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IN the kingdom of Tribnia, by the natives called Langden, where I had sojourned some time in my travels, the bulk of the people consists in a manner wholly of discoverers, witnesses, informers, accusers, prosecutors, evidences, swearers, together with several subservient and subaltern instruments, all under the colours, the conduct, and pay, of mi nisters of state, and their deputies. The plots in that kingdom are usually the workmanship of those persons who desire to raise their own characters of profound politicians; to restore new vigour to a crazy administration; to stifle or divert general discontents; to fill their coffers with forfeitures; or raise or sink the opinion of public credit, as either shall best answer their private advantage. It is first agreed, and settled among them, what suspected persons shall be accused of a plot: then effectual care is taken to secure all their letters and papers, and put the owners in chains. These papers are delivered to a set of artists very dexterous in finding out the mysterious meaning of words, syllables, and letters. For instance, they can discover a close-stool to L 4
signify a privy-council; a flock of geese, a senate) a lame dog, an invader; the plague, a standing army; a' buzzard, a prime minister the gout, a high priest; a gibbet, a secretary of state; a chamber-pot, a committee of grandees; a sieve, a court lady; a broom, a revolution; a mouse-trap, an employment; a bottomless pit, a treasury; a sink, a court; a cap and bells, a favourite; a broken reed, a court of justice an empty tun, a general; a running sore, the administration.
When this method fails, they have others more effectual, which the learned among them call acros tics and anagrams. First, they can decypher all initial letters into political meanings. Thus, N, shall signify a plot; B, a regiment of horse; L, a fleet at sea: or, Secondly, by transposing the letters of the alphabet, in any suspected paper, they can lay open the deepest designs of a discontented party. So, for example, if I should say in a letter to a friend, Our brother Tom has just got the piles; a skilful decypherer would discover, that, the same letters, which compose that sentence, inay be analysed into the following words: Resista plot is brought home-the tours And this is the anagra matic method.
Swirt. Gulliver's Travels, part in. ch. vi.
THERE is a story in Pausanias of a plot for
betraying a city, discovered by the braying of an ass the cackling of geese saved the capitol; and
See the proceedings against Bishop Atterbury, State
Cataline's conspiracy was discovered by a whore.
gish principles, which it seems had been exploded about a month before, I have passed for a disaffected person. I am not ignorant how idle a thing. it is for a man in obscurity to attempt defending his reputation, while the spirit of faction hath so universally possessed the minds of men, that they are not at leisure to attend to any thing else. They will just give themselves time to libel and accuse me; but cannot spare a minute to hear my defence. So in a plot-discovering age, I have often known an innocent man seized and imprisoned, and forced to lie several months in chains, while the ministers were not at leisure to hear his peti- · tion, until they had prosecuted and hanged the number they proposed.
IDEM. Letter to Pope. Works, vol, ix. p. 293-9.
I NUMBER among false witnesses all those who make a trade of being informers in hope of favour and reward; and to this end employ their time, either by listening in public places, to catch up an accidental word, or in corrupting men's servants to discover any unwary expression of their master ; or thrusting themselves into company, and then using the most indecent scurrilous language; fastening a thousand falsehoods and scandals upon a whole party, on purpose to provoke such an answer as they may turn to an accusation. And truly this ungodly race is said to be grown so numerous, that men of different parties can hardly converse together with any security.
pulpit hath not been free from the m ́srepresenta
tion of these informers.
Sermon on False Witness,
A MAN who is capable of so infamous a calling as that of a spy, is not very much to be relied upon. He can have no great ties of honour, or checks of conscience, to restrain him in those covert evidences, where the person accused has no opportunity of vindicating himself. He will be more industrious to carry that which is grateful, than that which is true. There will be no occasion for him, if he does not hear and see things worth discovery; so that he naturally inflames every word and circumstance, aggravates what is faulty, perverts what is good, and misrepresents what is indifferent. Nor is it to be doubted but that such ignominious wretches let their private passions into these their clandestine informations, and often wreak their particular spite or malice against the person whom they are set to watch. It is a pleasant scene enough, which an Italian author describes, between a spy and a cardinal who employed him. The spy begins with a low voice. Such an one whispered to one of his friends, within my hearing, that your eminence was a very great poltroon! and after having given his patron time to take it down, adds, that another called him a mercenary rascal in a public conversation. The cardinal replies, very well; and bids him go on. The spy proceeds, and loads him with reports of the same nature, till the cardinal rises in great wrath,