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To prove, That
a Popish P LOT;
Against the Villany of Informing
Will trouble you but with a few words
before I proceed to the Particulars of your Charge, and I hope no body of the Protestant Perswalion will be offended at what I have to say.
I have heard it positively affirm'd, That 80,& 8r. is become 40, & 41. That the fame Game is now playing that was then.
If by this is meant,
That our old and restles Enemies the Papists are now at work; that it is they who at this time are labouring our Deftruation ; and that they are the Danger that threatens us, I fully agree with every man who is of that Opinion ; but if by this Affertion any would insinuate that there is a Plot against the King and Government, carried on by all or any of the Disenters, besides that Plot of the Papilts, I cannot subscribe to it, because where God Almighty permits me to use my Reason, I cannot believe, but upon clear evidence, and I have not met with any thing that can warrant such an Opinion ; and therefore in things of this or the like nature we ought to explain our felves very clearly, left by leaving the matter under a doubtful construction, we may (againg our intention) cast an Imputation upon them who do not deserve it.
I am apt to believe, that he who is moft strongly posseft with the Opinion, That the Disenters have formed a Plot againf the King and Government, will not adventure to justifie it before His Majesty and a Parliament, and cerrainly that Opinion which will not abide the Telt of the King and Parliament, is not much to be valued : But he who believes that there is a Popish Plot, for the taking away of His Majesty's Life, ( which God long preserve) and she alrering of Religion and Government, may avow his Opinion to all the World, because he has an undeniable Authority for it, for His Majelty in Parliament, and both Houses, have declared no less : but we do not find that His Majesty, or either House of Parliament has made any Declaration, that they have so much as in suspicion any other fort of People
who are designing against his Life and the Gom vernment. :: I think it is agreed by all, that this Government is the best in the World, for it gives the King a Prerogative, whereby he may appear great both at home and abroad ; and it gives the Subject such a Right and Property in his Person and Goods, that he cannot be deprived of either, without his Confent, unless for the breach of some known Law : and besides, Prerogative and Property help and support each other; that is, when they are rightly understood and applied for the Interest of King and People are as inseparable as the Sun and Light, but when Prerogative and Property stand at a diItance, it is occafioned either by overgrown Favourites, who by their Counsels and A&tions have render'd themselves obnoxious to the publick, and therefore so shroud themselves from Justice, advise the King to infift upon something as his Prerogative, which tends rather to hurt than
preserve his just Prerogative; or else from someambitious reftleß Spirits, who burr into the People, that this or that is their Property, which in the end will make their fut Rights to be Felo de fe. And, what cares the one or other of these Makebates, for they are for the most part men of defperate Fortunes, who having little or nothing to lose, caonot doubt to reap advantage by the publick diIturbance?
But to avoid the Evil on either Hand, I think it would be a very good Rule to consider how far what is infitted on does quadrate with the Common Good, and if they find that it does not agree to that Rule, then to let it go as a thing that is againt their true Interest.
It is agreed on all sides, that there is a plot for to Murther His Majesty, and to alter the Religion and Government, but whence our danger does arise, who is the Common Enemy, and against whom we are to unite, is that which makes the Dispute and Divisions amongst us.
I take it to be an undeniable Truth, That every State or Kingdom muft expect to receive the most frequent and greatest Affronts and Injuries from such of their Neighbours, whose Support and Interest does least depend upon them: And every Government muft, in realon, expect its Difurbances and Disquiets from such Subje&ts, whose Interest does leaft depend upon the preservation of the Government : And though I will not hastily judge any Man, yet when there is a Plot againft the Religion and Government, they are with most reason to be under the fufpicion of it, who are of a contrary Religion, and
acknowledge a foreign Jurisdiction, until there is very good Proof to charge it upon some other people.
I am verily perswaded, that there are several Papists in England, whose Quietnes of Temper may make them very averse to give the Nation any disturbanc., and I heartily wilh they were all such. But when I consider the greater number of them, and the Slavery they are under to their Priests, I must be under an apprehension that they cannot intend us any good, because their Religion is oppofite to ours, and they look upon themselves as un
der another Jurisdiction : but I know that not • many years fiace Popery was a thing of a remote
confideration, and that they who declared their Fears of it were (by those who called themselves the King's Friends) accounted Enemies to the King,
and ill-affected to the Government : Yet fince the discovery of the Plot has proved their Fears were not groundless, I suppose it is no difficult point to determine who are to be blamed, they who were afraid of Popery, or they who reprehended them so severely for their Fears : for the Proof of the present Conpiracy of the Papiks is so clear and evident, that there remains no room for a Doubt, whether there is such a Plot, or no, And, who is not confirmed in this Opinion, since His Majesty and both Houses of Parliament have declared,
That there bas been, and still is, a damnable and hellilla Conspiracy, contrived and carried on by the Popith Recusants, for the aftalinating and murtbering the King, for subverting ihe Government, and destroying the Protestant Religion not by Law establijad?
Now, can any Man be so hardy, as to think, that His Majesty would lay fo severe an Imputation upon a great part of his Subjects, ( for, God knows, they are too many who are of that Perswalion) or that the Parliament would pass so great a Cenfure upon such a number of their Feb low-Subje&is, without plain and evident Testimony, and such as must convince every man but he who will not believe, for by this Declaration they have avowed their opinion to the whole world. And there is one thing which further confirms me in the belief of a Popith Plot, because in some of the Evidence it is declared, That the Papifts never had such bopes of restoring their Religion since Q. Maries days, as at this time ; for it seems they had
prepared every thing to their Hearts defire, if His MajeHy were but out of the way; and how near chey have been to effect it, is horrible to remember;