Wednesday, May 21, 1712. Steele.
Hague, May 24. N. S.
The same Republican Hands, who have so often since the Chevalier de St. George’s Recovery killed him in our publick Prints, have now reduced the young Dauphin of France to that desperate Condition of Weakness, and Death it self, that it is hard to conjecture what Method they will take to bring him to Life again. Mean time we are assured by a very good Hand from Paris, That on the 2Oth Instant, this young Prince was as well as ever he was known to be since the Day of his Birth. As for the other, they are now sending his Ghost, we suppose, (for they never had the Modesty to contradict their Assertions of his Death) to Commerci in Lorrain, attended only by four Gentlemen, and a few Domesticks of little Consideration. The Baron de Bothmar having delivered in his Credentials to qualify him as an Ambassador to this State, (an Office to which his greatest Enemies will acknowledge him to be equal) is gone to Utrecht, whence he will proceed to Hanover, but not stay long at that Court, for fear the Peace should be made during his lamented Absence.
Post-Boy, May 20.
I should be thought not able to read, should I overlook some excellent Pieces lately come out. My Lord Bishop of St. Asaph has just now published some Sermons, the Preface to which seems to me to determine a great Point. –He has, like a good Man and a good Christian, in opposition to all the Flattery and base Submission of false Friends to Princes, asserted, That Christianity left us where it found us as to our Civil Rights. The present Entertainment shall consist only of a Sentence out of the Post-Boy, and the said Preface of the Lord of St. Asaph. I should think it a little odd if the Author of the Post-Boy should with Impunity call Men Republicans for a Gladness on Report of the Death of the Pretender; and treat Baron Bothmar, the Minister of Hanover, in such a manner as you see in my Motto. I must own, I think every Man in England concerned to support the Succession of that Family.
The publishing a few Sermons, whilst I live, the latest of which was preached about eight Years since, and the first above seventeen, will make it very natural for People to enquire into the Occasion of doing so; And to such I do very willingly assign these following Reasons.
First, From the Observations I have been able to make, for these many Years last past, upon our publick Affairs, and from the natural Tendency of several Principles and Practices, that have of late been studiously revived, and from what has followed thereupon, I could not help both fearing and presaging, that these Nations would some time or other, if ever we should have an enterprising Prince upon the Throne, of more Ambition than Virtue, Justice, and true Honour, fall into the way of all other Nations, and lose their Liberty.
Nor could I help foreseeing to whose Charge a great deal of this dreadful Mischief, whenever it should happen, would be laid, whether justly or unjustly, was not my Business to determine; but I resolved for my own particular part, to deliver my self, as well as I could, from the Reproaches and the Curses of Posterity, by publickly declaring to all the World, That although in the constant Course of my Ministry, I have never failed, on proper Occasions, to recommend, urge, and insist upon the loving, honouring, and the reverencing the Prince’s Person, and holding it, according to the Laws, inviolable and sacred; and paying all Obedience and Submission to the Laws, though never so hard and inconvenient to private People: Yet did I never think my self at liberty, or authorized to tell the People, that either Christ, St. Peter, or St. Paul, or any other Holy Writer, had by any Doctrine delivered by them, subverted the Laws and Constitutions of the Country in which they lived, or put them in a worse Condition, with respect to their Civil Liberties, than they would have been had they not been Christians. I ever thought it a most impious Blasphemy against that holy Religion, to father any thing upon it that might encourage Tyranny, Oppression, or Injustice in a Prince, or that easily tended to make a free and happy People Slaves and Miserable. No: People may make themselves as wretched as they will, but let not God be called into that wicked Party. When Force and Violence, and hard Necessity have brought the Yoak of Servitude upon a People’s Neck, Religion will supply them with a patient and submissive Spirit under it till they can innocently shake it off; but certainly Religion never puts it on. This always was, and this at present is, my Judgment of these Matters: And I would be transmitted to Posterity (for the little Share of Time such Names as mine can live) under the Character of one who lov’d his Country, and would be thought a good Englishman, as well as a good Clergyman.