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TRICKS OF NEWSMEN.
cially since it was foretold by some reflecting people, that Massena would not be in such a mortal hurry to make poor Lord Wellington run away and drown himself, as was at first intended."
I here shortly asked the learned Physician," whe ther it was not possible that intelligence, of a secret and disastrous nature, might have reached these gentlemen through some private channels; intelligence which preyed upon their own spirits, but which they were too humane to publish.""No, Sir," he replied, with much gravity, "you don't go near the bot tom of the case. He then went into a long dis course on the relation between cause and effect, and other matters of which my wife and I did not understand a single word, when he resumed the former subject, by saying, that the patients in question owed their. distemper partly to natural and partly to un-natural
"For, my dear Sir," added he, "if the causes. were not in the highest degree complicated and myste-rious, how is it likely that their consequences should be so irregular and perplexing as we find them from day to day? I can understand, for instance, how a generous, though unthinking nature, may be so far prejudiced in favour of its native country as to fancy that England has something like a free Government, guarantied and defended by wholesome laws, and by the spirit of a rational and high-minded population, All this is very well, for we are all susceptible of prejudices equally ill-founded; but what sort of disorder is it which seizes so violently on these very people, not only entertaining but professing these very prejudices, that they see no one of the above-mentioned. objects through a distinct and proper medium? that in this free Government nothing is visible to them but tyranny and corruption? in these wholesome laws nought but mal-administration? that under this beau-
teous frame and canopy of political mechanism, of progressive wisdom and auspicious fortune, canker and rottenness pervade every part? No remedy is in their mouths but the blister, the caustic, or the knife; none in their hopes, but a revolution-of parties. Here then is a complaint so intricate and inconsistent, that the most skilful practitioner might well be puzzled between the only two acknowledged modes of treatment: the single alternative being either to invest the patients with some portion of that power, whose abuse they deprecate while in other hands, and thus assuage their hatred of corruption, by suffering them to increase it at their own will and pleasure; or to make them the first subjects of the experimentaltheory which they patronize, and so indulge their taste for purging, blistering, and bleeding. But (proceeded Dr. Solid), I have little hope that either of these methods will be found practicable: to the for-mer I am afraid the nation would not listen; and as for the latter, you may take my word, the patients never so much as thought of submitting to it themselves. As some comfort, however, I can assure you, that this malady is not likely to become epidemic, Here, as in most other cases, we may safely rely on the kind provisions of nature, who has made an incurable disorder scarce as it is malignant; and having rendered our senses impervious to its virulence, has left the imagination of a few mortified beings the sole channel through which it can be received.
"Likewise,' went on the instructive Doctor, "I can imagine, from the frequency of the thing itself,. a very good sort of man so distressed by an overflowing of the bile as to become captious, uncandid, and a lover of contradiction; but he must be affected by some influence more deplorable than bile, when he takes every occasion of snapping at, and contradicting, himself. A mad dog, we know, will bite his own.
TRICKS OF NEWSMEN.
body. We have also heard of certain venomous reples-the scorpion, my friend, for instance, that, by being placed on a table, or on the floor, and enclosed. within a circle of water, will instantly betray symptoms of the most outrageous fury, and, from having no other object of vengeance within its power, will inflict upon its own head the most shocking wounds aud lacerations. Sir, if the allusion were not somewhat far-fetched, I would ask you, can it be the liquid fence which saves and separates this island from her enemies, that so distracts,the nerves of all envenomed. creatures among us, as to make them bury their stings in the fat of their own proper brains? If so, there is no radical cure but to transport them beyond the wa tery circle, to a scene where venom may • do its work,' and be turned to the benefit of mankind.
"Moreover," continued Dr. Solid, after wiping. the perspiration off his face," men of sanguine tempers and ardent minds may be endued with a highborn love of liberty, and with a noble pride in the national greatness: these, like all their other feelings, will of course be vehement, and they will proclaim loudly what they vehemently feel. Such men, in their sound state, may be expected to chant the praises of their country; to read lessons of valour and of virtue to her youth; to stimulate, by acclamation and just applause, the prowess of those who bravely fight her battles. If touched, on the other hand, by a little gouty irritation, we may indulge them with an occasional pshaw!'-when they are teased by comparisons between their favourite officers and others; by accounts that an expected engagement has not taken place; by intelligence bad enough to disappoint, or too good to be believed; or by a new tax imposed on Bachelors, or Port Wine: all this, Mr. Hopeful, is mere human nature, and, though carried to the debit side of the account, it is a debt which human cha
rity will not be slow to cancel. But what shall we say to those pestilential sufferers, who unite all sorts of contrarieties and extremes, in an assemblage the most offensive and unnatural; who believe whatever you tell them, not according to the weight of evidence, but according to the complexion of the fact; wildly credulous of impossible mischief; curious in their distrust of authenticated good; anticipating, fabricating, circulating, distorting, confounding, suppressing events, and arguments, and wonders, without the shadow of reference to reason or to truth-to any principle, but that which is the reverse of honesty; to any sentiment but one, whose existence the patriot revolts from believing? If with all this you mingle a boisterous uproar for the word called Freedom, and a concurrent esteem and admiration of the Despot, who, in every other country of the universe, has murdered her essence, detruncating her images, scattering her emblems, blotting out her name from the books of language, and eradicating almost her first seeds and conceptions from the very nature and the soul of man: add this to the other characters of that disease whicti I have laboured to unfold to you, and no longer will you doubt that they present a combination, not to be analyzed by the ordinary rules of science, nor to be classed, by affinities as yet discovered, near any determinate tribe-monsters of the political and moral world, of whom we understand no more, than that we need not fear them!"
On discussing this matter further with my friend, he was of opinion that the last class of unfortunates owed their aliment" to certain impurities of the blood, originally generated by a French diet, and inflamed by the use of pernicious, but home-made liquors." I hinted at the substitution of English for a foreign regimen→→
"Ah, my worthy neighbour," he replied,
TRICKS OF NEWSMEN!
stomachs are too habitually depraved to be now reconciled to simple English aliment. Something, indeed, may still be done, by laying aside those mischievous liquors in which they have so long indulged. Porter, you and I know very well, used to be meat and drink to three-fourths of the people. But this once salutary beverage has quite degenerated, being either absolutely vapid, or so impregnated with poisonous drugs, as to be utterly destructive of the constitution. Good mild Ale is the substitute I would recommend; for almost every family might brew for themselves, and thus we should save vast sums of money, which certain great porter-brewers are glad enough to empty into their own wide pockets. But I would have nothing whatever to do with that dangerous drench called Perry; it is sure to get into the head, and invariably sours on the stomach. Genuine wine from Portugal is no comparison better."
As I had often seen the village apothecary make pills of paper and similar articles, I asked the ingenious Dr. Solid, whether a Gazette containing some satisfactory news might not be torn up, rolled into pills, and offered now and then to these poor devils, when their disease appeared most obstinate?"Ay,' said he," and with decisive effect, if you could only prevail on them to get it down-but that will never do;-no, my dear Harry, your good-natured experiment would never answer; why, a Gazetto-phobia is part of the distemper-an attempt to swallow it might bring on convulsions; if indeed the pills were gilt" added the Physician, smiling sarcastically;
but that, at the present price of bullion, would cost more than the value of a hundred such patients." I wish, Mr. Editor, the Doctor had stayed a minute longer to explain what he meant by "gilding the pill;" for I am sure, by his smile, he had something comical in view-but he was that moment called away to an old