Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

what I deliver in these occurrences as truth, and what as fiction.

be positive whether the lion, the wild boar, was made use of, that is not liable to this and the flower-pot's in the play-house, did exception; since nothing, according to this not actually write those letters which came notion, can be related innocently, which to me in their names. I must therefore in- was not once matter of fact. Besides I form these gentlemen, that I often choose think the most ordinary reader may be this way of casting my thoughts into a let-able to discover, by my way of writing, ter, for the following reasons. First, out of the policy of those who try their jest upon another, before they own it themselves. Secondly, because I would extort a little praise from such who will never applaud any thing whose author is known and certain. Thirdly, because it gave me an opportunity of introducing a great variety of characters into my works, which could not have been done had I always written in the person of the Spectator. Fourthly, because the dignity spectatorial would have suffered had I published as from myself those severe ludicrous compositions which I have ascribed to fictitious names and characters. And lastly, because they often serve to bring in more naturally such additional reflections as have been placed at the end of them.

There are others who have likewise done me a very particular honour, though undesignedly. These are such who will needs have it that I have translated or borrowed many of my thoughts out of books which are written in other languages. I have heard of a person, who is more famous for his library than his learning, that has asserted this more than once in his private conversation.* Were it true, I am sure he could not speak it from his own knowledge; but, had he read the books which he has collected, he would find this accusation to be wholly groundless. Those who are truly learned will acquit me in this point, in which I have been so far from offending, that I have been scrupulous, perhaps to a fault, in quoting the authors of several passages which I might have made my own. But, as this assertion is in reality an encomium on what I have published, I ought rather to glory in it than endeavour to confute it.

Some are so very willing to alienate from me that small reputation which might accrue to me from any of these my speculations, that they attribute some of the best of them to those imaginary manuscripts with which I have introduced them. There are others I must confess whose objections have given me a greater concern, as they seem to reflect, under this head, rather on my morality than on my invention. These are they who say an author is guilty of falsehood, when he talks to the public of manuscripts which he never saw, or describes scènes of action or discourse in which he was never engaged. But these gentlemen would do well to consider, that there is not a fable or parable, which ever

*This is an allusion to Mr. Thomas Rowlinson, the celebrated book collector. Addison had already ridiculed him in the Tattler, No. 158, under the name of Tom Folio.

Since I am unawares engaged in answering the several objections which have been made against these my works, I must take notice that there are some who affirm a paper of this nature should always turn upon diverting subjects, and others who find fault with every one of them that hath not an immediate tendency to the advancement of religion or learning. I shall leave these gentlemen to dispute it out among themselves; since I see one half of my conduct patronized by each side. Were I serious on an improper subject, or trifling in a serious one, I should deservedly draw upon me the censure of my readers: or were I conscious of any thing in my writings that is not innocent at least, or that the greatest part of them were not sincerely designed to discountenance vice and ignorance, and support the interest of truth, wisdom, and virtue, I should be more severe upon myself than the public is disposed to be. In the mean while I desire my reader to consider every particular paper, or discourse, as a distinct tract_by itself, and independent of every thing that goes before or after it.

I shall end this paper with the following letter, which was really sent me, as some others have been which I have published, and for which I must own myself indebted to their respective writers.

'SIR,-I was this morning in a company of your well-wishers, when we read over, with great satisfaction, Tully's observation on action adapted to the British theatre: though by the way, we were very sorry to find that you have disposed of another member of your club. Poor Sir Roger is dead, and the worthy clergyman dying; captain Sentry has taken possession of a good estate; Will Honeycomb has married a farmer's daughter; and the Templar withdraws himself into the business of his own profession. What will all this end in? We are afraid it portends no good to the public. Unless you very speedily fix the day for the election of new members, we are under apprehensions of losing the British Spectator. I hear of a party of ladies who intended to address you on this subject: and I question not, if you do not give us the slip very suddenly, that you will receive addresses from all parts of the kingdom to continue so useful a work. Pray deliver us out of this perplexity; and, among the multitude of your readers, you will particularly oblige your most sincere friend and servant,

O.

'PHILO-SPEC.'

No. 543.] Saturday, November 22, 1712. | miracle of the present age, can look through

-Facies non omnibus una,

Nec diversa tamen

Ovid, Met. Lib. ii. 12.

Similar, though not the same.

THOSE who were skilful in anatomy, among the ancients, concluded, from the outward and inward make of a human body, that it was the work of a Being transcendently wise and powerful. As the world grew more enlightened in this art, their discoveries gave them fresh opportunities of admiring the conduct of Providence in the formation of a human body. Galen was converted by his dissections, and could not but own a Supreme Being upon a survey of this handy-work. There were, indeed, many parts, of which the old anatomists did not know the certain use; but, as they say that most of those which they examined were adapted with admirable art to their several functions, they did not question but those, whose uses they could not determine, were contrived with the same wisdom for respective ends and purposes. Since the circulation of the blood has been found out, and many other great discoveries have been made by our modern anatomists, we see new wonders in the human frame, and discern several important uses for those parts, which uses the ancients knew nothing of. In short, the body of man is such a subject as stands the utmost test, of examination. Though it appears formed with the nicest wisdom, upon the most superficial survey of it, it still mends upon the search, and produces our surprise and amazement in proportion as we pry into it. What I have here said of a human body may be applied to the body of every animal which has been the subject of anatomical observations.

The body of an animal is an object adequate to our senses. It is a particular system of Providence that lies in a narrow compass. The eye is able to command it, and by successive inquiries can search into all its parts. Could the body of the whole earth, or indeed the whole universe, be thus submitted to the examination of our senses, were it not too big and disproportioned for our inquiries, too unwieldy for the management of the eye and hand, there is no question but it would appear to us as curious and well contrived a frame as that of the human body. We should see the same concatenation and subserviency, the same necessity and usefulness, the same beauty and harmony, in all and every of its parts, as what we discover in the body of every single animal.

a whole planetary system; consider it in its weight, number, and measure; and draw from it as many demonstrations of infinite power and wisdom, as a more confined understanding is able to deduce from the system of a human body.

But to return to our speculations on anatomy, I shall here consider the fabric and texture of the bodies of animals in one particular view: which in my opinion shows the hand of a thinking and all-wise Being in their formation, with the evidence of a thousand demonstrations. I think we may lay this down as an incontested principle, that chance never acts in a perpetual uniformity and consistence with itself. If one should always fling the same number with ten thousand dice, or see every throw just five times less, or five times more in number, than the throw which immediately preceded it, who would not imagine there is some invisible power which directs the cast? This is the proceeding which we find in the operations of nature. Every kind of animal is diversified by different magnitudes, each of which gives rise to a different species. Let a man trace the dog or lion kind, and he will observe how many of the works of nature are published, if I may use the expression, in a variety of editions. If we look into the reptile world, or into those different kinds of animals that fill the element of water, we meet with the same repetition among several species, that differ very little from one another, but in size and bulk. You find the same creature that is drawn at large, copied out in several proportions and ending in miniature. It would be tedious to produce instances of this regular conduct in Providence, as it would be superfluous to those who are versed in the natural history of animals. The magnificent harmony of the universe is such, that we may observe innumerable divisions running upon the same ground. I might also extend this speculation to the dead parts of nature, in which we may find matter disposed into many similar systems, as well in our survey of stars and planets as of stones, vegetables, and other sublunary parts of the creation. In a word, Providence has shown the richness of its goodness and wisdom, not only in the production of many original species, but in the multiplicity of descants which it has made on every original species in particular.

But to pursue this thought still farther. Every living creature, considered in itself, has many very complicated parts that are exact copies of some other parts which it The more extended our reason is, and possesses, and which are complicated in the more able to grapple with immense the same manner. One eye would have objects, the greater still are those discove-been sufficient for the subsistence and preries which it makes of wisdom and pro-servation of an animal; but, in order to vidence in the works of the creation. A better his condition, we see another placed Sir Isaac Newton, who stands up as the with a mathematical exactness in the same

vitam fuit,

Nunquam ita quisquam bene subducta ratione ad
Quin res, ætas, usus, semper aliquid apportet novi,
Aliquid moneat: ut illa, quæ te scire credas, nescias;
Et, quæ tibi putaris prima, in experiundo ut repudies.
Ter. Adelph. Act. v. Sc. 4.

No man was ever so completely skilled in the conduct of life, as not to receive new information from age and experience: insomuch that we find ourselves really ignorant of what we thought we understood, and see cause to reject what we fancied our truest

interest.

following letter from my friend captain THERE are, I think, sentiments in the Sentry, which discover a rational and equal frame of mind, as well prepared for an advantageous as an unfortunate change of condition.

most advantageous situation, and in every | No. 544.] Monday, November 24, 1712. particular of the same size and texture. Is it possible for chance to be thus delicate and uniform in her operation? Should a million of dice turn up together twice the same number, the wonder would be nothing in comparison with this. But when we see this similitude and resemblance in the arm, the hand, the fingers: when we see one half of the body entirely correspond with the other in all those minute strokes, without which a man might have very well subsisted; nay, when we often see a single part repeated a hundred times in the same body, notwithstanding it consists of the most intricate weaving of numberless fibres, and these parts differing still in magnitude, as the convenience of their particular situation requires; sure a man must have a strange cast of understanding, who does not discover the finger of God in so wonderful a work. These duplicates in those parts of the body, without which a man might have very well subsisted, though not so well as with them, are a plain demonstration of an all-wise Contriver, as those more numerous copyings which are found among the vessels of the same body, are evident demonstrations that they could not be the work of chance. This argument receives additional strength, if we apply it to every animal and insect within our knowledge, as well as to those numberless living creatures that are objects too minute for a human eye; and if we consider how the several species in this whole world of life resemble one another in very many particulars, so far as is convenient for their respective states of existence, it is much more probable that a hundred millions of dice should be casually thrown a hundred millions of times in the same number, than that the body of any single animal should be produced by the fortuitous concourse of matter. And that the like chance should arise in innumerable instances requires a degree of credulity that is not under the direction of common sense. We may carry this consideration yet farther, if we reflect on the two sexes in every living species, with their resemblance to each other, and those particular distinctions that were necessary for the keeping up of this great world of life.

There are many more demonstrations of a Supreme Being, and of his transcendent wisdom, power, and goodness, in the formation of the body of a living creature, for which I refer my reader to other writings, particularly to the sixth book of the poem entitled Creation,* where the anatomy of the human body is described with great perspicuity and elegance. I have been particular on the thought which runs through this speculation, because I have not seen it enlarged upon by others. O.

* Creation. A poem by Sir Richard Blackmore.

'Coverley-hall, Nov. 15, Worcestershire. 'SIR,-I am come to the succession of the estate of my honoured kinsman, Sir Roger de Coverley; and I assure you I find it no easy task to keep up the figure of master of the fortune which was so handsomely enjoyed by that honest plain_man. I cannot (with respect to the great obligations I have, be it spoken) reflect upon his character, but I am confirmed in the truth which I have, I think, heard spoken at the club; to wit, that a man of a warm and welldisposed heart, with a very small capacity, is highly superior in human society to him who, with the greatest talents, is cold and languid in his affections. But alas! why do I make a difficulty in speaking of my worthy ancestor's failings? His little absurdities and incapacity for the conversation of the politest men are dead with him, and his greater qualities are ever now useful to him. I know not whether by naming those disabilities I do not enhance his merit, since he has left behind him a reputation in his country which would be worth the pains of the wisest man's whole life to arrive at. By the way, I must observe to you, that many of your readers have mistook that passage in your writings, wherein Sir Roger is reported to have inquired into the private character of the young woman at the tavern. I know you mentioned that circumstance as an instance of the simplicity and innocence of his mind, which made him imagine it a very easy thing to reclaim one of those criminals, and not as an inclination in him to be guilty with her. The less discerning of your readers cannot enter into that delicacy of description in the character: but indeed my chief business at this time is to represent to you my present state of mind, and the satisfaction I promise to myself in the possession of my new fortune. I have continued all Sir Roger's servants, except such as it was a relief to dismiss into little beings within my manor. Those who are in a list of the good knight's own hand to be taken care of by me, I have quartered upon such as have taken new leases of me, and added so many advantages during the lives of the persons so quartered, that it is the

racter of a soldier than to tell you he is the very contrary to him you observe loud, saucy, and overbearing, in a red coat about town. But I was going to tell you that, in honour of the profession of arms, I have set apart a certain sum of money for a table for such gentlemen as have served their country in the army, and will please from time to time to sojourn all, or any part of the year, at Coverley. Such of them as will do me that honour shall find horses, servants, and all things necessary for their accommodation and enjoyment of all the conveniences of life in a pleasant various country. If colonel Camperfelt* be in town, and his abilities are not employed another way in the service, there is no man would be more welcome here. That gentleman's thorough knowledge in his profession, together with the simplicity of his manners and goodness of his heart, would induce others like him to honour my abode; and I should be glad my acquaintance would take themselves to be invited, or not, as their characters have an affinity to his.

interest of those whom they are joined with, | this worth, we could never have seen the to cherish and befriend them upon all occa- glorious events which we have in our days. sions. I find a considerable sum of ready I need not say more to illustrate the chamoney, which I am laying out among my dependants at the common interest, but with a design to lend it according to their merit, rather than according to their ability. I shall lay a tax upon such as I have highly obliged, to become security to me for such of their own poor youth, whether male or female, as want help towards getting into some being in the world. I hope I shall be able to manage my affairs so as to improve my fortune every year by doing acts of kindness. I will lend my money to the use of none but indigent men, secured by such as have ceased to be indigent by the favour of my family or myself. What makes this the more practicable is, that if they will do any good with my money, they are welcome to it upon their own security: and I make no exceptions against it, because the persons who enter into the obligations do it for their own family. I have laid out four thousand pounds this way, and it is not to be imagined what a crowd of people are obliged by it. In cases where Sir Roger has recommended, I have lent money to put out children, with a clause which makes void the obligation in case the infant dies before he is out of his apprenticeship; by which means the kindred and masters are extremely careful of breeding him to industry, that he may re-pay it himself by his labour, in three years journey-work after his time is out, for the use of his securities. Opportunities of this kind are all that have occurred since I came to my estate: but I assure you I will preserve a constant_disposition to catch at all the occasions I can to promote the good and happiness of my neighbourhood.

But give me leave to lay before you a little establishment which has grown out of my past life, that I doubt not will administer great satisfaction to me in that part of it, whatever that is, which is to

come.

'I would have all my friends know that they need not fear (though I am become a country gentleman) I will trespass against their temperance and sobriety. No sir, I shall retain so much of the good sentiments for the conduct of life, which we cultivated in each other at our club, as to contemn all inordinate pleasures; but particularly remember, with our beloved Tully, that the delight in food consists in desire, not satiety. They who most passionately pursue pleasure, seldomest arrive at it. Now I am writing to a philosopher, I cannot forbear mentioning the satisfaction I took in the passage I read yesterday in the same Tully. A nobleman of Athens made a compliment to Plato the morning after he had supped at his house. "Your entertainments do not only please when you give them, but also the day after." I am, my worthy friend, your most obedient humble servant,

T.

"WILLIAM SENTRY.'

No. 545.] Tuesday, November 25, 1712.

Exercemus

Quin potius pacem æternam pactosque hymenæos
Virg. n. iv. 99.-
Let us in bonds of lasting peace unite,
And celebrate the hymeneal rite.

There is a prejudice in favour of the way of life to which a man has been educated, which I know not whether it would not be faulty to overcome. It is like a partiality to the interest of one's own country before that of any other nation. It is from a habit of thinking, grown upon me from my youth spent in arms, that I have ever held gentlemen, who have preserved modesty, good-nature, justice, and humanity, in a soldier's life, to be the most valuable I CANNOT but think the following letter and worthy persons of the human race. To from the emperor of China to the pope of pass through imminent dangers, suffer pain- Rome, proposing a coalition of the Chinese ful watchings, frightful alarms, and labori- and Roman churches, will be acceptable to ous marches, for the greater part of a man's the curious. I must confess, I myself being time, and pass the rest in sobriety conform- of opinion that the emperor has as much able to the rules of the most virtuous civil authority to be interpreter to him he prelife, is a merit too great to deserve the treatment it usually meets with among the other parts of the world. But I assure you, sir, were there not very many who have VOL. II.

41

the admiral, who was drowned in the Royal George at * A fine compliment to colonel Kempenfelt, father of spithead, August 29, 1782.

seme

tends to expound, as the pope has to be a | regnt d'Europa al nostro dominante imvicar of the sacred person he takes upon perio, e si abbracciramo le vostri leggi him to represent, I was not a little pleased come l'edera abbraccia la pianta; e noi with their treaty of alliance. What pro- medesemi spargeremo del nostro gress the negotiation between his majesty reale in coteste province, riscaldando i letti of Rome and his holiness of China makes, di vostri principj con il fuoco amoroso delle (as we daily writers say upon subjects nostre amazoni, d'alcune delle quali i nostri where we are at a loss,) time will let us mandatici ambasciadori vi porteranno le know. In the mean time, since they agree somiglianze dipinte. in the fundamentals of power and authority, and differ only in matters of faith, we may expect the matter will go on without difficulty.

Copia di lettera dal rè della Cina al Papa, interpretata dal padre segretario dell' India della compagna di Giesù.

'A voi benedetto sopra i benedetti P. P. ed imperadore grande de' pontifici e pastore Xmo, dispensatore del oglio dei rè d' Europa Clemente XI.

'Il favorito amico di Dio, Gionata 70, potentissimo sopra tutti i potentissimi della terra, altissimo sopra tutti gl'altissimi sotto il sole e la luna, che siede nella sede di smeraldo della Cina sopra cento scalini d'oro, ad interpretare la lingua di Dio a tutti i descendenti fedeli d'Abramo, che da la vita e la morte a cento quindici regni, ed a cento settante isole, scrive con la penna dello struzzo vergine, e manda salute ed accrescimento di vecchiezza.

Essendo arrivato il tempo in cui il fiore della reale nostro gioventù deve maturare i frutti della nostra vecchiezza, e confortare con quell' i desiderj de' popoli nostri divoti, e propagare il seme di quella pianta che deve proteggerli, abbiamo stabilito d'accompagnarci con una vergine eccelsa ed amorosa allattata alla mammella della leonessa forte e dell' agnella mansueta. Perciò essendoci stato figurato sempre il vostro popolo Europeo Romano per paese di donne invitte, e forte, e caste; allongiamo la nostra mano potente, a stringere una di loro, e questa sarà una vostra nipote, o nipote di qualche altro gran sacerdote Latino, che sia guardata dall' occhio dritto di Dio, sarà seminata in lei l'autorità di Sarra, la fedeltà d'Esther, e la sapienza di Abba; la vogliamo con l'occhio che guarda il cielo, e la terra, e con la bocca della conchiglia che si pasce della ruggiada del matino. La sua età non passi ducento corsi della luna, la sua statura sì alta quanto la spicca dritta del grano verde, e la sua grossezza quanto un manipolo di grano secco. Noi la mandaremmo a vestire per li nostri mandatici ambasciadori, e chi la conduranno a noi, e noi la incontraremmo alla riva del fiume grande facendola salire sul nostro cocchio. Ella potrà adorare appresso di noi il suo Dio, con ventiquattro altre a suo elezzione e potrà cantare con loro, come la tottora alla primavera.

'Soddisfando noi, padre e amico nostro, questa nostra brama, sarete caggione di unire in perpetua amicizia cotesti vostri

'Vi confirmiamo di tenere in pace le due buone religiose famiglie delli missionarji, gli figlioli d'Ignazio, e li bianchi e neri figlioli di Dominico, il cui consiglio degl' uni e degl' altri ci serve di scorta nel nostro regimento e di lume ad interpretare le divine legge, come appunto fa lume l'oglio che si getta in mare.

'In tanto alzandoci dal nostro trono per abbracciarvi, vi dichiariamo, nostro congiunto e confederato, ed ordiniamo che questo foglio sia segnato col nostro segno imperiale della nostra città, capo del mondo, il quinto giorno della terza lunatione, l'anno quarto del nostro imperio.

'Il sigillo è un sole nella cui faccia è anche quella della luna, ed intorno tra i raggi, vi sono traposte alcune spada.

'Dico il traduttore che secondo il ceremonial di questa lettera e recedentissimo specialmente fossero scritta con la penna dello struzzo-vergine con la quella non soglionsi scrivere quei rè che le preghiere a Dio, e scrivendo à qualche altro principe del mondo, la maggior finezza che usino, è scrivergli con la penna del pavone.'

A letter from the emperor of China to the Pope, interpreted by a father Jesuit, secretary of the Indies.

To you, blessed above the blessed, great emperor of bishops and pastor of Christians, dispenser of the oil of the kings of Europe, Clement XI.

'The favourite friend of God, Gionotta the VIIth, most powerful above the most powerful of the earth, highest above the highest under the sun and moon, who sits on a throne of emerald of China, above 100 steps of gold, to interpret the language of God to the faithful, and who gives life and death to 115 kingdoms, and 170 islands; he writes with the quill of a virgin ostrich, and sends health and increase of old age.

'Being arrived at the time of our age, in which the flower of our royal youth ought to ripen into fruit towards old age, to comfort therewith the desires of our devoted people, and to propagate the seed of that plant which must protect them; we have determined to accompany ourselves with a high amorous virgin, suckled at the breast of a wild lioness, and a meek lamb, and, imagining with ourselves that your European Roman people is the father of unconquerable and chaste ladies, we stretch out our powerful arm to embrace one of them, and she shall be one of your nieces, or the niece of some other great Latin priest, the

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »