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the allaying popular commotions, and national ferments. But I ain verily persuaded, that it in such a case a whole people were to enter into a course of Abstinence, and eat nothing but water gruel for a fortnight, it would abate the rage and aniinosity of parties, and not a little contribute to the cure of a distracted nation. Such a fast would have a natural tendency to the procuring of those ends, for which a fast is usually proclaimed. If any man has a mipd to enter on such a voluntary Abstinence, it might not be improper to give bim tlie caution of Pythagoras in particular; Abstine à Fabis, “ Abstain from Beans:" that is, say the interpreters, “ Meddle not with elections ;” beans having been made use of by the voters among the Athenians in the choice of magistrates.
N° 241. TUESDAY, OCTOBER 24, 1710.
From my own Apartment, October 23.
A METHOD of spending one's time agreeably is a thing so little studied, that the common amusement of our young gentlemen, especially ef such as are at a distance from those of the first breeding, is Drinking.
of entertainment has custom on its sile; but as much as it has prevailed, I believe there have heen very few companies that liave been guilty of excess this way, where there have not happened more accidents which make against, than for the continuance of it. It is very common that events
arise from a debauch which are fatal, and always such as are disagreeable. With all a man's reason and good serise about him, his tongue is apt to utter things out of mere gaiety of heart, which
disa please his best friends. Who then would trust himself to the power of wine, without saying more against it, than that it raises the imagination, and depresses the judgment ? Were there only this single consideration, that we are less masters of ourselves, when we drink in the least proportion above the exigencies 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 hiniself 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 bimself, who says he was drunk Jast 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 water-gruel, 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 abovementioned may be given in tavern-kitchens to all the morning-draughts-men, within the walls, when they call for wine before
For a further restraint and mark npon 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 probibits 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 yet 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 into 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 godtatber to one
of these old fellow's. He is now three-and-thirty, which is the grand climacteric of a young Drunkard. I went to visit the crazy wretch this morning, with po other purpose but to rally him under the pain and uneasiness of being sober.
But as our faults are double wlien 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 over-loaded with wine, is still more contemptible in proportion to the regard we have to the uphappy 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 shonld 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.
« Mn. 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 animadver. sion 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 froin, Sir,
“ MR. BICKERSTAPF, “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 gentlenian was one whom it no ways became me to interrupt; but perhaps a new term put into his by, words (as they call a sentence a man particularly atfects) 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, Your most humble servant,