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live and die upon it. I am every day abroad among my acres, and can scarce forbear filling my letter with breezes, shades, flowers, meadows, and purling streams. The simplicity of manners which I have heard you so often speak of, and which appears here in perfection, charms me wonderfully. As an instance of it, I must acquaint you, and by your means the whole club, that I have lately married one of my tenants' daughters. She is born of honest parents, and though she has no portion,
she has a great deal of virtue. The natural sweetness and 10 innocence of her behaviour, the freshness of her complexion,
the unaffected turn of her shape and person, shot me through and through every time I saw her, and did more execution upon me in grogram, than the greatest beauty in town or court had ever done in brocade. In short, she is such a one as promises me a good heir to my estate, and if by her means I cannot leave to my children what are falsely called the gifts of birth, high titles and alliances, I hope to convey to them the more real and valuable gifts of birth, strong bodies, and healthy
constitutions. As for your fine women, I need not tell thee 20 that I know them. I have had my share in their graces, but no
more of that. It shall be my business hereafter to live the life of an honest man, and to act as becomes the master of a family. I question not but I shall draw upon me the raillery of the town, and be treated to the tune of The Marriage-hater match'dn; but I am prepared for it. I have been as witty upon others in my time. To tell thee truly, I saw such a tribe of fashionable young fluttering coxcombs shot up, that I did not think my post of an homme de ruelle n any longer tenable. I felt a certain stiffness
in my limbs, which entirely destroyed that jauntiness of air I was 30 once master of. Besides, for I may now confess my age to thee,
I have been eight and forty above these twelve years. Since my retirement into the country will make a vacancy in the club, I could wish you would fill up my place with my friend Tom Dapperwit. He has an infinite deal of fire, and knows the town. For my own part, as I have said before, I shall endeavour to live hereafter suitable to a man in my station, as a prudent head of a family, a good husband, a careful father (when it shall so happen) and as Your most sincere friend, and humble servant,
RETIREMENT OF SIR ANDREW.
[Sir Andrew Freeport and the Spectator being now the only remaining members of the Club, the former announces his intention of retiring from it, and settling in the country, in the conversation and letter which follow. The Club is thus dissolved. A whimsical plan for the formation of a new one is described in No. 550, but it is hard to suppose that Addison seriously intended to revive a machinery, which, having answered its purpose, had just been gracefully withdrawn from existence; at any rate no such plan was acted upon when the eighth volume of the Spectator was commenced in March, 1713.)
No. 549. The wisdom of timely retirement: Letter from Sir
Quamvis digressu veteris confusus amici,
Juv. Sat. iii. 1. I believe most people begin the world with a resolution to withdraw from it into a serious kind of solitude or retirement, when they have made themselves easy in it. Our unhappiness is, that we find out some excuse or other for deferring such our good resolutions till our intended retreat is cut off by death. But among all kinds of people there are none who are so hard to part with the world as those who are grown old in the heaping up of riches. Their minds are so warped with their constant attention to gain, that it is very difficult for them to
give their souls another bent, and convert them towards those 20 objects, which, though they are proper for every stage of life,
are so more especially for the last. Horace describes an old usurer as so charmed with the pleasures of a country life, that, in order to make a purchase, he called in all his money; but what was the event of it? why, in a very few days after, he put it out againn. I am engaged in this series of thought by a discourse which I had last week with my worthy friend Sir Andrew Freeport, a man of so much natural eloquence, good sense, and probity of mind, that I always hear him with a particular
pleasure. As we were sitting together, being the sole remaining 30 members of our club, Sir Andrew gave me an account of the
many busy scenes of life in which he had been engaged, and at the same time reckoned up to me abundance of those lucky hits which at another time he would have called pieces of good fortune; but in the temper of mind he was then, he termed
them mercies, favours of Providence, and blessings upon an honest industry. Now,' says he, you must know, my good friend, I am so used to consider myself as creditor and debtor, that I often state my accounts after the same manner with regard to heaven and my own soul. In this case, when I look upon the debtor side, I find such innumerable articles, that I want arithmetic to cast them up; but when I look upon the creditor side, I find little more than blank paper. Now, though I am very
well satisfied that it is not in my power to balance accounts 10 with my Maker, I am resolved however to turn all my future en
deavours that way. You must not therefore be surprised, my friend, if you hear that I am betaking myself to a more thoughtful kind of life, and if I meet you no more in this place.'
I could not but approve so good a resolution, notwithstanding the loss I shall suffer by it. Sir Andrew has since explained himself to me more at large in the following letter, which is just come to my hands.
• Good MR. SPECTATOR,
Notwithstanding my friends at the club have always rallied me, 20 when I have talked of retiring from business, and repeated to me
one of my own sayings, That a merchant has never enough, till be has got a little more, I can now inform you, that there is one in the world who thinks he has enough, and is determined to pass the remainder of his life in the enjoyment of what he has. You know me so well that I need not tell you, I mean, by the enjoyment of my possessions, the making of them useful to the public. As the greatest part of my estate has been hitherto of an unsteady and volatile nature, either tossed upon seas,
or fluctuating in funds, it is now fixed and settled in substantial 30 acres and tenements. I have removed it from the uncer
tainty of stocks, winds, and waves, and disposed of it in a considerable purchase. This will give me great opportunity of being charitable in my way, that is, in setting my poor neighbours to work, and giving them a comfortable subsistence out of their own industry. My gardens, my fish-ponds, my arable and pasture-grounds, shall be my several hospitals, or rather workhouses, in which I propose to maintain a great many indigent persons, who are now starving in my neighbourhood. I have got a fine spread of improveable lands, and in my own thoughts
As in my
am already ploughing up some of them, fencing others; planting woods, and draining marshes. In fine, as I have my share in the surface of this island, I am resolved to make it as beautiful a spot as any in her Majesty's dominions; at least there is not an inch of it which shall not be cultivated to the best advantage, and do its utmost for its owner. mercantile employment I so disposed of my affairs, that from whatever corner of the compass the wind blew, it was bringing
home one or other of my ships, I hope, as a husbandman, to 10 contrive it so, that not a shower of rain, or a glimpse of sun
shine, shall fall upon my estate, without bettering some part of it, and contributing to the products of the season. You know it has been hitherto my opinion of life, that it is thrown away when it is not some way useful to others. But when I am riding out by myself, in the fresh air on the open heath that lies by my house, I find several other thoughts growing up in
I am now of opinion, that a man of my age may find business enough on himself, by setting his mind in order, pre
paring it for another world, and reconciling it to the thoughts 20 of death. I must therefore acquaint you, that besides those
usual methods of charity, of which I have before spoken, I am at this very instant finding out a convenient place where I may build an alms-house, which I intend to endow very handsomly, for a dozen superannuated husbandmen. It will be a great pleasure to me to say my prayers twice a-day with men of my own years, who all of them, as well as myself, may have their thoughts taken up how they shall die, rather than how they shall live. I remember an excellent saying that I learnt at school,
Finis coronat opus n: you know best whether it be in Virgil or in 30 Horace; it is my business to apply it. If your affairs will permit
you to take the country air with me sometimes, you shall find an apartment fitted up for you, and shall be every day entertained with beef or mutton of my own feeding; fish out of my own ponds; and fruit out of my own gardens. You shall have free egress and regress about my house, without having any questions asked you; and, in a word; such an hearty welcome as you may expect from
* Your most sincere friend,
The club of which I am a member being entirely dispersed, I shall consult my reader next week upon a project relating to the institution of a new one.-0.
No. 550. The Spectator has been pressed to elect a new club; proposes a plan for the purpose. Quid dignum tanto feret hic promissor hiatu ?
Hor. Ars Poet. 138. Since the late dissolution of the club, whereof I have often declared myself a member, there are very many persons, who by letters, petitions, and recommendations, put up for the next election. At the same time I must complain, that several indirect and underhand practices have been made use of upon
this occasion. A certain country gentleman began to tap upon 10 the first information he received of Sir Roger's death; when
he sent me up word, that if I would get him chosen in the place of the deceased, he would present me with a barrel of the best October I had ever drunk in my life. The ladies are in great pain to know whom I intend to elect in the room of Will Honeycomb. Some of them indeed are of opinion that Mr. Honeycomb did not take sufficient care of their interests in the club, and are therefore desirous of having in it hereafter a representative of their own A citizen who subscribes
himself Y. Z. tells me, that he has one-and-twenty shares in the 20 African company, and offers to bribe me with the odd one in
case he may succeed Sir Andrew Freeport, which he thinks would raise the credit of that fund. I have several letters, dated from Jenny Man's, by gentlemen who are candidates for Captain Sentry's place, and as many from a coffee-house in Paul's churchyard, of such who would fill up the vacancy occasioned by the death of my worthy friend the clergyman, whom I can never mention but with a particular respect.
Having maturely weighed these several particulars, with the many remonstrances that have been made to me on this subject, 30 and considering how invidious an office I shall take upon me,
if I make the whole election depend upon my single voice, and being unwilling to expose myself to those clamours which, on