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ADVERTISEMENT. For the benefit of my female readers. N.B. The gilt chariot, the dianiond ring, the gold snuff-box, and brocade sword-knot, are no es-sential parts of a fine gentleman; but may be used by him, provided he casts his eye upon them but once a day.'
N° 35. TUESDAY, APRIL 21, 1713.
O vita Pbilosopbia dux, virtutis indagatrix !
O Philosophy, thou guide of life, and discoverer of virtue !
TO NESTOR IRONSIDE, ESQ.
I am a man who have spent great part of that time in rambling through foreign countries, which young gentlemen usually pass at the university; by which course of life, although I have acquired no small insight into the manners and conversation of men, yet I could not make proportionable advances in the way of science and speculation. In my return through France, as I was one day setting forth this my case to a certain gentleman of that nation, with whom I had contracted a friendship; after some pause, he conducted me into his closet, and, opening a little amber cabinet, took from thence a small box of snuff; which he said,
was given him by an uncle of his, the author of The Voyage to the World of Descartes; and with many professions of gratitude and affection made me a present of it, telling me, at the same time, that he knew no readier way to furnish and adorn a mind with knowledge in the arts and sciences, than that same snuff rightly applied.
6. You must know,” said he, “ that Descartes was the first who discovered a certain part of the brain, called by anatomists the Pineal Gland, to be the immediate receptacle of the soul, where she is affected with all sorts of perceptions, and exerts, all her operations by the intercourse of the animal spirits which run through the nerves that are thence, extended to all parts of the body. He added, that the same philosopher having considered the body as a machine, or piece of clock-work, which performed all the vital operations without the concurrence of the will, began to think a way may be found out for separating the soul for some time from the body, without any injury to the latter; and that after much meditation on that subject, the abovementioned virtuoso composed the snuff he then gave me; which, if taken in a certain quantity, would not fail to disengage my soul from my body. Your soul (continued he) being at liberty to transport herself with a thought wherever she pleases, may enter into the pineal gland of the most learned philosopher, and being so placed, become spectator of all the ideas in his mind, which would instruct her in a much less time than the usual methods." I returned him thanks, and accepted his present, and with it a paper of directions.
• You may imagine it was no small improvement and diversion, to pass my time in the pineal glands of philosophers, poets, beaux, mathematicians, ladies, and statesmen. One while to trace a theorem in mathematics through a long labyrinth of intricate turns, and subtleties of thought; another, to be conscious of the sublime ideas and comprehensive views of a philosopher, without any fatigue or wasting of my own spirits. Sometimes to wander through perfumed groves, or enameled meadows, in the fancy of a poet: at others to be present when a battle or a storm raged, or a glittering palace rose in his imagination; or to behold the pleasures of a country life, the passion of a generous love, or the warmth of devotion wrought up to rapture. Or (to use the words of a very in. genious author) to
. Behold the raptures which a writer knows,
Essay on the different styles of poetry. « These gave me inconceivable pleasure. Nor was it an unpleasant entertainment, sometimes to descend from these sublime and magnificent ideas to the impertinences of a beau, the dry schemes of a coffee-house politician, or the tender images in the mind of a young lady. And, as in order to frame a right idea of human happiness, I thought it expedient to make a trial of the various manners wherein men of different pursuits were affected : I one day entered into the pineal gland of a certain person, who seemed very fit to give me an insight into all that which constitutes the happiness of him who is called a Man of Pleasure. But I found myself not a little disappointed in my notion of the pleasures which attend a voluptuary, who has shaken off the restraints of reason.
• His intellectuals, I observed, were grown unserviceable by too little use, and his senses were decayed and worn out by too much. That perfect inaction of the higher powers prevented appetite in promoting him to sensual gratifications; and the outrunning natural appetite produced a loathing instead of a pleasure. I there beheld the intemperate cravings of youth, without the enjoyments of it; and the weakness of old age, without its tranquillity. When the passions were teazed and roused by some powerful object, the effect was not to delight or sooth the mind, but to torture it between the returning extremes of appetite, and satiety. I saw a wretch racked, at the same time, with a painful remembrance of past miscarriages, a distaste of the present objects that solicit his senses, and a secret dread of futurity. And I could see no mannier of relief or comfort in the soul of this miserable man, but what consisted in preventing his cure, by inflaming his passions, and suppressing his reason. But though it must be owned he had almost quenched that light which his Creator has set up in his soul, yet, in spite of all his efforts, I observed at certain seasons frequent flashes of remorse strike through the gloom, and interrupt that satisfaction he enjoyed in hiding his own deformities from himself.
• I was also present at the original formation or production of a certain book in the mind of a freethinker, and, believing it may not be unacceptable to let
you into the secret manner and internal principles by which that phænomenon was formed, I shall in my next give you an account of-it.
I am, in the mean time,
N. B. Mr. Ironside has lately received out of France ten pound averdupois weight of this philosophical snuff, and gives notice that he will make use of it, in order to distinguish the real from the professed sentiments of all persons of eminence in court, city, town, and country,
N° 36. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22, 1713.
Punnica se quantis attollet gloria rebus !
VIRG. Æn. iv. 49.
What Rebus's exalt the Punnic fame * !
The gentleman who doth me the favour to write the following letter, saith as much for himself as the thing will bear. I am particularly pleased to find, that in his apology for punning he only celebrates the art, as it is a part of conversation. I look upon premeditated quibbles and puns com: mitted to the press as unpardonable crimes. There is as much difference betwixt these and the starts in common discourse as betwixt casual rencounters, and murder with malice prepense.
' I HAVE from your writings conceived such an opinion of your benevolence to mankind, that I trust you will not suffer any Art to be vilified,
* The double pun in the motto of this paper is adapted to the subject of it.