« PreviousContinue »
As the professed design of this work is to entertain its readers in general, without giving offence to any particular person, it would be difficult to find out so proper a patron for it as yourself, there being none whose merit is more universally acknowledged by all parties, and who bas made himself more friends and fewer enemies. Your great abilities, and unquestioned integrity, in those high employments which you have passed through, would not have been able to bave raised you this general approbation, bad they not been accompanied with that moderation in an bigb fortune, and that affability of manners, which are so conspicuous through all parts of your life. Your aversion to any ostentatious arts of setting to show those great
*He was the son of CHARLES Lord CLIFFORD. He was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer to King WILLIAM in March 1701; and continued in that office till Feb. 12, 1707-8, when he was made one of the principal Secretaries of State, in which station he remained till Sept. 20, 1710. On the accession of GEORGE I. Mr. BOYLE was created Lord CARLETON, and soon after made President of the Council. He died, unmarried, March 14, 1724-5•
great services which you have done the public, has not likewise a little contributed to that universal acknowledgment which is paid you by your country.
The consideration of this part of your character, is that which binders me from enlarging on those extraordinary talents, which have given you so great a figure in the British senate, as well as in that elegance and politeness which appear in your more retired conversation. I should be unpardonable, if, after what I bave said, I should longer detain you with an address of this nature: I cannot, however, conlude it without acknowledging those great obligations which you have laid upon,
Your most obedient,
FRIDAY, JULY 20, 1711.
Comes jucundus in via pro vehiculo est.
PUBL. SYR. FRAG.
"An agreeable companion upon the road is as good as a coach."
THE SPECTATOR ACCOMPANIES SIR ROGER DE COVERLEY TO THE ASSIZES.
A MAN's first care should be to avoid the reproaches of his own heart; his next, to escape the censures of the world. If the last interferes with the former, it ought to be entirely neglected; but otherwise there cannot be a greater satisfaction to an honest mind, than to see those approbations which it gives itself, seconded by the applauses of the public. A man is more sure of his conduct, when the verdict which he passes upon his own behaviour is thus warranted and confirmed by the opinion of all that know him.
My worthy friend Sir ROGER is one of those who is not only at peace within himself, but beloved and esteemed by all about him. He receives a suitable tribute for his universal benevolence to mankind, in the returns
of affection and good-will, which are paid him by every. one that lives within his neighbourhood. I lately met with two or three odd instances of that general respect which is shewn to the good old Knight. He would needs carry WILL WIMBLE and myself with him to the county assizes. As we were upon the road WILL WIMBLE joined a couple of plain men who rode before us, and conversed with them for some time; during which my friend Sir ROGER acquainted me with their characters.
The first of them, says he, that has a spaniel by his side, is a yeoman of about an hundred pounds a year, an honest man. He is just within the game act, and qualified to kill an hare or a pheasant. He knocks down a dinner with his gun twice or thrice a week; and by that means lives much cheaper than those who have not so good an estate as himself. He would be a good neighbour if he did not destroy so many partridges. In short, he is a very sensible man; shoots flying, and has been several times foreman of the petty-jury.
The other that rides along with him is TOM TOUCHY, a fellow famous for taking the law of every body.
There is not one in the town where he lives that he has not sued at a quarter-sessions. The rogue had once the impudence to go to law with the widow. His head is full of costs, damages, and ejectments. He plagued a couple of honest gentlemen so long for a trespass in breaking one of his hedges, till he was forced to sell the ground it inclosed to defray the charges of the prosecution his father left him fourscore pounds a year; but he has cast and been cast so often, that he is not now worth thirty. I suppose he is going upon the old business of the willow-tree.
As Sir ROGER was giving me this account of TOM TOUCHY, WILL WIMBLE and his two companions stopped short till we came up to them. After having paid their respects to Sir ROGER, WILL told him that Mr. TOUCHY and he must appeal to him upon a dispute
that arose between them. WILL it seems had been giving his fellow-traveller an account of his angling one day in such a hole; when TOM TOUCHY, instead of hearing out his story, told him that Mr. Such-a-one, if he pleased, might take the law of bim for fishing in that part of the river. My friend Sir ROGER heard them both, upon a round trot; and after having paused some time told them, with the air of a man who would not give his judgment rashly, that "much might be said on both sides.' They were neither of them dissatisfied with the Knight's determination, because neither of them found himself in the wrong by it. Upon which we made the best of our way to the assizes.
The court was sat before Sir ROGER came; but notwithstanding all the Justices had taken their places upon the bench, they made room for the old Knight at the head of them, who for his reputation in the country took occasion to whisper in the Judge's ear, "That he was glad his lordship had met with so much good weather in his circuit." I was listening to the proceedings of the court with much attention, and infinitely pleased with that great appearance and solemnity which so properly accompanies such a public administration of our laws; when, after about an hour's sitting, I observed, to my great surprise, in the midst of a trial, that my friend Sir ROGER was getting up to speak. I was in some pain for him, until I found he had acquitted himself of two or three sentences, with a look of much business and great intrepidity.
Upon his first rising the court was hushed, and a general whisper ran among the country people that Sir ROGER was up. The speech he made was so little to the purpose, that I shall not trouble my readers with an account of it; and I believe was not so much designed by the Knight himself to inform the court, as to give him a figure in my eye, and keep up his credit in the country.
I was highly delighted, when the court rose, to see gentlemen