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brought now, in cool thoughts, to do that yourselves which you would never let them do, and which, without your most stupid negligence of yourselves, they could never do?
For this reason, I say, these lines are written, and this makes them just, and the argument rational. If I were to move you to what was not in your power, I should easily be answered by being told you could not do it; that you were not able, and the like; but is it not evident that the unanimous appearance of the people of Great Britain against the Pretender would at once render all the party desperate, and make them look upon the design as utterly impracticable? As their only hope is in the breaches they are making in your resolutions, so if they should see they gain no ground there, they would despair, and give it over.
It would not be worth notice to inquire who are and who are not for the Pretender; the invidious search into the conduct of great men, ministers of state and government, would be labor lost: no ministry will ever be for the Pretender, if they once may but be convinced that the people are steady; that he gets no ground in the country; that the aversions of the common people to his person and his government are not to be overcome: but if you, the good people of England, slacken your hands; if you give up the cause; if you abate your zeal for your own liberties, and for the Protestant religion; if you fall in with Popery and a French Pretender; if you forget the Revolution, and King William, what can you expect? who can stand by you then? Who can save them that will destroy themselves?
The work is before you; your deliverance, your safety is in your own hands, and therefore these things are now written. None can give you up; none can betray you but yourselves; and if you could see your own happiness, it is entirely in your power, by unanimous, steady adhering to your old principles, to secure your peace for ever. O Jerusalem! Jerusalem!
AND WHAT IF THE PRETENDER SHOULD COME? CONSIDERATIONS OF THE ADVANTAGES AND REAL CONSEQUENCES OF THE PRETENDER'S POSSESSING THE CROWN OF GREAT BRITAIN
THAT then a case so popular, and of so much consequence as this is, may not want such due supports as the nature of the thing will allow, and especially since the advantages and good consequences of the thing itself are so many, and so easy to be seen, as his friends allege; why should not the good people of Britain be made easy, and their fears be turned into peaceable satisfaction, by seeing that this devil may not be so black as he is painted; and that the noise made of the Pretender, and the frightful things said of his coming, and of his being received here, may not be made greater scarecrows to us than they really are; and after all that has been said, if it should appear that the advantages of the Pretender's succession are really greater to us, and the dangers less to us, than those of the succession of Hanover, then much of their difficulties would be over, who, standing neuter as to persons, appear against the Pretender only because they are made to believe strange and terrible things of what shall befall the nation in case of his coming in, such as Popery, slavery, French power, destroying of our credit, and devouring our funds (as that scandalous scribbler, the Review,1 has been laboring to suggest), with many other things which we shall endeavor to expose to you as they de
To begin, then, with that most popular and affrighting argument now made use of, as the bugbear of the people, against several other things besides Jacobitism, we mean French greatness. It is most evident that the fear of this must, by the nature of the thing, be effectually removed upon our receiving the Pretender. The grounds and reasons why French greatness is rendered formidable to us, and so much weight supposed to be in it, that, like the name of Scanderbeg, we fright our very children with it, lie only in this, that we suggest the King of 1 Defoe's own journal.
France, being a professed enemy to the peace and liberty of Great Britain, will most certainly, as soon as he can a little recover himself, exercise all that formidable power to put the Pretender upon us, and not only to place him upon the throne of Great Britain, but to maintain and hold him up in it, against all the opposition, either of the people of Britain or the confederate princes leagued with the Elector of Hanover, who are in the interest of his claim or of his party. Now it is evident that upon a peaceable admitting this person, whom they call the Pretender, to receive and enjoy the crown here, all that formidable power becomes your friend, and the being so must necessarily take off from it everything that is called terrible. . .
How strange is it that none of our people have yet thought of this way of securing their native country from the insults of France! Were but the Pretender once received as our king, we have no more disputes with the King of France, he has no pretence to invade or disturb us; what a quiet world would it be with us in such a case, when the greatest monarch in the universe should be our fast friend, and be in our interest to prevent any of the inconveniences which might happen to us from the disgust of other neighbors, who may be dissatisfied with us upon other accounts. As to the terrible things which some people fright us and themselves with, from the influence which French councils may have upon us, and of French methods of government being introduced among us, these we ought to esteem only clamors and noise, raised by a party to amuse and affright us. For pray let us inquire a little into them, and see if there be any reason for us to be so terrified at them; suppose they were really what is alleged, which we hope they are not; for example, the absolute dominion of the King of France over his subjects is such, say our people, as makes them miserable; well, but let us examine then: are we not already miserable for want of this absolute dominion? Are we not miserably divided? Is not our government miserably weak? Are we not miserably subjected to the rabbles and mob? Nay, is not the very crown mobbed here every now and then, into whatever our sovereign lord the people demand? Whereas, on the contrary, we see France entirely united as one man; no virulent scribblers there dare affront the government; no impertinent P-ments there disturb the monarch with their addresses and representations; no
superiority of laws restrain the administration; no insolent lawyers talk of the sacred constitution, in opposition to the more sacred prerogative; but all with harmony and general consent agree to support the majesty of their prince, and with their lives and fortunes; not in complimenting sham addresses only, but in reality and effectually, support the glory of their great monarch. In doing this they are all united together so firmly, as if they had but one heart and one mind, and that the king was the soul of the nation. What if they are what we foolishly call slaves to the absolute will of their prince? That slavery to them is mere liberty. They entertain no notion of that foolish liberty which we make so much noise about, nor have they any occasion of it, or any use for it if they had it. They are as industrious in trade, as vigorous in pursuit of their affairs, go on with as much courage, and are as well satisfied when they have wrought hard twenty or thirty years to get a little money for the king to take away, as we are to get it for our wives and children; and as they plant vines and plough lands, that the king and his great men may eat the fruit thereof, they think it as great a felicity as if they eat it themselves. . . . Is it not apparent that, under all the oppressions they talk so much of, the French are the nation the most improved and increased in manufactures, in navigation, in commerce, within these fifty years, of any nation in the world? And here we pretend liberty, property, constitutions, rights of subjects, and such stuff as that, and with all these fine gewgaws, which we pretend propagate trade and increase the wealth of the nation, we are every day declining, and become poor. How long will this nation be blinded by their own foolish customs? And when will they learn to know that the absolute government of a virtuous prince, who makes the good of his people his ultimate end, and esteems their prosperity his glory, is the best and most godlike government in the world?
Let us then be no more rendered uneasy with the notions that with the Pretender we must entertain French methods of government, such as tyranny and arbitrary power. Tyranny is no more tyranny, when improved for the subjects' advantage: perhaps when we have tried it we may find it as much for our good many ways, nay, and more too, than our present exorbitant liberties, especially unless we can make a better use of them,
and enjoy them, without being always going by the ears about them, as we see daily, not only with our governors, but even with one another. A little French slavery, though it be a frightful word among us, that is, being made so by custom, yet may do us a great deal of good in the main, as it may teach us not to over (under) value our liberties when we have them, so much as sometimes we have done; and this is not one of the least advantages which we shall gain by the coming of the Pretender.
There seems to be but one thing more which those people who make such a clamor at the fears of the Pretender, take hold of, and this is religion; and they tell us that not only French government, and French influence, but French religion, that is to say Popery, will come upon us, But these people know not what they talk of, for it is evident that they shall be so far from being loaded with religion, that they will rather obtain that so long desired happiness of having no religion at all. This we may easily make appear has been the advantage which has been long labored for in this nation; and as the attainments we are arrived to of that kind are very considerable already, so we cannot doubt but that, if once the Pretender were settled quietly among us, an absolute subjection, as well of religious principles as civil liberties, to the disposal of the sovereign, would take place. This is an advantage so fruitful of several other manifest improvements, that though we have not room enough in this place to enlarge upon the particulars, we cannot doubt but it must be a most grateful piece of news to a great part of the nation, who have long groaned under the oppressions and cruel severities of the clergy, occasioned by their own strict lives and rigorous virtue, and their imposing such austerities and restraints upon the people; and in this particular the clamor of slavery will appear very scandalous in the nation, for, the slavery of religion being taken off, and an universal freedom of vice being introduced, what greater liberty can we enjoy? . . .
But we have more and greater advantages of the coming of the Pretender, and such as no question will invite you to receive him with great satisfaction and applause; and it cannot be necessary to inform you, for your direction in other cases, how the matter, as to real and imaginary advantage, stands