Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

parish of St. Martin's in the Fields, in academy for politics, of which the Marquis behalf of himself and neighbours;

[blocks in formation]

That there have of late set up amongst us certain persons from Monmouth-street and Long-lane, who by the strength of their arms, and loudness of their throats, draw off the regard of all passengers from your said petitioners; from which violence they are distinguished by the name of "The Worriers.

de Torcy, minister and secretary of state,
is to be protector. Six academiclans are to
be chosen, endowed with proper talents,
for beginning to form this academy, into
which no person is to be admitted under
wise have each of them an estate of two
twenty-five years of age: they must like-
thousand livres a year, either in possession,
or to come to them by inheritance.
king will allow to each a pension of a thou-
sand livres. They are likewise to have
able masters to teach them the necessary

The

sciences, and to instruct them in all the which have been made in several ages treaties of peace, alliance, and others, past. These members are to meet twice a week at the Louvre. From this seminary who by degrees may advance to higher are to be chosen secretaries to embassies, employments.'

Cardinal Richelieu's politics made France 'That while your petitioners stand ready the terror of Europe. The statesmen who to receive passengers with a submissive have appeared in that nation of late years bow, and repeat with a gentle voice, "La-have, on the contrary, rendered it either dies, what do you want? pray look in here;" the worriers reach out their hands at pistol-shot, and seize the customers at arms' length.

That while the fawners strain and relax the muscles of their faces, in making distinction between a spinster in a coloured scarf and a handmaid in a straw hat, the worriers use the same roughness to both, and prevail upon the easiness of the passengers, to the impoverishment of your petitioners. Your petitioners therefore most humbly pray, that the worriers may not be permitted to inhabit the politer parts of the town; and that Round-court may remain a receptacle for buyers of a more soft edu

cation.

[blocks in formation]

the pity or contempt of its neighbours. which has carried all the parts of polite The cardinal erected that famous academy learning to the greatest height. His chief design in that institution was to divert the men of genius from meddling with politics, a province in which he did not care to have any one else interfere with him. On the contrary, the Marquis de Torcy seems France as wise as himself, and is therefore resolved to make several young men in taken up at present in establishing a nur

sery

of statesmen.

also be erected a seminary of petticoat poliSome private letters add, that there will ticians, who are to be brought up at the feet of Madame de Maintenon, and to be despatched into foreign courts upon any emergencies of state; but as the news of this last project has not been yet confirmed, I shall take no further notice of it.

Several of my readers may doubtless remember that upon the conclusion of the last war, which had been carried on so successfully by the enemy, their generals were many of them transformed into ambassa

No. 305.] Tuesday, February 19, 1711-12. dors; but the conduct of those who have com

Non tali auxilio, nec defensoribus istis
Tempus eget-
Virg. n. ii. 521.
These times want other aids.-Dryden.

OUR late newspapers being full of the project now on foot in the court of France, for establishing a political academy, and I myself having received letters from several virtuosos among my foreign correspondents, which give some light into that affair, I intend to make it the subject of this day's speculation. A general account of this project may be met with in the Daily Courant of last Friday, in the following words, translated from the Gazette of Amsterdam. Paris, February 12. It is confirmed that the king is resolved to establish a new

manded in the present war, has, it seems, brought so little honour and advantage to their great monarch, that he is resolved to trust his affairs no longer in the hands of those military gentlemen.

The regulations of this new academy very much deserve our attention. The students are to have in possession, or reversion, an estate of two thousand French livres, per annum, which, as the present exchange runs, will amount to at least one hundred and twenty-six pounds English. This, with the royal allowance of a thousand livres, will enable them to find themselves in coffee and snuff; not to mention newspapers, pens and ink, wax and wafers, with the like necessaries for politicians.

[ocr errors]

A man must be at least five-and-twenty that which it lays upon his most christian before he can be initiated into the mysteries majesty. He is likewise to teach them the of this academy, though there is no question art of finding flaws, loop-holes, and evasions, but many grave persons of a much more ad- in the most solemn compacts, and particuvanced age, who have been constant readers larly a great rabbinical secret, revived of of the Paris Gazette, will be glad to begin late years by the fraternity of Jesuits, the world anew, and enter themselves upon namely, that contradictory interpretations this list of politicians. of the same article may both of them be true and valid.

The society of these hopeful young gentlemen is to be under the direction of six professors, who, it seems, are to be speculative statesmen, and drawn out of the body of the royal academy. These six wise masters, according to my private letters, are to have the following parts allotted to them.

The first is to instruct the students in state legerdemain; as how to take off the impression of a seal, to split a wafer, to open a letter, to fold it up again, with other the like ingenious feats of dexterity and art. When the students have accomplished themselves in this part of their profession, they are to be delivered into the hands of their second instructor, who is a kind of posture-master.

This artist is to teach them how to nod judiciously, and shrug up their shoulders in a dubious case, to connive with either eye, and, in a word, the whole practice of political grimace.

The third is a sort of language-master, who is to instruct them in the style proper for a minister in his ordinary discourse. And to the end that this college of statesmen may be thoroughly practised in the political style, they are to make use of it in their common conversations, before they are employed either in foreign or domestic affairs. If one of them asks another what o'clock it is, the other is to answer him indirectly, and, if possible, to turn off the question. If he is desired to change a louis d'or, he must beg time to consider of it. If it be inquired of him, whether the king is at Versailles or Marly, he must answer in a whisper. If he be asked the news of the last Gazette, or the subject of a proclamation, he is to reply that he has not yet read it; or if he does not care for explaining himself so far, he needs only draw his brow up in wrinkles, or elevate the left shoulder. The fourth professor is to teach the whole art of political characters and hieroglyphics; and to the end that they may be perfect also in this practice, they are not to send a note to one another (though it be but to borrow a Tacitus or a Machiavel) which is not written in cypher.

Their fifth professor, it is thought, will be chosen out of the society of Jesuits, and is to be well read in the controversies of probable doctrines, mental reservation, and the rights of princes. This learned man is to instruct them in the grammar, syntax, and construing part of Treaty Latin: how to distinguish between the spirit and the letter, and likewise demonstrate how the same form of words may lay an obligation upon any prince in Europe, different from

When our statesmen are sufficiently improved by these several instructors, they are to receive their last polishing from one who is to act among them as master of the ceremonies. This gentleman is to give them lectures upon the important points of the elbow-chair and the stair-head, to instruct them in the different situations of the right hand, and to furnish them with bows and inclinations of all sizes, measures, and proportions. In short, this professor is to give the society their stiffening, and infuse into their manners that beautiful political starch, which may qualify them for levees, conferences, visits, and make them shine in what vulgar minds are apt to look upon as trifles.

I have not yet heard any further particulars which are to be observed in this society of unfledged statesmen; but I must confess, had I a son of five-and-twenty, that should take it into his head at that age to set up for a politician, I think I should go near to disinherit him for a blockhead. Besides, I should be apprehensive lest the same arts which are to enable him to negociate between potentates, might a little infect his ordinary behaviour between man and man. There is no question but these young Machiavels will in a little time turn their college upside down with plots and stratagems, and lay as many schemes to circumvent one another in a frog or a salad, as they may hereafter put in practice to overreach a neighbouring prince or state.

We are told that the Spartans, though they punished theft in the young men when it was discovered, looked upon it as honourable if it succeeded. Provided the conveyance was clean and unsuspected, a youth might afterwards boast of it. This, say the historians, was to keep them sharp, and to hinder them from being imposed upon, either in their public or private negotiations. Whether any such relaxations of morality, such little jeux d'esprit, ought not to be allowed in this intended seminary of politicians, I shall leave to the wisdom of their founder.

In the mean-time we have fair warning given us by this doughty body of statesmen: and as Scylla saw many Marius's in Cæsar, so I think we may discover many Torcy's in this college of academicians. Whatever we think of ourselves, I am afraid neither our Smyrna nor St. James's will be a match for it. Our coffee-houses are, indeed, very good institutions; but whether or no these our British schools of politics may furnish

out as able envoys and secretaries as an nity: and to resign conquests is a task as academy that is set apart for that purpose, difficult in a beauty as a hero. In the very will deserve our serious consideration, espe- entrance upon this work she must burn all cially if we remember that our country is her love-letters; or since she is so candid as more famous for producing men of integrity not to call her lovers, who follow her no than statesmen: and that, on the contrary, longer, unfaithful, it would be a very good French truth and British policy make a beginning of a new life from that of a beauty, conspicuous figure in nothing; as the Earl to send them back to those who writ them, of Rochester has very well observed in his with this honest inscription, Articles of a admirable poem upon that barren subject. marriage treaty broken off by the smallL. pox.' I have known but one instance where à matter of this kind went on after a like misfortune, where the lady, who was a woman of spirit, writ this billet to her lover: 'SIR,-If you flattered me before I had this terrible malady, pray come and see me now: but if you sincerely liked me, stay away, for I am not the same

No. 306.] Wednesday, Feb. 20, 1711-12.
-Quæ forma, ut se tibi semper
Imputet?-

Juv. Sat. vi. 177.
What beauty, or what chastity, can bear,
So great a price, if, stately and severe,
She still insults?

Dryden.

'MR. SPECTATOR,-I write this to communicate to you a misfortune which frequently happens, and therefore deserves a Consolatory discourse on the subject. I was within this half year in the possession of as much beauty and as many lovers as any young lady in England. But my admirers have left me, and I cannot complain of their behaviour. Í have within that time had the small-pox: and this face, which (according to many amorous epistles which I have by me) was the seat of all that was beautiful in woman, is now disfigured with scars. It goes to the very soul of me to speak what I really think of my face, and though I think I did not overrate my beauty while I had it, it has extremely advanced in its value with me now it is lost. There is one circumstance which makes my case very particular; the ugliest fellow that ever pretended to me, was and is most in my favour, and he treats me at present the most unreasonably. If you could make him return an obligation which he owes me, in liking a person that is not amiable-but there is, I fear, no possibility of making passion move by the rules of reason and gratitude. But say what you can to one who has survived herself, and knows not how to act in a new being. My lovers are at the feet of my rivals, my rivals are every day bewailing me, and I cannot enjoy what I am, by reason of the distracting reflection upon what I was. Consider the woman I was did not die of old age, but I was taken off in the prime of youth, and according to the course of nature may have forty years after-life to come. I have nothing of myself left, which I like, but that I am, sir, your most humble

CORINNA."

The lover thought there was something so sprightly in her behaviour, that he answered:

'MADAM,-I am not obliged, since you are not the same woman, to let you know whether I flattered you or not: but I assure you I do not, when I tell you I now like you above all your sex, and hope you will bear what may befal me when we are both one, as well as you do what happens to yourself now you are single; therefore I am ready to take such a spirit for my companion as AMILCAR.' soon as you please.

If Parthenissa can now possess her own mind, and think as little of her beauty as she ought to have done when she had it, there will be no great diminution of her charms; and if she was formerly affected too much with them, an easy behaviour will more than make up for the loss of them. Take the whole sex together, and you find those who have the strongest possession of men's hearts are not eminent for their beauty. You see it often happen that those who engage men to the greatest violence, are such as those who are strangers fective for that end. The fondest lover I to them would take to be remarkably deknow, said to me one day in a crowd of women at an entertainment of music, You have often heard me talk of my beloved; that woman there,' continued he, smiling, when he had fixed my eye, is her very picture.' The lady he showed me was by much the least remarkable for beauty of any in the whole assembly; but having my curiosity extremely raised, I could not keep my eyes off her. Her eyes at last met mine, and with a sudden surprise she looked round When Lewis of France had lost the bat-her to see who near her was remarkably tle of Ramilies, the addresses to him at that time were full of his fortitude, and they turned his misfortune to his glory; in that, during his prosperity, he could never have manifested his heroic constancy under distresses, and so the world had lost the most eminent part of his character. Parthenissa's condition gives her the same opportu

servant,

PARTHENISSA.'

handsome that I was gazing at. This little
act explained the secret. She did not un-
derstand herself for the object of love, and
The lover is a very
therefore she was so.
honest plain man; and what charmed him
was a person that goes along with him in
the cares and joys of life, not taken up with
herself, but sincerely attentive, with a ready

and cheerful mind, to accompany him in | but you must explain yourself farther, beeither. fore I know what to do. Your most obedient THE SPECTATOR.'

I can tell Parthenissa for her comfort servant, that the beauties, generally speaking, are T. the most impertinent and disagreeable of women. An apparent desire of admiration,

-Versate diu, quid ferre recusent,

Quid valeant humeri

Hor. Ars Poet. v. 39.

a reflection upon their own merit, and a No. 307.] Thursday, Feb. 21, 1711-12. precise behaviour in their general conduct, are almost inseparable accidents in beauties. All you obtain of them, is granted to importunity and solicitation for what did not deserve so much of your time, and you recover from the possession of it as out of a dream.

You are ashamed of the vagaries of fancy which so strangely misled you, and your admiration of a beauty, merely as such, is inconsistent with a tolerable reflection upon yourself. The cheerful good-humoured creatures, into whose heads it never entered that they could make any man unhappy, are the persons formed for making men happy. There is Miss Liddy can dance a jig, raise paste, write a good hand, keep an account, give a reasonable answer, and do as she is bid; while her eldest sister, Madam Martha, is out of humour, has the spleen, learns by reports of people of higher quality new ways of being uneasy and displeased. And this happens for no reason in the world, but that poor Liddy knows she has no such thing, as a certain negligence that is so becoming:' that there is not I know not what in her air; and that if she talks like a fool, there is no one will say, Well! I know not what it is, but every thing pleases when she speaks it.'

-Often try what weight you can support,
And what your shoulders are too weak to bear.
Roscommon.

letter, that I am in hopes it will not be a
I AM SO well pleased with the following
disagreeable present to the public.

'SIR,-Though I believe none of your readers more admire your agreeable manner of working up trifles than myself, yet as your speculations are now swelling into volumes, and will in all probability pass down to future ages, methinks I would have no single subject in them, wherein the general good of mankind is concerned, left unfinished.

I have a long time expected with great impatience that you would enlarge upon the ordinary mistakes which are committed in the education of our children. I the more easily flattered myself that you would one time or other resume this consideration, because you tell us that your 168th paper was only composed of a few broken hints: but finding myself hitherto disappointed, I have ventured to send you my own thoughts on this subject.

Ask any of the husbands of your great 'I remember Pericles, in his famous beauties, and they will tell you that they hate oration at the funeral of those Athenian their wives nine hours of every day they young men who perished in the Samian expass together. There is such a particularity pedition, has a thought very much celefor ever affected by them, that they are brated by several ancient critics, namely, encumbered with their charms in all they that the loss which the commonwealth sufsay or do. They pray at public devotions fered by the destruction of its youth, was as they are beauties: they converse on or- like the loss which the year would suffer dinary occasions as they are beauties. Ask by the destruction of the spring. The preBelinda what it is o'clock, and she is at a judice which the public sustains from a stand whether so great a beauty should an- wrong education of children, is an evil of swer you. In a word, I think, instead of the same nature, as it in a manner starves offering to administer consolation to Parthe-posterity, and defrauds our country of those nissa, I should congratulate her metamor-persons, who, with due care, might make phosis; and however she thinks she was an eminent figure in their respective posts not the least insolent in the prosperity of of life. her charms, she was enough so to find she may make herself a much more agreeable creature in her present adversity. The endeavour to please is highly promoted by a consciousness that the approbation of the person you would be agreeable to, is a favour you do not deserve: for in this case assurance of success is the most certain way to disappointment. Good-nature will always supply the absence of beauty, but beauty cannot long supply the absence of good-nature.

'POSTSCRIPT.

'February 18. 'MADAM,-I have yours of this day, wherein you twice bid me not disoblige you,

'I have seen a book written by Juan Huartes a Spanish Physician, entitled Examen de Ingenois, wherein he lays it down as one of his first positions, that nothing but nature can qualify a man for learning: and that without a proper temperament for the particular art or science which he studies, his utmost pains and application, assisted by the ablest masters, will be to no purpose.

'He illustrates this by the example of Tully's son Marcus.

[ocr errors]

Cicero, in order to accomplish his son in that sort of learning which he designed him for, sent him to Athens, the most celebrated academy at that time in the world,

and where a vast concourse, out of the most polite nations could not but furnish the young gentleman with a multitude of great examples and accidents that might insensibly have instructed him in his designed studies. He placed him under the care of Cratippus, who was one of the greatest philosophers of the age, and, as if all the books which were at that time written had not been sufficient for his use, he composed others on purpose for him: notwithstanding all this, history informs us that Marcus proved a mere blockhead, and that nature, (who it seems was even with the son for her prodigality to the father) rendered him incapable of improving by all the rules of eloquence, the precepts of philosophy, his own endeavours, and the most refined conversation in Athens. This author, therefore, proposes, that there should be certain triers or examiners appointed by the state, to inspect the genius of every particular boy, and to allot him the part that is most suitable to his natural talents.

'Plato in one of his dialogues tells us that Socrates, who was the son of a midwife, used to say, that as his mother, though she was very skilful in her profession, could not deliver a woman unless she was first with child, so neither could he himself raise knowledge out of a mind where nature had not planted it.

Accordingly the method this philosopher took, of instructing his scholars by several interrogatories or questions, was only helping the birth, and bringing their own thoughts to light.

The Spanish doctor above-mentioned, as his speculations grew more refined, asserts that every kind of wit has a particular science, corresponding to it, and in which alone it can be truly excellent. As to those geniuses, which may seem to have an equal aptitude for several things, he regards them as so many unfinished pieces of nature wrought off in haste.

"How different from this manner of education is that which prevails in our own country! where nothing is more usual than to see forty or fifty boys of several ages, tempers, and inclinations, ranged together in the same class, employed upon the same authors, and enjoined the same tasks! Whatever their natural genius may be, they are all to be made poets, historians, and orators alike. They are all obliged to have the same capacity, to bring in the same tale of verse, and to furnish out the same portion of prose. Every boy is bound to have as good a memory as the captain of the form. To be brief, instead of adapting studies to the particular genius of a youth, we expect from the young man, that he should adapt his genius to his studies. This, I must confess, is not so much to be imputed to the instructor, as to the parent, who will never be brought to believe, that his son is not capable of performing as much as his neighbour's, and that he may not make him whatever he has a mind to.

'If the present age is more laudable than those which have gone before it in any single particular, it is in that generous care which several well-disposed persons have taken in the education of poor children; and as in these charity-schools there is no place left for the overweaning fondness of a parent, the directors of them would make them beneficial to the public, if they considered the precept which I have been thus long inculcating. They might easily, by well examining the parts of those under their inspection, make a just distribution of them into proper classes and divisions, and allot to them this or that particular study, as their genius qualifies them for professions, trades, handicrafts, or service by sea or land.

How is this kind of regulation wanting in the three great professions!

tail.

In like manner many a lawyer, who makes but an indifferent figure at the bar, might have made a very elegant waterman, and have shined at the Temple stairs, though he can get no business in the house.

Dr. South, complaining of persons who There are indeed but very few to whom took upon them holy orders, though altonature has been so unkind, that they are gether unqualified for the sacred function, not capable of shining in some science or says somewhere, that many a man runs his other. There is a certain bias towards know-head against a pulpit, who might have done ledge in every mind, which may be strength-his country excellent service at the ploughened and improved by proper applications. "The story of Clavius is very well known. He was entered in a college of Jesuits, and after having been tried at several parts of learning, was upon the point of being dismissed, as a hopeless blockhead, until one of the fathers took it into his head to make an essay of his parts in geometry, which it seems hit his genius so luckily, that he after-lent physician. wards became one of the greatest mathematicians of the age.* It is commonly thought that the sagacity of these fathers in discovering the talent of a young student, has not a little contributed to the figure which their order has made in the world.

'I have known a corn-cutter, who with a right education would have been an excel

"To descend lower, are not our streets filled with sagacious draymen, and politicians in liveries? We have several tailors of six foot high, and meet with many a broad pair of shoulders that are thrown away upon a barber, when perhaps at the same time we see a pigmy porter reeling

*Clavius died at Rome in 1612, aged 75; his works under a burden, who might have managed

are comprised in five volumes in folio.

a needle with much dexterity, or have

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »