« PreviousContinue »
às far as they are come to my knowledge, I have dedicated the former volumes of it, to have omitted you, my best and sincerest friend, would have been strange and unpardonable. It would have been strange, as you are sensible how high a regard I have always paid to whatever came from your hand; and unpardonable, as I am convinced you never sat down to write me a paper but from motives of pure love and affection. It is true, and I scorn to flatter even in a dedication, I have not always regarded your papers with that degree of admiration which some other of my correspondents commanded from me; yet so partial have I been to your talents and abilities, that you must own I have never, through the whole course of the work, refused any one of your lucubrations; insomuch that I greatly fear my readers may
now-and-then have reason to reproach me with having suffered my friendship to blind my judgment.
But, let Malice and Envy say their pleasure, I shall always acknowledge with gratitude the favour of your assistance in the long contention I have had with the vices and follies of the world; and that it was frequently owing to your ironical smile, that I have been enabled to raise the laugh of raillery in favour of virtue and good manners. I confess indeed, and you will not be angry that to yourself I avow it, the immortality I have reason to hope for, arises from the conjunction of many higher names than yours, which I have had the honour to associate with me in this favoured undertaking. And here I feel my vanity struggling to get loose, and indulge itself in the pleasing theme. The name of Fitz-Adam shall be carried down to latest posterity with those of his age, the most admired for their genius, their learning, their wit and humour. But I check myself. I dare not engage in the task of saying what ought to be said on this occasion, and therefore beg leave to hide my inability in silence.
You will pardon, Sir, this short digression, though not made in your favour; and be assured, notwithstanding all I have said, and whatever I may think of you as a writer, as a man I bear you a true affection, take a very interested part in all your concerns, and, should you ever meet with that reward from the public, which I think your merits have long deserved, I hope you are satisfied that no one will more truly rejoice in your good fortune than,
and humble servant,
No. 1. THURSDAY, JANUARY 4, 1753.
Nihil dulcius est, benè quàm munita tenere
LUCRET. ii. 14. “ At the village of Aronche, in the province of Estremadura," says an old Spanish author, “ lived Gonzales de Castro, who from the age of twelve to fiftytwo was deaf, dumb, and blind. His cheerful submission to so deplorable a misfortune, and the misfortune itself, so endeared him to the village, that to worship the holy Virgin, and to love and serve Gonzales, were considered as duties of the same importance; and to neglect the latter was to offend the former.
“ It happened one day, as he was sitting at his door, and offering up his mental prayers to St. Jago, that he found himself, on a sudden, restored to all the privileges he had lost. The news ran quickly through the village, and old and young, rich and
poor, the busy and the idle, thronged round him with congratulations.
“ But as if the blessings of this life were only given us for afflictions, he began in a few weeks to. lose the relish of his enjoyments, and to repine at the possession of those faculties, which served only to discover to him the follies and disorders of his neighbours, and to teach him that the intent of speech was too often to deceive.
Though the inhabitants of Aronche were as honest as other villagers, yet Gonzales, who had formed his ideas of men and things from their natures and uses, grew offended at their manners. He saw the avarice of age, the prodigality of youth, the quarrels of brothers, the treachery of friends, the frauds of lovers, the insolence of the rich, the knavery of the poor, and the depravity of all. These, as he saw and heard, he spoke of with complaint ; and endeavoured by the gentlest admonitions to excite men to goodness."
From this place the story is torn out to the last paragraph; which
66 That he lived to a comfortless old age, despised and hated by his neighbours for pretending to be wiser and better than themselves; and that he breathed out his soul in these memorable words, that · He who would enjoy many friends, and live happy in the world, should be deaf, dumb, and blind to the follies and vices of it.'"
If candour, humility, and an earnest desire of instruction and amendment, were not the distinguishing characteristics of the present times, this simple story had silenced me as an author. But when every day's experience shows me, that our young gentlemen of fashion are lamenting at every tavern the frailties of their natures, and confessing to one another whose daughters they have ruined, and whose wives they have corrupted; not by way of boasting, as some have ignorantly imagined, but to be reproved and amended by their penitential companions : when I observe too, from an almost blameable degree of modesty, they accuse themselves of more vices than they have constitutions to commit; I am led by a kind of impulse to this work; which is intended to be a public repository for the real frailties of these young gentlemen, in order to relieve them from the necessity of such private confessions.
The present times are no less favourable to me in another very material circumstance. It was the opinion of our ancestors, that there were few things more difficult, or that required greater skill and address, than the speaking properly of oneself. But if by speaking properly be meant speaking successfully, the art is now as well known among us as that of printing or of making gunpowder.
Whoever is acquainted with the writings of those eminent practitioners in physic, who make their appearance either in hand-bills, or in the weekly or daily papers, will see clearly that there is a certain and invariable method of speaking of one's self to every body's satisfaction. I shall therefore introduce my own importance to the public, as near as I can, in the manner and words of those gentlemen; not doubting of the same credit, and the same advantages.
ADVERTISEMENT. To be spoke with every Thursday at Tully's head in Pall-mall, ADAM Fitz-ADAM ; who after forty years travel through all the parts of the known and unknown world; after having investigated all sciences, acquired all languages, and entered into the deepest recesses of nature and the passions, is, at