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And over the young one it was said, “That night, that I awakened at the knock, and he departed this world in the 25th year of heard myself complimented with the usual his death."
salutation of “ Good morrow, Mr. BickerThe next class of criminals, were authors staffe ; good morrow, my masters all." in prose and verse. Those of them who had The silence and darkness of the night disproduced any still-born work, were immedi- posed me to be more than ordinarily serious: ately dismissed to their burial, and were fol- and as my attention was not drawn out lowed by others, who, notwithstanding some among exterior objects, by the avocations of sprightly issue in their life-time, had given sense, my thoughts naturally fell upon myproofs of their death, by some posthumous self. I was considering, amidst the stillness children, that bore no resemblance to their of the night, what was the proper employelder brethren. As for those who were the ment of a thinking being? What were the fathers of a mixed progeny, provided always perfections it should propose to itself? And, they could prove the last to be a live child, what the end it should aim at? My mind they escaped with life, but not without loss is of such a particular cast, that the falling of limbs; for in this case, I was satisfied with of a shower of rain, or the whistling of the an amputation of the parts which were wind, at such a time, is apt to fill my thoughts mortified. ?
with something awful and solemn. I was in These were followed by a great crowd of this disposition, when our bellman began his superanuated benchers of the inns of court, midnight homily, (which he has been repeatsenior fellows of colleges, and defunct states- ing to us every winter night for these twenty men; all whom I ordered to be decimated years,) with the usual exordium, indifferently, allowing the rest a reprieve for one year, with a promise of a free pardon in
Oh! mortal man, thou that art born in sin ! case of resuscitation.
Sentiments of this nature, which are in them There were still great multitudes to be selves just and reasonable, however debased examined ; but finding it very late, I ad-by the circumstances that accompany them, journed the court; not without the secret do not fail to produce their natural effect in pleasure that I had done my duty, and fur- a mind that is not perverted and depraved nished out a handsome execution,
Going out of the court, I received a letter, ridicule. The temper which I now founa informing me, “That, in pursuance of the myself in, as well as the time of the year, edict of justice in one of my late visions, all put me in mind of those lines in Shakspeare, those of the fair sex began to appear preg- , wherein, according to his agreeable wildness nant who had run any hazard of it; as was of imagination, he has wrought a country manifest by a particular swelling in the pet- tradition into a beautiful piece of poetry, ticoats of several ladies in and about this In the tragedy of Hamlet, where the ghost great city. I must confess, I do not attri- vanishes upon the cock's crowing, he takes bute the rising of this part of the dress to occasion to mention its crowing all hours of this occasion, yet must own, that I am very the night about Christmas time, and to insinmuch disposed to be offended with such a uate a kind of religious veneration for that new and unaccountable fashion. I shall, season. however, pronounce nothing upon it, till I
It faded on the crowing of the cock, have examined all that can be said for and Some say, that ever 'gainst that season comes against it. And in the mean time, think fit
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long; to give this notice to the fair ladies who are
And then, say they, no spirit dares walk abroad. now making up their winter suits, that they The nights are wholesome, then no planets strike, may abstain from all dresses of that kind, No fairy takes, no witch has power to charm; till they shall find what judgment will be
So hallowed and so gracious is the time passed upon them; for it would very much This admirable author, as well as the best trouble me, that they should put themselves and greatest men of all ages, and of all nato an unnecessary expense; and I could not tions, seems to have had his mind thoroughbut think myself to blame, if I should here- ly seasoned with religion, as is evident by after forbid them the wearing of such gar- many passages in his plays, that would not ments, when they have laid out money upon be suffered by a modern audience; and are them, without having given them any pre- therefore certain instances, that the age he vious admonitions."*
lived in had a much greater sense of virtue than the present.
It is, indeed, a melancholy reflection to No. 111.] Saturday, December 24, 1709.
consider, that the British nation, which is
now at a greater height of glory for its counProcul O! Procul este profani! Virg.
cils and conquests than it ever was before,
should distinguish itself by a certain looseSheer-Lane, Dceember 23. ness of principles, and a falling off from those THE watchman, who does me particular schemes of thinking, which conduce to the honours, as being the chief man in the lane, happiness and perfection of human nature. gave so very great a thump at my door last This evil comes upon us from the works of
a few solemn blockheads, that meet together * Sir Richard Steele assisted in this paper.
with the zeal and seriousness of apostles, to
extirpate common sense, and propagate in- had denied a Supreme Being ever since he fidelity. These are the wretches, who, came to his estate. The good man was aswithout any show 'of wit, learning, or rea- tonished; and a report immediately ran son, publish their crude conceptions with through the ship, that there was an atheist the ambition of appearing more wise than upon the upper deck. Several of the comthe rest of mankind, upon no other pretence, mon seamen, who had never heard the word than that of dissenting from them. One before, thought it had been some strange gets by heart a catalogue of title-pages and fish; but they were more surprised when editions; and immediately to become con- | they saw it was a man, and heard out of his spicuous, declares that he is an unbeliever. own mouth, " That he never believed till Another knows how to write a receipt, or that day that there was a God.” As he lay cut up a dog, and forth with argues against in the agonies of confession, one of the honest the immortality of the soul. I have known tars whispered to the boatswain, “That it many a little wit, in the ostentation of his would be a good deed to heave him overparts, rally the truth of the scriptures, who | board.” But we were now within sight of was not able to read a chapter in it. These port, when of a sudden the wind fell, and the poor wretches talk blasphemy for want of penitent relapsed, begging all of us that were discourse, and are rather the objects of present, as we were gentlemen, not to say scorn or pity, than of our indignation ; but any thing of what had passed. the grave disputant, that reads, and writes, He had not been ashore above two days, and spends all his time in convincing him- when one of the company began to rally him self and the world, that he is no better than upon his devotion on shipboard, which the a brute, ought to be whipped out of a gov- other denied in such high terms, that it proernment, as a blot to a civil society, and a duced the lie on both sides, and ended in a defamer of mankind. I love to consider an duel. The atheist was run through the infidel, whether distinguished by the title of body, and, after some loss of blood, became deist, atheist, or free-thinker, in three differ- as good a Christian as he was at sea, till he ent lights; in his solitude, his afflictions, and found that his wound was not mortal. He his last moments.
is at present one of the free-thinkers of the A wise man, that lives up to the princi- | age, and now writing a pamphlet against seples of reason and virtue, if one considers veral received opinions concerning the exishim in his solitude, as taking in the system tence of fairies. of the universe, observing the mutual de- As I have taken upon me to censure the pendance and harmony by which the whole faults of the age and country which I live in, frame of it hangs together, beating down his I should have thought myself inexcusable passions, or swelling his thoughts with mag- to have passed over this crying one, which nificent ideas of Providence, makes a nobler is the subject of my present discourse. I figure in the eye of an intelligent being, than shall, therefore, from time to time, give my the greatest conqueror amidst the pomps countrymen particular cautions against this and solemnities of a triumph. On the con- distemper of the mind, that is almost betrary, there is not a more ridiculous animal come fashionable, and by that means more than an atheist in his retirement. His mind likely to spread. I have somewhere either is incapable of rapture or elevation: he can read or heard a very memorable sentence, only consider himself as an insignificant “That a man would be a most insupportafigure in a landscape, and wandering up and ble monster, should he have the faults that down in a field or meadow, under the same are incident to his years, constitution, proterms as the meanest animals about him, fession, family, religion, age, and country; and subject to as total a mortality as they, and yet every man is in danger of them all." with this aggravation, that he is the only one For this reason, as I am an old man, I take amongst them who lies under the appre-i particular care to avoid being covetous, and hension of it.
telling long stories: as I am choleric, I forIn distresses, he must be of all creatures bear not only swearing, but all interjections the most helpless and forlorn; he feels the of fretting; as Pugh! Pish! and the like. whole pressure of a present calamity, with-| As I am a layman, I resolve not to conceive out being relieved by the memory of any | an aversion for a wise and good man, because thing that is passed, or the prospect of any his coat is of a different colour from mine, thing that is to come. Annihilation is the As I am descended of the ancient families greatest blessing that he proposes to him- of Bickerstaffes, I never call a man of merit self, and a halter or a pistol the only efuge an upstart. As a Protestant, I do not suffer he can fly to. But if you would behę d one my zeal so far to transport me, as to name the of these gloomy miscreants in his poorest Pope and the Devil together. As I am fala figure, you must consider him under the ter- len into this degenerate age, I guard myself rors, or at the approach of death,
particularly against the folly I have been About thirty years ago I was on shipboard now speaking of. And as I am an Englishwith one of these vermin, when there arose a man, I am very cautious not to hate a stranger, brisk gale, which could frighten nobody but or despise a poor Palatine.* himself. Upon the rolling of the ship he fell upon his knees, and confessed to the chaplain, that he had been a vile atheist, and * Sir Bichard Steel assisted in this paper
No. 114.] Saturday, December 31, 1709. had been composed a little before, at the
Ut in vitá, sic in studiis, pulcherrimum et humanissi. sight of me, turned away his face, and wept. mum existimo, severitatem comitatemque miscere, ne The little family of children renewed the exilla in tristitiam, hæc in petulantiam procedat.
pressions of their sorrow, according to their Plin. Epist.
several ages and degrees of understanding, Sheer-Lane, December 30. | The eldest daughter was in tears, busied in I WAS walking about my chamber this attendance upon her mother; others were morning in a very gay humour, when I saw | kneeling about the bed-side: and what trolln coach stop at my door, and a youth about bled me most was, to see a little boy, who fifteen alighting out of it, whom I perceived was too young to know the reason, weeping to be the eldest son of my bosom friend, that only because his sisters did. The only one I gave some account of in my paper of the in the room who seemed resigned and com17th of the last month. I felt a sensible forted, was the dying person. At my appleasure rising in me at the the sight of him, proach to the bed-side, she told me, with a my acquaintance having begun with his fa- low broken voice, “This is kindly done ther when he was just such a stripling, and Take care of your friend--Do not go from about that very age. When he came up to him." She had before taken leave of her me, he took me by the hand, and burst into husband and children, in a manner proper tears. I was extremely moved, and imme for so solemn a parting, and with a gracefuldiately said, “Child, how does your father ness peculiar to a woman of her character. do? He began to reply, “My mother”_ My heart was torn to pieces to see the husbut could not go on for weeping. I went band on one side suppressing and keeping down with him into the coach, and gathered down the swellings of his grief, for fear of out of him, that his mother was then dying; disturbing her in her last moments; and the and that while the holy man was doing the wife even at that time concealing the pains last offices to her, he had taken that time she endured, for fear of increasing his afflicto come and call me to his father, “Who tion. She kept her eyes upon him for some (he said) would certainly break his heart, if moments after she grew speechless, and soon I did not go and comfort him." The child's after closed them for ever. In the moment discretion in coming to me of his own head, of her departure, my friend (who had thus and the tenderness he showed for his pa- far commanded himself) gave a deep groan, rents, would have quite overpowered me, and fell into a swoon by her bedside. The had I not resolved to fortify myself for the distraction of the children, who thought they seasonable performance of those duties saw both their parents expiring together, which I owed to my friend. As we were and now lying dead before them, would have going, I could not but reflect upon the char- melted the hardest heart; but they soon racter of that excellent woman, and the perceived their father recover, whom I helpgreatness of his grief, for the loss of one who ed to remove into another room, with a rehad ever been the support of him under all solution to accompany him till the first pang's other afflictions. How (thought I) will he of his affliction were abated. I knew conbe able to bear the hour of her death, that solation would now be impertinent; and could not, when I was lately with him, speak therefore contented myself to sit by him, and of a sickness, which was then past, without condole with him in silence: for I shall here sorrow? We were now got pretty far into use the method of an ancient author, who, in Westminster, and arrived at my friend's one of his epistles, relating the virtues and house. . At the door of it I met Favonius, death of Macrinus's wife, expresses himself not without a secret satisfaction, to find he thus : " I shall suspend my advice to this had been there. I had formerly conversed | best of friends, till he is made capable of rewith him at his house; and as he abounds ceiving it by those three great remedies, with that sort of virtue and knowledge which (necessitas insa, dies longa, et satietas domakes religion beautiful, and never leads | loris,) the necessity of submission, length of the conversation into the violence and rage time, and satiety of grief.". of party-disptutes, I listened to him with In the mean time, I cannot but consider, great pleasure. Our discourse chanced to with much commiseration, the melancholy be upon the subject of death, which he treat- state of one who has had such a part of himed with such a strength of reason, and great- self torn from him, and which he misses in ness of soul, that, instead of being terrible, it every circumstance of life. His condition is appeared to a mind rightly cultivated, not like that of one who has lately lost his right altogether to be contemned, but rather to arm, and is every moment offering to help be desired. As I met him at the door, I himself with it. He does not appear to himsaw in his face a certain glowing of grief self the same person in his house, at his table, and humanity, heightened with an air of for- in company, or in retirement; and loses the titude and resolution, which, as I afterwards relish of all the pleasures and diversions that found, had such an irresistible force, as to sus-were before entertaining to him by her parpend the pains of the dying, and the lamen- ticipation of them. The most agreeable tation of the nearest friends who attended objects recall the sorrow for her with whom her. I went up directly to the room where he used to enjoy them. This additional sashe lay, and was met at the entrance by my tisfaction, from the taste of pleasures in the friend, who, notwithstanding his thoughts society of one we love, is admirably described by Milton, who represents Eve, though in , who stood at my rigut hand, to inform themParadise itself, no further pleased with the selves of her condition, and know whether beautiful objects around her, than as she there were any private reasons why she sees them in company with Adam, in that might not make her appearance separate passage so inexpressibly charming.
from her petticoat. This was managed with With thee conversing, I forget all time,
great discretion, and had such an effect, that, All seasons, and their change; all please alike.
upon the return of the verdict from the Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet, bench of matrons, I issued out an order forthWith charm of earliest birds ; pleasant the sun, with, that the criminal should be stripped When first on this delightful land he spreads His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,
of her incumbrances, till she became little Glist'ring with dew; fragrant the fertile earth
enough to enter my house. I had before After soft showers; and sweet the coming on
given directions for an engine of several legs, Of grateful evening mild; the silent night, With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon,
that could contract or open itself like the And these the gems of heaven, her starry train. top of an umbrella, in order to place the But neither breath of morn, when she ascends
petticoat upon it; by which means I might With charm of earliest birds, nor rising sun In this delightful land, nor herb, fruit, flower,
take a leisurely survey of it, as it should apGlist'ring with dew, nor fragrance after showers, pear in its proper dimensions. This was all Nor grateful evening mild, nor silent night,
| done accordingly: and forthwith, upon the With this her solemn bird, nor walk by moon,
closing of the engine, the petticoat was Or glittering star-light, without thee is sweet.
brought into court. I then directed the maThe variety of images in this passage is chine to be set upon the table, and dilated infinitely pleasing; and the recapitulation of in such a manner as to show the garment in each particular image, with a little varying its utmost circumference; but my great hall of expression, makes one of the finest turns was too narrow for the experiment; for beof words that I have ever seen: which I the fore it was half unfolded, it described so imrather mention, because Mr. Dryden has moderate a circle, that the lower part of it said in his preface to Juvenal, “That he brushed upon my face, as I sat in my chair could meet with no turn of words in Milton.” of judicature. Í then inquired for the per
It may further be observed, that though son that belonged to the petticoat; and, to the sweetness of these verses has something my great surprise, was directed to a very in it of a pastoral, yet it excels the ordinary beautiful young damsel, with so pretty a kind as much as the scene of it is above an face and shape, that I bid her come out of ordinary field or meadow. I might here, the crowd, and seated her upon a little crock since I am accidentally led into this subject, at my left hand. “My pretty maid, (said show several passages in Milton that have 1,) do you own yourself to have been the inas excellent turns of this nature, as any of habitant of the garment before us?” The our English poets whatsoever; but shall only girl I found had good sense, and told me, mention that which follows, in which he de- with a smile, " That, notwithstanding it was scribes the fallen angels engaged in the in- her own petticoat, she should be very glad tricate disputes of predestination, free-will, to see an example made of it; and that she and fore-knowledge; and to humour the wore it for no other reason, but that she had very words that describe it. *
sons of her quality ; that she had kept out
of it as long as she could, and until she began Others apart sat on a hill retir'd, In thoughts more elevate, and reason'd high to appear little in the eyes of all her acOf Providence, fore-knowledge, will, and fate, quaintance; that if she laid it aside, people Fix'd fate, free-will, fore-knowledge absolute, would think she was not made like other And found no end, in wand'ring mazes lost.
women.” I always give great allowances to the fair sex upon account of the fashion, and
therefore was not displeased with the defence No. 116.] Thursday, January 5, 1709. of the pretty criminal. I then ordered the
vest which stood before us to be drawn up Pars minima est ipsa puella sui.-Ovid.
by a pully to the top of my great hall, and
Sheer-Lane, January 4. afterwards to be spread open by the engine The court being prepared for proceeding it was placed upon, in such a manner, that it on the cause of the Petticoat, J gave orders formed a very splendid and ample canopy to bring in a criminal who was taken up as over our heads, and covered the whole court she went out of the puppet-show about three of judicature with a kind of silken rotunda, nights ago, and was now standing in the in its form not unlike the cupola of St. Paul's. street with a great concourse of people about I entered upon the whole cause with great her. Word was brought me, that she had satisfaction, as I sat under the shadow of it. endeavoured twice or thrice to come in, but The counsel for the Petticoat were now could not do it by reason of her petticoat, called in, and ordered to produce what they which was too large for the entrance of my had to say against the popular cry which house, though I had ordered both the folding- was raised against it. They answered the doors to be thrown open for its reception. objections with great strength and solidity Spon this, I desired the jury of matrons, of argument, and expatiated in very florid
harangues, which they did not fail to set off : * Sir Richard Steele assisted in this paper.
and furbelow (if I may be allowed the meto
aphor) with many periodical sentences and forfeiture: but to show that I did not make turns of oratory. The chief arguments for that judgment for the sake of filthy lucre, I their client were taken, first, from the great | ordered it to be folded up, and sent it as a benefit that might arise to our woollen man- present to a widow gentlewoman, who has ufactory froin this invention, which was cal- five daughters, desiring she would make culated as follows: the common petticoat each of them a petticoat out of it, and send has not above four yards in the circumfer-me back the remainder, which Í design to ence; whereas this over our heads, had cut into stomachers, caps, facings of my more in the semi-diameter; so that by al- waistcoat-sleeves, and other garnitures suitalowing it twenty-four yards in the circum- ble to my age and quality. ference, the five millions of woollen petti- ! I would not be understood that (while I coats, which, according to Sir William Petty, discard this monstrous invention) I am an (supposing what ought to be supposed in a enemy to the proper ornaments of the fair well-governed state, that all petticoats are sex. On the contrary, as the hand of namade of that stuff,) would amount to thirty ture has poured on them such a profusion of millions of those of the ancient mode. À charms and graces, and sent them into the prodigious improvement of the woollen world more amiable and finished then the trade! and what could not fail to sink the rest of her works; so I would have them power of France in a few years.
bestow upon themselves all the additional To introduce the second argument, they beauties that art can supply them with, begged leave to read a petition of the rope- provided it does not interfere with, disguise, makers, wherein it was represented, that or pervert those of nature. the demand for cords, and the price of them, I consider woman as a beautiful romanwere much risen since this fashion came up. | tic animal, that may be adorned with furs At this, all the company who were present, and feathers, pearls and diamonds, ores and lifted up their eyes into the vault; and I silks. The lynx shall cast its skin at her must confess, we did discover many traces feet to make her a tippet; the peacock, of cordage which were interwoven in the parrot, and swan, shall pay contributions to stiffening of the drapery,
| her muff; the sea shall be searched for A third argument was founded upon a shells, and the rocks for gems; and every petition of the Greenland trade, which like- part of nature furnish out its share towards wise represented the great consumption of the embellishıment of a creature that is the whalebone which would be occasioned by most consummate work of it. All this I the present fashion, and the benefit which shall indulge them in ; but as for the pettiwould thereby accrue to that branch of the coat I have been speaking of, I neither can British trade.
nor will allow it. To conclude, they gently touched upon the weight and unwieldiness of the garment, which they insinuated, might be of No. 117.1 Saturday, January 7, 1709. great use to preserve the honour of families.
Durate, et vosmet rebus servate secundis.--Virg. These arguments would have wrought
Sheer-Lane, January 0. very much upon me, (as I then told the WHEN I look into the frame and consticompany in a long and elaborate discourse,) tution of my own mind, there is no part of it had I not considered the great and addition, which I observe with greater satisfaction, al expense which such fashions would bring than that tenderness and concern which it upon fathers and husbands; and therefore bears for the good and happiness of manby no means to be thought of until some kind. My own circumstances are indeed so years after a peace, I further urged, that narrow and scanty, that I should taste but it would be a prejudice to the ladies them- very little pleasure, could I receive it only selves, who could never expect to have any from those enjoyments which are in my own money in the pocket, if they laid out so much possession; but by this great tincture of huon the petticoat. To this I added, the great manity, which I find in all my thoughts and temptation it might give to virgins, of acting reflections, I am happier than any single perin security like married women, and by son can be, with all the wealth, strength, that means give a check to matrimony, an beauty, and success, that can be conferred institution always encouraged by wise so- upon a mortal, if he only relishes such a cieties.
proportion of those blessings as is vested in At the same time, in answer to the sever- himself, and is his own private property. al petitions produced on that side, I showed By this means, every man that does himself one subscribed by the women of several any real service, does me a kindness. I persons of quality, humbly setting forth, that come in for my share in all the good that since the introduction of this mode, their re- happens to a man of merit and virtue, and spective ladies had instead of bestowing on partake of many gifts of fortune and power them their cast gowns) cut them into shreds, that I was never born to. There is nothing and mixed them with the cordage and buck- in particular in which I so much rejoice, as ram, to complete the stiffening of their un- the deliverance of good and generous spirits der-petticoats. For which, and sundry out of dangers, difficulties, and distresses, other reasons, I pronounced the petticoat a | And because the world does not supply in