The characters and conduct of Sir John Edgar: and his three deputy-governours. During the adminstration of the late separate ministry. In a third and fourth letter to the Knight. With a picture of Sir John, drawn by a pen, exactly after the life.
THE CHARACTERS AND CONDUCT OF Sir John Edgar, AND HIS Three Deputy-Governours. During the Adminiſtration of the late SEPARATE MINISTRY. In a Third and Fourth Letter to the KNIGHT. WITH A Picture of Sir JOHN, Drawn by a Pen, exactly after the Life.
ADreſſes of this nature are but too often Petitions for Favours to come. But the Intention of this is to return thanks to your Grace for the Favour you did me the Honour to confer upon me in November laſt. Your Grace, perhaps, may inclin'd to believe, that my Acknowledgment comes ſomewhat of the [Page ii] lateſt. I therefore being concern'd to vindicate the Reputation of my Gratitude, take the Liberty to aſſure your Grace, that I knew nothing certainly of the Favour, which by your Order was conferr'd upon me in November laſt, till within this Fortnight. And as I had heard nothing certain of it, till ſo long after your Grace had commanded it; for that very Reaſon, I had believ'd nothing of it, when I did hear of it, if a Gentleman of undoubted Honour had not aſſur'd me, that he was preſent, when you were pleas'd to give Directions about it. As I knew nothing of it till within this Fortnight, ſo all I know of it now, is the aſſurance which that Gentleman has given me that your Grace has ordered it. For, tho, depending upon that Gentleman's Honour and his Integrity, I have endeavour'd to have Evidence of Senſe in the Caſe, as much as I could endeavour it with any manner of Decency, and without ſubjecting my ſelf [Page iii] to be treated, in my Meſſengers, with repeated and intolerable Inſolence, by that Servant who receiv'd your Grace's Command, to convey your Favour to me, I have found to my infinite Surprize, that, at the very time that I have been, labouring to unmask and expoſe an Hypocritical, Wretch, who has had the Impudence and the Ingratitude publickly to affront your Grace, as far, as Animals of his Species can affront you; at that very time one of your own Domeſtick Servants, your errant Creature, who ſubſiſts entirely by your Bounty, has been diligent and induſtrious, in giving me all the Diſappointment, and all the Diſturbance, that, it has been in his, Power to give me; and conſequently all the Diverſion that he could poſſibly give me in favour of your Grace's declar'd and mortal Enemy.
But as your Grace's conferring this Favour conſiſted in your ordering it to [Page iv] be done, and not in my receiving it, I am obliged to return you my humble Thanks for it, as much as if I were in actual Poſſeſſion of it.
I am Very ſorry that upon Addreſſing my ſelf twice to your Grace after this manner, I have been oblig'd each time, to make a Complaint to you. But I cannot abſolutely deſpair of your Pardon for it, when I conſider that your Grace's Honour has been more concern'd in each Complaint than any Inrereſt of mine. Since I made the firſt Complaint to you, I have had the Satisfaction to ſee, that your Grace has retriev'd the Juriſdiction over our Theatres, which is annex'd to your Office, as Lord Chamberlain of his Majeſty's Houſhold; and have had the Pleaſure to hear that you have mortify'd four Inſolent Wretches, who had dar'd to uſurp it from you.
[Page v] As for the Complaint which I lay before you at preſent, I muſt leave it to be determin'd by your Grace's Wiſdom and Juſtice, whether the Inſolence of the late Separate Miniſtry, whether the Inſolence of Sir John Edgar himſelf, was ever ſo flagrant or ſo inſupportable, as that of your Domeſtick and Menial Servant, who has preſum'd to abuſe your Grace's Service in the moſt Injurious Manner; to treat a Perſon inſolently, whom you had treated favourably; to intercept and retain your Favour, and betray the Truſt repos'd in him, and to controul you in your very Domain; where becauſe you are moſt independent, you ought to be moſt uncontroulable.
My Lord, if your Grace ſhould be in the leaſt ſurpriz'd at the uncommon Method of conveying this Complaint to you, I am inclin'd to believe that you will have the Goodneſs to [Page vi] conſider, that the ſubject Matter of it is a great deal more ſtrange and more extraordinary, than the manner of conveying it to you. For I appeal to all thoſe Perſons of Condition, who have been us'd to receive Addreſſes of this nature, if they ever knew, or ever heard of any thing like it, in any of their Servants before.
Beſides, I had a great deal of Reaſon to believe, that I had no other way of approaching your Grace. For he who has had the Aſſurance for four Months together, to intercept and retain your Grace's Favour, would certainly have ventur'd to intercept any Letter that ſhould have come from me, or to hinder my having any perſonal Acceſs to you. But I believe he dare hardly do that by the little Book to which this is prefix'd, and which I have here the Honour to ſend you. If his Preſumption ſhould extend ſo far, my Comfort is, that your [Page vii] Grace will hear of the Contents of this Epiſtle from a Hundred of your Humble Servants.
I am, My Lord, Your Grace's moſt obedient, and moſt humble Servant,
My Dear KNIGHT,
SINCE I perceive that there is like to be a long Commerce of Paper Civilities between us two, I think we could not do better, for the making the Correſpondence perfectly eaſie to us both, than to continue, as we have begun, to throw off all manner of Ceremony, and to treat each other with that Familiarity, which is ſo becoming our long and old Acquaintance. This is then one branch of the Cartel eſtabliſh'd between us, that thou ſhould'ſt ſeem not to remember that the King has made me a Gentleman, and that I ſhould not fail to forget that he ever made thee a Knight. So that for the future I ſhall be downright What d'ye call with thee; and thou my dear Knight ſhalt be plain Jack Edgar with me. In which branch of the Cartel, thou haſt by much the Advantage of me. For my diminutive Honour was eſtabliſhd by no leſs than two Patents, the one granted by the late Queen, and the other by His [Page 2] preſent Majeſty; whereas thine was conferr'd only by a tranſitory Blow given upon Shoulder-blade; which when ſome jeering malicious Perſons heard of, they ſaid, they rejoyc'd that Honour was got ſo near as within a Foot of thy Pericranium.
But now to enter upon buſineſs; how agreeably was I ſurpriz'd with that notable Diſtinction in the beginning of thy eleventh Paper, which makes thy Apology for thy going by an Alias. And that is, that when a Man goes by an alias, in order to commit a Robbery, or a Murther, or lye, with his Neighbour's Wife, why that is not ſo well: But when an old Soldier of the Queen takes up a nom-de-guerre, only for the promotion of Virtue; why that is a laudable Action. Now here cannot I forbear for my Life uſing the ſame expreſſion to you, which was formerly us'd to another old* Soldier. Dî voſtram Fidem! Quanti eſt ſapere! Nunquam accedo, Quin abs te abeam Doctior. For my part, I have all along been weak enough to believe, that to go by an alias is a manifeſt Cheat, and that every Impoſtor means Intereſt and not Virtue. But this notable Diſtinction has almoſt convinced me, that if the writer of a Libel puts but a ſham Name to it, he has a Diſpenſation by that alias to injure, ſlander, and threaten all that is Powerful and Noble in Great Britain. But that if any one pretends to write ev'n a juſt Satire, upon the vileſt Poetaſter or Politicaſter, between Dover and the Orcades without putting any Name at all to it; why the Action is abominable, it cries aloud for the extremeſt Vengeance, and deſerves Death without [Page 3] Mercy. But, honeſt Jack Edgar, I have one ſcruple in my Head. Boileau was certainly a Man of true Judgment, of nice Honour and a very juſt and admirable Satiriſt. His Cenſures were always juſt, and ſo were his Praiſes, if you except a very few addreſt to his Great Monarch. Merit and Virtue were always Sacred to him, and Vice and Folly the objects of his Scorn and Hatred. Now when he publiſh'd a Book of Satires, which were chiefly levell'd at the Edgars and Ironſides, who flouriſh'd then at Paris, that is, at a number of Coxcombs who dar'd to appear upon Parnaſſus, without any lawful Summons thither, or in plain Engliſh, without either Genius or Judgment, you know very well, Jack Edgar, that he put no name to his Book.
The violence and virulence of the contending Parties in England, have, I am afraid, been one great cauſe, why we have had no juſt Satire in England, ſince the Author of Hudibras publiſh'd his, which ſeems to me, to be a very juſt one on Hypocriſy. But you are not to be told, that the Author of it put no Name to it. We have ſince had Libels which have paſs'd for Satires, as Abſalom and Achitophel, the Medal, Mac Fleckno, and the Diſpenſary. They are indeed, if you pleaſe, beautiful Libels, but they are every where full of Flattery or Slander, and a juſt Satire admits of neither. In the two firſt, how many were abus'd only for being true to the Religion and Liberties of their Country? And on the other ſide, ſome were extoll'd only for being falſe to both. The attempt to leſſen Shadwell in Mackflecno, is every whit as unworthy of Satire. For Shadwell pretended to no Species of Poetry but the Comick, in which he was certainly very much ſuperiour to Dryden; as the latter acknowledges [Page 4] by a very fair implication in his Preface to the State of Innocence, which was writ before the Quarrel between them began. The buſineſs of Sir Samuel Garth in his Diſpenſary was to expoſe much better Physicians than himſelf, for no other reaſon but becauſe they were not of his Opinion in the affair of the Diſpenſary. Now tho' theſe were Libels, and very injurious, yet the Authors juſtly thought it more creditable to ſuffer them to be publiſh'd without any Name rather than to make uſe of falſe ones.
I am heartily glad, my dear Friend, that I have pleas'd thee ſo, by ſaying that thou haſt done more harm to the Stage, than any hundred Men in all England. For ſay'ſt thou, the World is ſo Wicked, that tis hardly a Diſparagement to be great ev'n in Ill. But I am afraid, honeſt Jack, thou miſtakeſt me. For when I accus'd thee of doing this harm to the Stage, I did not affirm, that thou didſt it altogether through a ſiniſter Deſign, or a wicked Motive of Intereſt; but that there was always a mixture with the other two, of want of Knowledge and Judgment. And tho' it may be reputable in this wicked World to be great in Ill, I believe it will hardly ever be creditable to be great in Folly. I do not ſay, but that there may be a very wiſe Man, who may know nothing of Theatrical matters. But then this Perſon who does not know them, muſt not pretend to know them, nor to dictate to the World in an affair which he does not at all underſtand. For there is a wiſe and a knowing Ignorance, an Ignorance that reflects upon its ſelf, and reſtrains him who has it from expoſing or hurting himſelf or others, by undertaking things which he does not in the leaſt underſtand.
[Page 5] And now, my dear Friend, thou art for mounting that War Horſe a-freſh, from which I ſhew'd thee deſcending. Methinks I ſee thee upon him in all thy Accoutrements, thy cock'd Hat, thy broad Sword, thy Shoulder Belt, and thy Jack Boots, and a hugeous merry Figure thou makeſt upon him. But when thou talkeſt of planting thy ſelf behind King William the Third, againſt Lewis the Fourteenth, does not thy Memory fail thee a little? If thou meaneſt planting thy ſelf behind the Coach of King William, I have nothing to ſay againſt that. But I never heard a great deal of thy attendance on him, when he got on Horſe-back. He ſeldom held the Honour of thy Company, to expreſs my ſelf in the quaint Dialect of thy elder Brother of Brentford, either on the Boyne or the Shannon, or the Maeſe, or the Sambre. Thou hadſt that averſion for the effuſion of Chriſtian Blood, that rather than go into the Field with thy broad Sword, and thy dead doing Hand, to make piteous Slaughter of the Enemy, thou mad'ſt it thy choice to ſtay here at Home, and make wicked Jokes with thy Iriſh Gooſe Quill, upon the Funerals of thy Friends.
But here my dear Friend, thou art in a terrible fuſs about going to Law. Thou pretend'ſt to be even Mad, that thou art hinder'd from going to Law; the Law is not open to thee; thou haſt not the freedom of the Law. But, Quaere peregrinum vicinia rauca reclamat. For do not we all know that thou art up to the Ears in Law; that thou haſt been up to the Ears in Law theſe twenty Years; and wilt be up to the Ears in Law, if thou ſhouldſt live theſe hundred Years? Can we forbear laughing then, to hear thee cry out, that thou ſhouldſt be the happieſt Man in the World, [Page 6] if thou couldſt but go to Law? Ah, my dear Friend, I could name ſome certain Perſons, who if they were no more reſtrain'd from going to Law than thou art, would be happy indeed. But what is it that hinders thee from going to Law? The Gate of Madam Juſtice, like that of Hell, is open at all Hours. Free ingreſs is denyed to none that have but Money to pay their Entrance; Egreſs, I muſt confeſs, is not altogether To eaſie. What is it then that thou pretendeſt ſhould reſtrain thee from going to Law? Haſt thou not Money to pay thy Lawyers? Or art thou ſuing ſome unaccountable Debtors, who having Money to ſpare for their Liberalities and their Profuſions, have that irregular greatneſs of Soul, that they ſcorn to pay a juſt Debt till it comes to Execution; and who inſtead of diſcharging, or ſo much as owning the Obligation they have to thee, pretend to keep thee at Arms length, and bid thee open Defiance? Should that be the Caſe, I believe I can give thee wholſome Advice. Know then, that there is a certain notable Serjeant at Law, with a hard Name, who, if thou repaireſt to him, will inſtruct thee in an admirable Method of dealing with ſuch Perſons. But at the ſame time I cannot help acquainting my dear Friend, that he ought to be aſham'd to have the word Law in his Mouth, as long as he pretends to undo an Act of the Legiſlature, by an Act of the Executive Power.
We are come now from Law, by a Whirl of Imagination, to Conjurers and Hoop Petticoats. But why will you go abroad for Intelligence, which you may have at home; or go for Counſel to the Deputy, when you may be advis'd by the Principal? For does not every Mortal who reads your Papers, ſay, the Devil in Hell is in [Page 7] you? Beſides, how come you ſo earneſt to get a Patent for the Hoop, which you were ſo eager to demoliſh in your wonderful Speculations?
But, my dear Friend, thou haſt been pleas'd in this thy eleventh Paper, to return the Title of Pedant, by which I ſaluted thee in one of my former, according to thy uſual Method of giving what is thy own, to thoſe who do not in the leaſt deſerve it. Tho' I plainly perceive that thou art not quite ſo proud of this Title, as thou art of that of Knight; yet to ſhew thee that I ſaluted thee with proper Greeting, I ſhall endeavour to prove, that however diſagreeable the Sound of Pedant may be to thee, thou art certainly the Thing; and in order to this, will endeavour to ſhew thee what a Pedant, and Pedantry are, of which in thy Lucubrations and Speculations thou haſt ſo often treated
In proper terms, ſuch as Men ſmatter,When they throw out and miſs the matter.Hud.
The Pedant then is, literally and originally ſpeaking, he who has the Inſtruction of Boys; and the Pedant in the figurative Appellation, which is now come to be the common one, is he who in his Converſations with Men, or in his Writings to Men, ſhews the qualities of an Inſtructor of Boys. Now Boys not being come to the uſe of their Judgment, nor the force of their Imagination, are chiefly inſtructed by Memory. Their Inſtructors therefore never argue with them, but only dictate to them, and make uſe of Authority inſtead of Reaſon with them. And to exert their Authority the more, and to [Page 8] cauſe it to make the ſtronger Impreſſion, they dictate with a haughty and imperious Air, which ſometimes is augmented to ſuch a Degree, by Weakneſs, Ill-Breeding, Pride and Choler, that it becomes inſupportable, even to their deareſt Friends and Relations. And if their Pupils are backward in receiving their Inſtructions, or give them the ſlighteſt Provocation, they treat them with all thoſe Flowers of Rhetorick, with which thoſe Perſons are always inſpir'd, who frequent the ſonorous Nymphs of the Floud, that haunt the Banks of the vocal Thames between the Bridge and the Tower.
Thus have I ſhewn, that the Pedant, in the Acceptation in which the Word is commonly us'd, has the ſame qualities with an Inſtructor of Boys; the chief of which qualities are a dogmatizing Spirit, a preſumptuous Arrogance, and a ſoaring Inſolence.
Now the Man of Senſe, and the Gentleman, being diametrically oppoſite to the Pedant, muſt be one, who in his Converſations and in his Writings, has the qualities of one who converſes with or writes to Men. Now he who knows the World, and converſes with, or writes to Men, always Argues, and never Dictates; as well knowing, that reaſonable Creatures are to be convinced by Reaſon, and not by Authority. And as Reaſon and Truth are calm and modeſt things, he never aſſumes the Dictatorian Air, is never Haughty, never Inſolent.
But if at any time, he barely aſſerts, he does it with Modeſty, if not with Diffidence; as very well knowing, that, tho' a Man by an inſolent deciſive Air, may paſs upon thoſe who are govern'd [Page 9] by Fancy or Opinion; it never fails to render him ſuſpected to thoſe who are reſolv'd never to ſubmit to any Opinion till they be convinced by Reaſon; which latter ſort only may be truly ſaid to be Men. He therefore treats his Companion or Reader with reſpect, and would look upon it as a ſcandalous Indignity, the breaking out into thoſe Tropes and Figures which are ſo much in uſe, with thoſe who converſe with, or who write to Boys, of what Age, or Rank, or Condition whatſoever thoſe Boys are; whether they are in Infancy, or Youth, or Virility, or Gravity or Decrepitude; whether they are Ignorant or Learned Boys, of the Lees of the People, or of Equeſtrian Dignity.
And now by applying all this to my very worthy Friend, I make no doubt but to make it appear, not only that thou haſt the Spirit of Pedantry in thee, equal to any of thy Contemporaries or Predeceſſours; but that thou haſt by Nature and Genius, what they have acquir'd by Induſtry and hard Labour; (for thou art certainly an illiterate Pedant) and art the very Cock Pedant of all the Neſt of Pedants. For beſides, that in all thy Writings, whether Papers or Pamphlets, whether Lucubrations, Speculations, Guardian, Lover or Engliſhman, I hardly ever knew thee argue once; thou haſt carried Authority to a more ridiculous Height, than ever Pedant before thee did. For if the reſt of thy Brethren have had the Extravagance, and the Preſumption, to bear down Human Reaſon, by downright Human Authority, they have ſtill had ſo much ſhadow of Modeſty left, as to attempt it by the Authority of others, and not by their own. If ſhoals of modern Pedants have arriv'd to that height of Extravagance, as to pretend to decide Diſputes, [Page 10] where Reaſon alone ought to prevail, by an Ipſe dixit; yet none before thy ſelf has had the Arrogance and the Impudence to do it by an Ipſe dixi. But thou haſt often ſet up thy own Authority, not only againſt Human Reaſon, but againſt all other Human Authority. Thou haſt thought thy own dogmatick Aſſertion, enough to eſtabliſh any Opinion, which thy private Intereſt requir'd; and like an Abſolute Monarch upon the Throne of Pedantry, haſt believ'd it ſufficient to ſay, Car tel eſt notre plaiſir.
I muſt confeſs that ſeveral of the Tatlers have Wit and Humour in them, a fine Raillery, and an agreeable Pleaſantry; and ſome of the Spectators likewiſe have ſome of theſe good Qualities; but I have powerful reaſons to believe, that for the moſt part the good Qualities in thoſe Writings are deriv'd from thy Correſpondents, and that only the Pedantry of them is thine. For when thou endeavourdſt to entertain the World with a Paper call'd the Guardian, after that Mr. Addiſon had abandon'd thee, and Mr. Manwaring was entirely employ'd againſt the Examiner, I found nothing in that Paper of the Qualities of the other, but only thy eternal Dogmatizing, and the haughty and pedantick Air of a Schoolmaſter. Nay in this Paper thou wert dwindled into a Pedant, even according to the Litteral Acceptation of the Words; and appear'dſt every Morning with thy formal Inſtructors amidſt thy Boys and thy Girls.
I come next to the Vindication of thy Beauty. But here, my dear Jacky Boy, let us be ſerious a little. Thou knoweſt I am thy Friend, and wiſh thee well, I would not have thee make thy ſelf a Jeſt and a By-word, and a Butt to all [Page 11] the World. Thy Beauty, Man! Why thou mayſt as well brag in thy old Age of thy Dancing a Jig. I never heard thee mention'd by any Woman, for theſe three Years laſt paſt, but thou either wentſt by the Appellation of the Black Knight with her, or ſhe ſaid ſhe could reſemble thee to nothing ſo nearly as to the Knave of Clubs. I receiv'd the following Letter from a Friend, immediately upon the publication of the 11th and 12th Theatre.
YOURS of Yeſterday I receiv'd this Morning. I have ſeen the noble Knight's Production which you mention, and could not but laugh to read of the Knight's Tears. I ſuppoſe they were produc'd by the Author of the two Letters queſtioning his Beauty, which he takes ſome pains in a moſt ridiculous manner to vindicate. He ſeems patient enough under the Confutation of his Reaſon and Underſtanding, to which he replyes not one Word. But the Beau Garcon of Sixty cannot bear an attack on his Beauty, and is forc'd to write Letters to himſelf like other old Beaux, from ſuppos'd Ladies, to vindicate what he never poſſeſs'd. The Knight has diſcover'd a great deal of Malice, and utter'd a great deal of Slander in his laſt Paper; but this Verſe of Dryden's will fit his Performance.
In his Felonious Heart tho' Venom lyes,It does but touch his Iriſh Pen and dyes.
I am, &c.
[Page 12] This is only under one Man's Hand, but this, you may depend upon it, is the Voice of the People. And whereas thou ſayſt, that thou art ſo far from having a dusky Countenance, that all Orders of Men ſmile on thee; thou putſt me in mind of part of a Dialogue between Monſieur Nathaniel Paris, and his Couſin Hippolita in the Gentleman Dancing Maſter of the late Mr. Wycherly. 'Tis in the beginning of the Third Act.
Thus far the Gentleman Dancing Maſter. But tell me one thing my dear Friend, has an Owl a dusky. Countenance? Moſt certainly, a very reverend dusky Countenance. Now does not an Owl, whereſoever it appears, make every mortal Smile?
And now, if I ſhould call upon thee, according to thy pretended deſire, to ſee what treatment a Ghoſt would give a Mortal, I have reaſon to queſtion very much, whether thou wouldſt appear to me; for thou knoweſt I am in the number of thoſe things, which during thy whole [Page 13] life time, have always been moſt terrible to thee; I mean in the number of thy Creditors. Thou haſt ow'd me theſe two Years twelve Guineas, for the firſt Payment of twelve certain Receipts, which upon taking the Receipts, thou didſt promiſe to pay in a Week. But ſince that time, I never could ſee either the Money or the Receipts; ſo that, if I ſhould enquire for thee, the anſwer that Snug thy Servant would make, would certainly be, the Ghoſt will not appear to Day.
I am, &c.
My Excellent FRIEND,
I Come now to conſider thy twelfth Paper, in which thou pretendſt to Draw Pictures; for which thou art juſt as much Qualifyed as thou art to Criticize; for to draw Characters, and to Criticize, requires the ſame Talent, that is, Judgment, which God and Nature have never vouchſafed to endow thee with. And therefore, all who know thee an errant Bungler, that is, all who do know thee, are very well ſatisfyed, that they are no more to expect any more Reſemblance in thy Draughts, than from a Sign Poſt Painter, nay, not the twentieth part ſo much. For no Sign Poſt Painter was ever yet ſuch a Blockhead, as to Draw the Picture of a Rat, when he deſign'd that of an Elephant; or to Draw the Figure of an Elephant, when he deſign'd that of a Rat. But now to whom is it not known, that thou haſt given us the Picture, of a Wren, inſtead of that of [Page 16] an Eagle; and the Picture of an Eagle, inſtead of that of a Wren. And after thou haſt call'd thy dead Friend Wren, and thy ſelf Eagle, does not every Body know, that thou haſt not the knowledge of Adam in thee, nor art qualified to give Names to Creatures agreeable to their Natures? But as thou art able to draw no body, no body can have any occaſion to draw thee. Thy Name alone is thy Picture, and comprehends as ſevere and as entire a Satire in it as Boileau ſays that of the Aſs does.
Dont le nom ſeul en ſoy comprend une Satire.
What! art not thou the famous Diſtinguiſher, the celebrated Knower of the World, and of Merit, who art continually endeavouring to beſpatter and expoſe Miniſters of State, of admirable Abilities; and who have done the moſt important Services for their King, their Country, and the whole Chriſtian World; and among whom, I have convincing Reaſons to believe, there are ſuch, who are as much thy Superiours in ſolid Learning, or in Polite Litterature; in Wit, and graceful Court-like Behaviour, and the fine Converſation of Gentlemen; as they are above thee in Sagacity and Penetration, in the profoundneſs of State Affairs, and the depths of Politicks? Art thou, I ſay, the famous Diſtinguiſher, the celebrated Knower of the World, and of Merit, who at the ſame time that thou art vainly and impertinently endeavouring to expoſe and ridicule theſe Illuſtrious Patriots, art moſt ridiculouſly attempting to make two or [Page 17] three paultry Players, paſs upon the World for Men of Manly, Generous, Elegant, Ornamental Qualities? After this need any one care whom 'tis thou Cenſureſt, and whom 'tis thou Commendeſt? And yet to make thy Judgment manifeſt ſtill further, at the ſame time that thou art endeavouring to expoſe thoſe whom the King moſt confides in, and whom he moſt values; thou art at every turn printing thy. inſipid Madrigals in the Praiſe of His Majeſty; and ſtill the Burthen of thy Song is the ſame with that of an old Starling, who is moulting his borrow'd Plumes in a Cage, Dick is a Bird for the King! Dick is a Bird for the King! But how much preferable to thine is the Song of the Starling? Tho it does not mean what it ſays, like thee; yet it does not like thee, mean ſomething contrary to it. The Bird itſelf is not ſuch a Beaſt as not to know, that a Libel upon all a Man's beſt Friends, can never be interpreted a Panegyrick upon the Man. Thus we ſee, that thou never Cenſureſt, and never Commendeſt by Reaſon and by Judgment, becauſe Reaſon and Judgment are things which thou never hadſt. But thy Diſlike, or Approbation, proceeds perpetually from thy Paſſions, thy Malice, and thy Intereſt; but eſpecially from the laſt, which is thy great Diana.
I come now to an Error of thy Underſtanding, about which I ſhall uſe the more Words, becauſe thou ſayſt thou haſt ſo often repeated it; and that is, 'tis generally for want of Judgment, that Men ſet up for the Character of being Judicious.
And here I cannot for my Soul forbear talking to thee in the Language of thy Brother of Brentford; Thou art mighty Ignorant poor Man, my dear Friend is very Silly, I gad he is. For to what [Page 18] purpoſe can this jingle of Words ſerve, but to rattle in the Noddle of a wrong-headed Fellow? For was there ever any Mortal who was not reckon'd a Beaſt and an Idiot by his own, Acquaintance, but who ſet up for the Character of being Judicious in the Profeſſion which he had embraced? Does not a Shoe-maker, a Taylor, a Hoſier, ſet up for the Character of being Judicious in the nature and faſhion and make of Shoes and Stockings, and Coats and Breeches and Cloaks? Does not a Mercer ſet up for the Character of being Judicious, in the nature, and faſhion of Stuffs and Silks, and Brocades? Does not a StockJobber, or an Exchange Broker ſet up for the Character of being Judicious, in the Turns, the Riſe and Fall of the Publick Funds? When ten or more Clergy-men Preach for a vacant Benefice, does not each of them pretend to be more skilful and Judicious in the ways of Salvation, than his other Antagoniſts? Wouldſt thou Fee a Lawyer in an important Cauſe, who ſhould tell thee ſeriouſly, that he did not ſet up for having more Judgment than his Neighbours in Statute and Common Law? Wouldſt thou truſt thy Life upon a dangerous Criſis, in the Hands of a Phyſician, who ſhould aſſure thee, that he had no more Judgment in Phyſick than one of his Patients? But to come to Authors, does not every one who publiſhes a Book in any Art or Science, pretend to inſtruct at leaſt ſome of his Readers? But which of his Readers can he pretend to Inſtruct, but thoſe who are more Ignorant than himſelf in the matters of which he treats? But if he ſuppoſes that ſome of his Readers are more Ignorant than himſelf in the matters of which he treats, does not he ſet up for the Character of being more Judicious in thoſe matters than they are?
[Page 19] When Copernicus publiſh'd his Syſtem of the World, did not he pretend to a little more Judgment in Aſtronomy, than ſome who had gone before him, and others who liv'd at the ſame time with him, and who ſtill adher'd to the Piolemaick Syſtem? When Des Cartes publiſh'd his Syſtem of Natural Philoſophy, did not he by thoſe wonderful Diſcoveries of the motion of the Earth, and others, pretend to a little more Judgment in that Science, and to penetrate further into the Secrets of Nature than thoſe who had gone before him? When the Celebrated Harvey gave the World his Treatiſe of the Circulation of the Blood, could he have oblig'd and adorn'd the Common-wealth of Learning by that noble and uſeful Diſcovery, if he had not ſet up for the Character of having more Judgment in Anatomy, than either his Predeceſſours, or his Contemporaries? And when Sir Iſac Newton, whoſe Merit is above what the Muſes themſelves can Commend, oblig'd and aſtoniſh'd the Learned World by his Immortal and unparallel'd Treatiſes; thoſe Treatiſes which have made him an Honour to his Country, An Advancer of the nobleſt Learning, and an Enlarger of the Empire of the Mind; what, did he pretend to no more Judgment in Mathematicks, than the herd of Mathematicians?,
Is it not now moſt apparent, that every one ſets up for the Character of being Judicious in his own Profeſſion, and his own Art? Why then ſhould not that be allow'd to a Poet, which is granted to all the reſt? And why ſhould it be denyed by thee of all Men; and be denyed in a Paper, in which you are doing the very ſame thing which you pretend to ridicule in others? [Page 20] For are not you pretending to write a Paper here for the Improvement of-the Stage? And how doeſt thou pretend to Improve it, by endeavouring to impoſe upon the World according to thy laudable Cuſtom, and ſetting up for the Character of being more Judicious in Theatrical matters, than moſt of your Readers; or by ſpeaking the Truth, and telling the World that thou art a very Silly Fellow, and an eternal Jabberer about, matters of which thou underſtandeſt not a Syllable? What is become now of that fine Maxim, that 'tis generally for want of Judgment that Men ſet up for the Character of being Judicious? Why thou errant Triſler! Thou ridiculous Maxim Monger! Thou haſt a hundred ſuch pretty Jingles in thy wonderful Speculations, I mean the Speculations which are peculiarly thine, and to which thou, haſt let thy Mark; Maxims which are calculated for Underſtandings of the ſame Latitude with thine, and which are under the ſame Elevation of Pole; Maxims which ſhew'd thee as blind as Hector, or Pompey, or Caeſar's Offspring, that came into the World but Yeſterday. But as I have now ſome leiſure to conſider them, I will try, if by my little Art I can Couch the Cataracts of thy Underſtanding.
But the miſchief of it is, that there is this difference between a four Leg'd Puppy, and a two Leg'd one; that whereas a four Leg'd one is Blind but for nine Days, a two Leg'd one does not only come into the World Blind, but for the moſt part continues to be Blind, when he comes to be an old Dog.
To this bleſſed Maxim, thou art pleas'd to ſubjoyn theſe Words, Every body of any ſtanding in [Page 21] Town, knows that the dulleſt and moſt ſtupid Writers we have had, have ſet up for Criticks; why yes truly, this has been the Cant for forty Years, together, among Perſons of thy noble Underſtanding. The Cry has gone round, that 'tis impoſſible for any one who has ſhewn himſelf a Critick by his Proſe, to ſhew himſelf a good Poet by his Verſe; which was occaſion'd firſt, by the late Mr. Rymer's publiſhing a very dull Tragedy of Edgar, after he had publiſh'd a Book in Proſe, in which there was a great deal of good and juſt Criticiſm. 'Tis true indeed, Edgar was ſo abſurd a Monarch, that he ſeem'd to be a forerunning Type of thy ſelf, who wert to ſtrut upon the Stage in the, ſucceeding Century, under the ſame Heroick Name. From this accident, the Poetaſters of the Age, who believ'd it their Intereſt to fix a Brand upon Criticiſm, immediately cryed out, and made all their Diſciples repeat after them, that no Critick could be a Poet; not conſidering that one of the greateſt of the Roman Poets, and, one of the greateſt of the French, were Criticks by Profeſſon, as well as Poets; and ſet up for the Character of being Judicious in their own Art; nay, and had the Impudence to appear publickly out of Humour with ſome Popular Scriblers, who had had Succeſs. But to return to Mr. Rymer; whether that Gentleman's ill Performance proceeded from his want of Imagination, without which no Man can make a Poet, let him have what Judgment he will; or from his want of Exerciſe and Practice, we ſhould have been better able to determine, if that Judicious Gentleman had writ more. If Mr. Rymer's Tragedy is an ill one, neither Shakeſpear's or Ben. Johnſon's firſt Damatick Poems were Maſter-pieces; and neither Ben nor Shakeſpear, they had left nothing behind them but theſe, [Page 22] would have paſs'd with Poſterity tor great Poets. But whatever was the Reaſon of Mr. Rymer's Miſcarriage, if theſe Authors had only infer'd from it, that a Man may ſometimes have the Theory of an Art, which yet he may not be fully qualifyed to practice with Succeſs, nothing could have been more juſt. But for them to draw not only a general Inference from a particular Fact, but an Inference ſo very abſurd, as that a Man cannot Practice an Art with Succeſs, for no other reaſon, but becauſe he has ſhewn that he Underſtands it, was Beſtial and Abominable. I am afraid, my dear Friend, that it will be found upon enquiry, that the very contrary of this is an eternal Truth. He who Practices an Art with Succeſs, which he does not underſtand, is moſt infallibly an ill Artiſt, notwithſtanding all his Succeſs; and is indebted for that Succeſs, to the groſs Ignorance and Barbarity of thoſe whom he has the Luck to pleaſe.
If ever that Aſſertion, that the dulleſt and moſt ſtupid Writers which we have had, have ſet up for Criticks is prov'd it muſt be by thy Example. For as there is not one Author alive, who has ſet up for Criticiſm ſo much as thou haſt, there is not in all Great Britain ſo ſtupid and ſo dull a Writer as thou art, when thou art left to thy ſelf.
To make good both the Branches of this Aſſertion: when old Bickerſtaff publiſh'd his Tatlers, did he ſet up for a Critick, did he ſet up for the Character of being Judicious or not? Let us ſee what he ſays himſelf in his Dedication to the late Mr. Maynwaring.
[Page 23] The general purpoſe of this Paper is to expoſe the falſe Arts of Life, and to pull off the Diſguiſes of Cunning, Vanity, and Affectation; and to recommend a general Simplicity in our Dreſs, our Diſcourſe, and our Behaviour. No Man has a better Judgment for the Diſcovery, or a nobler Spirit for the Contempt of all Impoſture, than your ſelf; which Qualities render you the moſt proper Patron for the Author of theſe Eſſays.
Thus far old Bickerſtaff. Now this as I take it, is ſetting▪ up for ſomething more than the Character of being barely Judicious; tis ſetting up for Sagacity, tis ſetting up for Penetration, which are the Accompliſhments, and the Perfections of Judgment. Now if it be true, that 'tis generally for want of Judgment, that a Man ſets up for the Character of being Judicious; what ſhall we ſay of the Man who ſets up for the Character of Sagacity, for the Character of Penetration? For ſuch a one arrogates a hundred times more to himſelf, than one who ſets up for the Character of being barely Judicious in paſſing his Judgment on the Works of Authors. To know the Hearts of Men requires infinitely more Capacity, than barely to know Books. A Book alas, has but one meaning; whatever it ſpeaks it thinks. But the Heart of Man has Folds and Doubles, and Receſſes innumerable. Yet thro' all theſe haſt thou pretended to pierce, and conſequently haſt pretended to Criticiſm, of a nobler and more difficult Nature, than any Author living. But though thou didſt pretend to do all this, what thou really didſt of it was by the Sagacity and Penetration of others. And when thou hadſt got ingenious Tools to write thee into [Page 24] an Income of two Thouſand Pounds a Year, thou coulſt not be ſatisfyed, till like the moſt dull and ſtupid of all Writers thou hadſt writ thy ſelf out of it again.
The Courtſhip which Sir Martin Mar-all made to Mrs. Milleſant, and that which thou didſt formerly make to Dame Fortune, and to Madam Fame, will certainly make a Parallel that will run upon all Four. Sir Martin had a mind to Mrs. Milleſant, but not having Capacity, nor Addreſs to gain her, he prevail'd upon Warner to do that for him, but to do it in ſuch a way that Sir Martin was to have the Credit and the Benefit of it. Now the Lady being a Lover of Muſick, Sir Martin was to give her a Leſſon upon the Theorbo, and a Song. In order to this Sir Martin is to appear in a Balcony, at a diſtance from her, with a Lute in his Hand, and the Motions of a Thrummer, and the Grimaces of a Singer, while Warner is to Sing and to Play for him behind the Curtain. Well! All this was very well concerted; but the Succeſs of all was to depend upon the Signal agreed upon between them, and that was, that Sir Martin ſhould leave off his Grimaces, and his Thrummings upon his dumb Lute, upon the Ringing of a Bell. But the fooliſh Knight was ſo full of his Miſtreſs and himſelf, that tho' the Bell rung twice, yet his Hand and Jaws ſtill went, and expos'd him to the Scorn of his Miſtreſs and the Chambermaid.
I will leave thee, my dear Friend, to apply all this to thy ſelf. But I cannot forbear taking notice, that it was very imprudent in thee not to leave off upon the Bells ringing twice; that is, upon the Bell that rung for Mr. Maynwaring's, and Mr. Addiſon's Funeral.
[Page 25] I come now to ſome of the pretended Facts of which thou haſt been pleaſed to accuſe me; and I will begin with that which relates to Mr. Congreve and Mr. Addiſon, upon whom thou ſayſt I have been more ſevere than upon any other Perſons. As for being ſevere upon Mr. Congreve, tis a figure in Speech, which Jeremy ſays in Love for Love, interlards the greateſt part of his Converſation. As for Mr. Addiſon, I muſt confeſs, I did write the Remarks upon Cato; but I did not baſely flatter and ſawn upon Mr. Addiſon while he was living, and then more baſely inſult him as ſoon as he was Dead. I did not while he was living, write a flattering fulſom Dedication to him, in which I made him a Thouſand times greater than my ſelf; and then as ſoon as he was Dead write a flattering fulſom Dedication to my ſelf, in which I made my ſelf a Thouſand times greater than him. A little below there is another extraordinary Figure, where thou pretendſt to inſinuate that I have been us'd by ſome People ſo as a Man of Honour ought not to be us'd. Who are thoſe People? Thou canſt not, thou dareſt not name them. Becauſe then the Lye would appear too groſs and palpable. I'll tell thee whom I have us'd at that rate, and that is, thy Friend, thy Prieſt, thy Worſhipper, thy Viceroy. Thou either knoweſt or oughteſt to know that I have beat him; and I do not know but I might have been provok'd to do as much by his Wooden God, if he had dar'd to offer to my Face, what he has baſely writ. Thou ſayſt that my Pamphlet is ſo cruel, that it could be writ by none but a Coward. I believe I have given other ſort of Proofs of my Courage, than one who in the time of a Bloody War, for twenty Years together, took the King's Pay as a Soldier [Page 26] and never was in any Action; than one who for twenty Years together fought as he writ, by Proxy. The Cruelty of a Coward conſiſts not in Words but Actions: Then, then, was the Cruelty, then was the Cowardice, when upon a certain Night in November laſt, three villanous Foot-Pads rob'd a poor defenceleſs Paſſenger of all that he had, and ſaid that they did it by a Deputation from thee. And thou wert afterwards pleas'd to abet this Action, and call thoſe Foot-Pads, Men of Manly, Elegant, Generous, Ornamental Qualities. Hinc illae Lachrymoe. From hence aroſe thoſe Crocodile Tears, which thou haſt ſhew'd in ſome of thy Papers.
Didſt thou not ſnew thy Courage in a notable manner, by giving ſuch Language in thy Theatres, after having declar'd againſt ſingle Combat by thy Lucubrations, and againſt Siege and Battle by thy Conduct? Was it not Bravely and Heroically done to call upon both the Living and the Dead to revenge thy Cauſe upon one of Sixty Five; and to endeavour to ſet both the King's Horſe and Foot Guards upon one of Sixty Five? For my part, I have always firmly believ'd, that I have more true Courage than any one, than whom I have more Underſtanding. For if Fortitude is a Virtue, of which I know no Man who doubts, it muſt depend upon the Reaſon and not upon the Complexion; but if it depends upon the Reaſon, then the ſtronger the Reaſon is, the ſtronger muſt be the Virtue. And I have always thought, that as God and Nature have given to Man the Dominion over Beaſt, they have ſo far given to reaſonable Men the Dominion over Blockheads, that they are rather born to ſcorn them than to fear them. And I appeal to all my Acquaintance in Town, of whom there are ſeveral [Page 27] living of 30 and 40 Years ſtanding, if theſe Sentiments were ever contradicted by any Action or Accident of my Life.
But if by the continual Fears thou haſt given me, thou meanſt, as thou ſeemſt to inſinuate, my apprehenſions of Perſons to whom I may owe Money; thou of all Men haſt as little reaſon to upbraid me with theſe Fears as the others. For who was it that lay skulking ſo many Years, at the Tilt-yard Sutlers, when he was ſo ſtrongly poſſeſs'd with Fear, that he could not think himſelf in ſafety, unleſs he had the Horſe and Foot-Guards for his Security? When the late facetious Daniel Purcel gave him the name of Major General Hide; and the chief Maxim of his Life ſeem'd to be, Qui latuit bene vixit. If I had the Misfortune to be an Inſolvent Debtor, I ſhould have this Apology to make for my ſelf, that my Inſolvency would not be owing to any Extravagance or want of taking Pains, but to the hard, not to ſay the unjuſt Uſage which I have met with in the World; and in great part to your Injuſtice and Barbarity, and the Injuſtice and Barbarity of thoſe who deriv'd their Power from you. The being an Inſolvent Debtor, is rather to be pitied than condemn'd, when it has not been occaſion'd either by Profuſeneſs or Idleneſs, but tho being in Debt is both odious and contemptible in one, who is at the ſame time a Squanderer, a Bankrupt, and an Oppreſſor. But yet to ſhew you that I am not in the condition which you imagine, I have for theſe laſt four Years lodg'd continually in the Neighbourhood of White-hall, and I appeal to the Honourable Board of Greencloth, if during that time, ſo much as one Complaint as been preferr'd againſt me.
[Page 28] I ſhould now ſay ſomething of the Falſhoods, of which you accuſe me, in my two former Letters, and of the Ingratitude of which thou pretendeſt to accuſe me, for writing againſt thoſe, who have endeavour'd to ſerve me. As theſe two Letters will be ſhortly follow'd by a Fifth and a Sixth, I ſhall endeavour to ſhew in them, who are the Lovers of Truth, and who are the Slanderers, who are the Benefactors, and who the Unjuſt and Oppreſſors. And then, if with thy little Underſtanding, thou haſt not loſt all Senſe of Shame, I ſhall cauſe thy dusky Countenance to turn Red, as the Morning does, or as a Lobſter boil'd.
But having ſaid more already than I deſign'd to do at preſent, and you having heard more than thou hadſt a mind to hear, I ſhall take my leave for a little time; only adding, that as thou haſt form'd a Fantom in thy Mind, which thou wouldſt paſs upon the World for thy Friend, and which every impartial Man who has ſeen it, has declar'd to be juſt as like to me, as a Wren is like to the late Mr. Addiſon, or as thou art like to an Eagle; I ſhall, by way of Gratitude or Acknowledgment, ſubjoin to theſe Letters, the Picture of my dear Friend; and I appeal to all who ſhall ſee it, if I am not the happier Painter of the two, and draw the livelier Reſemblance. And ſo at preſent, my very worthy Friend, I heartily bid thee Farewel.
SIR John Edgar, the County of —in Ireland, is of a middle Stature, broad Shoulders, thick Legs, a Shape like the Picture of ſomebody over a Farmers Chimney, a ſhort Chin, a ſhort Noſe, a ſhort Forehead, a broad flat Face, and a dusky Countenance. He us'd to compare himſelf to an Eagle; and to oblige the firſt Fool that he met with, to give it under his Hand that he was ſo. But neither his Noſe, nor his Eyes, nor his Diſcernment, nor his broad flat Face, nor his dusky Countenance were held to be Aquiline. He was believ'd to be in all theſe more like to another Bird than an Eagle. Yet with ſuch a Shape, and ſuch a Face, he diſcover'd at Sixty that, he took himſelf for a Beauty, and appear'd to be more mortify'd upon his being told he was Ugly, than he was by any reflection that was ever made upon his Honour or his Underſtanding.
He is a Gentleman born, Witneſs himſelf: of a very Honourable Family, certainly of a very Ancient one. For his Anceſtours flouriſh'd in Tipperary long before the Engliſh ever ſet Foot in [Page 30] Ireland. He has Teſtimony of this more Authentick than the Heralds Office, or than any Human Teſtimony; for God has mark'd him more abundantly than he did Cain, and ſtamp'd his Native Country upon his Face, his Underſtanding, his Writings, his Actions, his Paſſions, and above all his Vanity. The Hibernian Brogue is ſtill upon all theſe, tho long Habitude and length of Days have worn it from off his Tongue.
He is the greateſt Pretender but one, of the Age in which he lives; a Pretender both to Underſtanding and Virtue, but eſpecially to the latter, But ſome malicious People have thought, that he made conſtant Court to that venerable Lady, not out of any Affection which he had for her Perſon, but becauſe he was ſtruck by the Charms of the Joynture which he believ'd might follow her. And they were confirm'd in this Opinion, by obſerving the Quarrels, which he had every Day with one or other of her four Daughters. Yet this pretended Paſſion did him great Service. It was to him Major Domo, Factotum, Houſekeeper, Cook, Butler, Taylor and Sempſtreſs; becauſe we live in a noble Climate, where Perſons who are univerſally known to be Cheats and Sharpers, keep their Coaches by being ſo.
Yet to one of the Daughters of that venerable Lady, he paid great reſpect in Publick, videlicet, to Madam Juſtice. And to gain her Favour, and obtain her Protection, he thought it not beneath him, to admit the meaneſt of her Servants and Officers into the greateſt familiarity with him. So that there was no reſpect of Perſons among them. But it was Jack and Tom, and Will and Hal, and Dick with them. But he always combin'd with theſe her Servants to injure and abuſe her in Private, and unknown to her play'd a hundred Pranks with them to the prejudice [Page 31] of her Intereſt and Reputation; which were not long kept ſo very Private, but the World took notice that neither he nor the Servants car'd one Farthing for the Miſtreſs they pretended to ſerve. He would very often do Extravagant things, very ſeldom Generous ones, and never by his good will Juſt ones. Yet was he a great pretender to Generoſity; but Generoſity with him was ſquandring away his Money upon Knaves and Fools who flatter'd him. Thus a Bubble is a very generous Creature to the Shark who preys upon him; and a Beggar is generous to the Vermin that feed upon him.
He had that ſeeming reſpect for the Laws of his Country, and appear'd to be ſo delighted with them, that tho' he had the Happineſs of enjoying them as much as the moſt zealous of his Fellow Subjects, even as thoſe to whom one may ſay, the Zeal of the Law hath eaten them up; yet that he might be ſure the Correſpondence between them might be for Life, he had, thro' a greatneſs of Soul peculiar to him, aſſum'd a noble Reſolution that would never ſuffer him to pay any one a Farthing, 'till it came to Execution. Yet notwithſtanding all this he was not ſatisfy'd; but was always crying out Law, Law, more Law, more Law.
He appears to be mighty zealous for the Rights of the People, and to be terribly afraid of the return of the old Ariſtocracy, by which he has got the nick Name with ſome of Ariſtocracy Edgar. No Man had ever ſo much in his Mouth, Benevolence and Beneficence to Mankind, as he; which to his Creditors ſeems a great Fable: For, ſay they, ſince he hates us who have moſt oblig'd him, to that degree, that he cannot endure to ſee our Faces, how can he poſſibly love the reſt? He us'd one while to call himſelf the Chriſtian [Page 32] Heroe, till it grew a publick Jeſt. For the People would not allow him to be a Heroe, becauſe, tho he had been a Soldier ſo many Years in the time of a Bloody War, he never had been preſent either at Siege or Battle; and he could not poſſibly, they us'd to ſay, be a Chriſtian, becauſe he us'd conſtantly to ſpend the Mornings in Curſing the Houſhold of Faith, tho' they came in ſhoals to his Levees, out of pure Zeal to exhort him to do his Duty.
He valued himſelf exceedingly, upon being a great Improver, and a great Reformer, tho' the truth of the matter is, that he never had half Skill enough to improve any thing, nor half Virtue enough to reform any thing. During the time that he was Governour of the Bear-Garden, the Diverſions of that place were more Stupid and Barbarous than ever they were known to be before, and the wild Beaſts more miſchievous and untractable. And he was eſpecially ſo far from Reforming any thing, that it was generally obſerv'd, that the greater part of thoſe who had been moſt intimate with him, were very far from being more Virtuous than their Neighbours; tho' he never fail'd of doing one thing in order to the making them ſo, and that is, entring them in the School of Adverſity.
Now as for Temperance, another Daughter of the abovementioned venerable Lady, he careſſes and courts her all the live-long Day; and compliments her as the Queen of Morals, and the Empreſs of Life. But as ſoon as the Night approaches, then ſparkling Champaign puts an end to her Reign.
[Page 33] We may ſay of his Fortitude, What Butler ſaid of Hudibras's Wit; He may be Maſter of a very great deal, but thro' abundance of Modeſt'y is ſhie of making any Parade of it, but reſerves it for an occaſion which no body can diving. For he has declar'd againſt ſingle Combat by his Writings, and againſt Siege and Battle by his Conduct and Actions, that is, by ſtaying at home in a time of War, with a Commiſſion in a Pennyleſs Pocket, and chooſing rather to run the Risk of being taken Priſoner by the Engliſh, than of being kill'd by the French.
Now as for Prudence, the fourth Daughter, he has a Magnanimity which teaches him utterly to deſpiſe her, and to regard her as an abandon'd Perſon, that proſtitutes her ſelf to the loweſt Mechanicks. He therefore makes it the buſineſs of his Life to Affront her, and abuſes her in all his Converſation, his Writings and his Actions; of which there can be ho ſtronger Teſtimony, than his mortally diſobliging his cordial tho' partial Friends who rais'd him, and going over to a Party whom he had exaſperated beyond any poſſibility of a ſincere Reconcilement.
He is ſo great a Friend to Union, that almoſt all Orders and Ranks of Men are united in his Perſon. For he has been Poet, Orator, Soldier, Officer, Projector, News-monger, Caſuiſt, Scribe, Politician, Fiſh monger, Knight▪ and Gold finder; and what is never enough to be admir'd, he has been all theſe, by virtue of other Mens Capacities. Like a very Patentee, he has perform'd the Functions of all theſe by Proxy, and by Deputy. As an Author he Writ by Proxy; as a Soldier by proxy he fought; He is ſo given to do every thing by Proxy and by Deputy, that one would ſwear he lies with his Miſtreſs by Proxy and by Deputy, as ſeveral honeſt [Page 34] worthy Gentlemen of his Antiquity are us'd to lie with theirs.
Tho no Man in Great Britain is ſo fit a Subject for Satire as himſelf, yet has he been always writing Waggiſh Lampoons upon others. And whenever he expoſes a Lord in one of his Libels, he has got a trick of affronting him ten times more by way of begging his Pardon.
He has been always begging ſomething of the Government; and tho he has obtain'd ten times more of it than he deſerv'd, yet he grumbling thinks they have given him nothing, becauſe he has retain'd nothing; and is outragiouſly angry with ſome of the great Officers of the Crown, becauſe they have refus'd to waſt the whole time of their Adminiſtration in pouring Water into a Sieve.
He had one while, as I hinted above, obtain'd a Patent to be Governour of the, Bear-Garden; tho that Patent was invalid and void, by vertue of a previous Statute. Yet when he thought himſelf eſtabliſh'd in that Poſt, he choſe a Bear, a Baboon, and a Wolf for his Deputy Governours; but partly growing Lazy, and being partly convinc'd, that the Deputies were fitter for Government than the Principal, he abandon'd all to them; who conducting themſelves by their Beſtial Appetites, play'd ſuch Pranks, that both Governours and Deputies were all remov'd, and the Bear-Garden turn'd into a Theatre. Which Conduct of his puts me in mind of one Sempronius a Roman Knight, who was made Director of the Ludi Feſcennini, a rough ſort of Bear-Garden Drama, in uſe among the uncultivated Romans, before they were poliſh'd by the Grecian Arts; into which Employment he introduc'd three Wretches as his Deputies, who were the utter ruin of that Diverſion. For theſs four Perſons had not among them all as much Judgment as a Ballad maker. And yet [Page 35] upon having this paultry Office conferr'd upon him, Sempronius moſt vainly and impertinently uſurp'd the name of Cenſor; which coming to alarm the true Cenſors, they enquir'd into his Life, upon which finding him to be the greateſt Fourbe, and the greateſt Impoſtor, that had appear'd among them ſince the Foundation of the City, they turn'd him with Diſgrace out of his Government, diſmounted him, and took his Horſe from him; and not contented with this, baniſh'd him from Rome it ſelf; and upon his Departure, caus'd the ſame general Luſtration to be made, that was us'd, when a certain boding, broad, flat, duskyfac'd Prodigy had been hooted from out the Walls.
IF upon peruſing this piece of Painting, or upon reading, the preceeding Letters, any honeſt impartial Gentlemen ſhall ſay, as they did upon reading the two Former, that I ought not to enter into the private Concerns of Life; I deſire them to conſider, that theſe Letters, tho written in Proſe, were deſign'd to be Juſt and Legitimate Satires; and that the private Concerns of Life are the juſt and adaequate Subjects of Satire, and make the chief Beauties of the ancient Satiriſts, that is, of Lucilius, Horace, Perſius and Juvenal.[Page 34] [...] [Page 35] [...]
[Page 36]—Eſt Lucilius auſusPrimus in hunc operis componere carmina morem,Detrabere & pellem, nitidus quâ quiſque per oraCederet, introrſum Turpis.—
Quidquid agunt Homines, votum, timor, ira voluptas,Gaudia, Diſcurſus, noſtri eſt farrago Libelli.
I muſt confeſs the celebrated French Satiriſt has been a little more retentive; but yet they muſt know very little of him, who are to be told that he ſometimes enters, into the private Concerns of Life; which once more are the juſt and adaequate Subjects of Satire. But then the Satiriſt ought to take care that the Cenſures are always Juſt, and that either the Vices Satiriz'd are very Flagrant, and of pernicious Example, or the Perſons egregious Hypocrites.