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TO ALL THE WORTHY AND HUMANE PEOPLE OF GREAT BRITAIN,

Associated or not Associated,

FRIENDS TO THE PEOPLE, OR FRIENDS TO THE CONSTITUTION:

THE

PE T

I

OF

TION

Four most cruelly and unjustly aggrieved and oppressed Personages, GRAMMAR, PLAIN SENSE, SOUND ARGUMENT, AND TRUE WIT,

HUMBLY SHEWEth,

THAT, whereas your petitioners have always been, in thought, word, and deed, friendly, no lefs to the social interests, than to the private happiness of mankind; have taken great pains to make men understand one another; and have laboured, with inconceivable patience and industry, although, in many instances, they will confefs unsuccessfully, to improve arts and sciences, manners and customs, the forms of businefs, and the flow of familiar conversation; yet has the ungrateful world treated your petitioners with almost continual neglect, contempt, or merely seeming respect, the insincerity of which was evident, by the reluctance and aukwardness with which it was paid.

And whereas your petitioners, amid the persecution to which they were exposed, had been persuaded, that they might find protection in the island of Great Britain, which was described to them, as inhabited by a race of men, in all respects worthy of VOL, Xiii.

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their favour, and who had exhibited many proofs of regard for them, that bore every mark of being unifeigned; your petitioners were therefore induced to seek a more commodious, splendid, and permanent establishment in this island, than any that they had yet enjoyed.

And whereas your petitioners had hitherto, for the most part, avoided intermeddling with politics, and had indeed been, on different occasions, rejected or dismissed with disgrace, when they had, perhaps with an officious eagernefs, offered their services to wards regulating the legislature, or conducting the executive government of nations; and have been, in a peculiar, manner, exposed, on innumerable occasions, to the most humiliating indignities, within the walls of St Stephen's chapel: yet, pleased with the favourable reception they found in this island, and with the afsiduous court which was here paid to them, by great numbers of all ranks; they have been, in the warmth of their gratitude, sometimes induced to take part in the public affairs of the British nation, to afsist at the deliberations of its legislature, occasionally to enlighten and direct the views of the executive ministers, and to correct and guide the opinion of the people.

To this last end especially, to enlighten the people, and to give a due direction to the current of popular opinion, did your petitioners direct their most strenuous endeavours. In this view did they inspire and guide such of their disciples as have been, at different times, particularly in the latter period of the British history, distinguished in the charac

ter of useful and popular political writers; lending such writers their aid, in every varied form, in which it could enable them to win, or to teach; and even allowing them to borrow, at times, the little arts which were practised by impostors, the enemies and opponents of your petitioners; in order that absurdity and folly might be the more effectually confounded and completely routed, when they saw their own arms thus turned against themselves.

Thus did your petitioners unanimously conspire to invest Swift at once with all their powers; and, at the same time, to authorise him even to use the spoils of which he plundered their adversaries. With equal kindnefs did they favour the exertions of Addison. They did not, indeed, all agree in blessing the labours of Burnet; but he was an high favourite with some of them, and made no unhappy use of their favours. They could not cure Bolingbroke of his propensity to declamation; but they, upon proper occasions, combined to correct the disadvantages of that declamation, by bestowing an abundant portion of all their best gifts. It was under our influence, and by our aid, that Chesterfield taught Common Sense to politicians, as well as fhone in the World. To the afsiduity with which he cultivated our good graces, was Campbell indebted for that multifarious, yet not inaccurate knowledge; and for that singular perspicuity of exprefsion with which he explained the political interests and happiness of our favourite land. We gave to Johnson his energy of thought, and moulded the rotundity of his periods. Ours are the clear con

ception, the cogent reasoning, the vehement elo quence, the ardent exprefsion of Junius; although we do not so readily ascribe to ourselves the gorgeous pages, and the declamatory flourishes of Burke. And whereas your petitioners had, in the progrefs of the present century, observed a growing in-. clination in the good people of North Britain to cultivate their favour, they were therefore induced to encourage, by a kind acceptance, the aukward services of their new votaries; and to labour, with singular care and pains, to form them to excellence in the several arts, over which your petitioners respectively preside. By us was Hume raised to eminence. By our kindness have Blair, and Robertson, and Smith, gained the admiration of Europe, and reflected a lustre on their native land, which, as it arose, so may probably fade away with

them.

And whereas your petitioners, flattered by the circumstances above enumerated, confiding in the vigour and afsiduity of their exertions, and warmed with that enthusiasm which activity and succefs usually kindle up in generous minds, had begun to look fondly forward towards the future extension of their influence and the increase of their honours; and had pleased themselves with the hope of establishing throughout this island, an empire, of which the stability and splendour might render it the glory of all human things; it is therefore with extreme mortification and disappointment, that your petitioners have found their hopes frustrated, their endeavours defeated, and all their fair

prospects overcast by a train of unhappy events, which they could neither foresee, nor provide against. The Art of Sinking in Poetry having been long practised in this country, with wonderful succefs, by a race of wretched beings, enemies to your petitioners; the prosperity of this art has, by degrees, brought into repute the sister Art of Sinking in Prose. This latter art is, in spite of every effort of your petitioners, now practised with a general eagernefs, which bids fair to raise it to the highest exaltation. Providence seems to have distributed among men, with much liberality, the genius for excellence in it; indeed the art is of itself easy; consisting. chiefly in an insolent opposition to your petitioners, and an outrageous abuse of them. It is easy to muster up crowds of quaint thoughts; to count over strings of antithetical periods; and to re-echo those common place allusions, similies, and metaphors, which were, indeed, at first produced by inventive wit, but have been bandied about from fool to fool, and from dunce to dunce, till they have been at length debased and disgraced, by the meanness of the creatures who have presumed to steal the use of them. Such allusions, similies, and metaphors, have, in truth, become so common, and are so continually repeated, that they cannot well fail to occur mechanically even to the feeblest, emptiest minds; just as mechanic impulse made the idiot continue to count the hours, after the clock had ceased to strike them.

To add to the perplexity and distress in which your petitioners have thus been involved, some late circumstances in the political state of this country,

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