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seeing a lion couched upon his elbow in some part of the neighbourhood.
A lion is particularly addicted to the perusal of every loose paper that lies in his way. He appears more than ordinary attentive to what he reads, while he listens to those who are about him. He takes up the Postman, and snuffs the candle that he may hear the better by it. I have seen a lion pore upon a single paragraph in an old Gazette for two hours together, if his neighbours have been talking all that while.
Having given a full description of this monster, for the benefit of such innocent persons as may fall into his walks, I shall apply a word or two to the lion himself, whom I would desire to consider that he is a creature hated both by God and man, and regarded with the utmost contempt even by such as make use of him. Hangmen and executioners are necessary in a state, and so may the animal I have been here mentioning; but how despicable is the wretch that takes on him so vile an employment? there is scarce a being that would not suffer by a comparison with him, except that being only who acts the same kind of part, and is both the tempter and accuser of mankind.
N. B. Mr. Ironside has, within five weeks last past, muzzled three lions, gorged five, and killed one. On Monday next the skin of the dead one will be hung up, in terrorem, at Button's coffee-house, over-against Tom's, in Covent-Garden.
No. 96. WEDNESDAY, JULY 1.
Cuncti adsint, meritaque expectent præmia palma. VIRG. THERE
HERE is no maxim in politics more indisputable, than that a nation should have many honours in reserve for those who do national services. This raises
emulation, cherishes public merit, and inspires every one with an ambition which promotes the good of his country. The less expensive these honours are to the public, the more still do they turn to its advantage.
The Romans abounded with these little honorary rewards, that, without conferring wealth or riches, gave only place and distinction to the person who received them. An oaken garland to be worn on festivals and public ceremonies, was the glorious recompence of one who had covered a citizen in battle. A soldier would not only venture his life for a mural crown, but think the most hazardous enterprise sufficiently repaid by so noble a donation.
But among all honorary rewards, which are neither dangerous nor detrimental to the donor, I remember none so remarkable as the titles which are bestowed by the Emperor of China. These are never given to any subject, says Monsieur le Conte, till the subject is dead. If he has pleased his emperor to the last, he is called in all public memorials by the title which the emperor confers on him after his death, and his children take their rank accordingly. This keeps the ambitious subject in a perpetual dependence, making him always vigilant and active, and in every thing conformable to the will of his sovereign.
There are no honorary rewards among us, which are more esteemed by the person who receives them, and are cheaper to the prince, than the giving of medals. But there is something in the modern manner of celebrating a great action in medals, which makes such a reward much less valuable than it was among the Romans. There is generally but one coin stamped upon the occasion, which is made a present to the person who is celebrated on it. By this means his whole fame is in his own custody. The applause that is bestowed upon him is too much limited and confined. He is in possession of an honour which the world perhaps knows nothing of. He may be a great man in his own family; his wife and children may see
the monument of an exploit, which the public in a little time is a stranger to. The Romans took a quite different method in this particular. Their medals were their current money. When an action deserved to be recorded on a coin, it was stamped perhaps upon a hundred thousand pieces of money like our shillings, or half-pence, which were issued out of the mint, and became current. This method published every noble action to advantage, and, in a short space of time, spread through the whole Roman empire. The Romans were so careful to preserve the memory of great events upon their coins, that when any particular piece of money grew very scarce, it was often recoined by a succeeding emperor, many years after the death of the emperor to whose honor it was first struck.
A friend of mine drew up a project of this kind during the late ministry,, which would then have been put in execution, had it not been too busy a time for thoughts of that nature. As this project has been very much talked of by the gentleman above-mentioned, to men of the greatest genius, as well as quality, I am informed there is now a design on foot for executing the proposal which was then made, and that we shall have several farthings and half-pence charged on the reverse with many of the glorious particulars of her Majesty's reign. This is one of those arts of peace which may very well deserve to be cultivated, and which may be of great use to posterity.
As I have in my possession the copy of the paper above-mentioned, which was delivered to the late Lord Treasurer, I shall here give the public a sight of it. For I do not question, but that the curious part of my readers will be very well pleased to see so much matter, and so many useful hints upon this subject, laid together in so clear and concise a manner.
THE English have not been so careful as other polite nations, to preserve the memory of their great ac
tions and events on medals. Their subjects are few, their mottoes and devices mean, and the coins themselves not numerous enough to spread among the people, or descend to posterity..
The French have outdone us in these particulars, and, by the establishment of a society for the invention of proper inscriptions and designs, have the whole history of their present king in a regular series of medals.
They have failed, as well as the English, in coining so small a number of each kind, and those of such costly metals, that each species may be lost in a few ages, and is at present no where to be met with but in the cabinets of the curious.
The ancient Romans took the only effectual method to disperse and preserve their medals, by making them their current money.
Every thing glorious or useful, as well in peace as war, gave occasion to a different coin. Not only an expedition, victory, or triumph, but the exercise of a solemn devotion, the remission of a duty or tax, a new temple, seaport, or highway, were transmitted to posterity after this manner.
The greatest variety of devices are on their copper money, which have most of the designs that are to be met with on the gold and silver, and several peculiar to that metal only. By this means they were dispersed into the remotest corners of the empire, came into the possession of the poor as well as rich, and were in no danger of perishing in the hands of those that might have melted down coins of a more valuable metal.
Add to all this, that the designs were invented by men of genius, and executed by a decree of senate.
It is therefore proposed,
I. That the English farthings and halfpence be recoined upon the union of the two nations.
II. That they bear devices and inscriptions alluding to all the most remarkable parts of her Majesty's reign.
III. That there be a society established for the finding out of proper subjects, inscriptions, and devices.
IV. That no subject, inscription, or device be stamped without the approbation of this society, nor, if it be thought proper, without the authority of privycouncil.
By this means, medals, that are, at present, only a dead treasure or meer curiosities, will be of use in the ordinary commerce of life, and, at the same time perpetuate the glories of her Majesty's reign, reward the labours of her greatest subjects, keep alive in the peo
a gratitude for public services, and excite the emulation of posterity. To these generous purposes, nothing can so much contribute as medals of this kind, which are of undoubted authority, of necessary use and observation, not perishable by time, nor confined to any certain place; properties not to be found in books, statues, pictures, buildings, or any other monuments of illustrious actions.
No. 97. THURSDAY, JULY 2.
-Furor est post omnia perdere nuulum. Juv.
I WAS left a thousand pounds by an uncle, and being a man, to my thinking, very likely to get a rich widow, I laid aside all thoughts of making my fortune any other way, and without loss of time made my application to one who had buried her husband about a week before. By the help of some of her she friends, who were my relations, I got into her company when she would see no man besides myself and her lawyer, who is a little, rivelled, spindle-shanked gentleman, and married to boot, so that I had no reason to fear