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N° 78. WEDNESDAY, MAY 30, 1711.
Cum talis sis, utinam noster esses!
Cou'd we but call so great a genius ours!
THE following letters are so pleasant, that I doubt not but the reader will be as much diverted with them as I was. I have nothing to do in this day's entertainment, but taking the sentence from the end of the Cambridge letter, and placing it at the front of my paper, to shew the author I wish him my companion with as much earnestness as he invites me to be his.
'I SEND you the inclosed, to be inserted (if you think them worthy of it) in your Spectators; in which so surprising a genius appears, that it is no wonder if all mankind endeavours to get somewhat into a paper which will always live.
'As to the Cambridge affair, the humour was really carried on in the way I describe it. However, you have a full commission to put out or in, and to do whatever you think fit with it. I have already had the satisfaction of seeing you take that liberty with some things I have before sent you. Go on, sir, and prosper. You have the best wishes of,
and obliged humble servant.'
'You well know it is of great consequence to clear titles, and it is of importance that it be done in the proper season; on which account, this is to assure you, that the club of Ugly Faces was instituted originally at Cambridge, in the merry reign of King Charles II. As in great bodies of men it is not difficult to find members enough for such a club, so (I remember) it was then feared, upon their intention of dining together, that the hall belonging to Clarehall, the ugliest then in the town, (though now the neatest) would not be large enough handsomely to hold the company. Invitations were made to very great numbers, but very few accepted them without much difficulty. One pleaded, that being at London, in a bookseller's shop, a lady going by with a great belly longed to kiss him. He had certainly been excused, but that evidence appeared, that indeed one in London did pretend she longed to kiss him, but that it was only a pickpocket, who during his kissing her stole away all his money. Another would have got off by a dimple in his chin; but it was proved upon him, that he had, by coming into a room, made a woman miscarry, and frightened two children into fits. A third alleged, that he was taken by a lady for another gentleman, who was one of the handsomest in the university: but upon enquiry it was found that the lady had actually lost one eye, and the other was very much upon the decline. A fourth produced letters out of the country in his vindication, in which a gentleman offered him his daughter, who had lately fallen in love with him, with a good fortune: but it was made appear, that the young lady was amorous, and had like to have run away with her father's coachman, so that it was supposed, that her pretence
of falling in love with him, was only in order to be well married. It was pleasant to hear the several excuses which were made, insomuch that some made as much interest to be excused, as they would from serving sheriff; however, at last the society was formed, and proper officers were appointed; and the day was fixed for the entertainment, which was in venison season. A pleasant fellow of King's-college (commonly called Crab, from his sour look, and the only man who did not pretend to get off) was nominated for chaplain; and nothing was wanting but some one to sit in the elbow-chair, by way of president, at the upper end of the table; and there the business stuck, for there was no contention for superiority there. This affair made so great a noise, that the King, who was then at Newmarket, heard of it, and was pleased merrily and graciously to say, "He could not be there himself, but he would send them a brace of bucks."
I would desire you, sir, to set this affair in a true light, that posterity may not be misled in so important a point: for when the wise man who shall write your true history shall acquaint the world, that you had a diploma sent from the Ugly Club at Oxford, and that by virtue of it you were admitted into it, what a learned war will there be among future critics about the original of that club, which both universities will contend so warmly for? And perhaps some hardy Cantabrigian author may then boldly affirm, that the word Oxford was an interpolation of some Oxonian instead of Cambridge. This affair will be best adjusted in your lifetime; but I hope your affection to your mother will not make you partial to your aunt.
To tell you, sir, my own opinion: Though I cannot find any ancient records of any acts of the society of the Ugly Faces, considered in a public capacity; yet, in a private one, they have certainly antiquity on
their side. I am persuaded they will hardly give place to the Lowngers, and the Lowngers are of the same standing with the university itself.
Though we well know, sir, you want no motives to do justice, yet I am commissioned to tell you, that you are invited to be admitted ad eundem at Cambridge; and I believe I may venture safely to deliver this as the wish of our whole university.'
TO MR. SPECTATOR.
The humble Petition of WHO and WHICH,
THAT your petitioners being in a forlorn and destitute condition, know not to whom we should apply ourselves for relief, because there is hardly any man alive who hath not injured us. Nay, we speak it with sorrow, even you yourself, whom we should suspect of such a practice the last of all mankind, can hardly acquit yourself of having given us some cause of complaint. We are descended of ancient families, and kept up our dignity and honour many years, till the jack-sprat THAT supplanted us. How often have we found ourselves slighted by the clergy in their pulpits, and the lawyers at the bar? Nay, how often have we heard, in one of the most polite and august assemblies in the universe, to our great mortification, these words, "That THAT that noble lord urged;" which if one of us had justice done, would have sounded nobler thus, "that WHICH that noble lord urged." Senates themselves, the guardians of British liberty, have degraded us, and preferred THAT to us; and yet no decree was ever given against us. In the very acts of parliament, in which the utmost right should be done to every body, word, and thing, we find ourselves often either not
used, or used one instead of another. In the first and best prayer children are taught, they learn to misuse us: "Our Father WHICH art in heaven," should be, “Our Father WHO art in heaven;" and even a Convocation, after long debates, refused to consent to an alteration of it. In our General Confession we say, 66 Spare thou them, O God, WHICH confess their faults," which ought to be "who confess their faults." What hopes then have we of having justice done us, when the makers of our very prayers and laws, and the most learned in all faculties, seem to be in a confederacy against us, and our enemies themselves must be our judges.
"The Spanish proverb says, Il sabio muda conscio, il necio no; i. e. "A wise man changes his mind, a fool never will.” So that we think you, sir, a very proper person to address to, since we know you to be capable of being convinced, and changing your judgment. You are well able to settle this affair, and to you we submit our cause. We desire you to assign the butts and bounds of each of us; and that for the future we may both enjoy our own. We would desire to be heard by our counsel, but that we fear in their very pleadings they would betray our cause: besides, we have been oppressed so many years, that we can appear no other way but in forma pauperis. All which considered, we hope you will be pleased to do that which to right and justice shall appertain. And your petitioners, &c.'