Casca's Epistle to Lord NORTH.

Ita digerit omnia Coelehas.
If sad Britannia wails, in deep distress,
Her taxes greater and her freedom less:
She owes these grievances to Bute's vile tribe,
North's dissolution, and a treas'ry bribe.
TO you my lord, these honest lines I send;
To you the sov'reign's not the people's friend
The sov'reign's friend? yes, when I think again,
A friend like Wolsey in a Harry's reign.
Harry, who gave his royal lusts full scope;
Commenc'd a devil and renounc'd the pope.
In Bute and North two devils make us groan,
And at Quebec the pope resumes his throne.
Harry's despotic frowns o'er cast us now;
Fate hangs on Bute's proud will and George's brow.
Below, North represents absconding Bute,
Above, a Nation dyes by Roy le veut.
Proud of North's name corruption wears no veil;
At North's soft bribe, no senator turns pale.
Shrew'd Walpole never went your lordship's length;
But boldness with supplies has gather'd strength.
[Page 150] Safe from impeachments in this venal time,
Each parricide may triumph in his crime.
Knaves in your lordship's numbers put their hope;
Lords fear no ax, and commoners no rope,
Virtue's fair dawn you've clouded with a sum;
And check'd her test for seven years to come.
Association is a dreadful sound;
And Bute must dye if virtue is not bound.
Shou'd tests ensue; impeachments wou'd take place,
And old St. Stephen wear an honest face.
What must be done?—"dissolve, cries Bute in fits:
"Dissolve—and stab your country with new writs."
He spoke, and North obedient to his voice,
With gold prepar'd his boroughs for their choice.
Appriz'd his members of the dex'trous cheat,
And plac'd corruption in her former seat.
Crouching she licks the hand by which she's fed,
And joys to see Sir Fletcher at her head;
To see North ape Bute's dictatorial nod,
For George deserts his country and his God.
To see her sons alert when North commands,
And at his beck lift up four hundred hands.
But whence this mighty influence? whence this pow'r?
All virtue's delug'd in a golden show'r.
A treas'ry storm what virtue can resist?
Ev'n George to drown her, dips his civil list.
With thirst hydropic all North's patriots drink,
And half a million scarce will make 'em sink.
From craving more no decency restrains,
At once they poison and exhaust our veins.
Let those, who feel the civil list decrease,
Call on Mountstewart to restore his fleece.
Father and son are equally a curse:
One dupes the sov'reign, and one drains the purse.
[Page 151] In baubles and douceurs what treasures fly?
How are the people plunder'd to supply!
Elegance lavish'd on a Scot is vain,
A hovel might content an embryo thane.
His ancestors (this truth is wormwood now,)
Whose hut contain'd their wife, their bairns, & cow,
Thought e'er their union taught their pride to feel,
A Pounde in Siller was a muckle deale.
But since Scots felt the blessings of that law,
Which laid their Thanes on down instead of straw,
Bless'd them with commerce, arts, and all their fruits,
And bade them herd no longer with their brutes;
By culture humaniz'd their savage mind,
And plac'd them on a footing with mankind;
Their haughty sons who else had fed on grass,
Or filch'd for hunger, thistles from their ass,
Shiv'ring on mountains desolate and cold,
Strangers alike to luxury and gold.
Forgetting, like their sires, want's bitter sting,
Disdain the palace of an English King;
Demand superb additions, vast expence,
To fit it for a lordlings residence.
O! shame! where art thou fled!—ye Briton rise?
Is it for Bute's proud race you grant supplies?
With just resentment bid Mountstewart fly,
And feed his pride beneath his father's sky;
There pinch on rocks where barren nature sleeps;
Yes—scourge him back to his paternal nieps.
Weak sov'reigns, thus their artful minions bless;
Ask what they dare their constant answer's yes.
When injur'd subjects with petitions go,
The sov'reign, low'ring, looks an haughty no.
[Page 152] Yet if his kingship wants a fresh supply,
Below—aye, aye,—above, contents the cry.
Petitioners with rebels are involv'd;
Let Bute but hint—the parliament's dissolv'd.
This influence Beckford labour'd to resist;
Corruption, was maintain'd, and he dismiss'd.
Cities petition, yet their plague endures;
But virtue's rage quick dissolution cures.
Say (for you know, my lord) the cause of this,
You know who counsels and who acts amiss.
Disguise no truth by specious, trite harangue;
But say, at once your parliament's a gang.
If truth's a crime, and George's frown you dread,
Say in a whisper who is at their head?
That question's home—your lordship's filent still—
I'll answer it myself then—frown who will.
In ancient days when simple monarchs saw
No better means by reigning than by law,
When sages counsell'd with an honest heart.
And kings religiously perform'd their part;
E'er standing armies were a standing curse,
Subjects were children, and their king a nurse;
No suitor unredress'd then left the throne;
The nurse's interest and the child's were one.
The three estates then us'd to coalesce,
With no intention but to save and bless.
Now kings, lords, and commons faithfully agree,
Like a banditti in confed'racy.
Combin'd to plunge a nation in distress,
To double grievances without redress.
In vain to George the suppliant knee is bent;
He enjoins silence, suff'ring and content.
With sullen gloom he arms his sulky brow,
And tells us slav'ry is our charter now,
[Page 153] Astonish'd at his city's daring cries,
He tells 'em kings and parliaments are wise.
Tells 'em their constitution is controul;
That of all trades oppression is the soul;
That their protection hangs on royal breath;
To day 'tis slav'ry and to-morrow death.
That all are rebels, but that passive tribe,
Who kiss his chains, his footstool and his bribe.
That ev'ry subject's traiterous in his view,
Who dares petition, meet, consult or sue.
These sentiments are Bute's by Mansfield penn'd;
Mansfield who tells us he is virtue's friend.
This doctrine good my lord, full scope affords,
To your vile commons and your supple lords.
Since ev'ry act brings forth some grievance new,
Enlarge the narrow bounds of treason too.
Like Mary' Minion in her tyrant reign,
Enlarge old Edward's act amend, explain,
Shew Edward's sages they mistook the case;
Declare new treasons—'tis an act of grace.
Declare it treason but to wish success
To freedom's arms, or supplicate redress;
Work your new doctor's insult into fact;
'Tis Johnson's thought, so call it Johnson's act.
Go farther still, and stop the teeming press;
If wishing's treason, writing is no less.
Safe in your votes, corruption now invites:
This is your time—lop off the hand that writes.
By libels full of truth, your Mansfield bleeds,
And Bute still dreads impeachment's swelling seeds.
Preserve your sov'reign in tyrannic health;
Nor let him read the CRISIS but by stealth.
No quarter to that whiggish Crisis give;
Aut let the Tory patriot's falsehoods live.
[Page 154] Let Johnson's sheets attrack the monarch's eye;
There he may see how knaves well paid can lye.
In Johnson's tenets let him read his own,
That kings are born to laugh whilst subjects groan;
That pow'r is their's in supplication's spite;
Whatever they and heav'n inflict, is right.
When kings for wanton slaughter give the word,
Subjects are bound to fall upon their sword.
When kings by famine choose their slaves shou'd die;
Those slaves must drop without an asking eye.
So much for life—to claim our own is vain:
Like Montesquieu they fancy who complain.
What has a slave? nor fire, nor cloaths, nor meat;
Not for themselves they're warm'd, or cloath'd, or eat;
But to desend their master in his pride;
Their sov'reign; who may tax their very hide.
Flay off their skin in wantonness and sport,
Or send an order for their heads from court.
Shou'd freedom's odious form presume to rise,
North makes a motion, and the phantom flies.
Mansfield and Bute the murd'rous bill invent.
North brings it in—'tis pass'd—and gains assent.
No tax, no pain, no penalty's too much;
All are thrice hallow'd by the scepter's touch.
Thus by no tyranny the slave's oppress'd;
The means are sacred, and the end is bless'd.
He's the best subject who most prostrate lies,
He's the true patriot who submits and dies.
Thus Johnson writes: at court his works have praise;
No resolution whims in George's days!
Thus frantic savages present their breast,
To pointed lightnings, with false zeal possess'd;
[Page 155] Behold th' enthusiasts all Jove's rage invoke;
And he's the happiest who receives the stroke.
O mighty king! wise council! righteous throne!
Where freedom, property, nor life's our own.
Briton's adore this sun, that gilds your days,
Surround St. James's with new songs of praise.
Let Wilkes no more, like Beckford's ghost, arise,
And with petitions fear his sov'reign's eyes,
For wrong'd America, let pity cease,
Let all her sons be massacr'd in peace.
Those minds, says George, which sympathy can stir,
In blackest treason with his foes concurr.
Those are his foes; Bute's, North's, and Mansfield's too,
Who of their actions take too near a view.
Demand the cause why sword or famine drinks
Bostonian blood?—Cries Johnson, Boston thinks;
Thinks as her cursed ancestors were us'd,
By whom our martyr Charles was so abus'd.
O glorious martydom! henceforth appear,
The joyous feast of ev'ry future year.
Blest be those shades! who taught our kings to dread,
No loss of honour like a loss of head!
'Tis that alone, my lord, that can restrain
Kings and their minions in a tyrant reign.
The good or ill their ministers may do,
Arises always from the point in view.
Their darling aim gives life to their designs;
Now vacates patents, and now watches mines.
To day supplants a Bentick in his right,
And backs mean Lowther in a legal fight;
The board of customs by direction meet
To-morrow, and pronounce Sir James a cheat.
[Page 156] For why? of late Sir James too restive draws;
To scourge him North pretends a public cause.
Now for Sir James, in patents picking holes,
And now against him for his frauds in coals.
Thus we discern the justice of the state;
That kings and ministers breathe life or fate:
Petitions as rebellious are withstood,
Whilst spleen is gratify'd for public good.
Beware the goal, my lord, nor drive too high;
Kings dare be tyrants, but they durst not die.
'Tis a nice conduct that can steer between
King's lusts, mens rights, and ills that intervene.
When godlike kings (like Alfred) give assent
To all that can relieve, assist, content;
When justice by the royal touch gains force,
And virtue is supported in her course;
When regal power is for a blessing us'd,
And mercy like the beams of heaven diffus'd;
Then righteousness and truth surround the throne,
Then kings are ministers that heav'n may own.
By day their presence gives all hearts delight,
And ev'ry subject is their guard by night.
But when inflate with pride they ape the god;
Affect to damp addresses with a nod;
Check and o'er bear the humble suitor's claim,
And give to liberty, vile treason's name:
When in their face and words the tyrant's reigns,
And free born subjects must receive their chains;
When you, my lord, behold this daring scene,
With caution steer your little bark between
The sov'reign's and the subject's side;
On a rough sea behold each vessel ride,
This mann'd by freedom, that by tyrant pride.

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