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pudence, who is conscious that he is such. If he knows he is impudent, he may as well be otherwise; and it shall be expected that he blush, when he sees he makes another do it. For nothing can atone for the want of modesty; without which, beauty is ungraceful, and wit detestable.
No. 21. SATURDAY, MARCH 24, 1710-11.
-Locus est et pluribus umbris.
HOR. EP. i. 5.28.
There's room enough, and each may bring his friend.
I AM Sometimes very much troubled, when I reflect upon the three great professions of divinity, law, and physic; how they are each of them overburdened with practitioners, and filled with multitudes of ingenious gentlemen that starve one another.
We may divide the clergy into generals, field officers, and subalterns. Among the first we may reckon bishops, deans, and archdeacons. Among the second are doctors of divinity, prebendaries, and all that wear scarfs. The rest are comprehended under the subalterns. As for the first class, our constitution preserves it from any redundancy of incumbents, notwithstanding competitors are numberless. Upon a strict calculation, it is found that there has been a great exceeding of late years in the second division, several brevets having been granted for the converting of subalterns into scarf-officers;
insomuch that within my memory the price of lutestring is raised above two-pence in a yard. As for the subalterns, they are not to be numbered. Should our clergy once enter into the corrupt practice of the laity, by the splitting of their freeholds, they would be able to carry most of the elections in England.
The body of the law is no less encumbered with superfluous members, that are like Virgil's army, which he tells us was so crowded, many of them had not room to use their weapons. This prodigious society of men may be divided into the litigious and peaceable. Under the first are comprehended all those who are carried down in coach-fulls to Westminster-hall, every morning in term time. Martial's [Qu.? Martial.] description of this species of lawyers is full of humour:
'Iras et verba locant.'
Men that hire out their words and anger;' that are more or less passionate according as they are paid for it, and allow their client a quantity of wrath proportionable to the fee which they receive from him. I must, however, observe to the reader, that above three parts of those whom I reckon among the litigious are such as are only quarrelsome in their hearts, and have no opportunity of showing their passion at the bar. Nevertheless as they do not know what strifes may arise, they appear at the hall every day, that they may show themselves in readiness to enter the lists, whenever there shall be occasion for them.
The peaceable lawyers are, in the first place, many of the benchers of the several inns of court, who seem to be the dignitaries of the law, and are endowed with those qualifications of mind that accomplish a man rather for a ruler than a pleader.
These men live peaceably in their habitations, eating once a day, and dancing once a year *, for the honour of their respective societies.
Another numberless branch of peaceable lawyers, are those young men who, being placed at the inns of court in order to study the laws of their country, frequent the playhouse more than Westminster-hall, and are seen in all public assemblies, except in a court of justice. I shall say nothing of those silent and busy multitudes that are employed within doors in the drawing up of writings and conveyances; nor of those greater numbers that palliate their want of business with a pretence to such chamberpractice.
If, in the third place, we look into the profession of physic, we shall find a most formidable body of The sight of them is enough to make a man serious; for we may lay it down as a maxim, that when a nation abounds in physicians it grows thin of people. Sir William Temple is very much puzzled to find out a reason why the Northern Hive, as he calls it, does not send out such prodigious swarms, and over-run the world with Goths and Vandals, as it did formerly; but had that excellent author observed that there were no students in physic among the subjects of Thor and Woden, and that this science very much flourishes in the north at present, he might have found a better solution for this difficulty than any of those he has made use of. This body of men in our own country may be described like the British army in Cæsar's time: some of them slay in chariots, and some on foot. If the infantry do less execution than the charioteers, it is because they cannot be carried so soon into all quarters of the town, and despatch so much business in so short
See Dugdale's Origines Juridiciales,
a time. Besides this body of regular troops, there are stragglers, who, without being duly listed and enrolled, do infinite mischief to those who are so unlucky as to fall into their hands.
There are, besides the above-mentioned, innumerable retainers to physic, who, for want of other patients, amuse themselves with the stifling of cats in an air-pump, cutting up dogs alive, or impaling of insects upon the point of a needle for microscopical observations; besides those that are employed in the gathering of weeds, and the chase of butterflies: not to mention the cockleshell-merchants and spidercatchers.
When I consider how each of these professions are crowded with multitudes that seek their livelihood in them, and how many men of merit there are in each of them, who may be rather said to be of the science, than the profession; I very much wonder at the humour of parents who will not rather choose to place their sons in a way of life where an honest industry cannot but thrive, than in stations where the greatest probity, learning, and good sense may miscarry. How many men are country curates, that might have made themselves aldermen of London, by a right improvement of a smaller sum of money than what is usually laid out upon a learned education? A sober frugal person, of slender parts, and a slow apprehension, might have thrived in trade, though he starves upon physic; as a man would be well enough pleased to buy silks of one whom he would not venture to feel his pulse. Vagellius is careful, studious, and obliging, but withal a little thickskulled; he has not a single client, but might have had abundance of customers. The misfortune is, that parents take a liking to a particular profession, and therefore desire their sons may be of it: whereas, in so great an affair of life, they should consider the
genius and abilities of their children, more than their own inclinations.
It is the great advantage of a trading nation, that there are very few in it so dull and heavy, who may not be placed in stations of life which may give them an opportunity of making their fortunes. A wellregulated commerce is not, like law, physic, or divinity, to be overstocked with hands; but, on the contrary, flourishes by multitudes, and gives employment to all its professors. Fleets of merchantmen are so many squadrons of floating shops, that vend our wares and manufactures in all the markets of the world, and find out chapmen under both the tropics. C
No. 22. MONDAY, MARCH 26, 1711.
Quodcunque ostendis mihi sic, incredulus odi.
HOR. ARS POET. 188.
Whatever contradicts my sense
THE word Spectator being most usually understood as one of the audience at public representations in our theatres, I seldom fail of many letters relating to plays and operas. But indeed there are such monstrous things done in both, that if one had not been an eye-witness of them, one could not believe that such matters had really been exhibited. There is very little which concerns human life, or is a picture of nature, that is regarded by the greater part of the