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thought in order to see where it first originated, or how it was afterwards expanded. Among other projects which show a wide range of knowledge, De Foe suggests to King William the imitation of Louis XIV, in the establishment of a society “to encourage polite learning, to polish and refine the English tongue, and advance the so much neglected faculty of correct language ; also, to establish purity and propriety of style, and to purge it from all the irregular additions that ignorance and affectation have introduced ; and all those innovations of speech, if I may call them such, which some dogmatic writers have the confidence to foster upon their native language, as if their authority were sufficient to make their own fancy legitimate.” *
A similar idea was started in the reign of Charles II, by Lord Roscommon, who had the assistance of Dryden ; but he did not live to bring his plan to any degree of maturity. Some years after it was revived by De Foe, Prior renewed it in his . Carmen Seculare,' a poem addressed to King William, who was too deeply immersed in foreign politics to give it his attention. In the reign of Queen Anne it was renewed by Swift, in his *Letter to the Earl of Oxford, for correcting, improving, and ascertaining the English language. 1711.' Writing to the Archbishop of Dublin, he says, “I have been engaging my lord treasurer, and the other great men, in a project of my own, which they tell me they will embrace, especially his lordship. It is to erect some kind of society or academy, under the patronage of the ministers, and protection of the queen, for correcting, enlarging, polishing, and fixing our language.” In this project Swift had the co-operation of Bolingbroke, Berkeley, and other great men of the day ; but the hands of the ministers were then too fully employed to attend to it, and the subsequent changes prevented its final accomplishment. Since that time the scheme has been dor: mant, and Johnson was doubtful low far, in the event of its revival, it would be attended with success. It has succeeded, however, both in France and Italy, nor does there seem to be any valid reason why an academy for literature should not succeed cqually well in our own country.
The whole work abounds in strong sense, couched in nervous language, and contains some specimens of good writing. His sentiments upon the various topics discussed are delivered with diffidence, but at the same time with becoming freedom ; and they discover a versatility of genius accompanied by correct thinking, that are not often united in the same individual. But of the merit of the performance there needs 10 other testimony than that of the late Dr Franklin, who found it in his father's library, and speaking of it says, “from which, perhaps, I might receive some impressions that have since influenced the principal events of my life.” Besides the projects detailed in it, De Foe informs us that he had written “a great many sheets about the coin, about bringing in plate to the Mint, and about our standard ; but so many great heads being upon it, with some of whoin his opinions did not agrec, he would not adventure to appear in print upon that subject.” His work came to a second edition in 1702; or rather, the bookseller placed a new title-page before the remaining copies of the same impression.
In the year 1698 began that warm controversy concerning occasional conformity, which produced so much noise in and out of Parliament in the following reign. tp to this period occasional conformity had been practised by Dissenters, who accoptei ofiicial employinents, with legal qualification, without much offence to any party. Sir
The academy here alluded to was instituted in 1635, by Cardinal Richelicu. Its object was to pcrfect the French language, and it comprehended everything relating to grammar, poetry, and cloquencc. It consisted of fifty members, and had a director and chancellor, chosen by ballot every three months; and a perpetual secretary. A gold medal was given once a year, as a prize for poetry and eloquence.
Humphrey Edwiu, however, the Lord Mayor of London (1697-8), who was a non-conformist, not content with following the example of his Presbyterian predecessors in that office, and attending his own place of worship on the Sunday afternoons, caused, upon one occasion, the regalia of his office to be carried before him to Pinner's Hall Meetinghouse, which step raised a loud clamour in the High Church party, and very great heats were caused in the public mind on the subject.
The question arising out of this circumstance was treated by De Foe with appropriate gravity. His publication bore the title of ' An Inquiry into the occasional Conformity of Dissenters in Cases of Preferment, &c. Lond. 1697,' in which the author appears before us in the character of an acute casuist. Assuming as a principle, that Dissenters in his day continued to separate from the Established Church from the same motive that actuated the early Puritans, that is, to obtain a greater purity of worship, he argues that the fast and loose game of religion, which was then played by too many, will not admit of any satisfactory excuse. There is great sincerity, warmth, and truth in the whole strain of this pamphlet, and it excited much attention.
The next question which occupied our author's pen was one of considerable interest. Upon the cessation of hostilities with France, under the Treaty of Ryswick (signed 20th September, 1697), it became a point of much importance, and difficult to determine, what was to be done with the British army upon its return to England. The public at large was decidedly adverse to the maintenance of a standing army. Yet the slowness of the French king in executing the treaty made it necessary for William to pause before he proceeded far in disbanding his troops. The subject was warmly discussed both in parliament and by the press, and numerous pamphlets were sent forth by both parties. The most powerful production which appeared against a standing army was written by Mr Trenchard, and was entitled An Argument, showing that a Standing Army is inconsistent with a free Government, and absolutely destructive to the Coustitution of the English Monarchy. London, 1697. Among the answers to this was a tract by De Foe, entitled, “ An Argument, showing that a Standing Army, with consent of Parliament, is not inconsistent with a free Government, &c.'-a treatise abounding in strength of argument conveyed in elegant language. Another pamphlet, written by our author on this subject, was entitled, “Some Reflections on a Pamphlet lately published, entitled · An Argument, &c.".
It must not be supposed, however, that De Foe was the unqualified supporter of a standing army; all that he contended for was this, that in the peculiar circumstances of the country, with a government that could scarcely be said to be established, and with a pretender to the throne, whose claims were acknowledged by a large class of disaffected persons at home, acting in concert with a powerful neighbour, it was necessary for the security of liberty, and of a Protestant dynasty, to maintain a limited number of forces under the control of parliament, trained according to the modern method of warfare, and ready to take the field at a moment's notice.
From the discussion of politics De Foe made an easy transition to the reformation of manners, and his next publication had reference to the laudable efforts of William III to correct the depravation of morals that followed upon the Restoration. A proclamation having been issued and an act of parliament passed for the prevention and punishment of profaneness and immorality, our author deemed it important to point out where, in his opinion, the reformation should begin, in order to insure its success ; and he accordingly published "The Poor Man's Plea in relation to all the Proclamations, &c., for a Reformation of Manners and suppressing Immorality. London, 1698.' Several years afterwards, De Foe looked back with satisfaction upon the sentiments he had delivered in this pamphlet, and took frequent occasion to insist upon the impartial enforcement of the law on the subject.
De Foe's next appearance in print was on the occasion of the death of Charles II of Spain, and the disputed succession to the crown of that monarchy. As we have explained the nature of this question elsewhere, it is unnecessary for us to state anything further here, than that upon this subject our author's ready pen produced three able pamphlets in quick succession. The first was entitled The Two great Questions considered. 1. What the French King will do with respect to the Spanish Monarchy. 2. What Measures the English ought to take. London, 1700.' This tract being rudely assailed by an anonymous writer, in 'Remarks upon a late Pamphlet, entitled “ The Two Great Questions, &c." —De Foe replied in The Two Great Questions further Considered, with some Reply to the Remarks ;' and shortly after, finding that he had far from exhausted the argument in these two publications, he returned to it in a wellwritten pamphlet, published in the same year, called 'The Danger of the Protestant Religion from the present Prospect of a Religious War in Europe. These three pamphlets are characterised in the highest degree by sound sense, cogent reasoning, and superior language.
The ascendancy and increased activity of the Popish party in the days of De Foe alarmed his fears, in common with those of other Protestants, and they were not altogether groundless. The expelled monarch was known to be a bigoted Papist, and had a powerful party in England, that looked to him as their rightful sovereign. His friend and ally, Louis XIV, was a merciless persecutor of his Protestant subjects, and had recently added to his former power the influence and resources of Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands. Some German princes had lately withdrawn from their alliance with Protestants; and the emperor, who had been a bitter persecutor of his Hungarian and Bohemian subjects, was now only restrained by his contest for power with the French king, from renewing his hostilities against the Reformed Faith; and these circumstances considered, no one could pretend to say that the Protestant religion, which depended for support chiefly upon England and Holland, under the auspices of King William, was not in considerable jeopardy.
Tae exultation of De Foe on the occasion of the Revolution, had not been of long duration, but was soon turned to gall and bitterness. “Though that his joy, was joy," yet both friends and foes laboured hard to “throw such changes of vexation on it, that it might lose all colour.” His admiration of King William was the ruling passion of his life. He was his hero, his deliverer, his friend; he was bound to him by the ties of patriotism, of religion, and of personal obligation. But this ruling passion was also the torment of his breast, because his well-grounded enthusiasm was not seconded by the unanimous public voice, and because the services of the great champion of liberty and of the Protestant cause did not meet with that glow of gratitude and affection in the minds of the people (when their immediate danger was blown over) that they richly merited. De Foe had not only ridden in procession with his majesty, but he was afterwards closeted with him, and consulted by him on more than one question ; so that his self-importance, as well as his sense of truth and justice, was implicated in the attacks which were made on the person of his royal patron and benefactor, Nothing can, in our opinion, exceed the good behaviour of William, nor the ill return he received from those by whom he had been sent for, to deliver them from Popish bondage and darkness. Being no longer bound to the earth by a yoke that they could not lift, and having got a king of their own choosing, they thought they could not exercise their newly acquired liberty and independence better than by using him as ill as possible, and
reviling him for the very blessings which he had been the chief means of bestowing on them, and which his presence was absolutely necessary to continue to them. Having seen their hereditary, passive-obedience monarch, King James, quietly seated on the other side of the Channel, and being no longer in bodily fear of being executed as rebels, or burnt as heretics, the good people of England began to find a flaw in the title of the new-made monarch, because he was not, and did not pretend to be, absolute, and to sacrifice to the manes of divine right, by taking every opportunity and resorting to every artifice to insult him, to revile his person, to injure his reputation, to wound his feelings, and to cramp and thwart his measures for his own and their common safety. The Tories and highflyers lamented that the crown was without its most precious jewel and ornament-hereditary right; and though they acknowledged the necessity of the case upon which they themselves had acted, yet they thought the time might come when this necessity might cease, and for their lawful king to be brought back again, “with conditions.” Pulpits, long accustomed to unqualified submission, now echoed the doubletongued distinction of a king de jure and a king de facto. This party, whose habits were inimical to the new order of things, but who made a virtue of necessity, tendered their allegiance to the Prince of Orange reluctantly and ungraciously, while the Nonjurors bearded him to his face. The country gentlemen (at that time a formidable party, “not pierceable by power of any argument,”') only felt themselves at a loss from not having the Dissenters and Non-conformists to hunt down as usual. William they regarded as an interloper, who had no rights of his own, and who hindered other people from exercising theirs, in molesting and domineering over their neighbours. What made matters worse was his being a foreigner; his Dutch origin was one of the things constantly thrown in his teeth, and that staggered the faith and loyalty of many of his wellmeaning subjects, who could not comprehend the relation in which they stood to a sovereign of alien descent. The phrase True-born Englishman became a watchword in the mouths of the malcontent party; and at that name, as often as it was repeated, the Whig and Protestant interest grew pale. It was to meet, and finally quell this charge, that De Foe penned his well-known poem of The True-born Englishman'a satire, which, if written in doggrel verse, and without the wit or pleasantry of Butler's 'Hudibras,' is a masterpiece of good sense and just reflection, and shows a thorough knowledge both of English history and of the English character. It is indeed a complete and unanswerable exposure of the pretence set up to a purer and loftier origin than all the rest of the world, instead of our being a mixed race from all parts of Europe, settling down into one common name and people. De Foe's satire was so just and true, that it drove the cant, to which it was meant to be an antidote, out of fashion; and it was this piece of service that procured the writer the good opinion and notice of King William. It did not, however, equally recommend him to the public. If it silenced the idle and ill-natured clamours of a party by telling the plain truth, that truth was not the more welcome for being plain or effectual. Though this handle was thus taken from malevolence and discontent, the tide of unpopularity had set in too strong from the first arrival of the king, not to continue and increase to the end of his reign; so that at last, worn out with rendering the noblest services, and being repaid with the meanest ingratitude, he thought of retiring to Holland, and leaving his English crown of thorns to any one who chose to claim it.
The state of parties at this period of our history presents a riddle that has not been solved. It has been referred to the gloom and discontent of the English character ; but other countries have since exhibited the same problem, with the same results. It may be resolved into that propensity in human nature through which, when it has got what it wants, it requires something else which it cannot have. The English people, at the period in question, wanted a contradiction,--that is, to have James and William on the throne together; but this they could not have, and so they were contented with neither. If they had recalled James, they would have sent him back again. They wanted him back again with conditions and security for his good behaviour. They wanted his title to the throne, without his abuse of power; an absolute sovereign, with a reserve of the privileges of the people ; a Popish prince, with a Protestant church; a deliverance from chains without a deliverer ; and an escape from tyranny without the stain of resistance to it. They wanted, not out of two things one which they could have, but a third which was impossible ; and, as they could not have all, they were determined to be pleased with nothing. This greatly annoyed De Foe, who set his face against so absurd a manifestation of the spirit of the times. It embittered his satisfaction in the virtues of the sovereign, and the glories of his reign,-in his exploits abroad, -the moderation and justice of his administration at home; nor was he consoled for the malignity of his prince's enemies or the indifference of his friends, either by writing odes on his battles and victories, or elegies and epitaphs on his death.
The Tories having now succeeded to office, proceeded to concert measures for strengthening their power and weakening the influence of their rivals. Their first step was to procure a dissolution of Parliament, which took place, Dec. 19, 1700. During the elections, the press was actively employed by both parties in recommending the choice of such members as corresponded with their wishes. Many excellent pamphlets were produced upon the occasion, pointing out those marks by which the people might distinguish between the friends of the Revolution, and guarding them against the influence of bribery and corruption.
It was at this time that De Foe published his “Six Distinguishing Characters of a Parliament Man. London : 1701;' in the sentiments of which every person who entertains a proper regard for his country must heartily concur. At the time they were penned, the author had passed through the fervour of youth, and was arrived at an age when the judgment becomes matured by experience. They are to be considered as the deliberate views of a man approaching to forty, and indicate a mind strongly imbued with good sense, unfolding itself in a love of rational freedom, and having a proper regard for the interests of religion and virtue.
During the dissolution of parliament, De Foe returned to the subject of his former Essay, and published his “persuasive performance,” as Mr Chalmers justly terms it, * The Freeholder's Plea against Stock-jobbing Elections of Parliament Men. London. 1701. By the time his former pamphlet was delivered from the press, De Foe returned to the charge in The Villany of Stock-jobbers Detected, and the Cause of the late Run upon the Bank and Bankers Discovered and Considered. London : 1701.' In this work he confines himself to the more immediate subjects of trade, and has many judicious remarks upon the methods by which it was then carried on.
CHAPTER VI. Tae earliest of De Foe's printed poems, was ' A New very of an Old Intrigue : a Satyr, levelled at Treachery and Ambition ; ' a lampoon upon city politics, written soon after the discovery of Lord Preston's plot. Early in 1697, he composed for the noted John Dunton The Character of Dr Annesley, by way of Elegy.' The factious spirit that pervaded the nation after the peace of Ryswick gave rise to another poem, published in February, 1699-1700, intitled · The Pacificator. A Poem. London : 1700, wherein, leaving the contentions of politicians, De Foe ingeniously transfers the theatre of war to the field of literature, and enlists the chief poets and wits of the day as combatants : “ The men of sense against the men of wit.''