Page images

When I employ myself upon a paper of morality, I generally consider how I may recommend the particular virtue which I treat of, by the precepts or examples of the ancient heathens; by that means, if possible, to shame those who have greater advantages of knowing their duty, and therefore greater obligations to perform it, into a better course of life; besides, that many among us are unreasonably disposed to give a fairer hearing to a Pagan philosopher than to a Christian writer.

is as unjust in his dealings as he who takes up goods of a tradesman without intention or ability to pay him. Of the few of the class which I think fit to consider, there are not two in ten who succeed, insomuch that I know a man of good sense who put his son to a blacksmith, though an offer was made him of his being received as a page to a man of quality. There are not more cripples come out of the wars than there are from those great services; some through discontent lose their speech, some their memories, others their senses, or their lives; and I seldom see a man thoroughly discontented, but I conclude he has had the favour of some great man. I have known of such as have been for twenty years together within a month of a good employment, but never arrived at the happiness of being possessed of any thing.

I shall, therefore, produce an instance of this excellent frame of mind in a speech of Socrates, which is quoted by Erasmus. This great philosopher on the day of his execution, a little before the draught of poison was brought to him, entertaining his friends with a discourse on the immortality of the soul, has these words: "Whether or no God will approve of my actions, I know not; but this I am sure of, that I have at all times made it my endeavour to please him, and I have a good hope that this my endeavour will be accepted by him." We find in these words of that great man the habitual good intention which I would here incul-suited, even in matters which concern yourself; cate, and with which that divine philosopher always acted. I shall only add, that Erasmus, who was an unbigoted Roman catholic, was so much transported with this passage of Socrates, that he could scarce forbear looking upon him as a saint, and desiring him to pray for him; or as that ingenious and learned writer has expressed himself in a much more lively manner; "When I reflect on such a speech, pronounced by such a person, I can scarce forbear crying out, Sancte Socrates, ora pro nobis:' O holy Socrates, pray for us."-L.

No. 214.1 MONDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 1711.
-Perierunt tempora longi

Juv. Sat. iii. 124.
A long dependance in an hour is lost.-DRYden.
I DID Some time ago lay before the world the un-
happy condition of the trading part of mankind,
who suffer by want of punctuality in the dealings
of persons above them; but there is a set of men
who are much more the objects of compassion than
even those, and these are the dependants on great
men, whom they are pleased to take under their
protection as such as are to share in their friendship
and favour. These indeed, as well from the homage
that is accepted from them, as the hopes which are
given to them, are become a sort of creditors: and
these debts, being debts of honour, ought, according
to the accustomed maxim, to be first discharged.

When I speak of dependants, I would not be understood to mean those who are worthless in themselves, or who, without any call, will press into the company of their betters. Nor, when I speak of patrons, do I mean those who either have it not in their power, or have no obligation to assist their friends; but I speak of such leagues where there is power and obligation on the one part, and merit and expectation on the other.

There is nothing more ordinary, than that a man, who has got into a considerable station, shall immediately alter his manner of treating all his friends, and from that moment he is to deal with you as if he wêre your fate. You are no longer to be conbut your patron is of a species above you, and a free communication with you is not to be expected. This, perhaps, may be your condition all the while he bears office; and when that is at an end, you are as intimate as ever you were, and he will take it very ill if you keep the distance he prescribed you towards him in his grandeur. One would think this should be a behaviour a man could fall into with the worst grace imaginable; but they who know the world have seen it more than once. I have often, with secret pity, heard the same man who has professed his abhorrence against all kind of passive behaviour, lose minutes, hours, days, and years, in a fruitless attendance on one who had no inclination to befriend him. It is very much to be regretted, that the great have one particular privilege above the rest of the world, of being slow in receiving impressions of kindness, and quick in taking offence. The elevation above the rest of mankind, except in very great minds, makes men so giddy, that they do not see after the same manner they did before. Thus they despise their old friends, and strive to extend their interests to new pretenders. By this means it often happens, that when you come to know how you lost such an employment, you will find the man who got it never dreamed of it; but, forsooth, he was to be surprised into it, or perhaps solicited to receive it. Upon such occasions as these a man may perhaps grow out of humour. If you are so, all mankind will fall in with the patron, and you are a humourist and untractable if you are capable of being sour at a disappointment: but it is the same thing whether you do or do not resent ill-usage, you will be used after the same manner; as some good mothers will be sure to whip their children till they cry, and then whip them for crying.

There are but two ways of doing any thing with great people, and those are by making yourself either considerable or agreeable. The former is not to be attained but by finding a way to live withThe division of patron and client, may, I believe, out them, or concealing that you want them; the include a third of our nation: the want of merit and latter is only by falling into their taste and pleareal worth in the client, will strike out about ninety-sures. This is, of all the employments in the world, nine in a hundred of these; and the want of ability in patrons, as many of that kind. But, however, I must beg leave to say, that he who will take up another's time and fortune in his service, though he has no prospect of rewarding his merit towards him,

the most servile, except it happens to be of your own natural humour. For to be agreeable to another, especially if he be above you, is not to be pos

• These.

sessed of such qualities and accomplishments as should render you agreeable in yourself, but such as make you agreeable in respect to him. An imitation of his faults, or a compliance, if not subservience to his vices, must be the measure of your conduct.

When it comes to that, the unnatural state a man lives in, when his patron pleases, is ended; and his guilt and complaisance are objected to him, though the man who rejects him for his vices was not only his partner, but seducer. Thus the client (like a young woman who has given up the innocence which made her charming) has not only lost his time, but also the virtue which could render him capable of resenting the injury which is done him.

which Aristotle has brought to explain his doctrine of substantial forms, when he tells us that a statue lies hid in a block of marble; and that the art of the statuary only clears away the superfluous matter, and removes the rubbish. The figure is in stone, the sculptor only finds it. What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul. The philosopher, the saint, or the hero, the wise, the good, or the great man, very often lie hid and concealed in a plebeian, which a proper education might have disinterred, and have brought to light. I am, therefore, much delighted with reading the accounts of savage nations, and with contemplating those virtues which are wild and uncultivated; to see courage exerting itself in fierceness, resolution It would be endless to recount the tricks of turn-in obstinacy, wisdom in cunning, patience in sullening you off from themselves to persons who have less power to serve you, the art of being sorry for such an unaccountable accident in your behaviour, that such a one (who, perhaps, has never heard of yon) opposes your advancement; and if you have any thing more than ordinary in you, you are flattered with a whisper, that it is no wonder people are so slow in doing for a man of your talents, and the like.

ness and despair.

Men's passions operate variously, and appear in different kinds of actions, according as they are more or less rectified and swayed by reason. When one hears of negroes, who upon the death of their masters, or upon changing their service, hang themselves upon the next tree, as it frequently happens in our Americau plantations, who can forbear admiring their fidelity, though it expresses itself in so dreadful a manner? What might not that savage greatness of soul which appears in these poor wretches on many occasions be raised to, were it

After all this treatment, I must still add the pleasantest insolence of all, which I have once or twice seen; to wit, that when a silly rogue has thrown away one part in three of his life in unprofit-rightly cultivated? And what colour of excuse can able attendance, it is taken wonderfully ill that he withdraws, and is resolved to employ the rest for himself.

When we consider these things, and reflect upon so many honest natures (which one, who makes observation of what passes, may have seen) that have miscarried by such sort of applications, it is too melancholy a scene to dwell upon; therefore I shall take another opportunity to discourse of good patrons, and distinguish such as have done their duty to those who have depended upon them, and were not able to act without their favour. Worthy patrons are like Plato's Guardian Angels, who are always doing good to their wards; but negligent patrons are like Epicurus's gods, that lie lolling on the clouds, and, instead of blessings, pour down storms and tempests on the heads of those that are offering incense to them.* T

No. 215.] TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 1711.
-Ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes
Emollit mores, nec sinit esse feros.

OVID, de Ponto, II. ix. 47.
Ingenuous arts, where they an entrance find,
Soften the manners, and subdue the mind.

I CONSIDER a human soul without education like marble in the quarry, which shows none of its inherent beauties, until the skill of the polisher fetches out the colours, makes the surface shine, and discovers every ornamental cloud, spot, and vein that runs through the body of it. Education, after the same manner, when it works upon a noble mind, draws out to view every latent virtue and perfection, which without such helps are never able to make their appearance.

If my reader will give me leave to change the allusion so soon upon him, I shall make use of the same instance to illustrate the force of education,

• The Spectator has not justly represented here the gods of Epicurus they were supposed to be indolent and uninterested in the affairs of men, but not malignant or cruel beings.

there be for the contempt with which we treat this part of our species? that we should not put them upon the common foot of humanity; that we should only set an insignificant fine upon the man who murders them; nay, that we should, as much as in us lies, cut them off from the prospect of happiness in another world as well as in this, and deny them that which we look upon as the proper means for attaining it?

Since I am engaged on this subject, I cannot for. bear mentioning a story which I have lately heard, and which is so well attested, that I have no manner of reason to suspect the truth of it. I may call it a kind of wild tragedy that passed about twelve years ago at St. Christopher's, one of our British Leeward islands. The negroes who were the persons concerned in it, were all of them the slaves of a gentleman, who is now in England.

This gentleman, among his negroes, had a young woman, who was looked upon as a most extraordinary beauty by those of her own complexion. He had at the same time two young fellows, who were likewise negroes and slaves, remarkable for the comeliness of their persons, and for the friendship which they bore to one another. It unfortunately happened that both of them fell in love with the female negro above mentioned, who would have been very glad to have taken either of them for her husband, provided they would agree between themselves which should be the man, But they were both so passionately in love with her, that neither of them would think of giving her up to his rival.; and at the same time were so true to one another, that neither of them would think of gaining her without his friend's consent. The torments of these two lovers were the discourse of the family to which they belonged, who could not forbear observing the strange complication of passions which perplexed the hearts of the poor negroes, that often dropped expressions of the uneasiness they underwent, and how impossible it was for either of them ever to be happy.

After a long struggle between love and friendship,

truth and jealousy, they one day took a walk to- No. 216.] WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 1711,

gether into a wood, carrying their mistress along with them where, after abundance of lamentations, they stabbed her to the heart, of which she immediately died. A slave who was at his work not far from the place where this astonishing piece of cruelty was committed, hearing the shrieks of the dying person, ran to see what was the occasion of them. He there discovered the woman lying dead upon the ground, with the two negroes on each side of her, kissing the dead corpse, weeping over it, and beating their breasts in the utmost agonies of grief and despair He immediately ran to the English family with the news of what he had seen; who, upon coming to the place, saw the woman dead, and the two negroes expiring by her with wounds they had given themselves.

We see in this amazing instance of barbarity, what strange disorders are bred in the minds of those men whose passions are not regulated by virtue, and disciplined by reason. Though the action which I have recited is in itself full of guilt and horror, it proceeded from a temper of mind which might have produced very noble fruits, had it been informed and guided by a suitable education.

It is therefore an unspeakable blessing to be born in those parts of the world where wisdom and knowledge flourish; though it must be confessed, there are, even in these parts, several poor uninstructed persons, who are but little above the inhabitants of those nations of which I have been here speaking; as those who have had the advantage of a more liberal education rise above one another by several different degrees of perfection. For, to return to our statue in the block of marble, we see it sometimes only begun to be chipped, sometimes roughhewn, and but just sketched into a human figure; sometimes we see the man appearing distinctly in all his limbs and features, sometimes we find the figure wrought up to a great elegancy, but seldom meet with any to which the hand of a Phidias or Praxiteles could not give several nice touches and finishings.

Discourses of morality, and reflections upon human nature, are the best means we can make use of to improve our minds, and gain a true knowledge of ourselves, and consequently to recover our souls out of the vice, ignorance, and prejudice, which naturally cleave to them. I have all along professed myself in this paper a promoter of these great ends; and I flatter myself that I do from day to day contribute something to the polishing of men's minds at least my design is laudable, whatever the execution may be. I must confess I am not a little encouraged in it by many letters which I receive from unknown hands, in approbation of my endeavours; and must take this opportunity of returning my thanks to those who write them, and excusing myself for not inserting several of them in my papers, which I am sensible would be a very great ornament to them, Should I publish the praises which are so well penned, they would do honour to the persons who write them, but my publishing of them would, I fear, be a sufficient instance to the world that I did not deserve them.-C.

Siquidem hercle possis, nil prius, neque fortius.
Verum si incipies, neque perficies naviter,
Atque, ubi pati non poteris, cum nemo expetci,
Infecta pace, ultro ad eam venies, indicans
Te amare, et ferre non posse: actum est, ilicet,
Peristi eludet, ubi te victum senserit.
TER. Eun. act i. sc. 1.

O brave! oh excellent! if you maintain it!
But if you try, and can't go through with spirit,
And finding you can't bear it, uninvited,
Your peace unmade, all of your own accord,
You come and swear you love, and can't endure it,
Good night' all's over! ruin'd! and undone !
She'll jilt you, when she sees you in her power.


"SIR, "THIS is to inform you, that Mr. Freeman had no sooner taken coach, but his lady was taken with a terrible fit of the vapours, which it is feared will make her miscarry, if not endanger her life; therefore, dear Sir, if you know of any receipt that is good against this fashionable reigning distemper, be pleased to communicate it for the good of the public, and you will oblige Yours,



"The uproar was so great as soon as I had read the Spectator concerning Mrs. Freeman, that after many revolutions in her temper, of raging, swooning, railing, fainting, pitying herself, and reviling her husband, upon an accidental coming in of a neighbouring lady (who says she has writ to you also), she had nothing left for it but to fall into a fit. I had the honour to read the paper to her, and have pretty good command of countenance and temper on such occasions; and soon found my historical name to be Tom Meggot in your writings, but concealed myself until I saw how it affected Mrs. Freeman. She looked frequently at her husband, as often at me; and she did not tremble as she filled tea, until she came to the circumstance of Arm strong's writing out a piece of Tully for an opera tune. Then she burst out, she was exposed, she was deceived, she was wronged and abused. The tea-cup was thrown into the fire; and without taking vengeance on her spouse, she said to me, that I was a pretending coxcomb, a meddler that knew not what it was to interpose in so nice an affair as between a man and his wife. To which Mr. Freeman: Madam, were I less fond of you than I am, I should not have taken this way of writing to the Spectator to inform a woman, whom God and nature has placed under my direction, with what I request of her; but since you are so indiscreet as not to take the hint which I gave you in that paper, I must tell you, Madam, in so many words, that you have for a long and tedious space of time acted a part unsuitable to the sense you ought to have of the subordination in which you are placed. And I must acquaint you, once for all, that the fellow without'-Ha, Tom!'-(here the footman entered and answered, Madam) Sirrah, don't you know my voice? Look upon me when I speak to you.'-'I say, Madam, this fellow here is to know of me myself, whether I am at leisure to see company or not. I am from this hour master of this house; and my business in it, and every where else, is to behave myself in such a manner, as it shall be hereafter an honour to you to bear my name; and your pride that you are the delight, the darling, and ornament of a man of honour, useful and esteemed by his friends; and I no longer one that has buried

-Tune fœmina simplex,

Et pariter toto repetitur clamor ab antro

Juv. Sat. vi. 326.

Then unrestrain'd by rules of decency, Th' assembled females raise a general cry letters from my correspondents. The first of them I SHALL entertain my reader to-day with some is the description of a club, whether real or imaginary I cannot determine; but am apt to fancy, that the writer of it, whoever she is, has formed a kind of nocturnal orgie out of her own fancy. Whether this be so or not, her letter may conduce to the amendment of that kind of persons who are represented in it, and whose characters are frequent enough in the world.


"In some of your first papers you were pleased.

some merit in the world, in compliance to a froward No. 217.] THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 1711. humour which has grown upon an agreeable woman by his indulgence. Mr. Freeman ended this with a tenderness in his aspect, and a downcast eye, which showed he was extremely moved at the anguish he saw her in; for she sat swelling with passion, and her eyes firmly fixed on the fire; when 1, fearing he would lose all again, took upon me to provoke her out of that amiable sorrow she was in, to fall upon me; upon which I said very seasonably for my friend, that indeed Mr. Freeman was become the common talk of the town; and that nothing was so much a jest, as when it was said in company, Mr. Freeman had promised to come to such a place. Upon which the good lady turned her softness into downright rage, and threw the scalding tea-kettle upon your humble servant, flew into the middle of the room, and cried out she was the unfortunatest of all women. Others kept family dissatisfactions for hours of privacy and retirement. No apology to give the public a very diverting account of several was to be made to her, no expedient to be found, no previous manner of breaking what was amiss in her; but all the world was to be acquainted with her errors, without the least admonition. Mr. Freeman was going to make a softening speech, but I interposed: Look you, Madam, I have nothing to say to this matter, but you ought to consider you are now past a chicken; this humour, which was well enough in a girl, is insufferable in one of your motherly character.' With that she lost all patience, and flew directly at her husband's periwig. I got her in my arms, and defended my friend; he making signs at the same time that it was too much; I beckoning, nodding, and frowning over her shoulder, that he was lost it he did not persist. In this manner we flew round and round the room in a moment, until the lady I spoke of above and servants entered; upon which she fell upon the couch as breathless. I still kept up my friend: but he, with a very silly air, bid them bring the coach to the door, and we went off; I being forced to bid the coachman drive on. We were no sooner come to my lodgings, but all his wife's relations came to inquire after him; and Mrs. Freeman's mother writ a note, wherein she thought never to have seen this day, and so forth.

"In a word, Sir, I am afraid we are upon a thing we have no talents for; and I can observe already, my friend looks upon me rather as a man that knows a weakness of him that he is ashamed of, than one who has rescued him from slavery. Mr. Spectator, I am but a young fellow, and if Mr. Freeman submits, I shall be looked upon as an incendiary, and never get a wife as long as I breathe. He has indeed sent word home he shall lie at Hampstead to-night; but I believe fear of the first onset after this rupture has too great a place in this resolution. Mrs. Freeman has a very pretty sister; suppose I delivered him up, and articled with her mother for her bringing him home. If he has not courage to stand it (you are a great casuist), is it such an ill thing to bring myself off as well as I can? What makes me doubt my man is, that I find he thinks it reasonable to expostulate at least with her? and Captain Sentry will tell you, if you let your orders be disputed, you are no longer a commander. I wish you could advise me how to get clear of this business handsomely. Yours, "TOM MEGGOT."


[ocr errors]

clubs and nocturnal assemblies; but I am a member of a society which has wholly escaped your notice, I mean a club of She-Romps. We take each a hackney-coach, and meet once a week in a large upper-chamber, which we hire by the year for that purpose; our landlord and his family, who are quiet people, constantly contriving to be abroad on our club-night. We are no sooner come together, than we throw off all that modesty and reservedness with which our sex are obliged to disguise themselves in public places. I am not able to express the pleasure we enjoy from ten at night till four in the morning, in being as rude as you men can be for your lives. As our play runs high, the room is immediately filled with broken fans, torn petticoats, lappets, or head-dresses, flounces, furbelows, garters, and working-aprons. I had forgot to tell you at first, that besides the coaches we come in ourselves, there is one which stands always empty to carry off our dead men, for so we call all those fragments and tatters with which the room is strewed, and which we pack up together in bundles, and put into the aforesaid coach. It is no small diversion for us to meet the next night at some member's chamber, where every one is to pick out what belongs to her from this confused bundle of silks, stuffs, laces, and ribands. I have hitherto given you an account of our diversion on ordinary club-nights; but must acquaint you further, that once a month we demolish a prude, that is, we get some queer formal creature in among us, and unrig her in an instant. Our last month's prude was so armed and fortified in whalebone and buckram, that we had much ado to come at her; but you would have died with laughing to have seen how the sober awkward thing looked when she was forced out of her intrenchments. In short, Sir, it is impossible to give you a true notion of our sport, unless you would come one night amongst us; and though it be directly against the rules of our society to admit a male visitant, we repose so much confidence in your silence and taciturnity, that it was agreed by the whole club, at our last meeting, to give you entrance for one night as a Spectator.

"I am your humble Servant, "KITTY TERMAGANT. "P.S. We shall demolish a prude next Thursday." Though I thank Kitty for her kind offer, I do not at present find in myself any inclination to venture my person with her and her romping companions. I should regard myself as a second Clodius in

truding on the mysterious rites of the Bona Dea, and should apprehend being demolished as much as the prude.

The following letter comes from a gentleman, whose taste I find is much too delicate to endure the least advance towards romping. I may perhaps hereafter improve upon the hint he has given me, and make it the subject of a whole Spectator; in the mean time take it as it follows in his own words:


"It is my misfortune to be in love with a young creature who is daily committing faults, which, though they give me the utmost uneasiness, I know not how to reprove her for, or even acquaint her with. She is pretty, dresses well, is rich, and goodhumoured; but either wholly neglects, or has no notion of that which polite people have agreed to distinguish by the name of delicacy. After our return from a walk the other day she threw herself into an elbow-chair, and professed before a large company, that she was all over in a sweat. She told me this afternoon that her stomach ached; and was complaining yesterday at dinner of something that stuck in her teeth. I treated her with a basket of fruit last summer, which she ate so very greedily, as almost made me resolve never to see her more. In short, Sir, I begin to tremble whenever I see her about to speak or move. As she does not want sense, if she takes these hints I am happy; if not, I am more than afraid, that these things which shock me even in the behaviour of a mistress, will appear insupportable in that of a wife.

were talking of the Spectator. One said, he had that morning drawn the great benefit ticket; another wished he had; but a third shaked his head and said, It was a pity that the writer of that paper was such a sort of man, that it was no great matter whether he had it or no. He is, it seems, said the good man, the most extravagant creature in the world; has run through vast sums, and yet been in continual want: a man, for all he talks so well of economy, unfit for any of the offices of life by reason of his profuseness. It would be an unhappy thing to be his wife, his child, or his friend; and yet he talks as well of those duties of life as any Much reflection has brought me to so easy one. a contempt for every thing which is false, that this heavy accusation gave me no manner of uneasiness; but at the same time it threw me into deep thought upon the subject of fame in general; and I could not but pity such as were so weak, as to value what the common people say out of their own talkative temper to the advantage or diminution of those whom they mention, without being moved either by malice or good-will. It will be too long to expa tiate upon the sense all mankind have of fame, and the inexpressible pleasure which there is in the approbation of worthy men, to all who are capable of worthy actions; but methinks one may divide the general werd fame, into three different species, as it regards the different orders of mankind who have any thing to do with it. Fame therefore may be tation, which is preserved by every gentleman; and divided into glory, which respects the hero; repucredit, which must be supported by every tradesman. These possessions in fame are dearer than life to those characters of men, or rather are the life of these characters. Glory, while the hero pursues great and noble enterprises, is impregnable; and all the assailants of his renown do but show their "I am happily arrived at a state of tranquillity, pain and impatience of its brightness, without which few people envy, I mean that of an old maid: throwing the least shade upon it. If the foundation therefore being wholly unconcerned in all that of a high name be virtue and service, all that is medley of follies which our sex is apt to contract offered against it is but rumour, which is too shortfrom their silly fondness of yours, I read your rail-lived to stand up in competition with glory, which leries on us without provocation. I can say with is everlasting. Hamlet,

"I am, Sir, yours," &c. My next letter comes from a correspondent whom I cannot but very much value, upon the account which she gives of herself.


[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

Reputation, which is the portion of every man who would live with the elegant and knowing part of mankind, is as stable as glory, if it be as well founded; and the common cause of human society is thought concerned when we hear a man of good behaviour calumniated. Besides which, according to a prevailing custom among us, every man has his defence in his own arm; and reproach is soon checked, put out of countenance, and overtaken by disgrace.

The most unhappy of all men, and the most exposed to the malignity or wantonness of the common voice, is the trader. Credit is undone in whispers. The tradesman's wound is received from one who is more private and more cruel than the ruffan with the lantern and dagger. The manner of re peating a man's name,-As; "Mr. Cash, Oh! do you leave your money at his shop? Why, do you know Mr. Searoom? He is indeed a general merchant." I say, I have seen, from the iteration of a man's name hiding one thought of him, and explaining what you hide, by saying something to his advantage when you speak, a merchant hurt in his credit; and him who, every day he lived, literally added to the value of his native country, undone by one who was only a burden and a blemish to it. Since every body who knows the world is sensible of this great evil, how careful ought a man to be in

« PreviousContinue »