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quence; if you are safe at the place, it is no matter if you do not distinctly know where the place is: but to return to the orthography of public places. I promise, that every tradesman in the cities of London and Westminster shall give me sixpence a quarter for keeping their signs in repair, as to the grammatical part; and I will take into my house a Swiss Count of my acquaintance, who can remember all their names without book, for dispatch sake, setting up the head of the said foreigner for my sign; the features being strong, and fit for hanging high.
St. James's Coffee-house, May 20.
This day a mail arrived from Holland, by which there are advices from Paris, that the kingdom of France is in the utmost misery and distraction. The merchants of Lyons have been at Court, to remonstrate their great sufferings by the failure of their public credit; but have received no other satisfaction than promises of sudden peace; and that their debts will be made good by funds out of the revenue, which will not answer, but in case of the peace which is promised. In the mean time, the cries of the common people are loud for want of bread; the gentry have lost all spirit and zeal for their country; and the King himself seems to languish under the anxiety of the pressing calamities of the nation, and retires from hearing those grievances which he hath not the power to redress. Instead of preparations for war, and the defence of their country, there is nothing to be seen but evident marks of a general despair processions, fastings, public mournings and humiliations, are become the sole employments of a people, who were lately the most vain and gay of any of the universe.
The Pope has written to the French King on the subject of a peace; and his Majesty has answered in the lowliest terms, that he entirely submits his Probably John-James Heidegger, Esq.
affairs to Divine Providence, and shall soon show the world, that he prefers the tranquillity of his people to the glory of his arms, and extent of his conquests.
Letters from the Hague of the twenty-fourth say that his Excellency the Lord Townshend delivered his credentials on that day to the States-General, as Plenipotentiary from the Queen of Great Britain ; as did also Count Zinzendorf, who bears the same character from the Emperor.
Prince Eugene intended to set out the next day for Brussels, and his Grace the Duke of Marlborough on the Tuesday following. The Marquis de Torcy talks daily of going, but still continues there. The army of the allies is to assemble on the seventh of next month at Helchin; though it is generally believed that the preliminaries to a treaty are fully adjusted.
The approach of the peace strikes a panic through our armies, though that of a battle could never do it; and they almost repent of their bravery, that made such haste to humble themselves and the French King. The Duke of Marlborough, though otherwise the greatest general of the age, has plainly shewn himself unacquainted with the arts of husbanding a war. He might have grown as old as the Duke of Alva, or Prince Waldeck in the Low Countries, and yet have got reputation enough every year for any reasonable man; for the command of General in Flanders hath been ever looked upon as a provision for life. For my part, I cannot see how his Grace can answer it to the world, for the great eagerness he hath shown to send an hundred thousand of the bravest fellows in Europe abegging: but the private gentlemen of the infantry will be able to shift for themselves; a brave man can never starve in a country stocked with henroosts. "There is not a yard of linen," says my honoured progenitor, Sir John Falstaff,
whole company; but for that," says this worthy knight, "I am in no great pain; we shall find shirts on every hedge." There is another sort of gentlemen whom I am much more concerned for, and that is the ingenious fraternity of which I have the honour to be an unworthy member: I mean the newswriters of Great Britain, whether Post-men or Postboy*, or by whatever name or title soever dignified or distinguished. The case of these gentlemen is, I think, more hard than that of the soldiers, considering that they have taken more towns, and fought more battles. They have been upon parties and skirmishes, when our armies have lain still; and given the general assault to many a place, when the besiegers were quiet in their trenches. They have made us masters of several strong towns many weeks before our generals could do it; and completed victories, when our greatest captains have been glad to come off with a drawn battle. Where Prince Eugene has slain his thousands, Boyert has slain his ten thousands. This gentleman can indeed be never enough commended for his courage and intrepidity during this whole war: he has laid about him with an inexpressible fury; and, like the offended Marius of antient Rome, made such havoc among his countrymen, as must be the work of two or three ages to repair. It must be confessed, the redoubted Mr. Buckley has shed as much blood as the former; but I cannot forbear saying (and I hope it will not look like envy,) that we regard our brother Buckley as a kind of Drawcansir, who spares neither friend nor foe, but generally kills as many of his own side as the enemies'. It is impossible for this ingenious sort of men to subsist after a
"The Post-boy" was a scandalous weekly paper, by Abel Roper; and "The Flying Post," by George Ridpath, was just such another.
+ Abel Boyer, author of "The Political State."
Samuel Buckley, printer of "The Gazette," and also of "The Daily Courant."
peace every one remembers the shifts they were driven to in the reign of king Charles the Second, when they could not furnish out a single paper of news, without lighting up a comet in Germany, or a fire in Moscow. There scarce appeared a letter without a paragraph on an earthquake. Prodigies were grown so familliar, that they had lost their name, as a great poet of that age has it. I remember Mr. Dyer*, who is justly looked upon by all the fox-hunters in the nation as the greatest statesman our country has produced, was particularly famous for dealing in whales; insomuch, that in five months time (for I had the curiosity to examine his letters on that occasion) he brought three into the mouth of the river Thames, besides two porpusses and a sturgeon. The judicious and wary Mr. Ichabod Dawks+ hath all along been the rival of this great writer, and got himself a reputation from plagues and famines : by which, in those days, he destroyed as great multitudes as he has lately done by the sword. In every dearth of news, Grand Cairo was sure to be unpeopled.
It being therefore visible that our society will be greater sufferers by the peace than the soldiery itself, insomuch that the Daily Courant is in danger of being broken, my friend Dyer of being reformed, and the very best of the whole band of being reduced to half pay; might I presume to offer any thing in the behalf of my distressed brethren, I would humbly move, that an appendix of proper apartments, furnished with pen, ink, and paper, and other necessaries of life, should be added to the hospital of Chelsea, for the relief of such decayed newswriters as have served their country in the wars; and that for their exercise they should compile the annals
* "Dyer's Letter;" a news-paper of that time, which according to Mr. Addison, was entitled to little credit. + Ichabod Dawks," another poor, epistolary historian."
of their brother veterans, who have been engaged in the same service, and are still obliged to duty after the same manner.
I cannot be thought to speak this out of an eye to any private interest; for as my chief scenes of action are coffee-houses, play-houses, and my own apartment, I am in no need of camps, fortifications, and fields of battle, to support me; I do not call for heroes and generals to my assistance. Though the officers are broken, and the armies disbanded, I shall still be safe, as long as there are men, or women, politicians, or lovers, or poets, or nymphs, or swains, or cits, or courtiers, in being.
N° 19. SATURDAY, MAY 24, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines
nostri est farrago libelli.
Juv. Sat. i. 85, 86.
Whate'er men do, or say, or think, or dream,
From my own Apartment, May 23.
THERE is nothing can give a man of any consideration greater pain, than to see order and distinction laid aside amongst men, espesially when the rank (of which he himself is member) is intruded upon y such as have no pretence to that honour. The appellation of Esquire is the most notoriously abused in this kind, of any class amongst men; insomuch, that it is become almost the subject of derision; but I will be bold to say, this behaviour towards it proceeds from the ignorance of the people in its true origin. I shall therefore, as briefly as possible, do myself and all true Esquires the justice to look into antiquity upon this subject.