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month, say, that the Prince Royal of Prussia arrived there on the fifteenth, and left that court on the second of this month, in pursuit of his journey to Flanders, where he makes the ensuing campaign. Those advices add, that the young Prince Nassau, hereditary governor of Friesland, celebrated on the twenty-sixth of the last month his marriage with the beauteous Princess of Hesse-Cassel, with a pomp and magnificence suitable to their age and quality.
Letters from Paris say, his most Christian Majesty retired to Marly on the first instant, N. S. and our last advices from Spain inform us, that the Prince of Asturias had made his public entry into Madrid in great splendor. The Duke of Anjou has given Don Joseph Hartado de Amaraga the government of Terra Firma de Veragua, and the presidency of Panama in America. They add, that the forces commanded by the Marquis de Bay have been reinforced by six battalions of Spanish Walloon guards. Letters from Lisbon advise, that the army of the king of Portugal was at Elvas on the twentysecond of the last month, and would decamp on the twenty-fourth, in order to march upon the enemy, who lay at Badajos.
Yesterday, at four in the morning, his grace the Duke of Marlborough set out for Margate, and embarked for Holland at eight this morning.
Yesterday also Sir George Thorold was declared Alderman of Cordwainers' Ward, in the room of his brother Sir Charles Thorold, deceased.
Advertisement. Any ladies who have any particular stories of their acquaintance, which they are willing privately to make public, may send them by the penny-post, to Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq. inclosed to Mr. John Morphew, near Stationers' Hall.
No 12. SATURDAY, MAY 7, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines
nostri est farrago libelli.
Juv. Sat. i. 85, 86.
P. May 5. When a man has engaged to keep a stage-coach, he is obliged, whether he has passengers or not, to set out: thus it fares with us weekly historians; but indeed, for my particular, I hope I shall soon have little more to do in this work, than to publish what is sent me from such as have leisure and capacity for giving delight, and being pleased in an elegant
present grandeur of the British nation might make us expect, that we should rise in our public diversions, and manner of enjoying life, in proportion to our advancement in glory and power. Instead of that, survey this town and you will find rakes and debauchees are your men of pleasure; thoughtless atheists and illiterate drunkards call themselves free-thinkers; and gamesters, banterers, biters, swearers, and twenty new-born insects more, are, in their several species, the modern men of wit. Hence it is, that a man, who has been out of town but one half year, has lost the language, and must have some friend to stand by him, and keep him in countenance for talking common sense. To-day I saw a short interlude at White's, of this nature, which I took notes of, and put together as well as I could in a public place. The persons of the drama are Pip, the last gentleman that has been made so at cards; Trimmer, a person half undone at them, and who is now between a cheat and a gentleman; Acorn, an honest Englishman of good plain sense and meaning; and Mr. Friendly, a reasonable man of the town.
White's Chocolate-house, May 5. Enter PIP, TRIMMER, and ACORN. Ac. What is the matter, gentlemen; what! take no notice of an old friend?
Pip. Pox on it! do not talk to me, I am voweled by the count, and cursedly out of humour.
Ac. Voweled! pr’ythee, Trimmer, what does he mean by that?
Trim. Have a care, Harry, speak softly; do not show your ignorance: if you do, they will BITE you wherever they meet you; they are such cursed curs, the present wits.
Ac. Bite me! what do you mean?
Pip. Why! do not you know what biting is ? nay, you are in the right on it.
However, one would learn it only to defend one's self against men of wit, as one would know the tricks of play, to be secure against the cheats. But do not you hear, Acorn, that report, that some potentates of the alliance have taken care of themselves exclusively of us?
Ac. How! Heaven forbid ! after all our glorious victories; all the expence of blood and treasure !
Trim. Nay, he has bit you fairly enough; that is certain. Ac. Pox! I do not feel it How? where?
[Exeunt Pip and Trimmer laughing. Ac. Ho! Mr. Friendly, your most humble servant; you heard what passed between those fine gentlemen and me. Pip complained to me, that he had been voWELED; and they tell me I am bit.
Friend. You are to understand, Sir, that simplicity of behaviour, which is the perfection of good
breeding and good sense, is utterly lost in the world; and in the room of it there are started a thousand little inventions, which men, barren of better things, take up in the place of it. Thus for every character in conversation that used to please, there is an impostor put upon you. Him whom we allowed, formerly, for a certain pleasant subtlety and natural way of giving you an unexpected hit, called a Droll, is now mimicked by a Biter, who is a dull fellow, that tells you a lie with a grave face, and laughs at you for knowing no better than to believe him. Instead of that sort of companion who could rally you, and keep his countenance, until he made you fall into some little inconsistency of behaviour, at which you yourself could laugh with him, you have the sneerer, who will keep you company from morning to night, to gather your follies of the day (which perhaps you commit out of confidence in him) and expose you in the evening to all the scorners in town. For your man of sense and free spirit, whose set of thoughts were built upon learning, reason, and experience, you have now an impudent creature made up of vice only, who supports his ignorance by his courage, and want of learning by contempt of it.
Ac. Dear Sir, hold: what you have told me already of this change in conversation is too miserable to be heard with any delight; but methinks as these new creatures appear in the world, it might give an excellent field to writers for the stage, to divert us with the representation of them there.
Friend. "No, no; as you say, there might be some hopes of redress of those grievances, if there were proper care taken of the theatre; but the history of that is yet more lamentable, than that of the decay of conversation I gave you.
Ac. Pray, Sir, a little. I have not been in town these six years, until within this fortnight.
Friend. It is now some time since several rew
lutions in the gay world had made the empire of the stage subject to very fatal convulsions, which were too dangerous to be cured by the skill of little King Oberon*, who then sat on the throne of it. The laziness of this Prince threw him upon the choice of a person who was fit to spend his life in contentions, an able and profound attorney, to whom he mortgaged his whole empire. This Divito † is the most skilful of all politicians; he has a perfect art in being unintelligible in discourse, and uncomeatable in business : but he, having no understanding in this way, brought in upon us, to get in his money, ladder-dancers, ropedancers, jugglers, and mountebanks, to strut in the place of Shakspeare's heroes, and Jonson's humourists. When the seat of wit was thus mortgaged without equity of redemption, an architects arose, who has built the Muse a new palace, but secured her no retinue; so that, instead of action there, we have been put off by song and dance. This latter help of sound has also begun to fail for want of voices; therefore the palace has since been put into the hands of a surgeon, who cuts any foreign fellow into an eunuchý, and passes him upon us for a singer of Italy.
Ac. I will go out of town to-morrow.
Friend. Things are come to this pass; and yet the world will not understand, that the theatre has much the same effect on the manners of the age, as the Bank on the credit of the nation. Wit and spirit, humour and good sense, can never be revived but under the government of those who are judges of
* Mr. Owen, or Mac Owen Swiny.
$ John-James Heydegger, Esq. styled here a surgeon, in allusion to the employment assigned to him: he had at that time the direction of the operas, as he had afterwards of the masquerades.