Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

so far lose his measure, as to think a minute an hour; or in joy make an hour a minute. Let us examine the present case by this rule, and we shall find, that the cause of this general mistake in the British nation, has been the great success of the last campaign, and the following hopes of peace. Stocks ran so high at the Exchange, that the citizens had gained three days of the courtiers; and we have indeed been so happy all this reign, that if the University did not rectify our mistakes, we should think ourselves but in the second year of her present majesty. It would be endless to enumerate the many damages that have happened by this ignorance of the vulgar. All the recognisances within the diocess of Oxford have been forfeited, for not appearing on the first day of this fictitious term. The University has been nonsuited in their action against the booksellers for printing Clarendon in quarto. Indeed, what gives me the most quick concern, is the case of a poor gentleman, my friend, who was the other day taken in execution by a set of ignorant bailiffs. He should, it seems, have pleaded in the first week of term; but being a master of Arts of Oxford, he would not recede from the Oxonian computation. He showed Mr. Broad the almanack, and the very day when the term began; but the merciless, ignorant fellow, against all sense and learning, would hurry him away. He went, indeed, quietly enough; but he has taken exact notes of the time of arrest, and sufficient witnesses of his being carried into goal; and has, by advice of the recorder of Oxford, brought his action; and we doubt not but we shall pay them off with damages, and blemish the reputation of Mr. Broad. We have one convincing proof, which all that frequent the courts of justice are witnesses of: the dog that comes constantly to Westminster on the first day of the term, did not appear until the first day according to the Oxford almanack; whose instinet I take to be a better guide than men's erroneous opinions, which are usually biassed by interest. I judge in this case, as king Charles the Second victualled his navy with the bread which one of his dogs chose of several pieces thrown before him, rather than trust to the asseverations of the victuallers. Mr. Cowper, and other learned counsel, have already urged the authority of this almanack, in behalf of their clients. We shall, therefore, go on with all speed in our cause; and doubt not but chancery will give at the end what we lost in the beginning, by protracting the term for us until Wednesday come seven-night. And the University Orator shall for ever pray,

&c.

* Spencer Cowper, brother to the first earl of the name, at that time a celebrated conncellor, and afterwards chief justice of the common pleas.

From my own Apartment July 7.

The subject of duels bas, I find, been started with so good success, that it has been the frequent subject of conversation among polite men; and a dialogue of that kind has been transmitted to me verbatim as follows. The persons concerned in it are men of honour and experience in the manners of men, and have fallen upon the truest foundation, as well as searched the bottom of this evil.

Mr. Sage. If it were in my power every man, that drew his sword, unless in the service, or purely to defend his life, person, or goods, from violence (I mean abstracted from all punctoes or whims of honour) should ride the wooden horse in the Tilt-yard for such first offence; for the second, stand in the pillory; and for the third, be prisoner in Bedlam for life.

Col. Plume. I remember that a rencounter or duel was so far from being in fashion among the officers that served in the parliament-army, that on the contrary it was as disreputable, and as great an impediment to advancement in the service, as being bashful in time of action.

Sir Mark. Yet I have been informed by some old cavaliers, of famous reputation for brave and gallant men, that they were much more in mode among their party than they have been during this last war.

Col. Plume. That is true too, sir.

Mr. Sage. By what you say, gentlemen, one should think that our present military officers are compounded of an equal proportion of both those tempers; since duels are neither quite discountenanced, nor much in vogue.

Sir Mark. That difference of temper in re gard to duels, which appears to have between the court and the parliament-men of the sword, was not (I conceive) for want of courage in the latter, nor of a liberal education, because there were some of the best families in England engaged in that party; but gallantry and mode, which glitter agreeably to the imagination, were encouraged by the court, as promoting its splendour; and it was as natural that the contrary party (who were to recommend themselves to the public for men of serious and solid parts) should deviate from every thing chimerical.

Mr. Suge. I have never read of a duel among the Romans, and yet their nobility used more liberty with their tongues than one may do now without being challenged.

Sir Mark. Perhaps the Romans were of opinion, that ill-language and brutal manners reflected only on those who were guilty of them; and that a man's reputation was not at all cleared by cutting the person's throat who had reflected upon it: but the custom of those times had fixed the scandal in the action; whereas now it lies in the reproach.

Mr. Sage. And yet the only sort of duel that | pretty long, and the principals acting on both one can conceive to have been fought upon sides upon the defensive, and the morning being motives truly honourable and allowable, was frosty, major Adroit desired that the other that between the Horatii and Curiatii. second, who was also a very topping fellow, would try a thrust or two, only to keep them warm, until the principals had decided the matter, which was agreed to by Modish's second, who presently whipt Adroit though the body, disarmed him, and then parted the principals, who had received no harm at all.

Sir Mark. Colonel Plume, pray what was the method of single combat in your time among the cavaliers? I suppose, that as the use of clothes continues, though the fashion of them has been mutable; so duels, though still in use, have had in all times their particular modes of performance.

Mr. Sage. But was not Adroit langhed at? Col. Plume. On the contrary, the very top. ping fellows were ever after of opinion, that no man, who deserved that character, could serve as a second, without fighting; and the Smarts and Modishes finding their account in it, the humour took without opposition.

Mr. Sage. Pray, colonel, how long did that fashion continue?

Col. Plume. Why, sir Mark, in the beginning of July a man would have been censured for want of courage, or been thought indigent of the true notions of honour, if he had put up words, which, in the end of September following, one could not resent without passing for a brutal and quarrelsome fellow.

Col. Plume. Not long neither, Mr. Sage; for as soon as it became a fashion, the very topping fellows thought their honour reflected upon, if they did not proffer themselves as seconds when any of their friends had a quarrel, so that sometimes there were a dozen of a side.

Sir Mark. Bless me! if that custom had continued, we should have been at a loss now

Sir Mark. But, colonel, were duels or ren- for our very pretty fellows; for they seem to counters most in fashion in those days?

be the proper men to officer, animate, and keep up an army. But, pray, sir, how did that sociable manner of tilting grow out of mode?

Col. Plume. Your men of nice honour, sir, were for avoiding all censure of advantage which they supposed might be taken in a rencounter; therefore they used seconds, who were to see that all was upon the square, and make a faithful report of the whole combat; but in a little time it became a fashion for the seconds to fight; and I will tell you how it happened.

Mr. Sage. Pray do, colonel Plume, and the method of a duel at that time, and give us some notion of the punctoes upon which your nice men quarrelled in those days.

Col. Plume. I was going to tell you, Mr. Sage, that one cornet Modish had desired his friend captain Smart's opinion in some affair, but did not follow it; upon which captain Smart sent major Adroit (a very topping fellow of those times) to the person that had slighted his advice. The major never enquired into the quarrel, because it was not the manner then among the very topping fellows; but got two swords of an equal length, and then waited upon cornet Modish, desiring him to choose his sword, and meet his friend captain Smart. cornet Modish came with his friend to the place of combat; there the principals put on their pumps, and stripped to their shirts, to show that they had nothing but what men of honour carry about them, and then engaged. Sir. Mark. And did the seconds stand by,

sir?
Col. Plume. It was a received custom until
that time; but the swords of those days being

Col. Plume. We had no constant rule, but generally conducted our dispute and tilt according to the last that had happened between persons of reputation among the very top fellows for bravery and gallantry.

Sir Mark. If the fashion of quarrelling and tilting was so often changed in your time, colonel Plume, a man might fight, yet lose his credit for want of understanding the fashion.

Col. Plume. Why, sir, I will tell you: it was a law among the combatants, that the party which happened to have the first man disarmed or killed, should yield as vanquished · which some people thought might encourage the Modishes and Smarts in quarrelling to the destruction of only the very topping fellows; and as soon as this reflection was started, the very topping fellows thought it an incumbrance upon their honour to fight at all themselves. Since that time the Modishes and the Smarts, throughout all Europe, have extolled the French king's edict.

Sir Mark. Our very pretty fellows, whom I take to be the successors of the very topping fellows, think a quarrel so little fashionable, that they will not be exposed to it by an other man's vanity, or want of sense.

Mr. Sage. But, colonel, I have observed i your account of duels, that there was a great exactness in avoiding all advantage that might possibly be between the combatants.

Col. Plume. That is true, sir; for the weapons were always equal.

Mr. Sage. Yes, sir; but suppose an active adroit strong man had insulted an awkward or a feeble, or an unpractised swordsman?

Col. Plume. Then, sir they fought with pistols.

Mr. Sage. But, sir, there might be a certain advantage that way; for a good marks

93

bably happen to both.

man will be sure to hit his man at twenty | desperate manner of fighting, it may very proyard's distance; and a man whose hand shakes (which is common to men that debauch in pleasures, or have not used pistols out of their holsters) will not venture to fire, unless he touches the person he shoots at. Now, sir, 1 am of opinion, that one can get no honour in killing a man, if one has it all rug, as the gamesters say, when they have a trick to make No. 40.] Tuesday July 12, 1709. the game secure, though they seem to play upon the square.

Sir Mark. Why, gentlemen, if they are men of such nice honour, and must fight, there will be no fear of foul play, if they threw up cross or pile who should be shot.

Sir Mark. In truth, Mr. Sage, I think such a fact must be murder in a man's own private conscience, whatever it may appear to the world.

Col. Plume. I have known some men so nice, that they would not fight but upon a cloak with pistols.

Mr. Sage. I believe a custom well established would outdo the grand monarch's edict.

Sir Mark. And bullies would then leave off their long swords. But I do not find that a very pretty fellow can stay to change his sword when he is insulted by a bully with a long diego; though his own at the same time be no longer than a pen-knife; which will certainly be the case if such little swords are in mode. Pray, colonel, how was it between the hectors of your time, and the very topping fellows?

Col. Plume. Sir, long swords happened to be generally worn in those times.

Mr. Sage. In answer to what you were saying, sir Mark, give me leave to inform you, that your knights-errant (who were the very pretty fellows of those ancient times) thought they could not honourably yield, though they had fought their own trusty weapons to the stumps; but would venture as boldly with the page's leaden sword, as if it had been of enchanted metal. Whence I conceive, there must be a spice of romantic gallantry in the composition of that very pretty fellow.

Sir Mark. I am of opinion, Mr. Sage, that fashion goverus a very pretty fellow; nature or common sense, your ordinary persons, and sometimes men of fine parts.

Mr. Sage. But what is the reason, that men of the most excellent sense and morals, in other points, associate their understandings with the very pretty fellows in that chimera of a duel? Sir Mark. There is no disputing against so great a majority.

Mr. Sage. But there is one scruple, colonel Plume, and I have done. Do not you believe there may be some advantage even upon a cloak with pistols, which a man of nice honour would scruple to take?

Col. Plume. Faith, I cannot tell, sir; but since one amy reasonably suppose that, in such a case, there can be but one so far in the wrong as to occasion matters to come to that extremity, I think the chance of being killed should fall but on one; whereas, by their close and

Quicquid agunt homines-
-nostri est farrago libelli.
Whate'er men do, or say, or think, or dream,
Our motley paper seizes for its theme.

Juv. Sat. i. 85, 86.

P.

Will's Coffee-house, July 11.

LETTERS from the city of London give an place is in at present, by reason of a late enaccount of a very great consternation that has parts enough to deserve the enjoyment of quiry made at Guildhall whether a noble person the great estate of which he is possessed?* The city is apprehensive, that this precedent may go farther than was at first imagined. The person against whom this inquisition is set up by his relations, is a peer of a neighbouring kingdom, and has in his youth made some few bulls, by which it is insinuated, that is the more astonishing, in that there are many he has forfeited his goods and chattels. This than persons in the said city who are still more guilty idiots, do not only possess, but have also themlordship, and who, though they are selves acquired great estates, contrary to the known laws of this realm, which vests their possessions in the crown.

this time exhibiting a bill in chancery against There is a gentleman in the coffee-house at his father's younger brother, who by some strange magic has arrived at the value of half a plumb, as the citizens call a hundred thouup to that wealth, was never known in any of sand pounds; and in all the time of growing his ordinary words or actions to discover any proof of reason. Upon this foundation my of his coffers, and has writ two epigrams to friend has set forth, that he is illegally master signify his own pretensions and sufficiency for spending that estate. plea some things which I fear will give offence; He has inserted in his for he pretends to argue, that though a man he is nevertheless liable to the loss of goods; has a little of the knave mixed with the fool, and makes the abuse of reason as just an avoidance of an estate as the total absence of it. This is what can never pass; but witty persuading them; and my friend will not be men are so full of themselves, that there is no convinced, but that upon quoting Solomon, who always used the word fool as a term of the

• Richard, the fifth viscount Wenman.

somewhere made a distinction between a mad-
man and a fool: a fool is he that from right
principles makes a wrong conclusion; but a
madman is one who draws a just inference
from false principles. Thus the fool who cut
off the fellow's head that lay asleep, and hid it,
and then waited to see what he would say when
he awaked, and missed his head-piece, was in
the right in the first thought, that a man
would be surprised to find such an alteration
in things since he fell asleep; but he was a
little mistaken to imagine he could awake
at all after his head was cut off. A madman
fancies himself a prince; but, upon his mistake,
he acts suitably to that character; and though
he is out in supposing he has principalities,
while he drinks gruel, and lies in straw, yet
you shall see him keep the port of a distressed
monarch in all his words and actions. These
two persons are equally taken into custody:

"

I

6

This affair led the company here into an examination of these points; and none coming here but wits, what was asserted by a young lawyer, that a lunatic is in the care of the chancery, but a fool in that of the crown, was received with general indignation. Why that?' says old Renault. Why that? Why must a fool be a courtier more than a madman? This is the iniquity of this dull age. remember the time when it went on the madside; all your top-wits were scourers, rakes, roarers, and demolishers of windows. I knew a mad lord, who was drunk five years together, and was the envy of that age, who is faintly imitated by the dull pretenders to vice and but what must be done to half this good commadness in this. Had he lived to this day,|pany, who every hour of their life are knowingly there had not been a fool in fashion in the and wittingly both fools and madmen, and yet whole kingdom.' When Renault had done have capacities both of forming principles and speaking, a very worthy man assumed the dis- drawing conclusions, with the full use of reacourse: This is,' said he, Mr. Bickerstaff, son? a proper argument for you to treat of in your article from this place; and if you would send your Pacolet into all our brains, you would find, that a little fibre or valve, scarce discernable, makes the distinction between a politician and an idiot. We should, therefore, throw a veil upon those unhappy instances of human nature, who seem to breathe without the direction of reason and understanding, as we should avert our eyes with abhorrence from such as live in perpetual abuse and contradiction to these noble faculties. Shall this unfortunate man be divested of his estate, because he is tractable and indolent, runs in no man's debt, invades no man's bed, nor spends the estate he owes his children and his character; when one who shows no sense above him, but in such practices, shall be esteemed in his senses, and possibly may pretend to the guardianship of him who is no ways his inferior, but in being less wicked? We see old age brings us indifferently into the same impotence of soul, wherein nature has placed this lord.'

same signification with unjust, and makes all deviation from goodness and virtue to come under the notion of folly; I say, he doubts not, but by the force of this authority, let his idiot uncle appear never so great a knave, he shall prove him a fool at the same time.

There is something very fantastical in the distribution of civil power and capacity among men. The law certainly gives these persons into the ward and care of the crown, because that is best able to protect them from injuries, and the impositions of craft and knavery; that the life of an idiot may not ruin the entail of a noble house, and his weakness may not frustrate the industry or capacity of the founder of his family. But when one of bright parts, as we say, with his eyes open, and all men's eyes upon him destroys those purposes, there is no remedy. Folly and ignorance are punished! folly and guilt are tolerated! Mr. Locke has

From my own Apartment, July 11.

This evening some ladies came to visit my
sister Jenny; and the discourse, after very
many frivolous and public matters, turned
upon the main point among the women, the
passion of love. Sappho, who always leads on
this occasion, began to show her reading, and
told us, that sir John Suckling and Milton
had, upon a parallel occasion, said the ten-
derest things she ever read. "The circum-
stance,' said she, is such as gives us a notion
of that protecting part, which is the duty of
men in their honourable designs upon, or pos-
In Suckling's tragedy of
session of women.
Brennoralt he makes the lover steal into his
mistress's bed-chamber, and draw the curtains;
then, when his heart is full of her charms, as
she lies sleeping, instead of being carried away
by the violence of his desires into thoughts of
a warmer nature, sleep, which is the image of
death, gives this generous lover reflections of
a different kind, which regard rather her safety
than his own passion. For, beholding her as she
lies sleeping, he utters these words:

'So misers look npon their gold,
Which, while they joy to see, they fear to lose:
The pleasure of the sight scarce equalling
The jealousy of being dispossess'd by others.
Her face is like the milky way i' th' sky,
A meeting of gentle lights without name!'

'Heav'n shall this fresh ornament of the world,
These precious love-lines, pass with other common thing:
Amongst the wastes of time? what pity 'twere!'

'When Milton makes Adam leaning on his arm, beholding Eve, and lying in the contem

[merged small][ocr errors]

plation of her beauty, he describes the utmost No.41.] tenderness and guardian affection in one word:

Adam with looks of cordial love,
Hung over her enaryour'd.'

'This is that sort of passion which truly deserves the name of love, and has something more generous than friendship itself; for it has a constant care of the object beloved, abstracted from its own interests in the possession

of it.'

To celebrate domestic deeds.

White's Chocolate-house, July 12.

THERE is no one thing more to be lamented in our nation, than their general affectation of every thing that is foreign: nay, we carry it so far, that we are more anxious for our own countrymen when they have crossed the seas, than when we see them in the same dangerous condition before our eyes at home: else how is it possible, that on the twenty-ninth of the last month, there should have been a battle fought in our very streets of London, and nobody at this end of the town have heard of it? I protest, I, who make it my business to enquire after adventures, should never have known this had not the following account been sent me inclosed in a letter. This, it seems, is the way of giving out orders in the Artillery-com

DEAR MADAM,

"Your brother being absent, I dare take the liberty of writing to you my thoughts of that state, which our whole sex either is, or desires to be in. You will easily guess I mean matri-pany; and they prepare for a day of action mony, which I hear so much decried, that it with so little concern, as only to call it, 'An was with no small labour I maintained my ground against two opponents; but as your brother observed of Socrates, I drew them into my conclusion, from their own concessions; thus:

exercise of arms.'

Sappho was proceeding on the subject, when my sister produced a letter sent to her in the time of my absence, in celebration of the marriage state, which is the condition wherein only this sort of passion reigns in full authority. The epistle is as follows:

'In marriage are two happy things allow'd,
A wife in wedding-sheets, and in a shrond.
How can a marriage state then be accurs'd,
Since the last day's as happy as the first?

"If you think they were too easily confuted, you may conclude them not of the first sense, by their talking against marriage. Yours,

'MARIANA.'

Thursday, July 14, 1709.

Celebrare domestica facta.

[ocr errors]

N.

'An Exercise at Arms of the Artillery-company, to be performed on Wednesday, June the twenty-ninth, 1709, under the command of Sir Joseph Woolfe, Knight and Alderman, General; Charles Hopson, Esquire, present Sheriff, Lieutenant-general; Captain Richard Synge, Major; Major John Shorey, Captain of Grenadiers Captain William Grayhurst, Captain John Butler, Captain Robert Carellis, Captains.

The body marched from the Artilleryground, through Moorgate, Coleman-street, Lothbury, Broad-street, Finch-lane, Cornhill, Cheapside, St. Martin's, St. Anne's-lane, halt the pikes under the wall in Noble-street, draw up the firelocks facing the Goldsmiths'-ball, make ready and face to the left, and fire, and so ditto three times. Beat to arms, and march round the hall, as up Lad-lane, Gutter-lane, Honeylane, and so wheel to the right, and make your salute to my lord, and so down St. Anne's-lane, up Aldersgate-street, Barbican, and draw up in Red-cross-street, the right of St. Paul's-alley in the rear. March off lieutenant-general with half the body up Beech-lane: he sends a subdivision up King's-head-court, and takes post in it, and marches two divisions round into.

I observed Sappho began to redden at this epistle; and turning to a lady, who was playing with a dog she was so fond of as to carry him abroad with her; 'Nay,' says she, 'I cannot blame the men if they have mean ideas of our souls and affections, and wonder so many are brought to take us for companions for life, when they see our endearments so triflingly placed for, to my knowledge, Mr. Truman would give half his estate for half the affection you have shown to that Shock: nor do I believe you would be ashamed to confess, that I saw you cry, when he had the colic last week with lapping sour milk. What more could you do for your lover himself?' 'What more!' replied the lady, 'There is not a man in Eng-Red-lion-market, to defend that pass, and sucland for whom I could lament half so much.' cour the division in King's-head-court; but Then she stifled the animal with kisses, and keeps in White-cross-street, facing Beech-lane, called him beau, life, dear, monsieur, pretty the rest of the body ready drawn up. Then fellow, and what not, in the hurry of her im- the general marches up Beech-lane, is attacked, pertinence. Sappho rose up; as she always but forces the division in the court into the does at any thing she observes done which dis- market, and enters with three divisions while covers in her own sex a levity of mind that ren- he presses the lieutenant-general's main body; ders them inconsiderable in the opinion of ours. and at the same time the three divisions force

« PredošláPokračovať »