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The contents of the postscript I naturally referred to the consideration of my publisher, who consequently had a right to determine on the goodness of my friend's essay; but, whatever was the reason, I heard no more of it. The commerce between bookseller and author is, indeed, of very great service, especially to the latter for though I myself must undoubtedly be excepted out of the number, yet it must be confessed, that the most famous wits have owed their support to this pecuniary intercourse. Meat and drink, and the other conveniences of life, are as necessary to an author as pen, ink and paper: and I remember to have seen in the possession of Mr. Tonson a curious manuscript of the great Dryden himself, wherein he petitions his bookseller to advance a sum of money to his taylor.
The next letter comes likewise from an author, who complains of an evil, which does not, indeed, often affect many of our fraternity; I mean, the custom of giving money to servants.
DEAR MR. Town,
I have been happy all this winter in having the run of a nobleman's table, who was pleased to patronize a work of mine, and to which he allowed me the honour of prefixing his name in a dedication. We geniuses have spirit, you know, far beyond our pockets: and (besides the extraordinary expence of new clothes to appear decent) I assure you I have laid out every farthing, that I ever received from his lordship's bounty, in tips to his servants. After every dinner I was forced to run the gauntlet through a long line of powdered pickpockets; and could not but look upon it as a very ridiculous circumstance, that I should be obliged to give money to a fellow, who was dressed much finer than myself. In such a case, I am apt to consider the showy waiscoat of a foppish footman or butler out of
livery, as laced down with the shillings and halfcrowns of the guests.
I would therefore beg of you, Mr. Town, to recommend the poor author's case to the consideration of the gentlemen of the cloth; humbly praying, that they would be pleased to let us go scot-free as well as the clergy: For though a good meal is in truth a very comfortable thing to us, it is enough to blunt the edge of our appetites, to consider that we must afterwards pay so dear for our ordinary. I am, Sir,
Your humble servant,
By some of my papers I find I have drawn upon me the censure, not only of the free-thinkers, but of the Moravians, Methodists, and other numerous sectaries, which have lately started up in opposition to our established religion. The following letter, occasioned by my sixty-first number, bears about it so many marks of an original, that it certainly comes from one of their teachers, who (as his style smells so much of the craft) is undoubtedly some inspired shoemaker, or enlightened bricklayer. I have therefore printed it without any alteration, except in the spelling.
I have taken the pains. as usual to read your paper; and as you receive letters, I thought proper among the rest to send one also, to let you know, that I did not know that a cat was capable of constituting a religious society before. A priest may, 'tis true; and so may another rational creature, and perhaps an old woman also. But, Sir, you argue, that what a French fool or lunatic says on this head, is true; but you make more out, I observe, from the old woman and the leathern apron, than
you do of the cat. For, if old women will, or do constitute a religious society, I understand from the foundation you seem to argue, that you are as much an old woman as they. For to argue or reason from an old woman's story, and for all your learning, and policy, and cunningness, and judgment you seem to have, you have but little of yourself: and as you seem to ridicule religion, and compare it to atheism or lunacy, I would beg the favour to know, Sir, what religion you are of: but by your talk I fear you are of none at
This new doctrine, Sir, that you revile, is the real gospel, which you will find so, if you hear it, and compare it with the scriptures, if you believe any scripture at all. For you say, Sir, that the most extraordinary tenets of religion are very successfully propagated under the sanction of leathern aprons instead of cassocks. Well, and suppose it is: you acknowledge it is received by well disposed people: and if it is, then it is plain, as you ridicule it, you are not one of these well disposed. But, Sir, this new doctrine, as you call it, is not only propagated under the sanction of leathern aprons, by barbers, bricklayers, and the like, but by many of the clergy now in the established church: and if you often went to hear them, but not as a critic to carp at what is there spoken, you would understand more what this new doctrine meant, and whether it drives men to enthusiasm, and the like, or no.
Sir, what you touch on the Moravians, I will not say any thing about or against; for perhaps it is too true. But, Sir, I would advise you to know a little more of religion experimentally for yourself, before you pretend to condemn, others. And, Sir, if you are informed, that there will be a mad-house built on the ground where the Foundry stands, or the Metho dists Meeting-house, as you call it, perhaps there may
be as many criticising lunatics in it, as religious ones; and very likely more. Sir, I beg you would take care you don't bother your brains too much about other people's affairs: lest I should have the pain, not the pleasure, of seeing you there.
I have just given you a sketch of the ridiculing the new doctrine, and wish you could find some better employ, if so be it was with a leathern apron before you; for I think it would become you better than this point does. Sir, I hope you will excuse my dom with you, as others must yours with them. Your humble servant,
WISH NO HARM,
The last letter, which I shall add, comes from an unknown correspondent, who has already obliged me more than once, if I may judge from the hand writing.
SOME time aga you archly remarked, that there was not one woman left, but that the whole sex was elevated into ladies. You might at the same time have taken notice of the wonderful increase among the other sex in the order of gentlemen.
Besides those, who are universally acknowledged of this rank from their birth and situation in life, the courtesy of England also entitles all persons, who carry arms, to that dignity: so that his Majesty's three regiments of guards are composed entirely of gentlemen; and every priggish fellow, who can clap a queue to his peruke, and hang a sword awkwardly dangling by his side, from thence assumes the importance as well as name of a gentleman. Idleness and ignorance being too often the disgrace of those, who are gentle. men born and bred, many invest themselves with that dignity, though with no other qualifications. If the
pride, poverty, or neglect of parents, has prevented their son from being bound 'prentice, or if the idle rascal has shewn his indentures a light pair of heels, in either case Tom is of no trade, and consequently a gentleman. I know at this time a man, who came from Ireland last summer with an hayfork, but before winter raised himself to the rank of a gentleman: and every day I go to Windmill-street, I see a very honourable gentleman betting large sums of money, whom I formerly remember Marker of the Tennis court. Add to this, that all attorneys' clerks, 'prentices, and the like, are gentlemen every evening; and the citizen, (who drudges all the rest of the week behind the counter,) every Sunday, together with his laced waistcoat and ruffles, puts on the gentleman. Every author, Mr. Town, is a gentleman, if not an esquire, by his profession; and all the players, from King Richard to the Lieutenant of the Tower, are gentlemen.
The body of gentlemen is still more numerous; but I have not leisure at present to climb up to garrets, or dive into cellars after them: I shall only observe, that many of the above-mentioned members of this order die with the same reputation that they lived, and go out of the world like Squire Maclean, or Gentleman Harry.
Your humble servant, &c.
Before I dismiss this new edition of my works, I think it my duty to return thanks to my kind readers for their candid reception of these Papers, as they were separately published: Though I cannot but be sensible, that either through haste, inadvertence, or other avocations, they unavoidably abounded with many faults; from which I have endeavoured to clear them as much as possible in their present form. Mr. Faulkner of Dublin is very welcome, therefore, to his Irish edition, printed literatim from my folio; and in