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St. James's Coffee-house, June 13.
Letters from Vienna of the eighth instant say, there has been a journal of the marches and actions of the king of Sweden, from the beginning of January to the eleventh of April, N. S. communicated by the Swedish ministers to that court. These advices inform, that his 8wedish majesty entered the territories of Muscovy in February last, with the main body of his army, in order to oblige the enemy to a general engagement; but that the Muscovites declining a battle, and an universal thaw having rendered the rivers unpassable, the king returned into Ukrania. There are mentioned several rencounters between considerable detachments of the Swedish and Russian armies. Marshal Heister intended to take his leave of court on the day after the date of these letters, and put himself at the head of the army in Hungary. The mal-contents had attempted to send in a supply of provision into Newhausel; but their design was disappointed by the Germans. Advices from Berlin of the fifteenth instant, N. S. say, that his Danish majesty having received an invitation from the king of Prussia to an interview, designed to come to Potsdam within a few days, and that king Augustus resolved to accompany him thither. To avoid all difficulties in ceremony, the three kings, and all the company who shall have the honour to sit with them at table, are to draw lots, and take precedence accordingly. They write from Hamburgh of the eighteenth instant, N. S. that some particular letters from Dantzic speak of a late action between the Swedes and Muscovites near Jerislaw ; but that engagement being mentioned from no other place, there is not much credit given to this intelligence. We hear from Brussels, by letters dated the twentieth, that on the fourteenth, in the evening, the duke of Marlborough and prince Eugene arrived at Courtray, with a design to proceed the day following to Lisle, in the neighbourhood of which city, the confederate army was to rendezvous the same day. Advices from Paris inform us, that the marshal de Bezons is appointed to command in Dauphiné, and that the duke of Berwick is set out for Spain, with a design to follow the fortunes of the duke of Anjou, in case the French king should comply with the late demands of the allies. The court of France has sent a circular letter to all the governors of the provinces, to recommend to their consideration his majesty's late conduct in the affair of peace. It is thought fit, in that epistle, to condescend to a certain appeal to the people, whether it is consistent with the dignity of the crown, or the French name, to submit to the preliminaries demanded by the confederates ? That letter dwells upon the unreasonableness of the allies, in requiring his majesty's assistance in dethroning his grandson; and treats this particular in language more suitable to it, as it is a topic of oratory, than a real circumstance on which the interests of nations, and reasons of state, which affect all Europe, are concerned. The close of this memorial seems to pre
‘SIR,-In answer to your question, why men of sense, virtue, and experience, are seen still to comply with that ridiculous custom of duelling " I must desire you to reflect, that custom has dished up in rufis the wisest heads of our ancestors, and put the best of the present age into huge falbala periwigs." Men of sense would not impose such encumbrances on themselves, but be glad they might show their faces decently in public upon easier terms. If then such men appear reasonably slaves to the fashion, in what regards the figure of their persons, we ought not to wonder, that they are at least so in what seems to touch their reputations. Besides, you cannot be ignorant, that dress and chivalry have been always encouraged by the ladies, as the two principal branches of gallantry. It is to avoid being sneered at for his singularity, and from a desire to appear more agreeable to his mistress, that a wise, experienced, and polite man, complies with the dress commonly received; and is prevailed upon to violate his reason and principles, in hazarding his life and estate by a tilt, as well as suffering his pleasures to be constrained and soured by the constant apprehension of a quarrel. This is the more surprising, because men of the most delicate sense and principles have naturally in other cases a particular repugnance in accommodating themselves to the maxims of the world: but one may easily distinguish the man that is af. fected with beauty, and the reputation of a tilt, from him who complies with both, merely as they are imposed upon him by custom ; for, in the former, you will remark an air of vanity and triumph; whereas, when the latter appears in a long durilliert full of powder, or has decided a quarrel by the sword, you may perceive in his face, that he appeals to custom for an excuse. I think it may not be improper to inquire into the genealogy of this chimerical monster called a Duel, which I take to be an illegitimate
species of the ancient knight-errantry. By the laws of this whim, the heroic person, or man of gallantry, was indispensably obliged to starve in armour a certain number of years in the chase of monsters, encounter them at the peril of his life, and suffer great hardships, in order to gain the affection of the fair lady, and qualify himself for assuming the belle air; that is, of a Pretty Fellow, or man of honour, according to the fashion: but, since the publishing of Don Quixote, and extinction of the race of dragons, which Suetonius says happened in that of Wantley," the gallant and heroic spirits of these latter times have been under the necessity of creating new chimerical monsters to entertain themselves with, by way of single combat, as the only proofs they are able to give their own sex, and the ladies, that they are in all points men of nice honour. But, to do justice to the ancient and real monsters, I must observe, that they never molested those who were not of a humour to hunt for them in woods and deserts; whereas, on the contrary, our modern monsters are so familiarly admitted and entertained in all the courts and cities of Europe (except France,) that one can scarce be in the most humanized society without risking one's life; the people of the best sort, and the fine gentlemen of the age, being so fond of them, that they seldom appear in any public place without one. I have some further considerations upon this subject, which, as you encourage me, shall be communicated to you by, sir, a cousin but one remove from the best family of the Staffs, namely, sir, your humble servant, kinsman, and friend, • TIM SWITCH.’
It is certain that Mr. Switch has hit upon the true source of this evil; and that it proceeds only from the force of custom, that we contradict ourselves in half the particulars and occurrences of life. But such a tyranny in love, which the fair impose upon us, is a little too severe; that we must demonstrate our affection for them by no certain proof but hatred to one another, or come at them (only as one does at an estate) by survivorship. This way of application to gain a lady's heart is taking her as we do towns and eastles, by distressing the place, and letting none come near them without our pass. Were such a lover once to write the truth of his heart, and let her know his whole thoughts, he would appear indeed to have a passion for her; but it would hardly be called love. The billet-doux would run to this purpose:
‘MADAM, I have so tender a regard for you, and your interests, that I will knock any man on the head whom I observe to be of my mind, and like you. Mr. Truman, the other day, looked at you in so languishing a manner, that I am resolved to run him through to-morrow morning. This, I think, he deserves for his guilt in admiring you; than which I cannot have a greater reason for murdering him, except it be that you also approve him. Whoever says he
* In humorous writings, one may be led to search for quotations nowhere to be found in the authors referred to, as appears sron this passage.
dies for you, I will make his words good, for I will kill him. I am, madam, your most obedient humble servant.”
From my own Apartment, June 14.
I am just come hither at ten at night, and have ever since six, been in the most celebrated, though most nauseous company in town : the two leaders of the society were a Critic and a Wit. These two gentlemen are great opponents on all occasions, not discerning that they are the nearest each other, in temper and ... ents, of any two classes of men in the world; for to profess judgment, and to profess wit, both arise from the same failure, which is want of judgment. The poverty of the Critic this way proceeds from the abuse of this faculty; that of the Wit, from the neglect of it. It is a particular observation I have always made, that of all mortals a Critic is the silliest; for, by enuring himself to examine all things, whether they are of consequence or not, he never looks upon anything but with a design of passing sentence upon it; by which means he is never a companion, but always a censor. This makes him earnest upon trifles, and dispute on the most indifferent occasions with vehemence. If he offers to speak or write, that talent, which should approve the work of the other faculties, prevents their operation. He comes upon action in armour, but without weapons; he stands in safety, but can gain no glory. The Wit, on the other hand, has been hurried so long away by imagination only, that judgment seems not to have ever been one of his natural faculties. This gentleman takes himself to be as much obliged to be merry, as the other to be grave. A thorough Critic is a sort of Puritan in the polite world. As an enthusiast in religion stumbles at the ordinary occurrences of life, if he cannot quote scripture examples on the occasion; so the Critic is never safe in his speech or writing, without he has, among the celebrated writers, an authority, for the truth of his sentence. You will believe we had a very good time with these brethren, who were so far out of the dress of their native country, and so lost in its dialect, that they were as much strangers to themselves, as to their relation to each other. They took up the whole discourse; sometimes the Critic grew passionate, and when reprimanded by the Wit for any trip or hesitation in his voice, he would answer, ‘Mr. Dryden makes such a character, on such an occasion, break off in the same manner; so that the stop was according to nature, and as a man in a passion should do.” The Wit who is as far gone in letters as himself, seems to be at a loss to answer such an apology; and concludes only, that though his anger is justly vented, it wants fire in the utterance. If wit is to be measured by the circumstances of time and place, there is no man has generally so little of that talent as he who is a Wit by profession. What he says, instead of arising from the occasion, has an occasion invented to bring it in. Thus, he is new for no other reason, but that he talks like nobody else; but has taken up a method of his own, without commerce of dialogue with other people. The lively Jasper Dactyle” is one of this character. He seems to have made a vow to be witty to his life's end. When you meet him, ‘What do you think,’ says he, “I have been entertaining myself with ' Then out comes a premeditated turn; to which it is to no purpose to answer, for he goes on in the same strain of thought he designed without your speaking. Therefore I have a general answer to all he can say ; as ‘Sure there never was any creature had so much fire." Spondee, who is a Critic, is seldom out of this fine man's company. They have no manner of affection for each other, but keep together, like Novel and Oldfox in the Plain Dealer, because they show each other. I know several men of sense who can be diverted with this couple; but I see no curiosity in the thing, except it be, that Spondee is dull, and seems dull; but Dactyle is heavy with a brisk face. It must be owned also, that Dactyle has almost vigour enough to be a coxcomb; but Spondee, by the lowness of his constitution, is only a blockhead.
St. James's Coffee-house, June 15.
We have no particulars of moment since our last, except it be, that the copy of the following original letter came by the way of Ostend. It is said to have been found in the closet of monsieur Chamillard, the late secretary of state of France, since his disgrace. It was signed by two brothers of the famous Cavallier, who led the Cerennois, and had a personal interview with the king, as well as a capitulation to lay down his arms and leave the dominions of France. There are many other names to it; among whom is the chief of the family of the marquis Guiscard. It is not yet known whether monsieur Chamillard had any real design to favour the Protestant interest, or only thought to place himself at the head of that people, to make himself considerable enough to oppose his enemies at court, and reinstate himself in power there.
SIR,-We have read your majesty's letter to the governors of your provinces, with instructions what sentiments to insinuate into the minds of your people; but as you have always acted upon the maxim, that we were made for you, and not you for us; we must take leave to assure your majesty, that we are exactly of the contrary opinion ; and must desire you to send for your grandson home, and acquaint him, that you now know, by experience, absolute power is only a vertigo in the brain of princes, which for a time may quicken their motion, and double, in their diseased sight, the instances of power above them; but must end at last in their
fall and destruction. Your memorial speaks you a good father of your family, but a very ill one of your people. Your majesty is reduced to hear truth, when you are obliged to speak it. There is no governing any but savages by other methods than their own consent, which you seem to acknowledge in appealing to us for our opinion of your conduct in treating of peace. Had your people been always of your council, the king of France had never been reduced so low as to acknowledge his arms were fallen into contempt. But since it is thus, we must ask, how is any man of France, but they of the house of Bourbon, the better, that Philip is king of Spain 2 We have outgrown that folly of placing our happiness in your majcsty's being called, The Great. Therefore you and we are all alike bankrupts,” and undone; let us not deceive ourselves, but compound with our adversaries, and not talk like their equals. Your majesty must forgive us, that we cannot wish you success, or lend you help ; for, if you lose one battle more, we may have a hand in the peace you make ; and doubt not but your majesty's faith in treaties will require the ratification of the states of your kingdom. So we bid you heartily farewell, until we have the honour to meet you assembled in parliament. This happy expectation makes us willing to wait the event of another campaign, from whence we hope to be raised from the misery of slaves to the privileges of subjects. We are your majesty's truly faithful and loyal subjects, &c."
The vigilance, the anxiety, the tenderness, which I have for the good people of England, I am persuaded, will in time be much commended; but I doubt whether they will be ever rewarded. However, I must go on cheerfully in my work of reformation: that being my great design, I am studious to prevent my labour's increasing upon me; therefore am particularly observant of the temper and inclinations of childhood and youth, that we may not give vice and folly supplies from the growing generation. It is hardly to be imagined how useful this study is, and what great evils or benefits arise from putting us in our tender years to what we are fit or unfit: therefore, on Tuesday last (with a design to sound their inclinations) I took three lads, who are under my guardianship, a rambling in a hackney-coach, to show them the town ; as the lions, the tombs, Bedlam, and the other places which are entertainments to raw minds, because they strike forcibly on the fancy. The boys are brothers, one of sixteen, the other of fourteen, the other of twelve. The first was
* See Tatler, Nos. 3, and 63.
f James Cavallier was the celebrated leader of the French Protestants in the Cerennes, when these warlike, but enthusiastic mountaineers opposed the tyranny of Louis XIV. and made a vigorous stand against the whole power of France, which for a long time laboured in vain to subdue them. It was in the heat of this gal. lant struggle to preserve themselves from religious sla. very, that the first seeds of that wild fanaticism were sown, which afterwards grew up to such an amazing extravagance, and distinguished them, by the name of French Prophets, among the most extraordinary en!!!” that are to be found in the history of human of w.
* Monsieur Bernard and the chief bankers of France became bankrupts about this time.
his father's darling, the second his mother's, and the third mine, who am their uncle. Mr. William is a lad of true genius; but, being at
the upper end of a great school, and having
all the boys below him, his arrogance is insupportable. If I begin to show a little of my Latin, he immediately interrupts: “Uncle, under favour, that which you say, is not understood in that manner.” “Brother,’ says my boy Jack, “you do not show your manners much in contradicting my uncle Isaac " " You queer cur,' says Mr. William, do you think my uncle takes any notice of such a dull rogue as you are " Mr. William goes on, “He is the most stupid of all my mother's children: he knows nothing of his book: when he should mind that, he is hiding and hoarding his taws and marbles, or laying up farthings. His way of thinking is, four-and-twenty farthings make sixpence, and two sixpences a shilling ; two shillings and sixpence half-a-crown, and two half-crowns five shillings. So within these two months the close hunks has scraped up twenty shillings, and we will make him spend it all before he comes home.’ Jack immediately claps his hands into both pockets, and turns as pale as ashes. There is nothing touches a parent (and such I am to Jack) so nearly as a provident conduct. . This lad has in him the true temper for a good husband, a kind father, and an honest executor. All the great people you see make considerable figures on the exchange, in court, and sometimes in senates, are such as in reality have no greater faculty than what may be called human instinct, which is a natural tendency to their own preservation, and that of their friends, without being capable of striking out the road for adventurers. There is sir William Scrip was of this sort of capacity from his childhood; he has bought the country round him, and makes a bargain better than sir Harry Wildfire, with all his wit and humour. Sir Harry never wants money but he comes to Scrip, laughs at him half an hour, and then gives bond for the other thousand. The close men are incapable of placing merit any where but in their pence, and therefore gain it; while others, who have larger capacities, are diverted from the pursuit by enjoyments which can be supported only by that cash which they despise; and, therefore, are in the end slaves to their inferiors both in fortune and understanding. I once heard a man of excellent sense observe, that more affairs in the world failed by being in the hands of men of too large capacities for their business, than by being in the conduct of such as wanted abilities to execute them. Jack, therefore, being of a plodding make, shall be a citizen: and I design him to be the refuge of the family in their distress, as well as their jest in prosperity. His brother Will shall go to Oxford with all speed, where, if he does not arrive at being a man of sense, he will soon be informed wherein he is a coxcomb. There is in that place such a true spirit of raillery and humour, that if they cannot make you a wise man, they will certainly let you know you are a fool; which is all my cousin wants, to cease to be so. Thus, having taken these two out of the way, I have leisure to look at my third lad. I observe in the young rogue K
a natural subtilty of mind, which discovers itself rather in sorbearing to declare his thoughts on any occasion, than in any visible way of exerting himself in discourse. For which reason I will place him, where, if he commits no faults, he may go farther than those in other stations, though they excel in virtues. The boy is well-fashioned, and will easily fall into a graceful manner; wherefore, I have a design to make him a page to a great lady of my acquaintance; by which means he will be well skilled in the common modes of life, and make a greater progress in the world by that knowledge, than with the greatest qualities without it. A good mien in a court, will carry a man greater lengths than a good understanding in any other place. We see a world of pains taken, and the best years of life spent in collecting a set of thoughts in a college for the conduct of life, and, after all, the man so qualified shall hesitate in a speech to a good suit of clothes, and want common sense before an agreeable woman. Hence it is, that wisdom, valour, justice, and learning, cannot keep a man in countenance that is possessed with these excellences, if he wants that inferior art of life and behaviour, called good-breeding. A man endowed with great perfections, without this, is like one who has his pockets full of gold, but always wants change for his ordinary Occasions. Will Courtly is a living instance of this truth, and has had the same cducation which I am giving my nephew. He never spoke a thing but what was said before, and yet can converse with the wittiest men without being ridiculous. Among the learned, he does not appear ignorant; nor with the wise, indiscreet. Living in conversation from his infancy, makes him no where at a loss; and a long familiarity with the persons of men, is, in a manner, of the same service to him, as if he knew their arts. As ceremony is the invention of wise men to keep fools at a distance, so good-breeding is an expedient to make fools and wise men equals.
Will's Coffee-house, June 17.
The suspension of the play-house has made me have nothing to send you from hence; but calling here this evening, I found the party I usually sit with, upon the business of writing, and examining what was the handsomest style in which to address women, and write letters of gallantry. Many were the opinions which were immediately declared on this subject. Some were for a certain softness; some for I know not what delicacy; others for something inexpressibly tender. hen it came to me, I said there was no rule in the world to be made for writing letters, but that of being as near what you speak face to face as you can ; which is so great a truth, that I am of opinion, writing has lost more mistresses than any one mistake in the whole legend of love; for, when you write to a lady for whom you have a solid and honourable passion, the great idea you have for her, joined to a quick sense of her absence, fills your mind with a sort of tenderness, that gives your language too much the air of complaint, which is seldom successful. For a man may flatter himself as he pleases; but he will find that the women have more understanding in their own affairs than we have, and women of spirit are not to be won by mourners. He that can keep handsomely within rules, and support the carriage of a companion to his mistress, is much more likely to prevail, than he who lets her see the whole relish of his life depends upon her. If possible, therefore, divert your mistress rather than sigh for her. The pleasant man she will desire for her own sake, but the languishing lover has nothing to hope for, but her pity. To show the difference, I produced two letters a lady gave me, which had been writ by two gentlemen who pretended to her, but were both killed the next day after the date, at the battle of Almanza. One of them was a mercurial gay-humoured man; the other a man of a serious, but a great and gallant spirit. Poor Jack Careless : this is his letter: you see how it is folded; the air of it is so negligent, one might have read half of it by peeping into it, without breaking it open. He had no exactness.
‘MADAM, It is a very pleasant circumstance I am in, that while I should be thinking of the good company we are to meet within a day or two, where we shall go to loggerheads, my thoughts are running upon a fair enemy in England. I was in hopes I had left you there; but you follow the camp, though I have endeavoured to make some of our leaguer ladies* drive you out of the field. All my comfort is, you are more troublesome to my colonel than myself: I permit you to visit me only now and then; but he downright keeps you. I laugh at his honour, as far as his gravity will allow me: but I know him to be a man of too much merit to succeed with a woman. Therefore defend your heart as well as you can : I shall come home this winter irresistibly dressed, and with quite a new foreign air. And so I had like to say, I rest, but, alas! I remain, madam, your
most obedient, most humble servant, • JOHN CARELESS.”
Now for colonel Constant's epistle; you see it is folded and directed with the utmost care.
‘MADAM, I do myself the honour to write to you this evening, because I believe to-morrow will be the day of battle; and something forebodes in my breast that I shall fall in it. If it proves so, I hope you will hear I have done nothing below a man who had the love of his country, quickened by a passion for a woman of honour. If there be anything noble in going to a certain death; if there be any merit, that I meet it with pleasure, by promising myself a place in your esteem; if your applause, when I am no more, is preferable to the most glorious life without you: I say, madam, if any of these considerations can have weight with you, you will give me a kind place in your memory, which I prefer to the glory of Cuesar. I hope this will be read, as it is writ, with tears.'
* Women who accompany the army.
The beloved lady is a woman of a sensible mind; but she has confessed to me, that after all her true and solid value for Constant, she had much more concern for the loss of Careless. Those noble and serious spirits have something equal to the adversities they meet with, and consequently lessen the objects of pity. Great accidents seem not cut out so much for men of familiar characters, which makes them more easily pitied, and soon after beloved. Add to this, that the sort of love which generally succeeds, is a stranger to awe and distance. I asked Romana, whether of the two she should have chosen, had they survived 2 She said, she knew she ought to have taken Constant: but believed she should have chosen Careless.
St. James's Coffee-house, June 17.
Letters from Lisbon of the ninth instant, N. S. say, that the enemy's army, having blocked up Olivenza, was posted on the Guadiana. The Portuguese are very apprehensive that the garrison of that place, though it consists of five of the best regiments of their army, will be obliged to surrender, if not timely relieved, they not being supplied with provisions for more than six weeks. Hereupon their general held a council of war on the fourth instant, wherein it was concluded to advance towards Badajos. With this design the army decamped on the fifth from Jernmena, and marched to Cancaon. It is hoped, that if the enemy follow their motions, they may have opportunity to put a sufficient quantity of provision and ammunition into Olivenza.
“Mr. Bickerstaff gives notice to all persons that dress themselves as they please, without regard to decorum (as with blue and red stockings in mourning, tucked cravats, and nightcap wigs, before people of the first quality,) that he has yet received no fine for indulging them in that liberty, and that he expccts their compliance with this demand, or that they go home immediately and shift themselves. This is further to acquaint the town, that the report of the hosiers, toymen, and milliners, having compounded with Mr. Bickerstaff for tolerating such enormities, is utterly false and scandalous.'
No. 31.] Tuesday, June 21, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines— —nostriest farrago libelli. Jur. Sat. i. 85,85.
whate'er men do, or say, or think, or dream, Our motley paper seizes for its theme.
Grecian Coffee-house, June 18.
In my dissertation against the custom of single combat, it has been objected, that there is not learning, or much reading, shown therein, which is the very life and soul of all treatises; for which reason, being always easy to receive admonitions and reform my errors, I thought fit to consult this learned board on the subject. Upon proposing some doubts, and desiring their