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I WILL GO ON
MY DUTY! 653
persons will understand me when they read it. I assure you, it is in courtesy to them, that I bury their folly, by concealing their names.
Upon the whole, as I am going on in what I esteem my duty, and for the Public Good, I firmly believe, it will not please GOD to deliver me up to this bloody and ungodly Party; and therefore I go on freely in what is before me, and shall still go on to detect and expose a vicious Clergy, and a bigoted race of the people, in order to reclaim and reform them, or to open the eyes of the good People of Britain, that they may not be imposed upon by them; and whether in this work I meet with Punishment or Praise, Safety or Hazard, Life or Death, Te Deum Laudamus. Your humble servant,
Preface to the Seventh Volume of
A Review &c.
(1711.) ONTRARY to many people's hopes, and some expec.
tations; this work has happily arrived at the end of the Seventh Volume.
When Posterity shall revise the several sheets, and see what Turn of Times have happened! what Parties ! what fury! what passions have reigned ! how the Author of this paper has treated them all! and they, him! it may add something to their
wonder, how either this Writing has been supported, or the Author left alive to shew his face in the world.
I have sometimes thought it hard, that while I endeavour so manifestly to steer the Middle Channel between all Parties; and press either side to pursue, at least preferably to their private prospects, the Public Interest : I should be maltreated by any ! inuch more, that I should be so, by both Sides!
But so shall it fare with any man that will not run into the same excess of riot with any People. For my part, I have always thought the only true Fundamental Maxim of Politics that will ever make this nation happy is this, That the Government ought to be of no Party at all. Would this Ministry [Lord OXFORD'S], or any Ministry that shall succeed them, pursue this principle; they would make themselves immortal ! and without it, they will be mere annuals, that die with the return of the season, and must be planted anew. · Had the Ministries of the last twenty, nay, I may say of the last fifty years [1661-1711), practised this; we had had no
654 DEFOE'S GRANDFATHER KEPT A PACK OF HOUNDS.
Revolution ! no invasions of Liberty ! no abdications ! no turnings in and turnings out, at least not, in general, once in an Age.
Statesmen are the nation's Guardians. Their business is not to make Sides, divide the nation into Parties, and draw the factions into battle array against one another. Their work ought to be to scatter and disperse Parties, as they would Tumults ; and to keep a balance among the interfering Interests of the nation, with the same care as they would the civil Peace.
But Interest and ambition are to a Court, what fevers are to the body. They give a nation no rest, while Putting Out or Putting In is the word. Faction, like the wind and the tide, when they run counter, will ever be heaving and setting, now this way, now that way: and that people or that Government which are subjected to the power of that Motion, shall be sure to have just as much rest as the sea, and no more !
This makes Governinent change hands, Favourites rise and fall, Favour shift sides, and Parties take their turns in the State as the sailors at the helm, spell and spell. This makes the Ministry and Council, ay, and Parliaments too ! to be to-day of one side, and to-morrow of another ! and the poor distracted people turn their tales and their coats, and their faces, and their religion so often, that no man knows his neighbour any longer than this or that Party which is uppermost, discovers him.
Nay, such is the influence, or contagion rather, of this mischief, that all things partake of the Division of the State. It reaches even to our eating and drinking. This is called “loyal,” that “fanatic” liquor ; this “Protestant,” that “Popish” cheer ; this “ High Church” ale, that “ Low Church” ale. And you shall not meet with a pack of hounds now, after a hare, but you may hear the huntsmen cry, Hark, Tory !” to him, “High Church” to another, “ Pox of that Whig! He is a mere curl He always cries it false! He'll ne'er be a staunch hound !”
I remember my grandfather had a huntsman that used the same familiarity with his dogs: and he had his “ Round Head" and his “Cavalier," his “Goring” and his “ Waller.” All the Generals of both armies were hounds in his pack. Till the times turning, the old gentleman was fain to scatter the pack; and make them up of more dog-like surnames.
And where shall we say this will end? Or when shall we have a Ministry with eyes in their heads ? I thought long ago, the Variety of Parties that we have seen in this nation had exhausted the Fund of Faction : but hell is deep, and the supply as bottomless as the Pit they flow from. And as long as faction feeds the fame, we shall never want Billingsgate to revile one another with.
In such an Age as this, has he Author of this paper wrote, for now seven years together. He has cried “Peace !” “Peace!"; but it will not be, till that great Voice that said to the ocean, Peace, be still! shall speak to the Parties here, with the same commanding voice. That Voice, to whom to command is to cause himself to be obeyed; and to say and to do are the same thing.
It is in vain to oppose the Stream of Parties ! when they turn like the first shot of the ebb, they run sharp, and they bear down all before them. An instance of this, we have had in the late elections (Autumn of 1710); the tumults and riots of which were indeed insufferable. And how strange
D. Defoe.7 THE POLITICAL CHANGE IN OCTOBER 1710. 655
is it to look back upon them? What was the language of the day? “A new Ministry!” “A new Parliament !” “Down with the Whigs !"
Well, all this was done: but what then? “Down with the Dissenters !” “D-n the Presbyterians !” “Confound the Low Church !” “Make peace with France !” and so on, even to bringing in the Pretender. And for a man to tell them of Moderate Measures, of Peace, of Temper, and of Toleration, had been to raise the mob about one's ears.
Often, this paper took the freedom to tell them, they would be soberer in time ! that when they came to Parliament and Cabinets, and to handle the Management, they would talk another language ! that Money was a Low Churchman; Credit, born of Whig parents, and learned to dance at a Whig dancing school ; that Government was the Firstborn of Moderation, and took such a fright at the late Civil Wars (1640–1660), that she always fell into fits upon the least fermentation of her blood. I told them, they would all turn Whigs, when they came to act.
Well, they laughed at me ! scolded at me! cursed me! and both sides used me according to their custom of treating those that dare speak Truth to them.
Yet it was not a month after this, but the Parliament came together (25 Nov. 1710), and what then ?
Why, then it was, “ We will maintain the peace and quiet of the nation, by discouraging tumults and rabbles! We will support the Queen against all her enemies. We will carry on the war against France! We will pay the public debts ! We will uphold the Credit ! and for our fellow Christians, and fellow subjects, the Dissenters ; we will, &c.”
“D-n them all !” said a High Flyer, that looked for other things, when he read the Commons' Address, " is it all come to this? Why then, we are, but where we were before !”
“Why, where would you be ?" said I again. “Did I not tell you this, before ?"
And now, Gentlemen, what is the consequence. Why the Hot Men, that being akin to old JEHU were for driving the Government off the wheels, found themselves out of breath ; and that Government which keeps its due bounds, had made a full stop at her due place, Moderation, and would go no further : immediately, they turn malecontent, drink “October” for a month (referring to the October Club), tainted with mob fury--And they set up for themselves !
Now, say I, is a time for the Ministry, if their eyes are open, to fix themselves for ever! if they can but find out the just Proposition, and set upon the exact Medium between all these extremes.
Indeed the Ministry may more properly say, just now, that they are of no Party than ever they could, or any Ministry before them could do. For no Party likes them : yet no Party finds fault with them, October excepted ; and their complaints will increase the honour of the Ministry, because the substance of them is ridiculous. If they will exist, let them stand fast between the Parties.
If they waver, and think by embracing one Party to crush the other, they are gone! I would not give two years' purchase for their Commissions ! Ministry should be of the Nation's Party! The Ministry, the Government, is a Party by itself; and ought in matters of Parties, to be inde
656 200,000 HALF-SHEETS ISSUED EVERY WEEK. [P. Defoe.
pendent. When they cease to be so, they set the shoe on the head ! they set the nation with the bottom upward! and must expect to be mobridden till they cease to be a Party at all, but become slaves to the Party they espouse, and fall under the Party they oppose. And this is what has ruined all the Ministries that have been these last twenty years [1691-1711). “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear ! ”
This Review has subsisted in the Administration of four Ministries, and has, all along, endeavoured to speak plain. Whether it does so now or not, I leave any to judge !
I am now to suppose it drawing towards a period, and the Party that have so long regretted that old branch of English liberty, Freedom of Speech, please themselves, with stopping the mouths of the Whigs, by laying a tax upon Public Papers (the Stamp Act].
If such a design goes on, it will soon appear, whether it be a proposal to raise money, or a design to crush and suppress the Papers themselves. If it be the first, it may readily answer the end. There being as I have calculated it, above 200,000 single Papers published every week in the nation, a light tax would raise a considerable sum, and yet not check the thing. But if it be a design to suppress these Papers, it will be seen by their laying on such a rate as will disable the printing of them.
For my part, I am perfectly easy. Whatever ends I may be supposed to write for, none will suggest I do it for my private gain ; and I shall as readily therefore be silent as any man that writes. Though I prophesy this to the Party, that it will not answer their end! For the stopping of the Press will be the opening of the Mouth; and the diminution of Printing will be the increase of Writing, in which the liberty is tenfold, because no authors can be found out, or punished if they are.
And this made King CHARLES II. (and he understood these things very well) say that the Licenser of the Press did more harm than good; and that if every one was left to print what he would, there would be less treason spread about, and fewer Pasquinades.
And I take upon me to say, that let them stop the Press when they will ! what is wanting in pamphlet, will be made up in lampoon !
As to this Work, let it fall when it will ! this shall be said of it by friend and foe. It has spoken boldly and plainly to them both; and so it shall continue to do, while it speaks at all! And whether it shall go on, or be put down is of so equal a weight to me, as to my Particular (private interests], that no man is less concerned to inquire about it, than myself
UNWIN BROTHERS, THE GRESHAM PRESS, CHILWORTH AND LONDON.