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I can deny nothing, to resume my design; and I | must own, that nothing animated me so much as the hope they flattered me with, that my essay might be inserted in the Gazetteer, and so become of service to my country.

That a weaker animal should suck the blood of a stronger without resistance, is wholly improbable and inconsistent with the regard for self-preservation, so observable in every order and species of beings. We must therefore necessarily endeavour after some figurative sense not liable to so insuperable an objection.

Were I to proceed in the same tenor of interpretation, by which I explained the moon and the lilies, I might observe that a horse is the arms of HBut how then does the horse suck the lion's blood? Money is the blood of the body politic. But my zeal for the present happy establishment will not suffer me to pursue a train of thought that leads to such shocking conclusions. The idea is detestable, and such as, it ought to be hoped, can enter into the mind of none but a virulent Republican, or bloody Jacobite. There is not one honest man in the nation unconvinced how weak an attempt it would be to endeavour to confute this insinuation. An insinuation which no party will dare to abet, and of so fatal and destructive a tendency, that it may prove equally dangerous to the author, whether true or false.

As therefore I can form no hypothesis on which a consistent interpretation may be built, I must leave these loose and unconnected hints entirely to the candour of the reader, and confess that I do not think my scheme of explication just, since I cannot apply it throughout the whole without involving myself in difficulties, from which the ablest interpreter would find it no easy matter to get free.

Being therefore convinced, upon an attentive and deliberate review of these observations, and a consultation with my friends, of whose abilities I have the highest esteem, and whose impartiality, sincerity, and probity, I have long known and frequently experienced, that my conjectures are in general very uncertain, often improbable, and sometimes little less than apparently false, I was long in doubt whether I ought not entirely to suppress them, and content myself with publishing in the Gazetteer the inscription, as it stands engraven on the stone, without translation or commentary, unless that ingenious and learned society should favour the world with their own remarks.

swered, after a short pause, that, with all proper deference to the great sagacity and advanced age of the objector, I could not but conceive that his position confuted itself, and that a reader of the Gazetteer, being by his own confession accustomed to encounter difficulties, and search for meaning where it was not easily to be found, must be better prepared than any other man for the perusal of these ambiguous expressions. And that, besides, the explication of this stone, being a task which nothing could surmount but the most acute penetration joined with indefatigable patience, seemed in reality reserved for those who have given proofs of both in the highest degree, by reading and understanding the Gazet teer.

This answer satisfied every one but the objector, who, with an obstinacy not very uncom mon, adhered to his own opinion, though he could not defend it: and not being able to make any reply, attempted to laugh away my argu ment, but found the rest of my friends so little disposed to jest upon this important question, that he was forced to restrain his mirth, and content himself with a sullen and contemptuous silence.

Another of my friends, whom I had assembled on this occasion, having owned the solidity of my answer to the first objection, offered a second, which in his opinion could not be so easily defeated.

"I have observed," says he, "that the essays in the Gazetteer, though written on very impor tant subjects by the ablest hands which ambition can incite, friendship engage, or money procure, have never, though circulated through the kingdom with the utmost application, had any remarkable influence upon the people. I know many persons of no common capacity, that hold it sufficient to peruse the papers four times a year; and others who receive them regularly, and, without looking upon them, treasure them under ground for the benefit of posterity. So that the inscription may, by being inserted there, sink once more into darkness and oblivion, instead of informing the age, and assisting our present ministry in the regulation of their mes sures."

Another observed, that nothing was more unreasonable than my hope, that any remarks or elucidations would be drawn up by that fraternity, since their own employments do not allow them any leisure for such attempts. Every one knows that panegyric is in its own nature no easy To this scheme, which I thought extremely task, and that to defend is much more difficult well calculated for the public good, and there-than to attack; consider then, says he, what infore very eagerly communicated to my acquaint-dustry, what assiduity it must require, to praise ance and fellow-students, some objections were and vindicate a ministry like ours. started, which, as I had not foreseen, I was unable to answer.

It was observed, first, That the Daily Dissertations published by that fraternity, are written with such profundity of sentiment, and filled with such uncommon modes of expression, as to be themselves sufficiently unintelligible to vulgar readers, and that therefore the venerable obscurity of this prediction, would much less excite the curiosity and awaken the attention of mankind, than if it were exhibited in any other paper, and placed in opposition to the clear and easy style of an author generally understood.

To this argument, formidable as it was, I an

It was hinted by another, that an inscription which had no relation to any particular set of men amongst us, but was composed many ages before the parties, which now divide the nation, had a being, could not be so properly conveyed to the world by means of a paper dedicated to political debates.

Another to whom I had communicated my own observations in a more private manner, and who had inserted some of his own arguments, declared it as his opinion, that they were, though very controvertible and unsatisfactory, yet too valuable to be lost; and that though to insert the inscription in a paper of which such numbers

are daily distributed at the expense of the public, would doubtless be very agreeable to the generous design of the author, yet he hoped that as all the students, either of politics or antiquities, would receive both pleasure and improvement from the dissertation with which it is accompanied, none of them would regret to pay for so agreeable an entertainment.

It cannot be wondered that I have yielded at last to such weighty reasons, and such insinuating compliments, and chosen to gratify at once the inclination of friends and the vanity of an author. Yet I should think I had very imperfectly discharged my duty to my country, did I not warn all whom either interest or curiosity shall incite to the perusal of this treatise, not to lay any stress upon my explications.

How a more complete and indisputable interpretation may be obtained, it is not easy to say. This will, I suppose, be readily granted, that it is not to be expected from any single hand, but from the joint inquiries and united labours of a numerous society of able men, instituted by authority, selected with great discernment and impartiality, and supported at the charge of the


I am very far from apprehending that any proposal for the attainment of so desirable an end, will be rejected by this inquisitive and enlightened age, and shall therefore lay before the public the project which I have formed and matured by long consideration, for the institution of a society of commentators upon this inscription.

I humbly propose, that thirty of the most distinguished genius be chosen for this employment, half from the inns of court, and half from the army, and be incorporated into a society for five years, under the name of the SOCIETY OF COMMENTATORS.

That great undertakings can only be executed by a great number of hands, is too evident to require any proof; and I am afraid all that read this scheme will think that it is chiefly defective in this respect, and that when they reflect how many commissaries were thought necessary at Seville, and that even their negotiations entirely miscarried, probably for want of more associates, they will conclude that I have proposed impossibilities, and that the ends of the institution will be defeated by an injudicious and ill-timed frugality.

nument; they will extend much farther: for the commentators having sharpened and improved their sagacity by this long and difficult course of study, will, when they return into public life, be of wonderful service to the government, in examining pamphlets, songs, and journals, and in drawing up informations, indictments, and instructions for special juries. They will be wonderfully fitted for the posts of Attorney and Solicitor General, but will excel, above all, as licensers for the stage.

The gentlemen of the army will equally adorn the province to which I have assigned them, of setting the discoveries and sentiments of their associates in a clear and agreeable light. The lawyers are well known to be very happy in expressing their ideas, being for the most part able to make themselves understood by none but their own fraternity. But the geniuses of the army have sufficient opportunities, by their free access to the levee and the toilet, their constant attendance on balls and assemblies, and that abundant leisure which they enjoy beyond any other body of men, to acquaint themselves with every new word and prevailing mode of expression, and to attain the utmost nicety and most polished prettiness of language.

It will be necessary, that during their attendance upon the society, they be exempt from any obligation to appear in Hyde-Park: and that upon no emergency, however pressing, they be called away from their studies, unless the nation be in immediate danger by an insurrection of weavers, colliers, or smugglers.

There may not perhaps be found in the army such a number of men, who have ever condescended to pass through the labours and irksome forms of education in use among the lower classes of people, or submitted to learn the mercantile and plebeian arts of writing and reading. I must own, that though I entirely agree with the notions of the uselessness of any such trivial accomplishments in the military profession, and of their inconsistency with more valuable attainments; though I am convinced, that a man who can read and write, becomes, at least, a very disagreeable companion to his brother soldiers, if he does not absolutely shun their acquaintance; that he is apt to imbibe from his books odd notions of liberty and independency, and even sometimes of morality and virtue, utterly inconsistent with the desirable character of a pretty But if it be considered, how well the persons gentleman: though writing frequently stains the I recommend must have been qualified by their whitest finger, and reading has a natural teneducation and profession for the provinces as-dency to cloud the aspect, and depress that airy signed them, the objection will grow less weighty and thoughtless vivacity, which is the distin than it appears. It is well known to be the con-guishing characteristic of a modern warrior; yet stant study of the lawyers to discover in acts of parliament, meanings which escaped the committees that drew them up, and the senates that passed them into laws, and to explain wills into a sense wholly contrary to the intention of the I know that the knowledge of the alphabet is testator. How easily may an adept in these so disreputable among these gentlemen, that admirable and useful arts, penetrate into the those who have by ill fortune formerly been most hidden import of this prediction? A man taught it, have partly forgot it by disuse, and accustomed to satisfy himself with the obvious partly concealed it from the world, to avoid and natural meaning of a sentence, does not the railleries and insults to which their education easily shake off his habit; but a true-bred law-might make them liable: I propose, therefore, yer never contents himself with one sense when there is another to be found.

Nor will the beneficial consequences of this scheme terminate in the explication of this mo

on this single occasion, I cannot but heartily wish, that by a strict search there may be discovered in the army fifteen men who can write and read.

that all the officers of the army may be examined upon oath one by one, and that if fifteen cannot be selected who are at present so qualified, the deficiency may be supplied out of those who

having once learned to read, may perhaps, with the assistance of a master, in a short time refresh their memories.

It may be thought, at the first sight of this proposal, that it might not be improper to assign to every commentator a reader and secretary; but it may be easily conceived, that not only the public might murmur at such an addition of expense, but that by the unfaithfulness or negligence of their servants, the discoveries of the society may be carried to foreign courts, and made use of to the disadvantage of our own country.

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THE time is now come in which every Eng lishman expects to be informed of the national affairs, and in which he has a right to have that For the residence of this society, I cannot expectation gratified. For whatever may be think any place more proper than Greenwich- urged by ministers, or those whom vanity or Hospital, in which they may have thirty apart-interest make the followers of ministers, conments fitted up for them, that they may make their observations in private, and meet once a day in the painted hall to compare them.

If the establishment of this society be thought a matter of too much importance to be deferred till the new buildings are finished, it will be necessary to make room for their reception, by the expulsion of such of the seamen as have no pretensions to the settlement there, but fractured labs, loss of eyes, or decayed constitutions, who have lately been admitted in such numbers, that it is now scarce possible to accommodate a nobleman's groom, footman, or postillion, in a manner suitable to the dignity of his profession, and the original design of the foundation.

The situation of Greenwich will naturally dispose them to reflection and study: and particular caution ought to be used, lest any interruption be suffered to dissipate their attention or distract their meditations: for this reason, all visits and letters from ladies are strictly to be

cerning the necessity of confidence in our governors, and the presumption of prying with profane eyes into the recesses of policy, it is evident that this reverence can be claimed only by counsels yet unexecuted, and projects suspended in deliberation. But when a design has ended in miscarriage or success, when every eye and every ear is witness to general discontent, or general satisfaction, it is then a proper time to disentangle confusion, and illustrate obscurity, to show by what causes every event was produced, and in what effects it is likely to terminate; to lay down with distinct particularity what rumour always huddles in general exclamations, or perplexes by undigested narratives; to show whence happiness or calamity is derived, and whence it may be expected; and honestly to lay before the people what inquiry can gather of the past, and conjecture can estimate of the future.

The general subject of the present war is sufprohibited; and if any of the members shall be ficiently known. It is allowed on both sides, detected with a lap-dog, pack of cards, box of that hostilities began in America, and that the dice, draught-table, snuff-box, or looking-glass, French and English quarrelled about the bounhe shall for the first offence be confined for three daries of their settlements, about grounds and months to water-gruel, and for the second be ex-rivers to which, I am afraid, neither can show pelled the society.

any other right than that of power, and which neither can occupy but by usurpation, and the dispossession of the natural lords and original inhabitants. Such is the contest, that no honest man can heartily wish success to either party.

Nothing now remains, but that an estimate be made of the expenses necessary for carrying on this noble and generous design. The salary to be allowed each professor cannot be less than 2000l. a year, which is indeed more than the re- It may indeed be alleged, that the Indians gular stipend of a commissioner of excise, but it have granted large tracts of land both to one must be remembered, that the commentators and to the other: but these grants can add little have a much more difficult and important em- to the validity of our titles, till it be experienced ployment, and can expect their salaries but for how they were obtained; for if they were exthe short space of five years, whereas a com-torted by violence, or induced by fraud; by missioner (unless he imprudently suffers himself to be carried away by a whimsical tenderness for his country) has an establishment for life.

It will be necessary to allow the society in general, 30,000l. yearly for the support of the public table, and 40,000!. for secret service.

Thus will the ministry have a fair prospect of obtaining the full sense and import of the prediction, without burthening the public with more than 650,000l. which may be paid out of the sinking fund; or if it be not thought proper to violate that sacred treasure by converting any part of it into uses not primarily intended, may be easily raised by a general poll-tax, or excise upon bread.

Having now completed my scheme, a scheme calculated for the public benefit, without regard to any party, I entreat all sects, factions, and

threats, which the miseries of other nations had shown not to be vain, or by promises of which no performance was ever intended, what are they but new modes of usurpation, but new instances of cruelty and treachery?

And indeed what but false hope or resistless terror can prevail upon a weaker nation to invite a stronger into their country, to give their lands to strangers whom no affinity of manners, or similitude of opinion, can be said to recommend, to permit them to build towns from which the natives are excluded, to raise fortresses by which they are intimidated, to settle themselves with such strength that they cannot afterwards be expelled, but are for ever to remain the masters of the original inhabitants, the dictaters of their conduct, and the arbiters of their fate?

When we see men acting thus against the precepts of reason, and the instincts of nature,

Two powerful colonies inflamed with immemorial rivalry, and placed out of the superintendence of the mother nations, were not likely to be long at rest. Some opposition was always going forward, some mischief was every day done or meditated, and the borderers were always better pleased with what they could snatch from their neighbours, than what they had of their own.

we cannot hesitate to determine, that by some question, "By whom were hostilities in America means or other they were debarred from choice; commenced?" Perhaps there never can be rethat they were lured or frightened into compli-membered a time in which hostilities had ceased. ance; that they either granted only what they found impossible to keep, or expected advantages upon the faith of their new inmates, which there was no purpose to confer upon them. It can not be said, that the Indians originally invited us to their coasts; we went uncalled and unexpected to nations who had no imagination that the earth contained any inhabitants so distant and so different from themselves. We astonished them with our ships, with our arms, and with our general superiority. They yielded to us as to beings of another and higher race, sent among them from some unknown regions, with power which naked Indians could not resist, and which they were therefore, by every act of humility, to propitiate, that they who could so easily destroy, might be induced to spare.

To this influence, and to this only, are to be attributed all the cessions and submissions of the Indian princes, if indeed any such cessions were ever made, of which we have no witness but those who claim from them; and there is no great malignity in suspecting, that those who have robbed have also lied.

Some colonies indeed have been established more peaceably than others. The utmost extremity of wrong has not always been practised; but those that have settled in the new world on the fairest terms, have no other merit than that of a scrivener who ruins in silence, over a plunderer that seizes by force; all have taken what had other owners, and all have had recourse to arms, rather than quit the prey on which they had fastened.

The American dispute between the French and us is therefore only the quarrel of two robbers for the spoils of a passenger; but as robbers have terms of confederacy, which they are obliged to observe as members of the gang, so the English and French may have relative rights, and do injustice to each other, while both are injuring the Indians. And such, indeed, is the present contest; they have parted the northern continent of America between them, and are now disputing about their boundaries, and each is endeavouring the destruction of the other by the help of the Indians, whose interest it is that both should be destroyed.

Both nations clamour with great vehemence about infractions of limits, violation of treaties, open usurpation, insidious artifices, and breach of faith. The English rail at the perfidious French, and the French at the encroaching English they quote treaties on each side, charge each other with aspiring to universal monarchy, and complain on either part of the insecurity of possession near such turbulent neighbours.

Through this mist of controversy it can raise no wonder that the truth is not easily discovered. When a quarrel has been long carried on between individuals, it is often very hard to tell by whom it was begun. Every fact is darkened by distance, by interest, and by multitudes. Information is not easily procured from far; those whom the truth will not favour, will not step voluntarily forth to tell it: and where there are many agents, it is easy for every single action to be concealed.

All these causes concur to the obscurity of the

In this disposition to reciprocal invasion a cause of dispute never could be wanting. The forests and deserts of America are without landmarks, and therefore cannot be particularly specified in stipulations; the appellations of those wide-extended regions have in every mouth a dif ferent meaning, and are understood on either side as inclination happens to contract or extend them. Who has yet pretended to define how much of America is included in Brazil, Mexico, or Peru? It is almost as easy to divide the Atlantic ocean by a line, as clearly to ascertain the limits of those uncultivated, uninhabitable, unmeasured regions.

It is likewise to be considered, that contracts concerning boundaries are often left vague and indefinite without necessity, by the desire of each party to interpret the ambiguity to its own advantage when a fit opportunity shall be found. In forming stipulations, the commissaries are often ignorant, and often negligent; they are sometimes weary with debate, and contract a tedious discussion into general terms, or refer it to a former treaty, which was never understood. The weaker part is always afraid of requiring explanations, and the stronger always has an interest in leaving the question undecided: thus it will happen, without great caution on either side, that after long treaties solemnly ratified, the rights that had been disputed are still equally open to controversy.

In America, may be easily supposed, that there are tracts of land not yet claimed by either party, and therefore mentioned in no treaties, which yet one or the other may be afterwards inclined to occupy; but to these vacant and unsettled countries each nation may pretend, as each conceives itself entitled to all that is not expressly granted to the other.

Here then is a perpetual ground of contest: every enlargement of the possessions of either will be considered as something taken from the other, and each will endeavour to regain what had never been claimed, but that the other occupied it.

Thus obscure in its original is the American contest. It is difficult to find the first invader, or to tell where invasion properly begins; but I suppose it is not to be doubted, that after the last war, when the French had made peace with such apparent superiority, they naturally began to treat us with less respect in distant parts of the world, and to consider us as a people from whom they had nothing to fear, and who could no longer presume to contravene their designs or to check their progress.

The power of doing wrong with impunity seldom waits long for the will; and it is reasonable to believe, that in America the French would avow their purpose of aggrandizing themselves

with at least as little reserve as in Europe. We may therefore readily believe, that they were unquiet neighbours, and had no great regard to right, which they believed us no longer able to


some disturbance was however given, and some skirmishes ensued. But perhaps, being peopled chiefly with soldiers, who would rather live by plunder than by agriculture, and who consider war as their best trade, New Scotland would be

That in forming a line of forts behind our co-more obstinately defended than some settlements lonies, if in no other part of their attempt, they had acted against the general intention, if not against the literal terms of treaties, can scarcely be denied; for it never can be supposed that we intended to be enclosed between the sea and the French garrisons, or preclude ourselves from extending our plantations backwards to any length that our convenience should require.

of far greater value; and the French are too well informed of their own interest, to provoke hostility for no advantage, or to select that country for invasion, where they must hazard much and can win little. They therefore pressed on southward behind our ancient and wealthy settlements, and built fort after fort at such distances that they might conveniently relieve one another, invade our colonies with sudden incursions, and retire to places of safety before our people could unite to oppose them.

With dominion is conferred every thing that can secure dominion. He that has the coast, has likewise the sea to a certain distance; he that possesses a fortress, has the right of prohi- This design of the French has been long biting another fortress to be built within the com- formed, and long known, both in America and mand of its cannon. When, therefore, we plant- Europe, and might at first have been easily reed the coast of North America, we supposed the pressed, had force been used instead of expostu possession of the inland region granted to an in-lation. When the English attempted a settledefinite extent; and every nation that settled in that part of the world, seems by the permission of every other nation, to have made the same supposition in its own favour.

ment upon the island of St. Lucia, the French, whether justly or not, considering it as neutral and forbidden to be occupied by either nation, immediately landed upon it, and destroyed the houses, wasted the plantations, and drove or car ried away the inhabitants. This was done in the same peace, when mutual professions of friendship were daily exchanged by the two courts, and was not considered as any violation of treaties, nor was any more than a very soft remonstrance made on our part.

Here then, perhaps, it will be safest to fix the justice of our cause; here we are apparently and indisputably injured, and this injury may, according to the practice of nations, be justly resented. Whether we have not in return made some encroachments upon them, must be left doubtful, till our practices on the Ohio shall be stated and vindicated. There are no two nations The French therefore taught us how to act; confining on each other, between whom a war but a Hanoverian quarrel with the house of Ausmay not always be kindled with plausible pre-tria for some time induced us to court, at any tences on either part, as there is always passing expense, the alliance of a nation whose very between them a reciprocation of injuries, and situation makes them our enemies. We sufferfluctuation of encroachments. ed them to destroy our settlements, and to adFrom the conclusion of the last peace, perpe-vance their own, which we had an equal right to tual complaints of the supplantations and inva-attack. The time however came at last, when sions of the French have been sent to Europe we ventured to quarrel with Spain, and then from our colonies, and transmitted to our minis-France no longer suffered the appearance of ters at Paris, where good words were sometimes peace to subsist between us, but armed in degiven us, and the practices of the American com- fence of her ally. manders were sometimes disowned, but no redress was ever obtained, nor is it probable that any prohibition was sent to America. We were still amused with such doubtful promises as those who are afraid of war are ready to interpret in their own favour, and the French pushed forward their line of fortresses, and seemed to resolve that before our complaints were finally dismiss-made peace necessary for the French, yet they ed, all remedy should be hopeless.

We likewise endeavoured at the same time to form a barrier against the Canadians by sending a colony to New Scotland, a cold uncomfortable tract of ground, of which we had long the nominal possession before we really began to occupy it. To this those were invited whom the cessation of war deprived of employment, and made burdensome to their country; and settlers were allured thither by many fallacious descriptions of fertile valleys and clear skies. What effects these pictures of American happiness had upon my countrymen, I was never informed, but I suppose very few sought provision in those frozen regions, whom guilt or poverty did not drive from their native country. About the boundaries of this new colony there were some disputes, but as there was nothing yet worth a contest, the power of the French was not much exerted on that side;

The events of the war are well known: we pleased ourselves with the victory at Dettingen, where we left our wounded men to the care of our enemies, but our army was broken at Fon tenoy and Val; and though after the disgrace which we suffered in the Mediterranean, we had some naval success, and an accidental dearth

prescribed the conditions, obliged us to give hostages, and acted as conquerors, though as conquerors of moderation.

We pleased

In this war the Americans distinguished themselves in a manner unknown and unexpected. The New English raised an army, and under the command of Pepperel took Cape Breton, with the assistance of the fleet. This is the most important fortress in America. ourselves so much with the acquisition, that we could not think of restoring it; and, among the arguments used to inflame the people against Charles Stuart, it was very clamorously urged that if he gained the kingdom, he would give Cape Breton back to the French.

The French however had a more easy expedient to regain Cape Breton than by exalting Charles Stuart to the English throne. They took in their turn fort St. George, and had our

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