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stranger to our language, before one who is a stranger to our laws and religion: for we could never endure French sentiments, though delivered in our native dialect; and should abhor an arbitrary prince, though he tyrannized over us in the finest English that ever was spoken. For these reasons, sir, we cannot bear the thought of hearing a man, that has been bred
up in the politics of Louis the Fourteenth, talk intelligibly from the British throne ; especially when we consider, however he may boast of his speaking English, he says his prayers in an unknown tongue.
We come now to the grievances for which, in your opinion, we ought to take up arms against our present sovereign. The greatest you seem to insist upon, and which is most in the mouths of your party, is the union of the two kingdoms; for which his Majesty ought most certainly to be deposed, because it was made under the reign of her, whom you
your sister of glorious memory.”
Other grievances which you hint at under his Majesty's administration, are, the murder of King Charles the First, who was beheaded
before King George was born; and the sufferings of King Charles the Second, which, perhaps, his present Majesty cannot wholly clear himself of, because he came into the world a day before his restoration.
As on the one side you arraign his present Majesty by this most extraordinary retrospect, on the other hand, you condemn his government by what we may call the spirit of second sight. You are not content to draw into his reign those mischiefs that were done a hundred years ago, unless we anticipate those that may happen a hundred years hence. So that the keenest of your arrows either fall short of him, or fly over bis head. We take it for a certain sign that you are at a loss for present grievances, when you are thus forced to have recourse to your“ future prospects and future miseries.” Now, sir, you must know, that we freeholders have a natural aversion to hanging, and do not know how to answer it to our wives and families, if we should venture our necks upon
the truth of your prophecies. In our ordinary way of judging, we guess at the king's future conduct by what we have seen already; and therefore beg you will excuse us, if, for the present, we defer entering into a rebellion, to which you so graciously invite us. When we have as bad a prospect of our King George's reign, as we should have of yours, then will
time to date another declaration from your court at Commerci; which, if we may be allowed to prophesy in our turn, cannot possibly happen before the hundred and fiftieth year of your reign.
Having considered the past and future grievances mentioned in your declaration, we come now to the present; all of which are founded upon this supposition, that whatever is done by his Majesty or his ministers to keep you out of the British throne, is a grievance. These, sir, may be grievances to you, but they are none to us. On the contrary, we look upon them as the greatest instances of his Majesty's care and tenderness for his people. To take them in order : the first relates to the ministry, who are chosen, as you observe very rightly, out of the worst, and not the best of “your” subjects. Now, sir, can you in conscience think us to be such fools as to rebel against the king, for having employed those who are his most eminent friends, and were the greatest sufferers in his cause, before he came to the crown; and for having removed a general, who is now actually in arms against him, and two secretaries of state, both of whom have listed themselves in your service; or because he chose to substitute in their places such men who had distinguished themselves by their zeal against you, in the most famous battles, negotiations, and debates i
The second grievance you mention is, that the glory of the late queen has suffered, who, you insinuate, “had secured to you the enjoyment of that inheritance, out of which you
had been so long kept.” This may, indeed, be a reason why her memory should be precious with you; but you may be sure we shall think never the better of her, for her having your good word. For the same reason it makes us stare, when we hear it objected to his present Majesty,“ that he is not kind to her faithful servants;" since, if we can believe what you yourself say, it is impossible they should be “his faithful servants.” And by the way, many of your private friends here wish you would forbear babbling at that rate; for to tell you a secret, we are very apt to suspect that any Englishman who deserves your praise deserves to be hanged.
The next grievance, which you have a mighty mind to redress among us, is the parliament of Great Britain, against whom you bring a stale accusation, which has been used by
every minority in the memory of man; namely, that it was procured by unwarrantable influences and corruptions. We cannot, indeed, blame you for being angry at those, who have set such a round price upon your
head. Your accusa tion of our high court of parliament puts us in mind of a story, often told among us freeholders, concerning a rattlebrained young fellow, who being indicted for two or three pranks upon the highway, told the judge he would swear the peace against him, for putting him in fear of his life.
The next grievance is such a one, that we are amazed how it could come into your head. Your words are as follow. “Whilst the principal powers engaged in the late wars, do enjoy the blessings of peace, and are attentive to discharge their debts, and ease their people, Great Britain, in the midst of peace, feels all the load of war.
New debts are contracted, new armies are raised at home, Dutch forces are brought into these kingdoms.” What in the name of wonder do you mean? Are you in earnest, or do you design to banter us? Whom is the nation obliged to, for all this load of war that it feels ? Had you been wise enough to have slept at Bar-le-duc in a whole skin, we should not have contracted new debts, raised new armies, or brought over Dutch forces to make an example of you.
The most pleasant grievance is still behind, and, indeed, a most proper one to close up this. “King George has taken possession of the duchy of Bremen, whereby a door is opened to let in an inundation of foreigners from abroad, and to reduce these nations to the state of a province to one of the most inconsiderable provinces of the empire." And do you then really believe the mob-story, that King George designs to make a bridge of boats from Hanover to Wapping? We would have you know, that some of us read Baker's Chronicle, and do not find that William the Conqueror ever thought of making England a province to his native duchy of Normandy, notwithstanding it lay so much more convenient for that purpose : nor that King James the First had ever any thought of reducing this nation to the state of a province to his ancient kingdom of Scotland, though it lies upon the same continent, But pray how comes it to pass that the Electorate of Hanover is become all of a sudden one of the most inconsiderable provinces of the empire ? If you undervalue it upon the account of its religion, you have some rea
son for what you say; though you should not think we are such strangers to maps, and live so much out of the world, as to be ignorant that it is for power and extent the second Protestant state in Germany; and whether you know it or no, the Protestant religion in the empire is looked upon as a sufficient balance against Popery. Besides, you should have considered, that in your declaration upon the king's coming to the throne of Great Britain, you endeavoured to terrify us from receiving him, by representing him “as a powerfu foreign prince, supported by a numerous army of his owi subjects." Be that as it will, we are no more afraid of being a province to Hanover, than the Hanoverians are apprehensive of being a province to Bremen.
We have now taken notice of those great evils which you are come to rescue us from; but as they are such as we have neither felt or seen, we desire you will put yourself to no further trouble for our sakes.
You afterwards begin a kind of Te Deum, before the time, in that remarkable sentence, “ We adore the wisdom of the Divine Providence, which has opened a way to our restoration, by the success of those very measures that were laid to disappoint us for ever.” We are at a loss to know what you mean by this devout jargon; but by what goes before and follows, we suppose it to be this : that the coming of King George to the crown has made many malecontents, and by that means opened a way to your restoration; whereas, you should consider, that, if he had not come to the crown, the way had been open of itself. In the same pious paragraph, “ You most earnestly conjure us to pursue those methods foi your restoration, which the finger of God seems to point out to us.” Now the only methods which we can make use oi for that end, are civil war, rapine, bloodshed, treason, and perjury; methods which we Protestants do humbly conceive can never be pointed out to us by the finger of God.
The rest of your declaration contains the encouragements you give us to rebel. First, you promise to share with us “ all dangers and difficulties” which we shall meet with in this worthy enterprise. You are very much in the right of it; you have nothing to lose, and hope to get a crown; we do not hope for any new freeholds, and only desire to keep what we have. Aš, therefore, you are in the right to undergo dangers and difficulties to make yourself our master, we
shall think ourselves as much in the right to undergo dangers and difficulties to hinder
from being so.? Secondly, You promise to refer
and our interest to a Scotch parliament,” which you are resolved to call immediately. We suppose you mean if the frost holds. But, sir, we are certainly informed there is a parliament now sitting at Westminster, that are busy at present in taking care both of the Scotch and English interest, and have actually done everything which you would "let" be done by our representatives in the Highlands.
Thirdly, “ You promise that if we will rebel for you against our present sovereign, you will remit and discharge all crimes of high treason, misprision, and all other crimes and offences whatsoever, done or committed against you or your father." But will you answer in this case, that King George will forgive us ? Otherwise we beseech you to consider what poor comfort it would be for a British freeholder to be conveyed up Holborn with your pardon in his pocket. And here we cannot but remark, that the conditions of your general pardon are so stinted, as to show that you are very cautious lest your good nature should carry you too far. You exclude from the benefit of it all those who do not, " from the time of your landing, lay hold on mercy, and return to their duty and allegiance." By this means all neuters and lookerson are to be executed of course ; and by the studied ambi, guity in which you couch the terms of your gracious pardon, you still leave room to gratify yourself in all the pleasures of tyranny and revenge.
Upon the whole, we have so bad an opinion of rebellion, as well as of your motives to it, and rewards for it, that you may rest satisfied there are few freeholders on this side the Forth who will engage in it; and we verily believe that you will suddenly take a resolution in your cabinet of Highlanders to scamper off with your new crown, which we are told the ladies of those parts have so generously clubbed for. And you may assure yourself that it is the only one you are like to get by this notable expedition. And so we bid you heartily farewell. Dated Jan. 19, in the second year of
our public happiness. The honest freeholders conclude too fast in this place. The inference from their own premises is only this—We shall think ourselves as much in the right to undergo no dangers and difficulties to assist you in being so.