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all that has been suggested, taken upon me the most necessary work of removing national prejudices against the two most capital blessings of the world, Peace and Union, I should have the disaster to have the nations receive the doctrine and damn the teacher,
“Should I descend to particulars, it would hardly appear credible that in a Christian, a i rotestant, and a Reformed nation, any man should receive such treatment as I have done, even from those very people whose consciences and judgments have stooped to the venerable truth, owned it has been useful, serviceable, and seasonable.
"I am charged with partiality, bribery, pensions, and payments-a thing the circumstances, family, and fortunes of a man devoted to his country's peace clears me of. If paid, gentlemen, for writing, if hired, if employed, why still harassed with merciless and malicious men, why pursued to all extremities by law for old accounts, which you clear other men of every day? Why oppressed, distressed, and driven
from his family and from all his prospects of delivering them or himself ? Is this the fate of men employed and hired ? Is this the figure the agents of Courts and Princes make ? Certainly had I been hired or employed, those people who own the service would by this time have set their servant 'free from the fittle and implacable malice of litigious persecutions, murthering warrants, and men whose mouths are to be stopt by trifles. Let this suffice to clear me of all the little and scandalous charges of being hired and employed."
But then, people ask, if he was not officially employed, what had le to do with these affairs? Why should he meddle with them? To this he answers :
“Truly, gentlemen, this is just the case. I saw a parcel of people caballing together to ruin property, corrupt the laws, invade the Government, debauch the people, and in short, enslave and embroil the nation, and I cried • Fire !' or rather I cried Water !' for the fire was begun already. I see all the nation running into confusions and directly flying in the face of one another, and cried out 'Peace!' I called upon all sorts of people that had any senses to collect them toget er and judge for themselves what they were going to do, and excited them to lay hold of the madmen and take from them the wicked weapon, the knife with which they were going to destroy their mother, rip up the bowels of their country, and at last effectually ruin themselves.
"And what had I to do with this ? Why, yes, gentlemen, I had the same right as every man that has a footing in his country, or that has a posterity to possess liberty and claim right, mu: t have, to preserve the laws, liberty, and government of that country to which he belongs, and he that charges me with meddling in what does not concern me, meddles himself with what 'tis plain he does not understand.”
“I am not the first,” Defoe said in another place, “that has been stoned for saying the truth. I cannot but think that as time and the conviction of their senses will restore men to love the peace now established in this nation, so they will gradually see I have acted no part but that of a lover of my country, and an honest man.
Time has undeniably shown that in these efforts to promote party peace and national union Defoe acted like a lover of his country, and that his aims were the aims of a statesmanlike as well as an honest
And yet his protestations of independence and spontaneity of action, with all their ring of truth and all their solemnity of asseveration, were merely diplomatic blinds. He was all the time, as he afterwards admitted, when the admission could do no harm except to his own passing veracity, acting as the agent of Harley, and in enjoyment of an “appointment” from the Queen. What exactly the nature of nis secret services in Scotland and elsewhere was, he very properly refused to reveal. His business probably was to ascertain and report the opinions of influential persons, and keep the Government informed as far as he could of the general state of feeling. At any rate it was not, as he alleged, mere curiosity, or the fear of his creditors, or pri vate enterprise, or pure and simple patriotic zeal, that took Defoe to Scotland. The use he made of his debts as diplomatic instruments is curious. He not merely practised his faculties in the management of his creditors, which one of Lord Beaconsfield's characters commends as an incomparable means to a sound knowledge of human nature ; but he made his debts actual pieces in his political game. erty, apparent, if not real, served as a screen for his employment under Government. When he was despatched on secret missions, he could depart wiping his eyes at the hardship of having to flee from his creditors.
DR. SACHEVERELL, AND THE CHANGE OF GOVERNMENT.
SOME of Defoe's biographers have claimed for him that he anticipated the doctrines of Free Trade. This is an error. It is true that Defoe was never tired of insisting, in pamphlets, books, and number after number of the Review, on the all-importance of trade to the nation. Trade was the foundation of England's greatness ; success in trade was the most honourable patent of nobility ; next to the maintenance of the Protestant religion, the encouragement of trade should be the chief care of English statesmen. On these heads Defoe's enthusiasm was boundless, and his eloquence inexhaustible. It is true also that he supported with all his might the commercial clauses of the Treaty of Utrecht, which sought to abolish the prohibitory duties on our trade with France. It is this last circumstance which has earned for him the repute of being a pioneer of Free Trade. But his title to that repute does not bear examination. He was not so far in advance of his age as to detect the fallacy of the mercantile system. On the contrary, he avowed his adherence to it against those of his contemporaries who were inclined to call it in question. How Defoe came to support the new commercial treaty with France, and the grounds on which he supported it, can only be understood by looking at his relations with the Government.
While Defoe was living in Scotland in 1707, and filling the Review so exclusively with Scotch affairs that his readers, according to his own account, began to say that the fellow could talk of nothing but the Union, and had grown mighty dull of late, Harley's position in the Ministry was gradually becoming very insecure. He was suspected of cooling in his zeal for the war, and of keeping up clandes. tine relations with the Tories ; and when Marlborough returned from his campaign at the close of the year he insisted upon the Secretary's dismissal. The Queen, who secretly resented the Marlborough yoke, at first refused her consent. Presently an incident occurred which gave them an excuse for more urgent pressure. One Gregg, a clerk in Harley's office, was discovered to be in secret correspondence with the French Court, furnishing Louis with the contents of important State papers. Harley was charged with complicity. The charge was groundless, but he could not acquit himself of gross negligence in the custody of his papers. Godolphin and Marlborough threatened to resign unless he was dismissed. Then the Queen yielded.
When Harley fell, Defoe, according to his own account, in the Appeal to Honour and Justice, looked upon himself as lost, taking it for granted that “when a great officer fell, all who came in by his interest fall with him.” But when his benefactor heard of this, and of Defoe's “ resolution never to abandon the fortunes of the man to whom he owed so much,” he kindly urged the devoted follower to think rather of his own interest than of any romantic obligation. “My lord Treasurer,” he said, will employ you in nothing but what is for the public service, and agreeably to your own sentiments of things ; and besides it is the Queen you are serving, who has been very good to you. Pray apply yourselves as you used to do ; I shall not take it ill from you in the least.” To Godolphin accordingly Defoe applied himself, was by him introduced a second time to Her Majesty and to the honour of kissing her hand, and obtained “the continuance of an appointment which Her Majesty had been pleased to make him in consideration of a former special service he had done.” This was the appointment which he held while he was challenging his enemies to say whether his outward circumstances looked like the figure the agents of Courts and Princes make.
The services on which Defoe was employed were, as before, of two kinds, active and literary. Shortly after the change in the Ministry early in 1708, news came of the gathering of the French expedition at Dunkirk, with a view, it was suspected, of trying to effect a landing in Scotland. Defoe was at once despatched to Edinburgh on an errand which, he says, was “far from being unfit for a sovereign to direct or an honest man to perform.” If his duties were to mix with the people and ascertain the state of public feeling, and more specifically to sound suspected characters, to act, in short, as a political detective or spy, the service was one which it was essential that the Government should get some trustworthy person to undertake, and which any man at“ snch a crisis might perform, if he could, without any discredit to his honesty or his patriotism. The independence of
the sea-girt realm was never in greater peril. The French expedition was a well conceived diversion, and it was imperative that the Gov. ernment should know on what amount of support the invaders might rely in the bitterness prevailing in Scotland after the Union. Fortunately the loyalty of the Scotch Jacobites was not put to the test. As in the case of the Spanish Armada, accident fought on our side. The French fleet succeeded in reaching the coast of Scotland before the ships of the defenders ; but it overshot its arranged landing-point, and had no hope but to sail back ingloriously to Dunkirk. Meantime, Defoe had satisfactorily discharged himself of his mission. Godolphin showed his appreciation of his services by recalling him as soon as Parliament was dissolved, to travel through the counties and serve the cause of the Government in the general elections. He was frequently sent to Scotland again on similarly secret errands, and seems to have established a printing business there, made arrangements for the simultaneous issue of the Review in Edinburgh and London, besides organizing Edinburgh newspapers, executing commissions for English merchants, and setting on foot a linen manufactory.
But we are more concerned with the literary labours of this versatile and indefatigable genius. These, in the midst of his multifarious commercial and diplomatic concerns, he never intermitted. All the tiine the Review continued to give a brilliant support to the Ministry. The French expedition had lent a new interest to the affairs of Scotland, and Defoe advertised that, though he never intended to make the Review a newspaper, circumstances enabled him to furnish exceptionally correct intelligence from Scotland as well as sound and impartial opinions. The intelligence which he communicated was all with a purpose, and a good purpose the promotion of a better understanding between the united nations. He never had a better opportunity for preaching from his favourite text of Peace and Union, and he used it characteristically, championing the cause of the Scotch Presbyterians, asserting the firmness of their loyalty, smoothing over trading grievances by showing elaborately how both sides benefited from the arrangements of the Union, launching shafts in every direction at his favourite butts, and never missing a chance of exulting in his own superior wisdom. In what a posture would England have been now, he cried, if those wiseacres had been listened to, who were for trusting the defence of England solely to the militia and the fleet ! Would our fleet have kept the French from landing if Providence had pot interposed ? and if they had landed, would a militia, undermined by. disaffection, have been able to beat them back? The French king deserved a vote of thanks for opening the eyes of the nation against foolish advise's, and for helping it to heal internal divisions, Louis, poor gentleman, was much to be pitied, for his informers had evi. dently served him badly, and had led him to expect a greater amount
of support from disloyal factions than they had the will or the courage to expect.
During the electoral canvass, Defoe surpassed himself in the lively vigour of his advocacy of the Whig cause. “And now, gentlemen of England,” he began in the Review—as it went on he became more and more direct and familiar in his manner of addressing his readers-
we are a-going to choose Parliament men, I will tell you a story.” And he proceeded to tell how in a certain borough a great patron procured the election of a “shock dog” as its parliamentary representative. Money and ale, Defoe says, could do anything. “God knows I speak it with regret for you all and for your posterity, it is not an impossible thing to debauch this nation into a choice of thieves, knaves, devils, shock dogs, or anything comparatively speaking, by the power of various intoxications.” He spent several numbers of the Review in an ironical advise to the electors to choose Tories, showing with all his skill “the mighty and prevailing reason why we should have a Tory Parliament.” O gentlemen,” he cried, “if we have any mind to buy some more experience, be sure and choose Tories.” “We want a little instruction, we want to go to school to knaves and fools." Afterwards, dropping this thin mask, he declared that among the electors only “the drunken, the debauched, the swearing, the persecuting” would vote for the High-fliers. “The grave, the sober, the thinking, the prudent,” would vote for the Whigs. "A House of Tories is a House of Devils.” “If ever we have a Tory Parliament, the nation is undone.” In his Appeal to Honour and Justice Defoe explained, that while he was serving Godolphin, “being resolved to remove all possible ground of sus. picion that he kept any secret correspondence, he never visited, or wrote to, or any way corresponded with his principal benefactor for above three years.” Seeing that Harley was at that time the leader of the party which Defoe was denouncing with such spirit, it would have been strange indeed if there had been much intercourse between them.
Though regarded after his fall from office as the natural leader of the Tory party, Harley was a very reserved politician, who kept his own counsel, used instruments of many shapes and sizes, steered clear of entangling engagements, and left himself free to take advantage of various opportunities. To wage war against the Ministry was the work of more ardent partisans. He stood by and waited while Bolingbroke and Rochester and their allies in the press cried out that the Government was now in the hands of the enemies of the Church, accused the Whigs of protracting the war to fill their own pockets with the plunder of the Sapplies, and called upon the nation to put an end to their jobbery and mismanagement. The victory of Ouden. arde in the summer of 1708 gave them a new handle. • What is the good,” they cried, “ of these glorious victories, if they do not bring