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to their resentment equally with those who wrote expressly in its defence. A writer of these times, referring to what De Foe had written on the subject, says, “I know that author to be a sensible and judicious man; for his honesty and integrity, let him defend himself as well as he can ;" * and the writer goes on to treat our author as a political apostate, associating him with Swift, Dyer, and Roper, in no measured terms of censure. As the writers just mentioned were the constant supporters of the ministers, it is rather remarkable that they should have been amongst the most inveterate of Dc Foe's political opponents, and it is of itself a sufficient confutation of the calumnies of the Whigs. In the 'Appeal to Honour and Justice' will be found a clear and explicit avowal of his sentiments upon this subject.
Finding himself ill treated by all parties, De Foc says he declined writing at all, and for a great part of a year never set pen to paper, except for the ‘Review.' To avoid public clamour, he now withdrew to the north of England, and it was probably at this time that he took up his abode in Yorkshire. In Watson's · History of Halifax,' he is mentioned amongst the distinguished residents in that town, and is said to have lodged at the sign of the Rose and Crown in the Back lane. Watson adds, that he was forced to abscond for his political writings, which was very possibly the fact. De Foe here cultivated an acquaintance with Dr Nettleton, the physician, and Mr Nathaniel Priestley, the dissenting minister, ancestor of the celebrated writer of that name.
Of the first separate publication upon which our author employed himself in his retirement, he has given the following account :-“ Observing the insolence of the Jacobite party, and how they insinuated fine things into the heads of the common people of the right and claim of the Pretender, and of the great things he would do for us if he was to come in-of his being to turn Protestant--of his being resolved to maintain our liberties, support our funds, give liberty to Dissenters, and the like ; and finding that the people began to be deluded, and that the Jacobites gained ground among them by these insinuations, I thought it the best service I could do to the Protestant interest, and the best way to open the people's eyes to the advantages of the Protestant succession, if I took some course effectually to alarm the people with what they really ought to expect is the Pretender should come to be king ; and this made me set pen to paper again."
De Foe continues; “In order to detect the influence of Jacobite emissaries, as above, the first thing I wrote was a small tract, called 'A Seasonable Caution,' a book sincerely written to open the eyes of the poor ignorant country people, and to warn them against the subtle insinuations of the emissaries of the Pretender. And, that it might il be effectual to that purpose, I prevailed with several of my friends to give them away among the poor people all over England, especially in the north ; and several thousands were actually given away, the price being reduced so low, that the bare expense of paper and press was only reserved, that every one might be convinced that nothing of gain was designed, but a sincere endeavour to do a public good, and assist to keep the people entirely in the interest of the Protestant succession.t." The whole title of the work is, “A Seasonable Caution and Warning against the Insinuations of Papists and Jacobites in favour of the Pretender. London : 1712.' 8vo.
With the same laudable design of awakening the nation to a sense of its danger, De Foe published three pamphlets in quick succession, which drew upon him the vengeance of the Whigs. Having already treated the subject argumentatively, and exhausted all the arts of persuasion in his former writings, he now sought to make an impression by the language of irony. Although he concealed his object with a dexterity suited to such a style of writing, without which he could not hope to gain a hearing from those who had been deluded by the Jacobites, yet his real design could be scarcely un
perceived by the dullest comprehension. The titles he selected for his pamphlets corresponded with the ruse de guerre which he played off in their contents, and are as follows:-1. 'An Answer to the Question that Nobody thinks of, viz. But what if the Queen should die ? London: printed for J. Baker. 1713.' 2. Reasons against the Succession of the House of Hanover; with an Inquiry how far the Abdication of King James, supposing it to be legal, ought to affect the Person of the Pretender. Si populus vult decipi, decipiatur. London: printed for J. Baker. 1713.' 3. “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. London:
printed for J. Baker. 1713. 8vo. 1. No one at all acquainted with the writings of De Foe, or even moderately conversant with the satires of the day, could possibly mistake his tactics upon this occasion. Indeed, he carried the burlesque in some passages so far, that even the most devoted admirers of the Pretender must have been startled at their contents, and have had their eyes open to the real intentions of the writer.
With regard to the first of these pamphlets, the object of the writer is not so much to answer the question in his title, which he does not attempt, as to excite such an inquiry in his readers as would enable them to answer it themselves.
De Foe's next pamphlet, although written with greater artifice, is such a palpable banter upon those who would receive the Pretender, that the dullest capacity, one would imagine, could hardly mistake him. In the third tract, our author adduces a variety of mock reasons why the Pretender should be palatable to the nation, and enlarges upon the blessings that would be derived from his government, but in a strain of burlesque that rendered it a visible jest upon the proceedings of the party. For instance, he recommends the Pretender by saying, that the prince would “ confer on every one the privilege of wearing wooden shoes, and at the same time ease the nobility and gentry of the hazard and expense of winter journeys to parliament." These productions were so well approved by the most zealous friends of the Protestant succession, that they passed through several editions, and many thousands were circulated through the kingdom. It also appears from De Foe's own account that they were so well timed as to produce a considerable impression in favour of the house of Hanover. Yet, absurd as it may appear, they rendered him obnoxious to the charge of Jacobitism, and brought upon him a storm of persecution, which, but for the intervention of his friend Lord Oxford, might
have been attended with serious consequences. By his efforts to cool the warlike spirit y of the times, he had incurred the resentment of the Whigs, who unjustly considered him
as a retainer of the ministers, and implicated him in all their measures. In these warm times, a zeal for party betrayed men into inconsistencies, which led to a gross perversion of justice. The Whigs either fancied themselves, or endeavoured to induce a belief, that all who were not of their party were no better than Jacobites. By this fallacy they measured their opinion of the ministers ; but whatever countenance the conduct of some of them might give to it, the sentence was far too general to be just. As it respects De Foe, he had already given abundant proof of his zeal for the Protestant succession ; and those who had but the ordinary allotment of common sense, might have easily found it in these pamphlets. But the Whigs were eager to vent their malice upon a writer who had now become the object of their hatred, and in their haste to seize upon this occasion they only proclaimed their own stupidity.
By the absurd zeal of William Benson, a Whig writer, the author of the famous letter to the Jacobites, the same who raised a statuc to Milton, and who afterwards became ridiculously famous for literary exploite, which justly raised him to the honour of the Dunciad, a prosecution was now commenced against our author for the three pamphlets above mentioned. It was undertaken at Benson's private cost; and private malice giving a
spur to his exertions, he spared neither pains nor expense to accomplish our author's ruin. He first caused several of the pamphlets to be purchased and marked for evidence against the publishers. Through them he obtained the name of the printer, who was threatened with legal proceedings, which induced him to give information upon oath against De Foe as the author. From this person he obtained possession of the original manuscripts, in De Foe's own hand, or rather hands, says Oldmixon, for they were every one of them different; and all the three being proved by one of the printer's servants before the Lord Chief Justice Parker, his lordship granted a warrant for his apprehension. This being effected, after some difficulty, he was brought before the same judge, who ordered him to be kept in safe custody until he could find bail, with directions to send proper notice of their names and places of abode to the solicitor for the prosecution. Mr Benson endeavoured to retain the Attorney-General, Sir Edward Northey, and offered him ten guineas to appear against De Foe; but he declined it, telling him that he could not be concerned in the prosecution without an order from a secretary of state. Oldmixon informs us that he then went to another eminent counsel, who made no difficulty, but entered very heartily into the prosecution.* De Foe's sureties were J. Grantham, printer, and T. Warner, publisher, who were excepted against by the prosecutor, as “persons of small substance;" when the ministers, finding that the affair was likely to go hard against him if he was left to the vengeance of the Whigs, took it out of Mr Benson's hands, and ordered Mr Borrett, the treasury solicitor, to institute proceedings. Of this he informed the Lord Chief Justice at his chambers, and at the same time signified his approbation of the bail, who were each bound in the sum of four hundred pounds when De Foe was set at liberty. Upon this occasion, Parker forestalled his opinion upon the merits of the case in a manner scarcely decent for a person in his situation, for he told Mr Borrett he was glad the government had undertaken a prosecution so highly requiring its care.t
As the business lingered in its new hands, the former prosecutor, fearful of its slipping through them, frequently waited upon the Attorney-General, to remind him of the prosecution. At length an information was filed against De Foe for a misdemeanor only, contrary to the expectations of the Whigs, who were desirous of indicting him for high treason. Upon the first day of Easter Term, De Foe appeared with his bail in the Court of Queen's Bench, when the Attorney-General acquainted the court with his instructions, and our author was continued out upon his own recognizance. But before he left the court, the Chief Justice called for his Reviews of the 16th and 18th of April, in which our author, prompted by a consciousness of innocence, as well as indignation at his unjust treatment, had made some reflections upon the prosecution, and pointed particularly at the conduct of Parker. Having shown them to De Foe, and obtained his acknowledgment as the writer, he declared them insolent libels ; but being himself personally concerned, he left it to the other judges to proceed as they thought fit. The * Reviews' being then read in court, the judges, who were somewhat infected with the violence of the times, concurred in opinion that they were highly insolent to the Lord Chief Justice, and a notorious contempt of that court, as well as the laws of the nation ; and they adjudged the writer to be committed prisoner to the Queen's Bench for the said offences. Mr Chalmers says he was committed to Newgate, from whence he was soon afterwards released upon his making a proper submission. It appears that upon this occasion the court went beforehand in its judgment of the accused works, pronouncing them “scandalous, wicked, and treasonable libels ;" so that the author had
• Oldmixon, iii, 509.
everything to fear from the issue of a trial. When he excused himself to the court by urging the ironical nature of the performances, his plea was not admitted. Sir Thomas Powis, who had been one of the counsel against the bishops in King James's reign, and was lately promoted to be a judge, set common sense at defiance, wasting much learning in endeavouring to extract a meaning from them, which every dispassionate reader must have known to be beside the real intention of the writer, and he concluded his argument by telling him that they contained matter for which he might be hanged, drawn, and quartered. This ominous intimation was sufficient to shake the nerves of any man who had not conscious innocence to support him. It was fortunate for De Foe that his first benefactor was still in power, and had the disposition as well as ability to befriend him.
Lord Oxford, who was fully acquainted with the real sentiments of De Foe, was not so purblind as to mistake the true drift of his pamphlets ; he therefore resolved that he should not be crushed by the malice of the Whigs for an offence purely imaginary. His interference was the more honourable, as he could not but be aware, that in these publications De Foe was actually serving the cause of the Whigs and had given real offence to none but those to whom he looked for support.* Our author justly attributes the prosecution to the resentment of his enemies, who were numerous and powerful, and not so blind to his object as they were desirous to ruin him. No inconsiderable people were heard to say, that they knew the books were against the Pretender, but that De Foe had disobliged them in other things, and they resolved to take this advantage to punish him. The story is the more credible, as he had procured evidence to prove the fact, had the trial proceeded. But this was rendered unnecessary; for before the time appointed for a hearing, a pardon was passed under the Great Seal, which relieved him from any further apprehension upon the subject. This instrument contained an ample refutation of the charges being brought against him, as well as a full and explicit exemption from any consequences that might hereafter happen to him upon account of these publications. This act of justice was produced by the party-writers of the time, as a convincing proof of Lord Oxford's attachment to the Pretender, and of De Foe's Jacobitism! The force of dulness could no further
The treaty of peace had imposed upon the ministers the arduous duty of fixing with foreign powers the future commercial relations of the country. Of the manner in which they performed their task, particularly with regard to France, there were then contradictory opinions, and the subject gave rise to as furious an opposition as any they had been called to sustain. By the terms agreed upon, a free trade was settled according to the tariff of 1664, with the exception of some commodities that had been subjected to new duties by the French king in 1699, and were so high as to amount to a prohibition. The productions of France were to be admitted into England upon the same footing as those of other countries, and a bill was brought into parliament to give effect to the arrangement. But the Treaty of Commerce was no sooner published than it created a general clamour throughout the nation, and many treatises were published to show that it would be destructive of our home manufactures, and of our commerce with other nations. Numerous petitions were forwarded to parliament from London and other trading towns, indicating its injurious consequences ; and so strong was the cur
• Bishop Atterbury, in his tract called • English Advice to the Freeholders of England,' says, ** In all the late Tory ministry, there were not above two or three prosecuted for writing; and one of these wrote on their own (the Whig) side, and had done infinite services to their cause.”
† This document, together with De Foe's own relation of the whole of this preposterous outrage, will be found in his · Appeal to Honour and Justice.'
rent of opposition upon the last reading of the bill, that it was lost in the Commons by a small majority. Much finesse was resorted to by the ministers in relation to the measure. The treaty is well known to have been the work of Bolingbroke, whose mortification was not displeasing to the treasurer. From political friends they were now become rivals for power, and their alienation, which had been some time in progress, now amounted to an irreconcileable hatred. Oxford, therefore, was far from being chagrined at this expression of public opinion against the treaty; and he abandoned it to its fate before it was finally determined in parliament.
It being a subject with which De Foe was familiar, he now published his treatise, entitled “ An Essay on the Treaty of Commerce with France. With necessary Expositions. London : 1713.' In this work, which appeared whilst the matter was under discussion in parliament, he takes a review of the various treaties with France since the Restoration, in order to show that the subject of commerce had been waived by both parties, and left to its natural course ; every state having a right to make such rogulations as appear inost for the interest of its own subjects. Before the Revolution the trade with France had been carried on under manifest disadvantages ; but the heavy duties that were laid upon French goods during the war that followed gave such encouragement to the English manufacturers, that they were continued after the peace, and the balance of trade was turned in our favour. Of this the French king became so sensible that he gave his subjects an equivalent in a new tariff, promulgated in 1699, which restored the equilibrium, but had no influence in procuring an abatement of the duties in England. Upon the renewal of the war fresh prohibitions were imposed by both nations to their mutual detriment, for it destroyed the trade of both countries, the people being made to suffer for the quarrels of their rulers. A fresh adjustment, therefore, became a fit subject for consideration upon the conclusion of a peace. De Foe contends for the principle of a free trade, unencumbered by prohibitions, and with moderate duties, “ as not only equal and just, but proceeding on the true interest of trade, and much more to the advantage of Britain than of France."
When De Foe relinquished the Review,' he began to write “A General History of Trade,' which he proposed to publish in monthly numbers. The first number appeared on the 1st of August, 1713. His great design was to show the reader what the whole world is at this time employed in as to trade ; but his more immediate end was to rectify the mstakes we had fallen into as to commerce, and to inforn those who were willing to inquire into the truth. In the execution of this arduous undertaking he avows his intention of speaking what reason dictates and fact justifies, however he may clash with the popular opinions of some people in trade. He could not, however, wholly abstract himself from the passing scene. When his secɔnd number appeared on the 15th of August, 1713, he gave a discourse on the harbour of Dunkirk ; wherein he insists that the port ought to be destroyed if it must remain with France, but if added to England, or made a free port, it would be for the good of mankind to have a safe harbour in such dangerous seas. This “ History of Trade,' which exhibits the ingenuity, the strength, and the piety of De Foe, extended only to two numbers. The agitations of the time carried him to other literary pursuits, and its factiousness constrained him to attend to personal security.
His next work was entitled • Whigs turned Tories, and Hanoverian Tories, from their avowed principles, proved Whigs : or, each Side in the other mistaken, &c. London: 1713. De Foe had long laboured to compose the differences between the moderate men of both parties, and in so doing received the thanks of neither. There was, indeed, too much exasperating matter afloat in the nation to allow of that calmness of consideration that was necessary for the reconcilement of two parties that were bent upon each other's destruction. The estrangement had been aggravated by almost every measure of the