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large quantity of it on his plate and eat it. The duch. efs from her agitation loft her fpeech, and in defpair, snatched the remainder of the poifoned difh, eat it, and both she and the duke died together, on the 21ft of October 1587. The cardinal fucceeded to the dukedom, by the name of FERDINAND the Ift, and reigned thirty years.
I am, Sir,
Nuper folicitum quæ mihi tædium,
Vites æquora Cycladas.
Your moft humble fervant
DO not believe there is fuch another inventive faculty as mine to be met with. It dafhes away like a young hound, overruns the scent, and can hardly be brought to try back. It mounts like a cannon-l n-ball at its firf projection, and miffes all the point-blank objects. This was always my cafe, but never in fo eminent a degree as fince I have applied myself clofely to literature. I have now acquired a kind of volatile ftupidity, which cannot fee any thing that lies immediately in its way, nor will condefcend to look for it, where it is likely to be found. So great a variety of other
men's thoughts poffeffes my head, that, be the fubject ever fo fimple, twenty authors at leaft croud immediately to give their advice on it, and foon make it the most complicated affair in the world. This indeed amufes the imagination, but never leads me to my point, and I am fo dazzled with the glare of the many crofling lights around me, that I cannot fee the object which I look for.
There is in one of Hogarth's prints the figure of a machine for drawing corks, in which all the mechanic powers are elaborately combined. I have heard an artift fay, that he could finish one of thofe, from the plan, for about thirty guineas, and that it would perform the operation in fomewhat lefs than feven minutes an d a half. If I had been fet to contrive a method for 'opening a bottle, I am convinced this fcheme would have occurred to me fooner than the common corkfcrew. Such is my wayward turn of mind; nor fhall I ever be cured of it, until I get my imagination bitted by the mathematics, and taught to move with fleadiness and compofure.
Yet I fufpect that fome degree of this unfortunate difpoficion must have always prevailed. What elfe could have been the cause of the lateness of discovery, and the flowness of improvement of arts and sciences ? Of this my own profeffion is a ftriking inftance. Printing fhould, one would imagine, have immediately fucceeded to letters. It is a contrivance of the greateft fimplicity; frequent occurrences in common life might have given the hint; and what is ftill more Extraordinary, the art of taking impreffions, in various modes, was perfectly understood for many ages, while this invaluable Defileratum lay unobferved by the eye of genius, under all the meridian luftre of literature.
I have feen a game of chefs very cunningly loft, when the moving of a fingle pawn would have won it. Many a victory has probably been thrown away by fome fimilar complication of fcheme. Phyfic and chirurgery too, I am told, have been frequently infected by this paffion for being unneceffarily ingenious. There feems in fhort to be an ambitious propenfity in the mind, which keeps it above attending to the simpleft means, tho' they are always the beft, and pays no regard to nature merely beause she is obvious.
But I ramble from my purpose. In my fecond paper, the reader left me in the utmoft perplexity how to contrive, with propriety and tafte, a refervoir for any favours that may be fent to me. Sitting yefterday thoughtfully in my fhop, and biting my nails at the disappointment of all my laboured defigns, I happened to caft my eye on a wooden print of a fhip bound to Philadelphia, which was pafted on the doorcafe. My point was gained at once. That which my utmost efforts failed to accomplish, offered itself to me in an inftant. Where have been my thoughts, cried I, ftraying after lion's heads and antiques, when this plain and easy vehicle of intelligence has been overlooked! A fhip is evidently the thing; it is the natural machine for importation, and, in a trading city, has a peculiar propriety for my purpose. To make any one but an author fenfible of my joy, is impoffible. I started up, fhut my fhop, ordered a good fupper, and fent directly for a workman to confult with on the fubject.
The refult of my deliberations is this. My veffel will be put to-morrow on the ftocks, and thail be completely finished, launched, and rigged fome time
before the twentieth of June next, fo as to come to her moorings in the Exchange Coffee-house on that day, and be ready to take in freight. She is to be called the LITERARY PACKET-BOAT, but whether he is to be fnow, brig, or floop, I have not yet absolutely de→ termined; nor indeed is it very material which, as her run will be but fhort; for, blow the weather as it may, the fhall make two trips in every week. Her burthen will be but fmall, as she is not intended for lumber, or any bulky commodity, but merely for filk, indigo, fpices, cochineal and fpecie, where much value lies within a narrow compafs. Her lading is to be put into her hold, and shall be regularly discharged on eve ry Tuesday and Friday, by means of a loose plank in her bottom, of which I fhall keep the key, and under the inspection of the waiter at the bar, whom I have appointed my deputy for that purpose.
As this, however, is a branch of business entirely new among us, it is neceffary that I fhould premise té the public the terms on which it is to be carried on. Be it therefore known, that I do, by my own fole legiflative authority, enact, and establish the following code of revenue laws, which I think will be found to be much more fimple, and infinitely more indulgent to the trader, than any yet known 'n among us.
It being the grand object of my concern, to give life and spirit to this infant commerce, I do publish and declare, that every article of useful information, or innocent amufement, fhall be freely admitted, with out any tax, duty or impoft whatfoever. All illuftrations of valuable truth, criticisms on any of the polite arts, and well-natured obfervations on life and manners, are commodities which may be affured of a kind reception. The manufactures of France, Spain, or
Italy, fhall also come under this general encouragemeat, provided they are made up in English package. Nor shall poetry, if it be in any fort me chantable, fail to meet with that indulgence which is due to the ancient, tho' neglected produce of this island.
On the other hand, 1 am under a neceflity of absolutely prohibiting every article, that may tend to bring difcredit on a fair and honest trade. Under this I particularly mean all politicks whatsoever, both foreign and domeftic; all controverfial points of religion; all fcandal, ill-nature and indelicacy; and above all, that vileft of commodities, perfonal reflection, or allufion, however diftant or disguised, which, coming from that worst of peftilential places, a malevolent and cankered mind, is pregnant with infection the mot fatal to fociety. All and every of these I do hereby declare to be contraband, and confifcate, and condemn them to be burned by the seizing officer.
The public need not, however, be apprehenfive of any rigour or severity in the execution of thefe laws. Commodities, intrinfically good, fhall be admitted to entry, tho' they may happen to be inelegantly made up; and I will undertake that my deputy fhall be active in his duty, tho' I have ordered him to take no fees. There is indeed one powerful reafon for depending on my indulgent treatment; which is, that, contrary to all other revenue cafes, it is not my intereft either to seize, or to condemn. My own dignity and the riches of my literary dominion, depend on the industry of the ingenious, and a lively importation of their respective manufactures.
The alacrity which I bave already met with, fhews me that the fpirit of traffick abounds among us, and that it wanted nothing but a market to enCourage