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plot, and parterre. Taste has peopled the walks and gardens of the great with more numerous inhabitants than the ancient Satyrs, Fauns, and Dryads. While infidelity has expunged the Christian theology from our creed, taste has introduced the heathen mythology into our gardens. If a pond is dug, Neptune, at the command of taste, emerges from the bason, and presides in the middle; or if a vista is cut through a grove, it must be terminated by a Flora, or an Apollo. As the ancients held that every spot of ground had its guardian genius, and that woodland deities were pegged in the knotty entrails of every tree, so in the gardens laid out by modern taste every walk is peopled with gods and goddesses, and every corner of it has its tutelar deity. Temples are erected to all the train of deities mentioned in Homer or Ovid, which edifices, as well as their several statues, are adorned with Latin or Greek inscriptions; while the learned owner wonders at his own surprising stock of literature, which he sees drawn out at large before him, like the whole knowledge of an apothecary inscribed upon his gallipots.

These persons of taste may be considered as a sort of learned idolators, since they may be almost said to adore these graven images, and are quite enthusiastic in their veneration of them. The following letter may possibly give them some offence; but as I have myself no extravagant fondness for a Jupiter Tonans or a Belvidere Apollo, I heartily wish the scheme proposed by my correspondent may take place, though it should reduce the price of heathen godheads.



At a time when all wise heads are considering of ways and means to raise taxes, that may prove the

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least oppressive to indigence, and the most effectually restrictive of luxury, permit me to propose (as a supplement to the thoughts of one of your correspondents on this subject) a national tax upon gods.

It is a strange but an undeniable truth, Mr. Town, that if you and I were to travel through England, and to visit the citizen in his country-box, the nobleman at his seat, the esquire at the hall-house, and even the divine at his parsonage, we should find the gardens, avenues, and groves, belonging to each mansion, stuffed and ornamented with heathen gods.

In the present declining state of our established religion, I almost tremble to consider what may be the consequences of these ready-made deities. Far be it from me to suppose that the great and the rich will worship any god whatsoever; but still I am induced to fear that the poor and the vulgar, when they find all other worship ridiculed and laid aside, may foolishly take to these molten images, and adore every leaden godhead they can find. If a tax on wheels has put down some hundreds of coaches, by a parity of reason, a tax upon gods may pull down an equal, if not a greater, number of statues. I would also offer another proposal; which is this that an oak be immediately planted wherever a statue has been taken away; by which means those vast woods, which of late years have been cut down in England, to supply the immediate necessities of the illustrious Arthurites in St. James'sstreet, may be in some measure supplied to future generations.

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Among our present taxes, some of them fall upon branches of splendour not totally luxurious. Wheelcarriages may be necessary; want of health or lameness of limbs may require them: but what necessities can we pretend for statues in our gardens, Penates

in our libraries, and Lares on every chimney-piece? I have remarked many wild whims of this kind, that have appeared submissions, if not attachments, to idolatry. A gentleman of my acquaintance has destroyed his chapel, merely because he could not put up statues in it, and has filled his garden with every god, that can be found in Spence's Polymetis. Another of my friends, after having placed a Belvidere Apollo very conspicuously and naked upon the top of a mount, has erected an obelisk to the Sun: and this expense he has not put himself to for the beauty of the obelisk, for it is not beautiful, nor again for the splendour of the planet, which is of pewter double gilt, but only because, being in possession of copies or originals of every deity that Greece or Italy could boast, he was resolved to have the god of Persia to complete his collection. A poll-tax, therefore, upon gods and goddesses, be their representation what it will, suns, dogs, moons, or monkeys, is absolutely necessary, and would infallibly bring in a large revenue to the state.


Happening to be the other day at Slaughter's coffee-house, in St. Martin's-lane, I saw two very fine statues of Fame and Fortune, brought out of M. Roubilliac's gate, and exposed to view, before they were nailed up and carted. The boy of the house told us they were to be placed upon the top of Sir Thomas's chapel in Hampshire. "Is it for such as these," observed a sneering Papist, who stood near me, "that crucifixes have been removed, and that reverend saints and martyrs have been destroyed, and pounded into dust? Is it for these, that St. Peter has been broken to pieces, and St. Paul melted down into water-pipes? Must Our Lady make room for Proserpine? And the holy giant St. Christopher fall a victim to the Farnesian Hercules? Will you not agree with me, Sir," continued he, " that as men

are induced, and almost constrained, to judge of others by their own manners and inclinations, we who are supposed to worship the images of Christians, must naturally conclude, that the Protestants of the church of England worship the images of heathens?" I confess I was at a loss how to answer the acuteness of his questions; and must own, that I cannot help thinking St. Anthony preaching to the fishes, or St. Dunstan taking the devil by the nose, as proper ornaments for a chapel, as any pagan deities whatever.

Hitherto I have kept you entirely among the molten images without doors, but were we to enter the several mansions whose avenues and demesnes are adorned in the manner I describe, we should find every chamber a pagod, filled with all the monstrous images that the idolatry of India can produce. I will not presume to infer that the ladies address kitoos (prayers which the Japanese make use of in time of public distress) to their Ingens; but I am apt to surmise, that in times of danger and invasion, some of your fair readers would be more alarmed at the approach of the French to their china than to their chapels, and would sooner give up a favourite lapdog, than a grotesque chimney-piece figure of a Chinese saint with numberless heads and arms. I have not yet digested my thoughts, in what manner the fair sex ought to be taxed. It is a tender point, and requires consideration. At present, I am of opinion, they ought to be spared, and the whole burden entirely laid upon those Bramins and Imams, whose idolatrous temples lie publicly open to our streets.

I am, Sir, your most humble servant,


No 114. THURSDAY, APRIL 1, 1756.

Vesanum tetigisse timent fugiuntque poetam.-HOR.
Fly! neighbours, fly! he raves; his verses shew it;
Fly! or you're caught, you're bit by a mad poet.

I REMEMBER, when I was very young, a relation carried me to visit a gentleman who had wrote some pieces that had been very well received, and made me very happy by promising to introduce me to an author. As soon as I came, I surveyed his whole person from top to toe with the strictest attention, sat open-mouthed to catch every syllable that he uttered, and noticed his voice, manner, and every word and gesture, with the minutest observation. I could not help whispering to myself the whole evening, I am in company with an author,' and waited with the most anxious impatience to hear him deliver something that might distinguish him from the rest of mankind. The gentleman behaved with great cheerfulness and politeness: but he did not at all answer the idea which I had conceived of an author; and I went exceedingly disappointed, because I could not find any striking difference between him and the rest of my acquaintance.

There is no character in human life, which is the subject of more frequent speculation among the vulgar, than an author. Some look on him with contempt, and others with admiration; but they all agree in believing him to be something different from all other people and it is remarkable with what greediness they attend to any little anecdotes, which they can pick up concerning his life and conversation. He is, indeed, a kind of an ideal being, of which people

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