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No. 165 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

I remember in that remarkable Year when our Country was delivered from the greatest Fears and Apprehensions, and raised to the greatest Height of Gladness it had ever felt since it was a Nation, I mean the Year of Blenheim, I had the Copy of a Letter sent me out of the Country, which was written from a young Gentleman in the Army to his Father, a Man of a good Estate and plain Sense: As the Letter was very modishly chequered with this Modern Military Eloquence, I shall present my Reader with a Copy of it.


Upon the Junction of the French and Bavarian Armies they took Post behind a great Morass which they thought impracticable. Our General the next Day sent a Party of Horse to reconnoitre them from a little Hauteur, at about a [Quarter of an Hour’s [5]] distance from the Army, who returned again to the Camp unobserved through several Defiles, in one of which they met with a Party of French that had been Marauding, and made them all Prisoners at Discretion. The Day after a Drum arrived at our Camp, with a Message which he would communicate to none but the General; he was followed by a Trumpet, who they say behaved himself very saucily, with a Message from the Duke of Bavaria. The next Morning our Army being divided into two Corps, made a Movement towards the Enemy: You will hear in the Publick Prints how we treated them, with the other Circumstances of that glorious Day. I had the good Fortune to be in that Regiment that pushed the Gens d’Arms. Several French Battalions, who some say were a Corps de Reserve, made a Show of Resistance; but it only proved a Gasconade, for upon our preparing to fill up a little Fosse, in order to attack them, they beat the Chamade, and sent us Charte Blanche. Their Commandant, with a great many other General Officers, and Troops without number, are made Prisoners of War, and will I believe give you a Visit in England, the Cartel not being yet settled. Not questioning but these Particulars will be very welcome to you, I congratulate you upon them, and am your most dutiful Son, etc.’

The Father of the young Gentleman upon the Perusal of the Letter found it contained great News, but could not guess what it was. He immediately communicated it to the Curate of the Parish, who upon the reading of it, being vexed to see any thing he could not understand, fell into a kind of a Passion, and told him that his Son had sent him a Letter that was neither Fish, nor Flesh, nor good Red-Herring. I wish, says he, the Captain may be Compos Mentis, he talks of a saucy Trumpet, and a Drum that carries Messages; then who is this Charte Blanche? He must either banter us or he is out of his Senses. The Father, who always looked upon the Curate as a learned Man, began to fret inwardly at his Son’s Usage, and producing a Letter which he had written to him about three Posts afore, You see here, says he, when he writes for Mony he knows how to speak intelligibly enough; there is no Man in England can express himself clearer, when he wants a new Furniture for his Horse. In short, the old Man was so puzzled upon the Point, that it might have fared ill with his Son, had he not seen all the Prints about three Days after filled with the same Terms of Art, and that Charles only writ like other Men.


[Footnote 1: The motto in the original edition was

‘Semivirumque bovem Semibovemque virum.’


[Footnote 2: that]

[Footnote 3: Atique]

[Footnote 4: Dr Richard Bentley]

[Footnote 5: Mile]