Alexander Chalmers.

The British essayists : with prefaces, historical and biographical (Volume 12) online

. (page 1 of 25)
Online LibraryAlexander ChalmersThe British essayists : with prefaces, historical and biographical (Volume 12) → online text (page 1 of 25)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


^ ^^K















/ 85 J




No. 549—635.




549. On Reluctance to leave the World— Letter from

Sir Andrew Freeport on his retiring addison.

550. Proposal for a new Club

551. Translation of Greek Epigrams — Letter on Law- •

phrases unknown.

552. Recommendations of industrious Tradesmen —

Motteux — Harris — Rowley — Proposals for new

Globes STEELE.

553. On the Spectator's opening his Mouth — Commen-

dations of him: addison — Letters from Ox-
ford Correspondents unknown.

554. On the Improvement of Genius hughes.

555. Farewell Paper and Acknowledgment of Assis-

tance — Letter from the Academy of Painting. . Steele.

556. Account of the Spectator opening his Mouth addison.

557. On Conversation — Letter by the Ambassador of




558. Endeavours of Mankind to get rid of their Bur-

dens, a Dream addison.

559. The Same concluded

560. Letters, from the Dumb Doctor — From a pert Bag •

gage — On the Author's recovering his Speech unknown.

561. Account of the Widows' Club addison.

562. On Egotism — Eetailers of old Jokes

563. Letters, from a Blank — Complaining of a Choleric

Gentleman unknown.

564. On making a just Estimate of the Characters of


565. On the Nature of Man — Of the Supreme Being, .addison.

566. Letters on Military Life by various Soldiers unknown.

567. Method of Political Writers affecting Secrecy —

Specimen addison.

568. Coffee-house Conversation on the preceding Paper

— The Whole Duty of Man turned into a Libel

569. On Drunkenness

570. On Petty Ambition .* unknown.

571. Advantages of Seeking the Protection of the Su-

preme Being addison.

572. On Quacks pearce.

573. Letter from the President of the Club of Wi-


574. Advantages of Content addison.

575. The Present Life preparatory to the Happiness of


576. On Singularity : the Dread and Affectation of it



577. Letter from a P erson supposed to be crazed — Pe-

tition of John a Nokes and Tom a Styles addison.

578. On Personal Identity— Story of Fadlallah unknown.

579. On Adultery— Dogs which guarded the Temple

of Vulcan addison.

580. On the Glories of Heaven

581. The Author's Answer to his Correspondents —

Letters from a Lover and Young Lady unknown.

582. On the Itch of Writing addison.

583. Duty of being usefully Employed — On Planting

584. Story of Hilpa

585. The Same concluded

586. The Use of Dreams byrom.

587. The Vision of Hearts unknown.

588. On Self-love and Benevolence grove.

589. On Planting — Folly of destroying Wood unknown.

590. On Eternity addison.

591. Questions and Cases of Love unknown.

592. Dramatic Improvements — Criticisms addison.

593. On Dreams, how to be Improved byrom.

594. On Calumny unknown.

595. On the Abuse of Metaphors

596. Distresses of a very Amorous Gentleman

597. The Dreams of Various Correspondents

598. On a Merry and Serious Cast of Temper addison.

599. The Cave of Trophonius, a Dream unknown.



600. Various Opinions of Future Happiness addison.

601. On Benevolence — Causes which obstruct it grove.

602. Advantages of an Air of Importance in making


603. Phoebe, a Poem eyeom.

604. On a Desire of knowing Future Events unknown.

605. A difficult Case in Love resolved

606. Embroidery recommended to the Ladies

607. Qualities necessary to make Marriage Happy —

The Flitch of Bacon

608. List of Persons who demanded the Flitch of Ba-


609. Letters, on the improper Dress of Young Clergy-

men — On Antipathies — Against Embroidery. . .

610. Applause of Men not to be regarded— Story of


611. Letter from a Lady insulted by her Seducer — Re-

flections on the Subject

612. On the Pride of Genealogy ■

613. Letters, on Ambition — Eloquence of Beggars —

From a Lady marked by the Small Pox •

614. Questions on Widows, answered by the Love Ca-

suist — Custom of Enborne

615. On Fear

616. On vulgar Phrases — Specimen

617. On strained and pompous Phrases — Specimen. . .

618. On epistolary Poetry

619. Answers to various Correspondents



620. The Royal Progress, a Poem tickell.

621. On Improper Pride unknown.

622. Memoirs of an honest Country Gentleman

623. Account of the Custom of Enborne

624. Division of Mankind into Classes — Pursuits of

Avarice, Ambition, &c

625. Questions in Love solved by the Love Casuist . . .

626. On Novelty grove.

627. Letter to Zelinda from her Lover — His Death, .unknown.

628. On Eternity: unknown — Translation of Cato's

Soliloquy bland.

629. Absurd Claims of Reward unknown.

630. Church Music recommended — Improper Beha-

viour in Church

631. On Cleanliness

632. Power of Numbers — Grotto-work — Verses on a

Grotto —

633. On Oratory— Advantages from Christianity pearce.

634. On aiming at Perfection unknown.

635. Enlargement of the Powers of the Mind in a Fu-

ture State grove.


No. 549. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 1712.

Quamvis digressu veteris confusus amici,
Laudo tamen. — JUV. SAT. iii. 1.

Though grieved at the departure of my friend,
His purpose of retiring I commend.

I believe most people begin the world with a
resolution to withdraw from it into a serious kind of
solitude or retirement when they have made them-
selves easy in it. Our unhappiness is, that we find
out some excuse or other for deferring; such our
good resolutions till our intended retreat is cut off
by death. But among all kinds of people there are
none who are so hard to part with the world as
those who are grown old in the heaping up of
riches. Their minds are so warped with their con-
stant attention to gain, that it is very difficult for
them to give their souls another bent, and convert
them towards those objects, which though they are
proper for every stage of life, are so more especially
for the last. Horace describes an old usurer as so
charmed with the pleasures of a country life, that
in order to make a purchase he called in all his mo-
ney ; but what was the event of it ? Why, in a

12 SPECTATOR. NO. 549.

very few days after he put it out again. I am en-
gaged in this series of thought by a discourse which
I had last week with my worthy friend Sir Andrew
Freeport, a man of so much natural eloquence,
good sense, and probity of mind, that I always hear
him with a particular pleasure. As we were sitting
together, being the sole remaining members of our
club, Sir Andrew gave me an account of the many
busy scenes of life in which he had been engaged,
and at the same time reckoned up to me abundance
of those lucky hits, which at another time he would
have called pieces of good fortune ; but in the tem-
per of mind he was then, he termed them mercies,
favours of Providence, and blessings upon an honest
industry. ' Now,' says he, ' you must know, my
good friend, I am so used to consider myself as
creditor and debtor, that I often state my accounts
after the same manner with regard to heaven and
my own soul. In this case, when I look upon the
debtor side, I find such innumerable articles, that I
want arithmetic to cast them up ; but when I look
upon the creditor side, I find little more than blank
paper. Now, though I am very well satisfied that
it is not in my power to balance accounts with my
Maker, I am resolved however to turn all my future
endeavours that way. You must not therefore be
surprised, my friend, if you hear that I am betaking
myself to a more thoughtful kind of life, and if I
meet you no more in this place.'

I could not but approve so good a resolution, not-
withstanding the loss I shall suffer by it. Sir An-
drew has since explained himself to me more at
large in the following letter, which is just come to
my hands.

NO. 549. SPECTATOR. 13


"Notwithstanding my friends at the club have
always rallied me, when I have talked of retiring
from business, and repeated to me one of my own
sayings, that * a merchant has never enough till he
has got a little more ; ' I can now inform you, that
there is one in the world who thinks he has enough,
and is determined to pass the remainder of his life
in the enjoyment of what he has. You know me
so well, that I need not tell you I mean, by the en-
joyment of my possessions, the making of them user
ful to the public. As the greatest part of my estate
has been hitherto of an unsteady and volatile nature,
either tost upon seas or fluctuating in funds, it is
now fixed and settled in substantial acres and tene-
ments. I have removed it from the uncertainty of
stocks, winds, and waves, and disposed of it in a
considerable purchase. This will give me great
opportunity of being charitable in my way, that is,
in setting my poor neighbours to work, and giving
them a comfortable subsistence out of their own in-
dustry. My gardens, my fishponds, my arable and
pasture grounds, shall be my several hospitals, or
rather workhouses, in which I propose to maintain
a great many indigent persons, who are now starv-
ing in my neighbourhood. I have got a fine spread
of improvable lands, and in my own thoughts am
already plowing up some of them, fencing others ;
planting woods, and draining marshes. In fine, as
I have my share in the surface of this island, I am
resolved to make it as beautiful a spot as any in
her Majesty's dominions ; at least there is not an
inch of it which shall not be cultivated to the best
advantage, and do its utmost for its owner. As in
my mercantile employment I so disposed of my af-

14 SPECTATOR. NO. 549.

fairs, that, from whatever corner of the compass the
wind blew, it was bringing home one or other of my
ships ; I hope as a husbandman to contrive it so,
that not a shower of rain or a glimpse of sunshine
shall fall upon my estate without bettering some
part of it, and contributing to the products of the
season. You know it has been hitherto my opinion
of life, that it is thrown away when it is not some
way useful to others. But when I am riding out
by myself, in the fresh air on the open heath that
lies by my house, I find several other thoughts
growing up in me. I am now of opinion, that a
man of my age may find business enough on him-
self, by setting his mind in order, preparing it for
another world, and reconciling it to the thoughts of
death. I must therefore acquaint you, that besides
those usual methods of charity, of which I have be-
fore spoken, I am at this very instant finding out a
convenient place where I may build an almshouse,
which I intend to endow very handsomely for a
dozen superannuated husbandmen. It will be a
great pleasure to me to say my prayers twice a day
with men of my own years, who all of them, as
well as myself, may have their thoughts taken up
how they shall die, rather than how they shall live.
I remember an excellent saying that I learned at
school, Finis coronat opus. You know best whether
it be in Virgil or in Horace, it is my business to ap-
ply it. If your affairs will permit you to take the
country air with me sometimes, you shall find an
apartment fitted up for you, and shall be every day
entertained with beef or mutton of my own feeding;
fish out of my own ponds ; and fruit out of my own
gardens. You shall have free egress and regress
about my house, without having any questions asked

NO. 550. SPECTATOR. 15

you ; and, in a word, such a hearty welcome as you
may expect from

" Your most sincere friend

" and humble servant,

"Andrew Freeport."

The club of which I am a member being entirely
dispersed, I shall consult my reader next week upon
a project relating to the institution of a new one.

No. 550. MONDAY, DECEMBER 1, 1712.

Quid dignum tanto feret hie jpromissor hiatu f


In what will all this ostentation end ? koscommon.

Since the late dissolution of the club, whereof I
have often declared myself a member, there are very
many persons who by letters, petitions, and recom-
mendations, put up for the next election. At the
same time I must complain, that several indirect
and underhand practices have been made use of upon
this occasion. A certain country gentleman began
to tap upon the first information he received of Sir
Roger's death ; when he sent me up word that, if
I would get him chosen in the place of the deceased,
he would present me with a barrel of the best Oc-
tober I had ever drank in my life. The ladies are
in great pain to know whom I intend to elect in the
room of Will Honeycomb. Some of them indeed

16 SPECTATOR. NO. 550.

are of opinion that Mr. Honeycomb did not take
sufficient care of their interest in the club, and are
therefore desirous of having in it hereafter a repre-
sentative of their own sex. A citizen who sub-
scribes himself Y. Z. tells me that he has one-aud-
twenty shares in the African company, and offers to
bribe me with the odd one in case he may succeed
Sir Andrew Freeport, which he thinks would raise
the credit of that fund. I have several letters, dated
from Jenny Man's, by gentlemen who are candidates
for Captain Sentry's place ; and as many from a
coffee-house in Paul's churchyard of such who would
fill up the vacancy occasioned by the death of my
worthy friend the clergyman, whom I can never
mention but with a particular respect.

Having maturely weighed these several particu-
lars, with the many remonstrances that have been
made to me on this subject, and considering how
invidious an office I shall take upon me if I make
the whole election depend upon my single voice,
and being unwilling to expose myself to those cla-
mours, which on such an occasion will not foil to be
raised against me for partiality, injustice, corrup-
tion, and other qualities, which my nature abhors,
I have formed to myself the project of a club as

I have thoughts of issuing out writs to all and
every of the clubs that are established in the cities
of London and Westminster, requiring them to
choose out of their respective bodies a person of the
greatest merit, and to return his name to me before
Lady-day, at which time I intend to sit upon busi-

By this means I may have reason to hope, that
the club over which I shall preside will be the very
flower and quintessence of all other clubs. I have


communicated this my project to none but a parti-
cular friend of mine, whoni I have celebrated twice
or thrice for his happiness in that kind of wit which
is commonly known by the name of a pun. The
only objection he makes to it is, that I shall raise
up enemies to myself if I act with so regal an air,
and that my detractors, instead of giving me the
usual title of Spectator, will be apt to call me the
King of Clubs.

But to i^roceed on my intended project: it is very
well known that I at first set forth in this work with
the character of a silent man ; and I think I have
so well preserved my taciturnity, that I do not re-
member to have violated it with three sentences in
the space of almost two years. As a monosyllable
is my delight, I have made very few excursions, in
the conversations which I have related, beyond a
Yes or a No. By this means my readers have lost
many good things which I have had in my heart,
though I did not care for uttering them.

Now, in order to diversify my character, and to
show the world how well I can talk if I have a mind,
I have thoughts of being very loquacious in the club
which I have now under consideration. But that I
may proceed the more regularly in this affair, I de-
sign, upon the first meeting of the said club, to have
my mouth opened in form ; intending to regulate
myself in this particular by a certain ritual which I
have by me, that contains all the ceremonies which
are practised at the opening of the mouth of a cardi-
nal. I have likewise examined the forms which
were used of old by Pythagoras, when any of his
scholars, after an apprenticeship of silence, was
made free of his speech. In the mean time, as I
have cf late found my name in foreign gazettes upon
less occasions, I question not but in their next arti-


18 SPECTATOR. NO. 651.

clos from Great Britain tliey will inform tiie world,
that 'the Spectator's mouth is to be opened on the
twenty-fifth of March next.' I may perhaps pub-
lish a very useful paper Jit that time of the proceed-
ings in that solemnity, and of the persons who shall
assist at it. But of this more hereafter.

No. 551. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 2, 1712.

Sic honor ei women divinis vatibns atque

Carminibus venit. — hor. ars poet. 400.

, So ancient is the pedigree of verse,
Ami so divine :i poet's function. koscommon.


"When men of worthy and excelling geniuses
have obliged the world with beautiful and instruc-
tive writings, it is in the nature of gratitude that
praise should be returned them, as one proper con-
sequent reward of their performances. Nor has
mankind ever been so degenerately sunk but they
have made this return, and even when they have
not been wrought up by the generous endeavour so
as i^ receive the advantages designed by it. This
praise, which arises first in the mouth of particular
persons, spreads :uul lasts according to the merit of
authors] and when it thus meets with a full success
changes its denomination, and is called fame. They,
who have happily arrived at this, are, even while
they live, inflamed by the acknowledgments of

NO. 551. SPECTATOR. 19

others, and spurred on to new undertakings for the
benefit of mankind, notwithstanding the detraction
which some abject tempers would cast upon them :
but when they decease, their characters being free
from the shadow which envy laid them under, begin
to shine out with the greater splendour ; their spirits
survive in their works ; they are admitted into the
highest companies, and they continue pleasing and
instructing posterity from age to age. Some of the
best gain a character, by being able to show that
they are no strangers to them ; and others obtain a
new warmth to labour for the happiness and ease
of mankind, from a reflection upon those honours
which are paid to their memories.

" The thought of this took me up as I turned over
those epigrams which are the remains of several of
the wits of Greece, and perceived many dedicated
to the fame of those who had excelled in beautiful
poetic performances. Wherefore, in pursuance to
my thought, I concluded to do something along with
them to bring their praises into a new light and lan-
guage, for the encouragement of those whose modest
tempers may be deterred by the fear of envy or de-
traction from fair attempts, to which their parts
might render them equal. You will perceive them
as they follow to be conceived in the form of epi-
taphs, a sort of writing which is wholly set apart for
a short-pointed method of praise.


No longer, Orpheus, shall thy sacred strains

Lead stones, and trees, and beasts along the plains;

No longer soothe the boisterous "winds to sleep,

Or still the billows of the raging deep,

For thou art gone. The Muses mourn thy fall

In solemn strains, thy mother most of all.

Ye mortals, idly for your sons ye moan,

If thus a goddess could not save her own.


"Observe here, thai if" ^t 1 take the fable for
granted, as ll was believed to be in thai age when
the epigram was written, the turn appears to have
piety i«> (in* gods, -iii

Online LibraryAlexander ChalmersThe British essayists : with prefaces, historical and biographical (Volume 12) → online text (page 1 of 25)