To Which is Added,
Advice to the Voters of Great-Britain
at the Approaching
Printed for G. Kearsly, at No 46, in Fleet-Street. 1774M.DCC.LXXIV.
Price One Shilling and Sixpence.
To the reader.
The following little poem is the production of an infant Muſe who has hitherto only ambled at the foot of Parnaſſus; but who, on the preſent occaſion, was vainly prompted, by her feelings for the diſcontented ſtate of affairs in England and America, to think ſhe could manage the great horſe, and heroically poſt to their aſſiſtance. If ſhe can, in any reſpect, be ſerviceable to them, it will afford her infinite ſatisfaction, as ſhe is a ſincere well-wiſher to Liberty in every clime; but ſhould her endeavours fail, ſhe will, at leaſt, have the conſolation of knowing that the attempt aroſe from a diſintereſted and virtuous principle; A2 in iv A2v iiiiv in which caſe, if ſhe rates her abilities at too high a ſtandard, it muſt be allowed ſomewhat excuſable. The generous Public, however, it is hoped, if her Pegaſſus has made a few falſe ſteps, or ſtumbled on the way,—will impute it to the true cauſe—that of his having been but a ſhort time in training.
The picture ſhe has drawn of the general depravity of religious and civil policy, ſhe flatters herſelf is a true one; and the advice ſhe offers to the Voters of this kingdom, at the enſuing General Election, ſhe cannot but think reaſonable and wholeſome; for the practice of it is, in her opinion, the only means to ſave this country from utter deſtruction.
Inſcribed to Britannia.
O Weeping Goddeſs, when wilt thou have reſt?
When huſh to peace the tumults of thy breaſt?
Thy children once were duteous, loving, kind,
And friends and relatives of one firm mind :
But now what feuds, what diſmal diſcords riſe?
Diſcords inteſtine rend thy clouded ſkies!
No more thy breaſts with god-like ardor beat;
Thy nerves unſtrung—thy heart devoid of heat—
Thy pallid, quiv’ring lips, and hollow eye,
(Symptoms conſumptive) all declare you die.
But if, fair Godeſs! thou art doom’d to death,
Let not thine own weak arm cut ſhort thy breath!
While France and Spain their treach’rous ſchemes purſue,
Still,—ſtill, at leaſt, to thine own ſelf be true.
If Britain’s ſons to ſuicide are prone,
Let them not find example in thine own!
Oft have you bled in honor of our laws—
The ſcars are glorious, if in Virtue’s cauſe.
Thou, who ſo late was miſtreſs of the world,
To be thus raſhly to perdition hurl’d;
Whoſe fleets and armies kept whole realms in awe,
Whoſe warlike trumpet check’d the tyrant’s law;
How mourns my muſe to ſee thee thus debas’d,
And all thy trophies, all thy fame effac’d!
Who can behold (and weep not) Fate’s decree,
A fall from greatneſs, verified in thee?
Yet if, like Rome, we muſt ſubmit to Fate,
Let us, at leaſt, preſerve Religion’s ſtate;
Shall ſuperſtition grow on Britain’s iſle?
Periſh the thought!—it ſuits not with the ſoil!Shall 3 B2r 3
Shall it take root in Britain’s wide domain?
O monſtrous weed! tranſplant it not from Spain.
What curſed villainy, yet unexplor’d,
Could e’er induce thy Ministerial Lord
To aim a blow at pure Religion’s fount,
Nor holy Biſhops call him to account?
What damned views to ſpread the Papal lore,
Through Britain’s ſubjects on Canadia’s ſhore?
Ye mitred Prieſts! who with a ſlaviſh fear,
Sat ſilent by, nor dropt one piteous tear;
Shall ye be ſtil’d the Fathers of the land!
Who ſaw, unmov’d, Religion trembling ſtand,
Nor offer’d once your due parental aid,
To ſoothe the wailings of the ſpotleſs maid?
One, only one, had courage to depart,
Or boldly ſpeak the dictates of his heart.
But why of Biſhops ſhould I deign to write?
Theſe lawny paſtors long have mock’d our fight:
And ſaints of crape, as well as those of lawn
Rich livings get, and ever after yawn;Long 4 B2v 4
Long have they left their flocks upon the plain,
To be by wolves and fell hyenas ſlain.
In turn a weak, enthuſiaſtic band,
Have madly ta’en Religion’s cauſe in hand;
In ev’ry field preſenting to our view
Some cobler canting to a motley crew;
With hell-born fury torturing the minds
Of titled bigots and prieſt-ridden hinds;
And here ſome carpenter, by grace decreed,
Expounds our faith, when he himſelf can’t read.
O ſhame to piety! O ſhame to ſenſe!
Will not one Miniſter the laws diſpenſe?
Muſt we, by Papacy, be overthrown,
And ſuperſtition here erect her throne?
Or elſe to Bigotry aſſenting nod,
And yield that reaſon which we have from God?
Alas, Britannia! how thy laurels fade!
Thy bloſſoms wither, and thy frame’s decay’d!Religion, 5 C1r 5
Religion, politics (alike undone)
Are plants that flouriſh not in England’s ſun :
Haſte then, my Muſe, on eagle’s pinions ſoar
From Britain’s iſle to Boſton’s dreary ſhore,
And view their thrift;—but lo! ’tis here the ſame,
Scorch’d by the ſulph’rous heat of faction’s flame:—
In milder climes a pleaſing form they wear,
But ne’er will thrive in ſuch a hot-bed air.
Behold that military man of might
So lordly ſtalking now before my ſight!
’Tis England’s Bravo, ſent to do a deed
All Nature ſhrinks at—make her children bleed.
A deed that H—tch—n, with all his boaſt,
Dar’d not effect, but quickly fled the coaſt.
And ſhall ſuch braggarts ev’ry where be found
Committing violence on Freedom’s gound?
Shall bully G—ge ſucceed to Luttrell’s fame?
And ſhall he find America quite tame?C Forbid 6 C1v 6
Forbid it, heav’n!—her ſons ſhall ſtill be free,
When Freedom’s ſhade alone attends on thee.
While bleſt Hibernia enjoys the pride
Of framing laws you dare not ſet aſide;
While Scottiſh boroughs, ſmall howe’er their worth,
With ſhew of liberty ſend members forth;
Shall ye from brave Atlanta’s children wreſt
That glorious privilege, by all confeſt,
Of being govern’d by the laws they make?—
Ere this befal them, England’s th――e may ſhake.
To what bleſt iſle is Britain’s genius fled?
Are all our ſtateſmen—all our patriots dead?
Is there no ſpark of Hampden’s ſpirit left?
Are we of Pryns and Lilburnes quite bereft?
When Becket’s inſolence oppreſſed this land,
There yet was found one honeſt, friendly hand,
To do what juſtice to his country’s wrongs,
Which, when the laws deny, to man belongs.When 7 C2r 7
When place-proud Buckingham, that haughty peer,
Had gain’d ſuch pow’r as ſpurn’d at law’s career,
The time produc’d a Felton’s zealous ſoul,
To curb his might, and all his pride controul:
His ſcepter’d maſter too, that meekly ſheep,
By pious Cromwell ſoon was huſh’d to ſleep.
May titled Culprits puniſhment await!
Since leſſer criminals muſt yield to fate;
And oft our penal ſtatutes, wiſely bright,
Condemn a robber to the ſhades of night,
Whoſe crimes, if Juſtice held her balance ſtreight,
Would drop a Lord’s, and ſcarcely ſhew their weight.
Hark! the block groans!—the axe too heaves a ſigh
At dearth of bus’neſs—’tis the gen’ral cry!
For inſtruments of uſe are lain aſide,
And nought but taſte now ſwells the public tide.
Taſte is a word that, ere theſe graceful times,
Was never known in reaſon or in rhimes,To 8 C2v 8
To mean aught elſe but well-directed ſenſe,
Nor could a blockhead to it claim pretence;
But times are chang’d, and Gallic manners reign;
Now empty coxcombs taſte and grace muſt feign;
Muſeums, paintings, morning hours employ,
And ev’ry night affords ſome pretty toy;
Pantheons, Maſques, Cornelys’s appear,
With Fête Champetres bringing up the rear.
Ah! how unlike to theſe were days of yore,
Ere gold, that bane to virtue, curs’d our ſhore;
Ere the rapacious ſons of India’s ſtrand
Had, with opreſſion, beggar’d half the land!
Ere murd’ring Nabobs dealt abroad their wealth,
And bills were fram’d, which paſs to laws by ſtealth;
Or fields enclos’d—monopolies practis’d—
Our honeſt fathers better were advis’d;
And gladly ſaw the ſons of ſteady care
Contented look, and thankful ſmiles to wear;Nor 9 D1r 9
Nor farms engroſs’d—nor dar’d electors bribe;
But to ſome juſtice might with truth ſubſcribe.
And oft was ſeen the hoſpitable Lord
Inviting ſtrangers to his friendly board;
Then gladden’d tenants knew a bounteous meal—
Such heav’nly joys few modern Lords can feel;
Theſe void of thought, and deſtitute of ſenſe,
To god-like charity have no pretence.
But ſoft, ye ſons of Mammon! liſt and hear!
Ye ſons of airy pleaſure too, draw near!
If ye behold, with unrelenting eyes,
The tears of orphans, and the widow’s cries;
If ye can foſter, (tho’ ye gave them birth)
Such direful evils on this wretched earth,
Vengeance awaits! nor ſhall the future hell
Alone encompaſs ye with horrid yell!
Already hunger calls aloud, and bleeds,
And hot revenge lights nearly on your heads.
Deſpair already ſhakes her gory locks,
And ſheperds ceaſe to tend upon your flocks;D Artiſts 10 D1v 10
Artists and hinds in famine’s form appear,
And emigrate in ſhoals the Lord knows where.
And can ye, Great Ones, view with careleſs eye,
(From Pleaſure’s lap) ſuch ſcenes as theſe paſs by?
Can ye rich draughts from Folly’s pois’nous bowls,
Repeated drink, nor ſtir they once your ſouls?
Are ye ſo ſenſeleſs grown, as not to know
The ſad effects that from ſuch cauſes flow?
Your lands forſaken, who will till your ground?
Or where the means of luxury be found?
If artiſts leave ye, who will pleaſe your taſte,
Who coin new ſights your heavy time to waſte?
Reverſe the caſe—and grant they ſtill abide
On England’s ground, to bear oppreſſion’s tide,
Compel their ſtay—the evils will remain:—
Ye ne’er can think to tyrannize again.
The time’s at hand, when my prophetic ſoul
Forebodes a ſtorm thro’ Albion’s narrow goal;A ſtorm 11 D2r 11
A ſtorm whoſe thunderbolts ſhall quickly ſpread,
And hurl deſtruction on each tyrant’s head:
Behold it moves in clouds from Cabot’s ſhore!
Behold the lightnings flaſh! the thunders roar!
Soon will it hover o’er this wretched iſle!
Soon will it deſolate induſtry’s toil!
Scarce have the ghoſts of Bigby, Allen, Clark,
Forſook our land to join their native dark;
On Brentford murders ſcarce is caſt a ſhade,
Or George’s Fields in memory decay’d;
When lo! a valiant, military band,
With inſtruments of death in ev’ry hand,
Are ſent commiſſion’d to the weſtern main,
To carnage there,—and who ſhall dare complain?
O haraſs’d Goddeſs! nameleſs are thy woes!
Boaſt—boaſt no more the ſweetneſs of thy roſe!
See how it droops its pale—its ſickly head!
Nor longer bluſhes with a crimſon red!Thy 12 D2v 12
Thy nerveleſs ſons effeminate are grown,
And proſtitution deluges the town;
Thoſe ſons ſo late with matchleſs valour crown’d,
Thoſe daughters fair for chaſtity renown’d;
And wretched infants from their ſires inherit
Diſeaſes foul, with ſlaviſhneſs of ſpirit.
But ſtop, my Muſe,—the med’cines are at hand
To heal its wounds, and ſave this ſinking land!
Deſpair not, Britons!—ſtill your pride maintain,
And Freedom’s flow’rs ſhall yet adorn your plain;
Religion’s branches ſtill ſhall wave and bloom,
And fill the land with fragrance and perfume.
Shall we diſtemper’d be, and know a cure,
And tamely ſuch calamity endure?
Rouze then, for ſhame!—exert your utmoſt force,
Probe deep the wounds, and find their pois’nous ſource.
When the meek Candidate, with proffer’d love
Of honor’d favors, courts ye from above;When 13 E1r 13
When, ſerpent-like, your ſenſes to beguile,
He plans your downfal with Corruption’s ſmile;
When boaſted Liberty his vows contain,
And England’s glory triumphs in his ſtrain;
Reflect one moment—keep yourſelf awake!
Nor ſuffer once the ſly, deſigning ſnake,
To twine his body round fair Freedom’s tree,
And fatten on the boughs of Liberty;
Think then in time, and diſengage his hold,
Or ſev’n long years he graſps ye to his fold.
Know then your conſequence, and ſhun the bait,
However ſweet or gilded be its ſtate!
Whether it takes a form of gen’rous hue,
Or wears corruption plainly in its view.
Ye ne’er can be by foreign foes deſtroy’d,
If ’mongſt yourſelves bleſt concord is enjoy’d;
And Britain’s empire—’tis by all agreed,
If e’er it falls, her ſons muſt do the deed.
On plain and ſmall-profeſſing men depend—
The man of virtue, he is Freedom’s friend;
Who ſpends his life without that private guide
You ne’er can truſt, nor in his vows confide;
Whate’er he tells ye of the public good,
Believe him not—it cannot be withſtood;
Let bleſſed Freedom in your mem’ry live,
Think what a great commiſſion ’tis ye give.
Whatever evils yet are unredreſs’d,
Or venal acts ye wiſh to have repreſs’d;
Now is the time, exert your utmoſt pow’r,
This—this alone is Liberty’s free hour;
Impoſe your terms, and fix on them his ſeal,
To ſee full juſtice done this injur’d weal;
Blot from the Statutes each oppreſſive law,
Raze from the Journals each recorded flaw.
Let no vile precedent their pages ſtain,
Nor think a recent one to write of vain:Mark 15 15
Mark the reſolve that ſtares ye in the face,
And ſee baſe Luttrell fill a Wilkes’s place.
Electors all attend—the period’s near,
Act then uprightly, without dread or fear:
Reſtore our ſully’d and diſhonour’d name,
And times remote ſhall conſecrate your fame.