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single consideration, that we are less masters of ourselves, when we drink in the least proportion above the exegencies of thirst; I say, were this all that could be objected, it were sufficient to make us abhor this vice. But we may go on to say, that as he who drinks but a little is not master of himself, so he who drinks much is a slave to himself. As for
my part, I ever esteemed a Drunkard of all vicious persons the most vicious: for, if our actions are to be weighed and considered according to the intention of them, what can we think of him, who puts himself into a circumstance wherein he can have no intention at all, but incapacitates himself for the duties and offices of life, by a suspension of all his faculties? If a man considers that he cannot, under the oppression of drink, be a friend, a gentleman, a master, or a subject : that he has so long banished himself from all that is dear, and given up all that is sacred to him: he would even then think of a debauch with horror. But when he looks still further, and acknowledges, that he is not only expelled out of all the relations of life, but also liable to offend against them all; what words can express the terror and detestation he would have of such a condition ? And yet he owns all this of himself, who says he was drunk last night.
As I have all along persisted in it, that all the vicious in general are in a state of death; so I think I may add to the non-existence of Drunkards, that they died by their own hands. He is certainly as guilty of suicide who perishes by a slow, as he that is dispatched by an immediate poison. In my last lucubration I proposed the general use of watergruel, and hinted that it might not be amiss at this very season.
But as there are some whose cases, in regard to their families, will not admit of delay; I have used my interest in several wards of the city, that the wholesome restorative above-mentioned may be given in tavern-kitchens to all the morningdraughts-men, within the walls, when they call for wine before noon. For a further restraint and mark upon such persons, I have given orders, that in all the offices where policies are drawn upon lives, it shall be added to the article which prohibits that the nominee should cross the sea, the words, “Provided also, that the above-mentioned A. B. shall not drink before dinner during the term mentioned in this indenture.”
I am not without hopes, that by this method I shall bring some unsizable friends of mine into shape and breadth, as well as others, who are languid and consumptive, into health and vigour. Most of the self-murderers whom I just hinted at, are such as preserve a certain regularity in taking their poison, and make it mix pretty well with their food. But the most conspicuous of those who destroy themselves, are such as in their youth fall into this sort of debauchery; and contract a certain uneasiness of spirit, which is not to be diverted but by tippling as often as they can fall in company in the day, and conclude with downright Drunkenness at night. These gentlemen never know the satisfaction of youth ; but skip the years of manhood, and are decrepit soon after they are of age. I was godfather to one of these old fellows. He is now three-andthirty, which is the grand climacteric of a young Drunkard. I went to visit the crazy wretch this morning, with no other purpose but to rally him under the pain and uneasiness of being sober.
But as our faults are double when they affect others besides ourselves, so this vice is still more odious in a married than a single man. He that is the husband of a woman of honour, and comes home overloaded with wine, is still more contemptible in proportion to the regard we have to the unhappy consort of his bestiality. The imagination cannot shape to itself any thing more monstrous and unnatural than the familiarities between Drunkenness and Chastity. The wretched Astræa, who is the perfection of beauty and innocence, has long been thus condemned for life. The romantic tales of virgins devoted to the jaws of monsters, have nothing in them so terrible as the gift of Astræa to that Bacchanal.
The reflection of such a match as spotless innocence with abandoned lewdness, is what puts this vice in the worst figure it can bear with regard to others: but when it is looked upon with respect only to the Drunkard himself, it has deformities enough to make it disagreeable, which may be summed up in a word by allowing that he who resigns his reason, is actually guilty of all that he is liable to from the want of reason.
P. S. Among many other enormities, there are two in the following letters which I think should be suddenly amended; but since they are sins of omission only, I shall not make remarks upon them until I find the delinquents persist in their errors; and the inserting the letters themselves shall be all their present admonition. “ Mr. Bickerstaff,
October 16. “ Several that frequent divine service at Saint Paul's as well as myself, having with great satisfaction observed the good effect which your animadversion had on an excess in performance there; it is requested that you will take notice of a contrary fault, which is, the unconcerned silence, and the motionless postures, of others, who come thither. If this custom prevails, the congregation will resemble an audience at a play-house, or rather a silent meeting of quakers. Your censuring such church-mutes, in the manner you
think fit, may make these dissenters join with us, out of fear lest you should further
animadvert upon their non-conformity. According as this succeeds, you shall hear from, Sir, Your most humble servant
“Mr. Bickerstaff, “I was the other day in company with a gentleman, who, in reciting his own qualifications, concluded every period with these words, the best of any man in England. Thus, for example: he kept the best house of any man in England; he understood this, and that, and the other, the best of any man in England. How harsh and ungrateful soever this expression might sound to one of my nation, yet the gentleman was one whom it no ways became me to interrupt; but perhaps a new term put into his bywords (as they call a sentence a man particularly affects) may cure him. I therefore took a resolution to apply to you, who, I dare say, can easily persuade this gentleman, whom I cannot believe an enemy to the Union, to amend his phrase, and be hereafter the wisest of any man in Great Britain.
I am, Sir,
ADVERTISEMENT. “ Whereas Mr. Humphry Treelooby, wearing his own hair, a pair of buckskin breeches, a huntingwhip, with a new pair of spurs, has complained to the Censor, that on Thursday last he was defrauded of half-a-crown, under pretence of a duty to the sexton for seeing the cathedral of St. Paul, London : it is hereby ordered, that none hereafter require above sixpence of any country gentleman under the age of twenty-five for that liberty; and that all which shall be received above the said sum, of
any person, for beholding the inside of that sacred edifice, be forthwith paid to Mr. John Morphew, for the use of Mr. Bickerstaff, under pain of further censure on the above-mentioned extortion."
N° 242. THURSDAY, OCTOBER 26, 1710.
Juv. Sat. i. 30.
DRYDEN. From my own Apartment, October 25. It was with very great displeasure I heard this day a man say of a companion of his with an air of approbation, “You know Tom never fails of saying a spiteful thing. He has a great deal of wit, but satire is his particular talent. Did you mind how he put the young fellow out of countenance that pretended to talk to him?" Such impertinent applauses, which one meets with every day, put me upon considering what true raillery and satire were in themselves; and this, methought, occurred to me from reflection upon the great and excellent persons that were admired for talents this way. When I had run over several such in my thoughts, I concluded, however unaccountable the assertion might appear at first sight, that good nature was an essential quality in a satirest, and that all the sentiments which are beautiful in this way of writing, must proceed from that quality in the author. Good-nature produces a disdain of all baseness, vice, and folly; which prompts them to express themselves with smartness against the errors of men, without bitterness towards their
persons. This quality keeps the mind in equanimity, and never lets an offence unseasonably throw a man out of his character. When Virgil