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beauty of the type; which, it seems, is known among the printers by that appellation. We must not, however, think the members of the Conger strangers to the deeper parts of literature; for as carpenters, smiths, masons, and all mechanics smell of the trade they labour at, booksellers take a peculiar turn from their connexions with books and authors.
The character of the bookseller is commonly formed on the writers in his service. Thus one is a politician or a deist; another affects humour, or aims at turns of of wit and repartee; while a third perhaps is grave, moral, and sententious.
The Temple is the barrier, that divides the city and suburbs; and the gentlemen who reside there, seem influenced by the situation of the place they inhabit. Templars are, in general, a kind of citizen-courtiers. They aim at the air and mien of the drawing-room; but the holyday smartness of a 'prentice, heightened with some additional touches of the rake or coxcomb, betrays itself in every thing they do. The Temple, however, is stocked with it's peculiar beaux, wits, poets, critics, and every character in the gay world: and it is a thousand pities, that so pretty a society should be disgraced with a few dull fellows, who can submit to puzzle themselves with cases and reports, and have not tasted enough to follow the genteel method of studying the law.
I shall now, like a true student of the Temple, hurry from thence to Covent-Garden, the acknowledged region of gallantry, wit, and criticism; and hope to be excused for not stopping at George's in my way, as the Bedford affords a greater variety of nearly the same characters. This coffee-house is every night crowded with men of parts. Almost every one you meet is a polite scholar and a wit. Jokes and bon mots are echoed from box to box; every branch of literature is critically examined, and the merit of every production of the press, or performance at the
theatres, weighed and determined. This school (to which I am myself indebted for a great part of my education, and in which, though unworthy, I am now arrived at the honour of being a public lecturer) has bred up many authors, to the amazing entertainment and instruction of their readers. Button's, the grand archetype of the Bedford, was frequented by Addison, Steele, Pope, and the rest of that celebrated set, who flourished at the beginning of this century; and was regarded with just deference on account of the real geniusses who frequented it. But we can now boast men of superior abilities; men, who without any one acquired excellence, by the mere dint of an happy assurance, can exact the same tribute of veneration, and receive it as due to the illustrious characters, the scribblers, players, fiddlers, gamblers, that make so large a part of the company at the Bedford.
I shall now take leave of Covent-Garden, and desire the reader's company to White's. Here (as Vanbrugh says of Locket's) " he may have a dish no bigger than a saucer, that shall cost him fifty shillings." The great people, who frequent this place, do not interrupt their politer amusements, like the wretches at Garraway's, with business, any farther than to go down to Westminster one sessions to vote for a bill, and the next to repeal it. Nor do they trouble themselves with literary debates, as at the Bedford. Learning is beneath the notice of a man of quality. They employ themselves more fashionably at whist for the trifle of a thousand pounds the rubber, or by making bets on the lie of the day.
From this very genteel place the reader must not be surprised, if I should convey him to a cellar, or common porter-house. For as it is my province to delineate and remark on mankind in general, whoever becomes my disciple must not refuse to follow me from the Star and Garter to the Goose and Gridiron, and
be content to climb after me up to an author's garret, or give me leave to introduce him to a rout. my present cursory view of the Town I have, indeed, confined myself principally to coffee-houses; though I constantly visit all places, that afford any matter for speculation. I am a Scotchman at Forrest's, a Frenchman at Slaughter's, and at the Cocoa-Tree I am.......an Englishman. At the Robin Hood I am a politician, a logician, a geometrican, a physician, a metaphysician, a casuist, a moralist, a theologist, a mythologist, or any thing........but an atheist. Whereever the World is, I am. You will therefore hear of
me sometimes at the theatres, sometimes perhaps at the opera: nor shall I think the exhibitions of Sadler's Wells, or the Little Theatre in the Haymarket beneath my notice; but may one day or other give a dissertation upon tumbling, or (if they should again become popular) a critique on dugs and monkeys.
Though the Town is the walk I shall generally appear in, let it not be imagined, that vice and folly will shoot up unnoticed in the country. My cousin Village has undertaken that province, and will send me the freshest advices of every fault or foible that takes root there. But as it is my chief ambition to please and instruct the ladies, I shall embrace every opportunity of devoting my labours to their service: and I may with justice congratulate myself upon the happiness of living in an age, when the female part of the world are so studious to find employment for a Censor.
The character of Mr. Town is, I flatter myself, too well known to need an explanation. How far, and in what sense, I propose to be a Connoisseur, the reader will gather from my general motto:
." Non de villis domibusve alienis,
"Nec male necne Lepos saltet; sed quod magis ad nos "Pertinet, et nescire malum est, agitamus.”
"Who better knows to build, and who to dance,
As Critic and Censor-General, I shall take the liberty to animadvert on every thing that appears to me vicious or ridiculous; always endeavouring "to hold, as it were, the mirrour up to Nature, to shew Virtue her own feature, Scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the Time his form and pressure." T
No. II. THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7.
Commissa quod auctio vendit
"Stantibus, oenophorum, tripodes, armaria, cistas."
"Maim'd statues, rusty medals, marbles old,
I HAVE already received letters from several virtuosi, expressing their astonishment and concern at my disappointing the warm hopes they had conceived of my undertaking from the title of my paper. They tell me, that by deserting the paths of Virtu, I at once neglect the public interest and my own; that by supporting the character of Connoisseur in its usual sense, I might have obtained very considerable salaries from the principal auctio..-rooms, toyshops, and repositories; and might besides very plausibly have recommended myself as the properest person in the world, to be keeper of Sir Hans Sloane's Museum.
I cannot be insensible of the importance of this capital business of taste, and how much reputation as well as profit would accrue to my labours by confining them to the minutest researches into nature and art, and poring over the rust of antiquity. I very well know that the discovery of a new Zoophyte, or species of the Polype, would be as valuable as that of the longitude. The cabinets of the curious would furnish out matter for my essays, more instructing than all the learned lumber of a Vatican. Of what consequence would it be, to point out the distinctions of originals from copies so precisely, that the paltry scratchings of a modern may never hereafter be palmed on a Connoisseur for the labours of a Rembrandt! I should command applause from the adorers of antiquity, were I to demonstrate, that merit never existed but in the schools of the old painters, never flourished but in the warm climate of Italy :........ And how should I rise in the esteem of my countrymen by chastising the arrogance of an Englishman in presuming to determine the Analysis of Beauty!
At other times I might occasion to shew my sagacity in conjectures on rusty coins and illegible marbles. What profound erudition is contained in an half obliterated antique piece of copper! TRAJ. IMP. P. VII. COSS. MAX. *** TREB. V. P. P. S. C.; and how merveillous, most courteous and ryghte worthye reader, would the barbarous inscription of some ancient monument appear to thee; and how pleasaunt to thyne eyne wytheall, thus preserved in its obsolete spelling, and original Black Character! To this branch of taste, I am more particularly pressed: A correspondent desires to know, whether I was of the party, that lately took a survey of Palmyra in the Desert; another, if I have traversed the Holy Land, or visited Mount Calvary. I shall not speak too proudly of my travels: but as my predecessor, the Spectator has recommended himself by having made a trip to