Front Page Titles (by Subject) Gordon: A Dedication to a Great Man, concerning Dedications: discovering amongst other wonderful Secrets, what will be the present Posture of Affairs a Thousands Years hence. - A Collection of Tracts, vol. I
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Gordon: A Dedication to a Great Man, concerning Dedications: discovering amongst other wonderful Secrets, what will be the present Posture of Affairs a Thousands Years hence. - John Trenchard, A Collection of Tracts, vol. I 
A Collection of Tracts. By the Late John Trenchard, Esq; and Thomas Gordon, Esq; The First Volume. (London: F. Cogan, 1751).
Part of: A Collection of Tracts, 2 vols.
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A Dedication to a Great Man, concerning Dedications: discovering amongst other wonderful Secrets, what will be the present Posture of Affairs a Thousands Years hence.
A Passage or two in this little Essay having been liable to Exceptions, without my foreseeing it, I am very ready to explain them. By the Jewish Pretender is meant Absolom; aud what is said about the Bible, is so far from any Satire on that Sacred Book, that it is manifestly and only, one upon them who make but little or no Use of it.
As to the Characters and Inscriptions at the End, I still them so Just, that I am not like to repent of them; which may serve to shew me as much a Friend to well-grounded Panegyrick, as I ever shall be a Foe to all false Colouring. There is no such Thing as Praise and Blame, where they are not applied; and as I take upon me to expose the one, I think I need ask no Pardon for attempting to practice the other.
YOUR Lordship and I are not at all acquainted, I therefore take Leave to be very familiar with you, and to desire you to be my Patron, because you do not know me nor I you: Nor can this Manner of Address seem strange to your Lordship, whilst it is warranted by such numerous Precedents. I have known an Author praise an Earl for twenty Pages together, though he knew nothing of him, but that he had Money to spare. He made him Wise, Just and Religious, for no Reason in the World, but in Hopes to find him Charitable; and gave him a most bountiful Heart, because he himself had a most empty Stomach. This Practice being general, it is a very easy Matter to guess, by the Size of the Panegyrick, how wealthy the Patron may be, or how hungry the Author; if it exceeds three Pages, you may pawnall the Blood in your Body upon it, the Writer has fasted three Days; and that his Lordship, among all his other good Parts, has at least ten thousand Pounds a Year.
From all this we may learn, that a Great Man’s Fortune is as easily known from a Dedication to him, as from the Rent-Roll of his Estate; and that his Bounty to the Author, is only Wages for publishing his Wealth to the World.
It is likewise evident, that no Lord of a low Fortune must expect an humble Admirer amongst us Wits and Writers, unless he bargain with us at a set Price, and give us so much a piece for every good Quality he has Occasion for.
We must not therefore judge of the High and Mighty as they are described in the Frontispiece of Books and Poems. Your Dedicators are a Sort of Intellectual Taylors, that cut out Cloaths for a Great Man’s Mind, without ever taking Measure of it. They have indeed two Rules from which they never depart: First, The Dress must be Gaudy; and Secondly, It must never fit. Their Business is to make it of a vast Dimension, and to cover it all over with Tinsel. If the Suit be bulky and shining, the Poet has the Reputation of a skilful Tradesman, for the Stuff and the Exactness are never consulted.
I would upon this Occasion, congratulate the Quality upon the Advantage which it is to them, to have their Characters drawn by such as either do not, or dare not, know them; and consequently will be sure not to put their Graces, and Lordships, and Ladyships, out of Countenance———A convenient Piece of good Breeding! for which, I hope, they are thankful.
For myself, when I see a long Drift of Excellencies and Talents crammed down a Nobleman’s Throat, who has no Relish of them or Right to them, I am not at all surprized, because I am sure it is not meant as an Encomium upon his Honour, but merely as a Declaration of the Author’s Wants, and a heavy Complaint of Nakedness and Hunger.
Some may reckon a Dependance on a Great Man the best Reason and Foundation for dedicating to him; but I am not of their Opinion. For my Part, I have no Manner of Dependance on any Star and Garter in Great-Britain, as any one may observe from the Cheerfulness of my Looks, and the Integrity of my Life. I own, that setting up for a Writer, I judged it convenient to me, and my Book, to call in your Lordship for an Assistant, but no farther than just to set off and honour my Title-Page. I at first, indeed, intended to let the whole Credit of the Thing remain with you, by entitling my Pamphlet, An Essay of a Man of Quality: But my Bookseller who is a smoaky Fellow, and understands the Pulse of the People perfectly well, fell into a great Rage, and asked me for the five Shillings again, which he had advanced to me, by Way of Encouragement, a Week before. He told me, he had neither Pleasure nor Profit in selling waste Paper to the Grocers at two Pence a Pound. Why, says he, the famous Dassy might as rationally have writ Aqua Fortis upon his Elixir: An Essay of a Man of Quality, If I were to chain the Book to my Counter, it would not make it a more everlasting Shop-keeper than this very Title: It is as bad as a Spell; and the most adventurous Reader will not presume to open the Book that is fortified with it.———No, no; if you must have the Front of your Book embellished with something of Title, you may call it, A Letter to a great Man: Since you do not name him, People will naturally imagine there is something in it exceeding saucy and satirical; and that very Thought will make your Pamphlet popular.———I have followed his Advice, and am t’other five Shillings the richer for it.
But, as I was telling your Lordship, Reliance on a great Man is not a good Reason for dedicating to him; for either he will receive the Present of your Praise as a just Tribute for such your Dependance; (and then where is your Pay, and the due Hire of your Sweat and Invention?) or else he will reward you with a Sort of Coin, called Promises, stamped with his Honour, but never current amongst Shop-keepers and Victuallers. Alas! Who will give you an Ell of Cloth, or a Cut of Beef upon it? It is a lamentable Thing the World should be arrived to such a Pitch of ill Breeding, that now a Days a great Man’s Word and Honour are as little minded by the rest of the World as by himself.
And so I will proceed to assert, That the only proper Patron for an Author to inscribe his Works to, is one to whom he is an utter Stranger, who having had no Manner of Commerce with the aforesaid Author, can understand his Dedication to be nothing else but an elegant Demand for such a Sum of Ready Money. Dedications are therefore Bills of Exchange, drawn by the Witty upon the Great, and payable at Sight. But, left the worthy Offering should not be understood, or recompensed as it ought to be, through the deplorable Ignorance of the Quality, whose high Characters place them far above the Reach of Knowledge and the Impulses of Humanity, I have for the Benefit of my worthy Companions in the Labours of the Standish, drawn up the following Form, with which I would have all Dedications to conclude.
I Have sent you the above mentioned Goods, being the best my Garret affords, and at the lowest Price. I hope they will please you. You will find in the Cargo several Things which I have not Itemed; viz. A large Parcel of Virtue, and another of good Nature; because I knew you wanted them as much as any of the rest.———These too Articles will raise the Whole to, at least, even Thirty Pounds; and I have drawn a Bill upon your Lordship accordingly, which I beg your Lordship to pay at Sight; for, I assure you, I have had pressing Occasion for the Money long before it was due. I might have found Chapmen for these Goods among very many of the Nobility and Gentry, as unprovided with them as yourself; but out of pure Respect to your Lordship, I resolved you should have the Refusal.———In firm Expectation of your approaching Bounty, I am
MyLord,Your Lordships most Obliged, Most Devoted, Most obedient, Most, &c.
In this plain Manner would I have Authors treat their Patrons. The said Thirty Pounds may probably be all the Poet’s Stock; and Wits, dealing the least upon Credit, either in Selling or Buying, of any Trading People in the World, have the more Occasion for Ready Money.
Your Lordship may by this perceive, how I expect to be treated and rewarded for the following Panegyrick on yourself.
In attempting your Character, (to use the fashionable Phrase) I shall begin with the Antiquity of your House, equally Old and Illustrious. Your Ancestors, won Honours, and you, my Lord, wear them; how well they become you, I need not say, the same being as evident to the whole World as to me. You would, no Doubt, acquire new Ones, were there any Room left for them; but what Occasion have you to toil and struggle for that which is already provided for you by others? And it is a plain Instance of your consummate Prudence, that your Ease is by no Means interrupted by any the least Pursuit of this Kind. If any dare insolently call in Question your Glory, shew them your Coat of Arms, and the Number of your Manours; strike them Dumb, by telling them of the Nobility of your Blood, and Blind, by shewing them the Splendor of your Race.
Nobility is held by Patent, and where is the Necessity of another Tenor by Virtue? A Piece of Parchment is a much more portable Instrument. Your Lordship seems apprized of the Difficulty of excelling in any Thing, and therefore wisely forbears drudging for Fame. Your Ancestors excelled for you: They, by having many Accomplishments, have saved you the Trouble of having any. The Lustre of their Names shines still upon you, tho’ exceedingly weakened by the Length of the Journey, having spent many of its Rays in its Passage thro’ three or four Generations, who wanted its Influence as much as yourself. Thus, if we trace the Merit of a great Family, it is like the Course of a River inverted, largest towards the Fountain.
Should any one make an ill-bred Comparison (which God forbid) betwixt your Lordship and the Founders of your House, you could shew him, or I for you, that you possess several Arts and Acquirements, which the old fashioned Fellows, with all their Abilities and long Beards were utter Strangers to. If one of your Forefathers was a great Orator, and could do Wonders with his Mouth, your Lordship is as dexterous in the Exercise of the Organ next to it, and can take Snuff with great Volubility of Nostril. What tho’ another of your Grand-fires was an able Politician, a Person of great Cunning and Brains? The outside of his Head was not half so well instructed as your own: You have more Curls in the Covering of yours, than he had Wiles in the Lining of his: His was Equipp’d by painful Study, yours is Edifyed by your painful Barber. A Third was a brave Soldier, but were he put to handle your Cane or your Snuff-Box, he would be at as great a Loss, as you, my Lord, wou’d be to handle his Truncheon. A Fourth sat up at Nights, and lived by his Clients; but your Lordship, more Happy and less Learned, lies a Bed all Day, and lives by your Tenants. All these laboured for your Grandeur and Support, foreseeing, as one would imagine, that you would have Need of their Aid. And it cannot be deny’d, that it is possible one may be so great a Man as to be good for little. Wisdom and Worth, we see, cannot be entailed like Titles and Acres. It were, indeed, to be wished, that a wise Head and an honest Heart could beget their Likeness, and that famous Men could transmit their Parts with their Titles to their Posterity; but since that cannot be, their Descendants must comfort themselves with being a-kin to Merit, tho’ ever so remotely.
Nothing is more frequent and natural, than to value ourselves upon that which is none of ours. Of this I have, in my Time, seen several merry Instances. I knew a Thresher in Wiltshire, who was so elevated upon his Brother’s being made a Parson, and promoted to a Curacy of Twenty Pounds a Year, that he threw away his Flayl, as a Discredit to one who was nearly related to so great a Man, and betook himself to poaching in the River, as a more Gentleman-like Way of Life. It was observed of him, that ever afterwards he rowled his Stockings, whereas he had before always humbly buttoned his Breeches over them. It is said he threatens to leave the Village where he was born, because the ill-bred Inhabitants still continue to stile him no higher than bare Gaffer Thump, as they used to do notwithstanding that his Brother is a Curate: But it is thought this high-spirited Person will be disappointed, for that no Parish will receive him without a Certificate. I would, out of the Benignity of my Nature, comfort all Great Men, who have noble Blood but vulgar Understandings, with the Repartee of a West Country Blacksmith, who, in a Dispute with a Barber that called him an ignorant Fellow, answered, with equal Scorn, That tho’ he could neither read nor write, his Father had been Game keeper to the Lord of a Manour. The Barber who was but the Son of a Barber, finding himself out-match’d in Family, very respectfully gave up the Dispute to his Betters.
It is scarce to be perceived how diffusive and multiplying a little good Blood is: The Increase of the Blessed Virgin’s Milk, by the Magick and Management of Popish Monks, is not more miraculous. How many Thousands find themselves enriched by it, or rather impoverished! For nothing is more apt to turn the Brain; and it is often got into the Head, when there is not half a Drop of it in the Arteries.
We may observe, by the Way, that we are ever nearest related to the greatest Man of our Blood, tho’ removed seven Generations from him. If our Great-Grandfathers for Instance, was a wise Man, and our Grandfather and Father a Brace of Fools, we skip the two last, and become, after a wonderful Manner, the immediate Descendants of the first. Thus a Man becomes the very next in Blood to, perhaps the first of his Name, who lived 300 Years ago, and scorns to be in the least a kin to the Person that begot him: You shall not meet with a Jew who is the Son of his Father———No, he’s the Son of Abraham, who has been dead so many thousand Years, and yet is still forced to father a swarthy Race of Brokers and B———g———ers. In the same Manner has King Cadwallader begot every Mother’s Son that has been born in Wales for five hundred Generations. I know a Lady, who is far gone in Genealogy and Pride, whose Father had, with a great Title and Estate, a great Faculty likewise of Drivelling; him she never mentions, as being, I suppose, no ways related to him; but a great Man of her Name, who lived in the Reign of William Rufus, is her good and right well beloved Kinsman——— He was, I take it, either her Uncle, or at farthest, her Cousin-German.
This picking and culling of our Ancestors, (as if it lay at our Mercy, after we are brought into the World, who should bring us thither) shews great Ambition, but small Policy. For, certainly, we should be exceeding careful not to mention ourselves with such of our Ancestors with whom we cannot stand a Comparison. A Dwarf may strut upon the Shoulders of a Giant, but still his Dwarfship is the more conspicuous from the Company he keeps; and many a Man climbs only to shew his elevated Littleness. This is all wrong ——— They that would appear tall, ought to converse only with the short, if they would take a natural Method of coming at the Scope of their Ambition. I therefore approve the Prodence and Policy of our worshipful Country Squires and Fox-hunters, who, for the Sake of having daily Companions, at least, something, below themselves in Speech and Understanding, spend all all their Time with dumb Creatures, and live and die among Horses and Dogs. An honest Gentleman, whose speaking Organs would be of no Use to him in the Senate or in Conversation, shall be very eloquent in an Assembly of Hounds, and, with great Force and Fluency of Throat, out-do his Brother Orators in their own Way. The Wisdom of These Worthies, who are educated in the Kennel, goes farther yet; for every Man chuses for his Tator that Beagle whose Voice he is most capable of imitating: Insomuch, that as soon as I hear one of those Academicks begin his Excise, that is, to open, I can presently pronounce whose Pupil he has been, whether bred under Doctor Jowler, or Doctor Sweetlips. At present Doctor Ringwood is more famous than all the rest for the Number of Scholars he has train’d up; I know several of them myself, and particularly a hopeful young Gentleman, the eldest Son of a Baronet, who is a great Proficient in this Kind of Throat Learning.———It is believed, he is now fit to head the Pack himself in the Absence of his said Master, the polite Dr. Ringwood. When this ingenious young Heir displays his Wind-Pipe, his Mother’s Heart beats for Joy, and the old Knight tells the Company with a Wink and a Nod, Harry is Father’s own Son.———Now thus far all is well, when Ambition goes Hand in Hand with Capacity. But Sir John, not content with these Excellencies in himself and his Son, will be ever and anon mentioning the Virtues and Talents of his Ancestors, who were indeed great Men: However, the Knight never concludes without insinuating his own Praise, and that of his Heir, by asserting, That not one of his Forefathers could compass a Bumper, or fill a Hunting-Horn.
Having thus, my Lord, done Justice to your Pedigree, I shall proceed next to the Consideration of your Fortune.
The Founders of Families are generally provident enough to support the Titles they leave behind them with suitable Estates; which is a most commendable Care: For, alas! as the World runs, what is Blood without Riches? Money and Land are the very Touchstones of Quality. Antiquity may be overlook’d, but Acres are visible Honours. Nothing is more illustrious than a long Rent-Roll; without it the most sounding and splendid Patent has no Power over the Hearts or Hats of an Assembly. It is confess’d, neither Family nor Riches make the least Alteration in the human Frame. An Ear dom can’t cure a stinking Breath, nor take the Scull half an Inch thinner; and a Great Man may be a Dwarf or a Scoundrel, with half a Million of Money, or half a County in his Possession. Alexander the Great had a wry Neck, (perhaps with carrying the Globe upon his Back) of which the Property of the World could not cure him. But I am only talking of reputed, and not real, Greatness, and cannot but congratulate your Lordship upon the real Kindness which is done you, in particular, by this Distinction.
You, my Lord, have a double Right to Respect, from your Title, and from your Affluence. The latter is indeed the less worthy; and yet, such is the Bigottry of the World to Wealth, that were it not for that, the former would hardly be regarded. Nay, to deal ingenuously with your Lordship, had I not known you to be Rich, I should, perhaps, never have known you to be Noble; and then your Lordship and I should never have been Patron and Client, nor Mankind been instructed in your Character. I would not therefore for less than thirty Pounds, that your Lordship should have wanted this Opportunity of obliging Posterity and myself. Go on, my Lord, in the Paths of Honour, that is, in the Art of getting; and continue to be deserving, that is, to be Rich.
From your Lordship’s Wealth it is natural enough to make a Transition to your Lordship’s Wit; since, according to the laudable Civility of the World, the Man who has Sufficiency of Bags is sure to be endow’d with Sufficiency of Brain. It is very observable, that though Wit has seldom or never the Sense to fall into the Road of Gain, and therefore your witty Men are the foolishest Fellows in the World, that is to say, the poorest; yet Riches, on the contrary, never fail to dubb a Fool a wise Man; and a Dunce no sooner ceases to be poor, but he is transmuted into a shrewd cunning Fellow. The Reason of this must be, that the Wit of a poor Man, lying only in the Inside of his Head, is altogether invisible and unregarded; whereas the Wit and Parts of the Wealthy being entirely without the Scull, and consisting of Assets and Effects, are honour’d because they are obvious. A Man, who has Wit in Chestfulls, and a Genius that consists of several Manours, will never want the Praises which are due to such uncommon Talents. I could mention many worthy Citizens who have vast Capacities at Sea, and are wonderfully witty in Warehouses, and most ingenious in Bank Stock, besides others, whose Abilities are as conspicuous in the Exchequer.
I cannot but lament, on this Occasion, with a seeling Concern, the invincible Obstacles which hinder that unhappy Wit, which is merely internal, from rising into Notice and Reputation. Alas! (absit invidia verbo) there is no Wit at all in being hungry, and where is the Jest of having but one Shirt? A Wig without Buckle is but dull Entertainment, and a Threadbare Coat has no Manner of Force upon the Muscles. I can speak it from Experience, there is no Joke in an empty Purse. I had therefore no Expedient left to procure me a little Wit, but the letting out my Parts to Hire, as I now do to your Lordship. Thirty Pounds, my Lord, frugally manag’d, will make me a wise Man for three Months together. Your Lordship, who hath Talents of a vast Extent for several Miles round you, and vast Parts in Cash and Bank Bills, has not only a sufficient Bulk of Penetration and Wisdom to serve you for Life, but will doubtless transmit the same substantial Accomplishments undiminish’d to your Posterity. My Lord Clarendon tells us, That Oliver Cromwel’s Abilities seem’d to raise in Proportion to his Advancement in Power: And your Lordship’s Wit and Sense, that are now so bulky, and of such mighty Circumference, would certainly have been invisible to the Buzzard World, to this Hour, had not your Fortune lifted them and you into Observation.
I do not say all this to prove to your Lordship, that your Lordship has a great deal of Wit; it is the last Thing you want to be convinc’d of.—But it is my Ambition to get myself a little Wit and Wisdom with your Money; and it is but reasonable I should do something for it. I owe my Landlady for a Quarter’s Lodging, and my Laundress for a Month’s Washing; they are the two first whom I intend to satisfy that I am a sensible Man: For I already find, by their sower Looks, they begin to question my Parts. My Shoemaker too, and several other Tradesmen, want sadly to handle some Proofs and Instances of my Wit and Genius. It would be barbarous in your Lordship to let me pass any longer for a Fool amongst these Fellows whom one cannot live without. For a small Matter of that Sort of good Sense, which is call’d Money, I shall find Admiration among them, and, which is better, Credit and New Shoes. I have often been witty, to the best of my Skill, at the Tavern over a Bottle of Wine; but the Blockhead the Vintner is so dull and covetous, that he can see no Wit about me, but what I tell out between my Finger and my Thumb, a Piece of Ingenuity which I am not always Master of. O the Degeneracy of the Age! Ben Johnson has frequently paid his Reckoning in a Couplet, and liv’d comfortably and merrily a whole Winter’s Night upon a Punn. Alas! I do not believe, in this Iron Age, a Canto of a hundred Staves would bring a Quart of Sherry, or a Pound of Salmon. Many a Wit would be forc’d to pawn his Coat (if any Person would take it) for a Dinner, did not the charitable Bookseller advance him Half a Crown on his new Poem, and by that Means pay him Half in Hand.
If a certain eminent Merchant had not manifested his uncommon Understanding in the uncommon Number o his Ships, and his harmonious Disposition (tuneful would have done better) in the chiming of his Bags, the Bluntness of the incomparable Mr. Durfey’s Nature would never have rais’d so many plauditory Plants in the large Field of the said Merchant’s Commendations: But that venerable Lyrick knew too well the Easiness of his Patron’s Humour, not to expect from it an Order upon his Goldsmith, where the harmonious Knight keeps the opulent Marks of his uncommon Understanding. How large Taste he afforded Mr. Durfey of his Parts, I know not; what I am to expect from your’s, my Lord, I know, and so will your Lordship too, when you have perus’d this uncommon Dedication.
I have, by this Time, I hope, with sufficient Clearness, display’d to my Readers, that is, to the whole World, the Quality and Extent of your Lordship’s Wit. If I have but little to say of your Eloquence, it is because you have hitherto shewn but little. But this is owing to nothing but Choice and Reservedness, on your Part: Your Modesty, my Lord, like a Pot-lead, smothers the Overflowings of your Spirit, and suppresses the Ebullition of your Rhetorick. It becomes me to believe you could do Wonders this Way, if you would. Why will you thus neglect and conceal your Abilities, and obstinately persist to be only a Hearer in the Senate? I do not question, but even this Omission and seeming Indolence is praise-worthy and publick-spirited. Your Lordship, no doubt, considers, that the very Listeners in public Assemblies are promoting the Trade of their Country, while they consume Snuff, and wear out Handkerchiefs. Thus is the Interest of Mankind advanc’d by Idleness and Incapacity itself.
Besides, when I reflect how much Tongue-Artillery is daily walled without doing the least Execution, I must applaud it as a Piece of Prudence and Humanity in your Lordship, to avoid the shedding of innocent Words. How many excellent Orators have we, who are instructive without being understood, severe without being felt, and loud without being heard. What Pity is this! Commend me to those that sit still and take Snuff, because they have nothing else to say. I have often lamented and sigh’d in my Closet, that Mens Tongues should have more Speed than their Understandings. When our Spirits are heavy and grave, it is but reasonable the Tongue should be shod with Lead. But alas! our Chops, when once they are set a going, generally shew our Intellects a Pair of Heels, and gallop away with such Fleetness, that even the Memory itself is distanc’d, as swift as it is.
Were the Tongue only to move by the Direction of good Sense, how many worthy English Gentlemen and fine Ladies would live and die secretly dumb? This putting of the Jaws upon hard Labour without Profit, and committing a Rape upon People’s Ears without the Consent of their Hearts, is a notorious Nuisance and Breach of the Peace. It is an Offence to others, and a Distemper in ourselves. This Disease I call the Upward Looseness; and it is in several Respects as nauseous as that below; nay, it sometimes equally affronts the Sense of Smelling, as when the Speaker’s Lungs are not over-orthodox, or so.
It is really a miserable Case, that, when a chattering Booby finds himself loaded with a turbulent Quantity of Words and Wind, which he has a Mind to discharge, I must be oblig’d to stand the Shot of his Noise and Nastiness for perhaps an Hour or two together. This, I am sure, is contrary to the Rules of Equity and Cleanliness; but it seems I am bound to it by the Laws of Courtesy and good Breeding.
What I have here said of Loquacity, concerns only private Conversation: But when this Insult upon our Senses appears in publick Assemblies, it is yet more intolerable. Why must prating Oafs (empty of every Thing but Froth and Clamour) be for ever suffer’d, without Rebuke, to be spewing up their ill scented Crudities in the Faces of Men that are either Wise or Brave? I would humbly propose, for the Ease of this Christian Country, that whenever an Orator of this Sort begins to gape and strain, one of the Company shall go up to him, and, taking hold of his Button, tell him, Sir, I am sorry to see you troubled with so violent a Vomiting: Or, perhaps, it may be more proper, without saying a Word, to run with a Chamber-pot, and hold it up to his Chin. For this Purpose, I would decree, that every Place of publick Meeting in this Istand be provided with one or more of these necessary Vessels, either to receive or restrain the Overflowings of indigested Oratory. If one of these emetick Speakers cannot conveniently be come at, it is only crying, To the Chamber-Pot; and, if he has Shame in him, he will grow well, and sit down.
There is something exceeding insolent in these long-winded Talkers. What Right has any Man living to lay an Embargo upon my Throat, when at the same Time he keeps his own open? He that usurps the whole Discourse, lays this modest Injunction upon the whole Company; namely, to be silent, and hear him.
The Ladies, indeed, who understand their Privileges much better than we do our’s, are not enslav’d by our Rules; but, tho’ there be a Score of them together, exert the Faculty of Speech all at once: And really, if we do but remember that it is their whole Business and Ambition to be only voluble, without troubling themselves with being intelligible, we cannot blame them for exercising their Tongues, as they do their Fans, in all Weathers, merely for a little Parade, or because they are used to it. Ladies, therefore, when they are fluttering either of these inoffensive Instruments, ought not to be interrupted with an Offer of the Chamber-Pot, for, if it be only the Pravity of the Intention that makes Actions criminal, it is evident they can be no Offenders, who speak without any Intention at all. I know the fair Prattlers are so overstock’d with Self-denial, that they will humbly disown this my Justification of them, as what they do not deserve; but I am resolv’d to persist, and make them innocent in Spite of themselves. But as for those of my own Sex, who are addicted to purge at the Mouth, I shall never revoke my Decree against them, or any of them, except such as honour the Truth, and freely consess, that though they talk much, they mean nothing. And indeed it cannot be denied, that very many well-meaning Persons are Rhetorical for no Reason in the Earth, but because they are not Retentive; and so are forc’d to break Words purely for their Ease. When a Man’s Tongue is always ready bridl’d and saddl’d, he cannot help it if it will run away him.
This Kind of Eloquence, like an ill Breath, is curable but one Way, and that is, by tying a certain Ligature, call’d a Halter, round the Patient’s Neck, and girding it, till you have quite stopp’d up the Gutter through which the aforesaid Excrements do issue.
But as this Remedy might prove somewhat dangerous to many Thousands of his Majesty’s good Subjects, I shall be cautious in recommending this publick-spirited Project, tho’ I am fully convinc’d it would effectually destroy all his Enemies within these his Dominions. But as I am a Friend to the Tranquillity and Noses of Mankind, I will make bold to prescribe a Succedancum; that is to say, an Equivalent for Hanging.
As a Specifick therefore against the dreadful Effects of this fœtid and epidemical Distemper, I would advise the sick Body, when the Fit is coming upon him, which he will perceive by an ungovernable Agitation in his Jaws, and an incessant Rattling in his Throat, to withdraw himself immediately from Company, and employ these indesatigable Organs in running over a Chapter or two in the Bible. People, I know, particularly my Patients, will make a horrid Outcry against the Distastefulness of this Remedy, but that can be no Objection against the Use of it, since the bitterest Drugs are often the most successful. Besides, it is well known, that all Medicines that dispose to Sleep, are harsh and unpalatable. Of this Nature are the numerous and powerful Opiats, which come daily from the Press and the Pulpit. A Dose or two of Scripture, if People would but be persuaded to take it (Sed hic Labor, hoc Opus est)) would compose those Convulsions of the Chops, and that Flux of Speech, which hitherto have been thought incurable. But let none despair; for tho’ their Mouths be dry, and their Lips chopp’d with the perpetual Evacuation of Eloquence and Spittle; tho’ their Heads ach with Nodding, and their Eyes with Winking; nay, though their Throats should be riven with Hemming, and their Wind-pipes with Straining; nay, even tho’ their very Arms should be jaded with explaining their Stories, and their Canes worn out with enforcing their Orations, yet I, the Doctor, will, by the Blessing of the Bible on my Endeavours, work a perfect Cure.
This Secret, which I found out by great Industry and long Study, I might, like other great Physicians, have kept to myself; but I prefer Knowledge and the Good of Mankind to living in Ignorance, and keeping a Coach.
For your many excellent Speakers that cannot read, I must find out some other Cure. Perhaps it may be no ineffectual Method to ask them, whether they will give what they say under their Hands, and to present them at the same Time with Pen, Ink, and Paper: You shall find they will immediately grow shy of attesting it in so solemn a Manner, and so recover to avoid Disgrace. N. B. This Remedy effectually cures talkative Beaus.
As to the Ladies, who hate every Thing that is unpleasant or unfashionable, I know my Scripture-Specifick will never go down with them without a great deal of Art. These genteel well-bred Patients would think me a strange rude Fellow, should I advise them to so vulgar a Thing as the Reading of an old Book; and so I find I must grown canning, that I may not be thought clownish. Being well acquainted with the inquisitive Spirit which is in them, I intend to recommend the Bible to them as a Book that contains many strange Adventures, and many Secrets which they never heard of before: There they will find Gallantry and Intrigues, Songs, Dances, and pretty Fellows, Mobbings, Rebellions, and the Church; Hereditary Right, and a Jewish Pretender, who was a very handsome Man, but had his Title and Complexion both ruin’d by the Gallows; and there they will find Courts, Ravishings, and Adultery, and every Thing that can please and entertain them: Besides, the Book is finely bound and gilt. I mention the strongest Motive last, because they may remember it most.
I am sensible few of our fine Ladies are furnish’d with this useful Book, the same being got intirely into the Hands of their Servants, and other mean People, who are poor-enough to be good Christians. I must therefore acquaint the Quality, that the said Book, call’d a Bible, may be met with at the Booksellers; Mr. Baskett, encourag’d, I suppose, by this Project of mine, having, not long since, ventur’d upon a new Impression; otherwise, ’tis thought, Bibles might, in a small Time, have been out of Print.
To convince the whole World that I am altogether disinterested in this useful Discovery, I must, in Justice to myself, declare, that I have never seen the Colour of Mr. Baskett’s Money; for, tho’ I belong to the Society for the Reformation of Manners, I do utterly decline the usual Perquisites arising from the Execution of that Office. If Mr. Baskett indeed should force a Bribe upon me, I know the Courtesy of my Nature will by no Means suffer me to affront so worthy a Person by a rigid Refusal, it being my stedfast Principle to suffer rather than resist, upon such powerful Trials; as many of our good and modest Doctors are forc’d into Greatness and Bishopricks, in spite of their obstinate and repeated Nolo. But, though I shall not not fall out with Mr. Baskett for a small Matter, I protest before Hand, that if he offers me above a Hundred Guineas, I shall be strangely surpriz’d.
However, if Mr. Baskett behaves himself, as he ought to do, upon this Occasion, I intend to make over to him, his Heirs, and Assigns, the Right of Printing and Publishing my Works for the Space of Three Hundred Years; at the End of which Time, I do Will and Ordain, that the said Right shall become general, and enrich the whole Body of Booksellers, without Distinction, requiring them, however, as a public Emolument for so public a Benefit, to apply a small Portion of their Profits towards pulling down the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, and rebuilding the same in a Manner worthy of me and my Country, the Honour whereof is hereby consulted, as well as the Reputation of Sir Christopher Wren. I should be willing to retrieve his Credit sooner, but as the said Fabrick is never mention’d among Works of Architecture, the present Architect’s Name lies safely concealed.
I do also Will and Appoint, that in the Year 2718, that is to say, a Thousand Years hence, the said Company of Booksellers shall, at my Expence, that is to say, out of the Revenues accruing from my Works, erect two Marble Statues to the Prince then reigning, the one at Charing-Cross, and the other before the Theatre at Oxford, with the following Inscriptions.
Upon that at Charing-Cross.
TO George the Twentieth, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, and Emperor of all Europe, Arbitrator of the Peace of Asia, and Defender of the Faith; Pious, Clement, Just; the Nursing Father of Liberty and Mankind; bold for Truth, Religion, Law, in Opposition to Tyranny, Persecution, Superstition: His Zeal temper’d with Charity, his Virtue with Affability: A Prince of unparallel’d Self-denial, who loses the Appearance of much Glory by concealing the Substance: By preventing Necessities and Oppressions he prevents the Renown of relieving them. Thus is his Merit the more excellent by being less visible. The Joys and Fears of his Subjects are his own: Their Peace is the End of all his Wars, and his Wars the Means of their Peace. He is magnanimous and wary. His Courage never betrays Want of Circumspection, nor his Circumspection Want of Courage; they are both eminent. His Liberality is not confin’d to Worth reveal’d, but generously contributes to raise it; others have rewarded Merit, but he makes it. He is happy in the Choice and Talents of his Ministers, and they in the Favour and Fortune of their Master. In short, this mighty Emperor seems, in his whole Life and Royal Virtues, to copy out, with great Exactness and Success, the most glorious and popular of all his numerous Ancestors, George the First; whose Name, notwithstanding the Dust and Forgetfulness with which other great Princes, and their Atchievements, are cover’d, is still fresh and amiable in our History and Conversation: It was He who laid the Foundation of the settled Prosperity of our Country, and the continu’d Freedom of Europe, aided by the Counsels and Negotiations of Sunderland, Stanhope, and Cadogan, great Statesmen, of superior Capacities, and boundless Humanity. By their Ministration, in this Reign, was first shaken, and, at last, overthrown, a formidable Race of ancient Pagans (long since extinct) named Papists, the blind and bloody Slaves of a wily Wizard at Rome, who by the Magick of Falshood and Ignorance, and by continued and unrelenting Murders, poisoned, stupified, and misled Christendom for many Centuries. Among the deathless Glories of that King’s Reign, was his having for a Subject John Duke of Marlborough, surnamed the Great, who for Victories, Triumphs, and Clemency, first shaded the Lustre of Julius and the great Macedonian.Him all succeeding Heroes, guided by his Example, and fired by his Successes, have strove to emulate, but could never equal. Then also flourished the immortal Mr. Addison, whose Fame is in every Mouth, and his Works in every Hand. In his Writings are still seen, in all their Freshness and Glory, the divine Atchievements of William the Third, and the mighty Marlborough. The Want of such a Genius and such a Pen, is the Grief and Misfortune of the present Times, and has been the Complaint of every Age between him and us. To compleat the Praises of that Reign, Parker presided in the Senate, and, out of it, comptrolled the Law; King adorned the Bench, and Hoadley the Mitre.
In this Place, some Ages since, stood a brazen Equestrian Statue of an old British King, whose Name is omitted, because his Reign was unfortunate and his End unhappy. His Bigotry to the Ecclesiasticks was his Foible, and at length his Destruction. Whilst, deluded with their false Incense, aud mistaking Self-Interest in them for Loyalty to him, he made them more than Suctjects, he made himself less than a Sovereign. He broke the Constitution, because it would not bend, and banished the Laws, because they would not flatter. He sacrificed the Crown to exalt the Mitre, and oppressed his Subjects to support the Crown. Monarchy and the Church became at last hateful, by making themselves dreadful, and by grasping at too much, lost all. The Nation, after twelve Years Patience under the continued Assaults of Rapine and Tyranny, had a fortuitous but favourable Opportunity put into their Hands, to relieve themselves. They soon found themselves strong and therefore grew unmanageable, and, confounding Slavery with Obedience, shook off both. The rest is too Tragical.
The whole History of this ill-advised Prince is a Panegyrick upon his present Majesty, who fortifies his Throne, and blesses his People, by following closely the Wisdom and Example of his great Ancestor above mentioned, the First of his Name.
Upon the Statue at Oxford.
TO George the Twentieth, by the Grace of God, &c. A Prince whose strongest Right to govern Mankind proceeds from his being the best and wisest of Mankind. Nothing can equal the People’s Affection to their Monarch, but the Monarch’s Benevolence to his People. A noble Emulation! Their Happiness is his Study; his Safety is their Care. He rules by deserving to rule. This is his Opinion, this his Practice. He owns no Right from Heaven but to do Good, nor from Men but to protect them. He detests being a Tyrant, because his Ancestors were Kings. He thinks it Diabolical Reasoning that, because he ought to defend, he may therefore destroy. That Kings are the Ordinances of God, merely for being the Scourges of God, he thinks to be a Proposition as dreadful as absurd, which may, with equal Justice, entitle Robbers and Murderers to Impunity and Non-Resistance. The People are not jealous of the Prince’s Power, nor the Prince of the People’s Liberty. He glories in being limited by the Law of the Land, but more in being unlimited by the Love of his Subjects. His Wisdom and Power are employed for them; their Hearts and their Purses are open to him; both happy in mutual and unrestrained Confidence. He loves all his Subjects, and is by all his Subjects beloved, this renowned Nursery of Learning setting an illustrious Copy of Religion and Loyalty to the remotest Nations of his Empire.
And yet from this Seat of Knowledge formerly issued many black Mists of Prejudice and Ignorance, and even the peaceful Muses were drawn into Sedition and Outrages. The blackest Perjuries and most destructive Principles were openly encouraged and defended; and Religion was brought into real Danger, to keep the Church out of it. Every Action and every Name that did Honour to the Nation and to Mankind, was blackened and depressed, whilst the vilest Villanies against Truth and Liberty were countenanced and extolled. Honest Men were brow-beaten, weak Men deluded, and Profligates supported and protected; religious Houses were pulled down by the drunken Rabble, and the Church vindicated by blaspheming Mobs. Hereditary Right was supported by Perjury, and Non-Resistance by Rebellion. Men of Virtue and Sobriety were termed Fanaticks, and the Defenders of Peace, Liberty and Law, Republicans: But George the First, who had all those Evils in a particular Manner to struggle with, as being levelled at his Person and Title, at last overcame them all. He reform’d the Priesthood and purified the University, and in Spite of Pride, Interest, and a Degeneracy almost total, reconciled these haughty Bodies of Men to Evangelical Religion and legal Obedience. He was the Founder of our present Greatness; for arriving at which, he chose and practised the most natural, most amiable Arts. He made the Good of Mankind the Measure of his Power; and by making his Subjects wise and virtuous, taught them to be great. He made his People powerful, and they him irresistable. Dying, he left behind him such a Pattern of Government, which has never failed to render all succeeding Kings, who have followed it, prosperous and popular. This they have all attempted, but his present Majesty with the most Success.
Of the Reign of George the First no more needs be said; it shines, at this Distance, in the Histories and Poems of that Time; a Time fruitful in Men of Learning and Genius, favoured and patronized, more particularly, by the then Duke of Newcastle, who, from his early Infancy to the End of a most distinguished and honourable Life, gave infinite Proofs of a large Soul, and a disinterested Love to Mankind, Liberty, and the more elegant Arts. But the Character of that great and popular Lord is well known, and his Memory honoured in the same Degree as was his Life.
After an Absence of several Pages, I again return to your Lordship, who must, to excuse me, consider, I have been attending a much greater Man: But having now, I hope, sufficiently instructed Posterity about erecting and dedicating the above-named Statues, and having made ample Provisions for the Expence of the same, I am once more at your Service.
I should now proceed to display and extol, as becomes me, your Lordship’s great Piety and Gallantry, the Gravity of your Carriage, and the Liveliness of your Behaviour, the Grandeur of your Deportment and the Humility of your Conversation; and, most particularly, I should celebrate your great Generosity to myself, and your great Frugality to all the World: And your Lordship may depend upon it, I will very soon gratify my own Ambition, by equipping you with all these great Gifts, and many more.
At present a Thing has happened, which interrupts me in the Discharge of this my necessary Duty. A Thing, which the Shyness of my Nature will have me to conceal from all the World, but so good and loving a Friend as your Lordship. My Lord, it is now Twelve o’Clock, and I want a Dinner, and alas, I doubt my Bookseller will not trust me with a Shilling, without mortgaging these my Papers into his Hands for the Sum aforesaid. Thus must half your Lordship, that is, half your Character, be pawn’d, that I may dine. Be assured of hearing from me soon, for I have your Measure, and, as becomes your faithful Taylor, will finish your Sute with all Speed. I am, with wonderful Devotion, and great Haste (it is now a Quarter after Twelve)
My very good Lord, Your Lordship’s most dutiful, and most obedient humble Servant.
P. S. To avoid the Envy that eminent Writers must ever expect, I have determined not to put my Name to my Work, ’till the Thirtieth Edition of this Treatise, which perhaps may not be this Month yet; by which Time it is presumed, that all those who detract from its Excellencies, will be hissed into Silence and Shame by the whole World.
I designed to have subjoined at the End a Table of the Principal Matters, as other great Authors have done, but going about it, I quickly found I must transcribe the whole Book into an Index, and so gave it over.