Philip Skelton.

Truth in a mask .. online

. (page 3 of 11)
Online LibraryPhilip SkeltonTruth in a mask .. → online text (page 3 of 11)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Let me alfo advife you, who are ap-
pointed publick Infpeclors of the
Work, to receive all good and whole-
fome Honey, that is brought you,
and to flow it immediately, without
enquiring what Hour of the Day it
was gathered, or from what Vege-
tables extracted. Our King, Thanks
to his unlimited Bounty, has given us
a free Grant of all the Gardens and
Fields, and proclaimed the various
Flowers that bloom at the feveral

' Seafons,



(V )

Seafons, or enamel the whole Face of
' the Earth, to be clean and fit for

* the Ufe of Bees. Let not one Part

* of us pretend to live upon the La-

* hour of the more Induftrious, while
c they fpend their Time in difputing
about Opinions, which, be they ne-
c ver fo right, they have no Inclina-
c tion to put in Practice. It is of dan-
* gerous Confequence to ridicule thofe

* as filly, unlearned, or flavifh, that
1 honeftly labour for the Common Sup-
c port of our Society. There are ma-

* ny among us that pretend to direct,
c and dictate without any Authority
from our King ; and others, who
' altho' authorized, take the Liberty to

contend with and rail at each other,
while they fhould give all their Dili-
gence to regulate the publick Affairs.
When his Majefty thinks it conveni-
ent, no doubt on it, he will piinifh
the firft as Intruders, and the laft as
Difturbers of the publick Peace. By
Unanimity and mutual Affiftance we
E (hall



(4* )

* fliall again thrive. If we lay By cur
' vain and foolifli Speculations, and
' induftrioufly apply our felvcs to the
' neceflary Bufinefs of the Hive, we

* fhall again fiouriih. Peace, and Se-

* curity, and Plenty fliall be again re-

* flored. The Fields fhall contribute
their Golden Wealth, and the Gar-

* dens their rich Perfumes. But, if we
i {ha.ll ilill periift in our abfurd and

* dangerous Folly , let us remember

* that \ve have a King, who, lince he
cannot reform us by his Counfcls, will
' undoubtedly fubdue us to a founder
<- and better Mind by that Power which
1 he holds not in vain.

* WE may be fure he will neither be

* regardlefsof our Intereft nor his own
4 Honour. Chufe you now whether you
'* will be wifely led by Advice to con-
fult your Safety, or be forced into a
better Conducl by the unhappy Effects-
< of your prefent Folly, and of the
Royal Difpleafure. It is true, I am

* but one of yourfelves, and no further

< authorifed



(43 )

authorifed to fpeak in Publick, than
as Reafon, Neceffity, and Concern for
the publick Calamity have emboldened
me. However, it is your Intereft to
be guided by Reafon, altho' it fhould
be Conveyed to you through the mean-
eft Vehicle, as well as to gather
Honey from Flowers the lead (howy
or ftately.

' SAYING this he withdrew. The

Bees, afhamed of their paft Folly and

Perverfenefs, and tired with the Mi-

feries their Broils and Contentions had

; brought upon them, betake themfelves

' filent and repenting, to Labour and

: Induftry. Nor was it long 'ere they

1 had fufficient Reafon to rejoice at the

Reftoration of their ancient Simplicity;

* for with it, Peace, Wealth and Order

* returned, and all Things were fet to
Rights within, while each Bee, ftudi-
c ous of the common Good, ch'earfully
traded among the Meadows and Fields,

* and gladly faluted his fellow Citizen?,
as he met them among the Flowers.

ALLUSION



(44 )



The Fifth.

IT was about the Middle of Summer,
when Nature enriches the Fields,
and ftores the Gardens with unftinted

X

Bounty, that a pretty numerous Com-
pany of Students and other Gentlemen,
fet out from Oxford for London. As
they were moft of them Men of Tafte,
-and particularly enamoured of Nature,
with a certain Caft to Freedom of
Thought, they communicated their
Obfervations on the Country they rode
through, to the no fmall Entertainment
of each other, altho' there was fcarce
any Agreement In their Sentiments or
Taftes. Some were befl pleafed with
Gardens, others with Fields. The
Rivers had their Admirers, and the
new mown Meadows, with their Hay-
cocks



( 45 )

cocks, theirs. This liked one Gentle-
man's Seat, and that another - y and if
there was any Thing in which they a-
greed, it was in commending the Com-
mons and the Downs, inafmuch as,
there principally, Nature and Liberty
appeared. This Diverfity of Sentiment
afforded at firft, a good deal of Variety
to their Converfation, and gave it a
Sprightlinefs that does not always attend
an uniformity of Tafte and Opinion in
Company. However, it was not long
'ere it degenerated into Difputation,
each Party growing fo warm in Defence
of his own, and Contradiction of the
oppofite Opinion, that the moft pofitive
Bigots could not have expected greater
Reiignation from others than thefe free,
thefe fair, and candid Thinkers. They
all talked at once, and wrangled with
fuch Vehemence and Noife, that other
Travellers, who met them, thought
them mad, and thofe who dwelt by the
Road, came out to flare, while
their Dogs barked^ the Boors fhouted,

and



(46)

and the Concert con filled of the mbfl
confufed Set of Noifes that were ever
heard.

ALL this Time Aerius y who had
ever before been careful to have his Share
of Noife and Contention, was quite fi-
lent, and feemed fo unufually wrapped
up in Thought, that the reft, happen-
ing, to obferve him, ceafed all of a fud-
den, and, fixing their Eyes on him, ex-
pected, in deep Sufpence, the Iflue of
fuch intenfe Meditation. As foon as he
found there was Silence made, he broke
it with a loud Exclamation.

* O how miferably are we debarred
of our natural Rights and Privileges !

< Behold that Garden, a fpotof dtlicious
* Ground, to which all Mankind have
an equal Right, enclofed by ftrong

< Walls, and engrofled by one ! Nay,
behold the whole Country on our
right Hand and on our left, that
ought to be as free as Light or Air,
occupied by particular Perfons, that
call themfelves Owners and Lords of



( 47 )

it, and all its Produce! Away with
thefe Hedges and Ditches ereded here

* without my Confent, to (hut me and

* Mankind out from our own! Who
can endure, that, of all this noble
1 Country, io flored with the Necefla-
e ries of Life, and the Materials of Plea-
' fure, not a Foot fliould be left us, but
c this narrow Road, bare and barren,

* and void even of Nourifhment, for the

* Beafls that carry us ; infomuch that

* we are forced to purchafe Neceflaries
c on the Road, and fubmit to buy our
' own, or ftarve. Is it not, my Friends,
1 the Mark of a mod: flavifh and abject
s Spirit, to fuffer ourfelves to be cooped
< up between the Ditches that bound
this Road, to follow the Crowd, to
' jog on contented with the Beafts of
Burthen, while we dare not pafs into
4 our own Grounds, while we dare not
1 pull thofe Flowers, nor tafte thofe
c Fruits, that fpring fpontaneous from
a Soil common to Mankind, and re-

* ferve not their Sweets with an Inten-

* tion



tion to pleafe any particular Perfon,
but invite all, and are as ready to re-
gale you or me, as him that prefumes
to monopolize them. As for this
c dull beaten Track, I leave it to the
Wretches that are fatisfied to be led

or driven by others. Let them poor-
ly content themfelves with the Con-
finement and Reflraint that others are
pleafed .to lay upon them, fince they
have not Refolution to afiert their
own, nor Spirit to trace out a free

* and generous Path for themfelves. I,
' for my own Part, will difmount im-
mediately from this Horfe ; fuch Helps
' I defpife, they are a falfe Acknow-
ledgment of Weaknefs, I have Legs
' of my own, of fufficient Strength, and
(hall not borrow from an Animal fo
much my inferior. Where is the
4 Good of thinking freely, if I may not
c act with fuitable Freedom ? Whilft
1 nothing in Nature, no, not even Rea-
' fon itfelf, can bound my Thoughts j
v muft I fuffer Ditches to confine my*

Feet,



(49 )

* Feet, and Locks my Hands? How
* dare -any Man fliut me out from my

* natural and indefeafible Rights? Are

* not thefe Grounds mine, as well as his
' that has can fed thefe arbitrary Fences

* to be made ? He might as well pre-

* fume to meafure out the Sea by

* Marches and Mearings, and erect par-
' ticular Pofleffion and Dominion on the
' Waters j taxing the Fifh, and renting
c out the Waves, as to engrofs any Part
' of the Land, which was at firfl as com-
mon as the Sea, and hath been fince
' cantoned and occupied by Tyrants and
1 OpprefTors, whole Rights I difallow,

* as I defy their Power.

THERE was fomething fo new in
this Refolution, fo free in the Expqftu-
lations with which it was defended, and
fo animated in the whole Harangue,
that, like the Cry of a Mafter-hound,
it opened the Mouths of the whole
Pack, who, almolt to a Man, feconded
what he faid with a loud Cry of Nature
and Liberty, and forthwith declared
F againft



( 5 )

againft the common Road, and were
preparing to take the Fields, when
Polites^ who loved Freedom as well as
Aerius, but knew how to diftinguim
between that and Madnefs, obferving
that they were in earneft, begged that
Serins would, in the Name of the reft,
anfwer him a few Queflions before they
parted, which was readily granted him,
and it produced the following (hort Dia-
logue,

< POLICE S. Pray, Aerius, with

< what Intention did we leave Oxford?

< AE R IUS. To vifit London.
'POLICES. Ought we not to

c take the readieft, the fafefl, and the
c mofl agreeable Way thither?

< AERIUS. No doubt on it we
e ought, and there it is; directly over
thofe Fields, and through that Gar-
e den.

'POLICES. Why do you not
c think the High-way a more ready
c Path to London , than over Hedge and

< Ditch, after Will-irith-tbe->wifp?

'AERIUS.



e AE,R1US. By no means. It winds

* and turns fo many different Ways,

* and maketh fuch needlefs Semicircles

* and Angles, that I have not Patience
' to follow it. Not I, I am for the near

< Cut. I love to go the fhorte.ft Way
to my Point. Order the Road to be
1 cut in a right Line, and then perhaps
c I may not altogether difapprove it j

* but, remember, it muft be mathemati-

* cally direct, or I will have nothing to
fay to it.

< POLICES. How can that be
done, when it is to ferve other PCQJ-
' pies Occafions, as well as yours, and

* * muft now and then make an Elbow

< at a Country-town, that there may
.be a Communication thence to the

< City?

< AERIUS. Pugh. What have I to
1 do with other Peoples Occafions ?

< What ferves all, ferves none effectual-

< ly. If I can find a ftiorter, that fhall
* ferve my Occafions.

F 2 < POLJTES.



( $2 )

< POLI'TES. But how can you find
a (horter? Setting afide the Labour
of leaping Ditches, and fcrambling
through Hedges, is it poffible for you
c to pate from hence in a right Line to

* London? Every Hill you come to, will
1 oblige you to quit your diredt Path,
and betake yourfelf to fuch round-
' about Ways as will coft you no little
( Time. There is no darting through
c the Center of an Hill, to avoid going
c about. Then a Lake, or a rapid River,
' or a walled Town, will put you quite
c out, in fpite of your Teeth. At the
End of your Journey you will cer-

* tainly find, that travelling on the open
c Road with a good Horie under you,
was a readier Way than trudging it on

< Foot through Briers and Thorns. We
will give you Demonftration for that,
' by feeing a good Part of the Town be-

< fore you arrive.

* AERIUS. Why, look you, Poli-

< tes, that may be, becaufe we mall be

< greatly taken up in contemplating the

* Beauties



(53 )

Beauties of Nature as we pafs through
them. But perhaps the high Road
may be the readier of the two. I
am fure you will allow, it is not the
fafer. Such Impofition at Inns on a
Road, fo befet with Foot- pads and
High way- men, greatly frighten me.
Give me the rural Honefty of thofe
fruitful Fields and flowery Lawns ,
where I may walk, or ileep, or divert
me, as I lift, without fear of Robbers
or Pick-pockets.

' POLITES. Have a Care how
you call Names, Aerius-, thofe Per-
fons whom you afperfe, are Men of
the fame way of thinking, and the
very fame Principles with yourfelf.
<4ERIUS. With me, Sir? No, Sir,
I am a. Man of Honour, Sir, and
would fcorn to rob or pilfer.
< POL1TES* How do you mean?
Are not all things in common ?



I US. Yes, Sir, fo I hold.
1 POLICES. Is not therefore the Mo-
ney in my Pocket as much yours as
mine ? F 3 AERIUS.



( 54)

Undoubtedly it is.
POLICES. And is not the Money
in your Fob as much mine as yours?

< ^ERIUS. Hum. Why, why; I
believe it muft.

< POLICES. Well, then, what
need you fear on the great Road,
iince you carry nothing but what you
acknowledge to be the Right of any
Man you meet? And why will you
load People with reproachful Names
of Thief and Robber, for claiming
what they have a natural Right to ?
And which, if you refufed, you muft
be an Enclofer and a Monopolifer by
your own Principles, as much as he
that fhuts you out of a Piece of your
Ground, which he calls his Garden,
becaufe he hath built a Wall about it,
and carries the Key ? Then, again, I
am furprized to hear you talk of Im-
pofition at Inns, as if the Hoft could
do you any Injuftice, who carry his
Money as well as your own. Nay, is
he not very civil in giving you either

4 Meat



(55 )

< Meat or Drink for Money, which
c he hath as good a Right to as your-
felf ?

<AERIUS. Civil! There you are
out. Have not I a Right to his Meat

* and Drink? Are they not mine? Is
' not all he hath my own.?

< POLITES. And why then don't
' you travel with us, and treat your
' Friends, fince you have fuch plentiful
1 Provifion laid in before you ?

< AERIUS. Becaufe I have the
c very fame here in the Country at e-

< very Gentleman's Seat and Farmer's
Houfe. And then I am better pleafed

< with the Tour of the Fields and
c Gardens, which will lead me through

* Flowers, and Fruits, and beautiful

* Scenes, where I can tread on Nature's

* green Carpet, and hear the fweet
' Chorus of the Grove, than the dufty
4 Track of this tedious Road, where I
1 muft beat my Feet on the unrelenting
c Stones, and be tortured with the mriek-

* ing of Cart-wheels, the rumbling of

F 4 Coaches



( 6 )

c Coaches and Waggons, and the-harfh-

* er Sound of their Voices who drive

* them. I own to you, all Roads mult
' be alike fafe tome, who travel, as the
' Bircl^ do, without Coil or Charges,
' or any thing to lofe, which I claim a

* fpecial Right to: But you will as rta-

* dily own, I hope, that the Way I am
' taking is infinitely more agreeable than

* this which you feem refolved to chufe.

' POLITES. Depend on it, Aerius,

* I will, if you can prove it practicable.
' Do you think you can travel to London
' without your Horfe ? Or, if you mould,
f would not the Labour out- weigh the
' Pleafure?

< AER1US. By no mean?. I can

* do it, and with Pleafure too ; befides,
' though it fliould be a little toilfome or
' fo, it is better than to be beholden to
1 a Brute for that, which Nature has
qualified me to beftow on myfelf. I

* cannot endure to fee one Creature
mounted upon the back of another.

* It is unnatural and tyrannick, and un-

* worthv



( 57 )
< worthy of that Freedom, which,- as

* \ve deiire it ourfelves, we mould not

* infringe in other Creatures.

'POLICES. But, tell me, do you
c really expecl: that the Inhabitants of

* the Country will permit you to break
1 down their Fences; welcome you.

* to their Hjjufes, and freely give you
up your Share of that Provision $
' which you fay they have in keeping

* for you ? Do you think they will
4 readily acknowledge your Right of

* Nature? You know the EngliJJj are

* a ftubborn People, and talk much
of Liberty and Property; what now

* if they mould treat you like a

* fturdy Beggar , and kick you from
1 their Doors, or knock out your

* Brains for an Hou fe- breaker ? For, it
' is certain, not one in a million of them
1 know any thing of the Juftice of

f c your Claim upon their Goods and

* Chatties ; and, what is worfe, if you
pleaded it to them until Doom's-
1 Day, they would never be con-

vinced.



f vinced, being as well intitled to
c think for themfelves, as you or any
' Man elfe, and as tenacious of their
t Subftance as you are of your Opi-
nions?

< AERIU'S. Why truly, Po/ites,
' our fcnglijh are a very unnatural kind
of People j however, I hope to con-

< vince them by the undeniable Ar-
guments I {hall offer. There is Rea-

* fon in all Men, and I {hall make fo
ftrong an Appeal to that fovereign
Arbitrefs of Truth, that they muft
all prefently yield.

< POLICES. I do not know that.

* You fee plainly you cannot convince

< me in a Cafe, in which I am not
' concerned : Plow much lefs will you
be able to reafon them out of what
' tliey value more than their Lives ?

AERIUS. It has alway been

* my Opinion, that Scholars are the
4 moft bigotted Wretches upon Earth.
' You read, Polites^ you read. Hence
' your inexpugnable Prejudices, and in-

f telkftual



(5? )

4 tellectual Slavery to Authorities, and
4 received Errors. But among the Coun-
f try People there is more of Nature,
' and an opener Ear to Inftriiction.
POLICES. Well, this may be

* true j and, it is certain, Reading has

* never biafled your Reafon. But tell
4 me, dear Aerius, would thofe Grounds
4 on the other Side of that Fence you
c are going to break through, be fo

* beautiful, or fo richly ftored with all
' manner of Plenty as they are, did not

* fome Body take care to enclofe them

* with Ditches, or to manure them ?

< AER1US. It is likely they would
not.

' P L I TE S. And would any one
c take the Pains to cultivate them, had

* all the reft of the World as good a
' Right to the Produce as himfelf?

4 AE R IUS. I believe no one would.
e But what then ?

* POLITES. Why then it fol-
4 lows, that if all particular Right were
4 taken away, thofe Crowds that you

4 now



(60 )

now claim fo ftrenuoufly, would in
one Seafon become ufelefs and un-
fruitful, infomuch that neither you,
nor any body elfe, would think them
worth his claiming. But now I think
on it, as I believe you are refolved to
have your Swing, and fuch a one
that there is little Hazard of my ever
feeing you again j I muft not let you
go off with my Clothes on your Back,
That Coat, and the reft, are as much
mine as yours: Come, ftrip, and divide
before we part.

* AERIUS. What, take my
Clothes from me, that I bought
with my own Money ! No, that is

unreafonable and unjuft. But,

hold, fince I have as good a Right to
yours.

1 POL ITE S. Ay, that may be ;
but as I am the ftronger, I am re-
folved to have both ; and I want to
know how you will find your Re-

medv.

j

'AERIUS.



< A E R I U S. What ! would you
have Right and PofTeffion decided by

Force ?'

< POLITES. Yes, undoubtedly
in the goodly State of Nature you
propofe, for there being no Laws,
Right can be founded on nothing
elfe.'

'AERIUS. Yes, Nature has

her own Laws, and thofe fo binding

that, were they not buried under the

: unweildy Superstructure of Statutes

: and Revelations, they would fuffi-

1 ciently fecure the Rights and Privi-

1 leges that are founded on them/

< P O L 7TE S. Are not the Laws
c of Nature to be found in every Man ?'

AERIUS. They are/
'POLICES. Are they equally
f ftrong in all ?

< AERIUS. No, in fome they
* do not operate with that Force that
were to be wifhed.

' POLITES. How then are thofe
f that obey the Law of Nature, to de-

' fend



( 62 )

5 fend themfelves againft the Unjuftice
and Oppreflion of the Lawlefs ?

' AERIU S. Now are we come
right upon Society, and Civil Go-
vernrnent,. and then the Ditches are

< fafe again, and my Claim to the
Lands inclofed, quite defaced. But

< I tell you, Polites, Society is Nonfenfe.

< Your Politicians make a great Stir a-

< bout Forms of Government, fome
{ crying up a Monarchy, fome an A-
' riftocracy, fome a Democracy ; but

< away with them all, fay I ; becaufe
there' can be no fuch Thing as
' Liberty in any of them. Either

* one or a few muft govern, and all the

< reft muft be Slaves ; or elfe, if all
govern, why then, Matters are to be
4 managed by the Majority j all the

* reft muft fubmit, muft act contrary
' to their Judgments, and fuffer many
Things againft their Wills. I tell
' thee, Polifes, Society is nothing better
' than a Trick impofed on the Many
f by a few cunning and defigning

c Knaves,



1 Knaves, to gratify their Avarice and
1 Ambition, and that they may live at
' the Expence of others. It is plain,
that this is the Cafe from the Struggles

* with which Governments are ob-
tained, and the tyrannick Ufe that is
c always made of them. Down with
< the Thrones of Kings, and the Senate
' Houies of Common-Wealths ! Can
' we not live without fuch artificial
f Trumpery, as well as FoXes or Lyons?
c Into the Fire with your Acts of Par-
liament, your Canons and your Vo~
c lumes of the Civil Law. They are.no-

* thing but the Inftruments of Impofi-
c tion and Coufenage, If you don't
c know that they are, go to Law, Polites,
4 go to Law. A little Attendance in Wefi-
' minfter-Hall, or a Chancery Suit will

* foon give you the fame Averfion to
' Law that I have.

POLICES. Well then, Aerius,
c it is agreed that vve have no Govern-

* ment, no Laws.

A E R 1 U $.



( 64)

< AERIVS. Ay, agreed, agreed,
Man. Come, iliake Hands on it.
4 How you and I fhall love one another

* in a State of Nature!

POLICES. Stay, not fo faft.
' No Shaking of Hands, no combining,
c for you fay we are to lay afide all So

* ciety. As for loving each other, that
c is as your Submifiion to my Com-
c mands (hall render you agreeable to

* me.

< A E R I U S. Your Commands !

* What does the Man mean ? Why, I
c tll thee, we are now in a State of

* Nature, in which 'there is no Autho-
( rity, no Sovereignty, no Laws.

< POLICES. That is what I fay ;

* and now that I am juft about twice
4 as ftrong as you, I will force you to
c do what I pleafe. Your Coat is better

* than mine, I will have that in the
f firft Place. You have about forty
c Guineas in your Pocket, come, de-
e liver them ifp to me quickly. If you
make any Refiftance -, by all the

< Rights



(65 )

4 Rights and Privileges of Nature, I

' will dam out your Brains againfl the
c Pavement. Why, I like this State
c of Nature hugely. If we are to
1 have no Courts of Juftice, no Exe-

* cutioners nor Gallows, I fhall live
c moft delicicufly. I do not know
whether there be a Man in the Na-

* tion, whom I could not get the bet-

* ter of at pulling, and hauling, and
drubbing j if you turned us cut na-
' ked, do you^ fee, ? in fun's naiura-

< libus.

< A E R I U S. I mean, that in a
State of Nature, there are no Laws,

* but thofe of Nature, which will fe-
c cure my Plights tho' I be the weaker..

P OL ir E S. Do not truft to
c them, for I alTure you, now that we

< are in a State of Nature, and utterly
unaccountable for all we do, I find

* the Law of Self-Love ftronger than
1 all the reft, and with the Affiflance
e of thefe Hands, I fhall gratify it to

G



(66)

* the full, let it coft you or others
.' what it will.

' Do you hear this Gentleman, (faid
' *deriits y turning to the reft of the
( Company) do you hear the Threats of
1 this unreafonable and imperious Mon-
' iler ? You are concerned as well as

* me. Stand by me therefore, and

* do not fuffer the Weaker to be op-
' pre/fed, fince it muft be your own

Turns next/

Upon this, they were all preparing
to lend Aerius their Afliftance, when
P elites cried out:

c LOOK ye, Gentlemen, you are now
deciding this Queition fairly in Fa-
vour of me, without knowing it; and

* Aerius himfelf, in having implored
your Aid, has given up the Poffibili-

* ty of fubfifting out of a Society. My
Strength, too great for any one of you,
4 has forced you into a Society, a Ne~
c ceffity that muft ever change a State
' of Nature, if there could be fuch a

1 State



(6? )

4 State into Government, and clearly

* evince the abiolute want of Laws

* and Penalties, and pubiick Admini-
flration of juftice. The Wall that

* keeps us out of that Garden, would

* be but a weak Defence for the Fruit
4 within, were they not fur rounded by

* a ftronger Fortification ; I mean, the

* Statutes againft Felony and petty
1 Larceny, which can keep out thofe
4 who could eafily climb over the Wall.


1 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Online LibraryPhilip SkeltonTruth in a mask .. → online text (page 3 of 11)