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should not make a covetous man give away, all at once, five thousand pounds in a charitable, generous way; twenty or thirty pounds may suffice at first. They should not introduce a person of remarkable ingratitude to his benefactors, rewarding a poor man for some good office that was done him thirty years ago : ? but they may allow him to acknowledge a service to a person, who is capable still to do him another. A man, whose personal courage is suspected, is not at first to drive whole squadrons before him : but he may be allowed the merit of some squabble, or throwing a bottle at his adversary's head.
It will not be allowed to make a great man, that is a known despiser of religion, spend whole days in his closet at his devotion ; but you may with safety make him sit out publick prayers with decency. A great man, who has never been known willingly to pay a just debt, ought not, all of a sudden, to be introduced making restitution of thousands he has cheated ; let it ; suffice at first to pay twenty pounds to a friend, who has lost his note.
He lays down the same rules in the detractory or defamatory kind; that they should not be quite opposite to the qualities the persons are supposed to have. Thus it will not be found according to the sound rules of pseudology, to report of a pious and religious prince, that he neglects his devotion, and would introduce heresy ; but you may report of a merciful prince, that he has pardoned a criminal, who did not deserve it. You will be unsuccessful, if you give out of a great man, who is remarkable for his frugality for the publick, that he squanders away the nation's money; but you may safely relate that he hoards it: you must not affirm he took a
bribe, but you may freely censure him for being tardy in his payments : because, though neither may be true, yet the last is credible, the first not. O an open-hearted, generous minister, you are not to say, that he was in an intrigue to betray his country : but you may affirm, with some probability, that he was in an intrigue with a lady. He warns all practitioners to take good heed to these precepts; for want of which, many of their lies of late have proved abortive or short lived.
In the sixth chapter he treats of the miraculous f by which he understands any thing that exceeds the common degrees of probability. In respect to the people, it is divided into two sorts, the có cobepov or the to govorides, terrifying lies, and animating or encouraging lies; both being extremely useful on their proper occasions. Concerning the to polepór he gives several rules; one of which is, that terrible objects should not be too frequently shown to the people, lest they grow familiar. He says, it is absolutely necessary that the people of England should be frighted with the French king and the pretender once a year; but that the bears should be chained up again till that time twelvemonth. The want of observing this so necessary a precept, in bringing out the raw head and bloody bones upon every trilling occasion, has produced great indifference in the vulgar of late years. As to the animating or encouraging lies, he gives the following rules; that they should not far exceed the common degrees of probability; that there should be variety of them; and the same lie not obstinately insisted upon : that the promissory or prognosticating lies should not be upon short days, for fear the authors should have the shame and confusion to see themselves speedily contradicted. He examines by these rules that well meant but unfortunate lie of the conquest of France, which continued near twenty years together * : but at last, by being too obstinately insisted upon, it was worn threadbare, and became unsuccessful.
As to the tò tepatúdes, or the prodigious, he has little to advise, but that their comets, whales, and dragons should be sizeable ; their storms, tempests, and earthquakes, without the reach of a day's journey of a man and horse.
The seventh chapter is wholly taken up in an inquiry, which of the two parties are the greatest artists in political lying. He owns, that sometimes the one party, and sometimes the other, is better believed ;/ but that they have both very good geniuses among them. He attributes the ill success of either party to their glutting the market, and retailing too much of a bad commodity at once : when there is too great a quantity of worms, it is hard to catch gudgeons. He proposes a scheme for the recovery of the credit of any party, which indeed seems to be somewhat chimerical, and does not savour of that sound judgment the author has shown in the rest of the work. It amounts to this, that the party should agree to vent nothing but truth for three months together, which will give them credit for six months lying afterward. He owns, that he believes it almost impossible to find fit persons to execute this scheme. Toward the end of the chapter, he inveighs severely against the folly of parties, in retaining scoundrels, and men of low genius, to retail their lies; such as most of the present
* During the reigns of king William and queen Anne.
news-writers are ; who, except a strong bent and inclination toward the profession, seem to be wholly ignorant in the rules of pseudology, and not at all qualified for so weighty a trust.
In his next chapter he treats of some extraordinary geniuses, who have appeared of late years, especially in their disposition toward the miraculous. He advises those hopeful young men to turn their invention to the service of their country; it being inglorious, at this time, to employ their talent in prodigious foxchases, horsecourses, feats of activity in driving of coaches, jumping, running, swallowing of peaches, pulling out whole sets of teeth to clean, &c. when their country stands in so much need of their assistance.
The eighth chapter is a project for uniting the several smaller corporations of liars into one society. It is too tedious to give a full account of the whole scheme: what is most remarkable is, That this society ought to consist of the heads of each party : that no lie is to pass current without their approbation, they being the best judges of the present exigencies, and what sort of lies are demanded: that in such a corporation there ought to be men of all professions, that το πρέπον, and the το ευλόγον, that is, decency and probability, may be observed as much as possible: that beside the persons above-mentioned, this society ought to consist of the hopeful geniuses about the town (of which there are great plenty to be picked up in the several coffeehouses) travellers, virtuosoes, foxhunters, jockies, attorneys, old seamen and soldiers out of the hospitals of Greenwich and Chelsea : to this society, so constituted, ought to be committed the sole management of lying: that
in their outer room, there ought always to attend some persons endowed with a great stock of credulity, a generation that thrives mightily in this soil and climate: he thinks a sufficient number of them may be picked up any where about the exchange: these are to circulate what the others coin ; for no man spreads a lie with so good a grace as he that believes it: that the rule of the society be, to invent a lie, and sometimes two for every day; in the choice of which, great regard ought to be had to the weather, and the season of the year : your pocepaor terrifying lies, do mighty well in November and December, but not so well in May and June, unless the easterly winds reign : that it ought to be penal for any body to talk of any thing but the lie of the day: that the society is to maintain a sufficient number of spies at court, and other places, to furnish hints and topicks for invention, and a general correspondence of all the markettowns for circulating their lies: that if any one of the society were observed to blush, or look out of countenance, or want a necessary circumstance in telling the lie, he ought to be expelled, and declared incapable: beside the roaring lies, there ought to be a private committee for whisperers, constituted of the ablest men of the society. Here the author makes a digression in praise of the whig party, for the right understanding and use of proof-lies. A proof-lie is like a proof-charge for a piece of ordnance, to try a standard credulity. Of such a nature he takes transubstantiation to be in the church of Rome, a proofarticle, which if any one swallows, they are sure he will digest every thing else : therefore the whig party do wisely, to try the credulity of the people sometimes by swingers, that they may be able to judge, to VOL. XVII.