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French king, disheartened by his losses on the continent, thought that such a diversion, headed by the Pretender, might have a favourable influence on his affairs ; and the opposition which the Scots had so lately offered to the union, induced him to reckon too bastily upon their assistance. In the month of March, accordingly, Admiral Fourbin appeared with a French fleet and army off the Firth of Forth ; but finding an English army ready to receive him, he steered his course to the north of Scotland, where an immediate insurrection was expected. But in this also he was disappointed; for a storm arising he was driven to sea, and after braving the element for about a month, he was glad to return to Dunkirk, with the loss of one ship, and about four thousand men. De Foe was so satisfied of the loyalty of the Scots, that he had no apprehension of the result, even should a landing be effected. He thought they had been sufficiently surfeited by the tyranny of the late times, to set at rest any doubt on the subject; and he recommended that a reward should be issued for the apprehension of the Pretender. He adds, "Let but forty or fifty of the chief heads of clans and known Jacobites be secured, and he may come when he pleases ; he'll meet with but cold entertainment in the north of Britain, in spite of all the imaginary discontents which are suggested by us of that people, of whom we are very forward to be scandalously abusive."*
The loyalty of the Scots having been brought into question in England, upon account of their refusing the abjuration oath, De Foe, who from a long residence amongst them was well acquainted with their sentiments, pleads their defence in the following passage : “The scruples raised among the Scots-Presbyterians, against the abjuration, is not from any inclination they have to the popish Pretender, or any aversion to the present government; but from such circumstances in it as seem to shock their consciences, in that they may come into such a condition as may make it impossible to keep it.”+ He therefore urges the government not to press it upon them, as a matter of policy. Grateful for the favours he had received from the Scots, and stimulated by his preference for their church establishment, he rejoices in every opportunity of doing honour to their nation. “I speak it with boasting,” says he, “no man has concerned himself more than the author of this paper to clear up the suspicions entertained among us in England of the Presbyterians in Scotland joining with the French and falling in with the Jacobite interest." I
In the midst of the general alarm at the prospect of an invasion De Foe published a short tract, entitled “The Union Proverb;' viz. :
• If Skiddaw has a cap,
Scruffell wots full well of that.' Setting forth, “I. The necessity of uniting. II. The good consequences of uniting. III. The happy union of England and Scotland in case of a foreign invasion. 1708.” In a prefatory address De Foe gives the following explanation of the proverb from Mr Ray. “Skiddaw and Scruffell are two neighbouring bills, or high mountains; the one in Cumberland, in England ; the other in Annandale, in Scotland : and if the former happens at any time to be capped with clouds or foggy mists, it will not be long ere rain or the like falls on the latter. It is also spoken of such who must expect to sympathize in their sufferings, by reason of the vicinity of their habitations.” Our author, thinking the proverb would bear a moral and political accommodation, applies it to the union of the two kingdoms.
The return De Foe met with for his labours as a peace-maker gave him but small encouragement in his office. “ The author of this paper,” says he, “is very unhappy in the difficulty he finds to make truth please ; and though he has endeavoured to pursue it without respect to persons or parties, yet he cannot but regret the failure. I know,"
* Review,' iv. 670.
+Review,' v. 8.
# Ibid, v. 113.
continues he, “this age hates to be instructed, and the saying of the elders to the blind man is in the mouth of all self-wise people-Dost thou teach us ?' From this temper flows the constant want of manners, false construction, slander and ill language with which your humble servant is always treated, instead of argument, by all those that are concerned in the guilt, and at any time pinched with the application. If I speak plain truth, then he is an impudent fellow, a bully, and an incendiary ; if I speak soft things, then he is a flatterer, a parasite, &c. How many satires had I levelled at me for a poem called ' A Hymn to Victory,' only because it paid some respect to the Duke of Marlborough and the Queen? Again, when I speak of the public affairs, if I do not rail as others do, I am a coward, and afraid of new prosecutions. If I speak against things, I am turning my tail and going over to the enemy; the high church has bought me off; and if I speak for the public affairs, then I am bribed, employed, and paid for it, and a mere mercenary. And what shall a poor author do in all this? I'll tell you what I do: I go on freely with telling you offensive truths, regarding no censures, and fearing no prosecutions ; but at more hazard than some of you would run to save a father, I prompt you to see the things that belong to your peace. “Rehearsals 'rave, 'Observators' bully me, and the high church vote me to the devil, every paper they read. And what is the matter, but because I tell you that in all your proceedings high-flying extremes will be your destruction, and principles of peace can alone secure us? But, whether you will hear, or, whether you will forbear, 'tis a sad truth, that all the mischiefs which have befallen any party of men amongst us have been from their own precipitations."
In the early part of the spring De Foe made a journey to Scotland, for what purpose is not known. He was there in the beginning of April, soon after the commitment of the Scottish prisoners, and paid a visit to Lord Belhaven. Our author's journey was probably upon some public account, but he did not stay long in Scotland, as we find him soon afterwards actively concerned in the parliamentary elections in his own country.
The first parliament of Great Britain was dissolved by proclamation on the 15th of April ; after which the country was busily occupied in the new elections. Upon this occasion De Foe earnestly exhorts the electors not to choose high-flyers, “who are the declared enemies of the present constitution ;” nor to betray their country for the sake of gratifying a sordid appetite. He remonstrates, in strong language, against the continued practice of bribery, which placed the liberties of the country at the mercy of those who have the longest purse. “He that will buy the country to choose him, will sell the country when he is chosen ;" he therefore recommends them to elect their representatives free of expense ; " for men who in conscience cannot bribe will serve you impartially when chosen."* De Foe justly observes that “railing at courts makes no patriot;" and that we are rather to estimate a man upon his tried principles and known character.
During this busy season De Foe took a journey into the country to observe the state of political parties, and animate the friends of liberty wherever he could interpose his influence. He tells us he was present himself at many of the elections, and observed, with shame and regret, the mode in which they were conducted. “I have not," says he, “ 80 far sat still at the coffee-houses all this summer, as some of you have done, forming elections, telling noses, and casting up parties over a dish of coffee ; but I have been
* De Foe illustrates his remark by the following story :-“ William Rufus having an abbey to bestow, several of the clergy, knowing the King to be covetous, bid large sums for the place. The King, seeing a monk stand by who offered nothing, -' And what wilt thou give for this abbey ?' •Indeed, not one penny,' says the monk, .for it is against my conscience.'— Then,' says the King, “thou art the fittest man to be abbot,' and so gave him the abbey immediately.”— • Review,' v. 117.
among a great many of your electors myself. I have been an eye-witness to many of the most fulsome and loathsome stories I have told you; I have seen the possibility, aye, and too much the practice, of men's voting implicitly, here for ale, there for influence, here again for parties, and there by persuasion. And, God knows, I speak it with regret for you all, and for your posterity, it is not an impossible thing to debauch this nation into a choice of thieves, knaves, devils, or anything, comparatively speaking, by the power of various intoxications. Having seen and heard so much of your follies, and knowing the consequences, I think myself justified before God and man to tell you, that so far as these practices are allowed by you, so far you are ruining your country, and selling your liberties to French and Jacobite tyranny. And, far be it from me to fear the resentment of any power, be it never so great, in a truth so plain and significant as this. I tell you again, if you have chosen high-flyers and Tories, abjuration-taking Jacobites, such as I have been describing, you have sold your nation, your birthright, your children, to a pack of thieves, and sacrificed the liberty and religion of Britain to your sordid, debauched luxury and covetousness.”* Our author finely exposes the inconsistency of some modern Whigs, in voting for Tory candidates, thus dividing their interests and electing their own destroyers. “Oh, Whigs, Whigs, are these the politics your enemies charge you with ? Catch a Tory voting for a Whig? Where can you find that fool to his party? The devil's votaries are always true to their master; and the children of this world wiser in their generation than the children of light.”
From the temper of the times, De Foe had strong apprehensions of the ascendancy of Tory influence; and, in a strain of pointed irony, he lays open to the electors the consequences to be expected from such an event. “ They can give away nothing,” says he, “ but our money ; they can overthrow nothing but our constitution ; they can overset nothing but the succession and the union; they can sell nothing but our liberties; and what then? We shall do as well as our neighbours, who never knew what those toys and trifles of law, liberty, or property, meant; and yet they sing and dance, and are as merry as other people, though they have not so much gear. Who knows but this may be the 'Shortest Way' to a general deliverance ? for, as has been noted, nothing opens our eyes in this age like precipitations. Now, if you will but choose these honest sort of folk into parliament, they will confirm all your melancholy reflections ; and the scheme of management being swallowed up to a due height, you shall soon come to a perfection of your endeavours-a Tory parliament, a Tory ministry, a Tory peace, a Tory successor, and hey ! boys, up go we! The revolution, the succession, the union, the toleration, shall all receive their due regulations, and this nation shall arrive at its immediate state of bliss— THE SHORTEST Way.'”
De Foe knew well enough that all the pseudo-patriotic outcry against the ministers was to get them turned out, that the high-flyers might occupy their places. He intimates that many engines were at work for its accomplishment, and cautions his countrymen not to be led astray by the arts that were employed to seduce them. “If our united interest,” says he, “is little enough to keep this vigilant party out ; if court Whig, and country Whig, and all sorts of Whigs, are few enough to make up the bank, and keep out the flood of high-flying invasions, then a caution to the friends of this settlement, to unite and keep together, and shun all dividing breaches, is both necessary and reasonable. And while I think it the duty of every man that respects his country's interest to assist in so good a work, I cannot but discharge my part by pressing it in the most earnest terms.”+
Amidst his labours in the cause of peace and liberty, the privacy of De Foe was often interrupted by threatening and abusive letters, most of them anonymous, or with
fictitious names. In the month of May he writes thus :-“I received a letter signed with my own name, a counterfeit no doubt ; for I am fully satisfied no man owns the name justly, nor does any man covet to be called after the unfortunate. However, as I am not ashamed of the name, and hope I have no reason, I am content to be mocked at the pleasure of the party ; but let them take this by the way, that though I am not ashamed of the relation of any honest man, yet I should be heartily ashamed of being related to any man, however great, who had so far degenerated from justice and honour as to own the principles in that letter, and who flies in the face of the late king, the present constitution, the Queen, the succession, and all the united building of Britain's present government." A little further, he observes, “ We have cause to bless God, in this age, that we live under a government whose actions will bear the light, and is best pleased when its proceedings are placed in an impartial view. Heretofore, misrepresentations and false lights have been the practice of our courts and the grievance of the subject; now the case alters, and we find it the practice of the subject, and the grievance of the court."*
In the month of June De Foe made another journey to Scotland, being employed upon a secret mission, the object of which remains unknown. The silence he observes upon such occasions is creditable to his prudence and judgınent; and we may easily trust him that it involved nothing that was dishonourable, or we should probably have heard of it from his enemies. He continued several months in the north, and seems to have given full satisfaction to his employers. For this he appealed long afterwards to the Duke of Marlborough.
These repeated visits to Scotland, we may easily collect, were not disagreeable to li De Foe, who had contracted an affection for the Scots, as well from gratitude for favours ! received as from a zealous attachment to their religion. To the piety and hospitality of their natioh he is always proud to do honour; and the only return he could offer for their civilities was to celebrate their virtues and defend them from the reproaches of their enemies. As a public advocate, when their religion or their liberties were attacked, the Scots, perhaps, had not a more zealous and sincere friend amongst the English.
During all his visits to Scotland his active mind appears to have been busily engaged in gathering stores of information concerning the history and condition of that country; neither of which subjects had, up to that period, attracted, comparatively speaking, any considerable portion of attention from the people of the sister kingdom. De Foe, in his quality of a sincere and zealous dissenter from the Church of England, was attracted, not repelled, by most of those circumstances of national faith and manners which were disagreeable to the English writers who had hitherto treated of the affairs of Scotland ; and so, without doing any violence to his own feelings, he laboured effectually by his representations to remove the ba riers of antipathy between the nations. He seems to have made diligent journeys over most parts of the northern kingdom, and has left, in his Tour, a picture of her then state which cannot be perused without the highest interest by those who are acquainted with the face of Scotland now. Her institutions, civil and religious, he has described with all the fulness of partiality-her cities and palaces graphically and distinctly.
Whilst De Foe was in Scotland he had ample opportunities for becoming acquainted with the state of religious parties in that part of the kingdom ; and the case of the episcopal Dissenters occupying much of the public attention, he discussed the subject at large in his · Reviews.' After tracing the origin of that party, its struggles for power, and the various acts of the government to keep it in subjection, he proceeds to consider the merits of the complaints that were then urged against the Presbyterian church.
The episcopal clergy having made known their alleged grievances to the world in a work entitled ' A Narrative of the late Treatment of Episcopal Ministers in the City of Edinburgh,' &c., the object of which is to prefer the charges of injustice and cruelty against the Presbyterians, De Foe replied to it in The Scots' Narrative Examined, or, the Case of the Episcopal Ministers in Scotland stated, and the late Treatment of them in the City of Edinburgh inquired into,' which seems to contain a faithful account of the matters referred to in the title.
As soon as the union with Scotland was completed, De Foe had announced his intention of presenting the world with a complete history of that most important transaction. Varivus engagements prevented him from fulfilling his design until 1709, when the first edition was published in Edinburgh under the following title :- The History of the Union of Great Britain. Edinburgh. The work seems to have been noticed but little when it first appeared, for, as the preface states, it had many difficulties in the way, many factions to encounter, and parties to please ; yet it was re-published in 1712, and a third time in 1786, when a similar union had become the topic of public debate and private conversation. De Foe prefixed two dedications to the work ; one to the Queen, the other to the Duke of Queensberry, Secretary of State for Scotland. In such complimentary effusions he excelled. Dryden and his contemporaries had brought dedications into disgrace by the fulsomeness of their flattery and the servility of their style. The dedications of the present day have absurdly run into the contrary extreme. But the writers who are permitted to dedicate their works to royal patrons ought to peruse De Foe's dedicatory epistles to King William and Queen Anne ; wherein they will find dignity of sentiment and delicacy of praise, conveyed in language at once delicate and instructive. His dedications to the ‘History of the Union of Great Britain,' would alone justify this remark.
The minuteness with which he describes what he saw and heard on the turbulent stage, where he acted a conspicuous part, is extremely interesting to us, who wish to know what actually passed, however this circumstantiality may have disgusted contemporaneous readers. History is chiefly valuable as it transmits a faithful copy of the manners and sentiments of every age. This narrative of De Foe is a drama, in which he introduces the highest peers and the lowest peasants, speaking and acting according as they were each actuated by their characteristic passions ; and while the man of taste is amused by his manner, the man of business may draw instruction from the documents which are appended to the end and interspersed in every page. This publication had alone preserved his name had his “Crusoe' pleased us less. “ De Foe's Union between England and Scotland,'” says Mr Dibdin, “first published in 1709, and more recently with valuable additions by Mr George Chalmers, is really a performance to place the author amongst the soundest historians of the day."
Towards the end of 1709 an event occurred which fully justified all that De Foe had written concerning the temper and views of the high party, and which involved the most important consequences to the nation. Upon the 5th of November Dr Sacheverell preached his far-famed sermon at St Paul's, before the city magistracy, upon the perils of false brethren, wherein, to use De Foe's words, “having plentifully railed at and anathematized the Dissenters, and left them in custody, without bail or mainprize, with the devil and his angels, he particularly asserts two things :-1. The doctrine of passive obedience, which he most remarkably justifies from the late revolution. 2. The hereditary right of her present Majesty to the crown.” The political tenets advanced by this pulpit incendiary had been answered over and over again by our author in his replies to Leslie and the whole race of non-jurors ; so that, in compiling this production, he did no more than repeat his former arguments. Still, both in his ‘Review' and in several separate tracts, he exerted his powerful talents in the suppression of this factious dema