Зображення сторінки

archdeacons. Among the second are doctors of divinity, prebendaries, and all that wear scarves. The rest are comprehended under the subalterns. As for the first class, our constitution preserves it from any redundancy of incumbents, notwithstanding competitors are numberless. Upon a strict calculation, it is found that there has been a great exceeding of late years in the second division, several brevets having been

ed for the converting of subalterns into scarf-officers; insomuch that within my memory the price of lutestring is raised 10 above twopence in a yard. As for the subalterns, they are not

to be numbered. Should our clergy once enter into the corrupt practice of the laity, by the splitting of their freeholds, they would be able to carry most of the elections in England n.

The body of the law is no less incumbered with superfluous members, that are like Virgil's army, which he tells us was so crowded, many of them had not room to use their weapons n. This prodigious society of men may be divided into the litigious and peaceable. Under the first are comprehended all those who

are carried down in coach-fulls to Westminster Hall, every 20 morning in term-time. Martial's description of this species of

lawyers is full of humour:

Iras et verba locant.

Men that hire out their words and anger ; that are more or less passionate according as they are paid for it, and allow their client a quantity of wrath proportionable to the fee which they receive from him. I must however observe to the reader, that above three parts of those whom I reckon among the litigious, are such as are only quarrelsome in their hearts, and have no

opportunity of showing their passion at the bar. Nevertheless, 30 as they do not know what strifes may arise, they appear at the

hall every day, that they may show themselves in a readiness to enter the lists, whenever there shall be occasion for them.

The peaceable lawyers are, in the first place, many of the benchers of the several Inns of Court, who seem to be the dignitaries of the law, and are endowed with those qualifications of mind that accomplish a man rather for a ruler than a pleader. These men live peaceably in their habitations, eating once a day, and dancing once a year, for the honour of their respective societies.





Another numberless branch of peaceable lawyers are those young men, who, being placed at the Inns of Court in order to study the laws of their country, frequent the play-house more than Westminster Hall, and are seen in all public assemblies, except in a court of justice. I shall say nothing of those silent and busy multitudes that are employed within doors, in the drawing up of writings and conveyances; nor of those greater numbers that palliate their want of business with a pretence to such chamber-practice.

If, in the third place, we look into the profession of physic, we shall find a most formidable body of men; the sight of them is enough to make a man serious, for we may lay it down as a maxim, that when a nation abounds in physicians, it grows thin of people. Sir William Temple is very much puzzled to find out a reason why the northern hive, as he calls it, does not send out such prodigious swarms, and over-run the world with Goths and Vandals, as it did formerly; but had that excellent author observed that there were no students in physic

among the subjects of Thor and Woden, and that this science 20 very much flourishes in the north at present, he might have

found a better solution for this difficulty than any of those he has made use of. This body of men, in our own country, may be described like the British army in Cæsar's time : some of them slay in chariots, and some on foot. If the infantry do less execution than the charioteers, it is because they cannot be carried so soon into all quarters of the town, and dispatch so much business in so short a time. Besides this body of regular troops, there are stragglers, who, without being duly listed and

enrolled, do infinite mischief to those who are so unlucky as to 30 fall into their hands.

There are, besides the above-mentioned, innumerable retainers to physic, who for want of other patients amuse themselves with the stifling of cats in an air-pump, cutting up dogs alive, or impaling of insects upon the point of a needle for microscopical observations; besides those that are employed in the gathering of weeds, and the chase of butterflies: not to mention the cockleshell-merchants and spider-catchers.

When I consider how each of these professions are crowded with multitudes that seek their livelihood in them, and how many 40 men of merit there are in each of them, who may be rather said


to be
at the

sons in a way of life where an honest industry cannot but that might have made themselves aldermen of London, by a right

On the excessive care of health ; letter of the Valetudi

Ægrescitque medendo.–VIRG. Æn. xii. 46.
The following letter will explain itself and needs no apology.

one of that sickly tribe who are tracted this ill habit of body,

of the science than the profession, I very much wonder

humour of parents, who will not rather choose to place

than in stations where the greatest probity, learning, and

sense may miscarry. How many men are country curates improvement of a smaller sum of money than what is usually laid out upon a learned education! A sober frugal person, of

slender parts and slow apprehension, might have thrived in trade, 10 though he starves upon physic; as a man would be well enough

pleased to buy silks of one whom he would not venture to feel his pulse. Vagellius is careful, studious, and obliging, but withal a little thick-skulled; he has not a single client, but might have had abundance of customers.

The misfortune is, that parents take a liking to a particular profession, and therefore desire their sons may be of it. Whereas, in so great an affair of life, they should consider the genius and abilities of their children more than their own inclinations.

It is the great advantage of a trading nation, that there are 20 very few in it so dull and heavy who may not be placed in

stations of life, which may give them an opportunity of making
their fortunes. A well-regulated commerce is not, like law,
physic, or divinity, to be overstocked with hands; but, on the
contrary, flourishes by multitudes, and gives employment to all
its professors. Fleets of merchantmen are so many squadrons
of floating shops, that vend our wares and manufactures in all
the markets of the world, and find out chapmen under both the
No. 25.

commonly known by the
and do confess to


[ocr errors]

I no sooner began to peruse books of this nature, but I

that I first conor rather of mind, by

the study of







found my pulse was irregular; and scarce ever read the account of any disease that I did not fancy myself afflicted with. Dr. Sydenham's learned treatise of fevers n threw me into a lingering hectic, which hung upon me all the while I was reading that excellent piece. I then applied myself to the study of several authors, who have written upon phthisical distempers, and by that means fell into a consumption; till at length, growing very fat, I was in a manner shamed out of that imagination. Not

long after this I found in myself all the symptoms of the gout 10 except pain ; but was cured of it by a treatise upon the gravel,

written by a very ingenious author, who (as it is usual for physicians to convert one distemper into another) eased me of the gout by giving me the stone. I at length studied myself into a complication of distempers; but accidentally taking into my hand that ingenious discourse written by Sanctorius, I was resolved to direct myself by a scheme of rules which I had collected from his observations n. The learned world are very well acquainted with that gentleman's invention; who, for the better carrying out of

his experiments, contrived a certain mathematical chair, which 20 was so artificially hung upon springs, that it would weigh anything

as well as a pair of scales. By this means he discovered how many ounces of his food passed by perspiration, what quantity of it was turned into nourishment, and how much went away by the other channels and distributions of nature.

Having provided myself with this chair, I used to study, eat, drink, and sleep in it; insomuch that I may be said, for these three last years, to have lived in a pair of scales. I compute myself, when I am in full health, to be precisely two hundred weight, falling

short of it about a pound after a day's fast, and exceeding it 30 as much after a very full meal; so that it is my continual employ

ment to trim the balance between these two volatile pounds in my constitution. In my ordinary meals I fetch myself up to two hundred weight and half a pound; and if after having dined I find myself fall short of it, I drink just so much small beer, or eat such a quantity of bread, as is sufficient to make me weight. In my greatest excesses I do not transgress more than the other halfpound; which, for my health's sake, I do the first Monday in every month. As soon as I find myself duly poised after dinner, I walk

till I have perspired five ounces and four scruples; and when I 40 discover, by my chair, that I am so far reduced, I fall to my books, and study away three ounces more. As for the remaining parts of the pound, I keep no account of them. I do not dine and sup by the clock, but by my chair; for when that informs me my pound of food is exhausted, I conclude myself to be hungry, and lay in another with all diligence. In my days of abstinence I lose a pound and a half, and on solemn fasts am two pound lighter than on other days in the year.

'I allow myself, one night with another, a quarter of a pound of sleep within a few grains, more or less; and if upon my rising I 10 find that I have not consumed my whole quantity, I take out the

rest in my chair. Upon an exact calculation of what I expended and received the last year, which I always register in a book, I find the medium to be two hundred weight, so that I cannot discover that I am impaired one ounce in my health during a whole twelvemonth. And yet, Sir, notwithstanding this my great care to ballast myself equally every day, and to keep my body in its proper poise, so it is, that I find myself in a sick and languishing condition. My complexion is grown very sallow, my pulse low,

and my body hydropical. Let me therefore beg you, Sir, to con20 sider me as your patient, and to give me more certain rules to

walk by than those I have already observed, and you will very much oblige,

Your humble Servant.' This letter puts me in mind of an Italian epitaph written on the monument of a Valetudinarian; Stavo ben ; ma, per star meglio, sto qui : which it is impossible to translate n. The fear of death often proves mortal, and sets people on methods to save their lives which infallibly destroy them. This is a reflexion made by some

historians, upon observing that there are many more thousands 30 killed in a flight than in a battle ; and may be applied to those

multitudes of imaginary sick persons that break their constitutions by physic, and throw themselves into the arms of death, by endeavouring to escape it. This method is not only dangerous, but below the practice of a reasonable creature. To consult the preservation of life as the only end of it, to make our health our business, to engage in no action that is not part of a regimen or course of physic, are purposes so abject, so mean, so unworthy human nature, that a generous soul would rather die than submit

to them. Besides that a continual anxiety for life vitiates all the 40 relishes of it, and casts a gloom over the whole face of nature,

« НазадПродовжити »