Графични страници
PDF файл

of the greatest mathematician and philosopher that ever lived, as a multitude of optic instruments, designed for the separating light into all those various colours of which it is composed.

I was awakened out of these my philosophical speculations by observing the company often seemed to laugh at me. I accidentally praised a tulip as one of the finest I ever saw; upon which they told me, it was a common fool's coat. Upon that I praised a second, which it seems was but another kind of fool's coat. I had the same fate with two or three more; for which reason I desired the owner of the garden to let me know which were the finest of the flowers; for that I was so unskilful in the art, that I thought the most beautiful were the most valuable, and that those which had the gayest colours were the most beautiful. The gentleman smiled at my ignorance: he seemed a very plain honest man, and a person of a good sense, had not his head been touched with that distemper which Hippocrates calls the TUTTоuana, Tulippomania; insomuch that he would talk very rationally on any subject in the world but a tulip.

He told me, that he valued the bed of flowers which lay before us, and was not above twenty yards in length, and two in breadth, more than he would the best hundred acres of land in England; and added, that it would have been worth twice the money it is, if a foolish cookmaid of his had not almost ruined him the last winter, by mistaking a handful of tulip-roots for a heap of onions, and by that means, says he, made me a dish of porridge that cost me above a thousand pounds sterling. He then showed me what he thought

: VOL. I.

*Sir Isaac Newton.



the finest of his tulips; which I found received all their value from their rarity and oddness, and put me in mind of your great fortunes, which are not always the greatest beauties.

I have often looked upon it as a piece of happiness, that I have never fallen into any of these fantastical tastes, nor esteemed any thing the more for its being uncommon and hard to be met with. For this reason,

I look upon the whole country in spring-time as a spacious garden, and make as many visits to a spot of daisies, or a bank of violets, as a florist does to his borders or parterres. There is not a bush in blossom within a mile of me which I am not acquainted with, nor scarce a daffodil or cowslip that withers away in my neighbourhood without my missing it. I walked home in this temper of mind through several fields and meadows with an unspeakable pleasure, not without reflecting on the bounty of Providence, which has made the most pleasing and beautiful objects the most ordinary and most common.



No. 220.

HAVING received many letters filled with compliments and acknowledgments for my late useful discovery of the political barometer, I fhall here communicate to the public an account of my ecclesiastical thermometer, the latter giving as manifest prognostications of the changes and revolutions in church, as the former does of those in state; and both of them being absolutely necessary for every prudent subject who is resolved to keep what he has, and get what he can.

The church thermometer, which I am now to treat of, is supposed to have been invented in the reign of Henry the Eighth, about the time when that religious prince put some to death for owning the pope's supremacy, and others for denying transubstantiation. I do not find, however, any great use made of this instrument, until it fell into the hands of a learned and vigilant priest or minister, for he frequently wrote himself both one and the other, who was some time vicar of Bray. This gentleman lived in his vicarage to a good old age; and, after having seen several successions of his neighbouring clergy either burnt or banished, departed this life with the satisfaction of having never deserted his flock, and died vicar of Bray. As this glass was first designed to calculate the different degrees of heat in religion, as it raged in popery, or as it cooled and grew temperate in the reformation; it was marked at several distances, after the manner our ordinary thermometer is to this day, viz. 'Extreme Hot, Sultry Hot, Very Hot, Hot, Warm, Temperate, Cold, Just Freezing, Frost, Hard Frost, Great Frost, Extreme Cold.'

It is well known that Torricellius, the inventor of the common weather-glass, made the experiment in a long tube which held thirty-two feet of water; and that a more modern virtuoso, finding such a machine altogether unwieldy and useless, and considering that thirty-two inches of quicksilver weighed as much as so many feet of water in a tube of the same circumference, invented that sizeable instrument which is now in use. After this manner, that I might adapt the thermometer I am now speaking of to the present constitution of our church, as divided into high and low, I have made some necessary variations both in the tube

1 2

tube and the fluid it contains. In the first place, I ördered a tube to be cast in a planetary hour, and took care to seal it hermetically when the sun was in conjunction with Saturn. I then took the proper precautions about the fluid, which is a compound of two very different liquors; one of them a spirit drawn out of a strong heady wine; the other a particular sort of rock-water, colder than ice, and clearer than crystal. The spirit is of a red fiery colour, and so very apt to ferment, that unless it be mingled with a proportion of the water, or pent up very close, it will burst the vessel that holds it, and fly up in fume and smoke. The water, on the contrary, is of such a subtle piercing cold, that, unless it be mingled with a proportion of the spirits, it will sink almost through every thing that it is put into; and seems to be of the same nature as the water mentioned by Quintus Curtius, which, says the historian, could be contained in nothing but in the hoof, or, as the Oxford manuscript has it, in the skull of an The thermometer is marked according to the following figure; which I set down at length, not only to give my reader a clear idea of it, but also to fill up my paper.










The reader will observe that the Church is placed in the middle point of the glass, between Zeal and


Moderation; the situation in which she always flourishes, and in which every good Englishman wishes her, who is a friend to the constitution of his country. However, when it mounts to Zeal, it is not amiss ; and, when it sinks to Moderation, is still in a most admirable temper. The worst of it is, that when once it begins to rise, it has still an inclination to ascend; insomuch that it is apt to climb up from Zeal to Wrath, and from Wrath to Persecution, which always ends in Ignorance, and very often proceeds from it. In the same manner, it frequently takes its progress through the lower half of the glass; and, when it has a tendency to fall, will gradually descend from Moderation to Lukewarmness, and from Lukewarmness to Infidelity, which very often terminates in Ignorance, and always proceeds from it.

It is a common observation, that the ordinary ́thermometer will be affected by the breathing of people who are in the room where it stands; and indeed it is almost incredible to conceive, how the glass I am now describing will fall by the breath of a multitude crying Popery; or, on the contrary, how it will rise when the same multitude, as it sometimes happens, cry out in the same breath, The church is in danger.'

As soon as I had finished this my glass, and adjusted it to the above-mentioned scale of religion; that I might make proper experiments with it, I carried it under my cloke to several coffee-houses and other places of resort about this great city. At Saint James's coffee-house the liquor stood at Moderation; but at Will's, to my great surprise, it subsided to the very lowest mark on the glass. At the Grecian it mounted but just one point higher; at the Rainbow it still ascended

I 3

« ПредишнаНапред »