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No. 265. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 19, 1710.
Arbiter hic igitur factus de lite jocosa.
Continuation of the Journal of the Court of
Honour, &c. As soon as the court was sat, the ladies of the bench presented, according to order, a table of all the laws now in force, relating to visits and visiting days, methodically digested under their respective heads, which the Censor ordered to be laid upon the table, and afterwards proceeded upon the business of the day.
Henry Heedless, Esq. was indicted by Colonel Touchy, of her majesty's trained bands, upon an action of assault and battery, for that he the said Mr. Heedless, having espied a feather upon the shoulder of the said colonel, struck it off gently with the end of a walking staff, value three-pence. It appeared, that the prosecutor did not think himself injured till a few days after the aforesaid blow was given him ; but that having ruminated with himself for several days, and conferred upon it with other officers of the militia, he concluded, that he had in effect been cudgelled by Mr. Heedless, and that he ought to resent it accordingly. The counsel for the prosecutor alledged, that the shoulder was the tenderest part in a man of honour; that it had a natural antipathy to a stick, and that every touch of it, with any thing made in the fashion of a cane, was to be interpreted as a wound in that part, and a violation of the person's honour who received it. Mr. Heedless replied, that what he had done was out of kindness to the prosecutor, as not thinking it proper for him to appear at the head of the trained-bands with a feather upon his shoulder; and further added, that the stick he had made use of on this occasion was so very small, that the prosecutor could not have felt it, had he broken it on his shoulders. The Censor hereupon directed VOL. II,
the jury to examine into the nature of the staff, for that a great deal would depend upon that particular. Upon which he explained to them the different degrees of offence that might be given by the touch of crab-tree from that of cane, and by the touch of cane from that of a plain hazle stick. The jury, after a short perusal of the staff, declared their opinion by the mouth of their foreman, that the substance of the staff was British oak. The censor then observing that there was some dust on the skirts of the criminal's coat, ordered the prosecutor to beat it off with his aforesaid oaken plant; ' And thus, (said the censor,) I shall decide this cause by the law of retaliation: if Mr. Heedless did the colonel a good office, the colonel will, by this means, return it in kind; but if Mr. Heedless should at any time boast that he had cudgelled the colonel, or laid his staff over his shoulders, the colonel might boast in his turn, that he has brushed Mr. Heedless's jacket, or (to use the phrase of an ingenious author,) that he has rubbed him down with an oaken towel.'
Benjamin Busy, of London, merchant, was indicted by Jasper Tattle, Esq. for having pulled out his watch and looked upon it thrice, while the said Esquire Tattle was giving him an account of the funeral of the said Esquire Tattle's first wife. The prisoner alledged in his defence, that he was going to buy stocks at the time when he met the prosecutor ; and that, during the story of the prosecutor, the said stocks rose above two per cent to the great detriment of the prisoner. The prisoner further brought several witnesses, that the said Jasper Tattle, Esq. was a most notorious story-teller; that before he met the prisoner, he had hindered one of the prisoner's acquaintance from the pursuit of his lawful business, with the account of his second marriage; and that he had detained another by the button of his coat that very morning, till
, he had heard several witty sayings and contrivances of the prosecutor's eldest son, who was a boy of about five years of age. Upon the whole matter, Mr. Bickerstaffe dismissed the accusation as frivolous, and sentenced the prosecutor to pay damages to the prisoner for what the prisoner had lost by giving him so long and patient an hearing. He further reprimanded the prosecutor very severely, and told him, that if he proceeded in his usual manner to interrupt the business of mankind, he would set a fine upon him for every quarter of an hour's impertinence, and regulate the said fine according as the time of the person so injured should appear to be more or less precious.
Sir Paul Swash, Kt. was indicted by Peter Double, gent, for not returning the bow which he received of the said Peter Double, on Wednesday the sixth instant, at the playhouse in the Haymarket. The prisoner denied the receipt of any such bow, and alledged in his defence, that the prosecutor would oftentimes look full in his face, but that when he bowed to the said prosecutor, he would take no notice of it, or bow to somebody else that sat quite on the other side of him. · He likewise alledged, that several ladies had complained of the prosecutor, who, after ogling them a quarter of an hour, upon their making a curtsey to him, would not return the civility of a bow. The Censor observing several glances of the prosecutor's eye, and perceiving, that when he talked to the court, he looked upon the jury, found reason to suspect that there was a wrong cast in his sight, which upon examination proved true. The Censor therefore ordered the prisoner (that he might not produce any more confusions in public assemblies) never to bow to any body whom he did not at the same time call to by his name.
Oliver Bluff, and Benjamin Browbeat, were indicted for going to fight a duel since the erection of the Court of Honour. It appeared, that they were both taken up in the street as they passed by the court, in their way to the fields behind Montague House. The criminals would answer nothing for themselves, but that they were going to execute a challenge which had been made above a week before the Court of Honour was erected. The Censor finding some reasons to suspect, (by the sturdiness of their behaviour) that they were
not so very brave as they would have the court believe them, ordered them both to be searched by the grand jury, who found a breast-plate upon the one, and two quires of paper upon the other. The breast-plate was immediately ordered to be hung upon a peg over Mr. Bickerstaffe's tribunal, and the paper to be laid upon the table for the use of his clerk. He then ordered the criminals to button up their bosoms, and, if they pleased, proceed to their duel. Upon which they both went very quietly out of the court, and retired to their respective lodgings.
The court then adjourned till after the holidays.
Sir Richard Steele assisted in this paper. T.
No. 267. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23, 1710.
Qui genus humanum ingenio superavit, et omnes
LUCR From my own Apartment, December 22. I HAVE heard, that it is a rule among the conventuals of several orders in the Romish church, to shut themselves up at a certain time of the year, not only from the world in general, but from the members of their own fraternity, and to pass away several days by themselves in settling accounts between their Maker and their own souls, in cancelling unrepented crimes, and renewing their contracts of obedience for the future. Such stated times for particular acts of devotion, or the exercise of certain religious duties, have been enjoined in all civil governments, whatever deity they worshipped, or whatever religion they professed. That which may be done at all times is often totally neglected and forgotten, unless fixed and determined to some time more than another; and therefore, though several duties may be suitable to every day of our lives, they are most likely to be performed, if some days are more particularly set apart for the practice of them. Our church has accordingly instituted several seasons of devotion, when time, custom, prescription, and (if I may so say) the fashion itself, call upon a man to be serious and attentive to the great end of his being.
a When Mr: Addison (whose invention, in matters of humour, was inexhaustible) had started a good hint, his facetious coadjutor was never satisfied, till he had run it down. For the general character of the Tatlers, on the court of honour, see the note on No. 256. Yet, on the whole, it must be said, that, if Sir Richard had any considerable hand in these
papers, he has acquitted himself in them better than usual.
I have hinted in some former papers, that the greatest and wisest of men in all ages and countries, particularly in Rome and Greece, were renowned for their piety and virtue. It is now my intention to shew how those in our own nation, that have been unquestionably the most eminent for learning and knowledge, were likewise the most eminent for their adherence to the religion of their country.
I might produce very shining examples from among the clergy; but because priestcraft is the common cry of every cavilling empty scribbler, I shall show, that all the laymen who have exerted a more than ordinary genius in their writings, and were the glory of their times, were men whose hopes were filled with immortality, and the prospect of future rewards, and men who lived in a dutiful submission to all the doctrines of revealed religion.
I shall in this paper only instance Sir Francis Bacon, a man, who, for the greatness of genius, and compass of knowledge, did honour to his age and country; I could almost say, to human nature itself. He possessed at once all those extraordinary talents which were divided amongst the greatest authors of antiquity. He had the sound, distinct, comprehensive knowledge of Aristotle, with all the beautiful lights, graces, and em