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RETIREMENT OF SIR ANDREW.
[Sir Andrew Freeport and the Spectator being now the only remaining members of the Club, the former announces his intention of retiring from it, and settling in the country, in the conversation and letter which follow. The Club is thus dissolved. A whimsical plan for the formation of a new one is described in No. 550, but it is hard to suppose that Addison seriously intended to revive a machinery, which, having answered its purpose, had just been gracefully withdrawn from existence; at any rate no such plan was acted upon when the eighth volume of the Spectator was commenced in March, 1713.]
No. 549. The wisdom of timely retirement: Letter from Sir
Quamvis digressu veteris confusus amici,
Juy. Sat. iii. 1. I believe most people begin the world with a resolution to withdraw from it into a serious kind of solitude or retirement, when they have made themselves easy in it. Our unhappiness is, that we find out some excuse or other for deferring such our good resolutions till our intended retreat is cut off by death. But among all kinds of people there are none who are so hard to part with the world as those who are grown old in the heaping up of riches. Their minds are so warped with their constant attention to gain, that it is very difficult for them to
give their souls another bent, and convert them towards those 20 objects, which, though they are proper for every stage of life,
are so more especially for the last. Horace describes an old usurer as so charmed with the pleasures of a country life, that, in order to make a purchase, he called in all his money; but what was the event of it? why, in a very few days after, he put it out again n. I am engaged in this series of thought by a discourse which I had last week with my worthy friend Sir Andrew Freeport, a man of so much natural eloquence, good sense, and probity of mind, that I always hear him with a particular
pleasure. As we were sitting together, being the sole remaining 30 members of our club, Sir Andrew gave me an account of the
many busy scenes of life in which he had been engaged, and at the same time reckoned up to me abundance of those lucky hits which at another time he would have called pieces of good fortune; but in the temper of mind he was then, he termed them mercies, favours of Providence, and blessings upon an honest industry. Now,' says he, you must know, my good friend, I am so used to consider myself as creditor and debtor, that I often state my accounts after the same manner with regard to heaven and my own soul. In this case, when I look upon the debtor side, I find such innumerable articles, that I want arithmetic to cast them up; but when I look upon the creditor side, I find little more than blank paper. Now, though I am very
well satisfied that it is not in my power to balance accounts 10 with my Maker, I am resolved however to turn all my future endeavours that way.
You must not therefore be surprised, my friend, if you hear that I am betaking myself to a more thoughtful kind of life, and if I meet you no more in this place.'
I could not but approve so good a resolution, notwithstanding the loss I shall suffer by it. Sir Andrew has since explained himself to me more at large in the following letter, which is just come to my hands.
Good MR. SPECTATOR,
‘Notwithstanding my friends at the club have always rallied me, 20 when I have talked of retiring from business, and repeated to me
one of my own sayings, That a merchant has never enough, till be has got a little more, I can now inform you, that there is one in the world who thinks he has enough, and is determined to pass the remainder of his life in the enjoyment of what he has. You know me
so well that I need not tell you, I mean, by the enjoyment of my possessions, the making of them useful to the public. As the greatest part of my estate has been hitherto of an unsteady and volatile nature, either tossed upon seas,
or fluctuating in funds, it is now fixed and settled in substantial 30 acres and tenements. I have removed it from the uncer
tainty of stocks, winds, and waves, and disposed of it in a considerable purchase. This will give me great opportunity of being charitable in my way, that is, in setting my poor neighbours to work, and giving them a comfortable subsistence out of their own industry. My gardens, my fish-ponds, my arable and pasture-grounds, shall be my several hospitals, or rather workhouses, in which I propose to maintain a great many indigent persons, who are now starving in my neighbourhood. I have got a fine spread of improveable lands, and in my own thoughts
am already ploughing up some of them, fencing others; planting woods, and draining marshes. In fine, as I have my share in the surface of this island, I am resolved to make it as beautiful a spot as any in her Majesty's dominions; at least there is not an inch of it which shall not be cultivated to the best advantage, and do its utmost for its owner. As in my mercantile employment I so disposed of my affairs, that from whatever corner of the compass the wind blew, it was bringing
home one or other of my ships, I hope, as a husbandman, to 10 contrive it so, that not a shower of rain, or a glimpse of sun
shine, shall fall upon my estate, without bettering some part of it, and contributing to the products of the season. You know it has been hitherto my opinion of life, that it is thrown away when it is not some way useful to others. But when I am riding out by myself, in the fresh air on the open heath that lies by my house, I find several other thoughts growing up in
I am now of opinion, that a man of my age may find business enough on himself, by setting his mind in order, pre
paring it for another world, and reconciling it to the thoughts 20 of death. I must therefore acquaint you, that besides those
usual methods of charity, of which I have before spoken, I am at this very instant finding out a convenient place where I may build an alms-house, which I intend to endow very handsomly, for a dozen superannuated husbandmen. It will be a great pleasure to me to say my prayers twice a-day with men of my own years, who all of them, as well as myself, may have their thoughts taken up how they shall die, rather than how they shall live. I remember an excellent saying that I learnt at school,
Finis coronat opus n : you know best whether it be in Virgil or in 30 Horace; it is my business to apply it. If your affairs will permit
you to take the country air with me sometimes, you shall find an apartment fitted up for you, and shall be every day entertained with beef or mutton of my own feeding; fish out of my own ponds; and fruit out of my own gardens. You shall have free egress and regress about my house, without having any questions asked you; and, in a word, such an hearty welcome as you may expect from
"Your most sincere friend,
And humble servant,
• ANDREW FREEPORT.'
The club of which I am a member being entirely dispersed, I shall consult my reader next week upon a project relating to the institution of a new one.--0,
No. 550. The Spectator has been pressed to elect a new club; proposes a plan for the purpose. Quid dignum tanto feret hic promissor hiatu ?
Hor. Ars Poet. 138. Since the late dissolution of the club, whereof I have often declared myself a member, there are very many persons, who by letters, petitions, and recommendations, put up for the next election. At the same time I must complain, that several indirect and underhand practices have been made use of upon
this occasion. A certain country gentleman began to tap upon 10 the first information he received of Sir Roger's death; when
he sent me up word, that if I would get him chosen in the place of the deceased, he would present me with a barrel of the best October I had ever drunk in my life. The ladies are in great pain to know whom I intend to elect in the room of Will. Honeycomb. Some of them indeed are of opinion that Mr. Honeycomb did not take sufficient care of their interests in the club, and are therefore desirous of having in it hereafter a representative of their own sex. A citizen who subscribes
himself Y. Z. tells me, that he has one-and-twenty shares in the 20 African company, and offers to bribe me with the odd one in
case he may succeed Sir Andrew Freeport, which he thinks would raise the credit of that fund. I have several letters, dated from Jenny Man's, by gentlemen who are candidates for Captain Sentry's place, and as many from a coffee-house in Paul's churchyard, of such who would fill up the vacancy occasioned by the death of my worthy friend the clergyman, whom I can never mention but with a particular respect.
Having maturely weighed these several particulars, with the many remonstrances that have been made to me on this subject, 30 and considering how invidious an office I shall take upon me,
if I make the whole election depend upon my single voice, and being unwilling to expose myself to those clamours which, on
A NEW CLUB.
75 such an occasion, will not fail to be raised against me for partiality, injustice, corruption, and other qualities which my nature abhors, I have formed to myself the project of a club as follows.
I have thoughts of issuing out writs to all and every of the clubs that are established in the cities of London and Westminster, requiring them to chuse out of their respective bodies person
of the greatest merit, and to return his name to me before Lady-day, at which time I intend to sit upon business. 10 By this means I may have reason to hope, that the club over
which I shall preside, will be the very flower and quintessence of all other clubs.
I have communicated this my project to none but a particular friend of mine, whom I have celebrated twice or thrice for his happiness in that kind of wit which is commonly known by the name of a pun. The only objection he makes to it is, that I shall raise up enemies to myself if I act with so regal an air, and that my detractors, instead of giving me the usual title of Spectator, will be apt to call me the King of Clubs.
But to proceed on my intended project: it is very well known 20 that I at first set forth in this work with the character of a silent
man; and I think I have so well preserved my taciturnity, that I do not remember to have violated it with three sentences in the space of almost two years. As a monosyllable is my delight, I have made a very few excursions in the conversations which I have related, beyond a yes or a no. By this means my readers have lost many good things which I have had in my heart though I did not care for uttering them.
Now, in order to diversify my character, and to shew the world how well I can talk if I have a mind, I have thoughts of 30 being very loquacious in the club which I have now under con
sideration. But that I may proceed the more regularly in this affair, I design upon the first meeting of the said club, to have my mouth opened in form; intending to regulate myself in this particular by a certain ritual which I have by me, that contains all the ceremonies which are practised at the opening the mouth of a Cardinal n. I have likewise examined the forms which were used of old by Pythagoras, when any of his scholars, after an apprenticeship of silence, was made free of his speecho. In
the mean time, as I have of late found my name in foreign 40 gazettes upon less occasions, I question not but in their next