The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume X. The Age of Johnson.
§ 11. Political Journalism: The True Patriot and The Jacobites Journal
Fielding’s efforts to break away from writing were spasmodic and never successful for long. In November, 1745, the expedition of the young pretender sent him to journalism again. He started a paper, The True Patriot, in which he tried to rouse the nation out of the sluggish indifference and the acquiescence in bad government, that were a greater danger than the advance of the Highlanders on Derby. It was for this purpose, probably, that he let his robust humour and his hatred of what he considered the affectations of the Jacobite party find free play in a series of violently overdrawn pictures of what would happen if the rebels took London. Almost the sole interest of the journal for modern readers lies in the reappearance of parson Adams, who is made to trounce, with effect, a young English fribble, more fond of French wine than adverse to French government. Fielding, though less insular than Smollett, was a thorough John Bull. In December, 1747, he engaged once more in political journalism, with The Jacobite’s Journal, a paper conducted on the same lines as The True Patriot, in one number of which he generously praises the first two volumes of his detractor Richardson’s Clarissa. The writing of these journals brought on Fielding the reproach of being a “pensioned scribbler,” and may have helped to obtain his commission as justice of the peace for Westminster. The last number of The Jacobite’s Journal is dated 5 November, 1748. A commission as justice of the peace for Westminster had been granted him on the previous 25 October; and a similar commission for Middlesex was, apparently, granted to him soon afterwards. The duke of Bedford had become secretary of state early in the year. From the terms in which he is mentioned in the preface to Tom Jones and from Fielding’s letter to him of 13 December, 1748, it seems clear that his “princely benefactions” included something besides the present of leases enabling Fielding to qualify for the office in Middlesex by holding landed estate of £100 a year.