Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

the no less worthy relict of sir Marmaduke, | my eye upon a treatise which I could not over. are both living at this time.

look without an inexcusable negligence, and I am to let the reader know, that his chief want of concern for all the civil, as well as reentertainment will arise from what passes at the ligious interests of mankind. This piece bas for tea-table of my lady Lizard. That lady is now its title, A Discourse of Free-thinking, uccain the forty-sixth year of her age, was married sioned by the rise and growtb of a sect called in the beginning of her sixteenth, is blessed with Free-thinkers. The author very methodically a numerous offspring of each sex, no less than enters upon his argument, and says, ' by freefour sons and five daughters. She was the mo- thinking, I mean the use of the understanding ther of this large family before she arrived at her in endeavouring to find out the meaning of thirtieth year: about which time she lost her any proposition whatsoever, in considering the busband, sir Marmaduke Lizard, a gentleman nature of the evidence for or against, and in of great virtue and generosity. He left bebiad judging of it according to the seeming force him an improved paternal estate of six thou. or weakness of the evidence. As soon as he sand pounds a-year to bis eldest son, and one has delivered this definition, from which one year's revenue, in ready money, as a portion would expect he did not design to show a parto each younger child. My lady's Christian | ticular inclination for or against any thing name is Aspasia; and as it may give a certain before he had considered it, he gives up all dignity to our style to mention her by that title to the character of a free-thinker, with name, we beg leave at discretion to say lady the most apparent prejudice against a body of Lizard, or Aspasia, according to the matter | men, whom of all other a good man would be we shall treat of. When she shall be consult-most careful not to violate, I mean men in ing about her cash, ber rents, her household holy orders. Persons who have devoted tbemaffairs, we will use the more familiar Dame; selves to the service of God, are venerable to and when she is employed in the forming the all who fear him; and it is a certain cliaracminds and sentiments of her children, exerting teristic of a dissolute and upgoverned mind, to berself in the acts of charity, or speaking of rail, or speak disrepectfully of them in general. matters of religion or piety, for the elevation It is certain, that in so great a crowd of men, of style we will use the word Aspasia. Aspasia some will intrude who are of tempers very unis a lady of great understanding and noble becoming their function: but because ambition spirit. She has passed several years in widown and avarice are sometimes lodged in that bu. hood, with that abstinent enjoyment of life, som which ought to be the dwelling of sanctity which has done honour to her deceased bus- and devotion, must this unreasonable author band, and devolved reputation upon her chil. vilify the whole order? He has not taken the dren. As she has both sons and daughters least care to disguise his being an enemy to the marriageable, she is visited by many on that persons against whom he writes, nor any where account, but by many more for her own merit. granted that the institution of religious men As there is no circumstance in human life, to serve at the altar, and instruct such who which may not directly or indirectly concern are not as wise as himself, is at all necessary a woman thus related, there will be abundant or desirable ; but proceeds, without the least matter offer itself from passages in this family apology, to undermine their credit, and frusto supply my readers with diverting, and per- trate their labours: whatever clergymen, in haps useful notices for their conduct in all the disputes against each other, have unguardedly incidents of buman life. Placing money on uttered, is here recorded in such a manner as mortgages, in the funds, upon bottomry, and to affect religion itself, by wresting concessions almost all other ways of improving the fortune to its disadvantage from its own teachers. If of a family, are practised by my lady Lizard, this be true, as sure any man that reads the with the best skill and advice.

discourse must allow it is, and if religion is The members of this family, their cares, the strongest tie of human society, in what passions, interests, and diversions, shall be re

manner are we to treat this our common enemy, presented, from time to time, as news from

who promotes the growth of such a sect as be the tea-table of so accomplished a woman as calls free-thinkers ? He that should burn a the intelligent and discreet lady Lizard.

a house, and justify the action by asserting he

is a free ageut, would be more excusable than No. S.] Saturday, March 14, 1713.

this author in uttering what he bas from the

right of a free-thinker. But there are a set of Quicquid est illnd, qnod sentit, quoni sapit, good volt, dry, joyless, dull fellows,

who want capacities quod viget, cæleste et divinum est, ob eamque rem æter.

and talents to make a figure amongst mankind Whatever that be, which thinks, which understands, upon benevolent and generous principles, that which wills, which ucts, it is something celestial and do think to surmount their own natural meanvine, ani, upon that account, most necessarily be eternal.

ness, by laying offences in the way of such as I AM diverted from the account I was giving make it their endeavour to excel upon the tethe town of my particular concerns, by casting ceived maxims and honest arts of life. If it

[ocr errors]

Cicero,

nom sit necesse est.

sect

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

were possible to laugh at so melancholy an produce some instances of the ill intention of affair as what hazards salvation, it would be this free-thinker, to support the treatment I no unpleasant inquiry to ask, what satisfactions here give him. In his fifty-second page be says, they reap, what extraordinary gratification of Secondly, The priests throughout the world sense, or what delicious libertinism this sect differ about scriptures, and the authority of of free-thinkers enjoy, after getting loose of scriptures. The Bramins have a book of scripthe laws which confine the passions of other ture called the Shaster. The Persees have their men? Would it not be a matter of mirth to Zundavastaw. The Bonzes of China bave books find, after all, that the heads of this growing written by the disciples of Fo-he, whom they

are sober wretches, who prate whole call the 'God and Saviour of the world, who evenings over coffee, and have not themselves was born to teach the way of salvation, and fire enough to be any further debauchees, than to give satisfaction for all men's sins. The merely in principle? These sages of iniquity Talapoins of Siam have a book of scripture are, it seems, themselves only speculatively written by Sommonocodom, wbo, the Siamese wicked, and are contented that all the aban- say, ' was born of a virgin, and was the God doned young men of the age are kept safe from expected by the universe.' The Dervises have reflection by dabbling in their rhapsodies, their Alcoran.' without tasting the pleasures for which their I believe there is no one will dispute the doctrines leave them unaccountable. Thus author's great impartiality in setting down the do heavy mortals, only to gratify a dry pride of accounts of these different religions. And I heart, give up the interests of another world, think it is pretty evident he delivers the matter without enlarging their gratifications in this : with an air that betrays that the history of but it is certain there are a sort of men that one born of a virgin' has as much authority can puzzle truth, but cannot enjoy the satis- with him from St. Sommonocodom as from faction of it. This same free-thinker is a crea. St. Matthew. Thus he treats revelation. Then ture unacquainted with the emotions which as to philosophy, he tells you, p. 136, ' Cicero possess great minds when they are turned for produees this as an instance of a probable religion, and it is apparent that he is untouched opinion, that they who study philosophy do with any such sensation as the rapture of de- not believe there are any Gods;' and then, votiou. Whatever one of these scorners may from consideration of various notions, he althink, they certainly want parts to be devout;firms Tully concludes, 'that there can be noand a sense of piety towards beaven, as well as thing after death.' the sense of any thing else, is lively and warm As to what he misrepresents of Tully, the in proportion to the faculties of tbe head and short sentence on the head of this paper is heart. This gentleman may be assured be has enough to oppose ; but who can bave patience not a taste for what he pretends to decry, and to reflect upon the assemblage of impostures, the poor man is certainly more a blockbead among which our author places the religion than an atheist. I must repeat, that he wants of his country? As for my part, I cannot see capacity to relish what true piety is ; and he any possible interpretation to give this work, is as capable of writing an heroic poem, as but a design to subvert and ridicule the authomaking a fervent prayer. When men are thus rity of scripture. The peace and tranquillity low and narrow in their apprehensions of of the nation, and regards even above those, things, and at the same time vain, they are are so much conrerned in this matter, that it naturally led to think every thing they do not is difficult to express sufficient sorrow for the understand, not to be understood. Their con- offender, or indignation against him. But if tradiction to what is urged by others, is a ever man deserved to be denied the common necessary consequence of their incapacity to benefits of air and water, it is the author of receive it. The atheistical fellows who ap- A Discourse of free-thinking. peared the last age did not serve the devil for nought, but revelled in excesses suitable to their principles; while in these unhappy days No. 4.] Monday, March 16, 1713. mischief is done for mischief's sake. These

It matters not how false or forc'd, free-thinkers, who lead the lives of recluse stu.

So the best things be said o'th' worst; dents, for no other purpose but to disturb the

It goes for nothing when 'uis said, sentiments of other meu, put me in mind of

Only the arrow's drawn to th' head,

Whether it be a swan or goose the monstrous recreation of those late wild

They level at : so shepherds use youths, who, without provocation, had a wan

To set the saine mark on the hip tonness in stabbing and defacing those they

Both of their sound and rotten sheep. met with. When such writers as this, who has no spirit hut that of malice, pretend to inform Though most things which are wrong in the age, mohocks and cut-throats may well their own nature are at once confessed and set up for wits and men of pleasure,

absolved in that single word Custom ; yet there It will be perhaps expected, that I should are some, which as they have a dangerous

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Hudihras,

tendency, a thinking man will the less excuse but will give us cause to wonder how such on that very account. Among these I cannot things came to be said at all, or how they but reckon the common practice of dedications, were said to such persons? I have known a which is of so much the worse consequence, hero complimented upon the decent majesty as it is generally used by the people of polite and state he assumed after victory, and a noness, and whom a learned education for the bleman of a different character applauded for most part ought to have inspired with nobler his condescension to inferiors. This would and juster sentiments. This prostitution of have seemed very strange to me, but that I praise is not only a deceit upon the gross of happened to know the authors. He who made mankind, who take their notion of characters the first compliment was a lofty gentleman, from the learned; but also the better sort must whose air and gait discovered wben he had by this means lose some part at least of that published a new book; and the other tippled desire of fame which is the incentive to gene- every night with the fellows who laboured at rous actions, when they find it promiscuously the press while his own writings were work. bestowed on the meritorious and undeserving: ing off. It is observable of the female poets, nay, the author himself, let him be supposed and ladies dedicatury, that here (as elsewhere) to have ever so true a value for the patron, they far exceed us in any strain or rant. As can find no terms to express it, but what have beauty is the thing that sex are piqued upon, been already used, and rendered suspected by they speak of it generally in a more elevated flatterers. Even truth itself in a dedication style than is used by the men. They adore in is like an honest man in a disguise or vizor- the same manner as they would be adored. So mask, and will appear a cheat by being dressed when the authoress of a famous modern roso like one. Though the merit of the person mance* begs a young nobleman's permission is beyond dispute, I see no reason that because to pay him her kneeling' adorations,' I am one man is eminent, therefore another has a far from censuring the expression, as some right to be impertinent, and throw praises in critics would do, as deficient in grammar or his face. "Tis just the reverse of the practice sense; but I reflect, that adorations paid in of the ancient Romans, when a person was ad. that posture are what a lady might expect her. vanced to triumph for his services. As they self, and my wonder immediately ceases. These, hired people to rail at him in that circum- when they fatter most, do but as they would stance to make him as humble as they could be done unio: for, as none are so much con. we have fellows to flatter him, and make him cerned at being injured by calumnies as they as proud as they can. Supposing the writer who are readiest to cast them upon their neigh. not to be mercenary, yet the great man is no bours, so it is certain none are so guilty of more in reason obliged to thank biin for bis Aattery to others as those who most ardently picture in a dedication, than to tbank a painter desire it themselves. for that on a sign-post; except it be a less in- What led me into these thoughts was a de jury to touch the most sacred part of bim, bis dication 1 happened upon this morning. The character, than to make free with his counte. reader must understand that I treat the least nance only. I should think nothing justified instances or remains of ingenuity with respect, me in this point, but the patron's permission in what places soever found, or under wba!. beforehand, that I should draw him, as like as ever circumstances of disadvantage. From I could ; whereas most authors proceed in this this love to letters I have been so happy in affair just as a dauber I have beard of, who, my searches after kuowledge, that I have not being able to draw portraits after the life, found invalued repositories of learning in the was used to paint faces at random, and look lining of band-boxes. I look upon these paste. out afterwards for people wbom he might per- board edifices, adorned with the fragments of suade to be like them. To express my notion the ingenious, with the same veneration as of the thing in a word: to say more to a man antiquaries upon ruined buildings, whose walls than one thinks, with a prospect of interest, preserve divers inscriptions and names, which is dishonest; and without it, foolish. And

are no wbere else to be found in the world. whoever has had success in such an undertak. This morning, when one of the lady Lizard's ing, must of necessity, at once think bimself daughters was looking over some hoods and in his heart a knave for having done it, and ribands, brought by her tire-woman, with his patron a fool for having believed it.

great care and diligence, I employed no less I have sometimes been entertained with con. in examining the box which contained them; sidering dedications in no very common light. it was lined with certain scenes of a tragedy, By observing what qualities our writers think written (as appeared by part of the title there it will be most pleasing to others to compli- extant) by one of the fair sex. What was ment them with, one may form some judgment most legible was the dedication; which, by which are most so to themselves; and in consequence, what sort of people they are. With

Mrs. Manley, authoress of the Memoirs from the New out this view one can read very few dedications

Atalantis.

Hor. Lib. 4. O(l. v. 23.

reason of the largeness of the characters, was else can bear you. As for any defects which least defaced by those gothic ornaments of others may pretend to discover in you, I do flourishes and foliage, wherewith the com- faithfully declare I was never able to perceive pilers of these sort of structures do often in them; and doubt not but those persons are dustriously obscure the works of the learned. actuated purely by a spirit of malice or envy, As much of it as I could read with any ease, the inseparable attendants on shining merit I shall communicate to the reader, as follows. and parts, such as I have always esteemed ." ** Though it is a kind of profanation to yours to be. It may perhaps be looked upon approach your grace with so poor an offering, as a kind of violence to modesty, to say this tu yet when I reflect how acceptable a sacrifice you in public; but you may believe me, it is of first-fruits was to Heaven, in the earliest no more than I have a thousand times thought and purest ages of religion, that they were of you in private. Might I follow the impulse honoured with solemn feasts, and consecrated of my soul, there is no subject I could launch to altars by a divine command, *** upon that into with more pleasure than your panegyric. consideration, as an argument of particular But, since something is due to modesty, let zeal, I dedicate ***. It is impossible to be me conclude by telling you, that there is nohold you without adoring; yet dazzled and thing so much I desire as to know you more awed by the glory that surrounds you, men thoroughly than I have yet the happiness of feel a sacred power, that refines their flames, doing. I may then hope to be capable to do and renders them pure as those we ought to you some real service; but till then can only offer to the Deity. *** The shrine is worthy assure you, that I shall continue to be, as I the divinity that inbabits it. In your grace am more than any man alive, we see what woman was before she fell, how

Dearest Sir, nearly allied to the purity and perfection of

Your affectionate friend, and angels. And we ADORE AND BLESS THE GLO

the greatest of your admirers, RIOUS WORK !

Undoubtedly these and other periods of this most pious dedication, could not but convince No. 5.) Tuesday, March 17, 1713. the duchess of what the eloquent authoress assures her at the end, that she was her ser

Laudantur simili prole puerperæ. vant with most ardent devotion. I think this

The mother's virtues in the daughters shine. a pattern of a new sort of style, not yet taken notice of by the critics, which is above the I HAVE, in my second paper, mentioned ihe sublime, and may be called the celestial; that family into which I was retained by the friend is, when the most sacred phrases appropriated of my youth ; and given the reader to underto the honour of the Deity are applied to a stand, that my obligations to it are such as mortal of good quality. As I am naturally might well naturalize me into the interests of emulous, I cannot but endeavour, in imitation it. They have, indeed, had their deserved of this lady, to be the inventor, or, at least, the effect, and if it were possible for a man who first producer of a kind of dedication, very has never entered into the state of marriage different from hers and most others, since it to know the instincts of a kind father to an has not a word but what the author religiously honourable and numerous house, I may say I thinks in it. It may serve for almost any book, have done it. I do not know but my regards, either prose or verse, that has been, is, or shall in some considerations, have been more useful be published, and might run in this manner. than those of a father, and as I wanted all that

tenderness, which is the bias of inclination in The Author to himself.

men towards their own offspring, I have had a

greater command of reason when I was to MOST HONOURED SIR,

judge of what concerned my wards, and con. These labours, upon many considerations, sequently was not prompted, by my partiality so properly belong to none as to you. First, and fondness towards their persons, to transas it was your most earnest desire alone that gress against their interests. could prevail upon me to make them public. As the female part of a family is the more Then as I am secure (from that constant in- constant and immediate object of care and dulgence you have ever shown to all which is protection, and the more liable to misfortune mine) that no man will so readily take them or dishonour, as being in themselves more into protection, or so zealously defend them. sensible of the former, and, from custom and Moreover, there is none can so soon discover opinion, for less offences more expused to the the beauties; and there are some parts which, latter; I shall begin with the more delicate it is possible, few besides yourself are capable part of my guardianship, the women of the of understanding. Sir, the honour, affection, family of Lizard. The ancient and religious and value I have for you are beyond expression ; lady, the dowager of my friend sir Ambrose, as great, I am sure, or greater, than any man has for some time estranged berself from con

1

versation, and admits only of the visits of her mother; but in my judgment, as she happens own family. The observation, that old people to be extremely like her, she sometimes makes remember best those things which entered into her court unskilfully, in affecting that likeness their thoughts when their memories were in in ber very mien, which gives the mother au their full strength and vigour, is very remark. uneasy sense, that Mrs. Jane really is what her ably exemplified in this good lady and myself parent has a mind to continue to be; but it is when we are in conversation ; I choose, indeed, possible I am too observing in this particular, to go thither, to divert auy anxiety or weariness and this might be overlooked in them both, in which at any time I find grow upon me from respect to greater circumstances: for Mrs. Jage any present business or care. It is said, that is the right hand of her mother; it is her study a little mirth and diversion are what recreate and constant endeavour to assist her in the the spirits upon those occasions : but there is management of her household, to keep all idle a kind of sorrow from which I draw a consola. whispers from her, and discourage them before tion that strengthens my faculties and enlarges they can come at her from any other hand; to my mind beyond any thing that can low from inforce every thing that makes for the merit merriment. When we meet, we soon get over of her brothers and sisters towards her, as well any occurrence which passed the day before, as the diligence and cheerfulness of her servants

. and are in a moment hurried back to those It is by Mrs. Jane's management that the whole days which only we call good ones; the pas family is governed, neither by love nor fear, sages of the times when we were in fashion, but a certain reverence which is composed of with the countenances, behaviour, and jullity, so both. Mrs. Jane is what one would call a permuch, forsooth, above what any appear in now, fect good young woman; but neither strict are present to our imaginations, and almost to piety, diligence in domestic affairs, or any other or very eyes. This couversation revives to us avocation, have preserved her against love, the memory of a friend, that was more than a which she bears to a young gentleman of great brother to me; of a husband that was dearer expectation, but small fortune ; at the same than life to her: discourses about that dear time that men of very great estates ask her of and worthy man generally send her to her her mother. My lady tells her that prudence closet, and me to the despatch of some necessary must give way to passion : so that Mrs. Jane, business which regards the remains, I would if I cannot accommodate the matter, must say the numerous descendants of my generous conquer more than one passion, and out of friend. I am got, I know not how, out of what prudence banish the man she loves, and marry I was going say of this lady; which was, that the man she hates. she is far gone towards a better world; and The next daughter is Mrs. Annabella, who I mention her (only with respect to this) as has a very lively wit, a great deal of good sense, she is the object of veneration to those who are is very pretty, but gives me much trouble for derived from her: whose behaviour towards her from a certain dishonest cunning I know her may be an example to others, and make in her; she can seem blind and careless, and the generality of young people apprehend, that full of herself only, and entertain with twenty when the ancient are past all offices of life, it affected vanities; whilst she is observing all is then the young are to exert themselves in the company, laying up store for ridicule, and, their most laudable duties towards them. in a word, is selfish and interested under all

The widow of sir Marmaduke is to be con- the agreeable qualities in the world. Alas, sidered in a very different view. My lady is what shall I do with this girl! not in the shining bloom of life, but at those Mrs. Cornelia passes away her time very years, wherein the gratifications of an ample much in reading, and that with so great an furtune, those of pomp and equipage, of being attention, that it gives her the air of a student, much esteemed, much visited, and generally and has an ill effect upon her, as she is a fine admired, are usually more strongly pursued young woman; the giddy part of the sex will than in younger days. In this condition she have it she is in love ; none will allow that might very well add the pleasures of courtship, she affects so much being alone, but for want and the grateful persecution of being followed of particular company. I have railed at roby a crowd of lovers; but she is an excellent mances before ber, for fear of her falling into mother and great economist; which considera- those deep studies : she has fallen in with my tions, joined with the pleasure of living her humour ihat way for the time, but I know own way, preserve ber against the intrusion not how, my imprudent probibition has, it of love. I will not say that my lady has not a seems, only excited her curiosity; and I am secret vanity in being still a fine woman, and afraid she is better read than I kuow of, fur neglecting thuse addresses, to which perhaps we she said of a glass of water in which she was in part owe her constancy in that her neglect. going to wash her hands after dinner, dipping

Her daughter Jane, ber eldest child of that her fingers with a pretty lovely air, it is sex, is in the twenty-third year of her age, a chrystalline. I shall examine farther, and lady who forms herself after the pattern of her wait for clearer proofs.

4

« AnteriorContinuar »