And What if the Pretender should Come?
Or Some Considerations of the Advantages and Real Consequences of the Pretender's Possessing the Crown of Great Britain
A pamphlet produced by Daniel Defoe (published 1713)
London: Printed, and Sold by J. Baker, at the Black-Boy in Pater-Noster-Row, 1713 [Price 6d.]
If the danger of the pretender is really so great as the noise which some make about it seems to suppose, if the hopes of his coming are so well grounded, as some of his friends seem to boast, it behoves us who are to be the subjects of the approaching revolution, which his success must necessarily bring with it, to apply ourselves seriously to examine what our part will be in the play, that so we may prepare ourselves to act as becomes us, both with respect to the government we are now under, and with respect to the government we may be under, when the success he promises himself shall (if ever it shall) answer his expectation.
In order to this it is necessary to state, with what plainness the circumstances of the case will admit, the several appearances of the thing itself. 1. As they are offered to us by the respective parties who are for or against it. 2. As they really appear by an impartial deduction from them both, without the least bias either to one side or other; that so the people of Britain may settle and compose their thoughts a little in this great, and at present popular, debate; and may neither be terrified nor affrighted with mischiefs, which have no reason nor foundation in them, and which give no ground for their apprehensions; and, on the other hand, may not promise to themselves greater things from the pretender, if he should come hither, than he will be able to perform for them. In order to this we are to consider the pretender in his person and in his circumstances. 1. The person who we call the pretender; it has been so much debated, and such strong parties have been made on both sides to prove or disprove the legitimacy of his birth, that it seems needless here to enter into that dispute; the author of the Review, one of the most furious opposers of the name and interest of the pretender, openly grants his legitimacy, and pretends to argue against his admission from principles and foundations of his own forming; we shall let alone his principles and foundations here, as we do his arguments, and only take him by the handle which he fairly gives us, viz., that he grants the person of the pretender legitimate; if this be so, if the person we contend about be the lawful true son of King James's queen, the dispute whether he be the real son of the king will be quite out of the question; because by the laws of Great Britain, and of the whole world, a child born in wedlock shall inherit, as heir of the mother's husband, whether begotten by him, as his real father, or not. Now to come at the true design of this work, the business is, to hear, as above, what either side have to say to this point. The friends of his birth and succession argue upon it thus, if the person be lawfully begotten, that is, if born really of the body of the queen dowager, during the life of King James, he was without any exception his lawful son; if he was his lawful son, he was his lawful heir; if he was his lawful heir, why is he not our lawful king? Since hereditary right is indefeasible, and is lately acknowledged to be so; and that the doctrine of hereditary right being indefeasible, is a Church of England doctrine ever received by the church, and inseparable from the true members of the church, the contrary being the stigmatizing character of republicans, king-killers, enemies to monarchy, presbyterians, and fanatics. The enemies of the birth and succession of the person called the pretender argue upon it thus, that he is the lawfully begotten, or son born really of the body of the queen dowager of the late King James, they doubt; and they are justified in doubting of it, because no sufficient steps were taken in the proper season of it, either before his birth, to convince such persons as were more immediately concerned, to know the truth of it, that the queen was really with child, which might have been done past all contradiction at that time, more than ever after; or at his birth, to have such persons as were more immediately concerned, such as her present majesty, &c., thoroughly convinced of the queen being really delivered of a child, by being present at the time of the queen's labour and delivery. This being omitted, which was the affirmative, say they, which ought to have been proved, we ought not to be concerned in the proof of the negative, which by the nature of the thing could not be equally certain; and therefore we might be justly permitted to conclude that the child was a spurious, unfair production, put upon the nation; for which reason we reject him, and have now, by a legal and just authority, deposed his father and him, and settled the succession upon the house of Hanover, being protestants.
The matter of his title standing thus, divides the nation into two parties, one side for, and the other against the succession, either of the pretender, or the house of Hanover, and either side calling the other the pretender; so that if we were to use the party's language, we must say, one side is for, and the other side against, either of the pretenders; what the visible probabilities of either of these claims succeeding are, is not the present case; the nation appears at this time strangely agitated between the fears of one party, and the hopes of the other, each extenuating and aggravating, as their several parties and affections guide them, by which the public disorder is very much increased; what either of them have to allege is our present work to inquire; but more particularly what are the real or pretended advantages of the expected reign of him, who we are allowed to distinguish by the name of the pretender; for his friends here would have very little to say to move us to receive him, it they were not able to lay before us such prospects of national advantages, and such, views of prosperity, as would be sufficient to prevail with those who have their eyes upon the good of their country, and of their posterity after them.
That then a case so popular, and of so much consequence as this is, may not want such due supports as the nature of the thing will allow, and especially since the advantages and good consequences of the thing itself are so many, and so easy to be seen as his friends allege; why should not the good people of Britain be made easy, and their fears be turned into peaceable satisfaction, by seeing that this devil may not be so black as he is painted; and that the noise made of the pretender, and the frightful things said of his coming, and of his being received here, may not be made greater scarecrows to us than they really are; and after all that has been said, if it should appear that the advantages of the pretender's succession are really greater to us, and the dangers less to us, than those of the succession of Hanover, then much of their difficulties would be over, who, standing neuter as to persons, appear against the pretender, only because they are made to believe strange and terrible things of what shall befall the nation in case of his coming in, such as popery, slavery, French power, destroying of our credit, and devouring our funds (as that scandalous scribbler, the Review, has been labouring to suggest), with many other things which we shall endeavour to expose to you, as they deserve. If, we say, it should appear then that the dangers and disadvantages of the pretender's succession are less than those of the house of Hanover, who, because of an act of Parliament, you know must not be called pretenders, then there will remain nothing more to be said on that score, but the debate must be of the reasonableness and justice on either side, for their admittance; and there we question not but the side we are really pleading for will have the advantage.
To begin, then, with that most popular and affrighting argument now made use of, as the bugbear of the people, against several other things besides jacobitism, we mean French greatness. It is most evident that the fear of this must, by the nature of the thing, be effectually removed upon our receiving the pretender; the grounds and reasons why French greatness is rendered formidable to us, and so much weight supposed to be in it, that like the name of Scanderberg, we fright our very children with it, lie only in this, that we suggest the king of France being a professed enemy to the peace and the liberty of Great Britain, will most certainly, as soon as he can a little recover himself, exercise all that formidable power to put the pretender upon us, and not only to place him upon the throne of Great Britain, but to maintain and hold him up in it, against all the opposition, either of the people of Britain or the confederate princes leagued with the elector of Hanover, who are in the interest of his claim, or of his party. Now, it is evident, that upon a peaceable admitting this person, whom they call the pretender, to receive and enjoy the crown here, all that formidable power becomes your friend, and the being so must necessarily take off from it everything that is called terrible; forasmuch as the greater terror and amusement the power we apprehend really carries with it, the greater is the tranquillity and satisfaction which accrues to us, when we have the friendship of that power which was so formidable to us before: the power of France is represented at this time very terrible, and the writers who speak of it apply it warm to our imaginations, as that from whence we ought justly to apprehend the impossibility of keeping out the pretender, and this, notwithstanding they allow themselves at the same time to suppose all the confederate powers of Europe to be engaged, as well by their own interest, as by the new treaties of barrier and guarantee, to support and to assist the claim of the elector of Hanover, and his party. Now, if this power be so great and so formidable, as they allege, will it not, on the other side, add a proportion of increase to our satisfaction, that this power will be wholly in friendship and league with us; and engaged to concern itself for the quieting our fears of other foreign invaders; forasmuch as having once concerned itself to set the person of the pretender upon the throne, it cannot be supposed but it shall be equally concerned to support and maintain him in that possession, as what will mightily conduce to the carrying on the other projects of his greatness and glory with the rest of Europe; in which it will be very much his interest to secure himself from any opposition he might meet with from this nation, or from such as might be rendered powerful by our assistance. An eminent instance we have of this in the mighty efforts the French nation have made for planting, and preserving when planted, a grandson of France upon the throne of Spain; and how eminent are the advantages to France from the success of that undertaking; of what less consequence then would it be to the august monarchy of France, to secure and engage to himself the constant friendship and assistance of the power of Great Britain, which he would necessarily do, by the placing this person upon the throne, who would thereby in gratitude be engaged to contribute his utmost in return to the king of France, for the carrying on his glorious designs in the rest of Europe. While, then, we become thus necessary to the king of France, reason dictates that he would be our fast friend, our constant confederate, our ally, firmly engaged to secure our sovereign, and protect our people from the insults and attempts of all the world; being thus engaged reciprocally with the king of France, there must necessarily be an end of all the fears and jealousies, of all the apprehensions and doubts, which now so amuse us, and appear so formidable to us from the prospect of the power and greatness of France; then we shall on the contrary say to the world, the stronger the king of France is, the better for the king of England; and what is best for the king, must be so for his people; for it is a most unnatural way of arguing, to suppose the interest of a king, and of his people, to be different from one another.
And is not this then an advantage incomparably greater to Britain, when the pretender shall be upon the throne, than any we can propose to ourselves in the present uneasy posture of affairs, which it must be acknowledged we are in now, when we cannot sleep in quiet, for the terrible apprehensions of being overrun by the formidable power of France.
Let us also consider the many other advantages which may accrue to this nation, by a nearer conjunction, and closer union with France, such as increase of commerce, encouragement of manufactures, balance of trade; every one knows how vast an advantage we reaped by the French trade in former times, and how many hundred thousand pounds a year we gained by it, when the balance of trade between us and France ran so many millions of livres annually against the French by the vast exportation of our goods to them, and the small import which we received from them again, and by the constant flux of money in specie, which we drew from them every year, upon court occasions, to the inexpressible benefit of the nation, and enriching of the subject, of which we shall have occasion to speak hereafter more fully.
In the meantime it were to be wished that our people who are so bugbeared with words, and terrified with the name of French, French power, French greatness, and the like, as if England could not subsist, and the queen of England was not able to keep upon her throne any longer than the king of France pleased, and that her majesty was going to be a mere servant to the French king, would consider that this is an unanswerable argument for the coming of the pretender, that we may make this so formidable prince our friend, have all his power engaged in our interest, and see him going on hand in hand with us, in the securing us against all sorts of encroachments whatsoever; for if the king of France be such an invincible mighty monarch, that we are nothing in his eyes or in his hands; and that neither Britain, or all the friends Britain can make, are able to deliver us from him; then it must be our great advantage to have the pretender be our king, that we may be out of the danger of this formidable French power being our enemy; and that, on the other hand, we may have so potent, so powerful, so invincible a prince be our friend. The case is evidently laid down to every common understanding, in the example of Spain; till now, the Spaniards for many ages have been overrun and impoverished by their continued wars with the French, and it was not doubted but one time or other they would have been entirely conquered by the king of France, and have become a mere province of France; whereas now, having but consented to receive a king from the hands of the invincible monarch, they are made easy as to the former danger they were always in, axe now most safe under the protection of France; and he who before was their terror, is now their safety, and being safe from him it appears they are so from all the world.
Would it not then be the manifest advantage of this nation to be likewise secured from the dangerous power of France, and make that potentate our fast friend, who it is so apparent we are not able to resist as an enemy? This is reducing the French power the softest way, if not the best and shortest way; for if it does not reduce the power itself, it brings it into such a circumstance, as that all the terror of it is removed, and we embrace that as our safety and satisfaction, which really is, and ought to be, our terror and aversion; this must of necessity be our great advantage.
How strange is it that none of our people have yet thought of this way of securing their native country from the insults of France? Were but the pretender once received as our king, we have no more disputes with the king of France, he has no pretence to invade or disturb us; what a quiet world would it be with us in such a case, when the greatest monarch in the universe should be our fast friend, and be in our interest to prevent any of the inconveniences which might happen to us from the disgust of other neighbours, who may be dissatisfied with us upon other accounts. As to the terrible things which some people fright us, and themselves with, from the influence which French councils may have upon us, and of French methods of government being introduced among us; these we ought to esteem only clamours and noise, raised by a party to amuse and affright us; for pray let us inquire a little into them, and see if there be any reason for us to be so terrified at them; suppose they were really what is alleged, which we hope they are not; for example, the absolute dominion of the king of France over his subjects, is such, say our people, as makes them miserable; well, but let us examine then, are we not already miserable for want of this absolute dominion? Are we not miserably divided? Is not our government miserably weak? Are we not miserably subjected to the rabbles and mob? Nay, is not the very crown mobbed here every now and then, into whatever our sovereign lord the people demand? Whereas, on the contrary, we see France entirely united as one man; no virulent scribblers there dare affront the government; no impertinent p----ments there disturb the monarch with their addresses and representations; no superiority of laws restrain the administration; no insolent lawyers talk of the sacred constitution, in opposition to the more sacred prerogative; but all with harmony and general consent agree to support the majesty of their prince, and with their lives and fortunes; not in complimenting sham addresses only, but in reality, and effectually, support the glory of their great monarch. In doing this they are all united together so firmly, as if they had but one heart and one mind, and that the king was the soul of the nation: what if they are what we foolishly call slaves to the absolute will of their prince? That slavery to them is mere liberty? They entertain no notion of that foolish thing liberty, which we make so much noise about; nor have they any occasion of it, or any use for it if they had it; they are as industrious in trade, as vigorous in pursuit of their affairs, go on with as much courage, and are as well satisfied when they have wrought hard twenty or thirty years to get a little money for the king to take away, as we are to get it for our wives and children; and as they plant vines, and plough lands, that the king and his great men may eat the fruit thereof, they think it as great a felicity as if they eat it themselves. The badge of their poverty, which we make such a noise of, and insult them about so much, viz., their wooden shoes, their peasants make nothing of it; they say they are as happy in their wooden shoes, as our people are with their luxury and drunkenness; besides, do not our poor people wear iron shoes, and leather doublets, and where is the odds between them? All the business, forsooth, is this trifle we call liberty, which rather than be plagued with so much strife and dissension about it as we are, who would be troubled with; now, it is evident the peace and union which we should enjoy under the like methods of government here, which we hope for under the happy government of the pretender, must needs be a full equivalent for all the pretended rights and privileges which we say we shall lose; and how will our rights and privileges be lost? Will they not rather be centred in our common receptacle, viz., the sovereign, who is, according to the king of France's happy government, the common magazine of universal privilege, communicating it to, and preserving it for, the general use of his subjects, as their safety and happiness requires. Thus he protects their commerce, encourages their foreign settlements, enlarges their possessions abroad, increases their manufactures, gives them room for spreading their numerous race over the world; at home he rewards arts and sciences, cultivates learning, employs innumerable hands in the labours of the state, and the like; what if it be true that all they gain is at his mercy? Does he take it away, except when needful, for the support of his glory and grandeur, which is their protection? Is it not apparent, that under all the oppressions they talk so much of, the French are the nation the most improved and increased in manufactures, in navigation, in commerce, within these fifty years, of any nation in the world? And here we pretend liberty, property, constitutions, rights of subjects, and such stuff as that, and with all these fine gewgaws, which we pretend propagate trade, and increase the wealth of the nation, we are every day declining, and become poor; how long will this nation be blinded by their own foolish customs? And when will they learn to know, that the absolute government of a virtuous prince, who makes the good of his people his ultimate end, and esteems their prosperity his glory, is the best, and most godlike, government in the world.
Let us then be no more rendered uneasy with the notions, that with the pretender we must entertain French methods of government, such as tyranny and arbitrary power; tyranny is no more tyranny, when improved for the subjects' advantage: perhaps when we have tried it we may find it as much for our good many ways, nay, and more too, than our present exorbitant liberties, especially unless we can make a better use of them, and enjoy them, without being always going by the ears about them, as we see daily, not only with our governors, but even with one another; a little French slavery, though it be a frightful word among us, that is, being made so by custom, yet may do us a great deal of good in the main, as it may teach us not to over (under) value our liberties when we have them, so much as sometimes we have done; and this is not one of the least advantages which we shall gain by the coming of the pretender, and consequently one of the good reasons why we should be very willing to receive him.
The next thing which they fill us with apprehensions of in the coming of the pretender, is the influence of French councils, which they construe thus, viz., That the pretender being restored here by the assistance of France, will not only rule us by French methods, viz., by French tyranny, but in gratitude to his restorer he will cause us to be always ready with English blood and treasure to assist and support the French ambition in the invasions he will ever be making upon Europe, and in the oppressions of other nations; till at last he obtain the superiority over them all, and turn upon us too, devouring the liberties of Europe in his so long purposed and resolved universal monarchy. As to the gratitude of the pretender to the king of France, why should you make that a crime? Are not all people bound in honour to retaliate kindness? And would you have your prince be ungrateful to him that brought him hither? By the same rule, you would expect he could be ungrateful to us that receive him; besides, if it be so great an advantage to us to have him brought in, we shall be all concerned also in gratitude to the king of France for helping us to him; and sure we shall not decline making a suitable return to him for the kindness; and is this anything more than common? Did we not pay the Dutch six hundred thousand pounds sterling for assisting the late King William? And did we not immediately embark with them in the war against the king of France? And has not that revolution cost the nation one hundred millions of British money to support it? And shall we grudge to support the pretender and his benefactor, at the same expense, if it should be needful, for carrying on the new scheme of French liberty, which when that time comes may be in a likely and forward way to prevail over the whole world, to the general happiness of Europe.
There seems to be but one thing more which those people, who make such a clamour at the fears of the pretender, take hold of, and this is religion; and they tell us that not only French government, and French influence, but French religion, that is to say, popery, will come upon us; but these people know not what they talk of, for it is evident that they shall be so far from being loaded with religion, that they will rather obtain that so long desired happiness, of having no religion at all. This we may easily make appear has been the advantage which has been long laboured for in this nation; and as the attainments we are arrived to of that kind are very considerable already, so we cannot doubt but that if once the pretender were settled quietly among us, an absolute subjection, as well of religious principles, as civil liberties, to the disposal of the sovereign, would take place. This is an advantage so fruitful of several other manifest improvements, that though we have not room in this place to enlarge upon the particulars, we cannot doubt but it must be a most grateful piece of news to a great part of the nation, who have long groaned under the oppressions and cruel severities of the clergy, occasioned by their own strict lives, and rigorous virtue, and their imposing such austerities and restraints upon the people; and in this particular the clamour of slavery will appear very scandalous in the nation, for the slavery of religion being taken off, and an universal freedom of vice being introduced, what greater liberty can we enjoy.
But we have yet greater advantages attending this nation by the coming of the pretender than any we have yet taken notice of; and though we have not room in this short tract to name them all, and enlarge upon them as the case may require, yet we cannot omit such due notice of them, as may serve to satisfy our readers, and convince them how much they ought to favour the coming of the pretender, as the great benefit to the whole nation; and therefore we shall begin with our brethren of Scotland; and here we may tell them, that they, of all the parts of this island, shall receive the most evident advantages, in that the setting the pretender upon the throne shall effectually set them free from the bondage they now groan under, in their abhorred subjection to England by the union, which may, no question, be declared void, and dissolved, as a violence upon the Scottish nation, as soon as ever the pretender shall be established upon the throne; a few words may serve to recommend this to the Scots, since we are very well satisfied we shall be sure to oblige every side there by it: the opposition all sides made to the union at the time of the transaction of the union in the parliament there, cannot but give us reason to think thus; and the present scruple, even the presbyterians themselves make, of taking the abjuration, if they do not, as some pretend, assure us that the said presbyterian nonjurors are in the interest of the pretender, yet they undeniably prove, and put it out of all question, that they are ill-pleased with the yoke of the union, and would embrace every just occasion of being quietly and freely discharged from the fetters which they believe they bear by the said union; now there is no doubt to be made, but that upon the very first appearance of the pretender, the ancient kingdom of Scotland should recover her former well-known condition, we mean, of being perfectly free, and depending upon none but the king of France. How inestimable an advantage this will be to Scotland, and how effectually he will support and defend the Scots against their ancient enemies, the English, forasmuch as we have not room to enlarge upon here, we may take occasion to make out more particularly on another occasion. But it may not be forgotten here, that the union was not only justly distasteful to the Scots themselves, but also to many good men, and noble patriots of the church, some of whom entered their protests against passing and confirming, or ratifying the same, such as the late Lord Hav----sham, and the right wise and right noble E---- of Nott----, whose reasons for being against the said union, besides those they gave in the house of p----s, which we do by no means mean to reflect upon in the least in this place; we say, whose other reasons for opposing the said union were founded upon an implacable hatred to the Scots kirk, which has been established thereby: it may then not admit of any question, but that they would think it a very great advantage to be delivered from the same, as they would effectually be by the coming of the pretender; wherefore by the concurring judgment of these noble and wise persons, who on that account opposed the union, the coming of the pretender must be an inexpressible advantage to this nation; nor is the dissolving the union so desirable a thing, merely as that union was an establishing among us a wicked schismatical presbyterian generation, and giving the sanction of the laws to their odious constitution, which we esteem (you know) worse than popery; but even on civil accounts, as particularly on account of the p----s of Scotland, who many of them think themselves egregiously maltreated, and robbed of their birthright, as p----s, and have expressed themselves so in a something public manner. Now we cannot think that any of these will be at all offended that all this new establishment should be revoked; nay, we have heard it openly said, that the Scots are so little satisfied with the union at this time, that if it were now to be put to the vote, as it was before, whether they should unite with England, or no, there would not be one man in fifteen, throughout Scotland, that would vote for it. If then it appears that the whole nation thus seems to be averse to the union, and by the coming in of this most glorious pretender that union will be in all appearance dissolved, and the nation freed from the incumbrance of it, will any Scots man, who is against the union, refuse to be for the pretender? Sure it cannot be; I know it is alleged, that they will lay aside their discontent at the union, and unite together against the pretender, because that is to unite against popery; we will not say what a few, who have their eyes in their heads, may do; but as the generality of the people there are not so well reconciled together, as such a thing requires, it is not unlikely that such a uniting may be prevented, if the pretender's friends there can but play the game of dividing them farther, as they should do; to which end it cannot but be very serviceable to them to have the real advantages of receiving the pretender laid before them, which is the true intent and meaning of the present undertaking.
But we have more and greater advantages of the coming of the pretender, and such as no question will invite you to receive him with great satisfaction and applause; and it cannot be unnecessary to inform you, for your direction in other cases, how the matter, as to real and imaginary advantage, stands with the nation in this affair; and First, the coming of the pretender will at once put us all out of debt. These abomination whigs, and these bloody wars, carried on so long for little or nothing, have, as is evident to our senses now, (whatever it was all along), brought a heavy debt upon the nation; so that if what a known author lately published is true, the government pays now almost six millions a year to the common people for interest of money; that is to say, the usurers eat up the nation, and devour six millions yearly; which is paid, and must be paid now for a long time, if some kind turn, such as this of the coming of the pretender, or such like, does not help us out of it; the weight of this is not only great, insuperably great, but most of it is entailed for a terrible time, not only for our age, but beyond the age of our grandchildren, even for ninety-nine years; by how much the consideration of this debt is intolerable and afflicting to the last degree, by so much the greater must the obligation be to the person who will ease the nation of such a burden, and therefore we place it among the principal advantages which we are to receive from the admission of the pretender, that he will not fail to rid us of this grievance, and by methods peculiar to himself deliver us from so great a burden as these debts are now, and, unless he deliver us, are like to be to the ages to come; whether he will do this at once, by remitting most graciously to the nation the whole payment, and consequently take off the burden brevi manu, as with a sponge wiping out the infamous score, leaving it to fall as fate directs, or by prudent degrees, we know not, nor is it our business to determine it here; no doubt the doing it with a jerk, as we call it, comme une coup de grace, must be the most expeditious way; nay, and the kindest way of putting the nation out of its pain; for lingering deaths are counted cruel; and though une coup d'eclat may make an impression for the present, yet the astonishment is soonest over; besides, where is the loss to the nation in this sense? though the money be stopped from the subject on one hand, if it be stopped to the subjects on the other, the nation loses or gains nothing: we know it will be answered, that it is unjust, and that thousands of families will be ruined, because they who lose, will not be those who gain. But what is this to the purpose in a national revolution; unjust! alas! is that an argument? Go and ask the pretender! Does not he say you have all done unjustly by him? and since the nation in general loses nothing, what obligation has he to regard the particular injury that some families may sustain? And yet farther, is it not remarkable, that most part of the money is paid by the cursed party of whigs, who from the beginning officiously appeared to keep him from his right? And what obligation has he upon him to concern himself for doing them right in particular, more than other people? But to avoid the scandal of partiality, there is another thought offers to our view, which the nation is beholding to a particular author for putting us in mind of; if it be unjust that we should suppose the pretender shall stop the payment on both sides, because it is doing the whigs wrong, since the tories, who perhaps being chiefly landed men, pay the most taxes; then, to keep up a just balance, he need only continue the taxes to be paid in, and only stop the annuities and interest which are to be paid out. Thus both sides having no reason to envy or reproach one another with hardships, or with suffering unequally; they may every one lose their proportion, and the money may be laid up in the hands of the new sovereign, for the good of the nation.
This being thus happily proposed, we cannot pass over the great advantages which would accrue to this nation in such a case, by having such a mass of money laid up in the exchequer at the absolute command of a most gracious French sovereign. But as these things are so glorious, and so great, as to admit of no complete explication in this short tract, give us leave, O people of Great Britain, to lay before you a little sketch of your future felicity, under the auspicious reign of such a glorious prince, as we all hope, and believe the pretender to be. 1. You are to allow, that by such a just and righteous shutting up of the exchequer in about seven years' time, he may be supposed to have received about forty millions sterling from his people, which not being to be found in specie in the kingdom, will, for the benefit of circulation, enable him to treasure up infinite funds of wealth in foreign banks, a prodigious mass of foreign bullion, gold, jewels, and plate, to be ready in the tower, or elsewhere, to be issued upon future emergency, as occasion may allow. This prodigious wealth will necessarily have these happy events, to the infinite satisfaction and advantage of the whole nation, and the benefit of which I hope none will be so unjust, or ungrateful, to deny. 1. It will for ever after deliver this nation from the burden, the expense, the formality, and the tyranny, of parliaments. No one can perhaps at the first view be rightly sensible of the many advantages of this article, and from how many mischiefs it will deliver this nation. 1. How the country gentlemen will be no longer harassed to come, at the command of every court occasion, and upon every summons by the prince's proclamation, from their families and other occasions, whether they can be spared from their wives, &c., or no, or whether they can trust their wives behind them, or no; nay, whether they can spare money or no for the journey, or whether they must come carriage paid or no; then they will no more be unnecessarily exposed to long and hazardous journeys, in the depth of winter, from the remotest corners of the island, to come to London, just to give away the country's money, and go home again; all this will be dispensed with by the kind and gracious management of the pretender, when he, God bless us, shall be our more gracious sovereign. 2. In the happy consequence of the demise of parliaments, the country will be eased of that intolerable burden of travelling to elections, sometimes in the depth of winter, sometimes in the middle of their harvest, whenever the writs of elections arbitrarily summons them. 3. And with them the poor gentlemen will be eased of that abominable grievance of the nation, viz., the expense of elections, by which so many gentlemen of estates have been ruined, so many innocent people, of honest principles before, have been debauched, and made mercenary, partial, perjured, and been blinded with bribes to sell their country and liberties to who bids most. It is well known how often, and yet how in vain, this distemper has been the constant concern of parliaments for many ages, to cure, and to provide sufficient remedies for. Now if ever the effectual remedy for this is found out, to the inexpressible advantage of the whole nation; and this perhaps is the only cure for it that the nature of the disease will admit of; what terrible havock has this kind of trade made among the estates of the gentry, and the morals of the common people? 4. How also has it kept alive the factions and divisions of the country people, keeping them in a constant agitation, and in triennial commotions? So that what with forming new interests, and cultivating old, the heats and animosities never cease among the people. But once set the pretender upon the throne, and let the funds be but happily stopped, and paid into his hands, that he may be in no more need of a parliament, and all thesedistempers will be cured as effectually as a fever is cured by cutting off the head, or as a halter cures the bleeding at the nose. How infatuated then is this nation, that they should so obstinately refuse a prince, by the nature of whose circumstances, and the avowed principles of whose party, we are sure to obtain such glorious things, such inestimable advantages, things which no age, no prince, no attempt of parties, or endeavour, though often aimed at of ministers of state, have ever been able to procure for us. 2. This amassing of treasure, by the stopping the funds on one hand, and the receiving the taxes on the other, will effectually enable the pretender to set up, and effectually maintain, that glorious, and so often-desired method of government, au coup de canon, Anglice, a standing army. This we have the authority of the ancient borough of Carlisle, that it is the safety of the prince, and the glory of the nation, as appears by their renowned address to King James II. Then we should see a new face of our nation, and Britain would no more be a naked nation, as it has formerly been; then we should have numerous and gallant armies surrounding a martial prince; ready to make the world, as well as his own subjects, tremble; then our inland counties would appear full of royal fortifications, citadels, forts, and strong towns; the beauty of the kingdom, and awe of factious rebels: it is a strange thing that this refractory people of ours could never be made sensible how much it is for the glory and safety of this nation that we should be put into a posture of defence against ourselves: it has been often alleged, that this nation can never be ruined but with their own consent: if then we are our own enemies, is it not highly requisite that we should be put in a position to have our own ruin prevented? And that since it is apparent we are no more fit to be trusted with our own liberties, having a natural and a national propensity to destroy and undo ourselves, and may be brought to consent to our own ruin, we should have such princes, as for the future know how to restrain us, and how reasonable is it to allow them forces to do so?
We might enlarge here upon the great and certain advantages of this best of governments, a standing army; we might go back to the Persian, Grecian, and Roman empires, which had never arrived to such a pitch of glory if the people and nations whom they subdued had been able to nose them with such trifles as what we call constitution, national right, ancient privileges, and the like; we might descend also to particular advantages of government, which it is hoped we may attain to in Britain when the pretender arrives, some of which are grown obsolete, and out of use, by custom, and long possession of those troublesome things called liberties; among these may be reckoned,
1. The whole kingdom will be at once eased of that ridiculous feather-cap's expense of militia and trained-bands, which serve for little else but to justify the picking the peoples' pockets, with an annual tax of trophy-money, and every now and then putting the city of London and parts adjacent, to ten thousand pound charge, to beat drums, and shoot muskets, for nothing; when, on the contrary, you shall in the blessed revolution we now invite you to, have all this done gratis, by the standing troops kept constantly in pay; and your lieutenancy may lay down their commissions among the rest of non-significants of the nation.
2. You shall be for ever out of danger of being ridden again by the mob, your meeting-houses shall no more be the subject of the enraged rabbles; nor shall the bank of England desire the drums to beat at midnight to raise a guard for Grocers' hall; your new monarch will suffer none to insult or plunder the city but himself; and as the city itself shall never want soldiers, (how should it, when the whole kingdom shall become a garrison?) the money in the bank shall always be defended by a strong guard, who shall, whenever there is any danger of its being too safe, convey it, for its eminent security, from Grocers'-alley to the Tower, or to the exchequer, where it shall not fail to be kept for the advantage of the public.
3. Again; upon this happy change we shall immediately be delivered from that most infamous practice of stock-jobbing, of which so much has been said to so little purpose; for the funds being turned all into one general stock, and the prince being himself your security, you may even write upon all your companies this general phrase, viz., No transfer, as they do when the books are shut up at the bank, or East-India house; so as all the rivers of water are swallowed up in the sea, as one ocean, to which they are all tending, so all these petty cheats will be engulfed at once in the general ocean of state trick, and the Exchange-alley men may justly be said to buy the bear-skin ever after.
4. When (which is a blessing we fear we cannot hope for before) we may expect to be delivered from the throng of virulent and contumacious libels which now infest our streets; and the libellers themselves being most exemplarily punished, for a terror to the rest, will not dare to affront the government with ballads and balderdash; if an impudent fellow dares lift up his pen against the authority and power of his prince, he shall instantly feel the weight of that power to crush him, which he ought before to have feared; and pamphleteers shall then not be whipped and pilloried, but hanged; and when two or three of them have suffered that way, it is hoped those wholesome severities may put an effectual stop to the noise and clamour they now make in the nation; above all, the hands of the government will then be set free from the fetters of law; and it shall not be always necessary for the ministers of state to proceed by all the forms of the courts of justice, in such cases, by which the scribblers of the age pretend to stand it out against the government, and put their own construction upon their libels. But when these happy days arrive, juries and judges shall find and determine in these and all other cases, bring verdicts, and give sentence, as the prince in his royal justice shall direct.
We might enter here upon a long list of other happy circumstances we shall all arrive to, and of great advantages not here named, which the coming in of the pretender shall infallibly bring us to the enjoyment of, particularly in matters of religion, civil right, property, and commerce; but the needful brevity of this tract will not admit of it, we shall only add one thing more, which gives weight to all the rest, viz., that the certainty of these things, and of their being the natural consequences of the bringing in the pretender, adds to the certain felicity of that reign. This sums up the happiness of the pretender's reign; we need not talk of security, as the Review has done, and pretend he is not able to give us security for the performance of anything he promises; every man that has any sense of the principles, honour, and justice of the pretender, his zeal for the Roman catholic cause, his gratitude to his benefactor, the French king, and his love to the glory and happiness of his native country, must rest satisfied of his punctually performing all these great things for us; to ask him security, would be not to affront him only, but to affront the whole nation; no man can doubt him; the nature of the thing allows that he must do us all that kindness; he cannot be true to his own reason without it; wherefore this treaty executes itself, and appears so rational to believe, that whoever doubts it may be supposed to doubt even the veracity of James the Just.
What unaccountable folly then must those people be guilty of, who stand so much in the way of their own and their country's happiness, as to oppose, or pretend to argue against, the receiving this glorious prince, and would be for having Dutch men and foreigners forsooth to come, and all under the notion of their being protestants? To avoid and detect which fallacy, we shall in our next essay enter into the examination of the religion and orthodox principles of the person of the pretender, and doubt not to make it out, for the satisfaction of all tender consciences, that he is a true protestant of the church of England, established by law, and that in the very natural primitive sense of that phrase as it was used by his royal predecessor, of famous and pious memory, Charles II----and as such, no doubt, he will endeavour for the recovery of the crown, which crown, if he obtains it, you see what glorious things he may do for himself, and us.
Quam si non tenuit magnis tamen excidit ausis.
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