THE CHARACTER OF A TRIMMER. HIS OPINION OF I. The Laws and Government.
II. Protestant Religion.
III. The Papists.
IV. Foreign Affairs.
By the Honourable Sir W. C.
LONDON, Printed in the Year, M DC LXXXVIII
IT must be more than an ordinary provocation that can tempt a Man to Write in an Age over-run with Scriblers, as Egypt was with Flyes and Locusts: That worst Vermin of swall Authours hath given the World such a Surfeit, that instead of desiring to Write, a Man would be more inclin'd to wish, for his own ease, that he could not Read; but there are some things which do so raise our Pas∣sions, that our Reason can make no Resistance; and when Madmen, in the two Extreams, shall agree to make common sense Treason, and joyn to fix an ill Character upon the only Men in the Nation who deserve a good one; I am no longer Master of my better Resolution to let the World alone, and must break loose from my more reasonalble Thoughts, to expose these false Coyners, who would make their Copper Wares pass upon us for good Payment.
Amongst all the Engines of Dissention, there hath been none more pow∣erful in all Times, than the fixing Names upon one another of Contu∣mely and Reproach, and the reason is plain, in respect of the People, who are generally uncapable of making a Syllogism or forming an Argu∣ment, yet they can pronounce a word; and that serves their turn to throw it with their due malice at the head of those they do not like; such things ever begin in just, and end in Blood, and the same word that maketh the Company merry, grows in time to a Military Signal to cut one anothers Throats.
These Mistakes are to be lamented, tho' not easily cured, being sui∣table enough to the corrupted Nature of Mankind; but 'tis hard that Men will not only invent ill Names, but they will wrest and misinterpret good ones, so afraid some are even of a reconciling sound, that they raise another noise to keep it from being heard, lest it should set up and encourage a dangerous sorts of Men, who prefer Peace and Agreement, before Violence and Confusion.
Were it not for this, why, after we have play'd the Fool with throw∣ing Whig and Tory at one another, as Boys do Snow Balls, do we grow angry at a new Name, which by its true signification might do as much to put us into our Wits, as the other hath done to put us out of them?
Page [unnumbered]This innocent word Trimmer signifies no more than this, That if Men are together in a Boat, and one part of the Company would weigh it down on one side, another would make it lean as much to the contrary, it happens there is a third Opinion of those who conceive it would do as well, if the Boat went even, without endangering the Passengers; now 'tis hard to imagine by what Figure in Language, or by what Rule in Sense this cometh to be a fault, and it is much more a wonder it should become a Heresy.
But so it happens, that the poor Trimmer hath all the Powder spent upon him alone, while the Whig is forgotten, or at least a neg∣lected Enemy; there is no danger now to the State (if some Men be believ'd) but from the Beast called a Trimmer, take heed of him, he is the Instrument that must destory Church and State; a strong kind of Monster, whose deformity is so expos'd, that, were it a true Picture that is made of him, it would be enough to fright Children, and make Women miscarry at the sight of it.
But it may be worth the examining, whether he is such a Beast as he is Painted. I am not of that Opinion, and am so far from think∣ing him an Infidel either in Church or State, that I am neither afraid to expose the Articles of his Faith in Relation to Government, nor to say I prefer them before any other Political Creed, that either our an∣gry Dons, or our refined States-men would impose upon us.
I have therefore in the following Discourse endeavour'd to explain the Trimmer's Principles and Opinions, and then leave it to all Di∣scerning and Impartial Judges, whether he can with Justice be so Ar∣raign'd, and whether those who deliberately pervert a good Name, do not very justly deserve the worst that can be put upon themselves.Page 1
THE Trimmer's Opinion OF THE LAWS and GOVERNMENT.
OUR Trimmer hath a great Veneration for Laws in general, as he hath more particularly for his own, he looketh upon them as the Chains that tye up our unruly Passions, which else, like Wild Beasts let loose, would reduce the World into its first State of Barbarism and Hostility; all the good things we enjoy, we owe to them; and all the ill things we are freed from by their Protection.
God himself thought it not enough to be a Creator, without being a Law-giver, and his goodness had been defective towards Mankind in ma∣king them, if he had not prescrib'd Rules to make them happy.
All Laws flow from that of Nature, and where that is not the Foundation, they may be legally impos'd, but they will be lamely obey'd: By this Nature is not meant that which Fools and Madmen would misquote to justify their Excesses; it is innocent and uncorrupted Nature, that which disposeth Men to chuse Vertue, without its being prescrib'd, and which is so far from inspiring ill thoughts into us, that we take pains to suppress the good ones it infuseth.
The Civil World has ever paid a willing subjection to Laws, even Conquerours have done homage to them; as the Romans who took Pat∣terns of good Laws, even from those they had subdued; and at the same time they Triumph'd over an enssav'd People, the same Laws of that Place did not only remain safe, but became Victorious; their new Ma∣sters, instead of suppressing them, paid them more respect than they had from those who first made them: and by this wise method they arriv'd to Page 2 such an admirable Constitution of Laws, that to this day they Reign by them; the Excellency of them Triumpheth still, and the World payeth now an acknowledgment of their obedience to that Mighty Empire, tho' so many Ages after it is dissolved; and by a better instance, the Kings of France, who, in practice use their Laws pretty familiarly, yet think their Picture is drawn with most advantage upon their Seals, when they are plac'd upon the Seat of Justice; and tho' the Hieroglyphick is not there of so much use to the People as they would wish, yet it shews that no Prince is so Great, as to think fit, for his own Credit at least, to give∣an outward, when he refuseth a real worship to the Laws.
They are to Mankind that which the Sun is to the Plants, as it cherish∣eth and preserveth them, so where they have their force, and are not clouded, every thing smileth and slourisheth; but where they are darkned, and are not suffered to shine out, it maketh every thing to wither and decay.
They serve Men not only against one another, but against themselves too; they are a Sanct••ry to which the Crown hath occasion to resort as often as the People, •o that it hath an Interest as well as a Duty to preserve them.
There would be no end of making a Panegyrick of Laws; let it be e∣nough to add, that without Laws the World would become a Wilder∣ness and Men little less than Beasts; but with all this, the best things may come to be the worst, if they are not in good hands; and if it be true that the wisest Men generally make the Laws, it is as true, that the strongest do often misinterpret them: and as River belong as much to the Chanel where they run, as to the Spring from whence they first rise, so the Laws depend as much upon the Pipes, thro' which they are to pass, as upon the Fountain from whence they flow.
The Authority of a King who is Head of the Law, as well as the Dig∣nity of Publick Justice, is debased, when the clear stream of the Law is puddled and distrub'd by Bunglers, or convey'd by unclean Instruments to the People.
Our Trimmer would have them appear in their full lustre, and would be grieved to see the day, when, instead of speaking with Authority from the Seats of Justice, they should speak out of a Grate, with a lamenting voice, like Prisoners that desire to be rescu'd.
He wisheth that the Bench may have a Natural as well as a Legal Su∣periority to the Bar; he thinketh Mens abilities much misplac'd, when the Reasons of those that Plead is visibly too strong for those who Judge and give Sentence.
When those from the Bar seem to dictate to their Superious upon Page 3 the Bench, their Furrs will look scurvily about them, and the re∣spect of the World will leave the bare Character of a Judge, to follow the Essential knowledge of a Lawyer, who may be greater in himself, than others can be with all their Trappings.
An uncontested Superiority in any Calling, will have the better of any distinct Name that Authority can put upon it, and therefore if ever such an unnatural Method should be produc'd, it is then that Westminster∣Hall might be said to stand upon its Head, and though Justice it self can never be so, yet the Administration of it would be rendered Ridi∣culous.
A Judge hath such a Power lodg'd in him, that the King will never be thought to have chosen well, where the Voice of Mankind hath not be∣fore-hand recommended the Man to his Election; when Men are made Judges of what they do not understand, the World censures such a Choice, not out of ill-will to the Men, but fear to themselves.
If the King had sole Power of chusing Physicians, Men would tremble to see Bunglers preferred, yet the necessity of taking Physick from a Doctor, is generally not so great as that of receiving Justice from a Judge; the Inferences will be very severe in such cases, for either it will be thought that such Men bought what they were not able to deserve, or which is as bad, that Obedience shall be look'd upon as a better Qualification in a Judge, than Skill or Integrity, when such sacred things as the Laws are not only touch'd, but guided by prophane hands; Men will fear that out of the Tree of the Law, from whence we expect Shade and Shelter, such Workmen will make us Cudgels to beat us with, or rather that they will turn the Canon upon our Properties, that were intrusted with them for their Defence.
To see the Laws Mangled, Disguised, Speak quite another Language than their own, to see them thrown from the Dignity of protecting Man∣kind, to the disgraceful Office of destroying them; and, notwithstanding their Innocence in themselves, to be made the worst Instruments that the most refined Villany can make use of, will raise Mens Anger above the power of laying it down again, and tempt them to follow the Evil Ex∣amples given them of Judging without Hearing, when so provoked by their desire of Revenge. Our Trimmer therefore as he thinketh the Laws are Jewels, so he believeth they are no better set, than in the Constitu∣tion of our English Government, if rightly understood, and carefully pre∣served.
It would be too great Partiality to say it is perfect or liable to no Objection; such things are not of the World; but if it hath more Ex∣cellencies and sewer Faults than any other we know, it is enough to re∣commend it to our Esteem.
Page 4The Dispute, which is a greater Beauty, a Monarchy or a Common∣wealth, hath lasted long between their contending Lovers, and (they have behav'd themselves so like, who in good Manners must be out of their Wits,) who used such Figures to exalt their own Idols on either side, and such angry Aggravations, to reproach one another in the Contest, that moderate Men have at all times smil'd upon this eagerness, and thonght it differ'd very little from a downright Frenzy: we in England, by a hap∣py use of the Controversie, conclude them both in the wrong, and re∣ject them from being our Pattern, taking the words in the utmost ex∣tent, which is a thing that Monarchy leaveth them no Liberty, and a Common-Wealth such a one, as allows them no Quiet.
We think that a wise Mean, between these two barbarous Extreams, is that which self-Preservation ought to dictate to our Wishes; and we may say we have attained this Mean in a greater measure, than any Nation now in being, or perhaps any we have read of; tho' ne∣ver so much Celebrated for the wisdom or plenty of their Constitutions; we take from one the too great power of doing hurt, and yet leave enough to govern and protect us; we take from the other, the Corfu∣sion, the Parity, the Animosities, and the License, and yet reserve a due care of such Liberty, as may consist with Mens Allegiance; but it being hard, if not impossible, to be exactly even, our Government has much the stronger Biass towards Monarchy, which by the more general Con∣sent and practice of Mankind, seemeth to have the Advantage in di∣spute against a Commonwealth: The Rules of a Commonwealth are too hard for the Bulk of Mankind to come up to, that Form of Go∣vernment requireth such a spirit to carry it on, as doth not dwel in great Numbers, but is restrain'd to so very few, especially in this Age, that let the Methods appear never so much reasonable in Paper, they must fail in Practice, which will ever be suited more to Mens Nature, as it is, than as it should be.
Monarchy is lik'd by the People, for the Bells and the Tinsel, the outward Pomp and the Gilding, and there must be milk for Babes, since the greatest part of Mankind are, and ever will be included in that List; and it is approv'd by wise and thinking Men, (Circumstances and Objections impartially consider'd) that it hath so great an advantage above all other Forms, when the Administration of that Power fal eth in good hands, that all other Governments look out of Countenance, when they are set in Competition with it. Lycurgus might have sav'd himself the trouble of making Laws, if either he had been lmmortal, or that he could have secur'd to Posterity, a succeeding Care of Princes like himself; his own Example was a better Law, than he could with Page 5 all his skill tell how to make; such a Prince is a Living Law, that dictates to his Subjects, whose thoughts in that case never rise above their Obedience, the Confidence they have in the Vertue and Knowledge of the Master, preventing the Scruples and Apprehensions to which Men are naturally inclin'd, in relation to those that govern them; such a Magistrate is the Life and Soul of Justice, whereas the Law is but a Body, and a dead one too, without his influence to give it warmth and vigour, and by the irresistible Power of his Vertue, he doth so recon∣cile Dominion and Allegiance, that all disputes between them are silen∣ced and subdued, and indeed no Monarchy can be Perfect and Absolute without exception, but when the Prince is Superiour by his Vertue, as well as by his Character and his Power, so that to serve out Presidents of unlimited Power, is a plain diminution to a Prince that Nature hath made Great, and who had better make himself a glorious Example to Posterity, than borrow an Authority from Dark Records, raised out of the Grave, which besides their Non-usage have always in them matter of Controversie and Debate, and it may be affirm'd, that the Instances are very rare of Princes having the worst in dispute with their People; if they were Eminent for Justice in time of Peace, and Conduct in time of War, such advantage the Crown giveth to those who adorn and confirm it by their own Personal Vertues.
But since for the greater Honour of Good and Wise Princes, and the better to set off their Character by the Comparison, Heaven hath de∣creed there must be a mixture, and that such as are perverse and insuffi∣cient, or both, are perhaps to have their equal turns in the Government of the World, and besides that the Will of a Man is so various, and so unbounded a thing, and so fatal too when joined with power unsupply'd; it is no wonder if those who are to be govern'd, are unwilling to have so dangerous as well as so uncertain a Standard of their Obedience.
There must be therefore Rules and Laws, for want of which, or at least the Observation of them, it was as Capital for a Man to say that Nero did not play well upon the Lute, as to commit Treason, or Blas∣pheme the Gods. And even Vespasian himself had like to have lost him∣self, for sleeping whilst he should have attended and admir'd that Em∣perours Impertinence upon the Stage; There is a wantonness in the too great Power that Men are generally too apt to be corrupted with, and for that Reason, a wise Prince, to prevent the temptation arising from common frailty, would choose to Govern by Rules for his own Sake, as well as for the Peoples, since it only seoureth him from Errors, and doth not lessen the real Authority that a good Magistrate would come to be possess'd of; for if the Will of a Prince is contrary either to Reason it Page 6 self, or to the universal Opinion of his Subjects, the Law by a kind restraint rescues him from a disease that would undo him; if his will on the other side is reasonable and well directed, that will immediately becomes a Law, and he is arbitrary by an easie and natural Consequence, without taking pains, or overturning the World for it.
If Princes consider Laws as things impos'd on them, they have the ap∣pearance of Fetters of Iron, but to such as would make them their choice as well as their practice, they are Chains of Gold; and in that respect are Ornaments, as in others they are a defence to them, and by a Com∣parison, not improper for God's Vicegerents upon Earth; as our Maker never commandeth our obedience to any thing, that as unreasonable Crea∣tures we ought not to make our own Election; so a good and wise Go∣vernour, tho' all Laws were abolish'd, would by the voluntary direction of his own Reason, do without restraint the very same things that they would have enjoyned.
Our Trimmer thinketh that the King and Kingdom ought to be one Creature, not to be separated in their Political Capacity; and when any of them undertake to act a-part, it is like the crawling of Worms after they are cut in pieces, which cannot be a lasting Nation, the whole Creature not stirring at a time; if the Body have a dead Palsie, the Head cannot make it move; and God hath not yet delegated such a healing power to Princes, as that they can in moment say to a Languishing Peo∣ple oppress'd in despair, take up your beds and walk.
The Figure of a King, is so comprehensive and exalted a thing, that it is a kind of degrading of him to lodge that power separately in his own Natural Person, which can never be truly or naturally great, but where the People are so united to him as to be Flesh of his Flesh, and Bone of his Bone; for when he is reduc'd to the single definition of a man, he sinketh into so low a Character, that he is a temptation under Mens Allegiance, and an impairing that veneration which is necessary to preserve their duty to him; whereas a Prince that is so joyned to his People that they seem to be his Limbs, rather than his Subjects, Cloathed with Mer∣cy and Justice rightly apply'd in their several places, his Throne supported by Love as well as by Power, and the warm wishes of his devoted Sub∣jects, like never-failing Incense still ascending towards him, looks so like the best Image we can frame to our selves of God Almighty, that Men would have much ado not to fall down and worship him, and would be much more tempted to the Sin of Idolatry, than that of Disobedience.
Our Trimmer is of Opinion, that there must be so much Dignity inse∣parably annex'd to the Royal Function, as may be sufficient to secure it from violence and contempt; and contempt; and there must be Condescensions from the Page 7 Throne, like showers from Heaven, that the Prince may look so much the more like God Almighty'd Deputy upon Earth; for power without love hath a terrifying aspect, and the Worship which is paid to it is like that which the Indians give out of fear to Wild Beasts and Devils: he that feareth God only because there is an Hell, must wish there were no God; and he who feareth the King, only because he can punish, must wish there were no King; So that without a Principle of Love, there can be no true Allegiance, and there must remain perpetual Seeds of Resistance a∣gainst a Power that is built upon such an unnatural Foundation, as that of fear and terrour. All force is a kind of foul play, and whosoever aimeth at it himself, doth by implication allow it to those he plays with; so that there will be ever Matter prepared in the minds of People when they are provok'd, and the Prince, to secure himself, must live in the midst of his own Subjects, as if he were in a Conquer'd Country, raise Arms as if he were immediately to meet or resist an Invasion, and all this while sleep as unquietly from the fear of Remedies, as he did before from that of the Disease; it being hard for him to forget, that more Princes have been destroy'd by their Guards than by their People; and that even at the time when the Rule was Quod Principi placuit Lex esto: The Armies and Praetorian Bands which were the Instruments of that unruly Power, were frequently the means made use of to destroy them who had it. There will ever be this difference between God and his Vicegerents, that God is still above the Instruments he useth, and out of the danger of receiving hurt from them; but Princes can never lodge Power in any hands, which may not at some time turn it back upon them; for tho' it is possible enough for a King to have Power enough to satisfy his Ambition; yet no Kingdom hath Money enough to satisfie the avarice of under-Work∣men, who learn from that Prince who will exact more than belongeth to him, to expect from him much more than they deserve; and growing angry upon the first disappointment, they are the Devils which grow terrible to the Conjurers themselves who brought them up, and can't send them down again; And besides that, there can be no lasting Radical Secu∣rity, but where the governed are satisfied with the governours; it must be a dominion very unpleasant to a Prince of an clevated Mind, to impose an abject and sordid servility, instead of receiving the willing Sacrisice of Duty and Obedience. The bravest Priuces in all times, who were un∣capable of any other kind of fear, have fear'd to grieve their own Peo∣ple; such a fear is a glory, and in this sense 'tis an insamy not to be a Coward: So that the mistaken Heroes who are void of this generous kind of fear, need no other aggravation to compleat their ill Characters.
When a despotick Prince hath bruised all his Subjects with a slavish Page 8 Obedience, all the force he can use cannot subdue his own fears, Enemies of his own creation, to which he can never be reconciled, it being im∣possible to do injustice, and not to fear Revenge: there is no cure for this fear, but the not deserving to be hurt, and therefore a Prince who doth not allow his thoughts to stray beyond the Rules of Justice, has al∣ways the blessing of an inward quiet and assurance, as a natural effect of his good meaning to his People, and tho' he will not neglect due precau∣tions to secure himself in all Events, yet he is uncapable of entertaining vain and remote suspicions of those of whom he resolves never to de∣serve ill.
It is very hard for a Prince to fear a Rebellion, who neither doth, nor intendeth to do any thing to provoke it; therefore so great a diligence in the Governours, to raise and improve dangers and fears from the People, is no very good Symptom, and naturally begets an influence, that they have thoughts of putting their Subjects Allegiance to a Tryal; and there∣fore not without some Reason fear before hand, that the Irregularities they intend, may raise Men to a Resistance.
Our Trimmer thinketh it no advantage to Government, to endeavour the suppressing all kind of Right which may remain in the Body of the People, or to employ small Authors in it, whose Officiousness or want of Mony may encourage them to Write, tho' it is not very easie to have Abi∣lities equal to such a Subject; they forget that in their too high strain'd Arguments for the Rights of Princes, they very often plead against known Nature, which will always give a Biass to those Reasons which seem of her side; it is the People that Readeth those Books, and its the People must judge of them, and therefore no Maxims should be laid down for the Right of Government, to which there can be any Reasonable Ob∣jection; for the World hath an Interest, and for that Reason is more than ordinary discerning, to find out the weak sides of such Arguments as are intended to do them hurt; and it is a diminution to a Government, to Promote or Countenance such well affected mistakes, which are turned upon it with disadvantage, whenever they are detected or expos'd; and Natu∣rally the too earnest Endeavours to take from Men the Right they have, tempt them, by the Example, to Claim that which they have not.
And in Power, as in all other things, the way for Princes to keep it is, not to grasp more than their Arms can well hold; nice and unnecessary enquiring into these things, or the Licensing some Books, and forbidding others, without sufficient Reason to justifie the doing either, is so far from being an Advantage to a Government, that it exposeth it to the Censure of being Partial, and to the suspicion, of having some suddain Designs to be carried on by these unusual methods.
Page 9When all is said, there is Natural Reason of State, an undesinable thing, grounded upon the Common Good of Mankind, which is Immortal, and in all Changes and Revolutions, still preserveth its Original Right of saving a Nation, when a Letter of the Law perhaps would destroy it; and by whatsoever means it moveth, carrieth a Power with it, that admitteth of no opposition, being supported by Nature, which inspireth an imme∣diate consent at some Critical times into every individual Member, to that which visibly tendeth to the preservation of the whole; and this being so, a Wise Prince instead of controverting the right of this Reason of State, will by all means endeavour it may be of his side, and then he will be secure.
Our Trimmer cannot conceive that the Power of any Prince can be last∣ing, but where 'tis built upon the foundation of his own unborrow'd vertue, he must not only be the first Mover and the Fountain, from whence the great Acts of State originally flow, but he must be thought so by his People, that they may preserve their veneration to him; he must be jea∣lous of his Power, and not impart so much of it to any about him, as that he may suffer an Eclipse by it.
He cannot take too much care to keep himself up, for when a Prince is thought to be led by those, with whom he should onely advise, and that the Commands he giveth are transmitted through him, and are not of his own growth; the World will look upon him as a Bird adorn'd with Feathers that are not his own, or consider him rather as an Engine than a living Creature; besides, 'twould be a Contradiction for a Prince to fear a Common-wealth, and at the same time create one himself, by delegating such a Power to any Number of Men near him, as is in∣consistant with the true Figure of a Monarch; it is the worst kind of Co∣ordination the Crown can submit too; for it is the exercise of Power that draweth the respect along with it, and when that is parted with, the bare Character of a King is not sufficient to keep it up; but tho' it is a diminution to a Prince, to parcel out so liberally his Power amongst his Favourites, it's yet worse to divide with any other Man, and to bring himself in Competition with a single Rival; a Partner in Govern∣ment is so unnatural a thing, that it is a squint-ey'd Allegiance that must be paid to such a double bottom'd Monarchy. The Caesars are an Example that the more civiliz'd part of the World will not be proud to follow, and whatsover Gloss may be put upon this Method, by those to whom it may be some use, the Prince will do well to remember, and reflect upon the Story of certain Men who had set up a Statue in Honour to the Sua, yet in a very little time they turned their backs to the Sun, and their Faces to the Statue.
These Mystical Unions are better plac'd in the other World, than they Page 10 are in this, and we shall have much ado to find, that in a Monarchy Gods Vicegerency is delegated to more Heads than that which is anointed.
Princes may lend some of their Light to make another shine, but they must still preserve the superiority of being the brighter Planet; and when it happens the Reversion is in Mens Eyes, there is more care to keep up the Dignity of Possessions, that Men may not forget who is King, either out of their hopes or fears who shall be. If the Sun shall part with all his Light, the Indians would not know where to find their God, after he had so deposed himself, and would make the Light (wherever it went) the Object of their Worship.
All Usurpation is alike upon Soveraignty, its no matter from what hand it cometh; and Crowned Heads are to be the more Circumspect, in respect Mens thoughts are naturally apt to ramble beyond what is pre∣sent, they love to work at a distance, and in their greedy Expectations; their minds may be fill'd with a new. Master, the old one may be left to look a little out of Countenance.
Our Trimmer owneth a Passion for liberty, yet so restrain'd, that it doth not in the least impair or taint his Allegiance, he thinketh it hard for a Soul that doth not love Liberty, ever to raise it self to another World, he taketh it to be the foundation of all vertue, and the only seasoning that giveth a relish to life, and tho' the laziness of a slavish subjection, hath its Charms for the more gross and earthly part of Man∣kind, yet to men made of a better sort of Clay, all that the World can give without Liberty hath no taste; it's true, nothing is sold so cheap by unthinking men, but that doth no more lessen the real value of it, than a Country Fellow's Ignorance doth that of a Diamond, in selling it for a Pot of Ale; Liberty is the Mistress of Mankind, she hath powerful Charms that do so dazzle, that we find Beauties in her which perhaps are not there, as we do in other Mistresses; yet if she was not a Beauty, the World would not run mad for her; therefore since the reasonable desire of it ought not to be restrain'd, and that even the unreasonable desire of it cannot be intirely suppress'd, those who would take is away from a People possessed of it, are likely to fail in the attempting, or be very unquiet in the keeping of it.
Our Trimmer admireth our blessed Constitutions, in which Dominion and Liberty are reconcil'd; it giveth to the Prince the glorious Power of Commanding Free-men, and to the Subject, the satisfaction of seeing the Power so lodged; as that their Liberties are secure; it doth not al•ow the Crown such a Ruining Power, as that no grass may grow where e'er it treadeth, but a Cherishing and Protecting Power; such a one as hath a grim Aspect only to the offending Subjects, but is the Joy and the Pride of Page 11 all the good ones; their own interest being so bound up in it, as to en∣gage them to defend and support it; and the King is in some Circumstan∣ces restrain'd, so as nothing in the Government can move without him; our Laws make a true distinction between Vassalage and Obedience, be∣tween devouring Prerogatives, and a Licentious ungovernable Freedom: and as of all the Orders of Building, the Composite is the best, so ours by a happy mixture and a wise choice of what is best in others, is brought into a Form; that is our Felicity who live under it, and the envy of our Neighbours that cannot imitate it.
The Crown hath power sufficient to protect our Liberties. The People have so much Liberty as is necessary to make them useful to the Crown.
Our Government is in a just Proportion, no Tympany, no natural swelling either of Power or Liberty; and whereas in all overgrown Mo∣narchies, Reason, Learning and Enquiry are banished in Effigy for Muti∣neers; here they are encourag'd and cherish'd as the surest Friends to a Government establish'd upon the Foundation of Law and Justice: When all is done, those who look for perfection in this World, may look as long as the Jews have for their Messias, and therefore our Trimmer is not so unreasonably Partial as to free our Government; no doubt there have been fatal Instances of its Sickness, and more than that, of its Mortality, for sometime, tho' by a Miracle, it hath been reviv'd again: but till we have another Mankind, in all Constitutions that are bounded, there will ever be some matter of Strife, and Contention, and rather than want pre∣tensions, Mens Passions and Interest will raise them from the most in∣considerable Causes.
Our Government is like our Climate, there are Winds which are some∣times loud and unquiet, and yet with all the Trouble they give us, we owe great part of our Health unto them, they clear the Air, which else would be like a standing Pool, and instead of Refreshment would be a Disease unto us.
There may be fresh Gales of asserting Liberty, without turning into such storms of Hurricane, as that the State should run any hazard of being Cast away by them; these struglings which are natural to all mixed Go∣vernments, while they are kept from growing into Convulsions, do by a natural agitation from the several parts, rather support and strengthen, than weaken or mame the Constitution; and the whole frame, instead of being torn or disjointed, cometh to be the better and closer knit by being thus exercised; but what ever faults our Government may have, or a discerning Critick may find in it, when he looketh upon it alone; let any one be set against it, and then it shews its Comparative Beauty; let us look upon the glittering outside of unbounded Authority, and upon a Page 12 nearer enquiry, we shall find nothing but poor and miserable deformity within; let us imagine a Prince living in this Kingdom, as if he were a great Gally, his Subjects tugging at the Oar, laden with Chains, and reduc'd to real Rags; to give him imaginary Lawrels, let us present him gazing among his Flatterers, like a Child never contradicted and there∣fore always Cozen'd, or like a Lady complemented only to be abus'd, condemn'd never to hear Truth, and consequently never to do Justice, wallowing in the soft Bed of wanton and unbridled Greatness, not less odious to the Instruments themselves, than to the Objects of his Tyranny, blown up to an Ambitious Dropsy, never to be satisfied by the Conquest of other People, or by the Oppression of his own; by aiming to be more than a Man, he becomes a Beast, a mistaken Creature, swell'd with Pane∣gyricks, and slatter'd out of his Senses, and not onely an Incumbrance, but a common Nuisance to Mankind, a harden'd and unrelenting Soul, and like some Creatures that grow fat with Poisons, he grows great by other Mens Miseries; an Ambitious Ape of the Divine Greatness, an unruly Gyant that would storm even Heaven it self, but that his scaling Ladders are not long enough; in short, a Wild Beast in rich Trappings, and with all his Pride no more than a Whip in God Almighty's hand, to be thrown into the Fire when the World has been sufficiently scourged with it: This Picture laid in right Colours would not incite Mer to wish for such a Government, but rather to acknowledge the happiness of our own, under which we enjoy all the Priviledges Reasonable Men can desire, and avoid all the Miseries others are subject too; so that our Trimmer would keep it with all its faults, and doth as little forgive those who give the occasion of breaking it, as he doth those that take it.
Our Trimmer is a Friend to Parliaments, notwithstanding all their faults, and excesses, which of late have given such matter of Objection to them, he thinks that tho' they may at sometimes be troublesome to Authority, yet they add the greatest strength to it under a wise Administration, to believe no Government is perfect, except Omnipotence recide in it, to be exercis'd upon great Occasions: Now this cannot be obtain'd by force upon the People, let it be never so great, there must be their con∣sent too, or else a Nation moveth only by being driven, a sluggish and restrained Motion, void of that Life and Vigour which is necessary to produce great things, whereas the virtual Consent of the whole being in∣clnded in their Representatives, and the King giving the faction of the united sense of the People, every Act done by such an Authority, seemeth to be an effect of their choice as well as part of their Duty; and they do with an eagerness, of which Men are uncapable whilst under a force, exe∣cute whatsoever is so enjoined as their own Wills, better explained by Par∣liament, Page 13 rather than from the terrour of incurring the Penalty of the Law for omitting it, and by means of this Political Omnipotence, what ever Sap or Juice there is in a Nation, may be to the last drop produc'd, whilst it rises naturally from the Root; whereas all Power exercis'd without con∣sent, is the giving Wounds and Gashes, and tapping a Tree at unseasona∣ble Times, for the present Occasion, which in a very little time must needs destroy it.
Our Trimmer believes, that by the advantage of our Scituation, there can hardly any such Disease come upon us, but that the King may have time enough to consult with Physitians in Parliament; pretences indeed may be made, but a real necessity so pressing, that no delay is to be ad∣mitted, is hardly to be imagined, and it will be neither easie to give an instance of any such thing for the time past, or reasonable to presume it will ever happen for the time to come; but if that strange thing should fall out, our Trimmer is not so strait-lac'd, as to let a Nation dye, or be stifled, rather than it should be help'd by the proper Officers. The Cases them∣selves will bring a Remedy along with them; and he is not afraid to allow that in order to its Preservation, there is a hidden Power in Government, which would be lost if it was designed, a certain Mystery, by which a Nation may at some Critical times secur'd from Ruine, but then it must be kept as a Mistery; it is rendred useless, when touch'd by unlucky hands; and no Government ever had or deserv'd to have that Power, which was so unwary as to anticipate their claim to it: Our Trimmer cannot help think∣ing it had been better, if the Triennial Act had been observ'd; first, be∣cause 'tis the Law, and he would not have the Crown, by such an example, teach the Nation to break it; all irregularity is catching, it hath a Con∣tagion in it, especially in an Age, so much more enclin'd to follow ill Patterns than good ones.
He would have a Parliament, because 'tis an Essential part of the Consti∣tution, even without the Law, it being the only Provision in extraordinary Cases, in which there would be otherwise no Remedy, and there can be no greater Solecisme in Government, than a failure of Justice.
He would have one, because nothing else can unite and heal us, all other Means are meer Shifts and Projects, Houses of Cards, and blown down with the least Breath, and cannot resist the difficulties which are ever presum'd in things of this kind; and he would have had one, because it might have done the King good, and could not possibly have done him hurt, without his Consent, which in that Case is not to be supposed, and therefore for him to fear it, is so strange and so little to be comprehended, that the Reasons can never be presum'd to grow in our Soyl, or to thrive in it when Transplanted from any other Country; and no doubt there are Page 14 such irresistable Arguments for calling a Parliament, that tho' it may be deny'd to the unmannerly threatning Petitions of men that are malicious and disaffected, it will be granted to the obsequious Murmurs of his Ma∣jesties best Subjects, and there will be such a Rhetorick it their silent Grief, that it will at last prevail against the Artifices of those. who either out of Guilt or Interest are afraid to throw themselves upon their Country, knowing how scurvily they have used it; that day of Judgment will come, tho' we know not the day nor the hour. And our Trimmer would live so as to be prepared for it, with full assurance in the mean time, that a la∣menting Voice of a Nation cannot long be resisted, and that a Prince, who could so easily forgive his People when they had been in the wrong, cannot fail to hear them when they are in the right.
The Trimmer's Opinion concerning Protestant Religion.
REligion hath such a Superiority above other things, and that indi∣spensable Influence upon all Mankind, that it is as nece Tary to our Living Happy in this World, as it is to our being Sav'd in the next, without it Man is an abandon'd Creature, one of the worst Beasts Nature hath produc'd, and fit only for the Society of Wolves and Bears; there∣fore in all Ages it hath been the Foundation of Government, and tho' false Gods have been impos'd upon the Credulous part of the World, yet they were Gods still in their Opinion, and the Awe and Reverence Men had to them and their Oracles, kept them within bounds towards one another, which the Laws with all their Authority could never have effected without the help of Religion; the Laws would not be able to subdue the perverseness of Mens Wills, which are Wild Beasts, and require a double Chain to keep them down; for this Reason'tis said, That it is not a sufficient ground to make War upon a-Neighbouring State, be∣cause they are of another Religion, let it be never so differing; yet if they Worship'd nor Acknowledg'd no Deity, they may be Invaded as Pub∣lick Enemies of Mankind, because they reject the only thing that can bind them to live well with one another; the consideration of Religion is so Interessed with that of Government, that it is never to be separated, and the Foundations of it are to be suited to the several Climates and Constitutions, so that they may keep men in a willing Acquiescence unto them, without Page 15 discomposing the World by nice disputes, which can never be of equal moment with the publick Peace.
Our Religion here in England seems to be distinguish'd by a peculiar effect of God Almighty's goodness, in permitting it to be introduc'd, or more properly restor'd, by a more regular Method than the Circumstances of more other Reformed Churches would allow them to do, in relation to the Government; and the Dignity with which it hath supported it self since, and the great Men our Church hath produc'd, ought to recom∣mend it to the esteem of all Protestants at least: Our Trimmer is very partial to it, for these Reasons, and many more, and desiring that it may preserve its due Jurisdiction and Authority, so far he is from wish∣ing it oppressed by the unreasonable and malicious Cavils of those who take pains to raise Objections against it.
The Question will then be, how and by what Methods the Church shall best support it self (the present Circumstances consider'd) in relation to Dissenters of all sorts: I will first lay it for a ground, That as there can be no true Religion without Charity, so there can be no true humanePrudence without bearing and condescension: This Principle doth not extend to oblige the Church always to yield to those who are disposed to molest it, the expediency of doing it is to be considered and determined according to the occasion, and this leadeth me to lay open the thoughts of our Trimmer, in reference, first, to the Protestants, and then to the Po∣pish Recusants.
What hath lately hapned among us, makes an Apology necessary for saying any thing that looketh like favour towards a sort of Men who have brought themselves under such a disadvantage.
The lateConspiracy hath such broad Symptoms of the disaffection of the whole Party, that upon the first reflections, while our thoughts are warm, it would almost perswade us to put them out of the protection of our good Nature, and to think that the Christian Indulgence which our compassion for other Mens Sufferings cannot easily deny, seemeth not only to be for∣feited by the ill appearances that are against them, but even becometh a Crime when it is so misapply'd; yet for all this, upon second and cooler thoughts, moderate Men will not be so ready to involve a whole Party in the guilt of a few, and to admit Inferences and Presumptions to be Evidence in a Case, where the Sentence must be so heavy, as it ought not to be against all those who have a fixed resolution against the Govern∣ment established; besides, Men who act by a Principle grounded upon Moral Vertue, can never let it be clearly extinghish'd by the most re∣peated Provocations; if a right thing agreeable to Nature and good Sence taketh root in the heart of a Man, that is impartial and unbyass'd, no Page 16 outward Circumstances can ever destroy it; it's true, the degrees of a Mans Zeal for the prosecution of it may be differing, the faults of other Men, the consideration of the Publick, and the seasonable Prudence by which Wise Men will ever be directed, may give great delays, they may lessen and for a time perhaps suppress the exercise of that, which in a general Prosecution may be reasonable, but whether be, so will inevitably grow and spring up again, having a Foundation in Nature, which is never to be destroy'd.
Our Trimmer therefore endeavoureth to separate the detestation of those who had either a hand or a thought in the late Plot, from the Principle of Prudential as well as Christian Charity towards Mankind, and for that reason, would fain use the means of retaining such of the Dissenters as are not injurable, and even to bearing to a degree those that are, as far as may consist with the Publick Interest and Security; he is far from justifying an affected separation from the Communion of the Church, and even in those that mean well, and are mistaken; he looketh upon it as a Disease that hath seized upon their Minds, very troublesome as well as dangerous, by the Confequence it may produce: he doth not go about to excuse their making it an indispensable duty, to meet in num∣bers to say their Prayers, such Meetings may prove misch evous to the State at least; the Laws which are the best Judges, have determin'd that there is danger in them: he hath good nature enough to lament that the perversness of a Part should have drawn Rigorous Laws upon the Body of the Dissenters, but when they are once made, no private Opinion must stand in Opposition to them; if they are in themselves reasonable, they are in that respect to be regarded, even without being enjoyned, if by the Change of Laws and Circumstances they should become less reaso∣nable than when they were first made, even then they are to be obey'd too, because they are Laws, 'till they are mended or repealed by the same Authority that Enacted them.
He hath too much deference to the Constitution of our Government; to wish any more Prerogative Declarations in favour of scrupulous Men, or to dispence with Penal Laws in such manner, and to such an end, that suspecting Men might with some reason pretend, that so hated a thing as Persectuion could never make way for it self with any hopes of Success, otherwise than by preparing the deluded World by a false pros∣pect of Liberty and Indulgence; the inward Springs and Wheels where∣by the Engine mov'd, are now so fully laid open and expos'd, that it is not supposable that such a baffled Experiment should ever be tryed a∣gain, the effect it had at the time, and the Spirit it raised, will not ea∣sily be forgotten, and it may be presum'd the remembrance of it may se∣cure Page 17 us from any more attempts of that nature for the future; we must no more break a Law to give Men ease, than we are to Rob an House with a devout intention of giving Plunder to the Poor; in this case, our Com∣passion would be as ill directed as our Charity in the other.
In that the veneration due to the Laws is never to be thrown off, let the Pretences be never so specious; yet with all this he cannot bring him∣self to think, that an extraordinary diligence to take the uttermost pe∣nalyt of the Laws upon the Poor offending Neighbour, is of it self such an all-sufficient vertue, that without something else to recommend Men, it should Entitle them to all kind of preferments and Rewards; he would not detract from the merits of those who execute the Laws, yet he can∣not think such a piece of service can entirely change the Man, or either make him a better Divine, or a more knowing Magistrate than he was before, especially if it be done with a partial and unequal hand, in Re∣ference to greater and more dangerous Offenders.
Our Trimmer would have those mistaken Men ready to throw them∣selves into the arms of the Church, and he would have those arms as ready to receive them; he would have no supercilious look to fright those strayed Sheep from coming into the Fold again; no ill-natur'd maxims of an Eternal suspicion, or a belief that those who have once been in the wrong can never be in the right again; but a visible preparation of mind to receive with joy all the Proselites that come amongst us, and much greater earnestness to reclaim than punish them: It is to be confess'd, there is a great deal to forgive, a hard task enough for a Church so provoked; but that must not cut off all hopes of being reconciled, yet if there must be some anger left still, let it break out into a Christian Re∣venge, and by being kinder to the Children of Disobedience than they deserve, let the injur'd Church Triumph, by throwing shame and con∣fusion of face upon them; there should not always be Storms and Thun∣der, a clear Sky would sometime make the Church more like Heaven, and would be more towards the reclaiming those wanderers, than a per∣petual terrour, which seemeth to have no intermission, for there is in many, and particularly in English Man, a mistaken pleasure, in resisting the dictates of Rigorous Authority; a Stomach that riseth against a hard imposition, nay, in some, raise even a lust in suffering from a wrong point of Honour, which doth not want her greater applause, from the greater part of Mankind, who have not learnt to distinguish; constancy will be thought a vertue even where it is a mistake; and the ill Judging World will be apt to think that Opinion in thought which produceth the greatest number of those who are willing to suffer for it; all this is prevented, and falleth to the ground, by using well-timed Indulgence; Page 18 and the stubborn Adversary who values himself upon his resistance whilst he is oppress'd, yieldeth insensibly to kind Methods, when they are ap∣ply'd to him, and the same Man naturally melteth into Conformity, who perhaps would never have been beaten into it. We may be taught by the Compassion that attendeth the most Criminal Men when they are Con∣demned, that Faults are more natural things than Punishments, and that even the most necessary acts of severity do some kind of violence to our Nature, whose Indulgence will not be confin'd within the strait bounds of inexorable Justice; so that this should be an Argument for gentleness, besides that it is the likeliest way to make Men asham'd of their Sepa∣ration, whilst the pressing them too hard, tendeth rather to make them proud of it.
Our Trimmer would have the Clergy supported in their lawful Rights, and in all the Power and Dignity that belongeth to them, and yet he thinketh possibly there may be in some of them a too great eagerness to extend the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction; which tho' it may be well intended, yet the straining of it too high hath an appearance of Ambition, that causeth many Objections to it, and it is very unlike the Apostolick Zeal, which was quite otherwise employ'd, that the World draweth inferences from it, which do the Church no service.
He is troubled to see Men of all sides sick of a Calenture of a mistaken Devotion, and it seemeth to him that the devout Fire of mutual Charity, with which the Primitive Christians were inflam'd, is long since extin∣guish'd, and instead of it a devouring Fire of Anger and Persecution breaketh out in the World; we wrangle now one with another about Religion 'till the Cloud cometh, whilst the Ten Commandments have no more authority with us, than if they were so many obsolete Laws or Proclamations out of date; he thinks that a Nation will hardly be men∣ded by Principles of Religion, where Morality is made a Heresy; and therefore as he believeth Devotion misplac'd where it getteth into a Con∣venticle, he concludeth that Loyalty is so, when lodg'd in a drunken Club, those Vertues deserve a better Seat of Empire, and they are de∣graded, when such Men undertake their defence, as have so great need for an Apology themselves.
Our Trimmer wisheth that some knowledge may go along with the Zeal on the right side, and that those who are in possession of the Pulpit, would quote at least so often the Authority of the Scriptures as they do that of the State; there are many who borrow too often Arguments from the Go∣vernment, to use against their Adversaries, and neglect those that are more proper, and would be more powerful; a Divine grows less, and put∣teth a diminution on his own Character, when he quoteth any Law but Page 19 that of God Almighty, to get the better of those who contest with him; and it is a sign of a decay'd Constitution, when Nature with good diet cannot expel noxious Humours without calling Foreign Drugs to her Assistance; So it looketh like want of health in a Church, when instead of depending upon that Truth which it holdeth, and the good Examples of them that teach it, to support it self, and to suppress Errors, it should have perpetual recourse to the secular Authority, and even upon the slight∣est occasions.
Our Trimmer hath his Objections to the too hasty diligence, and to the o∣verdoing of some of the dissenting Clergy, and he doth as little approve of those of our Church, who wear God Almighty's Liveries, as some old Warders in the Tower do the Kings, who do nothing in their place but re∣ceive their Wages for it; he thinketh that the Liberty of the late times gave Men so much Light, and diffused it so universally amongst the People, that they are not now to be dealt with, as they might have been of less enquiry; and therefore tho' in some well chosen and dearly beloved Audi∣tories, good resolute Nonsence back'd with Authority may prevail, yet ge∣nerally Men are become so good Judges of what they hear, that the Cler∣gy ought to be very wary how they go about to impose upon their Un∣derstandings, which are grown less humble than in former times, when the Men in black had made Learning such a sin in the Laity, that for fear of offending, they made a Conscience of being able to read; but now the World is grown sawcy, and do expect Reasons, and good ones too, before they give up their own Opinions to other Mens Dictates, tho' ne∣ver so Magisterially deliver'd to them.
Our Trimmer is far from approving the Hypocrisie which seemeth to be the reigning Voice amongst some of the Dissenting Clergy, he thinketh it the most provoking sin Men can be guilty of, in Relation to Heaven, and yet (which may seem strange) that very sin which shall destroy the Soul of the Man who preaches, may help to save those of the Company that hear him, and even those who are cheated by the false Ostentation of his strictness of life, may by that Pattern be encouraged to the real Practice of those Christian Vertues which he doth so deceitfully profess; so that the detestation of this fault may possibly be carry'd on too far by our own Orthodox Divines, if they think it cannot be enough expres'd without bending the Stick another way; a dangerous Method, and a worse Ex∣tream for Men of that Character, who by going to the outward line of Christian Liberty, will certainly encourage others to go beyond it: No Man doth less approve the ill-bred Methods of some of the Dissenters, in rebuking Authority, who behave themselves as if they thought ill man∣ners necessary to Salvation, yet he cannot but distinguish and desire a Mean Page 20 between the sawcyness of some of the Scotch Apostles, and the undecent Courtship of some of the Silken Divines, who, one would think, do pra∣ctice to bow at the Altar, only to learn to make the better Legs at Court.
Our Trimmer approveth the Principles of our Church, that Dominion is not founded in Grace, and that our Obedience is to be given to a Po∣pish King in other things, at the same time that our Compliance with him in his Religion is to be deny'd, yet he cannot but think it an extra∣ordinary thing if a Protestant Church should by a voluntary Election chuse a Papist for their Guardian, and receive Directions for supporting our Religion from one who must believe it a Mortal Sin not to endeavout to destroy it; such a refined piece of Breeding would not seem to be ve∣ry well plac'd in the Clergy, who will hardly find presidents to justify such an extravagant piece of Courtship, and which is so unlike the Pri∣mitive Methods, which ought to be our Pattern; he hath nc such un∣reasonable tenderness for any sorts of Men, as to expect their faults should not be impartially laid open as often as they give occasion for it; and yet he cannot but smile to see the same Man, who setteth up all the Sails of his Rhetorick, to fall upon Dissenters; when Popery is to be handled, he doth it so gingerly, that he looketh like an Ass mumbling of Thistles, so afraid he is of letting himself loose upon a Subject, where he may be in danger of letting his Duty get she better of his Discretion.
Our Trimmer is far from relishing the impertinent Wandrings of those who pour out long Prayers upon the Congregation, and all from their own Stock, which God knows, for the most part, is a barren Soil, which produceth Weeds instead of Flowers, and by this means they ex∣pose Religion it self, rather than promote Mens Devotions: On the o∣ther side, there may be too great Restraint put upon Men, whom God and Nature hath distinguished from their Fellow-Labourers, by bles∣sing them with a happier Talent, and by giving them not only good Sense, but a powerful Utteranee too, hath enabled them to gust out upon the attentive Auditory with a mighty Stream of Devout and unaffected Eloquence; when a Man qualified, endued with Learning too, and above that, adorn'd with a good Life, breaks out into a warm and well-de∣liver'd Prayer before his Sermon, it hath the appearance of a Divine Rapture, he raiseth and leadeth the Hearts of the Assembly in another manner than the most Compos'd or best Studied Form of Set Words can ever do; and the Pray-wees, who serve up all the Sermon with the same Garnishing, would look like so many Statues, or Men of Scraw in the Pulpit, compar'd with those who speak with such a Powerful Page 21 Zeal, that Men are tempted at the moment to believe Heaven it self hath directed their Words to them.
Our Trimmer is not so unreasonably indulgent to the Dissenters, as to excuse the Irregularities of their Complaints, and to approve their threatning Stiles, which is so ill-suited to their Circumstances as well as to their Duty; he would have them to shew their Grief, and not their Anger to the Government, and by such a Submission to Authority, as becomes them, if they cannot acquiesce in what is imposed; let them de∣serve a Legislative Remedy to their Sufferings, there being no other way to give them perfect redress; and either to seek it, or pretend to give it by any other Method, would not only be vain but Criminal too in those that go about it; yet with all this, there may in the mean time be a pru∣dential Latitude left, as to the manner of preventing the Laws now in force against them: The Government is in some degree answerable for such an Administration of them, as may be free from the Censure of Im∣partial Judges; and in order to that, it would be necessary that one of these Methods be pursued, either to let loose the Laws to their utmost ex∣tent, without any Moderation or Restraint, in which at least the Equa∣lity of the Government would be without Objection, the Penalties being exacted without Remission from the Dissenters of all kinds; or if that will not be done (and indeed there is no reason it should) there is a ne∣cessity of some Connivance to the Protestant Dissenters to execute that which in Humanity must be allowed to the Papists, even without any lean∣ing towards them, which must be supposed in those who are or shall be in the administration of publick Business; and it will follow that, according to our Circumstances, the distinction of such connivance must be made in such manner, that the greatest part of it may fall on the Protestant side, or else the Objections will be so strong, and the Inferences so clear, that the Friends, as well as the Enemies of the Crown, will be sure to take hold of them.
It will not be sufficient to say, the Papists may be conniv'd at, because they be good Subjects, but not the Protestant Dissenters, because they are ill ones; these general Maxims will not convince discerning Men, nei∣ther will any late Instances make them forget what hath passed at other times in the World; both sides have had their Turns of being good and ill Subjects, therefore 'tis easie to imagine what suspicions would arise in the present conjuncture, if such a partial Argument as this should be im∣pos'd upon us; the truth is, the Matter speaketh so much of it self, that it is not only unnecessary, but it may be unmannerly to say any more of it.
Our Trimmer therefore wisheth, that since notwithstanding the Laws Page 22 which deny Churches to say Mass in; not only the Exercise, but also the Ostentation of Popery is as well or better performed in the Chappels of so many Foreign Ministers, where the English openly resort in spight of Proclamations and Orders of Council, which are grown to be as harm∣less things to them, as the Popes Bulls and Excommunications are to Hereticks who are out of his reach; I say he could wish that by a sea∣sonable as well as an equal piece of Justice, there might be so much con∣sideration had of the Protestant Dissenters, as that there might be at sometimes, and at some places, a Veil thrown over an Innocent and re∣tired Conventicle, and that such an Indulgence might be practic'd with less prejudice to the Church, or diminution to the Laws, it might be done so as to look rather like a kind Omission to enqu•re too strictly, than an allow'd Toleration of that which is against the Rule Established.
Such a skilful hand as this is very Necessary in our Circumstances, and the Government by making Men entirely desperate, doth not only secure it self from danger of any Wild or Villianous attempts, but layeth such a Foundation for healing and uniting Laws, when ever a Parliament shall meet, that the Seeds of Differences and Animosities between the conten∣ding sides may (Heaven consenting) be for ever destroy'd.
The Trimmer's Opinion concerning the Papists.
TO speak of Popery leadeth me into such a Sea of Matter, that it is not easie to forbear launching into it, being invited by such a fruit∣ful stream, and by a variety never to be exhausted; but to confine it to the present Subject, I will only say a short word of the Religion it self; of its Influences here at this time; and of Trimmer's Opinion in Rela∣tion to our living with them.
If a Man would speak Maliciously of this Religion, one might say it is like Diseases, where as long as one drop of the infection remains, there is still danger of having the whole Mass of Blood corrupted by it. In Swedeland there was an absolute cure, and nothing of Popery heard of, till Queen Christiana (whether mov'd with Arguments of this or the o∣ther World, may not be good Manners to enquire) thought fit to change her Religion and Country, and to live at Rome where she might find better judges of her Vertues, and less ungentle Censures of those Princely Li∣berties Page 23 she was sometimes disposed to, than she left at Stockholme, where the good breeding is much inferior to that of Rome, as well as the Ci∣vility of the Religion: The Cardinals having rescued the Church from those Clownish Methods the Fisher-men had first introduc'd, and mended that Pattern so effectually, that a Man of that Age, if he should now come into the World, would not possibly know it.
In Denmark the Reformation was entire, in some States of Germany, as well as Geneva, the Cure was universal; but in the rest of the World where the Protestant Religion took place, the Popish humour was too high to be totally expell'd, and so it was in England, tho' the Change was made with all the advantage imaginable to the Reformation, it being Countenanc'd and introduc'd by Legal Authority, and by that means might have been perhaps as perfect as in any other Place, if the short Reign of Edward the 6th and the succession of a Popish Queen had not given such advantage to that Religion, that it hath subsisted ever since under all the hardships that have been put upon it; it hath been a strong Compact Body, and made the more so by these Sufferings; it was not strong enough to prevail, but it was able with the help of Rome, to carry on an Interest which gave the Crown trouble, and to make a conside∣rable (not to say dangerous) Figure in the Nation; so much as this could not have been done without some hopes, nor these hopes kept up with∣out some reasonable grounds: In Queen Elizabeth's time, the Spanish Zeal for their Religion, and the Revenge for 88 gave warmth for the Papists here, and above all the sight of the Queen of Scots to succed, while she lived, sufficient to give a better prospect of their Affairs: In King Jame's time the Spanish Match and his gentleness towards them, which they were ready to interpret more in their own Favour, than was either reasonable or became them, so little tenderness they have, even where it is most due, if the Interest of their Religion cometh in competition with it.
As for the late King, tho' he gave the most Glorious Evidence that ever Man did of his being a Protestant, yet, by the more than ordinary influence the Queen was thought to have over him, and it so happening that the greatest part of his Anger was directed against the Puritans, there was such an advantage to Men to suspect, that they were ready to inter∣pret it a leaning towards Popery, without which handle it was Morally impossible that the ill-affected part of the Nation could ever have se∣duc'd the rest into a Rebellion.
That which help'd to confirm many well meaning Men in their Misap∣prehensions of the King, was the long and unusual intermission of Par∣liaments, so that every year that passed without one, made up a new Ar∣gument to increase their Suspicion, and made them presume that the Pa∣pists Page 24 had a principal hand in keeping them off: This raised such heats in Mens Minds, to think that Men who are obnoxious to the Laws, instead of being punished, should have Credit enough to serve themselves, even at the price of destroying the Fundamental Constitution; that it broke out into a Flame, which, before it could be quenched, had almost reduc'd the Nation to Ashes.
Amongst the miserable Effects of that unnatural War, none hath been more fatal to us, than the forcing our Princes to breathe in another air, and to receive the early impressions of a Foreign Education: the Barbarity of the English towards the King and the Royal Family, might very well tempt him to think the better of every thing he found abroad, and might naturally produce more gentleness, at least, towards a Religion by which he was hospitably receiv'd, and the same time he was thrown off and per∣secuted by the Protestants (tho' his own Subjects) to aggravate the Offence. The Queen Mother (as generally Ladies do with age) grew most devout and earnest in her Religion; and besides the Temporal Re∣wards of getting larger Subsidies from the French Clergy, she had Mo∣tives of another kind, to perswade her to shew her Zeal: and since by the Roman Dispensatory, a Soul converted to the Church is a Soveraign Remedy, and layeth up a mighty stock of merit; she was solicitous to secure her self in all Events, and therefore first set upon the Duke of Gloucester, who depended so much upon her good will, that she might for that reason believe the Conquest would not be difficult; but it so fell out that he, either from his own Constancy, or that he had those near him by whom he was otherways advis'd, chose rather to run away from her im∣portunity, than by staying to bear the continual weight of it: It is be∣liev'd this had better success with another of her Sons, who, if he was not quite brought off from our Religion, at least, such beginnings were made, as made them very easie to be finish'd; his being of a generous and aspi∣ring Nature, and in that respect, less patient in the drudgery of ar∣guing, might possibly help to recommend a Church to him, that exempteth the Laity from the vexation of enquiring; perhaps he might (tho' by mistake) look upon that Religiou as more favourable to the enlarged Power of Kings, a Consideration which might have its weight with a young Prince in his warm blood, and that was brought up in Arms.
I cannot hinder my self from a small digression, to consider with admi∣ration the Old Lady of Rome, with all her wrinkles, should yet have Charms to subdue great Princes, so painted, and yet so pretending, after having abus'd, depos'd, and murther'd so many of her Lovers, she still findeth others glad and proud of their new Chains; a thing so strange, to indifferent Judges, that those who will allow no other Miracles in the Page 25 Church of Rome, must needs grant that this is one not to be contested; she setteth in her Shop, and selleth at dear Rates her Rattles and her Hobby-Horses, whilst the deluded World still continues to furnish her with Customers.
But whither am I carried with this Contemplation? it is high time to return to my Text, and to consider the wonderful manner of the Kings coming home again, led by the hand of Heaven, and called by the Voice of his own People, who receiv'd him, if possible, with Joys equal to the Blessing of Peace and Union which his Restauration brought along with it; by this there was an end put to the hopes some might have a∣broad, of making use of his less happy Circumstances, to throw him into foreign Interests and Opinions, which had been wholly inconsistent with our Religion, our Laws, and all other things that are dear to us; yet for all this, some of those Tinctures and impressions might so far remain, as tho' they were very innocent in him, yet they might have ill effects, by softning the Animosity which seems necessary to the Defender of the Protestant Faith, in opposition to such a powerful and irreconcilable an Enemy.
You may be sure, that among all the sorts of Men who apply'd them∣selves to the King at his first coming, for his Protection; the Papists were not the last, nor, as they fain would have flatter'd themselves, the least welcome, having their past Sufferings, as well as their present Profes∣sions to recommend them; and there was something that look'd like a Considerable Consideration of them, since so it happened, that the Indul∣gence promised to Dissenters at Breda, was carried on in such a manner, that the Papists were to divide with them, and tho' the Parliament, not∣withstanding its Resignation to the Crown in all other things, rejected with scorn and anger a Declaration fram'd for this purpose, yet the Birth and steps of it gave such an alarm, that Mens suspicions once raised, were not easily laid asleep again.
To omit other things, the breach of the Tripple League, and the Dutch War with its appurtenances, carried Jealousies to the highest pitch imaginable, and fed the hopes of one Party, and the fears of the oth•• to such a degree, that some Critical Resolutions were generally expected when the ill success of that War, and the Sacrifice, Fame thought sit to make of the Papists here, to their own Interest abroad, gave another Check; and the Act of enjoyning the Test on all Officers, was thought to be no ill Bargain to the Nation, tho' bought at the Price of 1200000 pound, and the Money apply'd to continue the War against the Dutch, than which nothing could be more unpopular or less approv'd; not withstan∣ding those discouragements, Popery is a Plant that may be mowed down, Page 26 but the Root will still remain, and in spite of the Laws, it will sprout up and grow again; especially if it should happen that there should be Men in Power, who instead of weeding it out of our Garden, will take care to Cherish and keep it alive; and tho' the Law of excluding them from Places was tolerably kept as to their outward Form, yet here were ma∣ny, Circumstances, which being improv'd by the quick-sighted Malice of ill-affected Men, did help to keep up the World in their suspicions, and to blow up Jealousies to such a height both in and out of Parliament, that the remembrance of them is very unpleasant, and the Example so extra∣vagant, that it is to be hop'd nothing in our Age like it will be attempted; but to come closer to the Case in question, in this Condition we stand with the Papists, what shall now be done according to our Trin. mer's Opinion, inorder to the better clearing of this grievance, since as I have said be∣fore, there is no hopes of being entirely free from it; Papists we must have among us, and if their Religion keep them from bringing honey to the Hive, let the Government try at least by gentle and not by violent means to take away the Sting from them; the first Foundation to be laid is, that a distinct Consideration is to be had of the Papists Clergy, who have such an Essential Interest against all accommodation, that it is a hope∣less thing to propose any thing to them less than all; their Stomachs have been fit for it ever since the Reformation, they have pinn'd themselves to a Principle that admits no mean, they believe Protestants will be damn'd, and therefore by an extraordinary Effect of Christian Charity, they would destroy one half of England that the other might be saved; then for the World, they must be in possession for God Almighty, to re∣ceive his Rents for him, not to accompt till the Day of Judgment, which is a good kind of Tenure, and ye cannot well blame the good Men, that will stir up the Laity to run any hazard in order to the getting them re∣stor'd: What is it to the Priest, if the deluded Zealot undoes himself in the Attempt, he singeth Masses as joyfully, and with as good a Voice at Rome or St. Omers as ever he did; is a single Man, and can have no wants but such as may be easily supply'd yet that he may not seem altogether insensible, or ungratesul to those that are his Martyrs, he is ready to as∣sure their Executors, and if they please, will procure a Grant sub Anulo Piscatoris, that the good Man by being changed, hath got a good Bargain, and sav'd the singing of some hundred of years, which he would else have had in Purgatory; there's no Cure for those sorts of Men, no Expedient to be propos'd, so that tho' the utmost severity of the Laws against them, may in some sort be mittigated, yet no Treaty can be made with Men who in this Case have no Free Will, but are so muffled by Zeal, tyed by Vows, and kept up by such unchangeable Maxims of the Priesthood, that they are to be left as de∣sperate Page 27 Patients, and look'd upon as Men that will continue in an Eternal State of Hostility, till the Nation is entirely subdued to them; it is then only the Lay Papists that are capable of being treated with, and we are to exa∣mine of what temper they are, and what Arguments are the most likely to prevail upon them, and how 'tis adviseable for the Government to be In∣dulgent unto them; the Lay Papists generally keep their Religion, rather because they will not break Company with those of their Party, than out of any setled Zeal that hath Root in them; most of them do by the Media∣tion of the Priests Marry one another, and by keeping up an ignorant Opinion by hearing only one side; others look upon it as the Escutcheons, the more Antient Religion of the two; and as some Men of a good Pedi∣gree, will despise meaner Men, tho' never so much superior to them by Nature, so these undervalue Reformation as an Upstart, and think there is more Honour in supporting an old Errour, than in embracing what see meth to be a new Truth; the Laws have made them Men of Pleasure, by excluding them from Publick Business, and it happens well they are so, since they will the more easily be perswaded by Arguments of Ease and Conveniency to them; they have not put off the Man in general, nor the Englishman in particular; those who in the late storm against them went into other Countries, tho' they had all the Advantage that might recom∣mend them to a good Reception, yet in a little time they chose to steal over again, and live here with hazard, rather than abroad with security; there is a Smell in our Natural Earth better than all the Perfumes in the East; there is something in a Mother, tho' never so Angry, that the Children will more Naturally trust sooner, than the Studied Civilities of Strangers, let them be never so Hospitable; therefore 'tis not adviseable, nor agree∣ing with the Rules of Governing Prudence, to provoke Men by hardships to forget that Nature, which else is sure to be of our side.
When these Men by fair Usage are put again into their right Senses, they will have quite differing Reflections from those which Ri∣gour and Persecution had raised in them: A Lay-Papist will first con∣sider his Abby-Lands, which notwithstanding whatever hath or can be alledged; must sink considerably in the Value, the moment that Popery prevaileth; and it being a Disputable Matter whether Zeal might not in a little time get the better of the Law in that case, a considering Man will admit that as an Argument to perswade him, to be content with things as they are, rather than run this or any other hazard by Change, in which perhaps he may have no other Advantage, than that his new humble Confessour may be rais'd to a Bishoprick, and from thence look down superciliously upon his Patron, or which is worse, run to take Possession for God Almighty of his Abby, in such man∣ner Page 28 as the usurping Landlord (as he will then be called) shall hard∣ly be admitted to be so much as a Tenant to his own Lands, lest his Title should prejudice that of the Church, which will then be the lan∣guage; he will think what disadvantage 'tis to be look'd upon as a separate Creature, depending upon foreign Interest and Authority, and for that reason, expos'd to the Jealousie and Suspicion of his Country∣Men; he will reflect what an Incumbrance it is to have his House a Pasture for hungry Priests to grow in, which have such a never-fail∣ing Influence upon the Foolish, which is the greatest part of every Man's Family, that a Man's Dominion, even over his own Children, is mangled and divided, if not totally undermin'd by them; then to be subject to what arbitrary Taxes the Popish Convocations shall im∣pose upon them for the carrying on the Common Interest of that Re∣ligion, under Penalty of being mark'd out for half Hereticks by the rest of the Laity, to have no share in Business, no opportunity of shewing his own Value to the World; to live at the best an useless, and by others to be thought a dangerous Member of the Nation where he is born, is a burden to a generous Mind that cannot be taken off by all the Pleasure of an easie unmanly life, or by the nau∣seous enjoyment of a dull Plenty, that produceth no good for the Mind, which will ever be consider'd in the first place by a Man that hath a Soul; when he should think, that if his Religion, after his wa∣ding through a Sea of Blood, come at last to prevail, it would infi∣nitely lessen, if not entirely destroy the Glory, Riches, Strength and Liberty of his own Country; and what a Sacrifice is this to make to Rome, where they are wise enough to wonder there should be such Fools in the World, as to venture, struggle, and contend, nay, even to die Martyres for that which, should it succeed, would prove a Judg∣ment instead of a Blessing to them; he will conclude that the advan∣tages of throwing some of their Children back again to God Almigh∣ty when they have too many of them, are not equal to the Inconve∣niences they may either feel or fear, by continuing their separation from the Religion established.
Moral things will have their weight in the World, and tho' Zeal may prevail for a time, and get the better in a Skirmish, yet the War endeth generally on the side of Flesh and Blood, and will do so till Mankind is another thing than it is at present: And therefore a wise Papist in cold Blood, considering these and many other Cir∣cumstances, 'twill be worth his pains to see if he can unmuffle himself from the Mask of Infallibility, will think it reasonable to set his im∣prison'd Senses at Liberty, and that he hath a right to see with his Page 29 own Eyes, hear with his own Ears, and judge by his own Reason; the consequence of which must probably be, that weighing things in a right Scale, and seeing them in their true Colours, he would distinguish be∣tween the merit of suffering for good Cause, and the foolish osten∣tation of drawing inconveniences upon himself, and therefore would not be unwilling to be convinc'd that our Protestant Creed may make him happy in the other World, and the easier in this; a few of such wise Proselytes would by their Example draw so many after them, that the Party would insensibly melt away, and in a little time, without any angry word, we should come to an Union, that all Good Men would have Reason to rejoyce at; but we are not to presume upon these Conversions, without preparing Men for them by kind and reconciling Arguments; no∣thing is so against our Nature, as to believe those can be in the right who are too hard upon us; there is a deformity in every thing that doth us hurt, it will look scurvily in our Eye while the smart continues, and a Man must have an extraordinary Measure of Grace, to think well of a Religion that reduceth him and his Family to Misery; in this respectour trimmer would consent to the mitigation of such Laws as were made, (as it's said King Henry VIII. got Queen Elizabeth) in heat against Rome: It may be said that even States as well as private Men are subject to Passion; a just indig∣nation of a villainous Attempt produceth at the time such Remedies, as perhaps are not without some mixture of Revenge, and therefore tho' time cannot Repeal a Law, it may by a Natural Effect soften the Execu∣tion of it; there is less danger to rouse a Lyon when at Rest, than to wake Laws, that intended to have their time of Sleeping, nay more than that, in some cases their Natural periods of Life, dying of themselves without the Solemnity of being revok'd, any otherwise than by the com∣mon consent of Mankind, who do cease to Execute, when the Reasons in great Measure fail that first Created and Satisfyed the Rigour of unusual Penalties.
Our Trimmer is not eager to pick out some places in History against this or any other Party; quite contrary, is very sollicitous to find out any thing that may be healing, and tend to an Agreement; but to prescribe the Means of this Gentleness so as to make it effectual, must come from the only place that can furnish Remedies for this Cure, viz. a Parliament; in the mean time, it is to be wished there may be such a mutual calmness of Mind, as that the Protestants might not be so jealous, as still to smell the Match that was to blow up the King, and both Houses in the Gunpowder Treason, or to start at every appearance of Popery, as if it were just taking Possession. On the other side, that the Papists may not suffer themselves to be led by any hopes, tho' never so flattering, to a Confidence or Osten∣tation Page 30 which must provoke Men to be less kind to them; that they may use Modesty on their sides, and the Protestants Indulgence on theirs; by this means there will be an over-looking of all Venial Faults, atacit conni∣vance at all things that do not carry Scandal with it, and it would amount to a kind of Natural Dispensation with the severe Laws, Since there would be no more Accusers to be found, were the occasions of Anger and Animosity once remov'd; let the Papists in the mean time remember, that there is a respect due from all lesser numbers to greater, a deference to be paid by an Opinion that is Exploded, to one that is Established; such things well digested will have an influence upon their Behaviour, and produce such a Temper as must win the most eager Adversaries out of their ill Humour to them, and give them a Title to all the Favour that may be consistent with the Publick Peace and Security.
The Trimmer's Opinion in Relation to things abroad.
THE World is so compos'd, that it is hard, if not impossible, for a Nation not to be a great deal involv'd in the fate of their Neigh∣bours; and tho'by the felicity of our Scituation, we are more Indepen∣dent than any other People, yet we have in all Ages been concern'd for our own selves in the Revolutions abroad. There was a time when England was the over-Ballancing Power of Christendom, and that eitherby Inheritance or Conquest, the better part of France receiv'd Laws from us; after that we being reduc'd into our own Limits, France and Spain became the Ri∣vals for the Universal Monarchy, and our third Power, tho' in it self less than either of the other, hapned to be Superiour to any of them, by that choice we had of throwing the Scales on that side to which we gave our Friendship. I do not know whether this Figure did not make us as great as our Formal Conquest, to be a perpetual Umpire between the two great contending Powers, who gave us all their Courtship, and offer'd all their Incense at our Altar, whilst the Fate of either Prince seemed to depend upon the Otacles we delivered, for the King of England to sit on his Throne, as in the Supream Court of Justice, which the two last Appeal, the two great Monarchs pleading their Cause, and expecting their Sentence; declaring which side was in the right, or at least if we pleas'd which side should have the better of it, was a piece of Greatness which was peculiar to us, and no wonder if we endea∣vour Page 31 to preserve it, as we did for a considerable time, it being our Safe∣ty, as well as Glory, to maintain it; but by a Fatality upon our Coun∣cils, or by the refin'd Policy of this latter Age, we have thought fit to use industry to destroy this mighty Power, which we have so long en∣joyed; and that equality between the two Monarchs, which we might for ever have preserved, hath been chiefly broken by us, whose Interest it was above all others to maintain it; when one of them, like the overflowing of the Sea, had gained more upon the other than our conveniency, or indeed our safety, would allow, instead of mending the Banks, or ma∣king new ones, we our selves helpt to cut them, to invite and make way for a farther Inundation. France and Spain have had their several turns in making use of our Mistakes, and we have been formerly as deaf to the Instances of the then weaker part of the World to help them a∣gainst the House of Austria, as we can now be to the Earnestness of Spain, that we would assist them against the Power of France. Gondamar was as sawcy, and as powerful too in King James his Court, as any French Am∣bassadour can have been at any time since, when men talkt as wrong then on the Spanish side, and made their Court by it, as any can have done since by talking as much for the French; so that from that time, instead of weighing in a wise Balance the Power of either Crown, it looketh as if we had meant only to weigh the Pensions, and take the heaviest.
It would be tedious, as well as unwelcome, to recapitulate all our wrong steps, so that I will go no farther than the King's Restauration, at which time the Balance was on the side of France, and that by the means of Cromwell, who for a separate Interest of his own, had sacrificed that of the Nation, by joyning with the stronger side, to suppress the Power of Spain, which he ought to have supported. Such a Method was natural enough to an Usurper, and shew'd he was not the Father of the People, by his having so little care for them; and the Example coming from that hand, one would think should, for that Reason, be less likely to be sol∣Iow'd. But to go on, here cometh the King, follow'd with Courtships of all Nations abroad, of which some did it not only to forget how fami∣liarly they had us'd him when he was in other Circumstances, but to be∣speak the Friendship of a Prince, who, besides his other Greatness, was more considerable by being re-establisht by the love of his people; France had an Interest either to dispose us to so much good will, or at least to put us in such a Condition, that we might give no Opposition to their Designs; and Flanders being a perpetual Object in their Eye, a las•ing Beauty for which they have an incurable passion, and not being kind enough to consent to them, they meditated to commit a Rape upon her, which they thought would not be easie to do, whilst England and Holland were Page 32 agreed to rescue her, when-ever they should hear her cry out for help to them; to this end they put in practice seasonable and artificial Whispers, to widen things between us and the States, Amboyna and the Fishery must be talk'd of here; the freedom of the Seas and the preservation of Trade must be talk'd of and insinuated there; and there being combustible mat∣ter on both sides, in a little time it took fire, which gave those that kindled it, sufficient cause to smile and hug themselves, to see us both fall into the Net they had laid for us; and it is observable and of good example to us, if we will take it, That their Design being to set us together at Cuffs to weaken us, they kept themselves indifferent till our Victories began to break the Balance; then the King of France, like a wise Prince, was resolved to support the beaten side, and would no more let the Power of the Sea, than we ought to suffer the Monarchy of Europe, to fall into one hand: In pursuance to this, he took part with the Dutch, and in a little time made himself Umpire of the Peace between us; some time af∣ter, upon pretence of his Queen's Title to part of Flanders, by Right of Devolution, he falleth into it with a mighty Force, for which the Spa∣niards were so little prepared, that he made a very swift Progress, and had such a Torrent of undisputed Victory, that England and Holland, tho' the Wounds they had given one another were yet green, being struck with the apprehension of so near a danger to them, thought it necessary, for their own defence, to make up a sudden League, into which Sweden was taken to interpose for a Peace between the two Crowns.
This had so good an effect, that France was stopt in its Career, and the Peace of Aix le Chapelle was a little after concluded. 'Twas a forc'd putt; and tho' France wisely dissembled their inward dissatisfaction, yet from the very moment they resolv'd to unty the Triple knot, whatever it cost them; for his Christian Majesty, after his Conquering Meals, ever riseth with a stomach, and he lik'd the Pattern so well, that it gave him a longing desire to have the whole Piece. Amongst the other means used for the attaining this end, the sending over the Dutchess of Orleans, was not the least powerful, she was a very welcome Guest here, and her own Charms and Dexterity joined with other Advantages, that might help her perswasions, gave her such an Ascendent, that she could hardly fail of success. One of the Preliminaries of her Treaty, tho' a trivial thing in it self, yet was considerable in the consequence, as very small Cir∣cumstances often are in relation to the Government of the World About this time a general humour, in opposition to France, had made us throw off their Fashion, and put on Vests, that we might look more like a di∣stinct People, and not be under the servility of imitation, which ever payeth a greater deference to the Original, than is consistent with the Page 33 Equality all Independent Nations should pretend to; France did not like this small beginning of ill humours, and least of Emulation, and wisely considering that it is a natural Introduction first to make the World their Apes, that they may be afterwards their Slaves. It was thought that one of the Instructions Madam brought along with her, was to laugh us out of these Vests, which she performed so effectually, that in a moment, like so many Footmen who had quitted their Masters Livery, we all took it again, and return'd to her Service; so that the very time of doing it gave a very critical Advantage to France, since it lookt like an Evidence of our returning to their Interest, as well as to their Fashion, and would give such a distrust of us to our new Allies, that it might facilitate the dissolution of the knot, which tied them so within their bounds, that they were very impatient till they were freed from the restraint.
And the Lady had a more extended Commission than this, and we double-laid the Foundation for a new strict Alliance, quite contrary to the other, in which we had been so lately engag'd. And of this there were such early appearances, that the World began to look upon us as falling into Apostacy from the common Interest. Notwithstanding all this, France did not neglect at the same time to give good words to the Dutch, and even to feed them with hopes of supporting them against us, when on a sudden, that never to be forgotten Declaration of War against them cometh out, only to vindicate his own Glory, and to revenge the In∣juries done to his Brother of England, by which he came out Second in this Duel; so humble can this Prince be, when at the same time he doth more Honour than we deserve, he layeth a greater share of the blame upon our shoulders, than did naturally belong to us; the particulars of that War, our part in it while we staid in, and when we were out of breath, our leaving the French to make an end to fight, are things too well known to make it necessary, and too unwelcome in themselves to incite me to repeat them; only the Wisdom of France is in this to be observ'd, That when we had made a separate Peace, which left them single to oppose the united Force of the Confederates, they were so far from being angry, that they would not shew so much as the least coldness, hoping to get as much by our Mediation for a Peace, as they would have expected from our Assistance in the War, our Circumstances at that time consider'd. This seasonable piece of Indulgence in not reproaching us, but rather allowing those Necessities of State which we gave for our Ex∣cuse, was such an engaging Method, that it went a great way to keep us still in his Chains, when, to the Eye of the World, we had absolutely broke loose from him: And what pass'd afterwards at Nimeguen, tho' the King's Neutrality gave him the outward Figure of a Mediator, it ap∣pear'd Page 34 that his Interposition was extremely suspected of Partiality by the Confederates, who upon that Ground did both at and before the Conclu∣sion of the Treaty, treat his Ministers there with a great deal of neglect. In this Peace, as well as that in the Pirenean and Aix le Chapelle, the King of France, at the Moment of making it, had the thought of breaking it; for a very little time after he broach'd his Intentions upon a Cost, or things that if they had been offer'd by a less formidable hand, would have been smiled at; but ill Arguments being seconded by good Armies, carry such a power with them, that naked sense is a very unequal Adver∣sary. It was thought that these aiery Claims were chiefly rais'd with the prospect of getting Lunenburgh for the Equivalent; and this Opinion was confirm'd by the blocking it up afterwards, pretending to the Country of China, that it might be entirely surrounded by the French Dominions, it was so pressed that it might have fallen in a little time, if the King of France had not sent Orders to his Troops to retire, and his Christian Generosity which was assign'd for the reason of it, made the World smile, since it hath been seen how differently his devout Zeal worketh in Hungary: that specious Reason was in many respects ill tun'd, and France it self gave it so faintly, that at the very time it look'd out of Counte∣nance; the true ground of his Retiring is worth our observation; for at the Instance of the Confederates, Offices were done, and the Memorials given, but all ineffectual till the word Parliament was put into them; that powerful word had such an effect, that even at that distance it rais'd the Siege, which may convince us of what efficacy the King's words are, when he will give them their full weight, and threaten with his Parlia∣ment; it is then that he appears that great Figure we ought to represent him in our Minds, the Nation his Body, he the Head, and joined with that Harmony, that every word he pronounceth is the word of a King∣dom: Such words, even by this Example, are as effectual as Fleets and Armies, because they can create them, and without this his word founds abroad like a faint Whisper, that is either not heard (or which is worse) not minded. But tho' France had made this step of forced Compliance, it did not leave off the pursuit of their pretensions; and therefore im∣mediately proposed the Arbitration to the King; but it appear'd, that notwithstanding his Merit towards the Confederates, in saving Luxenburgh, the remembrances of what had passed before, left such an ill taste in their Mouths, they could not without being put into a Condition to dispose of their Interests, and therefore declin'd it by in∣sifting upon a general Treaty, to which France hath ever since continued to be averse; our great earnestness to perswade the Confederates to con∣sent to it, was so unusual, and so suspicious a method, that it might na∣turally Page 35 make them believe, that France spake to them by our Mouth, and for that Reason, if there hath been no other, might hinder the accep∣ting it; and so little care hath been taken to cure this, and other Jea∣lousies the Confederates may have entertain'd, that quite contrary, their Ministers here every day take fresh Alarms, from what they observe in small as well as greter Circumstances; and they being apt both to take and improve apprehensions of this kind, draw such Inferences from them, as make them entirely despari of us.
Thus we uow stand, far from being Innocent Spectators of our Neigh∣bours Ruine, and by a fatal mistake foregetting what a Certain Fore∣runner it is to our own; and now it's time our Trimmer should tell some∣thing of his Opinion, upon this present State of things abroad; he first professeth to have no Biass, either for or against France, and that his thoughts are wholly directed by the Interest of his own Country; he al∣loweth, and hath read that Spain used the same Methods, when it was in its height, as France doth now, and therefore 'tis not Partiality that mo∣veth him; but the just fear which all reasonable Men must be possess'd with, of an overgrowing Power; Ambition is a devouring Beast, when it hath swallow'd one Prince, instead of being cloyed, it hath so much the greater Stomach to another, and being fed, becometh still the more hungry; so that for the Confederates to expect a security from any thing but their own strength, is a most miserable fallacy; and if they cannot resist the Incroachments of France by their Arms, it is in vain for them to dream of any other means of preservation, it will have the better grace, be∣sides the saving so much Blood and Ruine, to give all up at once; make a Present of themselves, to appease this hungry Stomach, rather than be whipser'd, flatter'd, or Cozened out of their Liberties; nothing is so soft as the first applications of a greater Prince, to engage a weaker, but that pleasing Countenance is but a Vizard, it is not the true Face, for as soon as their turn is serv'd, the Courtship flyeth to some other Prince or State, where the same part is to be acted, leaveth the old mistaken Friend, to Neglect and Contempt, and like an insolent Lover to a Cast off Mistress, Reproacheth even with that Infamy, of which he himself was the Author. Sweden, Bavaria, •alatine, &c. may by their Fresh Ex∣amples, teach other Princes what they are reasonably to expect, and what Snakes are hid under the Flowers the Crown of France so liberally throws upon them, whist they can be useful: The various Methods and deep Riddles, with the differing Notes in several Countries, do not only give suspicion, but assurance that every thing is put in Practice, by which the Universal Monarchy may be obtained: who can reconcile the withdraw∣ing of his Troops from Luxenburgh, in Consideration of the War in Page 36Hungary, which was not then declar'd, and presently after encouraging the Turk to take Vienna, and consequently to destroy the Empire. Or who can think that the Prosecution of the Poor Protestants of France, will be accepted of God, as an Attonement for hazarding the loss of the whole Christian Faith? Can he be thought in earnest, when he seen'd afraid of the Spaniards, and for that reason must have Luxenburgh, and that he cannot be fafe from Germany, unless he is in possession of Stras∣burgh? All Injustice and Violence must in it self be grievous, but the ag∣gravations of supporting them by false Arguments, and insulting Reasons, hath something in it yet more provoking, than the Injuries themselves; and the World hath ground enough to apprehend, from such a Method of arguing, that even their Senses are to be subdu'd as well as their Li∣berties. Then the Variety of Arguments used by France, in several Countries is very observable: In England and Denmark, nothing instill'd, but the Greatness and Authority of the Crown; on the other side, the great Men in Poland are commended, who differ in Opinion with the King, and they argue like Friends to the Priviledge of the Dyet, against the separate Power of the Crown: In Sweden they are troubled that the King should have chang'd something there of late, by his single Authority, from the ancient and settled Authority and Constitutions; at Ratisbone, the most Christian Majesty taketh the Liberties of all the Electors, and their Estates, into his immediate protection, and telleth them the Emperour is a dange∣rous Man, an aspiring Hero, that would infallibly devour them, if they were not at hand to resist him on their behalf; but above all in Holland, he hath the most obliging tenderness for the Common-wealth, and is in such disquiets, lest it should be invaded by the Prince of Orange, that they can do no less in gratitude, than destroy themselves when he biddeth them, to see how sensible they are of his excessive good Nature; yet in spight of all these Contradictions, there are in the World such refin'd States-men, as will upon their Credit affirm the following Paradoxes to be real truth; first that France alone is sincere and keepeth its Faith, and consequently that it is the only Friend we can rely upon; the King of France, of all Men living, hath the least mind to be a Conquerour; that he is a sleepy, tame Creature, void of all Ambition, a poor kind of a Man, that hath no farther thoughts than quiet; that he is charm'd by his Friendship to us, that it is impossible he-should ever do us hurt, and therefore tho' Flanders was lost, it would not in the least concern us; that he would fain help the Crown of England to be absolute, which would be to take pains to put it into a condition to oppose him, as it is, and must be our Interest, as long as he continueth in such an overballancing Power and Greatness.
Such a Creed as this once receiv'd, might prepare our belief for greater Page 37 things, and as he that taught Men to eat a Dagger, began first with a Penknife; so that if we can be prevail'd with to digest the smaller MI∣stakes, we may at last make our stomachs strong enough for that of Transubstantiation: Our Trimmer cannot easily be converted out of his senses by these State Sophistries, and yet he hath no such peevish Obsti∣nacy to reject all Correspondence with France, because we ought to be apprehensive of the too great power of it; he would not have the Kings Friendship to the Confederates extended to the involving him in any un∣reasonable or dangerous Engagements, neither would he have him lay aside the consideration of his better establishment at home, and of his excessive Zeal to serve his Allies abroad; but sure there might be a Mean between these two opposite Extreams, and it may be wish'd that our Friendship with France may be so bounded, that it may consist with the humour as well as the interest of England. There is no Woman but hath the fears of contracting too near an intimacy with a much greater Beauty, because it exposeth her too often to a Comparison that is not advanta∣gious to her; and sure it may become a Prince to be as jealous of his Dignity, as a Lady can be of her good looks, and to be as much out of Countenance, to be thought an humble Comparison to so much a greater Power; to be always seen in an ill light, to be so darkned by the bright∣ness of a greater Star, is somewhat mortifying; and when England might ride Admiral at the head of the Confederates, to look like the Kitchin∣Yatch to the Grand Louis, is but a scurvy Figure for us to make in the Map of Christendom; it would rise upon our Trimmer's stomach, if ever (which God forbid) the power of calling and intermitting Parliaments here, should be transferred to the Crown of France, and that all the op∣portunities of our own settlements at home should give way to their de∣signs abroad; and that our Interest should be so far sacrific'd to our Com∣pliance, that all the Omnipotence of France can never make us full a∣mends for it. In the mean time, he shrinketh at the dismal prospect he can by no means drive away from his thoughts, that when France hath gather'd all the fruit arising from our Mistakes, and that we can bear no more with them, they will cut down the Tree and throw it into the fire; all this while, some Superfine States-Men, to comfort us, would fain per∣swade the World that this or that accident may save us, and for all that is or ought to be dear to us, would have us to rely wholly upon Chance, not considering that Fortune is Wisdoms Creature, and that God Al∣mighty loveth to be on the Wisest as well as the Strongest side; there∣fore this is such a miserable shift, such a shameful Evasion, that they would be laught to death fot it, if the ruining Consequence of this Mistake did not more dispose Men to rage, and a detestation of it.
Page 38Our Trimmer is far from Idolatry in other things, in one thing only he cometh near it, his Country is in some degree his Idol; he doth not Worship the Sun, becanse 'tis not peculiar to us, it rambleth about the World, and is less kind to us than others; but for the Earth of Eng∣Land, tho' perhaps inferiour to that of many places abroad, to him there is Divinity in it, and he would rather dye, than see a piece of English Grass trampled on by a foreign Trespasser: he thinks there are a great many of his mind, for all Plants are apt to taste of the Soyle in which they grow, and we that grow here, have a Root that produceth in us a Stalk of English Juice, which is not to be changed by grasting or fo∣reign infusion; and I do not know whether any thing less wilp prevail, than the Modern Experiment, by which the blood of one Creature is transmitted to another, according to which, before the French be let into our Bodies, every drop of our own must be drawn out of them.
Our Trimmer cannot but lament, that by a Sacrifice too great for one Nation to make another, we should be like a rich Mine, made useless only for want of being wrought, and that the Life and Vigour which should move us against our Enemies is miserably apply'd to tear our own Bowels, that being made by our scituation, not only safer, but if we please greater too, than Countries which far exceed us in extent; that having Courage by Nature, Learning by Industry, Riches by Trade, we should corrupt all these Advantages so as to make them insignificant, and by a satality which seemeth peculiar to us, misplace our active rage one against another, whilst we are turn'd into Statues on that fide where Iyeth out greatest danger; to be unconcern'd not only in our Neighbours ruim; but our own, and let our Island lye like a great Hulk in the Sea, without Rudder or Sail, all the Men cast away in her, or as if we were all Children in a great Cradle, and rockt asleep to a foreign Tune.
I say our Trimmer representeth to his Mind, our Roses blasted and discolour'd, whilst the Lillies Triumph and grow Insolent, upon the Comparison; when he considereth our own flourishing Harvest now wi∣thered and dying, and nothing left us but a remembrance of a butter part in History, than we shall make in the next Age; which will be no more to us than an Escutcheon hung upon our Door when we are dead; when he foreseeth from hence, growing Infamy from abroad, confusion at home, and all this without the possibility of a Cure, in respect of the vo∣luntary fetters good Men put upon themselves by their Allegiance, with∣out a good measure of preventing Grace, he would be tempted to go out of the World like a Roman Philosopher, rather than endure the burthen of Life under such a discouraging Prospect: But Mistakes, as all other things, have their Periods, and many times the nearest way to Cure, is Page 39 not to oppose them, but stay till they are crusht with their own weight, for Nature will not let any thing to continue long that is violent; vio∣lence is a wound, and as a wound, must be Curable in a little time, or else 'tis Mortal; but a Nation cometh near to be Immortal, therefore the wound will one time or another be Cured, tho' perhaps by such wrong Methods, if too long forborn, as may even make the best Remedies we can prepare, to be at the same time a Melancholly Contemplation to us; there is but one thing (God Almighties Providence excepted) to support a Man from sinking under these afflicting thoughts, and that is the hopes we draw singly from the King himself, without mixture of any other Consideration.
Tho' the Nation was lavish of their Kindness to him at his first coming, yet there remaineth still a Stock of Warmth in Mens Hearts for him.
Besides the good Influences of his happy Planet are not yet all spent, and tho' the Stars of Men past their Youth are generally de∣clining, and have less Force, like the Eyes of decaying Beauties, yet by a Blessing peculiar to himself, we may yet hope to be sav'd by his Autumnal Fortune: He hath something about him that will draw∣down a healing Miracle for his and our Deliverance; a Prince which seemeth fitting for such an offending Age, in which Mens Crimes have been so general, that the not forgiving his People hath been the de∣stroying of them, whose Gentleness gives him a natural Dominion that hath no bounds, with such a noble mixture of Greatn•ss and Con∣deseention, an engaging Look, that disarmeth Men of their ill Hu∣mours, and their Resentments, something in him that wanteth a Name, and can be no more defin'd than it can be resisted; a Gift of Hea∣ven, of its last finishing, where it will be peculiarly kind; the only Prince in the World that dares be familiar, or that hath right to triumph over those forms which were first invented to give awe to those who could not judge, and to hide Defects from those that could; a Prince that hath exhausted himself by his Liberality, and endanger'd himself by his Mercy; who out-shineth by his own Light and natu∣ral Virtues all the varnish of studied Acquisitions; his Faults are like Shades to a good Picture, or like Allay to Gold, to make it the more useful, he may have some, but for any Man to see them through so many reconciling Virtues, is a Sacrilegious piece of ill nature, of which no generous Mind can be guilty; a Prince that deserveth to be lov'd for his own sake, even without the help of a Comparison; our Love, our Duty, and our Danger, all join to cement our Obedi∣ence to him; in short, whatever he can do, it is no more possible Page 40 for us to be angry with him, than with a Bank that securesh us from the raging Sea, the kind Shade that hideth us from the scorching Sun, the welcome Hand that reacheth us a Reprieve, or with the Angel, that rescueth our Souls from the devouring Jaws of wretched Eternity
TO Conclude, our Trimmer is so fully satisfy'd with the Truth of these Principles, by which he is directed, in reference to the Publick, that he will neither be pall'd and threatned, laught, nor drunk out of them; and instead of being converted by the Arguments of his Adversaries to their Opinions, he is very much confirm'd in his own by them; he professeth solemnly that were it in his Power to chuse, he would rather have his Ambition bounded by the Commands of a Great and Wise Master, than let it range with a Popular Li∣cense, tho' crown'd with Success; yet he cannot commit such a Sin against the glorious thing call'd Liberty, nor let his Soul stoop so much below it self, as to be content without repining to have his Rea∣son wholly subdu'd, or, the Priviledge of Acting like a sensible Crea∣ture, torn from him by the imperious Dictates of unlimited Autho∣rity, in what hand soever it happens to be plac'd; what is there in this that is so Criminal, as to deserve that Penalty of that most sin∣gular Apothegme, A Trimmer is worse than a Rebel? What do an∣gry Men ail to rail so against Moderation, doth it not look as if they were going to some very scurvy Extreme, that is too strong to be digested by the more considering part of Mankind? These Arbitra∣ry Methods, besides the injustice of them, are (God be thanked) very unskilful too, for they fright the Birds by talking so loud from com∣ing into the Nets that are laid for them; and when Men agree to ri∣fle a House, they seldom give warning, or blow a Trumpet; but there are some small States-Men, who are so full charg'd with their own Expectations, that they cannot contain.
A kind Heaven sending such a seasonable Curse upon their undertakings, hath made their ignorance an Antidote against their Malice; some of these cannot treat peacebly, yielding will not satisfy them, they will have Men by storm; there are others, that must have Plots, to make their Service more necessary, and have an Interest to keep them alive, since they are to live upon them; these Men will perswade the King to retrench his own Greatness, so as to shrink into the head of a Party, which is the Page 41 betraying him into such an Unprincely mistake, and to such a wilful dimi∣nution of himself, that they are the last Enemies he ought to allow himself to forgive; such Men if they could, would prevail with the Sun to shine only upon them and their Friends, and to leave all the rest of the World in the dark; this is a very unusual Monopoly, and may come within the Equity of the Law, which maketh it Treason to Imprison the King, when such unfitting bounds are put to his Favour, and confin'd to the narrow limits of a particular set of Men, that would inclose him; these Honest and only Loyal Gentlemen, if they may be allow'd to bear Witness for themselves, make a King their Engine, and degrade him into a property at the very time that their Flattery would make him believe they paid down Worship to him; besides these there is a flying Squadron on both sides, that are afraid the World will agree, small dablers in Conjuring, that raise Apparitions to keep Men from being reconcil'd, like Wasps that fly up and down, buz and sting to keep Men unquiet; but these In∣fects are commonly short-liv'd Creatures, and no doubt in a little time Mankind will be rid of them; they were Gyants at least who fought once against Heaven, but for such pigmies as these to contend against it, is such a provoking Folly, that the insolent Bunglers ought to be laught and hist out of the World for it; they should consider there is a Soul in that great body of the People, which may for a time be drowzy and unactive, but when the Leviathan is rouz'd, it moveth like an angry Monster, and will neither be convinc'd nor resisted; the People can never agree to shew their united Powers, till they are extreamly tempted and provoked to it, so that to apply Cupping Glasses to a great Beast dispos'd to sleep, and to force that same thing whether it will or no to be Valiant, must be learnt out of some other Book than Machiavil, who would never have prescrib'd such a preposterous Method; it is to be remembred, that if Princes have Law and Authority on their sides, the People on theirs may have Nature which is a formidable Adversary; Duty, Justice, Religion, nay, even Humane prudence too biddeth the People suffer any thing rather than re∣sist; but uncorrected Nature, where e're it feeleth the smart will come to the nearest Remedy, Mens Passions in this Case are to be consider'd as much as their Duty, let it be never so strongly enforc'd, for if their Passions are provoked, they being so much a part of us as our Limbs, they lead Men into a short way of Arguing, that admitteth no distinction, and from the foundation of Self Defence, they will draw Inferences, that will have inseparable effects upon the quiet of a Government.
Our Trimmer therefore dreadeth a general discontent, because he thinks it differs from a Rebellion, only as a Spotted Fever does from the Plague, the same Species under a lower degree of Malignity; is worketh Page 42 several ways, sometimes like a slow Poyson that hath its Effects a great distance from the time it is given, sometimes like dry Flax prepated to catch at the first Fire, or like Seed in the Ground ready to sprout upon the first Shower; in every shape 'tis fatal, and our Trimmer thinketh no pains or precaution can be so great as to prevent it.
In short, he thinketh himself in the right, grounding his Opinion upon the Truth, which equally hateth to be under the Oppressions of wrangling Sophistry of the one hand, or the short dictates of mistaken Authority on the other.
Our Trimmer adoreth the Goddess Truth, tho' in all Ages she hath been scurvily used, as well as those that Worshipped her; 'tis of late become such a cozening Vertue, that Mankind seems to be agreed to shun and avoid it; yet the want of Practice which Repealeth the other Laws, hath no influence upon the Law of Truth, because it hath root in Heaver, and an Intrinsick value in it self, that can never be impaired; she sheweth her Greatness in this, that her Enemies when they are successful are asham'd to own it; nothing but Power full of Truth hath the Prerogative of Tri∣umphing, not only after Victories, but in spite of them, and to put Con∣quest her self out of Countenance; she may be kept under and supperst, but her Dignity still remaineth with her, even when she is in Chains; Falsehood with all her Impudence, hath not enough to speak ill of her be∣fore her Face, such Majesty she carrieth about her, that her most prospe∣rous Enemies are fain to whisper their Treason; all the Power upon Earth can never extinguish her, she hath lived in all Ages; and let the mistaken Zeal of prevailing Authority, Christen any opposition to it, with what Name they please, she makes it not only an ugly and unmannerly, but a daugerous thing to persist; she hath lived very retired indeed, nay some∣time so buried, that only some sew of the discerning part of Mankind could have a Glimpse of her; with all that she hath Eternity in her, she knows not how to dye, and from the darkest Clouds that shade and cover her, she breaketh from time to time with Triumph for her Friends, and Ter∣rour for her Enemies.
Our Trimmer therefore inspired by this Divine Vertue, thinks fit to conclude with these Assertions, That our Climate is a Trimmer, between that part of the World where men are Roasted, and the other where they are Frozen; That our Church is a Trimmer, between Phrenzy of Platonick Visions, and the Lethargick Ignorance of Popish Dreams; That our Laws are Trimmers, between the Excess of unbounded Power, and the Extrava∣gance of Liberty not enough restrained: That true Vertue hath ever been thought a Trimmer, and to have its dwelling in the middle between the two Page 43 Extreams; That even God Almighty is divided between his two great At∣tributes, his Mercy and his Justice.
In such Company, our Trimmer is not asham'd of his Name, and wil∣lingly lea veth to the bold Champions of either Extream, the Honour of contending with no less Adversaries, than Nature, Religion, Liberty, Prudence, Humanity, and Common Sense.