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strive to conceal every wrong step made by any who have the honour to wear petticoats, and shall at all times do what is in my power to make all mankind as much their slaves as myself. If they would consider things as they ought, there needs not much argument to convince them, that it is their fate to be obedient to you, and that your greatest rebels do only serve with a worse grace. I am, Madam, your most obedient and most humble servant, “ISAAC BICKERSTAFF.'
St. James's Coffee-house, May 16.
Letters from the Hague, bearing date the twenty-first instant, N. S. advise, that his grace the duke of Marlborough, immediately after his arrival, sent his secretary to the president and the pensionary, to acquaint them therewith. Soon after, these ministers visited the duke, and made him compliments in the name of the States-General; after which they entered into a conference with him on the present posture of affairs, and gave his grace assurances of the firm adherence of the States to the alliance; at the same time acquainting him, that all overtures of peace were rejected, until they had an opportunity of acting in concert with their allies on that subject. After this interview, the pensionary and the president returned to the assembly of the States. Monsieur Torcy has had a conference, at the pensioner's house, with his grace the duke of Marlborough, Prince Eugene, and his excellency the lord Townshend. The result of what was debated at that time is kept secret; but there appears an air of satisfaction and good understanding between these ministers. We are apt also to give ourselves very hopeful prospects from monsieur Torcy's being employed in this negotiation, who had been always remarkable for a particular way of thinking in his sense of the greatness of France; which he has always said, ‘was to be promoted rather by the arts of peace, than those of war.” His delivering himself freely on this subject has formerly appeared an unsuccessful way to power in that court; but in its present circumstances, those maxims are better received; and it is thought a certain argument of the sincerity of the French king's intentions, that this minister is at present made use of. The marquis is to return to Paris within a few days, who has sent a courier thither to give notice of the reasons of his return, that the court may be the sooner able to despatch commissions for a formal treaty. The expectations of peace are increased by advices from Paris of the twelfth instant, which say, the Dauphin has altered his resolution of commanding in Flanders the ensuing campaign. The Saxon and Prussian reinforcements, together with count Mercy's regiment of imperial horse, are encamped in the neighbourhood of Brussels; and the sufficient stores of corn and forage are transported to that place and Ghent, for the service of the confederate army. They write from Mons, that the elector of Bavaria had advice, that an advanced party of the Portuguese army had been defeated by the
We hear from Languedoc, that their corn, olives, and figs, were wholly destroyed; but that they have a hopeful prospect of a plentiful vintage.
. No. 17.] Tuesday, May 19, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines— nostriest farrago libelli. Jur. Sat. i. 85,86.
Whate'er men do, or say, or think, or dream, Our motley paper seizes for its theme. Will's Coffee-house, May 18.
Time discourse has happened to turn this
evening upon the true panegyric, the perfection
of which was asserted to consist in a certain artful way of conveying the applause in an indirect manner. There was a gentleman gave us several instances of it. Among others, he quoted from sir Francis Bacon, in his “Advancement of Learning,' a very great compliment made to Tiberius,” as follows: In a full debate upon public affairs in the senate, one of the assembly rose up, and with a very grave air said, he thought it for the honour and dignity of the commonwealth, that Tiberius should be declared a god, and have divine worship paid him. The emperor was surprised at the proposal, and demanded of him to declare, whether he had made any application to incline him to that overture ? The senator answered, with a bold and haughty tone, “Sir, in matters that concern the commonwealth, I will be governed by no man.” Another gentleman mentioned something of the same kind, spoken by the late duke of Buckingham to the late earl of Orrery; ‘My lord,” (says the duke, after his libertine way,) “you will certainly be damned.” “How my lords' says the earl with some warmth. ‘Nay,' said the duke, ‘there is no help for it, for it is positively said, Cursed is he of whom all men speak well.'t This is taking a man by surprise, and being welcome when you have so surprised him. The person flattered receives you into his closet at once; and the sudden change of his heart, from the expectation of an ill-wisher, to find you his friend, makes you in his full favour in a moment. The spirits that were raised so suddenly against you, are as suddenly for you. There was another instance given of this kind at the table: a gentleman, who had a very great favour done him, and an employment bestowed upon him, without so much as being personally known to his benefactor, waited upon the great man who was so generous, and was beginning to say, he was infinitely obliged.—“Not at all,' says the patron, turning from him to another, ‘had I known a more deserving man in England, he should not have had it.” We should certainly have had more examples, had not a gentleman produced a book which he thought an instance of this kind:* it was a pamphlet called, “The Naked Truth." The idea any one would have of that work from the title was, that there would be much plain dealing with people in power, and that we should see things in their proper light, stripped of the ornaments which are usually given to the actions of the great; but the skill of this author is such, that he has, under that rugged appearance approved himself the finest gentleman and courtier that ever writ. The language is extremely sublime, and not at all to be understood by the vulgar: the sentiments are such as would make no figure in ordinary words; but such is the art of the expression, and the thoughts are elevated to so high a degree, that I question whether the discourse will scll much. There was an ill-natured fellow present, who hates all panegyric mortally; “P take him,” said he, ‘what the devil means his Naked Truth, in speaking nothing but to the advantage of all whom he mentions ! This is just such a great action as that of the champion's on a coronationday, who challenges all mankind to dispute with him the right of the sovereign, surrounded with his guards.' The gentleman who produced the treatise desired him to be cautious, and said, it was writ by an excellent soldier, which made the company observe it more narrowly; and (as critics are the greatest conjurers at finding out a known truth) one said, he was sure it was writ by the hand of his sword-arm. I could not perceive much wit in that expression; but it raised a laugh, and, I suppose, was meant as a sneer upon valiant men. The same man pretended to see in the style, that it was a horse-officer; but sure that is being too nice; for though you may know officers of the cavalry by the turn of their feet, I cannot imagine how you should discern their hands from those of other men. But it is always thus with pedants; they will ever be carping; if a gentleman or a man of honour puts pen to paper. I do not doubt but this author will find this assertion too true, and that obloquy is not repulsed by the force of arms. I will therefore set this excellent piece in a light too glaring for weak eyes, and, in imitation of the critic Longinus, shall, as well as I can, make my observations in a style like the author's of whom I treat, which perhaps I am as capable of as another, having “an unbounded force of thinking, as well as a most exquisite address, extensively and wisely indulged to me by the supreme powers.’ My author, I will dare to assert, shows the most universal knowledge of any writer who has appeared this century: he is a poet and merchant, which is seen in two master-words, “credit blossoms,” he is a grammarian and a
* An allusion to an instance of artful flattery practised by Messala Valerius.
f Luke vi. 26. His grace did not understand, nor quote fairly, the passage of scripture, to which he thought it so witty, thus impiously to allude.
f it has been said that the pamphlet called ‘The Naked Truth" was written by a lawyer of the name of Neliny: but if William viscount Grimston was not the author of it, he wrote remarks upon this critique on it, in a treatise which he dedicated to the Hon. Edward Howard, as we are informed in Tailer, No. 21.
litician; for he says, “The uniting of the two
ingdoms is the emphasis of the security of the Protestant succession." Some would be apt to say, he is a conjuror; for he has found, that a republic is not made up of every body of animals, but is composed of men only, and not of horses. “Liberty and property have chosen their retreat within the emulating circle of a human com
monwealth.' He is a physician; for he says, “I observe a constant equality in its pulse, and a just quickness of its vigorous circulation.” And again, ‘I view the strength of our constitution plainly appear in the sanguine and ruddy complexion of a well-contented city.' He is a divine: for he says, “I cannot but bless myself.” And indeed this excellent treatise has had that good effect upon me, who am far from being superstitious, that I also “cannot but bless myself.'
St. James's Coffee-house, May 18.
This day arrived a mail from Lisbon, with letters of the thirteenth instant, N. S. containing a particular account of the late action in Portugal. On the seventeenth instant, the army of Portugal, under the command of the marquis de Frontera, lay on the side of the Caya, and the army of the duke of Anjou, commanded by the marquis de Bay, on the other. The latter commander having an ambition to ravage the country, in a manner in sight of the Portuguese, made a motion with the whole body of his horse toward fort Saint Christopher, near the town of Badajos. The generals of the Portuguese, disdaining that such an insult should be offered to their arms, took a resolution to pass the river, and oppose the designs of the enemy. The earl of Galway represented to them, that the present posture of affairs was such on the side of the allies, that there needed no more to be done at present in that country, but to carry on a defensive part. But his argument could not avail in the council of war. Upon which a great detachment of foot and the whole of the horse of the king of Portugal's army passed the river, and with some pieces of cannon did good execution on the enemy. Upon observing this, the marquis de Bay advanced with his horse, and attacked the right wing of the Portuguese cavalry, who faced about, and fled, without standing the first encounter. But their foot repulsed the same body of horse, in three successive charges, with great order and resolution. While this was transacting, the British General commanded the brigade of Parce, to keep the enemy in diversion by a new attack. This was so well executed, that the Portuguese infantry had time to retire in good order, and repass the river. But that brigade, which rescued them, was itself surrounded by the enemy, and major-general Sarkey, brigadier Pearce, together with both their regiments, and that of the lord Galway, lately raised, were taken prisoners.
During the engagement, the earl of Barrimore, having advanced too far to give some necessary order, was hemmed in by a squadron of the enemy; but found means to gallop up to the brigade of Pearce, with which he remains also a prisoner. My lord Galway had his horse shot under him in this action; and the Conde de Saint Juan, a Portuguese general, was taken prisoner. The same night the army encamped at Aronches, and on the ninth moved to Elvas, where they lay when these despatches came away. Colonel Stanwix's regiment is also taken. The whole of this affair has given the Portu
guese a great idea of the capacity and courage of my lord Galway, against whose advice they entered upon this unfortunate affair, and by whose conduct they were rescued from it. The prodigious constancy and resolution of that great man is hardly to be paralleled, who, under the oppression of a maimed body, and the reflection of repeated ill-fortune, goes on with an unspeakable alacrity in the service of the common cause. He has already put things in a very good posture after this ill accident, and made the necessary dispositious for covering the country from any further attempt of the enemy, who still lie in the camp they were in before the battle. Letters from Brussels, dated the twenty-fifth instant, advise, that notwithstanding the negotiations of a peace seem so far advanced, that some do confidently report the preliminaries of a treaty to be actually agreed on, yet the allies hasten their preparations for opening the campaign; and the forces of the empire, the Prussians, the Danes, the Wirtembergers, the Palatines, and Saxon auxiliaries, are in motion towards the general rendezvous, they being already arrived in the neighbourhood of Brussels. These advices add, that the deputies of the - States of Holland, having made a general review of the troops in Flanders, set out for Antwerp on the 21st instant from that place.
It is observed too often that men of wit do so much employ their thoughts upon fine speculations, that things useful to mankind are wholly neglected ; and they are busy in making emendations upon some enclytics in a Greek author, while obvious things, that every man may have use for, are wholly overlooked. It would be a happy thing, if such as have real capacities for public service were employed in works of general use ; but because a thing is every body's business, it is nobody's business: this is for want of public spirit. As for my part, who am only a student, and a man of no great interest, I can only remark things, and recommend the correction of them to higher powers. There is an offence I have a thousand times lamented, but fear I shall never see remedied ; which is, that in a nation where learning is so frequent as in Great Britain, there should be so many gross errors as there are, in the very directions of things wherein accuracy is necessary for the conduct of life. This is notoriously observed by all men of letters when they first come to town (at which time they are usually curious that way) in the inscriptions on sign-posts. I have cause to know this matter as well as any body; for I have, when I went to MerchantTaylors' school, suffered stripes for spelling after the signs I observed in my way; though at the same time, I must confess, staring at
those inscriptions first gave me an idea and curiosity for medals, in which I have since arrived at some knowledge. Many a man has lost his way and his dinner by this general want of skill in orthography; for, considering that the painters are usually so very bad, that you cannot know the animal under whose sign you are to live that day, how must the stranger be misled if it be wrong spelled, as well as ill painted 7 I have a cousin now in town, who has answered under bachelor at Queen's College, whose name is Humphrey Mopstaff; (he is a-kin to us by his mother:) this young man, going to see a relation in Barbican, wandered a whole day by the mistake of one letter, for it was written, “this is the Beer,’ instead of ‘this is the Bear.” He was set right at last, by inquiring for the house, of a fellow who could not read, and knew the place mechanically only by having been often drunk there. But in the name of goodness, let us make our learning of use to us, or not. Was not this a shame, that a philosopher should be thus directed by a cobbler ? I will be sworn, if it were known how many have suffered in this kind by false spelling since the Union, this matter would not long lie thus. What makes these evils the more insupportable is, that they are so easily amended, and nothing done in it. But it is so far from that, that the evil goes on in other arts as well as orthography; places are confounded, as well for want of proper distinctions, as things for want of true characters. Had I not come by the other day very early in the morning," there might have been mischief done : for a worthy North Briton was swearing at Stocks Market, that they would not let him in at his lodgings; but I, knowing the gentleman, and observing him look often at the king on horseback, and then double his oaths that he was sure he was right, found he mistook that for Charing Cross, by the erection of the like statue in each place. I grant, private men may distinguish their abodes as they please: as one of my acquaintance, who lives at Marybone,t has put a good sentence of his own invention upon his dwelling-place,t to find out where he lives: he is so near London, that his conceit is this, “the country in town;’ or, “the town in the country;' for, you know, if they are both in one, they are all one. Besides that, the ambiguity is not of great consequence; if you are safe at the place, it is no matter is you do not distinctly know where the place is. But to return to the orthography of public places; I propose, that every tradesman in the cities of London and Westminster shall give me six pence a quarter for keeping their signs in repair as to the grammatical part; and Iwill take into my house a Swiss county of my acquaintance, who can remember all their names without book, for despatch sake, setting up the head of the said foreigner for my sign; the features being strong, and fit for hanging high.
* Wit has its prerogative, ‘and about it, there is not and there ought not, to be here, either dispute or observation.' Truth, nevertheless, claims the privilege to remark, that these two equestrian statures were very unlike. The one was made by the famous La Seur, for King Charles I. ; the other was originally intended for John Sobieski, king of Poland, and, mutatis mutandis, erected in honour of King Charles II. The Turk underneath the horse was cleverly metamorphosed into Oliver Croinwell; but his turban escaped unnoticed, or unaltered, to testify the truth. The one is of brass blackened, the other was of white marble, &c. The statue in Stocks Market, with the conduit and all its ornaments, were all removed to make way for the Mansionhouse, the first stone of which was laid by Micajah Perry, Esq. then lord mayor, Oct. 25, 1739. See Spect. No. 462, and note.
f The Duke of Buckingham is humorously said to have lived at Marybone, as he was almost every day on the bowling-green there, and seldom left it until he could see no longer.
1 On Buckingham-house, now the Queen's palace, were originally these inscriptions. On the front, ‘Sic siti laitantur Lares." On the back front, ‘Rus in urbe' On the side next the road, “Spectator fastidiosus sibi mo: lestus. On the north side, ‘Lente incapit, sito Persecit." * “The Post-boy" was a scandalous weekly paper, by Abel Roper; and ‘The Flying Post, by George Ridpath, was just such another. f Abel Boyer, author of ‘The Political State." 1 Samuel Buckley, printer of ‘The Gazette, and also of . The Daily Courant." § Dyer's Letter; a newspaper of that time, which, according to Mr. Addison, was entitled to little credit
St. James's Coffee-house, May 20.
This day a mail arrived from Holland, by which there are advices from Paris, that the kingdom of France is in the utmost misery and distraction. The merchants of Lyons have been at court to remonstrate their great sufferings by the failure of their public credit; but have received no other satisfaction, than promises of a sudden peace; and that their debts will be made good by funds out of the revenue, which will not answer, but in case of the peace which is promised. In the mean time, the cries of the common people are loud for want of bread, the gentry have lost all spirit and zeal for their country, and the king himself seems to languish under the anxiety of the pressing calamities of the nation, and retires from hearing those grievances, which he hath not power to redress. Instead of preparations for war, and the defence of their country, there is nothing to be seen but cvident marks of a general despair; processions, fastings, public mournings and humiliations, are become the sole employments of a people, who were lately the most vain and gay of my in the universe. The pope has written to the French king on the subject of a peace; and his majesty has answered in the lowliest terms, that he entirely submits his affairs to divine providence, and shall soon show the world, that he prefers the tranquillity of his people to the glory of his arms, and extent of his conquests. Letters from the Hague of the twenty-fourth say, that his excellency the lord Townshend delivered his credentials on that day to the States General, as plenipotentiary from the queen of Great Britain ; as did also count Zinzendorf, who bears the same character from the emperor. Prince Eugene intended to set out the next day for Brussels, and his grace the duke of Marlborough on the Tuesday following. The marquis de Torcy talks daily of going, but still continues there. The army of the allies is to assemble on the seventh of next month at Helchin; though it is generally believed that the preliminaries to a treaty are fully adjusted. The approach of the peace strikes a panic through our armies, though that of a battle could never do it, and they almost repent of their bravery, that made such haste to humble themselves and the French king. The duke of Marlborough, though otherwise the greatest
* Probably John James Heidegger, esq.
general of the age, has plainly shown himself unacquainted with the arts of husbanding a war. He might have grown as old as the duke of Alva, or prince Waldeck in the Low Countries, and yet have got reputation enough every year for any reasonable man; for the command of general in Flanders hath been ever looked upon as a provision for life. For my part, I cannot see how his grace can answer it to the world, for the great eagerness he hath shown to send a hundred thousand of the bravest fellows in Europe a-begging. But the private gentlemen of the infantry will be able to shift for themselves; a brave man can never starve in a country stocked with hen-roosts. “There is not a yard of linen,’ says my honoured progenitor sir John Falstaff, “in my whole company: but as for that,' says this worthy knight, ‘ I am in no great pain; we shall find shirts on every hedge.’ There is another sort of gentlemen whom I am much more concerned for, and that is the ingenious fraternity of which I have the honour to be an unworthy member; I mean the newswriters of Great Britain, whether post-men or post-boys," or by what other name or title soever dignified or distinguished. The case of these gentlemen is, I think, more hard than that of the soldiers, considering that they have taken more towns, and fought more battles. They have been upon parties and skirmishes, when our armies have lain still ; and given the general assault to many a place, when the besiegers were quiet in their trenches. They have made us masters of several strong towns many weeks before our generals could do it; and completed victories, when our greatest captains have been glad to come off with a drawn battle. Where prince Eugene has slain his thousands, Boyer? has slain his ten thousands. This gentleman can indeed be never enough commended for his courage and intrepidity during this whole war : he has laid about him with an inexpressible fury; and, like the offended Marius of ancient Rome, has made such havoc among his countrymen, as must be the work of two or three ages to repair. It must be confessed, the redoubted Mr. Buckley! has shed as much blood as the former; but I cannot forbear saying (and I hope it will not look like envy) that we regard our brother Buckley as a kind of Draw.cansir, who spares neither friend nor foe; but generally kills as many of his own side as the enemy's. It is impossible for this ingenious sort of men to subsist after a peace: every one remembers the shifts they were driven to in the reign of king Charles the Second, when they could not furnish out a single paper of news, without lighting up a comet in Germany, or a fire in Moscow. There scarce appeared a letter without a paragraph on an earthquake. Prodigies were grown so familiar, that they had lost their name, as a great poet of that age has it. I remember Mr. Dyer,' who is justly looked upon by all the foxhunters in the nation as the greatest statesman our country has produced, was particularly famous for dealing in whales; insomuch, that in five months time (for I had the curiosity to examine his letters on that occasion) he io three into the mouth of the river Thames, besides two porpoises and a sturgeon. The judicious and wary Mr. Ichabod Dawks” hath all along been the rival of this great writer, and got himself a reputation from plagues and famines; by which, in those days he destroyed as great multitudes as he has lately done by the sword. In every dearth of news, Grand Cairo was sure to be unpeopled. It being therefore visible, that our society will be greater sufferers by the peace than the soldiery itself, insomuch that the Daily Courant is in danger of being broken, my friend Dyer of being reformed, and the very best of the whole band of being reduced to half-pay; might I presume, to offer anything in the behalf of my distressed brethren, I would humbly move, that an appendix of proper apartments, furnished with pen, ink, and paper, and other necessaries of life, should be added to the hospital of Chelsea, for the relief of such decayed newswriters as have served their country in the wars; and that, for their exercise, they should compile the annals of their brother veterans, who have been engaged in the same service, and are still obliged to do duty after the same manner. I cannot be thought to speak this out of an eye to any private interest; for, as my chief scenes of action are coffee-houses, play-houses, and my own apartment, I am in no need of camps, fortifications, and fields of battle, to support me; I do not call for heroes and generals to my assistance. Though the officers are broken, and the armies disbanded, I shall still be safe, as long as there are men, or women, or politicians, or lovers, or poets, or nymphs, or swains, or cits, or courtiers, in being.
No. 19.) Tuesday, May 24, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines— — nostriest farrago libelli. Juv. Sat. i. 85,86. whate'er men do, or say, or think, or dream, Our motley paper seizes for its theme.
From my own Apartment, May 23.
THERE is nothing can give a man of any consideration greater pain, than to see order and distinction laid aside amongst men, especially when the rank (of which he himself is member) is intruded upon by such as have no pretence to that honour. The appellation of Esquire is the most notoriously abused in this kind, of any class amongst men; insomuch, that it is become almost the subject of derision: but I will be bold to say, this behaviour towards it proceeds from the ignorance of the people in its true origin. I shall therefore, as briefly as possible, ão myself and all true Esquires the justice to look into antiquity upon this subject.
In the first ages of the world, before the in
. *Icabod Dawks, another poor epistolary historian. G
vention of jointures and scttlements, when the noble passion of love had possession of the hearts of men, and the fair sex were not yet cultivated into the merciful disposition which they have showed in latter centurics, it was natural for great and heroic spirits to retire to rivulets, woods, and caves, to lament their destiny, and the cruelty of the fair persons who are deaf to their lamentations. The hero in this distress was generally in armour, and in a readiness to fight any man he met with, especially if distinguished by any extraordinary qualifications: it being the nature of heroic love to hate all merit, lest it should come within the observation of the cruel one by whom its own persections are neglected. A lover of this kind had always about him a person of a second value, and subordinate to him, who could hear his afflictions, carry an enchantment for his wounds, hold his helmet when he was cating (if ever he did eat,) or in his absence, when he was retired to his apartment in any king's palace, tell the prince himself, or perhaps his daughter, the birth, parentage, and adventures of his valiant master. This trust
companion was styled his Esquire, and was | ways fit for any offices about him; was as gentle and chaste as a gentleman-usher, quick and active as an equerry, smooth and eloquent as the master of the ceremonies. A man thus qualified was the first, as the ancients affirm, who was called an Esquire; and none without these accomplishments ought to assume our order: but, to the utter disgrace and confusion of the heralds, every pretender is admitted into this fraternity, even persons the most foreign to this courteous institution. I have taken an inventory of all within this city, and looked over every letter in the Post-office, for my better information. There are of the middle Temple, including all in the buttery-books, and in the lists of the house, five thousand.” In the Inner, four thousand. In the King's Bench Walks, the whole buildings are inhabited by Esquires only. The adjacent street of Essex, from Mor. ris's Coffee-house, and the turning towards the Grecian, you cannot meet one who is not an Esquire, until you take water. Fvery house in Norfolk and Arundel streets is also governed by an Esquire, or his Lady; Soho-square, Blooms. bury-square, and all other places where the floors rise above nine feet, are so many universities, where you enter yourselves and become of our order. However, if this were the worst of the evil, it were to be supported, because they are generally men of some figure and use; though I know no pretence they have to an honour which had its rise from chivalry. But if you travel into the counties of Great Britain, we are still more imposed upon by innovation. We are indeed derived from the field : but shall that give title to all that ride mad after foxes; that halloo when they see a hare, or venture their necks full speed after a hawk, immediately to commence Esquires 7 No; our order is temperate, cleanly, sober, and chaste; but these rural Esquires commit immodesties upon haycocks,
* In Original Tatler, 4000. f In Original Tatler, 5000. i Morris's Coffee-house was in the Strand.