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deal of expense in buying books for the club ; particularly, the works of Tully, Socrates, and Cicero, which he will soon read to the society. W. “All them who brings a new argument against religion, and who being a philosopher, and a man of learning, as the rest of us is, shall be admitted to the freedom of the society, upon paying sixpence only, to be spent in punch. VI. “Whenever we are to have an extraordinary meeting, it shall be advertised by some outlandish name in the newspapers. SAUNDERs MAc WILD, president, ANThony BLEwitt, vice-president, his + mark. WILLIAM TUR PIN, secretary.”
While our fleets and armies are earning laurels abroad ; while victory courts us from every quarter;") while our soldiers and sailors not only retrieve the fame of English valour, but raise our reputation above whatever history can shew, and mark the reign of George the Second as the great period of British glory, our citizens and mechanics at home are by no means idle, but deal blow for blow, and once more slay the slain.
If triumphs are gained abroad, we shout for the victory at home; if they illuminate a city that soon must fall with infernal fire of bombs and handgrenades, we illuminate our
(1) [Battle of Minden, capture of Ticonderoga, conquest of Quebec, &c.]
streets not less with faggots and candles; if their artillery thunders destruction in the ears of the enemy, we echo them with squibs and crackers at home, no less terrifying to a female ear; if some, bravely fighting for their country, lose their lives and fall dead on the field of battle in its defence, we have our bouts as well as they, and can produce our hundreds who have upon this occasion bravely become votaries for their country, and with true patriotism not disdained to fall dead—drunk in every house:—“O fortunata mors, quae naturae debita pro patria potissimum reddita est! Though my own circumstances are so disposed as neither to be augmented by a victory nor influenced by a defeat, yet I cannot behold the universal joy of my countrymen without a secret exultation, and am induced to forget the ravages of war and human calamity in national satisfaction. I could not, therefore, help, upon our recent conquest, to pursue the triumph from face to face, to see its different effects upon the different ranks of people, and increase my own satisfaction, as if by reflection from theirs. Resolved, therefore, to seek adventures from Ludgatehill to Charing Cross, I left my lodgings") on the night of the illumination; with all the intrinsic nothingness of a busy man, yet with the seeming importance of a man of business; determined to jostle in every crowd, to mix in every company, and peep in at every frequented place of resort. The first scene curiosity led me to was Ashley's punchhouse, where the whole company seemed deeply attentive to the old waiter, who usually serves his customers with politics and punch. He was on this occasion giving his audience a geographical description of the city of Paris. “Paris may be about two hundred miles off; it is half as big as
(2) [Goldsmith's residence at this time was at No. 12, Green Arbour Court, near the Old Bailey.]
London; there they make your lace and such sort of stuff; it is a very pretty place to be sure, and would afford our battalions of guards very pretty picking. The walls cannot stand a siege of four-and-twenty hours; it is nothing but sweeping up through the kingdom and taking Lewis the Small by the beard. Lord, Sir, they could never stand it; for how can French fellows fight when they are drunk with punch? If I were Secretary of State, may this be my poison, but I would shew them a trick. Only sail up forty men of war to their very gates, and where would they be then?” The whole company, who were every bit as sanguine as he, acquiesced in the practice and vigour of his measures; the French monarch was deposed, the English standard was erected on the Bastile, and every person present seemed to enjoy the plunder by anticipation. Upon leaving this, my attention was next attracted by a poor tradesman and his wife, who were at variance in the streets. The woman, whose patriotism was by no means so strong as that of her husband, was assuring the mob, who had officiously gathered round, not to prevent but to promote a quarrel, that he had sent his waistcoat to the pawnbroker's, in order to buy candles for the illumination. The husband, who was, it seems, a journeyman shoemaker, damned her for being a Jacobite in her heart; that she had not a spice of loyalty in her whole body : that she was as fond of getting drunk one day as another. “If the French had got the better,” continues he, “what would have become of our property If Mounseers in wooden shoes come among us, what would become of the gentle craft, what would become of the nation, when perhaps Madame Pompadour herself might have shoes scooped out of an old pear tree; and (raising his voice) you ungrateful slut, tell me, if the French papishes had come over, d n my blood, what would have become of our religion *"
Going up Fleet Street, I could not avoid admiring the artificial day that was formed by lights placed in every window : every face dressed in smiles, the mob shouting, rockets flying, women persecuted by squibs and crackers, and yet seeming pleased with their distress, served to enliven the scene, and might have relaxed the brow even of rigid philosophy. In all this confusion, I could not avoid that pleasing serenity which, from the appearance of such pageants as these, often steals upon the mind, and insensibly operates upon the spirits of the wise as well as the vulgar. How blest am I, said I to myself, to make one in this glorious political society, which thus preserves liberty to mankind and to itself; who rejoice only in their conquest over slavery, and bring mankind from bondage into freedom. Thus solitary as I am, am I not greater than a host of slaves? I, who in my little sphere contribute to the happiness of mankind; am I not greater than the greatest monarch, whose only boast is unbounded power? Let him dictate to his slaves, and ride upon the neck of submission. My king, my country, and I, are friends together, and by a mutual intercourse of kindness and duty, give and receive social happiness. In the midst of these pleasing reflections, as I was proceeding with a stately pace, and with all the solemnity of a newly-acquired and conscious dignity, I heard a hissing noise in one of the tails of my wig, and looking about, soon perceived a stream of fire dashing from my right ear. I fled, it followed; I shook my head; it was pinned too close to be shook off, and just as I arrived at George's, it went off in a bounce. I was too much discomposed to pursue my meditations after so unlucky an accident, therefore took refuge in the coffee-room, where I found a very merry group gathered round a gentleman whom I at first imagined to be reading the Gazette, but coming closer, found it to be an heroic poem upon the conquest of Minorca. Never was there a more severe satire than this upon the nation which it had endeavoured to celebrate | Every exaggerated compliment now bore the appearance of the keenest irony. The children of Mars, the thunderbolts of war, the conquest of the world, were now construed as burlesque, and served at intervals to make the company burst into loud fits of laughter. When the whiskered French soldier was compared to a lion, the company immediately conceived the idea of a cat; and while the poet described his countrymen as clad in terrors, they were now universally allowed to want part of the equipage, as they had no spirits. From hence I travelled to Slaughter's,” where one of the company was haranguing the rest, and assuring them that he believed not one syllable of the matter. “Do you think,” said he, “that the French are such fools as to let us deprive them of one of their greatest and most useful possessions P Ridiculous ! I'll hold any one twenty pounds”—“Done, sir,” says one of the company, “I’ll take it up.”—“I mean, sir,” replied the orator, “I’ll hold twenty pounds that by next post they sing Te Deum, or contradict our Gazette.” To this the other had nothing to reply, and our orator remained master of the field. The Smyrnao) was the last place I visited on this occasion. The company here were prescribing terms of peace to the enemy, whom they looked upon as utterly undone; they first insisted upon our keeping all North America; they were next for circumscribing the number of the French fleet; for getting back Minorca; for insisting on a carte blanche. With them, our victory seemed only gained to