« PreviousContinue »
I am very willing to encourage young beginners, but am extremely in the dark how to disposeof this Gentleinan. I cannot see either his person or habit in this letter; but I will call at Charles's, and know the shape of his snusf-box, by which I can settle his character. Though indeed to know his sull capacity, I ought to be informed whether he takes Spanijh or Musty.
St. James's Coffee-house, June I Ok
Letters from the Lozv Countries of the seventeenth in> stant fay, that the Duke of Marlborougk and the Prince of Savoy intended to leave Ghent on that day, and join the army which lies between Pent d'E/piere and Courtray, their head-quarters being at Helehin. The fame day the Palatine soot were expected at -Brussels. Lieutenantgeneral Dompre, with a body of eight thoufand men, is posted at Aloft, in order to cover Ghent and Brustels. The Marshal de Villars was still on the plain of Lenz -; and it is-faid the Duke of Vendosme is appointed to command in conjunction with that General. Advices from Paris fay, Monsieur Voisttt is made Secretary of State, upon MondearCbamil/ard's resignation of that employment. The want of money in that>kingdom-k so great, that the Court has thought sit toxommand all the plate of private-families to be brought into the mint. They write from the Hague on the eighteenth, that the States of Holland continue their session; and that they have approved the resolution of the States-General, to publish a second edict to prohibit the fale of corn to the enemy. Many eminent persons in that assembly have declared that they arc of opinion, that all commerce whatsoever with France should be whollysorbidden: Which point is under present deliberation; but it is seared it will naeet with powerful opposition.
Tuesday, N° 28. Tuesday, June 14, 1709.
White's Chccolate-house, June 13.
IH A D suspended the business of duelling to a distant time, but that I am called upon to declare myself on a point proposed in the following letter.
Sir, June 9, at night.
"T Desire the favour of you to decide this question, "X whether calling a Gentleman a Smart Fellow, is "an asfront or not i a youth entering a certain coffee"house, with his cane tied at his button, wearing red"heeled shoes, 1 thought of your description, and could ** not forbear telling a friend of mine next to me, there "enters a Smart Fellow. The Gentleman hearing it, "had immediately a mind to pick a quarrel with me, "and desired Satisfaction : At which I was more puzzled "than at the other, remembering what mention your "Familiar makes of those that had lost their lives on "such occasions. The thing is reserred to your judg"ment, and I expect you to be my second, since you "have been the cause of our quarrel. I am,
Your friend, and humble servant.
I absolutely pronounce, that there is no occasion of ofsence given in this expression; for a Smart Fellow is always an appellation of praise, and is a man of double capacity. The true cast or mould in which you may be sure to know him is, when his livelihood or education is in the Civil List, and you see him express a vivacity or mettle above the way he is in by a little jerk in his
motion, motion, short trip in his Heps, well-fancied lining of his coat, or any other indications which may be given in a vigorous dress. Now, what possible insinuation can, there be, that it is a cause of quarrel for a man to fay, he allows a Gentleman really to be, what he, his Taylor, his Hosier, and his Milliner, have conspired to make him? I consess, if this person who appeals to me had faid, he was "not a Smart Fellow," there had been cause for resentment; but if he stands to it that he is one, he leaves no manner of ground'sor misunderstanding. Indeed it is a most lamentable thing, that there should be a dispute raised upon a man's faying another is, what he plainly takes pains to be thought.
But this point cannot be so well adjusted, as by enquiring what are the sentiments of wise nations and communities, of the use of the sword, and from thence conclude, whether it is honourable to draw it so frequently or not? an illustrious commonwealth of Italy has preserved itself for many ages, without letting one of their subjects handle this destructive instrument; always leaving that work to such of mankind as understand the use of a whole skin so little, as to make a prosession of exposing it to cuts and scars.
But what need we run to such foreign instances? our own antient and well-governed cities are conspicuous examples to all mankind in their regulation of military atchievements. The. chief citizens, like the noble Italians, hire mercenaries to carry arms in their stead ; and you shall have a sellow of a desperate fortune, for the gain of one half-crown, go through all the dangers of TuttleFields, or the Artillery-Ground, clap his right jaw within two inches of the touch-hole of a musquet, sire it ost", and huzza, with as little concern as he tears a pullet. Thus You see, to what scorn of danger these mercenaries arrive, out of a mere love of sordid gain: But methinks it should take off the strong prepossession men have in favour of bold actions, when they see upon what low motives men aspire to them. Do bnt observe the common practice in the government of those heroic bodies, our militia and lieutenancies, the most antient corps as soldiers, perhaps, in the universe; I question, whether there is one instance of an animosity between
'any any two ds these illustrious sons of Mars since their institution, which was decided by combat? I remember indeed to have read the Chronicle of an accident which had like to have occasioned bloodshed in the very sield before all the General-Officers, though most of them were Justices of the Peace. Captain Crabtree of Birchinglane, Haberdasher, had drawn a bill upon Major-general Maggot, Cheesemonger in Thames-street. Crabtree draws this upon Mr. William Maggot and Company. A country-lad received this bill, and not understanding the word Company, used in drawing bills on men in partnership, carried it to Mr. Jeffery Stitch of Crooked lane (Lieutenant of the Major-General's company) whom he had the day before seen march by the door in all the pomp of his commission. The Lieutenant accepts it, for the honour of the company, since it had come to him. But repayment being aflced from the Major-General, he absolutely resuses. Upon this, the Lieutenant thinks of nothing else than to bring this to a rupture, and takes for his second Tobias /frmjlrongof the Counter, and sends him with a challenge in a scrip of parchment, wherein was written Stitch contra Maggot, and all the fory vanished in a moment. The Major-General gives fatisfaction to the second, and all was well.
Hence it is, that the bold spirits of our city, are kept in such subjection to the civil power. Otherwise, where would our liberties soon be? if wealth and valour were suffered to exert themselves with their utmost force. If such Officers as are employed in the terrible bands above^ mentioned, were to draw bills as well as swords, these dangerous Captains, who could victual an army as well as lead it, would be too powersul for the State. But' the point of honour justly gives way to that of gain ; and by long and wise regulation, the richest is the bravest man. I have known a Captain rise to a Colonel in two days by the fall of stocks ; and a Major, my good friend., near the Monument, ascended to that honour by the fall of the price of spirits, and the rising of right Nantx. By this true sense of honour, that body of warriors are ever in good order and discipline, with their colours and coats all whole: As in other battalions (where their principles of action are less solid) you see the men of
service service look like spectres with long sides and lank cheeks. In this army you may measure a man's services by bU waist, and the most prominent belly is certainly the nan who has been most upon action. Besides all this, there is another excellent remark to be made in the discipline of these troops. It being of absolute necessity, that the people of England should see what they have for their money, and be eye-witnesses of the advantages they gain by it, all battles which are fought abroad are represented here. But since one side must be beaten, and the other conquer, which might create disputes, the eldest company is always to make the other run, and the younger retreats, according to the last News and best Intelligence. I have myself seen Prince Eugene make Catinat fly from the backside of Gray's-Inn-Lane to Hocklty in the Hale, and not give over the pursuit, until obliged to leave the BearGarden on the right, to avoid being borne down by sencers, wild bulls, and monsters, too terrible for the encounter of any Heroes, but such whose lives are their livelihood.
We have here seen, that wise nations do not admit of sighting, even in the desence of their country, as a laudable action; and they live within the walls of our own city in great honour and reputation without it. It would be very necessary to understand, by what force of the climate, food, education, or employment one man's sense is brought to differ so essentially from that of another; that one is ridiculous and contemptible for forbearing a thing which makes for his fasety; and another applauded for consulting his ruin and destruction.
It will therefore be necessary for us (to (hew our travelling) to examine this subject sully, and tell you how it comes to pass, that a man of honour in Spain, though you offend him never so gallantly, stabs you basely; in England, though you offend him never so basely, challenges fairly: The former kills you out of revenge, the latter out of good breeding. But to probe the heart of man in this particular to its utmost thoughts and recesses, I must wait for the return of Pacolet, who is now attending a Gentleman lately in a duel, and sometimes visits the person, by whose hand he received bis wounds.