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fair readers (for whom I entertain the truest respect and regard) in bad humour, I must assure thern, that I venture this remonstrance, but with the sererity of a censor, but with the anxiety of a friend. I know both the extent and the importance of their power; and, for the sake of our ses as much as theirs, I wish them not to forfeit it, by a departure from that no desty, that gentleness, those feminine graces, which are the supports of an influence so essential to the manners and to the happiness of society.
No. 11. SATURDAY, APRIL 16, 1785.
TO THE AUTHOR OF THE LOTSGER.
Octupatas situil agendo. SIP, As I have the bonur of being your namesake, and descended from an ancient race of Loungers, I rejoiced when I was informed, that me of our illustrious name and family began to make a figure in the literary world, and to publish bis lucubrations weekly in the capital of Scotland. I have spent a great part of my life in studying the genealogies, histories, and characters of the sereral branches of our flourishing family. With this vies, I have visited every city, town, and village in the kingdom, and have had the happiness to meet with Dear relations in every place, except Paisley, Kümarpack, and a few dirty manufacturing towns. From the observations I bare made
in my travels, I am fully convinced, that, if all the members of our family take in your paper, you will be the most popular and successful writer of the pre
your works will pass through more editions than either the Pilgrim's Progress or Robinson Crusoe.
The chief object of all my travels has been to collect materials for a great work, in which I have been engaged above fifty years. It is one of the peculiar excellencies of our family, to do nothing in haste. This famous work will be entitled Biographia Loungeriana Scottica; or, The Lives of the most eminent Loungers in Scotland, from the reign of Fergus I. to the present times. It will make two ponderous volumes in folio, to be published by subscription. The price to subscribers will be only six guineas; but to those unfortunate gentlemen who neglect to subscribe, the price may be, I know not how much. The first volume will contain the Lives of the Strenuous Loungers, and the second, the Lives of the Indolent Loungers. These are the two great branches into which our family is divided. Each volume will be adorned with twenty copper-plates, engraved by the most eminent artists, representing the easiest and most graceful postures for lounging in coaches, coffee-houses, taverns, drawing-rooms, playhouses, assembly-rooms, churches, colleges, courts of justice, &c. These plates will be of great utility, not only to fine ladies and fine gentlemen, but also to politicians, preachers, professors, students, lawyers, judges, and many others of all ranks. The frontispiece will be an elegant drawing of the outer Parliament-house in the middle of the session. To engage gentlemen to do themselves, the honour to subscribe, I send you a short article, which I beg you will publish in your entertaining paper, as a specimen of this excellent work.
My late cousin, Sir Thomas Lounger, of Loiterhall, in Lingerdale, was the eldest son of my good uncle Sir Timothy, and his Lady Mrs. Susan Dowdy of the Slatterington family. Sir Timothy died of a lethargy, with which he had been long afflicted; and Sir Thomas came to the possession of the estate and honours of his ancestors in the twenty-second year of his age. But the estate was then in a very
bad condition in all respects. Two thirds of the rents would hardly pay the interest of the debts—the mansionhouse was an old, cold, damp, ruinous castle, in the middle of a great morass—the farms were almost in a state of nature, the rents small and ill paid ; the extensive moors and hills yielded little or nothing.
• Sir Thomas was then a strong, healthy, young man; and as he had been two winters at the college of Aberdeen, and thought himself much wiser and cleverer than any of his forefathers, he determined to retrieve the ruined fortunes, and revive the faded honours of his family, by paying off all his debts, repairing or rebuilding his castle, draining his morass, improving his farms, cultivating his moors, and planting his hills. But he determined to do all this in the wisest, most cautious, and prudent manner; and never to engage
any undertaking till he had examined every circumstance, and provided against every obstacle and difficulty.
Sir Thomas spent several years in forming plans for the payment of his debts, which he found not so easy a matter as he had imagined. At length he hit upon one which he believed would do the business effectually. He proposed to.go to the East Indies, to dethrone half a dozen Rajahs, cut the throats of half a million of their subjects, and come home with three or four hundred thousand pounds in his pocket. This project pleased him mightily for some time, till he began to reflect on the great distance of the East
Indies, the danger of his being drowned in going or returning, and the still greater danger of being damned, if he destroyed so many of his fellow-creatures to enrich himself; which made him give up all thoughts of becoming a nabob. The next scheme Sir Thomas formed for the payment of his debts pleased him better, as it was not attended with so inuch danger either to his soul or body. When he was about fifty years of age, he came to a resolution to marry some beautiful young lady, of an honourable ancient family, with a prodigious fortune, that would enable him to pay all his debts, and execute all his projects. He spent several years in searching for such a lady, and at length fixed on Miss Betty Plum. It is true, Miss Betty was neither young nor handsome, and her grandfather had been a cobbler, but she had a great fortune; and after a violent struggle between poverty and pride, he resolved to stoop and make his addresses. But while he was meditating on the most effectual method of doing this, he received the unwelcome news, that his intended bride had married an Irish fortune-hunter. My cousin behaved very much like a gentleman on this occasion. He called Miss Betty all the bad names he had ever heard, cursed the whole sex, and forswore matrimony for
• While Sir Thomas was forming schemes for the payment of his debts, he was not unmindful of his old castle, and got many plans, some for repairing, and some for re-building it, for draining the morass, and laying it into a lawn, with gardens, orchards, walks,
But at last he found that this would be more expensive than building a new seat in the modern taste; and he very wisely determined to build a most elegant convenient mansion, for the future residence of his family. But he as wisely resolved not to lay one stone, till he had found the most healthy,
pleasant, and commodious spot in his whole estate. Many a long day did he wander in search for this spot, but never could find one to his mind. One was too high, another too low; one too damp, another too dry; the prospect from one was too confined, from another too extensive.
• Sir Thomas never forgot the improvement of his farms. That was his favourite taste and study. He chose the most proper places for building substantial convenient farm-houses; he traced and marked the line of all the hedges, ditches, and walls, that would be necessary for inclosing his fields, gardens, and orchards; he carefully examined the soil of every field, and settled the methods of cultivation that would be most proper for each, to bring it to the highest possible degree of fertility: in this he was much assisted by the painful perusal of several excellent systems of agriculture, composed in the garrets of Grub-street. When he had got all in readiness, he assembled his tenants in the great hall of his castle, laid his plans before them, and in a long elaborate discourse explained how they were to be carried into execution, concluding with a demand of two guineas a year of rent for every acre.
This harangue, particularly the concluding -sentence, produced various strong emotions in the audience. Some grinned, others groaned; some laughed, others cried; some cursed, others prayed; but all declared that they would not give one farthing more rent, nor change their methods of husbandry in the least. Sir Thomas was greatly enraged at the obstinacy of his tenants, and discharged a dreadful volley of oaths and threats upon them; but when his passion subsided, and he began to reflect that they were all his own clan, descended from the younger brothers and bastards of the family, he could not find in his heart to turn any
of them out of their farms.