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with him; only it must be deferred longer than the time you were mentioning, at least till ten or twelve approved ones are in readiness ; six or eight at the very least ; and that might be against next winter, if there were a third. The style, you know, must be correct, and the whole composition polished, to make it any way respectable, or to seem the work of genius,
I am in great expectation from your Titulating 'Theory, and long to feast my imagination with it. In the mean time, if you will have a queritur, think if you can demonstrate a climax in the senses, if you can perceive them running into each other, and blending together, like most other objects of nature, and if in any case it is difficult to determine their boundaries, or to assign every perception to its proper sense. Yours, &c.
The following letter to one of Mr Smellies friends has no date, but may probably belong to the same period with those which have gone before ; and evidently refers to several pro
essays in a periodical paper which he and this person intended to have published in
conjunction, but which project was never executed,
Mr WILLIAM Smellie to ******
No date. I was both surprised and disappointed at your delay: Crowds of youngsters daily harrass me with impertinent questions. Is ***** dead ? Surely he must be dead or mad? I replied that the alternative was unjust ; for that you were neither dead nor mad, but that some strange humour had overflowed the banks, and you
had sunk even as a stone * J. Glen!
The Speculator | must be christened a
A trifling club 'is set up under the
* This allusion and apostrophe to J. Glen is obscure, but may refer to some well known cant of the day.
† From this it would appear, that the name of their intended periodical work had been changed from the Man of the Moon to the Speculator. It is curious to notice this contemptuous opinion of the Speculative Society, which has been eminently useful and
name of the Speculative Society. This reason is very conclusive. Whatever designa: tion he may obtain, he has much of my good graces, and henceforth I design to make him my bosom friend.
I heartily approve your plan, but a dozen handsome essays are sufficiently few. I can think of no third hand, neither do I wish for a third ; provided we two could execute it properly ; one third of the profits would considerably diminish our gain. I have calculated the expence, and find that 500 copies, sold at twopence each, produce two pounds clear, allowing for
every possible circumstance. The worst that can happen is the loss of twenty shillings. What a trifle! what a nothing is this! compared to the cash, the honour, and, above all, the immense fun we shall be regaled with at the expence of good Mr Innominatus *. What think you of the Ranger,--the Illuminator,—the Lustrator,--the Man of the Moon,—the Disquisitor,—the Contemplator,--the Tutor,the Guide, the Director,—the Instructor,&c. &c. ?
has subsisted in vigour ever since. Mr SMELLIR was then only a little more removed from a boy than the original institutors of that Society, yet chuses to look down upon them as triflers.
# This seems to have been the intended name of the conccaled author of the proposed periodical paper.
I CANNOT engage to do any thing for some time. I have, however, jotted down the heads of an essay on Flesh-eating; for which I have a peculiar theory, whereby I imagine that I can justify the conduct of Providence in permitting one animal to prey upon another. Dr Wallace, the last writer who mentions this subject, has given it up as inexplicable. Another on Genius, in which I propose to investigate the cause why one genius differs from another. A third, a Physico-Theological Essay on Botany. A fourth, on the Nature of Sleep, Dreaming, &c. *. A fifth, on Vulgar Ignorance; chiefly setting vulgar errors in a ridiculous point of view.A sixth, on Jealousy; mostly founded on observation. I hope you are not idle. Tell me which of the half dozen I should try my hand upon
first. I have not yet begun my discourse on Shaking of Hands: It will be difficult; and I dread the execution.
I was lately appointed by the Society of Masons to give them a discourse on Charity. I hammered it over in my
* This Essay is published in the second volume of the Philosophy of Natural History by Mr SMELLIE.
Monday se’enight. I had the solatium of a very long and very loud clap. I wrought this same essay entirely out of my own imagination, without turning over a single leaf of a book. Hall Hunter * heard it; so that if you chuse to learn any thing farther of it, you may consult him. It has been shewn to several persons of sense, and among the rest to no less a man than the Earl of LEVEN! Wonderful! I am strongly solicited to print it for the amusement of the town f. I wish you had been here, as your opinion would have had considerable weight; but I believe I shall not expose myself to the view of the public. One thing I lament: It would have been a tolerable morsel for Mr Innominatus.
The Society met ten days ago.
We had a meeting of seven good fellows, all high mettled, having their heads full of Newtonianism.
* The Rev. Dr HENRY HUNTER, late of London-wall, who has been already mentioned.
+ This essay on Charity was printed, and 2,500 copies of it are said to have been speedily sold. No printed copy of this essay can now be found; but a manuscript essay on the same subject, in Mr SMELLIES hand-writing, still remains, and is supposed to have been the original here alluded to.