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suffering the least disorder or confusion by it! What a glorious show are those beings entertained with, that can look into this great theatre of nature, and see myriads of such tremendous objects wandering through those immeasurable depths of ether, and running their appointed courses! Our eyes may, hereafter, be strong enough to command this magnificent prospect, and our understandings able to find out the several uses of these great parts of the universe. In the mean time, they are very proper objects for our imaginations to contemplate, that we may form more exalted notions of infinite wisdom and power, and learn to think humbly of ourselves, and of all the little works of human invention.
No. 104. FRIDAY, JULY 10.
Quæ è longinquo magis placent. Tacit. On Tuesday last I published two letters written by a gentleman in his travels. As they were applauded by my best readers, I shall this day publish two more from the same hand. The first of them contains a matter of fact which is very curious, and may deserve the attention of those who are versed in our British antiquities. SIR,
Blois, May 15, N. S. Because I am at present out of the road of news, I shall send you a story that was lately given me by a gentleman of this country, who is descended from one of the persons concerned in the relation, and very inquisitive to know if there be any of the family now in England.
“I shall only premise to it, that this story is preserved with great care among the writings of this gentleman's family, and that it has been given to two or three of our English nobility, when they were in these parts, who could not return any satisfactory answer to the gentleman, whether there be
any of that family now remaining in Great Britain. “In the reign of King John, there lived a nobleman called John de Sigonia, lord of that place in Tourraine. His brothers were Philip and Briant. Briant, when very young, was made one of the French king's pages, and served him in that quality when he was taken prisoner by the English.
The king of England chanced to see the youth, and being much pleased with his person and behaviour, begged him of the king his prisoner. It happened, some years after this, that John, the other brother, who in the course of the war had raised himself to a considerable post in the French army, was taken prisoner by Briant, who, at that time, was an officer in the king of England's guards. Briant knew nothing of his brother, and being naturally of an haughty temper, treated him very insolently, and more like a criminal than a prisoner of war. This John resented so highly, that he challenged him to a single combat. The challenge was
. accepted, and time and place assigned by the king's appointment. Both appeared on the day prefixed, and entered the lists completely armed, amidst a great multitude of spectators. Their first encounters were very furious, and the success equal on both sides ; till, afte some toil and bloodshed, they were parted by the seconds, to fetch breath, and prepare themselves afresh for the combat. Briant, in the mean time, had cast his eye upon his brother's escutcheon, which he saw agree in all points with his own. I need not tell you, after this, with what joy and surprise the story ends. King Edward, who knew all the particulars of it, as a mark of his esteem, gave to each of them, by the king of France's consent, the following coat of arms, which I will send you in the original language, not being herald enough to blazon it in English.
Le Roi d'Angleterre, par permission du Roi de France, pour perpétuelle memoire de leurs grands faits d'armes et fidelité envers leurs rois, leur donna par ampliation à leurs armes en une croix d'argent cantonée de quatre coquilles d'or en champ de sable, qu'ils avoient auparavant, une endenteleuse faite en façons de croix de guëulle inserée au dedans de la ditte croix d'argent et par le milieu d'icelle qui est participation des deux croix que portent les dits rois en la guerre.
“I am afraid, by this time, you begin to wonder that I should send you, for news, a tale of three or four hundred years old; and I dare say never thought, when you
desired me to write to you, that I should trouble you with a story of King John, especially at the time when there is a monarch on the French throne that furnishes discourse for Europe. But I confess I am the more fond of the relation, because it
brings to mind the noble exploits of our own countrymen : though, at the same time, I must own it is not so much the vanity of an Englishman which puts me upon writing it, as that I have of taking any occasion to subscribe myself,
“Sir, yours," &c.
Blois, May 20, N. S. I am extremely obliged to you for your last kind letter, which was the only English that had been spoken to me in some months together, for I am at present forced to think the absence of my countrymen my good fortune:
Votum in amante novum! vellem quod amatur abesset. This is an advantage that I could not have hoped for, had I stayed near the French court, though I must confess I would not but have seen it, because I believe it showed me some of the finest places and of the greatest persons in the world. One cannot hear a name mentioned in it that does not bring to mind a piece of a gazette, nor see a man that has not signalized himself in a "battle. One would fancy one's self to be in the enchanted palaces of a romance; one meets with so many heroes, and finds something so like scenes of magic in the gardens, statues, and water-works. I am ashamed that I am not able to make a quicker progress through the French tongue, because I believe it is impossible for a learner of a language to find in any nation such advantages as in this, where everybody is so very courteous and so very talkative. They always take care to make a noise as long as they are in company, and are as loud, any hour of the morning, as our own countrymen at midnight. By what I have seen, there is more mirth in the French conversation, and more wit in the English. You abound more in jests, but they in laughter. Their language is, indeed, extremely proper to tattle in, it is made up of so much repetition and compliment. One may know a foreigner_by his answering only No or Yes to a question, which a Frenchman generally makes a sentence of. They have a set of ceremonious phrases that run through all ranks and degrees among them. Nothing is more common than to hear a shopkeeper desiring his neighbour to have the goodness to tell him what is o'clock, or a couple of cobblers that are extremely glad of the honour of seeing one another.
“ The face of the whole country, where I now am, is at this season pleasant beyond imagination. I cannot but fancy the birds of this place, as well as the men, a great deal merrier than those of our own nation. I am sure the French year has got the start of ours more in the works of nature than in the new style. I have past one March in my life without being ruffled by the winds, and one April without being washed with rains. “I am, sir, yours," &c.
No. 105. SATURDAY, JULY 11.
Quod neque in Armeniis tigres fecere latebris :
Perdere nec fætus ausa leæna suos.
Sæpe suos utero quæ necat, ipsa perit. Ovid. THERE was no part of the show on the Thanksgiving-day that so much pleased and affected me as the little boys and girls who were ranged with so much order and decency in that part of the Strand which reaches from the May-pole to Exeter Change. Such a numerous and innocent multitude, clothed in the charity of their benefactors, was a spectacle pleasing both to God and man, and a more beautiful expression of joy and thanksgiving than could have been exhibited by all the pomps of a Roman triumph. Never did a more full and unspotted chorus of human creatures join together in a hymn of devotion. The care and tenderness which appeared in the looks of their several instructors, who were disposed among this little helpless people, could not forbearl touching every heart that had any sentiments of humanity.
I am very sorry that her Majesty did not see this assembly of objects so proper to excite that charity and compassion which she bears to all who stand in need of it, though at the same time I question not but her royal bounty will extend itself to them. A charity bestowed on the education of so many of her young subjects has more merit in it than a thousand pensions to those of a higher fortune who are in greater stations in life.
1 We do not say of an abstract idea, that it forbears. It should be --could not but touch-or,-could not fail of touching.
I have always looked on this institution of charity-schools, which, of late years, has so universally prevailed through the whole nation, as the glory of the age we live in, and the most proper means that can be made use of to recover it out of its present degeneracy and depravation of manners. It seems to promise us an honest and virtuous posterity: there will be few in the next generation who will not at least be able to write and read, and have not had the early tincture of religion. It is therefore to be hoped that the several persons of wealth and quality, who made their procession through the members of these new-erected seminaries, will not regard them only as an empty spectacle, or the materials of a fine show, but contribute to their maintenance and in
For my part, I can scarce forbear looking on the astonishing victories our arms have been crowned with, to be in some measure the blessings returned upon that national charity which has been so conspicuous of late, and that the great successes of the last war, for which we lately offered up our thanks, were in some measure occasioned by the several objects which then stood before us.
Since I am upon this subject, I shall mention a piece of charity which has not been yet exerted among us, and which deserves our attention the more, because it is practised by most of the nations about us. I mean a provision for foundlings, or for those children who, through want of such a provision, are exposed to the barbarity of cruel and unnatural parents. One does not know how to speak on such a subject without horror: but what multitudes of infants have been made away with by those who brought them into the world, and were afterwards either ashamed or unable to provide for them !
There is scarce an assizes where some unhappy wretch is not executed for the murder of a child. And how many more of these monsters of inhumanity may we suppose to be wholly undiscovered, or cleared for want of legal evidence ? not to mention those who, by unnatural practices, do in some measure defeat the intentions of Providence, and destroy their conceptions even before they see the light. In all these the guilt is equal, though the punishment is not so. But to pass by the greatness of the crime, (which is not to be expressed by words,) if we only consider it as it robs the commonwealth of its full number of citizens, it certainly de