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Hence did she go, just as she did begin
“I am, sir, your servant."
No. 542. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21.
Et sibi præferri se gaudet, WHEN I have been present in assemblies where my paper has been talked of, I have been very well pleased to hear those who would detract from the author of it observe, that the letters which are sent to the Spectator are as good, if not better than any of his works. Upon this occasion, many letters of mirth are usually mentioned, which some think the Spectator writ to himself, and which others commend because they fancy he received them from his correspondents : such are those from the Valetudinarian; the Inspector of the Sign-posts; the Master of the Fan-exercise; with that of the Hooped-petticoat; that of Nicholas Hart, the Annual Sleeper: that of Sir John Envill; that upon the London Cries; with multitudes of the same nature. As I love nothing more than to mortify the ill-natured, that I may do it effectually, I must acquaint them, they have very often praised me when they did not design it, and that they have approved my writings when they thought they had derogated from them. I have heard several of these unhappy gentlemen proving, by undeniable arguments, that I was not able to pen a letter which I had written the day before. Nay, I have heard some of them throwing out ambiguous expressions, and giving the company reason to suspect that they themselves did me the honour to send me such and such a particular epistle, which happened to be talked of with the esteem or approbation of those who were present. These rigid critics are so afraid of allowing me anything which does not belong to me, that they will not be positive whether the lion, the wild boar, and the flower-pots in the playhouse, did not actually write those letters which came to me in their names.
I must, therefore, inform these gentlemen, that I often choose this way of casting my thoughts into a
letter, for these reasons: first, out of the policy of those who try their jest upon another, before they own it themselves. Secondly, because I would extort a little praise from such who will never applaud anything whose author is known and certain. Thirdly, because it gave me an opportunity of introducing a great variety of characters into my work, which could not have been done, had I always written in the person of the Spectator. Fourthly, because the dignity spectatorial would have suffered, had I published, as from myself, those several ludicrous compositions which I have ascribed to fictitious names and characters. And lastly, because they often serve to bring in, more naturally, such additional reflections as have been placed at the end of them.
There are others, who have likewise done me a very particular honour, though undesignedly. These are such who will needs have it, that I have translated or borrowed many of my thoughts out of books which are written in other languages. I have heard of a person, who is more famous for his library than his learning, that has asserted this more than once in his private conversation. Were it true, I am sure he could not speak it from his own knowledge; but had he read the books which he has collected, he would find his accusation to be wholly groundless. Those who are truly learned will acquit me in this point, in which I have been so far from offending, that I have been scrupulous, perhaps to a fault, in quoting the authors of several passages, which I might have made my own. But as this assertion is, in reality, an encomium on what I have published, I ought rather to glory in it, than endeavour to confute it.
Some are so very willing to alienate from me that small reputation which might accrue to me from any of my speculations, that they attribute some of the best of them to those imaginary manuscripts with which I have introduced them. There are others, I must confess, whose objections have given me a greater concern, as they seem to reflect, under this head, rather on my morality than on my invention. These are they who say an author is guilty of falsehood, when he talks to the public of manuscripts which he never saw, or describes scenes of action or discourse in which he was never engaged. But these gentlemen would do well to consider, there is not a fable or parable which ever was made
use of, that is not liable to this exception ; since nothing, according to this notion, can be related innocently, which was not once matter of fact. Besides, I think the most ordinary reader may be able to discover, by my way of writing, what I deliver in these occurrences as truth, and what as fiction.
Since I am unawares engaged in answering the several objections which have been made against these my works, I must take notice that there are some who affirm that a paper of this nature should always turn upon diverting subjects, and others who find fault with every one of them that hath not an immediate tendency to the advancement of religion or learning. I shall leave these gentlemen to dispute it out among themselves, since I see one half of
conduct patronized by each side. Were I serious on an improper subject, or trifling in a serious one, I should deservedly draw upon me the censure of my readers; or were I conscious of anything in my writings that is not innocent at least, or that the greatest part of them were not sincerely designed to discountenance vice and ignorance, and support the interest of true wisdom and virtue, I should be more severe upon myself than the public is disposed to be. In the mean while, I desire my reader to consider every particular paper or discourse as a distinct tract by itself, and independent of everything that goes before or after it.
I shall end this paper with the following letter, which was really sent me, as some others have been which I have published, and for which I must own myself indebted to their respective writers.
I was this morning in a company of your well-wishers, when we read over, with great satisfaction, Tully's observations on action adapted to the British theatre : though, by the way, we were very sorry to find that you have disposed of another member of your club. Poor Sir Roger is dead, and the worthy clergyman dying. Captain Sentry has taken possession of a fair estate; Will. Honeycomb has married a farmer's daughter, and the Templar withdraws himself into the business of his own profession. What will all this end in ? We are afraid it portends no good to the public. Unless you very speedily fix a day for the election of new members, we are under apprehensions of losing the British Spectator. I hear of a party of ladies who intend to address you on the subject, and question not, if you do not give us the slip very suddenly, that you will receive addresses from all parts of the kingdom to continue so useful a work. Pray deliver us out of this perplexity, and among the multitude of your readers you will particularly oblige “Your most sincere friend and servant,
No. 543. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22.
-Facies non omnibus una,
THOSE who were skilful in anatomy among the ancients, concluded, from the outward and inward make of a human body, that it was the work of a Being transcendently wise and powerful. As the world grew more enlightened in this art, their discoveries gave them fresh opportunities of admiring the conduct of Providence in the formation of a human body. Galen was converted by his dissections, and could not but own a Supreme Being upon his handiwork. There are, indeed, many parts, of which the old anatomists did not know the certain use; but as they saw that most of those which they examined were adapted with admirable art to their several functions, they did not question but those whose uses they could not determine, were contrived with the same wisdom, for respective ends and purposes. Since the circulation of the blood has been found out, and many other great discoveries have been made by our modern anatomists, we see new wonders in the human frame, and discern several important uses for those parts, which uses? the ancients knew nothing of. In short, the body of man is such a subject as stands the utmost test of examination. Though it appears formed with the nicest wisdom
survey of this
upon the most superficial survey of it, it still mends Several important uses for those parts, which uses.] The ungraceful repetition of the word uses seemed necessary, in order to prevent the relative which from being coupled with parts, as it regularly should be, Besides, uses for parts, is not exact. The whole is badly expressed.
upon the search, and produces our surprise and amazement in proportion as we pry into it. What I have here said of a human body, may be applied to the body of every animal which has been the subject of anatomical observations.
The body of an animal is an object adequate to our senses. It is a particular system of Providence, that lies in a narrow compass.
eye is able to command it, and by successive inquiries can search into all its parts. Could the body of the whole earth, or indeed the whole universe, be thus submitted to the examination of our senses, were it not too big and disproportioned for our inquiries, too unwieldy for the management of the eye and hand, there is no question but it would appear
to us as curious and well-contrived a frame as that of a human body. We should see the same concatenation and subserviency, the same necessity and usefulness, the same beauty and harmony, in all and every of its parts, as what we discover in the body of every single animal.
The more extended our reason is, and the more able to grapple with immense objects, the greater still are those discoveries which it makes of wisdom and providence in the work of the creation. A Sir Isaac Newton, who stands up as the miracle of the present age, can look through a whole planetary system; consider it in its weight, number, and measure; and draw from it as many demonstrations of infinite power and wisdom, as a more confined understanding is able to deduce from the system of a human body.
But to return to our speculations on anatomy. I shall here consider the fabric and texture of the bodies of animals in one particular view; which, in my opinion, shows the hand of a thinking and all-wise Being in their formation, with the evidence of a thousand demonstrations. I think we may lay this down as an incontested principle, that chance never acts in a perpetual uniformity and consistence with itself. If one should always fling the same number with ten thousand dice, or see every throw just five times less, or five times more, in number than the throw which immediately preceded it; who would not imagine there is some invisible power which directs the cast ? This is the proceeding which we find in the operations of nature. Every kind of animal is diversified by different magnitudes, each of which gives rise to a different species. Let a man trace the dog or lion kind, and he will observe how many of the works of nature are pub