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Title: Letters to Sir William Windham and Mr. Pope
Author: Bolingbroke, Henry St. John, Viscount
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Letters to Sir William Windham and Mr. Pope" ***

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                        CASSELL’S NATIONAL LIBRARY

                                * * * * *

                           SIR WILLIAM WINDHAM
                                 MR. POPE

                             LORD BOLINGBROKE

                      [Picture: Decorative graphic]

                       CASSELL AND COMPANY, LIMITED
                      _LONDON_, _PARIS & MELBOURNE_


HENRY ST. JOHN, who became Viscount Bolingbroke in 1712, was born on the
1st of October, 1678, at the family manor of Battersea, then a country
village.  His grandfather, Sir Walter St. John, lived there with his wife
Johanna,—daughter to Cromwell’s Chief Justice, Oliver St. John,—in one
home with the child’s father, Henry St. John, who was married to the
second daughter of Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick.  The child’s
grandfather, a man of high character, lived to the age of eighty-seven;
and his father, more a man of what is miscalled pleasure, to the age of
ninety.  It was chiefly by his grandfather and grandmother that the
education of young Henry St. John was cared for.  Simon Patrick,
afterwards Bishop of Ely, was for some years a chaplain in their home.
By his grandfather and grandmother the child’s religious education may
have been too formally cared for.  A passage in Bolingbroke’s letter to
Pope shows that he was required as a child to read works of a divine who
“made a hundred and nineteen sermons on the hundred and nineteenth

After education at Eton and Christchurch, Henry St. John travelled
abroad, and in the year 1700 he married, at the age of twenty-two,
Frances, daughter and co-heiress of Sir Henry Winchescomb, a Berkshire
baronet.  She had much property, and more in prospect.

In the year 1701, Henry St. John entered Parliament as member for Wotton
Bassett, the family borough.  He acted with the Tories, and became
intimate with their leader, Robert Harley.  He soon became distinguished
as the ablest and most vigorous of the young supporters of the Tory
party.  He was a handsome man and a brilliant speaker, delighted in by
politicians who, according to his own image in the Letter to Windham,
“grow, like hounds, fond of the man who shows them game.”  He was active
in the impeachment of Somers, Montague, the Duke of Portland, and the
Earl of Oxford for their negotiation of the Partition Treaties.  In later
years he said he had acted here in ignorance, and justified those

James II. died at St. Germains, a pensioner of France, aged sixty-eight,
on the 6th of September, 1701.

His pretensions to the English throne passed to the son, who had been
born on the 10th of June, 1688, and whose birth had hastened on the
Revolution.  That son, James Francis Edward Stuart, who was only thirteen
years old at his father’s death, is known sometimes in history as the Old
Pretender; the Young Pretender being his son Charles Edward, whose defeat
at Culloden in 1746 destroyed the last faint hope of a restoration of the
Stuarts.  It is with the young heir to the pretensions of James II. that
the story of the life of Bolingbroke becomes concerned.

King William III. died on the 8th of March, 1702, and was succeeded by
James II.’s daughter Anne, who was then thirty-eight years old, and had
been married when in her nineteenth year to Prince George of Denmark.
She was a good wife and a good, simple-minded woman; a much-troubled
mother, who had lost five children in their infancy, besides one who
survived to be a boy of eleven and had died in the year 1700.  As his
death left the succession to the Crown unsettled, an Act of Settlement,
passed on the 12th of June, 1701, had provided that, in case of failure
of direct heirs to the throne, the Crown should pass to the next
Protestant in succession, who was Sophia, wife of the Elector of Hanover.
The Electress Sophia was daughter of the Princess Elizabeth who had
married the Elector Palatine in 1613, granddaughter, therefore, of James
I.  She was more than seventy years old when Queen Anne began her reign.
For ardent young Tories, who had no great interest in the limitation of
authority or enthusiasm for a Protestant succession, it was no treason to
think, though it would be treason to say, that the old Electress and her
more than forty-year-old German son George, gross-minded and clumsy, did
not altogether shut out hope for the succession of a more direct heir to
the Crown.

In 1704 St. John was Secretary at War when Harley was Secretary of State,
and he remained in office till 1708, when the Whigs came in under
Marlborough and Godolphin, and St. John’s successor was his rival Robert
Walpole.  St. John retired then for two year from public life to his
country seat at Bucklersbury in Berkshire, which had come to him, through
his wife, by the death of his wife’s father the year before.  He was
thirty years old, the most brilliant of the rising statesmen; impatient
of Harley as a leader and of Walpole as his younger rival from the other
side, both of them men who, in his eyes, were dull and slow.  St. John’s
quick intellect, though eager and impatient of successful rivalry, had
its philosophic turn.  During these two years of retirement he indulged
the calmer love of study and thought, whose genius he said once, in a
letter to Lord Bathurst “On the True use of Retirement and Study,”
“unlike the dream of Socrates, whispered so softly, that very often I
heard him not, in the hurry of those passions by which I was transported.
Some calmer hours there were; in them I hearkened to him.  Reflection had
often its turn, and the love of study and the desire of knowledge have
never quite abandoned me.”

In 1710 the Whigs were out and Harley in again, with St. John in his
ministry as Secretary of State.  “I am thinking,” wrote Swift to Stella,
“what a veneration we used to have for Sir William Temple because he
might have been Secretary of State at fifty; and here is a young fellow
hardly thirty in that employment.”

It was the policy of the Tories to put an end to the war with France,
that was against all their political interests.  The Whigs wished to
maintain it as a safeguard against reaction in favour of the Pretender.
In the peace negotiations nobody was so active as Secretary St. John.  On
one occasion, without consulting his colleagues, he wrote to the Duke of
Ormond, who commanded the English army in the Netherlands: “Her Majesty,
my lord, has reason to believe that we shall come to an agreement on the
great article of the union of the two monarchies as soon as a courier
sent from Versailles to Madrid can return; it is, therefore, the Queen’s
positive command to your grace, that you avoid engaging in any siege or
hazarding a battle till you have further orders from her Majesty.  I am
at the same time directed to let your grace know that the Queen would
have you disguise the receipt of this order; and that her Majesty thinks
you cannot want pretences for conducting yourself so as to answer her
ends without owning that which might at present have an ill effect if
publicly known.”  He added as a postscript: “I had almost forgot to tell
your grace that communication is given of this order to the Court of
France.”  The peace was right, but the way of making it was mean in more
ways than one, and the friction between Harley and St. John steadily
increased.  St. John used his majority in the House for the expulsion of
his rival Walpole and Walpole’s imprisonment in the Tower upon charges of
corruption.  In 1712, when Harley had obtained for himself the Earldom of
Oxford, St. John wanted an earldom too; and the Earldom of Bolingbroke,
in the elder branch of his family, had lately become extinct.  His
ill-will to Harley was embittered by the fact that only the lower rank of
Viscount was conceded to him, and he was sent from the House of Commons,
where his influence was great, at the age of thirty-four, as Viscount
Bolingbroke and Baron St. John.  His father’s congratulation on the
peerage glanced at the perils of Jacobitism: “Well, Harry, I said you
would be hanged, but now I see you’ll be beheaded.”

The Treaty of Utrecht, that closed the War of the Spanish Succession, was
signed on the 11th of April (new style), 1713.  Queen Anne died on the
1st of August, 1714, when time was not ripe for the reaction that
Bolingbroke had hoped to see.  His Letter to Windham frankly leaves us to
understand that in Queen Anne’s reign the possible succession of James
II.’s son, the Chevalier de St. George, had never been out of his mind.

The death of the Electress Sophia brought her son George to the throne.
The Whigs triumphed, and Lord Bolingbroke was politically ruined.  He was
dismissed from office before the end of the month.  On the 26th of March,
1715, he escaped to France, in disguise of a valet to the French
messenger La Vigne.  A Secret Committee of the House of Commons was, a
few days afterwards, appointed to examine papers, and the result was
Walpole’s impeachment of Bolingbroke.  He was, in September, 1715, in
default of surrender, attainted of high treason, and his name was erased
from the roll of peers.  His own account of his policy will be found in
this letter to his friend Sir William Windham, in which the only weak
feature is the bitterness of Bolingbroke’s resentment against Harley.

When he went in exile to France, Bolingbroke remained only a few days in
Paris before retiring to St. Clair, near Vienne, in Dauphiny.  His Letter
to Windham tells how he became Secretary of State to the Pretender, and
how little influence he could obtain over the Jacobite counsels.  The
hopeless Rebellion of 1715, in Scotland, Bolingbroke laboured in vain to
delay until there might be some chance of success.  The death of Louis
XIV., on the 1st of September in that year, had removed the last prop of
a falling cause.

Some part of Bolingbroke’s forfeited property was returned to his wife,
who pleaded in vain for the reversal of his attainder.  Bolingbroke was
ill-used by the Pretender and abused by the Jacobites.  He had been
writing philosophical “Reflections upon Exile,” but when he found himself
thus attacked on both sides Bolingbroke resolved to cast Jacobitism to
the winds, speak out like a man, and vindicate himself in a way that
might possibly restore him to the service of his country.  So in April,
1717, at the age of thirty-nine, he began work upon what is justly
considered the best of his writings, his Letter to Sir William Windham.

Windham was a young Tory politician of good family and great wealth, who
had married a daughter of the Duke of Somerset, and had been accepted by
the Tories in the House of Commons as a leader, after Henry St. John had
been sent to the House of Lords.  Windham was “Dear Willie” to
Bolingbroke, a constant friend, and in 1715 he was sent to the Tower as a
Jacobite.  But he had powerful connections, was kindly and not dangerous,
and was soon back in his place in the House fighting the Whigs.  The
Letter to Windham was finished in the summer of 1717.  Its frankness was
only suited to the prospect of a pardon.  It was found that there was no
such prospect, and the Letter was not published until 1753, a year or two
after its writer’s death.

Bolingbroke’s first wife died in November, 1718.  He married in 1720 a
Marquise de Villette, with whom he lived on an estate called La Source,
near Orleans, at the source of the small river Loiret.  There he talked
and wrote philosophy.  His pardon was obtained in May, 1723.  In 1725 he
was allowed by Act of Parliament the possession of his family
inheritance; but as the attainder was not reversed he could never again
sit in Parliament.  So he came home in 1725, and bought an estate at
Dawley, near Uxbridge.  There he philosophised in his own way and played
at farming, discoursed with Pope and plied his pen against the Whigs.  In
his letter to Pope, Bolingbroke writes of ministers of religion as if
they had no other function than to maintain theological dogmas, and draws
a false conclusion from false premisses.  He died on the 12th of
December, 1751.



I WAS well enough acquainted with the general character of mankind, and
in particular with that of my own countrymen, to expect to be as much out
of the minds of the Tories during my exile as if we had never lived and
acted together.  I depended on being forgot by them, and was far from
imagining it possible that I should be remembered only to be condemned
loudly by one half of them, and to be tacitly censured by the greatest
part of the other half.  As soon as I was separated from the Pretender
and his interest, I declared myself to be so; and I gave directions for
writing into England what I judged sufficient to put my friends on their
guard against any surprise concerning an event which it was their
interest, as well as mine, that they should be very rightly informed

As soon as the Pretender’s adherents began to clamour against me in this
country, and to disperse their scandal by circular letters everywhere
else, I gave directions for writing into England again.  Their groundless
articles of accusation were refuted, and enough was said to give my
friends a general idea of what had happened to me, and at least to make
them suspend the fixing any opinion till such time as I should be able to
write more fully and plainly to them myself.  To condemn no person
unheard is a rule of natural equity, which we see rarely violated in
Turkey, or in the country where I am writing: that it would not be so
with me in Great Britain, I confess that I flattered myself.  I dwelt
securely in this confidence, and gave very little attention to any of
those scurrilous methods which were taken about this time to blast my
reputation.  The event of things has shown that I trusted too much to my
own innocence, and to the justice of my old friends.

It was obvious that the Chevalier and the Earl of Mar hoped to load me
with the imputation of treachery, incapacity, or neglect: it was
indifferent to them of which.  If they could ascribe to one of those
their not being supported from France, they imagined that they should
justify their precipitate flight from Scotland, which many of their
fastest friends exclaimed against; and that they should varnish over that
original capital fault, the drawing the Highlanders together in arms at
the time and in the manner in which it was done.

The Scotch, who fell at once from all the sanguine expectations with
which they had been soothed, and who found themselves reduced to despair,
were easy to be incensed; they had received no support whatever, and it
was natural for them rather to believe that they failed of this support
by my fault, than to imagine their general had prevailed on them to rise
in the very point of time when it was impossible that they should be
supported from France, or from any other part of the world.  The Duke of
Ormond, who had been the bubble of his own popularity, was enough out of
humour with the general turn of affairs to be easily set against any
particular man.  The emissaries of this Court, whose commission was to
amuse, had imposed upon him all along; and there were other busy people
who thought to find their account in having him to themselves.  I had
never been in his secret whilst we were in England together: and from his
first coming into France he was either prevailed upon by others, or,
which I rather believe, he concurred with others, to keep me out of it.
The perfect indifference I showed whether I was in it or no, might carry
him from acting separately, to act against me.

The whole tribe of Irish and other papists were ready to seize the first
opportunity of venting their spleen against a man, who had constantly
avoided all intimacy with them; who acted in the same cause, but on a
different principle, and who meant no one thing in the world less than
raising them to the advantages which they expected.

That these several persons, for the reasons I have mentioned, should join
in a cry against me, is not very marvellous; the contrary would be so to
a man who knows them as well as I do.  But that the English Tories should
serve as echoes to them—nay more, that my character should continue
doubtful at best amongst you, when those who first propagated the slander
are become ashamed of railing without proof, and have dropped the
clamour,—this I own that I never expected; and I may be allowed to say,
that as it is an extreme surprise, so it shall be a lesson to me.

The Whigs impeached and attainted me.  They went farther—at least, in my
way of thinking, that step was more cruel than all the others—by a
partial representation of facts, and pieces of facts, put together as it
best suited their purpose, and published to the whole world, they did all
that in them lay to expose me for a fool, and to brand me for a knave.
But then I had deserved this abundantly at their hands, according to the
notions of party-justice.  The Tories have not indeed impeached nor
attainted me; but they have done, and are still doing something very like
to that which I took worse of the Whigs than the impeachment and
attainder: and this, after I have shown an inviolable attachment to the
service, and almost an implicit obedience to the will of the party; when
I am actually an outlaw, deprived of my honours, stripped of my fortune,
and cut off from my family and my country, for their sakes.

Some of the persons who have seen me here, and with whom I have had the
pleasure to talk of you, may, perhaps, have told you that, far from being
oppressed by that storm of misfortunes in which I have been tossed of
late, I bear up against it with firmness enough, and even with alacrity.
It is true, I do so; but it is true likewise that the last burst of the
cloud has gone near to overwhelm me.  From our enemies we expect evil
treatment of every sort, we are prepared for it, we are animated by it,
and we sometimes triumph in it; but when our friends abandon us, when
they wound us, and when they take, to do this, an occasion where we stand
the most in need of their support, and have the best title to it, the
firmest mind finds it hard to resist.

Nothing kept up my spirits when I was first reduced to the very
circumstances I now describe so much as the consideration of the
delusions under which I knew that the Tories lay, and the hopes I
entertained of being able soon to open their eyes, and to justify my
conduct.  I expected that friendship, or, if that principle failed,
curiosity at least, would move the party to send over some person from
whose report they might have both sides of the question laid before them.
Though this expectation be founded in reason, and you want to be informed
at least as much as I do to be justified, yet I have hitherto flattered
myself with it in vain.  To repair this misfortune, therefore, as far as
lies in my power, I resolve to put into writing the sum of what I should
have said in that case.  These papers shall lie by me till time and
accidents produce some occasion of communicating them to you.  The true
occasion of doing it with advantage to the party will probably be lost;
but they will remain a monument of my justification to posterity.  At
worst, if even this fails me, I am sure of one satisfaction in writing
them: the satisfaction of unburdening my mind to a friend, and of stating
before an equitable judge the account, as I apprehend it to stand,
between the Tories and myself—“Quantum humano consilio efficere potui,
circumspectis rebus meis omnibus, rationibusque subductis, summam feci
cogitationum mearum omnium, quam tibi, si potero, breviter exponam.”

It is necessary to my design that I call to your mind the state of
affairs in Britain from the latter part of the year 1710 to the beginning
of the year 1715, about which time we parted.  I go no farther back
because the part which I acted before that time, in the first essays I
made in public affairs, was the part of a Tory, and so far of a piece
with that which I acted afterwards.  Besides, the things which preceded
this space of time had no immediate influence on those which happened
since that time, whereas the strange events which we have seen fall out
in the king’s reign were owing in a great measure to what was done, or
neglected to be done, in the last four years of the queen’s.  The memory
of these events being fresh, I shall dwell as little as possible upon
them; it will be sufficient that I make a rough sketch of the face of the
Court, and of the conduct of the several parties during that time.  Your
memory will soon furnish the colours which I shall omit to lay, and
finish up the picture.

From the time at which I left Britain I had not the advantage of acting
under the eyes of the party which I served, nor of being able from time
to time to appeal to their judgment.  The gross of what happened has
appeared; but the particular steps which led to those events have been
either concealed or misrepresented—concealed from the nature of them or
misrepresented by those with whom I never agreed perfectly except in
thinking that they and I were extremely unfit to continue embarked in the
same bottom together.  It will, therefore, be proper to descend under
this head to a more particular relation.

In the summer of the year 1710 the Queen was prevailed upon to change her
Parliament and her Ministry.  The intrigue of the Earl of Oxford might
facilitate the means, the violent prosecution of Sacheverel, and other
unpopular measures, might create the occasion and encourage her in the
resolution; but the true original cause was the personal ill-usage which
she received in her private life and in some trifling instances of the
exercise of her power, for indulgence in which she would certainly have
left the reins of government in those hands which had held them ever
since her accession to the throne.

I am afraid that we came to Court in the same dispositions as all parties
have done; that the principal spring of our actions was to have the
government of the state in our hands; that our principal views were the
conservation of this power, great employments to ourselves, and great
opportunities of rewarding those who had helped to raise us, and of
hurting those who stood in opposition to us.  It is, however, true that
with these considerations of private and party interest there were others
intermingled which had for their object the public good of the nation—at
least what we took to be such.

We looked on the political principles which had generally prevailed in
our government from the Revolution in 1688 to be destructive of our true
interest, to have mingled us too much in the affairs of the Continent, to
tend to the impoverishing our people, and to the loosening the bands of
our constitution in Church and State.  We supposed the Tory party to be
the bulk of the landed interest, and to have no contrary influence
blended into its composition.  We supposed the Whigs to be the remains of
a party formed against the ill designs of the Court under King Charles
II., nursed up into strength and applied to contrary uses by King William
III., and yet still so weak as to lean for support on the Presbyterians
and the other sectaries, on the Bank and the other corporations, on the
Dutch and the other Allies.  From hence we judged it to follow that they
had been forced, and must continue so, to render the national interest
subservient to the interest of those who lent them an additional
strength, without which they could never be the prevalent party.  The
view, therefore, of those amongst us who thought in this manner was to
improve the Queen’s favour, to break the body of the Whigs, to render
their supports useless to them, and to fill the employments of the
kingdom, down to the meanest, with Tories.  We imagined that such
measures, joined to the advantages of our numbers and our property, would
secure us against all attempts during her reign, and that we should soon
become too considerable not to make our terms in all events which might
happen afterwards: concerning which, to speak truly, I believe few or
none of us had any very settled resolution.

In order to bring these purposes about, I verily think that the
persecution of Dissenters entered into no man’s head.  By the Bills for
preventing Occasional Conformity and the growth of schism, it was hoped
that their sting would be taken away.  These Bills were thought necessary
for our party interest, and, besides, were deemed neither unreasonable
nor unjust.  The good of society may require that no person should be
deprived of the protection of the Government on account of his opinions
in religious matters; but it does not follow from hence that men ought to
be trusted in any degree with the preservation of the Establishment, who
must, to be consistent with their principles, endeavour the subversion of
what is established.  An indulgence to consciences, which the prejudice
of education and long habits have rendered scrupulous, may be agreeable
to the rules of good policy and of humanity, yet will it hardly follow
from hence that a government is under any obligation to indulge a
tenderness of conscience to come, or to connive at the propagating of
these prejudices and at the forming of these habits.  The evil effect is
without remedy, and may, therefore, deserve indulgence; but the evil
cause is to be prevented, and can, therefore, be entitled to none.
Besides this, the Bills I am speaking of, rather than to enact anything
new, seemed only to enforce the observation of ancient laws which had
been judged necessary for the security of the Church and State at a time
when the memory of the ruin of both, and of the hands by which that ruin
had been wrought, was fresh in the minds of men.

The Bank, the East India Company, and in general the moneyed interest,
had certainly nothing to apprehend like what they feared, or affected to
fear, from the Tories—an entire subversion of their property.  Multitudes
of our own party would have been wounded by such a blow.  The intention
of those who were the warmest seemed to me to go no farther than
restraining their influence on the Legislature, and on matters of State;
and finding at a proper season means to make them contribute to the
support and ease of a government under which they enjoyed advantages so
much greater than the rest of their fellow-subjects.  The mischievous
consequence which had been foreseen and foretold too, at the
establishment of those corporations, appeared visibly.  The country
gentlemen were vexed, put to great expenses and even baffled by them in
their elections; and among the members of every parliament numbers were
immediately or indirectly under their influence.  The Bank had been
extravagant enough to pull off the mask; and, when the Queen seemed to
intend a change in her ministry, they had deputed some of their members
to represent against it.  But that which touched sensibly even those who
were but little affected by other considerations, was the prodigious
inequality between the condition of the moneyed men and of the rest of
the nation.  The proprietor of the land, and the merchant who brought
riches home by the returns of foreign trade, had during two wars borne
the whole immense load of the national expenses; whilst the lender of
money, who added nothing to the common stock, throve by the public
calamity, and contributed not a mite to the public charge.

As to the Allies, I saw no difference of opinion among all those who came
to the head of affairs at this time.  Such of the Tories as were in the
system above mentioned, such of them as deserted soon after from us, and
such of the Whigs as had upon this occasion deserted to us, seemed
equally convinced of the unreasonableness, and even of the impossibility,
of continuing the war on the same disproportionate footing.  Their
universal sense was, that we had taken, except the part of the States
General, the whole burden of the war upon us, and even a proportion of
this; while the entire advantage was to accrue to others: that this had
appeared very grossly in 1709, and 1710, when preliminaries were insisted
upon, which contained all that the Allies, giving the greatest loose to
their wishes, could desire, and little or nothing on the behalf of Great
Britain: that the war, which had been begun for the security of the
Allies, was continued for their grandeur: that the ends proposed, when we
engaged in it, might have been answered long before, and therefore that
the first favourable occasion ought to be seized of making peace; which
we thought to be the interest of our country, and which appeared to all
mankind, as well as to us, to be that of our party.

These were in general the views of the Tories: and for the part I acted
in the prosecution of them, as well as of all the measures accessory to
them, I may appeal to mankind.  To those who had the opportunity of
looking behind the curtain I may likewise appeal, for the difficulties
which lay in my way, and for the particular discouragements which I met
with.  A principal load of parliamentary and foreign affairs in their
ordinary course lay upon me: the whole negotiation of the peace, and of
the troublesome invidious steps preliminary to it, as far as they could
be transacted at home, were thrown upon me.  I continued in the House of
Commons during that important session which preceded the peace; and
which, by the spirit shown through the whole course of it, and by the
resolutions taken in it, rendered the conclusion of the treaties
practicable.  After this I was dragged into the House of Lords in such a
manner as to make my promotion a punishment, not a reward; and was there
left to defend the treaties almost alone.

It would not have been hard to have forced the Earl of Oxford to use me
better.  His good intentions began to be very much doubted of; the truth
is, no opinion of his sincerity had ever taken root in the party, and,
which was worse perhaps for a man in his station, the opinion of his
capacity began to fall apace.  He was so hard pushed in the House of
Lords in the beginning of 1712 that he had been forced, in the middle of
the session, to persuade the Queen to make a promotion of twelve peers at
once, which was an unprecedented and invidious measure, to be excused by
nothing but the necessity, and hardly by that.  In the House of Commons
his credit was low and my reputation very high.  You know the nature of
that assembly; they grow, like hounds, fond of the man who shows them
game, and by whose halloo they are used to be encouraged.  The thread of
the negotiations, which could not stand still a moment without going
back, was in my hands, and before another man could have made himself
master of the business much time would have been lost, and great
inconveniences would have followed.  Some, who opposed the Court soon
after, began to waver then, and if I had not wanted the inclination I
should have wanted no help to do mischief.  I knew the way of quitting my
employments and of retiring from Court when the service of my party
required it; but I could not bring myself up to that resolution, when the
consequence of it must have been the breaking my party and the distress
of the public affairs.  I thought my mistress treated me ill, but the
sense of that duty which I owed her came in aid of other considerations,
and prevailed over my resentment.  These sentiments, indeed, are so much
out of fashion that a man who avows them is in danger of passing for a
bubble in the world; yet they were, in the conjuncture I speak of, the
true motives of my conduct, and you saw me go on as cheerfully in the
troublesome and dangerous work assigned me as if I had been under the
utmost satisfaction.  I began, indeed, in my heart to renounce the
friendship which till that time I had preserved inviolable for Oxford.  I
was not aware of all his treachery, nor of the base and little means
which he employed then, and continued to employ afterwards, to ruin me in
the opinion of the Queen and everywhere else.  I saw, however, that he
had no friendship for anybody, and that with respect to me, instead of
having the ability to render that merit, which I endeavoured to acquire,
an addition of strength to himself, it became the object of his jealousy
and a reason for undermining me.  In this temper of mind I went on till
the great work of the peace was consummated and the treaty signed at
Utrecht; after which a new and more melancholy scene for the party, as
well as for me, opened itself.

I am far from thinking the treaties, or the negotiations which led to
them, exempt from faults.  Many were made no doubt in both by those who
were concerned in them; by myself in the first place, and many were owing
purely to the opposition they met with in every step of their progress.
I never look back on this great event, passed as it is, without a secret
emotion of mind; when I compare the vastness of the undertaking and the
importance of its success, with the means employed to bring it about, and
with those which were employed to traverse it.  To adjust the pretensions
and to settle the interests of so many princes and states as were engaged
in the late war would appear, when considered simply and without any
adventitious difficulty, a work of prodigious extent.  But this was not
all.  Each of our Allies thought himself entitled to raise his demands to
the most extravagant height.  They had been encouraged to this, first, by
the engagements which we had entered into with several of them, with some
to draw them into the war, with others to prevail on them to continue it;
and, secondly, by the manner in which we had treated with France in 1709
and 1710.  Those who intended to tie the knot of the war as hard, and to
render the coming at a peace as impracticable as they could, had found no
method so effectual as that of leaving everyone at liberty to insist on
all he could think of, and leaving themselves at liberty, even if these
concessions should be made, to break the treaty by ulterior demands.
That this was the secret I can make no doubt after the confession of one
of the plenipotentiaries who transacted these matters, and who
communicated to me and to two others of the Queen’s Ministers an instance
of the Duke of Marlborough’s management at a critical moment, when the
French Ministers at Gertrudenberg seemed inclinable to come into an
expedient for explaining the thirty-seventh article of the preliminaries,
which could not have been refused.  Certain it is that the King of France
was at that time in earnest to execute the article of Philip’s
abdication, and therefore the expedients for adjusting what related to
this article would easily enough have been found, if on our part there
had been a real intention of concluding.  But there was no such
intention, and the plan of those who meant to prolong the war was
established among the Allies as the plan which ought to be followed
whenever a peace came to be treated.  The Allies imagined that they had a
right to obtain at least everything which had been demanded for them
respectively, and it was visible that nothing less would content them.
These considerations set the vastness of the undertaking in a sufficient

The importance of succeeding in the work of the peace was equally great
to Europe, to our country, to our party, to our persons, to the present
age, and to future generations.  But I need not take pains to prove what
no man will deny.  The means employed to bring it about were in no degree
proportionable.  A few men, some of whom had never been concerned in
business of this kind before, and most of whom put their hands for a long
time to it faintly and timorously, were the instruments of it.  The
Minister who was at their head showed himself every day incapable of that
attention, that method, that comprehension of different matters, which
the first post in such a Government as ours requires in quiet times.  He
was the first spring of all our motion by his credit with the Queen, and
his concurrence was necessary to everything we did by his rank in the
State, and yet this man seemed to be sometimes asleep and sometimes at
play.  He neglected the thread of business, which was carried on for this
reason with less dispatch and less advantage in the proper channels, and
he kept none in his own hands.  He negotiated, indeed, by fits and
starts, by little tools and indirect ways, and thus his activity became
as hurtful as his indolence, of which I could produce some remarkable
instances.  No good effect could flow from such a conduct.  In a word,
when this great affair was once engaged, the zeal of particular men in
their several provinces drove it forward, though they were not backed by
the concurrent force of the whole Administration, nor had the common
helps of advice till it was too late, till the very end of the
negotiations; even in matters, such as that of commerce, which they could
not be supposed to understand.  That this is a true account of the means
used to arrive at the peace, and a true character of that Administration
in general, I believe the whole Cabinet Council of that time will bear me
witness.  Sure I am that most of them have joined with me in lamenting
this state of things whilst it subsisted, and all those who were employed
as Ministers in the several parts of the treaty felt sufficiently the
difficulties which this strange management often reduced them to.  I am
confident they have not forgotten them.

If the means employed to bring the peace about were feeble, and in one
respect contemptible, those employed to break the negotiation were strong
and formidable.  As soon as the first suspicion of a treaty’s being on
foot crept abroad in the world the whole alliance united with a powerful
party in the nation to obstruct it.  From that hour to the moment the
Congress of Utrecht finished, no one measure possible to be taken was
omitted to traverse every advance that was made in this work, to
intimidate, to allure, to embarrass every person concerned in it.  This
was done without any regard either to decency or good policy, and from
hence it soon followed that passion and humour mingled themselves on each
side.  A great part of what we did for the peace, and of what others did
against it, can be accounted for on no other principle.  The Allies were
broken among themselves before they began to treat with the common enemy.
The matter did not mend in the course of the treaty, and France and
Spain, but especially the former, profited of this disunion.

Whoever makes the comparison, which I have touched upon, will see the
true reasons which rendered the peace less answerable to the success of
the war than it might and than it ought to have been.  Judgment has been
passed in this case as the different passions or interests of men have
inspired them.  But the real cause lay in the constitution of our
Ministry, and much more in the obstinate opposition which we met with
from the Whigs and from the Allies.  However, sure it is that the defects
of the peace did not occasion the desertions from the Tory party which
happened about this time, nor those disorders in the Court which
immediately followed.

Long before the purport of the treaties could be known, those Whigs who
had set out with us in 1710 began to relapse back to their party.  They
had among us shared the harvest of a new Ministry, and, like prudent
persons, they took measures in time to have their share in that of a new

The whimsical or the Hanover Tories continued zealous in appearance with
us till the peace was signed.  I saw no people so eager for the
conclusion of it.  Some of them were in such haste that they thought any
peace preferable to the least delay, and omitted no instances to quicken
their friends who were actors in it.  As soon as the treaties were
perfected and laid before the Parliament, the scheme of these gentlemen
began to disclose itself entirely.  Their love of the peace, like other
passions, cooled by enjoyment.  They grew nice about the construction of
the articles, could come up to no direct approbation, and, being let into
the secret of what was to happen, would not preclude themselves from the
glorious advantage of rising on the ruins of their friends and of their

The danger of the succession and the badness of the peace were the two
principles on which we were attacked.  On the first the whimsical Tories
joined the Whigs, and declared directly against their party.  Although
nothing is more certain than this truth: that there was at that time no
formed design in the party, whatever views some particular men might
have, against his Majesty’s accession to the throne.  On the latter, and
most other points, they affected a most glorious neutrality.

Instead of gathering strength, either as a Ministry or as a party, we
grew weaker every day.  The peace had been judged, with reason, to be the
only solid foundation whereupon we could erect a Tory system; and yet
when it was made we found ourselves at a full stand.  Nay, the very work
which ought to have been the basis of our strength was in part demolished
before our eyes, and we were stoned with the ruins of it.  Whilst this
was doing, Oxford looked on as if he had not been a party to all which
had passed; broke now and then a jest, which savoured of the Inns of
Court and the bad company in which he had been bred.  And on those
occasions where his station obliged him to speak of business, was
absolutely unintelligible.

Whether this man ever had any determined view besides that of raising his
family is, I believe, a problematical question in the world.  My opinion
is that he never had any other.  The conduct of a Minister who proposes
to himself a great and noble object, and who pursues it steadily, may
seem for a while a riddle to the world; especially in a Government like
ours, where numbers of men, different in their characters and different
in their interests, are at all times to be managed; where public affairs
are exposed to more accidents and greater hazards than in other
countries; and where, by consequence, he who is at the head of business
will find himself often distracted by measures which have no relation to
his purpose, and obliged to bend himself to things which are in some
degree contrary to his main design.  The ocean which environs us is an
emblem of our government, and the pilot and the Minister are in similar
circumstances.  It seldom happens that either of them can steer a direct
course, and they both arrive at their port by means which frequently seem
to carry them from it.  But as the work advances the conduct of him who
leads it on with real abilities clears up, the appearing inconsistencies
are reconciled, and when it is once consummated the whole shows itself so
uniform, so plain, and so natural, that every dabbler in politics will be
apt to think he could have done the same.  But, on the other hand, a man
who proposes no such object, who substitutes artifice in the place of
ability, who, instead of leading parties and governing accidents, is
eternally agitated backwards and forwards by both, who begins every day
something new, and carries nothing on to perfection, may impose awhile on
the world; but a little sooner or a little later the mystery will be
revealed, and nothing will be found to be couched under it but a thread
of pitiful expedients, the ultimate end of which never extended farther
than living from day to day.  Which of these pictures resembles Oxford
most you will determine.  I am sorry to be obliged to name him so often,
but how is it possible to do otherwise while I am speaking of times
wherein the whole turn of affairs depended on his motions and character?

I have heard, and I believe truly, that when he returned to Windsor in
the autumn of 1713, after the marriage of his son, he pressed extremely
to have him created Duke of Newcastle or Earl of Clare, and the Queen
presuming to hesitate on so extraordinary a proposal, he resented this
hesitation in a manner which little became a man who had been so lately
raised by the profusion of her favours upon him.  Certain it is, that he
began then to show a still greater remissness in all parts of his
Ministry, and to affect to say that from such a time, the very time I am
speaking of, he took no share in the direction of affairs, or words to
that effect.

He pretended to have discovered intrigues which were set on foot against
him, and particularly he complained of the advantage which was taken of
his absence during the journey he made at his son’s marriage to undermine
him with the Queen.  He is naturally inclined to believe the worst, which
I take to be a certain mark of a mean spirit and a wicked soul.  At
least, I am sure that the contrary quality, when it is not due to
weakness of understanding, is the fruit of a generous temper and an
honest heart.  Prone to judge ill of all mankind, he will rarely be
seduced by his credulity, but I never knew a man so capable of being the
bubble of his distrust and jealousy.  He was so in this case, although
the Queen, who could not be ignorant of the truth, said enough to
undeceive him.  But to be undeceived, and to own himself so, was not his
play.  He hoped by cunning to varnish over his want of faith and of
ability.  He was desirous to make the world impute the extraordinary
part, or, to speak more properly, the no part, which he acted with the
staff of Treasurer in his hand, to the Queen’s withdrawing her favour
from him and to his friends abandoning him—pretences utterly groundless
when he first made them, and which he brought to be real at last.  Even
the winter before the Queen’s death, when his credit began to wane apace,
he might have regained it; he might have reconciled himself perfectly
with all his ancient friends, and have acquired the confidence of the
whole party.  I say he might have done all this, because I am persuaded
that none of those I have named were so convinced of his perfidy, so
jaded with his yoke, or so much piqued personally against him as I was;
and yet if he would have exerted himself in concert with us to improve
the few advantages which were left us and to ward off the visible danger
which threatened our persons and our party, I would have stifled my
private animosity and would have acted under him with as much zeal as
ever.  But he was incapable of taking such a turn.  The sum of all his
policy had been to amuse the Whigs, the Tories, and the Jacobites as long
as he could, and to keep his power as long as he amused them.  When it
became impossible to amuse mankind any longer, he appeared plainly at the
end of his line.

By a secret correspondence with the late Earl of Halifax, and by the
intrigues of his brother and other fanatical relations, he had
endeavoured to keep some hold on the Whigs.

The Tories were attached to him at first by the heat of a revolution in
the Ministry, by their hatred of the people who were discarded, and by
the fond hopes which it is easy to give at the setting out of a new
administration.  Afterwards he held out the peace in prospect to them and
to the Jacobites separately, as an event which must be brought about
before he could effectually serve either.  You cannot have forgot how
things which we pressed were put off upon every occasion till the peace;
the peace was to be the date of a new administration, and the period at
which the millenary year of Toryism should begin.  Thus were the Tories
at that time amused; and since my exile I have had the opportunity of
knowing certainly and circumstantially that the Jacobites were treated in
the same manner, and that the Pretender was made, through the French
Minister, to expect that measures should be taken for his restoration as
soon as the peace had rendered them practicable.  He was to attempt
nothing, his partisans were to lie still, Oxford undertook for all.

After many delays, fatal to the general interest of Europe, this peace
was signed: and the only considerable thing which he brought about
afterwards was the marriage I have mentioned above; and by it an
accession of riches and honour to a family whose estate was very mean,
and whose illustration before this time I never met with anywhere, but in
the vain discourses which he used to hold over claret.  If he kept his
word with any of the parties above-mentioned, it must be supposed that he
did so with the Whigs; for as to us, we saw nothing after the peace but
increase of mortification and nearer approaches to ruin.  Not a step was
made towards completing the settlement of Europe, which the treaties of
Utrecht and Radstadt left imperfect; towards fortifying and establishing
the Tory party; towards securing those who had been the principal actors
in this administration against future events.  We had proceeded in a
confidence that these things should immediately follow the conclusion of
the peace: he had never, I dare swear, entertained a thought concerning
them.  As soon as the last hand was given to the fortune of his family,
he abandoned his mistress, his friends, and his party, who had borne him
so many years on their shoulders: and I was present when this want of
faith was reproached him in the plainest and strongest terms by one of
the honestest men in Britain, and before some of the most considerable
Tories.  Even his impudence failed him on this occasion: he did not so
much as attempt an excuse.

He could not keep his word which he had given the Pretender and his
adherents, because he had formed no party to support him in such a
design.  He was sure of having the Whigs against him if he made the
attempt, and he was not sure of having the Tories for him.

In this state of confusion and distress, to which he had reduced himself
and us, you remember the part he acted.  He was the spy of the Whigs, and
voted with us in the morning against those very questions which he had
penned the night before with Walpole and others.  He kept his post on
terms which no man but he would have held it on, neither submitting to
the Queen, nor complying with his friends.  He would not, or he could
not, act with us; and he resolved that we should not act without him as
long as he could hinder it.  The Queen’s health was very precarious, and
at her death he hoped by these means to deliver us up, bound as it were
hand and foot, to our adversaries.  On the foundation of this merit he
flattered himself that he had gained some of the Whigs, and softened at
least the rest of the party to him.  By his secret negotiations at
Hanover, he took it for granted that he was not only reconciled to that
Court, but that he should, under his present Majesty’s reign, have as
much credit as he had enjoyed under that of the Queen.  He was weak
enough to boast of this, and to promise his good offices voluntarily to
several: for no man was weak enough to think them worth being solicited.
In a word, you must have heard that he answered to Lord Dartmouth and to
Mr. Bromley, that one should keep the Privy Seal, and the other the seals
of Secretary; and that Lord Cowper makes no scruple of telling how he
came to offer him the seals of Chancellor.  When the King arrived, he
went to Greenwich with an affectation of pomp and of favour.  Against his
suspicious character, he was once in his life the bubble of his
credulity; and this delusion betrayed him into a punishment more severe
in my sense than all which has happened to him since, or than perpetual
exile; he was affronted in the manner in which he was presented to the
King.  The meanest subject would have been received with goodness, the
most obnoxious with an air of indifference; but he was received with the
most distinguishing contempt.  This treatment he had in the face of the
nation.  The King began his reign, in this instance, with punishing the
ingratitude, the perfidy, the insolence, which had been shown to his
predecessor.  Oxford fled from Court covered with shame, the object of
the derision of the Whigs and of the indignation of the Tories.

The Queen might, if she had pleased, have saved herself from all those
mortifications she met with during the last months of her reign, and her
servants and the Tory party from those misfortunes which they endured
during the same time; perhaps from those which they have fallen into
since her death.  When she found that the peace, from the conclusion of
which she expected ease and quiet, brought still greater trouble upon
her; when she saw the weakness of her Government, and the confusion of
her affairs increase every day; when she saw her First Minister
bewildered and unable to extricate himself or her; in fine, when the
negligence of his public conduct, and the sauciness of his private
behaviour had rendered him insupportable to her, and she took the
resolution of laying him aside, there was a strength still remaining
sufficient to have supported her Government, to have fulfilled in great
part the expectations of the Tories, and to have constituted both them
and the Ministers in such a situation as would have left them little to
apprehend.  Some designs were, indeed, on foot which might have produced
very great disorders: Oxford’s conduct had given much occasion to them,
and with the terror of them he endeavoured to intimidate the Queen.  But
expedients were not hard to be found by which those designs might have
been nipped in the bud, or else by which the persons who promoted them
might have been induced to lay them aside.  But that fatal irresolution
inherent to the Stuart race hung upon her.  She felt too much inward
resentment to be able to conceal his disgrace from him; yet, after he had
made this discovery, she continued to trust all her power in his hands.

No people ever were in such a condition as ours continued to be from the
autumn of 1713 to the summer following.  The Queen’s health sank every
day.  The attack which she had in the winter at Windsor served as a
warning both to those who wished, and to those who feared her death, to
expect it.  The party which opposed the court had been continually
gaining strength by the weakness of our administration: and at this time
their numbers were vastly increased, and their spirit was raised by the
near prospect of the succession taking place.  We were not at liberty to
exert the strength we had.  We saw our danger, and many of us saw the
true means of avoiding it; but whilst the magic wand was in the same
hands, this knowledge served only to increase our uneasiness; and,
whether we would or no, we were forced with our eyes open to walk on
towards the precipice.  Every moment we became less able, if the Queen
lived, to support her Government; if she died, to secure ourselves.  One
side was united in a common view, and acted upon a uniform plan: the
other had really none at all.  We knew that we were out of favour at the
Court of Hanover, that we were represented there as Jacobites, and that
the Elector, his present Majesty, had been rendered publicly a party to
that opposition, in spite of which we made the peace: and yet we neither
had taken, nor could take in our present circumstances, any measures to
be better or worse there.  Thus we languished till the 27th of July,
1714, when the Queen dismissed the Treasurer.  On the Friday following,
she fell into an apoplexy, and died on Sunday the 1st of August.

You do me, I daresay, the justice to believe that whilst this state of
things lasted I saw very well, how little mention soever I might make of
it at the time, that no man in the Ministry, or in the party, was so much
exposed as myself.  I could expect no quarter from the Whigs, for I had
deserved none.  There were persons amongst them for whom I had great
esteem and friendship; yet neither with these, nor with any others, had I
preserved a secret correspondence, which might be of use to me in the day
of distress: and besides the general character of my party, I knew that
particular prejudices were entertained against me at Hanover.  The Whigs
wanted nothing but an opportunity of attacking the peace, and it could
hardly be imagined that they would stop there.  In which case I knew that
they could have hold on no man so much as myself: the instructions, the
orders, the memorials had been drawn by me; the correspondence relating
to it in France, and everywhere else, had been carried on by me; in a
word, my hand appeared to almost every paper which had been writ in the
whole course of the negotiation.  To all these considerations I added
that of the weight of personal resentment, which I had created against
myself at home and abroad: in part unavoidably, by the share I was
obliged to take in these affairs; and in part, if you will,
unnecessarily, by the warmth of my temper, and by some unguarded
expressions, for which I have no excuse to make but that which Tacitus
makes for his father-in-law, Julius Agricola: “honestius putabam
offendere, quam odisse.”

Having this prospect of being distinguished from the rest of my party, in
the common calamity, by severer treatment, I might have justified myself,
by reason and by great authorities too, if I had made early provision, at
least to be safe when I should be no longer useful.  How I could have
secured this point I do not think fit to explain: but certain it is that
I made no one step towards it.  I resolved not to abandon my party by
turning Whig, or, which is worse a great deal, whimsical; nor to treat
separately from it.  I resolved to keep myself at liberty to act on a
Tory bottom.  If the Queen disgraced Oxford and continued to live
afterwards, I knew we should have time and means to provide for our
future safety: if the Queen died, and left us in the same unfortunate
circumstances, I expected to suffer for and with the Tories; and I was
prepared for it.

The thunder had long grumbled in the air; and yet when the bolt fell,
most of our party appeared as much surprised as if they had had no reason
to expect it.  There was a perfect calm and universal submission through
the whole kingdom.  The Chevalier, indeed, set out as if his design had
been to gain the coast and to embark for Great Britain; and the Court of
France made a merit to themselves of stopping him and obliging him to
return.  But this, to my certain knowledge, was a farce acted by concert,
to keep up an opinion of his character, when all opinion of his cause
seemed to be at an end.  He owned this concert to me at Bar, on the
occasion of my telling him that he would have found no party ready to
receive him, and that the enterprise would have been to the last degree
extravagant.  He was at this time far from having any encouragement: no
party numerous enough to make the least disturbance was formed in his
favour.  On the King’s arrival the storm arose.  The menaces of the
Whigs, backed by some very rash declarations, by little circumstances of
humour which frequently offend more than real injuries, and by the entire
change of all the persons in employment, blew up the coals.

At first many of the Tories had been made to entertain some faint hopes
that they would be permitted to live in quiet.  I have been assured that
the King left Hanover in that resolution.  Happy had it been for him and
for us if he had continued in it; if the moderation of his temper had not
been overborne by the violence of party, and his and the national
interest sacrificed to the passions of a few.  Others there were among
the Tories who had flattered themselves with much greater expectations
than these, and who had depended, not on such imaginary favour and
dangerous advancement as was offered them afterwards, but on real credit
and substantial power under the new government.  Such impressions on the
minds of men had rendered the two Houses of Parliament, which were then
sitting, as good courtiers to King George as ever they had been to Queen
Anne.  But all these hopes being at once and with violence extinguished,
despair succeeded in their room.

Our party began soon to act like men delivered over to their passions,
and unguided by any other principle; not like men fired by a just
resentment and a reasonable ambition to a bold undertaking.  They treated
the Government like men who were resolved not to live under it: and yet
they took no one measure to support themselves against it.  They
expressed, without reserve or circumspection, an eagerness to join in any
attempt against the Establishment which they had received and confirmed,
and which many of them had courted but a few weeks before; and yet in the
midst of all this bravery, when the election of the new Parliament came
on, some of these very men acted with the coolness of those who are much
better disposed to compound than to take arms.

The body of the Tories being in this temper, it is not to be wondered at
if they heated one another, and began apace to turn their eyes towards
the Pretender; and if those few who had already engaged with him, applied
themselves to improve the conjuncture, and endeavoured to list a party
for him.

I went, about a month after the Queen’s death, as soon as the Seals were
taken from me, into the country; and whilst I continued there, I felt the
general disposition to Jacobitism increase daily among people of all
ranks; amongst several who had been constantly distinguished by their
aversion to that cause.  But at my return to London in the month of
February or March, 1715, a few weeks before I left England, I began for
the first time in my whole life to perceive these general dispositions
ripen into resolutions, and to observe some regular workings among many
of our principal friends, which denoted a scheme of this kind.  These
workings, indeed, were very faint; for the persons concerned in carrying
them on did not think it safe to speak too plainly to men who were, in
truth, ill disposed to the Government because they neither found their
account at present under it nor had been managed with art enough to leave
them hopes of finding it hereafter, but who at the same time had not the
least affection for the Pretender’s person, nor any principle favourable
to his interest.

This was the state of things when the new Parliament which his Majesty
had called assembled.  A great majority of the elections had gone in
favour of the Whigs; to which the want of concert among the Tories had
contributed as much as the vigour of that party and the influence of the
new Government.  The Whigs came to the opening of this Parliament full of
as much violence as could possess men who expected to make their court,
to confirm themselves in power, and to gratify their resentments by the
same measures.  I have heard that it was a dispute among the Ministers
how far this spirit should be indulged; and that the King was determined,
or confirmed in a determination, to consent to the prosecutions, and to
give the reins to the party, by the representations that were made to him
that great difficulties would arise in the conduct of the Session if the
Court should appear inclined to check this spirit, and by Mr. W—’s
undertaking to carry all the business successfully through the House of
Commons if they were at liberty.  Such has often been the unhappy fate of
our Princes: a real necessity sometimes, and sometimes a seeming one, has
forced them to compound with a part of the nation at the expense of the
whole; and the success of their business for one year has been purchased
at the price of public disorder for many.

The conjuncture I am speaking of affords a memorable instance of this
truth.  If milder measures had been pursued, certain it is that the
Tories had never universally embraced Jacobitism.  The violence of the
Whigs forced them into the arms of the Pretender.  The Court and the
party seemed to vie with one another which should go the greatest lengths
in severity: and the Ministers, whose true interest it must at all times
be to calm the minds of men, and who ought never to set the examples of
extraordinary inquiries or extraordinary accusations, were upon this
occasion the tribunes of the people.

The Council of Regency which began to sit as soon as the Queen died,
acted like a council of the Holy Office.  Whoever looked on the face of
the nation saw everything quiet; not one of those symptoms appearing
which must have shown themselves more or less at that moment if in
reality there had been any measures taken during the former reign to
defeat the Protestant succession.  His Majesty ascended the throne with
as little contradiction and as little trouble as ever a son succeeded a
father in the possession of a private patrimony.  But he who had the
opportunity, which I had till my dismission, of seeing a great part of
what passed in that Council, would have thought that there had been an
opposition actually formed, that the new Establishment was attacked
openly from without and betrayed from within.

The same disposition continued after the King’s arrival.  This political
Inquisition went on with all the eagerness imaginable in seizing of
papers, in ransacking the Queen’s closet, and examining even her private
letters.  The Whigs had clamoured loudly, and affirmed in the face of the
world that the nation had been sold to France, to Spain, to the
Pretender; and whilst they endeavoured in vain, by very singular methods,
to find some colour to justify what they had advanced without proof, they
put themselves under an absolute necessity of grounding the most solemn
prosecution on things whereof they might indeed have proof, but which
would never pass for crimes before any judges but such as were parties at
the same time.

In the King’s first Speech from the Throne all the inflaming hints were
given, and all the methods of violence were chalked out to the two
Houses.  The first steps in both were perfectly answerable; and, to the
shame of the peerage be it spoken, I saw at that time several lords
concur to condemn in one general vote all that they had approved of in a
former Parliament by many particular resolutions.  Among several bloody
resolutions proposed and agitated at this time, the resolution of
impeaching me of high treason was taken; and I took that of leaving
England, not in a panic terror improved by the artifices of the Duke of
Marlborough (whom I knew even at that time too well to act by his advice
or information in any case), but on such grounds as the proceedings which
soon followed sufficiently justified, and as I have never repented
building upon.  Those who blamed it in the first heat were soon after
obliged to change their language; for what other resolution could I take?
The method of prosecution designed against me would have put me
immediately out of condition to act for myself, or to serve those who
were less exposed than me, but who were, however, in danger.  On the
other hand, how few were there on whose assistance I could depend, or to
whom I would, even in those circumstances, be obliged?  The ferment in
the nation was wrought up to a considerable height; but there was at that
time no reason to expect that it could influence the proceedings in
Parliament in favour of those who should be accused.  Left to its own
movement, it was much more proper to quicken than slacken the
prosecutions; and who was there to guide its motions?  The Tories who had
been true to one another to the last were a handful, and no great vigour
could be expected from them.  The Whimsicals, disappointed of the figure
which they hoped to make, began, indeed, to join their old friends.  One
of the principal amongst them was so very good as to confess to me that
if the Court had called the servants of the late Queen to account, and
had stopped there, he must have considered himself as a judge, and have
acted according to his conscience on what should have appeared to him;
but that war had been declared to the whole Tory party, and that now the
state of things was altered.  This discourse needed no commentary, and
proved to me that I had never erred in the judgment I made of this set of
men.  Could I then resolve to be obliged to them, or to suffer with
Oxford?  As much as I still was heated by the disputes in which I had
been all my life engaged against the Whigs, I would sooner have chose to
owe my security to their indulgence than to the assistance of the
Whimsicals; but I thought banishment, with all her train of evils,
preferable to either.  I abhorred Oxford to that degree that I could not
bear to be joined with him in any case.  Nothing, perhaps, contributed so
much to determine me as this sentiment.  A sense of honour would not have
permitted me to distinguish between his case and mine own; and it was
worse than death to lie under the necessity of making them the same, and
of taking measures in concert with him.

I am now come to the time at which I left England, and have finished the
first part of that deduction of facts which I proposed to lay before you.
I am hopeful that you will not think it altogether tedious or
unnecessary; for although very little of what I have said can be new to
you, yet this summary account will enable you with greater ease to recall
to your memory the passages of those four years wherewith all that I am
going to relate to you has an immediate and necessary connection.

In what has been said I am far from making my own panegyric.  I had not
in those days so much merit as was ascribed to me, nor since that time
have I had so little as the same persons allowed me.  I committed,
without dispute, many faults, and a greater man than I can pretend to be,
constituted in the same circumstances, would not have kept clear of all;
but with respect to the Tories I committed none.  I carried the point of
party honour to the height, and specified everything to my attachment to
them during this period of time.  Let us now examine whether I have done
so during the rest.

When I arrived in France, about the end of March, 1715, the affairs of
England were represented to me in another light than I had seen them in
when I looked upon them with my own eyes very few weeks before.  I found
the persons who were detached to speak with me prepared to think that I
came over to negotiate for the Pretender; and when they perceived that I
was more ignorant than they imagined, I was assured by them that there
would be suddenly a universal rising in England and Scotland.  The
leaders were named to me, their engagements specified, and many
gentlemen, yourself among others, were reckoned upon for particular
services, though I was certain you had never been treated with; from
whence I concluded, and the event has justified my opinion, that these
assurances had been given on the general characters of men by such of our
friends as had embarked sooner and gone farther than the rest.

This management surprised me extremely.  In the answers I made I
endeavoured to set the mistake right, to show that things were far from
the point of maturity imagined, that the Chevalier had yet no party for
him, and that nothing could form one but the extreme violence which the
Whigs threatened to exercise.  Great endeavours were used to engage me in
this affair, and to prevail on me to answer the letter of invitation sent
me from Bar.  I alleged, as it was true, that I had no commission from
any person in England, and that the friends I left behind me were the
only persons who could determine me, if any could, to take such a step.
As to the last proposition, I absolutely refused it.

In the uncertainty of what would happen—whether the prosecutions would be
pushed, which was most probable, in the manner intended against me, and
against others, for all of whom, except the Earl of Oxford, I had as much
concern as for myself; or whether the Whigs would relent, drop some, and
soften the fate of others—I resolved to conduct myself so as to create no
appearance which might be strained into a pretence for hard usage, and
which might be retorted on my friends when they debated for me, or when
they defended themselves.  I saw the Earl of Stair; I promised him that I
would enter into no Jacobite engagements, and I kept my word with him.  I
wrote a letter to Mr. Secretary Stanhope which might take off any
imputation of neglect of the Government, and I retired into Dauphine to
remove the objection of residence near the Court of France.

This retreat from Paris was censured in England, and styled a desertion
of my friends and of their cause, with what foundation let any reasonable
man determine.  Had I engaged with the Pretender before the party acted
for him, or required of me that I should do so, I had taken the air of
being his man; whereas I looked on myself as theirs.  I had gone about to
bring them into his measures; whereas I never intended, even since that
time, to do anything more than to make him as far as possible act
conformably to their views.

During the short time I continued on the banks of the Rhone the
prosecutions were carried on at Westminster with the utmost violence, and
the ferment among the people was risen to such a degree that it could end
in nothing better—it might have ended in something worse—than it did.
The measures which I observed at Paris had turned to no account; on the
contrary, the letter which I wrote to Mr. Secretary Stanhope was quoted
as a base and fawning submission, and what I intended as a mark of
respect to the Government and a service to my friends was perverted to
ruin me in the opinion of the latter.  The Act of Attainder, in
consequence of my impeachment, had passed against me for crimes of the
blackest dye; and among other inducements to pass it, my having been
engaged in the Pretender’s interest was one.  How well founded this
Article was has already appeared; I was just as guilty of the rest.  The
correspondence with me was, you know, neither frequent nor safe.  I heard
seldom and darkly from you, and though I saw well enough which way the
current ran, yet I was entirely ignorant of the measures you took, and of
the use you intended to make of me.  I contented myself, therefore, with
letting you all know that you had but to command me, and that I was ready
to venture in your service the little which remained, as frankly as I had
exposed all which was gone.  At last your commands came, and I shall show
you in what manner I executed them.

The person who was sent to me arrived in the beginning of July, 1715, at
the place where I was.  He spoke in the name of all the friends whose
authority could influence me, and he brought me word that Scotland was
not only ready to take arms, but under some sort of dissatisfaction to be
withheld from beginning; that in England the people were exasperated
against the Government to such a degree that, far from wanting to be
encouraged, they could not be restrained from insulting it on every
occasion; that the whole Tory party was become avowedly Jacobite; that
many officers of the army and the majority of the soldiers were very well
affected to the cause; that the City of London was ready to rise; and
that the enterprises for seizing of several places were ripe for
execution: in a word, that most of the principal Tories were in a concert
with the Duke of Ormond, for I had pressed particularly to be informed
whether his Grace acted alone, or, if not, who were his council; and that
the others were so disposed that there remained no doubt of their joining
as soon as the first blow should be struck.  He added that my friends
were a little surprised to observe that I lay neuter in such a
conjuncture.  He represented to me the danger I ran of being prevented by
people of all sides from having the merit of engaging early in this
enterprise, and how unaccountable it would be for a man impeached and
attainted under the present Government to take no share in bringing about
a revolution so near at hand and so certain.  He entreated that I would
defer no longer to join the Chevalier, to advise and assist in carrying
on his affairs, and to solicit and negotiate at the Court of France,
where my friends imagined that I should not fail to meet with a
favourable reception, and from whence they made no doubt of receiving
assistance in a situation of affairs so critical, so unexpected, and so
promising.  He concluded by giving me a letter from the Pretender, whom
he had seen in his way to me, in which I was pressed to repair without
loss of time to Commercy; and this instance was grounded on the message
which the bearer of the letter had brought me from my friends in England.
Since he was sent to me, it had been more proper to have come directly
where I was; but he was in haste to make his own court, and to deliver
the assurances which were entrusted to him.  Perhaps, too, he imagined
that he should tie the knot faster on me by acquainting me that my
friends had actually engaged for themselves and me, than by barely
telling me that they desired I would engage for myself and them.

In the progress of the conversation he related a multitude of facts which
satisfied me as to the general disposition of the people; but he gave me
little satisfaction as to the measures taken for improving this
disposition, for driving the business on with vigour if it tended to a
revolution, or for supporting it with advantage if it spun into a war.
When I questioned him concerning several persons whose disinclination to
the Government admitted of no doubt, and whose names, quality, and
experience were very essential to the success of the undertaking, he
owned to me that they kept a great reserve, and did, at most, but
encourage others to act by general and dark expressions.

I received this account and this summons ill in my bed; yet, important as
the matter was, a few minutes served to determine me.  The circumstances
wanting to form a reasonable inducement to engage did not escape me.  But
the smart of a Bill of Attainder tingled in every vein; and I looked on
my party to be under oppression and to call for my assistance.  Besides
which I considered, first, that I should certainly be informed, when I
conferred with the Chevalier, of many particulars unknown to this
gentleman; for I did not imagine that you could be so near to take arms,
as he represented you to be, on no other foundation than that which he
exposed.  And, secondly, that I was obliged in honour to declare, without
waiting for a more particular information of what might be expected from
England, since my friends had taken their resolution to declare, without
any previous assurance of what might be expected from France.  This
second motive weighed extremely with me at that time; there is, however,
more sound than sense in it, and it contains the original error to which
all your subsequent errors, and the thread of misfortunes which followed,
are to be ascribed.

My resolution thus taken, I lost no time in repairing to Commercy.  The
very first conversations with the Chevalier answered in no degree my
expectations; and I assure you, with great truth, that I began even then,
if not to repent of my own rashness, yet to be fully convinced both of
yours and mine.

He talked to me like a man who expected every moment to set out for
England or Scotland, but who did not very well know for which.  And when
he entered into the particulars of his affairs I found that concerning
the former he had nothing more circumstantial nor positive to go upon
than what I had already heard.  The advices which were sent from thence
contained such assurances of success as it was hard to think that men who
did not go upon the surest grounds would presume to give.  But then these
assurances were general, and the authority seldom satisfactory.  Those
which came from the best hands were verbal, and often conveyed by very
doubtful messengers; others came from men whose fortunes were as
desperate as their counsels; and others came from persons whose situation
in the world gave little reason to attend to their judgment in matters of
this kind.

The Duke of Ormond had been for some time, I cannot say how long, engaged
with the Chevalier.  He had taken the direction of this whole affair, as
far as it related to England, upon himself, and had received a commission
for this purpose, which contained the most ample powers that could be
given.  After this, one would be apt to imagine that the principles on
which the Pretender should proceed, and the Tories engage, in this
service had been laid down; that a regular and certain method of
correspondence had been established; that the necessary assistances had
been specified; and that positive assurances had been given of them.
Nothing less.  In a matter as serious as this, all was loose and
abandoned to the disposition of fortune.  The first point had never been
touched upon; by what I have said above you see how little care was taken
of the second; and as to the third, the Duke had asked a small body of
regular forces, a sum of money, and a quantity of arms and ammunition.
He had been told in answer by the Court of France that he must absolutely
despair of any number of troops whatever, but he had been made in general
to hope for some money, some arms, and some ammunition; a little sum had,
I think, been advanced to him.  In a case so plain as this it is hard to
conceive how any man could err.  The assistances demanded from France at
this time, and even greater than these, will appear, in the sequel of
this relation, by the sense of the whole party, to have been deemed
essentially necessary to success.  In such an uncertainty, therefore,
whether even these could be obtained, or rather with so much reason to
apprehend that they could not, it was evident that the Tories ought to
have lain still.  They might have helped the ferment against the
Government, but should have avoided with the utmost care the giving any
alarm or even suspicion of their true design, and have resumed or not
resumed it as the Chevalier was able or not able to provide the troops,
the arms, the money, etc.  Instead of which those who were at the head of
the undertaking, and therefore answerable for the measures which were
pursued, suffered the business to jog merrily on.  They knew in general
how little dependence was to be placed on foreign succour, but acted as
if they had been sure of it; while the party were rendered sanguine by
their passions, and made no doubt of subverting a Government they were
angry with, both one and the other made as much bustle and gave as great
alarm as would have been imprudent even at the eve of a general
insurrection.  This appeared to me to be the state of things with respect
to England when I arrived at Commercy.

The Scots had long pressed the Chevalier to come amongst them, and had of
late sent frequent messages to quicken his departure, some of which were
delivered in terms much more zealous than respectful.  The truth is, they
seemed in as much haste to begin as if they had thought themselves able
to do the work alone; as if they had been apprehensive of no danger but
that of seeing it taken out of their hands and of having the honour of it
shared by others.  However, that which was wanting on the part of England
was not wanting in Scotland; the Scots talked aloud, but they were in a
condition to rise.  They took little care to keep their intentions
secret, but they were disposed to put those intentions into immediate
execution, and thereby to render the secret no longer necessary.  They
knew upon whom to depend for every part of the work, and they had
concerted with the Chevalier even to the place of his landing.

There was need of no great sagacity to perceive how unequal such
foundations were to the weight of the building designed to be raised on
them.  The Scots, with all their zeal and all their valour, could bring
no revolution about unless in concurrence with the English; and among the
latter nothing was ripe for such an undertaking but the temper of the
people, if that was so.  I thought, therefore, that the Pretender’s
friends in the North should be kept from rising till those in the South
had put themselves in a condition to act; and that in the meanwhile the
utmost endeavours ought to be used with the King of France to espouse the
cause; and that a plan of the design, with a more particular
specification of the succours desired, as well as of the time when and
the place to which they should be conveyed, ought to be written for;—all
which I was told by the Marshal of Berwick, who had the principal
direction at that time of these affairs in France, and I daresay very
truly, had been often asked, but never sent.  I looked on this enterprise
to be of the nature of those which can hardly be undertaken more than
once, and I judged that the success of it would depend on timing as near
as possible together the insurrection in both parts of the island and the
succours from hence.  The Pretender approved this opinion of mine.  He
instructed me accordingly, and I left Lorraine after having accepted the
Seals much against my inclination.  I made one condition with him; it was
this—that I should be at liberty to quit a station which my humour and
many other considerations made me think myself very unfit for, whenever
the occasion upon which I engaged was over, one way or other; and I
desire you to remember that I did so.

I arrived at Paris towards the end of July, 1715.  You will observe that
all I was charged with, and all by consequence that I am answerable for,
was to solicit this Court and to dispose them to grant us the succours
necessary to make the attempt as soon as we should know certainly from
England in what it was desired that these succours should consist and
whither they should be sent.  Here I found a multitude of people at work,
and every one doing what seemed good in his own eyes; no subordination,
no order, no concert.  Persons concerned in the management of these
affairs upon former occasions have assured me this is always the case.
It might be so to some degree, but I believe never so much as now.  The
Jacobites had wrought one another up to look on the success of the
present designs as infallible.  Every meeting-house which the populace
demolished, every little drunken riot which happened, served to confirm
them in these sanguine expectations; and there was hardly one amongst
them who would lose the air of contributing by his intrigues to the
Restoration, which, he took it for granted, would be brought about,
without him, in a very few weeks.

Care and hope sat on every busy Irish face.  Those who could write and
read had letters to show; and those who had not arrived to this pitch of
erudition had their secrets to whisper.  No sex was excluded from this
Ministry.  Fanny Oglethorpe, whom you must have seen in England, kept her
corner in it, and Olive Trant was the great wheel of our machine.

I imagine that this picture, the lines of which are not in the least too
strong, would serve to represent what passed on your side of the water at
the same time.  The letters which came from thence seemed to me to
contain rather such things as the writers wished might be true, than such
as they knew to be so: and the accounts which were sent from hence were
of the same kind.  The vanity of some and the credulity of others
supported this ridiculous correspondence; and I question not but very
many persons, some such I have known, did the same thing from a principle
which they took to be a very wise one: they imagined that they helped by
these means to maintain and to increase the spirit of the party in
England and France.  They acted like Thoas, that turbulent Ætolian, who
brought Antiochus into Greece: “quibus mendaciis de rege, multiplicando
verbis copias ejus, erexerat multorum in Græcia animos; iisdem et regis
spem inflabat, omnium votis eum arcessi.”  Thus were numbers of people
employed under a notion of advancing the business, or from an affectation
of importance, in amusing and flattering one another and in sounding the
alarm in the ears of an enemy whom it was their interest to surprise.
The Government of England was put on its guard: and the necessity of
acting, or of laying aside with some disadvantage all thoughts of acting
for the present, was precipitated before any measures necessary to enable
you to act had been prepared, or almost thought of.

If his Majesty did not, till some short time after this, declare the
intended invasion to Parliament it was not for want of information.
Before I came to Paris, what was doing had been discovered.  The little
armament made at the Havre, which furnished the only means the Chevalier
then had for his transportation into Britain, which had exhausted the
treasury of St. Germains, and which contained all the arms and ammunition
that could be depended upon for the whole undertaking, though they were
hardly sufficient to begin the work even in Scotland, was talked of
publicly.  A Minister less alert and less capable than the Earl of Stair
would easily have been at the bottom of the secret, for so it was called,
when the particulars of messages received and sent, the names of the
persons from whom they came, and by whom they were carried, were
whispered about at tea-tables and in coffee-houses.

In short, what by the indiscretion of people here, what by the rebound
which came often back from London, what by the private interests and
ambitious views of persons in the French Court, and what by other causes
unnecessary to be examined now, the most private transactions came to
light: and they who imagined that they trusted their heads to the keeping
of one or two friends, were in reality at the mercy of numbers.  Into
such company was I fallen for my sins; and it is upon the credit of such
a mob Ministry that the Tories have judged me capable of betraying a
trust, or incapable of discharging it.

I had made very little progress in the business which brought me to
Paris, when the paper so long expected was sent, in pursuance of former
instances, from England.  The unanimous sense of the principal persons
engaged was contained in it.  The whole had been dictated word for word
to the gentleman who brought it over, by the Earl of Mar, and it had been
delivered to him by the Duke of Ormond.  I was driving in the wide ocean
without a compass when this dropped unexpectedly into my hands.  I
received it joyfully, and I steered my course exactly by it.  Whether the
persons from whom it came pursued the principles and observed the rules
which they laid down as the measures of their own conduct and of ours,
will appear by the sequel of this relation.

This memorial asserted that there were no hopes of succeeding in a
present undertaking, for many reasons deduced in it, without an immediate
and universal rising of the people in all parts of England upon the
Chevalier’s arrival; and that this insurrection was in no degree probable
unless he brought a body of regular troops along with him: that if this
attempt miscarried, his cause and his friends, the English liberty and
Government, would be utterly ruined: but if by coming without troops he
resolved to risk these and everything else, he must set out so as not to
arrive before the end of September, to justify which opinion many
arguments were urged.  In this case twenty thousand arms, a train of
artillery, five hundred officers with their servants, and a considerable
sum of money were demanded: and as soon as they should be informed that
the Chevalier was in condition to make this provision, it was said that
notice should be given him of the places to which he might send, and of
the persons who were to be trusted.  I do not mention some inconveniences
which they touched upon arising from a delay; because their opinion was
clearly for this delay, and because that they could not suppose that the
Chevalier would act, or that those about him would advise him to act,
contrary to the sense of all his friends in England.  No time was lost in
making the proper use of this paper.  As much of it as was fit to be
shown to this Court was translated into French, and laid before the King
of France.  I was now able to speak with greater assurance, and in some
sort to undertake conditionally for the event of things.

The proposal of violating treaties so lately and so solemnly concluded,
was a very bold one to be made to people, whatever their inclinations
might be, whom the war had reduced to the lowest ebb of riches and power.
They would not hear of a direct and open engagement, such as the sending
a body of troops would have been; neither would they grant the whole of
what was asked in the second plan.  But it was impossible for them, or
any one else, to foresee how far those steps which they were willing to
take, well improved, might have encouraged or forced them to go.  They
granted us some succours, and the very ship in which the Pretender was to
transport himself was fitted out by Depine d’Anicant at the King of
France’s expense.  They would have concealed these appearances as much as
they could; but the heat of the Whigs and the resentment of the Court of
England might have drawn them in.  We should have been glad indirectly to
concur in fixing these things upon them: and, in a word, if the late King
had lived six months longer, I verily believe there had been war again
between England and France.  This was the only point of time when these
affairs had, to my apprehension, the least reasonable appearance even of
possibility: all that preceded was wild and uncertain: all that followed
was mad and desperate.  But this favourable aspect had an extreme short
duration.  Two events soon happened, one of which cast a damp on all we
were doing, and the other rendered vain and fruitless all we had done.
The first was the arrival of the Duke of Ormond in France, the other was
the death of the King.

We had sounded the duke’s name high.  His reputation and the opinion of
his power were great.  The French began to believe that he was able to
form and to head a party; that the troops would join him; that the nation
would follow the signal whenever he drew his sword; and the voice of the
people, the echo of which was continually in their ears, confirmed them
in this belief.  But when, in the midst of all these bright ideas, they
saw him arrive, almost literally alone, when, to excuse his coming, I was
obliged to tell them that he could not stay, they sank at once from their
hopes, and that which generally happens happened in this case: because
they had had too good an opinion of the cause, they began to form too bad
a one.  Before this time, if they had no friendship for the Tories, they
had at least some consideration and esteem.  After this, I saw nothing
but compassion in the best of them, and contempt in the others.

When I arrived at Paris, the King was already gone to Marly, where the
indisposition which he had begun to feel at Versailles increased upon
him.  He was the best friend the Chevalier had: and when I engaged in
this business, my principal dependence was on his personal character.
This failed me to a great degree; he was not in a condition to exert the
same vigour as formerly.  The Ministers who saw so great an event as his
death to be probably at hand, a certain minority, an uncertain regency,
perhaps confusion, at best a new face of Government and a new system of
affairs, would not, for their own sakes, as well as for the sake of the
public, venture to engage far in any new measures.  All I had to
negotiate by myself first, and in conjunction with the Duke of Ormond
soon afterwards, languished with the King.  My hopes sank as he declined,
and died when he expired.  The event of things has sufficiently shown
that all those which were entertained by the duke and the Jacobite party
under the Regency, were founded on the grossest delusions imaginable.
Thus was the project become impracticable before the time arrived which
was fixed by those who directed things in England for putting it in

The new Government of France appeared to me like a strange country.  I
was little acquainted with the roads.  Most of the faces I met with were
unknown to me, and I hardly understood the language of the people.  Of
the men who had been in power under the late reign, many were discarded,
and most of the others were too much taken up with the thoughts of
securing themselves under this, to receive applications in favour of the
Pretender.  The two men who had the greatest appearance of favour and
power were D’Aguesseau and Noailles.  One was made Chancellor, on the
death of Voisin, from Attorney-General; and the other was placed at the
head of the Treasury.  The first passes for a man of parts, but he never
acted out of the sphere of the law: I had no acquaintance with him before
this time; and when you consider his circumstances and mine, you will not
think it could be very easy for me to get access to him now.  The latter
I had known extremely well whilst the late King lived: and from the same
Court principle, as he was glad to be well with me then, he would hardly
know me now.  The Minister who had the principal direction of foreign
affairs I lived in friendship with, and I must own, to his honour, that
he never encouraged a design which he knew that his Court had no
intention of supporting.

There were other persons, not to tire you with farther particulars upon
this head, of credit and influence with whom I found indirect and private
ways of conversing; but it was in vain to expect any more than civil
language from them in a case which they found no disposition in their
Master to countenance, and in favour of which they had no prejudices of
their own.  The private engagements into which the Duke of Orleans had
entered with his Majesty during the life of the late King will abate of
their force as the Regent grows into strength, and would soon have had no
force at all if the Pretender had met with success: but in these
beginnings they operated very strongly.  The air of this Court was to
take the counterpart of all which had been thought right under Louis XIV.
“Cela resemble trop à l’ancien système” was an answer so often given that
it became a jest and almost a proverb.  But to finish this account with a
fact which is incredible, but strictly true; the very peace which had
saved France from ruin, and the makers of it, were become as unpopular at
this Court as at the Court of Vienna.

The Duke of Ormond flattered himself, in this state of things, that he
had opened a private and sure channel of arriving at the Regent, and of
bending him to his purposes.  His Grace and I lived together at this time
in an house which one of my friends had lent me.  I observed that he was
frequently lost, and that he made continual excursions out of town, with
all the mysterious precaution imaginable.  I doubted at first whether
those intrigues related to business or pleasure.  I soon discovered with
whom they were carried on, and had reason to believe that both were
mingled in them.  It is necessary that I explain this secret to you.

Mrs. Trant, whom I have named above, had been preparing herself for the
retired abstemious life of a Carmelite by taking a surfeit of the
pleasures of Paris, when, a little before the death of the Queen, or
about that time, she went into England.  What she was entrusted either by
the Chevalier, or any other person, to negotiate there, I am ignorant of;
and it imports not much to know.  In that journey she made or renewed an
acquaintance with the Duke of Ormond.  The scandalous chronicle affirms
that she brought with her, when she returned into France, a woman of whom
I have not the least knowledge, but who was probably handsome, since
without beauty such a merchandise would not have been saleable, nor have
answered the design of the importer; and that she made this way her court
to the Regent.  Whatever her merit was, she kept a correspondence with
him, and put herself upon that foot of familiarity which he permits all
those who contribute to his pleasures to assume.  She was placed by him,
as she told me herself, where I found her some time after that which I am
speaking of, in the house of an ancient gentlewoman who had formerly been
Maid of Honour to Madame, and who had contracted at Court a spirit of
intrigue which accompanied her in her retreat.

These two had associated to them the Abbé de Tesieu in all the political
parts of their business; for I will not suppose that so reverend an
ecclesiastic entered into any other secret.  This Abbé is the Regent’s
secretary; and it was chiefly through him that the private treaty had
been carried on between his master and the Earl of Stair in the King’s
reign.  Whether the priest had stooped at the lure of a cardinal’s hat,
or whether he acted the second part by the same orders that he acted the
first, I know not.  This is sure, and the British Minister was not the
bubble of it—that whilst he concerted measures on one hand to traverse
the Pretender’s designs, he testified on the other all the inclination
possible to his service.  A mad fellow who had been an intendant in
Normandy, and several other politicians of the lowest form, were at
different times taken into this famous Junto.

With these worthy people his Grace of Ormond negotiated; and no care was
omitted on his part to keep me out of the secret.  The reason of which,
as far as I am able to guess at, shall be explained to you by-and-by.  I
might very justly have taken this proceeding ill, and the duke will not
be able to find in my whole conduct towards him anything like it; I
protest to you very sincerely I was not in the least moved at it.

He advanced not a step in his business with these sham Ministers, and yet
imagined that he got daily ground.  I made no progress with the true
ones, but I saw it.  These, however, were not our only difficulties.  We
lay under another, which came from your side, and which embarrassed us
more.  The first hindered us from working forward to our point of view,
but the second took all point of view from us.

A paper was sent into England just before the death of the King of
France, which had been drawn by me at Chaville in concert with the Dukes
of Ormond and Berwick, and with Monsieur de Torcy.  This paper was an
answer to the memorial received from thence.  The state of this country
was truly represented in it: the difference was fixed between what had
been asked, and what might be expected from France; and upon the whole it
was demanded what our friends would do, and what they would have us to
do.  The reply to this came through the French Secretary of State to our
hands.  They declared themselves unable to say anything till they should
see what turn affairs would take on so great an event as the death of the
King, the report of which had reached them.

Such a declaration shut our mouths and tied our hands.  I confess I knew
neither how to solicit, nor what to solicit; this last message suspending
the project on which we had acted before, and which I kept as an
instruction constantly before my eyes.  It seemed to me uncertain whether
you intended to go on, or whether your design was to stifle, as much as
possible, all past transactions; to lie perfectly still; to throw upon
the Court the odium of having given a false alarm; and to wait till new
accidents at home, and a more favourable conjuncture abroad, might tempt
you to resume the enterprise.  Perhaps this would have been the wisest
game you could have played: but then you should have concerted it with us
who acted for you here.  You intended no such thing, as appeared
afterwards: and therefore those who acted for the party at London,
whoever they were, must be deemed inexcusable for leaving things on the
foot of this message, and giving us no advice fit to be depended upon for
many weeks.  Whilst preparations were to be made, and the work was to be
set a-going by assistance from hence, you might reasonably expect to hear
from us, and to be determined by us: but when all hopes of this kind
seemed to be gone, it was your part to determine us; and we could take no
resolution here but that of conforming ourselves to whatever should come
prescribed from England.

Whilst we were in this condition, the most desperate that can be
imagined, we began to receive verbal messages from you that no more time
was to be lost, and that the Chevalier should come away.  No man was, I
believe, ever so embarrassed as I found myself at that time.  I could not
imagine that you would content yourselves by loose verbal messages, after
all that had happened, to call us over; and I knew by experience how
little such messages are to be depended on.  For soon after I engaged in
these affairs, a monk arrived at Bar, despatched, as he affirmed, by the
Duke of Ormond, in whose name he insisted that the Chevalier should
hasten into Britain, and that nothing but his presence was wanting to
place the crown on his head.  The fellow delivered his errand so
positively, and so circumstantially, that the resolution was taken at Bar
to set out, and my rendezvous to join the Chevalier was appointed me.
This method to fetch a King, with as little ceremony as one would invite
a friend to supper, appeared somewhat odd to me, who was then very new in
these affairs.  But when I came to talk with the man, for by good luck he
had been sent for from Bar to Paris, I easily discerned that he had no
such commission as he pretended to, and that he acted of his own head.  I
presumed to oppose the taking any resolution upon his word, though he was
a monk: and soon after we knew from the Duke of Ormond himself that he
had never sent him.

This example made me cautious; but that which determined my opinion was,
that I could never imagine, without supposing you all run mad, that the
same men who judged this attempt unripe for execution, unless supported
by regular troops from France, or at least by all the other assistances
which are enumerated above, while the design was much more secret than at
present; when the King had no fleet at sea, nor more than eight thousand
men dispersed over the whole island; when we had the good wishes of the
French Court on our side, and were sure of some particular assistances,
and of a general connivance; that the same men, I say, should press for
making it now without any other preparation, when we had neither money,
arms, ammunition, nor a single company of foot; when the Government of
England was on its guard, national troops were raised, foreign forces
sent for, and France, like all the rest of the Continent, against us.  I
could not conceive such a strange combination of accidents as should make
the necessity of acting increase gradually upon us as the means of doing
so were taken from us.

Upon the whole matter, my opinion was, and I did not observe the Duke of
Ormond to differ from me, that we should wait till we heard from you in
such a manner as might assure us of what you intended to do yourselves,
and of what you expected from us; and that in the meanwhile we should go
as far as the little money which we had, and the little favour which was
shown us would allow, in getting some embarkations ready on the coast.

Sir George Byng had come into the road of Havre, and had demanded by name
several ships which belonged to us to be given up to him.  The Regent did
not think fit to let him have the ships; but he ordered them to be
unloaded, and their cargoes were put into the King’s magazines.  We were
in no condition to repair the loss; and therefore when I mention
embarkations, you will please to understand nothing more than vessels to
transport the Pretender’s person and the persons of those who should go
over with him.  This was all we could do, and this was not neglected.

We were thus employed when a gentleman arrived from Scotland to represent
the state of that country, and to require a definitive answer from the
Chevalier whether he would have the insurrection to be made immediately,
which they apprehended they might not be able to make at all if they were
obliged to defer it much longer.  This gentleman was sent instantly back
again, and was directed to let the persons he came from know that the
Chevalier was desirous to have the rising of his friends in England and
Scotland so adjusted that they might mutually assist each other and
distract the enemy; that he had not received a final answer from his
friends in England, but that he was in daily expectation of it; that it
was very much to be wished that all attempts in Scotland could be
suspended till such time as the English were ready; but that if the Scots
were so pressed that they must either submit or rise immediately, he was
of opinion they should rise, and he would make the best of his way to

What this forwardness in the Scots and this uncertainty and backwardness
in the English must produce, it was not hard to foresee; and, therefore,
that I might neglect nothing in my power to prevent any false measures—as
I was conscious to myself that I had neglected nothing to promote true
ones—I despatched a gentleman to London, where I supposed the Earl of Mar
to be, some days before the message I have just spoken of was sent to
Scotland.  I desired him to make my compliments to Lord Mar, and to tell
him from me that I understood it to be his sense, as well as the sense of
all our friends, that Scotland could do nothing effectually without the
concurrence of England, and that England would not stir without
assistance from abroad; that he might assure himself no such assistance
could be depended upon; and that I begged of him to make the inference
from these propositions.  The gentleman went; but upon his arrival at
London he found that the Earl of Mar was already set out to draw the
Highlanders into arms.  He communicated his message to a person of
confidence, who undertook to send it after his lordship; and this was the
utmost which either he or I could do in such a conjuncture.

You were now visibly departed from the very scheme which you had sent us
over, and from all the principles which had been ever laid down.  I did
what I could to keep up my own spirit, as well as the spirits of the
Chevalier, and of all those with whom I was in correspondence: I
endeavoured even to deceive myself.  I could not remedy the mischief, and
I was resolved to see the conclusion of the perilous adventure; but I own
to you that I thought then, and that I have not changed my opinion since,
that such measures as these would not be pursued by any reasonable man in
the most common affairs of life.  It was with the utmost astonishment
that I saw them pursued in the conduct of an enterprise which had for its
object nothing less than the disposition of crowns, and for the means of
bringing it about nothing less than a civil war.

Impatient that we heard nothing from England, when we expected every
moment to hear that the war was begun in Scotland, the Duke of Ormond and
I resolved to send a person of confidence to London.  We instructed him
to repeat to you the former accounts which we had sent over, to let you
know how destitute the Chevalier was either of actual support or even of
reasonable hopes, and to desire that you would determine whether he
should go to Scotland or throw himself on some part of the English coast.
This person was further instructed to tell you that, the Chevalier being
ready to take any resolution at a moment’s warning, you might depend on
his setting out the instant he received your answer; and, therefore, that
to save time, if your intention was to rise, you would do well to act
immediately, on the assurance that the plan you prescribed, be it what it
would, should be exactly complied with.  We took this resolution the
rather because one of the packets, which had been prepared in cypher to
give you an account of things, which had been put above three weeks
before into Monsieur de Torcy’s hands, and which by consequence we
thought to be in yours, was by this time sent back to me by this Minister
(I think, open), with an excuse that he durst not take upon him to
forward it.

The person despatched to London returned very soon to us, and the answer
he brought was, that since affairs grew daily worse, and could not mend
by delay, our friends in England had resolved to declare immediately, and
that they would be ready to join the Chevalier on his landing; that his
person would be as safe there as in Scotland, and that in every other
respect it was better that he should land in England; that they had used
their utmost endeavours, and that they hoped the western counties were in
a good posture to receive him.  To this was added a general indication of
the place he should come to, as near to Plymouth as possible.

You must agree that this was not the answer of men who knew what they
were about.  A little more precision was necessary in dictating a message
which was to have such consequences, and especially since the gentleman
could not fail to acquaint the persons he spoke with that the Chevalier
was not able to carry men enough to secure him from being taken up even
by the first constable.  Notwithstanding this, the Duke of Ormond set out
from Paris and the Chevalier from Bar.  Some persons were sent to the
North of England and others to London to give notice that they were both
on their way.  Their routes were so ordered that the Duke of Ormond was
to sail from the coast of Normandy some days before the Chevalier arrived
at St. Malo, to which place the duke was to send immediate notice of his
landing; and two gentlemen acquainted with the country, and perfectly
well known to all our friends in those parts, were despatched before,
that the people of Devonshire and Somersetshire, who were, we concluded,
in arms, might be apprised of the signals which were to be made from the
ships, and might be ready to receive the duke.

On the coast of France, and before his embarkation, the duke heard that
several of our principal friends had been seized immediately after the
person who came last from them had left London, that the others were all
dispersed, and that the consternation was universal.  He embarked,
notwithstanding this melancholy news, and, supported by nothing but the
firmness of his temper, he went over to the place appointed; he did more
than his part, and he found that our friends had done less than theirs.
One of the gentlemen who had passed over before him, and had traversed
part of the country, joined him on the coast, and assured him that there
was not the least room to expect a rising; in a word, he was refused a
night’s lodging in a country which we had been told was in a good posture
to receive the Chevalier, and where the duke expected that multitudes
would repair to him.

He returned to the coast of Brittany after this uncomfortable expedition,
where the Chevalier arrived about the same time from Lorraine.  What his
Grace proposed by the second attempt, which he made as soon as the vessel
could be refitted, to land in the same part of the island, I profess
myself to be ignorant.  I wrote him my opinion at the time, and I have
always thought that the storm in which he had like to have been cast
away, and which forced him back to the French coast, saved him from a
much greater peril—that of perishing in an attempt as full of extravagant
rashness, and as void of all reasonable meaning, as any of those
adventures which have rendered the hero of La Mancha immortal.

The Chevalier had now but one of these two things left him to do: one was
to return to Bar; the other was to go to Scotland, where there were
people in arms for him.  He took this last resolution.  He left Brittany,
where he had as many Ministers as there were people about him, and where
he was eternally teased with noisy disputes about what was to be done in
circumstances in which no reasonable thing could be done.  He sent to
have a vessel got ready for him at Dunkirk, and he crossed the country as
privately as he could.

Whilst all these things passed I remained at Paris to try if by any means
some assistance might be at last procured, without which it was evident,
even to those who flattered themselves the most, that the game was up.

No sooner was the Duke of Ormond gone from Paris on the design which I
have mentioned, and Mrs. Trant, who had accompanied him part of the way,
returned, but I was sent for to a little house at Madrid, in the Bois de
Boulogne, where she lived with Mademoiselle de Chaussery, the ancient
gentlewoman with whom the Duke of Orleans had placed her.  These two
persons opened to me what had passed whilst the Duke of Ormond was here,
and the hopes they had of drawing the Regent into all the measures
necessary to support the attempts which were making in favour of the

By what they told me at first I saw that they had been trusted, and by
what passed in the course of my treating with them it appeared that they
had the access which they pretended to.  All which I had been able to do
by proper persons and in proper methods, since the King of France’s
death, amounting to little or nothing, I resolved, at last, to try what
was to be done by this indirect way.  I put myself under the conduct of
these female managers, and without having the same dependence on them as
his Grace of Ormond had, I pushed their credit and their power as far as
they reached during the time I continued to see them.  I met with
smoother language and greater hopes than had been given me hitherto.  A
note signed by the Regent, supposed to be written to a woman, but which
was to be explained to be intended for the Earl of Mar, was put into my
hands to be sent to Scotland.  I took a copy of it, which you may see at
the end of these papers.  When Sir John Areskine came to press for
succour, the Regent was prevailed upon by these women to see him; but he
carried nothing real back with him except a quantity of gold, part of the
money which we had drawn from Spain, and which was lost, with the vessel,
in a very odd manner, on the Scotch coast.  The Duke of Ormond had been
promised seven or eight thousand arms, which were drawn out of the
magazines, and said to be lodged, I think, at Compiègne.  I used my
utmost efforts that these arms might be carried forward to the coast, and
I undertook for their transportation, but all was in vain, so that the
likelihood of bringing anything to effect in time appeared to me no
greater than I had found it before I entered into this intrigue.

I soon grew tired of a commerce which nothing but success could render
tolerable, and resolved to be no longer amused by the pretences which
were daily repeated to me, that the Regent had entertained personal
prejudices against me, and that he was insensibly and by degrees to be
dipped in our measures; that both these things required time, but that
they would certainly be brought about, and that we should then be able to
answer all the expectations of the English and the Scotch.  The first of
these pretences contained a fact which I could hardly persuade myself to
be true, because I knew very certainly that I had never given His Royal
Highness the least occasion for such prejudices; the second was a work
which might spin out into a great and uncertain length.  I took my
resolution to drive what related to myself to an immediate explanation,
and what related to others to an immediate decision; not to suffer any
excuse for doing nothing to be founded on my conduct, nor the salvation,
if I could hinder it, of so many gallant men as were in arms in Scotland,
to rest on the success of such womanish projects.  I shall tell you what
I did on the first head now, and what I did on the second, hereafter, in
its proper place.

The fact which it was said the Regent laid to my charge was a
correspondence with Lord Stair, and having been one night at his house
from whence I did not retire till three in the morning.  As soon as I got
hold of this I desired the Marshal of Berwick to go to him.  The Marshal
told him, from me, that I had been extremely concerned to hear in general
that I lay under his displeasure; that a story, which it was said he
believed, had been related to me; that I expected the justice, which he
could deny to no man, of having the accusation proved, in which case I
was contented to pass for the last of humankind, or of being justified if
it could not be proved.  He answered that such a story had been related
to him by such persons as he thought would not have deceived him; that he
had been since convinced that it was false, and that I should be
satisfied of his regard for me; but that he must own he was very uneasy
to find that I, who could apply to him through the Marshal d’Huxelles,
could choose to treat with Mrs. Trant and the rest; for he named all the
cabal, except his secretary, whom I had never met at Mademoiselle
Chaussery’s.  He added that these people teased him, at my instigation,
to death, and that they were not fit to be trusted with any business.  He
applied to some of them the severest epithets.  The Marshal of Berwick
replied that he was sure I should receive the whole of what he had been
pleased to say with the greatest satisfaction; that I had treated with
those persons much against my will; and, finally, that if his Royal
Highness would not employ them he was sure I would never apply to them.
In a conversation which I had not long after with him he spoke to me in
much the same terms as he had done to the Marshal.  I went from him very
ill edified as to his intentions of doing anything in favour of the
Chevalier; but I carried away with me this satisfaction, that he had
assigned me, from his own mouth, the person through whom I should make my
applications to him, and through whom I should depend on receiving his
answers; that he had disavowed all the little politic clubs, and had
commanded me to have no more to do with them.

Before I resume the thread of my narration give me leave to make some
reflection upon what I have been last saying to you.  When I met with the
Duke of Ormond at his return from the coast, he thought himself obliged
to say something to excuse his keeping me out of a secret which during
his absence I had been let into.  His excuse was that the Regent had
exacted from him that I should know nothing of the matter.  You will
observe that the account which I have given you seems to contradict this
assertion of his Grace, since it is hard to suppose that if the Regent
had exacted that I should be kept out of the secret, these women would
have dared to have let me into it, and since it is still harder to
suppose that the Regent would make this express condition with the Duke
of Ormond, and the moment the duke’s back was turned would suffer these
women to tease him from me and to bring me answers from him.  I am,
however, far from taxing the duke with affirming an untruth.  I believe
the Regent did make such a condition with him; and I will tell you how I
understand all this little management, which will explain a great deal to
you.  This Prince, with wit and valour, has joined all the irresolution
of temper possible, and is, perhaps, the man in the world the least
capable of saying “no” to your face.  From hence it happened that these
women, like multitudes of other people, forced him to say and do enough
to give them the air of having credit with him and of being trusted by
him.  This drew in the Duke of Ormond, who is not, I daresay, as yet
undeceived.  The Regent never intended from the first to do anything,
even indirectly, in favour of the Jacobite cause.  His interest was
plainly on the other side, and he saw it.  But then the same weakness in
his character carried him, as it would have done his great-uncle Gaston
in the same case, to keep measures with the Chevalier.  His
double-trimming character prevailed on him to talk with the Duke of
Ormond, but it carried him no farther.  I question not but he did, on
this occasion, what you must have observed many men to do: we not only
endeavour to impose on the world, but even on ourselves; we disguise our
weakness, and work up in our minds an opinion that the measure which we
fall into by the natural or habitual imperfection of our character is the
effect of a principle of prudence or of some other virtue.  Thus the
Regent, who saw the Duke of Ormond because he could not resist the
importunity of Olive Trant, and who gave hopes to the duke because he can
refuse nobody, made himself believe that it was a great strain of policy
to blow up the fire and to keep Britain embroiled.  I am persuaded that I
do not err in judging that he thought in this manner, and here I fix the
reason of his excluding me out of the commerce which he had with the Duke
of Ormond, of his affecting a personal dislike of me, and of his avoiding
any correspondence with me upon these matters, till I forced myself in a
manner upon him, and he could not keep me any longer at a distance
without departing from his first principle—that of keeping measures with
everybody.  He then threw me, or let me slide if you will, into the hands
of these women; and when he found that I pressed him hard that way, too,
he took me out of their hands and put me back again into the proper
channel of business, where I had not been long, as you will see
by-and-by, before the scene of amusement was finished.

Sir John Areskine told me when he came from the first audience that he
had of his Royal Highness, that he put him in mind of the encouragement
which he had given the Earl of Mar to take arms.  I never heard anything
of this kind but what Sir John let drop to me.  If the fact be true, you
see that the Scotch general had been amused by him with a witness.  The
English general was so in his turn; and while this was doing, the Regent
might think it best to have him to himself.  Four eyes comprehend more
objects than two, and I was a little better acquainted with the
characters of people, and the mass of the country, than the duke, though
this Court had been at first a strange country to me in comparison of the

An infinity of little circumstances concurred to make me form this
opinion, some of which are better felt than explained, and many of which
are not present to my memory.  That which had the greatest weight with
me, and which is, I think, decisive, I will mention.  At the very time
when it is pretended that the Regent treated with the Duke of Ormond on
the express condition that I should know nothing of the matter, two
persons of the first rank and greatest credit in this Court, when I made
the most pressing instances to them in favour of the Chevalier, threw out
in conversation to me that I should attach myself to the Duke of Orleans,
that in my circumstances I might want him, and that he might have
occasion for me.  Something was intimated of pensions and establishment,
and of making my peace at home.  I would not understand this language,
because I would not break with the people who held it: and when they saw
that I would not take the hints, they ceased to give them.

I fancy that you see by this time the motives of the Regent’s conduct.  I
am not, I confess, able to explain to you those of the Duke of Ormond’s;
I cannot so much as guess at them.  When he came into France, I was
careful to show him all the friendship and all the respect possible.  My
friends were his, my purse was his, and even my bed was his.  I went
further; I did all those things which touch most sensibly people who have
been used to pomp.  I made my court to him, and haunted his levee with
assiduity.  In return to this behaviour—which was the pure effect of my
goodwill, and which no duty that I owed his Grace, no obligation that I
had to him, imposed upon me—I have great reason to suspect that he went
at least half way in all which was said or done against me.  He threw
himself blindly into the snare which was laid for him; and instead of
hindering, as he and I in concert might have done, those affairs from
languishing in the manner they did several months, he furnished this
Court with an excuse for not treating with me, till it was too late to
play even a saving game; and he neither drove the Regent to assist the
Chevalier, nor to declare that he would not assist him; though it was
fatal to the cause in general, and to the Scotch in particular, not to
bring one of the two about.

It was Christmas 1715 before the Chevalier sailed for Scotland.  The
battle of Dunblain had been fought, the business of Preston was over:
there remained not the least room to expect any commotion in his favour
among the English; and many of the Scotch who had declared for him began
to grow cool in the cause.  No prospect of success could engage him in
this expedition: but it was become necessary for his reputation.  The
Scotch on one side spared not to reproach him, I think unjustly, for his
delay; and the French on the other were extremely eager to have him gone.
Some of those who knew little of British affairs imagined that his
presence would produce miraculous effects.  You must not be surprised at
this.  As near neighbours as we are, ninety-nine in an hundred among the
French are as little acquainted with the inside of our island as with
that of Japan.  Others of them were uneasy to see him skulking about in
France, and to be told of it every hour by the Earl of Stair.  Others,
again, imagined that he might do their business by going into Scotland,
though he should not do his own: this is, they flattered themselves that
he might keep a war for some time alive, which would employ the whole
attention of our Government; and for the event of which they had very
little concern.  Unable from their natural temper, as well as their
habits, to be true to any principle, they thought and acted in this
manner, whilst they affected the greatest friendship to the King, and
whilst they really did desire to enter into new and more intimate
engagements with him.  Whilst the Pretender continued in France they
could neither avow him, nor favour his cause: if he once set his foot on
Scotch ground, they gave hopes of indirect assistance; and if he could
maintain himself in any corner of the island, they could look upon him,
it was said, as a king.  This was their language to us.  To the British
Minister they denied, they forswore, they renounced; and yet the man of
the best head in all their councils, being asked by Lord Stair what they
intended to do, answered, before he was aware, that they pretended to be
neuters.  I leave you to judge how this slip was taken up.

As soon as I received advice that the Chevalier was sailed from Dunkirk,
I renewed, I redoubled all my applications.  I neglected no means, I
forgot no argument which my understanding could suggest to me.  What the
Duke of Ormond rested upon, you have seen already.  And I doubt very much
whether Lord Mar, if he had been here in my place, would have been able
to employ measures more effectual than those which I made use of.  I may,
without any imputation of arrogance, compare myself on this occasion with
his lordship, since there was nothing in the management of this affair
above my degree of capacity; nothing equal, either in extent or
difficulty, to the business which he was a spectator of, and which I
carried on when we were Secretaries of State together under the late

The King of France, who was not able to furnish the Pretender with money
himself, had written some time before his death to his grandson, and had
obtained a promise of four hundred thousand crowns from the King of
Spain.  A small part of this sum had been received by the Queen’s
Treasurer at St. Germains, and had been either sent to Scotland or
employed to defray the expenses which were daily making on the coast.  I
pressed the Spanish Ambassador at Paris; I solicited, by Lawless,
Alberoni at Madrid, and I found another more private and more promising
way of applying to him.  I took care to have a number of officers picked
out of the Irish troops which serve in that country; their routes were
given them, and I sent a ship to receive and transport them.  The money
came in so slowly and in such trifling sums that it turned to little
account, and the officers were on their way when the Chevalier returned
from Scotland.

In the summer endeavours had been used to prevail on the King of Sweden
to transport from Gottenburg the troops he had in that neighbourhood into
Scotland or into the North of England.  He had excused himself, not
because he disliked the proposition, which, on the contrary, he thought
agreeable to his interest, but for reasons of another kind.  First,
because the troops at hand for this service consisted in horse, not in
foot, which had been asked, and which were alone proper for such an
expedition.  Secondly, because a declaration of this sort might turn the
Protestant princes of the Empire, from whose offices he had still some
prospect of assistance, against him.  And thirdly, because although he
knew that the King of Great Britain was his enemy, yet they were not in
war together, nor had the latter acted yet awhile openly enough against
him to justify such a rupture.  At the time I am speaking of, these
reasons were removed by the King of Sweden’s being beat out of the Empire
by the little consequence which his management of the Protestant princes
was to him, and by the declaration of war which the King, as Elector of
Hanover, made.  I took up this negotiation therefore again.  The Regent
appeared to come into it.  He spoke fair to the Baron de Spar, who
pressed him on his side as I pressed him on mine, and promised, besides
the arrears of the subsidy due to the Swedes, an immediate advance of
fifty thousand crowns for the enterprise on Britain.  He kept the officer
who was to be despatched I know not how long booted; sometimes on
pretence that in the low state of his credit he could not find bills of
exchange for the sum, and sometimes on other pretences, and by these
delays he evaded his promise.  The French were very frank in declaring
that they could give us no money, and that they would give us no troops.
Arms, ammunition, and connivance they made us hope for.  The latter, in
some degree, we might have had perhaps; but to what purpose was it to
connive, when by a multitude of little tricks they avoided furnishing us
with arms and ammunition, and when they knew that we were utterly unable
to furnish ourselves with them?  I had formed the design of engaging
French privateers in the Pretender’s service.  They were to have carried
whatever we should have had to send to any part of Britain in their first
voyage, and after that to have cruised under his commission.  I had
actually agreed for some, and it was in my power to have made the same
bargains with others.  Sweden on one side and Scotland on the other would
have afforded them retreats.  And if the war had been kept up in any part
of the mountains, I conceive the execution of this design would have been
of the greatest advantage to the Pretender.  It failed because no other
part of the work went on.  He was not above six weeks in his Scotch
expedition, and these were the things I endeavoured to bring to bear in
his absence.  I had no great opinion of my success before he went; but
when he had made the last step which it was in his power to make, I
resolved to suffer neither him nor the Scotch to be any longer bubbles of
their own credulity and of the scandalous artifice of this Court.  It
would be tedious to enter into a longer narrative of all the useless
pains I took.  To conclude, therefore; in a conversation which I had with
the M. d’Huxelles, I took occasion to declare that I would not be the
instrument of amusing the Scotch, and that, since I was able to do them
no other service, I would at least inform them that they must flatter
themselves no longer with hopes of succour from France.  I added that I
would send them vessels which, with those already on the coast of
Scotland, might serve to bring off the Pretender, the Earl of Mar, and as
many others as possible.  The Marshal approved my resolution, and advised
me to execute it as the only thing which was left to do.  On this
occasion he showed no reserve, he was very explicit; and yet in this very
point of time the promise of an order was obtained, or pretended to be
obtained, from the Regent for delivering those stores of arms and
ammunition which belonged to the Chevalier, and which had been put into
the French magazines when Sir George Byng came to Havre.  Castel Blanco
is a Spaniard who married a daughter of Lord Melford, and who under that
title set up for a meddler in English business.  I cannot justly tell
whether the honour of obtaining this promise was ascribed to him, to the
Junto in the Bois de Boulogne, or to any one else.  I suppose they all
assumed a share of the merit.  The project was that these stores should
be delivered to Castel Blanco; that he should enter into a recognisance
to carry them to Spain, and from thence to the West Indies; that I should
provide a vessel for this purpose, which he should appear to hire or buy;
and that when she was at sea she should sail directly for Scotland.  You
cannot believe that I reckoned much on the effect of this order, but
accustomed to concur in measures the inutility of which I saw evidently
enough, I concurred in this likewise.  The necessary care was taken, and
in a fortnight’s time the ship was ready to sail, and no suspicion of her
belonging to the Chevalier or of her destination was gone abroad.

As this event made no alteration in my opinion, it made none in the
despatches which I prepared and sent to Scotland.  In them I gave an
account of what was in negotiation.  I explained to him what might be
hoped for in time if he was able to maintain himself in the mountains
without the succours he demanded from France.  But from France I told him
plainly that it was in vain to expect the least part of them.  In short,
I concealed nothing from him.  This was all I could do to put the
Chevalier and his council in a condition to judge what measures to take;
but these despatches never came to his hands.  He was sailed from
Scotland just before the gentleman whom I sent arrived on the coast.  He
landed at Graveline about the 22nd of February, and the first orders he
gave were to stop all the vessels which were going on his account to the
country from whence he came.

I saw him the morning after his arrival at St. Germains, and he received
me with open arms.  I had been, as soon as we heard of his return, to
acquaint the French Court with it.  They were not a little uneasy; and
the first thing which the M. d’Huxelles said to me upon it was that the
Chevalier ought to proceed to Bar with all the diligence possible, and to
take possession of his former asylum before the Duke of Lorraine had time
to desire him to look out for a residence somewhere else.  Nothing more
was meant by this proposal than to get him out of the dominions of France
immediately.  I was not in my mind averse to it for other reasons.
Nothing could be more disadvantageous to him than to be obliged to pass
the Alps, or to reside in the Papal territory on this side of them.
Avignon was already named for his retreat in common conversation, and I
know not whether from the time he left Scotland he ever thought of any
other.  I imagined that by surprising the Duke of Lorraine we should
furnish that Prince with an excuse to the King and to the Emperor; that
we might draw the matter into length, and gain time to negotiate some
other retreat than that of Avignon for the Chevalier.  The duke’s
goodwill there was no room to doubt of, and by what the Prince of
Vaudemont told me at Paris some time afterwards I am apt to think we
should have succeeded.  In all events, it could not be wrong to try every
measure, and the Pretender would have gone to Avignon with much better
grace when he had done, in the sight of the world, all he could to avoid

I found him in no disposition to make such haste; he had a mind, on the
contrary, to stay some time at St. Germains, and in the neighbourhood of
Paris, and to have a private meeting with the Regent.  He sent me back to
Paris to solicit this meeting.  I wrote, I spoke, to the Marshal
d’Huxelles; I did my best to serve him in his own way.  The Marshal
answered me by word of mouth and by letter; he refused me by both.  I
remember he added this circumstance: that he found the Regent in bed, and
acquainted him with what the Chevalier desired; that the Regent rose up
in a passion, said that the things which were asked were puerilities, and
swore that he would not see him.  I returned without having been able to
succeed in my commission; and I confess I thought the want of success on
this occasion no great misfortune.

It was two or three o’clock on the Sunday or Monday morning when I parted
from the Pretender.  He acquiesced in the determination of the Regent,
and declared that he would instantly set out for Lorraine; his trunks
were packed, his chaise was ordered to be at the door at five, and I sent
to Paris to acquaint the Minister that he was gone.  He asked me how soon
I should be able to follow him, gave me commissions for some things which
he desired I should bring after him, and, in a word, no Italian ever
embraced the man he was going to stab with greater show of affection and

Instead of taking post for Lorraine he went to the little house in the
Bois de Boulogne where his female Ministers resided; and there he
continued lurking for several days, and pleasing himself with the air of
mystery and business, whilst the only real business which he should have
had at that time lay neglected.  He saw the Spanish and Swedish Ministers
in this place.  I cannot tell, for I never thought it worth asking,
whether he saw the Duke of Orleans; possibly he might.  To have been
teased into such a step, which signified nothing, and which gave the
cabal an air of credit and importance, is agreeable enough to the levity
of his Royal Highness’s character.

The Thursday following, the Duke of Ormond came to see me, and after the
compliment of telling me that he believed I should be surprised at the
message he brought, he put into my hands a note to himself and a little
scrip of paper directed to me, and drawn in the style of a justice of
peace’s warrant.  They were both in the Chevalier’s handwriting, and they
were dated on the Tuesday, in order to make me believe that they had been
written on the road and sent back to the duke; his Grace dropped in our
conversation with great dexterity all the insinuations proper to confirm
me in this opinion.  I knew at this time his master was not gone, so that
he gave me two very risible scenes, which are frequently to be met with
when some people meddle in business; I mean that of seeing a man labour
with a great deal of awkward artifice to make a secret of a nothing, and
that of seeing yourself taken for a bubble when you know as much of the
matter as he who thinks that he imposes on you.

I cannot recollect precisely the terms of the two papers.  I remember
that the kingly laconic style of one of them, and the expression of
having no further occasion for my service, made me smile.  The other was
an order to give up the papers in my office, all which might have been
contained in a letter-case of a moderate size.  I gave the duke the Seals
and some papers which I could readily come at.  Some others—and, indeed,
all such as I had not destroyed—I sent afterwards to the Chevalier; and I
took care to convey to him by a safe hand several of his letters which it
would have been very improper the duke should have seen.  I am surprised
that he did not reflect on the consequence of my obeying his order
literally.  It depended on me to have shown his general what an opinion
the Chevalier had of his capacity.  I scorned the trick, and would not
appear piqued when I was far from being angry.  As I gave up without
scruple all the papers which remained in my hands, because I was
determined never to make use of them, so I confess to you that I took a
sort of pride in never asking for those of mine which were in the
Pretender’s hands; I contented myself with making the duke understand how
little need there was to get rid of a man in this manner who had made the
bargain which I had done at my engagement, and with taking this first
opportunity to declare that I would never more have to do with the
Pretender or his cause.

That I might avoid being questioned and quoted in the most curious and
the most babbling town in the world, I related what had passed to three
or four of my friends, and hardly stirred abroad during a fortnight out
of a little lodging which very few people knew of.  At the end of this
term the Marshal of Berwick came to see me, and asked me what I meant to
confine myself to my chamber when my name was trumpeted about in all the
companies of Paris, and the most infamous stories were spread concerning
me.  This was the first notice I had, and it was soon followed by others.
I appeared immediately in the world, and found there was hardly a
scurrilous tongue which had not been let loose on my subject; and that
those persons whom the Duke of Ormond and Earl of Mar must influence, or
might silence, were the loudest in defaming me.

Particular instances wherein I had failed were cited; and as it was the
fashion for every Jacobite to affect being in the secret, you might have
found a multitude of vouchers to facts which, if they had been true,
could in the nature of them be known to very few persons.

This method of beating down the reputation of a man by noise and
impudence imposed on the world at first, convinced people who were not
acquainted with me, and staggered even my friends.  But it ceased in a
few days to have any effect against me.  The malice was too gross to pass
upon reflection.  These stories died away almost as fast as they were
published, for this very reason, because they were particular.

They gave out, for instance, that I had taken to my own use a very great
sum of the Chevalier’s money, when it was notorious that I had spent a
great sum of my own in his service, and never would be obliged to him for
a farthing, in which case, I believe, I was single.  Upon this head it
was easy to appeal to a very honest gentleman, the Queen’s Treasurer at
St. Germains, through whose hands, and not through mine, went the very
little money which the Chevalier had.

They gave out that whilst he was in Scotland he never heard from me,
though it was notorious that I sent him no less than five expresses
during the six weeks which he consumed in this expedition.  It was easy,
on this head, to appeal to the persons to whom my despatches had been

These lies, and many others of the same sort, which were founded on
particular facts, were disproved by particular facts, and had not time—at
least at Paris—to make any impression.  But the principal crime with
which they charged me then, and the only one which since that time they
have insisted upon, is of another nature.  This part of their accusation
is general, and it cannot be refuted without doing what I have done
above, deducing several facts, comparing these facts together, and
reasoning upon them; nay, that which is worse is, that it cannot be fully
refuted without the mention of some facts which, in my present
circumstances, it would not be very prudent, though I should think it
very lawful, for me to divulge.  You see that I mean the starving the war
in Scotland, which it is pretended might have been supported, and might
have succeeded, too, if I had procured the succours which were asked—nay,
if I had sent a little powder.  This the Jacobites who affect moderation
and candour shrug their shoulders at: they are sorry for it, but Lord
Bolingbroke can never wash himself clean of this guilt; for these
succours might have been obtained, and a proof that they might is that
they were so by others.  These people leave the cause of this
mismanagement doubtful between my treachery and my want of capacity.  The
Pretender, with all the false charity and real malice of one who sets up
for devotion, attributes all his misfortunes to my negligence.

The letters which were written by my secretary, above a year ago, into
England; the marginal notes which have been made since to the letter from
Avignon; and what is said above, have set this affair in so clear a
light, that whoever examines, with a fair intention, must feel the truth,
and be convinced by it.  I cannot, however, forbear to make some
observations on the same subject here.  It is even necessary that I
should do so, in the design of making this discourse the foundation of my
justification to the Tories at present, and to the whole world in time.

There is nothing which my enemies apprehend so much as my justification:
and they have reason.  But they may comfort themselves with this
reflection—that it will be a misfortune which will accompany me to my
grave, that I suffered a chain of accidents to draw me into such measures
and such company; that I have been obliged to defend myself against such
accusations and such accusers; that by associating with so much folly and
so much knavery I am become the victim of both; that I was distressed by
the former, when the latter would have been less grievous to me, since it
is much better in business to be yoked to knaves than fools; and that I
put into their hands the means of loading me, like the scape-goat, with
all the evil consequences of their folly.

In the first letters which I received from the Earl of Mar he wrote for
arms, for ammunition, for money, for officers, and all things frankly, as
if these things had been ready, and I had engaged to supply him with
them, before he set up the standard at the Brae of Mar; whereas our
condition could not be unknown to his lordship; and you have seen that I
did all I could to prevent his reckoning on any assistance from hence.
As our hopes at this Court decreased, his lordship rose in his demands;
and at the time when it was visible that the Regent intended nothing less
than even privately and indirectly to support the Scotch, the Pretender
and the Earl of Mar wrote for regular forces and a train of artillery,
which was in effect to insist that France should enter into a war for
them.  I might, in answer to the first instances, have asked Lord Mar
what he did in Scotland, and what he meant by drawing his countrymen into
a war at this time, or at least upon this foot?  He who had dictated not
long before a memorial wherein it was asserted that to have a prospect of
succeeding in this enterprise there must be a universal insurrection, and
that such an insurrection was in no sort probable, unless a body of
troops was brought to support it?  He who thought that the consequence of
failing, when the attempt was once made, must be the utter ruin of the
cause and the loss of the British liberty?  He who concurred in demanding
as a _pis-aller_, and the least which could be insisted on, arms,
ammunition, artillery, money, and officers?  I say, I might have asked
what he meant to begin the dance when he had not the least assurance of
any succour, but, on the contrary, the greatest reason imaginable to
believe this affair was become as desperate abroad by the death of the
most Christian King as it was at home by the discovery of the design and
by the measures taken to defeat it?

Instead of acting this part, which would have been wise, I took that
which was plausible.  I resolved to contribute all I could to support the
business, since it was begun.  I encouraged his lordship as long as I had
the least ground for doing so, and I confirmed the Pretender in his
resolution of going to Scotland when he had nothing better left him to
do.  If I have anything to reproach myself with in the whole progress of
the war in Scotland, it is having encouraged Lord Mar too long.  But, on
the other hand, if I had given up the cause, and had written despondingly
to him before this Court had explained itself as fully as the Marshal
d’Huxelles did in the conversation which is mentioned above, it is easy
to see what turn would have been given to such a conduct.

The true cause of all the misfortunes which happened to the Scotch and to
those who took arms in the North of England lies here—that they rose
without any previous certainty of foreign help, in direct contradiction
to the scheme which their leaders themselves had formed.  The excuse
which I have heard made for this is that the Act of Parliament for
curbing the Highlanders was near to be put in execution; that they would
have been disarmed, and entirely disabled from rising at any other time,
if they had not rose at this.  You can judge better than I of the
validity of this excuse.  It seems to me that by management they might
have gained time, and that even when they had been reduced to the dilemma
supposed, they ought to have got together under pretence of resisting the
infractions of the Union without any mention of the Pretender, and have
treated with the Government on this foot.  By these means they might
probably have preserved themselves in a condition of avowing their design
when they should be sure of being backed from abroad.  At the worst, they
might have declared for the Chevalier when all other expedients failed
them.  In a word, I take this excuse not to be very good, and the true
reason of this conduct to have been the rashness of the people and the
inconsistent measures of their head.

But admitting the excuse to be valid, it remains still an undeniable
truth that this is the original fountain from whence all those waters of
bitterness flowed which so many unhappy people have drunk of.  I have
said already that the necessity of acting was precipitated before any
measures to act with success had been taken, and that the necessity of
doing so seemed to increase as the means of doing so were taken away.  To
whom is this to be ascribed?  Is it to be ascribed to me, who had no
share in these affairs till a few weeks before the Duke of Ormond was
forced to abandon England, and the discovery of the intended invasion was
published to Parliament and to the world? or is it to be ascribed to
those who had from the first been at the head of this undertaking?

Unable to defend this point, the next resort of the Jacobites is to this
impudent and absurd affirmation—that, notwithstanding the disadvantages
under which they took arms, they should have succeeded if the indirect
assistances which were asked from France had been obtained.  Nay, that
they should have been able to defend the Highlands if I had sent them a
little powder.  Is it possible that a man should be wounded with such
blunt weapons?  Much more than powder was asked for from the first, and I
have already said that when the Chevalier came into Scotland, regular
troops, artillery, etc., were demanded.  Both he and the Earl of Mar
judged it impossible to stand their ground without such assistance as
these.  How scandalous, then, must it be deemed that they suffer their
dependents to spread in the world that for want of a little powder I
forced them to abandon Scotland!  The Earl of Mar knows that all the
powder in France would not have enabled him to stay at Perth as long as
he did if he had not had another security.  And when that failed him, he
must have quitted the party, if the Regent had given us all that he made
some of us expect.

But to finish all that I intend to say on a subject which has tired me,
and perhaps you; the Jacobites affirm that the indirect assistances which
they desired, might have been obtained; and I confess that I am
inexcusable if this fact be true.  To prove it, they appeal to the little
politicians of whom I have spoken so often.  I affirm, on the contrary,
that nothing could be obtained here to support the Scotch or to encourage
the English.  To prove the assertion, I appeal to the Ministers with whom
I negotiated, and to the Regent himself, who, whatever language he may
hold in private with other people, cannot controvert with me the truth of
what I advance.  He excluded me formerly, that he might the more easily
avoid doing anything; and perhaps he has blamed me since, that he might
excuse his doing nothing.  All this may be true, and yet it will remain
true that he would never have been prevailed upon to act directly against
his interest in the only point of view which he has—I mean, the crown of
France—and against the unanimous sense of all his Ministers.  Suppose
that in the time of the late Queen, when she had the peace in view, a
party in France had implored her assistance, and had applied to Margery
Fielding, to Israel, to my Lady Oglethorpe, to Dr. Battle, and
Lieutenant-General Stewart, what success do you imagine such applications
would have had?  The Queen would have spoke them fair—she would speak
otherwise to nobody; but do you imagine she would have made one step in
their favour?  Olive Trant, Magny, Mademoiselle Chaussery, a dirty Abbé
Brigault, and Mr. Dillon, are characters very apposite to these.  And
what I suppose to have passed in England is not a whit more ridiculous
than what really passed here.

I say nothing of the ships which the Jacobites pretend that they sent
into Scotland three weeks or a month after the Pretender was returned.  I
believe they might have had my Lord Stair’s connivance then, as well as
the Regent’s.  I say nothing of the order which they pretend to have
obtained, and which I never saw, for the stores that were seized at Havre
to be delivered to Castel Blanco.  I have already said enough on this
head, and you cannot have failed to observe that this signal favour was
never obtained by these people till the Marshal d’Huxelles had owned to
me that nothing was to be expected from France, and that the only thing
which I could do was to endeavour to bring the Pretender, the Earl of
Mar, and the principal persons who were most exposed, off, neither he nor
I imagining that any such would be left behind.

When I began to appear in the world, upon the advertisements which my
friends gave me of the clamour that was raised against me, you will
easily think I did not enter into so many particulars as I have done with
you.  I said even less than you have seen in those letters which Brinsden
wrote into England in March and April was twelvemonth, and yet the
clamour sank immediately.  The people of consideration at this Court beat
it down, and the Court of St. Germains grew so ashamed of it that the
Queen thought fit to purge herself of having had any share in encouraging
the discourses which were held against me, or having been so much as let
into the secret of the measure which preceded them.  The provocation was
great, but I resolved to act without passion.  I saw the advantage the
Pretender and his council, who disposed of things better for me than I
should have done for myself, had given me; but I saw likewise that I must
improve this advantage with the utmost caution.

As I never imagined that he would treat me in the manner he did, nor that
his Ministers could be weak enough to advise him to it, I had resolved,
on his return from Scotland, to follow him till his residence should be
fixed somewhere or other.  After which, having served the Tories in this
which I looked upon as their last struggle for power, and having
continued to act in the Pretender’s affairs till the end of the term for
which I embarked with him, I should have esteemed myself to be at
liberty, and should in the civillest manner I was able have taken my
leave of him.  Had we parted thus, I should have remained in a very
strange situation during the rest of my life; but I had examined myself
thoroughly, I was determined, I was prepared.

On one side he would have thought that he had a sort of right on any
future occasion to call me out of my retreat; the Tories would probably
have thought the same thing: my resolution was taken to refuse them both,
and I foresaw that both would condemn me.  On the other side, the
consideration of his keeping measures with me, joined to that of having
once openly declared for him, would have created a point of honour by
which I should have been tied down, not only from ever engaging against
him, but also from making my peace at home.  The Chevalier cut this
gordian knot asunder at one blow.  He broke the links of that chain which
former engagements had fastened on me, and gave me a right to esteem
myself as free from all obligations of keeping measures with him as I
should have continued if I had never engaged in his interest.  I took
therefore, from that moment, the resolution of making my peace at home,
and of employing all the unfortunate experience I had acquired abroad to
undeceive my friends and to promote the union and the quiet of my

The Earl of Stair had received a full power to treat with me whilst I was
engaged with the Pretender, as I have been since informed.  He had done
me the justice to believe me incapable to hearken, in such circumstances,
to any proposals of that kind; and as much friendship as he had for me,
as much as I had for him, we entertained not the least even indirect
correspondence together during that whole time.  Soon afterwards he
employed a person to communicate to me the disposition of his Majesty to
grant me my pardon, and his own desire to give me, on this occasion, all
the proofs he could of his inclination in my favour.  I embraced the
offer, as it became me to do, with all possible sense of the King’s
goodness, and of his lordship’s friendship.  We met, we talked together,
and he wrote to the Court on the subject.  The turn which the Ministers
gave to this matter was, to enter into a treaty to reverse my attainder,
and to stipulate the conditions on which this act of grace should be
granted me.

The notion of a treaty shocked me.  I resolved never to be restored
rather than go that way to work; and I opened myself without any reserve
to Lord Stair.  I told him that I looked on myself to be obliged in
honour and in conscience to undeceive my friends in England, both as to
the state of foreign affairs, as to the management of the Jacobite
interest abroad, and as to the characters of persons—in every one of
which points I knew them to be most grossly and most dangerously deluded;
that the treatment I had received from the Pretender and his adherents
would justify me to the world in doing this; that if I remained in exile
all my life, he might be assured that I would never more have to do with
the Jacobite cause; and that if I was restored, I should give it an
effectual blow, in making that apology which the Pretender has put me
under a necessity of making: that in doing this I flattered myself that I
should contribute something to the establishment of the King’s
Government, and to the union of his subjects; but that this was all the
merit which I could promise to have; that if the Court believed these
professions to be sincere, a treaty with me was unnecessary for them; and
that if they did not believe them so, a treaty with them was dangerous
for me; that I was determined in this whole transaction to make no one
step which I would not own in the face of the world; that in other
circumstances it might be sufficient to act honestly, but that in a case
as extraordinary as mine it was necessary to act clearly, and to leave no
room for the least doubtful construction.

The Earl of Stair, as well as Mr. Craggs, who arrived soon after in
France, came into my sense.  I have reason to believe that the King has
approved it likewise upon their representations, since he has been
pleased to give me the most gracious assurances of his favour.  What the
effect of all this may be in the next or in any other Session, I know
not; but this is the foot on which I have put myself, and on which I
stand at the moment I write to you.  The Whigs may continue inveterate,
and by consequence frustrate his Majesty’s good intentions towards me;
the Tories may continue to rail at me, on the credit of such enemies as I
have described to you in the course of this relation: neither the one nor
the other shall make me swerve out of the path which I have traced to

I have now led you through the several stages which I proposed at first;
and I should do wrong to your good understanding, as well as to our
mutual friendship, if I suspected that you could hold any other language
to me than that which Dolabella uses to Cicero: “Satisfactum est jam a te
vel officio vel familiaritati; satisfactum etiam partibus.”  The King,
who pardons me, might complain of me; the Whigs might declaim against me;
my family might reproach me for the little regard which I have shown to
my own and to their interests; but where is the crime I have been guilty
of towards my party and towards my friends?  In what part of my conduct
will the Tories find an excuse for the treatment which they have given
me?  As Tories such as they were when I left England, I defy them to find
any.  But here lies the sore, and, tender as it is, I must lay it open.
Those amongst them who rail at me now are changed from what they were, or
from what they professed themselves to be, when we lived and acted
together.  They were Tories then; they are Jacobites now.  Their
objections to the course of my conduct whilst I was in the Pretender’s
interest are the pretence; the true reason of their anger is, that I
renounce the Pretender for my life.  When you were first driven into this
interest, I may appeal to you for the notion which the party had.  You
thought of restoring him by the strength of the Tories, and of opposing a
Tory king to a Whig king.  You took him up as the instrument of your
revenge and of your ambition.  You looked on him as your creature, and
never once doubted of making what terms you pleased with him.  This is so
true that the same language is still held to the catechumens in
Jacobitism.  Were the contrary to be avowed even now, the party in
England would soon diminish.  I engaged on this principle when your
orders sent me to Commercy, and I never acted on any other.  This ought
to have been part of my merit towards the Tories; and it would have been
so if they had continued in the same dispositions.  But they are changed,
and this very thing is become my crime.  Instead of making the Pretender
their tool, they are his.  Instead of having in view to restore him on
their own terms, they are labouring to do it without any terms; that is,
to speak properly, they are ready to receive him on his.  Be not
deceived: there is not a man on this side of the water who acts in any
other manner.  The Church of England Jacobite and the Irish Papist seem
in every respect to have the same cause.  Those on your side of the water
who correspond with these are to be comprehended in the same class; and
from hence it is that the clamour raised against me has been kept up with
so much industry, and is redoubled on the least appearance of my return
home, and of my being in a situation to justify myself.

You have seen already what reasons the Pretender, and the several sorts
of people who compose his party here, had to get rid of me, and to cover
me to the utmost of their power with infamy.  Their views were as short
in this case as they are in all others.  They did not see at first that
this conduct would not only give me a right, but put me under a necessity
of keeping no farther measures with them, and of laying the whole mystery
of their iniquity open.  As soon as they discovered this, they took the
only course which was left them—that of poisoning the minds of the
Tories, and of creating such prejudices against me whilst I remained in a
condition of not speaking for myself, as will they hope prevent the
effect of whatever I may say when I am in a condition of pleading my own
cause.  The bare apprehension that I shall show the world that I have
been guilty of no crime renders me criminal among these men; and they
hold themselves ready, being unable to reply either in point of fact or
in point of reason, to drown my voice in the confusion of their clamour.

The only crimes I am guilty of, I own.  I own the crime of having been
for the Pretender in a very different manner from those with whom I
acted.  I served him as faithfully, I served him as well as they; but I
served him on a different principle.  I own the crime of having renounced
him, and of being resolved never to have to do with him as long as I
live.  I own the crime of being determined sooner or later, as soon as I
can, to clear myself of all the unjust aspersions which have been cast
upon me; to undeceive by my experience as many as I can of those Tories
who may have been drawn into error; and to contribute, if ever I return
home, as far as I am able, to promote the national good of Britain
without any other regard.  These crimes do not, I hope, by this time
appear to you to be of a very black dye.  You may come, perhaps, to think
them virtues, when you have read and considered what remains to be said;
for before I conclude, it is necessary that I open one matter to you
which I could not weave in sooner without breaking too much the thread of
my narration.  In this place, unmingled with anything else, it will have,
as it deserves to have, your whole attention.

Whoever composed that curious piece of false fact, false argument, false
English, and false eloquence, the letter from Avignon, says that I was
not thought the most proper person to speak about religion.  I confess I
should be of his mind, and should include his patrons in my case, if the
practice of it was to be recommended; for surely it is unpardonable
impudence to impose by precept what we do not teach by example.  I should
be of the same mind, if the nature of religion was to be explained, if
its mysteries were to be fathomed, and if this great truth was to be
established—that the Church of England has the advantage over all other
Churches in purity of doctrine, and in wisdom of discipline.  But nothing
of this kind was necessary.  This would have been the task of reverend
and learned divines.  We of the laity had nothing more to do than to lay
in our claim that we could never submit to be governed by a Prince who
was not of the religion of our country.  Such a declaration could hardly
have failed of some effect towards opening the eyes and disposing the
mind even of the Pretender.  At least, in justice to ourselves, and in
justice to our party, we who were here ought to have made it; and the
influence of it on the Pretender ought to have become the rule of our
subsequent conduct.

In thinking in this manner I think no otherwise now than I have always
thought; and I cannot forget, nor you neither, what passed when, a little
before the death of the Queen, letters were conveyed from the Chevalier
to several persons—to myself among others.  In the letter to me the
article of religion was so awkwardly handled that he made the principal
motive of the confidence we ought to have in him to consist in his firm
resolution to adhere to Popery.  The effect which this epistle had on me
was the same which it had on those Tories to whom I communicated it at
that time; it made us resolve to have nothing to do with him.

Some time after this I was assured by several, and I make no doubt but
others have been so too, that the Chevalier at the bottom was not a
bigot; that whilst he remained abroad and could expect no succour, either
present or future, from any Princes but those of the Roman Catholic
Communion, it was prudent, whatever he might think, to make no
demonstration of a design to change; but that his temper was such, and he
was already so disposed, that we might depend on his compliance with what
should be desired of him if ever he came amongst us, and was taken from
under the wing of the Queen his mother.  To strengthen this opinion of
his character, it was said that he had sent for Mr. Leslie over; that he
allowed him to celebrate the Church of England service in his family; and
that he had promised to hear what this divine should represent on the
subject of religion to him.  When I came abroad, the same things, and
much more, were at first insinuated to me; and I began to let them make
impression upon me, notwithstanding what I had seen under his hand.  I
would willingly flatter myself that this impression disposed me to
incline to Jacobitism rather than allow that the inclination to
Jacobitism disposed me easily to believe what, upon that principle, I had
so much reason to wish might be true.  Which was the cause, and which the
effect, I cannot well determine: perhaps they did mutually occasion each
other.  Thus much is certain—that I was far from weighing this matter as
I ought to have done when the solicitation of my friends and the
persecution of my enemies precipitated me into engagements with the

I was willing to take it for granted that since you were as ready to
declare as I believed you at that time, you must have had entire
satisfaction on the article of religion.  I was soon undeceived; this
string had never been touched.  My own observation, and the unanimous
report of all those who from his infancy have approached the Pretender’s
person, soon taught me how difficult it is to come to terms with him on
this head, and how unsafe to embark without them.

His religion is not founded on the love of virtue and the detestation of
vice; on a sense of that obedience which is due to the will of the
Supreme Being, and a sense of those obligations which creatures formed to
live in a mutual dependence on one another lie under.  The spring of his
whole conduct is fear.  Fear of the horns of the devil and of the flames
of hell.  He has been taught to believe that nothing but a blind
submission to the Church of Rome and a strict adherence to all the terms
of that communion can save him from these dangers.  He has all the
superstition of a Capuchin, but I found on him no tincture of the
religion of a prince.  Do not imagine that I loose the reins to my
imagination, or that I write what my resentments dictate: I tell you
simply my opinion.  I have heard the same description of his character
made by those who know him best, and I conversed with very few among the
Roman Catholics themselves who did not think him too much a Papist.

Nothing gave me from the beginning so much uneasiness as the
consideration of this part of his character, and of the little care which
had been taken to correct it.  A true turn had not been given to the
first steps which were made with him.  The Tories who engaged afterwards,
threw themselves, as it were, at his head.  He had been suffered to think
that the party in England wanted him as much as he wanted them.  There
was no room to hope for much compliance on the head of religion when he
was in these sentiments, and when he thought the Tories too far advanced
to have it in their power to retreat; and little dependence was at any
time to be placed on the promises of a man capable of thinking his
damnation attached to the observance, and his salvation to the breach, of
these very promises.  Something, however, was to be done, and I thought
that the least which could be done was to deal plainly with him, and to
show him the impossibility of governing our nation by any other expedient
than by complying with that which would be expected from him as to his
religion.  This was thought too much by the Duke of Ormond and Mr.
Leslie; although the duke could be no more ignorant than the minister how
ill the latter had been used, how far the Chevalier had been from keeping
the word which he had given, and on the faith of which Mr. Leslie had
come over to him.  They both knew that he not only refused to hear
himself, but that he sheltered the ignorance of his priests, or the
badness of his cause, or both, behind his authority, and absolutely
forbade all discourse concerning religion.  The duke seemed convinced
that it would be time enough to talk of religion to him when he should be
restored, or, at soonest, when he should be landed in England; that the
influence under which he had lived being at a distance, the
reasonableness of what we might propose, joined to the apparent necessity
which would then stare him in the face, could not fail to produce all the
effects which we could desire.

To me this whole reasoning appeared fallacious.  Our business was not to
make him change appearances on this side of the water, but to prepare him
to give those which would be necessary on the other; and there was no
room to hope that if we could gain nothing on his prejudices here, we
should be able to overcome them in Britain.  I would have argued just as
the Duke of Ormond and Leslie if I had been a Papist; and I saw well
enough that some people about him, for in a great dearth of ability there
was cunning to be met with, affected nothing more than to keep off all
discourse of religion.  To my apprehension it was exceeding plain that we
should find, if we were once in England, the necessity of going forward
at any rate with him much greater than he would find that of complying
with us.  I thought it an unpardonable fault to have taken a formal
engagement with him, when no previous satisfaction had been obtained on a
point at least as essential to our civil as to our religious rights; to
the peace of the State as to the prosperity of the Church; and I looked
on this fault to be aggravated by every day’s delay.  Our silence was
unfair both to the Chevalier and to our friends in England.  He was
induced by it to believe that they would exact far less from him than we
knew they expected, and they were confirmed in an opinion of his
docility, which we knew to be void of all foundation.  The pretence of
removing that influence under which he had lived was frivolous, and
should never have been urged to me, who saw plainly that, according to
the measures pursued by the very persons who urged it, he must be
environed in England by the same people that surrounded him here; and
that the Court of St. James’s would be constituted, if ever he was
restored, in the same manner as that of St. Germains was.

When the draft of a declaration and other papers which were to be
dispersed in Great Britain came to be settled, it appeared that my
apprehension and distrust were but too well founded.  The Pretender took
exception against several passages, and particularly against those
wherein a direct promise of securing the Churches of England and Ireland
was made.  He was told, he said, that he could not in conscience make
such a promise, and, the debate being kept up a little while, he asked me
with some warmth why the Tories were so desirous to have him if they
expected those things from him which his religion did not allow.  I left
these drafts, by his order, with him, that he might consider and amend
them.  I cannot say that he sent them to the Queen to be corrected by her
confessor and the rest of her council, but I firmly believe it.  Sure I
am that he took time sufficient to do this before he sent them from Bar,
where he then was, to Paris, whither I was returned.  When they were
digested in such a manner as satisfied his casuists he made them be
printed, and my name was put to the declaration, as if the original had
been signed by me.  I had hitherto submitted my opinion to the judgment
of others, but on this occasion I took advice from myself.  I declared to
him that I would not suffer my name to be at the bottom of this paper.
All the copies which came to my hands I burnt, and another was printed
off without any countersigning.

The whole tenor of the amendments was one continued instance of the
grossest bigotry, and the most material passages were turned with all the
Jesuitical prevarication imaginable.  As much as it was his interest at
that time to cultivate the respect which many of the Tories really had
for the memory of the late Queen, and which many others affected as a
farther mark of their opposition to the Court and to the Whig party; as
much as it was his interest to weave the honour of her name into his
cause, and to render her, even after her death, a party to the dispute,
he could not be prevailed upon to give her that character which her
enemies allowed her, nor to make use of those expressions, in speaking of
her, which, by the general manner of their application, are come to be
little more than terms of respect and words of form proper in the style
of public acts.  For instance:—

She was called in the original draft “his sister of glorious and blessed
memory.”  In that which he published, the epithet of “blessed” was left
out.  Her eminent justice and her exemplary piety were occasionally
mentioned; in lieu of which he substituted a flat, and, in this case, an
invidious expression, “her inclinations to justice.”

Not content with declaring her neither just nor pious in this world he
did little less than declare her damned in the other, according to the
charitable principles of the Church of Rome.

“When it pleased Almighty God to take her to Himself,” was the expression
used in speaking of the death of the Queen.  This he erased, and instead
thereof inserted these words: “When it pleased Almighty God to put a
period to her life.”

He graciously allowed the Universities to be nurseries of loyalty; but
did not think that it became him to style them “nurseries of religion.”

Since his father passes already for a saint, and since reports are
encouraged of miracles which they suppose to be wrought at his tomb, he
might have allowed his grandfather to pass for a martyr; but he struck
out of the draft these words, “that blessed martyr who died for his
people,” which were applied to King Charles I., and would say nothing
more of him than that “he fell a sacrifice to rebellion.”

In the clause which related to the Churches of England and Ireland there
was a plain and direct promise inserted of “effectual provision for their
security, and for their re-establishment in all those rights which belong
to them.”  This clause was not suffered to stand, but another was formed,
wherein all mention of the Church of Ireland was omitted, and nothing was
promised to the Church of England but the security, and “re-establishment
of all those rights, privileges, immunities, and possessions which belong
to her,” and wherein he had already promised by his declaration of the
20th of July, to secure and “protect all her members.”

I need make no comment on a proceeding so easy to be understood.  The
drift of these evasions, and of this affected obscurity, is obvious
enough—at least, it will appear so by the observations which remain to be

He was so afraid of admitting any words which might be construed into a
promise of his consenting to those things which should be found necessary
for the present or future security of our constitution, that in a
paragraph where he was made to say that he thought himself obliged to be
solicitous for the prosperity of the Church of England, the word
prosperity was expunged, and we were left by this mental reservation to
guess what he was solicitous for.  It could not be for her prosperity:
that he had expunged.  It must therefore be for her destruction, which in
his language would have been styled her conversion.

Another remarkable proof of the same kind is to be found towards the
conclusion of the declaration.  After having spoken of the peace and
flourishing estate of the kingdom, he was made to express his readiness
to concert with the two Houses such further measures as should be thought
necessary for securing the same to future generations.  The design of
this paragraph you see.  He and his council saw it too, and therefore the
word “securing” was laid aside, and the word “leaving” was inserted in
lieu of it.

One would imagine that a declaration corrected in this manner might have
been suffered to go abroad without any farther precaution.  But these
papers had been penned by Protestants; and who could answer that there
might not be still ground sufficient from the tenor of them to insist on
everything necessary for the security of that religion?  The declaration
of the 20th of July had been penned by a priest of the Scotch college,
and the expressions had been measured so as to suit perfectly with the
conduct which the Chevalier intended to hold; so as to leave room to
distinguish him, upon future occasions, with the help of a little pious
sophistry, out of all the engagements which he seemed to take in it.
This orthodox paper was therefore to accompany the heretical paper into
the world, and no promise of moment was to stand in the latter, unless
qualified by a reference to the former.  Thus the Church was to be
secured in the rights, etc., which belong to her.  How?  No otherwise
than according to the declaration of the month of July.  And what does
that promise?  Security and protection to the members of this Church in
the enjoyment of their property.  I make no doubt but Bellarmine, if he
had been the Chevalier’s confessor, would have passed this paragraph thus
amended.  No engagement whatever taken in favour of the Church of
Ireland, and a happy distinction found between securing that of England,
and protecting her members.  Many a useful project for the destruction of
heretics, and for accumulating power and riches to the See of Rome, has
been established on a more slender foundation.

The same spirit reigns through the whole.  Civil and religious rights are
no otherwise to be confirmed than in conformity to the declaration of
July; nay, the general pardon is restrained and limited to the terms
prescribed therein.

This is the account which I judged too important to be omitted, and which
I chose to give you all together.  I shall surely be justified at present
in concluding that the Tories are grossly deluded in their opinion of
this Prince’s character, or else that they sacrifice all which ought to
be esteemed precious and sacred among men to their passions.  In both
these cases I remain still a Tory, and am true to the party.  In the
first, I endeavour to undeceive you by an experience purchased at my
expense and for your sakes: in the second, I endeavour to prevail on you
to revert to that principle from which we have deviated.  You never
intended, whilst I lived amongst you, the ruin of your country; and yet
every step which you now make towards the restoration you are so fond of,
is a step towards this ruin.  No man of sense, well informed, can ever go
into measures for it, unless he thinks himself and his country in such
desperate circumstances that nothing is left them but to choose of two
ruins that which they like best.

The exile of the royal family, under Cromwell’s usurpation, was the
principal cause of all those misfortunes in which Britain has been
involved, as well as of many of those which have happened to the rest of
Europe, during more than half a century.

The two brothers, Charles and James, became then infected with Popery to
such degrees as their different characters admitted of.  Charles had
parts, and his good understanding served as an antidote to repel the
poison.  James, the simplest man of his time, drank off the whole
chalice.  The poison met in his composition with all the fear, all the
credulity, and all the obstinacy of temper proper to increase its
virulence and to strengthen its effect.  The first had always a wrong
bias upon him; he connived at the establishment, and indirectly
contributed to the growth, of that power which afterwards disturbed the
peace and threatened the liberty of Europe so often; but he went no
further out of the way.  The opposition of his Parliaments and his own
reflections stopped him here.  The Prince and the people were, indeed,
mutually jealous of one another, from whence much present disorder
flowed, and the foundation of future evils was laid; but his good and his
bad principles combating still together, he maintained, during a reign of
more than twenty years, in some tolerable degree, the authority of the
Crown and the flourishing estate of the nation.  The last, drunk with
superstitious and even enthusiastic zeal, ran headlong into his own ruin
whilst he endeavoured to precipitate ours.  His Parliament and his people
did all they could to save themselves by winning him.  But all was vain;
he had no principle on which they could take hold.  Even his good
qualities worked against them, and his love of his country went halves
with his bigotry.  How he succeeded we have heard from our fathers.  The
revolution of 1688 saved the nation and ruined the King.

Now the Pretender’s education has rendered him infinitely less fit than
his uncle—and at least as unfit as his father—to be King of Great
Britain.  Add to this that there is no resource in his understanding.
Men of the best sense find it hard to overcome religious prejudices,
which are of all the strongest; but he is a slave to the weakest.  The
rod hangs like the sword of Damocles over his head, and he trembles
before his mother and his priest.  What, in the name of God, can any
member of the Church of England promise himself from such a character?
Are we by another revolution to return into the same state from which we
were delivered by the first?  Let us take example from the Roman
Catholics, who act very reasonably in refusing to submit to a Protestant
Prince.  Henry IV. had at least as good a title to the crown of France as
the Pretender has to ours.  His religion alone stood in his way, and he
had never been King if he had not removed that obstacle.  Shall we submit
to a Popish Prince, who will no more imitate Henry IV. in changing his
religion than he will imitate those shining qualities which rendered him
the honestest gentleman, the bravest captain, and the greatest prince of
his age?  Allow me to give a loose to my pen for a moment on this
subject.  General benevolence and universal charity seem to be
established in the Gospel as the distinguishing badges of Christianity.
How it happens I cannot tell; but so it is, that in all ages of the
Church the professors of Christianity seem to have been animated by a
quite contrary spirit.  Whilst they were thinly scattered over the world,
tolerated in some places, but established nowhere, their zeal often
consumed their charity.  Paganism, at that time the religion by law
established, was insulted by many of them; the ceremonies were disturbed,
the altars thrown down.  As soon as, by the favour of Constantine, their
numbers were increased, and the reins of government were put into their
hands, they began to employ the secular arm, not only against different
religions, but against different sects which arose in their own religion.
A man may boldly affirm that more blood has been shed in the disputes
between Christian and Christian than has ever been drawn from the whole
body of them in the persecutions of the heathen emperors and in the
conquests of the Mahometan princes.  From these they have received
quarter, but never from one another.  The Christian religion is actually
tolerated among the Mahometans, and the domes of churches and mosques
arise in the same city.  But it will be hard to find an example where one
sect of Christians has tolerated another which it was in their power to
extirpate.  They have gone farther in these later ages; what was
practised formerly has been taught since.  Persecution has been reduced
into system, and the disciples of the meek and humble Jesus have avowed a
tyranny which the most barbarous conquerors never claimed.  The wicked
subtilty of casuists has established breach of faith with those who
differ from us as a duty in opposition to faith, and murder itself has
been made one of the means of salvation.  I know very well that the
Reformed Churches have been far from going those cruel lengths which are
authorised by the doctrine as well as example of that of Rome, though
Calvin put a flaming sword on the title of a French edition of his
Institute, with this motto, “Je ne suis point venu mettre la paix, mais
l’epée;” but I know likewise that the difference lies in the means and
not in the aim of their policy.  The Church of England, the most humane
of all of them, would root out every other religion if it was in her
power.  She would not hang and burn; her measures would be milder, and
therefore, perhaps, more effectual.

Since, then, there is this inveterate rancour among Christians, can
anything be more absurd than for those of one persuasion to trust the
supreme power, or any part of it, to those of another?  Particularly must
it not be reputed madness in those of our religion to trust themselves in
the hands of Roman Catholics?  Must it not be reputed impudence in a
Roman Catholic to expect that we should? he who looks upon us as
heretics, as men in rebellion against a lawful—nay, a divine—authority,
and whom it is, therefore, meritorious by all sorts of ways to reduce to
obedience?  There are many, I know, amongst them who think more
generously, and whose morals are not corrupted by that which is called
religion; but this is the spirit of the priesthood, in whose scale that
scrap of a parable, “Compel them to come in,” which they apply as they
please, outweighs the whole Decalogue.  This will be the spirit of every
man who is bigot enough to be under their direction; and so much is
sufficient for my present purpose.

During your last Session of Parliament it was expected that the Whigs
would attempt to repeal the Occasional Bill.  The same jealousy
continues; there is, perhaps, foundation for it.  Give me leave to ask
you upon what principle we argued for making this law, and upon what
principle you must argue against the repeal of it.  I have mentioned the
principle in the beginning of this discourse.  No man ought to be trusted
with any share of power under a Government who must, to act consistently
with himself, endeavour the destruction of that very Government.  Shall
this proposition pass for true when it is applied to keep a Presbyterian
from being mayor of a corporation, and shall it become false when it is
applied to keep a Papist from being king?  The proposition is equally
true in both cases; but the argument drawn from it is just so much
stronger in the latter than in the former case, as the mischiefs which
may result from the power and influence of a king are greater than those
which can be wrought by a magistrate of the lowest order.  This seems to
my apprehension to be _argumentum ad hominem_, and I do not see by what
happy distinction a Jacobite Tory could elude the force of it.

It may be said, and it has been urged to me, that if the Chevalier was
restored, the knowledge of his character would be our security; “habet
fœnum in cornu;” there would be no pretence for trusting him, and by
consequence it would be easy to put such restrictions on the exercise of
the regal power as might hinder him from invading or sapping our religion
and liberty.  But this I utterly deny.  Experience has shown us how ready
men are to court power and profit, and who can determine how far either
the Tories or the Whigs would comply, in order to secure to themselves
the enjoyment of all the places in the kingdom?  Suppose, however, that a
majority of true Israelites should be found, whom no temptation could
oblige to bow the knee to Baal; in order to preserve the Government on
one hand must they not destroy it on the other?  The necessary
restrictions would in this case be so many and so important as to leave
hardly the shadow of a monarchy if he submitted to them; and if he did
not submit to them, these patriots would have no resource left but in
rebellion.  Thus, therefore, the affair would turn if the Pretender was
restored.  We might, most probably, lose our religion and liberty by the
bigotry of the Prince and the corruption of the people.  We should have
no chance of preserving them but by an entire change of the whole frame
of our Government or by another revolution.  What reasonable man would
voluntarily reduce himself to the necessity of making an option among
such melancholy alternatives?

The best which could be hoped for, were the Chevalier on the throne,
would be that a thread of favourable accidents, improved by the wisdom
and virtue of Parliament, might keep off the evil day during his reign.
But still the fatal cause would be established; it would be entailed upon
us, and every man would be apprised that sooner or later the fatal effect
must follow.  Consider a little what a condition we should be in, both
with respect to our foreign interest and our domestic quiet, whilst the
reprieve lasted, whilst the Chevalier or his successors made no direct
attack upon the constitution.

As to the first, it is true, indeed, that princes and States are friends
or foes to one another according as the motives of ambition drive them.
These are the first principles of union and division amongst them.  The
Protestant Powers of Europe have joined, in our days, to support and
aggrandise the House of Austria, as they did in the days of our
forefathers to defeat her designs and to reduce her power; and the most
Christian King of France has more than once joined his councils, and his
arms too, with the councils and arms of the most Mahometan Emperor of
Constantinople.  But still there is, and there must continue, as long as
the influence of the Papal authority subsists in Europe, another general,
permanent, and invariable division of interests.  The powers of earth,
like those of heaven, have two distinct motions.  Each of them rolls in
his own political orb, but each of them is hurried at the same time round
the great vortex of his religion.  If this general notion be just, apply
it to the present case.  Whilst a Roman Catholic holds the rudder, how
can we expect to be steered in our proper course?  His political interest
will certainly incline him to direct our first motion right, but his
mistaken religious interest will render him incapable of doing it

As to the last, our domestic quiet; even whilst the Chevalier and those
of his race concealed their game, we should remain in the most unhappy
state which human nature is subject to, a state of doubt and suspense.
Our preservation would depend on making him the object of our eternal
jealousy, who, to render himself and his people happy, ought to be that
of our entire confidence.

Whilst the Pretender and his successors forbore to attack the religion
and liberty of the nation, we should remain in the condition of those
people who labour under a broken constitution, or who carry about them
some chronical distemper.  They feel a little pain at every moment; or a
certain uneasiness, which is sometimes less tolerable than pain, hangs
continually on them, and they languish in the constant expectation of
dying perhaps in the severest torture.

But if the fear of hell should dissipate all other fears in the
Pretender’s mind, and carry him, which is frequently the effect of that
passion, to the most desperate undertakings; if among his successors a
man bold enough to make the attempt should arise, the condition of the
British nation would be still more deplorable.  The attempt succeeding,
we should fall into tyranny; for a change of religion could never be
brought about by consent; and the same force that would be sufficient to
enslave our consciences, would be sufficient for all the other purposes
of arbitrary power.  The attempt failing, we should fall into anarchy;
for there is no medium when disputes between a prince and his people are
arrived at a certain point; he must either be submitted to or deposed.

I have now laid before you even more than I intended to have said when I
took my pen, and I am persuaded that if these papers ever come to your
hands, they will enable you to cast up the account between party and me.
Till the time of the Queen’s death it stands, I believe, even between us.
The Tories distinguished me by their approbation and by the credit which
I had amongst them, and I endeavoured to distinguish myself in their
service, under the immediate weight of great discouragement and with the
not very distant prospect of great danger.  Since that time the account
is not so even, and I dare appeal to any impartial person whether my side
in it be that of the debtor.  As to the opinion of mankind in general,
and the judgment which posterity will pass on these matters, I am under
no great concern.  “Suum cuique decus posteritas rependit.”


DEAR SIR,—Since you have begun, at my request, the work which I have
wished long that you would undertake, it is but reasonable that I submit
to the task you impose upon me.  The mere compliance with anything you
desire, is a pleasure to me.  On the present occasion, however, this
compliance is a little interested; and that I may not assume more merit
with you than I really have, I will own that in performing this act of
friendship—for such you are willing to esteem it—the purity of my motive
is corrupted by some regard to my private utility.  In short, I suspect
you to be guilty of a very friendly fraud, and to mean my service whilst
you seem to mean your own.

In leading me to discourse, as you have done often, and in pressing me to
write, as you do now, on certain subjects, you may propose to draw me
back to those trains of thought which are, above all others, worthy to
employ the human mind: and I thank you for it.  They have been often
interrupted by the business and dissipations of the world, but they were
never so more grievously to me, nor less usefully to the public, than
since royal seduction prevailed on me to abandon the quiet and leisure of
the retreat I had chosen abroad, and to neglect the example of Rutilius,
for I might have imitated him in this at least, who fled further from his
country when he was invited home.

You have begun your ethic epistles in a masterly manner.  You have copied
no other writer, nor will you, I think, be copied by any one.  It is with
genius as it is with beauty; there are a thousand pretty things that
charm alike; but superior genius, like superior beauty, has always
something particular, something that belongs to itself alone.  It is
always distinguishable, not only from those who have no claim to
excellence, but even from those who excel, when any such there are.

I am pleased, you may be sure, to find your satire turn, in the very
beginning of these epistles, against the principal cause—for such you
know that I think it—of all the errors, all the contradictions, and all
the disputes which have arisen among those who impose themselves on their
fellow-creatures for great masters, and almost sole proprietors of a gift
of God which is common to the whole species.  This gift is reason; a
faculty, or rather an aggregate of faculties, that is bestowed in
different degrees; and not in the highest, certainly, on those who make
the highest pretensions to it.  Let your satire chastise, and, if it be
possible, humble that pride, which is the fruitful parent of their vain
curiosity and bold presumption; which renders them dogmatical in the
midst of ignorance, and often sceptical in the midst of knowledge.  The
man who is puffed up with this philosophical pride, whether divine or
theist, or atheist, deserves no more to be respected than one of those
trifling creatures who are conscious of little else than their animality,
and who stop as far short of the attainable perfections of their nature
as the other attempts to go beyond them.  You will discover as many silly
affections, as much foppery and futility, as much inconsistency and low
artifice in one as in the other.  I never met the mad woman at Brentford
decked out in old and new rags, and nice and fantastical in the manner of
wearing them, without reflecting on many of the profound scholars and
sublime philosophers of our own and of former ages.

You may expect some contradiction and some obloquy on the part of these
men, though you will have less to apprehend from their malice and
resentment than a writer in prose on the same subjects would have.  You
will be safer in the generalities of poetry; and I know your precaution
enough to know that you will screen yourself in them against any direct
charge of heterodoxy.  But the great clamour of all will be raised when
you descend lower, and let your Muse loose among the herd of mankind.
Then will those powers of dulness whom you have ridiculed into
immortality be called forth in one united phalanx against you.  But why
do I talk of what may happen?  You have experienced lately something more
than I prognosticate.  Fools and knaves should be modest at least; they
should ask quarter of men of sense and virtue: and so they do till they
grow up to a majority, till a similitude of character assures them of the
protection of the great.  But then vice and folly such as prevail in our
country, corrupt our manners, deform even social life, and contribute to
make us ridiculous as well as miserable, will claim respect for the sake
of the vicious and the foolish.  It will be then no longer sufficient to
spare persons; for to draw even characters of imagination must become
criminal when the application of them to those of highest rank and
greatest power cannot fail to be made.  You began to laugh at the
ridiculous taste or the no taste in gardening and building of some men
who are at great expense in both.  What a clamour was raised instantly!
The name of Timon was applied to a noble person with double malice, to
make him ridiculous, and you, who lived in friendship with him, odious.
By the authority that employed itself to encourage this clamour, and by
the industry used to spread and support it, one would have thought that
you had directed your satire in that epistle to political subjects, and
had inveighed against those who impoverish, dishonour, and sell their
country, instead of making yourself inoffensively merry at the expense of
men who ruin none but themselves, and render none but themselves
ridiculous.  What will the clamour be, and how will the same authority
foment it, when you proceed to lash, in other instances, our want of
elegance even in luxury, and our wild profusion, the source of insatiable
rapacity, and almost universal venality?  My mind forebodes that the time
will come—and who knows how near it may be?—when other powers than those
of Grub Street may be drawn forth against you, and when vice and folly
may be avowedly sheltered behind a power instituted for better and
contrary purposes—for the punishment of one, and for the reformation of

But, however this may be, pursue your task undauntedly, and whilst so
many others convert the noblest employments of human society into sordid
trades, let the generous Muse resume her ancient dignity, re-assert her
ancient prerogative, and instruct and reform, as well as amuse the world.
Let her give a new turn to the thoughts of men, raise new affections in
their minds, and determine in another and better manner the passions of
their hearts.  Poets, they say, were the first philosophers and divines
in every country, and in ours, perhaps, the first institutions of
religion and civil policy were owing to our bards.  Their task might be
hard, their merit was certainly great.  But if they were to rise now from
the dead they would find the second task, if I mistake not, much harder
than the first, and confess it more easy to deal with ignorance than with
error.  When societies are once established and Governments formed, men
flatter themselves that they proceed in cultivating the first rudiments
of civility, policy, religion, and learning.  But they do not observe
that the private interests of many, the prejudices, affections, and
passions of all, have a large share in the work, and often the largest.
These put a sort of bias on the mind, which makes it decline from the
straight course; and the further these supposed improvements are carried,
the greater this declination grows, till men lose sight of primitive and
real nature, and have no other guide but custom, a second and a false
nature.  The author of one is divine wisdom; of the other, human
imagination; and yet whenever the second stands in opposition to the
first, as it does most frequently, the second prevails.  From hence it
happens that the most civilised nations are often guilty of injustice and
cruelty which the least civilised would abhor, and that many of the most
absurd opinions and doctrines which have been imposed in the Dark Ages of
ignorance continue to be the opinions and doctrines of ages enlightened
by philosophy and learning.  “If I was a philosopher,” says Montaigne, “I
would naturalise art instead of artilising Nature.”  The expression is
odd, but the sense is good, and what he recommends would be done if the
reasons that have been given did not stand in the way; if the
self-interest of some men, the madness of others, and the universal pride
of the human heart did not determine them to prefer error to truth and
authority to reason.

Whilst your Muse is employed to lash the vicious into repentance, or to
laugh the fools of the age into shame, and whilst she rises sometimes to
the noblest subjects of philosophical meditation, I shall throw upon
paper, for your satisfaction and for my own, some part at least of what I
have thought and said formerly on the last of these subjects, as well as
the reflections that they may suggest to me further in writing on them.
The strange situation I am in, and the melancholy state of public
affairs, take up much of my time; divide, or even dissipate, my thoughts;
and, which is worse, drag the mind down by perpetual interruptions from a
philosophical tone or temper to the drudgery of private and public
business.  The last lies nearest my heart; and since I am once more
engaged in the service of my country, disarmed, gagged, and almost bound
as I am, I will not abandon it as long as the integrity and perseverance
of those who are under none of these disadvantages, and with whom I now
co-operate, make it reasonable for me to act the same part.  Further than
this no shadow of duty obliges me to go.  Plato ceased to act for the
Commonwealth when he ceased to persuade, and Solon laid down his arms
before the public magazine when Pisistratus grew too strong to be opposed
any longer with hopes of success.

Though my situation and my engagements are sufficiently known to you, I
choose to mention them on this occasion lest you should expect from me
anything more than I find myself able to perform whilst I am in them.  It
has been said by many that they wanted time to make their discourses
shorter; and if this be a good excuse, as I think it may be often, I lay
in my claim to it.  You must neither expect in what I am about to write
to you that brevity which might be expected in letters or essays, nor
that exactness of method, nor that fulness of the several parts which
they affect to observe who presume to write philosophical treatises.  The
merit of brevity is relative to the manner and style in which any subject
is treated, as well as to the nature of it; for the same subject may be
sometimes treated very differently, and yet very properly, in both these
respects.  Should the poet make syllogisms in verse, or pursue a long
process of reasoning in the didactic style, he would be sure to tire his
reader on the whole, like Lucretius, though he reasoned better than the
Roman, and put into some parts of his work the same poetical fire.  He
may write, as you have begun to do, on philosophical subjects, but he
must write in his own character.  He must contract, he may shadow, he has
a right to omit whatever will not be cast in the poetic mould; and when
he cannot instruct, he may hope to please.  But the philosopher has no
such privileges.  He may contract sometimes, he must never shadow.  He
must be limited by his matter, lest he should grow whimsical, and by the
parts of it which he understands best, lest he should grow obscure.  But
these parts he must develop fully, and he has no right to omit anything
that may serve the purpose of truth, whether it please or not.  As it
would be disingenuous to sacrifice truth to popularity, so it is trifling
to appeal to the reason and experience of mankind, as every philosophical
writer does, or must be understood to do, and then to talk, like Plato
and his ancient and modern disciples, to the imagination only.  There is
no need, however, to banish eloquence out of philosophy, and truth and
reason are no enemies to the purity nor to the ornaments of language.
But as the want of an exact determination of ideas and of an exact
precision in the use of words is inexcusable in a philosopher, he must
preserve them, even at the expense of style.  In short, it seems to me
that the business of the philosopher is to dilate, if I may borrow this
word from Tully, to press, to prove, to convince; and that of the poet to
hint, to touch his subject with short and spirited strokes, to warm the
affections, and to speak to the heart.

Though I seem to prepare an apology for prolixity even in writing essays,
I will endeavour not to be tedious, and this endeavour may succeed the
better perhaps by declining any over-strict observation of method.  There
are certain points of that which I esteem the first philosophy whereof I
shall never lose sight, but this will be very consistent with a sort of
epistolary licence.  To digress and to ramble are different things, and
he who knows the country through which he travels may venture out of the
highroad, because he is sure of finding his way back to it again.  Thus
the several matters that may arise even accidentally before me will have
some share in guiding my pen.

I dare not promise that the sections or members of these essays will bear
that nice proportion to one another and to the whole which a severe
critic would require.  All I dare promise you is that my thoughts, in
what order soever they flow, shall be communicated to you just as they
pass through my mind, just as they use to be when we converse together on
these or any other subjects when we saunter alone, or, as we have often
done with good Arbuthnot and the jocose Dean of St. Patrick’s, among the
multiplied scenes of your little garden.  That theatre is large enough
for my ambition.  I dare not pretend to instruct mankind, and I am not
humble enough to write to the public for any other purpose.  I mean by
writing on such subjects as I intend here, to make some trial of my
progress in search of the most important truths, and to make this trial
before a friend in whom I think I may confide.  These epistolary essays,
therefore, will be written with as little regard to form and with as
little reserve as I used to show in the conversations which have given
occasion to them, when I maintained the same opinions and insisted on the
same reasons in defence of them.

It might seem strange to a man not well acquainted with the world, and in
particular with the philosophical and theological tribe, that so much
precaution should be necessary in the communication of our thoughts on
any subject of the first philosophy, which is of common concern to the
whole race of mankind, and wherein no one can have, according to nature
and truth, any separate interest.  Yet so it is.  The separate interests
we cannot have by God’s institutions, are created by those of man; and
there is no subject on which men deal more unfairly with one another than
this.  There are separate interests, to mention them in general only, of
prejudice and of profession.  By the first, men set out in the search of
truth under the conduct of error, and work up their heated imaginations
often to such a delirium that the more genius, and the more learning they
have, the madder they grow.  By the second, they are sworn, as it were,
to follow all their lives the authority of some particular school, to
which “tanquam scopulo, adhærescunt;” for the condition of their
engagement is to defend certain doctrines, and even mere forms of speech,
without examination, or to examine only in order to defend them.  By
both, they become philosophers as men became Christians in the primitive
Church, or as they determined themselves about disputed doctrines; for
says Hilarius, writing to St. Austin, “Your holiness knows that the
greatest part of the faithful embrace, or refuse to embrace, a doctrine
for no reason but the impression which the name and authority of some
body or other makes on them.”  What now can a man who seeks truth for the
sake of truth, and is indifferent where he finds it, expect from any
communication of his thoughts to such men as these?  He will be much
deceived if he expects anything better than imposition or altercation.

Few men have, I believe, consulted others, both the living and the dead,
with less presumption, and in a greater spirit of docility, than I have
done: and the more I have consulted, the less have I found of that inward
conviction on which a mind that is not absolutely implicit can rest.  I
thought for a time that this must be my fault.  I distrusted myself, not
my teachers—men of the greatest name, ancient and modern.  But I found at
last that it was safer to trust myself than them, and to proceed by the
light of my own understanding than to wander after these _ignes fatui_ of
philosophy.  If I am able therefore to tell you easily, and at the same
time so clearly and distinctly as to be easily understood, and so
strongly as not to be easily refuted, how I have thought for myself, I
shall be persuaded that I have thought enough on these subjects.  If I am
not able to do this, it will be evident that I have not thought on them
enough.  I must review my opinions, discover and correct my errors.

I have said that the subjects I mean, and which will be the principal
objects of these essays, are those of the first philosophy; and it is
fit, therefore, that I should explain what I understand by the first
philosophy.  Do not imagine that I understand what has passed commonly
under that name—metaphysical pneumatics, for instance, or ontology.  The
first are conversant about imaginary substances, such as may and may not
exist.  That there is a God we can demonstrate; and although we know
nothing of His manner of being, yet we acknowledge Him to be immaterial,
because a thousand absurdities, and such as imply the strongest
contradiction, result from the supposition that the Supreme Being is a
system of matter.  But of any other spirits we neither have nor can have
any knowledge: and no man will be inquisitive about spiritual
physiognomy, nor go about to inquire, I believe, at this time, as Evodius
inquired of St. Austin, whether our immaterial part, the soul, does not
remain united, when it forsakes this gross terrestrial body, to some
ethereal body more subtile and more fine; which was one of the
Pythagorean and Platonic whimsies: nor be under any concern to know, if
this be not the case of the dead, how souls can be distinguished after
their separation—that of Dives, for example, from that of Lazarus.  The
second—that is, ontology—treats most scientifically of being abstracted
from all being (“de ente quatenus ens”).  It came in fashion whilst
Aristotle was in fashion, and has been spun into an immense web out of
scholastic brains.  But it should be, and I think it is already, left to
the acute disciples of Leibnitz, who dug for gold in the ordure of the
schools, and to other German wits.  Let them darken by tedious
definitions what is too plain to need any; or let them employ their
vocabulary of barbarous terms to propagate an unintelligible jargon,
which is supposed to express such abstractions as they cannot make, and
according to which, however, they presume often to control the particular
and most evident truths of experimental knowledge.  Such reputed science
deserves no rank in philosophy, not the last, and much less the first.

I desire you not to imagine neither that I understand by the first
philosophy even such a science as my Lord Bacon describes—a science of
general observations and axioms, such as do not belong properly to any
particular part of science, but are common to many, “and of an higher
stage,” as he expresses himself.  He complains that philosophers have not
gone up to the “spring-head,” which would be of “general and excellent
use for the disclosing of Nature and the abridgment of art,” though they
“draw now and then a bucket of water out of the well for some particular
use.”  I respect—no man more—this great authority; but I respect no
authority enough to subscribe on the faith of it, to that which appears
to me fantastical, as if it were real.  Now this spring-head of science
is purely fantastical, and the figure conveys a false notion to the mind,
as figures employed licentiously are apt to do.  The great author himself
calls these axioms, which are to constitute his first philosophy,
observations.  Such they are properly; for there are some uniform
principles, or uniform impressions of the same nature, to be observed in
very different subjects, “una eademque naturæ vestigia aut signacula
diversis materiis et subjectis impressa.”  These observations, therefore,
when they are sufficiently verified and well established, may be properly
applied in discourse, or writing, from one subject to another.  But I
apprehend that when they are so applied, they serve rather to illustrate
a proposition than to disclose Nature, or to abridge art.  They may have
a better foundation than similitudes and comparisons more loosely and
more superficially made.  They may compare realities, not appearances;
things that Nature has made alike, not things that seem only to have some
relation of this kind in our imaginations.  But still they are
comparisons of things distinct and independent.  They do not lead us to
things, but things that are lead us to make them.  He who possesses two
sciences, and the same will be often true of arts, may find in certain
respects a similitude between them because he possesses both.  If he did
not possess both, he would be led by neither to the acquisition of the
other.  Such observations are effects, not means of knowledge; and,
therefore, to suppose that any collection of them can constitute a
science of an “higher stage,” from whence we may reason _à priori_ down
to particulars, is, I presume, to suppose something very groundless, and
very useless at best, to the advancement of knowledge.  A pretended
science of this kind must be barren of knowledge, and may be fruitful of
error, as the Persian magic was, if it proceeded on the faint analogy
that may be discovered between physics and politics, and deduced the
rules of civil government from what the professors of it observed of the
operations and works of Nature in the material world.  The very specimen
of their magic which my Lord Bacon has given would be sufficient to
justify what is here objected to his doctrine.

Let us conclude this head by mentioning two examples among others which
he brings to explain the better what he means by his first philosophy.
The first is this axiom, “If to unequals you add equals, all will be
unequal.”  This, he says, is an axiom of justice as well as of
mathematics; and he asks whether there is not a true coincidence between
commutative and distributive justice, and arithmetical and geometrical
proportion.  But I would ask in my turn whether the certainty that any
arithmetician or geometrician has of the arithmetical or geometrical
truth will lead him to discover this coincidence.  I ask whether the most
profound lawyer who never heard perhaps this axiom would be led to it by
his notions of commutative and distributive justice.  Certainly not.  He
who is well skilled in arithmetic or geometry, and in jurisprudence, may
observe perhaps this uniformity of natural principle or impression
because he is so skilled, though, to say the truth, it be not very
obvious; but he will not have derived his knowledge of it from any
spring-head of a first philosophy, from any science of an “higher stage”
than arithmetic, geometry, and jurisprudence.

The second example is this axiom, “That the destruction of things is
prevented by the reduction of them to their first principles.”  This rule
is said to hold in religion, in physics, and in politics; and Machiavel
is quoted for having established it in the last of these.  Now though
this axiom be generally, it is not universally, true; and, to say nothing
of physics, it will not be hard to produce, in contradiction to it,
examples of religious and civil institutions that would have perished if
they had been kept strictly to their first principles, and that have been
supported by departing more or less from them.  It may seem justly matter
of wonder that the author of the “Advancement of Learning” should espouse
this maxim in religion and politics, as well as physics, so absolutely,
and that he should place it as an axiom of his first philosophy
relatively to the three, since he could not do it without falling into
the abuse he condemns so much in his “Organum Novum”—the abuse
philosophers are guilty of when they suffer the mind to rise too fast, as
it is apt to do, from particulars to remote and general axioms.  That the
author of the “Political Discourses” should fall into this abuse is not
at all strange.  The same abuse runs through all his writings, in which,
among many wise and many wicked reflections and precepts, he establishes
frequently general maxims or rules of conduct on a few particular
examples, and sometimes on a single example.  Upon the whole matter, one
of these axioms communicates no knowledge but that which we must have
before we can know the axiom, and the other may betray us into great
error when we apply it to use and action.  One is unprofitable, the other
dangerous; and the philosophy which admits them as principles of general
knowledge deserves ill to be reputed philosophy.  It would have been just
as useful, and much more safe, to admit into this receptacle of axioms
those self-evident and necessary truths alone of which we have an
immediate perception, since they are not confined to any special parts of
science, but are common to several, or to all.  Thus these profitable
axioms, “What is, is,” “The whole is bigger than a part,” and divers
others, might serve to enlarge the spring-head of a first philosophy, and
be of excellent use in arguing _ex prœcognitis et prœconcessis_.

If you ask me now what I understand then by a first philosophy, my answer
will be such as I suppose you already prepared to receive.  I understand
by a first philosophy, that which deserves the first place on account of
the dignity and importance of its objects, natural theology or theism,
and natural religion or ethics.  If we consider the order of the sciences
in their rise and progress, the first place belongs to natural
philosophy, the mother of them all, or the trunk, the tree of knowledge,
out of which, and in proportion to which, like so many branches, they all
grow.  These branches spread wide, and bear even fruits of different
kinds.  But the sap that made them shoot, and makes them flourish, rises
from the root through the trunk, and their productions are varied
according to the variety of strainers through which it flows.  In plain
terms, I speak not here of supernatural, or revealed science; and
therefore I say that all science, if it be real, must rise from below,
and from our own level.  It cannot descend from above, nor from superior
systems of being and knowledge.  Truth of existence is truth of
knowledge, and therefore reason searches after them in one of these
scenes, where both are to be found together, and are within our reach;
whilst imagination hopes fondly to find them in another, where both of
them are to be found, but surely not by us.  The notices we receive from
without concerning the beings that surround us, and the inward
consciousness we have of our own, are the foundations, and the true
criterions too, of all the knowledge we acquire of body and of mind: and
body and mind are objects alike of natural philosophy.  We assume
commonly that they are two distinct substances.  Be it so.  They are
still united, and blended, as it were, together, in one human nature: and
all natures, united or not, fall within the province of natural
philosophy.  On the hypothesis indeed that body and soul are two distinct
substances, one of which subsists after the dissolution of the other,
certain men, who have taken the whimsical title of metaphysicians, as if
they had science beyond the bounds of Nature, or of Nature discoverable
by others, have taken likewise to themselves the doctrine of mind; and
have left that of body, under the name of physics, to a supposed inferior
order of philosophers.  But the right of these stands good; for all the
knowledge that can be acquired about mind, or the unextended substance of
the Cartesians, must be acquired, like that about body, or the extended
substance, within the bounds of their province, and by the means they
employ, particular experiments and observations.  Nothing can be true of
mind, any more than of body, that is repugnant to these; and an
intellectual hypothesis which is not supported by the intellectual
phenomena is at least as ridiculous as a corporeal hypothesis which is
not supported by the corporeal phenomena.

If I have said thus much in this place concerning natural philosophy, it
has not been without good reason.  I consider theology and ethics as the
first of sciences in pre-eminence of rank.  But I consider the constant
contemplation of Nature—by which I mean the whole system of God’s works
as far as it lies open to us—as the common spring of all sciences, and
even of these.  What has been said agreeably to this notion seems to me
evidently true; and yet metaphysical divines and philosophers proceed in
direct contradiction to it, and have thereby, if I mistake not,
bewildered themselves, and a great part of mankind, in such inextricable
labyrinths of hypothetical reasoning, that few men can find their way
back, and none can find it forward into the road of truth.  To dwell
long, and on some points always, in particular knowledge, tires the
patience of these impetuous philosophers.  They fly to generals.  To
consider attentively even the minutest phenomena of body and mind
mortifies their pride.  Rather than creep up slowly, _à posteriori_, to a
little general knowledge, they soar at once as far and as high as
imagination can carry them.  From thence they descend again, armed with
systems and arguments _à priori_; and, regardless how these agree or
clash with the phenomena of Nature, they impose them on mankind.

It is this manner of philosophising, this preposterous method of
beginning our search after truth out of the bounds of human knowledge, or
of continuing it beyond them, that has corrupted natural theology and
natural religion in all ages.  They have been corrupted to such a degree
that it is grown, and was so long since, as necessary to plead the cause
of God, if I may use this expression after Seneca, against the divine as
against the atheist; to assert his existence against the latter, to
defend his attributes against the former, and to justify his providence
against both.  To both a sincere and humble theist might say very
properly, “I make no difference between you on many occasions, because it
is indifferent whether you deny or defame the Supreme Being.”  Nay,
Plutarch, though little orthodox in theology, was not in the wrong
perhaps when he declared the last to be the worst.

In treating the subjects about which I shall write to you in these
letters or essays, it will be therefore necessary to distinguish genuine
and pure theism from the unnatural and profane mixtures of human
imagination—what we can know of God from what we cannot know.  This is
the more necessary, too, because, whilst true and false notions about God
and religion are blended together in our minds under one specious name of
science, the false are more likely to make men doubt of the true, as it
often happens, than to persuade men that they are true themselves.  Now,
in order to this purpose, nothing can be more effectual than to go to the
root of error, of that primitive error which encourages our curiosity,
sustains our pride, fortifies our prejudices, and gives pretence to
delusion.  This primitive error consists in the high opinion we are apt
to entertain of the human mind, though it holds, in truth, a very low
rank in the intellectual system.  To cure this error we need only turn
our eyes inward, and contemplate impartially what passes there from the
infancy to the maturity of the mind.  Thus it will not be difficult, and
thus alone it is possible, to discover the true nature of human
knowledge—how far it extends, how far it is real, and where and how it
begins to be fantastical.

Such an inquiry, if it cannot check the presumption nor humble the pride
of metaphysicians, may serve to undeceive others.  Locke pursued it; he
grounded all he taught on the phenomena of Nature; he appealed to the
experience and conscious knowledge of every one, and rendered all he
advanced intelligible.  Leibnitz, one of the vainest and most chimerical
men that ever got a name in philosophy, and who is often so
unintelligible that no man ought to believe he understood himself,
censured Locke as a superficial philosopher.  What has happened?  The
philosophy of one has forced its way into general approbation, that of
the other has carried no conviction and scarce any information to those
who have misspent their time about it.  To speak the truth, though it may
seem a paradox, our knowledge on many subjects, and particularly on those
which we intend here, must be superficial to be real.  This is the
condition of humanity.  We are placed, as it were, in an intellectual
twilight, where we discover but few things clearly, and none entirely,
and yet see just enough to tempt us with the hope of making better and
more discoveries.  Thus flattered, men push their inquiries on, and may
be properly enough compared to Ixion, who “imagined he had Juno in his
arms whilst he embraced a cloud.”

To be contented to know things as God has made us capable of knowing them
is, then, a first principle necessary to secure us from falling into
error; and if there is any subject upon which we should be most on our
guard against error, it is surely that which I have called here the first
philosophy.  God is hid from us in the majesty of His nature, and the
little we discover of Him must be discovered by the light that is
reflected from His works.  Out of this light, therefore, we should never
go in our inquiries and reasonings about His nature, His attributes, and
the order of His providence; and yet upon these subjects men depart the
furthest from it—nay, they who depart the furthest are the best heard by
the bulk of mankind.  The less men know, the more they believe that they
know.  Belief passes in their minds for knowledge, and the very
circumstances which should beget doubt produce increase of faith.  Every
glittering apparition that is pointed out to them in the vast wild of
imagination passes for a reality; and the more distant, the more
confused, the more incomprehensible it is, the more sublime it is
esteemed.  He who should attempt to shift these scenes of airy vision for
those of real knowledge might expect to be treated with scorn and anger
by the whole theological and metaphysical tribe, the masters and the
scholars; he would be despised as a plebeian philosopher, and railed at
as an infidel.  It would be sounded high that he debased human nature,
which has a “cognation,” so the reverend and learned Doctor Cudworth
calls it, with the divine; that the soul of man, immaterial and immortal
by its nature, was made to contemplate higher and nobler objects than
this sensible world, and even than itself, since it was made to
contemplate God and to be united to Him.  In such clamour as this the
voice of truth and of reason would be drowned, and, with both of them on
his side, he who opposed it would make many enemies and few converts—nay,
I am apt to think that some of these, if he made any, would say to him,
as soon as the gaudy visions of error were dispelled, and till they were
accustomed to the simplicity of truth, “Pol me occidistis.”  Prudence
forbids me, therefore, to write as I think to the world, whilst
friendship forbids me to write otherwise to you.  I have been a martyr of
faction in politics, and have no vocation to be so in philosophy.

But there is another consideration which deserves more regard, because it
is of a public nature, and because the common interests of society may be
affected by it.  Truth and falsehood, knowledge and ignorance,
revelations of the Creator, inventions of the creature, dictates of
reason, sallies of enthusiasm, have been blended so long together in our
systems of theology that it may be thought dangerous to separate them,
lest by attacking some parts of these systems we should shake the whole.
It may be thought that error itself deserves to be respected on this
account, and that men who are deluded for their good should be deluded

Some such reflections as these it is probable that Erasmus made when he
observed, in one of his letters to Melancthon, that Plato, dreaming of a
philosophical commonwealth, saw the impossibility of governing the
multitude without deceiving them.  “Let not Christians lie,” says this
great divine: “but let it not be thought neither that every truth ought
to be thrown out to the vulgar.”  (“Non expedit omnem veritatem prodere
vulgo.”)  Scævola and Varro were more explicit than Erasmus, and more
reasonable than Plato.  They held not only that many truths were to be
concealed from the vulgar, but that it was expedient the vulgar should
believe many things that were false.  They distinguished at the same
time, very rightly, between the regard due to religions already
established, and the conduct to be held in the establishment of them.
The Greek assumed that men could not be governed by truth, and erected on
this principle a fabulous theology.  The Romans were not of the same
opinion.  Varro declared expressly that if he had been to frame a new
institution, he would have framed it “ex naturæ potius formula.”  But
they both thought that things evidently false might deserve an outward
respect when they are interwoven into a system of government.  This
outward respect every good citizen will show them in such a case, and
they can claim no more in any.  He will not propagate these errors, but
he will be cautious how he propagates even truth in opposition to them.

There has been much noise made about free-thinking; and men have been
animated in the contest by a spirit that becomes neither the character of
divines nor that of good citizens, by an arbitrary tyrannical spirit
under the mask of religious zeal, and by a presumptuous factious spirit
under that of liberty.  If the first could prevail, they would establish
implicit belief and blind obedience, and an Inquisition to maintain this
abject servitude.  To assert antipodes might become once more as
heretical as Arianism or Pelagianism; and men might be dragged to the
jails of some Holy Office, like Galilei, for saying they had seen what in
fact they had seen, and what every one else that pleased might see.  If
the second could prevail, they would destroy at once the general
influence of religion by shaking the foundations of it which education
had laid.  These are wide extremes.  Is there no middle path in which a
reasonable man and a good citizen may direct his steps?  I think there

Every one has an undoubted right to think freely—nay, it is the duty of
every one to do so as far as he has the necessary means and
opportunities.  This duty, too, is in no case so incumbent on him as in
those that regard what I call the first philosophy.  They who have
neither means nor opportunities of this sort must submit their opinions
to authority; and to what authority can they resign themselves so
properly and so safely as to that of the laws and constitution of their
country?  In general, nothing can be more absurd than to take opinions of
the greatest moment, and such as concern us the most intimately, on
trust; but there is no help against it in many particular cases.  Things
the most absurd in speculation become necessary in practice.  Such is the
human constitution, and reason excuses them on the account of this
necessity.  Reason does even a little more, and it is all she can do.
She gives the best direction possible to the absurdity.  Thus she directs
those who must believe because they cannot know, to believe in the laws
of their country, and conform their opinions and practice to those of
their ancestors, to those of Coruncanius, of Scipio, of Scævola—not to
those of Zeno, of Cleanthes, of Chrysippus.

But now the same reason that gives this direction to such men as these
will give a very contrary direction to those who have the means and
opportunities the others want.  Far from advising them to submit to this
mental bondage, she will advise them to employ their whole industry to
exert the utmost freedom of thought, and to rest on no authority but
hers—that is, their own.  She will speak to them in the language of the
Soufys, a sect of philosophers in Persia that travellers have mentioned.
“Doubt,” say these wise and honest freethinkers, “is the key of
knowledge.  He who never doubts, never examines.  He who never examines,
discovers nothing.  He who discovers nothing, is blind and will remain
so.  If you find no reason to doubt concerning the opinions of your
fathers, keep to them; they will be sufficient for you.  If you find any
reason to doubt concerning them, seek the truth quietly, but take care
not to disturb the minds of other men.”

Let us proceed agreeably to these maxims.  Let us seek truth, but seek it
quietly as well as freely.  Let us not imagine, like some who are called
freethinkers, that every man, who can think and judge for himself, as he
has a right to do, has therefore a right of speaking, any more than of
acting, according to the full freedom of his thoughts.  The freedom
belongs to him as a rational creature; he lies under the restraint as a
member of society.

If the religion we profess contained nothing more than articles of faith
and points of doctrine clearly revealed to us in the Gospel, we might be
obliged to renounce our natural freedom of thought in favour of this
supernatural authority.  But since it is notorious that a certain order
of men, who call themselves the Church, have been employed to make and
propagate a theological system of their own, which they call
Christianity, from the days of the Apostles, and even from these days
inclusively, it is our duty to examine and analyse the whole, that we may
distinguish what is divine from what is human; adhere to the first
implicitly, and ascribe to the last no more authority than the word of
man deserves.

Such an examination is the more necessary to be undertaken by every one
who is concerned for the truth of his religion and for the honour of
Christianity, because the first preachers of it were not, and they who
preach it still are not, agreed about many of the most important points
of their system; because the controversies raised by these men have
banished union, peace, and charity out of the Christian world; and
because some parts of the system savour so much of superstition and
enthusiasm that all the prejudices of education and the whole weight of
civil and ecclesiastical power can hardly keep them in credit.  These
considerations deserve the more attention because nothing can be more
true than what Plutarch said of old, and my Lord Bacon has said since:
one, that superstition, and the other, that vain controversies are
principal causes of atheism.

I neither expect nor desire to see any public revision made of the
present system of Christianity.  I should fear an attempt to alter the
established religion as much as they who have the most bigot attachment
to it, and for reasons as good as theirs, though not entirely the same.
I speak only of the duty of every private man to examine for himself,
which would have an immediate good effect relatively to himself, and
might have in time a good effect relatively to the public, since it would
dispose the minds of men to a greater indifference about theological
disputes, which are the disgrace of Christianity and have been the
plagues of the world.

Will you tell me that private judgment must submit to the established
authority of Fathers and Councils?  My answer shall be that the Fathers,
ancient and modern, in Councils and out of them, have raised that immense
system of artificial theology by which genuine Christianity is perverted
and in which it is lost.  These Fathers are fathers of the worst sort,
such as contrive to keep their children in a perpetual state of infancy,
that they may exercise perpetual and absolute dominion over them.  “Quo
magis regnum in illos exerceant pro sua libidine.”  I call their theology
artificial, because it is in a multitude of instances conformable neither
to the religion of Nature nor to Gospel Christianity, but often repugnant
to both, though said to be founded on them.  I shall have occasion to
mention several such instances in the course of these little essays.
Here I will only observe that if it be hard to conceive how anything so
absurd as the pagan theology stands represented by the Fathers who wrote
against it, and as it really was, could ever gain credit among rational
creatures, it is full as hard to conceive how the artificial theology we
speak of could ever prevail, not only in ages of ignorance, but in the
most enlightened.  There is a letter of St. Austin wherein he says that
he was ashamed of himself when he refuted the opinions of the former, and
that he was ashamed of mankind when he considered that such absurdities
were received and defended.  The reflections might be retorted on the
saint, since he broached and defended doctrines as unworthy of the
Supreme All-Perfect Being as those which the heathens taught concerning
their fictitious and inferior gods.  Is it necessary to quote any other
than that by which we are taught that God has created numbers of men for
no purpose but to damn them?  “Quisquis prædestinationis doctrinam
invidia gravat,” says Calvin, “aperte maledicit Deo.”  Let us say,
“Quisquis prædestinationis doctrinam asserit, blasphemat”.  Let us not
impute such cruel injustice to the all-perfect Being.  Let Austin and
Calvin and all those who teach it be answerable for it alone.  You may
bring Fathers and Councils as evidences in the cause of artificial
theology, but reason must be the judge; and all I contend for is, that
she should be so in the breast of every Christian that can appeal to her

Will you tell me that even such a private examination of the Christian
system as I propose that every man who is able to make it should make for
himself, is unlawful; and that, if any doubts arise in our minds
concerning religion, we must have recourse for the solution of them to
some of that holy order which was instituted, by God Himself, and which
has been continued by the imposition of hands in every Christian society,
from the Apostles down to the present clergy?  My answer shall be shortly
this: it is repugnant to all the ideas of wisdom and goodness to believe
that the universal terms of salvation are knowable by the means of one
order of men alone, and that they continue to be so even after they have
been published to all nations.  Some of your directors will tell you that
whilst Christ was on earth the Apostles were the Church; that He was the
Bishop of it; that afterwards the admission of men into this order was
approved, and confirmed by visions and other divine manifestations; and
that these wonderful proofs of God’s interposition at the ordinations and
consecrations of presbyters and bishops lasted even in the time of St.
Cyprian—that is, in the middle of the third century.  It is pity that
they lasted no longer, for the honour of the Church, and for the
conviction of those who do not sufficiently reverence the religious
society.  It were to be wished, perhaps, that some of the secrets of
electricity were improved enough to be piously and usefully applied to
this purpose.  If we beheld a shekinah, or divine presence, like the
flame of a taper, on the heads of those who receive the imposition of
hands, we might believe that they receive the Holy Ghost at the same
time.  But as we have no reason to believe what superstitious, credulous,
or lying men (such as Cyprian himself was) reported formerly, that they
might establish the proud pretensions of the clergy, so we have no reason
to believe that five men of this order have any more of the Divine Spirit
in our time, after they are ordained, than they had before.  It would be
a farce to provoke laughter, if there was no suspicion of profanation in
it, to see them gravely lay hands on one another, and bid one another
receive the Holy Ghost.

Will you tell me finally, in opposition to what has been said, and that
you may anticipate what remains to be said, that laymen are not only
unauthorised, but quite unequal, without the assistance of divines, to
the task I propose?  If you do, I shall make no scruple to tell you, in
return, that laymen may be, if they please, in every respect as fit, and
are in one important respect more fit than divines to go through this
examination, and to judge for themselves upon it.  We say that the
Scriptures, concerning the divine authenticity of which all the
professors of Christianity agree, are the sole criterion of Christianity.
You add tradition, concerning which there may be, and there is, much
dispute.  We have, then, a certain invariable rule whenever the
Scriptures speak plainly.  Whenever they do not speak so, we have this
comfortable assurance—that doctrines which nobody understands are
revealed to nobody, and are therefore improper objects of human inquiry.
We know, too, that if we receive the explanations and commentaries of
these dark sayings from the clergy, we take the greatest part of our
religion from the word of man, not from the Word of God.  Tradition,
indeed, however derived, is not to be totally rejected; for if it was,
how came the canon of the Scriptures, even of the Gospels, to be fixed?
How was it conveyed down to us?  Traditions of general facts, and general
propositions plain and uniform, may be of some authority and use.  But
particular anecdotical traditions, whose original authority is unknown,
or justly suspicious, and that have acquired only an appearance of
generality and notoriety, because they have been frequently and boldly
repeated from age to age, deserve no more regard than doctrines evidently
added to the Scriptures, under pretence of explaining and commenting
them, by men as fallible as ourselves.  We may receive the Scriptures,
and be persuaded of their authenticity, on the faith of ecclesiastical
tradition; but it seems to me that we may reject, at the same time, all
the artificial theology which has been raised on these Scriptures by
doctors of the Church, with as much right as they receive the Old
Testament on the authority of Jewish scribes and doctors whilst they
reject the oral law and all rabbinical literature.

He who examines on such principles as these, which are conformable to
truth and reason, may lay aside at once the immense volumes of Fathers
and Councils, of schoolmen, casuists, and controversial writers, which
have perplexed the world so long.  Natural religion will be to such a man
no longer intricate, revealed religion will be no longer mysterious, nor
the Word of God equivocal.  Clearness and precision are two great
excellences of human laws.  How much more should we expect to find them
in the law of God?  They have been banished from thence by artificial
theology, and he who is desirous to find them must banish the professors
of it from his councils, instead of consulting them.  He must seek for
genuine Christianity with that simplicity of spirit with which it is
taught in the Gospel by Christ Himself.  He must do the very reverse of
what has been done by the persons you advise him to consult.

You see that I have said what has been said, on a supposition that,
however obscure theology may be, the Christian religion is extremely
plain, and requires no great learning nor deep meditation to develop it.
But if it was not so plain, if both these were necessary to develop it,
is great learning the monopoly of the clergy since the resurrection of
letters, as a little learning was before that era?  Is deep meditation
and justness of reasoning confined to men of that order by a peculiar and
exclusive privilege?  In short, and to ask a question which experience
will decide, have these men who boast that they are appointed by God “to
be the interpreters of His secret will, to represent His person, and to
answer in His name, as it were, out of the sanctuary”—have these men, I
say, been able in more than seventeen centuries to establish an uniform
system of revealed religion—for natural religion never wanted their help
among the civil societies of Christians—or even in their own?  They do
not seem to have aimed at this desirable end.  Divided as they have
always been, they have always studied in order to believe, and to take
upon trust, or to find matter of discourse, or to contradict and confute,
but never to consider impartially nor to use a free judgment.  On the
contrary, they who have attempted to use this freedom of judgment have
been constantly and cruelly persecuted by them.

The first steps towards the establishment of artificial theology, which
has passed for Christianity ever since, were enthusiastical.  They were
not heretics alone who delighted in wild allegories and the pompous
jargon of mystery; they were the orthodox Fathers of the first ages, they
were the disciples of the Apostles, or the scholars of their disciples;
for the truth of which I may appeal to the epistles and other writings of
these men that are extant—to those of Clemens, of Ignatius, or of
Irenæus, for instance—and to the visions of Hermes, that have so near a
resemblance to the productions of Bunyan.

The next steps of the same kind were rhetorical.  They were made by men
who declaimed much and reasoned ill, but who imposed on the imaginations
of others by the heat of their own, by their hyperboles, their
exaggerations, the acrimony of their style, and their violent invectives.
Such were the Chrysostoms, the Jeromes, an Hilarius, a Cyril, and most of
the Fathers.

The last of the steps I shall mention were logical, and these were made
very opportunely and very advantageously for the Church and for
artificial theology.  Absurdity in speculation and superstition in
practice had been cultivated so long, and were become so gross, that men
began to see through the veils that had been thrown over them, as
ignorant as those ages were.  Then the schoolmen arose.  I need not
display their character; it is enough known.  This only I will say—that
having very few materials of knowledge and much subtilty of wit they
wrought up systems of fancy on the little they knew, and invented an art,
by the help of Aristotle, not of enlarging, but of puzzling, knowledge
with technical terms, with definitions, distinctions, and syllogisms
merely verbal.  They taught what they could not explain, evaded what they
could not answer, and he who had the most skill in this art might put to
silence, when it came into general use, the man who was consciously
certain that he had truth and reason on his side.

The authority of the schools lasted till the resurrection of letters.
But as soon as real knowledge was enlarged, and the conduct of the
understanding better understood, it fell into contempt.  The advocates of
artificial theology have had since that time a very hard task.  They have
been obliged to defend in the light what was imposed in the dark, and to
acquire knowledge to justify ignorance.  They were drawn to it with
reluctance.  But learning, that grew up among the laity, and
controversies with one another, made this unavoidable, which was not
eligible on the principles of ecclesiastical policy.  They have done with
these new arms all that great parts, great pains, and great zeal could do
under such disadvantages, and we may apply to this order, on this
occasion, “si Pergama dextra,” etc.  But their Troy cannot be defended;
irreparable breaches have been made in it.  They have improved in
learning and knowledge, but this improvement has been general, and as
remarkable at least among the laity as among the clergy.  Besides which
it must be owned that the former have had in this respect a sort of
indirect obligation to the latter; for whilst these men have searched
into antiquity, have improved criticism, and almost exhausted subtilty,
they have furnished so many arms the more to such of the others as do not
submit implicitly to them, but examine and judge for themselves.  By
refuting one another, when they differ, they have made it no hard matter
to refute them all when they agree.  And I believe there are few books
written to propagate or defend the received notions of artificial
theology which may not be refuted by the books themselves.  I conclude,
on the whole, that laymen have, or need to have, no want of the clergy in
examining and analysing the religion they profess.

But I said that they are in one important respect more fit to go through
this examination without the help of divines than with it.  A layman who
seeks the truth may fall into error; but as he can have no interest to
deceive himself, so he has none of profession to bias his private
judgment, any more than to engage him to deceive others.  Now, the
clergyman lies strongly under this influence in every communion.  How,
indeed, should it be otherwise?  Theology is become one of those sciences
which Seneca calls “scientiæ in lucrum exeuntes;” and sciences, like arts
whose object is gain, are, in good English, trades.  Such theology is,
and men who could make no fortune, except the lowest, in any other, make
often the highest in this; for the proof of which assertion I might
produce some signal instances among my lords the bishops.  The
consequence has been uniform; for how ready soever the tradesmen of one
Church are to expose the false wares—that is, the errors and abuses—of
another, they never admit that there are any in their own; and he who
admitted this in some particular instance would be driven out of the
ecclesiastical company as a false brother and one who spoiled the trade.

Thus it comes to pass that new Churches may be established by the
dissensions, but that old ones cannot be reformed by the concurrence, of
the clergy.  There is no composition to be made with this order of men.
He who does not believe all they teach in every communion is reputed
nearly as criminal as he who believes no part of it.  He who cannot
assent to the Athanasian Creed, of which Archbishop Tillotson said, as I
have heard, that he wished we were well rid, would receive no better
quarter than an atheist from the generality of the clergy.  What recourse
now has a man who cannot be thus implicit?  Some have run into
scepticism, some into atheism, and, for fear of being imposed on by
others, have imposed on themselves.  The way to avoid these extremes is
that which has been chalked out in this introduction.  We may think
freely without thinking as licentiously as divines do when they raise a
system of imagination on true foundations, or as sceptics do when they
renounce all knowledge, or as atheists do when they attempt to demolish
the foundations of all religion and reject demonstration.  As we think
for ourselves, we may keep our thoughts to ourselves, or communicate them
with a due reserve and in such a manner only as it may be done without
offending the laws of our country and disturbing the public peace.

I cannot conclude my discourse on this occasion better than by putting
you in mind of a passage you quoted to me once, with great applause, from
a sermon of Foster, and to this effect: “Where mystery begins, religion
ends.”  The apophthegm pleased me much, and I was glad to hear such a
truth from any pulpit, since it shows an inclination, at least, to purify
Christianity from the leaven of artificial theology, which consists
principally in making things that are very plain mysterious, and in
pretending to make things that are impenetrably mysterious very plain.
If you continue still of the same mind, I shall have no excuse to make to
you for what I have written and shall write.  Our opinions coincide.  If
you have changed your mind, think again and examine further.  You will
find that it is the modest, not the presumptuous, inquirer who makes a
real and safe progress in the discovery of divine truths.  One follows
Nature and Nature’s God—that is, he follows God in His works and in His
Word; nor presumes to go further, by metaphysical and theological
commentaries of his own invention, than the two texts, if I may use this
expression, carry him very evidently.  They who have done otherwise, and
have affected to discover, by a supposed science derived from tradition
or taught in the schools, more than they who have not such science can
discover concerning the nature, physical and moral, of the Supreme Being,
and concerning the secrets of His providence, have been either
enthusiasts or knaves, or else of that numerous tribe who reason well
very often, but reason always on some arbitrary supposition.

Much of this character belonged to the heathen divines, and it is in all
its parts peculiarly that of the ancient Fathers and modern doctors of
the Christian Church.  The former had reason, but no revelation, to guide
them; and though reason be always one, we cannot wonder that different
prejudices and different tempers of imagination warped it in them on such
subjects as these, and produced all the extravagances of their theology.
The latter had not the excuse of human frailty to make in mitigation of
their presumption.  On the contrary, the consideration of this frailty,
inseparable from their nature, aggravated their presumption.  They had a
much surer criterion than human reason; they had divine reason and the
Word of God to guide them and to limit their inquiries.  How came they to
go beyond this criterion?  Many of the first preachers were led into it
because they preached or wrote before there was any such criterion
established, in the acceptance of which they all agreed, because they
preached or wrote, in the meantime, on the faith of tradition and on a
confidence that they were persons extraordinarily gifted.  Other reasons
succeeded these.  Skill in languages, not the gift of tongues, some
knowledge of the Jewish cabala and some of heathen philosophy, of Plato’s
especially, made them presume to comment, and under that pretence to
enlarge the system of Christianity with as much licence as they could
have taken if the word of man, instead of the Word of God, had been
concerned, and they had commented the civil, not the divine, law.  They
did this so copiously that, to give one instance of it, the exposition of
St. Matthew’s Gospel took up ninety homilies, and that of St. John’s
eighty-seven, in the works of Chrysostom; which puts me in mind of a
Puritanical parson who, if I mistake not—for I have never looked into the
folio since I was a boy and condemned sometimes to read in it—made one
hundred and nineteen sermons on the hundred and nineteenth Psalm.

Now all these men, both heathens and Christians, appeared gigantic forms
through the false medium of imagination and habitual prejudice; but were,
in truth, as arrant dwarfs in the knowledge to which they pretended as
you and I and all the sons of Adam.  The former, however, deserved some
excuse; the latter none.  The former made a very ill use of their reason,
no doubt, when they presume to dogmatise about the divine nature, but
they deceived nobody.  What they taught, they taught on their own
authority, which every other man was at liberty to receive or reject as
he approved or disapproved the doctrine.  Christians, on the other hand,
made a very ill use of revelation and reason both.  Instead of employing
the superior principle to direct and confine the inferior, they employed
it to sanctify all that wild imagination, the passions, and the interests
of the ecclesiastical order suggested.  This abuse of revelation was so
scandalous that whilst they were building up a system of religion under
the name of Christianity, every one who sought to signalise himself in
the enterprise—and they were multitudes—dragged the Scriptures to his
opinion by different interpretations, paraphrases, comments.  Arius and
Nestorius both pretended that they had it on their sides; Athanasius and
Cyril on theirs.  They rendered the Word of God so dubious that it ceased
to be a criterion, and they had recourse to another—to Councils and the
decrees of Councils.  He must be very ignorant in ecclesiastical
antiquity who does not know by what intrigues of the contending
factions—for such they were, and of the worst kind—these decrees were
obtained; and yet, an opinion prevailing that the Holy Ghost, the same
Divine Spirit who dictated the Scriptures, presided in these assemblies
and dictated their decrees, their decrees passed for infallible
decisions, and sanctified, little by little, much of the superstition,
the nonsense, and even the blasphemy which the Fathers taught, and all
the usurpations of the Church.  This opinion prevailed and influenced the
minds of men so powerfully and so long that Erasmus, who owns in one of
his letters that the writings of Œcolampadius against transubstantiation
seemed sufficient to seduce even the elect (“ut seduci posse videantur
etiam electi”), declares in another that nothing hindered him from
embracing the doctrine of Œcolampadius but the consent of the Church to
the other doctrine (“nisi obstaret consensus Ecclesiæ”).  Thus artificial
theology rose on the demolitions, not on the foundations, of
Christianity; was incorporated into it; and became a principal part of
it.  How much it becomes a good Christian to distinguish them, in his
private thoughts at least, and how unfit even the greatest, the most
moderate, and the least ambitious of the ecclesiastical order are to
assist us in making this distinction, I have endeavoured to show you by
reason and by example.

It remains, then, that we apply ourselves to the study of the first
philosophy without any other guides than the works and the Word of God.
In natural religion the clergy are unnecessary; in revealed they are
dangerous guides.

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