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No. 107. TUESDAY, JULY 14, 1713.*
Tentanda via est
Virg. Georg. iii. 8.
I'll try the experiment.
I have lately entertained my reader with two or three letters from a traveller', and may possibly, in some of my future
papers, oblige him with more from the same hand. The following one comes from a projector, which is a sort of correspondent as diverting as a traveller ; his subject having the same grace of novelty to recommend it, and being equally adapted to the curiosity of the reader. For my own part, I have always had a particular fondness for a project, and may say, without vanity, that I have a pretty tolerable genius that way myself. I could mention some which I have brought to maturity, others which have miscarried, and many more which I have yet by me, and are to take their fate in the world when I see a proper juncture: I had a hand in the land banks, and was consulted with, upon the reformation of manners". I have had several designs upon the Thames and the New-river', not to mention my refinements
* Addison's. must judge for himself of the deference due in this case to Mr. Tickell's authority; to the decisiveness of which the paper itself suggests objections.
f See Nos. 101. 104. and notes on the author of them.
& The land bank was once really proposed, and designed as a rival bank, to lend money upon land security.
h See Tat. No. 3. and note on the society for the reformation of man
i This seems to refer to Steele’s contrivance for bringing fish to London, which was not completed till four or five years after the date of this paper, and did not succeed. See an account of it in a note on Steele's Letters,' vol. i. let. 279. p. 165. 2 vols. cr. 8vo. 1787.
upon lotteries", and insurances, and that never-to-beforgotten project, which if it had succeeded to my wishes, would have made gold as plentiful in this nation as tin or copper?. If my countrymen have not reaped any advantages from these my designs, it was not for want of any good will towards them. They are obliged to me for my kind intentions as much as if they had taken effect. Projects are of a two-fold nature : the first arising from public-spirited persons, in which number I declare myself: the other proceeding from à regard to our private interest, of which nature is that in the following letter.
• A MAN of your reading knows very well that there were a set of men in old Rome, called by the name of Nomenclators, that is, in English, men who could call every one by his name. When a great man stood for any public office, as that of a tribune, a consul, or a censor, he had always one of these nomenclators at his elbow, who whispered in his ear the name of every one he met with, and by that means enabled him to salute every Roman citizen by his name when he asked him for his vote. To come to my purpose; I have with much pains and assiduity qualified myself for a nomenclator to this great city,
k This seems to allude to Steele's . Multiplication Table;' a species of lottery which proved illegal. See Spect. Nos. 413. 415. and 417. new edition; and Swift's' Works,' vol. xix. p. 169. cr. 8vo.
· This appears to be another of Addison's oblique strokes at Steele, who is said to have been one of the last eminent men in this country who wasted money in search of the philosopher's stone. Certainly he had a laboratory at Poplar, now converted into à garden-house, where, it may be, he cultivated general chemistry, at greater expense than his fortune could bear. See Tat. No. 7. note, and Guard. No. 166. If these pleasantries and oblique strokes were really Addison's, they seem to have been unfriendly, because unseasonable; for it appears that Steele was at this time embarrassed and in a state of vexation. See his letters of this date to his wife. Steele's · Letters,' vol. i. let. 172. let. 174. &c. 2 vols. cr. 8vo. 1787; and Town-Talk, No. iv.
and shall gladly enter upon my office as soon as I meet with suitable encouragement. I will let myself out by the week to any curious country gentleman or foreigner. If he takes me with him in a coach to the Ring", I will undertake to teach him, in two or three evenings, the names of the most celebrated per, sons who frequent that place. If he plants me by his side in the pit, I will call over to him, in the same manner, the whole circle of beauties that are disposed among the boxes, and at the same time point out to him the persons who ogle them from their respective stations. I need not tell you that I may be of the same use in any other public assembly. Nor do I only profess the teaching of names, but of things. Upon the sight of a reigning beauty, I shall mention her admirers, and discover her gallantries, if they are of public notoriety. I shall likewise mark out every toast, the club in which she was elected, and the number of votes that were on her side. Not a woman shall be unexplained that makes a figure either as a maid, a wife, or a widow. The men too shall be set out in their distinguishing characters, and declared whose properties they are.
Their wit, wealth, or good-humour, their persons, stations, and titles, shall be described at large.
• I have a wife who is a nomenclatress, and will be ready, on any occasion, to attend the ladies. She is of a much more communicative nature than myself, and is acquainted with all the private history of London and Westminster, and ten miles round. She has fifty private amours which nobody yet knows any thing of but herself, and thirty clandestine marriages that have not been touched by the tip of a tongue. She will wait upon any lady at her own lodgings,
m In Hyde-park, then a fashionable place of resort.
and talk by the clock after the rate of three guineas an hour.
· N. B. She is a near kinswoman of the author of the New Atalantis".
• I need not recommend to a man of your sagacity, the usefulness of this project, and do therefore beg your encouragement of it, which will lay a very great obligation upon
Your humble servant.' After this letter from
whimsical correspondent, I shall publish one of a more serious nature, which deserves the utmost attention of the public, and in particular of such who are lovers of mankind. It is on no less a subject than that of discovering the longitude, and deserves a much higher name than that of a project, if our language afforded any
such term, But all I can say on this subject will be superfluous when the reader sees the names of those persons by whom this letter is subscribed, and who have done me the honour to send it me. I must only take notice, that the first of these gentlemen is the same person who has lately obliged the world with that noble plan, intitled, A Scheme of the Solar System, with the orbits of the planets and comets belonging thereto, described from Dr. Halley's accurate Table of Comets, Philosoph. Trans. No. 297. founded on sir Isaac Newton's wonderful discoveries, by William Whiston, M.A.
• TO NESTOR IRONSIDE, ESQ. AT BUTTON'S COFFEE-HOUSE, NEAR COVENT-GARDEN.
• Having a discovery of considerable importance to communicate to the public, and finding
n Mrs. A. D. Manley. See Tat. Nos. 63. 243, and notes,
that you are pleased to concern yourself in any thing that tends to the common benefit of mankind, we take the liberty to desire the insertion of this letter into your Guardian. We expect no other recommendation of it from you, but the allowing of it a place in so useful a paper. Nor do we insist on any protection from you, if what we propose should fall short of what we pretend to; since any disgrace, which in that case must be expected, ought to lie wholly at our own doors, and to be entirely borne by ourselves, which we hope we have provided for by putting our own names to this paper.
• It is well known, Sir, to yourself and to the learned, and trading, and sailing world, that the great defect of the art of navigation is, that a ship at sea has no certain method, in either her eastern or western voyages, or even in her less distant sailing from the coasts, to know her longitude, or how much she is gone eastward or westward, as it can easily be known in any clear day or night, how much she is ward or southward. The several methods by lunar eclipses, by those of Jupiter's satellites, by the appulses of the moon to fixed stars, and by the even motions of pendulum clocks and watches, upon how solid foundations soever they are built, still failing in long voyages at sea, when they come to be practised; and leaving the poor sailors frequently to the great inaccuracy of a log-line, or dead reckoning. This defect is so great, and so many ships have been lost by it, and this has been so long and so sensibly known by trading nations, that great rewards are said to be publicly offered for its supply. We are well satisfied, that the discovery we have to make as to this matter is easily intelligible by all, and readily to be practised at sea as well as at land; that the latitude will thereby be likewise found at the same time; and that with