A Challenge of Peace, Address'd to the Whole NATION.

WHereas there is a Spurious Collection of the Wri­tings of Mr. De Foe, Author of The True Born English-Man, which contain several Things not writ by the said Author, and those that were, are full of Er­rors, Mistakes and Omissions, which invert the Sense and Design of the Author. This is to give Notice, That the Genuine Collection, Price 6s. is Corrected by himself, with Additions never before Printed, hath the Author's Pi­cture before it, curiousty Engrav'd on Copper by M. Vandergucht; and contains more than double the Num­ber of Tracts incerted in the said Spurious Collection.

*⁎* The Sincerity of the Dissenters Vindicated from the Scandal of Occasional Conformity, with some Consi­derations on a late Book, entitul'd, Moderation a Ver­tue, Price 6d.

(inverted †)† The Shortest Way to Peace and Union. By the Author of the Shortest Way with the Dissenters, Price 6d.

*⁎* More Reformation. A Satyr upon himself. By the Author of The True Born English-Man, Price 1s.

A Challenge of PEACE, Address'd to the Whole Nation.

WITH An Enquiry into WAYS and MEANS for bringing it to pass.

LONDON: Printed in the Year, 1703.

To the QUEEN.


AS the whole Nation are happy in the Things You Do, so they are particularly Attentive to what You Say. The Speeches your Majesty is pleas'd to make in Parliament, are look'd upon as Words spoken to all the Kingdom, and their Influences are accordingly Universal.

Of all the Expressions that ever pass'd from Your Royal Lips, I humbly presume, none ever sounded in the Ears of Your Protestant Subjects with so General Applause, as Your Royal Invitation to Peace and Union among themselves.

Your Majesty has, by this one Step, let all the World know, that You not only Seek, but perfectly understand, the General Good of your People, and the Only way to make them Invincible.

It remains to your Subjects, to Accept your Royal Pro­posal, and look upon it as the most binding Obligation, since when Princes stoop to Invite their People to what was be­fore their Duty, it carries with it the double Force of a Command.

Your Subjects, Madam, who wish for Peace, are Encou­rag'd to seek and pursue it, while they are now satisfied, that so long as they follow the Natural Dictates of their own Reason, they also Concur with the Judgment, and obey the obliging Commands of their Sovereign.

Those unhappy People, who either from the Severity of their Principles; or really for want of Principles, are Otherwise Cnclin'd, that are for Suppressing their Pro­testant Brethren for Opinions in Religion, or for Oppressing their Neighbours for Interest and Parties, may now be sa­tisfied, [Page] that while they pursue that Unchristian and Im­politick Method, they not only weaken, but disoblige your Majesty, and Your real Interest.

And by this your Majesty will plainly see who are Your best Subjects, those who willingly embrace the Peace, and General Charity of Christians and English-Men, according to your Majesties obliging Exhortation, or they, who, by keeping up the Differences of your Subjects, and by conti­nual Reproachings and Reflections, endeavour to Represent Your peaceable People as Enemies to your Person and Go­vernment, tho' they are, and ever have been, as Dutiful and Loyal as themselves.

Such may see their Practices discourag'd by your Maje­sties healing Example, and would do well to consider, that their peculiar Duty to your Majesty lies not in Recrimi­nating upon the Infirmities of others, but in Correcting their Own.

Your Majesty has this compleat Satisfaction concerning all your Subjects, that the principal part of their Conten­tion is, which Party are most Loyal to your Government; and among those who Dissent from the Church, None of them Dissent from your Interest; and those Gentlemen who would fain perswade the World, that Those who Dissent from the Ecclesiastick Establishment, are also Enemies to the Civil, have been driven to a Necessity of a suppos'd Extending the Civil Power beyond the Limits of the Laws, to bring those People they would Expose, to so much as a Temper of Objecting against it.—This is a Me­thod so grosly Injurious to your Majesty, as well as to your Subjects, that it has been long earnestly wish'd You would, on some Occasion or other, let them know how ill pleasing it was, and how ill it Corresponded, both with your Majesties Principle as well as Practice, in all the parts of Your Go­vernment.

[Page] 'Tis an unhappy Violence these Men offer to Your Majesties Character, that they would be content to have your Majesty become a Tyrant, so they might but be capable to prove the Dissenters Disloyal to your Government.

But as we bless God that your Majesty has resolved to regulate your Government, by the great Foundation of all Government, the Laws; so we cannot think we offend your Majesty in saying, that in a full Obedience to your Government, and the Laws, none of your Subjects have ex­ceeded in Loyalty more than those that have, at the same time, Dissented in some Point of Religion from the Estab­lish'd Church.

And among those who thus Dissent, they whose Principles are Honest, have always regarded the Church of England, with a Temper both of Charity and Respect; and 'tis to them a matter of no difficulty to entertain a Proposal of Union in Affection and Interest, and to give all the Defference and Distinction in Government, to the Establish'd Church.

From whence, and your Majesty's most Generous Invita­tion to Peace, which, on all occasions, they most readily Em­brace, they humbly hope the Heats and Animosities of those Gentlemen, who Charge them with Disloyalty of Principles, will, in Obedience to your Most Gracious Speech to your Parlia­ment, be Buried and forgotten, that they may Enjoy, together with all your Loyal Subjects, the publick Favour and Pro­tection of their Sovereign, till they give your Majesty some just Cause, which God forbid, to withdraw it from them.

And if this cannot be obtain'd, your Majesty, and all the World will be Witnesses to their sincere Desires, and forward Endeavours after the General Union of your Subjects, and will be effectually satisfied at whose Doors the black Charge will lye, and to whom we Owe all the un­happy Divisions of the Nation.

[Page] Your Protestant Subjects, Madam, who, as Your Majesty once observ'd, have the misfortune to Dissent from the Establish'd Church, have yet a greater misfortune than that, Namely, to be Misrepresented to Your Majesty as Ene­mies to Your Person and Government; but among all their Unhappiness, they Esteem this as a Blessing from Heaven, that they have now an Opportunity offer'd them to Convince Your Majesty of the honesty of their Principles, by being the forwardest to close with Your Invitation of Peace and Union, as the Thing in all the World which most suites both their Practice and Inclination.

Humbly assuring Your Majesty, that as with the greatest Thankfulness they receive the Expressions of Your Earnest Defires for the Peace and Union of all Your Subjects, so, with a steady Application, they resolve to be the first who shall publickly Practice it, and endeavour to Express their Zeal for the Publick Good, and Your Majesty's Glory, by heartily complying with what they were always Inclin'd to by their Principles and Inclinations, but much more by the Obedience their Duty Calls for to Your Majesty's Commands of Peace and Union.

The Humblest of your Subjects, Madam, would have Subscrib'd his Name to a Petition of Pardon, for the Pre­sumption of this Dedication; but that when he compares his Despicable Character with the Glorious Subject he has attempted to Advance; he cannot prevail upon himself to let the Cause suffer by the Meaness and Unworthiness of the Advocate, and only Craves leave to assure Your Majesty, that however he may have been Represented, he is a passionate Admirer of Peace, an Earnest Petitioner for the Prosperity of Your Majesty, and this Kingdom, and the entire Union of all Your Subjects.


A Challenge of PEACE, ADDRESS'D, To the whole NATION.
With an Enquiry into Ways and Means for bringing it to pass.

WHEN her Majesty in her Speech to the Parliament press'd the House to Union and Peace, I believe 'twas Included, in her Royal Intentions, that we should all Understand her speaking to the whole Nation, and that her Majesty would have all her Sub­jects study Concord and Unanimity among themselves in their Neighbourhood and Converse, as well as in the Councils and Debates of their Representatives in Parliament.

I cannot suppose her Majesty should mean a Union of Opinions in Religion, for tho' I ought to believe her Majesty Wishes all her Protestant Subjects were of [Page 2] one mind with her self, and followed her Majesty in the same path to Heaven, yet, I cannot believe her Ma­jesty sees it so probable as to expect it. But I suppose her Majesty to mean that they should all Unite in Affection, where they differ in Opinion; Unite in In­terest, and Concur in their Obedience to the Estab­lish'd Government; Unite in a Unanimous Agreement of Management, and Unite as to Parties and Factions; Unite as English-men, as Christians, and as Protestants. This every good Christian would be glad to see, and this every Man ought to suppose himself Invited to in her Majesty's Speech.

If I am mistaken, as I believe I am not, let any Man give me a Construction of her Speech more Genuine if they can.

These Sheets are design'd as a Comment upon this Glorious Text, and further, to explain the Subject, and, if possible, both describe the Sence, and remove the Obstructions.

'Tis a most fatal unhappy Circumstance that every Body is for Peace, and yet no Body will bring it to pass; all Men agree that Peace is a Bles­sing from on High, that the want of it among our selves Undoes us, Ruins our Preparations at Home, and our Expeditions Abroad, fills us with Fatal Parties, Facti­ons and Animosities; makes our Councils Confused; Our War Tedious; Our Designs Abortive, and our Felicity Precarious; want of Peace and Unity among our selves makes our Arms less Fear'd, our Friend­ship less Courted, and, in short, is the only thing in the World can ever Ruine us.

I am perswaded there's not a Man in the Nation but concurs in these Generals; but when you come to speak of the particular Steps to be taken to obtain [Page 3] this Blessed Article of the Nation's Happiness, all Men are for having their Neighbours stoop to their Opini­ons, but wont yield a jot of their own; they are for making Abatements for other Men, but admit of none for themselves.

To come directly to the Point concerning this Union of Parties, I think 'tis necessary a little to Examine the Negatives, which are not the ways to obtain this Blessing. As

First, Sacheverell's Bloody Flag of Defiance is not the Way to Peace and Union, the shortest Way to Destroy, is not the shortest Way to Unite, Persecu­tion, Laws to Compel, Restrain, or force the Con­sciences of one another, is not the Way to this Union, which her Majesty has so earnestly Recommended.

Secondly, To Repeal or Contract the late Act of Tolleration, is not the Way for this so much wish'd for Happiness; to have Laws reviv'd that should set one Party a Plundering, Excommunicating and Un­churching another, that should renew the Oppres­sions and Devastations of late Reigns, this will not, by any means, Contribute to this Peace, which all good Men desire.

New Associations and Proposals to divest Men of their Free-hold Right for Differences in Opinion, and take away the Right of Dissenters Voting in Elections of Members; this is not the way to Peace and Union.

Railing Pamphlets buffooning our Brethren as a Party to be suppress'd, and dressing them up in the Bare's Skin for all the Dogs in the Street to bait them, is not the way to Peace and Union.

Railing Sermons, exciting People to Hatred and Contempt of their Brethren, because they Differ in O­pinions, is not the way to Peace and Union.

[Page 4] Shutting all People out of Employment, and the Service of their Prince and Country, unless they can Comply with indifferent Ceremonies of Religion, is far from the way to Peace and Union.

Reproaching the Succession, settled by Parliament, and Reviving the Abdicated Title of the late K. James, and his suppos'd Family, cannot tend to this Peace and Union.

Laws against Occasional Conformity, and Compelling People who bear Offices to a Total Conformity, and yet Force them to take and serve in those publick Employ­ments, cannot contribute to Peace and Union.

These are some of the Negativae, some of the imme­diate Contraries, the Opposites to this blessed Peace and Union, which her Majesty has Recommended to the whole Nation; while these things are practis'd or allow'd, I doubt her Majesty will be defeated of the Expectation She has from the Exhortation She has been pleas'd to make. The Breaches are too wide, the Wound too deep, and ranckl'd almost to a Gangreen, and if it goes long without a Cure, will certainly come to Am­putation of Members, or to a Mortification of Parts. The Breaches of Parties, if not ended in a healing A­greement, will certainly end in the Suppression, if not the Destruction, of one Party, if not of all.

The Ways and Means for this Nation's Destruction are very plain and obvious; they are all within our selves; they are begun, and carried on, by our Selves; We dig the Grave of the Common-Wealth with our own hands; the fire of Discord will burn up the very Bowels of the Nation, and Consume us insensibly, and all owing to the civil Fury of contending Parties. No Nation can destroy England but it self, and if the Feuds, and Heat of Parties continue, no Nation can prevent our Destruction.

[Page 5] Her Majesty sensible of the evil Consequence, has gi­ven a large and very seasonable Caution, and solemnly In­vites all the Nation to lay aside the Contention of Par­ties, to embrace Peace, Love, Unity, and Conjunction of Interests, that uniting Hearts and Hands in the com­mon Defence, the whole Government may be strength­ened, her Majesty the more chearfully Assisted, and the Publick Burthen sustain'd.

To these blessed Ends all good Protestants ought to Contribute, as far as in them lyes; but as all Parties must yield part of their present stifness to the great Con­junction her Majesty desires, I thought it might not be improper to let all Sides see some necessary Steps, which they not only should, but must, and ought, to take, in order to make this Heavenly Work possible.

I humbly conceive all the present Discord of this Na­tion may be comprehended in these Two,

  • Differences in Religion.
  • Differences in Interest.

One concerns the Conscience, and the other the Estate, but both are so twisted together, that it seems as if there were no Broil but about Religion, and that the Church was the only Bone of Contention.

But as they have generally Least of Religion who Contend most about it, so in the publick Strife of Par­ties, there seems to be a Colour of Religion plac'd up­on the General Contention, but really, at the bottom, the whole Quarrel is guided by the Interests of Parties, Places, Preferments, to get Some in, and Some out, this seems the main Thing in hand.

Parties Contend to get into the Executive Power, that they may put all their Friends into the great Pla­ces, and Offices of the Crown.

Some would have such a King, or such a Family to Succeed to the Crown, and why? Not so much because [Page 6] this King, or Prince, or Family, is of this, of that Reli­gion, but because they are of such, or such a Party, and then such and such Friends get into Employment.

I don't say 'tis impossible to reconcile Parties, wave Differences, and bring all to a Temper of Peace, but there is so much to be done, so much Self-Denial of Practice requir'd, that I dare not say, I hope to see it brought to pass; and yet I shall not descend to Particulars, in order only to show the Difficulty, and so Discourage the Work; but to let you see, that tho' it may be Difficult, 'tis not Impossible.

The first Article of Ways and Means to this Peace must be found in the general Temper of the Nation. There must be a Propensity, a general Inclination to Yield and Bend to one another. 'Tis Nonsence to talk of Particulars, if the general Bent of Men's Thoughts are not first brought to Love, Seek, and Desire Peace; and were this once produc'd, Could any probable Steps be taken in this part, Could there be but an appearance of a Peaceable Temper in the Nation, the rest of the Work would be found easier than we imagin; all Differences would vanish, did but the Inclination to Difference vanish; did the wrangling Temper cease, were but the Spirit of Con­tention taken away, the Causes of Contention would not be so eagerly embrac'd: This is the Tinder of the Nation, which is so ready to catch hold of the Fire of Dissention; this unhappiness of Temper has been an Old and Epidemick Disease, and has got such ground among us, 'twill be very hard to have any thing but some publick Calamity to Cure it; Affliction reconciles Friends, Common Dangers unite Nations, and Settle disjointed Parties; All are oblig'd to join in Common Defence.

But 'tis very hard, as well as unkind to our Selves, that we can never be in a Condition to be Reconcil'd to [Page 7] one another, till we are just at the Door of being ruin'd; That nothing but Enemies can perswade us to be Friends, and the more violent our Assaults are from Abroad; the more forward our Peace is at Home; from whence that Verse seems to be verified of the English,

and by far,
Harder to Rule in Times of Peace than War.

Now seems a prevaling Juncture to reduce us to a Temper of Peace; forreign Wars, tho' we feel them not in our own Bowels, yet one would think they have presented a Field spacious enough to vent all our Gall and ill Temper in, tho' the War has not been so Con­siderable, as to put us out of our Selves for fear, yet it has not been so inconsiderable, as not to afford us suffici­ent Reason for Unity, Union of Councils, Union of Pur­ses, Hands and Hearts are all little enough.

But 'tis in vain to talk of Union till the Temper of Disunited Parties is brought over to desire it, we may Unite in Words, but we shall never do it in Affection, till all People are willing; Pretences of Union tend but to the widening the Breach, and is like Hypocrisy in Religion, Represented in Scripture, by Drawing near to God with the Mouth, when the Heart is far from him. He that presses his Argument for this Temper, should direct his Speech to all Parties, and to all such I freely say, they who have not this Temper of Peace, who do not encline to Union of Interest, and Union of Affecti­on, are blind to the publick Benefit of their Native Country, Enemies to the present Government, Disre­spectful and Disloyal to her Majesty, and Underminers of their own Posterity.

It may be expected very rationally, that I shou'd enter into the particulars of Parties, and Examine who have most need to be Exhorted to Union and Peace; [Page 8] and tho' I would not be Partial to Parties, yet I cannot help advancing this general Head, that the main Arti­cle of Dissention, Strife and Contention, lies now on those Gentlemen who call themselves High-Church-Men. Who can the Invitation to Peace mean, but those People who want the Hint. 'Tis plain neither the Mo­derate Church-men, nor the Dissenters, can be meant. For they are desirous of Peace; it is their Interest, their Principle, and their Inclination; the Temper seems to be plainly seen there.

The High Church-men say, they are for Peace; but they are for Peace without Union; they are for the Peace of Subjection; they would have all be Peace, that is, their feet on the Necks of their Enemies: But 'tis Peace and Union the Queen has Spoke for, and 'tis to these Gentlemen the Speech is directed, for they chiefly stand in need of the Exhortation.

These are the Men who carry the heat of their Arguments out to the Extream of Reproach, and the Indecency of Contempt; these are the Men that Print, Preach, and Crie up all Modern Discontents that strive to blacken their Brethren with Marks of Distinction; these are they that have Stigmatiz'd all the Men of Moderation, with the Brand of Low-Church-men, and all other Writings Represent them as Traytors to their Friends, to the Church, and to their own Principles, worse than Dissenters, Fanaticks or Schismaticks; and yet all I can find these Gentlemen Charg'd with, is, that they are not for tearing People to pieces for Religion, and ruining their Dissenting Brethren the Shortest Way.

These are the Gentlemen who have lifted up the Bloody Flag against their Protestant Neighbours, and declared, that all the True Church-men are bound to List in the New Crusado of the Church.

[Page 9] These are the Gentlemen who are for Confounding, and not Converting, their Friends the Dissenters, and in­stead of desiring them to Conform, are for preventing that Occasional Communion they can comply with in order to keep them out of Places; so that they had ra­ther keep up the Schism in the Church, than obtain a Union at the Price of their temporal Advancement, discovering a true Christian Spirit in being neither willing to let us Dissent, nor Conform.

These are the Gentlemen that have the most need to learn the Doctrine of Peace and Union, since, if they pleased, we might be soon remov'd from the most Con­tentious divided Nation in the World, to an universal Family of Love and Christian Charity, endeavouring to win and engage one another by Mildness and Tem­per, and strugling to fortifie our Opinions by the Chri­stian Emulation of Love and good Works.

The Charge seems great, but might easily be made out, that this Party only are the Agressors in Conten­tion.

The Low Church-Men, as they call them, are Men of Moderation and Peace, and hated by these because they are so; they are neither for oppressing the Pro­perty, nor Imposing upon the Conscience; a large Cha­rity for their fellow Christians, aversion to Persecution, tenderness of Property and the Laws, are their peculiar Character.

To these there is no occasion of speaking a word, for they are with her Majesty Heart and Hand for Peace and Union.

[Page 10] To these we owe the Act of Toleration, and the quiet­ing the uneasie Consciences of the People.

To these we owe the Restoring of Parliaments to their due Power, and that Power to its frequent exercise.

To these we owe the Disarming the Ecclesiastical Harpies, and paring the Talons and Claws of the Church Vultures, who were always tearing to pieces, and preying upon their Neighbours.

To these we owe the Currency and Supremacy of the Laws, and the Just Concession of Right made to the People.

To these we owe the late Revolution, Deposing the Dispensing Arbitrary Will of approaching Tyranny,

To these we owe the securing our Posterity in the possession of their indubitable Rights, under a Pro­testant Succession, and removing the Nation's Fears from a precarious unsettled futurity. What have not these men of Peace done for us.

These are the Center to which all Parties, if they will have peace, must encline.

To these the Dissenters freely and chearfully remit the Trust of Government, and the Conduct of Con­stituted Right.

These are the Men whom the Dissenters are univer­sally willing should Reign over them, and from among whom, if it was in their Choice, they would demand a King.

With these Liberty, Property, Conscience, Law, Justice, and all the parts of the Constitution are secure; their end is Peace, and their mean Justice and the Laws.

The Dissenters and these have but One Interest, and there never was a Man of these in Post of Trust or [Page 11] Honour in the Nation, who kept Close to this Honest Principle, but the Dissenters lov'd him, stood by him, voted for him, and in all Cases needful Vindicated and Encourag'd him.

Nor do the Dissenters stand in so much need of this Peaceable hint relating to the publick; for they have never been found embroyling the State, or breaking the publick Measures; they have been misrepresented as Engrosing and Possessing the places of Trust and Profit in the last Reign, but the Case remains unprov'd; and in all the black Roll of Mismanagement represent­ed to her Majesty, in the Address of the House of Commons, I fairly Challenge any Man to shew me the Name of One Dissenter; they have suffer'd in the Cala­mities Occasion'd by those miss-Conducts, they have born the share of Taxes misapply'd, and Deficiencies of Funds; but they can never prove upon them, that any Dissenters were either Personally or Occasionally Instru­mental in those Defects, your Ran—s your Sr. John M—Sr. R— G—. W—and J—were none of them Dissenters, the Frauds and Treacheries of the late Reign cannot be laid at their Door.

All their Grievances are, that they suffer by other Men's Knavery, that they are threatned with the Repeal of the Tolleration, blacken'd with slanders, and bullied with bloody Flags, Defiances, and Billinsgate Lan­guage, from the Press and from the Pulpit, their Meet­ing-Houses represented as Houses of Sedition, and the World asks this insolent Question in Print. Whether is worse or more pernicious to the Government, a Meet­ing-House or a Play-House? They are daily suffer­ing the Indignities of hair-brain'd Priests, buffoon­ing Poets, and Clubs of insolent Pamphleters; and [Page 12] 'twould be endless to quote the Bear-Garden language thrown upon them in a rapsody of prints, which they suffer with Regret, but have always born with pa­tience.

These things being remov'd, the Dissenters are na­turally at ease; the Liberty of their Persons, safety of their Properties and Birth right, and the Tolleration of their Consciences are the full of all their demand; and these being secur'd, we may safely defye all the Power of Malice to charge upon them the breach of the Publick-quiet, or any Encroachment upon the Go­vernment, their Nighbours, or the Laws.

The Assaults of their intemperate Adversaries may have fill'd them with just Apprehensions, that the sub. version of their Liberty is design'd, and they will perhaps be ready to say they have good Reason for it; but as her Majesty has always Comforted them with the full Assurance of her Royal Word in that Case, they have always behav'd with Duty and Defe­rence to her Majesty, and every part of her Govern­ment; and let those who have so openly attempted to prove the Dissenters fatal to the English Constitution, and consequently have proposed to have them depriv'd of their Birth-right as Free-holders, let them give an instance of One Act of disloyalty which they have been Guilty of to her Majesty, to merit so much her Royal displeasure.

The Dissenters therefore do not come in as the im­mediate Subjects of this Exhortation to Peace, their Circumstances, their Interests, their Number, their Estates oblige them to Peace, and they cannot be Fomenters of our Breaches and Divisions, without be­ing [Page 13] Fools and Mad-men, blind to their own happiness, and Thieves to their Posterity.

If this blessed Motion of peace affects the Dissenters at all, it must be as it respects the Conduct of them­selves to themselves; the infinite Feuds, Divisions and Animosities harbour'd among their separate Parties, and daily exprest against one another, is too much a scandal upon them as Christians, and too much re­proaches their Morals as Men: And here 'tis to be acknowledg'd they deserve reproof, and cannot defend themselves, wherefore they are most justly call'd upon by her Majesty's Speech, and by the whole Nation to hearken to Peace.

Their Character as Christians, their Pretences of more than Common Reformation, their Interest as a Party, their Profession, their God and their Queen all call upon them to Peace and Union; Uni­on of Affection, if not Union of Profession; Union of Practice, if not Union of Principle.

Having thus run through the Parties who are con­cern'd in this matter, it leads me to repeat to my Reader, that were the temper of peace, were the propensity to a general Union, fix'd in the Breasts of these Parties, there might be some hopes that a further progress might be made; but there must first be an inclination to Peace, before there can be any real Foundation to hope for it: I know nothing in the World could have been a greater step to form this inclination in the Minds of all Parties, than the vehemence with which her Majesty has been pleas'd to recommend it in her Speech; 'Tis a call from Heaven by the Mouth of the Queen, and doubtless her Majesty was inspir'd from thence, to move that particular Article of her Speech with so [Page 14] much uncommon earnestness, that those whoever en­tertain'd any thoughts of her Majesty's being b [...]ast by a Party, might see their mistake; that the Party them­selves, who began too much to depend upon her Pa­tronage in their ill Designs, might be discourag'd, and that all her People might see her Majesty was entirely engag'd in the general Interest of her People's good, without respect to Parties, to Faction, or the private projects of designing People about her.

For my part, I confess my self surpris'd with Joy, to find her Majesty's Eyes open to the general Happi­ness of her People, and should take it for a Judgment upon the Nation, if the Peoples Eyes should remain shut to their own felicity, and that Feuds and Parties should have run us to that extreme, that even a healing Monarch cannot Unite us.

It has not been a common thing for the Nation to be Summon'd to Unity and Peace from the Throne; evil Princes have been shye and jealous of the Union of their Subjects, and maintaining and keeping up the Jealousies and Animosities of Parties, has been thought a needful policy to protect the Crown. But this Pra­ctice has been a just Satyr upon those Princes that al­low'd it, as a certain Demonstration they had some­thing to impose, which nothing but the private Feuds of Parties could bring them to consent to.

The Union of Subjects is the Dread of Tyrants; for no People in the World would bear the Insults and Cruelties of Encroaching Arbitrary Princes, were not the People themselves divided in Interests, Parties, [Page 15] Factions and Designs. It is a token for good to the People of England, that the Queen, however by a sort of men she has been misrepresented and abus'd, has yet this Testimony to give the World of her Justice, and the Integrity of her Designs, that she covets that Peace among all her People, which some of her Ar­bitrary Ancestors have been afraid to bring upon the Stage.

Instead of being afraid of the Union of her Subjects, she is of nothing more desirous than to bring out that blessed Article, to see all her Subjects practising Cha­rity and Kindness one to another. The Reason is plain, her Majesty having regulated her Conduct by the Laws, and confin'd her Desires to the Happiness of her People, she can give no Testimony of it like this, that she covets to see them United in the Bonds of Love, and walking Hand in Hand in her Ser­vice.

None but Tyrants covet to be fear'd, Just Prin­ces value themselves upon the Love of their Peo­ple.

The Hearts of Subjects are the Strength of Kings.

Now 'tis impracticable to have all the People joyn in Duty and Affection to their Prince, while they are embroyl'd with heat and passions one with another; universal Love, makes universal Loyalty: No Subjects are so true to their Prince, nor so hearty to his Cause, as those who are United among themselves, and Unanimous in their way of living.

[Page 16] While therefore her Majesty invites all her Subjects to Union and Peace, 'tis a certain Indication of her resolv'd Design to Govern this Nation by the Laws, and preserve the Rights and Liberties of her Subjects: She would else be very unwilling the People should have any endearing Conversation among themselves, least one time or other they should open their Eyes to see the way to Liberty, and cast off the yoak of their intended Slavery. But if her Majesty calls us to Peace, she calls us to Freedom, and lets us know She is far from encouraging the mischievous Designs of those who strive to bring in distruction at the door of Contention, and who are willing to keep up the strife of the People, that they might not agree in their own deliverance.

I confess my self surpriz'd at this discovery of the Royal intentions to Peace and Union, and that I ex­pected not her Majesty had yet seen far enough into the malicious Designs of that Party, who design'd to engage her on one part of her people against the other, and have had many a melancholy Prospect of the consequences of a Nation divided against her self: Nor do I know any way in the World to have given that hot Temper so Universal an overthrow, as her Majesty has now taken, viz. To let them know that what ever they may expect from her, how much soever they may fancy they please her in running down One Party to raise and establish another, her Majesty is not of their Mind. The Queen knows a better way to hold the Ballance of Parties, than to erect any One upon the destruction of another; what ever the Opinions in Religion are, they are all her Majesties Subjects, they have all a Title to her Protection, while [Page 17] they behave themselves Dutifuly to her Person and Government; reconciling their Plrinciples is none of her Majesty's Province as Queen, and if it were, seems but too impracticable; but to reconcile their Persons, make them useful to her self, conversible to one ano­ther, quiet and obedient to the Laws and her Go­vernment, this her Majesty professes to Desire, is Her Resolution, and all her People's advantage.

In Concurrence with this Design, 'tis our Bu­siness to strive who is the forwardest for Peace, that her Majesty may be convinc'd who are the Incendia­ries of the Nation; Mark such as sow Divisions: let us Mark our selves for Visible Healers of Divisions, and the Contrary will mark the Wideners of Our Breaches.

As I have Undertaken to advance in the behalf of the Dissenters, that they are the forwardest to Embrace this Universal Peace, so I hope I shall not be asham'd to affirm, That both their Interest and their Principles Concur to press them to it, and I yet hope their Pra­ctice will not let me, nor any One who Undertakes the Vindication of their Cause, be asham'd of being their Advocate.

They cannot be Enemies to this Reconciliation of Parties, unless at the same time they have lost their Senses, and are qualifying themselves for Bedlam; and I am of the Opinion, that had a General Assembly of all the Dissenters in this Nation been met together, to Consider what they would Desire her Majesty to do for them, I mean for them particularly as Dissenters, they could have thought of nothing more material to them and the whole Nation, than a Cessation of this Party Strife, and a Civil Union with all the rest of her Majesty's Subjects.

[Page 18] What else had they to ask? Their Properties are secur'd by the Law, their Religion by the Tolleration, and both reassur'd by the Queen's repeated Promises to Continue them. They Could have nothing more to ask, but that her Majesty would do what in her Wisdom she should find Conducing to a general Peace and U­nion of Affection, between them and those People from whom they were oblig'd to Dissent in Point of Religion.

This her Majesty has done without their Application, and I think the Dissenters cannot answer it to the Sense of their Own Interest, if they do not make publick acknowledgment to God and Her Majesty for so remarkable a Mercy.

Had we Beaten the French Fleet at Sea, or had any more than Ordinary Advantage over the Nation's Ene­mies been Obtained; We should, and reason good, have made a Day of publick Rejoycing and Thanksgiving to God for so great a Blessing, and by Addresses of Congratulation Complimented her Majesty upon that head.

This is a Victory over the worst Enemy the Na­tion has, an Enemy the most Fatal and most Formi­dable of any in the World; Contention is the Devil's Generalissimo, that has always led on the Infernal Troops to Invade the Peace of this Unhappy Nation; Her Majesty has given an Overthrow to the Grand Army of Hell, and Dispers'd the Numerous Squadrons that were Embatteling themselves against the general Quiet, [Page 19] and who verily thought they had the Queen on their side.

It remains for all Her Subjects to pursue the flying Troops of this Defeated Army, and to destroy and remove all the little Foundations of Party Feuds, Fears, Jealousies, Reproaches, and Raillery that blow up the Grand Flame of Discord in the Nation.

Would all Parties fall in heartily with Her Ma­jesty's Command, a General Kiss of Friendship and Reconciliation would pass thro' these three Kingdoms, the Wolf and the Lamb would lye down together, Peace would smother all the remains of Enmity, and the Seeds of Dissention would Dye in the Earth, and spring up no more.

And that I may not seem to press my Readers to think of what I cannot direct them how to do. I think it not improper to say, this Work is not Difficult, 'tis easier to agree than to fall out, if Men were all en­clin'd to Peace.

I shall not pretend in the short Compass of these Sheets, to draw a full Scheem of a Project of Peace a­mong the General Parties, nor unless I were Directed would I engage in any thing so Nice, having no need to feel the further Resentment of those who may no more be pleas'd with the Project, than they are with the Person. But I will Venture to touch the Preliminaries, and tell the People of England how they may begin, I'le put them into the Road, in which if they please but to go on straight forward, as [Page 20] they say, they cannot fail to arrive at the Port of Peace.

Not at all to concern matters of Religion and Opinions about worshipping God with our Civil Affairs, and common Charity, leaving all People freely, as now the Laws do, to the dictates of the Spirit, and the con­duct of their Consciences.

Religion is a matter of Peace, the ways of God are ways of Pleasantness, and all his Paths are Peace, which tho' it means speculative Peace, yet I may apply it here; there is nothing in Religion which has a tendency to sowre our Tempers, ruffle our Conversation, or disorder our Lives. As to Converting one another, the Scripture is full of Rules to direct us to act in that by the Power of Perswasion; even Re­proof is to be done with the Spirit of Meekness, says the Apostle and Rebuking one a­nother in Love, and provoking one another to Love and to good Works; and if the Scripture were silent in the case, the Reason and Nature of the thing seems to imply, that all coercive Methods are vain as well as unlawful, as to Conscience.

Experience might convince those Sons of Violence who are for Persecution of their Neighbours, that it has been a fruitless War; and if we were to examine how many Converts to the Church have been made by such Measures, I doubt they can give but a slen­der account of the Fruit of that Method whereof the whole Church is now asham'd. I say asham'd, for that In the Preamble to a late Bill for the preventing [Page 21] Occasional Conformity, 'tis there own'd, that Persecution for Conscience is Contrary to the Principles of the Christi­an Religion, and to the Doctrine of the Church of England.

I avoid all the just Examples I could give of the Irregularities and Oppressions the Dissenters have suf­fer'd under on this head; that I may begin with my self, and bury the remembrances of Violences and ill Usage, in this new Resolution of Peace which we are all invited to by her Majesty, and which I hope all the Dissenters in the Nation will be the most forward to accept.

But as to future Conduct let matters of Religion be things of serious Choice, but not of Violence and Debate, we may Differ but not Quarrel; we may Dissent, without Censure and Uncharitableness; they may Conform, without Envy and Reproach; Honest Men should agree with honest Men, of whatsoever Opinion they may be, and not with Knaves whatsoever Party they take. A little Charity sown on good Land would produce a huge Crop of Peace. And e­ven Grace it self, planted in a soil barren of Charity, sours and grows morose.

What has Religion to do with Politicks? Honest Men of all Perswasions are honest Men, and Knaves are the worse, the more pretence they make to Reli­gion; we should not have a tenth part of the Diffe­rences in State-Affairs, did not Church-matters and State-matters mingle so much together.

[Page 22] The Law has plac'd the Administration in the hands of the Church, and tho' there has been a thousand reviling Pamphlets that have accus'd the Dissenters of repining at it, yet not one Dissenter can be charg'd with a Design to alter it; let but Peace and moderate Princi­ples possess the Men of Government, the Dissenters were always content, and ever will be pleas'd to have the Power rest in the hands of the Church; and where this Peace and Moderation is not, I believe all men will grant me that the principal Qualifications for Go­vernment are wanting.

'Tis nothing but the want of this Peace and Mode­ration, which has made the matters of Religion and Government Clash, and the whole Nation fall out about them; and if any Man shall attempt to prove that this contentious Spirit has been on the side of the Dissenters, I think I may not be tax'd with Arrogance, if I say I can easily consute him.

But however it has been, for Peace never Recrimi­nates, I shall adventure in the Name of the Dissenters, presuming upon their universal Consent, and with the Consent of some of the most Judicious among them, to make their Adversaries this fair Challenge.

Let the sincerity of the peaceable Spirit be try'd by the Consequence: The Queen has made a general In­vitation to Peace and Union, and we accept it; let her Majesty now see who are her most Loyal Subjects, who are greatest Friends to the general Interest, and the truest Lovers of their Country, by distinguishing among them who have most regard to her earnest Recommen­dation, [Page 23] and who are really and unfeignedly of peace­able Tempers and Principles, and who are not; who are most for Peace and Union, who readiest to obey their Soveraign's Command, who honestest to their own Pretences, the High Church-Men or the Dissenters.

If this Challenge would be accepted, if persons de­puted by both Parties were to meet, how easie would it be to settle Conditions of mutual Society, agreement of Parties, and general Charity in the whole Nation, which whoever would break, should be hist out of all Conversation, contemn'd by all sides, and no body care to speak to him.

All this might be done, and Religion never be con­cern'd in the matter, the Concerns of Conscience would be a Class by it self, and never make a rupture in our Civil Society; Men would be Gentlemen as well as Christians, and the Union of Conversation and Interest would make a little Heaven in the Nation.

We should no more be cutting of Throats about Re­ligion, and sending one another to the Devil for not going to Heaven our own way.

This would be the Shortest way with the Dissenters, and Sachavrell's bloody Flag would be a Fool to it.

This would make us be Dissenters and no Dissenters, and there would be a Conformity in Civil Ceremo­nies, tho' there was none in Religious.

This would bring the Christian and the English-Man [Page 24] to understand one another, who have been a long while at variance.

This would make the Devil out of Love with the Climate, and People would get to Heaven with the less interruption.

In a word, 'twould be a Strength to our Millitary Power, a Glory to our Civil, and a Lustre to our Re­ligious. 'Twould make the Nation Invincible, the Laws Impregnable, Trade Encrease, Religion Flou­rish, the Queen Victorious, and the People Happy.


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