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Query I. WHETHER the Clerks of the Post- Office intermedling[2] [sic] in the Elections of this City, and forming a Mob to obstruct the Livery-Men as they were coming to Poll, is not an open Violation of the Freedom of Election?

II. WHETHER Men of the First Quality[3] sending to threaten their Tenants and Tradesmen, if they would not Vote for Sir Richard Hopkins and Mr. Feast, be not pretending to Govern the City of London in an Arbitrary Manner?

III. WHETHER the bringing down a Number of Informing Constables to Abuse, and Knock down,[4] and Commit the Friends of Sir John Williams


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and Mr. Lockwood, is keeping the Peace, or preserving the Quiet[5] of the City?

IV. WHETHER any Persons have a Right of Voting for Sheriffs of London, but the Livery-men of London? And whether some Hundreds of Persons were not polled for Hopkins and Feast, who never were called on the Livery, nor were ever so much as made Free of any Company?

V. WHETHER a certain Duke's[6] Appearing at the Feathers in Cheapside, and Dining there with some of his Friends, can be construed to Influence the City against the Freedom of Elections, or to encourage them to preserve it?

3. The True Briton No. 23 (19 August 1723) Introduction

Since the editor's head note specifically mentions that No. 23 was written by the “Gentleman who subscribes himself A. B. in the TRUE BRITON N° VI,” then if Richardson wrote the earlier number, he also wrote the anonymous letter in this one. While trying to establish stylistic evidence for Richardson's anonymous publications, a major problem arises in cases that amount to mainly extracts from other writers. As in Nos. 6 and 9, this letter seems to be influenced by Hutcheson's anti-Walpolean stance on the economy. But instead of protracted argument, it comprises bits and pieces as if taken from a commonplace book. In the second paragraph, the mention of “the Mediterranean and Baltick Squadrons” refers to the article in the True Briton No. 4 (14 June 1723). Wharton's point there about the unnecessary debt caused by these fleets corresponds with Hutcheson's attack on the costs of maintaining “the Mediterranean and Baltick Squadrons” in a tract that Richardson had printed.[1]

Another connection occurs in the use of the same English translation of Montaigne[2] in this letter that appears to be invoked in the third edition of Clarissa. Lovelace alludes to Montaigne: “Such a one as I, Jack, needed only, till now, to shake the stateliest tree, and the mellowed fruit dropt into my mouth: Always of Montaigne's taste, thou knowest: —Thought it a glory to subdue a girl of family.”[3] This specific reference to the great French essayist


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in the expanded edition of Clarissa makes it probable that Richardson would have known the anecdote about Dionysius derived from this same source.

Some of the short paragraphs so curiously yoked together without clear transitions seem actually to be notes taken from newspaper items, as if gathered from a scrap book. In the eighth paragraph, the allusion to Neyno, for instance, parallels an item in the Daily Journal, which Richardson printed.[4] In the tenth paragraph, the reference to the “Lady who was depriv'd of her Liberty on Suspicion of aiding and abetting a Nurse of the Pretender's Child” refers to another story that appeared in the Daily Journal. [5]

In paragraph twenty-one, “the Pretender's late Secretary” refers ironically to Bolingbroke who had just returned from exile at the same time as Atterbury was banished. The Daily Journal (9 July 1723) announced: “Lodgings are hired near the Coca Tree in the Pall-Mall for the late Lord Viscount Bolingbroke.” In Clarissa, Richardson situates Lovelace and his rakes at this politically tainted coffee house.[6] In later life, Richardson never made a secret of his loathing for Bolingbroke.[7]

Paragraph twenty-four repeats the complaint in TB No. 6 concerning the Roman Catholic Bill and resembles the announcements in the Daily Journal numbers for 26 November and 28 November 1722 about the raising of 100,000l. from the estates of Roman Catholics. The arbitrary lumping together of innocent and guilty members of a class for collective punishment in this instance again parallels the summary injustice towards the South Sea Directors. It may well have been his memory of this persecution of the Roman


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Catholics after the Jacobite conspirace of 1722 that influenced his theme of religious toleration thirty years later in Sir Charles Grandison.


THE following Letter, written by the Gentleman who subscribes himself A. B. in the TRUE BRITON No. VI. having been unhappily mislaid, came but now to my Hands. I hope the ingenious Author will excuse this late inserting of it, and favour me with his farther Correspondence.