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forming the world by my speculations, when I find also were cleared of all encumbrances and excres there always arise, from one generation to another, cences, he looked at the fish, then at the fiddle, still successive cheats and bubbles, as naturally as beasts grubbing in his pockets, and casting his eye again! of prey, and those which are to be their food. There at the twine, and the words writ on each side; then is hardly a man in the world, one would think, so altered his mind as to farthings, and gave my friend ignorant, as not to know that the ordinary quack-a silver sixpence. The business, as I said, is to doctors. who publish their great abilities in little keep up the amazement; and if my friend had bad brown billets, distributed to all who pass by, are to only the skeleton and kit, he must have been cona man impostors and murderers; yet such is the tented with a less payment. But the doctor we credulity of the vulgar, and the impudence of those were talking of adds to his long voyages the testiprofessors, that the affair still goes on, and new pro-mony of some people "that has been thirty years mises, of what was never done before, are made lame." When I received my paper, a sagaciousevery day. What aggravates the jest is, that even fellow took one at the same time, and read till he this promise has been made as long as the memory came to the thirty years' confinement of his friends, of man can trace it, yet nothing performed, and yet and went off very well convinced of the doctor's still prevails. As I was passing along to-day, a sufficiency. You have many of those prodigious paper given into my hand, by a fellow without a persons, who have had some extraordinary accident nose, tells us as follows what good news is come to at their birth, or a great disaster in some part of town, to wit, that there is now a certain cure for the their lives. Any thing, however foreign from the French disease, by a gentleman just come from his business the people want of you, will convince them travels. of your ability in that you profess. There is a doccuring cataracts, upon the credit of having, as his tor in Mouse-alley, near Wapping, who sets up for bill sets forth, lost an eye in the emperor's service. His patients come in upon this, and he shows the muster-roll, which confirms that he was in his imwith great success. Who would believe that a man perial majesty's troops; and he puts out their eyes should be a doctor for the cure of bursten children, both bursten? But Charles Ingolston, next door to by declaring that his father and grandfather were the Harp, in Barbican, has made a pretty penny by that asseveration. The generality go upon their first conception, and think no further; all the rest is granted. They take it, that there is something uncommon in you, and give you credit for the rest. You may be sure it is upon that I go, when sometimes, let it be to the purpose or not, I keep a Latin sentence in my front; and I was not a little pleased, when I observed one of my readers say, casting his eye upon my twentieth paper, "More Latin still? What a prodigious scholar is this man!" But as I have here taken much liberty with this learned doctor, I must make up all I have said by repeating what he seems to be in earnest in, and honestly to promise to those who will not receive him as a great man-to wit, "that from eight to twelve, and from two till six, he attends, for the good of the public, to bleed for threepence."-T.
“In Russel-court, over-against the Cannon-ball, at the Surgeons'-arms in Drury-lane, is lately come from his travels, a surgeon who hath practised surgery and physic both by sea and land, these twenty-four years. He (by the blessing) cures the yellow-jaundice, green-sickness, scurvy, dropsy, surfeits, long sea-voyages, campaigns, and women's miscarriages, lying-in, &c. as some people that has been lame these thirty years can testify; in short, he cureth all diseases incident to men, women, or children."
If a man could be so indolent as to look upon this havoc of the human species, which is made by vice and ignorance, it would be a good ridiculous work to comment upon the declaration of this accomplished traveller. There is something unaccountably taking among the vulgar in those who come from a great way off. Ignorant people of quality, as many there are of such, dote excessively this way; many instances of which every man will suggest to himself, without any enumeration of them. The ignorants of lower order, who cannot, like the upper ones, be profuse of their money to those recommended by coming from a distance, are no less complaisant than the others, for they venture their lives from the same admiration.
"The doctor is lately come from his travels," and has "practised both by sea and land," and therefore cures "the green-sickness, long sea-voyages, campaigns, and lying-in." Both by sea and land! I will not answer for the distempers called sea-voyages and campaigns; but I dare say those of greensickness and lying-in might be as well taken care of if the doctor stayed ashore. But the art of managing mankind is only to make them stare a little, to keep up their astonishment, to let nothing be familiar to them, but ever to have something in their sleeve, in which they must think you are deeper than they are. There is an ingenious fellow, a barber of my acquaintance, who, besides his broken fiddle and a dried sea-monster, has a twine-cord, strained with two nails at each end, over his window, and the words "rainy, dry, wet," and so forth, written to denote the weather, according to the rising or falling of the cord. We very great scholars are not apt to wonder at this: but I observed a very honest fellow, a chance customer, who sat in the chair before me to be shaved, fix his eye upon this miraculous performance during the operation upon his chin and face. When those and his head
No. 445.] THURSDAY, JULY 31, 1712.
THIS is the day on which many eminent authors will probably publish their last words. I am afraid that few of our weekly historians, who are men that above all others delight in war, will be able to subsist under the weight of a stamp, and an approaching peace. A sheet of blank paper that must have this new imprimatur clapped upon it, before it is qualified to communicate any thing to the public, will make its way in the world but very heavily.
Aug. 1, 1712, the stamp-duty here alluded to took place, and every single half sheet paid a halfpenny to the queen. "Have you seen the red stamp? Methinks the stamping is worth a halfpenny. The Observator is fallen; the Medleys deadly sick. The Spectator keeps up, and doubles its price." are jumbled together with the Flying-Post; the Examiner is |— Swift's Works, cr. 8vo. vol. xix. p. 173.
In short, the necessity of carrying a stamp, and the improbability of notifying a bloody battle, will, I am afraid, both concur to the sinking of those thin folios, which have every other day retailed to us the history of Europe for several years last past. A facetious friend of mine, who loves a pun, calls this present mortality among authors, "The fall of the leaf."
sides; men of such poor narrow souls, that they are
I remember, upon Mr. Baxter's death, there was published a sheet of very good sayings, inscribed, The last words of Mr. Baxter." The title sold so great a number of these papers, that about a week after there came out a second sheet, inscribed, "More last words of Mr. Baxter." In the same manner, I have reason to think that several inge-done me the honour to be dull upon me in refletnious writers, who have taken their leave of the public in farewell papers, will not give over so, but intend to appear again, though perhaps under another form, and with a different title. Be that as it will, it is my business, in this place, to give an account of my own intentions, and to acquaint my reader with the motives by which I act, in this great crisis of the republic of letters.
I have been long debating in my own heart, whether I should throw up my pen, as an author that is cashiered by the act of parliament which is to operate within this four-and-twenty hours, or whether I should still persist in laying my speculations, from day to day, before the public. The argument which prevails with me most on the first side of the question is, that I am informed by my bookseller he must raise the price of every single paper to two-pence, or that he shall not be able to pay the duty of it. Now as I am very desirous my readers should have their learning as cheap as possible, it is with great difficulty that I comply with him in this particular.
However, upon laying my reasons together in the balance, I find that those who plead for the continuance of this work have much the greater weight. For, in the first place, in recompense for the expense to which this will put my readers, it is to be hoped they may receive from every paper so much instruction as will be a very good equivalent. And, in order to this, I would not advise any one to take it in, who, after the perusal of it, does not find himself two-pence the wiser, or the better man for it, or who, upon examination, does not believe that he has had two-pennyworth of mirth or instruction for his money.
tions of this nature; but, notwithstanding my name has been sometimes traduced by this contemptible tribe of men, I have hitherto avoided all animadversions upon them. The truth of it is, I am afraid of making them appear considerable by taking notice of them; for they are like those imperceptible insects which are discovered by the microscope, and cannot be made the subject of observation without being magnified.
Having mentioned those few who have shown themselves the enemies of this paper, I should be very ungrateful to the public did I not at the same time testify my gratitude to those who are its friends, in which number I may reckon many of the most distinguished persons, of all conditions, parties, and professions, in the isle of Great Britain. I am not so vain as to think this approbation is so much due to the performance as to the design. There is, and ever will be, justice enough in the world to afford patronage and protection for those who en deavour to advance truth and virtue, without regard to the passions and prejudices of any particular cause or faction. If I have any other merit in me, it is that I have new pointed all the batteries of ridicule. They have been generally planted against persons who have appeared serious rather than absurd; or at best, have aimed rather at what is unfashionable than what is vicious. For my own part, I have endeavoured to make nothing ridi culous that is not in some measure criminal. I have set up the immoral man as the object of derision. In short, if I have not formed a new weapon against vice and irreligion, I have at least shown how that weapon may be put to a right use, which has so often fought the battles of impiety and profaneness.-C.
No. 446.] FRIDAY, AUGUST 1, 1712. Quid deceat, quid non; quo virtus, quo ferat error.
But I must confess there is another motive which prevails with me more than the former. I consider that the tax on paper was given for the support of the government; and as I have enemies who are apt to pervert every thing I do or say, I fear they HOR. Ars. Poet. ver. 308. would ascribe the laying down my paper, on such What fit, what not; what excellent, or ill-RoscoMMON. an occasion, to a spirit of malcontentedness, which I am resolved none shall ever justly upbraid me SINCE two or three writers of comedy, who are with. No, I shall glory in contributing my utmost now living, have taken their farewell of the stage, to the public weal; and, if my country receives those who succeed them, finding themselves incapafive or six pounds a day by my labours, I shall be ble of rising up to their wit, humour, and good sense, very well pleased to find myself so useful a member. have only imitated them in some of those loose unIt is a received maxim, that no honest man should guarded strokes, in which they complied with the enrich himself by methods that are prejudicial to corrupt taste of the more vicious part of their audience. the community in which he lives; and by the same When persons of a low genius attempt this kind of rule I think we may pronounce the person to de-writing, they know no difference between being serve very well of his countrymen, whose labours bring more into the public coffers than into his own pocket.
Since I have mentioned the word enemies, I must explain myself so far as to acquaint my reader, that I mean only the insignificant party-zealots on both
merry and being lewd. It is with an eye to some of these degenerate compositions that I have written the following discourse.
Were our English stage but half so virtuous as that of the Greeks or Romans, we should quickly see the influence of it in the behaviour of all the
politer part of mankind. It would not be fashion able to ridicule religion, or its professors: the man of pleasure would not be the complete gentleman; vanity would be out of countenance; and every quality which is ornamental to human nature would
meet with that esteem which is due to it.
If the English stage were under the same regulations the Athenian was formerly, it would have the same effect that had, in recommending the religion, the government, and public worship, of its country. Were our plays subject to proper inspections and limitations, we might not only pass away several of our vacant hours in the highest entertainments, but should always rise from them wiser and better than we sat down to them.
the wife or husband has given occasion to noble tragedies; but a Scipio or a Lælius would not have looked upon incest or murder to have been as proper subjects for comedy. On the contrary, cuckoldom is the basis of most of our modern plays. If an alderman appears upon the stage, you may be sure it is in order to be cuckolded. A husband that is a little grave, or elderly, generally meets with the same fate. Knights and baronets, country squires, and justices of the quorum, come up to town for no other purpose. I have seen poor Dogget cuckolded in all these capacities. In short, our English writers are as frequently severe upon this innocent unhappy creature, commonly known by the name of a cuckold, as the ancient comic writers were upon an eating parasite, or a vain-glorious soldier.
It is one of the most unaccountable things in our age, that the lewdness of our theatre should be so At the same time the poet so contrives matters much complained of, so well exposed, and so little that the two criminals are the favourites of the auredressed. It is to be hoped, that some time or dience. We sit still, and wish well to them through other we may be at leisure to restrain the licentious- the whole play, are pleased when they meet with ness of the theatre, and make it contribute its as- proper opportunities, and out of humour when they sistance to the advancement of morality, and to the are disappointed. The truth of it is, the accomreformation of the age. As matters stand at pre-plished gentleman upon the English stage is the Bent, multitudes are shut out from this noble diversion, by reason of those abuses and corruptions that accompany it. A father is often afraid that his daughter should be ruined by those entertainments which were invented for the accomplishment and refining of human nature. The Athenian and Roman plays were written with such a regard to morality, that Socrates used to frequent the one, and Cicero the
It happened once indeed, that Cato dropped into the Roman theatre when the Floralia were to be represented; and as, in that performance, which was a kind of religious ceremony, there were several indecent parts to be acted, the people refused to see them whilst Cato was present. Martial, on this hint, made the following epigram, which we must suppose was applied to some grave friend of his, that had been accidentally present at some such entertainment:
Nosses jocosæ dulce cum sacrum Floræ,
An accident of this nature might happen once in an
person that is familiar with other men's wives, and indifferent to his own; as the fine woman is generally a composition of sprightliness and falsehood. I do not know whether it proceeds from barrenness of invention, depravation of manners, or ignorance of mankind, but I have often wondered that our ordinary poets cannot frame to themselves the idea of a fine man who is not a whoremaster, or of a fine womau that is not a jilt.
I have sometimes thought of compiling a system of ethics out of the writings of those corrupt poets, under the title of Stage Morality. But I have been diverted from this thought by a project which has been executed by an ingenious gentleman of my acquaintance. He has composed, it seems, the history of a young fellow who has taken all his notions of the world from the stage, and who has directed himself in every circumstance of his life and conversation by the maxims and exar ples of the fine gentleman in English comedies. II can prevail upon him to give me a copy of this ne v-fashioned novel, I will bestow on it a place in my works, and question not but it may have as good an effect upon the drama, as Don Quixote had upon romance.-C.
No. 447.] SATURDAY, AUGUST 2, 1712. Long exercise, my friend, inures the mind; And what we once dislik'd we pleasing find. THERE is not a common saying which has a better turn of sense in it, than what we often hear in the mouths of the vulgar, that "custom is a second nature." It is indeed able to form the man anew, and to give him inclinations and capacities altogether different from those he was born with, Dr. Plot, in his History of Staffordshire, tells us of an idiot, that chancing to live within the sound of a clock, and always amusing himself with counting the hour of the day whenever the clock struck, the clock being spoiled by some accident, the idiot continued to strike and count the hour without the help of it, in the same manner as he had done when it was entire. Though I dare not vouch for the truth of this story, it is very certain that custom has a mechanical effect upon the body, at the same time that it has a very extraordinary influence upon the mind.
I shall in this paper consider one very remarkable
effect which custom has upon human nature, and way of life, are inexcusable if they do not pursas which, if rightly observed, may lead us into very that which their judgment tells them is the most useful rules of life. What I shall here take notice laudable. The voice of reason is more to be reof in custom, is its wonderful efficacy in making garded than the bent of any present inclination, every thing pleasant to us. A person who is ad- since, by the rule above mentioned, inclination will dicted to play or gaming, though he took but little at length come over to reason, though we can never delight in it at first, by degrees contracts so strong force reason to comply with inclination. an inclination towards it, and gives himself up so entirely to it, that it seems the only end of his being. The love of a retired or a busy life will grow upon a man insensibly, as he is conversant in the one or the other, till he is utterly unqualified for relishing that to which he has been for some time disused. Nay, a man may smoke, or drink, or take snuff, till he is unable to pass away his time without it; not to mention how our delight in any particular study, art, or science, rises and improves, in proportion to the application which we bestow upon it. Thus, what was at first an exercise, becomes at length an entertainment. Our employments are changed into our diversions. The mind grows fond of those actions she is accustomed to, and is drawn with reluctancy from those paths in which she has been used to walk.
Not only such actions as were at first indifferent to us, but even such as were painful, will by custom and practice become pleasant. Sir Francis Bacon observes in his Natural Philosophy, that our taste is never pleased better than with those things which at first created a disgust in it. He gives particular instances, of claret, coffee, and other liquors, which the palate seldom approves upou the first taste, but, when it has once got a relish of them, generally retains it for life. The mind is constituted after the same manner, and after having habituated herself to any particular exercise or employment, not only loses her first aversion towards it, but conceives a certain fondness and affection for it. I have heard one of the greatest geniuses this age has produced, who had been trained up in all the polite studies of antiquity, assure me, upon his being obliged to search into several rolls and records, that notwithstanding such an employment was at first very dry and irksome to him, he at last took an incredible pleasure in it, and preferred it even to the reading of Virgil or Cicero. The reader will observe, that I have not here considered custom as it makes things easy, but as it renders them delightful; and though others have often made the same reflections, it is possible they may not have drawn those uses from it, with which I intend to fill the remaining part of this paper.
If we consider attentively this property of human nature, it may instruct us in very fine moralities. In the first place, I would have no man discouraged with that kind of life, or series of action, in which the choice of others, or his own necessities, may have engaged him. It may perhaps be very disagreeable to him at first; but use and application will certainly render it not only less painful, but pleasing and satisfactory.
In the third place, this observation may teach the most sensual and irreligious man to overlook those hardships and difficulties which are apt to discourage him from the prosecution of a virtuous life. "The gods," said Hesiod, "have placed labour before virtue; the way to her is at first rough and difficult, but grows more smooth and easy the further you advance in it." The man who proceeds in it with steadiness and resolution, will in a little time find that "her ways are ways of pleasantness, and that all her paths are peace.”
To enforce this consideration, we may further observe, that the practice of religion will not only be attended with that pleasure which naturally accompanies those actions to which we are habituated, but with those supernumerary joys of heart that rise from the consciousness of such a pleasure, from the satisfaction of acting up to the dictates of reason, and from the prospect of a happy immortality.
In the fourth place, we may learn from this observation which we have made on the mind of man, to take particular care, when we are once settled in a regular course of life, how we too frequently indulge ourselves in any of the most innocent diversions and entertainments; since the mind may in sensibly fall off from the relish of virtuous actions and, by degrees, exchange that pleasure which it takes in the performance of its duty, for delights of a much more inferior and unprofitable nature.
The last use which I shall make of this remarkable property in human nature, of being delighted with those actions to which it is accustomed, is to show how absolutely necessary it is for us to gain habits of virtue in this life, if we would enjoy the pleasures of the next. The state of bliss we call heaven will not be capable of affecting those minds which are not thus qualified for it; we must, in this world, gain a relish of truth and virtue, if we would be able to taste that knowledge and perfection, which are to make us happy in the next. The seeds of those spiritual joys and raptures, which are to rise up and flourish in the soul to all eternity, must be planted in her during this her present state of probation. In short, heaven is not to be looked upon only as the reward, but as the natural effect of a re ligious life.
On the other hand, those evil spirits, who, by long custom, have contracted in the body habits of lust and sensuality, malice and revenge, and aversion to every thing that is good, just, or laudable, are naturally seasoned and prepared for pain and misery. Their torments have already taken root in them; they cannot be happy when divested of the body, unless we may suppose that Providence will in a In the second place, I would recommend to every manner create them anew, and work a miracle in one that admirable precept which Pythagoras is said the rectification of their faculties. They may, into have given to his disciples, and which that philo- deed, taste a kind of malignant pleasure in those sopher must have drawn from the observation I have actions to which they are accustomed, whilst in this enlarged upon, Optimum vitæ genus eligito, nam con- life; but when they are removed from all those obsuetudo faciet jucundissimum; "Pitch upon that jects which are here apt to gratify them, they will course of life which is the most excellent, and cus-naturally become their own tormentors, and cherish tom will render it the most delightful." Men whose circumstances will permit them to choose their own
• Dr. Atterbury.
in themselves those painful habits of mind which are called, in Scripture phrase, "the worm which never dies." This notion of heaven and hell is so very conformable to the light of nature, that it was
gether, and waiting a little before dinner, is the most awkwardly passed away of any part in 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 this way has in a degree an effect upon the honesty of his mind who is guilty of it, as com mon swearing is a kind of habitual perjury. It makes the soul unattentive to what an oath is, even while it utters it at the lips. Phocion beholding a
discovered by several of the most exalted heathens. It has been finely improved by many eminent divines of the last age, as in particular by Archbishop Tillotson and Dr. Sherlock: but there is none who has raised such noble speculations upon it as Dr. Scott, in the first book of his Christian Life, which is one of the finest and most rational schemes of divinity that is written in our tongue, or in any other. That excellent author has shown how every particular custom and habit of virtue will, in its own nature, produce the heaven, or a state of hap-wordy orator, while he was making a magnificent piness, in him who shall hereafter practise it; as, on the contrary, how every custom or habit of vice will be the natural hell of him in whom it subsists.-C.
No. 418.] MONDAY, AUGUST 4, 1712. Foedius hoc aliquid quandoque audebis.-Juv. Sat. ii. 82. In time to greater baseness you proceed.
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 ima ginable in its branches, leaves, and height: but, alas! it bears no fruit."
Though the expectation which is raised by impertinent promisers is thus barren, their confidence, even after failures, is so great, that they subsist by still promising on. I have heretofore discoursed of the insignificant liar, the boaster, and the castlebuilder, and treated them as no ill-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 as 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.
THE first steps towards ill are very carefully to be avoided, for men insensibly go on when they are once entered, and do not keep up a lively abhorrence of the least unworthiness. There is a certain frivolous falsehood that people indulge themselves in, which ought to be had in greater detestation than it commonly meets with. What I mean is a neglect of promises made on small and indifferent occasions, such as parties of pleasure, entertainments, and sometimes meetings out of curiosity, in men of like faculties, to be in each other's company. There are many causes to which one may assign this light infidelity. Jack Sippet never keeps the hour he has appointed to come to a friend's to dinner; but he is an insignificant fellow, who does it out of vanity. He could never, he knows, make any figure in com- I am the more severe upon this vice, because I pany, but by giving a little disturbance at his entry, have been so unfortunate as to be a very great criand therefore takes care to drop in when he thinks minal myself. Sir Andrew Freeport, and all other you are just seated. He takes his place after having my friends who are scrupulous to promises of the discomposed every body, and desires there may be meanest consideration imaginable, from a habit of no ceremony; then does he begin to call himself virtue that way, have often upbraided me with it. I the saddest fellow, in disappointing so many places take shame upon myself for this crime, and more as he was invited to elsewhere. It is the fop's particularly for the greatest I ever committed of the vanity to name houses of better cheer, and to ac-sort, that when as agreeable a company of gentlequaint you that he chose yours out of ten dinners which he was obliged to be at that day. The last time I had the fortune to cat with him, he was imagining how very fat he should have been, had he eaten all he had ever been invited to. But it is impertinent to dwell upon the manners of such a wretch as obliges all whom he disappoints, though his circumstances constrain them to be civil to him. But there are those that every one would be glad to see, who fall into the same detestable habit. It is a merciless thing that any one can be at ease, and suppose a set of people, who have a kindness for him, at that moment waiting out of respect to him, and refusing to taste their food or conversation with the utmost impatience. One of these promisers sometimes shall make his excuses for not coming at all, so late that half the company have only to la ment 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 proJonging their master's entertainment. It is wonderful that men guilty this way could never have observed, that the wiling time, the gathering to SPECTATOR-Nos. 65 & 66.
men and ladies as ever were got together, and I forsooth, Mr. Spectator, to be of the party with women of merit, like a booby as I was, mistook the time of meeting, and came the night following. I wish every fool who is negligent in this kind may have as great a loss as I had in this; for the same company will never meet more, but are dispersed into various parts of the world, and I am left under the compunction that I deserve, in so many different places to be called a trifler.
This fault is sometimes to be accounted for, when desirable people are fearful of appearing precise and reserved by denials; but they will find the apprehension of that imputation will betray them into a childish impotence of mind, and make them promise all who are so kind to ask it of them. This leads such soft creatures into the misfortune of seeming to return overtures of good-will with ingratitude. The first steps in the breach of a man's integrity are much more important 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 offence against truth and justice a disparagement. We should not make any thing we ourselves disapprove habitual to us, if we would be sure of our integrity.
I remember a falsehood of the trivial sort, though 2 L