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in his case; and let the English gentleman, who after this devotes his life to the flattery of the mob, and the English oftener-ifneed-be-er, who after this expects serious friendship or substantial aid from the Whigs, blame not the hoary Major, but their green selves, for disappointments which they might have avoided had they condescended to derive benefit from any experience but their
But these are poor and scanty gleanings, and we return with satisfaction to the rich harvest of our fifth autobiography; one so luxuriously redundant that we must here altogether reverse our process, and instead of painfully eliciting two or three vapid enough edibles from amidst a whole valley of dry leaves, do our endea vour to select, from an overflowing cornucopia, such a handful of specimens as may inspire something like a proper notion of the wealth of the moral Pomona of Fleet-market.
Of the great and leading maxims, then, of Mr. Joseph Brasbridge, the following appear to be among the most valuable in themselves, and to have therefore received the author's most anxious enforcement and illustration: namely,
I. Keep your shop, and your shop will keep you;' he also gives this golden saying, and we give it after him, in the edition of the late Mr. Goodwin of St. Paul's Church-yard, woollen draper, whose constant salutation when he first came down stairs in the morning was, "Good morrow, Mr. Shop; you'll take care of me, Mr. Shop, and I'll take care of you, Mr. Shop."' (p. 47.) And he illustrates his dictum in two several ways: first, by enumerating a vast number of instances of successful adherence to the counter; and then by a fair, a manly, and, we may indeed say, a magnanimous history of the seductions which led himself to neglect his shop in the early part of his life-and the consequences of the said neglect; viz., first, bankruptcy, or the shutting of his shop; and, secondly, after obtaining a discharge, the affliction of witnessing, from a smaller tenement over the way, the prosperity of a man of no genius, and of the name of Smith, who had got possession of the old premises, and most jesuitically,' as this sound Protestant silversmith observes, painted Smith, late Brasbridge,' over the door, in such a manner, that while the Smith and the late were scarcely discernible amidst the wilful obscurities of German text and writing-master flourishes, the eye of the spoon-buying passenger was at once caught and detained by the large and stately Roman capitals of the BRASBRIDGE.
II. Advertise frequently, particularly in the St. James's Chronicle, which is read by all the clergy, from the humblest curate up to the Archbishop of Canterbury' (p. 50); but do not, if you be a young silversmith, trust to your own skill in drawing up the advertisements;
vertisements; take care, on the contrary, to "secure the regular assistance," in this department, of some "elegant writer" or "admired preacher;"' (p. 51.) and above all, avoid gross exaggeration.
"As to pretending to supply goods of equal quality ten per cent. cheaper than any other house will do, or to plate with a solidity equal to silver itself, when all the world knows that there never was any plating used of the thickness of gold-beater's skin, it carries such falsehood on the face of it, as would effectually set me on my guard against any person who might promulgate it; for I have made one observation throughout life, which has never deceived me, and that is, that he who will tell one lie will tell a thousand, whenever interest or inclination may tempt him so to do.'-Fruits of Experience, p. 52.
It is too true, adds our candid author, that I once man who made his fortune by advertising a strop that was capable alike of taking a notch out of a scythe, and giving an edge to the finest razor;' but, for the general rule, here, as elsewhere, honesty, or something like honesty, is the best policy.
III. If you discover that your apprentice has a fine voice, turn him off instantly. This is a sweeping law; but we must say the case of Mr. William Ashforth and his most sweet breast' is a strong one. I took care,' says Mr. Brasbridge, to give him good advice respecting that dangerous though social gift, exhorting him, above all, to confine his display of it to domestic circles
"There," said I to him, you may make it the instrument not only of gratification to your friends, but also of advancement to yourself. A young man who can sing as you do may marry any woman he wishes for.'
(This is even stronger than Swift's
'A blockhead of melodious voice
In boarding-schools may take his choice.")
'You may court her in the presence of all her family, for none of them will interrupt your song, and you may always make choice of one applicable to your own feelings. You can sing to her in the evening, whisper to her in the morning, and in a month you may take her to church, and your fortune is made. But if you mingle with gay associates, they will only get into your debt, when you go into business for yourself, and bring you into poverty and disgrace." He often thanked me for my admonitions, but they proved of little avail in influencing his conduct. His expenses gradually increased; he slept at his father's I had, therefore, no control over him after the business of the day was ended; and I found afterwards that his Sunday dinners at the Crown and Anchor tavern cost him a guinea a time. twenty shillings in one evening, for old hock. He subscribed to many different assemblies; kept an expensive lady, and a fine horse; had his
letters addressed, as well became so fashionable a gentleman, "William Ashforth, Esq." and gave his copper-plate card, "98, Fleet-street"! All this time he had the complete run of my house; my confidence was unlimited, and he had the entire care of the cash'.--pp. 75, 76.
The result may be guessed.
IV. If you are burdened with a large family, send out two or three sons to India as cadets, or, better still, civil servants (p. 7). True, replies the admonished silversmith; but how shall I get them their appointments? I have no interest either with Mr. Wynn, or Mr. Astell. Be of good cheer, rejoins Mr. Brasbridge, and listen to the story of Mr. Jones, a Leicestershire gentleman, long resident in the immediate neighbourhood of Highflyer Hall, the seat of my old friend Mr. Tattersall, grandfather of the present well-known and highly-respectable gentleman of that name.' (p. 4.) This story will give a fair notion of Mr. B.'s narrative style :
This same Mr. Jones came up to London with a son for whom he wished to provide, and who was himself bent on going out to India. They put up at the Black Bull Inn, in Bishopsgate-street. The next morning, Mr. Jones walked into Leadenhall-street, and seeing a throng of carriages, was tempted to inquire by what power of attraction they were all drawn together in that point. He was informed that a meeting of directors was held that day at the India House; on hearing which, he returned to his inn, and wrote the following letter to the honourable Board:"Gentlemen,-I have a parcel of fine boys, but not much cash to provide for them. I had intended my eldest son for the church, but I find he is more likely to kick a church down than support it. I sent him to the university, but he could not submit himself to the college rules; and, on being reproved by his tutors, he took it up in the light of an affair of honour, and threatened to call them to account for it. All my plans for his welfare being thus disconcerted, I asked him if he had formed any for himself; he replied, he meant to go to India. I then inquired if he had any interest; at which question he looked somewhat foolish, and replied in the negative. Now, gentlemen, I know no more of you than you do of me. I therefore may appear to you not much wiser than my son. I can only say that he is of Welsh extraction for many generations, and, as my first-born, I flatter myself, has not degenerated. He is six feet high, of an athletic make, and bold and intrepid as a lion. If you like to see him, I will equip him as a gentleman, and, I am, Gentlemen," &c. This letter did more for the young man than any studied epistle would have done: it created a sudden and simultaneous feeling among the Directors, under the influence of which he was sent out by them as a cadet. I called, since the second edition of these Memoirs went to press, on General Sir Sackville Brown, in Gloucesterplace. He received me with his usual kindness, and thanked me for the pleasure I had given both him and his daughter, Mrs. Dyer, a most
beautiful and engaging woman, by my book. “I have reason," said he," to remember Mr. Jones's Letter to the East India Directors which you mention; for if, &c. &c." —Fruits of Experience, p. 7—10. V. Never omit an opportunity of doing a good turn; it will always pay in the long run.'-This Mr. Brasbridge illustrates by many cogent instances. He once found a gentleman at the door of the pit at Covent-Garden in a sad quandary, just rifled by a pick pocket in the crowd, and destitute of the three shillings necessary for his admission. The silversmith, perceiving that the person really was a gentleman, forced a loan of three shillings on him: the result a visit in Fleet-street next day, repayment of the three shillings, and an order for a very handsome tea-pot. Another time, a gentleman, whom he had never seen before, comes into Mr. Brasbridge's shop for a pair of pinchbeck sleeve-buttons; our author had given up selling pinchbeck sleeve-buttons, but had one pair by accident remaining, and of this he insisted the gentleman should accept, as a present: result—an order for a fish-knife. The excellent policy of universal benevolence is further enforced by the example of a surgical friend of the autobiographer, who restored a hanged man to life. The resuscitated individual afterwards realized a handsome fortune in the United States of America; and when he died in good earnest, bequeathed the whole of it to the doctor. This is a striking picture; but Mr. Brasbridge is in all cases candid, and he fairly acknowledges that his own experience furnishes a pendant of darker colouring. Another doctor of his acquaintance, after having revived another gentleman from Tyburn, gave him a dinner, a shilling, and an old suit of clothes, and thought he had got rid of him; but he was mistaken. The hanged man haunted him for many years after, knocked periodically at his door, was unwearied in the composition of twopenny-post letters, &c. &c., until the poor doctor was obliged to have him summoned to Bow-street; where the fellow (who seems to have been in more senses than one a dangler of the law) had the coolness to say, that the surgeon had got his body for the purpose, not of revivification, but of dissection; and that, having chosen to force life upon a person who had fairly and legitimately got rid of that burden, it was obvious he stood quasi in loco parentis, and ought, on every principle of equity, to be compelled to aliment him. This is a nice case for the casuists; but Mr. Brasbridge, not being himself a casuist, nor, what is perhaps more to the point, a surgeon, gives his voice potential in favour, upon the whole, of resurrection.
VI. Honour the King.'-This is a precept to which Mr. Brasbridge is never weary of recurring. He has a rooted hatred for the names of Wilkes, Buonaparte, and Waithman, and has filled many serious, perhaps rather too serious, pages with his vituperation of VOL. XXXV. NO, LXIX, them
them all. He may be forgiven, living all his days in Fleet-street, for having considerably exaggerated the importance of one of the three; and now that the other two are dead and buried, he might perhaps have done well to let them slumber in peace. But these
are minor matters.
We quote the following from his chapter on the king's going to St. Paul's to give thanks for his recovery. One,' justly says Mr. Brasbridge, of the proudest days of MY LIFE.'
'Great credit was due to the late Alderman Hammerton on this occasion: he caused the streets to be strewn with gravel at his own expense; and a very appropriate compliment it was from a paviour, who had literally paved a great part of them with his own hands; another example to my young readers of the opulence and consequence which even the humblest occupations may arrive at by industry and frugality. He likewise acquitted himself with much propriety on meeting the king; as did also his brother aldermen, who, with the precaution of a marshalman on each side of them, sat their horses with surprising security, and dismounted, or, as some better skilled in equestrian exercises termed it, rolled off, with proper respect, in the right nick of time; though they most likely felt somewhat more at home when they were safely seated in Guildhall, with their napkins under their chins, and the grace just beginning. On this glorious day my house was filled from the shop to the attics, and even the tiling was covered. I had a pipe of wine for the occasion, and six gallons of cherrybounce for the outside visiters; with store of hams, fillets of veal, and rounds of beef, and eighteen quartern loaves for sandwiches; whilst of tea, coffee, chocolate, and Leman's biscuits, I do not suppose any coffeehouse in London on that day dispatched a greater proportion. The whole front of my house was fitted up like a theatre, tier above tier, each graced with no inconsiderable share of beauty and elegance; but my chiefest ornament was Mrs. Aylmer, the wife of a captain in the royal navy; whose perfect beauty of features and graceful symmetry of form attracted the notice of our present beloved monarch, at that time Prince of Wales; as he looked up to the windows, and gazed on her with all the admiration which not his bitterest enemies could ever accuse him of withholding from the fair sex. Among my invited guests were Mrs. Evans and her daughter. I did not invite Mr. Evans, because I did not wish any one to be of the party but such as I knew would really rejoice.. Mr. Evans, however, took it in dudgeon that he was left out, and would not suffer his wife or daughter to come; by which means I saved two places. Evans was a good-natured little fellow; but his head was turned with the reforming mania.'-Fruits of Experience, p. 221–225.
The seventh and last maxim of Brasbridge is as follows:
The parish church, according to my old-fashioned notions, is the fittest place for every person to be found in on a Sunday; for as to running about from one place of worship to another, without a right