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of his party, been able to produce? If clamour be noise, it is but opening our ears to know from what fide it comes ; and, if sedition, fcurrility, flander and calumny be the fruit of wrath, read the pamphlets and papers issuing from the zealots of that faction, or visit their clubs and coffee-houses, in order to form a judgment of the tree.
When Mr. Steele tells us, we have a religion that wants no support from the enlargement of secular power, but is well supported by the wisdom and piety of its preachers, and its own native truth; it would be good to know what religion he professeth : for the clergy, to whom he speaks, will never allow him a member of the church of England. They cannot agree that the truth of the gospel, and the piety and wisdom of its preachers, are a sufficient fupport, in an evil age, against infidelity, faction, and vice, without the assistance of secular power; unsefs God would please to confer the gift of miracles on those who wait at the altar. I believe they venture to go a little further, and think, that, upon fome occasions, they want a little enlargement of asistance from the secular power against atheists,deifts, focinians, and other hereticks. Every first Sunday in Lent, a part of the liturgy is read to the people, in the preface to which the church declares her wishes for the restoring of that discipline the formerly had, and which, for some years paft, hath been more wanted than ever. But of this no more, left it might infinuate jealousies between the clergy and laity; which, the author tells us, is the C 3
policy of vain and ambitious men among the former, in hopes to derive, from their order, a veneration they cannot deserve from their virtue. If this be their method for procuring veneration, it is the most singular that ever was thought on; and the clergy would then indeed have no more to do with politicks of any fort, than Mr. Steele or his faction will allow them.
Having thus toiled through his dedication, I proceed to consider his preface, which, half confisting of quotation, will be so much the sooner got through. It is a very unfair thing in any writer to employ his ignorance and malice together; because it gives his answerer double work: it is like the fort of sophistry that the logicians call two mediums, which are never allowed in the same fyllogism. A. writer with a weak head, and a corrupt heart, is an over-match for any single pen; like a hireling jade, dull and vicious, hardly able to ftir, yet offering at every turn to kick.
He begin's his preface with such an account of the original of power, and the nature of civil institutions, as, I am confident, was never once imagined by any writer upon government, from Plato to Mr. Locke. Give me leave to transcribe his first paragraph, I never saw an unruly crowd of people cool by degrees into temper, but it gave me an idea of the original of power, and the nature of civil institutions. One particular man has usually, in those cases, from the dignity of his appearance, or other qualities known or imagined by the multitude, been re
crided into sudden favour and authority; the occasion of their difference has been represented to him, and the matter referred to his decifion.
I have known a poet, who never was out of England, introduce a fact, by way of fimile, which could probably no where happen nearer than in the plains of Libya ; and begin with, So have I seen [i]. Such a fiction, I suppose, may be justified by poetical licence; yet Virgil is much more modeft. This paragraph of Mr. Steele's, which he fets down as an observation of his own, is a miserable mangled translation of fix verses out of that famous poet, who speaks after this manner; As when a feo dition arises in a great multitude, &c. then if they fee a wife grave man, &c. Virgil, who lived but a little after the ruin of the Roman republick, where seditions often happened, and the force of oratory was great among the people, made use of a fimile, which Mr. Steele turns into a fact after such a manner, as if he had seen it an hundred times ; and builds upon it a system of the origin of government. When the vulgar here in England assemble in a riotous manner (which is not very frequent of late years) the prince takes a much more effectual way than that of fending orators to appease them : but Mr. Steele imagines such a crowd of people as this, where there is no government at all; their unruliness quelled, and their paffions cooled by a particular man, whose great qualities they
had known before. Such an assembly must have risen suddenly from the earth, and the man of au, thority dropt from the clouds; for, without fome previous form of government, no such crowd did ever yet assemble, or could possibly be acquainted with the merits and dignity of any particular man among them. But to pursue his scheme; this man of authority, who cools the crowd by degrees; and to whom they all appeal, must,' of neceffity, prove either an open or clandestine tyrant. 'A clan. deftine tyrant I take to be a king of Brentford, who keeps his army in disguise; and whenever he happens either to die naturally, be knocked on the head, or deposed, the people calmly take further measures, and improve upon what was begun under his unlimited power. All this our author tells us, with extreme propriety, is what seems reasonable to common sense; that is, in other words, it seems reasonable to reason. This is what he calls giving an idea of the original of power, and the nature of civil instie tutions. To which I answer, with great phlegm, that I defy any man alive to fhèw me, in double the number of lines, although writ by the famë author, such a complicated ignorance in hiftory, human nature, or politicks, as well as in the ordis nary properties of thought or of style. ";S:
But, it seems, these profound fpeculations were only premised to introduce some quotations in favour of resistance. What hath resistance to do with the succession of the house of Hanover, that the whig writers hould perpetually affect to tag them
together? I can conceive nothing else, but that their hatred to the Queen and ministry puts them upon thoughts of introducing the successor by another Revolution. Are cafes of extreme' necessity to be produced as common maxims, by which we are always to proceed? Should not these gentlemen sometimes inculcate the general rule of obedience, and not alwảys the exception of resistance ; fince the former hath been the perpetual dictate of all laws both divine and civil, and the latter is still in dispute ? ... " 'I fall meddle with none of the passages he cites to prove the lawfulness of resisting princes, except that from the present lord chancellor's [k] speech in defence of Dr. Sacheverel : that there are extraordinary cafes, cases of necesity, which are implied, although not expressed, in the general rule [of obedience]." These words, very clear in themselves, Mr. Steele explains into nonsense; which, in any other author, I'fhould suspect to have been intended as a reflection upon as great a person as ever filled or adorned that high station : but I am so well acquainted with his pen, that I much more wonder how it can trace out a true quotation than a false comment. To see him treat my lord Hare court with so much civility, looks indeed a little suspicious, and as if he had malice in his heart.
[&] Sir Simon Harcourt, who, at the time of Sacheverel's trial, had refigned his place of attorney general, which he afterwards accepted again; upon the change of the ministry, he was made lord keeper, and in 1711 created a baron.