« PoprzedniaDalej »
Honour and yustice, &c.
Hope the Time is come at last, when the voice of Moderate Principles may be heard. Hitherto, the noise has been so great, and the prejudices and passions of men so strong, that it had been but in vain to offer at any argument, or for any man to talk of giving a reason for his actions. And this alone has been the
cause why, when other men (who, I think, have less to say in their own defence) are appealing to the public, and struggling to defend themselves; I, alone, have been silent, under the infinite clamours and reproaches, causeless curses, unusual threatenings, and the most unjust and injurious treatment in the world.
I hear much of people's calling out to Punish the Guilty ! but very few are concerned to Clear the Innocent! I hope some will be inclined to judge impartially; and have yet reserved so much of the Christian as to believe, and at least to hope, that a rational creature cannot abandon himself so as to act without some reason: and are willing not only to have me defend myself; but to be able to answer for me, where they hear me causelessly insulted by others, and therefore are willing to have such just Arguments put into their mouths, as the cause will bear.
As for those who are prepossessed, and according to the modern justice of Parties are resolved to be so, let them go! I am not arguing with them, but against them! They act so contrary to Justice, to Reason, to Religion, so contrary to the rules of Christians and of good manners, that they are
468 REASONS FOR PUBLISHING THIS APPEAL. [POV.
not to be argued with, but to be exposed or entirely neglected. I have a receipt against all the uneasiness which it may be supposed to give me; and that is, to contemn slander, and to think it not worth the least concern. Neither should I think it worth while to give any answer to it, if it were not on some other accounts, of which I shall speak as I go on.
If any man ask me, Why I am in such haste to publish this matter at this time ? among many other good reasons which I could give, these are some: 1. I think I have long enough been made fabula vulgi,
and borne the weight of general slander; and I should be wanting to truth, to my family, and to myself, if I did not give a fair and true state of my conduct, for impartial men to judge of, when I am no more in being,
to answer for myself. 2. By the hints of mortality, and by the infirmities of
a Life of Sorrow and Fatigue, I have reason to think that I am not a great way off from, if not very near to, the great Ocean of Eternity; and the time may not be long ere I embark on the last voyage. Wherefore I think, I should even accounts with this world, before I go : that no actions (slanders) may lie against my heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns, to disturb them in the peaceable possession of their
father's inheritance (character). 3. I fear (GOD grant I have not a second sight in it!)
that this lucid interval of Temper and Moderation which shines, though dimly too, upon us at this time, will be but of short continuance: and that some men (who know not how to use the advantage, GOD has put into their hands) with moderation, will push (in spite of the best Prince of the world) at such extravagant things, and act with such an intemperate forwardness, as will revive the Heats and Animosities, which wise and good men were in hopes should be allayed by the happy Accession of the King (GEORGE I.] to the throne.
It is, and ever was, my opinion that Moderation is the only virtue by which the peace and tranquility of this nation can
D. Defoe. Nov, 1714.
MODERATION ALONE WILL SECURE PEACE. 469
be preserved. Even the King himself (I believe His Majesty will allow me that freedom !) can only be happy in the enjoyment of the crown by a Moderate Administration. If His Majesty should be obliged, contrary to his known disposition, to join with intemperate counsels ; if it does not lessen his security, I am persuaded it will lessen his satisfaction! It cannot be pleasant or agreeable, and, I think, it cannot be safe to any just Prince to rule over a divided people, split into incensed and exasperated Parties. Though a skilful mariner may have courage to master a tempest, and goes fearless through a storm ; yet he can never be said to delight in the danger! A fresh fair gale and a quiet sea are the pleasure of his voyage : and we have a saying worth notice, to them that are otherwise minded, Qui ainat periculum periibat in illo.
To attain at the happy Calm, which, as I say, is the safety of Britain, is the question which should now move us all : and he would merit to be called the Nation's Physician that could prescribe the specific for it. I think I may be allowed to say, a Conquest of Parties will never do it! a Balance of Parties MAY! Some are for the former. They talk high of punishments ! letting blood ! revenging treatment they have met with ! and the like. If they, not knowing what spirit they are of, think this the course to be taken, let them try their hands! I shall give them up for lost! and look for their downfall from that time. For the ruin of all such tempers slumbereth not!
It is many years that I have professed myself an enemy to all Precipitations in Public Administrations, and often I have attempted to shew that Hot Counsels have ever been destruc. tive to those who have made use of them. Indeed, they have not always been a disadvantage to the nation. As in King James II.'s reign: where, as I have often said in print, his precipitation was the safety of us all; and if he had proceeded temperately and politicly, we had been undone. Fælix quem faciunt. But these things have been spoken, when your ferment has been too high for anything to be heard. Whether you will hear it now or not, I know not! and therefore it was that I said, I fear the present Cessation of Party Arms will not hold long.
These are some of the reasons, why I think this is a proper 470 INDUCEMENTS TO DEFOE TO GO TO Cadiz. [.Por Defoe juncture for me to give some account of myself and of my past conduct to the world; and that I may do this as effectually as I can (being, perhaps, never more to speak from the Press), I shall, as concisely as I can, give an Abridgement of my own History, during the few unhappy years I have employed myself, or been employed in Public in the World.
Misfortunes in business having unhinged me from matters of trade, it was about the year 1694, that I was invited (by some merchants with whom I had corresponded abroad, and some also at home) to settle at Cadiz in Spain; and that, with offers of very good commissions : but Providence, which had other work for me to do, placed a secret aversion in my mind to quitting England upon any account; and made me refuse the best offers of that kind, to be concerned with some Eminent Persons at home, in proposing Ways and Means to the Government, for raising money to supply the occasions of the war then newly begun.
Some time after this, I was (without the least application of mine, and being then seventy miles from London) sent for, to be Accountant to the “ Commissioners of the Glass Duty": in which service I continued, to the determination of their commission (in 1698).
During this time or rather somewhat later, on ist August 1700), there came out a vile, abhorred pamphlet, in very ill verse, written by one Mr. Turchin, called The Foreigners : in which the Author (who he was, I then knew not !) fell personally upon the King himself, and then upon the Dutch nation; and after having reproached His Majesty with crimes that his worst enemy could not think of without horror, he sums up all in the odious name of “ Foreigner !”
This filled me with a kind of rage against the book; and gave birth to a trifle which I never could hope should have met with so general an acceptation as it did. I mean The True Born Englishman (which appeared in January, 1701.
How this poem was the occasion of my being known to His Majesty (WILLIAM III.); how I was afterwards received by him; how employed; and how (above my capacity of deserving) rewarded; is no part of this present Case: and is