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I must nor however omit a ploughman, who lived in the farther part of the country, and being very lucky in a pair of long lanthorn-jaws, wrung his face into such an hideous grimace, that every feature of it appeared under a different distortion. The whole company stood astonished at such a complicated grin, and were ready to aflign the prize to Írim, had it not been proved by one of his antagonists, that he had practifed with verjuice for some days before, and had a crab found upon him at the very time of grinning; upon which the best judges of grinning declared it as their opinion, that he was not to be looked upon as a fair grinner, and therefore ordered him to be set aside as a cheat.
The prize it seems fell at length upon a cobler, Giles Gorgon by name, who produced several new grins of his own invention, having been used to cut faces for many years together over his laft. At the very first grin he cast every human feature out of his countenance, at the second he became the face of a spout, at the third a baboon, at the fourth the head of a bass-viol, and at the fifth a pair of nut-crackers. The whole affembly wondered at his accomplishments, and bestowed the ring on him unanimously; but, what he esteemed more than all the rest, a country wench, whom he had wooed in vain for above five years before, was fo charmed with his grins, and the applauses which he received on all sides, that she married him the week following, and to this day wears the prize upon her finger, the cobler having made use of it as his wedding-ring.
This paper might perhaps seem very impertinent, if it grew serious in the conclusion. I would neverthelefs leave it to the consideration of those who are the patrons of this monstrous trial of skill, whether or no they are not guilty, in some meafure, of an affront to their species, in treating after this manner the Human Face Divine, and turn
ing that part of us, which has fo great an image impressed upon it, into the image of a monkey; whether the raising such filly competitions among the ignorant, proposing prizes for such usclefs ac complishments, filling the common peoples heads with such senseless ambitions, and inspiring them with such absurd ideas of superiority and pre-eminence, has not in it fomething immoral as well as ridiculous.
NO 174. WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBRER 19.
Hæc nemini et victum fruftra contendere Thyrsın.
VIRG. Ecl. vii. ver. 69. These rhyms I did to memory commend, When vanquish'd Thyrfis did in vain contend.
DRYDEN. TH Here is scarce any thing more common than
animofities between parties that cannot fubfift but by their agreement: This was well represented in the fedition of the members of the human body in the old Roman fable. It is often the case of leffer confederate states against a fuperior power, which are hardly held together, though their unanimity is neceffary for their common safety: And this is always the case of the landed and trading interest of Great Britain : The trader is fed by the j roduct of the land, and the landed man cannot be clothed but by the skill of the trader; and yet
those interests are ever jarring.
We had last winter an instance of this at our club, in Sir Roger de COVERLEY and Sir AnDREW FREEPORT, between whom there is generally a constant, though friendly opposition of opinions. It happened that one of the company, in an historical discourse, was observing, that Cartha
ginian ginian faith was a proverbial phrase to intimate breach of leagues. Sir Roger faid it could hardly be otherwise ; that the Carthaginians were the greatest traders in the world ; and as gain is the chief end of such a people, they never pursue any other; the means to it are never regarded ; they will, if it comes easily, get money honestly; but if not, they will not scruple to attain it by fraud or cozenage : And indeed, what is the whole business of the trader's account, but to over-reach him who trusts to his memory! But were that not fo, what can there great and noble be expected from him whose attention is for ever fixed upon balancing his books, and watching over his expences ? And at beft, let frugality and parsimony be the virtues of the merchant, how much is his punctual dealing below a gentleman's charity to the poor, or hofpitality among his neighbours?
CAPTAIN SENTRY observed Sir ANDREW very diligent in hearing Sir Roger, and had a mind to turn the discourse, by taking notice in general, from the highest to the lowest parts of human fociety, there was a secret, though unjust way among men, of indulging the feeds of ill-nature and envy, by comparing their own state of life to that of another, and grudging the approach of their neighbour to their own happiness; and on the other fide, he, who is the less at his eafe, repines at the other, who he thinks, has unjustly the advantage over him. Thus the civil and military lists look upon each other with much ill-nature; the foldier repines at the courtier's power, and the courtier rallies the soldier's honour; or, to come to lower instances, the private men in the horse and foot of an army, the carmen and coachmen in the city streets, mutually look upon each other with ill-will, when they are in competition for quarters on the way, in their respective motions.
It is very well, good captain, interrupted Sir AnDREW : You may attempt to turn the discourse if you think fit ; but I must lowever have a word or two with Sir Roger, who, I fee, thinks he has paid me off, and been very severe upon the merchant. I shall not, continued he, at this time remind Sir Roger of the great and noble ́monuments of charity and publick fpirit, which have been erected by merchants since the Reformation, but at present content myself with what he allows us, parfimony and frugality. If it were consistent with the quality of fo ancient a baronet as Sir Roger, to keep an account, or measure things by the most infallible way, that of numbers, he would prefer our parfimony to his hospitality. If to drink so many hogsheads - is to be hospitable, we do not conterid for the fame of that virtue; but it would be worth while to consider, whether so many artificers at work ten days together by my appointment, or so many peasants made merry on Sir Roger's charge, are the men more obliged ? I believe the families of the artificers will thank me, inore tlian the household of the peasants shall Sir Roger. Sir Roger gives to his men, but I place mine above the neceffity or obligation of my bounty.' I am in very little pain for the Roman proverb upon the Carthaginian traders; the Romans were their profeffed enemies : I am only forry no Carthaginian histories have come to our hands; we might have been taught perhaps by them some proverbs against the Roman generofity, in fighting for and bestowing other peoples goods. But fince Sir Roger has taken occalion from an old proverb to be out of humour with merchants, it should be no offence to offer one not quite so old in their defence.
When a man happens to break in Holland, they say of him that he has not kept tiue accounts. This phrase, perhaps among us, would appear a foft or humorous way of speaking, but with that exact nation VOL. III. с
it bears the highest reproach ; for a man to be mistaken in the calculatiou of his expence, in his ability to answer future demands, or to be impertinently fanguine in putting his credit to too great adventure, are all instances of as much infamy as with gayer nations to be failing in courage or common honesty.
Numbers are so much.the measure of every thing that is valuable, that it is not poflible to demonstrate the fuccess of any action, or the prudence of any undertaking without them.
I say this in anfiver to what Sir Roger is pleased to say, that litile that is truly noble can be expected from one who is ever poring on his cath-book, or balancing Liis accounts. When I have my returns from abroad, I can tell to a fhilling, by the help of numbers, the profit or loss by my adventure; but I ought also to be able to thew that I had reason for zmaking it, either from my own experience, or thac of other people, or from a reasonable presumption that my returns will be suflicient to answer my expenes and hazard; and this is never to be done without the skill of numbers. For instance, if I äin to trade to Tilriky, 1 ought beforehand to know the damand of our manufactures there, as well as of their filks in England, and the customary prices that are given for both in each country. Ioughi to have a clear knowledge of these matters beforehand, that I may presume upon fuilicient returns to answer the charge of the cargo I have titred out, the freight and affurance out and home, the custoins to the queen, and the interest of my own inoney, and befides all these expences a reasonable profit to myself. Now what is there of scandal in this skill ? What us the merchant done, that he should be fo little in the good graces of Sir ROGER? He throws down no man's inclosures, and tramples upon no man's corn; he tikes nothing from the industrious labourer; he pays
the poor man for his work; he çoninunicates his profit with mankind; by the pre