The author’s raillery is the raillery of a friend, and does not turn the Sacred Order into ridicule: but it is a just censure on such persons as take advantages from the necessities of a Man of Merit, to impose upon him hardships that are by no means suitable to the dignity of his profession.
[i.e., RICHARD STEELE].
Another description of the miseries of the Domestic Chaplain, in 1713, A.D.
[The Guardian. No. 173. Thursday, 17 Sept. 1713.]
When I am disposed to give myself a day’s rest, I order the Lion to be opened [i.e., a letter-box at BUTTON’s Coffee-house], and search into that magazine of intelligence for such letters as are to my purpose. The first I looked into, comes to me from one who is Chaplain to a great family.
He treats himself, in the beginning of it, after such a manner as I am persuaded no Man of Sense would treat him. Even the Lawyer, and the Physician to a Man of Quality, expect to be used like gentlemen; and much more, may any one of so superior a profession!
I am by no means encouraging that dispute, Whether the Chaplain, or the Master of the house be the better man, and the more to be respected? The two learned authors, Dr. HICKS and Mr. COLLIER (to whom I might add several others) are to be excused, if they have carried the point a little too high in favour of the Chaplain: since in so corrupt an Age as that we live in, the popular opinion runs so far into the other extreme.
The only controversy between the Patron and the Chaplain ought to be, Which should promote the good designs and interests of each other most? And, for my own part, I think it is the happiest circumstance in a great Estate or Title, that it qualifies a man for choosing, out of such a learned and valuable body of men as that of the English Clergy, a friend, a spiritual guide, and a companion.
The letter which I have received from one of this Order, is as follows:
I hope you will not only indulge
me in the liberty of two or three
questions; but also in the solution of them.
I haw had the honour, many years, of being Chaplain in a noble Family; and of being accounted the_ highest servant in the house: either out of respect to my Cloth, or because I lie in the uppermost garret.
Whilst my old Lord lived, his table was always adorned with useful Learning and innocent Mirth, as well as covered with Plenty. I was not looked upon as a piece of furniture, fit only to sanctify and garnish a feast; but treated as a Gentleman, and generally desired to fill up the conversation, an hour after I had done my duty [i.e., said grace after dinner].
But now my young Lord is come to the Estate, I find I am looked upon as a Censor