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M. Th. H.

P. Ann. From the voluntary contribution, £3,500,000 From the estates of the incurables,

200,000 By the tax upon tombstones, monuments, &c. (that of Richard Norton, Esq. always excepted,)

100,000 By two annual lotteries,

200,000 By the estate of Richard Norton, Esq. 60,000

Total, £4,600,000

And the necessary sum for the hospital being £3,650,000 There will remain annually over and above, 356,000

Which sum of 356,000l. should be applied towards erecting the building, and answer accidental expenses, in such a manner as should seem most proper to promote the design of the hospital. But the whole management of it should be left to the skill and discretion of those who are to be constituted

governors. It

may, indeed, prove a work of some small difficulty to fix upon a commodious place, large enough for a building of this nature. I should have thoughts of attempting to enclose all Yorkshire, if I were not apprehensive that it would be crowded with so many incurable knaves of its own growth, that there would not be the least room left for the reception of any others ; by which accident our whole project might be retarded for some time.

Thus have I set this matter in the plainest light I could, that every one may judge of the necessity, usefulness, and practicableness of this scheme : and I shall

only add a few scattered hints, which, to me, seem not altogether unprofitable.

I think the prime minister for the time being ought largely to contribute to such a foundation ; because his high station and merits must of necessity infect a great number with envy, hatred, lying, and such sort of distempers; and, of consequence, furnish the hospital annually with many incurables.

I would desire that the governors appointed to direct this hospital should have (if such a thing were possible) some appearance of religion and belief in God; because those who are to be admitted as incurable infidels, atheists, deists, and freethinkers, most of which tribe are only so out of pride, conceit, and affectation, might perhaps grow gradually into believers, if they perceived it to be the custom of the place where they lived.

Although it be not customary for the natives of Ireland to meet with any manner of promotion in this kingdom, I would, in this respect, have that national prejudice entirely laid aside; and request, that, for the reputation of both kingdoms, a large apartment in the hospital may be fitted up for Irishmen particularly, who, either by knavery, lewdness, or fortune-hunting, should appear qualified for admittance; because their numbers would certainly be very

considerable. I would further request, that a father, who seems delighted at seeing his son metamorphosed into a fop, or a coxcomb, because he hath travelled from London to Paris, may be sent along with the young gentleman to the hospital, as an old fool, absolutely incurable.

If a poet hath luckily produced anything, especially in the dramatic way, which is tolerably well received by

the public, he should be sent immediately to the hospital ; because incurable vanity is always the consequence of a little success. And, if his compositions be ill received, let him be admitted as a scribbler.

And I hope, in regard to the great pains I have taken, about this scheme, that I shall be admitted upon the foundation, as one of the scribbling incurables. But, as an additional favour, I entreat, that I may not be placed in an apartment with a poet who hath employed his genius for the stage ; because he will kill me with repeating his own compositions : and I need not acquaint the world, that it is extremely painful to bear any nonsense-except our own.

My private reason for soliciting so early to be admitted is, because it is observed that schemers and projectors are generally reduced to beggary; but, by my being provided for in the hospital, either as an incurable fool or a scribbler, that discouraging observation will for once be publicly disproved, and my brethren in that way will be secure of a public reward for their labours.

It gives me, I own, a great degree of happiness, to reflect, that although in this short treatise the characters of many thousands are contained, among the vast variety of incurables, yet, not any one person is likely to be offended; because, it is natural to apply ridiculous characters to all the world, except ourselves. And I dare be bold to say, that the most incurable fool, knave, scold, coxcomb, scribbler, or liar, in this whole nation, will sooner enumerate the circle of their acquaintance as addicted to those distempers, than once imagine themselves anyway qualified for such an hospital.

I hope, indeed, that our wise legislature will take this project into their serious consideration, and promote an endowment, which will be of such eminent service to multitudes of his Majesty's unprofitable subjects, and may in time be of use to themselves and their posterity.

From my Garret in Moorfields, Aug. 20, 1733.

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 IVAGSTAFF, Esq.

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