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ask my sister Jenny's advice; and particularly mentioned to her the name of Aristotle. She immediately told me he was a very great scholar, and that she had read him at the boarding-school. She certainly means a trifle, sold by the hawkers, called “ Aristotle's Problems.”* But this raised a great scruple in me, whether a fame increased by imposition of others is to be added to his account, or that these excrescences, which grow out of his real reputation, and give encouragement to others to pass things under the covert of his name, should be considered in giving him his seat in the chamber ? This punctilio is referred to the learned. In the meantime, so ill-natured are mankind, that I believe I have names already sent me sufficient to fill up my lists for the dark room, and every one is apt enough to send in their accounts of ill deservers. This malevolence does not proceed from a real dislike of virtue, but a diabolical prejudice against it, which makes men willing to destroy what they care not to imitate. Thus you see the greatest characters among your acquaintance, and those you live with, are traduced by all below them in virtue, who never mention them but with an exception. However, I believe I shall not give the world much trouble about filling my tables for those of evil fame; for I have some thoughts of clapping up the sharpers there as fast as I can lay hold of them.
At present I am employed in looking over the several notices which I have received of their manner of dexterity, and the way at dice of making all rugg, as the cant is. The whole art of securing a die has lately been
* An indecent pamphlet bearing that name,
sent me, by a person who was of the fraternity, but is disabled by the loss of a finger; by which means he cannot practise that trick as he used to do. But I am very much at a loss how to call some of the fair sex, who are accomplices with the Knights of Industry ;* for my metaphorical dogs are easily enough understood ; but the feminine gender of dogs has so harsh a sound, that we know not how to name it. But I am credibly informed, that there are female dogs as voracious as the males, and make advances to
other de sign but coming to a familiarity with their purses. I have also long lists of persons of condition, who are certainly of the same regimen with these banditti, and instrumental to their cheats upon undiscerning men of their own rank. These add their good reputation to carry on the impostures of others, whose very names would else be defence enough against falling into their hands. But, for the honour of our nation, these shall be unmentioned ; provided we hear no more of such practices, and that they shall not from henceforward suffer the society of such as they know to be the common enemies of order, discipline, and virtue. If it appear that they go on in encouraging them, they must be proceeded against according to the severest rules of history, where all is to be laid before the world with impartiality, and without respect to persons,
“ So let the stricken deer go weep."
Steele, to his great honour, under the allegory of dogs of different kinds, described and held up to disgrace the principal gamblers in London. One of the fraternity was denouncing personal vengeance in a coffee-house, when the spirited Lord Forbes silenced him with these words : “ You will find it safer, sir, in this country, to cut a purse than to cut a throat.”
THE TATLER, No. LXX.
TUESDAY, SEPT. 20, 1709.
“ To ISAAC BICKERSTAFF, Esq.
“I read with great pleasure, in the Tatler of Saturday last, the conversation upon eloquence; permit me to hint to you one thing the great Roman orator observes upon this subject : Caput enim arbitrabatur oratoris, (he quotes Menedemus, an Athenian,) ut ipsis apud quos ageret talis qualem ipse optaret videretur ; id fieri vitæ dignitate. (Tull. de Oratore.) It is the first rule in oratory, that a man must appear such as he would persuade others to be; and that can be accomplished only by the force of his life. I believe it might be of great service to let our public orators know, that an unnatural gravity, or an unbecoming levity, in their behaviour out of the pulpit, will take very much from the force of their eloquence in it. Excuse another scrap of Latin ; it is from one of the fathers; I think it will appear a just observation to all, and it may have authority with some : Qui autem docent tantum, nec faciunt, ipsi præceptis suis detrahunt pondus ; quis enim obtemperet, cum ipsi præceptores doceant non obtemperare? Those who teach, but do not act agreeably to the instructions they give to others, take away all weight from their doctrine; for who will obey the precepts they inculcate, if they themselves teach us by their practice to disobey them ?
“I am, Sir,
“ JONATHAN ROSEHAT.
“P.S.—You were complaining in that paper,
that the clergy of Great Britain had not yet learned to speak : a very great defect indeed : and, therefore, I shall think myself a well-deserver of the church, in recommending all the dumb clergy to the famous speaking doctor at Kensington.* This ingenious gentleman, out of compassion to those of a bad utterance, has placed his whole study in the new-modelling the organs of voice; which art, he has so far advanced, as to be able even to make a good orator of a pair of bellows. He lately exhibited a specimen of his skill in this way, of which I was informed by the worthy gentlemen then present; who were at once delighted and amazed to hear an instrument of so simple an organization, use an exact articulation of words, a just cadency in its sentences, and a wonderful pathos in its pronunciation : not that he designs to expatiate in this practice; because he cannot, as he says, apprehend what use it may be of to mankind, whose benefit he aims at in a more particular manner: and for the same reason, he will never more instruct the feathered kind, the parrot having been his last scholar in that way. He has a wonderful faculty in making and mending echoes; and this he will
perform at any time for the use of the solitary in the country; being a man born for universal good, and for that reason recommended to your patronage by,
“Sir, yours," &c.
* Dr James Ford, who professed to remove impediments in speech.
THE TATLER, No. LXXI.
THURSDAY, SEPT. 22, 1709.
“ ESQUIRE BICKERSTAFF, FINDING
advice and censure to have a good effect, I desire your admonition to our vicar and schoolmaster, who, in his preaching to his auditors, stretches his jaws so wide, that, instead of instructing youth, it rather frightens them : likewise in reading prayers, he has such a careless loll, that people are justly offended at his irreverent posture; besides the extraordinary charge they are put to in sending their children to dance, to bring them off of those ill gestures. Another evil faculty he has, in making the bowling-green his daily residence, instead of his church, where his curate reads prayers every day. If the weather is fair, his time is spent in visiting ; if cold or wet, in bed, or at least at home, though within a hundred yards of the church. These, out of many such irregular practices, I write for his reclamation : but two or three things more before I conclude; to wit, that generally when his curate preaches in the afternoon, he sleeps sotting in the desk on a hassock. With all this, he is so extremely proud, that he will go but
but once to the sick, except they return his visit.”