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N° 286

Monday, January 28.


Nomina honefta prætenduntür vitiis.

Tacit. Ann. 1. 14. C. 210 Specious names are lent to cover vices. * Mr. Spe&tator,

York, Jan. 18; 1712. Pretend not to inform a gentleman of To just a tàste, whenever he pleases to use it; but it may not

be amiss to inform your readers, that there is a false delicacy as well as a true one. True delicacy, as I • take it, confifts in exactness of judgment and dignity o of sentiment, or if you will, purity of affection, as < this is opposed to corruption and grofiness. There

are pedants in breeding as well as in learning. The

eye that cannot bear the light is not delicate but « fóre. A good constitution appears in the foundness

and vigout of the parts, hot in the squeamishness of

the stomach ; and a false delicacy is affectation, not • politeness. What then can be the standard of delicacy « but truth and virtue ? Virtue, which, as the satiriit

long since observed, is real honour ; whereas the other distinctions among mankind are merely titular. Judg. ing by that rule in my opinion, and in that of many of your virtuous female readers, you are so far from deserving Mr. Courtly's accusation, that you seem too

gentle, and to allow too many excuses for an enor·mous crime, which is the reproach of the age, and is • in all its branches and degrees expreíly forbidden by • that religion we pretend to profess; and whole laws,

in a nation that calls itself christian, one would think • snc uld take place of those rules which men of corrupg i minds, and those of weak understandings, follow. I • know not any thing more pernicious to good manners,

than the giving fair names to foul actions: for this • confounds vice and virtue, and takes off that natural 4

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• horror we have to evil. An innocent creature, who

would start at the name of strumpet, may think it

pretty to be called a mistress, especially if her seducer • has taken care to inform her, that a union of hearts is

the principal matter in the fight of heaven, and that " the business at church is a mere idle ceremony. Who

knows not that the difference between obscene and ' modest words expressing the same action, consists only

in the accessary idea, for there is nothing immodest in * letters and syllables. Fornication and adultery are mo

deft words ; because they express an evil action as * criminal, and so as to excite horror and aversion :

whereas words representing the pleasure rather than " the fin, are for this reason indecent and dishoneft. Your

papers would be chargeable with something worse than

indelicacy, they would be immoral, did you treat the • detestable fins of uncleanness in the same manner as

you rally an impertinent felf-love, and an artful glance; as those laws would be very unjust, that should chas• tise murder and petty larceny with the same punish

Even delicacy requires that the pity shewn " to distressed indigent wickedness, first betrayed into + and then expelled the harbours of the brothel, should * be changed to detestation, when we consider pam

pered vice in the habitations of the wealthy. The * most free person of quality, in Mr. Courtly's phrase,

that is, to speak properly, a woman of figure who * has forgot her birth and breeding, dishonoured her re"lations and herself, abandoned her virtue and reputa• tion, together with the 'natural modesty of her sex, * and risked her very foul, is so far from deferving to * be treated with no worse character than that of a kind

woman, (which is doubtless Mr. Courtly's meaning; * if he has any) that one can scarce be too severe on * her, in as much as fhe fins against greater restraints, * is less exposed, and liable to fewer temptations, than

beauty in poverty and distress. It is hoped there: * fore, "Sir, that you will not lay aside your generous

defign of exposing that monstrous wickedness of the town, whereby a multitude of innocents are facrificed in a more barbarous manner than those who were of

« fered


• fered to Moloch. The unchaste are provoked to see r their vice exposed, and the chaste cannot rake into • such filth without danger of defilement, but a mere Spectator may look into the bottom, and come off « without partaking in the guilt. The doing so will * convince us you pursue public good, and not merely

your own advantege: but if your zeal flackens, how can one help thinking that Mr. Courtly's letter is but a • feint to get off from a subject, in which either your

own, or the private and base ends of others to whom you are partial, or those of whom you are afraid, would not endure a reformation ? • I am, Sir, your humble servant and admirer, so long

as you tread in the paths of truth, virtue, and honour.'


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• Mr. Spectator, Trin Coll. Cantab. Jan. 12, 1711-12. IT

T is my fortune to have a chamber-fellow, with

whom, though I agree very well in many sentiments, yet

there is one in which we are as contrary as light « and darkness. We are both in love : his mistress is

a lovely fair, and mine a lovely brown. Now as the

praise of our mistresses beauty employs much of our o time, we have frequent quarrels in entring upon that • subject, while each says all he can to defend his choice. ! For my own part, I have racked my fancy to the ut

moft; and sometimes, with the greatest warmth of

imagination, have told him, that night was made c. before day, and many more fine things, though with

effect: nay, last night I could not forbear saying with more heat than judgment, that the devil ought to be painted white. Now, my desire is, Sir, that you will be pleased to give us in black and white

your opinion in the matter of dispute between us; • which will either furnish me with fresh and prevailing

arguments to maintain my own taste, or make me with • less repining allow that of my chamber-fellow. I • know very well that I have Jack Cleveland and Bond's • Horace on my fide; but when he has such a band of • rhymers and romance-writers, with which he op* poses me, and is so continually chiming to the tune of

• golden

out any,

golden tresses, yellow locks; milk, marble, ivory, filver, swans, snow, daisies, doves, and the lord knows • what; which he is always sounding with so much vehemence in

my ears, that he often puts me into a brown ftudy how to answer him; and I find that I am in a *fair way to be quite confounded, without your timely kaffistance afforded to,

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φιλιάτη γη μητες, ώς σεμνόν σφόδρ εί Τούς νέν έχεσι κλημα και

MENANDI Dear native land, how do the good and wise Thy happy clime and countless blessings prize!

I Look upon

it as a peculiar happiness, that were I to choose of what religion I would be, and under what government I would live, I should most certainly give the preference to that form of religion and government which is established in iny own country. In this point I think I am determined by reason and conviction ; but if I shall be told that I am acted by prejudice, I am sure it is an honest prejudice, it is a prejudice that arises from the love of my country, and therefore such an one as I will always indulge. I have in several papers endeavoured to express my duty and esteem for the church of England, and design this as an essay upon the civil part of our conftitution, having often entertained myself with reflexions on this subject, which I have not met with in other writers.

That form of government appears to me the most reasonable, which is most conformable to the equality that we find in human nature, provided it be consistent with VOL. IV.



public peace and tranquillity. This is what may properly be called liberty, which exempts one man from subjection to another, fo far as the order and æconomy of government will permit.

Liberty hould reach every individual of a people, as they all sare one common nature; if it only spreads among particular branches, there had better be none at all, fince such a liberty only aggravates the misfortune of those who are deprived of it, by setting before them a disagreeable subject of comparison

This liberty is best preserved, where the legislative power is lodged in several perfons, especially if those perions are of different ranks and intereits ; for where they are of the same rank, and consequently have an interest to manage peculiar to that rank, it differs but little from a despotical government in a single person. But the greateft fecurity a people can have for their liberty, is when the legislative power is in the hands of persons fo happily distinguished, that by providing for the particular interests of their several ranks, they are providing for the whole body of the people ; or in other words, when there is no part of the people that has not a common intereit with at least one part of the legislators.

If there be but one body of legislators, it is no better than a tyranny; if there are only two, there will want a caiting voice, and one of them must at length be swallowed up by disputes and contentions that will necessarily arise between them. Four would have the same inconvenience as two, and a greater number would cause too much confusion. I could never read a passage in Polybius, and another in Cicero, to this purpose, without a secret pleafure in applying it to the English constitution, which it fuits much better than the Roman. Both these great authers give the pre-eminence to a mixt government, confisting of three branches, the regal, the noble, and the popular. They had doubtless in their thoughts the constitution of the Roman commonwealth, in which the consul represented the king, the fenate the nobles, and the tribunes the people. This division of the three powers in the Roman constitution was by no means fo distinct and natural, as it is in the English form of government. Among several objections that might be made


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