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fube and the fluid it contains. In the first place, I ore dered a tube to be cast in a planetary hour, and took care to seal it hermetically when the sun was in conjunction with Saturn. I then took the proper precautions about the fluid, which is a compound of two very different liquors; one of them a spirit drawn out of a strong heady wine ; the other a particular sort of rock-water, colder than ice, and clearer than crystal. The spirit is of a red fiery colour, and so very apt to ferment, that unless it be mingled with a proportion of the water, or pent up very close, it will burst the vessels that holds it, and fly up in fume and smoke. The water, on the contrary, is of such a subtle piercing cold, that, unless it be mingled with a proportion of the spi. rits, it will sink almost through every thing that it is put into; and seems to be of the same nature as the water mentioned by Quintus Curtius, which, says the historian, could be contained in nothing but in the hoof, or, as the Oxford manuscript has it, in the skull of an ass. The thermometer is marked according to the following figure; which I set down at length, not only to give my reader a clear idea of it, but also to fill up my paper.
Ignorance. The reader will observe that the Church is placed in the middle point of the glass, between Zeal and
Moderation; the situation in which she always flourishes, and in which every good Englishman wishes her, who is a friend to the constitution of his country. However, when it mounts to Zeal, it is not amiss and, when it sinks to Moderation, is still in a most admirable temper. The worst of it is, that when once it begins to rise, it has still an inclination to ascend; insomuch that it is apt to climb up from Zeal to Wrath, and from Wrath to Persecution, which always ends in Ignorance, and very often proceeds from it. In the same manner, it frequently takes its progress through the lower half of the glass; and, when it has a tendency to fall, will gradually descend from Moderation to Lukewarmness, and from Lukewarmness to Infidelity, which very often terminates in Ignorance, and always proceeds from it.
It is a common observation, that the ordinary thermometer will be affected by the hreathing of people who are in the room where it stands; and indeed it is almost incredible to conceive, how the glass I am now describing will fall by the breath of a multitude crying Popery ; or, on the contrary, how it will rise when the same multitude, as it sometimes happens, cry out in the same breath, “The church is in danger.'
As soon as I had finished this my glass, and adjusted it to the above-mentioned scale of religion ; that I might make proper experiments with it, I carried it under my cloke to several coffee-houses and other places of resort about this great city. At Saint James's coffee-house the liquor stood at Moderation ; but at Will's, to my great surprise, it subsided to the very lowest mark on the glass. At the Grecian it mounted but just one point higher; at the Rainbow it still
ascended two degrees ; Child's fetched it up to Zeal, and other adjacent coffee-houses to Wrath.
It fell in the lower half of the glass as I went further into the city, until at length it settled at Moderation, where it continued all the time I staid about the Ex. change, as also while I passed by the Bank. And here I cannot but take notice, that through the whole course of my remarks I never observed my glass 10 rise at the same time that the stocks did.
To complete the experiment, I prevailed upon a friend of mine, who works under me in the occult sciences, to make a progress with my glass through the whole island of Great Britain ; and, after his return, to present me with a register of his observations. I guessed beforehand at the temper of several places he passed through, by the characters they have had time out of mind. Thus that facetious divine, doctor Fuller, speaking of the town of Banbury near a hundred years ago, tells us it was a place famous for Cakes and Zeal, which I find by my glass is true to this day as to the latter part of this description ; though I must confess it is not in the same reputation for cakes that it was in the time of that learned author: and thus of other places. In short, I have now by me, digested in an alphabetical order, all the counties, corporations, and boroughs, in Great Britain, with their respective tempers, as they stand related to my thermometer. But this I shall keep to myself, because I would by no means do any thing that may seem to influence any ensuing elections.
The point of doctrine, which I would propagate by this my invention, is the same which was long ago advanced by that able teacher Horace, out of whom Į have taken my text for this discourse : We should be careful not to overshoot ourselves in the pursuits even of virtue. Whether Zeal or Moderation be the point we aim at, let us keep fire out of the one, and frost out of the other. But, alas ! the world is too wise to want such a precaution. The terms High-church and Low-church, as commonly used, do not so much denote a principle, as they distinguish a party. They are like words of battle, that have nothing to do with their original signification ; but are only given out to keep a body of men together, and to let them know friends from enemies.
I must confess, I have considered, with some little attention, the influence which the opinions of these great national sects have upon their practice; and do look upon it as one of the unaccountable things of our times, that multitudes of honest gentlemen, who entirely agree in their lives, should take it in their heads to differ in their religion.
LETTER FROM THE WIDOW GIMCRACK.
6 MR. BICKERSTAFF,
' I hope you will not be surprised to receive a letter from the widow Gimcrack. You know, sir, that I have lately lost a very wbiinsical husband, who, I find by one of your last week's papers, was not altogether a stranger to you. When I married this gentleman, he had a very handsome estate : but, upon buying a set of microscopes, he was chosen a fellow of the Royal Society; from which time I do not re
member ever to have heard him speak as other people did, or talk in a manner that any of his family could understand him. He used, however, to pass away his time very innocently in conversation with several members of that learned body; for which reason, i never advised him against their company for several years, until at last I found his brain quite turned with their discourses. The first symptom which he discovered of his being a virtuoso, as you call him, poor man! was about fifteen years ago ; when he gave me positive orders to turn off an old weeding-woman that had been employed in the family for several years. He told me, at the same time, that there was no such thing in nature as a weed, and that it was his design to let his garden produce what it pleased';, so that, you may be sure, it makes a very pleasant show as it now lies. About the same time he took a humour to ramble up and down the country, and would often bring home with him his pockets full of moss and pebbles. . This, you may be sure, gave me a heavy heart; though at the same time I must needs say, he had the character of a very honest man, notwithstanding he was reckoned a little weak, until he began to sell his estate, and buy those strange baubles that you have taken notice of. Upon Midsummer-day last, as he was walking with me in the fields,
he saw a very odd-coloured butterfly just before us. . I observed that he immediately changed colour, like a man that is surprised with a piece of good luck; and telling me that it was what he had looked for above these twelve years, he threw off his coat, and followed it. I lost sight of them both in less than a quarter of an hour; but my husband continued the chace over hedge and ditch until about sunset; at which time, as I was afterwards told,