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practical and mechanical operations. But the world would soon be sensible of its usefulness, and he flattered himself that a more noble, exalted thought never sprang in any other man's head. Every one knew how laborious the usual method is of attaining to arts and sciences; whereas by his contrivance, the most ignorant person, at a reasonable charge, and with a little bodily labour, inay write books in philosophy, poetry, politics, law, mathematics, and theology, without the least assistance from genius or study. He then led me to the frame, about the sides whereof all his pupils stood in ranks. It was twenty feet square, placed in the middle of the room. The superficies was composed of several hits of wood, about the bigness of a lie, but some larger than others. They were all linked together by slender wires. These bits of wood were covered on every square with paper pasted on them; and on these papers were written all the words of their language in their several moods, tenses and declensions, but without any order. The professor then desired me to observe, for he was going to set his engine at work. The pupils, at his command, took each of them hold of an iron handle, whereof there were forty fixed round the edges of the frame, and giving them a sudden turn, the whole disposition of the words was entirely changed. He then commanded six-and-thirty of the lads to read the several lines softly as they appeared upon the frame; and where they found three or four words together that might make part of a sentence, they dictated to the four remaining boys, who were scribes. This work was repeated three or four times, and at every turn the engine was so coutrived, that the words shifted into new places as the square bits of wood moved upside down. Six hours a day the young students were employed in this labour; and the professor shewed me several volumes in large folio, already collected, of broken sentences, which he intended to piece together, and out of those rich materials to give the world a complete body of all arts and sciences.
We next went to the school of languages, where three professors sat in consultation upon improving that of their own country.
The first project was to shorten discourse by cutting polysyllables into one, and leaving out verbs and participles; because, in reality, all things imaginable are but nouns. The other was a scheme for entirely abolishing all words whatsoever; and this was urged as a great advantage in point of health as well as brevity ; for, it is plain, that every word we speak is in some degree a diminution of our lungs by corrosion, and consequently contributes to the shortening of our lives. An expedient was therefore offered, that since words are only names for things, it would be more convenient for all men to carry about them such things as were necessary to express the particular business they are to discourse on. And this invention would certainly have taken place, to the great ease as well as health of the subject, if the women, in conjunction with the vulgar and illiterate, had not threatened to raise a rebellion, unless they might be allowed the liberty to speak with their tongues, after the manner of their forefathers; such constant irreconcilable enemies to science are the common people.
Another great advantage proposed by this invention was, that it would serve as a universal language to be understood in all civilised nations, whose goods and utensils are generally of the same kind, or nearly resembling, so that their uses might easily be comprehended. And thus ambassadors would be qualified to treat with foreign princes or ministers of state, to whose tongues they were utter strangers.
I was at the mathematical school, where the master taught his pupils after a method scarce imaginable to us in Europe. The proposition and demonstration were fairly written on a thin wafer, with ink composed of a cephalic tincture. This the student was to swallow upon a fasting stomach, and for three days following eat nothing but bread and water. As the wafer digested, the tincture mounted to his brain, bearing the proposition along with it. But the success hath not hitherto been answerable, partly by some error in the quantum or composition, and partly by the perverseness of lads, to whom this bolus is so nauseous, that they generally steal aside, and discharge it upwards before it can operate ; neither have they been yet persuaded to use so long an abstinence as the prescription requires.
In the school of political projectors I was but ill entertained, the professorg appearing in my judgment wholly out of their senses, which is a scene that never fails to make me melancholy. These unhappy people were proposing schemes for persuading monarchs to choose favourites upon the score of their wisdom, capacity, and virtue; of teaching ministers to consult the public good; of rewarding merit,
hat all of them wetto versed in the whole nathis studies in finding out
great abilities, and eminent services; of instructing princes to know their true interest, by acing it on the same foundation with that of their people ; of choosing for employments persons qualified to exercise them; with many other wild impossible chimeras, that never entered before into the heart of man to conceive, and confirmed in me the old observation, that there is nothing so extravagant and irrational which some philosophers have not maintained for truth.
But, however, I shall so far do justice to this part of the academy, as to acknowledge that all of them were not so visionary. There was a most ingenious doctor. who seemed to be perfectly verged in the whole nature and system of government. This illustrious person had very usefully employed his studies in finding out effectual remedies for all diseases and corruptions to which the several kinds of public administration are subject, by the vices or infirmities of those who govern, as well as by the licentiousness of those who are to obey. For instance, whereas all writers and reasoners have agreed that there is a strict universal resemblance between the natural and political body, can there be anything more evident than that the health of both must be preserved, and the diseases cured, by the same prescriptions? ... Upon the meeting of a senate, certain physicians should attend at the three first days of their sitting, and at the close of each day's debate feel the pulses of every senator; after which, having maturely considered and consulted upon the nature of the several maladies, and the methods of cure, they should on the fourth day return to the senatehouse, attended by their apothecaries stored with proper medicines; and, before the members sat, administer to each of them lenitives, aperitives, abstersives, corrosives, restringents, palliatives, laxatives, cephalalgics, icterics, apophlegmatics, acoustics, as their several cases required; and, according as these medicines should operate, repeat, alter, or omit them at the next meeting. ....
He likewise directed that every senator in the great conncil of a nation, after he had delivered his opinion, and argued in the defece of it, should be obliged to give his vote directly contrary, because, if that were done, the result would infallibly terminate in the good of the public.
When parties in a state are violent, he offered a wonderful contrivance to reconcile them. The method is this: You take a hundred leaders of each party; you dispose them into couples of such whose heads are nearest of a size: then let two nice operators saw off the occiput of each couple at the same time, in such manner that the brain may be equally divided. Let the occiputs thus cut off be interchanged, applying each to the head of his opposite party-man. It seems indeed to be a work that requireth some exactness; but the professor assured us, that, if it were dexterously performed, the cure would be infallible. For he argued thus : that the two half brains being left to debate the matter between themselves within the space of one skull, would soon come to a good understanding, and produce that moderation, as well as regularity of thinking, so much to be wished for in the heads of those who imagine they come into the world only to watch and govern its motion; and as to the difference of brains in quantity or quality, among those who are directors in faction,
or assured us, from his own knowledge, that it was a perfect trifle.
Thoughts on Various Subjects. We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.
When we desire or solicit anything, our minds ran wholly on the good side or circumstances of it; when it is obtained, our mind runs only on the bad ones.
When a true genius appeareth in the world, you may know, him by this infallible sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.
I am apt to think that, in the day of judgment, there will be small allowance given to the wise for their want of morals, or to the ignorant for their want of faith, because both are without excuse. This reuders the advantages equal of ignorance and knowledge. But some scruples in the wise, and some vices in the i
brant, will perhaps be forgiven upon the strength of temptation to each.
It is pleasant to observe how free the present age is in Jaying taxes on the next : • Future ages shall talk of this; this shall be famous to all posterity:' whereas their time and thoughts will be taken up about present things, as ours are now.
It is in disputes as in armies, where the weaker side setteth up false lights, and
maketh a great noise, that the enemy may believe them to be more numerous and strong than they really are.
I have known some men possessed of good qualities, which were very serviceable to others, but useless to themselves ; like a sun-dial on the front of a house, to inform the neighbours and passengers, but not the owner within.
If a man would register all his opinions upon love, politics, religion, learning. &c., beginning from his youth, and so go on to old age, what a bundle of inconsistencies and contradictions would appear at last!
The stoical scheme of supplying our wants by lopping off our desires, is like cutting off our feet when we want shoes.
The reason why so few marriages are happy, is because young ladies spend their time in making nets, not in making cages.
Censure is the tax a man payeth to the public for being eminent.
Complaint is the largest tribute Heaven receives, and the sincerest part of our devotion.
The common fluency of speech in many men and most women is owing to a ecarcity of matter and scarcity of words : for whoever is a master of language, and hath a mind full of ideas, will be apt, in speaking, to hesitate upon the choice of both; whereas common speakers have only one set of ideas, and one set of words to clothe them in, and these are always ready at the mouth. So people come faster out of a church when it is almost empty, than when a crowd is at the door.
To be vain is rather a mark of humility than pride. Vain men delight in telling what honours have been done them, what great compauy they have kept, and the like; by which they plainly confess that these honours were more than their due, and such as their friends would not believe if they had not been told; whereas a man truly proud thinks the greatest honours below his merit, and consequently scorns to boast. I therefore deliver it as a maxim, that whoever desires the character of a proud man, ought to conceal his vanity.
Every man desireth to live long, but no man would be old.
If books and laws continue to increase as they have done for fifty years past, I am in some concern for future ages, how any man will be learned, or any man a lawyer.
A nice man is a man of pasty ideas. [How true of Swift himself.]
If a man maketh me keep my distance, the comfort is, he keepeth his at the same time.
Very few men, properly speaking, live at present, but are providing to live another
Princes in their infancy, childhood, and youth, are said to diccover prodigious parts and wit, to speak things that surprise and astonish: strange, 80 many hopeful princes, so many shameful kings! If they happen to die young, they would have been prodigies of wisdom and virtue: if they live, they are often prodigies indeed, but of another sort. Overstrained Politeness, or Vulgar Hospitality. From the “Tatler,'
No. 20. Those inferior duties of life which the French call les petites morales, or the smaller morals, are with us distinguished by the name of good inauners or breeding. This I look upon, in the general notion of it, to be a sort of artificial good sense, adapted to the meanest capacities, and introduced to make mankind easy in their commerce with each other. Low and little understandings, without some rules of this kind, would be perpetually wandering into a thousand indecencies and irregularities in behaviour; and in their ordinary conversation, fall into the same boisterous familiarities that one observeth amongst them when a debauch hath quite taken away the use of their reason. In other instances, it is odd to consider, that for want of common discretion, the very end of good breeding is wholly perverted; and civility, intended to make us easy, is employed in laying chains and fetters upon us. in debarring us of our wishes, and in crossing our most reasonable desires and inclinations. This abuse reigneth chiefly in the country, as I found to my vexation, when I was last there, in a visit I made to a neighbour about two miles from my cousin. As soon as I entered the parlour, they put me into the great chair that stood
keep my distance. The true of Swift himself. y man a lawyer.
close by a huge fire, and kept me there by force, until I was almost stifled. Then a boy came in great hurry to pull off my boots, which I in vain opposed, urging that I must return soon after dinner. In the meantime, the good lady whispered her eldest daughter, and slipped a key into her hand. The girl returned instantly with a beer-glass half full of aqua mirabilis and syrup of gillyflowers. I took as much as I had a mind for; but madam vowed I should drink it off-for she was sure it would do me good, after coming out of the cold air-and I was forced to obey; which absolutely took away my stomach. When dinner came in, I had a mind to sit at a distance from the fire ; but they told me it was as much as my life was worth, and set me with my back just against it. Although my appetite was quite gone, I resolved to force down as much as I could; and desired the leg of a pullet. Indeed, Mr. Bickerstaff,' says the lady, you must eat a wing to oblige me;' and so put a couple upon my plate. I was persecuted at this rate during the whole meal. As often as I called for small beer, the inaster tipped the wink, and the servant brought me a brimmer of October. Some time after dinner, I ordered my cousin's man, who came with me, to get ready the horses, but it was resolved I should not stir that night; and when I seemed pretty much bent upon going, they ordered the stable door to be locked; and the children hid my cloak and boots. The next question was, what I would have for supper. I said I never ate anything at night; but was at last, in my own defence, obliged to name the first thing that came into my head. After three hours spent chiefly in apologies for my entertainment, insinuating to me, that this was the worst time of the year for provisions ; that they were at a great distance froin any market; that they were afraid I should be starved; and that they knew they kept me to my loss,' the lady went and left me to her husband—for they took special care I should never be alone. As soon as her back was turned, the little misses ran backwards and forwards every moment; and constantly as they came in or went out, made a courtesy directly at me, which in good manners I was forced to return with a bow, and, Your humble servant, pretty miss.' Exactly at eight the mother came up, and discovered by the redness of her face that supper was not far off. It was twice as large as the dinner, and my persecution doubled in proportion, I desired at my usual hour to go to my repose, and was conducted to my chamber by the gentleman, his lady and the whole train of children. They importuned me to Irink something before I went to bed ; and upon my refusing, at last left a bottle of stingo, as they called it, for fear I should wake and be thirsty in the night. I was forced in the morning to rise and dress myself in the dark, because they would not suffer my kinsman's servant to disturb me at the hour I desired to be called. I was now resolved to break through all measures to get away; and after sitting down to a monstrous breakfast of cold beef, mutton, neats'-tongues, venison-pasty, and stale bear, took leave of the family. But the gentleman would needs see me part of my way, and carry me a short-cut through his own grounds, which he told me would save half a mile's riding. This last piece of civility had like to have cost me dear, being once or twice in danger of my neck, by leaping over his ditches, and at last forced to alight in the dirt; when my horse, having slipped his bridle, ran away, and took us up more than an hour to recover bim again. It is evident that none of the absurdities I met with in this visit proceeded from an ill intention, but from a wrong judgment of complaisance, and a misapplication in the rules of it.
ALEXANDER POPE. In 1737, Pope published, by subscription, a volume of letters between himself and his literary friends. Part of the collection had been previously issued by Curil, a notorious publisher of that day, to whom Pope had, by the agency of other parties, conveyed an edition privately printed. Having, in his assumed character of purveyor of the letters, induced Curll to advertise the collection as containing letters of certain noblemen, the publisher was summoned to the House of Lords for breach of privilege. The volume, however, being examined, it was found that there was not a single letter from any nobleman in the collection, and Curll was dismissed. Pope had thus
secured publicity to the publication, and as the letters, he said, had not only been surreptitiously printed-stolen from private repositories—but altered and interpolated, he appeared justified in issuing a prospectus for a genuine e lition. In reality, there was little or no difference between the editions, Pope having prepared both, and neither can be regarded as containing actual correspondence. Swift, however, had retained the letters addressed to himself; the original letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu also existed, and the early correspondence of Pope with Henry Cromwell had previously come into the possession of Curll, and was published. Additions were afterwards made to the collection from other sources, and thus we have a large body of the actual letters written by the wits of the Anne and first Georgian periods. The experiment was new to the public. 'Pope's epistolary excellence,' says Johnson, ‘had an open field; he had no English rival, living or dead.'
Tbe letters of Lord Bacon, Strafford, and other statesmen, had been published, but they descended little into the details of familiar life. Spratt suppressed the correspondence of Cowley, under the impression, finely expressed by an old writer, that private letters are commonly of too tender a composition to thrive out of the bosom in which they were first planted ; and the correspondence of Pope was the first attempt to interest the public in the sentiments and opinions of literary men, and the expression of private friendship. As literature was the business of Pope's life, and composition his first and favourite pursuit, he wrote always with a view to admiration and tame. He knew that if his letters to his friends did not come before the public in a printed shape, they would be privately circulated, and might affect his reputation with those he was ambitious of pleasing. Hence he seems always to have written with care. His letters are generally too elaborate and artificial to have been the spontancous effusions of private confidence. Many of them are beautiful in thought and imagery, and evince a taste for picturesque scenery and description that it is to be regretted the poet did not oftener indulge. Others, as the exquisite one describing a journey to Oxford, in company with Bernard Lintot, possess a fine vein of comic humour and observation. Swift was inferior to Pope as a letter-writer, but he discloses more of his real character. He loved Pope as much as he could any man, and the picture of their friendship, disclosed in their correspondence, is honourable to both. They had both risen to eminence by their own talents; they had mingled with the great and illustrious; had exchanged with each other in private their common feelings and sentiments; had partaken of the vicissitudes of public affairs; seen their friends decay and die off; and in their old age, mourned over the evils and afflictions incident to the decline of life. Pope's affection soothed the jealous irritability and misantlıropy of Swift, and survived the melancholy calamity which rendered his friend one of the most pitiable and affecting objects among mankind.