Imatges de pàgina



[ocr errors]




THE BUSY-BODY. meet with that unfeigned respect, and warm good-will, suffer from want of manners in some people. Youd that all men have for him ? Wilt thou never under- must know I am a single woman, and keep a shop in stand, that the cringing, mean, submissive deportment this town for a livelihood. There is a certain neighbour of thy dependents, is (like the worship paid by Indians of mine, who is really agreeable company enough, and to the devil) rather through fear of the harm thou with whom I have had an intimacy of some time stand- bo mayst do them, than out of gratitude for the favours ing; but of late she makes her visits so exceedingly they have received of thee! Thou art not wholly void often, and stays so very long every visit, that I am tired of virtue; there are many good things in thee, and out of all patience. I have no manner of time at all many good actions reported of thee. Be advised by to myself; and you, who seem to be a wise man, must thy friend: neglect those musty authors; let them be needs be sensible that every person has little secrets covered with dust, and moulder on their proper shelves; and privacies, that are not proper to be exposed even and do thou apply thyself to a study much more pro- to the nearest friend. Now, I cannot do the least thing fitable—the knowledge of mankind, and of thyself. in the world but she must know about it; and it is a

This is to give notice, that the Busy-body strictly wonder I have found an opportunity to write you this forbids all persons, from this time forward, of what letter. My misfortune is, that I respect her very well, age, sex, rank, quality, degree, or denomination soever, and know not how to disoblige her so much as to tell on any pretence, to inquire who is the author of this her I should be glad to have less of her company; for paper, on pain of his displeasure (his own near and if I should once hint such a thing, I am afraid she dear relations only excepted).

would resent it so as never to darken my door again. It is to be observed, that if any bad characters hap. But alas, sir, I have not yet told you half my affliction. pen to be drawn in the course of these papers, they She has two children that are just big enough to run mean no particular person, if they are not particularly about and do pretty mischief: these are continually

along with mamma, either in my room or shop, if I Likewise, that the author is no party-man, but a have ever so many customers or people with me general meddler.

about business. Sometimes they pull the goods off N. B.—Cretico lives in a neighbouring province. my low shelves down to the ground, and perhaps

where one of them has just been making water. My

friend takes up the stuff, and cries, “Oh! thou little The Busy-Body.No. IV.

wicked mischievous rogue! But, however, it has

done no great damage—it is only wet a little; and so Nequid nimis. *

puts it up upon the shelf again. Sometimes they get In my first paper, I invited the learned and the in- to my cask of nails behind the counter, and divert genious to join with me in this undertaking; and I now themselves, to my great vexation, with mixing my repeat that invitation. I would have such gentlemen tenpenny, and eightpenny, and fourpenny together. take this opportunity (by trying their talent in writing) I endeavour to conceal my uneasiness as much as posof diverting themselves and friends, and improving the sible, and with a grave look go to sorting them out. taste of the town. And because I would encourage all She cries, • Don't thee trouble thyself, neighbour. wit of our own growth and produce, I hereby promise, Let them play a little; I'll put all to rights before I that whoever shall send me a little essay on some moral go. But things are never so put to rights but that I or other subject, that is fit for public view in this man- find a great deal of work to do after they are gone. ner (and not basely borrowed from any other author), Thus, Sir, I have all the trouble and pesterment of chilI shall receive it with candour, and take care to place dren, without the pleasure of calling them my own; it to the best advantage. It will be hard if we cannot and they are now so used to being here that they will muster up in the whole country a sufficient stock of be content no where else. If she would have been so sense to supply the Busy-body at least for a twelve- kind as to have moderated her visits to ten times amonth. For my own part, 2 have already professed day, and staid but half an hour at a time, I should that I have the good of my country wholly at heart in have been contented, and I believe never have given this design, without the least sinister view; my chief you this trouble. But this very morning they have so purpose being to inculcate the noble principles of virtue, tormented me that I could bear no longer; for while and depreciate vice of every kind. But as I know the the mother was asking me twenty impertinent quesmob hate instruction, and the generality would never tions, the youngest got to my nails, and with great deread beyond the first line of my lectures, if they were light rattled them by handfuls all over the floor; and actually filled with nothing but wholesome precepts and the other at the same time made such a terrible din advice, I must therefore sometimes humour them in upon my counter with a hammer, that I grew half their own way. There are a set of great names in the distracted. I was just then about to make myself a province, who are the common objects of popular dislike. new suit of pinners, but in the fret and confusion I If I can now and then overcome my reluctance, and cut it quite out of all manner of shape, and utterly prevail with myself to satirise a little one of these gen- spoiled a piece of the first muslin. Pray, Sir, tell me tlemen, the expectation of meeting with such a grati- what I shall do, and talk a little against such unreafication will induce many to read me through, who sonable visiting in your next paper: though I would would otherwise proceed immediately to the foreign not have her affronted with me for a great deal, for

As I am very well assured the greatest men sincerely I love her and her children—as well, I think, among us have a sincere love for their country, not- as a neighbour can—and she buys a great many things withstanding its ingratitude, and the insinuations of in a year at my shop. But I would beg her to conthe envious and malicious to the contrary, so I doubt sider, that she uses me unmercifully, though I believe not but they will cheerfully tolerate me in the liberty it is only for want of thought. But I have twenty I design to take for the end above mentioned.

things more to tell you besides all this: there is a As yet I have but few correspondents, though they handsome gentleman that has a mind (I don't quesbegin now to increase. The following letter, left for tion) to make love to me; but he can't get the opporme at the printer's, is one of the first I have received, tunity to- -0 dear, here she comes again; I must which I regard the more for that it comes from one of conclude. Yours, &c.

PATIENCE.” (the fair sex, and because I have myself oftentimes suffered under the grievance therein complained of:- Indeed, it is well enough, as it happens, that she is To the Busy-Body.

come to shorten this complaint, which I think is full

long enough already, and probably would otherwise Sir,--You having set yourself up for a censuror have been as long again. However, I must confess, I morum (as I think you call it), which is said to mean cannot help pitying my correspondent's case, and in a reformer of manners, I know no person more proper her behalf, exhort the visitor to remember and conto be applied to for redress in all the grievances we sider the words of the wise man—" Withdraw thy foot

* [Too much of one thing is good for nothing.] from the house of thy neighbour, lest he grow weary

[ocr errors]


[blocks in formation]

of thee, and so hate thee.” It is, I believe, a nice thing, circumstances, characters, transactions, &c. which will and very difficult, to regulate our visits in such a man- be requisite to the perfecting and embellishment of the ner as never to give offence by coming too seldom, or said work, are desired to communicate the same to the too often, or departing too abruptly, or staying too author, and direct their letters to be left with the long. However, in my opinion, it is safest for most | printer hereof. people, in a general way, who are unwilling to dis- The letter signed “Would-be-something” is come to oblige, to visit seldom, and tarry but a little while in a hand. place; notwithstanding pressing invitations, which are many times insincere. And though more of your

The Busy-Body.- No. V. company should be really desired, yet, in this case, too

Vos, O patricius sanguis, quos vivere fas est, much reservedness is a fault more easily excused than

Occipiti cæco, posticæ occurrite sannæ !*-PERSIUS. the contrary. Men are subject to various inconveniences merely

This paper being designed for a terror to evil-doers, through lack of a small share of courage, which is a

as well as a praise to them that do well, I am lifted up quality very necessary in the common occurrences of with secret joy to find that my undertaking is aplife, as well as in a battle. How many impertinences proved and encouraged by the just and good, and that do we daily suffer with great uneasiness, because we

few are against me but those who have reason to fear have not courage enough to discover our dislike! And me. why may not a man use the boldness and freedom of

There are little follies in the behaviour of most men, telling his friends, that their long visits sometimes in which their best friends are too tender to acquaint commode him? On this occasion, it may be entertain them with; there are little vices and small crimes ing to some of my readers, if I acquaint them with the which the law has no regard to or remedy for: there Turkish manner of entertaining visitors, which I have are likewise great pieces of villany sometimes so craftily from an author of unquestionable veracity, who assures accomplished, and so circumspectly guarded, that the us, that even the Turks are not so ignorant of civility law can take no hold of the actors. All these things, and the arts of endearment, but that they can practise and all things of this nature, come within my province them with as much exactness as any other nation, when- as censor, and I am determined not to be negligent of ever they have a mind to show themselves obliging.

the trust I have reposed in myself, but resolve to exe“When you visit a person of quality,” says he, « and cute my office diligently and faithfully. have talked over your business, or the compliments, or

And that all the world may judge with how much huwhatever concern brought you thither, he makes a sign manity, as well as justice, I shall behave in this office to have things served in for the entertainment, which and that even my enemies may be convinced I take no is generally a little sweetmeat, a dish of sherbet, and delight to rake into the dunghill lives of vicious men; another of coffee; all which are immediately brought and to the end that certain persons may be a little in by the servants, and tendered to all the guests in cased of their fears, and relieved from the terrible palorder, with the greatest care and awfulness imaginable. pitations they have lately felt and suffered, and do still At last comes the finishing part of your entertainment, livion for all offences, crimes, and misdemeanours, of

sufferI hereby graciously pass an act of general obwhich is, perfuming the beards of the company what kind soever, committed from the beginning of the ceremony which is performed in this manner : have for the purpose a small silver chaffing dish, co- year 1681, until the day of the date of my first paper, vered with a lid full of holes, and fixed upon a hand- and promise only to concern myself with such as have some plate. In this they put some fresh coals, and been since and shall hereafter be committed. I shall upon them a piece of lignum aloes, and shutting it up; fraud and oppression, nor who by deceit and hypocrisy;

take no notice who has (heretofore) raised a fortune by the smoke immediately ascends with a grateful odour through the holes of the cover. This smoke is held what woman has been false to her good husband's bed, under every one's chin, and offered as it were a sacri- nor what man has, by barbároưs usage or neglect; fice to his beard. The bristly idol soon receives the broke the heart of a faithful wife, and wasted his health reverence done to it, and so greedily takes in and in- and substance in debauchery;.what base wretch has corporates the gummy steam, that it retains the savour betrayed his friend, and sold his honesty for gold; nor of it, and may serve for a nosegay a good while after.

what baser wretch first corrupted him, and then bought This ceremony may perhaps seem ridiculous at the bargain : all this, and much more of the same kind, first hearing; but it passes among the Turks for a

I shall forget, and pass over in silence; but then, it is high gratification. And I will say this in its vindica- to be observed, that I expect and require a sudden and tion, that its design is very wise and useful; for it is general amendment. understood to give a civil dismission to the visitants,

These threatenings of mine I hope will have a good intimating to them that the master of the house has effect, and if regarded, may prevent abundance of folly business to do, or some other avocation, that permits and wickedness in others, and at the same time save them to go away as soon as they please--and the me abundance of trouble: and that people may not sooner after this ceremony the better. By this means flatter themselves with the hopes of concealing their you may, at any time, without offence, deliver yourself

loose misdemeanours from my knowledge, and in that from being detained from your affairs by tedious and view persist in evil doing, I must acquaint them that I unseasonable visits; and from being constrained to use have lately entered into an intimacy with the extrathat piece of hypocrisy, so common in the world, of ordinary person who some time since wrote me the pressing those to stay longer with you, whom perhaps following letter ; and who, having a wonderful faculty in your heart you wish a great way off for having is capable of giving me great assistance in my designed

that enables him to discover the most secret iniquity, troubled you so long already."

Thus far my author. for my own part, I have work of reformation: taken such a fancy to this Turkish custom, that for the

“ Mr Busy-Body,,I rejoice, Sir, at the opportunity future I shall put something like it in practice. I have you have given me to be serviceable to you, and by provided a bottle of right French brandy for the men, your means to this province. You must know, that and citron water for the ladies. After Ì have treated such have been the circumstances of my life, and such with a dram, and presented a pinch of my best snuff, have not only a faculty of discovering the actions of

were the marvellous concurrences of my birth, that I I expect all company will retire, and leave me to pur- persons that are absent or asleep, but even of the devil sue my studies for the good of the public.

himself, in many of his secret workings, in the various Advertisement.

shapes, habits, and names of men and women: and I give notice, that I am now actually compiling, and having travelled and conversed much, and met with design to publish in a short time, the true history of but a verv few of the same perceptions and qualificathe rise, growth, and progress of the renowned Tiff * [Oye, whom men for lineal merit spare, Club. All persons who are acquainted with any facts,

Think of the force of contrast, and bewaro!)

[merged small][ocr errors]


THE BUSY-BODY. tions, I can recommend myself to you as the most rected, on receipt of this, to burn his great book of useful man you can correspond with. My father's Crudities. father's father (for we had no grandfathers in our P. S.--In compassion to that young man, on account family) was the same John Bunyan that writ that of the great pains he has taken, in consideration of the memorable book, The Pilgrim's Progress, who had in character I have just received of him that he is really some degree a natural faculty of second sight. This good natured, and on condition he shows it to ng faculty (how derived to him, our family memoirs are foreigner, or stranger of sense, I have thought fit to not very clear) was enjoyed by all his descendants, but reprieve his said great book of Crudities from the not by equal talents. It was very dim in several of my flames, till further order. first cousins, and probably had been nearly extinct in our particular branch, had not my father been a tra

Noli me tangere.* veller. He lived, in his youthful days, in New England. There he married, and there was born my elder brother,

I had resolved, when I first commenced this design, who had so much of this faculty as to discover witches on no account to enter into a public dispute with any in some of their occult performances. My parents man; for I judged it would be equally unpleasant to transporting themselves to Great Britain, my second me and my readers, to see this paper filled with conbrother's birth was in that kingdom. He shared but a tentious wrangling, answers, replies, &c., which is a way small portion of this virtue, being only able to discern of writing that is endless, and, at the same time, seldom transactions about the time of, and for the most part contains any thing that is either edifying or entertainafter, their happening. My good father, who delighted ing: Yet, when such a considerable man as Mr in the Pilgrim's Progress, and mountainous places, finds himself concerned so warmly to accuse and contook shipping with his wife for Scotland, and inhabited demn me, as he has done in Keimer's last Instructor, in the Highlands, where myself was born ; and whether I cannot forbear endeavouring to say something in my the soil, climate, or astral influences, of which are pre- could be given me by a man of worth. But as I have

own defence, from one of the worst of characters that Eerved divers prognostics, restored our ancestor's natural faculty of second sight in a greater lustre to me many things of more consequence to offer the public, than it had shined in through several generations, II declare that I will never, after this time, take notice will not here discuss. But so it is, that I am possessed of any accusations not better supported with truth and largely of it, and design, if you encourage the proposal, reason ; much less may every little scribbler that shall to take this opportunity of doing good with it, which i attack me, expect an answer from the Busy-body. question not will be accepted of in a grateful way by

The sum of the charge delivered against me, either many of your honest readers, though the discovery of directly or indirectly, in the said paper, is this—not to my extraction bodes me no deference from your great mention the first weighty sentence concerning vanity scholars and modern philosophers. This my father and ill-nature, and the shrewd intimation, that I am was long ago aware of, and lest the name alone should without charity, and therefore can have no pretence to hurt the fortunes of his children, he, in his shiftings religion, I am represented as guilty of defamation from one country to another, wisely changed it.

and scandal, the odiousness of which is apparent to Sir, I have only this farther to say, how I may be every good man, and the practice of it opposite to useful to you; and as a reason for my not making my- christianity, morality, and common justice-and, in self more known in the world, by virtue of this great some cases, so far below all these as to be inhuman; gift of nature, second-sightedness, I do continually see

as a blaster of reputations; as attempting, by a prenumbers of men, women, and children, of all ranks, and tence, to screen myself from the imputation of malice what they are doing, while I am sitting in my closet; and prejudice; as using a weapon which the wiser which is too great a burden for the mind, and makes and better part of mankind hold in abhorrence; and me also conceit, even against reason, that all this host as giving treatment which the wiser and better part of of people can see and observe me, which strongly in- mankind dislike on the same principles, and for the clines me to solitude, and an obscure living ; and on the same reason, as they do assassination, &c.; and all other hand, it will be an ease to me to disburden my this is inferred and concluded from a character I have thoughts and observations in the way proposed to you,

wrote in my Number III. by Sir, your friend and humble servant."

In order to examine the justice and truth of this I conceal this correspondent's name, in my care for heavy charge, let us recur to that character. And his life and safety, and cannot but approve his prudence here we may be surprised to find what a trifle has in choosing to live obscurely. I remember the fate of raised this mighty clamour and complaint, this grievous my poor monkey—he had an ill-natured trick of grin- accusation! The worst thing said of the person, in ning and chattering at every thing he saw in petticoats what is called my gross description (be he who he will -my ignorant country neighbours got a notion, that to whom my accuser has applied the character of Crepụg snarled by instinct at every female who had lost her tico) is, that he is a sour philosopher, crafty, but not virginity. This was no sooner generally believed, than wise. Few humane characters can be drawn that will he was condemned to death-by whom I could never

not fit some body, in so large a country as this; but learn; but he was assassinated in the ght-barba- one would think, supposing I meant Čretico a real rously stabbed and mangled in a thousand places, and person, I had sufficiently manifested my impartiality left hanging dead on one of my gate posts, where I when I said, in that very paragraph, that Cretico is not found him the next morning.

without virtue—that there are many good things in The censor-observing that the itch of scribbling him, and many good actions reported of him ; which begins to spead exceedingly, and being carefully tender must be allowed in all reason very much to overbalance of the reputation of his country, in point of wit and in his favour those worst words, sour-tempered and good sense — has determined to take all manner of cunning. Nay, my very enemy and accuser must have writings in verse or prose, that pretend to either, under been sensible of this, when he freely acknowledges that his immediate cognizance; and, accordingly, hereby he has been seriously considering, and cannot yet deprohibits the publishing any such for the future, tiil termine, which he would choose to be, the Cato or Čretico his imprimatur—for which he demands as a fee only the only reasons there given why I ought not to conthey have first passed his examination, and received of that paper-since my Cato is one of the best of

characters. Thus much in my own vindication. As to sixpence per sheet.

N. B.--He nevertheless permits to be published all tinue drawing characters, viz.-Why should any man's satirical remarks on the Busy-body, the above prohi- picture be published which he never sat for? or his bition notwithstanding, and without examination, or good name taken from him any more than his money requiring the said fees; which indulgence the small or possessions, at the arbitrary will of another? &c. wits, in and about this city, are advised gratefully to I have but this to answer :--the money or possessions, accept and acknowledge.

I presume, are nothing to the purpose ; since no man The gentleman who calls himself Sirronio, is di

*[Touch me not.)

[blocks in formation]
[merged small][ocr errors]

can claim a right either to those or a good name, if he give their opinion of the thing wrote. This ungenerous has acted so as to forfeit them. And are not the public way of proceeding I was well aware of before I pubthe only judges what share of reputation they think lished my first speculation, and therefore concealed proper to allow any man! Supposing I was capable, my name. And I appeal to the more generous part and had an inclination, to draw all the good and bad of the world, if I have, since I appeared in the characcharacters in America, why should a good man be of- ter of the Busy-body, given an instance of my siding fended with me for drawing good characters? And if with any party more than another, in the unhappy I draw ill ones, can they fit any but those that deserve divisions of my country; and I have, above all, this them? And ought any but such to be concerned that satisfaction in myself, that neither affection, aversion, they have their deserts! I have as great an aversion or interest, have biassed me to use any partiality toand abhorrence for defamation and scandal as any wards any man, or set of men; but whatsoever I find man, and would, with the utmost care, avoid being nonsensical

, ridiculous, or immorally dishonest, I have, guilty of such base things; besides, I am very sensible and shall continue openly to attack, with the freedom and certain, that if I should make use of this paper to of an honest man and a lover of my country. defame any person, my reputation would be sooner I profess I can hardly contain myself, or preserve hurt by it than his, and the Busy-body would quickly the gravity and dignity that should attend the censobecome detestable; because, in such a case, as is justly rial office, when I hear the odd and unaccountable exobserved, the pleasure arising from a tale of wit and positions that are put upon some of my works, through novelty soon dies away in generous and honest minds, the malicious ignorance of some, and the vain pride of and is followed with a secret grief to see their neigh- more than ordinary penetration in others; one instance bours calumniated. But if I yself was actually the of which many of my readers are acquainted with. A worst man in the province, and any one should draw certain gentleman has taken a great deal of pains to my true character, would it not be ridiculous in me write a key to the letter in my Number IV., wherein to say he had defamed and scandalised me, unless he he has ingeniously converted a gentle satire upon tehad added in a matter of truth? If any thing is meant dious and impertinent visitants into a libel on some of by asking, why any man's picture should be published the government. This I mention only as a specimen which he never sat for, it must be, that we should of the taste of the gentleman; I am, forsooth, bound give no character without the owner's consent. If I to please in my speculations, not that I suppose my discern the wolf disguised in harmless wool, and con- impartiality will ever be called in question on that actriving the destruction of my neighbour's sheep, must count. Injustices of this nature I could complain of I have his permission before I am allowed to discover in many instances; but I am at present diverted by and prevent him? If I know a man to be a designing the reception of a letter, which, though it regards me knave, must I ask his consent to bid my friends beware only in my private capacity as an adept, yet I venof him? If so, then, by the same rule, supposing the ture to publish it for the entertainment of my readers. Busy-body had really merited all his enemy had charged him with, his consent likewise ought to have

To Censor Morum, Esq. Busy-body General of the Probeen obtained, before so terrible an accusation was

vince of Pennsylvania, and the Counties of Newcastle,

Kent, and Sussex, upon Delaware. published against him.

I shall conclude with observing, that in the last HONOURABLE SIR, I judge by your lucubrations, paragraph save one of the piece now examined, much that you are not only a lover of truth and equity, but ill-nature and some good sense are co-inhabitants (as a man of parts and learning, and a master of science : he expresses it). The ill-nature appears in his en- as such I honour you. Know then, most profound Sir, deavouring to discover satire where I intended no that I have, from my youth up, been a very indefatisuch thing, but quite the reverse the good sense is gable student in, and admirer of, that divine science, this, that drawing too good a character of any one is a astrology. I have read over Scot, Albertus Magnus, refined manner of satire, that may be as injurious to and Cornelius Agrippa, above three hundred times ; him as the contrary, by bringing on an examination and was in hopes, by my knowledge and industry, to that undresses the person, and in the haste of doing it, gain enough to have recompensed me for my money he may happen to be stript of what he really owns and expended and time lost in the pursuit of this learning. deserves. As I am censor, I might punish the last; You cannot be ignorant, Sir (for your intimate secondbut I forgive it. Yet I will not leave the latter unre- sighted correspondent knows all things), that there are warded, but assure my adversary, that in consideration large sums of money hidden under ground in divers of the merit of those four lines, I am resolved to for- places about this town, and in many parts of the counbear injuring him on any account in that refined try; but alas, Sir, notwithstanding I have used all the

means laid down in the immortal authors before mentionI thank my neighbour, P- - W-l, for his kind ed—and, when they failed, the ingenious Mr P-2-1, letter.

with his mercurial wand and magnet-I have still failed The lions complained of shall be muzzled.

in my purpose. This, therefore, I send, to propose and desire an acquaintance with you, and I do not doubt,

notwithstanding my repeated' ill fortune, but we may The Busy-Body.No. VIII.

be exceedingly serviceable to each other in our disco

veries ; and that if we use our united endeavours, the Quid non mortalia pectora cogis,

time will come when the Busy-body, his second-sighted

correspondent, and your very humble servant, will be One of the greatest pleasures an author can have, is three of the richest men in the province: and then, Sir, certainly the hearing his works applauded. The hid- what may we not do? A word to the wise is sufficient. ing from the world our names, while we publish our I conclude, with all demonstrable respect, yours and thoughts, is so absolutely necessary to this self-grati- Urania’s votary,

TITAN PLEIADES.” fication, that I hope my well-wishers will congratulate me on my escape from the many diligent but fruitless

In the evening after I had received this letter, I inquiries, that have of late been made after me. Every made a visit to my second-sighted friend, and commuman will own that an author, as such, ought to be hid nicated to him the proposal. When he had read it, by the merit of his productions only; but pride, party, he assured me that, to his certain knowledge, there is and prejudice, at this time run so very high, that ex- not at this time so much as one ounce of silver or gold perience shows we forın our notions of a piece by the hid under ground in any part of this province; for character of the author. Nay, there are some very that the late and present scarcity of money had obliged humble politicians in and about this city, who will ask those who were living, and knew where they had foron which side the writer is, before they presume to merly hid any, to take it up, and use it in their own * [ To what accursed thirst of gain

necessary affairs: and as to all the rest which was Wilt thou not human brcasts constrain!]

buried by pirates and others in old times, who wero


Auri sacra fames ?*_VIRGIL.

[ocr errors]


[blocks in formation]

never like to come for it, he himself had long since will in a few days' time amount to a pistole ; and let dug it all up, and applied it to charitable uses ; and Faber think the same of every small nail he drives, or this he desired me to publish for the general good. every stroke with his plane. Such thoughts may make For, as he acquainted me, there are among us great them industrious, and, of consequence, in time they may numbers of honest artificers and labouring people, who, bo wealthy. But how absurd is it to neglect a certain fed with a vain hope of growing suddenly rich, neglect profit for such a ridiculous whimsey—to spend whole their business, almost to the ruining of themselves and days at the George, in company with an idle pretender families, and voluntarily endure abundance of fatigue, to astrology, contriving schemes to discover what was in a fruitless search after imaginary hidden treasure. never hidden, and forgetful how carelessly business is They wander through the woods and bushes by day to managed at home in their absence—to leave their wives discover the marks and signs-at midnight they repair and a warm bed at midnight (no matter if it rain, hail, to the hopeful spots with spades and pickaxes—full of snow, or blow a hurricane, provided that be the critical expectation, they labour violently, trembling at the hour), and fatigue themselves with the violent exercise same time in every joint, through fear of certain mali- of digging for what they shall never find, and perhaps cious demons who are said to haunt and guard such getting a cold that may cost their lives, or at least displaces. At length a mighty hole is dug, and perhaps ordering themselves so as to be fit for no business beseveral cartloads of earth thrown out; but, alas, no side for some time after. Surely this is nothing less cag or iron pot is found ! no seamen’s chest crammed than the most egregious folly and madness. with Spanish pistoles, or weighty pieces of eight! Then I shall conclude with the words of my discreet friend, they conclude, that through some mistake in the pro- Agricola, of Chester county, when he gave his son a cedure, some rash word spoke, or some rule of art ne- good plantation :-“My son,” says he, “I give thee glected, the guardian spirit had power to sink it deeper now a valuable parcel of land; I assure thee I have into the earth, and convey it out of their reach. Yet, found a considerable quantity of gold by digging there; when a man is once thus infatuated, he is so far from thee mayst do the same; but thee must carefully obé being discouraged by ill success, that he is rather ani- serve this, never to dig more than plough deep." mated to double his industry, and will try again and again in a hundred different places, in hopes at last of meeting with some lucky hit that shall at once sufficiently reward himn for all his expense of time and

ON EARLY MARRIAGES. labour. This odd humour of digging for money, through a

To John Alleyn, Esq. belief that much has been hid by pirates formerly fre- DEAR Jack,-You desire, you say, my impartial quenting the river, has for several years been mighty thoughts on the subject of an early marriage, by way prevalent among us, insomuch that you can hardly of answer to the numberless objections that have been walk half a mile out of the town on any side, without made by numerous persons to your own. You may observing several pits dug with that design, and per- remember, when you consulted me on the occasion, haps some lately opened. Men, otherwise of very good that I thought youth on both sides to be no objection. sense, have been drawn into this practice, through an Indeed, from the marriages that have fallen under my overweening desire of sudden wealth, and an easy cre- f observation, I am rather inclined to think that early dulity of what they so earnestly wished might be true, ones stand the best chance of happiness. The temper while the rational and almost certain methods of ac- and habits of the young are not yet become so stiff quiring riches by industry and frugality are neglected and uncomplying, as when more advanced in life or forgotten. There seems to be some peculiar charm they form more easily to each other; and hence many in the conceit of finding money; and if the sands of occasions of disgust are removed. And if youth has Schuylkil were so much mixed with small grains of less of that prudence which is necessary to manage a gold that a man might in a day's time, with care and family, yet the parents and elder friends of young marapplication, get together to the value of half-a-crown, ried persons are generally at hand to offer their adI make no question but we should find several people vice, which amply supplies that defect; and, by early employed there, that can with ease earn five shillings marriages, youth is sooner formed to regular and usca-day at their proper trades.

ful life; and possibly some of those accidents, or conMany are the idle stories told of the private success nections, that might have injured the constitution, of some people, by which others are encouraged to or reputation, or both, are hereby happily prevented. proceed; and the astrologers, with whom the country Particular circumstances of particular persons may swarms at this time, are either in the belief of these possibly sometimes make it prudent to delay entering things themselves, or find their advantage in persuad- into that state; but in general, when nature has rening others to believe them; for they are often consulted dered our bodies fit for it, the presumption is in nature's about the critical times for digging, the methods of favour that she has not judged amiss in making us laying the spirit, and the like whimsies, which renders desire it. Late marriages are often attended, too, with them very necessary to, and very much caressed by, this farther inconvenience, that there is not the same the poor deluded mo money-hunters.

chance that the parents should live to see their offspring There is certainly something very bewitching in the educated. “Late children,” says the Spanish proverb, pursuit after mines of gold and silver, and other valu-" are early orphans.” A melancholy reflection to those able metals, and many have been ruined by it. A sea- whose case it may be! With us in America, marriages captain of my acquaintance used to blame the English are generally in the morning of life; our children are for envying Spain their mines of silver, and too much therefore educated and settled in the world by noon: despising or overlooking the advantages of their own and thus, our business being done, we have an afterindustry and manufactures. “For my part,” says he, noon and evening of cheerful leisure to ourselves, such “ I esteem the banks of Newfoundland to be a more as our friend at present enjoys. By these early marvaluable possession than the mountains of Potosi ; and riages, we are blessed with more children; and from when I have been there on the fishing account, have the mode among us founded by nature, of every mother looked upon every cod pulled up into the vessel as a cer- suckling and nursing her own child, more of them are tain quantity of silver ore, which required only carry- raised. Thence the swift progress of population among ing to the next Spanish port to be coined into pieces of us, unparalleled in Europe. In fine, I am glad you eight—not to mention the national profit of fitting out are married, and congratulate you most cordially upon and employing such a number of ships and seamen." Let it. You are now in the way of becoming a useful citihonest Peter Buckram, who has long without success zen; and you have escaped the unnatural state of celibeen a searcher after hidden money, reflect on this, and bacy for life—the fate of many here who never intended be reclaimed from that unaccountable folly. Let him it, but who having too long postponed the change of consider, that every stitch ho takes when he is on his their conditions, find at length that it is too late to shop-board is picking up a part of a grain of gold, that think of it, and so live all their lives in a situation that

« AnteriorContinua »