Imágenes de páginas

perial signet, in our royal city the head of the world, the eighth day of the third lunation, and the fourth year of our reign.'

Letters from Rome say, the whole conversation both among gentlemen and ladies has turned upon the subject of this epistle, ever since it arrived. The Jesuit who translated it says, it loses much of the majesty of the original in the Italian. It seems there was an offer of the same nature made by a predecessor of the present Emperor to Lewis XIII. of France; but no lady of that court would take the voyage, that sex not being at that time so much used in politic negotiations. The manner of treating the Pope is, according to the Chinese ceremonial, very respectful, for the Emperor writes to him with the quill of a virgin ostrich, which was never used before but in writing prayers. Instructions are preparing for the lady who shall have so much zeal as to undertake this pilgrimage, and be an empress for the sake of her religion. The principal of the Indian missionaries has given in a list of the reigning sins in China, in order to prepare the indulgences necessary to this lady and her retinue, in advancing the interests of the Roman-Catholic religion in those kingdoms.


May it please your Honour,

'I have of late seen French hats of a prodigious magnitude pass by my observatory.



N° 546. WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1712.

Omnia patefacienda, ut ne quid omnino, quod venditor nôrit, : emptor ignoret.-TULL.

Every thing should be fairly told, that the buyer may not be ignorant of any thing which the seller knows.

Ir gives me very great scandal to observe, wherever I go, how much skill, in buying all manner of goods, there is necessary to defend yourself from being cheated in whatever you see exposed to sale. My reading makes such a strong impression upon me, that I should think myself a cheat in my way, if I should translate any thing from another tongue, and not acknowledge it to my readers. I understood from common report, that Mr. Cibber was introducing a French play upon our stage, and thought myself concerned to let the town know what was his, and what was foreign*. When I came to the rehearsal, I found the house so partial to one of their own fraternity, that they gave every thing which was said such grace, emphasis, and force, in their action, that it was no easy matter to make any judgment of the performance. Mrs. Oldfield, who, it seems, is the heroic daughter, had so just a conception of her part, that her action made what she spoke appear decent, just, and noble. The passions of terror and compassion they made me believe were very artfully raised, and the whole conduct of the play artful and surprising. We authors do not much relish the endeavours of players in this kind, but have the same disdain as physicians and lawyers

Ximena, or the Heroic Daughter; a tragedy taken from the Cid of Racine, by C. Cibber.

have when attorneys and apothecaries give advice. Cibber himself took the liberty to tell me, that he expected I would do him justice, and allow the play well prepared for his spectators, whatever it was for his readers. He added very many particulars not uncurious concerning the manner of taking an audience, and laying wait not only for their superficial applause, but also for insinuating into their affections and passions, by the artful management of the look, voice, and gesture, of the speaker. I could not but consent that The Heroic Daughter appeared in the rehearsal a moving entertainment wrought out of a great and exemplary virtue.

The advantages of action, show, and dress, on these occasions, are allowable, because the merit consists in being capable of imposing upon us to our advantage and entertainment. All that I was going to say about the honesty of an author in the sale of his ware was, that he ought to own all that he had borrowed from others, and lay in a clear light all that he gives his spectators for their money, with an account of the first manufacturers. But I intended

to give the lecture of this day upon the common and prostituted behaviour of traders in ordinary commerce. The philosopher made it a rule of trade, that your profit ought to be the common profit; and it is unjust to make any step towards gain, wherein the gain of even those to whom you sell is not also consulted. A man may deceive himself if he thinks fit, but he is no better than a cheat who sells any thing without telling the exceptions against it, as well as what is to be said to its advantage. The scandalous abuse of language and hardening of conscience, which may be observed every day in going from one place to another, is what makes a whole city to an unprejudiced eye a den of thieves. It was no small pleasure to me for this reason to remark,

as I passed by Cornhill, that the shop of that worthy, honest, though lately-unfortunate citizen, Mr. John Morton, so well known in the linen-trade, is fitting up anew. Since a man has been in a distressed condition, it ought to be a great satisfaction to have passed through it in such a manner as not to have lost the friendship of those who suffered with him, but to receive an honourable acknowledgment of his honesty from those very persons to whom the law had consigned his estate.

The misfortune of this citizen is like to prove of a very general advantage to those who shall deal with him hereafter; for the stock with which he now sets up being the loan of his friends, he cannot expose that to the hazard of giving credit, but enters into a ready-money trade, by which means he will both buy and sell the best and cheapest. He imposes upon himself a rule of affixing the value of each piece he sells, to the piece itself; so that the most ignorant servant or child will be as good a buyer at his shop as the most skilful in the trade. For all which, you have all his hopes and fortune for your security. To encourage dealing after this way, there is not only the avoiding the most infamous guilt in ordinary bartering; but this observation, that he who buys with ready money saves as much to his family as the state exacts out of his land for the security and service of his country; that is to say, in plain English, sixteen will do as much as twenty shillings.

[ocr errors]


My heart is so swelled with grateful sentiments on account of some favours which I have lately received, that I must beg leave to give them utterance amongst the crowd of other anonymous correspondents; and writing, I hope, will be as great a relief

to my forced silence, as it is to your natural taciturnity. My generous benefactor will not suffer me to speak to him in any terms of acknowledgment, but ever treats me as if he had the greatest obligations, and uses me with a distinction that is not to be expected from one so much my superior in fortune, years, and understanding. He insinuates, as if Í had a certain right to his favours from some merit, which his particular indulgence to me has discovered; but that is only a beautiful artifice to lessen the pain an honest mind feels in receiving obligations when there is no probability of returning them.

A gift is doubled when accompanied with such a delicacy of address; but what to me gives it an inexpressible value, is its coming from the man I most esteem in the world. It pleases me indeed, as it is an advantage and addition to my fortune; but when I consider it as an instance of that good man's friendship, it overjoys, it transports me: I look on it with a lover's eye, and no longer regard the gift, but the hand that gave it. For my friendship is so entirely void of any gainful views, that it often gives me pain to think it should have been chargeable to him; and I cannot at some melancholy hours help doing his generosity the injury of fearing it should cool on this account, and that the last favour might be a sort of legacy of a departing friendship.

'I confess these fears seem very groundless and unjust, but you must forgive them to the apprehension of one possessed of a great treasure, who is frighted at the most distant shadow of danger.

Since I have thus far opened my heart to you, I will not conceal the secret satisfaction I feel there, of knowing the goodness of my friend will not be unrewarded. I am pleased with thinking the providence of the Almighty hath sufficient blessings in store for him, and will certainly discharge the debt,

« AnteriorContinuar »