L O I T E R E R.
"Speak of us as we are."
PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR,
And sold by C. S. RANN, OXFORD;
Messr. EGERTONS, Whitehall, LONDON; Messrs. PEARSON
And ROLLASON, BIRMINGHAM; Mr. W. MEYLER, Grove,
BATH; AND Messrs. COWSLADE and SMART, READING.
L O I T E R E R.
SATURDAY, May 2, 1789.
——— Dissipat Evius.
Curas edaces——— Hor.
SIR, Oxford.THOUGH I know not in what degree of estimation, you have been accustomed to hold the science of Alchymy, yet as the author of every useful invention has a claim on the attention of the candid and liberal, I have made choice of your paper, as the vehicle, to impart to my countrymen a discovery, which has for its object the health and happiness of some thousands of his Majesty's subjects.
You must know, sir, it was ever my opinion that there did exist such an universal panacea, as should not only cure all diseases indecent to the human body, and prolong life to its utmost period, but should be equally beneficial to our mental, as to our corporeal powers; should make us not only healthy, strong, and bold, but also learned, sagacious, and witty. In pursuance of this idea, I have devoted many years to the discovery of this valuable secret; have persevered in my search, in spite of the contempt of the prejudiced, and the laughter of the gay; and now think the attention of my past life well rewarded, in being enabled to impart to my friends a secret, which will promote the happiness of theirs, and which (unlike the generality of modern projectors) I shall generously communicate to the public, without any subscription whatever.
Know then, sir, and tell your readers, that this inestimable medicine, so long sought in vain, that its existence is almost become doubtful, is neither more nor less than port wine — which, I will venture to say, if taken in proper quantities, will answer every purpose of an universal medicine, and be found a most perfect restorative in all diseases both of body and mind. — In proof of which assertion, I might bring numberless examples from among the young, and some from among the old, in this place; who from a proper regard to their health, daily take a large dose of this mixture, which doubtless they would not give themselves the trouble of doing, did they not find it extremely beneficial and salutary. — But in this case I rather chuse to plead my own manner of life than theirs. An argument which ought to have the more weight, as I am, I believe, the first advertiser who ever swallowed his own medicine. My regular allowance, for I am regularity itself, is something more than a quart, which, according as I find my constitution require, I occasionally increase to three pints, and now and then to double that quantity, but never on any account diminish; being entirely of opinion, that most of our complaints arise from poverty of blood, and having been all my life under apprehension of putrid disorders, to which, I am told that my constitution is naturally inclined. — By the above-mentioned regimen however, I have happily escaped them; and excepting a slight touch of the gout; in spring and autumn, and a few nervous tremblings (which I impute to having formerly drank too many diluting liquors) I enjoy at this moment a most perfect and uninterrupted state of health. — Nor am I less indebted to this valuable elixir for improving the qualities of my mind, than preserving the powers of my body, having by long experience observed, that my courage, generosity, and wit, always rise in exact proportion to the number of glasses I have drunk. Indeed, I have reason to believe I am not naturally conspicuous for any of the above qualifications; and in the morning am very careful how I expose either my person or property, to any unnecessary danger; and have heard it predicted by my most intimate friends (who are indeed always too much inclined to flatter one) that I shall never be taken up for a plot. But in the evening the case is exactly reversed; for my courage and generosity have often induced me to fight those with whom I had no quarrel, and give money to others for whom I had no regard; and the brilliancy of my wit is so redundant, that it seldom fails to get me turned out of the room. — But it is not in the hour of festivity, or amidst the social circle alone, that I am obliged to the assistance of this invigorating fluid; for I always find it wonderfully efficacious in raising my spirits, and restoring my good temper, whenever the carelessness of my laundress, the awkwardness of my bedmaker, the blunders of the cook, or any other important misfortune has ruffled the natural sweetness of my disposition. And I do hereby heartily recommend a very large dose of this medicine to those unfortunate young men, who from the frowns of fortune, or of any other fickle fair one, have fallen into that deplorable state, which our politer neighbours dignify with the name of ennui, but which plain Englishmen call the blue devils ; and I will take upon me to assure them, that they will find in this Lethean draught, as complete an opiate to all their cares and sorrows, as in the torturing powder of arsenic, or the benumbing juice of the laurel. And in the prosecution of this plan two particular advantages will arise — first, that the medicine itself is by far the most pleasant and palatable of the two — and secondly, that if it should happen to fail, they would still have it in their power to try the others. For this however I must flatter myself, they would find no occasion, and am sanguine enough to imagine, that a proper use of this liquor would considerably lessen the bills of mortality; that our fashionable young men, would be thus enabled to bear up against all the various misfortunes which occur in this troublesome world; would rise superior to the losses of a Newmarket meeting, or an ill-run at B–ks's, and would preserve their good temper and spirits, amidst the harsh blasts of the east, or the damps of an autumnal fog.
The utility, therefore, of the plan, must appear evident to every unprejudiced mind, when it is considered, how many may young fellows, will by this means be restored to their country and friends, who may encourage the manufactures, and increase the population of the metropolis; and at last be honourably spitted in Kensington gravel pits, or shot through the head in the genteelest manner behind Montague House. Not to mention the triumph which every Englishman must feel, in refuting the cruel sarcasms, which our neighbours have always thrown on us, for those ungentleman-like methods, of making our exit, with which our nation has been too long, and I fear, too justly stigmatized; since we shall then shew them that our patience in bearing misfortunes, is equal to our spirit in bringing them on, and that after we have lost our estates, health, and reputation we dare live to be hanged. — And should it be objected to me by the unbelieving, that like other schemers, I am a dupe to the enthusiasm of my temper, and ascribe powers and advantages to my favourite medicine, which it does not really possess; in answer to this I can assure them, that I have by me a long and well-attested list of cures, which I have already performed on those of my private friends, who have put themselves under my directions, and from which I shall at present select one, which I think will sufficiently establish the credit of my medicine with a discerning public. — A very intimate friend of mine, who was spending the last long vacation at a relation's house in the country, took it into his head (probably from want of something to do) to fall more violently in love with a young lady, in the neighbourhood, than I hope, you or I, Mr. Loiterer, shall ever be as long as we live. The fair one, it seems, was, or pretended to be insensible to his passion, and her cruelty had such a dreadful effect on him, that he was reduced in the course of a few weeks, from one of the jolliest fellows in the world, to the merest sighing swain that ever adorned the pages of romance. In this pitiful condition, he came to keep Michaelmas term. I saw in an instant what was the matter with him, and with some difficulty prevailed on him to submit to my regimen. Never was a case better hit — never was a cure more rapidly effected. — On the very first evening, after swallowing a bottle of this liquor, he appeared less absent and dejected than in the morning — On the second was seen to smile — On the third knew several of his intimate friends who were in the room, and sometimes answered when he was spoken to. — On the fourth, fifth, and sixth, shewed evident symptoms of a restoration of reason, and at the expiration of the week, surprised us all, by jumping up from his chair, and singing with great taste, and expression,
" And Cloe perhaps might have troubled my life
" With crosses and losses, vexation and strife;
" But my wine neither nurses, nor babies can bring,
And a big-bellied bottle's a mighty good thing."
From this moment I pronounced him perfectly cured, and having cautioned him against a relapse, suffered him at the end of the term to go back into the country. — But the most curious part of the story is, that the fair lady, who would not have any thing to say to him when he was dying for her, as soon as she found he cared not six-pence about her, began to think him a very fine young fellow; and I received last week a letter signed by both Bridegroom and Bride, thanking me in the warmest manner, and assuring me, that they considered themselves obliged to me, for their present happiness. Nor let this be wondered at, for it is one of the many advantages belonging to this medicine, that it gives to the most timorous and diffident that happy fluency in conversation, and that pleasing ease and assurance of manner, which we all know makes us most acceptable companions to the fair; an advantage, which if you are a man of gallantry, Mr. Loiterer, you will think fully sufficient without any other to recommended it to every young man of spirit and taste. — With you, I believe, any more than myself it stands not in need of any recommendation — for between ourselves, Mr. Loiterer, I have been long assured that you are no enemy to a bottle. — Horace says —
Fæcundi calices quem non fecere disertum?And I say — no man could write such papers as yours who drank water. — Let me then entreat you, sir, to persevere in your plan - avoid by all means the light sour French wines, which will infallibly corrupt your style, and render your thoughts meagre, weak, and insipid - whereas real genuine port, will give you that warmth of imagination, soundness of judgment, and brilliancy of wit, which I hope may long continue to distinguish your productions. — As I hear the dinner bell, I must now finish my letter, which I shall not do without assuring you, that 'whenever you will come and take your commons with me at — college, I shall be happy to drink a bottle with you (or two if you please) to the success of your work, and that
I am, SIR, yours, &c.
< < Previous List of Issues Next > >
Sophia's Home page