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D. Defoe:] THE FRENCH ATTEMPT ON SCOTLAND IN 1708. 643
I had but made too right a judgement, and their wagers of 70 guineas to receive 100, gave me an opportunity to upbraid their blind conclusions, in my turn, and use them as they deserved : I yet forbore it, and shewed them I knew how to receive ill usage without returning it.
And after all this, I must tell you, it is none of the easiest things in the World, to write a Paper to come out three times a week among you; and perhaps be liable to more censure and ill usage also, than other Papers are, and yet, at the same time, reside for sixteen months together, at almost four hundred miles distance from London, and sometimes at more.
The Volume is now ended, and the next begins with a new scene of Affairs. This tells
you much of your behaviour to your brethren of North Britain, upon your uniting with them : the next will tell you something of their usage of you, after this Union.
The French have made an Attempt on them (the attempted invasion of Scotland, by a fleet from Dunkirk, under FOURBIN, in March, 1708); and we are yet in suspense concerning the issue of that affair. I must own, considering the circumstances of that part of Britain, I have often wondered they had not done it sooner: and had they made but the like shew of an invasion, whether they completed it or not, in the time of the Treaty and Parliament, the last year (1706); I think I may safely tell you, either the Union had been made with more unanimity, or never made at all.
After all, I am free to say, if the French are disappointed in the present Attempt they are making on that country, the benefit to Scotland will be worth all the fright, expense, and fatigue it has put us to: for it has made a great progress in discovering faces, and turning some people inside out. You have now an opportunity to separate sheep and goats; and to distinguish between dissatisfied Presbyterians and dissatisfied Episcopal Dissenters. How one, though discontented at circumstances, is hearty and stedfast to the Foundation; the other, though openly quiet and seemingly passive, yet is apparently hatching destruction to the Establishment, both Civil and Sacred.
I have given you no Index to this Volume, as a thing which the subject of it does not so naturally require.
In my next, I have begun, to make one part of the Work
644 UNION ! UNION ! NOTHING BUT UNION ! [P. Defoe
to contain a kind of History of Fact; I mean as far as relates to the present Affair in Scotland : and though it may look as if I invaded the News-Writer's province, yet I believe the issue will prove it otherwise. Most of what I shall communicate to you, being by Hands they cannot converse with, and on a subject which they cannot acquaint you of.
I should make some apology for the length of this Volume, which I know is some charge to the Collectors of it, but I know no better excuse to make for it, than by assuring you, if I live to finish any more, they shall be of a shorter extent: and to Amend an error, is Confession and Reformation best put together.
Your humble servant, D. F. Volumes of this Work on the fine paper, will be ready next Week, to be delivered to those Gentlemen, gratis, who were pleased to be Subscribers to the Author at his first undertaking (it).
Preface to the Fifth Volume of
(1709.) He Fifth Volume having now run a full year, two reasons oblige me to put an end to it. 1. The usual bulk of the book requiring it,
and 2. The request of some Gentlemen in Scot
land: who have, by their own voluntary subscription encouraged the reprinting
it at Edinburgh ; and being to begin at this Quarter, have desired that the Volume and their subscription may go on together.
It has been customary to add a Preface to every Volume; which, though placed at the beginning, is written, as this is, at the end of the Work.
The great variety, this work has gone through, gives indeed room for a large Preface: but I shall reduce it to a shorter compass than usual.
The Author having been in Scotland, at the time of finishing the Union there (1706—1707]; the last Volume and this are taken up, in many parts of them, with that Affair.
THE STORY IS SO LONG A TELLING. 645
At first, the novelty of the Union took up everybody's thoughts, and the Town was delighted to hear the disputed points, as they went on : but Novelty, this Age's whore, debauching their taste, as soon as they had fed on the Shell of the Union, they were satisfied; and the Review entering into the Substance of it-they grew palled and tired.
Like an honest Country Gentleman, who hearing his Minister preach most excellently on the subject of Eternal Blessedness, applauded him up to the skies, for his first
The good man thinking it was useful as well as acceptable, or indeed thinking it would be useful because it was acceptable, went on with the subject. But the Gentleman was observed to sleep all the while.
It happened that a stranger coming to his house, and going to Church with him, was exceedingly taken with the admirable Discourse of the Minister: and praising him to the Gentleman, asked him with freedom, “How he could sleep, while he was upon such a sublime subject, and handled it so admirably well ? ”
“Why, truly,” says he, “I was mightily pleased with it, for the first sermon or two. But I hate a story that is long a telling !”
And indeed, Gentlemen, it is too true in practice. One reason why your Ministers are no more acceptable, and their Preaching no more minded, is this very thing. This Story of Heaven is so long a telling, you hate to hear of it! But that by the by:
And just thus it was with the Review. The people would take up the Paper, and read two or three lines in it, and find it related to Scotland and the Union, and throw it away. “Union ! Union! this fellow can talk of nothing but Union ! I think he will never have done with this Union ! He is grown mighty dull, of late!”
And yet, Gentlemen, give me leave to tell you, you have hardly learnt to understand the Union all this while. The truth of the case is this. The story is good, but it is too long a telling. You hate a long story! The palate is glutted. Novelty is the food you lust after: and if the story were of Heaven, you will be cloyed with the length of it.
Now, Gentlemen, the Author takes the liberty to tell you, he knew (though distant) the general dislike, and he knew the disease of your reading appetite. And though, at other
646 JOIN HEARTS AS WELL AS HANDS! [R
times, he has laboured to please you by variety, and divert. ing subjects: yet he found this Affair so necessary, so useful, and (with some few good judgements) so desirable that he chose to be called " dull” and “exhausted,” he ventured the general censure of the Town critics, to pursue the subject. And ventures to tell you, that, among those people whose opinion is past any man's contempt, these Two Volumes pass for the most useful of the Five : and I cannot but join my assent to it. The Bookseller (publisher) also gives a testimony to the truth of this, by an observation particular to the trade, viz., that of these Two Volumes fewer have been sold in single sheets, but twice the number in Volumes of any of the former.
Nor has it been without its testimony abroad, since the application of the Author, in this volume especially, to the real work of Uniting the Hearts of these two Nations, who have so lately joined Hands, has been received by our brethren of North Britain, as so prefable, so honest, and so needful a Work, that they have desired the reprinting it at Edinburgh, in order to its being seen throughout Scotland, and have voluntarily subscribed a sufficient sum for the expense of it.
Unhappy to you in England, is the inference I draw from hence, viz. :
That it seems, you Gentlemen in England were more solicitous to bring the Scots into a Union, than you are to pursue the vital principles of that Union, now it is made. I mean Union of Affection, and Union of Interests; in which alone, the happiness of both Kingdoms consists.
I must confess, and I speak it to your reproach ! the temper you shewed of Uniting, when first you put the wheels to work to form the Union, seemed to me quite different from what you shew, now it is done. As if, your politic ends being answered, you were diligent to discover that you did not unite from any true design of General Good, but for your Private Advantage only. Thus you seem now united to Scotland, but not one jot more united to the Scots nation.
And do not call this a slander, Gentlemen! For I can give you but too many instances of it, though I spare you for the present: my desire being to heal, not exasperate.
But this I cannot omit. How have you permitted insolent scribblers to abuse, reproach, and insult the Established D. Defoe. 7 The KIRK NOT FAVOURED LIKE THE CHURCH. 647
Church of Scotland ! slander the very nation! and insult her Judicatories in print! even while the very Parliament of Britain is sitting. And yet the Laws have not been executed in that behalf, nor the Legislative Authority been pleased to give that discouragement to it, that, in case of the Established Church of England being so treated, has frequently been done; and, I believe, would have been done.
I speak not to prompt any private man's persecution. My design is not to punish persons, but to prevent the practice.
But, with all humble deference to the Parliament of Britain now sitting, and whose care and concern the Church of Scotland is, and ought to be, equally with the Church of England; I crave their leave to ask this question.
If the Government and Discipline, if the Doctrine and Worship, if the Judicatories and Authority of the Church of Scotland (which, by the Union, are legally established ; and are the care of the whole nation to support) shall be trampled under foot, reproached, slandered and insulted, be libelled and falsely accused in public and in print; without due resentment and legal prosecution : and, at the same, the same liberty with the Church of England is not taken; or if taken, is not allowed, but censured and prosecuted-HOW THEN do the subjects of both Kingdoms enjoy equal privileges ? And if you do not permit the subjects of both Kingdoms to enjoy equal privileges; how then is the Union made more and more effectual? as has been frequently proposed to be done in our British Parliament.
I hope there is nothing bolder in this, than may consist with Reason, with Truth, with Justice, and with due Respect.
I may seem by some to reflect in this, on the Parliament's treating a late Paper concerning the Sacramental Test : but I have not my eye that way. I doubt not, but when GOD's time is come, when Dissenters are less easy in Compliance, and the Church of England's charity less straitened in Imposition; I doubt not, I say, but even the Church herself will take that yoke from the necks of her brethren, and cast it away, as too unchristian! too near akin to persecution! and too much a prostituting the Sacred to the Profane, to consist either with her reputation, her Interest, or her principles !
We have a great cry here, in matters of Trade, of late, against Monopolies and Exclusive Companies. I wish these