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his senses from the superficies of things; such a man, truly wise, creams off nature, leaving the sour and the dregs for philosophy and reason to lap up. This is the sublime and refined point of felicity, called the possession of being well deceived; the serene peaceful state, of being a fool among knaves. But to return to madness. It is certain, that, according to the system I have above deduced, every species thereof proceeds from a redundancy of vapours; therefore, as some kinds of phrensy give double strength to the sinews, so there are of other species, which add vigour, and life, and spirit to the brain now, it usually happens, that these active spirits, getting possession of the brain, resemble those that haunt other waste and empty dwellings, which, for want of business, either vanish, and carry away a piece of the house, or else stay at home, and fling it all out of the windows. By which, are mystically displayed the two principal branches of madness, and which some philosophers, not considering so well as I, have mistaken to be different in their causes, over hastily assigning the first to deficiency, and the other to redundance.
I think it therefore manifest, from what I have here advanced, that the main point of skill and address is, to furnish employment for this redundancy of vapour, and prudently to adjust the season of it; by which means, it may certainly become of cardinal and catholic emolument, in a commonwealth. Thus one man, choosing a proper juncture, leaps into a gulf, thence* proceeds a hero, and is called the saviour of his country: another achieves the same enterprize, but, unluckily timing it, has left the brand of madness fixed as a reproach upon his memory upon so nice a distinction, are we taught
* From thence.-Ed. 1.
to repeat the name of Curtius with reverence and love; that of Empedocles with hatred and contempt. Thus also it is usually conceived, that the elder Brutus only personated the fool and madman for the good of the public; but this was nothing else than a redundancy of the same vapour long misapplied, called by the Latins, ingenium par negotiis; or, to translate it as nearly as I can, a sort of phrensy, never in its right element, till you take it up in the business of the state.
Upon all which, and many other reasons of equal weight, though not equally curious, I do here gladly embrace an opportunity I have long have long sought for, of recommending it as a very noble undertaking to Sir Edward Seymour, Sir Christopher Musgrave, Sir John Bowls, John How, Esq., and other patriots concerned, that they would move for leave to bring in a bill for appointing commissioners to inspect into Bedlam, and the parts adjacent; who shall be empowered to send for persons, papers, and records; to examine into the merits and qualifications of every student and professor; to observe with utmost exactness their several dispositions and behaviour; by which means, duly distinguishing and adapting their talents, they might produce admirable instruments for the several offices in a state, *****‚† civil, and military; proceeding in such methods as I shall here humbly propose. And I hope the gentle reader will give some allowance to my great solicitudes in this important affair, upon account of the high esteem I have borne that honourable society, whereof I had some time the happiness to be an unworthy member.
Is any student tearing his straw in piece-meal, swearing and blaspheming, biting his grate, foaming
*Tacit.-Note in Ed. 1.
at the mouth, and emptying his piss-pot in the spectators' faces ? let the right worshipful the commissioners of inspection give him a regiment of dragoons, and send him into Flanders among the rest. Is another eternally talking, sputtering, gaping, bawling in a sound without period or article? what wonderful talents are here mislaid! let him be furnished immediately with a green bag and papers, and threepence in his pocket,* and away with him to Westminster-Hall. You will find a third gravely taking the dimensions of his kennel; a person of foresight and insight, though kept quite in the dark; for why, like Moses, ecce cornuta erat ejus facies. He walks duly in one pace, entreats your penny with due gravity and ceremony; talks much of hard times, and taxes, and the whore of Babylon; bars up the wooden window of his cell constantly at eight o'clock; dreams of fire, and shoplifters, and courtcustomers, and privileged places. Now, what a figure would all these acquirements amount to, if the owner were sent into the city among his brethren! Behold a fourth, in much and deep conversation with himself, biting his thumbs at proper junctures; his countenance checkered with business and design; sometimes walking very fast, with his eyes nailed to a paper that he holds in his hands: a great saver of time, somewhat thick of hearing, very short of sight, but more of memory: a man ever in haste, a great hatcher and breeder of business, and excellent at the famous art of whispering nothing: a huge idolator of monosyllables and procrastination; so ready to give his word to everybody, that he never keeps it :
* A lawyer's coach-hire, when four together, from any of the inns of court to Westminster.
† Cornutus is either horned or shining, and by this term Moses is described in the vulgar Latin of the Bible.-H.
one that has forgot the common meaning of words, but an admirable retainer of the sound: extremely subject to the looseness, for his occasions are perpetually calling him away. If you approach his grate in his familiar intervals; Sir, says he, give me a penny, and I'll sing you a song: but give me the penny first. (Hence comes the common saying, and commoner practice, of parting with money for a song.) What a complete system of court skill is here described in every branch of it, and all utterly lost with wrong application! Accost the hole of another kennel, (first stopping your nose,) you will behold a surly, gloomy, nasty, slovenly mortal, raking in his own dung, and dabbling in his urine. The best part of his diet is the reversion of his own ordure, which, expiring into steams, whirls perpetually about, and at last re-infunds. His complexion is of a dirty yellow, with a thin scattered beard, exactly agreeable to that of his diet upon its first declination; like other insects, who, having their birth and education in an excrement, from thence borrow their colour and their smell. The student of this apartment is very sparing of his words, but somewhat over-liberal of his breath: he holds his hand out ready to receive your penny, and immediately upon receipt withdraws to his former occupations. Now, is it not amazing to think, the society of Warwick-lane should have no more concern for the recovery of so useful a member; who, if one may judge from these appearances, would become the greatest ornament to that illustrious body? Another student struts up fiercely to your teeth, puffing with his lips, half squeezing out his eyes, and very graciously holds you out his hand to kiss. The keeper desires you not to be afraid of this professor, for he will do you no hurt to him alone is allowed the liberty of the anti-chamber, and the orator of the place gives you
to understand, that this solemn person is a tailor run mad with pride. This considerable student is adorned with many other qualities, upon which at present I shall not farther enlarge. Hark in your ear-I am strangely mistaken, if all his address, his motions, and his airs, would not then be very natural, and in their proper element.
I shall not descend so minutely, as to insist upon the vast number of beaux, fiddlers, poets, and politicians, that the world might recover by such a reformation; but what is more material, beside the clear gain redounding to the commonwealth, by so large an acquisition of persons to employ, whose talents and acquirements, if I may be so bold as to affirm it, are now buried, or at least misapplied; it would be a mighty advantage accruing to the public from this inquiry, that all these would very much excel, and arrive at great perfection in their several kinds; which, I think, is manifest from what I have already shewn, and shall enforce by this one plain instance; that even I myself, the author of these momentous truths, am a person, whose imaginations are hard-mouthed, and exceedingly disposed to run away with his reason, which I have observed from long experience, to be a very light rider, and easily shaken off; upon which account, my friends will never trust me alone, without a solemn promise to vent my speculations in this, or the like manner, for the universal benefit of human kind; which, perhaps the gentle, courteous, and candid reader, brimful of that modern charity and tenderness usually annexed to his office, will be very hardly persuaded to believe.