THE JOURNAL OF A VOYAGE TO LISBON
by Henry Fielding
INTRODUCTION TO SEVERAL WORKS
DEDICATION TO THE PUBLIC
INTRODUCTION TO THE VOYAGE TO LISBON
INTRODUCTION TO SEVERAL WORKS
When it was determined to extend the present edition of Fielding, not merely by the addition of Jonathan Wild to the three universally popular novels, but by two volumes of Miscellanies, there could be no doubt about at least one of the contents of these latter. The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, if it does not rank in my estimation anywhere near to Jonathan Wild as an example of our author's genius, is an invaluable and delightful document for his character and memory. It is indeed, as has been pointed out in the General Introduction to this series, our main source of indisputable information as to Fielding dans son naturel, and its value, so far as it goes, is of the very highest. The gentle and unaffected stoicism which the author displays under a disease which he knew well was probably, if not certainly, mortal, and which, whether mortal or not, must cause him much actual pain and discomfort of a kind more intolerable than pain itself; his affectionate care for his family; even little personal touches, less admirable, but hardly less pleasant than these, showing an Englishman's dislike to be "done" and an Englishman's determination to be treated with proper respect, are scarcely less noticeable and important on the biographical side than the unimpaired brilliancy of his satiric and yet kindly observation of life and character is on the side of literature.
There is, as is now well known since Mr. Dobson's separate edition of the Voyage, a little bibliographical problem about the first appearance of this Journal in 1755. The best known issue of that year is much shorter than the version inserted by Murphy and reprinted here, the passages omitted being chiefly those reflecting on the captain, etc., and so likely to seem invidious in a book published just after the author's death, and for the benefit, as was expressly announced, of his family. But the curious thing is that there is ANOTHER edition, of date so early that some argument is necessary to determine the priority, which does give these passages and is identical with the later or standard version. For satisfaction on this point, however, I must refer readers to Mr. Dobson himself.
There might have been a little, but not much, doubt as to a companion piece for the Journal; for indeed, after we close this (with or without its "Fragment on Bolingbroke"), the remainder of Fielding's work lies on a distinctly lower level of interest. It is still interesting, or it would not be given here. It still has—at least that part which here appears seems to its editor to have—interest intrinsic and "simple of itself." But it is impossible for anybody who speaks critically to deny that we now get into the region where work is more interesting because of its authorship than it would be if its authorship were different or unknown. To put the same thing in a sharper antithesis, Fielding is interesting, first of all, because he is the author of Joseph Andrews, of Tom Jones, of Amelia, of Jonathan Wild, of the Journal. His plays, his essays, his miscellanies generally are interesting, first of all, because they were written by Fielding.
Yet of these works, the Journey from this World to the Next (which, by a grim trick of fortune, might have served as a title for the more interesting Voyage with which we have yoked it) stands clearly first both in scale and merit. It is indeed very unequal, and as the author was to leave it unfinished, it is a pity that he did not leave it unfinished much sooner than he actually did. The first ten chapters, if of a kind of satire which has now grown rather obsolete for the nonce, are of a good kind and good in their kind; the history of the metempsychoses of Julian is of a less good kind, and less good in that kind. The date of composition of the piece is not known, but it appeared in the Miscellanies of 1743, and may represent almost any period of its author's development prior to that year. Its form was a very common form at the time, and continued to be so. I do not know that it is necessary to assign any very special origin to it, though Lucian, its chief practitioner, was evidently and almost avowedly a favorite study of Fielding's. The Spanish romancers, whether borrowing it from Lucian or not, had been fond of it; their French followers, of whom the chief were Fontenelle and Le Sage, had carried it northwards; the English essayists had almost from the beginning continued the process of acclimatization. Fielding therefore found it ready to his hand, though the present condition of this example would lead us to suppose that he did not find his hand quite ready to it. Still, in the actual "journey," there are touches enough of the master—not yet quite in his stage of mastery. It seemed particularly desirable not to close the series without some representation of the work to which Fielding gave the prime of his manhood, and from which, had he not, fortunately for English literature, been driven decidedly against his will, we had had in all probability no Joseph Andrews, and pretty certainly no Tom Jones. Fielding's periodical and dramatic work has been comparatively seldom reprinted, and has never yet been reprinted as a whole. The dramas indeed are open to two objections—the first, that they are not very "proper;" the second, and much more serious, that they do not redeem this want of propriety by the possession of any remarkable literary merit. Three (or two and part of a third) seemed to escape this double censure—the first two acts of the Author's Farce (practically a piece to themselves, for the Puppet Show which follows is almost entirely independent); the famous burlesque of Tom Thumb, which stands between the Rehearsal and the Critic, but nearer to the former; and Pasquin, the maturest example of Fielding's satiric work in drama. These accordingly have been selected; the rest I have read, and he who likes may read. I have read many worse things than even the worst of them, but not often worse things by so good a writer as Henry Fielding. The next question concerned the selection of writings more miscellaneous still, so as to give in little a complete idea of Fielding's various powers and experiments. Two difficulties beset this part of the task—want of space and the absence of anything so markedly good as absolutely to insist on inclusion. The Essay on Conversation, however, seemed pretty peremptorily to challenge a place. It is in a style which Fielding was very slow to abandon, which indeed has left strong traces even on his great novels; and if its mannerism is not now very attractive, the separate traits in it are often sharp and well-drawn. The book would not have been complete without a specimen or two of Fielding's journalism. The Champion, his first attempt of this kind, has not been drawn upon in consequence of the extreme difficulty of fixing with absolute certainty on Fielding's part in it. I do not know whether political prejudice interferes, more than I have usually found it interfere, with my judgment of the two Hanoverian-partisan papers of the '45 time. But they certainly seem to me to fail in redeeming their dose of rancor and misrepresentation by any sufficient evidence of genius such as, to my taste, saves not only the party journalism in verse and prose of Swift and Canning and Praed on one side, but that of Wolcot and Moore and Sydney Smith on the other. Even the often-quoted journal of events in London under the Chevalier is overwrought and tedious. The best thing in the True Patriot seems to me to be Parson Adams' letter describing his adventure with a young "bowe" of his day; and this I select, together with one or two numbers of the Covent Garden Journal. I have not found in this latter anything more characteristic than Murphy's selection, though Mr. Dobson, with his unfailing kindness, lent me an original and unusually complete set of the Journal itself.
It is to the same kindness that I owe the opportunity of presenting the reader with something indisputably Fielding's and very characteristic of him, which Murphy did not print, and which has not, so far as I know, ever appeared either in a collection or a selection of Fielding's work. After the success of David Simple, Fielding gave his sister, for whom he had already written a preface to that novel, another preface for a set of Familiar Letters between the characters of David Simple and others. This preface Murphy reprinted; but he either did not notice, or did not choose to attend to, a note towards the end of the book attributing certain of the letters to the author of the preface, the attribution being accompanied by an agreeably warm and sisterly denunciation of those who ascribed to Fielding matter unworthy of him. From these the letter which I have chosen, describing a row on the Thames, seems to me not only characteristic, but, like all this miscellaneous work, interesting no less for its weakness than for its strength. In hardly any other instance known to me can we trace so clearly the influence of a suitable medium and form on the genius of the artist. There are some writers—Dryden is perhaps the greatest of them—to whom form and medium seem almost indifferent, their all-round craftsmanship being such that they can turn any kind and every style to their purpose. There are others, of whom I think our present author is the chief, who are never really at home but in one kind. In Fielding's case that kind was narrative of a peculiar sort, half-sentimental, half-satirical, and almost wholly sympathetic—narrative which has the singular gift of portraying the liveliest character and yet of admitting the widest disgression and soliloquy.
Until comparatively late in his too short life, when he found this special path of his (and it is impossible to say whether the actual finding was in the case of Jonathan or in the case of Joseph), he did but flounder and slip. When he had found it, and was content to walk in it, he strode with as sure and steady a step as any other, even the greatest, of those who carry and hand on the torch of literature through the ages. But it is impossible to derive full satisfaction from his feats in this part of the race without some notion of his performances elsewhere; and I believe that such a notion will be supplied to the readers of his novels by the following volumes, in a very large number of cases, for the first time.
THE JOURNAL OF A VOYAGE TO LISBON
DEDICATION TO THE PUBLIC
Your candor is desired on the perusal of the following sheets, as they are the product of a genius that has long been your delight and entertainment. It must be acknowledged that a lamp almost burnt out does not give so steady and uniform a light as when it blazes in its full vigor; but yet it is well known that by its wavering, as if struggling against its own dissolution, it sometimes darts a ray as bright as ever. In like manner, a strong and lively genius will, in its last struggles, sometimes mount aloft, and throw forth the most striking marks of its original luster.
Wherever these are to be found, do you, the genuine patrons of extraordinary capacities, be as liberal in your applauses of him who is now no more as you were of him whilst he was yet amongst you. And, on the other hand, if in this little work there should appear any traces of a weakened and decayed life, let your own imaginations place before your eyes a true picture in that of a hand trembling in almost its latest hour, of a body emaciated with pains, yet struggling for your entertainment; and let this affecting picture open each tender heart, and call forth a melting tear, to blot out whatever failings may be found in a work begun in pain, and finished almost at the same period with life. It was thought proper by the friends of the deceased that this little piece should come into your hands as it came from the hands of the author, it being judged that you would be better pleased to have an opportunity of observing the faintest traces of a genius you have long admired, than have it patched by a different hand, by which means the marks of its true author might have been effaced. That the success of the last written, though first published, volume of the author's posthumous pieces may be attended with some convenience to those innocents he hath left behind, will no doubt be a motive to encourage its circulation through the kingdom, which will engage every future genius to exert itself for your pleasure. The principles and spirit which breathe in every line of the small fragment begun in answer to Lord Bolingbroke will unquestionably be a sufficient apology for its publication, although vital strength was wanting to finish a work so happily begun and so well designed. PREFACE THERE would not, perhaps, be a more pleasant or profitable study, among those which have their principal end in amusement, than that of travels or voyages, if they were wrote as they might be and ought to be, with a joint view to the entertainment and information of mankind. If the conversation of travelers be so eagerly sought after as it is, we may believe their books will be still more agreeable company, as they will in general be more instructive and more entertaining. But when I say the conversation of travelers is usually so welcome, I must be understood to mean that only of such as have had good sense enough to apply their peregrinations to a proper use, so as to acquire from them a real and valuable knowledge of men and things, both which are best known by comparison. If the customs and manners of men were everywhere the same, there would be no office so dull as that of a traveler, for the difference of hills, valleys, rivers, in short, the various views of which we may see the face of the earth, would scarce afford him a pleasure worthy of his labor; and surely it would give him very little opportunity of communicating any kind of entertainment or improvement to others.
To make a traveler an agreeable companion to a man of sense, it is necessary, not only that he should have seen much, but that he should have overlooked much of what he hath seen. Nature is not, any more than a great genius, always admirable in her productions, and therefore the traveler, who may be called her commentator, should not expect to find everywhere subjects worthy of his notice. It is certain, indeed, that one may be guilty of omission, as well as of the opposite extreme; but a fault on that side will be more easily pardoned, as it is better to be hungry than surfeited; and to miss your dessert at the table of a man whose gardens abound with the choicest fruits, than to have your taste affronted with every sort of trash that can be picked up at the green-stall or the wheel-barrow. If we should carry on the analogy between the traveler and the commentator, it is impossible to keep one's eye a moment off from the laborious much-read doctor Zachary Gray, of whose redundant notes on Hudibras I shall only say that it is, I am confident, the single book extant in which above five hundred authors are quoted, not one of which could be found in the collection of the late doctor Mead.
As there are few things which a traveler is to record, there are fewer on which he is to offer his observations: this is the office of the reader; and it is so pleasant a one, that he seldom chooses to have it taken from him, under the pretense of lending him assistance. Some occasions, indeed, there are, when proper observations are pertinent, and others when they are necessary; but good sense alone must point them out. I shall lay down only one general rule; which I believe to be of universal truth between relator and hearer, as it is between author and reader; this is, that the latter never forgive any observation of the former which doth not convey some knowledge that they are sensible they could not possibly have attained of themselves.
But all his pains in collecting knowledge, all his judgment in selecting, and all his art in communicating it, will not suffice, unless he can make himself, in some degree, an agreeable as well as an instructive companion. The highest instruction we can derive from the tedious tale of a dull fellow scarce ever pays us for our attention. There is nothing, I think, half so valuable as knowledge, and yet there is nothing which men will give themselves so little trouble to attain; unless it be, perhaps, that lowest degree of it which is the object of curiosity, and which hath therefore that active passion constantly employed in its service. This, indeed, it is in the power of every traveler to gratify; but it is the leading principle in weak minds only.
To render his relation agreeable to the man of sense, it is therefore necessary that the voyager should possess several eminent and rare talents; so rare indeed, that it is almost wonderful to see them ever united in the same person. And if all these talents must concur in the relator, they are certainly in a more eminent degree necessary to the writer; for here the narration admits of higher ornaments of style, and every fact and sentiment offers itself to the fullest and most deliberate examination. It would appear, therefore, I think, somewhat strange if such writers as these should be found extremely common; since nature hath been a most parsimonious distributor of her richest talents, and hath seldom bestowed many on the same person. But, on the other hand, why there should scarce exist a single writer of this kind worthy our regard; and, whilst there is no other branch of history (for this is history) which hath not exercised the greatest pens, why this alone should be overlooked by all men of great genius and erudition, and delivered up to the Goths and Vandals as their lawful property, is altogether as difficult to determine. And yet that this is the case, with some very few exceptions, is most manifest. Of these I shall willingly admit Burnet and Addison; if the former was not, perhaps, to be considered as a political essayist, and the latter as a commentator on the classics, rather than as a writer of travels; which last title, perhaps, they would both of them have been least ambitious to affect. Indeed, if these two and two or three more should be removed from the mass, there would remain such a heap of dullness behind, that the appellation of voyage-writer would not appear very desirable. I am not here unapprised that old Homer himself is by some considered as a voyage-writer; and, indeed, the beginning of his Odyssey may be urged to countenance that opinion, which I shall not controvert. But, whatever species of writing the Odyssey is of, it is surely at the head of that species, as much as the Iliad is of another; and so far the excellent Longinus would allow, I believe, at this day.
But, in reality, the Odyssey, the Telemachus, and all of that kind, are to the voyage-writing I here intend, what romance is to true history, the former being the confounder and corrupter of the latter. I am far from supposing that Homer, Hesiod, and the other ancient poets and mythologists, had any settled design to pervert and confuse the records of antiquity; but it is certain they have effected it; and for my part I must confess I should have honored and loved Homer more had he written a true history of his own times in humble prose, than those noble poems that have so justly collected the praise of all ages; for, though I read these with more admiration and astonishment, I still read Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon with more amusement and more satisfaction. The original poets were not, however, without excuse. They found the limits of nature too straight for the immensity of their genius, which they had not room to exert without extending fact by fiction: and that especially at a time when the manners of men were too simple to afford that variety which they have since offered in vain to the choice of the meanest writers. In doing this they are again excusable for the manner in which they have done it.
Ut speciosa dehine miracula promant.
They are not, indeed, so properly said to turn reality into fiction, as fiction into reality. Their paintings are so bold, their colors so strong, that everything they touch seems to exist in the very manner they represent it; their portraits are so just, and their landscapes so beautiful, that we acknowledge the strokes of nature in both, without inquiring whether Nature herself, or her journeyman the poet, formed the first pattern of the piece. But other writers (I will put Pliny at their head) have no such pretensions to indulgence; they lie for lying sake, or in order insolently to impose the most monstrous improbabilities and absurdities upon their readers on their own authority; treating them as some fathers treat children, and as other fathers do laymen, exacting their belief of whatever they relate, on no other foundation than their own authority, without ever taking the pains or adapting their lies to human credulity, and of calculating them for the meridian of a common understanding; but, with as much weakness as wickedness, and with more impudence often than either, they assert facts contrary to the honor of God, to the visible order of the creation, to the known laws of nature, to the histories of former ages, and to the experience of our own, and which no man can at once understand and believe. If it should be objected (and it can nowhere be objected better than where I now write,  as there is nowhere more pomp of bigotry) that whole nations have been firm believers in such most absurd suppositions, I reply, the fact is not true. They have known nothing of the matter, and have believed they knew not what. It is, indeed, with me no matter of doubt but that the pope and his clergy might teach any of those Christian heterodoxies, the tenets of which are the most diametrically opposite to their own; nay, all the doctrines of Zoroaster, Confucius, and Mahomet, not only with certain and immediate success, but without one Catholic in a thousand knowing he had changed his religion.
[Footnote 12: At Lisbon.]
What motive a man can have to sit down, and to draw forth a list of stupid, senseless, incredible lies upon paper, would be difficult to determine, did not Vanity present herself so immediately as the adequate cause. The vanity of knowing more than other men is, perhaps, besides hunger, the only inducement to writing, at least to publishing, at all. Why then should not the voyage-writer be inflamed with the glory of having seen what no man ever did or will see but himself? This is the true source of the wonderful in the discourse and writings, and sometimes, I believe, in the actions of men. There is another fault, of a kind directly opposite to this, to which these writers are sometimes liable, when, instead of filling their pages with monsters which nobody hath ever seen, and with adventures which never have, nor could possibly have, happened to them, waste their time and paper with recording things and facts of so common a kind, that they challenge no other right of being remembered than as they had the honor of having happened to the author, to whom nothing seems trivial that in any manner happens to himself.
Of such consequence do his own actions appear to one of this kind, that he would probably think himself guilty of infidelity should he omit the minutest thing in the detail of his journal. That the fact is true is sufficient to give it a place there, without any consideration whether it is capable of pleasing or surprising, of diverting or informing, the reader. I have seen a play (if I mistake not it is one of Mrs. Behn's or of Mrs. Centlivre's) where this vice in a voyage-writer is finely ridiculed. An ignorant pedant, to whose government, for I know not what reason, the conduct of a young nobleman in his travels is committed, and who is sent abroad to show my lord the world, of which he knows nothing himself, before his departure from a town, calls for his Journal to record the goodness of the wine and tobacco, with other articles of the same importance, which are to furnish the materials of a voyage at his return home. The humor, it is true, is here carried very far; and yet, perhaps, very little beyond what is to be found in writers who profess no intention of dealing in humor at all. Of one or other, or both of these kinds, are, I conceive, all that vast pile of books which pass under the names of voyages, travels, adventures, lives, memoirs, histories, etc., some of which a single traveler sends into the world in many volumes, and others are, by judicious booksellers, collected into vast bodies in folio, and inscribed with their own names, as if they were indeed their own travels: thus unjustly attributing to themselves the merit of others.
Now, from both these faults we have endeavored to steer clear in the following narrative; which, however the contrary may be insinuated by ignorant, unlearned, and fresh-water critics, who have never traveled either in books or ships, I do solemnly declare doth, in my own impartial opinion, deviate less from truth than any other voyage extant; my lord Anson's alone being, perhaps, excepted. Some few embellishments must be allowed to every historian; for we are not to conceive that the speeches in Livy, Sallust, or Thucydides, were literally spoken in the very words in which we now read them. It is sufficient that every fact hath its foundation in truth, as I do seriously aver is the ease in the ensuing pages; and when it is so, a good critic will be so far from denying all kind of ornament of style or diction, or even of circumstance, to his author, that he would be rather sorry if he omitted it; for he could hence derive no other advantage than the loss of an additional pleasure in the perusal.
Again, if any merely common incident should appear in this journal, which will seldom I apprehend be the case, the candid reader will easily perceive it is not introduced for its own sake, but for some observations and reflections naturally resulting from it; and which, if but little to his amusement, tend directly to the instruction of the reader or to the information of the public; to whom if I choose to convey such instruction or information with an air of joke and laughter, none but the dullest of fellows will, I believe, censure it; but if they should, I have the authority of more than one passage in Horace to allege in my defense. Having thus endeavored to obviate some censures, to which a man without the gift of foresight, or any fear of the imputation of being a conjurer, might conceive this work would be liable, I might now undertake a more pleasing task, and fall at once to the direct and positive praises of the work itself; of which indeed, I could say a thousand good things; but the task is so very pleasant that I shall leave it wholly to the reader, and it is all the task that I impose on him. A moderation for which he may think himself obliged to me when he compares it with the conduct of authors, who often fill a whole sheet with their own praises, to which they sometimes set their own real names, and sometimes a fictitious one. One hint, however, I must give the kind reader; which is, that if he should be able to find no sort of amusement in the book, he will be pleased to remember the public utility which will arise from it. If entertainment, as Mr. Richardson observes, be but a secondary consideration in a romance; with which Mr. Addison, I think, agrees, affirming the use of the pastry cook to be the first; if this, I say, be true of a mere work of invention, sure it may well be so considered in a work founded, like this, on truth; and where the political reflections form so distinguishing a part. But perhaps I may hear, from some critic of the most saturnine complexion, that my vanity must have made a horrid dupe of my judgment, if it hath flattered me with an expectation of having anything here seen in a grave light, or of conveying any useful instruction to the public, or to their guardians. I answer, with the great man whom I just now quoted, that my purpose is to convey instruction in the vehicle of entertainment; and so to bring about at once, like the revolution in the Rehearsal, a perfect reformation of the laws relating to our maritime affairs: an undertaking, I will not say more modest, but surely more feasible, than that of reforming a whole people, by making use of a vehicular story, to wheel in among them worse manners than their own.
In the beginning of August, 1753, when I had taken the duke of Portland's medicine, as it is called, near a year, the effects of which had been the carrying off the symptoms of a lingering imperfect gout, I was persuaded by Mr. Ranby, the king's premier sergeant-surgeon, and the ablest advice, I believe, in all branches of the physical profession, to go immediately to Bath. I accordingly wrote that very night to Mrs. Bowden, who, by the next post, informed me she had taken me a lodging for a month certain. Within a few days after this, whilst I was preparing for my journey, and when I was almost fatigued to death with several long examinations, relating to five different murders, all committed within the space of a week, by different gangs of street-robbers, I received a message from his grace the duke of Newcastle, by Mr. Carrington, the king's messenger, to attend his grace the next morning, in Lincoln's-inn-fields, upon some business of importance; but I excused myself from complying with the message, as, besides being lame, I was very ill with the great fatigues I had lately undergone added to my distemper.
His grace, however, sent Mr. Carrington, the very next morning, with another summons; with which, though in the utmost distress, I immediately complied; but the duke, happening, unfortunately for me, to be then particularly engaged, after I had waited some time, sent a gentleman to discourse with me on the best plan which could be invented for putting an immediate end to those murders and robberies which were every day committed in the streets; upon which I promised to transmit my opinion, in writing, to his grace, who, as the gentleman informed me, intended to lay it before the privy council.
Though this visit cost me a severe cold, I, notwithstanding, set myself down to work; and in about four days sent the duke as regular a plan as I could form, with all the reasons and arguments I could bring to support it, drawn out in several sheets of paper; and soon received a message from the duke by Mr. Carrington, acquainting me that my plan was highly approved of, and that all the terms of it would be complied with. The principal and most material of those terms was the immediately depositing six hundred pound in my hands; at which small charge I undertook to demolish the then reigning gangs, and to put the civil policy into such order, that no such gangs should ever be able, for the future, to form themselves into bodies, or at least to remain any time formidable to the public.
I had delayed my Bath journey for some time, contrary to the repeated advice of my physical acquaintance, and to the ardent desire of my warmest friends, though my distemper was now turned to a deep jaundice; in which case the Bath waters are generally reputed to be almost infallible. But I had the most eager desire of demolishing this gang of villains and cut-throats, which I was sure of accomplishing the moment I was enabled to pay a fellow who had undertaken, for a small sum, to betray them into the hands of a set of thief-takers whom I had enlisted into the service, all men of known and approved fidelity and intrepidity.
After some weeks the money was paid at the treasury, and within a few days after two hundred pounds of it had come to my hands, the whole gang of cut-throats was entirely dispersed, seven of them were in actual custody, and the rest driven, some out of the town, and others out of the kingdom. Though my health was now reduced to the last extremity, I continued to act with the utmost vigor against these villains; in examining whom, and in taking the depositions against them, I have often spent whole days, nay, sometimes whole nights, especially when there was any difficulty in procuring sufficient evidence to convict them; which is a very common case in street-robberies, even when the guilt of the party is sufficiently apparent to satisfy the most tender conscience. But courts of justice know nothing of a cause more than what is told them on oath by a witness; and the most flagitious villain upon earth is tried in the same manner as a man of the best character who is accused of the same crime. Meanwhile, amidst all my fatigues and distresses, I had the satisfaction to find my endeavors had been attended with such success that this hellish society were almost utterly extirpated, and that, instead of reading of murders and street-robberies in the news almost every morning, there was, in the remaining part of the month of November, and in all December, not only no such thing as a murder, but not even a street-robbery committed. Some such, indeed, were mentioned in the public papers; but they were all found on the strictest inquiry, to be false. In this entire freedom from street-robberies, during the dark months, no man will, I believe, scruple to acknowledge that the winter of 1753 stands unrivaled, during a course of many years; and this may possibly appear the more extraordinary to those who recollect the outrages with which it began. Having thus fully accomplished my undertaking, I went into the country, in a very weak and deplorable condition, with no fewer or less diseases than a jaundice, a dropsy, and an asthma, altogether uniting their forces in the destruction of a body so entirely emaciated that it had lost all its muscular flesh. Mine was now no longer what was called a Bath case; nor, if it had been so, had I strength remaining sufficient to go thither, a ride of six miles only being attended with an intolerable fatigue. I now discharged my lodgings at Bath, which I had hitherto kept. I began in earnest to look on my case as desperate, and I had vanity enough to rank myself with those heroes who, of old times, became voluntary sacrifices to the good of the public. But, lest the reader should be too eager to catch at the word VANITY, and should be unwilling to indulge me with so sublime a gratification, for I think he is not too apt to gratify me, I will take my key a pitch lower, and will frankly own that I had a stronger motive than the love of the public to push me on: I will therefore confess to him that my private affairs at the beginning of the winter had but a gloomy aspect; for I had not plundered the public or the poor of those sums which men, who are always ready to plunder both as much as they can, have been pleased to suspect me of taking: on the contrary, by composing, instead of inflaming the quarrels of porters and beggars (which I blush when I say hath not been universally practiced), and by refusing to take a shilling from a man who most undoubtedly would not have had another left, I had reduced an income of about five hundred pounds  a-year of the dirtiest money upon earth to little more than three hundred pounds; a considerable proportion of which remained with my clerk; and, indeed, if the whole had done so, as it ought, he would be but ill paid for sitting almost sixteen hours in the twenty-four in the most unwholesome, as well as nauseous air in the universe, and which hath in his case corrupted a good constitution without contaminating his morals.
[Footnote 13: A predecessor of mine used to boast that he made one thousand pounds a-year in his office; but how he did this (if indeed he did it) is to me a secret. His clerk, now mine, told me I had more business than he had ever known there; I am sure I had as much as any man could do. The truth is, the fees are so very low, when any are due, and so much is done for nothing, that, if a single justice of peace had business enough to employ twenty clerks, neither he nor they would get much by their labor.]
The public will not, therefore, I hope, think I betray a secret when I inform them that I received from the Government a yearly pension out of the public service money; which, I believe, indeed, would have been larger had my great patron been convinced of an error, which I have heard him utter more than once, that he could not indeed say that the acting as a principal justice of peace in Westminster was on all accounts very desirable, but that all the world knew it was a very lucrative office. Now, to have shown him plainly that a man must be a rogue to make a very little this way, and that he could not make much by being as great a rogue as he could be, would have required more confidence than, I believe, he had in me, and more of his conversation than he chose to allow me; I therefore resigned the office and the farther execution of my plan to my brother, who had long been my assistant. And now, lest the case between me and the reader should be the same in both instances as it was between me and the great man, I will not add another word on the subject.
But, not to trouble the reader with anecdotes, contrary to my own rule laid down in my preface, I assure him I thought my family was very slenderly provided for; and that my health began to decline so fast that I had very little more of life left to accomplish what I had thought of too late. I rejoiced therefore greatly in seeing an opportunity, as I apprehended, of gaining such merit in the eye of the public, that, if my life were the sacrifice to it, my friends might think they did a popular act in putting my family at least beyond the reach of necessity, which I myself began to despair of doing. And though I disclaim all pretense to that Spartan or Roman patriotism which loved the public so well that it was always ready to become a voluntary sacrifice to the public good, I do solemnly declare I have that love for my family.
After this confession therefore, that the public was not the principal deity to which my life was offered a sacrifice, and when it is farther considered what a poor sacrifice this was, being indeed no other than the giving up what I saw little likelihood of being able to hold much longer, and which, upon the terms I held it, nothing but the weakness of human nature could represent to me as worth holding at all; the world may, I believe, without envy, allow me all the praise to which I have any title. My aim, in fact, was not praise, which is the last gift they care to bestow; at least, this was not my aim as an end, but rather as a means of purchasing some moderate provision for my family, which, though it should exceed my merit, must fall infinitely short of my service, if I succeeded in my attempt. To say the truth, the public never act more wisely than when they act most liberally in the distribution of their rewards; and here the good they receive is often more to be considered than the motive from which they receive it. Example alone is the end of all public punishments and rewards. Laws never inflict disgrace in resentment, nor confer honor from gratitude. "For it is very hard, my lord," said a convicted felon at the bar to the late excellent judge Burnet, "to hang a poor man for stealing a horse." "You are not to be hanged sir," answered my ever-honored and beloved friend, "for stealing a horse, but you are to be hanged that horses may not be stolen." In like manner it might have been said to the late duke of Marlborough, when the parliament was so deservedly liberal to him, after the battle of Blenheim, "You receive not these honors and bounties on account of a victory past, but that other victories may be obtained."
I was now, in the opinion of all men, dying of a complication of disorders; and, were I desirous of playing the advocate, I have an occasion fair enough; but I disdain such an attempt. I relate facts plainly and simply as they are; and let the world draw from them what conclusions they please, taking with them the following facts for their instruction: the one is, that the proclamation offering one hundred pounds for the apprehending felons for certain felonies committed in certain places, which I prevented from being revived, had formerly cost the government several thousand pounds within a single year. Secondly, that all such proclamations, instead of curing the evil, had actually increased it; had multiplied the number of robberies; had propagated the worst and wickedest of perjuries; had laid snares for youth and ignorance, which, by the temptation of these rewards, had been sometimes drawn into guilt; and sometimes, which cannot be thought on without the highest horror, had destroyed them without it. Thirdly, that my plan had not put the government to more than three hundred pound expense, and had produced none of the ill consequences above mentioned; but, lastly, had actually suppressed the evil for a time, and had plainly pointed out the means of suppressing it for ever. This I would myself have undertaken, had my health permitted, at the annual expense of the above-mentioned sum.
After having stood the terrible six weeks which succeeded last Christmas, and put a lucky end, if they had known their own interests, to such numbers of aged and infirm valetudinarians, who might have gasped through two or three mild winters more, I returned to town in February, in a condition less despaired of by myself than by any of my friends. I now became the patient of Dr. Ward, who wished I had taken his advice earlier. By his advice I was tapped, and fourteen quarts of water drawn from my belly. The sudden relaxation which this caused, added to my enervate, emaciated habit of body, so weakened me that within two days I was thought to be falling into the agonies of death. I was at the worst on that memorable day when the public lost Mr. Pelham. From that day I began slowly, as it were, to draw my feet out of the grave; till in two months' time I had again acquired some little degree of strength, but was again full of water. During this whole time I took Mr. Ward's medicines, which had seldom any perceptible operation. Those in particular of the diaphoretic kind, the working of which is thought to require a great strength of constitution to support, had so little effect on me, that Mr. Ward declared it was as vain to attempt sweating me as a deal board. In this situation I was tapped a second time. I had one quart of water less taken from me now than before; but I bore all the consequences of the operation much better. This I attributed greatly to a dose of laudanum prescribed by my surgeon. It first gave me the most delicious flow of spirits, and afterwards as comfortable a nap.
The month of May, which was now begun, it seemed reasonable to expect would introduce the spring, and drive of that winter which yet maintained its footing on the stage. I resolved therefore to visit a little house of mine in the country, which stands at Ealing, in the county of Middlesex, in the best air, I believe, in the whole kingdom, and far superior to that of Kensington Gravel-pits; for the gravel is here much wider and deeper, the place higher and more open towards the south, whilst it is guarded from the north wind by a ridge of hills, and from the smells and smoke of London by its distance; which last is not the fate of Kensington, when the wind blows from any corner of the east.
Obligations to Mr. Ward I shall always confess; for I am convinced that he omitted no care in endeavoring to serve me, without any expectation or desire of fee or reward.
The powers of Mr. Ward's remedies want indeed no unfair puffs of mine to give them credit; and though this distemper of the dropsy stands, I believe, first in the list of those over which he is always certain of triumphing, yet, possibly, there might be something particular in my case capable of eluding that radical force which had healed so many thousands. The same distemper, in different constitutions, may possibly be attended with such different symptoms, that to find an infallible nostrum for the curing any one distemper in every patient may be almost as difficult as to find a panacea for the cure of all.
But even such a panacea one of the greatest scholars and best of men did lately apprehend he had discovered. It is true, indeed, he was no physician; that is, he had not by the forms of his education acquired a right of applying his skill in the art of physic to his own private advantage; and yet, perhaps, it may be truly asserted that no other modern hath contributed so much to make his physical skill useful to the public; at least, that none hath undergone the pains of communicating this discovery in writing to the world. The reader, I think, will scarce need to be informed that the writer I mean is the late bishop of Cloyne, in Ireland, and the discovery that of the virtues of tar-water.
I then happened to recollect, upon a hint given me by the inimitable and shamefully-distressed author of the Female Quixote, that I had many years before, from curiosity only, taken a cursory view of bishop Berkeley's treatise on the virtues of tar-water, which I had formerly observed he strongly contends to be that real panacea which Sydenham supposes to have an existence in nature, though it yet remains undiscovered, and perhaps will always remain so.
Upon the reperusal of this book I found the bishop only asserting his opinion that tar-water might be useful in the dropsy, since he had known it to have a surprising success in the cure of a most stubborn anasarca, which is indeed no other than, as the word implies, the dropsy of the flesh; and this was, at that time, a large part of my complaint.
After a short trial, therefore, of a milk diet, which I presently found did not suit with my case, I betook myself to the bishop's prescription, and dosed myself every morning and evening with half a pint of tar-water.
It was no more than three weeks since my last tapping, and my belly and limbs were distended with water. This did not give me the worse opinion of tar-water; for I never supposed there could be any such virtue in tar-water as immediately to carry off a quantity of water already collected. For my delivery from this I well knew I must be again obliged to the trochar; and that if the tar-water did me any good at all it must be only by the slowest degrees; and that if it should ever get the better of my distemper it must be by the tedious operation of undermining, and not by a sudden attack and storm.
Some visible effects, however, and far beyond what my most sanguine hopes could with any modesty expect, I very soon experienced; the tar-water having, from the very first, lessened my illness, increased my appetite, and added, though in a very slow proportion, to my bodily strength. But if my strength had increased a little my water daily increased much more. So that, by the end of May, my belly became again ripe for the trochar, and I was a third time tapped; upon which, two very favorable symptoms appeared. I had three quarts of water taken from me less than had been taken the last time; and I bore the relaxation with much less (indeed with scarce any) faintness.
Those of my physical friends on whose judgment I chiefly depended seemed to think my only chance of life consisted in having the whole summer before me; in which I might hope to gather sufficient strength to encounter the inclemencies of the ensuing winter. But this chance began daily to lessen. I saw the summer mouldering away, or rather, indeed, the year passing away without intending to bring on any summer at all. In the whole month of May the sun scarce appeared three times. So that the early fruits came to the fullness of their growth, and to some appearance of ripeness, without acquiring any real maturity; having wanted the heat of the sun to soften and meliorate their juices. I saw the dropsy gaining rather than losing ground; the distance growing still shorter between the tappings. I saw the asthma likewise beginning again to become more troublesome. I saw the midsummer quarter drawing towards a close. So that I conceived, if the Michaelmas quarter should steal off in the same manner, as it was, in my opinion, very much to be apprehended it would, I should be delivered up to the attacks of winter before I recruited my forces, so as to be anywise able to withstand them.
I now began to recall an intention, which from the first dawnings of my recovery I had conceived, of removing to a warmer climate; and, finding this to be approved of by a very eminent physician, I resolved to put it into immediate execution. Aix in Provence was the place first thought on; but the difficulties of getting thither were insuperable. The Journey by land, beside the expense of it, was infinitely too long and fatiguing; and I could hear of no ship that was likely to set out from London, within any reasonable time, for Marseilles, or any other port in that part of the Mediterranean.
Lisbon was presently fixed on in its room. The air here, as it was near four degrees to the south of Aix, must be more mild and warm, and the winter shorter and less piercing.
It was not difficult to find a ship bound to a place with which we carry on so immense a trade. Accordingly, my brother soon informed me of the excellent accommodations for passengers which were to be found on board a ship that was obliged to sail for Lisbon in three days. I eagerly embraced the offer, notwithstanding the shortness of the time; and, having given my brother full power to contract for our passage, I began to prepare my family for the voyage with the utmost expedition.
But our great haste was needless; for the captain having twice put off his sailing, I at length invited him to dinner with me at Fordhook, a full week after the time on which he had declared, and that with many asseverations, he must and would weigh anchor.
He dined with me according to his appointment; and when all matters were settled between us, left me with positive orders to be on board the Wednesday following, when he declared he would fall down the river to Gravesend, and would not stay a moment for the greatest man in the world. He advised me to go to Gravesend by land, and there wait the arrival of his ship, assigning many reasons for this, every one of which was, as I well remember, among those that had before determined me to go on board near the Tower.
WEDNESDAY, June 26, 1754.—On this day the most melancholy sun I had ever beheld arose, and found me awake at my house at Fordhook. By the light of this sun I was, in my own opinion, last to behold and take leave of some of those creatures on whom I doted with a mother-like fondness, guided by nature and passion, and uncured and unhardened by all the doctrine of that philosophical school where I had learned to bear pains and to despise death. In this situation, as I could not conquer Nature, I submitted entirely to her, and she made as great a fool of me as she had ever done of any woman whatsoever; under pretense of giving me leave to enjoy, she drew me in to suffer, the company of my little ones during eight hours; and I doubt not whether, in that time, I did not undergo more than in all my distemper.
At twelve precisely my coach was at the door, which was no sooner told me than I kissed my children round, and went into it with some little resolution. My wife, who behaved more like a heroine and philosopher, though at the same time the tenderest mother in the world, and my eldest daughter, followed me; some friends went with us, and others here took their leave; and I heard my behavior applauded, with many murmurs and praises to which I well knew I had no title; as all other such philosophers may, if they have any modesty, confess on the like occasions.
In two hours we arrived in Rotherhithe, and immediately went on board, and were to have sailed the next morning; but, as this was the king's proclamation-day, and consequently a holiday at the custom-house, the captain could not clear his vessel till the Thursday; for these holidays are as strictly observed as those in the popish calendar, and are almost as numerous. I might add that both are opposite to the genius of trade, and consequently contra bonum publicum.
To go on board the ship it was necessary first to go into a boat; a matter of no small difficulty, as I had no use of my limbs, and was to be carried by men who, though sufficiently strong for their burden, were, like Archimedes, puzzled to find a steady footing. Of this, as few of my readers have not gone into wherries on the Thames, they will easily be able to form to themselves an idea. However, by the assistance of my friend, Mr. Welch, whom I never think or speak of but with love and esteem, I conquered this difficulty, as I did afterwards that of ascending the ship, into which I was hoisted with more ease by a chair lifted with pulleys. I was soon seated in a great chair in the cabin, to refresh myself after a fatigue which had been more intolerable, in a quarter of a mile's passage from my coach to the ship, than I had before undergone in a land-journey of twelve miles, which I had traveled with the utmost expedition.
This latter fatigue was, perhaps, somewhat heightened by an indignation which I could not prevent arising in my mind. I think, upon my entrance into the boat, I presented a spectacle of the highest horror. The total loss of limbs was apparent to all who saw me, and my face contained marks of a most diseased state, if not of death itself. Indeed, so ghastly was my countenance, that timorous women with child had abstained from my house, for fear of the ill consequences of looking at me. In this condition I ran the gauntlope (so I think I may justly call it) through rows of sailors and watermen, few of whom failed of paying their compliments to me by all manner of insults and jests on my misery. No man who knew me will think I conceived any personal resentment at this behavior; but it was a lively picture of that cruelty and inhumanity in the nature of men which I have often contemplated with concern, and which leads the mind into a train of very uncomfortable and melancholy thoughts. It may be said that this barbarous custom is peculiar to the English, and of them only to the lowest degree; that it is an excrescence of an uncontrolled licentiousness mistaken for liberty, and never shows itself in men who are polished and refined in such manner as human nature requires to produce that perfection of which it is susceptible, and to purge away that malevolence of disposition of which, at our birth, we partake in common with the savage creation. This may be said, and this is all that can be said; and it is, I am afraid, but little satisfactory to account for the inhumanity of those who, while they boast of being made after God's own image, seem to bear in their minds a resemblance of the vilest species of brutes; or rather, indeed, of our idea of devils; for I don't know that any brutes can be taxed with such malevolence. A sirloin of beef was now placed on the table, for which, though little better than carrion, as much was charged by the master of the little paltry ale-house who dressed it as would have been demanded for all the elegance of the King's Arms, or any other polite tavern or eating-house! for, indeed, the difference between the best house and the worst is, that at the former you pay largely for luxury, at the latter for nothing.
Thursday, June 27.—This morning the captain, who lay on shore at his own house, paid us a visit in the cabin, and behaved like an angry bashaw, declaring that, had he known we were not to be pleased, he would not have carried us for five hundred pounds. He added many asseverations that he was a gentleman, and despised money; not forgetting several hints of the presents which had been made him for his cabin, of twenty, thirty, and forty guineas, by several gentlemen, over and above the sum for which they had contracted. This behavior greatly surprised me, as I knew not how to account for it, nothing having happened since we parted from the captain the evening before in perfect good humor; and all this broke forth on the first moment of his arrival this morning. He did not, however, suffer my amazement to have any long continuance before he clearly showed me that all this was meant only as an apology to introduce another procrastination (being the fifth) of his weighing anchor, which was now postponed till Saturday, for such was his will and pleasure.
Besides the disagreeable situation in which we then lay, in the confines of Wapping and Rotherhithe, tasting a delicious mixture of the air of both these sweet places, and enjoying the concord of sweet sounds of seamen, watermen, fish-women, oyster-women, and of all the vociferous inhabitants of both shores, composing altogether a greater variety of harmony than Hogarth's imagination hath brought together in that print of his, which is enough to make a man deaf to look at—I had a more urgent cause to press our departure, which was, that the dropsy, for which I had undergone three tappings, seemed to threaten me with a fourth discharge before I should reach Lisbon, and when I should have nobody on board capable of performing the operation; but I was obliged to hearken to the voice of reason, if I may use the captain's own words, and to rest myself contented. Indeed, there was no alternative within my reach but what would have cost me much too dear. There are many evils in society from which people of the highest rank are so entirely exempt, that they have not the least knowledge or idea of them; nor indeed of the characters which are formed by them. Such, for instance, is the conveyance of goods and passengers from one place to another. Now there is no such thing as any kind of knowledge contemptible in itself; and, as the particular knowledge I here mean is entirely necessary to the well understanding and well enjoying this journal; and, lastly, as in this case the most ignorant will be those very readers whose amusement we chiefly consult, and to whom we wish to be supposed principally to write, we will here enter somewhat largely into the discussion of this matter; the rather, for that no ancient or modern author (if we can trust the catalogue of doctor Mead's library) hath ever undertaken it, but that it seems (in the style of Don Quixote) a task reserved for my pen alone.
When I first conceived this intention I began to entertain thoughts of inquiring into the antiquity of traveling; and, as many persons have performed in this way (I mean have traveled) at the expense of the public, I flattered myself that the spirit of improving arts and sciences, and of advancing useful and substantial learning, which so eminently distinguishes this age, and hath given rise to more speculative societies in Europe than I at present can recollect the names of—perhaps, indeed, than I or any other, besides their very near neighbors, ever heard mentioned—would assist in promoting so curious a work; a work begun with the same views, calculated for the same purposes, and fitted for the same uses, with the labors which those right honorable societies have so cheerfully undertaken themselves, and encouraged in others; sometimes with the highest honors, even with admission into their colleges, and with enrollment among their members.
From these societies I promised myself all assistance in their power, particularly the communication of such valuable manuscripts and records as they must be supposed to have collected from those obscure ages of antiquity when history yields us such imperfect accounts of the residence, and much more imperfect of the travels, of the human race; unless, perhaps, as a curious and learned member of the young Society of Antiquarians is said to have hinted his conjectures, that their residence and their travels were one and the same; and this discovery (for such it seems to be) he is said to have owed to the lighting by accident on a book, which we shall have occasion to mention presently, the contents of which were then little known to the society.
The king of Prussia, moreover, who, from a degree of benevolence and taste which in either case is a rare production in so northern a climate, is the great encourager of art and science, I was well assured would promote so useful a design, and order his archives to be searched on my behalf. But after well weighing all these advantages, and much meditation on the order of my work, my whole design was subverted in a moment by hearing of the discovery just mentioned to have been made by the young antiquarian, who, from the most ancient record in the world (though I don't find the society are all agreed on this point), one long preceding the date of the earliest modern collections, either of books or butterflies, none of which pretend to go beyond the flood, shows us that the first man was a traveler, and that he and his family were scarce settled in Paradise before they disliked their own home, and became passengers to another place. Hence it appears that the humor of traveling is as old as the human race, and that it was their curse from the beginning. By this discovery my plan became much shortened, and I found it only necessary to treat of the conveyance of goods and passengers from place to place; which, not being universally known, seemed proper to be explained before we examined into its original. There are indeed two different ways of tracing all things used by the historian and the antiquary; these are upwards and downwards.
The former shows you how things are, and leaves to others to discover when they began to be so. The latter shows you how things were, and leaves their present existence to be examined by others. Hence the former is more useful, the latter more curious. The former receives the thanks of mankind; the latter of that valuable part, the virtuosi.
In explaining, therefore, this mystery of carrying goods and passengers from one place to another, hitherto so profound a secret to the very best of our readers, we shall pursue the historical method, and endeavor to show by what means it is at present performed, referring the more curious inquiry either to some other pen or to some other opportunity.
Now there are two general ways of performing (if God permit) this conveyance, viz., by land and water, both of which have much variety; that by land being performed in different vehicles, such as coaches, caravans, wagons, etc.; and that by water in ships, barges, and boats, of various sizes and denominations. But, as all these methods of conveyance are formed on the same principles, they agree so well together, that it is fully sufficient to comprehend them all in the general view, without descending to such minute particulars as would distinguish one method from another.
Common to all of these is one general principle that, as the goods to be conveyed are usually the larger, so they are to be chiefly considered in the conveyance; the owner being indeed little more than an appendage to his trunk, or box, or bale, or at best a small part of his own baggage, very little care is to be taken in stowing or packing them up with convenience to himself; for the conveyance is not of passengers and goods, but of goods and passengers.
Secondly, from this conveyance arises a new kind of relation, or rather of subjection, in the society, by which the passenger becomes bound in allegiance to his conveyer. This allegiance is indeed only temporary and local, but the most absolute during its continuance of any known in Great Britain, and, to say truth, scarce consistent with the liberties of a free people, nor could it be reconciled with them, did it not move downwards; a circumstance universally apprehended to be incompatible to all kinds of slavery; for Aristotle in his Politics hath proved abundantly to my satisfaction that no men are born to be slaves, except barbarians; and these only to such as are not themselves barbarians; and indeed Mr. Montesquieu hath carried it very little farther in the case of the Africans; the real truth being that no man is born to be a slave, unless to him who is able to make him so.
Thirdly, this subjection is absolute, and consists of a perfect resignation both of body and soul to the disposal of another; after which resignation, during a certain time, his subject retains no more power over his own will than an Asiatic slave, or an English wife, by the laws of both countries, and by the customs of one of them. If I should mention the instance of a stage-coachman, many of my readers would recognize the truth of what I have here observed; all, indeed, that ever have been under the dominion of that tyrant, who in this free country is as absolute as a Turkish bashaw. In two particulars only his power is defective; he cannot press you into his service, and if you enter yourself at one place, on condition of being discharged at a certain time at another, he is obliged to perform his agreement, if God permit, but all the intermediate time you are absolutely under his government; he carries you how he will, when he will, and whither he will, provided it be not much out of the road; you have nothing to eat or to drink, but what, and when, and where he pleases. Nay, you cannot sleep unless he pleases you should; for he will order you sometimes out of bed at midnight and hurry you away at a moment's warning: indeed, if you can sleep in his vehicle he cannot prevent it; nay, indeed, to give him his due, this he is ordinarily disposed to encourage: for the earlier he forces you to rise in the morning, the more time he will give you in the heat of the day, sometimes even six hours at an ale-house, or at their doors, where he always gives you the same indulgence which he allows himself; and for this he is generally very moderate in his demands. I have known a whole bundle of passengers charged no more than half-a-crown for being suffered to remain quiet at an ale-house door for above a whole hour, and that even in the hottest day in summer. But as this kind of tyranny, though it hath escaped our political writers, hath been I think touched by our dramatic, and is more trite among the generality of readers; and as this and all other kinds of such subjection are alike unknown to my friends, I will quit the passengers by land, and treat of those who travel by water; for whatever is said on this subject is applicable to both alike, and we may bring them together as closely as they are brought in the liturgy, when they are recommended to the prayers of all Christian congregations; and (which I have often thought very remarkable) where they are joined with other miserable wretches, such as women in labor, people in sickness, infants just born, prisoners and captives. Goods and passengers are conveyed by water in divers vehicles, the principal of which being a ship, it shall suffice to mention that alone. Here the tyrant doth not derive his title, as the stage-coachman doth, from the vehicle itself in which he stows his goods and passengers, but he is called the captain—a word of such various use and uncertain signification, that it seems very difficult to fix any positive idea to it: if, indeed, there be any general meaning which may comprehend all its different uses, that of the head or chief of any body of men seems to be most capable of this comprehension; for whether they be a company of soldiers, a crew of sailors, or a gang of rogues, he who is at the head of them is always styled the captain.
The particular tyrant whose fortune it was to stow us aboard laid a farther claim to this appellation than the bare command of a vehicle of conveyance. He had been the captain of a privateer, which he chose to call being in the king's service, and thence derived a right of hoisting the military ornament of a cockade over the button of his hat. He likewise wore a sword of no ordinary length by his side, with which he swaggered in his cabin, among the wretches his passengers, whom he had stowed in cupboards on each side. He was a person of a very singular character. He had taken it into his head that he was a gentleman, from those very reasons that proved he was not one; and to show himself a fine gentleman, by a behavior which seemed to insinuate he had never seen one. He was, moreover, a man of gallantry; at the age of seventy he had the finicalness of Sir Courtly Nice, with the roughness of Surly; and, while he was deaf himself, had a voice capable of deafening all others.
Now, as I saw myself in danger by the delays of the captain, who was, in reality, waiting for more freight, and as the wind had been long nested, as it were, in the southwest, where it constantly blew hurricanes, I began with great reason to apprehend that our voyage might be long, and that my belly, which began already to be much extended, would require the water to be let out at a time when no assistance was at hand; though, indeed, the captain comforted me with assurances that he had a pretty young fellow on board who acted as his surgeon, as I found he likewise did as steward, cook, butler, sailor. In short, he had as many offices as Scrub in the play, and went through them all with great dexterity; this of surgeon was, perhaps, the only one in which his skill was somewhat deficient, at least that branch of tapping for the dropsy; for he very ingenuously and modestly confessed he had never seen the operation performed, nor was possessed of that chirurgical instrument with which it is performed.
Friday, June 28.—By way of prevention, therefore, I this day sent for my friend, Mr. Hunter, the great surgeon and anatomist of Covent-garden; and, though my belly was not yet very full and tight, let out ten quarts of water; the young sea-surgeon attended the operation, not as a performer, but as a student.
I was now eased of the greatest apprehension which I had from the length of the passage; and I told the captain I was become indifferent as to the time of his sailing. He expressed much satisfaction in this declaration, and at hearing from me that I found myself, since my tapping, much lighter and better. In this, I believe, he was sincere; for he was, as we shall have occasion to observe more than once, a very good-natured man; and, as he was a very brave one too, I found that the heroic constancy with which I had borne an operation that is attended with scarce any degree of pain had not a little raised me in his esteem. That he might adhere, therefore, in the most religious and rigorous manner to his word, when he had no longer any temptation from interest to break it, as he had no longer any hopes of more goods or passengers, he ordered his ship to fall down to Gravesend on Sunday morning, and there to wait his arrival.
Sunday, June 30.—Nothing worth notice passed till that morning, when my poor wife, after passing a night in the utmost torments of the toothache, resolved to have it drawn. I despatched therefore a servant into Wapping to bring in haste the best tooth-drawer he could find. He soon found out a female of great eminence in the art; but when he brought her to the boat, at the waterside, they were informed that the ship was gone; for indeed she had set out a few minutes after his quitting her; nor did the pilot, who well knew the errand on which I had sent my servant, think fit to wait a moment for his return, or to give me any notice of his setting out, though I had very patiently attended the delays of the captain four days, after many solemn promises of weighing anchor every one of the three last. But of all the petty bashaws or turbulent tyrants I ever beheld, this sour-faced pilot was the worst tempered; for, during the time that he had the guidance of the ship, which was till we arrived in the Downs, he complied with no one's desires, nor did he give a civil word, or indeed a civil look, to any on board.
The tooth-drawer, who, as I said before, was one of great eminence among her neighbors, refused to follow the ship; so that my man made himself the best of his way, and with some difficulty came up with us before we were got under full sail; for after that, as we had both wind and tide with us, he would have found it impossible to overtake the ship till she was come to an anchor at Gravesend.
The morning was fair and bright, and we had a passage thither, I think, as pleasant as can be conceived: for, take it with all its advantages, particularly the number of fine ships you are always sure of seeing by the way, there is nothing to equal it in all the rivers of the world. The yards of Deptford and of Woolwich are noble sights, and give us a just idea of the great perfection to which we are arrived in building those floating castles, and the figure which we may always make in Europe among the other maritime powers. That of Woolwich, at least, very strongly imprinted this idea on my mind; for there was now on the stocks there the Royal Anne, supposed to be the largest ship ever built, and which contains ten carriage-guns more than had ever yet equipped a first-rate.
It is true, perhaps, that there is more of ostentation than of real utility in ships of this vast and unwieldy burden, which are rarely capable of acting against an enemy; but if the building such contributes to preserve, among other nations, the notion of the British superiority in naval affairs, the expense, though very great, is well incurred, and the ostentation is laudable and truly political. Indeed, I should be sorry to allow that Holland, France, or Spain, possessed a vessel larger and more beautiful than the largest and most beautiful of ours; for this honor I would always administer to the pride of our sailors, who should challenge it from all their neighbors with truth and success. And sure I am that not our honest tars alone, but every inhabitant of this island, may exult in the comparison, when he considers the king of Great Britain as a maritime prince, in opposition to any other prince in Europe; but I am not so certain that the same idea of superiority will result from comparing our land forces with those of many other crowned heads. In numbers they all far exceed us, and in the goodness and splendor of their troops many nations, particularly the Germans and French, and perhaps the Dutch, cast us at a distance; for, however we may flatter ourselves with the Edwards and Henrys of former ages, the change of the whole art of war since those days, by which the advantage of personal strength is in a manner entirely lost, hath produced a change in military affairs to the advantage of our enemies. As for our successes in later days, if they were not entirely owing to the superior genius of our general, they were not a little due to the superior force of his money. Indeed, if we should arraign marshal Saxe of ostentation when he showed his army, drawn up, to our captive general, the day after the battle of La Val, we cannot say that the ostentation was entirely vain; since he certainly showed him an army which had not been often equaled, either in the number or goodness of the troops, and which, in those respects, so far exceeded ours, that none can ever cast any reflection on the brave young prince who could not reap the laurels of conquest in that day; but his retreat will be always mentioned as an addition to his glory.
In our marine the case is entirely the reverse, and it must be our own fault if it doth not continue so; for continue so it will as long as the flourishing state of our trade shall support it, and this support it can never want till our legislature shall cease to give sufficient attention to the protection of our trade, and our magistrates want sufficient power, ability, and honesty, to execute the laws; a circumstance not to be apprehended, as it cannot happen till our senates and our benches shall be filled with the blindest ignorance, or with the blackest corruption.
Besides the ships in the docks, we saw many on the water: the yachts are sights of great parade, and the king's body yacht is, I believe, unequaled in any country for convenience as well as magnificence; both which are consulted in building and equipping her with the most exquisite art and workmanship.
We saw likewise several Indiamen just returned from their voyage.
These are, I believe, the largest and finest vessels which are anywhere employed in commercial affairs. The colliers, likewise, which are very numerous, and even assemble in fleets, are ships of great bulk; and if we descend to those used in the American, African, and European trades, and pass through those which visit our own coasts, to the small craft that lie between Chatham and the Tower, the whole forms a most pleasing object to the eye, as well as highly warming to the heart of an Englishman who has any degree of love for his country, or can recognize any effect of the patriot in his constitution. Lastly, the Royal Hospital at Greenwich, which presents so delightful a front to the water, and doth such honor at once to its builder and the nation, to the great skill and ingenuity of the one, and to the no less sensible gratitude of the other, very properly closes the account of this scene; which may well appear romantic to those who have not themselves seen that, in this one instance, truth and reality are capable, perhaps, of exceeding the power of fiction. When we had passed by Greenwich we saw only two or three gentlemen's houses, all of very moderate account, till we reached Gravesend: these are all on the Kentish shore, which affords a much dryer, wholesomer, and pleasanter situation, than doth that of its opposite, Essex. This circumstance, I own, is somewhat surprising to me, when I reflect on the numerous villas that crowd the river from Chelsea upwards as far as Shepperton, where the narrower channel affords not half so noble a prospect, and where the continual succession of the small craft, like the frequent repetition of all things, which have nothing in them great, beautiful, or admirable, tire the eye, and give us distaste and aversion, instead of pleasure. With some of these situations, such as Barnes, Mortlake, etc., even the shore of Essex might contend, not upon very unequal terms; but on the Kentish borders there are many spots to be chosen by the builder which might justly claim the preference over almost the very finest of those in Middlesex and Surrey.
How shall we account for this depravity in taste? for surely there are none so very mean and contemptible as to bring the pleasure of seeing a number of little wherries, gliding along after one another, in competition with what we enjoy in viewing a succession of ships, with all their sails expanded to the winds, bounding over the waves before us.
And here I cannot pass by another observation on the deplorable want of taste in our enjoyments, which we show by almost totally neglecting the pursuit of what seems to me the highest degree of amusement; this is, the sailing ourselves in little vessels of our own, contrived only for our ease and accommodation, to which such situations of our villas as I have recommended would be so convenient, and even necessary.
This amusement, I confess, if enjoyed in any perfection, would be of the expensive kind; but such expense would not exceed the reach of a moderate fortune, and would fall very short of the prices which are daily paid for pleasures of a far inferior rate.
The truth, I believe, is, that sailing in the manner I have just mentioned is a pleasure rather unknown, or unthought of, than rejected by those who have experienced it; unless, perhaps, the apprehension of danger or seasickness may be supposed, by the timorous and delicate, to make too large deductions—insisting that all their enjoyments shall come to them pure and unmixed, and being ever ready to cry out,
——Nocet empta dolore voluptas.
This, however, was my present case; for the ease and lightness which I felt from my tapping, the gayety of the morning, the pleasant sailing with wind and tide, and the many agreeable objects with which I was constantly entertained during the whole way, were all suppressed and overcome by the single consideration of my wife's pain, which continued incessantly to torment her till we came to an anchor, when I dispatched a messenger in great haste for the best reputed operator in Gravesend. A surgeon of some eminence now appeared, who did not decline tooth-drawing, though he certainly would have been offended with the appellation of tooth-drawer no less than his brethren, the members of that venerable body, would be with that of barber, since the late separation between those long-united companies, by which, if the surgeons have gained much, the barbers are supposed to have lost very little. This able and careful person (for so I sincerely believe he is) after examining the guilty tooth, declared that it was such a rotten shell, and so placed at the very remotest end of the upper jaw, where it was in a manner covered and secured by a large fine firm tooth, that he despaired of his power of drawing it.
He said, indeed, more to my wife, and used more rhetoric to dissuade her from having it drawn, than is generally employed to persuade young ladies to prefer a pain of three moments to one of three months' continuance, especially if those young ladies happen to be past forty and fifty years of age, when, by submitting to support a racking torment, the only good circumstance attending which is, it is so short that scarce one in a thousand can cry out "I feel it," they are to do a violence to their charms, and lose one of those beautiful holders with which alone Sir Courtly Nice declares a lady can ever lay hold of his heart. He said at last so much, and seemed to reason so justly, that I came over to his side, and assisted him in prevailing on my wife (for it was no easy matter) to resolve on keeping her tooth a little longer, and to apply palliatives only for relief. These were opium applied to the tooth, and blisters behind the ears.
Whilst we were at dinner this day in the cabin, on a sudden the window on one side was beat into the room with a crash as if a twenty-pounder had been discharged among us. We were all alarmed at the suddenness of the accident, for which, however, we were soon able to account, for the sash, which was shivered all to pieces, was pursued into the middle of the cabin by the bowsprit of a little ship called a cod-smack, the master of which made us amends for running (carelessly at best) against us, and injuring the ship, in the sea-way; that is to say, by damning us all to hell, and uttering several pious wishes that it had done us much more mischief. All which were answered in their own kind and phrase by our men, between whom and the other crew a dialogue of oaths and scurrility was carried on as long as they continued in each other's hearing.
It is difficult, I think, to assign a satisfactory reason why sailors in general should, of all others, think themselves entirely discharged from the common bands of humanity, and should seem to glory in the language and behavior of savages! They see more of the world, and have, most of them, a more erudite education than is the portion of landmen of their degree. Nor do I believe that in any country they visit (Holland itself not excepted) they can ever find a parallel to what daily passes on the river Thames. Is it that they think true courage (for they are the bravest fellows upon earth) inconsistent with all the gentleness of a humane carriage, and that the contempt of civil order springs up in minds but little cultivated, at the same time and from the same principles with the contempt of danger and death? Is it—? in short, it is so; and how it comes to be so I leave to form a question in the Robin Hood Society, or to be propounded for solution among the enigmas in the Woman's Almanac for the next year.
Monday, July 1.—This day Mr. Welch took his leave of me after dinner, as did a young lady of her sister, who was proceeding with my wife to Lisbon. They both set out together in a post-chaise for London. Soon after their departure our cabin, where my wife and I were sitting together, was visited by two ruffians, whose appearance greatly corresponded with that of the sheriffs, or rather the knight-marshal's bailiffs. One of these especially, who seemed to affect a more than ordinary degree of rudeness and insolence, came in without any kind of ceremony, with a broad gold lace on his hat, which was cocked with much military fierceness on his head. An inkhorn at his buttonhole and some papers in his hand sufficiently assured me what he was, and I asked him if he and his companion were not custom-house officers: he answered with sufficient dignity that they were, as an information which he seemed to conclude would strike the hearer with awe, and suppress all further inquiry; but, on the contrary, I proceeded to ask of what rank he was in the custom-house, and, receiving an answer from his companion, as I remember, that the gentleman was a riding surveyor, I replied that he might be a riding surveyor, but could be no gentleman, for that none who had any title to that denomination would break into the presence of a lady without an apology or even moving his hat. He then took his covering from his head and laid it on the table, saying, he asked pardon, and blamed the mate, who should, he said, have informed him if any persons of distinction were below. I told him he might guess by our appearance (which, perhaps, was rather more than could be said with the strictest adherence to truth) that he was before a gentleman and lady, which should teach him to be very civil in his behavior, though we should not happen to be of that number whom the world calls people of fashion and distinction. However, I said, that as he seemed sensible of his error, and had asked pardon, the lady would permit him to put his hat on again if he chose it. This he refused with some degree of surliness, and failed not to convince me that, if I should condescend to become more gentle, he would soon grow more rude. I now renewed a reflection, which I have often seen occasion to make, that there is nothing so incongruous in nature as any kind of power with lowness of mind and of ability, and that there is nothing more deplorable than the want of truth in the whimsical notion of Plato, who tells us that "Saturn, well knowing the state of human affairs, gave us kings and rulers, not of human but divine original; for, as we make not shepherds of sheep, nor oxherds of oxen, nor goatherds of goats, but place some of our own kind over all as being better and fitter to govern them; in the same manner were demons by the divine love set over us as a race of beings of a superior order to men, and who, with great ease to themselves, might regulate our affairs and establish peace, modesty, freedom, and justice, and, totally destroying all sedition, might complete the happiness of the human race. So far, at least, may even now be said with truth, that in all states which are under the government of mere man, without any divine assistance, there is nothing but labor and misery to be found. From what I have said, therefore, we may at least learn, with our utmost endeavors, to imitate the Saturnian institution; borrowing all assistance from our immortal part, while we pay to this the strictest obedience, we should form both our private economy and public policy from its dictates. By this dispensation of our immortal minds we are to establish a law and to call it by that name. But if any government be in the hands of a single person, of the few, or of the many, and such governor or governors shall abandon himself or themselves to the unbridled pursuit of the wildest pleasures or desires, unable to restrain any passion, but possessed with an insatiable bad disease; if such shall attempt to govern, and at the same time to trample on all laws, there can be no means of preservation left for the wretched people." Plato de Leg., lib. iv. p. 713, c. 714, edit. Serrani.
It is true that Plato is here treating of the highest or sovereign power in a state, but it is as true that his observations are general and may be applied to all inferior powers; and, indeed, every subordinate degree is immediately derived from the highest; and, as it is equally protected by the same force and sanctified by the same authority, is alike dangerous to the well-being of the subject. Of all powers, perhaps, there is none so sanctified and protected as this which is under our present consideration. So numerous, indeed, and strong, are the sanctions given to it by many acts of parliament, that, having once established the laws of customs on merchandise, it seems to have been the sole view of the legislature to strengthen the hands and to protect the persons of the officers who became established by those laws, many of whom are so far from bearing any resemblance to the Saturnian institution, and to be chosen from a degree of beings superior to the rest of human race, that they sometimes seem industriously picked out of the lowest and vilest orders of mankind. There is, indeed, nothing, so useful to man in general, nor so beneficial to particular societies and individuals, as trade. This is that alma mater at whose plentiful breast all mankind are nourished. It is true, like other parents, she is not always equally indulgent to all her children, but, though she gives to her favorites a vast proportion of redundancy and superfluity, there are very few whom she refuses to supply with the conveniences, and none with the necessaries, of life.
Such a benefactress as this must naturally be beloved by mankind in general; it would be wonderful, therefore, if her interest was not considered by them, and protected from the fraud and violence of some of her rebellious offspring, who, coveting more than their share or more than she thinks proper to allow them, are daily employed in meditating mischief against her, and in endeavoring to steal from their brethren those shares which this great alma mater had allowed them.
At length our governor came on board, and about six in the evening we weighed anchor, and fell down to the Nore, whither our passage was extremely pleasant, the evening being very delightful, the moon just past the full, and both wind and tide favorable to us.
Tuesday, July 2.—This morning we again set sail, under all the advantages we had enjoyed the evening before. This day we left the shore of Essex and coasted along Kent, passing by the pleasant island of Thanet, which is an island, and that of Sheppy, which is not an island, and about three o 'clock, the wind being now full in our teeth, we came to an anchor in the Downs, within two miles of Deal.—My wife, having suffered intolerable pain from her tooth, again renewed her resolution of having it drawn, and another surgeon was sent for from Deal, but with no better success than the former. He likewise declined the operation, for the same reason which had been assigned by the former: however, such was her resolution, backed with pain, that he was obliged to make the attempt, which concluded more in honor of his judgment than of his operation; for, after having put my poor wife to inexpressible torment, he was obliged to leave her tooth in statu quo; and she had now the comfortable prospect of a long fit of pain, which might have lasted her whole voyage, without any possibility of relief. In these pleasing sensations, of which I had my just share, nature, overcome with fatigue, about eight in the evening resigned her to rest—a circumstance which would have given me some happiness, could I have known how to employ those spirits which were raised by it; but, unfortunately for me, I was left in a disposition of enjoying an agreeable hour without the assistance of a companion, which has always appeared to me necessary to such enjoyment; my daughter and her companion were both retired sea-sick to bed; the other passengers were a rude school-boy of fourteen years old and an illiterate Portuguese friar, who understood no language but his own, in which I had not the least smattering. The captain was the only person left in whose conversation I might indulge myself; but unluckily, besides a total ignorance of everything in the world but a ship, he had the misfortune of being so deaf, that to make him hear, I will not say understand, my words, I must run the risk of conveying them to the ears of my wife, who, though in another room (called, I think, the state-room—being, indeed, a most stately apartment, capable of containing one human body in length, if not very tall, and three bodies in breadth), lay asleep within a yard of me. In this situation necessity and choice were one and the same thing; the captain and I sat down together to a small bowl of punch, over which we both soon fell fast asleep, and so concluded the evening.
Wednesday, July 3.—This morning I awaked at four o'clock for my distemper seldom suffered me to sleep later. I presently got up, and had the pleasure of enjoying the sight of a tempestuous sea for four hours before the captain was stirring; for he loved to indulge himself in morning slumbers, which were attended with a wind-music, much more agreeable to the performers than to the hearers, especially such as have, as I had, the privilege of sitting in the orchestra. At eight o 'clock the captain rose, and sent his boat on shore. I ordered my man likewise to go in it, as my distemper was not of that kind which entirely deprives us of appetite. Now, though the captain had well victualled his ship with all manner of salt provisions for the voyage, and had added great quantities of fresh stores, particularly of vegetables, at Gravesend, such as beans and peas, which had been on board only two days, and had possibly not been gathered above two more, I apprehended I could provide better for myself at Deal than the ship's ordinary seemed to promise. I accordingly sent for fresh provisions of all kinds from the shore, in order to put off the evil day of starving as long as possible. My man returned with most of the articles I sent for, and I now thought myself in a condition of living a week on my own provisions. I therefore ordered my own dinner, which I wanted nothing but a cook to dress and a proper fire to dress it at; but those were not to be had, nor indeed any addition to my roast mutton, except the pleasure of the captain's company, with that of the other passengers; for my wife continued the whole day in a state of dozing, and my other females, whose sickness did not abate by the rolling of the ship at anchor, seemed more inclined to empty their stomachs than to fill them. Thus I passed the whole day (except about an hour at dinner) by myself, and the evening concluded with the captain as the preceding one had done; one comfortable piece of news he communicated to me, which was, that he had no doubt of a prosperous wind in the morning; but as he did not divulge the reasons of this confidence, and as I saw none myself besides the wind being directly opposite, my faith in this prophecy was not strong enough to build any great hopes upon.
Thursday, July 4.—This morning, however, the captain seemed resolved to fulfill his own predictions, whether the wind would or no; he accordingly weighed anchor, and, taking the advantage of the tide when the wind was not very boisterous, he hoisted his sails; and, as if his power had been no less absolute over Aeolus than it was over Neptune, he forced the wind to blow him on in its own despite.
But as all men who have ever been at sea well know how weak such attempts are, and want no authorities of Scripture to prove that the most absolute power of a captain of a ship is very contemptible in the wind's eye, so did it befall our noble commander, who, having struggled with the wind three or four hours, was obliged to give over, and lost in a few minutes all that he had been so long a-gaining; in short, we returned to our former station, and once more cast anchor in the neighborhood of Deal.
Here, though we lay near the shore, that we might promise ourselves all the emolument which could be derived from it, we found ourselves deceived; and that we might with as much conveniency be out of the sight of land; for, except when the captain launched forth his own boat, which he did always with great reluctance, we were incapable of procuring anything from Deal, but at a price too exorbitant, and beyond the reach even of modern luxury—the fare of a boat from Deal, which lay at two miles' distance, being at least three half-crowns, and, if we had been in any distress for it, as many half-guineas; for these good people consider the sea as a large common appendant to their manor; in which when they find any of their fellow-creatures impounded, they conclude that they have a full right of making them pay at their own discretion for their deliverance: to say the truth, whether it be that men who live on the sea-shore are of an amphibious kind, and do not entirely partake of human nature, or whatever else may be the reason, they are so far from taking any share in the distresses of mankind, or of being moved with any compassion for them, that they look upon them as blessings showered down from above, and which the more they improve to their own use, the greater is their gratitude and piety. Thus at Gravesend a sculler requires a shilling for going less way than he would row in London for threepence; and at Deal a boat often brings more profit in a day than it can produce in London in a week, or perhaps in a month; in both places the owner of the boat founds his demand on the necessity and distress of one who stands more or less in absolute want of his assistance, and with the urgency of these always rises in the exorbitancy of his demand, without ever considering that, from these very circumstances, the power or ease of gratifying such demand is in like proportion lessened. Now, as I am unwilling that some conclusions, which may be, I am aware, too justly drawn from these observations, should be imputed to human nature in general, I have endeavored to account for them in a way more consistent with the goodness and dignity of that nature. However it be, it seems a little to reflect on the governors of such monsters that they do not take some means to restrain these impositions, and prevent them from triumphing any longer in the miseries of those who are, in many circumstances at least, their fellow-creatures, and considering the distresses of a wretched seaman, from his being wrecked to his being barely windbound, as a blessing sent among them from above, and calling it by that blasphemous name.