No. 430. Monday, July 14, 1712. Steele.

Quáre peregrinum vicinia rauca reclamat.'


As you are Spectator-General, you may with Authority censure whatsoever looks ill, and is offensive to the Sight; the worst Nusance of which kind, methinks, is the scandalous Appearance of Poor in all Parts of this wealthy City. Such miserable Objects affect the compassionate Beholder with dismal Ideas, discompose the Chearfulness of his Mind, and deprive him of the Pleasure that he might otherwise take in surveying the Grandeur of our Metropolis. Who can without Remorse see a disabled Sailor, the Purveyor of our Luxury, destitute of Necessaries? Who can behold an honest Soldier, that bravely withstood the Enemy, prostrate and in Want amongst his Friends? It were endless to mention all the Variety of Wretchedness, and the numberless Poor, that not only singly, but in Companies, implore your Charity. Spectacles of this Nature every where occur; and it is unaccountable, that amongst the many lamentable Cries that infest this Town, your Comptroller-General should not take notice of the most shocking, viz. those of the Needy and Afflicted. I can't but think he wav'd it meerly out of good Breeding, chusing rather to stifle his Resentment, than upbraid his Countrymen with Inhumanity; however, let not Charity be sacrificed to Popularity, and if his Ears were deaf to their Complaints, let not your Eyes overlook their Persons. There are, I know, many Impostors among them. Lameness and Blindness are certainly very often acted; but can those that have their Sight and Limbs, employ them better than in knowing whether they are counterfeited or not? I know not which of the two misapplies his Senses most, he who pretends himself blind to move Compassion, or he who beholds a miserable Object without pitying it. But in order to remove such Impediments, I wish, Mr. SPECTATOR, you would give us a Discourse upon Beggars, that we may not pass by true Objects of Charity, or give to Impostors. I looked out of my Window the other Morning earlier than ordinary, and saw a blind Beggar, an Hour before the Passage he stands in is frequented, with a Needle and Thread, thriftily mending his Stockings: My Astonishment was still greater, when I beheld a lame Fellow, whose Legs were too big to walk within an Hour after, bring him a Pot of Ale. I will not mention the Shakings, Distortions, and Convulsions which many of them practise to gain an Alms; but sure I am, they ought to be taken Care of in this Condition, either by the Beadle or the Magistrate. They, it seems, relieve their Posts according to their Talents. There is the Voice of an old Woman never begins to beg 'till nine in the Evening, and then she is destitute of Lodging, turned out for want of Rent, and has the same ill Fortune every Night in the Year. You should employ an Officer to hear the Distress of each Beggar that is constant at a particular Place, who is ever in the same Tone, and succeeds because his Audience is continually changing, tho' he does not alter his Lamentation. If we have nothing else for our Money, let us have more Invention to be cheated with. All which is submitted to your Spectatorial Vigilance: and I am, SIR, Your most humble Servant.


I was last Sunday highly transported at our Parish-Church; the Gentleman in the Pulpit pleaded movingly in Behalf of the poor Children, and they for themselves much more forcibly by singing an Hymn; And I had the Happiness to be a Contributor to this little religious Institution of Innocents, and am sure I never disposed of Money more to my Satisfaction and Advantage. The inward Joy I find in my self, and the Good-will I bear to Mankind, make me heartily wish those pious Works may be encouraged, that the present Promoters may reap the Delight, and Posterity the Benefit of them. But whilst we are building this beautiful Edifice, let not the old Ruins remain in View to sully the Prospect: Whilst we are cultivating and improving this young hopeful Offspring, let not the ancient and helpless Creatures be shamefully neglected. The Crowds of Poor, or pretended Poor, in every Place, are a great Reproach to us, and eclipse the Glory of all other Charity. It is the utmost Reproach to Society, that there should be a poor Man unrelieved, or a poor Rogue unpunished. I hope you will think no Part of Human Life out of your Consideration, but will, at your Leisure, give us the History of Plenty and Want, and the natural Gradations towards them, calculated for the Cities of London and Westminster. I am, SIR, Your most Humble Servant, T. D.


I beg you would be pleased to take Notice of a very great Indecency, which is extreamly common, though, I think, never yet under your Censure. It is, Sir, the strange Freedoms some ill-bred married People take in Company: The unseasonable Fondness of some Husbands, and the ill-timed Tenderness of some Wives. They talk and act, as if Modesty was only fit for Maids and Batchelors, and that too before both. I was once, Mr. SPECTATOR, where the Fault I speak of was so very flagrant, that (being, you must know, a very bashful Fellow, and several young Ladies in the Room) I protest I was quite out of Countenance. Lucina, it seems, was breeding, and she did nothing but entertain the Company with a Discourse upon the Difficulty of Reckoning to a Day, and said she knew those who were certain to an Hour; then fell a laughing at a silly unexperienced Creature, who was a Month above her Time. Upon her Husband's coming in, she put several Questions to him; which he not caring to resolve, Well, cries Lucina, I shall have 'em all at Night--But lest I should seem guilty of the very Fault I write against, I shall only intreat Mr. SPECTATOR to correct such Misdemeanors;

'For higher of the Genial Bed by far,
And with mysterious Reverence, I deem.' [1]

_I am, SIR,

Your humble Servant_,

T. Meanwell.


[Footnote 1: Paradise Lost, Bk VIII. 11. 598-9.]

Translation of motto:
HOR. 1 Ep. xvii. 62.
'--The crowd replies,
Go seek a stranger to believe thy lies.'