Obrázky stránek

of lazars and diseased persons. Our protestant
ladies and gentlemen are so much to seek for pro-
per ways of passing time, that they are obliged to
punchinello for knowing what to do with them-
selves. Since the case is so, I desire only you
would intreat our people of quality, who are not to
be interrupted in their pleasure, to think of the
practice of any moral duty, that they would at least
fine for their sins, and give something to these poor
children: a little out of their luxury and superfluity
would atone, in some measure, for the wanton use
of the rest of their fortunes. It would not, me-
thinks, be amiss, if the ladies who haunt the cloy-
sters and passages of the play-house were, upon
every offence, obliged to pay to this excellent in-
stitution of schools of charity. This method would
make offenders themselves do service to the public.
But in the mean time I desire you would publish
this voluntary reparation which Mr. Poweld does
our parish, for the noise he has made in it by
the constant rattling of coaches, drums, trumpets,
triuniphs, and battles. The destruction of Troy,
adorned with Highland dances, are to make up
the entertainment of all who are so well disposed
as not to forbear a light entertainment, for no other
reason but that it is to do a good action.

I am, SIR,
Your most humble servant,


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

• I am credibly informed, that all the insinuations which a certain writer made against Mr. Powell at the Bath, are false and groundless.'


• My employment, which is that of a broker, leading me often into taverns about the


Exchange, has given me occasion to observe a
certain enormity, which I shall here submit to your
animadversion. In three or four of these taverns,
I have, at different times, taken notice of a precise
set of people, with grave countenances, short wigs,
black clothes, or dark camlet trimmed with black,
and mourning gloves and hat-bands, who meet on
certain days at each tavern successively, and keep
a sort of moving club. Having often met with
their faces, and observed a certain slinking way
in their dropping in one after another, I had the
curiosity to inquire into their characters, being the
rather moved to it by their agreeing in the sin-
gularity of their dress; and I find, upon due exa-
mination, they are a knot of parish clerks, who
have taken a fancy to one another, and perhaps
settle the bills of mortality over their half piuts. I
have so great a value and veneration for any who
have but even an assenting amen in the service of
religion, that I am afraid lest these persons should
incur some scandal by this practice; and would
therefore have them, without raillery, advised to
send the Florence and pullets home to their own
houses, and not pretend to live as well as the over-
seers of the poor.

I am, sir,
Your most humble servant,



May Oth. • I was last Wednesday night at a tavern in the city, among a set of men who call themselves “ the lawyers' club." You must know, Sir, this club consists only of attorneys; and at this meeting every one proposes the cause he has then in hand to the board, upon which each member gives his judgment according to the experience he has met with. If it happens that any one puts a case of which they have had no precedent, it is noted down by their clerk Will Goosequill (who registers all their proceedings), that one of them may.go the next day with it to a counsel. This indeed is commendable, and ought to be the principal end of their meeting ; but had you been there, to have heard them relate their methods of managing a cause, their manner of drawing out their bills, and, in short, their arguments upon the several ways of abusing their clients, with the applause that is given to him who has done it most artfully, you would before now have given your remarks on them. They are so conscious that their discourses ought to be kept a secret, that they are very cautious of admitting any person who is not of their profession. When any who are not of the law are let in, the person who introduces him says he is a very honest gentleman, and he is taken in, as their cant is, to pay costs. I am admitted, upon the recommendation of one of their principals, as a very honest good-natured fellow, that will never be in-a plot, and only desires to drink his bottle and smoke his pipe. You have formerly remarked upon several sorts of clubs; and as the tendency of this is only to increase fraud and deceit, I hope you will please to take notice of it.

I am, with respect,
Your humble servant,

H. R.

N 373. THURSDAY, MAY 8, 1712.

Fallat enim sudom specue turtutis et umbri.

JCH. Sat. an. 10
Vire oft is hid in Virtue's fair disguise,
And io ber borrow'd form escapes inquiring eyes.

[ocr errors]

Mr. Locke, in his treatise of Human Understanding, has spent two chapters upon the abuse of words. The first and most palpable abuse of words, he says, is when they are used without clear and distinct ideas; the second, when we are so unconstant and unsteady in the application of them, that we sometimes use them to signify one idea, sometimes another. He adds, that the result of our contemplations and reasonings, while we have no precise ideas fixed to our words, must needs be very confused and absurd. To avoid this inconvenience, more especially in moral discourses, where the same word should be constantly used in the same sense, he earnestly recommends the use of definitions. A definition,' says he, 'is the only way whereby the precise meaning of moral words can be known. He therefore accuses those of great negligence who discourse of moral things with the least obscurity in the terms they make use of; since, upon the fore mentioned ground, he does not scruple to say that he thinks morality is capable of demonstration as well as the mathematics.'

I know no two words that have been more abused by the different and wrong interpretations which are put upon them, than those two, modesty and assurance. To say such a one is a modest

man, sometimes indeed passes for a good character ; but at present is very often used to signify a sheepish, awkward fellow, who has neither good breeding, politeness, nor any knowledge of the world.

Again, a man of assurance, though at first it only denoted a person of a free and open carriage, is now very usually applied to a profligate wretch, who can break through all the rules of decency and morality without a blush.

I shall endeavour therefore in this essay to restore these words to their true meaning, to prevent the idea of modesty from being confounded with that of sheepishness, and to hinder impudence from passing for assurance.

If I was put to define modesty, I would call it or the reflexion of an ingenious * mind, either when a man has committed an action for which he censures himself, or fancies that he is exposed to the censure of others.'

For this reason a man truly modest is as much so when he is alone as in company, and as subject to a blush in his closet as when the eyes of multitudes are upon him. I do not remember to have met with


instance of modesty with which I am so well pleased as that celebrated one of the young prince whose father, being a tributary king to the Romans, had several complaints laid against him before the senate, as a tyrant and oppressor of his subjects. The prince went to Rome to defend his father ; but coming into the senate, and hearing a multilyde of crimes proved upon him, was so oppressed when it came to his turn to speak, that he was unable to utter a word. The story tells us, that the fathers were more moved at this instance of

* Ingenious seems to be here used for ingenuous.

« PředchozíPokračovat »