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Epictetus has made use of the similitude of a stage-play to human life with much spirit. ‘It is not,’ says he, “to be considered among the actors, who is prince, or who is beggar, but who acts prince or beggar best.' The circumstance of life should not be that which gives us place, but our behaviour in that circumstance is what should be our solid distinction. Thus a wise man should think no man above him or below him, any further than it regards the outward order or discipline of the world: for, if we conceive too great an idea of the eminence of our superiors, or subordination of our inferiors, it will have an ill effect upon our behaviour to both. He who thinks no man above him but for his virtue, none below him but for his vice, can never be obsequious or assuming in a wrong place; but will frequently emulate men in rank below him, and pity those above him. This sense of mankind is so far from a le. velling principle, that it only sets us upon a true basis of distinction, and doubles the merit of such as become their condition. A man in power, who can, without the ordinary prepossessions which stop the way to the true knowledge and service of mankind, overlook the little distinctions of fortune, raise obscure merit, and discountenance successful indesert, has, in the minds of knowing men, the figure of an angel rather than a man; and is above the rest of men in the highest character he can be, even that of their benefactor. Turning my thoughts, as I was taking my pipe this evening, after this manner, it was no small delight to me to receive advice from Fe. licia, that Eboracensis” was appointed a governor of one of their plantations. As I am a great lover of mankind, I took part in the hap. piness of that people who were to be governed by one of so great humanity, justice, and honour. Eboracensis has read all the schemes which writers have formed of government and order, and has been long conversant with men who have the reins in their hands; so that he can very well distinguish between chimerical and practical politics. It is a great blessing, when men have to deal with such different characters in the same species as those of freemen and slaves, that they who command have a just sense of human nature itself, by which they can temper the haughtiness of the master, and soften the servitude of the slave—“Hae tibi erunt artes.” This is the notion with which those of the plantation receive Eboracensis: and as I have cast his nativity, I find there will be a record made of this person's administration; and on that part of the shore from whence, he embarks to return from his government, there will be a monument, with these words: ‘Here the people wept, and took leave of Eboracensis, the first governor our mother Felicia sent, who, during his command here, believed himself her subject.'
Sept. 13, equal day and night.
‘SIR,-There are two ladies, who, having a good opinion of your taste and judgment, desire you to make use of them in the following particular, which perhaps you may allow very extraordinary. The two ladies before-mentioned have, a considerable time since, contracted a more sincere and constant friendship than their adversaries, the men, will allow consistent with the frailty of female nature; and being, from a long acquaintance, convinced of the perfect agreement of their tempers, have thought upon an expedient to prevent their separation, and cannot think any so effectual (since it is common for love to destroy friendship) as to give up both their liberties to the same person in marriage. The gentleman they have pitched upon is neither well bred nor agreeable, his understanding moderate, and his person never designed to charm women; but having so much self-interest in his nature, as to be satisfied with making double contracts, upon condition of re
receiving double fortunes; and most men being
so far sensible of the uneasiness that one woman occasions; they think him, for these reasons, the most likely person of their acquaintance to receive these proposals. Upon all other accounts, he is the last man either of them would choose, yet for this, preferable to all the rest. They desire to know your opinion the next post, resolving to defer farther proceeding, until they have received it.—I am, Sir, your unknown, unthought of humble servant, * BRIDGET EITHERSIDE.”
This is very extraordinary; and much might be objected by me, who am something of a civilian, to the case of two marrying the same man: but these ladies are, I perceive, freethinkers; and therefore I shall speak only to the prudential part of this design, merely as a philosopher, without entering into the merit of it in the ecclesiastical or civil law. These constant friends, Piladea and Orestea, are at a loss to preserve their friendship from the encroachments of love: for which end they have resolved upon a fellow who cannot be the object of affection or esteem to either, and consequently cannot rob one of the place each has in her friend's heart. But in all my reading (and I have read all that the sages of love have writ) I have found the greatest danger in jealousy. The ladies, indeed, to avoid this passion, choose a sad fellow; but if they would be advised by me, they had better have each her worthless man; otherwise, he that was despicable, while he was indifferent to them, will become valuable when he scems to prefer one to the other.
I remember in the history of Don Quixote of la Mancha, there is a memorable passage, which opens to us the weakness of our nature in such particulars. The Don falls into discourse with a gentleman, whom he calls ‘the Knight of the Green Cassock, and is invited to his house. When he comes there, he runs into discourse and panegyric upon the economy, the government, and order of his family, the education of his children, and, lastly, on the singular wisdom of him who disposed things with that cAactness.
The gentleman makes a soliloquy to himself: “O irresistible power of flattery. Though I know this is a madman, I cannot help being taken with his applause.” The ladies will find this much more true in the case of their lover; and the woman he most likes will certainly be more pleased, she whom he slights more offended, than she can imagine before she was tried. Now, I humbly propose, that they both marry coxcombs whom they are sure they cannot like, and then they may be pretty secure against the change of affection, which they fear; and, by that means, preserving the temperature under which they now write, enjoy, during life, ‘Equal day and night.”
St. James's Coffee-house, September 16.
There is no manner of news; but people now spend their time in coffee-houses in reflections upon the particulars of the late glorious day, and collecting the several parts of the action, as they are produced in letters from private hands, or notices given to us by accounts in public papers. A pleasant gentleman, alluding to the great fences through which we pierced, said this evening, ‘the French thought themselves on the right side of the hedge, but it proved otherwise.” Mr. Kidney,” who has long conversed with, and filled tea for, the most consummate politicians, was pleased to give me an account of this piece of ribaldry; and desired me, on that occasion, to write a whole paper on the subject of valour, and explain how that quality, which must be possessed by whole armies, is so highly preferable in one man rather than another; and how the same actions are but mere acts of duty in some, and instances of the most heroic virtue in others. He advises me not to fail, in this discourse, to mention the gallantry of the prince of Nassau in this last engagement; who, when a battalion made a halt in the face of the enemy, snatched the colours out of the hands of the ensign, and planted them just before the line of the enemy, calling to that battalion to take care of their colours if they had no regard to him. . Mr. Kidney has my promise to obey him in this particular, on the first occasion that offers.
Mr. Bickerstaff is now compiling exact accounts of the pay of the militia, and the commission-officers under the respective lieutenancies of Great Britain; in the first place, of those of London and Westminster; and in regard that there are no common soldiers, but all housekeepers, or representatives of house-keepers, in these bodies, the sums raised by the officers shall be looked into; and their fellow-soldiers, or rather fellow travellers from one part of the town to the other, not defrauded of the ten pounds allowed for the subsistence of the troops.
Whereas, not very long since, at a tavern between Fleet-bridge and Charing-cross, some cer. tain polite gentlemen thought fit to perform the bacchanalian exercises of devotion, by dancing without clothes on, after the manner of the Prae. Adamites; this is to certify those persons, that
* A waiter at the St. James's Coffee-house.
‘SIR,-Having read your lucubrations of the tenth instant, I cannot but entirely agree with you in your notion of the scarcity of men who can either read or speak. For my part, I have lived these thirty years in the world, and yet have observed but very few who could do either in any tolerable manner; among which few, you must understand that I reckon myself. How far cloquence, set off with the proper ornaments of voice and gesture, will prevail over the passions, and how cold and unaffecting the best oration "in the world would be without them, there are two remarkable instances in the case of Ligarius, and that of Milo. Caesar had condemned Ligarius. He came indeed to hear what might be said; but, thinking himself his own master, resolved not to be biassed by any thing Cicero could say in his behalf: but in this he was mistaken; for when the orator began to speak, the hero is moved, he is vanquished, and at length the criminal absolved. It must be observed, that this famouaorator was less renowned for his courage o his eloquence; for though he came, at another time, prepared to defend Milo with one of the best orations that antiquity has pro
duced; yet, being eized with a sudden fear, by
o seeing some armed men surround the Forum, he saltered in his speech, and became unable to exert that irresistible force and beauty of action which would have saved his client, and for want of which he was condemned to banishment. As the success the former of these orations met with appears chiefly owing to the life and graceful manner with which it was recited (for some there are who think it may be read without transport) so the latter seems to have failed of success for no other reason, but because the orato? was not in a condition to set it off with those ornaments. It must be confessed, that artful sound will, with the crowd, prevail even more than sense ; but those who are masters of both, will ever gain the admiration of all their hearers; and there is, I think, a very natural account to be given of this matter; for the sensation of the head and heart are caused in each of these parts by the outward organs of the eye and ear; that, therefore, which is conveyed to the understanding and passions by only one of these organs, will not affect us so much as that which is transmitted through both. I cannot but think your charge is just against a great part of the learned clergy of Great Britain, who deliver the most excellent discourses with such coldness and indifference, that it is no great wonder the unintelligent many of their congregations fall asleep. Thus it happens that their orations meet with quite a contrary fate to that of Demosthenes you mentioned; for as that lost much of its beauty and force by being repeated to the magistrates of Rhodes without the winning action of that great orator ; so the performances of
these gentleman never appear with so little,
grace, and to so much disadvantage, as when delivered by themselves from the pulpit. Hippocrates, being sent for to a patient in this city, and, having felt his pulse, inquired into the symptoms of his distemper; and finding that it proceeded in great measure from want of sleep, advises his patient with an air of gravity, to be carried to church to hear a sermon, not doubting but that it would dispose him for the rest he wanted. If some of the rules Horace gives for the theatre were (not improperly) applied to our pulpits, we should not hear a sermon prescribed as a good opiate.
to the thing spoken ; but Mr. Bickerstaff, you know, that as too little action is cold, so too much is fulsome. Some, indeed, may think themselves accomplished speakers for no other reason than because they can be loud and noisy; for surely Stentor must have some design in his vociferations. But, dear Mr. Bickerstaff, convince them, that as harsh and irregular sound is not harmony; so neither is banging a cushion, oratory; and, therefore, in my humble opinion, a certain divine of the first order, whom I allow otherwise to be a great man, would do well to leave this off; for I think his sermons would be more persuasive, if he gave his auditory less disturbance. Though I cannot say that this action would be wholly improper to profane oration; yet, I think, in a religious assembly, it gives a man too warlike, or perhaps too theatrical a figure, to be suitable to a christian congregation. I am, Sir, your humble servant,’ &c.
The most learned and ingenious Mr. Rosehat is also pleased to write to me on this subject.
‘SIR,--I read with great pleasure in the Tatler of Saturday last the conversation upon eloquence: permit me to hint to you one thing the great Roman orator observes upon this subject; Caput enim arbitrabatur oratoris, (he quotes Menedemus, an Athenian,) ut ipsis apud quos ageret talis qualem ipse optaret rideretur; id fieri cita dignitate. (Tull. de Orat.) It is the first rule in oratory, that a man must appear such as he would persuade others to be ; and that can be accomplished only by the force of his life. . I believe it might be of great service to let our public orators know, that an unnatural gravity or an unbecoming levity in their behaviour out of the pulpit, will take very much from the force of their eloquence in it. Excuse another scrap of Latin; it is from one of the fathers: I think it will appear a just observation to all, and it may have authority with some : Qui autem docent tantum, nec facient ipsi praeceptis suis detrahunt pondus: quis enim obtemperet, cum ipsi praceptores doceam non obtenperare 2 Those who teach, but do not act agreeably to the instructions they give to others, take away all weight from their doctrine: for who will obey the precepts they inculcate, if they themselves teach us by their practice to disobey them —I am, Sir, your most humble
servant, - JONATHAN ROSEHAT."
• P. S. You were complaining in that paper, that the clergy of Great Britain had not yet learned to speak; a very great defect indeed: and, therefore, I shall think myself a well-deserver of the church, in recommending all the dumb clergy to the famous speaking doctor at Kensington. This ingenious gentleman, out of compassion to those of a bad utterance, has placed his whole study in the new-modelling the organs of voice; which art he has so far advanced, as to be able even to make a good orator of a pair of bellows. He lately exhibited a specimen of his skill in this way, of which I was informed by the worthy gentlemen then present; who were at once delighted and amazed to hear an instrument of so simple an organization use an exact articulation of words, a just cadency in its sentences, and a wonderful pathos in its pronunciation: not that he designs to expatiate in this practice; because he cannot, as he says, apprehend what use it may may be of to mankind, whose benefit he aims at in a more particular manner; and, for the same reason, he will never more instruct the feathered kind, the parrot having been his last scholar in that way. He has a wonderful faculty in making and mending echoes: and this he will perform at any time for the use of the solitary in the country; being a man born for universal good, and for that reason recommended to your patronage by, Sir, yours, &c."
Another learned gentleman gives me also
this encomium : ‘September 16.
‘SIR,- You are now got into a useful and noble subject; take care to handle it with judgment and delicacy. I wish every young divine would give yours of Saturday last a serious perusal; and now you are entered upon the action of an orator, if you would proceed to favour the world with some remarks qn the mystical enchantments of pronunciation, what a secret force there is in the accents of a tunable voice, and wherefore the works of two very great men of the profession could never please so well when read as heard, I shall trouble you with no more scribble. You are now in the method of being truly profitable and delightful. If you can keep up to such great and sublime subjects, and pursue them with a suitable genius, go on and prosper. Farewell.'
White's Chocolate-house, September 19.
This was left for me here, for the use of the company of the house :
“To Isaac Bickerstaff, Esquire.
September 15. ‘SIR,-The account you gave lately of a cer. tain dog-kennel in or near Suffolk-street, was not so punctual, as to the list of the dogs, as might have been expected from a person of Mr. Bickerstaff's intelligence; for, if you will des. patch Pacolet thither some evening, it is ten to one but he finds, besides those you mentioned, ‘Towzer, a large French mongrel, that was not long ago in a tattered condition, but has now got new hair; is not fleet, but, when he grapples, bites even to the marrow. ‘Spring a little French greyhound, that lately made a false trip to Tunbridge. ‘Sly, an old battered fox-hound, that began the game in France. • Lightfoot, a fine skinned Flanders dog, that belonged to a pack at Ghent; but having lost flesh, is gone to Paris, for the benefit of the air. “With several others, that in time may be worth notice. ‘Your familiar will see also, how anxious the keepers are about the prey, and, indeed, not without very good reason, for they have their share of every thing; nay, not so much as a poor rabbit can be run down, but these carni. U
I HAVE long been, against my inclination, employed in satire, and that in prosecution of such persons, who are below the dignity of the true spirit of it; such who, I fear, are not to be reclaimed by making them only ridiculous. The sharpers shall, therefore, have a month's time to themselves, free from the observation of this paper; but I must not make a truce without letting them know, that, at the same time, I am preparing for a more vigorous war: for a friend of mine has promised me he will employ his time in compiling such a tract, before the session of the ensuing parliament, as shall lay gaming home to the bosoms of all who love their country or their families; and he doubts not but it will create an act, that shall make those rogues as scandalous as those less mischievous ones on the high road.
I have received private intimations to take care of my walks, and remember there are such things as stabs and blows: but as there never was any thing in this design which ought to displease a man of honour, or which was not designed to offend the rascals, I shall give myself very little concern for finding what I expected, that they would be highly provoked at these lucubrations. But, though I utterly despise the pack, I must confess I am at a stand at the receipt of the following letter, which seems to be written by a man of sense and worth, who has mistaken some passage that I am sure was not levelled at him. This gen. tleman's complaints give me compunction, when I neglect the threats of the rascals. I cannot be in jest with the rogues any longer, since they pretend to threaten. I do not know whether, I shall allow them the favour of transportation.
“Mr. BICKERSTAFF,-Observing you are not content with lashing the many vices of the age without illustrating each with particular char. acters, it is thought nothing would more contribute to the impression you design by such, than always having regard to truth. In your Tatler of this day, I observe you allow, that nothing is so tender as a lady's reputation; that a stain once got in their fame is hardly ever to
be washed out. This you grant, even when you give yourself leave to trifle. If so, what caution is necessary in handling the reputation of a man, whose well-being in this life perhaps entirely depends on preserving it from any wound, which, once there received, too often becomes fatal and incurable 2 Suppose some villanous hand through personal prejudice, transmits materials for this purpose, which you publish to the world, and afterwards become fully convinced you were imposed on ; as by this time you may be of a character you have sent into the world; I say, supposing this, I would be glad to know, what reparation you think ought to be made the person so injured, admitting you stood in his place. It has always been held, that a generous education is the surest mark of a generous mind. The former is, indeed, perspicuous in all your papers; and, I am persuaded, though you affect often to show the latter, yet you would not keep any measures, even of christianity, with those who should handle you in the manner you do others. The application of all this is from your having very lately glanced at a man under a character, which, were he conscious to deserve, he would be the first to rid the world of himself; and would be more justifiable in it to all sorts of men, than you in your committing such a violence on his reputation, which perhaps you may be convinced of in another manner than you deserve from him. “A man of your capacity, Mr. Bickerstaff, should have more noble views, and pursue the true spirit of satire; but I will conclude, lest I grow out of temper, and will only beg you for your own preservation, to remember the proverb of the pitcher.—I am yours, A. J.'
The proverb of the pitcher I have no regard to; but it would be an insensibility not to be pardoned, if a man could be untouched at so warm an accusation, and that laid with so much seeming temper. All I can say to it is, that if the writer, by the same method whereby he conveyed this letter, shall give me an instance wherein I have injured any good man, or pointed at any thing which is not the true object of raillery, I shall acknowledge the offence in as open a manner as the press can do it, and lay down this paper for ever.
There is something very terrible in unjustly attacking men in a way that may prejudice their honour or fortune; but when men of too modest a sense of themselves will think they are touched, it is impossible to prevent ill consequences from the most innocent and general discourses. This I have known to happen in circumstances the most foreign to theirs who have taken offence at them. An advertisement lately published, relating to Omicron, alarmed a gentleman of good sense, integrity, honour, and industry, who is in every particular, dis. ferent from the trifling pretenders pointed at in that advertisement. When the modesty of some is as excessive as the vanity of others, what defence is there against misinterpretation ? However, giving disturbance, though not intended, to men of virtuous characters, has so sincerely troubled me that I will break from this satirical
vein; and, to show I very little value myself upon it, shall for this month ensuing leave the sharper, the fop, the pedant, the proud man, the insolent; in a word, all the train of knaves and fools, to their own devices, and touch on nothing but panegyric. This way is suitable to the true genius of the Staffs, who are much more inclined to reward than punish. If, therefore, the author of the above-mentioned letter does not command my silence wholly, as he shall, if I do not give him satisfaction, I shall, for the above-mentioned space turn my thoughts to raising merit from its obscurity, celebrating virtue in its distress, and attacking vice by no other method, but setting innocence in a proper light.
Will's Coffee-house, September 20.
I find here for me the following letter:
“Esquikr Bickerst AFF, Finding your advice and censure to have a good effect, I desire your admonition to our vicar and schoolmaster, who, in his preaching to his auditors, stretches his jaws so wide, that, instead of instructing youth, it rather frightens them : likewise, in reading prayers, he has such a careless loll, that people are justly offended at his irreverent posture; besides the extraordinary charge they are put to in sending their children to dance, to bring them off those ill gestures. Another evil faculty he has, in making the bowling-green his daily residence, instead of his church, where his curate reads prayers every day. If the weather is fair, his time is spent in visiting ; if cold or wet, in bed, or at least at home, though within a hundred yards of the church. These, out of many such irregular practices, I write for his reclamation: but two or three things more before I conclude; to wit, that generally when his curate preaches in the afternoon, he sleeps sotting in the desk on a hassock. With all this he is so extremely proud that he will go but once to the sick except they return his visit.”
I was going on in reading my letter, when I was interrupted by Mr. Greenhat, who has been this evening at the play of Hamlet. “Mr. Bickerstaff,' said he, “had you been to-night at the play-house, you had secn the force of action in perfection : your admired Mr. Betterton behaved himself so well, that though now about seventy, he acted youth ; and by the prevalent power of proper manner, gesture, and voice, appeared through the whole drama a young man of great expectation, vivacity, and enterprise. The soliloquy, where he began the celebrated sentence of “To be or not to be "" the expostulation, where he explains with his mother in her closet, the noble ardour, after seeing his father's ghost; and his generous distress for the death of Ophelia, are each of them circumstances which dwell strongly upon the minds of the audience, and would certainly affect their behaviour on any parallel occasions in their own lives. Pray, Mr. Bickerstaff, let us have virtue thus represented on the stage with its proper ornaments, or let these ornaments be added to her in places more sacred. As for my part,” said he, ‘I carried my cousin Jerry, this little