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antagonist, or to reflect any praise in an oblique manner upon the Letter to the Examiner : I have no private confiderations to warp me in this controversy, fince my first entering upon it. But before I proceed any further, because it may be of great use to me in this dispute, to ftate the whole nature of nonsense; and because it is a subject entirely new, I must take notice that there are two kinds of it, viz. high nonsense and low nonsense.
Low nonsense is the talent of a cold phlegmatic temper, that in a poor dispirited ftile creeps along servitely through đarkness and confusion. A writer of this complexion gropes his way softly amongst self-contradictions, and grovels in absurdities.
Videri vult pauper, & eft pauper.
He has neither wit nor sense, and pretends to none.
On the contrary, your high nonsense blusters and makes a noise : it shakes upon hard words, and rattles through polysyllables. It is loud and fororous, smooth and periodical. It has fomething in it like manliness and force, and makes one think of the name of Sir · Hercules Nonsense in the play called, the Nest of Fools' In a word, your high nonsense has a majestic appearance, and wears a moft tremendous garb, like Æfup's als cloathed in a lion's skin.
.When Aristotle lay upon his death-bed, and was asked whom he should appoint for his successor in the school, Lwo of his scholars being candidates for it; he called for two different sorts of wine, and by the character which he gave of them, denoted the different qualities and perfections that thewed themselves in the file and writings of each of the competitors. · As rational writings have been represented by wine; I Shall represent those kind of writings we are now speaking of, by fmall-beer.
Low nonsense is like that in the barrel which is altogether flat, tasteless, and infipid. High nonsense is like that in the bottle, which has in reality no more strength
and spirit than the other, but frets, and flies, and bounces, and by the help of a little wind that is got into it, imitates the passions of a much nobler liquor.
We meet with a low groveling nonsense in every Grub-street production; but I think there are none of our present writers who have hit the sublime in nonsense, besides Doctor Sacheverell in, divinity, and the author of this letter in politics ; between whose character in their respective professions, there seems to be a very nice resemblance.
There is still another qualification in nonsense which I must not pass over, being that which gives it the last finishing and perfection, and eminently discovers itself in the letter to the Examiner.—This is when an author without any ineaning, seems to have it; and so impofes upon us by the sound and ranging of his words, that one is, apt to fancy they fignify something. Any one who reads this letter, as he goes through it, will lie under the same delusion; but after having read it, let him consider what he has learnt from it, and he will immediately discover the deceit. I did not indeed at first imagine there was in it such a jargon of ideas, such an inconsistency of notions, such a confusion of particles, that rather puzzle than connect the sense, which in some places he seems to have aimed at, as I found upon my nearer perusal of it: Nevertheless, as no body writes a book without meaning something, though he may not have the faculty of writing consequentially, and expressing his meaning; I think I have with a great deal of attention and difficulty found out what this Gentleman would say, had he the gift of utterance. The system of his politics, when disembroiled and cleared of all those incoherences and independent matters that are woven in this motley piece, will be as follows: The conduct of the late ministry is considered first of all in respect to foreign affairs, and secondly to domestic: As to the first he tells us, that the motives which engaged Britain in the present war, were both wise and nerous ;' so that the ministry is cleared as to that
particular, particular. These motives he tells us were to restore
the Spanish monarchy to the house of Austria, and to
regain a' barrier for Holland. The last of these two • motives, he says, was effectually answered by the re• duction of the Netherlands in the year 1706, or might • have been so by the concessions which it is notorious • that the enemy offered.' So that the ministry are here blamed for not contenting themselves with the barrier they had gained in the year 1706, nor with the concessions which the enemy then offered. The other motive of our entering into the war, viz. The restor• ing the Spanish monarchy to the house of Austria,' he tells us, * remained still in its full force; and we were • told,' says he, that though the barrier of Holland • was secured, the trade of Britain and the balance of
power in Euroge would be ftill precarious : Spain • therefore must be conquered.' He then loses himself in matter foreign to his purpose: But what he endeavours in the sequel of his discourse, is to fhew, that we have not taken the proper method to recover the Spanish monarchy: that the whole stress of the war has been • wantonly laid where France is best able to keep us at
a bay; that the French King has made it impossible for himself to give up Spain, and that the Duke of Anjou has made it as impossible for us to conquer it: Nay,' that instead of regaining Spain, we shall find • the Duke of Anjou in a condition to pay the debt of
gratitude, and support the grandfather in his declining years, by whose arms in the days of his infancy he
was upheld' He then intimates to us, that the Dutch and the Emperor will be so very well fatisfied with what they have already conquered, that they may probably leave the house of Bourbon in the quiet poffeflion of the Spanish monarchy.
This strange huddle of politics has been fo fully answered by General Stanbope, that if the author had delayed the publishing of his letter but a fortnight, the world would have been deprived of this elaborate production. Notwithflanding all that the French King or
the Duke of Anjou have been able to do, notwithstanding the feeble efforts we have made in Spain, notwithstanding' the little care the Emperor takes to • support King Charles, 'notwithstanding the Durch might have been contented with a larger and better country • than their own already conquered for them,' that victorious General at the head of English and Dutch forces, in conjunction with those of the Emperor, has wrested Spain out of the hands of the house of Bourbon ; and added the conquests of Navarre, Arragon, and Capile, to those of Catalonia, Bavaria, Flanders, Mantua, Milan, Naples, Sicily, Majorca, Minorca, and Sardinia. Such a wonderful series of victories, and those astonishing returns of ingratitude which they have met with, appear both of them rather like dreains than realities: They puzzle and confound the present age, and it is to be hoped they will not be believed by posterity.' Will the trifling author of this letter say, that the ministry did not apply themselves to the reduction of Spain, when the whole kingdom was twice conquered in their administration? The letter-writer says, that the Dutch • had gained a good barrier after the battle of Ramilliés • in the Year 1706. But I would fain ask him, whether he thinks Antwerp and Brussels, Ghent and Bruges, could be thought a itronger barrier, or that those important conquests did not want several towns and forts to cover thein? but it seems our great General on that fide 'has done more for'us than we exp-cted of him, and 'made the barrier too impregnable. But, says the letterwriter, the stress of the war was laid in the wrong
pláce. But if the laying the stress of the war in the Low-Countries drew thither the whole strength of France'; if it weakened Spain, and left it exposed to an equal force ; if France, without being preffed on this fide, could have affifted the Duke of Anjou with a numerous army; and if by the advantage of the situation, it could have sent and maintained in Spain ten regiiments with a's little trouble and expence as England could two regiments s every impartial judge would VOL. II.
think that the stress of the war has been laid in the right place.
The author of this confused differtation on foreign affairs, would fain make us believe, that England has gained nothing by these conquests, and put us out of bumour with our chief allies, the Emperor and the Dutch. He tells us, they hoped England would have • been taken care of, after having secured a barrier for • Holland:' As if England were not taken care of by this very securing a barrier for Holland; which has always been looked upon as our bulwark, or as Mr. Waller expresses it, our outguard on the continent;' and which, if it had fallen into the hands of the French, would have made France more strong by sea than all 'Europe besides. Has not England been taken care of by gaining a new mart in Flanders, by opening our trade into the Levant, by securing ports for us in Gibraltar, Minorca and Naples, and by that happy prospect we have of renewing that great branch of our coinmerce into Spain, which will be of more advantage to England, than any conquest we can make of towns and provinces? not to mention the demolishing of Dunkirk, which we were in a fair way of obtaining during the last parliament, and which we never so much as proposed to ourselves at our first engaging in this war.
As for this author's aspersions of the Dutch and Germans, I have sometimes wondered that he has not been complained of for it to the secretary of state. Had he not been looked upon as an insignificant scribbler, he must have occasioned remonftrances and memorials: Such national injuries are not to be put up, but when the offender is below resentment. This puts me in mind of an honest Scotcbman, who, as he was walking along the streets of London, heard one calling out after him, Scot, Scot, and casting forth in a clamorous manner a great deal of opprobious language against that ancient nation : Sawney turned about in a great passion, and found, to his surprise, that the person who abused his was a faucy parrot that hupg up not far