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which must be allowed in all reason, very much to overbalance in his favour those worst words, sour tempered, and cunning. Nay, my very enemy and accuser must have been sensible of this, when he freely acknowledges, that he has been seriously considering, and cannot yet determine, which he would choose to be, the Cato or Cretico of that paper ; since my Cato is one of the best of character3. Thus much in my own vindication. As to the only reasons there given, why I ought not to continue drawing characters, viz. Why should any man's picture be published which he never sat for ; or his good name taken from him any more than his money or possessions, at the arbitrary will of another, &c. I have but this to answer ; the money or possessions, I presume, are nothing, to the purpose ; since no man can claim a right either to those or a good name, if he has acted so as to forfeit them. And are not the public the only judges what share of reputation they think proper to allow any man? Supposing I was capable, and had an inclination, to draw all the good and bad characters in America, why should a good man be offended with me for drawing good characters? And if I draw ill ones, can they fit any one but those that deserve them? And ought any but such to be concerned that they have their deserts ? I have as great an aversion and abhorrance for defamation and scandal as any man, and would, with the utmost care, avoid being guilty of such base things : besides I am very sensible and certain, that if I should make use of this paper to defame any person, my reputation would be sooner hurt by it than his; and the Busy-Body would quickly become detestable ; because, in such a case, as is justly observed, the pleasure arising from a tale of wit and novelty soon dies away in generous and honest minds, and is followed with a secret grief, to see their neighbours calumniated. But if I myself was actually the worst man in the province, and any one should draw my real char.' acter, would it not be ridiculous in me to say, he had defamed and scandalized me, unless he had added in a matter of truth? If any thing is meant by asking, why any man's picture should be published which he never sat for ? it must be, that we should give no character without the owner's consent. If I discern the wolf disguised in harmless wool, and contriving the destruction of my neighbor's sheep, must I have his permission, before I am allowed to discover and prevent him? If I know a man to be a designing knave, must I ask his consent, to bid my friends beware of hiin? If so, then, by the same rule, supposing the Busy-Body had really merited all his enemy had charged him with, his consent likewise ought to have been obtained, before so terrible an accusation was published against him.,
I shall conclude with observing, that in the last paragraph save one of the piece now examined, much illnature and some good sense are co-inhabitants (as he expresses it.) The ill-nature appears in his endeavour. ing to discover satire, where I intended no such thing, but quite the reverse; the good sense is this, that drawing too good a character of any one is a refined manner of satire, that may be as injurious to him as the contrary, by bringing on an examination that un. dresses the person, and in the haste of doing it, he may happen to be stript of what he really owns and deserves. As I am Censor, I might punish the first, but I forgive it. Yet I will not leave the latter unrewarded ; but assure my adversary, that in consideration of the merit of those four lines, I am resolved to forbear injuring him on any account in that refined manner.
I thank my neighbour P- W-ul for his kind letter.
The lions complained of shall be muzzled.
THE BUSY-BODY._No. VI.
Quid non mortalia pectora cogis,
NE of the greatest pleasures an author can have,
is, certainly, the hearing his works applauded. The hiding from the world our names, while we publish our thoughts, is so absolutely necessary to this self-gratification, that I hope my well-wishers will congratulate me on my escape from the many diligent, but fruitless enquiries, that have of late been made af. ter me. Every man will own, that an author, as such, ought to be hid by the merit of his productions only ; but pride, party, and prejudico, at this time, runs so very high, that experience shows we form our notions of a piece by the character of the author. Nay, there are some very humble politicians in and about this city, who will ask, on which side the writer is, before they presume to give their opinion of the thing wrote. This ungenerous way of proceeding I was well aware of before I published my first speculation“; and therefore concealed my name. And I appeal to the more generous part of the world, if I have, since I appeared in the character of the Busy-Body, given an instance of my siding with any party more than another, in the unhappy divisions of my country ; and I have, above all, this satisfaction in myself, that neither affection, aversion, or interest, have biassed me to use any partiality towards any man, or set of men ; but whatsoever I find nonsensical, ridiculous, or immorrally dishonest, I have, and shall continue openly to attack, with the freedom of an honest man, and a lover of my country.
I profess I can hardly contain myself, or preserve the gravity and dignity that should attend the censorial office, when I hear the odd and unaccountable exposi tions, that are put upon some of my works, througe the malicious ignorance of some, and the vain pride of more than ordinary penetration in others; one instance of which many of my readers are acquainted with. A certain gentleman has taken a great deal of pains to write a key to the letter in my Number IV, wlierein he has ingeniously converted a gentle satir upon tedious and impertinent visitants, into a libel on some of the government. This I mention only as a specimen of the taste of the gentleman ; I am forsooth, bound to please in my speculations, not that I suppose my impartiality will ever be called in question on that account. Injustices of this nature I could complain of in many instances; but I am at present diverted by the reception of a letter, which, though it regards me only in my private capacity, as an adept, yet I venture to publish it for the entertainment of my readers :
6 To Censor Morum, Esq. Busy-Body General of the
Province of Pennsylvania, and the Counties of Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex upon Delaware.
“ HONOURABLE SIR, " I JUDGE by your lucubrations, that you are not only a lover of truth and equity, but a man of parts and learning, and a master of science ; as such I honour you. Know then, most profound sir, that I have, from my youth up, been a very indefatigable student in and admirer of, that divine science, astrology. I have read
over Scott, Albertus Magnus, and Cornelius Agrippa, - above three hundred times ; and was in hopes, by my knowledge and industry, to gain enough to have recompensed me for my money expended, and time lost in the pursuit of this learning. You cannot be ignorant, sir, (for your intimate second-sighted correspondent
knows all things) that there are large sums of money hidden under ground in divers places about this town, and in many parts of the country : but alas, sir, notwithstanding I have used all the means laid down in the immortal authors before mentioned, and when they failed the ingenious Mr. P.--, with his mercurial wand and magnet, I have still failed in my purpose. This, therefore, I send, to propose and desire an acquaintance with you, and I do not doubt, notwithstand. . ing my repeated ill fortune, but we may be exceed. ingly serviceable to each other in our discoveries ; and that if we use our united endeavours, the time will come, when the Busy-Body, his second-sighted correspondent, and your very humble servant, will be three of the richest men in the province : and then, sir, what may we not do? A word to the wise is sufficient. I conclude with all demonstrable respect, - Yours and Urania's Votary,
In the evening after I had received this letter, I made a visit to my second-sighted friend, and commu. nicated to him the proposal. When he had read it, he assured me, that to his certain knowledge, there is not at this time so much as one ounce of silver or gold l.id under ground in any part of this province ; for that the late and present scarcity of money had obliged thosc, who were living, and knew where they had formerly hid any, to take it up, and use it in their own necessary affairs : and as to all the rest, which was buried by pi. rates and others in old times, who were never like to come for it, he himself had long since dug it all up, and applied it to charitable uses ; and this he desired me to publish for the general good. For, as he acquainted me, there are among us great numbers of honest artificers and labouring people, who, fed with a vain hope of growing suddenly rich, negleet their business, almost