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thy against Standing Armies in times of Peace. Because I always took Standing Armies to be only fervants hired by the Master of the family for keeping his own children in flavery; and because I conceived, that a Prince, who could not think himself fecure without Mercenary Troops, muft needs have a feparate interest from that of his Subjects. Although I am not ignorant of those artificial Neceffities which a corrupted Ministry can create, for keeping up Forces to fupport a Faction against the publick Intereft.

As to Parliaments, I adored the wisdom of that Gothic Inftitution, which made them annual: and I was confident our Liberty could never be placed upon a firm foundation until that ancient law were restored among us. For, who fees not, that, while fuch Affemblies are permitted to have a longer duration, there grows up a commerce of corruption between the Ministry and the Deputies, wherein they both find their accounts, to the manifeft danger of Liberty? which Traffic would neither answer the design nor expence, if Parliaments met once a


I ever abominated that fcheme of Politics, (now about thirty years old) of setting up a monied Intereft in oppofition to the landed.


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For I conceived, there could not be a truer maxim in our Government than this, That the Poffeffors of the foil are the best Judges of what is for the advantage of the kingdom. If others had thought the fame way, Funds of Credit and South-fea Projects would neither have been felt nor heard of.

I could never difcover the neceffity of fufpending any Law upon which the Liberty of the most innocent perfons depended; neither do I think this Practice hath made the taste of Arbitrary Power fo agreeable, as that we should defire to see it repeated. Every Rebellion subdued and Plot difcovered, contribute to the firmer establishment of the Prince: In the latter cafe, the knot of Confpirators is entirely broke, and they are to begin their work anew under a thousand difadvantages: fo that those diligent enquiries into remote and problematical guilt, with a new power of enforcing them by chains and dungeons to every person whose face a Minifter thinks fit to diflike, are not only oppofite to that Maxim, which declareth it better that ten guilty men fhould escape, than one innocent fuffer; but likewife leave a gate wide open to the whole tribe of Informers, the most accurfed, and prostitute, and aban


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that God ever permitted to plague

doned race,

It is true the Romans had a cuftom of chu-
fing a Dictator, during whofe administration the
Power of other Magiftrates was fufpended; but
this was done upon the greatest emergencies;
a War near their doors, or some civil Diffention:
For Armies must be governed by arbitrary
power. But when the Virtue of that Com-
monwealth gave place to luxury and ambition,
this very office of Dictator became perpetual in
the persons of the Cæfars and their Succeffors,
the most infamous Tyrants that have
any where
appeared in story.

These are some of the fentiments I had relating to public affairs, while I was in the world: what they are at prefent, is of little importance either to that or myself; neither can I truly fay I have any at all, or, if I had, I dare not venture to publish them: For however orthodox they may be while I am now writing, they may become criminal enough to bring me into trouble before midfummer. And indeed I have often wifhed for fome time paft, that a political Catechism might be published by authority four times a year, in order to instruct us how we are to speak, write, and act during the current quarter. I have by experience felt the


want of fuch an inftructer: for, intending to make my court to fome people on the prevailing fide by advancing certain old whiggish principles, which it seems, had been exploded about a month before, I have paffed for a dif affected person. I am not ignorant how idle a thing it is, for a man in obfcurity to attempt defending his reputation as a Writer, while the spirit of Faction hath fo univerfally poffeffed the minds of men, that they are not at leisure to attend to any thing elfe. They will just give themselves time to libel and accufe me, but cannot fpare a minute to hear my defence. So in a plot-discovering age, I have often known an innocent man feized and imprisoned, and forced to lie feveral months in chains, while the Ministers were not at leisure to hear his petition, until they had profecuted and hanged the number they proposed.

All I can reasonably hope for by this letter, is to convince my friends, and others who are pleased to wish me well, that I have neither been fo ill a Subject nor so stupid an Author, as I have been reprefented by the virulence of Libellers, whofe malice hath taken the fame train in both, by fathering dangerous Principles in government upon me, which I never maintained, and infipid Productions, which I am not capable of writing. For, however I



may have been foured by perfonal ill treatment, or by melancholy profpects for the public, I am too much a politician to expose my own fafety by offenfive words. And, if my genius and spirit be funk by encreasing years, I have at least enough discretion left, not to mistake the measure of my own abilities, by attempting fubjects where thofe Talents are neceffary, which perhaps I may have loft with my youth.


Dr. SWIFT to Mr. GAY.

Dublin, Jan. 8, 1722-3.


OMING home after a fhort Chriftmas ramble, I found a letter upon my table, and little expected when I opened it to read your name at the bottom. The best and greatest part of my life, until these last eight years, I spent in England: there I made my friendfhips, and there I left my defires. I am condemned for ever to another country; what is in prudence to be done? I think, to be oblitufque meorum, oblivifcendus & illis. What can be the defign of your letter but malice, to wake me out of a scurvy fleep, which however is better VOL. IX.



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