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SUEER-LAXE, AUGUST 17.
Though the following epistle bears a just accusation of myself, yet in regard it is a more advantageous piece of justice to another, I insert it at large.
“ MR. BICKERSTAFF, “ I have lately read your paper, wherein you represent a conversation between a young lady, your three nephews, and yourself; and am not a little offended at the figure you give your young merchant in the presence of a beauty. The topic of love is a subject on which a man is more beholden to nature for his eloquence, than to the instruction of the schools, or my lady's woman. From the two latter your scholar and page must have reaped all their advantage above him.--I know by this time you have pronouced me a trader. I acknowledge it; but cannot bear the exclusion from any pretence of speaking agreeably to a fine woman, or from any degree of generosity that way. You have among us citizens many well-wishers; but it is for the justice of your representations, which we, perhaps, are better judges of than you, by the account you give of your nephew, seem to allow.
“ To give you an opportunity of making us some reparation, I desire you will tell, your own way, the following instance of heroic love in the city. You are to remember, that somewhere in your writings, for enlarging the territories of virtue and honour, you have multiplied the opportunities of attaining to heroic virtue; and have hinted, that in whatever state of life man is, if he does things above what is ordinarily performed by men of his rank, he is in those instances a hero.
“ Tom Trueman, a young gentleman of eighteen years of age, fell passionately in love with the beauteous Almira, daughter to his master. Her regard for him was no less tender. Trueman was better acquainted with his master's affairs than his daughter; and secretly lamented, that each day brought him by many miscarriages nearer bankruptcy than the former.' This unhappy posture of their affairs, the youth suspected, was owing to the illmanagement of a factor, in whom his master had an entire confidence. Trueman took a proper occasion, when his master was ruminating on his decaying fortune, to address him for leave to spend the remainder of his time with his foreign correspondent. During three years' stay in that employment, he became acquainted with all that concerned his master, and by his great address in the management of that knowledge saved him ten thousand pounds. Soon after this accident, Trueman's uncle left him a considerable estate. Upon receiving that advice, he returned to England, and demanded Almira of her father. The father, overjoyed at the match, offered him the ten thousand pounds he had saved him, with the further proposal of resigning to him all his business. Trueman refused both; and retired into the country with his bride, contented with his own fortune, though perfectly skilled in all the methods of improving it.
" It is to be noted that Trueman refused twenty thousand pounds with another young lady; so that reckoning both his self-denials, he is to have in your court the merit of having given thirty thousand pounds for the woman he loved. This gentleman I claim your justice to; and hope you will be convinced that some of us have larger views than only Cash Debtor, Per contra Crea ditor. Yours,
RICHARD TRAFFIC. Garraway's Coffee-house, August 10. “ N. B. Mr. Thomas Newman, of Lime-street, is entered
No. 214. TUESDAY, AUGUST 22, 1710.
- Soles et aperta serena Prospicere, et certis poteris cognoscere signis.
VIRG. GEORG. i. 393. - 'Tis easy to descry Returning suns and a serener sky.
FROM MY OWN APARTMENT, AUGUST 21. In every party there are two sorts of men, the rigid and the supple. The rigid are an intractable race of mortals, who act upon principle, and will not, forsooth, fall into any measures that are not consistent with their received notions of honour. These are persons of a stubborn unpliant morality, that sullenly adhere to their friends, when they are disgraced, and to their principles, though they are exploded. I shall therefore give up this stiff-necked generation to their own obstinacy, and turn my thoughts to the advantage of the supple, who pay their homage to places, and not persons; and, without enslaving themselves to any particular scheme of opinions, are as ready to change their conduct in point of sentiment as of fashion. The well-disciplined part of a court are generally so perfect at their exercise, that you may see a whole as
assembly, from front to rear, face about at once to a new man of power, though at the same time they turn their backs upon him that brought them thither. The great hardship these complaisant members of society are under, seems to be the want of warning upon any approaching change or revolution ; so that they are obliged in a hurry to tack about with every wind, and stop short in the midst of a full career, to the great surprise and derision of their beholders.
When a man foresees a decaying ministry, he has leisure to grow a malecontent, reflect upon the present conduct, and by gradual murmurs fall off from his friends into a new party, by just steps and meaFor want of such notices, I have formerly well-bred
refuse to return a bow of a man whom he thought in disgrace, that was next day made secretary of state: and another, who, after a long neglect of a minister, came to his levee, and made professions of zeal for his service the very day before he was turned out.
This produces also unavoidable confusions and mistakes in the descriptions of great men's parts and merits. That ancient lyric, Mr. D’Urfey, some years ago writ a dedication to a certain lord, in which he celebrated him for the greatest poet and critic of that age, upon a misinformation in Dyer's Letter, that his noble patron was made lord chamberlain. In short, innumerable votes, speeches, and sermons, have been thrown away and turned to no account, merely for want of due and timely intelligence. Nay, it has been known, that a panegyric has been half printed off, when the poet,
known a very
the removal of the minister, has been forced to alter it into a satire.
For the conduct therefore of such useful persons, as are ready to do their country service upon all occasions, I have an engine in my study, which is a sort of a Political Barometer, or, to speak more intelligibly, a State Weather-glass, that, by the rising and falling of a certain magical liquor, presages all changes and revolutions in government, as the common glass does those of the weather. This weatherglass is said to have been invented by Cardan, and given by him as a present to his great countryman and contemporary, Machiavel ; which, by the way, may serve to rectify a received error in chronology, that places one of these some years after the other. How or when it came into my hands, I shall desire to be excused, if I keep to myself; but so it is, that I have walked by it for the better part of a century, to my safety at least, if not to my advantage ; and have among my papers a register of all the changes that have happened in it, from the middle of queen Elizabeth's reign.
Ir the time of that princess it stood long at Settled Fair. At the latter end of king James the First, it fell to Cloudy. It held several years after at Stormy: insomuch, that at last, despairing of seeing any clear weather at home, I followed the royal exile, and some time after, finding my glass rise, returned to my native country with the rest of the loyalists. I was then in hopes to pass the remainder of my days in Settled Fair : but, alas ! during the greatest part of that reign the English nation lay in a dead calm, which, as it is usual, was followed by high winds and tempests, till of late years; in which, with unspeakable joy and satisfaction, I have seen our political weather returned to Settled Fair. I must only observe, that for all this last summer my