toleration of suspected guilt is a degree of depravity far below that which openly incites, and manifestly protects it. To pardon a pirate may be injurious to mankind; but how much greater is the crime of opening a port, in which all pirates shall be safe! The contraband trader is not more worthy of protections; if, with Narborough, he trades by force, he is a pirate; if he trade secretly, he is only a thief. Those who honestly refuse his traffick, he hates, as obstructers of his profit; and those, with whom he deals, he cheats, because he knows that they dare not complain. He lives with a heart full of that malignity, which fear of detection always generates in those, who are to defend unjust acquisitions against lawful authority; and when he comes home, with riches thus acquired, he brings a mind hardened in evil, too proud for reproof, and too stupid for reflection; he offends the high by his insolence, and corrupts the low by his example.

Whether these truths were forgotten, or despised; or, whether some better purpose was then in agitation, the representation made in Anson's voyage had such effect upon the statesmen of that time, that, in 1748, some sloops were fitted out for the fuller knowledge of Pepys's and Falkland's islands, and for further discoveries in the South sea. This expedition, though, perhaps, designed to be secret, was not long concealed from Wall, the Spanish ambassadour, who so vehemently opposed it, and so strongly maintained the right of the Spaniards to the exclusive dominion of the South sea, that the English ministry relinquished part of their original design, and declared, that the examination of those two islands was the utmost that their orders should comprise.

This concession was sufficiently liberal or sufficiently submissive; yet the Spanish court was neither gratified by our kindness, nor softened by our humility. Sir Benjamin Keene, who then resided at Madrid, was interrogated by Carvajal, concerning the visit intended to Pepys's and Falkland's islands, in terms of great jealousy and discontent; and the intended expedition was represented, if not as a direct violation of the late peace, yet as an act inconsistent with amicable intentions, and contrary to the professions of mutual kindness, which then passed between Spain and England. Keene was directed to protest, that nothing more than mere discovery was intended, and that no settlement was to be established. The Spaniard readily replied, that, if this was a voyage of wanton curiosity, it might be gratified with less trouble, for he was willing to communicate whatever was known; that to go so far only to come back was no reasonable act; and it would be a slender sacrifice to peace and friendship to omit a voyage, in which nothing was to be gained; that if we left the, places as we found them, the voyage was useless; and if we took possession, it was a hostile armament; nor could we expect that the Spaniards would suppose us to visit the southern parts of America only from curiosity, after the scheme proposed by the author of Anson's voyage.

When once we had disowned all purpose of settling, it is apparent, that we could not defend the propriety of our expedition by arguments equivalent to Carvajal's objections. The ministry, therefore, dismissed the whole design, but no declaration was required, by which our right to pursue it, hereafter, might be annulled.

From this time Falkland's island was forgotten or neglected, till the conduct of naval affairs was intrusted to the earl of Egmont, a man whose mind was vigorous and ardent, whose knowledge was extensive, and whose designs were magnificent; but who had somewhat vitiated his judgment by too much indulgence of romantick projects and airy speculations.

Lord Egmont's eagerness after something new determined him to make inquiry after Falkland's island, and he sent out captain Byron, who, in the beginning of the year 1765, took, he says, a formal possession, in the name of his Britannick majesty.

The possession of this place is, according to Mr. Byron's representation, no despicable acquisition. He conceived the island to be six or seven hundred miles round, and represented it, as a region naked indeed of wood, but which, if that defect were supplied, would have all that nature, almost all that luxury could want. The harbour he found capacious and secure, and, therefore, thought it worthy of the name of Egmont. Of water there was no want, and the ground he described, as having all the excellencies of soil, and as covered with antiscorbutick herbs, the restoratives of the sailor. Provision was easily to be had, for they killed, almost every day, a hundred geese to each ship, by pelting them with stones. Not content with physick and with food, he searched yet deeper for the value of the new dominion. He dug in quest of ore; found iron in abundance, and did not despair of nobler metals.

A country thus fertile and delightful, fortunately found where none would have expected it, about the fiftieth degree of southern latitude, could not, without great supineness, be neglected. Early in the next year, (January 8, 1766,) captain Macbride arrived at port Egmont, where he erected a small block-house, and stationed a garrison; His description was less flattering. He found what he calls a mass of islands and broken lands, of which the soil was nothing but a bog, with no better prospect than that of barren mountains, beaten by storms almost perpetual. Yet this, says he, is summer, and if the winds of winter hold their natural proportion, those who lie but two cables' length from the shore, must pass weeks without any communication with it. The plenty which regaled Mr. Byron, and which might have supported not only armies, but armies of Patagons, was no longer to be found. The geese were too wise to stay, when men violated their haunts, and Mr. Macbride's crew could only now and then kill a goose, when the weather would permit. All the quadrupeds which he met there were foxes, supposed by him to have been brought upon the ice; but of useless animals, such as sea lions and penguins, which he calls vermin, the number was incredible. He allows, however, that those who touch at these islands may find geese and snipes, and, in the summer months, wild celery and sorrel.

No token was seen, by either, of any settlement ever made upon this island; and Mr. Macbride thought himself so secure from hostile disturbance, that, when he erected his wooden block-house, he omitted to open the ports and loopholes.

When a garrison was stationed at port Egmont, it was necessary to try what sustenance the ground could be, by culture, excited to produce. A garden was prepared; but the plants that sprung up withered away in immaturity: some fir seeds were sown; but, though this be the native tree of rugged climates, the young firs, that rose above the ground, died like weaker herbage: the cold continued long, and the ocean seldom was at rest.

Cattle succeeded better than vegetables. Goats, sheep, and hogs, that were carried thither, were found to thrive and increase, as in other places.

"Nil mortalibus arduum est:" there is nothing which human courage will not undertake, and little that human, patience will not endure. The garrison lived upon Falkland's island, shrinking from the blast, and shuddering at the billows.

This was a colony which could never become independent, for it never could be able to maintain itself. The necessary supplies were annually sent from England, at an expense which the admiralty began to think would not quickly be repaid. But shame of deserting a project, and unwillingness to contend with a projector that meant well, continued the garrison, and supplied it with regular remittances of stores and provision.

That of which we were almost weary ourselves, we did not expect any one to envy; and, therefore, supposed that we should be permitted to reside in Falkland's island, the undisputed lords of tempest-beaten barrenness.

But, on the 28th of November, 1769, captain Hunt, observing a Spanish schooner hovering about the island, and surveying it, sent the commander a message, by which he required him to depart. The Spaniard made an appearance of obeying, but, in two days, came back with letters, written by the governour of port Solidad, and brought by the chief officer of a settlement, on the east part of Falkland's island.

In this letter, dated Malouina, November 30, the governour complains, that captain Hunt, when he ordered the schooner to depart, assumed a power to which he could have no pretensions, by sending an imperious message to the Spaniards, in the king of Spain's own dominions.

In another letter, sent at the same time, he supposes the English to be in that part only by accident, and to be ready to depart, at the first warning. This letter was accompanied by a present, of which, says he, "If it be neither equal to my desire nor to your merit, you must impute the deficiency to the situation of us both."

In return to this hostile civility, captain Hunt warned them from the island, which he claimed in the name of the king, as belonging to the English, by right of the first discovery and the first settlement.

This was an assertion of more confidence than certainty. The right of discovery, indeed, has already appeared to be probable, but the right which priority of settlement confers, I know not whether we yet can establish.

On December 10, the officer, sent by the governour of port Solidad, made three protests against captain Hunt, for threatening to fire upon him; for opposing his entrance into port Egmont; and for entering himself into port Solidad. On the 12th, the governour of port Solidad formally warned captain Hunt to leave port Egmont, and to forbear the navigation of these seas, without permission from the king of Spain.

To this captain Hunt replied, by repeating his former claim; by declaring that his orders were to keep possession; and by once more warning the Spaniards to depart.

The next month produced more protests and more replies, of which the tenour was nearly the same. The operations of such harmless enmity having produced no effect, were then reciprocally discontinued, and the English were left, for a time, to enjoy the pleasures of Falkland's island, without molestation.

This tranquillity, however, did not last long. A few months afterwards, (June 4, 1770,) the Industry, a Spanish frigate, commanded by an officer, whose name was Madariaga, anchored in port Egmont, bound, as was said, for port Solidad, and reduced, by a passage from Buenos Ayres of fifty-three days, to want of water.

Three days afterwards, four other frigates entered the port, and a broad pendant, such as is borne by the commander of a naval armament, was displayed from the Industry. Captain Farmer, of the Swift frigate, who commanded the garrison, ordered the crew of the Swift to come on shore, and assist in its defence; and directed captain Maltby to bring the Favourite frigate, which he commanded, nearer to the land. The Spaniards easily discovering the purpose of his motion, let him know, that if he weighed his anchor, they would fire upon his ship; but, paying no regard to these menaces, he advanced toward the shore. The Spanish fleet followed, and two shots were fired, which fell at a distance from him. He then sent to inquire the reason of such hostility, and was told, that the shots were intended only as signals.

Both the English captains wrote, the next day, to Madariaga, the Spanish commodore, warning him from the island, as from a place which the English held by right of discovery.

Madariaga, who seems to have had no desire of unnecessary mischief, invited them (June 9) to send an officer, who should take a view of his forces, that they might be convinced of the vanity of resistance, and do that, without compulsion, which he was, upon refusal, prepared to enfcrce.

An officer was sent, who found sixteen hundred men, with a train of twenty-seven cannon, four mortars, and two hundred bombs. The fleet consisted of five frigates, from twenty to thirty guns, which were now stationed opposite to the block-house.

He then sent them a formal memorial, in which he maintained his master's right to the whole Magellanick region, and exhorted the English to retire quietly from the settlement, which they could neither justify by right, nor maintain by power.

He offered them the liberty of carrying away whatever they were desirous to remove, and promised his receipt for what should be left, that no loss might be suffered by them.

His propositions were expressed in terms of great civility; but he concludes with demanding an answer in fifteen minutes.

Having, while he was writing, received the letters of warning, written the day before by the English captains, he told them, that he thought himself able to prove the king of Spain's title to all those countries, but that this was no time for verbal altercations. He persisted in his determination, and allowed only fifteen minutes for an answer.

To this it was replied, by captain Farmer, that though there had been prescribed yet a shorter time, he should still resolutely defend his charge; that this, whether menace or force, would be considered as an insult on the British flag, and that satisfaction would certainly be required.

On the next day, June 10, Madariaga landed his forces, and it may be easily imagined, that he had no bloody conquest. The English had only a wooden block-house, built at Woolwich, and carried in pieces to the island, with a small battery of cannon. To contend with obstinacy had been only to lavish life without use or hope, After the exchange of a very few shots, a capitulation was proposed.

The Spanish commander acted with moderation; he exerted little of the conqueror; what he had offered before the attack, he granted after the victory; the English were allowed to leave the place with every honour, only their departure was delayed, by the terms of the capitulation, twenty days; and, to secure their stay, the rudder of the Favourite was taken off. What they desired to carry away they removed without molestation; and of what they left, an inventory was drawn, for which the Spanish officer, by his receipt, promised to be accountable.

Of this petty revolution, so sudden and so distant, the English ministry could not possibly have such notice, as might enable them to prevent it. The conquest, if such it may be called, cost but three days; for the Spaniards, either supposing the garrison stronger than it was, or resolving to trust nothing to chance, or considering that, as their force was greater, there was less dariger of bloodshed, came with a power that made resistance ridiculous, and, at once, demanded and obtained possession.

The first account of any discontent expressed by the Spaniards, was brought by captain Hunt, who arriving at Plymouth, June 3, 1770, informed the admiralty, that the island had been claimed in December, by the governour of port Solidad.

This claim, made by an officer of so little dignity, without any known direction from his superiours, could be considered only as the zeal or officiousness of an individual, unworthy of publick notice, or the formality of remonstrance.

In August, Mr. Harris, the resident at Madrid, gave notice to lord Weymouth, of an account newly brought to Cadiz, that the English were in possession of port Cuizada, the same which we call port Egmont, in the Magellanick sea; that in January, they had warned away two Spanish ships; and that an armament was sent out in May, from Buenos Ayres, to dislodge them.

It was, perhaps, not yet certain, that this account was true; but the information, however faithful, was too late for prevention. It was easily known, that a fleet despatched in May, had, before August, succeeded or miscarried.

In October, captain Maltby came to England, and gave the account which I have now epitomised, of his expulsion from Falkland's islands.

From this moment, the whole nation can witness, that no time was lost. The navy was surveyed, the ships refitted, and commanders appointed; and a powerful fleet was assembled, well manned and well stored, with expedition, after so long a peace, perhaps, never known before, and with vigour, which, after the waste of so long a war, scarcely any other nation had been capable of exerting.

This preparation, so illustrious in the eyes of Europe, and so efficacious in its event, was obstructed by the utmost power of that noisy faction, which has too long filled the kingdom, sometimes with the roar of empty menace, and sometimes with the yell of hypocritical lamentation. Every man saw, and every honest man saw with detestation, that they who desired to force their sovereign into war, endeavoured, at the same time, to disable him from action.

The vigour and spirit of the ministry easily broke through all the machinations of these pygmy rebels, and our armament was quickly such as was likely to make our negotiations effectual.

The prince of Masseran, in his first conference with the English ministers on this occasion, owned that he had from Madrid received intelligence, that the English had been forcibly expelled from Falkland's island, by Buccarelli, the governour of Buenos Ayres, without any particular orders from the king of Spain. But being asked, whether, in his master's name, he disavowed Buccarelli's violence, he refused to answer, without direction.

The scene of negotiation was now removed to Madrid, and, in September, Mr. Harris was directed to demand, from Grimaldi, the Spanish minister, the restitution of Falkland's island, and a disavowal of Buccarelli's hostilities.

It was to be expected that Grimaldi would object to us our own behaviour, who had ordered the Spaniards to depart from the same island. To this it was replied, that the English forces were, indeed, directed to warn other nations away; but, if compliance were refused, to proceed quietly in making their settlement, and suffer the subjects, of whatever power, to remain there without molestation. By possession thus taken, there was only a disputable claim advanced, which might be peaceably and regularly decided, without insult and without force; and, if the Spaniards had complained at the British court, their reasons would have been heard, and all injuries redressed; but that, by presupposing the justice of their own title, and having recourse to arms, without any previous notice or remonstrance, they had violated the peace, and insulted the British government; and, therefore, it was expected, that satisfaction should be made by publick disavowal, and immediate restitution.

The answer of Grimaldi was ambiguous and cold. He did not allow that any particular orders had been given for driving the English from their settlement; but made no scruple of declaring, that such an ejection was nothing more than the settlers might have expected; and that Buccarelli had not, in his opinion, incurred any blame, as the general injunctions to the American governours were to suffer no encroachments on the Spanish dominions.

In October, the prince of Masseran proposed a convention, for the accommodation of differences by mutual concessions, in which the warning given to the Spaniards, by Hunt, should be disavowed on one side, and the violence used by Buccarelli, on the other. This offer was considered, as little less than a new insult, and Grimaldi was told, that injury required reparation; that when either party had suffered evident wrong, there was not the parity subsisting, which is implied in conventions and contracts; that we considered ourselves as openly insulted, and demanded satisfaction, plenary and unconditional.

Grimaldi affected to wonder, that we were not yet appeased by their concessions. They had, he said, granted all that was required; they had offered to restore the island in the state in which they found it; but he thought that they, likewise, might hope for some regard, and that the warning, sent by Hunt, would be disavowed.

Mr. Harris, our minister at Madrid, insisted, that the injured party had a right to unconditional reparation, and Grimaldi delayed his answer, that a council might be called. In a few days, orders were despatched to prince Masseran, by which he was commissioned to declare the king of Spain's readiness to satisfy the demands of the king of England, in expectation of receiving from him reciprocal satisfaction, by the disavowal, so often required, of Hunt's warning.

Finding the Spaniards disposed to make no other acknowledgments, the English ministry considered a war as not likely to be long avoided. In the latter end of November, private notice was given of their danger to the merchants at Cadiz, and the officers, absent from Gibraltar, were remanded to their posts. Our naval force was every day increased, and we made no abatement of our original demand.

The obstinacy of the Spanish court still continued, and, about the end of the year, all hope of reconciliation was so nearly extinguished, that Mr. Harris was directed to withdraw, with the usual forms, from his residence at Madrid.

Moderation is commonly firm, and firmness is commonly successful; having not swelled our first requisition with any superfluous appendages, we had nothing to yield, we, therefore, only repeated our first proposition, prepared for war, though desirous of peace.

About this time, as is well known, the king of France dismissed Choiseul from his employments. What effect this revolution of the French court had upon the Spanish counsels, I pretend not to be informed. Choiseul had always professed pacifick dispositions; nor is it certain, however it may be suspected, that he talked in different strains to different parties.

It seems to be almost the universal errour of historians to suppose it politically, as it is physically true, that every effect has a proportionate cause. In the inanimate action of matter upon matter, the motion produced can be but equal to the force of the moving power; but the operations of life, whether private or publick, admit no such laws. The caprices of voluntary agents laugh at calculation. It is not always that there is a strong reason for a great event. Obstinacy and flexibility, malignity and kindness, give place, alternately, to each other; and the reason of these vicissitudes, however important may be the consequences, often escapes the mind in which the change is made.

Whether the alteration, which began in January to appear in the Spanish counsels, had any other cause than conviction of the impropriety of their past conduct, and of the danger of a new war, it is not easy to decide; but they began, whatever was the reason, to relax their haughtiness, and Mr. Harris's departure was countermanded.

The demands first made by England were still continued, and on January 22d, the prince of Masseran delivered a declaration, in which the king of Spain "disavows the violent enterprise of Buccarelli," and promises "to restore the port and fort called Egmont, with all the artillery and stores, according to the inventory."

To this promise of restitution is subjoined, that "this engagement to restore port Egmont cannot, nor ought, in any wise, to affect the question of the prior right of sovereignty of the Malouine, otherwise called Falkland's islands."

This concession was accepted by the earl of Rochford, who declared, on the part of his master, that the prince of Masseran, being authorized by his catholick majesty, "to offer, in his majesty's name, to the king of Great Britain, a satisfaction for the injury done him, by dispossessing him of port Egmont;" and, having signed a declaration, expressing that his catholick majesty "disavows the expedition against port Egmont, and engages to restore it, in the state in which it stood before the 10th of June, 1770, his Britannick majesty will look upon the said declaration, together with the full performance of the engagement on the part of his catholick majesty, as a satisfaction for the injury done to the crown of Great Britain."

This is all that was originally demanded. The expedition is disavowed, and the island is restored. An injury is acknowledged by the reception of lord Rochford's paper, who twice mentions the word injury, and twice the word satisfaction.

The Spaniards have stipulated, that the grant of possession shall not preclude the question of prior right, a question which we shall probably make no haste to discuss, and a right, of which no formal resignation was ever required. This reserve has supplied matter for much clamour, and, perhaps the English ministry would have been better pleased had the declaration been without it. But when we have obtained all that was asked, why should we complain that we have not more? When the possession is conceded, where is the evil that the right, which that concession supposes to be merely hypothetical, is referred to the Greek calends for a future disquisition? Were the Switzers less free, or less secure, because, after their defection from the house of Austria, they had never been declared independent before the treaty of Westphalia? Is the king of France less a sovereign, because the king of England partakes his title?

If sovereignty implies undisputed right, scarce any prince is a sovereign through his whole dominions; if sovereignty consists in this, that no superiour is acknowledged, our king reigns at port Egmont with sovereign authority. Almost every new-acquired territory is, in some degree, controvertible, and till the controversy is decided, a term very difficult to be fixed, all that can be had is real possession and actual dominion.

This, surely, is a sufficient answer to the feudal gabble of a man, who is every day lessening that splendour of character which once illuminated the kingdom, then dazzled, and afterwards inflamed it; and for whom it will be happy if the nation shall, at last, dismiss him to nameless obscurity, with that equipoise of blame and praise which Corneille allows to Richelieu, a man who, I think, had much of his merit, and many of his faults:

  "Chacun parle à son gré de ce grand cardinal;
    Mais, pour moi, je n'en dirai rien:
  Il m'a fait trop de bien pour en dire du mal;
    Il m'a fait trop de mal pour en dire du bien."

To push advantages too far is neither generous nor just. Had we insisted on a concession of antecedent right, it may not misbecome us, either as moralists or politicians, to consider what Grimaldi could have answered. We have already, he might say, granted you the whole effect of right, and have not denied you the name. We have not said, that the right was ours before this concession, but only that what right we had, is not, by this concession, vacated. We have now, for more than two centuries, ruled large tracts of the American continent, by a claim which, perhaps, is valid only upon this consideration, that no power can produce a better; by the right of discovery, and prior settlement. And by such titles almost all the dominions of the earth are holden, except that their original is beyond memory, and greater obscurity gives them greater veneration. Should we allow this plea to be annulled, the whole fabrick of our empire shakes at the foundation. When you suppose yourselves to have first descried the disputed island, you suppose what you can hardly prove. We were, at least, the general discoverers of the Magellanick region, and have hitherto held it with all its adjacencies. The justice of this tenure the world has, hitherto, admitted, and yourselves, at least, tacitly allowed it, when, about twenty years ago, you desisted from your purposed expedition, and expressly disowned any design of settling, where you are now not content to settle and to reign, without extorting such a confession of original right, as may invite every other nation to follow you.

To considerations such as these, it is reasonable to impute that anxiety of the Spaniards, from which the importance of this island is inferred by Junius, one of the few writers of his despicable faction, whose name does not disgrace the page of an opponent. The value of the thing disputed may be very different to him that gains and him that loses it. The Spaniards, by yielding Falkland's island, have admitted a precedent of what they think encroachment; have suffered a breach to be made in the outworks of their empire; and, notwithstanding the reserve of prior right, have suffered a dangerous exception to the prescriptive tenure of their American territories.

Such is the loss of Spain; let us now compute the profit of Britain. We have, by obtaining a disavowal of Buccarelli's expedition, and a restitution of our settlement, maintained the honour of the crown, and the superiority of our influence. Beyond this what have we acquired? What, but a bleak and gloomy solitude, an island, thrown aside from human use, stormy in winter, and barren in summer; an island, which not the southern savages have dignified with habitation; where a garrison must be kept in a state that contemplates with envy the exiles of Siberia; of which the expense will be perpetual, and the use only occasional; and which, if fortune smile upon our labours, may become a nest of smugglers in peace, and in war the refuge of future bucaniers. To all this the government has now given ample attestation, for the island has been since abandoned, and, perhaps, was kept only to quiet clamours, with an intention, not then wholly concealed, of quitting it in a short time.

This is the country of which we have now possession, and of which a numerous party pretends to wish that we had murdered thousands for the titular sovereignty. To charge any men with such madness approaches to an accusation defeated by its own incredibility. As they have been long accumulating falsehoods, it is possible that they are now only adding another to the heap, and that they do not mean all that they profess. But of this faction what evil may not be credited? They have hitherto shown no virtue, and very little wit, beyond that mischievous cunning for which it is held, by Hale, that children may be hanged!

As war is the last of remedies, "cuncta prius tentanda," all lawful expedients must be used to avoid it. As war is the extremity of evil, it is, surely, the duty of those, whose station intrusts them with the care of nations, to avert it from their charge. There are diseases of animal nature, which nothing but amputation can remove; so there may, by the depravation of human passions, be sometimes a gangrene in collective life, for which fire and the sword are the necessary remedies; but in what can skill or caution be better shown, than preventing such dreadful operations, while there is yet room for gentler methods!

It is wonderful with what coolness and indifference the greater part of mankind see war commenced. Those that hear of it at a distance, or read of it in books, but have never presented its evils to their minds, consider it as little more than a splendid game, a proclamation, an army, a battle, and a triumph. Some, indeed, must perish in the most successful field, but they die upon the bed of honour, "resign their lives amidst the joys of conquest, and, filled with England's glory, smile in death."

The life of a modern soldier is ill represented by heroick fiction. War has means of destruction more formidable than the cannon and the sword. Of the thousands and ten thousands, that perished in our late contests with France and Spain, a very small part ever felt the stroke of an enemy; the rest languished in tents and ships, amidst damps and putrefaction; pale, torpid, spiritless, and helpless; gasping and groaning, unpitied among men, made obdurate by long continuance of hopeless misery; and were, at last, whelmed in pits, or heaved into the ocean, without notice and without remembrance. By incommodious encampments and unwholesome stations, where courage is useless, and enterprise impracticable, fleets are silently dispeopled, and armies sluggishly melted away.

Thus is a people gradually exhausted, for the most part, with little effect. The wars of civilized nations make very slow changes in the system of empire. The publick perceives scarcely any alteration, but an increase of debt; and the few individuals who are benefited are not supposed to have the clearest right to their advantages. If he that shared the danger enjoyed the profit, and, after bleeding in the battle, grew rich by the victory, he might show his gains without envy. But, at the conclusion of a ten years' war, how are we recompensed for the death of multitudes, and the expense of millions, but by contemplating the sudden glories of paymasters and agents, contractors and commissaries, whose equipages shine like meteors, and whose palaces rise like exhalations!

These are the men who, without virtue, labour, or hazard, are growing rich, as their country is impoverished; they rejoice, when obstinacy or ambition adds another year to slaughter and devastation; and laugh, from their desks, at bravery and science, while they are adding figure to figure, and cipher to cipher, hoping for a new contract from a new armament, and computing the profits of a siege or tempest.

Those who suffer their minds to dwell on these considerations, will think it no great crime in the ministry, that they have not snatched, with eagerness, the first opportunity of rushing into the field, when they were able to obtain, by quiet negotiation, all the real good that victory could have brought us.

Of victory, indeed, every nation is confident before the sword is drawn; and this mutual confidence produces that wantonness of bloodshed, that has so often desolated the world. But it is evident, that of contradictory opinions, one must be wrong; and the history of mankind does not want examples, that may teach caution to the daring, and moderation to the proud.

Let us not think our laurels blasted by condescending to inquire, whether we might not possibly grow rather less than greater by attacking Spain. Whether we should have to contend with Spain alone, whatever has been promised by our patriots, may very reasonably be doubted. A war declared for the empty sound of an ancient title to a Magellanick rock, would raise the indignation of the earth against us. These encroachers on the waste of nature, says our ally the Russian, if they succeed in their first effort of usurpation, will make war upon us for a title to Kamtschatka. These universal settlers, says our ally the Dane, will, in a short time, settle upon Greenland, and a fleet will batter Copenhagen, till we are willing to confess, that it always was their own.

In a quarrel, like this, it is not possible that any power should favour us, and it is very likely that some would oppose us. The French, we are told, are otherwise employed: the contests between the king of France, and his own subjects, are sufficient to withhold him from supporting Spain. But who does not know that a foreign war has often put a stop to civil discords? It withdraws the attention of the publick from domestick grievances, and affords opportunities of dismissing the turbulent and restless to distant employments. The Spaniards have always an argument of irresistible persuasion: if France will not support them against England, they will strengthen England against France.

But let us indulge a dream of idle speculation, and suppose that we are to engage with Spain, and with Spain alone; it is not even yet very certain that much advantage will be gained. Spain is not easily vulnerable; her kingdom, by the loss or cession of many fragments of dominion, is become solid and compact. The Spaniards have, indeed, no fleet able to oppose us, but they will not endeavour actual opposition: they will shut themselves up in their own territories, and let us exhaust our seamen in a hopeless siege: they will give commissions to privateers of every nation, who will prey upon our merchants without possibility of reprisal. If they think their Plata fleet in danger, they will forbid it to set sail, and live awhile upon the credit of treasure which all Europe knows to be safe; and which, if our obstinacy should continue till they can no longer be without it, will be conveyed to them with secrecy and security, by our natural enemies the French, or by the Dutch our natural allies.

But the whole continent of Spanish America will lie open to invasion; we shall have nothing to do but march into these wealthy regions, and make their present masters confess, that they were always ours by ancient right. We shall throw brass and iron out of our houses, and nothing but silver will be seen among us.

All this is very desirable, but it is not certain that it can be easily attained. Large tracts of America were added, by the last war, to the British dominions; but, if the faction credit their own Apollo, they were conquered in Germany. They, at best, are only the barren parts of the continent, the refuse of the earlier adventurers, which the French, who came last, had taken only as better than nothing.

Against the Spanish dominions we have never, hitherto, been able to do much. A few privateers have grown rich at their expense, but no scheme of conquest has yet been successful. They are defended, not by walls mounted with cannons, which by cannons may be battered, but by the storms of the deep, and the vapours of the land, by the flames of calenture and blasts of pestilence.

In the reign of Elizabeth, the favourite period of English greatness, no enterprises against America had any other consequence than that of extending English navigation. Here Cavendish perished, after all his hazards; and here Drake and Hawkins, great as they were in knowledge and in fame, having promised honour to themselves, and dominion to the country, sunk by desperation and misery in dishonourable graves.

During the protectorship of Cromwell, a time of which the patriotick tribes still more ardently desire the return, the Spanish dominions were again attempted; but here, and only here, the fortune of Cromwell made a pause. His forces were driven from Hispaniola; his hopes of possessing the West Indies vanished; and Jamaica was taken, only that the whole expedition might not grow ridiculous.

The attack of Carthagena is yet remembered, where the Spaniards, from the ramparts, saw their invaders destroyed by the hostility of the elements, poisoned by the air, and crippled by the dews; where every hour swept away battalions; and, in the three days that passed between the descent and reembarkation, half an army perished.

In the last war the Havanna was taken; at what expense is too well remembered. May my country be never cursed with such another conquest!

These instances of miscarriage, and these arguments of difficulty, may, perhaps, abate the military ardour of the publick. Upon the opponents of the government their operation will be different; they wish for war, but not for conquest; victory would defeat their purposes equally with peace, because prosperity would naturally continue the trust in those hands which had used it fortunately. The patriots gratified themselves with expectations that some sinistrous accident, or erroneous conduct, might diffuse discontent, and inflame malignity. Their hope is malevolence, and their good is evil.

Of their zeal for their country we have already had a specimen. While they were terrifying the nation with doubts, whether it was any longer to exist; while they represented invasive armies as hovering in the clouds, and hostile fleets, as emerging from the deeps; they obstructed our levies of seamen, and embarrassed our endeavours of defence. Of such men he thinks with unnecessary candour who does not believe them likely to have promoted the miscarriage, which they desired, by intimidating our troops, or betraying our counsels.

It is considered as an injury to the publick, by those sanguinary statesmen, that though the fleet has been refitted and manned, yet no hostilities have followed; and they, who sat wishing for misery and slaughter, are disappointed of their pleasure. But as peace is the end of war, it is the end, likewise, of preparations for war; and he may be justly hunted down, as the enemy of mankind, that can choose to snatch, by violence and bloodshed, what gentler means can equally obtain.

The ministry are reproached, as not daring to provoke an enemy, lest ill success should discredit and displace them. I hope that they had better reasons; that they paid some regard to equity and humanity; and considered themselves as intrusted with the safety of their fellow-subjects, and as the destroyers of all that should be superfluously slaughtered. But let us suppose, that their own safety had some influence on their conduct, they will not, however, sink to a level with their enemies. Though the motive might be selfish, the act was innocent. They, who grow rich by administering physick, are not to be numbered with them that get money by dispensing poison. If they maintain power by harmlessness and peace, they must for ever be at a great distance from ruffians, who would gain it by mischief and confusion. The watch of a city may guard it for hire; but are well employed in protecting it from those, who lie in wait to fire the streets, and rob the houses, amidst the conflagration.

An unsuccessful war would, undoubtedly, have had the effect which the enemies of the ministry so earnestly desire; for who could have sustained the disgrace of folly ending in misfortune? But had wanton invasion undeservedly prospered, had Falkland's island been yielded unconditionally, with every right, prior and posterior; though the rabble might have shouted, and the windows have blazed, yet those who know the value of life, and the uncertainty of publick credit, would have murmured, perhaps unheard, at the increase of our debt, and the loss of our people.

This thirst of blood, however the visible promoters of sedition may think it convenient to shrink from the accusation, is loudly avowed by Junius, the writer to whom his party owes much of its pride, and some of its popularity. Of Junius it cannot be said, as of Ulysses, that he scatters ambiguous expressions among the vulgar; for he cries havock, without reserve, and endeavours to let slip the dogs of foreign or of civil war, ignorant whither they are going, and careless what may be their prey.

Junius has sometimes made his satire felt, but let not injudicious admiration mistake the venom of the shaft for the vigour of the bow. He has sometimes sported with lucky malice; but to him that knows his company, it is not hard to be sarcastick in a mask. While he walks, like Jack the giant-killer, in a coat of darkness, he may do much mischief with little strength. Novelty captivates the superficial and thoughtless; vehemence delights the discontented and turbulent. He that contradicts acknowledged truth will always have an audience; he that vilifies established authority will always find abettors.

Junius burst into notice with a blaze of impudence which has rarely glared upon the world before, and drew the rabble after him, as a monster makes a show. When he had once provided for his safety, by impenetrable secrecy, he had nothing to combat but truth and justice, enemies whom he knows to be feeble in the dark. Being then at liberty to indulge himself in all the immunities of invisibility; out of the reach of danger, he has been bold; out of the reach of shame, he has been confident. As a rhetorician, he has had the art of persuading, when he seconded desire; as a reasoner, he has convinced those who had no doubt before; as a moralist, he has taught, that virtue may disgrace; and, as a patriot, he has gratified the mean by insults on the high. Finding sedition ascendant, he has been able to advance it; finding the nation combustible, he has been able to inflame it. Let us abstract from his wit the vivacity of insolence, and withdraw from his efficacy the sympathetick favour of plebeian malignity; I do not say that we shall leave him nothing; the cause that I defend, scorns the help of falsehood; but if we leave him only his merit, what will be his praise?

It is not by his liveliness of imagery, his pungency of periods, or his fertility of allusion, that he detains the cits of London, and the boors of Middlesex. Of style and sentiment they take no cognizance. They admire him, for virtues like their own, for contempt of order, and violence of outrage; for rage of defamation, and audacity of falsehood. The supporters of the bill of rights feel no niceties of composition, nor dexterities of sophistry; their faculties are better proportioned to the bawl of Bellas, or barbarity of Beckford; but they are told, that Junius is on their side, and they are, therefore, sure that Junius is infallible. Those who know not whither he would lead them, resolve to follow him; and those who cannot find his meaning, hope he means rebellion.

Junius is an unusual phenomenon, on which some have gazed with wonder, and some with terrour, but wonder and terrour are transitory passions. He will soon be more closely viewed, or more attentively examined; and what folly has taken for a comet, that from its flaming hair shook pestilence and war, inquiry will find to be only a meteor, formed by the vapours of putrefying democracy, and kindled into flame by the effervescence of interest, struggling with conviction; which, after having plunged its followers in a bog, will leave us, inquiring why we regard it.

Yet, though I cannot think the style of Junius secure from criticism, though his expressions are often trite, and his periods feeble, I should never have stationed him where he has placed himself, had I not rated him by his morals rather than his faculties. What, says Pope, must be the priest, where a monkey is the god? What must be the drudge of a party, of which the heads are Wilkes and Crosby, Sawbridge and Townsend?

Junius knows his own meaning, and can, therefore, tell it. He is an enemy to the ministry; he sees them growing hourly stronger. He knows that a war, at once unjust and unsuccessful, would have certainly displaced them, and is, therefore, in his zeal for his country, angry that war was not unjustly made, and unsuccessfully conducted. But there are others whose thoughts are less clearly expressed, and whose schemes, perhaps, are less consequentially digested; who declare that they do not wish for a rupture, yet condemn the ministry for not doing that, by which a rupture would naturally have been made.

If one party resolves to demand what the other resolves to refuse, the dispute can be determined only by arbitration; and between powers who have no common superiour, there is no other arbitrator than the sword.

Whether the ministry might not equitably have demanded more is not worth a question. The utmost exertion of right is always invidious, and, where claims are not easily determinable, is always dangerous. We asked all that was necessary, and persisted in our first claim, without mean recession, or wanton aggravation. The Spaniards found us resolute, and complied, after a short struggle.

The real crime of the ministry is, that they have found the means of avoiding their own ruin; but the charge against them is multifarious and confused, as will happen, when malice and discontent are ashamed of their complaint. The past and the future are complicated in the censure. We have heard a tumultuous clamour about honour and rights, injuries and insults, the British flag and the Favourite's rudder, Buccarelli's conduct and Grimaldi's declarations, the Manilla ransome, delays and reparation.

Through the whole argument of the faction runs the general errour, that our settlement on Falkland's island was not only lawful, but unquestionable; that our right was not only certain, but acknowledged; and that the equity of our conduct was such, that the Spaniards could not blame or obstruct it, without combating their own conviction, and opposing the general opinion of mankind.

If once it be discovered that, in the opinion of the Spaniards, our settlement was usurped, our claim arbitrary, and our conduct insolent, all that has happened will appear to follow by a natural concatenation. Doubts will produce disputes and disquisition; disquisition requires delay, and delay causes inconvenience.

Had the Spanish government immediately yielded, unconditionally, all that was required, we might have been satisfied; but what would Europe have judged of their submission? that they shrunk before us, as a conquered people, who, having lately yielded to our arms, were now compelled to sacrifice to our pride. The honour of the publick is, indeed, of high importance; but we must remember, that we have had to transact with a mighty king and a powerful nation, who have unluckily been taught to think, that they have honour to keep or lose, as well as ourselves.

When the admiralty were told, in June, of the warning given to Hunt, they were, I suppose, informed that Hunt had first provoked it by warning away the Spaniards, and naturally considered one act of insolence as balanced by another, without expecting that more would be done on either side. Of representations and remonstrances there would be no end, if they were to be made whenever small commanders are uncivil to each other; nor could peace ever be enjoyed, if, upon such transient provocations, it be imagined necessary to prepare for war. We might then, it is said, have increased our force with more leisure and less inconvenience; but this is to judge only by the event. We omitted to disturb the publick, because we did not suppose that an armament would be necessary.

Some months afterwards, as has been told, Buccarelli, the governour of Buenos Ayres, sent against the settlement of port Egmont a force which ensured the conquest. The Spanish commander required the English captains to depart, but they, thinking that resistance necessary, which they knew to be useless, gave the Spaniards the right of prescribing terms of capitulation. The Spaniards imposed no new condition, except that the sloop should not sail under twenty days; and of this they secured the performance by taking off the rudder.

To an inhabitant of the land there appears nothing in all this unreasonable or offensive. If the English intended to keep their stipulation, how were they injured by the detention of the rudder? If the rudder be to a ship, what his tail is in fables to a fox, the part in which honour is placed, and of which the violation is never to be endured, I am sorry that the Favourite suffered an indignity, but cannot yet think it a cause for which nations should slaughter one another.

When Buccarelli's invasion was known, and the dignity of the crown infringed, we demanded reparation and prepared for war, and we gained equal respect by the moderation of our terms, and the spirit of our exertion. The Spanish minister immediately denied that Buccarelli had received any particular orders to seize port Egmont, nor pretended that he was justified, otherwise than by the general instructions by which the American governours are required to exclude the subjects of other powers.

To have inquired whether our settlement at port Egmont was any violation of the Spanish rights, had been to enter upon a discussion, which the pertinacity of political disputants might have continued without end. We, therefore, called for restitution, not as a confession of right, but as a reparation of honour, which required that we should be restored to our former state upon the island, and that the king of Spain should disavow the action of his governour.

In return to this demand, the Spaniards expected from us a disavowal of the menaces, with which they had been first insulted by Hunt; and if the claim to the island be supposed doubtful, they certainly expected it with equal reason. This, however, was refused, and our superiority of strength gave validity to our arguments.

But we are told, that the disavowal of the king of Spain is temporary and fallacious; that Buccarelli's armament had all the appearance of regular forces and a concerted expedition; and that he is not treated at home as a man guilty of piracy, or as disobedient to the orders of his master.

That the expedition was well planned, and the forces properly supplied, affords no proof of communication between the governour and his court. Those who are intrusted with the care of kingdoms in another hemisphere, must always be trusted with power to defend them.

As little can be inferred from his reception at the Spanish court. He is not punished, indeed; for what has he done that deserves punishment? He was sent into America to govern and defend the dominions of Spain. He thought the English were encroaching, and drove them away. No Spaniard thinks that he has exceeded his duty, nor does the king of Spain charge him with excess. The boundaries of dominion, in that part of the world, have not yet been settled; and he mistook, if a mistake there was, like a zealous subject, in his master's favour.

But all this inquiry is superfluous. Considered as a reparation of honour, the disavowal of the king of Spain, made in the sight of all Europe, is of equal value, whether true or false. There is, indeed, no reason to question its veracity; they, however, who do not believe it, must allow the weight of that influence, by which a great prince is reduced to disown his own commission.

But the general orders, upon which the governour is acknowledged to have acted, are neither disavowed nor explained. Why the Spaniards should disavow the defence of their own territories, the warmest disputant will find it difficult to tell; and, if by an explanation is meant an accurate delineation of the southern empire, and the limitation of their claims beyond the line, it cannot be imputed to any very culpable remissness, that what has been denied for two centuries to the European powers, was not obtained in a hasty wrangle about a petty settlement.

The ministry were too well acquainted with negotiation to fill their heads with such idle expectations. The question of right was inexplicable and endless. They left it, as it stood. To be restored to actual possession was easily practicable. This restoration they required and obtained.

But they should, say their opponents, have insisted upon more; they should have exacted not only, reparation of our honour, but repayment of our expense. Nor are they all satisfied with the recovery of the costs and damages of the present contest; they are for taking this opportunity of calling in old debts, and reviving our right to the ransome of Manilla.

The Manilla ransome has, I think, been most mentioned by the inferiour bellowers of sedition. Those who lead the faction know that it cannot be remembered much to their advantage. The followers of lord Rockingham remember, that his ministry began and ended without obtaining it; the adherents to Grenville would be told, that he could never be taught to understand our claim. The law of nations made little of his knowledge. Let him not, however, be depreciated in his grave. If he was sometimes wrong, he was often right. [29]

Of reimbursement the talk has been more confident, though not more reasonable. The expenses of war have been often desired, have been sometimes required, but were never paid; or never, but when resistance was hopeless, and there remained no choice between submission and destruction.

Of our late equipments, I know not from whom the charge can be very properly expected. The king of Spain disavows the violence which provoked us to arm, and for the mischiefs, which he did not do, why should he pay? Buccarelli, though he had learned all the arts of an East Indian governour, could hardly have collected, at Buenos Ayres, a sum sufficient to satisfy our demands. If he be honest, he is hardly rich; and if he be disposed to rob, he has the misfortune of being placed, where robbers have been before him.

The king of Spain, indeed, delayed to comply with our proposals, and our armament was made necessary by unsatisfactory answers and dilatory debates. The delay certainly increased our expenses, and, it is not unlikely, that the increase of our expenses put an end to the delay.

But this is the inevitable process of human affairs. Negotiation requires time, What is not apparent to intuition must be found by inquiry. Claims that have remained doubtful for ages cannot be settled in a day. Reciprocal complaints are not easily adjusted, but by reciprocal compliance. The Spaniards, thinking themselves entitled to the island, and injured by captain Hunt, in their turn demanded satisfaction, which was refused; and where is the wonder, if their concessions were delayed! They may tell us, that an independent nation is to be influenced not by command, but by persuasion; that, if we expect our proposals to be received without deliberation, we assume that sovereignty which they do not grant us; and that if we arm, while they are deliberating, we must indulge our martial ardour at our own charge.

The English ministry asked all that was reasonable, and enforced all that they asked. Our national honour is advanced, and our interest, if any interest we have, is sufficiently secured. There can be none amongst us, to whom this transaction does not seem happily concluded, but those who, having fixed their hopes on publick calamities, sat, like vultures, waiting for a day of carnage. Having worn out all the arts of domestick sedition, having wearied violence, and exhausted falsehood, they yet flattered themselves with some assistance from the pride or malice of Spain; and when they could no longer make the people complain of grievances, which they did not feel, they had the comfort yet of knowing, that real evils were possible, and their resolution is well known of charging all evil on their governours.

The reconciliation was, therefore, considered as the loss of their last anchor; and received not only with the fretfulness of disappointment, but the rage of desperation. When they found that all were happy, in spite of their machinations, and the soft effulgence of peace shone out upon the nation, they felt no motion but that of sullen envy; they could not, like Milton's prince of hell, abstract themselves a moment from their evil; as they have not the wit of Satan, they have not his virtue; they tried, once again, what could be done by sophistry without art, and confidence without credit. They represented their sovereign as dishonoured, and their country as betrayed, or, in their fiercer paroxysms of fury, reviled their sovereign as betraying it.

Their pretences I have here endeavoured to expose, by showing, that more than has been yielded, was not to be expected, that more, perhaps, was not to be desired, and that, if all had been refused, there had scarcely been an adequate reason for a war.

There was, perhaps, never much danger of war, or of refusal, but what danger there was, proceeded from the faction. Foreign nations, unacquainted with the insolence of common councils, and unaccustomed to the howl of plebeian patriotism, when they heard of rabbles and riots, of petitions and remonstrances, of discontent in Surrey, Derbyshire, and Yorkshire; when they saw the chain of subordination broken, and the legislature threatened and defied, naturally imagined, that such a government had little leisure for Falkland's island; they supposed that the English, when they returned ejected from port Egmont, would find Wilkes invested with the protectorate, or see the mayor of London, what the French have formerly seen their mayors of the palace, the commander of the army, and tutor of the king; that they would be called to tell their tale before the common council; and that the world was to expect war or peace from a vote of the subscribers to the bill of rights.

But our enemies have now lost their hopes, and our friends, I hope, are recovered from their fears. To fancy that our government can be subverted by the rabble, whom its lenity has pampered into impudence, is to fear that a city may be drowned by the overflowing of its kennels. The distemper which cowardice or malice thought either decay of the vitals, or resolution of the nerves, appears, at last, to have been nothing more than a political phtheiriasis, a disease too loathsome for a plainer name, but the effect of negligence rather than of weakness, and of which the shame is greater than the danger.

Among the disturbers of our quiet are some animals of greater bulk, whom their power of roaring persuaded us to think formidable; but we now perceive that sound and force do not always go together. The noise of a savage proves nothing but his hunger.

After all our broils, foreign and domestick, we may, at last, hope to remain awhile in quiet, amused with the view of our own success. We have gained political strength, by the increase of our reputation; we have gained real strength, by the reparation of our navy; we have shown Europe, that ten years of war have not yet exhausted us; and we have enforced our settlement on an island on which, twenty years ago, we durst not venture to look.

These are the gratifications only of honest minds; but there is a time, in which hope comes to all. From the present happiness of the publick, the patriots themselves may derive advantage. To be harmless, though by impotence, obtains some degree of kindness: no man hates a worm as he hates a viper; they were once dreaded enough to be detested, as serpents that could bite; they have now shown that they can only hiss, and may, therefore, quietly slink into holes, and change their slough, unmolested and forgotten.






  They bawl for freedom in their senseless mood,
  Yet still revolt when truth would set them free;
  License they mean, when they cry liberty,
  For who loves that must first be wise and good.


To improve the golden moment of opportunity, and catch the good that is within our reach, is the great art of life. Many wants are suffered, which might once have been supplied; and much time is lost in regretting the time which had been lost before.

At the end of every seven years comes the saturnalian season, when the freemen of great Britain may please themselves with the choice of their representatives. This happy day has now arrived, somewhat sooner than it could be claimed.

To select and depute those, by whom laws are to be made, and taxes to be granted, is a high dignity, and an important trust; and it is the business of every elector to consider, how this dignity may be well sustained, and this trust faithfully discharged.

It ought to be deeply impressed on the minds of all who have voices in this national deliberation, that no man can deserve a seat in parliament, who is not a patriot. No other man will protect our rights: no other man can merit our confidence.

A patriot is he whose publick conduct is regulated by one single motive, the love of his country; who, as an agent in parliament, has, for himself, neither hope nor fear, neither kindness nor resentment, but refers every thing to the common interest.

That of five hundred men, such as this degenerate age affords, a majority can be found thus virtuously abstracted, who will affirm? Yet there is no good in despondence: vigilance and activity often effect more than was expected. Let us take a patriot, where we can meet him; and, that we may not flatter ourselves by false appearances, distinguish those marks which are certain, from those which may deceive; for a man may have the external appearance of a patriot, without the constituent qualities; as false coins have often lustre, though they want weight. Some claim a place in the list of patriots, by an acrimonious and unremitting opposition to the court.

This mark is by no means infallible. Patriotism is not necessarily included in rebellion. A man may hate his king, yet not love his country. He that has been refused a reasonable, or unreasonable request, who thinks his merit underrated, and sees his influence declining, begins soon to talk of natural equality, the absurdity of "many made for one," the original compact, the foundation of authority, and the majesty of the people. As his political melancholy increases, he tells, and, perhaps, dreams, of the advances of the prerogative, and the dangers of arbitrary power; yet his design, in all his declamation, is not to benefit his country, but to gratify his malice.

These, however, are the most honest of the opponents of government; their patriotism is a species of disease; and they feel some part of what they express. But the greater, far the greater number of those who rave and rail, and inquire and accuse, neither suspect nor fear, nor care for the publick; but hope to force their way to riches, by virulence and invective, and are vehement and clamorous, only that they may be sooner hired to be silent.

A man sometimes starts up a patriot, only by disseminating discontent, and propagating reports of secret influence, of dangerous counsels, of violated rights, and encroaching usurpation.

This practice is no certain note of patriotism. To instigate the populace with rage beyond the provocation, is to suspend publick happiness, if not to destroy it. He is no lover of his country, that unnecessarily disturbs its peace. Few errours and few faults of government, can justify an appeal to the rabble; who ought not to judge of what they cannot understand, and whose opinions are not propagated by reason, but caught by contagion.

The fallaciousness of this note of patriotism is particularly apparent, when the clamour continues after the evil is past. They who are still filling our ears with Mr. Wilkes, and the freeholders of Middlesex, lament a grievance that is now at an end. Mr. Wilkes may be chosen, if any will choose him, and the precedent of his exclusion makes not any honest, or any decent man, think himself in clanger.

It may be doubted, whether the name of a patriot can be fairly given, as the reward of secret satire, or open outrage. To fill the newspapers with sly hints of corruption and intrigue, to circulate the Middlesex Journal, and London Pacquet, may, indeed, be zeal; but it may, likewise, be interest and malice. To offer a petition, not expected to be granted; to insult a king-with a rude remonstrance, only because there is no punishment for legal insolence, is not courage, for there is no danger; nor patriotism, for it tends to the subversion of order, and lets wickedness loose upon the land, by destroying the reverence due to sovereign authority.

It is the quality of patriotism to be jealous and watchful, to observe all secret machinations, and to see publick dangers at a distance. The true lover of his country is ready to communicate his fears, and to sound the alarm, whenever he perceives the approach of mischief. But he sounds no alarm, when there is no enemy; he never terrifies his countrymen till he is terrified himself. The patriotism, therefore, may be justly doubted of him, who professes to be disturbed by incredibilities; who tells, that the last peace was obtained by bribing the princess of Wales; that the king is grasping at arbitrary power; and, that because the French, in the new conquests, enjoy their own laws, there is a design at court of abolishing, in England, the trial by juries.

Still less does the true patriot circulate opinions which he knows to be false. No man, who loves his country, fills the nation with clamorous complaints, that the protestant religion is in danger, because "popery is established in the extensive province of Quebec," a falsehood so open and shameless, that it can need no confutation among those who know that of which it is almost impossible for the most unenlightened zealot to be ignorant:

That Quebec is on the other side of the Atlantick, at too great a distance to do much good or harm to the European world:

That the inhabitants, being French, were always papists, who are certainly more dangerous as enemies than as subjects:

That though the province be wide, the people are few, probably not so many as may be found in one of the larger English counties:

That persecution is not more virtuous in a protestant than a papist; and that, while we blame Lewis the fourteenth, for his dragoons and his galleys, we ought, when power comes into our hands, to use it with greater equity:

That when Canada, with its inhabitants, was yielded, the free enjoyment of their religion was stipulated; a condition, of which king William, who was no propagator of popery, gave an example nearer home, at the surrender of Limerick:

That in an age, where every mouth is open for liberty of conscience, it is equitable to show some regard to the conscience of a papist, who may be supposed, like other men, to think himself safest in his own religion; and that those, at least, who enjoy a toleration, ought not to deny it to our new subjects.

If liberty of conscience be a natural right, we have no power to withhold it; if it be an indulgence, it may be allowed to papists, while it is not denied to other sects.

A patriot is necessarily and invariably a lover of the people. But even this mark may sometimes deceive us.

The people is a very heterogeneous and confused mass of the wealthy and the poor, the wise and the foolish, the good and the bad. Before we confer on a man, who caresses the people, the title of patriot, we must examine to what part of the people he directs his notice. It is proverbially said, that he who dissembles his own character, may be known by that of his companions. If the candidate of patriotism endeavours to infuse right opinions into the higher ranks, and, by their influence, to regulate the lower; if he consorts chiefly with the wise, the temperate, the regular, and the virtuous, his love of the people may be rational and honest. But if his first or principal application be to the indigent, who are always inflammable; to the weak, who are naturally suspicious; to the ignorant, who are easily misled; and to the profligate, who have no hope but from mischief and confusion; let his love of the people be no longer boasted. No man can reasonably be thought a lover of his country, for roasting an ox, or burning a boot, or attending the meeting at Mile-end, or registering his name in the lumber troop. He may, among the drunkards, be a hearty fellow, and, among sober handicraftsmen, a free-spoken gentleman; but he must have some better distinction, before he is a patriot.

A patriot is always ready to countenance the just claims, and animate the reasonable hopes of the people; he reminds them, frequently, of their rights, and stimulates them to resent encroachments, and to multiply securities.

But all this may be done in appearance, without real patriotism. He that raises false hopes to serve a present purpose, only makes a way for disappointment and discontent. He who promises to endeavour, what he knows his endeavours unable to effect, means only to delude his followers by an empty clamour of ineffectual zeal.

A true patriot is no lavish promiser: he undertakes not to shorten parliaments; to repeal laws; or to change the mode of representation, transmitted by our ancestors; he knows that futurity is not in his power, and that all times are not alike favourable to change.

Much less does he make a vague and indefinite promise of obeying the mandates of his constituents. He knows the prejudices of faction, and the inconstancy of the multitude. He would first inquire, how the opinion of his constituents shall be taken. Popular instructions are, commonly, the work, not of the wise and steady, but the violent and rash; meetings held for directing representatives are seldom attended but by the idle and the dissolute; and he is not without suspicion, that of his constituents, as of other numbers of men, the smaller part may often be the wiser.

He considers himself as deputed to promote the publick good, and to preserve his constituents, with the rest of his countrymen, not only from being hurt by others, but from hurting themselves.

The common marks of patriotism having been examined, and shown to be such as artifice may counterfeit, or folly misapply, it cannot be improper to consider, whether there are not some characteristical modes of speaking or acting, which may prove a man to be not a patriot.

In this inquiry, perhaps, clearer evidence may be discovered, and firmer persuasion attained; for it is, commonly, easier to know what is wrong than what is right; to find what we should avoid, than what we should pursue.

As war is one of the heaviest of national evils, a calamity in which every species of misery is involved; as it sets the general safety to hazard, suspends commerce, and desolates the country; as it exposes great numbers to hardships, dangers, captivity, and death; no man, who desires the publick prosperity, will inflame general resentment by aggravating minute injuries, or enforcing disputable rights of little importance.

It may, therefore, be safely pronounced, that those men are no patriots, who, when the national honour was vindicated in the sight of Europe, and the Spaniards having invaded what they call their own, had shrunk to a disavowal of their attempt, and a relaxation of their claim, would still have instigated us to a war, for a bleak and barren spot in the Magellanick ocean, of which no use could be made, unless it were a place of exile for the hypocrites of patriotism.

Yet let it not be forgotten, that, by the howling violence of patriotick rage, the nation was, for a time, exasperated to such madness, that, for a barren rock under a stormy sky, we might have now been fighting and dying, had not our competitors been wiser than ourselves; and those who are now courting the favour of the people, by noisy professions of publick spirit, would, while they were counting the profits of their artifice, have enjoyed the patriotick pleasure of hearing, sometimes, that thousands had been slaughtered in a battle, and, sometimes, that a navy had been dispeopled by poisoned air and corrupted food. He that wishes to see his country robbed of its rights cannot be a patriot.

That man, therefore, is no patriot, who justifies the ridiculous claims of American usurpation; who endeavours to deprive the nation of its natural and lawful authority over its own colonies; those colonies, which were settled under English protection; were constituted by an English charter; and have been defended by English arms.

To suppose, that by sending out a colony, the nation established an independent power; that when, by indulgence and favour, emigrants are become rich, they shall not contribute to their own defence, but at their own pleasure; and that they shall not be included, like millions of their fellow-subjects, in the general system of representation; involves such an accumulation of absurdity, as nothing but the show of patriotism could palliate.

He that accepts protection, stipulates obedience. We have always protected the Americans; we may, therefore, subject them to government.

The less is included in the greater. That power which can take away life, may seize upon property. The parliament may enact, for America, a law of capital punishment; it may, therefore, establish a mode and proportion of taxation.

But there are some who lament the state of the poor Bostonians, because they cannot all be supposed to have committed acts of rebellion, yet all are involved in the penalty imposed. This, they say, is to violate the first rule of justice, by condemning the innocent to suffer with the guilty.

This deserves some notice, as it seems dictated by equity and humanity, however it may raise contempt by the ignorance which it betrays of the state of man, and the system of things. That the innocent should be confounded with the guilty, is, undoubtedly, an evil; but it is an evil which no care or caution can prevent. National crimes require national punishments, of which many must necessarily have their part, who have not incurred them by personal guilt. If rebels should fortify a town, the cannon of lawful authority will endanger, equally, the harmless burghers and the criminal garrison.

In some cases, those suffer most who are least intended to be hurt. If the French, in the late war, had taken an English city, and permitted the natives to keep their dwellings, how could it have been recovered, but by the slaughter of our friends? A bomb might as well destroy an Englishman as a Frenchman; and, by famine, we know that the inhabitants would be the first that should perish.

This infliction of promiscuous evil may, therefore, be lamented, but cannot be blamed. The power of lawful government must be maintained; and the miseries which rebellion produces, can be charged only on the rebels.

That man, likewise, is not a patriot, who denies his governours their due praise, and who conceals from the people the benefits which they receive. Those, therefore, can lay no claim to this illustrious appellation, who impute want of publick spirit to the late parliament; an assembly of men, whom, notwithstanding some fluctuation of counsel, and some weakness of agency, the nation must always remember with gratitude, since it is indebted to them for a very ample concession, in the resignation of protections, and a wise and honest attempt to improve the constitution, in the new judicature instituted for the trial of elections.

The right of protection, which might be necessary, when it was first claimed, and was very consistent with that liberality of immunities, in which the feudal constitution delighted, was, by its nature, liable to abuse, and had, in reality, been sometimes misapplied to the evasion of the law, and the defeat of justice. The evil was, perhaps, not adequate to the clamour; nor is it very certain, that the possible good of this privilege was not more than equal to the possible evil. It is, however, plain, that, whether they gave any thing or not to the publick, they, at least, lost something from themselves. They divested their dignity of a very splendid distinction, and showed that they were more willing than their predecessors to stand on a level with their fellow-subjects.

The new mode of trying elections, if it be found effectual, will diffuse its consequences further than seems yet to be foreseen. It is, I believe, generally considered as advantageous only to those who claim seats in parliament; but, if to choose representatives be one of the most valuable rights of Englishmen, every voter must consider that law as adding to his happiness, which makes his suffrage efficacious; since it was vain to choose, while the election could be controlled by any other power.

With what imperious contempt of ancient rights, and what audaciousness of arbitrary authority former parliaments have judged the disputes about elections, it is not necessary to relate. The claim of a candidate, and the right of electors, are said scarcely to have been, even in appearance, referred to conscience; but to have been decided by party, by passion, by prejudice, or by frolick. To have friends in the borough was of little use to him, who wanted friends in the house; a pretence was easily found to evade a majority, and the seat was, at last, his, that was chosen, not by his electors, but his fellow-senators.

Thus the nation was insulted with a mock election, and the parliament was filled with spurious representatives one of the most important claims, that of right to sit in the supreme council of the kingdom, was debated in jest, and no man could be confident of success from the justice of his cause.

A disputed election is now tried with the same scrupulousness and solemnity, as any other title. The candidate that has deserved well of his neighbours, may now be certain of enjoying the effect of their approbation; and the elector, who has voted honestly for known merit, may be certain, that he has not voted in vain.

Such was the parliament, which some of those, who are now aspiring to sit in another, have taught the rabble to consider as an unlawful convention of men, worthless, venal, and prostitute, slaves of the court, and tyrants of the people.

That the next house of commons may act upon the principles of the last, with more constancy and higher spirit, must be the wish of all who wish well to the publick; and, it is surely not too much to expect, that the nation will recover from its delusion, and unite in a general abhorrence of those, who, by deceiving the credulous with fictitious mischiefs, overbearing the weak by audacity of falsehood, by appealing to the judgment of ignorance, and flattering the vanity of meanness, by slandering honesty, and insulting dignity, have gathered round them whatever the kingdom can supply of base, and gross, and profligate; and "raised by merit to this bad eminence," arrogate to themselves the name of patriots.






An answer [31] to the resolutions and address of the American congress.


In all the parts of human knowledge, whether terminating in science merely speculative, or operating upon life, private or civil, are admitted some fundamental principles, or common axioms, which, being-generally received, are little doubted, and, being little doubted, have been rarely proved.

Of these gratuitous and acknowledged truths, it is often the fate to become less evident by endeavours to explain them, however necessary such endeavours may be made by the misapprehensions of absurdity, or the sophistries of interest. It is difficult to prove the principles of science; because notions cannot always be found more intelligible than those which are questioned. It is difficult to prove the principles of practice, because they have, for the most part, not been discovered by investigation, but obtruded by experience; and the demonstrator will find, after an operose deduction, that he has been trying to make that seen, which can be only felt.

Of this kind is the position, that "the supreme power of every community has the right of requiring, from all its subjects, such contributions as are necessary to the publick safety or publick prosperity," which was considered, by all mankind, as comprising the primary and essential condition of all political society, till it became disputed by those zealots of anarchy, who have denied, to the parliament of Britain the right of taxing the American colonies.

In favour of this exemption of the Americans from the authority of their lawful sovereign, and the dominion of their mother-country, very loud clamours have been raised, and many wild assertions advanced, which, by such as borrow their opinions from the reigning fashion, have been admitted as arguments; and, what is strange, though their tendency is to lessen English honour and English power, have been heard by Englishmen, with a wish to find them true. Passion has, in its first violence, controlled interest, as the eddy for awhile runs against the stream.

To be prejudiced is always to be weak; yet there are prejudices so near to laudable, that they have been often praised, and are always pardoned. To love their country has been considered as virtue in men, whose love could not be otherwise than blind, because their preference was made without a comparison; but it has never been my fortune to find, either in ancient or modern writers, any honourable mention of those, who have, with equal blindness, hated their country.

These antipatriotick prejudices are the abortions of folly impregnated by faction, which, being produced against the standing order of nature, have not strength sufficient for long life. They are born only to scream and perish, and leave those to contempt or detestation, whose kindness was employed to nurse them into mischief.

To perplex the opinion of the publick many artifices have been used, which, as usually happens, when falsehood is to be maintained by fraud, lose their force by counteracting one another.

The nation is, sometimes, to be mollified by a tender tale of men, who fled from tyranny to rocks and deserts, and is persuaded to lose all claims of justice, and all sense of dignity, in compassion for a harmless people, who, having worked hard for bread in a wild country, and obtained, by the slow progression of manual industry, the accommodations of life, are now invaded by unprecedented oppression, and plundered of their properties by the harpies of taxation.

We are told how their industry is obstructed by unnatural restraints, and their trade confined by rigorous prohibitions; how they are forbidden to enjoy the products of their own soil, to manufacture the materials which nature spreads before them, or to carry their own goods to the nearest market; and surely the generosity of English virtue will never heap new weight upon those that are already overladen; will never delight in that dominion, which cannot be exercised, but by cruelty and outrage.

But, while we are melting in silent sorrow, and, in the transports of delirious pity, dropping both the sword and balance from our hands, another friend of the Americans thinks it better to awaken another passion, and tries to alarm our interest, or excite our veneration, by accounts of their greatness and their opulence, of the fertility of their land, and the splendour of their towns. We then begin to consider the question with more evenness of mind, are ready to conclude that those restrictions are not very oppressive, which have been found consistent with this speedy growth of prosperity; and begin to think it reasonable, that they who thus flourish under the protection of our government, should contribute something towards its expense.

But we are soon told, that the Americans, however wealthy, cannot be taxed; that they are the descendants of men who left all for liberty, and that they have constantly preserved the principles and stubbornness of their progenitors; that they are too obstinate for persuasion, and too powerful for constraint; that they will laugh at argument, and defeat violence; that the continent of North America contains three millions, not of men merely, but of whigs, of whigs fierce for liberty, and disdainful of dominion; that they multiply with the fecundity of their own rattlesnakes, so that every quarter of a century doubles their numbers.

Men accustomed to think themselves masters do not love to be threatened. This talk is, I hope, commonly thrown away, or raises passions different from those which it was intended to excite. Instead of terrifying the English hearer to tame acquiescence, it disposes him to hasten the experiment of bending obstinacy, before it is become yet more obdurate, and convinces him that it is necessary to attack a nation thus prolifick, while we may yet hope to prevail. When he is told, through what extent of territory we must travel to subdue them, he recollects how far, a few years ago, we travelled in their defence. When it is urged, that they will shoot up, like the hydra, he naturally considers how the hydra was destroyed.

Nothing dejects a trader like the interruption of his profits. A commercial people, however magnanimous, shrinks at the thought of declining traffick and an unfavourable balance. The effect of this terrour has been tried. We have been stunned with the importance of our American commerce, and heard of merchants, with warehouses that are never to be emptied, and of manufacturers starving for want of work.

That our commerce with America is profitable, however less than ostentatious or deceitful estimates have made it, and that it is our interest to preserve it, has never been denied; but, surely, it will most effectually be preserved, by being kept always in our own power. Concessions may promote it for a moment, but superiority only can ensure its continuance. There will always be a part, and always a very large part of every community, that have no care but for themselves, and whose care for themselves reaches little further than impatience of immediate pain, and eagerness for the nearest good. The blind are said to feel with peculiar nicety. They who look but little into futurity, have, perhaps, the quickest sensation of the present. A merchant's desire is not of glory, but of gain; not of publick wealth, but of private emolument; he is, therefore, rarely to be consulted about war and peace, or any designs of wide extent and distant consequence.

Yet this, like other general characters, will sometimes fail. The traders of Birmingham have rescued themselves from all imputation of narrow selfishness, by a manly recommendation to parliament of the rights and dignity of their native country.

To these men I do not intend to ascribe an absurd and enthusiastick contempt of interest, but to give them the rational and just praise of distinguishing real from seeming good; of being able to see through the cloud of interposing difficulties, to the lasting and solid happiness of victory and settlement.

Lest all these topicks of persuasion should fail, the greater actor of patriotism has tried another, in which terrour and pity are happily combined, not without a proper superaddition of that admiration which latter ages have brought into the drama. The heroes of Boston, he tells us, if the stamp act had not been repealed, would have left their town, their port, and their trade, have resigned the splendour of opulence, and quitted the delights of neighbourhood, to disperse themselves over the country, where they would till the ground, and fish in the rivers, and range the mountains, and be free.

These, surely, are brave words. If the mere sound of freedom can operate thus powerfully, let no man, hereafter, doubt the story of the Pied Piper. The removal of the people of Boston into the country, seems, even to the congress, not only difficult in its execution, but important in its consequences. The difficulty of execution is best known to the Bostonians themselves; the consequence alas! will only be, that they will leave good houses to wiser men.

Yet, before they quit the comforts of a warm home, for the sounding something which they think better, he cannot be thought their enemy who advises them, to consider well whether they shall find it. By turning fishermen or hunters, woodmen or shepherds, they may become wild, but it is not so easy to conceive them free; for who can be more a slave than he that is driven, by force, from the comforts of life, is compelled to leave his house to a casual comer, and, whatever he does, or wherever he wanders, finds, every moment, some new testimony of his own subjection? If choice of evil be freedom, the felon in the galleys has his option of labour or of stripes. The Bostonian may quit his house to starve in the fields; his dog may refuse to set, and smart under the lash, and they may then congratulate each other upon the smiles of liberty, "profuse of bliss, and pregnant with delight."

To treat such designs as serious, would be to think too contemptuously of Bostonian understandings. The artifice, indeed, is not new: the blusterer, who threatened in vain to destroy his opponent, has, sometimes, obtained his end, by making it believed, that he would hang himself.

But terrours and pity are not the only means by which the taxation of the Americans is opposed. There are those, who profess to use them only as auxiliaries to reason and justice; who tell us, that to tax the colonies is usurpation and oppression, an invasion of natural and legal rights, and a violation of those principles which support the constitution of English government.

This question is of great importance. That the Americans are able to bear taxation, is indubitable; that their refusal may be overruled, is highly probable; but power is no sufficient evidence of truth. Let us examine our own claim, and the objections of the recusants, with caution proportioned to the event of the decision, which must convict one part of robbery, or the other of rebellion.

A tax is a payment, exacted by authority, from part of the community, for the benefit of the whole. From whom, and in what proportion such payment shall be required, and to what uses it shall be applied, those only are to judge to whom government is intrusted. In the British dominions taxes are apportioned, levied, and appropriated by the states assembled in parliament.

Of every empire all the subordinate communities are liable to taxation, because they all share the benefits of government, and, therefore, ought all to furnish their proportion of the expense.

This the Americans have never openly denied. That it is their duty to pay the costs of their own safety, they seem to admit; nor do they refuse their contribution to the exigencies, whatever they may be, of the British empire; but they make this participation of the publick burden a duty of very uncertain extent, and imperfect obligation, a duty temporary, occasional, and elective, of which they reserve to themselves the right of settling the degree, the time, and the duration; of judging when it may be required, and when it has been performed.

They allow to the supreme power nothing more than the liberty of notifying to them its demands or its necessities. Of this notification they profess to think for themselves, how far it shall influence their counsels; and of the necessities alleged, how far they shall endeavour to relieve them. They assume the exclusive power of settling not only the mode, but the quantity, of this payment. They are ready to cooperate with all the other dominions of the king; but they will cooperate by no means which they do not like, and at no greater charge than they are willing to bear.

This claim, wild as it may seem; this claim, which supposes dominion without authority, and subjects without subordination, has found among the libertines of policy, many clamorous and hardy vindicators. The laws of nature, the rights of humanity, the faith of charters, the danger of liberty, the encroachments of usurpation, have been thundered in our ears, sometimes by interested faction, and sometimes by honest stupidity.

It is said by Fontenelle, that if twenty philosophers shall resolutely deny that the presence of the sun makes the day, he will not despair but whole nations may adopt the opinion. So many political dogmatists have denied to the mother-country the power of taxing the colonies, and have enforced their denial with so much violence of outcry, that their sect is already very numerous, and the publick voice suspends its decision.

In moral and political questions, the contest between interest and justice has been often tedious and often fierce, but, perhaps, it never happened before, that justice found much opposition, with interest on her side.

For the satisfaction of this inquiry, it is necessary to consider, how a colony is constituted; what are the terms of migration, as dictated by nature, or settled by compact; and what social or political rights the man loses or acquires, that leaves his country to establish himself hi a distant plantation.

Of two modes of migration the history of mankind informs us, and so far as I can yet discover, of two only. In countries where life was yet unadjusted, and policy unformed, it sometimes happened, that, by the dissensions of heads of families, by the ambition of daring adventurers, by some accidental pressure of distress, or by the mere discontent of idleness, one part of the community broke off from the rest, and numbers, greater or smaller, forsook their habitations, put themselves under the command of some favourite of fortune, and with, or without the consent of their countrymen or governours, went out to see what better regions they could occupy, and in what place, by conquest or by treaty, they could gain a habitation.

Sons of enterprise, like these, who committed to their own swords their hopes and their lives, when they left their country, became another nation, with designs, and prospects, and interests, of their own. They looked back no more to their former home; they expected no help from those whom they had left behind; if they conquered, they conquered for themselves; if they were destroyed, they were not by any other power either lamented or revenged.

Of this kind seem to have been all the migrations of the early world, whether historical or fabulous, and of this kind were the eruptions of those nations, which, from the north, invaded the Roman empire, and filled Europe with new sovereignties.

But when, by the gradual admission of wiser laws and gentler manners, society became more compacted and better regulated, it was found, that the power of every people consisted in union, produced by one common interest, and operating in joint efforts and consistent counsels.

From this time independence perceptibly wasted away. No part of the nation was permitted to act for itself. All now had the same enemies and the same friends; the government protected individuals, and individuals were required to refer their designs to the prosperity of the government.

By this principle it is, that states are formed and consolidated. Every man is taught to consider his own happiness, as combined with the publick prosperity, and to think himself great and powerful, in proportion to the greatness and power of his governours.

Had the western continent been discovered between the fourth and tenth century, when all the northen world was in motion; and had navigation been, at that time, sufficiently advanced to make so long a passage easily practicable, there is little reason for doubting, but the intumescence of nations would have found its vent, like all other expansive violence, where there was least resistance; and that Huns and Vandals, instead of fighting their way to the south of Europe, would have gone, by thousands and by myriads, under their several chiefs, to take possession of regions smiling with pleasure, and waving with fertility, from which the naked inhabitants were unable to repel them.

Every expedition would, in those days of laxity, have produced a distinct and independent state. The Scandinavian heroes might have divided the country among them, and have spread the feudal subdivision of regality from Hudson's bay to the Pacifick ocean.

But Columbus came five or six hundred years too late for the candidates of sovereignty. When he formed his project of discovery, the fluctuations of military turbulence had subsided, and Europe began to regain a settled form, by established government and regular subordination. No man could any longer erect himself into a chieftain, and lead out his fellow-subjects, by his own authority, to plunder or to war. He that committed any act of hostility, by land or sea, without the commission of some acknowledged sovereign, was considered, by all mankind, as a robber or pirate, names which were now of little credit, and of which, therefore, no man was ambitious.

Columbus, in a remoter time, would have found his way to some discontented lord, or some younger brother of a petty sovereign, who would have taken fire at his proposal, and have quickly kindled, with equal heat, a troop of followers: they would have built ships, or have seized them, and have wandered with him, at all adventures, as far as they could keep hope in their company. But the age being now past of vagrant excursion and fortuitous hostility, he was under the necessity of travelling from court to court, scorned and repulsed as a wild projector, an idle promiser of kingdoms in the clouds; nor has any part of the world yet had reason to rejoice that he found, at last, reception and employment.

In the same year, in a year hitherto disastrous to mankind, by the Portuguese was discovered the passage of the Indies, and by the Spaniards the coast of America. The nations of Europe were fired with boundless expectations, and the discoverers, pursuing their enterprise, made conquests in both hemispheres of wide extent. But the adventurers were not contented with plunder: though they took gold and silver to themselves, they seized islands and kingdoms in the name of their sovereigns. When a new region was gained, a governour was appointed by that power, which had given the commission to the conqueror; nor have I met with any European, but Stukely, of London, that formed a design of exalting himself in the newly found countries to independent dominion.

To secure a conquest, it was always necessary to plant a colony, and territories, thus occupied and settled, were rightly considered, as mere extensions, or processes of empire; as ramifications which, by the circulation of one publick interest, communicated with the original source of dominion, and which were kept flourishing and spreading by the radical vigour of the mother-country.

The colonies of England differ no otherwise from those of other nations, than as the English constitution differs from theirs. All government is ultimately and essentially absolute, but subordinate societies may have more immunities, or individuals greater liberty, as the operations of government are differently conducted. An Englishman in the common course of life and action feels no restraint. An English colony has very liberal powers of regulating its own manners, and adjusting its own affairs. But an English individual may, by the supreme authority, be deprived of liberty, and a colony divested of its powers, for reasons of which that authority is the only judge.

In sovereignty there are no gradations. There may be limited royalty, there may be limited consulship; but there can be no limited government. There must, in every society, be some power or other, from which there is no appeal, which admits no restrictions, which pervades the whole mass of the community, regulates and adjusts all subordination, enacts laws or repeals them, erects or annuls judicatures, extends or contracts privileges, exempt itself from question or control, and bounded only by physical necessity.

By this power, wherever it subsists, all legislation and jurisdiction is animated and maintained. From this all legal rights are emanations, which, whether equitably or not, may be legally recalled. It is not infallible, for it may do wrong; but it is irresistible, for it can be resisted only by rebellion, by an act which makes it questionable, what shall be thenceforward the supreme power.

An English colony is a number of persons, to whom the king grants a charter, permitting them to settle in some distant country, and enabling them to constitute a corporation enjoying such powers as the charter grants, to be administered in such forms as the charter prescribes. As a corporation, they make laws for themselves; but as a corporation, subsisting by a grant from higher authority, to the control of that authority they continue subject.

As men are placed at a greater distance from the supreme council of the kingdom, they must be intrusted with ampler liberty of regulating their conduct by their own wisdom. As they are more secluded from easy recourse to national judicature, they must be more extensively commissioned to pass judgment on each other.

For this reason our more important and opulent colonies see the appearance, and feel the effect, of a regular legislature, which, in some places, has acted so long with unquestioned authority, that it has forgotten whence that authority was originally derived.

To their charters the colonies owe, like other corporations, their political existence. The solemnities of legislation, the administration of justice, the security of property, are all bestowed upon them by the royal grant. Without their charter, there would be no power among them, by which any law could be made, or duties enjoined; any debt recovered, or criminal punished.

A charter is a grant of certain powers or privileges, given to a part of the community for the advantage of the whole, and is, therefore, liable, by its nature, to change or to revocation. Every act of government aims at publick good. A charter, which experience has shown to be detrimental to the nation, is to be repealed; because general prosperity must always be preferred to particular interest. If a charter be used to evil purposes, it is forfeited, as the weapon is taken away which is injuriously employed.

The charter, therefore, by which provincial governments are constituted, may be always legally, and, where it is either inconvenient in its nature, or misapplied in its use, may be equitably repealed; by such repeal the whole fabrick of subordination is immediately destroyed, and the constitution sunk at once into a chaos; the society is dissolved into a tumult of individuals, without authority to command, or obligation to obey, without any punishment of wrongs, but by personal resentment, or any protection of right, but by the hand of the possessor.

A colony is to the mother-country, as a member to the body, deriving its action and its strength from the general principle of vitality; receiving from the body, and communicating to it, all the benefits and evils of health and disease; liable, in dangerous maladies, to sharp applications, of which the body, however, must partake the pain; and exposed, if incurably tainted, to amputation, by which the body, likewise, will be mutilated.

The mother-country always considers the colonies, thus connected, as parts of itself; the prosperity or unhappiness of either, is the prosperity or unhappiness of both; not, perhaps, of both in the same degree, for the body may subsist, though less commodiously, without a limb, but the limb must perish, if it be parted from the body.

Our colonies, therefore, however distant, have been, hitherto, treated as constituent parts of the British empire. The inhabitants incorporated by English charters are entitled to all the rights of Englishmen. They are governed by English laws, entitled to English dignities, regulated by English counsels, and protected by English arms; and it seems to follow, by consequence not easily avoided, that they are subject to English government, and chargeable by English taxation.

To him that considers the nature, the original, the progress, and the constitution of the colonies, who remembers that the first discoverers had commissions from the crown, that the first settlers owe to a charter their civil forms and regular magistracy, and that all personal immunities and legal securities, by which the condition of the subject has been, from time to time, improved, have been extended to the colonists, it will not be doubted, but the parliament of England has a right to bind them by statutes, and to bind them in all cases whatsoever; and has, therefore, a natural and constitutional power of laying upon them any tax or impost, whether external or internal, upon the product of land, or the manufactures of industry, in the exigencies of war, or in the time of profound peace, for the defence of America, for the purpose of raising a revenue, or for any other end beneficial to the empire.

There are some, and those not inconsiderable for number, nor contemptible for knowledge, who except the power of taxation from the general dominion of parliament, and hold, that whatever degress of obedience may be exacted, or whatever authority may be exercised in other acts of government, there is still reverence to be paid to money, and that legislation passes its limits when it violates the purse.

Of this exception, which, by a head not fully impregnated with politicks, is not easily comprehended, it is alleged, as an unanswerable reason, that the colonies send no representatives to the house of commons.

It is, say the American advocates, the natural distinction of a freeman, and the legal privilege of an Englishman, that he is able to call his possessions his own, that he can sit secure in the enjoyment of inheritance or acquisition, that his house is fortified by the law, and that nothing can be taken from him, but by his own consent. This consent is given for every man by his representative in parliament. The Americans, unrepresented, cannot consent to English taxations, as a corporation, and they will not consent, as individuals.

Of this argument, it has been observed by more than one, that its force extends equally to all other laws, for a freeman is not to be exposed to punishment, or be called to any onerous service, but by his own consent. The congress has extracted a position from the fanciful Montesquieu that, "in a free state, every man, being a free agent, ought to be concerned in his own government." Whatever is true of taxation, is true of every other law, that he who is bound by it, without his consent, is not free, for he is not concerned in his own government.

He that denies the English parliament the right of taxation, denies it, likewise, the right of making any other laws, civil or criminal, yet this power over the colonies was never yet disputed by themselves. They have always admitted statutes for the punishment of offences, and for the redress or prevention of inconveniencies; and the reception of any law draws after it, by a chain which cannot be broken, the unwelcome necessity of submitting to taxation.

That a freeman is governed by himself, or by laws to which he has consented, is a position of mighty sound; but every man that utters it, with whatever confidence, and every man that hears it, with whatever acquiescence, if consent be supposed to imply the power of refusal, feels it to be false. We virtually and implicitly allow the institutions of any government, of which we enjoy the benefit, and solicit the protection. In wide extended dominions, though power has been diffused with the most even hand, yet a very small part of the people are either primarily or secondarily consulted in legislation. The business of the publick must be done by delegation. The choice of delegates is made by a select number, and those who are not electors stand idle and helpless spectators of the commonweal, "wholly unconcerned in the government of themselves."

Of the electors the hap is but little better. They are often far from unanimity in their choice; and where the numbers approach to equality, almost half must be governed not only without, but against their choice.

How any man can have consented to institutions established in distant ages, it will be difficult to explain. In the most favourite residence of liberty, the consent of individuals is merely passive; a tacit admission, in every community, of the terms which that community grants and requires. As all are born the subjects of some state or other, we may be said to have been all born consenting to some system of government. Other consent than this the condition of civil life does not allow. It is the unmeaning clamour of the pedants of policy, the delirious dream of republican fanaticism.

But hear, ye sons and daughters of liberty, the sounds which the winds are wafting from the western continent. The Americans are telling one another, what, if we may judge from their noisy triumph, they have but lately discovered, and what yet is a very important truth: "That they are entitled to life, liberty, and property; and that they have never ceded to any sovereign power whatever a right to dispose of either without their consent."

While this resolution stands alone, the Americans are free from singularity of opinion; their wit has not yet betrayed them to heresy. While they speak as the naked sons of nature, they claim but what is claimed by other men, and have withheld nothing but what all withhold. They are here upon firm ground, behind entrenchments which never can be forced.

Humanity is very uniform. The Americans have this resemblance to Europeans, that they do not always know when they are well. They soon quit the fortress, that could neither have been ruined by sophistry, nor battered by declamation. Their next resolution declares, that "Their ancestors, who first settled the colonies, were, at the time of their emigration from the mother-country, entitled to all the rights, liberties, and immunities of free and natural-born subjects within the realm of England."

This, likewise, is true; but when this is granted, their boast of original rights is at an end; they are no longer in a state of nature. These lords of themselves, these kings of ME, these demigods of independence sink down to colonists, governed by a charter. If their ancestors were subjects, they acknowledged a sovereign; if they had a right to English privileges, they were accountable to English laws; and, what must grieve the lover of liberty to discover, had ceded to the king and parliament, whether the right or not, at least, the power of disposing, "without their consent, of their lives, liberties, and properties." It, therefore, is required of them to prove, that the parliament ever ceded to them a dispensation from that obedience, which they owe as natural-born subjects, or any degree of independence or immunity, not enjoyed by other Englishmen.

They say, that by such emigration, they by no means forfeited, surrendered, or lost any of those rights; but, that "they were, and their descendants now are, entitled to the exercise and enjoyment of all such of them, as their local and other circumstances enable them to exercise and enjoy."

That they who form a settlement by a lawful charter, having committed no crime, forfeit no privileges, will be readily confessed; but what they do not forfeit by any judicial sentence, they may lose by natural effects. As man can be but in one place, at once, he cannot have the advantages of multiplied residence. He that will enjoy the brightness of sunshine, must quit the coolness of the shade. He who goes voluntarily to America, cannot complain of losing what he leaves in Europe. He, perhaps, had a right to vote for a knight or burgess; by crossing the Atlantick, he has not nullified his right; but he has made its exertion no longer possible. [32] By his own choice he has left a country, where he had a vote and little property, for another, where he has great property, but no vote. But as this preference was deliberate and unconstrained, he is still "concerned in the government of himself;" he has reduced himself from a voter, to one of the innumerable multitude that have no vote. He has truly "ceded his right," but he still is governed by his own consent; because he has consented to throw his atom of interest into the general mass of the community. Of the consequences of his own act he has no cause to complain; he has chosen, or intended to choose, the greater good; he is represented, as himself desired, in the general representation.

But the privileges of an American scorn the limits of place; they are part of himself, and cannot be lost by departure from his country; they float in the air, or glide under the ocean:

  "Doris amara suam non intermisceat undam."

A planter, wherever he settles, is not only a freeman, but a legislator: "ubi imperator, ibi Roma." "As the English colonists are not represented in the British parliament, they are entitled to a free and exclusive power of legislation in their several legislatures, in all cases of taxation and internal polity, subject only to the negative of the sovereign, in such manner as has been heretofore used and accustomed. We cheerfully consent to the operation of such acts of the British parliament, as are, bona fide, restrained to the regulation of our external commerce—excluding every idea of taxation, internal or external, for raising a revenue on the subjects of America, without their consent."

Their reason for this claim is, "that the foundation of English liberty, and of all government, is a right in the people to participate in their legislative council."

"They inherit," they say, "from their ancestors, the right which their ancestors possessed, of enjoying all the privileges of Englishmen." That they inherit the right of their ancestors is allowed; but they can inherit no more. Their ancestors left a country, where the representatives of the people were elected by men particularly qualified, and where those who wanted qualifications, or who did not use them, were bound by the decisions of men, whom they had not deputed.

The colonists are the descendants of men, who either had no vote in elections, or who voluntarily resigned them for something, in their opinion, of more estimation; they have, therefore, exactly what their ancestors left them, not a vote in making laws, or in constituting legislators, but the happiness of being protected by law, and the duty of obeying it.

What their ancestors did not carry with them, neither they nor their descendants have since acquired. They have not, by abandoning their part in one legislature, obtained the power of constituting another, exclusive and independent, any more than the multitudes, who are now debarred from voting, have a right to erect a separate parliament for themselves.

Men are wrong for want of sense, but they are wrong by halves for want of spirit. Since the Americans have discovered that they can make a parliament, whence comes it that they do not think themselves equally empowered to make a king? If they are subjects, whose government is constituted by a charter, they can form no body of independent legislature. If their rights are inherent and underived, they may, by their own suffrages, encircle, with a diadem, the brows of Mr. Cushing.

It is further declared, by the congress of Philadelphia, "that his majesty's colonies are entitled to all the privileges and immunities granted and confirmed to them by royal charters, or secured to them by their several codes of provincial laws."

The first clause of this resolution is easily understood, and will be readily admitted. To all the privileges which a charter can convey, they are, by a royal charter, evidently entitled. The second clause is of greater difficulty; for how can a provincial law secure privileges or immunities to a province? Provincial laws may grant, to certain individuals of the province, the enjoyment of gainful, or an immunity from onerous offices; they may operate upon the people to whom they relate; but no province can confer provincial privileges on itself. They may have a right to all which the king has given them; but it is a conceit of the other hemisphere, that men have a right to all which they have given to themselves.

A corporation is considered, in law, as an individual, and can no more extend its own immunities, than a man can, by his own choice, assume dignities or titles.

The legislature of a colony (let not the comparison be too much disdained) is only the vestry of a larger parish, which may lay a cess on the inhabitants, and enforce the payment; but can extend no influence beyond its own district, must modify its particular regulations by the general law, and, whatever may be its internal expenses, is still liable to taxes laid by superiour authority.

The charters given to different provinces are different, and no general right can be extracted from them. The charter of Pennsylvania, where this congress of anarchy has been impudently held, contains a clause admitting, in express terms, taxation by the parliament. If, in the other charters, no such reserve is made, it must have been omitted, as not necessary, because it is implied in the nature of subordinate government. They who are subject to laws, are liable to taxes. If any such immunity had been granted, it is still revocable by the legislature, and ought to be revoked, as contrary to the publick good, which is, in every charter, ultimately intended.

Suppose it true, that any such exemption is contained in the charter of Maryland, it can be pleaded only by the Marylanders. It is of no use for any other province; and, with regard even to them, must have been considered as one of the grants in which the king has been deceived; and annulled, as mischievous to the publick, by sacrificing to one little settlement the general interest of the empire; as infringing the system of dominion, and violating the compact of government. But Dr. Tucker has shown, that even this charter promises no exemption from parliamentary taxes.

In the controversy agitated about the beginning of this century, whether the English laws could bind Ireland, Davenant, who defended against Molyneux the claims of England, considered it as necessary to prove nothing more, than that the present Irish must be deemed a colony.

The necessary connexion of representatives with taxes, seems to have sunk deep into many of those minds, that admit sounds, without their meaning.

Our nation is represented in parliament by an assembly as numerous as can well consist with order and despatch, chosen by persons so differently qualified in different places, that the mode of choice seems to be, for the most part, formed by chance, and settled by custom. Of individuals, far the greater part have no vote, and, of the voters, few have any personal knowledge of him to whom they intrust their liberty and fortune.

Yet this representation has the whole effect expected or desired, that of spreading so wide the care of general interest, and the participation of publick counsels, that the advantage or corruption of particular men can seldom operate with much injury to the publick.

For this reason many populous and opulent towns neither enjoy nor desire particular representatives: they are included in the general scheme of publick administration, and cannot suffer but with the rest of the empire.

It is urged, that the Americans have not the same security, and that a British legislator may wanton with their property; yet, if it be true, that their wealth is our wealth, and that their ruin will be our ruin, the parliament has the same interest in attending to them, as to any other part of the nation. The reason why we place any confidence in our representatives is, that they must share in the good or evil which their counsels shall produce. Their share is, indeed, commonly consequential and remote; but it is not often possible that any immediate advantage can be extended to such numbers as may prevail against it. We are, therefore, as secure against intentional depravations of government, as human wisdom can make us, and upon this security the Americans may venture to repose.

It is said, by the old member who has written an appeal against the tax, that "as the produce of American labour is spent in British manufactures, the balance of trade is greatly against them; whatever you take directly in taxes is, in effect, taken from your own commerce. If the minister seizes the money, with which the American should pay his debts, and come to market, the merchant cannot expect him as a customer, nor can the debts, already contracted, be paid.—Suppose we obtain from America a million, instead of one hundred thousand pounds, it would be supplying one personal exigence by the future ruin of our commerce."

Part of this is true; but the old member seems not to perceive, that, if his brethren of the legislature know this as well as himself, the Americans are in no danger of oppression, since by men commonly provident they must be so taxed, as that we may not lose one way, what we gain another.

The same old member has discovered, that the judges formerly thought it illegal to tax Ireland, and declares that no cases can be more alike than those of Ireland and America; yet the judges whom he quotes have mentioned a difference. Ireland, they say, "hath a parliament of its own." When any colony has an independent parliament, acknowledged by the parliament of Britain, the cases will differ less. Yet, by the sixth of George the first, chapter fifth, the acts of the British parliament bind Ireland.

It is urged, that when Wales, Durham, and Chester were divested of their particular privileges, or ancient government, and reduced to the state of English counties, they had representatives assigned them.

To those from whom something had been taken, something in return might properly be given. To the Americans their charters are left, as they were, nor have they lost any thing, except that of which their sedition has deprived them. If they were to be represented in parliament, something would be granted, though nothing is withdrawn.

The inhabitants of Chester, Durham, and Wales were invited to exchange their peculiar institutions for the power of voting, which they wanted before. The Americans have voluntarily resigned the power of voting, to live in distant and separate governments; and what they have voluntarily quitted, they have no right to claim.

It must always be remembered, that they are represented by the same virtual representation as the greater part of Englishmen; and that, if by change of place, they have less share in the legislature than is proportionate to their opulence, they, by their removal, gained that opulence, and had originally, and have now, their choice of a vote at home, or riches at a distance.

We are told, what appears to the old member and to others, a position that must drive us into inextricable absurdity: that we have either no right, or the sole right, of taxing the colonies. The meaning is, that if we can tax them, they cannot tax themselves; and that if they can tax themselves, we cannot tax them. We answer, with very little hesitation, that, for the general use of the empire, we have the sole right of taxing them. If they have contributed any thing in their own assemblies, what they contributed was not paid, but given; it was not a tax or tribute, but a present. Yet they have the natural and legal power of levying money on themselves for provincial purposes, of providing for their own expense at their own discretion. Let not this be thought new or strange; it is the state of every parish in the kingdom.

The friends of the Americans are of different opinions. Some think, that, being unrepresented, they ought to tax themselves; and others, that they ought to have representatives in the British parliament.

If they are to tax themselves, what power is to remain in the supreme legislature? That they must settle their own mode of levying their money is supposed. May the British parliament tell them how much they shall contribute? If the sum may be prescribed, they will return few thanks for the power of raising it; if they are at liberty to grant or to deny, they are no longer subjects.

If they are to be represented, what number of these western orators are to be admitted? This, I suppose, the parliament must settle; yet, if men have a natural and unalienable right to be represented, who shall determine the number of their delegates? Let us, however, suppose them to send twenty-three, half as many as the kingdom of Scotland, what will this representation avail them? To pay taxes will be still a grievance. The love of money will not be lessened, nor the power of getting it increased.

Whither will this necessity of representation drive us? Is every petty settlement to be out of the reach of government, till it has sent a senator to parliament; or may two of them, or a greater number, be forced to unite in a single deputation? What, at last, is the difference between him that is taxed, by compulsion, without representation, and him that is represented, by compulsion, in order to be taxed?

For many reigns the house of commons was in a state of fluctuation: new burgesses were added, from time to time, without any reason now to be discovered; but the number has been fixed for more than a century and a half, and the king's power of increasing it has been questioned. It will hardly be thought fit to new-model the constitution in favour of the planters, who, as they grow rich, may buy estates in England, and, without any innovation, effectually represent their native colonies.

The friends of the Americans, indeed, ask for them what they do not ask for themselves. This inestimable right of representation they have never solicited. They mean not to exchange solid money for such airy honour. They say, and say willingly, that they cannot conveniently be represented; because their inference is, that they cannot be taxed. They are too remote to share the general government, and, therefore, claim the privilege of governing themselves.

Of the principles contained in the resolutions of the congress, however wild, indefinite, and obscure, such has been the influence upon American understanding, that, from New England to South Carolina, there is formed a general combination of all the provinces against their mother-country. The madness of independence has spread from colony to colony, till order is lost, and government despised; and all is filled with misrule, uproar, violence, and confusion. To be quiet is disaffection, to be loyal is treason.

The congress of Philadelphia, an assembly convened by its own authority, has promulgated a declaration, in compliance with which the communication between Britain and the greatest part of North America, is now suspended. They ceased to admit the importation of English goods, in December, 1774, and determine to permit the exportation of their own no longer than to November, 1775.

This might seem enough; but they have done more: they have declared, that they shall treat all as enemies who do not concur with them in disaffection and perverseness; and that they will trade with none that shall trade with Britain.

They threaten to stigmatize, in their gazette, those who shall consume the products or merchandise of their mother-country, and are now searching suspected houses for prohibited goods.

These hostile declarations they profess themselves ready to maintain by force. They have armed the militia of their provinces, and seized the publick stores of ammunition. They are, therefore, no longer subjects, since they refuse the laws of their sovereign, and, in defence of that refusal, are making open preparations for war.

Being now, in their own opinion, free states, they are not only raising armies, but forming alliances, not only hastening to rebel themselves, but seducing their neighbours to rebellion. They have published an address to the inhabitants of Quebec, in which discontent and resistance are openly incited, and with very respectful mention of "the sagacity of Frenchmen," invite them to send deputies to the congress of Philadelphia; to that seat of virtue and veracity, whence the people of England are told, that to establish popery, "a religion fraught with sanguinary and impious tenets," even in Quebec, a country of which the inhabitants are papists, is so contrary to the constitution, that it cannot be lawfully done by the legislature itself; where it is made one of the articles of their association, to deprive the conquered French of their religious establishment; and whence the French of Quebec are, at the same time, flattered into sedition, by professions of expecting "from the liberality of sentiment distinguishing their nation, that difference of religion will not prejudice them against a hearty amity, because the transcendant nature of freedom elevates all, who unite in the cause, above such low-minded infirmities."

Quebec, however, is at a great distance. They have aimed a stroke, from which they may hope for greater and more speedy mischief. They have tried to infect the people of England with the contagion of disloyalty. Their credit is, happily, not such as gives them influence proportionate to their malice. When they talk of their pretended immunities "guaranteed by the plighted faith of government, and the most solemn compacts with English sovereigns," we think ourselves at liberty to inquire, when the faith was plighted, and the compact made; and, when we can only find, that king James and king Charles the first promised the settlers in Massachusetts bay, now famous by the appellation of Bostonians, exemption from taxes for seven years, we infer, with Mr. Mauduit, that, by this "solemn compact," they were, after expiration of the stipulated term, liable to taxation.

When they apply to our compassion, by telling us, that they are to be carried from their own country to be tried for certain offences, we are not so ready to pity them, as to advise them not to offend. While they are innocent they are safe.

When they tell of laws made expressly for their punishment, we answer, that tumults and sedition were always punishable, and that the new law prescribes only the mode of execution.

When it is said, that the whole town of Boston is distressed for a misdemeanor of a few, we wonder at their shamelessness; for we know that the town of Boston and all the associated provinces, are now in rebellion to defend or justify the criminals.

If frauds in the imposts of Boston are tried by commission without a jury, they are tried here in the same mode; and why should the Bostonians expect from us more tenderness for them than for ourselves?

If they are condemned unheard, it is because there is no need of a trial. The crime is manifest and notorious. All trial is the investigation of something doubtful. An Italian philosopher observes, that no man desires to hear what he has already seen.

If their assemblies have been suddenly dissolved, what was the reason? Their deliberations were indecent, and their intentions seditious. The power of dissolution is granted and reserved for such times of turbulence. Their best friends have been lately soliciting the king to dissolve his parliament; to do what they so loudly complain of suffering.

That the same vengeance involves the innocent and guilty, is an evil to be lamented; but human caution cannot prevent it, nor human power always redress it. To bring misery on those who have not deserved it, is part of the aggregated guilt of rebellion.

That governours have been sometimes given them, only that a great man might get ease from importunity, and that they have had judges, not always of the deepest learning, or the purest integrity, we have no great reason to doubt, because such misfortunes happen to ourselves. Whoever is governed, will, sometimes, be governed ill, even when he is most "concerned in his own government."

That improper officers or magistrates are sent, is the crime or folly of those that sent them. When incapacity is discovered, it ought to be removed; if corruption is detected, it ought to be punished. No government could subsist for a day, if single errours could justify defection.

One of their complaints is not such as can claim much commiseration from the softest bosom. They tell us, that we have changed our conduct, and that a tax is now laid, by parliament, on those who were never taxed by parliament before. To this, we think, it may be easily answered, that the longer they have been spared, the better they can pay.

It is certainly not much their interest to represent innovation as criminal or invidious; for they have introduced into the history of mankind a new mode of disaffection, and have given, I believe, the first example of a proscription published by a colony against the mother-country.

To what is urged of new powers granted to the courts of admiralty, or the extension of authority conferred on the judges, it may be answered, in a few words, that they have themselves made such regulations necessary; that they are established for the prevention of greater evils; at the same time, it must be observed, that these powers have not been extended since the rebellion in America.

One mode of persuasion their ingenuity has suggested, which it may, perhaps, be less easy to resist. That we may not look with indifference on the American contest, or imagine that the struggle is for a claim, which, however decided, is of small importance and remote consequence, the Philadelphian congress has taken care to inform us, that they are resisting the demands of parliament, as well for our sakes as their own.

Their keenness of perspicacity has enabled them to pursue consequences to a greater distance; to see through clouds impervious to the dimness of European sight; and to find, I know not how, that when they are taxed, we shall be enslaved.

That slavery is a miserable state we have been often told, and, doubtless, many a Briton will tremble to find it so near as in America; but how it will be brought hither the congress must inform us. The question might distress a common understanding; but the statesmen of the other hemisphere can easily resolve it. "Our ministers," they say, "axe our enemies, and if they should carry the point of taxation, may, with the same army, enslave us. It may be said, we will not pay them; but remember," say the western sages, "the taxes from America, and, we may add, the men, and particularly the Roman catholicks of this vast continent, will then be in the power of your enemies. Nor have you any reason to expect, that, after making slaves of us, many of us will refuse to assist in reducing you to the same abject state."

These are dreadful menaces; but suspecting that they have not much the sound of probability, the congress proceeds: "Do not treat this as chimerical. Know, that in less than half a century, the quitrents reserved to the crown, from the numberless grants of this vast continent, will pour large streams of wealth into the royal coffers. If to this be added the power of taxing America, at pleasure, the crown will possess more treasure than may be necessary to purchase the remains of liberty in your island."

All this is very dreadful; but, amidst the terrour that shakes my frame, I cannot forbear to wish, that some sluice were opened for these streams of treasure. I should gladly see America return half of what England has expended in her defence; and of the stream that will "flow so largely in less than half a century," I hope a small rill, at least, may be found to quench the thirst of the present generation, which seems to think itself in more danger of wanting money, than of losing liberty.

It is difficult to judge with what intention such airy bursts of malevolence are vented; if such writers hope to deceive, let us rather repel them with scorn, than refute them by disputation.

In this last terrifick paragraph are two positions, that, if our fears do not overpower our reflection, may enable us to support life a little longer. We are told by these croakers of calamity, not only that our present ministers design to enslave us, but that the same malignity of purpose is to descend through all their successors; and that the wealth to be poured into England by the Pactolus of America, will, whenever it comes, be employed to purchase the "remains of liberty."

Of those who now conduct the national affairs, we may, without much arrogance, presume to know more than themselves; and of those who shall succeed them, whether minister or king, not to know less.

The other position is, that "the crown," if this laudable opposition should not be successful, "will have the power of taxing America at pleasure." Surely they think rather too meanly of our apprehensions, when they suppose us not to know what they well know themselves, that they are taxed, like all other British subjects, by parliament; and that the crown has not, by the new imposts, whether right or wrong, obtained any additional power over their possessions.

It were a curious, but an idle speculation, to inquire, what effect these dictators of sedition expect from the dispersion of their letter among us. If they believe their own complaints of hardship, and really dread the danger which they describe, they will naturally hope to communicate the same perceptions to their fellow-subjects. But, probably, in America, as in other places, the chiefs are incendiaries, that hope to rob in the tumults of a conflagration, and toss brands among a rabble passively combustible. Those who wrote the address, though they have shown no great extent or profundity of mind, are yet, probably, wiser than to believe it: but they have been taught, by some master of mischief, how to put in motion the engine of political electricity; to attract, by the sounds of liberty and property; to repel, by those of popery and slavery; and to give the great stroke, by the name of Boston.

When subordinate communities oppose the decrees of the general legislature with defiance thus audacious, and malignity thus acrimonious, nothing remains but to conquer or to yield; to allow their claim of independence, or to reduce them, by force, to submission and allegiance.

It might be hoped, that no Englishman could be found, whom the menaces of our own colonists, just rescued from the French, would not move to indignation, like that of the Scythians, who, returning from war, found themselves excluded from their own houses by their slaves.

That corporations, constituted by favour, and existing by sufferance, should dare to prohibit commerce with their native country, and threaten individuals by infamy, and societies with, at least, suspension of amity, for daring to be more obedient to government than themselves, is a degree of insolence which not only deserves to be punished, but of which the punishment is loudly demanded by the order of life and the peace of nations.

Yet there have risen up, in the face of the publick, men who, by whatever corruptions, or whatever infatuation, have undertaken to defend the Americans, endeavour to shelter them from resentment, and propose reconciliation without submission.

As political diseases are naturally contagious, let it be supposed, for a moment, that Cornwall, seized with the Philadelphian phrensy, may resolve to separate itself from the general system of the English constitution, and judge of its own rights in its own parliament. A congress might then meet at Truro, and address the other counties in a style not unlike the language of the American patriots:

"FRIENDS AND FELLOW-SUBJECTS,—We, the delegates of the several towns and parishes of Cornwall, assembled to deliberate upon our own state, and that of our constituents, having, after serious debate and calm consideration, settled the scheme of our future conduct, hold it necessary to declare the resolutions which we think ourselves entitled to form, by the unalienable rights of reasonable beings, and into which we have been compelled by grievances and oppressions, long endured by us in patient silence, not because we did not feel, or could not remove them, but because we were unwilling to give disturbance to a settled government, and hoped that others would, in time, find, like ourselves, their true interest and their original powers, and all cooperate to universal happiness.

"But since, having long indulged the pleasing expectation, we find general discontent not likely to increase, or not likely to end in general defection, we resolve to erect alone the standard of liberty.

"Know then, that you are no longer to consider Cornwall as an English county, visited by English judges, receiving law from an English parliament, or included in any general taxation of the kingdom; but as a state, distinct and independent, governed by its own institutions, administered by its own magistrates, and exempt from any tax or tribute, but such as we shall impose upon ourselves.

"We are the acknowledged descendants of the earliest inhabitants of Britain, of men, who, before the time of history, took possession of the island desolate and waste, and, therefore, open to the first occupants. Of this descent, our language is a sufficient proof, which, not quite a century ago, was different from yours.

"Such are the Cornishmen; but who are you? who, but the unauthorised and lawless children of intruders, invaders, and oppressors? who, but the transmitters of wrong, the inheritors of robbery? In claiming independence, we claim but little. We might require you to depart from a land which you possess by usurpation, and to restore all that you have taken from us.

"Independence is the gift of nature. No man is born the master of another. Every Cornishman is a freeman; for we have never resigned the rights of humanity: and he only can be thought free, who is 'not governed but by his own consent.

"You may urge, that the present system of government has descended through many ages, and that we have a larger part in the representation of the kingdom than any other county.

"All this is true, but it is neither cogent nor persuasive. We look to the original of things. Our union with the English counties was either compelled by force, or settled by compact.

"That which was made by violence, may by violence be broken. If we were treated as a conquered people, our rights might be obscured, but could never be extinguished. The sword can give nothing but power, which a sharper sword can take away.

"If our union was by compact, whom could the compact bind, but those that concurred in the stipulations? We gave our ancestors no commission to settle the terms of future existence. They might be cowards that were frighted, or blockheads that were cheated; but, whatever they were, they could contract only for themselves. What they could establish, we can annul.

"Against our present form of government, it shall stand in the place of all argument, that we do not like it. While we are governed as we do not like, where is our liberty? We do not like taxes, we will, therefore, not be taxed: we do not like your laws, and will not obey them.

"The taxes laid by our representatives, are laid, you tell us, by our own consent; but we will no longer consent to be represented. Our number of legislators was originally a burden, and ought to have been refused; it is now considered as a disproportionate advantage; who, then, will complain if we resign it?

"We shall form a senate of our own, under a president whom the king shall nominate, but whose authority we will limit, by adjusting his salary to his merit. We will not withhold a proper share of contribution to the necessary expense of lawful government, but we will decide for ourselves what share is proper, what expense is necessary, and what government is lawful.

"Till our counsel is proclaimed independent and unaccountable, we will, after the tenth day of September, keep our tin in our own hands: you can be supplied from no other place, and must, therefore, comply, or be poisoned with the copper of your own kitchens.

"If any Cornishman shall refuse his name to this just and laudable association, he shall be tumbled from St. Michael's mount, or buried alive in a tin-mine; and if any emissary shall be found seducing Cornishmen to their former state, he shall be smeared with tar, and rolled in feathers, and chased with dogs out of our dominions.

"From the Cornish congress at Truro."

Of this memorial, what could be said, but that it was written in jest, or written by a madman? Yet I know not whether the warmest admirers of Pennsylvanian eloquence, can find any argument in the addresses of the congress, that is not, with greater strength, urged by the Cornishman.

The argument of the irregular troops of controversy, stripped of its colours, and turned out naked to the view, is no more than this. Liberty is the birthright of man, and where obedience is compelled, there is no liberty. The answer is equally simple. Government is necessary to man, and where obedience is not compelled, there is no government.

If the subject refuses to obey, it is the duty of authority to use compulsion. Society cannot subsist but by the power, first of making laws, and then of enforcing them.

To one of the threats hissed out by the congress, I have put nothing similar into the Cornish proclamation; because it is too wild for folly, and too foolish for madness. If we do not withhold our king and his parliament from taxing them, they will cross the Atlantick, and enslave us.

How they will come, they have not told us; perhaps they will take wing, and light upon our coasts. When the cranes thus begin to flutter, it is time for pygmies to keep their eyes about them. The great orator observes, that they will be very fit, after they have been taxed, to impose chains upon us. If they are so fit as their friend describes them, and so willing as they describe themselves, let us increase our army, and double our militia.

It has been, of late, a very general practice to talk of slavery among those who are setting at defiance every power that keeps the world in order. If the learned author of the Reflections on Learning has rightly observed, that no man ever could give law to language, it will be vain to prohibit the use of the word slavery; but I could wish it more discreetly uttered: it is driven, at one time, too hard into our ears by the loud hurricane of Pennsylvanian eloquence, and, at another, glides too cold into our hearts by the soft conveyance of a female patriot, bewailing the miseries of her friends and fellow-citizens.

Such has been the progress of sedition, that those who, a few years ago, disputed only our right of laying taxes, now question the validity of every act of legislation. They consider themselves as emancipated from obedience, and as being no longer the subjects of the British crown. They leave us no choice, but of yielding or conquering, of resigning our dominion or maintaining it by force.

From force many endeavours have been used, either to dissuade, or to deter us. Sometimes the merit of the Americans is exalted, and sometimes their sufferings are aggravated. We are told of their contributions to the last war; a war incited by their outcries, and continued for their protection; a war by which none but themselves were gainers. All that they can boast is, that they did something for themselves, and did not wholly stand inactive, while the sons of Britain were fighting in their cause.

If we cannot admire, we are called to pity them; to pity those that show no regard to their mother-country; have obeyed no law, which they could violate; have imparted no good, which they could withhold; have entered into associations of fraud to rob their creditors; and into combinations to distress all who depended on their commerce. We are reproached with the cruelty of shutting one port, where every port is shut against us. We are censured as tyrannical, for hindering those from fishing, who have condemned our merchants to bankruptcy, and our manufacturers to hunger.

Others persuade us to give them more liberty, to take off restraints, and relax authority; and tell us what happy consequences will arise from forbearance; how their affections will be conciliated, and into what diffusions of beneficence their gratitude will luxuriate. They will love their friends. They will reverence their protectors. They will throw themselves into our arms, and lay their property at our feet; they will buy from no other what we can sell them; they will sell to no other what we wish to buy.

That any obligations should overpower their attention to profit, we have known them long enough not to expect. It is not to be expected from a more liberal people. With what kindness they repay benefits, they are now showing us, who, as soon as we have delivered them from France, are defying and proscribing us.

But if we will permit them to tax themselves, they will give us more than we require. If we proclaim them independent, they will, during pleasure, pay us a subsidy. The contest is not now for money, but for power. The question is not, how much we shall collect, but, by what authority the collection shall be made.

Those who find that the Americans cannot be shown, in any form, that may raise love or pity, dress them in habiliments of terrour, and try to make us think them formidable. The Bostonians can call into the field ninety thousand men. While we conquer all before us, new enemies will rise up behind, and our work will be always to begin. If we take possession of the towns, the colonists will retire into the inland regions, and the gain of victory will be only empty houses, and a wide extent of waste and desolation. If we subdue them for the present, they will universally revolt in the next war, and resign us, without pity, to subjection and destruction.

To all this it may be answered, that between losing America, and resigning it, there is no great difference; that it is not very reasonable to jump into the sea, because the ship is leaky. All those evils may befall us, but we need not hasten them.

The dean of Gloucester has proposed, and seems to propose it seriously, that we should, at once, release our claims, declare them masters of themselves, and whistle them down the wind. His opinion is, that our gain from them will be the same, and our expense less. What they can have most cheaply from Britain, they will still buy; what they can sell to us at the highest price, they will still sell.

It is, however, a little hard, that, having so lately fought and conquered for their safety, we should govern them no longer. By letting them loose before the war, how many millions might have been saved. One wild proposal is best answered by another. Let us restore to the French what we have taken from them. We shall see our colonists at our feet, when they have an enemy so near them. Let us give the Indians arms, and teach them discipline, and encourage them, now and then, to plunder a plantation. Security and leisure are the parents of sedition.

While these different opinions are agitated, it seems to be determined, by the legislature, that force shall be tried. Men of the pen have seldom any great skill in conquering kingdoms, but they have strong inclination to give advice. I cannot forbear to wish, that this commotion may end without bloodshed, and that the rebels may be subdued by terrour rather than by violence; and, therefore, recommend such a force as may take away, not only the power, but the hope of resistance, and, by conquering without a battle, save many from the sword.

If their obstinacy continues, without actual hostilities, it may, perhaps, be mollified, by turning out the soldiers to free quarters, forbidding any personal cruelty or hurt. It has been proposed, that the slaves should be set free, an act which, surely, the lovers of liberty cannot but commend. If they are furnished with firearms for defence, and utensils for husbandry, and settled in some simple form of government within the country, they may be more grateful and honest than their masters.

Far be it from any Englishman, to thirst for the blood of his fellow-subjects. Those who most deserve our resentment are, unhappily, at less distance. The Americans, when the stamp act was first proposed, undoubtedly disliked it, as every nation dislikes an impost; but they had no thought of resisting it, till they were encouraged and incited by European intelligence, from men whom they thought their friends, but who were friends only to themselves.

On the original contrivers of mischief let an insulted nation pour out its vengeance. With whatever design they have inflamed this pernicious contest, they are, themselves, equally detestable. If they wish success to the colonies, they are traitors to this country; if they wish their defeat, they are traitors, at once, to America and England. To them, and them only, must be imputed the interruption of commerce, and the miseries of war, the sorrow of those that shall be ruined, and the blood of those that shall fall.

Since the Americans have made it necessary to subdue them, may they be subdued with the least injury possible to their persons and their possessions! When they are reduced to obedience, may that obedience be secured by stricter laws and stronger obligations!

Nothing can be more noxious to society, than that erroneous clemency, which, when a rebellion is suppressed, exacts no forfeiture, and establishes no securities, but leaves the rebels in their former state. Who would not try the experiment, which promises advantage without expense? If rebels once obtain a victory, their wishes are accomplished; if they are defeated, they suffer little, perhaps less than their conquerors; however often they play the game, the chance is always in their favour. In the mean time, they are growing rich by victualling the troops that we have sent against them, and, perhaps, gain more by the residence of the army than they lose by the obstruction of their port.

Their charters being now, I suppose, legally forfeited, may be modelled, as shall appear most commodious to the mother-country. Thus the privileges which are found, by experience, liable to misuse, will be taken away, and those who now bellow as patriots, bluster as soldiers, and domineer as legislators, will sink into sober merchants and silent planters, peaceably diligent, and securely rich.

But there is one writer, and, perhaps, many who do not write, to whom the contraction of these pernicious privileges appears very dangerous, and who startle at the thoughts of "England free, and America in chains." Children fly from their own shadow, and rhetoricians are frighted by their own voices. Chains is, undoubtedly, a dreadful word; but, perhaps, the masters of civil wisdom may discover some gradations between chains and anarchy. Chains need not be put upon those who will be restrained without them. This contest may end in the softer phrase of English superiority and American obedience.

We are told, that the subjection of Americans may tend to the diminution of our own liberties; an event, which none but very perspicacious politicians are able to foresee. If slavery be thus fatally contagious, how is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?

But let us interrupt awhile this dream of conquest, settlement, and supremacy. Let us remember, that being to contend, according to one orator, with three millions of whigs, and, according to another, with ninety thousand patriots of Massachusetts bay, we may possibly be checked in our career of reduction. We may be reduced to peace upon equal terms, or driven from the western continent, and forbidden to violate, a second time, the happy borders of the land of liberty. The time is now, perhaps, at hand, which sir Thomas Browne predicted, between jest and earnest:

  "When America should no more send out her treasure,
      But spend it at home in American pleasure."

If we are allowed, upon our defeat, to stipulate conditions, I hope the treaty of Boston will permit us to import into the confederated cantons such products as they do not raise, and such manufactures as they do not make, and cannot buy cheaper from other nations, paying, like others, the appointed customs; that, if an English ship salutes a fort with four guns, it shall be answered, at least, with two; and that, if an Englishman be inclined to hold a plantation, he shall only take an oath of allegiance to the reigning powers, and be suffered, while he lives inoffensively, to retain his own opinion of English rights, unmolested in his conscience by an oath of abjuration.











Father Paul, whose name, before he entered into the monastick life, was Peter Sarpi, was born at Venice, August 14, 1552. His father followed merchandise, but with so little success, that, at his death, he left his family very ill provided for; but under the care of a mother, whose piety was likely to bring the blessings of providence upon them, and whose wise conduct supplied the want of fortune by advantages of greater value.

Happily for young Sarpi, she had a brother, master of a celebrated school, under whose direction he was placed by her. Here he lost no time; but cultivated his abilities, naturally of the first rate, with unwearied application. He was born for study, having a natural aversion to pleasure and gaiety, and a memory so tenacious, that he could repeat thirty verses upon once hearing them.

Proportionable to his capacity was his progress in literature: at thirteen, having made himself master of school-learning, he turned his studies to philosophy and the mathematicks; and entered upon logick, under Capella, of Cremona; who, though a celebrated master of that science, confessed himself, in a very little time, unable to give his pupil further instructions.

As Capella was of the order of the Servites, his scholar was induced, by his acquaintance with him, to engage in the same profession, though his uncle and his mother represented to him the hardships and austerities of that kind of life, and advised him, with great zeal, against it.

But he was steady in his resolutions, and, in 1566, took the habit of the order, being then only in his fourteenth year, a time of life, in most persons, very improper for such engagements; but, in him, attended with such maturity of thought, and such a settled temper, that he never seemed to regret the choice he then made, and which he confirmed by a solemn publick profession, in 1572.

At a general chapter of the Servites, held at Mantua, Paul, for so we shall now call him, being then only twenty years old, distinguished himself so much, in a publick disputation, by his genius and learning, that William, duke of Mantua, a great patron of letters, solicited the consent of his superiours to retain him at his court; and not only made him publick professor of divinity in the cathedral, but honoured him with many proofs of his esteem.

But father Paul, finding a court life not agreeable to his temper, quitted it two years afterwards, and retired to his beloved privacies, being then not only acquainted with the Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Chaldee languages, but with philosophy, the mathematicks, canon and civil law, all parts of natural philosophy, and chymistry itself; for his application was unremitted, his head clear, his apprehension quick, and his memory retentive.

Being made a priest, at twenty-two, he was distinguished by the illustrious cardinal Borromeo with his confidence, and employed by him, on many occasions, not without the envy of persons of less merit, who were so far exasperated as to lay a charge against him, before the inquisition, for denying that the trinity could be proved from the first chapter of Genesis; but the accusation was too ridiculous to be taken notice of.

After this, he passed successively through the dignities of his order, and, in the intervals of his employment, applied himself to his studies with so extensive a capacity, as left no branch of knowledge untouched. By him Acquapendente, the great anatomist, confesses, that he was informed how vision is performed; and there are proofs, that he was not a stranger to the circulation of the blood.

He frequently conversed upon astronomy with mathematicians; upon anatomy with surgeons; upon medicine with physicians; and with chymists upon the analysis of metals, not as a superficial inquirer, but as a complete master.

But the hours of repose, that he employed so well, were interrupted by a new information in the inquisition, where a former acquaintance produced a letter, written by him, in ciphers, in which he said, "that he detested the court of Rome, and that no preferment was obtained there, but by dishonest means." This accusation, however dangerous, was passed over, on account of his great reputation, but made such impression on that court, that he was afterward denied a bishoprick by Clement the eighth. After these difficulties were surmounted, father Paul again retired to his solitude, where he appears, by some writings drawn up by him at that time, to have turned his attention more to improvements in piety than learning. Such was the care with which he read the scriptures, that, it being his custom to draw a line under any passage which he intended more nicely to consider, there was not a single word in his New Testament but was underlined; the same marks of attention appeared in his Old Testament, Psalter, and Breviary.

But the most active scene of his life began about the year 1615, when pope Paul the fifth, exasperated by some decrees of the senate of Venice, that interfered with the pretended rights of the church, laid the whole state under an interdict.

The senate, filled with indignation at this treatment, forbade the bishops to receive or publish the pope's bull; and, convening the rectors of the churches, commanded them to celebrate divine service in the accustomed manner, with which most of them readily complied; but the jesuits, and some others, refusing, were, by a solemn edict, expelled the state.

Both parties having proceeded to extremities, employed their ablest writers to defend their measures: on the pope's side, among others, cardinal Bellarmine entered the lists, and, with his confederate authors, defended the papal claims, with great scurrility of expression, and very sophistical reasonings, which were confuted by the Venetian apologists, in much more decent language, and with much greater solidity of argument.

On this occasion father Paul was most eminently distinguished, by his Defence of the Rights of the Supreme Magistrate; his treatise of Excommunications, translated from Gerson, with an Apology, and other writings, for which he was cited before the inquisition at Rome; but it may be easily imagined that he did not obey the summons.

The Venetian writers, whatever might be the abilities of their adversaries, were, at least, superiour to them in the justice of their cause. The propositions maintained on the side of Rome were these: that the pope is invested with all the authority of heaven and earth: that all princes are his vassals, and that he may annul their laws at pleasure: that kings may appeal to him, as he is temporal monarch of the whole earth: that he can discharge subjects from their oaths of allegiance, and make it their duty to take up arms against their sovereign: that he may depose kings without any fault committed by them, if the good of the church requires it: that the clergy are exempt from all tribute to kings, and are not accountable to them, even in cases of high treason: that the pope cannot err; that his decisions are to be received and obeyed on pain of sin, though all the world should judge them to be false; that the pope is God upon earth; that his sentence and that of God are the same; and that to call his power in question, is to call in question the power of God; maxims equally shocking, weak, pernicious, and absurd; which did not require the abilities or learning of father Paul, to demonstrate their falsehood, and destructive tendency.

It may be easily imagined, that such principles were quickly overthrown, and that no court, but that of Rome, thought it for its interest to favour them. The pope, therefore, finding his authors confuted, and his cause abandoned, was willing to conclude the affair by treaty, which, by the mediation of Henry the fourth of France, was accommodated upon terms very much to the honour of the Venetians.

But the defenders of the Venetian rights were, though comprehended in the treaty, excluded by the Romans from the benefit of it; some, upon different pretences, were imprisoned, some sent to the galleys, and all debarred from preferment. But their malice was chiefly aimed against father Paul, who soon found the effects of it; for, as he was going one night to his convent, about six months after the accommodation, he was attacked by five ruffians, armed with stilettoes, who gave him no less than fifteen stabs, three of which wounded him in such a manner, that he was left for dead. The murderers fled for refuge to the nuncio, and were afterwards received into the pope's dominions, but were pursued by divine justice, and all, except one man who died in prison, perished by violent deaths.

This and other attempts upon his life, obliged him to confine himself to his convent, where he engaged in writing the history of the council of Trent, a work unequalled for the judicious disposition of the matter, and artful texture of the narration, commended by Dr. Burnet, as the completest model of historical writing, and celebrated by Mr. Wotton, as equivalent to any production of antiquity; in which the reader finds "liberty without licentiousness, piety without hypocrisy, freedom of speech without neglect of decency, severity without rigour, and extensive learning without ostentation."

In this and other works of less consequence, he spent the remaining part of his life, to the beginning of the year 1622, when he was seized with a cold and fever, which he neglected, till it became incurable. He languished more than twelve months, which he spent almost wholly in a preparation for his passage into eternity; and, among his prayers and aspirations, was often heard to repeat, "Lord! now let thy servant depart in peace."

On Sunday, the eighth of January of the next year, he rose, weak as he was, to mass, and went to take his repast with the rest; but, on Monday, was seized with a weakness that threatened immediate death; and, on Thursday, prepared for his change, by receiving the viaticum with such marks of devotion, as equally melted and edified the beholders.

Through the whole course of his illness, to the last hour of his life, he was consulted by the senate in publick affairs, and returned answers, in his greatest weakness, with such presence of mind, as could only arise from the consciousness of innocence.

On Sunday, the day of his death, he had the passion of our blessed saviour read to him out of St. John's gospel, as on every other day of that week, and spoke of the mercy of his redeemer, and his confidence in his merits.

As his end evidently approached, the brethren of the convent came to pronounce the last prayers, with which he could only join in his thoughts, being able to pronounce no more than these words, "Esto perpetua," mayst thou last for ever; which was understood to be a prayer for the prosperity of his country.

Thus died father Paul, in the seventy-first year of his age; hated by the Romans, as their most formidable enemy, and honoured by all the learned for his abilities, and by the good for his integrity. His detestation of the corruption of the Roman church appears in all his writings, but particularly in this memorable passage of one of his letters: "There is nothing more essential than to ruin the reputation of the jesuits; by the ruin of the jesuits, Rome will be ruined; and if Rome is ruined, religion will reform of itself."

He appears, by many passages of his life, to have had a high esteem of the church of England; and his friend, father Fulgentio, who had adopted all his notions, made no scruple of administering to Dr. Duncomb, an English gentleman that fell sick at Venice, the communion in both kinds, according to the Common Prayer, which he had with him in Italian.

He was buried with great pomp, at the publick charge, and a magnificent monument was erected, to his memory.






The following account of the late Dr. Boerhaave, so loudly celebrated, and so universally lamented through the whole learned world, will, we hope, be not unacceptable to our readers: we could have made it much larger, by adopting flying reports, and inserting unattested facts: a close adherence to certainty has contracted our narrative, and hindered it from swelling to that bulk, at which modern histories generally arrive.

Dr. Herman Boerhaave was born on the last day of December, 1668, about one in the morning, at Voorhout, a village two miles distant from Leyden: his father, James Boerhaave, was minister of Voorhout, of whom his son [34], in a small account of his own life, has given a very amiable character, for the simplicity and openness of his behaviour, for his exact frugality in the management of a narrow fortune, and the prudence, tenderness, and diligence, with which he educated a numerous family of nine children: he was eminently skilled in history and genealogy, and versed in the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages.

His mother was Hagar Daelder, a tradesman's daughter of Amsterdam, from whom he might, perhaps, derive an hereditary inclination to the study of physick, in which she was very inquisitive, and had obtained a knowledge of it, not common in female students.

This knowledge, however, she did not live to communicate to her son; for she died, in 1673, ten years after her marriage.

His father, finding himself encumbered with the care of seven children, thought it necessary to take a second wife, and in July, 1674, was married to Eve du Bois, daughter of a minister of Leyden, who, by her prudent and impartial conduct, so endeared herself to her husband's children, that they all regarded her as their own mother.

Herman Boerhaave was always designed, by his father, for the ministry, and, with that view, instructed by him in grammatical learning, and the first elements of languages; in which he made such a proficiency, that he was, at the age of eleven years, not only master of the rules of grammar, but capable of translating with tolerable accuracy, and not wholly ignorant of critical niceties.

At intervals, to recreate his mind and strengthen his constitution, it was his father's custom to send him into the fields, and employ him in agriculture, and such kind of rural occupations, which he continued, through all his life, to love and practise; and, by this vicissitude of study and exercise, preserved himself, in a great measure, from those distempers and depressions, which are frequently the consequences of indiscreet diligence and uninterrupted application; and from which students, not well acquainted with the constitution of the human body, sometimes fly for relief, to wine instead of exercise, and purchase temporary ease, by the hazard of the most dreadful consequences.

The studies of young Boerhaave were, about this time, interrupted by an accident, which deserves a particular mention, as it first inclined him to that science, to which he was, by nature, so well adapted, and which he afterwards carried to so great perfection.

In the twelfth year of his age, a stubborn, painful, and malignant ulcer, broke out upon his left thigh; which, for near five years, defeated all the art of the surgeons and physicians, and not only afflicted him with most excruciating pains, but exposed him to such sharp and tormenting applications, that the disease and remedies were equally insufferable. Then it was, that his own pain taught him to compassionate others, and his experience of the inefficacy of the methods then in use, incited him to attempt the discovery of others more certain.

He began to practise, at least, honestly, for he began upon himself; and his first essay was a prelude to his future success, for having laid aside all the prescriptions of his physicians, and all the applications of his surgeons, he at last, by tormenting the part with salt and urine, effected a cure.

That he might, on this occasion, obtain the assistance of surgeons with less inconvenience and expense, he was brought, by his father, at fourteen, to Leyden, and placed in the fourth class of the publick school, after being examined by the master: here his application and abilities were equally conspicuous. In six months, by gaining the first prize in the fourth class, he was raised to the fifth; and, in six months more, upon the same proof of the superiority of his genius, rewarded with another prize, and translated to the sixth; from whence it is usual, in six months more, to be removed to the university.

Thus did our young student advance in learning and reputation, when, as he was within view of the university, a sudden and unexpected blow threatened to defeat all his expectations.

On the 12th of November, in 1682, his father died, and left behind him a very slender provision for his widow, and nine children, of which the eldest was not yet seventeen years old.

This was a most afflicting loss to the young scholar, whose fortune was by no means sufficient to bear the expenses of a learned education, and who, therefore, seemed to be now summoned, by necessity, to some way of life more immediately and certainly lucrative; but, with a resolution equal to his abilities, and a spirit not so depressed and shaken, he determined to break through the obstacles of poverty, and supply, by diligence, the want of fortune.

He, therefore, asked, and obtained the consent of his guardians, to prosecute his studies, so long as his patrimony would support him; and, continuing his wonted industry, gained another prize.

He was now to quit the school for the university, but on account of the weakness yet remaining in his thigh, was, at his own entreaty, continued six months longer under the care of his master, the learned Winschotan, where he was once more honoured with the prize.

At his removal to the university, the same genius and industry met with the same encouragement and applause. The learned Triglandius, one of his father's friends, made soon after professor of divinity at Leyden, distinguished him in a particular manner, and recommended him to the friendship of Mr. Van Apphen, in whom he found a generous and constant patron.

He became now a diligent hearer of the most celebrated professors, and made great advances in all the sciences, still regulating his studies with a view, principally, to divinity, for which he was originally intended by his father; and, for that reason, exerted his utmost application to attain an exact knowledge of the Hebrew tongue.

Being convinced of the necessity of mathematical learning, he began to study those sciences in 1687, but without that intense industry with which the pleasure he found in that kind of knowledge, induced him afterwards to cultivate them.

In 1690, having performed the exercises of the university with uncommon reputation, he took his degree in philosophy; and, on that occasion, discussed the important and arduous subject of the distinct natures of the soul and body, with such-accuracy, perspicuity, and subtilty, that he entirely confuted all the sophistry of Epicurus, Hobbes, and Spinosa, and equally raised the characters of his piety and erudition.

Divinity was still his great employment, and the chief aim of all his studies. He read the scriptures in their original languages; and when difficulties occurred, consulted the interpretations of the most ancient fathers, whom he read in order of time, beginning with Clemens Romanus.

In the perusal of those early writers [35], he was struck with the profoundest veneration of the simplicity and purity of their doctrines, the holiness of their lives, and the sanctity of the discipline practised by them; but, as he descended to the lower ages, found the peace of Christianity broken by useless controversies, and its doctrines sophisticated by the subtilties of the schools: he found the holy writers interpreted according to the notions of philosophers, and the chimeras of metaphysicians adopted as articles of faith: he found difficulties raised by niceties, and fomented to bitterness and rancour: he saw the simplicity of the christian doctrine corrupted by the private fancies of particular parties, while each adhered to its own philosophy, and orthodoxy was confined to the sect in power.

Having now exhausted his fortune in the pursuit of his studies, he found the necessity of applying to some profession, that, without engrossing all his time, might enable him to support himself; and having obtained a very uncommon knowledge of the mathematicks, he read lectures in those sciences to a select number of young gentlemen in the university.

At length, his propension to the study of physick grew too violent to be resisted; and, though he still intended to make divinity the great employment of his life, he could not deny himself the satisfaction of spending some time upon the medical writers, for the perusal of which he was so well qualified by his acquaintance with the mathematicks and philosophy.

But this science corresponded so much with his natural genius, that he could not forbear making that his business, which he intended only as his diversion; and still growing more eager, as he advanced further, he at length determined wholly to master that profession, and to take his degree in physick, before he engaged in the duties of the ministry.

It is, I believe, a very just observation, that men's ambition is, generally, proportioned to their capacity. Providence seldom sends any into the world with an inclination to attempt great things, who have not abilities, likewise, to perform them. To have formed the design of gaining a complete knowledge of medicine, by way of digression from theological studies, would have been little less than madness in most men, and would have only exposed them to ridicule and contempt. But Boerhaave was one of those mighty geniuses, to whom scarce any thing appears impossible, and who think nothing worthy of their efforts, but what appears insurmountable to common understandings.

He began this new course of study by a diligent perusal of Vesalius, Bartholine, and Fallopius; and, to acquaint himself more fully with the structure of bodies, was a constant attendant upon Nuck's publick dissections in the theatre, and himself very accurately inspected the bodies of different animals.

Having furnished himself with this preparatory knowledge, he began to read the ancient physicians, in the order of time, pursuing his inquiries downwards, from Hippocrates through all the Greek and Latin writers.

Finding, as he tells us himself, that Hippocrates was the original source of all medical knowledge, and that all the later writers were little more than transcribers from him, he returned to him with more attention, and spent much time in making extracts from him, digesting his treatises into method, and fixing them in his memory.

He then descended to the moderns, among whom none engaged him longer, or improved him more, than Sydenham, to whose merit he has left this attestation, "that he frequently perused him, and always with greater eagerness."

His insatiable curiosity after knowledge engaged him now in the practice of chymistry, which he prosecuted with all the ardour of a philosopher, whose industry was not to be wearied, and whose love of truth was too strong to suffer him to acquiesce in the reports of others.

Yet did he not suffer one branch of science to withdraw his attention from others: anatomy did not withhold him from chymistry, nor chymistry, enchanting as it is, from the study of botany, in which he was no less skilled than in other parts of physick. He was not only a careful examiner of all the plants in the garden of the university, but made excursions, for his further improvement, into the woods and fields, and left no place unvisited, where any increase of botanical knowledge could be reasonably hoped for.

In conjunction with all these inquiries, he still pursued his theological studies, and still, as we are informed by himself, "proposed, when he had made himself master of the whole art of physick, and obtained the honour of a degree in that science, to petition regularly for a license to preach, and to engage in the cure of souls;" and intended, in his theological exercise, to discuss this question, "why so many were formerly converted to Christianity by illiterate persons, and so few at present by men of learning."

In pursuance of this plan he went to Hardewich, in order to take the degree of doctor in physick, which he obtained in July, 1693, having performed a publick disputation, "de utilitate explorandorum excrementorum in aegris, ut signorum."

Then returning to Leyden, full of his pious design of undertaking the ministry, he found, to his surprise, unexpected obstacles thrown in his way, and an insinuation dispersed through the university, that made him suspected, not of any slight deviation from received opinions, not of any pertinacious adherence to his own notions in doubtful and disputable matters, but of no less than Spinosism, or, in plainer terms, of atheism itself.

How so injurious a report came to be raised, circulated, and credited, will be, doubtless, very eagerly inquired; we shall, therefore, give the relation, not only to satisfy the curiosity of mankind, but to show that no merit, however exalted, is exempt from being not only attacked, but wounded, by the most contemptible whispers. Those who cannot strike with force, can, however, poison their weapon, and, weak as they are, give mortal wounds, and bring a hero to the grave; so true is that observation, that many are able to do hurt, but few to do good.

This detestable calumny owed its rise to an incident, from which no consequence of importance could be possibly apprehended. As Boerhaave was sitting in a common boat, there arose a conversation among the passengers, upon the impious and pernicious doctrine of Spinosa, which, as they all agreed, tends to the utter overthrow of all religion. Boerhaave sat, and attended silently to this discourse for some time, till one of the company, willing to distinguish himself by his zeal, instead of confuting the positions of Spinosa by argument, began to give a loose to contumelious language, and virulent invectives, which Boerhaave was so little pleased with, that, at last, he could not forbear asking him, whether he had ever read the author he declaimed against.

The orator, not being able to make much answer, was checked in the midst of his invectives, but not without feeling a secret resentment against the person who had, at once, interrupted his harangue, and exposed his ignorance.

This was observed by a stranger who was in the boat with them; he inquired of his neighbour the name of the young man, whose question had put an end to the discourse, and having learned it, set it down in his pocket-book, as it appears, with a malicious design, for in a few days it was the common conversation at Leyden, that Boerhaave had revolted to Spinosa.

It was in vain that his advocates and friends pleaded his learned and unanswerable confutation of all atheistical opinions, and particularly of the system of Spinosa, in his discourse of the distinction between soul and body. Such calumnies are not easily suppressed, when they are once become general. They are kept alive and supported by the malice of bad, and, sometimes, by the zeal of good men, who, though they do not absolutely believe them, think it yet the securest method to keep not only guilty, but suspected men out of publick employments, upon this principle, that the safety of many is to be preferred before the advantage of few.

Boerhaave, finding this formidable opposition raised against his pretensions to ecclesiastical honours or preferments, and even against his design of assuming the character of a divine, thought it neither necessary nor prudent to struggle with the torrent of popular prejudice, as he was equally qualified for a profession, not, indeed, of equal dignity or importance, but which must, undoubtedly, claim the second place among those which are of the greatest benefit to mankind.

He, therefore, applied himself to his medical studies with new ardour and alacrity, reviewed all his former observations and inquiries, and was continually employed in making new acquisitions.

Having now qualified himself for the practice of physick, he began to visit patients, but without that encouragement which others, not equally deserving, have sometimes met with. His business was, at first, not great, and his circumstances by no means easy; but still, superiour to any discouragement, he continued his search after knowledge, and determined that prosperity, if ever he was to enjoy it, should be the consequence not of mean art, or disingenuous solicitations, but of real merit, and solid learning.

His steady adherence to his resolutions appears yet more plainly from this circumstance: he was, while he yet remained in this unpleasing situation, invited by one of the first favourites of king William the third, to settle at the Hague, upon very advantageous conditions; but declined the offer; for having no ambition but after knowledge, he was desirous of living at liberty, without any restraint upon his looks, his thoughts, or his tongue, and at the utmost distance from all contentions and state-parties. His time was wholly taken up in visiting the sick, studying, ntaking chymical experiments, searching into every part of medicine with the utmost diligence, teaching the mathematicks, and reading the scriptures, and those authors who profess to teach a certain method of loving God [36].

This was his method of living to the year 1701, when he was recommended, by Van Berg, to the university, as a proper person to succeed Drelincurtius in the professorship of physick, and elected, without any solicitations on his part, and almost without his consent, on the 18th of May.

On this occasion, having observed, with grief, that Hippocrates, whom he regarded not only as the father, but as the prince of physicians, was not sufficiently read or esteemed by young students, he pronounced an oration, "de commendando studio Hippocratico;" by which he restored that great author to his just and ancient reputation.

He now began to read publick lectures with great applause, and was prevailed upon, by his audience, to enlarge his original design, and instruct them in chymistry. This he undertook, not only to the great advantage of his pupils, but to the great improvement of the art itself, which had, hitherto, been treated only in a confused and irregular manner, and was little more than a history of particular experiments, not reduced to certain principles, nor connected one with another: this vast chaos he reduced to order, and made that clear and easy, which was before, to the last degree, difficult and obscure.

His reputation now began to bear some proportion to his merit, and extended itself to distant universities; so that, in 1703, the professorship of physick being vacant at Groningen, he was invited thither; but he refused to leave Leyden, and chose to continue his present course of life.

This invitation and refusal being related to the governours of the university of Leyden, they had so grateful a sense of his regard for them, that they immediately voted an honorary increase of his salary, and promised him the first professorship that should be vacant.

On this occasion he pronounced an oration upon the use of mechanicks in the science of physick, in which he endeavoured to recommend a rational and mathematical inquiry into the causes of diseases, and the structure of bodies; and to show the follies and weaknesses of the jargon introduced by Paracelsus, Helmont, and other chymical enthusiasts, who have obtruded upon the world the most airy dreams, and, instead of enlightening their readers with explications of nature, have darkened the plainest appearances, and bewildered mankind in errour and obscurity.

Boerhaave had now for nine years read physical lectures, but without the title or dignity of a professor, when, by the death of professor Hotten, the professorship of physick and botany fell to him of course.

On this occasion he asserted the simplicity and facility of the science of physick, in opposition to those that think obscurity contributes to the dignity of learning, and that to be admired it is necessary not to be understood.

His profession of botany made it part of his duty to superintend the physical garden, which improved so much by the immense number of new plants which he procured, that it was enlarged to twice its original extent.

In 1714, he was deservedly advanced to the highest dignities of the university, and, in the same year, made physician of St. Augustin's hospital in Leyden, into which the students are admitted twice a week, to learn the practice of physick.

This was of equal advantage to the sick and to the students, for the success of his practice was the best demonstration of the soundness of his principles.

When he laid down his office of governour of the university, in 1715, he made an oration upon the subject of "attaining to certainty in natural philosophy;" in which he declares, in the strongest terms, in favour of experimental knowledge; and reflects, with just severity, upon those arrogant philosophers, who are too easily disgusted with the slow methods of obtaining true notions by frequent experiments; and who, possessed with too high an opinion of their own abilities, rather choose to consult their own imaginations, than inquire into nature, and are better pleased with the charming amusement of forming hypotheses, than the toilsome drudgery of making observations.

The emptiness and uncertainty of all those systems, whether venerable for their antiquity, or agreeable for their novelty, he has evidently shown; and not only declared, but proved, that we are entirely ignorant of the principles of things, and that all the knowledge we have, is of such qualities alone as are discoverable by experience, or such as may be deduced from them by mathematical demonstration.

This discourse, filled as it was with piety, and a true sense of the greatness of the supreme being, and the incomprehensibility of his works, gave such offence to a professor of Franeker, who professed the utmost esteem for Des Cartes, and considered his principles as the bulwark of orthodoxy, that he appeared in vindication of his darling author, and spoke of the injury done him with the utmost vehemence, declaring little less than that the cartesian system and the Christian must inevitably stand and fall together; and that to say that we were ignorant of the principles of things, was not only to enlist among the skepticks, but to sink into atheism itself.

So far can prejudice darken the understanding, as to make it consider precarious systems as the chief support of sacred and invariable truth.

This treatment of Boerhaave was so far resented by the governours of his university, that they procured from Franeker a recantation of the invective that had been thrown out against him: this was not only complied with, but offers were made him of more ample satisfaction; to which he returned an answer not less to his honour than the victory he gained, "that he should think himself sufficiently compensated, if his adversary received no further molestation on his account."

So far was this weak and injudicious attack from shaking a reputation not casually raised by fashion or caprice, but founded upon solid merit, that the same year his correspondence was desired upon botany and natural philosophy by the academy of sciences at Paris, of which he was, upon the death of count Marsigli, in the year 1728, elected a member.

Nor were the French the only nation by which this great man was courted and distinguished; for, two years after, he was elected fellow of our Royal society.

It cannot be doubted but, thus caressed and honoured with the highest and most publick marks of esteem by other nations, he became more celebrated in the university; for Boerhaave was not one of those learned men, of whom the world has seen too many, that disgrace their studies by their vices, and, by unaccountable weaknesses, make themselves ridiculous at home, while their writings procure them the veneration of distant countries, where their learning is known, but not their follies.

Not that his countrymen can be charged with being insensible of his excellencies, till other nations taught them to admire him; for, in 1718, he was chosen to succeed Le Mort in the professorship of chymistry; on which occasion he pronounced an oration, "De chemia errores suos expurgante," in which he treated that science with an elegance of style not often to be found in chymical writers, who seem generally to have affected, not only a barbarous, but unintelligible phrase, and to have, like the Pythagoreans of old, wrapt up their secrets in symbols and enigmatical expressions, either because they believed that mankind would reverence most what they least understood, or because they wrote not from benevolence, but vanity, and were desirous to be praised for their knowledge, though they could not prevail upon themselves to communicate it.

In 1722, his course, both of lectures and practice, was interrupted by the gout, which, as he relates it in his speech after his recovery, he brought upon himself, by an imprudent confidence in the strength of his own constitution, and by transgressing those rules which he had a thousand times inculcated to his pupils and acquaintance. Rising in the morning before day, he went immediately, hot and sweating, from his bed into the open air, and exposed himself to the cold dews.

The history of his illness can hardly be read without horrour: he was for five months confined to his bed, where he lay upon his back without daring to attempt the least motion, because any effort renewed his torments, which were so exquisite, that he was, at length, not only deprived of motion but of sense. Here art was at a stand; nothing could be attempted, because nothing-could be proposed with the least prospect of success. At length, having, in the sixth month of his illness, obtained some remission, he took simple medicines [37] in large quantities, and, at length, wonderfully recovered.

His recovery, so much desired, and so unexpected, was celebrated on Jan. 11, 1723, when he opened his school again, with general joy and publick illuminations.

It would be an injury to the memory of Boerhaave, not to mention what was related by himself to one of his friends, that when he lay whole days and nights without sleep, he found no method of diverting his thoughts so effectual, as meditation upon his studies, and that he often relieved and mitigated the sense of his torments, by the recollection of what he had read, and by reviewing those stores of knowledge, which he had reposited in his memory.

This is, perhaps, an instance of fortitude and steady composure of mind, which would have been for ever the boast of the stoick schools, and increased the reputation of Seneca or Cato. The patience of Boerhaave, as it was more rational, was more lasting than theirs; it was that "patientia Christiana," which Lipsius, the great master of the stoical philosophy, begged of God in his last hours; it was founded on religion, not vanity, not on vain reasonings, but on confidence in God.

In 1727, he was seized with a violent burning fever, which continued so long, that he was once more given up by his friends.

From this time he was frequently afflicted with returns of his distemper, which yet did not so far subdue him, as to make him lay aside his studies or his lectures, till, in 1726, he found himself so worn out, that it was improper for him to continue any longer the professorships of botany or chymistry, which he, therefore, resigned, April 28, and, upon his resignation, spoke a "Sermo academicus," or oration, in which he asserts the power and wisdom of the creator from the wonderful fabrick of the human body; and confutes all those idle reasoners, who pretend to explain the formation of parts, or the animal operations, to which he proves, that art can produce nothing equal, nor any thing parallel. One instance I shall mention, which is produced by him, of the vanity of any attempt to rival the work of God. Nothing is more boasted by the admirers of chymistry, than that they can, by artificial heats and digestion, imitate the productions of nature. "Let all these heroes of science meet together," says Boerhaave; "let them take bread and wine, the food that forms the blood of man, and, by assimilation, contributes to the growth of the body: let them try all their arts, they shall not be able, from these materials, to produce a single drop of blood. So much is the most common act of nature beyond the utmost efforts of the most extended science!"

From this time Boerhaave lived with less publick employment, indeed, but not an idle or an useless life; for, besides his hours spent in instructing his scholars, a great part of his time was taken up by patients, which came, when the distemper would admit it, from all parts of Europe to consult him, or by letters which, in more urgent cases, were continually sent to inquire his opinion and ask his advice.

Of his sagacity, and the wonderful penetration with which he often discovered and described, at first sight of a patient, such distempers as betray themselves by no symptoms to common eyes, such wonderful relations have been spread over the world, as, though attested beyond doubt, can scarcely be credited. I mention none of them, because I have no opportunity of collecting testimonies, or distinguishing between those accounts which are well proved, and those which owe their rise to fiction and credulity.

Yet I cannot but implore, with the greatest earnestness, such as have been conversant with this great man, that they will not so far neglect the common interest of mankind, as to suffer any of these circumstances to be lost to posterity. Men are generally idle, and ready to satisfy themselves, and intimidate the industry of others, by calling that impossible which is only difficult. The skill to which Boerhaave attained, by a long and unwearied observation of nature, ought, therefore, to be transmitted, in all its particulars, to future ages, that his successors may be ashamed to fall below him, and that none may hereafter excuse his ignorance, by pleading the impossibility of clearer knowledge.

Yet so far was this great master from presumptuous confidence in his abilities, that, in his examinations of the sick, he was remarkably circumstantial and particular. He well knew that the originals of distempers are often at a distance from their visible effects; that to conjecture, where certainty may be obtained, is either vanity or negligence; and that life is not to be sacrificed, either to an affectation of quick discernment, or of crowded practice, but may be required, if trifled away, at the hand of the physician.

About the middle of the year 1737, he felt the first approaches of that fatal illness that brought him to the grave, of which we have inserted an account, written by himself, Sept. 8, 1738, to a friend at London [38]; which deserves not only to be preserved, as an historical relation of the disease which deprived us of so great a man, but as a proof of his piety and resignation to the divine will.

In this last illness, which was, to the last degree, lingering, painful, and afflictive, his constancy and firmness did not forsake him. He neither intermitted the necessary cares of life, nor forgot the proper preparations for death. Though dejection and lowness of spirits was, as he himself tells us, part of his distemper, yet even this, in some measure, gave way to that vigour, which the soul receives from a consciousness of innocence.

About three weeks before his death he received a visit, at his country house, from the reverend Mr. Schultens, his intimate friend, who found him sitting without-door, with his wife, sister, and daughter: after the compliments of form, the ladies withdrew, and left them to private conversation; when Boerhaave took occasion to tell him what had been, during his illness, the chief subject of his thoughts. He had never doubted of the spiritual and immaterial nature of the soul; but declared that he had lately had a kind of experimental certainty of the distinction between corporeal and thinking substances, which mere reason and philosophy cannot afford, and opportunities of contemplating the wonderful and inexplicable union of soul and body, which nothing but long sickness can give. This he illustrated by a description of the effects which the infirmities of his body had upon his faculties, which yet they did not so oppress or vanquish, but his soul was always master of itself, and always resigned to the pleasure of its maker.

He related, with great concern, that once his patience so far gave way to extremity of pain, that, after having lain fifteen hours in exquisite tortures, he prayed to God that he might be set free by death.

Mr. Schultens, by way of consolation, answered, that he thought such wishes, when forced by continued and excessive torments, unavoidable in the present state of human nature; that the best men, even Job himself, were not able to refrain from such starts of impatience. This he did not deny; but said, "he that loves God, ought to think nothing desirable, but what is most pleasing to the supreme goodness."

Such were his sentiments, and such his conduct, in this state of weakness and pain: as death approached nearer, he was so far from terrour or confusion, that he seemed even less sensible of pain, and more cheerful under his torments, which continued till the 23rd day of September, 1738, on which he died, between four and five in the morning, in the 70th year of his age.

Thus died Boerhaave, a man formed by nature for great designs, and guided by religion in the exertion of his abilities. He was of a robust and athletick constitution of body, so hardened by early severities, and wholesome fatigue, that he was insensible of any sharpness of air, or inclemency of weather. He was tall, and remarkable for extraordinary strength. There was, in his air and motion, something rough and artless, but so majestick and great, at the same time, that no man ever looked upon him without veneration, and a kind of tacit submission to the superiority of his genius.

The vigour and activity of his mind sparkled visibly in his eyes; nor was it ever observed, that any change of his fortune, or alteration in his affairs, whether happy or unfortunate, affected his countenance.

He was always cheerful, and desirous of promoting mirth by a facetious and humorous conversation; he was never soured by calumny and detraction, nor ever thought it necessary to confute them; "for they are sparks," said he, "which, if you do not blow them, will go out of themselves."

Yet he took care never to provoke enemies by severity of censure, for he never dwelt on the faults or defects of others, and was so far from inflaming the envy of his rivals, by dwelling on his own excellencies, that he rarely mentioned himself or his writings.

He was not to be overawed or depressed by the presence, frowns, or insolence of great men, but persisted, on all occasions, in the right, with a resolution always present and always calm. He was modest, but not timorous, and firm without rudeness.

He could, with uncommon readiness and certainty, make a conjecture of men's inclinations and capacity by their aspect.

His method of life was to study in the morning and evening, and to allot the middle of the day to his publick business. His usual exercise was riding, till, in his latter years, his distempers made it more proper for him to walk: when he was weary, he amused himself with playing on the violin.

His greatest pleasure was to retire to his house in the country, where he had a garden stored with all the herbs and trees which the climate would bear; here he used to enjoy his hours unmolested, and prosecute his studies without interruption.

The diligence with which he pursued his studies, is sufficiently evident from his success. Statesmen and generals may grow great by unexpected accidents, and a fortunate concurrence of circumstances, neither procured nor foreseen by themselves; but reputation in the learned world must be the effect of industry and capacity. Boerhaave lost none of his hours, but, when he had attained one science, attempted another; he added physick to divinity, chymistry to the mathematicks, and anatomy to botany. He examined systems by experiments, and formed experiments into systems. He neither neglected the observations of others, nor blindly submitted to celebrated names. He neither thought so highly of himself, as to imagine he could receive no light from books, nor so meanly, as to believe he could discover nothing but what was to be learned from them. He examined the observations of other men, but trusted only to his own.

Nor was he unacquainted with the art of recommending truth by elegance, and embellishing the philosopher with polite literature: he knew that but a small part of mankind will sacrifice their pleasure to their improvement, and those authors who would find many readers, must endeavour to please while they instruct.

He knew the importance of his own writings to mankind, and lest he might, by a roughness and barbarity of style, too frequent among men of great learning, disappoint his own intentions, and make his labours less useful, he did not neglect the politer arts of eloquence and poetry. Thus was his learning, at once, various and exact, profound and agreeable.

But his knowledge, however uncommon, holds, in his character, but the second place; his virtue was yet much more uncommon than his learning. He was an admirable example of temperance, fortitude, humility, and devotion. His piety, and a religious sense of his dependance on God, was the basis of all his virtues, and the principle of his whole conduct. He was too sensible of his weakness to ascribe any thing to himself, or to conceive that he could subdue passion, or withstand temptation, by his own natural power; he attributed every good thought, and every laudable action, to the father of goodness. Being once asked by a friend, who had often admired his patience under great provocations, whether he knew what it was to be angry, and by what means he had so entirely suppressed that impetuous and ungovernable passion, he answered, with the utmost frankness and sincerity, that he was naturally quick of resentment, but that he had, by daily prayer and meditation, at length attained to this mastery over himself.

As soon as he arose in the morning, it was, throughout his whole life, his daily practice to retire for an hour to private prayer and meditation; this, he often told his friends, gave him spirit and vigour in the business of the day, and this he, therefore, commended, as the best rule of life; for nothing, he knew, could support the soul, in all distresses, but a confidence in the supreme being; nor can a steady and rational magnanimity flow from any other source than a consciousness of the divine favour.

He asserted, on all occasions, the divine authority and sacred efficacy of the holy scriptures; and maintained that they alone taught the way of salvation, and that they only could give peace of mind. The excellency of the Christian religion was the frequent subject of his conversation. A strict obedience to the doctrine, and a diligent imitation of the example of our blessed saviour, he often declared to be the foundation of true tranquillity. He recommended to his friends a careful observation of the precept of Moses, concerning the love of God and man. He worshipped God as he is in himself, without attempting to inquire into his nature. He desired only to think of God, what God knows of himself. There he stopped, lest, by indulging his own ideas, he should form a deity from his own imagination, and sin by falling down before him. To the will of God he paid an absolute submission, without endeavouring to discover the reason of his determinations; and this he accounted the first and most inviolable duty of a Christian. When he heard of a criminal condemned to die, he used to think: Who can tell whether this man is not better than I? or, if I am better, it is not to be ascribed to myself, but to the goodness of God.

Such were the sentiments of Boerhaave, whose words we have added in the note [39]. So far was this man from being made impious by philosophy, or vain by knowledge, or by virtue, that he ascribed all his abilities to the bounty, and all his goodness to the grace of God. May his example extend its influence to his admirers and followers! May those who study his writings imitate his life! and those who endeavour after his knowledge, aspire likewise to his piety!

He married, September 17, 1710, Mary Drolenveaux, the only daughter of a burgomaster of Leyden, by whom he had Joanna Maria, who survived her father, and three other children, who died in their infancy. The works of this great writer are so generally known, and so highly esteemed, that, though it may not be improper to enumerate them in the order of time, in which they were published, it is wholly unnecessary to give any other account of them.

He published, in 1707, Institutiones medicae; to which he added, in 1708, Aphorismi de cognoscendis et curandis morbis.

1710, Index stirpium in horto academico.

1719, De materia medica, et remediorum formulis liber; and, in 1727, a second edition.

1720, Alter index stirpium, &c. adorned with plates, and containing twice the number of plants as the former.

1722, Epistola ad cl. Ruischium, qua sententiam Malpighianam de glandulis defendit.

1724, Atrocis nee prius descripti morbi historia illustrissimi baronis Wassenariae.

1725, Opera anatomica et chirurgica Andreae Vesalii; with the life of Vesalius.

1728, Altera atrocis rarissimique morbi marchionis de Sancto Albano historia.

Auctores de lue Aphrodisiaca, cum tractatu praefixo.

1731, Aretaei Cappadocis nova editio.

1732, Elementa Chemiae.

1734, Observata de argento vivo, ad Reg. Soc. et Acad. Scient.

These are the writings of the great Boerhaave, which have made all encomiums useless and vain, since no man can attentively peruse them, without admiring the abilities, and reverencing the virtue of the author. [40]






At a time when a nation is engaged in a war with an enemy, whose insults, ravages, and barbarities have long called for vengeance, an account of such English commanders as have merited the acknowledgments of posterity, by extending the powers, and raising the honour of their country, seems to be no improper entertainment for our readers [41]. We shall, therefore, attempt a succinct narration of the life and actions of admiral Blake, in which we have nothing further in view, than to do justice to his bravery and conduct, without intending any parallel between his achievements, and those of our present admirals.

Robert Blake was born at Bridgewater, in Somersetshire, in August, 1598; his father being a merchant of that place, who had acquired a considerable fortune by the Spanish trade. Of his earliest years we have no account, and, therefore, can amuse the reader with none of those prognosticks of his future actions, so often met with in memoirs.

In 1615, he entered into the university of Oxford, where he continued till 1623, though without being much countenanced or caressed by his superiours, for he was more than once disappointed in his endeavours after academical preferments. It is observable, that Mr. Wood, in his Athenæ Oxonieuses, ascribes the repulse he met with at Wadham college, where he was competitor for a fellowship, either to want of learning, or of stature. With regard to the first objection, the same writer had before informed us, that he was an early riser and studious, though he sometimes relieved his attention by the amusements of fowling and fishing. As it is highly probable that he did not want capacity, we may, therefore, conclude, upon this confession of his diligence, that he could not fail of being learned, at least, in the degree requisite to the enjoyment of a fellowship; and may safely ascribe his disappointment to his want of stature, it being the custom of sir Henry Savil [42], then warden of that college, to pay much regard to the outward appearance of those who solicited preferment in that society. So much do the greatest events owe sometimes to accident or folly!

He afterwards retired to his native place, where "he lived," says Clarendon, "without any appearance of ambition to be a greater man than he was, but inveighed with great freedom against the license of the times, and power of the court."

In 1640, he was chosen burgess for Bridgewater by the puritan party, to whom he had recommended himself by the disapprobation of bishop Laud's violence and severity, and his non-compliance with those new ceremonies, which he was then endeavouring to introduce.

When the civil war broke out, Blake, in conformity with his avowed principles, declared for the parliament; and, thinking a bare declaration for right not all the duty of a good man, raised a troop of dragoons for his party, and appeared in the field with so much bravery, that he was, in a short time, advanced, without meeting any of those obstructions which he had encountered in the university.

In 1645, he was governour of Tauntou, when the lord Goring came before it with an army of ten thousand men. The town was ill fortified, and unsupplied with almost every thing necessary for supporting a siege. The state of this garrison encouraged colonel Windham, who was acquainted with Blake, to propose a capitulation, which was rejected by Blake, with indignation and contempt; nor were either menaces or persuasions of any effect, for he maintained the place, under all its disadvantages, till the siege was raised by the parliament's army.

He continued, on many other occasions, to give proofs of an insuperable courage, and a steadiness of resolution not to be shaken; and, as a proof of his firm adherence to the parliament, joined with the borough of Taunton, in returning thanks for their resolution to make no more addresses to the king. Yet was he so far from approving the death of Charles the first, that he made no scruple of declaring, that he would venture his life to save him, as willingly as he had done to serve the parliament.

In February, 1648-9, he was made a commissioner of the navy, and appointed to serve on that element, for which he seems by nature to have been designed. He was soon afterwards sent in pursuit of prince Rupert, whom he shut up in the harbour of Kinsale, in Ireland, for several months, till want of provisions, and despair of relief, excited the prince to make a daring effort for his escape, by forcing through the parliament's fleet: this design he executed with his usual intrepidity, and succeeded in it, though with the loss of three ships. He was pursued by Blake to the coast of Portugal, where he was received into the Tagus, and treated with great distinction by the Portuguese.

Blake, coming to the mouth of that river, sent to the king a messenger, to inform him, that the fleet, in his port, belonging to the publick enemies of the commonwealth of England, he demanded leave to fall upon it. This being refused, though the refusal was in very soft terms, and accompanied with declarations of esteem, and a present of provisions, so exasperated the admiral, that, without any hesitation, he fell upon the Portuguese fleet, then returning from Brasil, of which he took seventeen ships, and burnt three. It was to no purpose that the king of Portugal, alarmed at so unexpected a destruction, ordered prince Rupert to attack him, and retake the Brasil ships. Blake carried home his prizes without molestation, the prince not having force enough to pursue him, and well pleased with the opportunity of quitting a port, where he could no longer be protected.

Blake soon supplied his fleet with provision, and received orders to make reprisals upon the French, who had suffered their privateers to molest the English trade; an injury which, in those days, was always immediately resented, and if not repaired, certainly punished. Sailing with this commission, he took in his way a French man of war, valued at a million. How this ship happened to be so rich, we are not informed; but as it was a cruiser, it is probable the rich lading was the accumulated plunder of many prizes. Then following the unfortunate Rupert, whose fleet, by storms and battles, was now reduced to five ships, into Carthagena, he demanded leave of the Spanish governour to attack him in the harbour, but received the same answer which had been returned before by the Portuguese: "That they had a right to protect all ships that came into their dominions; that, if the admiral were forced in thither, he should find the same security; and that he required him not to violate the peace of a neutral port." Blake withdrew, upon this answer, into the Mediterranean; and Rupert, then leaving Carthagena, entered the port of Malaga, where he burnt and sunk several English merchant ships. Blake, judging this to be an infringement of the neutrality professed by the Spaniards, now made no scruple to fall upon Rupert's fleet in the harbour of Malaga, and, having destroyed three of his ships, obliged him to quit the sea, and take sanctuary at the Spanish court.

In February, 1650-1, Blake, still continuing to cruise in the Mediterranean, met a French ship of considerable force, and commanded the captain to come on board, there being no war declared between the two nations. The captain, when he came, was asked by him, "whether he was willing to lay down his sword, and yield," which he gallantly refused, though in his enemy's power. Blake, scorning to take advantage of an artifice, and detesting the appearance of treachery, told him, "that he was at liberty to go back to his ship, and defend it, as long as he could." The captain willingly accepted his offer, and, after a fight of two hours, confessed himself conquered, kissed his sword, and surrendered it.

In 1652, broke out the memorable war between the two commonwealths of England and Holland; a war, in which the greatest admirals that, perhaps, any age has produced, were engaged on each side; in which nothing less was contested than the dominion of the sea, and which was carried on with vigour, animosity, and resolution, proportioned to the importance of the dispute. The chief commanders of the Dutch fleets were Van Trump, De Ruyter, and De Witt, the most celebrated names of their own nation, and who had been, perhaps, more renowned, had they been opposed by any other enemies. The states of Holland, having carried on their trade without opposition, and almost without competition, not only during the unactive reign of James the first, but during the commotions of England, had arrived to that height of naval power, and that affluence of wealth, that, with the arrogance which a long-continued prosperity naturally produces, they began to invent new claims, and to treat other nations with insolence, which nothing can defend, but superiority of force. They had for some time made uncommon preparations, at a vast expense, and had equipped a large fleet, without any apparent danger threatening them, or any avowed design of attacking their neighbours. This unusual armament was not beheld by the English without some jealousy, and care was taken to fit out such a fleet as might secure the trade from interruption, and the coasts from insults; of this Blake was constituted admiral for nine months. In this situation the two nations remained, keeping a watchful eye upon each other, without acting hostilities on either side, till the 18th of May, 1652, when Van Trump appeared in the Downs, with a fleet of forty-five men of war. Blake, who had then but twenty ships, upon the approach of the Dutch admiral, saluted him with three single shots, to require that he should, by striking his flag, show that respect to the English, which is due to every nation in their own dominions; to which the Dutchman answered with a broadside; and Blake, perceiving that he intended to dispute the point of honour, advanced with his own ship before the rest of his fleet, that, if it were possible, a general battle might be prevented. But the Dutch, instead of admitting him to treat, fired upon him from their whole fleet, without any regard to the customs of war, or the law of nations. Blake, for some time, stood alone against their whole force, till the rest of his squadron coming up, the fight was continued from between four and five in the afternoon, till nine at night, when the Dutch retired with the loss of two ships, having not destroyed a single vessel, nor more than fifteen men, most of which were on board the admiral, who, as he wrote to the parliament, was himself engaged for four hours with the main body of the Dutch fleet, being the mark at which they aimed; and, as Whitlock relates, received above a thousand shot. Blake, in his letter, acknowledges the particular blessing and preservation of God, and ascribes his success to the justice of his cause, the Dutch having first attacked him upon the English coast. It is, indeed, little less than miraculous, that a thousand great shot should not do more execution; and those who will not admit the interposition of providence, may draw, at least, this inference from it, that the bravest man is not always in the greatest danger.

In July, he met the Dutch fishery fleet, with a convoy of twelve men of war, all which he took, with one hundred of their herring-busses. And, in September, being stationed in the Downs, with about sixty sail, he discovered the Dutch admirals, De Witt and De Ruyter, with near the same number, and advanced towards them; but the Dutch being obliged, by the nature of their coast, and shallowness of their rivers, to build their ships in such a manner, that they require less depth of water than the English vessels, took advantage of the form of their shipping, and sheltered themselves behind a flat, called Kentish Knock; so that the English, finding some of their ships aground, were obliged to alter their course; but perceiving, early the next morning, that the Hollanders had forsaken their station, they pursued them with all the speed that the wind, which was weak and uncertain, allowed, but found themselves unable to reach them with the bulk of their fleet, and, therefore, detached some of the lightest frigates to chase them. These came so near, as to fire upon them about three in the afternoon; but the Dutch, instead of tacking about, hoisted their sails, steered toward their own coast, and finding themselves, the next day, followed by the whole English fleet, retired into Goree. The sailors were eager to attack them in their own harbours; but a council of war being convened, it was judged imprudent to hazard the fleet upon the shoals, or to engage in any important enterprise, without a fresh supply of provisions.

That, in this engagement, the victory belonged to the English, is beyond dispute, since, without the loss of one ship, and with no more than forty men killed, they drove the enemy into their own ports, took the rearadmiral and another vessel, and so discouraged the Dutch admirals, who had not agreed in their measures, that De Ruyter, who had declared against hazarding a battle, desired to resign his commission, and De Witt, who had insisted upon fighting, fell sick, as it was supposed, with vexation. But how great the loss of the Dutch was is not certainly known; that two ships were taken, they are too wise to deny, but affirm that those two were all that were destroyed. The English, on the other side, affirm, that three of their vessels were disabled at the first encounter, that their numbers on the second day were visibly diminished, and that on the last day they saw three or four ships sink in their flight.

De Witt being now discharged by the Hollanders, as unfortunate, and the chief command restored to Van Trump, great preparations were made for retrieving their reputation, and repairing those losses. Their endeavours were assisted by the English themselves, now made factious by success; the men, who were intrusted with the civil administration, being jealous of those whose military commands had procured so much honour, lest they who raised them should be eclipsed by them. Such is the general revolution of affairs in every state; danger and distress produce unanimity and bravery, virtues which are seldom unattended with success; but success is the parent of pride, and pride of jealousy and faction; faction makes way for calamity, and happy is that nation whose calamities renew their unanimity. Such is the rotation of interests, that equally tend to hinder the total destruction of a people, and to obstruct an exorbitant increase of power.

Blake had weakened his fleet by many detachments, and lay with no more than forty sail in the Downs, very ill provided both with men and ammunition, and expecting new supplies from those whose animosity hindered them from providing them, and who chose rather to see the trade of their country distressed, than the sea officers exalted by a new acquisition of honour and influence.

Van Trump, desirous of distinguishing himself, at the resumption of his command, by some remarkable action, had assembled eighty ships of war, and ten fireships, and steered towards the Downs, where Blake, with whose condition and strength he was probably acquainted, was then stationed. Blake, not able to restrain his natural ardour, or, perhaps, not fully informed of the superiority of his enemies, put out to encounter them, though his fleet was so weakly manned, that half of his ships were obliged to lie idle without engaging, for want of sailors. The force of the whole Dutch fleet was, therefore, sustained by about twenty-two ships. Two of the English frigates, named the Vanguard and the Victory, after having, for a long time, stood engaged amidst the whole Dutch fleet, broke through without much injury, nor did the English lose any ships till the evening, when the Garland, carrying forty guns, was boarded, at once, by two great ships, which were opposed by the English, till they had scarcely any men left to defend the decks; then retiring into the lower part of the vessel, they blew up their decks, which were now possessed by the enemy, and, at length, were overpowered and taken. The Bonaventure, a stout well-built merchant ship, going to relieve the Garland, was attacked by a man of war, and, after a stout resistance, in which the captain, who defended her with the utmost bravery, was killed, was likewise carried off by the Dutch. Blake, in the Triumph, seeing the Garland in distress, pressed forward to relieve her, but in his way had his foremast shattered, and was himself boarded; but, beating off the enemies, he disengaged himself, and retired into the Thames, with the loss only of two ships of force, and four small frigates, but with his whole fleet much shattered. Nor was the victory gained at a cheap rate, notwithstanding the unusual disproportion of strength; for of the Dutch flagships, one was blown up, and the other two disabled; a proof of the English bravery, which should have induced Van Trump to have spared the insolence of carrying a broom at his top-mast, in his triumphant passage through the Channel, which he intended as a declaration, that he would sweep the seas of the English shipping; this, which he had little reason to think of accomplishing, he soon after perished in attempting.

There are, sometimes, observations and inquiries, which all historians seem to decline by agreement, of which this action may afford us an example: nothing appears, at the first view, more to demand our curiosity, or afford matter for examination, than this wild encounter of twenty-two ships, with a force, according to their accounts who favour the Dutch, three times superiour. Nothing can justify a commander in fighting under such disadvantages, but the impossibility of retreating. But what hindered Blake from retiring, as well before the fight, as after it? To say he was ignorant of the strength of the Dutch fleet, is to impute to him a very criminal degree of negligence; and, at least, it must be confessed, that from the time he saw them, he could not but know that they were too powerful to be opposed by him, and even then there was time for retreat. To urge the ardour of his sailors, is to divest him of the authority of a commander, and to charge him with the most reproachful weakness that can enter into the character of a general. To mention the impetuosity of his own courage, is to make the blame of his temerity equal to the praise of his valour; which seems, indeed, to be the most gentle censure that the truth of history will allow. We must then admit, amidst our eulogies and applauses, that the great, the wise, and the valiant Blake, was once betrayed to an inconsiderate and desperate enterprise, by the resistless ardour of his own spirit, and a noble jealousy of the honour of his country.

It was not long, before he had an opportunity of revenging his loss, and restraining the insolence of the Dutch. On the 18th of February, 1652-3, Blake, being at the head of eighty sail, and assisted, at his own request, by colonels Monk and Dean, espied Van Trump, with a fleet of above one hundred men of war, as Clarendon relates, of seventy by their own publick accounts, and three hundred merchant ships under his convoy. The English, with their usual intrepidity, advanced towards them; and Blake, in the Triumph, in which he always led his fleet, with twelve ships more, came to an engagement with the main body of the Dutch fleet, and by the disparity of their force was reduced to the last extremity, having received in his hull no fewer than seven hundred shots, when Lawson, in the Fairfax, came to his assistance. The rest of the English fleet now came in, and the fight was continued with the utmost degree of vigour and resolution, till the night gave the Dutch an opportunity of retiring, with the loss of one flagship, and six other men of war. The English had many vessels damaged, but none lost. On board Lawson's ship were killed one hundred men, and as many on board Blake's, who lost his captain and secretary, and himself received a wound in the thigh.

Blake, having set ashore his wounded men, sailed in pursuit of Van Trump, who sent his convoy before, and himself retired fighting towards Bulloign. Blake ordered his light frigates to follow the merchants; still continued to harass Van Trump; and, on the third day, the 20th of February, the two fleets came to another battle, in which Van Trump once more retired before the English, and, making use of the peculiar form of his shipping, secured himself in the shoals. The accounts of this fight, as of all the others, are various; but the Dutch writers themselves confess, that they lost eight men of war, and more than twenty merchant ships; and, it is probable, that they suffered much more than they are willing to allow, for these repeated defeats provoked the common people to riots and insurrections, and obliged the states to ask, though ineffectually, for peace.

In April following, the form of government in England was changed, and the supreme authority assumed by Cromwell; upon which occasion Blake, with his associates, declared that, notwithstanding the change in the administration, they should still be ready to discharge their trust, and to defend the nation from insults, injuries, and encroachments. "It is not," said Blake, "the business of a sea-man to mind state affairs, but to hinder foreigners from fooling us." This was the principle from which he never deviated, and which he always endeavoured to inculcate in the fleet, as the surest foundation of unanimity and steadiness. "Disturb not one another with domestick disputes, but remember that we are English, and our enemies are foreigners. Enemies! which, let what party soever prevail, it is equally the interest of our country to humble and restrain."

After the 30th of April, 1653, Blake, Monk, and Dean sailed out of the English harbours with one hundred men of war, and finding the Dutch with seventy sail on their own coasts, drove them to the Texel, and took fifty doggers. Then they sailed northward in pursuit of Van Trump, who, having a fleet of merchants under his convoy, durst not enter the Channel, but steered towards the Sound, and, by great dexterity and address, escaped the three English admirals, and brought all his ships into their harbour; then, knowing that Blake was still in the north, came before Dover, and fired upon that town, but was driven off by the castle.

Monk and Dean stationed themselves again at the mouth of the Texel, and blocked up the Dutch in their own ports with eighty sail; but hearing that Van Trump was at Goree, with one hundred and twenty men of war, they ordered all ships of force in the river and ports to repair to them.

On June the 3rd, the two fleets came to an engagement, in the beginning of which Dean was carried off by a cannon-ball; yet the fight continued from about twelve to six in the afternoon, when the Dutch gave way, and retreated fighting.

On the 4th, in the afternoon, Blake came up with eighteen fresh ships, and procured the English a complete victory; nor could the Dutch any otherwise preserve their ships than by retiring, once more, into the flats and shallows, where the largest of the English vessels could not approach.

In this battle Van Trump boarded viceadmiral Penn; but was beaten off, and himself boarded, and reduced to blow up his decks, of which the English had got possession. He was then entered, at once, by Penn and another; nor could possibly have escaped, had not De Ruyter and De Witt arrived at that instant, and rescued him.

However the Dutch may endeavour to extenuate their loss in this battle, by admitting no more than eight ships to have been taken or destroyed, it is evident that they must have received much greater damages, not only by the accounts of more impartial historians, but by the remonstrances and exclamations of their admirals themselves; Van Trump declaring before the states, that "without a numerous reinforcement of large men of war, he could serve them no more;" and De Witt crying out before them, with the natural warmth of his character: "Why should I be silent before my lords and masters? The English are our masters, and by consequence masters of the sea."

In November, 1654, Blake was sent by Cromwell into the Mediterranean, with a powerful fleet, and may be said to have received the homage of all that part of the world, being equally courted by the haughty Spaniards, the surly Dutch, and the lawless Algerines.

In March, 1656, having forced Algiers to submission, he entered the harbour of Tunis, and demanded reparation for the robberies practised upon the English by the pirates of that place, and insisted that the captives of his nation should be set at liberty. The governour, having planted batteries along the shore, and drawn up his ships under the castles, sent Blake an haughty and insolent answer: "there are our castles of Goletta and Porto Ferino," said he, "upon which you may do your worst;" adding other menaces and insults, and mentioning, in terms of ridicule, the inequality of a fight between ships and castles. Blake had, likewise, demanded leave to take in water, which was refused him. Fired with this inhuman and insolent treatment, he curled his whiskers, as was his custom when he was angry, and, entering Porto Ferino with his great ships, discharged his shot so fast upon the batteries and castles, that in two hours the guns were dismounted, and the works forsaken, though he was, at first, exposed to the fire of sixty cannon. He then ordered his officers to send out their long boats, well manned, to seize nine of the piratical ships lying in the road, himself continuing to fire upon the castle. This was so bravely executed, that, with the loss of only twenty-five men killed, and forty-eight wounded, all the ships were fired in the sight of Tunis. Thence sailing to Tripoli, he concluded a peace with that nation; then returning to Tunis, he found nothing but submission. And such, indeed, was his reputation, that he met with no further opposition, but collected a kind of tribute from the princes of those countries, his business being to demand reparation for all the injuries offered to the English during the civil wars. He exacted from the duke of Tuscany 60,000l. and, as it is said, sent home sixteen ships laden with the effects which he had received from several states.

The respect with which he obliged all foreigners to treat his countrymen, appears from a story related by bishop Burnet. When he lay before Malaga, in a time of peace with Spain, some of his sailors went ashore, and meeting a procession of the host, not only refused to pay any respect to it, but laughed at those that did. The people, being put, by one of the priests, upon resenting this indignity, fell upon them and beat them severely. When they returned to their ship, they complained of their ill treatment; upon which Blake sent to demand the priest who had procured it. The viceroy answered that, having no authority over the priests, he could not send him: to which Blake replied, "that he did not inquire into the extent of the viceroy's authority, but that, if the priest were not sent within three hours, he would burn the town." The viceroy then sent the priest to him, who pleaded the provocation given by the seamen. Blake bravely and rationally answered, that if he had complained to him, he would have punished them severely, for he would not have his men affront the established religion of any place; but that he was angry that the Spaniards should assume that power, for he would have all the world know, "that an Englishman was only to be punished by an Englishman." So, having used the priest civilly, he sent him back, being satisfied that he was in his power. This conduct so much pleased Cromwell, that he read the letter in council with great satisfaction, and said, "he hoped to make the name of an Englishman as great as ever that of a Roman had been."

In 1650, the protector, having declared war against Spain, despatched Blake, with twenty-five men of war, to infest their coasts, and intercept their shipping. In pursuance of these orders he cruised all winter about the straits, and then lay at the mouth of the harbour of Cales, where he received intelligence, that the Spanish Plata fleet lay at anchor in the bay of Santa Cruz, in the isle of Teneriffe. On the 13th of April, 1657, he departed from Cales, and, on the 20th, arrived at Santa Cruz, where he found sixteen Spanish vessels. The bay was defended on the north side by a castle, well mounted with cannon, and in other parts with seven forts, with cannon proportioned to the bigness, all united by a line of communication manned with musketeers. The Spanish admiral drew up his small ships under the cannon of the castle, and stationed six great galleons with their broadsides to the sea: an advantageous and prudent disposition, but of little effect against the English commander; who, determining to attack them, ordered Stayner to enter the bay with his squadron: then posting some of his larger ships to play upon the fortifications, himself attacked the galleons, which, after a gallant resistance, were, at length, abandoned by the Spaniards, though the least of them was bigger than the biggest of Blake's ships. The forts and smaller vessels being now shattered and forsaken, the whole fleet was set on fire, the galleons by Blake, and the smaller vessels by Stayner, the English vessels being too much shattered in the fight to bring them away. Thus was the whole Plata fleet destroyed, "and the Spaniards," according to Rapin's remark, "sustained a great loss of ships, money, men, and merchandise, while the English gained nothing but glory;" as if he that increases the military reputation of a people, did not increase their power, and he that weakens his enemy, in effect, strengthens himself.

"The whole action," says Clarendon, "was so incredible, that all men, who knew the place, wondered that any sober man, with what courage soever endowed, would ever have undertaken it, and they could hardly persuade themselves to believe what they had done; while the Spaniards comforted themselves with the belief, that they were devils, and not men, who had destroyed them in such a manner. So much a strong resolution of bold and courageous men can bring to pass, that no resistance or advantage of ground can disappoint them; and it can hardly be imagined bow small a loss the English sustained in this unparalleled action, not one ship being left behind, and the killed and wounded not exceeding two hundred men; when the slaughter, on board the Spanish ships and on shore, was incredible." The general cruised, for some time afterwards, with his victorious fleet, at the mouth of Cales, to intercept the Spanish shipping; but, finding his constitution broken, by the fatigue of the last three years, determined to return home, and died before he came to land.

His body was embalmed, and having lain some time in state at Greenwich house, was buried in Henry the seventh's chapel, with all the funeral solemnity due to the remains of a man so famed for his bravery, and so spotless in his integrity; nor is it without regret, that I am obliged to relate the treatment his body met, a year after the restoration, when it was taken up by express command, and buried in a pit in St. Margaret's church-yard. Had he been guilty of the murder of Charles the first, to insult his body had been a mean revenge; but, as he was innocent, it was, at least, inhumanity, and, perhaps, ingratitude. "Let no man," says the oriental proverb, "pull a dead lion by the beard."

But that regard which was denied his body, has been paid to his better remains, his name and his memory. Nor has any writer dared to deny him the praise of intrepidity, honesty, contempt of wealth, and love of his country. "He was the first man," says Clarendon, "that declined the old track, and made it apparent that the sciences might be attained in less time than was imagined. He was the first man that brought ships to contemn castles on shore, which had ever been thought very formidable, but were discovered by him to make a noise only, and to fright those who could rarely be hurt by them. He was the first that infused that proportion of courage into seamen, by making them see, by experience, what mighty things they could do, if they were resolved; and taught them to fight in fire, as well as upon the water; and, though he has been very well imitated and followed, was the first that gave the example of that kind of naval courage, and bold and resolute achievements."

To this attestation of his military excellence, it may be proper to subjoin an account of his moral character, from the author of Lives, English and Foreign. "He was jealous," says that writer, "of the liberty of the subject, and the glory of his nation; and as he made use of no mean artifices to raise himself to the highest command at sea, so he needed no interest but his merit to support him in it. He scorned nothing more than money, which, as fast as it came in, was laid out by him in the service of the state, and to show that he was animated by that brave, publick spirit, which has since been reckoned rather romantick than heroick. And he was so disinterested, that though no man had more opportunities to enrich himself than he, who had taken so many millions from the enemies of England, yet he threw it all into the publick treasury, and did not die five hundred pounds richer than his father left him; which the author avers, from his personal knowledge of his family and their circumstances, having been bred up in it, and often heard his brother give this account of him. He was religious, according to the pretended purity of these times, but would frequently allow himself to be merry with his officers, and, by his tenderness and generosity to the seamen, had so endeared himself to them, that, when he died, they lamented his loss, as that of a common father."

Instead of more testimonies, his character may be properly concluded with one incident of his life, by which it appears how much the spirit of Blake was superiour to all private views. His brother, in the last action with the Spaniards, having not done his duty, was, at Blake's desire, discarded, and the ship was given to another; yet was he not less regardful of him as a brother, for, when he died, he left him his estate, knowing him well qualified to adorn or enjoy a private fortune, though he had found him unfit to serve his country in a publick character, and had, therefore, not suffered him to rob it.

The following brief synopsis of Blake's life, differing, in some slight particulars, from Johnson's memoir, is taken from Aubrey's Letters, ii. p. 241.


Was borne at ... in com. Somerset, was of Albon hall, in Oxford. He was there a young man of strong body, and good parts. He was an early riser, and studyed well, but also took his robust pleasures of fishing and fowling, &c. He would steale swannes [43]—He served in the house of comons for.... A°. Dni ... he was made admiral! He did the greatest actions at sea that ever were done. He died A°. Dni ... and was buried in K.H. 7th's chapell; but upon the returne of the kinge, his body was taken up again and removed by Mr. Wells' occasion, and where it is now, I know not. Qu. Mr. Wells of Bridgewater?—Ed.






Francis Drake was the son of a clergyman, in Devonshire, who being inclined to the doctrine of the protestants, at that time much opposed by Henry the eighth, was obliged to fly from his place of residence into Kent, for refuge, from the persecution raised against him, and those of the same opinion, by the law of the six articles.

How long he lived there, or how he was supported, was not known; nor have we any account of the first years of sir Francis Drake's life, of any disposition to hazards and adventures which might have been discovered in his childhood, or of the education which qualified him for such wonderful attempts.

We are only informed, that he was put apprentice, by his father, to the master of a small vessel, that traded to France and the Low Countries, under whom he, probably, learned the rudiments of navigation, and familiarized himself to the dangers and hardships of the sea.

But how few opportunities soever he might have, in this part of his life, for the exercise of his courage, he gave so many proofs of diligence and fidelity, that his master, dying unmarried, left him his little vessel, in reward of his services; a circumstance that deserves to be remembered, not only as it may illustrate the private character of this brave man, but as it may hint, to all those, who may hereafter propose his conduct for their imitation, that virtue is the surest foundation both of reputation and fortune, and that the first step to greatness is to be honest.

If it were not improper to dwell longer on an incident, at the first view so inconsiderable, it might be added, that it deserves the reflection of those, who, when they are engaged in affairs not adequate to their abilities, pass them over with a contemptuous neglect, and while they amuse themselves with chimerical schemes, and plans of future undertakings, suffer every opportunity of smaller advantage to slip away, as unworthy their regard. They may learn, from the example of Drake, that diligence in employments of less consequence, is the most successful introduction to greater enterprises.

After having followed, for some time, his master's profession, he grew weary of so narrow a province, and, having sold his little vessel, ventured his effects in the new trade to the West Indies, which, having not been long discovered, and very little frequented by the English, till that time, were conceived so much to abound in wealth, that no voyage thither could fail of being recompensed by great advantages. Nothing was talked of among the mercantile or adventurous part of mankind, but the beauty and riches of the new world. Fresh discoveries were frequently made, new countries and nations never heard of before, were daily described, and it may easily be concluded, that the relaters did not diminish the merit of their attempts, by suppressing or diminishing any circumstance that might produce wonder, or excite curiosity. Nor was their vanity only engaged in raising admirers, but their interest, likewise, in procuring adventurers, who were, indeed, easily gained by the hopes which naturally arise from new prospects, though, through ignorance of the American seas, and by the malice of the Spaniards, who, from the first discovery of those countries, considered every other nation that attempted to follow them, as invaders of their rights, the best concerted designs often miscarried.

Among those who suffered most from the Spanish injustice, was captain John Hawkins, who, having been admitted, by the viceroy, to traffick in the bay of Mexico, was, contrary to the stipulation then made between them, and in violation of the peace between Spain and England, attacked without any declaration of hostilities, and obliged, after an obstinate resistance, to retire with the loss of four ships, and a great number of his men, who were either destroyed or carried into slavery.

In this voyage Drake had adventured almost all his fortune, which he in vain endeavoured to recover, both by his own private interest, and by obtaining letters from queen Elizabeth; for the Spaniards, deaf to all remonstrances, either vindicated the injustice of the viceroy, or, at least, forbore to redress it.

Drake, thus oppressed and impoverished, retained, at least, his courage and his industry, that ardent spirit that prompted him to adventures, and that indefatigable patience that enabled him to surmount difficulties. He did not sit down idly to lament misfortunes which heaven had put it in his power to remedy, or to repine at poverty, while the wealth of his enemies was to be gained. But having made two voyages to America, for the sake of gaining intelligence of the state of the Spanish settlements, and acquainted himself with the seas and coasts, he determined on a third expedition of more importance, by which the Spaniards should find how imprudently they always act, who injure and insult a brave man.

On the 24th of May, 1572, Francis Drake set sail from Plymouth, in the Pascha, of seventy tons, accompanied by the Swan, of twenty-five tons, commanded by his brother John Drake, having, in both the vessels, seventy-three men and boys, with a year's provision, and such artillery and ammunition, as was necessary for his undertaking, which, however incredible it may appear to such as consider rather his force than his fortitude, was no less than to make reprisals upon the most powerful nation in the world.

The wind continuing favourable, they entered, June 29th, between Guadaloupe and Dominica, and, on July 6th, saw the highland of Santa Martha; then continuing their course, after having been becalmed for some time, they arrived at port Pheasant, so named by Drake, in a former voyage to the east of Nombre de Dios. Here he proposed to build his pinnaces, which he had brought in pieces ready framed from Plymouth, and was going ashore, with a few men unarmed, but, discovering a smoke at a distance, ordered the other boat to follow him with a greater force.

Then marching towards the fire, which was in the top of a high tree, he found a plate of lead nailed to another tree, with an inscription engraved upon it by one Garret, an Englishman, who had left that place but five days before, and had taken this method of informing him, that the Spaniards had been advertised of his intention to anchor at that place, and that it, therefore, would be prudent to make a very short stay there.

But Drake, knowing how convenient this place was for his designs, and considering that the hazard and waste of time, which could not be avoided, in seeking another station, was equivalent to any other danger which was to be apprehended from the Spaniards, determined to follow his first resolution; only, for his greater security, he ordered a kind of palisade, or fortification, to be made, by felling large trees, and laying the trunks and branches, one upon another, by the side of the river.

On July 20th, having built their pinnaces, and being joined by one captain Rause, who happened to touch at the same place, with a bark of fifty men, they set sail towards Nombre de Dios, and, taking two frigates at the island of Pines, were informed by the negroes, which they found in them, that the inhabitants of that place were in expectation of some soldiers, which the governour of Panama had promised, to defend them from the Symerons, or fugitive negroes, who, having escaped from the tyranny of their masters, in great numbers, had settled themselves under two kings, or leaders, on each side of the way between Nombre de Dios and Panama, and not only asserted their natural right to liberty and independence, but endeavoured to revenge the cruelties they had suffered, and had lately put the inhabitants of Nombre de Dios into the utmost consternation.

These negroes the captain set on shore on the mainland, so that they might, by joining the Symerons, recover their liberty, or, at least, might not have it in their power to give the people of Nombre de Dios any speedy information of his intention to invade them.

Then selecting fifty-three men from his own company, and twenty from the crew of his new associate, captain Rause, he embarked with them, in his pinnaces, and set sail for Nombre de Dios.

On July the 28th, at night, he approached the town, undiscovered, and dropt his anchors under the shore, intending, after his men were refreshed, to begin the attack; but finding that they were terrifying each other with formidable accounts of the strength of the place, and the multitude of the inhabitants, he determined to hinder the panick from spreading further by leading them immediately to action; and, therefore, ordering them to their pars, he landed without any opposition, there being only one gunner upon the bay, though it was secured with six brass cannons of the largest size, ready mounted. But the gunner, while they were throwing the cannons from their carriages, alarmed the town, as they soon discovered by the bell, the drums, and the noise of the people. Drake, leaving twelve men to guard the pinnaces, marched round the town, with no great opposition, the men being more hurt by treading on the weapons, left on the ground by the flying enemy, than by the resistance which they encountered.

At length, having taken some of the Spaniards, Drake commanded them to show him the governour's house, where the mules that bring the silver from Panama were unloaded; there they found the door open, and, entering the room where the silver was reposited, found it heaped up in bars, in such quantities as almost exceed belief, the pile being, they conjectured, seventy feet in length, ten in breadth, and twelve in height, each bar weighing between thirty and forty-five pounds.

It is easy to imagine, that, at the sight of this treasure, nothing was thought on by the English, but by what means they might best convey it to their boats; and, doubtless, it was not easy for Drake, who, considering their distance from the shore and the number of their enemies, was afraid of being intercepted in his retreat, to hinder his men from encumbering themselves with so much silver as might have retarded their march and obstructed the use of their weapons; however, by promising to lead them to the king's treasurehouse, where there was gold and jewels to a far greater value, and where the treasure was not only more portable, but nearer the coast, he persuaded them to follow him, and rejoin the main body of his men, then drawn up under the command of his brother in the market-place.

Here he found his little troop much discouraged by the imagination, that, if they stayed any longer, the enemy would gain possession of their pinnaces, and that they should then, without any means of safety, be left to stand alone against the whole power of that country. Drake, not, indeed, easily terrified, but sufficiently cautious, sent to the coast to inquire the truth, and see if the same terrour had taken possession of the men whom he had left to guard his boats; but, finding no foundation for these dreadful apprehensions, he persisted in his first design, and led the troop forward to the treasurehouse. In their way, there fell a violent shower of rain, which wet some of their bowstrings, and extinguished many of their matches; a misfortune which might soon have been repaired, and which, perhaps, the enemy might suffer in common with them, but which, however, on this occasion, very much embarrassed them, as the delay produced by it repressed that ardour which, sometimes, is only to be kept up by continued action, and gave time to the timorous and slothful to spread their insinuations and propagate their cowardice. Some, whose fear was their predominant passion, were continually magnifying the numbers and courage of their enemies, and represented whole nations as ready to rush upon them; others, whose avarice mingled with their concern for their own safety, were more solicitous to preserve what they had already gained, than to acquire more; and others, brave in themselves and resolute, began to doubt of success in an undertaking, in which they were associated with such cowardly companions. So that scarcely any man appeared to proceed in their enterprise with that spirit and alacrity which could give Drake a prospect of success.

This he perceived, and, with some emotion, told them, that if, after having had the chief treasure of the world within their reach, they should go home and languish in poverty, they could blame nothing but their own cowardice; that he had performed his part, and was still desirous to lead them on to riches and to honour.

Then finding that either shame or conviction made them willing to follow him, he ordered the treasurehouse to be forced, and commanding his brother, and Oxenham, of Plymouth, a man known afterwards for his bold adventures in the same parts, to take charge of the treasure, he commanded the other body to follow him to the market-place, that he might be ready to oppose any scattered troops of the Spaniards, and hinder them from uniting into one body.

But, as he stepped forward, his strength failed him on a sudden, and he fell down speechless. Then it was that his companions perceived a wound in his leg, which he had received in the first encounter, but hitherto concealed, lest his men, easily discouraged, should make their concern for his life a pretence for returning to their boats. Such had been his loss of blood, as was discovered upon nearer observation, that it had filled the prints of his footsteps, and it appeared scarce credible that, after such effusion of blood, life should remain.

The bravest were now willing to retire: neither the desire of honour nor of riches, was thought enough to prevail in any man over his regard for his leader. Drake, whom cordials had now restored to his speech, was the only man who could not be prevailed on to leave the enterprise unfinished. It was to no purpose that they advised him to submit to go on board to have his wound dressed, and promised to return with him and complete their design; he well knew how impracticable it was to regain the opportunity, when it was once lost; and could easily foresee, that a respite, but of a few hours, would enable the Spaniards to recover from their consternation, to assemble their forces, refit their batteries, and remove their treasure. What he had undergone so much danger to obtain was now in his hands, and the thought of leaving it untouched was too mortifying to be patiently borne.

However, as there was little time for consultation, and the same danger attended their stay, in that perplexity and confusion, as their return, they bound up his wound with his scarf, and partly by force, partly by entreaty, carried him to the boats, in which they all embarked by break of day.

Then taking with them, out of the harbour, a ship loaded with wines, they went to the Bastimentes, an island about a league from the town, where they stayed two days to repose the wounded men, and to regale themselves with the fruits, which grew in great plenty in the gardens of that island.

During their stay here, there came over, from the mainland, a Spanish gentleman, sent by the governour, with instructions to inquire whether the captain was that Drake who had been before on their coast; whether the arrows with which many of their men were wounded were not poisoned; and whether they wanted provisions or other necessaries. The messenger, likewise, extolled their courage with the highest encomiums, and expressed his admiration of their daring undertaking. Drake, though he knew the civilities of an enemy are always to be suspected, and that the messenger, amidst all his professions of regard, was no other than a spy, yet knowing that he had nothing to apprehend, treated him with the highest honours that his condition admitted of. In answer to his inquiries, he assured him that he was the same Drake with whose character they were before acquainted, that he was a rigid observer of the laws of war, and never permitted his arrows to be poisoned: he then dismissed him with considerable presents, and told him that, though he had unfortunately failed in this attempt, he would never desist from his design till he had shared with Spain the treasures of America.

They then resolved to return to the isle of Pines, where they had left their ships, and consult about the measures they were now to take; and having arrived, August 1st, at their former station, they dismissed captain Rause, who, judging it unsafe to stay any longer on the coast, desired to be no longer engaged in their designs.

But Drake, not to be discouraged from his purpose by a single disappointment, after having inquired of a negro, whom he took on board at Nombre de Dios, the most wealthy settlements, and weakest parts of the coast, resolved to attack Carthagena; and, setting sail without loss of time, came to anchor, August 13th, between Charesha and St. Barnards, two islands at a little distance from the harbour of Carthagena; then passing with his boats round the island, he entered the harbour, and, in the mouth of it, found a frigate with only an old man in it, who voluntarily informed them, that about an hour before a pinnace had passed by with sails and oars, and all the appearance of expedition and importance; that, as she passed, the crew on board her bid them take care of themselves; and that, as soon as she touched the shore, they heard the noise of cannon fired as a warning, and saw the shipping in the port drawn up under the guns of the castle.

The captain, who had himself heard the discharge of the artillery, was soon convinced that he was discovered, and that, therefore, nothing could be attempted with any probability of success. He, therefore, contented himself with taking a ship of Seville, of two hundred and forty tons, which the relater of this voyage mentions as a very large ship, and two small frigates, in which he found letters of advice from Nombre de Dios, intended to alarm that part of the coast.

Drake, now finding his pinnaces of great use, and not having a sufficient number of sailors for all his vessels, was desirous of destroying one of his ships, that his pinnaces might be better manned: this, necessary as it was, could not easily be done without disgusting his company, who, having made several prosperous voyages in that vessel, would be unwilling to have it destroyed. Drake well knew that nothing but the love of their leaders could animate his followers to encounter such hardships as he was about to expose them to, and, therefore, rather chose to bring his designs to pass by artifice than authority. He sent for the carpenter of the Swan, took him into his cabin, and, having first engaged him to secrecy, ordered him, in the middle of the night, to go down into the well of the ship, and bore three holes through the bottom, laying something against them that might hinder the bubbling of the water from being heard. To this the carpenter, after some expostulation, consented, and the next night performed his promise.

In the morning, August 15, Drake, going out with his pinnace a fishing, rowed up to the Swan, and having invited his brother to partake of his diversions, inquired, with a negligent air, why their bark was so deep in the water; upon which the steward going down, returned immediately with an account that the ship was leaky, and in danger of sinking in a little time. They had recourse immediately to the pump; but, having laboured till three in the afternoon, and gained very little upon the water, they willingly, according to Drake's advice, set the vessel on fire, and went on board the pinnaces.

Finding it now necessary to lie concealed for some time, till the Spaniards should forget their danger, and remit their vigilance, they set sail for the sound of Darien, and without approaching the coast, that their course might not be observed, they arrived there in six days.

This being a convenient place for their reception, both on account of privacy, as it was out of the road of all trade, and as it was well supplied with wood, water, wild fowl, hogs, deer, and all kinds of provisions, he stayed here fifteen days to clean his vessels, and refresh his men, who worked interchangeably, on one day the one half, and on the next the other.

On the 5th day of September, Drake left his brother with the ship at Darien, and set out with two pinnaces towards the Rio Grande, which they reached in three days, and, on the 9th, were discovered by a Spaniard from the bank, who believing them to be his countrymen, made a signal to them to come on shore, with which they very readily complied; but he, soon finding his mistake, abandoned his plantation, where they found great plenty of provisions, with which, having laden their vessels, they departed. So great was the quantity of provisions which they amassed here and in other places, that in different parts of the coast they built four magazines or storehouses, which they filled with necessaries for the prosecution of their voyage. These they placed at such a distance from each other, that the enemy, if he should surprise one, might yet not discover the rest.

In the mean time, his brother, captain John Drake, went, according to the instructions that had been left him, in search of the Symerons, or fugitive negroes, from whose assistance alone they had now any prospect of a successful voyage; and touching upon the mainland, by means of the negro whom they had taken from Nombre de Dios, engaged two of them to come on board his pinnace, leaving two of their own men as hostages for their returning. These men, having assured Drake of the affection of their nation, appointed an interview between him and their leaders. So leaving port Plenty, in the isle of Pines, so named by the English from the great stores of provisions which they had amassed at that place, they came, by the direction of the Symerons, into a secret bay, among beautiful islands covered with trees, which concealed their ship from observation, and where the channel was so narrow and rocky, that it was impossible to enter it by night, so that there was no danger of a sudden attack.

Here they met, and entered into engagements, which common enemies and common dangers preserved from violation. But the first conversation informed the English, that their expectations were not immediately to be gratified; for, upon their inquiries after the most probable means of gaining gold and silver, the Symerons told them, that had they known sooner the chief end of their expedition, they could easily have gratified them; but that during the rainy season, which was now begun, and which continues six months, they could not recover the treasure, which they had taken from the Spaniards, out of the rivers in which they had concealed it.

Drake, therefore, proposing to wait in this place, till the rains were past, built, with the assistance of the Symerons, a fort of earth and timber, and leaving part of his company with the Symerons, set out with three pinnaces towards Carthagena, being of a spirit too active to lie still patiently, even in a state of plenty and security, and with the most probable expectations of immense riches.

On the 16th of October, he anchored within sight of Carthagena, without landing; and on the 17th, going out to sea, took a Spanish bark, with which they entered the harbour, where they were accosted by a Spanish gentleman, whom they had some time before taken and set at liberty, who coming to them in a boat, as he pretended, without the knowledge of the governour, made them great promises of refreshment and professions of esteem; but Drake, having waited till the next morning, without receiving the provisions he had been prevailed upon to expect, found that all this pretended kindness was no more than a stratagem to amuse him, while the governour was raising forces for his destruction.

October 20, they took two frigates coming out of Carthagena, without lading. Why the Spaniards, knowing Drake to lie at the mouth of the harbour, sent out their vessels on purpose to be taken, does not appear. Perhaps they thought that, in order to keep possession of his prizes, he would divide his company, and by that division be more easily destroyed.

In a few hours afterwards they sent out two frigates well manned, which Drake soon forced to retire, and, having sunk one of his prizes, and burnt the other in their sight, leaped afterwards ashore, single, in defiance of their troops, which hovered at a distance in the woods and on the hills, without ever venturing to approach within reach of the shot from the pinnaces.

To leap upon an enemy's coast in sight of a superiour force, only to show how little they were feared, was an act that would, in these times, meet with little applause, nor can the general be seriously commended, or rationally vindicated, who exposes his person to destruction, and, by consequence, his expedition to miscarriage, only for the pleasure of an idle insult, an insignificant bravado. All that can be urged in his defence is, that, perhaps, it might contribute to heighten the esteem of his followers, as few men, especially of that class, are philosophical enough to state the exact limits of prudence and bravery, or not to be dazzled with an intrepidity, how improperly soever exerted. It may be added, that, perhaps, the Spaniards, whose notions of courage are sufficiently romantick, might look upon him as a more formidable enemy, and yield more easily to a hero, of whose fortitude they had so high an idea.

However, finding the whole country advertised of his attempts, and in arms to oppose him, he thought it not proper to stay longer, where there was no probability of success, and where he might, in time, be overpowered by multitudes, and, therefore, determined to go forward to Rio de Heha.

This resolution, when it was known by his followers, threw them into astonishment; and the company of one of his pinnaces remonstrated to him, that, though they placed the highest confidence in his conduct, they could not think of undertaking such a voyage without provisions, having only a gammon of bacon and a small quantity of bread for seventeen men. Drake answered them, that there was on board his vessel even a greater scarcity; but yet, if they would adventure to share his fortune, he did not doubt of extricating them from all their difficulties.

Such was the heroick spirit of Drake, that he never suffered himself to be diverted from his designs by any difficulties, nor ever thought of relieving his exigencies, but at the expense of his enemies.

Resolution and success reciprocally produce each other. He had not sailed more than three leagues, before they discovered a large ship, which they attacked with all the intrepidity that necessity inspires, and, happily, found it laden with excellent provisions.

But finding his crew growing faint and sickly, with their manner of living in the pinnaces, which was less commodious than on board the ships, he determined to go back to the Symerons, with whom he left his brother and part of his force, and attempt, by their conduct, to make his way over, and invade the Spaniards in the inland parts, where they would, probably, never dream of an enemy.

When they arrived at port Diego, so named from the negro who had procured them their intercourse with the Symerons, they found captain John Drake, and one of his company, dead, being killed in attempting, almost unarmed, to board a frigate well provided with all things necessary for its defence. The captain was unwilling to attack it, and represented to them the madness of their proposal; but, being overborne by their clamours and importunities, to avoid the imputation of cowardice, complied to his destruction. So dangerous is it for the chief commander to be absent.

Nor was this their only misfortune, for, in a very short time, many of them were attacked by the calenture, a malignant fever, very frequent in the hot climates, which carried away, among several others, Joseph Drake, another brother of the commander.

While Drake was employed in taking care of the sick men, the Symerons, who ranged the country for intelligence, brought him an account, that the Spanish fleet was arrived at Nombre de Dios; the truth of which was confirmed by a pinnace, which he sent out to make observations.

This, therefore, was the time for their journey, when the treasures of the American mines were to be transported from Panama over land to Nombre de Dios. He, therefore, by the direction of the Symerons, furnished himself with all things necessary, and, on February 3, set out from port Diego.

Having lost, already, twenty-eight of his company, and being under the necessity of leaving some to guard his ship, he took with him only eighteen English, and thirty Symerons, who not only served as guides to show the way, but as purveyors to procure provisions.

They carried not only arrows for war, but for hunting and fowling; the heads of which are proportioned in size to the game which they are pursuing: for oxen, stags, or wild boars, they have arrows or javelins, with heads weighing a pound and half, which they discharge near hand, and which scarcely ever fail of being mortal. The second sort are about half as heavy as the other, and are generally shot from their bows; these are intended for smaller beasts. With the third sort, of which the heads are an ounce in weight, they kill birds. As this nation is in a state that does not set them above continual cares for the immediate necessaries of life, he that can temper iron best, is, among them, most esteemed; and, perhaps, it would be happy for every nation, if honours and applauses were as justly distributed, and he were most distinguished whose abilities were most useful to society. How many chimerical titles to precedence, how many false pretences to respect, would this rule bring to the ground!

Every day, by sunrising, they began to march, and, having travelled till ten, rested near some river till twelve, then travelling again till four, they reposed all night in houses, which the Symerons had either left standing in their former marches, or very readily erected for them, by setting up three or four posts in the ground, and laying poles from one to another in form of a roof, which they thatched with palmetto boughs and plantain leaves. In the valleys, where they were sheltered from the winds, they left three or four feet below open; but on the hills, where they were more exposed to the chill blasts of the night, they thatched them close to the ground, leaving only a door for entrance, and a vent in the middle of the room for the smoke of three fires, which they made in every house.

In their march they met not only with plenty of fruits upon the banks of the rivers, but with wild swine in great abundance, of which the Symerons, without difficulty, killed, for the most part, as much as was wanted. One day, however, they found an otter, and were about to dress it; at which Drake expressing his wonder, was asked by Pedro, the chief Symeron: "Are you a man of war and in want, and yet doubt whether this be meat that hath blood in it?" For which Drake in private rebuked him, says the relater; whether justly or not, it is not very important to determine. There seems to be in Drake's scruple somewhat of superstition, perhaps, not easily to be justified; and the negro's answer was, at least martial, and will, I believe, be generally acknowledged to be rational.

On the third day of their march, Feb. 6, they came to a town of the Symerons, situated on the side of a hill, and encompassed with a ditch and a mudwall, to secure it from a sudden surprise: here they lived with great neatness and plenty, and some observation of religion, paying great reverence to the cross; a practice which Drake prevailed upon them to change for the use of the Lord's prayer. Here they importuned Drake to stay for a few days, promising to double his strength; but he, either thinking greater numbers unnecessary, or, fearing that, if any difference should arise, he should be overborne by the number of Symerons; or that they would demand to share the plunder that should be taken in common; or for some other reason that might easily occur, refused any addition to his troop, endeavouring to express his refusal in such terms as might heighten their opinion of his bravery.

He then proceeded on his journey through cool shades and lofty woods, which sheltered them so effectually from the sun, that their march was less toilsome than if they had travelled in England during the heat of the summer. Four of the Symerons, that were acquainted with the way, went about a mile before the troop, and scattered branches to direct them; then followed twelve Symerons, after whom came the English, with the two leaders, and the other Symerons closed the rear.

On February 11, they arrived at the top of a very high hill, on the summit of which grew a tree of wonderful greatness, in which they had cut steps for the more easy ascent to the top, where there was a kind of tower, to which they invited Drake, and from thence showed him not only the north sea, from whence they came, but the great south sea, on which no English vessel had ever sailed. This prospect exciting his natural curiosity, and ardour for adventures and discoveries, he lifted up his hands to God, and implored his blessing upon the resolution, which he then formed, of sailing in an English ship on that sea.

Then continuing their march, they came, after two days, into an open, level country, where their passage was somewhat incommoded with the grass, which is of a peculiar kind, consisting of a stalk like that of wheat, and a blade on which the oxen and other cattle feed till it grows too high for them to reach; then the inhabitants set it on fire, and in three days it springs up again; this they are obliged to do thrice a year, so great is the fertility of the soil.

At length, being within view of Panama, they left all frequented roads, for fear of being discovered, and posted themselves in a grove near the way between Panama and Nombre de Dios; then they sent a Symeron in the habit of a negro of Panama, to inquire on what night the recoes, or drivers of mules, by which the treasure is carried, were to set forth. The messenger was so well qualified for his undertaking, and so industrious in the prosecution of it, that he soon returned, with an account that the treasurer of Lima, intending to return to Europe, would pass that night, with eight mules laden with gold, and one with jewels.

Having received this information, they immediately marched towards Venta Cruz, the first town on the way to Nombre de Dios; sending, for security, two Symerons before, who, as they went, perceived, by the scent of a match, that some Spaniard was before them, and, going silently forward, surprised a soldier asleep upon the ground. They immediately bound him, and brought him to Drake, who, upon inquiry, found that their spy had not deceived them in his intelligence. The soldier, having informed himself of the captain's name, conceived such a confidence in his well known clemency, that, after having made an ample discovery of the treasure that was now at hand, he petitioned not only that he would command the Symerons to spare his life, but that, when the treasure should fall into his hands, he would allow him as much as might maintain him and his mistress, since they were about to gain more than their whole company could carry. Drake then ordered his men to lie down in the long grass, about fifty paces from the road, half on one side, with himself, and half on the other, with Oxenham and the captain of the Symerons, so much behind, that one company might seize the foremost recoe, and the other the hindermost; for the mules of these recoes, or drivers, being tied together, travel on a line, and are all guided by leading the first.

When they had lain about an hour in this place, they began to hear the bells of the mules on each hand; upon which orders were given, that the drove which came from Venta Cruz should pass unmolested, because they carried nothing of great value, and those only be intercepted which were travelling thither; and that none of the men should rise up, till the signal should be given. But one Robert Pike, heated with strong liquor, left his company, and prevailed upon one of the Symerons to creep with him to the wayside, that they might signalize themselves by seizing the first mule; and hearing the trampling of a horse, as he lay, could not be restrained by the Symeron from rising up to observe who was passing by. This he did so imprudently, that he was discovered by the passenger; for, by Drake's order, the English had put their shirts on over their coats, that the night and tumult might not hinder them from knowing one another.

The gentleman was immediately observed by Drake to change his trot into a gallop; but, the reason of it not appearing, it was imputed to his fear of the robbers that usually infest that road, and the English still continued to expect the treasure.

In a short time, one of the recoes, that were passing towards Venta Cruz, came up, and was eagerly seized by the English, who expected nothing less than half the revenue of the Indies; nor is it easy to imagine their mortification and perplexity, when they found only two mules laden with silver, the rest having no other burden than provisions.

The driver was brought immediately to the captain, and informed him that the horseman, whom he had observed pass by with so much precipitation, had informed the treasurer of what he had observed, and advised him to send back the mules that carried his gold and jewels, and suffer only the rest to proceed, that he might, by that cheap experiment, discover whether there was any ambush on the way.

That Drake was not less disgusted than his followers at the disappointment, cannot be doubted; but there was now no time to be spent in complaints. The whole country was alarmed, and all the force of the Spaniards was summoned to overwhelm him. He had no fortress to retire to; every man was his enemy; and every retreat better known to the Spaniards than to himself.

This was an occasion that demanded all the qualities of an hero, an intrepidity never to be shaken, and a judgment never to be perplexed. He immediately considered all the circumstances of his present situation, and found that it afforded him only the choice of marching back the same way through which he came, or of forcing his passage to Venta Cruz.

To march back, was to confess the superiority of his enemies, and to animate them to the pursuit; the woods would afford opportunities of ambush, and his followers must often disperse themselves in search of provisions, who would become an easy prey, dispirited by their disappointment, and fatigued by their march. On the way to Venta Cruz, he should have nothing to fear but from open attacks, and expected enemies.

Determining, therefore, to pass forward to Venta Cruz, he asked Pedro, the leader of the Symerons, whether he was resolved to follow him; and, having received from him the strongest assurances that nothing should separate them, commanded his men to refresh themselves, and prepare to set forward.

When they came within a mile of the town, they dismissed the mules, which they had made use of for their more easy and speedy passage, and continued their march along a road cut through thick woods, in which a company of soldiers, who were quartered in the place to defend it against the Symerons, had posted themselves, together with a convent of friars headed by one of their brethren, whose zeal against the northern heresy had incited him to hazard his person, and assume the province of a general.

Drake, who was advertised by two Symerons, whom he sent before, of the approach of the Spaniards, commanded his followers to receive the first volley without firing.

In a short time, he heard himself summoned by the Spanish captain to yield, with a promise of protection and kind treatment; to which he answered with defiance, contempt, and the discharge of his pistol.

Immediately the Spaniards poured in their shot, by which only one man was killed, and Drake, with some others, slightly wounded; upon which the signal was given by Drake's whistle to fall upon them. The English, after discharging their arrows and shot, pressed furiously forward, and drove the Spaniards before them; which the Symerons, whom the terrour of the shot had driven to some distance, observed, and recalling their courage, animated each other with songs in their own language, and rushed forward with such impetuosity, that they overtook them near the town, and, supported by the English, dispersed them with the loss of only one man, who, after he had received his wound, had strength and resolution left to kill his assailant.

They pursued the enemy into the town, in which they met with some plunder, which was given to the Symerons; and treated the inhabitants with great clemency, Drake himself going to the Spanish ladies, to assure them that no injuries should be offered them; so inseparable is humanity from true courage.

Having thus broken the spirits, and scattered the forces of the Spaniards, he pursued his march to his ship, without any apprehension of danger, yet with great speed, being very solicitous about the state of the crew; so that he allowed his men, harassed as they were, but little time for sleep or refreshment, but by kind exhortations, gentle authority, and a cheerful participation of all their hardships, prevailed upon them to bear, without murmurs, not only the toil of travelling, but, on some days, the pain of hunger.

In this march, he owed much of his expedition to the assistance of the Symerons, who being accustomed to the climate, and naturally robust, not only brought him intelligence, and showed the way, but carried necessaries, provided victuals, and built lodgings, and, when any of the English fainted in the way, two of them would carry him between them for two miles together; nor was their valour less than their industry, after they had learned from their English companions to despise the firearms of the Spaniards.

When they were within five leagues of the ships, they found a town built in their absence by the Symerons, at which Drake consented to halt, sending a Symeron to the ship, with his gold toothpick, as a token, which, though the master knew it, was not sufficient to gain the messenger credit, till, upon examination, he found that the captain, having ordered him to regard no messenger without his handwriting, had engraven his name upon it with the point of his knife. He then sent the pinnace up the river, which they met, and afterwards sent to the town for those whose weariness had made them unable to march further. On February 23, the whole company was reunited; and Drake, whose good or ill success never prevailed over his piety, celebrated their meeting with thanks to God.

Drake, not yet discouraged, now turned his thoughts to new prospects, and, without languishing in melancholy reflections upon his past miscarriages, employed himself in forming schemes for repairing them. Eager of action, and acquainted with man's nature, he never suffered idleness to infect his followers with cowardice, but kept them from sinking under any disappointment, by diverting their attention to some new enterprise.

Upon consultation with his own men and the Symerons, he found them divided in their opinions; some declaring, that, before they engaged in any new attempt, it was necessary to increase their stores of provisions; and others urging, that the ships, in which the treasure was conveyed, should be immediately attacked. The Symerons proposed a third plan, and advised him to undertake another march over land to the house of one Pezoro, near Veragua, whose slaves brought him, every day, more than two hundred pounds sterling from the mines, which he heaped together in a strong stone house, which might, by the help of the English, be easily forced.

Drake, being unwilling to fatigue his followers with another journey, determined to comply with both the other opinions; and, manning his two pinnaces, the Bear and the Minion, he sent John Oxenham, in the Bear, towards Tolu, to seize upon provisions; and went himself, in the Minion, to the Cabezas, to intercept the treasure that was to be transported from Veragua and that coast, to the fleet at Nombre de Dios, first dismissing, with presents, those Symerons that desired to return to their wives, and ordering those that chose to remain to be entertained in the ship.

Drake took, at the Cabezas, a frigate of Nicaragua, the pilot of which informed him that there was, in the harbour of Veragua, a ship freighted with more than a million of gold, to which he offered to conduct him, being well acquainted with the soundings, if he might be allowed his share of the prize; so much was his avarice superiour to his honesty.

Drake, after some deliberation, complying with the pilot's importunities, sailed towards the harbour, but had no sooner entered the mouth of it than he heard the report of artillery, which was answered by others at a greater distance; upon which the pilot told him, that they wero discovered, this being the signal appointed by the governour to alarm the coast.

Drake now thought it convenient to return to the ship, that he might inquire the success of the other pinnace, which he found, with a frigate that she had taken, with twenty-eight fat hogs, two hundred hens, and great store of maize or Indian corn. The vessel itself was so strong and well built, that he fitted it out for war, determining to attack the fleet at Nombre de Dios.

On March the 21st, he set sail, with the new frigate and the Bear, towards the Cabezas, at which he arrived in about two days, and found there Tètu, a Frenchman, with a ship of war, who, after having received from him a supply of water and other necessaries, entreated that he might join with him in his attempt; which Drake consenting to, admitted him to accompany him with twenty of his men, stipulating to allow them an equal share of whatever booty they should gain. Yet were they not without some suspicions of danger from this new ally, he having eighty men, and they being now reduced to thirty-one.

Then manning the frigate and two pinnaces, they set sail for the Cabezas, where they left the frigate, which was too large for the shallows over which they were to pass, and proceeded to Rio Francisco. Here they landed, and, having ordered the pinnaces to return to the same place on the fourth day following, travelled through the woods towards Nombre de Dios, with such silence and regularity as surprised the French, who did not imagine the Symerons so discreet or obedient as they appeared, and were, therefore, in perpetual anxiety about the fidelity of their guides, and the probability of their return. Nor did the Symerons treat them with that submission and regard which they paid to the English, whose bravery and conduct they had already tried.

At length, after a laborious march of more than seven leagues, they began to hear the hammers of the carpenters in the bay, it being the custom, in that hot season, to work in the night; and, in a short time, they perceived the approach of the recoes, or droves of mules, from Panama. They now no longer doubted that their labours would be rewarded, and every man imagined himself secure from poverty and labour for the remaining part of his life. They, therefore, when the mules came up, rushed out and seized them, with an alacrity proportioned to their expectations. The three droves consisted of one hundred and nine mules, each of which carried three hundred pounds' weight of silver. It was to little purpose that the soldiers, ordered to guard the treasure, attempted resistance. After a short combat, in which the French captain and one of the Symerons were wounded, it appeared with how much greater ardour men are animated by interest than fidelity.

As it was possible for them to carry away but a small part of this treasure, after having wearied themselves with hiding it in holes and shallow waters, they determined to return by the same way, and, without being pursued, entered the woods, where the French captain, being disabled by his wound, was obliged to stay, two of his company continuing with him.

When they had gone forward about two leagues, the Frenchmen missed another of their company, who, upon inquiry, was known to be intoxicated with wine, and supposed to have lost himself in the woods, by neglecting to observe the guides.

But common prudence not allowing them to hazard the whole company by too much solicitude for a single life, they travelled on towards Rio Francisco, at which they arrived, April the 3rd; but, looking out for their pinnaces, were surprised with the sight of seven Spanish shallops, and immediately concluded, that some intelligence of their motions had been carried to Nombre de Dios, and that these vessels had been fitted out to pursue them, which might, undoubtedly, have overpowered the pinnaces and their feeble crew. Nor did their suspicion stop here; but immediately it occurred to them, that their men had been compelled, by torture, to discover where their frigate and ship were stationed, which, being weakly manned, and without the presence of the chief commander, would fall into their hands, almost without resistance, and all possibility of escaping be entirely cut off.

These reflections sunk the whole company into despair; and every one, instead of endeavouring to break through the difficulties that surrounded him, resigned up himself to his ill fortune; when Drake, whose intrepidity was never to be shaken, and whose reason was never to be surprised or embarrassed, represented to them that, though the Spaniards should have made themselves masters of their pinnaces, they might yet be hindered from discovering the ships. He put them in mind, that the pinnaces could not be taken, the men examined, their examinations compared, the resolutions formed, their vessels sent out, and the ships taken in an instant. Some time must, necessarily, be spent, before the last blow could be struck; and, if that time were not negligently lost, it might be possible for some of them to reach the ships before the enemy, and direct them to change their station.

They were animated with this discourse, by which they discovered that their leader was not without hope; but when they came to look more nearly into their situation, they were unable to conceive upon what it was founded. To pass by land was impossible, as the way lay over high mountains, through thick woods and deep rivers; and they had not a single boat in their power, so that a passage by water seemed equally impracticable. But Drake, whose penetration immediately discovered all the circumstances and inconveniencies of every scheme, soon determined upon the only means of success which their condition afforded them; and ordering his men to make a raft out of the trees that were then floating on the river, offered himself to put off to sea upon it, and cheerfully asked who would accompany him. John Owen, John Smith, and two Frenchmen, who were willing to share his fortune, embarked with him on the raft, which was fitted out with a sail made of a biscuit-sack, and an oar, to direct its course, instead of a rudder.

Then having comforted the rest, with assurances of his regard for them, and resolution to leave nothing unattempted for their deliverance, he put off, and after having, with much difficulty, sailed three leagues, descried two pinnaces hasting towards him, which, upon a nearer approach, he discovered to be his own, and perceiving that they anchored behind a point that jutted out into the sea, he put to shore, and, crossing the land on foot, was received, by his company, with that satisfaction, which is only known to those that have been acquainted with dangers and distresses.

The same night they rowed to Rio Francisco, where they took in the rest, with what treasure they had been able to carry with them through the woods; then sailing back with the utmost expedition, they returned to their frigate, and soon after to their ship, where Drake divided the gold and silver equally between the French and the English.

Here they spent about fourteen days in fitting out their frigate more completely, and then dismissing the Spaniards with their ship, lay a few days among the Cabezas; while twelve English and sixteen Symerons travelled, once more, into the country, as well to recover the French captain, whom they had left wounded, as to bring away the treasure which they had hidden in the sands. Drake, whom his company would not suffer to hazard his person in another land expedition, went with them to Rio Francisco, where he found one of the Frenchmen, who had stayed to attend their captain, and was informed by him, upon his inquiries after his fortune, that, half an hour after their separation, the Spaniards came upon them, and easily seized upon the wounded captain; but that his companion might have escaped with him, had he not preferred money to life; for, seeing him throw down a box of jewels that retarded him, he could not forbear taking it up, and with that, and the gold which he had already, was so loaded that he could not escape. With regard to the bars of gold and silver, which they had concealed in the ground, he informed them that two thousand men had been employed in digging for them.

The men, however, either mistrusting the informer's veracity, or confident that what they had hidden could not be found, pursued their journey, but, upon their arrival at the place, found the ground turned up for two miles round, and were able to recover no more than thirteen bars' of silver, and a small quantity of gold. They discovered afterwards, that the Frenchman who was left in the woods, falling afterwards into the hands of the Spaniards, was tortured by them, till he confessed where Drake had concealed his plunder. So fatal to Drake's expedition was the drunkenness of his followers.

Then, dismissing the French, they passed by Carthagena with their colours flying, and soon after took a frigate laden with provisions and honey, which they valued as a great restorative, and then sailed away to the Cabezas.

Here they stayed about a week to clean their vessels, and fit them for a long voyage, determining to set sail for England; and, that the faithful Symerons might not go away unrewarded, broke up their pinnaces, and gave them the iron, the most valuable present in the world, to a nation whose only employments were war and hunting, and amongst whom show and luxury had no place.

Pedro, their captain, being desired by Drake to go through the ship, and to choose what he most desired, fixed his eye upon a cimetar, set with diamonds, which the French captain had presented to Drake; and, being unwilling to ask for so valuable a present, offered for it four large quoits, or thick plates of gold, which he had, hitherto, concealed; but Drake, desirous to show him that fidelity is seldom without a recompense, gave it him with the highest professions of satisfaction and esteem. Pedro, receiving it with the utmost gratitude, informed him, that, by bestowing it he had conferred greatness and honour upon him; for, by presenting it to his king, he doubted not of obtaining the highest rank amongst the Symerons. He then persisted in his resolution of leaving the gold, which was generously thrown by Drake into the common stock; for he said, that those, at whose expenses he had been sent out, ought to share in all the gain of the expedition, whatever pretence cavil and chicanery might supply for the appropriation of any part of it. Thus was Drake's character consistent with itself; he was equally superiour to avarice and fear, and through whatever danger he might go in quest of gold, he thought it not valuable enough to be obtained by artifice or dishonesty.

They now forsook the coast of America, which for many months they had kept in perpetual alarms, having taken more than two hundred ships, of all sizes, between Carthagena and Nombre de Dios, of which they never destroyed any, unless they were fitted out against them; nor ever detained the prisoners longer than was necessary for their own security or concealment, providing for them in the same manner as for themselves, and protecting them from the malice of the Symerous; a behaviour which humanity dictates, and which, perhaps, even policy cannot disapprove. He must certainly meet with obstinate opposition, who makes it equally dangerous to yield as to resist, and who leaves his enemies no hopes but from victory.

What riches they acquired is not particularly related; but it is not to be doubted, that the plunder of so many vessels, together with the silver which they seized at Nombre de Dios, must amount to a very large sum, though the part that was allotted to Drake was not sufficient to lull him in effeminacy, or to repress his natural inclination to adventures.

They arrived at Plymouth on the 9th of August, 1573, on Sunday, in the afternoon; and so much were the people delighted with the news of their arrival, that they left the preacher, and ran in crowds to the quay, with shouts and congratulations.

Drake having, in his former expedition, had a view of the south sea, and formed a resolution to sail upon it, did not suffer himself to be diverted from his design by the prospect of any difficulties that might obstruct the attempt, nor any dangers that might attend the execution; obstacles which brave men often find it much more easy to overcome, than secret envy and domestick treachery.

Drake's reputation was now sufficiently advanced to incite detraction and opposition; and it is easy to imagine, that a man by nature superiour to mean artifices, and bred, from his earliest years, to the labour and hardships of a sea-life, was very little acquainted with policy and intrigue, very little versed in the methods of application to the powerful and great, and unable to obviate the practices of those whom his merit had made his enemies.

Nor are such the only opponents of great enterprises: there are some men, of narrow views and grovelling conceptions, who, without the instigation of personal malice, treat every new attempt, as wild and chimerical, and look upon every endeavour to depart from the beaten track, as the rash effort of a warm imagination, or the glittering speculation of an exalted mind, that may please and dazzle for a time, but can produce no real or lasting advantage.

These men value themselves upon a perpetual skepticism, upon believing nothing but their own senses, upon calling for demonstration where it cannot possibly be obtained, and, sometimes, upon holding out against it, when it is laid before them; upon inventing arguments against the success of any new undertaking, and, where arguments cannot be found, upon treating it with contempt and ridicule.

Such have been the most formidable enemies of the great benefactors to mankind, and to these we can hardly doubt, but that much of the opposition which Drake met with, is to be attributed; for their notions and discourse are so agreeable to the lazy, the envious, and the timorous, that they seldom fail of becoming popular, and directing the opinions of mankind.

Whatsoever were his obstacles, and whatsoever the motives that produced them, it was not till the year 1577, that he was able to assemble a force proportioned to his design, and to obtain a commission from the queen, by which he was constituted captain-general of a fleet, consisting of five vessels, of which the Pelican, admiral, of a hundred tons, was commanded by himself; the Elizabeth, viceadmiral, of eighty tons, by John Winter; the Marigold, of thirty tons, by John Thomas; the Swan, fifty tons, by John Chester; the Christopher, of fifteen tons, by Thomas Moche, the same, as it seems, who was carpenter in the former voyage, and destroyed one of the ships by Drake's direction.

These ships, equipped partly by himself, and partly by other private adventurers, he manned with one hundred and sixty-four stout sailors, and furnished with such provisions as he judged necessary for the long voyage in which he was engaged. Nor did he confine his concern to naval stores, or military preparations; but carried with him whatever he thought might contribute to raise in those nations, with which he should have any intercourse, the highest ideas of the politeness and magnificence of his native country. He, therefore, not only procured a complete service of silver, for his own table, and furnished the cook-room with many vessels of the same metal, but engaged several musicians to accompany him; rightly judging, that nothing would more excite the admiration of any savage and uncivilized people.

Having been driven back by a tempest in their first attempt, and obliged to return to Plymouth, to repair the damages which they had suffered, they set sail again from thence on the 13th of December, 1577, and, on the 25th, had sight of cape Cantin, in Barbary, from whence they coasted on southward to the island of Mogador, which Drake had appointed for the first place of rendezvous, and on the 27th, brought the whole fleet to anchor, in a harbour on the mainland.

They were, soon after their arrival, discovered by the Moors that inhabited those coasts, who sent two of the principal men amongst them on board Drake's ship, receiving, at the same time, two of his company as hostages. These men he not only treated in the most splendid manner, but presented with such things as they appeared most to admire; it being with him an established maxim, to endeavour to secure, in every country, a kind reception to such Englishmen as might come after him, by treating the inhabitants with kindness and generosity; a conduct, at once just and politick, to the neglect of which may be attributed many of the injuries suffered by our sailors in distant countries, which are generally ascribed, rather to the effects of wickedness and folly of our own commanders, than the barbarity of the natives, who seldom fall upon any, unless they have been first plundered or insulted; and, in revenging the ravages of one crew upon another of the same nation, are guilty of nothing but what is countenanced by the example of the Europeans themselves.

But this friendly intercourse was, in appearance, soon broken; for, on the next day, observing the Moors making signals from the land, they sent out their boat, as before, to fetch them to the ship, and one John Fry leaped ashore, intending to become a hostage, as on the former day, when immediately he was seized by the Moors; and the crew, observing great numbers to start up from behind the rock, with weapons in their hands, found it madness to attempt his rescue, and, therefore, provided for their own security by returning to the ship.

Fry was immediately carried to the king, who, being then in continual expectation of an invasion from Portugal, suspected that these ships were sent only to observe the coast, and discover a proper harbour for the main fleet; but being informed who they were, and whither they were bound, not only dismissed his captive, but made large offers of friendship and assistance, which Drake, however, did not stay to receive, but, being disgusted at this breach of the laws of commerce, and afraid of further violence, after having spent some days in searching for his man, in which he met with no resistance, left the coast on December 31, some time before Fry's return, who, being obliged by this accident to somewhat a longer residence among the Moors, was afterwards sent home in a merchant's ship.

On January 16, they arrived at cape Blanc, having in their passage taken several Spanish vessels. Here, while Drake was employing his men in catching fish, of which this coast affords great plenty, and various kinds, the inhabitants came down to the seaside with their alisorges, or leather bottles, to traffick for water, which they were willing to purchase with ambergris and other gums. But Drake, compassionating the misery of their condition, gave them water, whenever they asked for it, and left them their commodities to traffick with, when they should be again reduced to the same distress, without finding the same generosity to relieve them.

Here, having discharged some Spanish ships, which they had taken, they set sail towards the isles of cape Verd, and, on January 28, came to anchor before Mayo, hoping to furnish themselves with fresh water; but having landed, they found the town by the waterside entirely deserted, and, marching further up the country, saw the valleys extremely fruitful, and abounding with ripe figs, cocoas, and plantains, but could by no means prevail upon the inhabitants to converse or traffick with them; however, they were suffered by them to range the country without molestation, but found no water, except at such a distance from the sea, that the labour of conveying it to the ships was greater than it was, at that time, necessary for them to undergo. Salt, had they wanted it, might have been obtained with less trouble, being left by the sea upon the sand, and hardened by the sun during the ebb, in such quantities, that the chief traffick of their island is carried on with it.

January 31, they passed by St. Jago an island at that time divided between the natives and the Portuguese, who, first entering these islands under the show of traffick, by degrees established themselves;—claimed a superiority over the original inhabitants; and harassed them with such cruelty, that they obliged them either to fly to the woods and mountains, and perish with hunger, or to take up arms against their oppressors, and, under the insuperable disadvantages with which they contended, to die, almost without a battle, in defence of their natural rights and ancient possessions.

Such treatment had the natives of St. Jago received, which had driven them into the rocky parts of the island, from whence they made incursions into the plantations of the Portuguese, sometimes with loss, but generally with that success which desperation naturally procures; so that the Portuguese were in continual alarms, and, lived, with the natural consequences of guilt, terrour, and anxiety. They were wealthy, but not happy, and possessed the island, but not enjoyed it.

They then sailed on within sight of Fuego, an island so called from a mountain, about the middle of it, continually burning, and, like the rest, inhabited by the Portuguese; two leagues to the south of which lies Brava, which has received its name from its fertility, abounding, though uninhabited, with all kinds of fruits, and watered with great numbers of springs and brooks, which would easily invite the possessours of the adjacent islands to settle in it, but that it affords neither harbour nor anchorage. Drake, after having sent out his boats with plummets, was not able to find any ground about it; and it is reported, that many experiments have been made with the same success; however, he took in water sufficient, and, on the 2nd of February, set sail for the straits of Magellan.

On February 17, they passed the equator, and continued their voyage, with sometimes calms, and sometimes contrary winds, but without any memorable accident, to March 28, when one of their vessels, with twenty-eight men, and the greatest part of their fresh water on board, was, to their great discouragement, separated from them; but their perplexity lasted not long, for on the next day they discovered and rejoined their associates.

In their long course, which gave them opportunities of observing several animals, both in the air and water, at that time very little known, nothing entertained or surprised them more than the flying fish, which is near of the same size with a herring, and has fins of the length of his whole body, by the help of which, when he is pursued by the bonito or great mackerel, as soon as he finds himself upon the point of being taken, he springs up into the air, and flies forward, as long as his wings continue wet, moisture being, as it seems, necessary to make them pliant and moveable; and when they become dry and stiff, he falls down into the water, unless some bark or ship intercept him, and dips them again for a second flight. This unhappy animal is not only pursued by fishes in his natural element, but attacked in the air, where he hopes for security, by the don, or sparkite, a great bird that preys upon fish; and their species must surely be destroyed, were not their increase so great, that the young fry, in one part of the year, covers the sea.

There is another fish, named the cuttle, of which whole shoals will sometimes rise at once out of the water, and of which a great multitude fell into their ship.

At length, having sailed without sight of land for sixty-three days, they arrived, April 5, at the coast of Brasil, where, on the 7th, the Christopher was separated again from them by a storm; after which they sailed near the land to the southward, and, on the 14th, anchored under a cape, which they afterwards called cape Joy, because in two days the vessel which they had lost returned to them.

Having spent a fortnight in the river of Plata, to refresh his men, after their long voyage, and then standing out to sea, he was again surprised by a sudden storm, in which they lost sight of the Swan. This accident determined Drake to contract the number of his fleet, that he might not only avoid the inconvenience of such frequent separations, but ease the labour of his men, by having more hands in each vessel.

For this purpose he sailed along the coast, in quest of a commodious harbour, and, on May 13, discovered a bay, which seemed not improper for their purpose, but which they durst not enter, till it was examined; an employment in which Drake never trusted any, whatever might be his confidence in his followers on other occasions. He well knew how fatal one moment's inattention might be, and how easily almost every man suffers himself to be surprised by indolence and security. He knew the same credulity, that might prevail upon him to trust another, might induce another to commit the same office to a third; and it must be, at length, that some of them would be deceived. He, therefore, as at other times, ordered the boat to be hoisted out, and, taking the line into his hand, went on sounding the passage, till he was three leagues from his ship; when, on a sudden, the weather changed, the skies blackened, the winds whistled, and all the usual forerunners of a storm began to threaten them; nothing was now desired but to return to the ship, but the thickness of the fog intercepting it from their sight, made the attempt little other than desperate. By so many unforeseen accidents is prudence itself liable to be embarrassed! So difficult is it, sometimes, for the quickest sagacity, and most enlightened experience, to judge what measures ought to be taken! To trust another to sound an unknown coast, appeared to Drake folly and presumption; to be absent from his fleet, though but for an hour, proved nothing less than to hazard the success of all their labours, hardships, and dangers.

In this perplexity, which Drake was not more sensible of than those whom he had left in the ships, nothing was to be omitted, however dangerous, that might contribute to extricate them from it, as they could venture nothing of equal value with the life of their general. Captain Thomas, therefore, having the lightest vessel, steered boldly into the bay, and taking the general aboard, dropped anchor, and lay out of danger, while the rest, that were in the open sea, suffered much from the tempest, and the Mary, a Portuguese prize, was driven away before the wind; the others, as soon as the tempest was over, discovering, by the fires which were made on shore, where Drake was, repaired to him.

Here, going on shore, they met with no inhabitants, though there were several houses or huts standing, in which they found a good quantity of dried fowls, and among them a great number of ostriches, of which the thighs were as large as those of a sheep. These birds are too heavy and unwieldy to rise from the ground, but with the help of their wings run so swiftly, that the English could never come near enough to shoot at them. The Indians, commonly, by holding a large plume of feathers before them, and walking gently forward, drive the ostriches into some narrow neck, or point of land, then, spreading a strong net from one side to the other, to hinder them from returning back to the open fields, set their dogs upon them, thus confined between the net and the water, and when they are thrown on their backs, rush in and take them.

Not finding this harbour convenient, or well stored with wood and water, they left it on the 15th of May, and, on the 18th, entered another much safer, and more commodious, which they no sooner arrived at, than Drake, whose restless application never remitted, sent Winter to the southward, in quest of those ships which were absent, and immediately after sailed himself to the northward, and, happily meeting with the Swan, conducted it to the rest of the fleet; after which, in pursuance of his former resolution, he ordered it to be broken up, reserving the iron-work for a future supply. The other vessel, which they lost in the late storm, could not be discovered.

While they were thus employed upon an island about a mile from the mainland, to which, at low water, there was a passage on foot, they were discovered by the natives, who appeared upon a hill at a distance, dancing and holding up their hands, as beckoning the English to them; which Drake observing, sent out a boat, with knives, bells, and bugles, and such things as, by their usefulness or novelty, he imagined would be agreeable. As soon as the English landed, they observed two men running towards them, as deputed by the company, who came within a little distance, and then standing still could not be prevailed upon to come nearer. The English, therefore, tied their presents to a pole, which they fixed in the ground, and then retiring, saw the Indians advance, who, taking what they found upon the pole, left in return such feathers as they wear upon their heads, with a small bone about six inches in length, carved round the top, and burnished.

Drake, observing their inclination to friendship and traffick, advanced, with some of his company, towards the hill, upon sight of whom the Indians ranged themselves in a line from east to west, and one of them running from one end of the rank to the other, backwards and forwards, bowed himself towards the rising and setting of the sun, holding his hands over his head, and frequently stopping in the middle of the rank, leaping up towards the moon, which then shone directly over their heads; thus calling the sun and moon, the deities they worship, to witness the sincerity of their professions of peace and friendship. While this ceremony was performed, Drake and his company ascended the hill, to the apparent terrour of the Indians, whose apprehensions, when the English perceived, they peaceably retired, which gave the natives so much encouragement, that they came forward immediately, and exchanged their arrows, feathers, and bones, for such trifles as were offered them.

Thus they traded for some time; but, by frequent intercourse, finding that no violence was intended, they became familiar, and mingled with the English without the least distrust.

They go quite naked, except a skin of some animal, which they throw over their shoulders when they lie in the open air. They knit up their hair, which is very long, with a roll of ostrich feathers, and usually carry their arrows wrapped up brit, that they may not encumber them, they being made with reeds, headed with flint, and, therefore, not heavy. Their bows are about an ell long.

Their chief ornament is paint, which they use of several kinds, delineating generally upon their bodies, the figures of the sun and moon, in honour of their deities.

It is observable, that most nations, amongst whom the use of clothes is unknown, paint their bodies. Such was the practice of the first inhabitants of our own country. From this custom did our earliest enemies, the Picts, owe their denomination. As it is not probable that caprice or fancy should be uniform, there must be, doubtless, some reason for a practice so general and prevailing in distant parts of the world, which have no communication with each other. The original end of painting their bodies was, probably, to exclude the cold; an end which, if we believe some relations, is so effectually produced by it, that the men thus painted never shiver at the most piercing blasts. But, doubtless, any people, so hardened by continual severities, would, even without paint, be less sensible of the cold than the civilized inhabitants of the same climate. However, this practice may contribute, in some degree, to defend them from the injuries of winter; and, in those climates where little evaporates by the pores, may be used with no great inconvenience; but in hot countries, where perspiration in greater degree is necessary, the natives only use unction to preserve them from the other extreme of weather: so well do either reason or experience supply the place of science in savage countries.

They had no canoes, like the other Indians, nor any method of crossing the water, which was, probably, the reason why the birds, in the adjacent islands, were so tame that they might be taken with the hand, having never been before frighted or molested. The great plenty of fowls and seals, which crowded the shallows in such numbers that they killed, at their first arrival, two hundred of them in an hour, contributed much to the refreshment of the English, who named the place Seal bay, from that animal.

These seals seem to be the chief food of the natives, for the English often found raw pieces of their flesh half eaten, and left, as they supposed, after a full meal, by the Indians, whom they never knew to make use of fire, or any art, in dressing or preparing their victuals.

Nor were their other customs less wild or uncouth than their way of feeding; one of them having received a cap off the general's head, and being extremely pleased, as well with the honour as the gift, to express his gratitude, and confirm the alliance between them, retired to a little distance, and thrusting an arrow into his leg, let the blood run upon the ground, testifying, as it is probable, that he valued Drake's friendship above life.

Having stayed fifteen days among these friendly savages, in 47 deg. 30 min. s. lat. on June 3 they set sail towards the south sea, and, six days afterwards, stopped at another little bay, to break up the Christopher. Then passing on, they cast anchor in another bay, not more than twenty leagues distant from the straits of Magellan.

It was now time seriously to deliberate in what manner they should act with regard to the Portuguese prize, which, having been separated from them by the storm, had not yet rejoined them. To return in search of it, was sufficiently mortifying; to proceed without it, was not only to deprive themselves of a considerable part of their force, but to expose their friends and companions, whom common hardships and dangers had endeared to them, to certain death or captivity. This consideration prevailed; and, therefore, on the 18th, after prayers to God, with which Drake never forgot to begin an enterprise, he put to sea, and, the next day, near port Julian, discovered their associates, whose ship was now grown leaky, having suffered much, both in the first storm, by which they were dispersed, and, afterwards, in fruitless attempts to regain the fleet.

Drake, therefore, being desirous to relieve their fatigues, entered port Julian, and, as it was his custom always to attend in person, when any important business was in hand, went ashore, with some of the chief of his company, to seek for water, where he was immediately accosted by two natives, of whom Magellan left a very terrible account, having described them, as a nation of giants and monsters; nor is his narrative entirely without foundation, for they are of the largest size, though not taller than some Englishmen; their strength is proportioned to their bulk, and their voice loud, boisterous, and terrible. What were their manners before the arrival of the Spaniards, it is not possible to discover; but the slaughter made of their countrymen, perhaps without provocation, by these cruel intruders, and the general massacre with which that part of the world had been depopulated, might have raised in them a suspicion of all strangers, and, by consequence, made them inhospitable, treacherous, and bloody.

The two who associated themselves with the English appeared much pleased with their new guests, received willingly what was given them, and very exactly observed every thing that passed, seeming more particularly delighted with seeing Oliver, the master-gunner, shoot an English arrow. They shot themselves, likewise, in emulation, but their arrows always fell to the ground far short of his.

Soon after this friendly contest came another, who, observing the familiarity of his countrymen with the strangers, appeared much displeased, and, as the Englishmen perceived, endeavoured to dissuade them from such an intercourse. What effect his arguments had was soon after apparent, for another of Drake's companions, being desirous to show the third Indian a specimen of the English valour and dexterity, attempted, likewise, to shoot an arrow, but drawing it with his full force, burst the bowstring; upon which the Indians, who were unacquainted with their other weapons, imagined him disarmed, followed the company, as they were walking negligently down towards their boat, and let fly their arrows, aiming particularly at Winter, who had the bow in his hand. He, finding himself wounded in the shoulder, endeavoured to refit his bow, and, turning about, was pierced with a second arrow in the breast. Oliver, the gunner, immediately presented his piece at the insidious assailants, which failing to take fire, gave them time to level another flight of arrows by which he was killed; nor, perhaps, had any of them escaped, surprised and perplexed as they were, had not Drake, with his usual presence of mind, animated their courage, and directed their motions, ordering them, by perpetually changing their places, to elude, as much as they could, the aim of their enemies, and to defend their bodies with their targets; and instructing them, by his own example, to pick up, and break the arrows as they fell; which they did with so much diligence, that the Indians were soon in danger of being disarmed. Then Drake himself taking the gun, which Oliver had so unsuccessfully attempted to make use of, discharged it at the Indian that first began the fray and had killed the gunner, aiming it so happily, that the hailshot, with which it was loaded, tore open his belly, and forced him to such terrible outcries, that the Indians, though their numbers increased, and many of their countrymen showed themselves from different parts of the adjoining wood, were too much terrified to renew the assault, and suffered Drake, without molestation, to withdraw his wounded friend, who, being hurt in his lungs, languished two days, and then dying, was interred with his companion, with the usual ceremony of a military funeral.

They stayed here two months afterwards, without receiving any other injuries from the natives, who, finding the danger to which they exposed themselves by open hostilities, and, not being able any more to surprise the vigilance of Drake, preferred their safety to revenge.

But Drake had other enemies to conquer or escape far more formidable than these barbarians, and insidious practices to obviate, more artful and dangerous than the ambushes of the Indians; for in this place was laid open a design formed by one of the gentlemen of the fleet, not only to defeat the voyage, but to murder the general.

This transaction is related in so obscure and confused a manner, that it is difficult to form any judgment upon it. The writer who gives the largest account of it, has suppressed the name of the criminal, which we learn, from a more succinct narrative, published in a collection of travels near that time, to have been Thomas Doughtie. What were his inducements to attempt the destruction of his leader, and the ruin of the expedition, or what were his views, if his design had succeeded, what measures he had hitherto taken, whom he had endeavoured to corjupt, with what arts, or what success, we are nowhere told.

The plot, as the narrative assures us, was laid before their departure from England, and discovered, in its whole extent, to Drake himself, in his garden at Plymouth, who, nevertheless, not only entertained the person so accused, as one of his company, but this writer very particularly relates, treated him with remarkable kindness and regard, setting him always at his own table, and lodged him in the same cabin with himself. Nor did ever he discover the least suspicion of his intentions, till they arrived at this place, but appeared, by the authority with which he invested him, to consider him, as one to whom, in his absence, he could most securely intrust the direction of his affairs. At length, in this remote corner of the world, he found out a design formed against his life, called together all his officers, laid before them the evidence on which he grounded the accusation, and summoned the criminal, who, full of all the horrours of guilt, and confounded at so clear a detection of his whole scheme, immediately confessed his crimes, and acknowledged himself unworthy of longer life; upon which the whole assembly, consisting of thirty persons, after having considered the affair with the attention which it required, and heard all that could be urged in extenuation of his offence, unanimously signed the sentence by which he was condemned to suffer death. Drake, however, unwilling, as it seemed, to proceed to extreme severities, offered him his choice, either of being executed on the island, or set ashore on the mainland, or being sent to England to be tried before the council; of which, after a day's consideration, he chose the first, alleging the improbability of persuading any to leave the expedition, for the sake of transporting a criminal to England, and the danger of his future state among savages and infidels. His choice, I believe, few will approve: to be set ashore on the mainland, was, indeed, only to be executed in a different manner; for what mercy could be expected from the natives so incensed, but the most cruel and lingering death! But why he should not rather have requested to be sent to England, it is not so easy to conceive. In so long a voyage he might have found a thousand opportunities of escaping, perhaps with the connivance of his keepers, whose resentment must probably in time have given way to compassion, or, at least, by their negligence, as it is easy to believe they would, in times of ease and refreshment, have remitted their vigilance; at least he would have gained longer life; and, to make death desirable, seems not one of the effects of guilt. However, he was, as it is related, obstinately deaf to all persuasions, and, adhering to his first choice, after having received the communion, and dined cheerfully with the general, was executed in the afternoon, with many proofs of remorse, but none of fear.

How far it is probable that Drake, after having been acquainted with this man's designs, should admit him into his fleet, and afterwards caress, respect, and trust him; or that Doughtie, who is represented as a man of eminent abilities, should engage in so long and hazardous a voyage, with no other view than that of defeating it; is left to the determination of the reader. What designs he could have formed, with any hope of success, or to what actions, worthy of death, he could have proceeded without accomplices, for none are mentioned, is equally difficult to imagine. Nor, on the other hand, though the obscurity of the account, and the remote place chosen for the discovery of this wicked project, seem to give some reason for suspicion, does there appear any temptation, from either hope, fear, or interest, that might induce Drake, or any commander in his state, to put to death an innocent man upon false pretences.

After the execution of this man, the whole company, either convinced of the justice of the proceeding, or awed by the severity, applied themselves, without any murmurs, or appearance of discontent, to the prosecution of the voyage; and, having broken up another vessel, and reduced the number of their ships to three, they left the port, and, on August the 20th, entered the straits of Magellan, in which they struggled with contrary winds, and the various dangers to which the intricacy of that winding passage exposed them, till night, and then entered a more open sea, in which they discovered an island with a burning mountain. On the 24th they fell in with three more islands, to which Drake gave names, and, landing to take possession of them in the name of his sovereign, found in the largest so prodigious a number of birds, that they killed three thousand of them in one day. This bird, of which they knew not the name, was somewhat less than a wild goose, without feathers, and covered with a kind of down, unable to fly or rise from the ground, but capable of running and swimming with amazing celerity; they feed on the sea, and come to land only to rest at night, or lay their eggs, which they deposit in holes like those of conies.

From these islands to the south sea, the strait becomes very crooked and narrow, so that sometimes, by the interposition of headlands, the passage seems shut up, and the voyage entirely stopped. To double these capes is very difficult, on account of the frequent alterations to be made in the course. There are, indeed, as Magellan observes, many harbours, but in most of them no bottom is to be found.

The land, on both sides, rises into innumerable mountains; the tops of them are encircled with clouds and vapours, which, being congealed, fall down in snow, and increase their height by hardening into ice, which is never dissolved; but the valleys are, nevertheless, green, fruitful, and pleasant.

Here Drake, finding the strait, in appearance, shut up, went in his boat to make further discoveries; and having found a passage towards the north, was returning to his ships; but curiosity soon prevailed upon him to stop, for the sake of observing a canoe or boat, with several natives of the country in it. He could not, at a distance, forbear admiring the form of this little vessel, which seemed inclining to a semicircle, the stern and prow standing up, and the body sinking inward; but much greater was his wonder, when, upon a nearer inspection, he found it made only of the barks of trees, sewed together with thongs of sealskin, so artificially, that scarcely any water entered the seams. The people were well shaped and painted, like those which have been already described. On the land they had a hut built with poles, and covered with skins, in which they had water-vessels, and other utensils, made likewise of the barks of trees.

Among these people they had an opportunity of remarking, what is frequently observable in savage countries, how natural sagacity and unwearied industry may supply the want of such manufactures or natural productions, as appear to us absolutely necessary for the support of life. The inhabitants of these islands are wholly strangers to iron and its use, but, instead of it, make use of the shell of a muscle of prodigious size, found upon their coasts; this they grind upon a stone to an edge, which is so firm and solid, that neither wood nor stone is able to resist it.

September 6, they entered the great south sea, on which no English vessel had ever been navigated before, and proposed to have directed their course towards the line, that their men, who had suffered by the severity of the climate, might recover their strength in a warmer latitude. But their designs were scarce formed, before they were frustrated; for, on Sept. 7, after an eclipse of the moon, a storm arose, so violent, that it left them little hopes of surviving it; nor was its fury so dreadful as its continuance; for it lasted, with little intermission, till October 28, fifty-two days, during which time they were tossed incessantly from one part of the ocean to another, without any power of spreading their sails, or lying upon their anchors, amidst shelving shores, scattered rocks, and unknown islands, the tempest continually roaring, and the waves dashing over them.

In this storm, on the 30th of September, the Marigold, commanded by captain Thomas, was separated from them. On the 7th of October, having entered a harbour, where they hoped for some intermission of their fatigues, they were, in a few hours, forced out to sea by a violent gust, which broke the cable, at which time they lost sight of the Elizabeth, the viceadmiral, whose crew, as was afterwards discovered, wearied with labour, and discouraged by the prospect of future dangers, recovered the straits on the next day, and, returning by the same passage through which they came, sailed along the coast of Brasil, and on the 2nd of June, in the year following, arrived at England.

From this bay they were driven southward to fifty-five degrees, where, among some islands, they stayed two days, to the great refreshment of the crew; but, being again forced into the main sea, they were tossed about with perpetual expectation of perishing, till, soon after, they again came to anchor near the same place, where they found the natives, whom the continuance of the storm had probably reduced to equal distress, rowing from one island to another, and providing the necessaries of life.

It is, perhaps, a just observation, that, with regard to outward circumstances, happiness and misery are equally diffused through all states of human life. In civilized countries, where regular policies have secured the necessaries of life, ambition, avarice, and luxury, find the mind at leisure for their reception, and soon engage it in new pursuits; pursuits that are to be carried on by incessant labour, and, whether vain or successful, produce anxiety and contention. Among savage nations, imaginary wants find, indeed, no place; but their strength is exhausted by necessary toils, and their passions agitated not by contests about superiority, affluence, or precedence, but by perpetual care for the present day, and by fear of perishing for want of food.

But for such reflections as these they had no time; for, having spent three days in supplying themselves with wood and water, they were, by a new storm, driven to the latitude of fifty-six degrees, where they beheld the extremities of the American coast, and the confluence of the Atlantick and southern ocean.

Here they arrived on the 28th of October, and, at last, were blessed with the sight of a calm sea, having, for almost two months, endured such a storm as no traveller has given an account of, and such as, in that part of the world, though accustomed to hurricanes, they were before unacquainted with.

On the 30th of October, they steered away towards the place appointed for the rendezvous of the fleet, which was in thirty degrees; and, on the next day, discovered two islands, so well stocked with fowls, that they victualled their ships with them, and then sailed forward along the coast of Peru, till they came to thirty-seven degrees, where, finding neither of their ships, nor any convenient port, they came to anchor, November the 25th, at Mucho, an island inhabited by such Indians, as the cruelty of the Spanish conquerors had driven from the continent, to whom they applied for water and provisions, offering them, in return, such things as they imagined most likely to please them. The Indians seemed willing to traffick, and having presented them with fruits, and two fat sheep, would have showed them a place whither they should come for water.

The next morning, according to agreement, the English landed with their water-vessels, and sent two men forward towards the place appointed, who, about the middle of the way, were suddenly attacked by the Indians, and immediately slain. Nor were the rest of the company out of danger; for behind the rocks was lodged an ambush of five hundred men, who, starting up from their retreat, discharged their arrows into the boat with such dexterity, that every one of the crew was wounded by them, the sea being then high, and hindering them from either retiring or making use of their weapons. Drake himself received an arrow under his eye, which pierced him almost to the brain, and another in his head. The danger of these wounds was much increased by the absence of their surgeon, who was in the viceadmiral, so that they had none to assist them but a boy, whose age did not admit of much experience or skill; yet so much were they favoured by providence, that they all recovered.

No reason could be assigned for which the Indians should attack them with so furious a spirit of malignity, but that they mistook them for Spaniards, whose cruelties might very reasonably incite them to revenge, whom they had driven by incessant persecution from their country, wasting immense tracts of land by massacre and devastation.

On the afternoon of the same day, they set sail, and, on the 30th of November, dropped anchor in Philips bay, where their boat, having been sent out to discover the country, returned with an Indian in his canoe, whom they had intercepted. He was of a graceful stature, dressed in a white coat or gown, reaching almost to his knees, very mild, humble, and docile, such as, perhaps, were all the Indians, till the Spaniards taught them revenge, treachery, and cruelty.

This Indian, having been kindly treated, was dismissed with presents, and informed, as far as the English could make him understand, what they chiefly wanted, and what they were willing to give in return, Drake ordering his boat to attend him in his canoe, and to set him safe on the land.

When he was ashore, he directed them to wait till his return, and meeting some of his countrymen, gave them such an account of his reception, that, within a few hours, several of them repaired with him to the boat with fowls, eggs, and a hog, and with them one of their captains, who willingly came into the boat, and desired to be conveyed by the English to the ship.

By this man Drake was informed, that no supplies were to be expected here, but that southward, in a place to which he offered to be his pilot, there was great plenty. This proposal was accepted, and, on the 5th of December, under the direction of the good-natured Indian, they came to anchor in the harbour called, by the Spaniards, Valparaiso, near the town of St. James of Chiuli, where they met not only with sufficient stores of provision, and with storehouses full of the wines of Chili, but with a ship called the Captain of Morial, richly laden, having, together with large quantities of the same wines, some of the fine gold of Baldivia, and a great cross of gold set with emeralds.

Having spent three days in storing their ships with all kinds of provision in the utmost plenty, they departed, and landed their Indian pilot where they first received him, after having rewarded him much above his expectations or desires.

They had now little other anxiety than for their friends who had been separated from them, and whom they now determined to seek; but considering that, by entering every creek and harbour with their ship, they exposed themselves to unnecessary dangers, and that their boat would not contain such a number as might defend themselves against, the Spaniards, they determined to station their ship at some place, where they might commodiously build a pinnace, which, being of light burden, might easily sail where the ship was in danger of being stranded, and, at the same time, might carry a sufficient force to resist the enemy, and afford better accommodation than could be expected in the boat.

To this end, on the 19th of December, they entered a bay near Cippo, a town inhabited by Spaniards, who, discovering them, immediately issued out, to the number of a hundred horsemen, with about two hundred naked Indians running by their sides. The English, observing their approach, retired to their boat, without any loss, except of one man, whom no persuasions or entreaties could move to retire with the rest, and who, therefore, was shot by the Spaniards, who, exulting at the victory, commanded the Indians to draw the dead carcass from the rock on which he fell, and, in the sight of the English, beheaded it, then cut off the right hand, and tore out the heart, which they carried away, having first commanded the Indians to shoot their arrows all over the body. The arrows of the Indians were made of green wood, for the immediate service of the day; the Spaniards, with the fear that always harasses oppressors, forbidding them to have any weapons, when they do not want their present assistance.

Leaving this place, they soon found a harbour more secure and convenient, where they built their pinnace, in which Drake went to seek his companions; but, finding the wind contrary, he was obliged to return in two days.

Leaving this place soon after, they sailed along the coast in search of fresh water, and landing at Turapaca, they found a Spaniard asleep, with silver bars lying by him, to the value of three thousand ducats: not all the insults which they had received from his countrymen could provoke them to offer any violence to his person, and, therefore, they carried away his treasure, without doing him any further harm.

Landing in another place, they found a Spaniard driving eight Peruvian sheep, which are the beasts of burden in that country, each laden with a hundred pounds weight of silver, which they seized, likewise, and drove to their boats.

Further along the coast lay some Indian towns, from which the inhabitants repaired to the ship, on floats made of sealskins, blown full of wind, two of which they fasten together, and, sitting between them, row with great swiftness, and carry considerable burdens. They very readily traded for glass and such trifles, with which the old and the young seemed equally delighted.

Arriving at Mormorena, on the 26th of January, Drake invited the Spaniards to traffick with him, which they agreed to, and supplied him with necessaries, selling to him, among other provisions, some of those sheep which have been mentioned, whose bulk is equal to that of a cow, and whose strength is such, that one of them can carry three tall men upon his back; their necks are like a camel's, and their heads like those of our sheep. They are the most useful animals of this country, not only affording excellent fleeces and wholesome flesh, but serving as carriages over rocks and mountains, where no other beast can travel, for their foot is of a peculiar form, which enables them to tread firm in the most steep and slippery places.

On all this coast, the whole soil is so impregnated with silver, that five ounces may be separated from a hundred pound weight of common earth.

Still coasting, in hopes of meeting their friends, they anchored, on the 7th of February, before Aria, where they took two barks, with about eight hundred pound weight of silver, and, pursuing their course, seized another vessel, laden with linens.

On the 15th of February, 1578, they arrived at Lima, and entered the harbour without resistance, though thirty ships were stationed there, of which seventeen were equipped for their voyage, and many of them are represented in the narrative as vessels of considerable force; so that their security seems to have consisted, not in their strength, but in their reputation, which had so intimidated the Spaniards, that the sight of their own superiority could not rouse them to opposition. Instances of such panick terrours are to be met with in other relations; but as they are, for the most part, quickly dissipated by reason and reflection, a wise commander will rarely found his hopes of success on them; and, perhaps, on this occasion, the Spaniards scarcely deserve a severer censure for their cowardice, than Drake for his temerity.

In one of these ships they found fifteen hundred bars of silver; in another a chest of money; and very rich lading in many of the rest, of which the Spaniards tamely suffered them to carry the most valuable part away, and would have permitted them no less peaceably to burn their ships; but Drake never made war with a spirit of cruelty or revenge, or carried hostilities further than was necessary for his own advantage or defence.

They set sail the next morning towards Panama, in quest of the Caca Fuego, a very rich ship, which had sailed fourteen days before, bound thither from Lima, which they overtook, on the 1st of March, near cape Francisco, and, boarding it, found not only a quantity of jewels, and twelve chests of ryals of plate, but eighty pounds weight of gold, and twenty-six tons of uncoined silver, with pieces of wrought plate to a great value. In unlading this prize they spent six days, and then, dismissing the Spaniards, Stood off to sea.

Being now sufficiently enriched, and having lost all hopes of finding their associates, and, perhaps, beginning to be infected with that desire of ease and pleasure, which is the natural consequence of wealth obtained by dangers and fatigues, they began to consult about their return home, and, in pursuance of Drake's advice, resolved first to find out some convenient harbour, where they might supply themselves with wood and water, and then endeavour to discover a passage from the south sea into the Atlantick ocean; a discovery, which would not only enable them to return home with less danger, and in a shorter time, but would much facilitate the navigation in those parts of the world.

For this purpose they had recourse to a port in the island of Caines, where they met with fish, wood, and fresh water; and, in their course, took a ship, laden with silk and linen, which was the last that they met with on the coast of America.

But being desirous of storing themselves for a long course, they touched, April the 15th, at Guatulco, a Spanish island, where they supplied themselves with provisions, and seized a bushel of ryals of silver.

From Guatulco, which lies in 15 deg. 40 min. they stood out to sea, and, without approaching any land, sailed forward, till, on the night following, the 3rd of June, being then in the latitude of thirty-eight degrees, they were suddenly benumbed with such cold blasts, that they were scarcely able to handle the ropes. This cold increased upon them, as they proceeded, to such a degree, that the sailors were discouraged from mounting upon the deck; nor were the effects of the climate to be imputed to the warmth of the regions to which they had been lately accustomed, for the ropes were stiff with frost, and the meat could scarcely be conveyed warm to the table.

On June 17th, they came to anchor in 38 deg. 30 min. when they saw the land naked, and the trees without leaves, and in a short time had opportunities of observing, that the natives of that country were not less sensible of the cold than themselves; for the next day came a man rowing in his canoe towards the ship, and at a distance from it made a long oration, with very extraordinary gesticulations, and great appearance of vehemence, and, a little time afterwards, made a second visit, in the same manner, and then returning a third time, he presented them, after his harangue was finished, with a kind of crown of black feathers, such as their kings wear upon their heads, and a basket of rushes, filled with a particular herb, both which he fastened to a short stick, and threw into the boat; nor could he be prevailed upon to receive any thing in return, though pushed towards him upon a board; only he took up a hat, which was flung into the water.

Three days afterwards, their ship, having received some damage at sea, was brought nearer to land, that the lading might be taken out. In order to which, the English, who had now learned not too negligently to commit their lives to the mercy of savage nations, raised a kind of fortification with stones, and built their tents within it. All this was not beheld by the inhabitants without the utmost astonishment, which incited them to come down in crowds to the coast, with no other view, as it appeared, than to worship the new divinities that had condescended to touch upon their country.

Drake was far from countenancing their errours, or taking advantage of their weakness, to injure or molest them; and, therefore, having directed them to lay aside their bows and arrows, he presented them with linen, and other necessaries, of which he showed them the use. They then returned to their habitations, about three quarters of a mile from the English camp, where they made such loud and violent outcries, that they were heard by the English, who found that they still persisted in their first notions, and were paying them their kind of melancholy adoration.

Two days afterwards they perceived the approach of a far more numerous company, who stopped at the top of a hill, which overlooked the English settlement, while one of them made a long oration, at the end of which all the assembly bowed their bodies, and pronounced the syllable oh, with a solemn tone, as by way of confirmation of what had been said by the orator. Then the men, laying down their bows, and leaving the women and children on the top of the hill, came down towards the tents, and seemed transported, in the highest degree, at the kindness of the general, who received their gifts, and admitted them to his presence. The women at a distance appeared seized with a kind of phrensy, such as that of old among the pagans in some of their religious ceremonies, and in honour, as it seemed, of their guests, tore their cheeks and bosoms with their nails, and threw themselves upon the stones with their naked bodies, till they were covered with blood.

These cruel rites, and mistaken honours, were by no means agreeable to Drake, whose predominant sentiments were notions of piety, and, therefore, not to make that criminal in himself by his concurrence, which, perhaps, ignorance might make guiltless in them, he ordered his whole company to fall upon their knees, and, with their eyes lifted up to heaven, that the savages might observe that their worship was addressed to a being residing there, they all joined in praying that this harmless and deluded people might be brought to the knowledge of the true religion, and the doctrines of our blessed Saviour; after which they sung psalms, a performance so pleasing to their wild audience, that, in all their visits, they generally first accosted them with a request that they would sing. They then returned all the presents which they had received, and retired.

Three days after this, on June 25, 1579, our general received two ambassadours from the hioh, or king of the country, who, intending to visit the camp, required that some token might be sent him of friendship and peace; this request was readily complied with, and soon after came the king, attended by a guard of about a hundred tall men, and preceded by an officer of state, who carried a sceptre made of black wood, adorned with chains of a kind of bone or horn, which are marks of the highest honour among them, and having two crowns, made as before, with feathers fastened to it, with a bag of the same herb, which was presented to Drake at his first arrival.

Behind him was the king himself, dressed in a coat of cony-skins, with a caul, woven with feathers, upon his head, an ornament so much in estimation there, that none but the domesticks of the king are allowed to wear it; his attendants followed him, adorned nearly in the same manner; and after them came the common people, with baskets plaited so artificially that they held water, in which, by way of sacrifice, they brought roots and fish.

Drake, not lulled into security, ranged his men in order of battle, and waited their approach, who, coming nearer, stood still, while the sceptre-bearer made an oration, at the conclusion of which they again came forward to the foot of the hill, and then the sceptre-bearer began a song, which he accompanied with a dance, in both which the men joined, but the women danced without singing.

Drake now, distrusting them no longer, admitted them into his fortification, where they continued their song and dance a short time; and then both the king, and some others of the company, made long harangues, in which it appeared, by the rest of their behaviour, that they entreated him to accept of their country, and to take the government of it into his own hands; for the king, with the apparent concurrence of the rest, placed the crown upon his head, graced him with the chains and other signs of authority, and saluted him with the title of hioh.

The kingdom thus offered, though of no further value to him than as it furnished him with present necessaries, Drake thought it not prudent to refuse; and, therefore, took possession of it in the name of queen Elizabeth, not without ardent wishes, that this acquisition might have been of use to his native country, and that so mild and innocent a people might have been united to the church of Christ.

The kingdom being thus consigned, and the grand affair at an end, the common people left their king and his domesticks with Drake, and dispersed themselves over the camp; and when they saw any one that pleased them by his appearance more than the rest, they tore their flesh, and vented their outcries as before, in token of reverence and admiration.

They then proceeded to show them their wounds and diseases, in hopes of a miraculous and instantaneous cure; to which the English, to benefit and undeceive them at the same time, applied such remedies as they used on the like occasions.

They were now grown confident and familiar, and came down to the camp every day, repeating their ceremonies and sacrifices, till they were more fully informed how disagreeable they were to those whose favour they were so studious of obtaining: they then visited them without adoration, indeed, but with a curiosity so ardent, that it left them no leisure to provide the necessaries of life, with which the English were, therefore, obliged to supply them.

They had then sufficient opportunity to remark the customs and dispositions of these new allies, whom they found tractable and benevolent, strong of body, far beyond the English, yet unfurnished with weapons, either for assault or defence, their bows being too weak for any thing but sport. Their dexterity in taking fish was such, that, if they saw them so near the shore that they could come to them without swimming, they never missed them.

The same curiosity that had brought them in such crowds to the shore, now induced Drake, and some of his company, to travel up into the country, which they found, at some distance from the coast, very fruitful, filled with large deer, and abounding with a peculiar kind of conies, smaller than ours, with tails like that of a rat, and paws such as those of a mole; they have bags under their chin, in which they carry provisions to their young.

The houses of the inhabitants are round holes dug in the ground, from the brink of which they raise rafters, or piles, shelving towards the middle, where they all meet, and are crammed together; they lie upon rushes, with the fire in the midst, and let the smoke fly out at the door.

The men are generally naked; but the women make a kind of petticoat of bulrushes, which they comb like hemp, and throw the skin of a deer over their shoulders. They are very modest, tractable, and obedient to their husbands.

Such is the condition of this people; and not very different is, perhaps, the state of the greatest part of mankind. Whether more enlightened nations ought to look upon them with pity, as less happy than themselves, some skepticks have made, very unnecessarily, a difficulty of determining. More, they say, is lost by the perplexities than gained by the instruction of science; we enlarge our vices with our knowledge, and multiply our wants with our attainments, and the happiness of life is better secured by the ignorance of vice, than by the knowledge of virtue.

The fallacy by which such reasoners have imposed upon themselves, seems to arise from the comparison which they make, not between two men equally inclined to apply the means of happiness in their power to the end for which providence conferred them, but furnished in unequal proportions with the means of happiness, which is the true state of savage and polished nations; but between two men, of which he to whom providence has been most bountiful, destroys the blessings by negligence or obstinate misuse; while the other, steady, diligent, and virtuous, employs his abilities and conveniences to their proper end. The question is not, whether a good Indian or bad Englishman be most happy; but, which state is most desirable, supposing virtue and reason the same in both.

Nor is this the only mistake which is generally admitted in this controversy, for these reasoners frequently confound innocence with the mere incapacity of guilt. He that never saw, or heard, or thought of strong liquors, cannot be proposed as a pattern of sobriety.

This land was named, by Drake, Albion, from its white cliffs, in which it bore some resemblance to his native country; and the whole history of the resignation of it to the English was engraven on a piece of brass, then nailed on a post, and fixed up before their departure, which being now discovered by the people to be near at hand, they could not forbear perpetual lamentations. When the English, on the 23rd of July, weighed anchor, they saw them climbing to the tops of hills, that they might keep them in sight, and observed fires lighted up in many parts of the country, on which, as they supposed, sacrifices were offered.

Near this harbour they touched at some islands, where they found great numbers of seals; and, despairing now to find any passage through the northern parts, he, after a general consultation, determined to steer away to the Moluccas, and setting sail July 25th, he sailed for sixty-eight days without sight of land; and, on September 30th, arrived within view of some islands, situate about eight degrees northward from the line, from whence the inhabitants resorted to them in canoes, hollowed out of the solid trunk of a tree, and raised at both ends so high above the water, that they seemed almost a semicircle; they were burnished in such a manner that they shone like ebony, and were kept steady by a piece of timber, fixed on each side of them, with strong canes, that were fastened at one end to the boat, and at the other to the end of the timber.

The first company that came brought fruits, potatoes, and other things of no great value, with an appearance of traffick, and exchanged their lading for other commodities, with great show of honesty and friendship; but having, as they imagined, laid all suspicion asleep, they soon sent another fleet of canoes, of which the crews behaved with all the insolence of tyrants, and all the rapacity of thieves; for, whatever was suffered to come into their hands, they seemed to consider as their own, and would neither pay for it, nor restore it; and, at length, finding the English resolved to admit them no longer, they discharged a shower of stones from their boats, which insult Drake prudently and generously returned, by ordering a piece of ordnance to be fired without hurting them, at which they were so terrified, that they leaped into the water, and hid themselves under the canoes.

Having, for some time, but little wind, they did not arrive at the Moluccas till the 3rd of November, and then, designing to touch at Tidore, they were visited, as they sailed by a little island belonging to the king of Ternate, by the viceroy of the place, who informed them, that it would be more advantageous for them to have recourse to his master, for supplies and assistance, than to the king of Ternate, who was, in some degree, dependent on the Portuguese, and that he would himself carry the news of their arrival, and prepare for their reception.

Drake was, by the arguments of the viceroy, prevailed upon to alter his resolution, and, on November 5, cast anchor before Ternate; and scarce was he arrived, before the viceroy, with others of the chief nobles, came out in three large boats, rowed by forty men on each side, to conduct the ship into a safe harbour; and soon after the king himself, having received a velvet cloak by a messenger from Drake, as a token of peace, came with such a retinue and dignity of appearance, as was not expected in those remote parts of the world. He was received with discharges of cannons and every kind of musick, with which he was so much delighted, that, desiring the musicians to come down into the boat, he was towed along in it at the stern of the ship.

The king was of a graceful stature, and regal carriage, of a mild aspect, and low voice; his attendants were dressed in white cotton or calico, of whom some, whose age gave them a venerable appearance, seemed his counsellors, and the rest officers or nobles; his guards were not ignorant of firearms, but had not many among them, being equipped, for the most part, with bows and darts.

The king, having spent some time in admiring the multitude of new objects that presented themselves, retired as soon as the ship was brought to anchor, and promised to return on the day following; and, in the mean time, the inhabitants, having leave to traffick, brought down provisions in great abundance.

At the time when the king was expected, his brother came on board, to request of Drake that he would come to the castle, proposing to stay himself as a hostage for his return. Drake refused to go, but sent some gentlemen, detaining the king's brother in the mean time.

These gentlemen were received by another of the king's brothers, who conducted them to the council-house, near the castle, in which they were directed to walk: there they found threescore old men, privy counsellors to the king, and on each side of the door without stood four old men of foreign countries, who served as interpreters in commerce.

In a short time the king came from the castle, dressed in cloth of gold, with his hair woven into gold rings, a chain of gold upon his neck, and on his hands rings very artificially set with diamonds and jewels of great value; over his head was borne a rich canopy; and by his chair of state, on which he sat down when he had entered the house, stood a page with a fan set with sapphires, to moderate the excess of the heat. Here he received the compliments of the English, and then honourably dismissed them.

The castle, which they had some opportunity of observing, seemed of no great force; it was built by the Portuguese, who, attempting to reduce this kingdom into an absolute subjection, murdered the king, and intended to pursue their scheme by the destruction of all his sons; but the general abhorrence which cruelty and perfidy naturally excite, armed all the nation against them, and procured their total expulsion from all the dominions of Ternate, which, from that time, increasing in power, continued to make new conquests, and to deprive them of other acquisitions.

While they lay before Ternate, a gentleman came on board, attended by his interpreter. He was dressed somewhat in the European manner, and soon distinguished himself from the natives of Ternate, or any other country that they had seen, by his civility and apprehension. Such a visitant may easily be imagined to excite their curiosity, which he gratified by informing them, that he was a native of China, of the family of the king then reigning; and that being accused of a capital crime, of which, though he was innocent, he had not evidence to clear himself, he had petitioned the king that he might not be exposed to a trial, but that his cause might be referred to divine providence, and that he might be allowed to leave his country, with a prohibition against returning, unless heaven, in attestation of his innocence, should enable him to bring back to the king some intelligence that might be to the honour and advantage of the empire of China. In search of such information he had now spent three years, and had left Tidore for the sake of conversing with the English general, from whom he hoped to receive such accounts as would enable him to return with honour and safety.

Drake willingly recounted all his adventures and observations, to which the Chinese exile listened with the utmost attention and delight, and, having fixed them in his mind, thanked God for the knowledge he had gained. He then proposed to the English general to conduct him to China, recounting, by way of invitation, the wealth, extent, and felicity of that empire; but Drake could not be induced to prolong his voyage.

He, therefore, set sail on the 9th of November, in quest of some convenient harbour, in a desert island, to refit his ship, not being willing, as it seems, to trust to the generosity of the king of Ternate. Five days afterwards he found a very commodious harbour, in an island overgrown with wood, where he repaired his vessel and refreshed his men, without danger or interruption.

Leaving this place the 12th of December, they sailed towards the Celebes; but, having a wind not very favourable, they were detained among a multitude of islands, mingled with dangerous shallows, till January 9, 1580. When they thought themselves clear, and were sailing forward with a strong gale, they were, at the beginning of the night, surprised in their course by a sudden shock, of which the cause was easily discovered, for they were thrown upon a shoal, and, by the speed of their course, fixed too fast for any hope of escaping. Here even the intrepidity of Drake was shaken, and his dexterity baffled; but his piety, however, remained still the same, and what he could not now promise himself from his own ability, he hoped from the assistance of providence. The pump was plied, and the ship found free from new leaks.

The next attempt was to discover towards the sea some place where they might fix their boat, and from thence drag the ship into deep water; but, upon examination, it appeared that the rock, on which they had struck, rose perpendicularly from the water, and that there was no anchorage, nor any bottom to be found a boat's length from the ship. But this discovery, with its consequences, was, by Drake, wisely concealed from the common sailors, lest they should abandon themselves to despair, for which there was indeed cause; there being no prospect left, but that they must there sink with the ship, which must, undoubtedly, be soon dashed to pieces, or perish in attempting to reach the shore in their boat, or be cut in pieces by barbarians, if they should arrive at land.

In the midst of this perplexity and distress, Drake directed that the sacrament should be administered, and his men fortified with all the consolation which religion affords; then persuaded them to lighten the vessel, by throwing into the sea part of their lading, which was cheerfully complied with, but without effect. At length, when their hopes had forsaken them, and no new struggles could be made, they were on a sudden relieved by a remission of the wind, which, having hitherto blown strongly against the side of the ship which lay towards the sea, held it upright against the rock; but when the blast slackened, being then low water, the ship lying higher with that part which rested on the rock than with the other, and being borne up no longer by the wind, reeled into the deep water, to the surprise and joy of Drake and his companions.

This was the greatest and most inextricable distress which they had ever suffered, and made such an impression upon their minds, that, for some time afterwards, they durst not adventure to spread their sails, but went slowly forward with the utmost circumspection.

They thus continued their course without any observable occurrence, till, on the 11th of March, they came to an anchor, before the island of Java, and sending to the king a present of cloth and silks, received from him, in return, a large quantity of provisions; and, the day following, Drake went himself on shore, and entertained the king with his musick, and obtained leave to store his ship with provisions.

The island is governed by a great number of petty kings, or raias, subordinate to one chief; of these princes three came on board together, a few days after their arrival; and having, upon their return, recounted the wonders which they had seen, and the civility with which they had been treated, incited others to satisfy their curiosity in the same manner; and raia Donan, the chief king, came himself to view the ship, with the warlike armaments and instruments of navigation.

This intercourse of civilities somewhat retarded the business for which they came; but, at length, they not only victualled their ship, but cleansed the bottom, which, in the long course, was overgrown with a kind of shellfish that impeded her passage.

Leaving Java, on March 26 they sailed homewards by the cape of Good Hope, which they saw on June the 5th; on the 15th of August passed the tropick; and on the 26th of September arrived at Plymouth, where they found that, by passing through so many different climates, they had lost a day in their account of time, it being Sunday by their journal, but Monday by the general computation.

In this hazardous voyage they had spent two years, ten months, and some odd days; but were recompensed for their toils by great riches, and the universal applause of their countrymen. Drake afterwards brought his ship up to Deptford, where queen Elizabeth visited him on board his ship, and conferred the honour of knighthood upon him; an honour, in that illustrious reign, not made cheap by prostitution, nor even bestowed without uncommon merit.

It is not necessary to give an account, equally particular, of the remaining part of his life, as he was no longer a private man, but engaged in publick affairs, and associated in his expeditions with other generals, whose attempts, and the success of them, are related in the histories of those times.

In 1585, on the 12th of September, sir Francis Drake set sail from Plymouth with a fleet of five-and-twenty ships and pinnaces, of which himself was admiral, captain Martiu Forbisher, viceadmiral, and captain Francis Knollis, rearadmiral; they were fitted out to cruise upon the Spaniards; and having touched at the isle of Bayonne, and plundered Vigo, put to sea again, and on the 16th of November arrived before St. Jago, which they entered without resistance, and rested there fourteen days, visiting, in the mean time, San Domingo, a town within the land, which they found likewise deserted; and, carrying off what they pleased of the produce of the island, they, at their departure, destroyed the town and villages, in revenge of the murder of one of their boys, whose body they found mangled in a most inhuman manner.

From this island they pursued their voyage to the West Indies, determining to attack St. Domingo in Hispaniola, as the richest place in that part of the world; they, therefore, landed a thousand men, and with small loss entered the town, of which they kept possession for a month without interruption or alarm; during which time a remarkable accident happened, which deserves to be related.

Drake, having some intention of treating with the Spaniards, sent to them a negro boy with a flag of truce, which one of the Spaniards so little regarded, that he stabbed him through the body with a lance. The boy, notwithstanding his wound, came back to the general, related the treatment which he had found, and died in his sight. Drake was so incensed at this outrage, that he ordered two friars, then his prisoners, to be conveyed with a guard to the place where the crime was committed, and hanged up in the sight of the Spaniards, declaring that two Spanish prisoners should undergo the same death every day, till the offender should be delivered up by them: they were too well acquainted with the character of Drake not to bring him on the day following, when, to impress the shame of such actions more effectually upon them, he compelled them to execute him with their own hands. Of this town, at their departure, they demolished part, and admitted the rest to be ransomed for five and twenty thousand ducats.

From thence they sailed to Carthagena, where the enemy having received intelligence of the fate of St. Domingo, had strengthened their fortifications, and prepared to defend themselves with great obstinacy; but the English, landing in the night, came upon them by a way which they did not suspect, and being better armed, partly by surprise, and partly by superiority of order and valour, became masters of the place, where they stayed without fear or danger six weeks, and, at their departure, received a hundred and ten thousand ducats, for the ransome of the town.

They afterwards took St. Augustin, and, touching at Virginia, took on board the governour, Mr. Lane, with the English that had been left there, the year before, by sir Walter Raleigh, and arrived at Portsmouth on July 28, 1586, having lost in the voyage seven hundred and fifty men. The gain of this expedition amounted to sixty thousand pounds, of which forty were the share of the adventurers who fitted out the ships, and the rest, distributed among the several crews, amounted to six pounds each man. So cheaply is life sometimes hazarded.

The transactions against the armada, 1588, are, in themselves, far more memorable, but less necessary to be recited in this succinct narrative; only let it be remembered, that the post of viceadmiral of England, to which sir Francis Drake was then raised, is a sufficient proof, that no obscurity of birth, or meanness of fortune, is unsurmountable to bravery and diligence.

In 1595, sir Francis Drake and sir John Hawkins were sent with a fleet to the West Indies, which expedition was only memorable for the destruction of Nombre de Dios, and the death of the two commanders, of whom sir Francis Drake died January 9, 1597, and was thrown into the sea in a leaden coffin, with all the pomp of naval obsequies. It is reported by some, that the ill success of this voyage hastened his death. Upon what this conjecture is grounded does not appear; and we may be allowed to hope, for the honour of so great a man, that it is without foundation; and that he, whom no series of success could ever betray to vanity or negligence, could have supported a change of fortune without impatience or dejection.






Having not been able to procure materials for a complete life of Mr. Barretier, and being, nevertheless, willing to gratify the curiosity justly raised in the publick by his uncommon attainments, we think the following extracts of letters written by his father, proper to be inserted in our collection, as they contain many remarkable passages, and exhibit a general view of his genius and learning.

John Philip Barretier was born at Schwabach, January 19, 1720-21. His father was a calvinist minister of that place, who took upon himself the care of his education. What arts of instruction he used, or by what method he regulated the studies of his son, we are not able to inform the publick; but take this opportunity of intreating those, who have received more complete intelligence, not to deny mankind so great a benefit as the improvement of education. If Mr. le Fêvre thought the method in which he taught his children, worthy to be communicated to the learned world, how justly may Mr. Barretier claim the universal attention of mankind to a scheme of education that has produced such a stupendous progress! The authors, who have endeavoured to teach certain and unfailing rules for obtaining a long life, however they have failed in their attempts, are universally confessed to have, at least, the merit of a great and noble design, and to have deserved gratitude and honour. How much more then is due to Mr. Barretier, who has succeeded in what they have only attempted? for to prolong life, and improve it, are nearly the same. If to have all that riches can purchase, is to be rich; if to do all that can be done in a long time, is to live long; he is equally a benefactor to mankind, who teaches them to protract the duration, or shorten the business of life.

That there are few things more worthy our curiosity than this method, by which the father assisted the genius of the son, every man will be convinced, that considers the early proficiency at which it enabled him to arrive; such a proficiency as no one has yet reached at the same age, and to which it is, therefore, probable, that every advantageous circumstance concurred.

At the age of nine years he not only was master of five languages, an attainment in itself almost incredible, but understood, says his father, the holy writers, better in their original tongues, than in his own. If he means, by this assertion, that he knew the sense of many passages in the original, which were obscure in the translation, the account, however wonderful, may be admitted; but if he intends to tell his correspondent, that his son was better acquainted with the two languages of the Bible than with his own, he must be allowed to speak hyperbolically, or to admit, that his son had somewhat neglected the study of his native language; or we must own, that the fondness of a parent has transported him into some natural exaggerations.

Part of this letter I am tempted to suppress, being unwilling to demand the belief of others to that which appears incredible to myself; but as my incredulity may, perhaps, be the product rather of prejudice than reason, as envy may beget a disinclination to admit so immense a superiority, and as an account is not to be immediately censured as false, merely because it is wonderful, I shall proceed to give the rest of his father's relation, from his letter of the 3rd of March, 1729-30. He speaks, continues he, German, Latin, and French, equally well. He can, by laying before him a translation, read any of the books of the Old or New Testament, in its original language, without hesitation or perplexity. He is no stranger to biblical criticism or philosophy, nor unacquainted with ancient and modern geography, and is qualified to support a conversation with learned men, who frequently visit and correspond with him.

In his eleventh year, he not only published a learned letter in Latin, but translated the travels of rabbi Benjamin from the Hebrew into French, which he illustrated with notes, and accompanied with dissertations; a work in which his father, as he himself declares, could give him little assistance, as he did not understand the rabbinical dialect.

The reason for which his father engaged him in this work, was only to prevail upon him to write a fairer hand than he had hitherto accustomed himself to do, by giving him hopes, that, if he should translate some little author, and offer a fair copy of his version to some bookseller, he might, in return for it, have other books which he wanted and could not afford to purchase.

Incited by this expectation, he fixed upon the travels of rabbi Benjamin, as most proper for his purpose, being a book neither bulky nor common, and in one month completed his translation, applying only one or two hours a day to that particular task. In another month, he drew up the principal notes; and, in the third, wrote some dissertations upon particular passages which seemed to require a larger examination.

These notes contain so many curious remarks and inquiries, out of the common road of learning, and afford so many instances of penetration, judgment, and accuracy, that the reader finds, in every page, some reason to persuade him that they cannot possibly be the work of a child, but of a man long accustomed to these studies, enlightened by reflection, and dextrous, by long practice, in the use of books. Yet, that it is the performance of a boy thus young, is not only proved by the testimony of his father, but by the concurrent evidence of Mr. le Maître, his associate in the church of Schwabach, who not only asserts his claim to this work, but affirms, that he heard him, at six years of age, explain the Hebrew text, as if it had been his native language; so that the fact is not to be doubted without, a degree of incredulity, which it will not be very easy to defend.

This copy was, however, far from being written with the neatness which his father desired; nor did the booksellers, to whom it was offered, make proposals very agreeable to the expectations of the young translator; but, after having examined the performance in their manner, and determined to print it upon conditions not very advantageous, returned it to be transcribed, that the printers might not be embarrassed with a copy so difficult to read.

Barretier was now advanced to the latter end of his twelfth year, and had made great advances in his studies, notwithstanding an obstinate tumour in his left hand, which gave him great pain, and obliged him to a tedious and troublesome method of cure; and reading over his performance, was so far from contenting himself with barely transcribing it, that he altered the greatest part of the notes, new-modelled the dissertations, and augmented the book to twice its former bulk.

The few touches which his father bestowed upon the revisal of the book, though they are minutely set down by him in the preface, are so inconsiderable, that it is not necessary to mention them; and it may be much more agreeable, as well as useful, to exhibit the short account which he there gives of the method by which he enabled his son to show, so early, how easy an attainment is the knowledge of the languages, a knowledge which some men spend their lives in cultivating, to the neglect of more valuable studies, and which they seem to regard as the highest perfection of human nature.

What applauses are due to an old age, wasted in a scrupulous attention to particular accents and etymologies, may appear, says his father, by seeing how little time is required to arrive at such an eminence in these studies as many, even of these venerable doctors, have not attained, for want of rational methods and regular application.

This censure is, doubtless, just, upon those who spend too much of their lives upon useless niceties, or who appear to labour without making any progress; but, as the knowledge of language is necessary, and a minute accuracy sometimes requisite, they are by no means to be blamed, who, in compliance with the particular bent of their own minds, make the difficulties of dead languages their chief study, and arrive at excellence proportionate to their application, since it was to the labour of such men that his son was indebted for his own learning.

The first languages which Barretier learned were the French, German, and Latin, which he was taught, not in the common way, by a multitude of definitions, rules, and exceptions, which fatigue the attention and burden the memory, without any use proportionate to the time which they require, and the disgust which they create. The method by which he was instructed was easy and expeditious, and, therefore, pleasing. He learned them all in the same manner, and almost at the same time, by conversing in them indifferently with his father.

The other languages, of which he was master, he learned by a method yet more uncommon. The only book which he made use of was the Bible, which his father laid before him in the language that he then proposed to learn, accompanied with a translation, being taught, by degrees, the inflections of nouns and verbs. This method, says his father, made the Latin more familiar to him, in his fourth year, than any other language.

When he was near the end of his sixth year, he entered upon the study of the Old Testament, in its original language, beginning with the book of Genesis, to which his father confined him for six months; after which he read cursorily over the rest of the historical books, in which he found very little difficulty, and then applied himself to the study of the poetical writers, and the prophets, which he read over so often, with so close an attention, and so happy a memory, that he could not only translate them, without a moment's hesitation, into Latin or French, but turn, with the same facility, the translations into the original language in his tenth year.

Growing, at length, weary of being confined to a book which he could almost entirely repeat, he deviated, by stealth, into other studies, and, as his translation of Benjamin is a sufficient evidence, he read a multitude of writers, of various kinds. In his twelfth year he applied more particularly to the study of the fathers, and councils of the six first centuries, and began to make a regular collection of their canons. He read every author in the original, having discovered so much negligence or ignorance in most translations, that he paid no regard to their authority.

Thus he continued his studies, neither drawn aside by pleasures nor discouraged by difficulties. The greatest obstacle to his improvement was want of books, with which his narrow fortune could not liberally supply him; so that he was obliged to borrow the greatest part of those which his studies required, and to return them when he had read them, without being able to consult them occasionally, or to recur to them when his memory should fail him.

It is observable, that neither his diligence, unintermitted as it was, nor his want of books, a want of which he was, in the highest degree, sensible, ever produced in him that asperity, which a long and recluse life, without any circumstance of disquiet, frequently creates. He was always gay, lively, and facetious; a temper which contributed much to recommend his learning, and which some students, much superiour in age, would consult their ease, their reputation, and their interest, by copying from him.

In the year 1735 he published Anti-Artemonius; sive, initium evangelii S. Joannis adversus Artemonium vindicatum; and attained such a degree of reputation, that not only the publick, but princes, who are commonly the last by whom merit is distinguished, began to interest themselves in his success; for, the same year, the king of Prussia, who had heard of his early advances in literature, on account of a scheme for discovering the longitude, which had been sent to the Royal society of Berlin, and which was transmitted afterwards by him to Paris and London, engaged to take care of his fortune, having received further proofs of his abilities at his own court.

Mr. Barretier, being promoted to the cure of the church of Stetin, was obliged to travel with his son thither, from Schwabach, through Leipsic and Berlin, a journey very agreeable to his son, as it would furnish him with new opportunities of improving his knowledge, and extending his acquaintance among men of letters. For this purpose they stayed some time at Leipsic, and then travelled to Halle, where young Barretier so distinguished himself in his conversation with the professors of the university, that they offered him his degree of doctor in philosophy, a dignity correspondent to that of master of arts among us. Barretier drew up, that night, some positions in philosophy, and the mathematicks, which he sent immediately to the press, and defended, the next day, in a crowded auditory, with so much wit, spirit, presence of thought, and strength of reason, that the whole university was delighted and amazed; he was then admitted to his degree, and attended by the whole concourse to his lodgings, with compliments and acclamations.

His theses, or philosophical positions, which he printed in compliance with the practice of that university, ran through several editions in a few weeks, and no testimony of regard was wanting, that could contribute to animate him in his progress.

When they arrived at Berlin, the king ordered him to be brought into his presence, and was so much pleased with his conversation, that he sent for him almost every day during his stay at Berlin; and diverted himself with engaging him in conversations upon a multitude of subjects, and in disputes with learned men; on all which occasions he acquitted himself so happily, that the king formed the highest ideas of his capacity, and future eminence. And thinking, perhaps with reason, that active life was the noblest sphere of a great genius, he recommended to him the study of modern history, the customs of nations, and those parts of learning, that are of use in publick transactions and civil employments, declaring, that such abilities, properly cultivated, might exalt him, in ten years, to be the greatest minister of state in Europe.

Barretier, whether we attribute it to his moderation or inexperience, was not dazzled by the prospect of such high promotion, but answered, that he was too much pleased with science and quiet, to leave them for such inextricable studies, or such harassing fatigues. A resolution so unpleasing to the king, that his father attributes to it the delay of those favours which they had hopes of receiving, the king having, as he observes, determined to employ him in the ministry.

It is not impossible that paternal affection might suggest to Mr. Barretier some false conceptions of the king's design; for he infers, from the introduction of his son to the young princes, and the caresses which he received from them, that the king intended him for their preceptor; a scheme, says he, which some other resolution happily destroyed.

Whatever was originally intended, and by whatever means these intentions were frustrated, Barretier, after having been treated with the highest regard by the whole royal family, was dismissed with a present of two hundred crowns; and his father, instead of being fixed at Stetin, was made pastor of the French church at Halle; a place more commodious for study, to which they retired; Barretier being first admitted into the Royal society at Berlin, and recommended, by the king, to the university at Halle.

At Halle he continued his studies with his usual application and success, and, either by his own reflections, or the persuasions of his father, was prevailed upon to give up his own inclinations to those of the king, and direct his inquiries to those subjects that had been recommended by him.

He continued to add new acquisitions to his learning, and to increase his reputation by new performances, till, in the beginning of his nineteenth year, his health began to decline, and his indisposition, which, being not alarming or violent, was, perhaps, not at first sufficiently regarded, increased by slow degrees for eighteen months, during which he spent days among his books, and neither neglected his studies, nor left his gaiety, till his distemper, ten days before his death, deprived him of the use of his limbs: he then prepared himself for his end, without fear or emotion, and, on the 5th of October, 1740, resigned his soul into the hands of his saviour, with confidence and tranquillity.

In the Magazine for 1742 appeared the following


"As the nature of our collections requires that our accounts of remarkable persons and transactions should be early, our readers must necessarily pardon us, if they are often not complete, and allow us to be sufficiently studious of their satisfaction, if we correct our errours, and supply our defects from subsequent intelligence, where the importance of the subject merits an extraordinary attention, or when we have any peculiar opportunities of procuring information. The particulars here inserted we thought proper to annex, by way of note, to the following passages, quoted from the magazine for December, 1740, and for February, 1741."

P. 377. At the age of nine years he not only was master of five languages.

French, which was the native language of his mother, was that which he learned first, mixed, by living in Germany, with some words of the language of the country. After some time, his father took care to introduce, in his conversation with him, some words of Latin, in such a manner that he might discover the meaning of them by the connexion of the sentence, or the occasion on which they were used, without discovering that he had any intention of instructing him, or that any new attainment was proposed.

By this method of conversation, in which new words were every day introduced, his ear had been somewhat accustomed to the inflections and variations of the Latin tongue, he began to attempt to speak like his father, and was in a short time drawn on, by imperceptible degrees, to speak Latin, intermixed with other languages.

Thus, when he was but four years old, he spoke every day French to his mother, Latin to his father, and high Dutch to the maid, without any perplexity to himself, or any confusion of one language with another.

P. 377. He is no stranger to biblical criticism.

Having now gained such a degree of skill in the Hebrew language, as to be able to compose in it, both in prose and verse, he was extremely desirous of reading the rabbins; and having borrowed of the neighbouring clergy, and the jews of Schwabach, all the books which they could supply him, he prevailed on his father to buy him the great rabbinical Bible, published at Amsterdam, in four tomes, folio, 1728, and read it with that accuracy and attention which appears, by the account of it written by him to his favourite M. le Maitre, inserted in the beginning of the twenty-sixth volume of the Bibliothéque germanique.

These writers were read by him, as other young persons peruse romances or novels, only from a puerile desire of amusement; for he had so little veneration for them, even while he studied them with most eagerness, that he often diverted his parents with recounting their fables and chimeras.

P. 381. In his twelfth year he applied more particularly to the study of the fathers.

His father being somewhat uneasy to observe so much time spent by him on rabbinical trifles, thought it necessary now to recall him to the study of the Greek language, which he had of late neglected, but to which he returned with so much ardour, that, in a short time, he was able to read Greek with the same facility as French or Latin.

He then engaged in the perusal of the Greek fathers, and councils of the first three or four centuries; and undertook, at his father's desire, to confute a treatise of Samuel Crellius, in which, under the name of Artemonius, he has endeavoured to substitute, in the beginning of St. John's gospel, a reading different from that which is at present received, and less favourable to the orthodox doctrine of the divinity of our Saviour.

This task was undertaken by Barretier with great ardour, and prosecuted by him with suitable application, for he not only drew up a formal confutation of Artemonius, but made large collections from the earliest writers, relating to the history of heresies, which he proposed at first to have published as preliminaries to his book, but, finding the introduction grew at last to a greater bulk than the book itself, he determined to publish it apart.

While he was engrossed by these inquiries, accident threw a pair of globes into his hands, in October, 1734, by which his curiosity was so much exalted, that he laid aside his Artemonius, and applied himself to geography and astronomy. In ten days he was able to solve all the problems in the doctrine of the globes, and had attained ideas so clear and strong of all the systems, as well ancient as modern, that he began to think of making new discoveries; and for that purpose, laying aside, for a time, all searches into antiquity, he employed his utmost interest to procure books of astronomy and of mathematicks, and made such a progress in three or four months, that he seemed to have spent his whole life upon that study; for he not only made an astrolabe, and drew up astronomical tables, but invented new methods of calculation, or such at least as appeared new to him, because they were not mentioned in the books which he had then an opportunity of reading; and it is a sufficient proof, both of the rapidity of his progress, and the extent of his views, that in three months after his first sight of a pair of globes, he formed schemes for finding the longitude, which he sent, in January, 1735, to the Royal society at London.

His scheme, being recommended to the society by the queen, was considered by them with a degree of attention which, perhaps, would not have been bestowed upon the attempt of a mathematician so young, had he not been dignified with so illustrious a patronage. But it was soon found, that, for want of books, he had imagined himself the inventor of methods already in common use, and that he proposed no means of discovering the longitude, but such as had been already tried and found insufficient. Such will be very frequently the fate of those, whose fortune either condemns them to study without the necessary assistance from libraries, or who, in too much haste, publish their discoveries.

This attempt exhibited, however, such a specimen of his capacity for mathematical learning, and such a proof of an early proficiency, that the Royal society of Berlin admitted him as one of their members in


P. 381. Princes, who are commonly the last.

Barretier, had been distinguished much more early by the margravin of Anspach, who, in 1726, sent for his father and mother to the court, where their son, whom they carried with them, presented her with a letter in French, and addressed another in Latin to the young prince; who afterwards, in 1734, granted him the privilege of borrowing books from the libraries of Anspach, together with an annual pension of fifty florins, which he enjoyed for four years.

In this place it may not be improper to recount some honours conferred upon him, which, if distinctions are to be rated by the knowledge of those who bestow them, may be considered as more valuable than those which he received from princes.

In June, 1731, he was initiated in the university of Altdorft, and at the end of the year 1732, the synod of the reformed churches, held at Christian Erlang, admitted him to be present at their consultations, and to preserve the memory of so extraordinary a transaction, as the reception of a boy of eleven years into an ecclesiastical council, recorded it in a particular article of the acts of the synod.

P. 383. He was too much pleased with science and quiet.

Astronomy was always Barretier's favourite study, and so much engrossed his thoughts, that he did not willingly converse on any other subject; nor was he so well pleased with the civilities of the greatest persons, as with the conversation of the mathematicians. An astronomical observation was sufficient to withhold him from court, or to call him away abruptly from the most illustrious assemblies; nor was there any hope of enjoying his company, without inviting some professor to keep him in temper, and engage him in discourse; nor was it possible, without this expedient, to prevail upon him to sit for his picture.

Ibid. At Halle he continued his studies.

Mr. Barretier returned, on the 28th of April, 1735, to Halle, where he continued the remaining part of his life, of which it may not be improper to give a more particular account.

At his settlement in the university, he determined to exert his privileges as master of arts, and to read publick lectures to the students; a design from which his father could not dissuade him, though he did not approve it; so certainly do honours or preferments, too soon conferred, infatuate the greatest capacities. He published an invitation to three lectures; one critical on the book of Job, another on astronomy, and a third upon ancient ecclesiastical history. But of this employment he was soon made weary by the petulance of his auditors, the fatigue which it occasioned, and the interruption of his studies which it produced, and, therefore, in a fortnight, he desisted wholly from his lectures, and never afterwards resumed them.

He then applied himself to the study of the law, almost against his own inclination, which, however, he conquered so far as to become a regular attendant on the lectures on that science, but spent all his other time upon different studies.

The first year of his residence at Halle was spent upon natural philosophy and mathematicks; and scarcely any author, ancient or modern, that has treated on those parts of learning was neglected by him, nor was he satisfied with the knowledge of what had been discovered by others, but made new observations, and drew up immense calculations for his own use.

He then returned to ecclesiastical history, and began to retouch his Account of Heresies, which he had begun at Schwabach: on this occasion he read the primitive writers with great accuracy, and formed a project of regulating the chronology of those ages; which produced a Chrono-logical Dissertation on the succession of the Bishops of Rome, from St. Peter to Victor, printed in Latin at Utrecht, 1740.

He afterwards was wholly absorbed in application to polite literature, and read not only a multitude of writers in the Greek and Latin, but in the German, Dutch, French, Italian, English, and Arabick languages, and, in the last year of his life, he was engrossed by the study of inscriptions, medals, and antiquities of all nations.

In 1737 he resumed his design of finding a certain method of discovering the longitude, which he imagined himself to have attained by exact observations of the declination and inclination of the needle, and sent to the academy of sciences, and to the Royal society of London, at the same time, an account of his schemes; to which it was first answered by the Royal society, that it appeared the same with one which Mr. Whiston had laid before them; and afterwards by the academy of sciences, that his method was but very little different from one that had been proposed by M. de la Croix, and which was ingenious, but ineffectual.

Mr. Barretier, finding his invention already in the possession of two men eminent for mathematical knowledge, desisted from all inquiries after the longitude, and engaged in an examination of the Egyptian antiquities, which he proposed to free from their present obscurity, by deciphering the hieroglyphicks, and explaining their astronomy; but this design was interrupted by his death.

P. 384. Confidence and tranquillity.

Thus died Barretier, in the 20th year of his age, having given a proof how much may be performed in so short a time by indefatigable diligence. He was not only master of many languages, but skilled almost in every science, and capable of distinguishing himself in every profession, except that of physick, from which he had been discouraged by remarking the diversity of opinions among those who had been consulted concerning his own disorders.

His learning, however vast, had not depressed or overburdened his natural faculties, for his genius always appeared predominant; and when he inquired into the various opinions of the writers of all ages, he reasoned and determined for himself, having a mind at once comprehensive and delicate, active and attentive. He was able to reason with the metaphysicians on the most abstruse questions, or to enliven the most unpleasing subjects by the gaiety of his fancy. He wrote with great elegance and dignity of style, and had the peculiar felicity of readiness and facility in every thing that he undertook, being able, without premeditation, to translate one language into another. He was no imitator, but struck out new tracks, and formed original systems. He had a quickness of apprehension, and firmness of memory, which enabled him to read with incredible rapidity, and, at the same time, to retain what he read, so as to be able to recollect and apply it. He turned over volumes in an instant, and selected what was useful for his purpose. He seldom made extracts, except of books which he could not procure when he might want them a second time, being always able to find in any author, with great expedition, what he had once read. He read over, in one winter, twenty vast folios; and the catalogue of books which he had borrowed, comprised forty-one pages in quarto, the writing close, and the titles abridged. He was a constant reader of literary journals.

With regard to common life he had some peculiarities. He could not bear musick, and if he was ever engaged at play could not attend to it. He neither loved wine nor entertainments, nor dancing, nor the sports of the field, nor relieved his studies with any other diversion than that of walking and conversation. He eat little flesh, and lived almost wholly upon milk, tea, bread, fruits, and sweetmeats.

He had great vivacity in his imagination, and ardour in his desires, which the easy method of his education had never repressed; he, therefore, conversed among those who had gained his confidence with great freedom, but his favourites were not numerous, and to others he was always reserved and silent, without the least inclination to discover his sentiments, or display his learning. He never fixed his choice upon any employment, nor confined his views to any profession, being desirous of nothing but knowledge, and entirely untainted with avarice or ambition. He preserved himself always independent, and was never known to be guilty of a lie. His constant application to learning suppressed those passions which betray others of his age to irregularities, and excluded all those temptations to which men are exposed by idleness or common amusements.





MORIN [47].

Lewis Morin was born at Mans, on the 11th of July, 1635, of parents eminent for their piety. He was the eldest of sixteen children; a family to which their estate bore no proportion, and which, in persons less resigned to providence, would have caused great uneasiness and anxiety.

His parents omitted nothing in his education, which religion requires, and which their fortune could supply. Botany was the study that appeared to have taken possession of his inclination, as soon as the bent of his genius could be discovered. A countryman, who supplied the apothecaries of the place, was his first master, and was paid by him for his instructions with the little money that he could procure, or that which was given him to buy something to eat after dinner. Thus abstinence and generosity discovered themselves with his passion for botany, and the gratification of a desire indifferent in itself, was procured by the exercise of two virtues.

He was soon master of all his instructer's knowledge, and was obliged to enlarge his acquaintance with plants, by observing them himself in the neighbourhood of Mans. Having finished his grammatical studies, he was sent to learn philosophy at Paris, whither he travelled on foot like a student in botany, and was careful not to lose such an opportunity of improvement.

When his course of philosophy was completed, he was determined, by his love of botany, to the profession of physick, and, from that time, engaged in a course of life, which was never exceeded, either by the ostentation of a philosopher, or the severity of an anchoret; for he confined himself to bread and water, and, at most, allowed himself no indulgence beyond fruits. By this method, he preserved a constant freedom and serenity of spirits, always equally proper for study; for his soul had no pretences to complain of being overwhelmed with matter. This regimen, extraordinary as it was, had many advantages; for it preserved his health, an advantage which very few sufficiently regard; it gave him an authority to preach diet and abstinence to his patients; and it made him rich without the assistance of fortune; rich, not for himself, but for the poor, who were the only persons benefited by that artificial affluence, which, of all others, is most difficult to acquire. It is easy to imagine, that, while he practised in the midst of Paris the severe temperance of a hermit, Paris differed no otherwise, with regard to him, from a hermitage, than as it supplied him with books and the conversation of learned men.

In 1662, he was admitted doctor of physick. About that time Dr. Fagon, Dr. Longuet, and Dr. Galois, all eminent for their skill in botany, were employed in drawing up a catalogue of the plants in the Royal garden, which was published in 1665, under the name of Dr. Vallot, then first physician: during the prosecution of this work, Dr. Morin was often consulted, and from those conversations it was that Dr. Fagon conceived a particular esteem of him, which he always continued to retain.

After having practised physick some years, he was admitted expectant at the Hôtel-Dieu, where he was regularly to have been made pensionary physician upon the first vacancy; but mere unassisted merit advances slowly, if, what is not very common, it advances at all. Morin had no acquaintance with the arts necessary to carry on schemes of preferment; the moderation of his desires preserved him from the necessity of studying them, and the privacy of his life debarred him from any opportunity. At last, however, justice was done him, in spite of artifice and partiality; but his advancement added nothing to his condition, except the power of more extensive charity; for all the money which he received, as a salary, he put into the chest of the hospital, always, as he imagined, without being observed. Not content with serving the poor for nothing, he paid them for being served.

His reputation rose so high in Paris, that mademoiselle de Guise was desirous to make him her physician; but it was not without difficulty that he was prevailed upon by his friend, Dr. Dodart, to accept the place. He was by this new advancement laid under the necessity of keeping a chariot, an equipage very unsuitable to his temper; but while he complied with those exterior appearances, which the publick had a right to demand from him, he remitted nothing of his former austerity, in the more private and essential parts of his life, which he had always the power of regulating according to his own disposition.

In two years and a half the princess fell sick, and was despaired of by Morin, who was a great master of prognosticks. At the time when she thought herself in no danger he pronounced her death inevitable; a declaration to the highest degree disagreeable, but which was made more easy to him than to any other, by his piety and artless simplicity. Nor did his sincerity produce any ill consequences to himself; for the princess, affected by his zeal, taking a ring from her finger, gave it him, as the last pledge of her affection, and rewarded him still more to his satisfaction, by preparing for death with a true Christian piety. She left him, by will, a yearly pension of two thousand livres, which was always regularly paid him.

No sooner was the princess dead, but he freed himself from the encumbrance of his chariot, and retired to St. Victor, without a servant; having, however, augmented his daily allowance with a little rice, boiled in water. Dodart, who had undertaken the charge of being ambitious on his account, procured him, at the restoration of the academy, in 1699, to be nominated associate botanist; not knowing, what he would doubtless have been pleased with the knowledge of, that he introduced into that assembly the man that was to succeed him in his place of pensionary.

Dr. Morin was not one who had upon his hands the labour of adapting himself to the duties of his condition, but always found himself naturally adapted to them. He had, therefore, no difficulty in being constant at the assemblies of the academy, notwithstanding the distance of places, while he had strength enough to support the journey. But his regimen was not equally effectual to produce vigour as to prevent distempers; and, being sixty-four years old at his admission, he could not continue his assiduity more than a year after the death of Dodart, whom he succeeded in 1707.

When Mr. Tournefort went to pursue his botanical inquiries in the Levant, he desired Dr. Morin to supply his place of demonstrator of the plants in the Royal garden, and rewarded him for the trouble, by inscribing to him a new plant, which he brought from the east, by the name of Morina orientalis, as he named others the Do-darto, the Fagonne, the Bignonne, the Phelipée. These are compliments proper to be made by the botanists, not only to those of their own rank, but to the greatest persons; for a plant is a monument of a more durable nature than a medal or an obelisk; and yet, as a proof that even these vehicles are not always sufficient to transmit to futurity the name conjoined with them, the Nicotiana is now scarcely known by any other name than that of tobacco.

Dr. Morin, advancing far in age, was now forced to take a servant, and, what was yet a more essential alteration, prevailed upon himself to take an ounce of wine a day, which he measured with the same exactness as a medicine bordering upon poison. He quitted, at the same time, all his practice in the city, and confined it to the poor of his neighbourhood, and his visits to the Hôtel-Dieu; but his weakness increasing, he was forced to increase his quantity of wine, which yet he always continued to adjust by weight [48].

At seventy-eight his legs could carry him no longer, and he scarcely left his bed; but his intellects continued unimpaired, except in the last six months of his life. He expired, or, to use a more proper term, went out, on the 1st of March, 1714, at the age of eighty years, without any distemper, and merely for want of strength, having enjoyed, by the benefit of his regimen, a long and healthy life, and a gentle and easy death.

This extraordinary regimen was but part of the daily regulation of his life, of which all the offices were carried on with a regularity and exactness nearly approaching to that of the planetary motions.

He went to bed at seven, and rose at two, throughout the year. He spent, in the morning, three hours at his devotions, and went to the Hôtel-Dieu, in the summer, between five and six, and, in the winter, between six and seven, hearing mass, for the most part, at Notre Dame. After his return he read the holy scripture, dined at eleven, and, when it was fair weather, walked till two in the Royal garden, where he examined the new plants, and gratified his earliest and strongest passion. For the remaining part of the day, if he had no poor to visit, he shut himself up, and read books of literature or physick, but chiefly physick, as the duty of his profession required. This, likewise, was the time he received visits, if any were paid him. He often used this expression: "Those that come to see me, do me honour; those that stay away, do me a favour." It is easy to conceive, that a man of this temper was not crowded with salutations: there was only now and then an Antony that would pay Paul a visit.

Among his papers was found a Greek and Latin index to Hippocrates, more copious and exact than that of Pini, which he had finished only a year before his death. Such a work required the assiduity and patience of a hermit [49]. There is, likewise, a journal of the weather, kept without interruption, for more than forty years, in which he has accurately set down the state of the barometer and thermometer, the dryness and moisture of the air, the variations of the wind in the course of the day, the rain, the thunders, and even the sudden storms, in a very commodious and concise method, which exhibits, in a little room, a great train of different observations. What numbers of such remarks had escaped a man less uniform in his life, and whose attention had been extended to common objects!

All the estate which he left is a collection of medals, another of herbs, and a library rated at two thousand crowns; which make it evident that he spent much more upon his mind than upon his body.





BURMAN [50].

Peter Burman was born at Utrecht, on the 26th day of June, 1668. The family from which he descended has, for several generations, produced men of great eminence for piety and learning; and his father, who was professor of divinity in the university, and pastor of the city of Utrech't, was equally celebrated for the strictness of his life, the efficacy and orthodoxy of his sermons, and the learning and perspicuity of his academical lectures.

From the assistance and instruction which such a father would doubtless have been encouraged by the genius of this son not to have omitted, he was unhappily cut off at eleven years of age, being at that time, by his father's death, thrown entirely under the care of his mother, by whose diligence, piety, and prudence, his education was so regulated, that he had scarcely any reason, but filial tenderness, to regret the loss of his father.

He was, about this time, sent to the publick school of Utrecht, to be instructed in the learned languages; and it will convey no common idea of his capacity and industry to relate, that he had passed through the classes, and was admitted into the university in his thirteenth year.

This account of the rapidity of his progress in the first part of his studies is so stupendous, that, though it is attested by his friend, Dr. Osterdyke, of whom it cannot be reasonably suspected that he is himself deceived, or that he can desire to deceive others, it must be allowed far to exceed the limits of probability, if it be considered, with regard to the methods of education practised in our country, where it is not uncommon for the highest genius, and most comprehensive capacity, to be entangled for ten years, in those thorny paths of literature, which Burman is represented to have passed in less than two; and we must, doubtless, confess the most skilful of our masters much excelled by the address of the Dutch teachers, or the abilities of our greatest scholars far surpassed by those of Burinan.

But, to reduce this narrative to credibility, it is necessary that admiration should give place to inquiry, and that it be discovered what proficiency in literature is expected from a student, requesting to be admitted into a Dutch university. It is to be observed, that in the universities of foreign countries, they have professors of philology, or humanity, whose employment is to instruct the younger classes in grammar, rhetorick, and languages; nor do they engage in the study of philosophy, till they have passed through a course of philological lectures and exercises, to which, in some places, two years are commonly allotted.

The English scheme of education, which, with regard to academical studies, is more rigorous, and sets literary honours at a higher price than that of any other country, exacts from the youth, who are initiated in our colleges, a degree of philological knowledge sufficient to qualify them for lectures in philosophy, which are read to them in Latin, and to enable them to proceed in other studies without assistance; so that it may be conjectured, that Burman, at his entrance into the university, had no such skill in languages, nor such ability of composition, as are frequently to be met with in the higher classes of an English school; nor was, perhaps, more than moderately skilled in Latin, and taught the first rudiments of Greek.

In the university he was committed to the care of the learned Grævius, whose regard for his father inclined him to superintend his studies with more than common attention, which was soon confirmed and increased by his discoveries of the genius of his pupil, and his observation of his diligence.

One of the qualities which contributed eminently to qualify Grævius for an instructor of youth, was the sagacity by which he readily discovered the predominant faculty of each pupil, and the peculiar designation by which nature had allotted him to any species of literature, and by which he was soon able to determine, that Burman was remarkably adapted to classical studies, and predict the great advances that he would make, by industriously pursuing the direction of his genius.

Animated by the encouragement of a tutor so celebrated, he continued the vigour of his application, and, for several years, not only attended the lectures of Grævius, but made use of every other opportunity of improvement, with such diligence as might justly be expected to produce an uncommon proficiency.

Having thus attained a sufficient degree of classical knowledge to qualify him for inquiries into other sciences, he applied himself to the study of the law, and published a dissertation, de Vicesima Hæreditatum, which he publickly defended, under the professor Van Muyden, with such learning and eloquence, as procured him great applause.

Imagining, then, that the conversation of other men of learning might be of use towards his further improvement, and rightly judging that notions formed in any single seminary are, for the greatest part, contracted and partial, he went to Leyden, where he studied philosophy for a year, under M. de Volder, whose celebrity was so great, that the schools assigned to the sciences, which it was his province to teach, were not sufficient, though very spacious, to contain the audience that crowded his lectures from all parts of Europe.

Yet he did not suffer himself to be engrossed by philosophical disquisitions, to the neglect of those studies in which he was more early engaged, and to which he was, perhaps, by nature better adapted; for he attended at the same time Ryckius's explanations of Tacitus, and James Gronovius's lectures on the Greek writers, and has often been heard to acknowledge, at an advanced age, the assistance which he received from them.

Having thus passed a year at Leyden with great advantage, he returned to Utrecht, and once more applied himself to philological studies, by the assistance of Grævius, whose early hopes of his genius were now raised to a full confidence of that excellence, at which he afterwards arrived.

At Utrecht, in March, 1688, in the twentieth year of his age, he was advanced to the degree of doctor of laws; on which occasion he published a learned dissertation, de Transactionibus, and defended it with his usual eloquence, learning, and success.

The attainment of this honour was far from having upon Burman that effect which has been too often observed to be produced in others, who, having in their own opinion no higher object of ambition, have relapsed into idleness and security, and spent the rest of their lives in a lazy enjoyment of their academical dignities. Burman aspired to further improvements, and, not satisfied with the opportunities of literary conversation which Utrecht afforded, travelled into Switzerland and Germany, where he gained an increase both of fame and learning.

At his return from this excursion, he engaged in the practice of the law, and pleaded several causes with such reputation, as might be hoped by a man who had joined to his knowledge of the law, the embellishments of polite literature, and the strict ratiocination of true philosophy; and who was able to employ, on every occasion, the graces of eloquence and the power of argumentation.

While Burman was hastening to high reputation in the courts of justice, and to those riches and honours which always follow it, he was summoned, in 1691, by the magistrates of Utrecht, to undertake the charge of collector of the tenths, an office, in that place, of great honour, and which he accepted, therefore, as a proof of their confidence and esteem.

While he was engaged in this employment, he married Eve Clotterboke, a young lady of a good family, and uncommon genius and beauty, by whom he had ten children, of which eight died young; and only two sons, Francis and Caspar, lived to console their mother for their father's death.

Neither publick business nor domestick cares detained Burman from the prosecution of his literary inquiries; by which he so much endeared himself to Grævius, that he Was recommended by him to the regard of the university of Utrecht, and, accordingly, in 1696, was chosen professor of eloquence and history, to which was added, after some time, the professorship of the Greek language, and afterwards that of politicks; so various did they conceive his abilities, and so extensive his knowledge.

At his entrance upon this new province, he pronounced an oration upon eloquence and poetry.

Having now more frequent opportunities of displaying his learning, he arose, in a short time, to a high reputation, of which the great number of his auditors was a sufficient proof, and which the proficiency of his pupils showed not to be accidental or undeserved.

In 1714, he formed a resolution of visiting Paris, not only for the sake of conferring, in person, upon questions of literature, with the learned men of that place, and of gratifying his curiosity with a more familiar knowledge of those writers whose works he admired, but with a view more important, of visiting the libraries, and making those inquiries which might be of advantage to his darling study.

The vacation of the university allowed him to stay at Paris but six weeks, which he employed with so much dexterity and industry, that he had searched the principal libraries, collated a great number of manuscripts and printed copies, and brought back a great treasure of curious observations.

In this visit to Paris he contracted an acquaintance, among other learned men, with the celebrated father Montfaucon; with whom he conversed, at his first interview, with no other character but that of a traveller; but, their discourse turning upon ancient learning, the stranger soon gave such proofs of his attainments, that Montfaucon declared him a very uncommon traveller, and confessed his curiosity to know his name; which he no sooner heard, than he rose from his seat, and, embracing him with the utmost ardour, expressed his satisfaction at having seen the man whose productions of various kinds he had so often praised; and, as a real proof of his regard, offered not only to procure him an immediate admission to all the libraries of Paris, but to those in remoter provinces, which are not generally open to strangers, and undertook to ease the expenses of his journey, by procuring him entertainment in all the monasteries of his order.

This favour Burman was hindered from accepting, by the necessity of returning to Utrecht at the usual time of beginning a new course of lectures, to which there was always so great a concourse of students, as much increased the dignity and fame of the university in which he taught.

He had already extended to distant parts his reputation for knowledge of ancient history, by a treatise, de Vectigalibus Populi Romani, on the revenues of the Romans; and for his skill in Greek learning, and in ancient coins, by a tract called Jupiter Fulgurator; and after his return from Paris, he published Plædrus, first with the notes of various commentators, and afterwards with his own. He printed many poems, made many orations upon different subjects, and procured an impression of the epistles of Gudius and Sanavius.

While he was thus employed, the professorships of history, eloquence, and the Greek language, became vacant at Leyden, by the death of Perizonius, which Burman's reputation incited the curators of the university to offer him upon very generous terms, and which, after some struggles with his fondness for his native place, his friends, and his colleagues, he was prevailed on to accept, finding the solicitations from Leyden warm and urgent, and his friends at Utrecht, though unwilling to be deprived of him, yet not zealous enough for the honour and advantage of their university, to endeavour to detain him by great liberality.

At his entrance upon this new professorship, which was conferred upon him in 1715, he pronounced an oration upon the duty and office of a professor of polite literature; de publici humanioris disciplinæ professoris proprio officio et munere; and showed, by the usefulness and perspicuity of his lectures, that he was not confined to speculative notions on that subject, having a very happy method of accommodating his instructions to the different abilities and attainments of his pupils.

Nor did he suffer the publick duties of this station to hinder him from promoting learning by labours of a different kind; for, besides many poems and orations, which he recited on different occasions, he wrote several prefaces to the works of others, and published many useful editions of the best Latin writers, with large collections of notes from various commentators.

He was twice rector, or chief governour of the university, and discharged that important office with equal equity and ability, and gained, by his conduct in every station, so much esteem, that when the professorship of history of the United Provinces became vacant, it was conferred on him, as an addition to his honours and revenues, which he might justly claim; and afterwards, as a proof of the continuance of their regard, and a testimony that his reputation was still increasing, they made him chief librarian, an office which was the more acceptable to him, as it united his business with his pleasure, and gave him an opportunity, at the same time, of superintending the library, and carrying on his studies.

Such was the course of his life, till, in his old age, leaving off his practice of walking, and other exercises, he began to be afflicted with the scurvy, which discovered itself by very tormenting symptoms of various kinds; sometimes disturbing his head with vertigos, sometimes causing faintness in his limbs, and sometimes attacking his legs with anguish so excruciating, that all his vigour was destroyed, and the power of walking entirely taken away, till, at length, his left foot became motionless. The violence of his pain produced irregular fevers, deprived him of rest, and entirely debilitated his whole frame.

This tormenting disease he bore, though not without some degree of impatience, yet without any unbecoming or irrational despondency, and applied himself in the intermission of his pains to seek for comfort in the duties of religion.

While he lay in this state of misery he received an account of the promotion of two of his grandsons, and a catalogue of the king of France's library, presented to him by the command of the king himself, and expressed some satisfaction on all these occasions; but soon diverted his thoughts to the more important consideration of his eternal state, into which he passed on the 31st of March, 1741, in the seventy-third year of his age.

He was a man of moderate stature, of great strength and activity, which he preserved by temperate diet, without medical exactness, and by allotting proportions of his time to relaxation and amusement, not suffering his studies to exhaust his strength, but relieving them by frequent intermissions; a practice consistent with the most exemplary diligence, and which he that omits will find at last, that time may be lost, like money, by unseasonable avarice.

In his hours of relaxation he was gay, and sometimes gave way so far to his temper, naturally satirical, that he drew upon himself the ill-will of those who had been unfortunately the subjects of his mirth; but enemies so provoked, he thought it beneath him to regard or to pacify; for he was fiery, but not malicious, disdained dissimulation, and in his gay or serious hours, preserved a settled detestation of falsehood. So that he was an open and undisguised friend or enemy, entirely unacquainted with the artifices of flatterers, but so judicious in the choice of friends, and so constant in his affection to them, that those with whom he had contracted familiarity in his youth, had, for the greatest part, his confidence in his old age.

His abilities, which would probably have enabled him to have excelled in any kind of learning, were chiefly employed, as his station required, on polite literature, in which he arrived at very uncommon knowledge; which, however, appears rather from judicious compilations, than original productions. His style is lively and masculine, but not without harshness and constraint, nor, perhaps, always polished to that purity, which some writers have attained. He was at least instrumental to the instruction of mankind, by the publication of many valuable performances, which lay neglected by the greatest part of the learned world; and, if reputation be estimated by usefulness, he may claim a higher degree in the ranks of learning, than some others of happier elocution, or more vigorous imagination.

The malice or suspicion of those who either did not know, or did not love him, had given rise to some doubts about his religion, which he took an opportunity of removing on his death-bed, by a voluntary declaration of his faith, his hope of everlasting salvation from the revealed promises of God, and his confidence in the merits of our Redeemer, of the sincerity of which declaration his whole behaviour in his long illness was an incontestable proof; and he concluded his life, which had been illustrious for many virtues, by exhibiting an example of true piety.

Of his works we have not been able to procure a complete catalogue: he published, Quintilianus, 2 vols. 4to; Valerius Flaccus; Ovidius, 4 vols. 4to; Poetæ Latini Minores, 2 vols. 4to; cum notis variorum. Buchanani Opera, 2 vols. 4to [51].






Thomas Sydenham was born in the year 1624, at Windford Eagle, in Dorsetshire, where his father, William Sydenham, esq. had a large fortune. Under whose care he was educated, or in what manner he passed his childhood, whether he made any early discoveries of a genius peculiarly adapted to the study of nature, or gave any presages of his future eminence in medicine, no information is to be obtained. We must, therefore, repress that curiosity, which would naturally incline us to watch the first attempts of so vigorous a mind, to pursue it in its childish inquiries, and see it struggling with rustick prejudices, breaking, on trifling occasions, the shackles of credulity, and giving proofs, in its casual excursions, that it was formed to shake off the yoke of prescription, and dispel the phantoms of hypothesis.

That the strength of Sydenham's understanding, the accuracy of his discernment, and ardour of his curiosity, might have been remarked from his infancy by a diligent observer, there is no reason to doubt; for there is no instance of any man, whose history has been minutely related, that did not, in every part of life, discover the same proportion of intellectual vigour; but it has been the lot of the greatest part of those who have excelled in science, to be known only by their own writings, and to have left behind them no remembrance of their domestick life, or private transactions, or only such memorials of particular passages as are, on certain occasions, necessarily recorded in publick registers.

From these it is discovered, that, at the age of eighteen, in 1642, he commenced a commoner of Magdalen hall, in Oxford, where it is not probable that he continued long; for he informs us himself, that he was withheld from the university by the commencement of the war; nor is it known in what state of life he engaged, or where he resided during that long series of publick commotion. It is, indeed, reported, that he had a commission in the king's army, but no particular account is given of his military conduct; nor are we told what rank he obtained, when he entered into the army, or when, or on what occasion, he retired from it.

It is, however, certain, that if ever he took upon him the profession of arms, he spent but few years in the camp; for, in 1648, he obtained, at Oxford, the degree of bachelor of physick, for which, as some medicinal knowledge is necessary, it may be imagined that he spent some time in qualifying himself.

His application to the study of physick was, as he himself relates, produced by an accidental acquaintance with Dr. Cox, a physician, eminent at that time in London, who in some sickness prescribed to his brother, and attending him frequently on that occasion, inquired of him what profession he designed to follow. The young man answering that he was undetermined, the doctor recommended physick to him, on what account, or with what arguments, it is not related; but his persuasions were so effectual, that Sydenham determined to follow his advice, and retired to Oxford for leisure and opportunity to pursue his studies.

It is evident that this conversation must have happened before his promotion to any degree in physick, because he himself fixes it in the interval of his absence from the university, a circumstance which will enable us to confute many false reports relating to Dr. Sydenham, which have been confidently inculcated, and implicitly believed. It is the general opinion, that he was made a physician by accident and necessity, and sir Richard Blackmore reports, in plain terms, [preface to his Treatise on the Small Pox,] that he engaged in practice, without any preparatory study, or previous knowledge, of the medicinal sciences; and affirms, that when he was consulted by him what books he should read to qualify him for the same profession, he recommended Don Quixote.

That he recommended Don Quixote to Blackmore, we are not allowed to doubt; but the relater is hindered by that self-love, which dazzles all mankind, from discovering that he might intend a satire very different from a general censure of all the ancient and modern writers on medicine, since he might, perhaps, mean, either seriously or in jest, to insinuate, that Blackmore was not adapted by nature to the study of physick, and that, whether he should read Cervantes or Hippocrates, he would be equally unqualified for practice, and equally unsuccessful in it.

Whatsoever was his meaning, nothing is more evident, than that it was a transient sally of an imagination warmed with gaiety, or the negligent effusion of a mind intent upon some other employment, and in haste to dismiss a troublesome intruder; for it is certain that Sydenham did not think it impossible to write usefully on medicine, because he has himself written upon it; and it is not probable that he carried his vanity so far, as to imagine that no man had ever acquired the same qualifications besides himself. He could not but know that he rather restored, than invented most of his principles, and, therefore, could not but acknowledge the value of those writers whose doctrines he adopted and enforced.

That he engaged in the practice of physick without any acquaintance with the theory, or knowledge of the opinions or precepts of former writers, is undoubtedly false; for he declares, that, after he had, in pursuance of his conversation with Dr. Cox, determined upon the profession of physick, he "applied himself in earnest to it, and spent several years in the university," (aliquot annos in academica palæstra,) before he began to practise in London.

Nor was he satisfied with the opportunities of knowledge which Oxford afforded, but travelled to Montpellier, as Désault relates, [Dissertation on Consumptions,] in quest of further information; Montpellier, being at that time, the most celebrated school of physick: so far was Sydenham from any contempt of academical institutions, and so far from thinking it reasonable to learn physick by experiments alone, which must necessarily be made at the hazard of life.

What can be demanded beyond this by the most zealous advocate for regular education? What can be expected from the most cautious and most industrious student, than that he should dedicate several years to the rudiments of his art, and travel for further instructions from one university to another?

It is likewise a common opinion, that Sydenham was thirty years old, before he formed his resolution of studying physick, for which I can discover no other foundation than one expression in his dedication to Dr. Mapletoft, which seems to have given rise to it, by a gross misinterpretation; for he only observes, that from his conversation with Dr. Cox to the publication of that treatise, thirty years had intervened.

Whatever may have produced this notion, or how long soever it may have prevailed, it is now proved, beyond controversy, to be false; since it appears that Sydenham, having been for some time absent from the university, returned to it, in order to pursue his physical inquiries, before he was twenty-four years old; for, in 1648, he was admitted to the degree of bachelor of physick.

That such reports should be confidently spread, even among the contemporaries of the author to whom they relate, and obtain, in a few years, such credit as to require a regular confutation; that it should be imagined that the greatest physician of the age arrived at so high a degree of skill, without any assistance from his predecessors; and that a man, eminent for integrity, practised medicine by chance, and grew wise only by murder; is not to be considered without astonishment.

But if it be, on the other part, remembered, how much this opinion favours the laziness of some, and the pride of others; how readily some men confide in natural sagacity; and how willingly most would spare themselves the labour of accurate reading and tedious inquiry; it will be easily discovered, how much the interest of multitudes was engaged in the production and continuance of this opinion, and how cheaply those, of whom it was known that they practised physick before they studied it, might satisfy themselves and others with the example of the illustrious Sydenham.

It is, therefore, in an uncommon degree useful to publish a true account of this memorable man, that pride, temerity, and idleness, may be deprived of that patronage which they have enjoyed too long; that life may be secured from the dangerous experiments of the ignorant and presumptuous; and that those, who shall, hereafter, assume the important province of superintending the health of others, may learn, from this great master of the art, that the only means of arriving at eminence and success are labour and study.

From these false reports it is probable that another arose, to which, though it cannot be with equal certainty confuted, it does not appear that entire credit ought to be given. The acquisition of a Latin style did not seem consistent with the manner of life imputed to him; nor was it probable, that he, who had so diligently cultivated the ornamental parts of general literature, would have neglected the essential studies of his own profession. Those, therefore, who were determined, at whatever price, to retain him in their own party, and represent him equally ignorant and daring with themselves, denied him the credit of writing his own works in the language in which they were published, and asserted, but without proof, that they were composed by him in English, and translated into Latin by Dr. Mapletoft.

Whether Dr. Mapletoft lived and was familiar with him, during the whole time in which these several treatises were printed, treatises written on particular occasions, and printed at periods considerably distant from each other, we have had no opportunity of inquiring, and, therefore, cannot demonstrate the falsehood of this report; but if it be considered how unlikely it is, that any man should engage in a work so laborious and so little necessary, only to advance the reputation of another, or that he should have leisure to continue the same office upon all following occasions; if it be remembered how seldom such literary combinations are formed, and how soon they are, for the greatest part, dissolved, there will appear no reason for not allowing Dr. Sydenham the laurel of eloquence, as well as physick [53].

It is observable, that his Processus Integri, published after his death, discovers alone more skill in the Latin language than is commonly ascribed to him; and it surely will not be suspected, that the officiousness of his friends was continued after his death, or that he procured the book to be translated, only that, by leaving it behind him, he might secure his claim to his other writings.

It is asserted by sir Hans Sloane, that Dr. Sydenham, with whom he was familiarly acquainted, was particularly versed in the writings of the great Roman orator and philosopher; and there is evidently such a luxuriance in his style, as may discover the author which gave him most pleasure, and most engaged his imitation.

About the same time that he became bachelor of physick, he obtained, by the interest of a relation, a fellowship of All Souls' college, having submitted, by the subscription required, to the authority of the visitors appointed by the parliament, upon what principles, or how consistently with his former conduct, it is now impossible to discover.

When he thought himself qualified for practice, he fixed his residence in Westminster, became doctor of physick at Cambridge, received a license from the college of physicians, and lived in the first degree of reputation, and the greatest affluence of practice, for many years, without any other enemies than those which he raised by the superiour merit of his conduct, the brighter lustre of his abilities, or his improvements of his science, and his contempt of pernicious methods, supported only by authority, in opposition to sound reason and indubitable experience. These men are indebted to him for concealing their names, when he records their malice, since they have, thereby, escaped the contempt and detestation of posterity.

It is a melancholy reflection, that they who have obtained the highest reputation, by preserving or restoring the health of others, have often been hurried away before the natural decline of life, or have passed many of their years under the torments of those distempers which they profess to relieve. In this number was Sydenham, whose health began to fail in the fifty-second year of his age, by the frequent attacks of the gout, to which he was subject for a great part of his life, and which was afterwards accompanied with the stone in the kidneys, and, its natural consequence, bloody urine.

These were distempers which even the art of Sydenham could only palliate, without hope of a perfect cure, but which, if he has not been able by his precepts to instruct us to remove, he has, at least, by his example, taught us to bear; for he never betrayed any indecent impatience, or unmanly dejection, under his torments, but supported himself by the reflections of philosophy, and the consolations of religion; and in every interval of ease applied himself to the assistance of others with his usual assiduity.

After a life thus usefully employed, he died at his house in Pall-mall, on the 29th of December, 1689, and was buried in the aisle, near the south door of the church of St. James, in Westminster.

What was his character, as a physician, appears from the treatises which he has left, which it is not necessary to epitomise or transcribe; and from them it may likewise be collected, that his skill in physick was not his highest excellence; that his whole character was amiable; that his chief view was the benefit of mankind, and the chief motive of his actions, the will of God, whom he mentions with reverence, well becoming the most enlightened and most penetrating mind. He was benevolent, candid, and communicative, sincere, and religious; qualities, which it were happy, if they could copy from him, who emulate his knowledge, and imitate his methods.






There is always this advantage in contending with illustrious adversaries, that the combatant is equally immortalized by conquest or defeat. He that dies by the sword of a hero will always be mentioned, when the acts of his enemy are mentioned. The man, of whose life the following account is offered to the publick, was, indeed, eminent among his own party, and had qualities, which, employed in a good cause, would have given him some claim to distinction; but no one is now so much blinded with bigotry, as to imagine him equal either to Hammond or Chillingworth; nor would his memory, perhaps, have been preserved, had he not, by being conjoined with illustrious names, become the object of publick curiosity.

Francis Cheynel was born in 1608, at Oxford [55], where his father, Dr. John Cheynel, who had been fellow of Corpus Christi college, practised physick with great reputation. He was educated in one of the grammar schools of his native city, and, in the beginning of the year 1623, became a member of the university.

It is probable, that he lost his father when he was very young; for it appears, that before 1629, his mother had married Dr. Abbot, bishop of Salisbury, whom she had likewise buried. From this marriage he received great advantage; for his mother, being now allied to Dr. Brent, then warden of Merton college, exerted her interest so vigorously, that he was admitted there a probationer, and afterwards obtained a fellowship [56].

Having taken the degree of master of arts, he was admitted to orders, according to the rites of the church of England, and held a curacy near Oxford, together with his fellowship. He continued in his college, till he was qualified, by his years of residence, for the degree of bachelor of divinity, which he attempted to take in 1641, but was denied his grace [57], for disputing concerning predestination, contrary to the king's injunctions.

This refusal of his degree he mentions in his dedication to his account of Mr. Chillingworth: "Do not conceive that I snatch up my pen in an angry mood, that I might vent my dangerous wit, and ease my overburdened spleen; no, no, I have almost forgotten the visitation of Merton college, and the denial of my grace, the plundering of my house, and little library: I know when, and where, and of whom, to demand satisfaction for all these injuries and indignities. I have learnt 'centum plagas Spartana nobilitate concoquere.' I have not learnt how to plunder others of goods, or living, and make myself amends by force of arms. I will not take a living which belonged to any civil, studious, learned delinquent; unless it be the much-neglected commendam of some lordly prelate, condemned by the known laws of the land, and the highest court of the kingdom, for some offence of the first magnitude."

It is observable, that he declares himself to have almost forgot his injuries and indignities, though he recounts them with an appearance of acrimony, which is no proof that the impression is much weakened; and insinuates his design of demanding, at a proper time, satisfaction for them.

These vexations were the consequence rather of the abuse of learning, than the want of it; no one that reads his works can doubt that he was turbulent, obstinate, and petulant; and ready to instruct his superiours, when he most needed instruction from them. Whatever he believed (and the warmth of his imagination naturally made him precipitate in forming his opinions) he thought himself obliged to profess; and what he professed he was ready to defend, without that modesty which is always prudent, and generally necessary, and which, though it was not agreeable to Mr. Cheynel's temper, and, therefore, readily condemned by him, is a very useful associate to truth, and often introduces her, by degrees, where she never could have forced her way by argument or declamation.

A temper of this kind is generally inconvenient and offensive in any society, but in a place of education is least to be tolerated; for, as authority is necessary to instruction, whoever endeavours to destroy subordination, by weakening that reverence which is claimed by those to whom the guardianship of youth is committed by their country, defeats, at once, the institution; and may be justly driven from a society, by which he thinks himself too wise to be governed, and in which he is too young to teach, and too opinionative to learn.

This may be readily supposed to have been the case of Cheynel; and I know not how those can be blamed for censuring his conduct, or punishing his disobedience, who had a right to govern him, and who might certainly act with equal sincerity, and with greater knowledge.

With regard to the visitation of Merton college, the account is equally obscure. Visitors are well known to be generally called to regulate the affairs of colleges, when the members disagree with their head, or with one another; and the temper that Dr. Cheynel discovers will easily incline his readers to suspect, that he could not long live in any place, without finding some occasion for debate; nor debate any question, without carrying opposition to such a length as might make a moderator necessary. Whether this was his conduct at Merton, or whether an appeal to the visiter's authority was made by him, or his adversaries, or any other member of the college, is not to be known; it appears only, that there was a visitation, that he suffered by it, and resented his punishment.

He was afterwards presented to a living of great value, near Banbury, where he had some dispute with archbishop Laud. Of this dispute I have found no particular account. Calamy only says, he had a ruffle with bishop Laud, while at his height.

Had Cheynel been equal to his adversary in greatness and learning, it had not been easy to have found either a more proper opposite; for they were both, to the last degree, zealous, active, and pertinacious, and would have afforded mankind a spectacle of resolution and boldness not often to be seen. But the amusement of beholding the struggle would hardly have been without danger, as they were too fiery not to have communicated their heat, though it should have produced a conflagration of their country.

About the year 1641, when the whole nation was engaged in the controversy about the rights of the church, and necessity of episcopacy, he declared himself a presbyterian, and an enemy to bishops, liturgies, ceremonies; and was considered, as one of the most learned and acute of his party; for, having spent much of his life in a college, it cannot be doubted that he had a considerable knowledge of books, which the vehemence of his temper enabled him often to display, when a more timorous man would have been silent, though in learning not his inferiour.

When the war broke out, Mr. Cheynel, in consequence of his principles, declared himself for the parliament; and, as he appears to have held it as a first principle, that all great and noble spirits abhor neutrality, there is no doubt but that he exerted himself to gain proselytes, and to promote the interest of that party, which he had thought it his duty to espouse. These endeavours were so much regarded by the parliament, that, having taken the covenant, he was nominated one of the assembly of divines, who were to meet at Westminster for the settlement of the new discipline.

This distinction drew, necessarily, upon him the hatred of the cavaliers; and his living being not far distant from the king's head-quarters, he received a visit from some of the troops, who, as he affirms, plundered his house, and drove him from it. His living, which was, I suppose, considered as forfeited by his absence, though he was not suffered to continue upon it, was given to a clergyman, of whom he says, that he would become a stage better than a pulpit; a censure which I can neither confute nor admit, because I have not discovered who was his successour. He then retired into Sussex, to exercise his ministry among his friends, in a place where, as he observes, there had been little of the power of religion either known or practised. As no reason can be given why the inhabitants of Sussex should have less knowledge or virtue than those of other places, it may be suspected that he means nothing more than a place where the presbyterian discipline or principles had never been received. We now observe, that the methodists, where they scatter their opinions, represent themselves, as preaching the gospel to unconverted nations; and enthusiasts of all kinds have been inclined to disguise their particular tenets with pompous appellations, and to imagine themselves the great instruments of salvation; yet it must be confessed, that all places are not equally enlightened; that in the most civilized nations there are many corners which may be called barbarous, where neither politeness, nor religion, nor the common arts of life, have yet been cultivated; and it is likewise certain, that the inhabitants of Sussex huve been sometimes mentioned as remarkable for brutality.

From Sussex he went often to London, where, in 1643, he preached three times before the parliament; and, returning in November to Colchester, to keep the monthly fast there, as was his custom, he obtained a convoy of sixteen soldiers, whose bravery or good fortune was such, that they faced, and put to flight, more than two hundred of the king's forces.

In this journey he found Mr. Chillingworth in the hands of the parliament's troops, of whose sickness and death he gave the account, which has been sufficiently made known to the learned world by Mr. Maizeaux, in his Life of Chillingworth.

With regard to this relation, it may be observed, that it is written with an air of fearless veracity, and with the spirit of a man who thinks his cause just, and his behaviour without reproach; nor does there appear any reason for doubting that Cheynel spoke and acted as he relates; for he does not publish an apology, but a challenge, and writes not so much to obviate calumnies, as to gain from others that applause which he seems to have bestowed very liberally upon himself, for his behaviour on that occasion.

Since, therefore, this relation is credible, a great part of it being supported by evidence which cannot be refuted, Mr. Maizeaux seems very justly, in his Life of Mr. Chillingworth, to oppose the common report, that his life was shortened by the inhumanity of those to whom he was a prisoner; for Cheynel appears to have preserved, amidst all his detestation of the opinions which he imputed to him, a great kindness to his person, and veneration for his capacity; nor does he appear to have been cruel to him, otherwise than by that incessant importunity of disputation, to which he was doubtless incited by a sincere belief of the danger of his soul, if he should die without renouncing some of his opinions.

The same kindness which made him desirous to convert him before his death, would incline him to preserve him from dying before he was converted; and accordingly we find, that, when the castle was yielded, he took care to procure him a commodious lodging; when he was to have been unseasonably removed, he attempted to shorten his journey, which he knew would be dangerous; when the physician was disgusted by Chillingworth's distrust, he prevailed upon him, as the symptoms grew more dangerous, to renew his visits; and when death left no other act of kindness to be practised, procured him the rites of burial, which some would have denied him.

Having done thus far justice to the humanity of Cheynel, it is proper to inquire, how far he deserves blame. He appears to have extended none of that kindness to the opinions of Chillingworth, which he showed to his person; for he interprets every word in the worst sense, and seems industrious to discover, in every line, heresies, which might have escaped for ever any other apprehension: he appears always suspicious of some latent malignity, and ready to persecute what he only suspects, with the same violence, as if it had been openly avowed: in all his procedure he shows himself sincere, but without candour.

About this time Cheynel, in pursuance of his natural ardour, attended the army under the command of the earl of Essex, and added the praise of valour to that of learning; for he distinguished himself so much by his personal bravery, and obtained so much skill in the science of war, that his commands were obeyed by the colonels with as much respect as those of the general. He seems, indeed, to have been born a soldier; for he had an intrepidity which was never to be shaken by any danger, and a spirit of enterprise not to be discouraged by difficulty, which were supported by an unusual degree of bodily strength. His services of all kinds were thought of so much importance ty the parliament, that they bestowed upon him the living of Petworth, in Sussex. This living was of the value of seven hundred pounds per annum, from which they had ejected a man remarkable for his loyalty, and, therefore, in their opinion, not worthy of such revenues. And it may be inquired, whether, in accepting this preferment, Cheynel did not violate the protestation which he makes in the passage already recited, and whether he did not suffer his resolutions to be overborne by the temptations of wealth.

In 1646, when Oxford was taken by the forces of the parliament, and the reformation of the university was resolved, Mr. Cheynel was sent, with six others, to prepare the way for a visitation; being authorized by the parliament to preach in any of the churches, without regard to the right of the members of the university, that their doctrine might prepare their hearers for the changes which were intended.

When they arrived at Oxford, they began to execute their commission, by possessing themselves of the pulpits; but, if the relation of Wood [58] is to be regarded, were heard with very little veneration. Those who had been accustomed to the preachers of Oxford, and the liturgy of the church of England, were offended at the emptiness of their discourses, which were noisy and unmeaning; at the unusual gestures, the wild distortions, and the uncouth tone with which they were delivered; at the coldness of their prayers for the king, and the vehemence and exuberance of those which they did not fail to utter for the blessed councils and actions of the parliament and army; and at, what was surely not to be remarked without indignation, their omission of the Lord's prayer.

But power easily supplied the want of reverence, and they proceeded in their plan of reformation; and thinking sermons not so efficacious to conversion as private interrogatories and exhortations, they established a weekly meeting for freeing tender consciences from scruple, at a house that, from the business to which it was appropriated, was called the scruple-shop.

With this project they were so well pleased, that they sent to the parliament an account of it, which was afterwards printed, and is ascribed, by Wood, to Mr. Cheynel. They continued for some weeks to hold their meetings regularly, and to admit great numbers, whom curiosity, or a desire of conviction, or a compliance with the prevailing party, brought thither. But their tranquillity was quickly disturbed by the turbulence of the independents, whose opinions then prevailed among the soldiers, and were very industriously propagated by the discourses of William Earbury, a preacher of great reputation among them, who one day gathering a considerable number of his most zealous followers, went to the house appointed for the resolution of scruples, on a day which was set apart for the disquisition of the dignity and office of a minister, and began to dispute, with great vehemence, against the presbyterians, whom he denied to have any true ministers among them, and whose assemblies he affirmed not to be the true church. He was opposed with equal heat by the presbyterians, and, at length, they agreed to examine the point another day, in a regular disputation. Accordingly, they appointed the 12th of November for an inquiry: "Whether, in the christian church, the office of minister is committed to any particular persons?"

On the day fixed, the antagonists appeared, each attended by great numbers; but, when the question was proposed, they began to wrangle, not about the doctrine which they had engaged to examine, but about the terms of the proposition, which the independents alleged to be changed since their agreement; and, at length, the soldiers insisted that the question should be, "Whether those who call themselves ministers, have more right or power to preach the gospel, than any other man that is a christian?" This question was debated, for some time, with great vehemence and confusion, but without any prospect of a conclusion. At length, one of the soldiers, who thought they had an equal right with the rest to engage in the controversy, demanded of the presbyterians, whence they themselves received their orders, whether from bishops, or any other persons. This unexpected interrogatory put them to great difficulties; for it happened that they were all ordained by the bishops, which they durst not acknowledge, for fear of exposing themselves to a general censure, and being convicted from their own declarations, in which they had frequently condemned episcopacy, as contrary to Christianity; nor durst they deny it, because they might have been confuted, and must, at once, have sunk into contempt. The soldiers, seeing their perplexity, insulted them; and went away, boasting of their victory; nor did the presbyterians, for some time, recover spirit enough to renew their meetings, or to proceed in the work of easing consciences.

Earbury, exulting at the victory, which, not his own abilities, but the subtlety of the soldier had procured him, began to vent his notions of every kind, without scruple, and, at length, asserted, that "the saints had an equal measure of the divine nature with our Saviour, though not equally manifest." At the same time he took upon him the dignity of a prophet, and began to utter predictions relating to the affairs of England and Ireland.

His prophecies were not much regarded, but his doctrine was censured by the presbyterians in their pulpits; and Mr. Cheynel challenged him to a disputation, to which he agreed, and, at his first appearance in St. Mary's church, addressed his audience in the following manner:

"Christian friends, kind fellow-soldiers, and worthy students, I, the humble servant of all mankind, am this day drawn, against my will, out of my cell into this publick assembly, by the double chain of accusation and a challenge from the pulpit. I have been charged with heresy; I have been challenged to come hither, in a letter written by Mr. Francis Cheynel. Here, then, I stand in defence of myself and my doctrine, which I shall introduce with only this declaration, that I claim not the office of a minister on account of any outward call, though I formerly received ordination, nor do I boast of illumination, or the knowledge of our Saviour, though I have been held in esteem by others, and formerly by myself; for I now declare, that I know nothing, and am nothing, nor would I be thought of otherwise than as an inquirer and seeker."

He then advanced his former position in stronger terms, and with additions equally detestable, which Cheynel attacked with the vehemence which, in so warm a temper, such horrid assertions might naturally excite. The dispute, frequently interrupted by the clamours of the audience, and tumults raised to disconcert Cheynel, who was very unpopular, continued about four hours, and then both the controvertists grew weary, and retired. The presbyterians afterwards thought they should more speedily put an end to the heresies of Earbury by power than by argument; and, by soliciting general Fairfax, procured his removal.

Mr. Cheynel published an account of this dispute, under the title of, Faith triumphing over Errour and Heresy, in a Revelation, &c.; nor can it be doubted but he had the victory, where his cause gave him so great superiority.

Somewhat before this, his captious and petulant disposition engaged him in a controversy, from which he could not expect to gain equal reputation. Dr. Hammond had, not long before, published his Practical Catechism, in which Mr. Cheynel, according to his custom, found many errours implied, if not asserted; and, therefore, as it was much read, thought it convenient to censure it in the pulpit. Of this Dr. Hammond being informed, desired him, in a letter, to communicate his objections; to which Mr. Cheynel returned an answer, written with his usual temper, and, therefore, somewhat perverse. The controversy was drawn out to a considerable length; and the papers, on both sides, were afterwards made publick by Dr. Hammond.

In 1647, it was determined by parliament, that the reformation of Oxford should be more vigorously carried on; and Mr. Cheynel was nominated one of the visiters. The general process of the visitation, the firmness and fidelity of the students, the address by which the inquiry was delayed, and the steadiness with which it was opposed, which are very particularly related by Wood, and after him by Walker, it is not necessary to mention here, as they relate not more to Mr. Cheynel's life than to those of his associates.

There is, indeed, some reason to believe that he was more active and virulent than the rest, because he appears to have been charged, in a particular manner, with some of their most unjustifiable measures. He was accused of proposing, that the members of the university should be denied the assistance of counsel, and was lampooned by name, as a madman, in a satire written on the visitation.

One action, which shows the violence of his temper, and his disregard, both of humanity and decency, when they came in competition with his passions, must not be forgotten. The visiters, being offended at the obstinacy of Dr. Fell, dean of Christchurch, and vicechancellor of the university, having first deprived him of his vicechancellorship, determined afterwards to dispossess him of his deanery; and, in the course of their proceedings, thought it proper to seize upon his chambers in the college. This was an act which most men would willingly have referred to the officers to whom the law assigned it; but Cheynel's fury prompted him to a different conduct. He, and three more of the visiters, went and demanded admission; which, being steadily refused them, they obtained by the assistance of a file of soldiers, who forced the doors with pick-axes. Then entering, they saw Mrs. Fell in the lodgings, Dr. Fell being in prison at London, and ordered her to quit them, but found her not more obsequious than her husband. They repeated their orders with menaces, but were not able to prevail upon her to remove. They then retired, and left her exposed to the brutality of the soldiers, whom they commanded to keep possession, which Mrs. Fell, however, did not leave. About nine days afterwards, she received another visit of the same kind from the new chancellor, the earl of Pembroke; who having, like the others, ordered her to depart without effect, treated her with reproachful language, and, at last, commanded the soldiers to take her up in her chair, and carry her out of doors. Her daughters, and some other gentlewomen that were with her, were afterwards treated in the same manner; one of whom predicted, without dejection, that she should enter the house again with less difficulty, at some other time; nor was she mistaken in her conjecture, for Dr. Fell lived to be restored to his deanery.

At the reception of the chancellor, Cheynel, as the most accomplished of the visiters, had the province of presenting him with the ensigns of his office, some of which were counterfeit, and addressing him with a proper oration. Of this speech, which Wood has preserved, I shall give some passages, by which a judgment may be made of his oratory.

Of the staves of the beadles he observes, that "some are stained with double guilt, that some are pale with fear, and that others have been made use of as crutches, for the support of bad causes and desperate fortunes;" and he remarks of the book of statutes which he delivers, that "the ignorant may, perhaps, admire the splendour of the cover, but the learned know that the real treasure is within." Of these two sentences it is easily discovered, that the first is forced and unnatural, and the second trivial and low.

Soon afterwards Mr. Cheynel was admitted to the degree of bachelor of divinity, for which his grace had been denied him in 1641, and, as he then suffered for an ill-timed assertion of the presbyterian doctrines, he obtained that his degree should be dated from the time at which he was refused it; an honour which, however, did not secure him from being soon after publickly reproached as a madman.

But the vigour of Cheynel was thought, by his companions, to deserve profit, as well as honour; and Dr. Bailey, the president of St. John's college, being not more obedient to the authority of the parliament than the rest, was deprived of his revenues and authority, with which Mr. Cheynel was immediately invested; who, with his usual coolness and modesty, took possession of the lodgings soon after by breaking open the doors.

This preferment being not thought adequate to the deserts or abilities of Mr. Cheynel, it was, therefore, desired, by the committee of parliament, that the visiters would recommend him to the lectureship of divinity, founded by the lady Margaret. To recommend him, and to choose, was, at that time, the same; and he had now the pleasure of propagating his darling doctrine of predestination, without interruption, and without danger.

Being thus flushed with power and success, there is little reason for doubting that he gave way to his natural vehemence, and indulged himself in the utmost excesses of raging zeal, by which he was, indeed, so much distinguished, that, in a satire mentioned by Wood, he is dignified by the title of archvisiter; an appellation which he seems to have been industrious to deserve by severity and inflexibility; for, not contented with the commission which he and his colleagues had already received, he procured six or seven of the members of parliament to meet privately in Mr. Rouse's lodgings, and assume the style and authority of a committee, and from them obtained a more extensive and tyrannical power, by which the visitors were enabled to force the solemn league and covenant, and the negative oath upon all the members of the university, and to prosecute those for a contempt who did not appear to a citation, at whatever distance they might be, and whatever reasons they might assign for their absence.

By this method he easily drove great numbers from the university, whose places he supplied with men of his own opinion, whom he was very industrious to draw from other parts, with promises of making a liberal provision for them out of the spoils of hereticks and malignants.

Having, in time, almost extirpated those opinions which he found so prevalent at his arrival, or, at least, obliged those, who would not recant, to an appearance of conformity, he was at leisure for employments which deserve to be recorded with greater commendation. About this time, many socinian writers began to publish their notions with great boldness, which the presbyterians, considering as heretical and impious, thought it necessary to confute; and, therefore, Cheynel, who had now obtained his doctor's degree, was desired, in 1649, to write a vindication of the doctrine of the Trinity, which he performed, and published the next year.

He drew up, likewise, a confutation of some socinian tenets advanced by John Fry, a man who spent great part of his life in ranging from one religion to another, and who sat as one of the judges on the king, but was expelled afterwards from the house of commons, and disabled from sitting in parliament. Dr. Cheynel is said to have shown himself evidently superiour to him in the controversy, and was answered by him only with an opprobrious book against the presbyterian clergy.

Of the remaining part of his life, there is found only an obscure and confused account. He quitted the presidentship of St. John's, and the professorship, in 1650, as Calamy relates, because he would not take the engagement; and gave a proof that he could suffer, as well as act, in a cause which he believed just. We have, indeed, no reason to question his resolution, whatever occasion might be given to exert it; nor is it probable that he feared affliction more than danger, or that he would not have borne persecution himself for those opinions which inclined him to persecute others.

He did not suffer much upon this occasion; for he retained the living of Petworth, to which he, thenceforward, confined his labours, and where he was very assiduous, and, as Calamy affirms, very successful in the exercise of his ministry, it being his peculiar character to be warm and zealous in all his undertakings.

This heat of his disposition, increased by the uncommon turbulence of the times in which he lived, and by the opposition to which the unpopular nature of some of his employments exposed him, was, at last, heightened to distraction, so that he was, for some years, disordered in his understanding, as both Wood and Calamy relate, but with such difference as might be expected from their opposite principles. Wood appears to think, that a tendency to madness was discoverable in a great part of his life; Calamy, that it was only transient and accidental, though, in his additions to his first narrative, he pleads it, as an extenuation of that fury with which his kindest friends confess him to have acted on some occasions. Wood declares, that he died little better than distracted; Calamy, that he was perfectly recovered to a sound mind, before the restoration, at which time he retired to Preston, a small village in Sussex, being turned out of his living at Petworth.

It does not appear that he kept his living till the general ejection of the nonconformists; and it is not unlikely that the asperity of his carriage, and the known virulence of his temper, might have raised him enemies, who were willing to make him feel the effects of persecution, which he had so furiously incited against others; but of this incident of his life there is no particular account.

After his deprivation, he lived, till his death, which happened in 1665, at a small village near Chichester, upon a paternal estate, not augmented by the large preferments wasted upon him in the triumphs of his party; having been remarkable, throughout his life, for hospitality and contempt of money.





CAVE [59].

The curiosity of the publick seems to demand the history of every man who has, by whatever means, risen to eminence; and few lives would have more readers than that of the compiler of the Gentleman's Magazine, if all those who received improvement or entertainment from him should retain so much kindness for their benefactor, as to inquire after his conduct and character.

Edward Cave was born at Newton, in Warwickshire, Feb. 29, 1691. His father (Joseph) was the younger son of Mr. Edward Cave, of Cave's-in-the-Hole, a lone house, on the Street road, in the same county, which took its name from the occupier; but having concurred with his elder brother in cutting off the entail of a small hereditary estate, by which act it was lost from the family, he was reduced to follow, in Rugby, the trade of a shoemaker. He was a man of good reputation in his narrow circle, and remarkable for strength and rustick intrepidity. He lived to a great age, and was, in his latter years, supported by his son.

It was fortunate for Edward Cave, that, having a disposition to literary attainments, he was not cut off by the poverty of his parents from opportunities of cultivating his faculties. The school of Rugby, in which he had, by the rules of its foundation, a right to be instructed, was then in high reputation under the reverend Mr. Holyock, to whose care most of the neighbouring families, even of the highest rank, intrusted their sons. He had judgment to discover, and, for some time, generosity to encourage, the genius of young Cave; and was so well pleased with his quick progress in the school, that he declared his resolution to breed him for the university, and recommended him, as a servitor, to some of his scholars of high rank. But prosperity which depends upon the caprice of others, is of short duration. Cave's superiority in literature exalted him to an invidious familiarity with boys who were far above him in rank and expectations; and, as in unequal associations it always happens, whatever unlucky prank was played was imputed to Cave. When any mischief, great or small, was done, though, perhaps, others boasted of the stratagem, when it was successful, yet, upon detection, or miscarriage the fault was sure to fall upon poor Cave.

At last, his mistress, by some invisible means, lost a favourite cock. Cave was, with little examination, stigmatised as the thief and murderer; not because he was more apparently criminal than others, but because he was more easily reached by vindictive justice. From that time, Mr. Holyock withdrew his kindness visibly from him, and treated him with harshness, which the crime, in its utmost aggravation, could scarcely deserve; and which, surely, he would have forborne, had he considered how hardly the habitual influence of birth and fortune is resisted; and how frequently men, not wholly without sense of virtue, are betrayed to acts more atrocious than the robbery of a hen-roost, by a desire of pleasing their superiours.

Those reflections his master never made, or made without effect; for, under pretence that Cave obstructed the discipline of the school, by selling clandestine assistance, and supplying exercises to idlers, he was oppressed with unreasonable tasks, that there might be an opportunity of quarrelling with his failure; and when his diligence had surmounted them, no regard was paid to the performance. Cave bore this persecution awhile, and then left the school, and the hope of a literary education, to seek some other means of gaining a livelihood.

He was first placed with a collector of the excise. He used to recount, with some pleasure, a journey or two which he rode with him as his clerk, and relate the victories that he gained over the excisemen in grammatical disputations. But the insolence of his mistress, who employed him in servile drudgery, quickly disgusted him, and he went up to London in quest of more suitable employment.

He was recommended to a timber-merchant at the Bankside, and, while he was there on liking, is said to have given hopes of great mercantile abilities; but this place he soon left, I know not for what reason, and was bound apprentice to Mr. Collins, a printer of some reputation, and deputy alderman.

This was a trade for which men were formerly qualified by a literary education, and which was pleasing to Cave, because it furnished some employment for his scholastick attainments. Here, therefore, he resolved to settle, though his master and mistress lived in perpetual discord, and their house was, therefore, no comfortable habitation. From the inconveniencies of these domestick tumults he was soon released, having, in only two years, attained so much skill in his art, and gained so much the confidence of his master, that he was sent, without any superintendant, to conduct a printing-office at Norwich, and publish a weekly paper. In this undertaking he met with some opposition, which produced a publick controversy, and procured young Cave the reputation of a writer.

His master died before his apprenticeship was expired, and he was not able to bear the perverseness of his mistress. He, therefore, quitted her house upon a stipulated allowance, and married a young widow, with whom he lived at Bow. When his apprenticeship was over, he worked, as a journeyman, at the printing-house of Mr. Barber, a man much distinguished, and employed by the tories, whose principles had, at that time, so much prevalence with Cave, that he was, for some years, a writer in Mist's Journal; which, though he afterwards obtained, by his wife's interest, a small place in the post-office, he for some time continued. But, as interest is powerful, and conversation, however mean, in time persuasive, he, by degrees, inclined to another party; in which, however, he was always moderate, though steady and determined.

When he was admitted into the post-office, he still continued, at his intervals of attendance, to exercise his trade, or to employ himself with some typographical business. He corrected the Gradus ad Parnassum; and was liberally rewarded by the company of stationers. He wrote an account of the criminals, which had, for some time, a considerable sale; and published many little pamphlets, that accident brought into his hands, of which it would be very difficult to recover the memory. By the correspondence which his place in the post-office facilitated, he procured country newspapers, and sold their intelligence to a journalist in London, for a guinea a week.

He was afterwards raised to the office of clerk of the franks, in which he acted with great spirit and firmness; and often stopped franks, which were given by members of parliament to their friends, because he thought such extension of a peculiar right illegal. This raised many complaints, and having stopped, among others, a frank given to the old dutchess of Marlborough by Mr. Walter Plummer, he was cited before the house, as for a breach of privilege, and accused, I suppose very unjustly, of opening letters to detect them. He was treated with great harshness and severity, but, declining their questions, by pleading his oath of secrecy, was at last dismissed. And it must be recorded to his honour, that, when he was ejected from his office, he did not think himself discharged from his trust, but continued to refuse, to his nearest friends, any information about the management of the office.

By this constancy of diligence and diversification of employment, he in time collected a sum sufficient for the purchase of a small printing-office, and began the Gentleman's Magazine, a periodical pamphlet, of which the scheme is known wherever the English language is spoken. To this undertaking he owed the affluence in which he passed the last twenty years of his life, and the fortune which he left behind him, which, though large, had been yet larger, had he not rashly and wantonly impaired it, by innumerable projects, of which I know not that ever one succeeded.

The Gentleman's Magazine, which has now subsisted fifty years, and still continues to enjoy the favour of the world [60], is one of the most successful and lucrative pamphlets which literary history has upon record, and therefore deserves, in this narrative, particular notice.

Mr. Cave, when he formed the project, was far from expecting the success which he found; and others had so little prospect of its consequence, that though he had, for several years, talked of his plan among printers and booksellers, none of them thought it worth the trial. That they were not restrained by virtue from the execution of another man's design, was sufficiently apparent, as soon as that design began to be gainful; for, in a few years, a multitude of magazines arose and perished: only the London Magazine, supported by a powerful association of booksellers, and circulated with all the art and all the cunning of trade, exempted itself from the general fate of Cave's invaders, and obtained, though not an equal, yet a considerable sale [61].

Cave now began to aspire to popularity; and being a greater lover of poetry than any other art, he sometimes offered subjects for poems, and proposed prizes for the best performers. The first prize was fifty pounds, for which, being but newly acquainted with wealth, and thinking the influence of fifty pounds extremely great, he expected the first authors of the kingdom to appear as competitors; and offered the allotment of the prize to the universities. But, when the time came, no name was seen among the writers that had ever been seen before; the universities and several private men rejected the province of assigning the prize. At all this Mr. Cave wondered for awhile; but his natural judgment, and a wider acquaintance with the world, soon cured him of his astonishment, as of many other prejudices and errours. Nor have many men been seen raised by accident or industry to sudden riches, that retained less of the meanness of their former state.

He continued to improve his magazine, and had the satisfaction of seeing its success proportionate to his diligence, till, in 1751, his wife died of an asthma. He seemed not at first much affected by her death, but in a few days lost his sleep and his appetite, which he never recovered; but, after having lingered about two years, with many vicissitudes of amendment and relapse, fell, by drinking acid liquors, into a diarrhoea, and afterwards into a kind of lethargick insensibility, in which one of the last acts of reason, which he exerted, was fondly to press the hand that is now writing this little narrative. He died on the 10th of January, 1754, having just concluded the twenty-third annual collection [62].

He was a man of a large stature, not only tall but bulky, and was, when young, of remarkable strength and activity. He was, generally, healthful, and capable of much labour and long application; but in the latter years of his life was afflicted with the gout, which he endeavoured to cure or alleviate by a total abstinence both from strong liquors and animal food. From animal food he abstained about four years, and from strong liquors much longer; but the gout continued unconquered, perhaps unabated.

His resolution and perseverance were very uncommon; in whatever he undertook, neither expense nor fatigue were able to repress him; but his constancy was calm, and to those who did not know him appeared faint and languid; but he always went forward, though he moved slowly. The same chilness of mind was observable in his conversation; he was watching the minutest accent of those

  Assisted only by a classical education,
  Which he received at the Grammar school
  Of this Town,
  Planned, executed, and established
  A literary work, called
  Whereby he acquired an ample fortune,
  The whole of which devolved to his family,
  Here also lies
  The body of WILLIAM CAVE,
  Second son of the said JOSEPH CAVE,
  Who died May 2, 1757, aged 62 years;
  And who, having survived his elder brother,
  Inherited from him a competent estate;
  And, in gratitude to his benefactor,
  Ordered this monument to perpetuate his memory.

  He liv'd a patriarch in his numerous race,
  And show'd in charity a Christian's grace:
  Whate'er a friend or parent feels, he knew;
  His hand was open, and his heart was true;
  In what he gain'd and gave, he taught mankind,
  A grateful always is a generous mind.
  Here rest his clay! his soul must ever rest;
  Who bless'd when living, dying must be blest.

whom he disgusted by seeming inattention; and his visitant was surprised when he came a second time, by preparations to execute the scheme which he supposed never to have been heard.

He was, consistently with this general tranquillity of mind, a tenacious maintainer, though not a clamorous demander, of his right. In his youth, having summoned his fellow-journeymen to concert measures against the oppression of their masters, he mounted a kind of rostrum, and harangued them so efficaciously, that they determined to resist all future invasions; and when the stamp-offices demanded to stamp the last half-sheet of the magazines, Mr. Cave alone defeated their claim, to which the proprietors of the rival magazines would meanly have submitted.

He was a friend rather easy and constant, than zealous an'd active; yet many instances might be given, where both his money and his diligence were employed liberally for others. His enmity was, in like manner, cool and deliberate; but though cool, it was not insidious, and though deliberate, not pertinacious.

His mental faculties were slow. He saw little at a time, but that little he saw with great exactness. He was long in finding the right, but seldom failed to find it at last. His affections were not easily gained, and his opinions not quickly discovered. His reserve, as it might hide his faults, concealed his virtues; but such he was, as they who best knew him have most lamented.






Charles Frederick, the present king of Prussia, whose actions and designs now keep Europe in attention, is the eldest son of Frederick William, by Sophia Dorothea, daughter of George the first, king of England. He was born January 24, 1711-12. Of his early years nothing remarkable has been transmitted to us. As he advanced towards manhood, he became remarkable by his disagreement with his father.

The late king of Prussia was of a disposition violent and arbitrary, of narrow views, and vehement passions, earnestly engaged in little pursuits, or in schemes terminating in some speedy consequence, without any plan of lasting advantage to himself or his subjects, or any prospect of distant events. He was, therefore, always busy, though no effects of his activity ever appeared, and always eager, though he had nothing to gain. His behaviour was, to the last degree, rough and savage. The least provocation, whether designed or accidental, was returned by blows, which he did not always forbear to the queen and princesses.

From such a king and such a father it was not any enormous violation of duty in the immediate heir of a kingdom, sometimes to differ in opinion, and to maintain that difference with decent pertinacity. A prince of a quick sagacity and comprehensive knowledge, must find many practices in the conduct of affairs which he could not approve, and some which he could scarcely forbear to oppose.

The chief pride of the old king was to be master of the tallest regiment in Europe. He, therefore, brought together, from all parts, men above the common military standard. To exceed the height of six feet, was a certain recommendation to notice, and to approach that of seven, a claim to distinction. Men will readily go where they are sure to be caressed; and he had, therefore, such a collection of giants, as, perhaps, was never seen in the world before.

To review this towering regiment was his daily pleasure, and to perpetuate it was so much his care, that when he met a tall woman, he immediately commanded one of his Titanian retinue to marry her, that they might propagate procerity, and produce heirs to the father's habiliments.

In all this there was apparent folly, but there was no crime. The tall regiment made a fine show at an expense not much greater, when once it was collected, than would have been bestowed upon common men. But the king's military pastimes were sometimes more pernicious. He maintained a numerous army, of which he made no other use than to review and to talk of it; and when he, or perhaps his emissaries, saw a boy, whose form and sprightliness promised a future soldier, he ordered a kind of badge to be put about his neck, by which he was marked out for the service, like the sons of Christian captives in Turkey; and his parents were forbidden to destine him to any other mode of life.

This was sufficiently oppressive, but this was not the utmost of his tyranny. He had learned, though otherwise perhaps no very great politician, that to be rich was to be powerful; but that the riches of a king ought to be seen in the opulence of his subjects, he wanted either ability or benevolence to understand. He, therefore, raised exorbitant taxes from every kind of commodity and possession, and piled up the money in his treasury, from which it issued no more. How the land which had paid taxes once, was to pay them a second time, how imposts could be levied without commerce, or commerce continued without money, it was not his custom to inquire. Eager to snatch at money, and delighted to count it, he felt new joy at every receipt, and thought himself enriched by the impoverishment of his dominions.

By which of these freaks of royalty the prince was offended, or whether, as perhaps more frequently happens, the offences of which he complains were of a domestick and personal kind, it is not easy to discover. But his resentment, whatever was its cause, rose so high, that he resolved not only to leave his father's court, but his territories, and to seek a refuge among the neighbouring or kindred princes. It is generally believed that his intention was to come to England, and live under the protection of his uncle, till his father's death, or change of conduct, should give him liberty to return.

His design, whatever it was, he concerted with an officer in the army, whose name was Kat, a man in whom he placed great confidence, and whom, having chosen him for the companion of his flight, he necessarily trusted with the preparatory measures. A prince cannot leave his country with the speed of a meaner fugitive. Something was to be provided, and something to be adjusted. And, whether Kat found the agency of others necessary, and, therefore, was constrained to admit some partners of the secret; whether levity or vanity incited him to disburden himself of a trust that swelled in his bosom, or to show to a friend or mistress his own importance; or whether it be in itself difficult for princes to transact any thing in secret; so it was, that the king was informed of the intended flight, and the prince, and his favourite, a little before the time settled for their departure, were arrested, and confined in different places.

The life of princes is seldom in danger, the hazard of their irregularities falls only on those whom ambition or affection combines with them. The king, after an imprisonment of some time, set his son at liberty; but poor Kat was ordered to be tried for a capital crime. The court examined the cause, and acquitted him: the king remanded him to a second trial, and obliged his judges to condemn him. In consequence of the sentence thus tyrannically extorted, he was publickly beheaded, leaving behind him some papers of reflections made in the prison, which were afterwards printed, and among others an admonition to the prince, for whose sake he suffered, not to foster in himself the opinion of destiny, for that a providence is discoverable in every thing round us.

This cruel prosecution of a man who had committed no crime, but by compliance with influence not easily to be resisted, was not the only act by which the old king irritated his son. A lady with whom the prince was suspected of intimacy, perhaps more than virtue allowed, was seized, I know not upon what accusation, and, by the king's order, notwithstanding all the reasons of decency and tenderness that operate in other countries, and other judicatures, was publickly whipped in the streets of Berlin.

At last, that the prince might feel the power of a king and a father in its utmost rigour, he was, in 1733, married against his will to the princess Elizabetha Christina of Brunswick Luneburg Beveren. He married her indeed at his father's command, but without professing for her either esteem or affection, and considering the claim of parental authority fully satisfied by the external ceremony, obstinately and perpetually, during the life of his father, refrained from her bed. The poor princess lived about seven years in the court of Berlin, in a state which the world has not often seen, a wife without a husband, married so far as to engage her person to a man who did not desire her affection, and of whom it was doubtful, whether he thought himself restrained from the power of repudiation by an act performed under evident compulsion.

Thus he lived secluded from publick business, in contention with his father, in alienation from his wife. This state of uneasiness he found the only means of softening. He diverted his mind from the scenes about him, by studies and liberal amusements. The studies of princes seldom produce great effects, for princes draw with meaner mortals the lot of understanding; and since of many students not more than one can be hoped to advance far towards perfection, it is scarcely to be expected that we should find that one a prince; that the desire of science should overpower in any mind the love of pleasure, when it is always present, or always within call; that laborious meditation should be preferred in the days of youth to amusements and festivity; or that perseverance should press forward in contempt of flattery; and that he, in whom moderate acquisitions would be extolled as prodigies, should exact from himself that excellence of which the whole world conspires to spare him the necessity.

In every great performance, perhaps in every great character, part is the gift of nature, part the contribution of accident, and part, very often not the greatest part, the effect of voluntary election, and regular design. The king of Prussia was undoubtedly born with more than common abilities; but that he has cultivated them with more than common diligence, was probably the effect of his peculiar condition, of that which he then considered as cruelty and misfortune.

In this long interval of unhappiness and obscurity, he acquired skill in the mathematical sciences, such as is said to have put him on the level with those who have made them the business of their lives. This is, probably, to say too much: the acquisitions of kings are always magnified. His skill in poetry and in the French language has been loudly praised by Voltaire, a judge without exception, if his honesty were equal to his knowledge. Musick he not only understands, but practises on the German flute, in the highest perfection; so that, according to the regal censure of Philip of Macedon, he may be ashamed to play so well.

He may be said to owe to the difficulties of his youth an advantage less frequently obtained by princes than literature and mathematicks. The necessity of passing his time without pomp, and of partaking of the pleasures and labours of a lower station, made him acquainted with the various forms of life, and with the genuine passions, interests, desires, and distresses, of mankind. Kings, without this help from temporary infelicity, see the world in a mist, which magnifies every thing near them, and bounds their view to a narrow compass, which few are able to extend by the mere force of curiosity. I have always thought that what Cromwell had more than our lawful kings, he owed to the private condition in which he first entered the world, and in which he long continued: in that state he learned his art of secret transaction, and the knowledge by which he was able to oppose zeal to zeal, and make one enthusiast destroy another.

The king of Prussia gained the same arts, and, being born to fairer opportunities of using them, brought to the throne the knowledge of a private man, without the guilt of usurpation. Of this general acquaintance with the world there may be found some traces in his whole life. His conversation is like that of other men upon common topicks, his letters have an air of familiar elegance, and his whole conduct is that of a man who has to do with men, and who is not ignorant what motives will prevail over friends or enemies.

In 1740, the old king fell sick, and spoke and acted in his illness with his usual turbulence and roughness, reproaching his physicians, in the grossest terms, with their unskilfulness and impotence, and imputing to their ignorance or wickedness the pain which their prescriptions failed to relieve. These insults they bore with the submission which is commonly paid to despotick monarchs; till at last the celebrated Hoffman was consulted, who failing, like the rest, to give ease to his majesty, was, like the rest, treated with injurious language. Hoffman, conscious of his own merit, replied, that he could not bear reproaches which he did not deserve; that he had tried all the remedies that art could supply, or nature could admit; that he was, indeed, a professor by his majesty's bounty; but that, if his abilities or integrity were doubted, he was willing to leave, not only the university, but the kingdom; and that he could not be driven into any place where the name of Hoffman would want respect. The king, however unaccustomed to such returns, was struck with conviction of his own indecency, told Hoffman, that he had spoken well, and requested him to continue his attendance.

The king, finding his distemper gaining upon his strength, grew at last sensible that his end was approaching, and, ordering the prince to be called to his bed, laid several injunctions upon him, of which one was to perpetuate the tall regiment by continual recruits, and another, to receive his espoused wife. The prince gave him a respectful answer, but wisely avoided to diminish his own right or power by an absolute promise; and the king died uncertain of the fate of the tall regiment.

The young king began his reign with great expectations, which he has yet surpassed. His father's faults produced many advantages to the first years of his reign. He had an army of seventy thousand men well disciplined, without any imputation of severity to himself, and was master of a vast treasure without the crime or reproach of raising it. It was publickly said in our house of commons, that he had eight millions sterling of our money; but, I believe, he that said it had not considered how difficultly eight millions would be found in all the Prussian dominions. Men judge of what they do not see by that which they see. We are used to talk in England of millions with great familiarity, and imagine that there is the same affluence of money in other countries, in countries whose manufactures are few, and commerce little.

Every man's first cares are necessarily domestick. The king, being now no longer under influence, or its appearance, determined how to act towards the unhappy lady who had possessed, for seven years, the empty title of the princess of Prussia. The papers of those times exhibited the conversation of their first interview; as if the king, who plans campaigns in silence, would not accommodate a difference with his wife, but with writers of news admitted as witnesses. It is certain that he received her as queen, but whether he treats her as a wife is yet in dispute.

In a few days his resolution was known with regard to the tall regiment; for some recruits being offered him, he rejected them; and this body of giants, by continued disregard, mouldered away.

He treated his mother with great respect, ordered that she should bear the title of queen mother, and that, instead of addressing him as his majesty, she should only call him son.

As he was passing soon after between Berlin and Potsdam, a thousand boys, who had been marked out for military service, surrounded his coach, and cried out: "merciful king! deliver us from our slavery." He promised them their liberty, and ordered, the next day, that the badge should be taken off.

He still continued that correspondence with learned men which he began when he was prince; and the eyes of all scholars, a race of mortals formed for dependence, were upon him, as a man likely to renew the times of patronage, and to emulate the bounties of Lewis the fourteenth.

It soon appeared that he was resolved to govern with very little ministerial assistance: he took cognizance of every thing with his own eyes; declared, that in all contrarieties of interest between him and his subjects, the publick good should have the preference; and, in one of the first exertions of regal power, banished the prime minister and favourite of his father, as one that had "betrayed his master, and abused his trust."

He then declared his resolution to grant a general toleration of religion, and, among other liberalities of concession, allowed the profession of free-masonry. It is the great taint of his character, that he has given reason to doubt, whether this toleration is the effect of charity or indifference, whether he means to support good men of every religion, or considers all religions as equally good. There had subsisted, for some time, in Prussia, an order called the "order for favour," which, according to its denomination, had been conferred with very little distinction. The king instituted the "order for merit," with which he honoured those whom he considered as deserving. There were some who thought their merit not sufficiently recompensed by this new title; but he was not very ready to grant pecuniary rewards. Those who were most in his favour he sometimes presented with snuffboxes, on which was inscribed, "Amitié augmente le prix."

He was, however, charitable, if not liberal, for he ordered the magistrates of the several districts to be very attentive to the relief of the poor; and, if the funds established for that use were not sufficient, permitted that the deficiency should be supplied out of the revenues of the town.

One of his first cares was the advancement of learning. Immediately upon his accession, he wrote to Rollin and Voltaire, that he desired the continuance of their friendship; and sent for Mr. Maupertuis, the principal of the French academicians, who passed a winter in Lapland, to verify, by the mensuration of a degree near the pole, the Newtonian doctrine of the form of the earth. He requested of Maupertuis to come to Berlin, to settle an academy, in terms of great ardour and great condescension.

At the same time, he showed the world that literary amusements were not likely, as has more than once happened to royal students, to withdraw him from the care of the kingdom, or make him forget his interest. He began by reviving a claim to Herstal and Hermal, two districts in the possession of the bishop of Liege. When he sent his commissary to demand the homage of the inhabitants, they refused him admission, declaring that they acknowledged no sovereign but the bishop. The king then wrote a letter to the bishop, in which he complained of the violation of his right, and the contempt of his authority, charged the prelate with countenancing the late act of disobedience, and required an answer in two days.

In three days the answer was sent, in which the bishop founds his claim to the two lordships, upon a grant of Charles the fifth, guaranteed by France and Spain; alleges that his predecessors had enjoyed this grant above a century, and that he never intended to infringe the rights of Prussia; but as the house of Brandenburgh had always made some pretensions to that territory, he was willing to do what other bishops had offered, to purchase that claim for a hundred thousand crowns.

To every man that knows the state of the feudal countries, the intricacy of their pedigrees, the confusion of their alliances, and the different rules of inheritance that prevail in different places, it will appear evident, that of reviving antiquated claims there can be no end, and that the possession of a century is a better title than can commonly be produced. So long a prescription supposes an acquiescence in the other claimants; and that acquiescence supposes also some reason, perhaps now unknown, for which the claim was forborne. Whether this rule could be considered as valid in the controversy between these sovereigns, may, however, be doubted, for the bishop's answer seems to imply, that the title of the house of Brandenburg had been kept alive by repeated claims, though the seizure of the territory had been hitherto forborne.

The king did not suffer his claim to be subjected to any altercations, but, having published a declaration, in which he charged the bishop with violence and injustice, and remarked that the feudal laws allowed every man, whose possession was withheld from him, to enter it with an armed force, he immediately despatched two thousand soldiers into the controverted countries, where they lived without control, exercising every kind of military tyranny, till the cries of the inhabitants forced the bishop to relinquish them to the quiet government of Prussia.

This was but a petty acquisition; the time was now come when the king of Prussia was to form and execute greater designs. On the 9th of October, 1740, half Europe was thrown into confusion by the death of Charles the sixth, emperour of Germany, by whose death all the hereditary dominions of the house of Austria descended, according to the pragmatick sanction, to his eldest daughter, who was married to the duke of Lorrain, at the time of the emperour's death, duke of Tuscany.

By how many securities the pragmatick sanction was fortified, and how little it was regarded when those securities became necessary; how many claimants started up at once to the several dominions of the house of Austria; how vehemently their pretensions were enforced, and how many invasions were threatened or attempted; the distresses of the emperour's daughter, known for several years by the title only of the queen of Hungary, because Hungary was the only country to which her claim had not been disputed: the firmness with which she struggled with her difficulties, and the good fortune by which she surmounted them; the narrow plan of this essay will not suffer me to relate. Let them be told by some other writer of more leisure and wider intelligence.

Upon the emperour's death, many of the German princes fell upon the Austrian territories, as upon a dead carcass, to be dismembered among them without resistance. Among these, with whatever justice, certainly with very little generosity, was the king of Prussia, who, having assembled his troops, as was imagined, to support the pragmatick sanction, on a sudden entered Silesia with thirty thousand men, publishing a declaration, in which he disclaims any design of injuring the rights of the house of Austria, but urges his claim to Silesia, as rising "from ancient conventions of family and confraternity between the house of Brandenburg and the princes of Silesia, and other honourable titles." He says, the fear of being defeated by other pretenders to the Austrian dominions, obliged him to enter Silesia without any previous expostulation with the queen, and that he shall "strenuously espouse the interests of the house of Austria."

Such a declaration was, I believe, in the opinion of all Europe, nothing less than the aggravation of hostility by insult, and was received by the Austrians with suitable indignation. The king pursued his purpose, marched forward, and in the frontiers of Silesia made a speech to his followers, in which he told them, that he considered them rather "as friends than subjects, that the troops of Brandenburg had been always eminent for their bravery, that they would always fight in his presence, and that he would recompense those who should distinguish themselves in his service, rather as a father than as a king."

The civilities of the great are never thrown away. The soldiers would naturally follow such a leader with alacrity; especially because they expected no opposition: but human expectations are frequently deceived.

Entering thus suddenly into a country which he was supposed rather likely to protect than to invade, he acted for some time with absolute authority; but, supposing that this submission would not always last, he endeavoured to persuade the queen to a cession of Silesia, imagining that she would easily be persuaded to yield what was already lost. He, therefore, ordered his minister to declare, at Vienna, "that he was ready to guarantee all the German dominions of the house of Austria; that he would conclude a treaty with Austria, Russia, and the maritime powers; that he would endeavour that the duke of Lorrain should be elected emperour, and believed that he could accomplish it; that he would immediately advance to the queen two millions of florins; that, in recompense for all this, he required Silesia to be yielded to him."

These seem not to be the offers of a prince very much convinced of his own right. He afterwards moderated his claim, and ordered his minister to hint at Vienna, that half of Silesia would content him.

The queen answered, that though the king alleged, as his reason for entering Silesia, the danger of the Austrian territories from other pretenders, and endeavoured to persuade her to give up part of her possessions for the preservation of the rest, it was evident that he was the first and only invader, and that, till he entered in a hostile manner, all her estates were unmolested.

To his promises of assistance she replied, "that she set a high value on the king of Prussia's friendship; but that he was already obliged to assist her against her invaders, both by the golden bull, and the pragmatick sanction, of which he was a guarantee, and that, if these ties were of no force she knew not what to hope from other engagements."

Of his offers of alliances with Russia and the maritime powers, she observed, that it could be never fit to alienate her dominions for the consolidation of an alliance formed only to keep them entire.

With regard to his interest in the election of an emperour, she expressed her gratitude in strong terms; but added, that the election ought to be free, and that it must be necessarily embarrassed by contentions thus raised in the heart of the empire. Of the pecuniary assistance proposed, she remarks, that no prince ever made war to oblige another to take money, and that the contributions already levied in Silesia exceed the two millions, offered as its purchase.

She concluded, that as she values the king's friendship, she was willing to purchase it by any compliance but the diminution of her dominions, and exhorted him to perform his part in support of the pragmatick sanction.

The king, finding negotiation thus ineffectual, pushed forward his inroads, and now began to show how secretly he could take his measures. When he called a council of war, he proposed the question in a few words: all his generals wrote their opinions in his presence upon separate papers, which he carried away, and, examining them in private, formed his resolution, without imparting it otherwise than by his orders.

He began not without policy, to seize first upon the estates of the clergy, an order every where necessary, and every where envied. He plundered the convents of their stores of provision; and told them, that he never had heard of any magazines erected by the apostles.

This insult was mean, because it was unjust; but those who could not resist were obliged to bear it. He proceeded in his expedition; and a detachment of his troops took Jablunca, one of the strong places of Silesia, which was soon after abandoned, for want of provisions, which the Austrian hussars, who were now in motion, were busy to interrupt.

One of the most remarkable events of the Silesia war, was the conquest of great Glogau, which was taken by an assault in the dark, headed by prince Leopold of Anhalt Dessau. They arrived at the foot of the fortifications about twelve at night, and in two hours were masters of the place. In attempts of this kind many accidents happen which cannot be heard without surprise. Four Prussian grenadiers, who had climbed the ramparts, missing their own company, met an Austrian captain with fifty-two men: they were at first frighted, and were about to retreat; but, gathering courage, commanded the Austrians to lay down their arms, and in the terrour of darkness and confusion were unexpectedly obeyed.

At the same time a conspiracy to kill or carry away the king of Prussia, was said to be discovered. The Prussians published a memorial, in which the Austrian court was accused of employing emissaries and assassins against the king; and it was alleged, in direct terms, that one of them had confessed himself obliged, by oath, to destroy him, which oath had been given him in an Aulick council, in the presence of the duke of Lorrain.

To this the Austrians answered, "that the character of the queen and duke was too well known not to destroy the force of such an accusation; that the tale of the confession was an imposture, and that no such attempt was ever made."

Each party was now inflamed, and orders were given to the Austrian general to hazard a battle. The two armies met at Molwitz, and parted without a complete victory on either side. The Austrians quitted the field in good order; and the king of Prussia rode away upon the first disorder of his troops, without waiting for the last event. This attention to his personal safety has not yet been forgotten.

After this, there was no action of much importance. But the king of Prussia, irritated by opposition, transferred his interest in the election to the duke of Bavaria; and the queen of Hungary, now attacked by France, Spain, and Bavaria, was obliged to make peace with him at the expense of half Silesia, without procuring those advantages which were once offered her.

To enlarge dominions has been the boast of many princes; to diffuse happiness and security through wide regions has been granted to few. The king of Prussia has aspired to both these honours, and endeavoured to join the praise of legislator to that of conqueror.

To settle property, to suppress false claims, and to regulate the administration of civil and criminal justice are attempts so difficult and so useful, that I shall willingly suspend or contract the history of battles and sieges, to give a larger account of this pacifick enterprise.

That the king of Prussia has considered the nature and the reasons of laws, with more attention than is common to princes, appears from his dissertation on the Reasons for enacting and repealing Laws: a piece which yet deserves notice, rather as a proof of good inclination than of great ability; for there is nothing to be found in it more than the most obvious books may supply, or the weakest intellect discover. Some of his observations are just and useful; but upon such a subject who can think without often thinking right? It is, however, not to be omitted, that he appears always propense towards the side of mercy. "If a poor man," says he, "steals in his want a watch, or a few pieces, from one to whom the loss is inconsiderable, is this a reason for condemning him to death?"

He regrets that the laws against duels have been ineffectual; and is of opinion, that they can never attain their end, unless the princes of Europe shall agree not to afford an asylum to duellists, and to punish all who shall insult their equals, either by word, deed, or writing. He seems to suspect this scheme of being chimerical. "Yet why," says he, "should not personal quarrels be submitted to judges, as well as questions of possession? and why should not a congress be appointed for the general good of mankind, as well as for so many purposes of less importance?"

He declares himself with great ardour against the use of torture, and by some misinformation charges the English that they still retain it.

It is, perhaps, impossible to review the laws of any country without discovering many defects and many superfluities. Laws often continue, when their reasons have ceased. Laws made for the first state of the society continue unabolished, when the general form of life is changed. Parts of the judicial procedure, which were, at first, only accidental, become, in time, essential; and formalities are accumulated on each other, till the art of litigation requires more study than the discovery of right.

The king of Prussia, examining the institutions of his own country, thought them such as could only be amended by a general abrogation, and the establishment of a new body of law, to which he gave the name of the Code Frédérique, which is comprised in one volume of no great bulk, and must, therefore, unavoidably contain general positions to be accommodated to particular cases by the wisdom and integrity of the courts. To embarrass justice by multiplicity of laws, or to hazard it by confidence in judges, seem to be the opposite rocks on which all civil institutions have been wrecked, and between which legislative wisdom has never yet found an open passage.

Of this new system of laws, contracted as it is, a full account cannot be expected in these memoirs; but, that curiosity may not be dismissed without some gratification, it has been thought proper to epitomise the king's plan for the reformation of his courts.

"The differences which arise between members of the same society, may be terminated by a voluntary agreement between the parties, by arbitration, or by a judicial process.

"The two first methods produce, more frequently, a temporary suspension of disputes than a final termination. Courts of justice are, therefore, necessary, with a settled method of procedure, of which the most simple is to cite the parties, to hear their pleas, and dismiss them with immediate decision.

"This, however, is, in many cases, impracticable, and in others is so seldom practised, that it is frequent rather to incur loss than to seek for legal reparation, by entering a labyrinth of which there is no end.

"This tediousness of suits keeps the parties in disquiet and perturbation, rouses and perpetuates animosities, exhausts the litigants by expense, retards the progress of their fortune, and discourages strangers from settling.

"These inconveniencies, with which the best-regulated polities of Europe are embarrassed, must be removed, not by the total prohibition of suits, which is impossible, but by contraction of processes; by opening an easy way for the appearance of truth, and removing all obstructions by which it is concealed.

"The ordonnance of 1667, by which Lewis the fourteenth established an uniformity of procedure through all his courts, has been considered as one of the greatest benefits of his reign.

"The king of Prussia, observing that each of his provinces had a different method of judicial procedure, proposed to reduce them all to one form; which being tried with success in Pomerania, a province remarkable for contention, he afterwards extended to all his dominions, ordering the judges to inform him of any difficulties which arose from it.

"Some settled method is necessary in judicial procedures. Small and simple causes might be decided upon the oral pleas of the two parties appearing before the judge; but many cases are so entangled and perplexed as to require all the skill and abilities of those who devote their lives to the study of the law.

"Advocates, or men who can understand and explain the question to be discussed, are, therefore, necessary. But these men, instead of endeavouring to promote justice and discover truth, have exerted their wits in the defence of bad causes, by forgeries of facts, and fallacies of argument.

"To remedy this evil, the king has ordered an inquiry into the qualifications of the advocate. All those who practise without a regular admission, or who can be convicted of disingenuous practice, are discarded. And the judges are commanded to examine which of the causes now depending have been protracted by the crimes and ignorance of the advocates, and to dismiss those who shall appear culpable.

"When advocates are too numerous to live by honest practice, they busy themselves in exciting disputes, and disturbing the community: the number of these to be employed in each court is, therefore, fixed.

"The reward of the advocates is fixed with due regard to the nature of the cause, and the labour required; but not a penny is received by them till the suit is ended, that it may be their interest, as well as that of the clients, to shorten the process.

"No advocate is admitted in petty courts, small towns, or villages; where the poverty of the people, and, for the most part, the low value of the matter contested, make despatch absolutely necessary. In those places the parties shall appear in person, and the judge make a summary decision.

"There must, likewise, be allowed a subordination of tribunals, and a power of appeal. No judge is so skilful and attentive as not sometimes to err. Few are so honest as not sometimes to be partial. Petty judges would become insupportably tyrannical if they were not restrained by the fear of a superiour judicature; and their decisions would be negligent or arbitrary if they were not in danger of seeing them examined and cancelled.

"The right of appeal must be restrained, that causes may not be transferred without end from court to court; and a peremptory decision must, at last, be made.

"When an appeal is made to a higher court, the appellant is allowed only four weeks to frame his bill, the judge of the lower court being to transmit to the higher all the evidences and informations. If, upon the first view of the cause thus opened, it shall appear that the appeal was made without just cause, the first sentence shall be confirmed without citation of the defendant. If any new evidence shall appear, or any doubts arise, both the parties shall be heard.

"In the discussion of causes altercation must be allowed; yet to altercation some limits must be put. There are, therefore, allowed a bill, an answer, a reply, and a rejoinder, to be delivered in writing.

"No cause is allowed to be heard in more than three different courts. To further the first decision, every advocate is enjoined, under severe penalties, not to begin a suit till he has collected all the necessary evidence. If the first court has decided in an unsatisfactory manner, an appeal may be made to the second, and from the second to the third. The process in each appeal is limited to six months. The third court may, indeed, pass an erroneous judgment; and then the injury is without redress. But this objection is without end, and, therefore, without force. No method can be found of preserving humanity from errour; but of contest there must sometime be an end; and he, who thinks himself injured for want of an appeal to a fourth court, must consider himself as suffering for the publick.

"There is a special advocate appointed for the poor.

"The attorneys, who had formerly the care of collecting evidence, and of adjusting all the preliminaries of a suit, are now totally dismissed; the whole affair is put into the hands of the advocates, and the office of an attorney is annulled for ever.

"If any man is hindered by some lawful impediment from attending his suit, time will be granted him upon the representation of his case."

Such is the order according to which civil justice is administered through the extensive dominions of the king of Prussia; which, if it exhibits nothing very subtle or profound, affords one proof more that the right is easily discovered, and that men do not so often want ability to find, as willingness to practise it.

We now return to the war.

The time at which the queen of Hungary was willing to purchase peace by the resignation of Silesia, though it came at last, was not come yet. She had all the spirit, though not all the power of her ancestors, and could not bear the thought of losing any part of her patrimonial dominions to the enemies which the opinion of her weakness raised every where against her.

In the beginning of the year 1742, the elector of Bavaria was invested with the imperial dignity, supported by the arms of France, master of the kingdom of Bohemia; and confederated with the elector Palatine, and the elector of Saxony, who claimed Moravia; and with the king of Prussia, who was in possession of Silesia.

Such was the state of the queen of Hungary, pressed on every side, and on every side preparing for resistance: she yet refused all offers of accommodation, for every prince set peace at a price which she was not yet so far humbled as to pay.

The king of Prussia was among the most zealous and forward in the confederacy against her. He promised to secure Bohemia to the emperour, and Moravia to the elector of Saxony; and, finding no enemy in the field able to resist him, he returned to Berlin, and left Schwerin, his general, to prosecute the conquest.

The Prussians, in the midst of winter, took Olmutz, the capital of Moravia, and laid the whole country under contribution. The cold then hindered them from action, and they only blocked up the fortresses of Brinn, and Spielberg.

In the spring, the king of Prussia came again into the field, and undertook the siege of Brinn; but, upon the approach of prince Charles of Lorrain, retired from before it, and quitted Moravia, leaving only a garrison in the capital.

The condition of the queen of Hungary was now changed. She was, a few months before, without money, without troops, encircled with enemies. The Bavarians had entered Austria, Vienna was threatened with a siege, and the queen left it to the fate of war, and retired into Hungary, where she was received with zeal and affection, not unmingled, however, with that neglect which must always be borne by greatness in distress. She bore the disrespect of her subjects with the same firmness as the outrages of her enemies; and, at last, persuaded the English not to despair of her preservation, by not despairing herself.

Voltaire, in his late history, has asserted, that a large sum was raised for her succour, by voluntary subscriptions of the English ladies. It is the great failing of a strong imagination to catch greedily at wonders. He was misinformed, and was, perhaps, unwilling to learn, by a second inquiry, a truth less splendid and amusing. A contribution was, by news-writers, upon their own authority, fruitlessly, and, I think, illegally proposed. It ended in nothing. The parliament voted a supply, and five hundred thousand pounds were remitted to her.

It has been always the weakness of the Austrian family to spend in the magnificence of empire, those revenues which should be kept for its defence. The court is splendid, but the treasury is empty; and, at the beginning of every war, advantages are gained against them, before their armies can be assembled and equipped.

The English money was to the Austrians, as a shower to a field, where all the vegetative powers are kept unactive by a long continuance of drought. The armies, which had hitherto been hid in mountains and forests, started out of their retreats; and, wherever the queen's standard was erected, nations scarcely known by their names, swarmed immediately about it. An army, especially a defensive army, multiplies itself. The contagion of enterprise spreads from one heart to another. Zeal for a native, or detestation of a foreign sovereign, hope of sudden greatness or riches, friendship or emulation between particular men, or, what are perhaps more general and powerful, desire of novelty and impatience of inactivity, fill a camp with adventurers, add rank to rank, and squadron to squadron.

The queen had still enemies on every part, but she now, on every part, had armies ready to oppose them. Austria was immediately recovered; the plains of Bohemia were filled with her troops, though the fortresses were garrisoned by the French. The Bavarians were recalled to the defence of their own country, now wasted by the incursions of troops that were called barbarians, greedy enough of plunder, and daring, perhaps, beyond the rules of war, but otherwise not more cruel than those whom they attacked. Prince Lobkowitz, with one army, observed the motions of Broglio, the French general, in Bohemia; and prince Charles with another, put a stop to the advances of the king of Prussia.

It was now the turn of the Prussians to retire. They abandoned Olmutz, and left behind them part of their cannon and their magazines. And the king, finding that Broglio could not long oppose prince Lobkowitz, hastened into Bohemia to his assistance; and having received a reinforcement of twenty-three thousand men, and taken the castle of Glatz, which, being built upon a rock scarcely accessible, would have defied all his power, had the garrison been furnished with provisions, he purposed to join his allies, and prosecute his conquests.

Prince Charles, seeing Moravia thus evacuated by the Prussians, determined to garrison the towns which he had just recovered, and pursue the enemy, who, by the assistance of the French, would have been too powerful for prince Lobkowitz.

Success had now given confidence to the Austrians, and had proportionably abated the spirit of their enemies. The Saxons, who had cooperated with the king of Prussia in the conquest of Moravia, of which they expected the perpetual possession, seeing all hopes of sudden acquisition defeated, and the province left again to its former masters, grew weary of following a prince, whom they considered as no longer acting the part of their confederate; and when they approached the confines of Bohemia took a different road, and left the Prussians to their own fortune.

The king continued his march, and Charles his pursuit. At Czaslau the two armies came in sight of one another, and the Austrians resolved on a decisive day. On the 6th of May, about seven in the morning, the Austrians began the attack: their impetuosity was matched by the firmness of the Prussians. The animosity of the two armies was much inflamed: the Austrians were fighting for their country, and the Prussians were in a place, where defeat must inevitably end in death or captivity. The fury of the battle continued four hours: the Prussian horse were, at length, broken, and the Austrians forced their way to the camp, where the wild troops, who had fought with so much vigour and constancy, at the sight of plunder forgot their obedience, nor had any man the least thought but how to load himself with the richest spoils.

While the right wing of the Austrians was thus employed, the main body was left naked: the Prussians recovered from their confusion, and regained the day. Charles was, at last, forced to retire, and carried with him the standards of his enemies, the proofs of a victory, which, though so nearly gained, he had not been able to keep.

The victory, however, was dearly bought; the Prussian army was much weakened, and the cavalry almost totally destroyed. Peace is easily made when it is necessary to both parties; and the king of Prussia had now reason to believe that the Austrians were not his only enemies. When he found Charles advancing, he sent to Broglio for assistance, and was answered, that "he must have orders from Versailles." Such a desertion of his most powerful ally disconcerted him, but the battle was unavoidable.

When the Prussians were returned to the camp, the king, hearing that an Austrian officer was brought in mortally wounded, had the condescension to visit him. The officer, struck with this act of humanity, said, after a short conversation: "I should die, sir, contentedly after this honour, if I might first show my gratitude to your majesty by informing you with what allies you are now united, allies that have no intention but to deceive you." The king appearing to suspect this intelligence; "Sir," said the Austrian, "if you will permit me to send a messenger to Vienna, I believe the queen will not refuse to transmit an intercepted letter now in her hands, which will put my report beyond all doubt."

The messenger was sent, and the letter transmitted, which contained the order sent to Broglio, who was, first, forbidden to mix his troops on any occasion with the Prussians. Secondly, he was ordered to act always at a distance from the king. Thirdly, to keep always a body of twenty thousand men to observe the Prussian army. Fourthly, to observe very closely the motions of the king, for important reasons. Fifthly, to hazard nothing; but to pretend want of reinforcements, or the absence of Bellisle.

The king now, with great reason, considered himself as disengaged from the confederacy, being deserted by the Saxons, and betrayed by the French; he, therefore, accepted the mediation of king George, and, in three weeks after the battle of Czaslaw, made peace with the queen of Hungary, who granted to him the whole province of Silesia, a country of such extent and opulence, that he is said to receive from it one third part of his revenues. By one of the articles of this treaty it is stipulated, "that neither should assist the enemies of the other."

The queen of Hungary, thus disentangled on one side, and set free from the most formidable of her enemies, soon persuaded the Saxons to peace; took possession of Bavaria; drove the emperour, after all his imaginary conquests, to the shelter of a neutral town, where he was treated as a fugitive; and besieged the French in Prague, in the city which they had taken from her.

Having thus obtained Silesia, the king of Prussia returned to his own capital, where he reformed his laws, forbade the torture of criminals, concluded a defensive alliance with England, and applied himself to the augmentation of his army.

This treaty of peace with the queen of Hungary was one of the first proofs given by the king of Prussia, of the secrecy of his counsels. Bellisle, the French general, was with him in the camp, as a friend and coadjutor in appearance, but in truth a spy, and a writer of intelligence. Men who have great confidence in their own penetration are often by that confidence deceived; they imagine that they can pierce through all the involutions of intrigue, without the diligence necessary to weaker minds, and, therefore, sit idle and secure; they believe that none can hope to deceive them, and, therefore, that none will try. Bellisle, with all his reputation of sagacity, though he was in the Prussian camp, gave, every day, fresh assurances of the king's adherence to his allies; while Broglio, who commanded the army at a distance, discovered sufficient reason to suspect his desertion. Broglio was slighted, and Bellisle believed, till, on the 11th of June, the treaty was signed, and the king declared his resolution to keep a neutrality.

This is one of the great performances of polity which mankind seem agreed to celebrate and admire; yet, to all this nothing was necessary but the determination of a very few men to be silent.

From this time the queen of Hungary proceeded with an uninterrupted torrent of success. The French, driven from station to station, and deprived of fortress after fortress, were, at last, enclosed with their two generals, Bellisle and Broglio, in the walls of Prague, which they had stored with all provisions necessary to a town besieged, and where they defended themselves three months before any prospect appeared of relief.

The Austrians, having been engaged chiefly in the field, and in sudden and tumultuary excursions, rather than a regular war, had no great degree of skill in attacking or defending towns. They, likewise, would naturally consider all the mischiefs done to the city, as falling, ultimately, upon themselves; and, therefore, were willing to gain it by time rather than by force.

It was apparent that, how long soever Prague might be defended, it must be yielded at last, and, therefore, all arts were tried to obtain an honourable capitulation. The messengers from the city were sent back, sometimes unheard, but always with this answer: "That no terms would be allowed, but that they should yield themselves prisoners of war."

The condition of the garrison was, in the eyes of all Europe, desperate; but the French, to whom the praise of spirit and activity cannot be denied, resolved to make an effort for the honour of their arms. Maillebois was at that time encamped with his army in Westphalia. Orders were sent him to relieve Prague. The enterprise was considered as romantick. Maillebois was a march of forty days distant from Bohemia, the passes were narrow, and the ways foul; and it was likely that Prague would be taken before he could reach it. The march was, however, begun: the army, being joined by that of count Saxe, consisted of fifty thousand men, who, notwithstanding all the difficulties which two Austrian armies could put in their way, at last entered Bohemia. The siege of Prague, though not raised, was remitted, and a communication was now opened to it with the country. But the Austrians, by perpetual intervention, hindered the garrison from joining their friends. The officers of Maillebois incited him to a battle, because the army was hourly lessening by the want of provisions; but, instead of pressing on to Prague, he retired into Bavaria, and completed the ruin of the emperour's territories.

The court of France, disappointed and offended, conferred the chief command upon Broglio, who escaped from the besiegers with very little difficulty, and kept the Austrians employed till Bellisle, by a sudden sally, quitted Prague, and without any great loss joined the main army. Broglio then retired over the Rhine into the French dominions, wasting, in his retreat, the country which he had undertaken to protect, and burning towns, and destroying magazines of corn, with such wantonness, as gave reason to believe that he expected commendation from his court for any mischiefs done, by whatever means.

The Austrians pursued their advantages, recovered all their strong places, in some of which French garrisons had been left, and made themselves masters of Bavaria, by taking not only Munich, the capital, but Ingolstadt, the strongest fortification in the elector's dominions, where they found a great number of cannon and a quantity of ammunition, intended, in the dreams of projected greatness, for the siege of Vienna, all the archives of the state, the plate and ornaments of the electoral palace, and what had been considered as most worthy of preservation. Nothing but the warlike stores were taken away. An oath of allegiance to the queen was required of the Bavarians, but without any explanation, whether temporary or perpetual.

The emperour lived at Frankfort, in the security that was allowed to neutral places, but without much respect from the German princes, except that, upon some objections made by the queen to the validity of his election, the king of Prussia declared himself determined to support him in the imperial dignity, with all his power.

This may be considered as a token of no great affection to the queen of Hungary, but it seems not to have raised much alarm. The German princes were afraid of new broils. To contest the election of an emperour, once invested and acknowledged, would be to overthrow the whole Germanick constitution. Perhaps no election by plurality of suffrages was ever made among human beings, to which it might not be objected, that voices were procured by illicit influence.

Some suspicions, however, were raised by the king's declaration, which he endeavoured to obviate by ordering his ministers to declare at London and at Vienna, that he was resolved not to violate the treaty of Breslaw. This declaration was sufficiently ambiguous, and could not satisfy those whom it might silence. But this was not a time for nice disquisitions; to distrust the king of Prussia might have provoked him, and it was most convenient to consider him as a friend, till he appeared openly as an enemy.

About the middle of the year 1744, he raised new alarms by collecting his troops and putting them in motion. The earl of Hindford about this time demanded the troops stipulated for the protection of Hanover; not, perhaps, because they were thought necessary, but that the king's designs might be guessed from his answer, which was, that troops were not granted for the defence of any country till that country was in danger, and that he could not believe the elector of Hanover to be in much dread of an invasion, since he had withdrawn the native troops, and put them into the pay of England.

He had, undoubtedly, now formed designs which made it necessary that his troops should be kept together, and the time soon came when the scene was to be opened. Prince Charles of Lorrain, having chased the French out of Bavaria, lay, for some months, encamped on the Rhine, endeavouring to gain a passage into Alsace. His attempts had long been evaded by the skill and vigilance of the French general, till, at last, June 21, 1744, he executed his design, and lodged his army in the French dominions, to the surprise and joy of a great part of Europe. It was now expected that the territories of France would, in their turn, feel the miseries of war; and the nation, which so long kept the world in alarm, be taught, at last, the value of peace.

The king of Prussia now saw the Austrian troops at a great distance from him, engaged in a foreign country against the most powerful of all their enemies. Now, therefore, was the time to discover that he had lately made a treaty at Frankfort with the emperour, by which he had engaged, "that as the court of Vienna and its allies appeared backward to reestablish the tranquillity of the empire, and more cogent methods appeared necessary; he, being animated with a desire of cooperating towards the pacification of Germany, should make an expedition for the conquest of Bohemia, and to put it into the possession of the emperour, his heirs and successours, for ever; in gratitude for which the emperour should resign to him and his successours a certain number of lordships, which are now part of the kingdom of Bohemia. His imperial majesty likewise guaranties to the king of Prussia the perpetual possession of upper Silesia; and the king guaranties to the emperour the perpetual possession of upper Austria, as soon as he shall have occupied it by conquest."

It is easy to discover that the king began the war upon other motives than zeal for peace; and that, whatever respect he was willing to show to the emperour, he did not purpose to assist him without reward. In prosecution of this treaty he put his troops in motion; and, according to his promise, while the Austrians were invading France, he invaded Bohemia.

Princes have this remaining of humanity, that they think themselves obliged not to make war without a reason. Their reasons are, indeed, not always very satisfactory.

Lewis the fourteenth seemed to think his own glory a sufficient motive for the invasion of Holland. The czar attacked Charles of Sweden, because he had not been treated with sufficient respect when he made a journey in disguise. The king of Prussia, having an opportunity of attacking his neighbour, was not long without his reasons. On July 30th, he published his declaration, in which he declares:

"That he can no longer stand an idle spectator of the troubles in Germany, but finds himself obliged to make use of force to restore the power of the laws, and the authority of the emperour.

"That the queen of Hungary has treated the emperour's hereditary dominions with inexpressible cruelty.

"That Germany has been overrun with foreign troops which have marched through neutral countries without the customary requisitions.

"That the emperour's troops have been attacked under neutral fortresses, and obliged to abandon the empire, of which their master is the head.

"That the imperial dignity has been treated with indecency by the Hungarian troops.

"The queen, declaring the election of the emperour void, and the diet of Frankfort illegal, had not only violated the imperial dignity, but injured all the princes who have the right of election.

"That he had no particular quarrel with the queen of Hungary; and that he desires nothing for himself, and only enters as an auxiliary into a war for the liberties of Germany.

"That the emperour had offered to quit his pretension to the dominions of Austria, on condition that his hereditary countries be restored to him.

"That this proposal had been made to the king of England at Hanau, and rejected in such a manner as showed, that the king of England had no intention to restore peace, but rather to make his advantage of the troubles.

"That the mediation of the Dutch had been desired; but that they declined to interpose, knowing the inflexibility of the English and Austrian courts.

"That the same terms were again offered at Vienna, and again rejected; that, therefore, the queen must impute it to her own councils, that her enemies find new allies.

"That he is not fighting for any interest of his own, that he demands nothing for himself; but is determined to exert all his powers in defence of the emperour, in vindication of the right of election, and in support of the liberties of Germany, which the queen of Hungary would enslave."

When this declaration was sent to the Prussian minister in England, it was accompanied with a remonstrance to the king, in which many of the foregoing positions were repeated; the emperour's candour and disinterestedness were magnified; the dangerous designs of the Austrians were displayed; it was imputed to them, as the most flagrant violation of the Germanick constitution, that they had driven the emperour's troops out of the empire; the publick spirit and generosity of his Prussian majesty were again heartily declared; and it was said, that this quarrel having no connexion with English interests, the English ought not to interpose.

Austria and all her allies were put into amazement by this declaration, which, at once, dismounted them from the summit of success, and obliged them to fight through the war a second time. What succours, or what promises, Prussia received from France, was never publickly known; but it is not to be doubted that a prince, so watchful of opportunity, sold assistance, when it was so much wanted, at the highest rate; nor can it be supposed that he exposed himself to so much hazard only for the freedom of Germany, and a few petty districts in Bohemia.

The French, who, from ravaging the empire at discretion, and wasting whatever they found either among enemies or friends, were now driven into their own dominions, and, in their own dominions, were insulted and pursued, were, on a sudden, by this new auxiliary, restored to their former superiority, at least were disburdened of their invaders, and delivered from their terrours. And all the enemies of the house of Bourbon saw, with indignation and amazement, the recovery of that power which they had, with so much cost and bloodshed, brought low, and which their animosity and elation had disposed them to imagine yet lower than it was.

The queen of Hungary still retained her firmness. The Prussian declaration was not long without an answer, which was transmitted to the European princes, with some observations on the Prussian minister's remonstrance to the court of Vienna, which he was ordered by his master to read to the Austrian council, but not to deliver. The same caution was practised before, when the Prussians, after the emperour's death, invaded Silesia. This artifice of political debate may, perhaps, be numbered by the admirers of greatness among the refinements of conduct; but, as it is a method of proceeding not very difficult to be contrived or practised, as it can be of very rare use to honesty or wisdom, and as it has been long known to that class of men whose safety depends upon secrecy, though hitherto applied chiefly in petty cheats and slight transactions; I do not see that it can much advance the reputation of regal understanding, or, indeed, that it can add more to the safety, than it takes away from the honour of him that shall adopt it.

The queen, in her answer, after charging the king of Prussia with breach of the treaty of Breslaw, and observing how much her enemies will exult to see the peace now the third time broken by him, declares:

"That she had no intention to injure the rights of the electors, and that she calls in question not the event, but the manner of the election.

"That she had spared the emperour's troops with great tenderness, and that they were driven out of the empire, only because they were in the service of France.

"That she is so far from disturbing the peace of the empire, that the only commotions now raised in it are the effect of the armaments of the king of Prussia."

Nothing is more tedious than publick records, when they relate to affairs which, by distance of time or place, lose their power to interest the reader. Every thing grows little, as it grows remote; and of things thus diminished, it is sufficient to survey the aggregate without a minute examination of the parts.

It is easy to perceive, that, if the king of Prussia's reasons be sufficient, ambition or animosity can never want a plea for violence and invasion. What he charges upon the queen of Hungary, the waste of country, the expulsion of the Bavarians, and the employment of foreign troops, is the unavoidable consequence of a war inflamed on either side to the utmost violence. All these grievances subsisted when he made the peace, and, therefore, they could very little justify its breach.

It is true, that every prince of the empire is obliged to support the imperial dignity, and assist the emperour, when his rights are violated. And every subsequent contract must be understood in a sense consistent with former obligations. Nor had the king power to make a peace on terms contrary to that constitution by which he held a place among the Germanick electors. But he could have easily discovered, that not the emperour, but the duke of Bavaria, was the queen's enemy; not the administrator of the imperial power, but the claimant of the Austrian dominions. Nor did his allegiance to the emperour, supposing the emperour injured, oblige him to more than a succour of ten thousand men. But ten thousand men could not conquer Bohemia, and without the conquest of Bohemia he could receive no reward for the zeal and fidelity which he so loudly professed.

The success of this enterprise he had taken all possible precaution to secure. He was to invade a country guarded only by the faith of treaties, and, therefore, left unarmed, and unprovided of all defence. He had engaged the French to attack prince Charles, before he should repass the Rhine, by which the Austrians would, at least, have been hindered from a speedy march into Bohemia: they were, likewise, to yield him such other assistance as he might want.

Relying, therefore, upon the promises of the French, he resolved to attempt the ruin of the house of Austria, and, in August, 1744, broke into Bohemia, at the head of a hundred and four thousand men. When he entered the country, he published a proclamation, promising, that his army should observe the strictest discipline, and that those who made no resistance should be suffered to remain in quiet in their habitations. He required that all arms, in the custody of whomsoever they might be placed, should be given up, and put into the hands of publick officers. He still declared himself to act only as an auxiliary to the emperour, and with no other design than to establish peace and tranquillity throughout Germany, his dear country.

In this proclamation there is one paragraph, of which I do not remember any precedent. He threatens, that, if any peasant should be found with arms, he shall be hanged without further inquiry; and that, if any lord shall connive at his vassals keeping arms in their custody, his village shall be reduced to ashes.

It is hard to find upon what pretence the king of Prussia could treat the Bohemians as criminals, for preparing to defend their native country, or maintaining their allegiance to their lawful sovereign against an invader, whether he appears principal or auxiliary, whether he professes to intend tranquillity or confusion.

His progress was such as gave great hopes to the enemies of Austria: like Caesar, he conquered as he advanced, and met with no opposition, till he reached the walls of Prague. The indignation and resentment of the queen of Hungary may be easily conceived; the alliance of Frankfort was now laid open to all Europe; and the partition of the Austrian dominions was again publickly projected. They were to be shared among the emperour, the king of Prussia, the elector Palatine, and the landgrave of Hesse. All the powers of Europe who had dreamed of controlling France, were awakened to their former terrours; all that had been done was now to be done again; and every court, from the straits of Gibraltar to the Frozen sea, was filled with exultation or terrour, with schemes of conquest, or precautions for defence.

The king, delighted with his progress, and expecting, like other mortals elated with success, that his prosperity could not be interrupted, continued his march, and began, in the latter end of September, the siege of Prague. He had gained several of the outer posts, when he was informed that the convoy, which attended his artillery, was attacked by an unexpected party of the Austrians. The king went immediately to their assistance, with the third part of his army, and found his troops put to flight, and the Austrians hasting away with his cannons: such a loss would have disabled him at once. He fell upon the Austrians, whose number would not enable them to withstand him, recovered his artillery, and, having also defeated Bathiani, raised his batteries; and, there being no artillery to be placed against him, he destroyed a great part of the city. He then ordered four attacks to be made at once, and reduced the besieged to such extremities, that in fourteen days the governour was obliged to yield the place.

At the attack, commanded by Schwerin, a grenadier is reported to have mounted the bastion alone, and to have defended himself, for some time, with his sword, till his followers mounted after him; for this act of bravery, the king made him a lieutenant, and gave him a patent of nobility.

Nothing now remained but that the Austrians should lay aside all thought of invading France, and apply their whole power to their own defence. Prince Charles, at the first news of the Prussian invasion, prepared to repass the Rhine. This the French, according to their contract with the king of Prussia, should have attempted to hinder; but they knew, by experience, the Austrians would not be beaten without resistance, and that resistance always incommodes an assailant. As the king of Prussia rejoiced in the distance of the Austrians, whom he considered as entangled in the French territories; the French rejoiced in the necessity of their return, and pleased themselves with the prospect of easy conquests, while powers, whom they considered with equal malevolence, should be employed in massacring each other.

Prince Charles took the opportunity of bright moonshine to repass the Rhine; and Noailles, who had early intelligence of his motions, gave him very little disturbance, but contented himself with attacking the rearguard, and, when they retired to the main body, ceased his pursuit.

The king, upon the reduction of Prague, struck a medal, which had on one side a plan of the town, with this inscription:

  "Prague taken by the king of Prussia,
    September 16, 1744;
  For the third time in three years."

On the other side were two verses, in which he prayed, "that his conquests might produce peace." He then marched forward with the rapidity which constitutes his military character; took possession of almost all Bohemia, and began to talk of entering Austria and besieging Vienna.

The queen was not yet wholly without resource. The elector of Saxony, whether invited or not, was not comprised in the union of Frankfort; and, as every sovereign is growing less as his next neighbour is growing greater, he could not heartily wish success to a confederacy which was to aggrandize the other powers of Germany. The Prussians gave him, likewise, a particular and immediate provocation to oppose them; for, when they departed to the conquest of Bohemia, with all the elation of imaginary success, they passed through his dominions with unlicensed and contemptuous disdain of his authority. As the approach of prince Charles gave a new prospect of events, he was easily persuaded to enter into an alliance with the queen, whom he furnished with a very large body of troops.

The king of Prussia having left a garrison in Prague, which he commanded to put the burghers to death, if they left their houses in the night, went forward to take the other towns and fortresses, expecting, perhaps, that prince Charles would be interrupted in his march; but the French, though they appeared to follow him, either could not, or would not, overtake him.

In a short time, by marches pressed on with the utmost eagerness, Charles reached Bohemia, leaving the Bavarians to regain the possession of the wasted plains of their country, which their enemies, who still kept the strong places, might again seize at will. At the approach of the Austrian army, the courage of the king of Prussia seemed to have failed him. He retired from post to post, and evacuated town after town, and fortress after fortress, without resistance, or appearance of resistance, as if he was resigning them to the rightful owners.

It might have been expected, that he should have made some effort to rescue Prague; but, after a faint attempt to dispute the passage of the Elbe, he ordered his garrison of eleven thousand men to quit the place. They left behind them their magazines and heavy artillery, among which were seven pieces of remarkable excellence, called "the seven electors." But they took with them their field cannon, and a great number of carriages, laden with stores and plunder, which they were forced to leave, in their way, to the Saxons and Austrians that harassed their march. They, at last, entered Silesia, with the loss of about a third part.

The king of Prussia suffered much in his retreat; for, besides the military stores, which he left every where behind him, even to the clothes of his troops, there was a want of provisions in his army, and, consequently, frequent desertions and many diseases; and a soldier sick or killed was equally lost to a flying army.

At last he reentered his own territories, and, having stationed his troops in places of security, returned, for a time, to Berlin, where he forbade all to speak either ill or well of the campaign.

To what end such a prohibition could conduce, it is difficult to discover: there is no country in which men can be forbidden to know what they know, and what is universally known may as well be spoken. It is true, that in popular governments seditious discourses may inflame the vulgar; but in such governments they cannot be restrained, and in absolute monarchies they are of little effect.

When the Prussians invaded Bohemia, and this whole nation was fired with resentment, the king of England gave orders in his palace, that none should mention his nephew with disrespect; by this command he maintained the decency necessary between princes, without enforcing, and, probably, without expecting obedience, but in his own presence.

The king of Prussia's edict regarded only himself, and, therefore, it is difficult to tell what was his motive, unless he intended to spare himself the mortification of absurd and illiberal flattery, which, to a mind stung with disgrace, must have been in the highest degree painful and disgusting.

Moderation in prosperity is a virtue very difficult to all mortals; forbearance of revenge, when revenge is within reach, is scarcely ever to be found among princes. Now was the time when the queen of Hungary might, perhaps, have made peace on her own terms; but keenness of resentment, and arrogance of success, withheld her from the due use of the present opportunity. It is said, that the king of Prussia, in his retreat, sent letters to prince Charles, which were supposed to contain ample concessions, but were sent back unopened. The king of England offered, likewise, to mediate between them; but his propositions were rejected at Vienna, where a resolution was taken, not only to revenge the interruption of their success on the Rhine, by the recovery of Silesia, but to reward the Saxons for their seasonable help, by giving them part of the Prussian dominions.

In the beginning of the year 1745, died the emperour Charles of Bavaria; the treaty of Frankfort was consequently at an end; and the king of Prussia, being no longer able to maintain the character of auxiliary to the emperour, and having avowed no other reason for the war, might have honourably withdrawn his forces, and, on his own principles, have complied with terms of peace; but no terms were offered him; the queen pursued him with the utmost ardour of hostility, and the French left him to his own conduct and his own destiny.

His Bohemian conquests were already lost; and he was now chased back into Silesia, where, at the beginning of the year, the war continued in an equilibration by alternate losses and advantages. In April, the elector of Bavaria, seeing his dominions overrun by the Austrians, and receiving very little succour from the French, made a peace with the queen of Hungary upon easy conditions, and the Austrians had more troops to employ against Prussia.

But the revolutions of war will not suffer human presumption to remain long unchecked. The peace with Bavaria was scarcely concluded when, the battle of Fontenoy was lost, and all the allies of Austria called upon her to exert her utmost power for the preservation of the Low Countries; and, a few days after the loss at Fontenoy, the first battle between the Prussians and the combined army of Austrians and Saxons, was fought at Niedburg in Silesia.

The particulars of this battle were variously reported by the different parties, and published in the journals of that time; to transcribe them would be tedious and useless, because accounts of battles are not easily understood, and because there are no means of determining to which of the relations credit should be given. It is sufficient that they all end in claiming or allowing a complete victory to the king of Prussia, who gained all the Austrian artillery, killed four thousand, took seven thousand prisoners, with the loss, according to the Prussian narrative, of only sixteen hundred men.

He now advanced again into Bohemia, where, however, he made no great progress. The queen of Hungary, though defeated, was not subdued. She poured in her troops from all parts to the reinforcement of prince Charles, and determined to continue the struggle with all her power. The king saw that Bohemia was an unpleasing and inconvenient theatre of war, in which he should be ruined by a miscarriage, and should get little by a victory. Saxony was left defenceless, and, if it was conquered, might be plundered.

He, therefore, published a declaration against the elector of Saxony, and, without waiting for reply, invaded his dominions. This invasion produced another battle at Standentz, which ended, as the former, to the advantage of the Prussians. The Austrians had some advantage in the beginning; and their irregular troops, who are always daring, and are always ravenous, broke into the Prussian camp, and carried away the military chest. But this was easily repaired by the spoils of Saxony.

The queen of Hungary was still inflexible, and hoped that fortune would, at last, change. She recruited once more her army, and prepared to invade the territories of Brandenburg; but the king of Prussia's activity prevented all her designs. One part of his forces seized Leipsic,