Reply to Arator


For I apprehend that you mistook yourself when last Week you subscribed your fictitious name ARATOR, for had you done justice to Messrs the PUBLIC and Co., it should have been rendered in plain English, An Oafish Prater.
++Every body knows, That God is good, and his tender Mercies over all his Works; that he sends us Rain from Heaven, and fruitful seasons to fill our Hearts with food and Gladness; all which Blessings have for a number of Years past, been poured down in abundance upon the Farmers, and all the Inhabitants of Old England; and it is as notorious, that you overgrown Farmers, (I speak in the name of God, and in behalf of the distressed Poor, whom I call to Witness) I say that you overgrown Farmers, have all the while been turning the blessings of Heaven to a Curse upon the industrious Poor, whom I aver to be the very sinews of community.
++Every body also must acknowledge the wisdom of Government, and be very thankful for the prohibition of the exportation of grain at a Time when nothing but an eager desire of exorbitant gain was the manifest sole cause of the uncommon and unreasonable high price of all sorts of provisions! Pray Mr. Prater, had the exportation been continued, could you in conscience have ever had the Face to ask a Guinea a Quarter more for your Corn than what it is sold for now? O Yes! Because that Money you say England would have got from Foreigners — O brave indeed! So I find if you or your iniquitous Brethren can but get Money, you care not if half his Majesty’s subjects perish for want of bread.
++Who besides yourself could ever have thought of such a Gothamite Scheme, of prohibiting the exportation of Cloth, Leather, Shoes, Stockings, &c. and all sorts of our own Manufactures, in order to have them cheap, when these are the very Things that bring Money from abroad to buy Bread and Cheese for the Millions employed in the Manufacturies! Yet you say “O but the Manufacturers! they must be favoured and they must have Bread at a cheaper Rate.” And why not? Why ought they not to be favoured? Are they not the very basis of Trade, the foundation of Commerce, and the Glory and Strength, not only of the Metropolis, but of all England? What, would you have them eat Cloth, Leather, Iron, &c. while you overgrown Farmers are exporting the produce of the Land! Who grudges you “Beef and Pudding”? You quote a good Precept from a good Book, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of thine Ox: But Sir, you don’t speak so much to the purpose as the long-eared quadruped did to his Master BAALAM, when you assert that the Government (by providing for the necessitous Poor, such as Hospitals, Alms-Houses, and other voluntary Charities, as great offences to your own humane disposition! I wonder you did not also, (in concurrence with a Reverend Divine) promote the demolition of all the Charity-Schools in Great-Britain, and as you say, “go through stitch” with your iniquitous design, not only of starving the Poor, but likewise of keeping them in darkness and ignorance!
++All my fear is, That the good and wise Government you blame so much, are about beginning to Hang at the Wrong End. I read (as you say in a good Book) He that withholdeth Corn, the people shall Curse him; But Blessings shall be upon the head of him that selleth it: And further, He that oppresseth the Poor, Reproaches his Maker. And the same wise Man also saith, Men do not despise a Thief, if he Steal to satisfy his Soul when he is Hungry. And for God sake who is it that has caused such a number of Hungry Bellies and Starving Families? The answer is but too obvious at this Time, for every body knows Who it is, and why it is.
Yours &c.