AN ANSWER TO A LETTER FROM A Gentleman in the Country, Relating to the Present Ministry, AND Men in Employments.

LONDON, Printed by John Darby in Bartholomew-Close; and sold by A. Baldwin in Warwick-lane. 1699.

Price 3d.


YOUR Letter of the twelfth Instant finds me under the same Fears with your self, but not so deep in Despair; because I think it possible for a good King to mend Mal-Administration, tho not probable for a Nation so soon to return to that Power which has cost three Kingdoms so much Blood and Trea­sure to throw off.

Good men are too apt to fear Judgments, because they know we deserve them: This, give me leave to think, is your Case; but we ought not positively to de­termine any thing: That would be to measure Divine Providence by humane Conduct. I think the Rule of Democrates more agreeable to our present Circumstances, That whoever would live content, must propound to him­self things possible, and submit to things present. Why may not we hope the King will change hands? and then we should not be so much disturbed with the present state of Affairs. But I come to the seven particulars, to which you desire my Answer.

[Page 4] First, Whether I ever read in Story, Sacred or Profane, of such Frauds in the Management of the Treasure of any Nation?

Secondly, Whether there can be parallel'd in any Heathen, not to say Christian Government, such immoral, and pro­fane Men in places of Power, and Trust?

Thirdly, Whether I have ever heard, in any Christian Government, of a Clergy that so tenderly handled the Sins of a Nation, and the Vices of great Men, as our Clergy in this Nation?

Fourthly, Whether this fault in our Clergy, and a great­er Corruption in those we call the Whig, or Dissenting party, have not given our Enemies, the Church of Rome, great­er matter of scandal against the Protestant Religion, than any thing that has happen'd since the Reformation?

Fifthly, Whether under our present Management and Conduct, it may not be easy for the late King to return, and est ablish himself without a foren Force?

Sixthly, Whether all these things being consider'd, it does not look as if God had left the Nation to a spirit of De­lusion, to trust in Lies; that we may fall into the hands of Enemies, who design the extirpation of our Nation and Re­ligion?

Seventhly, Whether a Government that neither rewards nor punishes, does not suppress Virtue, and encourage Vice?

Here end your seven Queries, of which I shall give my Opinion, tho I am sure it cannot inform your better Judgment.

Your first Query is, Whether I ever read in Story, Christian, or Heathen, of such Frauds in the Management of the Treasure of any Nation?

[Page 5] I must own I never did; And the reason may be, because we have nothing like our Constitution, and late Revolution in all its parts, in History. Such turns in State use to come with Force, and Arbitrary Power; and then Armies lived at Discretion: But our Change was with the vogue of the People, who thought no price too great for so happy a Deliverance.

The King who was in the Head of it, a Stranger to men as well as management in the Nation, could not bring Strangers into Offices and Employments, I mean such of our selves as had never been in Business before, but was of necessity forced to employ those he found in business of the State; and from such Plants as had been raised in the corrupt Soil of the late Reign, no very good Fruit could be expected; and their opportunity for Frauds was such, as perhaps no Age ever presented in former times. The Nation then went gradually step by step into Levies and Taxes, and there was time to take care of the Management: but now we were forced to leap into them with a running Jump, too much without Method or Controul; and that led our Managers, I veri­ly believe, into greater Frauds, than even the wicked Spirit that guided them at first, foresaw. For how could it be imagined that the Spoil should be so great, that a Sweeper of an Office, of twenty pounds per An­num Stipend, should arrive in four Years to an Estate of six thousand Pounds? and Clerks in Offices of eighty Pounds per Annum Salary, to a Purchase of twenty thou­sand Pounds Sterling? And in this proportion it is said to go generally through all the Offices of the King­dom. And this Management has been laid with so great Judgment, that the qualifications of a Person for an Em­ployment were to have good Testimonials that he un­derstood [Page 6]the World; a soft Character for a Knave. And this is too notorious by the unanimous conspiration of all in Employments, when the least of them was attack'd: I need not name particulars, which are in e­very days Pamphlets, too much to the scandal of our Nation and Government: Pray God it may not be to the Ruin of both!

Thus you see I agree with your first Inquiry, as to Fact, tho not to the Inference you make which I think to be too sharp.

I end this Head with the words of a Heathen, which I think better Divinity than we practise in this Age, viz. That to keep our selves quiet in this World, we must aim at nothing that Men count worth wrangling for. It would be one good step to a Reform, if Of­fices in the State were disposed as they are in Corpora­tions, as an Imposition, to Men that have got Estates, to serve their Country, not to men of expectations to gain Estates by Offices: That is advancing the Wasp above the Bee.

We should consider the practice of our Neighbours, the Dutch, and there we shall find no Man in any place of Trust that has his Fortune to make: and some tell us, that all the Civil Imployments in that Common-Wealth put together, amount not to the Sum that one No­ble Lord, a Friend or otherwise to the Army, has raised out of his Imployment.

Your second Enquiry is, Whether there can be parallel'd in Heathen, much less Christian Government, such immoral and profane Men in Places of Power and Trust?

This Query gives such a Latitude for answering, that I might easily prove the Affirmative; but then I must [Page 7]confess that to make the Parallel I must go abroad; for I cannot find it in any Reign at home. But if we look into the Reason of this Misfortune, we shall find it the same we have just now given for the Frauds in our Ma­nagers of the Revenue: Did not the King find some of them in Imployments, even them you most complain of? Were not others of them early in assisting the King in this Revolution? If we calmly reflected on this, we should not believe these Men to be the King's choice, or entertain a thought that he supports them. A Body full of Hereditary Distempers, must undergo a course of Physick for Recovery: a violent Purge and Bleeding might endanger the whole. We have had such great Proofs of the King's Wisdom and Conduct, that me­thinks we should trust him, and satisfy our selves with a Maxim of the Lord Verulam, If you would make haste, stay a while. I differ with you, that the King loses good Men by letting bad Men continue so long in Power▪ I cannot dive into the secrets of Princes, but to me [...] seems great Policy for our King in our present Circum­stances, to let faulty Men be fully laid open to the Peo­ple, before he removes them; and then they will not be able, as too often we have seen it, to make Parties a­mong the People, when their faults have drove them out of the Court. I know you will say that the Men com­plained of have sufficiently laid themselves open, to the general Abhorrence of the Nation; and therefore the Reason before given is out of doors. It's true, and therefore I give it for the time past, hoping that the King by this time sees the Transgressors are fully under­stood and known in the Nation, whose Eyes are on his Majesty for Reformation in this matter, as a foundation for a righteous Government. Seneca was in the right [Page 8]when he tells us, It is an ill Age where Vice hath got a Re­putation, and the Dissolute have lost the only good thing they had, the shame of offending. This hath been too much our case, but you and I will hope very soon to see better times, and that the Enemies of our Government shall find themselves exposed for those wicked and false Insinuations whereby they would conceal their own Crimes.

Your third Query is, Whether I have ever heard in any Christian Government of a Clergy that so tenderly handled the Sins of a Nation, and the Vices of great Men, as our Clergy in this Reign?

This Question, I must needs say, is more surprizing than all the rest: You seem at one stroke to wound the whole Body of the Clergy, in which I think you are to blame. And so far do I differ from you in this Remark on the Clergy, that on the contrary I think we never had a more learned and pious Clergy. None can deny [...] as to the Bishops made in this Reign. What Age can you turn to, and shew where there has been more con­stant Preaching and instructing of Youth? When was there such frequent preaching against leud and profane Conversation? Really, Sir, I fear you live in some ill Neighbourhood, or perhaps hear none but Cour-Sermons; and there indeed Men too often flatter. A Bishoprick or a Deanery, like Charity, hides a multitude of faults: But we don't see many of these Spaniel Tongue-pads preferred. And now, Sir, give me leave to tell you among what sort of Men it is my Lot to fall, and to hear preach; one is a Doctor famed for Learning and Piety, whom I heard deliver himself in a great Congre­gation in these words, It is too often the fault of learned [Page 9]Men to flatter Princes, and we find the Translators of our Bible guilty in this matter, or they would not so grosly have erred in that where they translate; Who saith to a King thou art wicked: Whereas in the Hebrew it is, Thou shalt fay to a King thou art wicked; that is, said the Doctor, if he be so he should be told of it. And agreeable to this Doctrine, I think it to be the opinion of most good Men, that it is the Duty of our Clergy to reach those Sins of great Men in Government in their Pulpits, which they cannot come at in their Persons. And this may be done without personal Reflections, by declaiming against Things, not Men; and if our Clergy do not this as much as they ought, I fear it is our own fault. We generally cry down, and with good reason, Pulpit-Statesmen; and of­ten run that truth beyond its bounds. I would not have dictated from a Pulpit, what Men should be advan­ced, or who disgraced; what Laws should be made, what abrogated: but I think it comes well from a Pulpit to tell us that a Prince cannot be well served, or a Na­tion preserved by such Ministers in the Government as make a mock of Sin, and hate and keep from Imploy­ments all that pretend to Sobriety. These Wolves in Royal Clothing are the Vermin of a good Govern­ment; and yet these are the Reformers of our Age, that distinguish themselves by the name of Whigs, whom once we knew by their pretences to Religion and Property, but now they are Apostates to both. You may find some of them in every Commission in the Kingdom, and too many of them where such poisonous Plants should be pluck'd up by the Roots. It was the Observation of a good Man, That ill Ministers make ill Times, and ill Times continue and increase ill Ministers; and this seems to be our Misfortune.

[Page 10] Your fourth Query is, Whether this fault in our Clergy, and a greater Corruption in those we call the Whig or Dissent­ing Party, have not given our Enemies, the Church of Rome, greater matter of scandal against the Protestant Religion, than any thing that has happen'd since the Reformation?

This is too plain to be denied, and our Miscarriage too great a fault to excuse.

That which I have made the Rule of my Faith, hath always been the Holy Scriptures; and that Community which is govern'd by them, I choose to be a Member. Now that our Church (let mistaken Friends or profest Enemies say what they can) began the Reformation with the greatest Purity of Life, as well as Orthodoxy of Doctrine, none but they who support their Church (if it be one) by denying their Members the liberty of their Senses, can deny.

But in Controversy, that Argument which every Un­derstanding can comprehend will prevail most; and we have that on our side, which is a Reformation in Manners as well as Doctrine from the Romanists: and this will convert Heathens, when School-Controversies might di­stract them. Should a Heathen see that our Doctrine and Church-Discipline oblige us to an holy, sober, and reli­gious Life, and that no Man is accounted such among us that wants Morals; that our Religion and Church-Goverment admits of no indulgence for Sins, nor thinks any venial; but that plainness of Spirit, and integrity in all our Actions is the Badg of a Christian: And if on the other hand the Romanists should appear in their shapes, as teaching that there is no faith to be kept with a Heretick; that Lies, Oaths, and all manner of Vice may be dispens'd with for promoting their Cause; and that they can forgive, nay saint a Criminal guilty of Sins [Page 11]that Heathens abhor and never pardon: Were these things, I say, considered by Men that never heard of Christianity, I think the Controversy would easily be decided. For when we have said all, Morals are the common Touch­stone that will prevail with Mankind.

And now I come to your most sensible part in this Question; Whether our present Management in Publick Affairs by immoral Men doth not give the Enemies of our Religion and Nation advantages over us, they never had before? I must own in my opinion it dos, and for this rea­son; because that which procured us of the Reformation credit and esteem in the World when we separated from them, was, as I said before, the Purity of our Doctrine; but that would not have been so well understood in the World, if it had not been accompanied with plain honest Morals between Man and Man. It was, if we believe Story, even in the Reign of Edward the Sixth, a Pro­verb among the Papists; I am as sure of my Contract, as if I had the word of a Heretick. Now if we lose the Cha­racter of Moralists, I fear we shall want the most pow­erful Perswasive that brings in Converts, and the best An­tidote against Popish and Atheistical Delusions.

I confess I am silenced when Papists and Jacobites com­pare the Ministers of the late Reign with ours; but I tell them they are mostly the same Men. Their return leaves me little to say, when they name our great Whigs Liberty and Property: Men that pretended to be Martyrs for the Religion and Laws in the late Reigns, but are now Deserters of both. By this I confess we put Weapons into the hands of our Enemies to destroy us. What can we say in defence of our Church and Religion, when we are managed by them that hate the first, and ridicule the latter? Ask them what is their Religion, they tell you [Page 12]they are Whigs: What are Whigs? Are they Prebyteri­ans, Independents, &c.? No, they are no Meeters. What then? At last it comes only to this, they hate high Church-men, and would as an Expedient have none at all. And agreeable to their Profession is their Practice, as leud as Sodom, and sraudulent as Judas. And our Mis­fortune is the common Misery; for where their num­bers are great, the whole Government lies under the black­est Character that ever this Nation bore.

This fourth Query of yours puts me upon a Review of the Chronicles and Annals of this Kingdom; and tho we find various Misfortunes, almost as many as Kings, yet among all we meet with none that bear any propor­tion to those we are now under. Many Men and Fami­lies have been cut off according to the Power and Pleasure of a prevailing Faction; but still the Ministry and Men in publick Trust were just to their own side. Revenues were not swallowed up by Managers, nor were any so hardy as to advocate for them that were but suspected; insomuch that I don't find above three Men in four hundred years before the late Reigns who were questioned for mismanagement in publick Receipts, that went off without a Censure of another nature than Addressing. I fear such tender handling doth not only encourage faulty Men at home, but renders us a decaying and lost Peo­ple abroad. I cannot see how we shall desend our selves against Foren Force, when we are conquer'd by home Frauds: and that which makes it look like a spreading Leprosy is, that those whose Actions are so notorious in one Post that they cannot hold it, have only the Punish­ment of being removed to another, as soon as one can be found of the same Qualifications to succeed him; the natural Consequence of which must be, that in a little [Page 13]time their numbers will be too great to be call'd into que­stion. It is indeed astonishing to see that so many Men of great Estates, and English Blood, should be so blind as not to perceive that if these things hold, the Nation is lost. I have bin so long on this fourth Query, that I have little room or time for the other three; so I shall end this with a Resolution of Seneca, and were I not an English-man, say to my Country as he did to Fortune, That he would have nothing to do with it that repulsed Cato, and preferr'd Vitellius.

Your fifth Query is, Whether under our present Manage­ment and Conduct, it may not be easy for the late King to re­turn, and establish himself without a foren Force?

This Conceit smells of the Cask, and argues too much Fear, and too little Faith. I confess such Corruption, and ill Management as we are under, is always the fore-runner of a ruined State; and our Case seems almost desperate, when the greatest part of a Session is spent in hearing Com­plaints, Addresse, &c. against Mal-Administration. This opens the Eyes of the Nation, and it may be feared will break forth one way or other: But I cannot think any true English-man, however disobliged by this, or engaged by Favours of the late King, can ever have a Thought or Wish for his, or rather French-Tyranny. He must be degenerate to a Prodigy, that would turn Slave to the French; and he must have lost his Reason that frames an Idea of any thing else under the late King, who had he e­ver so good Inclinations, must act by the dictates of his French Master.

For these Reasons, I think it next to an impossibility for the late King to return without a Foren Force. All my fear is from our Distractions at home; for we cannot call them Divisions, Factions, and Parties, such as formerly [Page 14]were the cause of Wars and Calamities among us.

We are now under a Distemper that this Nation never heard of before; all for the King, (for so 'tis, if the Ma­jor comprehend the Minor) and none for the Ministers. It will be the wonder of Ages to come, as it is the Tor­ment of this, to see our selves ruined by a few Men that have no Interest or Party in the Nation. A pleasant Gen­tleman the other Day said, he believed that one Wherry would carry away all their Friends, if they were separated from Employments. And there may be Reason to believe it, if we consider their Politicks, which shew them to be at their last shifts, and like Teague, who running too fast in a Race, had nothing to excuse his fault, but that he run away with himself. So our Managers way of justifying themselves, is to criminate the whole Nation. When they of the Church complain, then they are Jacobites; when Dissenters find fault, they are for a Common-wealth: but this Charm that for some time deluded well meaning Men is seen through, and the Mask thrown off. Arts and Stra­tagems in Government, in our Kingdoms, have not that effect they have among other Nations: We are a free Peo­ple, and such have not a slavish Understanding. The hu­mour of the English Nation is like that of Cato, who would not have it in the power of any Man to say he killed or saved Cato. Englishmen will not endure to have it said, that any Trick, or any set of Men have power to save or lose England: They think therhselves safe by no other ways and means than those of their Constitution in Church and Stat; and if they were duly observed, Mushroom Pro­jectors would not set up against English Oaks. The an­tient Nobility and Gentry of the Nation, were always the main support of the Crown.

[Page 15] Your sixth Query, is a desire of my Approbation to your Prediction; to which I can give no Answer, but if what you fear be true, it is an ill time to convert People, when they find both Advantage and Reputation in their Wick­edness.

Your last Query is, Whether a Government that neither rewards nor punishes, doth not suppress Virtue, and encou­rage Vice?

No doubt it does; but I will answer your Question with another, Did you ever know corrupt Ministers punish themselves, or reward what they hate? Single Vices are curable by single Counsels, but a general Dissoluteness in Government is hardly overcome. I therefore think the King hath a more difficult work than delivering us from the known Enemies of our Laws and Religion. In that we joined; but so unhappy we are, that against the depravity of them that would be our Masters, we can do nothing, but must stand still and see it done by the King alone; if we speak out, we are Mutineers, and enemies to the Government.



A Letter to His most Excellent Majesty King William III. Shewing, I. The Original Foundation of the English Monarchy. II. The Means by which it was remov'd from that Foundation. III. The Expedients by which it has been sup­ported since that Removal. IV. Its present Constitution, as to all its integral Parts. V. The best Means by which its Grandeur may be for ever maintain'd. Sold by A. Baldwin. Of whom may be had all the Pamphlets against a Stand­ing Army.

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