Horace Walpole.

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nation. Our good nature was neceffarily fower-
ed by the fpirit of party ; our courage has been
a little cramped by the ac~t of parliament that
reftrained prize-fighting ; and hofpitality is
totally impracticable, fince a much more laud-
able cuftom has been introduced, and prevailed
univerfally, of paying the fervants of other
people much more than their mailer's dinner
coft. Yet we (hall always have virtues fuffici-
ent to countenance very exalted panegyrics:
And if fome of our more heroic qualities are
grown obfelete, others of a gentler caft, and
better calculated for the happinefs of fociety,
have grown up and diffufed themfelves in their
room. While we were rough and bold, we


[ "9 1
could not be polite : While we feafted half a
dozen wapentakes with firloins of beef, and
fheep roaftcd whole, we could not attend to
the mechanifm of a plate, no bigger than a
crown-piece, loaded with the legs of canary
birds, dreffed a la Pompadour.

Let nobody ftart at my calling this a polite
nation. It fliall be the bufinefs of this paper
to prove that we are the moft polite nation in
Europe ; and that France muft yield to us in
the extreme delicacy of our refinements. I
might urge, as a glaring inftance in which that
nation has forfeited her title to politenefs, the
impertinent fpirit of their parliaments, which
though couched in very civilly-worded remon-
{trances, is certainly at bottom very ill-bred.
They have contradicted their monarch, and
eroded his clergy in a manner not to be de-
fended by a people who pique themfelves upon
complaifance and attentions But I abomi-
nate politics ; and when I am writing in defence
of politenefs, (hall certainly not blend fo coarfe
a fubject with fo civil a theme.

S It

[ 13° 3

It is not virtue that conftitutes the politenefs
of a nation, but the art of reducing vice to a
fyftem that does not (hock fociety. " Polite-
" ness" (as I underftand the word) "is an
" univerfal defire of pleafing others (that are
" not too much below one) in trifles, for a
44 little time ; and of making one's intercourfe
" with them agreeable to both parties, by civili-
" ty without ceremony, by eafe without bru-
" taiity, by complaifance without flattery, by
<c acquiefcence without flncerity. ,, A clergy-
man who puts his patron into a fweat by driv-
ing him round the room, till he has found the
cool eft place for him, is not polite. When
Bubbamira changes her handkerchief before you,
and wipes her neck, rather than leave you alone
while fhe (hould perform the refrefhing office in
next room; I mould think fhe is not polite.
When Boncceur Olivers on your dreary hill,
where for twenty years you have been vainly
endeavouring to raife reluctant plantations, and
yet profefles that only fome of the trees have
been a little kept back by the late dry feafon ;
he is not polite ; he is more ; he is kind. When


[ '3* ]

Sophia is really pleafed with the flench of a ken-
nel, becaufe her hufband likes that fhe fhould
go and look at a favorite litter ; fhe mufl not
pretend to politenefs ; fhe is only a good wife.
If this definition, and thefe inflances are allowed
me, it will be difficult to maintain that the
nations who have had the moft extenfive re-
nown for politenefs, had any pretenfions to it.
The Greeks called all the reft of the world bar-
barians : The Romans went flill farther, and
treated them as fuch. Alexander, the befl-bred
hero among the former, I mufl own, was polite,
and mowed great attentions for Darius's
family ; but I queflion, if he had not extended
his attentions a little farther to the princefs
Statira, whether he could be pronounced quite
well-bred. For the Romans ; fo far from hav-
ing had any notion of treating foreigners with re-
gard, there is not one claffic author that men-
tions a fingle ball or mafquerade given to any
ftranger of diflin£lion. Nay, it was a common
practice with them to tie kings, queens, and
women of the firft fafhion of other countries
in couples, like hounds, and drag them along
their via Piccadillia in triumph, for the enter-
S 2 tainment

[ *3* 3

tainment of their fhopkeepers and prentices. A
pra£tice that we mould look upon with horror !
What would The Examiner have faid, if the
duke of Marlborough had hauled marfhal Tal-
lard to St. Paul's or the Royal Exchange behind
his chariot ? How defervedly would the French
have called us savages, if we had made mar-
fhall Belleifle pace along the kennel in Fleet-
ftreet, or up Holbourn, while fome of our
minifters or generals called it an ovation ?

The French, who attempt to fucceed the
Romans in empire, and who affeCT. to have fuc-
ceeded them in politenefs, have adopted the
fame way of thinking, though fo contrary to
true good-breeding. They have no idea that
an Englifhman or a German ever fees a fuit
of cloaths till he arrives at Paris. They won-
der, if you talk of a coach at Vienna, or of a
foupe at London ; and are fo confident of hav-
ing monopolized all the arts of civilized life,
that with the greater!: complaifance in the world,
they affirm to you, That they fuppofe your
dukes and duchefles live in caves, with only the
property of wider forefts than ordinary, and


C >33 J

that les mi lords Anglois, with a great deal of
money, live upon raw fkfh, and ride races
without breeches or faddles. At their houfes,
they receive you with wonder that (hocks you,
or with indifference that mortifies you ; and if
they put themfelves to the torture of converfing
with you, after you have taken infinite pains
to acquire their language, it is merely to in-
form you, that you neither know how to drefs
like a fenfible man, nor to eat, drink, game,
or divert yourfelf like a chriftian. How dif-
ferent are our attentions to foreigners ! how
open our houfes to their nobility, our purfes ta
their tradefmen ! But without drawing antithefes
between our politenefs and their ill-breeding, I
mall produce an inftance in which we have
pufhed our refinements on the duties of fociety,
beyond what the moft civilized nations ever
imagined. We are not only well-bred in com-
mon intercourfe, but our very crimes are tranf-
a&ed with fuch a foftnefs of manners, that
though they may injure, they are fure never to
affront our neighbour. The inftance I mean,
is the extreme good-breeding which has been
introduced into the fcience of robbery, which


[ ^34 ]

(confidering how very frequent it is become )
would really grow a nufance to fociety, if the
profeflbrs of it had not taken all imaginable pre-
cautions to make it as civil a commerce, as
gaming, conveyancing, toad-eating, pimping,
or any of the money-inveigling arts, which had
already got an eftabliflied footing in the world.
A highwayman would be reckoned a brute,
a monster, if he had not all manner of at-
tention not to frighten the ladles - y and none of
the great Mr. Nam's laws are more facred, than
that of refloring any favorite bawble to which a
robbed lady has a particular partiality. Now
turn your eyes to France. No people upon
earth have lefs of the fcavoir vivre than their
banditti. No Tartar has lefs douceur in his man-
ner than a French highwayman. They take
your money without making you a bow, and
your life without making you an apology.
This obliges their government to keep up a nu-
merous guet, a fevere police, racks, gibbets,
and twenty troublefome things, which might
all be avoided, if they would only reckon and
breed up their theives to be good company. I
know that fome of our lateft imported young


[ *35 ]
gentlemen affirm that the fieur Mandrin *, the
terror of the eaftern provinces, learned to dance
of Marfeille himfelf, and has frequently fupped
with the incomparable f Jelliot. But till I hear
whether he dies like a gentleman^ I fhall forbear
to rank him with the petit maitres of our own
Tyburn. How extreme is the politefle of the
latter ! Mrs. J Chenevix has not more insinua-
tion when flie fells a fnuff-box of papier macbe 9
or a bergamot toothpick-cafe, than a highway-
man when he begs to know if you have no
rings nor bank-bills.

An || acquaintance of mine was robbed a
few years ago, and very near fhot through the
head by the going off of the piftol of the ac-
compliihed Mr. Mc.-Lean ; yet the whole
affair was conducted with the greateft good-
breeding on both fides. The robber, who had
only taken a purfe this way^ becaufe he had that
morning been difappointed of marrying a great
fortune, no fooner returned to his lodgings,

* A famous French /muggier.

t A finger in the opera at Paris.

X A fajhionable toy-woman*

| The Author himfelf than

than he fent the gentleman two letters of ex-
cufes, which, with lefs wit than the epiftles
of Voiture, had ten times more natural and
eafy politenefs in the turn of their expreflion.
In the poftfcript, he appointed a meeting at Ty-
burn at twelve at night, where the gentleman
might purcbafe again any trifles he had loft ;
and my friend has been blamed for not accept-
ing the rendezvous, as it feemed liable to be
conftrued by ill-natured people into a doubt of
the honour of a man, who had given him all the
fatisfa&ion in his power, for having unluckily
been near {hooting him through the head.

The Lacedaemonians were the only people,
except the Englifh, who feem to have put rob-
bery on a right foot ; and I have wondered how
a nation that had delicacy enough to underftand
robbing on the highway, mould at the fame
time have been fo barbarous, as to efteem pover-
ty, blackbroth, and virtue ! We had no high-
waymen, that were men of fafhion, till we
had exploded plumb-porridge.

But of all the gentlemen of the road, who
have conformed to the manners of the great


[ *37 3

world, none feem to me to have carried true
politeness fo far as a late adventurer whom I
beg leave to introduce to my readers under the
name of the visiting highwayman. This
refined perfon made it a rule to rob none but
people he vi/ited ; and whenever he defigned an im-
promptu of that kind, drefTed himfelf in a rich
fuit, went to the * lady's houfe, aflced for her,
and not finding her at home, left his name with
her porter, after inquiring which way fhe was
gone. He then followed, or met her, on her
return home ; propofed his demands, which were
generally for fome favourite ring or fn ufF-box
that he had feen her wear, and which he had a
mind to wear for her fake - y and then letting her
know that he had been to wait on her, took his
leave with a cool bow, and without fcampering
away, as other men of faftiion do from a vifit with
really the appearance of having ftolen fomething.

As I do not doubt but fuch of my fair readers,
as propofe being at home this winter, will be im-
patient to fend this charming fmugler (Charles
Fleming by name) a card for their afTemblies, I
am forry to tell them that he was hanged laft week.

* This happened to a lady at Thijlleworth,

T The

The W O R L D.

By Adam Fitz-Adam.

Numb.CLX. Thurfday, January 22, 1 7 56.

To Mr. Fitz-Adam.

I Think, Sir, more than three years are paft,
fince you began to beftow your labours on
the reformation of the follies of the age. You
have more than once hinted at the great fuccefs
that has attended your endeavours ; but furely,
Mr. Fitz-Adam, you deceive yourfelf. Which,
of your papers has effectuated any real amend-
ment ? Have fewer fools gone to, or returned
from France, fince you commenced author ?
Or have fewer French follies been purchafed or
propagated by thofe who never were in France ?
Do not women, dreffed French, ftill iffue from
houfes dreffed Chinefe, to theatres dreffed Ita-

[ l 39 1

lian, in fpite of your grave admonitions ? Do
the young men wear lefs claret, or the beauties
lefs rouge, in obedience to your lectures ? Do
men of fafhion, who ufed to fling for a thou-
fand pounds a throw, now caft only for five
hundred ? Or if they fhould, do you impute it
to Your credit with Them, or to Their want
of credit ? I do not mean, Sir, to depreciate
the merit of your lucubrations : In point of
effect, I believe they have operated as great
reformation as the difcourfes of the divine So-
crates, or the fermons of the affecting Tillotfon.
I really believe you would have corrected that
young Athenian marquis, Alcibiades, as foon
as his philofophic preceptor. What I would
urge is, that all the preachers in the world,
whether jocofe, fatiric, fevere, or damnatory,
v/iil never be able to bring about a reformation
of manners, by the mere charms of their elo-
quence or exhortation. You cannot imagine,
Mr. Fitz-Adam, how much edge it would give
to your wit to be backed by a little temporal
authority. We may in vain regret the fimpli-
city of manners of our anceftors, while there
are no fumptuary laws to reftrain luxury, no
T 2 eccleiiaftic

C HO ]

ecclefiaftic ccnfures to caftigate vice. I fhall
offer to your readers an inftance or two, to elu-
cidate the monftrous difproportion between our
riches and extravagance, and the frugality of
former times ; and then produce fome of the
wholefome cenfures and penalties, which the
elders of the church were empowered to impofe
on perfons of the firft rank, who contravened the
cftablifhed rules of fobriety and decorum.

How would our progenitors have been a-
ftonifhed at reading the very firft article in the
late will of a * Grocer ! " Imprimis, I give to
4C my dear wife, one hundred thcufand pounds"
A fum exceeding a benevolence, or two fub-
fidies, fome ages ago. Nor was this enormous
legacy half the perfonal eftate of the above-
mentioned tradefman, on whom I am far from
defining to reflect : He raifed his fortune honeft-
ly and induftrioufly : But I hope fome future
antiquarian, ftruck with the prodigality of the
times, will compute how r much fugar and plumbs
muft have been wafted weekly in one incon-
fiderablc parifh in London, or even in one or
two ftrects of that parifh, before a fingle fhop-

* One Crajhyn. . keeper

t »♦* ]

keeper could have raifed four hundred thcufand
pounds by retailing thofe and fuch like commo-
dities. Now let us turn our eyes back to the
year 1385, and we fhall find no lefs a perfon
than the incomparable and virtuous lady Joan,
princefs dowager of Wales, by her laft will and
teftament bequeathing the following fimple move-
ables , and we may well believe they were the
moft valuable of her poffeilions, as fhe divided
them between her fon the king, and her other
children. To her fon, king Richard, fhe gave
her new bed of red velvet, embroidered with
ofrrich feathers of filver, and heads of leopards
of gold, with boughs and leaves proceeding
from their mouths. Alfo to her fon Thomas,
earl of Kent, her bed of red camak, paled with
red, and rays of gold ; and to John Holland,
her other fon, one bed of red camak. Thefe
particulars are faithfully copied from Dugdale *,
an inftance of fimplicity and moderation in fo
great and illuftrious a princefs, which I fear
I fiiould in vain recommend to my cotempo-
raries, and which is only likely to be imitated,

* vol. 2. p. 94.

[ 144 ]

as all her other virtues are, by the true repre-
sentative of her fortune and excellence **.

I come now, Sir, to thofe proper checks
upon licentioufnefs, which, though calculated
to ferve the views of a popifh clergy, were un-
doubtedly great reftraints upon immorality and
indecency ; and we may lament that fuch fober
inftitutions were abolifhed with the real abufes
of popery. Our ecclefiaftic fuperiors had power
to lay fuch fines and mulcts upon wantonnefs,
as might raife a revenue to the church and poor,
and at the fame time leave the lordly tranfgref-
fors at liberty to enjoy their darling foibles, if
they would but pay for them. Adultery, for-
nication, drunkennefs, and the other amufe-
ments of people of fafhion, it would have been
in vain to fubjecl: to corporal punifhments. To
ridicule thofe vices, and laugh them out of date
by Tatlers, Spectators and Worlds, was not
the talent of monks and confeifors, who at beft
only knew how to wrap up very coarfe terms
in very bald latin, and jingling verfes. The

* The prefent Princefs Dowager of Wales.


[ Ut I

clergy fleered a third courfe, and aflumed &
province, which I could wifh, Mr. Fitz-Adam,
was a little connected with your cenforial au-
thority. If you had power to oblige your fair
readers and offenders to do penance in clean
linen, for almoft wearing no linen at all, I be-
lieve it would be an excellent fupplement to your
paper of May the 24, 1753. The wifeft exer-
cife that I meet recorded of this power of in-
flicting penance, is mentioned by the fame
grave author, from whom I copied the will
above-mentioned : It happened in the year 1360,
in the cafe of a very exalted perfonage, and
{hews how little the higheft birth could exempt
from the fevere infpe&ion of thofe judges of
manners. The lady Elizabeth, daughter of
the marquifs of Juliers, and widow of John
Plantaginet earl of Kent, uncle of the princefs
Joan before-mentioned, having on the death
of the earl her hufband retired to the monaftery
of Waverly, did (I fuppofe immediately) make
a vow of chaftity, and was folemnly veiled a
nun there by William de Edendon, bifhop of
Winchefter. Somehow or other it happened,
that about eight years afterwards, filler Eliza-

[ 144 j

beth of Waverly became enamoured of a goodly
knight, called Sir Euftace Dawbridgcourt,
fmitten (as tradition fays fhe affirmed) by his
extreme refemblance to her late lord ; though as
other creditable writers affirm, he was confider-
ably younger : And notwithftanding her vows
of continence, which could not bind her con-
fcience, and, in fpite of her confinement,
which was not ftrong enough to detain a lady
of her great quality, fhe was clandeftinely mar-*
ried to her paramour, in a certain chapel of the
manfion-houfe of Robert de Brome, a canon
of the collegiate church of Wyngham, without
any licence from the archbifhop of Canterbury,
by one Sir John Ireland, a prieft, before the
funrifing, upon Michaelmas-day, in the thirty-
fourth of Edward the Third.

Notwithftanding the great fcandal fuch an
indecorum muft have given, it is evident from
the fubfervience of two priefts to her defires*
that her ranlc of princefs of the blood fet her
above all apprehenfion of punifhment for the
breach of her monaftic vows ; yet it is as evi^-
dent from the fequel of the ftory, that her dig-

[ *45 ]

nity could not exempt her from fuch" proper cen-
fures and penalties, as might deter others from
commiflion of the like offences ; as might daily
and frequently expofe the lady herfelf to blufhes
for her mifcarriage ; and as might draw com-
fort to the poor, from taxing the inordinate gra-
tification of the appetites of their fuperiors : A
fort of comfort, which, to do them jufrice,
the poor are apt to take as kindly, as the relief
t of their own wants.

My author fays *, that the lady dowager and
her young hufband being perfonally convented
before the archbifhop of Canterbury for the faid
tranfgreffion, at his manor houfe of Haghfeld,
upon the feventh ides of April, the archbifhop
for their penance enjoined them to find a prieft
to celebrate divine fervice daily for Them, the
faid Sir Euftace and Elizabeth, and for Him,
the archbifhop ; befides a large quantity of peni-
tential pfalms, paternofters and aves, which
were to be daily repeated by the priefts and the
tranfgreflbrs. His grace moreover ordered the
lady Elizabeth, whom for fome reafons beft

* vol. 2. />. 95.

U known

known to himfelf I fuppofe he regarded as the
fedueer, to go once a year on foot in pilgrimage
to the tomb of that glorious martyr, St. Thomas
of Canterbury ; and once every week during
her life to faft on bread and drink> and a mefs of
pottage, wearing no fmock, efpecially in the
abfence of her hufband ; a penance that mull:
appear whimfical to us, and not a little partial
to Sir Euftace, whom the archbifhop feems in
more refpeiSts than one to have confidered rather
as difobedient to the canons, than guilty of
much voluptuoufnefs by his wedlock. But the
moft remarkable articles of the penance were
the two following. The archbifhop appointed
the faid fir Euftace and the lady Elizabeth, that
the next day after any repetition of their tranf-
greflion had palled between them, they fhould
competently relieve fix poor people, and both of
them that day to abftain from fome difh of flefh
or fifh, whereof they did moft defire to eat.

Such was the fimplicity of our anceftors.
Such were the wholefome feverities to which
the greatcft dames and moft licentious young
lords were fubjecT; in thole well-meaning times.


i m ]

But though I approve the morality of fuch cor-
rections, and perhaps think that a degree of
fuch power might be fafely lodged in the hands
of our great and good prelates ; yet I am not
fo bigotted to antiquity as to approve either the
articles of the penance, or to think that they
could be reconciled to the difference of modern
times and cuftoms. Paternofters and aves might
be fupplied by prayers and litanies of a more
proteftant complexion. Inftead of a pilgrimage
on foot to Canterbury, if an inordinate matron
were compelled to walk to Ranelagh, I believe
the penance might be fevere enough for the
delicacy of modern constitutions. For the ar-
ticle of leaving off a (hift, considering that the
upper half is already laid afide, perhaps to oblige
a lady-offender to wear a whole fhift, might be
thought a fuflicient punifhment ; for wife legi-
(lators will allow a latitude of interpretation to
their laws, to be varied according to the fluctu-
ating condition of times and feafons. What
moil offends me, as by no means proper for
modern imitation, is the article that prefcribes
charity to the poor, and a reftriclion from eat-
ing of a favourite dim, after the performance of
U 2 certain

[ 148 ]

certain myfteries. If the right reverend father
was determined to make the lady Elizabeth a-
fhamed of her incontinence, in truth he lio-hted
upon a very adequate expedient, though not a
very wife one ; for as devotion and charity are
obferved to increafe with increafe of years, the
bifhop's injunction tended to nothing but to leffen
the benefactions of the offenders as they grew
elder, by the conditions to which he limited
their largefs.

One can fcarce reflect without a fmile on the
troops of beggars waiting every morning at fir
Euftace's gate, till he and his lady arofe, to
know whether their wants were to be relieved.
One muft not word, but one cannot help ima-
gining, the ftyle of a modern footman, when
ordered at breakfaft by his matter and lady to go
and fend away the beggars, for they were to
have nothing that morning. One might even
fuppofe the good lady pouting a little, as me
gave him the mcfTagc. But were fuch a penance
really en'oincd now, what a fund of humour and
wit would it open to people of fafhion, invited
to dine with two illuftrious penitents under this
circumftance ! As their wit is never indelicate; as


[ H9 ]

the fubjeft is inexhauftible ; and as the ideas on
fuch an occafion muft be a little corporeal, what
Ions mots^ wrapped up indeed, but Hill intelli-
gible enough, would attend the arrival of every
new French difh, which fir Euftace or my lady
would be concluded to like, and would decline
to tafte !— — But I fear I have tranfgreiTed the
bounds of a letter. You, Mr. Fitz-Adam, who
fway the cenforial rod with the greateft lenity,
and who would blufh to put your fair penitents
to the blufli, might be fafely trufted with the
powers I recommend. Human weaknefTes, and
human follies, are very different : Continue to
attack the latter ; continue to pity the former.
An ancient lady might refift wearing pink ; a
matron who cannot refift the prowefs of a fir
Euftace Dawbridgcourt, is not a topic for fatire,
but compaftion ; as you, who are the beft na-
tured writer of the age, will I am fure agree to

think, with, Sir,

Your conjlant reader

and humble ferv ant )


[ '5° 3

The W O R L D.

By Adam Fit z-A dam.
* Numb. CXCV. Thurfday, Sept. 23, 1756.


Perire qucerens^ nee muliebriter

Expavit enfenu HoR,

To Mr. Fitz-Adam.


TO a well-difpofed m\n& there can be no
greater fatisfa&ion than the knowledge
that one's labours for the good of the public
have been crowned with fuccefs. This, Sir,
is remarkably the cafe of your paper of Sept.
the 9th, on Suicide ; a fafhionable rage, which

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