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funk under the cenfure and obloquy of plodding fervile, imitating pedants; I do not mean by a true genius, any bold writer, who breaks through the rules of decency to diftinguish himself by the fingularity of his opinions: but one, who upon a deferving fubject is able to open new fcenes, and difcover a vein of true and noble thinking, which never entered into any imagination before; every ftroke of whofe pen is worth all the paper blotted by hundreds of others in the compass of their lives. I know, my Lord, your friends all offer in your defence, that, in your private capacity, you never refused your purfe and credit to the fervice and fupport of learned or ingenious men; and that ever fince you have been in public employment, you have conftantly beftowed your favours on the moft deferving perfons. But I defire your lordfhip not to be deceived: we never will admit of these excufes, nor will allow your private liberality, as great as it is, to attone for your exceffive public thrift. But here again I am afraid moft good fubjects will interpofe in your defence, by alledging the defpérate condition you found the nation in, and the neceffity there was for fo able and faithful a steward to retrieve it, if poffible, by the utmoft frugality. We grant all this, my Lord; but then it ought likewife to be confidered, that you have already faved feveral millions to the public, and that what we ask is too inconfiderable to break into any rulės of the stricteft good husbandry. The French King bestows about half a dozen penfions to learned men in feveral parts of Europe, and perhaps a dozen in his own kingdom; which in the whole do probably not amount to half the income of many a private commoner in England; yet have more contributed to the glory of that prince, than any million he hath otherwife employed. For learning, like all true merit, is eafily fatished; whilft the false and counterfeit is perpetually craving, and never thinks

it hath enough. The fmalleft favour given by a great prince, as a mark of efteem, to reward the endowments of the mind, never fails to be returned with praise and gratitude, and loudly celebrated to the world. I have known fome years ago several penfions given to particular perfons. (how defervedly I fhall not enquire), any one of which, if divided into smaller parcels, and distributed by the crown, to those who might upon occafion diftinguish themselves by fome extraordinary production of wit or learning, would be amply fufficient to answer the end. Or if any fuch perfons were above money (as every great genius certainly is, with very moderate conveniencies of life), a medal, or fome mark of diftinction, would do full as well.

But I forget my province, and find myself turning projector before I am aware; although it be one of the laft characters under which I should defire to appear before your Lordfhip, efpecially when I have the ambition of afpiring to that of being, with the greatest respect and truth,

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Some FREE THOUGHTS upon the PRESENT STATE of AFFAIRS.*.

Written in the year 1714.

7HATEVER may be thought or practifed by profound politicians, they will hardly be able to convince the reasonable part of mankind, that the most plain, fhort, easy, and lawful way to any good end is not more eligible, than one direct

About a month before the demife of Queen Anne, the Dean having laboured to reconcile the minifters to each other without fuc cefs, retired to the house of a friend in Berkshire, and never faw them more. But, during this retreat, he wrote the following treatife, which he thought might be of fome ufe even in that juncture, and fent it up to London to be printed: but, upon fome difference in opinion between the author and the late Lord Bolingbroke, the publication was delayed till (the Queen's death: and then he recalled his copy. It was afterwards placed in the hands of the late Alderman Barber, from whom it was obtained to be printed. The ruin of the miniftry by this animofity among themselves, was long forefeen and foretold by Swift; and it appears by Lord Bolingbroke's letter to Sir William Wyndham, that in his heart he renounced his friendship for Oxford long before the conclusion of the peace, though it did not appear till afterwards. "The peace", fays he, "which "had been judged to be the only folid foundation whereupon we "could erect a Tory system, and yet when it was made we found "ourfelves at a ftand; nay, the very work, which ought to have "been the bafis of our ftrength, was in part demolished before our "eyes, and we were ftoned with the ruins of it." This event pro

bably rendered the difunion of the miniftry visible; fome principally endeavouring to fecure themselves, fome ftill labouring to establish at all events the party they had efpoufed, which faw nothing but "in"crease of mortification and nearer approaches to ruin". And it is not to be wondered at, that when this treatise was written, the Dean's attempts to reconcile his friends were unsuccessful; for Bolingbroke declares, that he abhorred Oxford to fuch a degree, that he would rather have fuffered banishment or death, than have taken measures in concert with him to have avoided either.

When you have read this pamphlet, digito compefce labellum. Orrgery.

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ly contrary in fome or all of thefe qualities. I have been frequently affured by great minifters, that politics were nothing but common fenfe ; which, as it was the only true thing they spoke, fo it was the only thing they could have wifhed I fhould not believe. God hath given the bulk of mankind a capacity to understand reason when it is fairly offered; and by reafon they would easily be governed, it it were left to their choice. Thofe princes in all ages, who were most distinguished for their myfterious fkill in government, found by the event, that they had ill confulted their own quiet, or the ease and happiness of their people : nor hath posterity remembered them with honour; fuch as Lyfander and Philip among the Greeks, Tiberius in Rome, Pope Alexander the fixth and his fon Cæfar Borgia, Queen Catherine de Medicis, . Philip the fecond of Spain, with many others. Nor are examples lefs frequent of minifters, famed for men of deep intrigue, whofe politics have produced little more than murmurings, factions, and difcontents, which usually terminated in the disgrace and ruin of the authors.

I can recollect but three occafions in a state, where the talents of fuch men may be thought neceffary; I mean in a ftate where the prince is obey ed and loved by his fubjects: firft, in the nego ciation of a peace; fecondly, in adjusting the interests of our own country with those of the na tions round us, watching the feveral motions of our neighbours and allies, and preferving a due balance among them: laftly, in the management of parties and factions at home. In the firft of thefe cafes I have often heard it obferved, that plain good fenfe and a firm adherence to the point, have proved more effectual than all thofe arts, which I remember a great foreign minifter used in contempt to call the fpirit of negociating. In the fecond cafe much wifdom and a thorough knowledge

knowledge in affairs, both foreign and domeftic, are certainly required: after which I know no talents neceffary befides method and skill in the common forms of bufinefs. In the laft cafe, which is that of managing parties, there feems indeed to be more occafion for employing this gift of the lower politics, whenever the tide runs high against the court and miniftry, which feldom happens under any tolerable administration, while the true intereft of the nation is purfued. But, here in England (for I do not pretend to establish maxims of government in general) while the prince and miniftry, the clergy, the majority of landed-men, and bulk of the people, appear to have the same views and the fame principles, it is not obvious to me, how thofe at the helm can have many oppor. tunities of fhewing their skill in mystery and refinement, befides what themfelves think fit to

create.

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I have been affured by men long practifed in bufinefs, that the fecrets of court are much fewer than we generally fuppofe; and I hold it for the greateft fecret of court, that they are fo: because the firft fprings of great events, like thofe of great rivers, are often fo mean and fo little, that in decency they ought to be hid and therefore minifters are fo wife to leave their proceedings to be accounted for by reafoners at a distance, who often mould them into fyftems, that do not only go down very well in the coffee-house, but are fupplies for pamphlets in the prefent age, and may probably furnish materials for memoirs and hiftories in the next.

It is true indeed, that even thofe who are very near the court; and are supposed to have a large fhare in the management of public matters, are apt to deduct wrong confequences, by reafoning upon the causes and motives of thofe actions wherein themselves are employed. A great minifter puts

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