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THE Major calld me at the appointed Hour, and carried me to a large Cellar or Vault, oppofite to my Lodgings, under the Senat-houfe, which is kept for the Benefit of the Public. The Defcent into this Vault or Cellar is by a large Pair of Stone-Stairs, broad enough for five or fix Perfons to go down a-breaft, which leads into a fpacious fubterranean Hall; on the right Hand, is a Row of Boxes, and at the End of them fome Rooms, for the Entertainment of Company. Oppofite to thefe Boxes are five monftrous large Cafks, containing, if I have not forgot the Account given me, confiderably upwards of 100 Hogfheads each; four of thefe Cafks are always kept full of Wine; but the fifth is left empty, with a fmall low Door or Entrance in the Head, to fatisfy the Curiofity of fuch as may be fond of creeping in, and faying they have been in the Belly of fuch a Bacchanalian Monster; which I confefs I was not. The remaining Part of this and feveral other contiguous Vaults, which have a Communication one with the other, were fill'd with Rhenish Wine, of different Growths, and of various Ages, from one Year to 50, 60, or more, all in large Cafks, few or none of which were lefs than what they call a Stuck-Fafs, or eight Awms. As thefe large Cafks are all Iron-bound, and fome of them embellifh'd with very expenfive Ornaments of carved Work and Gilding, and befides, there appearing to be a larger dead Stock of Wine, than the Vent they could have, could poffibly require, I had the Curiofity to afk, what Benefit the Public could reap by keeping fo large a Stock, and in fuch large Cafks, which could bear any reasonable Proportion to the Intereft of their Mony, and the great Expence they feem'd to be
To this I was anfwered, that the Value of Rhenifh Wine is always in Proportion to its
Age, and that fuppofing it to be of a good Growth and Year, there was nothing they could veft their Mony in would yield fo good an Intereft: And as for keeping their Wine in fo large Cafks, they had this Advantage, that the larger the Quantity of Wine is, which lies together in one Body, the fafter it advances in that Quality which it gradually obtains by Age; infomuch that 50 Hogfheads of young Wine, put together in one Cafk, would appear to be older, at the End of five Years, than the like Quantity in fingle Hogfheads, would do at twice the Age:
HAVING thus taken a curfory View of the prodigious Stock of Wine, we retired into the Club-room, where fix or eight Members were already together, who foon after encreas'd to 15, all Perfons that had the Appearance of Men of Fashion and Fortune. We spent the firft Part of the Evening in general Converfation, on feveral public Topics; and our Dicourfe was chiefly in the English Tongue: But, about Nine o' Clock, our Company went off by two, three, and four, to feveral little Tables in the Room, fome to eat a Mouthful, and others to a Game of Picquet, Whisk or Ombre, every one to his Inclination, leaving only my Friend and one more with me, at the great Table. I took this Opportunity to defire the Major to give me fome Account of the State of Religion, and the Conduct of the Priefts in that City; with which he feeming not very ready to comply, his Friend excufed him, as being in the Service of the Public, and cautious of faying any Thing, which, if it went farther, might lay him liable to the implacable Malice of the Clergy; and therefore undertook the Task himself.
"OUR Religion (faid he) is what we call in s Germany the Reformed, grounded upon the Doctrine and Principles of Calvin, fomething
"like that of your Presbyterians in England, or "rather more starch and formal; a Sort of Compound, between that and Quakerifm; confifting
chiefly in an outward Shew of a more than "ordinary Sanctity. Our Form, or rather no "Form of Worship, confifts chiefly of extempore Prayers, bordering very much upon Enthusiasm, Pfalms or Hymns, and long-winded Sermons, which have little in them but Cant, Scandal and "perfonal Reflection. Our Priefts (continues he) are a Sort of gloomy Mortals, whofe Light being what the Quakers call an inward Light, "they are all Darkness without, and perfectly an
fwer the whimfical Character given by the Au"thor of the Tale of a Tub, under the Name of Jack. When they appear in the Streets, they put on fuch a fanctified Vizard, as, by over-acting their Part, plainly fhews their Hypocrify, thro' the Larve. They would not be feen to enter into a Coffee-houfe or Tavern, tho' they "could thereby merit that Place in Heaven, fo "earneftly defir'd of our Saviour by the two Sons "of Zebedee. They fpend the greater Part of "their Time (for Study their Religion requires "but little) in charitable Vifits to comfort the "good Women of their Parishes, where their Con"verfation generally begins like a Quaker's Hold
ing-forth, with Hums and Haws, and interme"diate Paufes, which fometimes are introductory "to a Prayer: But to continue the Comparison, "when they do break out into a Difcourfe, it gene
rally confifts of as much Wind, Noife and Non"fenfe as that of a Quaker, when the Spirit begins "forcibly to operate, and the abfent are as little
fpar'd as at a Chriftening, or a Ladies Vifitingday. These Affemblies confift chiefly of Women; "and generally of fuch, who being either ancient Widows or Maidens, are paft the Enjoyment
of what we may call the gay Pleasures of Life themfelves, and are therefore the best qualified, with the Help of a good Share of Envy and ill Nature, which, by Degrees, they themfelves miftake for Virtue, to join with the Sons of "Levi, to cenfure them in others. Men are fel"dom allowed to partake of thefe holy Conver"fations; or if they do fometimes admit a fancti"fied Brother, they take Care, by proper Prepara
tions, to make him as arrant an old Woman as any "in the Society, not excepting the Frieft himself. "Not (added he) but there are fome few Occafional "Conformifts among them; Men of Learning and Integrity, who are obliged to a Compliance with
the Cuftoms and Manners of the Place, and their "Order, for a Livelihood: But much the greater "Number are of the former Stamp." I fuppofe, faid I, interrupting him, these great Pretenders, at least, to Sanctity, are very careful to fupprefs thofe unruly Paffions of Human Nature, which are fo apt to rebel, by a severe and rigid Abstinence. "Not fo "(replied he) on the contrary, they are continually 66 pamper'd, like cramm'd Capons, by their credu"lous Devotees, with the most exquifite Dainties,
and will make no Scruple, in their Company, "to tipple Canary and Sherry 'till they forget "themfelves, and, laying afide the Mafk, become 66 a Contradiction to their own Profeflion: For "which the hofpitable Dame is fure to be feverely reprimanded, at the next Meeting In thefe
Our Author (or his Companion) gives us here a lively, and in general a juft Idea of fome, perhaps the greater Number, of the Calvinists Priefts of this Place; tho' he feems to push the Matter to the utmoft: And I must beg Leave to tell him, the Number of Occafional Conformifts is greater than he fuppofes. I have known and convers'd with several of them myself; Men of good Senfe, Learning, and, except in this Point,
and the like Difcourfes, we pafs'd our Time, till our Company, by Degrees re-united, and then we spent another Hour in innocent Mirth, 'till our Hoft thought fit to put us in Mind it was Time to depart, by telling us the Clock of Authority, in the Senat-houfe, had ftruck Twelve. We had drunk excellent Wine the whole Evening, and, following the prudent Method mention'd by the Governor of the Feaft, at the Marriage in Canaan, having began with a young Rhenifh Wine of eighteen Groot (or about ten Pence) the Bottle, we, by Degrees, advanced in Age and Price, 'till we came to forty-eight Groot; and yet had referved a better Sort to crown the Evening. It was now proposed to have a Bottle or two out of the Rofe, a Vault fo called of felect old Wine, the Key of which is kept by the prefiding Burgo-mafter, and only a Number of Bottles left in the Hands of the Mafter of the Cellar, to be fold at a Dollar (or about three Shillings fix Pence) the Bottle; an extravagant Price in this Country: But it was richly worth it, and far exceeded any Thing I had ever drunk of the Kind, even on the Rhine itfelf. It was faid to be of the Growth of Hochheim, the moft celebrated Vineyards on that River (from whence we have borrowed the Name of Old Hock) and of the
of Probity too, who, tho' they are obliged fometimes to conarm beyond their Inclination, are as moderate in it as poffible, and know how to behave according to the Company they are in: But, I must confefs, Bigotry either in the Prieft, or Congregation, either real or feign'd, cannot be too much expos'd and therefore, tho' our Author fhould have carried the Matter a little too far, it is a Fault of the right Side.
Prophane or pious, Bigotry's the fame,
And Right and Wrong in Strength of Parties lies.
Pope's Effay on Human Life. p. 7.