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person of a contrary party, who is willing to get into one.'

· Whereas A. B. next door to the Pestle and Mortar, being about thirty years old, of a spare make, with dark-coloured hair, bright eye, and a long nose, has occasion for a goodhumoured, tall, fair, young woman, of about 30001. fortune; these are to give notice, that if any such young woman has a mind to dispose of herself in marriage to such a person as the above-mentioned, she may be provided with a husband, a coach and horses, and proportionable settlement.'

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Francis.

With conscions prideAssume the honours justly thine. From my own Apartment, September 25. THE whole creation preys upon itself. Every living creature is inhabited. A flea has a thousand invisible insects that teaze him as he jumps from place to place, and revenge our quarrels upon him. A very ordinary microscope shows us, that a louse is itself a very lousy creature. A whale, besides those seas and oceans in the several vessels of his body, which are filled with innumerable shoals of little animals, carries about him a whole world of inhabitants; insomuch that, if we believe the calculations some have made, there are more living creatures, which are too small for the naked eye to behold, about the leviathan, than there are of visible creatures upon the face of the whole earth. Thus every nobler creature is, as it were, the basis and support of multitudes that are his inferiors.

This consideration very much comforts me, when I think on those numberless vermin that feed upon this paper, and find their sustenance out of it; I mean the small wits and scribblers, that every day turn a penny by nibbling at my lucubrations. This has been so advantageous to this little species of writers, that, if they do me justice, I may expect to have my statue erected in Grub-street, as being a common benefactor to that quarter.

They say, when a fox is very much troubled with fleas, he goes into the next pool with a little lock of wool in his mouth, and keeps his body under water until the vermin get into it; after which he quits the wool, and diving, leaves his tormentors to shift for themselves, and get their livelihood where they can.

would have these gentlemen take care that I do not serve them after the same manner ; for though I have hitherto kept my temper pretty well, it is not impossible but I may some time or other disappear; and what will then become of them? Should I lay down my paper, what a famine would there be among the bawkers, printers, booksellers, and authors! It would be like Dr. Burgess's* dropping his cloak, with the whole congregation hanging upon the skirts of it. To enumerate some of these my doughty antagonists; I was threatened to be answered weekly Tit for Tat; I was undermined by the Whisperer; haunted by Tom Brown's Ghost; scolded by a Female Tatler; and slandered by another of the same character, under the title of Atalantis. I have been annotated, retattled, examined, and condoled; but it being my standing maxim never to speak ill of the dead, I shall let these authors rest in peace; and take great pleasure in thinking, that I have sometimes been the means of their getting a belly-full. When I see myself thus surrounded by such formidable enemies, I often think of the Knight of the Red Cross in Spenser's 'Den of Error,' who, after he has cut off the dragon's head, and left it wallowing in a flood of ink, sees a thousand monstrous reptiles making their attempts upon him, one with many beads, another with none, and all of them without eyes.

The same so sore annoyed has the knight, That, well nigh choked with the deadly stink, His forces fail, he can no longer fight; Whose courage when the fiend perceiv'd to shrink, She poured forth out of her hellish sink Her fruitful cursed spawn of serpents small, Deformed monsters, foul, and black as ink; Which swarming all about his legs did crawl, And him encumbred sore, but could not hurt at all.

As gentle shepherd in sweet even tide, When ruddy Phoebus gins to welk in west, High on a hill, his flock to viewen wide, Marks which do bite their hasty supper best; A cloud of cumbrous gnats do him molest All striving to infix their feeble stings, That from their noyance he no where can rest; But with his clownish hands their tender wings He brusheth oft, and oft doth mar their murmurings.

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Spenser's Fairy Queen." If ever I should want such a fry of little authors to attend me, I shall think my paper in a very decaying condition. They are like ivy about an oak, which adorns the tree at the same time that it eats into it; or like a great man's equipage, that do honour to the person on whom they feed. For my part, when I see myself thus attacked, I do not consider my antagonists as malicious, but hungry; and therefore ani resolved never to take any notice of them.

As for those who detract from my labours, without being prompted to it by an empty stomach; in return to their censures, I shall

Daniel Burgess, the doctor here alluded to, resided, it seems, in the year 1714 at the court of Hanover as secre tary and reader to the princess Sophia.

Give me leave to conclude, like an old man, and a moralist, with a fable.

take pains to excel, and never fail to persuade | house to persons of quality; are shown in myself, that their enmity is nothing but their Westminster-hall and the Court of Requests. envy or ignorance. You may see them gilt, and in royal paper of five or six hundred pages, and rated accordingly. I would engage to furnish you with a catalogue of English books, published within the compass of seven years past, which at the first hand would cost you a hundred pounds, wherein you shall not be able to find ten lines together of common grammar or common sense.

·

The owls, bats, and several other birds of night, were one day got together in a thick shade, where they abused their neighbours in a very sociable manner. Their satire at last fell upon the sun, whom they all agreed to be very troublesome, impertinent, and inquisitive. Upon which, the sun, who overheard them, spoke to them after this manner: Gentlemen, I wonder how you dare abuse one that, you know, could in an instant scorch you up, and burn every mother's son of you: but the only answer I shall give you, or the revenge I shall take of you, is, to shine on.'

These two evils, ignorance and want of taste, have produced a third; I mean the continual corruption of our English tongue, which, without some timely remedy, will suf fer more by the false refinements of twenty years past, than it hath been improved in the foregoing hundred. And this is what I design chiefly to enlarge upon, leaving the former evils to your animadversion.

No. 231.] Thursday, September 28, 1710.

From my own Apartment, September 28. THE following letter has laid before me many great and manifest evils in the world of letters, which I had overlooked; but they open to me a very busy scene, and it will require no small care and application to amend errors which are become so universal. The affectation of politeness is exposed in this epistle with a great deal of wit and discernment; so that whatever discourses I may fall into hereafter upon the subjects the writer treats of, I shall at present lay the matter before the world, without the least alteration from the words of my correspondent.

"

To Isaac Bickerstaff, Esquire.

SIR,

There are some abuses among us of great consequence, the reformation of which is properly your province; though, as far as I have been conversant in your papers, you have not yet considered them. These are, the deplorable ignorance that for some years hath reigned among our English writers, the great depravity of our taste, and the continual corruption of our style. I say nothing here of those who handle particular sciences, divinity, law, physic, and the like; I mean the traders in history, politics, and the belles lettres; together with those by whom books are not translated, but, as the common expressions are, done out of French, Latin, or other language, and made English. I cannot but observe to you, that until of late years a Grub-street book was always bound in sheep-skin, with suitable print and paper, the price never above a shilling, and taken off wholly by common tradesmen or country pedlars; but now they appear in all sizes and shapes, and in all places. They are handed about from lapfuls in every coffee.

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'But, instead of giving you a list of the late refinements crept into our language, I here send you the copy of a letter I received, some time ago, from a most accomplished person in this way of writing; upon which I shall make It is in these terms: some remarks.

"SIR,

"I cou'd n't get the things you sent for all and then I'd h' brot'um; but I ha'nt don't, about town--I thot to ha come down myself, and I believe I can't do't that's pozz-Tom † begins to gimself airs, because he's going with will bamboozl us agen, which causes many the plenipo's's-'Tis said the French king speculations. The Jacks and others of that kidney are very uppish and alert upon't, as you may see by their phizz's-Will Hazard has got the hipps, having lost to the tune of five hund'rd pound, tho' he understands play very well, no body better. He has promis't me upon rep, to leave off play; but you know 'tis a weakness he's too apt to give into, tho' he has as much wit at any man, no body more. He has lain incog ever since-The mob's very quiet with us now-I believe you that I banter'd you in my last, like a country put-I shan't leave town this month, &c."

'This letter is in every point an admirable pattern of the present polite way of writing; nor is it of less authority for being an epistle. You may gather every flower in it, with a thousand more of equal sweetness, from the books, pamphlets, and single papers offered us every day in the coffee houses: and these are the beauties introduced to supply the want of wit, sense, humour, and learning, which formerly were looked upon as qualifications for a writer. If a man of wit, who died forty

Swift, in one of his letters to Mrs. Johnson, desires to know, whether the English was a language or a tongue. + Mr. Thomas Harley is bere alluded to,

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years ago, were to rise from the grave on pur- | You might easily find them though they were
pose, how would he be able to read this letter? not in a different print, and therefore I need
and after he had got through that difficulty, not disturb them.
how would he be able to understand it? The
first thing that strikes your eye, is the breaks
at the end of almost every sentence; of which
I know not the use, only that it is a refine-
ment, and very frequently practised. Then
you will observe the abbreviations and elisions,
by which consonants of most obdurate sound
are joined together, without one softening
vowel to intervene; and all this only to make
one syllable of two, directly contrary to the
example of the Greeks and Romans, altogether
of the Gothic strain, and a natural tendency
towards relapsing into barbarity, which delights
in monosyllables, and uniting of mute conso-
nants, as it is observable in all the northern
languages. And this is still more visible in
the next refinement, which consists in pro-
nouncing the first syllable in a word that has
many, and dismissing the rest, such as phizz,
hipps, mob, pozz, rep, and many more,
when we are already overloaded with mono-
syllables, which are the disgrace of our lan-
guage. Thus we cram one syllable, and cut
off the rest, as the owl fattened her mice after
she had bit off their legs to prevent them from
running away; and if ours be the same reason
for maiming our words, it will certainly answer
the end; for I am sure no other nation will
desire to borrow them. Some words are
hitherto but fairly split, and therefore only in
their way to perfection, as incog and plenipo:
but in a short time, it is to be hoped, they will
be further docked to inc and plen. This re-
flection has made me of late years very impa-
tient for a peace, which I believe would save
the lives of many brave words, as well as men.
The war has introduced abundance of poly-
syllables, which will never be able to live
many more campaigns: speculations, opera-
tions, preliminaries, ambassadors, pallisadoes,
communication, circumvallation, battalions;
as numerous as they are, if they attack us
too frequently in our coffee-houses, we shall
certainly put them to flight, and cut off the

"These are the false refinements in our style which you ought to correct: first, by argument and fair means; but, if those fail, I think you are to make use of your authority as Censor, and by an annual Index Expurgatorius expunge all words and phrases that are offensive to good sense, and condemn those barbarous mutilations of vowels and syllables. In this last point the usual pretence is, that they spell as they speak. A noble standard for language! to depend upon the caprice of every coxcomb, who, because words are the clothing of our thoughts, cuts them out and shapes them as he pleases, and changes them ofterer than his dress. I believe all reasonable people would be content that such refiners were more sparing in their words, and liberal in their syllables: and upon this head I should be glad you would bestow some advice upon several young readers in our churches, who, coming up from the university full fraught with admiration of our town politeness, will needs correct the style of their prayer-books. In reading the Absolution, they are very careful to say pardons and absolves; and in the prayer for the royal family, it must be endue'um, enrich'um, prosper'um, and bring'um.* Then in their sermons they use all the modern terms of art, sham, banter, mob, bubble, bully, cutting, shuffling, and palming; all which, and many more of the like stamp, as I have heard them often in the pulpit from such young sophisters, so I have read them in some of " those sermons that have made most noise of late." The design, it seems, is to avoid the dreadful imputation of pedantry; to show us that they know the town, understand men and manners, and have not been poring upon old unfashionable books in the university.

rear.

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'I should be glad to see you the instrument of introducing into our style that simplicity which is the best and truest ornament of most things in life, which the politer ages always aimed at in their building and dress, simplex munditiis, as well as their productions of wit. It is manifest that all new affected modes of speech, whether borrowed from the court, the town, or the theatre, are the first perishing parts in any language; and, as I could prove by many hundred instances, have been so in ours. The writings of Hooker,+ who was a country clergyman, and of Parsons the Jesuit, both in the reign of queen Elizabeth, are in a style that, with very few allowances, would

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What remedies are to be applied to these evils I have not room to consider, having, I fear, already taken up most of your paper. Besides, I think it is our office only to represent abuses, and yours to redress them. I am, with great respect, Sir,

'Your, &c.'

No. 231.] Saturday, September 30, 1710.

not offend any present reader, and are much | far, he, with great success soothed her from more clear and intelligible than those of sir being guilty of violences, and still resolved to Harry Wooton, sir Robert Naunton, Osborn, give her such a terrible apprehension of his Daniel the historian, and several others who fiery spirit, that she should never dream of writ later; but being men of the court, and giving way to her own. He returned on the affecting the phrases then in fashion, they are day appointed for carrying her home; but, often either not to be understood, or appear instead of a coach and six horses, together with perfectly ridiculous. the gay equipage suitable to the occasion, he appeared without a servant, mounted on the skeleton of a horse, which his huntsman had, the day before, brought in to feast his dogs on the arrival of their new mistress, with a pillion fixed behind, and a case of pistols before him, attended only by a favourite hound. Thus equipped, he, in a very obliging but somewhat positive manner, desired his lady to seat herself on the cushion; which done, away they crawled. The road being obstructed by a gate, the dog was commanded to open it: the poor cur looked Principiis obsta Ovid. Rem. Amor. ver. 91. up and wagged his tail; but the master, to Prevent the growing evilR. Wynne. show the impatience of his temper, drew a pistol, and shot him dead. He had no sooner From my own Apartment, September 29. done it, but he fell into a thousand apologies THERE are very many ill habits that might for his unhappy rashness, and begged as many with much ease have been prevented, which, pardons for his excesses before one for whom after we have indulged ourselves in them, be- he had so profound a respect. Soon after, their come incorrigible. We have a sort of prover-steed stumbled, but with some difficulty rebial expression, of 'Taking a woman down in covered: however, the bridegroom took occaher wedding shoes,' if you would bring her to sion to swear, if he frightened his wife so again reason. An early behaviour of this sort had he would run him through! and alas! the poor a very remarkable good effect in a family animal being now almost tired, made a second wherein I was several years an intimate ac- trip; immediately on which the careful husband quaintance. alights, and, with great ceremony, first takes off his lady, then the accoutrements, draws his sword, and saves the huntsman the trouble of killing him: then says to his wife, Child pr'ythee take up the saddle;' which she readily did, and tugged it home, where they found all things in the greatest order, suitable to their fortune and the present occasion. Some time after, the father of the lady gave an entertainment to all his daughters and their husbands; where, when the wives were retired, and the gentlemen passing a toast about, our last married man took occasion to observe to the rest of his brethren, how much, to his great satisfaction, he found the world mistaken as to the temper of his lady, for that she was the most meek and humble woman breathing. The applause was received with a loud laugh: but, as a trial which of them would appear the most master at home, he proposed they should all by turns send for their wives down to them. A servant was despatched, and answer was made by one, tell him I will come by-and-by;' and another, 'that she would come when the cards were out of her hand;' and so on. But no sooner was her husband's desire whispered in the ear of our last married lady, but the cards were clapped on the table, and down she comes with my dear, would you speak with me?' He receives her in his arms, and, after repeated caresses, tells her the experiment, confesses his

"

A gentleman in Lincolnshire had four daughters, three of which were early married very happily; but the fourth, though no way inferior to any of her sisters, either in person or accomplishments, had, from her infancy, discovered so imperious a temper, usually called a high spirit, that it continually made great uneasiness in the family, became her known character in the neighbourhood, and deterred all her lovers from declaring themselves. However, in process of time, a gentleman of a plentiful fortune and long acquaintance, having | observed that quickness of spirit to be her only fault, made his addresses, and, obtained her consent in due form. The lawyers finished the writings, in which, by the way, there was no pin-money; and they were married. After a decent time spent in the father's house, the bridegroom went to prepare his seat for her reception. During the whole course of his courtship, though a man of the most equal temper, he had artificially lamented to her, that he was the most passionate creature breathing. By this one intimation, he at once made her understand warmth of temper to be what he ought to pardon in her, as well as that he alarmed her against that constitution in himself. She at the same time thought herself highly obliged by the composed behaviour which he maintained in her presence. Thus

good nature, and assures her, that since she could now command her temper, he would no longer disguise his own.

6

I received the following letter with a dozen of wine, and cannot but do justice to the liquor, and give my testimony, That I have tried it upon several of my acquaintance, who were given to Impertinent abbreviations, with great success.'

MR. BICKERSTAFF,

'I send you by this bearer, and not per bearer, a dozen of that claret which is to be sold at Garraway's coffee-house, on Thursday the fifth day of October next. I can assure you I have found by experience the efficacy of it, in amending a fault you complain of in your last. The very first draught of it has some effect upon the speech of the drinker, and restores all the letters taken away by the elisions so justly complained of. Will Hazard was cured of his hypocondria by three glasses; and the gentleman who gave you an account of his late indisposition, has, in public company, after the first quart, spoke every syllable of the word plenipotentiary. 'Your's, &c.'

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No. 232.] Tuesday, October 3, 1710.

From my own Apartment, October 2. I HAVE received the following letter from my unfortunate old acquaintance the upholsterer, who, I observed, had long absented himself from the bench at the upper end of the Mall. Having not seen him for some time, I was in fear I should soon hear of his death; especially since he never appeared, though the noons have been of late pretty warm, and the councils at that place very full from the hour of twelve to three, which the sages of that board employ in conference, while the unthinking part of mankind are eating and drinking for the support of their own private persons, without any regard to the public.

'SIR,

'I should have waited on you very frequently to have discoursed you upon some matters of moment, but that I love to be well informed in the subject upon which I consult my friends, before I enter into debate with them. I have, therefore, with the utmost care and pains, applied myself to the reading all the writings and pamphlets which have come out since the trial, and have studied night and day in order to be master of the whole controversy: but the authors are so numerous, and the state of affairs alters so very fast, that I am now a fortnight behind-hand in my reading, and know only how things stood twelve days ago. I wish you would enter into those useful subjects; for, if I may be allowed to say so, these are not times to jest in. As for my own part, you know very well that I am of a public spirit, and never regarded my own interest, but looked further; and let

me tell you, that while some people are minding only themselves and families, and others are thinking only of their own country, things go on strangely in the north. I foresee very actions at a distance; for which reason I am great evils arising from the neglect of transnow writing a letter to a friend in the country, which I design as an answer to the czar of Muscovy's letter to the grand seignior concerning his majesty of Sweden. I have endeavoured to prove, that it is not reasonable to expect that his Swedish majesty should leave Bender without forty thousand men; and I have added to this an apology for the Cossacks. But the matter multiplies upon me, and I grow dim with much writing; therefore desire, if you have an old green pair of spectacles, such as you used about your fiftieth year, that you would send them to me; as also that you would please to desire Mr. Morphew to send me in a bushel of coals on the credit of my answer to his czarian majesty; for I design it shall be printed for Morphew, and the weather grows sharp. I shall take it kindly if you would order him also to send me the papers as they come out. If there are no fresh pamphlets published, I compute that I shall know before the end of next month what has been done in town to this day. If it were not for an ill custom lately introduced by a certain author, of talking Latin at the beginning of papers, matters would be in a much clearer light than they are: but, to our comfort, there are solid writers who are not guilty of this pedantry. The Postman writes like an angel. The Moderator is fine reading. It would do you no harm to read the Postboy with attention; he is very deep of late. He is instructive; but I confess a little satirical: a sharp pen! he cares not what he says. The Examiner is admirable, and is become a grave and substantial author. But, above all, I am at a loss how to govern myself in my judgment of those whose whole writings consist in interrogatories and then the way of answering, by proposing questions as hard to them, is quite as extraordinary. As for my part, I tremble at these novelties; we expose, in my opinion, our affairs too much by it. You may be sure the French king will spare no cost to come at the reading of them. I dread to think if the fable of the blackbirds should fall into his hands. But I shall not venture to say more until I see 'I am, &c. you. In the mean time, 'P. S. I take the Bender letter in the Examiner to be spurious.'

:

This unhappy correspondent, whose fantastical loyalty to the king of Sweden has reduced him to this low condition of reason and fortune, would appear much more monstrous in his madness, did we not see crowds very little above his circumstances from the same cause,-a passion to politics.

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