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Title: A Tale of a Tub
Author: Swift, Jonathan
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Tale of a Tub" ***

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Transcribed from the 1889 George Routledge and Sons “Carisbrooke Library”
edition by Steven Rice.  Second proofing by David Price, email

                          [Picture: Book cover]

                             A TALE OF A TUB
                          THE HISTORY OF MARTIN


                              JONATHAN SWIFT

                                * * * * *

                                EDITED BY
                           HENRY MORLEY, LL.D.

                                * * * * *

                        GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS
                          BROADWAY, LUDGATE HILL


                           A TALE OF A TUB
             To the Right Honourable John Lord Somers               37
             The Bookseller to The Reader                           41
             The Epistle Dedicatory                                 43
             The Preface                                            49
             Section I.        The Introduction                     59
             Section II.                                            70
             Section III.      A Digression Concerning              81
             Section IV.       A Tale of a Tub                      90
             Section V.        A Digression in the Modern          100
             Section VI.       A Tale of a Tub                     106
             Section VII.      A Digression in Praise of           113
             Section VIII.     A Tale of a Tub                     118
             Section IX.       A Digression Concerning the         125
             Section X.        A Farther Digression                138
             Section XI.       A Tale of a Tub                     143
             The Conclusion                                        155
                        THE HISTORY OF MARTIN
             The History of Martin                                 159
             A Digression on the Nature . . .                      163
             The History of Martin—_Continued_                     164
             A Project for the Universal Benefit of Mankind        165



Treatifes writ by the fame Author, moft of them mentioned in the
following Discourfes; which will be fpeedily publifhed.

A _Character of the prefent Set of_ Wits _in this Ifland_.

_A Panegyrical Effay upon the Number_ THREE.

_A Differtation upon the principal productions of_ Grub-ftreet.

_Lectures upon the Diffection of Human Nature_.

_A Panegyrick upon the World_.

_An Analytical Difcourfe upon Zeal_, Hiftori-theo-phyfi-logically

A _general Hiftory of_ Ears.

_A modeft Defence of the Proceedings of the_ Rabble _in all Ages_.

_A Defcription of the Kingdom of_ Abfurdities.

_A Voyage into_ England, _by a Perfon of Quality in_ Terra Auftralis
incognita, _tranflated from the Original_.

_A Critical Effay upon the Art of_ Canting, _Philofophically_,
_Phyfically_, _and Mufically confidered_.

     [Picture: Facsimile of title page of the second (1704) edition]



THOUGH the author has written a large Dedication, yet that being
addressed to a Prince whom I am never likely to have the honour of being
known to; a person, besides, as far as I can observe, not at all regarded
or thought on by any of our present writers; and I being wholly free from
that slavery which booksellers usually lie under to the caprices of
authors, I think it a wise piece of presumption to inscribe these papers
to your Lordship, and to implore your Lordship’s protection of them.  God
and your Lordship know their faults and their merits; for as to my own
particular, I am altogether a stranger to the matter; and though
everybody else should be equally ignorant, I do not fear the sale of the
book at all the worse upon that score.  Your Lordship’s name on the front
in capital letters will at any time get off one edition: neither would I
desire any other help to grow an alderman than a patent for the sole
privilege of dedicating to your Lordship.

I should now, in right of a dedicator, give your Lordship a list of your
own virtues, and at the same time be very unwilling to offend your
modesty; but chiefly I should celebrate your liberality towards men of
great parts and small fortunes, and give you broad hints that I mean
myself.  And I was just going on in the usual method to peruse a hundred
or two of dedications, and transcribe an abstract to be applied to your
Lordship, but I was diverted by a certain accident.  For upon the covers
of these papers I casually observed written in large letters the two
following words, DETUR DIGNISSIMO, which, for aught I knew, might contain
some important meaning.  But it unluckily fell out that none of the
Authors I employ understood Latin (though I have them often in pay to
translate out of that language).  I was therefore compelled to have
recourse to the Curate of our Parish, who Englished it thus, _Let it be
given to the worthiest_; and his comment was that the Author meant his
work should be dedicated to the sublimest genius of the age for wit,
learning, judgment, eloquence, and wisdom.  I called at a poet’s chamber
(who works for my shop) in an alley hard by, showed him the translation,
and desired his opinion who it was that the Author could mean.  He told
me, after some consideration, that vanity was a thing he abhorred, but by
the description he thought himself to be the person aimed at; and at the
same time he very kindly offered his own assistance gratis towards
penning a dedication to himself.  I desired him, however, to give a
second guess.  Why then, said he, it must be I, or my Lord Somers.  From
thence I went to several other wits of my acquaintance, with no small
hazard and weariness to my person, from a prodigious number of dark
winding stairs; but found them all in the same story, both of your
Lordship and themselves.  Now your Lordship is to understand that this
proceeding was not of my own invention; for I have somewhere heard it is
a maxim that those to whom everybody allows the second place have an
undoubted title to the first.

This infallibly convinced me that your Lordship was the person intended
by the Author.  But being very unacquainted in the style and form of
dedications, I employed those wits aforesaid to furnish me with hints and
materials towards a panegyric upon your Lordship’s virtues.

In two days they brought me ten sheets of paper filled up on every side.
They swore to me that they had ransacked whatever could be found in the
characters of Socrates, Aristides, Epaminondas, Cato, Tully, Atticus, and
other hard names which I cannot now recollect.  However, I have reason to
believe they imposed upon my ignorance, because when I came to read over
their collections, there was not a syllable there but what I and
everybody else knew as well as themselves: therefore I grievously suspect
a cheat; and that these Authors of mine stole and transcribed every word
from the universal report of mankind.  So that I took upon myself as
fifty shillings out of pocket to no manner of purpose.

If by altering the title I could make the same materials serve for
another dedication (as my betters have done), it would help to make up my
loss; but I have made several persons dip here and there in those papers,
and before they read three lines they have all assured me plainly that
they cannot possibly be applied to any person besides your Lordship.

I expected, indeed, to have heard of your Lordship’s bravery at the head
of an army; of your undaunted courage in mounting a breach or scaling a
wall; or to have had your pedigree traced in a lineal descent from the
House of Austria; or of your wonderful talent at dress and dancing; or
your profound knowledge in algebra, metaphysics, and the Oriental
tongues: but to ply the world with an old beaten story of your wit, and
eloquence, and learning, and wisdom, and justice, and politeness, and
candour, and evenness of temper in all scenes of life; of that great
discernment in discovering and readiness in favouring deserving men; with
forty other common topics; I confess I have neither conscience nor
countenance to do it.  Because there is no virtue either of a public or
private life which some circumstances of your own have not often produced
upon the stage of the world; and those few which for want of occasions to
exert them might otherwise have passed unseen or unobserved by your
friends, your enemies have at length brought to light.

It is true I should be very loth the bright example of your Lordship’s
virtues should be lost to after-ages, both for their sake and your own;
but chiefly because they will be so very necessary to adorn the history
of a late reign; and that is another reason why I would forbear to make a
recital of them here; because I have been told by wise men that as
dedications have run for some years past, a good historian will not be
apt to have recourse thither in search of characters.

There is one point wherein I think we dedicators would do well to change
our measures; I mean, instead of running on so far upon the praise of our
patron’s liberality, to spend a word or two in admiring their patience.
I can put no greater compliment on your Lordship’s than by giving you so
ample an occasion to exercise it at present.  Though perhaps I shall not
be apt to reckon much merit to your Lordship upon that score, who having
been formerly used to tedious harangues, and sometimes to as little
purpose, will be the readier to pardon this, especially when it is
offered by one who is, with all respect and veneration,

                                 My LORD,

                                             Your Lordship’s most obedient
                                                and most faithful Servant,
                                                           THE BOOKSELLER.


IT is now six years since these papers came first to my hand, which seems
to have been about a twelvemonth after they were written, for the Author
tells us in his preface to the first treatise that he had calculated it
for the year 1697; and in several passages of that discourse, as well as
the second, it appears they were written about that time.

As to the Author, I can give no manner of satisfaction.  However, I am
credibly informed that this publication is without his knowledge, for he
concludes the copy is lost, having lent it to a person since dead, and
being never in possession of it after; so that, whether the work received
his last hand, or whether he intended to fill up the defective places, is
like to remain a secret.

If I should go about to tell the reader by what accident I became master
of these papers, it would, in this unbelieving age, pass for little more
than the cant or jargon of the trade.  I therefore gladly spare both him
and myself so unnecessary a trouble.  There yet remains a difficult
question—why I published them no sooner?  I forbore upon two accounts.
First, because I thought I had better work upon my hands; and secondly,
because I was not without some hope of hearing from the Author and
receiving his directions.  But I have been lately alarmed with
intelligence of a surreptitious copy which a certain great wit had new
polished and refined, or, as our present writers express themselves,
“fitted to the humour of the age,” as they have already done with great
felicity to Don Quixote, Boccalini, La Bruyère, and other authors.
However, I thought it fairer dealing to offer the whole work in its
naturals.  If any gentleman will please to furnish me with a key, in
order to explain the more difficult parts, I shall very gratefully
acknowledge the favour, and print it by itself.



I HERE present your Highness with the fruits of a very few leisure hours,
stolen from the short intervals of a world of business, and of an
employment quite alien from such amusements as this; the poor production
of that refuse of time which has lain heavy upon my hands during a long
prorogation of Parliament, a great dearth of foreign news, and a tedious
fit of rainy weather.  For which, and other reasons, it cannot choose
extremely to deserve such a patronage as that of your Highness, whose
numberless virtues in so few years, make the world look upon you as the
future example to all princes.  For although your Highness is hardly got
clear of infancy, yet has the universal learned world already resolved
upon appealing to your future dictates with the lowest and most resigned
submission, fate having decreed you sole arbiter of the productions of
human wit in this polite and most accomplished age.  Methinks the number
of appellants were enough to shock and startle any judge of a genius less
unlimited than yours; but in order to prevent such glorious trials, the
person, it seems, to whose care the education of your Highness is
committed, has resolved, as I am told, to keep you in almost an universal
ignorance of our studies, which it is your inherent birthright to

It is amazing to me that this person should have assurance, in the face
of the sun, to go about persuading your Highness that our age is almost
wholly illiterate and has hardly produced one writer upon any subject.  I
know very well that when your Highness shall come to riper years, and
have gone through the learning of antiquity, you will be too curious to
neglect inquiring into the authors of the very age before you; and to
think that this insolent, in the account he is preparing for your view,
designs to reduce them to a number so insignificant as I am ashamed to
mention; it moves my zeal and my spleen for the honour and interest of
our vast flourishing body, as well as of myself, for whom I know by long
experience he has professed, and still continues, a peculiar malice.

It is not unlikely that, when your Highness will one day peruse what I am
now writing, you may be ready to expostulate with your governor upon the
credit of what I here affirm, and command him to show you some of our
productions.  To which he will answer—for I am well informed of his
designs—by asking your Highness where they are, and what is become of
them? and pretend it a demonstration that there never were any, because
they are not then to be found.  Not to be found!  Who has mislaid them?
Are they sunk in the abyss of things?  It is certain that in their own
nature they were light enough to swim upon the surface for all eternity;
therefore, the fault is in him who tied weights so heavy to their heels
as to depress them to the centre.  Is their very essence destroyed?  Who
has annihilated them?  Were they drowned by purges or martyred by pipes?
Who administered them to the posteriors of —.  But that it may no longer
be a doubt with your Highness who is to be the author of this universal
ruin, I beseech you to observe that large and terrible scythe which your
governor affects to bear continually about him.  Be pleased to remark the
length and strength, the sharpness and hardness, of his nails and teeth;
consider his baneful, abominable breath, enemy to life and matter,
infectious and corrupting, and then reflect whether it be possible for
any mortal ink and paper of this generation to make a suitable
resistance.  Oh, that your Highness would one day resolve to disarm this
usurping _maître de palais_ of his furious engines, and bring your empire
_hors du page_.

It were endless to recount the several methods of tyranny and destruction
which your governor is pleased to practise upon this occasion.  His
inveterate malice is such to the writings of our age, that, of several
thousands produced yearly from this renowned city, before the next
revolution of the sun there is not one to be heard of.  Unhappy infants!
many of them barbarously destroyed before they have so much as learnt
their mother-tongue to beg for pity.  Some he stifles in their cradles,
others he frights into convulsions, whereof they suddenly die, some he
flays alive, others he tears limb from limb, great numbers are offered to
Moloch, and the rest, tainted by his breath, die of a languishing

But the concern I have most at heart is for our Corporation of Poets,
from whom I am preparing a petition to your Highness, to be subscribed
with the names of one hundred and thirty-six of the first race, but whose
immortal productions are never likely to reach your eyes, though each of
them is now an humble and an earnest appellant for the laurel, and has
large comely volumes ready to show for a support to his pretensions.  The
never-dying works of these illustrious persons your governor, sir, has
devoted to unavoidable death, and your Highness is to be made believe
that our age has never arrived at the honour to produce one single poet.

We confess immortality to be a great and powerful goddess, but in vain we
offer up to her our devotions and our sacrifices if your Highness’s
governor, who has usurped the priesthood, must, by an unparalleled
ambition and avarice, wholly intercept and devour them.

To affirm that our age is altogether unlearned and devoid of writers in
any kind, seems to be an assertion so bold and so false, that I have been
sometimes thinking the contrary may almost be proved by uncontrollable
demonstration.  It is true, indeed, that although their numbers be vast
and their productions numerous in proportion, yet are they hurried so
hastily off the scene that they escape our memory and delude our sight.
When I first thought of this address, I had prepared a copious list of
titles to present your Highness as an undisputed argument for what I
affirm.  The originals were posted fresh upon all gates and corners of
streets; but returning in a very few hours to take a review, they were
all torn down and fresh ones in their places.  I inquired after them
among readers and booksellers, but I inquired in vain; the memorial of
them was lost among men, their place was no more to be found; and I was
laughed to scorn for a clown and a pedant, devoid of all taste and
refinement, little versed in the course of present affairs, and that knew
nothing of what had passed in the best companies of court and town.  So
that I can only avow in general to your Highness that we do abound in
learning and wit, but to fix upon particulars is a task too slippery for
my slender abilities.  If I should venture, in a windy day, to affirm to
your Highness that there is a large cloud near the horizon in the form of
a bear, another in the zenith with the head of an ass, a third to the
westward with claws like a dragon; and your Highness should in a few
minutes think fit to examine the truth, it is certain they would be all
chanced in figure and position, new ones would arise, and all we could
agree upon would be, that clouds there were, but that I was grossly
mistaken in the zoography and topography of them.

But your governor, perhaps, may still insist, and put the question, What
is then become of those immense bales of paper which must needs have been
employed in such numbers of books?  Can these also be wholly annihilated,
and to of a sudden, as I pretend?  What shall I say in return of so
invidious an objection?  It ill befits the distance between your Highness
and me to send you for ocular conviction to a jakes or an oven, to the
windows of a bawdyhouse, or to a sordid lanthorn.  Books, like men their
authors, have no more than one way of coming into the world, but there
are ten thousand to go out of it and return no more.

I profess to your Highness, in the integrity of my heart, that what I am
going to say is literally true this minute I am writing; what revolutions
may happen before it shall be ready for your perusal I can by no means
warrant; however, I beg you to accept it as a specimen of our learning,
our politeness, and our wit.  I do therefore affirm, upon the word of a
sincere man, that there is now actually in being a certain poet called
John Dryden, whose translation of Virgil was lately printed in large
folio, well bound, and if diligent search were made, for aught I know, is
yet to be seen.  There is another called Nahum Tate, who is ready to make
oath that he has caused many reams of verse to be published, whereof both
himself and his bookseller, if lawfully required, can still produce
authentic copies, and therefore wonders why the world is pleased to make
such a secret of it.  There is a third, known by the name of Tom Durfey,
a poet of a vast comprehension, an universal genius, and most profound
learning.  There are also one Mr. Rymer and one Mr. Dennis, most profound
critics.  There is a person styled Dr. Bentley, who has wrote near a
thousand pages of immense erudition, giving a full and true account of a
certain squabble of wonderful importance between himself and a
bookseller; he is a writer of infinite wit and humour, no man rallies
with a better grace and in more sprightly turns.  Further, I avow to your
Highness that with these eyes I have beheld the person of William Wotton,
B.D., who has written a good-sized volume against a friend of your
governor, from whom, alas! he must therefore look for little favour, in a
most gentlemanly style, adorned with utmost politeness and civility,
replete with discoveries equally valuable for their novelty and use, and
embellished with traits of wit so poignant and so apposite, that he is a
worthy yoke-mate to his fore-mentioned friend.

Why should I go upon farther particulars, which might fill a volume with
the just eulogies of my contemporary brethren?  I shall bequeath this
piece of justice to a larger work, wherein I intend to write a character
of the present set of wits in our nation; their persons I shall describe
particularly and at length, their genius and understandings in miniature.

In the meantime, I do here make bold to present your Highness with a
faithful abstract drawn from the universal body of all arts and sciences,
intended wholly for your service and instruction.  Nor do I doubt in the
least but your Highness will peruse it as carefully and make as
considerable improvements as other young princes have already done by the
many volumes of late years written for a help to their studies.

That your Highness may advance in wisdom and virtue, as well as years,
and at last outshine all your royal ancestors, shall be the daily prayer


                                         Your Highness’s most devoted, &c.

_Decemb._ 1697.


THE wits of the present age being so very numerous and penetrating, it
seems the grandees of Church and State begin to fall under horrible
apprehensions lest these gentlemen, during the intervals of a long peace,
should find leisure to pick holes in the weak sides of religion and
government.  To prevent which, there has been much thought employed of
late upon certain projects for taking off the force and edge of those
formidable inquirers from canvassing and reasoning upon such delicate
points.  They have at length fixed upon one, which will require some time
as well as cost to perfect.  Meanwhile, the danger hourly increasing, by
new levies of wits, all appointed (as there is reason to fear) with pen,
ink, and paper, which may at an hour’s warning be drawn out into
pamphlets and other offensive weapons ready for immediate execution, it
was judged of absolute necessity that some present expedient be thought
on till the main design can be brought to maturity.  To this end, at a
grand committee, some days ago, this important discovery was made by a
certain curious and refined observer, that seamen have a custom when they
meet a Whale to fling him out an empty Tub, by way of amusement, to
divert him from laying violent hands upon the Ship.  This parable was
immediately mythologised; the Whale was interpreted to be Hobbes’s
“Leviathan,” which tosses and plays with all other schemes of religion
and government, whereof a great many are hollow, and dry, and empty, and
noisy, and wooden, and given to rotation.  This is the Leviathan from
whence the terrible wits of our age are said to borrow their weapons.
The Ship in danger is easily understood to be its old antitype the
commonwealth.  But how to analyse the Tub was a matter of difficulty,
when, after long inquiry and debate, the literal meaning was preserved,
and it was decreed that, in order to prevent these Leviathans from
tossing and sporting with the commonwealth, which of itself is too apt to
fluctuate, they should be diverted from that game by “A Tale of a Tub.”
And my genius being conceived to lie not unhappily that way, I had the
honour done me to be engaged in the performance.

This is the sole design in publishing the following treatise, which I
hope will serve for an interim of some months to employ those unquiet
spirits till the perfecting of that great work, into the secret of which
it is reasonable the courteous reader should have some little light.

It is intended that a large Academy be erected, capable of containing
nine thousand seven hundred forty and three persons, which, by modest
computation, is reckoned to be pretty near the current number of wits in
this island {50}.  These are to be disposed into the several schools of
this Academy, and there pursue those studies to which their genius most
inclines them.  The undertaker himself will publish his proposals with
all convenient speed, to which I shall refer the curious reader for a
more particular account, mentioning at present only a few of the
principal schools.  There is, first, a large pederastic school, with
French and Italian masters; there is also the spelling school, a very
spacious building; the school of looking-glasses; the school of swearing;
the school of critics; the school of salivation; the school of
hobby-horses; the school of poetry; the school of tops; the school of
spleen; the school of gaming; with many others too tedious to recount.
No person to be admitted member into any of these schools without an
attestation under two sufficient persons’ hands certifying him to be a

But to return.  I am sufficiently instructed in the principal duty of a
preface if my genius, were capable of arriving at it.  Thrice have I
forced my imagination to take the tour of my invention, and thrice it has
returned empty, the latter having been wholly drained by the following
treatise.  Not so my more successful brethren the moderns, who will by no
means let slip a preface or dedication without some notable
distinguishing stroke to surprise the reader at the entry, and kindle a
wonderful expectation of what is to ensue.  Such was that of a most
ingenious poet, who, soliciting his brain for something new, compared
himself to the hangman and his patron to the patient.  This was
_insigne_, _recens_, _indictum ore alio_ {51a}.  When I went through that
necessary and noble course of study, {51b} I had the happiness to observe
many such egregious touches, which I shall not injure the authors by
transplanting, because I have remarked that nothing is so very tender as
a modern piece of wit, and which is apt to suffer so much in the
carriage.  Some things are extremely witty to-day, or fasting, or in this
place, or at eight o’clock, or over a bottle, or spoke by Mr.
Whatdyecall’m, or in a summer’s morning, any of which, by the smallest
transposal or misapplication, is utterly annihilate.  Thus wit has its
walks and purlieus, out of which it may not stray the breadth of a hair,
upon peril of being lost.  The moderns have artfully fixed this Mercury,
and reduced it to the circumstances of time, place, and person.  Such a
jest there is that will not pass out of Covent Garden, and such a one
that is nowhere intelligible but at Hyde Park Corner.  Now, though it
sometimes tenderly affects me to consider that all the towardly passages
I shall deliver in the following treatise will grow quite out of date and
relish with the first shifting of the present scene, yet I must need
subscribe to the justice of this proceeding, because I cannot imagine why
we should be at expense to furnish wit for succeeding ages, when the
former have made no sort of provision for ours; wherein I speak the
sentiment of the very newest, and consequently the most orthodox
refiners, as well as my own.  However, being extremely solicitous that
every accomplished person who has got into the taste of wit calculated
for this present month of August 1697 should descend to the very bottom
of all the sublime throughout this treatise, I hold it fit to lay down
this general maxim.  Whatever reader desires to have a thorough
comprehension of an author’s thoughts, cannot take a better method than
by putting himself into the circumstances and posture of life that the
writer was in upon every important passage as it flowed from his pen, for
this will introduce a parity and strict correspondence of ideas between
the reader and the author.  Now, to assist the diligent reader in so
delicate an affair—as far as brevity will permit—I have recollected that
the shrewdest pieces of this treatise were conceived in bed in a garret.
At other times (for a reason best known to myself) I thought fit to
sharpen my invention with hunger, and in general the whole work was
begun, continued, and ended under a long course of physic and a great
want of money.  Now, I do affirm it will be absolutely impossible for the
candid peruser to go along with me in a great many bright passages,
unless upon the several difficulties emergent he will please to
capacitate and prepare himself by these directions.  And this I lay down
as my principal _postulatum_.

Because I have professed to be a most devoted servant of all modern
forms, I apprehend some curious wit may object against me for proceeding
thus far in a preface without declaiming, according to custom, against
the multitude of writers whereof the whole multitude of writers most
reasonably complain.  I am just come from perusing some hundreds of
prefaces, wherein the authors do at the very beginning address the gentle
reader concerning this enormous grievance.  Of these I have preserved a
few examples, and shall set them down as near as my memory has been able
to retain them.

One begins thus: “For a man to set up for a writer when the press swarms
with,” &c.

Another: “The tax upon paper does not lessen the number of scribblers who
daily pester,” &c.

Another: “When every little would-be wit takes pen in hand, ’tis in vain
to enter the lists,” &c.

Another: “To observe what trash the press swarms with,” &c.

Another: “Sir, it is merely in obedience to your commands that I venture
into the public, for who upon a less consideration would be of a party
with such a rabble of scribblers,” &c.

Now, I have two words in my own defence against this objection.  First, I
am far from granting the number of writers a nuisance to our nation,
having strenuously maintained the contrary in several parts of the
following discourse; secondly, I do not well understand the justice of
this proceeding, because I observe many of these polite prefaces to be
not only from the same hand, but from those who are most voluminous in
their several productions; upon which I shall tell the reader a short

A mountebank in Leicester Fields had drawn a huge assembly about him.
Among the rest, a fat unwieldy fellow, half stifled in the press, would
be every fit crying out, “Lord! what a filthy crowd is here.  Pray, good
people, give way a little.  Bless need what a devil has raked this rabble
together.  Z—ds, what squeezing is this?  Honest friend, remove your
elbow.”  At last a weaver that stood next him could hold no longer.  “A
plague confound you,” said he, “for an overgrown sloven; and who in the
devil’s name, I wonder, helps to make up the crowd half so much as
yourself?  Don’t you consider that you take up more room with that
carcass than any five here?  Is not the place as free for us as for you?
Bring your own guts to a reasonable compass, and then I’ll engage we
shall have room enough for us all.”

There are certain common privileges of a writer, the benefit whereof I
hope there will be no reason to doubt; particularly, that where I am not
understood, it shall be concluded that something very useful and profound
is couched underneath; and again, that whatever word or sentence is
printed in a different character shall be judged to contain something
extraordinary either of wit or sublime.

As for the liberty I have thought fit to take of praising myself, upon
some occasions or none, I am sure it will need no excuse if a multitude
of great examples be allowed sufficient authority; for it is here to be
noted that praise was originally a pension paid by the world, but the
moderns, finding the trouble and charge too great in collecting it, have
lately bought out the fee-simple, since which time the right of
presentation is wholly in ourselves.  For this reason it is that when an
author makes his own eulogy, he uses a certain form to declare and insist
upon his title, which is commonly in these or the like words, “I speak
without vanity,” which I think plainly shows it to be a matter of right
and justice.  Now, I do here once for all declare, that in every
encounter of this nature through the following treatise the form
aforesaid is implied, which I mention to save the trouble of repeating it
on so many occasions.

It is a great ease to my conscience that I have written so elaborate and
useful a discourse without one grain of satire intermixed, which is the
sole point wherein I have taken leave to dissent from the famous
originals of our age and country.  I have observed some satirists to use
the public much at the rate that pedants do a naughty boy ready horsed
for discipline.  First expostulate the case, then plead the necessity of
the rod from great provocations, and conclude every period with a lash.
Now, if I know anything of mankind, these gentlemen might very well spare
their reproof and correction, for there is not through all Nature another
so callous and insensible a member as the world’s posteriors, whether you
apply to it the toe or the birch.  Besides, most of our late satirists
seem to lie under a sort of mistake, that because nettles have the
prerogative to sting, therefore all other weeds must do so too.  I make
not this comparison out of the least design to detract from these worthy
writers, for it is well known among mythologists that weeds have the
pre-eminence over all other vegetables; and therefore the first monarch
of this island whose taste and judgment were so acute and refined, did
very wisely root out the roses from the collar of the order and plant the
thistles in their stead, as the nobler flower of the two.  For which
reason it is conjectured by profounder antiquaries that the satirical
itch, so prevalent in this part of our island, was first brought among us
from beyond the Tweed.  Here may it long flourish and abound; may it
survive and neglect the scorn of the world with as much ease and contempt
as the world is insensible to the lashes of it.  May their own dulness,
or that of their party, be no discouragement for the authors to proceed;
but let them remember it is with wits as with razors, which are never so
apt to cut those they are employed on as when they have lost their edge.
Besides, those whose teeth are too rotten to bite are best of all others
qualified to revenge that defect with their breath.

I am not, like other men, to envy or undervalue the talents I cannot
reach, for which reason I must needs bear a true honour to this large
eminent sect of our British writers.  And I hope this little panegyric
will not be offensive to their ears, since it has the advantage of being
only designed for themselves.  Indeed, Nature herself has taken order
that fame and honour should be purchased at a better pennyworth by satire
than by any other productions of the brain, the world being soonest
provoked to praise by lashes, as men are to love.  There is a problem in
an ancient author why dedications and other bundles of flattery run all
upon stale musty topics, without the smallest tincture of anything new,
not only to the torment and nauseating of the Christian reader, but, if
not suddenly prevented, to the universal spreading of that pestilent
disease the lethargy in this island, whereas there is very little satire
which has not something in it untouched before.  The defects of the
former are usually imputed to the want of invention among those who are
dealers in that kind; but I think with a great deal of injustice, the
solution being easy and natural, for the materials of panegyric, being
very few in number, have been long since exhausted; for as health is but
one thing, and has been always the same, whereas diseases are by
thousands, besides new and daily additions, so all the virtues that have
been ever in mankind are to be counted upon a few fingers, but his
follies and vices are innumerable, and time adds hourly to the heap.  Now
the utmost a poor poet can do is to get by heart a list of the cardinal
virtues and deal them with his utmost liberality to his hero or his
patron.  He may ring the changes as far as it will go, and vary his
phrase till he has talked round, but the reader quickly finds it is all
pork, {56a} with a little variety of sauce, for there is no inventing
terms of art beyond our ideas, and when ideas are exhausted, terms of art
must be so too.

But though the matter for panegyric were as fruitful as the topics of
satire, yet would it not be hard to find out a sufficient reason why the
latter will be always better received than the first; for this being
bestowed only upon one or a few persons at a time, is sure to raise envy,
and consequently ill words, from the rest who have no share in the
blessing.  But satire, being levelled at all, is never resented for an
offence by any, since every individual person makes bold to understand it
of others, and very wisely removes his particular part of the burden upon
the shoulders of the World, which are broad enough and able to bear it.
To this purpose I have sometimes reflected upon the difference between
Athens and England with respect to the point before us.  In the Attic
{56b} commonwealth it was the privilege and birthright of every citizen
and poet to rail aloud and in public, or to expose upon the stage by name
any person they pleased, though of the greatest figure, whether a Creon,
an Hyperbolus, an Alcibiades, or a Demosthenes.  But, on the other side,
the least reflecting word let fall against the people in general was
immediately caught up and revenged upon the authors, however considerable
for their quality or their merits; whereas in England it is just the
reverse of all this.  Here you may securely display your utmost rhetoric
against mankind in the face of the world; tell them that all are gone
astray; that there is none that doeth good, no, not one; that we live in
the very dregs of time; that knavery and atheism are epidemic as the pox;
that honesty is fled with Astræa; with any other common-places equally
new and eloquent, which are furnished by the _splendida bilis_ {56c}; and
when you have done, the whole audience, far from being offended, shall
return you thanks as a deliverer of precious and useful truths.  Nay,
further, it is but to venture your lungs, and you may preach in Covent
Garden against foppery and fornication, and something else; against
pride, and dissimulation, and bribery at Whitehall.  You may expose
rapine and injustice in the Inns-of-Court chapel, and in a City pulpit be
as fierce as you please against avarice, hypocrisy, and extortion.  It is
but a ball bandied to and fro, and every man carries a racket about him
to strike it from himself among the rest of the company.  But, on the
other side, whoever should mistake the nature of things so far as to drop
but a single hint in public how such a one starved half the fleet, and
half poisoned the rest; how such a one, from a true principle of love and
honour, pays no debts but for wenches and play; how such a one runs out
of his estate; how Paris, bribed by Juno and Venus, loath to offend
either party, slept out the whole cause on the bench; or how such an
orator makes long speeches in the Senate, with much thought, little
sense, and to no purpose;—whoever, I say, should venture to be thus
particular, must expect to be imprisoned for _scandalum magnatum_, to
have challenges sent him, to be sued for defamation, and to be brought
before the bar of the House.

But I forget that I am expatiating on a subject wherein I have no
concern, having neither a talent nor an inclination for satire.  On the
other side, I am so entirely satisfied with the whole present procedure
of human things, that I have been for some years preparing material
towards “A Panegyric upon the World;” to which I intended to add a second
part, entitled “A Modest Defence of the Proceedings of the Rabble in all
Ages.”  Both these I had thoughts to publish by way of appendix to the
following treatise; but finding my common-place book fill much slower
than I had reason to expect, I have chosen to defer them to another
occasion.  Besides, I have been unhappily prevented in that design by a
certain domestic misfortune, in the particulars whereof, though it would
be very seasonable, and much in the modern way, to inform the gentle
reader, and would also be of great assistance towards extending this
preface into the size now in vogue—which by rule ought to be large in
proportion as the subsequent volume is small—yet I shall now dismiss our
impatient reader from any further attendance at the porch; and having
duly prepared his mind by a preliminary discourse, shall gladly introduce
him to the sublime mysteries that ensue.


WHOEVER has an ambition to be heard in a crowd must press, and squeeze,
and thrust, and climb with indefatigable pains, till he has exalted
himself to a certain degree of altitude above them.  Now, in all
assemblies, though you wedge them ever so close, we may observe this
peculiar property, that over their heads there is room enough; but how to
reach it is the difficult point, it being as hard to get quit of number
as of hell.

    “—Evadere ad auras,
    Hoc opus, hic labor est.” {59}

To this end the philosopher’s way in all ages has been by erecting
certain edifices in the air; but whatever practice and reputation these
kind of structures have formerly possessed, or may still continue in, not
excepting even that of Socrates when he was suspended in a basket to help
contemplation, I think, with due submission, they seem to labour under
two inconveniences.  First, that the foundations being laid too high,
they have been often out of sight and ever out of hearing.  Secondly,
that the materials being very transitory, have suffered much from
inclemencies of air, especially in these north-west regions.

Therefore, towards the just performance of this great work there remain
but three methods that I can think on; whereof the wisdom of our
ancestors being highly sensible, has, to encourage all aspiring
adventures, thought fit to erect three wooden machines for the use of
those orators who desire to talk much without interruption.  These are
the Pulpit, the Ladder, and the Stage-itinerant.  For as to the Bar,
though it be compounded of the same matter and designed for the same use,
it cannot, however, be well allowed the honour of a fourth, by reason of
its level or inferior situation exposing it to perpetual interruption
from collaterals.  Neither can the Bench itself, though raised to a
proper eminency, put in a better claim, whatever its advocates insist on.
For if they please to look into the original design of its erection, and
the circumstances or adjuncts subservient to that design, they will soon
acknowledge the present practice exactly correspondent to the primitive
institution, and both to answer the etymology of the name, which in the
Phoenician tongue is a word of great signification, importing, if
literally interpreted, “The place of sleep,” but in common acceptation,
“A seat well bolstered and cushioned, for the repose of old and gouty
limbs;” _senes ut in otia tuta recedant_ {60}.  Fortune being indebted to
them this part of retaliation, that as formerly they have long talked
whilst others slept, so now they may sleep as long whilst others talk.

But if no other argument could occur to exclude the Bench and the Bar
from the list of oratorical machines, it were sufficient that the
admission of them would overthrow a number which I was resolved to
establish, whatever argument it might cost me; in imitation of that
prudent method observed by many other philosophers and great clerks,
whose chief art in division has been to grow fond of some proper mystical
number, which their imaginations have rendered sacred to a degree that
they force common reason to find room for it in every part of Nature,
reducing, including, and adjusting, every genus and species within that
compass by coupling some against their wills and banishing others at any
rate.  Now, among all the rest, the profound number THREE {61} is that
which has most employed my sublimest speculations, nor ever without
wonderful delight.  There is now in the press, and will be published next
term, a panegyrical essay of mine upon this number, wherein I have, by
most convincing proofs, not only reduced the senses and the elements
under its banner, but brought over several deserters from its two great
rivals, SEVEN and NINE.

Now, the first of these oratorical machines, in place as well as dignity,
is the Pulpit.  Of pulpits there are in this island several sorts, but I
esteem only that made of timber from the Sylva Caledonia, which agrees
very well with our climate.  If it be upon its decay, it is the better,
both for conveyance of sound and for other reasons to be mentioned by and
by.  The degree of perfection in shape and size I take to consist in
being extremely narrow, with little ornament, and, best of all, without a
cover; for, by ancient rule, it ought to be the only uncovered vessel in
every assembly where it is rightfully used, by which means, from its near
resemblance to a pillory, it will ever have a mighty influence on human

Of Ladders I need say nothing.  It is observed by foreigners themselves,
to the honour of our country, that we excel all nations in our practice
and understanding of this machine.  The ascending orators do not only
oblige their audience in the agreeable delivery, but the whole world in
their early publication of their speeches, which I look upon as the
choicest treasury of our British eloquence, and whereof I am informed
that worthy citizen and bookseller, Mr. John Dunton, has made a faithful
and a painful collection, which he shortly designs to publish in twelve
volumes in folio, illustrated with copper-plates,—a work highly useful
and curious, and altogether worthy of such a hand.

The last engine of orators is the Stage-itinerant, erected with much
sagacity, _sub Jove pluvio_, _in triviis et quadriviis_. {62a}  It is the
great seminary of the two former, and its orators are sometimes preferred
to the one and sometimes to the other, in proportion to their deservings,
there being a strict and perpetual intercourse between all three.

From this accurate deduction it is manifest that for obtaining attention
in public there is of necessity required a superior position of place.
But although this point be generally granted, yet the cause is little
agreed in; and it seems to me that very few philosophers have fallen into
a true natural solution of this phenomenon.  The deepest account, and the
most fairly digested of any I have yet met with is this, that air being a
heavy body, and therefore, according to the system of Epicurus {62b},
continually descending, must needs be more so when laden and pressed down
by words, which are also bodies of much weight and gravity, as is
manifest from those deep impressions they make and leave upon us, and
therefore must be delivered from a due altitude, or else they will
neither carry a good aim nor fall down with a sufficient force.

    “Corpoream quoque enim vocem constare fatendum est,
    Et sonitum, quoniam possunt impellere sensus.”

                                                    —_Lucr._ lib. 4. {62c}

And I am the readier to favour this conjecture from a common observation,
that in the several assemblies of these orators Nature itself has
instructed the hearers to stand with their mouths open and erected
parallel to the horizon, so as they may be intersected by a perpendicular
line from the zenith to the centre of the earth.  In which position, if
the audience be well compact, every one carries home a share, and little
or nothing is lost.

I confess there is something yet more refined in the contrivance and
structure of our modern theatres.  For, first, the pit is sunk below the
stage with due regard to the institution above deduced, that whatever
weighty matter shall be delivered thence, whether it be lead or gold, may
fall plump into the jaws of certain critics, as I think they are called,
which stand ready open to devour them.  Then the boxes are built round
and raised to a level with the scene, in deference to the ladies, because
that large portion of wit laid out in raising pruriences and
protuberances is observed to run much upon a line, and ever in a circle.
The whining passions and little starved conceits are gently wafted up by
their own extreme levity to the middle region, and there fix and are
frozen by the frigid understandings of the inhabitants.  Bombast and
buffoonery, by nature lofty and light, soar highest of all, and would be
lost in the roof if the prudent architect had not, with much foresight,
contrived for them a fourth place, called the twelve-penny gallery, and
there planted a suitable colony, who greedily intercept them in their

Now this physico-logical scheme of oratorical receptacles or machines
contains a great mystery, being a type, a sign, an emblem, a shadow, a
symbol, bearing analogy to the spacious commonwealth of writers and to
those methods by which they must exalt themselves to a certain eminency
above the inferior world.  By the Pulpit are adumbrated the writings of
our modern saints in Great Britain, as they have spiritualised and
refined them from the dross and grossness of sense and human reason.  The
matter, as we have said, is of rotten wood, and that upon two
considerations: because it is the quality of rotten wood to light in the
dark; and secondly, because its cavities are full of worms—which is a
type with a pair of handles, having a respect to the two principal
qualifications of the orator and the two different fates attending upon
his works. {63}

The Ladder is an adequate symbol of faction and of poetry, to both of
which so noble a number of authors are indebted for their fame.  Of
faction, because . . . (Hiatus in MS.) . . .  Of poetry, because its
orators do _perorare_ with a song; and because, climbing up by slow
degrees, fate is sure to turn them off before they can reach within many
steps of the top; and because it is a preferment attained by transferring
of propriety and a confounding of _meum_ and _tuum_.

Under the Stage-itinerant are couched those productions designed for the
pleasure and delight of mortal man, such as “Six Pennyworth of Wit,”
“Westminster Drolleries,” “Delightful Tales,” “Complete Jesters,” and the
like, by which the writers of and for Grub Street have in these later
ages so nobly triumphed over time, have clipped his wings, pared his
nails, filed his teeth, turned back his hour-glass, blunted his scythe,
and drawn the hobnails out of his shoes.  It is under this class I have
presumed to list my present treatise, being just come from having the
honour conferred upon me to be adopted a member of that illustrious

Now, I am not unaware how the productions of the Grub Street brotherhood
have of late years fallen under many prejudices, nor how it has been the
perpetual employment of two junior start-up societies to ridicule them
and their authors as unworthy their established post in the commonwealth
of wit and learning.  Their own consciences will easily inform them whom
I mean; nor has the world been so negligent a looker-on as not to observe
the continual efforts made by the societies of Gresham and of Will’s
{64}, to edify a name and reputation upon the ruin of ours.  And this is
yet a more feeling grief to us, upon the regards of tenderness as well as
of justice, when we reflect on their proceedings not only as unjust, but
as ungrateful, undutiful, and unnatural.  For how can it be forgot by the
world or themselves, to say nothing of our own records, which are full
and clear in the point, that they both are seminaries, not only of our
planting, but our watering too.  I am informed our two rivals have lately
made an offer to enter into the lists with united forces and challenge us
to a comparison of books, both as to weight and number.  In return to
which, with license from our president, I humbly offer two answers.
First, we say the proposal is like that which Archimedes made upon a
smaller affair {65a}, including an impossibility in the practice; for
where can they find scales of capacity enough for the first, or an
arithmetician of capacity enough for the second.  Secondly, we are ready
to accept the challenge, but with this condition, that a third
indifferent person be assigned, to whose impartial judgment it shall be
left to decide which society each book, treatise, or pamphlet do most
properly belong to.  This point, God knows, is very far from being fixed
at present, for we are ready to produce a catalogue of some thousands
which in all common justice ought to be entitled to our fraternity, but
by the revolted and newfangled writers most perfidiously ascribed to the
others.  Upon all which we think it very unbecoming our prudence that the
determination should be remitted to the authors themselves, when our
adversaries by briguing and caballing have caused so universal a
defection from us, that the greatest part of our society has already
deserted to them, and our nearest friends begin to stand aloof, as if
they were half ashamed to own us.

This is the utmost I am authorised to say upon so ungrateful and
melancholy a subject, because we are extremely unwilling to inflame a
controversy whose continuance may be so fatal to the interests of us all,
desiring much rather that things be amicably composed; and we shall so
far advance on our side as to be ready to receive the two prodigals with
open arms whenever they shall think fit to return from their husks and
their harlots, which I think, from the present course of their studies
{65b}, they most properly may be said to be engaged in, and, like an
indulgent parent, continue to them our affection and our blessing.

But the greatest maim given to that general reception which the writings
of our society have formerly received, next to the transitory state of
all sublunary things, has been a superficial vein among many readers of
the present age, who will by no means be persuaded to inspect beyond the
surface and the rind of things; whereas wisdom is a fox, who, after long
hunting, will at last cost you the pains to dig out.  It is a cheese
which, by how much the richer, has the thicker, the homelier, and the
coarser coat, and whereof to a judicious palate the maggots are the best.
It is a sack-posset, wherein the deeper you go you will find it the
sweeter.  Wisdom is a hen whose cackling we must value and consider,
because it is attended with an egg.  But then, lastly, it is a nut,
which, unless you choose with judgment, may cost you a tooth, and pay you
with nothing but a worm.  In consequence of these momentous truths, the
Grubæan sages have always chosen to convey their precepts and their arts
shut up within the vehicles of types and fables; which having been
perhaps more careful and curious in adorning than was altogether
necessary, it has fared with these vehicles after the usual fate of
coaches over-finely painted and gilt, that the transitory gazers have so
dazzled their eyes and filled their imaginations with the outward lustre,
as neither to regard nor consider the person or the parts of the owner
within.  A misfortune we undergo with somewhat less reluctancy, because
it has been common to us with Pythagoras, Æsop, Socrates, and other of
our predecessors.

However, that neither the world nor ourselves may any longer suffer by
such misunderstandings, I have been prevailed on, after much importunity
from my friends, to travail in a complete and laborious dissertation upon
the prime productions of our society, which, besides their beautiful
externals for the gratification of superficial readers, have darkly and
deeply couched under them the most finished and refined systems of all
sciences and arts, as I do not doubt to lay open by untwisting or
unwinding, and either to draw up by exantlation or display by incision.

This great work was entered upon some years ago by one of our most
eminent members.  He began with the “History of Reynard the Fox,” but
neither lived to publish his essay nor to proceed farther in so useful an
attempt, which is very much to be lamented, because the discovery he made
and communicated to his friends is now universally received; nor do I
think any of the learned will dispute that famous treatise to be a
complete body of civil knowledge, and the revelation, or rather the
apocalypse, of all state arcana.  But the progress I have made is much
greater, having already finished my annotations upon several dozens from
some of which I shall impart a few hints to the candid reader, as far as
will be necessary to the conclusion at which I aim.

The first piece I have handled is that of “Tom Thumb,” whose author was a
Pythagorean philosopher.  This dark treatise contains the whole scheme of
the metempsychosis, deducing the progress of the soul through all her

The next is “Dr. Faustus,” penned by Artephius, an author _bonæ notæ_ and
an adeptus; he published it in the nine hundred and eighty-fourth year
{67a} of his age; this writer proceeds wholly by reincrudation, or in the
_via humida_; and the marriage between Faustus and Helen does most
conspicuously dilucidate the fermenting of the male and female dragon.

“Whittington and his Cat” is the work of that mysterious Rabbi, Jehuda
Hannasi, containing a defence of the Gemara of the Jerusalem Misna, and
its just preference to that of Babylon, contrary to the vulgar opinion.

“The Hind and Panther.”  This is the masterpiece of a famous writer now
living {67b}, intended for a complete abstract of sixteen thousand
schoolmen from Scotus to Bellarmine.

“Tommy Potts.”  Another piece, supposed by the same hand, by way of
supplement to the former.

The “Wise Men of Gotham,” _cum_ Appendice.  This is a treatise of immense
erudition, being the great original and fountain of those arguments
bandied about both in France and England, for a just defence of modern
learning and wit, against the presumption, the pride, and the ignorance
of the ancients.  This unknown author hath so exhausted the subject, that
a penetrating reader will easily discover whatever has been written since
upon that dispute to be little more than repetition.  An abstract of this
treatise has been lately published by a worthy member of our society.

These notices may serve to give the learned reader an idea as well as a
taste of what the whole work is likely to produce, wherein I have now
altogether circumscribed my thoughts and my studies; and if I can bring
it to a perfection before I die, shall reckon I have well employed the
poor remains of an unfortunate life.  This indeed is more than I can
justly expect from a quill worn to the pith in the service of the State,
in pros and cons upon Popish Plots, and Meal Tubs, and Exclusion Bills,
and Passive Obedience, and Addresses of Lives and Fortunes; and
Prerogative, and Property, and Liberty of Conscience, and Letters to a
Friend: from an understanding and a conscience, threadbare and ragged
with perpetual turning; from a head broken in a hundred places by the
malignants of the opposite factions, and from a body spent with poxes ill
cured, by trusting to bawds and surgeons, who (as it afterwards appeared)
were professed enemies to me and the Government, and revenged their
party’s quarrel upon my nose and shins.  Fourscore and eleven pamphlets
have I written under three reigns, and for the service of six-and-thirty
factions.  But finding the State has no farther occasion for me and my
ink, I retire willingly to draw it out into speculations more becoming a
philosopher, having, to my unspeakable comfort, passed a long life with a
conscience void of offence towards God and towards men.

But to return.  I am assured from the reader’s candour that the brief
specimen I have given will easily clear all the rest of our society’s
productions from an aspersion grown, as it is manifest, out of envy and
ignorance, that they are of little farther use or value to mankind beyond
the common entertainments of their wit and their style; for these I am
sure have never yet been disputed by our keenest adversaries; in both
which, as well as the more profound and most mystical part, I have
throughout this treatise closely followed the most applauded originals.
And to render all complete I have with much thought and application of
mind so ordered that the chief title prefixed to it (I mean that under
which I design it shall pass in the common conversation of court and
town) is modelled exactly after the manner peculiar to our society.

I confess to have been somewhat liberal in the business of titles {69a},
having observed the humour of multiplying them, to bear great vogue among
certain writers, whom I exceedingly reverence.  And indeed it seems not
unreasonable that books, the children of the brain, should have the
honour to be christened with variety of names, as well as other infants
of quality.  Our famous Dryden has ventured to proceed a point farther,
endeavouring to introduce also a multiplicity of godfathers {69b}, which
is an improvement of much more advantage, upon a very obvious account.
It is a pity this admirable invention has not been better cultivated, so
as to grow by this time into general imitation, when such an authority
serves it for a precedent.  Nor have my endeavours been wanting to second
so useful an example, but it seems there is an unhappy expense usually
annexed to the calling of a godfather, which was clearly out of my head,
as it is very reasonable to believe.  Where the pinch lay, I cannot
certainly affirm; but having employed a world of thoughts and pains to
split my treatise into forty sections, and having entreated forty Lords
of my acquaintance that they would do me the honour to stand, they all
made it matter of conscience, and sent me their excuses.


ONCE upon a time there was a man who had three sons by one wife {70} and
all at a birth, neither could the midwife tell certainly which was the
eldest.  Their father died while they were young, and upon his death-bed,
calling the lads to him, spoke thus:—

“Sons, because I have purchased no estate, nor was born to any, I have
long considered of some good legacies to bequeath you, and at last, with
much care as well as expense, have provided each of you (here they are) a
new coat.  Now, you are to understand that these coats have two virtues
contained in them; one is, that with good wearing they will last you
fresh and sound as long as you live; the other is, that they will grow in
the same proportion with your bodies, lengthening and widening of
themselves, so as to be always fit.  Here, let me see them on you before
I die.  So, very well!  Pray, children, wear them clean and brush them
often.  You will find in my will (here it is) full instructions in every
particular concerning the wearing and management of your coats, wherein
you must be very exact to avoid the penalties I have appointed for every
transgression or neglect, upon which your future fortunes will entirely
depend.  I have also commanded in my will that you should live together
in one house like brethren and friends, for then you will be sure to
thrive and not otherwise.”

Here the story says this good father died, and the three sons went all
together to seek their fortunes.

I shall not trouble you with recounting what adventures they met for the
first seven years, any farther than by taking notice that they carefully
observed their father’s will and kept their coats in very good order;
that they travelled through several countries, encountered a reasonable
quantity of giants, and slew certain dragons.

Being now arrived at the proper age for producing themselves, they came
up to town and fell in love with the ladies, but especially three, who
about that time were in chief reputation, the Duchess d’Argent, Madame de
Grands-Titres, and the Countess d’Orgueil {71}.  On their first
appearance, our three adventurers met with a very bad reception, and soon
with great sagacity guessing out the reason, they quickly began to
improve in the good qualities of the town.  They wrote, and rallied, and
rhymed, and sung, and said, and said nothing; they drank, and fought, and
slept, and swore, and took snuff; they went to new plays on the first
night, haunted the chocolate-houses, beat the watch; they bilked
hackney-coachmen, ran in debt with shopkeepers, and lay with their wives;
they killed bailiffs, kicked fiddlers down-stairs, ate at Locket’s,
loitered at Will’s; they talked of the drawing-room and never came there;
dined with lords they never saw; whispered a duchess and spoke never a
word; exposed the scrawls of their laundress for billet-doux of quality;
came ever just from court and were never seen in it; attended the levee
_sub dio_; got a list of peers by heart in one company, and with great
familiarity retailed them in another.  Above all, they constantly
attended those committees of Senators who are silent in the House and
loud in the coffee-house, where they nightly adjourn to chew the cud of
politics, and are encompassed with a ring of disciples who lie in wait to
catch up their droppings.  The three brothers had acquired forty other
qualifications of the like stamp too tedious to recount, and by
consequence were justly reckoned the most accomplished persons in town.
But all would not suffice, and the ladies aforesaid continued still
inflexible.  To clear up which difficulty, I must, with the reader’s good
leave and patience, have recourse to some points of weight which the
authors of that age have not sufficiently illustrated.

For about this time it happened a sect arose whose tenets obtained and
spread very far, especially in the _grand monde_, and among everybody of
good fashion.  They worshipped a sort of idol {72a}, who, as their
doctrine delivered, did daily create men by a kind of manufactory
operation.  This idol they placed in the highest parts of the house on an
altar erected about three feet.  He was shown in the posture of a Persian
emperor sitting on a superficies with his legs interwoven under him.
This god had a goose for his ensign, whence it is that some learned men
pretend to deduce his original from Jupiter Capitolinus.  At his left
hand, beneath the altar, Hell seemed to open and catch at the animals the
idol was creating, to prevent which, certain of his priests hourly flung
in pieces of the uninformed mass or substance, and sometimes whole limbs
already enlivened, which that horrid gulph insatiably swallowed, terrible
to behold.  The goose was also held a subaltern divinity or _Deus minorum
gentium_, before whose shrine was sacrificed that creature whose hourly
food is human gore, and who is in so great renown abroad for being the
delight and favourite of the Egyptian Cercopithecus {72b}.  Millions of
these animals were cruelly slaughtered every day to appease the hunger of
that consuming deity.  The chief idol was also worshipped as the inventor
of the yard and the needle, whether as the god of seamen, or on account
of certain other mystical attributes, hath not been sufficiently cleared.

The worshippers of this deity had also a system of their belief which
seemed to turn upon the following fundamental.  They held the universe to
be a large suit of clothes which invests everything; that the earth is
invested by the air; the air is invested by the stars; and the stars are
invested by the _Primum Mobile_.  Look on this globe of earth, you will
find it to be a very complete and fashionable dress.  What is that which
some call land but a fine coat faced with green, or the sea but a
waistcoat of water-tabby?  Proceed to the particular works of the
creation, you will find how curious journeyman Nature hath been to trim
up the vegetable beaux; observe how sparkish a periwig adorns the head of
a beech, and what a fine doublet of white satin is worn by the birch.  To
conclude from all, what is man himself but a microcoat, or rather a
complete suit of clothes with all its trimmings?  As to his body there
can be no dispute, but examine even the acquirements of his mind, you
will find them all contribute in their order towards furnishing out an
exact dress.  To instance no more, is not religion a cloak, honesty a
pair of shoes worn out in the dirt, self-love a surtout, vanity a shirt,
and conscience a pair of breeches, which, though a cover for lewdness as
well as nastiness, is easily slipped down for the service of both.

These _postulata_ being admitted, it will follow in due course of
reasoning that those beings which the world calls improperly suits of
clothes are in reality the most refined species of animals, or to proceed
higher, that they are rational creatures or men.  For is it not manifest
that they live, and move, and talk, and perform all other offices of
human life?  Are not beauty, and wit, and mien, and breeding their
inseparable proprieties?  In short, we see nothing but them, hear nothing
but them.  Is it not they who walk the streets, fill up Parliament-,
coffee-, play-, bawdy-houses.  It is true, indeed, that these animals,
which are vulgarly called suits of clothes or dresses, do according to
certain compositions receive different appellations.  If one of them be
trimmed up with a gold chain, and a red gown, and a white rod, and a
great horse, it is called a Lord Mayor; if certain ermines and furs be
placed in a certain position, we style them a judge, and so an apt
conjunction of lawn and black satin we entitle a Bishop.

Others of these professors, though agreeing in the main system, were yet
more refined upon certain branches of it; and held that man was an animal
compounded of two dresses, the natural and the celestial suit, which were
the body and the soul; that the soul was the outward, and the body the
inward clothing; that the latter was _ex traduce_, but the former of
daily creation and circumfusion.  This last they proved by Scripture,
because in them we live, and move, and have our being: as likewise by
philosophy, because they are all in all, and all in every part.  Besides,
said they, separate these two, and you will find the body to be only a
senseless unsavoury carcass.  By all which it is manifest that the
outward dress must needs be the soul.

To this system of religion were tagged several subaltern doctrines, which
were entertained with great vogue; as particularly the faculties of the
mind were deduced by the learned among them in this manner: embroidery
was sheer wit, gold fringe was agreeable conversation, gold lace was
repartee, a huge long periwig was humour, and a coat full of powder was
very good raillery.  All which required abundance of finesse and
delicatesse to manage with advantage, as well as a strict observance
after times and fashions.

I have with much pains and reading collected out of ancient authors this
short summary of a body of philosophy and divinity which seems to have
been composed by a vein and race of thinking very different from any
other systems, either ancient or modern.  And it was not merely to
entertain or satisfy the reader’s curiosity, but rather to give him light
into several circumstances of the following story, that, knowing the
state of dispositions and opinions in an age so remote, he may better
comprehend those great events which were the issue of them.  I advise,
therefore, the courteous reader to peruse with a world of application,
again and again, whatever I have written upon this matter.  And so
leaving these broken ends, I carefully gather up the chief thread of my
story, and proceed.

These opinions, therefore, were so universal, as well as the practices of
them, among the refined part of court and town, that our three brother
adventurers, as their circumstances then stood, were strangely at a loss.
For, on the one side, the three ladies they addressed themselves to (whom
we have named already) were ever at the very top of the fashion, and
abhorred all that were below it but the breadth of a hair.  On the other
side, their father’s will was very precise, and it was the main precept
in it, with the greatest penalties annexed, not to add to or diminish
from their coats one thread without a positive command in the will.  Now
the coats their father had left them were, it is true, of very good
cloth, and besides, so neatly sewn you would swear they were all of a
piece, but, at the same time, very plain, with little or no ornament; and
it happened that before they were a month in town great shoulder-knots
came up.  Straight all the world was shoulder-knots; no approaching the
ladies’ _ruelles_ without the quota of shoulder-knots.  “That fellow,”
cries one, “has no soul: where is his shoulder-knot?” {75}  Our three
brethren soon discovered their want by sad experience, meeting in their
walks with forty mortifications and indignities.  If they went to the
playhouse, the doorkeeper showed them into the twelve-penny gallery.  If
they called a boat, says a waterman, “I am first sculler.”  If they
stepped into the “Rose” to take a bottle, the drawer would cry, “Friend,
we sell no ale.”  If they went to visit a lady, a footman met them at the
door with “Pray, send up your message.”  In this unhappy case they went
immediately to consult their father’s will, read it over and over, but
not a word of the shoulder-knot.  What should they do?  What temper
should they find?  Obedience was absolutely necessary, and yet
shoulder-knots appeared extremely requisite.  After much thought, one of
the brothers, who happened to be more book-learned than the other two,
said he had found an expedient.  “It is true,” said he, “there is nothing
here in this will, _totidem verbis_, making mention of shoulder-knots,
but I dare conjecture we may find them inclusive, or _totidem syllabis_.”
This distinction was immediately approved by all; and so they fell again
to examine the will.  But their evil star had so directed the matter that
the first syllable was not to be found in the whole writing; upon which
disappointment, he who found the former evasion took heart, and said,
“Brothers, there is yet hopes; for though we cannot find them _totidem
verbis_ nor _totidem syllabis_, I dare engage we shall make them out
_tertio modo_ or _totidem literis_.”  This discovery was also highly
commended, upon which they fell once more to the scrutiny, and soon
picked out S, H, O, U, L, D, E, R, when the same planet, enemy to their
repose, had wonderfully contrived that a K was not to be found.  Here was
a weighty difficulty!  But the distinguishing brother (for whom we shall
hereafter find a name), now his hand was in, proved by a very good
argument that K was a modern illegitimate letter, unknown to the learned
ages, nor anywhere to be found in ancient manuscripts.  “It is true,”
said he, “the word _Calendæ_, had in Q. V. C. {76} been sometimes writ
with a K, but erroneously, for in the best copies it is ever spelt with a
C; and by consequence it was a gross mistake in our language to spell
‘knot’ with a K,” but that from henceforward he would take care it should
be writ with a C.  Upon this all further difficulty vanished;
shoulder-knots were made clearly out to be _jure paterno_, and our three
gentlemen swaggered with as large and as flaunting ones as the best.

But as human happiness is of a very short duration, so in those days were
human fashions, upon which it entirely depends.  Shoulder-knots had their
time, and we must now imagine them in their decline, for a certain lord
came just from Paris with fifty yards of gold lace upon his coat, exactly
trimmed after the court fashion of that month.  In two days all mankind
appeared closed up in bars of gold lace.  Whoever durst peep abroad
without his complement of gold lace was as scandalous as a —, and as ill
received among the women.  What should our three knights do in this
momentous affair?  They had sufficiently strained a point already in the
affair of shoulder-knots.  Upon recourse to the will, nothing appeared
there but _altum silentium_.  That of the shoulder-knots was a loose,
flying, circumstantial point, but this of gold lace seemed too
considerable an alteration without better warrant.  It did _aliquo modo
essentiæ adhærere_, and therefore required a positive precept.  But about
this time it fell out that the learned brother aforesaid had read
“Aristotelis Dialectica,” and especially that wonderful piece _de
Interpretatione_, which has the faculty of teaching its readers to find
out a meaning in everything but itself, like commentators on the
Revelations, who proceed prophets without understanding a syllable of the
text.  “Brothers,” said he, “you are to be informed that of wills, _duo
sunt genera_, nuncupatory and scriptory, {77a} that in the scriptory will
here before us there is no precept or mention about gold lace,
_conceditur_, but _si idem affirmetur de nuncupatorio negatur_.  For,
brothers, if you remember, we heard a fellow say when we were boys that
he heard my father’s man say that he heard my father say that he would
advise his sons to get gold lace on their coats as soon as ever they
could procure money to buy it.”  “That is very true,” cries the other.
“I remember it perfectly well,” said the third.  And so, without more
ado, they got the largest gold lace in the parish, and walked about as
fine as lords.

A while after, there came up all in fashion a pretty sort of
flame-coloured satin {77b} for linings, and the mercer brought a pattern
of it immediately to our three gentlemen.  “An please your worships,”
said he, “my Lord C— and Sir J. W. had linings out of this very piece
last night; it takes wonderfully, and I shall not have a remnant left
enough to make my wife a pin-cushion by to-morrow morning at ten
o’clock.”  Upon this they fell again to rummage the will, because the
present case also required a positive precept, the lining being held by
orthodox writers to be of the essence of the coat.  After long search
they could fix upon nothing to the matter in hand, except a short advice
in their father’s will to take care of fire and put out their candles
before they went to sleep {78a}.  This, though a good deal for the
purpose, and helping very far towards self-conviction, yet not seeming
wholly of force to establish a command, and being resolved to avoid
farther scruple, as well as future occasion for scandal, says he that was
the scholar, “I remember to have read in wills of a codicil annexed,
which is indeed a part of the will, and what it contains hath equal
authority with the rest.  Now I have been considering of this same will
here before us, and I cannot reckon it to be complete for want of such a
codicil.  I will therefore fasten one in its proper place very
dexterously.  I have had it by me some time; it was written by a
dog-keeper of my grandfather’s, and talks a great deal, as good luck
would have it, of this very flame-coloured satin.”  The project was
immediately approved by the other two; an old parchment scroll was tagged
on according to art, in the form of a codicil annexed, and the satin
bought and worn.

Next winter a player, hired for the purpose by the Corporation of
Fringemakers, acted his part in a new comedy, all covered with silver
fringe {78b}, and according to the laudable custom gave rise to that
fashion.  Upon which the brothers, consulting their father’s will, to
their great astonishment found these words: “Item, I charge and command
my said three sons to wear no sort of silver fringe upon or about their
said coats,” &c., with a penalty in case of disobedience too long here to
insert.  However, after some pause, the brother so often mentioned for
his erudition, who was well skilled in criticisms, had found in a certain
author, which he said should be nameless, that the same word which in the
will is called fringe does also signify a broom-stick, and doubtless
ought to have the same interpretation in this paragraph.  This another of
the brothers disliked, because of that epithet silver, which could not,
he humbly conceived, in propriety of speech be reasonably applied to a
broom-stick; but it was replied upon him that this epithet was understood
in a mythological and allegorical sense.  However, he objected again why
their father should forbid them to wear a broom-stick on their coats, a
caution that seemed unnatural and impertinent; upon which he was taken up
short, as one that spoke irreverently of a mystery which doubtless was
very useful and significant, but ought not to be over-curiously pried
into or nicely reasoned upon.  And in short, their father’s authority
being now considerably sunk, this expedient was allowed to serve as a
lawful dispensation for wearing their full proportion of silver fringe.

A while after was revived an old fashion, long antiquated, of embroidery
with Indian figures of men, women, and children {79a}.  Here they had no
occasion to examine the will.  They remembered but too well how their
father had always abhorred this fashion; that he made several paragraphs
on purpose, importing his utter detestation of it, and bestowing his
everlasting curse to his sons whenever they should wear it.  For all
this, in a few days they appeared higher in the fashion than anybody else
in the town.  But they solved the matter by saying that these figures
were not at all the same with those that were formerly worn and were
meant in the will; besides, they did not wear them in that sense, as
forbidden by their father, but as they were a commendable custom, and of
great use to the public.  That these rigorous clauses in the will did
therefore require some allowance and a favourable interpretation, and
ought to be understood _cum grano salis_.

But fashions perpetually altering in that age, the scholastic brother
grew weary of searching further evasions and solving everlasting
contradictions.  Resolved, therefore, at all hazards to comply with the
modes of the world, they concerted matters together, and agreed
unanimously to lock up their father’s will in a strong-box, brought out
of Greece or Italy {79b} (I have forgot which), and trouble themselves no
farther to examine it, but only refer to its authority whenever they
thought fit.  In consequence whereof, a while after it grew a general
mode to wear an infinite number of points, most of them tagged with
silver; upon which the scholar pronounced _ex cathedrâ_ {80a} that points
were absolutely _jure paterno_ as they might very well remember.  It is
true, indeed, the fashion prescribed somewhat more than were directly
named in the will; however, that they, as heirs-general of their father,
had power to make and add certain clauses for public emolument, though
not deducible _todidem verbis_ from the letter of the will, or else
_multa absurda sequerentur_.  This was understood for canonical, and
therefore on the following Sunday they came to church all covered with

The learned brother so often mentioned was reckoned the best scholar in
all that or the next street to it; insomuch, as having run something
behindhand with the world, he obtained the favour from a certain lord
{80b} to receive him into his house and to teach his children.  A while
after the lord died, and he, by long practice upon his father’s will,
found the way of contriving a deed of conveyance of that house to himself
and his heirs; upon which he took possession, turned the young squires
out, and received his brothers in their stead.


THOUGH I have been hitherto as cautious as I could, upon all occasions,
most nicely to follow the rules and methods of writing laid down by the
example of our illustrious moderns, yet has the unhappy shortness of my
memory led me into an error, from which I must immediately extricate
myself, before I can decently pursue my principal subject.  I confess
with shame it was an unpardonable omission to proceed so far as I have
already done before I had performed the due discourses, expostulatory,
supplicatory, or deprecatory, with my good lords the critics.  Towards
some atonement for this grievous neglect, I do here make humbly bold to
present them with a short account of themselves and their art, by looking
into the original and pedigree of the word, as it is generally understood
among us, and very briefly considering the ancient and present state

By the word critic, at this day so frequent in all conversations, there
have sometimes been distinguished three very different species of mortal
men, according as I have read in ancient books and pamphlets.  For first,
by this term were understood such persons as invented or drew up rules
for themselves and the world, by observing which a careful reader might
be able to pronounce upon the productions of the learned, form his taste
to a true relish of the sublime and the admirable, and divide every
beauty of matter or of style from the corruption that apes it.  In their
common perusal of books, singling out the errors and defects, the
nauseous, the fulsome, the dull, and the impertinent, with the caution of
a man that walks through Edinburgh streets in a morning, who is indeed as
careful as he can to watch diligently and spy out the filth in his way;
not that he is curious to observe the colour and complexion of the ordure
or take its dimensions, much less to be paddling in or tasting it, but
only with a design to come out as cleanly as he may.  These men seem,
though very erroneously, to have understood the appellation of critic in
a literal sense; that one principal part of his office was to praise and
acquit, and that a critic who sets up to read only for an occasion of
censure and reproof is a creature as barbarous as a judge who should take
up a resolution to hang all men that came before him upon a trial.

Again, by the word critic have been meant the restorers of ancient
learning from the worms, and graves, and dust of manuscripts.

Now the races of these two have been for some ages utterly extinct, and
besides to discourse any further of them would not be at all to my

The third and noblest sort is that of the true critic, whose original is
the most ancient of all.  Every true critic is a hero born, descending in
a direct line from a celestial stem, by Momus and Hybris, who begat
Zoilus, who begat Tigellius, who begat Etcætera the elder, who begat
Bentley, and Rymer, and Wotton, and Perrault, and Dennis, who begat
Etcætera the younger.

And these are the critics from whom the commonwealth of learning has in
all ages received such immense benefits, that the gratitude of their
admirers placed their origin in heaven, among those of Hercules, Theseus,
Perseus, and other great deservers of mankind.  But heroic virtue itself
hath not been exempt from the obloquy of evil tongues.  For it hath been
objected that those ancient heroes, famous for their combating so many
giants, and dragons, and robbers, were in their own persons a greater
nuisance to mankind than any of those monsters they subdued; and
therefore, to render their obligations more complete, when all other
vermin were destroyed, should in conscience have concluded with the same
justice upon themselves, as Hercules most generously did, and hath upon
that score procured for himself more temples and votaries than the best
of his fellows.  For these reasons I suppose it is why some have
conceived it would be very expedient for the public good of learning that
every true critic, as soon as he had finished his task assigned, should
immediately deliver himself up to ratsbane or hemp, or from some
convenient altitude, and that no man’s pretensions to so illustrious a
character should by any means be received before that operation was

Now, from this heavenly descent of criticism, and the close analogy it
bears to heroic virtue, it is easy to assign the proper employment of a
true, ancient, genuine critic: which is, to travel through this vast
world of writings; to peruse and hunt those monstrous faults bred within
them; to drag out the lurking errors, like Cacus from his den; to
multiply them like Hydra’s heads; and rake them together like Augeas’s
dung; or else to drive away a sort of dangerous fowl who have a perverse
inclination to plunder the best branches of the tree of knowledge, like
those Stymphalian birds that ate up the fruit.

These reasonings will furnish us with an adequate definition of a true
critic: that he is a discoverer and collector of writers’ faults; which
may be further put beyond dispute by the following demonstration:—That
whoever will examine the writings in all kinds wherewith this ancient
sect hath honoured the world, shall immediately find from the whole
thread and tenor of them that the ideas of the authors have been
altogether conversant and taken up with the faults, and blemishes, and
oversights, and mistakes of other writers, and let the subject treated on
be whatever it will, their imaginations are so entirely possessed and
replete with the defects of other pens, that the very quintessence of
what is bad does of necessity distil into their own, by which means the
whole appears to be nothing else but an abstract of the criticisms
themselves have made.

Having thus briefly considered the original and office of a critic, as
the word is understood in its most noble and universal acceptation, I
proceed to refute the objections of those who argue from the silence and
pretermission of authors, by which they pretend to prove that the very
art of criticism, as now exercised, and by me explained, is wholly
modern, and consequently that the critics of Great Britain and France
have no title to an original so ancient and illustrious as I have
deduced.  Now, if I can clearly make out, on the contrary, that the most
ancient writers have particularly described both the person and the
office of a true critic agreeable to the definition laid down by me,
their grand objection—from the silence of authors—will fall to the

I confess to have for a long time borne a part in this general error,
from which I should never have acquitted myself but through the
assistance of our noble moderns, whose most edifying volumes I turn
indefatigably over night and day, for the improvement of my mind and the
good of my country.  These have with unwearied pains made many useful
searches into the weak sides of the ancients, and given us a
comprehensive list of them {84a}.  Besides, they have proved beyond
contradiction that the very finest things delivered of old have been long
since invented and brought to light by much later pens, and that the
noblest discoveries those ancients ever made in art or nature have all
been produced by the transcending genius of the present age, which
clearly shows how little merit those ancients can justly pretend to, and
takes off that blind admiration paid them by men in a corner, who have
the unhappiness of conversing too little with present things.  Reflecting
maturely upon all this, and taking in the whole compass of human nature,
I easily concluded that these ancients, highly sensible of their many
imperfections, must needs have endeavoured, from some passages in their
works, to obviate, soften, or divert the censorious reader, by satire or
panegyric upon the true critics, in imitation of their masters, the
moderns.  Now, in the commonplaces {84b} of both these I was plentifully
instructed by a long course of useful study in prefaces and prologues,
and therefore immediately resolved to try what I could discover of
either, by a diligent perusal of the most ancient writers, and especially
those who treated of the earliest times.

Here I found, to my great surprise, that although they all entered upon
occasion into particular descriptions of the true critic, according as
they were governed by their fears or their hopes, yet whatever they
touched of that kind was with abundance of caution, adventuring no
further than mythology and hieroglyphic.  This, I suppose, gave ground to
superficial readers for urging the silence of authors against the
antiquity of the true critic, though the types are so apposite, and the
applications so necessary and natural, that it is not easy to conceive
how any reader of modern eye and taste could overlook them.  I shall
venture from a great number to produce a few which I am very confident
will put this question beyond doubt.

It well deserves considering that these ancient writers, in treating
enigmatically upon this subject, have generally fixed upon the very same
hieroglyph, varying only the story according to their affections or their
wit.  For first, Pausanias is of opinion that the perfection of writing
correct was entirely owing to the institution of critics, and that he can
possibly mean no other than the true critic is, I think, manifest enough
from the following description.  He says they were a race of men who
delighted to nibble at the superfluities and excrescences of books, which
the learned at length observing, took warning of their own accord to lop
the luxuriant, the rotten, the dead, the sapless, and the overgrown
branches from their works.  But now all this he cunningly shades under
the following allegory: That the Nauplians in Argia learned the art of
pruning their vines by observing that when an ass had browsed upon one of
them, it thrived the better and bore fairer fruit.  But Herodotus holding
the very same hieroglyph, speaks much plainer and almost _in terminis_.
He hath been so bold as to tax the true critics of ignorance and malice,
telling us openly, for I think nothing can be plainer, that in the
western part of Libya there were asses with horns, upon which relation
Ctesias {85} yet refines, mentioning the very same animal about India;
adding, that whereas all other asses wanted a gall, these horned ones
were so redundant in that part that their flesh was not to be eaten
because of its extreme bitterness.

Now, the reason why those ancient writers treated this subject only by
types and figures was because they durst not make open attacks against a
party so potent and so terrible as the critics of those ages were, whose
very voice was so dreadful that a legion of authors would tremble and
drop their pens at the sound.  For so Herodotus tells us expressly in
another place how a vast army of Scythians was put to flight in a panic
terror by the braying of an ass.  From hence it is conjectured by certain
profound philologers, that the great awe and reverence paid to a true
critic by the writers of Britain have been derived to us from those our
Scythian ancestors.  In short, this dread was so universal, that in
process of time those authors who had a mind to publish their sentiments
more freely in describing the true critics of their several ages, were
forced to leave off the use of the former hieroglyph as too nearly
approaching the prototype, and invented other terms instead thereof that
were more cautious and mystical.  So Diodorus, speaking to the same
purpose, ventures no farther than to say that in the mountains of Helicon
there grows a certain weed which bears a flower of so damned a scent as
to poison those who offer to smell it.  Lucretius gives exactly the same

    “Est etiam in magnis Heliconis montibus arbos,
    Floris odore hominem retro consueta necare.”—_Lib._ 6. {86}

But Ctesias, whom we lately quoted, has been a great deal bolder; he had
been used with much severity by the true critics of his own age, and
therefore could not forbear to leave behind him at least one deep mark of
his vengeance against the whole tribe.  His meaning is so near the
surface that I wonder how it possibly came to be overlooked by those who
deny the antiquity of the true critics.  For pretending to make a
description of many strange animals about India, he has set down these
remarkable words.  “Among the rest,” says he, “there is a serpent that
wants teeth, and consequently cannot bite, but if its vomit (to which it
is much addicted) happens to fall upon anything, a certain rottenness or
corruption ensues.  These serpents are generally found among the
mountains where jewels grow, and they frequently emit a poisonous juice,
whereof whoever drinks, that person’s brain flies out of his nostrils.”

There was also among the ancients a sort of critic, not distinguished in
specie from the former but in growth or degree, who seem to have been
only the tyros or junior scholars, yet because of their differing
employments they are frequently mentioned as a sect by themselves.  The
usual exercise of these young students was to attend constantly at
theatres, and learn to spy out the worst parts of the play, whereof they
were obliged carefully to take note, and render a rational account to
their tutors.  Fleshed at these smaller sports, like young wolves, they
grew up in time to be nimble and strong enough for hunting down large
game.  For it has been observed, both among ancients and moderns, that a
true critic has one quality in common with a whore and an alderman, never
to change his title or his nature; that a grey critic has been certainly
a green one, the perfections and acquirements of his age being only the
improved talents of his youth, like hemp, which some naturalists inform
us is bad for suffocations, though taken but in the seed.  I esteem the
invention, or at least the refinement of prologues, to have been owing to
these younger proficients, of whom Terence makes frequent and honourable
mention, under the name of Malevoli.

Now it is certain the institution of the true critics was of absolute
necessity to the commonwealth of learning.  For all human actions seem to
be divided like Themistocles and his company.  One man can fiddle, and
another can make a small town a great city; and he that cannot do either
one or the other deserves to be kicked out of the creation.  The avoiding
of which penalty has doubtless given the first birth to the nation of
critics, and withal an occasion for their secret detractors to report
that a true critic is a sort of mechanic set up with a stock and tools
for his trade, at as little expense as a tailor; and that there is much
analogy between the utensils and abilities of both.  That the “Tailor’s
Hell” is the type of a critic’s commonplace-book, and his wit and
learning held forth by the goose.  That it requires at least as many of
these to the making up of one scholar as of the others to the composition
of a man.  That the valour of both is equal, and their weapons near of a
size.  Much may be said in answer to these invidious reflections; and I
can positively affirm the first to be a falsehood: for, on the contrary,
nothing is more certain than that it requires greater layings out to be
free of the critic’s company than of any other you can name.  For as to
be a true beggar, it will cost the richest candidate every groat he is
worth, so before one can commence a true critic, it will cost a man all
the good qualities of his mind, which perhaps for a less purchase would
be thought but an indifferent bargain.

Having thus amply proved the antiquity of criticism and described the
primitive state of it, I shall now examine the present condition of this
Empire, and show how well it agrees with its ancient self {88}.  A
certain author, whose works have many ages since been entirely lost, does
in his fifth book and eighth chapter say of critics that “their writings
are the mirrors of learning.”  This I understand in a literal sense, and
suppose our author must mean that whoever designs to be a perfect writer
must inspect into the books of critics, and correct his inventions there
as in a mirror.  Now, whoever considers that the mirrors of the ancients
were made of brass and fine mercurio, may presently apply the two
principal qualifications of a true modern critic, and consequently must
needs conclude that these have always been and must be for ever the same.
For brass is an emblem of duration, and when it is skilfully burnished
will cast reflections from its own superficies without any assistance of
mercury from behind.  All the other talents of a critic will not require
a particular mention, being included or easily deducible to these.
However, I shall conclude with three maxims, which may serve both as
characteristics to distinguish a true modern critic from a pretender, and
will be also of admirable use to those worthy spirits who engage in so
useful and honourable an art.

The first is, that criticism, contrary to all other faculties of the
intellect, is ever held the truest and best when it is the very first
result of the critic’s mind; as fowlers reckon the first aim for the
surest, and seldom fail of missing the mark if they stay not for a

Secondly, the true critics are known by their talent of swarming about
the noblest writers, to which they are carried merely by instinct, as a
rat to the best cheese, or a wasp to the fairest fruit.  So when the king
is a horseback he is sure to be the dirtiest person of the company, and
they that make their court best are such as bespatter him most.

Lastly, a true critic in the perusal of a book is like a dog at a feast,
whose thoughts and stomach are wholly set upon what the guests fling
away, and consequently is apt to snarl most when there are the fewest
bones {89}.

Thus much I think is sufficient to serve by way of address to my patrons,
the true modern critics, and may very well atone for my past silence, as
well as that which I am like to observe for the future.  I hope I have
deserved so well of their whole body as to meet with generous and tender
usage at their hands.  Supported by which expectation I go on boldly to
pursue those adventures already so happily begun.


I HAVE now with much pains and study conducted the reader to a period
where he must expect to hear of great revolutions.  For no sooner had our
learned brother, so often mentioned, got a warm house of his own over his
head, than he began to look big and to take mightily upon him, insomuch
that unless the gentle reader out of his great candour will please a
little to exalt his idea, I am afraid he will henceforth hardly know the
hero of the play when he happens to meet him, his part, his dress, and
his mien being so much altered.

He told his brothers he would have them to know that he was their elder,
and consequently his father’s sole heir; nay, a while after, he would not
allow them to call him brother, but Mr. Peter; and then he must be styled
Father Peter, and sometimes My Lord Peter.  To support this grandeur,
which he soon began to consider could not be maintained without a better
_fonde_ than what he was born to, after much thought he cast about at
last to turn projector and virtuoso, wherein he so well succeeded, that
many famous discoveries, projects, and machines which bear great vogue
and practice at present in the world, are owing entirely to Lord Peter’s
invention.  I will deduce the best account I have been able to collect of
the chief amongst them, without considering much the order they came out
in, because I think authors are not well agreed as to that point.

I hope when this treatise of mine shall be translated into foreign
languages (as I may without vanity affirm that the labour of collecting,
the faithfulness in recounting, and the great usefulness of the matter to
the public, will amply deserve that justice), that of the several
Academies abroad, especially those of France and Italy, will favourably
accept these humble offers for the advancement of universal knowledge.  I
do also advertise the most reverend fathers the Eastern missionaries that
I have purely for their sakes made use of such words and phrases as will
best admit an easy turn into any of the Oriental languages, especially
the Chinese.  And so I proceed with great content of mind upon reflecting
how much emolument this whole globe of earth is like to reap by my

The first undertaking of Lord Peter was to purchase a large continent,
lately said to have been discovered in _Terra Australis incognita_.  This
tract of land he bought at a very great pennyworth from the discoverers
themselves (though some pretended to doubt whether they had ever been
there), and then retailed it into several cantons to certain dealers, who
carried over colonies, but were all shipwrecked in the voyage; upon which
Lord Peter sold the said continent to other customers again and again,
and again and again, with the same success.

The second project I shall mention was his sovereign remedy for the
worms, especially those in the spleen.  The patient was to eat nothing
after supper for three nights; as soon as he went to bed, he was
carefully to lie on one side, and when he grew weary, to turn upon the
other.  He must also duly confine his two eyes to the same object, and by
no means break wind at both ends together without manifest occasion.
These prescriptions diligently observed, the worms would void insensibly
by perspiration ascending through the brain.

A third invention was the erecting of a whispering-office for the public
good and ease of all such as are hypochondriacal or troubled with the
cholic, as likewise of all eavesdroppers, physicians, midwives, small
politicians, friends fallen out, repeating poets, lovers happy or in
despair, bawds, privy-counsellors, pages, parasites and buffoons, in
short, of all such as are in danger of bursting with too much wind.  An
ass’s head was placed so conveniently, that the party affected might
easily with his mouth accost either of the animal’s ears, which he was to
apply close for a certain space, and by a fugitive faculty peculiar to
the ears of that animal, receive immediate benefit, either by eructation,
or expiration, or evomition.

Another very beneficial project of Lord Peter’s was an office of
insurance for tobacco-pipes, martyrs of the modern zeal, volumes of
poetry, shadows . . . and rivers, that these, nor any of these, shall
receive damage by fire.  From whence our friendly societies may plainly
find themselves to be only transcribers from this original, though the
one and the other have been of great benefit to the undertakers as well
as of equal to the public.

Lord Peter was also held the original author of puppets and raree-shows,
the great usefulness whereof being so generally known, I shall not
enlarge farther upon this particular.

But another discovery for which he was much renowned was his famous
universal pickle.  For having remarked how your common pickle in use
among housewives was of no farther benefit than to preserve dead flesh
and certain kinds of vegetables, Peter with great cost as well as art had
contrived a pickle proper for houses, gardens, towns, men, women,
children, and cattle, wherein he could preserve them as sound as insects
in amber.  Now this pickle to the taste, the smell, and the sight,
appeared exactly the same with what is in common service for beef, and
butter, and herrings (and has been often that way applied with great
success), but for its many sovereign virtues was quite a different thing.
For Peter would put in a certain quantity of his powder pimperlim-pimp,
after which it never failed of success.  The operation was performed by
spargefaction in a proper time of the moon.  The patient who was to be
pickled, if it were a house, would infallibly be preserved from all
spiders, rats, and weasels; if the party affected were a dog, he should
be exempt from mange, and madness, and hunger.  It also infallibly took
away all scabs and lice, and scalled heads from children, never hindering
the patient from any duty, either at bed or board.

But of all Peter’s rarities, he most valued a certain set of bulls, whose
race was by great fortune preserved in a lineal descent from those that
guarded the golden-fleece.  Though some who pretended to observe them
curiously doubted the breed had not been kept entirely chaste, because
they had degenerated from their ancestors in some qualities, and had
acquired others very extraordinary, but a foreign mixture.  The bulls of
Colchis are recorded to have brazen feet; but whether it happened by ill
pasture and running, by an alloy from intervention of other parents from
stolen intrigues; whether a weakness in their progenitors had impaired
the seminal virtue, or by a decline necessary through a long course of
time, the originals of nature being depraved in these latter sinful ages
of the world—whatever was the cause, it is certain that Lord Peter’s
bulls were extremely vitiated by the rust of time in the metal of their
feet, which was now sunk into common lead.  However, the terrible roaring
peculiar to their lineage was preserved, as likewise that faculty of
breathing out fire from their nostrils; which notwithstanding many of
their detractors took to be a feat of art, and to be nothing so terrible
as it appeared, proceeding only from their usual course of diet, which
was of squibs and crackers.  However, they had two peculiar marks which
extremely distinguished them from the bulls of Jason, and which I have
not met together in the description of any other monster beside that in
Horace, “Varias inducere plumas,” and “Atrum definit in piscem.”  For
these had fishes tails, yet upon occasion could outfly any bird in the
air.  Peter put these bulls upon several employs.  Sometimes he would set
them a roaring to fright naughty boys and make them quiet.  Sometimes he
would send them out upon errands of great importance, where it is
wonderful to recount, and perhaps the cautious reader may think much to
believe it; an _appetitus sensibilis_ deriving itself through the whole
family from their noble ancestors, guardians of the Golden Fleece, they
continued so extremely fond of gold, that if Peter sent them abroad,
though it were only upon a compliment, they would roar, and spit, and
belch, and snivel out fire, and keep a perpetual coil till you flung them
a bit of gold; but then _pulveris exigui jactu_, they would grow calm and
quiet as lambs.  In short, whether by secret connivance or encouragement
from their master, or out of their own liquorish affection to gold, or
both, it is certain they were no better than a sort of sturdy, swaggering
beggars; and where they could not prevail to get an alms, would make
women miscarry and children fall into fits; who to this very day usually
call sprites and hobgoblins by the name of bull-beggars.  They grew at
last so very troublesome to the neighbourhood, that some gentlemen of the
North-West got a parcel of right English bull-dogs, and baited them so
terribly, that they felt it ever after.

I must needs mention one more of Lord Peter’s projects, which was very
extraordinary, and discovered him to be master of a high reach and
profound invention.  Whenever it happened that any rogue of Newgate was
condemned to be hanged, Peter would offer him a pardon for a certain sum
of money, which when the poor caitiff had made all shifts to scrape up
and send, his lordship would return a piece of paper in this form:—

    “To all mayors, sheriffs, jailors, constables, bailiffs, hangmen, &c.
    Whereas we are informed that A. B. remains in the hands of you, or
    any of you, under the sentence of death.  We will and command you,
    upon sight hereof, to let the said prisoner depart to his own
    habitation, whether he stands condemned for murder, sodomy, rape,
    sacrilege, incest, treason, blasphemy, &c., for which this shall be
    your sufficient warrant.  And it you fail hereof, G— d—mn you and
    yours to all eternity.  And so we bid you heartily farewell.  Your
    most humble man’s man,

                                                          “EMPEROR PETER.”

The wretches trusting to this lost their lives and money too.

I desire of those whom the learned among posterity will appoint for
commentators upon this elaborate treatise, that they will proceed with
great caution upon certain dark points, wherein all who are not _verè
adepti_ may be in danger to form rash and hasty conclusions, especially
in some mysterious paragraphs, where certain arcana are joined for
brevity sake, which in the operation must be divided.  And I am certain
that future sons of art will return large thanks to my memory for so
grateful, so useful an inmuendo.

It will be no difficult part to persuade the reader that so many worthy
discoveries met with great success in the world; though I may justly
assure him that I have related much the smallest number; my design having
been only to single out such as will be of most benefit for public
imitation, or which best served to give some idea of the reach and wit of
the inventor.  And therefore it need not be wondered if by this time Lord
Peter was become exceeding rich.  But alas! he had kept his brain so long
and so violently upon the rack, that at last it shook itself, and began
to turn round for a little ease.  In short, what with pride, projects,
and knavery, poor Peter was grown distracted, and conceived the strangest
imaginations in the world.  In the height of his fits (as it is usual
with those who run mad out of pride) he would call himself God Almighty,
and sometimes monarch of the universe.  I have seen him (says my author)
take three old high-crowned hats, and clap them all on his head, three
storey high, with a huge bunch of keys at his girdle, and an angling rod
in his hand.  In which guise, whoever went to take him by the hand in the
way of salutation, Peter with much grace, like a well-educated spaniel,
would present them with his foot, and if they refused his civility, then
he would raise it as high as their chops, and give them a damned kick on
the mouth, which hath ever since been called a salute.  Whoever walked by
without paying him their compliments, having a wonderful strong breath,
he would blow their hats off into the dirt.  Meantime his affairs at home
went upside down, and his two brothers had a wretched time, where his
first _boutade_ was to kick both their wives one morning out of doors,
and his own too, and in their stead gave orders to pick up the first
three strollers could be met with in the streets.  A while after he
nailed up the cellar door, and would not allow his brothers a drop of
drink to their victuals {95}.  Dining one day at an alderman’s in the
city, Peter observed him expatiating, after the manner of his brethren in
the praises of his sirloin of beef.  “Beef,” said the sage magistrate,
“is the king of meat; beef comprehends in it the quintessence of
partridge, and quail, and venison, and pheasant, and plum-pudding, and
custard.”  When Peter came home, he would needs take the fancy of cooking
up this doctrine into use, and apply the precept in default of a sirloin
to his brown loaf.  “Bread,” says he, “dear brothers, is the staff of
life, in which bread is contained inclusive the quintessence of beef,
mutton, veal, venison, partridge, plum-pudding, and custard, and to
render all complete, there is intermingled a due quantity of water, whose
crudities are also corrected by yeast or barm, through which means it
becomes a wholesome fermented liquor, diffused through the mass of the
bread.”  Upon the strength of these conclusions, next day at dinner was
the brown loaf served up in all the formality of a City feast.  “Come,
brothers,” said Peter, “fall to, and spare not; here is excellent good
mutton {96}; or hold, now my hand is in, I’ll help you.”  At which word,
in much ceremony, with fork and knife, he carves out two good slices of a
loaf, and presents each on a plate to his brothers.  The elder of the
two, not suddenly entering into Lord Peter’s conceit, began with very
civil language to examine the mystery.  “My lord,” said he, “I doubt,
with great submission, there may be some mistake.”  “What!” says Peter,
“you are pleasant; come then, let us hear this jest your head is so big
with.”  “None in the world, my Lord; but unless I am very much deceived,
your Lordship was pleased a while ago to let fall a word about mutton,
and I would be glad to see it with all my heart.”  “How,” said Peter,
appearing in great surprise, “I do not comprehend this at all;” upon
which the younger, interposing to set the business right, “My Lord,” said
he, “my brother, I suppose, is hungry, and longs for the mutton your
Lordship hath promised us to dinner.”  “Pray,” said Peter, “take me along
with you, either you are both mad, or disposed to be merrier than I
approve of; if you there do not like your piece, I will carve you
another, though I should take that to be the choice bit of the whole
shoulder.”  “What then, my Lord?” replied the first; “it seems this is a
shoulder of mutton all this while.”  “Pray, sir,” says Peter, “eat your
victuals and leave off your impertinence, if you please, for I am not
disposed to relish it at present;” but the other could not forbear, being
over-provoked at the affected seriousness of Peter’s countenance.  “My
Lord,” said he, “I can only say, that to my eyes and fingers, and teeth
and nose, it seems to be nothing but a crust of bread.”  Upon which the
second put in his word.  “I never saw a piece of mutton in my life so
nearly resembling a slice from a twelve-penny loaf.”  “Look ye,
gentlemen,” cries Peter in a rage, “to convince you what a couple of
blind, positive, ignorant, wilful puppies you are, I will use but this
plain argument; by G—, it is true, good, natural mutton as any in
Leadenhall Market; and G— confound you both eternally if you offer to
believe otherwise.”  Such a thundering proof as this left no further room
for objection; the two unbelievers began to gather and pocket up their
mistake as hastily as they could.  “Why, truly,” said the first, “upon
more mature consideration”—“Ay,” says the other, interrupting him, “now I
have thought better on the thing, your Lordship seems to have a great
deal of reason.”  “Very well,” said Peter.  “Here, boy, fill me a
beer-glass of claret.  Here’s to you both with all my heart.”  The two
brethren, much delighted to see him so readily appeased, returned their
most humble thanks, and said they would be glad to pledge his Lordship.
“That you shall,” said Peter, “I am not a person to refuse you anything
that is reasonable; wine moderately taken is a cordial.  Here is a glass
apiece for you; it is true natural juice from the grape; none of your
damned vintner’s brewings.”  Having spoke thus, he presented to each of
them another large dry crust, bidding them drink it off, and not be
bashful, for it would do them no hurt.  The two brothers, after having
performed the usual office in such delicate conjunctures, of staring a
sufficient period at Lord Peter and each other, and finding how matters
were like to go, resolved not to enter on a new dispute, but let him
carry the point as he pleased; for he was now got into one of his mad
fits, and to argue or expostulate further would only serve to render him
a hundred times more untractable.

I have chosen to relate this worthy matter in all its circumstances,
because it gave a principal occasion to that great and famous rupture
{98a} which happened about the same time among these brethren, and was
never afterwards made up.  But of that I shall treat at large in another

However, it is certain that Lord Peter, even in his lucid intervals, was
very lewdly given in his common conversation, extreme wilful and
positive, and would at any time rather argue to the death than allow
himself to be once in an error.  Besides, he had an abominable faculty of
telling huge palpable lies upon all occasions, and swearing not only to
the truth, but cursing the whole company to hell if they pretended to
make the least scruple of believing him.  One time he swore he had a cow
at home which gave as much milk at a meal as would fill three thousand
churches, and what was yet more extraordinary, would never turn sour.
Another time he was telling of an old sign-post {98b} that belonged to
his father, with nails and timber enough on it to build sixteen large
men-of-war.  Talking one day of Chinese waggons, which were made so light
as to sail over mountains, “Z—nds,” said Peter, “where’s the wonder of
that?  By G—, I saw a large house of lime and stone travel over sea and
land (granting that it stopped sometimes to bait) above two thousand
German leagues.” {98c}  And that which was the good of it, he would swear
desperately all the while that he never told a lie in his life, and at
every word: “By G— gentlemen, I tell you nothing but the truth, and the
d—l broil them eternally that will not believe me.”

In short, Peter grew so scandalous that all the neighbourhood began in
plain words to say he was no better than a knave; and his two brothers,
long weary of his ill-usage, resolved at last to leave him; but first
they humbly desired a copy of their father’s will, which had now lain by
neglected time out of mind.  Instead of granting this request, he called
them rogues, traitors, and the rest of the vile names he could muster up.
However, while he was abroad one day upon his projects, the two
youngsters watched their opportunity, made a shift to come at the will,
and took a _copia vera_ {99a}, by which they presently saw how grossly
they had been abused, their father having left them equal heirs, and
strictly commanded that whatever they got should lie in common among them
all.  Pursuant to which, their next enterprise was to break open the
cellar-door and get a little good drink to spirit and comfort their
hearts {99b}.  In copying the will, they had met another precept against
whoring, divorce, and separate maintenance; upon which, their next work
was to discard their concubines and send for their wives {99c}.  Whilst
all this was in agitation, there enters a solicitor from Newgate,
desiring Lord Peter would please to procure a pardon for a thief that was
to be hanged to-morrow.  But the two brothers told him he was a coxcomb
to seek pardons from a fellow who deserved to be hanged much better than
his client, and discovered all the method of that imposture in the same
form I delivered it a while ago, advising the solicitor to put his friend
upon obtaining a pardon from the king.  In the midst of all this platter
and revolution in comes Peter with a file of dragoons at his heels, and
gathering from all hands what was in the wind, he and his gang, after
several millions of scurrilities and curses not very important here to
repeat, by main force very fairly kicks them both out of doors, and would
never let them come under his roof from that day to this.


WE whom the world is pleased to honour with the title of modern authors,
should never have been able to compass our great design of an everlasting
remembrance and never-dying fame if our endeavours had not been so highly
serviceable to the general good of mankind.  This, O universe! is the
adventurous attempt of me, thy secretary—

                “Quemvis perferre laborem
    Suadet, et inducit noctes vigilare serenas.”

To this end I have some time since, with a world of pains and art,
dissected the carcass of human nature, and read many useful lectures upon
the several parts, both containing and contained, till at last it smelt
so strong I could preserve it no longer.  Upon which I have been at a
great expense to fit up all the bones with exact contexture and in due
symmetry, so that I am ready to show a very complete anatomy thereof to
all curious gentlemen and others.  But not to digress further in the
midst of a digression, as I have known some authors enclose digressions
in one another like a nest of boxes, I do affirm that, having carefully
cut up human nature, I have found a very strange, new, and important
discovery: that the public good of mankind is performed by two
ways—instruction and diversion.  And I have further proved my said
several readings (which, perhaps, the world may one day see, if I can
prevail on any friend to steal a copy, or on certain gentlemen of my
admirers to be very importunate) that, as mankind is now disposed, he
receives much greater advantage by being diverted than instructed, his
epidemical diseases being fastidiosity, amorphy, and oscitation; whereas,
in the present universal empire of wit and learning, there seems but
little matter left for instruction.  However, in compliance with a lesson
of great age and authority, I have attempted carrying the point in all
its heights, and accordingly throughout this divine treatise have
skilfully kneaded up both together with a layer of _utile_ and a layer of

When I consider how exceedingly our illustrious moderns have eclipsed the
weak glimmering lights of the ancients, and turned them out of the road
of all fashionable commerce to a degree that our choice town wits of most
refined accomplishments are in grave dispute whether there have been ever
any ancients or no; in which point we are like to receive wonderful
satisfaction from the most useful labours and lucubrations of that worthy
modern, Dr. Bentley.  I say, when I consider all this, I cannot but
bewail that no famous modern hath ever yet attempted an universal system
in a small portable volume of all things that are to be known, or
believed, or imagined, or practised in life.  I am, however, forced to
acknowledge that such an enterprise was thought on some time ago by a
great philosopher of O-Brazile.  The method he proposed was by a certain
curious receipt, a nostrum, which after his untimely death I found among
his papers, and do here, out of my great affection to the modern learned,
present them with it, not doubting it may one day encourage some worthy

You take fair correct copies, well bound in calf’s skin and lettered at
the back, of all modern bodies of arts and sciences whatsoever, and in
what language you please.  These you distil in _balneo Mariæ_, infusing
quintessence of poppy Q.S., together with three pints of lethe, to be had
from the apothecaries.  You cleanse away carefully the _sordes_ and
_caput mortuum_, letting all that is volatile evaporate.  You preserve
only the first running, which is again to be distilled seventeen times,
till what remains will amount to about two drams.  This you keep in a
glass vial hermetically sealed for one-and-twenty days.  Then you begin
your catholic treatise, taking every morning fasting (first shaking the
vial) three drops of this elixir, snuffing it strongly up your nose.  It
will dilate itself about the brain (where there is any) in fourteen
minutes, and you immediately perceive in your head an infinite number of
abstracts, summaries, compendiums, extracts, collections, medullas,
excerpta quædams, florilegias and the like, all disposed into great order
and reducible upon paper.

I must needs own it was by the assistance of this arcanum that I, though
otherwise _impar_, have adventured upon so daring an attempt, never
achieved or undertaken before but by a certain author called Homer, in
whom, though otherwise a person not without some abilities, and for an
ancient of a tolerable genius; I have discovered many gross errors which
are not to be forgiven his very ashes, if by chance any of them are left.
For whereas we are assured he designed his work for a complete body of
all knowledge, human, divine, political, and mechanic {102a}, it is
manifest he hath wholly neglected some, and been very imperfect perfect
in the rest.  For, first of all, as eminent a cabalist as his disciples
would represent him, his account of the _opus magnum_ is extremely poor
and deficient; he seems to have read but very superficially either
Sendivogus, Behmen, or Anthroposophia Theomagica {102b}.  He is also
quite mistaken about the _sphæra pyroplastica_, a neglect not to be
atoned for, and (if the reader will admit so severe a censure) _vix
crederem autorem hunc unquam audivisse ignis vocem_.  His failings are
not less prominent in several parts of the mechanics.  For having read
his writings with the utmost application usual among modern wits, I could
never yet discover the least direction about the structure of that useful
instrument a save-all; for want of which, if the moderns had not lent
their assistance, we might yet have wandered in the dark.  But I have
still behind a fault far more notorious to tax this author with; I mean
his gross ignorance in the common laws of this realm, and in the doctrine
as well as discipline of the Church of England.  A defect, indeed, for
which both he and all the ancients stand most justly censured by my
worthy and ingenious friend Mr. Wotton, Bachelor of Divinity, in his
incomparable treatise of ancient and modern learning; a book never to be
sufficiently valued, whether we consider the happy turns and flowings of
the author’s wit, the great usefulness of his sublime discoveries upon
the subject of flies and spittle, or the laborious eloquence of his
style.  And I cannot forbear doing that author the justice of my public
acknowledgments for the great helps and liftings I had out of his
incomparable piece while I was penning this treatise.

But besides these omissions in Homer already mentioned, the curious
reader will also observe several defects in that author’s writings for
which he is not altogether so accountable.  For whereas every branch of
knowledge has received such wonderful acquirements since his age,
especially within these last three years or thereabouts, it is almost
impossible he could be so very perfect in modern discoveries as his
advocates pretend.  We freely acknowledge him to be the inventor of the
compass, of gunpowder, and the circulation of the blood; but I challenge
any of his admirers to show me in all his writings a complete account of
the spleen.  Does he not also leave us wholly to seek in the art of
political wagering?  What can be more defective and unsatisfactory than
his long dissertation upon tea? and as to his method of salivation
without mercury, so much celebrated of late, it is to my own knowledge
and experience a thing very little to be relied on.

It was to supply such momentous defects that I have been prevailed on,
after long solicitation, to take pen in hand, and I dare venture to
promise the judicious reader shall find nothing neglected here that can
be of use upon any emergency of life.  I am confident to have included
and exhausted all that human imagination can rise or fall to.
Particularly I recommend to the perusal of the learned certain
discoveries that are wholly untouched by others, whereof I shall only
mention, among a great many more, my “New Help of Smatterers, or the Art
of being Deep Learned and Shallow Read,” “A Curious Invention about
Mouse-traps,” “A Universal Rule of Reason, or Every Man his own Carver,”
together with a most useful engine for catching of owls.  All which the
judicious reader will find largely treated on in the several parts of
this discourse.

I hold myself obliged to give as much light as possible into the beauties
and excellences of what I am writing, because it is become the fashion
and humour most applauded among the first authors of this polite and
learned age, when they would correct the ill nature of critical or inform
the ignorance of courteous readers.  Besides, there have been several
famous pieces lately published, both in verse and prose, wherein if the
writers had not been pleased, out of their great humanity and affection
to the public, to give us a nice detail of the sublime and the admirable
they contain, it is a thousand to one whether we should ever have
discovered one grain of either.  For my own particular, I cannot deny
that whatever I have said upon this occasion had been more proper in a
preface, and more agreeable to the mode which usually directs it there.
But I here think fit to lay hold on that great and honourable privilege
of being the last writer.  I claim an absolute authority in right as the
freshest modern, which gives me a despotic power over all authors before
me.  In the strength of which title I do utterly disapprove and declare
against that pernicious custom of making the preface a bill of fare to
the book.  For I have always looked upon it as a high point of
indiscretion in monstermongers and other retailers of strange sights to
hang out a fair large picture over the door, drawn after the life, with a
most eloquent description underneath.  This has saved me many a
threepence, for my curiosity was fully satisfied, and I never offered to
go in, though often invited by the urging and attending orator with his
last moving and standing piece of rhetoric, “Sir, upon my word, we are
just going to begin.”  Such is exactly the fate at this time of Prefaces,
Epistles, Advertisements, Introductions, Prolegomenas, Apparatuses, To
the Readers’s.  This expedient was admirable at first; our great Dryden
has long carried it as far as it would go, and with incredible success.
He has often said to me in confidence that the world would never have
suspected him to be so great a poet if he had not assured them so
frequently in his prefaces, that it was impossible they could either
doubt or forget it.  Perhaps it may be so.  However, I much fear his
instructions have edified out of their place, and taught men to grow
wiser in certain points where he never intended they should; for it is
lamentable to behold with what a lazy scorn many of the yawning readers
in our age do now-a-days twirl over forty or fifty pages of preface and
dedication (which is the usual modern stint), as if it were so much
Latin.  Though it must be also allowed, on the other hand, that a very
considerable number is known to proceed critics and wits by reading
nothing else.  Into which two factions I think all present readers may
justly be divided.  Now, for myself, I profess to be of the former sort,
and therefore having the modern inclination to expatiate upon the beauty
of my own productions, and display the bright parts of my discourse, I
thought best to do it in the body of the work, where as it now lies it
makes a very considerable addition to the bulk of the volume, a
circumstance by no means to be neglected by a skilful writer.

Having thus paid my due deference and acknowledgment to an established
custom of our newest authors, by a long digression unsought for and a
universal censure unprovoked, by forcing into the light, with much pains
and dexterity, my own excellences and other men’s defaults, with great
justice to myself and candour to them, I now happily resume my subject,
to the infinite satisfaction both of the reader and the author.


WE left Lord Peter in open rupture with his two brethren, both for ever
discarded from his house, and resigned to the wide world with little or
nothing to trust to.  Which are circumstances that render them proper
subjects for the charity of a writer’s pen to work on, scenes of misery
ever affording the fairest harvest for great adventures.  And in this the
world may perceive the difference between the integrity of a generous
Author and that of a common friend.  The latter is observed to adhere
close in prosperity, but on the decline of fortune to drop suddenly off;
whereas the generous author, just on the contrary, finds his hero on the
dunghill, from thence, by gradual steps, raises him to a throne, and then
immediately withdraws, expecting not so much as thanks for his pains; in
imitation of which example I have placed Lord Peter in a noble house,
given him a title to wear and money to spend.  There I shall leave him
for some time, returning, where common charity directs me, to the
assistance of his two brothers at their lowest ebb.  However, I shall by
no means forget my character of a historian, to follow the truth step by
step whatever happens, or wherever it may lead me.

The two exiles so nearly united in fortune and interest took a lodging
together, where at their first leisure they began to reflect on the
numberless misfortunes and vexations of their life past, and could not
tell of the sudden to what failure in their conduct they ought to impute
them, when, after some recollection, they called to mind the copy of
their father’s will which they had so happily recovered.  This was
immediately produced, and a firm resolution taken between them to alter
whatever was already amiss, and reduce all their future measures to the
strictest obedience prescribed therein.  The main body of the will (as
the reader cannot easily have forgot) consisted in certain admirable
rules, about the wearing of their coats, in the perusal whereof the two
brothers at every period duly comparing the doctrine with the practice,
there was never seen a wider difference between two things, horrible
downright transgressions of every point.  Upon which they both resolved
without further delay to fall immediately upon reducing the whole exactly
after their father’s model.

But here it is good to stop the hasty reader, ever impatient to see the
end of an adventure before we writers can duly prepare him for it.  I am
to record that these two brothers began to be distinguished at this time
by certain names.  One of them desired to be called Martin, and the other
took the appellation of Jack.  These two had lived in much friendship and
agreement under the tyranny of their brother Peter, as it is the talent
of fellow-sufferers to do, men in misfortune being like men in the dark,
to whom all colours are the same.  But when they came forward into the
world, and began to display themselves to each other and to the light,
their complexions appeared extremely different, which the present posture
of their affairs gave them sudden opportunity to discover.

But here the severe reader may justly tax me as a writer of short memory,
a deficiency to which a true modern cannot but of necessity be a little
subject.  Because, memory being an employment of the mind upon things
past, is a faculty for which the learned in our illustrious age have no
manner of occasion, who deal entirely with invention and strike all
things out of themselves, or at least by collision from each other; upon
which account, we think it highly reasonable to produce our great
forgetfulness as an argument unanswerable for our great wit.  I ought in
method to have informed the reader about fifty pages ago of a fancy Lord
Peter took, and infused into his brothers, to wear on their coats
whatever trimmings came up in fashion, never pulling off any as they went
out of the mode, but keeping on all together, which amounted in time to a
medley the most antic you can possibly conceive, and this to a degree
that, upon the time of their falling out, there was hardly a thread of
the original coat to be seen, but an infinite quantity of lace, and
ribbands, and fringe, and embroidery, and points (I mean only those
tagged with silver, for the rest fell off).  Now this material
circumstance having been forgot in due place, as good fortune hath
ordered, comes in very properly here, when the two brothers are just
going to reform their vestures into the primitive state prescribed by
their father’s will.

They both unanimously entered upon this great work, looking sometimes on
their coats and sometimes on the will.  Martin laid the first hand; at
one twitch brought off a large handful of points, and with a second pull
stripped away ten dozen yards of fringe.  But when he had gone thus far
he demurred a while.  He knew very well there yet remained a great deal
more to be done; however, the first heat being over, his violence began
to cool, and he resolved to proceed more moderately in the rest of the
work, having already very narrowly escaped a swinging rent in pulling off
the points, which being tagged with silver (as we have observed before),
the judicious workman had with much sagacity double sewn to preserve them
from falling.  Resolving therefore to rid his coat of a huge quantity of
gold lace, he picked up the stitches with much caution and diligently
gleaned out all the loose threads as he went, which proved to be a work
of time.  Then he fell about the embroidered Indian figures of men,
women, and children, against which, as you have heard in its due place,
their father’s testament was extremely exact and severe.  These, with
much dexterity and application, were after a while quite eradicated or
utterly defaced.  For the rest, where he observed the embroidery to be
worked so close as not to be got away without damaging the cloth, or
where it served to hide or strengthened any flaw in the body of the coat,
contracted by the perpetual tampering of workmen upon it, he concluded
the wisest course was to let it remain, resolving in no case whatsoever
that the substance of the stuff should suffer injury, which he thought
the best method for serving the true intent and meaning of his father’s
will.  And this is the nearest account I have been able to collect of
Martin’s proceedings upon this great revolution.

But his brother Jack, whose adventures will be so extraordinary as to
furnish a great part in the remainder of this discourse, entered upon the
matter with other thoughts and a quite different spirit.  For the memory
of Lord Peter’s injuries produced a degree of hatred and spite which had
a much greater share of inciting him than any regards after his father’s
commands, since these appeared at best only secondary and subservient to
the other.  However, for this medley of humour he made a shift to find a
very plausible name, honouring it with the title of zeal, which is,
perhaps, the most significant word that has been ever yet produced in any
language, as, I think, I have fully proved in my excellent analytical
discourse upon that subject, wherein I have deduced a
histori-theo-physiological account of zeal, showing how it first
proceeded from a notion into a word, and from thence in a hot summer
ripened into a tangible substance.  This work, containing three large
volumes in folio, I design very shortly to publish by the modern way of
subscription, not doubting but the nobility and gentry of the land will
give me all possible encouragement, having already had such a taste of
what I am able to perform.

I record, therefore, that brother Jack, brimful of this miraculous
compound, reflecting with indignation upon Peter’s tyranny, and further
provoked by the despondency of Martin, prefaced his resolutions to this
purpose.  “What!” said he, “a rogue that locked up his drink, turned away
our wives, cheated us of our fortunes, palmed his crusts upon us for
mutton, and at last kicked us out of doors; must we be in his fashions?
A rascal, besides, that all the street cries out against.”  Having thus
kindled and inflamed himself as high as possible, and by consequence in a
delicate temper for beginning a reformation, he set about the work
immediately, and in three minutes made more dispatch than Martin had done
in as many hours.  For, courteous reader, you are given to understand
that zeal is never so highly obliged as when you set it a-tearing; and
Jack, who doted on that quality in himself, allowed it at this time its
full swing.  Thus it happened that, stripping down a parcel of gold lace
a little too hastily, he rent the main body of his coat from top to
bottom {110}; and whereas his talent was not of the happiest in taking up
a stitch, he knew no better way than to darn it again with packthread
thread and a skewer.  But the matter was yet infinitely worse (I record
it with tears) when he proceeded to the embroidery; for being clumsy of
nature, and of temper impatient withal, beholding millions of stitches
that required the nicest hand and sedatest constitution to extricate, in
a great rage he tore off the whole piece, cloth and all, and flung it
into the kennel, and furiously thus continuing his career, “Ah! good
brother Martin,” said he, “do as I do, for the love of God; strip, tear,
pull, rend, flay off all that we may appear as unlike that rogue Peter as
it is possible.  I would not for a hundred pounds carry the least mark
about me that might give occasion to the neighbours of suspecting I was
related to such a rascal.”  But Martin, who at this time happened to be
extremely phlegmatic and sedate, begged his brother, of all love, not to
damage his coat by any means, for he never would get such another;
desired him to consider that it was not their business to form their
actions by any reflection upon Peter’s, but by observing the rules
prescribed in their father’s will.  That he should remember Peter was
still their brother, whatever faults or injuries he had committed, and
therefore they should by all means avoid such a thought as that of taking
measures for good and evil from no other rule than of opposition to him.
That it was true the testament of their good father was very exact in
what related to the wearing of their coats; yet was it no less penal and
strict in prescribing agreement, and friendship, and affection between
them.  And therefore, if straining a point were at all defensible, it
would certainly be so rather to the advance of unity than increase of

Martin had still proceeded as gravely as he began, and doubtless would
have delivered an admirable lecture of morality, which might have
exceedingly contributed to my reader’s repose both of body and mind (the
true ultimate end of ethics), but Jack was already gone a flight-shot
beyond his patience.  And as in scholastic disputes nothing serves to
rouse the spleen of him that opposes so much as a kind of pedantic
affected calmness in the respondent, disputants being for the most part
like unequal scales, where the gravity of one side advances the lightness
of the other, and causes it to fly up and kick the beam; so it happened
here that the weight of Martin’s arguments exalted Jack’s levity, and
made him fly out and spurn against his brother’s moderation.  In short,
Martin’s patience put Jack in a rage; but that which most afflicted him
was to observe his brother’s coat so well reduced into the state of
innocence, while his own was either wholly rent to his shirt, or those
places which had escaped his cruel clutches were still in Peter’s livery.
So that he looked like a drunken beau half rifled by bullies, or like a
fresh tenant of Newgate when he has refused the payment of garnish, or
like a discovered shoplifter left to the mercy of Exchange-women {111a},
or like a bawd in her old velvet petticoat resigned into the secular
hands of the mobile {111b}.  Like any or like all of these, a medley of
rags, and lace, and fringes, unfortunate Jack did now appear; he would
have been extremely glad to see his coat in the condition of Martin’s,
but infinitely gladder to find that of Martin in the same predicament
with his.  However, since neither of these was likely to come to pass, he
thought fit to lend the whole business another turn, and to dress up
necessity into a virtue.  Therefore, after as many of the fox’s arguments
as he could muster up for bringing Martin to reason, as he called it, or
as he meant it, into his own ragged, bobtailed condition, and observing
he said all to little purpose, what alas! was left for the forlorn Jack
to do, but, after a million of scurrilities against his brother, to run
mad with spleen, and spite, and contradiction.  To be short, here began a
mortal breach between these two.  Jack went immediately to new lodgings,
and in a few days it was for certain reported that he had run out of his
wits.  In a short time after he appeared abroad, and confirmed the report
by falling into the oddest whimsies that ever a sick brain conceived.

And now the little boys in the streets began to salute him with several
names.  Sometimes they would call him Jack the Bald, sometimes Jack with
a Lanthorn, sometimes Dutch Jack, sometimes French Hugh, sometimes Tom
the Beggar, and sometimes Knocking Jack of the North {112}.  And it was
under one or some or all of these appellations (which I leave the learned
reader to determine) that he hath given rise to the most illustrious and
epidemic sect of Æolists, who, with honourable commemoration, do still
acknowledge the renowned Jack for their author and founder.  Of whose
originals as well as principles I am now advancing to gratify the world
with a very particular account.

                      “Mellæo contingens cuncta lepore.”


I HAVE sometimes heard of an Iliad in a nut-shell, but it has been my
fortune to have much oftener seen a nut-shell in an Iliad.  There is no
doubt that human life has received most wonderful advantages from both;
but to which of the two the world is chiefly indebted, I shall leave
among the curious as a problem worthy of their utmost inquiry.  For the
invention of the latter, I think the commonwealth of learning is chiefly
obliged to the great modern improvement of digressions.  The late
refinements in knowledge, running parallel to those of diet in our
nation, which among men of a judicious taste are dressed up in various
compounds, consisting in soups and olios, fricassees and ragouts.

It is true there is a sort of morose, detracting, ill-bred people who
pretend utterly to disrelish these polite innovations.  And as to the
similitude from diet, they allow the parallel, but are so bold as to
pronounce the example itself a corruption and degeneracy of taste.  They
tell us that the fashion of jumbling fifty things together in a dish was
at first introduced in compliance to a depraved and debauched appetite,
as well as to a crazy constitution, and to see a man hunting through an
olio after the head and brains of a goose, a widgeon, or a woodcock, is a
sign he wants a stomach and digestion for more substantial victuals.
Further, they affirm that digressions in a book are like foreign troops
in a state, which argue the nation to want a heart and hands of its own,
and often either subdue the natives, or drive them into the most
unfruitful corners.

But after all that can be objected by these supercilious censors, it is
manifest the society of writers would quickly be reduced to a very
inconsiderable number if men were put upon making books with the fatal
confinement of delivering nothing beyond what is to the purpose.  It is
acknowledged that were the case the same among us as with the Greeks and
Romans, when learning was in its cradle, to be reared and fed and clothed
by invention, it would be an easy task to fill up volumes upon particular
occasions without further expatiating from the subject than by moderate
excursions, helping to advance or clear the main design.  But with
knowledge it has fared as with a numerous army encamped in a fruitful
country, which for a few days maintains itself by the product of the soil
it is on, till provisions being spent, they send to forage many a mile
among friends or enemies, it matters not.  Meanwhile the neighbouring
fields, trampled and beaten down, become barren and dry, affording no
sustenance but clouds of dust.

The whole course of things being thus entirely changed between us and the
ancients, and the moderns wisely sensible of it, we of this age have
discovered a shorter and more prudent method to become scholars and wits,
without the fatigue of reading or of thinking.  The most accomplished way
of using books at present is twofold: either first to serve them as some
men do lords, learn their titles exactly, and then brag of their
acquaintance; or, secondly, which is indeed the choicer, the profounder,
and politer method, to get a thorough insight into the index by which the
whole book is governed and turned, like fishes by the tail.  For to enter
the palace of learning at the great gate requires an expense of time and
forms, therefore men of much haste and little ceremony are content to get
in by the back-door.  For the arts are all in a flying march, and
therefore more easily subdued by attacking them in the rear.  Thus
physicians discover the state of the whole body by consulting only what
comes from behind.  Thus men catch knowledge by throwing their wit on the
posteriors of a book, as boys do sparrows with flinging salt upon their
tails.  Thus human life is best understood by the wise man’s rule of
regarding the end.  Thus are the sciences found, like Hercules’ oxen, by
tracing them backwards.  Thus are old sciences unravelled like old
stockings, by beginning at the foot.

Besides all this, the army of the sciences hath been of late with a world
of martial discipline drawn into its close order, so that a view or a
muster may be taken of it with abundance of expedition.  For this great
blessing we are wholly indebted to systems and abstracts, in which the
modern fathers of learning, like prudent usurers, spent their sweat for
the ease of us their children.  For labour is the seed of idleness, and
it is the peculiar happiness of our noble age to gather the fruit.

Now the method of growing wise, learned, and sublime having become so
regular an affair, and so established in all its forms, the number of
writers must needs have increased accordingly, and to a pitch that has
made it of absolute necessity for them to interfere continually with each
other.  Besides, it is reckoned that there is not at this present a
sufficient quantity of new matter left in Nature to furnish and adorn any
one particular subject to the extent of a volume.  This I am told by a
very skilful computer, who hath given a full demonstration of it from
rules of arithmetic.

This perhaps may be objected against by those who maintain the infinity
of matter, and therefore will not allow that any species of it can be
exhausted.  For answer to which, let us examine the noblest branch of
modern wit or invention planted and cultivated by the present age, and
which of all others hath borne the most and the fairest fruit.  For
though some remains of it were left us by the ancients, yet have not any
of those, as I remember, been translated or compiled into systems for
modern use.  Therefore we may affirm, to our own honour, that it has in
some sort been both invented and brought to a perfection by the same
hands.  What I mean is, that highly celebrated talent among the modern
wits of deducing similitudes, allusions, and applications, very
surprising, agreeable, and apposite, from the signs of either sex,
together with their proper uses.  And truly, having observed how little
invention bears any vogue besides what is derived into these channels, I
have sometimes had a thought that the happy genius of our age and country
was prophetically held forth by that ancient typical description of the
Indian pigmies whose stature did not exceed above two feet, _sed quorum
pudenda crassa_, _et ad talos usque pertingentia_.  Now I have been very
curious to inspect the late productions, wherein the beauties of this
kind have most prominently appeared.  And although this vein hath bled so
freely, and all endeavours have been used in the power of human breath to
dilate, extend, and keep it open, like the Scythians {116}, who had a
custom and an instrument to blow up those parts of their mares, that they
might yield the more milk; yet I am under an apprehension it is near
growing dry and past all recovery, and that either some new _fonde_ of
wit should, if possible, be provided, or else that we must e’en be
content with repetition here as well as upon all other occasions.

This will stand as an uncontestable argument that our modern wits are not
to reckon upon the infinity of matter for a constant supply.  What
remains, therefore, but that our last recourse must be had to large
indexes and little compendiums?  Quotations must be plentifully gathered
and booked in alphabet.  To this end, though authors need be little
consulted, yet critics, and commentators, and lexicons carefully must.
But above all, those judicious collectors of bright parts, and flowers,
and observandas are to be nicely dwelt on by some called the sieves and
boulters of learning, though it is left undetermined whether they dealt
in pearls or meal, and consequently whether we are more to value that
which passed through or what stayed behind.

By these methods, in a few weeks there starts up many a writer capable of
managing the profoundest and most universal subjects.  For what though
his head be empty, provided his commonplace book be full?  And if you
will bate him but the circumstances of method, and style, and grammar,
and invention; allow him but the common privileges of transcribing from
others, and digressing from himself as often as he shall see occasion, he
will desire no more ingredients towards fitting up a treatise that shall
make a very comely figure on a bookseller’s shelf, there to be preserved
neat and clean for a long eternity, adorned with the heraldry of its
title fairly inscribed on a label, never to be thumbed or greased by
students, nor bound to everlasting chains of darkness in a library, but
when the fulness of time is come shall happily undergo the trial of
purgatory in order to ascend the sky.

Without these allowances how is it possible we modern wits should ever
have an opportunity to introduce our collections listed under so many
thousand heads of a different nature, for want of which the learned world
would be deprived of infinite delight as well as instruction, and we
ourselves buried beyond redress in an inglorious and undistinguished

From such elements as these I am alive to behold the day wherein the
corporation of authors can outvie all its brethren in the field—a
happiness derived to us, with a great many others, from our Scythian
ancestors, among whom the number of pens was so infinite that the Grecian
eloquence had no other way of expressing it than by saying that in the
regions far to the north it was hardly possible for a man to travel, the
very air was so replete with feathers.

The necessity of this digression will easily excuse the length, and I
have chosen for it as proper a place as I could readily find.  If the
judicious reader can assign a fitter, I do here empower him to remove it
into any other corner he please.  And so I return with great alacrity to
pursue a more important concern.


THE learned Æolists maintain the original cause of all things to be wind,
from which principle this whole universe was at first produced, and into
which it must at last be resolved, that the same breath which had kindled
and blew up the flame of Nature should one day blow it out.

               “Quod procul à nobis flectat Fortuna gubernans.”

This is what the Adepti understand by their _anima mundi_, that is to
say, the spirit, or breath, or wind of the world; or examine the whole
system by the particulars of Nature, and you will find it not to be
disputed.  For whether you please to call the _forma informans_ of man by
the name of _spiritus_, _animus_, _afflatus_, or _anima_, what are all
these but several appellations for wind, which is the ruling element in
every compound, and into which they all resolve upon their corruption.
Further, what is life itself but, as it is commonly called, the breath of
our nostrils, whence it is very justly observed by naturalists that wind
still continues of great emolument in certain mysteries not to be named,
giving occasion for those happy epithets of _turgidus_ and _inflatus_,
applied either to the emittent or recipient organs.

By what I have gathered out of ancient records, I find the compass of
their doctrine took in two-and-thirty points, wherein it would be tedious
to be very particular.  However, a few of their most important precepts
deducible from it are by no means to be omitted; among which, the
following maxim was of much weight: That since wind had the master share
as well as operation in every compound, by consequence those beings must
be of chief excellence wherein that primordium appears most prominently
to abound, and therefore man is in highest perfection of all created
things, as having, by the great bounty of philosophers, been endued with
three distinct _animas_ or winds, to which the sage Æolists, with much
liberality, have added a fourth, of equal necessity as well as ornament
with the other three, by this _quartum principium_ taking in the four
corners of the world.  Which gave occasion to that renowned cabalist
Bombastus {119a} of placing the body of man in due position to the four
cardinal points.

In consequence of this, their next principle was that man brings with him
into the world a peculiar portion or grain of wind, which may be called a
_quinta essentia_ extracted from the other four.  This quintessence is of
catholic use upon all emergencies of life, is improveable into all arts
and sciences, and may be wonderfully refined as well as enlarged by
certain methods in education.  This, when blown up to its perfection,
ought not to be covetously boarded up, stifled, or hid under a bushel,
but freely communicated to mankind.  Upon these reasons, and others of
equal weight, the wise Æolists affirm the gift of belching to be the
noblest act of a rational creature.  To cultivate which art, and render
it more serviceable to mankind, they made use of several methods.  At
certain seasons of the year you might behold the priests amongst them in
vast numbers with their mouths gaping wide against a storm.  At other
times were to be seen several hundreds linked together in a circular
chain, with every man a pair of bellows applied to his neighbour, by
which they blew up each other to the shape and size of a tun; and for
that reason with great propriety of speech did usually call their bodies
their vessels {119b}.  When, by these and the like performances, they
were grown sufficiently replete, they would immediately depart, and
disembogue for the public good a plentiful share of their acquirements
into their disciples’ chaps.  For we must here observe that all learning
was esteemed among them to be compounded from the same principle.
Because, first, it is generally affirmed or confessed that learning
puffeth men up; and, secondly, they proved it by the following syllogism:
“Words are but wind, and learning is nothing but words; ergo, learning is
nothing but wind.”  For this reason the philosophers among them did in
their schools deliver to their pupils all their doctrines and opinions by
eructation, wherein they had acquired a wonderful eloquence, and of
incredible variety.  But the great characteristic by which their chief
sages were best distinguished was a certain position of countenance,
which gave undoubted intelligence to what degree or proportion the spirit
agitated the inward mass.  For after certain gripings, the wind and
vapours issuing forth, having first by their turbulence and convulsions
within caused an earthquake in man’s little world, distorted the mouth,
bloated the cheeks, and gave the eyes a terrible kind of relievo.  At
which junctures all their belches were received for sacred, the sourer
the better, and swallowed with infinite consolation by their meagre
devotees.  And to render these yet more complete, because the breath of
man’s life is in his nostrils, therefore the choicest, most edifying, and
most enlivening belches were very wisely conveyed through that vehicle to
give them a tincture as they passed.

Their gods were the four winds, whom they worshipped as the spirits that
pervade and enliven the universe, and as those from whom alone all
inspiration can properly be said to proceed.  However, the chief of
these, to whom they performed the adoration of Latria, was the Almighty
North, an ancient deity, whom the inhabitants of Megalopolis in Greece
had likewise in highest reverence.  “Omnium deorum Boream maxime
celebrant.” {120}  This god, though endued with ubiquity, was yet
supposed by the profounder Æolists to possess one peculiar habitation, or
(to speak in form) a _cælum empyræum_, wherein he was more intimately
present.  This was situated in a certain region well known to the ancient
Greeks, by them called Σχοτία, the Land of Darkness.  And although many
controversies have arisen upon that matter, yet so much is undisputed,
that from a region of the like denomination the most refined Æolists have
borrowed their original, from whence in every age the zealous among their
priesthood have brought over their choicest inspiration, fetching it with
their own hands from the fountain-head in certain bladders, and
disploding it among the sectaries in all nations, who did, and do, and
ever will, daily gasp and pant after it.

Now their mysteries and rites were performed in this manner.  It is well
known among the learned that the virtuosos of former ages had a
contrivance for carrying and preserving winds in casks or barrels, which
was of great assistance upon long sea-voyages, and the loss of so useful
an art at present is very much to be lamented, though, I know not how,
with great negligence omitted by Pancirollus.  It was an invention
ascribed to Æolus himself, from whom this sect is denominated, and who,
in honour of their founder’s memory, have to this day preserved great
numbers of those barrels, whereof they fix one in each of their temples,
first beating out the top.  Into this barrel upon solemn days the priest
enters, where, having before duly prepared himself by the methods already
described, a secret funnel is also conveyed to the bottom of the barrel,
which admits new supplies of inspiration from a northern chink or cranny.
Whereupon you behold him swell immediately to the shape and size of his
vessel.  In this posture he disembogues whole tempests upon his auditory,
as the spirit from beneath gives him utterance, which issuing _ex adytis_
and _penetralibus_, is not performed without much pain and griping.  And
the wind in breaking forth deals with his face as it does with that of
the sea, first blackening, then wrinkling, and at last bursting it into a
foam.  It is in this guise the sacred Æolist delivers his oracular
belches to his panting disciples, of whom some are greedily gaping after
the sanctified breath, others are all the while hymning out the praises
of the winds, and gently wafted to and fro by their own humming, do thus
represent the soft breezes of their deities appeased.

It is from this custom of the priests that some authors maintain these
Æolists to have been very ancient in the world, because the delivery of
their mysteries, which I have just now mentioned, appears exactly the
same with that of other ancient oracles, whose inspirations were owing to
certain subterraneous effluviums of wind delivered with the same pain to
the priest, and much about the same influence on the people.  It is true
indeed that these were frequently managed and directed by female
officers, whose organs were understood to be better disposed for the
admission of those oracular gusts, as entering and passing up through a
receptacle of greater capacity, and causing also a pruriency by the way,
such as with due management has been refined from carnal into a spiritual
ecstasy.  And to strengthen this profound conjecture, it is further
insisted that this custom of female priests is kept up still in certain
refined colleges of our modern Æolists {122}, who are agreed to receive
their inspiration, derived through the receptacle aforesaid, like their
ancestors the Sybils.

And whereas the mind of man, when he gives the spur and bridle to his
thoughts, does never stop, but naturally sallies out into both extremes
of high and low, of good and evil, his first flight of fancy commonly
transports him to ideas of what is most perfect, finished, and exalted,
till, having soared out of his own reach and sight, not well perceiving
how near the frontiers of height and depth border upon each other, with
the same course and wing he falls down plump into the lowest bottom of
things, like one who travels the east into the west, or like a straight
line drawn by its own length into a circle.  Whether a tincture of malice
in our natures makes us fond of furnishing every bright idea with its
reverse, or whether reason, reflecting upon the sum of things, can, like
the sun, serve only to enlighten one half of the globe, leaving the other
half by necessity under shade and darkness, or whether fancy, flying up
to the imagination of what is highest and best, becomes over-short, and
spent, and weary, and suddenly falls, like a dead bird of paradise, to
the ground; or whether, after all these metaphysical conjectures, I have
not entirely missed the true reason; the proposition, however, which has
stood me in so much circumstance is altogether true, that as the most
uncivilised parts of mankind have some way or other climbed up into the
conception of a God or Supreme Power, so they have seldom forgot to
provide their fears with certain ghastly notions, which, instead of
better, have served them pretty tolerably for a devil.  And this
proceeding seems to be natural enough, for it is with men whose
imaginations are lifted up very high after the same rate as with those
whose bodies are so, that as they are delighted with the advantage of a
nearer contemplation upwards, so they are equally terrified with the
dismal prospect of the precipice below.  Thus in the choice of a devil it
has been the usual method of mankind to single out some being, either in
act or in vision, which was in most antipathy to the god they had framed.
Thus also the sect of the Æolists possessed themselves with a dread and
horror and hatred of two malignant natures, betwixt whom and the deities
they adored perpetual enmity was established.  The first of these was the
chameleon, sworn foe to inspiration, who in scorn devoured large
influences of their god, without refunding the smallest blast by
eructation.  The other was a huge terrible monster called Moulinavent,
who with four strong arms waged eternal battle with all their divinities,
dexterously turning to avoid their blows and repay them with interest.

Thus furnished, and set out with gods as well as devils, was the renowned
sect of Æolists, which makes at this day so illustrious a figure in the
world, and whereof that polite nation of Laplanders are beyond all doubt
a most authentic branch, of whom I therefore cannot without injustice
here omit to make honourable mention, since they appear to be so closely
allied in point of interest as well as inclinations with their brother
Æolists among us, as not only to buy their winds by wholesale from the
same merchants, but also to retail them after the same rate and method,
and to customers much alike.

Now whether the system here delivered was wholly compiled by Jack, or, as
some writers believe, rather copied from the original at Delphos, with
certain additions and emendations suited to times and circumstances, I
shall not absolutely determine.  This I may affirm, that Jack gave it at
least a new turn, and formed it into the same dress and model as it lies
deduced by me.

I have long sought after this opportunity of doing justice to a society
of men for whom I have a peculiar honour, and whose opinions as well as
practices have been extremely misrepresented and traduced by the malice
or ignorance of their adversaries.  For I think it one of the greatest
and best of human actions to remove prejudices and place things in their
truest and fairest light, which I therefore boldly undertake, without any
regards of my own beside the conscience, the honour, and the thanks.


NOR shall it any ways detract from the just reputation of this famous
sect that its rise and institution are owing to such an author as I have
described Jack to be, a person whose intellectuals were overturned and
his brain shaken out of its natural position, which we commonly suppose
to be a distemper, and call by the name of madness or frenzy.  For if we
take a survey of the greatest actions that have been performed in the
world under the influence of single men, which are the establishment of
new empires by conquest, the advance and progress of new schemes in
philosophy, and the contriving as well as the propagating of new
religions, we shall find the authors of them all to have been persons
whose natural reason hath admitted great revolutions from their diet,
their education, the prevalency of some certain temper, together with the
particular influence of air and climate.  Besides, there is something
individual in human minds that easily kindles at the accidental approach
and collision of certain circumstances, which, though of paltry and mean
appearance, do often flame out into the greatest emergencies of life.
For great turns are not always given by strong hands, but by lucky
adaptation and at proper seasons, and it is of no import where the fire
was kindled if the vapour has once got up into the brain.  For the upper
region of man is furnished like the middle region of the air, the
materials are formed from causes of the widest difference, yet produce at
last the same substance and effect.  Mists arise from the earth, steams
from dunghills, exhalations from the sea, and smoke from fire; yet all
clouds are the same in composition as well as consequences, and the fumes
issuing from a jakes will furnish as comely and useful a vapour as
incense from an altar.  Thus far, I suppose, will easily be granted me;
and then it will follow that as the face of Nature never produces rain
but when it is overcast and disturbed, so human understanding seated in
the brain must be troubled and overspread by vapours ascending from the
lower faculties to water the invention and render it fruitful.  Now
although these vapours (as it hath been already said) are of as various
original as those of the skies, yet the crop they produce differs both in
kind and degree, merely according to the soil.  I will produce two
instances to prove and explain what I am now advancing.

A certain great prince {126a} raised a mighty army, filled his coffers
with infinite treasures, provided an invincible fleet, and all this
without giving the least part of his design to his greatest ministers or
his nearest favourites.  Immediately the whole world was alarmed, the
neighbouring crowns in trembling expectation towards what point the storm
would burst, the small politicians everywhere forming profound
conjectures.  Some believed he had laid a scheme for universal monarchy;
others, after much insight, determined the matter to be a project for
pulling down the Pope and setting up the Reformed religion, which had
once been his own.  Some again, of a deeper sagacity, sent him into Asia
to subdue the Turk and recover Palestine.  In the midst of all these
projects and preparations, a certain state-surgeon {126b}, gathering the
nature of the disease by these symptoms, attempted the cure, at one blow
performed the operation, broke the bag and out flew the vapour; nor did
anything want to render it a complete remedy, only that the prince
unfortunately happened to die in the performance.  Now is the reader
exceeding curious to learn from whence this vapour took its rise, which
had so long set the nations at a gaze?  What secret wheel, what hidden
spring, could put into motion so wonderful an engine?  It was afterwards
discovered that the movement of this whole machine had been directed by
an absent female, who was removed into an enemy’s country.  What should
an unhappy prince do in such ticklish circumstances as these?  He tried
in vain the poet’s never-failing receipt of _corpora quæque_, for

    “Idque petit corpus mens unde est saucia amore;
    Unde feritur, eo tendit, gestitque coire.”—_Lucr._

Having to no purpose used all peaceable endeavours, the collected part of
the semen, raised and inflamed, became adust, converted to choler, turned
head upon the spinal duct, and ascended to the brain.  The very same
principle that influences a bully to break the windows of a woman who has
jilted him naturally stirs up a great prince to raise mighty armies and
dream of nothing but sieges, battles, and victories.

The other instance is what I have read somewhere in a very ancient author
of a mighty king {127a}, who, for the space of above thirty years, amused
himself to take and lose towns, beat armies and be beaten, drive princes
out of their dominions, fright children from their bread and butter,
burn, lay waste, plunder, dragoon, massacre subject and stranger, friend
and foe, male and female.  It is recorded that the philosophers of each
country were in grave dispute upon causes natural, moral, and political,
to find out where they should assign an original solution of this
phenomenon.  At last the vapour or spirit which animated the hero’s
brain, being in perpetual circulation, seized upon that region of the
human body so renowned for furnishing the _zibeta occidentalis_ {127b},
and gathering there into a tumour, left the rest of the world for that
time in peace.  Of such mighty consequence is it where those exhalations
fix, and of so little from whence they proceed.  The same spirits which
in their superior progress would conquer a kingdom descending upon the
anus, conclude in a fistula.

Let us next examine the great introducers of new schemes in philosophy,
and search till we can find from what faculty of the soul the disposition
arises in mortal man of taking it into his head to advance new systems
with such an eager zeal in things agreed on all hands impossible to be
known; from what seeds this disposition springs, and to what quality of
human nature these grand innovators have been indebted for their number
of disciples, because it is plain that several of the chief among them,
both ancient and modern, were usually mistaken by their adversaries, and,
indeed, by all, except their own followers, to have been persons crazed
or out of their wits, having generally proceeded in the common course of
their words and actions by a method very different from the vulgar
dictates of unrefined reason, agreeing for the most part in their several
models with their present undoubted successors in the academy of modern
Bedlam, whose merits and principles I shall further examine in due place.
Of this kind were Epicurus, Diogenes, Apollonius, Lucretius, Paracelsus,
Des Cartes, and others, who, if they were now in the world, tied fast and
separate from their followers, would in this our undistinguishing age
incur manifest danger of phlebotomy, and whips, and chains, and dark
chambers, and straw.  For what man in the natural state or course of
thinking did ever conceive it in his power to reduce the notions of all
mankind exactly to the same length, and breadth, and height of his own?
Yet this is the first humble and civil design of all innovators in the
empire of reason.  Epicurus modestly hoped that one time or other a
certain fortuitous concourse of all men’s opinions, after perpetual
jostlings, the sharp with the smooth, the light and the heavy, the round
and the square, would, by certain clinamina, unite in the notions of
atoms and void, as these did in the originals of all things.  Cartesius
reckoned to see before he died the sentiments of all philosophers, like
so many lesser stars in his romantic system, rapt and drawn within his
own vortex.  Now I would gladly be informed how it is possible to account
for such imaginations as these in particular men, without recourse to my
phenomenon of vapours ascending from the lower faculties to overshadow
the brain, and there distilling into conceptions, for which the
narrowness of our mother-tongue has not yet assigned any other name
beside that of madness or frenzy.  Let us therefore now conjecture how it
comes to pass that none of these great prescribers do ever fail providing
themselves and their notions with a number of implicit disciples, and I
think the reason is easy to be assigned, for there is a peculiar string
in the harmony of human understanding, which in several individuals is
exactly of the same tuning.  This, if you can dexterously screw up to its
right key, and then strike gently upon it whenever you have the good
fortune to light among those of the same pitch, they will by a secret
necessary sympathy strike exactly at the same time.  And in this one
circumstance lies all the skill or luck of the matter; for, if you chance
to jar the string among those who are either above or below your own
height, instead of subscribing to your doctrine, they will tie you fast,
call you mad, and feed you with bread and water.  It is therefore a point
of the nicest conduct to distinguish and adapt this noble talent with
respect to the differences of persons and of times.  Cicero understood
this very well, when, writing to a friend in England, with a caution,
among other matters, to beware of being cheated by our hackney-coachmen
(who, it seems, in those days were as arrant rascals as they are now),
has these remarkable words, _Est quod gaudeas te in ista loca venisse_,
_ubi aliquid sapere viderere_ {129}.  For, to speak a bold truth, it is a
fatal miscarriage so ill to order affairs as to pass for a fool in one
company, when in another you might be treated as a philosopher; which I
desire some certain gentlemen of my acquaintance to lay up in their
hearts as a very seasonable innuendo.

This, indeed, was the fatal mistake of that worthy gentleman, my most
ingenious friend Mr. Wotton, a person in appearance ordained for great
designs as well as performances, whether you will consider his notions or
his looks.  Surely no man ever advanced into the public with fitter
qualifications of body and mind for the propagation of a new religion.
Oh, had those happy talents, misapplied to vain philosophy, been turned
into their proper channels of dreams and visions, where distortion of
mind and countenance are of such sovereign use, the base, detracting
world would not then have dared to report that something is amiss, that
his brain hath undergone an unlucky shake, which even his brother
modernists themselves, like ungrates, do whisper so loud that it reaches
up to the very garret I am now writing in.

Lastly, whoever pleases to look into the fountains of enthusiasm, from
whence in all ages have eternally proceeded such fattening streams, will
find the spring-head to have been as troubled and muddy as the current.
Of such great emolument is a tincture of this vapour, which the world
calls madness, that without its help the world would not only be deprived
of those two great blessings, conquests and systems, but even all mankind
would unhappily be reduced to the same belief in things invisible.  Now
the former postulatum being held, that it is of no import from what
originals this vapour proceeds, but either in what angles it strikes and
spreads over the understanding, or upon what species of brain it ascends,
it will be a very delicate point to cut the feather and divide the
several reasons to a nice and curious reader, how this numerical
difference in the brain can produce effects of so vast a difference from
the same vapour as to be the sole point of individuation between
Alexander the Great, Jack of Leyden, and Monsieur Des Cartes.  The
present argument is the most abstracted that ever I engaged in; it
strains my faculties to their highest stretch, and I desire the reader to
attend with utmost perpensity, for I now proceed to unravel this knotty

There is in mankind a certain . . . _Hic multa_ . . . _desiderantur_. . .
and this I take to be a clear solution of the matter.

Having, therefore, so narrowly passed through this intricate difficulty,
the reader will, I am sure, agree with me in the conclusion that, if the
moderns mean by madness only a disturbance or transposition of the brain,
by force of certain vapours issuing up from the lower faculties, then has
this madness been the parent of all those mighty revolutions that have
happened in empire, in philosophy, and in religion.  For the brain in its
natural position and state of serenity disposeth its owner to pass his
life in the common forms, without any thought of subduing multitudes to
his own power, his reasons, or his visions, and the more he shapes his
understanding by the pattern of human learning, the less he is inclined
to form parties after his particular notions, because that instructs him
in his private infirmities, as well as in the stubborn ignorance of the
people.  But when a man’s fancy gets astride on his reason, when
imagination is at cuffs with the senses, and common understanding as well
as common sense is kicked out of doors, the first proselyte he makes is
himself; and when that is once compassed, the difficulty is not so great
in bringing over others, a strong delusion always operating from without
as vigorously as from within.  For cant and vision are to the ear and the
eye the same that tickling is to the touch.  Those entertainments and
pleasures we most value in life are such as dupe and play the wag with
the senses.  For if we take an examination of what is generally
understood by happiness, as it has respect either to the understanding or
the senses we shall find all its properties and adjuncts will herd under
this short definition, that it is a perpetual possession of being well
deceived.  And first, with relation to the mind or understanding, it is
manifest what mighty advantages fiction has over truth, and the reason is
just at our elbow: because imagination can build nobler scenes and
produce more wonderful revolutions than fortune or Nature will be at the
expense to furnish.  Nor is mankind so much to blame in his choice thus
determining him, if we consider that the debate merely lies between
things past and things conceived, and so the question is only this:
whether things that have place in the imagination may not as properly be
said to exist as those that are seated in the memory? which may be justly
held in the affirmative, and very much to the advantage of the former,
since this is acknowledged to be the womb of things, and the other
allowed to be no more than the grave.  Again, if we take this definition
of happiness and examine it with reference to the senses, it will be
acknowledged wonderfully adapt.  How sad and insipid do all objects
accost us that are not conveyed in the vehicle of delusion!  How shrunk
is everything as it appears in the glass of Nature, so that if it were
not for the assistance of artificial mediums, false lights, refracted
angles, varnish, and tinsel, there would be a mighty level in the
felicity and enjoyments of mortal men.  If this were seriously considered
by the world, as I have a certain reason to suspect it hardly will, men
would no longer reckon among their high points of wisdom the art of
exposing weak sides and publishing infirmities—an employment, in my
opinion, neither better nor worse than that of unmasking, which, I think,
has never been allowed fair usage, either in the world or the playhouse.

In the proportion that credulity is a more peaceful possession of the
mind than curiosity, so far preferable is that wisdom which converses
about the surface to that pretended philosophy which enters into the
depths of things and then comes gravely back with informations and
discoveries, that in the inside they are good for nothing.  The two
senses to which all objects first address themselves are the sight and
the touch; these never examine farther than the colour, the shape, the
size, and whatever other qualities dwell or are drawn by art upon the
outward of bodies; and then comes reason officiously, with tools for
cutting, and opening, and mangling, and piercing, offering to demonstrate
that they are not of the same consistence quite through.  Now I take all
this to be the last degree of perverting Nature, one of whose eternal
laws it is to put her best furniture forward.  And therefore, in order to
save the charges of all such expensive anatomy for the time to come, I do
here think fit to inform the reader that in such conclusions as these
reason is certainly in the right; and that in most corporeal beings which
have fallen under my cognisance, the outside hath been infinitely
preferable to the in, whereof I have been further convinced from some
late experiments.  Last week I saw a woman flayed, and you will hardly
believe how much it altered her person for the worse.  Yesterday I
ordered the carcass of a beau to be stripped in my presence, when we were
all amazed to find so many unsuspected faults under one suit of clothes.
Then I laid open his brain, his heart, and his spleen, but I plainly
perceived at every operation that the farther we proceeded, we found the
defects increase upon us, in number and bulk; from all which I justly
formed this conclusion to myself, that whatever philosopher or projector
can find out an art to sodder and patch up the flaws and imperfections of
Nature, will deserve much better of mankind and teach us a more useful
science than that so much in present esteem, of widening and exposing
them (like him who held anatomy to be the ultimate end of physic).  And
he whose fortunes and dispositions have placed him in a convenient
station to enjoy the fruits of this noble art, he that can with Epicurus
content his ideas with the films and images that fly off upon his senses
from the superfices 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

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
vapour; therefore, as some kinds of frenzy 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 mistook 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 seasons 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, from thence proceeds a hero, and is called the saviour of his
country.  Another achieves the same enterprise, 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 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 frenzy never in its right element till you take it up in
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
sought for, of recommending it as a very noble undertaking to Sir Edward
Seymour, Sir Christopher Musgrave, Sir John Bowles, John Howe, 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 that high esteem I have ever borne that
honourable society, whereof I had some time the happiness to be an
unworthy member.

Is any student tearing his straw in piecemeal, swearing and blaspheming,
biting his grate, foaming at the mouth, and emptying his vessel 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 {135}, 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 of his cell constantly at eight o’clock, dreams of fire, and
shoplifters, and court-customers, 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 chequered 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; 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 reinfunds.  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 {136} 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 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 ante-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 further 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 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 shown, 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 shook 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.


IT is an unanswerable argument of a very refined age the wonderful
civilities that have passed of late years between the nation of authors
and that of readers.  There can hardly pop out a play, a pamphlet, or a
poem without a preface full of acknowledgments to the world for the
general reception and applause they have given it, which the Lord knows
where, or when, or how, or from whom it received.  In due deference to so
laudable a custom, I do here return my humble thanks to His Majesty and
both Houses of Parliament, to the Lords of the King’s most honourable
Privy Council, to the reverend the Judges, to the Clergy, and Gentry, and
Yeomanry of this land; but in a more especial manner to my worthy
brethren and friends at Will’s Coffee-house, and Gresham College, and
Warwick Lane, and Moorfields, and Scotland Yard, and Westminster Hall,
and Guildhall; in short, to all inhabitants and retainers whatsoever,
either in court, or church, or camp, or city, or country, for their
generosity and universal acceptance of this divine treatise.  I accept
their approbation and good opinion with extreme gratitude, and to the
utmost of my poor capacity shall take hold of all opportunities to return
the obligation.

I am also happy that fate has flung me into so blessed an age for the
mutual felicity of booksellers and authors, whom I may safely affirm to
be at this day the two only satisfied parties in England.  Ask an author
how his last piece has succeeded, “Why, truly he thanks his stars the
world has been very favourable, and he has not the least reason to
complain.”  And yet he wrote it in a week at bits and starts, when he
could steal an hour from his urgent affairs, as it is a hundred to one
you may see further in the preface, to which he refers you, and for the
rest to the bookseller.  There you go as a customer, and make the same
question, “He blesses his God the thing takes wonderful; he is just
printing a second edition, and has but three left in his shop.”  “You
beat down the price; sir, we shall not differ,” and in hopes of your
custom another time, lets you have it as reasonable as you please; “And
pray send as many of your acquaintance as you will; I shall upon your
account furnish them all at the same rate.”

Now it is not well enough considered to what accidents and occasions the
world is indebted for the greatest part of those noble writings which
hourly start up to entertain it.  If it were not for a rainy day, a
drunken vigil, a fit of the spleen, a course of physic, a sleepy Sunday,
an ill run at dice, a long tailor’s bill, a beggar’s purse, a factious
head, a hot sun, costive diet, want of books, and a just contempt of
learning,—but for these events, I say, and some others too long to recite
(especially a prudent neglect of taking brimstone inwardly), I doubt the
number of authors and of writings would dwindle away to a degree most
woeful to behold.  To confirm this opinion, hear the words of the famous
troglodyte philosopher.  “It is certain,” said he, “some grains of folly
are of course annexed as part in the composition of human nature; only
the choice is left us whether we please to wear them inlaid or embossed,
and we need not go very far to seek how that is usually determined, when
we remember it is with human faculties as with liquors, the lightest will
be ever at the top.”

There is in this famous island of Britain a certain paltry scribbler,
very voluminous, whose character the reader cannot wholly be a stranger
to.  He deals in a pernicious kind of writings called “Second Parts,” and
usually passes under the name of “The Author of the First.”  I easily
foresee that as soon as I lay down my pen this nimble operator will have
stole it, and treat me as inhumanly as he has already done Dr. Blackmore,
Lestrange, and many others who shall here be nameless.  I therefore fly
for justice and relief into the hands of that great rectifier of saddles
and lover of mankind, Dr. Bentley, begging he will take this enormous
grievance into his most modern consideration; and if it should so happen
that the furniture of an ass in the shape of a second part must for my
sins be clapped, by mistake, upon my back, that he will immediately
please, in the presence of the world, to lighten me of the burthen, and
take it home to his own house till the true beast thinks fit to call for

In the meantime, I do here give this public notice that my resolutions
are to circumscribe within this discourse the whole stock of matter I
have been so many years providing.  Since my vein is once opened, I am
content to exhaust it all at a running, for the peculiar advantage of my
dear country, and for the universal benefit of mankind.  Therefore,
hospitably considering the number of my guests, they shall have my whole
entertainment at a meal, and I scorn to set up the leavings in the
cupboard.  What the guests cannot eat may be given to the poor, and the
dogs under the table may gnaw the bones {140}.  This I understand for a
more generous proceeding than to turn the company’s stomachs by inviting
them again to-morrow to a scurvy meal of scraps.

If the reader fairly considers the strength of what I have advanced in
the foregoing section, I am convinced it will produce a wonderful
revolution in his notions and opinions, and he will be abundantly better
prepared to receive and to relish the concluding part of this miraculous
treatise.  Readers may be divided into three classes—the superficial, the
ignorant, and the learned, and I have with much felicity fitted my pen to
the genius and advantage of each.  The superficial reader will be
strangely provoked to laughter, which clears the breast and the lungs, is
sovereign against the spleen, and the most innocent of all diuretics.
The ignorant reader (between whom and the former the distinction is
extremely nice) will find himself disposed to stare, which is an
admirable remedy for ill eyes, serves to raise and enliven the spirits,
and wonderfully helps perspiration.  But the reader truly learned,
chiefly for whose benefit I wake when others sleep, and sleep when others
wake, will here find sufficient matter to employ his speculations for the
rest of his life.  It were much to be wished, and I do here humbly
propose for an experiment, that every prince in Christendom will take
seven of the deepest scholars in his dominions and shut them up close for
seven years in seven chambers, with a command to write seven ample
commentaries on this comprehensive discourse.  I shall venture to affirm
that, whatever difference may be found in their several conjectures, they
will be all, without the least distortion, manifestly deducible from the
text.  Meantime it is my earnest request that so useful an undertaking
may be entered upon (if their Majesties please) with all convenient
speed, because I have a strong inclination before I leave the world to
taste a blessing which we mysterious writers can seldom reach till we
have got into our graves, whether it is that fame being a fruit grafted
on the body, can hardly grow and much less ripen till the stock is in the
earth, or whether she be a bird of prey, and is lured among the rest to
pursue after the scent of a carcass, or whether she conceives her trumpet
sounds best and farthest when she stands on a tomb, by the advantage of a
rising ground and the echo of a hollow vault.

It is true, indeed, the republic of dark authors, after they once found
out this excellent expedient of dying, have been peculiarly happy in the
variety as well as extent of their reputation.  For night being the
universal mother of things, wise philosophers hold all writings to be
fruitful in the proportion they are dark, and therefore the true
illuminated (that is to say, the darkest of all) have met with such
numberless commentators, whose scholiastic midwifery hath delivered them
of meanings that the authors themselves perhaps never conceived, and yet
may very justly be allowed the lawful parents of them, the words of such
writers being like seed, which, however scattered at random, when they
light upon a fruitful ground, will multiply far beyond either the hopes
or imagination of the sower.

And therefore, in order to promote so useful a work, I will here take
leave to glance a few innuendos that may be of great assistance to those
sublime spirits who shall be appointed to labour in a universal comment
upon this wonderful discourse.  And first, I have couched a very profound
mystery in the number of 0’s multiplied by seven and divided by nine.
Also, if a devout brother of the Rosy Cross will pray fervently for
sixty-three mornings with a lively faith, and then transpose certain
letters and syllables according to prescription, in the second and fifth
section they will certainly reveal into a full receipt of the _opus
magnum_.  Lastly, whoever will be at the pains to calculate the whole
number of each letter in this treatise, and sum up the difference exactly
between the several numbers, assigning the true natural cause for every
such difference, the discoveries in the product will plentifully reward
his labour.  But then he must beware of Bythus and Sigè, and be sure not
to forget the qualities of Acamoth; _a cujus lacrymis humecta prodit
substantia_, _à risu lucida_, _à tristitiâ solida_, _et à timore
mobilis_, wherein Eugenius Philalethes {142} hath committed an
unpardonable mistake.


AFTER so wide a compass as I have wandered, I do now gladly overtake and
close in with my subject, and shall henceforth hold on with it an even
pace to the end of my journey, except some beautiful prospect appears
within sight of my way, whereof, though at present I have neither warning
nor expectation, yet upon such an accident, come when it will, I shall
beg my reader’s favour and company, allowing me to conduct him through it
along with myself.  For in writing it is as in travelling.  If a man is
in haste to be at home (which I acknowledge to be none of my case, having
never so little business as when I am there), if his horse be tired with
long riding and ill ways, or be naturally a jade, I advise him clearly to
make the straightest and the commonest road, be it ever so dirty; but
then surely we must own such a man to be a scurvy companion at best.  He
spatters himself and his fellow-travellers at every step.  All their
thoughts, and wishes, and conversation turn entirely upon the subject of
their journey’s end, and at every splash, and plunge, and stumble they
heartily wish one another at the devil.

On the other side, when a traveller and his horse are in heart and
plight, when his purse is full and the day before him, he takes the road
only where it is clean or convenient, entertains his company there as
agreeably as he can, but upon the first occasion carries them along with
him to every delightful scene in view, whether of art, of Nature, or of
both; and if they chance to refuse out of stupidity or weariness, let
them jog on by themselves, and be d—n’d.  He’ll overtake them at the next
town, at which arriving, he rides furiously through, the men, women, and
children run out to gaze, a hundred noisy curs run barking after him, of
which, if he honours the boldest with a lash of his whip, it is rather
out of sport than revenge.  But should some sourer mongrel dare too near
an approach, he receives a salute on the chaps by an accidental stroke
from the courser’s heels, nor is any ground lost by the blow, which sends
him yelping and limping home.

I now proceed to sum up the singular adventures of my renowned Jack, the
state of whose dispositions and fortunes the careful reader does, no
doubt, most exactly remember, as I last parted with them in the
conclusion of a former section.  Therefore, his next care must be from
two of the foregoing to extract a scheme of notions that may best fit his
understanding for a true relish of what is to ensue.

Jack had not only calculated the first revolution of his brain so
prudently as to give rise to that epidemic sect of Æolists, but
succeeding also into a new and strange variety of conceptions, the
fruitfulness of his imagination led him into certain notions which,
although in appearance very unaccountable, were not without their
mysteries and their meanings, nor wanted followers to countenance and
improve them.  I shall therefore be extremely careful and exact in
recounting such material passages of this nature as I have been able to
collect either from undoubted tradition or indefatigable reading, and
shall describe them as graphically as it is possible, and as far as
notions of that height and latitude can be brought within the compass of
a pen.  Nor do I at all question but they will furnish plenty of noble
matter for such whose converting imaginations dispose them to reduce all
things into types, who can make shadows—no thanks to the sun—and then
mould them into substances—no thanks to philosophy—whose peculiar talent
lies in fixing tropes and allegories to the letter, and refining what is
literal into figure and mystery.

Jack had provided a fair copy of his father’s will, engrossed in form
upon a large skin of parchment, and resolving to act the part of a most
dutiful son, he became the fondest creature of it imaginable.  For
although, as I have often told the reader, it consisted wholly in certain
plain, easy directions about the management and wearing of their coats,
with legacies and penalties in case of obedience or neglect, yet he began
to entertain a fancy that the matter was deeper and darker, and therefore
must needs have a great deal more of mystery at the bottom.  “Gentlemen,”
said he, “I will prove this very skin of parchment to be meat, drink, and
cloth, to be the philosopher’s stone and the universal medicine.”  In
consequence of which raptures he resolved to make use of it in the most
necessary as well as the most paltry occasions of life.  He had a way of
working it into any shape he pleased, so that it served him for a
nightcap when he went to bed, and for an umbrella in rainy weather.  He
would lap a piece of it about a sore toe; or, when he had fits, burn two
inches under his nose; or, if anything lay heavy on his stomach, scrape
off and swallow as much of the powder as would lie on a silver penny—they
were all infallible remedies.  With analogy to these refinements, his
common talk and conversation ran wholly in the praise of his Will, and he
circumscribed the utmost of his eloquence within that compass, not daring
to let slip a syllable without authority from thence.  Once at a strange
house he was suddenly taken short upon an urgent juncture, whereon it may
not be allowed too particularly to dilate, and being not able to call to
mind, with that suddenness the occasion required, an authentic phrase for
demanding the way to the back, he chose rather, as the more prudent
course, to incur the penalty in such cases usually annexed; neither was
it possible for the united rhetoric of mankind to prevail with him to
make himself clean again, because, having consulted the will upon this
emergency, he met with a passage near the bottom (whether foisted in by
the transcriber is not known) which seemed to forbid it {145a}.

He made it a part of his religion never to say grace to his meat, nor
could all the world persuade him, as the common phrase is, to eat his
victuals like a Christian {145b}.

He bore a strange kind of appetite to snap-dragon and to the livid snuffs
of a burning candle {146a}, which he would catch and swallow with an
agility wonderful to conceive; and by this procedure maintained a
perpetual flame in his belly, which issuing in a glowing steam from both
his eyes, as well as his nostrils and his mouth, made his head appear in
a dark night like the skull of an ass wherein a roguish boy hath conveyed
a farthing-candle, to the terror of his Majesty’s liege subjects.
Therefore he made use of no other expedient to light himself home, but
was wont to say that a wise man was his own lanthorn.

He would shut his eyes as he walked along the streets, and if he happened
to bounce his head against a post or fall into the kennel (as he seldom
missed either to do one or both), he would tell the gibing apprentices
who looked on that he submitted with entire resignation, as to a trip or
a blow of fate, with whom he found by long experience how vain it was
either to wrestle or to cuff, and whoever durst undertake to do either
would be sure to come off with a swingeing fall or a bloody nose.  “It
was ordained,” said he {146b}, “some few days before the creation, that
my nose and this very post should have a rencounter, and therefore
Providence thought fit to send us both into the world in the same age,
and to make us countrymen and fellow-citizens.  Now, had my eyes been
open, it is very likely the business might have been a great deal worse,
for how many a confounded slip is daily got by man with all his foresight
about him.  Besides, the eyes of the understanding see best when those of
the senses are out of the way, and therefore blind men are observed to
tread their steps with much more caution, and conduct, and judgment than
those who rely with too much confidence upon the virtue of the visual
nerve, which every little accident shakes out of order, and a drop or a
film can wholly disconcert; like a lanthorn among a pack of roaring
bullies when they scour the streets, exposing its owner and itself to
outward kicks and buffets, which both might have escaped if the vanity of
appearing would have suffered them to walk in the dark.  But further, if
we examine the conduct of these boasted lights, it will prove yet a great
deal worse than their fortune.  It is true I have broke my nose against
this post, because Providence either forgot, or did not think it
convenient, to twitch me by the elbow and give me notice to avoid it.
But let not this encourage either the present age of posterity to trust
their noses unto the keeping of their eyes, which may prove the fairest
way of losing them for good and all.  For, O ye eyes, ye blind guides,
miserable guardians are ye of our frail noses; ye, I say, who fasten upon
the first precipice in view, and then tow our wretched willing bodies
after you to the very brink of destruction.  But alas! that brink is
rotten, our feet slip, and we tumble down prone into a gulf, without one
hospitable shrub in the way to break the fall—a fall to which not any
nose of mortal make is equal, except that of the giant Laurcalco {147a},
who was Lord of the Silver Bridge.  Most properly, therefore, O eyes, and
with great justice, may you be compared to those foolish lights which
conduct men through dirt and darkness till they fall into a deep pit or a
noisome bog.”

This I have produced as a scantling of Jack’s great eloquence and the
force of his reasoning upon such abstruse matters.

He was, besides, a person of great design and improvement in affairs of
devotion, having introduced a new deity, who has since met with a vast
number of worshippers, by some called Babel, by others Chaos, who had an
ancient temple of Gothic structure upon Salisbury plain, famous for its
shrine and celebration by pilgrims.

When he had some roguish trick to play, he would down with his knees, up
with his eyes, and fall to prayers though in the midst of the kennel.
Then it was that those who understood his pranks would be sure to get far
enough out of his way; and whenever curiosity attracted strangers to
laugh or to listen, he would of a sudden bespatter them with mud.

In winter he went always loose and unbuttoned, and clad as thin as
possible to let in the ambient heat, and in summer lapped himself close
and thick to keep it out {147b}.

In all revolutions of government, he would make his court for the office
of hangman-general, and in the exercise of that dignity, wherein he was
very dexterous, would make use of no other vizard than a long prayer.

He had a tongue so musculous and subtile, that he could twist it up into
his nose and deliver a strange kind of speech from thence.  He was also
the first in these kingdoms who began to improve the Spanish
accomplishment of braying; and having large ears perpetually exposed and
erected, he carried his art to such a perfection, that it was a point of
great difficulty to distinguish either by the view or the sound between
the original and the copy.

He was troubled with a disease the reverse to that called the stinging of
the tarantula, and would run dog-mad at the noise of music, especially a
pair of bagpipes {148a}.  But he would cure himself again by taking two
or three turns in Westminster Hall, or Billingsgate, or in a
boarding-school, or the Royal Exchange, or a state coffee-house.

He was a person that feared no colours, but mortally hated all, and upon
that account bore a cruel aversion to painters, insomuch that in his
paroxysms as he walked the streets, he would have his pockets loaded with
stones to pelt at the signs {148b}.

Having from his manner of living frequent occasions to wash himself, he
would often leap over head and ears into the water, though it were in the
midst of the winter, but was always observed to come out again much
dirtier, if possible, than he went in {148c}.

He was the first that ever found out the secret of contriving a
soporiferous medicine to be conveyed in at the ears {148d}.  It was a
compound of sulphur and balm of Gilead, with a little pilgrim’s salve.

He wore a large plaister of artificial caustics on his stomach, with the
fervour of which he could set himself a groaning like the famous board
upon application of a red-hot iron.

He would stand in the turning of a street, and calling to those who
passed by, would cry to one, “Worthy sir, do me the honour of a good slap
in the chaps;” to another, “Honest friend, pray favour me with a handsome
kick in the rear;” “Madam, shall I entreat a small box in the ear from
your ladyship’s fair hands?”  “Noble captain, lend a reasonable thwack,
for the love of God, with that cane of yours over these poor shoulders.”
And when he had by such earnest solicitations made a shift to procure a
basting sufficient to swell up his fancy and his sides, he would return
home extremely comforted, and full of terrible accounts of what he had
undergone for the public good.  “Observe this stroke,” said he, showing
his bare shoulders; “a plaguy janissary gave it me this very morning at
seven o’clock, as, with much ado, I was driving off the Great Turk.
Neighbours mine, this broken head deserves a plaister; had poor Jack been
tender of his noddle, you would have seen the Pope and the French King
long before this time of day among your wives and your warehouses.  Dear
Christians, the Great Moghul was come as far as Whitechapel, and you may
thank these poor sides that he hath not—God bless us—already swallowed up
man, woman, and child.”

It was highly worth observing the singular effects of that aversion or
antipathy which Jack and his brother Peter seemed, even to affectation,
to bear towards each other.  Peter had lately done some rogueries that
forced him to abscond, and he seldom ventured to stir out before night
for fear of bailiffs.  Their lodgings were at the two most distant parts
of the town from each other, and whenever their occasions or humours
called them abroad, they would make choice of the oddest, unlikely times,
and most uncouth rounds that they could invent, that they might be sure
to avoid one another.  Yet, after all this, it was their perpetual
fortune to meet, the reason of which is easy enough to apprehend, for the
frenzy and the spleen of both having the same foundation, we may look
upon them as two pair of compasses equally extended, and the fixed foot
of each remaining in the same centre, which, though moving contrary ways
at first, will be sure to encounter somewhere or other in the
circumference.  Besides, it was among the great misfortunes of Jack to
bear a huge personal resemblance with his brother Peter.  Their humour
and dispositions were not only the same, but there was a close analogy in
their shape, their size, and their mien; insomuch as nothing was more
frequent than for a bailiff to seize Jack by the shoulders and cry, “Mr.
Peter, you are the king’s prisoner;” or, at other times, for one of
Peter’s nearest friends to accost Jack with open arms: “Dear Peter, I am
glad to see thee; pray send me one of your best medicines for the worms.”
This, we may suppose, was a mortifying return of those pains and
proceedings Jack had laboured in so long, and finding how directly
opposite all his endeavours had answered to the sole end and intention
which he had proposed to himself, how could it avoid having terrible
effects upon a head and heart so furnished as his?  However, the poor
remainders of his coat bore all the punishment.  The orient sun never
entered upon his diurnal progress without missing a piece of it.  He
hired a tailor to stitch up the collar so close that it was ready to
choke him, and squeezed out his eyes at such a rate as one could see
nothing but the white.  What little was left of the main substance of the
coat he rubbed every day for two hours against a rough-cast wall, in
order to grind away the remnants of lace and embroidery, but at the same
time went on with so much violence that he proceeded a heathen
philosopher.  Yet after all he could do of this kind, the success
continued still to disappoint his expectation, for as it is the nature of
rags to bear a kind of mock resemblance to finery, there being a sort of
fluttering appearance in both, which is not to be distinguished at a
distance in the dark or by short-sighted eyes, so in those junctures it
fared with Jack and his tatters, that they offered to the first view a
ridiculous flaunting, which, assisting the resemblance in person and air,
thwarted all his projects of separation, and left so near a similitude
between them as frequently deceived the very disciples and followers of
both . . . _Desunt nonnulla_, . . .

The old Sclavonian proverb said well that it is with men as with asses;
whoever would keep them fast must find a very good hold at their ears.
Yet I think we may affirm, and it hath been verified by repeated
experience, that—

           “Effugiet tamen hæc sceleratus vincula Proteus.” {151a}

It is good, therefore, to read the maxims of our ancestors with great
allowances to times and persons; for if we look into primitive records we
shall find that no revolutions have been so great or so frequent as those
of human ears.  In former days there was a curious invention to catch and
keep them, which I think we may justly reckon among the _artes perditæ_;
and how can it be otherwise, when in these latter centuries the very
species is not only diminished to a very lamentable degree, but the poor
remainder is also degenerated so far as to mock our skilfullest tenure?
For if only the slitting of one ear in a stag hath been found sufficient
to propagate the defect through a whole forest, why should we wonder at
the greatest consequences, from so many loppings and mutilations to which
the ears of our fathers and our own have been of late so much exposed?
It is true, indeed, that while this island of ours was under the dominion
of grace, many endeavours were made to improve the growth of ears once
more among us.  The proportion of largeness was not only looked upon as
an ornament of the outward man, but as a type of grace in the inward.
Besides, it is held by naturalists that if there be a protuberancy of
parts in the superior region of the body, as in the ears and nose, there
must be a parity also in the inferior; and therefore in that truly pious
age the males in every assembly, according as they were gifted, appeared
very forward in exposing their ears to view, and the regions about them;
because Hippocrates {151b} tells us that when the vein behind the ear
happens to be cut, a man becomes a eunuch, and the females were nothing
backwarder in beholding and edifying by them; whereof those who had
already used the means looked about them with great concern, in hopes of
conceiving a suitable offspring by such a prospect; others, who stood
candidates for benevolence, found there a plentiful choice, and were sure
to fix upon such as discovered the largest ears, that the breed might not
dwindle between them.  Lastly, the devouter sisters, who looked upon all
extraordinary dilatations of that member as protrusions of zeal, or
spiritual excrescences, were sure to honour every head they sat upon as
if they had been cloven tongues, but especially that of the preacher,
whose ears were usually of the prime magnitude, which upon that account
he was very frequent and exact in exposing with all advantages to the
people in his rhetorical paroxysms, turning sometimes to hold forth the
one, and sometimes to hold forth the other; from which custom the whole
operation of preaching is to this very day among their professors styled
by the phrase of holding forth.

Such was the progress of the saints for advancing the size of that
member, and it is thought the success would have been every way
answerable, if in process of time a cruel king had not arose, who raised
a bloody persecution against all ears above a certain standard {152a};
upon which some were glad to hide their flourishing sprouts in a black
border, others crept wholly under a periwig; some were slit, others
cropped, and a great number sliced off to the stumps.  But of this more
hereafter in my general “History of Ears,” which I design very speedily
to bestow upon the public.

From this brief survey of the falling state of ears in the last age, and
the small care had to advance their ancient growth in the present, it is
manifest how little reason we can have to rely upon a hold so short, so
weak, and so slippery; and that whoever desires to catch mankind fast
must have recourse to some other methods.  Now he that will examine human
nature with circumspection enough may discover several handles, whereof
the six {152b} senses afford one apiece, beside a great number that are
screwed to the passions, and some few riveted to the intellect.  Among
these last, curiosity is one, and of all others affords the firmest
grasp; curiosity, that spur in the side, that bridle in the mouth, that
ring in the nose of a lazy, an impatient, and a grunting reader.  By this
handle it is that an author should seize upon his readers; which as soon
as he hath once compassed, all resistance and struggling are in vain, and
they become his prisoners as close as he pleases, till weariness or
dulness force him to let go his grip.

And therefore I, the author of this miraculous treatise, having hitherto,
beyond expectation, maintained by the aforesaid handle a firm hold upon
my gentle readers, it is with great reluctance that I am at length
compelled to remit my grasp, leaving them in the perusal of what remains
to that natural oscitancy inherent in the tribe.  I can only assure thee,
courteous reader, for both our comforts, that my concern is altogether
equal to thine, for my unhappiness in losing or mislaying among my papers
the remaining part of these memoirs, which consisted of accidents, turns,
and adventures, both new, agreeable, and surprising, and therefore
calculated in all due points to the delicate taste of this our noble age.
But alas! with my utmost endeavours I have been able only to retain a few
of the heads.  Under which there was a full account how Peter got a
protection out of the King’s Bench, and of a reconcilement between Jack
and him, upon a design they had in a certain rainy night to trepan
brother Martin into a spunging-house, and there strip him to the skin.
How Martin, with much ado, showed them both a fair pair of heels.  How a
new warrant came out against Peter, upon which Jack left him in the
lurch, stole his protection, and made use of it himself.  How Jack’s
tatters came into fashion in court and city; how he got upon a great
horse and ate custard {153}.  But the particulars of all these, with
several others which have now slid out of my memory, are lost beyond all
hopes of recovery.  For which misfortune, leaving my readers to condole
with each other as far as they shall find it to agree with their several
constitutions, but conjuring them by all the friendship that has passed
between us, from the title-page to this, not to proceed so far as to
injure their healths for an accident past remedy, I now go on to the
ceremonial part of an accomplished writer, and therefore by a courtly
modern least of all others to be omitted.


GOING too long is a cause of abortion as effectual, though not so
frequent, as going too short, and holds true especially in the labours of
the brain.  Well fare the heart of that noble Jesuit {155} who first
adventured to confess in print that books must be suited to their several
seasons, like dress, and diet, and diversions; and better fare our noble
notion for refining upon this among other French modes.  I am living fast
to see the time when a book that misses its tide shall be neglected as
the moon by day, or like mackerel a week after the season.  No man has
more nicely observed our climate than the bookseller who bought the copy
of this work.  He knows to a tittle what subjects will best go off in a
dry year, and which it is proper to expose foremost when the
weather-glass is fallen to much rain.  When he had seen this treatise and
consulted his almanac upon it, he gave me to understand that he had
manifestly considered the two principal things, which were the bulk and
the subject, and found it would never take but after a long vacation, and
then only in case it should happen to be a hard year for turnips.  Upon
which I desired to know, considering my urgent necessities, what he
thought might be acceptable this month.  He looked westward and said, “I
doubt we shall have a bit of bad weather.  However, if you could prepare
some pretty little banter (but not in verse), or a small treatise upon
the it would run like wildfire.  But if it hold up, I have already hired
an author to write something against Dr. Bentley, which I am sure will
turn to account.”

At length we agreed upon this expedient, that when a customer comes for
one of these, and desires in confidence to know the author, he will tell
him very privately as a friend, naming whichever of the wits shall happen
to be that week in the vogue, and if Durfey’s last play should be in
course, I had as lieve he may be the person as Congreve.  This I mention,
because I am wonderfully well acquainted with the present relish of
courteous readers, and have often observed, with singular pleasure, that
a fly driven from a honey-pot will immediately, with very good appetite,
alight and finish his meal on an excrement.

I have one word to say upon the subject of profound writers, who are
grown very numerous of late, and I know very well the judicious world is
resolved to list me in that number.  I conceive, therefore, as to the
business of being profound, that it is with writers as with wells.  A
person with good eyes can see to the bottom of the deepest, provided any
water be there; and that often when there is nothing in the world at the
bottom besides dryness and dirt, though it be but a yard and half under
ground, it shall pass, however, for wondrous deep, upon no wiser a reason
than because it is wondrous dark.

I am now trying an experiment very frequent among modern authors, which
is to write upon nothing, when the subject is utterly exhausted to let
the pen still move on; by some called the ghost of wit, delighting to
walk after the death of its body.  And to say the truth, there seems to
be no part of knowledge in fewer hands than that of discerning when to
have done.  By the time that an author has written out a book, he and his
readers are become old acquaintance, and grow very loathe to part; so
that I have sometimes known it to be in writing as in visiting, where the
ceremony of taking leave has employed more time than the whole
conversation before.  The conclusion of a treatise resembles the
conclusion of human life, which has sometimes been compared to the end of
a feast, where few are satisfied to depart _ut plenus vitæ conviva_.  For
men will sit down after the fullest meal, though it be only to dose or to
sleep out the rest of the day.  But in this latter I differ extremely
from other writers, and shall be too proud if, by all my labours, I can
have any ways contributed to the repose of mankind in times so turbulent
and unquiet as these.  Neither do I think such an employment so very
alien from the office of a wit as some would suppose; for among a very
polite nation in Greece {157} there were the same temples built and
consecrated to Sleep and the Muses, between which two deities they
believed the strictest friendship was established.

I have one concluding favour to request of my reader, that he will not
expect to be equally diverted and informed by every line or every page of
this discourse, but give some allowance to the author’s spleen and short
fits or intervals of dulness, as well as his own, and lay it seriously to
his conscience whether, if he were walking the streets in dirty weather
or a rainy day, he would allow it fair dealing in folks at their ease
from a window, to criticise his gate and ridicule his dress at such a

In my disposure of employments of the brain, I have thought fit to make
invention the master, and to give method and reason the office of its
lackeys.  The cause of this distribution was from observing it my
peculiar case to be often under a temptation of being witty upon occasion
where I could be neither wise nor sound, nor anything to the matter in
hand.  And I am too much a servant of the modern way to neglect any such
opportunities, whatever pains or improprieties I may be at to introduce
them.  For I have observed that from a laborious collection of seven
hundred and thirty-eight flowers and shining hints of the best modern
authors, digested with great reading into my book of common places, I
have not been able after five years to draw, hook, or force into common
conversation any more than a dozen.  Of which dozen the one moiety failed
of success by being dropped among unsuitable company, and the other cost
me so many strains, and traps, and ambages to introduce, that I at length
resolved to give it over.  Now this disappointment (to discover a
secret), I must own, gave me the first hint of setting up for an author,
and I have since found among some particular friends that it is become a
very general complaint, and has produced the same effects upon many
others.  For I have remarked many a towardly word to be wholly neglected
or despised in discourse, which hath passed very smoothly with some
consideration and esteem after its preferment and sanction in print.  But
now, since, by the liberty and encouragement of the press, I am grown
absolute master of the occasions and opportunities to expose the talents
I have acquired, I already discover that the issues of my observanda
begin to grow too large for the receipts.  Therefore I shall here pause
awhile, till I find, by feeling the world’s pulse and my own, that it
will be of absolute necessity for us both to resume my pen.

                                * * * * *

[In some early editions of “The Tale of a Tub,” Swift added, under the
title of “What Follows after Section IX.,” the following sketch for a
“History of Martin.”]


_Giving an account of his departure from Jack_, _and their setting up for
themselves_, _on which account they were obliged to travel_, _and meet
many disasters_; _finding no shelter near Peter’s habitation_, _Martin
succeeds in the North_; _Peter thunders against Martin for the loss of
the large revenue he used to receive from thence_; _Harry Huff sent
Marlin a challenge in fight_, _which he received_; _Peter rewards Harry
for the pretended victory_, _which encouraged Harry to huff Peter also_;
_with many other extraordinary adventures of the said Martin in several
places with many considerable persons_.

_With a digression concerning the nature_, _usefulness_, _and necessity
of wars and quarrels_.

HOW Jack and Martin, being parted, set up each for himself.  How they
travelled over hills and dales, met many disasters, suffered much from
the good cause, and struggled with difficulties and wants, not having
where to lay their head; by all which they afterwards proved themselves
to be right father’s sons, and Peter to be spurious.  Finding no shelter
near Peter’s habitation, Martin travelled northwards, and finding the
Thuringians, a neighbouring people, disposed to change, he set up his
stage first among them, where, making it his business to cry down Peter’s
powders, plasters, salves, and drugs, which he had sold a long time at a
dear rate, allowing Martin none of the profit, though he had been often
employed in recommending and putting them off, the good people, willing
to save their pence, began to hearken to Martin’s speeches.  How several
great lords took the hint, and on the same account declared for Martin;
particularly one who, not having had enough of one wife, wanted to marry
a second, and knowing Peter used not to grant such licenses but at a
swingeing price, he struck up a bargain with Martin, whom he found more
tractable, and who assured him he had the same power to allow such
things.  How most of the other Northern lords, for their own private
ends, withdrew themselves and their dependants from Peter’s authority,
and closed in with Martin.  How Peter, enraged at the loss of such large
territories, and consequently of so much revenue, thundered against
Martin, and sent out the strongest and most terrible of his bulls to
devour him; but this having no effect, and Martin defending himself
boldly and dexterously, Peter at last put forth proclamations declaring
Martin and all his adherents rebels and traitors, ordaining and requiring
all his loving subjects to take up arms, and to kill, burn, and destroy
all and every one of them, promising large rewards, &c., upon which
ensued bloody wars and desolation.

How Harry Huff {160a}, lord of Albion, one of the greatest bullies of
those days, sent a cartel to Martin to fight him on a stage at Cudgels,
quarter-staff, backsword, &c.  Hence the origin of that genteel custom of
prize-fighting so well known and practised to this day among those polite
islanders, though unknown everywhere else.  How Martin, being a bold,
blustering fellow, accepted the challenge; how they met and fought, to
the great diversion of the spectators; and, after giving one another
broken heads and many bloody wounds and bruises, how they both drew off
victorious, in which their example has been frequently imitated by great
clerks and others since that time.  How Martin’s friends applauded his
victory, and how Lord Harry’s friends complimented him on the same score,
and particularly Lord Peter, who sent him a fine feather for his cap
{160b}, to be worn by him and his successors as a perpetual mark for his
bold defence of Lord Peter’s cause.  How Harry, flushed with his
pretended victory over Martin, began to huff Peter also, and at last
downright quarrelled with him about a wench.  How some of Lord Harry’s
tenants, ever fond of changes, began to talk kindly of Martin, for which
he mauled them soundly, as he did also those that adhered to Peter.  How
he turned some out of house and hold, others he hanged or burnt, &c.

How Harry Huff, after a deal of blustering, wenching, and bullying, died,
and was succeeded by a good-natured boy {161a}, who, giving way to the
general bent of his tenants, allowed Martin’s notions to spread
everywhere, and take deep root in Ambition.  How, after his death, the
farm fell into the hands of a lady {161b}, who was violently in love with
Lord Peter.  How she purged the whole country with fire and sword,
resolved not to leave the name or remembrance of Martin.  How Peter
triumphed, and set up shops again for selling his own powders, plasters,
and salves, which were now declared the only true ones, Martin’s being
all declared counterfeit.  How great numbers of Martin’s friends left the
country, and, travelling up and down in foreign parts, grew acquainted
with many of Jack’s followers, and took a liking to many of their notions
and ways, which they afterwards brought back into ambition, now under
another landlady {161c}, more moderate and more cunning than the former.
How she endeavoured to keep friendship both with Peter and Martin, and
trimmed for some time between the two, not without countenancing and
assisting at the same time many of Jack’s followers; but finding, no
possibility of reconciling all the three brothers, because each would be
master, and allow no other salves, powders, or plasters to be used but
his own, she discarded all three, and set up a shop for those of her own
farm, well furnished with powders, plasters, salves, and all other drugs
necessary, all right and true, composed according to receipts made by
physicians and apothecaries of her own creating, which they extracted out
of Peter’s, and Martin’s, and Jack’s receipt-books, and of this medley or
hodge-podge made up a dispensatory of their own, strictly forbidding any
other to be used, and particularly Peter’s, from which the greatest part
of this new dispensatory was stolen.  How the lady, farther to confirm
this change, wisely imitating her father, degraded Peter from the rank he
pretended as eldest brother, and set up herself in his place as head of
the family, and ever after wore her father’s old cap with the fine
feather he had got from Peter for standing his friend, which has likewise
been worn with no small ostentation to this day by all her successors,
though declared enemies to Peter.  How Lady Bess and her physicians,
being told of many defects and imperfections in their new medley
dispensatory, resolve on a further alteration, to purge it from a great
deal of Peter’s trash that still remained in it, but were prevented by
her death.  How she was succeeded by a North-Country farmer {162a}, who
pretended great skill in the managing of farms, though he could never
govern his own poor little farm, nor yet this large new one after he got
it.  How this new landlord, to show his valour and dexterity, fought
against enchanters, weeds, giants, and windmills, and claimed great
honour for his victories.  How his successor, no wiser than he,
occasioned great disorders by the new methods he took to manage his
farms.  How he attempted to establish in his Northern farm the same
dispensatory {162b} used in the Southern, but miscarried, because Jack’s
powders, pills, salves, and plasters were there in great vogue.

How the author finds himself embarrassed for having introduced into his
history a new sect different from the three he had undertaken to treat
of; and how his inviolable respect to the sacred number three obliges him
to reduce these four, as he intends to do all other things, to that
number; and for that end to drop the former Martin and to substitute in
his place Lady Bess’s institution, which is to pass under the name of
Martin in the sequel of this true history.  This weighty point being
cleared, the author goes on and describes mighty quarrels and squabbles
between Jack and Martin; how sometimes the one had the better and
sometimes the other, to the great desolation of both farms, till at last
both sides concur to hang up the landlord {162c}, who pretended to die a
martyr for Martin, though he had been true to neither side, and was
suspected by many to have a great affection for Peter.


This being a matter of great consequence, the author intends to treat it
methodically and at large in a treatise apart, and here to give only some
hints of what his large treatise contains.  The state of war, natural to
all creatures.  War is an attempt to take by violence from others a part
of what they have and we want.  Every man, fully sensible of his own
merit, and finding it not duly regarded by others, has a natural right to
take from them all that he thinks due to himself; and every creature,
finding its own wants more than those of others, has the same right to
take everything its nature requires.  Brutes, much more modest in their
pretensions this way than men, and mean men more than great ones.  The
higher one raises his pretensions this way, the more bustle he makes
about them, and the more success he has, the greater hero.  Thus greater
souls, in proportion to their superior merit, claim a greater right to
take everything from meaner folks.  This the true foundation of grandeur
and heroism, and of the distinction of degrees among men.  War,
therefore, necessary to establish subordination, and to found cities,
kingdoms, &c., as also to purge bodies politic of gross humours.  Wise
princes find it necessary to have wars abroad to keep peace at home.
War, famine, and pestilence, the usual cures for corruption in bodies
politic.  A comparison of these three—the author is to write a panegyric
on each of them.  The greatest part of mankind loves war more than peace.
They are but few and mean-spirited that live in peace with all men.  The
modest and meek of all kinds always a prey to those of more noble or
stronger appetites.  The inclination to war universal; those that cannot
or dare not make war in person employ others to do it for them.  This
maintains bullies, bravoes, cut-throats, lawyers, soldiers, &c.  Most
professions would be useless if all were peaceable.  Hence brutes want
neither smiths nor lawyers, magistrates nor joiners, soldiers or
surgeons.  Brutes having but narrow appetites, are incapable of carrying
on or perpetuating war against their own species, or of being led out in
troops and multitudes to destroy one another.  These prerogatives proper
to man alone.  The excellency of human nature demonstrated by the vast
train of appetites, passions, wants, &c., that attend it.  This matter to
be more fully treated in the author’s panegyric on mankind.


How Jack, having got rid of the old landlord, set up another to his mind,
quarrelled with Martin, and turned him out of doors.  How he pillaged all
his shops, and abolished his whole dispensatory.  How the new landlord
{164a} laid about him, mauled Peter, worried Martin, and made the whole
neighbourhood tremble.  How Jack’s friends fell out among themselves,
split into a thousand parties, turned all things topsy-turvy, till
everybody grew weary of them; and at last, the blustering landlord dying,
Jack was kicked out of doors, a new landlord {164b} brought in, and
Martin re-established.  How this new landlord let Martin do what he
pleased, and Martin agreed to everything his pious landlord desired,
provided Jack might be kept low.  Of several efforts Jack made to raise
up his head, but all in vain; till at last the landlord died, and was
succeeded by one {164c} who was a great friend to Peter, who, to humble
Martin, gave Jack some liberty.  How Martin grew enraged at this, called
in a foreigner {164d} and turned out the landlord; in which Jack
concurred with Martin, because this landlord was entirely devoted to
Peter, into whose arms he threw himself, and left his country.  How the
new landlord secured Martin in the full possession of his former rights,
but would not allow him to destroy Jack, who had always been his friend.
How Jack got up his head in the North, and put himself in possession of a
whole canton, to the great discontent of Martin, who finding also that
some of Jack’s friends were allowed to live and get their bread in the
south parts of the country, grew highly discontented with the new
landlord he had called in to his assistance.  How this landlord kept
Martin in order, upon which he fell into a raging fever, and swore he
would hang himself or join in with Peter, unless Jack’s children were all
turned out to starve.  Of several attempts to cure Martin, and make peace
between him and Jack, that they might unite against Peter; but all made
ineffectual by the great address of a number of Peter’s friends, that
herded among Martin’s, and appeared the most zealous for his interest.
How Martin, getting abroad in this mad fit, looked so like Peter in his
air and dress, and talked so like him, that many of the neighbours could
not distinguish the one from the other; especially when Martin went up
and down strutting in Peter’s armour, which he had borrowed to fight Jack
{165a}.  What remedies were used to cure Martin’s distemper . . .

Here the author being seized with a fit of dulness, to which he is very
subject, after having read a poetical epistle addressed to . . . it
entirely composed his senses, so that he has not writ a line since.

_N.B._—Some things that follow after this are not in the MS., but seem to
have been written since, to fill up the place of what was not thought
convenient then to print.


The author, having laboured so long and done so much to serve and
instruct the public, without any advantage to himself, has at last
thought of a project which will tend to the great benefit of all mankind,
and produce a handsome revenue to the author.  He intends to print by
subscription, in ninety-six large volumes in folio, an exact description
of _Terra Australis incognita_, collected with great care, and prints
from 999 learned and pious authors of undoubted veracity.  The whole
work, illustrated with maps and cuts agreeable to the subject, and done
by the best masters, will cost but one guinea each volume to subscribers,
one guinea to be paid in advance, and afterwards a guinea on receiving
each volume, except the last.  This work will be of great use for all
men, and necessary for all families, because it contains exact accounts
of all the provinces, colonies, and mansions of that spacious country,
where, by a general doom, all transgressors of the law are to be
transported; and every one having this work may choose out the fittest
and best place for himself, there being enough for all, so as every one
shall be fully satisfied.

The author supposes that one copy of this work will be bought at the
public charge, or out of the parish rates, for every parish church in the
three kingdoms, and in all the dominions thereunto belonging.  And that
every family that can command £10 per annum, even though retrenched from
less necessary expenses, will subscribe for one.  He does not think of
giving out above nine volumes nearly; and considering the number
requisite, he intends to print at least 100,000 for the first edition.
He is to print proposals against next term, with a specimen, and a
curious map of the capital city with its twelve gates, from a known
author, who took an exact survey of it in a dream.  Considering the great
care and pains of the author, and the usefulness of the work, he hopes
every one will be ready, for their own good as well as his, to contribute
cheerfully to it, and not grudge him the profit he may have by it,
especially if he comes to a third or fourth edition, as he expects it
will very soon.

He doubts not but it will be translated into foreign languages by most
nations of Europe, as well as Asia and Africa, being of as great use to
all those nations as to his own; for this reason he designs to procure
patents and privileges for securing the whole benefit to himself from all
those different princes and states, and hopes to see many millions of
this great work printed in those different countries and languages before
his death.

After this business is pretty well established, he has promised to put a
friend on another project almost as good as this, by establishing
insurance offices everywhere for securing people from shipwreck and
several other accidents in their voyage to this country; and these
officers shall furnish, at a certain rate, pilots well versed in the
route, and that know all the rocks, shelves, quicksands, &c., that such
pilgrims and travellers may be exposed to.  Of these he knows a great
number ready instructed in most countries; but the whole scheme of this
matter he is to draw up at large and communicate to his friend.


{50}  The number of livings in England.—_Pate_.

{51a}  “Distinguished, new, told by no other tongue.”—_Horace_.

{51b}  “Reading prefaces, &c.”—_Swift’s note in the margin_.

{56a}  Plutarch.—_Swift’s note in the margin_.

{56b}  Xenophon.—_Swift’s note in the margin_, _marked_, _in future_,

{56c}  Spleen.—_Horace_.

{59}  “But to return, and view the cheerful skies,
In this the task and mighty labour lies.”

                                                    —_Dryden’s_ “_Virgil_”

{60}  “That the old may withdraw into safe ease.”

{61}  In his subsequent apology for “The Tale of a Tub,” Swift wrote of
these machines that, “In the original manuscript there was a description
of a fourth, which those who had the papers in their power blotted out,
as having something in it of satire that I suppose they thought was too
particular; and therefore they were forced to change it to the number
three, whence some have endeavoured to squeeze out a dangerous meaning
that was never thought on.  And indeed the conceit was half spoiled by
changing the numbers; that of four being much more cabalistic, and
therefore better exposing the pretended virtue of numbers, a superstition
then intended to be ridiculed.”

{62a}  “Under the rainy sky, in the meetings of three and of four ways.”

{62b}  Lucretius, lib. 2.—S.

{62c}  “’Tis certain, then, the voice that thus can wound;
Is all material body, every sound.”

{63}  To be burnt or worm-eaten.

{64}  The Royal Society first met at Gresham College, the resort of men
of science.  Will’s Coffee-House was the resort of wits and men of

{65a}  Viz., about moving the earth.—S.

{65b}  “Virtuoso experiments and modern comedies.”—S.

{67a}  He lived a thousand.—S.

{67b}  Viz., in the year 1697.—S.  Dryden died in 1700, and the
publication of the “Tale of a Tub,” written in 1697, was not until 1704.

{69a}  The title-page in the original was so torn that it was not
possible to recover several titles which the author here speaks of.—S.

{69b}  See Virgil translated, &c.—S.

{70}  Peter, the Church of Rome; Martin, the Reformed Church as
established by authority in England; Jack, the dissenters from the
English Church Establishment.  Martin, named probably from Martin Luther;
Jack, from John Calvin.  The coats are the coats of righteousness, in
which all servants of God should be clothed; alike in love and duty,
however they may differ in opinion.

{71}  Covetousness, ambition, and pride, which were the three great vices
that the ancient fathers inveighed against as the first corruptions of
Christianity.—_W. Wotton_.

{72a}  The tailor.

{72b}  A sacred monkey.

{75}  The Roman Catholics were considered by the Reformers to have added
to the simple doctrines of Christianity inventions of their own, and to
have laid especial stress on the adoption of them.  Upon Swift’s saying
of the three brothers, “Now the coats their father had left them were, it
is true, of very good cloth, and besides so neatly sewn that you would
swear they were all of a piece, but, at the same time, very plain, with
little or no ornament,” W. Wotton observes: “This is the distinguishing
character of the Christian religion.  _Christiana religio absoluta et
simplex_, was Ammianus Marcellinus’s description of it, who was himself a
heathen.”  But the learned Peter argues that if a doctrine cannot be
found, _totidem verbis_, in so many words, it may be found in so many
syllables, or, if that way fail, we shall make them out in a third way,
of so many letters.

{76}  _Quibusdam veteribus codicibus_ [some ancient MSS.].—S.

{77a}  There are two kinds—oral tradition and the written
record,—reference to the value attached to tradition in the Roman Church.

{77b}  The flame-coloured lining figures the doctrine of Purgatory; and
the codicil annexed, the Apocryphal books annexed to the Bible.  The
dog-keeper is said to be an allusion to the Apocryphal book of Tobit.

{78a}  Dread hell and subdue their lusts.

{78b}  Strained glosses and interpretations of the simple text.

{79a}  Images in churches.

{79b}  The locking up of the Gospel in the original Greek or in the Latin
of the Vulgate, and forbidding its diffusion in the language of the

{80a}  The Pope’s bulls and decretals, issued by his paternal authority,
that must determine questions of interpretation and tradition, or else
many absurd things would follow.

{80b}  Constantine the Great, from whom the Church of Rome was said to
have received the donation of St. Peter’s patrimony, and first derived
the wealth described by our old Reformers as “the fatal gift of

{84a}  See Wotton “Of Ancient and Modern Learning.”—S.

{84b}  Satire and panegyric upon critics.—S.

{85}  _Vide_ excerpta ex eo apud Photium—S.

{86}  “Near Helicon and round the learned hill
Grow trees whose blossoms with their odour kill.”—_Hawkesworth_.

{88}  A quotation after the manner of a great author.  _Vide_ Bentley’s
“Dissertation,” &c.—S.

{89}  “And how they’re disappointed when they’re pleased.”—_Congreve_,
_quoted by Pate_.

{95}  Refusing the cup of sacrament to the laity.  Thomas Warton observes
on the following passage its close resemblance to the speech of Panurge
in Rabelais, and says that Swift formed himself upon Rabelais.

{96}  Transubstantiation.

{98a}  The Reformation.

{98b}  The cross (_in hoc signo vinces_).  Pieces of the wood said to be
part of it were many in the churches.

{98c}  One miracle to be believed was that the Chapel of Loretto
travelled from the Holy Land to Italy.

{99a}  Made a true copy of the Bible in the language of the people.

{99b}  Gave the cup to the laity.

{99c}  Allowed marriages of priests.

{102a}  Homerus omnes res humanas poematis complexus est.—_Xenophon in

{102b}  A treatise written about fifty years ago by a Welsh gentleman of
Cambridge.  His name, as I remember, Vaughan, as appears by the answer to
it by the learned Dr. Henry More.  It is a piece of the most
unintelligible fustian that perhaps was ever published in any
language.—S.  This piece was by the brother of Henry Vaughan, the poet.

{110}  After the changes made by Martin that transformed the Church of
Rome into the Church of England, Jack’s proceedings made a rent from top
to bottom by the separation of the Presbyterians from the Church

{111a}  The galleries over the piazzas in the old Royal Exchange were
formerly filled with shops, kept chiefly by women.  Illustrations of this
feature in London life are to be found in Dekker’s “Shoemaker’s Holiday,”
and other plays.

{111b}  The contraction of the word mobile to mob first appeared in the
time of Charles the Second.

{112}  Jack the Bald, Calvin, from calvus, bald; Jack with a Lanthorn,
professing inward lights, Quakers; Dutch Jack, Jack of Leyden,
Anabaptists; French Hugh, the Huguenots; Tom the Beggar, the Gueuses of
Flanders; Knocking Jack of the North, John Knox of Scotland.  Æolists
pretenders to inspiration.

{116}  Herodotus, l. 4.—S.

{119a}  Bombast von Hohenheim—Paracelsus.

{119b}  Fanatical preachers of rebellion.

{120}  Pausanias, l. 8.—S.

{122}  The Quakers allowed women to preach.

{123}  The worshippers of wind or air found their evil spirits in the
chameleon, by which it was eaten, and the windmill, Moulin-à-vent, by
whose four hands it was beaten.

{126a}  Henry IV. of France.

{126b}  Ravaillac, who stabbed Henry IV.

{127a}  Swift’s contemporary, Louis XIV. of France.

{127b}  Western civet.  Paracelsus was said to have endeavoured to
extract a perfume from human excrement that might become as fashionable
as civet from the cat.  It was called _zibeta occidentalis_, the back
being, according to Paracelsus, the western part of the body.

{129}  Ep. Fam. vii. 10, to Trebatius, who, as the next sentence in the
letter shows, had not gone into England.

{135}  A lawyer’s coach-hire.—S.

{136}  The College of Physicians.

{140}  The bad critics.

{142}  A name under which Thomas Vaughan wrote.

{145a}  Revelations xxii. 11: “He which is filthy, let him be filthy
still;” “phrase of the will,” being Scripture phrase, of either
Testament, applied to every occasion, and often in the most unbecoming

{145b}  He did not kneel when he received the Sacrament.

{146a}  His inward lights.

{146b}  Predestination.

{147a}  _Vide_ Don Quixote.—S.

{147b}  Swift borrowed this from the customs of Moronia—Fool’s Land—in
Joseph Hall’s _Mundus Alter et Idem_.

{148a}  The Presbyterians objected to church-music, and had no organs in
their meeting-houses.

{148b}  Opposed to the decoration of church walls.

{148c}  Baptism by immersion.

{148d}  Preaching.

{151a}  “This wicked Proteus shall escape the chain.”—_Francis’s Horace_.

{151b}  Lib. de Aëre, Locis, et Aquis.—S.

{152a}  Charles II., by the Act of Uniformity, which drove two thousand
ministers of religion, including some of the most devout, in one day out
of the Church of England.

{152b}  “Including Scaliger’s,” is Swift’s note in the margin.  The sixth
sense was the “common sense” which united and conveyed to the mind as one
whole the information brought in by the other five.  Common sense did not
originally mean the kind of sense common among the people generally.  A
person wanting in common sense was one whose brain did not properly
combine impressions brought into it by the eye, the ear, &c.

{153}  Reference here is to the exercise by James II. of a dispensing
power which illegally protected Roman Catholics, and incidentally
Dissenters also; to the consequent growth of feeling against the Roman
Catholics.  “Jack on a great horse and eating custard” represents what
was termed the occasional conformity of men who “blasphemed custard
through the nose,” but complied with the law that required them to take
Sacrament in the Church of England as qualification for becoming a Lord
Mayor or holding any office of public authority.

{155}  Père d’Orleans.—S.

{157}  Trazenii, Pausan.  L. 2.—S.

{160a}  Henry VIII.

{160b}  “Fidei Defensor.”

{161a}  Edward VI.

{161b}  Queen Mary.

{161c}  Queen Elizabeth.

{162a}  James I.

{162b}  Episcopacy.

{162c}  Charles I.

{164a}  Cromwell.

{164b}  Charles II.

{164c}  James II.

{164d}  William III.

{165a}  High Church against Dissent.

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