Page images

those who, for want of a virtuous education, or examining the grounds of religion, know so very little of the matter in question, that their infidelity is but another term for their ignorance.

As folly and inconsiderateness are the foundations of infidelity, the great pillars and supports of it are either a vanity of appearing wiser than the rest of mankind, or an ostentation of courage in despising the terrors of another world, which have so great an influence on what they call weaker minds; or an aversion to a belief that must cut them off from many of these pleasures they propose to themselves, and fill them with remorse for many of those they have already tasted.

The great received articles of the Christian religion have been so clearly proved, from the authority of that divine revelation in which they are delivered, that it is impossible for those who have ears to hear, and eyes to see, not to be convinced of them. But were it possible for any thing in the Christian faith to be erroneous, I can find no ill consequences in adhering to it. The great points of the incarnation and sufferings of our Saviour produce naturally such habits of virtue in the mind of man, that I say, supposing it were possible for us to be mistaken in them, the infidel himself must at least allow that no other system of religion could so effectually contribute to the heightening of morality. They give us great ideas of the dignity of human nature, and of the love which the Supreme Being bears to his creatures, and consequently engage us in the highest acts of duty towards our Creator, our neighbour, and ourselves. How many noble arguments has Saint Paul raised from the chief articles of our religion, for the advancing of morality in its three great branches! To give a single example in each kind. What can be a stronger motive to a firm trust and

reliance on the mercies of our Maker, than the giving us his Son to suffer for us? What can make us love and esteem even the most inconsiderable of mankind more than the thought that Christ died

for him? Or what dispose us to set a stricter guard upon the purity of our own hearts, than our being members of Christ, and a part of the society of which that immaculate person is the head? But these are only a specimen of those admirable inforcements of morality, which the apostle has drawn from the history of our blessed Saviour.

most renowned among the heathens both for wisdom and virtue, in his last moments desires his friends to offer a cock to Esculapius; doubtless out of a submissive deference to the established worship of his country. Xenophon tells us, that his prince (whom he sets forth as a pattern of perfection), when he found his death approaching, offered sacrifices on the mountains to the Persian Jupiter, and the Sun, “according to the custom of the Persians;" for those are the words of the historian. Nay, the Epicureans and atomical philosophers showed a very remarkable modesty in this particular; for though the being of a God was entirely repugnant to their schemes of natural philosophy, they contented themselves with the denial of a Providence, asserting at the same time the existence of gods in general; because they would not shock the common belief of mankind, and the religion of their country.'



N° 187. THURSDAY, OCTOBER 4, 1711.

-Miseri quibus

Intentata nites

HOR. Od. v. l. i. ver. 12.
Ah, wretched those who love, yet ne'er did try
The smiling treachery of thy eye!

THE intelligence given by this correspondent is so
important and useful, in order to avoid the persons
he speaks of, that I shall insert his letter at length.

I Do not know that you have ever touched upon a certain species of women, whom we ordinarily call jilts. You cannot possibly go upon a more useful work, than the consideration of these dangerous animals. The coquette is indeed one degree towards the jilt; but the heart of the former is bent upon adiniring herself, and giving false hopes to her lovers; but the latter is not contented to be extremely amiable, but she must add to that advantage a certain delight in being a torment to tation of success, the jilt shall meet him with a others. Thus when her lover is in the full expecsudden indifference, and admiration in her face at his being surprised that he is received like a *If our modern infidels considered these matters stranger, and a cast of her head another way with with that candour and seriousness which they de-a pleasant scorn of the fellow's insolence. It is serve, we should not see them act with such a very probable the lover goes home utterly astospirit of bitterness, arrogance, and malice. They sends her word in the most abject terms, That he nished and dejected, sits down to his 'scrutoire, would not be raising such insignificant cavils, knows not what he has done, that all which was doubts, and scruples, as may be started against desirable in this life is so suddenly vanished from every thing that is not capable of mathematical him, that the charmer of his soul should withdraw demonstration; in order to unsettle the minds of the vital heat from the heart which pants for her. the ignorant, disturb the public peace, subvert mo- He continues a mournful absence for some time, rality, and throw all things into confusion and disorder. If none of these reflections can have pining in secret, and out of humour with all things any influence on them, there is one that perhaps tion to try his fate, and explain with her resolutely which he meets with. At length he takes a resolumay, because it is adapted to their vanity, by which they seem to be guided much more than upon her unaccountable carriage. He walks up their reason. I would therefore have them con- doubts in what manner he shall meet the first cast to her apartment, with a thousand inquietudes and sider, that the wisest and best of men, in all ages of her eye; when upon his first appearance she of the world, have been those who lived up to the flies towards him, wonders where he has been, religion of their country, when they saw nothing accuses him of his absence, and treats him with a in it opposite to morality, and to the best lights familiarity as surprising as her former coldness. they had of the Divine Nature. Pythagoras's first This good correspondence continues till the lady rule directs us to worship the gods" as it is or- observes the lover grows happy in it, and then she dained by law," for that is the most natural inter-interrupts it with some new inconsistency of bepretation of the precept *. Socrates, who was the haviour. For (as I just now said) the happiness of * Αθανάτους, μεν πρωτα Θεός, νομω ὡς διάκειται,


Cyropædia, book viii.

a jilt consists only in the power of making others | something so fixed in her countenance, that it is uneasy. But such is the folly of this sect of wo- impossible to conceive her meditation is employed men, that they carry on this pretty skittish beha-only on her dress and her charms in that posture. viour, till they have no charms left to render it If it were not too coarse a simile, I should say, supportable. Corinna, that used to torment all Hyana, in the figure she affects to appear in, is a who conversed with her with false glances, and spider in the midst of a cobweb, that is sure to little heedless unguarded motions, that were to be- destroy every fly that approaches it. The net tray some inclination towards the man she would Hyæna throws is so fine, that you are taken in it, insnare, finds at present all she attempts that way before you can observe any part of her work. I unregarded; and is obliged to indulge the jilt in attempted her for a long and weary season, but I her constitution, by laying artificial plots, writing found her passion went no further than to be adperplexing letters from unknown hands, and making mired; and she is of that unreasonable temper, as all the young fellows in love with her, till they not to value the inconstancy of her lovers, provided find out who she is. Thus, as before she gave she can boast she once had their addresses. torment by disguising her inclination, she now is obliged to do it by hiding her person.

As for my own part, Mr. Spectator, it has been my unhappy fate to be jilted from my youth upward; and as my taste has been very much towards intrigue, and having intelligence with women of wit, my whole life has passed away in a series of impositions. I shall, for the benefit of the present race of young men, give some account of my loves. I know not whether you have ever heard of the famous girl about town called Kitty. This creature (for I must take shame upon myself) was my mistress in the days when keeping was in fashion. Kitty, under the appearance of being wild, thought- | less, and irregular in all her words and actions, concealed the most accomplished jilt of her time. Her negligence had to me a charm in it like that of chastity, and want of desires seemed as great a merit as the conquest of them. The air she gave herself was that of a romping girl, and whenever I talked to her with any turn of fondness, she would immediately snatch off my periwig, try it upon herself in the glass, clap her arms a-kimbo, draw my sword, and make passes on the wall, take off my cravat, and seize it, to make some other use of the lace, or run into some other unaccountable rompishness, till the time I had appointed to pass away with her was over. I went from her full of pleasure at the reflection that I had the keeping of so much beauty in a woman, who, as she was too heedless to please me, was also too unattentive to form a design to wrong me. Long did I divert every hour that hung heavy upon me in the company of this creature, whom I looked upon as neither guilty nor innocent, but could laugh at myself for my unaccountable pleasure in an expense apon her, until in the end it appeared my pretty insensible was with child by my footman.

'This accident roused me into a disdain against all libertine women, under what appearance soever they hid their insincerity, and I resolved after that time to converse with none but those who lived within the rules of decency and honour. To this end I formed myself into a more regular turn of behaviour, and began to make visits, frequent asBemblies, and lead out ladies from the theatres, with all the other insignificant duties which the professed servants of the fair place themselves in constant readiness to perform. In a very little time (having a plentiful fortune) fathers and mothers began to regard me as a good match, and I found easy admittance into the best families in town to observe their daughters; but I, who was born to follow the fair to no purpose, have by the force of my ill stars made my application to three jilts successively.

Hyæna is one of those who form themselves into a melancholy and indolent air, and endeavour to gain admirers from their inattention to all around them. . Hyena can loll in her coach, with

'Biblis was the second I aimed at, and her vanity lay, in purchasing the adorers of others, and not in rejoicing in their love itself. Biblis is no man's mistress, but every woman's rival. As soon as I found this, I fell in love with Chloe, who is my present pleasure and torment. I have writ to her, danced with her, and fought for her, and have been her man in the sight and expectation of the whole town these three years, and thought myself near the end of my wishes; when the other day she called me into her closet, and told me, with a very grave face, that she was a woman of honour, and scorned to deceive a man who loved her with so much sincerity as she saw I did; and therefore she must inform me that she was by nature the most inconstant creature breathing, and begged of me not to marry her: if I insisted upon it, I should; but that she was lately fallen in love with another. What to do or say I know not, but desire you to inform me, and you will infinitely oblige,



[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

HE is a very unhappy man who sets his heart upon being admired by the multitude, or affects a general and undistinguishing applause among men. What pious men call the testimony of a good conscience, should be the measure of our ambition in this kind, that is to say, a man of spirit should contemn the praise of the ignorant, and like being applauded for nothing but what he knows in his own heart he deserves. Besides which, the character of the person who commends you is to be considered, before you set a value upon his esteem. The praise of an ignorant man is only good-will, and you should receive his kindness as he is a good neighbour in society, and not as a good judge of your actions in point of fame and reputation. The satirist said

* This Mr. Sly (who is also mentioned in other parts of the Spectator) died April 14, 1729, of a mortification in his leg; which, say the newspapers of the day, he had endured a long time.

as the man of virtue or merit hope for addition to his character from any but such as himself. He that commends another engages so much of his own reputation as he gives to that person commended; and he that has nothing laudable in himself is not of ability to be such a surety. The wise Phocion was so sensible how dangerous it was to be touched with what the multitude approved, that upon a general acclamation made when he was making an oration, he turned to an intelligent friend who stood near him, and asked in a surprised manner, What slip have I made?'

I shall conclude this paper with a billet which has fallen into my hands, and was written to a lady from a gentleman whom she had highly commended. The author of it had formerly been her lover, When all possibility of commerce between them on the subject of love was cut off, she spoke so handsomely of him, as to give occasion to this letter.


very well of popular praise and acclamations, Give the tinkers and coblers their presents again, and learn to live of yourself. It is an argument of a loose and ungoverned mind to be affected with the promiscuous approbation of the generality of mankind; and a man of virtue should be too delicate for so coarse an appetite of fame. Men of honour should endeavour only to please the worthy, and the man of merit should desire to be tried only by his peers. I thought it a noble sentiment which I heard yesterday uttered in conversation: I know,' said a gentleman, a way to be greater than any man. If he has worth in him, I can rejoice in his superiority to me; and that satisfaction is a greater act of the soul in me, than any in him which can possibly appear to me.' This thought could proceed but from a candid and generous spirit; and the approbation of such minds is what may be esteemed true praise: for with the common rate of men there is nothing commendable but what they themselves may hope to be partakers of, and arrive at; but the motive truly glorious is, I SHOULD be insensible to a stupidity, if I could when the mind is set rather to do things laudable, forbear making you my acknowledgments for your than to purchase reputation. Where there is that late mention of me with so much applause. It is, sincerity as the foundation of a good name, the I think, your fate to give me new sentiments: a8 kind opinion of virtuous men will be an unsought, you formerly inspired me with the true sense of but a necessary consequence. The Lacedæmonians, love, so do you now with the true sense of glory. though a plain people, and no pretenders to po- As desire had the least part in the passion I hereliteness, had a certain delicacy in their sense of tofore professed towards you, so has vanity no glory, and sacrificed to the Muses when they en- share in the glory to which you have now raised tered upon any great enterprise. They would me. Innocence, knowledge, beauty, virtue, sinhave the commemoration of their actions be trans-cerity, and discretion, are the constant ornaments mitted by the purest and most untainted memorialists. The din which attends victories and public triumphs is by far less eligible, than the recital of the actions of great men by honest and wise historians. It is a frivolous pleasure to be the admiration of gaping crowds; but to have the approbation of a good man in the cool reflections of his closet, is a gratification worthy an heroic spirit. The applause of the crowd makes the head giddy, but the attestation of a reasonable man makes the heart glad.

What makes the love of popular or general praise still more ridiculous, is, that it is usually given for circumstances which are foreign to the persons admired. Thus they are the ordinary attendants on power and riches, which may be taken out of one man's hands, and put into another's. The application only, and not the possession, makes those outward things honourable. The vulgar and men of sense agree in admiring men for having what they themselves would rather be possessed of; the wise man applauds him whom he thinks most virtuous, the rest of the world him who is most wealthy.

When a man is in this way of thinking, I do not know what can occur to one more monstrous, than to see persons of ingenuity address their services and performances to men no way addicted to liberal arts. In these cases, the praise on one hand, and the patronage on the other, are equally the objects of ridicule. Dedications to ignorant men are as absurd as any of the speeches of Bulfinch in the Droll. Such an address one is apt to translate into other words; and when the different parties are thoroughly considered, the panegyric generally implies no more than if the author should say to the patron, My very good lord, you and I can never understand one-another, therefore I humbly desire we may be intimate friends for the future.' The rich may as well ask to borrow of the poor,

* Persius, Sat. iv.

of her who has said this of me. Fame is a babbler, but I bave arrived at the highest glory in this world, the commendation of the most deserving person in it.'



N° 189. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6, 1711.

Patriæ pietatis imago.

VIRG. Æn. x. ver. 821

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

no disgrace to the for you to be supported there; and if you starve in the streets, I'll never give any thing underhand in your behalf. If I have any more of your scribbling nonsense, I'll break your bead the first time I set sight on you. You are a stubborn beast; is this your gratitude for my giving you money? You rogue, I'll better your judgment, and give you a greater sense of your duty to (I regret to say) your father, &c.

'P. S. Its prudence for you to keep out of my sight; for to reproach me, that Might overcomes Right, on the outside of your letter, I shall give you a great knock on the scull for it.'

Was there ever such an image of paternal tenderness! It was usual among some of the Greeks to make their slaves drink to excess, and then expose them to their children, who by that means conceived an early aversion to a vice which makes men appear so monstrous and irrational. I have exposed this picture of an unnatural father with the same intention, that its deformity may deter

others from its resemblance. If the reader has a mind to see a father of the same stamp represented in the most exquisite strokes of humour, he may

meet with it in one of the finest comedies that ever appeared upon the English stage: I mean the part of Sir Sampson in Love for Love.

I must not, however, engage myself blindly on the side of the son, to whom the fond letter abovewritten was directed. His father calls him a 'saucy and audacious rascal' in the first line, and 1 am afraid upon examination he will prove but an ungracious youth. To go about railing' at his father, and to find no other place but the outside of his letter' to tell him that might overcomes right if it does not discover his reason to be depraved, and that he is either fool or mad,' as the choleric old gentleman tells him, we may at least allow that the father will do very well in endeavouring to better his judgment, and give him a greater sense of his duty.' But whether this may be brought about by breaking his head,' or 'giving him a great knock on the scull,' ought, I think, to be well considered. Upon the whole, I wish the father has not met with his match, and that he may not be as equally paired with a son, as the mother in Virgil:

Crudelis tu quoque mater :
Crudelis mater magis, an puer improbus ille?
Improbus ille puer, crudelis tu quoque mater.'
ECL. viii. ver. 48.

Cruel alike the mother and the son.

Or like the crow and her egg in the Greek proverb:

Κακα κορακος κακον μον.

* Bad the crow, bad the egg.'

behalf; and in this case I may use the saying of an eminent wit, who, upon some great men's pressing him to forgive his daughter who had married against his consent, told them he could refuse nothing to their instances, but that he would have them remember there was difference between giving and forgiving.

I must confess, in all controversies between parents and their children, I am naturally prejudiced side can never be acquitted, and I think it is one in favour of the former. The obligations on that paternal instinct should be a stronger motive to of the greatest reflections upon human nature, that love than filial gratitude; that the receiving of favours should be a less inducement to good-will, tenderness, and commiseration, than the conferring should endear the child or dependant more to the of them; and that the taking care of any person parent or benefactor, than the parent or benefactor to the child or dependant; yet so it happens, that for one cruel parent we meet with a thousand contrived (as I have formerly observed *) for the undutiful children. This is indeed wonderfully time that it shows the wisdom of the Creator, it support of every living species; but at the same discovers the imperfection and degeneracy of the


The obedience of children to their parents is the basis of all government, and set forth as the measure of that obedience which we owe to those whom Providence hath placed over us.

It is father Le Compte †, if I am not mistaken, who tells us how want of duty in this particular is punished among the Chinese, insomuch that if a son should be known to kill, or so much as to strike his father, not only the criminal, but his whole of the place where he lived would be put to the family, would be rooted out, nay, the inhabitants sword, nay, the place itself would be razed to the ground, and its foundations sown with salt. For, tion of manners in that clan or society of people say they, there must have been an utter depravawho could have bred up among them so horrid an offender. To this I shall add a passage out of the first book of Herodotus. That historian, in his account of the Persian customs and religion, tells us, ther, or that it is possible such a crime should be in it is their opinion that no man ever killed his fanature; but that, if any thing like it should ever happen, they conclude that the reputed son must have been illegitimate, supposititious, or begotten in adultery. Their opinion in this particular shows sufficiently what a notion they must have had of undutifulness in general.


N° 190. MONDAY, OCTOBER 8, 1711.

Servitus crescit nova



HOR. Od. viii. 1. ii. ver. 18. A servitude to former times unknown.

I must here take notice of a letter which I have received from an unknown correspondent, upon the subject of my paper, upon which the foregoing letter is likewise founded *. The writer of it seems very much concerned lest that paper should SINCE I made some reflections upon the general seem to give encouragement to the disobedience of negligence used in the case of regard towards wochildren towards their parents; but if the writer men, or, in other words, since I talked of wenchof it will take the pains to read it over again at-ing, I have had epistles upon that subject, which I tentively, I dare say his apprehensions will vanish. shall, for the present entertainment, insert as they Pardon and reconciliation are all the penitent daughter requests, and all that I contend for in her

* N° 181.

lie before me.

* No 120.

+ In his Present State of China,' part ii.



As your speculations are not confined to any part of human life, but concern the wicked as well as the good, I must desire your favourable acceptance | of what I, a poor strolling girl about town, have to say to you. I was told by a Roman catholic gentleman who picked me up last week, and who, I hope, is absolved for what passed between us; I say, I was told by such a person, who endeavoured to convert me to his own religion, that in countries where popery prevails, besides the advantage of licensed stews, there are large endow-understand by this time that I was left in a broments given for the Incurabili, I think he called them, such as are past all remedy, and are allowed such maintenance and support as to keep them without further care till they expire. This manner of treating poor sinners has, methinks, great bumanity in it; and as you are a person who pretend to carry your reflections upon all subjects whatever that occur to you, with candour, and act above the sense of what misinterpretation you may meet with, I beg the favour of you to lay before all the world the unhappy condition of us poor vagrants, who are really in a way of labour instead of idleness. There are crowds of us whose manner of livelihood has long ceased to be pleasing to us; and who would willingly lead a new life, if the rigour of the virtuous did not for ever expel us from coming into the world again. As it now happens, to the eternal infamy of the male sex, falsehood among you is not reproachful, but credulity in women is infamous.

port. In a pause of my distress, I heard him say
to the shameless old woman who stood by me,
"She is certainly a new face, or else she acts it
rarely." With that the gentlewoman, who was
making her market of me, in all the turrs of my
person, the heaves of my passion, and the suitable
changes of my posture, took occasion to commend
my neck, my shape, my eyes, my limbs. All this
was accompanied with such speeches as you may
have heard horse-coursers make in the sale of nags,
when they are warranted for their soundness. You
thel, and exposed to the next bidder that could
purchase me of my patroness. This is so much the
work of hell; the pleasure in the possession of us
wenches, abates in proportion to the degrees we
go beyond the bounds of innocence; and ro man is
gratified, if there is nothing left for him to de-
bauch. Well, sir, my first man, when I came upon
the town, was Sir Jeoffry Foible, who was ex-
tremely lavish to me of bis money, and took such
a fancy to me that he would have carried me off,
if my patroness would have taken any reasonable
terms for me; but as he was old, his covetousness was
his strongest passion, and poor I was soon left ex-
posed to be the common refuse of all the rakes and
debauchees in town. I cannot tell whether you
will do me justice or no; till I see whether you
print this or not; otherwise, as I now live with
Sal, I could give you a very just account of who
and who is together in this town. You perhaps
won't believe it; but I know of one who pretends
to be a very good protestant, who lies with a Ro-
man catholic: but more of this hereafter, as you
please me. There do come to our house the
greatest politicians of the age; and Sal is more
shrewd than any body thinks. No body can be
lieve that such wise men could go to bawdy-houses
out of idle purposes. I have heard them often
talk of Augustus Cæsar, who had intrigues with
the wives of senators, not out of wantonness, but

heard that it was a courtesan who discovered Catiline's conspiracy. If you print this I'll tell you more; and am, in the mean time,

'Give me leave, sir, to give you my history. You are to know that I am a daughter of a man of a good reputation, tenant to a man of quality. The heir of this great house took it in his head to east a favourable eye upon me, and succeeded. I do not pretend to say he promised me marriage: I was not a creature silly enough to be taken by so foolish a story: but he ran away with me up to this town, and introduced me to a grave matron, with whom I boarded for a day or two with great 'It is a thousand pities you should be so severely gravity, and was not a little pleased with the change of my condition, from that of a country virtuous as I fear you are; otherwise, after one life to the finest company, as I believed, in the visit or two, you would soon understand that we whole world. My humble servant made me unwomen of the town are not such useless corresponderstand that I should be always kept in the plen-dents as you may imagine: you have undoubtedly tiful condition I then enjoyed; when, after a very great fondness towards me, he one day took his leave of me for four or five days. In the evening of the same day my good landlady came to me, and observing me very pensive, began to comfort me, and with a smile told me I must see the world. When I was deaf to all she could say to divert me, she began to tell me with a very frank air that I must be treated as I ought, and not take these squeamish humours upon me, for my friend had left me to the town; and, as their phrase is, she expected I would see company, or I must be treated like what I had brought myself to. This put me into a fit of crying; and I immediately, in a true sense of my condition, threw myself on the floor, deploring my fate, calling upon all that was good and sacred to succour me. While I was in all this agony, I observed a decrepit old fellow come into the room, and looking with a sense of pleasure in his face at all my vehemence and trans

For much more laudable purposes, we have the institutions of The Magdalen and The Asylum; the former for the relief and reformation of Penitent Prostitutes; the latter, for Female Orphans, whose settlements cannot be found; to preserve them from falling into the ways of vice and shame.


Your most humble servant,


I AM an idle young woman that would work for my livelihood, but that I am kept in such a manner as I cannot stir out. My tyrant is an old jealous fellow, who allows me nothing to appear in. I have but one shoe and one slipper; no headdress, and no upper petticoat. As you set up for a reformer, I desire you would take me out of this wicked way, and keep me yourself.



I AM to complain to you of a set of impertinent coxcombs, who visit the apartments of us women of the town, only, as they call it, to see the world. I must confess to you, this to men of delicacy might have an effect to cure them; but as they are stupid, noisy, and drunken fellows, it tends only

• A noted procuress at that time.

« PreviousContinue »