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proving, by undeniable arguments, that I was not able to pen a letter which I had written the day be. fore. Nay, I have heard some of them throwing out ambiguous expressions, and giving the company reason to suspect that they themselves did me the hou nour to send me such and such a particular epistle, which happened to be talked of with the esteem or approbation of those who were present. The rigid critics are so afraid of allowing me any thing which does not belong to me, that they will not be positive whether the lion, the wild boar, and the flower-pots in the play-house, did not actually write those letters which came to me in their names. I must therefore inform these gentlemen that I often choose this way of casting my thoughts into a letter, for the following reasons ; First, out of the policy of those who try their jest upon another, before they own it themselves. Secondly, because I would extort a little praise from such who will never applaud any thing whose author is known and certain. Thirdly, bea cause it gave me an opportunity of introducing a great variety of characters into my work, which could not have been done, had I always written in the person of the Spectator. Fourthly, because the dignity spectatorial would have suffered, had I published as from myself those several ludicrous compositions which I have ascribed to fictitious names and characters. And lastly, because they often serve to bring in more naturally, such additional reflections as have been placed at the end of them.
There are others who have likewise done me a very particular honour, though undesignedly. These are such who will needs have it, that I have translated or borrowed many of my thoughts out of books which are written in other languages. I have heard of a person who is more famous for his library than his learning, that has asserted this more than once in his private conversation. Were it true, I am sure he could not speak it from his own knowledge ; but had he read the books which he has collected, he would find this accusation to be wholly groundless. Those who are truly learned will acquit ine in this point, in which I have been so far from offending, that I have been scrupulous perhaps to a fault in quoting the authors of several passages which I might have made my own. But as this assertion is in reality an encomium on what I have published, I ought rather to glory in it, than endeavour to con. sute it.
Some are so very willing to alienate from me that small reputation which might accrue to me from any of these my speculations, that they attribute some of the best of them to those imaginary manuscripts with which I have introduced them. There are others I must confess, whose objections have given me a greater concern, as they seem to reflect, under this head, rather on my morality, than on my invention, These are they who say an author is guilty of false. hood, when he talks to the public of manuscripts which he never saw, or describes scenes of action or discourse in which he was never engaged. But these gentlemen would do well to consider, there is not a fable or parable which ever was made use of, that is not liable to this exception ; since nothing, accord. ing to this notion, can be related innocently, which was not once matter of fact. Besides, I think the most ordinary reader may be able to discover by my way of writing, what I deliver in these occurrences as truth, and what as fiction.
Since I am unawares engaged in answering the several objections which have been made against these my works, I must take notice that there are some who affirm a paper of this nature should always turn upon diverting subjects, and others who find fault with every one of them that hath not an immediate tendency to the advancement of religion
or learning. I shall leave these gentlemen to dispute it out among themselves ; since I see one half of my conduct patronized by each side. Were I serious on an improper subject; or trifling in a serious one, I should deservedly draw upon me the censure of my readers; or were I conscious of any thing in my writings that is not innocent at least, or that the greatest part of them were not sincerely designed to discountenance vice and ignorance, and support the interest of truth, wisdom, and virtue, I should be more severe upon myself than the public is disposed to be. In the mean while I desire my reader to consider every particular paper or discourse as a distinct tract by itself, and independent of every thing that goes before or after it.
I shall end this paper with the following letter, which was really sent me, as some others have been which I have published, and for which I must own myself indebted to their respective writers.
( I WAS this morning in a company of your well-wishers, when we read over with great satisfaction, Tully's observations on action adapted to the British theatre : though, by the way, we were very sorry to find that you have disposed of another mem. ber of your club. Poor Sir Roger is dead, and the worthy clergyman dying. Captain Sentry has taken possession of a fair estate ; Will Honeycomb has married a farmer's daughter; and the Templar withdraws himself into the business of his own profession. What will all this end in? We are afraid it portends no good to the public. Unless you very speedily fix a day for the election of new members, we are under apprehensions of losing the British Spectator. I hear of a party of ladies who intend to address you on this subject; and question not, if you do not give us the slip very suddenly, that you VOL. VII.
will receive addresses from all parts of the kingdom to continue so useful a work. Pray deliver us out of this perplexity, and among the multitude of your readers you will particularly oblige,
i : - Your most sincere friend and servant, .
No. DXLIII. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22.
............ Facies non omnibus una, t; ; . Nec diversa tamen............ on -, OVID.
Though nor alike, consenting parts agree,
THOSE who were skilful in anatomy among the ancients, concluded from the outward and inward make of a human body, that it was the work of a being transcendently wise and powerful. As the world grew more enlightened in this art, their discoveries gave them fresh opportunities of admiring the conduct of Providence in the formation of a human body. Galen was converted by his dissections, and could not but own a Supreme Being upon a survey of his handy-work. There were; indeed, many parts of which the old anatomists did not know the certain use; but as they saw that most of those which they examined were adapted with admi. rable art to their several functions, they did not question but those, whose uses they could not determine, were contrived with the same wisdom for respective ends and purposes. Since the circulation of the blood has been found out, and many other great discoveries have been made by our modern
anatomists, we see new wonders in the human frame, and discern several important uses for those parts, which uses the ancients knew nothing of. In short, the body of man is such a subject as stands the utmost test of examination. Though it appears formed with the nicest wisdom, upon the most superficial survey of it, it still mends upon the search, and produces our surprise and amazement in proportion as we pry into it. What I have here said of a human body, may be applied to the body of every animal which has been the subject of anatomical observations.. i ;
The body of an animal is an object adequate to our sense3. It is a particular system of Providence that lies in a narrow compass. The eye is able to command it, and by successive enquiries can search into all its parts. Could the body of the whole earth, or indeed the whole universe, be thus submitted to the examination of our senses, were it not too big and disproportioned for our enquiries, too unwieldy, for the management of the eye and hand, there is no question but it would appear to us as curious and well contrived a frame as that of an human bo-dy. We should see the same concatenation and subserviency, the same necessity and usefulness, the same beauty and harmony in all and every of its parts, as what we discover in the body of every single animal. 1. The more extended our reason is, and the more : able to grapple with immense objects, the greater : still are those discoveries which it makes of wisdom
and providence in the works of the creation. A Sir · Isaac Newton, who stands up as the miracle of the
presentage, can look through a whole planetary sys: tem"; consider it in its weight, number, and mea
sure, and draw from it as many demonstrations of : infinite power and wisdom, as a more confined understanding is able to deduce from the system of an human body.