AN ANSWER TO A PAMPHLET ENTITULED, An Argument to prove the AFFECTIONS of the People of ENGLAND to be the best Security of the GOVERNMENT.

BY The Author of the FREE-HOLDER.

According to the COPY Printed at London by S. Gray, in Amen-Corner, Anne Dom. 1716. [Price 3 d.]

This Pamphlet, and the ARGUMENT to prove the AF­FECTIONS of the People of ENGLAND the best Securi­ty of the GOVERNMENT, are Sold at the Printing-House op­posite to the Trone-Church, Price of each 3 d.

THE FREE-HOLDER.

Omnes Homines, P. C. qui de rebus dubiis consultant, ab odio, Amicitia, ira, atque Misericordia vacuos esse decet.

Caesar ap. Sallust.

I Have purposely avoided du­ring the whole Course of this Paper, to speak any Thing concerning the Treatment which is due to such Persons as have been concerned in the late Rebellion, because I would not seem to irritate Justice against those who are under the Prosecution of the Law, nor incense any of my Readers against unhappy, tho' [Page 4] guilty Men. But when we find the Proceed­ings of our Government in this particular traduced and misrepresented, it is the Duty of every good Subject to set them in their proper Light.

I am the more prompted to this Undertak­ing by a Pamphlet, intituled, An Argument to prove the Affections of the People of England to to be the best Security of the Government; humbly offer'd to the Consideration of the Patrons of Severi­ty, and applied to the present Juncture of Affairs. Had the whole Scope of the Author been answerable to his Title, he would have only undertaken to prove what every Man in his Wits is already convinced of. But the Drift of the Pamphlet is, to stir up our Compassion towards the Rebels, and our Indignation against the Government. The Author who knew that such a Design as this could not be carried on without a great deal of Artifice and Sophistry, has puzzled and perplexed his Cause, by throw­ing his Thoughts together in such a studied Confusion; that upon this Account, if upon any his Pamphlet is, as the Party have represented it, unanswerable.

The famous Monsieur Bayle compares th [...] answering of an immethodical Author, to the Hunting of a Duck: when you have him full in your Sight, and fancy your self within reach of him, he gives you the slip and becomes in­visible. His Argument is lost in such a va­riety [Page 5] of Marter, that you must catch it where you can as it rises, and disappears in the several Parts of his Discourse.

The Writer of this Pamphlet could doubt­less have ranged his Thoughts in much bet­ter Order, if he had pleased: But he knew very well, that Error is not to be advanced by Perspicuity. In order therefore to An­swer this Pamphlet, I must reduce the Sub­stance of it under proper Heads: And dis­embroil the Thoughts of the Author, since he did not think fit to do it himself.

In the first place, I shall observe, That the Terms which the Author makes use of, are loose, general, and undefined, as will be shewn in the Sequel of this Paper; and, what less becomes a fair Reasoner, he puts wrong and invidious Names on every Thing to colour a false Way of arguing.

He allows that the Rebels indisputably merit to be severely chastised; that they deserve it ac­cording to Law; and that if they are punished, they have none to thank but themselves (Pag. 7.) How can a Man after such a Concession make sometimes use of the Word Cruelty, but gene­rally of Revenge, when he pleads against the ex [...]se of that, which, according to his own Notion, is at the most but rigid Justice! Or why are such Executions, which, according to his own Opinion are Legal, so often to be called Violences and Slaughter? Not to mention the Appellations given to those [Page 6] who do not agree with him in his Opinion for Clemency, as the Blood-thirsty, the Politi­cal Butchers, State Chirurgeons, and the like.

But I shall now speak of that Point which is the great and reigning Fallacy of the Pam­phlet and runs more or less through every Paragraph. His whole Argument turns up­on this single Consideration; Whether the King should exert Mercy or Justice towards those who have openly appeared in the present Rebellion? By Mercy he means a general Pardon; by Ju­stice a general Punishment; so that he supposes no other Method practicable in the Juncture, than either the forgiving All, or the execut­ing All. Thus he puts the Question, Whether it be the Interest of the Prince to destroy the Rebels by Fire, Sword, or Gibbet (pag. 4.) And speak­ing of the Zealots for the Government, he tells us, They think no Remedy so good as to make clear Work; and that they declare for the utter Extir­pation of all who are its Enemies in the most mi­nute Circumstances: As if Amputation were the sole Remedy these political Butchers could find out for the Distempers of a State; or that they thought the only way to make the Top flourish, were to lop off the Under-Branches. (p. 5.) He then speakes of the Coffee-house Politicians, and the Casuists in Red-Coats; Who, he tells us, are for the utmost Rigour that their Laws of War or Laws of Conveniencie can inspire them with. (p. 5.) Again, It is represented, says he, that the Rebels deserve the highest Punishment the Laws can inflict. (p. 7.) [Page 7] And afterwards tells us, The Question is, Whe­ther the Government shall shew Mercy, or take a Reverend Divine's Advice, to slay Man and Wo­man, Infant and Suckling? (p. 8.) Thus again he tells us, The Friends to severe Counsels alledge, that the Government ought not to be moved by Com­passion; and that the Law should have its Course. (p. 9.) And in another Place puts these Words in their Mouths, He may still retain their Affection, and yet let the Laws have their Course in punishing the Guilty. (p. 18.) He goes upon the same Supposition in the fol­lowing Passages: It is impracticable in so gene­ral a Corruption to destroy All who are infected; and unless you destroy All you do nothing to the purpose. (p. 10.) Shall our rightful King shew himself less the true Father of his People, and af­ford his Pardon to None of those People, who (like King Lear to his Daughter) had so great a Confi­dence in his Vertue as to give him All. (p. 25.) I shall only add, that the concluding Para­graph which is worked up with so much artificial Horrour, goes upon a Supposition answerable to the whole Tenor of the Pam­phlet; and implies, that the Impeach'd Lords were to be Executeed without Exception or Discrimination.

Thus we see what is the Author's Idea of that Justice against which all his Arguments are levell'd. If, in the next place, we con­sider the Nature of that Clemency which he [Page 8] recommends, we find it to be no less uni­versal and unrestrain'd.

He declares for a General Act of Indemnity, (p. 20.) and tells us, It is the Sense of every dispassionate Man of the Kingdom, that the Rebels may, and ought to be Pardoned, (p. 19.) One popular Act, says he, would even yet retrieve all, (p. 22.) He declares himself not over-fond of the Doctrines of making Examples of Traitors, (ibid.) And that the Way to prevent Things from being brought to an Extremity, is to deal mildly with those unfortunate Gentlemen engaged in the Rebellion.

The Reader may now see in how fallaci­ous a Manner this Writer has stated the Controversy: He supposes there are but two Methods of treating the Rebels; that is, by cutting off every one of them to a Man, or pardoning every one of them without Di­stinction. Now if there be a third Method between these two extreams, which is on all Accounts more eligible than either of them, it is certain that the whole Course of his Argumentation comes to nothing. Every Man of the plainest Understanding will easily conclude, that in the Case before us, as in most others, we ought to av [...]id both Extreams; that to destroy every Rebel would be an excessive Severity, and to for­give every one of them an unreasonable Weakness. The proper Method of Pro­ceeding, is that which the Author has pur­posely [...] [Page 17] Because, says he, The very Means, or the Ap­prehensions of them, have brought Things to the Pass in which they are, and consequently will reduce them from Bad to Worse, (P. 10.) And afterwards, This Growth of Disaffection is in a great Measure owing to the groundless Jealousies Men entertained of the present Administration; as if they were to expect nothing but Cruelty un­der it. If our Author would have spoken out, and have applyed these Effects to the real Cause, he would have ascribed this Change of Affections among the People, to nothing else but the Change of the Ministry; for we find that a great many Persons lost their Loyalty with their Places; and that their Friends have ever since made Use of the most base Methods to infuse those ground­less Discontents into the Minds of the com­mon People, which have brought so many of them to the Brink of Destruction, and proved so detrimental to their fellow Subjects.

However, this Proceeding has shewen how dangerous it would have been for his Maje­sty to have continued in their Places of Trust, a Set of Men, some of whom have since actu­ally joined with the Pretender to his Crown, while others may be justly suspected never to have been faithful to him in their Hearts, or at least, whose Principles are precarious, and visibly conducted by their Interest. In a word, if the removal of these Persons from their Posts has produced such popular Com­motions [Page 18] the continuance of them might have produced something much more fatal to their King and Country, and have brought about that Revolution which has now been in vain attempted. The Condition of a British King would be very poor indeed, should a Party of his Subjects threaten him with a Rebellion upon his bringing Male­factors to Justice, or upon his refusing to employ those whom he dare not trust.

I shall only mention another Argument against the Punishment of any of the Rebels, whose Executions he represents as very shocking to the People, because they are their Country-men. (p. 12.) And again, ‘"The Quality of the Sufferers, their Alli­ance, their Character, their being English­men, with a thousand other Circumstances will contribute to breed more ill Blood than all the State Chirurgeons can possibly let out." (p. 12.)’ The impeached Lords likewise in the last Paragraph of the Pamph­let are recommended to our Pity, because they are our Country-men. By this way of reasoning, no Man that is a Gentleman, or born within the three Seas, should be Sub­ject to capital Punishment. Besides, who can be guilty of Rebellion that are not our Country-men? As for the endearing Name of Englishmen, which he bestows upon every one of the Criminals, he should consider that a Man deservedly cuts himself off from [Page 19] the Affections as well as the Priviledges of that Community which he endeavours to subvert.

These are the several Arguments which appear in different Forms and Expressions thro' this whole Pamphlet, and under which every one that is urged in it may be reduced: There is indeed another Set of them, de­rived from the Example and Authority of great Persons, which the Author pro­duces in favours of his own Scheme. These are William the Conqueror, Henry the 4th. of France our late King William, King Solomon and the Pretender. If a Man were disposed to draw Arguments for Severity out of History, how many Instances might one find of it among the greatest Princes of every Nation; but as different Princes may act very laudably by different Methods in diffe­rent Conjunctures, I cannot think this a conclusive way of reasoning. However, let us examine this Set of Arguments and we shall find them no less defective than those above-mentioned.

‘"One of the greatest of our English Mo­narchs, says our Author was William the Con­queror, and he was the greater, because he put to Death only one Person of Quality that we read of, and him after repeated Treacheries; yet he was a Foreigner, had Power sufficient, and did not want Pro­vocations to have been more bloody." (p. 27.)’ [Page 20] Person of Quality was the Farl of Waltheof, who being overtaken with Wine, engaged in a Conspiracy against this King, but repent­ing of it the next Morning, came to him in Person and revealed the whole Matter, not­withstanding of which, he was Beheaded upon the Defeat of the Conspiracy; for hav­ing, but thus far tampered in it, and as for the rest of the Conspirators, who rose in an actual Rebellion, the King used them with the utmost Rigor, he cut off the Heads of some, put out the Eyes of others, some were hanged upon Gibbets, and those who faired the best were sent into Banishment. There are indeed the most dreadful Examples of Se­verity in this Reign: Tho' it must be con­fest, that, after the manner of these Times, the Nobility generally escaped with their Lives, tho' Multudes of them were punish­ed with Banishment, perpetual Imprison­ment, Forfeitures, and other great Severities; while the poor People who had been delud­ed by these their Ring-Leaders, were executed with the utmost Rigour. A Partiality, which I believe, no Commoner of England will ever think it to be either just or reasonable.

The next Instance is Henry the 4th. of France, ‘"Who (says our Author) so handsome­ly exprest his Tenderness for his People, when at signing the Treaty of Vervines, he said, That by one Dash of his Pen he had overcome more Enemies than he could [Page 21] ever be able to do with his Sword."’ Would not an ordinary Reader think this Treaty of Vervins was a Treaty between Henry the 4th. and a Party of his Subjects, for otherwise, how can it have a Place in the present Argu­ment. But instead of that, it was a Treaty between France and Spain. So that the Speech expressed an equal Tenderness to the Spaniards and French: As Multitudes of either Nation must have fallen in that War, had it continued longer. As for this King's Treatment of the Conspirators (tho' he is quoted thrice in the Pamphlet as an Ex­ample of Clemency) you have an eminent Instance of it in his Behaviour to the Mar­shall de Biron, who had been his old faithful Servant, and had contributed more than any one to his Advancement to the Throne. This Marshall upon some Discontent was entred into a Conspiracy against his Master, and refusing to open the whole Secret to the King, he was sent to the Bastile, and there Beheaded, notwithstanding he sought for Mercy with great Importunities, and in the most moving Manner: There are other In­stances in this King's Reign, who notwith­standing, was remarkable for his Clemency, of Rebels and Conspirators who were hang­ed, beheaded, or broken alive on the Wheel.

The late King William was not disturbed by any Rebellion from those who had once submitted to him; But we know he treated the [Page 22] Persons concerned in the Assasination-Plot, as so horrid a Conspiracy deserved. As for the Saying which this Author imputes to that Monarch, it being a Piece of secret History, One doth not know when it was spoken, or what it alluded to, unless the Author had been more particular in the Account of it.

The Author proceeds in the next Place, to no less an Authority than that of Solomon: ‘"Amongst all the general Observations of the wisest Princes we know of, I think there is none holds more universally, that Mercy and Truth preserve a King, and his Throne is established in Mercy," (P. 18.)’ If we compare the different Sayings of this wise King, which relate to the Conduct of Prin­ces, we cannot question, but that he means by this Mercy, that Kind of it which is con­sistent with Reason and Government, and by which we hope to see his Majesty's Throne established. But our Author should consider, that the same wise Man hath said in another Place, That an evil Man seeketh Rebellion, there­fore a cruel Messenger shall be sent against him. Accordingly his Practice was agreeable to his Proverb, no Prince having given a greater Testimony of his Abhorrence to Undertak­ings of this treasonable Nature. For he dis­patched such a cruel Messenger as is here mentioned, to those who had been engaged in a Rebellion, many Years before he him­self was on the Throne, and even to his elder [Page 23] Brother, upon the bare Suspicion, That he was projecting so wicked an Enterprize.

How the Example of the Pretender came into this Argument, I am at a Loss to find out, ‘"The Pretender declared a general Par­don to all, and, shall our rightful King shew himfelf less the true Father of his People, and afford his Pardon to none," &c. (P. 25.)’ The Pretender's general Pardon was to a People who were not in his Power; and had he ever reduced them under it, it was only promised to such as immediately joined with him for the Recovery of what he called his Right. It was such a general Pardon as would have been consistent with the Execu­tion of more than nine Parts of ten of the Kingdom.

There is but one more historical Argu­ment, which is drawn from King Philip's Treatment of the Catalans: ‘"I think it would not be unseasonable for some Men to recollect what their own Notions were of the Treatment of the Catalans, how many Declamations were made on the Barbari­ty used towards them by King Philip," (P. 29.)’ If the Author remembers, these Declamations, as he calls them, were not made so much on the Barbarity used towards them by King Philip, as on the Barbarity used towards them by the English Govern­ment. King Philip might have some Colour for treating them as Rebels, but we ought to [Page 24] have regarded them as Allies; and were o­bliged by all the Ties of Honour, Consci­ence, and publick Faith, to have sheltered them from those Sufferings which were brought upon them by a firm and inviolable Adherence to our Interests. However, none can draw into a Parallel the Cruelties which have been inflicted on that unhappy People, with those few Instances of Severity which our Government has been obliged to exert to­wards the British Rebels. I say, no Man would make such a Parallel, unless his Mind be so blinded with Passion and Prejudice, as to assert in the Language of this Pamphlet, That no Instances can be produced of the least Le­nity under the present Administration, from the first Hour it commenced to this Day, (P. 20.) with other astonishing Reflections of the same Nature, which are contradicted by such innumerable Matters of Fact, that it would be an Affront to a Readers Under­standing to endeavour to confute them. But to return to the Catalans, during the whole course of the War, says the Author, which ever of them submitted to Discretion, were received to Mercy. (p. 22.) This is so far from being truly related, that in the beginning of the War they were executed without Mercy, but when in Conjunction with their Allies, they became Superior to King Philips Party in Strength, and extended their Conquests up to the very Gates of Madrid: It cannot [Page 17] [...] [Page 18] [...] [Page 19] [...] [Page 20] [...] [Page 21] [...] [Page 22] [...] [Page 23] [...] [Page 24] [...] [Page 25] be supposed the Spanish Court would be so in­fatuated as to persist in their first Severities against an Enemy that could make such ter­rible Reprizals; However, when this Reason of State ceased, how dreadful was the Havock made among this brave, but unhappy People, the whole Kingdom without any Distincti­on, to the ruin of many thousands of its innocent Inhabitants, was stript of its Im­munities, and reduced to a State of Slavery, Barcelona was filled with Executions, and all the Patriots of their Ancient Liberties, ei­ther Beheaded, stowed in Dungeons, or con­demned to work in the Mines of America.

God be thanked, we have a King who punishes with Reluctancy, and is averse to such Cruelties, as were used among the Catalans, as much as to those practised on the Persons concerned in Monmouth's Re­bellion, our Author indeed condemns these Western Assizers in King James's Reign (p. 26.) And it would be well if all those who still adhere to the Cause of that unfortunate King, and are clamorous at the Proceedings of his present Majesty, would re­member, that notwithstanding, that Rebellion fell very much short of this, both in the Number and Strength of the Rebels, and had no Tendency either to destroy the National Religion, to introduce an Ar­bitrary Government, or to subject us to a Foreign Power: Not only the Chief of the Rebels was be­beheaded, but even a Lady, who had only harbour­ed one of the Offenders in her House, was in her extream old Age put to the same Kind of Death: That about Two Hundred and Thirty were hanged, drawen, and quartered, and their Limbs dispersed thro' several Parts of the Country, and set up as Spe­ctacles of Terror to their fellow Subjects. It would be too tedious a Work to run thro' the numberless [Page 26] Fines, Imprisonments, Corporal Punishments and Transportations, which were then likewise practised as wholesome Severities.

We have now seen how fallaciously the Author has stated the Cause he has undertaken, by supposing that nothing but unlimited Mercy, or unlimited Punishment, are the Methods that can be made use of in our present Treatment of the Rebels; That he has omitted the middle Way of Proceeding be­tween these two Extreams: That this Middle-Way is the Method in which his Majesty, like all other Wise and Good Kings, has chosen to proceed, that it is agreeable to the Nature of Government, Religion, and onr British Constitution: And that every Argu­ment which the Author has produced from Reason and Example, would have been a true one, had it been urged from that restrained Clemency which his Majesty has exercised; But it is a false one, when applyed to such a general undistinguishing Mercy, as the Author would recommend.

Having thus answered, that, which is the main Drift and Design of this Pamphlet, I shall touch upon those other Parts of it, which are interwoven with the Arguments, to put Men out of Humour with the present Government.

And here we may observe, that it is our Authors Method, to suppose Matters of Fact, which are not in Being, and afterwards to discant upon them, as he is very sensible, that the Cause will not bear the Teft of Reason, he has indeed every where chosen ra­ther Topicks for Declamation than Argument, thus he intertains us with a laboured Invective against a standing Army; But what has this to do in the pre­sent Case; I suppose he would not advise his Maje­sty to disband his Forces, while there is an Army of Rebels in his Dominions: I cannot imagine he would think the Affections of the People of England a Security of the Government in such a Juncture, were it not at the same Time defended with a suffi­cient Body of Troops. No Prince has ever given a greater Instance of his Inclinations to rule without a standing Army, if we consider, that upon the very [Page 27] first News of the Defeat of the Rebels, he declared to both Houses of Parliament, that he had put an immediare Stop to the Levies, which he had begun to raise at their Request, and that he would not make use of the Power which they had entrusted him with, unless any new Preparations of the Enemy should make it necessary for our Defence; This Speech was received with the greatest Gratitude by both Houses, and it is said, that in the House of Com­mons, a very candide and honourable Gentleman (who generally votes with the Minority) declared that he had not heard so gracious a Speech from the Throne, for many Years last past.

In another Place, he supposes that the Govern­ment has not [...]eavoured to gain the Applause of the Vulgar, by doing something for the Church; And very gravely makes Excuses for this their pre­tended Neglect. What greater Instances could his Majesty have given of his Love to the Church of England, than these he has exhibited by his most so­lemn Declarations; by his dayly Example, and by his Promotions of the most eminent amongst the Clergy, to such Vacancies as have happened in his Reign: To which we must add for the Honour of his Government in this Particular, that, it has done more for the Advantage of the Clergy, than those who are the most zealous for their Interest, could have expected in so short a Time: Which will further appear, if we reflect upon the Valuable and Royal Donative to one of our Universities, and the Provision made for those who are to officiate in the Fifty new Churches. His Majesty is indeed a Prince of too much Magnanimity and Truth, to make use of the Name of the Church, for drawing his Peo­ple into any Thing that may be prejudicial unto them: For what our Author says to this Purpose, redounds as much to the Honour of the present Ad­ministration, as to the Disgrace of others: Nay, I wish with all my Soul they had stooped a little ad captum vulgi to take in these fluttering Hearts, which are to be caught by any Thing called with the Name of Church. P. II. Again the Authorasks, Whether Terror is to become [Page 28] the only National Principle; with other Questions of the same Nature: And in several Parts of his Book harangues very plentifully against such a Notion, where he talks in Generals upon this Topick: There is no Question, but every Whig and Tory in the Kingdom, perfectly agrees with him in what he says, but if he would insinuate, as he seems to do in se­veral Places, that there should be no Impressions of Awe upon the Mind of a Subject, and that a Go­vernment should not create Terror in those who are disposed to do Ill, as well as encourage those that do their Duty: In short, if he is for an entire Exclu­sion of that Principle of Fear, which is supposed to have some Influence in every Law, he opposes him­self to the Form of every Governm [...] [...] the World, and to the common Sense of Mankind.

The Artifice of this Author in starting Objections, to the Friends of the Government, and the foolish Answers which he supposes they return to them, is so very visible, that every one sees they are design'd rather to divert his Reader, than to instruct him.

I have now examined this whole Pamphlet, which indeed is written with a great deal of Art, and as much Argument as the Cause would bear; And af­ter having stated the true Notion of Clemency, Mer­cy, Compassion, Good-Nature, Humanity, or whatever else it may be called, so far as it is consistent with Wisdom, and the Good of Manking, or in other Words, so far as it is a Moral Virtue, I shall readily concur with the Author in the highest Panegyrick that he has bestowed upon it; As likeways, I heartily join with him in every Thing, he has said against Justice, if it concludes as his Pamphlet sup­poses, the Extirpation of every Criminal, and is not exercised with a much greater Mixture of Clemency than Rigour. Mercy in the true Sense of the Word, is that Virtue, by which a Prince approaches nearest to him, whom he represents; And whilst he is nei­ther remiss, nor extream to animadvert upon those who offend him, that Logick will hold true of him, which is applyed to the great Judge of all the Earth: With thee there is Mercy, therefore shalt thou be feared.

FINIS.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.