Richard Steele.

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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 an hundred Million of Dice
should be casually thrown a hundred Million 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
further, if we reflect on the two Sexes in every living Species, with
their Resemblances 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, [1] 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.


[Footnote 1: Blackmore's.]

* * * * *

No. 544. Monday, November 24, 1712. Steele.

'Nunquam ita quisquam bene subducta ratione ad vitam fuit
Quia 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.'


There are, I think, Sentiments in the following Letter from my Friend
Captain SENTRY, which discover a rational and equal Frame of Mind, as
well prepared for an advantageous as an unfortunate Change of Condition.

_Coverley-Hall, Nov._ 15, _Worcestershire._


'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 well-disposed 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 even 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 enquired 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
Satisfactions I promise to my self 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 Interest of those whom they are joined with, to cherish and
befriend them upon all Occasions. I find a considerable Sum of ready
Money, 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 my
self. What makes this the more practicable, is, that if they will do
any one Good with my Money, they are welcome to it upon their own
Security: And I make no Exception 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 repay it
himself by his Labour, in three Years Journeywork 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

'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 an 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 and worthy
Persons of the human Race. To pass through imminent Dangers, suffer
painful Watchings, frightful Alarms, and laborious Marches for the
greater part of a Man's Time, and pass the rest in a Sobriety
conformable to the Rules of the most virtuous civil Life, is a Merit
too great to deserve the Treatment it usually meets with among the
other part of the World. But I assure you, Sir, were there not very
many who have this Worth, we could never have seen the glorious Events
which we have in our Days. I need not say more to illustrate the
Character of a Soldier, than to tell you he is the very contrary to
him you observe loud, sawcy, and over-bearing 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
employ'd 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.

'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,_


* * * * *

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

'Quin potius Pacem Æternam pactosque Hymenæos
Exercemus - '


I cannot but think the following Letter from the Emperor of _China_ to
the Pope of _Rome_, proposing a Coalition of the _Chinese_ and _Roman_
Churches, will be acceptable to the Curious. I must confess I my self
being of opinion that the Emperor has as much Authority to be
Interpreter to him he pretends to expound, as the Pope has to be Vicar
to the Sacred Person he takes upon him to represent, I was not a little
pleased with their Treaty of Alliance. What Progress the Negotiation
between his Majesty of _Rome_, and his Holiness of _China_ makes (as we
daily Writers say upon Subjects where we are at a Loss) Time will let us
know. In the mean time, since they agree 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 Littera del Re della China al Papa, interpretata dal Padre
Segretario dell' India della Compagna di Giesu. [1]

_A Voi Benedetto sopra i benedetti PP, ed interpretatore grande de
Pontifici e Pastore Xmo dispensatore dell' oglio de i Rè d' Europe
Clemente XI._

'Il Favorite amico di Dio Gionata 7° Potentissimo sopra tutti i
potentissimi della terra, Altissmo sopra tutti gl' Altissmi sotto il
sole e la luna, che sede nella sede di smeraldo della China 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 accresimento di vecchiezza.

'Essendo arrivato il tempo in cui il fiore della reale nostro gioventu
deve maturare i Frutti della nostra vecchiezza, e confortare con quell
i desiderii dei populi nostri divoti, e propogare il seme di quella
pianta che deve proteggerli, habbiamo Stabilito d'accompagnarci con
una virgine eccelsa ed amorosa allattata alia mammella della leonessa
forte e dell' Agnella mansueta. Percio essendo ci stato figurato
sempre il vostro populo Europeo Romano par paese di donne invitte, i
forte, e caste; allongiamo la nostra mano potente, a stringere una di
loro, e questa sara una vostra nipote, o nipote di qualche altro gran
Sacerdote Latino, che sia guardata dall' occhio dritto di Dio. Sara
seminata in lei l'Autorita di Sarra, la Fedelta d'Esther, e la
Sapienza di Abba; la vogliamo con l'occhio della colomba che guarda il
cielo, e la terra e con la bocca dello Conchiglia che si pasce della
ruggiada del matino. La sua eta non passi ducento corsi della Luna, la
sua statura sia 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 incontraremmo alla riva del fiume grande facendola salire
su nostro cocchio. Ella potra adorare appresso di noi il suo Dio, con
venti quatro altre vergini a sua ellezzione, e potra cantare con loro
come la Tortora alla Primavera.

'Sodisfando O Padre e amico nostro questa nostro brama, sarete
caggione di unire in perpetua amicitia cotesti vostri Regni d'Europa
al nostro dominante Imperio, e si abbracciranno le vostri leggi come
l'edera abbraccia la pianta, e noi medesemi Spargeremo del nostro seme
reale in coteste Provinci, riscaldando i letti di vostri Principi con
il fuoco amoroso delle nostre Amazoni, d'alcune delle quali i nostri
mandatici Ambasciadori vi porteranno le Somiglianze depinte. Vi
Confirmiamo di tenere in pace le due buone religiose famiglie delli
Missionarii 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
appuncto 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 dalla nostra Citta, Capo del Mondo, il quinto giorno
della terza lunatione l'anno quarto del nostro Imperio.

'Sigillo e un sole nelle cui faccia e anche quella della Luna ed
intorno tra i Raggi vi sono traposte alcune Spade.

'Dico il Traduttore che secondo il Ceremonial di questo Lettere e
recedentissimo specialmente Fessere scritto con la penna della Struzzo
vergine con la quella non soglionsi scrivere quei Re che le pregiere a
Dio e scrivendo a qualche altro Principe del Mondo, la maggior Finezza
che usino, e scrivergli con la penna del Pavone.

A Letter from the Emperor of _China_ to the Pope, interpreted by a
Father Jesuit, Secretary to 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 _Gionnata_ 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 Desire of our devoted People, and to propagate the Seed
of that Plant which must protect them; We have determined to accompany
our selves with an high Amorous Virgin, suckled at the Breast of a
wild Lioness, and a meek Lamb; and imagining with our selves that your
_European Roman_ People is the Father of many unconquerable and chaste
Ladies: We stretch out our powerful Arm to embrace one of them, and
she shall be one of your Neices, or the Neice of some other great
_Latin_ Priest, the Darling of God's Right Eye. Let the Authority of
_Sarah_ be sown in her, the Fidelity of _Esther_, and the Wisdom of
_Abba_. We would have her Eye like that of a _Dove_, which may look
upon Heaven and Earth, with the Mouth of a Shell-Fish to feed upon the
Dew of the Morning; Her Age must not exceed 200 Courses of the Moon;
let her Stature be equal to that of an Ear of green Corn, and her
Girth a Handful.

"We will send our _Mandarine's_ Embassadors to clothe her, and to
conduct her to us, and we will meet her on the Bank of the great
River, making her to leap up into our Chariot. She may with us worship
her own God; together with twenty four Virgins of her own chusing; and
she may sing with them, as the _Turtle_ in the Spring. You, O Father
and Friend, complying with this our Desire, maybe an occasion of
uniting in perpetual Friendship our high Empire with your _European_
Kingdoms, and we may embrace your Laws, as the _Ivy_ embraces the
Tree; and we our selves may scatter our Royal Blood into your
Provinces, warming the chief of your Princes with the amorous Fire of
our _Amazons_, the resembling Pictures of some of which our said
_Mandarine's_ Embassadors shall convey to you.

"We exhort you to keep in Peace two good Religious Families of
_Missionaries_, the black Sons of _Ignatius_, and the white and black
Sons of _Dominicus_; that the Counsel, both of the one and the other,
may serve as a Guide to us in our Government, and a Light to interpret
the Divine Law, as the Oil cast into the Sea produces Light.

"To conclude, we rising up in our Throne to embrace you, we declare
you our Ally and Confederate; and have ordered this Leaf to be sealed
with our Imperial Signet, in our Royal City the Head of the World, the
8th Day of the third Lunation, and the 4th Year of our Reign."

Letters from _Rome_ say, the whole Conversation both among Gentlemen and
Ladies has turned upon the Subject of this Epistle, ever since it
arrived. The Jesuit who translated it says, it loses much of the Majesty
of the Original in the _Italian_. It seems there was an Offer of the
same nature made by a Predecessor of the present Emperor to _Lewis_ the
XIIIth of France, but no Lady of that Court would take the Voyage, that
Sex not being at that time so much used in politick Negotiations. The
manner of treating the Pope is, according to the _Chinese_ Ceremonial,
very respectful: For the Emperor writes to him with the Quill of a
Virgin _Ostrich_, which was never used before but in Writing Prayers.
Instructions are preparing for the Lady who shall have so much Zeal as
to undertake this Pilgrimage, and be an Empress for the sake of her
Religion. The Principal of the _Indian_ Missionaries has given in a List
of the reigning Sins in _China_, in order to prepay the Indulgences
necessary to this Lady and her Retinue, in advancing the Interests of
the _Roman Catholic Religion_ in those Kingdoms.


_May it please your Honour_,

'I have of late seen _French_ Hats, of a prodigious Magnitude, pass by
my Observatory.

_John Sly._


[Footnote 1: No suggestion has been made as to the authorship of this
squib on the Jesuits in China.]

* * * * *

No. 546. Wednesday, November 26, 1712. Steele.

'Omnia patefacienda ut ne quid omnino quod venditor norit, emptor


It gives me very great Scandal to observe, where-ever I go, how much
Skill, in buying all manner of Goods, there is necessary to defend
yourself from being cheated in whatever you see exposed to Sale. My
Reading makes such a strong impression upon me, that I should think my
self a Cheat in my Way, if I should translate any thing from another
Tongue, and not acknowledge it to my Readers. I understood from common
Report, that Mr. _Cibber_ was introducing a _French_ Play upon our
Stage, and thought my self concerned to let the Town know what was his,
and what foreign. [1] When I came to the Rehearsal, I found the House so
partial to one of their own Fraternity, that they gave every thing which
was said such Grace, Emphasis, and Force in their Action, that it was no
easy matter to make any Judgment of the Performance. Mrs. _Oldfield_,
who, it seems, is the Heroick Daughter, had so just a Conception of her
Part, that her Action made what she spoke appear decent, just, and
noble. The Passions of Terrour and Compassion, they made me believe were
very artfully raised, and the whole Conduct of the Play artful and
surprizing. We Authors do not much relish the Endeavours of Players in
this kind; but have the same Disdain as Physicians and Lawyers have when
Attorneys and Apothecaries give Advice. _Cibber_ himself took the
liberty to tell me, that he expected I would do him Justice, and allow
the Play well-prepared for his Spectators, whatever it was for his
Readers. He added very many Particulars not uncurious concerning the
manner of taking an Audience, and laying wait not only for their
superficial Applause, but also for insinuating into their Affections and
Passions, by the artful Management of the Look, Voice, and Gesture of
the Speaker. I could not but consent that the Heroick Daughter appeared
in the Rehearsal a moving Entertainment wrought out of a great and
exemplary Virtue.

The Advantages of Action, Show, and Dress on these Occasions are
allowable, because the Merit consists in being capable of imposing upon
us to our Advantage and Entertainment. All that I was going to say about
the Honesty of an Author in the Sale of his Ware, was that he ought to
own all that he had borrowed from others, and lay in a clear light all
that he gives his Spectators for their Money, with an Account of the
first Manufacturers. But I intended to give the Lecture of this Day upon
the common and prostituted Behaviour of Traders in ordinary Commerce.
The Philosopher made it a Rule of Trade, that your Profit ought to be
the common Profit; and it is unjust to make any Step towards Gain,
wherein the Gain of even those to whom you sell is not also consulted. A
Man may deceive himself if he thinks fit, but he is no better than a
Cheat who sells any thing without telling the Exceptions against it, as
well as what is to be said to its Advantage. The scandalous abuse of
Language and hardening of Conscience, which may be observed every Day in
going from one Place to another, is what makes a whole City to an
unprejudiced Eye a Den of Thieves. It was no small pleasure to me for
this reason to remark, as I passed by _Cornhill_, that the Shop of that
worthy, honest, tho' lately unfortunate, Citizen, Mr. _John Moreton_,
[2] so well known in the Linnen Trade, is fitting up a-new. Since a Man
has been in a distressed Condition, it ought to be a great Satisfaction
to have passed thro' it in such a Manner as not to have lost the
Friendship of those who suffered with him, but to receive an honourable
Acknowledgment of his Honesty from those very Persons to whom the Law
had consigned his Estate.

The Misfortune of this Citizen is like to prove of a very general
Advantage to those who shall deal with him hereafter: For the Stock with
which he now sets up being the Loan of his Friends, he cannot expose
that to the Hazard of giving Credit, but enters into a Ready-Money
Trade, by which Means he will both buy and sell the best and cheapest.
He imposes upon himself a Rule of affixing the Value of each Piece he
sells to the Piece it self; so that the most ignorant Servant or Child
will be as good a Buyer at his Shop as the most skilful in the Trade.
For all which, you have all his Hopes and Fortune for your Security. To
encourage Dealing after this Way, there is not only the avoiding the
most infamous Guilt in ordinary Bartering; but this Observation, That he
who buys with ready Money saves as much to his Family, as the State
exacts out of his Land for the Security and Service of his Country; that
is to say, in plain _English_, Sixteen will do as much as Twenty


'My Heart is so swelled with grateful Sentiments on account of some
Favours which I have lately received, that I must beg leave to give
them Utterance amongst the Croud of other anonymous Correspondents;
and writing, I hope, will be as great a Relief to my forced Silence,
as it is to your natural Taciturnity - My generous Benefactor will not
suffer me to speak to him in any Terms of Acknowledgment, but ever
treats me as if he had the greatest Obligations, and uses me with a
Distinction that is not to be expected from one so much my Superiour
in Fortune, Years, and Understanding. He insinuates, as if I had a
certain Right to his Favours from some Merit, which his particular
Indulgence to me has discovered but that is only a beautiful Artifice
to lessen the Pain an honest Mind feels in receiving Obligations, when
there is no probability of returning them.

'A gift is doubled when accompanied with such a Delicacy of Address;

Online LibraryRichard SteeleThe Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 With Translations and Index for the Series → online text (page 192 of 228)