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consequence to the glory and grandeur of the Roman nation, that he could not choose but tell them, that all other crimes put together could not equalize theirs, for they were guilty of murder in not suffering those to be born which should proceed from them; of impiety, in causing the names and honours of their ancestors to cease; and of sacrilege, in destroying their kind which proceed from the immortal gods, and human nature, the principal thing consecrated to them : therefore, in this respect, they dissolved the government in disobeying its laws; betrayed their country by making it barren and waste ; nay, and demolished their city, in depriving it of inhabitants. And he was sensible that all this proceeded not from any kind of virtue or abstinence, but from a looseness and wantonness which ought never to be encouraged in any civil government. There are no particulars dwelt upon that let us into the conduct of these
young worthies, whom this great emperor treated with so much justice and indignation ; but any one who observes what passes in this town may very well frame to himself a notion of their riots and debaucheries all night, and their apparent preparations for them all day. It is not to be doubted but these Romans never passed any of their time innocently but when they were asleep, and never slept but when they were weary and heavy with excesses, and slept only to prepare themselves for the repetition of them. If you did your duty as a Spectator, you would carefully examine into the number of births, marriages, and burials ; and when you have deducted out of your deaths all such as went out of the world without marrying, then cast up the number of both sexes born within such a term of years last past; you might, from the single people departed, make some useful inferences or guesses how many there are left unmarried, and raise some useful scheme for the amendmentof the age in that particular. I have not patience to proceed gravely on this abominable libertinism; for I cannot
but reflect, as I am writing to you, upon a certain lascivious manner which all our young gentlemen use in public, and examine our eyes with a petulancy in their own which is a downright affront to modesty. A disdainful look on such an occasion is returned with a countenance rebuked, but by averting their eyes from the woman of honour and decency to some flippant creature, who will, as the phrase is, be kinder. I must set down things as they come into my head, without standing upon order. Ten thousand to one but the gay gentleman who stared, at the same time is a housekeeper ; for you must know they have gotinto a humour of late of being very regular in their sins; and a young fellow shall keep his four maids and three footmen with the greatest gravity imaginable. There are no less than șix of these venerable housekeepers of my acquaintance. This humour among young men of condition is imitated by all the world below them, and a general dissolution* of manners arises from this one source of libertinism, without shame or reprehension in the male youth. It is from this one fountain that so many beautiful helpless young women are sacrificed and given up to lewdness, shame, poverty, and disease. It is to this also that so many excellent young women, who might be patterns of conjugal affection, and parents of a worthy race, pine under unhappy passions for such as have not attention enough to observe, or virtue enough to prefer, them to their conimon wenches. Now, Mr. Spectator, I must be free to own to you, that I myself suffer a tasteless insipid being, from a consideration I have for a man who would not, as he has said in my hearing, resign his liberty, as he calls it, for all the beauty and wealth the whole sex is possessed of.
Such calamities as these would not happen, if it could possibly be brought about, that by fining bachelors as Papists convict, or the like, they were distinguished to their disadvantage from the rest of the world, who fall in with the measures of civil society. Lest you' should think I speak this as being, according to the senseless rude phrase, a malicious old maid, shall acquaint you I am a woman of condition, not now three-and-twenty, and have had proposals from at least ten different men, and the greater number of them have upon the upshot refused me. Something or other is always amiss when the lover takes to some new wench. A settlement is easily excepted againstz and there is very little recourse to avoid the vicious part of our youth, but throwing one's self away upon some lifeless blockhead, who, though he is without vice, is also without virtue. Now-a-days we must be contented if we can get creatures which are not bad; good are not to be expected. Mr. Spectator, I sat near you the other day, and think I did not displease your spectatorial eye-sight; which I shall be a better judge of when I see whether you take notice of these evils your own way, or print this memorial dictated from the disdainful heavy heart of,
Sir, your most obedient humble servant, T.
N° 529. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 1712.
Singula quæque locum teneant sortita decenter.
HOR. Ars Poet. 92. Let every thing have its due place.-RoscoMMON. U PON the hearing of several late disputes concerning rank and precedence, I could not forbear amusing
myself with some observations which I have made upon the learned world, as to this great particular. By the learned world I here mean at large all those who are any way concerned in works of literature, whether in the writing, printing, or repeating part. To begin with the writers. I have observed that the author of a folio, in all companies and conversations, sets himself above the author of a quarto; the author of a quarto above the author of an octavo; and so on, by a gradual descent and subordination, to an author in twenty-fours. This distinction is so well observed, that in an assembly of the learned, I have seen a folio writer place himself in an elbow chair, when the author of a duodecimo has, out of a just deference to his superior quality, seated himself upon a squab. In a word, authors are usually ranged in company after the same manner as their works are
upon a shelf.
The most minute pocket author hath beneath him the writers of all pamphlets, or works that are only stitched. As for the pamphleteer, he takes place of none but the authors of single sheets, and of that fraternity who publish their labours on certain days, or on every day of the week. I do not find that the precedency among the individuals in this latter class of writers is yet settled.
For my own part, I have had so strict a regard to the ceremonial which prevails in the learned world, that I never presumed to take place of a pamphleteer, until my daily papers were gathered into those two first volumes which have already appeared. After which, I naturally jumped over the heads not only of all pamphleteers, but of every octavo writer in Great Britain that had written but one book. I am also informed by my bookseller, that six octavos have at all times been looked upon as an equivalent to a folio; which I take notice of the rather, because I would not have the learned world surprised if, after the publication of half a dozen volumes, I take my place accordingly. When my scattered forces are thus rallied, and reduced into regular bodies, I flatter myself that I shall make no despicable figure at the head of them.
Whether these rules, which have been received time out of mind in the commonwealth of letters, were not originally established with an eye to our paper-manufacture, I shall leave to the discussion of others; and shall only remark farther in this place, that all printers and booksellers take the wall of one another according to the above-mentioned merits of the authors to whom they respectively belong;
I come now to that point of precedency which is settled among the three learned professions by the wisdom of our laws. I need not here take notice of the rank which is allotted to every doctor in each of these professions, who are all of them, though not so high as knights, yet a degree above squires : this last order of men, being the illiterate body of the nation, are consequently thrown together into a class below the three learned professions*. I mention this for the sake of several rural 'squires, whose reading does not rise so high as to The present State of England, and who are often apt to usurp that precedency which by the laws of their country is not due to them. Their want of learning, which has planted them in this station, may in some measure extenuate their misdemeanour; and our professors ought to pardon them when they offend in this particular, considering that they are in a state of ignorance, or, as we usually say, do not know their right hand from their left.
In some universities, that of Dublin iv particular, they have doctors of music, who take rank after the doctors of the three learned professions, and above esquires.