« AnteriorContinuar »
is a very
art of making noses is entirely lost; and, in the next place, beg them not to follow the example of our ordinary town rakes, who live as if there was a Taliacotius to be met with at the corner of every street. Whatever young men may think, the nose
becoming part of the face; and a man makes but a very silly figure without it. But it is the nature of youth not to know the value of any thing until they have lost it. The general precept, therefore, I shall leave with them is, to regard every town-woman as a particular kind of syren, that has a design upon their noses ; and that, amidst her flatteries and allurements, they will fancy she speaks to them in that humourous phrase of old Plautus, Ego tibi faciem denasabo mordicus.
Keep your face out of my way, or I will bite off
N°261. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 9, 1710.
From my own Apartment, December 8. It is the duty of all who make philosophy the entertainment of their lives, to turn their thoughts to practical schemes for the good of society, and not pass away their time in fruitless searches, which tend rather to the ostentation of knowledge, than the service of life. For this reason I cannot forbear reading even the common bills that are daily put into people's hands as they pass the streets, which give us notice of the present residence, the past travels, and infallible medicines of doctors useful in
their generation, though much below the character of the renowned Taliacotius. But, upon a nice calculation of the successes of such adepts, I find their labours tend mostly to the enriching only one sort of men, that is to say, the society of upholders. From this observation, and many others which occur to me when I ain numbering the good people of Great-Britain, I cannot but favour any proposal which tends to repairing the losses we sustain by eminent cures. The best I have met with in this kind, has been offered to my consideration, and recommended in a letter subscribed Thomas Clement. The title to his printed articles runs thus : “ By the profitable society, at the Wheat-sheaf over against Tom's coffee-house in Russel-street, Covent-garden, new proposals for promoting a contribution towards raising two hundred and fifty pounds, to be made on the baptizing of any infant born in wedlock.” The plan is laid with such proper regulations, as serve, to such as fall in with it for the sake of their posterity, all the uses, without any of the inconveniencies, of settlements. By this means, such whose fortunes depend upon their own industry, or personal qualifications, need not be deterred, by fear of poverty, from that state which nature and reason prescribe to us, as the fountain of the
greatest happiness in human life. The Censors of Rome had power vested in them to lay taxes on the unmarried; and I think I cannot show my impartiality better, than in inquiring into the extravagant privileges my brother bachelors enjoy, and fine them accordingly. I shall not allow a single life in one sex to be reproached, and held in esteem in the other. It would not, methinks, be amiss, if an old bachelor, who lives in contempt of matrimony, were obliged to give a portion to an old maid who is willing to enter into it. At the same time I must allow, that those who can plead courtship, and were unjustly rejected, shall not be liable to the pains and penalties of celibacy. But such as pretend an aversion to the whole sex, because they were ill-treated by a particular female, and cover their sense of disappointment in women under a contempt of their favour, shall be proceeded against as bachelors convict. I am not without hopes, that from this slight warning all the unmarried men of fortune, taste, and refinement, will, without further delay, become lovers and humble servants to such of their acquaintance as are most agreeable to them, under pain of my censures : and it is to be hoped the rest of the world, who remain single for fear of the incumbrances of wedlock, will become subscribers to Mr. Clement's proposal. By these means we shall have a much more numerous account of births in the year 1711, than any ever before known in Great Britain, where merely to be born is a distinction of Providence greater than being born to a fortune in another place.
As I was going on in the consideration of this good office which Mr. Clement proposes to do his country, I received the following letter, which seems to be dictated by a like modest and public spirit, that makes use of me also in its design of obliging mankind,
- MR. BICKERSTAFF, “ In the royal lottery for a million and a half I had the good fortune of obtaining a prize. From before the drawing I had devoted a fifth of whatever should arise to me to charitable uses. Accord ingly, I lately troubled you with my request and commission for placing half a dozen youths with Mr. More, writing-master in Castle-street, to whom, it is said, we owe all the fine devices, flourishes, and the composure of all the plates, for the drawing and paying the tickets. Be pleased therefore, good Sir, to find or make leisure for complying therewith, for I would not appear concerned in this small matter. I am very much
Your humble servant, &c." It is no small pleasure to observe, that in the midst of a very degenerate age, there are still spirits which retain their natural dignity, and pursue the good of their fellow-creatures : some in making themselves useful by professed service, some by secret generosity. Were I at liberty to discover even all the good I know of many men living at this time, there would want nothing but a suitable historian, to make them appear as illustrious as any of the noblest of the antient Greeks or Romans. The cunving some have used to do handsome and worthy actions, the address to do men services, and escape their notice, has produced so many surprising in. cidents, which have been laid before me during my Censorship, as, in the opinion of posterity, wonld absolve this age of all its crimes and follies. I know no way to deal with such delicate minds as these, but by assuring them, that, when they cease to do good, I shall tell all the good they have done already. Let therefore, the benefactors to the youths abovementioned continue such bounties, upon pain of being publicly praised. But there is no probability of his running into that hazard; for a strong habit of virtue can make men suspend the receiving the acknowledgements due to their merit, until they are out of a capacity of receiving them. I am so very much charmed with accidents of this kind, that I have made a collection of all the memorable handsome things done by private men in my time. As a specimen of my manner of noting such actions, take the following fragment, out of much more, which is written in my year-book, on the remarkable will of a gentleman, whom I shall here call Celamico.
“ This day died that plain and excellent man, my much-honoured friend Celamico, who bequeathed his whole estate to a gentleman no way related to him, and to whom he had given no such expectation in his life-time.”
He was a person of a very enlarged soul, and thought the nearest relation among men to be the resemblance of their minds and sentiments. He was not mistaken in the worth of his successor, who received the news of this unexpected good fortune with an air that shewed him less moved with the benefit than the loss of the benefactor.
ADVERTISEMENT. *** Notice is hereby given, that on Monday the eleventh instant, the case of the visit comes on, between the hours of ten and eleven, at the Court of Honour; where both persons are to attend, the meeting there not being to be understood as a visit, and the right of the next visit being then to be wholly settled, according to the prayer of the plaintiff.