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No. 003 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

No. 3
Saturday, March 3, 1711. Addison.

‘Quoi quisque fere studio devinctus adhaeret:
Aut quibus in rebus multum sumus ante morati:
Atque in qua ratione fuit contenta magis mens;
In somnis eadem plerumque videmur obire.’

Lucr. L. 4.

In one of my late Rambles, or rather Speculations, I looked into the great Hall where the Bank [1] is kept, and was not a little pleased to see the Directors, Secretaries, and Clerks, with all the other Members of that wealthy Corporation, ranged in their several Stations, according to the Parts they act in that just and regular Oeconomy. This revived in my Memory the many Discourses which I had both read and heard, concerning the Decay of Publick Credit, with the Methods of restoring it, and which, in my Opinion, have always been defective, because they have always been made with an Eye to separate Interests and Party Principles.

The Thoughts of the Day gave my Mind Employment for the whole Night, so that I fell insensibly into a kind of Methodical Dream, which disposed all my Contemplations into a Vision or Allegory, or what else the Reader shall please to call it.

Methoughts I returned to the Great Hall, where I had been the Morning before, but to my Surprize, instead of the Company that I left there, I saw, towards the Upper-end of the Hall, a beautiful Virgin seated on a Throne of Gold. Her Name (as they told me) was Publick Credit. The Walls, instead of being adorned with Pictures and Maps, were hung with many Acts of Parliament written in Golden Letters. At the Upper end of the Hall was the Magna Charta, [2] with the Act of Uniformity [3] on the right Hand, and the Act of Toleration [4] on the left. At the Lower end of the Hall was the Act of Settlement, [5] which was placed full in the Eye of the Virgin that sat upon the Throne. Both the Sides of the Hall were covered with such Acts of Parliament as had been made for the Establishment of Publick Funds. The Lady seemed to set an unspeakable Value upon these several Pieces of Furniture, insomuch that she often refreshed her Eye with them, and often smiled with a Secret Pleasure, as she looked upon them; but at the same time showed a very particular Uneasiness, if she saw any thing approaching that might hurt them. She appeared indeed infinitely timorous in all her Behaviour: And, whether it was from the Delicacy of her Constitution, or that she was troubled with the Vapours, as I was afterwards told by one who I found was none of her Well-wishers, she changed Colour, and startled at everything she heard. She was likewise (as I afterwards found) a greater Valetudinarian than any I had ever met with, even in her own Sex, and subject to such Momentary Consumptions, that in the twinkling of an Eye, she would fall away from the most florid Complexion, and the most healthful State of Body, and wither into a Skeleton. Her Recoveries were often as sudden as her Decays, insomuch that she would revive in a Moment out of a wasting Distemper, into a Habit of the highest Health and Vigour.

I had very soon an Opportunity of observing these quick Turns and Changes in her Constitution. There sat at her Feet a Couple of Secretaries, who received every Hour Letters from all Parts of the World; which the one or the other of them was perpetually reading to her; and according to the News she heard, to which she was exceedingly attentive, she changed Colour, and discovered many Symptoms of Health or Sickness.

Behind the Throne was a prodigious Heap of Bags of Mony, which were piled upon one another so high that they touched the Ceiling. The Floor on her right Hand, and on her left, was covered with vast Sums of Gold that rose up in Pyramids on either side of her: But this I did not so much wonder at, when I heard, upon Enquiry, that she had the same Virtue in her Touch, which the Poets tell us a ‘Lydian’ King was formerly possessed of; and that she could convert whatever she pleased into that precious Metal.