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staff had published relating to his death, had not too much affected and worked on his imagination." He confessed," he had often had it in his head, but never with much apprehension, till about a. fortnight before; since which time it had the perpetual possession of his mind and thoughts, and he did verily believe was the true natural cause of his present distemper: for,” said he, “ I am thoroughly persuaded, and I think I have very good reasons, that Mr Bickerstaff spoke altogether by guess, and knew no more what will happen this
year, than I did myself.” I told him, “his discourse surprised me; and I would be glad he were in a state of health to be able to tell me, what reason he had to be convinced of Mr Bickerstaff's ignorance.” He replied, “I am a poor ignorant fellow, bred to a mean trade, yet I have sense enough to know, that all pretences of foretelling by astrology are deceits, for this manifest reason ; because the wise and the learned, who can only judge whether there be any truth in this science, do all unanimously agree to laugh at and despise it; and none but the poor ignorant vulgar give it any credit, and that only upon the word of such silly wretches as I and my fellows, who can hardly write or read.” I then asked him," why he had not calculated his own nativity, to see whether it agreed with Bickerstaff's prediction ?" At which he shook his head, and said, “Oh! sir, this is no time for jesting, but for repenting those fooleries, as I do now from the very bottom of my heart.”—“ By what I can gather from you,” said I, “ the observations and predictions you printed with your almanacks, were mere impositions on the people.” He replied, “ If it were otherwise, I should have the less to answer for. We have a common form for all those things; as to foretelling the weather, we never meddłe with that, but leave it to the printer, who takes it out of any old almanack, as he thinks fit; the rest was my own invention, to make my almanack sell, having a wife to maintain, and no other way to get my bread; for mending old shoes is a poor livelihood; and,” added he, sighing, 'I wish I may not have done more mischief by my physic, than my astrology; though I had some good receipts from my grandmother, and my own compositions were such, as I thought could at least do no hurt.'
I had some other discourse with him, which now I cannot call to mind; and I fear have already tired your lordship. I shall only add one circumstance, that on his death-bed he declared himself a nonconformist, and had a fanatic preacher to be his spiritual guide. After half an hour's conversation I took my leavé, being almost stifled by the closeness of the room. I imagined he could not hold out long, and therefore withdrew to a little coffeehouse hard by, leaving a servant at the house, with orders to come immediately and tell me, as near as he could, the minute when Partridge should expire, which was not above two hours after ; when looking upon my watch, I found it to be above five minutes after seven; by which it is clear that Mr Bickerstaff was mistaken almost four hours in his calculation. In the other circumstances he was exact enough. But whether he has not been the cause of this poor man's death, as well as the predictor, may
very reasonably disputed. However, it must be confessed, the matter is odd enough, whether we should endeavour to account for it by chance,
or the effect of imagination : for my own part, though I believe no man has less faith in these matters, yet I shall wait with some impatience, and not without some expectation, the fulfilling of Mr Bickerstaff's second prediction, that the cardinal de Noailles is to die upon the fourth of April; and if that should be verified as exactly as this of poor Partridge, I must own I should be wholly surprised, and at a loss, and should infallibly expect the accomplishment of all the rest: 'SQUIRE BICKERSTAFF DETECTED:
ASTROLOGICAL IMPOSTOR CONVICTED.
STUDENT IN PHYSIC AND ASTROLOGY.*
It is hard, my dear countrymen of these united nations, it is very hard, that a Briton born, a protestant astrologer, a man of revolution principles, an assertor of the liberty and property of the people, should cry out in vain for justice against a Frenchman, a papist, and an illiterate pretender to science, that would blast my reputation, most inhumanly bury me alive, and defraud my native country of those services, which, in my double capacity, I daily offer the public.
* This piece being on the same subject, and the original of it very rare, we have thought fit to add it, though not written by the same hand. In the Dublin edition it is said to be written by the late N. Rowe, Esq. which is a mistake ; for the reverend De Yalden, preacher of Bridewell, Mr Partridge's near neighbour, drew it up for him.
What great provocations I have received, let the impartial reader judge, and how unwillingly, even in my own defence, I now enter the lists against falsehood, ignorance, and envy: but I am exasperated, at length, to drag out this Cacus from the den of obscurity where he lurks, detect him by the light of those stars he has so impudently traduced, and show there is not a monster in the skies so pernicious and malevolent to mankind, as an ignorant pretender to physic and astrology. I shall not directly fall on the many gross errors, nor expose the notorious absurdities of this prostitute libeller, till I have let the learned world fairly into the controversy depending, and then leave the unprejudiced to judge of the merits and justice of my cause.
It was toward the conclusion of the year 1707, when an impudent pamphlet crept into the world, entitled, Predictions, fc. by Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq. Among the many arrogant assertions laid down by that lying spirit of divination, he was pleased to pitch on the cardinal de Noailles and myself, among many other eminent and illustrious persons, that were to die within the compass of the ensuing year; and peremptorily fixes the month, day, and hour of our deaths : this, I think, is sporting with great men, and public spirits, to the scandal of religion, and reproach of power; and if sovereign princes and astrologers must make diversion for the vulgar—why then farewell, say I, to all governments, ecclesiastical and civil. But, I thank my better stars, I am alive to confront this false and audacious predictor, and to make him rue the hour he ever affronted a man of science and resentment. The cardinal
The cardinal may take what measures he pleases with him; as his excellency is a foreigner, and a papist, he has no