« VorigeDoorgaan »
fhould happen to your Lordship, who could bring into the service of your fovereign the arts and policies of ancient Greece and Rome; as well as the moft exact knowledge of our own constitution in particular, and of the interefts of Europe in general; to which I muft also add, a certain dignity in Yourself, that (to say the leaft of it) has been always equal to thofe great honours which have been conferred upon You.
It is very well known how much the Church owed to You in the most dangerous day it ever saw, that of the arraignment of its prelates; and how far the Civil Power, in the late and present reign, has been indebted to your counfels and wisdom.
But to enumerate the great advantages which the publick has received from your administration, would be a more proper work for an hiftory than for an addrefs of this nature.
· Your Lordship appears as great in your private life, as in the most important offices which You have born. I would therefore rather choose to speak of the pleafure You afford all who are admitted into your conversation, of Your elegant tafte in all the polite parts of learning, of Your great humanity and complacency of manners, and of the furprising influence which is peculiar to You in making every one who converses with Your Lordship, prefer You to himself, without thinking the lefs meanly of his own talents. But if I fhould take notice of all that might be observed in Your Lordship, I should have nothing new to fay upon any other character of Diftinction.
I am, My LORD,
Your Lordship's most obedient,
Moft devoted, humble Servant,
THURSDAY, MARCH 1, 1710-11. "publick exercises of the college, I fcarce uttered
Non fumum ex falgore, fed ex fumo dare lucem Cogitat, ut fpeciofa dehinc miracula promat. HOR. Ars Poet. ver. 143. One with a flash begins, and ends in fmoke; The other out of fmoke brings glorious light, And (without raifing expectation high) Surprizes us with dazzling miracles. Rofcommon. HAVE obferved, that a reader feldom perufes a book with pleasure, till he knows whether the writer of it be a black or a fair man, of a mild or choleric difpofition, married or a bachelor; with other particulars of the like nature, that conduce very much to the right understanding of an author. To gratify this curiofity, which is fo natural to a reader, I defign this paper and my next as prefatory difcourfes to my following writings, and fhall give fome account in them of the feveral perfons that are engaged in this work. As the chief trouble of compiling, digefting, and correcting, will fall to my share, I must do myself the justice to open the work with my own history.
I was born to a small hereditary eftate, which, according to the tradition of the village where it lies, was bounded by the fame hedges and ditches in William the Conqueror's time that it is at prefent, and has been delivered down from father to fon whole and entire, without the lofs or acquifition of a single field or meadow, during the fpace of fix hundred years. There runs a ftory in the family, that when my mother was gone with child of me about three months, fhe dreamt that the was brought-to-bed of a Judge: Whether this might proceed from a law-fuit which was then depending in the family, or my father's being a juftice of the peace, I cannot determine; for I am not so vain as to think it prefaged any dignity that I fhould arrive at in my future life, though that wa the interpretation which the neighbourhood put upon it. The gravity of my behaviour at my very first appearance in the world, and all the time that I fucked, feemed to favour my mother's dream; for, as he has often told me, I threw away my rattle before I was two months old, and would not make ufe of my coral until they had taken away the bells from it.
As for the reft of my infancy, there being no thing in it remarkable, I shall pafs it over in filence. I find, that, during my nonage, I had the reputation of a very fullen youth; but was always a favourite of my schoolmatter, who used to say, “that my parts were folid, and would wear well." I had not been long at the university, before I diftingui el myfelf by a moft; rofound filence; for during the space of eight years, excepting in the
the quantity of an hundred words; and, indeed,
travel into foreign countries; and therefore left
I have paffed my latter years in this city, where I am frequently feen in most public places, though there are not above half a dozen of my felect friends. that know me; of whom my next paper shall give a more particular account. There is no place of general refort, wherein I do not often make my appearance; fometimes I am feen thrufting my head into a round of politicians at Will's, and lif tening with great attention to the narratives that are made in thofe little circular audiences. Sometimes I fmoke a pipe at Child's, and whilft I feem attentive to nothing but the Poftman, overhear the converfation of every table in the room. I appear on Sunday nights at St. James's coffee-houfe; and fometimes join the little committee of politicks in the inner room, as one who comes there to hear and improve. My face is likewife very well known at the Grecian, the Cocoa-Tree, and in the theatres both of Drury-Lane and the Hay-Market, I have been taken for a merchant upon the Exchange for above thefe ten years, and fometimes país for a Jew in the affembly of stock-jobbers at Jonathan's, In fhort, wherever I fee a cluster of people, I a!ways mix with them, though I never open my lips but in my own club.
Thus I live in the world rather as a fpectator of mankind, than as one of the fpecies; by which means I have made myfelt a fpeculative ftutefiman, foldier, merchaut, and artifah, without ever maddling with any pract cal part in life, 1 am very well verfed in the theory of a husband or a father, and can difcern the error. in the economy.bufineft, and diverfion of others, better than thofe who are engaged in them; as fanders-by difcover blots, which are apt to efcape those who are in the game.
I never efpoufed any party with violence, and am refolved to obferve an exact neutrality between the Whigs and Tories, unless I fhall be forced to declare myfelf by the hoftilities of either fide. In short, I have acted in all the parts of my life as a looker-on, which is the character I intend to preferve in this
I have given the reader just so much of my history and character, as to let him fee I am not altogether unqualified for the business I have undertaken. As for other particulars in my life and adventures, I fhall infert them in following papers as I fhall fee occafion. In the mean time, when I confider how much I have seen, read, and heard, I begin to blame my own taciturnity; and fince I have neither time nor inclination to communicate the fulness of my heart in fpeech, I am refolved to do it in writing, and to print myself out, if poffible, before I die.. I have been often told by my friends, that it is pity Το many ufeful discoveries which I have made fhould be in the poffeffion of a filent man. For this reafon therefore, I fhall publish a sheet-full of thoughts every morning, for the benefit of my contemporaries; and if I can any way contribute to the diverfion or improvement of the country in which I live, I fhall leave it, when I am fummoned out of it, with the fecret fatisfaction of thinking that I have not lived in vain.
There are three very material points which I have not spoken to in this paper; and which, for feveral important reafons, I must keep to myfelf, at least for fome time: I mean, an account of my name, my age, and my lodgings. I must confefs, I would gratify my Reader in any thing that is reasonable; but as for these three particulars, though I am fenfible they might tend very much to the embellishment of my paper, I cannot yet come to a refolution of communicating them to the Public. They would indeed draw me out of that obfcurity which I have enjoyed for many years, and expofe me in public places to feveral falutes and civilities, which have been always very difagreeable to me; for the greatest pain I can fuffer is, the being talked to, and being ftared at. It is for this reafon likewife, that I keep my complexion and dress as very great fecrets; though it is not impoffible, but I may make difcoveries of both, in the progress of the work I have undertaken.
After having been thus particular upon myself, I hall in to-morrow's paper give an account of thofe Gentlemen who are concerned with me in this work; for, as I have before intimated, a plan of it is laid and concerted, as all other matters of importance are, in a club. However, as my friends have engaged me to ftand in the front, thofe, who have a mind to correfpond with me, may direct their letters to the Spectator, at Mr. Buckley's, in Little-Britain. For I muft further acquaint the reader, that though our club meets only on Tuefdays and Thursdays, we have appointed a committee to fit every night for the inspection of all fuch papers as may contribute to the advancement of the public weal.
grand father was inventor of that famous country-dance which is called after him. All who know that fhire are very well acquainted with the parts and merits of Sir Roger. He is a gentleman that is very fingular in his behaviour, but his fingularities proceed from his good fenfe, and are contradictions to the manners of the world, only as he thinks the world is in the wrong. However, this humour creates him no enemies, for he does nothing with fourness or obftinacy; and his being unconfined to modes and forms makes him but the readier and more capable to pleafe and oblige all who know him. When he is in town, he lives in Soho-Square. It is faid, he keeps himself a bachelor, by reafon he was crofled in love by a perverse beautiful widow of the next county to him. Before this difappointment, Sir Roger was what you call a fine gentleman, had often fupped with my Lord Rochetter and Sir George Etherage, fought a duel upon his first coming to town, and kicked Bully Dawfon in a public coffee-house for calling him youngster. But being ill-ufed by the above-mentioned widow, he was very serious for a year and a half; and though, his temper being naturally jovial, he at last got over it, he grew careless of himself, and never dreffed afterwards. He continues to wear a coat
and doublet of the fame cut that were in fashion at the time of his repulfe, which, in his merry humours, he tells us, has been in and out twelve times fince he firit wore it. It is faid Sir Roger grew humble in his defires after he had forgot this cruel beauty, infomuch, that it is reported he has frequently offended in point of chastity with beggars and gypfies: but this is looked upon by his friends rather as a matter of raillery than truth. He is now in the fixty-fixth year, chearful, gay and hearty ; keeps a good houfe both in town and country; a great lover of mankind; but there is fuch a mirthful caft in his behaviour, that he is rather beloved than esteemed. His tenants grow rich, his fervants look fatisfied, all the young women profefs love to him, and the young men are glad of his company; when he comes into a houfe, he calls the fervants by their names, and talks all the way up-stairs to a vifit. I must not omit, that Sip Roger is a juftice of the Quorum; that he fills the chair at a quarter-feffion with great abilities, and three months ago gained univerial applaufe by explaining a paffage in the game-act.
The Gentleman next in esteem and authority among us, is another bachelor, who is a mem ber of the Inner-Temple; a man of great probity, wit, and understanding; but he has chofen his place of refidence, rather to obey the direction of an old humourfome father, than in purfuit of his own inclinations. He was placed there to study the laws of the land, and is the moft learned of any of the houfe in thofe of the ftage. Ariftotle and Longinus are much better understood by him than Littleton or Coke. The father fends up every post questions relating to marriage-articles, leafes, and tenures, in the neighbourhood; all which questions he agrees with an attorney to anfwer and take care of in the lump, He is ftudying the paffions themfelves, when he should be enquiring into the debates among men which arife from them. He knows the argument of each of the orations of Demofthenes and Tully; but not one cafe in the reports of our own courts. ever took him for a fool, but none, except his intimate friends, knew he had a great deal of wit. This turn makes him aɛ once both, disinterested
and agreeable: as few of his thoughts are drawn from business, they are most of them fit for converfation. His tafte of books is a little too just for the age he lives in; he has read all but approves of very few. His familiarity with the customs, manners, actions, and writings of the ancients, makes him a very delicate observer of what occurs to him in the prefent world. He is an excellent critick, and the time of the play is his hour of business; exactly at five he paffes through NewInn, croffes through Ruffel-Court, and takes a turn at Will's till the play begins; he has his fhoes rubbed and his periwig powdered at the barber's as you go in to the Rofe. It is for the good of the audience when he is at the play, for the actors have an ambition to please him.
The person of next confideration is Sir Andrew Freeport, a merchant of great eminence in the city of London; a perfon of indefatigable induftry, strong reason, and great experience. His notions of trade are noble and generous, and (as every rich man has ufually fome fly way of jefting, which would make no great figure were he not a rich man) he calls the fea the British Common. He is acquainted with commerce in all its parts, and will tell you, that it is a stupid and barbarous way to extend dominion by arms; for true power is to be got by arts and industry. He will often argue, that if this part of our trade were well cultivated, we should gain from one nation; and if another, from another. I have heard him prove, diligence makes more lafting acquisitions than valour, and that floth has ruined more nations than the fword. He abounds in feveral frugal maxims, among which the greateft favorite is, A penny faved is a penny got.' A general trader of good fenfe is pleasanter company than a general scholar; and Sir Andrew having a natural unaffected eloquence, the perfpicuity of his difcourfe gives the fame pleasure that wit would do in another man. He has made his fortunes himself; and fays that England may be richer than other kingdoms, by as plain methods as he himself is richer than other men; though at the fame time I can fay this of him, that there is not a point in the compafs but blows home a fhip in which he is an owner.
Next to Sir Andrew in the club-room fits Captain Sentry, a Gentleman of great courage, good understanding, but invincible modefty. He is one of thofe that deferve very well, but are very aukward at putting their talents within the obfervation of fuch as fhould take notice of them. He was fome years a captain, and behaved himself with great gallantry in feveral fieges; but having a small eftate of his own, and being next heir to Sir Roger, he has quitted a way of life in which no man can rife fuitably to his merit, who is not fomething of a courtier, as well as a foldier. I have heard him often lament, that in a profeffion where merit is placed in fo confpicuous a view, impudence fhould get the better of modefty. When he has talked to this purpose, I never heard him make a four expreflion, but frankly confefs that he left the world because he was not fit for it. A ftrict honefty, and an even regular behaviour, are in themfelves obftacles to him that muft prefs through crowds, who endeavour at the fame end with himfelf, the favour of a commander. He will however in his way of talk excufe Generals, for not difpofing according to mens defert, or inquiring into it; for, fays he, that great man who has a mind to help me, has as many to break through to come at me, as I have to come at him: therefore he will conclude that
the man who would make a figure, especially in a military way, muft get over all falfe modefty, and affift his patron against the importunity of other pretenders, by a proper affurance in his own vindication. He fays it is a civil cowardice to be backward in afferting what you ought to expect, as it is a military fear to be flow in attacking when it is your duty. With this candour does the Gentleman speak of himself and others. The fame frankness runs through all his converfation. The military part of his life has furnished him with many adventures, in the relation of which he is very agreeable to the company; for he is never overbearing, though accuftomed to command men in the utmost degree below him; nor ever too obfequious, from an habit of obeying men highly above him.
But that our fociety may not appear a set of humourifts, unacquainted with the gallantries and pleasures of the age, we have among us the gallant Will Honeycomb; a Gentleman, who according to his years fhould be in the decline of his life; but having ever been very careful of his perfon, and always had a very eafy fortune, time has made but a very little impreffion, either by wrinkles on his forehead, or traces in his brain. His perfon is well turned, of a good height. He is very ready at that fort of difcourfe with which men ufually entertain women. He has all his life dreffed very well, and remembers habits as others do men. He can fmile when one speaks to him, and laughs eafily. He knows the hiftory of every mode, and can inform you from which of the French king's wenches our wives and daughters had this manner of curling their hair, that way of placing their hoods; whofe frailty was covered by fuch a fort of petticoat, and whofe vanity to fhew her foot made that part of the drefs fo fhort in fuch a year. In a word, all his converfation and knowledge have been in the female world. As other men of his age will take notice · to you what fuch a minister faid upon fuch an occafion; he will tell you, when the Duke of Monmouth danced at court, fuch a woman was then fmitten; another was taken with him at the head of his troop in the Park. In all these important relations, he has ever about the fame time received a kind glance or a blow of a fan from fome celebrated beauty, mother of the prefent Lord fuch-aone. If you speak of a young commoner that faid a lively thing in the houfe, he starts up, "He has "good blood in his veins; Tom Mirabell begat "him; the rogue cheated me in that affair, that
young fellow's mother ufed me more like a dog, "than any woman I ever made advances to." This way of talking of his very much enlivens the converfation among us of a more fedate turn; and I find there is not one of the company, but myself, who rarely speak at all, but speaks of him as of that fort of man who is ufually called a well-bred fine Gentleman. To conclude his character, where women are not concerned, he is an honeft worthy
I cannot tell whether I am to account him, whom I am next to speak of, as one of our company; for he vifits us but feldom, but, when he does, it adds to every man else a new enjoyment of himself. He is a clergyman, a very philofophick man, of general learning, great fanctity of life, and the most exact good-breeding. He has the misfortune to be of a very weak conftitution, and confequently cannot accept of fuch cares and bufinefs as preferments in his function would oblige him to; he is therefore among divinès what a chamber-counsellor is among lawyers. The probity of his mind, and the inte
tary confumptions, that, in the twinkling of an eye, he would fall away from the most florid complection, and the most healthful state of body, and wither into a fkeleton. Her recoveries were often as fudden as her decays, infomuch that she would revive in a moment out of a wasting diftemper into a habit of the highest health and vigour.
grity of his life, create him followers; as being eloquent or loud advances others. He feldom introduces the fubject he speaks upon; but we are fo far gone in years, that he obferves when he is among us, an earnestnefs to have him fall on fome divine topic, which he always treats with much authority, as one who has no interefts in this world, as one who is haftening to the object of all his wishes, and I had very foon an opportunity of obferving conceives hope from his decays and infirmities. thefe quick turns and changes in her conftitution. These are my ordinary companions. R There fat at her feet a couple of fecretaries, who received every hour letters from all parts of the world, which the one or the other of them was perpetually reading to her; and, according to the news fhe heard, to which the was exceedingly attentive, the changed colour, and difcovered many fymptoms of health or fickness.
N° 3. SATURDAY, MARCH 3.
`LUCR. 1. 4. v. 959.
I looked into the great hall where the bank is N one of my late rambles, or rather fpeculations, kept, and was not a little pleafed to fee the directors, fecretaries, and clerks, with all the other members of that wealthy corporation, ranged in their feveral stations, according to the parts they act in that just and regular economy. This revived in my memory the many difcourfes which I had both read and heard concerning the decay of public credit, with the methods of restoring it, and which, in my opinion, have always been defective, because they have always been made with an eye to separate" interefts, and party principles.
Behind the throne was a prodigious heap of bags of money, which were piled upon one another fa high that they touched the cieling. The floor, on her right hand and on her left, was covered with vaft fums of gold that rofe up in pyramids on either fide of her but this I did not fo much wonder at, When I heard, upon inquiry, that he had the fame virtue in her touch, which the poets tell us a Lydian king was formerly poffeffed of; and that she could convert whatever the pleafed into that precious metal.
After a little dizziness, and confused hurry of thought, which a man often meets with in a dream, methought the hall was alarmed, the doors flew open, and there entered half a dozen of the moft hideous phantoms that I had ever feen, even in a dream, before that time. They came in two by two, though matched in the moft diffociable manner, and mingled together in a kind of dance. It would be tedious to defcribe their habits and perfons; for which reafon, I fhall only inform my The thoughts of the day gave my mind employ-reader that the first couple were Tyranny and Ament for the whole night, fo that. I fell infenfibly narchy, the fecond were Bigotry and Atheism, the into a kind of methodical dream, which difpofed third, the Genius of a Commonwealth, and a all my contemplations into a vifion or allegory, or young man of about twenty-two years of age, what elfe, the reader fhall pleafe to call it. whofe name I could not learn. He had a fword in his right hand, which in the dance he often brandifhed at the Act of Settlement; and a citizen, who ftood by me, whispered in my ear, that he faw a fponge in his left hand. The dance of fo many jarring natures put me in mind of the fun, moon, and earth, in the Rehearsal, that danced together for no other end but to eclipse one ano ther.
Methought I returned to the great hall, where I had been the morning before, but, to my surprise, instead of the company that I left there, I faw, towards the upper end of the hall, a beautiful virgin, feated on a throne of gold. Her name (as they told me) was Public Credit. The walls, inftead of being adorned with pictures and maps, were hung with many acts of parliament written in golden letters. At the upper end of the hall was the Magna Charta, with the act of uniformity on the right hand, and the act of toleration on the left. At the lower end of the hall was the act of Settlement, which was placed full in the eye of the virgin that fat upon the throne, Both the fides of the hail were covered with fuch acts of parliament as had been made for the establiment of public funds. The Lady feemed to fet an unspeakable value upon these feveral pieces of furniture, infomuch that the often refreshed her eye with them, and often fmiled with a fecret pleasure as the looked upon them; but, at the fame time, fhewed a very particular uncafinefs, if the faw any thing approaching that might hurt them. She appeared indeed infinitely timorous in all her behaviour: and, wther it was from the delicacy of her conftitution, or that he was troubied with vapours, as I was afterwards told by one who I found was none of her well-wishers, the changed colour, and ftartled at every thing the heard. She was likewife (as I afterwards found) a greater valetudinarian than any i had ever met with ven in her own fex, and fubject to fuch momen
The reader will eafily fuppofe, by what has been before said, that the Lady on the throne would have been almoft frighted to diftraction, had the feen but any one of thefe fpect es; what then must have been her condition when the faw them all in a body? She fainted and died away at the fight.
Et neque jam color eft mifto candore rubori ;
There was as great a change in the hill of money-bags, and the heaps of money, the former fhrinking and falling into fo many empty bags, that I now found not above a tenth part of them had been filled with money. The reft that took up the fame fpace, and made the fame figure as the bags that were really filled with money, had been blown up with air, and called into my memory the bags full of wind, which Homer tells us his hero received as a prefent from olus. The