breach of a man's integrity are much more im portant than men are aware of. The man who scruples not breaking his word in little things, would not suffer in his own conscience so great pain for failures of consequence, as he who thinks every little offense against truth and justice a disparagement. We should not make anything we ourselves disapprove habitual to us, if we would be sure of our integrity.

I remember a falsehood of the trivial sort, though not in relation to assignations, that exposed a man to a very uneasy adventure. Will Trap and Jack Stint were chamber-fellows in the Inner Temple about twenty-five years ago. They one night sat in the pit together at a comedy, where they both observed and liked the same young woman in the boxes. Their kindness for her entered both hearts deeper than they imagined. Stint had a good faculty at writing letters of love, and made his addresses privately that way; while Trap proceeded in the ordinary course, by money and her waiting-maid. The lady gave them both encouragement, receiving Trap into the utmost favor, and answering at the same time Stint's letters, and giving him appointments at third places. Trap began to suspect the epistolary correspondence of his friend, and discovered also that Stint opened all his letters which came to their common Though the expectation which is raised by im- lodgings, in order to form his own assignations. pertinent promisers is thus barren, their confidence, After much anxiety and restlessness, Trap came even after failures, is so great, that they subsist to a resolution which he thought would break off by still promising on. I have heretofore dis- their commerce with one another without any coursed of the insignificant liar, the boaster, and hazardous explanation. He therefore wrote a letthe castle-builder, and treated them as no ill-ter in a feigned hand to Mr. Trap at his chambers designing men (though they are to be placed among the frivolously false ones), but persons who fall into that way purely to recommend themselves by their vivacities; but indeed I cannot let heedless promisers, though in the most minute circumstances, pass with so slight a censure. If a man should take a resolution to pay only sums above a hundred pounds, and yet contract with different people debts of five and ten, how long can we suppose he will keep his credit? This man will s long support his good name in business, as he will in conversation, who without difficulty makes assignations which he is indifferent whether he keeps or not.

in the Temple. Stint, according to custom, seized
and opened it, and was not a little surprised to
find the inside directed to himself, when with
great perturbation of spirit he read as follows >

I am the more severe upon this vice, because I
ave been so unfortunate as to be a very great
riminal myself. Sir Andrew Freeport, and all
ther my friends who are scrupulous to promises
I the meanest consideration imaginable, from a
abit of virtue that way, have often upbraided me
ith it. I take shame upon myself for this crime,
nd more particularly for the greatest I ever com-
itted of the sort, that when as agreeable a com-
any of gentlemen and ladies as ever were got
gether, and I forsooth, Mr. Spectator, to be of
e party with women of merit, like a booby as I
as, mistook the time of meeting, and came the
ght following. I wish every fool who is negli-
nt in this kind may have as great a loss as I
d in this; for the same company will never nieet
ore, but are dispersed into various parts of the
orld, and I am left under the compunction that
eserve, in so many different places to be called
This fault is sometimes to be accounted for,
en desirable people are fearful of appearing
cise and reserved by deniais; but they will find
= apprehension of that imputation will betray
m into a childish impotence of mind, and make
m promise all who are so kind to ask it of
m. This leads such soft creatures into the
fortune of seeming to return overtures of good-in my writings many descriptions given of ill
with ingratitude. The first steps in the persons, and not yet any direct encomium made

WHEN I reflect upon my labors for the public, I cannot but observe, that part of the species, of which I profess myself a friend and guardian, is sometimes treated with severity; that is, there are

that they have neglected matters of moment to meet him whom they find a trifler. They immediately repent of the value they had for him; and such treatment repeated, makes company never depend upon his promise any more; so that he often comes at the middle of a meal, where he is secretly slighted by the persons with whom he eats, and cursed by the servants, whose dinner is delayed by his prolonging their master's entertainment. It is wonderful that men guilty this way could never have observed, that the willing time, the gathering together, and waiting a little before dinner, is the most awkwardly passed away of any part of the four-and-twenty hours. If they did think at all, they would reflect upon their guilt, in lengthening such a suspension of agreeable life. The constant offending in this way has, in a degree, an effect upon the honesty of his mind who is guilty of it, as common swearing is a kind of habitual perjury. It makes the soul inattentive to what an oath is, even while it utters it at the lips. Phocion beholding a wordy orator, while he was making a magnificent speech to the people, full of vain promises : "Methinks," said he, "I am now fixing my eyes upon a cypress tree; it has all the pomp and beauty imaginable in its branches, leaves, and height; but, alas! it bears no fruit."

"You have gained a slight satisfaction at the expense of doing a very heinous crime. At the price of a faithful friend you have obtained an inconstant mistress. I rejoice in this expedient I have thought of to break my mind to you, and tell you you are a base fellow, by a means which does not expose you to the affront except you deserve it. I know, Sir, as criminal as you are, you have still shame enough to avenge yourself against the hardiness of any one that should publicly tell you of it. 1, therefore, who have received so many secret hurts from you, shall take satisfaction with safety to myself. I call you base, and you must bear it, or acknowledge it; I triumph over you that you cannot come at me; nor do I think it dishonorable to come in armor to assault him, who was in ambuscade when he wounded me.

"What need more be said to convince you of being guilty of the basest practice imaginable, than that it is such as has made you liable to be treated after this manner, while you yourself cannot in your own conscience but allow the justice of the upbraidings of



Your injured friend,

No. 449.] TUESDAY, AUGUST 5, 1712.
-Tibi scriptus, matrona, libellus.-MART. iii. 68.
A book the chastest matron may peruse.

on those who are good. When I was convinced of this error, I could not but immediately call to mind several of the fair sex of my acquaintance, whose characters deserve to be transmitted to posterity in writings which will long outlive mine. But I do not think that a reason why I should not give them their place in my diurnal as long as it will last. For the service therefore of my female readers, I shall single out some characters of maids, wives and widows, which deserve the imitation of the sex. She who shall lead this small illustrious number of heroines shall be the amiable Fidelia.

man's pains, whose welfare depends upon my assiduity about him, that I willingly exclude the loose gratifications of passion for the solid reflec tions of duty. I know not whether any man's wife would be allowed, and (what I still more fear) I know not whether I, a wife, should be willing to be as officious as I am at present about my parent." The happy father has her declaration that she will not marry during his life, and the pleasure of seeing that resolution not uneasy to her. Were one to paint filial affection in its utmost beauty, he could not have a more lively idea of it than in beholding Fidelia serving her father at his hours of rising, meals, and rest.

When the general crowd of female youth are consulting their glasses, preparing for balls, assemblies, or plays; for a young lady who could be regarded among the foremost in those places, either for her person, wit, fortune or conversa.

Before I enter upon the particular parts of her character, it is necessary to preface, that she is the only child of a decrepid father, whose life is bound up in hers. This gentleman has used Fidelia from her cradle with all the tenderness imaginable, and has viewed her growing perfections with the partiality of a parent, that soon thought her accom-tion, and yet contemn all these entertainments, to plished above the children of all other men, but sweeten the heavy hours of a decrepid parent, is a never thought she was come to the utmost improve- resignation truly heroic. Fidelia performs the ment of which she herself was capable. This duty of a nurse with all the beauty of a bride; fondness has had very happy effects upon his own nor does she neglect her person, because of her happiness; for she reads, she dances, she sings, attendance on him, when he is too ill to receive uses her spinet and lute to the utmost perfection; company, to whom she may make an appearance and the lady's use of all these excellencies is to divert the old man in his easy chair, when he is out of the pangs of a chronical distemper. Fidelia is now in the twenty-third year of her age; but the application of many lovers, her vigorous time of life, her quick sense of all that is truly gallant and elegant in the enjoyment of a plentiful fortune, are not able to draw her from the side of her good old father. Certain it is, that there is no kind of affection so pure and angelic as that of a father to a daughter. He beholds her both with and without regard to her sex. In love to our wives there is desire, to our sons there is ambition; but in that to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express. Her life is designed wholly domestic, and she is so ready a friend and companion, that everything that passes about a man is accompanied with the idea of her presence. Her sex also is naturally so much exposed to hazard, both as to fortune and innocence, that there is perhaps a new cause of fondness arising from that consideration also. None but fathers can have a true sense of these sort of pleasures and sensations; but my familiarity with the father of Fidelia makes me let drop the words which I have heard him speak, and observe upon

Fidelia, who gives him up her youth, does not think it any great sacrifice to add to it the spoiling of her dress. Her care and exactness in her habit convinces her father of the alacrity of her mind; and she has of all women the best founda tion for affecting the praise of a seeming negli gence. What adds to the entertainment of the good old man is, that Fidelia, where merit and fortune cannot be overlooked by epistolary lovers, reads over the accounts of her conquests, plays on her spinet the gayest airs (and, while she a doing so, you would think her formed only f gallantry) to intimate to him the pleasures se despises for his sake.

Those who think themselves the patterns of good-breeding and gallantry would be astonished to hear that, in those intervals when the old gen tleman is at ease, and can bear company, ther are at his house, in the most regular order, as blies of people of the highest merit; where the is conversation without mention of the faults of the absent, benevolence between men and wome without passion, and the highest subjects of rality treated of as natural and accidental dis course; all of which is owing to the genes af Fidelia, who at once makes her father's way another world easy, and herself capable of teng an honor to his name in this.

his tenderness toward her.

Fidelia, on her part, as I was going to say, as accomplished as she is, with all her beauty, wit, air, and mien, employs her whole time in care and attendance upon her father. How have I been charmed to see one of the most beauteous women the age has produced, on her knees, helping on an old man's slipper! Her filial regard to him is what she makes her diversion, her business, and her glory. When she was asked by a friend of her deceased mother, to admit of the courtship of her son, she answered that she had a great respect and gratitude to her for the overture in behalf of one so near to her, but that during her father's life she would admit into her heart no value for anything that should interfere with her endeavor to make his remains of life as happy and easy as could be expected in his circumstances. The lady admonished her of the prime of life with a smile; which Fidelia answered with a frankness that always attends unfeigned virtue: "It is true, Madam, there are to be sure very great satisfactions to be expected in the commerce of a man of honor, whom one tenderly loves; but I find so much satisfaction in the reflection how much I mitigate a good


"I was the other day at the Bear-garden, hopes to have seen your short face; but not be so fortunate, I must tell you by way of e that there is a mystery among the gladiators has escaped your spectatorial penetration. being in a box at an alehouse near the reno seat of honor above-mentioned, I overheard masters of the science agreeing to quarrel ve In the next opportunity. This was to happen company of a set of the fraternity of basket who were to meet that evening. When th settled, one asked the other, Will you giresa or receive?' The other answered. 'Rece was replied, 'Are you a passionate man provided you cut no more, nor no deeper tha agree. I thought it my duty to acquets with this, that the people may not pay th money for fighting, and be cheated.


Your bumble Servant,
"Scabbard Eist."

No. 450.1 WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16, 1712.
Quærenda pecunia primum,
Virtus post nummos.--

Get money, money still,
And then let virtue follow, if she will.-POPE.

"ALL men, through different paths, make at the same common thing, money; and it is to her we owe the politician, the merchant, and the lawyer; nay, to be free with you, I believe to that also we are beholden for our Spectator. I am apt to think, that could we look into our own hearts, we should see money engraved in them in more lively and moving characters than self preservation; for who can reflect upon the merchant hoisting sail in a doubtful pursuit of her, and all mankind sacrificing their quiet to her, but must perceive that the characters of self-preservation (which were, doubtless, originally the brightest) are sullied, if not wholly defaced; and that those of money (which at first was only valuable as a mean to security) are of late so brightened, that the characters of self. preservation, like a less light set by a greater, are become almost imperceptible? Thus has money got the upper hand of what all mankind formerly thought most dear, viz: security; and I wish I could say she had here put a stop to her victories: but, alas! common honesty fell a sacrifice to her. This is the way scholastic men talk of the greatest good in the world; but I, a tradesman, shall give you another account of this matter in the plain narrative of my own life. I think it proper in the first place, to acquaint my readers, that since my setting out in the world, which was in the year 1660, I never wanted money: having begun with an indifferent good stock in the tobaccotrade, to which I was bred; and by the continual successes it has pleased Providence to bless my endeavors with, am at last arrived at what they call a plum. To uphold my discourse in the manner of your wits or philosophers, by speaking fine things, or drawing inferences as they pretend, from the nature of the subject, I account it vain; having never found anything in the writings of such men, that did not savor more of the invention of the brain, or what is styled speculation, than of sound judgment or profitable observation. I will readily grant, indeed, that there is what the wits call natural in their talk; which is the utmost those curious authors can assume to themselves, and is, indeed, all they endeavor at, for they are but lamentable teachers. And what, I pray, is natural? That which is pleasing and easy. And what are pleasing and easy? Forsooth a new thought, or conceit, dressed up in smooth quaint language, to make you smile and wag your head, as being what you never imagined before, and yet wonder why you had not; mere frothy amusements, fit only for boys or silly women to be caught with!

"It is not my present intention to instruct my readers in the methods of acquiring riches; that may be the work of another essay; but to exhibit the real and solid advantages I have found by them in my long and manifold experience; nor yet all the advantages of so worthy and valuable a blessing, (for who does not know or imagine the comforts of being warm or living at ease, and that power and pre-eminence are their inseparable attendants?) but only to instance the great supports they afford us under the severest calamities and misfortunes; to show that the love of them is a special antidote against immorality and vice; and that the same does likewise naturally dispose men to

A cant word used by commercial people, to signify 100,000Z.

actions of piety and devotion. All which I can make out by my own experience, who think my. self no ways particular from the rest of mankind, nor better nor worse by nature than generally other

men are.

HOR. 1 Ep. i. 53.


"In the year 1665, when the sickness was, I lost by it my wife and two children, which were all my stock. Probably I might have had more, considering I was married between four and five years; but finding her to be a teeming woman, I was careful, as having then little above a brace of thousand pounds to carry on my trade and maintain a family with. I loved them as usually men do their wives and children, and therefore could not resist the first impulses of nature on so quickly roused myself, wounding a loss; but and found means to alleviate, and at last conquer, my affliction, by reflecting how that she and her children had been no great expense to me; the best part of her fortune was still left; that my charge being reduced to myself, a journeyman, and a maid, I might live far cheaper than before; and that being now a childless widower, I might perhaps, marry a no less deserving woman, and with a much better fortune than she brought, which was but 8001. And to convince my readers that such considerations as these were proper and apt to produce such an effect, I remember it was the constant observation at that deplorable time when so many hundreds were swept away daily, that the rich ever bore the loss of their families and relations far better than the poor: the latter, having little or nothing beforehand, and living from hand to mouth, placed the whole comfort and satisfaction of their lives in their wives and children, and were therefore, inconsolable.

"The following year happened the fire; at which time, by good providence, it was my fortune to have converted the greatest part of my effects into ready money, on the prospect of an extraordinary advantage which I was preparing This calamity was very terrible to lay hold on. and astonishing, the fury of the flames being such, that whole streets, at several distant places, were destroyed, at one and the same time, so that (as it is well known) almost all our citizens were burnt out of what they had. But what did I then do? I did not stand gazing on the ruins of our noble metropolis; I did not shake my head, wring my hands, sigh, and shed tears; I considered with myself what could this avail? I fell a plodding what advantages might be made of the ready cash I had; and immediately bethought myself that wonderful pennyworths might be bought of the goods that were saved out of the fire. In short, with about 20001. and a little credit, I bought as much tobacco as raised my estate to the value of 10,000. I then looked on the ashes of our city, and the misery of its late inhabitants, as an effect of the just wrath and indignation of heaven toward a sinful and perverse people.'

"After this I married again: and that wife dying I took another: but both proved to be idle baggages: the first gave me a great deal of plague and vexation by her extravagances, and I became one of the by-words of the city. I knew it would be to no manner of purpose to go about to curb the fancies and inclinations of women, which fly out the more for being restrained; but what I could, I did; I watched her narrowly, and by good luck found her in the embraces (for which I had two witnesses with me) of a wealthy spark of the court-end of the town; of whom I recovered 15,000l. which made me amends for what she had idly * The plague.

squandered, and put a silence to all my neighbors, taking off my reproach by the gain they saw I had by it. The last died about two years after I married her, in labor of three children. I conjecture they were begotten by a country kinsman of hers, whom, at her recommendation, I took into my family, and gave wages to as a journeyman. What this creature expended in delicacies and high diet for her kinsman (as well as I could compute by the poulterer's, fishmonger's, and grocer's bills), amounted in the said two years to one hundred eighty-six pounds four shillings and five-pence halfpenny. The fine apparel, bracelets, lockets, and treats, etc., of the other, according to the best calceulation, came, in three years and about three quarters, to seven hundred forty-four pounds seven shillings and nine-pence. After this I resolved never to marry more, and found I had been a gainer by my marriages, and the damage granted me for the abuses of my bed (all charges deducted), eight thousand three hundred pounds within a trifle.

Hon. 2 Ep. 1. 140. -Times corrupt and nature ill-inclin'd Produc'd the point that left the sting behind; Till, friend with friend, and families at strife, Triumphant malice rag'd through private life-Pass THERE is nothing so scandalous to a govern ment, and detestable in the eyes of all good men, as defamatory papers and pamphlets; but at the same time there is nothing so difficult to tame as a satirical author. An angry writer who cannot appear in print, naturally vents his spleen in libels and lampoons. A gay old woman, says the fable, seeing all her wrinkles represented in a large looking glass, threw it upon the ground is a passion, and broke it into a thousand pieces; bat as she was afterward surveying the fragments with a spiteful kind of pleasure, she could not forbear uttering herself in the following soliloquy. "Whe have I got by this revengeful blow of mine! I have only multiplied my deformity, and see 4 hundred ugly faces, where before I saw but one."

It has been proposed to oblige every perso that writes a book, or a paper, to swear himself the author of it, and enter down in a public re gister his name and place of abode.

This indeed would have effectually suppressed all printed scandal, which generally appears unde borrowed names, or under none at all. But it a

"I come now to show the good effects of the love of money on the lives of men, toward rendering them honest, sober, and religious. When I was a young man, I had a mind to make the best of my wits, and overreached a country chap in a parcel of unsound goods; to whom, upon his upbraiding, and threatening to expose me for it, I returned the equivalent of his loss; and upon his good advice, wherein he clearly demonstrated the folly of such artifices, which can never end but in shame, and the ruin of all correspondence, I never after transgressed. Can your courtiers who take bribes, or your lawyers or physicians in their practice, or even the divines who intermeddle in worldly affairs, boast of making but one slip in their lives, and of such a thorough and lasting reformation? Since my coming into the world I do not remember I was ever overtaken in drink, save nine times, once at the christening of my first child, thrice at our city feasts, and five times at driving of bargains. My reformation I can attribute to nothing so much as the love and esteem of money, for I found myself to be extravagant in my drink, and apt to turn projector, and make rash bargains. As for women, I never knew any except my wives: for my reader must know, and it is what we may confide in as an excellent to be feared that such an expedient would not recipe, that the love of business and money is only destroy scandal, but learning. It would the greatest mortifier of inordinate desires imagin-operate promiscuously, and root up the core and able, as employing the mind continually in the tares together. Not to mention some of the m careful oversight of what one has, in the eager celebrated works of piety, which have proceded quest after more, in looking after the negligences from anonymous authors, who have made it that and deceits of servants, in the due entering and merit to convey to us so great a charity in s stating of accounts, in hunting after chaps, and there are few works of genius that come uts in the exact knowledge of the state of markets; first with the author's name. The writer gee which things whoever thoroughly attends to, will rally makes a trial of them in the world before b find enough and enough to employ his thoughts owns them; and, I believe, very few, who on every moment of the day; so that I cannot capable of writing, would set pen to paper, if call to mind, that in all the time I was a hus- knew beforehand that they must not pollist band, which, off and on, was about twelve years, their productions but on such conditions I ever once thought of my wives but in bed. And, my own part, I must declare, the papers lastly, for religion, I have ever been a constant sent the public are like fairy favors, churchman, both forenoons and afternoons, on shall last no longer than while the authe Sundays, never forgetting to be thankful for any concealed. gain or advantage I had had that day; and on Saturday nights, upon casting up my accounts, I always was grateful for the sum of my week's profits, and at Christmas for that of the whole year. It is true, perhaps, that my devotion has not been the most fervent: which, I think, ought to be imputed to the evenness and sedateness of my temper, which never would admit of any impetuosities of any sort: and I can remember that in my youth and prime of manhood, when my blood ran brisker, I took greater pleasure in religious exercises than at present, or many years past, and that my devotion

I #

That which makes it particularly difficul strain these sons of calumny and defamat that all sides are equally guilty of it and d every dirty scribbler is countenanced by names, whose interests he propagates by suc and infamous methods. have never ye he of a ministry who have inflicted an ext punishment on an author that has supported cause with falsehood and scandal, and trea a most cruel manner the names of those ma been looked upon as their rivals and antag Would a government set an everlasting t

sensibly declined as age, which is dull and unwieldy, came upon me.

"I have, I hope, here proved, that the love of money prevents all immorality and vice; which, if you will not allow, you must, that the pursuit of it obliges men to the same kind of life as they would follow if they were really virtuous; which is all I have to say at present, only recommend ing to you, that you would think of it, and turn ready wit into ready money as fast as you can. I conclude, "Your Servant,



[ocr errors]

No. 451.] THURSDAY, AUGUST 7, 1712

Jam sævus apertam

In rabiem verti coepit jocus, et per honestas
Ire domos impune minax-

man of great freedom of thought as well as of exquisite learning and judgment.


"I cannot imagine, that a man who disperses a libel is less desirous of doing mischief than the author himself. But what shall we say of the pleasure which a man takes in the reading of a defamatory libel? Is it not a heinous sin in the sight of God? We must distinguish in this point. This pleasure is either an agreeable sensation we are affected with, when we meet with a witty thought which is well expressed, or it is a joy which we I cannot think that any one will be so unjust as conceive from the dishonor of the person who is to imagine what I have here said is spoken with defamed. I will say nothing to the first of these respect to any party or faction. Every one who cases; for perhaps some would think that my mohas in him the sentiments either of a Christian or, rality is not severe enough, if I should affirm that gentleman, cannot but be highly offended at this a man is not master of those agreeable sensations, wicked and ungenerous practice, which is so any more than of those occasioned by sugar or honey, much in use among us at present, that it is become when they touch his tongue, but as to the second, a kind of national crime, and distinguishes us every one will own that pleasure to be a heinous from all the governments that lie about us. I sin. The pleasure in the first case is of no concannot but look upon the finest strokes of satire tinuance; it prevents our reason and reflection, which are aimed at particular persons, and which and may be immediately followed by a secret are supported even with the appearances of truth, grief, to see our neighbor's honor blasted. If it to be the marks of an evil mind, and highly cri- does not cease immediately, it is a sign that we miual in themselves. Infamy, like other punish are not displeased with the ill-nature of the ments, is under the direction and distribution of satirist, but are glad to see him defame his enemy the magistrate, and not of any private person. by all kinds of stories; and then we deserve the Accordingly we learn, from a fragment of Cicero, punishment to which the writer of the libel is that though there were very few capital punish-subject. I shall here add the words of a modern ments in the twelve tables, a libel or lampoon, author. St. Gregory, upon excommunicating those which took away the good name of another, was writers who had dishonored Castorius, does not to be punished by death. But this is far from except those who read their works; because, says being our case. Our satire is nothing but ribaldry, he, if calumnies have always been the delight of and Billingsgate. Scurrility passes for wit; and the hearers, and a gratification of those persons he who can call names in the greatest variety of who have no other advantage over the honest phrases, is looked upon to have the shrewdest man, is not he who takes pleasure in reading them pen. By this means the honor of families is as guilty as he who composed them? It is an unruined, the highest posts and greatest titles are contested maxim, that they who approve an action, rendered cheap and vile in the sight of the people, would certainly do it if they could; that is, if the noblest virtues and most exalted parts ex- some reason of self-love did not hinder them. posed to the contempt of the vicious and the There is no difference, says Cicero, between adignorant. Should a foreigner, who knows nothing vising a crime, and approving it when committed. of our private factions, or one who is to act his The Roman law confirmed this maxim, having part in the world when our present heats and subjected the approvers and authors of this evil animosities are forgot,-should, I say, such a one to the same penalty. We may, therefore, conclude form to himself a notion of the greatest men of all that those who are pleased with reading defamasides in the British nation, who are now living, tory libels, so far as to approve the authors and from the characters which are given them in some dispersers of them, are as guilty as if they had or other of those abominable writings which are composed them; for, if they do not write such daily published among us, what a nation of mon- libels themselves, it is because they have not the sters must we appear! talent of writing, or because they will run no hazard."

The author produces other authorities to confirm his judgment in this particular.-C.

As this cruel practice tends to the utter subversion of all truth and humanity among us, it deserves the utmost detestation and discouragement of all who have either the love of their country or the honor of their religion at heart. I would therefore earnestly recommend it to the consideration of those who deal in these pernicious arts of writing, and of those who take pleasure in the reading of them. As for the first, I have spoken of them in former papers, and have not stuck to rank them with the murderer and assassin. Every honest man sets as high a value upon a good name as upon life itself; and I cannot but think that those who privily assault the one, would destroy the other, might they do it with the same secrecy and impunity.

their displeasure upon one of those infamous writers, who makes his court to them by tearing to pieces the reputation of a competitor, we should quickly see an end put to this race of vermin that are a scandal to government, and a reproach to human nature. Such a proceeding would make a minister of state shine in history, and would fill all mankind with a just abhorrence of persons who should treat him unworthily, and employ against him those arms which he scorned to make use of against his enemies.

As for persons who take pleasure in the reading and dispersing of such detestable libels, I am afraid they fall very little short of the guilt of the first composers. By a law of the Emperors Valentinian and Valens, it was made death for any person not only to write a libel, but, if he met with one by chance, not to tear or burn it. But because I would not be thought singular in my opinion of this matter, I shall conclude my paper with the words of Monsieur Bayle, who was a

No. 452.] FRIDAY, AUGUST 8, 1712. Est natura hominum novitatis avida.—PLIN. apud Lillium. Human nature is fond of novelty.

THERE is no humor in my countrymen which I am more inclined to wonder at than their general thirst after news. There are about half-a-dozen ingenious men, who live very plentifully upon this curiosity of their fellow-subjects. They all of them receive the same advices from abroad, and very often in the same words; but their way of cooking it is so different, that there is no citízen, who has an eye to the public good, that can leave the coffee-house with peace of mind, before he has given every one of them a reading. These several dishes of news are so very agreeable to the palate of my countrymen, that they are not only pleased with them when they are served up hot, but when they are again set cold before them, by those penetrating politicians who oblige the

« VorigeDoorgaan »