Abbildungen der Seite

and had an inclination, to draw all the good and bad characters in America, why should a good man be offended with me for drawing good characters? And if I draw ill ones, can they fit any one but those that deserve them? And ojaght any but such to be concerned that they have their deserts? I have as great an aversion and abhorrence for defamation and scandal as any man, and would, with the utmost care, avoid being guilty of such base things: besides I am very sensible and certain, that if I should make use of this paper to defame any person, my reputation would be sooner hurt by it than his; and the Busy-Body would quickly become detestable; because, in such a case, as is justly observed, the pleasure arising from a tale of wit and novelty soon dies away in generous and honest minds, and is followed with a secret grief, to see their neighbours calumniated. But if I myself was actually the worst man in the province, and any one should draw my real character, would it not be ridiculous in me to say, he had defamed and scandalized me, unless he had added in a matter of truth? If.any thing is meant by asking, why any man's picture should be published which he never sat for? it must be, that we should give no character without the owner's consent. If I discern the wolf disguised in harmless wool, and contriving thef'destruc* tion of my neighbours sheep, must I have his permission, before I am allowed to discover and prevent him? If I know a man to be a designing knave, must I ask his consent, to bid my friends beware of him? If so, then,by the same rule, supposing the Busy-Body had really merited all his enemy had charged him with, his consent likewise ought to have been obtained, before so terrible an accusation was published against him.

I shall conclude with observing, that in the last paragraph save one of the piece now examined, much ill-nature and some good sense are co-inhabitants (as he expresses it.) The ill nature appears in his endeavouring to discover satire, where, I intended no such thing, but quite the reverse -y the good sense is this, that drawing too good^a character of any one is a refined manner of satire, that may be as injurious to him as the contrary, by bringing on an examination that undresses the person, and in the haste of doing it, he may happen to be stript of what he really owns and deserves. As I am Censor, I might punish the first, but I forgive it. Yet I will not leave the latter unrewarded; but assure my adversary, that in consideration of the merit of those four lines, I am resolved to forbear injuring him on any account in that refined manner.

I thank my neighbour P W 1 for his

kind letter,"

The lions complained of shall be muzzled.

THE BUSY-BODY.—No. VI. From Tuesday March 20, to Tuesday March 27, 1729.

Quid non mortalia pectora cogis,
Auri sacra fames? Viiioil.

ONE of the greatest pleasures an author can have, is, certainly, the hearing his works applauded. The hiding from the world our names, while we publish our thoughts, is so absolutely necessary to this self-gratification, that I hope my well wishers will congratulate me on my escape from the many diligent, but fruitless enquiries, that have of late been made after me. Every man will own, that an author, as such, ought to be hid by the merit of his productions only; but pride, party, and prejudice, at this time, runs so very high, that experience shows we form our notions of a piece by the character of the author. Nay, there are some very humble politicians in and about this city, who will ask, on which side the writer is, before they presume to give their opinion of the thing wrote. This ungenerous way of proceeding I was well aware of before I published my first speculation*; and therefore concealed my name. And I appeal to the more generous part of the world, if I have, since I appeared in the character of the Busy.Body, given an instance of my siding with any party more than another, in the unhappy divisions of my country; and I have, above all, this satisfaction in myself, that neither affection, aversion, or interest, have biassed me to use any partiality towards any man, or set of men; but whatsoever I find nonsensical, ridiculous, or immorally dishonest, I have, and shall continue openly to attack, with the freedom of an honest man, and a lover of my country.

I profess I can hardly contain myself, or preserve the gravity and dignity that should attend the censorial office, when I hear the odd and unaccountable expositions, that are put upon some of my works, through the malicious ignorance of some, and the vain pride of more than ordinary penetration in others; one instance of which many of my readers are acquainted with. A certain gentleman has taken a great deal of pains to write a key to the letter in my Number IV. wherein he has ingeniously converted a gentle satire upon tedious and impertinent visitants, into a libel on some of the government. This I mention only as a specimen of the taste of the gentleman; I am forsooth, bound to please in my speculations, not that I suppose my impartiality will ever be called in question on that account. Injustices of this nature I could com-1 plain of in many instances; but I am at present diverted by the reception of a letter, which, though it regards me only in my privat^capacity, as an adept, yet I venture to publish it for, the entertainment of my readers:

"To Censor Morum, Esq. Busy-Body General of the Province of Pennsylvania, and the Counties of Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex upon Delaware.

"Honourable Sir,

"I Judge by your lucubrations, that you are not only a lover of truth and equity, but a man of parts and learning, and a master of science; as such I honour you. Know then, most profound sir, that I have, from my youth up, been a very indefatigable student in and admirer of, that divine science, astrology. I have read over Scott, Albertus Magnus, and Cornelius Agrippa, above three hundred times; and was in hopes, by my knowledge and industry, to gain enough to have recompensed me for my money expended, and time lost in the pursuit of this learning. You cannot be ignorant, sir, (for your intimate second-sighted correspondent knows all things) that there are large sums of money hidden under ground in divers places about this town, and in many parts of the country: but alas, sir, notwithstanding I have used all the means laid down in the immortal authors before mentioned, and when thev failed the ingenious Mr. P—d—1, with his mercurial wand and magnet, I have still-failed in my purpose. This, therefore, I send, to propose and desire an acquaintance with you, and I do not doubt, notwithstanding my repeated ill fortune, but we may be exceedingly serviceable to each other in our

« ZurückWeiter »