Sivut kuvina

had locked up the legs of his company for fear of mis

. chief that night: and that Mr. Powell will not pay for any damages done by the said persons. It is also further advised, that there were no midwives wanted when those persons called them up in the several parts of Westminster ; but that those gentlewomen who were in the company of the said impostors, may take care to call such useful persons on the 6th of December next.

The censor having observed, that there are finewrought ladies' shoes and slippers put out to view at a great shoemaker's shop towards Saint James's end of Pall-mall, which create irregular thoughts and desires in the youth of this nation; the said shopkeeper is required to take in those eye-sores, or show cause the next court-day why he continues to expose the same; and he is required to be prepared particularly to answer the slippers with green lace and blue heels.

It is impossible for me to return the obliging things Mr. Joshua Barnes has said to me, upon the account of our mutual friend Homer. He and I have read him now forty years with some understanding, and great admiration. A work to be produced by one who has enjoyed so great an intimacy with an author, is certainly to be valued more than any comment made by persons of yesterday. Therefore, according to my friend Joshua's request, I recommend his work; and, having used a little magic in the case, I give this recommendation by way of “ Amulet or charm against the malignity of envious backbiters, who speak evil of performances whereof themselves were never capable.” If I may use my friend Joshua's own words, I shall at present say no more, but that we, Homer's oldest acquaintance now living, know best his ways; and

can inform the world, that they are often mistaken when they think he is in lethargic fits, which we know he was never subject to; and shall make appear to be rank scandal and envy, that of the Latin poet,

- Aliquando bonus dormitat Homerus.

Hor. Ars Poet. ver. 359.

-Good old Homer sometimes nods.

N° 144. SATURDAY, MARCH 23, 1709-10.


Sheer-lane, March 10. In a nation of liberty, there is hardly a person in the whole mass of the people more absolutely necessary than a Censor. It is allowed, that I have no authority for assuming this important appellation, and that I am Censor of these nations just as one is chosen king at the game of “ Questions and commands :" but if, in the execution of this fantastical dignity I observe upon things which do not fall within the cognizance of real authority, I hope it will be granted, that an idle man could not be more usefully employed. Among all the irregularities of which I take notice, I know none so proper to be presented to the world by a Censor, as that of the general expence and affectation in Equipage. I have lately hinted, that this extravagance must necessarily get footing where we have no sumptuary laws, and where every man may be dressed, attended, and carried, in what manner he pleases. But my tenderness to my fellow


subjects will not permit me to let this enormity go unobserved.

As the matter now stands, every man takes it in his head, that he has a liberty to spend his money as he pleases. Thus in spite of all order, justice, and decorum, we, the greater number of the queen's loyal subjects, for no reason in the world but because we want money, do not share alike in the division of her majesty's high road. The horses and slaves of the rich take

up the whole street; while we Peripatetics are very glad to watch an opportunity to whisk cross a passage, very thankful that we are not run over for interrupting the machine, that carries in it a person neither more handsome, wise, nor valiant, than the meanest of us. For this reason, were I to propose a tax, it should certainly be upon coaches and chairs : for no man living can assign a reason, why one man should have half a street to carry him at his ease, and perhaps only in pursuit of pleasure, when as good a man as himself wants room for his own person to pass upon the most necessary and urgent occasion. Until such an acknowledgement is made to the public, I shall take upon me to vest certain rights in the scavengers of the cities of Loodon and Westminster, to take the horses and servants of all such as do not become or deserve such distinctions, into their peculiar custody. The offenders themselves I shall allow safe conduct to their places of abode in the carts of the said scavengers, but their horses shall be mounted by their footmen, and sent into service abroad; and I take this opportunity, in the first place, to recruit the regiment of my good old friend the brave and honest Sylvius, that they may be as well taught as they are fed. It is to me most miraculous, so unreasonable an usurpation, as this I am speaking of, should so long have been


tolerated. We hang a poor fellow for taking any trifle from us on the road, and bear with the rich for robbing us of the road itself. Such a tax as this would be of great satisfaction to us who walk on foot; and since the distinction of riding in a coach is not to be appointed according to a man's merit or service to his country, nor that liberty given as reward for some eminent virtue, we should be highly contented to see them pay something for the insult they do us, in the state they take upon them while they are drawn by us.

Until they have made us some reparation of this kind, we the Peripatetics of Great-Britain cannot think ourselves well treated, while every one that is able, is allowed to set up an equipage.

As for my part, I cannot but admire how persons, conscious to themselves of no manner of superiority above others, can out of mere pride or laziness expose themselves at this rate to public view, and put us all upon pronouncing those three terrible syllables, " Who is that ?”. When it comes to that question, our method is, to consider the mien and air of the passenger, and comfort ourselves for being dirty to the ancles, by laughing at his figure and appearance who overlooks iis. I must confess, were it not for the solid injustice of the thing, there is nothing could afford a discerning eye greater occasion for mirth, than this licentious huddle of qualities and characters in the equipages about this town. The overseers of the highways and constables have so little skill or power to rectify this matter, that you may often see the equipage of a fellow, whom all the town knows to deserve hanging, make a stop that shall interrupt the lord high chancellor and all the judges in their way to Westminster.

For the better understanding of things and persons in this general confusion, I have given directions to all the coach-makers and coach-painters in town, to bring me in lists of their several customers; and doubt not, but with comparing the orders of each man, in the placing his arms on the door of his chariot, as well as the words, devices, and cyphers to be fixed upon them, to make a collection which shall let us into the nature, if not the history, of mankind, more usefully than the curiosities of any medallist in Europe.

But this evil of vanity in our figure, with many others, proceeds from a certain gaiety of heart, which has crept into men's very thoughts and complexions. The passions and adventures of heroes, when they enter the list for the tournament in romances, are not more easily distinguishable by their palfreys and their armour, than the secret springs and affections of the several pretenders to show amongst us are known by their equipages in ordinary life. The young bridegroom with his gilded Cupids and winged Angels, has some excuse in the joy of his heart to launch out into something that may be significant of his present happiness. But to see men, for no reason upon earth but that they are rich, ascend triumphant chariots, and ride through the people, has at the bottom nothing else in it but an insolent transport, arising only from the distinction of fortune.

It is therefore high time that I call in such coaches as are in their embellishments improper for the character of their owners. But if I find I am not obeyed herein, and that I cannot pull down those equipages already erected, I shall take upon me to prevent the growth of this evil for the future, by inquiring into the pretensions of the persons, who shall hereafter attempt to make public entries with

« EdellinenJatka »