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your polite papers, but when I observe any thing which I think written for the advancement of good-will amongst men, and laying before them objects of charity, I am very zealous for the promotion of so honest a design. Believe me, sir, want of wit or wisdom, is not the infirmity of this age; it is the shameful application of both that is the crying evil. As for my own part, I am always endeavouring at least to be better, rather than richer or wiser. But I never lamented that I was not a wealthy man so heartily as the other day. You must understand that I now and then take a walk of mortification, and pass a whole day in making myself profitably sad. I for this end visit the hospitals about this city, and when I have rambled about the galleries at Bedlam, and seen for an hour the utmost of all lamentable objects, human reason distracted; when I have from grate to grate offered up my prayers for a wretch who has been reviling me, for a figure that has seemcd petrified with anguish, for a man that has held up his face in a posture of adoration to. ward heaven to utter execrations and blasphemies; I say, when I have beheld all these things, and thoroughly reflected on them, until I have startled myself out of my present ill course, I have thought fit to pass to the observation of less evils, and relieve myself by going to those charitable receptacles about this town, appointed only for bodily distresses. The gay and frolic part of mankind are wholly unacquainted with the numbers of their fellow-creatures who languish under pain and agony, for want of a trille out of that expense by which those fortunate persons purchase the gratification of a superfluous passion or appetite. I ended the last of these pilgrimages which I made, at St. Tho. mas's hospital in Southwark. I had seen all the variety of woe which can arise from the distempers which attend human frailty; but the circumstance which occasioned this letter, and gave me the quickest compassion, was beholding a little boy of ten years of age, who was just then to be expelled the house as incurable. My heart melted within me to think what would become of the poor child, who, as I was informed, had not a farthing in the world, nor father, nor mother, nor friend to help it. The infant saw my sorrow for it, and came towards me, and bid me speak, that it might die in the house. ‘Alas! there are crowds cured in this place, and the strictest care taken, in the distribution of the charity, for wholesome food, good physic, and tender care in behalf of the patients; but the provision is not large enough for those whom they do not despair of recovering, which makes it necessary to turn out the incurable, for the sake of those whom they can relieve. I was informed this was the fate of many in a year, as well as of this poor child, who I suppose, corrupted away yet alive in the streets. He was to be sure removed when he was only capable of giving offence, though avoided when still an object of compassion. There are not words to give mankind compunction enough on such an occasion; but I assure you I think the miserable have a property in the superfluous possessions of the fortunate; though I depair of seeing right done them until the day
wherein those distinctions shall cease for ever, and they must both give an account for their behaviour under their respective sufferings and enjoyments. However, you would do your part as a guardian, if you would mention, in the most pathetic terms, these miserable objects, and put the good part of the world in mind of exerting the most noble benevolence that can be imagined, in alleviating the few remaining unoments of the incurable. “A gentleman who belonged to the hospital, was saying, he believed it would be done as soon as mentioned, if it were proposed that a ward might be erected for the accommodation of such as have no more to do in this world, but resign themselves to death. I know no readier way of communicating this thought to the world, than by your paper. If you omit to publish this, I shall never esteem you to be the man you pretend; and so recommending the incurable to your guardianship, I remain, sir, your most humble servant, PHILANTHROPOS."
It must be confessed, that if one turns one's eyes round these cities of London and Westminster, one cannot overlook the exemplary instances of heroic charity, in providing restraints for the wicked, instructions for the young, food and raiment for the aged, with regard also to all other circumstances and relations of human life; but it is to be lamented that these provisions are made only by the middle kind of people, while those of fashion and power are raised above the species itself, and are unacquainted or unmoved with the calamities of others. But, alas! how monstrous is this hardness of heart! How is it possible that the returns of hunger and thirst should not importune men, though in the highest affluence, to consider the miseries of their fellow-creatures who languish under necessity. But as I hinted just now, the distinctions of mankind are almost wholly to be resolved into those of the rich and the poor; for as certainly as wealth gives acceptance and grace to all that its possessor says or does; so poverty creates disesteem, scorn, and prejudice, to all the undertakings of the indigent. The necessitous man has neither hands, lips, or understanding, for his own or friend's use, but is in the same condition with the sick, with this difference only, that his is an infection no man will relieve or assist, or if he does, it is seldom with so much pity as contempt, and rather for the ostentation of the physician, than compassion on the patient. It is a circumstance, wherein a man finds all the good he descrves inaccessible, all the ill unavoidable; and the poor hero is as certainly ragged, as the poor villain hanged. Under these pressures the poor man speaks with hesitation, undertakes with irresolution, and acts with disappointment. He is slighted in men's conversations, overlooked in their assemblies, and beaten at their doors. But from whence, alas ! has he this treatment 7 from a creature that has only the supply of, but not an exemption from, the wants, for which he despises him. Yet such is the unaccountable insolence of man, that he will not see that he who is supported, is in the same class of natural
I have found, by experience, that it is impossible to talk distinctly without defining the words of which we make use. There is not a torm in our language which wants explanation so much as the word Church. One would think when people utter it, they should have in their minds ideas of virtue and religion; but that important monosyllable drags all the other words in the language after it, and it is made use of to express both praise and blame, according to the character of him who speaks it. By this means it happens, that no one knows what his neighbour means when he says such a one is for or against the church. It has happened that the person, who is seen every day at church, has not been in the eye of the world a churchman; and he who is very zealous to oblige every man to frequent it, but himself, has been held a very good son of the church. This preposses. sion is the best handle imaginable for politicians to make use of for managing the loves and hatreds of mankind, to the purposes to which they would lead them. But this is not a thing for fools to meddle with, for they only bring disesteem upon those whom they attempt to serve, when they unskilfully pronounce terms of art. I have observed great evils arise from this practice, and not only the cause of piety,
but also the secular interest of clergymen, has
extremely suffered by the general unexplained signification of the word Church. The Examiner, upon the strength of being a received church-man, has offended in this particular more grossly than any other man ever did before, and almost as grossly as ever he himself did, supposing the allegations in the following letter are just. To slander any man is a very heinous offence; but the crime is still greater, when it falls upon such as ought to give example to others. I cannot imagine how the Examiner can divest any part of the clergy of the respect due to their characters, so as to treat them as he does, without an indulgence unknown to our religion, though taken
up in the name of it, in order to disparage such of its communicants as will not sacrifice their conscience to their fortunes. This confusion and subdivision of interests and sentiments among people of the same communion, is what would be a very good subject of mirth; but when I consider against whom this insult is committed, I think it too great, and of too ill a consequence, to be in good humour on the ocCaSiOil. ... • ‘June 9, 1713. ‘SiR,-Your character of universal Guardian, joined to the concern you ought to have for the cause of virtue and religion, assure me you will not think that clergymen when injured, have the least right to your protection; and it is from that assurance I trouble you with this, to complain of the Examiner, who calumniates as freely as he commends, and whose invectives are as groundless as his panegyrics. “In his paper of the eighth instant, after a most furious invective against many noble lords, a considerable number of the commons, and a very great part of her majesty's good subjects, as disaffected and full of discontent, (which, by the way, is but an awkward compliment to the queen, whose greatest glory it is to reign in the hearts of her people,) that the clergy may not go without their share of his resentment, he concludes with a most malicious reflection upon some of them. He names indeed nobody, but points to Windsor and St. Paul's, where he tells us some are disrespectful to the queen, and enemies to her peace; most odious characters, especially in clergymen, whose profession is peace, and to whose duty and affection her majesty has a more immediate right, by her singular piety and great goodness to them. “ They have sucked in,” he says, “this war-like principle from their arbitrary patrons.” It is not enough, it seems, to calumniate them, unless their patrons also be insulted, no less patrons than the late king and the duke of Marlborough. These are his arbitrary men; though nothing be more certain than that without the king, the shadow of a legal government had not been left to us; nor did there ever live a man, who in the nature and temper of him, less deserved the character of arbitrary than the duke. How now is this terrible charge against those clergymen supported? Why, as to St. Paul's, the fact, according to him, is this: “Some of the church, to affront the queen, on the day the peace was proclaimed, gave orders for parochial prayers only, without singing, as is used upon fast-days, though in this particular their inferiors were so very honest to disobey them.” This the Examiner roundly affirms, after his usual manner, but without the least regard to truth; for it is fallen in my way, without inquiring, to be exactly informed of this matter, and therefore, I take upon me in their vindication to assure you, that every part of what is said is absolutely false, and the truth is just the reverse. The inferiors desired there might be only parochial prayers; but the person applied to was aware to what construction it might be liable, and therefore would not consent to the request, though very innocent and reasonable. The case was this: the procession of the ceremony had
reached Ludgate just at the time of prayers, and there was such a prodigious concourse of people, that one of the vergers came to the residentiary in waiting, to represent, that it would be impossible to have prayers that afternoon; that the crowds all round the church was so great, there would be no getting in : but it was insisted, that there must be prayers, only the tolling of the bell should be deferred a little, until the head of the procession was got beyond the church. When the bell had done, and none of the choir appeared, but one to read, it was upon this again represented, that there could be only parochial prayers, a thing that sometimes happens, twice or thrice perhaps in a year, when, upon some allowable occasion, the absence of the choir-men is so great, as not to leave the necessary voices for cathedral service; which very lately was the case upon a performance of the thanksgiving music at Whitehall. So that had the prayers, on this occasion, been parochial only, it had been neither new nor criminal, but necessary and unavoidable, unless the Examiner can tell how the service may be sung decently without singing-men. However, to leave informers no room for calumny, it was expressly urged, that parochial prayers on such a day, would look ill; that therefore, if possible, it should be avoided, and the service should be begun as usual, in hopes one or two of the choir might come in before the psalms; and the verger was ordered to look out, if he could see any of the choir, to hasten them to their places; and so it proved, two of the best voices came in time enough, and the service was performed cathedral-wise, though in a manner to bare walls, with an anthem suitable to the day. This is the fact on which the Exa. miner grounds a charge of factious and seditious principles against some at St. Paul's, and I am persuaded there is as little truth in what he charges some of Windsor with, though I know not certainly whom he means. Were I disposed to expostulate with the Examiner, I would ask him if he seriously thinks this be answering her majesty's intentions Whether disquieting the minds of her people is the way to calm them 2 Or to traduce men of learning and virtue, be to cultivate the arts of peace But I am too well acquainted with his writings not to see he is past correction; nor does any thing in his paper surprise me, merely because it is false; for to use his own words, “not a day passes,” with him, “but it brings forth a mouse or a monster, some ridiculous lic, some vilo calumny or forgery.” He is almost equally false in every thing he says; but it is not always equally easy to make his falsehood plain and palpable. And it is chiefly for that reason I desire you to give this letter a place in your papers, that those that are willing to be undeceived may learn, from so clear an instance, what a faithful, modest writer this is, who pretends to teach them how to think and speak of things and persons they know nothing of themselves. As this is no way disagreeable to your character of Guardian, your publication of it is a favour which I flatter myself you will not deny to, sir, your humble servant, * R. A.”
No. 81.] Saturday, June 13, 1713.
Quiete et pure atque eleganter actor octatis placida ac lenis recordatio. Cicero.
Placid and soothing is the remembrance of a life passed with quiet, innocence, and elegance.
THE paper which was published on the thirtieth of last month, ended with a piece of devotion written by the archbishop of Cambray. It would (as it was hinted in that precaution) be of singular use for the improvement of our minds, to have the secret thoughts of men of good talents on such occasions. I shall for the entertainment of this day give my reader two pieces, which, if he is curious, will be pleasing for that reason, if they prove to have no other effect upon him. One of them was found in the closet of an Athenian libertine, who lived many ages ago, and is a soliloquy wherein he conternplates his own life and actions according to the lights men have from nature, and the compur,ctions of natural reason. The other is a prayer of agentleman who died within few years last past; and lived to a very great age; but had passed his youth in all the vices in fashion. The Athenian is supposed to have been Alcibiades, a man of great spirit, extremely addicted to pleasures, but at the same time very capable, and upon occasion very attentive to business. He was by nature endued with all the accomplishments she could bestow; he had beauty, wit, courage, and a great understanding; but in the first bloom of his life was arrogantly affected with the advantages he had over others. That temper is pretty visible in an expression of his: when it was proposed to him to learn to play upon a musical instrument, he answered, ‘It is not for me to give, but to receive delight.” However, the conversation of Socrates tempered a strong inclination to licentionsness into reflections of philosophy; and if it had not the force to make a man of his genius and fortune wholly regular, it gave him some cool moments, and this following soliloquy is supposed by the learned to have been thrown together before some expected engagement, and seems to be very much the picture of the man.
‘I am now wholly alone, my ears are not entertained with music, my eyes with beauty, nor any of my senses so forcibly affected, as to diyert the course of my inward thoughts. Methinks there is something sacred in myself now I am alone. What is this being of mine 7 I came into it without my choice, and yet Socrates says it is to be imputed to me. In this repose of my senses wherein they communicate nothing strongly to myself, I taste, methinks, a being distinct from their operation. Why may not then my soul exist, when she is wholly gone out of these organs ? I can perceive my faculties grow stronger, the less I admit the pleasures of sense; and the nearer I place myself to a bare existence, the more worthy, the more noble, the more celestial does that existence appear to me. If my soul is weakened rather than improved by all that the body administers to her, she may reasonably be supposed to be designed for a mansion more suitable than this, wherein what delights her diminishes her excellence, and that which asilicts her adds to her perfection. There is an hereafter, and I will not fear to be immortal for the sake of Athens.’ This soliloquy is but the first dawnings of thought in the mind of a mere man given up to sensuality. The paper which I mention of our contemporary was found in his scrutoire after his death, but communicated to a friend or two of his in his life-time. You see in it a man wearied with the vanities of this life; and the reflections which the success of his wit and gallantry bring upon his old age, are not unworthy the observation of those who possess the like advantages. ‘Oh, Almighty Being ! How shall I look up towards thee, when I reflect that I am of no consideration but as I have offended ? My existence, O my God, without thy mercy, is not to be prolonged in this or another world but for my punishment. I apprehend, oh, my Maker, let it not be too late: I apprehend, and tremble at thy presence; and shall I not consider thee, who art all goodness, but with terror Oh, my Redeemer, do thou behold my anguish. Turn to me, thou Saviour of the world : Who has offended like me? Oh, my God, I cannot fly out of thy presence, let me fall down in it; I humble myself in contrition of heart; but alas ! I have not only swerved from thee, but have laboured against thee. If thou dost pardon what I have committed, how wilt thou pardon what I have made others commit I have rejoiced in ill, as in a prosperity. Forgive, oh my God, all who have offended by my persuasion, all who have transgressed by my example. Canst thou, O God, accept of the consession of old age, to expiate all the labour and industry of youth spent in transgressions against thee! While I am still alive, let me implore thee to recall to thy grace all whom I have made to sin. Let, oh Lord, thy goodness admit of his prayer for their pardon, by whose instigation they have transgressed. Accept, O God, of this interval of age, between my sinful days and the hour of my dissolution, to wear away the corrupt habits in my soul, and prepare myself for the mansions of purity and joy. Impute not to me, oh my God, the offences I may give, alter my death, to those I leave behind me; let me not transgress when I am no more seen; but prevent the ill-effects of my ill-applied studies, and receive me into thy mercy.” It is the most melancholy circumstance that can be imagined, to be on a death-bed, and wish all that a man has most laboured to bring to pass were obliterated for cver. How emphatically worse is this, than having passed all one's days in idleness! Yet this is the frequent case of many men of refined talents. It is, methinks, monstrous that the love of founc, and value of the fashion of the world, can transport a man so far as even in solitude to act with so little reflection upon his real interest. This is premoditated madness, for it is an error done with the assistance of all the faculties of the mind. When every circumstance about us is a constant admonition how transient is every labour
of man, it should, methinks, be no hard matter
to bring one's self to consider the emptiness of our endeavours; but I was not a little charined the other day, when sitting with an old friend
Hor. Lib. 1. Sat. i. 119.
Cedat uti conviva satur Let him depart like a contented guest. • * Though men see every day people go to their long home, who are younger than themselves, they are not so apt to be alarmed at that, as at the decease of those who have lived longer in their sight. They miss their acquaintance, and are surprised at the loss of an habitual object. This gave me so much concern for the death of Mr. William Peer of the theatre-royal, who was an actor at the Restoration, and took his theatrical degree with Betterton, Kynaston, and Harris. Though his station was humble, he performed it well; and the common comparison with the stage and human life, which has been so often made, may well be brought out upon this occasion. It is no matter, say the moralists, whether you act a prince or a beggar, the business is to do your part well. Mr. William Peer distinguished himself particularly in two characters, which no man ever could touch but himself; one of them, was the speaker of the prologue to the play, which is contrived in the tragedy of Hamlet, to awake the consciences of the guilty princes. Mr. William Peer spoke that preface to the play with such an air, as represented that he was an actor, and with such an inferior manner as only acting an actor, as made the others on the stage appear real great persons, and not representatives. This was a nicety in acting that none but the most subtle player could so much as conceive. I remember his speaking these words, in which there is no great matter but in the right adjustment of the air of the speaker, with universal applause: * For us and for our tragedy, Here stooping to your clemency, We beg your hearing patiently." Hamlet says very archly upon the pronouncing of it, ‘Is this a prologue, or a posy of a ring " IIowever, the speaking of it got Mr. Peer more reputation, than those who speak the length of a puritan's sermon every night will ever attain to. Besides this, Mr. Peer got a great fame on another little occasion. He played the apothecary in Caius Marius, as it is called by Otway; but Romeo and Julict, as originally in Shakspeare; it will be necessary to recite more out of the play than he spoke, to have a right conception of what Peer did in it. Marius, weary of life, recollects means to be rid of it after this manner:
“I do remember an apothecary
When this spectre of poverty appeared, Marius addresses him thus:
“I see thou art very poor,
When the apothecary objects that it is unlaw. ful, Marius urges,
* Art thou so base and full of wretchedness
Without all this quotation the reader could not have a just idea of the visage and manner which Peer assumed, when in the most lamentable tone imaginable he consents; and delivering the poison, like a man reduced to the drinking it himself, if he did not vend it, says to Marius, ‘My poverty, but not my will, consents; Take this and drink it off, the work is done." It was an odd excellence, and a very particular circumstance this of Peer's, that his whole action of life depended upon speaking five lines better than any man else in the world. But this eminence lying in so narrow a compass, the governors of the theatre observing his talents to lie in a certain knowledge of propriety, and his person admitting him to shine only in the two above parts, his sphere of action was enlarged by the addition of the post of property-man. This officer has always ready, in a place appointed for him behind the prompter, all such tools and implements as are necessary in the play, and it is his business never to want billetdoux, poison, false money, thunderbolts, daggers, scrolls of parchment, wine, pomatum truncheons, and wooden legs, ready at the call of the said prompter, according as his respective utensils were necessary for prompting what was to pass on the stage. The addition of this office, so important to the conduct of the whole affair of the stage, and the good economy observed by their present managers in punctual payments, made Mr. Peer's subsistence very comfortable. But it frequently happens, that men lose their virtue in prosperity, who were shining charac. ters in the contrary condition. Good fortune ... indeed had no effect on the mind, but very much on the body of Mr. Peer. For in the seventieth year of his age he grew fat, which rendered his figure unfit for the utterance of the five lines above-mentioned. He had now unfortunately lost the wan distress necessary for the countenance of the apothecary, and was too jolly to speak the prologue with the proper humility. It -s thought this calamity went too near him. It
did not a little contribute to the shortening his days; and, as there is no state of real happiness in this life, Mr. Peer was undone by his success, and lost all by arriving at what is the end of all other men's pursuits, his ease. I could not forbear inquiring into the cffects Mr. Peer left behind him, but find there is no demand due to him from the house, but the fol
lowing bill: if s at For hire of six case of pistols, 0 4 0. A drum for Mrs. Bignall in the Pilgrim, - - - - - 0 4 4 A truss of straw for the madmen, () () S Pomatum and vermillion to grease the face of the stuttering cook, 0 0 S For boarding a setting dog two days to follow Mr. Johnson in Epsom Wells, - - - - - 0 0 6 For blood in Macbeth, - - 0 0 3 Raisins and almonds for a witch's banquet, - - - - - 0 0 8
* This contemporary of mine, whom I have often rallied for the narrow compass of his singular perfections, is now at peace, and wants no further assistance from any man; but men of extensive genius, now living, still depend upon the good offices of the town. I am therefore to remind my reader, that on this day, being the fifteenth of June, the Plotting Sisters is to be acted for the benefit of the author, my old friend Mr. d'Urfey. This comedy was honoured with the presence of king Charles the Sceond three of its first five nights. My friend has in this work shown himself a master, and made not only the characters of the play, but also the furniture of the house contribute to the main design. He has made excellent use of a table with a carpet, and the key of a closet. With these two implements, which would, perhaps, have been overlooked by an ordinary writer, he contrives the most natural perplexities (allowing only the use of these household goods in poetry) that ever were represented on a stage. He has also made good advantage of the knowledge of the stage itself; for in the nick of being surprised, the lovers are let down and escape at a trap-door. In a word, any who have the curiosity to obscrve what pleased in the last generation, and does not go to a comedy with a resolution to be grave, will find this evening ample food for mirth. Johnson, who understands what he does as well as any man, exposes the impertinence of an old fellow, who has lost his senses, still pursuing pleasures, with great mastery. The ingenious Mr. Pinkethman is a bashful rake, and is sheepish without having modesty with great success. Mr. Bullock succeeds Nokes in the part of Bubble, and in my opinion is not much below him : for he doos excellently that sort of folly we call absurdity, which is the very contrary of wit, but, next to that, is of all things the properest to excite mirth. What is foolish is the object of pity; but absurdity often proceeds from an opinion of sufficiency, and consequently is an honest occasion for laughter. These characters in this play cannot choose but make