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Roman proverb upon the Carthaginian traders; the Romans were their profeffed enemies: I am only forry no Carthaginian hiftories have come to our hands: we might have been taught perhaps by them fome proverbs againft the Roman generofity, in fighting for and beftowing other people's goods. But fince Sir ROGER has taken occafion from an old proverb to be out of humour with Merchants, it should be no offence to offer one not quite fo old in their defence. When a man hapens to break in Holland, they fay of him that he has not kept true accompts. This phrafe, perhaps, among us, world appear a foft or humourous way of speaking, but with that exact nation it bears the highest reproach; for a man to be mistaken in the calcu lation of his expence, in his ability to answer future demands, or to be impertinently fanguine in putting his credit to too great adventure, are all inftances of as much infainy, as with gayer nations to be failing in courage or common honefty.

NUMBERS are fo much the measure of every thing that is valuable, that it is not poffible to demonftrate the fuc cefs of any action, or the prudence of any undertaking without them. I fay this in answer to what Sir ROGER is pleased to say, that little that is truly noble can be expected from one who is ever poring on his cafh-book, or balancing his accompts. When I have my returns from abroad, I can tell to a fhilling, by the help of numbers, the profit or lofs by my adventure; but I ought alfo to be able to fhew that I had reafon for making it, either from my own experience, or that of other people, or from a reasonable presumption that my returns will be fufficient to answer my expence and hazard; and this is never to be done without the skill of numbers. For instance, if I am to trade to Turkey, I ought before hand to know the demand of our manufactures there, as well as of their filks in England, and the customary prices that are given for both in each country. I ought to have a clear knowledge of thefe matters beforehand, that I may prefume upon fufficient returns to answer the charge of the cargo I have fitted out, the freight and affurance out and home, the cuf toms to the queen, and the intereft of my own money, and befides all thefe expences a reafonable profit to myfelf. Now, what is there of fcandal in this fkill? What has the

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merchant done, that he should be so little in the good graces of Sir ROGER? He throws down no man's inclosures, and tramples upon no man's corn; he takes nothing from the industrious labourer; he pays the poor man for his work; he communicates his profit with mankind; by the preparation of his cargo, and the manufacture of his returns, he furnishes employment and fubfiftence to greater numbers than the richest nobleman; and even the nobleman is obliged to him for finding out foreign markets for the produce of his eftate, and for making a great addition to his rents and yet it is certain, that none of all these things could be done by him without the exercise of his skill in numbers.

THIS is the economy of the merchant; and the conduct of the gentleman must be the fame, unless by fcorning to be the steward, he refolves the steward shall be the gentleman. The gentleman, no more than the Merchant, is able, without the help of numbers, to account for the fuccefs of any action, or the prudence of any adventure. If, for instance, the chace is his whole adventure, his only returns must be the ftag's horns in the great hall, and the fox's nofe upon the stable door. Without doubt Sir RoGER knows the full value of these returns; and if beforehand he had computed the charges of the chace, a gentleman of his difcretion would certainly have hanged up all his dogs, he would never have brought back so many fine hounds to the kennel, he would never have gone fo often, like a blast, over fields of corn. If fuch too had been the conduct of all his ancestors, he might truly have boasted at this day that the antiquity of his family had never been fullied by a trade; a merchant had never been permitted with his whole eftate to purchase a room for his picture in the gallery of the COVERLEYS, or to claim his descent from the maid of honour. But it is very happy for Sir ROGER that the merchant paid fo dear for his ambition.

Ir is the misfortune of many other gentlemen, to turn out of the feats of their ancestors, to make way for fuch new masters as have been more exact in their accompts than themselves; and certainly he deferves the estate a great deal better, who has got it by his induftry, than he who has loft it by his negligence.

VOL. III.

C

T

N° 175

No 175.

I

Thursday, September 20.

Proximus a tectis ignis defenditur agre

OVID. rem. am. v. 625.

To fave your houfe from neighb'ring fire is hard.

TATE.

SHALL this day entertain my readers with two or three letters I have received from my correfpondents: the first discovers to me a fpecies of females which have hitherto efcaped my notice, and is as follows.

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Mr SPECTATOR,

I a manng, to spend five or fix hours

AM a young gentleman of a competent fortune, and

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every day very agreeably among my books. That I might have nothing to divert me from my ftudies, and to avoid the noise of coaches and chairmen, I have taken lodgings in a very narrow street not far from Whitehall; but it is my misfortune to be fo pofted, that my lodgings are directly oppofite to thofe of a Jezebel. You are to know, Sir, that a Jezebel (fo called by the neighbourhood from difplaying her pernicious charnis at her window) appears conftantly dreffed at her fafh, and has a thoufand little tricks and fooleries to attract the eyes of all the idle young fellows in the neighbourhood. I have feen more than fix perfons at once from their feveral windows obferving the Jezebel I am now complaining of. I at first looked on her myfelf with the highest contempt, could divert myself with her airs for half an hour, and afterwards take up my Plutarch with great tranquillity of mind; but was a little vexed to find, that in lefs than a month she had confiderably ftolen upon my tine, fo that I refolved to look at her no more. But the Jezebel, who, as I fuppofe, might think it a diminution to her honour, to have the number of her gazers leffened, refolved not to part with me fo, and began to play fo many new tricks at her window, that it was impof fible for me to forbear obferving her. I verily believe

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The put herself to the expence of a new wax-baby on purpofe to plague me; the ufed to dandle and play with this figure as impertinently as if it had been a real child: fometimes he would let fall a glove or a pin-cufhion in the street, and fhut or open her cafement three or four times in minute. When I had almoft weaned myself " from this, the came in her fhift-fleeves, and dreffed at the window. I had no way left but to let down my curtains, which I fubmitted to, tho' it confiderably darkened my room, and was pleafed to think that I had at last got the "better of her; but was furprised the next morning to hear her talking out of her window quite cross the street, with another woman that lodges over me: I am fince informed, that the made her a vifit, and got acquainted with her within three hours after the fall of my window" curtains.Ves

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SIR, I am plagued every moment in the day, one way "or other, in my own chambers; and the Jezebel has the fatisfaction to know, that tho' I am not looking at her, I am liftening to her impertinent dialogues that pafs over my head. I would immediately change my lodgings, but that I think it might look like a plain confeffion that F am conquered; and belides this, I am told that moft' quarters of the town are infefted with thefe creatures. If they are fo, I am fure it is fch an abufe, as a lover of learning and filence ought to take notice of.

1 am, SIR,

Tours, &c.

IAM afraid, by fome lines in this letter, that my young ftudent is touched with a diftemper which he hardly feeins to dream of, and is too far gone in it to receive advice. However, I fhall animadvert in due time on the abufe which he mentions, having myself obferved a neft of Jezebels near the Temple, who make it their diverfion to draw up the eyes of young templars, that at the fame time they may fee them ftumble in an unlucky gutter which runs un-der the window.

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and have ever fince been thoroughly perfuaded that one of thofe gentlemen is extremly neceffary to enliven converfation. I had an entertainment laft week upon the water for a lady to whom I make my addreffes, with feveral of our friends of both fexes. To divert the company in general, and to fhew my mistress in particular my genius for rallery, I took one of the most celebrated 'butts in town along with me. It is with the utmoft 'fhame and confufion that I must acquaint you with the ⚫ fequel of my adventure as foon as we were got into the boat, I played a fentence or two at my butt, which I thought very smart, when my ill genius, who I verily believed infpired him purely for my deftruction, fuggefted to him fuch a reply, as got all the laughter on his 'fide. I was dashed at fo unexpected a turn; which the butt perceiving, refolved not to let me recover myself, and pursuing his victory, rallied and tofled me in a most unmerciful and barbarous manner till we came to Chelfea. I had fome fmall fuccefs while we were eating cheefecakes; but coming home, he renewed his attacks with his former good-fortune, and equal diverfion to the whole • company. In fhort, Sir, I muft ingenuously own, that I was never fo handled in all my life; and, to complete • my misfortune, I am fince told, that the butt flushed with his late victory, has made a vifit or two to the dear ob'ject of my wishes, fo that I am at once in danger of lofing all my pretenfions to wit, and my miftrefs into the bargain. This, Sir, is a true account of my present troubles, which you are the more obliged to affift me in, as you were yourself in a great meafure the cause of them, by recommending to us an inftrument, and not inftructing us at the fame time how to play upon it.

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'I HAVE been thinking whether it might not be highly convenient, that all butts fhould wear an infcription affixed to fome part of their bodies, fhewing on which fide they are to be come at, and that if any of them are ( perfons of unequal tempers, there fhould be fome method taken to inform the world at what time it is fafe to attack them, and when you had best to let them alone. But, fubmitting these matters to your more ferious con-, fideration,

I am, SIR, yours, KG.

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