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A D V EN TUR E R.
NUMB. 34. SATURDAY, March 3, 1753.
Has toties optata exegit gloria pænas.
To the ADVENTURER.
Fleet-prison, Feb. 24. O a benevolent disposition, every state of
life will afford fome opportunities of con
tributing to the welfare of mankind. Opulence and splendor are enabled to dispel the cloud of adversicy, to dry up the tears of the widow and the orphan, and to increase the felicity of all around them: their example will animate virtue, and retard the progress of vice. And even indigence and obscurity, though without power to confer happiness, may at least prevent misery, and apprize those who are blinded by their passions that they are on the brink of irremediable calamity. Vol. IX,
Pleased, therefore, with the thought of recovering others from that folly which has embittered my own days, I have presumed to address the Adventurer from the dreary mansions of wretchedness and delpair, of which the gates are so wonderfully constructed, as to fiy open for the reception of strangers, though they are impervious as a rock of adamant to such as are within them:
Facilis defienfus Averni;
Suffer me to acquaint you, Sir, that I have glittered at the ball, and sparkled in the circle; that I have had the happiness to be the unknown favourite of an unknown lady at the masquerade, have been the delight of tables of the first fashion, and the envy of my brother beaux; and to descend a little lower, it is, I believe, still remembered, that Mefirs. Velours and d'Espagne stand indebted for a great part of their present influence at Guildhall, to the elegance of my hape, and the graceful freedom of my car
- Sed quæ præclara el profpera tanti,
As I entered into the world very young, with an elegant person and a large estate, it was not long before I disentangled myself from the shackles of religion; for I was determined to the pursuit of pleasure, which according to my notions consisted in the unrestrained and unlimited gratifications of every pafiion and every appetite; and as this could not be obtained under the frowns of a perpetual dictator, I considered religion as my enemy; and proceeding to treat her with contempt and derision, was not a little delighted, that the unfashionableness of her appearance, and the unanimated uniformity of her motions, afforded frequent opportunities for the fallies of my imagination.
Conceiving now that I was sufficiently qualified to laugh away fcruples, I imparted my remarks to those among my female favourites, whose virtue I intended to attack; for I was well assured, that pride would be able to make but a weak defence, when religion was subverted; nor was my success below my expectation : the love of pleasure is too ftrongly implanted in the female breast, to suffer them scrupulously to examine the validity of arguments designed to weaken restraint; all are easily led to believe, that whatever thwarts their inclination must be wrong: little more, therefore, was required, than by the addition of some circumstances, and the exaggeration of others, to make merriment supply the place of demonstration ; nor was I so senseless as to offer arguments to such as could not attend to them, and with whom a repartee or catch would more effectually answer the same purpose. This being effected, there remained only “ the
“ dread of the world.” but Roxana soared too high, to think the opinion of others worthy her notice; Letitia seemed to think of it only to declare, that “ if all her hairs were worlds,” she should reckon them “ well lost for love ;” and Pastorella fondly conceived, that she could dwell for ever by the side of a bubbling fountain, content with her fwain and feecy care ; without considering that stillnels and solitude can afford satisfaction only to innocence.
It is not the desire of new acquisitions, but the glory of conquefts, that fires the soldier's breast; as indeed the town is seldom worth much, when it has suffered the devastations of a fiege; so that though I did not openly declare the effects of my own prowess, which is forbidden by the laws of honour, it cannot be supposed that I was very solicitous to bury my reputation, or to hinder accidental discoveries. To have gained one victory, is an inducement to hazard a second engagement : and though the success of the general should be a reifun for increasing the strength of the fortification, it becomes, with many, a pretence for an immediare furrender, under the notion that no power is able to withstand fo formidable an adversary; while others brave the danger, and think it mean to surrender, and diftardly to fly. Melisa, indeed, knew better; and though she could not boast the apathy, steadiness, and inflexibility of a Cat), wanted not the more prudent virtue of Scipio, and gained the victory by declining the contest.
You must not, however, imagine, that I was, during this state of abandonca libertiniim, fo fully
convinced of the fitness of my own conduct, as to be free from uneasiness. I knew very well, that I might justly be deemed the pest of society, and that such proceedings must terminate in the destruction of my health and fortune; but to admit thoughts of this kind was to live upon the rack: I Aed, therefore, to the regions of mirth and jollity, as they are called, and endeavoured with burgundy, and a continual rotation of company, to free myself from the pangs of reflection. From these orgies we frequently fallied forth in quest of adventures, to the no small terror and consternation of all the fober ftragglers that came in our way: and though we never injured, like our illustrious progenitors, the Mobocks, either life or limbs; yet we have in the midst of Covent-Garden buried a taylor, who had been troublesome to some of our fine gentlemen, beneath a heap of cabbage-leaves and stalks, with this conceit,
Satia te caule quem semper cupifti.
There can be no reason for mentioning the common exploits of breaking windows and bruising the watch; unless it be to tell you of the device of ducing before the justice broken lanthorns, which have been paid for a hundred times : or their appearances with patches on their heads, under pretence of being cut by the sword that was never drawn: nor need I say any thing of the more formidable attack of sturdy chairmen, armed with poles; by a night stroke of which, the pride of B 3