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Thanks to our fortune, we pay none at all.
Let then the flames of war destructive reign,
270 An additional tax on windows had been just then im posed by parliament to commence from the 5th of April, 1762: on which occasion many housekeepers put up their dead lights or outside shutters, and one citizen more poetic if not more patriotic than his neighbours, expressed his displeasure by inscribing in chalk, on his shutter, the following couplet, of which it may be truly said, facit indignatio versus:
Thus have we lived, and whilst the fates afford Plain plenty to supply the frugal board, Whilst Mirth with Decency, his lovely bride, 289 And wine's gay god, with Temperance by his side, Their welcome visit pay; whilst Health attends The narrow circle of our chosen friends; Whilst frank Good-humour consecrates the treat, And woman makes society complete, Thus will we live, though in our teeth are hurld Those hackney strumpets, Prudence and the World.
Prudence, of old a sacred term, implied Virtue, with godlike wisdom for her guide, But now in general use is known to mean The stalking-horse of vice, and folly's screen. The sense perverted we retain the name ; Hypocrisy and Prudence are the same.
A tutor once more read in men than books, A kind of crafty knowledge in his looks, Demurely sly, with high preferment bless'd, His favourite pupil in these words address’d: “Wouldst thou, my son, be wise and virtuous
deem'd, By all mankind a prodigy esteem’d?
“ These are those dismal taxing days of yore,
Which our forefathers never saw before." 277 Alluding to the severe precautions adopted by go vernment after the rebellion of 1745, and to some difficulties which occurred in carrying into effect Mr. Pitt's measure, proposed in 1757, for raising 2000 men in the Highlands of Scotland for the British service in America.
Be this thy rule; be what men Prudent call ;
With joy the youth this useful lesson heard,
And is this all-is this the worldliny's art, To mask, but not amend a vicious heart? Shall lukewarm caution and demeanour grave For wise and good stamp every supple knave? Shall wretches, whom no real virtue warms,
310 Nullum numen abest si sit prudentia. This is the uni. form text of Lord Chesterfield's Letters to his Son, published in 1774. His lordship's precepts appear to have been anticipated by our author in this poem, and their material purport compressed in very few lines.
Gild fair their namies and states with empty forms,
“ What!” cries Sir Pliant, “ would you then
Can numbers then change nature's stated laws? Can numbers make the worse the better cause? Vice must be vice, virtue be virtue still, Though thousands rail at good and practise ill. Wouldst thou defend the Gaul's destructive rage, Because vast nations on his part engage?
Though to support the rebel Cæsar's cause
370 Mr. Pitt in September, 1761, indignant at the repeated insults offered to his country by Spain, proposed to the cabinet an immediate rupture with that court; in this proposition he was supported by Lord Temple, but was opposed by Lord Bute, and all the other members of the cabinet: upon which Mr. Pitt and Lord Temple took their leaves, and their written advice on the subject being rejected by his majesty, they resigned their seals of office into his hands on the 5th of October following. In addition to which, Lord Temple was dismissed from the Lord Lieutenancy of Bucks on the 7th of May, and Lord Le Despencer succeeded him on the 9th. Upon this event an article appeared in the London Gazette, stating their resignation, the appointment of the Earl of Egremont, as Mr. Pitt's successor in the situation of one of the principal Secretaries of State, and that, in consideration of the great and important services of Mr. Pitt, his majesty was pleased to grant to the Lady Hester Pitt the Barony of Chatham; and also to confer upon William Pitt, Esq. an annuity of £3000 during his own life, and that of his wife and their eldest son.
The moment the preceding intelligence was published, Mr. Pitt's character was assailed with the most ardent malignity and savage frenzy by all the hired servants of administration, and by some mistaken zealots of the opposite faction. They branded him in various newspapers and pamphlets with the names of pensioner, apostate, deserter, and with every term of reproach that malice could apply or depravity suggest. They succeeded so far as to occasion a temporary diminution of his character in the public esteem. In a few weeks, however, the public prejudice began to subside, and the torrent ran a contrary course. W he went into the city, on the ensuing Lord Mayor's Day, he was honoured in all the streets through which he passed with unbounded marks of applause