Obrazy na stronie


ing this, reproached in the daily public prints, with having written treasonable books in behalf of the Pretender : nay, and in some of those books as before, the Queen herself was reproached ! with “having granted her pardon to an author who wrote for the Pretender."

I think I might with much more justice say, I was the first man that ever was obliged to seek a Pardon for writing for the Hanover Succession; and the first man that these people ever sought to ruin for writing against the Pretender: for if ever a book was sincerely designed to further and propagate the affection and zeal of the nation against the Pretender; nay, and was made use of (and that with success too) for that purpose, these books were so. And I ask no more favour of the World to determine the opinion of honest men for or against me, than what is drawn constructively from these books. Let one word, either written or spoken by me, either published or not published, be produced, that was in the least disrespectful to the Protestant Succession, or to any branch of the Family of Hanover, or that can be judged to be favourable to the Interest or Person of the Pretender; and I will be willing to wave Her Majesty's Pardon, and render myself to public justice, to be punished for it, as I should well deserve.

I freely and openly challenge the worst of my enemies to charge me with any discourse, conversation, or behaviour in my whole life, which had the least word in it injurious to the Protestant Succession, unbecoming or disrespectful to any of the persons of the Royal Family of Hanover, or the least favourable word of the person, the designs, or friends of the Pretender. If they can do it, let them stand forth and speak! No doubt but they may be heard! And I, for my part, will relinquish all pleas, Pardons, and defences, and cast myself into the hands of Justice.

Nay, to go further : I defy them to prove that I ever kept company, or had any society, friendship, or conversation with any Jacobite ! so averse have I been to the Interest, and to the people, that I have studiously avoided their company upon all occasions.

As nothing in the world has been more my aversion than the society of Jacobites, so nothing can be a greater misfortune to me than to be accused, and publicly reproached


with what is, of all things in the world, most abhorred by me: and that which had made it the more afflicting is, that this charge arises from those very things which I did, with the sincerest design, to manifest the contrary.

But such is my present fate, that I am to submit to it: which I do with meekness and calmness, as to a judgement from heaven; and am practising that duty, which I have studied long ago, of " forgiving my enemies," and "praying for them that despitefully use me.

Having given this brief history of the Pardon &c., I hope the impartial part of the world will grant me, that, being thus graciously delivered, a second time, from the cruelty of my implacable enemies, and the ruin of a cruel and unjust prosecution; and that, by the mere cli me icy and gco 'ness of the Queen, my Obligation to Her Majesty's goodr.es; was far from being made less than it was before.

I have now run through the history of my Obligation to Her Majesty, and to the Person of my Benefactor aforesaid. I shall state everything that followed this, with all the clearness I can; and leave myself liable to as little cavil as I may. For I see myself assaulted by a sort of people who will do me no justice. I hear a great noise made of “punishing those that are guilty!”; but, as I said before, not one word of " clearing those that are innocent!” And I must say, in this part, they treat me not only as if I were no Christian, but as if they themselves were not Christians. They will neither prove the charge, nor hear the defence; which is the unjustest thing in the world.

I foresee what will be alleged to the clause of my Obli- . gation &c., to Great Persons: and I resolve to give my adversaries all the advantage they can desire, by acknowledging beforehand that "no Obligation to the Queen or to any Benefactor can justify any man's acting against the Interest of his country! against his principles ! his conscience ! and his former profession!"

I think this will anticipate all that can be said upon that head : and it will then remain to state the fact, as I am, or am not chargeable with it; which I shall do as clearly as possible in few words.


It is none of my work to enter into the conduct of the Queen, or of the Ministry, in this case. The question is not What they have done, but What I have done ?

And though I am very far from thinking of them i.e., Lord OXFORD's Ministry] as some other people think : yet, for the sake of the present argument, I am to give them all up! and suppose (though not granting) that all which is suggested of them by the worst temper, the most censorious writer, the most scandalous pamphlet or lampoon, should be true; and I will go through some of the particulars, as I meet with them in public.

I. That they made a scandalous Peace, unjustly broke the Alliance, betrayed the Confederates, and sold us all to the French. GOD forbid it should be all truth, in the manner that we see it in print: but that, I say, is none of my business!

But what hand had I in all this? I never wrote one word for the Peace before it was made; or to justify it after it was made. Let them produce it, if they can!

Nay, in a Review upon that subject, while it was making, I printed it, in plainer words than other men durst speak at that time, that "I did not like the Peace; nor did I like any Peace that was a making since that the Partition ; and that the Protestant Interest was not taken care of, either in that, or the Treaty of Gertruydenburg before it.” It is true, that I did say,

" That since the Peace was made, and we could not help it, that it was our business and our duty to make the best of it, to make the utmost advantage of it by commerce, navigation, and all kinds of improvement that we could.” And this I say still ! and I must think it is more our duty to do so, than the exclamations against the thing itself; which it is not in our power to retrieve. That is all, the worst enemy I have can charge me with.

After the Peace was made, and the Dutch and the Emperor stood out; I gave my opinion of what I foresaw would necessarily be the consequence of that difference, viz., that it would inevitably involve these Nations in a war with one or other of them. Any one who was master of common sense in the public affairs might see, that the standing out of the Dutch could have no other event.

For if the Confederates had conquered the French, they

494 ENGLAND OBLIGED TO BRING IN THE Allies. [Por Defoe would certainly have fallen upon us, by way of resentment: and there was no doubt but the same counsels that led us to make a Peace, would oblige us to maintain it, by preventing too great impressions upon (i.c., the annihilation of the French.

On the other hand, I alleged that should the French prevail against the Dutch, unless he stopped at such limitations of conquest as the Treaty obliged him to do, we must have been under the same necessity to renew the war against France. And for this reason, seeing we had made a Peace, we were obliged to bring the rest of the Confederates into it! and to bring the French to give them all such terms as they ought to be satisfied with.

This way of arguing was either so little understood, or so much maligned that I suffered innumerable reproaches in print, for having written for a war with the Dutch: which was neither in the expression, nor ever in my imagination. But I pass by these injuries as small and trifling, compared to others I suffered under.

However, one thing I must say of the Peace. Let it be good or ill in itself, I cannot but think we have all reason to rejoice in behalf of His present Majesty, that, at his accession to the Crown, he found the nation in peace; and had the hands of the King of France tied by a Peace, so as not to be able, without the most infamous breach of Articles, to offer the least disturbance to his taking a quiet and leisurely possession, or so much as to countenance those that would. Not but that I believe, if the war had been at the height, we should have been able to have preserved the Crown for His present Majesty, its only rightful Lord: but I will not say, it should have been so easy, so bloodless, so undisputed as now: and all the difference must be acknowledged [attributed to the Peace. And this is all the good I ever yet said of the Peace.

I come next to the general clamour of the Ministry being for the Pretender. I must speak my sentiments solemnly and plainly, as I always did in that matter, viz., that, “If it were so, I did not see it! Nor did I ever see reason to believe it !” This I am sure of, that if it were so, I never


took one step in that kind of service, nor did I ever hear one word spoken by any one of the Ministry that I had the honour to know or converse with, that favoured the Pre. tender : but I have had the honour to hear them all protest that there was no design to oppose the Succession of Hanover in the least.

It may be objected to me, that “they might be in the Interest of the Pretender, for all that!"

It is true, they might; but that is nothing to me! I am not vindicating their conduct, but my own! As I never was employed in anything that way, so I do still protest I do not believe it was ever in their design ; and I have many reasons to confirm my thoughts in that case, which are not material to the present case.

But be that as it will, it is enough to me, that I acted nothing in such Interest; neither did I ever sin against the Protestant Succession of Hanover in thought, word, or deed: and if the Ministry did, I did not see it, or so much as suspect them of it!

It was a disaster to the Ministry, to be driven to the necessity of taking that Set of Men by the hand; who, nobody can deny, were in that Interest. But as the former Ministry answered, when they were charged with a design to overthrow the Church, because they favoured, joined with, and were united to the Dissenters; I say, they answered that "they made use of the Dissenters, but granted them nothing" (which, by the way, was too true !): so these gentlemen answer, that

it is true, they made use of the Jacobites; but did nothing for them!”

But this, by-the-by. Necessity is pleaded by both parties for doing things, which neither side can justify. I wish both sides would for ever avoid the necessity of doing evil : for certainly it is the worst plea in the world! and generally made use of, for the worst things.

I have often lamented the disaster which I saw employing Jacobites was to the late Ministry; and certainly it gave the greatest handle to the enemies of the Ministry to fix that universal reproach upon them, of being in the Interest of the Pretender : but there was no medium. The Whigs refused to shew them a safe retreat, or to give them the least opportunity to take any other measures, but at the risk of their

« PoprzedniaDalej »