« PreviousContinue »
controversy, unless some very gross provocation draw me back. For though I have not overloaded the Public with writings of this sort, nor attempted to engage its attention but on subjects of high importance; yet even these will receive their best defence and support, by being carefully considered together, in the order I first delivered them. For, as Lord Bacon says excellently well, THE HARMONY OF A SCIENCE, SUPPORTING EACH PART THE OTHER, IS AND OUGHT TO BE THE TRUE AND BRIEF CONFUTATION AND SUPPRESSION OF ALL THE SMALLER SORTS OF OBJECTIONS.
But in taking a forinal leave it may perhaps be ex: pected, that I should say something why I ever answered at all : and why I answered in this manner.
To the first of these questions I must needs confess, that I have never yet seen any thing which, in my own opinion, deserved my notice. But I was willing to submit to better judgments. The Public (says a Friend) by what I can perceire, thinks there is something in this pamphlet-thinks there may be something in that. — Well, I subscribe to the public judgment. I examine, I write, I confute. And what do I get by it? The mortification of being told, that now, forsooth, the Public wonders why I should spend my time upon such Writers. And in this manner I have been served more than once. The Public says this; the Public says that: in short, the Public's a wag, and loves to divert itself at the expence of us poor authors. Of which diversion, having so fairly contributed my quota, I shall now beg leave to retire- Lusisti satis.-,
As to the manner in which I have answered some of my adversaries : their insufferable abuse, and my own love of quiet, made it necessary. I had tried all ways to silence an iniquitous clamour; by neglect of it; by good words, by an explanation of my meaning; and all without effect. The First Volume of this obnoxious Work had not been out many days, before I was fallen upon by a furious Ecclesiastical News-writer, with the utmost brutality. All the return I then made, or then ever intended to make, was a Vindication * of my moral character, wrote with such temper and forbearance as seemed See Vol. XI.
affectation made up
affectation to those who did not know that I only wanted to be quiet. But I reckoned without my host. The angry man became ten times more outrageous. What was now to be done? I tried another method with him. I drew his picture; I exposed him naked; and shewed the Public of what parts and principles this tumour was
It had its effect; and I never heard more of him. On this occasion, let me tell the Reader a Story. As a Scotch Bagpiper was traversing the mountains of, Ulster, he was, one evening, encountered by a hungerstarved Irish wolf. In this distress, the poor man could think of nothing better than to open his wallet, and try the effects of his hospitality. Ile did so: and the savage swallowed all that was thrown liim with so improving a vöfacity, as if his appetite was but just coming to him. The whole stock of provision, you may be sure, was soon speit. And now, his only recourse was to the virtue of the bagpipe ; which the monster no sooner heard, than he took to the mountains with the same precipitation that he had come down. The poor Piper could not so perfectly enjoy his deliverance, but that, with an angry look et parting, he shook his head, and said, Ay! are these your tricks ? ---Had I known your humour, you should have had your music before supper.
But through I had the Caduceus of Peace in my hands, yet it was only in cases of necessity. that I made use of it. And therefore I chose to let pass, without any chastisement, such impotent railers as Dr. Richard Grey, and one Bate, a Zany to a Móuntebank. On the other hand, when I happened to be engaged with such very learned and candid writers as Dr. Middleton and The Master of the Charter-house, I gave sufficient proof how much I preferred a different manner of carrying on a controversy, would my Answerers but afford ine the occasion. But, alas! as I never should have such learned men long my adversaries, and never would have these other my friends, I found that, if I wrote at all, I must be condemned to a manner, which all, who know me, know to be most abhorrent to my natural temper. So, on the whole, I resolved to quit my hands of them at once:'and turn again to nobler game, more suitable, as Dr. Stebbing tells me, to my clerical function, that pestilent
herd of libertine scribblers, with which the island is overrun; whom I would hunt down, as good King Edgar did his wolves; from the mighty Author of Christianity as old as the Creation, to the drumken blaspheming Cobbler, who wrote against Jesus and the Resurrection*
To conclude, then, if hitherto, in the course of my just vindication, any thing has escaped me, offensive to the candid Reader, I heartily wish it unsaid. Not for the sake of those, the so proper subjects of it, for, Si indignus qui facerem, at illi digni hac contumelia sunt marime: but for the sake of the Public, to whom I have obligations for their fair and generous reception of my Writings. Not but the candour and equity of their judgment will, Į know, always carry along with it what I am now about to say, in alleviation of any harshness that may have escaped me, under all the calumny that envy, in the disguise of false zeal, has so liberally poured out upon me: which is this: That my sole motive in writing The Divine Legation was the discovery and advancement of Truth, and (in that) the support and establishment of Revelation, And if I needed à voucher, I have the pleasure to observe, that the encouragement given to this áttempt, is sufficient to shew, that no considerable man, either in Church or State, did, indeed, ever think that I had any other motive.
* In a pamphlet, intitled, The Resurrection of Jesus demonstrated to have no proof. In answer to a late pamphlet, called, the Resurrection of Jesus cleared, &c. London, printed for J. Jackman, in Fleet Street. Price One Shilling.–But some say this was no Cobbler, but Dr. Morgan's own Apothecary, who now writes by his Master's receipts. Indeed, he is of so strong a complexion as to make it very probable he must be one whose trade it has been to apply himself
' only to the wrong end of human kind. But whether he be of this, or the other cleaner trade, I would recommend it to the fine gentlemen to consider, if it will not soon be necessary, for their bonour, to profess themselves on the side of religion, since infidelity is thus fallen into attainder, and can now descend no lower.
On the Spirit of Patriotism, The Idea of a Patriot King;
and The State of Parties, 8c.
THE EDITOR'S ADVERTISEMENT.
Is this my Guide, Philosopher, and Friend? Pope to L. B.
the Author of these Letters. My respect for L. B's character will not suffer me to think
Your -Advertisement is the crudest and most unmanaged attack on the honour of his deceased Friend ; and he appears to be under all the ties of that sacred relation, to defend and protect it.
Your charge against Mr. Pope, is in these words,“ The original draughts [of these Letters) were intrusted
to a man, on whom the Author thought he might en " tirely depend, after he had exacted from him, and taken ** his promise, that they should never go into any hands,
except those of five or six persons, who were then '" named to him. In this confidence, the Author rested “ 'securely for sonie years; and though he was not without suspicion that they had been communicated to
more persons than he intended they should be, yet he was kept, by repeated assurances, even from suspect:
ing that any copies had gone into hands unknown to " him. But this man was no sooner dead, than he re« ceived information that an entire edition of 1500 copies “ of these papers had been printed; that this very man " had corrected the press, and that he had left them in « the hands of the printer, to keep with great secrecy till “ further orders. The honest printer kept his word with " him better than he kept his with his friend; so that " the whole edition came, at last, into the hands of the " Author, except some few copies, which this person had “ taken out of the heap, and carried away. These are “ doubtless the copies which have been handed about, not very privately, since his death. The rest were al destroyed in one common fire.—by these copies it ap:
peared, that the man who had been guilty of this " breach of trust, had taken upon him further to divide " the subject, and to alter and omit passages, according " to the suggestions of his own fancy. What aggravates " this proceeding extremely is, that the Author had told “ him, on several occasions, amongst other reasons, why " he could not consent to the publication of these papers, " that they had been written in too much heat and hurry " for the public eye. He chanced to know that scraps " and fragments of these papers had been employed to “ swell a monthly magazine, and that the same honour: "able employment of them was to be continued-The " Editor, therefore, who has in his hands the genuine
copy-resolved to publish it.”
This is the charge. And as to the fact, that " Mr. P. " did print an entire edition of Lord B's Letters without Ş his consent,” it must, as far as I can see, be taken for granted. For the man accused is dead. He cannot speak for himself; and his papers, which might have spoken for him, were all of them devised, by the dying man's last Will, to the trust and absolute disposal of his noble friend,
My complaint (and, I persuade myself, all impartial men will indulge me ip it) is, that the charge is inforced