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in it at the expense of your Majesty. Give me leave to tell you, Sir, this is the reason that we in the country hear so often repeated the word prerogative. That part of your law which is reserved in yourself, for the readier service and good of the public, slight men are eternally buzzing in our ears, to cover their own follies and miscarriages. It would be an addition to the high favour you have done me, if you would let Eucrate send me word how often, and in what cases, you allow a constable to insist upon the prerogative. From the highest to the lowest officer in your dominions something of their own carriage they would exempt from examination, under the shelter of the word prerogative. I would fain, most noble Pharamond, see one of your officers assert your prerogative by good and gracious actions. When it is used to help the afflicted, to rescue the innocent, to comfort the stranger? Uncommon methods, apparently undertaken to attain worthy ends, would never make power invidious. You see, Sir, I talk to you with the freedom your noble nature approves in all whom you admit to your conversation.
“But, to return to your Majesty's letter, I humbly conceive that all distinctions are useful to men, only as they are to act in public; and it would be a romantic madness for a man to be a lord in his closet. Nothing can be honourable to a man apart from the world, but the reflection upon worthy actions; and he that places honour in a consciousness of well-doing, will have but little relish of any outward homage that is paid him, since what gives him distinction to himself, cannot come within the observation of his beholders. 'Thus all the words of lordship, honour, and grace, are only repetitions to a man that the king has ordered him to be called so; but no evidences that there is anything in himself, that would give the man, who applies to him, those ideas, without the creation of his master.
“I have, most noble Pharamond, all honours and all titles in your approbation; I triumph in them as they are your gift, I refuse them as they are to give me the observation of others. Indulge me, my noble master, in this chastity of renown; let me know myself in the favour of Pharamond, and look down upon the applause of the people. I am,
“În all duty and loyalty,
« JEAN CHEzLUY.”
“ I NEED not tell with what disadvantages men of low fortunes and great modesty come into the world; what wrong measures their diffidence of themselves, and fear of offending, often oblige them to take; and what a pity it is that their greatest virtues and qualities, that should soonest recommend them, are the main obstacles in the way of their preferment.
"This, Sir, is my case; I was bred at a country school, where I learned Latin and Greek. The misfortunes of my family forced me up to town, where a profession of the politer sort has protected me against infamy and want. I am now clerk to a lawyer, and in times of vacancy and recess from business, have made myself master of Italian and French; and though the progress I have made in my business bas gained me reputation enough for one of my standing, yet my mind suggests to me every day, that it is not upon that foundation I am to build my fortune..
“ The person I have my present dependence upon, has it in his nature, as well as in his power, to advance me, by recommending me to a gentleman that is going beyond sea in a public employment. I know the printing this letter would point me out to those I want confidence to speak to, and I hope it is not in your power to refuse making any body happy.
“ Yours, &c.
“ M. D.* “ September 9, 1712." STEELE.
No. 481. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 1712.
HOR. 1 Sat. VII. 19...
To law they run, and wrangling dearly love. It is sometimes pleasant enough to consider the different notions, which different persons have of the same thing. If men of low condition very often set a value on things which are not prized by those who are in a higher station of life, there are many things these esteem which are no value among persons of an inferior rank. Common people are, in particular, very much astonished when they hear of those solemn contests and debates, which are made among the great upon the punctilios of a public ceremony; and wonder to hear that any business of consequence should be retarded by those little circumstances which they represent to themselves as trifling and insignificant. I am mightily pleased with a porter's decision in one of Mr. Southern's plays, which is founded upon that fine distress of a virtuous woman's marrying a second husband, while her first was yet living. The first husband, who was supposed to have been dead, returning to his house after
* Mr. Robert Harper, an eminent conveyancer of Lincoln's Inn.
a long absence, raises a noble perplexity for the tragic part of the play. In the meanwhile, the nurse and the porter conferring upon the difficulties that would ensue in such a case, honest Samson thinks the matter may be easily decided, and solves it very judiciously by the old proverb, that, if his first master be still living, “ the man must have his mare again.” There is nothing in my time which has so much surprised and confounded the greatest part of my honest countrymen, as the present controversy between Count Rechteren and Monsieur Mesnager, which employs the wise heads of so many nations, and holds all the affairs of Europe in suspense.
Upon my going into a coffee-house yesterday, and lending an ear to the next table, which was encompassed with a circle of inferior politicians, one of them, after having read over the news very attentively, broke out into the following remarks.—“I am afraid,” says he, “ this unhappy rupture between the footmen at Utrecht will retard the peace of Christendom. I wish the pope may not be at the bottom of it. His holiness has a very good hand at fomenting a division, as the poor Swiss cantons have lately experienced to their cost. If Monsieur What-d'ye-call-him's domestics will not come to an accommodation, I do not know how the quarrel can be ended but by a religious war.”
“Why, truly,” says a wiseacre that sat by him, “ were I as the king of France, I would scorn to take part with the footmen of either side: here's all the business of Europe stands still, because Monsieur Mesnager's man bas had his head broke. If Count Rectrum* had given them a pot of ale after it, all would have been well, without any of this bustle; but they say he's a warm man, and does not care to be made mouths at."
Upon this, one that had held his tongue hitherto, began to exert himself; declaring, that he was very well pleased the plenipoten tiaries of our Christian princes took this matter into their serious consideration; for the lackeys were never so saucy and prag. matical as they are now a-days, and that he should be glad to see them taken down in the treaty of peace, if it might be done without prejudice to the public affairs.
One who sat at the other end of the table, and seemed to be in the interests of the French king, told them, that they did not take the matter right, for that his most Christian majesty did not resent this matter because it was an injury done to Monsieur Mesnager's footmen;" for,” says he," what are Monsieur Mesnager's footmen to him ? but because it was done to his subjects. Now," says he, “let me tell you, it would look very odd for a subject of France to have a bloody nose, and his sovereign not to take notice of it. He is obliged in honour to defend his people against hostilities; and, if the Dutch will be so insolent to a crowned head as, in any wise,
* Count Rechteren.
to cuff or kick those who are under his protection, I think he is in the right to call them to an account for it.”
This distinction set the controversy upon a new foot, and seemed to be very well approved by most that heard it, until a little warm fellow, who had declared himself a friend to the house of Austria, fell most unmercifully upon his Gallic majesty, as encouraging his subjects to make mouths at their betters, and afterwards screening them from the punishment that was due to their insolence. To which he added, that the French nation was so addicted to grimace, that, if there was not a stop put to it at the general congress, there would be no walking the streets for them in a time of peace, especially if they continued masters of the West Indies. The little man proceeded with a great deal of warmth, declaring that, if the allies were of his mind, he would oblige the French king to burn his galleys, and tolerate the protestant religion in his dominions, before he would sheath his sword. He concluded with calling Monsieur Mesnager an insignificant
The dispute was now growing very warm, and one does not know where it would have ended, had not a young man of about one and-twenty, who seems to have been brought up with an eye to the law, taken the debate into his hand, and given it as his opinion, that neither Count Rechteren nor Monsieur Mesnager had behaved themselves right in this affair. “ Count Rechteren," says he, “ should have made affidavit that his servants had been affronted, and then Monsieur Mesnager would have done him justice, by taking away their liveries from them, or some other way that he might have thought the most proper; for, let me tell you, If a man makes a mouth at me, I am not to knock the teeth out of it for his pains. Then again, as for Monsieur Mesnager, upon his servants being beaten, why, he might have had his action of assault and battery. But as the case now stands, if you will have my opinion, I think they ought to bring it to referees.”
I heard a great deal more of this conference, but I must confess with little edification; for all I could learn at last from these honest gentlemen was, that the matter in debate was of too high a nature for such heads as theirs, or mine, to comprehend.
No. 482. FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 1712.
Floriferis ut apes in saltibus omnia limant. LUCR. III. 11.
CREECH. WHEN I have published any single paper that falls in with the popular taste, and pleases more than ordinary, it always brings me in a great return of letters. My Tuesday's discourse, wherein I gave several admonitions to the fraternity of the hen-pecked, has already produced me very many correspondents; the reason I cannot guess, unless it be that such a discourse is of general use, and every married man's money. An honest tradesman, who dates his letter from Cheapside, sends me thanks in the name of a club, who, he tells me, meet as often as their wives will give them leave and stay together till they are sent for home. He informs me, that my paper has administered great consolation to their whole club, and desires me to give some further account of Socrates, and to acquaint them in whose reign be lived, whether he was a citizen or a courtier, whether he buried Xantippe; with many other particulars: for that by his sayings, he appears to have been a very wise man, and a good Christian. Another, who writes himself Benjamin Bamboo, tells me, that, being coupled with a shrew, he had endeavoured to tame her by such lawful means as those which I mentioned in my last Tuesday's paper, and that in his wrath he had often gone farther than Bracton allows in those cases; but that for the future he was resolved to bear it like a man of temper and learning, and consider her only as one who lives in his house to teach him philosophy. Tom Dapperwit says, that he agrees with me in that whole discourse, excepting only the last sentence, where I affirm the married state to be either a heaven or a hell. Tom has been at the charge of a penny upon this occasion to tell me, that by his experience it is neither one nor the other, but rather that middle kind of state, commonly known by the name of purgatory.
The fair sex have likewise obliged me with their reflections upon the same discourse. A lady, who calls herself Euterpe, and seems a woman of letters, asks me whether I am for establishing the Salic law in every family, and why it is not fit that a woman who has discretion and learning should sit at the helm, when the husband is weak and illiterate? Another, of quite a contrary character, subscribes herself Xantippe, and tells me that she follows the example of her namesake ; for, being married to a bookish man, who has no knowledge of the world, she is forced to