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o far as our observation enables us to form
an idea of the actions of others, it never fails to impress on our minds some sense of their propriety and re&titude ; but if this be more closely examined, it will, I am persuaded, be found strictly to regard propriety and rectitude, in the plain meaning of the words, no further than to strangers; for among our friends and acquaintance the reference or comparison does not so much depend on real rectitude, as a conformity with that line of conduct they have generally pursued, and which constitutes what is usually termed character. Now if a person acts conformable to that, we never, in common transactions, scrutinize every particular action according to the rigid rules of strict propriety; for we may observe, that we form as instantaneous, and, in general, as just an idea how any one would act, either in saying, doing, or suffering, as we do of their supposed articulation, or accent in pronouncing any word we do not recollect ever to have heard them use. This being the general standard or criterion by which we measure, or try the words, or actions of others, is the reason why the smallest deviation, either to the right or the left, cqually surprises us : to observe
a person remarkable for loquacity, fitting filent in a circle of convivial friends, or to hear another of austere gravity, burst into an uncommon loud fit of laughter at a trifling incident, or common turn of wit, affects us equally as to hear an illiterate person use a scientifical word with the utmost propricty both in sense and accent, or a person of known erudition, accidentally misplace or misapply one. And to observe an abandoned person, whose corrupted heart places its felicity in low wit and obscenity, remain silent when a favourable opportunity offers of introducing one of his favourite common-place puns, or a person of exemplary fanctity and purity of manners, betrayed by a sudden gust of passion into actions or expressions far beneath himself, surprises us still more; but in either case the person does not lose his reputation; the one is an agreeable, and the other a very disagreeable surprise, and among people of confined intelligence, is an inex haustible source of conversation ; from whence we may observe, that we form our opinion of a person's conduct, rather from what we suppose he will do, than what he does. Now respecting a stranger, of whom we have no rule to judge by, we are more apt to try their actions, and form an
opinion of them by the nicer models of propriety and rectitude; and as in the former case, our expectation amounts almost to a certainty of their acting in conformity with their own character: so in this (as we always are wishing to see that perfection, we feel our own, and see our friends deficiency in) our hopes awaken our expectation of seeing them act up to this model, to almost as great a degree of probability as the other approaches to certainty; and in proportion as we find ourselves repeatedly disappointed, do we withdraw our confidence, and form in our own mind's an idea of their character as of others : feeling at each disappointment of this kind, and in proportion as our expectations were raised, a something which does not displcase us, at each new instance of human fallibility; adducing such fresh arguments in defence of our own vices as we can deducc from their conformity therewith, or presuming on our own for. titude or prudence when in any weakness to which we are not addicted.
Now as we, after many years experience, are apt to feel ourselves hurt on one side, and rather apt to arrogate on the other, by the fallibility of those from whom nothing but our curiosity had taught us to expect any thing exemplary; I have reflected, and that with the deepest concern, on the precarious situation of children in this respect, and how careful every one concerned in their welfare or tuition, ought to be, not to a contrary to the documents and advice they give; for as every one is more than stranger to them, what we experience in our expe&tatios of strangers, is more than doubly felt even with regard to their own parents ; and as the love of liberty, even more than that of credulity, is inherent in our very nature, any deviation in us from the rules we prescribe, helps more and more to confirm the fufpicion their hopes had flattered them with of our fallibility, and consequently inspires them with hopes that the restraint they lie under originates in, and will end with, parental authority, and that nothing but a few years are wanting to leave them at liberty to gratify every wish (wants they have few, did they but know their happiness); and, strangers to the idea of flavery to fin, and the resistless impulse of ill habits and gratifications, they in the height of expectation, construe every deviation from the rules prescribed them, to be the result of cool deliberation in ther superiors, and consequently that there must be fome hidden secret pleasure, which it can be no harm for them to partake of, any more than another, whose fuperior years
give them a claim to preference in understanding which they think would induce them to-refrain, if there was that danger in those practises which has been represented unto them: and while this is the case, while superior discernment will pusillanimously suffer itself to be drawn into low, vulgar, enjoyments, thereby blasting by keen remorse that happiness their own soul informs, allures, and convinces them, is within their reach ; it will be impoMble for the most pathetic language experienced piety can adopt, !0 restrain inexperienced minds; impelled by these considerations on one side, and Aushed with some little exhilarating successes on the other, they push off from shore in pursuit of pleasure, and calmly think that the voice of experience sympathetically warning them of the danger they run, is pretty well rewarded if it come off without contempt; any hazard the sage adviser may have run, or any instances he may adduce of premature pain and infirmity, in consequence of youthful pleasure, seem rather to them to imply some palpable defect in the juvenile understanding, to result from some ill chosen connections, which their superior prudence is to prevent, or from a petulancy of disposition towards those pleasures which he can no longer enjoy.
To the New SPECTATOR. Mr. SPECTATOR,
The influence of superstition on weak minds is astonishingly great ; and a few centuries ago, the learned as well as the ignorant of this kingdom, could not resist its sway.
AMONGST the variety of instances mentioned of the interference of the Holy Virgin, there is one preserved in a record lodged in the Tower worthy of investigation. It is dated in the 21st. of Edw. III. 1347, and the copy of the record is as follows:
" The King, to all bailiffs and other his liege “ subjects, to whom these presents shall come, “ Greeting : Be it known unto you, that, whereu as Cecily who was the wife of John Rygeway, “ was lately indięted for the murder of the said " John, her husband, and brought to her trial o for the same, before our beloved and faithful " Henry Grove, and his brother judges at Not“ tingham; but that continuing mute, and refu" sing to plead to the said indi&tment, she was
sentenced to be committed to close custodys “ without any victuals or drink, for the space of 66 “ forty days, which she miraculously, and even
« contrary to the course of human nature, went
through, as we are well and fully assured of, “ from persons of undoubted credit. We do, *s therefore, for that reason, and from a principle t of piety to the glory of God, and of the bles“ sed Virgin Mary, his mother, by whom it is “ thought, this miracle was wrought, out of our
special grace and favour, pardon the fad Ce
cily from the further execution of the sentence “ upon her; and our will and pleasure is, that • she be freed from the said prison, and no far" ther trouble given her upon the account of the ti faid sentence. In witness, &c."
As I do not recollect having read any account of this extraordinary transaction, which must, doubtless, have caused much speculation at that time, I shall be greatly obliged to any of your correspondents who can inform me of any further particulars respecting this matter, and am, Yours, &c.
ANTIQ. . To the NEW SPECTATOR. Friend Spec,
I am a great admirer of new maxims, and contemplate with pleasure the progress of fashion in sentiment, as well as in dress. I am, therefore, very much delighted to find the ridiculous maxim, so repeatedly inculcated in former times, “ Not to praise thyself,” is now become obsolete, as are many others of the same kind, which
are, no doubt, justly rejected, as not being founded on nature, for, to pursue the dictates of nature, is now the ton philosophic. It is to be observed, that this pursuit of mere nature is confined to the actions and passions of mankind, and not to their arts or sciences; any thing relating to those, must now be regulated in opposition to nature, otherwise the effects of the sublime and wonderful are lost. Thus modern poets and modern musicians are too polite and too fashionable to attempt agitating your mind, by exciting the passions, and wish only to raise a gentle emotion of surprize; and I cannot but acknowledge, that they have carried this piece of delicacy to the very pinnacle of perfeétion.
ONE improvement, like one misfortune, is generally the mother of another; so the rejection of the old maxim, “ Not to praise thyself," was, conformable to the dietates of nature, immediately followed with the rejection of another, * Not to speak against thy neighbour ;' the abo. lition of which last maxim has evidently many advantages attending it; for men, by extolling themselves, might sometimes be tempted to impose on credulity, and endanger the interest of their
fellow-creatures, but by the abolition of the last maxim, this effect is, in a great measure, happily defeated.
All old systems have their partizans. I believe there are people who secretly favour the Ptolomy system, in opposition to that of Copernicus; and I am not unacquainted with some families, who obstinately adhere to the old division of time, and dine at one o'clock in the day, instead of five; go to bed at ten, and rise at fix, and so invert the very order of nature. And thus it happens respecting the before-mentioned maxims, they of the old party, call speak. ing in praise of ourselves, vanity ; and expofing the defects of our neighbours, they call scandal. However, it is thought that as the old party is very weak, it will shortly be brought over, for every one of its adherents is already suspected of a latent affection, for the new system.
The rejection of two rules, which hung like dead-weighis upon the tongue, has given to conversation a freedom which constitutes its spirit, and is indeed its chief ornament, and has afforded mankind the means of knowing each other much better than they could otherwise have attained. Some, indeed, do not scruple to affert, that they know their neighbours as well as, perhaps better than, themselves.
THESE are considerations which I earnestly submit to your SPECTATORSHIP's mature deliberation, and wish to be favoured with your
sentiments on the old and new systems alluded to by Yours, &c.
To the NEW SPECTATOR.
Too LOVING BY HALF! Mr. SPECTATOR,
Covent-Garden. Permit me to make a few observations on the comic opera, performed, for the first time, last night, for the benefit of Mrs. Martyr. It is the production of Mr. Horatio Robson, who, from the unlimited, and deserved applause, which Too Loving by Half, experienced last night from a respectable and numerous audience, I have no doubt, will again delight the public with a specimen of his comic powers.
Some part of the music was judiciously compiled, in particular an Italian air, by Mrs. Martyr, in which she gave repeated testimonies of the excellency of her voice. A Duet, by Brett, and Mrs. Bannister, begining with “ Sweet is the breath of love,” and a Trio, by Dibdin, were beautiful. Altogether it was light, and pretty. But, why should the new music, as some
Hence the chalte thrillings which enhance
In search of pure delight,
In Pity's balm their bosoms steep,
time ago, advertised, by a favourite composer, laid aside ? Whether that disappointment arose from the false judgment of the author, affectation of the performers, or idleness in the band, I have not been able to discover; but it is a reflection on all three, and it is what every manager ought to prevent. An entire compilation, not only deprives the public of variety; but destroys every effort of rising genius.
The dialogue is natural, casy, and sprightly, and kept the house in a perpetual laugh. The characters of Quick and Wewitzer, are ably written, and were particularly well supported ; indeed the latter, especially, never appeared to so much advantage. Some of the performers were rather imperfect in their parts, but on the whole, did the piece justice. Mrs. Martyr, in the plain dress of a waiting-maid, looked as lovely, and sung as charming as ever.
The manager will do himself, the town, and the author much injustice if he does not present it as an after-piece.--From this specimen, the public may reasonably expe& much future entertainment from the pen of Mr. Robson.
I am, Sit, yours, &c. Bedford-Arms.
Go, the soul's mifrels! teach the
A fun that burns as well as warms,
But ah! sad goddeis! go not nigh
The pictur'd image of despair :
Nor let thy visions all too rude,
What can't thou teach the gentle breaft, By that foul-softening power pofseft,
But frantic fears and ten-fold care,
Heart-rending horror and despair ?
And sinks beneath a fancy'd doom; His nymph, and not Monimia bleeds --'Tis she that
groans in Juliet's tomb!
To the New SPECTATOR: Mr. SPECTATOR,
THOUGH I am no great friend to Irregular Odes, or indeed modern odes of any sort, there is Something in the following which 'pleases my fancy, and which therefore I wish to see in the New SPECTATOR»
Herc then, Melpomene, forbear; thy lore,
They who with passion burn, or droop with woe, Have feclings but too quick, and tears too apt to flow!
Ode to MELPOMENE.
Not in the gaudy day,
But late in shades, and cypress groves,
Beneath o'er hanging rocks to fray ;
70 the New SPECTATO R. Dear Speci.
Amongst the variety of matters which engage the attention of those who daily perambulate this metropolis, there is none which more forcibly strike my mind than the general prevalence of
BALLOON FASHIONS! Every thing is a la balloon; and though the famous acrostatic machine of Monf. Mongolfier is become a stale article, yet the balloon is likely to pervade every part of our summer dresses, especially amongst the ladies, who lately confined themselves to balloon hats and caps, but have now gowns called balloon, from their colour, as if a balloon should necessarily be of any particular colour; the petticoai, which was formerly fringed, is now furbelowed and puffed, a la balloon ; even the shoes are decorated with balloon
roses, roses, and I am credibly informed that the balloon garter will shortly make its appearance. The balloon hat has considerably extended its dimenfions; its circumference is equal to that of a common-sized umbrella, and, I suppose, it is meant to answer the same purpose. A lady, in one of these, looks as if she had got a round tea-board on her head, with an enormous flop bason, and two dozen of cups and saucers. The balloon cap has assumed no regular form; and though a part
of the dress which one would imagine well calculated to be rendered balloonish, the milliners fail in all their aitempts on the subje&t.
I have here a fine opportunity of being very witty on the subject of inlammable air; and might amuse myself with thoroughly disleting the dress of a woman of fashion, were I not apprehensive of cncroaching on the prerogative of those admirable writers who furnish our libraries with Light Summer-reading for Ladies, &c.
The Balloon has not only pervaded every part of dress, but it has found its way into the heads and shops of confectioners: and Balloon biscuits and swcetmeats are now as common as sugar-plumbs ; whilst instead of Hot spice Nuts, the barrow-m.n vociferates, Fine Balloon-Gingerbread, fmoaking hot!
What is still more remarkable than all this, the balloon has found its way to the bar and the pulpit. When a man has been at law for a certain time, and is at length non-fuited, the gentlemen of the long robe have found it extremely difficult to make their clients understand that term, and have, therefore, wisely adopted the word Ballooned, which certainly conveys their meaning better by half. When a man is nonsuited, he neither knows what is done, nor what he is to do; but the most ignorant man knows that when he is Ballooned, it is his business to fly.
With respect to the pulpit it has of late been too much infected with inflammable air; and too many of the clergy too much resemble an air balloon: the people see them exalted like a ballovn, and many pay for seeing them who cannot discover their use.
But of all the learned professions, Phyfic has made the most wonderful progress in the balloon manufactory. There is scarcely one of the faculty who does not daily send men and women on aerial expeditions, not only into other countries, but into other worlds; and they have brought their balloons to such perfection that many of their customers lose fight of the carth in a few minutes.
Thus almost every branch of business has its balloons, and happy is the man that can fly the highest ! EXHIBITION.
Somerset-House. AMONGST the landscapes in this year's Exhibition, are several by Loutherbourg, and executed with his usual skill. His view of “ Bra“ther Bridge, which divides Weitmoreland " from Cumberland," is a noble painting, admirably picturesque, and highly finished. His “ Dove-dale in Derbyshire,” and “ Matlock
High-Torr," are pleasing pictures, and exact representations of those romantic scenes. ' A
sylvan scene, taken at the top of a cascade in “ Westmoreland,” by Thompson, is a delightful subjcct, and well cxecuted. Such scenés, indeed, are fit for the contemplation of genius.
“ Moses receiving the law on Mount Sinai," painted by Mr. Welt, for his Majesty's chapel in Windfor Catle, is the principal picture in the Exhibiton; and a piece in which the painter has discovered great genius in the design, and no less skill in the execution. The figure of Mofes is extremely ítriking: he is represented standing with a table in each hand, the left being extended into the cloud over his head, where the finger of the deity is supposed to inscribe on that table a part of the law. Mr. West has judiciously omitted attempting that which, ada mits not of delincation : and of which no human being can have any conception : the figure of the deity. He has endeavoured to convey an idea of the presence of God, by the grandeur and awful solemnity of the scene: the venerable group, whích fills the lower part of the piece, consisting of Aaron and the elders, are covered, it were, with light, and
sensible of the presence by declining their heads, being unable to bear the splendour with which the deity is surrounded. Joshua, who accompanied Moses to the top of the mount, is, with great propriety and beauty, represented by a young man, holding a scroll, prostrate on the mount.
Whilst the effulgence of the light, and the noise of the thunder visibly affect Aaron and the elders of the people, Moses is seen in the midst of the cloud and whirlwind with firmness looking into the blaze of light.
In this excellent production, Mr. Weft has happily united the exertions of genius and the powers of painting. The light and the shade, the distribution of colours, the amazingly expressive characters of the heads, and the beauty of the draperies, all contribute to stamp immortality on this picture,