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After all that can be thought on these subjects, I must confess, that the men who dress with a certain ambition to appear more than they are, are much more excusable than those who betray, in the adorning their persons, a fecret vanity and inclination to shine in things, wherein, if they did succeed, it would rather lessen than advance their character. For this reason I am more provoked at the allegations relating to the clergyman, than any other hinted at in these complaints. I have indeed a long time, with much concern, observed abundance of pretty
fellows in sacred orders, and shall in due time let them know, that I pretend to give ecclefiaflical as well as civil cen: fures. A man well-bred and well-dressed in that habit, adds to the sacredness of his function an agreeableness not to be met with among the laity. I own I have spent some evenings among the men of wit of that profeffion with an inexpresible delight. Their habitual care of their cha. racter gives such a chastisement to their fancy, that all which they utter in company is' as much above what you meet with in other conversation, as the charms of a modest, are superior to those of a light woman. I therefore earnestly defire our young mithionaries from the univerfities to consider where they are, and not diefs, and look, and move, like young officers. It is no disadvantage to have a very handsome white hand; but were I to preach repentance to a gallery of ladies, I would, methinks, keep my gloves on: I have an unfeigned affection to the class of mankind appointed to serve at the altar, therefore am in danger of running out of my way, and growing too serious on this occasion ; for which reason I shall end with the following epistle, which, by my interest in Tom Trot the penny-post, I procured a copy of.
To the Reverend Mr. Ralph Incense, Chaplain to the
Countess Dowager of Brumptor.
i Heard and saw you preach last Sunday. :I amr an ignorant young woman, and understcod not kalf
you said: but ah!
your manner, when you held up both your hands towards our pew! Did you design to win me to heaven or yourself?
Your hun ble fervant,
ADVERTISEMENT. Mr. Proctorstaff of Clare-hall in Cambridge, is received as a kinsman, according to his request, bearing date the twentieth inftant.
· The distressed son of Æsculapius is desired to be more particular.
No. 271. TUESDAY, JANUARY 2, 1710. The printer having informed me, that there are as many of these papers printed as will make four volumes, I am now come to the end of my ambition in this matter, and have nothing further to say to the world under the character of Isaac Bickerstaff. This work has indeed for some time been disagreeable to me, and the purpose of it wholly lost by my being so long understood as the author. I never designed in it to give any man any secret wound by my concealment, but spoke in the character of an old man, a philosopher, an humourist, an astrologer, and a censor, to allure my reader with the variety of my subjects, and insinuate, if I could, the weight of reason with the agreeableness of wit. The general purpose of the whole has been to recommend truth, innocence, honour, and virtue, as the chief ornaments of life ; but I considered, that severity of manners was absolutely necesfary to him who would censure others, and for that reason, and that only, chose to talk in a mask. I shall not carry my humility so far as to call myself a vicious man, but at the same time must confess, my life is at best put pardonable. And with no greater character than this, a man
would make but an indifferent progress in attacking pre-, vailing and fashionable vices, which Mr. Bickerítaff has done with a freedom of spirit that would have lost both its beauty and efficacy, had it been pretended to by Mr. Steele.
As to the work itself, the acceptance it has met with is the the best proof of its value ; but I should err against that candour which an honest, man should always carry about him, if I did not own that the most approved pieces in it were written by others, and those which have been most excepted against, by myself. The hand that has aflifted me in thole noble discourses upon the immortality of the soul, the glorious profpeéts of another life, and the most sublime ideas of religion and virtue, is a person who is too fondly my friend ever to own them; but I should little deserve to be his, if I usurped the glory of ther. I must acknowledge at the fame time, that I think the fineft strokes of wit and humour in Mr. Bickerstatt's Lucubrations, are those for which he also is bebolden to him. .
As for the satirical part of these writings, those against the gentlemen who profess gaming are the most licentious; but the main of them I take to come from losing gamesters, as invectives against the fortunate; for in vely many of them I was very little else but the transcriber. If any have been more particularly marked at, such persons may impute it to their own behaviour, before they were touched upon, in publiciy speaking their resentment against the author, and professing they would support any man who should insult him. When I mention this subject, I hope major-general Davenport, brigadier Biffet, and my lord Forbes, will accept of my thanks for their frequent good offices, in profefling their readiness to partake any danger that should befall me in so just an, undertaking, as the endeavour to banish fraud and cozenage from the presence and conversation of gentlemen.
But what I find is the least excufable part of all this work is, that I have in some places in it touched upon matters which concern both church and state. All I shall say for this is, that the points I alluded to are such as concerned every christian and freeholder in England; and I could not be cold enough to conceal my opinion on fubjects which related to either of those characters. But politics apart. I must confess, it has been a most exquifite pleasure to me to frame characters of domestic life, and put those parts of it which are least observed into an agreeable view; to inquire into the seeds of vaniry and affectation ; to lay before the readers the emptiness of ambition : in a word, to trace human life through all its mazes and receffes, and shew much shorter methods than men ordinarily practise, to be happy, agreeable, and great.
But to inquire into men's faults and weaknesses has fomething in it fo unwelcome, that I have often seen people in pain to act before me, whofe modesty only makes them think themselves liable to censure. This, and a thoufand other nameless things, have made it an irksome talk to me to perfonate Mr. Bickerstaff any longer; and I believe it does not often happen, that the reader is delighted where the author is displeased.
All I can now do for the further gratification of the town, is to give them a faithful explication of passages and allufions, and sometimes of persons intended in the several scattered parts of the work. At the same time, I thall discover which of the whole have been written by me, and which by others, and by whom, as far as I am able, or permitted *.
Thus I have voluntarily done what I think all authors should do, when called upon. I have published my name to my writings, and given myself up to the mercy of the town, as Shakespeare expresses it, with all my imperfections on my head. The indulgent reader's
* This is done in the Preface to this Volume.
IN DE X,
IN DE X:
BSTINENCE the best physic, N. 240. Adversity, an ease for it, N. 233. Advertisements, a collection of them a kind of miscellany,
of great use to the vulgar, ibid.
specimens of them, N. 228, N. 245. Affection distinguished from esteem, N. 206.
nearly related to esteem in the fair sex, ibid. Alexander the Great, his character and irregularity of temper, N. igi.
remarkable incident between him and his physician, N. 249. Alexander Truncheon, foreman of the jury in the court of
Honour, N. 253.
its refuge when disappointed, ibid. - no trae happiness in the success of that infatuating and insatiable passion, ibid.
the true object of laudable ambition, N. 251.
a prayer composed by him, ibid.
entertains his three nephews and a young Jady, N. 207: P 5