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Thursday, April 10, 2014

On Court Whigs

       The following are from Nos. 20 &21 of Cato's Letters .

       Liberty, being deserted by her old friends, fell of course into the hands of her enemies;  and so liberty was turned upon liberty:  By these means the discontents went on.  They had now got new tools to work with, just forged, arose and appeared upon the publick stage, who had never seen or felt the misfortunes which their fathers groaned under, nor believed more of them than what they had learned from their tutors:  So that all things seemed prepared for a new revolution;  when we were surprized by a voice from heaven, which promised us another deliverance.

The selection from #21 is spoken in the persona of John Ketch, royal hangman of note.

       I know that knaves of state require a great deal of form and ceremony before they are committed to my care;  so that I am not much surprized, that I have not yet laid my hands upon certain exalted criminals.  I hope, however, that, when they come, a good number will come at once.  But there is a parcel of notorious and sorry sinners, called brokers:  Fellows of so little consequence, that few of them have reputation enough to stand candidates for my place, were the same vacant (which God forbid!), and yet rogues so swollen with guilt, that poor Derwentwater and Kenmure (my two last customers) were babes and petty larceners to them.  Now these are the hang-rogues with whom I would be keeping my hand in use.

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