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an entire Stranger to those fine Senfations, which are requisite to give a.-thorough Notion, and true Relish of the Enjoyments it affords! How should you paint what Naturt has not given you Faculties to feel? As far as She leads you by the Hand, you may; perhaps, ssuccded : -But to leave her behind, and tread those secret Paths to which her Guidance never points; This, Mr. Garrick, this is far beyond the Power of your limited Genius.
So wishing you more fortunate in your next Eflay, and wife enough never to expose yourself again to Derision, by endeavouring to laugh out of Countenance a Character, which all sensible Men look upon with Admiration and Aflom:fbrnetit, I take leave to subscribe my sets, a J much as i ought to be, • .'
S I /?,
Teur Humble Servant,
Pretty Gentleman, &c.
THE Theatre is said to be the proper School for correcting the little Irregularities and Foibles of Mankind; and no Method is held more likely to check the Growth of Folly, than to bring it to full View in Scenes of humorous Representation. But then the Comic Writer should be certain, that what he endeavours to expose, be really an Object of Ridicule; otherwise he not only offends against the Rules of the Drama, but the Precepts of Virtue.
I am led into these Reflexions, by a late Performance exhibited on our Stage, wherein the Author attempts to laugh out of Countenance that mollisying Elegance which manifests itself with such a bewitching Grace, in the refined Youths o^ this cultivated Age. It is in Defence of these injured Gentlemen that I have taken up my Pen; and how well qualified I am to execute such an Undertaking, the Reader will be convinced, if he has but Patience to peruse carefully the following Sheets. . ' . , . -. >
Amidst all my Researches into the History of this Country, I do not find one Pretty Gen
J 2 TLEMAN, Tleman, till the glorious Reign of King 'James I. This Prince had an odd Mixture of contrary Qualities. In' some respects he retained the Rusticity of Gotbkk Manners; in others, he was very refined.
Lord Clarendon assures us, " That His Mojl "Sacred Majesty was so highly delighted with a ** Beautiful Person and Fine Cloaths, that these "were the chief Recommendations to the Great "Offices of State." A convincing Proof (begging the noble Historian's Pardon) of that Monarch's superior Talents for Government.
In the Reign of Charles I. this Refinement funk in Reputation: For how indeed was it possible, that a genuine Taste could be cultivated, when Falkland was beheld with general Admiration, and Waller read with general Delight?
Harder still was her Fate, under the Rebukes of an austere Republic, and a sour Protector. The very Loyalisls themselves were treated with less Rigor, and not a Man of any Elegance durst even fliow his Head.
But when Monarchy was restored, Taste emerged frem her Obscurity, and shone with some Degree of Lustre. For though the Prince wa» somewhat inelegant in himself, yet that downy Eafe, which was cherished under his auspicious Influence, was highly favourable to the Cultivation of foft Manners; notwithstanding the malicious Efforts of Milton, Denham, Dorfet, Buckingham, and Dryden.
From this Period, to the Beginning of the present Century, her Progress was now and then
checked checked by the Blasts of Envy; yet, upon the whole, flie made some tolerable Shoots; when at last, a Sett of malevolent Spirits arose, who [a] with a cruel and bloody-minded Zeal, entered into a Combination to destroy this lovely Plant, both Root and Branch. The better to effect their barbarous Resolution, they set up an Idol os their own Fancy, ascribed to it all the Attributes of the Graces, and with the Artifice pf deceiving Blandishments, allured the Majority of the Nation, to fall down and worship the Image which they had set up.
Hence it was that Elegance became a neglected Character, and the Pretty Gentleman an Object of general Contempt, and barbarous Raillery.
But no sooner were these Enemies removed, than the Sons of Delicacy made an Attempt to rife again: And how successful they have been, every Place of polite Resort does fully witness; and notwithstanding all Opposition, they are determined to push on their Designs, and polish the Britisb Manners. Now the better to carry on this glorious Scheme of Reformation, these Gentlemen have erefited themselves into an amicable Society, and from the Principles on which it is founded, have very pertinently stiled it,.
1 he Fraternity of Pretty Gentlemen.
As no associated Body cast possibly subsist, unless they are cemented by an Union of Hearts,
[a] Under the Forms of Tatlirs, Spectators, and Guardians.
ly . the the gracd Principle of this Felfowfnip is mutual Lcve, which, it must be confessed, they carry to. the. highest Pitch. In this Respect, they are not haferifcr t& the 'U^a <p«Xar|, Tbe fatrtd Theban BattJr so illustrious in Story. Such m Harmony ef. Temper is preserved amengst them, sech a Sameness is there ii> all i lieu* Words and Actions, that the Spiiit of One seems' to have pasted into the Oiber ; cr rather, they stf breathe the fame Sm1.-:.hh8 is-the secret Charm ihat^Ae-Ptot«^4Mlfc^-trre"mteiteaBrfT^alry,,^|cft. connects one Man with another, and ties the "Knot of virtuous Friendship. But 1 need not dwell any fon-ger on a Subject', whkh can admit of no Debate; the Notoriety of the-Fact1 is evert becomes Prsverbial amongst u*, and every owe critt' out,
Magna eji inter Xjolle* cineordia! . , - . .
I shall now open another Scene, and-p*eftn-tr ttv the Reader a View of thtir Studies and Employments; where he will find them no less worthy ef his Admiration and Regard. -. .
They do not indeed consume their Hours in such Points of vain Speculation, wherein the Prixte of Reafon and Learning has room to operate. And indeed there is something in the Drudgery of Mafculine Knowledge, by no means adapted to Youths "of so nice a Frame, that it cannot be faid, they are ever invigorated with perfect Health, i The enfeebled Tone cf their Organs and Spirits does therefore naturally dispose them to the softer and more refined Studies ; Furniture, Equipage, Dress the Tiring Room, and the Toy shop.—