Imagens das páginas

ing. When this was settled, one asked the other, « Will you give cuts or receive?” The other answered, 66 Receive.” It was replied, Are you a passionate man?" -“ No, provided you cut no more nor no deeper than we agree." I thought it my duty to acquaint you with this, that the people may not pay their money for fighting, and be cheated.

Your humble servant,





N° 450. WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6, 1712.

-Quærenda pecunia primùm
Virtus post nummos.

HOR. Ep. i. 1. 1. ver. 53.

-Get money, money still:
And then let virtue follow, if she will,


MR. SPECTATOR, * All men, through different paths, make at the same common thing, money'; and it is to her we owe the politician, the merchant, and the lawyer ; nay, to be free with you, I believe to that also we are beholden for our Spectator. I am apt to think, that could we look into our own hearts, we should see money engraved in them in more lively and moying characters than self-preservation ; for who can reflect upon the merchant hoisting sail in a doubtful pursuit of her, and all mankind sacrificing their

I See N° 442.

quiet to her, but must perceive that the characters of self-preservation (which were doubtless originally the brightest) are sullied, if not wholly defaced ; and that those of money (which at first was only valuable as a mean to security) are of late so brightened, that the characters of self-preservation, like a less light set by a greater, are become almost imperceptible ? Thus has money got the upper-hand of what all mankind formerly thought most dear, viz. security : and I wish I could say she had here put a stop to her victories; but, alas! common honesty fell a sacrifice to her. This is the way scholastic men talk of the greatest good in the world: but I, a tradesman, shall give you another account of this matter in the plain narrative of my own life. I think it proper, in the first place, to acquaint my readers that, since my setting out in the world, which was in the year 1660, I never wanted money; having begun with an indifferent good stock in the tobacco-trade, to which I was bred; and by the continual successes it has pleased Providence to bless my endeavours with, I am at last arrived at what they call a plumb’. To uphold my discourse in the manner of your wits or philosophers, by speaking fine things, or drawing inferences, as they pretend, from the nature of the subject, I account it vain ; having never found any thing in the writings of such men, that did not savour more of the invention of the brain, or what is styled speculation, than of sound judgment or profitable observation. I will readily grant indeed, that there is what the wits call natural in their talk; which is the utmost those curious authors can assume to themselves, and is indeed all they endeavour at, for they are but

2 £100,000.

lamentable teachers. And what, I pray, is natural ? That which is pleasing and easy? And what are pleasing and easy? Forsooth, a new thought or conceit dressed up in smooth quaint language, to make you smile and wag your head, as being what you never imagined before, and yet wonder why you had not; mere frothy amusements, fit only for boys or silly women to be caught with!

• It is not my present intention to instruct my readers in the methods of acquiring riches; that may be the work of another essay: but to exhibit the real and solid advantages I have found by them in my long and manifold experience; nor yet all the advantages of so worthy and valuable a blessing, (for who does not know or imagine the comforts of being warm, or living at ease, and that power and preeminence are their inseparable attendants ?) but only to instance the great supports they afford us under the severest calamities and misfortunes; to shew that the love of them is a special antidote against immorality and vice; and that the same does likewise naturally dispose men to actions of piety and devotion. All which I can make out by iny own experience, who think myself no ways particular from the rest of mankind, nor better nor worse by nature than generally other men are.

• In the year 1665, when the sickness 3 was, I lost by it my wife and two children, which were all my stock. Probably I might have had more, considering I was married between four and five years ; but finding her to be a teeming woman, I was careful, as having then little above a brace of thousand pounds to carry on my trade, and maintain a family with. I

3 The plague.

loved them as usually men do their wives and children, and therefore could not resist the first impulses of nature on so wounding a loss; but I quickly roused myself, and found means to alleviate, and at last conquer, my affliction, by reflecting how that she and her children having been no great expence to me, the best part of her fortune was still left; that my charge being reduced to myself, a journeyman, and a maid, I might live far cheaper than before ; and that being now a childless widower, I might perhaps marry a no less deserving woman, and with a much better fortune than she brought, which was but 800). And, to convince my readers that such considerations as these were proper and apt to produce such an effect, I remember it was the constant observation, at that deplorable time when so many hundreds were swept away daily, that the rich ever bore the loss of their families and relations far better than the poor ; the latter, having little or nothing before-hand, and living from hand to mouth, placed the whole comfort and satisfaction of their lives in their wives and children, and were therefore inconsolable.

• The following year happened the fire; at which time, by good providence, it was my fortune to have converted the greatest part of my effects into ready money, on the prospect of an extraordinary advantage which I was preparing to lay hold on. This calamity was very terrible and astonishing, the fury of the flames being such, that whole streets, at several distant places, were destroyed at one and the same time; so that (as it is well known) almost all our citizens were burnt out of what they had. But what did I then do? I did not stand gazing on the ruins of our noble metropolis ; I did not shake my head, wring my hands, sigh and shed tears ; I con

sidered with myself what could this avail: I fell a plodding what advantages might be made of the ready cash I had; and immediately bethought myself that wonderful pennyworths might be bought of the goods that were' saved out of the fire. In short, with about 2,0001. and a little credit, I bought as much tobacco as raised my estate to the value of 10,0001. I then « looked on the ashes of our city, and the misery of its late inhabitants, as an effect of the just wrath and indignation of heaven towards a sinful and perverse people."

• After this I married again ; and that wife dying, I took another; but both proved to be idle baggages: the first gave me a great deal of plague and vexation by her extravagancies, and I became one of the bywords of the city. I knew it would be to no manner of purpose to go about to curb the fancies and inclinations of women, which fly out the more for being restrained ; but what I could I did; I watched her narrowly, and by good luck found her in the embraces (for which I had two witnesses with me) of a wealthy spark of the court-end of the town; of whom I recovered 15,000 pounds, which made me amends for what she had idly squandered, and put a silence to all my neighbours, taking off my reproach by the gain they saw I had by it. The last died about two years after I married her, in labour of three children. I conjecture they were begot by a country-kinsman of hers, whom, at her recommendation, I took into my family, and gave wages to as a journeyman. What this creature expended in delicacies and high diet for her kinsman (as well as I could compute by the poulterer's, fishmonger's, and grocer's bills), amounted in the said two years to one hundred eighty-six

« AnteriorContinuar »