No. 428. Friday, July 11, 1712. Steele.

Occupet extremum Scabies--'

It is an impertinent and unreasonable Fault in Conversation, for one Man to take up all the Discourse. It may possibly be objected to me my self, that I am guilty in this kind, in entertaining the Town every Day, and not giving so many able Persons who have it more in their Power, and as much in their Inclination, an Opportunity to oblige Mankind with their Thoughts. Besides, said one whom I overheard the other Day, why must this Paper turn altogether upon Topicks of Learning and Morality? Why should it pretend only to Wit, Humour, or the like? Things which are useful only to amuse Men of Literature and superior Education. I would have it consist also of all Things which may be necessary or useful to any Part of Society, and the mechanick Arts should have their Place as well as the Liberal. The Ways of Gain, Husbandry, and Thrift, will serve a greater Number of People, than Discourses upon what was well said or done by such a Philosopher, Heroe, General, or Poet. I no sooner heard this Critick talk of my Works, but I minuted what he had said; and from that Instant resolved to enlarge the Plan of my Speculations, by giving Notice to all Persons of all Orders, and each Sex, that if they are pleased to send me Discourses, with their Names and Places of Abode to them, so that I can be satisfied the Writings are authentick, such their Labours shall be faithfully inserted in this Paper. It will be of much more Consequence to a Youth in his Apprenticeship, to know by what Rules and Arts such a one became Sheriff of the City of London, than to see the Sign of one of his own Quality with a Lion's Heart in each Hand. The World indeed is enchanted with romantick and improbable Atchievements, when the plain Path to respective Greatness and Success in the Way of Life a Man is in, is wholly overlooked. Is it possible that a young Man at present could pass his Time better, than in reading the History of Stocks, and knowing by what secret Springs they have had such sudden Ascents and Falls in the same Day? Could he be better conducted in his Way to Wealth, which is the great Article of Life, than in a Treatise dated from Change-Alley by an able Proficient there? Nothing certainly could be more useful, than to be well instructed in his Hopes and Fears; to be diffident when others exult, and with a secret Joy buy when others think it their Interest to sell. I invite all Persons who have any thing to say for the Profitable Information of the Publick, to take their Turns in my Paper: They are welcome, from the late noble Inventor of the Longitude, [1] to the humble Author of Strops for Razors. If to carry Ships in Safety, to give Help to People tost in a troubled Sea, without knowing to what Shoar they bear, what Rocks to avoid, or what Coast to pray for in their Extremity, be a worthy Labour, and an Invention that deserves a Statue; at the same Time, he who has found a Means to let the Instrument which is to make your Visage less [horrible [2]], and your Person more smug, easie in the Operation, is worthy of some kind of good Reception: If Things of high Moment meet with Renown, those of little Consideration, since of any Consideration, are not to be despised. In order that no Merit may lye hid and no Art unimproved, I repeat it, that I call Artificers, as well as Philosophers, to my Assistance in the Publick Service. It would be of great Use if we had an exact History of the Successes of every great Shop within the City-Walls, what Tracts of Land have been purchased by a constant Attendance within a Walk of thirty Foot. If it could also be noted in the Equipage of those who are ascended from the Successful Trade of their Ancestors into Figure and Equipage, such Accounts would quicken Industry in the Pursuit of such Acquisitions, and discountenance Luxury in the Enjoyment of them.

To diversifie these kinds of Informations, the Industry of the Female World is not to be unobserved: She to whose Houshold Virtues it is owing, that Men do Honour to her Husband, should be recorded with Veneration; she who had wasted his Labours, with Infamy. When we are come into Domestick Life in this manner, to awaken Caution and Attendance to the main Point, it would not be amiss to give now and then a Touch of Tragedy, and describe [the [3]] most dreadful of all human Conditions, the Case of Bankruptcy; how Plenty, Credit, Chearfulness, full Hopes, and easy Possessions, are in an Instant turned into Penury, faint Aspects, Diffidence, Sorrow, and Misery; how the Man, who with an open Hand the Day before could administer to the Extremities of others, is shunned today by the Friend of his Bosom. It would be useful to shew how just this is on the Negligent, how lamentable on the Industrious. A Paper written by a Merchant, might give this Island a true Sense of the Worth and Importance of his Character: It might be visible from what he could say, That no Soldier entring a Breach adventures more for Honour, than the Trader does for Wealth to his Country. In both Cases the Adventurers have their own Advantage, but I know no Cases wherein every Body else is a Sharer in the Success.

It is objected by Readers of History, That the Battels in those Narrations are scarce ever to be understood. This Misfortune is to be ascribed to the Ignorance of Historians in the Methods of drawing up, changing the Forms of a Battalia, and the Enemy retreating from, as well as approaching to, the Charge. But in the Discourses from the Correspondents, whom I now invite, the Danger will be of another kind; and it is necessary to caution them only against using Terms of Art, and describing Things that are familiar to them in Words unknown to their Readers. I promise my self a great Harvest of new Circumstances, Persons, and Things from this Proposal; and a World, which many think they are well acquainted with, discovered as wholly new. This Sort of Intelligence will give a lively Image of the Chain and mutual Dependance of humane Society, take off impertinent Prejudices, enlarge the Minds of those, whose Views are confined to their own Circumstances; and, in short, if the Knowing in several Arts, Professions, and Trades will exert themselves, it cannot but produce a new Field of Diversion, an Instruction more agreeable than has yet appeared.


[Footnote 1: If this means the Marquis of Worcester, the exact ascertainment of the longitude was not one of his century of Inventions. The sextant had its origin in the mind of Sir Isaac Newton, who was knighted in 1705, and living at this time, but its practical inventor was Thomas Godfrey, a glazier at Philadelphia. Godfrey's instrument is said to have been seen by John Hadley, or that English philosopher, after whom the instrument is named, invented it at the same time, about 1730. Honours of invention were assigned to both Godfrey and Hadley. Means of exact observation of the heavenly bodies would not suffice for exact determining of longitude until the sailor was provided with a timepiece that could be relied upon in all climates for a true uniform standard of time. The invention of such a time-piece, for which Parliament offered a reward of £20,000, was the real solution of the difficulty, and this we owe to the Yorkshireman John Harrison, a carpenter and son of a carpenter, who had a genius for clockmaking, and was stimulated to work at the construction of marine chronometers by living in sight of the sea. He came to London in 1728, and after fifty years of labour finished in 1759 a chronometer which, having stood the test of two voyages, obtained for him the offered reward of £20,000. Harrison died in 1776 at the age of 83.]

[Footnote 2: [horrid]]

[Footnote 3: [that]]

Translation of motto:
HOR. Ars Poet. v. 417.
'The devil take the hindmost.'
(English Proverb).