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No. 034 [The Meeting of the Club — from The Spectator]
by [?]

No. 34
Monday, April 9, 1711. Addison.
‘… parcit

Cognatis maculis similis fera …’

Juv.

The Club of which I am a Member, is very luckily composed of such persons as are engaged in different Ways of Life, and disputed as it were out of the most conspicuous Classes of Mankind: By this Means I am furnished with the greatest Variety of Hints and Materials, and know every thing that passes in the different Quarters and Divisions, not only of this great City, but of the whole Kingdom. My Readers too have the Satisfaction to find, that there is no Rank or Degree among them who have not their Representative in this Club, and that there is always some Body present who will take Care of their respective Interests, that nothing may be written or published to the Prejudice or Infringement of their just Rights and Privileges.

I last Night sat very late in company with this select Body of Friends, who entertain’d me with several Remarks which they and others had made upon these my Speculations, as also with the various Success which they had met with among their several Ranks and Degrees of Readers. WILL. HONEYCOMB told me, in the softest Manner he could, That there were some Ladies (but for your Comfort, says WILL., they are not those of the most Wit) that were offended at the Liberties I had taken with the Opera and the Puppet-Show: That some of them were likewise very much surpriz’d, that I should think such serious Points as the Dress and Equipage of Persons of Quality, proper Subjects for Raillery.

He was going on, when Sir ANDREW FREEPORT took him up short, and told him, That the Papers he hinted at had done great Good in the City, and that all their Wives and Daughters were the better for them: And further added, That the whole City thought themselves very much obliged to me for declaring my generous Intentions to scourge Vice and Folly as they appear in a Multitude, without condescending to be a Publisher of particular Intrigues and Cuckoldoms. In short, says Sir ANDREW, if you avoid that foolish beaten Road of falling upon Aldermen and Citizens, and employ your Pen upon the Vanity and Luxury of Courts, your Paper must needs be of general Use.

Upon this my Friend the TEMPLAR told Sir ANDREW, That he wondered to hear a Man of his Sense talk after that Manner; that the City had always been the Province for Satyr; and that the Wits of King Charles’s Time jested upon nothing else during his whole Reign. He then shewed, by the Examples of Horace, Juvenal, Boileau, and the best Writers of every Age, that the Follies of the Stage and Court had never been accounted too sacred for Ridicule, how great so-ever the Persons might be that patronized them. But after all, says he, I think your Raillery has made too great an Excursion, in attacking several Persons of the Inns of Court; and I do not believe you can shew me any Precedent for your Behaviour in that Particular.

My good Friend Sir ROGER DE COVERL[E]Y, who had said nothing all this while, began his Speech with a Pish! and told us. That he wondered to see so many Men of Sense so very serious upon Fooleries. Let our good Friend, says he, attack every one that deserves it: I would only advise you, Mr. SPECTATOR, applying himself to me, to take Care how you meddle with Country Squires: They are the Ornaments of the English Nation; Men of good Heads and sound Bodies! and let me tell you, some of them take it ill of you that you mention Fox-hunters with so little Respect.