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harvest, his granary was emptied without hopes of replenishing, without a miracle, Reduced, he herded with those of his own opinion, that, by the benevolence of fortune, were able to relieve him, and did, generously, for a time; but, continual dependence made him sensible of the bitterness of the curse. The undervaluing slights, the tiring attendance, often refusals, beggarly loans, reprimands, advice too late given, all which, with appearing patience, by force he was obliged, if he would eat, to undergo, made him almost distracted in his thoughts. The impending misery of want, by its near approach, appearing dreadful and affrighting, put him upon the studious thoughts, how to subsist for the future. He considered the many reasons drawn from self-interest, and other powerful motives, for conforming to the present government; the general consent, and practice of many, whose learning and integrity he could not call in question, unless he should contradict his own experience, made him bring his manage into examination, and his rational arguments made him often waver,
the prudence of his opinion; so far, that he had some thoughts of conforming to what the representatives of the nation had agreed; but, having so long stood out, he could have no hopes of being received with that favour, so as to be trusted in any considerable employ, either civil, military, or ecclesiastical. He was too poor, and of too little interest, lo expect an honourable title ; too illiterate to be made a dean; too well known to be trusted with the managing of a secret in national affairs; so he stuck to his old principles, though he reaped no advantage by them, for poverty, like ivy; twines to the Jacobite, and spoils his growth. His opinion contradicting, in general, the sentiments of the greatest part of the nation, was so far from being any ways advantageous to him, that it exposed him to want, and debarred him from the hopes of repairing his ruined fortunes.
Observation. This story is equally applicable to Jacobite, Williamite, Whig, Tory, or what other name of distinction is given to any man, who rows not with the common stream that the river of his country runs; he tugs against the tide, and makes very little progress. To oppose the general sentiments of a country, is drawing up hill by choice, and gives just cause for people to call a man's judgment in question, since there is a nearer and down-hill beaten path at hand. It is something like going in the Strand, towards the Horse-guard, on a Sunday in the evening, when one has the trouble of meeting the current of the city-gentry going from the Park. He that complies not to the practice of a nation, appears like one in a sadcoloured coat bearing arms amongst the guard at Whiteball, he is stared at; and, if observed by a superior, will be punished.
Relating to a man's compliance, or non-compliance, it ought to be considered, Whether what is required be consonant to justice and self-preservation, argued pro and con in reference to spiritual and temporal affairs, the last not contradicting the former's positive
commands. And sure I am, or must appear to be, to rational men, much wiser, of more blockish than the rest of the nation, in a general council consenting, if I oppose, or refuse conformity to its agreement. Parallel examples ought to be searched for, and the method of proceedings that have been commonly taken by others, approved of by future allowance to have been just, and fitting to be done, ought to guide, and mightily sway me to concord to such approved precedents; for, if a man disagrees out of a particular opinion, or interest, he, as far as in him lies, calls the discretion of a great many in question, and battles' a number with his opiniated reason. From such proceeding, one can expect no benefit or reputation. No advantage, because none will trust another in any thing of weight) that is of a contrary persuasion ; because it is reasonable to believe, that every man is inclinable to act what suits best to his fancy, and most conduces to bring to effect his desired aim : So, instead of serving that interest by which intrusted, to gratify his real sentiments, he will betray the secrets to him committed.
What is in vogue carries a present reputation; then being a Jacobite, must consequently cause an undervaluing, and so signify little or nothing.
Allow sentiments offer'd, right or wrong,
Confining an Insolvent Debtor. A GRAVE citizen, an alderman's fellow, by losses and crosses, and God knows what, was reduced to the necessity of leaving his bouse, and moving himself and effects into the sanctuary for bankrupts, White-friars; where for a while he confined himself to his chamber, 'and, when he went out, the company seasoned to the place, who were no proud men, but would quickly be acquainted without ceremony,
made him ashamed, and blush like a young sinner, the curtains undrawn. With care he soon cast up his books, and, subtracting his debtors from his creditors, he found a greater balance due, than he was able to pay; but, willing (as it is natural for all creatures) to be at liberty, he summoned his creditors, and offered them ten shillings for every pound, reserving for himself but a small pittance to subsist on, or lay, a new foundation for fresh credit. But some (Jews in practice) refused a compliance to any abatement, and resolved to make dice of his bones. Their cruelty grieved and afflicted him so much, that his sorrow and concern was apparent in his face, and, being asked the reason, he told, • That his creditors non-compliance was the cause of it:' Upon which, a doctor in the civil laws, of the place, took him to task ; told him his security there; brought examples and precedents, how Tom such an one and Sir Jobn such an one had used their creditors, and brought them to compliance : Unmerciful rogues! What, refuse to take ten shillings in the pound? If I might advise you, they should not have above half a crown, I intend to give mine but eighteen pence; sure you are not such a fool to part with all, and suffer yourself and family to want. Such company, such examples, such documents have washed away the honest first intents of many a man, but, it could not float his; for he still designed, to his power, to satisfy every body; but unwilling to be caged in a closer prison, he there lived, and, spending upon the main stock constantly, it wasted so fast, that, at his next proposal to his creditors, he could offer but five shillings; which was also rejected: And some time after, not being watchful of his ways, the catchpoles seized him, at the suit of an old protesting friend of his, a neighbour, for whom he would have sent, hoping mercy from their former intimate acquaintance ; but, the officers telling him it would be to no purpose, since that warrant, which they named to him, was but one amongst twenty they had against him; so, after squeezing him out of twenty shillings for dinner, ale, and brandy, they lodged him in the Compter ; where his fellow-prisoners flocked about him, some pulling this way, some that, like watermen at turn of ebb at Billingsgate, all calling for garnish ; which clamorous demand never ceased, till he had paid it. The want of liberty made him value it more than ever, and, desiring next to life bis liberty, he, with prayers, intreated his creditors to accept of all that he had ; but they refused it, and would not believe that he gave a true or just account, though he offered to make oath of it. So, by lying there, the poor man, for necessaries, consumed what merciful men would have been contented with; when the Parliament, out of consideration of the misery, that many (not able to pay their debts) in prison endured, ordered a discharge upon such and such conditions, under the which he was comprehended, and consequently discharged without paying one farthing ; whereas, if the creditors had formerly complied, they might have had half their debts, and the man his liberty; so their confining him proved their detriment. And the like happens to others, when the insolvent die in custody; for, where it is not to be had, the king must lose his right.
Observation. Such has been the fate of many insolvent debtors, and such has proved the return to many uncharitable and cruel creditors; and, I believe, all merciful men will think the last deserved it. Expectation to recover debts by confining an insolvent man, whereby he is debarred of opportunity to acquire wherewithal to pay his debts, is an Egyptian proposal, to make brick without straw; quod ultra posse non est esse.
It is a very good law in the seigniory of Biscay, That no native Biscayner shall be imprisoned for debt above forty-eight hours; but the creditor, in that time, shall have judgment against whatsoever effects shall be found to be his, or what afterwards he, either by labour, art, or otherwise, shall acquire, yet, upon giving security not to depart the seigniory, he shall be discharged out of custody, to get his livelihood.
I have heard, that, in Holland, no creditor shall keep in prison an insolvent debtor, unless be will maintain him there, with subsistence to preserve bis life; but here in England, in this point, we out-do the Dutch in cruelty, confining people to starve, contrary to humanity, mercy, or policy. One may as reasonably expect his dog should catch an hare, when chained to a post, as that a poor
debtor should, in a gaol, get wherewithal to pay his debts.
Ask but the cruel man, what he would have
By such confinment, be shall milk receive ?
Promise of Secrecy in a Conspiracy. THOUGH I could produce variety of instances, out of ancient history, suitable to this subject, yet I have chose one, which has come to the knowledge, and is still fresh in the memory of almost every Englishman, to shew the little trust and confidence, that is to be given to the solemn promises of secrecy in a conspiracy, or wicked design.
In the year 1699, several angry discontented men clubbed to the hatching a plot or conspiracy for subverting the present government; and, for the more certainty of effecting it, designed, con- . trary to honour, and common humanity, to take off the present head, that the limbs might be in confusion, wanting an immediate director for their motion; so in the hurly-burly to have proclaimed one, who unhappily has too much proclaimed himself.
There is no need of mentioning their design at large, or the progress they had made, every man knowing the drift of their conspiracy, and the conspirators ; so I will only take notice, that, after their plot was laid, the assassinators agreed on, and secrecy sworn to, at the Sun-tavern, and other places, some of them (false, first to
their country, then to their adherents), discovered the conspiracy. I wish it were done out of a repentant principle, and believing a promise to do evil ought not to be kept; but their covetous solliciting for rewards induces me to believe, that the principle of self*interest was the chief motive of their discovery; but, let it proceed from what cause soever, it is apparent, that the obligations, under which they were engaged, were not of force to keep the secret undiscovered. The like discoveries have been made at Venice, at Rome, at Genoa, and in almost all the kingdoms on the earth, tho' the greatest cautions and securities that self-preservation, or aspiring ambition could invent, to tie up the confessing tongue, have been made use of. He that will be a villain, in attempting a great evil, is not to be trusted; for it is probable he would be so in a lesser, especially if he expects to reap advantage by it.
Whilst a protecting Providence does sway,