No. 394. Monday, June 2, 1712. Steele.

Bene colligitur hæc Pueris et Mulierculis et Servis et Servorum simillimis Liberis esse grata. Gravi vero homini et ea quæ fiunt Judicio certo ponderanti probari posse nullo modo.'

I have been considering the little and frivolous things which give Men Accesses to one another, and Power with each other, not only in the common and indifferent Accidents of Life, but also in Matters of greater importance. You see in Elections for Members to sit in Parliament, how far saluting Rows of old Women, drinking with Clowns, and being upon a level with the lowest Part of Mankind in that wherein they themselves are lowest, their Diversions, will carry a Candidate. A Capacity for prostituting a Man's Self in his Behaviour, and descending to the present Humour of the Vulgar, is perhaps as good an Ingredient as any other for making a considerable Figure in the World; and if a Man has nothing else, or better, to think of, he could not make his way to Wealth and Distinction by properer Methods, than studying the particular Bent or Inclination of People with whom he converses, and working from the Observation of such their Biass in all Matters wherein he has any Intercourse with them: For his Ease and Comfort he may assure himself, he need not be at the Expence of any great Talent or Virtue to please even those who are possessd of the highest Qualifications. Pride in some particular Disguise or other, (often a Secret to the proud Man himself) is the most ordinary Spring of Action among Men. You need no more than to discover what a Man values himself for; then of all things admire that Quality, but be sure to be failing in it your self in comparison of the Man whom you court. I have heard, or read, of a Secretary of State in Spain, who served a Prince who was happy in an elegant use of the Latin Tongue, and often writ Dispatches in it with his own Hand. The King shewed his Secretary a Letter he had written to a foreign Prince, and under the Colour of asking his Advice, laid a Trap for his Applause. The honest Man read it as a faithful Counsellor, and not only excepted against his tying himself down too much by some Expressions, but mended the Phrase in others. You may guess the Dispatches that Evening did not take much longer Time. Mr. Secretary, as soon as he came to his own House, sent for his eldest Son, and communicated to him that the Family must retire out of Spain as soon as possible; for, said he, the King knows I understand Latin better than he does.

This egregious Fault in a Man of the World, should be a Lesson to all who would make their Fortunes: But a Regard must be carefully had to the Person with whom you have to do; for it is not to be doubted but a great Man of common Sense must look with secret Indignation or bridled Laughter, on all the Slaves who stand round him with ready Faces to approve and smile at all he says in the gross. It is good Comedy enough to observe a Superior talking half Sentences, and playing an humble Admirer's Countenance from one thing to another, with such Perplexity that he knows not what to sneer in Approbation of. But this kind of Complaisance is peculiarly the Manner of Courts; in all other Places you must constantly go farther in Compliance with the Persons you have to do with, than a mere Conformity of Looks and Gestures. If you are in a Country Life, and would be a leading Man, a good Stomach, a loud Voice, and a rustick Chearfulness will go a great way, provided you are able to drink, and drink any thing. But I was just now going to draw the Manner of Behaviour I would advise People to practise under some Maxim, and intimated, that every one almost was governed by his Pride. There was an old Fellow about forty Years ago so peevish and fretful, though a Man of Business, that no one could come at him: But he frequented a particular little Coffee-house, where he triumphed over every body at Trick-track and Baggammon. The way to pass his Office well, was first to be insulted by him at one of those Games in his leisure Hours; for his Vanity was to shew, that he was a Man of Pleasure as well as Business. Next to this sort of Insinuation, which is called in all Places (from its taking its Birth in the Housholds of Princes) making one's Court, the most prevailing way is, by what better-bred People call a Present, the Vulgar a Bribe. I humbly conceive that such a thing is conveyed with more Gallantry in a Billet-doux that should be understood at the Bank, than in gross Money; But as to stubborn People, who are so surly as to accept of neither Note or Cash, having formerly dabbled in Chymistry, I can only say that one part of Matter asks one thing, and another another, to make it fluent; but there is nothing but may be dissolved by a proper Mean: Thus the Virtue which is too obdurate for Gold or Paper, shall melt away very kindly in a Liquid. The Island of Barbadoes (a shrewd People) manage all their Appeals to Great-Britain, by a skilful Distribution of Citron-Water among the Whisperers about Men in Power. Generous Wines do every Day prevail, and that in great Points, where ten thousand times their Value would have been rejected with Indignation.

But to wave the Enumeration of the sundry Ways of applying by Presents, Bribes, Management of People, Passions and Affections, in such a Manner as it shall appear that the Virtue of the best Man is by one Method or other corruptible; let us look out for some Expedient to turn those Passions and Affections on the side of Truth and Honour. When a Man has laid it down for a Position, that parting with his Integrity, in the minutest Circumstance, is losing so much of his very Self, Self-love will become a Virtue. By this means Good and Evil will be the only Objects of Dislike and Approbation; and he that injures any Man, has effectually wounded the Man of this Turn as much as if the Harm had been to himself. This seems to be the only Expedient to arrive at an Impartiality; and a Man who follows the Dictates of Truth and right Reason, may by Artifice be led into Error, but never can into Guilt.



My Lord,

Very many Favours and Civilities (received from You in a private Capacity) which I have no other Way to acknowledge, will, I hope, excuse this Presumption; but the Justice I, as a Spectator, owe your Character, places me above the want of an Excuse. Candor and Openness of Heart, which shine in all your Words and Actions, exacts the highest Esteem from all who have the Honour to know You, and a winning Condescention to all subordinate to You, made Business a Pleasure to those who executed it under You, at the same time that it heightened Her Majesty's Favour to all who had the Happiness of having it convey'd through Your Hands: A Secretary of State, in the Interests of Mankind, joined with that of his Fellow-Subjects, accomplished with a great Facility and Elegance in all the Modern as well as Ancient Languages, was a happy and proper Member of a Ministry, by whose Services Your Sovereign and Country are in so high and flourishing a Condition, as makes all other Princes and Potentates powerful or inconsiderable in Europe, as they are Friends or Enemies to Great-Britain. The Importance of those great Events which happened during that Administration, in which Your Lordship bore so important a Charge, will be acknowledgd as long as Time shall endure; I shall not therefore attempt to rehearse those illustrious Passages, but give this Application a more private and particular Turn, in desiring Your Lordship would continue your Favour and Patronage to me, as You are a Gentleman of the most polite Literature, and perfectly accomplished in the Knowledge of Books and Men, which makes it necessary to beseech Your Indulgence to the following Leaves, and the Author of them: Who is, with the greatest Truth and Respect,

My Lord, Your Lordship's Obliged, Obedient, and Humble Servant, THE SPECTATOR.

[Footnote 1: Charles Spencer, to whom the Sixth Volume of the Spectator is here inscribed, represented Tiverton, in 1700, when he took the Lady Anne Churchill, Marlborough's second daughter, for his second wife. On the death of his father Robert, in 1702, he became Earl of Sunderland. He was an accomplished man and founder of the library at Althorpe. In 1705 he was employed diplomatically at the courts of Prussia, Austria, and Hanover. Early in 1706 he was one of the Commissioners for arranging the Union with Scotland, and in September of that year he was forced by the Whigs on Queen Anne, as successor to Sir Charles Hedges in the office of Secretary of State. Steele held under him the office of Gazetteer, to which he was appointed in the following May. In 1710 Sunderland shared in the political reverse suffered by Marlborough. In the summer of that year Sunderland was dismissed from office, but with an offer from the Queen of a pension of £3000 a year. He replied that he was glad her Majesty was satisfied that he had done his duty; but if he could not have the honour to serve his country, he would not plunder it. The accession of George I. restored him to favour and influence. He became Lord-lieutenant of Ireland; had, in 1715, a pension of £12,000 a year settled on him; in April, 1717, was again Secretary of State; and in the following March, Lord President of the Council. His political influence was broken in 1721, the year before his death.]

Translation of motto:
'It is obvious to see that these things are very acceptable to
children, young women, and servants, and to such as most resemble
servants; but they can by no means meet with the approbation of people
of thought and consideration.'