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is peaceably possessed of the throne; and the king of Sweden declares for the emperor.

I cannot omit one particular accident here at home; that near the end of this month much mischief will be done at Bartholomew fair, by the fall of a booth.

September. This month begins with a very surprising fit of frosty weather, which will last near twelve days.

The pope having long languished last month, the swellings in his legs breaking, and the flesh mortifying, will die on the 11th instant: and in three weeks time, after a mighty contest, be succeeded by a cardinal of the imperial faction, but a native of Tuscany, who is now about sixty-one

years old.

The French ariny now acts wholly on the defensive, strongly fortified in their trenches; and the young French king sends overtures for a treaty of peace by the duke of Mantua; which, because it is a matter of state, that concerns us here at home, I shall speak no farther of.

I shall add but one prediction more, and that in mystical terms, which shall be included in a verse out of Virgil,

Alter erit jam Tethys, et altera, quæ vehat, Argo,
Delectos heroas.

Upon the 25th day of this month, the fulfilling of this prediction will be manifest to every body.

This is the farthest I have proceeded in my cal culations for the present year. I do not pretend, that these are all the great events, which will happen in this period, but that those I have set down will infallibly come to pass. It will perhaps still be objected, why I have not spoke more par

VOL. IX.

ticularly of affairs at home, or of the success of our armies abroad, which I might, and could very largely have done; but those in power have wisely discouraged men from meddling in public concerns, and I was resolved by no

means to give the least offence. This I will venture to say, that it will be a glorious campaign for the allies, wherein the English forces, both by sea and land, still have their full share of honour: that her majesty queen Anne will continue in health and prosperity : and that no ill accident will arrive to any in the chief ministry.

As to the particular events I have mentioned, the reader may judge by the fulfilling of them, whether I am on the level with common astrologers; who, with an old paltry cant, and a few pothooks for planets to amuse the vulgar, have, in my opinion, too long been suffered to abuse the world: but an honest physician ought not to be despised, because there are such things as mountebanks. I hope I have some share of reputation, which I would not willingly forfeit for a frolick or humour: and I believe no gentleman who reads this paper, will look upon it to be of the same cast or mould with the common scribbles, that are every day hawked about. My fortune has placed me above the little regard of writing for a few pence, which I neither value or want: therefore let not wise men too hastily condemn this essay, intended for a good design, to cultivate and improve an ancient art, long in disgrace by having fallen into mean unskilfül hands. A little time will determine whether I have deceived other's or myself: and I think it no very unreasonable request, that men would please to suspend their judgments till then. I was once of the opinion with those, who despise all predictions from the stars, till the year 1686, a man of quality showed me, written in his album,* that the most learned astronomer, captain Halley, assured him, he would never believe any thing of the stars' influence, if there were not a great revolution in England in the year 1688.

1688. Since that time I began to have other thoughts; and after eighteen years diligent study and application, I think I have no reason to repent of my pains. I shall detain the reader no longer, than to let him know, that the account I design to give of next year's events, shall take in the principal affairs that happen in Europe; and if I be denied the liberty of offering it to my own country, I shall appeal to the learned world, by publishing it in Latin, and giving order to have it printed in Holland.

Album is the name of a paper book, in which it was usual for a man's friends to write down a sentence with their names, to keep them in his remembrance; it is still common in some of the foreign üniversities,

AN ANSWER

TO

BICKERSTAFF.

SOME REFLECTIONS UPON MR BICKERSTAFF'S PREDICTIONS

FOR THE YEAR MDCCVIII.

BY A PERSON OF QUALITY.

I have not observed, for some years past, any insignificant paper to have made more noise, or be more greedily bought, than that of these Predictions. They are the wonder of the common people, an amusement for the better sort, and a jest only to the wise : yet among these last, I have heard some very much in doubt, whether the author meant to deceive others, or is deceived himself. Whoever he was, he seems to have with great art adjusted his paper both to please the rabble, and to entertain persons of condition. The writer is, without question, a gentleman of wit and learning, although the piece seems hastily written in a sudden frolick, with the scornful thought of the pleasure he will have, in putting this great town into a wonderment about nothing: nor do I doubt but he, and his friends in the secret, laugh often and plentifully in a corner, to reflect how many hundred thousand fools they have already made. And he has them fast for some time: for so they are likely to continue until his prophecies begin to fail in the events. Nay, it is a great question whether the miscarriage of the two or three first, will so entirely undeceive people, as to hinder them from expecting the accomplishment of the rest. I doubt not but some thousands of these papers are carefully preserved by as many persons, to confront with the events, and try whether the astrologer exactly keeps the day and hour. And these I take to be Mr Bickerstaff's choicest cullies, for whose sake chiefly he writ his amusement. Meanwhile he has seven weeks good, during which time the world is to be kept in suspense : for it is so long before the almanack-maker is to die, which is the first prediction: and, if that fellow happens to be a splenetic visionary fop, or has any faith in his own art, the prophecy may punctually come to pass, by very natural means. As a gentleman of my acquaintance, who was ill used by a mercer in town, wrote him a letter in an unknown hand, to give him notice that care had been taken to convey a slow poison into his drink, which would infallibly kill him in a month; after which, the man began in earnest to languish and decay, by the mere strength of imagination, and would certainly have died, if care had not been taken to undeceive him, before the jest went too far. The like effect upon Partridge would wonderfully rise Mr Bickerstaff's reputation for a fortnight longer, until we could hear from France, whether the cardinal de Noailles were dead or alive upon the fourth or April, which is the second of his predictions.

For a piece so carelessly written, the observations upon astrology are reasonable and pertinent, the remarks just; and as the paper is partly designed, in my opinion, for a satire upon the credulity of the vulgar, and that idle itch of peeping into futurities; so it is no more than what we

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