Part 1 out of 7
Produced by G. Graustein and PG Distributed Proofreaders. Produced
from images provided by the Million Book Project.
THE PROSE WORKS OF JONATHAN SWIFT
GEORGE BELL & SONS
LONDON: YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN
CAMBRIDGE: DEIGHTON, BELL & CO.
NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN CO.
[Illustration: _Jonathan Swift from the picture by Charles Jervas in the
Bodlean Library Oxford_]
THE PROSE WORKS OF JONATHAN SWIFT, D.D.
EDITED BY TEMPLE SCOTT
CONTRIBUTIONS TO "THE TATLER," "THE EXAMINER," "THE SPECTATOR," AND
GEORGE BELL AND SONS 1902
CHISWICK PRESS: CHARLES WHITTINGHAM AND CO.
TOOKS COURT, CHANCERY LANE, LONDON.
Swift has been styled the Prince of Journalists. Like most titles whose
aim is to express in modern words the character and achievements of a man
of a past age, this phrase is not of the happiest. Applied to so
extraordinary a man as Jonathan Swift, it is both misleading and
inadequate. At best it embodies but a half-truth. It belongs to that
class of phrases which, in emphasizing a particular side of the
character, sacrifices truth to a superficial cleverness, and so does
injustice to the character as a whole. The vogue such phrases obtain is
thus the measure of the misunderstanding that is current; so that it
often becomes necessary to receive them with caution and to test them
A prince in his art Swift certainly was, but his art was not the art of
the journalist. Swift was a master of literary expression, and of all
forms of that expression which aim at embodying in language the common
life and common facts of men and their common nature. He had his
limitations, of course; but just here lies the power of his special
genius. He never attempted to express what he did not fully comprehend.
If he saw things narrowly, he saw them definitely, and there was no
mistaking the ideas he wished to convey. "He understands himself," said
Dr. Johnson, "and his reader always understands him." Within his
limitations Swift swayed a sovereign power. His narrowness of vision,
however, did never blind him to the relations that exist between fact and
fact, between object and subject, between the actual and the possible. At
the same time it was not his province, as it was not his nature, to
handle such relations in the abstract. The bent of his mind was towards
the practical and not the pure reason. The moralist and the statesman
went hand in hand in him--an excellent example of the eighteenth century
But to say this of Swift is not to say that he was a journalist. The
journalist is the man of the hour writing for the hour in harmony with
popular opinion. Both his text and his heads are ready-made for him. He
follows the beaten road, and only essays new paths when conditions
have become such as to force him along them. Such a man Swift certainly
was not. Journalism was not his way to the goal. If anything, it was, as
Epictetus might have said, but a tavern by the way-side in which he took
occasion to find the means by which the better to attain his goal. If
Swift's contributions to the literature of his day be journalism, then
did journalism spring full-grown into being, and its history since his
time must be considered as a history of its degeneration. But they were
much more than journalism. That they took the form they did, in
contributions to the periodicals of his day, is but an accident which
does not in the least affect the contributions themselves. These, in
reality, constitute a criticism of the social and political life of the
first thirty years of the English eighteenth century. From the time of
the writing of "A Tale of a Tub" to the days of the Drapier's Letters,
Swift dissected his countrymen with the pitiless hand of the
master-surgeon. So profound was his knowledge of human anatomy, individual
and social, that we shudder now at the pain he must have inflicted in his
unsparing operations. So accurate was his judgment that we stand amazed
at his knowledge, and our amazement often turns to a species of horror as
we see the cuticle flapped open revealing the crude arrangement beneath.
Nor is it to argue too nicely, to suggest that our present sympathy for
the past pain, our amazement, and our horror, are, after all, our own
unconscious tributes to the power of the man who calls them up, and our
confession of the lasting validity of his criticism.
This is not the power nor is it the kind of criticism that are the
elements of the art of the journalist. Perhaps we should be glad that it
is not; which is but to say that we are content with things as they
exist. It requires a special set of conditions to precipitate a Swift.
Happily, if we will have it so, the conditions in which we find ourselves
ask for that kind of journalist whose function is amply fulfilled when
he has measured the movements of the hour by the somewhat higher
standards of the day. The conditions under which Swift lived demanded a
journalist of an entirely different calibre; and they got him. They
obtained a man who dissolved the petty jealousies of party power in the
acid of satire, and who distilled the affected fears for Church and State
in the alembic of a statesmanship that establishes a nation's majesty and
dignity on the common welfare of its free people. When Swift, at the
beginning of the November of 1710, was called in to assist the Tory party
by undertaking the work of "The Examiner," he found a condition of things
so involved and so unstable, that it required the very nicest
appreciation, the most delicate handling, and the boldest of hearts to
readjust and re-establish, without fearful consequences. Harley and St.
John were safely housed, and, apparently, amply protected by a
substantial majority. But majorities are often not the most trustworthy
of supports. Apart from the over-confidence which they inspire, and
apart from the danger of a too-enthusiastic following, such as found
expression in the October Club, there was the danger which might come
from the dissatisfaction of the people at large, should their temper be
wrongly gauged; and at this juncture it was not easy to gauge. The
popularity of Marlborough and his victories, on the one hand, was
undoubted. On the other, however, there was the growing opinion that
those victories had been paid for at a price greater than England could
afford. If she had gained reputation and prestige, these could not fill
the mouths of the landed class, gradually growing poorer, and the members
of this class were not of a disposition to restrain their feelings as
they noted the growing prosperity of the Whig stock-jobbers--a
prosperity that was due to the very war which was beggaring them. If the
landed man cried for peace, he was answered by the Whig stock-jobber that
peace meant the ultimate repudiation of the National Debt, with the
certainty of the reign of the Pretender. If the landed man spoke for the
Church, the Whig speculator raised the shout of "No Popery!" The war had
transformed parties into factions, and the ministry stood between a
Scylla of a peace-at-any-price, on the one side, and a Charybdis of a
war-at-any-price on the other; or, if not a war, then a peace so
one-sided that it would be almost impossible to bring it about.
In such troubled waters, and at such a critical juncture, it was given to
Swift to act as pilot to the ship of State. His papers to "The Examiner"
must bear witness to the skill with which he accomplished the task set
before him. His appeal to the people of England for confidence in the
ministry, should be an appeal not alone on behalf of its distinguished
and able members, but also on behalf of a policy by which "the crooked
should be made straight and the rough places plain." Such was to be the
nature of his appeal, and he made it in a series of essays that turned
every advantage with admirable effect to the side of his clients. Not
another man then living could have done what he did; and we question if
either Harley or St. John ever realized the service he rendered them. The
later careers of these two men furnish no doubtful hints of what might
have happened at this period had Swift been other than the man he was.
But Swift's "Examiners" did much more than preserve Harley's head on his
shoulders; they brought the nation to a calmer sense of its position, and
tutored it to a juster appreciation of the men who were using it for
selfish ends. Let us make every allowance for purely special pleadings;
for indulgence in personal feeling against the men who had either
disappointed, injured, or angered him; for the party man affecting or
genuinely feeling party bitterness, for the tricks and subterfuges of the
paid advocate appealing to the passions and weaknesses of those whose
favour he was seeking to win; allowing for these, there are yet left in
these papers a noble spirit of wide-eyed patriotism, and a distinguished
grasp of the meaning of national greatness and national integrity.
The pamphleteers whom he opposed, and who opposed him, were powerless
against Swift. Where they pried with the curiosity and meanness of petty
dealers, Swift's insight seized on the larger relations, and insisted on
them. Where they "bantered," cajoled, and sneered, arousing a very mild
irritation, Swift's scornful invective, and biting satire silenced into
fear the enemies of the Queen's chosen ministers. Where their jejune
"answers" gained a simper, Swift's virility of mind, range of power, and
dexterity of handling, compelled a homage. His Whig antagonists had
good reason to dread him. He scoffed at them for an existence that was
founded, not on a devotion to principles, but on a jealousy for the power
others enjoyed. "The bulk of the Whigs appears rather to be linked to a
certain set of persons, than any certain set of principles." To these
persons also he directed his grim attention, Somers, Cowper, Godolphin,
Marlborough, and Wharton were each drawn with iron stylus and acid. To
Wharton he gave special care (he had some private scores to pay off), and
in the character of Verres, he etched the portrait of a profligate, an
unscrupulous governor, a scoundrel, an infidel to his religion and
country, a reckless, selfish, low-living blackguard. In the Letter to
Marcus Crassus, Marlborough is addressed in language that the simplest
farm-labourer could understand. The letter is a lay sermon on the vice of
avarice, and every point and illustration are taken from Marlborough's
life with such telling application that Marlborough himself must have
taken thought as he read it. "No man," Swift finely concludes, "of true
valour and true understanding, upon whom this vice has stolen unawares;
when he is convinced he is guilty, will suffer it to remain in his breast
But these attentions to the Whigs as a party and as individuals were,
after all, but the by-play of the skilled orator preparing the minds of
his hearers for the true purpose in hand. That purpose may originally
have been to fix the ministry in the country's favour; but Swift having
fulfilled it, and so discharged his office, turned it, as indeed he could
not help turning it, and as later in the Drapier's Letters he turned
another purpose, to the persuasion of an acceptance of those broad
principles which so influenced political thought during the last years of
the reign of Queen Anne. It is with these principles in his mind that Dr.
Johnson confessed that Swift "dictated for a time the political opinions
of the English nation." He recalled the nation to a consideration of the
Constitution; he attributed to the people (because, of course, they had
elected the new ministry into power) an appreciation of what was best for
the protection of their ancient privileges and rights. The past twenty
years had been a period of mismanagement, in which the Constitution had
been ignored; "but the body of the people is wiser; and by the choice
they have made, shew they do understand our Constitution, and would bring
it back to the old form." "The nation has groaned under the intolerable
burden of those who sucked her blood for gain. We have carried on wars,
that we might fill the pockets of stock-jobbers. We have revised our
Constitution, and by a great and united national effort, have secured our
Protestant succession, only that we may become the tools of a faction,
who arrogate to themselves the whole merit of what was a national act. We
are governed by upstarts, who are unsettling the landmarks of our social
system, and are displacing the influence of our landed gentry by that of
a class of men who find their profit in our woes." The rule of the
tradesman must be replaced by the rule of those whose lives are bound up
with the land of their country. The art of government was not "the
importation of nutmegs, and the curing of herrings;" but the political
embodiment of the will of "a Parliament freely chosen, without
threatening or corruption," and "composed of landed men" whose interests
being in the soil would be at one with the interests of those who lived
on the soil. Whigs and Tories may dispute as they will among themselves
as to the best side from which to defend the country; but the men of the
true party are the men of the National party--they "whose principles in
Church and State, are what I have above related; whose actions are
derived from thence, and who have no attachment to any set of ministers,
further than as these are friends to the Constitution in all its parts;
but will do their utmost to save their Prince and Country, whoever be at
In this spirit and in such wise did Swift temper his time and champion
the cause of those men who had chosen him. This was a kind of "examining"
to which neither the Whigs nor the Tories had been accustomed. It shed
quite a new light on matters, which the country at large was not slow to
appreciate. Throughout the length and breadth of the kingdom "The
Examiner" was welcomed and its appeals responded to. Its success was
notable, even magnificent; but it was not a lasting success. It did the
work that the ministry had intended it to do, and did it unmistakably;
but the principles of this National party were for men of a sterner mould
than either Harley or St. John. Swift had laid a burden on their
shoulders heavier than they could carry, and they fell when they were
bereft of his support. But the work Swift did bears witness to-day to a
very unusual combination of qualities in the genius of this man, whose
personality stands out even above his work. It was ever his fate to serve
and never his happiness to command; but then he had himself accepted
servitude when he donned the robe of the priest.
It is deserving of repeated record to note that Dr. Johnson in admitting
that Swift, in "The Examiner," had the advantage in argument, adds that
"with regard to wit, I am afraid none of Swift's papers will be found
equal to those by which Addison opposed him." To which Monck Mason
pertinently remarks: "The Doctor should have told us what these papers
were which Addison wrote in opposition to Swift's 'Examiner;' for the
last 'Whig Examiner,' written by Addison, was published October 12th,
1710, and Swift's first 'Examiner' on the 2nd November following."
* * * * *
In this volume have been collected those writings of Swift which form his
contributions to the periodicals of his time. Care has been taken to give
the best text and to admit nothing that Swift did not write. In the
preparation of the volume the editor has received such assistance from
Mr. W. Spencer Jackson that it might with stricter justice be said that
he had edited it. He collated the texts, revised the proofs, and supplied
most of the notes. Without his assistance the volume must inevitably have
been further delayed, and the editor gladly takes this occasion to
acknowledge his indebtedness to Mr. Jackson and to thank him for his
His further indebtedness must be acknowledged to the researches of those
writers already named in the previously published volumes of this
edition, and also cited in the notes to the present volume.
GLEN RIDGE, NEW JERSEY, U.S.A.
_April_ 8, 1902.
[Footnote 1: "Examiner," No. 44, p. 290.]
[Footnote 2: "Hist. St. Patrick's Cathedral," p. 257, note g.]
CONTRIBUTIONS TO "THE TATLER"
No. 32, June 23, 1709
35, " 30, "
59, Aug. 25, "
65, Sept. 3, "
66, " 10, "
67, " 13, "
68, " 15, "
70, " 22, "
71, " 22, "
230, Sept. 28, 1710
258, Dec. 2, "
Note to Harrison's "Tatler"
No. 1 (of vol. v.), Jan. 13, 1710-11
2 ( " ), " 16, "
5 ( " ), " 27, "
No. 298 (vol. v., No. 20), March 6, 1710-11
302 (vol. v., No. 24), " 15 "
306 (vol. v., No. 28), " 24 "
CONTRIBUTIONS TO "THE EXAMINER"
No. 14 (13), Nov. 2, 1710
15 (14), " 9, "
16 (15), " 16, "
17 (16), " 23, "
18 (17), " 30, "
19 (18), Dec. 7, "
20 (19), " 14, "
21 (20), " 21, "
22 (21), " 28, "
23 (22), Jan. 4, 1710-11
24 (23), " 11, "
25 (24), " 18, "
26 (25), " 25, "
27 (26), Feb. 1, "
28 (27), " 8, "
29 (28), Feb 15, 1710 11
30 (29), " 22, "
31 (30), March 1, "
32 (31), " 8, "
33 (32), " 15, "
34 (33), " 22, "
35 (34), " 29, 1711
36 (35), April 5, "
37 (36), " 12, "
38 (37), " 19, "
39 (38), " 26, "
40 (39), May 3, "
41 (40), " 10, "
42 (41), " 17, "
43 (42), " 24, "
44 (43), " 31, "
45 (44), June 7, "
46 (45), " 14, "
CONTRIBUTIONS TO "THE SPECTATOR"
No 50, April 27, 1711 (The Four Indian Kings)
Paragraph from No 575, August 2, 1714
CONTRIBUTIONS TO "THE INTELLIGENCER"
No 1, May 11, 1728 (Introduction)
3, A Vindication of Mr. Gay, and the Beggar's Opera
19, The Hardships of the Irish being deprived of their
Silver, and decoyed into America
* * * * *
CONTRIBUTIONS TO "THE TATLER."
In the original dedication of the first volume of "The Tatler" to Arthur
Maynwaring Richard Steele, its projector and editor, gives characteristic
expression to the motive which prompted him in its establishment. "The
state of conversation and business in this town," says Steele, "having
been long perplexed with pretenders in both kinds, in order to open men's
eyes against such abuses, it appeared no unprofitable undertaking to
publish a Paper which should observe upon the manners of the pleasurable,
as well as the busy, part of mankind." He goes on to say that "the
general purpose of this Paper is to expose the false arts of life, to
pull off the disguises of cunning, vanity, and affectation, and to
recommend a general simplicity in our dress, our discourse, and our
That Steele succeeded in this laudable purpose has been amply made
evident by the effect "The Tatler" had upon his literary successors,
both of his own age and of the generations since his time. "The Tatler"
was, if we except Defoe's "Weekly Review," the earliest literary
periodical which, in the language of Scott, "had no small effect in
fixing and refining the character of the English nation."
Steele conducted his periodical under the name of Isaac Bickerstaff.
He chose this name purposely because he felt, as he himself expressed
it, that "a work of this nature required time to grow into the notice of
the world. It happened very luckily that a little before I had resolved
upon this design, a gentleman had written predictions, and two or three
other pieces in my name, which had rendered it famous through all
parts of Europe; and by an inimitable spirit and humour, raised it to as
high a pitch of reputation as it could possibly arrive at." The gentleman
referred to is, of course, Swift, whose pamphlets on Partridge had
been the talk of the town.
Steele very kindly ascribes the success of the periodical to this "good
fortune;" and though there may be something in what he said, we, in the
present day, can more justly appreciate the great benefit conferred upon
his countrymen by himself and his co-workers.
The influence of "The Tatler" on contemporary thought is acknowledged by
Gay in his "Present State of Wit," published in 1711. Gay remarks: "His
writings have set all our wits and men of letters upon a new way of
thinking, of which they had little or no notion before; and though we
cannot yet say that any of them have come up to the beauties of the
original, I think we may venture to affirm that every one of them writes
and thinks much more justly than they did some time since."
Among the contributors, in addition to the editor himself, were Swift,
Addison, Yalden, John Hughes, William Harrison, and James Greenwood.
It must always remain to a great extent a matter of conjecture as to the
exact authorship of "The Tatler" papers. In the preface to the fourth
volume the authorship of a very few of the articles was admitted. Peter
Wentworth wrote to his brother, Lord Raby, on May 9th, 1709, saying the
Tatlers "are writ by a club of wits, who make it their business to pick
up all the merry stories they can.... Three of the authors are guessed
at, viz.: Swift,... Yalden, and Steele" ("Wentworth Papers," 85).
Swift's first recognized prose contribution to "The Tatler" was in No. 32
(June 23rd), and he continued from time to time, as the following reprint
will show, to assist his friend; but, unfortunately, party politics
separated the two, and Swift retired from the venture.
A particular meaning was attached to the place from which the articles in
"The Tatler" were dated. The following notice appeared in the first
number: "All accounts of gallantry, pleasure, and entertainment, shall be
under the article of White's Chocolate-house; poetry, under that of
Will's Coffee-house; learning, under the title of Grecian; foreign and
domestic news, you will have from St. James's Coffee-house; and what else
I have to offer on any other subject shall be dated from my own
"The Tatler" was reprinted in Edinburgh as soon as possible after its
publication in London, commencing apparently with No. 130, as No. 31
(Edinburgh, James Watson) is dated April 24th, 1710, and corresponds to
No. 160 of the original edition, April 18th, 1710. [T.S.]
THE TATLER, NUMB. 32.
FROM TUESDAY JUNE 21. TO THURSDAY JUNE 23. 1709.
"To ISAAC BICKERSTAFF ESQ;
_June_ 18. 1709.
"I know not whether you ought to pity or laugh at me; for I am fallen
desperately in love with a professed _Platonne_, the most unaccountable
creature of her sex. To hear her talk seraphics, and run over Norris
and More, and Milton, and the whole set of Intellectual Triflers,
torments me heartily; for to a lover who understands metaphors, all this
pretty prattle of ideas gives very fine views of pleasure, which only the
dear declaimer prevents, by understanding them literally. Why should she
wish to be a cherubim, when it is flesh and blood that makes her
adorable? If I speak to her, that is a high breach of the idea of
intuition: If I offer at her hand or lip, she shrinks from the touch like
a sensitive plant, and would contract herself into mere spirit. She calls
her chariot, vehicle; her furbelowed scarf, pinions; her blue manteau and
petticoat is her azure dress; and her footman goes by the name of Oberon.
It is my misfortune to be six foot and a half high, two full spans
between the shoulders, thirteen inches diameter in the calves; and before
I was in love, I had a noble stomach, and usually went to bed sober with
two bottles. I am not quite six and twenty, and my nose is marked truly
aquiline. For these reasons, I am in a very particular manner her
aversion. What shall I do? Impudence itself cannot reclaim her. If I
write miserable, she reckons me among the children of perdition, and
discards me her region: If I assume the gross and substantial, she plays
the real ghost with me, and vanishes in a moment. I had hopes in the
hypocrisy of the sex; but perseverance makes it as bad as a fixed
aversion. I desire your opinion, Whether I may not lawfully play the
inquisition upon her, make use of a little force, and put her to the rack
and the torture, only to convince her, she has really fine limbs, without
spoiling or distorting them. I expect your directions, ere I proceed to
dwindle and fall away with despair; which at present I don't think
advisable, because, if she should recant, she may then hate me perhaps
in the other extreme for my tenuity. I am (with impatience)
"Your most humble servant,
My patient has put his case with very much warmth, and represented it in
so lively a manner, that I see both his torment and tormentor with great
perspicuity. This order of Platonic ladies are to be dealt with in a
peculiar manner from all the rest of the sex. Flattery is the general
way, and the way in this case; but it is not to be done grossly. Every
man that has wit, and humour, and raillery, can make a good flatterer for
woman in general; but a _Platonne_ is not to be touched with panegyric:
she will tell you, it is a sensuality in the soul to be delighted that
way. You are not therefore to commend, but silently consent to all she
does and says. You are to consider in her the scorn of you is not humour,
There were some years since a set of these ladies who were of quality,
and gave out, that virginity was to be their state of life during this
mortal condition, and therefore resolved to join their fortunes, and
erect a nunnery. The place of residence was pitched upon; and a pretty
situation, full of natural falls and risings of waters, with shady
coverts, and flowery arbours, was approved by seven of the founders.
There were as many of our sex who took the liberty to visit those
mansions of intended severity; among others, a famous rake of that
time, who had the grave way to an excellence. He came in first; but upon
seeing a servant coming towards him, with a design to tell him, this was
no place for him or his companions, up goes my grave impudence to the
maid: "Young woman," said he, "if any of the ladies are in the way on
this side of the house, pray carry us on the other side towards the
gardens: we are, you must know, gentlemen that are travelling England;
after which we shall go into foreign parts, where some of us have already
been." Here he bows in the most humble manner, and kissed the girl, who
knew not how to behave to such a sort of carriage. He goes on; "Now you
must know we have an ambition to have it to say, that we have a
Protestant nunnery in England: but pray Mrs. Betty----"--"Sir," she
replied, "my name is Susan, at your service."--"Then I heartily beg your
pardon----"--"No offence in the least," says she, "for I have a
cousin-german whose name is Betty."--"Indeed," said he, "I protest to
you that was more than I knew, I spoke at random: But since it happens
that I was near in the right, give me leave to present this gentleman to
the favour of a civil salute." His friend advances, and so on, till that
they had all saluted her. By this means, the poor girl was in the middle
of the crowd of these fellows, at a loss what to do, without courage to
pass through them; and the Platonics, at several peepholes, pale,
trembling, and fretting. Rake perceived they were observed, and therefore
took care to keep Sukey in chat with questions concerning their way of
life; when appeared at last Madonella, a lady who had writ a fine
book concerning the recluse life, and was the projectrix of the
foundation. She approaches into the hall; and Rake, knowing the dignity
of his own mien and aspect, goes deputy from his company. She begins,
"Sir, I am obliged to follow the servant, who was sent out to know, What
affair could make strangers press upon a solitude which we, who are to
inhabit this place, have devoted to Heaven and our own thoughts?"--
"Madam," replies Rake, (with an air of great distance, mixed with a
certain indifference, by which he could dissemble dissimulation) "your
great intention has made more noise in the world than you design it
should; and we travellers, who have seen many foreign institutions of
this kind, have a curiosity to see, in its first rudiments, this seat of
primitive piety; for such it must be called by future ages, to the
eternal honour of the founders. I have read Madonella's excellent and
seraphic discourse on this subject." The lady immediately answers, "If
what I have said could have contributed to raise any thoughts in you that
may make for the advancement of intellectual and divine conversation, I
should think myself extremely happy." He immediately fell back with the
profoundest veneration; then advancing, "Are you then that admired lady?
If I may approach lips which have uttered things so sacred--" He salutes
her. His friends followed his example. The devoted within stood in
amazement where this would end, to see Madonella receive their address
and their company. But Rake goes on--"We would not transgress rules; but
if we may take the liberty to see the place you have thought fit to
choose for ever, we would go into such parts of the gardens as is
consistent with the severities you have imposed on yourselves."
To be short, Madonella permitted Rake to lead her into the assembly of
nuns, followed by his friends, and each took his fair one by the hand,
after due explanation, to walk round the gardens. The conversation turned
upon the lilies, the flowers, the arbours, and the growing vegetables;
and Rake had the solemn impudence, when the whole company stood round
him, to say, "That he sincerely wished men might rise out of the earth
like plants; and that our minds were not of necessity to be sullied
with carnivorous appetites for the generation, as well as support of our
species." This was spoke with so easy and fixed an assurance, that
Madonella answered, "Sir, under the notion of a pious thought, you
deceive yourself in wishing an institution foreign to that of Providence:
These desires were implanted in us for reverend purposes, in preserving
the race of men, and giving opportunities for making our chastity more
heroic." The conference was continued in this celestial strain, and
carried on so well by the managers on both sides, that it created a
second and a second interview; and, without entering into further
particulars, there was hardly one of them but was a mother or father that
Any unnatural part is long taking up, and as long laying aside; therefore
Mr. Sturdy may assure himself, Platonica will fly for ever from a forward
behaviour; but if he approaches her according to this model, she will
fall in with the necessities of mortal life, and condescend to look with
pity upon an unhappy man, imprisoned in so much body, and urged by such
[Footnote 1: This letter is introduced by the following words:
"White's Chocolate-house, June 22.
"An Answer to the following letter being absolutely necessary to be
dispatched with all expedition, I must trespass upon all that come with
horary questions into my ante-chamber, to give the gentleman my opinion."
This paper is written in ridicule of some affected ladies of the period,
who pretended, with rather too much ostentation, to embrace the doctrines
of Platonic Love. Mrs. Mary Astell, a learned and worthy woman, had
embraced this fantastic notion so deeply, that, in an essay upon the
female sex, in 1696, she proposed a sort of female college, in which the
young might be instructed, and 'ladies nauseating the parade of the
world,' might find a happy retirement. The plan was disconcerted by
Bishop Burnet, who, understanding that the Queen intended to give L10,000
towards the establishment, dissuaded her, by an assurance, that it would
lead to the introduction of Popish orders, and be called a nunnery. This
lady is the Madonella of the Tatler.... This paper has been censured as a
gross reflection on Mrs. Astell's character, but on no very just
foundation. Swift only prophesies the probable issue of such a scheme, as
that of the Protestant nunnery; and it is a violent interpretation of his
words to suppose him to insinuate, that the conclusion had taken place
without the premises. Indeed, the scourge of ridicule is seldom better
employed than on that species of _Precieuse_, who is anxious to confound
the boundaries which nature has fixed for the employments and studies of
the two sexes. No man was more zealous than Swift for informing the
female mind in those points most becoming and useful to their sex. His
"Letter to a Young Married Lady" and "Thoughts on Education" point out
the extent of those studies. [S.]
Nichols, in his edition of "The Tatler" (1786), ascribes this paper to
"Swift and Addison"; but he thinks the humour of it "certainly originated
in the licentious imagination of the Dean of St. Patrick's." [T.S.]]
[Footnote 2: John Norris (1657-1711), Rector of Bemerton, author of "The
Theory and Regulation of Love" (1688), and of many other works. His
correspondence with the famous Platonist, Henry More, is appended to this
"moral essay." Chalmers speaks of him as "a man of great ingenuity,
learning, and piety"; but Locke refers to him as "an obscure,
enthusiastic man." [T.S.]]
[Footnote 3: Henry More (1614-1687), the famous Cambridge Platonist, and
author of "Philosophicall Poems" (1647), "The Immortality of the Soul"
(1659), and other works of a similar nature. Chalmers notes that "Mr.
Chishall, an eminent bookseller, declared, that Dr. More's 'Mystery of
Godliness' and his other works, ruled all the booksellers of London for
twenty years together." [T.S. ]]
[Footnote 4: The reference here is to Milton's "Apology for Smectymnuus."
Milton and More were, during one year, fellow-students at Christ's
College, Cambridge. [T.S.]]
[Footnote 5: Said to refer to a Mr. Repington, a well-known wag of the
time, and a member of an old Warwickshire family, of Amington, near
[Footnote 6: The Betty here referred to is the Lady Elizabeth Hastings
(1682-1739), daughter of Theophilus, seventh Earl of Huntingdon. In
No. 49 of "The Tatler," Steele refers to her in the famous sentence:
"to love her is a liberal education." She contributed to Mrs. Astell's
plans for the establishment of a "Protestant nunnery." [T.S.]]
[Footnote 7: See previous note. Mrs. Mary Astell (1668-1731) the
authoress of "A Serious Proposal to the Ladies for the Advancement of
their true and greatest Interest" (1694), was the friend of Lady
Elizabeth Hastings and the correspondent of John Norris of Bemerton.
There is not the slightest foundation for the gross and cruel
insinuations against her character in this paper. The libel is repeated
in the 59th and 63rd numbers of "The Tatler." Her correspondence with
Norris was published in 1695, with the title, "Letters Concerning the
Love of God". Later in life she attacked Atterbury, Locke, and White
[Footnote 8: The reference here is to Sir Thomas Browne's "Religio
Medici," part ii., section 9. [T.S.]]
[Footnote 9: M. Bournelle--a pseudonym of William Oldisworth--remarks:
"The next interview after a _second_ is still a _second_; there is no
progress in time to lovers" ("Annotations on 'The Tatler'"). Chalmers
reads here, "a second and a third interview." [T.S.]]
THE TATLER, NUMB. 35.
FROM TUESDAY JUNE 28. TO THURSDAY JUNE 30. 1709.
"Not long since you were pleased to give us a chimerical account of
the famous family of _Staffs_, from whence I suppose you would insinuate,
that it is the most ancient and numerous house in all Europe. But I
positively deny that it is either; and wonder much at your audacious
proceedings in this matter, since it is well known, that our most
illustrious, most renowned, and most celebrated Roman family of _Ix_, has
enjoyed the precedency to all others from the reign of good old Saturn. I
could say much to the defamation and disgrace of your family; as, that
your relations _Distaff_ and _Broomstaff_ were both inconsiderate mean
persons, one spinning, the other sweeping the streets, for their daily
bread. But I forbear to vent my spleen on objects so much beneath my
indignation. I shall only give the world a catalogue of my ancestors, and
leave them to determine which hath hitherto had, and which for the future
ought to have, the preference.
"First then comes the most famous and popular lady _Meretrix_, parent of
the fertile family of _Bellatrix, Lotrix, Netrix, Nutrix, Obstetrix,
Famulatrix, Coctrix, Ornatrix, Sarcinatrix, Fextrix, Balneatrix,
Portatrix, Saltatrix, Divinatrix, Conjectrix, Comtrix, Debitrix,
Creditrix, Donatrix, Ambulatrix, Mercatrix, Adsectrix, Assectatrix,
Palpatrix, Praeceptrix, Pistrix._
"I am yours,
[Footnote 1: This letter is introduced:
"From my own Apartment, June 29.
"It would be a very great obligation, and an assistance to my treatise
upon punning, if any one would please to inform me in what class among
the learned, who play with words, to place the author of the following
The proposed work had been promised in the 32nd number of "The Tatler,"
where it was stated that, "I shall dedicate this discourse to a
gentleman, my very good friend, who is the Janus of our times, and
whom, by his years and wit, you would take to be of the last age; but
by his dress and morals, of this." [T.S.]]
[Footnote 2: In the 11th number of "The Tatler," by Heneage Twisden.
THE TATLER, NUMB. 59.
FROM TUESDAY AUGUST 23. TO THURSDAY AUGUST 25. 1709.
_Will's Coffee-house, August 24._
The author of the ensuing letter, by his name, and the quotations he
makes from the ancients, seems a sort of spy from the old world, whom we
moderns ought to be careful of offending; therefore I must be free, and
own it a fair hit where he takes me, rather than disoblige him.
"SIR, Having a peculiar humour of desiring to be somewhat the better or
wiser for what I read, I am always uneasy when, in any profound writer
(for I read no others) I happen to meet with what I cannot understand.
When this falls out, it is a great grievance to me that I am not able to
consult the author himself about his meaning; for commentators are a sect
that has little share in my esteem. Your elaborate writings have, among
many others, this advantage, that their author is still alive, and ready
(as his extensive charity makes us expect) to explain whatever may
be found in them too sublime for vulgar understandings. This, Sir, makes
me presume to ask you, how the Hampstead hero's character could be
perfectly new when the last letters came away, and yet Sir John
Suckling so well acquainted with it sixty years ago? I hope, Sir, you
will not take this amiss: I can assure you, I have a profound respect
for you; which makes me write this, with the same disposition with which
Longinus bids us read Homer and Plato.
"'When in reading,' says he, 'any of those celebrated authors, we meet
with a passage to which we cannot well reconcile our reasons, we ought
firmly to believe, that were those great wits present to answer for
themselves, we should to our wonder be convinced, that we only are guilty
of the mistakes we before attributed to them.' If you think fit to
remove the scruple that now torments me, it will be an encouragement to
me to settle a frequent correspondence with you, several things falling
in my way which would not, perhaps, be altogether foreign to your
purpose, and whereon your thoughts would be very acceptable to
"Your most humble servant,
[Footnote 1: In No. 57 of "The Tatler" Steele wrote: "Letters from
Hampstead say, there is a coxcomb arrived there, of a kind which is
utterly new. The fellow has courage, which he takes himself to be obliged
to give proofs of every hour he lives. He is ever fighting with the men,
and contradicting the women. A lady, who sent him to me, superscribed
him with this description out of Suckling:
"'I am a man of war and might,
And know thus much, that I can fight,
Whether I am i' th' wrong or right.
'No woman under Heaven I fear,
New oaths I can exactly swear;
And forty healths my brains will bear,
The "description out of Suckling" is from that writer's rondeau, "A
Soldier." As the poet died in 1642, Swift ridicules the statement
that this kind of coxcomb was "utterly new." [T.S.]]
THE TATLER, NUMB. 63.
FROM THURSDAY SEPTEMBER I. TO SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 3, 1709.
"It must be allowed, that Esquire Bickerstaff is of all authors the most
ingenuous. There are few, very few, that will own themselves in a
mistake, though all the World sees them to be in downright nonsense.
You'll be pleased, Sir, to pardon this expression, for the same reason
for which you once desired us to excuse you when you seemed anything
dull. Most writers, like the generality of Paul Lorrain's saints, seem
to place a peculiar vanity in dying hard. But you, Sir, to show a good
example to your brethren, have not only confessed, but of your own accord
mended the indictment. Nay, you have been so good-natured as to discover
beauties in it, which, I will assure you, he that drew it never dreamed
of: And to make your civility the more accomplished, you have honoured
him with the title of your kinsman, which, though derived by the left
hand, he is not a little proud of. My brother (for such Obadiah is) being
at present very busy about nothing, has ordered me to return you his
sincere thanks for all these favours; and, as a small token of his
gratitude, to communicate to you the following piece of intelligence,
which, he thinks, belongs more properly to you than to any others of our
"_Madonella_, who as it was thought had long since taken her flight
towards the ethereal mansions, still walks, it seems, in the regions of
mortality; where she has found, by deep reflections on the revolution
mentioned in yours of June the 23rd, that where early instructions have
been wanting to imprint true ideas of things on the tender souls of those
of her sex, they are never after able to arrive at such a pitch of
perfection, as to be above the laws of matter and motion; laws which are
considerably enforced by the principles usually imbibed in nurseries and
boarding-schools. To remedy this evil, she has laid the scheme of a
college for young damsels; where, instead of scissors, needles, and
samplers; pens, compasses, quadrants, books, manuscripts, Greek, Latin,
and Hebrew, are to take up their whole time. Only on holidays the
students will, for moderate exercise, be allowed to divert themselves
with the use of some of the lightest and most voluble weapons; and proper
care will be taken to give them at least a superficial tincture of the
ancient and modern Amazonian tactics. Of these military performances, the
direction is undertaken by Epicene, the writer of 'Memoirs from the
Mediterranean,' who, by the help of some artificial poisons conveyed by
smells, has within these few weeks brought many persons of both sexes
to an untimely fate; and, what is more surprising, has, contrary to her
profession, with the same odours, revived others who had long since been
drowned in the whirlpools of Lethe. Another of the professors is to be a
certain lady, who is now publishing two of the choicest Saxon novels,
which are said to have been in as great repute with the ladies of Queen
Emma's Court, as the 'Memoirs from the New Atalantis' are with those of
ours. I shall make it my business to enquire into the progress of this
learned institution, and give you the first notice of their
'Philosophical Transactions, and Searches after Nature.'
[Footnote 1: This letter was introduced:
"From my own Apartment, September 2.
"The following letter being a panegyric upon me for a quality which every
man may attain, an acknowledgment of his faults; I thought it for the
good of my fellow writers to publish it." [T.S.]]
[Footnote 2: The Rev. Paul Lorrain was ordinary of Newgate Prison from
1698 until 1719. He issued the dying speeches and confessions of the
condemned criminals in the form of broadsheets. In these confessions,
the penitence of the criminals was most strongly emphasized, hence the
term "Lorrain's saints." Lorrain died in 1719. [T.S.]]
[Footnote 3: Isaac Bickerstaff, commenting on the letter in No. 59,
printed above, says: "I have looked over our pedigree upon the receipt of
this epistle, and find the Greenhats are a-kin to the Staffs. They
descend from Maudlin, the left-handed wife of Nehemiah Bickerstaff,
in the reign of Harry II." [T.S.]]
[Footnote 4: See No. 32 _ante_. [T.S.]]
[Footnote 5: Mrs. Mary de la Riviere Manley, author of "Memoirs of
Europe, towards the Close of the Eighth Century" (1710), which she
dedicated to Isaac Bickerstaff, and of "Secret Memoirs and Manners ...
from the New Atalantis" (1709). She was associated with Swift in the
writing of several pamphlets In support of the Harley Administration,
and in his work on "The Examiner" (see vol. v., pp. 41, 118, and 171 of
the present edition of Swift's works).
Epicene is an allusion to Ben Jonson's comedy, "Epicoene; or, the
Silent Woman" (1609).
Mrs. Manley seems to have credited Steele with this attack on her, for
she attacked him, in turn, in her "New Atalantis," and printed, in her
dedication to the "Memoirs of Europe," Steele's denial of the authorship
of this paper. This did not, however, prevent her making new charges
against him. "The Narrative of Guiscard's Examination," "A Comment on Dr.
Hare's Sermon," and "The Duke of Marlborough's Vindication," were written
either by herself, or at the suggestion of, and with instructions from,
[Footnote 6: Mrs. Elizabeth Elstob (1683-1756), a niece of the learned
Dr. Hickes, issued, in 1709, "An English-Saxon Homily on the Birthday
of St. Gregory." The work was dedicated to Queen Anne. She was a friend
of Mary Granville, afterwards Mrs. Pendarves, and better known as Mrs.
[Footnote 7: An allusion to "Useful Transactions in Philosophy," etc.,
January and February, 1708/9, which commenced with an article entitled
"An Essay on the Invention of Samplers," by Mrs. Arabella Manly (_sic_).
She had a friend, Mrs. Betty Clavel. [T.S.]]
THE TATLER, NUMB. 66.
FROM THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 8. TO SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 10. 1709.
_Wills Coffee-house, September_ 9.
We have been very much perplexed here this evening, by two gentlemen who
took upon them to talk as loud as if it were expected from them to
entertain the company. Their subject was eloquence and graceful action.
Lysander, who is something particular in his way of thinking and
speaking, told us, "a man could not be eloquent without action: for the
deportment of the body, the turn of the eye, and an apt sound to every
word that is uttered, must all conspire to make an accomplished speaker.
Action in one that speaks in public, is the same thing which a good
mien is in ordinary life. Thus, as a certain insensibility in the
countenance recommends a sentence of humour and jest, so it must be a
very lively consciousness that gives grace to great sentiments: For the
jest is to be a thing unexpected; therefore your undesigning manner is a
beauty in expressions of mirth; but when you are to talk on a set
subject, the more you are moved yourself, the more you will move others.
"There is," said he, "a remarkable example of that kind: Aeschines, a
famous orator of antiquity, had pleaded at Athens in a great cause
against Demosthenes; but having lost it, retired to Rhodes. Eloquence was
then the quality most admired among men; and the magistrates of that
place having heard he had a copy of the speech of Demosthenes, desired
him to repeat both their pleadings. After his own, he recited also the
oration of his antagonist. The people expressed their admiration of both,
but more of that of Demosthenes. 'If you are,' said he, 'thus touched
with hearing only what that great orator said, how would you have been
affected had you seen him speak? for he who hears Demosthenes only, loses
much the better part of the oration.' Certain it is, that they who speak
gracefully, are very lamely represented, in having their speeches read or
repeated by unskilful people; for there is something native to each man,
that is so inherent to his thoughts and sentiments, which it is hardly
possible for another to give a true idea of. You may observe in common
talk, when a sentence of any man's is repeated, an acquaintance of his
shall immediately observe, 'That is so like him, methinks I see how
he looked when he said it.' But of all the people on the earth, there are
none who puzzle me so much as the clergy of Great Britain, who are, I
believe, the most learned body of men now in the world; and yet this art
of speaking, with the proper ornaments of voice and gesture, is wholly
neglected among them; and I will engage, were a deaf man to behold the
greater part of them preach, he would rather think they were reading the
contents only of some discourse they intended to make, than actually in
the body of an oration, even when they are upon matters of such a nature
as one would believe it were impossible to think of without emotion.
"I own there are exceptions to this general observation, and that the
Dean we heard the other day together, is an orator. He has so much
regard to his congregation, that he commits to his memory what he is to
say to them; and has so soft and graceful a behaviour, that it must
attract your attention. His person it is to be confessed is no small
recommendation; but he is to be highly commended for not losing that
advantage, and adding to the propriety of speech (which might pass the
criticism of Longinus) an action which would have been approved by
Demosthenes. He has a peculiar force in his way, and has many of his
audience who could not be intelligent hearers of his discourse,
were there not explanation as well as grace in his action. This art of
his is used with the most exact and honest skill: he never attempts your
passions, till he has convinced your reason. All the objections which he
can form, are laid before you and dispersed, before he uses the least
vehemence in his sermon; but when he thinks he has your head, he very
soon wins your heart; and never pretends to show the beauty of holiness,
till he has convinced you of the truth of it.
"Would every one of our clergymen be thus careful to recommend truth and
virtue in their proper figures, and show so much concern for them as to
give them all the additional force they were able, it is not possible
that nonsense should have so many hearers as you find it has in
dissenting congregations, for no reason in the world but because it is
spoken _extempore_: For ordinary minds are wholly governed by their eyes
and ears, and there is no way to come at their hearts but by power over
their imagination. There is my friend and merry companion Daniel: he
knows a great deal better than he speaks, and can form a proper discourse
as well as any orthodox neighbour. But he knows very well, that to bawl
out, 'My beloved;' and the words 'grace! regeneration! sanctification! a
new light! the day! The day! aye, my beloved, the day!' or rather, 'the
night! The night is coming! and judgment will come, when we least think
of it!'--and so forth--He knows, to be vehement is the only way to come
at his audience; and Daniel, when he sees my friend Greenhat come in, can
give him a good hint, and cry out, 'This is only for the saints! the
regenerated!' By this force of action, though mixed with all the
incoherence and ribaldry imaginable, Daniel can laugh at his diocesan,
and grow fat by voluntary subscription, while the parson of the parish
goes to law for half his dues. Daniel will tell you, 'It is not the
shepherd, but the sheep with the bell, which the flock follows.' Another
thing, very wonderful this learned body should omit, is, learning to
read; which is a most necessary part of eloquence in one who is to serve
at the altar: for there is no man but must be sensible, that the lazy
tone, and inarticulate sound of our common readers, depreciates the most
proper form of words that were ever extant in any nation or language, to
speak our own wants, or His power from whom we ask relief.
"There cannot be a greater instance of the power of action than in little
parson Dapper, who is the common relief to all the lazy pulpits in
town. This smart youth has a very good memory, a quick eye, and a clean
handkerchief. Thus equipped, he opens his text, shuts his book fairly,
shows he has no notes in his Bible, opens both palms, and shows all is
fair there too. Thus, with a decisive air, my young man goes on without
hesitation; and though from the beginning to the end of his pretty
discourse, he has not used one proper gesture, yet at the conclusion, the
churchwarden pulls his gloves from off his head; 'Pray, who is this
extraordinary young man?' Thus the force of action is such, that it is
more prevalent (even when improper) than all the reason and argument in
the world without it." This gentleman concluded his discourse by saying,
"I do not doubt but if our preachers would learn to speak, and our
readers to read, within six months' time we should not have a dissenter
within a mile of a church in Great Britain."
[Footnote 1: In his original preface to the fourth volume, Steele
explains that "the amiable character of the Dean in the sixty-sixth
'Tatler,' was drawn for Dr. Atterbury." Steele cites this as a proof of
his impartiality. Scott thinks that it must have cost him "some effort to
permit insertion of a passage so favourable to a Tory divine." At the
time the character was published Atterbury was Dean of Carlisle and one
of the Queen's chaplains. He was later created Bishop of Rochester. There
is no doubt that Atterbury was deeply implicated in the various Jacobite
plots for the bringing in of the Pretender. Under a bill of pains and
penalties he was condemned and deprived of all his ecclesiastical
offices. In 1723 he left England and died in exile in 1732. His body,
however, was privately buried in Westminster Abbey. [T.S.]]
[Footnote 2: "De Sublimitate," viii. [T.S.]]
[Footnote 3: For twenty years Atterbury was preacher at the chapel of
Bridewell Hospital. [T.S.]]
[Footnote 4: Daniel Burgess (1645-1713), the son of a Wiltshire
clergyman, was a schoolmaster in Ireland before he became minister to the
Presbyterian meeting-house people in Brydges Street, Covent Garden. A
chapel was built for him in New Court, Carey Street, Lincoln's Inn, and
this was destroyed during the Sacheverell riots in 1710. [T.S.]]
[Footnote 5: Dr. Joseph Trapp (1679-1747), professor of poetry at Oxford,
where he published his "Praelectiones Poeticae" (1711-15), He assisted
Sacheverell and became a strong partisan of the High Church party.
Swift thought very little of him. To Stella he writes, he is "a sort of
pretender to wit, a second-rate pamphleteer for the cause, whom they
pay by sending him to Ireland" (January 7th, 1710/1, see vol. ii., p.
96). This sending to Ireland refers to his chaplaincy to Sir Constantine
Phipps, Lord Chancellor of Ireland (1710-12). On July 17th, 1712,
Swift again speaks of him to Stella: "I have made Trap chaplain to
Lord Bolingbroke, and he is mighty happy and thankful for it" (_ibid_.,
p. 379). Trapp afterwards held several preferments in and near
THE TATLER, NUMB. 67.
FROM SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 10. TO TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 13. 1709.
_From my own Apartment, September_ 12.
No man can conceive, till he comes to try it, how great a pain it is to
be a public-spirited person. I am sure I am unable to express to the
world, how much anxiety I have suffered, to see of how little benefit my
Lucubrations have been to my fellow-subjects. Men will go on in their
own way in spite of all my labour. I gave Mr. Didapper a private
reprimand for wearing red-heeled shoes, and at the same time was so
indulgent as to connive at him for fourteen days, because I would give
him the wearing of them out; but after all this I am informed, he
appeared yesterday with a new pair of the same sort. I have no better
success with Mr. Whatdee'call as to his buttons: Stentor still
roars; and box and dice rattle as loud as they did before I writ
against them. Partridge walks about at noon-day, and Aesculapius
thinks of adding a new lace to his livery. However, I must still go on in
laying these enormities before men's eyes, and let them answer for going
on in their practice. My province is much larger than at first sight
men would imagine, and I shall lose no part of my jurisdiction, which
extends not only to futurity, but also is retrospect to things past; and
the behaviour of persons who have long ago acted their parts, is as much
liable to my examination, as that of my own contemporaries.
In order to put the whole race of mankind in their proper distinctions,
according to the opinion their cohabitants conceived of them, I have with
very much care, and depth of meditation, thought fit to erect a Chamber
of Fame, and established certain rules, which are to be observed in
admitting members into this illustrious society. In this Chamber of Fame
there are to be three tables, but of different lengths; the first is to
contain exactly twelve persons; the second, twenty; the third, an
hundred. This is reckoned to be the full number of those who have any
competent share of fame. At the first of these tables are to be placed
in their order the twelve most famous persons in the world, not with
regard to the things they are famous for, but according to the degree of
their fame, whether in valour, wit, or learning. Thus if a scholar be
more famous than a soldier, he is to sit above him. Neither must any
preference be given to virtue, if the person be not equally famous. When
the first table is filled, the next in renown must be seated at the
second, and so on in like manner to the number of twenty; as also in the
same order at the third, which is to hold an hundred. At these tables no
regard is to be had to seniority: for if Julius Caesar shall be judged
more famous than Romulus and Scipio, he must have the precedence. No
person who has not been dead an hundred years, must be offered to a place
at any of these tables: and because this is altogether a lay society, and
that sacred persons move upon greater motives than that of fame, no
persons celebrated in Holy Writ, or any ecclesiastical men whatsoever,
are to be introduced here.
At the lower end of the room is to be a side-table for persons of great
fame, but dubious existence, such as Hercules, Theseus, Aeneas, Achilles,
Hector, and others. But because it is apprehended, that there may be
great contention about precedence, the proposer humbly desires the
opinion of the learned towards his assistance in placing every person
according to his rank, that none may have just occasion of offence.
The merits of the cause shall be judged by plurality of voices.
For the more impartial execution of this important affair, it is desired,
that no man will offer his favourite hero, scholar, or poet; and that the
learned will be pleased to send to Mr. Bickerstaff, at Mr. Morphew's near
Stationers' Hall, their several lists for the first table only, and in
the order they would have them placed; after which, the composer will
compare the several lists, and make another for the public, wherein every
name shall be ranked according to the voices it has had. Under this
chamber is to be a dark vault for the same number of persons of evil
It is humbly submitted to consideration, whether the project would not be
better, if the persons of true fame meet in a middle room, those of
dubious existence in an upper room, and those of evil fame in a lower
It is to be noted, that no historians are to be admitted at any of these
tables, because they are appointed to conduct the several persons to
their seats, and are to be made use of as ushers to the assemblies.
I call upon the learned world to send me their assistance towards this
design, it being a matter of too great moment for any one person to
determine. But I do assure them, their lists shall be examined with great
fidelity, and those that are exposed to the public, made with all the
[Footnote 1: "N.B. Mr. How'd'call is desired to leave off those
buttons."--No. 21. [T.S.]]
[Footnote 2: Dr. William Stanley (1647-1731), master of Corpus Christi
College, Cambridge, was Dean of St. Asaph in 1706-31. In No. 54 of "The
Tatler," he is described as a person "accustomed to roar and bellow so
terribly loud in the responses that . . . one of our petty canons, a
punning Cambridge scholar, calls his way of worship a _Bull-offering._"
In the sixty-first number a further reference is made to him: "A person
of eminent wit and piety [Dr. R. South] wrote to Stentor: 'Brother
Stentor,' said he, 'for the repose of the Church, hearken to Bickerstaff;
and consider that, while you are so devout at St. Paul's, we cannot
sleep for you at St. Peter's.'" [T.S.]]
[Footnote 3: John Partridge (1644-1715) cobbler, philomath, and quack,
was the author of "Merlinus Liberatus," first issued in 1680. He libelled
his master, John Gadbury, in his "Nebulo Anglicanus" (1693), and
quarrelled with George Parker, a fellow-quack and astrologer. It is of
him that Swift wrote his famous "Predictions" (see vol. i. of this
edition, p. 298), and issued his broadside, concluding with the lines:
"Here, five feet deep, lies on his back,
A cobler, starmonger, and quack,
Who to the stars in pure good will
Does to his best look upward still:
Weep, all you customers that use
His pills, his almanacks, or shoes."
In No. 59 of "The Tatler," his death is referred to in harmony with
the tone of Swift's fun: "The late Partridge, who still denies his
death. I am informed indeed by several that he walks." [T.S.]]
[Footnote 4: The famous Dr. John Radcliffe (1650-1714) who refused the
appointment of physician to King William III., and offended Anne by his
churlish disregard of her requests to attend on her. He fell in love
with a Miss Tempest, one of Queen Anne's maids of honour. In the 44th
number of "The Tatler" Steele ridicules this attachment by making him
address his mistress in the following words: "O fair! for thee I sit
amidst a crowd of painted deities on my chariot, buttoned in gold,
clasped in gold, without having any value for that beloved metal, but as
it adorns the person and laces the hat of thy dying lover." Radcliffe
attended Swift for his dizziness, but that did not prevent the latter
from referring to him as "that puppy," in writing to Stella, for
neglecting to attend to Harley's wound. He seems to have had a high
standing for skill as a physician, and probably on that account gave
himself airs. It is told of him that "during a long attendance in the
family of a particular friend, he regularly refused the fee pressed upon
him at each visit. At length, when the cure was performed, and the
doctor about to give up attendance, the convalescent patient again
proffered him a purse containing the fees for every day's visit. The
doctor eyed it some time in silence, and at length extended his hand,
exclaiming, 'Singly, I could have refused them for ever; but altogether
they are irresistible.'" Radcliffe died at Carshalton in 1714. From his
bequests were founded the Radcliffe Infirmary and Observatory at Oxford.
[Footnote 5: Scott omits, from his edition, the whole of this paragraph
up to this point. [T.S.]]
THE TATLER, NUMB. 68.
FROM TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 13. TO THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 15. 1709.
_From my own Apartment, September_ 14.
The progress of our endeavours will of necessity be very much
interrupted, except the learned world will please to send their lists to
the Chamber of Fame with all expedition. There is nothing can so much
contribute to create a noble emulation in our youth, as the honourable
mention of such whose actions have outlived the injuries of time, and
recommended themselves so far to the world, that it is become learning to
know the least circumstance of their affairs. It is a great incentive to
see, that some men have raised themselves so highly above their
fellow-creatures; that the lives of ordinary men are spent in inquiries
after the particular actions of the most illustrious. True it is, that
without this impulse to fame and reputation, our industry would stagnate,
and that lively desire of pleasing each other die away. This opinion was
so established in the heathen world, that their sense of living appeared
insipid, except their being was enlivened with a consciousness, that they
were esteemed by the rest of the world.
Upon examining the proportion of men's fame for my table of twelve, I
thought it no ill way, since I had laid it down for a rule, that they
were to be ranked simply as they were famous, without regard to their
virtue, to ask my sister Jenny's advice, and particularly mentioned to
her the name of Aristotle. She immediately told me, he was a very great
scholar, and that she had read him at the boarding-school. She certainly
means a trifle sold by the hawkers, called, "Aristotle's Problems." 
But this raised a great scruple in me, whether a fame increased by
imposition of others is to be added to his account, or that these
excrescencies, which grow out of his real reputation, and give
encouragement to others to pass things under the covert of his name,
should be considered in giving him his seat in the Chamber? This
punctilio is referred to the learned. In the mean time, so ill-natured
are mankind, that I believe I have names already sent me sufficient to
fill up my lists for the dark room, and every one is apt enough to send
in their accounts of ill deservers. This malevolence does not proceed
from a real dislike of virtue, but a diabolical prejudice against it,
which makes men willing to destroy what they care not to imitate. Thus
you see the greatest characters among your acquaintance, and those you
live with, are traduced by all below them in virtue, who never mention
them but with an exception. However, I believe I shall not give the world
much trouble about filling my tables for those of evil fame, for I have
some thoughts of clapping up the sharpers there as fast as I can lay hold
At present, I am employed in looking over the several notices which I
have received of their manner of dexterity, and the way at dice of making
all _rugg_, as the cant is. The whole art of securing a die has lately
been sent me by a person who was of the fraternity, but is disabled by
the loss of a finger, by which means he cannot, as he used to do, secure
a die. But I am very much at a loss how to call some of the fair sex, who
are accomplices with the Knights of Industry; for my metaphorical dogs
are easily enough understood; but the feminine gender of dogs has so
harsh a sound, that we know not how to name it. But I am credibly
informed, that there are female dogs as voracious as the males,
and make advances to young fellows, without any other design but coming
to a familiarity with their purses. I have also long lists of persons of
condition, who are certainly of the same regiment with these banditti,
and instrumental to their cheats upon undiscerning men of their own rank.
These add their good reputation to carry on the impostures of those,
whose very names would otherwise be defence enough against falling into
their hands. But for the honour of our nation, these shall be
unmentioned, provided we hear no more of such practices, and that they
shall not from henceforward suffer the society of such, as they know to
be the common enemies of order, discipline, and virtue. If it prove that
they go on in encouraging them, they must be proceeded against according
to severest rules of history, where all is to be laid before the world
with impartiality, and without respect to persons.
"So let the stricken deer go weep."
[Footnote 1: This was not a translation of Aristotle's "Problemata," but
an indecent pamphlet with that title. [T.S.]]
[Footnote 2: In the 62nd number of "The Tatler" Steele wrote a paper
comparing some of the pests of society, such as the gamblers, to dogs,
and said: "It is humbly proposed that they may be all together
transported to America, where the dogs are few, and the wild beasts
many." Scott notes that when one of the fraternity referred to threatened
Steele with personal vengeance, Lord Forbes silenced him with these
words: "You will find it safer, sir, in this country, to cut a purse than
to cut a throat." [T.S.]]
[Footnote 3: "Why, let the stricken deer go weep."--_Hamlet_, iii. 2.
THE TATLER, NUMB. 70.
FROM SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 17. TO TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 20. 1709.
"I read with great pleasure in the _Tatler_ of Saturday last the
conversation upon eloquence; permit me to hint to you one thing the great
Roman orator observes upon this subject, _Caput enim arbitrabatur
oratoris_, (he quotes Menedemus an Athenian) _ut ipsis apud quos
ageret talis qualem ipse optaret videretur, id fieri vitae dignitate_.
It is the first rule, in oratory, that a man must appear such as he would
persuade others to be, and that can be accomplished only by the force of
his life. I believe it might be of great service to let our public
orators know, that an unnatural gravity, or an unbecoming levity in their
behaviour out of the pulpit, will take very much from the force of their
eloquence in it. Excuse another scrap of Latin; it is from one of the
Fathers: I think it will appear a just observation to all, as it may have
authority with some; _Qui autem docent tantum, nec faciunt, ipsi
praeceptis suis detrahunt pondus; Quis enim obtemperet, cum ipsi
praeceptores doceant non obtemperare?_ I am,
"Your humble servant,
"P.S. You were complaining in that paper, that the clergy of
Great-Britain had not yet learned to speak; a very great defect indeed;
and therefore I shall think myself a well-deserver of the church in
recommending all the dumb clergy to the famous speaking doctor at
Kensington. This ingenious gentleman, out of compassion to those of a bad
utterance, has placed his whole study in the new-modelling the organs of
voice; which art he has so far advanced, as to be able even to make a
good orator of a pair of bellows. He lately exhibited a specimen of his
skill in this way, of which I was informed by the worthy gentlemen then
present, who were at once delighted and amazed to hear an instrument of
so simple an organization use an exact articulation of words, a just
cadency in its sentences, and a wonderful pathos in its pronunciation;
not that he designs to expatiate in this practice, because he cannot (as
he says) apprehend what use it may be of to mankind, whose benefit he
aims at in a more particular manner: and for the same reason, he will
never more instruct the feathered kind, the parrot having been his last
scholar in that way. He has a wonderful faculty in making and mending
echoes, and this he will perform at any time for the use of the solitary
in the country, being a man born for universal good, and for that reason
recommended to your patronage by, Sir, yours,
[Footnote 1: This letter appears under the heading: "From my own
Apartment, September 19." [T.S.]]
[Footnote 2: See "The Tatler," No. 66, _ante_. [T. S,]]
[Footnote 3: An Athenian rhetorician who died in Rome about 100 B.C. [T.
[Footnote 4: The quotation is not quite correctly given. It is taken from
Cicero, _De Oratore_, i. 19 (87). [T.S.]]
[Footnote 5: "But those who teach, and do not live in accordance with
their own instructions, take away all the weight from their teaching; for
who will comply with their precepts, when the teachers themselves teach
us not to obey them?" [T.S.]]
[Footnote 6: James Ford proposed to cure stammerers and even restore
speech to mutes. In the second volume of "The British Apollo" he is
referred to as having "not only recovered several who stammered to
a regular speech, but also brought the deaf and dumb to speak." [T.S.]]
THE TATLER, NUMB. 71.
FROM TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 20. TO THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 22. 1709.
"Finding your advice and censure to have a good effect, I desire your
admonition to our vicar and schoolmaster, who in his preaching to his
auditors, stretches his jaws so wide, that instead of instructing youth,
it rather frightens them: likewise in reading prayers, he has such a
careless loll, that people are justly offended at his irreverent posture;
besides the extraordinary charge they are put to in sending their
children to dance, to bring them off of those ill gestures. Another evil
faculty he has, in making the bowling-green his daily residence, instead
of his church, where his curate reads prayers every day. If the weather
is fair, his time is spent in visiting; if cold or wet, in bed, or at
least at home, though within 100 yards of the church. These, out of many
such irregular practices, I write for his reclamation: but two or three
things more before I conclude; to wit, that generally when his curate
preaches in the afternoon, he sleeps sotting in the desk on a hassock.
With all this, he is so extremely proud, that he will go but once to the
sick, except they return his visit."
[Footnote 1: This letter is dated as from Will's Coffee-house, September
THE TATLER, NUMB. 230.
FROM TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 26. TO THURSDAY SEPTEMBER
_From my own Apartment, September 27._
The following letter has laid before me many great and manifest evils in
the world of letters which I had overlooked; but they open to me a
very busy scene, and it will require no small care and application to
amend errors which are become so universal. The affectation of politeness
is exposed in this epistle with a great deal of wit and discernment; so
that whatever discourses I may fall into hereafter upon the subjects the
writer treats of, I shall at present lay the matter before the World
without the least alteration from the words of my correspondent.
"TO ISAAC BICKERSTAFF ESQ;
"There are some abuses among us of great consequence, the reformation of
which is properly your province, though, as far as I have been conversant
in your papers, you have not yet considered them. These are, the
deplorable ignorance that for some years hath reigned among our English
writers, the great depravity of our taste, and the continual corruption
of our style. I say nothing here of those who handle particular sciences,
divinity, law, physic, and the like; I mean, the traders in history and
politics, and the _belles lettres;_ together with those by whom books
are not translated, but (as the common expressions are) 'done out of
French, Latin,' or other language, and 'made English.' I cannot but
observe to you, that till of late years a Grub-Street book was always
bound in sheepskin, with suitable print and paper, the price never above
a shilling, and taken off wholly by common tradesmen, or country pedlars,
but now they appear in all sizes and shapes, and in all places. They are
handed about from lapfuls in every coffeehouse to persons of quality, are
shewn in Westminster-Hall and the Court of Requests. You may see them
gilt, and in royal paper, of five or six hundred pages, and rated
accordingly. I would engage to furnish you with a catalogue of English
books published within the compass of seven years past, which at the
first hand would cost you a hundred pounds, wherein you shall not be able
to find ten lines together of common grammar or common sense.
"These two evils, ignorance and want of taste, have produced a third; I
mean, the continual corruption of our English tongue, which, without some
timely remedy, will suffer more by the false refinements of twenty years
past, than it hath been improved in the foregoing hundred: And this is
what I design chiefly to enlarge upon, leaving the former evils to your
"But instead of giving you a list of the late refinements crept into our
language, I here send you the copy of a letter I received some time ago
from a most accomplished person in this way of writing, upon which I
shall make some remarks. It is in these terms.
"'I _couldn't_ get the things you sent for all _about Town._--I _thot_ to
_ha'_ come down myself, and then _I'd ha' brout 'umn;_ but I _han't
don't,_ and I believe I _can't do't,_ that's _pozz.--Tom_ begins to
_gi'mself_ airs_ because _he's_ going with the _plenipo's._--'Tis said,
the _French_ King will _bamboozl us agen,_ which _causes many
speculations_. The _Jacks,_ and others of that _kidney_, are very
_uppish_, and _alert upon't_, as you may see by their _phizz's_.--_Will
Hazzard_ has got the _hipps_, having lost _to the tune of_ five hundr'd
pound, _tho_ he understands play very well, _nobody better_. He has
promis't me upon _rep_, to leave off play; but you know 'tis a weakness
_he's_ too apt to _give into, tho_ he has as much wit as any man,
_nobody more._ He has lain _incog_ ever since.--The _mobb's_ very quiet
with us now.--I believe you _thot I bantered_ you in my last like a
_country put._--I _sha'n't_ leave Town this month, _&c_.'
"This letter is in every point an admirable pattern of the present polite
way of writing; nor is it of less authority for being an epistle. You may
gather every flower in it, with a thousand more of equal sweetness, from
the books, pamphlets, and single papers, offered us every day in the
coffeehouses: And these are the beauties introduced to supply the want
of wit, sense, humour, and learning, which formerly were looked upon as
qualifications for a writer. If a man of wit, who died forty years ago,
were to rise from the grave on purpose, how would he be able to read this
letter? And after he had gone through that difficulty, how would he be
able to understand it? The first thing that strikes your eye is the
_breaks_ at the end of almost every sentence; of which I know not the
use, only that it is a refinement, and very frequently practised. Then
you will observe the abbreviations and elisions, by which consonants of
most obdurate sound are joined together, without one softening vowel to
intervene; and all this only to make one syllable of two, directly
contrary to the example of the Greeks and Romans; altogether of the
Gothic strain, and a natural tendency towards relapsing into barbarity,
which delights in monosyllables, and uniting of mute consonants; as it is
observable in all the Northern languages. And this is still more visible
in the next refinement, which consists in pronouncing the first syllable
in a word that has many, and dismissing the rest; such as _phizz, hipps,
mobb, poz., rep._ and many more; when we are already overloaded with
monosyllables, which are the disgrace of our language. Thus we cram one
syllable, and cut off the rest; as the owl fattened her mice, after she
had bit off their legs to prevent their running away; and if ours be the
same reason for maiming words, it will certainly answer the end; for I am
sure no other Nation will desire to borrow them. Some words are hitherto
but fairly split, and therefore only in their way to perfection, as
_incog_ and _plenipo_: But in a short time it is to be hoped they will be
further docked to _inc_ and _plen_. This reflection has made me of late
years very impatient for a peace, which I believe would save the lives of
many brave words, as well as men. The war has introduced abundance of
polysyllables, which will never be able to live many more campaigns;
_Speculations, operations, preliminaries, ambassadors, palisadoes,
communication, circumvallation, battalions_, as numerous as they are, if
they attack us too frequently in our coffeehouses, we shall certainly put
them to flight, and cut off the rear.
"The third refinement observable in the letter I send you, consists in
the choice of certain words invented by some _pretty fellows_; such as
_banter, bamboozle, country put_, and _kidney_, as it is there applied;
some of which are now struggling for the vogue, and others are in
possession of it. I have done my utmost for some years past to stop the
progress of _mobb_ and _banter_, but have been plainly borne down
by numbers, and betrayed by those who promised to assist me.
"In the last place, you are to take notice of certain choice phrases
scattered through the letter; some of them tolerable enough, till they
were worn to rags by servile imitators. You might easily find them,
though they were not in a different print, and therefore I need not
"These are the false refinements in our style which you ought to correct:
First, by argument and fair means; but if those fail, I think you are to
make use of your authority as Censor, and by an annual _index
expurgatorius_ expunge all words and phrases that are offensive to good
sense, and condemn those barbarous mutilations of vowels and syllables.
In this last point the usual pretence is, that they spell as they speak;
a noble standard for language! to depend upon the caprice of every
coxcomb, who, because words are the clothing of our thoughts, cuts them
out, and shapes them as he pleases, and changes them oftener than his
dress. I believe, all reasonable people would be content that such
refiners were more sparing in their words, and liberal in their syllables:
And upon this head I should be glad you would bestow some advice upon
several young readers in our churches, who coming up from the University,
full fraught with admiration of our Town politeness, will needs correct
the style of their Prayer-Books. In reading the absolution, they are very
careful to say "_Pardons and absolves;"_ and in the Prayer for the Royal
Family, it must be, _endue'um, enrich'um, prosper'um,_ and _bring'um_.
Then in their sermons they use all the modern terms of art, _sham,
banter, mob, bubble, bully, cutting shuffling,_ and _palming_, all which,
and many more of the like stamp, as I have heard them often in the pulpit
from such young sophisters, so I have read them in some of those sermons
that have made most noise of late. The design, it seems, is to avoid the
dreadful imputation of pedantry, to shew us, that they know the Town,
understand men and manners, and have not been poring upon old
unfashionable books in the University.
"I should be glad to see you the instrument of introducing into our style
that simplicity which is the best and truest ornament of most things in
life, which the politer ages always aimed at in their building and dress,
_(simplex munditiis)_ as well as their productions of wit. It is
manifest, that all new, affected modes of speech, whether borrowed from
the Court, the Town, or the theatre, are the first perishing parts in any
language, and, as I could prove by many hundred instances, have been so
in ours. The writings of Hooker, who was a country clergyman, and of
Parsons the Jesuit, both in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, are in a
style that, with very few allowances, would not offend any present
reader; much more clear and intelligible than those of Sir H.
Wotton,Sir Robert Naunton, Osborn, Daniel the historian,
and several others who writ later; but being men of the Court, and
affecting the phrases then in fashion, they are often either not to be
understood, or appear perfectly ridiculous.
"What remedies are to be applied to these evils I have not room to
consider, having, I fear, already taken up most of your paper. Besides, I
think it is our office only to represent abuses, and yours to redress
"I am, with great respect,
[Footnote 1: In his "Journal to Stella," Swift writes, under date,
September 18th, 1710: "Came to town; got home early, and began a letter
to 'The Tatler' about the corruptions of style and writing, &c." On
September 23rd, he writes again: "I have sent a long letter to
Bickerstaff; let the Bp. of Clogher smoke if he can." Again on September
29th: "I made a 'Tatler' since I came; guess which it is, and whether the
Bp. Of Clogher smokes it." On October 1st, he asks Stella: "Have you
smoked the 'Tatler' that I writ? It is much liked here, and I think
it a pure one." On the 14th of the same month he refers still again to
the paper which had evidently pleased him: "The Bp. of Clogher has
smoked my 'Tatler' about shortening of words," etc. [T.S.]]
[Footnote 2: Compare Swift's "Proposal for Correcting the English
[Footnote 3: Thomas Harley, cousin of the first Earl of Oxford. He was
Secretary of the Treasury, and afterwards minister at Hanover. He
died in 1737. (T.S.)]
[Footnote 4: It is interesting to note that Swift, who insisted that the
word "mob" should never be used for "rabble," wrote "mob" in the 15th
number of "The Examiner," and in Faulkner's reprint of 1741 the
word was changed to "rabble." Scott notes: "The Dean carried on
the war against the word 'mob' to the very last. A lady who died in
1788, and was well known to Swift, used to say that the greatest scrape
into which she got with him was by using the word 'mob.' 'Why do
you say that?' said he, in a passion; 'never let me hear you say that
word again.' 'Why, sir,' said she, 'what am I to say?' 'The "rabble,"
to be sure,' answered he." [T.S.]]
[Footnote 5.] See Swift's Letter to the Earl of Pembroke (Scott's
edition, vol. xv., p. 350) where a little more fun is poked at the Bishop
of Clogher, in the same strain. [T.S.]
[Footnote 6: The great Richard Hooker (1554-1600) author of the
"Ecclesiastical Polity." [T.S.]]
[Footnote 7: Robert Parsons (1546-1610) the famous Jesuit missionary, and
the author of a large number of works including the "Conference about the
next Succession" (1594). Several of his books were privately printed
by him at a secret printing press, which he set up in East Ham with
the assistance of the poet Campion. [T.S.]]
[Footnote 8: Sir Henry Wotton (1568-1639) author of "Reliquiae
Wottonianae," and the friend of John Donne. He was Provost of Eton from
1624 until his death, and distinguished himself as a diplomatist. To him
is ascribed the saying: "An ambassador is an honest man sent to lie
abroad for the good of his country." [T.S.]]
[Footnote 9: Sir Robert Naunton (1563-1635), Secretary of State in 1618,
and author of "Fragmenta Regalia" published in 1641. [T.S.]]
[Footnote 10: Francis Osborne (1593-1659) wrote "Advice to a Son"
(1656-58), a work that gave him a great reputation. This work was issued
with his other writings in a collected form in 1673. [T.S.]]
[Footnote 11: Samuel Daniel (1562-1619) is said to have succeeded Spenser
as poet-laureate. In addition to his plays and poems (including a history
of the Civil Wars in eight books, 1595-1609) he wrote a History of
England, in two parts (1612-1617). [T.S.]]
THE TATLER, NUMB. 258.
FROM THURSDAY NOVEMBER 30. TO SATURDAY DECEMBER 2. 1710.
To ISAAC BICKERSTAFF ESQ;
Nov. 22. 1710.
Dining yesterday with Mr. _South-British,_ and Mr. _William North-Briton_
two gentlemen, who, before you ordered it otherwise, were known by the
names of Mr. _English_ and Mr. _William Scott_. Among other things, the
maid of the house (who in her time I believe may have been a
_North-British_ warming-pan) brought us up a dish of _North-British_
collops. We liked our entertainment very well, only we observed the
table-cloth, being not so fine as we could have wished, was
_North-British_ cloth: But the worst of it was, we were disturbed all
dinner-time by the noise of the children, who were playing in the paved
court at _North-British_ hoppers; so we paid our _North-Briton_ sooner
than we designed, and took coach to _North-Britain_ yard, about which
place most of us live. We had indeed gone a-foot, only we were under some
apprehensions lest a _North-British_ mist should wet a _South-British_
man to the skin.
We think this matter properly expressed, according to the accuracy of the
new style settled by you in one of your late papers. You will please to
give your opinion upon it to,
Your most humble servants,
[Footnote 1: This letter appeared originally under the heading: "From my
own Apartment, December I." [T.S.]]
[Footnote 2: In his "Journal to Stella" (December 2, 1710) Swift
writes: "Steele, the rogue, has done the impudentest thing in the world.
He said something in a 'Tatler,' that we ought to use the word Great
Britain, and not England, in common conversation, as, the finest lady
in Great Britain, &c. Upon this Rowe, Prior, and I, sent him a letter,
turning this into ridicule. He has to-day printed the letter, and signed
it J.S., M.P. and N.R. the first letters of our names. Congreve
told me to-day, he smoked it immediately." The passage referred to
by Swift, was a letter, signed Scoto-Britannus, printed in No. 241 of
"The Tatler," in which it was objected that a gentleman ended every
sentence with the words, "the best of any man in England," and called
upon him to "mend his phrase, and be hereafter the wisest of any man
in Great Britain." Writing to Alderman Barber, under date August
8, 1738, Swift remarks: "The modern phrase 'Great Britain' is
only to distinguish it from Little Britain where old clothes and old
books are to be bought and sold." [T.S.]]
[Footnote 3: We paid our _scot; i.e.,_ our share of the reckoning.
With No. 271 Steele brought his venture to a close. It was issued
on January 2nd, 1710. "I am now," he wrote, "come to the end of my
ambition in this matter, and have nothing further to say to the world
under the character of Isaac Bickerstaff." His ostensible reason for
thus terminating so successful an undertaking he put down to the fact
that Bickerstaff was no longer a disguise, and that he could not hope to
have the same influence when it was known who it was that led the
movement. Another reason, however, suggests itself in Steele's
recognition of Harley's kindness in not depriving him of his
Commissionership of Stamps, as well as of his Gazetteership for the
satires Steele permitted to appear against Harley in "The Tatler." That
Steele did have something further to say to the world may be gathered
from the fact that two months after "The Tatler's" decease he started
But "The Tatler" was too good a thing for the publishers to permit to
die. Two days after the issue of No. 271, appeared a No. 272, with the
imprint of John Baker, of "the Black Boy at Paternoster Row." It extolled
the "Character of Richard Steele, alias Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq.," and
promised to continue in his footsteps, and be delivered regularly to its
subscribers "at 5 in the morning." On January 6th, 1710, No. 273 was
published by "Isaac Bickerstaff, Jr." John Baker, however, was not to
have it all his own way, for on January 6th, 1710, Morphew brought out a
number--not a double number, although called "Numbers 272, 273"--and
continued it without intermission on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays,
until May 19th, when the final number, No. 330, was issued. The date 1711
was first used on March 31st. Meanwhile, on January 13th, A. Baldwin
issued a No. 1 of a "Tatler," in which the public were informed that
Isaac Bickerstaff had had no intention to discontinue the paper, but
would continue to publish it every Tuesday and Saturday. This was the new
"Tatler" in which Swift was interesting himself on behalf of William
Harrison. Writing to Stella, under date January 11th, he says: "I am
setting up a new 'Tatler,' little Harrison, whom I have mentioned to you.
Others have put him on it, and I encourage him; and he was with me this
morning and evening, showing me his first, which comes out on Saturday. I
doubt he will not succeed, for I do not much approve his manner; but the
scheme is Mr. Secretary St. John's and mine, and would have done well
enough in good hands." When the paper came out he wrote again: "There is
not much in it, but I hope he will mend. You must understand that, upon
Steele's leaving off, there were two or three scrub Tatlers came out, and
one of them holds on still, and to-day it advertised against Harrison's;
and so there must be disputes which are genuine, like the strops for
razors. I am afraid the little toad has not the true vein for it."
Apparently, he hadn't, for later, referring to another number, Swift
writes: "The jackanapes wants a right taste: I doubt he won't do."
With all Swift's assistance, Harrison did not hold out. He quarrelled
with Baldwin, and went to Morphew and Lillie, the publishers of the
original "Tatler." Only six numbers bear Baldwin's imprint, namely, Nos.
1-6, dated respectively, January 13th, January 16th, January 20th,
January 23rd, January 27th, and February 1st. Harrison's first number,
under Morphew, was called No. 285 (February 3rd). For a very exhaustive
and careful research into the publications of "The Tatler" and its
imitators the reader is referred to Aitken's "Life of Sir Richard
Steele" (2 vols., 1889).
William Harrison (1685-1713) was educated at Winchester College and New
College, Oxford. He obtained Addison's favour by his acquaintance with
"polite literature," and was introduced by him to Swift. Swift took to
him very kindly, spoke of the young fellow "we are all fond of," thought
him "a pretty little fellow, with a great deal of wit, good sense, and
good nature," and interested himself in him to the extent that through
him St. John got Lord Raby to take him to The Hague as his secretary. He
returned with the Barrier Treaty, but without a penny. He had not been
paid any of his salary. Swift heard of this, and immediately went about
collecting a sum of money for his assistance. When, however, he called
with the money, at Harrison's lodgings in Knightsbridge, he found the
poor fellow had died an hour before.
These contributions to the new "Tatler" are printed from the original
periodical issue with the exception of No. 5, which is taken from the
second edition of the reprint (1720), as no copy of the original issue
has been met with.
THE TATLER, NUMB. I.
_Quis ego sum saltem, si non sum Sosia? Te interrogo._
SATURDAY, JANUARY 13. 1711.
It is impossible, perhaps, for the best and wisest amongst us, to keep so
constant a guard upon our temper, but that we may at one time or other
lie open to the strokes of Fortune, and such incidents as we cannot
foresee. With sentiments of this kind I came home to my lodgings last
night, much fatigued with a long and sudden journey from the country, and
full of the ungrateful occasion of it. It was natural for me to have
immediate recourse to my pen and ink; but before I would offer to make
use of them, I resolved deliberately to tell over a hundred, and when I
came to the end of that sum, I found it more advisable to defer drawing
up my intended remonstrance, till I had slept soundly on my resentments.
Without any other preface than this, I shall give the world a fair
account of the treatment I have lately met with, and leave them to judge,
whether the uneasiness I have suffered be inconsistent with the character
I have generally pretended to. About three weeks since, I received an
invitation from a kinsman in Staffordshire, to spend my Christmas in
those parts. Upon taking leave of Mr. Morphew, I put as many papers into
his hands as would serve till my return, and charged him at parting to be
very punctual with the town. In what manner he and Mr. Lillie have been
tampered with since, I cannot say; they have given me my revenge, if I
desired any, by allowing their names to an idle paper, that in all human
probability cannot live a fortnight to an end. Myself, and the family I
was with, were in the midst of gaiety, and a plentiful entertainment,
when I received a letter from my sister Jenny, who, after mentioning some
little affairs I had intrusted to her, goes on thus:--"The inclosed, I
believe, will give you some surprise, as it has already astonished every
body here: Who Mr. Steele is, that subscribes it, I do not know, any more
than I can comprehend what could induce him to it. Morphew and Lillie, I
am told, are both in the secret. I shall not presume to instruct you,
but hope you will use some means to disappoint the ill nature of those
who are taking pains to deprive the world of one of its most reasonable
entertainments. I am, &c."
I am to thank my sister for her compliment; but be that as it will, I
shall not easily be discouraged from my former undertaking. In pursuance
of it, I was obliged upon this notice to take places in the coach for
myself and my maid with the utmost expedition, lest I should, in a short
time, be rallied out of my existence, as some people will needs fancy Mr.
Partridge has been, and the real Isaac Bickerstaff have passed for a
creature of Mr. Steele's imagination. This illusion might have hoped for
some tolerable success, if I had not more than once produced my person in
a crowded theatre; and such a person as Mr. Steele, if I am not
misinformed in the gentleman, would hardly think it an advantage to own,
though I should throw him in all the little honour I have gained by my
"Lucubrations." I may be allowed, perhaps, to understand pleasantry as
well as other men, and can (in the usual phrase) take a jest without
being angry; but I appeal to the world, whether the gentleman has not
carried it too far, and whether he ought not to make a public
recantation, if the credulity of some unthinking people should force me
to insist upon it. The following letter is just come to hand, and I think
it not improper to be inserted in this paper.
"TO ISAAC BICKERSTAFF, ESQ;
"I am extremely glad to hear you are come to town, for in your absence we
were all mightily surprised with an unaccountable paper, signed 'Richard
Steele,' who is esteemed by those that know him, to be a man of wit and
honour; and therefore we took it either to be a counterfeit, or a perfect
Christmas frolic of that ingenious gentleman. But then, your paper
ceasing immediately after, we were at a loss what to think: If you were
weary of the work you had so long carried on, and had given this Mr.
Steele orders to signify so to the public, he should have said it in
plain terms; but as that paper is worded, one would be apt to judge, that
he had a mind to persuade the town that there was some analogy between
Isaac Bickerstaff and him. Possibly there may be a secret in this which I
cannot enter into; but I flatter my self that you never had any thoughts
of giving over your labours for the benefit of mankind, when you cannot
but know how many subjects are yet unexhausted, and how many others, as
being less obvious, are wholly untouched. I dare promise, not only for my
self, but many other abler friends, that we shall still continue to
furnish you with hints on all proper occasions, which is all your genius
requires. I think, by the way, you cannot in honour have any more to do
with Morphew and Lillie, who have gone beyond the ordinary pitch of
assurance, and transgressed the very letter of the proverb, by
endeavouring to cheat you of your Christian and surname too. Wishing you,
Sir, long to live for our instruction and diversion, and to the defeating
of all impostors, I remain,
"Your most obedient humble servant,
"and affectionate kinsman,
[Footnote 1: _Amphitryon_, I. i 282. "Who am I, at all events, if I am
not Sosia? I ask you _that_."--H.T. RILEY. [T.S.]]
[Footnote 2: _I.e._ 1710-11. [T.S.]]
[Footnote 3: This, no doubt, was Steele's last "Tatler," No. 271. [T.
THE TATLER, No. 2.
_Alios viri reverentia, vultusque ad continendum populum mire formatus,
alios etiam, quibus ipse interesse non potuit, vis scribendi tamen,
et magni nominis autoritas pervicere._--TULL. EPIST.
FROM SATURD. JAN. 13. TO TUESDAY JAN, l6. 1710.
I remember Menage, tells a story of Monsieur Racan, who had appointed
a day and hour to meet a certain lady of great wit whom he had never
seen, in order to make an acquaintance between them. "Two of Racan's
friends, who had heard of the appointment, resolved to play him a trick.
The first went to the lady two hours before the time, said his name was
Racan, and talked with her an hour; they were both mightily pleased,
began a great friendship, and parted with much satisfaction. A few
minutes after comes the second, and sends up the same name; the lady
wonders at the meaning, and tells him, Mr. Racan had just left her. The
gentleman says it was some rascally impostor, and that he had been
frequently used in that manner. The lady is convinced, and they laugh at
the oddness of the adventure. She now calls to mind several passages,
which confirm her that the former was a cheat. He appoints a second
meeting, and takes his leave. He was no sooner gone, but the true Racan
comes to the door, and desires, under that name, to see the lady. She was
out of all patience, sends for him up, rates him for an impostor, and,
after a thousand injuries, flings a slipper at his head. It was
impossible to pacify or disabuse her; he was forced to retire, and it was
not without some time, and the intervention of friends, that they could
come to an _eclaircissement_." This, as I take it, is exactly the case
with Mr. S[tee]le, the pretended "TATLER" from Morphew, and myself, only
(I presume) the world will be sooner undeceived than the lady in Menage.
The very day my last paper came out, my printer brought me another of the
same date, called "The Tatler," by Isaac Bickerstaff Esq; and, which was
still more pleasant, with an advertisement at the end, calling me the
"_Female_ TATLER": it is not enough to rob me of my name, but now they
must impose a sex on me, when my years have long since determined me to
be of none at all. There is only one thing wanting in the operation, that
they would renew my age, and then I will heartily forgive them all the
rest. In the mean time, whatever uneasiness I have suffered from the
little malice of these men, and my retirement in the country, the
pleasures I have received from the same occasion, will fairly balance the
account. On the one hand, I have been highly delighted to see my name and
character assumed by the scribblers of the age, in order to recommend
themselves to it; and on the other, to observe the good taste of the
town, in distinguishing and exploding them through every disguise, and
sacrificing their trifles to the supposed _manes_ of Isaac Bickerstaff
Esquire. But the greatest merit of my journey into Staffordshire, is,
that it has opened to me a new fund of unreproved follies and errors that
have hitherto lain out of my view, and, by their situation, escaped my
censure. For, as I have lived generally in town, the images I had of the
country were such only as my senses received very early, and my memory
has since preserved with all the advantages they first appeared in.
Hence it was that I thought our parish church the noblest structure in
England, and the Squire's Place-House, as we called it, a most
magnificent palace. I had the same opinion of the alms-house in the
churchyard, and of a bridge over the brook that parts our parish from the
next. It was the common vogue of our school, that the master was the best
scholar in Europe, and the usher the second. Not happening to correct
these notions, by comparing them with what I saw when I came into the
world, upon returning back, I began to resume my former imaginations, and
expected all things should appear in the same view as I left them when
I was a boy: but to my utter disappointment I found them wonderfully
shrunk, and lessened almost out of my knowledge. I looked with contempt
on the tribes painted on the church walls, which I once so much admired,
and on the carved chimneypiece in the Squire's Hall. I found my old
master to be a poor ignorant pedant; and, in short, the whole scene to be
extremely changed for the worse. This I could not help mentioning,
because though it be of no consequence in itself, yet it is certain, that
most prejudices are contracted and retained by this narrow way of
thinking, which, in matters of the greatest moment are hardly shook off:
and which we only think true, because we were made to believe so, before
we were capable to distinguish between truth and falsehood. But there was
one prepossession which I confess to have parted with, much to my regret:
I mean the opinion of that native honesty and simplicity of manners,
which I had always imagined to be inherent in country-people. I soon
observed it was with them and us, as they say of animals; That every
species at land has one to resemble it at sea; for it was easy to
discover the seeds and principles of every vice and folly that one meets
with in the more known world, though shooting up in different forms. I
took a fancy out of the several inhabitants round, to furnish the camp,
the bar, and the Exchange, and some certain chocolate and coffeehouses,
with exact parallels to what, in many instances, they already produce.
There was a drunken quarrelsome smith, whom I have a hundred times
fancied at the head of a troop of dragoons. A weaver, within two doors of
my kinsman, was perpetually setting neighbours together by the ears. I
lamented to see how his talents were misplaced, and imagined what a
figure he might make in Westminster-Hall. Goodman Crop of Compton Farm,
wants nothing but a plum and a gold chain to qualify him for the
government of the City. My kinsman's stable-boy was a gibing companion
that would always have his jest. He would often put cow-itch in the
maids' beds, pull stools from under folks, and lay a coal upon their
shoes when they were asleep. He was at last turned off for some notable
piece of roguery, and when I came away, was loitering among the
ale-houses. Bless me, thought I, what a prodigious wit would this have
been with us! I could have matched all the sharpers between St. James's
and Covent Garden, with a notable fellow in the same neighbourhood,
(since hanged for picking pockets at fairs) could he have had the
advantages of their education. So nearly are the corruptions of the
country allied to those of the town, with no further difference than what
is made by another turn of thought and method of living!
[Footnote 1: "A reverend aspect, and a countenance formed to command,
have power to restrain some people; while others, who pay no regard to
those, are prevailed upon by the dint of writing, and the authority of a
great name." [T.S.]]
[Footnote 2: _I.e._ 1710-11. [T.S.]]
[Footnote 3: Gilles Menage (1613-1692). The story is given in "Menagiana"
(vol. ii. pp. 49-51, second edition, 1695). C. Sorel, however, in his
"Francion" (1623) tells a similar story of a poet named Saluste, who
was fooled in like manner. [T.S.]]
[Footnote 4: Morphew's "Tatler" for January 13th, 1710 (No. 276),
contains the following: "Whereas an advertisement was yesterday delivered
out by the author of the late 'Female Tatler,' insinuating, [according to
his custom] that he is Isaac Bickerstaff Esq.; This is to give notice,
that this paper is continued to be sold by John Morphew as formerly,"
"The Female Tatler, by Mrs. Crackenthorpe, a Lady that knows every thing,"
had been begun July 8th, 1709, but was now defunct. [T.S.]]
THE TATLER, No. 5.
_Molle pecus_ VIR.
FROM TUESDAY JAN. 23. TO SATURDAY JAN. 27. 1710.