THAT the Reader may be fully instructed in the Merits of the Cause between my Adversaries and myself, it is requisite that, before he sees my Defence, he should know the whole Charge, and have before him all the Accusations against me at large.
The Presentment of the Grand Jury2 is worded thus:
WE the Grand Jury for the County of Middlesex have with the greatest Sorrow and Concern, observ’d the many Books and Pamphlets that are almost every Week Published against the Sacred Articles of our Holy Religion, and all Discipline and Order in the Church, and the Manner in which this is carry’d on, seems to us, to have a Direct Tendency to propagate Infidelity, and consequently Corruption of all Morals.
We are justly sensible of the Goodness of the Almighty that has preserved us from the Plague,1 which has visited our Neighbouring Nation, and for which great Mercy, his Majesty was graciously pleased to command by his Proclamation that Thanks should be returned to Heaven; but how provoking must it be to the Almighty, that his Mercies and Deliverances extended to this Nation, and our Thanksgiving that was publickly commanded for it, should be attended with such flagrant Impieties.
We know of nothing that can be of greater Service to his Majesty and the Protestant Succession (which is happily established among us for the Defence of the Christian Religion) than the Suppression of Blasphemy and Profaneness, which has a direct Tendency to subvert the very Foundation on which his Majesty’s Government is fixed.
So Restless have these Zealots for Infidelity been in their Diabolical Attempts against Religion, that they have,
First, Openly blasphemed and denied the Doctrine of the Ever Blessed Trinity,2 endeavouring by specious Pretences to revive the Arian Heresy, which was never introduced into any Nation, but the Vengeance of Heaven pursued it.
Secondly, They affirm an absolute Fate, and deny the Providence and Government of the Almighty in the World.
Thirdly, They have endeavoured to subvert all Order and Discipline ina the Church, and by vile and unjust Reflexions on the Clergy, they strive to bring Contempt on all Religion; That by the Libertinism of their Opinions they may encourage and draw others into the Immoralities of their Practice.
Fourthly, That a General Libertinism may the more effectually be established, the Universities are decried, and all Instructions of Youth in the Principles of the Christian Religion are exploded with the greatest Malice and Falsity.
Fifthly, The more effectually to carry on these Works of Darkness, studied Artifices and invented Colours have been made use of to run down Religion and Virtue as prejudicial to Society, and detrimental to the State; and to recommend Luxury, Avarice, Pride, and all kind of Vices, as being necessary to Publick Welfare, and not tending to the Destruction of the Constitution: Nay, the very Stews themselves have had strained Apologies and forced Encomiums made in their Favour and produced in Print, with Design, we conceive, to debauch the Nation.
These Principles having a direct Tendency to the Subversion of all Religion and Civil Government, our Duty to the Almighty, our Love to our Country, and Regard to our Oaths, obliege us to Present1 as the Publisher of a Book, intituled, The Fable of the Bees; or Private Vices Publick Benefits. 2d Edit. 1723.
And also as the Publisher of a Weekly Paper, call’d the British Journal, Numb. 26, 35, 36, and 39.1
The Letter I Complain of is this;
’TIS Welcome News to all the King’s Loyal Subjects and true Friends to the Establish’d Government and Succession in the Illustrious House ofHanover, that your Lordship is said to be contriving some Effectual Means of securing us from the Dangers, wherewith his Majesty’s happy Government seems to be threatned by Catiline, under the Name of Cato;1 by the Writer of a Book, intituled, The Fable of the Bees, &c. and by others of their Fraternity, who are undoubtedly useful Friends to the Pretender,2 and diligent, for his sake, in labouring to subvert and ruin our Constitution, under a specious Pretence of defending it. Your Lordship’s wise Resolution, totally to suppress such impious Writings, and the Direction already given for having them Presented, immediately, by some of the Grand Juries, will effectually convince the Nation, that no Attempts against Christianity will be suffer’d or endured here. And this Conviction will at once rid Mens Minds of the Uneasiness which this flagitious Race of Writers has endeavoured to raise in them; will therefore be a firm Bulwark to the Protestant Religion; will effectually defeat the Projects and Hopes of the Pretender; and best secure us against any Change in the Ministry. And no faithful Briton could be unconcern’d, if the People should imagine any the least Neglect in any single Person bearing a part in the Ministry, or begin to grow Jealous, that any thing could be done, which is not done in defending their Religion from every the least Appearance of Danger approaching towards it. And, my Lord, this Jealousy might have been apt to rise, if no Measures had been taken to discourage and crush the open Advocates of Irreligion. ’Tis no easy Matter to get Jealousy out of one’s Brains, when ’tis once got into them. Jealousy, my Lord! ’Tis as furious a Fiend as any of them all. I have seen a little thin weak Woman so invigorated by a Fit of Jealousy, that five Grenadiers could not hold her. My Lord, go on with your just Methods of keeping the People clear of this cursed Jealousy: For amongst the various Kinds and Occasions of it, that which concerns their Religion, is the most violent flagrant frantick Sort of all; and accordingly has, in former Reigns, produced those various Mischiefs, which your Lordship has faithfully determined to prevent, dutifully regarding the Royal Authority, and conforming to the Example of his Majesty, who has graciously given DIRECTIONS (which are well known to your Lordship) for the preserving of Unity in the Church; and the Purity of the Christian Faith. ’Tis in vain to think that the People of England will ever give up their Religion, or be very fond of any Ministry that will not support it, as the Wisdom of this Ministry has done, against such audacious Attacks as are made upon it by the Scriblers; for Scribler, your Lordship knows, is the just Appellation of every Author, who, under whatever plausible Appearance of good Sense, attempts to undermine the Religion, and therefore the Content and Quiet, the Peace and Happiness of his Fellow-Subjects, by subtle and artful and fallacious Arguments and Insinuations. May Heaven avert those insufferable Miseries, which the Church of Rome would bring upon us! Tyranny is the Bane of Human Society; and there is no Tyranny heavier than that of the Triple Crown. And therefore, this free and happy People has justly conceived an utter Abhorrence and Dread of Popery, and of every thing that looks like Encouragementa or Tendency to it; but they do also abhor and dread the Violence offer’d to Christianity it self, by our British Catilines, who shelter their treacherous Designs against it, under the false Colours of Regard and Good-will to our blessed Protestant Religion, while they demonstrate, too plainly demonstrate, that the Title of Protestants does not belong to them, unless it can belong to those who are in effect Protesters against all Religion.
And really, the People cannot be much blamed for being a little unwilling to part with their Religion: For they tell ye, that there is a God; and that God governs the World; and that he is wont to bless or blast a Kingdom, in Proportion to the Degrees of Religion or Irreligion prevailing in it. Your Lordship has a fine Collection of Books; and, which is a finer thing still, you do certainly understand them, and can turn to an Account of any important Affair in a trice. I would therefore fain know, whether your Lordship can show, from any Writer, let him be as profane as the Scriblers would have him, that any one Empire, Kingdom, Country or Province, Great or Small, did not dwindle and sink, and was confounded, when it once fail’d of providing studiously for the Support of Religion.
The Scriblers talk much of the Roman Government, and Liberty, and the Spirit of the Old Romans. But ’tis undeniable, that their most plausible Talk of these Things is all Pretence, and Grimace, and an Artifice to serve the Purposes of Irreligion; and by consequence to render the People uneasy, and ruin the Kingdom. For if they did in Reality esteem, and would faithfully recommend to their Countrymen, the Sentiments and Principles, the main Purposes and Practices of the wise and prosperous Romans, they would, in the first place, put us in mind, that Old Rome was as remarkable for observing and promoting Natural Religion,1 as New Rome has been for corrupting that which is Reveal’d. And as the Old Romans did signally recommend themselves to the Favour of Heaven, by their faithful Care of Religion; so were they abundantly convinced, and did accordingly acknowledge, with universal Consent, that their Care of Religion was the great Means* of God’s preserving the Empire, and crowning it with Conquest and Success, Prosperity and Glory. Hence it was, that when their Orators were bent upon exerting their utmost in moving and persuading the People, upon any Occasion, they ever put them in mind of their Religion, if That could be any way affected by the Point in debate; not doubting that the People would determine in their Favour, if they could but demonstrate, that the Safety of Religion depended upon the Success of their Cause. And indeed, neither the Romans, nor any other Nation upon Earth, did ever suffer their Establish’d Religion to be openly ridiculed, exploded, or opposed: And I’m sure, your Lordship would not, for all the World, that this Thing shoulda be done with Impunity amongst Us, which was never endured in the World before. Did ever any Man, since the blessed Revelation of the Gospel, run Riot upon Christianity, as some Men, nay, and some few Women too, have lately done? Must the Devil grow rampant at this Rate, and not to be call’d Coram Nobis? Why should not he content himselfb to carry off People in the common Way, the way of Cursing and Swearing, Sabbath-breaking and Cheating, Bribery and Hypocrisy, Drunkenness and Whoring, and such kind of Things, as he us’d to do? Never let him domineer in Mens Mouths and Writings, as he does now, with loud, tremendous Infidelity, Blasphemy and Profaneness, enough to frighten the Kings Subjects out of their Wits. We are now come to a short Question: God or the Devil? that’s the Word; and Time will shew, who and who goes together. Thus much may be said at present, that those have abundantly shewn their Spirit of Opposition to Sacred Things, who have not only inveighed against the National Profession and Exercise of Religion; and endeavour’d, with Bitterness and Dexterity, to render it Odious and Contemptible, but are sollicitous to hinder Multitudes of the Natives of this Island from having the very Seeds of Religion sown among them with Advantage.
Arguments are urged, with the utmost Vehemence, against the Education of poor Children in the Charity-Schools, tho’ there hath not one just Reason been offer’d against the Provision made for that Education. The Things that have been objected against it are not, in Fact, true; and nothing ought to be regarded, by serious and wise Men, as a weighty or just Argument, if it is not a true one. How hath Catiline the Confidence left to look any Man in the Face, after he hath spent more Confidence than most Mens whole Stock amounts to, in saying, that this pretended Charity has, in Effect, destroy’d all other Charities, which were before given to the Aged, Sick, and Impotent.1
It seems pretty clear, that if those, who do not contribute to any Charity-School, are become more uncharitable to any other Object than formerly they were; their want of Charity to the one, is not owing to their Contribution to the other. And as to those who do contribute to these Schools; they are so far from being more sparing in their Relief of other Objects, than they were before, that the pooh Widows, the Aged and the Impotent do plainly receive more Relief from Them, in Proportion to their Numbers and Abilities, than from any the same Numbers of Men under the same Circumstances of Fortune, who do not concern themselves with Charity-Schools, in any Respect, but in condemning and decrying them. I will meet Catiline at the Grecian Coffee-House2 any Day in the Week, and by an Enumeration of particular Persons, in as great a Number as he pleaseth, demonstrate the Truth of what I say. But I do not much depend upon his giving me the Meeting, because ’tis his Business, not to encourage Demonstrations of the Truth, but to throw Disguises upon it; otherwise, he never could have allowed himself, after representing the Charity-Schools as intended to breed up Children to Reading and Writing, and a sober Behaviour, that they may be qualified to be Servants, immediately to add these Words, A sort of idle and rioting Vermin, by which the Kingdom is already almost devoured, and are become every where a publick Nusance,1 &c. What? Is it owing to the Charity-Schools, that Servants are become so Idle, such rioting Vermin, such a publick Nusance; that Women-Servants turn Whores, and the Men-Servants, Robbers, House-breakers, and Sharpers? (as he says they commonly do.) Is this owing to the Charity-Schools? or, if it is not, how comes he to allow himself the Liberty of representing these Schools as a Means of increasing this Load of Mischief, which is indeed too plainly fallen upon the Publick? The imbibing Principles of Virtue hath not, usually, been thought the chief Occasion of running into Vice. If the early Knowledge of Truth, and of our Obligationsa to it, were the surest Means of departing from it, no body would doubt, that the Knowledge of Truth was instill’d into Catiline very Early, and with the utmost Care. ’Tis a good pretty Thing in him to spread a Report, and to lay so much Stress upon it as he does, that there is more Collected at the Church Doors in a Day, to make these poor Boys and Girls appear in Caps and Livery-Coats, than for all the Poor in a Year.2 O rare Catiline! This Point you ll carry most swimmingly; for you have no Witnesses against you, nor any living Soul to contradict you, except the Collectors and Overseers of the Poor, and all other principal Inhabitants of most of the Parishes, where any Charity-Schools are in England.
The Jest of it is, my Lord, that these Scriblers would still be thought good moral Men. But, when Men make it their Business to mislead and deceive their Neighbours, and that in Matters of Moment, by distorting and disguising the Truth, by Misrepresentations, and false Insinuations; if such Men are not guilty of Usurpation, while they take upon them the Character of good Moral Men, then ’tis not Immoral, in any Man, to be false and deceitful, in Cases where the Law cannot touch him for being so, and Morality bears no Relation to Truth and Fair Dealing. However, I shall not be very willing to meet one of these moral Men upon Hounslow-Heath, if I should happen to ride that Way without Pistols. For I have a Notion, that They who have no Conscience in one Point, don’t much abound with it in another. Your Lordship, who judges accurately of Men, as well as Books, will easily imagine, if you had no other Knowledge of the Charity-Schools, that there must be something very excellent in them, because such kind of Men as These are so warm in opposing them.
They tell you, that these Schools are Hindrances to Husbandry and to Manufacture: As to Husbandry; the Children are not kept in the Schools longer than till they are of Age and Strength to perform the principal Parts of it, or to bear constant Labour in it; and even while they are under this Course of Education, your Lordship may depend upon it, that they shall never be hindred from working in the Fields, or being employ’d in such Labour as they are capable of, in any Parts of the Year, when they can get such Employment for the Support of their Parents and themselves. In this Case the Parents in the several Countriesa are proper Judges of their several Situations and Circumstances, and at the same time, not so very fond of their Childrens getting a little Knowledge, rather than a little Money, but that they will find other Employment for them than going to School, whenever they can get a Penny by so doing. And the Case is the same as to the Manufactures; the Trustees of the Charity-Schools, and the Parents of the Children bred in them, would be thankful to those Gentlemen who make the Objection, if they would assist in removing it, by subscribing to a Fund for joining the Employment of Manufacture to the Business of learning to Read and Write in the Charity-Schools: This would be a noble Work: ’Tis already effected by the Supporters of some Charity-Schools, and is aimed at, and earnestly desired by all the rest: But Rome was not built in a Day. ‘Till this great Thing can be brought about, let the Masters and Managers of the Manufactures in the several Places of the Kingdom be so charitable as to employ the Poor Children for a certain Number of Hours in every Day in theira respective Manufactures, while the Trustees are taking care to fill up their other Hours of the Day in the usual Duties of the Charity-Schools. ’Tis an easy Matter for Party-Men, for designing and perverted Minds, to invent colourable, fallacious, Arguments, and to offer Railing under the Appearance of Reasoning against the best Things in the World. But undoubtedly, no impartial Man, who is affected with a serious Sense of Goodness, and a real Love of his Country, can think this proper and just View of the Charity-Schools liable to any just, weighty Objection, or refuse to contribute his Endeavours to improve and raise them to that Perfection which is propos’d in them. In the mean time, let no Man be so weak or so wicked as to deny, that when poor Children cannot meet with Employment in any other honest Way, rather than suffer their tender Age to be spent in Idleness, or in learning the Arts of Lying and Swearing and Stealing, ’tis true Charity to Them and good Service done to our Country, to employ them in learning the Principles of Religion and Virtue, till their Age and Strength will enable them to become Servants in Families, or to be engag’d in Husbandry, or Manufacture, or any kind of Mechanick Trade or Laborious Employment; for to these laborious Employments are the Charity Children generally, if not always turn’d, as soon as they become capable of them: And therefore Catiline may be pleas’d to retract his Objection concerning Shopkeepers or Retailers of Commodities, wherein he has affirmed, that their Employments, which he says ought to fall to the Share of Children of their own Degree, are mostly anticipatedaand engross’d by the Managers of the Charity-Schools.1 He must excuse my acquainting your Lordship, that this Affirmation is in Fact directly false, which is an Inconvenience very apt to fall upon his Affirmations, as it has particularly done upon one of ’em more, which I would mention: For he is not asham’d roundly to assert, That the Principles of our common People are debauch’d in our Charity-Schools, who are taught as soon as they can speak to blabber out HIGH-CHURCH and ORMOND,2and so are bred up to be Traitors before they know what Treason signifies.3 Your Lordship, and other Persons of Integrity, whose Words are the faithful Representatives of their Meaning, would now think, if I had not given you a Key to Catiline’s Talk, that he has been fully convinced, that the Children in the Charity-Schools are bred up to be Traitors.
My Lord, If any one Master be suffer’d by the Trustees to continue in any Charity-School, against whom Proof can be brought, that he is disaffected to the Government, or that he does not as faithfully teach the Children Obedience and Loyalty to the King, as any other Duty in the Catechism, then I will gratify Catiline with a License to pull down the Schools, and hang up the Masters, according to his Heart’s Desire.
These and such Things as these are urg’d with the like Bitterness and as little Truth in the Book mention’d above, viz. The Fable of the Bees; or, Private Vices, Publick Benefits, &c. Catiline explodes the fundamental Articles of Faith, impiously comparing the Doctrine of the blessed Trinity to Fee-fa-fum:1 This profligate Author of the Fable is not only an Auxiliary to Catiline in Opposition to Faith but has taken upon him to tear up the very Foundations of Moral Virtue, and establish Vice in its Room. The best Physician in the World did never labour more to purge the Natural Body of bad Qualities, than this Bumble-Bee has done to purge the Body Politick of good ones. He himself bears Testimony to the Truth of this Charge against him: For when he comes to the Conclusion of his Book, he makes this Observation upon himself and his Performance: “After this I flatter my self to have demonstrated, that neither the friendly Qualities and kind Affections that are natural to Man, nor the real Virtues he is capable of acquiring by Reason and Self-denial, are the Foundation of Society; but that what we call Evil in this World, Moral as well as Natural, is the Grand Principle that makes us sociable Creatures, the solid Basis, the Life and Support of all Trades and Employments without Exception: That there we must look for the true Origin of all Arts and Sciences, and that the Moment Evil ceases, the Society must be spoil’d, if not totally dissolv’d.”1
Now, my Lord, you see the Grand Design, the main Drift of Catiline and his Confederates; now the Scene opens, and the secret Springs appear; now the Fraternity adventure to speak out, and surely no Band of Men ever dared to speak at this Rate before; now you see the True Cause of all their Enmity to the poor Charity-Schools; ’tis levell’d against Religion; Religion, my Lord, which the Schools are instituted to promote, and which this Confederacy is resolved to destroy; for the Schools are certainly one of the greatest Instruments of Religion and Virtue, one of the firmest Bulwarks against Popery, one of the best Recommendations of this People to the Divine Favour, and therefore one of the greatest Blessings to our Country of any thing that has been set on Foot since our happy Reformation and Deliverance from the Idolatry and Tyranny of Rome. If any trivial Inconvenience did arise from so excellent a Work, as some little Inconvenience attends all human Institutions and Affairs, the Excellency of the Work would still be Matter of Joy, and find Encouragement with all the Wise and the Good, who despise such insignificant Objections against it as other Men are not asham’d to raise and defend.
Now your Lordship also sees the true Cause of the Satyr which is continually form’d against the Clergy by Catiline and his Confederates. Why should Mr. Hall’s Conviction and Execution be any more an Objection against the Clergy,2 than Mr. Layer’s3 against the Gentlemen of the Long Robe? why, because the Profession of the Law does not immediately relate to Religion: and therefore Catiline will allow, that if any Persons of that Profession should be Traitors, or otherwise vicious, all the rest may, notwithstanding the Iniquity of a Brother, be as loyal and virtuous as any other Subjects in the King’s Dominions: But because Matters of Religion are the profess’d Concern and the Employment of the Clergy; therefore Catiline’s Logick makes it out as clear as the Day, that if any of them be disaffected to the Government, all the rest are so too; or if any of them be chargeable with Vice, this Consequence from it is plain, that All or Most of the rest are as vicious as the Devil can make them. I shall not trouble your Lordship with a particular Vindication of the Clergy, nor is there any Reason that I should, for they are already secure of your Lordship’s good Affection to them, and they are able to vindicate themselves wheresoever such a Vindication is wanted, being as faithful and virtuous and learned a Body of Men as any in Europe; and yet they suspend the Publication of Arguments in a solemn Defence of themselves, because they neither expect nor desire Approbation and Esteem from impious and abandon’d Men; and at the same Time they cannot doubt that all Persons, not only of great Penetration but of common Sense, do now clearly see; that the Arrows shot against the Clergy are intended to wound and destroy the Divine Institution of the Ministerial Offices, and to extirpate the Religion which the sacred Offices were appointed to preserve and promote. This was always supposed and suspected by every honest and impartial Man; but ’tis now demonstrated by those who before had given Occasion to such Suspicions, for they have now openly declared that Faith in the Principal Articles of it, is not only needless but ridiculous, that the Welfare of human Society must sink and perish under the Encouragement of Virtue, and that Immoralitya is the only firm Foundation whereon the Happiness of Mankind can be built and subsist. The Publication of such Tenets as these, an open avow’d Proposal to extirpate the Christian Faith and all Virtue, and to fix Moral Evil for the Basis of the Government, is so stunning, so shocking, so frightful, so flagrant an Enormity, that if it should be imputed to us as a National Guilt, the Divine Vengeance must inevitably fall upon us. And how far this Enormity would become a National Guilt, if it should pass disregarded and unpunished, a Casuist less skilful and discerning than your Lordship may easily guess: And no doubt your Lordship’s good Judgment in so plain and important a Case, has made you, like a wise and faithful Patriot, resolve to use your utmost Endeavours in your high Station to defend Religion from the bold Attacks made upon it.
As soon as I have seen a Copy of the Bill for the better Security of his Majesty and his happy Government, by the better Security of Religion in Great-Britain,1 your Lordship’s just Scheme of Politicks, your Love of your Country, and your great Services done to it shall again be acknowledg’d by,
Your most faithful humble Servant,
These violent Accusations and the great Clamour every where raised against the Book, by Governors, Masters, and other Champions of Charity-Schools, together with the Advice of Friends, and the Reflexion on what I owed to myself, drew from me the following Answer. The candid Reader, in the perusal of it, will not be offended at the Repetition of some Passages, one of which he may have met with twice already, when he shall consider that to make my Defence by it self to the Publick, I was obliged to repeat what hada been quoted in the Letter, since the Paper would unavoidably fall into the Hands of many who had never seen either the Fable of the Bees, or the Defamatory Letter wrote against it. The Answer was Published in the London-Journal of August 10. 1723, in these Words.
WHEREAS in the Evening-Post of Thursday July 11, a Presentment was inserted of the Grand Jury of Middlesex, against the Publisher of a Book entituled, The Fable of the Bees; or, Private Vices, Publick Benefits; and since that, a passionate and abusive Letter has been published against the same Book and the Author of it, in the London Journal of Saturday, July 27; I think myself indispensably obliged to vindicate the above-said Book against the black Aspersions that undeservedly have been cast upon it, being conscious that I have not had the least ill Design in Composing it. The Accusations against it having been made openly in the Publick Papers, it is not equitable the Defence of it should appear in a more private Manner. What I have to say in my Behalf I shall address to all Men of Sense and Sincerity, asking no other Favour of them than their Patience and Attention. Setting aside what in that Letter relates to others, and every thing that is Foreign and Immaterial, I shall begin with the Passage that is quoted from the Book, viz. After this, I flatter my self to have demonstrated, that neither the Friendly Qualities and kind Affections that are natural to Man, nor the real Virtues he is capable of acquiring by Reason and Self-denial, are the Foundation of Society; but that what we call Evil in this World, Moral as well as Natural, is the grand Principle that makes us sociable Creatures; the solid Basis, the Life and Support of all Trades and Employments without Exception: That there we must look for the true Origin of all Arts and Sciences; and that the Moment Evil ceases, the Society must be spoiled, if not totally dissolved.1 These Words I own are in the Book, and, being both innocent and true, like to remain there in all future Impressions. But I will likewise own very freely, that, if I had wrote with a Design to be understood by the meanest Capacities, I would not have chose the Subject there treated of; or if I had, I would have amplify’d and explained every Period, talked and distinguished magisterially, and never appeared without the Fescue in my Hand. As for Example; to make the Passage pointed at intelligible, I would have bestowed a Page or two on the Meaning of the Word Evil; after that I would have taught them, that every Defect, every Want was an Evil; that on the Multiplicity of those Wants depended all thosea mutual Services which the individual Members of a Society pay to each other; and that consequently, the greater Variety there was of Wants, the larger Number of Individuals might find their private Interest in labouring for the good of others, and united together, compose one Body. Is there a Trade or Handicraft but what supplies us with something we wanted? This Want certainly, before it was supply’d, was an Evil, which that Trade or Handicraft was to remedy, and without which it could never have been thought of. Is there an Art or Science that was not invented to mend some Defect? Had this latter not existed, there could have been no occasion for the former to remove it. I say, p. 425. The Excellency of human Thought and Contrivance has been, and is yet no where more conspicuous than in the Variety of Tools and Instruments of Workmen and Artificers, and the Multiplicity of Engines, that were all invented, either to assist the Weakness of Man, to correct his many Imperfections, to gratify his Laziness, or obviate his Impatience. Several foregoing Pages run in the same strain. But what Relation has all this to Religion or Infidelity, more than it has to Navigation or the Peace in the North?1
The many Hands that are employ’d to supply our natural Wants, that are really such, as Hunger, Thirst, and Nakedness, are inconsiderable to the vast Numbers that are all innocently gratifying the Depravity of our corrupt Nature; I mean the Industrious, who get a Livelihood by their honest Labour, to which the Vain and Voluptuous must be beholden for all their Tools and Implements of Ease and Luxury. The short-sighted Vulgar, in the Chain of Causes, seldom can see farther than one Link; but those who can enlarge their View, and will give themselves Leisure of gazing on the Prospect of concatenated Events, may in a hundred Places see Good spring up and pullulate from Evil, as naturally as Chickens do from Eggs.
Thea Words are to be found p. 89, in the Remark made on the seeming Paradox; that in the grumbling Hive
The worst of all the Multitude
Did something for the Common Good:1
Where in many Instances may be amply discovered, how unsearchable Providence daily orders the Comforts of the Laborious, and even the Deliverancesb of the Oppressed, secretly to come forth not only from the Vices of the Luxurious, but likewise the Crimes of the Flagitious and most Abandoned.
Men of Candour and Capacity perceive at first Sight, that in the Passage censured, there is no Meaning hid or expressed that is not altogether contained in the following Words: Man is a necessitous Creature on innumerable Accounts, and yet from those very Necessities, and nothing else, arise all Trades and Employments.2 But it is ridiculous for Men to meddle with Books above their Sphere.
The Fable of the Bees was designed for the Entertainment of People of Knowledge and Education, when they have an idle Hour which they know not how to spend better: It is a Book of severe and exalted Morality, that contains a strict Test of Virtue, an infallible Touchstone to distinguish the real from the counterfeited, and shews many Actions to be faulty that are palmed upon the World for good ones: It describes the Nature and Symptoms of human Passions, detects their Force and Disguises; and traces Self-love in its darkest Recesses; I might safely add, beyond any other System of Ethicks: The whole is a Rhapsody void of Order or Method, but no Part of it has any thing in it that is sour or pedantick; the Style I confess is very unequal, sometimes very high and rhetorical, and sometimes very low and even very trivial; such as it is, I am satisfied that it has diverted Persons of great Probity and Virtue, and unquestionable good Sense; and I am in no fear that it will ever cease to do so while it is read by such. Whoever has seen the violent Charge against this Book, will pardon me for saying more in Commendation of it, than a Man not labouring under the same Necessity would do of his own Work on any other Occasion.
The Encomiums upon Stews complained of in the Presentment are no where in the Book. What might give a Handle to this Charge, must be a Political Dissertation concerning the best Method to guard and preserve Women of Honour and Virtue from the Insults of dissolute Men, whose Passions are often ungovernable: As in this there is a Dilemma between two Evils, which it is impracticable to shun both, so I have treated it with the utmost Caution, and begin thus: I am far from encouraging Vice, and should think it an unspeakable Felicity for a State, if the Sin of Uncleanness could be utterly banished from it; but I am afraid it is impossible.1 I give my Reasons why I think it so; and speaking occasionally of the Musick-Houses at Amsterdam, I give a short Account of them, than which nothing can be more harmless; and I appeal to all impartial Judges, whether what I have said of them is not ten times more proper to give Men (even the voluptuous of any Taste) a Disgust and Aversion against them, than it is to raise any criminal Desire. I am sorry the Grand-Jury should conceive that I published this with a Design to debauch the Nation, without considering that in the first Place, there is not a Sentence nor a Syllable that can either offend the chastest Ear, or sully the Imagination of the most vicious; or in the second, that the Matter complained of is manifestly addressed to Magistrates and Politicians, or at least the more serious and thinking Part of Mankind; whereas a general Corruption of Manners as to Lewdness, to be produced by reading, can only be apprehended from Obscenities easily purchased, and every Way adapted to the Tastes and Capacities of the heedless Multitude and unexperienced Youth of both Sexes: But that the Performance, so outrageously exclaimed against, was never calculated for either of these Classes of People, is self-evident from every Circumstance. The Beginning of the Prose is altogether Philosophical, and hardly intelligible to any that have not been used to Matters of Speculation; and the Running Title of it is so far from being specious or inviting, that without having read the Book it self, no body knows what to make of it, while at the same time the Price is Five Shillings.1 From all which it is plain, that if the Book contains any dangerous Tenets, I have not been very sollicitous to scatter them among the People. I have not said a Word to please or engage them, and the greatest Compliment I have made them has been, Apage vulgus. But as nothing (I say, p. 257.) would more clearly demonstrate the Falsity of my Notions than that the Generality of the People should fall in with them, so I don’t expect the Approbation of the Multitude. I write not to many, nor seek for any Well-wishers, but among the few that can think abstractly, and have their Minds elevated above the Vulgar. Of this I have made no ill Use, and ever preserved such a tender Regard to the Publick, that when I have advanced any uncommon Sentiments, I have used all the Precautions imaginable, that they might not be hurtful to weak Minds that might casually dip into the Book. When (p.a 255.) I owned, That it was my Sentiment that no Society could be raised into a rich and mighty Kingdom, or so raised subsist in their Wealth and Power for any considerable Time, without the Vices of Man, I had premised, what was true, That I had never said or imagined, that Man could not be virtuous as well in a rich and mighty Kingdom, as in the most pitiful Commonwealth: Which Caution, a Man less scrupulous than my self might have thought superfluous, when he had already explained himself on that Head in the very same Paragraph, which begins thus: I lay down as a first Principle, that in all Societies, great or small, it is the Duty of every Member of it to be good; that Virtue ought to be encouraged, Vice discountenanced, the Laws obey’d, and the Transgressors punished. There is not a Line in the Book that contradicts this Doctrine, and I defy my Enemies to disprove what I have advanced, p. 258, that if I have shewn the Way to worldly Greatness, I have always without Hesitation preferr’d the Road that leads to Virtue. No Man ever took more Pains not to be misconstrued than my self: Mind p. 257, when I say that Societies cannot be raised to Wealth and Power, and the Top of Earthly Glory, without Vices; I don’t think that by so saying I bid Men be vicious, any more than I bid them be quarrelsome or covetous, when I affirm, that the Profession of the Law could not be maintained in such Numbers and Splendor, if there was not abundance of too selfish and litigious People. A Caution of the same Nature I had already given towards the End of the Preface, on Account of a palpable Evil inseparable from the Felicity of London. To search into the real Causes of Things imports no ill Design, nor has any Tendency to do harm. A Man may write on Poisons and be an excellent Physician. Page 424, I say, No Man needs to guard himself against Blessings, but Calamities require Hands to avert them. And lower,aIt is the Extremities of Heat and Cold, the Inconstancy and Badness of Seasons, the Violence and Uncertainty of Winds, the vast Power and Treachery of Water, the Rage and Untractableness of Fire, and the Stubbornness and Sterility of the Earth, that rack our Invention, how we shall either avoid the Mischiefs they produce, or correct the Malignity of them, and turn their several Forces to our own Advantage a thousand dtfferent Ways. While a Man is enquiring into the Occupationb of vast Multitudes, I cannot see why he may not say all this and much more, without being accused of depreciating and speaking slightly of the Gifts and Munificence of Heaven; when at the same time he demonstrates, that without Rain and Sunshine this Globe would not be habitable to Creatures like ourselves. It is an out-of-the-way Subject, and I would never quarrel with the Man who should tell me that it might as well have been let alone: Yet I always thought it would please Men of any tolerable Taste, and not be easily lost.
My Vanity I could never conquer, so well as I could wish; and I am too proud to commit Crimes; and as to the main Scope, the Intent of the Book, I mean the View it was wrote with, I protest that it has been with the utmost Sincerity, what I have declared of it in the Preface, where at the bottom of the sixth Page you will find these Words: If you ask me, why I have done all this, cui bono? and what good these Notions will produce? truly, besides the Reader’s Diversion, I believe none at all; but if I was ask’d, what naturally ought to be expected from them? I would answer, that in the first Place the People who continually find Fault with others, by reading them would be taught to look at home, and examining their own Consciences, be made asham’d of always railing at what they are more or less guilty of themselves; and that in the next, those who are so fond of the Ease and Comforts of a great and flourishing Nation, would learn more patiently to submit to those Inconveniences, which no Government upon Earth can remedy, when they should see the Impossibility of enjoying any great Share of the first, without partaking likewise of the latter.1
The first Impression of the Fable of the Bees, which came out in 1714, was never carpt at, or publickly taken notice of; and all the Reason I can think on why this Second Edition should be so unmercifully treated, tho’ it has many Precautions which the former wanted, is an Essay ona Charity and Charity-Schools, which is added to what was printed before. I confess that it is my Sentiment, that all hard and dirty Work ought in a well-govern’d Nation to be the Lot and Portion of the Poor, and that to divert their Children from useful Labour till they are fourteen or fifteen Years old, is a wrong Method to qualify them for it when they are grown up. I have given several Reasons for my Opinion in that Essay, to which I refer all impartial Men of Understanding, assuring them that they will not meet with such monstrous Impiety in it as is reported. What an Advocate I have been for Libertinism and Immorality, and what an Enemy to all Instructions of Youth in the Christian Faith, may be collected from the Pains I have taken on Education for above seven Pages together: And afterwards again, page 352, where speaking of the Instructions the Children of the Poor might receive at Church; from which, I say, or some other Place of Worship, I would not have the meanest of a Parish that is able to walk to it, be Absent on Sundays, I have these Words: It is the Sabbath, the most useful Day in Seven, that is set apart for Divine Service and Religious Exercise, as well as resting from bodily Labour; and it is a Duty incumbent on all Magistrates to take a particular care of that Day. The Poor more especially, and their Children, should be made to go to Church on it, both in the Fore and the Afternoon, because they have no Time on any other. By Precept and Example they ought to be encouraged to it from their very Infancy: The wilful Neglect of it ought to be counted Scandalous; and if down-right Compulsion to what I urge might seem too harsh and perhaps impracticable, all Diversions at least ought strictly to be prohibited, and the Poor hindred from every Amusement Abroad, that might allure or draw them from it. If the Arguments I have made use of are not convincing, I desire they may be refuted, and I will acknowledge it as a Favour in any one that shall convince me of my Error, without ill Language, by shewing me wherein I have been mistaken: But Calumny, it seems, is the shortest Way of confuting an Adversary, when Men are touch’d in a sensible Part. Vast Sums are gather’d for these Charity-Schools, and I understand human nature too well to imagine, that the Sharers of the Money should hear them spoke against with any Patience. I foresaw therefore the Usage I was to receive, and having repeated the common Cant that is made for Charity-Schools, I told my Readers, pagea 304. This is the general Cry, and he that speaks the least Word against it, is an uncharitable, hard-hearted and inhuman, if not a wicked, profane and Atheistical Wretch. For this Reason it cannot be thought, that it was a great Surprize to me, when in that extraordinary Letter to Lord C. I saw my self call’d profligate Author; the Publication of my Tenets, an open and avowed Proposal to extirpate the Christian Faith and all Virtue, and what I had done so stunning, so shocking, so frightful, so flagrant an Enormity, that it cry’d for the Vengeance of Heaven. This is no more than what I have always expected from the Enemies to Truth and fair Dealing, and I shall retort nothing on the angry Author of that Letter, who endeavours to expose me to the publick Fury. I pity him, and have Charity enough to believe that he has been imposed upon himself, by trusting to Fame and the Hearsay of others; For no Man in his Wits can imagine that he should have read one quarter Part of my Book, and write as he does.1
I am sorry if the Words Private Vices, Publick Benefits, have ever given any Offence to a well-meaning Man. The Mystery of them is soon unfolded when once they are rightly understood; but no Man of Sincerity will question the Innocence of them, that has read the last Paragraph, where I take my Leave of the Reader, and conclude with repeating the seeming Paradox, the Substance of which is advanced in the Title Page; that private Vices by the dextrous Management of a skilful Politician, may be turn’d into publick Benefits.1 These are the last Words of the Book, printed in the same large Character with the rest. But I set aside all what I have said in my Vindication; and if in the whole Book call’d The Fable of the Bees, and presented by the Grand-Jury of Middlesex to the Judges of the King’s Bench, there is to be found the least Tittle of Blasphemy or Profaneness, or any thing tending to Immorality or the Corruption of Manners, I desire it may be publish’d; and if this, be done without Invective,a personal Reflexions, or setting the Mob upon me, Things I never design to answer, I will not only recant, but likewise beg Pardon of the offended Publick in the most solemn Manner; and (if the Hangman might be thought too good for the Office) burn the Book my self at any reasonable Time and Place my Adversariesb shall be pleased to appoint.
The Author of the Fable of the Bees.
F I N I S.
a Half-title on recto of next leaf om. 29.
1 Concerning Lord C. see above, i. 15, n. 1.
1 Cf. above, i. 14, n. 2.
a, &c.] from the Aspersions contain’d in a Presentment of the Grand Jury of Middlesex, and an abusive Letter to Lord C. 29
2 Cf. above, i. 13, n. 1.
1 An epidemic in Marseilles, according to a note in the French translation (ed. 1750, ii. 267). This plague lasted from 1720 to 1722 and caused fearful havoc.
2 Cf. below, i. 397, n. 1.
a of 28–32; the Presentment as originally published had in
1 In the original presentment the hiatuses were filled in — the first with the name of ‘Edmund Parker, at the Bible and crown in Lombard-street’, the second with that of ‘T. Warner at the Black Boy in Pater-Noster Row’.
This was not the first time that Warner had been in trouble of this kind. For publishing Joseph Hall’s A Sober Reply to Mr. Higgs’ Merry Arguments, from the Light of Nature, for the Tritheistick Doctrine of the Trinity, the House of Lords, in Feb. 17 19/20, had him haled before them, decided that ‘the whole Book is a Mixture of the most scandalous Blasphemy, Profaneness, and Obscenity; and does, in a most daring, impious Manner, ridicule the Doctrine of the Trinity, and all Revealed Religion’; and they instructed that he be prosecuted (see Journals of the House of Lords xxi. 231–2). On still another occasion (Journals . . . Lords xxii. 360–1) we learn ‘That the Lords Committees appointed to inquire into the Author, Printer, and Publisher, of a scandalous Libel, highly reflecting upon the Christian Religion, intituled, “The British Journal, of Saturday the Twenty-first of November 1724,” had agreed upon a report’ concerning ‘one Warner, for whom the same is mentioned to be printed; who gave an Account, That he was only concerned in the Publication thereof; and acted therein as a Servant to one Woodward, a Bookseller, who was the Proprietor.
‘The said Woodward, being thereupon examined, confessed, “That he was the Proprietor of the said Paper . . . . one Samuel Aris was the Printer”.’
1 All these numbers contained letters signed ‘Cato’. No. 26, for 16 Mar. 1723, included a letter, The Use of Words, by John Trenchard. No. 35, for 18 May 1723, contained On the Conspiracy. No. V, by Thomas Gordon, a continuation of preceding articles on the conspiracy. In no. 36, for 25 May 1723, appeared On the Conspiracy. No. VI, by Trenchard. And no. 39, for 15 June 1723, contained Trenchard’s essay Of Charity-Schools. — The Use of Words is a discussion of the nature of belief, containing a repudiation of belief in mysteries, a consideration of the practicability of believing in a Trinity and yet in one God, and a pooh-poohing of religious conflict and efforts at proselytizing. The articles in nos. 35 and 36 contain violent denunciations of the clergy. The last letter (no. 39) is an attack on charity-schools as hotbeds of Popery and rebellion, disarrangers of the economic order, and the ruination of the pupils’ characters. This article, like many other letters of Cato, is pervaded by an intense hatred of priesthood.
‘Cato’s’ Letters had caused official action before. In 1721 the Commons summoned Peele, then publisher of the London Journal, where the Letters were appearing, and Gordon, the author (see below, i. 387, n. 1). Peele absconded and Gordon hid. (See Cobbett, Parliamentary History, ed. 1811, vii. 810.)
2 See above, i. 15, n. 1.
1 In terming ‘Cato’ ‘Catiline’ the author of the Letter to Lord C. was possibly inspired by recollection of a pamphlet against ‘Cato’s’ Letters which had appeared in 1722 under the title of The Censor Censur’d: or, Cato Turn’d Catiline.
Most of ‘Cato’s’ Letters appeared from 1720 to 1723, being published every Saturday, at first in the London Journal and later in the British Journal, in which latter periodical appeared the letters presented by the Grand Jury. Collections of these letters were issued in numerous editions, the first being in 1721. As appears from Thomas Gordon’s prefaces to the various editions of these letters, which he edited, the letters were written by himself and John Trenchard, independently and in collaboration. At least as early as 1724, Trenchard’s name was coupled “with the letters, for an advertisement in the Weekly Journal or Saturday’s Post of 18 Apr. 1724 stated, ‘This Day is publish’d . . . All CATO’s LETTERS . . . with . . . a Character of the late JOHN TRENCHARD, Esq.’
John Trenchard (1662–1723) was a Whig with popular sympathies, and a consistently bitter enemy of the High Church party. He was well known as a pamphleteer and journalist.
Thomas Gordon (d. 1750) was a pamphleteer of some prominence. He became Trenchard’s amanuensis, gaining his favour and acquaintance in 1719 by some pamphlets on the Bangorian controversy. A paper known as the Independent Whig was run by them conjointly. Gordon remained faithful to his colleague’s memory after his death, editing edition after edition of his works, and painstakingly defending him.
2 This was the Old Pretender, James Francis Edward Stuart, son of James II and Mary of Modena. In Free Thoughts (1729) pp. 361–7, Mandeville considers the then much-mooted question of whether the Pretender really was the son of James II, and declares it insoluble.
a Encouragoment 32
1 ‘Natural’ religion was that which all unbiased, normal minds could reach without the aid of divine Revelation.
a would 32
b himsel 32
1 See ‘ Cato’s’ Letter Of Charity-Schools, in the British Journal for 15 June 1723, p. 2.
2 ‘One Constantine a Græcian, living in Thredneedle-street, over against St. Christophers Church London,’ says the Intelligencer for 23 Jan. 166 4/5, ‘being licenced to sell and retail Coffee, Chocolate, Cherbet, and Tea, desires it to be notified, that the right Turky Coffee Berry or Chocolate may be had as cheap and as good of him the said Constantine at the place aforesaid, as is anywhere to be had for mony . . . .’ Certain members of the Royal Society used to meet at this coffee-house, being known as ‘the Learned Club’. In the Tatler, it will be remembered, Steele placed ‘learning, under the title of Grecian’ (no. 1).
1 ‘Cato’s’ Letter Of Charity-Schools, in the British Journal for 15 June 1723, p. 2.
a Obligatons 32
a Counties 32. The letter as originally printed had Countries
a the 32. The letter as originally printed had their
a ancipiated 32
1 ‘Cato’s’ Letter Of Charity-Schools, in the British Journal for 15 June 1723, p. 2.
2 The Duke of Ormonde (1665–1745) was impeached after plotting the Rebellion of 1715, and fled to France. He was immensely popular, and his name was used as a watchword by Jacobites and those of High Church sympathies like his. ‘ “Ormonde and High Church” had become the cry in every tumult’ (Leadam, History of England . . . (1702–1760), ed. 1909, p 236).
3 ‘Cato’s’ Letter Of Charity-Schools, p. 2.
1 See ‘Cato’s’ Letter in the British Journal (no. 26) for 16 Mar. 1723, p. 2.
1 Quoted from Fable i. 369.
2 I find contemporary Halls who were clergymen, and Halls who were criminals, and criminals who were clergymen, but I find none who was at once clergyman, criminal, and Hall — and executed. — However, in 1716 one John Hall and a certain Rev. William Paul were hanged together for treason. The case was famous. It is possible that by a confusion Philo-Britannus remembered Hall as the clergyman.
3 Christopher Layer (1683–1723) projected a scheme to aid the Old Pretender, hoping for the chancellorship if successful. He proposed to enlist broken soldiers, seize the Tower, the Mint, and the Bank, secure the royal family, and murder the government officials. He was betrayed by two of his mistresses, and executed at Tyburn. A detailed contemporary account of his trial will be found in the supplement to the London Journal of 2 Feb. 172 2/3 and in the issues of 9–23 Feb., and in the Historical Register for 1723, viii. 50–97.
a Philo-Britannus’s letter as originally published had Immortality.
1 The only Bill of this nature of whose presentation at this time there seems record was one for taxing Papists who refuse ‘to take the Oaths appointed by an Act [Statutes 1 Geo. I, stat. 2, c. 13] . . . for the further Security of his Majesty’s Person and Government’, offered to the Commons 26 Apr. 1723 by Mr. Lowndes (Journals of the . . .. Commons xx. 197 and 210) and passed by the Lords 22 May 1723 (Journals of the . . . Lords xxii. 209). It is possible, therefore, that the Bill mentioned by Philo-Britannus was a mere intention of Lord C., or, perhaps, existed only in the mind of Philo-Britannus. It is, however, also conceivable that Lowndes’s Bill, which was later supported in the Upper House by Carteret (apparently Lord C. — cf. above, i. 15, n. 1), was inspired by him — then, as a secretary of state, in a position to make this very possible; and the Bill may therefore be the one intended by Philo-Britannus.
1 This pseudonym may have been suggested by the fact that at this time the leading articles in the London Journal were signed ‘Britannicus’.
a has 29
1 Cited by Philo-Britannus, Fable i. 397–8.
a the 24, L. J.
1 This ‘Peace’ involved a succession of ‘peaces’ from 1719 to 1721 between Sweden and England, Denmark, Norway, Prussia, Hanover, Poland, Saxony, and Russia. Cf. above, i. 15, n. 1.
a These 24, 25, L. J.
1 Fable i. 24.
b Deliverences 32
2 This summary is not a quotation. Cf. the citations from North, Locke, and La Bruyère given above, i. xcvi, n., 34, n. 1, and 192, n. 1, and Rémond de Saint-Mard’s statement that ‘ . . . les vertus . . . nous font toutes aspirer à quelque chose que nous ne possedons pas, & par-là deviennent autant de preuves de notre indigence’ (Œuvres Mêlées, The Hague, 1742, i. 114). Cf. also Fontenelle, Dialogues des Morts, the last third of the dialogue between Apicius and Galileo.
1 Fable i. 95.
1 This is stated also in Mandeville’s Letter to Dion (1732), p. 15. In the Post-Man, and the Historical Account, &c. for 1–3 Aug. 1723 and 2–4 Jan. 1724, however, Dryden Leach advertised the Fable for sale, bound, at three shillings, and it was listed for that price in Applebee’s Original Weekly Journal for 18 Jan. 172 3/4. In Bettesworth’s catalogue it appeared for 5s. 6d.
a pag. 24–29, L. J.
a lower] p. 308 29
b Occupations 24–29, L. J.
1 See Fable i. 8.
a of 29
a pag. 24, 25, L. J.
1 In another, subsequent defence of the Fable— the Letter to Dion (1732)— Mandeville employs similar ironic tactics: ‘I can’t say, that there are not several Passages in that Dialogue, which would induce one to believe, that you [Bishop Berkeley] had dipt into the Fable of the Bees; but then to suppose, that upon having only dipt in it, you would have wrote against it as you have done, would be so injurious to your Character, the Character of an honest Man, that I have not Patience to reason upon such an uncharitable Supposition. . . . You are not the first, Sir, by five hundred, who has been very severe upon the Fable of the Bees without having ever read it. I have been at Church my self, when the Book in Question has been preach’d against with great Warmth by a worthy Divine, who own’d that he had never seen it. . .’ (p. 5).
1 In his Letter to Dion (1732) Mandeville further elaborates his apology for the sub-title Private Vices, Publick Benefits. ‘The true Reason’, he says (p. 38), ‘why I made use of the Title . . . was to raise Attention. . . . This . . . is all the Meaning I had in it; and I think it must have been Stupidity to have had any other.’ The reader should notice, he writes (p. 36), that, in the subtitle, ‘there is at least a Verb . . . wanting to make the Sense perfect’. This sense is not that all vice is a public benefit, but that some vice may, by careful regulation, be made productive of social good.
a Invectives 24, 25, L. J.
b Adversary L. J.
2 Cf. De Haruspicum Responsis Oratio ix. 19.
[a] Cic. . . . Resp.] Cicer. Orat. de Harusp. Respons. 24; Cic. Orat. de Harusp. Respons. 25
By the Author of the First.
Opinionum enim Commenta delet dies; Naturæ judicia confirmat. Cicero de Nat. Deor. Lib. 2.
Printed: And Sold by J. Roberts in
Warwick-Lane. M DCC XXIX.
[Note on the original publisher of this volume; see title-page on recto of this leaf:]
James Roberts was the son of Robert Roberts, a printer (see MS. Register of Freemen of Stationers’ Company for 7 Nov. 1692), and possibly a descendant of the James Roberts who printed several Shakespeare quartos. This ancestry is indicated by the identity of name and trade — doubly significant considering the possibilities then of family succession in these matters. The later James was admitted a freeman of the Stationers’ Company 7 Nov. 1692 and clothed 1 July 1695 (MS. Court Book of Stationers’ Company, 1683–97, f. 227). He became Under Warden in 1723 and 1724, Upper Warden in 1727, and was made Master of the Company in 1729, 1730, 1731, and 1732 (Court Book, 1717–33, pp. 150, 179, 271, 335, 376, 427, and 454). He died at eighty-five (Nichols, Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century, ed. 1812, iii. 737) and was buried 7 Nov. 1754 in the church of St. Martin, Ludgate (by the parish register).
From his career it is evident that his contemporaries thought him one of the great printers of his generation, and his books substantiate their judgement. His printing ranks with the finest of his age. Among imposing volumes which should apparently be credited to him are the original editions of Pope’s Odyssey and Shakespeare, Garth’s Ovid (1717), Prior’s Poems on Several Occasions (1718), and Gay’s Fables (1727). (That Roberts printed these books is shown by the complete identity of certain ornaments in them with those in books whose printing is ascribed to Roberts on the title-page.) As a publisher, Roberts issued first editions for Pope, Fielding, Steele, Defoe, Prior, Swift, Young, Congreve, Addison, Lord Hervey, and Dr. Johnson. In addition, he was a copious publisher of pamphlets, with a leaning towards unorthodox ones. That he printed often for Tonson (if the evidence of ornaments is to be trusted), and alternated with Tonson in the publication of the various editions of the Fable, indicates close business relations between the two men.
Roberts published and printed for Mandeville (according to title-page) all the separate editions of Part II of the Fable, the 1720 Free Thoughts, the Executions at Tyburn, and the Letter to Dion, and published the 1714 editions of the Fable and the Mischiefs that ought justly to be apprehended from a Whig-Government (both editions). If the evidence of the ornaments can be trusted, he also printed all the octavo editions of the first part of the Fable after 1723 up to and including that of 1732 (they contain ornaments identical with those in Part II of the Fables), the Origin of Honour (which shares cuts with the Letter to Dion), and the 1730 Treatise of the Hypochondriack and Hysterick Diseases (which contains the same ornaments as the octavo editions of the Fable).
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:58