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too I have observed, in the nature of these nightly conjurations, a tendency to invert the order of things, as it stands in reality. What we bave contemplated with reverential awe during the day, we encounter in our dreams with a careless familiarity, and are frequently drawn into the closest intimacy with what has filled our waking thoughts with dread and abhorrence.
In the drama too of our dreams, the most topsyturvy dispositions are made, and the different parts are sustained by the most improper persons in the world: thus our best friends will sometimes act in these scenes like the bitterest enemies, and the purest characters will be concerned in the basest actions, To draw therefore from such confused appearances rules for our daily practice, and to suspect virtue and honesty because our mischievous fancy has traduced them in our dreams, would be to lay a foundation for such caprice, misconstruction, and abuse, as totally to disqualify us for the commerce of society,
A confidence in these chimeras has led many persons into mistakes respecting their real qualifications and their proper parts in life. A very peaceful hard-working cobler of my own parish, by some distortion of his fancy, became suddenly so valiant in his dreams, and so wasted his spirits by night with his military achievements, that he actually needed repose in the day-time, and was obliged to excuse himself to his customers on account of his double profession. His fancy became at last so possessed with images of war, that he considered it as impious to oppose Heaven any longer; and accordingly enlisted for a soldier, leaving a farewel epistle to his family, in which he assured them that he felt himself horn to great actions, and exhorted them to sell his stock in trade, which might help to maintain them till he returned the colonel of his regiment. Before he had well gained acquaintance with his firelock, he was drilled into a new order of dreams, which took now so opposite a turn, that he mended in a month more shoes in his sleep, than he had done for years in the ordinary course of his labour. I have since heard, that he has deserted; but have been able to trace him no further.
Though I suspect that a superstitious reliance on the authenticity of dreams, is often the secret source of much perplexity and sorrow to the unenlightened part of the community; yet, on the other hand, I cannot think it wise to treat so remarkable a property of our natures, as perfectly fruitless and inane. It may possibly be of much latent consequence to the animal economy, and is by no means without its moral advantages. Though I should scruple to allow that our dreams are significant of the future, unless the future have already occupied our waking thoughts; yet I respect them as a kind of allegory of our past life, in which the sentiments that have governed us during the day are obliquely and metaphorically alluded to, under various shapes and disguises. I look
upon them as bringing to the secret tribunal of our consciences, a testimony in regard to the general complexion of our thoughts, and making favourable or unfavourable reports accordingly as our sentiments have been pure and upright, or have contracted the stain of latent criminality.
I shall finish with recommending to such as are curious in this part of natural knowledge, this Onirocritica, by treasuring up their own experiences this way, to establish a sort of scale of dreams for the estimation and regulation of their waking thoughts; and shall myself, probably, in some future paper,
prosecute these hints for their advantage, unless a dreaming correspondent shall communicate something to me on the subject that shall supersede my own observations.
N° 23. SATURDAY, MAY 26.
In tumbling over our family manuscripts a day or
two ago, my attention was arrested by a long epistle addressed to a king. It seems to have been written by one of the Olive-branches, who was in holy orders. But, as many of us have been of the clerical profession, and as this performance happens to be without date, I must
ve my readers to guess at the crisis of the state, and the period of our history, in which it was written, by the complexion of its matter.
TO THE KING. Sir,
As I consider this as a moment in which every honest endeavour should be made to tranquillise the suspense of the nation, and to fix the public opinion on the safe and sober side, I look upon myself as justified by the character I maintain of a gentleman, and a clergyman of England, in thus addressing your majesty on a subject so critically interesting to yourself and us all. It is in vain that I hold forth from my pulpit thus twice a week the solemn truths and injunctions of religion, and endeavour through the week to keep up in my parishioners the practice of what I have taught, while their minds are discomposed and ruffled by menaces and alarms, and while their attention is drawn towards objects of immediate concern to their
At a juncture like this, so big with destiny, and so prolific of change, every thinking man is contemplating whatever is most dear and sacred to him, in the system in which he moves, with an aching solicitude; and you, sir, above all, must feel yourself touched with the present instability of thrones, of constitutions, and establishments.
I have ever contemplated your majesty as the greatest prince in Christendom; not because you have the greatest power, not because you are at the head of the greatest nation, but because you are of all princes the most important to the people over whom you reign. It must assuredly give you great weight
your own eyes, to reflect that you make an essential part of a constitution under which mankind have been happier and greater than in any state of things hitherto experienced. But if there be a crisis in the history of your country, in which this your consequence to your subjects is more particularly felt, I scruple not to say that this is that crisis. When the caprice of innovation, and the indefinite love of change, gets abroad among a sanguine people like your English subjects, it is natural and right for good men to turn towards the resources which the constitution has provided for its own security and continuance.
Now that part of it to which wise men have principally ascribed its poise and stability, is the share which your majesty enjoys; a share which has excluded the fluctuating rage and unbridled ambition of Democracies, while it has admitted and strength
ened all the virtuous efficacy of the Republican form. It is this steadiness and integrity which the state has derived from the crown, that enables us to boast that the frame of our constitution has undergone no material change since the æra of the Restoration, if we except the triennial law passed under King William, and repealed under George the First. This principle of conservation, so characteristic of your majesty's crown, naturally holds it up to those who are conspiring against the blessings of our constitution, as the great mark of their destroying system. This they obscurely drive at through the medium of collateral ruin; to this end a thousand arts and deceptions are employed, in a progressive course of operation; and the mildest professions and projects of reform are at this time only the first steps of the scale of destruction, the initiative forms of that towering fabric of mischief which they meditate in their hearts.
The base of every revolution is broad and comprehensive; a multitude of different factions unite to compose it, characterised by one spirit of discontent, but with different views and different motives. The disappointment, however, of their separate endeavours, brings them closer together; the society of resentment shapes the cause of the one to the cause of the other; each considers that the wishes of the rest run parallel to a certain length with his own; as their spirits become heated, their thoughts become blended; till at last the views of the violent and the wicked prevail altogether, and a common desperation overspreads the whole. Your majesty's acquaintance with history must bring to your mind a sufficient number of examples of this gathering and condensing principle in all plots and machinations against government; it must put you upon your