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law of nations; that law which was enacted by Europe for its own emolument, to the prejudice of the other three parts of the globe, and which bestows the property of the whole realms on the first person who happens to espy them, can annex them to the crown of Great Britain, in lieu of those it has lost beyond the Atlantic.

I am very ignorant in astronomy, as ignorant as Segrais, or the lady, and could wish to ask many questions: as, Whether our celestial globes must not be infinitely magnified? our Orreries, too, must not they be given to children, and new ones constructed, that will at least take in our retired corner, and all its outlying constellations? Must not that host of worlds be christened? Mr Herschell himself has stood godfather for his Majesty to the new Sidus. His Majesty, thank God, has a numerous issue; but they, and all the princes and princesses in Europe, cannot supply appellations enow for twenty millions of newborn stars; no, though the royal progenies of Austria, Naples, and Spain, who have each. two dozen of saints for sponsors, should consent to split their beadroll of names among the foundlings:---But I find I talk like an old nurse; and you at last will be convinced, that it is not worth your while to keep up a correspondence with a man in his dotage, merely because he has the honour to be

Your most obedient humble Servant,


P.S. One wish I cannot help adding to this letter it is, that since our eyes can be so wonderfully assisted, we could also improve others of our senses. Since we contrive to see 1710 millions of miles beyond the sun, one should think it possible to form a trumpet for hearing what is said in the moon, which, in comparison, is but just over the way. I do not wonder that Bishop Wilkins was ambitious of getting thither, even upon the very narrow fund of knowledge that we then possessed.

From this specimen of the happy disposi tion of the refined and glorious sons of Idleness, to draw pleasure, and to diffuse it all around them, from whatever offers on the gliding current of the everflowing tide of the affairs of men, I hope to recommend this study to my readers; and remain, their devoted servant,



History of a Fortunate Idler.


(May 25. 1791.)

I HAVE read, with considerable pleasure, and not without edification, the essays of Albanicus on the subject of the Art of Idleness, VOL. I.


which I hope he will continue, for the amusement and instruction of your readers, applying his principles to the practical benefit of the numerous sons and daughters of idleness, whose situation, when floating on the surface of fashion, without a guide or direction, one cannot look at without compassion, mixed with contempt, or without wishing, that their labours of idleness might be converted into the channel of their own real happiness, and the good of society.

For my own part, Mr Editor, I will frankly acknowledge, that I am, with respect to artless idleness, as a brand plucked out of the fire, and a living monument of mercy derived from the principles of that art, which your correspondent laudably endeavours to explain.

I was born, Sir, to the succession of a large entailed estate; the pride of my father, and the darling of my mother: I was educated with the greatest care, and received every instruction and accomplishment that Great Britain, and the tour of Europe, could afford. When I returned from abroad at two and twenty, I was thought (I may say without vanity) one of the most elegant and accomplished young men that had been imported from the continent for half a century. After the first joy of my family on my return was over, and I had received all the encomiums of my father, mother, and aunts, and all the admiration of the squires and misses in our neighbourhood

in the country, I found an irresistible desire to leave the barbarity of a provincial residence, for the elegant amusements of the capital. I went to London for the winter, was presented at court, drew upon my father, with his approbation, for three thousand pounds, the price I paid to a broker for a Cornish borough, got into Brookes's club, and the other fashionable societies in town, kept a girl, shook my elbow with the best company, and in the elegance of conviviality, was able, in consequence of an excellent constitution, to be at the same time an excellent bottle companion. I played the' violincello at private concerts, sung a catch with the best in the club, and finished the winter with the reputation of being one of the most promising young men in England. Next summer was passed in the country with my father, who had one of the best packs of fox hounds in the kingdom, with a stable of firstrate hunters, which, with my other qualities, made me the prince of our society. I had not passed above a couple of the hunting months after this summer had elapsed, before I began to feel my distaste for the rough and uncultivated provincials wearing off, and a liking to the chace and the bottle taking possession of my time, to the exclusion of those more polished manners I cultivated abroad. Next winter I fell into the society of my fox-hunting friends, who followed me up from the country to London; and the bottle, which had formerly been disagreeable to me in excess, became

necessary as a medium of friendship in the clubs I now frequented.

I got into habits that extinguished all rational curiosity and amusement; and my looking-glass began to hint to me, that I was about to get a red nose, to enliven a face considerably bleached by dissipation, and wrinkled by anxiety at the gaming table.

Though now only five and twenty, I began to find myself less admired than formerly, and to sink in my own estimation. One evening, after having lost five hundred at Brookes's, I came home suddenly in great uneasiness, and being unable to sleep, I sent my servant to a circulating library for a book, by way of opiate, which I ordered him to read to me, while I was in bed, supposing that his whining, uniform cadence, might procure me that choicest blessing of the unfortunate, which is so often sought for in vain. The fellow having no instruction to call for any particular book, brought the first that was offered by the shop boy, and being desired to begin and read, as he should accidentally open the volume, he began his work as follows:

If you ever read a letter, which is sent with the more pleasure for the reality of the complaints, this may have reason to hope for a favourable acceptance; and if time be the most irretrievable loss, the regrets which follow will be thought, I hope, the most justifiable. The regaining of my liberty from a long state of indolence and inactivity, and the desire of

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