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first hearing; but it passes among the Turks for an high gratification. And I will say this in its vindication, that its design is very wise and useful. For it is understood to give a civil disinission to the visitants, intimating to them, that the master of the house has business to do, or some other avocation, that permits them to go away as soon as they please; and the sooner after this ceremony the better. By this means you may, at any time, without offence, deliver yourself from being detained from your affairs by tedious and unseasonable visits; and from being constrained to use that piece of hypocrisy, so common in the world, of pressing those to stay longer with you, whom perhaps in your heart you wish a great way off for having troubled you so long already.”
Thus far my author. For my own part, I have taken such a fancy to this Turkish custom, that for the future I shall put something like it in practice. I have provided a bottle of right French brandy for the men, and citron water for the ladies. After I have treated with a dram, and presented a pinch of my best snuff, I expect all company will retire, and leave me to pursue my studies for the good of the public.
I give notice, that I am now actually compiling, and design to publish in a short time, the true history of the rise, growth, and progress of the renowned Tiff Club. All persons who are acquainted with any facts, circumstances, characters, transactions, &c. which will be requisite to the perfecting and embellishment of the said work, are desired to communicate the same to 2 1 3
the author, and direct their letters to be left with the printer hereof.
The letter signed Would-be-something is come to hand,
The Busy-Body.—No. V.
TROM TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 25 TO TUESDAY, MARCH 4, 1728--9,
Vos, o patricius sanguis, quos vivere fas est,
Occipiti cæco, posticæ occurrite sannæ. PERSIUS. THIS paper being design'd for a terror to evil doers, as well as a praise to them that do well, I am lifted up with secret joy to find, that my undertaking is approved, and encourag’d by the just and good, and that few are against me but those who have reason to fear me.
There are little follies in the behaviour of most men, which their best friends are too tender to acquaint them with; there are little vices and small crimes which the law has no regard to or remedy for: there are likewise great pieces of villany sometimes so craftily accom. plished, and so circumspectly guarded, that the law can take no hold of the actors. All these things, and all things of this nature, come within my province as Censor, and I am determined not to be negligent of the trust I have reposed in myself, but resolve to execute my office diligently and faithfully. .
And that all the world may judge with how much humanity, as well as justice, I shall behave in this office; and that even my enemies may be convinced I
take no delight to rake into the dunghill lives of vicious men; and to the end that certain persons may be a little eased of their fears, and relieved from the terrible palpitations they have lately felt and suffered, and do still suffer; I hereby graciously pass an act of general oblivion, for all offences, crimes, and misdemeanors of what kind soever, committed from the beginning of the year 1681, until the day of the date of my first paper, and promise only lo concern myself with such as have been since and shall hereafter be committed. I shall take no notice who has (heretofore) raised a fortune by fraud and oppression, nor who by deceit and hypocrisy; what woman has been false to her good husband's bed, nor what man has, by barbarous usage or neglect, broke the heart of a faithful wife, and wasted his health and substance in debauchery ; what base wretch has be. trayed his friend, and sold his honesty for gold, nor what baser wretch first corrupted him, and then bought the bargain : all this, and much more of the same kind, I shall forget, and pass over in silence; but then it is to be observed, that I expect and require a sudden and general amendment.
These threatenings of mine, I hope will have a good effect, and, if regarded, may prevent abundance of folly and wickedness in others, and, at the same time, save me abundance of trouble: and that people may not flatter themselves with the hopes of concealing their loose misdemeanors from iny knowledge, and in that view persist in evil doing, I must acquaint thein, that I have lately entered into an intimacy with the extraordinary person, who some time since wrote me the following letter; and who, having a wonderful faculty, that'enables him to discover the most secret iniquity, is capable
of giving me great assistance in my designed work of reformation
« Mr. Busy-Body, “I Rejoice, sir, at the opportunity you have given me to be serviceable to you, and, by your means, to this province. You must know, that such have been the circumstances of my life, and such were the marvellous concurrences of my birth, that I have not only a faculty of discovering the actions of persons, that are absent or asleep, but even of the devil himself, in many of his secret workings, in the various shapes, habits, and names of men and women: and having travelled and conversed much, and met but with a very few of the same perceptions and qualifications, I can recommend myself to you as the most useful man you can corres pond with. My father's father's father (for we had no grandfathers in our family) was the same John Bunyan that writ that memorable book, The Pilgrim's Progress, who had, in some degree, a natural faculty of second sight. This faculty (how derived to him our family memoirs are not very clear) was enjoyed by all his descendants, but not by equal talents. It was very dim in several of my first cousins, and probably had been nearly extinct in our particular branch, had not my father been a traveller. He lived, in his youthful days, in New England. There he married, and there was born my elder brother, who had so much of this faculty, as to discover witches in some of their occult perforinances. My parents transporting themselves to Great Britain, my second brother's birth was in that kingdom. He shared but a small portion of this virtue, being only able to discern transactions about the time of,
and for the most part after their happening. My good father, who delighted in the Pilgrim's Progress, and mountainous places, took shipping, with his wife, for Scotland, and inhabited in the Highlands, where myself was born; and whether the soil, climate, or astral influences, of which are preserved divers prognosticks, restored our ancestor's natural faculty of second sight, in a greater lustre to me, than it had shined in through several generations, I will not here discuss. But so it is, that I am possessed largely of it, and design, if you encourage the proposal, to take this opportunity of doing good with it, which I question not will be accepted of in a grateful way by many of your honest readers, though the discovery of my extraction bodes me no deference from your great scholars and modern philosophers. This my father was long ago aware of, and lest the name alone should hurt the fortunes of his children, he, in his shiftings from one country to another, wisely changed it.
“Sir, I have only this further to say, how I may be useful to you, and as a reason for my not making myself more known in the world: by virtue of this great gift of nature, second-sightedness, I do continually see numbers of men, women, and children, of all ranks, and what they are doing, while I am sitting in my closet; which is too great a burthen for the mind, and makes me also conceit, even against reason, that all this host of people can see and observe me, which strongly inclines me to solitude, and an obscure living; and, on the other hand, it will be an ease to me to disburthen my thoughts and observations in the way proposed to you, by sir, your friend and humble servant.” I conceal this correspondent's name, in my care for