The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 4/A Letter Concerning the Sacramental Test










I RECEIVED your letter, wherein you tell me of the strange representations made of us on your side of the water. The instance you are pleased to mention is that of the presbyterian missionary, who, according to your phrase, has been lately persecuted at Drogheda for his religion: but it is easy to observe, how mighty industrious some people have been for three or four years past, to hand about stories of the hardships, the merits, the number, and the power of the presbyterians in Ireland; to raise formidable ideas of the dangers of popery there, and to transmit all for England, improved by great additions, and with special care to have them inserted, with comments, in those infamous weekly papers, that infest your coffeehouses. So, when the clause enacting a sacramental test was put in execution, it was given out in England, that half the justices of peace, through this kingdom, had laid down their commissions: whereas, upon examination, the whole number was found to amount only to a dozen or thirteen, and those generally of the lowest rate in fortune or understanding, and some of them superannuated. So, when the earl of Pembroke was in Ireland, and the parliament sitting, a formal story was very gravely carried to his excellency, by some zealous members, of a priest newly arrived from abroad to the northwest parts of Ireland, who had publickly preached to his people, to fall a murdering the protestants; which, though invented to serve an end they were then upon, and are still driving at, was presently handed over, and printed with shrewd remarks by your worthy scribblers. In like manner, the account of that person, who was lately expelled our university for reflecting on the memory of king William: what a dust it raised, and how foully it was related, is fresh enough in memory. Neither would people be convinced, till the university was at the pains of publishing a Latin paper to justify themselves. And to mention no more, this story of the persecution at Drogheda, how it has been spread and aggravated, what consequences have been drawn from it, and what reproaches fixed on those who have least deserved them, we are already informed. Now if the end of all this proceeding were a secret and mystery, I should not pretend to give it an interpretation; but sufficient care has been taken to explain it, first, by addresses artificially (if not illegally) procured, to show the miserable state of the dissenters in Ireland by reason of the sacramental test, and to desire the queen's intercession, that it might be repealed. Then, it is manifest, that our speaker[1], when he was last year in England, solicited in person several members of both houses to have it repealed by an act there; though it be a matter purely national, that cannot possibly interfere with the trade and interest of England; and though he himself appeared formerly the most zealous of all men, against the injustice of binding a nation by laws, to which they do not consent. And, lastly, those weekly libellers, whenever they get a tale by the end relating to Ireland, without once troubling their thoughts about the truth, always end it with an application against the sacramental test, and the absolute necessity there is of repealing it in both kingdoms. I know it may be reckoned a weakness to say any thing of such trifles, as are below a serious man's notice; much less would I disparage the understanding of any party, to think they would choose the vilest and most ignorant among mankind, to employ them for the assertors of a cause. I shall only say, that the scandalous liberty those wretches take, would hardly be allowed, if it were not mingled with opinions that some men would be glad to advance. Besides, how insipid soever those papers are, they seem to be levelled to the understanding of a great number; they are grown a necessary part in coffeehouse furniture, and some time or other may happen to be read by customers of all ranks, for curiosity and amusement, because they lie always in the way. One of those authors (the fellow that was pilloried, I have forgot his name[2]) is indeed so grave, sententious, dogmatical a rogue, that there is no enduring him; the observator[3] is much the brisker of the two, and I think farther gone of late in lies and impudence, than his presbyterian brother. The reason why I mention him, is, to have an occasion of letting you know, that you have not dealt so gallantly with is, as we did with you in a parallel case: last year a paper was brought here from England, called A Dialogue between the Archbishop of Canterbury and Mr. Higgins, which we ordered to be burnt by the common hangman, as it well deserved, though we have no more to do with his grace of Canterbury[4], than you have with the archbishop of Dublin; nor can you love and reverence your prelate, more than we do ours, whom you tamely suffer to be abused openly, and by name, by that paltry rascal of an observator; and lately upon an affair wherein he had no concern; I mean the business of the missionary of Drogheda, wherein our excellent primate was engaged, and did nothing but according to law and discretion. But because the lord archbishop of Dublin[5] has been upon several occasions, of late years, misrepresented in England, I would willingly set you right in his character. For his great sufferings and eminent services, he was by the late king promoted to the see of Derry. About the same time he wrote a book to justify the revolution, wherein was an account of king James's proceedings in Ireland; and the late archbishop Tillotson recommended it to the king, as the most serviceable treatise, that could have been published at such a juncture. And as his grace set out upon those principles, he has proceeded so ever since, as a loyal subject to the queen, entirely for the succession in the protestant line, and for ever excluding the pretender; and though a firm friend to the church, yet with indulgence toward dissenters, as appears from his conduct at Derry, where he was settled for many years among the most virulent of the sect, yet upon his removal to Dublin, they parted from him with tears in their eyes, and universal acknowledgments of his wisdom and goodness. For the rest, it must be owned, he does not busy himself by entering deep into any party, but rather spends his time in acts of hospitality and charity, in building churches, repairing his palace, in introducing and preferring the worthiest persons he can find, without other regards: in short, in the practice of all virtues, that can become a publick or private life. This and more, if possible, is due to so excellent a person, who may be justly reckoned among the greatest and most learned prelates of this age, however his character may be defiled by such mean and dirty hands, as those of the observator, or such as employ him.

I now come to answer the other part of your letter, and shall give you my opinion freely about repealing the sacramental test; only, whereas you desire my thoughts as a friend, and not as I am member of parliament, I must assure you they are exactly the same in both capacities.

I must begin by telllng you, we are generally surprised at your wonderful kindness to us on this occasion, in being so very industrious to teach us to see our interests in a point, where we are so unable to see it ourselves. This has given us some suspicion; and though in my own particular I am hugely bent to believe, that whenever you concern yourselves in our affairs, it is certainly for our good, yet I have the misfortune to be something singular in this belief; and therefore I never attempt to justify it, but content myself to possess my own opinion in private, for fear of encountering men of more wit or words, than I have to spare.

We at this distance, who see nothing of the spring of action, are forced, by mere conjecture to assign two reasons for your desiring us to repeal the sacramental test; one is, because you are said to imagine it will be a step toward the like good work in England. The other more immediate, that it will open a way for rewarding several persons, who have well deserved upon a great occasion, but who are now unqalified through that impediment.

I do not frequently quote poets, especially English; but I remember there is in some of Mr. Cowley's love verses a strain, that I thought extraordinary at fifteen, and have often since imagined it to be spoken by Ireland.

Forbid it, Heaven, my life should be
Weigh'd with her least conveniency.

In short, whatever advantage you propose to yourselves by repealing the sacramental test, speak it out plainly, it is the best argument you can use, for we value your interest much more than our own; if your little finger be sore, and you think a poultice made of our vitals will give it any ease, speak the word, and it shall be done: the interest of our whole kingdom, is at any time ready to strike to that of your poorest fishing towns; it is hard you will not accept our services, unless we believe at the same time, that you are only consulting our profit, and giving us marks of your love. If there be a fire at some distance, and I immediately blow up my house before there be occasion, because you are a man of quality, and apprehend some danger to a corner of your stable; yet why should you require me to attend, next morning at your levee, with my humble thanks for the favour you have done me?

If we might be allowed to judge for ourselves, we had abundance of benefit by the sacramental test, and foresee a number of mischiefs would be the consequence of repealing; it; and we conceive the objections made against it by the dissenters, are of no manner of force. They tell us of their merits in the late war in Ireland, and how cheerfully they engaged for the safety of the nation; that if they had thought they had been fighting only other people's quarrels, perhaps it might have cooled their zeal; and that for the future they shall sit down quietly, and let us do our work ourselves; nay, that it is necessary they should do so, since they cannot take up arms under the penalty of high treason.

Now supposing them to have done their duty, as I believe they did, (and not to trouble them about the fly on the wheel) I thought liberty, property, and religion, had been the three subjects of the quarrel; and have not all those been amply secured to them? had they at that time a mental reservation for power and employments? and must these two articles be added henceforward in our national quarrels? It is grown a mighty conceit among some men, to melt down the phrase of a church established by law, into that of the religion of the magistrate; of which appellation it is easier to find the reason than the sense: if by the magistrate they mean the prince, the expression includes a falshood; for when king James was prince, the established church was the same it is now. If by the same word they mean the legislature, we desire no more. But be that as it will, we of this kingdom believe the church of Ireland to be the national church, and the only one established by law, and are willing by the same law to give a toleration to dissenters; but if once we repeal our sacramental test, and grant a toleration, or suspend the execution of the penal laws, I do not see how we can be said to have any established church remaining; or rather, why there will not be as many established churches, as there are sects of dissenters. No, say they, yours will still be the national church, because your bishops and clergy are maintained by the publick: but, that I suppose will be of no long duration, and it would be very unjust it should, because, to speak in Tindal's phrase, it is not reasonable that revenues should be annexed to one opinion, more than another, when all are equally lawful; and it is the same author's maxim, that no freeborn subject ought to pay for maintaining speculations he does not believe. But why should any man, upon account of opinions he cannot help, be deprived of the opportunity of serving his queen and country? Their zeal is commendable, and when employments go a begging for want of hands, they shall be sure to have the refusal, only upon condition they will not pretend to them upon maxims, which equally include atheists, turks, jews, infidels, and hereticks; or, which is still more dangerous, even papists themselves: the former you allow, the other you deny; because these last own a foreign power, and therefore must be shut out. But there is no great weight in this; for their religion can suit with free states, with limited or absolute monarchies, as well as a better; and the pope's power in France is but a shadow; so that, upon this foot, there need be no great danger to the constitution, by admitting papists to employments. I will help you to enough of them who shall be ready to allow the pope as little power here as you please; and the bare opinion of his being vicar of Christ, is but a speculative point, for which no man, it seems, ought to be deprived of the capacity of serving his country.

But, if you please, I will tell you the great objection we have against repealing this same sacramental test. It is, that we are verily persuaded, the consequence will be an entire alteration of religion among us, in no great compass of years. And pray, observe how we reason here in Ireland upon this matter.

We observe the Scots in our northern parts, to be a brave industrious people, extremely devoted to their religion, and full of an undisturbed affection toward each other. Numbers of that noble nation, invited by the fertilities of the soil, are glad to exchange their barren hills of Loquabar, by a voyage of three hours, for our fruitful vales of Down and Antrim, so productive of that grain, which, at little trouble and less expense, finds diet and lodging for themselves and their cattle. These people, by their extreme parsimony, wonderful dexterity in dealing, and firm adherence to one another, soon grow into wealth from the smallest beginnings, never are rooted out where they once fix, and increase daily by new supplies: besides, when they are the superiour number in any tract of ground, they are not over patient of mixture; but such, whom they cannot assimilate, soon find it their interest to remove. I have done all in my power, on some land of my own, to preserve two or three English fellows in their neighbourhood, but found it impossible, though one of them thought he had sufficiently made his court by turning presbyterian. Add to all this, that they bring along with them from Scotland a most formidable notion of our church, which they look upon at least three degrees worse than popery: and it is natural it should be so, since they come over full fraught with that spirit, which taught them to abolish episcopacy at home.

Then we proceed farther, and observe, that the gentlemen of employments here make a very considerable number in the house of commons, and have no other merit, but that of doing their duty in their several stations; therefore when the test is repealed, it will be highly reasonable they should give place to those, who have much greater services to plead. The commissions of the revenue are soon disposed of, and the collectors and other officers throughout this kingdom, are generally appointed by the commissioners, which gives them a mighty influence in every county. As much may he said of the great offices in the law; and when this door is open to let dissenters into the commissions of the peace, to make them high sheriffs, mayors of corporations, and officers of the army and militia, I do not see how it can be otherwise, considering their industry and our supineness, but that they may, in a very few years, grow to a majority in the house of commons, and consequently make themselves the national religion, and have a fair pretence to demand the revenues of the church for their teachers. I know it will be objected, that if all this should happen as I describe, yet the presbyterian religion could never be made the national by act of parliament, because our bishops are so great a number in the house of lords; and without a majority there, the church could not be abolished. But I have two very good expedients for that, which I shall leave you to guess, and I dare swear our speaker here has often thought on, especially having endeavoured at one of them so lately. To convince you, that this design is not so foreign from some people's thoughts, I must let you know, that an honest bellwether of our house[6], (you have him now in England, I wish you could keep him there) had the impudence some years, ago, in parliament time, to shake my lord bishop of Kilaloo[7] by his lawn sleeve, and tell him, in a threatening manner, "that he hoped to live to see the day, when there should not be one of his order in the kingdom."

These last lines perhaps you think a digression; therefore to return: I have told you the consequences we fully reckon upon, from repealing the sacramental test, which although the greatest number of such as are for doing it, are actually in no manner of pain about it, and many of them care not threepence whether there be any church, or not; yet because they pretend to argue from conscience, as well as policy and interest, I thought it proper to understand and answer them accordingly.

Now, sir, in answer to your question, whether, if any attempt should be made here for repealing the sacramental test, it would be likely to succeed? the number of professed dissenters in this parliament was, as I remember, something under a dozen, and I cannot call to mind above thirty others, who were expected to fall in with them. This is certain, that the presbyterian party, having with great industry mustered up their forces, did endeavour one day, upon occasion of a hint in my lord Pembroke's speech, to introduce a debate about repealing the test clause, when there appeared at least four to one odds against them; and the ablest of those, who were reckoned the most staunch and thoroughpaced whigs upon all other occasions, fell off with an abhorrence at the first mention of this.

I must desire you to take notice, that the terms of whig and tory, do not properly express the different interests in our parliament. I remember, when I was last in England, I told the king, that the highest tories we had with us would make tolerable whigs there: this was certainly right, and still in the general continues so, unless you have since admitted new characteristicks, which did not come within our definition. Whoever bears a true veneration for the glorious memory of king William, as our great deliverer from popery and slavery; whoever is firmly loyal to our present queen, with an utter abhorrence and detestation of the pretender; whoever approves the succession to the crown in the house of Hanover, and is for preserving the doctrine and discipline of the church of England, with an indulgence for scrupulous consciences; such a man we think acts upon right principles, and may be justly allowed a whig: and I believe there are not six members in our house of commons, who may not fairly come under this description. So that the parties among us are made up, on one side, of moderate whigs, and on the other of presbyterians and their abettors; by which last I mean such, who can equally go to a church or conventicle, or such who are indifferent to all religion in general; or lastly, such who affect to bear a personal rancour toward the clergy: these last are a set of men not of our own growth, their principles at least have been imported of late years; yet this whole party put together, will scarce, I am confident, amount to above fifty men in parliament, which can hardly be worked up into a majority of three hundred.

As to the house of lords, the difficulty there, is conceived at least as great as in ours. So many of our temporal peers live in England, that the bishops are generally pretty near a par of the house, and we reckon they will be all to a man against repealing the test; and yet their lordships are generally thought as good whigs upon our principles, as any in the kingdom. There are indeed a few lay lords, who appear to have no great devotion for episcopacy; and perhaps one or two more, with whom certain powerful motives might be used, for removing any difficulty whatsoever: but these are, in no sort, a number to carry any point against a conjunction of the rest, and the whole bench of bishops.

Besides, the whole body of our clergy is utterly against repealing the test, though they are entirely devoted to her majesty, and hardly one in a hunrdred, who are not very good whigs, in our acceptation of the word: And I must let you know, that we of Ireland are not yet come up to other folk's refinements, for we generally love and esteem our clergy, and think they deserve it; nay, we are apt to lay some weight upon their opinion, and would not willingly disoblige them, at least, unless it were upon some greater point of interest, than this. And their judgment in the present affair is the more to be regarded, because they are the last persons, who will be affected by it: this makes us think them impartial, and that their concern is only for religion, and the interest of the kingdom. Because the act, which repeals the test, will only qualify a layman for an employment, but not a presbyterian or anabaptist preacher, for a church-living. Now I must take leave to inform you, that several members of our house, and myself among the rest, knowing some time ago what was upon the anvil, went to all the clergy we knew of any distinction, and desired their judgment in the matter; wherein we found a most wonderful agreement, there being but one divine that we could hear of in the whole kingdom, who appeared of a contrary sentiment; wherein he afterward stood alone in the convocation, very little to his credit, though, as he hoped, very much to his interest.

I will now consider a little the arguments offered to show the advantages, or rather the necessity of repealing the test in Ireland. We are told, the popish interest is here so formidable, that all hands should be joined to keep it under; that the only names of distinction among us ought to be those of protestant and papist; and that this expedient is the only means to unite all protestants upon one common bottom. All which is nothing but misrepresentation and mistake.

If we were under any real fear of the papists in this kingdom, it would be hard to think us so stupid, as not to be equally apprehensive with others, since we are likely to be the greatest, and more immediate sufferers; but on the contrary, we look upon them to be altogether as inconsiderable, as the women and children. Their lands are almost entirely taken from them, and they are rendered incapable of purchasing any more; and for the little that remains, provision ismade by t e late act against popery, that it will daily crumble away: to prevent which, some of the most considerable among them are already turned protestants, and so in all probability will many more. Then the popish priests are all registered, and without permission (which I hope will not be granted) they can have no successors; so that the protestant clergy will find it perhaps no difficult matter to bring great numbers over to the church; and in the mean time the common people, without leaders, without discipline, or natural courage, being little better than hewers of wood, and drawers of water, are out of all capacity of doing any mischief, if they were ever so well inclined. Neither are they at all likely to join, in any considerable numbers, with an invader, having found so ill success when they were much more numerous and powerful; when they had a prince of their own religion to head them, had been trained for some years under a popish deputy, and received such mighty aids from the French king[8].

As to that argument used for repealing the test, that it will unite all protestants against the common enemy; I wonder by what figure those gentlemen speak, who are pleased to advance it: suppose, in order to increase the friendship between you and me, a law should pass, that I must have half your estate; do you think that would much advance the union between us? or suppose I share my fortune equally between my own children and a stranger, whom I take into my protection; will that be a method to unite them? it is an odd way of uniting parties, to deprive a majority of part of their ancient right, by conferring it on a faction, who had never any right at all, and therefore cannot be said to suffer any loss or injury, if it be refused them. Neither is it very clear, how far some people may stretch the term of common enemy. How many are there of those that call themselves protestants, who look upon our worship to be idolatrous, as well as that of the papists, and with great charity, put prelacy and popery together, as terms convertible?

And therefore there is one small doubt[9] I would be willingly satisfied in, before I agree to the repealing of the test; that is, whether these same protestants, when they have, by their dexterity, made themselves the national religion, and disposed the church revenues among their pastors or themselves, will be so kind to allow us dissenters, I do not say a share in employments, but a bare toleration by law? the reason of my doubt is, because I have been so very idle, as to read above fifty pamphlets, written by as many presbyterian divines, loudly disclaiming this idol toleration; some of them calling it (I know not how properly) a rag of popery, and all agreeing it was to establish iniquity by a law. Now I would be glad to know, when and where their successors have renounced this doctrine, and before what witnesses. Because, methinks I should be loth to see my poor titular bishop in partibus, seized on by mistake in the dark for a jesuit; or be forced myself to keep a chaplain disguised like my butler, and steal to prayers in a back room, as my grandfather used in those times, when the church of England was malignant.

But this is ripping up old quarrels long forgot; popery is now the common enemy, against which we must all unite: I have been tired in history with the perpetual folly of those states, who call in foreigners to assist them against a common enemy: but the mischief was, these allies would never be brought to allow, that the common enemy was quite subdued. And they had reason; for it proved at last, that one part of the common enemy was those who called them in, and so the allies became at length the masters.

It is agreed among naturalists, that a lion is a larger, a stronger, and more dangerous enemy than a cat; yet if a man were to have his choice, either a lion at his foot, bound fast with three or four chains, his teeth drawn out, and his claws pared to the quick, or an angry cat in full liberty at his throat; he would take no long time to determine.

I have been sometimes admiring the wonderful significancy of that word persecution, and what various interpretations it has acquired even within my memory. When I was a boy, I often heard the presbyterians complain, that they were not permitted to serve God in their own way; they said they did not repine at our employments, but thought that all men who live peaceably, ought to have liberty of conscience, and leave to assemble. That impediment being removed at the revolution, they soon learned to swallow the sacramental test, and began to take very large steps, wherein all who offered to oppose them, were called men of a persecuting spirit. During the time the bill against occasional conformity was on foot, persecution was every day rung in our ears, and now at last the sacramental test itself has the same name. Where then is this matter likely to end, when the obtaining of one request, is only used as a step to demand another? a lover is ever complaining of cruelty, while any thing is denied him; when the lady ceases, to be cruel, she is from the next moment at his mercy: so persecution it seems, is every thing, that will not leave it in men's power to persecute others.

There is one argument offered against a sacramental test, by a sort of men, who are content to be styled of the church of England, who perhaps attend its service in the morning, and go with their wives to a conventicle in the afternoon, confessing they hear very good doctrine in both. These men are much offended, that so holy an institution, as that of the Lord's Supper, should be made subservient to such mercenary purposes as the getting of an employment. Now it seems, the law, concluding all men to be members of that church where they receive the sacrament; and supposing all men to live like christians, (especially those who are to have employments) did imagine they received the sacrament in course about four times a year; and therefore only desired it might appear by certificate to the publick, that such, who took an office, were members of the church established, by doing their ordinary duty. However, lest we should offend them, we have often desired they would deal candidly with us: for, if the matter stuck only there, we would propose it in parliament, that every man, who takes an employment, should, instead of receiving the sacrament, be obliged to swear, that he is a member of the church of Ireland by law established, with episcopacy, and so forth; and as they do now in Scotland, to be true to the kirk. But when we drive them thus far, they always retire to the main body of the argument, urge, the hardship that men should be deprived the liberty of serving their queen and country, on account of their conscience; and in short, have recourse to the common style of their half brethren. Now whether this be a sincere way of arguing, I will appeal to any other judgment but theirs.

There is another topick of clamour somewhat parallel to the foregoing: it seems by the test clause, the military officers are obliged to receive the sacrament, as well as the civil. And it is a matter of some patience, to hear the dissenters declaiming upon this occasion: they cry they are disarmed, they are used like papists: when an enemy appears at home, or from abroad, they must sit still, and see their throats cut, or be hanged for high treason if they offer to defend themselves. Miserable condition! woful dilemma! it is happy for us all, that the pretender was not apprised of this passive presbyterian principle, else he would have infallibly landed in our northern parts, and found them all sat down in their formalities, as the Gauls did the Roman senators, ready to die with honour in their callings. Sometimes to appease their indignation, we venture to give them hopes, that in such a case, the government will perhaps connive, and hardly be so severe to hang them for defending it, against the letter of the law; to which they readily answer, that they will not lie at our mercy, but let us fight our battles ourselves. Sometimes we offer to get an act, by which, upon all popish insurrections at home, or popish invasion from abroad, the government shall be empowered to grant commissions to all protestants whatsoever, without that persecuting circumstance of obliging them to say their prayers, when they receive the sacrament: but they abhor all thoughts of occasional commissions; they will not do our drudgery, and we reap the benefit: it is not worth their while to fight pro aris et focis; and they had rather[10] lose their estates, liberties, religion, and lives, than the pleasure of governing.

But to bring this discourse toward a conclusion: if the dissenters will be satisfied with such a toleration by law, as has been granted them in England, I believe the majority of both houses will fall readily in with it; farther it will be hard to persuade this house of commons, and perhaps much harder the next. For, to say the truth, we make a mighty difference here between suffering thistles to grow among us, and wearing them for posies. We are fully convinced in our consciences, that we shall always tolerate them; but not quite so fully, that they will always tolerate us, when it comes to their turn; and we are the majority, and we are in possession.

He who argues in defence of a law in force, not antiquated or obsolete but lately enacted, is certainly on the safer side, and may he allowed to point out the danger he conceives to foresee, in the abrogation of it.

For, if the consequences of repealing this clause should at some time or other enable the presbyterians to work themselves up into the national church; instead of uniting protestants, it would sow eternal divisions among them. First, their own sects, which now lie dormant, would be soon at cuffs again with each other about power and preferment; and the dissenting episcopals, perhaps discontented to such a degree, as upon some fair unhappy occasion, would be able to shake the firmest loyalty, which none can deny theirs to be.

Neither is it very difficult to conjecture, from some late proceedings, at what a rate this faction is likely to drive, wherever it gets the whip and the seat. They have already set up courts of spiritual judicature in open contempt of, the laws: they send missionaries every where, without being invited, in order to convert the church of England folks to christianity. They are as vigilant as I know who, to attend persons on their deathbeds, and for purposes much alike. And what practices such principles as these (with many other that might be invidious to mention) may spawn when they are laid out to the sun, you may determine at leisure.

Lastly, Whether we are so entirely sure of their loyalty upon the present foot of government, as you may imagine their detractors make a question, which however does, I think, by no means affect the body of dissenters; but the instance produced is, of some among their leading teachers in the north, who having refused the abjuration oath, yet continue their preaching, and have abundance of followers. The particulars are out of my head; but the fact is notorious enough, and I believe has been published; I think it a pity, it has not been remedied.

Thus I have fairly given you, sir, my own opinion, as well as that of a great majority in both houses here, relating to this weighty affair; upon which I am confident you may securely reckon. I will leave you to make what use of it you please.

I am, with great respect, sir,

Yours, &c.

Dublin, Dec. 4, 1708.

  1. Mr. Allen Broderick, afterward chancellor of Ireland, and lord Middleton.
  2. Daniel Defoe.
  3. Mr. John Tutchin.
  4. Dr. Thomas Tenison.
  5. Dr. William King.
  6. Supposed to be Mr. Broderick.
  7. Dr. Lindsay, afterward lord primate.
  8. In the reign of king James II, and till after the battle of the Boyne in 1690.
  9. The arrangement of these words, I would be willingly satisfied in, occasions such a hobbling as is disagreeable to the ear; a small change will make the words run smoothly, as thus 'I would willingly be satisfied in.'
  10. Had rather is a bad ungrammatical phrase, crept into writing from vulgar speech. It should be always, would rather. The word, rather, stands in the place of more willingly; and would any one say, 'they had more willingly lose their estates?' No certainly, it should be, 'they would more willingly,' &c.