I afterwards entered a By Coffee-house that stood at the upper end of a narrow Lane, where I met with a Nonjuror, engaged very warmly with a Laceman who was the great Support of a neighbouring Conventicle. The Matter in Debate was, whether the late French King was most like Augustus Caesar, or Nero. The Controversie was carried on with great Heat on both Sides, and as each of them looked upon me very frequently during the Course of their Debate, I was under some Apprehension that they would appeal to me, and therefore laid down my Penny at the Bar, and made the best of my way to Cheapside.
I here gazed upon the Signs for some time before I found one to my Purpose. The first Object I met in the Coffeeroom was a Person who expressed a great Grief for the Death of the French King; but upon his explaining himself, I found his Sorrow did not arise from the Loss of the Monarch, but for his having sold out of the Bank about three Days before he heard the News of it: Upon which a Haberdasher, who was the Oracle of the Coffee-house, and had his Circle of Admirers about him, called several to witness that he had declared his Opinion above a Week before, that the French King was certainly dead; to which he added, that considering the late Advices we had received from France, it was impossible that it could be otherwise. As he was laying these together, and dictating to his Hearers with great Authority, there came in a Gentleman from Garraway’s, who told us that there were several Letters from France just come in, with Advice that the King was in good Health, and was gone out a Hunting the very Morning the Post came away: Upon which the Haberdasher stole off his Hat that hung upon a wooden Pegg by him, and retired to his Shop with great Confusion. This Intelligence put a Stop to my Travels, which I had prosecuted with [much ] Satisfaction; not being a little pleased to hear so many different Opinions upon so great an Event, and to observe how naturally upon such a Piece of News every one is apt to consider it with a Regard to his own particular Interest and Advantage.
[Footnote 1: [great]]
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No. 404. Friday, June 13, 1712. Budgell
[’—Non omnia possumus omnes.’
Nature does nothing in vain: the Creator of the Universe has appointed every thing to a certain Use and Purpose, and determin’d it to a settled Course and Sphere of Action, from which, if it in the least deviates, it becomes unfit to answer those Ends for which it was designed. In like manner it is in the Dispositions of Society, the civil Oeconomy is formed in a Chain as well as the natural; and in either Case the Breach but of one Link puts the Whole into some Disorder. It is, I think, pretty plain, that most of the Absurdity and Ridicule we meet with in the World, is generally owing to the impertinent Affectation of excelling in Characters Men are not fit for, and for which Nature never designed them.