Page images
PDF
EPUB

of

with such a plan, and heightening that which would answer the purpose, I might have written such a book with much less trouble than that which I have published. I should then have given not more offence to croppies, and I really believe, much less offence to Roman catholics, than I have given. I might be outwardly caressed, perhaps, even to my great pecuniary emolument, and loudly applauded by a certain description of people, who, at the same time, must inwardly despise me, while my pretended history would be a laughing-stock to all mendiscernment who should deign to read it, and, as soon as the present ferment should subside, would be quite thrown away as a useless piece of sycophantic lumber.

To write a book determinedly and exclusively in favour of either party, especially the victorious and ruling party, is an easy piece of business. An author with such a purpose will feel no dearth of story, style, or phrase. The fiery stream of volcanic matter will be poured copiously around him. The danger is, that he may be overwhelmed by the lava, or enveloped in a cineritious cloud. Neither will he want purchasers for a lumber of affidavits formed to his purpose among the dupes of his party, if his object be present gain, without regard to future infamy.

Instead of such a plan, I chose, (as I must choose, if I should write at all) the line of truth, so far as I could find means to trace it. Calumniators of all factions, have therefore exerted their powers, and some have formed themselves into a regular junto, for the purpose of putting every engine in motion to hurt the reputation of my history, and for the forwarding of that object they even deal their slanders against my private character. If I should think proper to lay before the public the characters of some of these gentry, particularly those of some yeomen officers, their power of calumniation might be sufficiently circumscribed ; but I choose to rest my book and character solely on their own merits. Integrity will be its own shield. Truth will find its way. My book is in the hands of the public, and any person of common sense has a right to form a judgment of it, who reads the whole with attention, instead of relying on the garbled representations of others. My character is known to several respectable persons ; and of my loyalty I have given full proof in the knowledge of men of honourable rank and reputation, whom I could call as witnesses, if I had occasion. I shall leave these counterfeit loyalists the pleasure of knawing the file till they wear their teeth. Thanks to the genius of British domination, and extensive reason, these virulent animalcula are at length deprived of their sting and power of mischief. The evil has worked its cure, and law and reason are no! too strong to be disturbed, or at all affected, by the noisy senseless jargon of these would-be statesmen.

By counterfeit loyalists, I mean men who make unnecessary professions of a violent zeal for the established government and protestant religion, and at the same time speak and act as if they wished to render both of these odious to as many people as possible, and thus, by augmenting the number and rancour of enemies to these establishments, promote, 'as far as in their power, the preparative works of revolution.

A gentleman whom I regard in a superior light to that of a counterfeit loyalist, being asked, while he was declaiming against my book, whether the accounts were false which gave him offence? answered, “No; but they are such as “a loyalist, particularly a protestant clergyman, “ought not to have published.” This I conceive to be the general opinion. A history may be written, provided that no error committed by · any actor on the right side of the question, or in favour of the righteous cause, shall be recorded. To this the opposite party will give their full assent, provided that theirs shall be acknowledged to be the righteous cause. Roman catholics are as highly incensed against me, as the irrationally zealous protestants. Yet how could they expect a heretic priest to write partially in fayour of the true believers? With this partiality, however, I am charged as a crime by over-zealous protestants, while with an opposite partiality I am charged as a crime by Roman catholics. Each party has determined to discourage, as far as possible, the sale of the book, as a hostile publication; and yet it has had a sale, caused, I believe, by the yelping of certain curs, who barked from a dark abode through a filthy channel, and the big-bou-wou of a huge-mastiff, who made his appearance in clear sunshine. These barkings and bou-wous made a noise, which induced many individuals to break through the rules of their party for the gratification of their private curiosity. I therefore return thanks to my advertisers.

By the rage of party, or the influence of power, has the truth of history in all ages been distorted, obscured, or lost in oblivion; few men having courage to publish any thing disagreeable to the ruling faction, whose reign of terror may continue until the facts be forgotten, or unsupported by evidence. Thus the most obscure period of the English history, since the Norman conquest, is that of the war between the roses, including the reigns of Edward the fourth and Richard the third. Fictions, recorded as facts by the most esteemed historians of that period, and believed without scrutiny through a series of genierations, are detected by the, contradiction of official registries, by inconsistency, or by their

absurdity; while to supply the vacuum we have only reasoning and conjecture. That Richard the third was a monster of dissimulation, treachery, and cruelty, with a hideous distortion of body conformable to the qualities of his mind; what writer would have dared to deny in the despotic reigns of Henry the seventh, and his successors till the death of Elizabeth?--When, under the protection of a most liberal and benign government, which disdains to coalesce with petty factions, a writer, totally unconnected with catholics or croppies of any religion, either by consanguity or affinity, who had in the hour of danger strained every nerve for the support of the existing constitution, who might be supposed in some degree shielded by the sanctity of his character, as a minister of the established church, with, I hope, a corresponding moral conduct, is furiously persecuted by factious protestants in various ways, and repeatedly threatened with personal violence, because he would not condescend to be the venal historian of a party.

Toenumerate the objections of Roman catholics would give myself and the reader unnecessary trouble. One is, that I have called them Romanists. As I seldom dispute about articulate sounds, or sounds of any kind, I shall call them here Catholics. Another is that I have expressed an approbation of Sir Richard Musgrave's work. Leaving his

« PreviousContinue »