« PreviousContinue »
TA TLE R.
N° 38. THURSDAY, JULY 7, 1709.
Quicquid agunt bomines
noftri ef farrag, libelli.
JUV. Sat. I. 85, 86.
By Mrs. Jenny DISTAFF, Half-sister to Mr.
From my own Apartment, July 6. I FIND among my
the following letter verbatim, which I wonder how he could suppress so long as he has, since it was sent him for no other end, but to show the good effect his writings have already had upon the ill customs of the age.
London, June 23. “ The end of all public papers ought to be the benefit and instruction, as well as the diversion of the readers ; to which I see none so truly conducive as your late performances; especially those tending
to the rooting out from among us that unchristianlike and bloody custom of dueiling; which, that you have already in some measure performed, will appear to the publick in the following no less true ihan heroic story.
“ A noble gentleman of this city, who has the honour of serving his country as Major of the Trainbands, being at the general mart of stock-jobbers, called Jonathan's, endeavouring to raise himself (as all men of honour ought) to the degree of Colonel at least; it happened that he bought the Bear of another otlicer, who, though not commissioned in the army, yet no less eminently serves the publick than the other, in raising the credit of the kingdom, by raising that of the stocks. However, having sold the Bear, and words arising about the delivery, the most noble Major, no less scorning to be out-witted in the coffee-house, than to run into the field, accorrling to method, abused the other with the titles of rogue, villain, bear-skin man, and the like. Whereupon satisfaction was demanded, and accepted ; so, forth the Major marched, commanding his adversary to follow. To a most spacious room in the Sheriff's house, near the place of quarrel, they come ; where, having due regard to what you have lately published, they resolved not to shed one another's blood in that barbarous manner you prohibited; yet, not willing to put up affronts without satisfaction, they stripped, and in decent manner fought full fairly with their wrathful hands. The combat lasted a quarter of an hour; in which time victory was oiten doubtful, and many a dry blow was strenuously laid on by each side, until the Major, finding his adversary obstinate, unwilling to give him further chastisement, with most shrill voice cried out, 'I am satisfied enough! Whereupon the combat ceased, and both were friends im mediately
“ Thus the world may see, how necessary it is to encourage those men, who make it their business to instruct the people in every thing necessary for their preservation. I am informed, a body of worthy citizens have agreed on an address of thanks to you for what you have writ on the foregoing subject, whereby they acknowledge one of their highlyesteemed officers preserved from death. Your humble servant,
A. B." I fear the word Bear is hardly to be understood among the polite people ; but I take the meaning to be, that one who insures a real value upon an imaginary thing, is said to sell a Bear, and is the same thing as a promise among courtiers, or a vow between lovers. I have writ to my brother to hasten to town; and hope that printing the letters directed to him, which I know not how to answer, will bring him speedily; and, therefore, I add also the following: - Mr. BICKERSTAFF,
July 5, 1709. “ You have hinted a generous intention of taking under your consideration the whisperers without business, and laughers without occasion; as you tender the welfare of your country, I intreat you not to forget or delay so public-spirited a work. Now or never is the time. Many other calamities may cease with the war; but I dismally dread the multiplication of these mortals under the case and luxuriousness of a settled peace, half the blessing of which may be destroyed by them. Their mistake lies certainly here, in a wretched belief, that their mimickry passes for real business, or true wit.