No. 251. Tuesday, December 18, 1711. Addison.

--Lingua centum sunt, oraque centum. Ferrea Vox.

There is nothing which more astonishes a Foreigner, and frights a Country Squire, than the Cries of London. My good Friend Sir ROGER often declares, that he cannot get them out of his Head or go to Sleep for them, the first Week that he is in Town. On the contrary, WILL. HONEYCOMB calls them the Ramage de la Ville, and prefers them to the Sounds of Larks and Nightingales, with all the Musick of the Fields and Woods. I have lately received a Letter from some very odd Fellow upon this Subject, which I shall leave with my Reader, without saying any thing further of it.


I am a Man of all Business, and would willingly turn my Head to any thing for an honest Livelihood. I have invented several Projects for raising many Millions of Money without burthening the Subject, but I cannot get the Parliament to listen to me, who look upon me, forsooth, as a Crack, and a Projector; so that despairing to enrich either my self or my Country by this Publick-spiritedness, I would make some Proposals to you relating to a Design which I have very much at Heart, and which may procure me [a [1]] handsome Subsistence, if you will be pleased to recommend it to the Cities of London and Westminster.

The Post I would aim at, is to be Comptroller-General of the London Cries, which are at present under no manner of Rules or Discipline. I think I am pretty well qualified for this Place, as being a Man of very strong Lungs, of great Insight into all the Branches of our British Trades and Manufactures, and of a competent Skill in Musick.

The Cries of London may be divided into Vocal and Instrumental. As for the latter they are at present under a very great Disorder. A Freeman of London has the Privilege of disturbing a whole Street for an Hour together, with the Twanking of a Brass-Kettle or a Frying-Pan. The Watchman's Thump at Midnight startles us in our Beds, as much as the Breaking in of a Thief. The Sowgelder's Horn has indeed something musical in it, but this is seldom heard within the Liberties. I would therefore propose, that no Instrument of this Nature should be made use of, which I have not tuned and licensed, after having carefully examined in what manner it may affect the Ears of her Majesty's liege Subjects.

Vocal Cries are of a much larger Extent, and indeed so full of Incongruities and Barbarisms, that we appear a distracted City to Foreigners, who do not comprehend the Meaning of such enormous Outcries. Milk is generally sold in a note above Ela, and in Sounds so [exceeding [2]] shrill, that it often sets our Teeth [on [3]] Edge. The Chimney-sweeper is [confined [4]] to no certain Pitch; he sometimes utters himself in the deepest Base, and sometimes in the sharpest Treble; sometimes in the highest, and sometimes in the lowest Note of the Gamut. The same Observation might be made on the Retailers of Small-coal, not to mention broken Glasses or Brick-dust. In these therefore, and the like Cases, it should be my Care to sweeten and mellow the Voices of these itinerant Tradesmen, before they make their Appearance in our Streets; as also to accommodate their Cries to their respective Wares; and to take care in particular, that those may not make the most Noise who have the least to sell, which is very observable in the Venders of Card-matches, to whom I cannot but apply that old Proverb of Much Cry but little Wool.

Some of these last mentioned Musicians are so very loud in the Sale of these trifling Manufactures, that an honest Splenetick Gentleman of my Acquaintance bargained with one of them never to come into the Street where he lived: But what was the Effect of this Contract? Why, the whole Tribe of Card-match-makers which frequent that Quarter, passed by his Door the very next Day, in hopes of being bought off after the same manner.

It is another great Imperfection in our London Cries, that there is no just Time nor Measure observed in them. Our News should indeed be published in a very quick Time, because it is a Commodity that will not keep cold. It should not, however, be cried with the same Precipitation as Fire: Yet this is generally the Case. A Bloody Battle alarms the Town from one End to another in an Instant. Every Motion of the French is Published in so great a Hurry, that one would think the Enemy were at our Gates. This likewise I would take upon me to regulate in such a manner, that there should be some Distinction made between the spreading of a Victory, a March, or an Incampment, a Dutch, a Portugal or a Spanish Mail. Nor must I omit under this Head, those excessive Alarms with which several boisterous Rusticks infest our Streets in Turnip Season; and which are more inexcusable, because these are Wares which are in no Danger of Cooling upon their Hands.

There are others who affect a very slow Time, and are, in my Opinion, much more tuneable than the former; the Cooper in particular swells his last Note in an hollow Voice, that is not without its Harmony; nor can I forbear being inspired with a most agreeable Melancholy, when I hear that sad and solemn Air with which the Public are very often asked, if they have any Chairs to mend? Your own Memory may suggest to you many other lamentable Ditties of the same Nature, in which the Musick is wonderfully languishing and melodious.

I am always pleased with that particular Time of the Year which is proper for the pickling of Dill and Cucumbers; but alas, this Cry, like the Song of the [Nightingale [5]], is not heard above two Months. It would therefore be worth while to consider, whether the same Air might not in some Cases be adapted to other Words.

It might likewise deserve our most serious Consideration, how far, in a well-regulated City, those Humourists are to be tolerated, who, not contented with the traditional Cries of their Forefathers, have invented particular Songs and Tunes of their own: Such as was, not many Years since, the Pastryman, commonly known by the Name of the Colly-Molly-Puff; and such as is at this Day the Vender of Powder and Wash-balls, who, if I am rightly informed, goes under the Name of Powder-Watt.

I must not here omit one particular Absurdity which runs through this whole vociferous Generation, and which renders their Cries very often not only incommodious, but altogether useless to the Publick; I mean, that idle Accomplishment which they all of them aim at, of Crying so as not to be understood. Whether or no they have learned this from several of our affected Singers, I will not take upon me to say; but most certain it is, that People know the Wares they deal in rather by their Tunes than by their Words; insomuch that I have sometimes seen a Country Boy run out to buy Apples of a Bellows-mender, and Gingerbread from a Grinder of Knives and Scissars. Nay so strangely infatuated are some very eminent Artists of this particular Grace in a Cry, that none but then Acquaintance are able to guess at their Profession; for who else can know, that Work if I had it, should be the Signification of a Corn-Cutter?

Forasmuch therefore as Persons of this Rank are seldom Men of Genius or Capacity, I think it would be very proper, that some Man of good Sense and sound Judgment should preside over these Publick Cries, who should permit none to lift up their Voices in our Streets, that have not tuneable Throats, and are not only able to overcome the Noise of the Croud, and the Rattling of Coaches, but also to vend their respective Merchandizes in apt Phrases, and in the most distinct and agreeable Sounds. I do therefore humbly recommend my self as a Person rightly qualified for this Post; and if I meet with fitting Encouragement, shall communicate some other Projects which I have by me, that may no less conduce to the Emolument of the Public.

_I am

SIR_, &c.,

Ralph Crotchet.

[Footnote 1: an]

[Footnote 2: exceedingly]

[Footnote 3: an]

[Footnote 4: contained]

[Footnote 5: Nightingales]



As it is natural to have a Fondness for what has cost us so much Time and Attention to produce, I hope Your Grace will forgive an endeavour to preserve this Work from Oblivion, by affixing to it Your memorable Name.

I shall not here presume to mention the illustrious Passages of Your Life, which are celebrated by the whole Age, and have been the Subject of the most sublime Pens; but if I could convey You to Posterity in your private Character, and describe the Stature, the Behaviour and Aspect of the Duke of Marlborough, I question not but it would fill the Reader with more agreeable Images, and give him a more delightful Entertainment than what can be found in the following, or any other Book.

One cannot indeed without Offence, to Your self, observe, that You excel the rest of Mankind in the least, as well as the greatest Endowments. Nor were it a Circumstance to be mentioned, if the Graces and Attractions of Your Person were not the only Preheminence You have above others, which is left, almost, unobserved by greater Writers.

Yet how pleasing would it be to those who shall read the surprising Revolutions in your Story, to be made acquainted with your ordinary Life and Deportment? How pleasing would it be to hear that the same Man who had carried Fire and Sword into the Countries of all that had opposed the Cause of Liberty, and struck a Terrour into the Armies of France, had, in the midst of His high Station, a Behaviour as gentle as is usual in the first Steps towards Greatness? And if it were possible to express that easie Grandeur, which did at once perswade and command; it would appear as clearly to those to come, as it does to his Contemporaries, that all the great Events which were brought to pass under the Conduct of so well-govern'd a Spirit, were the Blessings of Heaven upon Wisdom and Valour: and all which seem adverse fell out by divine Permission, which we are not to search into.

You have pass'd that Year of Life wherein the most able and fortunate Captain, before Your Time, declared he had lived enough both to Nature and to Glory; [2] and Your Grace may make that Reflection with much more Justice. He spoke it after he had arrived at Empire, by an Usurpation upon those whom he had enslaved; but the Prince of Mindleheim may rejoice in a Sovereignty which was the Gift of Him whose Dominions he had preserved.

Glory established upon the uninterrupted Success of honourable Designs and Actions is not subject to Diminution; nor can any Attempts prevail against it, but in the Proportion which the narrow Circuit of Rumour bears to the unlimited Extent of Fame.

We may congratulate Your Grace not only upon your high Atchievements, but likewise upon the happy Expiration of Your Command, by which your Glory is put out of the Power of Fortune: And when your Person shall be so too, that the Author and Disposer of all things may place You in that higher Mansion of Bliss and Immortality which is prepared for good Princes, Lawgivers, and Heroes, when HE in HIS due Time removes them from the Envy of Mankind, is the hearty Prayer of,

My LORD, Your Graces Most Obedient, Most Devoted Humble Servant, THE SPECTATOR.

[Footnote 1: John Churchill, afterwards Duke of Marlborough, was at this time 62 years old, and past the zenith of his fame. He was born at Ashe, in Devonshire, in 1650, the son of Sir Winston Churchill, an adherent of Charles I. At the age of twelve John Churchill was placed as page in the household of the Duke of York. He first distinguished himself as a soldier in the defence of Tangier against the Moors. Between 1672 and 1677 he served in the auxiliary force sent by our King Charles II. to his master, Louis XIV. In 1672, after the siege of Maestricht, Churchill was praised by Louis at the head of his army, and made Lieutenant-colonel. Continuing in the service of the Duke of York, Churchill, about 1680, married Sarah Jennings, favourite of the Princess Anne. In 1682 Charles II. made Churchill a Baron, and three years afterwards he was made Brigadier-general when sent to France to announce the accession of James II. On his return he was made Baron Churchill of Sandridge. He helped to suppress Monmouth's insurrection, but before the Revolution committed himself secretly to the cause of the Prince of Orange; was made, therefore, by William III., Earl of Marlborough and Privy Councillor. After some military service he was for a short time imprisoned in the Tower on suspicion of treasonous correspondence with the exiled king. In 1697 he was restored to favour, and on the breaking out of the War of the Spanish Succession in 1701 he was chief commander of the Forces in the United Provinces. In this war his victories made him the most famous captain of the age. In December, 1702, he was made Duke, with a pension of five thousand a year. In the campaign of 1704 Marlborough planned very privately, and executed on his own responsibility, the boldest and most distant march that had ever been attempted in our continental wars. France, allied with Bavaria, was ready to force the way to Vienna, but Marlborough, quitting the Hague, carried his army to the Danube, where he took by storm a strong entrenched camp of the enemy upon the Schellenberg, and cruelly laid waste the towns and villages of the Bavarians, who never had taken arms; but, as he said, we are now going to burn and destroy the Electors country, to oblige him to hearken to terms. On the 13th of August, the army of Marlborough having been joined by the army under Prince Eugene, battle was given to the French and Bavarians under Marshal Tallard, who had his head-quarters at the village of Plentheim, or Blenheim. At the cost of eleven thousand killed and wounded in the armies of Marlborough and Eugene, and fourteen thousand killed and wounded on the other side, a decisive victory was secured, Tallard himself being made prisoner, and 26 battalions and 12 squadrons capitulating as prisoners of war. 121 of the enemy's standards and 179 colours were brought home and hung up in Westminster Hall. Austria was saved, and Louis XIV. utterly humbled at the time when he had expected confidently to make himself master of the destinies of Europe.

For this service Marlborough was made by the Emperor a Prince of the Empire, and his Most Illustrious Cousin as the Prince of Mindelsheim. At home he was rewarded with the manor of Woodstock, upon which was built for him the Palace of Blenheim, and his pension of £5000 from the Post-office was annexed to his title. There followed other victories, of which the series was closed with that of Malplaquet, in 1709, for which a national thanksgiving was appointed. Then came a change over the face of home politics. England was weary of the war, which Marlborough was accused of prolonging for the sake of the enormous wealth he drew officially from perquisites out of the different forms of expenditure upon the army. The Tories gathered strength, and in the beginning of 1712 a commission on a charge of taking money from contractors for bread, and 2 1/2 per cent, from the pay of foreign troops, having reported against him, Marlborough was dismissed from all his employments. Sarah, his duchess, had also been ousted from the Queens favour, and they quitted England for a time, Marlborough writing, Provided that my destiny does not involve any prejudice to the public, I shall be very content with it; and shall account myself happy in a retreat in which I may be able wisely to reflect on the vicissitudes of this world. It was during this season of his unpopularity that Steele and Addison dedicated to the Duke of Marlborough the fourth volume of the Spectator.]

[Footnote 2: Julius Cæsar.]

Translation of motto:
VIRG. AEn. vi. 625.
'--A hundred mouths, a hundred tongues,
And throats of brass inspired with iron lungs.'