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To the Reverend Father CURTIO MARINELLI at Rome.
T is not in thefe maxims alone which I laft fent you, that the minifterial part of this kingdom imitates the Venetian policy; befides the toleration, not to say the encouragement given to gallantry, and contemning the clergy, there is yet one other scandal belonging to that state, which is publicly encouraged in this.
THIS is the countenancing that poisonous and pernicious race of informers, a fet of men juftly detefted by all preceding nations; beings which are engendered from the rottenness of a peoples morals, and a minister's nefarious schemes, like monsters in the mud of Nilus, or fnakes in dung and putrefaction.
INDEED, every one is too fenfible that such hyæna-beings have ever exifted, and been employed in all kingdoms, particularly towards their decline; but that they should be publicly known,
and then openly and honourably remunerated, is an inftance unexemplified in any virtuous nation ancient or modern..
INDEED, in London there are no heads of wood as at Venice, into which informations may be conveyed, excepting thofe of the adminiftration, and these are of that wood out of which a ftatuary would be egregiously puzzled to make a Mercury.
THERE are fome inftances, when informa tion becomes à virtue; the flave that overheard the defigns of the fons of the elder Brutus, to fubvert the government and reftore the Tarquins to Rome; the difcoverers of the Catali nian confpiracy; each deferved public thanks, and honourable remuneration: the importance. of the discovery erafed the blackness of the heart, which generally attends fuch degenerate beings; a virtuous man even might have done this.
BUT in trivial affairs, fuch as the inadver tent and unbecoming expreffions of three intoxicated 'boys, where no danger could attend the
indifcretion, in a place where they had not the leaft intereft, which the informer muft perfectly know, is it not amazing he should find ho nourable encouragement for fuch bafenefs?
ADDED to this, the very fituation he was in, the meannefs of his birth, the diftrefs, of his circumstances, his known character and the public contempt for it, fhould have leffened the weight of his information, tho' it had excufed in fome measure his daring to do it. 10 216.
YET, fuch is the reception he has met with at the M. r's hands, that it is pofitively afferted, he is to receive fome confiderable dignity in the church for his information; fo honourable is the name and occupation of an informer become in this ifland, that henceforth it probably will advance the bafeft born to the tank of poffeffing what is worthy of the acceptation of nobility; it is even rumoured, that a noble eafl earl's fon, and this most pernicious of all beings to fociety, are to receive the fame honors on the fame day.
THIS I cannot believe to be true: will any minifter be fo weak and unmannerly, to throw fo flagrant a contempt on the noble person who is destined to this honor, to place on the fame rank with him a prostituted informer? Can it be conceived that any defcendant of a noble family can bear fuch an infult on that refpect he was born to, and is due to him; or, that those who have already received that dignity will fit on the fame feat with infamy, and fuffer it to tarnish the ho nors of their office, by the peftilential effluvia which escape from it.
Is it to be imagined, that a M-r will difgrace the character of a divine, and efface the influence which a teacher and inftructor of morality and religion ought to have over the minds of men, by thus dignifying ecclefiaftically the moft infamous of all characters? will he bring a difgrace on the religion of Chrift, by exalting the Iscariot of his apostles, and annihilate the effects of its doctrines, by rewarding the actions of thofe men which it detests.
IF this fhould be done, henceforth will the Britons pretend, that the church in England is
no refuge for those who deferve ignominious punishment, and condemning the Italians, affert that it offers no fanctuary for villains, ri
YET, believe me, fir, there are those who are pofitive in afferting that this creature will be publicly honoured, and affign this reafon for it:
NOTHING, fay they, is fo much to be dreaded by the adminiftration, as a total extirpation, of Jacobitifm; if there remain no fymptoms of attachment to the Stuart family, in England, what will the Whigs have to offer to their master, when he would purfue what feems right to him, and fatal to themselves? or, how amufe the people, when they are inclined to tranfact fomething pernicious to the peoples welfare, with dangerous defigns from the chevalier de St. George at Rome, whose interest the last rebellion has proved not to be worth fix-pence in England.
A difcovery of boys fpeaking treason, is a very acceptable fervice to thofe who are deter mined to dupe the -- and deceive the people; it is instantly heightened into fomething of the most criminal nature, fpreading like a peftilence, and founded in the royal ear as if all VOL. II. I England