Next to the People who want a Place, there are none to be pitied more than those who are solicited for one. A plain Answer, with a Denial in it, is looked upon as Pride, and a civil Answer as a Promise.
Nothing is more ridiculous than the Pretensions of People upon these Occasions. Every thing a Man hath suffered, whilst his Enemies were in play, was certainly brought about by the Malice of the opposite Party. A bad Cause would not have been lost, if such an one had not been upon the Bench; nor a profligate Youth disinherited, if he had not got drunk every Night by toasting an outed Ministry. I remember a Tory, who having been fined in a Court of Justice for a Prank that deserved the Pillory, desir'd upon the Merit of it to be made a Justice of Peace when his Friends came into Power; and shall never forget a Whig Criminal, who, upon being indicted for a Rape, told his Friends, You see what a Man suffers for sticking to his Principles.
The Truth of it is, the Sufferings of a Man in a Party are of a very doubtful Nature. When they are such as have promoted a good Cause, and fallen upon a Man undeservedly, they have a Right to be heard and recompensed beyond any other Pretensions. But when they rise out of Rashness or Indiscretion, and the Pursuit of such Measures as have rather ruined, than promoted the Interest they aim at, (which hath always been the Case of many great Sufferers) they only serve to recommend them to the Children of Violence or Folly.
I have by me a Bundle of Memorials presented by several Cavaliers upon the Restauration of K. Charles II. which may serve as so many Instances, to our present Purpose.
Among several Persons and Pretensions recorded by my Author, he mentions one of a very great Estate, who, for having roasted an Ox whole, and distributed a Hogshead upon K. Charles's Birth-day, desired to be provided for, as his Majesty in his great Wisdom shall think fit.
Another put in to be Prince Henry's, Governor, for having dared to drink his Health in the worst of Times.
A Third petitioned for a Colonel's Commission, for having Cursed Oliver Cromwell, the Day before his Death, on a publick Bowling-Green.
But the most whimsical Petition I have met with is that of B. B. Esq., who desir'd the Honour of Knighthood, for having Cuckolded Sir T. W. a notorious Roundhead.
There is likewise the Petition of one, who having let his Beard grow from the Martyrdom of K. Charles the First, till the Restauration of K. Charles the Second, desired, in Consideration thereof, to be made a Privy-Counsellor.
I must not omit a Memorial setting forth, that the Memorialist had, with great dispatch, carried a Letter from a certain Lord to a certain Lord, wherein, as it afterwards appeared, Measures were concerted for the Restauration, and without which he verily believes that happy Revolution had never been effected; who thereupon humbly prays to be made Post-Master-General.
A certain Gentleman, who seems to write with a great deal of Spirit, and uses the Words Gallantry and Gentleman-like very often in his Petition, begs that (in Consideration of his having worn his Hat for ten Years past in the Loyal Cavalier-Cock, to his great Danger and Detriment) he may be made a Captain of the Guards.
I shall close my Account of this Collection of Memorials, with the Copy of one Petition at length, which I recommend to my Reader as a very valuable Piece.
The Petition of E. H. Esq., humbly Sheweth,
'That your Petitioner's Father's Brother's Uncle, Colonel W. H. lost the Third Finger of his Left Hand at Edge-hill Fight.
'That your Petitioner, notwithstanding the Smallness of his Fortune, (he being a younger Brother) always kept Hospitality, and drank Confusion to the Roundheads in half a Score Bumpers every Sunday in the Year, as several honest Gentlemen (whose Names are underwritten) are ready to testifie.
'That your Petitioner is remarkable in his Country for having dared to treat Sir P. P. a cursed Sequestrator, and three Members of the Assembly of Divines, with Brawn and Minced Pies upon New Year's Day.
'That your said humble Petitioner hath been five times imprisoned in five several County-Goals, for having been a Ring-leader in five different Riots; into which his Zeal for the Royal Cause hurried him, when men of greater Estates had not the Courage to rise.
'That he, the said E. H. hath had six Duels and four and twenty Boxing-Matches in Defence of his Majesty's Title; and that he received such a Blow upon the Head at a Bonfire in Stratford upon Avon, as he hath been never the better for from that Day to this.
'That your Petitioner hath been so far from improving his Fortune, in the late damnable Times, that he verily believes, and hath good Reason to imagine, that if he had been Master of an Estate, he had infallibly been plundered and sequestred.
'Your Petitioner, in Consideration of his said Merits and Sufferings, humbly requests that he may have the Place of Receiver of the Taxes, Collector of the Customs, Clerk of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenant, or whatsoever else he shall be thought qualified for.
And your Petitioner shall ever Pray, &c.Translation of motto: