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A COMPLETE

COLLECTION

OF GENTEEL AND INGENIOUS

CONVERSATION,

ACCORDING TO THE MOST

POLITE MODE AND METHOD,

NOW USED

AT COURT, AND IN THE BEST COMPANIES

OF ENGLAND.

IN THREE DIALOGUES.

BY SIMON WAGSTAFF, Esq.

tion; and I am persuaded that I am far from being singular in that opinion.

As for the incurable infidels and liars, I shall range them under the same article, and would willingly appoint them the same apartment in the hospital; because there is a much nearer resemblance between them, than is generally imagined.

Have they not an equal delight in imposing falsities on the public, and seem they not equally desirous to be thought of more sagacity and importance than others ? Do they not both report what both know to be false; and both confidently assert what they are conscious is most liable to contradiction ?

The parallel might easily be carried on much further, if the intended shortness of this essay would admit it. However, I cannot forbear taking notice, with what immense quantities of incurable liars his Majesty's kingdoms are overrun ; what offence and prejudice they are to the public; what inconceivable injury to private persons; and what a necessity there is for an hospital, to relieve the nation from the curse of so many incurables.

This distemper appears almost in as many different shapes, as there are persons afflicted with it; and, in every individual, is always beyond the power of medicine.

Some lie for their interest, such as fishmongers, flatterers, pimps, lawyers, fortune-hunters, and fortune-tellers; and others lie for their entertainment, as maids, wives, widows, and all other tea-table attendants.

Some lie out of vanity, as poets, painters, players, fops, military officers, and all those who frequent the levees of the great : and others lie out of ill nature, as old maids, &c.

Some lie out of custom, as lovers, coxcombs, footmen, sailors, mechanics, merchants, and chambermaids; and others lie out of complaisance or necessity, as courtiers, chaplains, &c. In short, it were endless to enumerate them all, but this sketch may be sufficient to give us some small imperfect idea of their numbers.

As to the remaining incurables, we may reasonably conclude, that they bear at least an equal proportion to those already mentioned ; but with regard to the incurable whores in this kingdom, I must particularly observé, that such of them as are public, and make it their profession, have proper hospitals for their reception already, if we could find magistrates without passions, or officers without an incurable itch to a bribe. And such of them as are private, and make it their amusement, I should be unwilling to disturb, for two reasons :

First, Because it might probably afflict many noble, wealthy, contented, and unsuspecting husbands, by convincing them of their own dishonour, and the unpardonable disloyalty of their wives : And, secondly, Because it will be for ever impossible to confine a woman from being guilty of any

kind of misconduct, when once she is firmly resolved to attempt it.

From all which observations, every reasonable man must infallibly be convinced, that an hospital for the support of these different kinds of incurables, would be extremely beneficial to these kingdoms. I think, therefore, that nothing further is wanting, but to demonstrate to the public, that such a scheme is very practicable; both by having an undoubted method to raise an annual income, at least sufficient to make the experiment, (which is the

way of founding all hospitals,) and by having also a strong probability, that such an hospital would be supported by perpetual benefactions; which, in very few years, might enable us to increase the number of incurables to nine-tenths more than we can reasonably venture on at first.

A Computation of the Daily and Annual Expenses of an Hospital, to be erected

for Incurables.

Per day INCURABLE fools are almost infinite; however, at first, I would have only twenty thousand admitted ; and, allowing to each person but one shilling per day for maintenance, which is as low as possible, the daily expense for this article will be

£1000 Incurable knaves are, if possible, more numerous, including foreigners, especially Irishmen. Yet I would limit the number of these to about thirty thousand ; which would amount to 1500

Incurable scolds would be plentifully supplied from almost every family in the kingdom. And indeed, to make this hospital of any

real benefit, we cannot admit fewer, even at first, than thirty thousand, including the ladies of Billingsgate and Leaden-hall market, which is

1500 The incurable scribblers are undoubtedly à very considerable society, and of that denomination I would admit at least forty thousand ; because it is to be supposed that such incurables. will be found in greatest distress for a daily maintenance.

And if we had not great encouragement to hope, that many of that class would properly be admitted among the incurable fools,

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I should strenuously intercede to have ten or twenty thousand more added. But their allowed number will amount to

£2000 Incurable coxcombs are very numerous ; and, considering what numbers are annually imported from France and Italy, we cannot admit fewer than ten thousand, which will be

500 Incurable infidels (as they affect to be called) should be received into the hospital to the number of ten thousand. However, if it should accidentally happen to grow into a fashion to be believers, it is probable that the great part of them would. in a very short time, be dismissed from the hospital, as perfectly cured. Their expense would be

500 Incurable liars are infinite in all parts of the kingdom; and, making allowance for citizens' wives, mercers, prentices, news-writers, old maids, and flatterers, we cannot possibly allow a smaller number than thirty thousand, which will amount to

1500 The incurable envious are in vast quantities throughout this whole nation. Nor can it reasonably be expected that their numbers should lessen, while fame and honours are heaped upon some particular persons, as the public reward of their superior accomplishments, while others, who are equally excellent, in their own opinions, are constrained to live unnoticed and contemned. And, as it would be impossible to provide for all those who are possessed with this distemper, I should consent to admit only twenty thousand at first, by way of experiment, amounting to 1000

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