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´╗┐Title: An Answer to a Question that Nobody thinks of, viz., But what if the Queen should Die?
Author: Defoe, Daniel, 1661?-1731
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "An Answer to a Question that Nobody thinks of, viz., But what if the Queen should Die?" ***

memory of Steven Gibbs (1938-2009).

[Transcriber's Note: This e-book, a pamphlet by Daniel Defoe, was
originally published in 1713, and was prepared from _The Novels and
Miscellaneous Works of Daniel De Foe_, vol. 6 (London: Henry G. Bohn,
1855). Archaic spellings have been retained as they appear in the
original, and obvious printer errors have been corrected without




That Nobody thinks of,


_But what if the QUEEN should die?_


Printed for _J. Baker_, at the _Black-Boy_ in _Pater-Noster-Row_.
1713. Price Six Pence.



That we are to have a peace, or that the peace is made, what sort of
peace, or how it has been brought about; these are questions the world
begins to have done with, they have been so much, so often, and to so
little purpose banded about, and tossed like a shuttlecock, from one
party to another; the parties themselves begin to want breath to rail
and throw scandal. Roper and Ridpath, like two Tom T--men, have thrown
night-dirt at one another so long, and groped into so many Jakes's up
to their elbows to find it, that they stink now in the nostrils of
their own party. They are become perfectly nauseous to read; the
nation is surfeited of them, and the people begin to be tired with
ill-using one another. Would any tolerable face appear upon things, we
might expect the people would be inclined to be easy; and were the
eyes of some great men open, they may see this was the opportunity
they never had before, to make the nation easy, and themselves safe.
The main thing which agitates the minds of men now, is the protestant
succession and the pretender. Much pains have been taken on both sides
to amuse the world about this remaining dispute; one side to make us
believe it is safe, and the other to convince us it is in danger.
Neither side hath been able to expatiate upon the part they affirm.
Those who say the protestant succession is secure, have not yet shown
us any step taken, since these new transactions, for its particular
security. Those who say it is in danger, have not so clearly
determined, even among themselves, from what particular head of public
management that danger chiefly proceeds. Both these uncertainties
serve to perplex us, and to leave the thing more undetermined than
consists with the public ease of the people's minds. To contribute
something to that ease, and bring those whose place it is to consider
of ways to make the people easy in this case, this work is made
public. Possibly, the question propounded may not meet with a
categorical answer. But this is certain, it shall show you more
directly what is the chief question which the substance of things
before us is like to turn upon; and to which all our questions seem to
tend. Were the great difficulty of the succession brought to a narrow
compass, though we might spend fewer words about it, we should sooner
come to a direct answer. Before I come to the great and chief question
upon which this affair so much seems to turn, it seems needful to put
the previous question upon which so much debate has been among us, and
let that be examined. This previous question is this: Is there any
real danger of the protestant succession? Is there any danger that the
pretender shall be brought in upon us? Is there any danger of popery
and tyranny, by restoring the son, as they call him, of abdicated King
James? This is the previous question, as we may now call it. It is
well known that there are some people among us, who are so far from
allowing that there is any such danger as the said question mentions,
that they will have it to be a token of disaffection to the government
to put the question, and are for loading whoever shall offer to start
such a question, with characters and party-marks odious to good men,
such as incendiary, promoter of discontents, raiser of faction,
divider of the people, and the like: names which the writer of these
sheets, at the same time, both contemns and abhors. He cannot see that
he is any enemy to the queen, in inquiring as diligently as possible,
whether there are any attempts to depose her, or dangerous prospects
of bringing in the hated rival of her glory and dominion. It is so far
from that, that it is apparently the duty of every true subject of her
majesty, to inquire seriously, whether the public peace, the queen's
safety, her throne, or her person, is in any danger from the wicked
design of her, and her people's enemies. Wherefore, and for the joint
concern every protestant Briton has in this thing, I shall make no
difficulty, plainly and seriously to state, and to answer this
previous question, viz., Whether there is any danger of the protestant
succession from the present measures, and from the present people
concerned? I am not ignorant of what has been said by some, to prove
that the present ministry cannot be suspected of having any view to
the pretender in any of their measures. The best reason which I have
seen given upon that subject, is, that it is not their interest; and
that as we have not found them fools that are blind to their own
interest; that either do not understand, or pursue it. This we find
handled sundry ways, by sundry authors, and very much insisted upon as
a foundation for us to build upon. We shall give our thoughts upon it
with plainness, and without fear or favour. Good manners require we
should speak of the ministry with all due regard to their character
and persons. This, a tract designed to inquire seriously of a weighty
and essential, not a trifling thing, which requires but a trifling
examination; nor shall it be handled here with satire and scurrility.
We approve neither of the flatteries of one side, nor the insultings
of the other. We shall readily and most willingly join with those who
are of opinion that it is not the interest of the ministry to be for
the pretender, and that the ministry are not blind to, or careless of,
their own interest; and consequently, that the ministry cannot be for
the pretender. This I hope may be called a direct answer. When I say
"cannot," I must not be understood potentially, that they have no
moral capacity; but they cannot without such inconsistencies,
contradictions, and improbable things happening in, which render it
highly irrational so much as to suppose it of them. To shut the door
against any possibility of cavil, it may be needful also to take it
with us as we go, what we mean by the words "be for" the pretender;
and this can be no otherwise understood, than to have a design,
however remote, and upon whatever views, to bring him in to possess
the throne of these kingdoms. The matter then being laid down thus, as
sincerely and plainly as possible, we come to the question
point-blank, and think it our duty to say with the greatest sincerity,
that we do not believe the ministry are in any kind, or with any
prospect, near or remote, acting for or with a design or view to bring
in the pretender. Having granted this, we must, however, to prevent
any breaking in, by way of cavil on one hand, or triumph on the other,
subjoin immediately, that we do not in the least grant by this that
the protestant succession is in no danger, even from several of the
measures now taken in the world. It is far from any reflection upon
the ministry to say that, however they may act upon a right sincere
principle for the protestant succession in all they do, which, as
above, we profess to believe, yet that many of the tools they make use
of are of another make, and have no edge to cut any other way; no
thoughts to move them towards any other end; no other centre, which
they can have any tendency to; that the pretender's interest is the
magnet which draws them by its secret influence to point to him as
their pole; that they have their aim at his establishment here, and
own it to be their aim; and as they are not shy to profess it among
themselves, so their conduct in many things makes it sufficiently
public. This is not meant as any reflection upon the ministry for
making use of such men: the late ministry did the same, and every
ministry will, and must employ men sometimes, not as they always join
with them in their politic principles, but as either the men are found
useful in their several employments, or as the ministry may be under
other circumstances, which makes it necessary to them to employ them.
Nor, as the Review well enough observed, does it follow that because
the ministry have employed or joined with jacobites in the public
affairs, that therefore they must have done it with a jacobite
principle. But let the ministry employ these men by what necessity, or
upon what occasion they will, though it may not follow that the
ministry are therefore for the pretender, yet it does not also follow
that there is no danger of the protestant succession from the
employing those sort of people: For, what if the queen should die?

The ministry, it is hoped, are established in the interest of their
queen and country; and therefore it has been argued, that supposing
the ministry had the pretender in their eye, yet that it is irrational
to suggest that they can have any such view during the life of her
present majesty. Nay, even those professed jacobites, who we spoke of
just now, cannot be so ungrateful to think of deposing the queen, who
has been so bountiful, so kind, so exceeding good to them, as in
several cases to suffer them to be brought into the management of her
own affairs, when by their character they might have been thought
dangerous, even to her person; thus winning and engaging them by her
bounty, and the confidence that has been placed in them, not to
attempt anything to her prejudice, without the most monstrous
ingratitude, without flying in the face of all that sense of honour
and obligation, which it is possible for men of common sense to
entertain. And it can hardly be thought that even papists themselves,
under the highest possessions of their religious zeal, can conquer the
native aversions they must have to such abominable ingratitude, or to
think of bringing in the pretender upon this protestant nation, even
while the queen shall be on the throne. But though this may, and some
doubt that also, tie up their hands during the queen's life, yet they
themselves give us but small reason to expect anything from them
afterward, and it will be hard to find anybody to vouch for them then.
These very jacobites, papists, and professed enemies to the
revolution, may be supposed upon these pretensions to be quiet, and
offer no violence to the present establishment while her majesty has
the possession, and while that life lasts, to which they are so much
indebted for her royal goodness and clemency. But what would they do
if the queen should die?

Come we next to the French king. We are told, that not the French king
only, but even the whole French nation, are wonderfully forward to
acknowledge the obligation they are under to the justice and favour
which they have received from her majesty, in the putting an end to
the war; a war which lay heavy upon them, and threatened the very name
of the French nation with ruin, and much more threatened the glory of
the French court, and of their great monarch, with an entire
overthrow, a total eclipse. A war which, by their own confession, it
was impossible for them long to have supported the expenses of, and
which, by the great superiority of the allies, became dreadful to
them, and that every campaign more than the other; a war which they
were in such pain to see the end of, that they tried all the powers
and courts in Christendom, who were the least neutral, to engage a
mediation in order to a treaty, and all in vain; and a war which, if
her majesty had not inclined to put an end to, must have ended perhaps
to the disadvantage and confusion of both France and Spain, if not of
all Christendom. The obligations the French are under for the bringing
this war to so just and honourable a conclusion are not at all
concealed. Nay, the French themselves have not been backward to make
them public. The declarations made by the French king of his sincerity
in the overtures made for a general peace, the protestations of his
being resolved to enter into an entire confidence, and a league
offensive and defensive with the queen's majesty for the preservation
of the peace of Christendom, his recognition of her majesty's just
right to the crown, his entering into articles to preserve the union,
acknowledging the ninth electorate in favour of the house of Hanover,
and joining in the great affair of the protestant succession. As these
all convince the world of the necessity his affairs were reduced to,
and the great advantages accruing to him by a peace, so they seem to
be so many arguments against our fears of the French entering into any
engagements against the crown of Britain, much less any against the
possession of the queen during her life. Not that the honour and
sincerity of the king of France is a foundation fit for her majesty or
her people to have any dependence upon; and the fraction of former
treaties by that court, when the glory of that monarch, or his
particular views of things has dictated such opportunity to him as he
thought fit to close with, are due cautions to us all not to have any
dependence of that kind. But the state of his affairs, and the
condition the war has reduced him to, may give us some ground to think
ourselves safe on that side. He knows what power he has taken off from
his enemies in making peace with her majesty; he knows very well with
what loss he sits down, how his affairs are weakened, and what need he
has to take breath after so terrible a war; besides the flame such an
action would kindle again in Europe; how it would animate this whole
British nation against him, in such a manner, and endanger bringing in
a new war, and perhaps a new confederacy upon him so violently, and
that before he would be in a condition to match them, that no one can
reasonably suppose the French king will run the hazard of it. And
these things may tend to make some people easier than ordinary in the
affair of the succession, believing that the French king stands in too
much need of the favour of the queen of Great Britain, whose power it
well behoves him to keep in friendship with him, and whose nation he
will be very cautious of provoking a third time, as he has already
done twice, to his fatal experience. All these things, we say, may
seem pretty well to assure us that nothing is to be feared on that
side so long as her majesty lives to sit upon the British throne. But
all leaves our grand question unanswered; and though we may argue
strongly for the French king's conduct while the present reign
continues, yet few will say, What he will do if the queen should die?

Nay, we may even mention the pretender himself, if he has any about
him whose councils are fit to be depended upon, and can direct him to
make a wise and prudent judgment of his own affairs; if he acts by any
scope of policy, and can take his measures with any foresight; most
easy is it for them to see that it must be in vain for him to think of
making any attempt in Britain during the life of the queen, or to
expect to depose her majesty, and set himself up. The French power,
upon which he has already in vain depended, as it has not hitherto
been able to serve him, or his father, but that their exile has
continued now above twenty-four years, so much less can he be able to
assist him now, while he has been brought as it were to kneel to the
British court to put an end for him to this cruel destructive war; the
reason is just spoken to, viz., that this would be to rekindle that
flame which he has gotten so lately quenched, and which cost him so
much art, so much management, so much submission to the allies, to
endeavour the quenching of before. To attack the queen of Great
Britain now in behalf of the pretender, would not only be in the
highest degree ungrateful, perfidious, and dishonourable, but would
for ever make the British court, as well as the whole nation, his
violent and implacable enemies; but would also involve him again in a
new war with all Europe, who would very gladly fall in again with
Britain to pull down more effectually the French power, which has so
long been a terror to its neighbours; so that the pretender can expect
no help from the king of France. As to what the pope, the Spaniard,
and a few petty popish powers, who might pretend upon a religious
prospect to assist him, and with whose aid, and the assistance of his
party here, he may think fit to hazard an attempt here for the crown,
it is evident, and his own friends will agree in it, that while the
queen lives, it is nonsense, and ridiculous for them to attempt it;
that it would immediately arm the whole nation against them, as one
man; and in human probability it would, like as his supposed father
was served at the revolution, be the ruin of his whole interest, and
blow him at once quite out of the nation. I believe that there are
very few who alarm themselves much with the fears of the pretender,
from the apprehension of his own strength from abroad, or from his
own party and friends at home here, were they once sure that he should
receive no assistance from the king of France. If then the king of
France cannot be reasonably supposed either to be inclined, or be in a
condition to appear for him, or act in his behalf, during the life of
the queen, neither can the pretender, say some, unless he is resolved
to ruin all his friends, and at last to ruin himself, make any attempt
of that kind during her majesty's life. But what if the queen should

Having then viewed the several points of the nation's compass whence
our danger of jacobite plots and projects against the protestant
succession may be expected to come, let us now inquire a little of the
state of the nation, that we make a right estimate of our condition,
and may know what to trust to in cases of difficulty, as they lie
before us. In doing this, as well to avoid giving offence to the
people now in power, as to the entering into the quarrels which engage
the present contending parties in this divided nation, we shall allow,
however some may think fit to question it, the main debate; and grant
this for the present as a fundamental, viz., That we are in no danger
of the pretender during this queen's reign, or during this ministry's
administration under her majesty; and avoiding all contention of that
kind, shall allow our condition to be safe in every article as we go
along, for so long as the queen lives, referring the observation of
things in every head to those who can answer the main question in our
title, viz., But what if the queen should die?

First of all, it may be noticed, that the present safety of this
nation, whether we respect liberty, religion, property, or public
safety and prosperity, depends upon this one fundamental, viz., that
alluding reverently to that text of Scripture, we are all built upon
the foundation of the late revolution, established law and right being
the chief corner-stone. By this it is that her majesty is made our
queen, the entail of the crown being reserved in the remainder to her
majesty in the act of settlement made at the filling up the vacant
throne, and by all those subsequent acts which her majesty's title was
confirmed by, during the life of the late king. This revolution is
that upon which the liberties and religion of this nation were rebuilt
after the conflagration that was made of them in the calamitous times
of King Charles II., and King James II., and from hence to the love
of liberty which is found almost to be naturally placed in the hearts
of true Britons; and upon the view whereof they have acted all along
in the late war, and in all their transactions at home has obtained
the title of a "revolution principle." Noting this then, as above,
that her majesty is our queen by virtue of the revolution, and that
during her reign that establishment alone must be the foundation of
all her administration, this must effectually secure us against any
apprehension that the persons acting under her majesty can act in
behalf of the pretender during her majesty's life; for that they must
immediately overthrow the throne, turn the queen out of it, and
renounce the revolution, upon which her majesty's possession is
established: as the revolution, therefore, is the base upon which the
throne of her majesty is established, so her majesty, and all that act
under her, are obliged to act upon the foot of the said revolution,
even _will_ they, _nil_ they, or else they sink immediately out of
rightful power to act at all; her majesty's title would fall to the
ground, their own commissions would from that hour be void; they must
declare their royal mistress and benefactress a subject to the
pretender, and all her pretences of rightful possession injurious, and
an usurpation. These things being so plain, that he that runs may read
them, seem to stop all our mouths from so much as any suggestion that
anybody can attempt to bring in the pretender upon us during the life
of her present majesty. But what if the queen should die?

Subsequent to the revolution, many essential things are formed by our
parliaments and government for the public good, on the foundation of
which much of the present peace of the nation is founded; and while
the said revolution-foundation stands fast, there is good ground to
believe those essential points shall be preserved. If then we are
satisfied that the revolution principle shall subsist as long as the
queen lives, then for so long we may have good ground to believe we
shall enjoy all those advantages and benefits which we received from
the said revolution. But still, when we look back upon those dear
privileges, the obtaining of which has cost so much money, and the
maintaining of which has cost so much blood, we must with a deep sigh
reflect upon the precarious circumstances of the nation, whose best
privileges hang uncertain upon the nice and tender thread of royal
mortality, and say we are happy while these last, and these may last
while her majesty shall live. But what if the queen should die?

Let us descend to some other particulars of those blessings which we
do enjoy purely as the effect of the revolution, and examine in what
posture we stand with respect to them, and what assurance we have of
their continuance: and first, as to TOLERATION. This was the greatest
and first blessing the nation felt after the immediate settlement of
the crown, which was established by virtue of the revolution
engagement, mentioned in the Prince of Orange's declaration. The
design of this law, as it was to give liberty for the worship of God
to such dissenters as could not conform to the Church of England, and
to give ease to tender consciences, so as by the law itself is
expressed; it was to ease the minds of their majesties' subjects, and
to give general quiet to the nation, whose peace had been frequently
disturbed by the violence of persecution. We have seen frequent
assurances given of the inviolable preservation of this toleration by
her majesty from the throne in her speeches to the parliament; and
during her majesty's reign, we have great reason to hope the quiet of
the poor people shall not be broken by either repealing that law, or
invading the intent and meaning of it while in force; and there are a
great many reasons to hope that the present ministry are so far
convinced of the necessity of the said toleration, in order to
preserve the peace, and the common neighbourhood of people, that they
can have no thought of breaking in upon it, or any way making the
people who enjoy it, uneasy. Nay, the rather we believe this, because
the ferment such a breach would put the whole nation into is not the
safest condition the government can be in upon any account; and as the
ministry cannot be supposed to desire to give uneasiness and
provocation to the commons, but rather to keep them easy and quiet,
and prevent the enemies of the present management from having any
handle to take hold of to foment distractions and disturbances among
the people, it cannot be thought that they will push at the
toleration, so as to deprive the people of so considerable a thing.
But after the present happy establishment shall have received such a
fatal blow as that will be of the queen's death, and when popish
pretenders, and French influences, shall prevail, it may well be
expected then, that not toleration of dissenters only, but even of
the whole protestant religion, may be in danger to be lost; so that,
however secure we are of the free enjoyment of liberty of religion
during the queen's life, we may be very well allowed to ask this
question with respect to, not toleration only, but the Church of
England also, viz., what will become of them, If the queen should die?

From toleration in England, come we to the constitution of religious
affairs in Scotland; and here we have different views from what the
case in England affords us; the powerful interest of jacobitism, if it
may be said to be formidable anywhere, is so there. The enemies of the
revolution are all the implacable enemies of the church establishment
there: nay, many thousands are the declared enemies of the revolution,
and of the queen's being upon the throne, from a mere implacable
aversion to the presbyterian kirk, which is erected and established by
that very revolution which has set the queen upon the throne. The
union, which has yet farther established that presbyterian kirk, is
for that reason the aversion of the same people, as it is the aversion
of the jacobites, by being a farther confirmation of the Hanover
succession, and a farther fixing the queen upon the throne. Now, as it
is sure, that as before, while the queen lives, and the revolution
influence carries its usual force in the kingdoms now united, the
presbyterian kirk must and will remain, and all the little
encroachments which have been made upon the kirk, as it may be
observed, though they have created uneasiness enough, yet they still
seem to suppose that the establishment itself cannot be overthrown.
The union and the revolution settlement remain in Scotland, and must
remain, as is said; while the queen lives we can have no apprehensions
of them; the reasons are given above; and as we said before, we are to
take them for granted in this discourse, to avoid other cavils. While
then the revolution and the union are to be the foundation of the
administration in Scotland, the presbyterian established church
government there must also remain as the only legal kirk constitution,
and so long we can entertain no fears of anything on that account. But
what if the queen should die?

From such religious concerns as effect presbyterians, and other
sectaries, or dissenters, as we call them, let us take a look at the
remote danger of the Church of England. We have had a great deal of
distraction in the time of the late ministry about the danger of the
church; and as it appears by the memorial of the church of England,
published in those times, and reprinted since; by the sermons of Dr.
Sacheverell, and the eminent speeches at his trial, that danger was
more especially suggested to come from the increase of dissenters
here, the ministry of the whigs, and the establishing presbyterianism
in the north of Britain. These things being in a great measure now
overthrown by the late change of the ministry, and the new methods
taken in the management of the public affairs, the people, who were
then supposed to aim at overthrowing the ministry of those whigs, are
pleased to assure us of the safety and flourishing condition of the
church now more than ever; while the other party, taking up the like
cry of the danger of the church, tells us, that now a real visible
appearance of danger to the church is before us; and that not only to
the church of England as such, but even to the whole interest and
safety of the protestant religion in Britain; that this danger is
imminent and unavoidable, from the great growth and increase of
popery, and professed jacobitism in the nation. This indeed they give
but too great demonstrations of from the spreading of popish agents
among us, whose professed employment it is to amuse and impose upon
the poor country people, as well in matters of jacobitism as of
religion, and the great successes these emissaries of Satan have
obtained in several parts of Britain, but especially in the north.
Now, though we cannot but acknowledge but that much of this alarm is
justly grounded, and that the endeavours of popish and jacobite agents
and emissaries in divers parts of Britain are too apparently
successful, yet as wise men could never see into the reality of such
danger, as was by some people pretended to be impending over the
church in the time of the late ministry, so neither can we allow that
popery is so evidently at the door at this time, as that we should be
apprehensive of having the church of England immediately transversed,
and the protestant religion in Britain: and one great reason for this
opinion is, that her majesty, who is a zealous professor of the
protestant religion, and has been bred up in the bosom of the church
of England, is so rooted in principle, and has declared from her very
infancy such horror and aversion to popery, that it cannot enter into
any true protestant thoughts to apprehend anything of that kind,
while her majesty lives. But, Lord have mercy upon us! What if the
queen should die?

From religious matters, come we next to consider civil interest,
liberties, privileges, properties; the great article that in the late
revolution went always coupled in the nation's negative with that of
religion, as if they were woven together, and was always cried upon by
the mob in one breath, viz., No popery, no slavery. The first of these
concerns our civil interest; such as the public credit, by the
occasions of a long and expensive war, and to prevent levying severe
taxes for the carrying on the war, such as would be grievous to trade,
oppressive to the poor, and difficult to be paid. The parliament, for
the ease of the subjects, thought fit, rather to lay funds of interest
to raise money upon, by way of loan, establishing those interests,
payable as annuities and annual payments, for the benefit of those who
advanced their money for the public service. And to make these things
current, that the public credit might be sacred, and the people be
made free to advance their money, all possible assurances of
parliament have been given, that the payments of interests and
annuities shall be kept punctually, and exactly according to the acts
of parliament, that no misapplications of the money shall be made, or
converting the money received upon one to make good the deficiency of
the other; and hitherto the injunctions of that kind have been exactly
observed, and the payments punctually made, which we call the credit
of the nation. At the first of the late change, when the new ministry
began to act, the fright the people were put in upon the suggestion of
some, that all the parliamentary funds should be wiped off with a
sponge, was very considerable; and the credit of those funds sunk
exceedingly with but the bare apprehension of such a blow, the sums
being infinitely great, and the number of indigent families being
incredibly many, whose whole substance lay in those securities, and
whose bread depended upon those interests being punctually paid; but
wiser men saw quickly there was no ground for those fears; that the
new ministry stood upon a foot that could no more be supported without
the public credit than those that went before them; that especially
while they were under a necessity of borrowing farther sums, they
behoved to secure the punctual paying of the old; and by making the
people entirely easy, not only take from them the apprehensions they
were under of losing what they lent already, but make them forward and
willing to advance more to this purpose, they not only endeavoured to
give the people all satisfaction that their money was safe, and that
the funds laid by the parliament in the former ministry should be kept
sacred, and the payments punctually made, but took care to obtain
parliamentary securities, by real funds to be settled for the payment
of those debts contracted by the former ministry, and for which no
provision was made before. This was the establishment of a fund for
payment of the interests of the navy debt, ordnance, victualling,
transport, &c., to the value of seven or eight millions, which is the
substance of what we new call the South-sea stock. By this means the
public credit, which it was suggested would receive such a blow at the
Change as that it should never recover again, and that it would be
impossible for the new ministry to raise any needful sums of money for
the carrying on the war, or for the public occasions, recovered itself
so as that the government hath ever since found it easy to borrow
whatever sums they thought fit to demand, in the same manner as
before. Now that these loans are safe, no man that weighs the
circumstances of the ministry and government, and the circumstances of
the people, can doubt; the first being in a constant necessity of
supporting the public credit for the carrying on the public affairs,
on any sudden emergency that may happen, and being liable to the
resentment of parliament, if any open infraction should be made upon
the funds, which touches so nearly the honour of the parliaments, and
the interest of most of the best families in the nation. While this is
the case, we think it is not rational to believe that any ministry
will venture to attack parliamentary credit, in such a manner; and
this will eminently be the case as long as her majesty sits on the
throne. Nor can a thing so barefacedly tyrannical and arbitrary, and,
above all, dishonourable and unjust, be suggested as possible to be
attempted in the reign of so just and conscientious a prince; so that
we may be very willing to allow that there is not the least danger of
the public faith being broken, the public credit lost, the public
funds stopped, or the money being misapplied. No cheat, no sponge,
while her majesty lives. But, alas for us! What if the queen should

From this piece of civil right, come we to those things we call
liberties and privileges. These may indeed be joined in some respects;
but as we are engaged in speaking particularly to such points, wherein
our present dangers do or do not appear, it is proper to mention them
apart. Privileges may be distinguished here from liberties, as they
respect affairs of trade, corporations, parliaments, and legislature,
&c. Liberty, as they respect laws, establishments, declared right, and
such like. As to the first, from the revolution to this time, they
have not only been confirmed, which we had before, but many privileges
added to the people, some of which are essential to the well-being of
the kingdom. All the _quo warrantos_ against corporation privileges,
the high commission court against the church's privileges extending
prerogative in detriment of the subject's natural right, and many such
things, which were fatal to the privileges of this protestant nation,
were laid aside, and received their just condemnation in the
revolution; and not so only, but the privileges obtained since the
revolution by consent of parliament, are very considerable; such as
the toleration to this part of Britain, and the establishment of the
church of Scotland; for the north part; in matters of religion; such
as the triennial election of parliaments; in civil affairs, such as
the several corporations granted upon really useful foundations in
trade; as the bank company, &c., and such like. These and many more,
which may be named, and which these are named only as heads of, are
secured to us by law; and those laws yet again made sure to us by the
honour and veracity of her majesty, and as long as her majesty's life
is spared to these nations, we have great reason to believe we shall
rather increase than lose our privileges. But what if the queen should

Our LIBERTIES, which come next in order, may be summed up in what we
call legal, and native right; or such as by the natural consequence of
a free nation, and a just government; or such as by mutual assent and
consent of sovereign and subject, are become the legal right of the
latter. These, needless to be enumerated here, are summed up into one;
or are expressly enacted by statute law, and thereby become
fundamental to the constitution. These receive no wound, but one of
these two ways, either by open infraction and contempt of right, or by
dispensing arbitrary power; both of which, by the many assurances from
the throne, by the constant jealousies of parliaments, and the full
liberty they have more of late than ever taken to examine into, and
censure breaches of the laws, we are very well assured shall not be
attempted in her majesty's time: nay, on the contrary, the
superiority, and influence of parliaments over and upon the management
of public matters, nay, even their influence upon the royal majesty of
the sovereign, has been such, and has in such a manner insensibly
increased of late, that the like has never been known or practised in
this nation for some ages before. We see her majesty declines
extending her prerogative, either to the detriment of her subjects, in
cases civil or religious, and wherein it might be so extended; nay,
when even the parliament have desired her to extend it: so that we
have a great satisfaction in the safety of our established liberties,
and that no tyrannical, arbitrary invasions of right shall be made
during her majesty's reign. But what if the queen should die?

In like manner for our properties, our estates, inheritance, lands,
goods, lives, liberties, &c. These are effectually secured by laws of
the land, and the sovereign in this country, having no right, but by
law, to any part of the subject's estate, causes that estate to be
called PROPERTY. The kings and queens of Britain are monarchs limited
to act by the laws. When they cease to rule by law, the constitution
is broken, and they become tyrants, and arbitrary, despotic invaders
of right. This is declared by the revolution, wherein the rights of
the subject are openly, not set down only, but claimed, demanded as
what justice required should be granted to them, and as what the
sovereign, as aforesaid, has no right, no pretence, no just authority
to take, or detain from him. This is the great capital and fundamental
article of Magna Charta, and the foundation upon which all the laws
subsequent and consequential to Magna Charta have been made. [_No
freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseized of his freehold,
or liberties, or free customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or otherwise
destroyed; nor we will not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by
lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land._ Magna
Charta, cap. xxix.] The words are plain and direct; and as to the
subject we are now upon, they require no comment, no explication.
Whatever they do, as to pleading in law the proof of the subject's
right to the free possession of his own property, is also the less
needful to enlarge upon here, because it is acknowledged in full and
express terms by the sovereign, as well in practice, as in expression.
Her majesty, adhering strictly to this, as a rule, has from the
beginning of her reign made it her golden rule, to govern according to
law. Nor, while the establishment of the crown itself is built upon
the legal constitution of this nation, can it be otherwise here: that
prince that governs here and not by law, may be said rather to oppress
than to govern; rather to overrule, than to rule over his people. Now
it cannot without great and unjustifiable violence to her majesty's
just government, be suggested, that we are in any danger of oppression
during the righteous administration of her majesty's reign. The queen
raises no money without act of parliament, keeps up no standing army
in time of peace, disseizes no man of his property or estate; but
every man sits in safety under his own vine, and his fig-tree; and we
doubt not but we shall do as long as her majesty lives. But what if
the queen should die?

Possibly cavils may rise in the mouths of those whose conduct this
nice question may seem to affect, that this is a question unfit to be
asked, and questionless such people will have much to say upon that
subject; as that it is a factious question, a question needless to be
answered, and impertinent therefore to be asked; that it is a question
which respects things remote, and serves only to fill the heads of the
people with fears and jealousies; that it is a question to which no
direct answer can be given, and which suggests strange surmises, and
amuses people about they know not what, and is of no use, but to make
people uneasy without cause.

As there is no objection, which is material enough to make, but is
material enough to answer, so this, although there is nothing of
substance in it, may introduce something in its answer of substance
enough to consider: it is therefore most necessary to convince the
considering reader of the usefulness and necessity of putting this
question; and then likewise the usefulness and necessity of putting
this question NOW at this time; and if it appear to be both a needful
question itself, and a seasonable question, as to time, the rest of
the cavils against it will deserve the less regard. That it is a
needful question, seems justified more abundantly from a very great
example, to wit, the practice of the whole nation, in settling the
succession of the crown. This I take to be nothing else but this: the
queen having no issue of her body, and the pretender to the crown
being expelled by law, included in his father's disastrous flight and
abdication; when the parliament came to consider of the state of the
nation, as to government as it now stands; that King William being
lately dead, and her majesty with universal joy of her people, being
received as queen, the safety, and the lasting happiness of the nation
is so far secured. But what if the queen should die?

The introduction to all the acts of parliaments for settling the
crown, implies thus much, and speaks directly this language, viz., to
make the nation safe and easy in case the queen should die: nor are
any of these acts of parliament impeached of faction, or
impertinences; much less of needless blaming the people, and filling
their heads with fears and jealousies. If this example of the
parliament is not enough justifying to this inquiry, the well known
truth, upon which that example of parliament is grounded, is
sufficient to justify it, viz., that we all know the queen must die.
None say this with more concern and regret than those who are
forwardest to put this question, as being of the opinion above said,
that, we are effectually secured against the pretender, and against
all the terrifying consequences of the Frenchified governors, during
her majesty's life. But this is evident, the queen is mortal, though
crowned with all that flattering courtiers can bring together, to make
her appear great, glorious, famous, or what you please; yet the queen,
yea, the queen herself, is _mortal_, and MUST die. It is true, kings
and queens are called gods; but this respects their sacred power:
nothing supposing an immortality attending their persons, for they all
die like other men, and their dust knows no distinction in the grave.
Since then it is most certain that the queen must die, and our safety
and happiness in this nation depends so much upon the stability of our
liberties, religion, and aforesaid dependencies after her majesty's
life shall end, it cannot be a question offensive to any who has any
concern in the public good, to inquire into what shall be the state of
our condition, or the posture of our affairs, when the queen shall
die; but this is not all neither. As the queen is mortal, and we are
assured she must die, so we are none of us certain as to be able to
know when, or how soon, that disaster may happen; at what time, or in
what manner. This then, as it may be remote, and not a long time; God
of his infinite mercy grant it may be long first, and not before this
difficult question we are upon be effectually and satisfactorily
answered to the nation; so on the other side, it may be near; none of
us know how near, the fatal blow may befall us soon, and sooner far
than we may be ready; for to-day it may come, while the cavilling
reader is objecting against our putting this question, and calling it
unreasonable and needless; while the word is in thy very mouth, mayest
thou hear the fatal, melancholy news, the queen is dead. News that
must one time or other be heard; the word will certainly come some
time or other, to be spoken in the present sense, and to be sure in
the time they are spoken in. How can any one then say, that it is
improper to ask what shall be our case, what shall we do, or what
shall be done with us, If the queen should die?

But we have another melancholy incident, which attends the queen's
mortality, and which makes this question more than ordinarily
seasonable to be asked at this time; and that is, that not only the
queen is mortal, and she must die, and the time uncertain; so that she
may die, even to-day, before to-morrow, or in a very little space of
time: but her life is, under God's providence, at the mercy of papists
and jacobites' people; who, the one by their principles, and the other
by the circumstances of their party, are more than ordinarily to be
apprehended for their bloody designs against her majesty, and against
the whole nation. Nay, there seems more reason to be apprehensive of
the dangerous attempts of these desperate people, at this time, than
ever, even from the very reasons which are given all along in this
work, for our being safe in our privileges, our religious and civil
rights, during her majesty's life. It would be mispending your time to
prove that the papists and jacobite parties in this nation, however
they may, as we have said, be under ties and obligations of honour,
interest, and gratitude, &c., not to make attempt upon us during the
queen's life; yet that they are more encouraged at this time than ever
they were to hope and believe, that when the queen shall die, their
turn stands next. This, we say, we believe is lost labour to speak of:
the said people, the popish and tory party, will freely own and oppose
it. They all take their obligations to the queen to end with her
majesty's life. The French king, however in honour and gratitude he
may think himself bound not to encourage the pretender to insult her
majesty's dominions, while the queen, with whom he personally is
engaged by treaty, shall remain alive, will think himself fully at
liberty from those obligations when the queen shall die. If we are not
misinformed of the French affairs, and of the notions they have in
France of these things, they are generally no otherwise understood
than that the king of France is engaged by the peace now in view, not
to disturb her majesty's possession during her reign and her life; but
that then the pretender's right is to be received everywhere. The
pretender himself, howsoever, as above said, he may despair of his
success in attempting to take possession during the queen's life, will
not fail to assume new hopes at her majesty's death: so much then of
the hopes of popery and French power; so much of the interest of the
pretender depending upon the single thread of life of a mortal person;
and we being well assured that they look upon her majesty only as the
incumbent in a living, or tenant for life in an estate, what is more
natural, than in this case for us to apprehend danger to the life of
the queen; especially to such people, who are known not to make much
consciences of murdering princes, with whom the king-killing doctrine
is so universally received, and who were so often detected of
villanous practices and plots against the life of Queen Elizabeth, her
majesty's famous predecessor, and that upon the same foundation, viz.,
the queen of Scots being the popish pretender to the crown; what can
we expect from the same party, and men acting from the same
principles, but the same practices? It is known that the queen, by
course of nature, may live many years, and these people have many
reasons to be impatient of so much delay. They know that many
accidents may intervene to make the circumstances of the nation, at
the time of the queen's death, less favourable to their interests than
they are now; they may have fewer friends, as well in power, as out of
power, by length of time, and the like: these, and such as these
considerations may excite villanous and murderous practices against
the precious life of our sovereign (God protect her majesty from
them); but while all these considerations so naturally offer
themselves to us, it seems most rational, needful, seasonable, and
just, that we should be asking and answering this great question,
What if the queen should die?

Thus far we have only asked the question itself, and showed our
reasons, or endeavoured to justify the reasonableness of the inquiry.
It follows that we make some brief essay as an answer to the question.
This may be done many ways; but the design of this tract is rather to
put the question into your thought, than to put an answer into your
mouths. The several answers which may be given to this important
question may not be proper for a public print; and some may not be fit
so much as to be spoken. The question is not without its uses, whether
it be answered or no, if the nation be sufficiently awakened but to
ask the question among themselves; they will be brought by thinking of
the thing to answer it one to another in a short space. The people of
Britain want only to be showed what imminent danger they are in, in
case of the queen's decease: how much their safety and felicity depend
upon the life of her majesty, and what a state of confusion, distress,
and all sorts of dreadful calamities they will fall into at her
majesty's death, if something be not done to settle them before her
death; and if they are not during her majesty's life secured from the
power of France, and the danger of the pretender.


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