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an account of them, written by my secretary; which is now in the press, and will shortly be published under the style of Lillie's Reports*?'
As I last year presided over a court of justice, it is my intention this year to set myself at the head of a court of honour. There is no court of this nature any where at present, except in France; where, according to the best of my intelligence, it consists of such only as are marshals of that kingdom. I am likewise informed, that there is not one of that honourable board at present, who has not been driven out of the field by the Duke of Marlborough: but whether this be only an accidental or a necessary qualification, I must confess I am not able to determine.
As for the court of honour of which I am here speaking, I intend to sit myself in it as president, with several men of honour on my right hand, and women of virtue on my left, as my assistants. The first place on the bench I have given to an old Tangereen captain with a wooden leg. The second is a gentleman of a long twisted periwig without a curl in it, a muff, with very little hair upon it, and a thread-bare coat with new buttons; being a person of great worth, and second brother to a man of quality. The third is a gentleman usher, extremely well read in romances, and grandson to one of the greatest wits in Germany, who was some time master of the ceremonies to the Duke of Wolfen
As for those who sit farther on my right hand, as it is usual in public courtst, they are such as will
the number of faces upon the bench, and serve rather for ornament than use. • Charles Lillie.
This alludes to the masters in chancery, who sit on the bench with the lord-chancellor, sole judge of the court.
The chief upon my left hand are,
An old maiden lady, that preserves some of the best blood of England in her veins.
A Welsh woman of a little stature, but high spirit,
An old prude, that has censured every marriage for these thirty years, and is lately wedded to a
Having thus furnished my bench, I shall establish correspondences with the horse-guards, and the veterans of Chelsea-college; the former to furnish me with twelve men of honour as often as I shall have occasion for a grand jury; and the latter, with as many good men and true, for a petty jury.
As for the women of virtue, it will not be difficult for me to find them about midnight at crimp and basset.
Having given this public notice of my court, I must farther add, that I intend to open it on this day sevennight, being Monday the twentieth instant; and do hereby invite all such as have suffered injuries and affronts, that are not to be redressed by the common laws of this land, whether they be short bows, cold salutations, supercilious looks, unreturned smiles, distant behaviour, or forced familiarity; as also all such as have been aggrieved by any ambigu. ous expression, accidental justle, or unkind repartee; likewise all such as have been defrauded of their right to the wall, tricked out of the upper
end of the table, or have been suffered to place themselves, in their own wrong, on the back seat of the coach. These, and all of these, I do, as I above-said, invite to bring in their several cases and complaints, in which they shall be relieved with all imaginable expedition
I am very sensible, that the office I have now taken upon me will engage me in the disquisition of many weighty points, that daily perplex the youth
of the British nation; and, therefore, I have already discussed several of them for my future use; as, ' how far a man may brandish his cane in telling a story, without insulting his hearer;' 'what degree of contradiction amounts to the lie;' how a man shall resent another's staring and cocking a hat in his face;' "if asking pardon is an atonement for treading upon one's toes;' • whether a man may put up with a box on the ear received from a stranger in the dark;' or,' whether a man of honour may take a blow of his wife;' with several other subtilties of the like nature.
For my directions in the duties of my office, I have furnished myself with a certain astrological pair of scales, which I have contrived for this purpose. In one of them I lay the injuries, in the other the reparations. The first are represented by little weights made of a metal resembling iron, and the other of gold. These are not only lighter than the weights made use of in avoirdupois, but also such as are used in Troy-weight. The heaviest of those that represent the injuries amount but to a scruple; and decrease by so many sub-divisions, that there are several imperceptible weights which cannot be seen without the help of a very fine microscope. I might acquaint my reader, that these scales were made under the influence of the sun when he was in Libra, and describe many signatures on the weights both of injury and reparation : but as this would look rather to proceed from an ostentation of my own art, than any care for the public, I shall pass it over in silence.
No 251. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 1710.
Quisnam igitur liber? Sapiens, sibi qui imperiosus;
From my own Apartment, November 15. It is necessary to an easy and happy life, to possess our minds in such a manner as to be always well satisfied with our own reflections. The way to this state is to measure our actions by our own opinion, and not by that of the rest of the world. The sense of other men ought to prevail over us in things of less consideration, but not in concerns where truth and honour are engaged. When we look into the bottom of things, what åt first appears a paradox is a plain truth; and those professions, which, for want of being duly weighed, seem to proceed from a sort of romantic philosophy, and ignorance of the world, after a little reflection, are so reasonable that it is direct madness to walk by any other rules. Thus to contradict our desires, and to conquer the impulses of our ambition, if they do not fall in with what we in our inward sentiments approve, is so much our interest, and so absolutely necessary to our real
happiness, that to contemn all the wealth and power in the world, where they stand in competition with a man's honour, is rather good sense than greatness of mind.
Did we consider that the mind of a man is the man himself, we should think it the most unnatural sort of self-murder to sacrifice the sentiment of the soul to gratify the appetites of the body. Bless us ! is it possible, that when the necessities of life are supplied, a man would flatter to be rich, or circumvent to be powerful! When we meet a poor wretch, urged with hunger and cold, asking an alms, we are apt to think this a state we could rather starve than submit to: but yet how much more despicable in his condition, who is above necessity, and yet shall resign his reason and his integrity to purchase superfluities! Both these are abject and common beggars : but sure it is less despicable to beg a supply to a man's hunger than his vanity. But custom and general prepossessions have so far prevailed over an unthinking world, that those necessitous creatures, who cannot relish life without applause, attendance, and equipage, are so far from making a contemptible figure, that distressed virtue is less esteemed than successful vice. But if a man's
appeal, in cases that regard his honour, were made to his own soul, there would be a basis and standing rule for our conduct, and we should always endeavour rather to be, than appear honourable. Mr. Collier, in his · Essay on Fortitude,' has treated this subject with great wit and magnanimity. What,' says he,
can be more honourable than to have courage enough to execute the commands of reason and conscience; to maintain the dignity of our nature, and the station assigned us ? to be proof against poverty, pain, and death itself; I mean so far as not to do any thing that is scandalous or sinful to avoid