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gister-Office for which purpose I intend to hire the now useless theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields, and convert it into a mart for the staple commodities of the literary commonwealth. I shall here fit up apartments for the reception of my authors, who will be employed from time to time in supplying the public with the requisite manufactures. This scheme will, I doubt not, meet with great encouragement, as it is of general utility: and I do not remember any design of the same nature, except at a barber's on the other side the water, who has hung out a board over his shop with the following inscription.........Letters read and written for servants and others.
I shall always have a fresh assortment of goods in the best taste and newest fashion: as of novels for example, while the humour of reading them is prevalent among all ranks of people. For this branch I shall retain a very eminent master-novellist, to cut out adventures and intrigues, and shall employ a proper number of hands, to tack them together with all possible care and expedition: and if any ladies of quality, or others, chuse to furnish their own materials for memoirs and apologies, they may have them done up, and fitted exactly, at my office. Besides several others, which my men shall get up with the greatest dispatch, I can assure you I have myself worked night and day, and have already finished six and thirty sheets of the history of Miss Sukey Sapling, written by herself.
Pamphlets of all sorts shall be composed, whenever any popular subject starts up, that is likely to engage the attention of the public. Every new play shall be followed by an examen or remarks: all riots at either play-house will afford scope for Letters to the Managers; and every new actor or actress produce theatrical criticisms. Poetry, you know, Mr. Town, is a mere drug; but I shall always have a number of
ready-made odes by me, which may be suited to any great man, dead or alive, in place or out of place. I shall also have a large bundle of Poems on several Occasions.' very proper for any gentleman or lady, who chuses to publish by subscription; besides a more ordinary sort of hymns to the morning; verses on the death of........, odes to Miss A. B. C. acrostics and rebusses, for the use of Magazines; to be sold a pennyworth, with allowance to those who take a great quan> tity.
With regard to law matters, as they have no sort of connexion with wit or learning, I shall not concern myself with their unintelligible jargon; nor presume to interfere with those authors on parchment, who measure their words by the foot-rule, and sell their writings at so much per line. However, I shall furnish young students of the several inns of Court with complete canons of criticism, and opinions on any new theatrical cases; on which they may argue very learnedly at a tavern, or plead at the bar of a coffee-house. For medical subjects, I shall procure a learned graduate by diploma from abroad, whose practice will not so much take up his time as to prevent his being at leisure to write occasional treatises, setting forth the virtues of any newly-invented powder, or newly-discovered water. He shall also draw up the advertisements for medicines, that remove all diseases, and are never known to fail; he shall compile the wonderful accounts of their surprising cures ; and furnish cases that never happened, and affidavits that were never made. With respect to divinity, as I have reason to believe that controversial writings will be often called for, I intend to bargain with the Robin Hood society to undertake in the lump to furnish my office with defences of lord Bolingbroke, &c. and until I can procure some poor curate out of the country, or servitor from the university, to write the 'manu
script sermons of eminent divines lately deceased, 6 warranted originals,' I must make shift with the Fleet-Parsons now out of business.
Though I shall not keep any dramatic works ready made by me, (as these commodities are apt to grow stale and out of fashion,) yet either of the theatres may be served with tragedy, comedy, farce, or the like, by bespeaking them, and giving but three days notice. For the comic pieces I shall employ a poet, who has long worked for the drolls at Bartholomew and Southwark fairs, and has even printed a comedy, as it was half acted at Drury-Lane. My tragedies will be furnished by a North-Britain, who walked up to London from his native country last winter with a most sublime tragedy in his coat-pocket, and which is now to be disposed of to the best bidder. Any old play of Shakspeare or Ben Jonson shall be pieced with modern ones, according to the present taste, or cut out in airs and recitative for an English opera. Songs for pantomimes may be had, to be set to the clack of a mill, the tinkling of a tin cascade, or the slaps of Harlequin's wooden sword. The proprietors of our public gardens, during the summer season, may be also supplied from my office with love ditties to a new burthen, or comic dialogue in crambo; and words shall at any time be fitted to the music, after the tunes are composed.
As I propose to make my office of general utility, every thing that bears the least affinity to literature will be naturally comprehended in my scheme. Members of parliament may be supplied with speeches on any political subject; and country justices may, on directing a letter, post paid, to the office, have charges to the jury at the Quarter Sessions sent down to them by the first coach or waggon. Addresses on particular occasions shall be drawn up for the worshipful mayor and aldermen of any city or corpo
ration: laws, rules, regulations, or orders, shall be formed for the Anti-gallicans, Ubiquarians, Gregorians, or any other private clubs or societies. N. B. The Free Masons may depend upon secresy.
Many advantages may likewise accrue to the polite world from the establishment of my office. Gentlemen and ladies may have billet-doux written for them with the most soft and languishing expressions : message cards and invitations to routs, shall be filled up and circulated, at so much per hundred, or undertaken in the gross at a fixed price all the year round. Beaux may be accommodated with letters of gallantry to send to their laundresses, or have them copied out in a fashionable female scrawl, and directed to themselves. Gentlemen who love fighting, but cannot write, may have challenges penned for them in the true style and spirit of a modern blood.
There are many other conveniences arising from such an office, which it would be too tedious to enumerate and it will be found no less beneficial to you authors, Mr. Town, than those other Register-Offices are to men and maid servants. If an author (for example) wants employment, or is out of place, he has nothing to do but enter his name with me, and I shall presently get him work; or if a bookseller wants a hand for any particular job, (as a translation spinner, a novel-weaver, a play-wright, a verse-turner, or the like) upon searching my books he will be sure to meet with a man fit for the business. In short any composition, in prose or rhyme, and on any subject, may be procured at a minute's warning, by applying to my office; and I dare say, you yourself, Mr. Town, will be very glad now and then to purchase a Connoisseur of me, whenever the idle fit seizes you. If that should happen to come upon you this week, and you have nothing better, you will oblige me by laying the scheme here sent before your readers; and in re
turn, you shall have the credit of publishing your papers at my office, as soon as it is opened, and wel
I am, Sir,
Your humble servant,
No. XCVII. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 4.
De te pendentis, te respicientis amici.
Your friend, your pimp, your hanger-on, what not?
I REMEMBER to have heard a cousin of mine, who was formerly at Cambridge, often mentioning a sect of philosophers, distinguished by the rest of the collegians under the appellation of Tuft-Hunters.... These were not the disciples of the Stoics or Epicureans, or the advocates for the old or new philosophy, but the followers (literally speaking) of the fellowcommoners, noblemen, and other rich students, whom, it seems the courtesy of the University has honoured with a cap adorned with a gold tassel. These gold threads have almost as much influence in the university, as a red or a blue ribband at court; and always draw after the wearer a train of humble companions, who will be at his call to breakfast, dine or sup with him whenever he pleases; will go with him any where, drink with him, wench with him, borrow his money, or let him pay their reckoning. They are, I am told, a sort of disease of the place, which a man of fortune is sure to catch as soon as he arrives there: and these fast friends stick so close to him, that he