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The Expedition of Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett

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quality, who treat us with the most familiar good-humour: we have
once dined with her, and she takes the trouble to direct us in
all our motions. I am so happy as to have gained her goodwill to
such a degree, that she sometimes adjusts my cap with her own
hands; and she has given me a kind invitation to stay with her
all the winter. This, however, has been cruelly declined by my
uncle who seems to be (I know not how) prejudiced against the
good lady; for, whenever my aunt happens to speak in her
commendation, I observe that he makes wry faces, though he says
nothing -- Perhaps, indeed, these grimaces may be the effect of
pain arising from the gout and rheumatism, with which he is sadly
distressed -- To me, however, he is always good-natured and
generous, even beyond my wish. Since we came hither, he has made
me a present of a suit of clothes, with trimmings and laces,
which cost more money than I shall mention; and Jery, at his
desire, has given me my mother's diamond crops, which are ordered
to be set a-new; so that it won't be his fault if I do not
glitter among the stars of the fourth or fifth magnitude. I wish
my weak head may not grow giddy in the midst of all this
gallantry and dissipation; though, as yet, I can safely declare,
I could gladly give up all these tumultuous pleasures, for
country solitude, and a happy retreat with those we love; among
whom, my dear Willis will always possess the first place in the
breast of her

Ever affectionate,
LONDON, May 31.

To Sir WATKIN PHILLIPS, of Jesus college, Oxon.


I send you this letter, franked by our old friend Barton; who is
as much altered as it was possible for a man of his kidney to be.
Instead of the careless, indolent sloven we knew at Oxford, I
found him a busy talkative politician; a petit-maitre in his
dress, and a ceremonious courtier in his manners. He has not gall
enough in his constitution to be enflamed with the rancour of
party, so as to deal in scurrilous invectives; but, since he
obtained a place, he is become a warm partizan of the ministry,
and sees every thing through such an exaggerating medium, as to
me, who am happily of no party, is altogether incomprehensible --
Without all doubt, the fumes of faction not only disturb the
faculty of reason, but also pervert the organs of sense; and I
would lay a hundred guineas to ten, that if Barton on one side,
and the most conscientious patriot in the opposition on the
other, were to draw, upon honour, the picture of the k[ing] or
m[inisters], you and I, who are still uninfected, and unbiased,
would find both painters equally distant from the truth. One
thing, however, must be allowed for the honour of Barton, he
never breaks out into illiberal abuse, far less endeavours, by
infamous calumnies, to blast the moral character of any
individual on the other side.

Ever since we came hither, he has been remarkably assiduous in
his attention to our family; an attention, which, in a man of his
indolence and avocations, I should have thought altogether odd,
and even unnatural, had not I perceived that my sister Liddy had
made some impression upon his heart. I cannot say that I have any
objection to his trying his fortune in this pursuit: if an
opulent estate and a great flock of good-nature are sufficient
qualifications in a husband, to render the marriage-state happy
for life, she may be happy with Barton; but, I imagine, there is
something else required to engage and secure the affection of a
woman of sense and delicacy: something which nature has denied
our friend -- Liddy seems to be of the same opinion. When he
addresses himself to her in discourse, she seems to listen with
reluctance, and industriously avoids all particular
communication; but in proportion to her coyness, our aunt is
coming. Mrs Tabitha goes more than half way to meet his advances;
she mistakes, or affects to mistake, the meaning of his courtesy,
which is rather formal and fulsome; she returns his compliments
with hyperbolical interest, she persecutes him with her
civilities at table, she appeals to him for ever in conversation,
she sighs, and flirts, and ogles, and by her hideous affectation
and impertinence, drives the poor courtier to the very extremity
of his complaisance; in short, she seems to have undertaken the
siege of Barton's heart, and carries on her approaches in such a
desperate manner, that I don't know whether he will not be
obliged to capitulate. In the mean time, his aversion to this
inamorata struggling with his acquired affability, and his
natural fear of giving offence, throws him into a kind of
distress which is extremely ridiculous.

Two days ago, he persuaded my uncle and me to accompany him to St
James's, where he undertook to make us acquainted with the
persons of all the great men in the kingdom; and, indeed, there
was a great assemblage of distinguished characters, for it was a
high festival at court. Our conductor performed his promise with
great punctuality. He pointed out almost every individual of both
sexes, and generally introduced them to our notice, with a
flourish of panegyrick -- Seeing the king approach, 'There comes
(said he) the most amiable sovereign that ever swayed the sceptre
of England: the delicioe humani generis; Augustus, in patronizing
merit; Titus Vespasian in generosity; Trajan in beneficence; and
Marcus Aurelius in philosophy.' 'A very honest kind hearted
gentleman (added my uncle) he's too good for the times. A king of
England should have a spice of the devil in his composition.'
Barton, then turning to the duke of C[umberland], proceeded, --
'You know the duke, that illustrious hero, who trode rebellion
under his feet, and secured us in possession of every thing we
ought to hold dear, as English men and Christians. Mark what an
eye, how penetrating, yet pacific! what dignity in his mien! what
humanity in his aspect -- Even malice must own, that he is one of
the greatest officers in Christendom.' 'I think he is (said Mr
Bramble) but who are these young gentlemen that stand beside
him?' 'Those! (cried our friend) those are his royal nephews; the
princes of the blood. Sweet
young princes! the sacred pledges of the Protestant line; so
spirited, so sensible, so princely' -- 'Yes; very sensible! very
spirited! (said my uncle, interrupting him) but see the queen!
ha, there's the queen! -- There's the queen! let me see -- Let me
see -- Where are my glasses? ha! there's meaning in that eye --
There's sentiment -- There's expression -- Well, Mr Barton, what
figure do you call next?' The next person he pointed out, was the
favourite yearl; who stood solitary by one of the windows --
'Behold yon northern star (said he) shorn of his beams' -- 'What!
the Caledonian luminary, that lately blazed so bright in our
hemisphere! methinks, at present, it glimmers through a fog; like
Saturn without his ring, bleak, and dim, and distant -- Ha, there's
the other great phenomenon, the grand pensionary, that
weathercock of patriotism that veers about in every point of the
political compass, and still feels the wind of popularity in his
tail. He too, like a portentous comet, has risen again above the
court-horizon; but how long he will continue to ascend, it is not
easy to foretell, considering his great eccentricity -- Who are
those two satellites that attend his motions?' When Barton told
him their names, 'To their characters (said Mr Bramble) I am no
stranger. One of them, without a drop of red blood in his veins,
has a cold intoxicating vapour in his head; and rancour enough in
his heart to inoculate and affect a whole nation. The other is (I
hear) intended for a share in the ad[ministratio]n, and the
pensionary vouches for his being duly qualified -- The only
instance I ever heard of his sagacity, was his deserting his
former patron, when he found him declining in power, and in
disgrace with the people. Without principle, talent, or
intelligence, he is ungracious as a hog, greedy as a vulture, and
thievish as a jackdaw; but, it must be owned, he is no hypocrite.
He pretends to no virtue, and takes no pains to disguise his
character -- His ministry will be attended with one advantage, no
man will be disappointed by his breach of promise, as no mortal
ever trusted to his word. I wonder how lord-- first discovered
this happy genius, and for what purpose lord-- has now adopted
him: but one would think, that as amber has a power to attract
dirt, and straws, and chaff, a minister is endued with the same
kind of faculty, to lick up every knave and blockhead in his
way' -- His eulogium was interrupted by the arrival of the old duke
of N--; who, squeezing into the circle with a busy face of
importance, thrust his head into every countenance, as if he had
been in search of somebody, to whom he wanted to impart something
of great consequence -- My uncle, who had been formerly known to
him, bowed as he passed; and the duke seeing himself saluted so
respectfully by a well-dressed person, was not slow in returning
the courtesy -- He even came up, and, taking him cordially by the
hand, 'My dear friend, Mr A-- (said he) I am rejoiced to see you --
How long have you been come from abroad? -- How did you leave our
good friends the Dutch? The king of Prussia don't think of
another war, ah? -- He's a great king! a great conqueror! a very
great conqueror! Your Alexanders and Hannibals were nothing, at
all to him, sir -- Corporals! drummers! dross! mere trash -- Damned
trash, heh?' -- His grace being by this time out of breath, my
uncle took the opportunity to tell him he had not been out of
England, that his name was Bramble, and that he had the honour to
sit in the last parliament but one of the late king, as
representative for the borough of Dymkymraig. 'Odso! (cried the
duke) I remember you perfectly well, my dear Mr Bramble -- You was
always a good and loyal subject -- a stanch friend to
administration -- I made your brother an Irish bishop' -- 'Pardon me,
my lord (said the squire) I once had a brother, but he was a
captain in the army' -- 'Ha! (said his grace) he was so -- He was,
indeed! But who was the Bishop then! Bishop Blackberry -- Sure it
was bishop Blackberry. Perhaps some relation of yours' -- 'Very
likely, my lord (replied my uncle); the Blackberry is the fruit
of the Bramble -- But, I believe, the bishop is not a berry of our
bush' -- 'No more he is -- No more he is, ha, ha, ha! (exclaimed the
duke) there you gave me a scratch, good Mr Bramble, ha, ha, ha! --
Well, I shall be glad to see you at Lincoln's inn-fields -- You
know the way -- Times are altered. Though I have lost the power, I
retain the inclination -- Your very humble servant, good Mr
Blackberry' -- So saying, he shoved to another corner of the room.
'What a fine old gentleman! (cried Mr Barton) what spirits! what
a memory! He never forgets an old friend.' 'He does me too much
honour (observed our squire) to rank me among the number -- Whilst
I sat in parliament, I never voted with the ministry but three
times, when my conscience told me they were in the right:
however, if he still keeps levee, I will carry my nephew thither,
that he may see, and learn to avoid the scene; for, I think, an
English gentleman never appears to such disadvantage, as at the
levee of a minister -- Of his grace I shall say nothing at present,
but that for thirty years he was the constant and common butt of
ridicule and execration. He was generally laughed at as an ape in
politics, whose office and influence served only to render his
folly the more notorious; and the opposition cursed him, as the
indefatigable drudge of a first-mover, who was justly stiled and
stigmatized as the father of corruption: but this ridiculous ape,
this venal drudge, no sooner lost the places he was so ill
qualified to fill, and unfurled the banners of faction, than he
was metamorphosed into a pattern of public virtue; the very
people who reviled him before, now extolled him to the skies, as
a wise, experienced statesman, chief pillar of the Protestant
succession, and corner stone of English liberty. I should be glad
to know how Mr Barton reconciles these contradictions, without
obliging us to resign all title to the privilege of common
sense.' 'My dear sir (answered Barton) I don't pretend to justify
the extravagations of the multitude; who, I suppose, were as wild
in their former censure, as in the present praise: but I shall be
very glad to attend you on Thursday next to his grace's levee;
where, I'm afraid, we shall not be crowded with company; for, you
know, there's a wide difference between his present office of
president of the council, and his former post of first lord
commissioner of the treasury.'

This communicative friend having announced all the remarkable
characters of both sexes, that appeared at court, we resolved to
adjourn, and retired. At the foot of the stair-case, there was a
crowd of lacqueys and chairmen, and in the midst of them stood
Humphry Clinker, exalted upon a stool, with his hat in one hand,
and a paper in the other, in the act of holding forth to the
people -- Before we could inquire into the meaning of this
exhibition, he perceived his master, thrust the paper into his
pocket, descended from his elevation, bolted through the crowd,
and brought up the carriage to the gate.

My uncle said nothing till we were seated, when, after having
looked at me earnestly for some time, he burst out a-laughing,
and asked if I knew upon what subject Clinker was holding forth
to the mob -- 'If (said he) the fellow is turned mountebank, I must
turn him out of my service, otherwise he'll make Merry Andrews of
us all' -- I observed, that, in all probability, he had studied
medicine under his master, who was a farrier.

At dinner, the squire asked him, if he had ever practised physic?
'Yes, and please your honour (said he) among brute beasts; but I
never meddle with rational creatures.' 'I know not whether you
rank in that class the audience you was haranguing in the court
at St. James's, but I should be glad to know what kind of powders
you was distributing; and whether you had a good sale' -- 'Sale,
sir! (cried Clinker) I hope I shall never be base enough to sell
for gold and silver, what freely comes of God's grace. I
distributed nothing, an like your honour, but a word of advice to
my fellows in servitude and sin.' 'Advice! concerning what?'
'Concerning profane swearing, an please your honour; so horrid
and shocking, that it made my hair stand on end.' 'Nay, if thou
can'st cure them Of that disease, I shall think thee a wonderful
doctor indeed' 'Why not cure them, my good master? the hearts of
those poor people are not so stubborn as your honour seems to
think -- Make them first sensible that you have nothing in view but
their good, then they will listen with patience, and easily be
convinced of the sin and folly of a practice that affords neither
profit nor pleasure -- At this remark, our uncle changed colour,
and looked round the company, conscious that his own withers were
not altogether unwrung. 'But, Clinker (said he) if you should
have eloquence enough to persuade the vulgar to resign those
tropes and figures of rhetoric, there will be little or nothing
left to distinguish their conversation from that of their
betters.' 'But then your honour knows, their conversation will be
void of offence; and, at the day of judgment, there will be no
distinction of persons.'

Humphry going down stairs to fetch up a bottle of wine, my uncle
congratulated his sister upon having such a reformer in the
family; when Mrs Tabitha declared, he was a sober civilized
fellow; very respectful, and very industrious; and, she believed,
a good Christian into the bargain. One would think, Clinker must
really have some very extraordinary talent, to ingratiate himself
in this manner with a virago of her character, so fortified
against him with prejudice and resentment; but the truth is,
since the adventure of Salt-hill, Mrs Tabby seems to be entirely
changed. She has left off scolding the servants, an exercise
which was grown habitual, and even seemed necessary to her
constitution; and is become so indifferent to Chowder, as to part
with him in a present to lady Griskin, who proposes to bring the
breed of him into fashion. Her ladyship is the widow of Sir
Timothy Griskin, a distant relation of our family. She enjoys a
jointure of five hundred pounds a-year, and makes shift to spend
three times that sum. Her character before marriage was a little
equivocal; but at present she lives in the bon ton, keeps card-tables,
gives private suppers to select friends, and is visited
by persons of the first fashion -- She has been remarkably civil to
us all, and cultivates my uncle with the most particular regard;
but the more she strokes him, the more his bristles seem to rise --
To her compliments he makes very laconic and dry returns --
T'other day she sent us a pottle of fine strawberries, which he
did not receive without signs of disgust, muttering from the
Aeneid, timeo Danaos et Dona ferentes. She has twice called for
Liddy, of a forenoon, to take an airing in the coach; but Mrs
Tabby was always so alert (I suppose by his direction) that she
never could have the niece without her aunt's company. I have
endeavoured to sound Square-toes on this subject; but he
carefully avoids all explanation.

I have now, dear Phillips, filled a whole sheet, and if you have
read it to an end, I dare say, you are as tired as

Your humble servant,
LONDON, June 2.


Yes, Doctor, I have seen the British Museum; which is a noble
collection, and even stupendous, if we consider it was made by a
private man, a physician, who was obliged to make his own for
tune at the same time: but great as the collection is, it would
appear more striking if it was arranged in one spacious saloon,
instead of being divided into different apartments, which it does
not entirely fill -- I could wish the series of medals was
connected, and the whole of the animal, vegetable, and mineral
kingdoms completed, by adding to each, at the public expence,
those articles that are wanting. It would likewise be a great
improvement, with respect to the library, if the deficiencies
were made up, by purchasing all the books of character that are
not to be found already in the collection -- They might be classed
in centuries, according to the dates of their publication, and
catalogues printed of them and the manuscripts, for the
information of those that want to consult, or compile from such
authorities. I could also wish, for the honour of the nation,
that there was a complete apparatus for a course of mathematics,
mechanics, and experimental philosophy; and a good salary settled
upon an able professor, who should give regular lectures on these

But this is all idle speculation, which will never be reduced to
practice -- Considering the temper of the times, it is a wonder to
see any institution whatsoever established for the benefit of the
Public. The spirit of party is risen to a kind of phrenzy,
unknown to former ages, or rather degenerated to a total
extinction of honesty and candour -- You know I have observed, for
some time, that the public papers are become the infamous
vehicles of the most cruel and perfidious defamation: every
rancorous knave every desperate incendiary, that can afford to
spend half a crown or three shillings, may skulk behind the press
of a newsmonger, and have a stab at the first character in the
kingdom, without running the least hazard of detection or

I have made acquaintance with a Mr Barton, whom Jery knew at
Oxford; a good sort of a man, though most ridiculously warped in
his political principles; but his partiality is the less
offensive, as it never appears in the stile of scurrility and
abuse. He is a member of parliament, and a retainer to the court;
and his whole conversation turns upon the virtues and perfections
of the ministers, who are his patrons. T'other day, when he was
bedaubing one of those worthies, with the most fulsome praise, I
told him I had seen the same nobleman characterised very
differently, in one of the daily-papers; indeed, so stigmatized,
that if one half of what was said of him was true, he must be not
only unfit to rule, but even unfit to live: that those
impeachments had been repeated again and again, with the addition
of fresh matter; and that as he had taken no steps towards his
own vindication, I began to think there was some foundation for
the charge. 'And pray, Sir (said Mr Barton), what steps would you
have him take? Suppose he should prosecute the publisher, who
screens the anonymous accuser, and bring him to the pillory for a
libel; this is so far from being counted a punishment, in
terrorem, that it will probably make his fortune. The multitude
immediately take him into their protection, as a martyr to the
cause of defamation, which they have always espoused. They pay his
fine, they contribute to the increase of his stock, his shop is
crowded with customers, and the sale of his paper rises in
proportion to the scandal it contains. All this time the
prosecutor is inveighed against as a tyrant and oppressor, for
having chosen to proceed by the way of information, which is
deemed a grievance; but if he lays an action for damages, he must
prove the damage, and I leave you to judge, whether a gentleman's
character may not be brought into contempt, and all his views in
life blasted by calumny, without his being able to specify the
particulars of the damage he has sustained.

'This spirit of defamation is a kind of heresy, that thrives
under persecution. The liberty of the press is a term of great
efficacy; and like that of the Protestant religion, has often
served the purposes of sedition -- A minister, therefore, must arm
himself with patience, and bear those attacks without repining --
Whatever mischief they may do in other respects, they certainly
contribute, in one particular, to the advantages of government;
for those defamatory articles have multiplied papers in such a
manner, and augmented their sale to such a degree, that the duty
upon stamps and advertisements has made a very considerable
addition to the revenue.' Certain it is, a gentleman's honour is
a very delicate subject to be handled by a jury, composed of men,
who cannot be supposed remarkable either for sentiment or
impartiality -- In such a case, indeed, the defendant is tried, not
only by his peers, but also by his party; and I really think,
that of all patriots, he is the most resolute who exposes himself
to such detraction, for the sake of his country -- If, from the
ignorance or partiality of juries, a gentleman can have no
redress from law, for being defamed in a pamphlet or newspaper, I
know but one other method of proceeding against the publisher,
which is attended with some risque, but has been practised
successfully, more than once, in my remembrance -- A regiment of
horse was represented, in one of the newspapers, as having
misbehaved at Dettingen; a captain of that regiment broke the
publisher's bones, telling him, at the same time, if he went to
law, he should certainly have the like salutation from every
officer of the corps. Governor-- took the same satisfaction on the
ribs of an author, who traduced him by name in a periodical
paper -- I know a low fellow of the same class, who, being turned
out of Venice for his impudence and scurrility, retired to
Lugano, a town of the Grisons (a free people, God wot) where he
found a printing press, from whence he squirted his filth at some
respectable characters in the republic, which he had been obliged
to abandon. Some of these, finding him out of the reach of legal
chastisement, employed certain useful instruments, such as may be
found in all countries, to give him the bastinado; which, being
repeated more than once, effectually stopt the current of his

As for the liberty of the press, like every other privilege, it
must be restrained within certain bounds; for if it is carried to
a branch of law, religion, and charity, it becomes one of the
greatest evils that ever annoyed the community. If the lowest
ruffian may stab your good name with impunity in England, will
you be so uncandid as to exclaim against Italy for the practice
of common assassination? To what purpose is our property secured,
if our moral character is left defenceless? People thus baited,
grow desperate; and the despair of being able to preserve one's
character, untainted by such vermin, produces a total neglect of
fame; so that one of the chief incitements to the practice of
virtue is effectually destroyed.

Mr Barton's last consideration, respecting the stamp-duty, is
equally wise and laudable with another maxim which has been long
adopted by our financiers, namely, to connive at drunkenness,
riot, and dissipation, because they inhance the receipt of the
excise; not reflecting, that in providing this temporary
convenience, they are destroying the morals, health, and industry
of the people -- Notwithstanding my contempt for those who flatter
a minister, I think there is something still more despicable in
flattering a mob. When I see a man of birth, education, and
fortune, put himself on a level with the dregs of the people,
mingle with low mechanics, feed with them at the same board, and
drink with them in the same cup, flatter their prejudices,
harangue in praise of their virtues, expose themselves to the
belchings of their beer, the fumes of their tobacco, the
grossness of their familiarity, and the impertinence of their
conversation, I cannot help despising him, as a man guilty of the
vilest prostitution, in order to effect a purpose equally selfish
and illiberal.

I should renounce politics the more willingly, if I could find
other topics of conversation discussed with more modesty and
candour; but the daemon of party seems to have usurped every
department of life. Even the world of literature and taste is
divided into the most virulent factions, which revile, decry, and
traduce the works of one another. Yesterday, I went to return an
afternoon's visit to a gentleman of my acquaintance, at whose
house I found one of the authors of the present age, who has
written with some success -- As I had read one or two of his
performances, which gave me pleasure, I was glad of this
opportunity to know his person; but his discourse and deportment
destroyed all the impressions which his writings had made in his
favour. He took upon him to decide dogmatically upon every
subject, without deigning to shew the least cause for his
differing from the general opinions of mankind, as if it had been
our duty to acquiesce in the ipse dixit of this new Pythagoras.
He rejudged the characters of all the principal authors, who had
died within a century of the present time; and, in this revision,
paid no sort of regard to the reputation they had acquired --
Milton was harsh and prosaic; Dryden, languid and verbose; Butler
and Swift without humour; Congreve, without wit; and Pope
destitute of any sort of poetical merit -- As for his
contemporaries, he could not bear to hear one of them mentioned
with any degree of applause -- They were all dunces, pedants,
plagiaries, quacks, and impostors; and you could not name a
single performance, but what was tame, stupid, and insipid. It
must be owned, that this writer had nothing to charge his
conscience with, on the side of flattery; for I understand, he
was never known to praise one line that was written, even by
those with whom he lived on terms of good fellowship. This
arrogance and presumption, in depreciating authors, for whose
reputation the company may be interested, is such an insult upon
the understanding, as I could not bear without wincing.

I desired to know his reasons for decrying some works, which had
afforded me uncommon pleasure; and, as demonstration did not seem
to be his talent, I dissented from his opinion with great
freedom. Having been spoiled by the deference and humility of his
hearers, he did not bear contradiction with much temper; and the
dispute might have grown warm, had it not been interrupted by the
entrance of a rival bard, at whose appearance he always quits the
place -- They are of different cabals, and have been at open war
these twenty years -- If the other was dogmatical, this genius was
declamatory: he did not discourse, but harangue; and his orations
were equally tedious and turgid. He too pronounces ex cathedra
upon the characters of his contemporaries; and though he scruples
not to deal out praise, even lavishly, to the lowest reptile in
Grubstreet who will either flatter him in private, or mount the
public rostrum as his panegyrist, he damns all the other writers
of the age, with the utmost insolence and rancour -- One is a
blunderbuss, as being a native of Ireland; another, a half-starved
louse of literature, from the banks of the Tweed; a
third, an ass, because he enjoys a pension from the government; a
fourth, the very angel of
dulness, because he succeeded in a species of writing in which
this Aristarchus had failed; a fifth, who presumed to make
strictures upon one of his performances, he holds as a bug in
criticism, whose stench is more offensive than his sting -- In
short, except himself and his myrmidons, there is not a man of
genius or learning in the three kingdoms. As for the success of
those, who have written without the pale of this confederacy, he
imputes it entirely to want of taste in the public; not
considering, that to the approbation of that very tasteless
public, he himself owes all the consequence he has in life.

Those originals are not fit for conversation. If they would
maintain the advantage they have gained by their writing, they
should never appear but upon paper -- For my part, I am shocked to
find a man have sublime ideas in his head, and nothing but
illiberal sentiments in his heart -- The human soul will be
generally found most defective in the article of candour -- I am
inclined to think, no mind was ever wholly exempt from envy;
which, perhaps, may have been implanted, as an instinct essential
to our nature. I am afraid we sometimes palliate this vice, under
the spacious name of emulation. I have known a person remarkably
generous, humane, moderate, and apparently self-denying, who
could not hear even a friend commended, without betraying marks
of uneasiness; as if that commendation had implied an odious
comparison to his prejudice, and every wreath of praise added to
the other's character, was a garland plucked from his own
temples. This is a malignant species of jealousy, of which I
stand acquitted in my own conscience.

Whether it is a vice, or an infirmity, I leave you to inquire.

There is another point, which I would much rather see determined;
whether the world was always as contemptible, as it appears to me
at present? -- If the morals of mankind have not contracted an
extraordinary degree of depravity, within these thirty years,
then must I be infected with the common vice of old men,
difficilis, querulus, laudator temporis acti; or, which is more
probable, the impetuous pursuits and avocations of youth have
formerly hindered me from observing those rotten parts of human
nature, which now appear so offensively to my observation.

We have been at court, and 'change, and every where; and every
where we find food for spleen, and subject for ridicule -- My new
servant, Humphry Clinker, turns out a great original: and Tabby
is a changed creature -- She has parted with Chowder; and does
nothing but smile, like Malvolio in the play -- I'll be hanged if
she is not acting a part which is not natural to her disposition,
for some purpose which I have not yet discovered.

With respect to the characters of mankind, my curiosity is quite
satisfied: I have done with the science of men, and must now
endeavour to amuse myself with the novelty of things. I am, at
present, by a violent effort of the mind, forced from my natural
bias; but this power ceasing to act, I shall return to my
solitude with redoubled velocity. Every thing I see, and hear,
and feel, in this great reservoir of folly, knavery, and
sophistication, contributes to inhance the value of a country
life, in the sentiments of

Yours always,
LONDON, June 2.

To Mrs MARY JONES, at Brambleton-hall.


Lady Griskin's botler, Mr Crumb, having got 'squire Barton to
frank me a kiver, I would not neglect to let you know how it is
with me, and the rest of the family.

I could not rite by John Thomas, for because he went away in a
huff, at a minutes' warning. He and Chowder could not agree, and
so they fitt upon the road, and Chowder bitt his thumb, and he
swore he would do him a mischief, and he spoke saucy to mistress,
whereby the squire turned him off in gudgeon; and by God's
providence we picked up another footman, called Umphry Klinker; a
good sole as ever broke bread; which shews that a scalded cat may
prove a good mouser, and a hound be staunch, thof he has got
narro hare on his buttocks; but the proudest nose may be bro't to
the grinestone, by sickness and misfortunes.

0 Molly! what shall I say of London? All the towns that ever I
beheld in my born-days, are no more than Welsh barrows and
crumlecks to this wonderful sitty! Even Bath itself is but a
fillitch, in the naam of God -- One would think there's no end of
the streets, but the land's end. Then there's such a power of
going hurry skurry! Such a racket of coxes! Such a noise, and
haliballoo! So many strange sites to be seen! O gracious! my poor
Welsh brain has been spinning like a top ever since I came
hither! And I have seen the Park, and the paleass of Saint
Gimses, and the king's and the queen's magisterial pursing, and
the sweet young princes, and the hillyfents, and pye bald ass,
and all the rest of the royal family.

Last week I went with mistress to the Tower, to see the crowns
and wild beastis; and there was a monstracious lion, with teeth
half a quarter long; and a gentleman bid me not go near him, if I
wasn't a maid; being as how he would roar, and tear, and play the
dickens -- Now I had no mind to go near him; for I cannot abide
such dangerous honeymils, not I -- but, mistress would go; and the
beast kept such a roaring and bouncing, that I tho't he would
have broke his cage and devoured us all; and the gentleman
tittered forsooth; but I'll go to death upon it, I will, that my
lady is as good a firchin, as the child unborn; and, therefore,
either the gentleman told a fib, or the lion oft to be set in the
stocks for bearing false witness agin his neighbour; for the
commandment sayeth, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy

I was afterwards of a party at Sadler's-wells, where I saw such
tumbling and dancing upon ropes and wires, that I was frightened
and ready to go into a fit -- I tho't it was all inchantment; and,
believing myself bewitched, began for to cry -- You knows as how
the witches in Wales fly upon broom-sticks: but here was flying
without any broom-stick, or thing in the varsal world, and firing
of pistols in the air, and blowing of trumpets, and swinging, and
rolling of wheel-barrows upon a wire (God bless us!) no thicker
than a sewing-thread; that, to be sure, they must deal with the
devil! -- A fine gentleman, with a pig's-tail, and a golden sord by
his side, come to comfit me, and offered for to treat me with a
pint of wind; but I would not stay; and so, in going through the
dark passage, he began to shew his cloven futt, and went for to
be rude: my fellow-sarvant, Umphry Klinker, bid him be sivil, and
he gave the young man a dowse in the chops; but, I fackins, Mr
Klinker wa'n't long in his debt -- with a good oaken sapling he
dusted his doublet, for all his golden cheese toaster; and,
fipping me under his arm, carried me huom, I nose not how, being
I was in such a flustration -- But, thank God! I'm now vaned from
all such vanities; for what are all those rarities and vagaries
to the glory that shall be revealed hereafter? O Molly! let not
your poor heart be puffed up with vanity.

I had almost forgot to tell you, that I have had my hair cut and
pippered, and singed, and bolstered, and buckled, in the newest
fashion, by a French freezer -- Parley vow Francey -- Vee madmansell
-- I now carries my head higher than arrow private gentlewoman of
Vales. Last night, coming huom from the meeting, I was taken by
lamp-light for an iminent poulterer's daughter, a great beauty --
But as I was saying, this is all vanity and vexation of spirit --
The pleasures of London are no better than sower whey and stale
cyder, when compared to the joys of the new Gerusalem.

Dear Mary Jones! An please God when I return, I'll bring you a
new cap, with a turkey-shell coom, and a pyehouse sermon, that
was preached in the Tabernacle; and I pray of all love, you will
mind your vriting and your spilling; for, craving your pardon,
Molly, it made me suet to disseyffer your last scrabble, which
was delivered by the hind at Bath -- 0, voman! voman! if thou
had'st but the least consumption of what pleasure we scullers
have, when we can cunster the crabbidst buck off hand, and spell
the ethnitch vords without lucking at the primmer. As for Mr
Klinker, he is qualified to be a clerk to a parish -- But I'll say
no more -- Remember me to Saul -- poor sole! it goes to my hart to
think she don't yet know her letters -- But all in God's good time
-- It shall go hard, but I will bring her the A B C in gingerbread;
and that, you nose, will be learning to her taste.

Mistress says, we are going a long gurney to the North; but go
where we will, I shall ever be,

Dear Mary Jones,
Yours with true infection
LONDON, June 3.

To Sir WATKIN PHILLIPS, of Jesus college, Oxon.


I mentioned in my last, my uncle's design of going to the duke of
N--'s levee; which design has been executed accordingly. His
grace has been so long accustomed to this kind of homage, that
though the place he now fills does not imply the tenth part of
the influence, which he exerted in his former office, he has
given his friends to understand, that they cannot oblige him in
any thing more, than in contributing to support the shadow of
that power, which he no longer retains in substance; and
therefore he has still public days, on which they appear at his

My uncle and I went thither with Mr Barton, who, being one of the
duke's adherents, undertook to be our introducer -- The room was
pretty well filled with people, in a great variety of dress; but
there was no more than one gown and cassock, though I was told
his grace had, while he was minister, preferred almost every
individual that now filled the bench of bishops in the house of
lords; but in all probability, the gratitude of the clergy is
like their charity, which shuns the light -- Mr Barton was
immediately accosted by a person well stricken in years, tall,
and raw-boned, with a hook-nose, and an arch leer, that
indicated, at least, as much cunning as sagacity. Our conductor
saluted him, by the name of captain C--, and afterwards informed
us he was a man of shrewd parts, whom the government occasionally
employed in secret services. But I have had the history of him
more at large, from another quarter. He had been, many years ago,
concerned in fraudulent practices, as a merchant, in France; and
being convicted of some of them, was sent to the gallies, from
whence he was delivered by the interest of the late duke of
Ormond, to whom he had recommended himself in letter, as his
name-sake and relation -- He was in the sequel, employed by our
ministry as a spy; and in the war of 1740, traversed all Spain,
as well as France, in the disguise of a capuchin, at the extreme
hazard of his life, in as much as the court of Madrid had
actually got scent of him, and given orders to apprehend him at
St Sebastian's, from whence he had fortunately retired but a few
hours before the order arrived. This and other hair-breadth
'scapes he pleaded so effectually as a merit with the English
ministry, that they allowed him a comfortable pension, which he
now enjoys in his old age -- He has still access to all the
ministers, and is said to be consulted by them on many subjects,
as a man of uncommon understanding and great experience -- He is,
in fact, a fellow of some parts, and invincible assurance; and,
in his discourse, he assumes such an air of self-sufficiency, as
may very well impose upon some of the shallow politicians, who
now labour at the helm of administration. But, if he is not
belied, this is not the only imposture of which he is guilty --
They say, he is at bottom not only a Roman-catholic, but really a
priest; and while he pretends to disclose to our state-pilots all
the springs that move the cabinet of Versailles, he is actually
picking up intelligence for the service of the French minister. Be
that as it may, captain C-- entered into conversation with us in
the most familiar manner, and treated the duke's character
without any ceremony -- 'This wiseacre (said he) is still a-bed;
and, I think, the best thing he can do, is to sleep on till
Christmas; for, when he gets up, he does nothing but expose his
own folly. -- Since Grenville was turned out, there has been no
minister in this nation worth the meal that whitened his peri-wig
-- They are so ignorant, they scarce know a crab from a
cauliflower; and then they are such dunces, that there's no
making them comprehend the plainest proposition -- In the beginning
of the war, this poor half-witted creature told me, in a great
fright, that thirty thousand French had marched from Acadie to
Cape Breton -- "Where did they find transports? (said I)"
"Transports (cried he) I tell you they marched by land" -- "By land
to the island of Cape Breton?" "What! is Cape Breton an island?"
"Certainly." "Ha! are you sure of that?" When I pointed it out in
the map, he examined it earnestly with his spectacles; then,
taking me in his arms, "My dear C--! (cried he) you always bring
us good news -- Egad! I'll go directly, and tell the king that Cape
Breton is an island."'

He seemed disposed to entertain us with more anecdotes of this
nature, at the expense of his grace, when he was interrupted by
the arrival of the Algerine ambassador; a venerable Turk, with a
long white beard, attended by his dragoman, or interpreter, and
another officer of his household, who had got no stockings to his
legs -- Captain C-- immediately spoke with an air of authority to a
servant in waiting, bidding him go and tell the duke to rise, as
there was a great deal of company come, and, among others, the
ambassador from Algiers. Then, turning to us, 'This poor Turk
(said he) notwithstanding his grey beard, is a green-horn -- He has
been several years resident in London, and still is ignorant of
political revolutions. This visit is intended for the prime
minister of England; but you'll see how this wise duke will
receive it as a mark of attachment to his own person' -- Certain it
is, the duke seemed eager to acknowledge the compliment -- A door
opened, he suddenly bolted out; with a shaving-cloth under his
chin, his face frothed up to the eyes with soap lather; and
running up to the ambassador, grinned hideous in his face -- 'My
dear Mahomet! (said he) God love your long beard, I hope the dey
will make you a horsetail at the next promotion, ha, ha, ha! Have
but a moment's patience, and I'll send to you in a twinkling,' --
So saying, he retired into his den, leaving the Turk in some
confusion. After a short pause, however, he said something to his
interpreter, the meaning of which I had great curiosity to know,
as he turned up his eyes while he spoke, expressing astonishment,
mixed with devotion. We were gratified by means of the
communicative captain C--, who conversed with the dragoman, as an
old acquaintance. Ibrahim, the ambassador, who had mistaken his
grace for the minister's fool, was no sooner undeceived by the
interpreter, than he exclaimed to this effect 'Holy prophet! I
don't wonder that this nation prospers, seeing it is governed by
the counsel of ideots; a series of men, whom all good mussulmen
revere as the organs of immediate inspiration!' Ibrahim was
favoured with a particular audience of short duration; after
which the duke conducted him to the door, and then returned to
diffuse his gracious looks among the crowd of his worshippers.

As Mr Barton advanced to present me to his grace, it was my
fortune to attract his notice, before I was announced -- He
forthwith met me more than half way, and, seizing me by the hand,
'My dear Sir Francis! (cried he) this is so kind -- I vow to God! I
am so obliged -- Such attention to a poor broken minister. Well --
Pray when does your excellency set sail? -- For God's sake have a
care of your health, and cat stewed prunes in the passage. Next to
your own precious health, pray, my dear excellency, take care of
the Five Nations -- Our good friends the Five Nations. The
Toryrories, the Maccolmacks, the Out-o'the-ways, the Crickets,
and the Kickshaws -- Let 'em have plenty of blankets, and
stinkubus, and wampum; and your excellency won't fail to scour
the kettle, and boil the chain, and bury the tree, and plant the
hatchet -- Ha, ha, ha!' When he had uttered this rhapsody, with his
usual precipitation, Mr Barton gave him to understand, that I was
neither Sir Francis, nor St Francis, but simply Mr Melford,
nephew to Mr Bramble; who, stepping forward, made his bow at the
same time. 'Odso! no more it is Sir Francis -- (said this wise
statesman) Mr Melford, I'm glad to see you -- I sent you an
engineer to fortify your dock -- Mr Bramble -- your servant, Mr
Bramble -- How d'ye, good Mr Bramble? Your nephew is a pretty young
fellow -- Faith and troth, a very pretty fellow! -- His father is my
old friend -- How does he hold it? Still troubled with that damned
disorder, ha?' 'No, my lord (replied my uncle), all his troubles
are over -- He has been dead these fifteen years.' 'Dead! how -- Yes
faith! now I remember: he is dead sure enough -- Well, and how --
does the young gentleman stand for Haverford West? or -- a what
d'ye. My dear Mr Milfordhaven, I'll do you all the service in my
power I hope I have some credit left' -- My uncle then gave him to
understand, that I was still a minor; and that we had no
intention to trouble him at present, for any favour whatsoever --
'I came hither with my nephew (added he) to pay our respects to
your grace; and I may venture to say, that his views and mine are
at least as disinterested as those of any individual in this
assembly.' 'My dear Mr Brambleberry! you do me infinite honour -- I
shall always rejoice to see you and your hopeful nephew, Mr
Milfordhaven -- My credit, such as it is, you may command -- I wish
we had more friends of your kidney.'

Then, turning to captain C--, 'Ha, C--! (said he) what news, C--?
How does the world wag? ha!' 'The world wags much after the old
fashion, my lord (answered the captain): the politicians of
London and Westminster have begun again to wag their tongues
against your grace; and your short-lived popularity wags like a
feather, which the next puff of antiministerial calumny will blow
away' -- 'A pack of rascals (cried the duke) -- Tories, Jacobites,
rebels; one half of them would wag their heels at Tyburn, if they
had their deserts' -- So saying, he wheeled about; and going round
the levee, spoke to every individual, with the most courteous
familiarity; but he scarce ever opened his mouth without making
some blunder, in relation to the person or business of the party
with whom he conversed; so that he really looked like a comedian,
hired to burlesque the character of a minister -- At length, a
person of a very prepossessing appearance coming in, his grace
ran up, and, hugging him in his arms, with the appellation of 'My
dear Ch--s!' led him forthwith into the inner apartment, or
Sanctum Sanctorum of this political temple. 'That (said captain
C--) is my friend C-- T--, almost the only man of parts who has
any concern in the present administration -- Indeed, he would have
no concern at all in the matter, if the ministry did not find it
absolutely necessary to make use of his talents upon some
particular occasions -- As for the common business of the nation,
it is carried on in a constant routine by the clerks of the
different offices, otherwise the wheels of government would be
wholly stopt amidst the abrupt succession of ministers, every one
more ignorant than his predecessor -- I am thinking what a fine
hovel we should be in, if all the clerks of the treasury, the
secretaries, of the war-office, and the admiralty, should take it
in their heads to throw up their places in imitation of the great
pensioner --But, to return to C-- T--; he certainly knows more
than all the ministry and all the opposition, if their heads were
laid together, and talks like an angel on a vast variety of
subjects. He would really be a great man, if he had any
consistency or stability of character -- Then, it must be owned, he
wants courage, otherwise he would never allow himself to be cowed
by the great political bully, for whose understanding he has
justly a very great contempt. I have seen him as much afraid of
that overbearing Hector, as ever schoolboy was of his pedagogue;
and yet this Hector, I shrewdly suspect, is no more than a craven
at bottom -- Besides this defect, C-- has another, which he is at
too little pains to hide -- There's no faith to be given to his
assertions, and no trust to be put in his promises -- However, to
give the devil his due, he's very good-natured; and even
friendly, when close urged in the way of solicitation -- As for
principle, that's out of the question -- In a word, he is a wit and
an orator, extremely entertaining, and he shines very often at
the expence even of those ministers to whom he is a retainer. This
is a mark of great imprudence, by which he has made them all his
enemies, whatever face they may put upon the matter; and sooner
or later he'll have cause to wish he had been able to keep his
own counsel. I have several times cautioned him on this subject;
but 'tis all preaching to the desert -- His vanity runs away with
his discretion' -- I could not help thinking the captain himself
might have been the better for some hints of the same nature -- His
panegyric, excluding principle and veracity, puts me in mind of a
contest I once overheard, in the way of altercation, betwixt two
apple-women in Spring-garden -- One of those viragos having hinted
something to the prejudice of the other's moral character, her
antagonist, setting her hands in her sides, replied -- 'Speak out,
hussy -- I scorn your malice -- I own I'm both a whore and a thief;
and what more have you to say? -- Damn you, what more have you to
say? baiting that, which all the world knows, I challenge you to
say black is the white of my eye' -- We did not wait for Mr T--'s
coming forth; but after captain C-- had characterised all the
originals in waiting, we adjourned to a coffeehouse, where we had
buttered muffins and tea to breakfast, the said captain still
favouring us with his company -- Nay, my uncle was so diverted with
his anecdotes, that he asked him to dinner, and treated him with
a fine turbot, to which he did ample justice -- That same evening I
spent at the tavern with some friends, one of whom let me into C--'s
character, which Mr Bramble no sooner understood, than he
expressed some concern for the connexion he had made, and
resolved to disengage himself from it without ceremony.

We are become members of the Society for the Encouragement of the
Arts, and have assisted at some of their deliberations, which
were conducted with equal spirit and sagacity -- My uncle is
extremely fond of the institution, which will certainly be
productive of great advantages to the public, if, from its
democratical form, it does not degenerate into cabal and
corruption -- You are already acquainted with his aversion to the
influence of the multitude, which, he affirms, is incompatible
with excellence, and subversive of order -- Indeed his detestation
of the mob has been heightened by fear, ever since he fainted in
the room at Bath; and this apprehension has prevented him from
going to the Little Theatre in the Hay-market, and other places
of entertainment, to which, however, I have had the honour to
attend the ladies.

It grates old Square-toes to reflect, that it is not in his power
to enjoy even the most elegant diversions of the capital, without
the participation of the vulgar; for they now thrust themselves
into all assemblies, from a ridotto at St James's, to a hop at
Rotherhithe. I have lately seen our old acquaintance Dick Ivy,
who we imagined had died of dram-drinking; but he is lately
emerged from the Fleet, by means of a pamphlet which he wrote and
published against the government with some success. The sale of
this performance enabled him to appear in clean linen, and he is
now going about soliciting subscriptions for his Poems; but his
breeches are not yet in the most decent order.

Dick certainly deserves some countenance for his intrepidity and
perseverance -- It is not in the power of disappointment, nor even
of damnation, to drive him to despair -- After some unsuccessful
essays in the way of poetry, he commenced brandy-merchant, and I
believe his whole stock ran out through his own bowels; then he
consorted with a milk-woman, who kept a cellar in Petty France:
but he could not make his quarters good; he was dislodged and
driven up stairs into the kennel by a corporal in the second
regiment of foot-guards -- He was afterwards the laureat of
Blackfriars, from whence there was a natural transition to the
Fleet -- As he had formerly miscarried in panegyric, he now turned
his thoughts to satire, and really seems to have some talent for
abuse. If he can hold out till the meeting of the parliament, and
be prepared for another charge, in all probability Dick will
mount the pillory, or obtain a pension, in either of which events
his fortune will be made -- Mean while he has acquired some degree
of consideration with the respectable writers of the age; and as
I have subscribed for his works, he did me the favour t'other
night to introduce me to a society of those geniuses; but I found
them exceedingly formal and reserved -- They seemed afraid and
jealous of one another, and sat in a state of mutual repulsion,
like so many particles of vapour, each surrounded by its own
electrified atmosphere. Dick, who has more vivacity than
judgment, tried more than once to enliven the conversation;
sometimes making an effort at wit, sometimes letting off a pun,
and sometimes discharging a conundrum; nay, at length he started
a dispute upon the hackneyed comparison betwixt blank verse and
rhyme, and the professors opened with great clamour; but, instead
of keeping to the subject, they launched out into tedious
dissertations on the poetry of the ancients; and one of them, who
had been a school-master, displayed his whole knowledge of
prosody, gleaned from Disputer and Ruddiman. At last, I ventured
to say, I did not see how the subject in question could be at all
elucidated by the practice of the ancients, who certainly had
neither blank verse nor rhyme in their poems, which were measured
by feet, whereas ours are reckoned by the number of syllables --
This remark seemed to give umbrage to the pedant, who forthwith
involved himself in a cloud of Greek and Latin quotations, which
nobody attempted to dispel -- A confused hum of insipid
observations and comments ensued; and, upon the whole, I never
passed a duller evening in my life -- Yet, without all doubt, some
of them were men of learning, wit, and ingenuity. As they are
afraid of making free with one another, they should bring each
his butt, or whet-stone, along with him, for the entertainment of
the company -- My uncle says, he never desires to meet with more
than one wit at a time -- One wit, like a knuckle of ham in soup,
gives a zest and flavour to the dish; but more than one serves
only to spoil the pottage -- And now I'm afraid I have given you an
unconscionable mess, without any flavour at all; for which, I
suppose, you will bestow your benedictions upon

Your friend,
and servant
LONDON, June 5



Your fable of the monkey and the pig, is what the Italians call
ben trovata: but I shall not repeat it to my apothecary, who is a
proud Scotchman, very thin skinned, and, for aught I know, may
have his degree in his pocket -- A right Scotchman has always two
strings to his bow, and is in utrumque paratus -- Certain it is, I
have not 'scaped a scouring; but, I believe, by means of that
scouring, I have 'scaped something worse, perhaps a tedious fit
of the gout or rheumatism; for my appetite began to flag, and I
had certain croakings in the bowels, which boded me no good -- Nay,
I am not yet quite free of these remembrances, which warn me to
be gone from this centre of infection --

What temptation can a man of my turn and temperament have, to
live in a place where every corner teems with fresh objects of
detestation and disgust? What kind of taste and organs must those
people have, who really prefer the adulterate enjoyments of the
town to the genuine pleasures of a country retreat? Most people,
I know, are originally seduced by vanity, ambition, and childish
curiosity; which cannot be gratified, but in the busy haunts of
men: but, in the course of this gratification, their very organs
of sense are perverted, and they become habitually lost to every
relish of what is genuine and excellent in its own nature.

Shall I state the difference between my town grievances, and my
country comforts? At Brambleton-hall, I have elbow-room within
doors, and breathe a clear, elastic, salutary air -- I enjoy
refreshing sleep, which is never disturbed by horrid noise, nor
interrupted, but in a-morning, by the sweet twitter of the
martlet at my window -- I drink the virgin lymph, pure and
chrystalline as it gushes from the rock, or the sparkling
beveridge, home-brewed from malt of my own making; or I indulge
with cyder, which my own orchard affords; or with claret of the
best growth, imported for my own use, by a correspondent on whose
integrity I can depend; my bread is sweet and nourishing, made
from my own wheat, ground in my own mill, and baked in my own
oven; my table is, in a great measure, furnished from my own
ground; my five-year old mutton, fed on the fragrant herbage of
the mountains, that might vie with venison in juice and flavour;
my delicious veal, fattened with nothing but the mother's milk,
that fills the dish with gravy; my poultry from the barn-door,
that never knew confinement, but when they were at roost; my
rabbits panting from the warren; my game fresh from the moors; my
trout and salmon struggling from the stream; oysters from their
native banks; and herrings, with other sea fish, I can eat in
four hours after they are taken -- My sallads, roots, and potherbs,
my own garden yields in plenty and perfection; the produce of the
natural soil, prepared by moderate cultivation. The same soil
affords all the different fruits which England may call her own,
so that my dessert is every day fresh-gathered from the tree; my
dairy flows with nectarious tildes of milk and cream, from whence
we derive abundance of excellent butter, curds, and cheese; and
the refuse fattens my pigs, that are destined for hams and bacon --
I go to bed betimes, and rise with the sun -- I make shift to pass
the hours without weariness or regret, and am not destitute of
amusements within doors, when the weather will not permit me to
go abroad -- I read, and chat, and play at billiards, cards or
back-gammon -- Without doors, I superintend my farm, and execute
plans of improvements, the effects of which I enjoy with
unspeakable delight -- Nor do I take less pleasure in seeing my
tenants thrive under my auspices, and the poor live comfortably
by the employment which I provide -- You know I have one or two
sensible friends, to whom I can open all my heart; a blessing
which, perhaps, I might have sought in vain among the crowded
scenes of life: there are a few others of more humble parts, whom
I esteem for their integrity; and their conversation I find
inoffensive, though not very entertaining. Finally, I live in the
midst of honest men, and trusty dependents, who, I flatter
myself, have a disinterested attachment to my person. You,
yourself, my dear Doctor, can vouch for the truth of these

Now, mark the contrast at London -- I am pent up in frowzy
lodgings, where there is not room enough to swing a cat; and I
breathe the steams of endless putrefaction; and these would,
undoubtedly, produce a pestilence, if they were not qualified by
the gross acid of sea-coal, which is itself a pernicious nuisance
to lungs of any delicacy of texture: but even this boasted
corrector cannot prevent those languid, sallow looks, that
distinguish the inhabitants of London from those ruddy swains
that lead a country-life -- I go to bed after midnight, jaded and
restless from the dissipations of the day -- I start every hour
from my sleep, at the horrid noise of the watchmen bawling the
hour through every street, and thundering at every door; a set of
useless fellows, who serve no other purpose but that of
disturbing the repose of the inhabitants; and by five o'clock I
start out of bed, in consequence of the still more dreadful alarm
made by the country carts, and noisy rustics bellowing green
pease under my window. If I would drink water, I must quaff the
maukish contents of an open aqueduct, exposed to all manner of
defilement; or swallow that which comes from the river Thames,
impregnated with all the filth of London and Westminster -- Human
excrement is the least offensive part of the concrete, which is
composed of all the drugs, minerals, and poisons, used in
mechanics and manufacture, enriched with the putrefying carcasses
of beasts and men; and mixed with the scourings of all the wash-tubs,
kennels, and common sewers, within the bills of mortality.

This is the agreeable potation, extolled by the Londoners, as the
finest water in the universe -- As to the intoxicating potion, sold
for wine, it is a vile, unpalatable, and pernicious
sophistication, balderdashed with cyder, corn-spirit, and the
juice of sloes. In an action at law, laid against a carman for
having staved a cask of port, it appeared from the evidence of
the cooper, that there were not above five gallons of real wine
in the whole pipe, which held above a hundred, and even that had
been brewed and adulterated by the merchant at Oporto. The bread
I cat in London, is a deleterious paste, mixed up with chalk,
alum, and bone-ashes; insipid to the taste, and destructive to
the constitution. The good people are not ignorant of this
adulteration -- but they prefer it to wholesome bread, because it
is whiter than the meal of corn: thus they sacrifice their taste
and their health, and the lives of their tender infants, to a
most absurd gratification of a mis-judging eye; and the miller,
or the baker, is obliged to poison them and their families, in
order to live by his profession. The same monstrous depravity
appears in their veal, which is bleached by repeated bleedings,
and other villainous arts, till there is not a drop of juice left
in the body, and the poor animal is paralytic before it dies; so
void of all taste, nourishment, and savour, that a man might dine
as comfortably on a white fricassee of kid-skin gloves; or chip
hats from Leghorn.

As they have discharged the natural colour from their bread,
their butchers-meat, and poultry, their cutlets, ragouts,
fricassees and sauces of all kinds; so they insist upon having
the complexion of their potherbs mended, even at the hazard of
their lives. Perhaps, you will hardly believe they can be so mad
as to boil their greens with brass halfpence, in order to improve
their colour; and yet nothing is more true -- Indeed, without this
improvement in the colour, they have no personal merit. They are
produced in an artificial soil, and taste of nothing but the
dunghills, from whence they spring. My cabbage, cauliflower, and
'sparagus in the country, are as much superior in flavour to
those that are sold in Covent-garden, as my heath-mutton is to
that of St James's-market; which in fact, is neither lamb nor
mutton, but something betwixt the two, gorged in the rank fens of
Lincoln and Essex, pale, coarse, and frowzy -- As for the pork, it
is an abominable carnivorous animal, fed with horse-flesh and
distillers' grains; and the poultry is all rotten, in consequence
of a fever, occasioned by the infamous practice of sewing up the
gut, that they may be the sooner fattened in coops, in
consequence of this cruel retention.

Of the fish, I need say nothing in this hot weather, but that it
comes sixty, seventy, fourscore, and a hundred miles by land-carriage;
a circumstance sufficient without any comment, to turn
a Dutchman's stomach, even if his nose was not saluted in every
alley with the sweet flavour of fresh mackarel, selling by retail.
This is not the season for oysters; nevertheless, it may not be
amiss to mention, that the right Colchester are kept in slime-pits,
occasionally overflowed by the sea; and that the green
colour, so much admired by the voluptuaries of this metropolis,
is occasioned by the vitriolic scum, which rises on the surface
of the stagnant and stinking water -- Our rabbits are bred and fed
in the poulterer's cellar, where they have neither air nor
exercise, consequently they must be firm in flesh, and delicious
in flavour; and there is no game to be had for love or money.

It must be owned, the Covent-garden affords some good fruit;
which, however, is always engrossed by a few individuals of
overgrown fortune, at an exorbitant price; so that little else
than the refuse of the market falls to the share of the
community; and that is distributed by such filthy hands, as I
cannot look at without loathing. It was but yesterday that I saw
a dirty barrow-bunter in the street, cleaning her dusty fruit
with her own spittle; and, who knows but some fine lady of St
James's parish might admit into her delicate mouth those very
cherries, which had been rolled and moistened between the filthy,
and, perhaps, ulcerated chops of a St Giles's huckster -- I need
not dwell upon the pallid, contaminated mash, which they call
strawberries; soiled and tossed by greasy paws through twenty
baskets crusted with dirt; and then presented with the worst
milk, thickened with the worst flour, into a bad likeness of
cream: but the milk itself should not pass unanalysed, the
produce of faded cabbage-leaves and sour draff, lowered with hot
water, frothed with bruised snails, carried through the streets
in open pails, exposed to foul rinsings, discharged from doors
and windows, spittle, snot, and tobacco-quids from foot
passengers, overflowings from mud carts, spatterings from coach
wheels, dirt and trash chucked into it by roguish boys for the
joke's sake, the spewings of infants, who have slabbered in the
tin-measure, which is thrown back in that condition among the
milk, for the benefit of the next customer; and, finally, the
vermin that drops from the rags of the nasty drab that vends this
precious mixture, under the respectable denomination of milk-maid.

I shall conclude this catalogue of London dainties, with that
table-beer, guiltless of hops and malt, vapid and nauseous; much
fitter to facilitate the operation of a vomit, than to quench
thirst and promote digestion; the tallowy rancid mass, called
butter, manufactured with candle grease and kitchen stuff; and
their fresh eggs, imported from France and Scotland. -- Now, all
these enormities might be remedied with a very little attention
to the article of police, or civil regulation; but the wise
patriots of London have taken it into their heads, that all
regulation is inconsistent with liberty; and that every man ought
to live in his own way, without restraint -- Nay, as there is not
sense enough left among them, to be discomposed by the nuisance I
have mentioned, they may, for aught I care, wallow in the mire of
their own pollution.

A companionable man will, undoubtedly put up with many
inconveniences for the sake of enjoying agreeable society. A
facetious friend of mine used to say, the wine could not be bad,
where the company was agreeable; a maxim which, however, ought to
be taken cum grano salis: but what is the society of London, that
I should be tempted, for its sake, to mortify my senses, and
compound with such uncleanness as my soul abhors? All the people
I see, are too much engrossed by schemes of interest or ambition,
to have any room left for sentiment or friendship. Even in some of
my old acquaintance, those schemes and pursuits have obliterated
all traces of our former connexion -- Conversation is reduced to
party disputes, and illiberal altercation -- Social commerce, to
formal visits and card-playing -- If you pick up a diverting
original by accident, it may be dangerous to amuse yourself with
his oddities -- He is generally a tartar at bottom; a sharper, a
spy, or a lunatic. Every person you deal with endeavours to
overreach you in the way of business; you are preyed upon by idle
mendicants, who beg in the phrase of borrowing, and live upon the
spoils of the stranger -- Your tradesmen are without conscience,
your friends without affection, and your dependents without
fidelity. --

My letter would swell into a treatise, were I to particularize
every cause of offence that fills up the measure of my aversion
to this, and every other crowded city -- Thank Heaven! I am not so
far sucked into the vortex, but that I can disengage myself
without any great effort of philosophy -- From this wild uproar of
knavery, folly, and impertinence, I shall fly with double relish
to the serenity of retirement, the cordial effusions of
unreserved friendship, the hospitality and protection of the
rural gods; in a word, the jucunda oblivia Vitae, which Horace
himself had not taste enough to enjoy. --

I have agreed for a good travelling-coach and four, at a guinea a
day, for three months certain; and next week we intend to begin
our journey to the North, hoping still to be with you by the
latter end of October -- I shall continue to write from every stage
where we make any considerable halt, as often as anything occurs,
which I think can afford you the least amusement. In the mean
time, I must beg you will superintend the oeconomy of Barns, with
respect to my hay and corn harvests; assured that my ground
produces nothing but what you may freely call your own -- On any
other terms I should be ashamed to subscribe myself

Your unvariable friend,
LONDON, June 8.

To Sir WATKIN PHILLIPS, Bart. of Jesus college, Oxon.


In my last, I mentioned my having spent an evening with a society
of authors, who seemed to be jealous and afraid of one another.
My uncle was not at all surprised to hear me say I was
disappointed in their conversation. 'A man may be very
entertaining and instructive upon paper (said he), and
exceedingly dull in common discourse. I have observed, that those
who shine most in private company, are but secondary stars in the
constellation of genius -- A small stock of ideas is more easily
managed, and sooner displayed, than a great quantity crowded
together. There is very seldom any thing extraordinary in the
appearance and address of a good writer; whereas a dull author
generally distinguishes himself by some oddity or extravagance.
For this reason, I fancy, that an assembly of Grubs must be very

My curiosity being excited by this hint, I consulted my friend
Dick Ivy, who undertook to gratify it the very next day, which
was Sunday last. He carried me to dine with S--, whom you and I
have long known by his writings. -- He lives in the skirts of the
town, and every Sunday his house is opened to all unfortunate
brothers of the quill, whom he treats with beef, pudding, and
potatoes, port, punch, and Calvert's entire butt beer. He has
fixed upon the first day of the week for the exercise of his
hospitality, because some of his guests could not enjoy it on any
other, for reasons that I need not explain. I was civilly
received in a plain, yet decent habitation, which opened
backwards into a very pleasant garden, kept in excellent order;
and, indeed, I saw none of the outward signs of authorship,
either in the house or the landlord, who is one of those few
writers of the age that stand upon their own foundation, without
patronage, and above dependence. If there was nothing
characteristic in the entertainer, the company made ample amends
for his want of singularity.

At two in the afternoon, I found myself one of ten messmates
seated at table; and, I question, if the whole kingdom could
produce such another assemblage of originals. Among their
peculiarities, I do not mention those of dress, which may be
purely accidental. What struck me were oddities originally
produced by affectation, and afterwards confirmed by habit. One
of them wore spectacles at dinner, and another his hat flapped;
though (as Ivy told me) the first was noted for having a seaman's
eye, when a bailiff was in the wind; and the other was never
known to labour under any weakness or defect of vision, except
about five years ago, when he was complimented with a couple of
black eyes by a player, with whom he had quarrelled in his drink.
A third wore a laced stocking, and made use of crutches, because,
once in his life, he had been laid up with a broken leg, though
no man could leap over a stick with more agility. A fourth had
contracted such an antipathy to the country, that he insisted
upon sitting with his back towards the window that looked into
the garden, and when a dish of cauliflower was set upon the
table, he snuffed up volatile salts to keep him from fainting;
yet this delicate person was the son of a cottager, born under a
hedge, and had many years run wild among asses on a common. A
fifth affected distraction. When spoke to, he always answered from
the purpose sometimes he suddenly started up, and rapped out a
dreadful oath sometimes he burst out a-laughing -- then he folded
his arms, and sighed and then, he hissed like fifty serpents.

At first I really thought he was mad, and, as he sat near me,
began to be under some apprehensions for my own safety, when our
landlord, perceiving me alarmed, assured me aloud that I had
nothing to fear. 'The gentleman (said he) is trying to act a part
for which he is by no means qualified -- if he had all the
inclination in the world, it is not in his power to be mad. His
spirits are too flat to be kindled into frenzy.' ''Tis no bad p-p-puff,
however (observed a person in a tarnished laced coat):
aff-ffected in-madness w-will p-pass for w-wit w-with nine-ninet-teen
out of t-twenty.' -- 'And affected stuttering for humour:
replied our landlord, tho', God knows, there is an affinity
betwixt them.' It seems, this wag, after having made some
abortive attempts in plain speaking, had recourse to this defect,
by means of which he frequently extorted the laugh of the
company, without the least expence of genius; and that
imperfection, which he had at first counterfeited, was now become
so habitual, that he could not lay it aside.

A certain winking genius, who wore yellow gloves at dinner, had,
on his first introduction, taken such offence at S--, because he
looked and talked, and ate and drank like any other man, that he
spoke contemptuously of his understanding ever after, and never
would repeat his visit, until he had exhibited the following
proof of his caprice. Wat Wyvil, the poet, having made some
unsuccessful advances towards an intimacy with S--, at last gave
him to understand, by a third person, that he had written a poem
in his praise, and a satire against his person; that if he would
admit him to his house, the first should be immediately sent to
press; but that if he persisted in declining his friendship, he
would publish his satire without delay. S-- replied, that he
looked upon Wyvil's panegyrick, as in effect, a species of
infamy, and would resent it accordingly with a good cudgel; but
if he published the satire, he might deserve his compassion, and
had nothing to fear from his revenge. Wyvil having considered the
alternative, resolved to mortify S-- by printing the panegyrick,
for which he received a sound drubbing. Then he swore the peace
against the aggressor, who, in order to avoid a prosecution at
law, admitted him to his good graces. It was the singularity in
S--'s conduct, on this occasion, that reconciled him to the
yellow-gloved philosopher, who owned he had some genius, and from
that period cultivated his acquaintance.

Curious to know upon what subjects the several talents of my
fellow-guests were employed, I applied to my communicative friend
Dick Ivy, who gave me to understand, that most of them were, or
had been, understrappers, or journeymen, to more creditable
authors, for whom they translated, collated, and compiled, in the
business of bookmaking; and that all of them had, at different
times, laboured in the service of our landlord, though they had
now set up for themselves in various departments of literature.
Not only their talents, but also their nations and dialects were
so various, that our conversation resembled the confusion of
tongues at Babel. We had the Irish brogue, the Scotch accent, and
foreign idiom, twanged off by the most discordant vociferation;
for, as they all spoke together, no man had any chance to be
heard, unless he could bawl louder than his fellows. It must be
owned, however, there was nothing pedantic in their discourse;
they carefully avoided all learned disquisitions, and endeavoured
to be facetious; nor did their endeavours always miscarry -- some
droll repartee passed, and much laughter was excited; and if any
individual lost his temper so far as to transgress the bounds of
decorum, he was effectually checked by the master of the feast,
who exerted a sort of paternal authority over this irritable

The most learned philosopher of the whole collection, who had
been expelled the university for atheism, has made great progress
in a refutation of lord Bolingbroke's metaphysical works, which
is said to be equally ingenious, and orthodox; but, in the mean
time, he has been presented to the grand jury as a public
nuisance, for having blasphemed in an ale-house on the Lord's
day. The Scotchman gives lectures on the pronunciation of the
English language, which he is now publishing by subscription.

The Irishman is a political writer, and goes by the name of my
Lord Potatoe. He wrote a pamphlet in vindication of a minister,
hoping his zeal would be rewarded with some place or pension;
but, finding himself neglected in that quarter, he whispered
about, that the pamphlet was written by the minister himself, and
he published an answer to his own production. In this, he
addressed the author under the title of your lordship with such
solemnity, that the public swallowed the deceit, and bought up
the whole impression. The wise politicians of the metropolis
declared they were both masterly performances, and chuckled over
the flimsy reveries of an ignorant garretteer, as the profound
speculations of a veteran statesman, acquainted with all the
secrets of the cabinet. The imposture was detected in the sequel,
and our Hibernian pamphleteer retains no part of his assumed
importance, but the bare title of my lord. and the upper part of
the table at the potatoe-ordinary in Shoelane.

Opposite to me sat a Piedmontese, who had obliged the public with
a humorous satire, intituled, The Ballance of the English Poets,
a performance which evinced the great modesty and taste of the
author, and, in particular, his intimacy with the elegancies of
the English language. The sage, who laboured under the
agrophobia, or horror of green fields, had just finished a
treatise on practical agriculture, though, in fact, he had never
seen corn growing in his life, and was so ignorant of grain, that
our entertainer, in the face of the whole company, made him own,
that a plate of hominy was the best rice pudding he had ever eat.

The stutterer had almost finished his travels through Europe and
part of Asia, without ever budging beyond the liberties of the
King's Bench, except in term-time, with a tipstaff for his
companion; and as for little Tim Cropdale, the most facetious
member of the whole society, he had happily wound up the
catastrophe of a virgin tragedy, from the exhibition of which he
promised himself a large fund of profit and reputation. Tim had
made shift to live many years by writing novels, at the rate of
five pounds a volume; but that branch of business is now
engrossed by female authors, who publish merely for the
propagation of virtue, with so much ease and spirit, and
delicacy, and knowledge of the human heart, and all in the serene
tranquillity of high life, that the reader is not only inchanted
by their genius, but reformed by their morality.

After dinner, we adjourned into the garden, where, I observed, Mr
S-- gave a short separate audience to every individual in a small
remote filbert walk, from whence most of them dropt off one after
another, without further ceremony; but they were replaced by
fresh recruits of the same clan, who came to make an afternoon's
visit; and, among others, a spruce bookseller, called Birkin, who
rode his own gelding, and made his appearance in a pair of new
jemmy boots, with massy spurs of plate. It was not without
reason, that this midwife of the Muses used exercise a-horseback,
for he was too fat to walk a-foot, and he underwent some sarcasms
from Tim Cropdale, on his unwieldy size and inaptitude for
motion. Birkin, who took umbrage at this poor author's petulance
in presuming to joke upon a man so much richer than himself, told
him, he was not so unwieldy but that he could move the Marshalsea
court for a writ, and even overtake him with it, if he did not
very speedily come and settle accounts with him, respecting the
expence of publishing his last ode to the king of Prussia, of
which he had sold but three, and one of them was to Whitfield the
methodist. Tim affected to receive this intimation with good
humour, saying, he expected in a post or two, from Potsdam, a
poem of thanks from his Prussian majesty, who knew very well how
to pay poets in their own coin; but, in the mean time, he
proposed, that Mr Birkin and he should run three times round the
garden for a bowl of punch, to be drank at Ashley's in the
evening, and he would run boots against stockings. The
bookseller, who valued himself upon his mettle, was persuaded to
accept the challenge, and he forthwith resigned his boots to
Cropdale, who, when he had put them on, was no bad representation
of captain Pistol in the play.

Every thing being adjusted, they started together with great
impetuosity, and, in the second round, Birkin had clearly the
advantage, larding the lean earth as he puff'd along. Cropdale
had no mind to contest the victory further; but, in a twinkling,
disappeared through the back-door of the garden, which opened
into a private lane, that had communication with the high road.--
The spectators immediately began to hollow, 'Stole away!' and
Birkin set off in pursuit of him with great eagerness; but he had
not advanced twenty yards in the lane, when a thorn running into
his foot, sent him hopping back into the garden, roaring with
pain, and swearing with vexation. When he was delivered from this
annoyance by the Scotchman, who had been bred to surgery, he
looked about him wildly, exclaiming, 'Sure, the fellow won't be
such a rogue as to run clear away with my boots!' Our landlord,
having reconnoitered the shoes he had left, which, indeed, hardly
deserved that name, 'Pray (said he), Mr Birkin, wa'n't your boots
made of calf-skin?' 'Calf-skin or cow-skin (replied the other)
I'll find a slip of sheep-skin that will do his business -- I lost
twenty pounds by his farce which you persuaded me to buy -- I am
out of pocket five pounds by his damn'd ode; and now this pair of
boots, bran new, cost me thirty shillings, as per receipt -- But
this affair of the boots is felony -- transportation. -- I'll have
the dog indicted at the Old Bailey -- I will, Mr S-- I will be
reveng'd, even though I should lose my debt in consequence of his

Mr S-- said nothing at present, but accommodated him with a pair
of shoes; then ordered his servant to rub him down, and comfort
him with a glass of rum-punch, which seemed, in a great measure,
to cool the rage of his indignation. 'After all (said our
landlord) this is no more than a humbug in the way of wit, though
it deserves a more respectable epithet, when considered as an
effort of invention. Tim, being (I suppose) out of credit with
the cordwainer, fell upon this ingenious expedient to supply the
want of shoes, knowing that Mr Birkin, who loves humour, would
himself relish the joke upon a little recollection. Cropdale
literally lives by his wit, which he has exercised upon all his
friends in their turns. He once borrowed my poney for five or six
days to go to Salisbury, and sold him in Smithfield at his
return. This was a joke of such a serious nature, that, in the
first transports of my passion, I had some thoughts of
prosecuting him for horse-stealing; and even
when my resentment had in some measure subsided, as he
industriously avoided me, I vowed, I would take satisfaction on
his ribs with the first opportunity. One day, seeing him at some
distance in the street, coming towards me, I began to prepare my
cane for action, and walked in the shadow of a porter, that he
might not perceive me soon enough to make his escape; but, in the
very instant I had lifted up the instrument of correction, I
found Tim Cropdale metamorphosed into a miserable blind wretch,
feeling his way with a long stick from post to post, and rolling
about two bald unlighted orbs instead of eyes. I was exceedingly
shocked at having so narrowly escaped the concern and disgrace
that would have attended such a misapplication of vengeance: but,
next day, Tim prevailed upon a friend of mine to come and solicit
my forgiveness, and offer his note, payable in six weeks, for the
price of the poney. This gentleman gave me to understand, that
the blind man was no other than Cropdale, who having seen me
advancing, and guessing my intent, had immediately converted
himself into the object aforesaid -- I was so diverted at the
ingenuity of the evasion, that I agreed to pardon his offence,
refusing his note, however, that I might keep a prosecution for
felony hanging over his head, as a security for his future good
behaviour -- But Timothy would by no means trust himself in my
hands till the note was accepted -- then he made his appearance at
my door as a blind beggar, and imposed in such a manner upon my
man, who had been his old acquaintance and pot-companion, that
the fellow threw the door in his face, and even threatened to
give him the bastinado. Hearing a noise in the hall, I went
thither, and immediately recollecting the figure I had passed in
the street, accosted him by his own name, to the unspeakable
astonishment of the footman.'

Birkin declared he loved a joke as well as another; but asked if
any of the company could tell where Mr Cropdale lodged, that he
might send him a proposal about restitution, before the boots
should be made away with. 'I would willingly give him a pair of
new shoes (said he), and half a guinea into the bargain' for the
boots, which fitted me like a glove; and I shan't be able to get
the fellows of them 'till the good weather for riding is over.
The stuttering wit declared, that the only secret which Cropdale
ever kept, was the place of his lodgings; but he believed, that,
during the heats of summer, he commonly took his repose upon a
bulk, or indulged himself, in fresco, with one of the kennel-nymphs,
under the portico of St Martin's church. 'Pox on him!
(cried the bookseller) he might as well have taken my whip and
spurs. In that case, he might have been tempted to steal another
horse, and then he would have rid to the devil of course.'

After coffee, I took my leave of Mr S--, with proper
acknowledgments of his civility, and was extremely well pleased
with the entertainment of the day, though not yet satisfied, with
respect to the nature of this connexion, betwixt a man of
character in the literary world, and a parcel of authorlings,
who, in all probability, would never be able to acquire any
degree of reputation by their labours. On this head I
interrogated my conductor, Dick Ivy, who answered me to this
effect -- 'One would imagine S-- had some view to his own interest,
in giving countenance and assistance to those people, whom he
knows to be bad men, as well as bad writers; but, if he has any
such view, he will find himself disappointed; for if he is so
vain as to imagine he can make them, subservient to his schemes
of profit or ambition, they are cunning enough to make him their
property in the mean time. There is not one of the company you
have seen to-day (myself excepted) who does not owe him
particular obligations -- One of them he bailed out of a spunging-house,
and afterwards paid the debt -- another he translated into
his family, and clothed, when he was turned out half naked from
jail in consequence of an act for the relief of insolvent
debtors -- a third, who was reduced to a woollen night cap, and
lived upon sheeps trotters, up three pair of stairs backward in
Butcher-row, he took into present pay and free quarters, and
enabled him to appear as a gentleman, without having the fear of
sheriff's officers before his eyes. Those who are in distress he
supplies with money when he has it, and with his credit when he
is out of cash. When they want business, he either finds
employment for them in his own service, or recommends them to
booksellers to execute some project he has formed for their
subsistence. They are always welcome to his table (which though
plain, is plentiful) and to his good offices as far as they will
go, and when they see Occasion, they make use of his name with
the most petulant familiarity; nay, they do not even scruple to
arrogate to themselves the merit of some of his performances, and
have been known to sell their own lucubrations as the produce of
his brain. The Scotchman you saw at dinner once personated him at
an alehouse in West-Smithfield and, in the character of S--, had
his head broke by a cow-keeper, for having spoke disrespectfully
of the Christian religion; but he took the law of him in his own
person, and the assailant was fain to give him ten pounds to
withdraw his action.'

I observed, that all this appearance of liberality on the side of
Mr S-- was easily accounted for, on the supposition that they
flattered him in private, and engaged his adversaries in public;
and yet I was astonished, when I recollected that I often had
seen this writer virulently abused in papers, poems, and
pamphlets, and not a pen was drawn in his defence 'But you will
be more astonished (said he) when I assure you, those very guests
whom you saw at his table to-day, were the authors of great part
of that abuse; and he himself is well aware of their particular
favours, for they are all eager to detect and betray one
another.' 'But this is doing the devil's work for nothing (cried
I). What should induce them to revile their benefactor without
provocation?' 'Envy (answered Dick) is the general incitement;
but they are galled by an additional scourge of provocation. S--
directs a literary journal, in which their productions are
necessarily brought to trial; and though many of them have been
treated with such lenity and favour as they little deserved, yet
the slightest censure, such as, perhaps, could not be avoided
with any pretensions to candour and impartiality, has rankled in
the hearts of those authors to such a degree, that they have
taken immediate vengeance on the critic in anonymous libels,
letters, and lampoons. Indeed, all the writers of the age, good,
bad, and indifferent, from the moment he assumed this office,
became his enemies, either professed or in petto, except those of
his friends who knew they had nothing to fear from his
strictures; and he must be a wiser man than me who can tell what
advantage or satisfaction he derives from having brought such a
nest of hornets about his ears.'

I owned, that was a point which might deserve consideration; but
still I expressed a desire to know his real motives for
continuing his friendship to a set of rascals equally ungrateful
and insignificant. -- He said, he did not pretend to assign any
reasonable motive; that, if the truth must be told, the man was,
in point of conduct, a most incorrigible fool; that, though he
pretended to have a knack at hitting off characters, he blundered
strangely in the distribution of his favours, which were
generally bestowed on the most undeserving of those who had
recourse to his assistance; that, indeed, this preference was not
so much owing to want of discernment as to want of resolution,
for he had not fortitude enough to resist the importunity even of
the most worthless; and, as he did not know the value of money,
there was very little merit in parting with it so easily; that
his pride was gratified in seeing himself courted by such a
number of literary dependents; that, probably, he delighted in
hearing them expose and traduce one another; and, finally, from
their information, he became acquainted with all the transactions
of Grubstreet, which he had some thoughts of compiling for the
entertainment of the public.

I could not help suspecting, from Dick's discourse, that he had
some particular grudge against S--, upon whose conduct he had put
the worst construction it would bear; and, by dint of cross-examination,
I found he was not at all satisfied with the
character which had been given in the Review of his last
performance, though it had been treated civilly in consequence of
the author's application to the critic. By all accounts, S-- is not
without weakness and caprice; but he is certainly good-humoured
and civilized; nor do I find that there is any thing overbearing,
cruel, or implacable in his disposition.

I have dwelt so long upon authors, that you will perhaps suspect
I intend to enroll myself among the fraternity; but, if I were
actually qualified for the profession, it is at best but a
desperate resource against starving, as it affords no provision
for old age and infirmity. Salmon, at the age of fourscore, is
now in a garret, compiling matter, at a guinea a sheet, for a
modern historian, who, in point of age, might be his grandchild;
and Psalmonazar, after having drudged half a century in the
literary mill, in all the simplicity and abstinence of an
Asiatic, subsists upon the charity of a few booksellers, just
sufficient to keep him from the parish, I think Guy, who was
himself a bookseller, ought to have appropriated one wing or ward
of his hospital to the use of decayed authors; though indeed,
there is neither hospital, college, nor workhouse, within the
bills of mortality, large enough to contain the poor of this
society, composed, as it is, from the refuse of every other

I know not whether you will find any amusement in this account of
an odd race of mortals, whose constitution had, I own, greatly
interested the curiosity of

LONDON, June 10.

To Miss LAETITIA WILLIS, at Gloucester.


There is something on my spirits, which I should not venture to
communicate by the post, but having the opportunity of Mrs
Brentwood's return, I seize it eagerly, to disburthen my poor
heart, which is oppressed with fear and vexation. -- O Letty! what
a miserable situation it is, to be without a friend to whom one
can apply for counsel and consolation in distress! I hinted in my
last, that one Mr Barton had been very particular in his
civilities: I can no longer mistake his meaning -- he has formally
professed himself my admirer; and, after a thousand assiduities,
perceiving I made but a cold return to his addresses, he had
recourse to the mediation of lady Griskin, who has acted the part
of a very warm advocate in his behalf: -- but, my dear Willis, her
ladyship over acts her part -- she not only expatiates on the ample
fortune, the great connexions, and the unblemished character of
Mr Barton, but she takes the trouble to catechise me; and, two
days ago, peremptorily told me, that a girl of my age could not
possibly resist so many considerations, if her heart was not pre-engaged.

This insinuation threw me into such a flutter, that she could not
but observe my disorder; and, presuming upon the discovery,
insisted upon my making her the confidante of my passion. But,
although I had not such command of myself as to conceal the
emotion of my heart, I am not such a child as to disclose its
secret to a person who would certainly use them to its prejudice.
I told her, it was no wonder if I was out of countenance at her
introducing a subject of conversation so unsuitable to my years
and inexperience; that I believed Mr Barton was a very worthy
gentleman, and I was much obliged to him for his good opinion;
but the affections were involuntary, and mine, in particular, had
as yet made no concessions in his favour. She shook her head with
an air of distrust that made me tremble; and observed, that if my
affections were free, they would submit to the decision of
prudence, especially when enforced by the authority of those who
had a right to direct my conduct. This remark implied a design to
interest my uncle or my aunt, perhaps my brother, in behalf of Mr
Barton's passion; and I am sadly afraid that my aunt is already
gained over. Yesterday in the forenoon, he had been walking with
us in the Park, and stopping in our return at a toy-shop, he
presented her with a very fine snuff-box, and me with a gold
etuis, which I resolutely refused, till she commanded me to
accept it on pain of her displeasure: nevertheless, being still
unsatisfied with respect to the propriety of receiving this toy,
I signified my doubts to my brother, who said he would consult my
uncle on the subject, and seemed to think Mr Barton had been
rather premature in his presents.

What will be the result of this consultation, Heaven knows; but I
am afraid it will produce an explanation with Mr Barton, who
will, no doubt, avow his passion, and solicit their consent to a
connexion which my soul abhors; for, my dearest Letty, it is not
in my power to love Mr Barton, even if my heart was untouched by
any other tenderness. Not that there is any thing disagreeable
about his person, but there is a total want of that nameless
charm which captivates and controuls the inchanted spirit at
least, he appears to me to have this defect; but if he had all
the engaging qualifications which a man can possess, they would
be excited in vain against that constancy, which, I flatter
myself, is the characteristic of my nature. No, my dear Willis, I
may be involved in fresh troubles, and I believe I shall, from
the importunities of this gentleman and the violence of my
relations; but my heart is incapable of change.

You know I put no faith in dreams; and yet I have been much
disturbed by one that visited me last night. -- I thought I was in
a church, where a certain person, whom you know, was on the point
of being married to my aunt; that the clergyman was Mr Barton,
and that poor forlorn I, stood weeping in a corner, half naked,
and without shoes or stockings. -- Now, I know there is nothing so
childish as to be moved by those vain illusions; but,
nevertheless, in spite of all my reason, this hath made a strong
impression upon my mind, which begins to be very gloomy. Indeed,
I have another more substantial cause of affliction -- I have some
religious scruples, my dear friend, which lie heavy on my
conscience. -- I was persuaded to go to the Tabernacle, where I
heard a discourse that affected me deeply. -- I have prayed
fervently to be enlightened, but as yet I am not sensible of
these inward motions, those operations of grace, which are the
signs of a regenerated spirit; and therefore I begin to be in
terrible apprehensions about the state of my poor soul. Some of
our family have had very uncommon accessions, particularly my
aunt and Mrs Jenkins, who sometimes speak as if they were really
inspired; so that I am not like to want for either exhortation or
example, to purify my thoughts, and recall them from the vanities
of this world, which, indeed, I would willingly resign, if it was
in my power; but to make this sacrifice, I must be enabled by
such assistance from above as hath not yet been indulged to

Your unfortunate friend,
June 10.

To Sir WATKIN PHILLIPS, of Jesus college, Oxon.


The moment I received your letter, I began to execute your
commission -- With the assistance of mine host at the Bull and
Gate, I discovered the place to which your fugitive valet had
retreated, and taxed him with his dishonesty -- The fellow was in
manifest confusion at sight of me, but he denied the charge with
great confidence, till I told him, that if he would give up the
watch, which was a family piece, he might keep the money and the
clothes, and go to the devil his own way, at his leisure; but if
he rejected this proposal, I would deliver him forthwith to the
constable, whom I had provided for that purpose, and he would
carry him before the justice without further delay. After some
hesitation, he desired to speak with me in the next room, where
he produced the watch, with all its appendages, and I have
delivered it to our landlord, to be sent you by the first safe

So much for business.

I shall grow vain, upon your saying you find entertainment in my
letters; barren, as they certainly are, of incident and
importance, because your amusement must arise, not from the
matter, but from the manner, which you know is all my own --
Animated, therefore, by the approbation of a person, whose nice
taste and consummate judgment I can no longer doubt, I will
chearfully proceed with our memoirs -- As it is determined we shall
set out next week for Yorkshire, I went to-day in the forenoon
with my uncle to see a carriage, belonging to a coachmaker in our
neighbourhood -- Turning down a narrow lane, behind Longacre, we
perceived a crowd of people standing at a door; which, it seems,
opened into a kind of a methodist meeting, and were informed,
that a footman was then holding forth to the congregation within.
Curious to see this phoenomenon, we squeezed into the place with
much difficulty; and who should this preacher be, but the
identical Humphry Clinker. He had finished his sermon, and given
out a psalm, the first stave of which he sung with peculiar
graces -- But if we were astonished to see Clinker in the pulpit,
we were altogether confounded at finding all the females of our
family among the audience -- There was lady Griskin, Mrs Tabitha
Bramble, Mrs Winifred Jenkins, my sister Liddy, and Mr Barton,
and all of them joined in the psalmody, with strong marks of

I could hardly keep my gravity on this ludicrous occasion; but
old Square-toes was differently affected -- The first thing that
struck him, was the presumption of his lacquey, whom he commanded
to come down, with such an air of authority as Humphry did not
think proper to disregard. He descended immediately, and all the
people were in commotion. Barton looked exceedingly sheepish,
lady Griskin flirted her fan, Mrs Tabby groaned in spirit, Liddy
changed countenance, and Mrs Jenkins sobbed as if her heart was
breaking -- My uncle, with a sneer, asked pardon of the ladies, for
having interrupted their devotion, saying, he had particular
business with the preacher, whom he ordered to call a hackney-coach.
This being immediately brought up to the end of the lane,
he handed Liddy into it, and my aunt and I following him, we
drove home, without taking any further notice of the rest of the
company, who still remained in silent astonishment.

Mr Bramble, perceiving Liddy in great trepidation, assumed a
milder aspect, bidding her be under no concern, for he was not at
all displeased at any thing she had done -- 'I have no objection
(said he) to your being religiously inclined; but I don't think
my servant is a proper ghostly director for a devotee of your sex
and character -- if, in fact (as I rather believe) your aunt is not
the sole conductress of, this machine' -- Mrs Tabitha made no
answer, but threw up the whites of her eyes, as if in the act of
ejaculation -- Poor Liddy, said, she had no right to the title of a
devotee; that she thought there was no harm in hearing a pious
discourse, even if it came from a footman, especially as her aunt
was present; but that if she had erred from ignorance, she hoped
he would excuse it, as she could not bear the thoughts of living
under his displeasure. The old gentleman, pressing her hand with
a tender smile, said she was a good girl, and that he did not
believe her capable of doing any thing that could give him the
least umbrage or disgust.

When we arrived at our lodgings, he commanded Mr Clinker to
attend him up stairs, and spoke to him in these words -- 'Since you
are called upon by the spirit to preach and to teach, it is high
time to lay aside the livery of an earthly master; and for my
part, I am unworthy to have an apostle in my service' -- 'I hope
(said Humphry) I have not failed in my duty to your honour -- I
should be a vile wretch if I did, considering the misery from
which your charity and compassion relieved me -- but having an
inward admonition of the spirit --' 'An admonition of the devil
(cried the squire, in a passion) What admonition, you blockhead?
What right has such a fellow as you to set up for a reformer?'
'Begging your honour's pardon (replied Clinker) may not the new
light of God's grace shine upon the poor and the ignorant in
their humility, as well as upon the wealthy, and the philosopher
in all his pride of human learning?' 'What you imagine to be the
new light of grace (said his master) I take to be a deceitful
vapour, glimmering through a crack in your upper story -- In a
word, Mr Clinker, I will have no light in my family but what pays
the king's taxes, unless it be the light of reason, which you
don't pretend to follow.'

'Ah, sir! (cried Humphry) the light of reason, is no more in
comparison to the light I mean, than a farthing candle to the sun
at noon' -- 'Very true (said uncle), the one will serve to shew you
your way, and the other to dazzle and confound your weak brain.
Heark ye, Clinker, you are either an hypocritical knave, or a
wrong-headed enthusiast; and in either case, unfit for my service.
If you are a quack in sanctity and devotion, you will find it an
easy matter to impose upon silly women, and others of crazed
understanding, who will contribute lavishly for your support. If
you are really seduced by the reveries of a disturbed
imagination, the sooner you lose your senses entirely, the better
for yourself and the community. In that case, some charitable
person might provide you with a dark room and clean straw in
Bedlam, where it would not be in your power to infect others with
your fanaticism; whereas, if you have just reflection enough left
to maintain the character of a chosen vessel in the meetings of
the godly, you and your hearers will be misled by a Will-i'the-wisp,
from one error into another, till you are plunged into
religious frenzy; and then, perhaps, you will hang yourself in
despair' 'Which the Lord of his infinite mercy forbid! (exclaimed
the affrighted Clinker) It is very possible I may be under the
temptation of the devil, who wants to wreck me on the rocks of
spiritual pride -- Your honour says, I am either a knave or a
madman; now, as I'll assure your honour, I am no knave, it
follows that I must be mad; therefore, I beseech your honour,
upon my knees, to take my case into consideration, that means may
be used for my recovery'

The 'squire could not help smiling at the poor fellow's
simplicity, and promised to take care of him, provided he would
mind the business of his place, without running after the new
light of methodism: but Mrs Tabitha took offence at his humility,
which she interpreted into poorness of spirit and worldly
mindedness. She upbraided him with the want of courage to suffer
for conscience sake -- She observed, that if he should lose his
place for bearing testimony to the truth, Providence would not
fail to find him another, perhaps more advantageous; and,
declaring that it could not be very agreeable to live in a family
where an inquisition was established, retired to another room in
great agitation.

My uncle followed her with a significant look, then, turning to
the preacher, 'You hear what my sister says -- If you cannot live
with me upon such terms as I have prescribed, the vineyard of
methodism lies before you, and she seems very well disposed to
reward your labour' -- 'I would not willingly give offence to any
soul upon earth (answered Humphry); her ladyship has been very
good to me, ever since we came to London; and surely she has a
heart turned for religious exercises; and both she and lady
Griskin sing psalms and hymns like two cherubims -- But, at the
same time, I'm bound to love and obey your honour -- It becometh
not such a poor ignorant fellow as me, to hold dispute with
gentlemen of rank and learning -- As for the matter of knowledge, I
am no more than a beast in comparison of your honour; therefore I
submit; and, with God's grace, I will follow you to the world's
end, if you don't think me too far gone to be out of confinement'.

His master promised to keep him for some time longer on trial;
then desired to know in what manner lady Griskin and Mr Barton
came to join their religious society, he told him, that her
ladyship was the person who first carried my aunt and sister to
the Tabernacle, whither he attended them, and had his devotion
kindled by Mr W--'s preaching: that he was confirmed in this
new way, by the preacher's sermons, which he had bought and
studied with great attention: that his discourse and prayers had
brought over Mrs Jenkins and the house-maid to the same way of
thinking; but as for Mr Barton, he had never seen him at service
before this day, when he came in company with lady Griskin.
Humphry, moreover, owned that he had been encouraged to mount the
rostrum, by the example and success of a weaver, who was much
followed as a powerful minister: that on his first trial he found
himself under such strong impulsions, as made him believe he was
certainly moved by the spirit; and that he had assisted in lady
Griskin's, and several private houses, at exercises of devotion.

Mr Bramble was no sooner informed, that her ladyship had acted as
the primum mobile of this confederacy, than he concluded she had
only made use of Clinker as a tool, subservient to the execution
of some design, to the true secret of which he was an utter
stranger -- He observed, that her ladyship's brain was a perfect
mill for projects; and that she and Tabby had certainly engaged
in some secret treaty, the nature of which he could not
comprehend. I told him I thought it was no difficult matter to
perceive the drift of Mrs Tabitha, which was to ensnare the heart
of Barton, and that in all likelihood my lady Griskin acted as
her auxiliary: that this supposition would account for their
endeavours to convert him to methodism; an event which would
occasion a connexion of souls that might be easily improved into
a matrimonial union.

My uncle seemed to be much diverted by the thoughts of this
Scheme's succeeding; but I gave him to understand, that Barton
was pre-engaged: that he had the day before made a present of an
etuis to Liddy, which her aunt had obliged her to receive, with a
view, no doubt, to countenance her own accepting of a snuff-box
at the same time; that my sister having made me acquainted with
this incident, I had desired an explanation of Mr Barton, who
declared his intentions were honourable, and expressed his hope
that I would have no objections to his alliance; that I had
thanked him for the honour he intended our family; but told
him, it would be necessary to consult her uncle and aunt, who
were her guardians; and their approbation being obtained, I
could have no objection to his proposal; though I was persuaded
that no violence would be offered to my sister's inclinations, in
a transaction that so nearly interested the happiness of her
future life: that he had assured me, he should never think of
availing himself of a guardian's authority, unless he could
render his addresses agreeable to the young lady herself; and
that he would immediately demand permission of Mr and Mrs
Bramble, to make Liddy a tender of his hand and fortune.

The squire was not insensible to the advantages of such a match,
and declared he would promote it with all his influence; but when
I took notice that there seemed to be an aversion on the side of
Liddy, he said he would sound her on the subject; and if her
reluctance was such as would not be easily overcome, he would
civilly decline the proposal of Mr Barton; for he thought that,
in the choice of a husband a young woman ought not to sacrifice
the feelings of her heart for any consideration upon earth --
'Liddy is not so desperate (said he) as to worship fortune at
such an expence.'

I take it for granted, this whole affair will end in smoke;
though there seems to be a storm brewing in the quarter of Mrs
Tabby, who sat with all the sullen dignity of silence at dinner,
seemingly pregnant with complaint and expostulation. As she had
certainly marked Barton for her own prey, she cannot possibly
favour his suit to Liddy; and therefore I expect something

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