Proposals for printing a very curious discourse: in two volumes in quarto, intitled, Pseudologia politikē; or, a treatise of the art of political lying, with an abstract of the first volume of the said treatise.


PROPOSALS For PRINTING the Art of Political Lying, In Two Volumes.


PROPOSALS For PRINTING A very Curious Diſcourſe, in Two Volumes in Quarto, Intitled, ΨΕΥΔΟΛΟΓΙΑ ΠΟΛΙΤΙΚΗ; OR, A TREATISE of the ART OF Political Lying, WITH An ABSTRACT of the Firſt Volume of the ſaid TREATISE.

LONDON: Printed for John Morphew, near Stationers-Hall. 1712. Price 3d.



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THere is now in the Preſs, a Curious Piece, intitled, Ψευδολογια Πολιτικη; or, A Treatiſe of the Art of Political Lying : Conſiſting of Two Volumes in 4to.

  • I. That if the Author meets with ſuitable Encouragement, he intends to deliver the First Volume to the Subſcribers by Hilary-Term next.
  • II. The Price of both Volumes will be, to the Subſcribers, Fourteen Shillings; Seven whereof are to be paid down, and the other Seven at the Delivery of the Second Volume.
  • III. Thoſe that Subſcribe for Six ſhall have a Seventh gratis; which reduces the Price to leſs than Six Shillings a Volume.
  • IV. That the Subſcribers ſhall have their Names and Places of Abode Printed at length.

Subſcriptions are taken in at St. James's Coffee-houſe, Young Man's at Charing-Croſs, the Grecian, Brydges's by the Royal Exchange, and moſt other Coffee-houſes in Town.

1.2. For the Encouragement of ſo uſeful a Work, it is thought fit the Publick ſhould be inform'd of the Contents of the First Volume, by one who has with great Care perus'd the Manuſcript.

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THE Author, in his Preface, makes ſome very judicious Reflexions upon the Original of Arts and Sciences; That at firſt they conſiſt of ſcatter'd Theorems and Practices, which are handed about amongſt the Maſters, and only reveal'd to the Filii Artis, till ſuch time as ſome great Genius appears, who Collects theſe disjointed Propoſitions, and reduces them into a regular Syſtem. That this is the Caſe of that Noble and Uſeful Art of Political Lying, which in this laſt Age having been enrich'd with ſeveral new Diſcoveries, ought not to lie any longer in Rubbiſh and Confuſion, but may juſtly claim a Place in the Encyclopedia, eſpecially ſuch as ſerves for a Model of Education for an able Politcian; that he propoſes to himſelf no ſmall Stock of Fame in future Ages, in being the firſt who has undertaken this Deſign; and for the ſame Reaſon he hopes the Imperfection of his Work will be excuſed. He invites all Perſons who have any Talent that way, or any new Diſcovery, to communicate their Thoughts, aſſuring them that honorable mention ſhall be made of them in his Work.

1.3. The First Volume conſiſts of Eleven Chapters.

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In the firſt Chapter of his excellent Treatiſe, he reaſons Philoſophically concerning the Nature of the Soul of Man, and thoſe Qualities which render it ſuſceptible of Lyes. He ſuppoſes the Soul to be of the Nature of a Plano-Cylindrical Speculum, or Looking-glaſs; that the plain ſide was made by God Almighty, but that the Devil afterwards wrought the other ſide into a Cylindrical Figure. The plain ſide repreſents Objects juſt as they are, and the Cylindrical ſide, by the Rules of Catoptricks, muſt needs repreſent true Objects falſe, and falſe Objects true; but the Cylindrical ſide being much the larger Surface, takes in a greater Compaſs of viſual Rays. That upon the Cylindrical ſide of the Soul of Man depends the whole Art and Succeſs of Political Lying. The Author, in this Chapter, proceeds to reaſon upon the other Qualities of the Mind; As, great Fondneſs of the Malicious and the Miraculous: The Tendency of the Soul towards the Malicious, ſprings from Self-love, or a Pleaſure to find Mankind more wicked, baſe, or unfortunate, than our ſelves. The Deſign of the Miraculous, proceeds from the Inactivity of the Soul, or its Incapacity to be moved or delighted with any thing that is vulgar or common. The Author having eſtabliſh'd the Qualities of the [Page 8] MIND, upon which his Art is founded, he proceeds,


In his Second Chapter, to Treat of the Nature of Political Lying; which he defines, to be, The Art of convincing the People of Salutary Falſhoods, for ſome good End. He calls it an Art to diſtinguiſh it from that of telling Truth, which does not ſeem to want Art; but then he would have this underſtood only as to the Invention, becauſe there is indeed more Art neceſſary to convince the People of a Salutary Truth, than a Salutary Falſhood. Then he proceeds to prove, that there are Salutary Falſhoods, of which he gives a great many Inſtances both before and after the Revolution; and demonſtrates plainly, that we could not have carried, on the War ſo long, without ſeveral of thoſe Salutary Falſhoods. He gives Rules to calculate the Value of a Political Lye, in Pounds, Shillings, and Pence. By Good, he does not mean that which is abſolutely ſo, but what appears ſo to the Artiſt, which is a ſufficient Ground for him to proceed upon; and. he diſtinguiſhes the Good, as it commonly, is, into Bonum utile, dulce, & honeſtum. He ſhews you, that there are Political Lyes of a mix'd Nature, which include all the Three in different reſpects▪ That the Utile reigns generally about the Exchange, the Dulce and Honeſtum at the Weſtminſter End of the Town. One Man ſpreads [Page 9] a Lye to ſell or Buy Stock to greater Advantage; a ſecond, becauſe it is honorable to ſerve his Party; and a third, becauſe it is ſweet to gratify his Revenge. Having explain'd the ſeveral Terms of his Definition, he proceeds,


In his Third Chapter, to treat of the Lawfulneſs of Political Lying; which he deduces from its true and genuine Principles, by enquiring into the ſeveral Rights that Mankind have to Truth. He ſhews, that the People have a Right to private Truth from their Neighbours, and oeconomical Truth from their own Family; that they ſhould not be abuſed by their Wives, Children, and Servants; but, that they have no Right at all to Political Truth: That the People may as well all pretend to be Lords of Mannors and poſſeſs great Eſtates, as to have Truth told them in Matters of Government. The Author, with great Judgment, ſtates the ſeveral Shares of Mankind in this Matter of Truth, according to their ſeveral Capacities, Dignities, and Profeſſions; and ſhews you, that Children have hardly any ſhare at all; in conſequence of which, they have very ſeldom any Truth told them. It muſt be own'd, that the Author, in this Chapter, has ſome ſeeming Difficulties to anſwer and explain Texts of Scripture, and a Sermon lately Preach'd before Her Majeſty at Windſor.


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The Fourth Chapter is wholly employed in this Queſton, Whether the Right of Coinage of Political Lyes be wholly in the Government? The Author, who is a true Friend to Engliſh Liberty, determines in the Negative, and anſwers all the Arguments of the oppoſite Party with great Acuteneſs; That as the Government of England has a Mixture of Democratical in it, ſo the Right of Inventing and Spreading Political Lyes, is partly in the People; and their obſtinate Adherence to this juſt Privilege has been moſt conſpicuous, and ſhin'd with great Luſtre of late Years: That it happens very often, that there is no other Means left to the good People of England to pull down a Miniſtry and Government they are weary of, but by exerciſing this their undoubted Right: That abundance of Political Lying is a ſure ſign of true Engliſh Liberty: That as Miniſters do ſometimes uſe Tools to ſupport their Power, it is but reaſonable that the People ſhould employ the ſame Weapon to defend themſelves, and pull them down.


In his Fifth Chapter, he divides Political Lyes into their ſeveral Species and Claſſes, and gives Precepts about the Inventing, Spreading, and Propagating the ſeveral ſorts of them: He begins with the Rumores, and Libelli famoſi, ſuch as concern the Reputation of Men in Power; where he finds Fault [Page 11] with the common Miſtake, that takes Notice only of one ſort, viz. the Detractory or Defamatory, whereas in truth there are three ſorts, the Detractory, the Additory, and the Tranſlatory. The Additory gives to a Great Man a greater ſhare of Reputation than belongs to him, to enable him to ſerve ſome good End or Purpoſe. The Detractory or Defamatory, is a Lye which takes from a Great Man the Reputation that juſtly belongs to him, for fear he ſhould uſe it to the Detriment of the Publick. The Tranſlatory, is a Lye that transfers the Merit of a Man's good Action to another who is in himſelf more deſerving; or, transfers the Demerit of a bad Action from the true Author, to a Perſon who is in himſelf leſs deſerving. He gives ſeveral Inſtances of very great Strokes in all the Three Kinds, eſpecially in the laſt, when it was neceſſary for the Good of the Publick to beſtow the Valour and Conduct of one Man upon another, and that of many to one Man; nay, even upon a good Occaſion, a Man may be rob'd of his Victory by a Perſon that did not Command in the Action. The Reſtoring and the Deſtroying the Publick may be aſcrib'd to Perſons who had no hand in either. The Author exhorts all Gentlemen Practitioners to exerciſe themſelves in the Tranſlatory, becauſe the Exiſtence of the Things themſelves being viſible, and not demanding any [Page 12] Proof, there wants nothing to be put upon the Publick but a falſe Author or a falſe Cauſe, which is no great Preſumption upon the Credulity of Mankind, to whom the ſecret Springs of things are for the moſt part unknown.

The Author proceeds to give ſome Precepts as to the Additory. That when one aſcribes any thing to a Perſon which does not belong to him, the Lye ought to be calculated not quite contradictory to his known Qualities: Ex. gr. One would not make the French King preſent at a Proteſtant Conventicle; nor, like Queen Elizabeth, reſtore the Overplus of Taxes to her Subjects. One would not bring in the Emperor giving two Months Pay in Advance to his Troops; nor the Dutch paying more, than their Quota. One would not make the ſame Perſon zealous for a Standing Army and Publick Liberty; nor an Atheiſt ſupport the Church; nor a lewd Fellow a Reformer of Manners; nor a hot-headed crack-brain'd Coxcomb forward for a Scheme of Moderation. But if it is abſolutely neceſſary that a Perſon is to have ſome good adventitious Quality given him, the Author's Precept is, that it ſhould not be done at firſt in extremo gradu. For Example: They ſhould not make, a Covetous Man give away all at once, Five thouſand Pounds in a charitable generous way; Twenty or Thirty Pounds may ſuffice at firſt, [Page 13] They ſhould not introduce a Perſon of remarkable Ingratitude to his Benefactors, rewarding a poor Man for ſome good Office that was done him thirty Years ago; but they may allow him to acknowledge a Service to a Perſon who is capable ſtill to do him another. A Man whoſe perſonal Courage is ſuſpected, is not at firſt to drive whole Squadrons before him; but he may be allow'd the Merit of ſome Squabble, or throwing a Bottle at his Adverſary's Head.

It will not be allow'd, to make a Great Man, that is a known Deſpiſer of Religion, ſpend whole Days in his Cloſet at his Devotion; but, you may with Safety make him ſit out publick Prayers with Decency. A Great Man, who has never been known willingly to pay a juſt Debt, ought not all of a ſudden to be introduc'd making Reſtitution of Thouſands he has cheated; let it ſuffice at firſt, to pay Twenty Pounds to a Friend who has loſt his Note.

He lays down the ſame Rules in the Detractory or Defamatory kind; that they ſhould not be quite oppoſite to the Qualities the Perſons are ſuppoſed to have. Thus it will not be found, according to the found Rules of Pſeudology, to report of a pious and religious Prince, that he neglects his Devotion, and would introduce Hereſy; but, you may report of a merciful Prince, that he has Pardon'd a Criminal who did not deſerve it. [Page 14] You will be unſucceſsful if you give out of a Great Man, who is remarkable for his Frugality for the Publick, that he ſquanders away the Nation's Money; but, you may ſafely relate that he hoards it: You muſt not affirm he took a Bribe; but, you may freely cenſure him for being tardy in his Payments; Becauſe though neither may be true, yet the laſt is credible, the firſt not. Of an openhearted generous Miniſter you are not to ſay, that he was in an Intrigue to Betray his Country; but, you may affirm with ſome Probability, that he was in an Intrigue with a Lady. He warns all Practitioners to take good heed to theſe Precepts, for want of which, many of their Lies, of late, have prov'd abortive on ſhort-liv'd.


In his Sixth Chapter he treats of the Miraculous; by which he underſtands any thing that exceeds the common Degrees of Probability. In reſpect of the People, it is divided into two ſorts, the [...], or the [...], Terrifying Lyes, and Animating or Encouraging Lyes, both being extremely uſeful on their proper Occaſions. Concerning the [...], he gives ſeveral Rules; one of which is, that terrible Objects ſhould not be too frequently ſhewn to the People, leſt they grow familiar. He ſays, it is abſolutely neceſſary that the People of England ſhould be frighted with the French King and [Page 15] the Pretender once a Year; but, that the Bears ſhould be chain'd up again till that time Twelve-month. The want of Obſerving this ſo neceſſary a Precept, in bringing out the Raw-head and Bloody-bones upon every trifling Occaſion, has produc'd great Indifference in the Vulgar of late Years. As to the Animating or Encouraging Lyes, he gives the following Rules; That they ſhould not far exceed the common degrees of Probability, and that there ſhould be variety of them, and the ſame Lye not obſtinately inſiſted upon; that the Promiſſory or Prognoſticating Lyes ſhould not be upon ſhort Days, for fear the Authors ſhould have the Shame and Confuſion to ſee themſelves ſpeedily contradicted. He examines by theſe Rules, that well-meant, but unfortunate Lye of the Conqueſt of France, which continued near twenty Years together; but at laſt, by being too obſtinately inſiſted upon, it was worn threadbare, and became unſucceſsful.

As to the [...], or the Prodigious, he has little to adviſe, but that their Comets, Whales and Dragons, ſhould be ſizable; their Storms, Tempeſts, and Earthquakes, without the reach of a Days Journey of a Man and a Horſe.


The Seventh Chapter is wholly taken up in an Enquiry, Which of the two Parties are the greateſt Artiſts in Political Lying. He [Page 16] owns the Tories have been better believed of late; but, that the Whigs have much the greater Genius's amongſt them. He attributes the late ill Succeſs of the Whig-Party to their glutting the Market, and retailing too much of a bad Commodity at once: When there is too great a Quantity of Worms, it is hard to catch Gudgeons. He propoſes a Scheme for the Recovery of the Credit of the Whig-Party, which indeed ſeems to be ſomewhat Chimerical, and does not ſavour of that ſound Judgment the Author has ſhown in the reſt of the Work It amounts to this, That the Party ſhould agree to vent nothing but Truth for three Months together, which will give them Credit for ſix Months Lying afterwards. He owns, that he believes it almoſt impoſſible to find fit Perſons to execute this Scheme. Towards the end of the Chapter, he inveighs ſeverely againſt the Folly of Parties, in retaining ſuch Scoundrels and Men of Low Genius's to retail their Lyes; ſuch as moſt of the preſent News-Writers are, who beſides a ſtrong Bent and Inclination towards the Profeſſion, ſeem to be wholly ignorant in the Rules of Pſeudology, and not at all qualified for ſo weighty a Truſt.


In his Eighth Chapter he treats of ſome extraordinary Genius's who have appear'd of late Years, eſpecially in their Diſpoſition towards [Page 17] the Miraculous. He adviſes thoſe hopeful Young-men to turn their Invention to the Service of their Country, it being inglorious, at this time, to employ their Talent in prodigious Fox-Chaſes, Horſe-Courſes, Feats of Activity in Driving of Coaches, Jumping, Running, Swallowing of Peaches, Pulling out whole Sets of Teeth to clean, &c. when their Country ſtands ſo much in need of their Aſſiſtance.

The Eighth Chapter is a Project for Uniting the ſeveral ſmaller Corporations of Lyars into one Society. It is too tedious to give a full Account of the whole Scheme; what is moſt remarkable is, That this Society ought to conſiſt of the Heads of each Party; that no Lye is to paſs current without their Approbation, they being the beſt Judges of the preſent Exigencies, and what ſort of Lyes are demanded: That in ſuch a Corporation there ought to be Men of all Profeſſions, that the [...], and the [...], that is, Decency and Probability, may be obſerv'd as much as poſſible: That beſides the Perſons above-mentioned, this Society ought to conſiſt of the hopeful Genius's about the Town (of which there are great plenty to be pick'd up in the ſeveral Coffee-houſes) Travellers, Virtuoſo's, Fox-hunters, Jockeys, Attorneys, Old Sea-men and Soldiers out of the Hoſpitals of Greenwich and Chelſea. To this Society, [Page 18] ſo Conſtituted, ought to be committed the ſole Management of Lying. That in their outer Room there ought always to attend ſome Perſons endow'd with a great Stock of Credulity, a Generation that thrives mightily in this Soil and Climate: He thinks a ſufficient Number of them may be pick'd up any where about the Exchange: Theſe are to Circulate what the other Coin; for no Man ſpreads a Lye with ſo good a Grace as he that believes it. That the Rule of the Society be to invent a Lye, and ſometimes two, for every Day; in the Choice of which, great Regard ought to be had to the Weather, and the Seaſon of the Year: Your [...], or Terrifying Lyes, do mighty well in November and December, but not ſo well in May and June, unleſs the Eaſterly Winds reign. That it ought to be Penal, for any body to talk of any thing but the Lye of the Day. That the Society is to maintain a ſufficient Number of Spies at Court, and other Places, to furniſh Hints and Topicks for Invention; and a general Correſpondence in all the Market-Towns, for Circulating their Lyes. That if any one of die Society were obſerv'd to bluſh, or look out of Countenance, or want a neceſſary Circumſtance in telling the Lye, he ought to be expell'd, and declar'd incapable. Beſides the Roaring Lies, there ought to be a private Committee for Whiſpers, conſtituted of the ableſt Men of [Page 19] the Society. Here the Author makes a Digreſſion in Praiſe of the Whig-Party, for the right Underſtanding and Uſe of Proof-Lyes. A Proof-Lye is like a Proof-Charge for a Piece of Ordnance, to try a Standard-Credulity. Of ſuch a nature he takes Tranſubſtantiation to be in the Church of Rome, a ProofArticle, which if any one ſwallows, they are ſure he will digeſt every thing elſe. Therefore the Whig-Party do wiſely, to try the Credulity of the People ſometimes by Swingers, that they may be able to judge to what heighth they may Charge them afterwards. Towards the End of this Chapter, he warns the Heads of Parties againſt Believing their own Lyes; which has prov'd of pernicious Conſequence of late, both a Wiſe Party and a Wiſe Nation having regulated their Affairs upon Lyes of their own Invention. The Cauſes of this he ſuppoſes to be too great a Zeal and Intenſeneſs in the Practice of this Art, and a vehement Heat in mutual Converſation, whereby they perſwade one another, that what they wiſh, and report to be true, is really ſo. That all Parties have been ſubject to this Misfortune: The Jacobites have been conſtantly infeſted with it; but, the Whigs of late ſeem ev'n to exceed them in this ill Habit and Weakneſs. To this Chapter, the Author ſubjoins a Calendar of Lyes proper for the ſeveral Months of the Year.


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The Ninth Chapter treats of the Celerity and Duration of Lyes. As to the Celerity of their Motion, the Author ſays it is almoſt incredible: He gives ſeveral Inſtances of Lyes that have gone faſter than a Man can ride Poſt: Your Terrifying Lyes travel at a prodigious rate, above ten Miles an hour; your Whiſpers move in a narrow Vortex, but very ſwiftly. The Author ſays it is impoſſible to explain ſeveral Phoenomena in relation to the Celerity of Lyes, without the Suppoſition of Synchroniſm and Combination. As to the Duration of Lyes, he ſays they are of all ſorts, from Hours and Days to Ages; that there are ſome which, like your Inſects, die and revive again in a different Form; that good Artiſts, like People who build upon a ſhort Leaſe, will calculate the Duration of a Lye ſurely to anſwer their purpoſe; to laſt juſt as long, and no longer, than the Turn is ſerv'd.


The Tenth Chapter treats of the Characteriſticks of Lyes; how to know, when, where, and by whom invented: Your Dutch, Engliſh, and French Ware, are amply diſtinguiſh'd from one another; an Exchange-Lye from one Coin'd at the other End of the Town; Great Judgment is to be ſhewn as to the Place where the Species is intended to Circulate: Very low and baſe Coin will ſerve for Wapping: There are ſeveral Coffeehouſes [Page 21] that have their particular Stamps, which a judicious Practitioner may eaſily know. All your Great Men have their proper Phantateuſticks. The Author ſays he has attained, by Study and Application, to ſo great Skill in this Matter, that bring him any Lye, he can tell whoſe Image it bears ſo truly, as the Great Man himſelf ſhall not have the face to deny it. The Promiſſory Lyes of Great Men are known by Shouldering, Hugging, Squeezing, Smiling, Bowing; and Lyes in Matter of Fact, by immoderate Swearing.


He ſpends the whole Eleventh Chapter on one ſimple Queſtion, Whether a Lye is best contradicted by Truth, or another Lye. The Author ſays, that conſidering the large Extent of the Cylindrical Surface of the Soul, and the great Propenſity to believe Lyes in the generality of Mankind of late Years, he thinks the propereſt Contradiction to a Lye, is another Lye: For Example; If it ſhould be reported that the Pretender was at London, one would not contradict it by ſaying he never was in England; but you muſt prove by Eye-witneſſes that he came no farther than Greenwich, but then went back again. Thus if it be ſpread about that a great Perſon were dying of ſome Diſeaſe, you muſt not ſay the Truth, that they are in Health, and never had ſuch a Diſeaſe; but, that they are ſlowly recovering of it. So there was, [Page 22] not long ago, a Gentleman who affirmed, That the Treaty with France for bringing in Popery and Slavery into England, was Sign'd the 15th of September; to which another anſwered very judiciouſly, not by oppoſing Truth to his Lye, That there was no ſuch Treaty; but that, to his certain Knowledge, there were many things in that Treaty not yet adjuſted.

The Account of the Second Volume of this Excellent Treatiſe, is reſerv'd for another time

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