My Illiterate Readers, if any such there are, will be surprized to hear me talk of Learning as the Glory of a Nation, and of Printing as an Art that gains a Reputation to a People among whom it flourishes. When Men’s Thoughts are taken up with Avarice and Ambition, they cannot look upon any thing as great or valuable, which does not bring with it an extraordinary Power or Interest to the Person who is concerned in it. But as I shall never sink this Paper so far as to engage with Goths and Vandals, I shall only regard such kind of Reasoners with that Pity which is due to so Deplorable a Degree of Stupidity and Ignorance.
[Footnote 1: Just published, 1712, by Dr. Samuel Clarke, then 37 years old. He had been for 12 years chaplain to the Bishop of Norwich, and Boyle Lecturer in 1704-5, when he took for his subject the Being and Attributes of God and the Evidences of Natural and Revealed Religion. He had also translated Newton’s Optics, and was become chaplain to the Queen, Rector of St. Jamess, Westminster, and D. D. of Cambridge. The accusations of heterodoxy that followed him through his after life date from this year, 1712, in which, besides the edition of Caesar, he published a book on the Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity.]
* * * * *
No. 368. Friday, May 2, 1712. Steele.
Lugere ubi esset aliquis in lucem editus
Humanae vitae varia reputantes mala;
At qui labores morte finisset graves
Omnes amices laude et laetitia exequi.’
Eurip. apud Tull.
As the Spectator is in a Kind a Paper of News from the natural World, as others are from the busy and politick Part of Mankind, I shall translate the following Letter written to an eminent French Gentleman in this Town from Paris, which gives us the Exit of an Heroine who is a Pattern of Patience and Generosity.
Paris, April 18, 1712.
It is so many Years since you left your native Country, that I am to tell you the Characters of your nearest Relations as much as if you were an utter Stranger to them. The Occasion of this is to give you an account of the Death of Madam de Villacerfe, whose Departure out of this Life I know not whether a Man of your Philosophy will call unfortunate or not, since it was attended with some Circumstances as much to be desired as to be lamented. She was her whole Life happy in an uninterrupted Health, and was always honoured for an Evenness of Temper and Greatness of Mind. On the 10th instant that Lady was taken with an Indisposition which confined her to her Chamber, but was such as was too slight to make her take a sick Bed, and yet too grievous to admit of any Satisfaction in being out of it. It is notoriously known, that some Years ago Monsieur Festeau, one of the most considerable