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TO THE EDITORS OF THE ENQUIRER.
If any of your readers, or your friend Jasper Wormius, would communicate, through the medium of the Enquirer, a copy of Chaucer's Pilgrim's Tale, they would much oblige me. It begins,
In Lincolnshire, fast by a fenne,
Standeth a religious house—who doth it kenne >
I am informed, that it was inserted in Thynne's edition of Chaucer's works; and that it was more odious to the monks than the Ploughman's Tale. Yours, &c.
March 21,1811. Herewardus De Brunne.
THOUGHTS CONCERNS G PROVIDENCE. What strange notions are entertained concerning the Deity, his existence, and moral government of the world! It is the opinion of some, that the almighty Creator of the universe made all things perfect at the beginning, and having finished his work, left it, to rest from his labours; that, having established general laws, every thing is governed by those laws, both in the moral and physical world, and that he himself never interferes with either the universe or the ways of men. Others there are, who believe in what is called a particular providence, who believe that God directs and controls the actions of men, that he is the immediate cause of whatever comes to pass, and that the affairs of the world, respecting property, good or ill fortune, as it is called, respecting contingencies, sickness, and health; in short, every thing that concerns us here, is under his especial government. Those who hold the former opinion, ground it on the divine Omnipotence; those who maintain the latter, seem to rely more particularly on his goodness and fatherly care. Neither of these opinions are perhaps perfectly accurate; that he continues to act is extremely obvious, both from the general tenor of scripture, and the observations of philosophers; to men's natural wants he is always attentive; and for their personal comforts he continually
provides, he looks with pity on the sick, and hears the lamentations of the wretched ;—but that he miraculously interferes in every trifling affair, is extremely improbable, and what no reasonable creature can either believe or expect.
Some again maintain, that the divine Being must either exist from necessity, or else that he was his own creator; these opinions are both false; he is eternal, that is, he has existed from eternity. I would therefore ask when, or at what time, it was that he either created himself, or was created? The act, if it took place, must have been performed relatively to some time, however distant, for every act is performed in time; but the distance of that time, however long, is only a portion of eternity, and therefore, as he existed from eternity, he existed previous to time, and, consequently, such an act could not take place. If he existed from necessity, there would be a power in existence greater than himself, which is absurd, because, by hypothesis, he is the Omnipotent.
Newark, Nov. 20, 1811. CLERICUS.
Behold! fair Aurora with her rosy fingers opens the gates of the east, and out sallies Spring in all the bloom of youth. Robed in the gayest colours, he comes from behind yon mountain. See how, at his approach, the snow which encircles its brow, divests itself of its inertness, flies through a thousand channels, and hastens to hide itself in the oceanic abyss. The plain spreads before this darling child of nature its carpet of lively green. The flowers, heedless of the destiny that dooms them to a transient existence, eagerly come forth to satisfy their curiosity, and then contentedly droop and die. Even the tender violet, forgetful of her native modesty, dares to peep out, and gazing wantonly on the stripling, seems to solicit a kiss from the object of her love. But foremost of all, the hasty primrose has ■ strewed under his feet its tufted nosegays of variegated tints, whilst the cowslips, constant to their golden hue, express their' admiration by undulating salutations;
VOL. II. E
Zephyr, no less anxious to join in the general homage, (but having no offering of his own) robs the flowers of their fragrance, and gently wafting the stolen treasure, perfumes the air breathed by the beloved youth. . Hark! how the winged choristers tune their throats to welcome him. Behold the shrill lark, how she mounts to announce to the sky the glad tidings. Listen to the solitary thrush, how in broken, though sweet lays, she sings hymns in praise of the universal favourite ; whilst the monotonous cuckow is heard at a distance. But Philomela, sensible of her superiority, scorns to mix in the motley concert of the day, and fashionably waits for the silent night to express, in the most enchanting melody, her rapture at his return. C. D. E.
TO THE EDITORS OF THE ENQUIRER.
The following observations, extracted from Dr. Trotter's Essay on Drunkenness, may perhaps be deemed a proper supplement to the essay on that degrading and disgusting vice, which appeared in your first number.
11 How far are the acts of the drunkard to be palliated?"
This is a point of great importance in civilized society: but it is not the province of the physician to decide with a legal view. Every human being, who was ever intoxicated, must have found, on reflection, that he had said and done things, which he would have neither thought of nor acted in a state of sobriety. The peace of his neighbour has, therefore, required that the -drunkard should answer for his conduct. But it may be asked, ought a madman to answer for his deeds? The man who becomes mad from immoderate vinous potations, must be amenable to law, because that madness was of his own seeking.
Again, it may be said, that the drunken man, being as much in a state of delirium as any maniac, ought he to be punished for doing what he is unconscious of? Yes. But punishment might be mitigated here, if it shall appear that no preconceived malice had prompted him. This is, I think, what lawyers call mal propense Were a man, during ebriety, to sign a deed, by which he should dispose of his property in an improper manner, to the injury of his family; query, would such a deed be legal? It might be deemed legal; but to me it would appear unjust to confirm it, because the man never formed such a resolution when he was in his senses. The acts of the drunkard, in this respect, ought not to be valid; for this plain reason: in tht same condition he is not allowed to injure his neighbour, or society at large, with impunity; and therefore he ought not to be permitted to injure either his family or himself. All debts incurred, or money lost at play, in the state of intoxication, ought to be declared null, <m the loser appealing in a proper manner when sober. This would prevent the gamester and systematic villain from taking advantage of the honest man, and would correct some of the greatest evils in the community.
When a drunken man is lavish of promises, which he never made when sober, be assured his kindness is not worth your thanks.
In how much is the drunkard guilty of suicide, who expires during the paroxysm, after the immoderate use of spirituous liquors?
When you hear a drunken man boasting of his generosity to his friends, beware how you receive a favour from that man.
When you hear a drunkeu man telling family secrets, whether of his own or those of other people, put that man down for a fool, and take care what you say in his presence.
When you hear a drunken man bragging of his courage, mark that man a coward.
When you hearadruuken man vaunting of his riches, be assured he cannot be estimable for his virtues.
When you hear a drunken man pitying misfortunes, which he did not relieve when sober, it is the strongest proof that he possesses no goodness of heart.
Receive no donations from a drunken man, lest he should ask them again when sober.
Avoid the company of a drunkard; for if he insults you, and you should insist on satisfaction, he will plead want of recollection, as apology.
Let the sober man beware of the society of drunkards, lest the world should say, that he means to take an advantage of their credulity.
BRIEF ACCOUNT OF JOB HARTOP,
(FROM FULLER'S WORTHIES OF ENGLAND.)
"job Hartop was (as himself affirmeth*), born at Bourn in this county, (Lincoln) and went anno 1568, (early days I assure you for the English in these parts), with Sir John Hawkins, his general, to make discoveries in New Spain; this Job was chief gunner in her majesty's ship called the Jesus of Lubeck, being the queen's by no other title, but was hired for her money, who in .the beginning of her reign, before her Navy Royal was erected, had her ships from the Hans Towns.
Long and dangerous was his journey; eight of his men at Cape Verd being killed, and the general himself being wounded with poysoned arrows, but was cured by a negro drawing out the poyson with a clove of garlic, enough to make nice noses dispense with the valient smell for the sanative vertue thereof.
He wrote a treatise of his voyage, and is the first I met with, who mentioneth.that strange tree, which may be termed the tree of food, affording a liquor which is both meat and drink; the tree of raiment, yielding needles wherewith, and thread whereof mantles are made: the tree of harbour, tiles to cover houses, being made out of the solid parts thereof; so that it beareth a self-sufficiency for man's maintenance.
Job was his name, and patience was with him; so that he may pass amongst the confessors of this country; for being with some other, by this general, for want of provisions, left on land, after many miseries they came to Mexico, and he continued a prisoner twenty-three years, viz. two years in Mexico, one year in the conrractation-bouse in Cevil, another in the inquisition house in triana, twelve years in the gallies, four years (with the cross of St. Andrew on his back) in the everlasting
* In his Trawls, inserted is Hackluit's Voyages, last part, page 487.