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celebrated some of my Speculations after such a concealed but diverting manner, that if any of my readers think I am to blame in publishing my own commendations, they will allow I should have deserved their censure as much, had I suppressed the humour in which they are conveyed
I am often in a private assembly of wits of both sexes, where we generally descant upon your speculations, or upon the subjects on which you have treated. We were last Tuesday talking of those two volumes which you have lately published. Some were commending one of your papers, and some another; and there was scarce a single person in the company that had not a favourite speculation. Upon this a man of wit and learning told us, he thought it would not be amiss if we paid the Spectator the same compliment that is often made in our public prints to Sir William Read, Dr. Grant, Mr. Moor the apothecary, and other eminent physicians, where it is usual for the patients to publish the cures which have been made upon them, and the several distempers under which they laboured. The proposal took, and the lady where we visited having the two last volumes in large paper interleaved for her own private use, ordered them to be brought down, and laid in the window, whither every one in the company retired, and writ down a particular advertisement in the style and phrase of the like ingenious compositions which we frequently meet with at the end of our newspapers. When we had finished our work, we read them with a great deal of mirth at the fireside, and agreed, nemine contradicente, to get them transcribed, and sent to the Spectator. The gentleman who made the proposal entered the following advertisement before the title-page, after which the rest succeeded in order.
"Remedium efficax et universum; or, an effectual remedy adapted to all capacities; showing how any person may cure himself of ill-nature, pride, party-spleen, or any other distemper incident to the human system; with an easy way to know when the infection is upon him. This panacea is as innocent as bread, agreeable to the taste, and requires no confinement. It has not its equal in the universe, as abundance
of the nobility and gentry throughout the kingdom have experienced.
"N. B. No family ought to be without it."
Over the two Spectators on Jealousy, being the two first in the third volume.
"I, William Crazy, aged threescore and seven, having been for several years afflicted with uneasy doubts, fears, and vapours, occasioned by the youth and beauty of Mary my wife, aged twenty-five, do hereby for the benefit of the public give notice, that I have found great relief from the two following doses, having taken them two mornings together with a dish of chocolate. Witness my hand," &c.
For the benefit of the poor.
"In charity to such as are troubled with the disease of levee-hunting, and are forced to seek their bread every morning at the chamber-doors of great men, I, A. B., do testify, that for many years past I laboured under this fashionable distemper, but was cured of it by a remedy which I bought of Mrs. Baldwin, contained in a half-sheet of paper, marked No. 193, where any one may be provided with the same remedy at the price of a single penny.
"An infallible cure for hypochondriac melancholy. No. 173, 184, 191, 203, 209, 221, 233, 235, 239, 245, 247, 251. "Probatum est. CHARLES EASY."
"I, Christopher Query, having been troubled with a certain distemper in my tongue, which showed itself in impertinent and superfluous interrogatories, have not asked one unnecessary question since my perusal of the prescription marked No. 228."
"The Britannic Beautifier, being an Essay on Modesty, No. 231, which gives such a delightful blushing colour to the cheeks of those that are white or pale, that it is not to be distinguished from a natural fine complexion, nor perceived to be artificial by the nearest friend: is nothing of paint, or in the least hurtful. It renders the face delightfully handsome; is not subject to be rubbed off, and cannot be paralleled by either wash, powder, cosmetic, &c. It is certainly the best beautifier in the world.
"I, Samuel Self, of the parish of St. James's, having a constitution which naturally abounds with acids, made use of a paper of directions, marked No. 177, recommending a healthful exercise called Good-nature, and have found it a most excellent sweetener of the blood."
"Whereas I, Elizabeth Rainbow, was troubled with that distemper in my head, which about a year ago was pretty epidemical among the ladies, and discovered itself in the colour of their hoods, having made use of the doctor's cephalic tincture, which he exhibited to the public in one of his last year's papers, I recovered in a very few days."
"I, George Gloom, have for a long time been troubled with the spleen, and being advised by my friends to put my self into a course of Steele,1 did for that end make use of Remedies conveyed to me several mornings in short letters, from the hands of the invisible doctor. They were marked at the bottom, Nathaniel Henroost, Alice Threadneedle, Rebecca Nettletop, Tom Loveless, Mary Meanwell, Thomas Smoky, Anthony Freeman, Tom Meggot, Rustick Sprightly, &c., which have had so good an effect upon me, that I now find myself cheerful, lightsome, and easy; and therefore do recommend them to all such as labour under the same distemper."
Not having room to insert all the advertisements which were sent me, I have only picked out some few from the third volume, reserving the fourth for another opportunity.
No. 549. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 29.
Quamvis digressu veteris confusus amici,
2I BELIEVE most people begin the world with a resolution to withdraw from it into a serious kind of solitude or retire
1 A course of Steele.] The joke lies in the ambiguity of the expression -a course of Steele: which may either mean a course of steel-medicines, which are thought good in hypochondriac cases, or a course of those speculations which were first published by Sir Richard Steele. This observation will have its use, if these papers should outlive (as they possibly may) the memory of the invisible doctor.
2 This paper is not so well written as might be expected from Mr. Addison, on so critical an occasion as that of winding up the plot of the Spectator. Yet, on the whole, it might possibly be his.
ment, 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 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. 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 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;1 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 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, notwith
1 In the temper of mind he was then.] Elliptically expressed, for—in the temper of mind in which he was then.-We sometimes take this liberty in the familiar style.
standing 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 when I have talked of retiring from business, and repeated to me one of my own sayings, 'That a merchant has never enough till he 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 tost upon seas or fluctuating in funds; it is now fixed and settled in substantial acres and tenements. I have removed it from the uncertainty 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 work-houses, 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 improvable 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 contrive it so, that not a shower of rain or a glimpse of sunshine 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