Infomotions, Inc.Reviews, Political Tracts, and Lives of Eminent Persons / Johnson, Samuel, 1709-1784

Author: Johnson, Samuel, 1709-1784
Title: Reviews, Political Tracts, and Lives of Eminent Persons
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Project Gutenberg's The Works of Samuel Johnson, Vol. 6, by Samuel Johnson

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

Author: Samuel Johnson

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  "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

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 celebres, he might
have made, on this occasion, a very entertaining dissertation on early

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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 laetus.
  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

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

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

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 aegra 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

  "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

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

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

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

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 2,000_l_. 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, 30,000_l_.
yearly, for the support of the publick table, and 40,000_l_. for secret

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 650,000_l_. 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Rhee 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 caede, 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

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

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

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

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

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

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,

  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

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

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

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

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

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

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, patellae."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 a son gre 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1725, Opera anatomica et chirurgica Andreae Vesalii; with the life of

1728, Altera atrocis rarissimique morbi marchionis de Sancto Albano

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

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
Athenae 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

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

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

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

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

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

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 60,000_l_. 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

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 deg.. Dni ... he was made admiral! He did the greatest
actions at sea that ever were done. He died A deg.. 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Tetu, 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Fevre 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
Maitre, 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

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

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

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 Bibliotheque

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

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

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 Hotel-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

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 Phelipee. 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 Hotel-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
Hotel-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 Graevius,
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 Graevius
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 Graevius, 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
Haereditatum, which he publickly defended, under the professor Van
Muyden, with such learning and eloquence, as procured him great

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 Graevius, whose early hopes of his genius were now
raised to a full confidence of that excellence, at which he afterwards

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

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

Neither publick business nor domestick cares detained Burman from the
prosecution of his literary inquiries; by which he so much endeared
himself to Graevius, 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

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 Plaedrus, 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 disciplinae
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; Poetae 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

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
palaestra,) before he began to practise in London.

Nor was he satisfied with the opportunities of knowledge which Oxford
afforded, but travelled to Montpellier, as Desault 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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, "Amitie augmente le

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Frederique, 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

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

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

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

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

"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

"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,

"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

"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

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

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

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

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

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, and the other once more defeated the Saxons; the king of
Poland fled from his dominions; prince Charles retired into Bohemia.
The king of Prussia entered Dresden as a conqueror, exacted very
severe contributions from the whole country, and the Austrians and
Saxons were, at last, compelled to receive from him such a peace as he
would grant. He imposed no severe conditions, except the payment of
the contributions, made no new claim of dominions, and, with the
elector Palatine, acknowledged the duke of Tuscany for emperour.

The lives of princes, like the histories of nations, have their
periods. We shall here suspend our narrative of the king of Prussia,
who was now at the height of human greatness, giving laws to his
enemies, and courted by all the powers of Europe.


Though the writer of the following essays [64] seems to have had the
fortune, common among men of letters, of raising little curiosity
after his private life, and has, therefore, few memorials preserved of
his felicities and misfortunes; yet, because an edition of a
posthumous work appears imperfect and neglected, without some account
of the author, it was thought necessary to attempt the gratification
of that curiosity which naturally inquires by what peculiarities of
nature or fortune eminent men have been distinguished, how uncommon
attainments have been gained, and what influence learning had on its
possessours, or virtue on its teachers.

Sir Thomas Browne was born at London, in the parish of St. Michael in
Cheapside, on the 19th of October, 1605 [65]. His father was a
merchant, of an ancient family at Upton, in Cheshire. Of the name or
family of his mother I find no account.

Of his childhood or youth there is little known, except that he lost
his father very early; that he was, according to the common fate of
orphans [66], defrauded by one of his guardians; and that he was
placed, for his education, at the school of Winchester.

His mother, having taken three thousand pounds [67], as the third part
of her husband's property, left her son, by consequence, six thousand,
a large fortune for a man destined to learning, at that time, when
commerce had not yet filled the nation with nominal riches. But it
happened to him, as to many others, to be made poorer by opulence; for
his mother soon married sir Thomas Dutton, probably by the inducement
of her fortune; and he was left to the rapacity of his guardian,
deprived now of both his parents, and, therefore, helpless, and

He was removed in the beginning of the year 1623, from Winchester to
Oxford [68], and entered a gentleman-commoner of Broadgate hall, which
was soon afterwards endowed, and took the name of Pembroke college,
from the earl of Pembroke, then chancellor of the university. He was
admitted to the degree of bachelor of arts, January 31, 1626-7; being,
as Wood remarks, the first man of eminence graduated from the new
college, to which the zeal or gratitude of those that love it most,
can wish little better than that it may long proceed as it began.

Having afterwards taken his degree of master of arts, he turned his
studies to physick [69], and practised it for some time in
Oxfordshire; but soon afterwards, either induced by curiosity, or
invited by promises, he quitted his settlement, and accompanied his
father-in-law [70], who had some employment in Ireland, in a
visitation of the forts and castles, which the state of Ireland then
made necessary.

He that has once prevailed on himself to break his connexions of
acquaintance, and begin a wandering life, very easily continues it.
Ireland had, at that time, very little to offer to the observation of
a man of letters; he, therefore, passed into France and Italy [71];
made some stay at Montpellier and Padua, which were then the
celebrated schools of physick; and, returning home through Holland,
procured himself to be created doctor of physick at Leyden.

When he began his travels, or when be concluded them, there is no
certain account; nor do there remain any observations made by him in
his passage through those countries which he visited. To consider,
therefore, what pleasure or instruction might have been received from
the remarks of a man so curious and diligent, would be voluntarily to
indulge a painful reflection, and load the imagination with a wish,
which, while it is formed, is known to be vain. It is, however, to be
lamented, that those who are most capable of improving mankind, very
frequently neglect to communicate their knowledge; either because it
is more pleasing to gather ideas than to impart them, or because, to
minds naturally great, few things appear of so much importance as to
deserve the notice of the publick.

About the year 1634 [72], he is supposed to have returned to London;
and the next year to have written his celebrated treatise, called
Religio Medici, "the religion of a physician [73]," which he declares
himself never to have intended for the press, having composed it only
for his own exercise and entertainment. It, indeed, contains many
passages, which, relating merely to his own person, can be of no great
importance to the publick; but when it was written, it happened to him
as to others, he was too much pleased with his performance, not to
think that it might please others as much; he, therefore, communicated
it to his friends, and receiving, I suppose, that exuberant applause
with which every man repays the grant of perusing a manuscript, he was
not very diligent to obstruct his own praise by recalling his papers,
but suffered them to wander from hand to hand, till, at last, without
his own consent, they were, in 1642, given to a printer.

This has, perhaps, sometimes befallen others; and this, I am willing
to believe, did really happen to Dr. Browne: but there is, surely,
some reason to doubt the truth of the complaint so frequently made of
surreptitious editions. A song, or an epigram, may be easily printed
without the author's knowledge; because it may be learned when it is
repeated, or may be written out with very little trouble; but a long
treatise, however elegant, is not often copied by mere zeal or
curiosity, but may be worn out in passing from hand to hand, before it
is multiplied by a transcript. It is easy to convey an imperfect book,
by a distant hand, to the press, and plead the circulation of a false
copy, as an excuse for publishing the true, or to correct what is
found faulty or offensive, and charge the errours on the transcriber's

This is a stratagem, by which an author, panting for fame, and yet
afraid of seeming to challenge it, may at once gratify his vanity, and
preserve the appearance of modesty; may enter the lists, and secure a
retreat; and this candour might suffer to pass undetected, as an
innocent fraud, but that, indeed, no fraud is innocent; for the
confidence which makes the happiness of society is, in some degree,
diminished by every man whose practice is at variance with his words.

The Religio Medici was no sooner published than it excited the
attention of the publick, by the novelty of paradoxes, the dignity of
sentiment, the quick succession of images, the multitude of abstruse
allusions, the subtilty of disquisition, and the strength of language.

What is much read will be much criticised. The earl of Dorset
recommended this book to the perusal of sir Kenelm Digby, who returned
his judgment upon it, not in a letter, but a book; in which, though
mingled with some positions fabulous and uncertain, there are acute
remarks, just censures, and profound speculations; yet its principal
claim to admiration is, that it was written in twenty-four hours [74],
of which part was spent in procuring Browne's book, and part in
reading it.

Of these animadversions, when they were yet not all printed, either
officiousness or malice informed Dr. Browne; who wrote to sir Kenelm,
with much softness and ceremony, declaring the unworthiness of his
work to engage such notice, the intended privacy of the composition,
and the corruptions of the impression; and received an answer equally
genteel and respectful, containing high commendations of the piece,
pompous professions of reverence, meek acknowledgments of inability,
and anxious apologies for the hastiness of his remarks.

The reciprocal civility of authors is one of the most risible scenes
in the farce of life. Who would not have thought, that these two
luminaries of their age had ceased to endeavour to grow bright by the
obscuration of each other? yet the animadversions thus weak, thus
precipitate, upon a book thus injured in the transcription, quickly
passed the press; and Religio Medici was more accurately published,
with an admonition prefixed, "to those who have or shall peruse the
observations upon a former corrupt copy;" in which there is a severe
censure, not upon Digby, who was to be used with ceremony, but upon
the observator who had usurped his name; nor was this invective
written by Dr. Browne, who was supposed to be satisfied with his
opponent's apology; but by some officious friend, zealous for his
honour, without his consent.

Browne has, indeed, in his own preface, endeavoured to secure himself
from rigorous examination, by alleging, that "many things are
delivered rhetorically, many expressions merely tropical, and,
therefore, many things to be taken in a soft and flexible sense, and
not to be called unto the rigid test of reason." The first glance upon
his book will, indeed, discover examples of this liberty of thought
and expression: "I could be content," says he, "to be nothing almost
to eternity, if I might enjoy my Saviour at the last." He has little
acquaintance with the acuteness of Browne, who suspects him of a
serious opinion, that any thing can be "almost eternal," or that any
time beginning and ending is not infinitely less than infinite

In this book he speaks much, and, in the opinion of Digby, too much of
himself; but with such generality and conciseness, as affords very
little light to his biographer: he declares, that, besides the
dialects of different provinces, he understood six languages; that he
was no stranger to astronomy; and that he had seen several countries;
but what most awakens curiosity is, his solemn assertion, that "his
life has been a miracle of thirty years; which to relate were not
history, but a piece of poetry, and would sound like a fable."

There is, undoubtedly, a sense in which all life is miraculous; as it
is an union of powers of which we can image no connexion, a succession
of motions, of which the first cause must be supernatural; but life,
thus explained, whatever it may have of miracle, will have nothing of
fable; and, therefore, the author undoubtedly had regard to something,
by which he imagined himself distinguished from the rest of mankind.

Of these wonders, however, the view that can be now taken of his life
offers no appearance. The course of his education was like that of
others, such as put him little in the way of extraordinary casualties.
A scholastick and academical life is very uniform; and has, indeed,
more safety than pleasure. A traveller has greater opportunities of
adventure; but Browne traversed no unknown seas, or Arabian deserts;
and, surely, a man may visit France and Italy, reside at Montpellier
and Padua, and, at last, take his degree at Leyden, without any thing
miraculous. What it was that would, if it was related, sound so
poetical and fabulous, we are left to guess; I believe without hope of
guessing rightly. The wonders, probably, were transacted in his own
mind; self-love, cooperating with an imagination vigorous and fertile
as that of Browne, will find or make objects of astonishment in every
man's life; and, perhaps, there is no human being, however bid in the
crowd from the observation of his fellow-mortals, who, if he has
leisure and disposition to recollect his own thoughts and actions,
will not conclude his life in some sort a miracle, and imagine himself
distinguished from all the rest of his species by many discriminations
of nature or of fortune.

The success of this performance was such as might naturally encourage
the author to new undertakings. A gentleman of Cambridge [75], whose
name was Merryweather, turned it not inelegantly into Latin; and from
his version it was again translated into Italian, German, Dutch, and
French; and, at Strasburg, the Latin translation was published with
large notes, by Levinus Nicolaus Moltkenius. Of the English
annotations, which in all the editions, from 1644, accompany the book,
the author is unknown.

Of Merryweather, to whose zeal Browne was so much indebted for the
sudden extension of his renown, I know nothing, but that he published
a small treatise for the instruction of young-persons in the
attainment of a Latin style. He printed his translation in Holland
with some difficulty [76]. The first printer to whom he offered it,
carried it to Salmasius, "who laid it by," says he, "in state for
three months," and then discouraged its publication: it was afterwards
rejected by two other printers, and, at last, was received by Hackius.

The peculiarities of this book raised the author, as is usual, many
admirers and many enemies; but we know not of more than one professed
answer, written under the title of Medicus Medicatus [77], by
Alexander Ross, which was universally neglected by the world.

At the time when this book was published, Dr. Browne resided at
Norwich, where he had settled in 1636, by the persuasion of Dr.
Lushington [78], his tutor, who was then rector of Barnham Westgate,
in the neighbourhood. It is recorded by Wood, that his practice was
very extensive, and that many patients resorted to him. In 1637 he was
incorporated doctor of physick in Oxfordf [79].

He married, in 1641, Mrs. Mileham [80], of a good family in Norfolk;
"a lady," says Whitefoot, "of such symmetrical proportion to her
worthy husband, both in the graces of her body and mind, that they
seemed to come together by a kind of natural magnetism."

This marriage could not but draw the raillery of contemporary wits
[81] upon a man who had just been wishing, in his new book, "that we
might procreate, like trees, without conjunction," and had lately
declared [82], that "the whole world was made for man, but only the
twelfth part of man for woman;" and, that "man is the whole world, but
woman only the rib or crooked part of man."

Whether the lady had been yet informed of these contemptuous
positions, or whether she was pleased with the conquest of so
formidable a rebel, and considered it as a double triumph, to attract
so much merit, and overcome so powerful prejudices; or whether, like
most others, she married upon mingled motives, between convenience and
inclination; she had, however, no reason to repent, for she lived
happily with him one-and-forty years, and bore him ten children, of
whom one son and three daughters outlived their parents: she survived
him two years, and passed her widowhood in plenty, if not in opulence.

Browne having now entered the world as an author, and experienced the
delights of praise and molestations of censure, probably found his
dread of the publick eye diminished; and, therefore, was not long
before he trusted his name to the criticks a second time; for, in 1646
[83], he printed Inquiries into vulgar and common Errours; a work,
which, as it arose not from fancy and invention, but from observation
and books, and contained not a single discourse of one continued
tenour, of which the latter part arose from the former, but an
enumeration of many unconnected particulars, must have been the
collection of years, and the effect of a design early formed and long
pursued, to which his remarks had been continually referred, and which
arose gradually to its present bulk by the daily aggregation of new
particles of knowledge. It is, indeed, to be wished, that he had
longer delayed the publication, and added what the remaining part of
his life might have furnished: the thirty-six years which he spent
afterwards in study and experience, would, doubtless, have made large
additions to an inquiry into vulgar errours. He published, in 1673,
the sixth edition, with some improvements; but I think rather with
explication of what he had already written, than any new heads of
disquisition. But with the work, such as the author, whether hindered
from continuing it by eagerness of praise, or weariness of labour,
thought fit to give, we must be content; and remember, that in all
sublunary things there is something to be wished which we must wish in

This book, like his former, was received with great applause, was
answered by Alexander Ross, and translated into Dutch and German, and,
not many years ago, into French. It might now be proper, had not the
favour with which it was at first received filled the kingdom with
copies, to reprint it with notes, partly supplemental, and partly
emendatory, to subjoin those discoveries which the industry of the
last age has made, and correct those mistakes which the author has
committed, not by idleness or negligence, but for want of Boyle's and
Newton's philosophy.

He appears, indeed, to have been willing to pay labour for truth.
Having heard a flying rumour of sympathetick needles, by which,
suspended over a circular alphabet, distant friends or lovers might
correspond, he procured two such alphabets to be made, touched his
needles with the same magnet, and placed them upon proper spindles:
the result was, that when he moved one of his needles, the other,
instead of taking, by sympathy, the same direction, "stood like the
pillars of Hercules." That it continued motionless, will be easily
believed; and most men would have been content to believe it, without
the labour of so hopeless an experiment. Browne might himself have
obtained the same conviction by a method less operose, if he had
thrust his needles through corks, and set them afloat in two basins of

Notwithstanding his zeal to detect old errours, he seems not very easy
to admit new positions, for he never mentions the motion of the earth
but with contempt and ridicule, though the opinion which admits it was
then growing popular, and was surely plausible, even before it was
confirmed by later observations.

The reputation of Browne encouraged some low writer to publish, under
his name, a book called [84] Nature's Cabinet unlocked,--translated,
according to Wood, from the physicks of Magirus; of which Browne took
care to clear himself, by modestly advertising, that "if any man had
been benefited by it, he was not so ambitious as to challenge the
honour thereof, as having no hand in that work [85]."

In 1658, the discovery of some ancient urns in Norfolk gave him
occasion to write Hydriotaphia, Urn-Burial, or a Discourse of
sepulchral Urns; in which he treats, with his usual learning, on the
funeral rites of the ancient nations; exhibits their various treatment
of the dead; and examines the substances found in his Norfolcian urns.
There is, perhaps, none of his works which better exemplifies his
reading or memory. It is scarcely to be imagined, how many particulars
he has amassed together, in a treatise which seems to have been
occasionally written; and for which, therefore, no materials could
have been previously collected. It is, indeed, like other treatises of
antiquity, rather for curiosity than use; for it is of small
importance to know which nation buried their dead in the ground, which
threw them into the sea, or which gave them to birds and beasts; when
the practice of cremation began, or when it was disused; whether the
bones of different persons were mingled in the same urn; what
oblations were thrown into the pyre; or how the ashes of the body were
distinguished from those of other substances. Of the uselessness of
these inquiries, Browne seems not to have been ignorant; and,
therefore, concludes them with an observation which can never be too
frequently recollected:

"All, or most apprehensions, rested in opinions of some future being,
which, ignorantly or coldly believed, begat those perverted
conceptions, ceremonies, sayings, which christians pity or laugh at.
Happy are they, which live not in that disadvantage of time, when men
could say little for futurity, but from reason; whereby the noblest
mind fell often upon doubtful deaths, and melancholy dissolutions:
with these hopes Socrates warmed his doubtful spirits against the cold
potion; and Cato, before he durst give the fatal stroke, spent part of
the night in reading the immortality of Plato, thereby confirming his
wavering hand unto the animosity of that attempt.

"It is the heaviest stone that melancholy can throw at a man, to tell
him he is at the end of his nature; or that there is no further state
to come, unto which this seems progressional, and otherwise made in
vain: without this accomplishment, the natural expectation and desire
of such a state were but a fallacy in nature: unsatisfied
considerators would quarrel at the justness of the constitution, and
rest content that Adam had fallen lower, whereby, by knowing no other
original, and deeper ignorance of themselves, they might have enjoyed
the happiness of inferiour creatures, who in tranquillity possess
their constitutions, as having not the apprehension to deplore their
own natures; and being framed below the circumference of these hopes
of cognition of better things, the wisdom of God hath necessitated
their contentment. But the superiour ingredient and obscured part of
ourselves, whereto all present felicities afford no resting
contentment, will be able, at last, to tell us we are more than our
present selves; and evacuate such hopes in the fruition of their own

To his treatise on urn-burial, was added the Garden of Cyrus, or the
quincunxial Lozenge, or network Plantation of the Ancients,
artificially, naturally, mystically, considered. This discourse he
begins with the Sacred Garden, in which the first man was placed; and
deduces the practice of horticulture, from the earliest accounts of
antiquity to the time of the Persian Cyrus, the first man whom we
actually know to have planted a quincunx; which, however, our author
is inclined to believe of longer date, and not only discovers it in
the description of the hanging gardens of Babylon, but seems willing
to believe, and to persuade his reader, that it was practised by the
feeders on vegetables before the flood.

Some of the most pleasing performances have been produced by learning
and genius, exercised upon subjects of little importance. It seems to
have been, in all ages, the pride of wit, to show how it could exalt
the low, and amplify the little. To speak not inadequately of things
really and naturally great, is a task not only diflicult but
disagreeable; because the writer is degraded in his own eyes, by
standing in comparison with his subject, to which he can hope to add
nothing from his imagination: but it is a perpetual triumph of fancy
to expand a scanty theme, to raise glittering ideas from obscure
properties, and to produce to the world an object of wonder, to which
nature had contributed little. To this ambition, perhaps, we owe the
frogs of Homer, the gnat and the bees of Virgil, the butterfly of
Spenser, the shadow of Wowerus, and the quincunx of Browne.

In the prosecution of this sport of fancy, he considers every
production of art and nature, in which he could find any decussation
or approaches to the form of a quincunx; and, as a man once resolved
upon ideal discoveries seldom searches long in vain, he finds his
favourite figure in almost every thing, whether natural or invented,
ancient or modern, rude or artificial, sacred or civil; so that a
reader, not watchful against the power of his infusions, would imagine
that decussation was the great business of the world, and that nature
and art had no other purpose than to exemplify and imitate a quincunx.

To show the excellence of this figure, he enumerates all its
properties; and finds it in almost every thing of use or pleasure: and
to show how readily he supplies what he cannot find, one instance may
be sufficient: "though therein," says he, "we meet not with right
angles, yet every rhombus containing four angles equal unto two right,
it virtually contains two right in every one."

The fanciful sports of great minds are never without some advantage to
knowledge. Browne has interspersed many curious observations on the
form of plants, and the laws of vegetation; and appears to have been a
very accurate observer of the modes of germination, and to have
watched, with great nicety, the evolution of the parts of plants from
their seminal principles.

He is then naturally led to treat of the number five; and finds, that
by this number many things are circumscribed; that there are five
kinds of vegetable productions, five sections of a cone, five orders
of architecture, and five acts of a play. And observing that five was
the ancient conjugal, or wedding number, he proceeds to a speculation,
which I shall give in his own words: "the ancient numerists made out
the conjugal number by two and three, the first parity and imparity,
the active and passive digits, the material and formal principles in
generative societies."

These are all the tracts which he published. But many papers were
found in his closet: "some of them," says Whitefoot, "designed for the
press, were often transcribed and corrected by his own hand, after the
fashion of great and curious writers."

Of these, two collections have been published; one by Dr. Tenison, the
other, in 1722, by a nameless editor. Whether the one or the other
selected those pieces, which the author would have preferred, cannot
be known; but they have both the merit of giving to mankind what was
too valuable to be suppressed; and what might, without their
interposition, have, perhaps, perished among other innumerable labours
of learned men, or have been burnt in a scarcity of fuel, like the
papers of Pierescius.

The first of these posthumous treatises contains Observations upon
several Plants mentioned in Scripture: these remarks, though they do
not immediately either rectify the faith, or refine the morals of the
reader, yet are by no means to be censured as superfluous niceties, or
useless speculations; for they often show some propriety of
description, or elegance of allusion, utterly undiscoverable to
readers not skilled in oriental botany; and are often of more
important use, as they remove some difficulty from narratives, or some
obscurity from precepts.

The next is, of Garlands, or coronary and garland Plants; a subject
merely of learned curiosity, without any other end than the pleasure
of reflecting on ancient customs, or on the industry with which
studious men have endeavoured to recover them.

The next is a letter, on the Fishes eaten by our Saviour with his
Disciples, after his Resurrection from the Dead: which contains no
determinate resolution of the question, what they were, for, indeed,
it cannot be determined. All the information that diligence or
learning could supply, consists in an enumeration of the fishes
produced in the waters of Judea.

Then follow, Answers to certain Queries about Fishes, Birds, Insects;
and a Letter of Hawks and Falconry, ancient and modern; in the first
of which he gives the proper interpretation of some ancient names of
animals, commonly mistaken; and in the other, has some curious
observations on the art of hawking, which he considers as a practice
unknown to the ancients. I believe all our sports of the field are of
Gothick original; the ancients neither hunted by the scent, nor seemed
much to have practised horsemanship, as an exercise; and though in
their works there is mention of _aucupium_ and _piscatio_,
they seemed no more to have been considered as diversions, than
agriculture, or any other manual labour.

In two more letters, he speaks of the cymbals of the Hebrews, but
without any satisfactory determination; and of _rhopalick_, or
gradual verses, that is, of verses beginning with a word of one
syllable, and proceeding by words of which each has a syllable more
than the former; as,

  "O deus, aeterne stationis conciliator." AUSONIUS.

And after this manner pursuing the hint, he mentions many other
restrained methods of versifying, to which industrious ignorance has
sometimes voluntarily subjected itself.

His next attempt is, on Languages, and particularly the Saxon Tongue.
He discourses with great learning, and generally with great justness,
of the derivation and changes of languages; but, like other men of
multifarious learning, he receives some notions without examination.
Thus he observes, according to the popular opinion, that the Spaniards
have retained so much Latin as to be able to compose sentences that
shall be, at once, grammatically Latin and Castilian: this will appear
very unlikely to a man that considers the Spanish terminations; and
Howell, who was eminently skilful in the three provincial languages,
declares, that, after many essays, he never could effect it [86].

The principal design of this letter, is to show the affinity between
the modern English, and the ancient Saxon; and he observes, very
rightly, that "though we have borrowed many substantives, adjectives,
and some verbs, from the French; yet the great body of numerals,
auxiliary verbs, articles, pronouns, adverbs, conjunctions, and
prepositions, which are the distinguishing and lasting parts of a
language, remain with us from the Saxon."

To prove this position more evidently, he has drawn up a short
discourse of six paragraphs, in Saxon and English; of which every word
is the same in both languages, excepting the terminations and
orthography. The words are, indeed, Saxon, but the phraseology is
English; and, I think, would not have been understood by Bede or
Elfric, notwithstanding the confidence of our author. He has, however,
sufficiently proved his position, that the English resembles its
paternal language more than any modern European dialect.

There remain five tracts of this collection yet unmentioned; one, of
artificial Hills, Mounts, or Barrows, in England; in reply to an
interrogatory letter of E. D. whom the writers of the Biographia
Britannica suppose to be, if rightly printed, W. D. or sir William
Dugdale, one of Browne's correspondents. These are declared by Browne,
in concurrence, I think, with all other antiquaries, to be, for the
most part, funeral monuments. He proves, that both the Danes and
Saxons buried their men of eminence under piles of earth, "which
admitting," says he "neither ornament, epitaph, nor inscription, may,
if earthquakes spare them, outlast other monuments: obelisks have
their term, and pyramids will tumble; but these mountainous monuments
may stand, and are like to have the same period with the earth."

In the next, he answers two geographical questions; one concerning
Troas, mentioned in the acts and epistles of St. Paul, which he
determines to be the city built near the ancient Ilium; and the other
concerning the Dead sea, of which he gives the same account with other

Another letter treats of the Answers of the Oracle of Apollo, at
Delphos, to Croesus, king of Lydia. In this tract nothing deserves
notice, more than that Browne considers the oracles as evidently and
indubitably supernatural, and founds all his disquisition upon that
postulate. He wonders why the physiologists of old, having such means
of instruction, did not inquire into the secrets of nature: but
judiciously concludes, that such questions would probably have been
vain; "for in matters cognoscible, and formed for our disquisition,
our industry must be our oracle, and reason our Apollo."

The pieces that remain are, a Prophecy concerning the future State of
several Nations; in which Browne plainly discovers his expectation to
be the same with that entertained lately, with more confidence, by Dr.
Berkeley, "that America will be the seat of the fifth empire;" and,
Museum clausum, sive Bibliotheca abscondita: in which the author
amuses himself with imagining the existence of books and curiosities,
either never in being or irrecoverably lost.

These pieces I have recounted, as they are ranged in Tenison's
collection, because the editor has given no account of the time at
which any of them were written.

Some of them are of little value, more than as they gratify the mind
with the picture of a great scholar, turning his learning into
amusement; or show upon how great a variety of inquiries, the same
mind has been successfully employed.

The other collection of his posthumous pieces, published in octavo,
London, 1722, contains Repertorium; or some account of the Tombs and
Monuments in the Cathedral of Norwich; where, as Tenison observes,
there is not matter proportionate to the skill of the antiquary.

The other pieces are, Answers to sir William Dugdale's Inquiries about
the Fens; a letter concerning Ireland; another relating to urns newly
discovered; some short strictures on different subjects; and a Letter
to a Friend on the Death of his intimate Friend, published singly by
the author's son, in 1690.

There is inserted in the Biographia Britannica, a Letter containing
Instructions for the Study of Physick: which, with the essays here
offered to the publick, completes the works of Dr. Browne.

To the life of this learned man, there remains little to be added, but
that, in 1665, he was chosen honorary fellow of the college of
physicians, as a man, "virtute et literis ornatissimus," eminently
embellished with literature and virtue; and in 1671, received, at
Norwich, the honour of knighthood from Charles the second, a prince,
who, with many frailties and vices, had yet skill to discover
excellence, and virtue to reward it with such honorary distinctions,
at least, as cost him nothing, yet, conferred by a king so judicious
and so much beloved, had the power of giving merit new lustre and
greater popularity.

Thus he lived in high reputation, till, in his seventy-sixth year, he
was seized with a colick, which, after having tortured him about a
week, put an end to his life at Norwich, on his birthday, October, 19,
1682 [87]. Some of his last words were expressions of submission to
the will of God, and fearlessness of death.

He lies buried in the church of St. Peter Mancroft, in Norwich, with
this inscription on a mural monument, placed on the south pillar of
the altar:

  M. S.
  Hic situs est THOMAS BROWNE, M.D.
  Et miles.
  Anno 1605, Londini natus;
  Generosa familia apud Upton
  In agro Cestriensi oriundus.
  Schola pritnum Wintoniensi, postea
  In Coll. Pembr.
  Apud Oxonienses bonis literis
  Haud leviter imbutus;
  In urbe hac Nordovicensi medicinam
  Arte egregia, et foelici successu professus;
  Scriptis quibus tituli, RELIGIO MEDICI
  Per orbem notissimus.
  Vir prudentissimus, integerrimus, doctissimus;
  Obijt Octob. 19, 1682.
  Pie posuit moestissima conjux
  Da. Doroth. Br.

  Near the foot of this pillar
  Lies Sir Thomas Browne, knt. and doctor in physick,
  Author of Religio Medici, and other learned books,
  Who practised physick in this city 46 years,
  And died Oct. 1682, in the 77th year of his age.
  In memory of whom,
  Dame Dorothy Browne, who had been his affectionate
  Wife 47 years, caused this monument to be

Besides this lady, who died in 1685, he left a son and three
daughters. Of the daughters nothing very remarkable is known; but his
son, Edward Browne, requires a particular mention.

He was born about the year 1642; and, after having passed through the
classes of the school at Norwich, became bachelor of physick at
Cambridge; and afterwards removing to Merton college in Oxford, was
admitted there to the same degree, and afterwards made a doctor. In
1668 he visited part of Germany; and in the year following made a
wider excursion into Austria, Hungary, and Thessaly; where the Turkish
sultan then kept his court at Larissa. He afterwards passed through
Italy. His skill in natural history made him particularly attentive to
mines and metallurgy. Upon his return, he published an account of the
countries through which he had passed; which I have heard commended by
a learned traveller, who has visited many places after him, as written
with scrupulous and exact veracity, such as is scarcely to be found in
any other book of the same kind. But whatever it may contribute to the
instruction of a naturalist, I cannot recommend it, as likely to give
much pleasure to common readers; for, whether it be that the world is
very uniform, and, therefore, he who is resolved to adhere to truth
will have few novelties to relate; or, that Dr. Browne was, by the
train of his studies, led to inquire most after those things by which
the greatest part of mankind is little affected; a great part of his
book seems to contain very unimportant accounts of his passage from
one place where he saw little, to another where he saw no more.

Upon his return, he practised physick in London; was made physician
first to Charles the second, and afterwards, in 1682, to St.
Bartholomew's hospital. About the same time, he joined his name to
those of many other eminent men, in a translation of Plutarch's lives.
He was first censor, then elect, and treasurer of the college of
physicians; of which, in 1705, he was chosen president, and held his
office till, in 1708, he died, in a degree of estimation suitable to a
man so variously accomplished, that king Charles had honoured him with
this panegyrick, that "he was as learned as any of the college, and as
well bred as any of the court."

Of every great and eminent character, part breaks forth into publick
view, and part lies hid in domestick privacy. Those qualities, which
have been exerted in any known and lasting performances, may, at any
distance of time, be traced and estimated; but silent excellencies are
soon forgotten; and those minute peculiarities which discriminate
every man from all others, if they are not recorded by those whom
personal knowledge enables to observe them, are irrecoverably lost.
This mutilation of character must have happened, among many others, to
sir Thomas Browne, had it not been delineated by his friend Mr.
Whitefoot, "who esteemed it an especial favour of providence, to have
had a particular acquaintance with him for two-thirds of his life."
Part of his observations I shall therefore copy.

"For a character of his person, his complexion and hair was answerable
to his name; his stature was moderate, and a habit of body neither fat
nor lean, but [Greek: eusarkos].

"In his habit of clothing, he had an aversion to all finery, and
affected plainness, both in the fashion and ornaments. He ever wore a
cloak, or boots, when few others did. He kept himself always very
warm, and thought it most safe so to do, though he never loaded
himself with such a multitude of garments, as Suetonius reports of
Augustus, enough to clothe a good family.

"The horizon of his understanding was much larger than the hemisphere
of the world: all that was visible in the heavens he comprehended so
well, that few that are under them knew so much: he could tell the
number of the visible stars in his horizon, and call them all by their
names that had any; and of the earth he had such a minute and exact
geographical knowledge, as if he had been by divine providence
ordained surveyor-general of the whole terrestrial orb, and its
products, minerals, plants, and animals. He was so curious a botanist,
that, besides the specifical distinctions, he made nice and elaborate
observations, equally useful as entertaining.

"His memory, though not so eminent as that of Seneca or Scaliger, was
capacious and tenacious, insomuch as he remembered all that was
remarkable in any book that he had read; and not only knew all
person's again that he had ever seen, at any distance of time, but
remembered the circumstances of their bodies, and their particular
discourses and speeches.

"In the Latin poets he remembered every thing that was acute and
pungent; he had read most of the historians, ancient and modern,
wherein his observations were singular, not taken notice of by common
readers; he was excellent company when he was at leisure, and
expressed more light than heat in the temper of his brain.

"He had no despotical power over his affections and passions, (that
was a privilege of original perfection, forfeited by the neglect of
the use of it,) but as large a political power over them, as any
stoick, or man of his time; whereof he gave so great experiment, that
he hath very rarely been known to have been overcome with any of them.
The strongest that were found in him, both of the irascible and
concupiscible, were under the control of his reason. Of admiration,
which is one of them, being the only product either of ignorance or
uncommon knowledge, he had more and less than other men, upon the same
account of his knowing more than others; so that though he met with
many rarities, he admired them not so much as others do.

"He was never seen to be transported with mirth, or dejected with
sadness; always cheerful, but rarely merry, at any sensible rate;
seldom heard to break a jest; and when he did, he would be apt to
blush at the levity of it: his gravity was natural, without

"His modesty was visible in a natural habitual blush, which was
increased upon the least occasion, and oft discovered without any
observable cause.

"They that knew no more of him than by the briskness of his writings,
found themselves deceived in their expectation, when they came in his
company, noting the gravity and sobriety of his aspect and
conversation; so free from loquacity or much talkativeness, that he
was sometimes difficult to be engaged in any discourse; though when he
was so, it was always singular, and never trite or vulgar.
Parsimonious in nothing but his time, whereof he made as much
improvement, with as little loss as any man in it: when he had any to
spare from his drudging practice, he was scarce patient of any
diversion from his study; so impatient of sloth and idleness, that he
would say, he could not do nothing.

"Sir Thomas understood most of the European languages; viz. all that
are in Hutter's Bible, which he made use of. The Latin and Greek he
understood critically; the oriental languages, which never were
vernacular in this part of the world, he thought the use of them would
not answer the time and pains of learning them; yet had so great a
veneration for the matrix of them, viz. the Hebrew, consecrated to the
oracles of God, that he was not content to be totally ignorant of it;
though very little of his science is to be found in any books of that
primitive language. And though much is said to be written in the
derivative idioms of that tongue, especially the Arabick, yet he was
satisfied with the translations, wherein he found nothing admirable.

"In his religion he continued in the same mind which he had declared
in his first book, written when he was but thirty years old, his
Religio Medici, wherein he fully assented to that of the church of
England, preferring it before any in the world, as did the learned
Grotius. He attended the publick service very constantly, when he was
not withheld by his practice; never missed the sacrament in his
parish, if he were in town; read the best English sermons he could
hear of, with liberal applause; and delighted not in controversies. In
his last sickness, wherein he continued about a week's time, enduring
great pain of the colick, besides a continual fever, with as much
patience as hath been seen in any man, without any pretence of stoical
apathy, animosity, or vanity of not being concerned thereat, or
suffering no impeachment of happiness: 'Nihil agis, dolor.'

"His patience was founded upon the Christian philosophy, and a sound
faith of God's providence, and a meek and holy submission thereunto,
which he expressed in few words. I visited him near his end, when he
had not strength to hear or speak much; the last words which I heard
from him were, besides some expressions of dearness, that he did
freely submit to the will of God, being without fear; he had often
triumphed over the king of terrours in others, and given many repulses
in the defence of patients; but, when his own turn came, he submitted
with a meek, rational, and religious courage.

"He might have made good the old saying of 'dat Galenus opes,' had he
lived in a place that could have afforded it. But his indulgence and
liberality to his children, especially in their travels, two of his
sons in divers countries, and two of his daughters in France, spent
him more than a little. He was liberal in his house entertainments and
in his charity: he left a comfortable, but no great estate, both to
his lady and children, gained by his own industry.

"Such was his sagacity and knowledge of all history, ancient and
modern, and his observations thereupon so singular, that, it hath been
said, by them that knew him best, that, if his profession, and place
of abode, would have suited, his ability, he would have made an
extraordinary man for the privy council, not much inferiour to the
famous Padre Paulo, the late oracle of the Venetian state.

"Though he were no prophet, nor son of a prophet, yet in that faculty
which comes nearest it, he excelled, i.e. the stochastick, wherein he
was seldom mistaken, as to future events, as well publick as private;
but not apt to discover any presages or superstition."

It is observable, that he, who, in his earlier years, had read all the
books against religion, was, in the latter part of his life, averse
from controversies. To play with important truths, to disturb the
repose of established tenets, to subtilize objections, and elude
proof, is too often the sport of youthful vanity, of which maturer
experience commonly repents. There is a time when every man is weary
of raising difficulties only to task himself with the solution, and
desires to enjoy truth without the labour or hazard of contest. There
is, perhaps, no better method of encountering these troublesome
irruptions of skepticism, with which inquisitive minds are frequently
harassed, than that which Browne declares himself to have taken: "If
there arise any doubts in my way, I do forget them; or, at least,
defer them, till my better settled judgment, and more manly reason, be
able to resolve them: for I perceive every man's reason is his best
Oedipus, and will, upon a reasonable truce, find a way to loose those
bonds, wherewith the subtilties of errour have enchained our more
flexible and tender judgments."

The foregoing character may be confirmed and enlarged by many passages
in the Religio Medici; in which it appears, from Whitefoot's
testimony, that the author, though no very sparing panegyrist of
himself, had not exceeded the truth, with respect to his attainments
or visible qualities.

There are, indeed, some interiour and secret virtues, which a man may,
sometimes, have without the knowledge of others; and may, sometimes,
assume to himself, without sufficient reasons for his opinion. It is
charged upon Browne, by Dr. Watts, as an instance of arrogant
temerity, that, after a long detail of his attainments, he declares
himself to have escaped "the first and father-sin of pride." A perusal
of the Religio Medici will not much contribute to produce a belief of
the author's exemption from this father-sin; pride is a vice, which
pride itself inclines every man to find in others, and to overlook in

As easily may we be mistaken in estimating our own courage, as our own
humility; and, therefore, when Browne shows himself persuaded, that
"he could lose an arm without a tear, or, with a few groans, be
quartered to pieces," I am not sure that he felt in himself any
uncommon powers of endurance; or, indeed, any thing more than a sudden
effervescence of imagination, which, uncertain and involuntary as it
is, he mistook for settled resolution.

"That there were not many extant, that, in a noble way, feared the
face of death less than himself," he might, likewise, believe at a
very easy expense, while death was yet at a distance; but the time
will come, to every human being, when it must be known how well he can
bear to die; and it has appeared that our author's fortitude did not
desert him in the great hour of trial.

It was observed, by some of the remarkers on the Religio Medici, that
"the author was yet alive, and might grow worse as well as better:" it
is, therefore, happy, that this suspicion can be obviated by a
testimony given to the continuance of his virtue, at a time when death
had set him free from danger of change, and his panegyrist from
temptation to flattery.

But it is not on the praises of others, but on his own writings, that
he is to depend for the esteem of posterity; of which he will not
easily be deprived, while learning shall have any reverence among men;
for there is no science in which he does not discover some skill; and
scarce any kind of knowledge, profane or sacred, abstruse or elegant,
which he does not appear to have cultivated with success.

His exuberance of knowledge, and plenitude of ideas, sometimes
obstruct the tendency of his reasoning and the clearness of his
decisions: on whatever subject he employed his mind, there started up
immediately so many images before him, that he lost one by grasping
another. His memory supplied him with so many illustrations, parallel
or dependent notions, that he was always starting into collateral
considerations; but the spirit and vigour of his pursuit always gives
delight; and the reader follows him, without reluctance, through his
mazes, in themselves flowery and pleasing, and ending at the point
originally in view.

"To have great excellencies and great faults, 'magnae; virtutes nee
minora vitia,' is the poesy," says our author, "of the best natures."
This poesy may be properly applied to the style of Browne; it is
vigorous, but rugged; it is learned, but pedantick; it is deep, but
obscure; it strikes, but does not please; it commands, but does not
allure; his tropes are harsh, and his combinations uncouth.

He fell into an age in which our language began to lose the stability
which it had obtained in the time of Elizabeth; and was considered by
every writer as a subject on which he might try his plastick skill, by
moulding it according to his own fancy. Milton, in consequence of this
encroaching license, began to introduce the Latin idiom: and Browne,
though he gave less disturbance to our structures in phraseology, yet
poured in a multitude of exotick words; many, indeed, useful and
significant, which, if rejected, must be supplied by circumlocution,
such as _commensality_, for the state of many living at the same
table; but many superfluous, as a _paralogical_, for an unreasonable
doubt; and some so obscure, that they conceal his meaning rather than
explain it, as _arthritical analogies_, for parts that serve some
animals in the place of joints.

His style is, indeed, a tissue of many languages; a mixture of
heterogeneous words, brought together from distant regions, with terms
originally appropriated to one art, and drawn by violence into the
service of another. He must, however, be confessed to have augmented
our philosophical diction; and, in defence of his uncommon words and
expressions, we must consider, that he had uncommon sentiments, and
was not content to express, in many words, that idea for which any
language could supply a single term.

But his innovations are sometimes pleasing, and his temerities happy:
he has many "verba ardentia" forcible expressions, which he would
never have found, but by venturing to the utmost verge of propriety;
and flights which would never have been reached, but by one who had
very little fear of the shame of falling.

There remains yet an objection against the writings of Browne, more
formidable than the animadversions of criticism. There are passages
from which some have taken occasion to rank him among deists, and
others among atheists. It would be difficult to guess how any such
conclusion should be formed, had not experience shown that there are
two sorts of men willing to enlarge the catalogue of infidels.

It has been long observed, that an atheist has no just reason for
endeavouring conversions; and yet none harass those minds which they
can influence, with more importunity of solicitation to adopt their
opinions. In proportion as they doubt the truth of their own
doctrines, they are desirous to gain the attestation of another
understanding: and industriously labour to win a proselyte, and
eagerly catch at the slightest pretence to dignify their sect with a
celebrated name [88].

The others become friends to infidelity only by unskilful hostility;
men of rigid orthodoxy, cautious conversation, and religious asperity.
Among these, it is, too frequently, the practice to make in their heat
concessions to atheism or deism, which their most confident advocates
had never dared to claim, or to hope. A sally of levity, an idle
paradox, an indecent jest, an unreasonable objection, are sufficient,
in the opinion of these men, to efface a name from the lists of
christianity, to exclude a soul from everlasting life. Such men are so
watchful to censure, that they have seldom much care to look for
favourable interpretations of ambiguities, to set the general tenour
of life against single failures, or to know how soon any slip of
inadvertency has been expiated by sorrow and retraction; but let fly
their fulminations, without mercy or prudence, against slight offences
or casual temerities, against crimes never committed, or immediately

The infidel knows well what he is doing. He is endeavouring to supply,
by authority, the deficiency of his arguments, and to make his cause
less invidious, by showing numbers on his side; he will, therefore,
not change his conduct, till he reforms his principles. But the zealot
should recollect, that he is labouring by this frequency of
excommunication, against his own cause, and voluntarily adding
strength to the enemies of truth. It must always be the condition of a
great part of mankind, to reject and embrace tenets upon the authority
of those whom they think wiser than themselves; and, therefore, the
addition of every name to infidelity, in some degree, invalidates that
argument upon which the religion of multitudes is necessarily founded.

Men may differ from each other in many religious opinions, and yet all
may retain the essentials of christianity; men may sometimes eagerly
dispute, and yet not differ much from one another: the rigorous
persecutors of errour should, therefore, enlighten their zeal with
knowledge, and temper their orthodoxy with charity; that charity,
without which orthodoxy is vain; charity that "thinketh no evil," but
"hopeth all things," and "endureth all things."

Whether Browne has been numbered among the contemners of religion, by
the fury of its friends, or the artifice of its enemies, it is no
difficult task to replace him among the most zealous professors of
christianity. He may, perhaps, in the ardour of his imagination, have
hazarded an expression, which a mind intent upon faults may interpret
into heresy, if considered apart from the rest of his discourse; but a
phrase is not to be opposed to volumes; there is scarcely a writer to
be found, whose profession was not divinity, that has so frequently
testified his belief of the sacred writings, has appealed to them with
such unlimited submission, or mentioned them with such unvaried

It is, indeed, somewhat wonderful, that he should be placed without
the pale of christianity, who declares, "that he assumes the
honourable style of a christian," not because it is "the religion of
his country," but because "having in his riper years and confirmed
judgment seen" and examined all, he finds himself obliged, by the
principles of grace, and the law of his own reason, to embrace "no
other name but this;" who, to specify his persuasion yet more, tells
us, that "he is of the reformed religion; of the same belief our
Saviour taught, the apostles disseminated, the fathers authorized, and
the martyrs confirmed;" who, though "paradoxical in philosophy, loves
in divinity to keep the beaten road; and pleases himself that he has
no taint of heresy, schism, or errour:" to whom, "where the scripture
is silent, the church is a text; where that speaks, 'tis but a
comment;" and who uses not "the dictates of his own reason, but where
there is a joint silence of both: who blesses himself, that he lived
not in the days of miracles, when faith had been thrust upon him; but
enjoys that greater blessing, pronounced to all that believe and saw
not." He cannot surely be charged with a defect of faith, who
"believes that our Saviour was dead, and buried, and rose again, and
desires to see him in his glory:" and who affirms that "this is not
much to believe;" that "we have reason to owe this faith unto
history;" and that "they only had the advantage of a bold and noble
faith, who lived before his coming; and, upon obscure prophecies, and
mystical types, could raise a belief." Nor can contempt of the
positive and ritual parts of religion be imputed to him, who doubts,
whether a good man would refuse a poisoned eucharist; and "who would
violate his own arm, rather than a church."

The opinions of every man must be learned from himself: concerning his
practice, it is safest to trust the evidence of others. Where these
testimonies concur, no higher degree of historical certainty can be
obtained; and they apparently concur to prove, that Browne was a
zealous adherent to the faith of Christ; that he lived in obedience to
his laws, and died in confidence of his mercy.

ASCHAM [89].

It often happens to writers, that they are known only by their works;
the incidents of a literary life are seldom observed, and, therefore,
seldom recounted: but Ascham has escaped the common fate by the
friendship of Edward Grauut, the learned master of Westminster school,
who devoted an oration to his memory, and has marked the various
vicissitudes of his fortune. Graunt either avoided the labour of
minute inquiry, or thought domestick occurrences unworthy of his
notice; or, preferring the character of an orator to that of an
historian, selected only such particulars as he could best express or
most happily embellish. His narrative is, therefore, scanty, and I
know not by what materials it can now be amplified.

Roger Ascham was born in the year 1515, at Kirby Wiske, (or Kirby
Wicke,) a village near Northallerton, in Yorkshire, of a family above
the vulgar. His father, John Ascham, was house-steward in the family
of Scroop; and, in that age, when the different orders of men were at
a greater distance from each other, and the manners of gentlemen were
regularly formed by menial services in great houses, lived with a very
conspicuous reputation. Margaret Ascham, his wife, is said to have
been allied to many considerable families, but her maiden name is not
recorded. She had three sons, of whom Roger was the youngest, and some
daughters; but who can hope, that of any progeny more than one shall
deserve to be mentioned? They lived married sixty-seven years, and, at
last, died together almost on the same hour of the same day.

Roger, having passed his first years under the care of his parents,
was adopted into the family of Antony Wingfield, who maintained him,
and committed his education, with that of his own sons, to the care of
one Bond, a domestick tutor. He very early discovered an unusual
fondness for literature by an eager perusal of English books; and,
having passed happily through the scholastick rudiments, was put, in
1530, by his patron Wingfield, to St. John's college in Cambridge.

Ascham entered Cambridge at a time when the last great revolution of
the intellectual world was filling every academical mind with ardour
or anxiety. The destruction of the Constantinopolitan empire had
driven the Greeks, with their language, into the interiour parts of
Europe, the art of printing had made the books easily attainable, and
Greek now began to be taught in England. The doctrines of Luther had
already filled all the nations of the Romish communion with
controversy and dissension. New studies of literature, and new tenets
of religion, found employment for all who were desirous of truth, or
ambitious of fame. Learning was, at that time, prosecuted with that
eagerness and perseverance, which, in this age of indifference and
dissipation, it is not easy to conceive. To teach or to learn, was, at
once, the business and the pleasure of the academical life; and an
emulation of study was raised by Cheke and Smith, to which even the
present age, perhaps, owes many advantages, without remembering, or
knowing, its benefactors.

Ascham soon resolved to unite himself to those who were enlarging the
bounds of knowledge, and, immediately upon his admission into the
college, applied himself to the study of Greek. Those who were zealous
for the new learning, were often no great friends to the old religion;
and Ascham, as he became a Grecian, became a protestant. The
reformation was not yet begun; disaffection to popery was considered
as a crime justly punished by exclusion from favour and preferment,
and was not yet openly professed, though superstition was gradually
losing its hold upon the publick. The study of Greek was reputable
enough, and Ascham pursued it with diligence and success, equally
conspicuous. He thought a language might be most easily learned by
teaching it; and, when he had obtained some proficiency in Greek, read
lectures, while he was yet a boy, to other boys, who were desirous of
instruction. His industry was much encouraged by Pember, a man of
great eminence at that time, though I know not that he has left any
monuments behind him, but what the gratitude of his friends and
scholars has bestowed. He was one of the great encouragers of Greek
learning, and particularly applauded Ascham's lectures, assuring him
in a letter, of which Graunt has preserved an extract, that he would
gain more knowledge by explaining one of AEsop's fables to a boy, than
by hearing one of Homer's poems explained by another.

Ascham took his bachelor's degree in 1534, February 18, in the
eighteenth year of his age; a time of life at which it is more common
now to enter the universities, than to take degrees, but which,
according to the modes of education then in use, had nothing of
remarkable prematurity. On the 23rd of March following, he was chosen
fellow of the college, which election he considered as a second birth.
Dr. Metcalf, the master of the college, a man, as Ascham tells us,
"meanly learned himself, but no mean encourager of learning in
others," clandestinely promoted his election, though he openly seemed
first to oppose it, and afterwards to censure it, because Ascham was
known to favour the new opinions; and the master himself was accused
of giving an unjust preference to the northern men, one of the
factions into which this nation was divided, before we could find any
more important reason of dissension, than that some were born on the
northern, and some on the southern side of Trent. Any cause is
sufficient for a quarrel; and the zealots of the north and south lived
long in such animosity, that it was thought necessary at Oxford to
keep them quiet, by choosing one proctor every year from each.

He seems to have been, hitherto, supported by the bounty of Wingfield,
which his attainment of a fellowship now freed him from the necessity
of receiving. Dependance, though in those days it was more common and
less irksome, than in the present state of things, can never have been
free from discontent; and, therefore, he that was released from it
must always have rejoiced. The danger is, lest the joy of escaping
from the patron may not leave sufficient memory of the benefactor. Of
this forgetfulness, Ascham cannot be accused; for he is recorded to
have preserved the most grateful and affectionate reverence for
Wingfield, and to have never grown weary of recounting his benefits.

His reputation still increased, and many resorted to his chamber to
hear the Greek writers explained. He was, likewise, eminent for other
accomplishments. By the advice of Pember, he had learned to play on
musical instruments, and he was one of the few who excelled in the
mechanical art of writing, which then began to be cultivated among us,
and in which we now surpass all other nations. He not only wrote his
pages with neatness, but embellished them with elegant draughts and
illuminations; an art at that time so highly valued, that it
contributed much both to his fame and his fortune.

He became master of arts in March, 1537, in his twenty-first year, and
then, if not before, commenced tutor, and publickly undertook the
education of young men. A tutor of one-and-tweuty, however
accomplished with learning, however exalted by genius, would now gain
little reverence or obedience; but in those days of discipline and
regularity, the authority of the statutes easily supplied that of the
teacher; all power that was lawful was reverenced. Besides, young
tutors had still younger pupils.

Ascham is said to have courted his scholars to study by every
incitement, to have treated them with great kindness, and to have
taken care, at once, to instil learning and piety, to enlighten their
minds, and to form their manners. Many of his scholars rose to great
eminence; and among them William Grindal was so much distinguished,
that, by Cheke's recommendation, he was called to court, as a proper
master of languages for the lady Elizabeth.

There was yet no established lecturer of Greek; the university,
therefore, appointed Ascham to read in the open schools, and paid him
out of the publick purse an honorary stipend, such as was then
reckoned sufficiently liberal. A lecture was afterwards founded by
king Henry, and he then quitted the schools, but continued to explain
Greek authors in his own college.

He was at first an opponent of the new pronunciation introduced, or
rather of the ancient restored, about this time, by Cheke and Smith,
and made some cautious struggles for the common practice, which the
credit and dignity of his antagonists did not permit him to defend
very publickly, or with much vehemence: nor were they long his
antagonists; for either his affection for their merit, or his
conviction of the cogency of their arguments, soon changed his opinion
and his practice, and he adhered ever after to their method of

Of this controversy it is not necessary to give a circumstantial
account; something of it may be found in Strype's Life of Smith, and
something in Baker's Reflections upon Learning; it is sufficient to
remark here, that Cheke's pronunciation was that which now prevails in
the schools of England. Disquisitions not only verbal, but merely
literal, are too minute for popular narration.

He was not less eminent, as a writer of Latin, than as a teacher of
Greek. All the publick letters of the university were of his
composition; and, as little qualifications must often bring great
abilities into notice, he was recommended to this honourable
employment, not less by the neatness of his hand, than the elegance of
his style.

However great was his learning, he was not always immured in his
chamber; but, being valetudinary, and weak of body, thought it
necessary to spend many hours in such exercises as might best relieve
him after the fatigue of study. His favourite amusement was archery,
in which he spent, or, in the opinion of others, lost so much time,
that those whom either his faults or virtues made his enemies, and,
perhaps, some whose kindness wished him always worthily employed, did
not scruple to censure his practice, as unsuitable to a man professing
learning, and, perhaps, of bad example in a place of education.

To free himself from this censure was one of the reasons for which he
published, in 1544, his Toxophilus, or the Schole or Partitions of
Shooting, in which he joins the praise with the precepts of archery.
He designed not only to teach the art of shooting, but to give an
example of diction more natural and more truly English than was used
by the common writers of that age, whom he censures for mingling
exotick terms with their native language, and of whom he complains,
that they were made authors, not by skill or education, but by
arrogance and temerity.

He has not failed in either of his purposes. He has sufficiently
vindicated archery as an innocent, salutary, useful, and liberal
diversion; and if his precepts are of no great use, he has only shown,
by one example among many, how little the hand can derive from the
mind, how little intelligence can conduce to dexterity. In every art,
practice is much; in arts manual, practice is almost the whole:
precept can, at most, but warn against errour; it can never bestow

The bow has been so long disused, that most English readers have
forgotten its importance, though it was the weapon by which we gained
the battle of Agincourt; a weapon which, when handled by English
yeomen, no foreign troops were able to resist. We were not only abler
of body than the French, and, therefore, superiour in the use of arms,
which are forcible only in proportion to the strength with which they
are handled, but the national practice of shooting for pleasure or for
prizes, by which every man was inured to archery from his infancy,
gave us insuperable advantage, the bow requiring more practice to
skilful use than any other instrument of offence.

Firearms were then in their infancy; and though battering-pieces had
been some time in use, I know not whether any soldiers were armed with
hand-guns when the Toxophilus was first published. They were soon
after used by the Spanish troops, whom other nations made haste to
imitate; but how little they could yet effect, will be understood from
the account given by the ingenious author of the Exercise for the
Norfolk Militia.

"The first muskets were very heavy, and could not be fired without a
rest; they had matchlocks, and barrels of a wide bore, that carried a
large ball and charge of powder, and did execution at a greater

"The musketeers on a march carried only their rests and ammunition,
and had boys to bear their muskets after them, for which they were
allowed great additional pay.

"They were very slow in loading, not only by reason of the
unwieldiness of the pieces, and because they carried the powder and
balls separate, but from the time it took to prepare and adjust the
match; so that their fire was not near so brisk as ours is now.
Afterwards a lighter kind of matchlock musket came into use, and they
carried their ammunition in bandeliers, which were broad belts that
came over the shoulder, to which were hung several little cases of
wood covered with leather, each containing a charge of powder; the
balls they carried loose in a pouch; and they had also a priming-horn
hanging by their side.

"The old English writers call those large muskets calivers; the
harquebuss was a lighter piece, that could be fired without a rest.
The matchlock was fired by a match fixed by a kind of tongs in the
serpentine or cock, which, by pulling the trigger, was brought down
with great quickness upon the priming in the pan, over which there was
a sliding cover, which was drawn back by the hand just at the time of
firing. There was a great deal of nicety and care required to fit the
match properly to the cock, so as to come down exactly true on the
priming, to blow the ashes from the coal, and to guard the pan from
the sparks that fell from it. A great deal of time was also lost in
taking it out of the cock, and returning it between the fingers of the
left hand every time that the piece was fired; and wet weather often
rendered the matches useless."

While this was the state of firearms, and this state continued among
us to the civil war, with very little improvement, it is no wonder
that the long-bow was preferred by sir Thomas Smith, who wrote of the
choice of weapons in the reign of queen Elizabeth, when the use of the
bow still continued, though the musket was gradually prevailing. Sir
John Haward, a writer yet later, has, in his History of the Norman
Kings, endeavoured to evince the superiority of the archer to the
musketeer: however, in the long peace of king James, the bow was
wholly forgotten. Guns have from that time been the weapons of the
English, as of other nations, and, as they are now improved, are
certainly more efficacious.

Ascham had yet another reason, if not for writing his book, at least
for presenting it to king Henry. England was not then, what it may be
now justly termed, the capital of literature; and, therefore, those
who aspired to superiour degrees of excellence, thought it necessary
to travel into other countries. The purse of Ascham was not equal to
the expense of peregrination; and, therefore, he hoped to have it
augmented by a pension. Nor was he wholly disappointed; for the king
rewarded him with a yearly payment of ten pounds.

A pension of ten pounds granted by a king of England to a man of
letters, appears, to modern readers, so contemptible a benefaction,
that it is not unworthy of inquiry what might be its value at that
time, and how much Ascham might be enriched by it. Nothing is more
uncertain than the estimation of wealth by denominated money; the
precious metals never retain long the same proportion to real
commodities, and the same names in different ages do not imply the
same quantity of metal; so that it is equally difficult to know how
much money was contained in any nominal sum, and to find what any
supposed quantity of gold or silver would purchase; both which are
necessary to the commensuration of money, or the adjustment of
proportion between the same sums at different periods of time.

A numeral pound, in king Henry's time, contained, as now, twenty
shillings; and, therefore, it must be inquired what twenty shillings
could perform. Bread-corn is the most certain standard of the
necessaries of life. Wheat was generally sold, at that time for one
shilling, the bushel; if, therefore, we take five shillings the bushel
for the current price, ten pounds were equivalent to fifty. But here
is danger of a fallacy. It may be doubted whether wheat was the
general bread-corn of that age; and if rye, barley, or oats, were the
common food, and wheat, as I suspect, only a delicacy, the value of
wheat will not regulate the price of other things. This doubt,
however, is in favour of Ascham; for if we raise the worth of wheat,
we raise that of his pension.

But the value of money has another variation, which we are still less
able to ascertain: the rules of custom, or the different needs of
artificial life, make that revenue little at one time which is great
at another. Men are rich and poor, not only in proportion to what they
have, but to what they want. In some ages, not only necessaries are
cheaper, but fewer things are necessary. In the age of Ascham, most of
the elegancies and expenses of our present fashions were unknown:
commerce had not yet distributed superfluity through the lower classes
of the people, and the character of a student implied frugality, and
required no splendour to support it. His pension, therefore, reckoning
together the wants which he could supply, and the wants from which he
was exempt, may be estimated, in my opinion, at more than one hundred
pounds a year; which, added to the income of his fellowship, put him
far enough above distress.

This was a year of good fortune to Ascham. He was chosen orator to the
university on the removal of sir John Cheke to court, where he was
made tutor to prince Edward. A man once distinguished soon gains
admirers. Ascham was now received to notice by many of the nobility,
and by great ladies, among whom it was then the fashion to study the
ancient languages. Lee, archbishop of York, allowed him a yearly
pension; how much we are not told. He was, probably, about this time,
employed in teaching many illustrious persons to write a fine hand;
and, among others, Henry and Charles, dukes of Suffolk, the princess
Elizabeth, and prince Edward.

Henry the eighth died two years after, and a reformation of religion
being now openly prosecuted by king Edward and his council, Ascham,
who was known to favour it, had a new grant of his pension, and
continued at Cambridge, where he lived in great familiarity with
Bucer, who had been called from Germany to the professorship of
divinity. But his retirement was soon at an end; for, in 1548, his
pupil Grindal, the master of the princess Elizabeth, died, and the
princess, who had already some acquaintance with Ascham, called him
from his college to direct her studies.

He obeyed the summons, as we may easily believe, with readiness, and,
for two years, instructed her with great diligence; but then, being
disgusted either at her, or her domesticks, perhaps eager for another
change of life, he left her, without her consent, and returned to the
university. Of this precipitation he long repented; and, as those who
are not accustomed to disrespect cannot easily forgive it, he probably
felt the effects of his imprudence to his death.

After having visited Cambridge, he took a journey into Yorkshire, to
see his native place, and his old acquaintance, and there received a
letter from the court, informing him, that he was appointed secretary
to sir Richard Morisine, who was to be despatched as ambassadour into
Germany. In his return to London he paid that memorable visit to lady
Jane Gray, in which he found her reading the Phasdo in Greek, as he
has related in his Schoolmaster.

In September, 1550, he attended Morisine to Germany, and wandered over
great part of the country, making observations upon all that appeared
worthy of his curiosity, and contracting acquaintance with men of
learning. To his correspondent, Sturmius, he paid a visit, but
Sturmius was not at home, and those two illustrious friends never saw
each other. During the course of this embassy, Ascham undertook to
improve Morisine in Greek, and, for four days in the week, explained
some passages in Herodotus every morning, and more than two hundred
verses of Sophocles, or Euripides, every afternoon. He read with him,
likewise, some of the orations of Demosthenes. On the other days he
compiled the letters of business, and in the night filled up his
diary, digested his remarks, and wrote private letters to his friends
in England, and particularly to those of his college, whom he
continually exhorted to perseverance in study. Amidst all the
pleasures of novelty which his travels supplied, and in the dignity of
his publick station, he preferred the tranquillity of private study,
and the quiet of academical retirement. The reasonableness of this
choice has been always disputed; and in the contrariety of human
interests and dispositions, the controversy will not easily be

He made a short excursion into Italy, and mentions in his
Schoolmaster, with great severity, the vices of Venice. He was
desirous of visiting Trent, while the council were sitting; but the
scantiness of his purse defeated his curiosity.

In this journey he wrote his Report and Discourse of the Affairs in
Germany, in which he describes the dispositions and interests of the
German princes, like a man inquisitive and judicious, and recounts
many particularities, which are lost in the mass of general history,
in a style, which, to the ears of that age, was undoubtedly
mellifluous, and which is now a very valuable specimen of genuine

By the death of king Edward, in 1553, the reformation was stopped,
Morisine was recalled, and Ascham's pension and hopes were at an end.
He, therefore, retired to his fellowship in a state of disappointment
and despair, which his biographer has endeavoured to express in the
deepest strain of plaintive declamation. "He was deprived of all his
support," says Graunt, "stripped of his pension, and cut off from the
assistance of his friends, who had now lost their influence: so that
he had nec praemia nec praedia, neither pension nor estate to support
him at Cambridge." There is no credit due to a rhetorician's account
either of good or evil. The truth is, that Ascham still had, in his
fellowship, all that in the early part of his life had given him
plenty, and might have lived like the other inhabitants of the
college, with the advantage of more knowledge and higher reputation.
But, notwithstanding his love of academical retirement, he had now too
long enjoyed the pleasures and festivities of publick life, to return
with a good will to academical poverty.

He had, however, better fortune than he expected; and, if he lamented
his condition, like his historian, better than he deserved. He had,
during his absence in Germany, been appointed Latin secretary to king
Edward; and, by the interest of Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, he was
instated in the same office under Philip and Mary, with a salary of
twenty pounds a year.

Soon after his admission to his new employment, he gave an
extraordinary specimen of his abilities and diligence, by composing
and transcribing, with his usual elegance, in three days, forty-seven
letters to princes and personages, of whom cardinals were the lowest.

How Ascham, who was known to be a protestant, could preserve the
favour of Gardiner, and hold a place of honour and profit in queen
Mary's court, it must be very natural to inquire. Cheke, as is well
known, was compelled to a recantation; and why Ascham was spared,
cannot now be discovered. Graunt, at a time when the transactions of
queen Mary's reign must have been well enough remembered, declares,
that Ascham always made open profession of the reformed religion, and
that Englesfield and others often endeavoured to incite Gardiner
against him, but found their accusations rejected with contempt: yet
he allows, that suspicions and charges of temporization and
compliance, had somewhat sullied his reputation. The author of the
Biographia Britannica conjectures, that he owed his safety to his
innocence and usefulness; that it would have been unpopular to attack
a man so little liable to censure, and that the loss of his pen could
not have been easily supplied. But the truth is, that morality was
never suffered, in the days of persecution, to protect heresy: nor are
we sure that Ascham was more clear from common failings than those who
suffered more; and, whatever might be his abilities, they were not so
necessary, but Gardiner could have easily filled his place with
another secretary. Nothing is more vain, than, at a distant time, to
examine the motives of discrimination and partiality; for the
inquirer, having considered interest and policy, is obliged, at last,
to admit more frequent and more active motives of human conduct,
caprice, accident, and private affections.

At that time, if some were punished, many were forborne; and of many
why should not Ascham happen to be one? He seems to have been calm and
prudent, and content with that peace which he was suffered to enjoy: a
mode of behaviour that seldom fails to produce security. He had been
abroad in the last years of king Edward, and had, at least, given no
recent offence. He was certainly, according to his own opinion, not
much in danger; for in the next year he resigned his fellowship,
which, by Gardiner's favour, he had continued to hold, though not
resident; and married Margaret Howe, a young gentle-woman of a good

He was distinguished in this reign by the notice of cardinal Pole, a
man of great candour, learning, and gentleness of manners, and
particularly eminent for his skill in Latin, who thought highly of
Ascham's style; of which it is no inconsiderable proof, that when Pole
was desirous of communicating a speech made by himself as legate, in
parliament, to the pope, he employed Ascham to translate it.

He is said to have been not only protected by the officers of state,
but favoured and countenanced by the queen herself, so that he had no
reason of complaint in that reign of turbulence and persecution: nor
was his fortune much mended, when, in 1558, his pupil, Elizabeth,
mounted the throne. He was continued in his former employment, with
the same stipend; but though he was daily admitted to the presence of
the queen, assisted her private studies, and partook of her
diversions; sometimes read to her in the learned languages, and
sometimes played with her at draughts and chess; he added nothing to
his twenty pounds a year but the prebend of Westwang, in the church of
York, which was given him the year following. His fortune was,
therefore, not proportionate to the rank which his offices and
reputation gave him, or to the favour in which he seemed to stand with
his mistress. Of this parsimonious allotment it is again a hopeless
search to inquire the reason. The queen was not naturally bountiful,
and, perhaps, did not think it necessary to distinguish, by any
prodigality of kindness, a man who had formerly deserted her, and whom
she might still suspect of serving rather for interest than affection.
Graunt exerts his rhetorical powers in praise of Ascham's
disinterestedness and contempt of money; and declares, that, though he
was often reproached by his friends with neglect of his own interest,
he never would ask any thing, and inflexibly refused all presents
which his office or imagined interest induced any to offer him.
Camden, however, imputes the narrowness of his condition to his love
of dice and cockfights: and Graunt, forgetting himself, allows that
Ascham was sometimes thrown into agonies by disappointed expectations.
It may be easily discovered, from his Schoolmaster, that he felt his
wants, though he might neglect to supply them; and we are left to
suspect, that he showed his contempt of money only by losing at play.
If this was his practice, we may excuse Elizabeth, who knew the
domestick character of her servants, if she did not give much to him
who was lavish of a little.

However he might fail in his economy, it were indecent to treat with
wanton levity the memory of a man who shared his frailties with all,
but whose learning or virtues few can attain, and by whose
excellencies many may be improved, while himself only suffered by his

In the reign of Elizabeth, nothing remarkable is known to have
befallen him, except that, in 1563, he was invited, by sir Edward
Sackville, to write the Schoolmaster, a treatise on education, upon an
occasion which he relates in the beginning of the book.

This work, though begun with alacrity, in hopes of a considerable
reward, was interrupted by the death of the patron, and afterwards
sorrowfully and slowly finished, in the gloom of disappointment, under
the pressure of distress. But of the author's disinclination or
dejection there can be found no tokens in the work, which is conceived
with great vigour, and finished with great accuracy; and, perhaps,
contains the best advice that was ever given for the study of

This treatise he completed, but did not publish; for that poverty
which, in our days, drives authors so hastily in such numbers to the
press, in the time of Ascham, I believe, debarred them from it. The
printers gave little for a copy, and, if we may believe the tale of
Raleigh's history, were not forward to print what was offered them for
nothing. Ascham's book, therefore, lay unseen in his study, and was,
at last, dedicated to lord Cecil by his widow.

Ascham never had a robust or vigorous body, and his excuse for so many
hours of diversion was his inability to endure a long continuance of
sedentary thought. In the latter part of his life he found it
necessary to forbear any intense application of the mind from dinner
to bedtime, and rose to read and write early in the morning. He was,
for some years, hectically feverish; and, though he found some
alleviation of his distemper, never obtained a perfect recovery of his
health. The immediate cause of his last sickness was too close
application to the composition of a poem, which he purposed to present
to the queen, on the day of her accession. To finish this, he forbore
to sleep at his accustomed hours, till, in December, 1568, he fell
sick of a kind of lingering disease, which Graunt has not named, nor
accurately described. The most afflictive symptom was want of sleep,
which he endeavoured to obtain by the motion of a cradle. Growing
every day weaker, he found it vain to contend with his distemper, and
prepared to die with the resignation and piety of a true Christian.
He was attended on his death-bed by Gravet, vicar of St. Sepulchre,
and Dr. Nowel, the learned dean of St. Paul's, who gave ample
testimony to the decency and devotion of his concluding life. He
frequently testified his desire of that dissolution which he soon
obtained. His funeral sermon was preached by Dr. Nowel.

Roger Ascham died in the fifty-third year of his age, at a time when,
according to the general course of life, much might yet have been
expected from him, and when he might have hoped for much from others:
but his abilities and his wants were at an end together; and who can
determine, whether he was cut off from advantages, or rescued from
calamities? He appears to have been not much qualified for the
improvement of his fortune. His disposition was kind and social; he
delighted in the pleasures of conversation, and was probably not much
inclined to business. This may be suspected from the paucity of his
writings. He has left little behind him; and of that little, nothing
was published by himself but the Toxophilus, and the account of
Germany. The Schoolmaster was printed by his widow; and the epistles
were collected by Graunt, who dedicated them to queen Elizabeth, that
he might have an opportunity of recommending his son, Giles Ascham, to
her patronage. The dedication was not lost: the young man was made, by
the queen's mandate, fellow of a college in Cambridge, where he
obtained considerable reputation. What was the effect of his widow's
dedication to Cecil, is not known: it may be hoped that Ascham's works
obtained for his family, after his decease, that support which he did
not, in his life, very plenteously procure them.

Whether he was poor by his own fault, or the fault of others, cannot
now be decided; but it is certain that many have been rich with less
merit. His philological learning would have gained him honour in any
country; and, among us, it may justly call for that reverence which
all nations owe to those who first rouse them from ignorance, and
kindle among them the light of literature. Of his manners, nothing can
be said but from his own testimony, and that of his contemporaries.
Those who mention him allow him many virtues. His courtesy,
benevolence, and liberality, are celebrated; and of his piety, we have
not only the testimony of his friends, but the evidence of his

That his English works have been so long neglected, is a proof of the
uncertainty of literary fame. He was scarcely known, as an author, in
his own language, till Mr. Upton published his Schoolmaster, with
learned notes. His other pieces were read only by those few who
delight in obsolete books; but as they are now collected into one
volume, with the addition of some letters never printed before, the
publick has an opportunity of recompensing the injury, and allotting
Ascham the reputation due to his knowledge and his eloquence.

[1] From the Gentleman's Magazine, 1742.

[2] Literary Magazine, vol. i. p. 41. 1756.

[3] The first part of this review closed here. What follows did not
appear until seven months after. To which delay the writer alludes
with provoking severity.

[4] Literary Magazine, vol. i. p, 89. 1756.

[5] From the Literary Magazine, vol. ii. p. 253.

[6] And of such a man, it is to be regretted, that Dr. Johnson was, by
whatever motive, induced to speak with acrimony; but, it is probable,
that he took up the subject, at first, merely to give play to his
fancy. This answer, however, to Mr. Hanway's letter, is, as Mr. Boswell
has remarked, the only instance, in the whole course of his life, when
he condescended to oppose any thing that was written against him. C.

[7] From the Literary Magazine, 1756.

[8] In all the papers and criticisms Dr. Johnson wrote for the
Literary Magazine, he frequently departs from the customary we of
anonymous writers. This, with his inimitable style, soon pointed him
out, as the principal person concerned in that publication.

[9] The second volume of Dr. Warton's Essay was not published until
the year 1782.

[10] This Enquiry, published in 1757, was the production of Soame
Jenyns, esq. who never forgave the author of the review. It is painful
to relate, that, after he had suppressed his resentment during Dr.
Johnson's life, he gave it vent, in a petulant and illiberal
mock-epitaph, which would not have deserved notice, had it not been
admitted into the edition of his works, published by Mr. Cole. When
this epitaph first appeared in the newspapers, Mr. Boswell answered it
by another upon Mr. Jenyns, equal, at least, in illiberality.

This review is justly reckoned one of the finest specimens of
criticism in our language, and was read with such eagerness, when
published in the Literary Magazine, that the author was induced to
reprint it in a small volume by itself; a circumstance which appears
to have escaped Mr. Boswell's research.

[11] New Practice of Physick.

[12] From the Literary Magazine, 1756.

[13] From the Literary Magazine, 1756.

[14] From the Literary Magazine, 1756.--There are other reviews of
books by Dr. Johnson, in this magazine, but, in general, very short,
and consisting chiefly of a few introductory remarks, and an extract.
That on Mrs. Harrison's Miscellanies maybe accounted somewhat
interesting, from the notice of Dr. Watts.

[15] Written by Mr. Tytler, of Edinburgh.

[16] Printed in the Gentleman's Magazine, October, 1760.

[17] First printed in the year 1739.

[18] See his Remains, 1614, p. 337, "Riming verses, which are called
_versus leonini_, I know not wherefore, (for a lyon's taile doth
not answer to the middle parts as these verses doe,) began in the time
of Carolus Magnus, and were only in request then, and in many ages
following, which delighted in nothing more than in this minstrelsie of

[19] Dr. Edward Young.

[20] Ambrose Philips, author of the Distrest Mother, &c.

[21] Edward Ward. See Dunciad, and Biographia Dramatica.

[22] Joseph Mitchell. See Biographia Dramatica.

[23] Published first in the Literary Magazine, No. iv. from July 15,
to Aug. 15, 1756. This periodical work was published by Richardson, in
Paternoster row, but was discontinued about two years after. Dr. Johnson
wrote many articles, which have been enumerated by Mr. Boswell, and
there are others which I should be inclined to attribute to him, from
internal evidence.

[24] In the magazine, this article is promised "to be continued;" but
the author was, by whatever means, diverted from it, and no
continuation appears.

[25] This was the introductory article to the Literary Magazine, No. i.

[26] From the Literary Magazine, for July, 1756.

[27] See Literary Magazine, No. ii. p. 63.

[28] This short paper was added to some editions of the Idler, when
collected into volumes, but not by Dr. Johnson, as Mr. Boswell
asserts, nor to the early editions of that work.

[29] In the first edition, this passage stood thus: "Let him not,
however, be depreciated in his grave. He had powers not universally
possessed; could he have enforced payment of the Manilla ransome,
_he could have counted it_." There were some other alterations
suggested, it would appear, by lord North.

[30] The Patriot is of the same cast with Johnson's other political
writings. It endeavours to justify the outrages of the house of
commons, in the case of the Middlesex election, and to vindicate the
harsh measures then in agitation against America: it can only,
therefore, be admired as a clever, sophistical composition.--Eb.

[31] For arguments on the opposite side of this question, see the Abbe
Raynal's Revolution of America, and Edin. Rev. xl. p. 451.--Ed.

[32] Of this reasoning I owe part to a conversation with sir John

[33] Written for the Gentleman's Magazine, for 1738.

[34] "Erat Hermanni genitor Latine, Graece, Hebraice sciens: peritus
valde historiarum et gentium. Vir apertus, candidus, simplex;
paterfamilias optimus amore, cura, diligentia, frugalitate, prudentia.
Qui non magna in re, sed plenus virtutis, novem liberis educandis
exemplum praebuit singulare, quid exacta parsimonia polleat, et
frugalitas." _Orig. Edit._

[35] "Jungebat his exercitiis quotidianam patrum lectionem, secundum
chronologiam, a Clemente Romano exorsus, et juxta seriem seculorum
descendens: ut Jesu Christi doctrinam in N. T. traditam, primis
patribus interpretantibus, addisceret.

"Horum simplicitatem sincerae doctrinae, disciplinae sanctitatem,
vitae Deo Jicatae integritatem adorabat. Subtilitatem scholarum divina
postmodum inquinasse dolebat. Aegerrime tulit sacrorum interpretationem
ex sectis sophistarum peti; et Platonis, Aristotelis, Thomas
Aquinatis, Scoti; suoque tempore Cartesii, cogitata metaphysica
adhiberi pro legibus, ad quas eastigarentur sacrorum scriptorum de Deo
sentential. Experiebatur acerba dissidia, ingeniorumque subtilissimorum
acerrima certamina, odia, ambitiones, inde cieri, foveri; adeo
contraria paci cum Deo et homine. Nihil hic magis illi obstabat; quam
quod omnes asserant sacram scripturam [Greek: anthropopathos]
loquentem, [Greek: theoprepos] explicanda