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and well-governed imaginations have by this means lost the representations of ten thousand charming portraitures, filled with images of innate truth, generous zeal, courageous faith, and tender humanity; instead of which, satyrs, furies, and monsters are recommended by those arts to a shameful eternity.
The unjust application of laudable talents, is tolerated in the general opinion of men, not only in such
are here mentioned, but also in matters which concern ordinary life. If a lawyer were to be esteemed only as he uses his parts in contending for justice, and were immediately despicable when he appeared in a cause which he could not but know was an unjust one, how honourable would his character be! and how honourable is it in such among us, who follow the profession no otherwise, than as labouring to protect the injured, to subdue the oppressor, to imprison the careless debtor, and do right to the painful artificer; but many of this excellent character are overlooked by the greater number ; who affect covering a weak place in a client's title, diverting the course of an inquiry, or finding a skilful refuge to palliate a falsehood ; yet it is still called eloquence in the latter, though thus unjustly employed : But resolution in an assassin is according to reason quite as laudable, as knowledge and wisdom exercised in the defence of an ill cause.
Were the intention stedfastly considered, as the measure of approbation, all falsehood would soon be out of countenance ; and an address in imposing upon mankind, would be as contemptible in one state of life as another. A couple of courtiers making professions of esteem, would make the same figure after breach of promise, as two knights of the post convicted of perjury. But conversation is fallen so low in point of morality, that as they say in a bargain, Let the Buyer look to it ; so in friendship, he is the man in danger who is most apt to believe ; he is the more likely to suffer in the commerce, who begins with the obligation of being the more ready to enter into it.
But those men only are truly great, who place their ambition rather in acquiring to themselves the conscience of worthy enterprises, than in the prospect of glory which attends them. These exalted spirits would rather be secretly the authors of events which are serviceable to mankind, than, without being such, to have the public fame of it. Where therefore an eminent merit is robbed by artifice or detraction, it does but increase by such endeavours of its enemies ; the impotent pains which are taken to sully it, or diffuse it among a crowd to the injury of a single person, will naturally produce the contrary effect; the fire will blaze out, and burn up all that attempt to smother what they cannot extinguish.
There is but one thing necessary to keep the possession of true glory, which is, to hear the opposers of it with patience, and preserve the virtue by which it was acquired. When a man is thoroughly persuaded that he ought neither to admire, wish for, or pursue any thing but what is exactly his duty, it is not in the power of seasons, persons or accidents, to diminish his value. He only is a great man who can neglect the applause of the multitude, and enjoy himself independent of its favour. This is indeed an arduous task ; but it should comfort a glorious spirit that it is the highest step to which human nature can arrive. Triumph, applause, acclamation, are dear to the mind of man; but it is still a more exquisite delight to say to yourself, you have done well, than to hear the whole human race pronounce you glorious, except you yourself can join with them in your own reflections. A mind thus equal and uniform may be deserted by little fashionable admirers and followers, but will ever be had in reverence by souls like itself. The branches of the oak endure all the seasons of the year, though its leaves fall off in autumn; and these too will be restored with the returning spring.
No. CLXXIII. TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18.
-Remove fera monstra, tuæque
IN a late paper I mentioned the project of an iligenious author for the erecting of several handicraft prizes to be contended for by our British artisans, and the influence they might have towards the improvement of our several manufactures. I have since that been very much surprised with the following advertisement which I find in the Post-Boy of the eleventh instant, and again repeated in the Post-Boy of the fifteenth.
ON the ninth of October next will be run for upon Coleshill-Heath in Warwickshire, a plate of six guineas value, three heats, by any horse, mare, or gelding that hath not won above the value of five poundsthe winning horse to be sold for ten pounds, to carry, ten stone weight, if fourteen hands high ; if above or under to carry or be allowed weight for inches, and to be entered Friday the fifteenth at the Swan in Coleshill, before six in the evening. Also a plate of less value to be run for by asses. The same day a gold ring to be grinned for by men.
The first of these diversions that is to be exhibited by the ten pounds race-horses, may probably have its use ; but the two last in which the asses and men are concerned, seem to me altogether extraordinary and unaccountable. Why they should keep running asses at Coleshill, or how making mouths turns to account in Warwickshire, more than in any other parts of England, I cannot comprehend. I have looked over all the olympic games, and do not find any thing in them like an ass-race, or a match at grinning. However it be, I am informed that several asses are now kept in body-clothes, and sweated every morning upon the heath, and that all the country fellows within ten miles of the Swan, grin an hour or two in their glasses every morning, in order to qualify themselves for the ninth of October. The prize, which is proposed to be grinned for, has raised such -an ambition among the common people of out-grinning one another, that many very discerning persons are afraid it should spoil most of the faces in the country ; and that a Warwickshire man will be known by his grin, as Roman Catholics imagine a Kentish man is by his tail. The gold ring which is made the prize of deformity, is just the reverse of the golden apple that was formerly made the prize of beauty, and should carry for its posy the old motto inverted,
Or to accommodate it to the capacity of the combatants,
The frightfull'st grinner
Be the winner.
In the mean while I would advise a Dutch painter to be present at this great controversy of faces, in order to make a collection of the most remarkable grins that shall be there exhibited.
I must not here omit an account which I lately received of one of these grinning-inatches from a gentleman, who, upon reading the above-mentioned advertisement, entertained the coffee-house with the following narrative. Upon the taking of Namur, amidst other public rejoicings made on that occasion, there was a gold ring given by a whig justice of peace to be grinned for. The first competitor that entered the lists was a black swarthy Frenchman, who accidentally passed that way, and being a man naturally of a withered look and hard features, promised himself
good success. He was placed upon a table in the great point of view, and looking upon the company like Milton's Death,
Grinn'd horribly a ghastly smile
His musles were so drawn together on each side of his face, that he shewed twenty teeth at a grin, and put the country in some pain, lest a foreigner should carry away the honour of the day; but upon a farther trial they found he was master only of the merry grin.
The next that mounted the table was a malcontent in those days, and a great master in the whole art of grinning, but particularly excelled in the angry grin. He did his part so well, that he is said to have made half a dozen women miscarry; but the justice being apprised by one who stood near him, that the fellow who grinned in his face was a Jacobite, and being unwilling that a disaffected person should win the gold ring, and be looked upon as the best grinner in the country, he ordered the oaths to be tendered unto him upon his quitting the table, which the grinner refusing, he was set aside as an unqualified person. There were several other grotesque figures that presented themselves, which it would be too tedious to describe. I must not however omit a ploughman, who lived in the farther part of the country, and being very lucky in a pair of long lanthorn jaws, wrung his face into