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help for it; for it is positively said, Cursed is he of whom all men speak well.”* This is taking a man by surprise, and being welcome when you have so surprised him. The person flattered receives you into his closet at once: and the sudden change of his heart from the expectation of an ill-wisher, to find
you his friend, makes you in his full favour in a moment. The spirits that were raised so suddenly against you, are as suddenly for you. There was another instance given of this kind at the table. A gentleman, who had a very great favour done him, and an employment bestowed upon him, without so much as being personally known to his benefactor, waited
upon the great man who was so generous, and was beginning to say he was infinitely obliged. “Not at all,” says the patron, turning from him to another; “ had I known a more deserving man in England, he should not have had it.”
We should certainly have had more examples, had not a gentleman produced a book which he thought an instance of this kind : it was a pamphlet, called “ The Naked Truth.” The idea any one would have of that work from the title was, that there would be much plain dealing with people in power, and that we should see things in their proper light, stripped of the ornaments which are usually given to the actions of the great; but the skill of this author is such, that he has under that rugged appearance, approved himself the finest gentleman and courtier that ever writ. The language is extremely sublime, and not at all to be understood by the vulgar. The sentiments are such as would make no figure in ordinary words; but such is the art of expression, and the thoughts are elevated to so high a degree, that I question whether the discourse will sell much. There was an ill-natured fellow present, who hates all panegyric mortally; “P-take him,” said he, w what the devil means his Naked Truth, in speaking nothing but to the advantage of all whom he mentions? This is just such a great action as that of the champion's on a coronation-day, who challenges all mankind to dispute with him the right of the sovereign, surrounded with his guards.” The gentleman who produced the treatise desired him to be cautious, and said, it was writ by an excellent soldier, which made the company observe it more narrowly; and (as critics are the greatest conjurors at finding out a known truth) one said, he was sure it was writ by the hand of his sword-arm. I could not perceive much wit in that expression; but it raised a laugh, and, I suppose, was meant as a sneer upon valiant men. The same man pretended to see in the style, that it was an horse-officer; but sure that is being too nice; for though you may know officers of the cavalry by the turn of their feet, I cannot imagine how you should discern their hands from those of other men. But it is always thus with pedants; they will ever be carping, if a gentleman or a man of honour puts pen to paper. I do not doubt but this author will find this assertion too true, and that obloquy is not repulsed by the force of arms.
* Luke vi. 26. His Grace did not understand, nor quote fairly, the passage of Scripture, to which he thought it so witty thus impiously to allude.
I will therefore set this excellent piece in a light too glaring for weak eyes, and, in imitation of the critic Longinus, shall, as well as I can, make my observations in a style like the author's of whom I treat, which perhaps I am as capable of as another, having an unbounded force of thinking, as well as a most exquisite address, extensively and wisely indulged to me by the supreme powers." My author, I will dare to assert, shows the most universal knowledge of any writer who has appeared this century; he is a poet and merchant, which is seen in two master-words, “ Credit-blossoms.” He is a gram
marian and a politician; for he says, “ The uniting of the two kingdoms is the emphasis of the security of the protestant succession.” Some would be apt to say, he is a conjuror; for he has found, that a republick is not made up of every body of animals, but is composed of men only, and not of horses. “Liberty and property have chosen their retreat within the emulating circle of an human commonwealth.” He is a physician: for he says, “ I observe a constant equality in its pulse, and a just quickness of its vigorous circulation.”
And again, “I view the strength of our constitution plainly appear in the sanguine and ruddy complexion of a wellcontented city.
He is a divine; for he says, “I cannot but bless myself.” And, indeed, this excellent treatise has had that good effect upon me, who am far from being superstitious, that I also “cannot but bless myself.”
St. James's Coffee-house, May 18. This day arrived a mail from Lisbon, with letters of the thirteenth instant, N. S. containing a particular account of the late action in Portugal. On the seventeenth instant the army of Portugal, under the command of the Marquis de Frontera, lay on the side of the Caya, and the army of the Duke of Anjou, commanded by the Marquis de Bay, on the other. The latter commander having an ambition to ravage the country, in a manner in sight of the Portugueze, made a motion with the whole body of his horse towards Fort Saint Christopher, near the town of Badajos. The generals of the Portugueze disdaining that such an insult should be offered to their arms, took a resolution to pass the river, and oppose the designs of the enemy. The Earl of Galloway represented to them, that the present posture of affairs was such on the side of the allies, that there needed no more to be done at present in that country, but to carry on a defensive part: but his argument could not avail in the council of war. Upon which a great detachment of foot, and the whole of the horse of the King of Portugal's army, passed the river, and with some pieces of cannon did
good execution on the enemy. Upon observing this, the Marquis de Bay advanced with his horse, and attacked the right wing of the Portugueze cavalry, who faced about, and fled, without standing the first encounter. But their foot repulsed the same body of horse, in three successive charges, with great order and resolution. Whilst this was transacting, the British general commanded the brigade of Pearce to keep the enemy in diversion by a new attack. This was so well executed, that the Portugueze infantry had time to retire in good order, and re-pass the river. But that brigade, which rescued them, was itself surrounded by the enemy, and MajorGeneral Starkey, Brigadier Pearce, together with both their regiments, and that of Lord Galloway, lately raised, were taken prisoners.
During the engagement, the Earl of Barrimore, having advanced too far to give some necessary order, was hemmed in by a squadron of the enemy; but found means to gallop up to the brigade of Pearce, with which he remains also a prisoner. My Lord Galloway had his horse shot under him in this action; and the Conde de Staint Juan, a Portugueze General, was taken prisoner. The same night the army encamped at Aronches, and on the ninth moved to Elvas, where they lay when these dispatches came away. Colonel Stanwix's regiment is also taken. The whole of this affair has given the Portugueze a great idea of the capacity and courage of my Lord Galloway, against whose advice they entered upon this unfortunate affair, and by whose conduct they were rescued from it. The prodigious constancy and resolution of that great man is hardly to be paralleled, who under the oppression of a maimed body, and the reflexion of repeated illfortune, goes on with an unspeakable alacrity in the service of the common cause.
He has already put things in a very good posture after this ill accident, and made the necessary dispositions for covering the country from any further attempt of the enemy, who still lie in the camp they were in before the battle.
Letters from Brussels, dated the twenty-fifth instant, advise, that notwithstanding the negociations of a peace seem so far advanced, that some do confidently report the preliminaries of a treaty to be actually agreed on, yet the allies hasten their
prepations for opening the campaign; and the forces of the Empire, the Prussians, the Danes, the Wirtembergers, the Palatines, and Saxon auxiliaries, are in motion towards the general rendezvous, they being already arrived in the neighbourhood of Brussels. These advices add, that the deputies of the States of Holland, having made a general review of the troops in Flanders, set out for Antwerp on the 21st instant from that place.
N° 18. SATURDAY, MAY 21, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines
nostri est farrago libelli.
Juv. Sat. i. 85, 19.
P. From my own Apartment, May 20. It is observed too often that men of wit do so much employ their thoughts upon fine speculations, that things useful to mankind are wholly neglected;