HAVING always been a great admirer of the ſamous JOHN JAMES ROUSSEAU, I decorate my work with the ſame title which he choſe for a poſthumous publication. [Page 2] Though my name has not yet acquired equal celebrity with his in the Republic of Letters, I flatter myſelf, however, that my actions ſurpaſs his, as much at leaſt as he is ſuperior to me in genius and eloquence.
AFTER all, what had ROUSSEAU to confeſs? Wretched trifles. The ſtealing a ribbon ruining the honeſt character of a poor ſervant-maid, deſerting a friend in his diſtreſs, and having deſiled the iron pot where Madam CLOT's dinner was boiling, and a few other peccadilloes, which tend rather to prove the baſeneſs than the elevation of his mind. However, it muſt be acknowledged that he was [Page 3] a very great man. He doubted of the exiſtence of the Deity, and with his uſual ingenuity of ſcepticiſm has raiſed ſuch a miſt about his notions of the Chriſtian perſuaſion, that he has left the world in complete indeciſion whether he was a believer or an infidel. None of his actions, it is true, are attended with any ſplendor; but to ſuch principles as he and his aſſociates in the ſame cauſe have diſſeminated, FRANCE is obliged for that glorious anarchy which prevails there at preſent, and which probably will continue to prevail there to the laſt hour of her duration.
I DO not retrace my adventures in order to caution others againſt falling [Page 4] into the ſnares which are laid for innocence and ſimplicity, but to prove, that in the preſent age the way to honours and ſelicity is open to all perſons who have ſpirit, and who by the mere force of genius will venture to emancipate themſelves from vulgar prejudices: beſides, I feel no ſmall ſatisfaction in conſidering that my reputation and my merit will go hand in hand, and with an-equal pace, through the world together.
I WAS born at PARIS, in the ſtreet St. Marcel. My mother was a Fiſhwoman, ugly, poor, and diſguſting, but of a robuſt make, and well formed by nature to offer and to endure every ſort of violence. My ſuppoſed father [Page 5] was a Butcher, and I go by the ſame Chriſtian names, though perhaps without the formality of any baptiſm.— But, to ſay truth, I have ſome doubts as to my filiation on the paternal ſide, for my mother's accounts were never as to that point entirely conſiſtent.— She imputed me at different times to almoſt every perſon in the neighbourhood. Sometimes ſhe ſaid I was her ſon by a Shoe-cleaner, ſometimes by a Cobler in the Marſh, ſometimes by one, and ſometimes by another, juſt as it happened to ſerve her turn to get a little money for her preſent neceſſities, by the recollection of the tender intimacy and connection which had ſubſiſted between her and the uncertain author of my exiſtence.
[Page 6] HAD it pleaſed Nature to have endowed me with great talents for Poetry, as many fathers might have diſputed a right to my procreation as there were Cities of GREECE which contended for the birth of HOMER; but Fortune formed me rather to perform great exploits than to ſing them, and I can hardly expect that the ſimple narrative following will ever be placed under the protection of an APOLLO PALATINUS.
WITH reſpect to my Figure, I can give the Reader no idea more exact in general, than by aſſuring him, that as to it I am principally indebted for my preſent elevated ſtation in life, it is ſuch as never fails to raiſe ſome emotion of [Page 7] terror in every perſon who happens to meet me. I am tall like my mother, my body remarkably ſtrong, and the cordage of my muſcles ſuch as artiſts never fail to give to the Statue of HERCULES. My countenance is very ſtriking; for, beſides a violent ſquint, my complexion is of a dingy olive; my noſe like a Negro's; my teeth few in number, very long and black; red eyebrows; a wide mouth; and a chin ſharp, and peaked almoſt to a point at the extremity: add to this, an abundance of rich purple carbuncles ſtrewed over my viſage, with the mark of ſeveral deep ſcars all conſpicuous, and this aſſemblage gives you preciſely my picture.
[Page 8] MY diſpoſition accords perfectly with my outſide, and a Phyſiognomiſt much inferior in penetration to LAVATER would not heſitate at the firſt glance to pronounce upon the qualities of my mind. By the fervour of my conſtitution, being extremely ſuſceptible of impreſſions from Women, I ſought to be connected with them from neceſſity, and not from that ſort of tender ſympathy about which one hears ſo much, and of which I never could entertain the moſt remote conception. My blood always impelled me, not my heart; when the warmth of the flame was cooled by poſſeſſion, I generally conſidered the object with indifference—often, indeed, with diſguſt: pleaſures which are equally [Page 9] ſhared between the ſexes always leave the parties engaged in them upon an equal footing. I never remember to have had an intimacy with any pretty woman, who appeared to me to be ſuch after my deſires were ſatisfied, except one beautiful peaſant girl of LANGUEDOC. She turned a deaf ear to my amorous propoſals, and I found it neceſſary to force her. Neceſſity juſtifies every thing. I was rough, ferocious, vindictive, little ſenſible of kindneſs and obligations, but always retaining the moſt preciſe recollection of, and the moſt lively reſentment for, the ſlighteſt injury.
I MUST here once for all apprize the reader, that though he may meet [Page 10] with many terms in this book which are uſed according to their ancient acceptation, he muſt not therefore conclude that I underſtand them in that ſenſe. For inſtance, when I ſpeak of Cruelty, I mean rather Firmneſs of Mind; when I call Robbery and Maſſacre Crimes, I conſider them as proofs of the moſt exalted and heroic Virtue. But the Revolution of Words being not yet ſo general in FRANCE as the Revolution of Principles, to avoid perplexing the Public, I ſometimes adhere to the old corrupt modes of expreſſion. When our new Philoſophy is completely eſtabliſhed, it will be followed by a Vocabulary as new; till then I am afraid Language muſt in ſome degree conform to the [Page 11] old corruption. GALILEO was impriſoned for aſſerting that the Earth moved round the Sun, yet the ſyſtem of COPERNICUS is the only rational one, and as ſuch is now univerſally acknowledged.
MY childhood paſſed like that of moſt young folks of my condition. When I wanted any thing, I ſtole it; when I was chaſtiſed, I cried; and whenever I had an opportunity, I took vengenace for it to the utmoſt of my power. At the age of fourteen, [Page 13] having been kicked out from the habitation of one of my poſſible fathers into the ſtreet, a Monk happening to paſs by, looked ſteadily at me, and took me with him to the Convent of which he was Providore. There I ſoon learned to reſpect the Church, and to make a jeſt of Religion.
ONE would have thought my ſtomach had been an abyſs, and that I had birdlime at the ends of my ſingers. I ſwallowed down all ſorts of victuals, and ſecreted for my own uſe every thing I could lay my hands on. My theſts were ſo frequent, and managed with ſo little circumſpection, that my maſter at laſt ſurpriſed me in the fact. He gently puſhed me by the [Page 14] ſhoulder out of the Convent, predicting, with a degree of confidence, that my future abode would be in the Galleys. Although I never imagined him to be gifted with the prophetic inſpiration of ISAIAH, his prediction however was accompliſhed.
HE was too good a Chriſtian to diſmiſs me from his ſervice without offering me at the ſame time ſome wholeſome advice for the regulation of my conduct; which had I obſrved, it might perhaps have prevented the completion of his prophecy. During the exhortation, I ſtole his ſnuff-box and handkerchief, thinking it right to have ſome tokens, like pious relics, about me of a man ſo holy.
[Page 15] DURING my ſojourn at the Convent, I learned to read and write, knowing well that without theſe two advantages, it is impoſſible, with the happieſt diſpoſition from nature, to be a rogue more than by halves. Without acquaintance with great examples, the moſt fertile genius is circumſcribed. Nouriſhed only by itſelf it becomes ſterile, and, like a field without manure, in a ſhort time produces nothing. What arms are to the Soldier, or inſtruments to the Surgeon, Books are in the hands of the ſkilful.
THE good Fathers, who remarked with ſatisfaction my appetite for literature, were eager who ſhould be firſt [Page 16] to ſupply me from their collections; but their meagre ſhelves containing nothing better than ſtories of miracles, the Lives of Saints and Martyrs, and ſome receipts for making ragouts, I borrowed books of a better ſtile in other places, or I ſtole them.
THE Abridgment of the ROMAN Hiſtory pleaſed me greatly. I was much ſtruck with ROMULUS deceiving his Brother by a falſe augury, and thus dexterouſly getting ſole poſſeſſion of the kingdom; for knavery in things ſacred ſuits my fancy wonderfully: but I admired him ſtill more, when I read of his knocking out this ſame Brother's brains, for his having in a frolic leaped over the little walls of his [Page 17] new-traced city. The Rape of the SABINE Women was to me a raviſhing ſubject. The ambition of TARQUIN the Proud, the Son-in-Law of SERVIUS, who procured the aſſaſſination of his King and Father-in-Law; his Conſort TULLIA trampling upon the bleeding body of her dead Sire; the incontinence of TARQUIN's Son, SEXTUS, and the violent death of the chaſte LUCRETIA, came up in ſome degree to my ideas of human licentiouſneſs. The firſt Conſul, BRUTUS, who, without liſtening to the voice of Nature, ordered his Sons' heads to be ſtruck off in his preſence for treaſon, appeared to me to be truly a great man. But above all, the proſcriptions and cruelties of MARIUS and SYLLA tranſported [Page 18] me beyond all bounds of moderation. ROME deluged in her own blood; the Magiſtrates, the moſt reſpectable Citizens, Prieſts, Women, and Children, proſcribed, butchered, and their mangled carcaſes piled up in heaps together; preſented to my mind's eye a moſt ſeducing picture. In the peruſal, I contemplated it with that ſoft contentment, that interior ſatisfaction, which reſulted (I doubt not) from a preſentiment of that enchanting ſcene which is now ſo admirably realized in every ſpot and quarter of my own dearly-beloved country.
THE hiſtory of MARK ANTONY, no leſs ſanguinary than he was amorous, [Page 19] always fixed my attention.— That celebrated Libertine, with the amiable AUGUSTUS, and their booby fellow Triumvir, LEPIDUS, proſcribing three hundred Senators and above two thouſand ROMAN Knights at one ſitting, then getting drunk, and ſinging obſcene ballads together in a little Iſland near MUTINA; FULVIA, the wife of ANTONY, dragging with her own fair fingers the tongue from the jaws of dead CICERO, and piercing it three times with her bodkin; the head of that great Orator afterwards ſperbly impaled upon a ſpike over the Roſtrum, and many other incidents at that period, filled me with ſenſations too delightful for me to attempt their expreſſion.
IN every Hiſtory which I peruſed, I found ſomething conſtantly to form the mind and improve the underſtanding. That of GREECE particularly, in which the moſt illuſtrious Patriots and Generals were always [Page 21] expoſed to the fury and caprice of the Rabble, who without the leaſt conſideration for their ſervices or their merit condemned them at once to ignominy or death, awakened in my breaſt the moſt flattering expectation of ſoon ſeeing in that Nation which calls herſelf the moſt polite in EUROPE, the renovation of ſimilar diſorders, and univerſal confuſion of all things.
MY enquiries were not conſined to the mere ſtudy of Hiſtory, I devoured all the prohibited books ſold clandeſtinely by the Hawkers; eſpecially when I could find that they contained ſcandalous anecdotes either of gallantry or of the Clergy, and when people of [Page 22] condition and character were well mauled in them. By degrees I became a Critic, at laſt an Author. At our nightly Club of tatterdemalions, I pronounced emphatically upon the merit of every fugitive ſheet which made its appearance for a day, generally indeed without having read a word of it; but I knew the Scribbler, and my deciſions were always conſidered as infallible. Without vanity I may venture to affirm, that no Libeller in FRANCE has ever with impunity ſo deeply injured the fair fame of his neighbours as I have done.
For ever honoured be the Art of PRINTING! In ENGLAND they boaſt of the Liberty of their Preſs; with us [Page 23] FRENCHMEN it is not the Liberty, it is the Licentiouſneſs which is admirable. Oral Calumny is tardy, feeble, and circumſcribed, but give her paper wings, and, like a bird, ſhe cleaves the clouds, and flies from province to province, from kingdom to kingdom, gives free circulation to impoſition, and a ſolitary pamphlet, as the Poet POPE ſays of a love-letter, ‘Can waft a lie from INDUS to the POLE.’
Lame Truth limps after too tardily to prevent the winged progreſs of her adverſary. Our Legiſlators, who oſtentatiouſly boaſt of our perfect Liberty in FRANCE, and declaim with ſo much complacency in their own [Page 24] praiſe for the emancipation of the Preſs, ſenſible of the importance of the engine, inſtantly deſtroyed every one in the kingdom except their own, and impriſoned the Writers even of a ſingle ſheet who preſumed to publiſh it without their permiſſion. The inhabitants, principally ſuch as could not read, ſeeing them paſs by loaded with irons, clapped their hands, and cried with a loud voice, ‘Good Heaven! what a ſatisfaction! how charming, how delightful to have a free Preſs!’
O DIVINE Art! Womb of Science! Daughter of Truth! Conſolation of the Unlearned! Protectreſs of Rights! true univerſal Czarina!—Our arms, [Page 25] our cannon, pikes, poniards, aſſaſſins, and decrees, have not contributed half ſo much as thou haſt done to the bleſſed effects viſible every where in the happy deſolation of our delightful country. By thy aid we have depoſed and beheaded the very beſt of all our Kings, manacled the Royal Family, calumniated our Queen, who expects every hour to be doomed to the gallows: by thee our gallant villains poſſeſs all things, and the lawful owners are without food or raiment.— What gunpowder is to the muſket aimed againſt the human body, thou canſt effect when thy thunder is pointed againſt human reputation. I cannot better conclude my eulogy upon the latter, than by applying to it the [Page 26] lines of the poet ARIOSTO, when he deſcribes the former:
—vien con ſuon la palla eſcluſa,Che ſi può dir, che tuona, et che balena;Nè men che ſoglia il fulmine, ove paſſa,Ciò che tocca, arde, abbatte, et fracaſſa.
THE courteous reader, I flatter myſelf, will eaſily pardon the few apoſtrophes in the preceding chapter. He who can ſpeak of Liberty without enthuſiaſm is but half a FRENCHMAN. To return to my adventures.
[Page 28] PENNYLESS, ſorrowful, and retaining nothing of the Church but her naſal drone and her hypocriſy, I wandered about for ſome time without knowing whither, when the Manager of a Puppet-ſhow ordered me to follow him. Being arrived at the Boulevards, we ſtopped at the entrance of an alley; there he bade me ſtand ſtill, while he diſappeared, and in a few moments returned again with a Bear's ſkin in his arms. After throwing it over my ſhoulders, and faſtening it well with a cord about my neck, "Your buſineſs," ſays he, ‘is to roar out to all the paſſers-by to come in to the Puppet-ſhow, the moſt beautiful, ſuperb, and auguſt that was ever exhibited; but, above
BEFORE he could well turn his back, I began to exerciſe my Stentorial functions; and I continued to bellow with ſuch amazing vociferation that the Manager, though accuſtomed to the moſt rude and diſſonant noiſes, was obliged to ſave the drums of his ears, by putting up his hands to the ſides of his head, and burying his ſconce in his miſerable Theatre. As he was retreating, he could not forbear to ſhake his noddle, and look back at me with a ſort of malignant grin on his countenance which marked very ſtrongly both his ſurpriſe and his ſatisfaction.
[Page 30] BEHOLD me now, gentle Reader! covered with a bear-ſkin, Bawler to a Puppet-ſhow, and deafening the whole neighbourhood. Although our Manager paid me handſomely enough out of the ſcanty profits of his Theatre, I reſolved to indemnify myſelf for the conſumption of my lungs by reſources more ample than the ſlender fund of my lawful wages. The ſtrength of my voice was well ſeconded by the agility of my hands. As the entrance to the alley where our diminutive Theatre ſtood was ſo narrow that not more than three or four ſpectators could paſs at a time without juſtling, I remarked the circumſtance, and determined to turn it to my advantage. I ranſacked the pockets of the gentry [Page 31] thus huddled together, and eaſed them of their contents in the twinkling of an eye, never forgetting however to cry out, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, take care of your pockets;’ but not till after I had left them nothing to take care of.
AT different times I left my ſtation at the door, and went into the Houſe to divert myſelf with examining the contortions and triſtiful viſages of the good folks I had plundered. In vain did our performers, our wooden drolls exert their talents to divert them: they appeared as inſenſible to the facetiouſneſs of our Actors, as our Actors themſelves. No power of Comedy was [Page 32] ſufficient to baniſh from their minds the bitter recollection of their loſſes.
BY their air of ſatisfaction I could eaſily diſtinguiſh thoſe who had not yet been under my hands; and, being always a friend to EQUALITY, I determined to rifle them in going out, as I had pillaged the other in coming in, and thus to leave both parties equal. Handkerchieſs, purſes, caſes, ſnuffboxes, every thing of the kind, had irreſiſtible attractions for me. Watch-chains wantoning from the fobs of petït-máietres or the girdles of the ladies, never glittered before me in vain.— I gently drew out their appendages of pinchbeck, ſilver, and ſometimes of [Page 33] gold, as one draws a bucket out of a well, and all my goods lay ſnug under the bear-ſkin. There was no perſon in PARIS who knew ſo well, perhaps, as myſelf what o'clock it was, nor deſerved perhaps a halter ſo well for the accuracy of his knowledge. In that immenſe capital I believe I was almoſt the only perſon who could not tell the hour of the day innocently.
FROM the loweſt depth of the pocket of one of the moſt auſtere Prudes in the city I drew out a volume [Page 34] of OVID very magnificently bound, and adorned with plates as laſcivious as the wanton imagination of the Poet and tool of the Engraver could fancy or execute. There was no myſtery in the diſplay; every thing was expoſed, and in a ſair ſtate of nature.
A YOUNG Devoté, pale and peeviſh, concealed, under the moſt decrous dreſs, a large bottle of excellent Coniac brandy: I laid my hands on it, and, in one draught, quaffed it off to the health of its ſallow proprietor.
IN the pocket of a General Officer, decorated with the croſs of St. LOUIS, I met neither piſtol nor bayonet; but, inſtead of them, two ſmall boxes ſet [Page 35] with diamonds; one a patch-box, the other full of lip-ſalve. He had, however, a very martial air; his ſword was of an immeaſurable length; his hat cocked in a moſt unrelenting manner; and on his man-ſlaughtering viſage, "No quarter" traced in viſible characters. Though he had ſerved but two or three very inactive campaigus, he abounded in recitals of ſieges and battles. His military atchievements, recounted by himſelf, ſurpaſſed by far thoſe of the great FREDERIC of PRUSSIA, or of any other modern hero, who, if poſſible, offered more ſacrifices than that monarch to the Goddeſs of Funerals.
[Page 36] WHEN he raiſed the trumpet of BELLONA to his mouth, he appeared to be poſſeſſed with a real Daemon. He imitated ſo faithfully the controtions and groans of the wounded and the dying, the thundering of cannon, the burſting of bombs, and all the inſernal harmony of a field of battle, that if it required ſpirit to be preſent at the ſcene of action, no ſmall degree of courage was alſo neceſſary to fortify the hearer not to ſhrink at the recital. The ſmall articles of his little portative toilette evidently proved that he culled roſes and myrtles to deck the bower of amorous gallantry, with no leſs care than he gathered laurels for the field of more hardy encounters.
[Page 37] IT happened one day, moſt unfortunately, that while I was diſpoſing of ſome of my booty to an honeſt receiver of ſtolen goods, the owner came into the very place before the bargain was concluded. He was, no doubt, ſomewhat ſurpriſed at this confuſion of meum and tuum, and to ſee his property thus unaccountably paſſing into the hands of a third perſon, who had no more right to make the purchaſe than I had to offer it. He ſlipped out, without uttering a ſingle word, and in a few moments returned with two ſturdy conſtables, who, after emptying my pockets compleatly, dragged me away to the Salpétriere, and left me there upon the ſtraw in a dungeon.
[Page 38] THERE I firſt became acquainted with MARAT and ROBESPIERRE, two illuſtrious perſonages, whoſe renown, great as it is, bears however no proportion to their exalted merit. The former had been committed for offences without number; the latter for having ſubſtituted his own name inſtead of that of the intended legatee in a laſt will, which the teſtator, his friend and benefactor, had on his deathbed entruſted to his honeſty.
ROBESPIERRE, nephew of the great DAMIEN (who in 1757 was broke on the wheel, torn with pincers, tortured, dragged in pieces, and half burned alive, to the infinite entertainment of our FRENCH ladies), was a native of FRANCE, and went from thence to DUBLIN, where he ſerved as Sweeper to a ſhop in a ſtreet called Pill Lane. After many pranks and miſadventures in that city, he ſailed [Page 40] back again to FRANCE, in the hold of a merchant ſhip, and became a ſort of underſtrapper to the law, or what the ENGLISH call a Pettyfogger, at PARIS. He is unqueſtionably a moſt reſpectable character, endowed with the greateſt verſatility of genius, and poſſeſſed of talents and ſpirit enough to animate a whole legion of Devils.
THE origin of MARAT was not more illuſtrious than that of his fellow-priſoner. He had been a Hawker of prohibited Books, and had experienced all the indignities incident to that perilous occupation. Their manners were as unlike as their diſpoſitions were ſimilar. MARAT curſed and ſwore at every ſentence he uttered, and vouched [Page 41] to the truth of the moſt extravagant falſhoods by the moſt tremendous execrations. ROBESPIERRE is maſter of the moſt lying inſinuation; his tone of voice is gentle, his words all weighed, and his whole deportment impoſing. The ſimpleſt aſſeverations ſerve as guarantees to his want of veracity; ſuch as, ‘You may rely upon what I tell you’— ‘By my Honour’— ‘Upon the word of a Gentleman’,—and ſuch like.
IT is impoſſible to determine which of the two is moſt impious, or the greateſtliar. They ſeem to be equally rapacious and cruel, and enlightened by the moſt confirmed Atheiſm: [Page 42] in one word, they are both exactly ſuch men as weak Chriſtian morality would not fail to diſtinguiſh by the appellation of two conſummate villains.
SEVERAL ancient and modern writers diſplay before us many muſty reflections, which they illuſtrate with ſuitable examples, to prove that mankind ſeldom know how to frame ſenſible petitions to the Supreme Diſpoſer of all things; that they fooliſhly requeſt what, if granted, would [Page 44] injure them, and wiſh to avoid what would terminate in their felicity: ‘—Pauci dignoſcere poſſunt Vera bona, atque illis multum diverſa.’
HUMAN creatures, equally ſhort-ſighted in their deſires and their apprehenſions, would do wiſely to leave events to the diſpoſal of Fortune: that arbitreſs arranges things better than we can do, and conducts them by herſelf, without our interference, to their moſt deſirable concluſion. My adventures ought to give ſome weight to this maxim.
INTERCEPTED as I was in the very middle of my pocket-picking career, and plunged down to the bottom of a [Page 45] dungeon, a hundred times I curſed the inconſtancy of Fortune, who had thus betrayed me; and had not the love of life, by an inſtinctive impulſe, reſtrained my arm, my rage had put an end to my days on the ſpot, and I had ſunk into annihilation, perhaps without ever having known more of MARAT, and the worthy Nephew of DAMIEN, than the mere celebrity of their characters. But the Goddeſs of ANTIUM, more propitious than my deſpair, by arreſting my raſh hand, reſerved me to be not only their intimate friend, but even their rival, and to walk hand in hand, and by the ſame road with them, to the great work of reforming my beloved country. Yes, let me proclaim it—Under [Page 46] the weight of irons, and in the darkneſs of a dungeon, was the FRENCH Triumvirate formed; that Triumvirate which the Shades of MARIUS, of SYLLA, and of CINNA, may contemplate from the ſombrous caverns of PLUTO with admiration, nay perhaps even with envy.
IT happened one evening that MARAT, drunk as a ſwine and all beſmeared with tobacco, in order to ſnore himſelf ſober, had ſtaggered to the truckle-bed of the Turnkey's daughter, a black-eyed buxom wench, who had taken a fancy to him; and the Nephew of DAMIEN and myſelf being thus left together, that great man addreſſed me in the following manner: [Page 47] "FRIEND COUTEAU!" ſays he, ‘if you knew me well, you would do me the juſtice to believe that I am not a kind of perſon to make much parade of my good diſpoſitions towards my acquaintance. I leave them to diſcover it by proofs, and not by profeſſions; but I know not how it is, there is ſomething amiable in your aſpect, and a ſublimity in your ſentiments, which I find to be in uniſon with my own feelings. Every man, the wiſeſt of us, is liable to miſtakes, yet I do venture boldly to predict, that unleſs ſome unlucky accident happens to cut ſhort the thread of your days, you will mount on Fortune's ladder much higher than your contemporaries. [Page 48] In your proſperous aſcenſion, I offer myſelf to be your MENTOR, and without the moſt diſtant motive of intereſt; for the happieſt natural diſpoſitions, without the aſſiſtance of ſound precepts, are but like ſhips without ſails, which can never arrive at the port they deſire; or like birds without wings, which may at beſt hop alittle from the ground, but can never cleave the ſky like hawks and eagles. Our antimoraliſts, like their adverſaries, overcharge their inſtructions. There are always ſhades of vice as of virtue, which a maſter cannot diſcriminate with preciſion enough to place them exactly before [Page 49] the eyes of the diſciple. In ſuch caſes, the penetration of the pupil muſt rely upon itſelf. The ſagacity of the great ENGLISH Philoſopher NEWTON, who could analyſe or diſſect a ray of light, would have been baffled had he attempted it. MY aim is to deceive the reſt of the world, and never to be the dupe myſelf; to accompliſh this, my rules are ſimple. I never proſeſs a friendſhip for any man (except yourſelf) without intending to miſlead or to ruin him. I never tell a lie to any one (except yourſelf) without meaning it ſhould paſs for truth. I never ſpeak a [Page 50] word of truth without intending it ſhould be miſtaken for a lie. "YOU ſee," continued he, "that barbarian MARAT, —that fellow thinks I am his friend becauſe I call myſelf ſo, and we get drunk together; but he is a real Savage, ſo illiterate that he was hardly able to read the very titles of the books which he hawked about the ſtreets, but it was ſufficient for him that they were prohibited, and that their contents might do miſchief. However, I muſt acknowledge that he has great qualifications for a Reformer: he is an Atheiſt; violent in his temper; a ſtranger to every [Page 51] feeling of humanity: he deceives without addreſs, and lies without ſhame: he is ferocious, bloodthirſty, capable of every kind of atrocity; and, my dear COUTEAU! I foreſee with infinite pleaſure, that buffle-headed profligate, in conjunction with you and me, is reſerved to act a moſt diſtinguiſhed character on the great theatre of the univerſe.’
[Page 52] I EXHAUSTED all my eloquence in thanking the Nephew of DAMIEN for the flattering ſentiments with which he was pleaſed to honour me, and ſtill more for thoſe excellent leſſons of practical wiſdom, from the obſervance of which I expected to derive ſo much benefit. ‘Turn them to your advantage,’ replied he; ‘I deſire no better teſt of your acknowledgments’.
THOUGH our time in the priſon paſſed away tolerably well, between gaming, drinking, ſwearing, arguing, and blaſpheming, our confinement at laſt became inſupportable, and we reſolved to eſcape from it. We [Page 53] agreed in two days to ſet fire to the gaol, and to lay the combuſtibles in ſo many places at once that, during the general confuſion, our deliverance would be certain.
MARAT offered inſtantly to cut the Turnkey's throat and his Daughter's, could their murder contribute in the leaſt degree to facilitate the ſucceſs of our project. "Fire and Furies!" ſays he ‘they both deſerve it amply; and particularly my pretty brunette, for her fragility.’ Thus this great man always held out the tranſgreſſion of ſome other perſon as a pretext, in order to juſtify himſelf for any much more enormous crime he was determinted to perpetrate. I muſt acknowledge. [Page 54] ledge I could not hear him make the propoſal without feeling a little emotion of envy: that, however, was but natural.
BUT all our fine projection came to nothing. On the very day before our intended conflagration, the ci-devant Queen, MARIE ANTOINETTE, was delivered of the Dauphin. The moſt beautiful Prince in the world appeared, and the moſt admirable project vaniſhed by exactly the ſame incident.— LOUiS XVI. with his uſual fooliſh compaſſion, and willing to make his ſubjects participate in his happineſs, ordered all the priſon-doors in the kingdom to be thrown open, and the wretche, confined (Raviſhers and Aſſaſſins [Page 55] excepted) to be ſet at liberty. The Turnkey entered, announcing to us the Dauphin's birth, and the unexpected favour of his Majeſty; for which his Majeſty not very long afterwards received from the Triumvirate a proof of gratitude in return as little expected.
ALL the Hangmen of PARIS having refuſed to be concerned in the King's murder, ſaying that they were not Aſſaſſins, I offered myſelſ to his moſt [Page 56] Serene Highneſs the Duke of ORLEANS, now Mr. EQUALITY, to do the buſineſs. The ci-devant accepted my propoſition with tranſport. I dropped the edge of the Guillotine on the Royal neck, but not till after I had reproached his Majeſty with his weakneſs in giving liberty to thr [...]e ſuch men as MARAT, ROBESPIERRE, and myſelf. The King looked at me, uttered a ſhort ſigh, and, without ſaying a ſingle word, ſubmitted himſelf to my juſtice. I ſliced off his head as is related above; and thus fell LOUIS XVI. in the perfect vigour of his days, for the crime of having ſpared the blood of his ſubjects.
NOTWITHSTANDING the impatience we all expreſſed at our confinement while it ſeemed next to an impoſſibility to eſcape from it, MARAT at firſt refuſed to take the benefit of his liberation. He ſwore [Page 58] luſtily that he would not ſtir a ſingle ſtep, at leaſt till after the accompliſhment of his favourite project. He appeared like a hungry glutton torn away from a good dinner without being allowed to taſte a morſel of it.
"PIKES and poniards!" ſays he, ‘ the lodging is well enough for a few days longer. Death and daggers! to what purpoſe is it to plan a brilliant enterpriſe without having ſpirit to carry it into execution?— May thunder cruſh me! if I ſtir an inch till I ſet fire to the priſon, and have fleſhed my knife in the windpipe of my ſweet little brown ſugarplum, and her much-honoured raſcal of a father's. By BEELZEBUB! [Page 59] I have not taken a life this twelvemonth. Oons! I might as well be a cripple; my right hand will forget its cunning.’
ROBESPIERRE and I for a long time endeavoured to get the better of his obſtinacy, but to no purpoſe. At laſt the former ſpoke to him as follows: ‘DEAR and much—reſpected friend! are you crazy? Where is the good ſenſe of your remaining here, even for a ſingle hour, when you are at liberty to leave it?— Conſider that the very beſt concerted conflagrations miſcarry ſometimes, and their ſucceſs is always uncertain. As to the aſſaſſination [Page 60] of your dear miſtreſs, and her twopenny papa, it is not neceſſary to relinquiſh the ſcheme entirely, only for a time to poſtpone the execution. You have my free leave to return in three or four days at moſt, under the pretence of a viſit of love to your dear brunette, then cut her weaſand, and her papa's, and every gullet you can reach at; ſpare not, the more the better in my mind. You muſt at leaſt acknowledge, my much-honoured friend! that it will be more noble, it will have a better air, it will in ſhort be more like yourſelf, to do it in the character of a friend than a priſoner. Conſider beſides, that a man of ſpirit may in a ſingle night commit more murders [Page 61] in the ſtreets of Paris, than he is likely to find opportunities for in three months in a priſon.’
ROBESPIERRE made us mount with him to his garret, where, taking a pamphlet out of his letter-caſe, after glancing it over with a paternal eye, "On the ſtrength of this," ſays he, ‘we will make a jovial night of it. This is a moſt bitter libel upon our Sovereign Lord the King. Here LOUIS the Sixteenth is ſet forth as an implacable tyrant, deaf to the complaints of his ſubjects, and, like [Page 62] another NERO, delighting only in their calamities. The hawker who ventures it for ſale may probably be decked with an iron collar for it, but I ſhall receive at leaſt five or ſix good louis from a worthy bookſeller, who, to tell the truth, runs now and then no inconſiderable riſk in uſhering my productions to the public. But, my dear friends! it is full time for you to make yourſelves fit to be ſeen: do you, MARAT! hire a ſurtout to cover your rags; and you, COUTEAU! a clean ſhirt for the evening. Credit me, it is not beneath the attention of a man of ſenſe to ſecure the reſpect of the world by a decent exterior, eſpecially at our firſt introduction into [Page 63] the company of ſtrangers. Farewel for the preſent; you will find me here at eight in the evening, when I ſhall expect to ſee you.’
WE got down from the garret, which was in the middle of the Marſh, and after many turnings and windings through dark and narrow lanes and alleys, groping for our way, ſtumbling and ſwearing, at length we ſunk down into a ſubterraneous paſſage. ‘Keep [Page 64] cloſe, my Boys!’ ſays ROBESPIERRE; "we are juſt at the ſpot." After a few ſteps further, he puſhed againſt a door, which was not quite ſhut, and diſcovered to my view a kind of cavern, which ſerved as a banquetting-room for this nocturnal ſociety.
Dii, qui [...]us imperium eſt animarum, umbraeque ſilentes;Et CHAOS, et PHLEGETHON, loca nocte ſilentia late.Sit mihi fas audita loqui: ſit numina veſtroPandere res altà terrâ, et caligine merſas.
WE entered. After the uſual civilities, and the ceremony of my initiation, this reſpectable Aſſembly mutually interchanged ſeveral queſtions and replies as to the manner of paſſing the time in their reſpective priſons; [Page 67] for this laſt act of the King's grace was not leſs ſerviceable to the Demigods than to the Triumvirate.
AFTER having caſt my ſquint all round the company, I could not ſuppreſs my aſtoniſhment at ſeeing a fine Platter-breech, of a moſt hideous aſpect, perched up between two ſturdy| [Page 68] looking fellows at no great diſtance from me. "What the devil!" cried I, rather in too loud a note, ‘a Platter breech among the Demigods?’
"TAKE care, for Heaven's ſake!" ſays MENTOR; ‘he is a great Philoſopher, and worthy of his place among us. Laſt year he murdered his mother, did it with ſo much addreſs, and underwent his examination afterwards with ſo much rſolution, that the Magiſtrates, though convinced of his guilt, could not convict him, but were obliged to diſcharge him. He is lecherous as a monkey, and has all that animal's miſchief, of which he frequently gives us many [Page 69] entertaining inſtances. He is well-informed, ſpeaks well, ſings agreeably, and it is impoſſible to know his pleaſant qualifications without feeling an affection for him. He trundles himſelf here every night of our meeting, and he is greatly reſpected by our whole ſociety.’
UPON hearing this, I paid a genteel compliment to the Platter-breech, who received it with grace, indeed I may ſay with an air of conſiderable dignity, and anſwered me with politeneſs, though at firſt a little piqued by the abruptneſs of my exclamation. At the requeſt of the Club, he favoured us with a ballad of his own compoſing upon the ſubject of King DAVID [Page 70] and the Wife of URIAH the Hittite, taken from the Scripture. The ballad, full of obſcenity and blaſphemy, entertained us amazingly, and there was no end of our applauſes.
HE talked afterwards like the reſt of the company with infinite good ſenſe and energy againſt the Chriſtian religion, againſt Providence, the immortality of the ſoul, and every other dogma of the received ſuperſtition, all which he burleſqued with inconceivable pleaſantry, calling them viſions and jargon, fit ſubjects enough for a ſnuffling preacher in a pulpit, but little ſuited to the refined morality and enlightened conceptions of ſuch ſtrong-minded philoſophers as we were.
[Page 71] REMEMBERING the late admonition of MENTOR, who was always by my ſide, I ſaid to him in a low tone of voice, ‘Prithee, who is that heavy-looking boor, with his hands in his pocket, ſitting oppoſite to me? He has not uttered a word ſince we came in, and my opinion is, that he does not underſtand one ſyllable of the converſation. Is he deaf or dumb?’
"NEITHER," anſwered MENTOR. ‘He is alſo a great Philoſopher, and thinks profoundly; but being an ENGLISHMAN, he does not underſtand a tittle of our language, and never attempts to ſpeak it. To tell the truth, he is not very well acquainted with the Grammar of [Page 72] ENGLISH, for he was never at ſchool, nor under the diſcipline of any inſtructor. In the laſt war, however, he contrived to do a deal of miſchief to his native country by his pamphlets and his treaſons. The ENGLISH, in my mind, deſpiſe him too much, and talk more of his rogueries than of his publications. He was originally a bungling Staymaker in ENGLAND, but by the intereſt of a Waiting-maid, who was miſtreſs to a certain Lord's Valet de Chambre, he was appointed to a ſmall poſt in the Cuſtoms, from whence he was diſmiſſed for a number of little pleaſantries, which the folks there were pleaſed to call diſhoneſty. Afterwards he married two Widows [Page 73] at the ſame time for their little property; he robbed them both, and then went to AMERICA, as a Patriot and a Republican, where he was indefatigable in irritating the Colonies againſt the Mother-Country. He is the very Soul of our Society. Our VOLTAIRES, ROUSSEAUS, and D'ALEMBERTS, only give us the ſatisfaction to demonſtrate that we have no chance of inheriting a future ſtate; but this Philoſopher ſhews us the direct road, and points out the infallible means to put us in poſſeſſion of the property of our neighbour, and of every thing deſirable in this under world, to which we have not the moſt diſtant pretenſions from right, reaſon, or juſtice. To [Page 74] him it is we are obliged for that beautiful idea of overturning all the eſtabliſhed orders of ſociety; of calling Kings tyrants and dunderpates, laws uſeleſs, and the morality of our anceſtors impoſitions and tales of the fairies. TOM PAINE! your good health!’
At theſe laſt words the boor purſed up his eye-brows, ſtammered out a few words in ENGLISH, and pronounced Mountſheer ſo as to be audible; then thruſting his clumſy hands again into his pocket-holes, he made an aukward ſort of bow, and immediately ſunk back into his uſual ſtate of ſtupidity.
THE harmony of our Club was interrupted by an incident which happened not unfrequently in that Convention of Demi-gods. Our Atheiſt ISNARD, who had at his left ſide a member blind of the right eye, ſuddenly complained aloud that his friend the blinkard had ſtolen his ſilver ſnuſſ-box. "By JUPITER," ſays he, ‘I ſuppoſe, Raſcal! you imagine I have as few eyes as yourſelf, that [Page 76] you venture to rob me in this open manner.’ The monoculiſt, who was rather choleric, only anſwered him by a ſound douſe on the chops, which ſtretched him directly at his length on the floor. Up bounced the whole Aſſembly in a moment, and the engagement became general. It was all cuffing, kicking, ſtabbing, and howling to ſuch a degree that one would have imagined, by the ringing of the Cavern, the fury ALECTO had got among us with her horn, the concert was ſo diſſonant and ſo tremendous. In endeavouring to pick ROBESPIERRE'S pocket who was tumbled down in the ſcuffle, I received a gaſh in the face from a knife, the ſcar of which is ſtill viſible, and will continue [Page 77] to be ſo to my lateſt hour; and, what is ſtill worſe, I got the wound without the plaiſter; I mean the money I was in ſearch of, for MENTOR was too much-upon his guard to let himſelf be eaſily ſtripped of the price of his libel upon our moſt excellent Sovereign.
THE Nephew of DAMIEN, who had buſineſs in ſome other quarter, took leave of MARAT and me, but [Page 78] firſt diſcharged our reckoning for the leg of ram and the decanters of brandy we had guzzled down before the riot began in the Cavern.
As we were ſauntering up Dry-tree ſtreet, I aſked MARAT if he had got any money? "Not a croſs," anſwered he, ‘by ISCARIOT! But no matter, we can't want it long in the ſtreets of PARIS; the firſt codger we meet alone, by the Devil's gizzard, we'll empty his pockets, and then ſlit his windpipe, blaſt me!’
So ſaid, ſo done. The words were ſcarcely uttered when an unſortunate petitmaître of the city appeared before [Page 79] us. He wore an ill-fancied laced coat, with a hat and feather under his arm, and ſung "Dear THYRSIS," to the utmoſt extent of his vocal powers, with a moſt diſengaged air, and in the moſt perfect ſecurity. O blindneſs to the future! O improvident petitmaître! at this very moment ATROPOS is preparing the fatal ſciſſars to cut the thread of thy exiſtence; and, if there are not ſongs and ballads, opera ſerious, or opera buffa, in the PLUTONIAN regions, thou now warbleſt in Dry-tree ſtreet the ſweet finale to all thy muſic!
[Page 80] HE let the ill-ſtarr'd warbling beau paſs by a little; then, turning ſuddenly about, ſeized him ſtrongly by the arms behind. I advanced in front, preſented my knife at his throat with one hand, and rifled his pockets with the other. I took out his watch, and his purſe, containing three crown-pieces, a ſmal bit of roſin, two ſtrings for a pocket fiddle, and eighteen good golden louis.
DURING the operation, in order to diſplay the juſtice of our proceeding, we overwhelmed him with reproaches, and the moſt abuſive language, as if he had been a public depredator not leſs infamous than CACUS, in ſuch a manner [Page 81] that a paſſer-by, who only heard what was ſaid without ſeeing what was done, would have concluded that the petit-maître was the robber, and we the ſufferers.
AFTER theſe pleaſantries, having cut his throat from ear to ear, with all the dexterity of a ſurgeon, without condeſcending to caſt another look at him, I walked on with my companion, and left THYRSIS ſtone-dead upon the pavement.
IN the diviſion of the booty, I reſerved to myſelf four pieces more than the half, without MARAT'S knowledge, giving him the remainder; but, in return, I generouſly preſented [Page 82] him with the bit of roſin, and the two fiddle-ſtrings, upon which he did not ſeem to ſet any very great value, for he daſhed them at my face in a fury, curſing and ſwearing according to his uſual cuſtom upon every occaſion.
THE Queen of GNIDUS and PAPHOS, though a Pagan Divinity, has as many altars to her honour in the capital city of his Moſt Chriſtian Majeſty as ſhe once had in GREECE or ITALY. One of her temples was near us, and received us like true devout ſacrificers to the worſhip within. Money eaſily produces univerſal tolerance among all the amorous ſects who pay their homage to the Mother of the TROJANS. Without being [Page 83] TARQUINS, we met with ladies as cold as LUCRETIAS till the contents of the purſe of THYRSIS were diſplayed before them. That once done, we paſſed the night deliciouſly in their arms.
My fair mate had all the charms without the auſterity of that ROMAN Prude of ſelf-ſlaughtering memory; but, having left me early to ſhare the tranſports of another lover no leſs ſentimental, MARAT came into the bed-chamber before I was well awake, and, ſhaking me rudely by the ſhoulder, made me at firſt apprehenſive that the officers of juſtice had laid their claws on me; but the Savage ſoon undeceived me.
[Page 84] "FIRE and brimſtone!" ſays he, ‘ſtill in bed, ſnoring like a hog at this hour! Tumble out for ſhame, boy! Lights and livers! I have a party of pleaſure to propoſe to you. You know, rip my vitals! they expoſe the dead bodies found in the ſtreets at night, next morning in the bone houſe, blaſt me! It would be confoundedly ungrateful not to pay our compliments to our dear little THYRSIS, after ſuch a regale as we have had at his expence, ſplit me! Come along, gibbet me!— Beſides the ſatisfaction of looking at one's handy-work, it may ſerve, by LUCIFER! to ſtrengthen our courage; though, ſcorch my midriff! COUTEAU! you and I have[Page 85] no great need of SPA water to brace our nerves, ſhiver me!’
"AH no!" anſwered a very pretty young woman by my ſide, drowned in tears, and wringing her hands moſt piteouſly. ‘Alas, no! my dear dear Brother! you will never ſing again, nor dance again, nor teach to dance [Page 86] again! May the vengeance of whoſe inhuman hand has thus cut ſhort the courſe of your innocent, inoffenſive being!’
THIS little adventure furniſhes me with an opportunity of expoſing the futility of a vulgar notion, which is common enough among the lower ſort of people, namely, that the wounds of a murdered perſon open and bleed afreſh at the approach of the murderer, juſt as at the time of being mortally [Page 87] wounded. The fact is not ſo. I ſtood quite cloſe to the body of THYRSIS; I even put my hand upon his throat— not one drop of blood iſſued, but all remained within, congealed and without circulation, juſt as if the corpſe had lain for three weeks in the ſnows of CANADA.
THUS it is that Superſtition would impoſe upon us. To aboliſh falſe opinions, and to eſtabliſh the true, is the bounden duty of every wiſe man, who wiſhes by the light of ſcience to inſtruct ſociety, and improve his country. It was not by idle ſpeculations, and ill-founded theories, but by the force of reiterated experiments, that the [Page 88] great ENGLISH Chancellor BACON laid open to us the right road to uſeful knowledge and rational philoſophy.
THE more I knew MARAT, the more I was attached to him. He was my PYLADES, and without his participation I had little enjoyment of the good things of this world, that is to ſay, the good things of other people, which were indeed my only inheritance. While our money laſted, we ſwam in the delights of PARIS:
[Page 90] But by our debaucheries and our amours, our ſunds were ſoon exhauſted. Four pocket-piſtols and two daggers were all we had to ſhew for the watch and the eighteen louis which we poſſeſſed after the conqueſt of THYRSIS, the reſt had been ſquandered in brandy-ſhops and houſes of reception.The God of Wine our wit inflam'd,And CUPID fir'd our hearts.
BUT knowing, in ſpite of what the Scripture tells us to the contrary, that the victory is to the ſtrong, we conſidered the conſumption of our purſe with great indifference. By a little dexterity we ſupplied our ordinary demands, and ſufficient unto the day was the roguery thereof. But, little ſatisfied with ſuch ſlender and uncertain [Page 91] reſources, we meditated depredations on a larger ſcale. We agreed in one of our tête-à-têtes not to confine our ambition to the certain and inglorious plunder of ſingle paſſengers, but to attack all we met, even in bodies, without the leaſt conſideration of their ſtrength or numbers.
FULL of ſuch heroical reſolutions, after a cloſe examination of our firearms, we ſallied out one Sunday evening, certain of returning at night loaded with the ſpolia opima. But, alas! how many accidents happen in life againſt which we make no proviſion. Never was reſolution more firm, never enterpriſe better concerted, which came to ſo wretched aconcluſion.
[Page 92] AT the top of Frippery-ſtreet we ſaw two laſſes hanging upon the arms of two ſtout-looking fellows dreſſed in blue, who were gallanting them in ENGLISH, and ſpeaking as loud as if they had been on the open ſea, and ſtaggering on the quarter-deck of their veſſels. They were ENGLISH Sailors.
THE Roaſt-beef, Salt-water, ENGLISH Regicides were by no means obedient. After ſquirting ſome chewed tobacco from the corner of their mouths, and one of them crying out [Page 93] to his companion, ‘Blaſt my eyes! Pirates!’ they anſwered our requiſition in a manner we little expected. Without ſhrinking an inch, or diſcovering te leaſt ſign of apprehenſion, they levelled two blows at our heads with their oaken cudgels, one of which inſtantly knocked the piſtol out of MARAT's hand, and the other made me vibrate like a pendulum. I fired notwithſtanding, and miſſed. Away ran the women, and the cudgels began to play about our ears moſt unmercifully.
SEEING, as we did, the ſtrength and reſolution of the enemy, we had no choice but flight. We took to our heels, and the ENGLISH Regicides [Page 94] after us. I underſtood their language, and heard them cloſe behind us, now and then encouraging each other, and one crying out, "More ſail, TOM!" and TOM anſwering, "Aye, aye," juſt as if they had been at ſea, and giving chace to the ſhips of an enemy.
BEING better acquainted than the Sailors with the windings and turnings of that quarter, we had nearly eſcaped from them, when, as ill fortune would have it, one of our nocturnal Club, the Demi-god PLATTERBREECH, happened to be ſpinning about quite cloſe to me. Somehow or other he got entangled between my legs with his curſed platter, and down I tumbled. MARAT fell over [Page 95] me, and thus were the three Demigods turned head over heels, in the middle of the mud, at the mercy of two furious Tars, who, while their cudgels deſcended as thick as hailſtones on our carcaſes, were all the time ſaluting our ears with the appellations of Mountſheers, Soupemeagre, INDIAN Turkey-cocks, (meaning to call us ſomething elſe a little like it in ſound) and cowardly FRENCH hangdogs. After drubbing us to their hearts content, they looked about, and not finding their laſſes, left us to go in ſearch of them; but firſt, ſeeing the Platter-breech tumbled over, they replaced him in his equipage, and throwing him a handful of ſilver from [Page 96] their coat pockets, with a curſe or two they quitted us.
THIS buſineſs may ſerve as a ſmall ſpecimen of ENGLISH Sailors. Here I ſhall take the liberty of offering a little advice to ſuch of my readers as may hereafter feel an inclination to rob folks of this deſcription, which is, to cut their throats firſt, and rob them afterwards; by this arrangement, the affair will be in a better train, and leſs liable to ſuch untoward accidents as I have juſt related.
DELIVERED in this manner from our enemies, we thought ourſelves ſafe; and, being ſeated on our rumps [Page 97] in the middle of the kennel, began to ſhake our ears like ſpaniels juſt come out of the water, when lo! a much worſe misfortune befel us than the baſtinado we had ſo lately experienced.
WHEN we appeared before the Juſtice, MARAT thought proper, from a mere impulſe of modeſty, to withdraw from the eclat of his real name, and to rebaptize himſelf by that of CLAUDIUS ARNAUD, Gentleman.— [Page 98] The metonymy was abſolutely neceſſary; for, without it, the matter would have been decided againſt us inſtantly. We proteſted our innocence with ſo much effrontery, calling Heaven and all the ſaints in the calendar to witneſs that the ENGLISH were the aggreſſors, and our flight only the conſequence of our apprehenſion, that the magiſtrate began to be puzzled. Obſerving the ſucceſs of our firſt fiction, we reſolved, without invoking the aid of the Gods of OVID, to metamorphoſe all the perſonages of the piece, and to accuſe our accuſers. We charged the women as accomplices with the ENGLISH Pirates, in a manner ſo ſolemn, and with ſuch an air of veracity, [Page 99] that the Juſtice was within a moment of becoming perfectly unjuſt, by committing them, and giving us our liberty.
MARAT, furious to find himſelf thus baffled, loſt all patience, and vomited out ſuch a torrent of obloquy and ſcurrility againſt the office, that the repreſentative of THEMIS, in addition, or as a rider to the reſt of his ſentence, ordered him, before he ſet out upon his trip to Marſeilles, to receive a hundred laſhes from a cat of nine tails ſoundly applied to his naked ſhoulders, and ſo ended our examination.
[Page 101] THUS does the fickle Goddeſs delight to frolic. Behold this great man reſerved to be at one time the Framer of Laws, the Purifier of Philoſophy, the Reformer of his Country, the Fraternizer of EUROPE, the Judge and Sentencer of his Sovereign; at another period, hand-cuffed, tied to a poſt, and ſkipping and writhing under the ſcourge of the executioner. I ſtood by, and offered him my compliments of condolence with apparent ſincerity, but privately I gave the hangman a ſmall piece of money I had about me, not to ſpare him, but to lay it on ſoundly; well knowing that had our ſituations been but changed, my PYLADES would [Page 102] have acted by me exactly in the ſame benevolent manner: ‘—hanc veniam petimuſque, damuſque viciſſim.’ Such little liberties among friends are always allowable.
AS moſt of my readers, no doubt, have ſerved in the gallies, it would be but loſt time to deſcribe to them the daily courſe of life there. To make a figure there, patience is the virtue moſt requiſite. Faſting, the [Page 104] ſcourge, and ſetters, are dealt out to the miſerable convicts with the utmoſt impartiality, and happy is he who can beſt ſupport them. The captain of each galley exerciſes a deſpotic tyranny, and thoſe who were to know the ſufferings, without at the ſame time knowing the crimes and diſpoſitions of the ſlaves, would imagine they were treated with the moſt diſproportionate inhumanity. The back of the horſe is made for the rider, and the ſhoulders of the galley-ſlave for the ſcourge. Time, however, ſoftens every thing. Our moſt flattering conſolation reſulted from this conſideration, that there were other human beings more unfortunate than ourſelves.
[Page 105] THE wretches condemned to the oar for ten years, or for life, made a jeſt of our complaints, and conſidered our condition as truly enviable. Compariſon upon the whole reconciles all calamities. I knew a celebrated Suavio at Paris, who was out of humour the whole time of the moſt exquiſite entertainment, if a glaſs of Champagne not ſufficiently iced was offered to him, while above half the inhabitants of that great city were obliged to content themſelves with the wine of the country, acid as vinegar, and well heated with ſcorching ſun-beams.
MARAT and I, little ſatisfied with exerciſing the cardinal virtue of patience, meditated many fruitleſs projects [Page 106] to deliver ourſelves from captivity, but we ruined our ſchemes by communicating them to other villains. Four Demi-gods of our Clu happened to be chained to the ſame bank of oars with us, and they always ſpoke with ſuch bitter exaſperation againſt the tyranny exerciſed over us, that we concluded they would eagerly join with us in any enterprize, however perilous, which could contribute to our emancipation.
"PILLAGE and plunder!" ſays MARAT; ‘leave lamentations to women, liberty and vengeance were made for men. Earthquakes and thunder! let us turn our chains to arms, and this very night daſh out [Page 107] the brains of this ſcoundrel baſhaw, who gives us ſuſtenance by ſcruples, and fetters by the ton weight.’
BUT the daſtards, inſtead of co-operating with us, only betrayed us into the hands of the enemy. Then the laſh was applied in triple doſes, and our irons doubled in ſuch a manner that our backs were as finely teſſelated as the pavement of Solomon's Temple, and we endured a burden of fetters enough to ſtrain the loins of a ſtout pack-horſe.
BUT nothing could ſubdue us.— Genius may be for a while beat down, but it is impoſſible to annihilate it. —Like ENCELADUS under Mount AEtna, it makes ſuch ſtruggles, and the [Page 108] efforts are ſo violent, that its powers and energy are conſpicuous under the oppreſſion, and perhaps then moſt formidably.
LOADED as we were with irons, torn with ſtripes, and our ſtrength reduced to half its conſiſtence by inanition, who would not have imagined that under ſuch a regimen we ſhould not have ſunk into ſubjection? But not ſo, we anſwered chaſtiſement by blaſphemy, and met menaces with abuſe. The Captain never ventured to approach us without a cocked piſtolin his hand, and two or three times proteſted he would blow our brains out for an example to the reſt, and to reſtore order and diſcipline in the gallies.
[Page 109] But our fortune was ſoon to change her aſpect. After a year paſſed as deſcribed above, I had a letter from ROBESPIERRE, communicating to me the happy intelligence that, by his intereſt with his Moſt Serene Highneſs the DUKE OF ORLEANS, we were to be ſet at liberty. At the ſame time, the Maſter of the Galley received a letter in the Duke's hand, ordering us to be releaſed, and furniſhed with money for our expences to Paris.
THE Captain obeyed the mandate with great ſatisfaction, and ſent us out of the diſtrict under a ſtrong guard, not ſuppoſing he could be one hour in ſafety till we were removed at leaſt [Page 110] a full league's diſtance from the circle of his juriſdiction.
PRISONS and the gallies are nurſeries and hot-beds for wickedneſs, and he who enters but a ſimple cheat or pickpocket, leaves them with all the accompliſhments of an aſſaſſin or a parricide. This is the reaſon why the DUKE OF ORLEANS always choſe ſuch accomplices and aſſociates as had either been in gaols, or deſerved to be in them. The body of FEDERATES from MARSEILLES, who, in 1792, ſo gloriouſly deluged FRANCE in the blood or prieſts, priſoners, women, and children, was chiefly compoſed of galleyſlaves. They were in the DUKE's [Page 111] pay, and executed his bloody orders with a preciſion ſo exact, with ſuch ſublime ferocity, that the Satellites of SYLLA were not more entitled to univerſal admiration, nor deſerved better the everlaſting gratitude of their ſuborner. But let us return to our hiſtory.
IN our journey we atchieved little worthy of recollection, except a good many robberies, and killing three ſhabby ſort of travellers, whoſe throats it was abſolutely neceſſary to cut, to get poſſeſſion of their purſes, and to make ſure of their taciturnity.
ROBESPIERRE received us at Paris with open arms, and we paſſed the time moſt agreeably in giving him the [Page 112] detail of our adventures, ad in liſtening to the recital of his. O how delightful are theſe overflowings of the heart among true friends! ‘ Felices ter et amplius, ’ thoſe who can experience them.
THE Nephew of DAMIEN, as he informed us, was become favourite to the DUKE OF ORLEANS, and had the honour of being employed by him in ſeveral very delicate commiſſions, where he had manifeſted conſiderable talents for buſineſs, and great zeal for his maſter's ſervice. Among ſeveral other particulars of the ſame nature, he diverted us extremely by telling us how he had, by his Highneſs' order, given poiſon to the PRINCE DE LAMBALLE [Page 113] one day as he returned from hunting, and complained of thirſt; and how he had forged a will for the dead Prince, by which his Highneſs became heir to the immenſe poſſeſſions of that Prince, fruſtrating by this manoeuvre the DUCHESS OF LAMBALLE and the children of that lady, who would have been otherwiſe the rightful inheritors. He aſſured us, at the ſame time, that his Highneſs was little ſatisfied with ſuch frivolous operations; but meditated nobler and more extenſive projects, of which he was not yet ſufficiently maſter to give us the detail, as we might deſire, ſpecifically.
[Page 114] "BUT, friend COUTEAU," continued he, ‘I have been thinking of a little arrangement for you before you left the gallies, and pray attend to it. Hitherto your travels have been confined to FRANCE. To be wiſe as ULYSSES, it is neceſſary, like him, to ſee foreign countries:— Multorum providus urbes et mores hominum inſpexit. It is neceſſary for the ſervice of my patron, that he ſhould have ſome one of my recommendation; a man of honour, like you, to inform him authentically of the preſent ſtate of IRELAND. The DUKE has heard, with pleaſure, that there are a ſet of gallant fellows there, called Houghers, [Page 115] who hamſtring ſoldiers in the dark, and perform other ſuch little pleaſing freaks as well deſerve his favourable notice. He hears alſo that there is an Aſſociation, called United Iriſhmen, that is, united againſt the laws, religion, and peace of their country; and it ſometimes happens that theſe worthy people are hanged, or ſentenced to tranſportation, for want of money, or a protector, who, by his credit, might ſave them from that ignoble injuſtice which perſecutes what they falſely call tranſgreſſions in countries unenlightened with true philoſophy.— The DUKE wiſhes to know their real ſtrength and numbers, and to aſſure them of his eſteem and countenance. [Page 116] Prepare, therefore, ſpeedily for your journey: I will preſent you this very day to his Highneſs, who will furniſh you with money for the expences of your commiſſion, and give you, with his own mouth, your final inſtructions how to regulate your conduct among ſtrangers.’
"Is it really true," ſays he, with a ſmile ſtrongly expreſſive of the auguſt ferocity of his heart, ‘that you cut a citizen's throat in the ſtreets of [Page 117] Paris, while he was ſinging Dear Tyrſis, and next morning went to ſee his body in the bone-houſe?’
I ANSWERED, with modeſty, that it was perfectly true, and that I was ready to undertake much more hazardous exploits for the ſervice of his Highneſs, whenever he might condeſcend to honour me with his commands.
HE then converſed a little in private with MENTOR, and departed; but not till he hd left on my mind a [Page 118] moſt advantageous impreſſion of his diſpoſition by the following little incident, which, being willing to amuſe the reader, I think myſelf not at liberty to with-hold from him.
THE true character of men is perhaps better diſcovered by their conduct in ſmall matters, than in great events and important conjunctures. At ſuch criterions there is generally a conſonance of ſenſation which produces a conſonance of thought and determination, and man is man by the leading impulſe of human nature; but the mind, left entirely at its eaſe, acts independently of any extraneous bias, and ſhews itſelf in its real abſtract propenſity.
[Page 119] WE were ſtanding together at an open window which looks into the ſtreet, when ZARA, a pretty little ſheſpaniel big with puppies, left her mat in the corner of the chamber, and came towards his Highneſs crouching, wagging her tail, licking his feet, and offering him her little affectionate careſſes. He wore white ſtockings; and whether it was that ZARA put up her paws on his white ſtockings, or whether it was that he has an averſion to dogs, I know not, but he took her by the neck, and, extending his arm from the window, let the little mother drop on the iron ſpikes of the railing, where ſhe was impaled immediately.
[Page 120] WHILE ſhe was writhing and howling in her anguiſh, the firſt Prince of the Blood looked at her with great ſatisfaction, ſnapping his fingers, and crying out, in a fondling tone of voice, from the window, ‘Come here, little ZARA! What are you doing there, you gipſey! Come to me; come to your maſter, huſſey!’ and ſo on, in that ſort of coaxing tone which we uſe to little dogs when we want to trifle with them.
THE Commentators of the Poet SHAKPAR, (the CORNEILLE of ENGLAND) direct the reader to admire the following trait in the part of BRUTUS, the principal character in [Page 121] the Tragedy of JULIUS CAESAR.— BRUTUS ſitting at midnight in his tent, juſt before the Battle of Philippi, obſerves one of his attendants, who had been playing on the lute to him, juſt dropping aſleep over the inſtrument. He riſes, takes it from his lap without awakening him, ſaying at the ſame time, in a very gentle tone of voice, ‘If thou doſt nod, thou'lt break thy inſtrument.’— This little touch, the critics tell us, diſcovers wonderfully well the good diſpoſition and natural benignity of BRUTUS' character.
IT is not neceſſary, I ſuppoſe, by a long diſſertation, to diſplay to the obſerver the difference between the Aſſaſſin [Page 122] of JULIUS CAESAR and of LOUIS CAPET, and how much the FRENCHMAN ſurpaſſes the ROMAN in grandeur of ſoul and dignity of ſentiment.
I DINE AT THE PALAIS ROYAL.— CHARACTER OF THE DUKE IN HIS ABSENCE BY ROBESPIERRE.—RECEIVE MY INSTRUCTIONS.—THE DUKE DISCONTENTED WITH THE KING AND QUEEN.—JUST CAUSE FOR BEING SO.—HIS MOST SERENE HIGHNESS GETS DRUNK.
NEVER forgetting MENTOR'S ſage maxim, that the outſide ought not to be neglected, I paid moſt particular attention to my dreſs before I made my entrance at the palace. I waſhed my hands and face; a hairdreſſer [Page 124] finiſhed my red locks with great taſte, three ſerious curls and two flutterers at each ſide; my white ſilk ſtockings were darned only in two or three places, and theſe hardly viſile; I hired a clean ſhirt, and a complete ſuit of clothes, in Frippery-ſtreet—and thus equipped, with a noble air, I preſented myſelf at the palace.
"AH! ah!" cried he, ‘my dear friend, you look wonderfully well. If you had no face at all, or any other [Page 125] face but that which you have, upon my honour! the women would pull caps for you. What! curled, powdered, ſilk ſtockings, a clean ſhirt, and a ſword by your ſide! By the word of a gentleman! you might ſit for your picture: but you don't, perhaps, know, that to that face, ſuch as it is, you are indebted for the partiality of his Highneſs.— The Prince ſaw you by accident in the Tuilleries, and your appearance immediately faſcinated him. I was as uſual at his ſide, and took the opportunity of giving him an account of your adventures ſo advantageouſly for you, that from that moment he reſolved to have you upon his liſt. But mark me; before he [Page 126] comes in, let me give you a ſhort ſketch of his real character; for, without that chart before your eyes, you may not be able to ſteer the veſſel into her harbour.’
WE ſat down, and MENTOR thus reſumed the ſubject: ‘MY Lord has as much politeneſs as man can have, and in every thing ſuperficial is perfectly a gentleman. He is preciſely the very reverſe of a turtle, whoſe impenetrable outſide covers the ſoft meat within, for he is as inſenſible to every feeling of humanity as a tyger of Africa.— He is prodigal without generoſity, a niggard without oeconomy, timid [Page 127] without caution, and raſh without courage. Good ſenſe (of which he has but a very ſlender portion) ſeldom is his director. He ſees things not by the light of reaſon, but through the medium of his paſſions and prejudices. His model is his anceſtor the DUKE OF ORLEANS who was Regent in the late King's minority. The Regent was fond of women; his Highneſs is as incontinent as TARQUIN.— The Regent ſometimes loved a jovial glaſs; his Highneſs is drunk conſtantly.—The Regent liked mixed company; his Highneſs keeps open houſe for all the ſcum and rabble of the kingdom; and ſo in every thing elſe. He reſembles [Page 128] him in all his weakneſſes and ill qualities, in not one of the good, and only imitates in outréeing the prototype. He has neither the ſpirit, the genius, nor the good natural diſpoſition of his anceſtor. He reſembles him, in ſhort, as a great Flemiſh Draught-horſe is like a fleet, high-mettled Arabian Courſer; both are horſes, and there ends the ſimilitude. He loves flattery to an extravagance, and particularly to be flattered for what he does not poſſeſs, extenſive views, and the profound ſcience of Politics, in which laſt he is perpetually outwitted.— He will be, or I am greatly miſtaken, the dupe of his own ambition; for he meditates a number of bold undertakings, [Page 129] and is deſtitute at the ſame time of every quality of the mind which might poſſibly give him a chance of ſucceeding in them. However, he is a good milch-cow, and we will not be tired of holding the pail till he is tired of letting us milk him. He has loaded me with favours and benefits, and you may ſee, my dear COUTEAU! I ſpeak of his character with the amiable partiality of a friend penetrated with the deepeſt ſenſe of obligations.— Make then a little abatement on account of this partiality which I have juſt mentioned, and you will then be exactly in a poſition to form a candid eſtimate of the DUKE my [Page 130] patron: but no more, for here comes his Highneſs.’
‘THIS is to bear your charges in Dublin,’ ſays he. ‘I have not confined you in your expences; [Page 131] only take care not to exceed tho ſum mentioned, without acquainting me with the occaſion by letter. If you ſhould find it neceſſary to hire ſome reſolute fellows to aſſaſſinate the Lord Lieutenant, or Chancellor, or any other great officer of ſtate, you ſhall have a particular credit for the purpoſe, or for any other of that ſort; but proviſions for occurrences of this nature are not contained in that letter, which is only meant for every day's current occaſions. But dinner is ready; we will talk of buſineſs at table.’
WE ſat down. O Idol of APICIUS! O Genius of Gormandizing! what an [Page 132] entertainment for two ſcoundrels, and a debauched Deſcendant of Royalty! The ſenſuality of a Conclave of Cardinals muſt have allowed it was excellent. Such ſoupes! ſuch ragouts! ſuch patés! ſuch a deſſert! and ſuch variety of delicious wines!
THE DUKE'S appetite was no diſgrace to the Houſe of BOURBON, and he drank like a true Prince of the Blood Royal. At every bumper his heart began more and more to open, and in proportion his folly to expand itſelf. What platitudes on his part, and what eulogiums upon ours! The conteſt ſeemed to be, whether his Highneſs ſhould be moſt dull, or we moſt flattering; our compliments were [Page 133] exactly in an inverſe ratio to his merit; but as his Highneſs had little more to do than to geſticulate his acknowledgments, and we had the labour of furniſhing the matter for them; as he was but paſſive, and we active in the ſcene, much the moſt troubleſome part in the piece fell upon our ſhoulders.
THE heat of wine and adulation having at laſt ſoftened his heart to a ſtate of fuſion, out it ran in a ſtream of indiſcreet confidence as follows: FRIEND COUTEAU! ſays he, ‘without doubt, you don't believe in GOD?’ [Page 134] "GOD forbid," anſwered I, with vivacity; ‘I know no Divinity except your Highneſs.’ "GOOD," returned he; ‘but it is not enough to be an Atheiſt yourſelf, you muſt endeavour to make others ſo. We have not any greater enemy than the Chriſtian Religion. It teaches men to be juſt, grateful, compaſſionate, honeſt, content with their condition, loyal, and I know not how many other weakneſſes utterly incompatible with the new philoſophy of which I profeſs myſelf a confirmed diſciple.’ [Page 135] "YOUR Highneſs," ſays I, ‘ſpeaks with too much modeſty; you are an Apoſtle.’
BY agreement we then drank in a bumper, on our knees, the memory of SPINOSA. The DUKE then, helping himſelf largely to ſome perigord pye, went on thus: ‘As a cook before he makes a fricandeau, a collar, or a paſty, takes the bones out to form it to his taſte and render it plaſtic, ſo we muſt try to unbone the human heart of all religion, before it will receive kindly the form which it is our intereſt to give it.’
[Page 136] THE Nephew of DAMIEN and myſelf aſſured him upon this, with equal truth and ſolemnity, that we never had the moſt diſtant idea of any religion whatſoever; nor did we know, or had we heard of a ſingle perſon who pretended to it; the KING, perhaps, might be an exception; but his imbecility was notorious. I added, with a well-urned compliment, that the example of one great man like his Highneſs, was likely to do more good than the books of twenty VOLTAIRES and MIRABEAUS, with all their parts, their zeal, and their learning. Thus ſatisfied on the article of our infidelity, the Prince proceeded: [Page 137] ‘YOU muſt know, friend COUTEAU, that we have determined to leave in FRANCE neither GOD nor Gentleman. Every thing, I think, promiſes to be topſy-turvy, and ſo much the better. You ſee in your Landlord, my worthy fellows! the man in all FRANCE moſt incenſed againſt his Sovereign, and who, perhaps, has the beſt juſtification for being ſo, and you ſhall hear my reaſon. IF I have any weakneſs, it is my paſſion for women: it muſt be allowed they are delicious creatures. I always wiſh I had a hundred mouths to kiſs, as many arms to claſp them, and a houſe ten times [Page 138] as large as the Palais Royal to entertain them in. Our Queen MARY ANTOINETTE is certainly a moſt deſirable piece of incarnation. Her ſhape, her freſhneſs, her neck, her ivory arms, her beautiful legs—in ſhort, the whole object taken together ſet me on fire, and I concluded ſhe would be an eaſy conqueſt, for ſhe was always chearful, and conſtantly in the greateſt flow of ſpirits. After her marriage, I paid my court to her with great aſſiduity, and ogled her without mercy.—One day I found her by accident quite alone at TRIANON, ſitting in an eaſy chair, and knotting. I threw myſelf at her feet in a tranſport, avowed my paſſion, and, after proteſting [Page 139] that I entertained the moſt profoundly-reſpectful ſentiments of her virtue, I concluded by ſwearing fervently that I could never enjoy an hour's happineſs without the dear hope of paſſing the remainder of my extatic life in her celeſtial arms. To tell the truth, ſhe appeared a good deal ſurpriſed at the declaration.—She puſhed back her chair a little, and, with a ſort of ſtately air, juſt uttered theſe few words: "So, I ſee your Highneſs gets intoxicated in the morning!" for I was always drunk after dinner. Up I bounced, ſeized her in my arms, and, before ſhe could prevent it, forced a kiſs from her. The breath of CYTHEREA was not ſweeter. She repulſed [Page 140] me ſteadily, the colour mounted to her cheeks, and tears ſtood trembling in her eyes, and juſt at this critical moment in walked his Majeſty. Seeing the QUEEN ſo diſcompoſed, and my Highneſs half aſhamed ened, "What is the meaning of all this?" ſays "Royalty. "Turn out that Ruffian," replied the QUEEN, and walked out of the chamber. "What!" cries the KING, "make love to my wife, villain! Be gone, and never dare again to appear in my preſence. BY this time I was a little recovered, ſo I reſolved to put a good face on the matter, and, in a ſort of rallying tone, "Good faith, Couſin," [Page 141] ſays I, "here's a great deal ſaid, and very little done. If you are reſolved to baniſh every one who would wiſh to prevent your monopolizing that pretty MARY of yours, you will ſoon have the comfort of a moſt agreeable ſolitude here at your little TRIANON." He madeno other anſwer to this pleaſantry than giving me a great kick in the breech, which made me bounce out of the room like a pellet out of a pop-gun. SINCE that time I have hardly thought of any thing but their deſtruction, and I ſee it advancing with haſty ſtrides at this moment. The QUEEN's eſtrangement, and the recollection of that vile kick in [Page 142] the breech, have embittered all my enjoyments. My ſhame ſhall be waſhed out in their blood. The thunder grumbles in the air, and ſoon will fall to cruſh them. Our Countrymen, accuſtomed to intercourſe with the AMERICANS, talk the language of theſe Republicans, without underſtanding heir principles; and Redreſs of Grievances is now become the idea moſt in faſhion. My agents are every where, and never fail to traduce the KING and QUEEN as the principal cauſe of all the People's ſufferings, to deſcribe the Nobility and Clergy as their mortal enemies, and the DUKE OF ORLEANS alone as their ſupport, their protector, and true friend.— [Page 143] The Finances beſides are in as fine a ſtate of diſorder as could be wiſhed, and all this working together muſt infallibly conduct me to the Throne.’
AT length by the dint of wine, politics, and prophecy, his Highneſs' head was entirely overturned, and down he ſunk in his eaſy chair, ſpeechleſs and inſenſible. The noiſe of his ſnoring, which ſhook the dining-room, gave us the firſt notice of the retreat of his underſtanding.
[Page 144] His gold ſnuff-box ſet with diamonds lay upon the table before him, and I was furiouſly tempted to take poſſeſſion of it; but MENTOR diverted me from the intention, proving, by a ſyllogiſm in Barbara, that the theft might be a hanging matter, and the detection inevitable. My reaſon, but not my will, agreed with him, and I relinquiſhed all future hopes of that amiable ſnuff-box with deep regret, multa gemens, as ORPHEUS was obliged to reſign his beloved EURYDICE at the borders of Tartarus, or as a ſetting-dog at the call of his maſter leaves the half-mumbled partridge in the plains of Chantilly. "Farewel!" ſays I, "farewel! too charming ſnuff-box!" So ſaying, I ſtole out of the apartment [Page 145] on tiptoe, leaving the drunken landlord in his arm-chair to ſnore himſelf ſober, and dream at his eaſe of Thrones, Revolutions, and Popularity.
I SAIL FROM DUNKIRK TO DUBLIN IN A MERCHANT-SHIP.—SECURE. A GOOD BED ON BOARD.—EASY METHOD OF DOING IT.—DESCRIPTION OF THE BAY OF DUBLIN.—OF THE CITY.—PLEASED TO SEE SO FEW SPIRES AND STEEPLES.—LORD CHARLEMOUNT'S LIBRARY.—ADMIRE IT MUCH.—STEAL HIS LORDSHIP'S WATCH.—DINE WITH MY BANKERS.—MISS MUSHI JUDAS SINGS AND PLAYS ON THE JEW'S TRUMP.—THE THEATRE.—PLEASANT BEHAVIOUR OF THE UPPERGALLERY. —EXTRAORDINARY BEAUTY OF THE IRISH LADIES.
I WISHED much to take leave of MARAT, that is, to get drunk with him, before I left PARIS; but it could [Page 147] not be, he was again in the Salpétriere, to which he had been recommitted in five days after he had been diſcharged from it. The SWISS are ſaid to have a diſeaſe called the pining after their country; my PYLADES might be ſaid to pine for the inſide of a priſon.
THOUGH there is not, perhaps, any ſet of men in the community ſo much addicted to parade, ſhow, and flutter, as the Members of the Diplomatic Body, I thought proper to avoid all oſtentation in my preparations for my embaſſy.
OBSERVE all Ambaſſadors, Plenipotentiaries, or Envoys. When they return from their public character abroad, their equipage and dreſs are [Page 148] more gaudy. They diſplay a great deal of gilding and lace, more than you meet with among their equals. My Lord Ambaſſador ſquares his elbows, ſcrapes his feet more againſt the floor, thruſts his perſon more fully into your face; in ſhort, he muſters up the whole turkey and peacock in his deportment, and is, in appearance, a man of greater conſequence than many of ſuperior pretenſions who ſtand in the ſame circle with him, but have not happened to purſue the ſame line with him in their progreſs through the world.— Gentry, in ſhort, of this feather are perpeually in a ſtate of declared war againſt nature and ſimplicity. All this may undoubtedly ſpring from a laudable jealouſy of not being overlooked at [Page 149] foreign courts, or from a deſire of doing honour to the country they repreſent; but, in general, it is rather to be imputed to their perſonal pride, than their public-ſpirited patriotiſm. When men's actions and conduct will bear two conſtructions, one good and the other bad, he who does not aſcribe them to the latter muſt be indeed a novice in human nature.
As to myſelf, I had very ſenſible reaſons for avoiding all ſort of oſtentation in the preparations for my embaſſy; my credentials being only to the Houghers and United Iriſhmen, I had no right to expect to be received in a public character by the whole IRISH nation.
[Page 150] EQUIPPING myſelſ only with a ſmall quantity of linen, a ſecond ſuit of cloaths for gala days in a portmanteau, and a gard-vin well filled with coniac brandy, eau de Noyau, parfait amour, and other ſtrong cordials, I took poſt from PARIS, and on the fourth day arrived without any accident at DUNKIRK.
A MERCHANT-SHIP, bound for DUBLIN, was juſt ready to ſet ſail; and I embarked immediately. I found the veſſel crowded with paſſengers who had got on board before me. From this circumſtance I was in danger of being without a bed during the whole paſſage, which calms or contrary winds might make long and tedious. But I [Page 151] am of a temper rather to get the better of an inconvenience, than to complain of it.
AMONG a number of boobies who were on board, an overgrown middle-aged Smuggler, of moſt inſufferable ſtupidity, attracted my notice. He blundered out whatever nonſenſe happened to come uppermoſt, told dull ſtories and laughed at them perpetually, and drank like a camel preparing to paſs the Deſart of ARABIA. He had an excellent bed. I ſoon made an acquaintance with him. Opening my dram-cheſt, I invited him in a bumper to drink ‘Confuſion to all Cuſtom-houſe Officers,’ and in another we drank "Proſperity to Smuggling."
[Page 152] In order to finiſh him compleatly, I filled him a half-pint glaſs of parfait amour to his own good health; then, perceiving that his head and his heels began to ſtagger, I courteouſly invited him to take a turn or two upon the deck, aſſuring him he would be greatly refreſhed by it. I helped him immediately up the gang-way; then, drawing him towards the gun-wale, with the firſt heel the ſhip made, I puſhed him head foremoſt into the ſea, where he was ſwallowed up for ever.
WHEN I was certain that it was too late to fiſh him up again, I told the Sailors of his misfortune, pretending to be concerned for it: I then took poſſeſſion of his bed, where I ſlept ſoundly, [Page 153] and in great comfort, for the remainder of our voyage to DUBLIN. The inconceivable anguiſh which paſſengers on board ſuffer from the rolling of the ſhip, having (as Mr. VOLTAIRE ſays) all the humours of the human frame thus violently forced out of their natural channels, made me at times a little peeviſh; but, having a good bed, and my mind entirely at eaſe, I thought I had no great right to complain much about ſo ſmall a matter. He who has preſence of mind may be truly faid to poſſeſs a treaſure.
OUR voyage laſted near a fortnight, and, but for the happy expedient which I have juſt before related, there might I have been lying, ſtretched on the floor [Page 154] of the cabin, with my head, perhaps, ſupported by a hard trunk or a baſket, while a pitiful Smuggler lay ſnoring at his eaſe, within a few yards of the never-enough-to-be-reſpected Ambaſſador of his Moſt Serene Highneſs.
MUCH has been ſaid of the beauty of the Bay of DUBLIN; and to ſpeak truth, it is not eaſy to ſay more of it than it deſerves. In fine weather, the ſea looks like a great lake of a tranſparent blue colour, neither too contracted nor too extenſive. The country round, particularly towards the county of WICKLOW, forms a magnificent amphitheatre of hills and mountains riſing gradually above each other; the tops of ſome of them ſeeming to pierce the [Page 155] clouds like pyramids, the ſides of others ſwelled into beautiful boſoms, then gently waving off, and expanded at laſt into ſoft green vallies, which detain and captivate the eye with the moſt delicious freſhneſs and verdure. On their ſlopes, and in the bottoms, you ſee villas and ſummer-houſes without number, adorned all about with flowering ſhrubs, and ſheltered with young plantations. Old trees, or of a very large growth, are not common.— There is very where cultivation without formality, and rural wildneſs without ſavageneſs or horror. The forms of theſe hills, mountains, and vallies, ſo diverſified and ſo engaging, the ſea like a great lake, the promontory of HOWTH at the entrance of the Bay on [Page 156] one, ſide, the ſmall town of CLONTARF, and ſeveral other objects (could they be all together collected in a ſingle picture), would form, undoubtedly, one of the moſt delightful landſcapes imaginable.
THE City of DUBLIN, though of very great extent, yet ſeen from the Bay, or from any eminence, preſents nothing noble or beautiful to the eye of the beholder; and this proceeds entirely from the deficiency of towers, ſpires, and ſteeples. Of theſe I could count I think but two.
I WILL not heſitate to affirm, that the largeſt city in the univerſe, with the moſt ſpacious and regular ſtreets, the moſt uniform houſes, the public [Page 157] buildings in the moſt grand ſtyle, as are thoſe of DUBLIN, nay, allowing them to be all conſtructed of poliſhed marble, but deſtitute of ſteeples, ſpires, and towers, will never make a ſtriking object of viſion, or fill the eye of a ſpectator who looks at it from a diſtant view, and conſiders it only as a component part of a picture.
BESIDES the beauty which ariſes from a diverſified ſurface, without the aid of certain objects elevated above it, the ſpace occupied appears much leſs than the reality; and for theſe reaſons the ſea is never ſeen to ſuch advantage as when covered with ſhipping; and we are always deceived in our conjectures as to the breadth of an [Page 158] unbroken expanſe of water, the menſuration conſtantly proving it to be conſiderably greater than was imagined before the experiment.
I FELT the moſt lively ſatisfaction in conſidering the paucity of theſe ſtructures; for as erections of this kind generally belong to temples and churches, I immediately concluded that the inhabitants had little or no religion, and that if they were as indifferent to the interior of worſhip as they ſeemed to be to the outſide, atheiſm, and the enlightened impiety of our new Philoſophy, would ſoon make a thriving progreſss among them. The God of Cards and Dice has a Temple, called DALY's, dedicated to his honour [Page 159] in DUBLIN, much more magnificent than any Temple to be found in that City dedicated to the God of the Univerſe.
THE appearance of the Mob, who ſwarm on the Quays and block up the paſſages to the City, delighted me greatly. Covered with rags and dirt, without breeches, ſhirts, or ſhoes, full of animal ſpirits, and the ſpirit of whiſkey, "Aye! aye!" ſays I, ‘here is the true ſtuff for Reformers! What a felicity muſt it be to live under a Conſtitution of their modelling!’
ON advancing further into the City, and ſeeing every thing ſo different, my [Page 160] ſpirits ſunk in proportion. Appearances were changed entirely: large ſtreets, ſhops well furniſhed with all ſorts of commodities, creditable houſes, an excellent foot-way, public buildings (churches excepted) all magnificent, and handſome carriages rolling along, filled with modeſt and moſt beautiful ladies. Alas! thought I, this does not look like the work of my Reformers; the Gentry, I fear, have got the beſt end of the ſtaff in this Capital: but, with the help of the Devil, let us never deſpair of any thing.
ALTHOUGH the houſes in general, and particularly in the new ſtreets, are well finiſhed, chearful, and commodious, there are not many hotels in [Page 161] DUBLIN of very extraordinary magnitude. Leinſter Houſe however is very noble, and has more the air of a palace than any Hotel in Paris. Charlemount Houſe is very ſtriking, (though not near ſo large as the former) from the beauty of the architecture.
IN this Houſe there is an apartment called the Library, which, from the collection of books, and the ſtyle of the ornaments, would do honour to the taſte of a Prince. I could not look at them without wiſhing it had been poſſible for me to have ſtolen half of them; but, alas! I had only the merit of feeling the inclination, for the thing was impracticable. His Lordſhip's gold watch lay by accident upon a [Page 162] table, and, to make myſelf ſome recompence for my other fruitleſs wiſhes, I ſlipped it into my pocket, and then went away, making a thouſand bows and acknowledgments to the footman who held the door in his hand for me. I kept the watch ſome time, as a pleaſing token to remind me of that beautiful Library, and of the moſt reſectable Nobleman who is the owner of it.
ON the day of my entry into DUBLIN, I dined with Meſſieurs HEROD and JUDAS, my Bankers. They received me very politely, and, after ſeveral Jewiſh ceremonies which I regarded as little as if they had been Chriſtian, they invited me to a family dinner. [Page 163] The company conſiſted of myſelf, the two Bankers, Mrs. JUDAS, and Miſs MUSHI JUDAS, her daughter. The worſhipful Mr. HEROD was a bachelor. We dined heartily upon Paſchal lamb and unleavened bread, and at every third mouthful drank "Confuſion to Chriſtianity."
AT my requeſt (for I did not then know the conſequence) that Miſs MUSHI would favour the company with a ſong, ſhe immediately began to ſquall out a moſt tedious and lamentable Canticle, longer than half of DEUTERONOMY; and, to complete the diſcord, ſhe every now and then clapped a confounded Jew's trump between [Page 164] her black teeth, from whence ſhe thumped out ſuch a ſucceſſion of iron ſounds as were never before heard ſince the Babyloniſh Captivity.
I INTENDED toogle her all the time; but, unfortunately, my ſquint turned all the tenderneſs to the mother, who ſat oppoſite to her. This brought on a profuſion of deteſtable compliments from that old Iſraelite, who among the reſt told me, that if Bloody-bridge had any charms for me, the family hoped they ſhould ſee me often. The ladies then retired, and my Gemini of Hebrews, with their gueſt, toſſed off two bottles each of excellent Lachryma Chriſti before we thought of riſing.
[Page 165] A PARTY to the Play-houſe was then propoſed, and we walked off together. I ſecured a place between the two Children of Circumciſion, in the centre of the pit, from whence I could conveniently ſee both the ſpectacle and the ſpectators.
BEFORE the riſing of the curtain, the proceedings of the Upper-Gallery gave me infinite entertainment. Their cries and howlings were more furious and diſſonant than a troop of pent-up wolves. Now and then they dropped down emptied bottles on the company of the Pit, and yet not above three or four ſkulls at moſt were broken by them; then they flung chewed apples and orange peels at the boxes, and upon [Page 166] the Stage: they frequently made the Ladies bluſh, and the Beaus tremble, hiſſing or clapping them juſt as the fancy was uppermoſt, and ſometimes giving them ludicrous nick-names, which were well underſtood, and in general very characteriſtical. In ſhort, it was conſummately pleaſant to obſerve how miſerable they made all the decent-looking people in the Theatre.
THE Play to be acted, as the Bills informed us, was a Tragedy, but the greateſt part of the Actors ſeemed not to have been admitted into that ſecret. They appeared entirely unconſcious and unconnected with the buſineſs going forward, and to aſſume no ſort of reſponſibility for the pathetic incidents [Page 167] exhibired before the audience. Had it not been for the energy of one performer, for the frequent uſe of the dagger towards the cataſtrophe, and, above all, for the ſympathy of ſome young ladies in the boxes, I might have retired from the Play-houſe without knowing whether I ought to have left my mirth or my tears behind me.
THE beauty of the LADIES of IRELAND is perfectly enchanting. The peaſant girls of ENGLAND are in general much prettier than thoſe of the ſame claſs in this Country, but the LADIES here are full as handſome as ENGLISH Ladies, and no ſtyle of beauty can exceed them. O God of Love! O Mother of the Graces! what ſhapes! [Page 168] what complexions! what features! what attractions! While I looked at them, I doubted for near the length of half a ſcene whether, had it been neceſſary, I could have cut all their throats in cold blood, and as a gentleman ought to do.
BUT this was not the worſt; let me avow my ſhame—would it had ended there. Seeing the ſweetneſs of their looks, the angelic ſerenity of their countenances, and their bewitching ſenſibility, I for a moment entertained the mean ſuſpicion that there might be ſomething real in innocence and virtue, and that theſe fair creatures, without a ſpark of heroiſm in their compoſition, and little verſed as they were in our new [Page 169] faſhionable philoſophy, might, perhaps, enjoy as much internal ſatisfaction, as much ſolid contentment as even I could boaſt of. But this weakneſs was of no long duration—a moment's reflection baniſhed it. My breaſt recovered its uſual firmneſs, and I ſoon became again the worthy Ambaſſador of his Highneſs to the Houghers and United Iriſhmen.
I MIGHT, no doubt, have ſpared myſelf the ſhame of theſe humiliating Confeſſions, but I promiſed to deal candidly with the reader, ſo I mean to conceal nothing from him. He may not, perhaps, find in this book the eloquence of the Citizen of Geneva, but he will find at leaſt his ſincerity.
DISAPPOINTED IN FINDING NO HOUGHERS, AND FEW UNITED IRISHMEN.—ACCOUNT OF THESE GENTLEMEN.—THE EVENING-POST. —PATRIOTISM OF THAT PAPER. —WRITE A SPIRITED ESSAY.— TRIED FOR IT.—MY ACCOUNT OF THE TRIAL IN THE EVENING-POST. —ALIBI-MAN DESCRIBED.— WIN A WAGER.—KILL A POLICEMAN. —OBLIGED TO FLY.—TAKE A PATHETIC LEAVE OF DUBLIN.
GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS, King of the Goths, who, mounted on his little white mare, was [Page 171] killed by a muſket-ſhot at the Battle of Lutzen, but not till after he had received another wound which, as his heavy-headed hiſtorian HARTE tells us, made him "decline from the perpendicular," —this good King uſed to ſay, among other wife ſayings, that ‘we ſee things better with our own eyes than with thoſe of other people.’ To this truth I fully ſubſeribe, in my capaity of Ambaſſador to the Houghers and United Iriſhmen.
IN a country containing near four million of inhabitants, and where the loweſt claſs of people are ſo much addicted to idleneſs and drinking whiſkey, who would not have expected to find at leaſt one hundred thouſand [Page 172] gallant deſperadoes under the two denominations before-mentioned? But mark the fact. As to the former, that enemy to all heroiſm the gallows had taken off ſome of them, and the fear of it diſcouraging the reſt, that nurſery of Reformers was rooted up, and exiſted no longer. As to the latter, I could find but about five or fix who had any fixed habitation, and theſe, men in no eſteem, and of no ſort of conſequence; the reſt were poor bankrupt ſhopkeepers, or idle fellows picked up in the ſtreets to be paraded through them on particular occaſions, with a drum beating, and a fife whiſtling ſomething like a march before them. A red or a blue coat was clapped upon their backs, and a muſket on their ſhoulders, [Page 173] for the purpoſe of the day. After getting drunk with their officers at ſome alehouſe in the ſuburbs, in the evening the red coat and the firelock were taken from them, they received thirteen-pence and a kick in the breech, and ſo ended the campaign and the patriotiſm. Theſe I found were but the miſerable dregs and refuſe of the real VOLUNTEERS of IRELAND, who had for ſome time laid down their arms, and who indeed conſiſted of the moſt reſpectable gentry in the kingdom.
ALL this I mentioned in a confidential letter to the Nephew of DAMIEN, but with a ſtrict injunction that he ſhould not communicate a word of [Page 174] the truth to his Highneſs, but keep him in his error, that I might be kept in my appointment; for I apprehended that my patron, who loved his money, would not chuſe the continuance of a conſiderable expence merely to improve my mind and manners by foreign travel.
THE DUKE, it ſeems, depended for his intelligence upon one of the DUBLIN Newſpapers, called the EVENING-POST. This was his Gazette and his Goſpel; and though it is only a compilation of groſs miſrepreſentations and falſhoods, he believed in it implicitly. But that indeed is not wonderful, when many who are upon the ſpot do the ſame. It may be conſidered as a ſort [Page 175] of reverſe to the prophecies of CASSANDRA; it never tells truth, and is believed in general.
THE enemies of IRELAND are certainly much obliged to the Editors of that Paper. It is the real ivory gate of intelligence, ‘ falſa [...]ad coelum mittens inſomnia, ’ and you might as well look for facts in the Arabian Nights Entertainments. Many of the good people of ENGLAND (that moſt wiſe and credulous nation) alſo put their truſt in its authenticity; but that is not ſo extraordinary; for though there is a conſtant intercourſe between the two iſlands, and a narrow channel only ſeparates them, the ENGLISH in general know leſs of the true ſtate of [Page 176] IRELAND than of POLAND, or the Empire of CHINA. I myſelf ſaw a reſpectable Merchant of MANCHESTER who came to DUBLIN in much fear, and as he thought in great peril, upon ſome buſineſs of importance which required his preſence, and who ſeemed ſurprized not to find the ſtreets barricadoed, and the whole country in a ſtate of rebellion; for the EVENING-POST told him things would be ſo ſituated in leſs than a fortnight.
EXCELLENT conſequences reſult from this miſrepreſentation on one ſide, and this credulity on the other. The ENGLISHMAN, brave and open in the field, is cautious in the countinghouſe, particularly with men of a [Page 177] certain claſs in IRELAND, who ſeem to think they have a ſort of natural right to outwit him. His caſh gets the cramp when he thinks of ſending it among men who laugh at him, and either remains at home, or goes to a diſtant market, to enrich traders leſs entitled than his neighbours to any advantage from him. It is computed that IRELAND loſes annually at leaſt one hundred thouſand pounds by the patriotiſm of this ſingle Newſpaper.
No engine of miſchief can perform its functions better. It defames all the reſpectable characters of the kingdom, and gives every virtue to the vileſt. It magnifies the failure of every ſpeculating ſtock-jobber into [Page 178] univerſal bankruptcy, and every paltry riot into general inſurrection. The ſpirit of TOM PAINE ſeems to pervade its paragraphs. Every evening it calls the King a Tyrant, and the Parliament a Neſt of corrupt Traitors, bought with the money of the people to betray their intereſt, and ready to ſell themſelves and their poſterity to the Devil, let him but aſſume the likeneſs of a guinea to tempt them. All this and more is accompanied with conſtant complaints that the Preſs has loſt its Freedom, and that in ſuch deſpotic times no man dares to ſpeak or publiſh his ſentiments. It reminded me of a Prieſt I heard preach at Paris againſt the idle vanities of the world, and who the whole time ſeemed to be only intent upon diſplaying [Page 179] to the congregation a diamond ring which he wore upon his little finger.
I LIVED much, as may be ſuppoſed, with the Editors and Friends of this admirable Paper, and now and then enriched it with eſſays and paragraphs well calculated to raiſe a ſpirit in the readers, which might be rewarded by the thanks of Colonel TANDY'S corps, or by an honourable appointment under Chief Juſtice BARRINGTON in the BAY OF BOTANY.
ONE of my Eſſays in particular was ſo uncommonly nervous, that MR. ATTORNEY-GENERAL thought proper to take notice of it. The Editor was ſeized, and immediately gave me [Page 180] up as the Author. I was brought inte Court, and though every man is allowed Counſel, provided he is able to pay for it, having before my eyes neither the ſear of GOD nor of bad Engliſh, I choſe to plead for myſelf.
I URGED in my defence, ‘that I was a Patriot, and in what I publiſhed had only emulated the noble ſpirit which appeared in all the publications contained in the ſame Paper; that I could not conceive that to be an offence which I ſaw done every day with impunity; that, in a free country, I imagined every man had a right to ſpeak and publiſh whatever he thought proper; and, laſtly, that if I had exceeded a little, [Page 181] the motive was good, and my being a ſtranger, I ſuppoſed, would be conſidered as a ſufficient apology.’
THE Court, I muſt acknowledge, behaved with the utmoſt lenity. The Judge very mildly told me, ‘That it was melancholy to conſider how much evil reſulted daily from unreſtrained licentiouſneſs; that the Magiſtrates were always unwilling to exerciſe any rigorous authority with which the ſpirit of a free Conſtitution found it neceſſary to inveſt them; that though the utmoſt liberty of ſentiment and communication was not only permitted but encouraged, yet this was always to be underſtood as being ſubject to ſome [Page 182] decent and neceſſary reſtrictions; and that the good order and peace of the community were not to be diſturbed by the wild and extravagant notions which an individual might happen to entertain of liberty. However, my being a ſtranger, as I had pleaded, might poſſibly have led me into an error; that circumſtance would have weight with the Jury, and he would recommend to them not to find me guilty; hoping at the ſame time that I would be grateful for this lenity, and conduct myſelf for the future with more diſcretion.’
I MADE a bow, was ſuffered to withdraw, and thus ended my trial, of [Page 183] which I ſent out the following account in the ſame Paper next evening: ‘ON Tueſday, between the hours of ten and eleven in the forenoon, ſix Police-men broke into the houſe of the Editor of the EVENING-POST, and (by virtue of a warrant) carried off that gentleman, thus torn from the arms of his helpleſs family, together with a moſt reſpectable foreigner, Mr. JAMES BAPTISTE COUTEAU, who was ſitting at breakfaſt with him. They were not ſuffered to go into a coach, but dragged through the kennel in ſight of their indignant and inſulted fellow-citizens, and in this condition thruſt into the Dock of the Court [Page 184] of King's Bench, unprepared for any ſort of defence, to take their trial for a libel. THE Judge behaved in the moſt indecent manner, foaming at the mouth, loading them with the moſt abuſive language, charging the Jury to find them guilty, and ſwearing that the Court would take care to ſentence them to perpetual impriſonment. Out of reſpect to the Court we forbear to enter more into particulars. The worthy Jury, however, did their duty, and acquitted them, to the infinite mortification of the Judges, and the inexpreſſible ſatisfaction of all preſent, the Bench excepted. The Hall [Page 185] rung with applauſes, the diſcharged Priſoners were conducted home amidſt the ſhouts and acclamations of their fellow-citizens, the Judges' carriages were broke to pieces as they returned to their houſes; and they would probably have loſt their lives, but for the aſſiſtance of the military, who appeared juſt in time to ſave them from the fury of the juſtly-incenſed populace. WE hear a ſubſcription is opened to raiſe a ſtatue in plaiſter of Paris, to be placed three ſteps above that of Dr. LUCAS, on the ſtairs leading to the Exchange Coffee-houſe, the inſcription to be ſimply this:— [Page 186] Public Gratitude erected it to JAMES BAPTISTE COUTEAU, Patriot, and Citizen of the Univerſe. Citizens! to arms! ’
AN unforeſeen event prevented my knowing the end of this buſineſs, and how the Court puniſhed this aggravated offence againſt its dignity. I might have had this ſatisfaction without running any hazard, as I had previouſly ſecured two Alibi-men (Doers, as it is called, of the Paper), to bear me harmleſs ſo the penalty would have fallen upon the Editor.
[Page 187] AN Alibi-man is an honeſt Citizen, always to be found by the petty-foggers of ENGLAND and IRELAND, who extricates you immediately from the danger of a proſecution, by ſwearing falſely upon the holy Goſpels to ſome circumſtance, commonly of locality, which makes it appear impoſſible you ſhould be guilty of the crime you have committed, and of which you ſtand ſpecifically indicted. The Alibi-man is applied to many good purpoſes, particularly to that of ſaving highwaymen; above half of theſe gentlemen eſcaping on their trials by an Alibi.— His organs of ſight have this peculiar property, he never ſees you where you are, and always ſees you where you are not. In ſhort, without ſtirring [Page 188] from his cellar or garret, he can, if neceſſary, identify you at thirty leagues diſtance, and ſo circumſtantially that he leaves no doubt of his veracity on the minds of his hearers. ROBESPIERRE, at my recommendation, invited over a little colony of them to ſettle at Paris; they have multiplied there greatly, and on many occaſions we found them extremely ſerviceable. They live chiefly upon rice ſome days before they ſwear they have not ſeen you where you are, and uſe a good deal of cephalic ſnuff before they ſwear to have ſeen you where you was not; thus finding ingeniouſly a ſalvo for their conſciences in the qualities of theſe two vegetables, which re ſuppoſed to blunt and ſharpen the viſual [Page 189] faculty. They ſay, and juſtly, that if there be any thing to blame, it muſt be imputed to the rice and ſnuff, and not to any deficiency in their notions of moral rectitude.
A WAGER which I won, but was never paid, occaſioned my leaving Dublin abruptly. My Alibi friends were much employed in endeavouring to write down the new Police Eſtabliſhment, ſubſtituted inſtead of the old Pariſh Watch, which had been formerly the nocturnal Guard of the City.
THIS Watch, as it was called, conſiſted of decrepid old men, who ſlept generally the beſt part of the night in [Page 190] a wooden centry-box, and when they happened to be awake, crawled about, diſturbing the repoſe of perſons who had a right to be aſleep, by thumping againſt the ſtreet-door with the end of their poles, and howling out the hour in a kind of ominous voice, which ſeemed to be compoſed of the melody of the aſs, the owl, and the raven. So far from imparting any idea of ſecurity to Houſekeepers by this ſort of noiſy vigilance, they only reminded them, in caſe of danger, how little they were to be depended upon. The Police pretty well anſwered the purpoſe for which they were eſtabliſhed, and their being beſides countenanced by the Government and Magiſtrates were ſufficient reaſons for [Page 191] the Doers of the EVENING-POST to carry on hoſtilities againſt them.
Two or three of theſe gentlemen deſcribing them to me as a formidable guard, able-bodied men, armed with a firelock and bayonet, I laid a bowl of punch againſt twenty folio volumes of the EVENING-POST, which they aſſured me was a great curioſity, and the only collection of that Paper extant, that I would that night kill one of theſe bugbears, and ſleep unmoleſted afterwards, and they might be eye-witneſſes of it. After a few glaſſes of brandy, at the Cap of Liberty, in Fetter-lane, we left our liquor to determine the wager.
[Page 192] ON one of the quays I came cloſe up to one of the nightly Guard. I aſked him what was the hour, and while he was looking up at the moon, which perhaps he miſtook for the ſun, to give me an anſwer, I ſtruck my dagger into his throat, and down he tumbled. His ſtation happened to be near the corner of a ſtreet; the noiſe of his arms clattering on the pavement made five or ſix paſſengers haſten towards the ſpot, who, ſeeing the dead body, immediately roared out, "Police" and "Murder".
As my two Alibi companions had not perhaps lately prepared themſelves with rice or cephalic ſnuff, I thought it ſafer to truſt to my heels than to their teſtimony. With the ſpeed [Page 193] which fear and ſelf-preſervation lent me, I ſoon outſtripped my purſuers. I ran along the quays, and luckily found a boat juſt ready to put off with a few paſſengers, who were to be conveyed down the river to a trading veſſel which was at the moment, with a gentle breeze in her favour, ſailing out of the harbour.
I SOON mounted to the deck, and, like MARY STUART while the coaſt of FRANCE receded from her view, looking back upon DUBLIN, "Farewell, ſays I, ‘dear City! with thy good-natured gentry, thy noble public buildings, and thy beautiful ladies; with thy low-back'd cars inſtead of waggons; thy five coffeehouſes; [Page 194] thy two ſteeples, and not one church handſome enough for the meaneſt of thy ſuburbs. Adieu, happy DUBLIN! with thy fourteen hundred lawyers (above eight hundred of which are attornies), with thy abundance of proviſions, and thy exorbitant markets! with thy ſhops better furniſhed than thy warehouſes, and thy freſh fiſh floundering in the mud of thy kennels! Farewell! Adieu for ever! I muſt venture; for, probably, I ſhould be hanged only for killing a Policeman.’
REASONS FOR MY REGRET AT LEAVING DUBLIN.—VINDICATION OF MY IMPIETY.—ACCOUNT OF THE CAPTAIN OF THE SHIP'S WEAKNESS. —CERTAIN METHOD OF WINNING AT CARDS.—KINGS AND QUEENS AT CARDS DEPOSED BY THE ADJUTANT-GENERAL.—EXPELLED FROM BOSTON FOR ATTEMPTING TO REFORM IT.
SUCH was the precipitation with which I fled from the hue and cry that purſued me, and ſuch the ſatiſfaction I felt at finding myſelf out of dauger, that our ſhip had made ſeveral [Page 196] leagues at ſea before I thought of aſking where I was to be landed.— Her deſtination it ſeems was for the port of Boſton in AMERICA.
KNOWING that Country was lately become Republican (a form of Government of which I then entertained very favourable, though, as I afterwards found, very erroneous notions), I felt no regret at finding myſelf obliged to pay it an unintended viſit.
THE manner in which I left DUBLIN affected me conſiderably, not from any ſenſe of remorſe at having killed a Police-man—ſuch a trifle could make no impreſſion on me—but the loſs of my appointment was a ſerious matter. [Page 197] I had before me, beſides, the proſpect of an honourable independency, which I was obliged to relinquiſh, by the unlucky iſſue of the accident related in the preceding chapter.
MR. JUDAS my Banker was particularly kind to me. Beſides a general invitation to his houſe, where I was always received like one of the family, his friendſhip I found convenient in ſeveral reſpects; principally, indeed, as it gave me the faireſt opportunity of having an intrigue with his wife, or of running away with his daughter.— The attention ſhewn me by both theſe ladies, much exceeding the ordinary limits of hoſpitable politeneſs, put both eaſily in my power; and though [Page 198] I was ſome time a little perplexed as to an option, I reſolved finally to diſappoint neither. Their perſons being equally diſguſting, a ſingle ſhekel more or leſs on one ſide than the other would have immediately determined my preference. Mrs. JUDAS had a large command of ready money, of which I could always poſſeſs myſelf, either by my own addreſs, or the old lady's fondneſs, and Mr. NEBUCHODONEZER PISGAH, maternal uncle to Miſs MUSHI, had left the young one a conſiderable fortune, in bonds, jewels, pawns, and balm of Gilead, independent of the power of any of the family.
THE partiality the good Banker felt for me originated, in a great meaſure, [Page 199] from a miſtake. He was himſelf a rigid obſerver of the Law of MOSES, and ſoon diſcovering me not to be a Chriſtian, he imagined I was inclined to be a Jew. This is a common error. A man finds you not of the religion of your country, or of that where he happens to meet you, ſo he wrongly concludes that you may be of his, or of ſome other perſuaſion; whereas it would be more reaſonable to ſuppoſe that you are of no religion, Nullius addictus jur are in verba magiſtri.
No man can poſſibly prevent the miſtaken notions which may be formed of him; and though I ſhould be aſhamed to admit any religious ſentiment, I can by no means be anſwerable [Page 200] for what weakneſs others (eſpecially ſuch as don't know me intimately) may think proper to impute to me. Againſt ſuch unfounded calumnies I ſhall not enter into a ſerious vindication, nor ſhall I ſay, as the Engliſh Biſhop WARBURTON to a ſuppoſed defamer of his moral character, Mentiris impudentiſſime; but I ſhall anſwer boldly, ‘Look at my life, and there read your refutation.’— But enough, perhaps, on this ſubject; let me only juſt add, that I have not concealed ſuch weakneſſes as I know are in my nature, but I may ſaſely aſſert that an addiction to any ſort of ſuperſtition or holy reverence was never among the number.
[Page 201] As the veſſel we ſailed in was large, and not crowded with paſſengers, I did not find it neceſſary to diſpoſe of any of them, as I had done of the Smuggler from Dunkirk. The Maſter of the ſhip, an ENGLISHMAN, was a heavy ſort of being, who ſeemed to mind little more than the navigation of the veſſel, keeping her wholeſome, the failors regular, and taking care the paſſengers ſhould be well ſupplied with every thing they had a right to expect from him. I conceived a mean opinion of his underſtanding, from knowing that he read the Bible every morning alone for near a quarter of an hour, and that for more than twice that time the ſhip's company were obliged to liſten to it every Sunday.
[Page 202] I ATTEMPTED to rally him upon this weakneſs, but to no purpoſe. He had ſome whimſical notions about the Bible; ſaid it was his rudder and compaſs; that without it he ſhould not have known in ſteering which was right or wrong, to tack to larboard or ſtarboard; that it was the true log-book, where he kept his ſoul's reckoning; many a chart had failed him, but that never had; and that he verily believed it had more than once ſaved him from drowning.
I OFFERED to lay him a wager, that let him take any man of the ſhip who could not ſwim, and throw him overboard with the Bible tied round his neck, and he would ſoon [Page 203] go to the bottom in ſpite of that amulet. "YOUNG Man," he anſwered, ‘there are ſubjects enough for merriment, without making a jeſt of the Bible.’
PRETENDING to be affected by what he ſaid, and to have ſome reſpect for his folly, at times I borrowed it from him, and it anſwered a very good purpoſe; for, becoming better acquainted with it, I was better enabled to quote and to laugh at it. Many men venture to do both, without having read one chapter.
[Page 204] HAD I not been copper-bottomed againſt the worm of ſuperſtition, I might perhaps have felt ſome little degree of reverence for the Captain's holy log-book, for two or three times we met with fierce ſtorms, and were in great peril; inſomuch that all on board, myſelf among the number, were petrified with terror, except the Scripture-believing Captain—he alone kept the deck, firm, compoſed, and undaunted, and there is reaſon to think, from his preſence of mind, that he ſaved us all from periſhing. He was a native of NORFOLK—his name WYNDHAM.
WHEN the weather was tolerable, this honeſt Believer, myſelf, and two [Page 205] others, uſed to make a party at whiſt for two or three hours in the evening, and I was always ſucceſsful; for which I ſhould have been thankful to Fortune, had I not conſtantly taken care to put the event out of her power. My adverſaries were much more ſurpriſed than I was, at finding they could never win a ſingle rubber. Whenever I dealt, which I often did out of my turn, I took care to give myſelf and my partner three or four kings and queens, and to convey an ace or two from the hands againſt us, inſtead of an equal number of duces or threes from my own. A looker-on, a ſtranger to whiſt, would never have imagined that we played with the ſame pack of cards, which ought to have been dealt [Page 206] promiſcuouſly, but that the game conſiſted in our holding all the high cards, and our adverſaries the ſmall. By ſuch neceſſary precautions, had there been a ſuperiority of ſkill on the oppoſite ſide, I could have ſuffered no great diſadvantage from it.
IT is not perhaps univerſally known, that in our rage for pulling down Sovereigns, and equalizing all human things, we not only dethroned our own King and Queen, but that the Kings of Spades, Clubs, Hearts, and Diamonds, with their Royal Conſorts, ſhared the ſamefate. If any FRENCHMAN, eſpecially an Ariſtocrate, were now to preſume to call theſe ci-devant Kings by any other title than Citizen Spade, [Page 207] Citizen Club, Heart, or Diamond, and the former Queens by any other name than that of Wife to any of the aforeſaid Citizens, he would be denounced to the Convention, and loſe his head by the guillotine on a ſcaffold.
THIS refinement of Civiciſm we owe originally to the minute but meritorious attention of our Adjutant-General PUTHOD. Willing that he ſhould not loſe the honour due to ſo great a Reformation in the State, I have taken extracts from his letter on this important ſubject, publiſhed in the PARIS CHRONICLE of 8 December 1792, in the firſt year of the Republic. Let Kings and Queens tremble while they read it. The Kings [Page 208] and Queens of Spades indeed, and their Royal Colleagues, will not affect indifference to it, and probably it will have more effect on the other Crowned Heads of the univerſe. On the ſubject of Cards thus writes our Adjutant-General *:
WHAT do I not ſuffer at preſent from that amuſement! it makes me quarrel with the pretty women.— One hears for ever, "I have got the King—I have got the Queen."— [Page 209] As I feel myſelf offended at theſe denominations, I expreſs my diſguſt at it. The good people of FRANCE being reſolved to have Kings and Queens no longer in their Government, why ſhould they ſuffer them in their Games? Let us be Republicans even in our ſports. After we have manifeſted the greateſt rage and hatred againſt the King and Queen, while we are labouring by all poſſible means to prejudice the Public Mind and their Judges againſt them, at this critical moment when their fair Trials are depending, with what conſiſtency can we at the ſame time ſit down to a game where we ſhew ſuch fondneſs for Kings and Queens, nay where we pique ourſelves upon [Page 210] the advantages we gain by Royal Artifice and Royal Deſpotiſm?— There ſhould be ſome Reform, ſome ſubſtitution.
(Signed) PUTHOD, Adjutant-General.
To ſhew that the vigilant delicacy of this eminent Republican was not in vain; there being a Royal Owl, a Royal Eagle, and a Royal Tyger, in the Menagerie at Chantilly, I myſelf moved in full Convention, and it was unanimouſly voted, that they ſhould be immediately equalized; and they are now called Citizen Owl, Citizen Eagle, and Citizen Tyger, and we hear from the Keepers that they ſeem to be very well reconciled to it.— [Page 211] This alſo was a conſiderable Reformation.
WITH reſpect to Cards, we muſt acknowledge, that Kings and Queens, though not to be tolerated upon Thrones, are in a hand at Whiſt very ſerviceable, and that whether they may be called Kings and Queens, or ſimply Citizens and their Wives, it is beſt to have them. I know no better way of doing it than that which I have already mentioned. I learned the ſecret from an ingenious Citizen Juggler, called BRESLAW.
BY ſuch dexterity I not only contrived to win enough to defray the charges of my paſſage, but to pay all [Page 212] my expences during my ſhort continuance at BOSTON, where, after a rough and ſometimes and dangerous voyage of near ſeven weeks, we found ourſelves ſafely landed.
AT my entrance into the town, I expected to meet with ſome immediate indications of that happy ſpecies of Government which the AMERICANS had lately adopted; to ſee ſome houſes on fire, others given up to pillage; Politicians in every Coffee-houſe finding fault with the Magiſtrates, and new-modelling the Conſtitution—in ſhort, to ſee the free ſpirit of liquor and licentiouſneſs acting their vagaries every-where. The aſpect of things was very different. An air of ſtillneſs [Page 213] and quiet, almoſt to melancholy, ſtruck a damp into my ſpirits; few people in the ſtreets, and theſe either carrying burdens, or walking ſoberly about their buſineſs; no houſes on fire, and hardly a word of politics or Reformation mentioned. Our proſe Poet FENELON's deſcription of ancient TYRE may be applied to BOSTON: ‘ONE could not meet there, as in other Cities, inquiſitive and idle people, who ſtrolled about to public places, aſking after news, or gaping at ſtrangers who happened to arrive in the harbour. The men were employed either in unloading their veſſels, in tranſporting their merchandize, or in making bargains; in arranging [Page 214] their warehouſes, or in taking an exact account of the debts due to them by foreign merchants. The women were not leſs induſtrious in occupations ſuitable to their ſex and ingenuity.’
WHAT was to be done? To think of reforming this place by myſelf was a vain imagination. It occurred to me that in a town containing fourteen or fifteen thouſand people, notwithſtanding appearances to the contrary, there muſt be ſome latent ſparks of diſcontent, and that the diſciples of TOM PAINE would be well inclined to lend their breath with mine to blow them up to the glorious flame of outrage and commotion.
[Page 215] I WAS not miſtaken. It was not difficult to find what I wanted. I ſoon made acquaintance with half a dozen PAINEITES, whoſe vinegar aſpects were immediately diſtinguiſhable. Being poor, ſpeculative, and idle, I found them of courſe full of diſcontent, and abounding with theories of Reformation. Their ſyſtem indeed generally went no further than to the unſettling whatever was eſtabliſhed, which they illuſtrated by deſcribing certain machines, where if you pull out the principal pins the whole work falls at once to pieces. They proved very ingeniouſly that men could never be judges of their own happineſs; that ſuch as were ſatisfied with what was called the liberty allowed by the neceſſary regulations [Page 216] of civilized ſociety, were actually in a ſtate of ſlavery; and that thoſe who did not riſe upon their rulers could never be conſidered as philoſophers, or deſerve the thanks of remote poſterity, which was a much more rational object than ſecuring the welfare of the exiſting generation.
THESE were men exactly ſuited to my purpoſes. We went into Coffeehouſes, and began by endeavouring to depreciate the merits of General WASHINGTON. We complained that, under a Government called Republican, he was inveſted with more power and authority than the Laws of ENGLAND allowed to the King of GREAT-BRINTAIN. What could be more tame and [Page 217] deſpicable than the regularity and decorum of public worſhip, when men who did not ſrequent churches or meeting-houſes, and who ſcoffed at religion, ſo far from being reſpected for it, were held rather in leſs eſteem than thoſe who ſaid their prayers, and complied with the inſipid forms of eſtabliſhed orthodoxy? At the end of diſcourſes of this nature we looked round at the byeſtanders, and were not a little diſappointed to perceive that they either regarded us with contempt, or walked off from the place without condeſcending to enter into any argument with us.
AFTER about a week paſſed in this manner, my door was one morning [Page 218] opened by a plain formal-looking man dreſſed in brown, who, with very little ceremony, informed me, he was come, by command of the Aſſembly, to order me to leave BOSTON immediately; that a ſhip was to ſail from thence for PORT L'ORIENT next day; that money would be ſurniſhed for my expences to any part of FRANCE on my landing; and that had it not been for their reſpect for my country, to which they thought themſelves obliged on a late occaſion, my intemperance of tongue would have been rewarded by impriſonment or the pillory. "In this manner," he added, ‘were we obliged to diſmiſs that miſchievous coxcomb PAINE, whoſe jargon, it ſeemeth, friend! thou haſt adopted.’
So ſaying, he adjuſted his beaver, and, with the ſtiffneſs of a brown poſt ſet in motion, ſtalked out of the chamber. To ſhew my indifference, I clapped the door two or three times loudly after him, and hummed a tune called "Yankee Doodle."
[Page 220] IN leſs than half an hour I was conducted to a boat, between two conſtables, and ſafely depoſited on board The Friendly Reception. My paſſage from BOSTON was ſo like my navigation to it, that a minute detail of particulars could not entertain my readers. For more than a month I had little amuſement except what I could ſind in cheating at cards, and heartily curſing all the AMERICANS by Stripes, by Provinces, and Individuals, from General WASHINGTON downwards, not forgetting my Automaton in brown who denounced to me my expulſion from AMERICA.
ROBESPIERRE GIVES ME AN ACCOUNT OF THE DUKE OF ORLEANS AND OF OTHER FRIENDS.—VISIT TOM PAINE.—HIS EMPLOYMENT.— GOOD EFFECTS OF HIS PAMPHLETS. —VISIT LONDON AS AN HUMBLE FRIEND TO THE MARQUIS OF FAUXJEU.—CHARACTER OF THE MARQUIS.—ENGAGeD AT THE TEMPLE OF HEALTH WITH DOCTOR GRAHAM.—DIVIDE WITH MY MASTER THE CONTENTS OF HIS STRONG-BOX.—RETURN TO FRANCE.
ISPENT not an hour at Port L'Orient more than was neceſſary to receive the money promiſed me for my [Page 222] travelling expences, and to hire a good chaiſe to convey me to Paris. While the BOSTONIAN was counting out the caſh, I was employed in whiſtling "Yankee Doodle," and in curſing CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS for having diſcovered AMERICA. The Puritan looked at me with diſdain, but only anſwered that I was a foul-mouthed ruffian, beneath the notice of any thing in a human ſhape except the hangman.
ON my arrival at Paris I learned from ROBESPIERRE, who was juſt releaſed from priſon, where he had left MARAT in conſinement for three months longer, that the firſt Prince of the Blood had been for ſome time in London.
[Page 223] "HE is gone there," ſays he, ‘with one of thoſe fine projects which get into his head like infected people into a peſt-houſe, becauſe they will be no where elſe admitted; and what think you is it? No leſs than to perſuade the Miniſters of ENGLAND to begin another war with FRANCE, promiſing to deliver into their hands Breſt and Brittany, provided they will engage to aſſiſt him in depoſing our King LOUIS, and raiſing his Moſt Serene Highneſs to the throne inſtead of him. Now pray obſerve with proper reſpect, the abundance of abſurdities with which this ſcheme is pregnant. Firſt, our patron is neither aſſured of the diſaffection of the people of [Page 224] Brittany, nor of the diſloyalty of the Governors of that Province; and the whole Marine hold him in contempt for his cowardce, of which too many of them have been witneſſes. After having behaved ill at ſea, he reſolved to waſh out the memory of his diſgrace on one element, by ſhewing he could be more frightened upon another; but you know the epigrams, and his poltroonery is a trite topic. His Balloon expedition only ſerved to fix the ſeal to his former character. A fearful man may have a hundred good qualities, but he ought not to attempt to be a hero. So much for his ground in FRANCE! As to ENGLAND, the people there were tired of the laſt [Page 225] war long before its concluſion, and are but juſt beginning to reſpire from it: beſides, to ſpeak ſincerely, I believe that nation is ſtill ſo infected with the old vulgar exploded notions of good faith, honour, and loyalty, that I am perſuaded, notwithſtanding the provocation we have given them to retaliate, they would fooliſhly ſcorn to avail themſelves of any advantage over our country by what they would weakly call baſeneſs and treachery. As to you, my dear and moſt reſpectable friend! the DUKE having left no proviſion for you, and to beg or work being beneath a Gentleman, you muſt of courſe, you know, [Page 226] either rob or ſtarve. Should you be detected in the former, we have now no ORLEANS preſent to ſave you from the wheel or the gibbet; but while I am your conductor— Teucro duce, et auſpice Teucro,— fear nothing. A PARTICULAR friend of mine, the MARQUIS OF FAUXJEU, ſets out immediately for LONDON, and wants a companion and valet-de-chambre to attend him. I will recommend you. The MARQUIS has as good a right to his rank as half the titles in Paris; that is to ſay, though he has no eſtate, he has letters of nobility written by himſelf, and he makes as creditable an appearance by the ſums [Page 227] he wins by cards and loaded dice, as any landlord in FRANCE by the revenue of his mills, his corn, or his vineyards. Three years ago the MARQUIS was a Paſtry-cook at Amiens, and but yeſterday he dined upon another Cook's patés at COMTE D'ARTOIS' table. The MARQUIS finds the Police here are beginning to grow a little peery about him, and as there is nothing he diſlikes more than anſwering impertinent queſtions, he is determined to fet off to-morrow for another kingdom, where there is leſs curioſity and more money. As he knows I am acquainted with his hiſtory, he can refuſe me nothing, ſo make ready for your journey.— [Page 228] He will play his own cards in London, and we need not wiſh him good fortune, for he always carries that Goddeſs about with him in his pocket. I am certain you will be very happy together, and when you have leiſure I ſhall be glad to hear that you are ſo.’
"ALAS!" anſwered he, ‘of moſt of them I can only ſay as TULLY did of the CATILINARIANS, "they lived;" their God, the Devil, played [Page 229] falſe with them; their noble bones are ſtill preſerved in iron, but you muſt aſk the kites and ravens what is become of the reſt of their carcaſes.’
"No," ſays MENTOR, ‘ quales ab incepto, all drunk, curſing the prieſts who attended them, jeſting with the crucifix, and denying the facts for which they ſuffered. I ſaw the execution of moſt of them, and ſhould have been preſent at them all; but unluckily I was obliged juſt at the time to attend my own trial for twoor three forgeries, and ſhould have [Page 230] ſhared their fate, had not the intereſt of the good DUKE ſaved me.’
"NOT yet," replied MENTOR; ‘but though as yet he has only brought his friends to the gallows, he is I think ſcribbling his own way to it with great certainty. Whenever he dies, he will be found, not, like his hero CATILINE, inter hoſtium but inter amicorum cadavera, for his pen is likely to be as fatal to his partizans, as the ſword of that gallant ROMAN was to his enemies. But farewel! I have buſineſs.— Should you get to ſpeak with the [Page 231] DUKE in LONDON, try to haſten him over, for you may aſſure him from me that things here are drawing to a criſis.’
I FOUND TOM's habitation in one of the dirtieſt Quays of Paris. The ſituation might have pleaſed HORACE, that great Lyric Poet, for there was nothing to prevent his ſtriking his ſublime head againſt the ſtars but a decayed roof of lath and plaiſter. This great Theoriſt was ſitting croſs-legged on [Page 232] a deal-board, and when I entered was working intently at a pair of blue canvaſs jumps. His board was ſtrewed over with thread, tape, whalebone, ſciſſars, parchment meaſures, a bit of chalk, a bit of bees wax, and a thimble. Among theſe implements of his occupation I ſaw a pen and ink, and an ENGLISH Spelling-book, and ſeveral pieces of coarſe ill-coloured paper, ſerawled over with different titles; ſuch as, "Common Senſe," "Rights of Man", "Letter to DOCTOR PRIESTLEY", "TO LORD S"—", and many others, written ſo indiſtinctly that I could not read them.
HE received me rather kindly, invited me to ſit by him on the board, [Page 233] and ſhook me by the hand as a brother-member of the Club of Demigods. As I could ſpeak Engliſh, and he ſhewed no unwillingneſs to talk of his own affairs, we converſed for above half an hour very freely.
IT gave me ſome ſmall degree of concern to hear that his ſituation was upon the whole very uncomfortable. The DUKE OF ORLEANS, he told me, allowed him a ſmall penſion, but it was ſo ill paid as to be hardly worth his acceptance: his writings, he ſaid, brought him in but little; for what with paying a kind of a ſcholar to take care of the ſpelling and grammar, and another for tranſlating them into the French language, a ſmall pittance [Page 234] indeed came to his portion. His beſt reliance was upon his needle—the women of the neighbourhood liked his work, and though he ſeldom made a pair of ſtays, he had a good deal to do in the way of mending.
"BUT", added he; ‘the good effects which I ſee produced by my writings conſole me for everything. Before the people of this quarter began to ſtudy my pamphlets, they were the moſt thoughtleſs, chearful, happy beings imaginable. They eat their ſoupe with a good appetite, and, as DOCTOR GOLDSMITH ſays, "Trimmed their robes of frieze with copper lace", ſung, danced, and chattered without ceaſing; but not ſo now—they [Page 235] neglect their dreſs, ſleep ill, quarrel with their neighbours, envy the rich, abuſe their King, and hate the Clergy. In ſhort, they are become ſo moroſe, ſo ſpeculative, and ſo melancholy, that they find now no reliſh in any thing. Hardly a week paſſes that three or ſour don't throw themſelves into the river, and the gaol is of late twice as full of priſoners as was ever before remembered. This you ſee, my friend, is the way to turn a nation of monkies into a nation of philoſophers; and when ſociety is, as it ought to be, brought back to a ſtate of nature; when the lordly ſavage Man, is again his own maſter, without any reſtraint from laws divine or [Page 236] human upon his appetites, then I ſay, let not TOM PAIE be forgotten’
HERE he ended, and we roſe from the board together. I ſlipped into his hand a piece of ſix livres. Obſerving he had no ſhirt, I promiſed that evening to ſend him a couple, aſſuring him I could do it without any inconvenience, as I always for the ſuture intended to wear my Maſter's. He thanked me, ſat down again to his needle, and I repaired to the lodgings of my new maſter.
THERE could hardly be imagined a greater contraſt than between the ENGLISH Philoſopher's garret and the [Page 237] apartment of the FRENCH MARQUIS. All was miſery in the former, and in the latter all was magnificence.
WHEN I was uſhered in to his Lordſhip, I found him under the hands of his Hair-dreſſer, ſtudying a little treatiſe upon the calculation of chances. He ſtarted a little at ſeeing me (an impreſſion which the firſt ſight of my figure often occaſions), but ſoon recollected himſelf; and upon hearing my name, "Aye, aye," ſays he, ‘you are the young man for whom MONSIEUR DE ROBESPIERRE intereſts himſelf; that is ſufficient. But come, take the comb from PICARD, and let us ſee a little of your performance.’
[Page 238] I DID as he ordered me, and uſed PICARD'S inſtrument ſo much leſs like a comb than a harrow, that the MARQUIS, bending and groaning beneath it, was ſoon obliged to cry out for mercy, and PICARD finiſhed the operation.
As I looked a little diſconcerted, he told me it was no great matter; I was to conſider myſelf rather as his companion than his ſervant; though I could not dreſs hair, I underſtood Engliſh, which to him was of more conſequence; and many a man could make a cake who could not make a paſty.
UPON better acquaintance with the MARQUIS, I found all his converſation [Page 239] tinctured with his two vocations, the Paſtry-cook and the Gameſter.— When he was in danger of being detected by cheating at play too openly, he uſed to ſay, ‘That he had like to have overheated the oven;’ or, ‘Make the cruſt brown, but don't burn it.’ When I flattered him (as I often did) too groſsly, the reproof was, ‘Too much ſugar in a tart is as bad as too much acid.’ All his vexations were typified by ill luck at play—ſuch as, "Lurch him at four"— ‘He had rather loſe a louis d'or to a livre’— ‘May I be found out at a renounce with the game in my hand,’ and ſuch like; ſo that an obſerver might ſoon diſcover the Man of Faſhion and the Marquis were but aſſumed characters, [Page 240] and the Cook and the Gameſter were the real. Upon the whole, however, he was good-tempered; had much the appearance of a Gentleman; and, like the COMTE DE GRAMMONT, except that he always cheated at cards and dice, was a Man of ſtrict Honour.
As his trunks were already all faſtened to the chaiſe with his heavy baggage, the keys of which he delivered to me at night, we had nothing to do but to throw ourſelves into the vehicle next morning. We ſet off from Paris with two ſervants mounted, and four horſes to our carriage; and, lolling at our eaſe, beſpattered many a Croix de St. Louis, whoſe whole yearly income would not have been ſufficient [Page 241] to defray the expences of the MARQUIS to Calais.
HE ſtepped into the chaiſe with a ſmall box under his arm, which he ſaid contained his fortune; ‘and that Pye, ſmall as it looked, was better worth opening than all the reſt put together.’—This ſhort characteriſtic encomium immediately excited an appetite in me to taſte the contents of it; and the poor MARQUIS found to his coſt, not very long afterwards, that I knew how to reliſh a good thing as well as himſelf, though I was not like him bred a Paſtry-cook.
AFTER we got to Calais, four hours and a half carried us from our own [Page 242] country into a better. It is ſtrange that the ſeparation of a few leagues of ſalt water ſhould make ſuch a difference between two nations. It is not ſuch a difference as you are made ſenſible of by comparing and cloſe examination, but it is ſuch as ſtrikes you immediately, and which you can't avoid perceiving.
THE language of the two people is not more unlike than their features, complexions, manners, dreſs, and diet. Their carriages, their cattle, their habitations—nay, their very fields are different. Many things are flimſy in FRANCE, moſt things are ſolid in ENGLAND. Vanity predominates in the former, and in the latter pride. [Page 243] A FRENCHMAN diſplays his conſequence, an ENGLISHMAN conceals it. The human face, which in general is brown with us, ſeems to have been waſhed fair in ALBION. Our Ladies have taught thoſe of ENGLAND how to converſe, and in return may learn from them in many points female delicacy and decorum. Without half the vivacity of FRENCH Women, the ENGLISH have a deeper ſenſibility, and more purity in their thoughts and manners. Our cattle are ſmall, lean, and feeble—theirs are large, fat, and vigorous. FRENCH vehicles are ill conſtructed, heavy, and rumbling—thoſe of ENGLAND are compact, light, ſtrong, and excellently finiſhed. Impoſition is pretty common in both [Page 244] countries; but an ENGLISHMAN pockets your money as if you was paying his demand, a FRENCHMAN as if you was conferring an obligation. They may beat us, or we may beat them, but the two nations will never aſſimilate.
As a ready-furniſhed houſe, at the Court end of the town, was ſecured for the ſelf-ennobled Paſtry-cook before his arrival, we had little more to do than to take poſſeſſion of it. The MARQUIS was ſoon viſited by ſeveral of the fraternity, who brought with them ſome young ENGLISH Noblemen, and Gentlemen of rank and faſhion, their pockets well lined with caſh, and their breaſts entirely free from ſuſpicion. His eyes gliſtened at the ſight of them, [Page 245] I conſidered them as fowl ready for the market, and my Maſter with his aſſociates as the foreſtallers.
MOST Gameſters, eſpecially FRENCHMEN, are Beaus. The MARQUIS was one of the beſt dreſſed men in London, and I was as well dreſſed as my Maſter. With reſpect to cloaths, I was alter et idem; for whatever he took off on one day, I wore on the next. If you wiſhed to know how the MARQUIS was dreſſed on Monday, it was only to look at me on Tueſday; and it muſt be acknowledged, I made a very reſpectable appearance. I took care that my Maſter, the only perſon probably who would not have approved of my toilette, [Page 246] ſhould not ſee it, ſo I avoided his unſeaſonable criticiſms.
AFTER the deſcription I have given of my countenance, and of the ſtern ferocity of my temper, the World, no doubt, will be ſurpriſed to hear of my being inliſted in the ſervice of the Ladies, and of my having made no ſmall figure in the annals of Intrigue. I ſpeak not of the erratic Venus of St. Giles, the delight and ſcourge of the diſtrict; nor of thoſe night-wandering Nymphs, thoſe yielding Dryads of the Park, who ſhun the faithleſs light of lamps, and hide their charms under friendly ſhades and in myſterious bowers—with ſuch I ſhould have had [Page 247] few rivals; ſuch adventures ſhall not debaſe my records; but without more preſace I will acquaint my reader with the circumſtances which led me to unexpected honours in the field of gallantry.
I HAPPENED to be in London exactly at the time the celebrated DOCTOR GRAHAM opened his TEMPLE OF HEALTH in Pall-mall. This incomprehenſible Mountebank acquired a very reſpectable livelihood by giving ediſying Lectures and admirable Experiments in the myſtical ſcience of population. The Lectures of this worthy Profeſſor were well attended, but the Experiments much better. Ill-treated or neglected Wives went in crowds to [Page 248] the DOCTOR, to get a remedy againſt ſpleen and vapours. Sometimes it was a Lady of Quality, who had not yet the happineſs to bring her Right Honourable Bodkin of a Huſband an heir to his eſtate and titles. Sometimes it was the gentle timorous Houſekeeper of a brutal Citizen. As the felicity of her ſenſual Good-man conſiſted either in gormandizing turtle, or in guzzling porter with a Club of Cuckolds like himſelf, and as, to cloſe the domeſtic ſcene, he only ſnored away the night by her fair ſide, his tender Helpmate was compelled by neceſſity to ſeek for ſuch conſolation as the TEMPLE OF HEALTH could furniſh. Beſides theſe already mentioned, came in a ſhoal of unbluſhing MESSALINAS, [Page 249] under no ſuch fair pretence or colour as the titled Dame, or the yielding Shopkeeper from Threadneedle-ſtreet.
ONE morning I happened to caſt my eye over the DOCTOR's Proſpectus, and having already experienced ſome mortifications in my progreſs as a pickpocket, while my abilities to add to the number of his Majeſty's ſubjects remained untried, I reſolved to offer my ſervices at the TEMPLE.
BEING well dreſſed, and aſſuring myſelf that the Herculean vigour of my muſcles would get the better of the ſingular hideouſneſs of my countenance, I ſtrolled with a diſengaged [Page 250] air to the edifice erected to rationalized incontinence.
THOUGH I am perſuaded the DOCTOR's learning did not go beyond Propria quae Maribus, he had decorated his door with a GREEK motto. While I was looking at this, and endeavouring to expound it, the porter perceived me, and opening the door, "That is Greek, my good friend," ſays he, ‘you are knocking your head againſt there: I believe you will find it too hard for you.’ I was of the ſame opinion—ſo ſtepping forward, I told him at once my buſineſs.— Inſtead of anſwering me, the varlet laughed in my face, and was going to [Page 251] ſhut the door upon me; but I prevented it by ſeizing him ſtoutly by the collar, and tumbling him down upon the pavement.
THE noiſe of this ſcuffle brought the DOCTOR down ſuddenly; who, hearing my explanation, admired my ſtrength, approved of my intentions, and engaged me in his ſervice. ‘To be ſure,’ ſays he, ‘your countenance is not very attractive; but there is an air of Sons and Daughters in your appearance, which with a little good management, may ſerve to procure you a decent livelihood.’
IT was agreed between us that I ſhould return to the TEMPLE about [Page 252] twilight, at which time he inſormed me the myſteries began to be celebrated. Before I left him, I was not a little ſurpriſed when, opening the door of a cloſet, he ſhewed me a number of beautiſul maſques for males and females. The ſubſtance on which they were painted was of a tenuity lighter than the fineſt gauze, with apertures for the eyes, mouth, and noſtrils. He ſhewed me how to ſaſten one of them on, and when I looked in the glaſs, I became almoſt enamoured of myſelf, like another NARCISSUS.
"By this device," ſays he, ‘beſides the advantage of concealment to perſons of very nice ſentiment [Page 253] and delicacy, who frequent this place to make Experiments, you ſee we aſſiſt Nature. We conceal where ſhe has played the ſtepmother, and all is diſplayed to the beſt advantage where ſhe has been bountiſul.’
IN this place I can't avoid expreſſing a wiſh that many Ladies wom I have ſeen, both in FRANCE and in ENGLAND, would adopt the DOCTOR's method of aſſiſting Nature, inſtead of plaiſtering themſelves as they now do with white lead and cinnabar. Beſides that the maſque is no way prejudicial to health, it is put on or taken off in a moment; it has no offenſive odour; and it is no more an impoſition than the other artificial cruſt which is [Page 254] ſo much in faſhion. That Homelineſs ſhould uſe ſuch artifice is not extraordinary; but that Beauty, as we often ſee, ſhould have recourſe to it, is indeed unaccountable.
WITH the DOCTOR'S maſque and my own muſcles, perhaps it is not neceſſary to aſſure the Public that I aſſiſted at an infinite number of Experiments. Two Gentlemen from the town of ATHLONE in IRELAND excepted, I may venture to ſay, without vanity, that I was the ſavourite of the TEMPLE. How many families at both ends of the town may have been obliged to me for thoſe pretty little prattling cherubs always ſo endearing to their ſuppoſed fathers, I can't pretend exactly [Page 255] to determine; the number certainly muſt be conſiderable.
At length, however, I began to grow diſguſted with variety, and attached myſelf principally to one votary, who brought me devotion and money in abundance. One would have imagined that this kind Matron had taken upon herſelf alone the population of a whole pariſh, ſo inſatiable was her appetite for Experiments. All the money ſhe could wheedle or ſteal from her Cuckold came into my hands conſtantly. But great as were our reſources, our expences were ſtill greater.
[Page 256] AT laſt it became neceſſary for me to look into the contents of the favourite little Paſty of the unſuſpecting MARQUIS. I was pleaſed to find in it what ſuſficiently juſtified the Owner's partiality. I made a diviſion with him. To myſelf I appropriated, what might be called the moſt ſavoury part, about four hundred guineas in rouleaus; all the notes, to a very conſiderable amount, upon different Bankers in London; two pair of loaded dice; and all the rings with real diamonds, with all the other jewels. I did not even touch ſeveral packs of cards properly made up for his purpoſe, further than juſt to look if there was any thing valuable under them; I left him all the [Page 257] rings and jewels with falſe ſtones, many in number and ſome very pretty, and eight pair of loaded dice—ſo that I did not deprive him of the means to recruit his fortune at leaſt as honourably as he had acquired it.
BIDDING then an eternal adieu to both my Maſters, the Paſtry-cook and the Mountebank; to PALL-MALL, the TEMPLE, and the MATRONS—and ſtaying only to change my notes with the different Bankers, I popped myſelf into a poſt-chaiſe, and found myſelf next day reſtored to my dear native country.