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provements; in order to which I have taken a particular care never to be of the same opinion with the man I conversed with. I was a tory at Button's, and
whig at Child's, a friend to the Englishman, or an advocate for the Examiner, as it best served my turn : some fancy me a great enemy to the French king, though in reality I only make use of him for a help to discourse. In short, I wrangle and dispute for exercise; and have carried this point so far, that I was once like to have been run through the body for making a little too free with my betters.
a word, I am quite another man to what I
Nil fuit unquam
HOR. I Sat. ïïi. 18.
My old acquaintance scarce knew me; nay, I was asked the other day by a jew at Jonathan's whether I was not related to a dumb gentleman, who used to come to that coffee-house? But I think I never was better pleased in my life than about a week ago, when, as I was battling it across the table with a young Templar, his companion gave him a pull by the sleeve, begging him to come away, for that the old prig would talk him to death.
Being now a very good proficient in discourse, I shall appear in the world with this addition to my character, that my countrymen may reap the fruits of my new-acquired loquacity.
Those who have been present at public disputes in the university know that it is usual to maintain heresies for argument's sake. I have heard a man a most impudent Socinian for half an hour, who has been an orthodox divine all his life after. I have taken the same method to accomplish myself in the
gift of utterance, having talked above a twelvemonth, not so much for the benefit of my hearers, as of myself. But, since I have now gained the faculty I have been so long endeavouring after, I intend to make a right use of it, and shall think myself obliged for tbe future to speak always in truth and sincerity of heart. While a man is learning to fence, he practises both on friend and foe; .but when he is a master in the art, he never exerts it but on what he thinks the right side.
That this last allusion may not give my reader a wrong idea of my design in this paper, I must here inform him, that the author of it is of no faction ; that he is a friend to no interests but those of truth and virtue; nor a foe to any but those of vice and folly. Though I make more noise in the world than I used to do, I am still resolved to act in it as an indifferent spectator. It is not my ambition to increase the number either of whigs or tories, but of wise and good men; and I could leartily wish there were not faults common to both parties, which afford me sufficient matter to work upon, without de. scending to those which are peculiar to either.
If in a multitude of counsellors there is safety, we ought to think ourselves the securest nation in the world. Most of our garrets are inhabited by statesmen, who watch over the liberties of their country, and make a shift to keep themselves from starving by taking into their care the properties of their fellow-subjects.
As these politicians of both sides have already worked the nation into a most unnatural ferment, I shall be so far from endeavouring to raise it to a greater height, that, on the contrary, it shall be the chief tendency of my papers to inspire my country. men with a mutual good-will and benevolence. Whatever faults either party may be guilty of, they are rather inflamed than cured by those reproaches which they cast upon one another. The most likely method of rectifying any man's conduct is by recommending to him the principles of truth and honour, religion and virtue; and so long as he acts with an eye to these principles, whatever party he is of, he cannot fail of being a good Englishman, and a lover of his country.
As for the persons concerned in this work, the names of all of them, or at least of such as desire it, shall be published hereafter; until which time I must entreat the courteous reader to suspend his curiosity, and rather to consider what is written than who they are that write it.
Having thus adjusted all necessary preliminaries with my reader, I shall not trouble him with any more prefatory discourses, but proceed in my old method, and entertain him with speculations on every useful subject that falls in my way.
N° 557. MONDAY, JUNE 21, 1714.
Quippe domum timet ambiguam, Tyriosque bilingues.
VIRĞ. Æn. i. 665. He fears the ambiguous race, and Tyrians double-tongu'd.
"There is nothing,' says Plato, so delightful as the hearing or the speaking of truth.' For this reason there is no conversation so agreeable as that of the man of integrity, who hears without any intention to betray, and speaks without any intention to deceive.
Among all the accounts which are given of Cato, I do not remember one that more redounds to his ho,
nour than the following passage related by Plutarch. As an advocate was pleading the cause of his client before one of the prætors, he could only produce a single witness in a point where the law required the testimony of two persons: upon which the advocate insisted on the integrity of that person whom he had produced; but the prætor told him, that where the law required two witnesses be would not accept of one, though it were Cato himself. Such a speech from a person who sat at the head of a court of justice, while Cato was still living, shows us, more than a thousand examples, the high reputation this great man had gained among his contemporaries upon the account of his sincerity,
When such an inflexible integrity is a little softened and qualified by the rules of conversation and good breeding, there is not a more shining virtue in the whole catalogue of social duties. A man however ought to take great care not to polish himself out of his veracity, nor refine his behaviour to the prejudice of his virtue.
This subject is exquisitely treated in the most elegant sermon of the great British preacher*. I shall beg leave to transcribe out of it two or three sentences, as a proper introduction to a very curious letter, which I shall make the chief entertainment of this speculation.
• The old English plainness and sincerity, that generous integrity of nature, and honesty of disposition, which always argues true greatness of mind, and is usually accompanied with undaunted courage and resolution, is in a great measure lost among us.
« The dialect of conversation is now-a-days so swelled with vanity and compliment, and so sur
Archbishop Tillotson, vol. ii. sermon i. A 7. edit. in folio.
feited (as I may say) of expressione of kindness and respect, that if a man that lived an age or two ago should return into the world again, he would really want a dictionary to help him to understand his own language, and to know the true intrinsic value of the phrase in fashion; and would hardly at first believe at what a low rate the highest strains and expressions of kindness imaginable do commonly pass in current payment; and when he should come to understand it, it would be a great while before he could bring himself with a good countenance, and a good conscience, to converse with men upon equal terms and in their own way.'
I have by me a letter which I look upon as a great curiosity, and which may serve as an exemplification to the foregoing passage, cited out of this most excellent prelate. It is said to have been written in king Charles the Second's reign by the ambassador of Bantam *, a little after his arrival in England.
• The people, where I now am, have tongues farther from their hearts than from London to Bantam, and thou knowest the inhabitants of one of these places do not know what is done in the other. They call thee and thy subjects barbarians, because we speak what we mean; and account themselves a civilized people, because they speak one thing and mean another: truth they call barbarity, and falsehood politeness. Upon my first landing, one, who was sent from the king of this place to meet me, told me that he was extremely sorry for the storm I had met with just before my arrival. I was trou. bled to hear him grieve and afflict himself upon my account; but in less than a quarter of an hour he
* In 1682