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already taken. A westerly wind keeps the whole town in suspense, and puts a stop to conversation.
This general curiosity has been raised and inflamed by our late wars, and, if rightly directed, might be of good use to a person who has such a thirst awakened in him. Why should not a man who takes delight in reading every thing that is new, apply himself to history, travels, and other writings of the same kind, where he will find perpetual fuel for his curiosity, and meet with much more pleasure and improvement, than in these papers of the week ? An honest tradesman, who languishes a whole summer in expectation of a battle, and perhaps is balked at last, may here meet with half a dozen in a day. He may read the news of a whole campaign, in less time than he now bestows upon the products of any single post. Fights, conquests, and revolutions, lie thick together. The reader's curiosity is raised and satisfied every moment, and his passions disappointed or gratified, without being detained in a state of uncertainty from day to day, or lying at the mercy of sea and wind. In short, the mind is not here kept in a perpetual gape after knowledge, nor punished with that eternal thirst, which is the portion of all our modern newsmongers and coffee-house politicians.
All matters of fact, which a man did not know before, are news to him ; and I do not see how any haberdasher in Cheapside is more concerned in the present quarrel of the Cantons, than he was in that of the League. At least, I believe every one will allow me, it is of more importance to an Englishman to know the history of his ancestors, than that of his contemporaries, who live upon the banks of the Danube or the Borysthenes. As for those who are of another mind, I shall recommend to them the following letter, from a projector, who is willing to turn a penny by this remarkable curiosity of his countrymen.
“Mr. SPECTATOR, “ You must have observed, that men who frequent coffee. houses, and delight in news, are pleased with every thing that is matter of fact, so it be what they have not heard before. A victory, or a defeat, are equally agreeable to them. The shutting of a cardinal's mouth pleases them one post, and the opening of it another.' They are glad to hear the French court is removed to Marli, and are afterwards as much delighted with its return to Versailles. They read the advertisements with the same curiosity as the articles of public news; and are as pleased to hear of a pye bald horse that is strayed out of a field near Islington, as of a whole troop that has been engaged in any foreign adventure. In short, they have a relish for every thing that is news, let the matter of it be what it will; or to speak more properly, they are men of a voracious appetite, but no taste. Now, sir, since the great fountain of news, I mean the war, is very near being dried up; and since these gentlemen have contracted such an inextinguishable thirst after it; I have taken their case and my own into consideration, and have thought of a project which may turn to the advantage of us both. I have thoughts of publishing a daily paper, which shall comprehend in it all the most remarkable occurrences in every little town, village, and hamlet, that lie within ten miles of London, or in other words, within the verge of the penny-post. I have pitched upon this scene of intelligence for two reasons: first, because the carriage of letters will be very cheap; and secondly, because I may receive them every day. By this means my readers will have their news fresh and fresh, and many worthy citizens, who
? Before a new Cardinal is admitted to all the privileges of his rank, the Pope, in a secret consistory, 'shuts his mouth,' by laying a finger on bis lips, and in the next consistory, opens it again,--an emblematical proceeding, which has given rise to much controversy and a papal Bull.-G.
cannot sleep with any satisfaction at present, for want of being informed how the world goes, may go to bed contentedly, it being my design to put out my paper every night at nine-a-clock precisely. I have already established correspondences in these several places, and received very good intelligencc.
“By my last advices from Knights-bridge I hear that a horse was clapped into the pound on the third instant, and that he was not released when the letters came away.
“We are informed from Pankridge,' that a dozen weddings were lately celebrated in the mother church of that place, but are referred to their next letters for the names of the parties concerned.
“Letters from Brompton advise, that the widow Blight had received several visits from John Milldew, which affords great matter of speculation in those parts.
“ By a fisherman which lately touched at Hammersmith, there is advice from Putney, that a certain person well known in that place, is like to lose his election for church-warden; but this being boat-news, we cannot give entire credit to it.
" Letters from Paddington bring little more than that William Squeak, the sow-gelder, passed through that place the fifth instant.
" They advise from Fulham, that things remained there in the same state they were. They had intelligence, just as the letters came away, of a tub of excellent ale just set abroach at Parsons Green ; but this wanted confirmation.
“I have here, sir, given you a specimen of the news with which I intend to entertain the town, and which, when drawn up regularly in the form of a newspaper, will, I doubt not, be very acceptable to many of those public-spirited readers, who take more delight in acquainting themselves with other people's busi
"Paneras--then a famous place for weddings.-C.
ness than their own. I hope a paper of this kind, which lets us know what is done near home, may be more useful to us, than those which are filled with advices from Zug and Bender, and make some amends for that dearth of intelligence, which we may justly apprehend from times of peace. If I find that you receive this project favourably, I will shortly trouble you with one or two more; and in the mean time am, most worthy sir, with all due respect,
“Your most obedient, and most humble servant.”
No. 453. SATURDAY, AUGUST 9.
Non usitatâ nec tenui ferar
Hor. 2, Od. xx. 1.
There is not a more pleasing exercise of the mind than gratitude. It is accompanied with such an inward satisfaction, that the duty is sufficiently rewarded by the performance. It is not like the practice of many other virtues, difficult and painful, but attended with so much pleasure, that were there no positive command which enjoined it, nor any recompense laid up for it hereafter, a generous mind would indulge in it, for the natural gratification that accompanies it.
If gratitude is due from man to man, how much more from man to his Maker? The Supreme Being does not only confer upon us those bounties which proceed more immediately from his hand, but even those benefits which are conveyed to us by others. Every blessing we enjoy, by, what means soever it may be de
rived upon us, is the gift of him who is the great author of good, and father of mercies.
If gratitude, when exerted towards one another, naturally produces a very pleasing sensation in the mind of a grateful man; it exalts the soul into rapture, when it is employed on this great object of gratitude; on this beneficent being who has given us every thing we already possess, and from whom we expect every thing we yet hope for.
Most of the works of the pagan poets were either direct hymns to their deities, or tended indirectly to the celebration of their respective attributes and perfections. Those who are acquainted with the works of the Greek and Latin poets which are still extant, will upon reflection find this observation so true, that I shall not enlarge upon it. One would wonder that more of our Christian poets have not turned their thoughts this way, especially if we consider, that our idea of the Supreme Being is not only infinitely more great and noble than what could possibly enter into the heart of an heathen, but filled with every thing that can raise the imagination, and give an opportunity for the sublimest thoughts and conceptions.
Plutarch tells us of a heathen who was singing an hymn to Diana, in which he celebrated her for her delight in human sa. crifices, and other instances of cruelty and revenge; upon which a poet who was present at this piece of devotion, and seems to have had a truer idea of the divine nature, told the votary by way of reproof, that in recompense for his hymn, he heartily wished he might have a daughter of the same temper with the goddess he celebrated. It was indeed impossible to write the praises of one of these false deities, according to the pagan creed, without a mixture of impertinence and absurdity.
The Jews, who before the times of Christianity were the only people that had the knowledge of the true God, have set