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the monument of an exploit, which the public in a little time is a stranger to. The Romans took a quite different method in this particular. Their medals were their current money. When an action deserved to be recorded on a coin, it was stamped perhaps upon a hundred thousand pieces of money like our shillings, or half-pence, which were issued out of the mint, and became current. This method published every noble action to advantage, and, in a short space of time, spread through the whole Roman empire. The Romans were so careful to preserve the memory of great events upon their coins, that when any particular piece of money grew very scarce, it was often recoined by a succeeding emperor, many years after the death of the emperor to whose honor it was first struck.
A friend of mine drew up a project of this kind during the late ministry, which would then have been put in execution, had it not been too busy a time for thoughts of that nature. As this project has been very much talked of by the gentleman above-mentioned, to men of the greatest genius, as well as quality, I am informed there is now a design on foot for executing the proposal which was then made, and that we shall have several farthings and half-pence charged on the reverse with many of the glorious particulars of her Majesty's reign. This is one of those arts of peace which may very well deserve to be cultivated, and which may be of great use to posterity.
As I have in my possession the copy of the paper above-mentioned, which was delivered to the late Lord Treasurer, I shall here give the public a sight of it. For I do not question, but that the curious part of my readers will be very well pleased to see so much matter, and so many useful hints upon this subject, laid together in so clear and concise a manner.
The English have not been so careful as other polite nations, to preserve the memory of their great ac
tions and events on medals. Their subjects are few, their mottoes and devices mean, and the coins themselves not numerous enough to spread among the
people, or descend to posterity.
The French have outdone us in these particulars, and, by the establishment of a society for the invention of proper inscriptions and designs, have the whole history of their present king in a regular series of medals.
They have failed, as well as the English, in coining so small a number of each kind, and those of such costly metals, that each species may be lost in a few ages, and is at present no where to be met with but in the cabinets of the curious.
The ancient Romans took the only effectual method to disperse and preserve their medals, by making them their current money.
Every thing glorious or useful, as well in peace as war, gave occasion to a different coin. Not only an expedition, victory, or triumph, but the exercise of a solemn devotion, the remission of a duty or tax, a new temple, seaport, or highway, were transmitted to posterity after this manner.
The greatest variety of devices are on their copper money, which have most of the designs that are to be met with on the gold and silver, and several peculiar to that metal only. By this means they were dispersed into the remotest corners of the empire, came into the possession of the poor as well as rich, and were in no danger of perishing in the hands of those that might have melted down coins of a more valuable metal.
Add to all this, that the designs were invented by men of genius, and executed by a decree of senate.
It is therefore proposed,
I. That the English farthings and halfpence be recoined upon the union of the two nations.
II, That they bear devices and inscriptions alluding to all the most remarkable parts of her Majesty's reign.
III. That there be a society established for the finding out of proper subjects, inscriptions, and devices.
IV. That no subject, inscription, or device be stamped without the approbation of this society, nor, if it be thought proper, without the authority of privycouncil.
By this means, medals, that are, at present, only a dead treasure or meer curiosities, will be of use in the ordinary commerce of life, and, at the same time perpetuate the glories of her Majesty's reign, reward the labours of her greatest subjects, keep alive in the people a gratitude for public services, and excite the emulation of posterity. To these generous purposes, nothing can so much contribute as medals of this kind, which are of undoubted authority, of necessary use and observation, not perishable by time, nor confined to any certain place; properties not to be found in books, statues, pictures, buildings, or any other monuments of illustrious actions.
No. 97. THURSDAY, JULY 2.
-Furor est post omnia perdere nuulum.
SIR, “ I was left a thousand pounds by an uncle, and being a man, to my thinking, very likely to get a rich widow, I laid aside all thoughts of making my fortune any other way, and without loss of time made my application to one who had buried her husband about a week before. By the help of some of her she friends, who were my relations, I got into her company when she would see no man besides myself and her lawyer, who is a little, - rivelled, spindle-shanked gentleman, and married to boot, so that I had no reason to fear,
him. Upon my first seeing her, she said in conversation, within my hearing, that she thought a pale complexion the most agreeable, either in man or woman: now you must know, Sir, my face is as white as chalk. This gave me some encouragement, so that, to mend the matter, I bought a fine flaxen, long wig, that cost me thirty guineas, and found an opportunity of seeing her in it the next day. She then let drop some expressions about an agate snuff-box. I immediately took the hint and bought one, being unwilling to omit any thing that might make me desirable in her eyes. I was betrayed after the same manner into a brocade waistcoat, a sword-knot, a pair of silverfringed gloves, and a diamond ring. But whether out of fickleness, or a design upon me, I cannot tell ; but I found by her discourse, that what she liked one day she disliked another : so that in six months space I was forced to equip myself above a dozen times. As I told you before, I took her hints at a distance, for I could never find an opportunity of talking with her directly to the point. All this time, however, I was allowed the utmost familiarities with her lap-dog; and have played with it above an hour together, without receiving the least reprimand, and had many other marks of favour shown me, which I thought amounted to a promise. If she chanced to drop her fan, she received it from my hands with great civility. If she wanted any thing, I reached it for her. I have filled her tea-pot above a hundred times, and have afterwards received a dish of it from her own hands. Now, Sir, do you judge if, after such encouragements, she was not obliged to marry me. I forgot to tell you that I kept a chair by the week, on purpose to carry me thither and back again. Not to trouble you with a long letter, in the space of about a twelvemonth I have run out of my whole thousand pounds upon her, having laid out the last fifty in a new suit of clothes, in which I was resolved to receive her final answer, which amounted to this, that she was engaged to another; that she never dreamt I had any such thing in my head as marriage; and that she thought I had frequented her house only because that I loved to be in company with my relations. This, you know, Sir, is using a man like a fool, and so I told her; but the worst of it is, that I have spent my fortune to no purpose. All therefore that I desire of you is, to tell me whether, upon exhibiting the several particulars which I have here related to you, I may not sue her for damages in a court of justice. Your advice in this particular, will very much oblige, Your most humble admirer,
Before I answer Mr. Softly's request, I find myself under a necessity of discussing two nice points: first of all, what it is, in cases of this nature, that amounts to an encouragement; and secondly, what it is that amounts to a promise. Each of which subjects requires more time to examine than I am at present master of Besides, I would have my friend Simon consider, whether he has any counsel that would undertake his cause in forma pauperis, he having unluckily disabled himself, by his own account of the matter, from prosecuting his suit any other way.
In answer, however, to Mr. Softly's request, I shall acquaint him with a method made use of by a young fellow in King Charles the Second's reign, whom shall here call Silvio, who had long made love, with much artifice and intrigue, to a rich widow, whose true name I shall conceal under that of Zelinda. Silvio, who was much more smitten with her fortune than her person, finding a twelvemonth's application unsuccessful, was resolved to make a saving bargain of it, and since he could not get the widow's estate into his possession, to recover at least what he had laid out of his own in the pursuit of it.
In order to this he presented her with a bill of