« PreviousContinue »
parricide and the parricides," &c. The French, and even the proteftants themselves, were up in arms against the established laws; what they would have done farther if they had met with as much fuccefs as we have, cannot be known; but certainly their kings, if we may trust the accounts of those transactions, feared as much from them as ours did from us; nor could they help doing it, when they confidered the tone of their manifeftos, and the violence of their threats. Let them not therefore, whatever you may pretend, boaft too much for themselves, nor judge too illiberally of us. He proceeds, "Indeed I have been in fuch habits of intimacy with perfons of the first character in England." Those who are the best in his eyes, will be found the worst in those of other people." That I do not hesitate to affert, that I am intimately acquainted with the vices, the principles, and the lives of thofe monsters in the shape of men." I thought that you had had acquaintance with none but bawds and whores; but you also thoroughly know what monsters are. "My English friends readily prevailed upon me to fupprefs my name," and this was difcreetly done; for they thus hoped to derive more advantage from the effrontery of your affertions, and lefs harm from the profligacy of your character. They knew you well, they remembered your honest custody of the fruit in the garden; and that, even when become a fhorn and polifhed priest, you could not keep your hands off Portia. And furely not without reason; for if the word carnifex be derived, a conficiendâ carne, why may not you, by doing for Portia, from a priest become a Pontifex. Though they could not but know this, and you could not be ignorant of it, yet, with an impiety that merits execration, and an affurance that furpaffes belief, you openly affert, that you were studious only to vindicate the glory of God; and, at the fame time, you inveigh against the hypocrify of others, when there never was a more notorious mercenary, or unprincipled hypocrite than yourself. In narrating the feries of tranfactions, you say that you have derived great affiftance from other writers, and particu larly from the exposure of the late disturbances in England. Surely, Sir, you must be very deficient in difcre
tion and capacity; when after fo much parade and noise, you bring forward nothing of your own, but can adduce against us only fome writers among the royalifts, who may justly be fufpected; but without an implicit reliance in whofe veracity you cannot proceed a step. If there be occafion, we will refute those writers, and set aside one confutation by another; we will not answer them by you, but you by them. What you have produced of your own, you will find it difficult to defend; which, while it indicates a mind utterly void of all religious principle, every good man will fhudder while he reads. The love of God, and a lively sense of the infult that has been offered to his holy name, compels me to lift up my suppliant hands to heaven." Hide, O hide thofe hands, fo foully stained with luft and rapine; nor, with hands fuch as thofe, attempt to touch the throne of God, with which you have fo often polluted the rites of his religion, and the altars of his worship. The divine vengeance which you fo lavishly imprecate on others, you will find at last that you have been invoking on yourself. Hitherto we have had only the prelude to the cry, but (now it is going to occupy the principal and almost fole part in the drama) it swells the cheek and strains the jaws in the act of mounting to heaven; whither, if it afcend, it will refound most effectually against the brawling More. "Since the majesty of kings has in all ages been held facred, &c." You attack me, Sir, with much common place-abuse, and many malicious obfervations which are quite irrelevant to the purpofe; for the murder of a king, and the punishment of a tyrant, are not the fame thing; but do differ, and will for ever differ, as long as sense and reason, justice and equity, the knowledge of right and wrong fhall prevail among men. But enough, and more than enough has been faid on this fubject; nor fhall I fuffer you, who have in vain, affaulted me with so many fenfelefs imprecations, at last to bring about my end with a plethory of difguft? You then fay fome fine things on patience and on virtue. But,
You talk on virtue, while on vice you pore,
And preach moft chafte discourses while you whore.
You fay that "all the protestants, particularly those in the Low Countries and France, are ftruck with horror at the crime which we have committed ;" and immediately after, that "good men would every where think and fpeak differently on the fubject." That you fhould be at variance with yourself, is a matter of little moment; but what follows is of a more fhocking and atrocious cast. You fay that "the wickedness of the Jews, who crucified Chrift, was nothing compared with ours, whether you regard the intentions of the parties, or the effects of the crime." Maniac! do you, a minifter of Jefus, think fo lightly of his crucifixion, as to have the audacity to affert, that the destruction of any king, whatever might be the intentions, or the effect, is equally atrocious? The Jews had the clearest and most convincing proofs that Jefus was the fon of God; but how could we poffibly be led to believe, that Charles was not a tyrant? To diminish the enormity of the guilt, you very abfurdly make mention of the effect; but I always obferve, that the royalists, in proportion to their bigotry, are ready to depreciate the fufferings of Christ, in order to exalt those of their king; yet as they affert, that we ought principally to obey him for Chrift's fake, they fhew that they cherish no fincere regard either for Christ or for the king; and that they make their irrational and fuperftitious devotion to kings, only a pretext to conceal their ambitious, their finister and interested views. "Salmafius, therefore, that great fovereign of literature advanced to the combat!" Čease Sir, I befeech you, to difguft us with the application of fuch an epithet as "great" to Salmafius; which you may repeat a thousand times, without ever perfuading any one that Salmafius was great; though you may, that More was little; a worthlefs fcribbler, who, quite ignorant of propriety, lavished the appellation of great without any fitness or difcrimination. To grammarians and critics, who are principally occupied in editing the works of others, or in correcting the errors of copyifts, we willingly concede the palm of industry and erudition; but we never bestow on them the firname of great. He alone is worthy of the appellation, who either does great things, or teaches how they may be done, or defcribes
them with a suitable majesty when they have been done; but those only are great things, which tend to render life more happy, which increase the innocent enjoyments and comforts of exiftence, or which pave the way to a ftate of future blifs more permanent and more pure. But has Salmafius done any thing like this? Nothing at all; what, that is great, has he ever either taught or related? unless perhaps you except his writings against the bishops, and the fupremacy of the pope; the merit of which he entirely effaced by his fubfequent recantations; by the habits of his life, and his vindications of epifcopacy. He, therefore, cannot fitly be termed a great writer, who either never wrote any thing great, or who bafely recanted the best work that he ever wrote. He is welcome for me, to be "the fovereign of literature," and of the A, B, C ; but you are not content with having him the "fovereign of literature," but must exalt him to be "the patron of kings;" and a patron well fitted to adorn fuch a station of fublimity. You have certainly fhewn yourself very folicitous to promote the honour of kings, when in addition to their other illuftrious titles, you would fubjoin that of the clients of Claud Salmafius." On this condition, O fovereigns of the world, you may be released from every restraint upon your power; if you will but do homage to Salmafius the grammarian, and make your fceptres bend beneath his rod. "To him kings will be indebted, as long as the world lafts, for the vindication of their honour, and the existence of their power." tend, ye fovereigns! he who compofes for you his beggarly defence, and who defends what no one attacked, has the arrogance to impute to himself the continuance of your dignity and your power. Such has been the effect of provoking this infolent grammarian from his cabinet of worms and moths, to fupport the caufe of kings. "To whom the altar will be as much indebted as the throne;" not indeed for the protection, but for the fcandalous defertion of its interefts. Now, you lavifh your panegyric in the defence of the royal caufe; "you admire the genius, the erudition, the boundless diverfity of matter, the intimate acquaintance with facred and profane ufages and laws, the impetuous volubility of diction, the limpid eloquence,
eloquence, which characterise that golden work." Though I contend that the work is deficient in all these qualities; (for what has Salmafius to do with eloquence ?) yet that it was a truly golden compofition, I am willing a hundred times to acknowledge; for it coft Charles as many guineas, without mentioning the fums which the author received from the Prince of Orange. "The great man never appeared more mighty in his ftrength; Salmafius was never more himself." He was truly fo great that he burst; for we have seen how great he was in his former work; and fhall perhaps fee in what he may have left behind him on the same subject. I do not deny that Salmafius, on the first appearance of his book, was the general topic of converfation, and that he was in high favour with the royalifts; that he was invited by the most auguft queen of Sweden, and received the most munificent presents; and in fhort, that in the whole difpute, every circumstance was favourable to Salmafius and hoftile to me. Men in general entertained the highest opinion of his erudition, the celebrity of which, he had been accumulating for many years, by many voluminous and maffy publications, not indeed of any practical utility, but relating to the most abftrufe difcuffions, and crammed with quotations from the most illuftrious authors. Nothing is fo apt as this to excite the astonishment of the literary vulgar. Who I was, no one in that country had ever known; his work had excited an impatient curiosity, which was increased by the magnitude of the subject. I had no means of exciting a fimilar intereft, or a like ardour of expectation. Many indeed endeavoured to diffuade me from engaging with fuch a veteran; fome from envy, left I fhould at any rate, gather fome glory from the conflict with fo mighty an adverfary; others from fear, left my defeat fhould prove injurious to myself and to the cause, which I had undertaken to defend. Salmafius was invigorated and cheered by the specious plaufibility of his subject, by the inveterate prejudices, or rather rooted fuperftitions of the vulgar, in favour of kingly power. All these were adverfe to my undertaking, and impediments to my fuccefs; and it is the lefs furprifing, that my anfwer, on its first appearance, should be less eagerly