A VAST, you critic, with the brown face and ſharp noſe! What! you are already prying to diſcover ſome nakedneſs, are you? You are rummaging your pockets for your little rule and line, to apply to this ſublime treatiſe. But I let you to know that this great, and arduous, work has ſo many angles, tangents, and capricious excreſcences, that it ſets your rule [Page 2] and line at defiance. Be gone then: call for pen, ink, and paper; and write ſome work of your own—and then write a criticiſm upon it—and reduce it to your rules.
A worthy old gentleman of my acquaintance, ſick of the gang of town ſervants, hired a raw lad from the country, and reſolved to tutor him himſelf. So, upon the evening of Hob-nail's arrival, he was ſummoned to the parlour, and Teſty began thus: "I do not wiſh, Hob, to over-load your memory with too many inſtructions at once; but I ſhall content myſelf, my lad, with giving you one at a time; and when I ſee that you practiſe that, then I ſhall give [Page 3] you another. As you are but raw from the country, the firſt leſſon I ſhall give you is, to be upon your guard againſt the roguiſh deceptions of this vile town. In buying, make it a general rule never to give above half what is aſked." Hob bowed, and retired. Next morning the poſtman comes with a letter, and aſks ſixpence. Hob, remembering the rule, pours threepence into his hand, and the door in his face. Rat tat a tat goes the knocker, again and again, ſo as to alarm the neighbourhood, and awake my old gentleman, to the pangs of the gout, from his firſt ſlumber. The reaſon of the uproar is aſked. The ſtory is told. "D—n you for a fool," ſays old Teſty, "do not you know that there is no rule without exceptions?"
[Page 4] This work, Mr. Critic, muſt not be judged by rules, but by exceptions: and, to ſhew you how much I deſpiſe your rules, I have a ſtrong inclination to begin my Tale of a Tub at the end, and ſo to walk backwards like a crab to the beginning. But hold: I ſhall not allow your rules to put me out of my way neither; ſo I ſhall begin at the beginning, and commence at the commencement; leſt I fall under the ignorant monk's deſcription of a Hebrew book, Item, a book which begins at the end.
The place, and time, of James Tory's birth are ſtrongly conteſted among the literati. Some ſay that he was a relation of Nimrod, and laid the firſt ſtone of the Tower of Babel*. Others ſay that he was [Page 5] the ſon of one of the Patriarchs*. Some profound antiquaries, as M. Gebelin, M. Baily, Dr. Parſons, and Colonel Vallancey, do moſt ſtrenuouſly aſſert that James Tory was begot, by the Devil, upon Eve; and that Adam was made a cuckold while he was eating the apple†. They alſo add, that Satan laid aſide his crown of horns upon this occaſion, that he might not frighten his miſtreſs; and that Adam clapped it upon his own head: and from that memorable hour, horns and cuckoldry have been concatenated. They alſo add, that the word James, in the Shamſcrit and Malabaric languages, ſignifies love, and that Tory means power.
[Page 6] From this have Lord Monboddo, and ſome other clear metaphyſicians, concluded that this is a nut: and that the kernel of allegory is, that Satan being kicked out of the upper boxes for his love of power; and the ſame love of power being, as Chaucer tells, the ruling paſſion, indeed the eſſential form, of woman; the two loves of power, thus coaleſcing, begot a quinteſſential form of love of power; which form was called James Tory. I hope what I have ſaid is not clear. If it be clear, the reader has only to ſubmit it, by letter, to Lord Monboddo, and he will render it as dark as any metaphyſical queſtion needs to be*.
James Tory, from a child, was always fond of riding upon a high horſe, and [Page 7] looking down upon his equals. He uſed to ſay that he was a king, nay king of kings; and ſome thought him very wiſe; and ſome thought his brain was not a little deranged. He would often tell the little boys, his companions, that they were but ants and vermin; while he was the very image and lieutenant of God. They, in return, told him that he was an unruly brat, and only ſuperior to them in pride and uncharitableneſs; and that they knew him better than the mother that bore him*. He told them he had always a ſure argument to convince the refractory. They aſked for his argument; and as he was a ſtout boy, and loved to play with thoſe weaker than himſelf, he would kick them all round, and then take their ſugar plumbs [Page 8] from them. Even when grown up, this was his chief argument in debate; and he called it his argumentum ad puerum; for the argumentum ad hominem he did not like, and never uſed.
When he came to man's-eſtate, he was the loyaleſt ſubject the king had. He ſaid that kings were the images of God, eſpecially inſpired by him, and infallible. That men were made for kings, as ſheep are made for men. That the Devil was the firſt whig, and ſtood at the head of the firſt oppoſition. A grave man preſent told him, that he was ſpeaking rank blaſphemy, by comparing the weakneſs and fallibility of man, with the omnipotence and infallibility of his Creator. That kings had generally two legs, and ſeldom three eyes; and that they were not only men, but, [Page 9] in virtue of their education, the weakeſt of men. That till he could prove that kings were endued with all the perfections of the Deity—"That I ſhall prove at once," ſaid James; and knocked the grave man down.
His proud humour ſtuck cloſe by him, and expoſed him to many diſagreeable accidents. He was rolled in the kennel, at the point of Portſmouth, for uſing his argumentum [Page 11] ad pucrum to an Engliſh ſailor*; and was toſſed into a dung cart for repeating it to a carman.
James thought he had got into the infernal regions†; and being, like other bluſtering bullies, a coward at heart, was about to be circumſpect, when a certain Lord made James the manager of an eſtate.
Here James was in his element. He again called himſelf the lieutenant of God; and oppreſſed the poor tenants, and ſhared their ſpoils with the rich ones. He became fond of the rich tenants, becauſe they ſupported and ſhared his extortions.
[Page 12] He was alſo a great uſurer; and aſpiring to get ſoon rich by this practice, as he was one evening ſmoking a pipe with the parſon of the pariſh, he requeſted the parſon to preach againſt uſury. The honeſt clergyman told him that it might he looked upon as a ſatire againſt James himſelf; and that he begged to be excuſed. But James inſiſting violently, the parſon promiſed that he would: and, accordingly, next Sunday he preached ſo well againſt this crying vice, that all the uſurers in the neighbourhood were frightened, and gave up the trade, ſo that James got the whole.
James, though the greateſt knave in the pariſh, always affected great piety. He would pray, and roll up the whites of his eyes, in the high way. "Church and King" was his conſtant toaſt; and when he [Page 13] wanted to oppreſs any poor tenant, in an extraordinary way, he always took a clergyman with him, and gave him part of the ſpoils; and ſaid all that he did was for the ſervice of God, and the good of the church.
He uſed to obſerve that the barbarians, who eſtabliſhed the feudal ſyſtem of king and ariſtocracy, and forgot that the people were men, were very wiſe. For wiſdom could only be found in kings, and nobles, and clergy; and was denied to all elſe for wiſe purpoſes. For the people were mere pecora campi; and their buſineſs was, like bees, to make honey for the king, peers, and clergy; and then to be ſinged to death for their pains.
I HAVE always admired what parſon Adams calls "the pedeſtrian expedition", becauſe of the perfect freedom which attends it. In a coach or in a chaiſe, one cannot look every way, ſir; and one cannot ſtop to get out, and examine every thing curious. An equipage is one of the many miſeries of the great; and forms one link of the chain of formality, which conſtrains them, and prevents that free enjoyment of exiſtence, which the great would envy the peaſantry for, if they had ſenſe enough to form an idea of its delights.
[Page 15] In a buggy, madam, or upon a horſe, one is forced to attend more to the horſe than to the landſcape; whereas on foot one is quite at one's eaſe. One may ſtep to a ditch to gather a wild flower, one may aſcend a hill to enjoy a proſpect, one may deſcend into a hollow glen to look up at a caſcade, one may — but hold! What may one not do?
Now this profound work is a ſpecies of pedeſtrian expedition in literature. The author is not mounted in the phaeton of poetry, nor in the chaiſe of diſſertation, nor in the buggy of novel-writing, nor upon the horſe of criticiſm, and far leſs in the ſtate-coach of hiſtory. No, ſir, he is a literary Powell; only he does not walk for a wager. Rather he is upon a pedeſtrian excurſion of pleaſure, and is reſolved to ſee [Page 16] and deſcribe any object which ſtrikes him, though it may be a little out of his way. The only rule he ſhall ſollow in his digreſſions and wanderings, is not to forget his road and get into a moraſs.
Eſtates are of many kinds, but chiefly of three. If managed by one perſon, it is an emblem of monarchy; if by a few of the richer tenants, it is an ariſtocracy; if by all in conjunction for common good, it is a democracy.
In a monarchy, it is ten to one if the manager does not forget that he is made for the tenants, and not the tenants for him. [Page 17] Hence he becomes a tyrant, and commands about him without law or reaſon. You fellow, you have a fair eſtate of your own, give it to me, or I ſhall put you to death. You, Dick, you have a handſome wife, you unconſcionable dog, lend her to me for a night, or you ſhall be hanged in her garters*. But this is nothing. The tenants tremble before their tyrant, and get ſlaviſh and lazy, and cannot have ſpirits to work; ſo all are unhappy, and the eſtate goes to wreck, and is ſold to the beſt bidder. Perhaps the manager is a weak man, and knows it; and in this caſe the tyranny is worſe. He buys him a certain number of cheſts, with good locks, which cannot be picked. Then by degrees he puts impoſitions upon [Page 18] the tenants, till he ſqueezes moſt of their money into the ſaid cheſts. Then he employs his caſh in bribing the better ſort of tenants to do as he pleaſes; and they employ theirs in bribing the inferior claſs. And thus the money of the tenants is employed in bribing them; and all is one maſs of corruption. O fy!
Give me ſome civet, good apothecary,To ſweeten mine imagination.
A general peſtilence is not ſo deſtructive to mankind as general corruption in a ſtate. The one deſtroys the body, the other the ſoul. All honeſty is tainted. Conſcience hangs quite wide and looſe; and is at laſt cut into ſhreds and made into a purſe. This is the worſt kind of tyranny, and the ne plus ultra of bad government. Open deſpotiſm only degrades the mind; but this [Page 19] blackens, rots*, and annihilates it. Not to add that, in the former, the tenants can do nothing againſt main force; while, in the latter, they have the additional conſolation to know that all is owing to their own ſimplicity, and that they are oppreſſed becauſe they are dupes.
The faults of ariſtocratical management are chiefly, that here are many tyrants, inſtead of one; and the evil increaſes in proportion. One may eſcape the attention of one tyrant, but a number forms an Argus, with a hundred eyes†, and nothing eſcapes them. My neighbour may be one of the tyrants, and may take a fancy to my garden. If the ariſtocracy be hereditary, it is ſtill [Page 20] worſe than if elective; for the latter will ſtand upon character, will run after the ſhadow of fame; while the members of the former may be gamblers and horſe-jockeys. What then? They are born better than other men; their very vices and faults are entitled to reſpect; and they are univerſally reſpected and imitated. O ho, ſays Beelzebub, this is my own invention. I have a patent for it. Yes, infernal daemon, what plan could contribute ſo much to people your domains, as to inſtitute a hereditary order of right honourable vices, to attract the reſpect and imitation of all mankind?
The faults of a democracy, in managing an eſtate, conſiſt chiefly in its envy of merit: for, as all are equal, the people think that merit and abilities are alſo equally ſhared among them, which will never be the caſe; [Page 21] and if ſuperior merit appear, all join in an oſtraciſm againſt it. This management likewiſe tends much to anarchy, and anarchy to tyranny. Nay a democracy, if not very wiſely adjuſted, is often the worſt of all tyrannies, exerted againſt particular claſſes of its own members. Contrariorum eadem eſt ratio: which means, madam, that if you will bend a ſerpent round, and put its tail in its mouth, the head and tail will become all one. Let us not, however, confound a plethocracy * with a democracy, the government of the mob with the government of the people. The mob in modern countries is, in political conſideration, of the ſame account with the ſlaves in Greece and Rome. Not that they ſhould be real ſlaves, but on the contrary as free and happy as their ſtation and education will permit; but, as the [Page 22] ancient ſlaves, they ſhould hold no ſhare of government, even in a democracy. The reaſon is their want of education, the violence of their paſſions, and the weakneſs of their reaſon. They are perpetual children, and not even to be truſted with the management of themſelves, leſt they ſhould do themſelves harm. A democracy ſhould conſiſt of the middle ranks of people; and its ſuperiority to other forms ariſes from this, that the middle claſs is always the moſt enlightened, and the moſt rational of the community; neither giddy with power and wealth, nor debaſed by the frozen hand of penury.
[Page 23] Thoſe of a democracy conſiſt in its being the only form, which preſerves all the dignity of man; not only ſo, but gives him additional dignity, ennobles the man, and leads to great thoughts and great actions. Genius of Athens, where art thou? But ſtop. Athens contained only about thirty thouſand people; and what has the government of ſo ſmall a ſtate to do with that of millions? Certain it is that Plato, and Ariſtotle, and Cicero, in their theoretic republics formed no idea, probably could form no idea, of a republic extended beyond the bounds of one city. Yet pedants apply their maxims to modern ſtates; as if my little boy there, God bleſs him! ſhould pretend to manage a war-horſe, becauſe he can ride a hobby-horſe*. Holland and Venice are [Page 24] not republics but ariſtocracies. Switzerland the ſame. America conſiſts of federative republics; perhaps it may be one republic, but it is not yet tried. Let France try the experiment, which we look on. It is a dangerous experiment. A democracy of twenty-four millions would be a phaenomenon in human hiſtory. Let them try. Let us mend our own ways, and wait.
JAMES Tory proceeded in the management of the eſtate, as you have heard. He was a bullying dog, and abuſed every body without oppoſition. If he appeared, off went the hats of the tenants, and down they bowed lower than to the rector*.
But James was always for more and more reſpect; till at laſt his pride aroſe to ſuch a pitch that he ſaid he was God's vice-gerent; [Page 26] and, as ſuch, muſt never be approached without a degree of adoration; and every knee muſt be bent in his preſence.
Now the bending of the knee depends conſiderably, as natural hiſtorians obſerve, upon the flexibility of the muſcles and ſuppleneſs of the joints; and, as ceremonialiſts remark, upon the cleanneſs of the floor, where the knee is to be bent.
Both theſe circumſtances operated againſt the requiſition of James. The knees of the farmers were very ſtiff, and were bent with much the ſame facility as thoſe of an elephant. James was dirty as well as proud, and his floors were none of the cleaneſt. So the farmers began to be clamorous, and a meeting was called, when a clever young fellow got up and ſpoke thus:
[Page 27] "We are informed in ſcripture, my friends, that pride was not made for man. It is ſo heterogeneous to his nature and condition, that, if introduced into his frame, it ſaps the very powers of reaſon by ſlow but ſure degrees. It is like cyder, which intoxicates by inflation. It is a windy complaint; and, if not emitted downwards, flies to the brain and ſwells it with extravagant ſchemes. If many a great conqueror and rattling blade had had able phyſicians, the world would never have been troubled with them. It appears to me, under favour, that a ſtrong carminative has become abſolutely neceſſary to our manager James Tory. As I know a little of medicine, I ſhall prepare a carminative draught, and carry it to him myſelf."
The farmers were all pleaſed with this motion; and gave Will Whig, for this was [Page 28] the young man's name, full power to prepare, and adminiſter the ſaid carminative potion to James Tory, in their names.
"Mr. James, the tenants upon this eſtate being informed, by evident ſymptoms, that you are much troubled with a windy complaint called pride, have deſired me to preſent this potion to you, which will prove a ſpeedy and effectual cure."
James was ſo convulſed with rage, that at firſt he could neither ſpeak nor move. But when he recovered the uſe of his tongue, and of his hands, he employed the former in calling Will a thouſand ugly names, and [Page 29] the latter in throwing the potion in his face, and breaking the pot on his head.
WHEN a man makes any figure, one feels a natural deſire to know who he is, and all about him. As in this delightful and inſtructive treatiſe, the author has made it is humble endeavour to pleaſe his reader in all his lawful deſires; he now ſtops to give ſuch information as he can recover, concerning Will Whig.
As to the parentage of Will, there are many diſputes among the antiquaries and [Page 31] genealogiſts. Some ſay that the family was originally of Greek extraction; others ſay Roman*. Theſe reports, perhaps, aroſe among ignorant people, from the circumſtance that Will was a great Greek and Latin ſcholar.
Some orientaliſts will have it that the family was Tyrian; others Carthaginian†; but oriental ſcholars are fond of vague conjecture, and ſeldom ſacrifice to good ſenſe.
After much lucubration and great examination of this ſubject, I am inclined to [Page 32] think that the Whig family came to this country from the woods of Germany. Their features and manners agreed ſo perfectly with the deſcription of the ancient Germans, given us by that wag Tacitus, that I have little doubt upon this ſcore; and the conſtant tradition of the family confirms this idea. If the reader will not believe me, let him, to uſe the ſtyle of Dr. Bentley, go and think for himſelf, and be d—d. I remember I once convinced a great antiquary, that the Whigs were of German extract, after all my other arguments had failed, by telling him that Will Whig always uſed both hands to buckle his ſhoes, as the Germans generally do*. See—'s Travels.
[Page 33] Will Whig's anceſtors were once in great repute, and managed this very farm now oppreſſed by James Tory*. But they afterwards fell back in the world; and had lived in poverty and neglect for many generations.
As Will was their only ſon, and a promiſing youth, they had made a ſhift to give him a good education at ſchool and college. Whence he imbibed a ſpirit ſuperior [Page 34] to that of any young farmer in the neighbourhood; and his father always ſaid that the boy would do honour to the family.
Will was a tall handſome lad, with a ruddy complexion, and yellow hair*. With his friends he was as gentle as a child; but, upon the ſight of oppreſſion, or cruelty of any kind, he was as bold as the oaken ſtick he conſtantly wore. Many a ſervant of James Tory did he thraſh handſomely, for attempting to take the hens of old women, and to uſe freedoms with the young. Nay, when one of them was going to ſteal a blind man's dog, Will almoſt murdered [Page 35] him. In ſhort, he was the univerſal protector; and all who were injured came to Will for help or advice*. At the leaſt ſpecimen of injuſtice his blood would boil; and at any tale of generoſity tears would leap from his eyes.
The pedigree of the Whig family we have not given, becauſe we could not find [Page 37] it in the records. We believe, however, with the heralds, that every man in it was the ſon of his father; and know, to a certainty, that every woman was the daughter of her own mother.
The pedigrees, even of the royal families of Europe, extend not beyond 600 years, or poor 20 generations; and yet how many miſtakes are in them, only known to the ladies! Welſh and Iriſh pedigrees extend to the flood, and to Adam. Their women were, apparently, very chaſte:—or their genealogiſts very fooliſh.
MANY an old book have I looked into, in order to diſcover the genealogy of the Whigs; and a good old wig did I burn by ſtooping heedleſsly near my lamp, in the intenſeneſs of my lucubration. This chapter ſhall, therefore, treat of old wigs, and old books, by way of memorial.
An old wig, and an old book, may be compared together, for both ſit eaſy. The wig has already gone through all the [Page 39] twiſtings and trials, neceſſary to make it keep cloſe and comfortable to the head; and the book has paſſed the fiery trials of the critics, and one does not read it to find fault, but to learn.
A new book, like a fine lady, muſt be approached with great delicacy, that you may not diſcompoſe its prim appearance and rich dreſs. An old book, like an old friend, may be uſed with no ceremony. You may toſs it, like an old wig, where ever you pleaſe.
[Page 40] * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Hiatus in codice * * * * * * * * *†.
LET me return to my ſubject. It may eaſily be believed that, after the adventure which has been narrated, James Tory ſingled out Will Whig for the object of his moſt cordial deteſtation. Nor was Will wanting in return.
James did every thing in his power to mortify Will; and Will wrote ſatires upon James, and ſent them all over the pariſh. James could not puniſh Will, becauſe it [Page 42] was not then diſcovered that truth was a libel.
James, as the reader has been told, was very pious, and a pious knave is the worſt of all; for a common knave pays ſome reſpect to common rules, but a pious knave has no rule but his internal feelings; and ſets all human laws and ſocial decencies at defiance. Nor is it a crime to cheat the ungodly.
Now James, in his great piety and chriſtian charity, formed a book of prayers for children*; and would inſiſt upon this book [Page 43] being uſed by the diſſenting tenants; though they thanked him, and ſaid they could pray very well. He ſwore a great oath that if they would not kneel to him, they ſhould at leaſt kneel to God. They became angry; and ſaid they would not kneel becauſe it was pagan, and an invention of anti-chriſt; and that they believed that James himſelf was but a baſtard of the whore of Babel. Will Whig laughed at all this, but encouraged them in their obſtinacy; becauſe uſeful to him in his deſigns againſt James Tory. Wiſe men ſometimes encourage the folly of others, becauſe it ſerves their purpoſes.
This diſpute was terminated by an old woman, who threw a joint ſtool at the head of James Tory*. James was carried home [Page 44] in bad plight, and never had courage to revive his ſcheme.
But, as his hot head was fertile in projects, he reſolved to build a boat for his amuſement when he went a fiſhing, and to make all the tenants contribute to the expence of this boat*. This turned out ſtill worſe than the praying ſcheme; for, as philoſophers juſtly obſerve, a man's purſe is the moſt ſenſitive part about him; and he will defend it at the riſque of his life. The tenants were all alarmed; and ſaw that if they yielded to this demand it would become a precedent for future exactions. A meeting was called, and Will Whig took the chair. It was reſolved, with only two diſſentient voices, not to pay a penny.
[Page 45] James being informed of this meeting, came to it with ſome ſoldiers to ſeize upon Will Whig*, but Will had eſcaped before his arrival.
Matters now came to the laſt extremity between James and Will. Both had followers, and many ſkirmiſhes and ſome ſharp battles happened between them. But Will at the end got the better, and ſhut James up in his houſe, not to appear upon pain of a broken head.
The queſtion now was how to manage the eſtate; and, as in all ferments the ſcum is apt to get uppermoſt, ſo it happened here. [Page 46] Some of the diſſenting tenants were the worſt fanatics, that were ever blown up, like empty bladders, with crazy enthuſiaſm. Theſe having attained great reputation among the reſt, for their ſuperior ſanctity, now made uſe of their religious reputation to perſuade the others that religion and honeſty were all one; that, as they were the moſt religious, they were alſo the moſt honeſt; and ſo ought, for common benefit, to be preferred to the management of the eſtate*.
But no ſooner were they inſtalled, than they ſhewed that their religion was but a cloke for ſelf-intereſt. Bayle's famous problem, that atheiſm is leſs hurtful to ſociety than ſuperſtition, was verified at once. [Page 47] Every one was guided by his own inward light; and guided to actions which in others would have been eſteemed diabolical, but as they were the deeds of the godly were all holy. The inward light was ſo variouſly refracted and reflected in their mental priſms and mirrors, that it proved a mere wildfire, and led them into moraſſes; where they would ſtrip themſelves naked and dance in the mud, to the no ſmall merriment of the byeſtanders. And yet the light of reaſon they never would uſe, calling it a farthing candle, which might be had in every ſhop.
At laſt one of them, who was a very cunning and clever fellow*, and only a pretender to the inward light, with the aſſiſtance of ſome ſoldiers, ſeized upon theſe [Page 48] fanatics, and ſhut them up in dark cells; after procuring their conſent, in preſence of the tenants, that he ſhould manage the eſtate himſelf.
Will Whig was not a little aſtoniſhed to find a new manager in full poſſeſſion, and with all the tyrannical powers and diſpoſitions of James Tory. Will reſolved not to allow one of his comrades to be his lord and maſter; and, with the aſſiſtance of the old ſoldiers, he turned him out; and James Tory, taking advantage of the tumult, got his place again.
ALL this was effected ſo ſpeedily, that Will Whig had not time nor opportunity to cauſe James Tory to ſign a bond, for a more equitable management of the eſtate, before he was put again into his office.
The conſequence was, that James, inſtead of being grateful for the unexpected reſtitution of his place, was exaſperated at the ill uſage he had met with; anal now looked upon all the tenants as his enemies. [Page 50] His anger at the diſſenting tenants, in particular, was extreme, and from mere oppoſition to their Calviniſtic tenets, he reſolved to turn Roman Catholic. He found that religion very convenient, becauſe he might commit any crime he pleaſed, and be pardoned at once by confeſſing it to his prieſt.
At firſt he was contented to go to maſs privately, and did not much like to be ſeen by any of the tenants. He became more cloſe and inſidious than ever, and was always forming plots againſt Will; and Will ſometimes returned the compliment*. James was now, as has been obſerved, particularly irritated againſt the diſſenting tenants, who [Page 51] worſhipped a certain ſtern and bloody idol called Calvin. He would ſometimes ſet the law at defiance, in his eager revenge againſt them; and would proceed to ſuch lengths as to burn their houſes, nay to cut off an ear or two of the proprietors, if he could catch them at an unguarded hour. But as the ears of all fanatics are particularly large and long, and of very vigorous growth, this was no great oppreſſion.
But he proceeded to ſtill greater extremities againſt the poor worſhippers of Calvin. He would inſiſt that every one of them ſhould ſay, "God ſave James Tory;" and when they refuſed, he cauſed them to be put into diverſe torturing engines, till the poor devils were all in blood, and had every joint of their body diſlocated.
[Page 52] Will Whig, whoſe generous heart could not bear to ſee even folly and fanaticiſm cruſhed by oppreſſion, warmly took their part; and going to the preſence of James, who was then dallying with a favourite miſtreſs*, he ſpoke to him thus:
"What buſineſs have you, ſir, with any man's opinion, any more than with the colour of his coat? If he pays his rent, and does not diſturb his neighbours, is it not enough? Do not you know that opinions vary as much as faces, and muſt I give up a part of my long noſe to mend your ſhort one? Do as you would be done by, in the devil's name, and let every man uſe his wife and his opinion as he pleaſes. How would you like, ſir, to have your opinions ſubject [Page 53] to thoſe of another; and has not any man, of oppoſite opinion, the ſame right to quarrel with you, as you have to quarrel with him? Suppoſe I am a deiſt, and adore but one God, am not I as rational as you who adore three, and yet would kill any polytheiſt if you could catch him? A truce then with your perſecution of theſe poor devils; and learn that to perſecute any ſociety is the way to increaſe and condenſe it. If you wiſh them to change their opinions, let them alone; and neglect and time will effect what perſecution can never do. Look at this ſnow-ball, which I have brought as an emblem for your inſtruction. If you will impriſon it in your cellar, it will laſt for ever; but put it in the genial warmth of the ſun, and it will melt and vaniſh away."
James now thought himſelf above all contradiction; and to ſhew the tenants how much he deſpiſed all that they could ſay, he bought unto himſelf a high horſe, and rode to maſs publickly*.
This grieved even thoſe tenants who had hitherto befriended James, and all muttered [Page 55] their diſcontent. They reſolved to carry their complaints to the lord of the eſtate; and he, at their requeſt, conſented that if James would not behave as he ought, he ſhould be deprived.
Not contented with going to maſs himſelf, he would inſiſt that all the tenants ſhould go to maſs; and ordered them all, upon pain of death, to believe that a cruſt of bread was the leg of a duck*.
UPON this great event a meeting was called, and it was agreed that Will Whig ſhould be recommended to the lord as the propereſt perſon to manage the eſtate. The lord conſented, and Will was inſtalled accordingly.
Will promiſed great things; but the tenants were ſo angry with James, for wanting them to go to maſs, and to believe that a cruſt of bread was the leg of a duck, that this inſult was uppermoſt in their thoughts; [Page 58] and they made it almoſt the only article in their agreement with Will, that he ſhould never inſiſt upon theſe ſubjects. Will could not help laughing at their ſimplicity, when it lay in their power to preſcribe any terms to him; and very cheerfully promiſed not to deſire them to act or believe in ſuch matters, but as they wiſhed.
Will began his management in a tolerable manner. The good of the tenants was always in his mouth; and yet their good was often ſacrificed to that of Frogland*, a neighbouring pariſh where Will had ſome [Page 59] relations. Will however, by a formal deed, confirmed all the tenants of the eſtate in their rights, and provided againſt future encroachments.
As the tenants were ſurrounded with bad neighbours, who would come when an opportunity offered and ſteal their effects, Will inſiſted that a body of watchmen ſhould be provided at the common expence; and that he ſhould be their leader and paymaſter. The oldeſt tenants in vain repreſented that this was giving Will too much power; and that watchmen were the worſt of all thieves. The meaſure was carried*.
ALAS, what heart or head can bear the giddy elevation of power! Power is like an intoxicating liquor, the more that is drank the more is called for, till at laſt the drinker is loſt in abſolute ſtupor! Such is the effect of power, that moſt of the royal races in the world have terminated in imbecillity; witneſs, among others, the two firſt regal progenies of France; and the Saxon races of England, which began with men of talents, and terminated with ſaints!
He ſoon begun to dreſs himſelf ſo like James Tory, that it was hardly poſſible to diſtinguiſh them at a diſtance. The tenants were all ſurpriſed at the change; but ſoon learned, at their expence, that a manager will be a manager.
Inſtead of his old familiar intercourſe with the tenants, Will never went out but with a troop of his watchmen about him, as much as to ſay, "Keep your diſtance!" Inſtead of his old hearty laugh, he would hardly deign to ſmile: and he forbad the tenants to have any puppet-ſhows, before he had ſeen [Page 62] them, leſt the puppets ſhould mimic the change of his behaviour*.s
He took ſuch a liking to a piece of ground he had, in a country called Henland, lying beyond Frogland, that he would often retire there, and waſte the rents of the eſtate in idle frolics. Nay, he has been heard to declare that he would, at any time, ſacrifice the management of the eſtate to the intereſts of Henland.
Upon pretence of the neceſſity of a greater number of watchmen, to defend the property of the tenants, he raiſed new contributions; and then ſent the watchmen to defend his own ground in Henland. The tenants began to murmur; but their murmurs were increaſed when Will Whig, upon [Page 63] various pretences, raiſed all the rents of the eſtate.
James Tory dared not to venture upon ſuch a trying meaſure; for he was ſenſible that the tenants hated him, and might murder him if he gave ſuch great provocation. But Will was ſo much perſuaded of the confidence, which the tenants repoſed in him, that he thought they would oppoſe no meaſure of his.
For this purpoſe he called ſome of the richer tenants to his cabinet; and told them that he did not mean to have the ſole profit [Page 64] of theſe exorbitant rents, but that, if they would ſupport his cauſe, he ſhould give each of them a ſhare of the emoluments. The rich tenants greedily aſſented to the propoſal: and Will ſaid that he found "Every man had his price."
The tenants who before were an honeſt good ſort of people, ſoon became the wickedeſt ſet in the world. An univerſal corruption took place. Their time, which was formerly employed in uſeful labour, and rural recreations, was now ſpent in alehouſes, and gambling.
"No management can be carried on without influence; and money is the ſureſt influence," became an univerſal maxim among the tenants. The wiſer ſhook their heads; and ſaid that a ſecret and myſterious management, [Page 65] for the intereſt of a few individuals, indeed required influence of a particular kind. But an open and liberal plan of management, calculated for the benefit of all, required no influence but the good opinion of the greater part of the tenants, which was ſure to attend it.
"Mankind," ſaid they, "have always been uſed as children by their governors. Nothing can be more ſimple than a good government: nothing more complex than a bad. Frankneſs incites confidence; and myſtery annuls it. Secrecy in government is uſeleſs either to friends or enemies. Wax is a ſyſtem of wickedneſs; and therefore ſecrecy ſhould attend its projects. But in peace, no government ſhould have myſteries; and moſt eſpecially not to its own people. A king ſhould come forward and ſay, 'My [Page 66] people, my friends, your good is mine, our intereſts are one. I have no projects but for your happineſs; I ſhall tell you freely what I mean to do; and do you tell me freely what you with.'
Some of the tenants, however, were left virtuous, becauſe Will could not afford to bribe all. They began frankly to tell Will that he was as great a knave as James Tory, [Page 67] and paid as little attention to the good of the tenants; and that they would call back James if he did not reform.
"Are not you a great rogue," ſaid one of them to Will, "to oppreſs thoſe very people who made you manager? Think on the carminative draught, which you exhibited to James Tory; and take one yourſelf, for you need it. As for James, he was born a tyrannous fellow, and we never knew him otherwiſe: but for you, one of us, a creature of our own making to follow his example, nay, to oppreſs us more than he did! You ſhall be taught better manners, in faith!"
IN the diſpoſition of this ſublime work, the author has always been obliged to ſacrifice the haut gout of fancy, to the inſipidity of truth. Fiction, that goddeſs of flowers, can ſprinkle them as ſhe pleaſes, and make a parterre of a wilderneſs. But Truth has only her mirror, and can only ſhew objects as they really are.
Not all the mirth of Rabelais can equal that of the tenants, when James Tory unexpectedly made his appearance among them, one day at a fair. He was mounted upon an aſs; and from that convenient pulpit, or roſtrum, made a ſpeech to the tenants.
He told them how much he had been miſrepreſented in his abſence, as he learned from the friends he yet had on the eſtate: he aſked them what they had gained by exchanging his adminiſtration for Will Whig's? Had he taken any carminative draught himſelf? Had he not ſhewn more pride, and exerted more oppreſſion, than their old manager? [Page 70] And what title has he to be proud? If I was proud, and perhaps am, have I not a title?"
At this moment an unlucky boy clapping a thiſtle* under ſuddenly, and landed James in the mud.
A great laugh aroſe. But ſome of the tenants, who were ſtill friendly to James, or thought him a fit tool for their purpoſes againſt Will Whig, helped him up, and cleaned him; and afterwards reſolved to maintain him among them, and give him a cottage to live in.
James was ſoon at all the ſecret meetings, which the diſcontented tenants held, to concert [Page 71] meaſures againſt the oppreſſion of Will Whig; and as adverſity teaches wiſdom, he became a formidable opponent to the manager.
He retaliated all Will's old invectives againſt his management upon that of Will. He ſpoke much of the public good, and of liberty, and property. The farmers were as much tranſported at the change of James Tory's ſentiments, as they would have been at the finding wine in a ſmall-beer barrel, and believed James to be quite a reformed man. James only wanted to regain the management.
Will Whig endeavoured to introduce exciſe-men into the pariſh; but James muſtered his oppoſition ſo effectually, that Will [Page 72] had almoſt been torn in pieces; and he was glad to relinquiſh the ſcheme.
Nothing could be more ludicrous than to ſee James Tory mounted upon his aſs*, and bawling for liberty, except the infatuation of the farmers, who believed him in carneſt.
One would imagine that if every man, in an aſſembly, voted according to his conſcience, he would hardly, in any two queſtions, find himſelf exactly in the ſame company. Yet it ſo happens, in ſome great aſſemblies, that the ſame body of men will ever propoſe queſtions; and another body, acting as one man, always oppoſe them. It is an obvious point that neither body has any conſcience, or attends to the public good.
This will further appear, when we conſider that, put the one body of men upon the right ſide of the houſe, and the others oppoſite; in a word make them change places; and the very ſame meaſures will be propoſed [Page 75] by the oppoſing body, and oppoſed by the propoſing.
Others ſuppoſe that the whole myſtery proceeds upon the principles of electricity; and that, as the ancients believed, that when it thundered upon the right hand it was a happy omen, but when upon the left unfortunate, ſo in this caſe the electric fire of eloquence is regarded as fortunate on the right, and unfortunate upon the left; and, as when men ſit facing, the right hand of the one is [Page 76] in oppoſition to the left of the other, each body turns to the right, and ſo the aſſembly conſtantly opinionates, and divides, as the members happen to ſit. Q. E. D.
But others, not contented with this ſolution, account for the fact in this way. They ſuppoſe that there is ſuſpended in a net, fixt to the roof of the houſe, a certain number of purſes and patents, to which the members are conſtantly looking up. And as they cannot aſcend to reach the ſaid net, except by mutual aſſiſtance, and by forming themſelves into ſuch pyramids of men, as are ſhewn at Sadler's Wells; it is neceſſary that each body ſhould keep together, for the benefit of all its members. Nay, as at Sadler's Wells, if one man of the pyramid were to diſſent from the others in any motion, it would [Page 77] ruin the pyramid; ſuch is nearly the caſe here.
One of theſe pyramids of men is commonly called a miniſtry, and the other an oppoſition. The man at the top of the former is king for the time, and can eaſily reach at the patents and purſes, and hand them down to thoſe who ſupport him. The latter pyramid is ſo ſhort, that the man at the top cannot reach to the net, till he can perſuade ſome of the bottom ſupporters of the other pyramid to lend a hand to his.
A miniſtry is vulgarly defined to be a body of men who impoſe taxes upon the people, that the miniſtry may be enabled to bribe their repreſentatives. This is called the perfection of government; and by ſome the Engliſh Conſtitution.
[Page 78] In this excellent plan of government, it is neceſſary that the people be dupes; elſe they will be apt to laugh at the idea of being bribed with their own money. They will ſay, "We ſhall not pay enormous taxes, to enable you to govern arbitrarily by bribery. No. Relieve us of our taxes, and govern arbitrarily by power. Deliver us from our repreſentatives, and from the taxes we pay to bribe them; and govern us as you pleaſe, as indeed you do at any rate".
Liberty, and the public good, are names for certain pills, ſold both by miniſterial and anti-miniſterial quack-doctors; and are [Page 79] thought a ſovereign cure for the jaundice, ſore eyes, and other political evils.
But as the miniſterial quacks generally ſet up their carriages, and live at their eaſe, they commonly leave the ſaid pills, and other little medicines, to be ſold by the quacks of oppoſition, who would otherwiſe be at a loſs how to live, and il faut vivre.
An oppoſition mountebank gets often upon a ſtage, called the huſtings, where he eats fire, and vomits flame, and handles ſerpents, and all for the public good. Over his head is a board, inſcribed LIBERTY AND PROPERTY. And after a ſpeech in much the following terms, he ſells his medicines and machines:
"Gentlemen, hem, hem, I do not come here for private emolument, whatever evildiſpoſed [Page 80] people may ſay; but for the public good, hem, hem, for liberty, gentlemen, d—n me, hem, hem. The public good, gentlemen, is, as I take it, hem, hem, a ſort of a what-dye-call-it, ha, a wind-mill, gentlemen, that is blown by the breath, the ſtrong wind of eloquence. As this wind ſits, ſo the mill goes, hem, hem, tantivy. This wind-mill of the public good, gentlemen, grinds corn for private—what was I going to ſay? for public emolument, for the good of us all, d—n me, hem, hem.
"I come here, gentlemen, for your benefit, for the ſake of your precious healths. My pocket indeed is empty, hem, but my heart is full of rectitude, and my head of public ſpirit, hem, hem. A very good ſpirit it is, gentlemen. No French brandy, I can aſſure this honourable audience, but real [Page 81] Engliſh, hem. My pockets—but no more of that, hem, hem.
"This viol, gentlemen, contains the aurum potabile of politics, a great favourite with all parties. If you will give a man a drop of this in a morning, he may pick pockets all day long, and yet never be diſcovered.
[Page 82] "Here is an invaluable parcel of cauſtic powder, for weak conſciences. Only rub the conſcience with it every evening, when going to bed, and you will not only never have bad dreams, or tormenting reflections, but your conſcience will get quite ſeared; and you may do with it whatever you pleaſe, if you do not cut it out, and ſell it to a pawn-broker, as many of my friends have done, and yet never ſuffered any inconvenience.
"Look, gentlemen, here is a viol of liquor, worth its weight in diamonds. Only throw a little of it in the faces of the ſpectators, and their ſight will be ſo confounded, that they ſhall look upon you as quite a different perſon from what you really are. Miſs — will appear the moſt modeſt of women; Mr. — the moſt honeſt of mankind. [Page 83] A jeſuit ſhall ſeem a patriot, a madman a philoſopher, a highway man a methodiſt preacher. This is called the cozening liquor, gentlemen; and is very rarely to be got, for the miniſtry generally buy all they can procure.
"This, gentlemen, is a political barometer, for the regulation of the ſtocks. If the mercury begins to fall, ſell out; and if it begins to riſe, buy in. You will never be deceived, gentlemen: you may be as ſecure, as if you regularly bribed a clerk of the treaſury for intelligence.
"This ointment for the eyes will let you ſee all the deſigns of the miniſter, in their juſt light. In vain ſhall he cover them with the wool of ſecrecy, or draw the curtain of diſſimulation. It is compoſed of [Page 84] euphraſy and rue, gentlemen, as our great poet ſays,
—then purg'd with euphraſy and rue,The viſual nerve, for he had much to ſee.
"Here is my grand ſecret, the infallible murmuring trumpet, gentlemen, which may be heard from one extremity of the Britiſh empire to the other; and yet the ſound is little louder than a whiſper. This is the grand machine for ſpreading ſcandal againſt a miniſter, and diſcontent againſt his government. Often at the ſound of it has a miniſter fallen to the ground, as the walls of Jericho did before the trumpets of Iſrael.
[Page 85] "Here is a private printing preſs, conſtructed upon ſuch expeditious principles, that it will throw off a thouſand hand-bills in a minute. It is not ſerved by printers' devils, but by real devils, which have been bound to it by my great friend, whom I have always in my eye, the Magician Grominagrobus.
"Look at this large pair of bellows, gentlemen, they are formed of the lungs of Stentor, and of a great ſenator conjoined. Their effect upon the wind-mill of public good, I can aſſure this honourable audience from experience, is quite ſtupendous, and amazing. From mere ſtrength of exploſion they will turn it, even againſt the wind of eloquence.
The rabble greedily buy up the quack's articles; and give him notes, payable in the courſe of ſeven years, which he receives at the treaſury of the miniſtry, or of the oppoſition, as the wind-mill turns, with a thouſand per cent intereſt.
WILL WHIG got prouder and prouder every day. At laſt nothing would ſerve him, but he muſt have a high horſe, as James Tory had in his management*.
A great war horſe was accordingly got Lord! how he did ſtamp, and foam, and rear, [Page 88] and terrify old maids in dark nights! He over-turned two old women, and ſnorted at a plough-boy*.
Will however proceeded with ſome prudence in this momentous affair. He convened moſt of the tenants at a public houſe; and made them tipſey with rumbo, cyder and ſtingo. When it began to get dark, he ſent for his high horſe, and led the tenants out to ſee it.
My friends," ſays Will, "I know that it is reported, by my enemies, that I have got as high a horſe, as ever James Tory had. But as you are grave and ſober men, I wiſh [Page 89] to convince you of the contrary before I begin to ride him. Do look at him, gentlemen, and you will find that he is ſo far from being a high horſe, that he is as low a horſe as any man of my ſize can ride, without having his feet in the dirt, which would neither be for my honour, nor yours, nor that of the eſtate, which I have the honour to manage."
[Page 90] The tenants ſeeing this, did not care to run any further riſque; but ſaid they would take Will's word as to the ſize of the horſe: and immediately ſigned a paper, which Will preſented to them, teſtifying to all whom it might concern, that the horſe was not the higheſt horſe in the world, but ſuch a horſe as Will found it abſolutely neceſſary to ride.
THE tenants were, after all that had paſt, not diſatisfied ſo much with Will Whig's management, as they had been with that of James Tory; for Will, with all his faults, had done more towards the real improvement of the eſtate in a few years, than James had done in his long management. All the great, and public-ſpirited, ſchemes, which had ever been entered into by the tenants, originated in Will's noddle.
[Page 92] James Tory was, however, uſing all the arts he could, to undermine Will; and art was the chief talent of James: whereas Will was, upon the whole, a frank open fellow, and too wiſe to be cunning, except now and then to guard againſt James, and then with a fox he was a fox and a half.
James found, however, that he made ſome progreſs in the good-will of the tenants, becauſe he got, and kept together a number of them, who oppoſed Will in ſome points prejudicial to their intereſts. But he could not hope to get the management again as long as Will kept all his ſenſes about him; and he was forming ſchemes how to adminiſter to Will a ſtrong opiate, when an accident gave him all the advantage which he could deſire.
[Page 93] Will was riding his high horſe one morning*, when lo! at the turning of a lane, ſtood James Tory's aſs eating thiſtles.
Will's horſe ſtarted, and reared, and threw his maſter with great violence, who fell upon his head, and was taken up ſo much hurt that his life was deſpaired of. He was long dangerouſly ill; and would certainly have died, if he had had a phyſician.
JAMES Tory found the greater part of the tenants ſo adverſe to his adminiſtration, that he was forced to improve upon Will Whig's plan of bribery. Hardly was there left a tenant upon the eſtate who did not fall a prey to 'ſaint-ſeducing gold.'
He pretended that he forgave all his old enemies, and that there ſhould be no more [Page 95] parties upon the eſtate; but he always employed his old friends, and did not like the adherents of Will Whig. He would, however, ſend the latter upon any dangerous buſineſs, that if it failed they might bear the blame; whereas, if it ſucceeded, he knew that he ſhould have all the praiſe, with the additional ſame of being candid and impartial.
He ſwore ſolemnly, and repeatedly, that he was an honeſt man; and encouraged ſwearing ſo much by rule, that no tenant could ſell a pennyworth of ſnuff, without ſwearing that it was right ſnuff, and paid exciſe. Swearing proceeded to ſuch a pitch, that at laſt the tenants came one night and burned the pillory; and agreed that every man ſhould ſwear what he pleaſed.
[Page 96] This was the more ſurpriſing, as James was always a pretender to great piety: and, upon the reſumption of his office, he renewed his acquaintance with the parſon of the pariſh, and turned up the whites of his eyes, as before.
Adverſity had indeed taught James a little moderation; but at bottom he was ſtill the ſame man. Will Whig had carried many dangerous meaſures by art and perſuaſion; but James was always for force. "D—n you, do you oppoſe my ſovereign will?" was his common expreſſion to unruly tenants. Even in bribery, inſtead of putting a purſe of gold into a tenant's pocket, he would often throw it at his head, and knock him down with it.
[Page 97] Withal he was a monſtrous lyar. He indeed no longer inſiſted that the tenants ſhould believe a cruſt of bread to be the leg of a duck, but he would tell them that a notorious knave was an honeſt man; that a highwayman was the fitteſt perſon to be a Juſtice of Peace, becauſe he had experience of buſineſs; and the like. He would alſo boldly aſſert that the moon was made of green cheeſe, and that Will Whig was an enemy of the eſtate. He ſaid that the greateſt part of mankind were made to be driven to market by the leſs; and that it was a vulgar error to ſuppoſe that rivers roſe from ſprings, and ran to the ſea; while he could demonſtrate that rivers roſe from the ſea, and run up the land, loſing their ſaltneſs by the filtration of their progreſs*.
[Page 98] He was quite a jeſuit in politics, and had always two faces under a maſk. He ſaid there was a certain oil, without the influence of which, the wheels of no government could roll, and that this oil was money. Forgetting that no oil is neceſſary, except the wheels be ruſty.
THERE was a large extent of ground, belonging to the eſtate, which lay upon the further ſide of a large river; and was chiefly inhabited by the worſhippers of Calvin. James hated this worſhip cordially, for he was, at heart, a Roman Catholic, and a great favourer of Catholics. The tenants of this part had, however, in ſome degree, eſcaped the rapacity of James, becauſe being at a diſtance, his authority over them was not ſo immediate.
[Page 100] James, wiſhing to gain all he could, and forgetting that his maſter's claim to that part of the eſtate was a little dubious, endeavoured to rack the rents of its tenants. He viſited them in perſon for that purpoſe, but only got a bloody noſe. Upon which he commenced an action of battery againſt the tenants; and they counter-ſuited him by an indictment, for attempting, privately, to ſteal from their perſons.
Will Whig, who had been well for ſome time, and had oppoſed James Tory's new management, as uſual, began to appear with great vehemence upon this occaſion. He had not oppoſed James, when he racked the tenant's rents on this ſide the river, becauſe he was affraid of the argument adverecundiam; and chiefly becauſe he was in hopes of having the management again, in which caſe [Page 101] the racked rents would have been uſeful to him, and his friends. But he ſaw plainly that, in the preſent caſe, James had the wrong ſow by the tail; and that he was running a riſk of loſing part of the eſtate by mere greedineſs.
As Will foreſaw, ſo it came to paſs. The tenants on the further ſide of the river, irritated by the tyrandic ſpirit of James, declared that his management did not extend to that part of the eſtate. And, after a troubleſome law-ſuit, James was non-ſuited: and the tenants beyond the river were declared freeholders.
IT might have been expected that this mortification would have been of eſſential ſervice to James, by the abatement of his pride. But James was one of thoſe who, if they are pounded in a mortar, as ſaith the holy ſcripture, will be ſtill the ſame. He could not part with his high horſe, not he.
[Page 103] Will Whig had ſtill ſo ſtrong a party, that he not a little embarraſſed James in his management. In fact their ſquabbles had ſuch an effect, that the tenants neglected their induſtry; and nothing could be done for the benefit of the eſtate.
A cunning fellow, called Solomon Cacataba, obſerving this, and that the wiſer ſort of the tenants were ſick both of James and Will, aſpired to the management himſelf. Repreſenting to the lord the diſatisfaction of the tenants, he procured a mandate appointing him manager.
[Page 104] After a hearty drink, and a game at cards, James addreſſed himſelf thus to Will: "It is truly ridiculous, my lad, for you and me to ſtruggle about the management, and thus give an upſtart an opportunity to out wit us both. Suppoſe we form a coalition, and agree to manage jointly; there will be enough for both; at leaſt, our profits will be better than none at all, as We have now."
The conſequence was that, by the influence of their numerous followers, they ſoon regained the management. But as James was ſtill the old man, and ſome of their mutual meaſures were ſuggeſted, and followed out, by him; and eſpecially as Solomon Cacataba, who was a mountebank [Page 105] of the firſt order, had been very profuſe of cozening liquor, the tenants were diſcontented.
This encouraged Hector Truboy, a follower and diſciple of Solomon Cacataba, but in faith a clever and good lad, to apply to the diſcontented tenants, for a deputation to be ſent to the Lord, recommending him, Hector Truboy, as the propereſt perſon to manage the eſtate; ſeeing that Solomon was rather diſliked, on account of his Jeſuitic principles, and James and Will were ſuppoſed to be little better than old rogues. The tenants agreed; and further repreſented that much was to be hoped from the youth of Hector Truboy, as not enured or experienced in vice.
[Page 106] The lord graciouſly aſſented, and Hector Truboy became manager. But the tenants were much diſappointed; for his adviſers were chiefly the old friends of James Tory, and his meaſures were, of courſe, moſtly tyrannical and capricious. He was, however, rather fortunate: and good fortune in a general, or a miniſter, is equivalent to great ability.
Coalitions in religion are wiſhed for by all honeſt men, who look upon true religion as incompatiable with a ſpirit of controverſy, and enmity: but, to the great conſolation of the enemies of religion, the ſects are ſtill deſtroying each other; and infidelity triumphs in the civil war, mindful of the remark of Tacitus, Dum ſinguli pugnant univerſi vincuntur. 'Go on my friends,' ſays the laughing infidel; 'fight about high church, and low church, till neither church exiſts: fight about your tithes, till none are paid: fight about your ſurplices, till they are torn from your backs: fight about biſhop, and preſbyter, till both are annihilated. Fight, I ſay; and fight bravely!'
[Page 109] Political coalitions have always been common. Not a party, madam, ever exiſted ſince the world began, but was in ſame degree formed by coalition. Opinions vary like faces: every man has his own: the party has only a ſingle leading opinion, which unites them. In other reſpects they are a coalition.
No one is ſhocked at a coalition between a watchman and a houſe-breaker, between a pick-pocket and a trading juſtice, between a prime miniſter and a jeſuit, between a chief lord of the treaſury and a [Page 110] commiſſary, between — Stop! Sacrifice to Harpocrates*!
But a coalition between a catholic biſhop and a calviniſtic preſbyter, between a lord chancellor of England and a burgo-maſter of Amſterdam, between the devil and an exorciſt, between the King and John Wilkes, between the Duke of Richmond and Cohorn the engineer, between Charles Fox and the Queen of France, between a cat and a rat, between a man and his wife, would be truly ſurpriſing.
Jack was the ſon of parents in a moderate ſituation of life, neither poor nor rich: but what they had was independent. He was from his infancy a remarkable ſhy boy; fond of retirement, and of doing, good unſeen. He ſeemed always loſt in thought; and with all Will Whig's frankneſs, and goodneſs of [Page 112] heart, he had more ſolidity and ſedateneſs. Money he put no value upon, except to give away in charity.
Having loſt his father and mother very early in life, he was trained up by a cruel uncle, a relation of Will Whig's. Jack profited as all do in the ſchool of adverſity; and, with all the abilities of Will Whig, had a humility the moſt profound. When Jack began to promiſe great things, James Tory pretended that he was his relation: but this Jack always denied; and indeed he had not a particle of James Tory's cunning, or tyranny.
All Jack's ſtudies centered in the doing of good to his fellow creatures. He was well verſed in claſſical learning; but he ſaid that he would prefer one good action to all the [Page 113] learning in the world. And he proved that he did not ſpeak in vain.
A conqueror he always termed a butcher; and affected great contempt for war, except in ſelf-defence, or in defence of freedom. With the French moraliſt, he laughed at the madneſs of mankind, who eſteem a ſword, [Page 114] which deſtroys men, a badge of honour and decoration, while the inſtrument which creates men is an object of ſhame.
He would ſay that the happineſs of mankind depended ſolely upon the rectitude of their opinions: and while their opinions were falſe, they would ever be miſerable. 'Can that country be wiſe, or happy, where a ſoldier is a title of honour, and a mechanic a term of contempt? Nobility ſhould attend utility. I know no real nobles, except the mechanic and the farmer. But mankind will always honour ſhadows, and neglect the ſubſtance. Thoſe nations who adore the ſun have ſome excuſe: but how numerous are they who worſhip wooden idols, of their own making; and are ſtruck with awe at the finery with which they themſelves have dreſt them!'
[Page 115] In ſuch paradoxes did Jack indulge. They at firſt attracted notice, merely by their novelty; but the more they were examined, the more ſolid they were found. The tenants began to be much pleaſed with Jack; and to ſay that, to this vigour of youth, he added more than the wiſdom of age.
At one of theſe meetings, which James Tory and Will Whig regularly attended, they jointly propoſed an important ſcheme, in outward appearance for the good of the [Page 117] eſtate; but which, in reality, would only have terminated in lodging a good ſum o [...] money in their pockets. Jack ſaw through this immediately; and riſing up, addreſſed them in theſe terms:
"Gentlemen, I honour you both equally. You James Tory have done harm to the eſtate; and you Will Whig have done it little good. Even when detached from each other, your adminiſtrations reſembled each other ſo nearly, that all the tenants ſaw that a change of men was not a change of meaſures. To load the tenants with taxes, and corrupt them with bribery, were the leading objects of both. Do you really ſuppoſe gentlemen, that the tenants will be your dupes for ever? Do you not know that they ſee through your ſchemes? If you muſt deceive us, do not at leaſt inſult our underſtandings. [Page 118] What is your private intereſt, what are your parties, to the good of the eſtate? Drop them, in the name of common honeſty: and, if you formed an union for the ſake of ambition and intereſt, as your enemies ſay, do form another for the good of the eſtate, and the tenants. Wipe away, by preſent merit, the memory of paſt offences. Let the knowledge of the contempt, into which you are fallen, act as a ſpur to incite you to redeem yourſelves from it, by actions of real worth and public benefit, ſuch as envy herſelf cannot diſtort from their juſt beauty."
[Page 120] This was owing entirely to the ſpirit of the tenants, which long oppreſſion had rouſed into a flame. They had ſeized upon the management themſelves; and made a new code of rules, to determine all queſtions by, concerning the management. The public good was to be the only law. Tithes were aboliſhed; and the imprudent power and claims of the richer annihilated. They would allow of no nobility, but that of merit; and all men were to be equal as God made them.
Some heads had been broken upon the occaſion. But what is the death of a few men, to the good of thouſands, and the deſcendants of three thouſands? Never had ſuch a revolution been accompliſhed with as little bloodſhed. Jack juſtly obſerved that it was ſeldom the public good could be accompliſhed without broken heads. That a little [Page 121] bloodſhed makes a great noiſe; whereas the death of ſucceſſive millions, from want and miſery occaſioned by tyrannic government, is not attended to. So great is the power of that mad lady Opinion !
Jack was glad to find ſome of his own ſchemes realized; and ſtill happier to reflect that, to ſet his fellow-tenants to rights, there was no occaſion for ſuch extremities. 'Let us,' ſaid he, 'put an effectual ſtop to bribery, reſorm our old laws, agree what tenants are to be invited to the meetings, inſiſt upon the tenants being mentioned firſt in all ſolemn deeds, inſtead of the manager, and ſome other matters, and we ſhall do verywell.'
JAMES and Will, finding that they could not regain the confidence of the tenants, and obſerving that Jack was very popular among them, generouſly agreed to ſerve their wiſhes by inviting him back, and lending him all their influence to procure the management. And Hector Truboy as generouſly reſigned his place in favour of Jack.
[Page 123] Jack could hardly believe his good fortune. But, as ſoon as he was inſtalled, he inſiſted upon Will Whig's dropping all connection with James Tory, whom Jack could not abide. Will cheerfully exchanged the friendſhip of James, for that of Jack; for Will's connection with James had been what Shakeſpear calls a 'half-faced fellowſhip.'
When Jack had accompliſhed this purpoſe, he took Will into all his councils; and as they agreed in moſt points, and had much the ſame train of thinking, their friendſhip became moſt firm. Will's experience aſſiſted the genius of Jack; and Jack's honeſty checked the ſelf-intereſt of Will.
James was deteſted by both; but permitted not only to remain upon the eſtate, but always [Page 124] to ſpeak his mind freely at every meeting; for Jack ſaid an oppoſition was neceſſary for the public good, and if not virtuous in itſelf, at leaſt made the manager circumſpect, and kept the tenants upon their guard.
JACK began his management, by reforming the meetings of the tenants. Hitherto the poſſeſſors of ſome ruinous farm houſes had been permitted to ſit at the meetings, and to vote as the reſt; and as they were very poor, James and Will had eaſily bribed them to ſupport any meaſure they pleaſed. Theſe Jack turned out; and appointed others, the poſſeſſors of new farm houſes, built upon the eſtate, but whoſe owners had [Page 126] not hitherto ſat, becauſe ſome muſty uſages of the eſtate were againſt it.
He moreover made ſuch effectual laws againſt bribery, that it was impoſſible for himſelf, or any future manager, to uſe it. He thus ſecured a meeting, in which the members could have no private intereſt to ſerve, except that of the public good.
He abrogated many fooliſh old laws. Some tenants murmured, and ſaid, that he was changing the conſtitution of the eſtate. 'Poh! conſtitution indeed!' ſaid Jack, 'if your conſtitution has the gout, why not change it? Diſeaſes muſt get into every conſtitution; and why not cure them when we can?
He alſo candidly inſiſted, at a general meeting, that the tenants ſhould always be named firſt in every writing, relating to the eſtate; whereas other managers, with ſtrange impudence had named themſelves only.