7 November, 1718

Dear Lizzy,
It has been some time since we spoke last. I have lots to share about life in London. It is so exciting to be in the center of art, music, and all that is refined. I have attended many plays at theatres on the periphery of London and want to share every bit with you. You see, the Little Haymarket is where amateur or foreign performers are; the Queen’s is typically for Operas; and Drury Lane and Lincoln’s Inn Fields are dedicated to performances of old and new English dramas. I enjoy the playhouses immensely as I also enjoy less formal establishments such as booths and temporary establishments which provided stages for performances of plays every now and then. Oh Lizzy, each performance I have seen has its charms and I hope to one day attend a few with you when you come down to London. It has been too long.
Eternally yours,
Ms. R­­---
15 November, 1718
Ms. R--,
My dearest friend, it seems you are having a splendid time in London. Oh how I hope to join you soon. In the meantime, Do tell me about what you’ve been reading in The Honest Gentleman, as I can’t afford a subscription, I am afforded very little knowledge of what scholars and the like discuss.
Warmly,
Lizzy
20 November, 1718
Liz,
I am pleased to receive your correspondence. The Honest Reader, though beginning not how I had expected with the first issue on the fifth of this month, is surely an interesting read. The author began by stating that it’s a Difficult task to give reason to his weekly publication of The Honest Gentleman. He simply has no Design at all but to express his Thoughts so long as they are a coherent Piece. As an introduction, the Author of The Honest Gentleman expresses he is unlike the Author who has Concern for his Country and present Majesty; unlike the Author who thinks he has very good Reasons why the entire Nation must sincerely love Him- he is the Reason why our Nation is Delivered from Slavery and Superstition. This sentiment, Liz, has prepared me for more sarcasm in future issues. Nevertheless the Author of The Honest Gentleman wants no Association with such Authors. This Publication prefers Liberty, a compos’d Mind, to the more garish Scenes of Life. The Honest Gentleman holds greater Importance to man knowing himself rather than be known by all Mankind. Also important is the ability to see the Faults in all Parties and to carefully avoid running into any and to not be a Slave to anything but found Reason. This Author presents some progressive thoughts and philosophies. I will be sure to share with you the sentiments he expresses in Future letters.
Your Friend,
Ms. R—
15 December, 1718
Ms. R--,
My apologies for my Delayed response. I hope my note finds you well. The Honest Gentleman certainly presents some Interesting ideas. I can appreciate that it is Concerned with Liberty, but what of it strikes you as progressive thinking? Does The Honest Gentleman make any other social commentary beyond Slavery and Superstition?
Liz
26 December, 1718
Liz,
My dear, the city is lively with balls happening almost daily. I even went to a few plays around the city. On Tuesday 2 December, I saw The Orphan; or, The Unhappy Marriage starring Wilks, Elrington and others. I had a splendid time with mother and Margaret. The following day we saw All for Love, written by Dryden. Oh how I love all of his works. As Margaret is studying her French, we went to see Les Deux Arlequins last week; I was hesitant to go initially but had a grand time. The day will come when you’re able to join us.
Though I have attended many plays, I have made time to continue my Readings of The Honest Gentleman. It is intellectually stimulating that the Author answers such existentially philosophical questions. For instance, the recent issue addressed the question “Who is the Greatest Man living?” Power and dominance have always been at the forefront of social issues. Certainly as a citizen of Great Britain I too wonder who has the most power. To continue with what the Author thinks: he answers this with the question:
Where is the Man that has the Liberty of his Fellow-Creatures most at Heart, that exerts himself without Reserve in that Glorious Cause, and makes all his Actions tend to the procuring, recovering or conforming the Peace and Happiness of Mankind?
Such a Person as described in this question is someone, the Author feels, should revere it where he sees it. The Person who beholds such a Character is the Greatest Man Alive.
In less philosophical words, the Author talks about the Wisdom and education the Magistrates of Amsterdam have. That body has placed Christianity on “a right Footing.” Although the Author doesn’t harshly criticize Christianity, but he does talk about how the church leadership Magistrates and such choose to consult probably add some of their own Sentiments. I’ve always wondered Liz, how much of what our Priests advise us is based on the Word of God and their own opinions. Do you ever wonder such?
With Love,
Ms. R
11 January, 1719
Dear Ms. R--,
It seems that The Honest Gentleman is written by an honest gentleman. The Author is very open. But yes, I certainly have questioned how much of the Advice and teachings of our Priests is from the Bible, and how much is from their own views. Such questions support arguments some of our fellow countrymen have about the heavy influence religion has on our country’s state of affairs.
Speaking of our country’s state of affairs, I’ve been reading the poem “the Nature of Man.” In it, the speaker talks about all the lands from Congo, Ethiopia and India. The speaker paints such scenic pictures of each place, I feel as though I have travelled all those lands. He describes India’s sun and the shores of the Orient Seas. His sentiments on the nature of the men of those lands, however, is impertinent. Like the Author of The Honest Gentleman, he opposes slavery. But, he criticizes the merchants of foreign lands that sell their race for Gain: Those that send them as slaves to foreign Lands to work incessantly for British Lords more than those that buy them. Through our letters I am constantly learning of the opinions of others but also forming my own.
Yours,
Liz
7 February, 1719
Liz,
How wonderful is it that you read Poetry at your Leisure. The latest issue of The Honest Gentleman talks about the views of women in some Countries. The Author abhors that Women are forbidden from talking to the opposite sex. Women’s opinions aren’t as valued- moreover, appearing in publick needed a cause. I feel that he is criticizing how women are often left out of serious discussions.
He even speaks about how in numerous nations some Religions mandated that the Wife be buried with her Husband. The cruelty involved in killing a woman so that she is buried with her husband is a terrible custom. I wish he would have specified which countries, or rather which religions promote such cruelty onto our sex. I hope your reply will lighten our letters, I reckon they have gotten all too serious.
Your Dear Friend,
Ms. R
17 March, 1719
Dear Liz,
I hope all is well. You’re one of my dearest Cousins and surely you know that we are here to help you if need be. I await your response.
Warmly,
Ms. R--
28 March, 1719
Ms. R--,
My sincerest apologies for having remained silent for so long. Surely you understand that I have been busy helping mother prepare for Jane’s wedding. We are still in the early planning stages but mother is bubbling with excitement and doesn’t waste an hour out her day- thus decreasing any leisure I planned on having. Rest assured I read all your letters.
Yours,
Liz
17 April, 1719
My Dear Liz,
I am elated to hear from you once again. Yes we have heard of Jane’s engagement. We will come north for all the festivities.
In the most recent Honest Gentleman, the Author discusses how an English King resembles God- his power being unlimited in doing good, making him incapable of wrongdoing. Both words and actions assure us that he and future Kings only have the desire to do good. The Author insists that he doesn’t plead for a totalitarian power in even the best Princes or Kings as absolute power is a Privilege only Deity must have.
I don’t know Liz, but it is difficult as a Catholic to reconcile my religion with how much power a King has. There is more and more discussion on the future of England and I am glad there is literature such as this to enlighten me.
Eternally yours,
Ms. R--













Works Cited
Blackmore, Richard. A collection of poems on various subjects. (1718). Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Web. 10 Apr. 2015.
The Honest Gentleman, 1718-1719. Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Web. 6 Apr. 2015.
Scouten, Arthur H. The London Stage 1660 - 1800. 1st ed. Vol. 2. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1960. Print.