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should give no character without the owner's consent. If I discern the wolf disguised in harmless wool, and contriving the destruction of my neighbour's 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 ragraph 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: 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 1 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 PW1 for his kind letter.
The lions complained of shall be muzzled.
The Busy-Body.-No. VIII.
FROM TUESDAY, MARCH 20, TO TUESDAY, MARCH 27, 1729.
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, run 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 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
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 complain of in many instances; but I am at present diverted by the reception of a letter, which, though it regards me only in my private 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 Pensylvania, and the Counties of Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex upon Delaware.
"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 Scot, 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 they failed the ingenious Mr. P-d--l, 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 discoveries; and that if we use our united endeavours, the time will come, when the BusyBody, his second-sighted correspondent, and your very humble servant, will be three of the richest men in the province and then, sir, what may we not do? A word to the wise is sufficient.
I conclude with all demonstrable respect,
Yours and Urania's Votary,
In the evening after I had received this letter, I made a visit to my second-sighted friend, and communicated to him the proposal. When he had read it, he assured me, that to his certain knowledge, there is not at this time so much as one ounce of silver or gold hid under ground in any part of this province; for that the
late and present scarcity of money had obliged those, who were living, and knew where they had formerly bid any, to take it up, and use it in their own necessary affairs and as to all the rest, which was buried by pirates and others in old times, who were never like to come for it, he himself had long since dug it all up, and applied it to charitable uses; and this he desired me to publish for the general good. For, as he acquainted me, there are among us great numbers of honest artificers and labouring people, who, fed with a vain hope of growing suddenly rich, negleet their business, almost to the ruining of themselves and families, and voluntarily endure abundance of fatigue in a fruitless search after imaginary hidden treasure. They wander through the woods and bushes by day, to discover the marks and signs; at midnight they repair to the hopeful spots with spades and pickaxes; full of expectation, they labour violently, trembling at the same time in every joint, through fear of certain malicious demons, who are said to haunt and guard such places. At length a mighty hole is dug, and perhaps several cartloads of earth thrown out; but, alas, no cag or iron pot is found! no seaman's chest crammed with Spanish pistoles, or weighty pieces of eight! Then they conclude, that through some mistake in the procedure, some rash word spoke, or some rule of art neglected, the guardian spirit had power to sink it deeper into the earth, and convey it out of their reach. Yet, when a man is once thus infatuated, he is so far from being discouraged by ill success, that he is rather animated to double his industry, and will try again and again in a hundred different places, in hopes at last of meeting with some