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it a very pleasant entertainment, and the decorations of singing and dancing will more than repay the good nature of those who make an honest man a visit of two merry hours to make his following year unpainful.
No. 83.] Tuesday, June 16, 1713.
Nimirum insanus paucis wideatur, eo quod Maxima pars hominum morbo jactatur eodem. . . Hor. Lib. 2. Sat. iii. 120.
— Few think these mad, for most like these, Are sick and troubled with the same disease. Crcech.
THERE is a restless endeavour in the mind of man after happiness. This appetite is wrought into the original frame of our nature, and exerts itself in all parts of the creation that are endued with any degree of thought or sense. But as the human mind is dignified by a more comprehensive faculty than can be found in the inferior animals, it is natural for men not only to have an eye, each to his own happiness, but also to endeavour to promote that of others in the same rank of being: and in proportion to the generosity that is ingredient in the temper of the soul, the object of its benevolence is of a larger and narrower extent. There is hardly a spirit upon earth so mean and contracted, as to centre all regards on its own interest, exclusive of the rest of mankind. Even the selfish man has some share of love, which he bestows on his family and his friends. A nobler mind hath at heart the common interest of the society or country of which he makes a part. And there is still a more diffusive spirit, whose being or intentions reach the whole mass of mankind, and are continued beyond the present age to a succession of future generations.
The advantage arising to him who hath a tincture of this generosity on his soul, is, that he is affected with a sublimer joy than can be comprehended by one who is destitute of that noble relish. The happiness of the rest of mankind hath a natural connexion with that of a reasonable mind. And in proportion as the actions of each individual contribute to this end, he must be thought to deserve well or ill, both of the world, and of himself. I have in a late paper observed, that men who have no reach of thought do often misplace their affections on the means, without respect to the end; and by a preposterous desire of things in themselves indifferent, forego the enjoyment of that happiness which those things are instrumental to obtain. This observation has been considered with regard to critics and misers; I shall now apply it to free-thinkers.
Liberty and truth are the main points which these gentlemen pretend to have in view; to proceed, therefore, methodically, I will endeavour to show in the first place, that liberty and truth are not in themselves desirable, but only as they relate to a farther end. And secondly, that the sort of liberty and truth (allowing them those names) which our free-thinkers use all their industry to promote, is destructive of that end, viz. human happiness: and consequently that species, as such, instead of being encou
raged or esteemed, merit the detestation and abhorrence of all honest men. And in the last place, I design to show, that under the pretence of advancing liberty and truth, they do in reality promote the two contrary evils. As to the first point, it has been observed that it is the duty of each particular person to aim "at the happiness of his fellow-creatures; and that as this view is of a wider or narrower extent, it argues a mind more or less virtuous. Hence it follows, that a liberty of doing good actions which conduce to the felicity of mankind, and a knowledge of such truths as might either give us pleasure in the contemplation of them, or direct our conduct to the great ends of life, are valuable perfections. But shall a good man, therefore, prefer a liberty to commit murder or adultery, before the wholesome restraint of divine and human laws 7 Or shall a wise man prefer the knowledge of a troublesome and afilicting truth, before a pleasant error that would cheer his soul with joy and comfort, and be attended with no ill consequences ! Surely no man of common sense would thank him, who had put it in his power to execute the sud. den suggestions of a fit of passion or madness, or imagine himself obliged to a person, who, by forwardly informing him of ill news, had caused his soul to anticipate that sorrow which she would never have felt so long as the ungrateful truth lay concealed. Let us then respect the happiness of our species, and in this light examine the proceedings of the free-thinkers. From what giants and monsters would these knight-errants undertake to free the world? From the ties that religion imposeth on our minds, from the expectation of a future judgment, and from the terrors of a troubled conscience, not by reforming men's lives, but by giving encouragement to their vices. What are those important truths of which they would convince mankind? That there is no such thing as a wise and just Providence; that the mind of man is corporeal; that religion is a state trick, contrived to make men honest and virtuous, and to procure a subsistence to others for teaching and exhorting them to be so; that the good tidings of life and immortality, brought to light by the gospel, are fables and impostures; from believing that we are made in the image of God, they would degrade us to an opinion that we are on a level with the beasts that perish. What pleasure or what advantage do these notions bring to mankind. Is it of any use to the public that good men should lose the comfortable prospect of a reward to their virtue; or the wicked be encouraged to persist in their impiety, from an assurance that they shall not be punished for it hereafter 2 Allowing, therefore, these men to be patrons of liberty and truth, yet it is of such truths, and that sort of liberty, which makes them justly be looked upon as enemies to the peace and happiness of the world. But upon a thorough and impartial view it will be found, that their endeavours, instead of advancing the cause of liberty and truth, tend only to introduce slavery and error among men. There are two parts in
our nature: the baser, which consists of our
senses and passions, and the more noble and rational, which is properly the human part, the other being common to us with brutes. The inferior part is generally much stronger, and has always the start of reason, which if in the perpctual struggle between then, it were not aided from heaven by religion, would almost univer. sally be vanquished, and man become a slave to his passions, which, as it is the most grievous and shameful slavery, so it is the genuine result of that liberty which is proposed by overturning religion. Nor is the other part of their design better executed. Look into their pretended truths: are they not so many wretched absurdities, maintained in opposition to the light of nature and divine revelation by sly inuendoes and cold jests, by such pitiful sophisms and such confused and indigested notions, that one would vehemently suspect those men usurped the name of free-thinkers with the same view that hypocrites do that of godliness, that it may serve for a cloak to cover the contrary defect? I shall close this discourse with a parallel reflection on these three species, who seem to be allied by a certain agreement in mediocrity of understanding. A critic is entirely given up to the pursuit of learning; when he has got it, is his judgment clearer, his imagination livelier, or his manners more polite than those of other men Is it observed that a miser, when he has acquired his superfluous estate, eats, drinks, or sleeps with more satisfaction, that he has a cheerfuller mind, or relishes any of the enjoyments of life better than his neighbours? The free-thinkers plead hard for a licence to think freely; they have it: but what use do they make of it ! Are they eminent for any sublime discoveries in any of the arts and sciences ! Have they been authors of any inventions that conduce to the well-being of mankind? Do their writings show a greater depth of design, a clearer method, or more just and correct reasoning than those of other men There is a great resemblance in their genius: but the critic and miser are only ridiculous and contemptible creatures, while the free-thinker is also a pernicious one.
No. 84.] Wednesday, June 17, 1713.
Non missura cutem nisi plena cruoris hiriudo. Hor. Ars Poet. ver, ult.
Sticking like leeches, till they burst with blood. Rusconinun.
“To the Honoured Nestor Ironside, Esq. - * Middle Temple, June 12.
‘SIR,-Presuming you may sometimes condescend to take cognizance of simall enormities, I here lay one before you, which I proceed to without farther apology, as well knowing the best compliment to a man of business is to come to the point.
‘'There is a silly habit among many of our minor orators, who display their eloquence in the several collee-houses of this fair city, to the no small annoyance of considerable numbers of
her majesty's spruce and loving subjects, and that is a humour they have got of twisting off your buttons. These ingenious gentlemen are not able to advance three words until they have got fast hold of one of your buttons; but as soon as they have procured such an excellent handle for discourse, they will indeed proceed with great elocution. I know not how well some may have escaped, but for my part I have often met with them.to my cost; having I believe, within these three years last past been argued out of several dozens; insomuch, that I have, for some time, ordered my tailor to bring me home with every suit, a dozen at least of spare ones, to supply the place of such as from time to time are detached as a help to discourse, by the vehement gentlemen beforementioned. This way of holding a man in discourse, is much practised in the coffee-houses within the city, and does not indeed so much prevail at the politer end of the town. It is likewise more frequently made use of among the small politicians, than any other body of men; I am therefore something cautious of entering into a controversy with this species of statesmen, especially the younger fry; for if you offer in the least to dissent from any thing that one of these advances, he immediately steps up to you, takes hold of one of your buttons, and indeed will soon convince you of the strength of his argumentation. I remember, upon the news of Dunkirk's being delivered into our hands, a brisk little fellow, a politician and an able engineer, had got into the middle of Batson's coffee-house, and was fortifying Graveling for the service of the most Christian king, with all imaginable expedition. The work was carried on with such success, that in less than a quarter of an hour's time, he had made it almost impregnable, and in the opinion of several worthy citizens who had gathered round him, full as strong both by sea and land as Dunkirk ever could pretend to be. I happened, however, unadvisedly to attack some of his outworks; upon which, to show his great skill likewise in the offensive part, he immediately made an assault upon one of my buttons, and carried it in less than two minutes, notwithstanding I made as handsome a defence as was possible. He had likewise invested a second, and would certainly have been master of that too in a very little time, had not he been diverted from this enterprise by the arrival of a courier, who brought advice that his presence was absolutely necessary in the disposal of a beaver," upon which he raised the siege, and indeed retired with some precipitation. In the coffeehouses here about the Temple, you may harangue even among our dabblers in politics for about two buttons a day, and many times for less. I had yesterday the good fortune to receive very considerable additions to my knowledge in state affairs, and I find this morning, that it has not stood me in above a button. In most of the eminent coffee-houses at the other end of the town, for example, to go no farther than Will's in Covent-garden, the company is so refined, that you may hear and be heard, and not be a button the worse for it. Besides the
* The person here alluded to was a Mr. James Hey. wood, a linen draper, who was the writer of a letter in the Spectator, signed James Easy,
gentlemen before-mentioned, there are others
who are no less active in their harangues, but with gentle services rather than robberies. These, while they are improving your understanding, are at the same time setting off your person; they will new-plait and adjust your neckcloth. “But though I can bear with this kind of orator, who is so humble as to aim at the goodwill of his hearer by being his valet de chambre, I must rebel against another sort of them. There are some, sir, that do not stick to take a man by the collar when they have a mind to persuade him. It is your business, I humbly resume, Mr. Ironside, to interpose that a man is not brought over to his opponent by force of arms. It were requisite therefore that you should name a certain interval, which ought to be preserved between the speaker and him to whom he speaks. For sure no man has a right, because I am not of his opinion, to take any of my clothes from me, or dress me according to his own liking. I assure you the most becoming thing to me in the world is in a campaign periwig, to wear one side before and the other cast upon the collateral shoulder. But there is a friend of mine who never talks to me but he throws that which I wear forward, upon my shoulder, so that in restoring it to its place I lose two or three hairs out of the lock upon my buttons; though I never touched him in my whole life, and have been acquainted with him these ten years. I have seen my eager friend in danger sometimes of a quarrel by this ill custom, for there are more young gentlemen who can feel, than can understand. It would be therefore a good office to my good friend if you advised him not to collar any man but one who knows what he means, and give it him as a standing precaution in conversation, that none but a very good friend will give him the liberty of being seen, felt, heard, and understood all at once. I am, sir, your most humble servant,
* P. S. I have a sister who saves herself from being handled by one of these manual rhetoricians by giving him her fan to play with ; but I appeal to you in the behalf of us poor helpless men.”
June 15, 1713.
I am of opinion, that no orator or speaker in public or private has any right to meddle with any body's clothes but his own. I indulge men in the liberty of playing with their own hats, fumbling in their own pockets, settling their own periwigs, tossing or twisting their heads, and all other gesticulations which may contri. bute to their elocution; but pronounce it an infringement of the English liberty, for a man to keep his neighbour's person in custody in order to force a hearing ; and farther declare, that all assent given by an auditor under such constraint, is of itself void and of no effect.
. NESTOR IRONSIDE.
No. 85.] Thursday, June 18, 1713.
Sed te decor iste, quod optas, Esse vetat votoque tuo tua forma repugnat. Ovid. Met. Lib. i. 488. But so inuch youth, with so much beauty join'd, Oppose the state which tily desires designed. Dryden.
To suffer scandal (says somebody) is the tax which every person of merit pays to the public; and my lord Verulam finely observes, that a man who has no virtue in himself, ever envies virtue in others. I know not how it comes to pass, but detraction, through all ages, has been found a vice which the fair sex too easily give in to. Not the Roman satirist could use them with more severity than they themselves do one another. Some audacious critics, in my opinion, have launched out a little too far when they take upon them to prove, in opposition to history, that Lais was a woman of as much virtue as beauty, which violently displeasing the Phrynes of those times, they secretly prevailed with the historians to deliver her down to posterity under the infamous character of an extorting prostitute. But though I have the greatest regard imaginable to that softer species, yet am I sorry to find they have very little for themselves. So far are they from being tender of one another's reputation, that they take a malicious pleasure in destroying it. My lady the other day, when Jack was asking, who could be so base to spread such a report about Mrs. , answered, “None, you may be sure, but a woman.’ A little after, Dick told my lady, that he had heard Florella hint as if Cleora wore artificial teeth. The reason is, said she, because Cleora first gave out that Florella owed her complexion to a wash. Thus the industrious pretty creatures take pains by invention, to throw blemishes on each other, when they do not consider that there is a profiigate set of fellows too ready to taint the character of the virtuous, or blast the charms of the blooming virgin. The young lady from whom I had the honour of receiving the following letter, deserves or rather claims, protection from our sex, since so barbarously treated by her own. Certainly they ought to defend innocence from injury who gave ignorantly the occasion of its being assaulted. Had the men been less liberal of their applauses, the women had been more sparing of these calumnious censures.
“To the Guardian.
‘Sir, I do not know at what nice point you fix the bloom of a young lady ; but I am one who can just look back upon fifteen. My father dying three years ago, left me under the care and direction of my mother, with a fortune not profusely great, yet such as might demand a very handsome settlement, if ever proposals of marriage should be offered. My mother, after the usual time of retired mourning was over, was so affectionately indulgent to me, as to take me along with her in all her visits; but still not thinking she gratified my youth enough, permitted one further to go with my relations to all the public, cheerful, but innocent entertainments, where she was too reserved to appear herself. The two first years of my teens were easy, gay, and delightful. Every one caressed me; the old ladies told me how finely I grew, and the young ones were proud of my company. But when the third year had a little advanced, my relations used to tell my mother, that pretty miss Clary was shot up into a woman. The gentlemen began now not to let their eyes glance over me, and in most places I found myself distinguished; but observed, the more I grew into the esteem of their sex, the more I lost the favour of my own. Some of those whom I had been familiar with, grew cold and indifferent; others mistook by design, my meaning, made me speak what I never thought, and so by degrees took occasion to break off all acquaintance. There were several little insignificant reflections cast upon me, as being a lady of a great many quaintnesses, and such like, which I seemed not to take notice of But my mother coming home about a week ago, told me there was a scandal spread about town by my enemies, that would at once ruin me for ever for a beauty; I earnestly entreated her to know it; she refused me, but yesterday it discovered itself. Being in an assembly of gentlemen and ladies, one of the gentlemen who had been very facetious to several of the ladies, at last turning to me, “And as for you, madam, Prior has already given us your character, “That air and harmony of shape express, Fine by degrees, yet beautifully less.” I perceived immediately a malignant smile display itself in the countenance of some of the ladies, which they seconded with a scornful flutter of the fan; until one of them, unable any longer to contain, asked the gentleman if he did not remember what Congreve said about Aurelia, for she thought it mighty pretty. He made no answer, but instantly repeated the verses : “The mulcibers who in the minories sweat, And Inassive bars on stubborn anvils beat : Deform'd themselves, yet forge those stays of steel, Which arm Aurelia with a shape to kill.” This was no sooner over, but it was easily discernible what an ill-natured satisfaction most of the company took; and the more pleasure they showed by dwelling upon the two last lines, the more they increased my trouble and confusion. And now, sir, after this tedious account, what would you advise me to ? Is there no way to be cleared of these malicious calumnies 7 What is beauty worth that makes the possessor thus unhappy? Why was nature so lavish of her gifts to me, as to make her kindness prove a cruelty They tell me my shape is delicate, my eyes sparkling, my lips, I know not what, my cheeks, forsooth, adorned with a just mixture of the rose and lily; but I wish this face was barely not disagreeable, this voice harsh and unharmonious, these limbs only not deformed, and then perhaps I night live o and unmolested, and neither raise love and admiration in the men, nor scandal and hatred in the women. Your very humble servant, “CLARINA."
The best answer I can make my fair corres
pondent is, That she ought to comfort herself with this consideration, that those who talk thus of her know it is false, but wish they could make others believe it true. It is not they think you deformed, but are vexed that they themselves were not as nicely framed. If you will take an old man's advice, laugh, and be not concerned at them ; they have attained what they endeavoured if they make you uneasy; for it is envy that has made them so. I would not have you wish your shape one sixtieth part of an inch disproportioned, nor desire your face might be impoverished with the ruin of half a feature, though numbers of remaining beauties might make the loss insensible; but take courage, go into the brightest assemblies, and the world will quickly confess it to be scandal. Thus Plato, hearing it was asserted by some persons that he was a very bad man, ‘I shall take care," said he, “to live so, that nobody will believe them.”
I shall conclude this paper with a relation of matter of fact. A gay young gentleman in the country, not many years ago, fell desperately in love with a blooming fine creature, whom give me leave to call Melissa. After a pretty long delay, and frequent solicitations, she refused several others of larger estates, and consented to make him happy. But they had not been married much above a twelve-month, until it appeared too true what Juba says,
“Beauty soon grows familiar to the lover,
Fades in the eye, and palls upon the sense.” Polydore (for that was his name) finding himself grow every day more uneasy, and unwilling she should discover the cause, for diversion came up to town, and, to avoid all suspicions, brought Melissa along with him. After some stay here, Polydore was one day informed, that a set of ladies over their tea-table, in the circle of scandal, had touched upon Melissa And was that the silly thing so much talked of: How did she ever grow into a toast! For their parts they had eyes as well as the men, but could not discover where her beauties lay. Polydore upon hearing this, flew immediately home and told Melissa, with the utmost transport, that he was now fully convinced how numberless were her charms, since her own sex would not allow her any. * button's Coffee-house.
“MR. Ironside,--I have observed that this day you make mention of Will's coffee-house, as a place where people are too polite to hold a man in discourse, by the button. Every body knows your honour frequents this house; therefore they will take an advantage against me, and say, if my company was as civil as that at Will's, you would say so : therefore pray your honour do not be afraid of doing me justice, because people would think it may be a conceit below you on this occasion to name the name
of your humble servant, * - • DANIEL BUTTON."
‘The young poets are in the back room, and take their places as you directed.’
* Daniel Button kept a coffee-house on the south side of Russel street, about two doors from Covent-garden. Here it was that the wits of that time used to assemble.
No. 86.] Friday, June 19, 1713.
—Cui mens divinior, atque os -
“To Nestor Ironside, Esquire.
‘SIR,-The classical writers, according to your advice, are by no means neglected by me, while I pursue my studies in divinity. I am persuaded that they are fountains of good sense and eloquence; and that it is absolutely, necessary for a young mind to form itself upon such models. For by a careful study of their style and manner, we shall at least avoid those faults, into which a youthful imagination is apt to hurry us; such as luxuriance of fancy, licentiousness of style, redundancy of thought, and false ornaments. As I have been flattered by my friends, that I have some genius for poetry, I sometimes turn my thoughts that way; and with pleasure reflect, that I have got over that childish part of life, which delights in points and turns of wit: and that I can take a manly and rational satisfaction in that which is called painting in poetry. Whether it be that in these copyings of nature the object is placed in such lights and circumstances as strike the fancy agreeably; or whether we are surprised to find objects that are absent, placed before our eyes; or whether it be our admiration of the author's art and dexterity; or whether we amuse ourselves with comparing the picture and the original; or rather (which is most probable) because all these reasons concur to affect us; we are wonderfully charmed with these drawings after the life, this magic that raises apparitions in the fancy.
“Landscapes or still-life work much less upon us than representations of the postures or passions of living creatures. Again, those passions or postures strike us more or less in proportion to the ease or violence of their motions. A horse grazing moves us less than one stretching in a race, and a racer less than one in the fury of a battle. It is very difficult, I believe, to express violent motions which are fleeting and transitory, either in colours or words. In poetry it requires great spirit in thought, and energy in style; which we find more of in the eastern poetry, than either the Greek or Roman. The great Creator, who accommodated himself to those he vouchsafed to speak to, hath put into the mouths of his prophets such sublime sentiments and exalted language, as must abash the pride and wit of man. In the book of Job, the most ancient poem in the world, we have such paintings and descriptions as I have spoken of, in great variety. I shall at present make some remarks on the celebrated description of the horse in that holy book, and compare it with those drawn by Homer and Virgil.
“Homer hath the following similitude of a horse twice over in the Iliad, which Virgil hath copied from him; at least he hath deviated less from Homer than Mr. Dryden hath from him:
“Freed from his keepers, thus with broken reins The wanton courser prances o'er the plains; Or in the pride of youth o'erleaps the mounds, And snuffs the females in forbidden grounds; Or seeks his watering in the well-known flood, To quench his thirst, and cool his fiery blood: He swims luxuriant in the liquid plain, And o'er his shoulders flows his waving mane; He neighs, he snorts, he bears his head on high, Before his ample chest the frothy waters fly.” ‘Virgil's description is much fuller than the foregoing, which, as I said, is only a simile; whereas Virgil professes to treat of the nature of the horse. It is thus admirably translated: “The fiery courser, when he hears from far The sprightly trumpets, and the shouts of war, Pricks up his ears, and trembling with delight, Shifts pace, and paws; and hopes the promis'd fight. On his right shoulder his thick mane reclin'd, Ruffles at speed, and dances in the wind. His horny hoofs are jetty black and round: His chin is double; starting, with a bound He turns the turf, and shakes the solid ground. Fire from his eyes, clouds from his nostrils flow; He bears his rider headlong on the foe.” ‘Now follows that in the book of Job; which under all the disadvantages of having been written in a language little understood; of being expressed in phrases peculiar to a part of the world whose manner of thinking and speaking seems to us very uncouth; and, above all, of appearing in a prose translation; is, nevertheless, so transcendently above the heathen descriptions, that hereby we may perceive how faint and languid the images are which are formed by mortal authors, when compared with that which is figured, as it were, just as it appears in the eye of the Creator. God speaking to Job, asks him, “Hast thou given the horse strength 2 hast thou clothed his neck with thunder 7 Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper ? The glory of his nostrils is terrible. He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength. He goeth on to meet the armed men. He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword. The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear, and the shield. He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage; neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet. He saith amongst the trumpets, Ha, ha, and he smelleth the battle afar off; the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.” ‘Here are all the great and sprightly images that thought can form of this generous beast, expressed in such force and vigour of style, as would have given the great wits of antiquity new laws for the sublime, had they been acquainted with these writings. I cannot but particularly observe, that whereas the classical poets chiefly endeavour to paint the outward figure, lineaments, and motions; the sacred poet makes all the beauties to flow from an inward principle in the creature he describes, and thereby gives great spirit and vivacity to his description. The following phrases and circumstances seem singularly remarkable : “Hast thou clothed his neck with thunder " Homer and Virgil mention nothing about the neck of the horse but his mane. The sacred author, by the bold figure of thunder, not only expresses the shaking of that remarkable beauty
in the horse, and the flakes of hair which na