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“ MR. SPECTATOR, “In former ages all pretensions to dominion have been supported and submitted to, either upon account of inheritance, conquest, or election ; and all such
persons, who have taken upon them any sovereignty over their fellowcreatures upon any other account, have been always called tyrants, not so much because they were guilty of any par: ticular barbarities, as because every attempt to such a superiority was in its nature tyrannical. But there is another sort of potentates, who may with greater propriety be called tyrants than those last mentioned, both as they assume a despotic dominion over those as free as themselves, and as they support it by acts of notable opoppression and injustice; and these are the rulers in all clubs and meetings. In other governments, the punishments of some have been alleviated, by the rewards of others : but what makes the reign of these potentates so particularly grievous is that they are exquisite in punishing their subjects at the same time they have it not in their power to reward them. That the reader may the better comprehend the nature of these monarchs, as well as the miserable state of those that are their vassals, I shall give an account of the king of the company I am fallen into, whom for his particular tyranny I shall call Dionysius; as also of the seeds that sprung up to this odd sort of empire.
“Upon all meetings at taverns, it is necessary some one of the company should take it upon him, to get all things in such order and readiness as may contribute as much as possible to the felicity of the convention ; such as hastening the fire, getting a sufficient number of candles, tasting the wine with a judicious smack, fixing the supper, and being brisk for the dispatch of it. Know, then, that Dionysius went through these offices with an air that seemed to express a satisfaction rather in serving the public than in gratifying any particular inclination of his own. We thought him a person of an exquisite palate, and therefore by consent beseeched him to be always our proveditor; which post, after he had handsomely denied, he could do no otherwise than'accept. At first, he made no other use of his power than in recommending such and such things to the company, ever allowing these
points to be disputable ; insomuch that I have often carried the debate for partridge, when his majesty has given intimation of the high relish of duck, but at the same time has cheerfully submitted, and devoured his partridge with most gracious resignation. This submission on his side naturally produced the like on ours; of which he in a little time made such barbarous advantage, as in all those matters, which before seemed indifferent to him, to issue out certain edicts as uncontrollable and unalterable as the laws of the Medes and Persians. He is by turns outrageous, peevish, forward, and jovial. He think's it our duty for the little offices, as proveditor, that in return all conversation is to be interrupted or promoted by his inclination for or against the present humour of the company. We feel, at present, in the utmost extremity, the "insolence of office; however, I, being naturally warm, ventured to oppose him in a dispute about a haunch of venison. I was altogether for roasting, but Dionysius declared himself for boiling with so much prowess and resolution, that the cook thought it necessary to consult his own safety, rather than the luxury of my proposition, With the same authority that he orders what we shall eat and drink, he also commands us where to do it: and we change our taverns according as he suspects any treasonable practices in the settling the bill by the master, or sees any bold rebellion in point of attendance by the waiters. Another reason for changing the seat of empire, I conceive to be the pride he takes in the promulgation of our slavery, though we pay our club for our entertainments, even in these palaces of our grand monarch. When he has a mind to take the air, a party of us are commanded out by way of life-guard, and we march under as great restrictions as they do. If we meet a neighbouring king, we give or keep the way, according as we are out-numbered or not; and if the train of each is equal in number, rather than give battle, the superiority is soon adjusted by a desertion from one of them.
"Now the expulsion of these unjust rulers out of all societies would gain a man as everlasting a reputation as either of the Brutuses got from their endeavours to extirpate tyranny from among the Romans. I confess myself to be in a conspiracy against the usurper of our club;
and to shew my reading as well as my merciful disposition, shall allow him until the ides of March to dethrone himself. If he seems to affect empire until that time, and does not gradually recede from the incursions he has made upon our liberties, he shall find a dinner dressed which he has no hand in, and shall be treated with an order, magnificence, and luxury, as shall break his proud heart; at the same time that he shall be convinced in his stomach he was unfit for his post, and a more mild and skilful prince receive the acclamations of the people, and be set up in his room; but, as Milton says,
“ I am, Sir,
“ MR. SPECTATOR, "I am a young woman at a gentleman's seat in the country, who is a particular friend of my father's, and came hither to pass away a month or two with his daughters. I have been entertained with the utmost civility by the whole family, and nothing has been omitted which can make my stay easy and agreeable on the part of the family; but there is a gentleman here, a visitant as I am, whose behaviour has given me great uneasinesses. When I first arrived here, he used me with the utmost complaisance; but, forsooth, that was not with regard to my sex; and since he has no designs upon me, he does not know why he should distinguish me from a man in things indifferent. He is, you must know, one of those familiar coxcombs, who have observed some well-bred men with a good grace converse with women, and say no fine things, but yet treat them with that sort of respect which flows from the heart and the understanding, but is exerted in no professions or compliments. This puppy, to imitate this excellence, or avoid the contrary fault of being troublesome in complaisance, takes upon him to try his talent upon me, insomuch that he contradicts me upon all occasions, and one day told me I lied. If I had stuck him with my bodkin, and behaved myself like a man, since he
will not treat me as a woman, I had, I think, served him right. I wish, Sir, you would please to give him some maxims of behaviour in these points, and resolve me if all maids are not in point of conversation to be treated by all bachelors as their mistresses? If not so, are they not to be used as gently as their sisters ? Is it sufferable that the fop of whom I complain should say that he would rather have such-a-one without a groat, than me with the Indies; What right has any man to make suppositions of things not in his power, and then declare his will to the dislike of one that has never offended him? I assure you these are things worthy your consideration, and I hope we shall have your thoughts upon them. I am, though a woman justly offended, ready to forgive all this, because I have no remedy but
leaving very agreeable company sooner than I desire. This also is a heinous aggravation of his offence, that he is inflicting banishment upon me. Your printing this letter may perhaps be an admonition to reform him; as soon as it appears I will write my name at the end of it, and lay it in his way: the making which just reprimand, I hope you will put in the power of,
“Sir, your constant reader, T.
and humble servant."
N° 509. TUESDAY, OCTOBER 14, 1712.
TER. Heaut. act. iii. sc. 3.
a place in my paper, though there is nothing in it which immediately regards the polite or the learned world; I say immediately, for upon reflection every man will find there is a remote influence upon his own affairs, in the prosperity or decay of the trading part of mankind. My present correspondent, I believe, was never in print before; but what he says well deserves a general attention, though delivered in his own homely maxims, and a kind of proverbial simplicity; which sort of learning has raised more estates, than ever were, or will be, from attention to Virgil, Horace, Tully, Seneca, Plutarch, or any of the rest, whom,
1 dare say, this worthy citizen would hold to be indeed ingenious, but unprofitable writers. But to the letter :
“ MR. WILLIAM SPECTATOR. “SIR,
Broad-street, Oct, 10, 1712. " I accuse you
discourses on the subject of money, which you have heretofore promised the public, but have not discharged yourself thereof. But, forasmuch as you seemed to depend upon advice from others what to do in that point, have sat down to write you the needful upon that subject. But, before I enter thereupon, I shall take this opportunity to observe to you, that the thriving frugal man shews it in every part of his expense, dress, servants, and house; and I must in the first place, complain to you, as Spectator, that in these particulars there is at this time, throughout the city of London, a lamentable change from that simplicity of manners, which is the true source of wealth and prosperity. I just now said, the man of thrift shews regularity in every thing; but you may, perhaps, laugh that I take notice of such a particular as I am going to do, for an instance that this city is declining if their ancient economy is not restored. The thing which gives me this prospect, and so much offence, is the neglect of the Royal Exchange. I mean the edifice so called, and the walks appertaining thereunto. The Royal Exchange is a fabric that well deserves to be so called, as well to express that our monarch's highest glory and advantage consists in being the patron of trade, as that it is commodious for business, and an instance of the grandeur both of prince and people. But, alas! at present it hardly seems to be set apart for any such use or purpose. Instead of the assembly of honourable merchants, substantial tradesmen, and knowing masters of ships: the mumpers, the halt, the blind, and the lame ; your venders of trash, apples, plums; your ragamuffins, rake-shames, and wenches; have justled the greater number of the former out of that place. Thus it is, especially on the evening change; so that what with the din of squallings, oaths, and cries of beggars, men of the greatest consequence in our city absent themselves from the place. This particular, by the way, is of evil consequence, for, if the 'Change be no place for men of the highest credit to frequent, it