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Xcv. Whatever may be said against a premier or fole mi. nister, the evil of such an one, in an absolute government, may not be great : for it is possible, that almost any mi. nister
may be a better min than a king born and bred.
XCVI. A man corning to the water-lide is surrounded by all the crew ; every one is officions, every one making applications, every one ofering his services ; the whole bustle of the place seems to be only for him. The same man going from the water-side, no noise is made about him, no creiture takes notice of him, all let him pafs with utter neglet! the picture of a minister when he comes into po:ver, and when he goes out.
Published from a manuscript found in the cabinet
of the famous Sir H. Polesworth, in the year 1712.
THEN I was first called to the office of historio.
grapher to John Bull, he expressed himself to this purpose: "Sir Humphrey Polesworth *, I know you are
a plain-dealer ; it is for that reason I have cholen you " for this important truft ; speak the truth, and spare not." That I mighi fulfil thole his honourable intentions, I obtained leave to repair to, and attend him in his most secret retirements; and I put the journals of all transactions into a strong box, to be opened at a fitting occasion, after the manner of the historiographers of some eaflern monarchs : this I thought was the fatelt way; though I declare I was never afraid to be choped t by my malter for telling of truth. It is from those journals chat my memoirs are compiled: therefore let not pofterity, a thousand years hence, look for truth in the voluminous annals of pedants, who are entirely ignorant of the secret springs of great actions ; if itey do, let me tell them they will be nebufed I With incredible paios have I endeavoured to copy
* A member of parliament, eminent for a certain cant in his Conversation; of which there is a good deal in obis book. + A cant word of Sir Humphrey's. Another cant word, signifying deceived. P3
Froin luch encouragement and helps, it is easy to guess Hubory to what a degree of perfection I might have brought this anotal great work, had it not been nipt in the bud by some illi. Each an 176 THE HISTORY OF JOHN BULL. Several beauties of the ancient and modern historians stuks lo the impartial temper of Herodotus ; the gravity, austeri.com ty, and strict morals of Thucydides, the extensive knowledge of Xenophon, the fublimity and grandeur of Titus Livius; and, to avoid the carelėss style of Polybilis, I have learn borrowed considerable ornamentsfrom Dionysius Halicarnaffeus and Diodorus Siculus. The specious gilding of a Pukio Tacitus I have endeavoured to shun. Mariau and Fra. Paulo, are those among the moderns whom ! thought most worthy of imitation; but I cannot be lo dilingenuous, as not to own the infinite obligations I have to the Pilgrim's Progress of John Bunyan,and the Tenter Belly of the reperend Joseph Hall.
terate people in both houses of parliament, who envying the great figure I was to make in future
ages, tence of railing money for the war, have padlockedt all those very pens that were to celebrate the actions of their heroes, by silencing at once the whole univerlity of Grubstreet. I am persuaded that nothing but the prospect of an approaching peace could bave encouraged them to make fo bold a step. But suffer me, in the name of the reft of the matriculates of that famous university, to ask them fone plain questions : Do they think that peace will bring ing speech of a traitor ? Are Cethegus and C:tilipe turc. ed fo tame, that there will be no opportunity to cry a. bout the streets, a dangerous plot ? Will peace bring such plenty, that no gentleman will have occasion to go upon the highway, or break into a house ; I am sorry, that the world should be so much impoled upon by the dreams of
false prophet, as to inagine the Millennium is at hand. O Grub-ttreet! tio: fruitful nursery of towering genius's! How do I lament ihy dontal? Thy ruin could never be meditated by any who meant well to English liberty: no modern Lyceum will ever equal thy glory : whether in
* A parody on Boyer's preface to his history of Queen Anne.
† Act restraining the liberty of the press, etc. which was passed in 1712 ; and the peace of Utrecht, concluded in 1713.
oft pastorals thou didst sing the flames of pampered apprentices and
соу cook-maids; or mournful ditties of de. parting lovers; or if to Maeonian strains thou raised'st thy voice, to record the stratagems, the arduous exploits, and the nocturnal scalade of needy heroes, the terror of your peaceful citizens, defcribing the powerful Betty or the artful Picklock, or the secret caverns and grotto's of Vulcan sweating at his forge, and stamping the queen's image on viler metals, which he retails for bect, and pots of ale : or if thou wert content, in simple narrative, io relate the cruel acts of implacable revenge, or the complaints of ravilhed virgins, blushing to tell their adventures before the listening croud of city damsels; whilft in thy faithful history thou intermiogleft the graveft counsels and the purest morals. Nor less acute and piercing wert thou iu thy fearch and pompous defcription of the works of nature; whether in proper and emphatic terms thou didst paint the blazing coinet's fiery tail, the stupendous force of dreadful thunder and earthquakes, and the unrelenting inundations. Sometimes, with Machiavelian fagacity, thou unravellest intrigues of state, and the traiterous conspiracies of rebels, giving wise countel to monarchs. How didst thou move our terror and our pity with thy passionate scenes between Jack-Catch and the heroes of the Old-Bailey ! How diuit thou describe their intrepid march up Holborn-hill! Nor didst i hou shine less in thy theological capacity, when thou gaveft ghostly counsel io dying felons, and didst record the guilty pangs of labbathbreakers. How will the noble arts of John Overton's * painting and fulpture now linguish! where rich inventi. 0B, proper expression, correct design, divine attitudes, and artful contrast, heightened with
the beauties of Glare Obscur. embellished thy celebrated pieces, to the delight aad astonishinent of the judicious multitude! Adieu, perfuafive eloquence! the quaint metaphor, the poignant irony, the proper epithet, and the lively limile, are fled for ever! Instead of these, we shall have, I know not what! – The illiterate will tell the rest with pleasure t!
• The engraver of the cuts before the Grub-Street papers. + Vid. the preface to four fermons by William Fleetwood,
I hope, the reader will excuse this digression, due by way of condolence to iny worthy brethren of Grub-street, for the approaching barbarity that is likely to overspread all its regions, by this oppressive and exorbitant tax. It has been my good fortune to receive my education there; and so long as I preserved fome figure and raik amongst the learned of that fociety, I scorned to take my degree either at Utrecht or Leyden, though I was offered it gratis by the professors in those universities.
And now, that posterity may not be ignorant in what age so excellent a history was written (which would otherwise, no doubt, be the subject of its enquiries), I think it proper to inform the learned of future times, that it was compiled when Lewis the XIVth was king of France, and Philip his grandson,of Spain; when England and Holland, in conjunction with the emperor and ihe allies, entered into a war against thele iwo princes, which lasted ten years under the managemerit of the Duke of Marlborough, and;was pu: to a conclusion by the treaty of Utrecht, un. der the ministry of the Esrl of Ostord, in the year 1713. bishop of St. Afaph, printed in 1712; whcre having displayed the beautiful and pleasing prosped which was opened by the war, he complains that the spirit of discord had given us in its stead-I know not what - Our criemies will tell the rest with picajure. This preface was, by order of thc House of Commons, burot by the hangman in Palace-yard, Wesminster. Hawkes.
Many at that time did imagine the history of John Bull, and the personages mentioned in it, to be allegorical, which the au. thor would never own.' Notwithstanding, to indulge the reader's fancy and curiosity, I have printed at the bottom of the page the fupplid allusions of the most obscure parts of the story.