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FORMIDABLE STATE OF THE POPISH PARTY. 327

might picture to itself, as resulting from a confederacy for the accomplishment of such a purpose, the political interests of rival states would prevent such an union from being either cordial and lasting. Wars arising out of religion are always to be deprecated, as still farther alienating the parties whom it is desirable to approximate. When one party, however, evinces a disposition to attack, precautionary measures will be suggested to the other. 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 bigotted 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 Some German princes had lately withdrawn from their alliance with Protestants; and the emperor, who had been a bitter persecutor of his Hungarian and Bohemian subjects, was now only restrained by his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. 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; and considering the intimate connection which subsisted between the religion of Rome and despotic principles of government, it is not surprising that our author should sum up his argument by saying, "that Popery and slavery are like sin and death, direct consequences of each other; and whenever we think fit to admit the first, any body may promise us the last."

The subject was also taken up at this time by another writer, in "An Appeal to all Protestant Kings, Princes, and States, concerning the Present Danger of the Protestant Religion, and the great Decay of its Interest in Europe.

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FLEMING'S EPISTOLARY DISCOURSE.

With a most awakening Account of the Unjust and Cruel Methods for the Destruction thereof, that are practised in several Countries. Lond. printed for Brabazen Aylmer, 1700." 4to. This is a good historical pamphlet, and a sensible appeal to the best feelings of mankind, upon the enormities committed by the Popish party for the furtherance of its power. The same cruelties also gave rise to a remarkable publication about this time, by another writer. This was, "An Epistolary Discourse on the Rise and Fall of Papacy; or, the Pouring out of the Vials in the Revelation of St. John. By Robert Fleming, V. D. M. Lond. 1701.” 8vo. Dedicated to his relation, John Lord Carmichael, principal Secretary of State for Scotland. The author was a Scotch divine of great learning and abilities, but settled in London, where he was honoured with the personal notice of King William. His object is to trace the rise of the anti-christian power, by comparing the notices of it in the book of Daniel, and in the Apocalypse with the events of history; and from thence, by a series of ingenious calculations, to deduce the probable period of its downfal. But the most singular part of his performance is that which points to the overthrow of the French monarchy, which he fixes at the period when it actually took place by the death of Louis XVI. Upon this account, his work attracted considerable notice at that time, and gave strength to his other conjectures relative to the fulfilment of the scripture prophecies. It deserves to be remarked, that the modesty of the writer is equal to his learning; and the excellent spirit that pervades his book, united with many just and striking observations, recommend it to the approbation of every judicious reader.

Had the present writer lived in those times of political and religious animosity, it is probable he would have participated in the general opinion which then prevailed amongst Protestants, respecting the toleration of Papists. Their case,

REFLECTIONS ON EMANCIPATION.

329

however, has since undergone a material alteration, and he can see no just reason now for excluding them from the privileges of other subjects. For, admitting the Catholic religion to be a mass of absurdity addressed to the passions of the ignorant, and that the system remains the same that it ever was; and making every allowance for the jealousy of Protestants, founded upon correct views of its exclusive principles, and the despotic character of its hierarchy; yet, the circumstances of the times have so far operated in its favor, that there is no longer any danger of its supplanting the Protestants. By the death of the Pretender, and the extinction of his family, the hazard from that quarter has ceased; Catholics have been suffered to acquire property in the country, which has given them an interest in defending it; and time has softened down much of the asperity which then existed upon account of religious differences : a feeling that will be still farther extended in proportion to the diffusion of education and the free intercourse of different sects, which are the certain precursors of liberal principles. It deserves also to be remarked, that men are often much better than the system they espouse, and are usually most under its influence, when it is proscribed by authority. Upon these accounts, a distinction of castes amongst the professors of different religions, is no longer desirable; and the abrogation of every law that has given exclusive political privileges to one sect, to the prejudice of the rest, is a measure founded as much in policy and good sense, as it is clearly a matter of natural right. This is not the place for arguing the subject at length; or it would be easy to meet the objections that still operate upon the fears and prejudices of a large number of Protestants, who confound the objects of government with the duties of religion, and suffer their bigotry or their selfishness to contravene the principles of political justice.

CHAPTER XXIII.

False Pretences of Political Parties.—Declining Influence of the Whigs.— Change of Ministry.-The King parts reluctantly with Lord Somers.His Character-Reflections upon the Change.-Character of the new Ministers.-De Foe's Strictures upon the Different Ministries in this Reign. Dissolution of Parliament.—Pamphlets preparatory to the Election.-De Foe's Six Distinguishing Characters of a Parliament Man'.— He publishes The Freeholder's Plea against Stock-Jobbing in Elections.' -And The Villany of Stock-Jobbers Detected.'

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1700.

It has been remarked by an eminent statesman, that " parties in a state, generally, like freebooters, hang out false colours; the pretence is public good, the real business is to catch prizes." That such was the character of the faction which now predominated in parliament, its past and future proceedings afforded evidence that could not be mistaken. Owing to a variety of causes, attributable partly to their own misconduct, but chiefly to the misrepresentations of their enemies, the popularity of the Whigs had been for some time upon the decline, whilst that of their opponents had been rising with rapidity. The success that attended the measures of the latter, prompted them to new encroachments, and increased the embarrassment of the Whigs, who were unable to conceal their weakness.

Despairing of his ability to carry on the government any

* Political Maxims, by the Marquis of Halifax.

CHANGE OF MINISTRY.

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longer without the assistance of the Tories, the king found himself under the necessity of submitting to their influence. His first plan was to mix the parties in the cabinet; but this scheme, although acquiesced in at first, produced only disunion and weakness: nor did it suit the aspiring views of the rising party, who determined to monopolize the whole power of the government, and to pour its vengeance upon the falling Whigs. Under the influence of feelings embittered by disappointment, and from a desire to avoid, if possible, the infliction of further insults, the king was at length prevailed upon to dismiss his old and faithful friend, Lord Somers, who retired from office with a manliness and dignity that befitted a person of his conscious rectitude. This sacrifice, which was not obtained without great reluctance, was followed by others of an inferior nature, until the whole cabinet became transformed; and presented the spectacle of a head united to a body, but without any sympathy for its constituent members. The want of congeniality between the king and his new ministers, tended but to increase his regard for those he had discarded, and to aggravate his loss of their services; but the removal of that able and upright statesman, Lord Somers, was a step that he regarded with compunction to the latest hour of his life. (F)

(F) Upon the removal of Lord Somers, the courts were immediately deserted, the laws silent, and all proceedings at a stand It was a long time before any one could be found to take his place; for no one thought himself worthy to succeed Lord Somers in that high office. At length, a successor was provided, with the title of Lord Keeper, in the person of Sir Nathan Wright, a man of inferior abilities, but a high-churchman, and wholly devoted to the schemes of the Anti-Revolutionists. The character of his predecessor is thus drawn by a contemporary writer: "John Lord Somers, late Lord Chancellor, is of a creditable family in the city of Worcester; his father was an attorney, and bred him to the law, which was his profession for some years before he was taken notice of. He was retained as one of the council for the seven bishops in King James's reign; and behaved himself in that cause with so much applause, as gained him a very great reputation, and first brought him into business. On King William's

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