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and a vein of humour, which flowed naturally and abundantly from him on every subject; and which experience hath shown to be inimitable. But it is in the former respect only, that I shall criticise these papers; and I shall do it with severity, lest time, and the authority of his name (which, of course, must become sacred), should give a sanction even to his defects. If any man of genius should be so happy, as to equal all the excellencies of his prose, and to avoid the few blemishes, which may, haply, be found in it, he would be a perfect model of style, in this way of writing : but of such an one, it is enough to say at present (and I shall, surely, offend no good writer in saying it),
hunc nequeo monstrare, & sentio tantùm.'"
No. 18. SATURDAY, MAY 21, 1709.
[The first part of this paper was written by Steele. Addison begins with the distress of news-writers if the negotiations for peace should prove successful.-G.]
- 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 post-boys,“ or by what other 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 skirnishes, 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, Boyer has slain his ten thousands. This gentleman can indeed be never enough commended for his courage and intrepidity during this
• The Post-boy' was a scandalous weekly paper, hy Abel Roper ; and *The Flying-Post,' by George Ridpath, was just such another.-N.
Abel Boyer, author of The Political State.'-N.
whole war: he has laid about him with an inexpressible fury; and, like the offended Marius of ancient Rome, has 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 enemy's. It is impossible for this ingenious sort of men to subsist after a 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 familiar, 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 porpoises 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
• Samuel Buckley, printer of The Gazette,' and also of “The Daily Courant.'-N.
b Dyer's Letter;'a news paper of that time, which, according to Mr. Addison, was entitled to little credit.-N.
Ichabod Dawks, another poor epistolary historian.-N.
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 news-writers as have served their country in the wars; and that, for their exer. cise, they should compile the annals of their brother veterans, who have been engaged in the same service, and are still obliged to do duty after the same manner.
I cannot be thought to speak this out of an eye to any pri. vate 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, or politicians, or lovers, or poets, or nymphs, or swains, or cits, or courtiers, in being.
No. 20. THURSDAY, MAY 26, 1709.
[First part by Steele.-G.)
-Though the theatre is now breaking, it is allowed still to sell animals there; therefore, if any lady or gentleman have occasion for a tame elephant, let them inquire of Mr. Pinkethman,' who has one to dispose of at a reasonable rate. The downfal of May
1 Chief of a company of strolling players—mentioned in Tatler. No 1.-G.
Fair' has quite sunk the price of this noble creature, as well as of many other curiosities of nature. A tiger will sell almost as cheap as an ox; and I am credibly informed, a man may purchase a cat with three legs, for very near the value of one with four. I hear likewise, that there is a great desolation among the gentlemen and ladies who were the ornaments of the town, and used to shine in plumes and diadems; the heroes being most of them pressed, and the queens beating hemp. Mrs. Sarabrand, so famous for her ingenious puppet-show, has set up a shop in the Exchange, where she sells her little troop under the term of Jointed Babies. I could not but be solicitous to know of her, how she had disposed of that rake-hell Punch, whose lewd life and conversation had given so much scandal, and did not a little contribute to the ruin of the fair. She told me with a sigh, that despairing of ever reclaiming him, she would not offer to place him in a civil family, but got him in a post upon a stall in Wapping, where he may be seen from sun-rising to sun-setting, with a glass in one hand, and a pipe in the other, as sentry to a brandy shop. The great revolutions of this nature bring to my mind the distresses of the unfortunate Camilla,' who has had the ill luck to break before her voice, and to disappear at a time when her beauty was in the height of its bloom. This lady entered so thoroughly into the great characters she acted, that when she had finished her part, she could not think of retrenching her equipage, but would appear in her own lodgings with the same magnificence that she did upon the stage. This greatness of soul has reduced that unhappy princess to an involuntary retirement, where she now passes her time among the woods and for
A yearly fair, lasting from May 1 to 15, in Brookfield, Westminster, established under James II., and abolished in 1709, upon presentment as a nuisance by the grand jury of Westminster.-G.
* Mrs. Tofts—V. the sketch of her in Nichols's notes.-G.