Sir Richard Steele, Joseph Addison

The Tatler, Vol. 3

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pg 183No. 228 Saturday, September 23, 1710

  •             —— Veniet Manus, Auxilio quae
  •             Sit mihi —— Hor.1

From my own Apartment, September 22.

A man of Business who makes a publick Entertainment, may sometimes leave his Guests, and beg them to divert themselves as well as they can till his Return. I shall here make use of the same Privilege, (being engaged in Matters of some Importance relating to the Family of the Bickerstaffs) and must desire my Readers to entertain one another till I can have Leisure to attend them. I have therefore furnished out this Paper, as I have done some few others, with Letters of my ingenious Correspondents, which I have Reason to believe will please the Publick, as much as my own more elaborate Lucubrations.

SIR,                              Lincoln, Sept. 9.

'I have long been of the Number of your Admirers, and take this Opportunity of telling you so. I know not why a Man so famed for Astrological Observations may not be also a good Casuist, upon which Presumption 'tis I ask your Advice in an Affair that at present puzzles quite that slender Stock of Divinity I am Master of. I have now been some Time in Holy Orders, and Fellow of a certain College in one of the Universities; but weary of that unactive Life, I resolve to be doing Good in my Generation. A worthy Gentleman has lately offer'd me a fat Rectory, but means, I perceive, his Kinswoman should have the Benefit of the Clergy. I am a Novice in the World, and confess, it startles me how the Body of Mrs. Abigail can be annexed to a Cure of Souls. Sir, would you give us in one of your Tatlers the Original and Progress of Smock-Simony,2 and shew us, that where the Laws are pg 184silent, Men's Consciences ought to be so too; you could not more oblige our Fraternity of young Divines, and among the rest,

  • Your humble Servant,
  • High-Church.'

I am very proud of having a Gentleman of this Name for my Admirer, and may some Time or other write such a Treatise as he mentions. In the mean Time I do not see why our Clergy, who are very frequently Men of good Families, should be reproached, if any of them chance to espouse a Hand-Maid with a Rectory in Commendam, since the best of our Peers have often joined themselves to the Daughters of very ordinary Tradesmen upon the same valuable Considerations.

Honoured Sir,            Globe in Moorfields, Sept. 16.

'I have now finished my Almanack for the next Year, in all the Parts of it except that which concerns the Weather; and you having shewn your self, by some of your late Works, more Weather-wise than any of our modern Astrologers, I most humbly presume to trouble you upon this Head. You know very well, that in our ordinary Almanacks the Wind and Rain, Snow and Hail, Clouds and Sun-shine, have their proper Seasons, and come up as regularly in their several Months as the Fruits and Plants of the Earth. As for my own Part, I freely own to you, that I generally steal my Weather out of some antiquated Almanack, that foretold it several Years ago. Now, Sir, what I humbly beg of you is, that you would lend me your State Weather-Glass,3 in order to fill up this vacant Column in my Works. This, I know, would sell my Almanack beyond any other, and make me a richer Man than Poor Robin.4 If you will not grant me this Favour, I must have Recourse to my old Method, and will copy after an Almanack which I have by me, and which pg 185I think was made for the Year when the great Storm was.5 I am,

  •          SIR,
  • The most humble of
  •                          Your Admirers,
  • T. Philomath.'6

This Gentleman does not consider, what a strange Appearance his Almanack would make to the Ignorant, should he transpose his Weather, as he must do did he follow the Dictates of my Glass. What would the World say to see Summers filled with Clouds and Storms, and Winters with Calms and Sun-shine, according to the Variations of the Weather, as they might accidentally appear in a State Barometer? But let that be as it will, I shall apply my own Invention to my own Use; and if I do not make my Fortune by it, it will be my own Fault.

The next Letter comes to me from another Self-interessed7 Solicitor.

Mr. Bickerstaff,

'I am going to set up for a Scrivener, and have thought of a Project which may turn both to your Account and mine. It came into my Head upon reading that learned and useful Paper of yours concerning Advertisements.8 You must understand, I have made my self Master in the whole Art of Advertizing, both as to the Stile and the Letter. Now if you and I could so manage it, that no Body should write Advertisements besides my self, or print them any where but in your Paper, we might both of us get Estates in a little Time. For this End I would likewise propose, that you should enlarge the Design of Advertisements, and have sent you Two or Three Samples of my Work in this Kind, which I have made for particular Friends, and intend to open Shop with. The First is for a Gentleman who would willingly marry, if he could find a Wife to his Liking; the Second is for a poor Whig pg 186who is lately turned out of his Post;9 and the Third for a Person of a contrary Party, who is willing to get into one.'

Whereas A. B. next Door to the Pestle and Mortar,10 being about 30 Years old, of a spare Make, with dark-coloured Hair, bright Eye, and a long Nose, has Occasion for a good-humoured, tall, fair, young Woman, of about 3000 l. Fortune; these are to give Notice, That if any such young Woman has a Mind to dispose of her self in Marriage to such a Person as the above-mentioned, she may be provided with a Husband, a Coach and Horses, and a proportionable Settlement.

C. D. designing to quit his Place, has great Quantities of Paper, Parchment, Ink, Wax, and Wafers, to dispose of, which will be sold at very reasonable Rates.

E. F. a Person of good Behaviour, Six Foot high, of a black Complexion and sound Principles, wants an Employ.11 He is an excellent Penman and Accomptant, and speaks French.

Notes Settings

Notes

Editor’s Note
228. copy-text B.
Editor’s Note
1 Motto. Horace, Satires, 1. 4. 141–2 (altered): There will assistance come.
Critical Apparatus
183. 28 a Cure] Cure
Editor’s Note
2 'Smock' attached to other nouns ('smock-agent', etc.) suggests 'loose conduct or immorality in, or in relation to, women' (OED). Cf. Edmund Hickeringill, Vindication of the Character of Priestcraft (1705): 'Great Kindred, Smock-Simony, and Whores, have advanc'd many a Sot to the Holy-Chair' (quoted in OED).
Critical Apparatus
184. 1 too] to
Critical Apparatus
11 in] in B, A,12mo, 8vo
Critical Apparatus
184. 15 Sir] Son 12mo, 8vo
Editor’s Note
4 'This almanac was first published in 1663, and still survives the wreck of time and chance. The title of it was assumed in ridicule of Dr. Robert Pory, a rich pluralist of the last century' (Nichols).
Editor’s Note
5 In Nov. 1703.
Editor’s Note
6 'A lover of learning'; formerly applied to astrologers.
Critical Apparatus
185. 19 Clouds] Colds 8vo
Editor’s Note
7 The last quotation in OED of this obsolete spelling is dated 1707.
Editor’s Note
9 'An allusion to Steele's purpose of resigning the place of Gazeteer, which he held at this time, and actually resigned in the beginning of the following month' (Nichols). Steele lost this position between 10 and 14 Oct. (Corresp., p. 270).
Editor’s Note
10 A letter in Spectator 52 speaks of 'the renowned British Hippocrates of the Pestle and Mortar', but the sign was used by various apothecaries.
Editor’s Note
11 According to Nichols (vi. 110) this description fitted William King, who did in fact gain employment as a writer for the Examiner and succeeded Steele as editor of the Gazette.
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