THE AUGUSTAN REPRINT SOCIETY
JOHN J. PERRY
PUBLICATION NUMBER 198 WILLIAM ANDREWS CLARK MEMORIAL LIBRARY UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES 1979
GENERAL EDITOR David Stuart Rodes, University of California, Los Angeles
EDITORS Charles L. Batten, University of California, Los Angeles George Robert Guffey, University of California, Los Angeles Maximillian E. Novak, University of California, Los Angeles Thomas Wright, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
ADVISORY EDITORS Ralph Cohen, University of Virginia William E. Conway, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library Vinton A. Dearing, University of California, Los Angeles Arthur Friedman, University of Chicago Louis A. Landa, Princeton University Earl Miner, Princeton University Samuel H. Monk, University of Minnesota James Sutherland, University College, London Robert Vosper, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
CORRESPONDING SECRETARY Beverly J. Onley, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Frances M. Reed, University of California, Los Angeles
Atalantis Major is a thinly veiled allegory describing the November 1710 election of the representative Scottish peers. The circumstances which surrounded this election were produced by the outcome of the previous month's General Election—a landslide for the Tories—and, to understand these circumstances, the impact of that Tory victory must be seen within the context of the political events of 1710.
By early in 1710 it had become obvious that the Whig Ministry of Sidney Godolphin was unable or unwilling to negotiate an end to the long, expensive, and consequently, unpopular war with France. The quarrel between Queen Anne and her confidante, the Duchess of Marlborough, smouldered until, on 6 April 1710, the breach between them became final. The Queen's confidence in the Duke of Marlborough began to erode as early as May 1709 when he sought to be appointed "Captain-General for Life." Godolphin's decision to impeach the popular Rev. Dr. Henry Sacheverell for preaching "a sermon which reasserted the doctrine of non-resistance to the will of the monarch" was ill-advised, for not only did it give the High-Church Tories a martyr, it also gave the Administration the appearance of being against the Church. In securing the impeachment of Sacheverell on 20 March 1710, the Whigs discovered that they had lost the support and the confidence of both the Parliament and the country.
Dissention within and intrigue from without further hastened the fall of the Administration. Godolphin, a moderate, had, after the General Election of 1708, found himself allied with the "Junto" of five powerful Whig Lords—Wharton, Sommers, Halifax, Orford, and Sunderland—but it was, at best, an uneasy alliance. Throughout 1709 and into the early months of 1710, personal jealousies drove the Godolphin-Marlborough interest farther and farther away from the Junto. Robert Harley and the Dukes of Somerset and Shrewsbury, in their determination to overthrow the Administration, exploited every chance to widen the rifts between Anne and her Ministers and between the two ministerial factions. Abigail Hill Masham, who soon became an agent of Harley, replaced the Duchess of Marlborough as Anne's confidante.
When the Ministry fell, it fell like a house of cards. On 14 April 1710 Shrewsbury was made Lord Chamberlain over the unavailing protests of Godolphin. Two months later, at the instigation of Somerset, the Queen replaced Sunderland with the Tory Lord Dartmouth as Secretary of State. Finally, on 8 August, Godolphin was ordered to break the White Staff of his office and Harley was appointed Treasurer. One by one the remaining Junto Ministers were replaced by Tories. By September the work was complete. The Duke of Marlborough alone remained, in command of the army, but this was only to be until the new Ministry could negotiate a peace and his services would no longer be required.
It had been Harley's intention to govern by means of a "moderate" Administration, a "Queen's Ministery above party," but he had not reckoned on the outcome of the General Election called in October. "On the day Godolphin fell, Harley expounded his 'moderate' programme in a letter to the Duke of Newcastle: 'The Queen is assured you will approve her proceedings, which are directed to the sole aim of making an honourable and safe peace, securing her allies, reserving the liberty and property of the subject, and the indulgence to Dissenters in particular, and to perpetuate this by really securing the succession of the House of Hanover.'"
Alone, either the antagonism to the war or the intensity of feeling for the High-Church cause which the Sacheverell affair engendered, would have been sufficient to sweep the Whigs from power. Together, and combined as they were with the prestige of the Queen's public support of Harley and the newly appointed Tory Ministers, these issues were irresistible. Harley found himself with an "immoderate" House of Commons. The Tories held 320 seats, the Whigs only 150, and there were 40 seats whose votes were "doubtful." Many of the new Parliamentarians were High-Church zealots, and most were anxious to turn the nation away from the policies of the Whig Administration of Godolphin.
The House of Lords, however, remained a bastion of Whig strength. As an hereditary body the House of Lords was simply not subject to the same opportunity for change as the elected House of Commons. Consequently, in 1710, as a result of the Glorious Revolution, the long reign of William III, and the Godolphin Ministry, the majority of the members of the House of Lords were of Whig or Revolution Settlement policies. Therein lay Harley's problem in late October of 1710: to obtain a Lords to match the Commons he had been given.
Any early eighteenth-century Ministry—Whig or Tory—could count on having the support of those peers whose poverty made them dependent on governmental subsidies, but this number would not have given Harley even a bare majority in the strongly Whig House of Lords. And there Harley needed at least enough strength to ensure success for some of the measures designed to satisfy the demands of the newly Tory House of Commons, particularly if his Ministry was to be able to negotiate a satisfactory treaty of peace with France.
To obtain a Tory majority in the House of Lords commensurate with the one in Commons, Harley could have seen to the creation of a sufficient number of new peerages; but this would have alienated too many factions and the recently completed Union with Scotland (1707) offered what appeared to be a far simpler expedient. The Act of Union provided for the election of sixteen Scottish peers who would represent all of the Scottish nobility in the House of Lords. If he could ensure that all sixteen of these peers were Tory, Harley would be certain of a large block of loyal votes in the upper house, or, at worst, he would have to arrange for the creation of only a few new peers to neutralize the Whigs' strength. To John Campbell, the second Duke of Argyll, Harley assigned the task of orchestrating a Tory sweep in this election.
The Duke of Argyll sat in the House of Lords as the Earl of Greenwich (an English title), not as one of the elected peers, and, as such, he was not elegible to stand as a candidate or to vote in this election. Argyll had supported the Whig Junto and held the rank of Lieutenant General under Marlborough in France, but in 1710 (seeing the direction the political tide was taking) he abandoned his support of Godolphin's Ministry. So that, "by the time the [Sacheverell] Trial was finished, it was known that the great chief of the Campbells and of the Scottish Whigs had gone into opposition to the Government [of Godolphin] in league with Harley, although he voted for the Doctor's condemnation...."
Argyll and the sixteen representative peers (if they were all Tories), together with the votes of those peers who were dependant upon Government subsidies would give the new Ministry of Harley enough votes in the upper house for almost any eventuality—even the impeachment of Marlborough. It is possible to speculate that this was the plum—command of the British armies in Europe—that induced Argyll's change from Whig to Tory in 1710. Argyll's jealousy and resentment of his commander had been a well known bit of gossip for some time, and it is very possible that Argyll saw a new Government as his chance to steal a march on Marlborough. Although Harley's Ministry did give the Order of the Garter to Argyll on 20 December 1710, he was never promoted over Marlborough, but that was not due to any lack of success in assuring a Tory victory in the election of the peers. Argyll's heavy-handed management of that election is the subject of Defoe's Atalantis Major.
By birth and education Daniel Defoe was a member of the mercantile middle class. He was a Dissenter and his political and economic sympathies generally coincided with those of the moderate Whigs. A limited monarchy, the destruction of France's commercial empire, liberty of conscience for Dissenters and Nonconformists, and a Protestant (that is, Hanover) Succession were the imperatives which lay behind much of his political and economic thinking and writing. From as early as 1694 he had served William III as a pamphleteer-propagandist for the vigorous prosecution of the war with France. After his five-month imprisonment in 1703 for writing The Shortest Way with Dissenters, Defoe was employed as an agent and pamphleteer of the Government. First, in the service of Robert Harley, Godolphin's Secretary of State during the early moderate years of the Godolphin Administration (1704-08), and thereafter working for Godolphin himself, Defoe's Review preached the gospel of national unity above party faction. When Harley replaced Godolphin as Treasurer in 1710, Defoe returned to his service.
Although it may appear from this that Defoe's pen was for hire by whichever party was in power, in point of fact, Defoe's political views were remarkably congruent with those of both Harley and Godolphin. All three were staunch supporters of England's commercial interests, the Hanoverian Succession, liberty of conscience for Dissenters and Nonconformists, and the terms of the Revolution Settlement. It must be remembered that Godolphin and Harley were both moderates, each trying to chart his course between the extremes of the parties. They, like Daniel Defoe, saw their loyalty being to England and to the Queen, not to a party. Like Defoe, they both discovered that politics often make strange bedfellows. Godolphin, faced with a large Whig majority in the House of Commons after the General Election of 1708, found that his fortunes were bound to those of the Junto. Harley, after the General Election of 1710, discovered the necessity of courting the High-Church Tories far more than he would have liked.
Argyll's slate of Scottish peers for the November election included men who were even more extreme in their Toryism than the majority of High-Church English Tories. Most of the sixteen were High-Church, many had strong Catholic leanings; all of them were against increasing the religious liberties of the Scottish Presbyterians (and thus those of the English Dissenters and Nonconformists). Several of these peers had been openly professed Jacobites and all were, in some degree, sympathetic to France. To have men with such beliefs in Parliament meant, to Defoe, the chance that Marlborough's victories in France would be negotiated away, the loss of what the Toleration Act of 1689 had gained, and finally, the spector of the Pretender on the throne. In short, such men could mean the loss of all that the Revolution and the war with France had won. Yet, in the late autumn of 1710, Defoe found himself in Edinburgh, the agent and propagandist of the man on whose behalf Argyll had engineered the election of men of such politics.
Defoe's mission in Edinburgh that autumn was to allay the fears of the Presbyterian clergy and Whig merchants about the new Tory Ministry. His message to them was, in Professor Sutherland's words, that
What the country needed ... was steady, moderate men, whether they called themselves Whig or Tory, men who would uphold the Protestant succession and avoid extreme measures; and that on the whole was what it had now got [appearances to the contrary notwithstanding]. The Ministry was not going to give way to the clamours of the High Tory rank and file; and the Queen would certainly not countenance any form of persecution.
In short, Defoe was charged with convincing his Scottish friends and associates (and, by means of the Review, the nation at large) the opposite of all that Argyll's actions and words bespoke of Harley's intentions.
Defoe wrote Harley from Edinburgh on 18 November (eight days after the election of the peers) to voice his dismay at the tactics that had been used by Argyll. By them his own mission on Harley's behalf had been impaired:
I hint this Sir to Confirm my Censure of the Conduct aforesaid as Imprudent and as what has rendred [sic] the quieting these people, which was Easy before, Very Difficult now.
Further, he suggests that Harley's heretofore moderate allies, the Squadrone, have been pushed by Argyll into league with the old Court Party that had supported the Godolphin Ministry. This letter also contains a brief summary of the main events which were to form the plot of Atalantis Major, but it does not attack Argyll with the same bitterness that the longer work does. Defoe writes:
In the late Election, the Conduct of the D of 60 [Argyll], the E of 163 [Islay], and the Earle of 194 [Mar] is Very Perticular.... [They] Declared Openly [that] the Quallification of those to be Chosen ... [was] their agreeing to Impeach 140 [Godolphin] and 193 [Marlborough], Nor did the Impudence End there, but On all Occasions to Say in So Many Words They had her Majties Orders to Choose Such and Such and it must be don: This was So abandonning all Reserves, that it has disgusted the Generallity, and has Put them Upon Measures of Uniteing, which may shut the door upon all future Measures, what Ever the Occasion may be....
Now they have Returnd their Number, it were to be Wished they Could have Avoided a few who are Declar'd profest Jacobites, Such as 197 [Marischal], Kilsyth, Blantire, Hume &c. who are known to aim in all they do at the Pretender, and whose being Now Chosen has many ill Effects here What Ever may be as to Over-ruleing them in England, I mean as to Encreasing the Insolence of Jacobitisme in the North, where its Strength is far from being Contemptible.
What Defoe hoped to obtain from Harley by this and succeeding letters on this subject is not clear. He may have been seeking Harley's public repudiation of the Jacobite peers, or at least some private assurances that what Argyll had told the peers did not represent the new Ministry's policies. Whatever it was he sought, by late December it was obviously not forthcoming from Harley or his Ministry. And on 20 December Argyll was made a Knight of the Garter. It was during this December that the bulk of Atalantis Major was written, most probably between 30 November and 26 December. On 26 December 1710 Defoe wrote Harley of the existence of "Two Vile Ill Natur'd Pamphlets ... both of which have fallen into My hands in Manuscript, and I think I have prevented both their Printing. The first Was advertised in the Gazette here and Called the Scots atalantis ... The Other Pamphlet is called Atalantis Major." The letter concludes with a short description of the work, a disavowal of any knowledge of its authorship, and the hope that he can suppress its publication:
The Other Pamphlet is called Atalantis Major; and is a Bitter Invective against the D of Argyle, the E of Mar, and the Election of the Peers. It is Certainly Written by Some English man, and I have Some Guess at the Man, but dare not be positive. I have hitherto kept this also from the Press, and believe it will be Impossible for them to get it printed here after the Measures I have Taken. The Party I Got it of pretends the Coppy Came from England, But I am of Another Opinion. I shall Trouble you no farther about it because if possible I can get it Coppyed, I will Transmit the Coppy by Next post, for I have the Originall in My hand. They Expect I shall Encourage and assist them in the Mannageing it, and Till I can Take a Coppy I shall not Undeciev them.
There is no evidence to suggest that Harley doubted Defoe's disclaimer or that Defoe sent the copy to Harley.
Since Defoe was back in London on 13 February 1711, Atalantis Major must have been seen through the press sometime between 26 December and the end of January, not, as Moore lists it, "before 26 December 1710." Internal evidence suggests an even narrower range of probable dates of publication. The last four pages of Atalantis Major deal with the Duke of Argyll being given command of the English forces in Spain and the singular lack of grace with which he undertook this command. Since Argyll was not given command of the Peninsula campaign until 11 January 1711, it could not be until after this date that the manuscript could have been finished and printed.
The work bears few signs of being hastily printed. There are only nine typographical errors, and four of these are catchwords. There is no evidence to suggest that there was more than one printing of the pamphlet, and the use of several Scotticisms seems to offer support for the contention that the pamphlet was intended for a primarily Scottish audience.
William Lee was the first to ascribe the work to Defoe, and this ascription has been accepted by both Dottin and Moore. The evidence for assigning this work to Defoe seems to rest on the two letters to Harley quoted above. Another proof of Defoe's authorship of Atalantis Major is to be found in the remark it contains, "That the Southern Part of the Island [that is, England] was the most remarkable of any, as to the Policy of their Government, and the Character of the People; and excepting Englishmen and Polanders, there is not such another Nation in the World" (p. 12). In 1704 Defoe had written The Dyet of Poland, a poem in which he had made a similar unflattering comparison between England and Poland. A far more substantial case for Defoe's authorship can be made from the existence of the anecdote of John White, Edinburgh's hangman, in both a letter to Harley (18 November 1710) and the Review (for 30 November 1710), as well as in Atalantis Major (pp. 22-3).
Key to Names and Characters in Atalantis Major
In the thinly disguised allegory of Atalantis Major, Atalantis is, of course, Britain. Olreeky, or Old Reeky, or simply Reeky, is still used as an affectionate local term for the city of Edinburgh, prone as it is to be enshrouded in mists and smoke in the early morning. Tartary is France, and the French are referred to as either the Tartarians or the Barbarians. Jacobites are also indicated by the name Tartarians, since the Pretender's cause was actively supported by Louis XIV. Japan is Spain and China stands for Holland. The characters who appear in Atalantis Major are (in the order that they are mentioned):
The Duke de Sanquarius (p. 14) is James Douglas, second Duke of Queensberry and Duke of Dover (1662-1711);
The Earl of Stairdale (p. 15) is John Dalrymple, second Earl of Stair (1673-1747);
The Earl of Crawlinfordsay (p. 16) is John Lindsay, nineteenth Earl of Crawford (d. 1713);
The Prince of Greeniccio of the ancient Blood of Argyllius (p. 17) is John Campbell, second Duke of Argyll, Baron Chatham and Earl of Greenwich (1678-1742);
The Earl of Marereskine (p. 18) is John Erskine, eleventh Earl of Mar of the Erskine line (1675-1732);
The Prince de Heymuthius (p. 18) is John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough and Baron Churchill of Aymouth (1650-1722);
The Earl of Dolphinus (p. 18) is Sidney Godolphin (1645-1712);
Bellcampo, Lord of the Isles (p. 19) is Archibald Campbell, first and only Earl of Islay (pronounced "Isle-ah") and brother and heir of the second Duke of Argyll (1682-1761);
One of the Ministers (p. 22) is Thomas Miller of Kirkliston;
John ——, his Majesty's Hangman (p. 22) is John White;
Bradalbino (p. 24) is John Campbell, first Earl of Breadalbane (1635-1716);
Leslynus (p. 24) is David Leslie, third Earl of Leven (1660-1728);
One of the family of Boiilio (p. 24) is David Boyle, first Earl of Glasgow (1666-1733);
The Prince de Rosymonte (p. 34) is James Graham, fourth Marquis and first Duke of Montrose (d. 1742).
The fact that, in several cases, the names used by Defoe are developed from family names and not the title seems to offer support for the contention that Atalantis Major was intended primarily for a Scottish audience. Further, Defoe's name for Marlborough—Heymuthius—comes from his one Scottish title, Baron Aymouth (now Eyemouth, a fishing town on the southeast coast of Scotland), and not from his better-known English title, the Duke of Marlborough.
State University College Brockport, New York
NOTES TO THE INTRODUCTION
1. George Macaulay Trevelyan, England Under Queen Anne (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1948), III, 68.
2. These are Trevelyan's figures (op. cit., 73). W. A. Speck (Tory and Whig [London: Macmillan, 1970], p. 123) gives the Tories 332 seats and 181 seats to the Whigs in this election.
3. In point of fact, Harley's concern for the loyalty of the representative peers is unique in the history of these elections. In subsequent Parliaments, the Scottish peers seldom, if ever, voted against the Government—even at the trial of Lord Lovat in 1745-6. For one thing, almost without exception, the representative peers were dependent on governmental subsidies and this dependence increased during the course of the eighteenth century (see J. H. Plumb, The Growth of Political Stability in England [London: Penguin, 1973], p. 180; and Geoffrey Holmes, British Politics in the Age of Anne [London: Macmillan, 1967], p. 393). The practice of electing a representative peerage for Scotland was discontinued after 1782 (see Trevelyan, op. cit., 235).
4. Trevelyan, op. cit., 58.
5. James R. Sutherland, Defoe (London: Methuen, 1950), p. 179.
6. The Letters of Daniel Defoe, ed. by George Harris Healey (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1955), p. 296.
7. Ibid., pp. 294-295.
8. Healey reports that "in such issues as I have been able to find of the Scots Postman, or the New Edinburgh Gazette, there is no mention of the Scots Atalantis" (Letters, p. 306, n. 1). The title of this work and of Defoe's Atalantis Major are derived from Mrs. Manley's New Atalantis or Secret Memoirs and Manners of several Persons of Quality of both Sexes from the New Atalantis, an island in the Mediterranean (1709). The OED records that the word atalantis enjoyed a brief currency in the eighteenth century with the meaning, "a secret or scandalous history."
9. Letters, p. 307.
10. John Robert Moore, A Checklist of the Writings of Daniel Defoe (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1960), p. 82.
11. Page 12, line 5: do is omitted before this; page 16, line 24: an for on; page 17, line 6: Grandfathers for Grandfather's; page 19, the catch-word, the for this; page 20, line 5: run for ran; page 22, line 22: of for off; page 28, the catch-word, they for the; page 36, the catch-word, Cha- for Courage; page 37, the catch-word, Lansd for Lands. In addition, there are several places where the printer uses eighteenth-century variant spellings such as ballances (pp. 5, 8), mannaged (p. 2), quallifie (p. 8), Soveraign (p. 41) and steddy (p. 15). Eighteenth-century orthographic practice would have permitted such spellings. The word entitled, however, appears on page five as both entituled and intituled.
12. None of the various copies I have examined contains typographical differences—even in the case of the typographical errors.
13. On page 38, line 25, the word Big is used where Large would have been the English usage; on page 42, line 3, the word Bann'd is used for Swore and defined in the text as an "Atalantic word"; on page 43, line 4, the word evite is used instead of avoid.
14. William Lee, Daniel Defoe: His Life, and Recently Discovered Writings (London: Hotten, 1869), I, 177; Paul Dottin, Daniel Defoe, trans. Louise Ragan (New York, Macaulay, 1929), p. 155; John Robert Moore, Daniel Defoe, Citizen of the Modern World (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958), p. 191; and Moore, A Checklist of the Writings of Daniel Defoe(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1962), p. 82.
Atalantis Major is reproduced from a copy of the first edition (1711) in the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library (Shelf Mark: *PR/3404/A851). A typical type-page (p. 4) measures 158 x 82 mm.
Printed in Olreeky, the Chief City of the North Part of Atalantis Major.
Anno Mundi 1711.
There having been a large Account given to the World of several remarkable Adventures which happened lately in the famous Atalantis, an Island, which the ingenious Authors found placed in the Mediterranean Sea; the Success of which Accounts, but especially the Usefulness of the Relation, to the Ends for which they were designed, having been very remarkable, I thought it could not be unacceptable to the World, (especially to those who have been Already so delighted with News from that Island) to give a particular Historical Narration of some remarkable Transactions which happened in the Great Island, called, Atalantis Major, a famous well known Island, tho' much farther North, lying in the Ducaledonian Ocean, which Island it was my good Fortune to winter at, the last time I returned North about from China, by the Streights of Nassau and Wygates, and the Eastern Coast of Grand Tartary.
I have nothing to do to enquire, whether our late Authors mistook or not, in placing the Island Atalantis in the Mediterranean Sea, or, whether they might find some small Island of that Name among the infinite Crowd of Islands of the Egean Sea: But as the mighty Transactions of which my History shall be the faithful Relator, are of too great Consequence in the World to be brought forth on so mean a Stage; so the Place, and the mighty People, and by whom this Revolution of Affairs have been mannaged, are all suitable to the Greatness and Glory of the Actions themselves.
As Geographers have no doubt given a full Description of this famous Island, and allowed it due Place in the Globes, where it stands noted for the biggest of the Kind in the Northern World, I need spend none of your Time in the Description of the Place, excepting such as shall fall naturally in my Way, as I come to treat of the People, and historically of their Behaviour.
The Island is possest by a brave, generous, powerful and wealthy Nation, truly Great in their natural Gallantry of Spirit, terrible in the Field, rich in the Product of their Lands, more in their general Commerce, most of all in their Manufactures, Industry and Application: They have some few Errors in their Conduct, which seems owing to the Climate, which is cold and moist, or to their Diet, which is strong and luxurious, and particularly to their way of Living, which in Eating and Drinking, is high, to an Excess.
This makes them Cholerick, Envious, and above all Contentious, so that the Nation is ever divided into Parties and Factions: They pursue their Feuds with the most eagerness imaginable in their Turns, commit all Kinds of Errors even on both Sides alternately, as they get uppermost.
This occasions much Heat, tho' the Country is Cold, little Charity, and above all, (which the Climate has the blame off) they are by their own Confession, of short Memories, partly as to Injuries, but especially as to Kindnesses, Services and inherent Merit. Hence, Gratitude is not the national Virtue, nor is encouraging Virtue any Branch of the Manufacture of the Place; long Services often meet here with unjust Censures; overgrown Merit with necessary Contempt: He must be a bold Man that dares oblige them; he is sure to provoke them by it to use him very severely.
If they are reduc'd to any extreme Distress, he must be weary of his Life that Attempts to rescue them from the Danger; he is as sure to Die for it as they are sure to be Unjust: It is Natural to the Blood of the Race, if they are obliged beyond the Power of Payment, they presently hate, because they scorn to be in Debt. Hence also Benefactors are the most abhorr'd People in the World, they Walk always alone, for every Man keeps at a distance from them.
If a Man happens to be bound Apprentice to his own generous Spirit, and resolves to do them good, he must do it to God, to do it to them is to work to the Devil; he must be sure to run the Gauntlet, and bear the Lashes of Ten thousand Tongues, the Reproach of all those he serves, and will Die unpitied.
If ever they do relent, if ever they acknowledge Services, 'tis always after the Man is dead, that he may not upbraid them with it. An eminent great Man among them, and rich to a Prodigy, had been almost drowned, but was taken up in the Interval by a poor Man; when he came to himself, he gave the poor Man Six-pence, but could never abide the sight of him after: The poor Man afterwards had the Dissaster of being drowned himself, and then the rich Man bewail'd that he had not made him a better Return, wherefore, in abundant Gratitude, he settled upon the Widow and her Six Children, a noble Pension of 20 s. per Annum.
It was a saying of One of their great and wise Men, of a poor Servant that had saved his Life; he saved my Life, said he, and therefore I hate to see him, for it is an intolerable Life to have always a Creditor in my Sight that I cannot ballance Accounts with.
But all this is by the By. The Inhabitants of this Great Island are, those things excepted, a Noble, Gallant, Ancient, Wealthy People; and a Stranger may very well winter among them. I could say more in their Praise but the ensuing History calls me off from that Subject.
There happen'd in that famous Island, when I was last there, an Occasion upon some State Affairs to assemble an extraordinary Council of the Nobility, to consult together with the Sovereign; whole Hereditary Councellors they were by the Constitution of the Place: These were not chosen by the Inhabitants, as in such Cases among us our Parliament Men are chosen; but were by Birth and Blood, or by Dignities, High-Offices, &c. entitled to sit in the aforesaid Council, except one Part of the Island, who had by some former Constitution been a several distinct Government, and had a certain Number of Nobility of their own. This Part having by some ancient Treaty been join'd to the other, their whole Nobility were not intituled to the Right of sitting in Council as above; but they usually met by themselves upon such Occasions, and chose a certain Number to represent the whole Body. This Number was, as near as I can remember, Sixteen or thereabouts, not reckoning some who were singled out by the Sovereign to be advanc'd by new Titles, to be Members of the Great Body of the Hereditary Nobility; a Favour, which by the Stipulations of the said Agreement, was reserv'd to the Sovereign of that whole Island.
Now there happening, as I have noted, an Occasion to assemble this Great Council; the Nobility of that Part of the Island which were thus particularly constituted, behoved to meet, as said is, to elect the Number that were to represent them in the great Assembly; and the History of that Meeting having so many strange Circumstances in it, and making so much Noise in that Country, it cannot but be useful for us to be inform'd of it.
The Nobility of that Island, as I find it too much the Fate of all the Nobility in the World, were unhappily divided into Factions and separate Interests, and therefore before I proceed to the Relation, it will be necessary to give you a brief Account of these several Divisions, and as to the Characters of the Persons, it will necessarily fall into the Course of the Story.
The Divisions and Animosities which, as I say, were among the Nobility, were very unhappily occasion'd upon two several Foundations, and therefore consisted of two several Kinds.
This Island, it seems, was govern'd by a very glorious Queen, who however she was of the ancient Royal Blood of that Country, was yet for Reasons more especially respecting the Safety of the Country, plac'd upon the Throne by the Suffrage of the Nobility and People, without Regard to her Father or his Male Children, who for like Reasons of Safety they had Depos'd and render'd incapable: There being, it seems a Power reserv'd by the Constitution of that Place, to the said Nobility and People so to do a thing so like what we call in England Parliamentary Limitation, that it gives me great Reason to think the Power of Parliaments limiting the Crown is a natural Principle, and founded upon meer Original Light, since it should be so exactly establish'd in a Country so remote and so entirely excluded from Correspondence with Europe, as this of the Island of Atalantis.
The Queen of this Island, by the Assistance of exquisite Councellors, Punctual Management, and a mild merciful Administration, had obtain'd the entire Affection of Her Subjects at Home, and as long as she continued the Administration in those Hands she preserv'd that Affection very entire to herself; She had also, by the Conduct of eminent and most glorious Commanders, rendered her self Victorious abroad, in a long, terrible and expensive War, against the barbarous Tartarian Emperor, whose growing Greatness, had forced her Predecessor, in Conjunction with several neighbouring Nations, to have recourse to Arms, to keep up a Ballance of Power in that Part of the World, as long as those fortunate Generals commanded, her Affairs were blest by Sea and Land; till the Barbarians began to stoop their Pride, to be humbled, and they sought Peace, made great Offers of restoring the Kingdoms they had usurped, and of establishing a lasting Tranquillity in those Parts of the World.
How the Face of Affairs there altered, how some Factions prevailing at Home, made a Breach in all this blessed Harmony, how the faithful Councellors at Home were dismiss'd and disgrac'd, the victorious Generals Abroad ill used and ungratefully treated, by which the Publick Credit sunk at Home, the great Confederates of this glorious Queen were discouraged and allarmed, the Barbarians encouraged to hold out, carry on the War, and reject the Terms of Peace, they would before have complied with: These are Things perhaps my stay in that Place not permitting me to get a full Account of, much less see the Issue of, I shall for the present omit, perhaps my next Voyage may more fully quallifie me to inform you.
My present Relation refers more especially to the Affair of the Election of those representing Nobles, which, as before, the Northern Part of the Island, by a late Treaty of Coalition, were obliged to send up as often as the Soveraign of the Country thought fit to Summon her Hereditary Council to meet, which Summons was generally once in Three Years.
To let you into the Nature of the unhappy Strife which is the Subject of my present Relation, it may be necessary to descend to a Historical Relation of some Facts for a few Years past, and to give the Characters of some Persons who have the principal Conduct in the present Affairs.
There had been a Contention in the last Election in the same Place, (we shall go no further back) of something of the like Nature with this; wherein the same Heat was unhappily breaking out against the Friends and Favourites of the great Queen of the Island, as had now come to a full height; it is too true, That the Factions which then agitated the Nobility being between the Court-Party then so called, and a flying Squadron of Noblemen, who were of the same general Denomination with themselves, that Breach tended so much to the dividing their Interest, that they could never effectually joyn it again, they made that Seperation of Affection then which they could never unite, let in those Enemies then which they could never get removed again, brought those Charges and Accusations against one another then which their Enemies have since made use off, and which they cannot now deny but are fatal to them.
The Parties are so naturally resembling our unhappy Divisions in Britain, have been so exactly pursued by our Methods, are so properly adapted to Persons as well as Things, so alike in Temper, Manners, Management and Design, to our Parties, of Tory, Whig, High Church, Low Church, Old Whig, New Whig, High Flyer, Dissenter, Jacobite, Court, Country, Revolution, Union, and the like. That to give the more lively Representation of them to your Minds, and to avoid the barbarous Words used in the Country, where the Language is altogether unknown to us, and unlike ours, I shall even call them by the same Names, giving a brief Description as I go on, and always desiring you to add a Subintelligitur for the word Atalantick to them all; as the Atalantick Whigs, Atalantick Tories, Atalantick High Church, and so of all the rest: And whenever you meet with the Names or Distinctions of Whig, Tory, High Church, Low Church, &c. in this Discourse, the Author provides against any other Suggestion or Meaning, than that of the Whigs, Tories, High Church, Low Church, Old Whig, New Whig, High Flyers, Dissenters, Jacobites, &c. who are Inhabitants of the famous Island of Atalantis Major, situate beyond the North Cape, between the Degrees of 42 and 80 of Northern Latitude, as you sail from China into Europe, by the Streights of Nassau, the Island of Nova Zembla, (if it be an Island) and the like, being what we call the North-East Passages: And you cannot blame me for being thus Particular in this early Protestation, if you consider how ready the Men of this Age are to Censure, Condemn and Reproach, the Meaning of Authors, whether they themseves have any meaning or no. If any Man shall presume to say, there is no such Place, I may as readily answer their Presumption, by another less Criminal, viz. That they never have past that Way to China, and consequently cannot demonstrate the Truth of what they say.
Having thus premised what I think necessary, to fence this Work against the Malice of the Times, I am next to tell you, That I shall confine this Part of my Account to the Transactions of the Northern Part of this great Island, and therein to what happened in this Case of the Election of their Noble Councellors only; yet I must Hint a little at what had been transacting in the Southern Parts of the Island; and this is absolutely necessary, in order to make the other Accounts intelligible.
In order to this, you are to understand, That the Southern Part of the Island was the most remarkable of any, as to the Policy of their Government, and the Character of the People; and excepting Englishmen and Polanders, there is not such another Nation in the World: Here they reckoned about Fifty three several Sects, Divisions, and espoused Opinions in Religion, upon most of the Heads whereof the People actually seperated from one another; such as, (1.) Churchmen, and among them High Church, Low Church, Non Jurors, Prelatists, Socinians, Arians, Arminians, Deists, Atheists, Immoralists, Flyers, Soul-Sleepers, Prophets, &c. (2.) Presbyterians, and under that head all kind of Dissenters, Cameronians, Independants, Anabaptists, Baptists, Seventh-Day-Men, Sabatarians, Donatists, Gnosticks, Antiprelatists, Muggletonians, and various undistinguishable Quakers both wet and dry, Sweet Singers, Family of Love, Christian Jews, Jewish Christians, and the like. In the State, the Divisions were no less Fatal, or the variety greater in Proportion, these we may, as I said before, call by the Names which the like Factions are distinguish'd by here; such as Tory, Whig, Low Church, Hot Whig, Old Whig, Modern Whig, High Flyer, High Church, High Tory, a Gillicranky, a Tantivy, Tackers, Non Jurors, Assassinators, Junto's, Squadroni, Court, Country, Revolutionists, Non Resisters, Passive Obedience Men, and the like.
You may understand, that the Queen of the Island had thought fit to change Hands in the Administration just before I came there, and tho' it was given out that the change would not be from what we call here a Whig to a Tory Ministry, in effect it past for no other, especially for that the Whigs were generally laid by in every publick Matter, and the Tories, or at least such as had appear'd with them were all taken in.
Among the Persons turn'd out of Employ, or very much envy'd in it, we find two great Personages, Men of the greatest Eminency in their Station that the Age had produc'd in that Island, their Country had no Error to find in their Conduct except it were that it was so much in debt to their Services, that they could not be capable of rewarding it, therefore like the corrupted Nature of the whole Race of Man, they hate the Men, as a late Author says, because they hate to be in debt beyond the Power of Payment.
One of these presided over the Treasure, the other over the Army, and except what may have happen'd since those days, their very Enemies had not been able to assign any Reason from their own Behaviour, why they dismist them. Of these more in the Process of the Story.
For the present it shall suffice to tell you, without other Preamble, both these were by the Artifice of their Enemies, dispossess'd of the Queen of the Island's Favour, and that with them fell the Juncto's and Squadrons of their Friends in most Part of the Southern Atalantis.
In the North Part of the Island the Divisions of the Court had not extended so far, at least they had not been push'd so vigorously, the great Officers kept their Posts, whether Civil or Military, not the least Alteration was made, except of a few inferiour Officers, and those but casually; all seem'd to stand at a Stay till the Election of the noble Councellors aforesaid, and till the sitting of the great Council, as above.
There were some of the Nobility of these Northern Parts that had very much the Favour of their Prince, and by whom she had always been directed in those things that related to that Part of Her Dominions, These were,
1. The Duke de Sanquarius, a Northern Prince of great Reputation who had the principal Trust in the Management of the late Coalition, which, as is noted already, had formerly been made between this Northern Part of the Island and the Southern. This Prince was a Person of great Prudence and Policy, perfect Master of the Interest, Temper and Constitution of the Country and People; great and as a Master of his own Passions, that had an Insight into Persons as well as things, and was, without Dispute, the best qualify'd to manage that uneasy People, of any Man in that Part of the Island: He had a leading Interest among them, and us'd it with such Temper and such Clearness of Judgment, as seldom failed to bring to pass whatever he undertook. He was Viceroy in the great Meeting of the States of that Country, several times; in which he behav'd to the Satisfaction of his Sovereign and the general Good, even to the Confession of his Enemies, after the separate Government of that Part of the Island ceas'd he was receiv'd very graciously by the Queen, and made principal Secretary of State.
2. The Earl of Stairdale was another, a Nobleman of extraordinary Merit, distinguish'd for a thousand good Qualities; affable, generous, exceeding curteous, steddy in a sound Principle, wise above his Age, brave above his Neighbours. His Family had been famous for the Gown, he was like to make it more so by the Sword: He had at this time a very honourable Command in the Armies of Atalantis Major, and being the same thing as we call a Lieutenant General, was employed against the Tartarians.
3. The Earl of Crawlinfordsay a Nobleman of a most ancient Race, being the first of his Degree in the whole Atalantis Major, an honest, bold, gallant Person; he had so much Goodness in his Temper, Courage in his Heart, and Honesty in his Face, that made all Men love him; he was true to his Sovereign, and tho' his Fortunes too depended upon the Court, being Captain of the Queen's Guards, yet so true to his Honour, that he scorn'd to sacrifice his Principle to his Interest; had too much Courage to be bully'd, and too much Honesty to be brib'd; too much Wit to be wheedl'd and too much Warmth to forbear telling it in the Teeth of those that try'd all those ways to bring him into their Party.
4. The Prince of Greeniccio of the ancient Blood of Agyllius. This was a young Nobleman of great Hopes, and from whom great things were expected, an account of the very Race he was descended from. Had he inherited the Principles of his Family as he did the Honour and Estate, he must have been the Head of that very Party he now acted against, being the same for whose Cause two of his greatest Ancestors at least had both ventured and lost their Lives, but Grace not going by Generation, nor Vertue by Inheritance any more in that Country than in ours. He neither own'd their Cause or imitated their Vertue, but gave himself up first to all Manner of Vice, and then with his Morals abandoned his Principles, flew in the Face of his Grandfathers injured Grave, join'd with his Murtherers, and the abhorr'd Betrayers of his Country, and plac'd himself at the Head of that very Party who had trampled on the Blood of his Family as well as Nation. He was in Temper brave but rash, had more Courage than Generosity, more Passion than Prudence, and more Regard to his Resentment than to his Honour; he was proud without Merit, ambitious without Prospect, revengeful without Injury; he would resent without Affront, and quarrel without Cause, would embroil himself without Reason, and come out of it without Honour: His Courage was rather in his Blood than in his Head, and as his Actions run often before his Thoughts, so his Thoughts often run before his Reason; yet he was pushing and that supply'd very much his Want of Policy; but he discover'd the Errors of his Judgment by the Warmth of his Behaviour in every thing he did he sought no Disguise, every Man knew him better than himself, and he never could be in a Plot because he conceal'd nothing.
He was a General in the Armys of Atalantis Major and excepting the chief Command of an Army, was very well fitted for the Field: He had behav'd himself very well on several Occasions against the Tartarians, and unless his ill Fate should place him above being commanded, he might in time be a great Man; at present, having all the Fire of a General without the Flegm, his great Misfortune and the only Thing that can ruin him is, That he thinks himself qualifyed to Command, and cannot bear the Lustre of their Merit that excel him.
5. The E. of Marereskine: This was a Nobleman whose Character is not so easy to describe; he appear'd in the Service of the Queen of the Island, but was suspected to lean to the Tartars, whose Interest he was known formerly to espouse; He was proud, peevish, subtle and diligent, affected more the Statesman than the Soldier, and therefore aim'd at the Place the Duke de Sanquharius enjoy'd of Secretary of State, but had not yet had his Ambition gratifyed.
You are to note also that the Queen of the Island had for several Years committed the Administration of her Affairs to two extraordinary Persons, Natives of the South Parts of the Island. The Prince de Heymuthius and the E. of Dolphinus, their Characters may be confin'd to this: In short, the first commanded all the Armies of Atalantis Major, and was Captain General and Commander in Chief; the other, High Keeper of the Treasury of the Island, the greatest General and the greatest Minister of State the Island ever knew, who had raised the Glory of their Mistress, and the Honour of their Country, to the greatest Pitch the Age has ever seen; whose Merit I can no more describe than the Nation can requite.
Tho' these Characters seem to take up too much room in this Tract, yet it could not be avoided, it being impossible to let you into a true Notion of the Farce that was acted afterwards if the Actors had not been thus described.
Greeniccio was a Peer of the whole Island, and therefore had no Vote in the Northern Election, being one of the Hereditary Council aforesaid; but taking upon him the absolute Direction of the Affair, tho' he had really, as above, nothing to do with it, he rendred himself at the City Reeky, the Capital of that Part of the Kingdom a few Days before the Election.
Marereskine, who had really a Voice in the Election, was there before him, and had busily embark'd Bellcampo, Lord of the Isles, and Brother to Greeniccio, to make Parties, and prepare Parties, sollicite Votes, get Proxies, and the like, about the Countries.
This Bellcampo, Lord of the Isles, was an insinuating self-interested Man, had little Fortune of his own, but resolved to raise himself which side soever got upmost: He run with every Stream, kept fair with every Side, spoke smoothly to all, meant Service to none, his dear Self excepted. By this means he got up from one Step to another to some good Employments, which his Interest and Diligence procured for him rather than his Sincerity; for he was first made a Peer on the Side he now acted against, and now a Judge acting against the Side made him a Peer, and the like.
These were the Instruments of the Fate of North Atalantis; Marereskine acted one Part, Greeniccio another: And here it is, as I said before, that the differing Parties, appeared so like our Whig and Tory, Episcopal and Presbyterian, that I cannot better describe them to you than by the same Names, only with this Difference, That all the Tories and Episcopal People in North Atalantis were Tartarians profestly, and boldly owned themselves for the Tartarian Emperor.
And now the two last mentioned Engines, having acted covertly for some time, which they had the better opportunity to do, because they had both appeared among the other Party, which now I'll call Whigs; before, the first of these carried it stiff and forward when he talked with the great Officers, or such Lords as had some Dependance upon the Court: He told them of what the Queen expected from them, what was their Duty to do, that they would find it their Interest to do so and so, that they might consider in Time what they had to do, and the like: When he talk'd with any of the Whig Lords, for there was a Squadron of them left, that had a great sway yet in the Country, then he would talk of him, and Party and Queen, as one Knot, in the plural Number, most haughtily, thus: We are resolved to do so and so, and we must have none but such or such.
The Lord of the Isles, at the same time acted his usual Flattery on both Sides, insinuating to the Whigs, that they were in No Danger; that there was not the least Design against them or their Liberties; that the Queen was resolved to change Hands, but would not change Principles; that their Church should not be touched, that their Priviledges should not in the least be infringed, and that they need not fear. One time, this Politick Peer, as he would be thought, was very handsomely met with, the Story is this, whether designedly or no it matters not. He was one Day in Company with some of the North Atalantis Ministers, for there just as here, they have one Church established in the North, and another in the South of the Island; He used all his Art in persuading the Ministers that they should be easie, that they should fear nothing, that there was no Design to give them the least Disturbance; that this was a Politick Turn, not a Religious, and that they should do well to be satisfied, and to satisfie their People that they were in no Danger, and should fear nothing. One of the Ministers, who had heard him very patiently, but saw easily through all his cunning; returns, Thus my Lord, shall I tell your Lordship a Story, and then he goes on with it. We had in former times, one John —— who had the Honour to be his Majesty's Hangman in this City. This good Man had a most gentle easie Way of executing his Office; for when the poor People came into his Hands, and were to Die by his Operations, as many honest Men did in those cruel Days, (this by the way was home to his Lordship, for that this very John cut off his Lordships Grandfather's Head) all the while he was a fitting Things for the Execution of his Office, he would smile upon them, talk kindly to them, bid them not be afraid, Come, come, fear nothing, trust God, and the like: Then bringing them to the foot of the Ladder, he would still say, Be not afraid, come, come, fear nothing, step up one step, do not fear, trust in God, and so to another step and another; and just thus he carried 'em on, till at last, with the very Words in his Mouth, Fear nothing, he turn'd them off.
The honest Minister made no Application of the Story, much less took Notice, how his Lordship's own Grandfather not only fell by the same Hangman, but by the same Party that he then espoused: But he had too much Sense, and was too closely touch'd with the Story, not to make the Application himself; so he left the Ministers, giving no Reply at all to the Story.
This Story grew so popular, especially being printed by the Reviewer of that Country, that the Lord of the Isles could make nothing of his Design whenever he talk'd of the good Design of the Party; he was only laugh'd at, and bid remember his Grandfathers Hangman; so he became useless.
The Prince Greeniccio and the Earl of Marereskine then took upon them the Manegement of the whole Affair. They took publick Apartments in the Town, kept an affected State, called themselves the Queen's Managers, and had a Court as great as if they had been really so; they received the Visits of the Nobility with an Air of Majesty, and affected Gravity; and under this assumed Authority they took upon them to Closet the Noblemen when they came to pay their Respects to them; not to ask who they would give their Votes for, or to sollicit them to Vote for this or that, but in a Style haughty and insolent, especially to the Men of the greatest Character and Merit.
Greeniccio had several Ruffles with some of the Nobility, of which it may not be amiss to give some Account, because it may be for the Advantage of our Nobility to know, how Persons of like Quality in that Country can submit to be treated.
Bradalbino, a Nobleman of great Age and Authority in that Island, expected to be One of the Sixteen, and was told he was in the List; when he comes to Discourse with the Prince de Greeniccio, he tells him, Very plainly, That he thought it would be much for the Publick Good to put in Two or Three Lords, such as Leslynus, and one of the Family of Boiilio, being Men he thought could not properly be left out, and that if they were in, he would come into all the rest: The Prince, in a kind of Passion swore, By G—d, not of them; and but for naming them, laid aside Bradalbino himself.
Another Lord being an Officer in the Army, having the Court List proposed to him, answered, My Lord you kno' Leslynus is my General and Commander in Chief, and he could not as he commanded under him but Vote for his General, &c. Greeniccio in a fury returns, God d——n your General, what do you tell us of Commander in Chief? If that be all, we shall soon get you another Commander in Chief; you shall Vote for none such as he.
Another Lord expostulated with him a little to admit such and such with the Men he proposed; he answers, My Lord, I am no Hypocrite, I am above-board; this is the List we will have; the Q....n approves of it, and I will have no other; and swearing again, By-G—d, says he, 'Tis indifferent to me, keep out but the Men we are against; but I will have no Go....phin Men, no Ma....bro' Men, no Squadron Men, in short, no Whigs of any Denomination; as for the rest, it is indifferent, any but them. How, my Lord, says this Nobleman, What will you take Tartarians, (that is, as our Jacobites) rather than the honest Gentlemen that have been so true to the Atalantic Interest: I care not what they are, says the Prince, so they be none of these.
Among the Noblemen that he used with the most rudeness, was the Earl of Crawlindford: Whether he thought to Insult this faithful Nobleman, because he knew his Fortunes were low, and that he depended on the Court; or whether he took this Advantage to use him Ill on Account of an old Ruffle, in which he having challenged the Earl to Fight; and the Earl appearing ready to defend his Honour with his Sword; the Prince ashamed of the needless Quarrel, had declin'd it again, and came off but, so, so; choosing to risk his Honour rather than his Life; what was the Reason, Authors do not agree about; But the Prince used him most scandalously. The Earl prest him hard, and told him, How he had on all Occasions shewn himself faithful to the Queen, and to the Atalantic Interest, that he had gone into all such Measures as were for the Service of both, that he thought he had some Claim to be trusted in the Service of his Country.
The Prince told him plainly, He might set his Heart at rest, for he should not be one. He ask'd him, What Reason was assigned, what Objections were against him. The Prince, with much more Plainness than Prudence replies, They knew he was under Obligations to the President of the Treasure, and the great Commander of the Army; and he did not know but they might come to bring a Charge or Impeachment against them in the great Atalantic Council; and he would have no Body chosen but such as would give their Words they would come into such Measures. The Earl told him, If any thing could be offered to prove them Guilty, or any Crimes were made appear, he scorned to be so much obliged to any Man as not to dare to do Justice; and that he would readily join in an Impeachment, if there was Reason sufficient to Charge them; and to refuse him otherwise, implied, they wanted Crime and just Ground to form the Impeachment upon, and therefore must choose such a Set of Men as would Impeach innocent Men blindfold, to please a Party. The Prince told him, That the Resolution was to Impeach them, and he would have none chosen that would not agree to it. What, right or wrong, my Lord! says the Earl; to which the Prince, not suddenly replying, the Earl went on, Let what will come of it, and tho' I should lose all, nay, tho' I were to beg my Bread, I'll never submit to such base Terms, and so defied him. The Prince told him, It should be the worse for him; and there they parted.
There was a short Dispute between the Prince and the Earl of Stairdale; but the Earl had so much more Honesty than the Party, and so much more Sense and Wit than the Prince, that indeed he cared not much to talk to him, but left him to Mareskine. He was too hard for them both, and having baffled them in Discourse, he was no more to be Bullied by them, than he was to be Wheedled; he told 'em plainly, They were betraying their Country, selling and sacrificing the Priviledges of the Nobility, making themselves Tools to a Party, and giving themselves up in a base Manner to the Pleasure of a few Men, who, when they had got their Will would contemn them, would love the Folly, but P....s upon the Fools; and as to their List, he scorn'd to come into it, or into any of their menacing Measures. This put a short end to their Attempts upon him; and indeed, had the other Lords been advised by this gallant Gentleman, they had broke all their Schemes; but they were not all united in their Resolutions, or equally determined in their Measures.
Thus they went on, Mareskine mannag'd the most mildly; yet he told the Nobility of his Acquaintance: That the List was determined, that the Q....n expected they should Vote them all: that they would have no Mixtures: that her Majesty would have nothing to do with the Whig Lords, but there was other Work to do now than usual: Discoursing with some of the Lords, who were G——als in the Army, he told them plainly, They had resolved to Impeach the great Commander; and that it could not be expected, those who had Commands under him, and were Awed by him, should do Justice in that Case. They had often the Question put to them, What it was the great Commander, or the Keeper of the Treasure, had done, that they were to be Impeach'd for: But they could never be brought to offer the least tollerable Reason, except that the Prince Greeniccio let fall in his Passion sometimes, of which he had no manner of Government, That he had used him ill abroad.
Some, who had more nicely enquired into the Particulars of the ill Usage which was the Cause of this Resentment, have given the oddest contradicting Accounts of it that any History can Parallel: As first, That the great Commander had restrained the rashness of this young Hotspur General, who being but a Boy in Experience, compared to the Commander, was always for pushing into the Heart of Tartary with the Army; not considering, That to run up a Hundred Mile into the Country, and leave the Enemies Towns untaken, and their Armies in a Condition to Recruit, cut off their Convoys and Communication, and make their Subsistence impracticable, was the ready way to destroy them, as has been seen by a woful Example in Spain. But the General was wiser, and regarded more the Safety of the Army, and the Honour of his Mistress; and therefore, by the unanimous Approbation of all the allied Generals, (for it was not his own single Opinion) and according to the just Rules of War, went on gradually to take their fortified Towns, and ruin their Defences on the Frontiers, that at last, he might have a sure and easie Conquest of the rest: This was one Pretence. The second was just the Reverse of this: For at a great Battle with the Tartarians, the Commander having resolved to attack the Enemy in their advantageous Camp, and having drawn up in Battalia his whole Army, he gives the Post of Honour to the Prince, appointing him, with a select Body of the best Troops in the Army, to fall on upon the Right, and Charge the Enemy, while other Generals did the like, and with equal Hazard and more real Danger, on the Left. There was not a Gentleman in the Enemies Army but would have taken this as the greatest Testimony of his General's Esteem, and would have thought any Man in the Army his mortal Enemy that should have gone about to have deprived him of it. Nor was there any Man in the Attalantick Army, who did not take it as an Evidence of the great Opinion the Commander had of the Prince's Courage; and all the World talked of it as the greatest Honour could possibly be done the Prince.
Had not the Commander taken all needful Care to have him well back'd, had he not given him the best Troops in the Army to act under him, had he not plac'd a great Body of Horse to support him, had he not equally prest the Enemy in other Places, to prevent their doubling their Strength in that Part; had he done any Thing but what a Man of Honour would have thought himself obliged by, there might have been some Reason to Object: But to call giving a General a Post of Honour sacrificing him, because it was attended with Danger, is referr'd to the Determination of the Soldierly Part of Mankind. And as it would be laught at in Tartary, in France, and in Britain, where such Things are very seldom heard of; so I can assure the Reader, it was sufficiently laugh'd at in Attalantis Major, and the Prince of Greeniccio is become most intollerably ridiculous by the taking Notice of it.
Hence all Men in the Island of Atalantick Major conclude, he has Rashness without Courage, Fury without Honour, Passion without Judgment, and less regard to his Character than to his Resentment.
Nor has the Vanity of this Prince appeared less in his not sticking openly to discover, That he aims at the Command in general; that he thinks himself equally qualified for a Post of so great Trust, and that regard is not had to his Merit that he is so long suffered to Serve under another; at the same time not enquiring, whether the Allies of the Queen would have equal Confidence in him, as in the great Commander, on whose Judgment, all the Princes and States of the North have so much Dependance, to whom they have so chearfully committed their Troops, and under whose Conduct they have had such wonderful Success against the Tartarian Emperor: But it never was this Prince's Talent to think too much, his Heat was always too volatile, and his Head too light for his Hands.
We have brought him now to the Conclusion of the Affair: Having gone through his Catechizing of the Nobility, in which indeed they of his own Party appeared of a Temper patient and debased, below the true Spirit of Noblemen; (at least, God be praised, below the ancient Temper and Gallantry of the Nobility of Great Britain) Having come now to the Day for the Choice, which was the 10th Day of their Sixth Month, but as I suppose November: There appeared at the Place 33 Noblemen, besides the 16 which were chosen, and who every one Voted for themselves and for one another; so that of about 130 Noblemen, which they say are in the North Part of Attalantis Major, only 49 appeared.
There was a great Meeting of the honest Part of the Nobility, at another Place, to consult what was proper to be done in this new-fashion'd Way of Proceeding: Some proposed to go down in a Body to the Place where the rest were met, and protest against the Illegality of the Choice; that to impose a List upon the Nobility was not agreeable to the Nature of a free Choice; and that therefore they should protest, That whoever were returned by Virtue of that Meeting, were not legally Chosen, and had no right to Sit in the great Council of the Nobility.
This was sound Advice: But unhappily it was not resolved upon; and some they say slipt out of the Meeting for fear of Resentment, and went down and voted, and came up again incognito.
The rest resolved to send Two of their Number down to the Meeting, and offer their Service to Vote with them, provided they would declare their Measures: and that those that might be chosen would declare themselves for the true Atalantick Succession, against a pretending Claimant, who was then sheltred among the Tartarians: But they could receive no Satisfaction even to this so reasonable Request. But the Prince of Greeniccio, who had no right to Vote himself, yet run up and down, as a Broker, or a Party-Sollicitor, whispering and prompting, from one to another, to Influence and Settle them, (for some began to waver.) This Prince, I say, giving an answer, insolent and haughty, like himself. The Noble Persons that went, came away, and contented themselves, with telling them, they would having nothing to do with them. Thus, being but a Rump of the Nobility, they gave up their Liberties, Voted as they were commanded to do, signed a Roll of Names, and this they called a Choice.
The Number of the dissenting Nobility were about Twenty six, whereof Five did at last comply with their List, as they thought, being in publick Commands, supposing it might give a Handle to their Enemies, to misrepresent them to their Soveraign; but they nevertheless, upon all Occasions, testified their Dislike and Abhorrence of the Method, and of the Conduct of those concern'd in it.
Among those said Dissenters, were Two Dukes, One Marquis, Sixteen Earls, and Six Lords, besides many others, who were Absent.
We might be large in describing, and giving Characters of these dissenting Nobility. Among them we could not escape the Prince de Rosymonte, a Person, for Blood and Birth, eminent in that Country, more for his own excellent and inimitable Virtues, Grave, Sober, Judicious, even from his Youth, of whom one of the Atalantick Poets gave this bright Character.
Grave without Age, without Experience wise.
He was President of the Royal Council of that Country even while he was very young, an Honour the greatest of the Nobility were well pleased to see him adorned with, and made no Scruple to sit below him: His distinguish'd Modesty and Humility in all his publick Appearances, recommends him to the Affections of the whole Country; and tho' the Fortunes of his Family have suffered by the Disasters of the Times, yet he supports a handsome Figure suitable to the Dignity of his Character, Rich without Gaiety, Great without Affectation, Plentiful without Profusion, letting the World see he knows how and when, and to what Pitch to appear that when he pleases to be at Large, he can do it like a wise Man, or Retrench, he can do it like a Prince. It might be said, as a finishing stroke to his Character, he is just the Reverse of Greeniccio, for he is Fire without Thunder, Brave without Fury, Great without Pride, Gay without Vanity, Wise without Affectation, knows how to Obey and how to Command; he knows great Things enough to manage them, and is so Master of himself, as not to let them manage him; he knows how to be a Courtier without Ambition, and to Merit Favour rather than to seek it; he scorns to push his Fortunes over the Belly of his Principles, ever Faithful to himself, and by consequence to all that Trust him; he has too great a Value for Merit to envy it even in his Enemy, and too low Thoughts of the Pride and Conceit of Men without Merit, to approve of it even in his Friends.
This Noble Person appears at the Head of the dissenting Nobility: Nor does it lessen his Zeal for the Principles of Liberty, or the present Establishment of Religion in his Country; that some of his Ancestors, otherwise Noble, Brave and Great, appear'd on the other side; since the Liberties of his Country are the Center of his Actions, and the Prosperity of all Men the mark he aims at.
It may be a Character to the rest of the dissenting Lords, to say of them in general, That they were such as took a particular Pleasure in being Patrons of Virtue as well as Patrons of Liberty: That they were Men generally speaking distinguish'd for their constant Loyalty to their Prince, but ever with a view to the Fundamental Laws: That they had always Wisdom enough to know their Countries Rights, and Courage enough to defend them; Men of Honour, Men of Prudence, Men of Resolution: In short, They were Men admirably suited to the Character of their Leader; as he on the other hand, thought it his Honour to be at the Head of so illustrious a Body of Men, equally valuable for their Virtue, Capacities, Wisdom and Integrity.
It cannot be forgotten; That as these Noble Persons were Zealous for the Liberties of their Country, so truly they were Men that had the greatest Interest in it, having separately considered the best Estates of the whole Nobility, of that Country and joined together, were able to Buy twice their Number in the whole Assembly. It is true, that Estate is not any just Addition to the Character of a Person; but it will for ever remain a Truth; And all Nations will shew a regard to it, viz. that those may be supposed to be the most proper Persons to be trusted with the Conservation of the Liberties of their Country, who have by their Birth and Inheritance the largest Shares in the Possession of it.
This is illustrated by the Practice of that happy Country we live in, where this Story may perhaps be read, and where very lately, a Law has been made, to unquallifie all such to represent their Country in the Legislation and Power of raising Taxes, who are not possessed of such or such a Porportion in the Lands of their Country, as may suppose them Persons made naturally anxious for the Welfare of the whole, in regard to the Preservation of their Property. Unhappy Atalantis! Had such a Law pass'd for the Qualification of those Noblemen, who should be elected to the great Royal Council of thy Country; and should the Nobility so to be chosen have been limited to but one hundred Perialo's (a Gold Coin in that Country amounting by Estimation to about 2000 l. a Year Sterling) of yearly Estate in Lands, how few of the Sixteen now chosen could have shewn themselves in that august Meeting.
On the contrary, several of those now sent up, were not able to put themselves into a Posture to undertake the Journey, till they had sold the Magazines of Corn which they had laid up for the Year's Subsistance of their Families, or mortgaged their small Estates to borrow Money for the Expence.
Nor is it doubted in the least, but when those poor Noblemen come to find some of their Tartarian Expectations frustrated, with which it is manifest they were very Big when they went up; they will sorely regret the Misfortune of their Election; since they must be thereby so reduced, as almost to want Subsistance for their Families; and as for the Debts contracted, it is impossible some of them should ever Pay them.
It has been a too unhappy Truth in other Places as well as in Atalantis Major, That in such popular Elections, whether of Noblemen or others, Men are deluded with the Notion, that to be chosen by their Country to these great Councils of the Nation, must so recommend them, or make them so necessary to the State, to the Government, or the Ministers of State, that they cannot fail to make their Fortunes and raise Estates by their very Appearance: But this is so constantly found to fail, and so many have been almost ruin'd by the Expences they have been at to make a Figure as they call it, and to appear at Court like themselves on such Occasions, that it seems wonderful that Persons of Quality, who know their own Circumstances, and whose Fortunes, through the Disasters of their Families, may not be equal to their Dignity, should on so vain a Presumption push themselves upon the necessity of compleating their own Ruin, beggering their Families, and leaving their Posterity an Estate in Titles and Coronets, Things without the Support of competent Estates the most despicable in the World.
It might be very useful to our Readers, and perhaps something instructing might be gathered from it, with respect to the Affairs of Europe at this Time, to give some Account here of the Success of these strange Proceedings; what Figure these People made, when they came to Court, how they behav'd themselves when they came into the great Council, how they were made Tools there to the Politicians of those Times, even to act against their Interest, their Country, their own Designs.
In doing this, it would appear, How some of the Sixteen, more particularly known to be in the Tartarian Interest, and who had all along declared themselves for the Person and Title of the pretending Prince, who, as is noted before, put in a Claim to the Succession of the Throne: How these, I say, went up to the great Council, wheedled by the Subtilties of Greeniccio, and his Agents, to believe seriously that they went up directly to declare his Title; that they should be the Men that should have the Honour to declare his Right in the great Council of the Nobility; and that he should for the future own his Restoration, his Glory, and his Crown, to their Loyalty and steddy acting for him. This, they did not doubt, should tend not to their Honour only, but to the raising their decay'd Fortunes, for they were miserably Poor; since he could do no less than confer the greatest Trusts upon Persons who had with so much Fidelity acted for his Glory and Interest.
It would also to the eternal Shame and Disappointment of the Atalantic Jacobites, (if I may so call them) necessarily follow, that the History of their Conduct should come in at the same time to be considered, viz. How just the contrary to all this, and against the very Nature of the Thing they were obliged, even among the very first of their Transactings in their Publick Station, as Members of the great Council aforesaid, to appear in a Publick Address to the Soveraign of the Country, in which they were brought in recognizing Her just Title to Reign, (which they in their Hearts abhorr'd) promising to Stand by and Defend that Title with all their Might, (which they had hoped to see overthrown) engaging to assist Her to the utmost, against that very pretending Claimant as above, (who they Reverence as their lawful Prince) and to carry on the War with Vigour against the Tartarian Emperor (that very Prince on whose Power they depended for the carrying on their Designs).
Had any British-Man of Sense, that understands the Language of the Countenance, but seen the Astonishment, the Chagrin, the Vexation and Anguish of Soul, that appear'd on the Faces of these Atalantic Noblemen, at this surprizing Event; how they gnashed their Teeth for Anger, and curst the Hour that ever they were Members of this grand Council; how they Bann'd, (an Atalantis Word used there, for what we call Swearing and Damning in our Country;) how they raged at Greenwiccio, and the Lord of the Isles, who they said had Betray'd them; and how strangely they look'd, upon the solemn Occasion of presenting this Address to their Soveraign: I say, could their Countenances but have been read by any in our Country, they would have taken them for Furies rather than Men, or for Men under some Frenzy, ridden with the Night-Mare, or scared with some Apparition.
It was not less odd, to see the Conduct of Greeniccio; for tho' he had not less Mischief in his Heart, yet it was of another Kind; and tho' he had not the same View of the Succession, nor perhaps was directly in the Tartarian Interest, and therefore shew'd no Pity, or Sympathy with the Mortifications of the other, yet he met with Disappointments equally perplexing, and which made him heartily repent the length he had gone; but as it was in his Nature to be rash, it was impossible to prevent his being disappointed almost in every Thing he went about: For it is in Atalantis Major just as it is in other Parts of the World, viz. That rash headstrong unthinking Tempers, generally precipitate themselves into innumerable Mischiefs, which Prudence and Patience would evite and prevent; and also, that these furious rash People, as they are hot and impatient under those Mischiefs when they are surprised with them, so they are not always the best able to extricate and deliver themselves.
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This will necessarily lead us to a long History of the Disappointments he met with:
1. In his Project of charging and impeaching his General, and the great Testador, or —— of the Nations Treasure, which he could never, either bring Crime enough to justifie, or Friends enough to joyn in, and make it terrible.
2. How he was disappointed in his ambitious Views of being made General against the Tartarians; whereas, he had on the contrary, the Mortification, to see the great Commander continu'd, with an addition of Generallissimo to his Titles of Command; and himself, like what we used to call in England, being Kick'd up Stairs, sent out of the Way with a Feather in his Cap, and the Title of General, to carry on a remote Unfortunate, and never-to-be Successful War in Japan, and the Lord knows where, among Barbarians and Savages.
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This was not all; When upon his embracing this Title, which his Temper (naturally Ambitious) jumpt at, and eagerly closed with, he began to choose Officers, name Regiments, and draw out Forces to form the Army he was to Command, he found the new Generalissimo had supplanted him there too; for he had not only prevailed with the Queen of the Country, not to draw away any of the old Troops then establish'd for the Tartarian War, of which this Gew-Gaw-General fancied to himself he should form his Army: But the Generalissimo obtain'd, That the best Troops which were remaining in Atalantis Major, should be sent over to strengthen the Army against the Tartars: So that this new General was likely to go away to Japan without any Army, but such Troops as her Atalantic Majesty and Her Allies had hired from the Emperor of China, and such other People; and he had none but Strangers, Barbarians and Mercenaries to Command.
It is true, That his Design of drawing off the Troops from the Tartarian War, to carry on a Wild-Goose War in the remotest Parts of Japan, was like the rest of his Schemes, so inconsistent, so destructive to the general Design of the War, and would in all its probable Circumstances be so dangerous to the true Interest of Atalantis Major, That notwithstanding some had persuaded the Government to a New Scheme, and that the War was to be pushed on ESPECIALLY in Japan (a Thing which perhaps some encouraged at first, on purpose to draw him in to accept of that Command, which many of inferiour Rank to him had declin'd) yet when they came to look nearer into the Thing, and to see the fatal Prospect of weakning the Forces on the Tartarian side, while the Emperor of Tartary at the same Time was vigilant and forward in encreasing his Preparations, they soon found the Representations of the Generalissimo had such Weight in them, and were founded so much upon their general Good, that they thought fit to alter their Measures.
How Greeniccio was thus disappointed; how he resented it; how to Pacifie him, an Appearance of drawing some Troops together was made; how he was at last sent away with a whole Ship load of fine Promises; as he on the contrary loaded the same Ship back with a full Freight of Schemes, Projects and Rhodomontadoes; how he went; what he did, and what he did not; how Tinker like, he mended the Work of those that went before, and left it for others to mend after him; these are Things I may give you a farther Account of when I return from my next Progress to that glorious Country of Atalantis Major.