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Sublimity of Shopkeepers.
cried out a miracle ! a miracle ! and resolved to have the
precious relic deposited in his church with all
proper ceremonies; for which
he sent in all haste for a consecrated dish, a cross and holy water, his surplice, stole, and cap, ordered all the bells to be rung, and sent to give notice of the joyful news to the parishioners, who thronged in crowds to the place. Then he had the skull placed in the consecrated dish, and being covered with a napkin, it was carried to the church in procession; during which great debates arose among the parishioners, every one insisting that some of their family had been buried in that place, in order that they might assume to themselves the honour of having
a saint in their family. Upon their arrival at the church, the skull was placed on the high altar, and a Te Deum was begun ; but when they came to the verse Te per
Orbem Terrarum, a mole unluckily crawling out of the skull, discovered the secret cause of its motion ; upon which a stop was put to the ceremony, and the congregation being greatly disappointed, dispersed.
SUBLIMITY OF SHOPKEEPERS.
Sterne speaking of the different scales of English and French metaphors in his times, says, that when an English barber intended to praise a periwig, he would simply say, "Though you dip it into a pail of water, the curl will remain? But a French Piro uquier would tell you, though you immerge it in the ocean it will stand. Such was our language then; to see what it is now, let any one read the daily papers of our own time, and it will seem as if we had changed language with our Gallic neighbours, and discarded the simple and sober style which distinguished our ancestors for the inflated figures of France. Examples are easily found. "A gentleman, stimulated by that pride and pleasure, which have ever actuated him to endeavour to procure the first of human inventions, and the greatest of improvements, embraces the opportunity of acquainting the admirers of long hair boots, that his present assortment is infinitely superior to any ever seen in this, or any other country in the Universe.
A maker of water proof boots acquaints us that the greatest
Strictures on the Incorrectness of Newspapers.
orator at Rome, or perhaps the world ever saw, said, that · Eve ery thing should be fairly told, that the buyer may not be ignorant of any thing which the seller knows. A man-milliner, 'impressed with the deepest sense of heart-felt and inexpressible gratitude, will continue his sedulous and unremitting endeavours to deserve the continuation of the partiality of those ladies, who may choose to honour his weak exertions with the cheering smile of approbation. The friends of a young woman, who advertises for a place, asserts and declares that she has a very good person, many very excellent qualifications, and is totally free from vice!' A vender of bright bloom-water assures us, that his is the cosmetic so well known among the Grecians, and was the secret which rendered their females so superlatively fair-and therefore he hopes the polite circles will not neglect such an opportunity of obtaining classical complexims, that will rival Helen or even Venus the mother of Love: And another beautifier of the skin asserts that her composition is so innocent that an infant may eat it without injury.
INCORRECTNESS OF NEWSPAPERS.
“ Error is always in haste; though blind herself, yet sometimes brings forth seeing children."
TO EDITORS AND NEWS-PRINTERS IN GENERAL.
your correspondents are employed in pointing out the errors of ministers of state, and others, I wish, (if you could find time for it) that you would pay some little attention to your own errors.
Perhaps it will appear the highest degree of presumption to offer advice to persons in your eminent station, who every day dictate to ministers, and council kings; whose addresses are read
Strictures on the Incorrectness of Newspapers.
and admired in every part of the British dominions. It is for this very reason, that I think it incumbent on me to tell
of your mistakes; for you cannot say with Job, · Albeit that I have erred, mine error rėmaineth with myself.” No gentlemen, your errors circulate far and wide ; they misrepresent many, and mis. lead more; in short the errors I mean are errors of the press, or, as my learned friend, Sir
James Hodges, expresses them in one English-Latin-Singular-Plural word, erratums.
Of all your errata the most harmless are those which make stark-staring nonsense. These are never imputed to the writer, but are corrected by the reader in his own mind as he goes' along; but the dangerous ones are those which make a kind of half sense, and pass current as the sense of the author, until the day following, when your list of errata transfers the blame from the writer to the printer. However, I must say, that printers (with all their professions of candour) are as little apt to acknowledge their errors as the rest of mankind; for not one erratum in ten is ever acknowledged, and indeed I suppose they very seldom would, unless at the particular desire of the writer.
As I have said so much about errors of the press, it may naturally be expected that I produce some proofs of what I have asserted. This I am enabled to do, having paid particular attention to them for some time past, and having looked more sharply after them than the promotions, civil or military, the price of com or stocks, and list of ships or bankrupts, or of those paragraphs which inform us who's dead, who's married, or who's hanged.
But now for the particulars of the charge.—I have known you throw an injurious reflection on all the crowned heads in Europe at one stroke, for instead of potentates, you have called them potatoes, as if they had been mere vegetables. As to the king of Prussia, you talk of him in a different style, for instead of the Hero of Prussia you make him the Nero. Next day comes your apology, or your erratum, which sometimes instead of mending matters, makes things worse ; and like an arch tinker, in stopping one hole makes two; as I remember my old friend Anderson Faulkener of Dublin correcting an error in his Journal 4 Erratum in
for his grace the dutchess of Dorset, read her grace
the duke of Dorset.' Indeed a blunder seems to be something like a bog, the more you struggle the deeper you get into it. But to proceed-you have on several occasions used
Strictures on the Incorrectness of Newspapers .
the Doge of Genga extremely ill, and never have made him the least apology for omitting the last letter in his title ; though if you had desired your readers next day, “ instead of Dog to read Doge," I do .confess that it would have been no great reparation.
During the last sitting of Parliament, you told us (instead of a Bill) that a motion would be made for leave to bring in a Bull:-and another motion, that the order of the Dey be read, as if it was an assembly on the coast of Barbary. You told us one day that lord
of the kingdom of Ireland, had been safely delivered of a daughter; and we were all very anxious on my lord's account till the day following, when you
delivered his lordship of the burden, and brought the child into the world in a more natural way.
In a little scuffle under the piazza, Covent Garden, you informed us that an Irish officer had got a confusion in his head; and you made no apology afterwards, thinking, I suppose, there was no occasion for any, as you were right to a T.
Not long ago you advertised a speedy cure for Raptures, and I am afraid it gave some wicked batchelor occasion to scoff at the holy state of matrimony; for the very next advertisement to it was from a gentleman who wanted a wife, and over it was printed Matrimony in capitals; consequently it appeared that matrimony was the most speedy and effectual cure for raptures though of ever so long standing.
I have known you advertise instead of a never-failing remedy an ever-failing remedy; now, Sirs, though this might be strictly true, yet I hold it not proper that it should be so set down, as I suppose the quack-doctor paid you his money for conveying a different sense to the public. In a receipt lately published for the cure of the plague instead of rue you put rice, and so made a pudding of it; and in advertising a course of lectures, you tumed syllabus into a syllabub; and called the perpetual motion, a perpetual notion.
I wish you would be more cautious in advertising salivation not necessary; for it happened that by omitting the i in salivation, you gave great offence to some good Christians in my neighbourhood; and also, gave occasion to some wicked punsters to observe, that it was not the first time an eye had been lost in salivation ; nay, that some people had been so unlucky as to lose a couple.
Strictures on the Incorrectness of Newspapers.
There is another advertisement frequently occurs, beginning with, " Whereas several evil-minded persons, &c."-One day you made it evil-minded parsons, which was extremely unlucky; for in these times of infidelity, people are too apt to scoff at the clergy, and indeed at all serious subjects: as to myself, I must confess that I am particularly hurt at those impertinent levities with which some people indulge themselves, being a person of a serious turn of mind, and of a disposition rather saturnine and grave.
It too often happens, Gentlemen, that what shall be grave you turn to furce;" I remember in one of your papers a sensible pathetic letter, signed a Citizen ; he laments the internal state of this country, and you make it the infernal state ; when he exclaimed sad reverse ! you made him cry out, sad reverie ; he disapproved of all national reflections; you made him disapprove of all rational reflections; and talking of the fate of empires, you: made him say the fat of empires; now as there are so many standing jokes of citizens being fond of fat (whether turtle fat, or venison fat;) this unlucky mistake spoiled the letter, disobliged my friend the Citizen, and “ all the fat was in the fire.” And here I cannot help taking notice of a paragraph some time since, containing an account of the election of a worthy alderman for a certain ward, whom instead of saying he was duly elected, you said he was dully elected, and thereby afforded a handle for breaking some common-place jest on that respectable body of men the court of aldermen. Another time, in the account of an entertainment given by a worthy alderman to the deputy and common-council of his ward where they dined on turtle, you said they diod on turtle ; as if they had all ate till they choked or burst'; whereas, on the contrary, it was extremely remarkable that none either over-ate themselves, or caught surfeit that day.
From these articles, Gentlemen, one would be apt to conclude that you were no great geographers, for you tell us of Corsairs fitted out from Turin instead of Tunis ; and that the Chinese had revolted against the Spaniards, for the Chilese ; now, though these two nations are on different sides of the globe, I suppose you thought they were near neighbours, being within an Ell of each other.
You have sometimes treated the Russians very injuriously, by calling them Ruffians ; and one day you told us the combined army of the Turks and Tartars (instead of a Kam) was com