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tions; and on this account it is thought no mean recommendation of their works, to advertise that they are "beautifully printed on a fine paper and entire new letter." Nor are they only indebted to the press for the beauty of the type, but often call in its assistance to explain and enforce the sentiment. When an author is in doubt whether the reader will be able to comprehend his meaning, or indeed whether he has any meaning at all, he takes care to sprinkle the sentence with Italics; but when he would surprise us with any thing more striking than ordinary, he distinguishes the emphatical words by large staring CAPITALS, which overtop the rest of their fellows, and are intended, like the grenadiers caps, to give us an idea of something grand and uncommon. These are designed as so many hints to let the reader know where he is to be particularly affected; and answer the same purpose with the marginal directions in plays, which inform the actor when he is to laugh or cry. This practice is most remarkable in pieces of modern wit and humour: and it may be observed, that where there is the least of these lively qualities, the author is most desirous of substituting these arts in their room; imagining, that by a judicious distribution of these enlivening strokes in different parts of it, his work, however dull in itself, will become smart and brilliant.
And here I cannot but take notice, that these arts have been employed to very great advantage in the service of the theatres. The writer of the play bills deals out his capitals in so just a proportion, that you may tell the salary of each actor by the size of the letter in which his name is printed. When the manager of Drury-lane first came upon the stage, a new set of types two inches long were cast on purpose to do honour to his extraordinary merit. This indeed is so proper, that the severest critics on the drama cannot be offended at this piece of theatrical justice.
There is lately sprung up among us a new species of writers, who are most of them persons of the first rank and fashion. At this period the whole house of commons are turned authors: and we cannot sufficiently admire the propriety of style and sentiment in those elegant addresses, by which they humbly offer themselves as candidates, and beg the favor of your votes and interest. These gentlemen avail themselves greatly of the arts of printing above mentioned, whether they would raise the merits of their own, cause, or throw out invectives on the opposite party. The courtier sets before your eyes in large letters his steady attachment to King GEORGE, while his opponent displays in the same manner his zeal for LIBERTY and the CONSTITUTION. This must undoubtedly have a wonderful effect on the electors: and I could almost assure any patriot certain success, who should manifest his regard for Old England by printing his addresses in the Old English Charac
But, in the whole republic of letters, there are none perhaps, who are more obliged to the printer, than the writers of periodical essays. The Spectators, indeed, came into the world without any of the advantages we are possessed of. They were originally published in a very bad print and paper, and were so entirely destitute of all outward ornaments, that like (Terence's virgin)
..Ni vis boni
In ipsa inesset forma, hæc formam extinguerent.
"Unless the soul of beauty had breathed through the compositions themselves, these disadvantages would have suppressed the least appearances of it."
As it requires no genius to supply a defect of this nature, our modern essays as much excel the Spectators in elegance of form, as perhaps they may be
thought to fall short of them in every other respect. But they have this additional advantage, that by the fineness of their paper they are rescued from serving many mean and ignoble purposes, to which they might otherwise be applied. They also form themselves more commodiously into volumes, and become genteeler appendages of the tea-table. The candid reader will undoubtedly impute this extraordinary care about externals to the modesty of us present essayists, who are willing to compensate for our poverty of genius, by bestowing these outward graces and embellishments on our works. For my own part, I never reflect on the first unadorned publication of the Spectator, and at the same time take up one of my own papers, set off with every ornament of the press, but I am afraid that the critics will apply, what a facetious peer is said to have remarked on two different ladies; that "the first is a soul without a body, and the last a body without a soul."
As in this fashionable age there are many of lord Foppington's opinion, " that a book should be recommended by it's outside to a man of quality and breeding," it is incumbent on all authors to let their works appear as well drest as possible, if they expect them to be admitted into polite company. Yet we should not lay too much stress on the decorations, but rather remember Tully's precept to all who build, that "the owner should be an ornament to the house, and not the house to the owner."
THURSDAY, MARCH 28.
.Solvitque animis miracula rerum,
Eripuitque Jovi fulmen, viresque tonanti.
He freed our minds from dread of things above,
THE publication of lord Bolingbroke's posthumous works has given new life and spirit to freethinking. We seem at present to be endeavouring to unlearn our catechism, with all that we have been taught about religion, in order to model our faith to the fashion of his lordship's system. We have now nothing to do, but to throw away our bibles, turn the churches into theatres, and rejoice that an act of parliament, now in force, gives us an opportunity of getting rid of the clergy by transportation. I was in hopes that the extraordinary price of these volumes would have confined their influence to persons of quality. As they are placed above extreme indigence and absolute want of bread, their loose notions would have carried them no farther than cheating at cards, or perhaps plundering their country but if these opinions spread among the vulgar, we shall be knocked down at noon-day in our streets, and nothing will go forward but robberies and murders.
The instances I have lately seen of freethinking, in the lower part of the world, make me fear they are going to be as fashionable and as wicked as their betters. I went the other night to the Robin Hood; where it is usual for the advocates against religion to assemble, and openly avow their infidelity. One of the questions for the night was, "Whether Lord Bolingbroke had not done greater service to mankind by his writings, than the Apostles or Evangelists?" As this society is chiefly composed of lawyers' clerks, petty tradesmen, and the lowest mechanics, I was a
first surprised to find such amazing erudition among them. Toland, Tindal, Collins, Chubb, and Mandeville, they seemed to have got by heart. A shoemaker harangued his five minutes upon the excellence of the tenets maintained by Lord Bolingbroke; but I soon found that his reading had not been extended beyond the "Idea of a Patriot King," which he had mistaken for a glorious system of free-thinking. I could not help smiling at another of the company, who took pains to shew is disbelief of the Gospel by unsainting the Apostles, and calling them by no other title than plain Paul or plain Peter. The proceedings of this society, have, indeed, almost induced me to wish, that (like the Roman Catholics) they were not permitted to read the Bible, rather than they should read it only to abuse it.
I have frequently heard many wise tradesmen, settling the most important articles of our faith over a pint of beer. A baker took occasion from Canning's affair to maintain, in opposition to the scriptures, that man might live by bread alone, at least that woman might; "for else, said he, how could the girl have been supported for a whole month by a few hard crusts?" In answer to this, a barber surgeon set forth the improbability of that story: and thence inferred, that it was impossible for our Saviour to have fasted forty days in the wilderness. I lately heard a midshipman swear that the Bible was all a lie for he had sailed round the world with Lord Anson, and if there had been any Red Sea, he must have met with it. I know a bricklayer, who, while he was working by line and rule, and carefully laying one brick upon another, would argue with a fellow labourer, that the world was made by chance; and a cook, who thought more of his trade than his Bible, in a dispute concerning the miracles, made a pleasant mistake about the nature of the first, and gravely asked his antagonist what he thought of the Supper at Cana.