Coming in April!

April 2

  • The Humourist sings the praises of descriptive poetry and maintains that many modern writers surpass the “Antients” in their beautiful descriptions of morning.

April 9

  • The Humourist ends his essays with a brief notice declaring that he has become an invalid and will never again “enter the Lists of Authorism in this Province.”

April 16

  • The Wired Researcher shares his plan for unveiling all the authorship “clues” that he has amassed since the blog began last November 26.

The Humourist (March 26, 1754)

[26 March 1754]


— — — Nugaeq; canorae.


The Humourist was Yesterday in Company with the Muses, and the World must consider him in an unfavourable Light not to think him capable of being put in Tune.



The lazy morn as yet undrest,
My blooming nympth breaks from her east,
Runs usher to the sun in haste,
Who Phillis takes for Venus.
Triumphant now the shrill cock cries,
And warns the lab’ring swains to rise;
The waking swains start with surprise,
And bless the name of Phillis.


The birds their matins then began,
And whistling winds all nature fan;
Th’ awaken’d earth pours forth on man
The odours of my Phillis.
From out their beds the flow’rs arise,
And tow’ring emulate the skies,
And he that for their colour vies
Must view the cheeks of Phillis.


The sun amaz’d at pow’r so great,
At last appears in all his state;
But she withdrew her pow’rful heat,
So kind was charming Phillis.
Pleas’d with the sport, she judg’d it right,
Recall’d her beams, yet made no night,
And left the sun, her curate light
To own the pow’r of Phillis.

1 “Melodius nonsense,” from Horace’s Ars Poetica (line 322). The entire passage reads: “Often a play with fine bits, good roles, / Though without beauty, substance or art, amuses / The public more, and holds their attention better, / Than verses without content, melodious nonsense” (A. S. Kline’s translation, Horace: Ars Poetica).

The Humourist (March 19, 1754)

Today is another one of those days when you need to brew yourself another pot of coffee or tea BEFORE settling in with The Humourist!  

[19 March 1754]

Mr. Humourist,

If you think the following Poem deserves a Place in the Gazette, and will bear the Inspection of the Public, I refer it to you to make such Remarks upon it as you shall judge proper; and if you approve of it, will transmit the remaining Part. I am,

March 8, 1754.          Yours, etc.


An allegorical POEM.

When now no more the summer’s scorching sun,
Beats with fierce rays upon the parched earth,
But bounteous autumn with refreshing showers
Revives each herb and beautifies the lawns;
Then, spent with labour, I retir’d, to rest
My wearied limbs, upon the flow’ry bank
Of a small rivulet, that murmuring ran,
While many a shining pebble roll’d along,
And serv’d to lull uneasy care to rest.
Lost in wild thought, contemplating I lay
On mortal man’s unsettled state on earth;
How every one does Happiness pursue,
How every one, or most at least, fall short
Of this their general aim; because, instead
Of searching for it in fair Virtue‘s path,
They’re idly turn’d aside, by every gust
Of ruling passion, to that delusive road,
Where subtil Vice does promise them content;
Sometimes assuming virtue’s lovely look,
And sometimes boldly throwing off the mask,
Which, tho’ its first appearance startle us,
By custom grown familiar, gives delight.
Thus musing, gentle sleep upon me stole,
And lock’d my senses in his droony cave.
My roving fancy, then quite unconfin’d,
Sprung to the stars, or sunk into the deep;
Flew o’er this ball our earth, and all things view’d
In air, on land, or on the chrystal main:
Saw weathy cities near their lofty tow’rs,
While waving forests grace the verdant greens,
And the huge mountain tops rise to the clouds:
Then pass’d from these, unto that liquid plain,
Where failing ships and wat’ry monsters sport,
Amongst the still more monstrous tumbling waves,
That threaten ev’n th’ affflicted globe itself,
And would involve it in the former chaos,
If not restrain’d by Pow’r Omnipotent.
A prospect such as this, was giv’n to him
Who’s fabled to have had that winged steed,
Sprung from the blood of slain Medusa‘s snakes;
Who then attempting heav’n’s blest wall to scale
Was by thund’rer justly thrown to earth,
His native clime, with all his golden views.
Thus, rapt on thought’s aërial wings I fly;
When lo! a vast extended plain appears,
Where all mankind, by Jove‘s decree conven’d,
With admiration captivates my sense.
Not more in number to the wondering swain
Do heav’n’s refulgent ornaments appear,
When now at eve he stalks along the green,
And throws his eyes, admiring, to the stars.
Rack’d with suspence, each throbbing breast expects
The dread commands of an eternal God,
While awful silence reigns thro’out the whole;
Then straight a venerable lovely figure comes,
By men term’d innate Reason, but in heav’n
He’s called the Dictates of thAlmighty Pow’r;
who thus declar’d unto th’ expecting crowd,
Why Jove this vast assemblage had ordain’d.

Ye sons of men, in still attention wait
‘Till I your being’s end and aim unfold.
Altho’ to the pale victor death you stoop,
Think not he can annihilate the mind;
You’re made immortal pleasure to enjoy,
Along with Gods eternally to live,
To whom tho’ still aspiring, still remov’d
Because the distance infinitely great
‘Twixt them and you.  This day unto that temple
Where Happiness in splendor still resides,
And on the good all goodness does confer,
With me as guid, by Jove‘s decree, you go;
And if observant of my rules you walk,
Th’ expected port you shall with ease attain:
But if, allured by deceiving Vice,
Rejecting Virtue‘s salutary rules,
You scorn my precepts, and your reason yield
To those officious off’rers we shall meet
That promise you a pleasant nearer way;
Instead of Happiness, so much desir’d
You’ll find but disappointments, crosses, pains,
And all the mis’ries incident to man.

He ceas’d to speak, but did not to invite,
As soft persuasion sat upon his brow
His arguments with melting looks t’ enforce,
If mean would deign observance of his call.
But yet, who could refrain from tears? when told
That much the greater part of them fell off
From God’s Vice-gerent, foolishly seduc’d
To hateful Vice‘s part, by promise vain,
Of gaining Happiness, a surer way
Than by the thorny path of rigid Virtue.
For ev’ry fierce contending passion strives,
By specious Shews of Happiness prepar’d,
The inward call of Reason to evade.

To be continued.

[19 March 1754]



Notwithstanding your Oddities and Humours, so conspicuous in the South-Carolina Gazette, I find several Foreigners, as well as Natives, inclined to correspond with you.  Whether this Attraction proceeds from a latent Disposition in Nature to be Humourists in general, or an Inclination to humour Mr. Humourist in particular, I shall leave every Reader to judge according to his own Humour.

For my own Part, I am induced to correspond with you at Present, from the Examples of Messrs. Pot-Ash and Green-Tar.  The last is of my Country, and for some Thousands of Years past my Fellow-Traveller and Bosom-Friend, and of so salutary a Disposition and antient a Family, that he boasts of preserving the most antient Egyptian Mummies down to the Present Time.  I could brag of my Antiquity and Family also, but I shall at present trace my Genealogy no farther back that Peter the Great.  Mr. Green-Tar and I, have traversed the Globe together with Harmony and in a’-Cord.  I am a peaceable good Neighbor, fond of good Society, and never use any Man ill who uses me well; but, as I have a very musical Ear, I sometimes stop the Wind-pipe of those who are too fond of Discord.

I have been graciously received in most Empires and Kingdoms in the World, as indeed they can have no easy nor agreeable Communication without me.

I have remark’d in my Travels, that I am as much, if not more, wanted, in Great-Britain and its Plantations, than any where; as they cannot put those Bulwarks their Fleets to Sea, nor manage their Ordnance without me:  On which, Mr. Humourist, you must suffer me to make an Observation or two, or Supposition, of something I think very possible, tho’ seldom thought of by others.  Suppose my great Mistress of Russia should ever be found in the Humour to stop my Travels into Great-Britain, and send me to France or her other Allies (i.e. if you should quarrel with her); or that Sweden or Denmark should deny my Passage thro’ their Baltick Streights (for, Mr. Humourist, a Gun can sling a Shot to the opposite Shore); or, that these three Powers, combined with France, should keep me for their own Use; would not all honest Englishmen, in that Case, have great Reason to be fond of my Company?  Would it not be prudent in them therefore, to allow me a handsome Bounty to induce me to settle amongst them?

This Country agrees very well with myself and Fellow-Traveller; but we have seen too much of the World, to settle in a strange Land, ’till we see proper Provision made for our Subsistance, before we sit down to our Work.

Messrs. Indico, Pot-Ash, Green-Tar, and myself, have offered our Services in Carolina; we can live (as in one House) with Mr. Rice:  And as Mr. Spectator used to make his Lion roar, as he saw needful, so I am hopeful to find you in the Humour, to speak aloud of our Utility amongst the Inhabitants.

I have so good an Opinion of you, as to think your Oddities and Humours still couch some good Moral and Design in them; and therefore hope, you will convince the World, that you have no Antipathy or Dread on you to recommend me:  On the contrary, I am persuaded you have a true Regard for the very Name, more particularly the Sir-Name of

Your very humble Servant,


[19 March 1754]

Dorchester, March 16, 1754.

Mr. Humourist,

About a Month since I sent you Eleven Questions, Answers and Observations on which, I am persuaded, might, and probably would, have rendered them useful; Six of ’em I find you have suppressed, no Doubt you had very sufficient Reasons for so doing:  However, as you have not signified any Dislike to my Correspondence, I have presumed to trouble you with Eleven more Questions (some of them relative to the former ones) and shall esteem it a Favour done me if they can have a Place in the next Gazette.  I am, Sir,

Your most humble Servant,


Qu. 1.  Whether there is not an Act of Assembly of this Province in Force, for erecting a LightHouse.  (I am ignorant of the Laws; but I have been told, by my Neighbours, there is such an Act, and would be truly informed.)  And whether the Light of the Buoys can be of any Service to Vessels that sail in with your Bar in the Night, as they sometimes do in very hazy or tempestuous Weather?  I have suffered severely once thro’ the want of a Light-House.

Qu. 2.  Whether a Lazarette, a Light-House and a Beacon, could not be included in one Building, with Facility?  And whether Cumming‘s Island does not afford the properest Situation for them all?

Qu. 3.  Whether, one Fourth Part of the Damage done to the Southern Half of CharlesTown in the last Hurricane, 1would have been sustained, so many Lives lost, and the Fortifications at WhitePoint ruin’d, had the Curtain-Line been continued, from Granville‘s Bastion, round that Point?

Qu. 4.  Whether CharlesTown cannot be made more defensible than it at present is?

Qu. 5.  Whether a Couple or four Fire-Engines in CharlesTown, purchased at the Expence of the Parishes of St. Philip and St. Michael, (by which the Streets might also be watered all the Summer); and Wells sunk in all the cross Streets, would not be a great Means to prevent future Devastation by Fires?2  And how often the Fire-Masters do see, that your Houses are provided with Ladders and Buckets, in good Order?

Qu. 6.  Whether there are no Abuses committed in the Baking and Weight of Bread?

Qu. 7.  Whether the present detestable and dangerous Practice of taking up Letters, and never delivering them, cannot be restrained; by what Means?

Qu. 8.  Whether some eligible Method cannot be fallen upon, to prevent the dispeopling of BeachHill;3 and to encourage the better settling of poor DORCHESTER,4 ShimTown,5 Childsbury,6 Jacksonborough,7 and Radnor,8 and even some new Towns at Convenient Places?

The three Questions concerning Country Courts for Criminal Causes, the Recovery of Debts under 100£ in an easy Way, and about the Qualifications of Constables, may be suppressed, if you judge the Publication of them at this Time improper.

My Neighbours inform me, that it is a public Talk in Charles-Town, that a Bridge is to be built over Ashley-River.  If so, to be sure there must be an Act passed for it.  It would really be a good Thing:  And, if you, Mr. Humourist, are in the A—-y, we, and Thousands of others, hope you’ll befriend such a Bill, in which Case we will return you public Acknowledgements.


1 A major hurricane devastated Charleston in 1754.  For a full account, see “The Scourging Wrath of God: Early Hurricanes in Charleston, 1700 -1804.”

2 “In less than twenty-four hours, the fire of November 18, 1740, destroyed more than three hundred dwellings and commercial buildings, along with countless outbuildings and several wharves.”  Read the full story:  “Alfred O. Halsey Map Preservation Project.”

3 Beech-Hill was a section of the town of Dorchester, SC. See “A History of Dorchester, South Carolina.”

4 “From 1697 until the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the trading town of Dorchester flourished along the Ashley River, inland from colonial Charleston.”  Read more about it at Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site.

5 Shem-Town, along the Ashley River.

6 “Started in 1707, Childsbury and the adjacent Strawberry Landing (est. 1705) are examples of an early frontier settlement away from the Port of Charleston.” (South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.)

7 Named for John Jackson, Jacksonborough was a settlement along the Edisto River.  See “A History of Jacksonboro, South Carolina.”

8 Radnor, Beaufort County, SC.

ADDENDUM: The Humourist (March 12, 1754)

Today I located an additional “Printer’s Note” that should have appeared in last week’s post.

[12 March 1754]

The Printer acknowledges the Receipt of Peter Hemp’s Letter, and will soon give it a Place in his Paper.  He has also received other Letters, some of which he takes the Liberty to lay aside, because he will insert nothing that can be construed as Personal Reflections, others will be taken proper Notice of.

The ingenious Author of an allegorical POEM, intitled, the TEMPLE OF HAPPINESS, may be assured that his Correspondence will be extremely agreeable:  He is thank’d for what he has already sent, and shall be gratified.

The Humourist (March 12, 1754)

The Humourist.  No. XI.

— — Spes incerta futuri.   VIRGIL.1

The Gay and Gallant are the happy few, who can boast a frequent Intercourse with the better Sex.  I was formerly one of that Number, and have the pleasing Reflection of many a well spent Hour, many a joyous Moment, tho’ to speak a Truth, the Remembrance is attended with some Mortification.  When I compare my present depressed Spirits with the Vivacity of former Days, I cannot be insensible to the glaring Difference; however, my Age has made me so much a Philosopher, that being excluded from juvenile Associations, I now and then endeavour to please myself and Family with a Relation of past Occurrences.

When I was very young, the People were superstitious, they were Conjurers, and nothing went down but Sorcery and Witchcraft.  I paid a visit one Day to a Lady of my Acquaintance, for whom methinks a Fellow of my Peculiar Turn might grow young again, and as good Fortune wou’d have it, surprised her and another fair Angel at a strong Cabal over the Fumes of Coffee; presently comes in a Widow Lady, and forms the Grand Assembly of Divination:  I soon discovered, that they held the Grounds of Coffee in great Esteem, and that one of these Widows was to explain the Mystery; after a short Pause, she assumed an Air of Solemnity, intimated to the Company that she was then in full Inspiration, observed the Atoms round the Cup, and gave a strict Charge to the two Maidens, by way of quickening their Attention to the Predictions of their future Fate.

I interposed, intreated an Argument with this intelligent Lady, apologized for so abrupt a Request, urged not only the Necessity of it, but also by peremptory Will:  At last she assured me, that every Cast of the Cup forms the Picture of our Life to come, and that the minutest Transaction is always delineated with the greatest Certainty in these researches.  Madam (says I) if this be the Case such a noble Art must be useful to a Statesman, for as that Employment requires so great a Portion of a Man’s Time, he may relax a little by breaking the Custom of attenting the Council, as he need only examine the Grounds, to become acquainted with the present and future affairs of the Nation; he can see Danger and avoid it, he may by that Means discover an impending Ruin, and prevent it:  The fair Diviner told me, that it was in his Power to know, but not delay his Fate.

The Incident occasioned a warm Debate upon fruitless and vain Inquiries intro future Events, Inquiries attended with Incertainty and Aggravation.  I inveighed against such Presumption, enlarged upon the fatal Consequences of deceiving the Mind by Fancy and Delusion, and as a Reward for my Arguments, received the Lady’s Thanks, with the fullest Concessions, and the warmest Sense of Conviction.

It was a false Kindness in the Instructors of Youth, that originality gave Rise to these mistaken Notions; tender Minds, like Wax are capable of any Impression, and Stories of this Nature, delivered with an Air of Probability, are apt to increase by Repetition, and gain Credit by Experiment.  These Amusements of the Nursery create a prognosticating Spirit, and what was intended only as a Temporary Good, soon becomes a lasting Evil; thence arises weak Prejudices, Fears that form Chimeras, and make us act too frequently in direct Opposition to the Dictates of our Reason:  From these idle Rehearsals, I date Degeneracy of Spirit, Doubts  take Place of Resolution, and Fortitude gives way to Weakness.

These officious Relators of Inconsistencies are not aware, that the admiring Infant will stand in Need of all the Briskness, and all the Vivacity that human Nature can admit of, as the necessary Endowments to pass thro’ the Storm of Life, with Ease, Honor, and Reputation.

An old Acquaintance of Mine, who is better known by the Stile of perfect Man, than by his Name, is an absolute Martyr to Apprehension, he never hears his trusty Dog howl in the Night, but he conjectures, that as the Creature is none of the most stupid of its kind, it forebodes Death in the Family.

We pass over these Romantic Tales with a seeming Neglect, but preserve them for Purposes that rather impair than increase our Understanding.

The Design no doubt of these Relations are good, but few People consider their Tendency to soften our Dispositions, by alarming our Reason:  I should choose rather to gain upon the Minds of Youth by rational and noble Illustration, than depress them by the fallacious Workings of the Spirit.

[12 March 1754]


Tatler, Spectator, and Guardian of Carolina.

The Petition of Sir John Barley-Corn, Kt.

Humbly sheweth,

That your Petitioner having lately made an Excursion to the Congaree’s and interior parts of this Province, he finds the Climate and Soil agree exceeding well with his Constitution.

That he is desirous of 1000 Acres of good Land there to sit himself down on.

That many Hundred Barrels of Beer are annually imported into this Province which he imagines could be supplied by him here; whereby many Thousand Dollars would be kept employed at Home, which are not continually roving to the Northward.

That he judges Beer much superior to, and more healthful, than either Toddy or Punch, from September to May; especially if those Liquids are compounded with noxious Spirits.

That the Consumption of Home-brew’d Beer would lessen the Import of poisonous Rum from the Northward, and villainous Teas from other Parts; whereby the Floridity, Beauty and Lives of many of his Majesty’s Subjects would be prolonged, and the Export of Specie lessened.

That good Beer creates good Blood; good Blood, good Spirits; and good Spirits, good Humour.

That an Increase of good-humoured (i.e. sensible) Souls, will increase the Number of your Readers and Well-wishers.

That your Petitioner has Thoughts of erecting a Malt-house and Brewery in the back Settlements; but that (like all other Projectors) being straitened for Cash, he begs the Favour of your lending him 10,000£ on the Credit of his Scheme.  And your Petitioner, etc. etc.



1 Virgil’s Aeneid, Book 8, Line 580: “Of uncertain future.”

The Humourist (March 5, 1754)

Today, the Humourist continues his mock literary analysis of the dreadful combat between Moore of Moore Hall and the Dragon of Wantley. It might be beneficial to read the full text of the ballad before reading today’s essay: “The Dragon of Wantley.”

[Numb. 1029]


Arma virumq; cano.  VIRGIL.1

In my last, I just lead the Reader into the Scene of Action:  I come now to be more explicit, as well as the ingenious Poet under Consideration, and shall conclude my Remarks in the Paper of this Day.

‘But there is a Hedge,

‘Just on the Hill Edge,

‘And Mathew’s House hard by it.

Is it possible for any Tongue to express more Simplicity, or to discover a more natural Ease of Delivery than the above Lines?  Nothing can give us a finer Idea of Mathew‘s House but the Sight of it.  There our Poet strongly conjectures, that this Dragon was a Witch:  I believe ’tis the first Time any Genius ever stumbled upon so singular a Sentiment; and then the burning Snivel he cast into the Well, is so beauteous and so exquisite a Comparison, added to the Consideration of its being the first Tho’t of the kind either amongst ancient or modern Writers, that a prime Genius would not scruple to have purchased it at the Expence of his most correct Performance.

Our Poet, speaking of this Snivel in the Well, informs you of its Effect,

‘Which made it look

‘Just like a Brook

‘Running with burning Brandy.

Does not this Piece of Imagery put any sensible Man in mind of Snap-Dragon?  Every Child in the Town will discover this Beauty.  The People of these Days (the lower Class I mean) may perhaps be of Opinion, that burning Gin would be a brighter Expression than that of Brandy, but then they are not apprised of a manifest Error, viz. that the Verse would not run so sweet as in the present Case, and then it might fairly be said to be a Specimen of what Swift calls the Art of sinking in Poetry.2

We have a charming Description of our Hero’s excellent Qualities, far superior to what Ajax3 ever had Pretension to boast, or Marshal Saxe4 to assume:  He made nothing of swinging a Horse to Death and eating him:  The Country People of those Days, who had with Christian Patience submitted to the Power of priestly Government, began to entertain most sanguine Expectations of our Hero’s Appetite, and address’d him in one of the greatest Strokes of Oratory, that for its Singularity I cannot omit transcribing.

‘These Children, as I told, being eat,

‘Men, Women, Girls and Boys,

“Sighing and sobbing, came to his Lodging,

‘And made a hideous Noise.

Observe the Harmony.  Pope never murmured so delightfully in his Life.

‘O save us all,

‘Moore of Moore-Hall,

‘Thou peerless Knight of these Woods,

‘Do but slay this Dragon,

‘He won’t leave us a Rag on,

We’ll give thee all our Goods.

He won’t leave us a Rag on!  Is it in the Power of Man to write a more pathetic Line, or one more forcible than the last?  But the Hero generously refused the Offer, and only asks for a smiling Girl about the Mouth.

The armed Terror with which he stalks into the Field is well express’d, being beset, as he informs us,

‘With Spikes about,

‘Not within, but without.

Thus has our Poet excelled in the descriptive Part of Poetry, and the following Stanza is a full Proof of his Talents for the instructive.

‘It is not Strength that always wins,

‘For wit does Strength excel,

‘Which made our cunning Champion

‘Creep down into a Well.

This put me in Mind of these old Lines,

He that

— — — — runs away

May live to fight another Day;

But he that is in Battle slain,

Can never rise to fight again.6

However we find, by what follows, that the Well had near proved an unfortunate Asylum for our Champion; for you must know, that this Dragon was hugely given to Drinking,

‘And as he stoop’d low,

‘He rose up, and cry’d Boo,

‘And hit him in the Mouth.

This was the Praeludium Mortis, so far the Incident was of use to the Combatant; I omit the Speeches upon the Occasion, in order to make Room for that extraordinary one of the Dragon just before his Exit.

‘Then his Head he shak’d,

‘Trembled and quak’d,

‘And down he sat and cry’d’;

‘First on one Knee,

‘Then on Back tumbled he,

‘So groaned, kick’d, s–t, and dy’d.


1 In the Aeneid, Virgil sang “of arms and a man.”

2 Johathan Swift, Alexander Pope, and John Arbuthnot were members of the Scriblerus Club, a group of writers who mocked mediocrity in the arts and sciences.  Their output included Pope’s Peri Bathous, or the Art of Sinking in Poetry (1727).

3 In Homer’s Iliad, Ajax is known for his colossal frame and strength.

4 Maurice de Saxe (1696-1750), who distinguished himself in the War of Austrian Succession.

5 An old proverb, generally attributed to Tacitus.

Coming Your Way This Month!

Tuesday, March 5

  • The Humourist continues his mock-heroic literary analysis of the “Ballad of Moore of Moore Hall.”

Tuesday, March 12

  • The Humourist delves into divination and fortune-telling.
  • Additionally, he brings us “The Petition of Sir John Barley-Corn, Kt.”

Tuesday, March 19

  • The Humourist delivers a proclamation from the Court on Mount Parnassus (signed by “Mnemosyna, Secr.”), forbidding the writing of “Verse or Verses, Poem or Poems.”
  • The Humourist shares his allegorical poem, “The Temple of Happiness.”
  • Peter Hemp writes a letter to the Humourist proposing that he can live harmoniously in Carolina along with Messrs. Indico, Pot-Ash, Green-Tar, and Rice.
  • Urbanicus continues his correspondence with the Humourist and poses eleven more questions.

Tuesday, March 26

  • The Humourist is in company with the Muses and shares with us his song, “The Rising Beauty.”