We frequently fall into error and folly, not because the true principles of action are not known, but because, for a time, they are not remembered. He may therefore justly be numbered among the benefactors of mankind, who contracts the great rules of life into short sentences, that may be easily impressed on the memory, and taught by frequent recollection to recur habitually to the mind. RAMBLER.




THE selections of lessons for reading in schools now in use, are numerous, and many of them contain excellent essays of various kinds. But in general, those essays are too long, to be read at once; and when they are divided into parts, and read at different times, it is obvious that the connection is entirely broken, and that a great part of the advantages proposed to be derived from reading are lost.

To obviate this objection, the volume now offered to the public, is principally composed of short passages, each com­plete in itself, and independent of the rest. When children read in classes, each may have an entire subject.

To some of the extracts, it may perhaps be objected, that they are above the understanding of youth: But it is believed their capacities are too frequently under-rated; and that it often happens, through such a pernicious mistake, that they spend their time in reading idle tales and stories, when they might be employed in treasuring up a store of useful maxims to guide them through the thorny path of life with safety and honour to themselves and advantage to the community.

In making the selection, considerable pains have been taken. Many of the works of the most celebrated writers have been carefully examined—and numerous passages adorn the work from Shakespeare, Dryden, Milton, Pope, Young, Watts, Rowe, Addison, Swift, Brooke, Fielding, Hervey, Johnson, Price, Montesquieu and others of equal reputation. To familiarize the rising generation with the perusal of such illustrious writers, can hardly fail to prove salutary.

[Page iii] The introduction of political sentiments into a work intended principally for youth, will probably be censured by some persons. It may not therefore be improper to offer the reasons that led to the adoption of this plan.

In countries where the established form of government is monarchy, most of the elementary books used to instruct children in their native language, are calculated to impress on their youthful minds, a prejudice in favour of the ex­isting order of things. National glory, (which means the spreading havoc and destruction among other nations), the splendor of monarchy, and the advantages of conquest, are displayed in the most captivating and glowing colours. This system is the result of profound policy. An early bias is thus given to the mind, which in most cases "grows with its growth," and often retains its influence to the last stage of decrepitude.

And is not such a system at least as proper and necessary in this country as elsewhere? Should not endeavours be used to impress on the rising generation, a respect and reverence for the forms of government under which we live? Our constitutions are all grounded on the rights of the citizens to liberty and the security of property, and on the grand principle, that the officers of government, legis­lative as well as executive, are all the agents of the people, deputed to perform for them those functions which they cannot execute themselves. In every one of them are recognised those grand and sublime truths, the defence of which has rendered so many men illustrious in the English annals—those principles for which

a Hampden struggled, and a Sydney bled—

those principles, in fine, which are to be found in a greater or less degree, through the writings of the best men of all ages and nations.

On this ground, it is presumed that vast advantages must accrue from subjecting to the perusal of youth, such a variety of elegant passages, tending to shew in the strongest light the advantages of liberty, of peace, of good order—the dignity of human nature—to inspire an abhorrence of war—and to display its tremendous consequences, in all [Page iv] their native deformity, stripped of the imposing gloss which artful and interested men have spread over them.

The names of the writers are generally given, partly as a tribute of gratitude towards those whose writings have served to complete this work—partly to facilitate a comparison between the sentiments of men in different ages—and partly with a view of exciting the reader's curiosity to search into their works complete. It is not pretended that a sublime truth can receive any corrobo­ration from the celebrity of the man who wrote it. The sentiment, that

The purest treasure mortal times afford,
Is spotless reputation. That away,
Men are but gilded loam or painted clay,

is an eternal axiom, and, whether sanctioned with the name of a Shakespeare or a Dennis, must carry conviction to every correct mind. In like manner, the position in page 240,—‘No man is better born than another, unless he is born with better abilities, and a more amiable dispo­sition,’ needs not the prop of Seneca's name to com­mand assent.

With these few remarks this small work is submitted to the candour and indulgence of the public, whose deci­sion on its utility shall be acquiesced in by the editor. He may have estimated too high the probable beneficial effects of his labours. This is so common an error as to be perhaps a venial one. But whatever may be its tendency or its success, he can never be deprived of the solid satis­faction arising from a perfect consciousness of having used his most earnest endeavours to promote the best interests of his fellow men.

M. C.


  • AMBITION, Otway, Mallet, Spectator, Fielding, 27
  • Age, Dryden, Goldsmith, Spectator, 30
  • Age and Youth, Johnson, 32
  • Actions, Francis, Spectator, 33
  • Advice, Sedley, Rambler, Spectator, 34
  • Affection, Young, 36
  • Anatomy, Spectator, ib.
  • Astonishment, Shakespeare, 37
  • Authority, Jephson, 38
  • Animals, Spectator, ib.
  • Author, Rambler, ib.
  • Anger, Rambler, Watts, 39
  • AEtna, Dryden, 40
  • Astronomy, Guardian, 41
  • Appearances, Rambler, 42
  • Avarice and Luxury, Spectator, 43
  • Avarice, Dryden, ib.
  • Apothecary, Shakespeare, 44
  • Attachment, Goldsmith, ib.
  • Arrangement of Ideas, Watts, 45
  • Abstinence, Spectator, ib.
  • Adulation, Goldsmith, 46
  • Aristocracy and Despotism, Burke, 47
  • Adversity, Spectator, Fielding ib.
  • Affection, Tribute of Sterne, 48
  • Affectation, Spectator, Fielding, 49
  • Admiration, Fielding, 50
  • Attention, Watts, ib.
  • Agreeable Man, Spectator, 51
  • Agreeable in Company, Spectator, 52
  • [Page vi] Ass, the dead Sterne, 53
  • Apprehensions, Spectator, 55
  • Beggar, Johnson, 56
  • Birds, Beckingham, ib.
  • Benevolence, Fielding, 57
  • Bees and Butterflies, Watts, ib.
  • Beneficence, Fielding, ib.
  • Bees, Dryden, 58
  • Blindness, Tate, 59
  • Beauty, Dryden, Sedley, Otway, Gay, Lisle, Shake­speare, Sterne, ib.
  • Boar, Otway, Blackmore, Dryden, 61
  • Brave, Rowe, Martyn, Mallet, Pope, 63
  • Blush, Dryden, ib.
  • Birth, Johnson, Hill, Francis, Whitehead, Young, ib.
  • Blind Boy, Cibber, 65
  • Building, Young, ib.
  • Clown, Dryden, 66
  • Camp, Glover, ib.
  • Cato, Addison, 67
  • Cleanliness, Spectator, ib.
  • Character, Fielding, 68
  • Custom, Idler, Watts, Fielding, ib.
  • Complaint, Johnson, 69
  • Church-yard, Watts, Gray, 70
  • Country Life, Cowley, Cowper, 71
  • Country Maiden, Roscommon, 72
  • Contempt, Fielding, Johnson, 73
  • Congress of 1774, Barlow, ib.
  • Care, Otway, 75
  • Censoriousness, Haywood, 76
  • Conversation, Guardian, Watts, 77
  • Clemency, Jones, 78
  • Compassion, Rowe, Tate, ib.
  • Curiosity, Watts, Rambler, ib.
  • Cruelty, Watts, 79
  • Conscience, Johnson, Fielding, ib.
  • Content, Dryden, Blackmore, Sterne, Rambler, Spec­tator, Jacob, 80
  • Continence of Scipio, Thomson, 83
  • Courage, Brooke, Whitehead, 84
  • [Page vii] Court, Rowe, Mason, Montesquieu, Bolingbroke, Swift, Churchill, 85
  • Coward, Shakespeare, Dryden, Hudibras, 87
  • Croisade, Thomson, ib.
  • Crown, Shakespeare, 88
  • Credulity, Watts, Idler, ib.
  • Charitable Judgment, Watts. 90
  • Charity, Fielding, Guardian, 91
  • Confidence, Rambler, Idler, 92
  • Censure, Spectator, ib.
  • Complaisance, Rambler, Guardian. ib.
  • Consolation, Rambler, 94
  • Criticism, Idler, ib.
  • Cheerfulness, Spectator, 94
  • Cunning, Idler, 95
  • Causes of War, Swift, Voltaire, Churchill, 96
  • Conquest, Churchill, Milton, 98
  • Conquerors, Mercier, 99
  • Clergyman, Cowper, 101
  • Courts of Justice, Constitution of New Hampshire, 102
  • Crimes and Punishments, ib. ib.
  • Death, Irene, Rambler, Beaumont, Dryden, Young, 103
  • Defamation, Sterne, Shakespeare, 104
  • Dependence, Rambler, 105
  • Dogmatism, Watts, ib.
  • Diffidence, Rambler, 106
  • Despotism, Montesquieu, Helvetius, Bible, Knight, Gibbon, Cowper, Spirit of Despotism, ib.
  • Dulness, Life of Pope, 111
  • Dog, Goldsmith, 112
  • Duty, Prince of Abyssinia, ib.
  • Duty and Happiness, Barlow, ib.
  • Delay, Rambler, 113
  • Drunkenness, Fielding, ib.
  • Deception, Rambler, 114
  • Despair, Fielding, Gay, ib.
  • Dishonesty, Beller, 115
  • Distress, Wandesford, ib.
  • Domestic Happiness, Cowper, Rambler, ib.
  • Dissentions, Burke, 117
  • Equality of Mankind, Constitutions, Fenelon, Dryden, Swift, Rousseau, ib.
  • [Page viii] Empire, Johnson, 119
  • Exercise, Rambler, ib.
  • Education, Dryden, Rambler, Spectator, 120
  • Error, Rambler, 121
  • Freedom, Gordon, Burke, Cowper, Watts, Freneau, ib.
  • Fly, Anonymous, 124
  • Frailty, Sterne, ib.
  • Fasting, Anonymous, ib.
  • Freeman, Cowper, 125
  • First Pair, Dwight, ib. 125
  • Frugality, Rambler, 127
  • Favour, Fielding, ib.
  • Forgiveness, Sterne, Rambler, ib.
  • Fame, Shakespeare, Johnson, 128
  • Fate, Shakespeare, Dryden, ib.
  • Fight, Howard, ib.
  • Flattery, Johnson, Marsh, Rambler, ib.
  • Fortitude, Shakespeare, Dryden, Rowe, Philips, 130
  • Fortune, Havard, Buckingham, Hudibras, Johnson, 131
  • Faction, Spirit of Despotism, 133
  • Friend, Wandesford, Frowde, ib.
  • Friendship, Savage, Tracy, Havard, Fielding, Ram­bler, Idler, Goldsmith, 134
  • Filial Piety, Thomson, Sterne, 137
  • Fashion, Rambler, Young, ib.
  • Fair of America, Humphreys, 138
  • False Alarms, Spirit of Despotism, 139
  • Gentleness of Address, Watts, 140
  • Gallantry, Kelly, 141
  • Gentleman, Johnson, ib.
  • Glory, Savage, Thomson, ib.
  • Good-Breeding, Fielding, 142
  • God, Shakespeare, Chapman, Murphy, Rowe, Thomson, ib.
  • Gaming, Fielding, 145
  • Gratitude, Frowde, Lyllo, ib.
  • Good-nature, Fielding, ib.
  • Government, Johnson, Rambler, Burke, Spirit of Des­potism, Chipman, 146
  • Grave, Martyn, 153
  • Greatness, Shakespeare, Tourneur, Beaumont, Tracy, Mallet, Young, Rambler, Idler, 154
  • [Page ix] Gravity, Shakespeare, Young, 153
  • Great Ones, Spirit of Despotism, 156
  • Grief, Addison, 157
  • Guilt, Haywood, Wandesford, Griffith, 158
  • Good Sense, Johnson, ib.
  • Good Humour, Pope, Rambler, ib.
  • Gaiety, Rambler, Cowper, 160
  • Gypsies, Cowper, ib.
  • Honesty, Martyn, Mallet, 161
  • Honour, Shakespeare, Massinger, Otway, Halifax, Johnson, Pope, 162
  • Handsome and deformed Leg, Franklin, 164
  • Happiness, Dryden, Rowe, Havard, Fielding, Johnson, Idler, Goldsmith, 166
  • Husband, Fielding, 168
  • Heaven, Shirley, ib.
  • Hope, Dryden, Havard, Glover, Goldsmith, ib.
  • Humility, Davenant, Derham, 169
  • Hypocrisy, Sterne, Fielding, Rambler, 170
  • Human Degradation, Barlow, ib.
  • Health, Keate, 171
  • Human Life, Anonymous, ib.
  • Hiring Soldiers, Spirit of Despotism, 172
  • Hereditary Power, Constitutions, 173
  • Human Nature, Spectator, ib
  • Idleness, Shakespeare, Rambler, Idler, 174
  • Improvement of reasoning Faculty, Watts, 175
  • Imprecation, Miller, 177
  • Intercourse with Mankind, Watts, 175
  • Imprisonment, Shirley, 177
  • Ingratitude, Dryden, Madden, 178
  • Injustice, Havard, Fielding, ib.
  • Innocence, Shakespeare, Trap, Roscommon, Johnson, tb.
  • Independence, Churchill, Addison, Thomson, 179
  • Instruction of the People, Spirit of Despotism, 181
  • Informers, Burke, 182
  • Insult, Rambler, 183
  • Inveterate Abuses, Burke, ib.
  • Ill-breeding, Fielding, ib. 183
  • Integrity, Johnson, 183
  • Indian, Pope, 184
  • [Page x] Ignorance, Johnson, Goldsmith, ib.
  • Judge, Shakespeare, Nabb, 184
  • Juryman, Cooke, 185
  • Justice, Waller, Guardian, ib.
  • Judgment, Rambler, 187
  • Jealousy of Tyranny, Lee, ib.
  • King, Shakespeare, Webster, Fountain, Hopkins, Rowe, Hill, Dryden, Bolingbroke, Churchill, Burke, Cowper, Spirit of Despotism, Montesquieu, Swift, Fenelon, Mirabeau, 188
  • Liberty of Conscience, De Thou, Temple, Watts, Con­stitutions, Price, Mansfield, Godwin, Jefferson, Franklin, Penn, 198
  • Liberty and Property, Hervey, 208
  • Liberty, Dryden, Addison, Thomson, Havard, Hill, Brooke, Cowper, Spirit of Despotism, Hume, ib.
  • Life, Drydon, Havard, 211
  • Lords, Cumberland, Goldsmith, Raynal, Burke, Bacon, Churchill, Dryden, 212
  • Love, Dryden, Rowe, 215
  • Licentiousness, Spirit of Despotism, Price, 219
  • Luxury, Merry, Cowper, 217
  • Law, Hudibras, 219
  • Laws, Rousseau, Bacon, Burke, Johnson, ib.
  • Laws, ex post facto, Constitutions, 220
  • Liberty of the Press, Constitutions, Gordon, Hume, 221
  • Men, Dryden, Pope, Sterne, Barlow, Spectator, 223
  • Mediocrity, Otway, Cowley, 228
  • Mercy, Shakespeare, Sterne, ib.
  • Monarch, Cibber, 230
  • Magnanimity, ib.
  • Manners, Johnson, Burke, ib.
  • Militia, Constitutions, Washington, 231
  • Military Power, Spirit of Despotism, Constitutions, Washington, 233
  • Modesty, Mercier, 235
  • Magistrates, Spirit of Despotism, Constitutions, ib.
  • Ministers of State, Swift, Godwin, Mandeville, Mon­tesquieu, Sewell, 236
  • [Page xi] Nobility, Rowe, Stephenson, Dryden, Seneca, Spirit of Despotism, 23 [...]
  • Nature and Art, Pope, 242
  • Negligence, Johnson, ib.
  • Natural Aristocracy, Spirit of Despotism, ib.
  • Non resistance, Constitutions, 243
  • Nature, Spectator, ib.
  • Oppression, Burke, 244
  • Oaths, Bible, Shakespeare, Raynal, ib. 244
  • Old Soldier, Fentham, 246
  • Primogeniture, Spirit of Despotism, ib.
  • Passion, Barford, 247
  • Patience, Mallet, Rambler, ib.
  • Patriotism, Whitehead, Burke, 248
  • Peace, Thomson, Burke, Pope, 249
  • Persecution, Rowe, Blackmore, Burke, 251
  • Pity, Johnson, Sterne, Rambler, 252
  • Poverty, Rambler, Idler, 253
  • Pride, Pope, 254
  • Providence, Gowper, 255
  • Philosophy, Johnson, Spirit of Despotism, ib.
  • Physic, Dryden, 257
  • Promises, Fielding, 258
  • Pride, Sterne, Fielding, Young, ib.
  • Partiality, Fielding, 259
  • Patronage, Idler, 260
  • Profession, Fielding, ib.
  • Praise, Rambler, Life of Pope, ib.
  • Prudence, Fielding, ib.
  • Peevishness, Rambler, 261
  • Prodigality, Johnson, ib.
  • Politeness, Rambler, ib.
  • Private Vices, Barlow, 262
  • Population, Barlow, ib
  • Political Discussion, Spirit of Despotism, 263
  • Religion, Miller, Young, Blackmore, 264
  • Resolution, Rambler, 266
  • Riches, Fielding, Rambler, Idler, Young, ib.
  • Raillery, Fielding, 269
  • Reputation, Shakespeare, ib.
  • Resignation, Brown, Fielding, ib.
  • [Page xii] Ridicule, Rambler, 270
  • Recruiting, Spirit of Despotism, ib.
  • Rotation of Office, Constitutions, 271
  • Rustic Felicity, Sterne, ib.
  • Rights of Man, Raynal, Constitutions, 272
  • Rich and Poor, Paley, Burke, Godwin, Crabbe, 276
  • Reformation, Burke, 280
  • Rose, Watts, 281
  • Rule of Life, Daddridge, ib.
  • Retrospect of Life, 282
  • Riots, Spirit of Despotism, ib.
  • Scandal, Havard, Sterne, Fielding, 283
  • Shame and Disgrace, Sterne, 284
  • Self Importance, Johnson, Spirit of Despotism, 285
  • Secrets, Rambler, ib.
  • Society, Burke, 286
  • Seduction, Rambler, 287
  • Secker, ib.
  • Suspicion, Rambler, ib.
  • Spies, Spirit of Despotism, ib.
  • Tyranny, Burke, 289
  • Tyrant, Rowe, Burke, ib.
  • Time Past, Idler, 290
  • Titles, Spirit of Despotism, Spectator, 291
  • Trifles, Rambler, ib.
  • Taxation, Burke, 292
  • Truth, Idler, ib.
  • Toleration, Burke, ib.
  • Tenderness to Animals, Cowper, ib.
  • To-day and to-morrow, 294
  • Virtue, Rambler, 295
  • Vanity, Young, ib.
  • Vice, Pope, 296
  • Usurper, Hudibras, ib.
  • War, Johnson, Fenelon, Voltaire, Young, Porteus, Machiavel, Swift, ib.
  • Whistle, Franklin, 300
  • Wisdom, Fielding, 302
  • Want, Dryden, 303
  • Wit, Young, ib.
  • Youth, Porteus, Rambler, 304

American Monitor.



ELOCUTION is a branch of oratory, the pow­er and importance of which is greater than is generally thought; insomuch that eloquence takes its name from it.*

It was much cultivated by Quintilian, and before him by Cicero, and before him by M. Antonius; but before his time, it was too much neglected by the Roman orators: Which made him say, "he had seen many men famous for eloquence, but not one of them that understood elocution."

[Page 6] But what stress was laid upon it by the Greek orators, appears from that celebrated saying of Demos­thenes; who being asked, what was the first principal thing in oratory? answered, Pronunciation; being asked again, what was the second? replied, Pronunci­ation. And what was the third? Pronunciation. Denoting that in his judgment the whole art, spirit, and power of oratory consisted in this.

Cicero, and after him Quintilian, divided oratory into five parts: 1. Invention—by which we pro­vide ourselves with suitable and sufficient materials for a discourse. 2. Disposition—by which they meant the division of their subject into parts and sentences, according to the most natural order; and consequently the proper distribution and arrangement of their ideas. 3. Elocution—by which they always meant, what we call Diction; which consists in suiting our words to our ideas, and the style to the subject. 4. Memory, or a faculty of clearly discerning and retaining our ideas, and of calling to mind the properest words by which to express them. 5. Pronunciation; or the art of ma­naging the voice and gesture in speaking.

So that by pronunciation, the antients understood both Elocution and Action; and comprehended in it the right management of the voice, looks, and gesture. To the former of these, viz. the right management of the voice in reading or speaking; which is indifferently called by us, Elocution and Pronunciation, I shall here confine myself.

The great design and end of a good pronunciation is, to make the ideas seem to come from the heart; and then they will not fail to excite the attention and affections of those that hear us: from which the great benefit and usefulness of this too much neglected art may be seen.

[Page 7]


The several faults of pronunciation are these following:

1. When the voice is too loud.

This is very disagreeable to the hearer, and very in­convenient to the speaker.

It will be very disagreeable to the hearers, if they be persons of good taste: who will always look upon it to be the effect either of ignorance or affectation.

Some will impute it to your ignorance, and suppose that you were never instructed better since you left the reading school; where children generally get a habit of reading in a high-pitched key, or a uniform elevated voice, without any regard to emphasis, cadence, or a graceful elocution.

Others will impute it to affectation; or a design to work upon their passions; which will immediately de­feat the design, if you had it. For if you would effec­tually move the passions, you must carefully conceal your intention so to do; for as soon as the mind perceives you have such a design upon it, it will be u­pon its guard. However, none but the most low, weak, and mechanical minds will be affected with mere dint of sound and noise. And the passions so raised, leave no lasting or valuable effects upon the mind, and answer no good purpose or end; because the understanding hath nothing to do with such impressions, and the memory no handle by which to retain or recall them. Not to say, it often answers a bad end; affects the mind in a wrong place, and gives it a false bias. However this may be thought to become the stage or the bar, it least of all befits the pulpit; where all ought to be solemn, serious, rational, and grave as the subjects there treated of.

It is false oratory then to seek to persuade or affect by mere vehemence of voice. A thing that hath been often attempted by men of mean furniture, low genius, [Page 8] or bad taste, among the antients as well as the moderns. A practice which formerly gave the judicious Quin­tilian great offence; who calls it not only clamouring, but furious bellowing; not vehemence, but downright violence.

Besides, an overstrained voice is very inconvenient to the speaker, as well as disgustful to judicious hearers. It exhausts his spirits to no purpose; and takes from him the proper management and modulation of his voice according to the sense of his subject; and, what is worst of all, it naturally leads him into a tone.

Every man's voice indeed should fill the place where [...] [...]eaks; but if it exceed its natural key, it will be [...] sweet nor soft, nor agreeable, because he will not be able to give every word its proper and distin­guishing sound.

2. Another fault in pronunciation is when the voice is too low.

This is not so inconvenient to the speaker, but is as disagreeable to the hearer, as the other extreme. And inde [...] to the generality of hearers a too low voice is much more displeasing than a too loud one; espe­cially to those who are troubled with an impediment in hearing, and those who are best pleased with a lively and pathetic address, as most are. It is always offensive to an audience to observe any thing in the reader or speaker that looks like indolence or inatten­tion. The hearer will never be affected whilst he sees the speaker indifferent.

The art of governing the voice consists a good deal in dexterously avoiding these two extremes: at least, this ought to be first minded. And for a general rule to direct you herein, I know of none better than this—carefully to preserve the key, that is, the command of your voice; and at the same time, to adapt the eleva­tion and strength of it to the condition and number of the persons you speak to, and the nature of the place you speak in.—It would be altogether as ridiculous in [Page 9] a general who is haranguing an army to speak in a low and languid voice, as in a person who reads a chapter in a family to speak in a loud and eager one.

3. Another fault in pronunciation is a thick, hasty, cluttering voice.

This is, when a person mumbles, or clips, or swal­lows his words, that is, leaves out some syllables in the long words, and never pronounces some of the short ones at all; but hurries on without any care to be heard distinctly, or to give his words their full sound, or his hearers the full sense of them.

This is often owing to a defect in the organs of speech, or a too great flutter of the animal spirits; but oftener to a bad habit uncorrected.

Demosthenes, the greatest orator Greece ever produ­ced, had, it is said, nevertheless, three natural impedi­ments in pronunciation; all which he conquered by invincible labour and perseverance. One was a weakness of voice; which he cured by frequently declaiming on the sea-shore, amidst the noise of the waves. Another was a shortness of breath; which he mended by repeating his orations as he walked up a hill. And the other was the fault I am speaking of; a thick mumbling way of speaking; which he broke himself of by declaiming with pebbles in his mouth.

4. Another fault in pronunciation is when persons speak too quick.

There is scarce any fault more common than this, especially among young persons, who imagine they can read very well, and are not afraid of being stopped in their carreer by the unexpected intervention of any hard word. And scarce any bad habit of the voice is con­quered with more difficulty; tho' one would imagine nothing is more easy.

This manner of reading may do well enough when we are examining leases; perusing indentures; or reciting acts of parliament, where there is always a [Page 10] great superfluity of words; or in reading a newspaper, where there is but little matter that deserves our atten­tion; but is very improper in reading books of devo­tion and instruction, and especially the sacred scriptures, where the solemnity of the subject or the weight of the sense demands a particular regard. But it is most of all inexcusable to read forms of prayer in this manner as acts of devotion.

The great disadvantage which attends this manner of pronunciation, is, that the hearer loses the benefit of more than half the good things he hears, and would fain remember, but cannot. And a speaker should al­ways have a regard to the memory, as well as the under­standing, of his hearers.

5. It is also a fault to speak too slow.

Some are apt to read in a heavy, droning, sleepy way; and through mere carelessness make pauses at improper places. This is very disagreeable. But to hem, hauk, sneeze, yawn, or cough, between the pe­riods, is vastly more so.

A too slow elocution is most faulty in reading trifles that do not require attention. It then becomes tedious. A person that is addicted to this slow way of speaking should always take care to reward the hearer's patience with importan [...] sentiments, and compensate the want of words by a weight of thoughts; and give his discourse its proper quantity of solid sense, that, as we say, what it wants in length it may make out in breadth.

But a too slow elocution is a fault very rarely to be found, unless in aged people, and those who naturally speak so in common conversation. And in these, if the pronunciation be in all other respects just, decent, and proper; and especially if the subject be weighty or intricate, it is very excusable.

6. An irregular or uneven voice, is a great fault in reading.

[Page 11] That is, when the voice rises and falls by fits and starts, or when it is elevated and depressed unnaturally, or unseasonably, without regard to sense or stops; or always beginning a sentence with a high voice, and concluding it with a low one, or vice versa; or always beginning and concluding it with the same key. Opposite to this is.

7. A flat, dull, uniform tone of voice, without emphasis or cadence, or any regard to the sense or sub­ject of what is read.

This is a habit, which children who have been used to read their lessons by way of task, are very apt to fall into, and retain as they grow up, such a monotony as attorney's clerks read in, when they examine an en­grossed deed. This is a great infelicity when it becomes habitual; because it deprives the hearer of the greatest part of the benefit or advantage he might receive by a close attention to the most weighty and interesting parts of the subject, which should always be distin­guished or pointed out by the pronunciation—For a just pronunciation is a good commentary.

Lastly, the greatest and most common fault of all is reading with a tone.

No habit is more easy to be contracted than this, or more hard to be conquered. This unnatural tone in reading and speaking is very various; but whatever it be, it is always disgustful to persons of delicacy and judgment.

Some have a womanish squeaking tone; which, persons whose voices are shrill and weak, and over­strained, are very apt to fall into.

Some have a singing or canting tone, which En­thusiastic speakers generally much affect, and by which their hearers are often much affected. Others affect a high, swelling, theatrical tone; who being ambiti­ous of the fame of fine orators, lay too much emphasis on every sentence, and thereby transgress the rules of true oratory.

[Page 12] Others affect an awful and striking tone, attended with solemn grimace, as if they would move you with every word, whether the weight of the subject bear them out or not. This is what persons of a gloomy or melancholy cast of mind are most apt to give into.

Some have a set uniform tone of voice; which I have already taken notice of.—Others, an odd, whimsical, whining tone, peculiar to themselves, and not to be described—only that it is laying the emphasis on words which do not require or deserve it.

It must be acknowledged, there are some kinds of tone which, though unnatural, yet, as managed by the speakers, are not very disagreeable—and the mind must be much on its guard that can remain unmoved thereby.

When I have been affected with hearing orators de­liver common or obscure sentiments in such a striking tone, I have endeavoured carefully to examine into the true reason of that emotion, or what it was that excited that affection in my mind; and have found that it could not arise from the mere tone of the speaker—which of itself was unnatural and disagreeable—nor from the weight of the subject—which was no more than common—but from the earnestness, life and so­lemnity with which he spake, and his appearing him­self to be much affected with what he delivered; which two things will never fail to move an audience. And why they may not be as well observed and prac­tised without a tone as with one, I cannot conceive. And without these a tone itself would have no power to move; as it hath no other subserviency to raise the passions than as it solemnizes the subject, and seems to shew the speaker's heart engaged. Pity that those two ends [...] not be answered by a better means! and that a bad habit in the speaker, indulging a false taste in the hearers, should secure one great end of ora­tory by that which is the greatest abuse of it!

Our next enquiry is

[Page 13]


To this end the few following rules may be of ser­vice.

1. If you would not read in too loud or too low a voice, consider whether your voice be naturally too low or loud; and correct it accordingly in your ordi­nary conversation: by which means you will be better able to correct it in reading. If it be too low, con­verse with those that are deaf; if too loud, with those whose voices are low. Begin your periods with an even moderate voice, that you may have the command of it, to raise or fall it as the subject requires.

2. To cure a thick confused cluttering voice, accus­tom yourself, both in conversation and reading, to pro­nounce every word distinct and clear. Observe with what delib [...]ration some converse and read, and how full a sound they give to every word; and imitate them. Do not affect to contract your words, as some do, or run two into one. This may do very well in conversation, or in reading familiar dialogues, but is not so decent in grave and solemn subjects; especially in reading the sacred scriptures.

It appears from Demosthenes's case, that this fault of pronunciation cannot be cured without much diffi­culty, nor will you find his remedy effectual without pains and perseverance.

3. To break a habit of reading too fast, attend dili­gently to the sense, weight, and propriety of every sen­tence you read, and of every emphatical word in it. This will not only be an advantage to yourself, but a double one to your hearers; for it will at once give them time to do the same, and excite their attention when they see yours is fixed. A solemn pause after a weighty thought is very beautiful and striking. A well timed stop gives as much grace to speech as it does to music. Imagine that you are speaking to persons of [Page 14] slow and unready conceptions; and measure not your hearer's apprehension by your own. If you do, you may possibly out-run it. And as in reading you are not at liberty to repeat your words and sentences, that should engage you to be very deliberate in pronouncing them, that their sense may not be lost. The ease and advantage that will arise both to the speaker and hear­er, by a free, full, and deliberate pronunciation is hard­ly to be imagined.

I need lay down no rules to avoid a too slow pro­nunciation; that being a fault which few are guilty of.

4. To cure an uneven, desultory voice, take care that you do not begin your periods either in too high or too low a key; for that will necessarily lead you to an unnatural and improper variation of it. Have a careful regard to the nature and quantity of your points, and the length of your periods; and keep your mind intent on the sense, subject, and spirit of your author.

The same directions are necessary to avoid a mon­otony in pronunciation, or a dull, set, uniform tone of voice. For if your mind be but attentive to the sense of your subject, you will naturally manage and mod­ulate your voice according to the nature and importance of it.

Lastly, To avoid all kinds of unnatural and disa­greeable tones, the only rule is to endeavour to speak with the same ease and freedom as you would do on the same subject in private conversation. You hear no body converse in a tone; unless they have the uncouth accent of some other country, or have [...] into a habit of altering the natural key of their voice when they are talking of some serious subject in religion. But I can see no reason in the world, that when in common conversation we speak in a natural voice with proper ac­cent and emphasis, yet as soon as we begin to read, or talk of religion, or speak in public, we should imme­diately assume a stiff, aukward, unnatural tone. If we are indeed deeply affected with the subject we read [Page 15] or talk of, the voice will naturally vary according to the passion excited; but if we vary it unnaturally, only to seem affected, or with a design to affect others, it then becomes a tone, and is offensive.

In reading then attend to your subject, and deliver it just in such a manner as you would do if you were talking of it. This is the great, general and most im­portant rule of all; which, if carefully observed, will correct not only this but almost all the other faults of a bad pronunciation; and give you an easy, decent, graceful delivery, agreeable to all the rules of a right elocution. For however apt we are to transgress them in reading, we follow them naturally and easily enough in conversation. And children will tell a story with all the natural graces and beauties of pronunciation, however aukwardly they may read the same out of a book.


A good pronunciation in reading, is the art of managing and governing the voice so as to express the full sense and spirit of your author in that just, decent and graceful manner, which will not only instruct but affect the hearers; and will not only raise in them the same ideas he intended to convey, but the same passions he really felt. This is the great end of reading to others, and this end can only be attained by a proper and just pronunciation.

And hence we may learn wherein a good pronunci­ation in speaking consists; which is nothing but a natural, easy, and graceful variation of the voice, suitable to the nature and importance of the sentiments we deliver.

A good pronunciation in both these respects is more easily attained by some than others; as some can more readily enter into the sense and sentiments of an author, and more easily deliver their own, than others can; [Page 16] and at the same time have a more happy facility of expressing all the proper variations and modulations of the voice than others have. Thus persons of a quick apprehension, and a brisk flow of animal spirits (setting aside all impediments of the organs) have generally a more lively, just, and natural elocution than persons of a slow perception and a flegmatic cast. However, it may in a good degree be attained by every one that will carefully attend to and practice those rules that are proper to acquire it. Which leads me therefore to consider


To this end the observation of the following rules is necessary.

Have a particular regard to Pauses, Emphasis, and Cadence.


WITH respect to pauses, you will in a great measure in reading be directed by the common stops or points, viz. Comma (,)—Semi-colon (;)—Colon (:)—Period (.)—Interrogation (?)—and Admiration (!).

These points serve two purposes—to distinguish the sense of the author, and—to direct the pronunciation of the reader.—A comma stops the voice, while we may privately tell one—a semi-colon, two—a colon, three—and a period, four.

To break a habit of taking breath too often in read­ing, accustom yourself to read long periods, such as the sixteen first lines in Milton's Paradise Lost.

After some weighty and important sentiment, it will be proper to make a longer pause than ordinary; and especially towards the close or application of a discourse: [Page 17] —these long pauses are very proper; as they at once compose and affect the mind, and give it time to think. It will also be very helpful to the speaker's voice; and give his pronunciation the advantage of variety, which [...] always pleasing to the hearers.


THE next thing to be regarded in reading is the Emphasis; and to see that it be always laid on the emphatical word.

When we distinguish any particular syllable in a word with a strong voice, it is called Accent; when we thus distinguish any particular word in a sentence, it is called Emphasis; and the word to distinguished the Emphatical word. And the emphatical words (for there are often more than one) in a sentence, are those which carry a weight or importance in themselves, or those on which the sense of the rest depends; and these must always be distinguished by a fuller and stronger sound of voice, wherever they are found, whether in the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence. Take for instance those words of the satirist.

Get plàce and weàlth, if possible, with gràce,
If not, by àny means get weàlth and plàce.

In these lines the emphatical words are accented; and which they are, the sense will always discover.

Some sentences are so full and comprehensive, that almost every word is emphatical: For instance, that pathetic expostulation in the prophecy of Ezekiel, ‘Why will ye die!’ In this short sentence, every word is emphatical, and on which ever word you lay the emphasis, whether the [Page 18] first, second, third, or fourth, it strikes out a different sense, and opens a new subject of moving expostulation.

Some sentences are equivocal, as well as some words; that is, contain in them more senses than one; and which is the sense intended can only be known by observing on what word the emphasis is laid. For instance—"Will you ride to town to-day?"—This question is capable of being taken in four different sen­ses, according to the different words on which you lay the emphasis. If it be laid on the word you,—the answer may be—"No, but I intend to send my servant in my stead."—If the emphasis be laid on the word ride—the proper answer might be—"No, I intend to walk it."—If you place the emphasis on the word town—it is a different question; and the answer may be—"No, for I design to ride into the country"—And if the emphasis be laid upon the words to-day—the sense is still something different from all these; and the proper answer may be—"No, but I shall to-morrow"—Of such importance oftentimes is a right emphasis, in order to determine the proper sense of what we read or speak.

The voice must also express, as near as may be, the very sense or idea designed to be conveyed by the em­phatical word; by a strong, rough, and violent, or a soft, smooth, and tender sound.

Thus the different passions of the mind are to be expressed by a different sound or tone of voice. Love, by a soft, smooth, languishing voice;—Anger, by a strong, vehement, and elevated voice;—Joy, by a quick, sweet, and clear voice;—Sorrow, by a low, flexible, inter­rupted voice;—Fear, by a dejected, tremulous, hesita­ting voice;—Courage hath a full, bold, and loud voice;—and Perplexity, a grave, steady, and earnest one. In Exordiums the voice should be low;—in Narrations, distinct;—in Reasoning, slow;—in Persuasion, strong; it should thunder in Anger—soften in Sorrow—trem­ble in Fear—and melt in Love.

[Page 19] The variation of the emphasis must not only distin­guish the various passions described, but the several forms and figures of speech in which they are expressed.

In a Prosopopae [...]a, we must change the voice as the person introduced would.

In an Antithesis, one contrary must be pronounced louder than the other.

In a Climax, the voice should always rise with it.

In Dialogues, it should alter with the parts.

In Repetitions, it should be loudest in the second place.

Words of quality and distinction, or of praise or dispraise, must be pronounced with a strong emphasis.

No emphasis, is better than a wrong or misplaced one. For that only perplexes; this always misleads the mind of the hearer.


THIS is directly opposite to emphasis. Emphasis is raising the voice, cadence is falling it; and when right­ly managed is very musical. Beside cadence of voice, there is cadence of stile—That is, when the sense being almost expressed and perfectly discerned by the reader, the remaining words, which are only necessary to com­plete the period, gently fall of themselves, without any emphatical word among them. If our author's lan­guage be pure and elegant, his cadence of stile will naturally direct the cadence of voice.

Cadence generally takes place at the end of a sen­tence; unless it closes with an emphatical word.

Every parenthesis is to be pronounced in cadence; that is, with a low voice, and quicker than ordinary; that it may not take off the attention too much from the sense of the period it interrupts. But all apostrophes and prosopopaeias are to be pronounced in emphasis.

[Page 20]


IF you would acquire a just pronunciation in read­ing, you must not only take in the full sense, but enter into the spirit of your author: For you can never convey the force and fulness of his ideas to another, till you feel them yourself. No man can read an author he does not perfectly understand and taste.*

The same rules are to be observed in reading poetry and prose: Neither the rhyme nor the numbers should take off the attention from the sense and spirit of the author. It is this only that must direct the pronunci­ation in poetry as well as prose. When you read verse, you must not at all favor the measure or rhyme; that often obscures the sense and spoils the pronunciation: For the great end of pronunciation is to elucidate and heighten the sense; that is, to represent it not only in a clear, but a strong light. Whatever then obstructs this is carefully to be avoided, both in verse and prose. Nay, this ought to be more carefully observed in read­ing verse than prose; because the author, by a constant attention to his measure and rhyme, and the exaltation of his language, is often very apt to obscure his sense; which therefore requires the more care in the reader to discover and distinguish it by the pronunciation. And if when you read verse with proper pause, emphasis, and cadence, and a pronunciation varied and governed [Page 21] by the sense, it be not harmonious and beautiful, the fault is not in the reader but the author. And if the verse be good, to read it thus will improve its harmony; because it will take off that uniformity of sound and accent which tires the ear, and makes the numbers heavy and disagreeable.

Another important rule to be observed in elocution is—study Nature.—By this I mean your own natural dispositions and affections. And those subjects that are most suitable to them, you will easily pronounce with a beautiful propriety: and to heighten the pronuncia­tion, the natural warmth of the mind should be per­mitted to have its course under a proper rein and regulation.

Study the natural dispositions and affections of others. For some are much more easily impressed and moved one way, and some another. And an orator should be acquainted with all the avenues to the heart.

Study the most easy and natural way of expressing yourself, both as to the tone of voice and the mode of speech. And this is best learned by observations on common conversation—where all is free, natural, and easy—where we are only intent on making ourselves understood, and conveying our ideas in a strong, plain, and lively manner, by the most natural language, pronunciation and action. And the nearer our pro­nunciation in public comes to the freedom and ease of that we use in common discourse—provided we keep up the dignity of the subject, and preserve a propriety of expression—the more just, natural, and agreeable it will generally be.

Above all things, then, study nature—avoid affecta­tion—never use art, if you have not the art to conceal it. For whatever does not appear natural, can never be agreeable, much less persuasive.

Endeavor to keep your mind collected and compo­sed—Guard against that flatter and timidity of spirit, [Page 22] which is the common infelicity of young, and especially bashful persons, when they first begin to speak or read in public. This is a great hindrance both to their pronunciation and invention; and at once gives both themselves and their hearers an unnecessary pain. It will by constant opposition wear off—and the best way to give the mind a proper degree of assurance and self-command at such a time, is to [...]e entire master of the subject—and a consciousness that you deliver to your audience nothing but what is well worth their hearing, will give you a strong degree of courage.

Endeavor to be wholly engaged in your subject; and when the mind is intent upon and warmed with it, it will forget that awful deference it before paid to the audience, which was so apt to disconcert it.

If the sight of your hearers, or any of them discom­pose you, keep your eyes from them.

Be sure to keep up a life, spirit, and energy in the expression; and let the voice naturally vary according to the variation of the stile and subject.

Whatever be the subject, it will never be pleasing, if the style be low and flat; nor will the beauty of the style be discovered, if the pronunciation be so.

Cicero observes there must be a glow in our style if we [...] warm our hearers. And who does not ob­serve how ridiculous it is to pronounce the ardens verbum in a cold lifeless tone?—The transition of the voice must always correspond with that of the subject, and the passions it was intended to excite.

To attain a just and graceful pronunciation, you should accustom yourselves frequently to hear those who excel in it, whether at the bar or in the pulpit—where you will see all the sore-mentioned rules exem­plified, and be able to account for all those graces and beauties of pronunciation which always pleased you, but you did not know why.

Indeed, the Art of Pronunciation, like all others, is better learned by imitation than rule: But to be first [Page 23] acquainted with the rules of it, will make the imitation more easy. You will observe a certain agreeableness of manner in some orators, that is natural to them, not to be reduced to any rule, and to be learnt by imi­tation only; nor by that, unless it be in some degree natural to you.

You should frequently exercise yourself to read aloud according to the foregoing rules.—It is practice only that must give you the faculty of an elegant pro­nunciation. This, like other habits, is only to be attained by often repeated acts.

Orators, as well as poets, must be born so, or they will never excel in their respective arts: But that part of oratory which consists in a decent and graceful pro­nunciation, provided there be no defect in the organs of speech, may be attained by rule, imitation, and practice; and, when attained, will give a beauty to speech, a force to thoughts, and a pleasure to the hearers, not to be expressed; and which all will admire, but none can imitate, unless they are first prepared for it by art and nature—In short, the great advantage of a just pro­nunciation is, that it will please all, whether they have no taste, a bad taste, or a good taste.


THE action should be as easy and as natural as the elocution; and, like that, must be varied and directed by the passions.

An affected violence of motion is as disgustful as an affected vehement of voice; and no action, as bad as no emphasis—when two faults commonly go together, as do the other two, just before mentioned.

Those parts of the body that are to be principally employed in oratorical action, are the head, the face, the eyes, the hands, and the upper part of the whole body.

[Page 24]


THIS should generally be in an erect posture; turning sometimes on one side, and sometimes on the other, that the voice may be heard by the whole audience, and a regard paid to the several parts of it.

It should always be on the same side with the action of the hands and body, except when we express an abhorrence, or a refusal of any thing, which is done by rejecting it with the right-hand, and turning away the head to the left.


IN this is the seat of the soul and the very life of action. Every passion, whilst uttered with the tongue should be painted in the face. There is often more eloquence in a look than any words can express. By this we are awed, charmed, incensed, softened, grieved, rejoiced, raised, or dejected, according as we catch the fire of the speaker's passion from his face.—There is no end in recounting the force and effects of this dumb oratory; which nature only teaches, and which persons of low passions lose all the advantages of. Look well upon a good piece of painting where the passions are stongly expressed, and you will conceive the power of it.


THESE should be carried from one part of the au­dience to another, with a modest and decent respect; which will tend to recall and fix their attention, and animate your own spirit by observing their attention fixed. But if their affections be strongly moved, and the observing it be a means of raising your own too high, it will be necessary then to keep the eye from off [Page 25] them—For tho' an orator should always be animated, he should never be overcome by his passions.

In all appeals to heaven, and sometimes at the so­lemn mention of the name of the great God, the eyes and the head should be turned upwards.

In adoration, the hands and eyes should be lifted up, and the head and body bowing down.

In solemn vows, exclamations and appeals to heaven, the hands, head, and eyes should all be lifted up; but in humiliation and confession bowed down.

The language of the eye is inexpressible. It is the window of the soul—from which sometimes the whole heart looks out at once, and speaks more feelingly than all the warmest strains of oratory; and comes effectually in aid of it, when the passion is too strong to be uttered.


THE left hand should never be used alone, unless it be to attend the motion of the head and eyes in an address to the audience on the left side.

The right hand may be often used alone.

When you speak of the body, you may point to it with the middle finger of the right hand.

When you speak of the soul or conscience, you may lay the right hand gently on the breast.—It should be often displayed with an easy motion to favour an em­phasis; but seldom or never be quite extended.—All its motions should be from the left to the right.

Both the hands displayed, and the arms extended, is violent action, and never just or decent unless the audience be noisy, and part of them at a distance from the speaker, and he is labouring to be heard; and then they should never be extended higher than the head, unless pointing at something above the audience.*

[Page 26] The motion of the hand should always correspond with those of the head and eyes; as they should with the passions expressed.

In deliberate proof or argumentation, no action is more proper or natural than gently to lay the first finger of the right hand on the palm of the left.

Of what great use the proper motion of the hand is in assisting pronunciation, and how many passions may be strongly indicated thereby, when attended with that of the head and eyes, is not easy to be described, but is soon observed in common conversation.


THIS should be usually erect; not continually changing, nor always motionless; declining in acts of humiliation; in acts of praise and thanksgiving, raised.

It should always accompany the motion of the hands, head, and eyes, when they are directed to any particu­lar part of the audience; but never so far as to [...]et the back be turned to any part of it.

But let it suffice just to hint at these things. They who desire to see them more largely treated of, may consult Quintilian.

But after all, with regard to action, the great rule is the same as in pronunciation—to follow nature, and avoid affectation.—The action of the body, and the several parts of it, must correspond with the pronunci­ation, as that does with the style, and the style with the subject. A perfect harmony of all these completes the orator.


Lessons in Elocution.


—Ambition is at a distance
A goodly prospect, tempting to the view;
The height delights us, and the mountain top
Looks beautiful, because 'tis nigh to heaven:
But we ne'er think how sandy's the foundation,
What storms will batter, and what tempests shake it.
—Ambition! deadly tyrant!
Inexorable master! what alarms,
What anxious hours, what agonies of heart
Are the sure portion of thy gandy slaves!
Cruel condition! could the toiling hind,
The shivering beggar, whom no roof receives,
Wet with the mountain shower and crouching low
Beneath the naked cliff, his only home;
Could he but read the statesman's secret breast;
But see the horrors there, the wounds, the stabs
From furious passions and avenging guilt,
He would not change his rags and wretchedness
For gilded domes and greatness!

There are but few men who are not ambitious of distinguishing themselves in the nation or country where they live, and of growing considerable among those with whom they converse. There is a kind of grandeur and respect which the meanest and most in­significant [Page 28] part of mankind endeavor to procure in the little circle of their friends and acquaintance. The poorest mechanic, the man who lives upon common arms, gets him his set of admirers, and delights in that superiority which he enjoys over those who are in some respect beneath him. This ambition, which is natu­ral to the soul of man, might methinks receive a very happy turn; and, if it were rightly directed, contribute as much to a person's advantage, as it generally does to his uneasiness and disquiet.


If we look abroad upon the great multitude of man­kind, and endeavor to trace out the principles of action in every individual, it will, I think, seem highly probable, that ambition runs through the whole spe­cies, and that every man, in proportion to the vigor of his complexion, is more or less actuated by it. It is indeed no uncommon thing to meet with men, who by the natural bent of their inclinations, and without the discipline of philosophy, aspire not to the heights of power and grandeur; who never set their hearts upon a numerous train of clients and dependen­cies, nor other gay appendages of greatness; who are contented with a competency, and will not molest their tranquility to gain an abundance. But it is not there­fore to be concluded, that such a man is not ambitious. His desires may cut out another channel, and deter­mine him to other pursuits; the motive may be, how­ever, still the same; and in those cases, likewise, the man may be equally pushed on with the desire of distinction.

Though the pure consciousness of worthy actions, abstracted from the views of popular applause, be to a generous mind an ample reward; yet the desire of distinction was doubtless implanted in our natures as an additional incentive to exert ourselves in virtuous excellence.

[Page 29] This passion, like all others, is frequently perverted to evil and ignoble purposes; so that we may account for many of the excellencies and follies of life upon the same innate principles; to wit, the desire of being remarkable. For this, as it has been differently cul­tivated by education, study, and converse, will bring forth suitable effects, as it falls in with an ingenious companion, or a corrupt mind: it does also express itself in acts of magnanimity or selfish cunning, as it meets with a good or weak understanding. As it has been employed in embellishing the mind, or adorning the outside, it renders the man eminently praise-worthy or ridiculous. Ambition, therefore, is not to be con­fined only to one passion or pursuit; for as the same humours, in constitutions otherwise different, affect the body after different manners, so the same aspiring principle within us sometimes breaks forth upon one object, sometimes upon another.

It cannot de doubted, but that there is as great a desire of glory in a ring of wrestlers or cudgel-players, as in any other more refined competition for superiority. No man, that could avoid it, would ever suffer his head to be broken, but out of a principle of honor.


Ambition raises a secret tumult in the soul; it in­flames the mind, and puts it into a violent hurry of thought. It is still reaching after an empty imaginary good, that has not in it the power to abate or satisfy it. Most other things we long for can allay the cravings of their proper sense, and for a while set the appetite at rest: but same is a [...] so wholly foreign to our na­ture, that we have no faculty in the soul adapted to it, nor any organ in the body to relish it; an object of de­sire placed out of the possibility of fruition.


There is scarce a man living, who is not actuated by ambition. When this principle meets with an [Page 30] honest mind and great abilities, it does infinite service to the world; on the contrary, when a man only thinks of distinguishing himself, without being thus qualified for it, he becomes a very pernicious or a very ridicu­lous creature.


The great are deceived if they imagine they have appropriated ambition and vanity to themselves. These noble qualities flourish as notably in a country church, or church-yard, as in the drawing-room, or in the clo­set.—Schemes have been laid in a vestry, which would hardly disgrace a conclave.—Here is a ministry, and here is an opposition—here are plots and circumven­tions, parties and factions, equal to those which are to be found in courts.



Some few, by temp'rance taught, approaching slow
To distant fate, by easy journeys go:
Gently they lay them down, as ev'ning sheep
On their own woolly fleeces softly sleep.
So noiseless would I live such death to find;
Like timely fruit, not shaken by the wind,
But ripely dropping from the sapless bough;
And, dying, nothing to myself would owe:
Thus daily changing, with a duller taste
Of less'ning joys, I by degrees would waste:
Still quitting ground by unperceiv'd decay,
And steal myself from life, and melt away.

Age, that lessens the enjoyment of life, increases our desire of living. Those dangers, which in the vi­gour of youth we had learned to despise, assume new terrors as we grow old. Our caution increasing as our years increase, fear becomes at last the prevailing pas­sion [Page 31] of the mind; and the small remainder of life is taken up in useless efforts to keep off our end, or pro­vide for a continued existence.


Of all the impertinent wishes which we hear expressed in conversation, there is not one more un­worthy a gentleman, or a man of liberal education, than that of wishing one's self younger. It is a certain sign of a foolish or a dissolute mind, if we want our youth again only for the strength of bones and si­news which we once were masters of. It is as absurd in an old man to wish for the strength of a youth, as it would be in a young man to wish for the strength of a bull or a horse. These wishes are both equally out of nature, which should direct in all things that are not contradictory to justice, law, and reason.

Age in a virtuous person of either sex carries in it an authority, which makes it preferable to all the pleasures of youth. If to be saluted, attended, and consulted with deference, are instances of pleasure, they are such as never fail a virtuous old-age. In the enumeration of the imperfections and advantages of the younger and later years of man, they are so near in their condition, that methinks it should be incredible we see so little commerce of kindness between them.

If we consider youth and age with Tusly, regarding the affinity to death, youth has many more chances to be nearer it than age; what youth can say, more than an old man, "I shall live till night?" Youth catches distempers more easily, its sickness is more violent, and its recovery more doubtful. The youth, indeed, hopes for many more days; so cannot the old man. The youth's hopes are ill grounded; for what is more foolish than to place any confidence upon an uncertain­ty? But the old man has not room so much as for hope; he is still happier than the youth; he has already en­joyed [Page 32] what the other does but hope for: one wishes to live long, the other has lived long. But, alas, is there any thing in human life, the duration of which can be called long? There is nothing, which must end to be valued for its continuance. It hours, days, months, and years, pass away, it is no matter what hour, what day, what month, or what year we die. The applause of a good actor is due to him at whatever scene of the play he makes his Exit. It is thus in the life of a man of sense; a short life is sufficient to manifest himself a man of honour and virtue; when he ceases to be such, he has lived too long; and, while he is such, it is of no consequence to him how long he shall be so, provided he is so to his life's end.


An old age unsupported with matter for discourse and meditation, is much to be dreaded. No state can be more destitute than that of him, who, when the delights of sense forsake him, has no pleasures of the mind.



He that would pass the latter part of his life with honour and decency, must, when he is young, consider that he shall one day be old; and remember, when he is old, that he has once been young.


The notions of the old and young are like liquors of different gravity and texture, which never can unite.

In youth it is common to measure right and wrong by the opinion of the world, and in age to act without any measure but interest, and to lose shame without substituting virtue.

[Page 33] Such is the condition of life that something is always wanting to happiness. In youth we have warm hopes, which are soon blasted by rashness and negligence; and great designs, which are defeated by inexperience. In age we have knowledge and prudence, without spirit to exert, or motives to prompt them: we are able to plan schemes and regulate measures, but have not time remaining to bring them to completion.



Our actions are our own; their consequence
Belongs to Heaven. The secret consciousness
Of duty well perform'd; the public voice
Of praise that honours virtue and rewards it,
All these are yours.—

We should cast all our actions under the division of such as are in themselves good, bad, or indifferent; and to direct them in such a manner, that every thing we do, may turn to account at that great day when every thing we have done will be set before us.

A good intention, joined to a good action, gives it its proper force and efficacy; joined to an evil action, extenuates its malignity, and in some cases may take it wholly away; and joined to an indifferent action, turns it into a virtue, and makes it meritorious, as far as human actions can be so.

In the next place, to consider in the same manner the influence of an evil intention upon our actions. An evil intention perverts the best of actions, and makes them in reality what the fathers have termed the vir­tues of the heathen world, so many shining sins. It destroys the innocence of an indifferent action; and gives an evil action all possible blackness and horror, [Page 34] or, in the emphatical language of holy writ, makes sin exceeding sinful.

It is then of unspeakable advantage to possess our minds with an habitual good intention, and to aim all our thoughts, words, and actions at some laudable end, whether it be the glory of our maker, the good of man­kind, or the benefit of our own souls.



When things go ill, each fool presumes to advise,
And if more happy, thinks himself more wise;
All wretchedly deplore the present state,
And that advice seems best which comes too late.

The chief rule to be observed in the exercise of this dangerous office of giving ADVICE, is to preserve it pure from all mixture of interest or vanity; to forbear admonition or reproof when our consciences tell us that they are incited, not by the hopes of reforming faults, but the desire of shewing our discernment, or gratifying our own pride by the mortification of another. It is not indeed certain that the most refined caution will find a proper time for bringing a man to the knowledge of his own failings, or the most zea­lous benevolence reconcile him to that judgment by which they are detected. But he who endeavours only the happiness of him whom he reproves, will al­ways have either the satisfaction of obtaining or deserving kindness: if he succeeds, he benefits his friend; and if he fails, he has at least the consciousness that he suffers for only doing well.


Advice, as it always gives a temporary appearance of superiority, can never be very grateful, even when it is most necessary, or most judicious; but, for the [Page 35] same reason, every one is eager to instruct his neigh­bours. To be wise or to be virtuous, is to buy dignity and importance at a high price: but when nothing is necessary to elevation but detection of the follies or the faults of others, no man is so insensible to the voice of fame as to linger on the ground.


There is nothing which we receive with so much reluctance as advice. We look upon the man who gives it us, as offering an affront to our understanding, and treating us like children or idiots. There is no­thing so difficult as the art of making advice agreeable: the pens of the ancients and moderns have been exercis­ed upon this occasion. How many devices have been made use of to render this bitter potion palatable! Some convey their instruction to us in the best chosen words; others in the most harmonious numbers; some in points of wit, and others in short proverbs.

But among all the different ways of giving coun­sel, that which pleases the most universally, is fable: it excels all others, because it is the least shock­ing, and therefore the most delicate. This will ap­pear, if we reflect, that upon the reading of a fa­ble we are made to believe we advise ourselves. We peruse the author for the sake of the story, and con­sider the precepts rather as our own conclusions than his instructions. This is confirmed by the examples of the wise men of old, who chose to give council to their princes in this method; an instance of which we have in a Turkish tale, which informs us, that the Sultan Mahamoud, by his perpetual wars abroad, and his tyranny at home, had filled his dominions with ruin and desolation, and half unpeopled the Persian empire. The Visier to this cruel Sultan pretended to have learned of a certain Dervise, to understand the language of birds; so that there was not a bird that could open his mouth, but the Visier knew what it said. As he was one evening with the Emperor, in their return from hunting, they saw a couple of [Page 36] owls upon a tree that grew near an old wall out of a heap of rubbish. I would fain know, says the Sultan, what these two owls are saying to one another; listen to their discourse, and give me an account of it. The Visier approached the tree, pretending to be very attentive to the two owls. Upon his return to the Sultan, Sir, says he, I have heard part of their conversation, but dare not tell you what it is. The Sultan would not be satis­fied with such an answer, but forced him to repeat, word for word, every thing the owls had said. You must know then, said the Visier, that one of these owls has a son, and the other a daughter, between whom they are now upon a treaty of marriage. The father of the son said to the father of the daughter, in my hearing: Bro­ther, I consent to this marriage, provided you will settle up­on your daughter fifty ruined villages for her portion. To which the father of the daughter replied; instead of fifty, I will give her five hundred, if you please. God grant a long life to Sultan Mahamoud; whilst he reigns over us, we shall never want ruined villages.

The story says, the Sultan was so touched with the fable, that he rebuilt the towns and villages which had been destroyed, and from that time forward consulted the good of his people.



Fathers alone, a father's heart can know
What secret tides of still enjoyment flow,
When brothers love: But if their hate succeeds,
They wage the war; but 'tis the father bleeds.


Those who were skilled in anatomy among the an­cients, concluded, from the outward and inward make of a human body, that it was the work of a being [Page 37] transcendently wise and powerful. As the world grew more enlightened in this art, their discoveries gave them fresh opportunities of admiring the conduct of providence in the formation of a human body. Galen was converted by his dissections; and could not but own a Supreme Being, upon a survey of this his han­dy-work. There were, indeed, many parts, of which the old anatomists did not know the certain use: but as they saw that most of those which they examined, were adapted with admirable art to their several func­tions, they did not question but those, whose uses they could not determine, were contrived with the same wisdom for their respective ends and purposes. Since the circulation of the blood has been found out, and many other great discoveries have been made by our modern anatomists, we see new wonders in the human frame; and discern several important uses for those parts which the ancients knew nothing of. In short, the body of man is such a subject, as stands the utmost test of examination. Though it appears formed with the nicest wisdom, upon the most superficial survey of it, it still mends upon the search, and produces our surprise and amazement in proportion as we pry into it. What I have here said of a human body, may be ap­plied to the body of every animal, which has been the subject of anatomical observations.



I could a tale unfold, whose lightest word
Wou'd harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotty and combined locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand on end,
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine.
[Page 38]


Thy worship'd symbols round a villain's trunk
Provoke men's mockery, not their reverence.


It is astonishing to consider the different degrees of care that descend from the parent to the young, so far [...]s is absolutely necessary for the leaving a posterity. Some creatures cast their eggs as chance directs them, and think of them no farther; as insects and several kinds of fish. Others of a nicer frame, find out pro­per beds to deposit them in, and there leave them; as the serpent, the crocodile, and ostrich. Others hatch their eggs, and tend the birth till it is able to shift for itself.

What can we call the principle which directs every kind of bird to observe a particular plan in the structure of its nest, and directs all of the same species to work after the same model? It cannot be imitation; for though you hatch a crow under a hen, and never let it see any of the works of its own kind, the nest it makes shall be the same, to the laying of a stick, with all other nests of the same species. It cannot be reason; for were animals endued with it to as great a degree as man, their buildings would be as different as ours, according to the different conveniences that they would propose to themselves.



The wickedness of a loose or profane author, in his writings, is more atrocious than that of the giddy liber­tine, or drunken ravisher; not only because it extends [Page 39] its effects wider (as a pestilence, that taints the air, is more destructive than poison infused in a draught) but because is is committed with cool deliberation. By the instantaneous violence of desire, a good man may sometimes be surprised before reflection can come to his rescue: when the appetites have strengthened their influence by habit, they are not easily resisted or sup­pressed; but for the frigid villainy of studious lewdness, for the calm malignity of laboured impiety, what apology can be invented? What punishment can be adequate to the crime of him who retires to solitude, for the refinement of debauchery; who tortures his fancy, and ransacks his memory, only that he may leave the world less virtuous than he found it; that he may in­tercept the hopes of the rising generation, and spread snares for the soul with more dexterity?



Men of a passionate temper are sometimes not with­out understanding or virtue; and are therefore not always treated with the severity which their neglect of the ease of all about them might justly provoke. They have obtained a kind of prescription for their folly, and are considered by their companions as under a predomi­nant influence that leaves them not master of their conduct or language.—as acting without consciousness, and rushing into mischief with a mist before their eyes. They are therefore pitied rather than censured; and their sallies are passed over as the involuntary blows of a man agitated by the spasms of a convulsion.

It is surely not to be observed without indignation, that men may be found, of minds mean enough to be satisfied with this treatment; [...] who are proud to obtain the privilege of madmen, and can, without shame, and without regret, consider themselves as re­ceiving hourly pardons from their companions, and [Page 40] giving them continual opportunities of exercising their patience and boasting their clemency.


Nothing is more despicable, or more miserable, than the old age of a passionate man. When the vigor of youth fails him, and his amusements pall with fre­quent repetition, his occasional rage sinks, by decay of strength, into peevishness; that peevishness, for want of novelty and variety, becomes habitual; the world falls off from around him; and he is left, as Homer expresses it, to devour his own heart in solitude and contempt.


Our natures are so perverse and corrupt, that it is very hard for us to give a loose to any angry passion against men, without running into some sentiments of malice or revenge, and thereby sinning against God. Our anger is very apt to kindle about trifles, or upon mere suspicion, without just cause; or sometimes rises, too high where the cause may be just; or it continues too long, and turns into hatred: and in either of these three cases it becomes sinful.

It is therefore with the utmost caution that this passion should ever be suffered to arise; and unless we quickly suppress it again, we shall be in great danger of bringing guilt upon our souls. The blessed apostle therefore connects the permission, the caution, and re­straint together, Eph. [...]. 26. "Be angry, and sin not: "let not the sun go down upon your wrath."



Mount AEtna thence we spy,
Known by the smoaky flames that cloud the sky:
By turns a pitchy cloud she rolls on high;
By turns hot embers from her entrails fly,
And flakes of mounting flames that lick the sky.
[Page 41] Oft from her bowels massy rocks are thrown,
And, shiver'd by the force, come piecemeal down:
Oft liquid lakes of burning sulphur flow,
Fed from the fiery springs that boil below.
Enceladus, they say, transfix'd by Jove,
With blasted wings came tumbling from above;
And where he fell th' avenging father drew
This flaming hill, and on his body threw:
As often as he turns his weary sides,
He shakes the solid isle, and smoke the heavens hides.


In fair weather when my heart is cheered, and I feel that exaltation of spirits which results from light and warmth, joined with a beautiful prospect of nature, I regard myself as one placed by the hand of God in the midst of an ample theatre, in which the sun, moon, and stars, the fruits also, and vegetables of the earth, perpetually changing their positions or their aspects, exhibit an elegant entertainment to the understanding as well as to the eye.

Thunder and lightning, rain and hail, the painted bow, and the glaring comets, are decorations of this mighty theatre: and the sable hemisphere, studded with spangles, the blue vault at noon, the glorious gildings and rich colours in the horizon, I look on as so many successive scenes.

When I consider things in this light, methinks it is a sort of impiety to have no attention to the course of nature, and the revolutions of the heavenly bodies. To be regardless of those ph [...]nomena that are placed within our view, on purpose to entertain our faculties, and display the wisdom and power of their creator, is an affront to providence of the same kind. (I hope it is not impious to make such a simile) as it would be [...] a [Page 42] good poet, to fit out his play without minding the plot or beauties of it.

And yet how few are there who attend to the drama of nature, its artificial structure, and those admirable machines, whereby the passions of a philosopher are gratefully agitated, and his soul affected with the sweet emotions of joy and surprise!

How many are to be found who are ignorant that they have all this while lived on a planet, that the sun is several thousand times bigger than the earth; and that there are several other worlds within our view, greater and more glorious than our own! Ay, but says some illiterate fellow, I enjoy the world, and leave others to contemplate it. Yes, you eat and drink, and run about it; that is, you enjoy it as a brute: but to enjoy it as a rational being, is to know it, to be sensi­ble of its greatness and beauty, to be delighted with its harmony, and by these reflections to obtain just senti­ments of the Almighty mind that framed it.

The man who, unembarrassed with vulgar cares, leisurely attends to the flux of things in heaven and on earth, and observes the laws by which they are govern­ed, hath secured to himself an easy and convenient seat, where he beholds with pleasure all that passes on the stage of nature; while those about him are, some fast asleep, and others struggling for the highest places, or turning their eyes from the entertainment prepared by providence, to play at push-pin with one another.

Within this ample circumference of the world, the glorious lights that are hung on high, the meteors in the middle region, the various livery of the earth, and the profusion of good things that distinguish the sea­sons, yield a prospect which annihilates all human grandeur.



In the condition of men, it frequently happens that grief and anxiety lie hid under the golden robes of [Page 43] prosperity; and the gloom of calamity is cheered by secret radiations of hope and comfort; as in the works of nature, the bog is sometimes covered with flowers, and the mine concealed in the barren crags.



When a government flourishes in conquests, and is secure from foreign attacks, it naturally falls into all the pleasures of luxury; and as these pleasures are very expensive, they put those who are addicted to them upon raising fresh supplies of money, by all the me­thods of rapaciousness and corruption; so that avarice and luxury often become one complicated principle of ac­tion, in those whose hearts are wholly set upon ease, magnificence and pleasure. The most elegant and cor­rect of all the Latin historians observes, that in his time, when the most formidable states in the world were sub­dued by the Romans, the republic sunk into those two vices, of a quite different nature, luxury and avarice; and accordingly describes Ca [...]iline as one who coveted the wealth of other men, at the same time that he squandered away his own. This observation on the commonwealth, when it was in the height of power and riches, holds good in all governments that are set­tled in a state of ease and prosperity. At such times, men naturally endeavour to outshine one another in pomp and splendor; and having no fears to alarm them from abroad, indulge themselves in the enjoy­ment of all they can get in their possession; which na­turally produces avarice, and an immoderate pursuit after wealth and riches.



Deep was the cave; and, downward as it went
From the wide mouth, a rocky rough descent.
[Page 44] And here th [...] access a gloomy grove defends,
And there th' unnavigable lake extends,
O'er whose unhappy waters, void of light,
No bird presumes to steer his airy flight:
Such deadly stenches from the depth arise,
And steaming sulphur that infects the skies.
From hence the Grecian bards their legends make,
And give the name Avernus to the lake.


I do remember an apothecary,
In tatter'd weeds, with overwhelming brows,
Culling of simples. Meagre were his looks;
Sharp misery had worn him to the bones;
And in his needy shop a tortoise hung,
An alligator stuff'd, and other skins
Of ill-shap'd fishes; and about his shelves
A beggarly account of empty boxes,
Green earthen pots, bladders, and musty seeds,
Remnants of pack-thread; and old cakes of roses,
Were thinly scatter'd, to make up a shew.


Our attachment to every object around us, increases, in general, from the length of our acquaintance with it. I would not choose, says a French philosopher, to see an old post pulled up, with which I had been long acquainted. A mind long habituated to a certain set of objects, insensibly becomes fond of seeing them; visits them from habit, and parts from them with re­luctance. From hence proceeds the avarice of the old in every kind of possession. They love the world, and all that it produces; they love life, and all its advan­tages; not because it gives them pleasure, but because they have known it long.

[Page 45]


As a trader, who never places his goods in his [...] or warehouse in a regular order, nor keeps the accounts of his buying and selling, paying and receiving, in a just method, is in the utmost danger of plunging all his af­fairs into confusion and ruin; so a student, who is in search of truth, or an author or teacher, who commu­nicates knowledge to others, will very much obstruct his design, and confound his own mind, or the minds of his hearers, unless he range his ideas in just order. If we would, therefore, become successful learners or teachers, we must not conceive things in a confused heap, but dispose our ideas in some certain method, which may be most easy and useful both for the under­standing and memory.



The best preservative of health is temperance, which has those particular advantages above all other means to attain it, that it may be practised by all ranks and conditions, at any season, or in any place. It is a kind of regimen, into which every man may put himself without interruption to business, expence of money, or loss of time. If exercise throw off all the superflui­ties, temperance prevents them: if exercise clear the vessels, temperance neither satiates nor overstrains them: if exercise raise proper ferments in the hu­mours, and promote the circulation of the blood, tem­perance gives nature her full play, and enables her to exert herself in all her force and vigour: if exercise dissipate a growing distemper, temperance starves it.

Nature delights in the most plain and simple diet: every animal but man keeps to one dish. Herbs are the food of this species, fish of that, and flesh of the third. Man falls upon every thing that comes in his [Page 46] way; not the smallest fruit or excrescence of the earth, scarce a berry or a mushroom, can escape him. I would copy the following rules of a very eminent phy­sician Make your whole repast out of one dish; if you indulge in a second, avoid drinking any thing strong till you have finished your meal: At the same time abstain from al [...] sauces, at least such as are not the most plain and sim­ple. And in the article of drinking, observe Sir Wil­liam Temple's method, viz. The first glass for myself, the second for my friend, the third for good-humour, and the fourth for mine enemies.

It is observed by two or three ancient authors, that Socrates, notwithstanding he lived in Athens during the great plague, which has made so much noise through­out all ages, and has been celebrated at different times by such eminent hands, notwithstanding he lived in the time of this devouring pestilence, never caught the least infection; which these writers unanimously ascribe to that uninterrupted temperance which he always ob­served.



The man who is constantly served up with adulation, must be a first-rate philosopher, if he can listen with­out contracting new affections. The opinion we form of ourselves, is generally measured by what we hear from others; and when they conspire to deceive, we too readily concur in the delusion Among the num­ber of much applauded men in the circle of our own friends, we can recollect but few that have heads quite strong enough to bear a loud acclamation of public praise in their favor; among the whole list, we shall scarce find one that has not thus been made, on some side of his character, a coxcomb.


[Page 47]


It is now found, by abundant experience, that an aristocracy and a despotism differ but in name; and that a people who are in general excluded from any share of the legislative, are to all intents and purposes, as much slaves, when twenty, independent of them, govern, as when but one domineers. The tyranny is even more felt; as every individual of the nobles has the haughtiness of a sultan; the people are more mis­erable, as they seem on the verge of liberty, from which they are forever debarred. This fallacious idea of liberty, whilst it presents a vain shadow of happiness to the subject, binds faster the chains of his subjection. What is left undone, by the natural a­varice and pride of those who are raised above the others is completed by their suspicions, and their dread of losing an authority, which has no support in the common utility of the nation.



Plato lays it down as a principle, that whatever is permitted to befall a just man, whether poverty, sickness or any of those things which seem to be evils, shall either in life or death conduce to his good. My reader will observe how agreeable this maxim is to what we find delivered by a greater authority. Seneca has written a discourse purposely on this subject, in which he takes pains, after the doctrine of the Stoics, to shew that adversity is not in itself an evil; and mentions a noble saying of Demetrius, that nothing would be more unhappy than a man who had never known affliction: he compares prosperity to the indulgence of a fond mother to a child, which proves its ruin; but the affection of the divine Being, to that of a wise father who would have his sons exercised with hard labour, [Page 48] disappointment, and pain, that they may gather strength and improve their fortitude. On this occasion, the philosopher rises into that celebrated sentiment, that there is not on earth a spectacle more worthy the re­gard of a creator intent on his works, than a brave man superior to his sufferings; to which he adds, that it must be a pleasure to the Deity himself, to look down from heaven, and see Cato amidst the ruins of his coun­try preserving his integrity.


He that can heroically endure adversity, will bear prosperity with equal greatness of soul; for the mind that cannot be dejected by the former is not likely to be transported with the latter.


There are two considerations, which, by properly fixing our thoughts upon them, will greatly support us under all adversities. The one is the brevity of life, which, even at its longest duration, the wisest of men hath compared to the short dimension of a span. And the second, the uncertainty of it. Could the most worldly men see this in the light in which they examine all other matters, they would soon feel and acknowledge the force of this way of reasoning. For which of them would give any price for an estate, from which they are liable to be immediately ejected; or would they not laugh at him as a madman, who accounted himself rich from such an uncertain possession?



My heart stops me to pay thee, my dear uncle Toby, once for all the tribute I owe thy goodness; here let me thrust my chair aside, and kneel down upon the ground, whilst I am pouring forth the warmest senti­ments of love for thee, and veneration for the excellency of thy character, that ever virtue and nature kindled in a nephew's bosom.—Peace and comfort rest [Page 49] for ever more upon thy head!—Thou enviedst no man's comforts, insultedst no man's opinions.—Thou black­enedst no man's character,—devouredst no man's bread: gently, with faithful Trim behind thee, didst thou am­ble round the little circle of thy pleasures, jostling no creature in the way:—for each one's sorrows thou hadst a tear,—for each man's need thou hadst a shilling. Whilst I am worth one, to pay a weeder,—the path from thy door to thy bowling-green shall never be grown up—Whilst there is a rood and a half of land in the Shandy family, thy fortifications, my dear uncle Toby, shall never be demolished.



The great misfortune of affectation is, that men not only lose a good quality, but also contract a bad one. They not only are unfit for what they were designed, but they assign themselves to what they are unfit for; and, instead of making a very good figure one way, make a very ridiculous one another. If Semanthe would have been satisfied with her natural complexion, she might still have been celebrated by the name of the Olive-Beauty; but Semanthe has taken up an affecta­tion to white and red, and is now distinguished by the character of the lady that paints well. In a word, could the world be reformed to the obedience of that famed dictate, follow nature, which the oracle of Del­phos pronounced to Cicero, when he consulted what course of studies he should pursue, we should see al­most every man as eminent in his proper sphere, as Tully was in his; and should in a very short time find impertinence and affectation banished from among the women, and coxcombs and false characters from a­mong the men. For my part, I could never consider this preposterous repugnancy to nature any otherwise, than not only as the greatest folly, but also one of the most heinous crimes, since it is a direct opposition to [Page 50] the dispensation of providence, and (as Tully expresses it) like the sin of the giants, an actual rebellion against heaven.


Affectation proceeds from one of these two causes—vanity or hypocrisy; for as vanity puts us on affecting false characters, in order to purchase applause; so hy­pocrisy sets us on an endeavor to avoid censure, by concealing our vices under an appearance of their op­posite virtues.



He who proposes the satisfaction of his own pride from the admiration of others, and will not lower himself to those who cannot rise to him, will never gain his point equal to him who accommodates his talents to times and occasions. In the company of the former, every one is rendered uneasy, laments his own want of knowledge, and longs for the end of the dull assembly. With the latter, all are pleased and con­tented with themselves, in their knowledge of matters which they find worthy the consideration of a man of sense. Admiration is involuntarily paid the former; to the latter it is given joyfully. The former receives it with envy and hatred; the latter enjoys it, as the sweet fruit of good-will. The former is shunned, the latter courted by all.



A student should labour by all proper methods to acquire a steady fixation of thought. Attention is a very necessary thing in order to improve our minds. The evidence of truth does not always appear imme­diately, nor strike the soul at first sight. 'Tis by long attention and inspection that we arrive at evidence, and it is for want of it we judge falsely of many things, [Page 51] We make haste to judge and determine upon a flight and sudden view; we confirm our guesses which arise from a glance; we pass a judgment while we have but a confused or obscure perception, and thus plunge our­selves into mistakes. This is like a man, who, walk­ing in a mist, or being at a great distance from any visible object, (suppose a tree, a man, a horse, or a church) judges much amiss of the figure and situation and colours of it, and sometimes takes one for the other; whereas if he would but withhold his judgment, till he come nearer to it, or stay till clearer light comes, and then would fix his eyes longer upon it, he would secure himself from those mistakes.


Mathematical studies have a strange influence to­wards fixing the attention of the mind, and giving a steadiness to a wandering disposition, because they deal much in lines, figures and numbers, which affect and please the sense and imagination. Histories have a strong tendency the same way; for they engage the soul by a variety of sensible occurrences; when it has begun, it knows not how to leave off; it longs to know the final event, through a natural curiosity that belongs to mankind. Voyages and travels and accounts of strange countries and strange appearances will assist in this work. This fort of study detains the mind by the perpetual occurrence and expectation of something new, and that which may gratefully strike the imagina­tion.



The desire of pleasing makes a man agreeable or un­welcome to those with whom he converses, according to the motive from which that inclination appears to flow. If your concern for pleasing others arise from innate benevolence, it never fails of success; if from a vanity to excel, its disappointment is no less certain. [Page 52] What we call an agreeable man, is he who is endowed with the natural bent to do acceptable things, from a delight he takes in them merely as such; and the af­fectation of that character is what constitutes a fop. Under these leaders one may draw up all those who make any manner of figure, except in dumb show. A rational and select conversation is composed of per­sons who have the talent of pleasing with delicacy of sentiments, flowing from habitual chastity of thought. Now and then you meet with a man so exactly formed for pleasing, that will make him gain upon every body who hears or beholds him. This felicity is not the gift of nature only, but must be attended with happy circumstances, which add a dignity to the familiar be­haviour which distinguishes him whom we call the a­greeable man. It is from this that every body loves and esteems Polycarpus. He is in the vigor of his age, and the gaiety of his life; but has passed through very conspicuous scenes in it: though no soldier, he has shared the danger, and acted with great gallantry and generosity, in a decisive day of battle. To have those qualities which only make other men conspicuous in the world, as it were supernumerary to him, is a cir­cumstance which gives weight to his most indifferent actions; for as a known credit is ready cash to a tra­der, so is acknowledged merit immediate distinction, and serves in the place of equipage to a gentleman. This renders Polycarpus graceful in mirth, important in business, and regarded with love in every ordinary occurrence.



The true art of being agreeable in company (but there can be no such thing as art in it) is to appear well pleased with those you are engaged with, and ra­ther to seem well entertained, than to bring entertain­ment to others. A man thus disposed, is not indeed [Page 53] what we ordinarily call a good companion, but essen­tially is such, and in all parts of his conversation has something friendly in his behaviour, which conciliates men's minds more than the highest sallies of wit or starts of humour can possibly do. The feebleness of age, in a man of this turn, has something which should be treated with respect even in a man no otherwise ve­nerable. The forwardness of youth, when it proceeds from alacrity, and not insolence, has also its allowan­ces. The companion who is formed for such by na­ture, gives to every character in life its due regard, and is ready to account for their imperfections, and receive their accomplishments, as if they were his own. It must appear that you receive saw from, and not give it to, your company, to make you agreeable.



And this, said he, putting the remains of a crust into his wallet—and this should have been thy portion, said he, hadst thou been alive to have shared it with me. I thought by the accent, it had been an apostrophe to his child; but 'twa to his ass, and to the very ass we had seen dead on the road, which had occasioned La Fleur's misadventure. The man seemed to lament it much; and it instantly brought into my mind San­cho's lamentation for his; but he did it with more true touches of nature.

The mourner was sitting on a stone bench at the door, with the ass's pannel and its bridle on one side, which he took up from time to time—then laid them down—look'd at them—and shook his head He then took the crust of bread out of his wallet again, as if to eat it; held it some time in his hand—then laid it upon the bit of his ass's bridle—look'd wistfully at the little arrangement he had made—and then gave a sigh.

[Page 54] The simplicity of his grief drew numbers about him, and La Fleur among the rest, whilst the horses were getting ready; as I continued sitting in the post-chaise, I could see and hear over their heads.

—He said he had come last from Spain, where he had been from the furthest borders of Franconia; and had got so far on his return home, when his ass died. Every one seemed desirous to know what business could have taken so old and poor a man so far a journey from his own home.

It had pleased heaven, he said, to bless him with three sons, the finest lads in all Germany: but having in one week lost two of them by the small-pox, and the youngest falling ill of the same distemper, he was a­fraid of being bereft of them all; and made a vow, if Heaven would not take him from him also, he would go in gratitude to St. Jago, in Spain.

When the mourner got thus far on his story, he stopp'd to pay nature her tribute—and wept bitterly.

He said Heaven had accepted the conditions, and that he had set out from his cottage, with this poor creature, who had been a patient partner of his journey—that it had eat the same bread with him all the way, and was unto him as a friend.

Every body who stood about, heard the poor fellow with concern—La Fleur offered him money—the mourner said he did not want it—it was not the value of the ass—but the loss of him—The ass, he said, he was assured, loved him,—and upon this, told them a long story of a mischance upon their passage over the Pyrenean mountains, which had separated them from each other three days: during which time the ass had sought him as much as he had sought the ass, and they had scarce eat or drank till they met.

‘Thou hast one comfort, friend, said I, at least, in the loss of the poor beast; I'm sure thou hast been a merciful master to him.’‘Alas! said the mourner, I thought so when he was alive—but now [Page 55] he is dead, I think otherwise.—I fear the weight of myself and my afflictions together have been too much for him—they have shortened the poor creature's days, and I fear I have them to answer for.’—Shame on the world! said I to myself—Did we love each other but as this poor soul lov'd his ass—'twould be something.


APPREHENSIONS, (Rules for Moderating.)

First, What we fear may not come to pass. No human scheme can be so accurately projected, but some little circumstance intervening may spoil it. He who directs the heart of man at his pleasure, and un­derstands the thoughts long before, may, by ten thou­sand accidents, or an immediate change in the incli­nations of men, disconcert the most subtle project, and turn it to the benefit of his own servants.

In the next place, we should consider, though the evil we imagine, should come to pass, it may be much more supportable than it appeared to be. As there is no prosperous state of life without its calamities, so there is no adversity without its benefits. Ask the great and powerful, if they do not feel the pangs of en­vy and ambition. Enquire of the poor and needy, if they have not tasted the sweets of quiet and content­ment. Even under the pains of body, the infidelity of friends, or the misconstructions put upon our lau­dable actions, our minds (when for some time accus­tomed to these pressures) are sensible of secret flowings of comfort, the present reward of a pious resignation. The evils of this life appear like rocks and precipices, rugged and barren at a distance; but at our nearer ap­proach we find little fruitful spots and refreshing springs, mixed with the harshness and deformities of nature.

In the last place, we may comfort ourselves with this consideration, that, as the thing feared may not reach [Page 56] us, so we may not reach what we fear. Our lives may not extend to that dreadful point which we have in view. He who knows all our fallings, and will not suffer us to be tempted beyond our strength, is often pleased, in his tender severity, to separate the soul from its body and miseries together.

If we look forward to him for help, we shall never be in danger of falling down those precipices, which our imagination is apt to create. Like those who walk upon a line, if we keep our eye fixed upon one point, we may step forward securely; whereas an imprudent or cowardly glance on either side will infallibly destroy us.



Art thou a man, and sham'st thou not to beg?
To practice such a servile kind of life?
Why, were thy education ne'er so mean,
Having thy limbs, a thousand fairer courses
Offer themselves to thy election.
Either the wars might still supply thy wants,
Or service of some virtuous gentleman,
Or honest labour: nay, what can I name,
But would become thee better than to beg?
But men of thy condition feed on sloth,
As doth the beetle on the dung she breeds in;
Not caring how the metal of your minds
Is eaten with the rust of idleness.
Now, after me; whate'er he be, that should
Relieve a person of thy quality,
While thou insist in this loose desp'rate course,
I would esteem the sin, not thine but his.


Thus when the big impending clouds appear,
And struggling winds proclaim some tempest near,
[Page 57] The trembling birds the coming danger fly,
And seek for shelter from the low'ring sky,
In wild confusion and affright divide,
The mournful mate is sever'd from his bride;
But when the gloom is clear'd, the storm o'er past,
Each seeks his consort, with impatient haste;
Grieves till she's found; when found, the joyful pair,
With warbling transports, charm the list'ning air.


There cannot be a more glorious object in creation, than a human being, replete with benevolence, medi­tating in what manner he might render himself most acceptable to his Creator, by doing most good to his creatures.



It seems rather extraordinary, that pride, which is constantly struggling, and often imposing on itself, to gain some little pre-eminence, should so seldom hint to us the only certain, as well as laudable way, of setting ourselves above another man, and that is, by becoming his benefactor.


A tender hearted and compassionate disposition, which inclines men to pity and feel the misfortunes of others, and which is, even for its own sake, incapable of involving any man in ruin and misery, is of all tem­pers of mind the most amiable; and though it seldom receives much honor, is worthy of the highest.



The bees, are a nation of chymists! to whom nature has communicated the rare and valuable secret of en­riching [Page 58] themselves, without impoverishing others; who extract the most delicious syrup from every fra­grant herb, without wounding its substance, or dimin­ishing its odours.—I take the more notice of these ingenious operators, because I would willingly make them my pattern. While the gay butterfly flutters her painted wings, and sips a little fantastic delight, only for the present moment; while the gloomy spider, worse than idly busied, is preparing his insidious nets for destruction, or sucking venom, even from the most wholesome plant; this frugal community are wisely employed in providing for futurity, and collecting a copious stock of the most balmy treasures.



What various wonders may observers see
In a small insect, the sagacious bee!
Mark how the little untaught builders square
Their rooms, and in the dark their lodgings rear;
Nature's mechanics they unwearied strive,
And fill, with curious labyrinths, the hive.
See what bright strokes of architecture shine
Thro' the whole frame, what beauty, what design!
Each odoriferous cell, and waxen tow'r,
The yellow pillage of the rifled flow'r,
Has twice three sides, the only figure fit
To which the lab'rers may their stores commit,
Without the loss of matter, or of room,
In all the wond'rous structure of the comb
Next view, spectator, with admiring eyes,
In what just order all th' apartments rise!
So regular their equal sides cohere,
Th' adapted angles so each other bear,
That by mechanic rules, refin'd and bold,
They are at once upheld, at once uphold.
Does not this skill ev'n vie with reason's reach?
[Page 59] Can Euclid more, can more Palladio teach?
Each verdant hill th' industrious chymists climb,
Extract the riches of the blooming thyme;
And provident of winter long before,
They stock their caves, and hoard their flow'ry store.
In peace they rule their state with prudent care,
Wisely defend, or wage offensive war.
Maro, these wonders offer'd to his thought,
Felt his known ardor, and the rapture caught;
Then rais'd his voice, and in immortal lays,
Did high as heav'n the insect nation raise.


All dark and comfortless!
Where are those various objects that but now
Employ'd my busy eyes; where are those eyes?
Dead are their piercing rays that lately shot
O'er flow'ry vales to distant sunny hills,
And drew with joy the vast horizon in.
These groping hands are now my only guides,
And feeling all my sight.
Shut from the living while among the living!
Dark as the grave amidst the bustling world!
At once from bus'ness and from pleasure barr'd!
No more to view the beauty of the spring!
Nor see the face of kindred or of friend!


Beauty, like ice, our footing does betray;
Who can tread sure on the smooth slippery way?
Pleas'd with the passage, we glide swiftly on,
And see the dangers which we cannot shun.
Beauty, thou art a fair but fading flow'r;
The tender prey of ev'ry coming hour.
[Page 60] In youth, thou, comet-like, art gaz'd upon;
But art portentous to thyself alone:
Unpunish'd thou to few wert ever given,
Nor art a blessing, but a mark from heav'n
Angels were painted fair to look like you;
There's in you all that we believe of heav'n,
Amazing brightness, purity and truth,
Eternal joy, and everlasting peace.
My love is fairer than the snowy breast
Of the tall swan, whose proudly swelling chest
Divides the waves. Her tresses loose behind,
Play on her neck, and wanton in the wind:
The rising blushes which her cheek o'erspread,
Are op'ning roses in the lilly's bed.
Array'd in all her charms, appear'd the fair;
Tall was her stature, unconfin'd her air;
Proportion deck'd her limbs, and in her face
Lay love inshrin'd, lay sweet attractive grace;
Temp'ring the awful beams her eyes convey'd,
And, like a lambent flame, around her play'd.
No foreign aids by mortal ladies worn,
From shells and rocks her artless charms adorn;
For grant that beauty were by gems increas'd,
'Tis render'd more suspected at the least,
And foul defects, that wou'd escape the sight,
Start from the piece, and take a stronger light:
Her chesnut hair, in careless ringlets, round
Her temples wav'd, with pinks and jes'mine crown'd.
And, gather'd in a silken cord behind,
Curl'd to the waist, and floated in the wind.
O'er these a veil of yellow gauze she wore,
With amaranths and gold embroider'd, o'er
Her snowy neck, half naked to the view,
Gracefully fell, a robe of purple hue.
[Page 61] Hung loosely o'er her tender shape, and tried
To shade those beauties that it could not hide.
The damsels of her train with mirth and song
Frolic behind, and laugh and sport along.
Beauty is but a vain, a fleeting good,
A shining [...] that fadeth suddenly;
A flower that dies when almost in the bud,
A brittle glass that breaketh presently.
A fleeting good, a gloss, a glass, a flower,
Lost, faded, broken, dead within an hour.
As goods when lost, we know, are seldom found,
As fading gloss no rubbing can excite;
As flowers, when dead, are trampled on the ground,
As broken glass no cement can unite;
So beauty, blemish'd once, is ever lost,
In spite of physic, painting, pains, and cost.

Beauty has so many charms, one knows not how to speak against it; and when it happens that a graceful figure is the habitation of a virtuous soul, when the beauty of the face speaks out the modesty and humility of the mind, and the justness of the proportion raises our thoughts up to the heart and wisdom of the great Creator, something may be allowed it,—and something to the embellishments which set it off; and yet, when the whole apology is read,—it will be found at last, that beauty, like truth, never is so glorious as when it goes the plainest.



Forth from the thicket rush'd another boar,
So large he seem'd the tyrant of the woods,
With all his dreadful bristles rais'd up high,
They seem'd a grove of spears upon his back.
[Page 62] Foaming he came at me, where I was posted,
Whetting his huge long tusks, and gaping wide,
As he already had me for his prey:
Till brandishing my well-pois'd jav'lin high,
With this bold executing arm I struck
The ugly brindled monster to the heart.
So when surrounding huntsmen cast a show'r
Of hissing spears against some mighty boar,
The grisly beast, provok'd with ev'ry wound.
Rages, and casts his threat'ning looks around.
High on his back his furious bristles rise,
And lightning flashes from his raging eyes:
He tosses clouds of foam amidst the air,
And, brandishing his fangs, invites the war.
His eye-balls glare with fire, suffus'd with blood,
His neck shoots up a thick-set thorny wood.
His bristled back a trench impal'd appears,
And stands erected like a field of spears.
Froth fills his chaps, he sends a grunting sound,
And part he churns, and part befoams the ground.
For tusks, with Indian elephants he strove,
And Jove's own thunder from his mouth he drove.
He suffers not the corn its yellow beards to rear,
But tramples down the spikes, and intercepts the year.
In vain the barns expect their promis'd load,
Nor barns at home, nor ricks are heap'd abroad.
In vain the hinds the threshing floor prepare,
And exercise their arms in empty air.
With olives ever green the ground is strew'd,
And grapes ungather'd shed their gen'rous blood.
Amid the fold he rages, nor the sheep
Their shepherds, nor the grooms their bulls can keep.
[Page 63]


The brave do never shun the light;
Just are their thoughts, and open are their tempers;
Freely without disguise they love or hate:
Still are they found in the fair face of day,
And Heav'n and men are judges of their actions.
* * * * * * The brave are ever tender
And feel the miseries of suffering virtue.
The human race are sons of sorrow born:
And each must have his portion. Vulgar minds
Refuse, or crouch beneath their load: the brave
Bear theirs without repining.
On valour's side the odds of combat lie;
The brave live glorious, or lamented die:
The wretch who trembles in the field of fame,
Meets death, or, worse than death, eternal shame.


A crimson blush her beauteous face o'erspread,
Varying her cheeks by turns with white and red,
The driving colours, never at a stay,
Run here and there, and flush and fade away.
Delightful change! thus Indian iv'ry shows,
Which with the bord'ring paint of purple glows;
Or lilies damask'd by the neighb'ring rose.


Didst thou ne'er read, in difference of good,
'Tis more to shine in virtue than in blood?
[Page 64]
Birth is a shadow. Courage, self-sustain'd,
Out-lords succession's phlegm—and needs no ancestors.
I am above descent; and prize no blood.
Among the titled great ones of the world,
Do they not spring from some proud monarch's flatterer,
Some favorite mistress, or ambitious minister,
The ruin of his country, while their blood
Rolls down thro' many a fool, thro' many a villain,
To its now proud possessors?
* * * * * * * * Thy birth?
Did I not early teach thee to despise
A casual good? Thou art thyself, Ilyssus.
Inform me, youth, would'st thou be what thou art
Thus fair, thus brave, thus sensibly alive
To glory's finest feel; or give up all
To be descended from a line of kings,
The tenth perhaps from Jove?—I see thy cheek
Glows a repentant blush.—Our greatest heroes,
Who've been on earth, the friends of human-kind,
Whose great examples I would set before thee,
Were once unknown like thee.—
—Who first the catalogue shall grace?
To quality belongs the highest place.
My lord comes forward; forward let him come!
Ye vulgar! at your peril give him room;
He stands for fame on his forefathers' feet,
By heraldry prov'd valiant or discreet.
With what a decent pride he throws his eyes
Above the man by three descents less wise!
It virtues at his noble hand you crave,
You bid him raise his fathers from the grave.
Men should press forward in fame's glorious chase:
Nobles look backward, and so lose the race.
Let high birth triumph! What can be more great?
Nothing—but merit in a low estate.
[Page] To virtue's humblest son let none prefer
Vice, tho' descended from the conqueror.
Shall men, like figures, pass for high or base,
Slight or important, only by their place?
Titles are marks of honest men, and wise;
The fool or knave that wears a title, lies.
They that on glorious ancestors enlarge,
Produce their debt, instead of their discharge.
*****, let those who proudly boast their line,
Like thee, in worth hereditary shine.


O say, what is that thing call'd light,
Which I must ne'er enjoy?
What are the blessings of the sight?
O tell your poor blind boy!
You talk of wond'rous things you see,
You say, the sun shines bright;
I feel him warm; but how can be
Or make it day or night?
My day or night myself I make,
When'er I sleep or play;
And could I ever keep awake,
With me 'twere always day.
With heavy sighs I often hear
You mourn my hapless woe;
But sure with patience I can bear
A loss I ne'er can know.
Then let not what I cannot have
My cheer of mind destroy;
Whilst thus I sing, I am a king,
Although a poor blind boy.


The man who builds, and wants wherewith to pay,
Provides a home, from which to run away.
[Page 66] In Britain what is many a lordly seat,
But a discharge in full for an estate?


A clownish mien, a voice with rustic sound,
And stupid eyes, that ever lov'd the ground;
The ruling rod, the father's forming care,
Were exercis'd in vain on wit's despair;
The more inform'd, the less he understood,
And deeper sunk by flound'ring in the mud.
His corn and cattle were his only care;
And his supreme delight a country fair.
A quarter-staff, which he ne'er could forsake,
Hung half before, and half behind his back.
He trudg'd along, unknowing what he sought,
And whistled, as he went, for want of thought.


I have been led by solitary care
To yon dark branches, spreading o'er the brook,
Which murmurs thro' the camp; this mighty camp,
Where once two hundred thousand sons of war,
With restless dins awak'd the midnight hour.
Now horrid stillness in the vacant tents
Sits undisturb'd; and these incessant rills,
Whose pebbled channel breaks their shallow stream,
Fill with their melancholy sounds my ears
As if I wander'd like a lonely hind,
O'er some dead fallow, far from all resort:
Unless that ever and anon a groan
Bursts from a soldier, pillow'd on his shield
In torment, or expiring with his wounds,
And turns my fix'd attention into horror.
[Page 67]


—Turn up thy eyes to Cato,
There may'st thou see to what a god like height
The Roman virtues list up mortal man.
While good, and just, and anxious for his friends,
He's still severely bent against himself;
Renouncing sleep, and food, and rest, and ease;
He strives with thirst and hunger, toil and heat;
And when his fortune sets before him all
The pomps and pleasures that his soul can wish,
His rigid virtue will accept of none.


Is a mark of politeness. It is universally agreed upon, that no one, unadorned with this virtue, can go into company without giving a manifest offence. The easier or higher any one's fortune is, this duty rises proportionably. The different nations of the world are as much distinguished by their cleanliness, as by their arts and sciences. The more any country is civilized, the more they consult this part of polite­ness. We need but compare our ideas of a female Hottentot and an English beauty, to be satisfied of the truth of what hath been advanced.

In the next place, cleanliness may be said to be the foster mother of love. Beauty indeed most com­monly produces that passion in the mind, but cleanli­ness preserves it. An indifferent face and person, kept in perpetual neatness, has won many a heart from a pretty slattern. Age itself is not unamiable, while it is preserved clean and unsullied: like a piece of metal constantly kept smooth and bright, we look on it with more pleasure than on a new vessel which is cankered with rust.

I might observe farther, that, as cleanliness renders us agreeable to others, so it makes us easy to ourselves; [Page 68] that it is an excellent preservative of health; and that several vices destructive both to mind and body, are inconsistent with the habit of it. But these reflections I shall leave to the leisure of my readers, and shall observe in the third place, that it bears a great analogy with purity of mind, and naturally inspires refined sen­timents and passions.



We should not be too hasty in bestowing either our praise or censure on mankind, since we shall often find such a mixture of good and evil in the same character, that it may require a very accurate judgment, and a very elaborate enquiry, to determine on which side the balance turns.


The first impressions which mankind receive of us, will be ever after difficult to eradicate. How unhappy, therefore, must it be to fix our characters in life, be­fore we can possibly know the value, or weigh the con­sequences of those actions which are to establish our future reputation.



Custom is commonly too strong for the most resolute resolver, though furnished for the assault with all the weapons of philosophy. "He that endeavors to free himself from an ill habit (says Bacon) must not change too much at a time, lest he should be discouraged by difficulty; nor too little, for then he will make but slow advances.


Suppose we have freed ourselves from the younger prejudices of our education, yet we are in danger of having our mind turned aside from truth by the influ­ence of general custom. Our opinion of meats and [Page 69] drinks, of garments and forms of salutation, are in­fluenced more by custom, than by the eye, the ear, or the taste. Custom prevails even over sense itself; and therefore no wonder if it prevail over reason too. What is it but custom, that renders many of the mix­tures of food and sauces elegant in Britain, which would be aukward and nauseous to the inhabitants of China, and indeed were nauseous to us when we first tasted them? what but custom could make those salutations polite in Muscovy, which are ridiculous in France and England? We call ourselves indeed the po­liter nations: but it is we who judge thus of ourselves; and that fancied politeness is oftentimes more owing to custom than reason. Why are the forms of our pre­sent garments counted beautiful, and those fashions of our ancestors the matter of scoff and contempt, which in their days, were all decent and genteel? It is custom that forms our opinion of dress, and reconciles us by degrees to those habits which at first seemed very odd and monstrous. It must be granted, there are some garments and habits which have a natural congruity or incongruity, modesty or immodesty, gaudiness or gravity; though for the most part there is but little rea­son in these affairs; but what little there is of reason, or natural decency, custom triumphs over it all. It is almost impossible to persuade a young lady that any thing can be decent which is out of fashion.


Custom may lead a man into many errors; but it justifies none.



What cannot be repaired is not to be regretted.

The usual fortune of complaint, is to excite con­tempt more than pity.


[Page 70] To hear complaints with patience, even when com­plaints are vain, is one of the duties of friendship: and though it must be allowed, that he suffers most like a hero who hides his grief in silence, yet it cannot be denied, that he who complains, acts like a man—like a social being, who looks for help from his fellow-creatures.



What a number of hillocks of death appear all round us! What are the tomb-stones, but memorials of the inhabitants of that town, to inform us of the period of all their lives, and to point out the day when it was said to each of them, ‘Your time shall be no longer.’ O, may I readily learn this important lesson, that my turn is hastening too; such a little hil­lock shall shortly arise for me in some unknown spot of ground; it shall cover this flesh and these bones of mine in darkness, and shall hide them from the light of the sun, and from the sight of man till the heavens be no more.

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire:
Hands that the rod of empire might have sway'd,
Or wak'd to ecstasy the living lyre.
But knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll;
Chill penury repress'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.
Full many a gem, of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flow'r is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
[Page 71] Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest;
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.


Happy the man, whom bounteous gods allow
With his own hands paternal grounds to plough!
Like the first golden mortals happy he,
From bus'ness and the cares of money free!
No human storms break off at land his sleep,
No loud alarms of nature on the deep:
From all the cheats of law he lives secure,
Nor does th'affronts of palaces endure.
Sometimes the beauteous marriageable vine
He to the lusty bridegroom elm does join;
Sometimes he lops the barren trees around,
And grafts new life into the fruitful wound;
Sometimes he shears his flock, and sometimes he
Stores up the golden treasures of the bee,
He sees the lowing herds walk o'er the plain,
While neighb'ring hills low back to them again.
And when the season, rich as well as gay,
All her autumnal bounty does display,
How is he pleas'd th' increasing use to see
Of his well trusted labours bend the tree!
Of which large stores, on the glad sacred days,
He gives to friends, and to the gods repays.
With how much joy does he beneath some shade,
By aged trees' rev'rend embraces made,
His careless head on the fresh green recline,
His head uncharg'd with fear, or with design!
God made the country, and man made the town:
What wonder then, that health and virtue, gifts
That can alone make sweet the bitter draught
That life holds out to all, should most abound
[Page 72] And least be threatened in the fields and groves?
Possess ye, therefore, ye who, borne about
In chariots and sedans, know no fatigue
But that of idleness, and taste no scenes
But such as art contrives—possess ye still
Your element; there only can ye shine,
There only minds like yours can do no harm.
Our groves were planted to console at noon
The pensive wand'rer in their shades. At eve
The moon beam sliding softly in between
The sleeping leaves, is all the light they wish,
Birds warb'ling all the music. We can spare
The splendor of your lamps, they but eclipse
Our softer satellite. Your songs confound
Our more harmonious notes. The thrush departs
Scar'd, and th' offended nightingale is mute;
There is a public mischief in your mirth,
It plagues your country. Folly such as your's
Grac'd with a sword, and worthier of a fan,
Has made, what enemies could ne'er have done,
Our arch of empire, stedfast but for you,
A mutilated structure soon to fall.


How happy is the harmless country-maid,
Who, rich by nature, scorns superfluous aid!
Whose modest clothes no wanton eyes invite,
But, like her soul, preserve the native white.
Whose little store her well-taught mind does please;
Not pinch'd with want, nor cloy'd with wanton ease.
Who, free from storms which on the great ones fall,
Makes but few wishes, and enjoys them all.
No care, but love, can discompose her breast,
Love, of all cares, the sweetest and the best!
[Page 73]


Contempt of others is the truest symptom of a base and bad heart—while it suggests itself to the mean and the vile, and tickles their little fancy on every oc­casion, it never enters the great and good mind, but on the strongest motives: nor is it then a welcome guest; affording only an uneasy sensation, and brings always with it a mixture of concern and compassion.


There is not in human nature a more odious disposi­tion than a proneness to contempt, which is a mixture of pride and ill nature. Nor is there any which more certainly denotes a bad mind; for in a good and benign temper there can be no room for this sensation. That which constitutes an object of contempt to the malevo­lent, becomes the object of other passions to a worthy and good-natured man; for in such a person, wicked­ness and vice must raise hatred and abhorrence; and weakness and folly will be sure to excite compassion; so that he will find no object of his contempt in all the actions of m [...]n.


The basest and meanest of all human beings, are generally the most forward to despise others. So that the most contemptible are generally the most contemp­tuous.


Contempt is a kind of gangrene, which, if it seizes one part of a character, corrupts all the rest by degrees.


CONGRESS OF 1774. (A vision.)

High on the foremost seat, in living light,
Majestic Randolph caught the hero's sight:
Fair on his head the civic crown was plac'd,
And the first dignity his sceptre grac'd.
[Page 74] He opes the cause, and points in prospect far,
Thro' all the toils that wait th' impending war—
But, hapless sage, thy reign must soon be o'er,
To lend thy lustre and to shine no more.
So the bright morning star, from shades of ev'n,
Leads up the dawn, and lights the front of heav'n,
Points to the waking world the sun's broad way,
Then veils his own, and shines above the day.
And see great Washington behind thee rise,
Thy following sun, to gild our morning skies;
O'er shadowy climes to pour the enliv'ning flame,
The charms of freedom, and the fire of fame.
Th' ascending chief adorn'd his splendid seat,
Like Randolph, ensign'd with a crown of state;
Where the green patriot bay beheld, with pride,
The hero's laurel springing by its side;
His sword hung useless, on his graceful thigh,
On Britain still he cast a filial eye;
But sov'reign fortitude his visage bore,
To meet their legions on th' invaded shore.
Sage Franklin next arose, in awful mien,
And smil'd, unruffled, o'er th' approaching scene;
High, on his locks of age, a wreath was brac'd,
Palm of all arts, that e'er a mortal grac'd;
Beneath him lies the sceptre kings have borne,
And crowns and laurels from their temples torn.
Nash, Rutledge, Jefferson, in council great,
And Jay and Laurens op'd the rolls of fate.
The Livingstons, fair freedom's gen'rous band,
The Lees, the Houstons, fathers of the land,
O'er climes and kingdoms turn'd their ardent eyes,
Bade all the oppress'd to speedy vengeance rise;
All pow'rs of state, in their extended plan,
Rise from consent to shield the rights of man.
Bold Wolcott urg'd the all-important cause;
With steady hand the solemn scene he draws;
Undaunted firmness with his wisdom join'd,
Nor kings nor worlds could warp his stedfast mind.
[Page 75]
Now, graceful rising from his purple throne,
In radiant robes, immortal Hosmer shone;
Myrtles and bays his learned temples bound,
The statesman's wreath, the poet's garland crown'd:
Morals and laws expand his liberal soul,
Beam from his eyes, and in his accents roll.
But lo! an unseen hand the curtain drew,
And snatch'd the patriot from the hero's view;
Wrapp'd in the shroud of death, he sees descend
The guide of nations and the muses' friend.
Columbus dropp'd a tear. The angel's eye
Trac'd the freed spirit mounting thro' the sky.
Adams, enrag'd, a broken charter bore,
And lawless acts of ministeria' pow'r;
Some injur'd right in each loose leaf appears
A king in terrors and a land in tears;
From all the guileful plots the veil he drew,
With eye retortive look'd creation through;
Op'd the wide range of nature's boundless plan,
Trac'd all the steps of liberty and man;
Crowds rose to vengeance while his accents rung,
And Independence thunder'd from his tongue.


What, in this life, which soon must end,
Can all our vain designs intend?
From shore to shore why should we run,
When none his tiresome self can shun?
For baneful care will still prevail,
And overtake us under fail:
'Twill dodge the great man's train behind,
Out-run the doe, out-fly the wind.
If then thy soul rejoice to-day
Drive far to-morrow cares away;
In calm content let all be drown'd;
No perfect good is to be found.
[Page 76]


O that the too-censorious world would learn
This wholesome rule, and with each other bear!
But man, as if a foe to his own species,
Takes pleasure to report his neighbour's faults,
Judging with rigor every small offence,
And prides himself in scandal Few there are
Who, injur'd, take the part of the transgressor,
And plead his pardon, ere he deigns to ask it.


The conversation of most men is disagreeable, not so much for want of wit and learning, as of good-breed­ing and discretion.

If you resolve to please, never speak to gratify any particular vanity or passion of your own, but always with a design either to divert or inform the company. A man who only aims at one of these, is always easy in his discourse. He is never out of humour at being interrupted, because he considers that those who hear him, are the best judges whether what he was saying could either divert or inform them.

A modest person seldom fails to gain the good will of those he converses with, because nobody envies a man who does not appear to be pleased with himself.

We should talk extremely little of ourselves. Indeed what can we say? It would be as imprudent to disco­ver our faults, as ridiculous to count over our fancied virtues. Our private and domestic affairs are no less improper to be introduced in conversation. What does it concern the company how many horses you keep in your stables? Or whether your servant is most knave or fool?

A man may equally affront the company he is in by engrossing all the talk, or observing a contemptuous silence.

[Page 77] Before you tell a story, it may be generally not amiss to draw a short character, and give the company a true idea of the principal persons concerned in it; the beauty of most things consisting not so much in their being said or done, as in their being said or done by such a particular person, or on such a particular occa­sion.

Notwithstanding all the advantages of youth, few young people please in conversation; the reason is, that want of experience makes them positive, and what they say is rather with a design to please them­selves than any one else.

It is certain that age itself shall make many things pass well enough, which would have been laughed at in the mouth of one much younger.

Nothing, however, is more insupportable to men of sense, than an empty formal man who speaks in pro­verbs, and decides all controversies with a short sen­tence. This piece of stupidity is the more insuffera­ble, as it puts on the air of wisdom.

Whenever you commend, add your reasons for do­ing so: it is this which distinguishes the approbation of a man of sense from the flattery of sycophants, and admiration of fools.

Raillery is no longer agreeable than while the whole company is pleased with it. I would least of all be understood to except the person rallied.


Observe this rule in general; whensoever it lies in your power to lead the conversation, let it be directed to some profitable point of knowledge or practice, so far as may be done with decency; and let not the dis­course and the hours be suffered to run loose without aim or design, and when a subject is started, pass not hastily to another, before you have brought the present theme of discourse to some tolerable issue, or a joint consent to drop it.

[Page 78]


—Yet no attribute
So well befits th' exalted seat supreme,
And power's disposing hand, as clemency.
Each crime must from its quality be judg'd;
And pity there should interpose, where malice
Is not th' aggressor.—


When most my heart was lifted with delight,
If I withheld the morsel from the hungry,
Forgot the widow's want and orphan's cry.
It I have known a good they have not shar'd,
Nor call'd the poor to take his portion with me,
Let my reproachful enemies stand forth, and now
Deny the succour which I gave not them.
How few, like thee, enquire the wretched out,
And court the offices of soft humanity!
Like thee, reserve their raiment for the naked,
Reach out their bread to feed the crying orphan,
Or mix the pitying tears with those that weep!
Compassion proper to mankind appears,
Which nature witness'd when she lent us tears.
Of tender sentiments we only give
Those proofs: to weep is our prerogative;
To shew by pitying looks and melting eves,
How with a suff'ring friend we sympathize.
Who can all sense of others' ills escape,
Is but a brute at best in human shape.


Restrain your needless curiosity, and all solicitous enquiries into things which were better unknown. [Page 79] How many plentiful springs of fear, sorrow, anger, and hatred, have been found out and broken up by this laborious digging? Have a care of an overcurious search into such things as might have safely remained for ever secret, and the ignorance of them had prevented many foolish and hurtful passions. A fond solicitude to know all that our friends or our foes say of us is often recompensed with vexing disquietude and anguish of soul.


Curiosity is one of the permament and certain char­acteristics of a vigorous intellect. Every advance into knowledge opens new prospects, and produces new incitements to further progress.



Children should never be allowed to practice those di­versions that carry an idea of barbarity and cruelty in them, tho' it be but to brute creatures They should not set up cocks to be tormented with cudgels thrown at them about Shrovetide; nor delight in giv­ing a tedious lingering death to a young litter of dogs or cats, that may be appointed to be destroyed and drown­ed, lest they multiply too much in a house: nor should they take pleasure in pricking, cutting or mangling young birds which they have caught, nor using any savage and bloody practices towards any creatures what­soever; lest their hearts grow hard and unrelenting, and they learn in time to practice these cruelties on their own kind, and to murder and torture their fellow-mortals; or at least to be indifferent to their pain and distress, so as to occasion it without remorse.



In vain affected raptures flush the cheek,
And songs of pleasure warble from the tongue,
[Page 80] When fear and anguish labour in the break,
And all within is darkness and confusion.
Thus on deceitful AEtna's flow'ry side
Unfading verdure glads the roving eye,
While secret flames, with unextinguish'd rage
Insatiate on her wasted entrails prey,
And melt her treach'rous beauties into ruins.

The good or evil we confer on others, very often, I believe, recoils on ourselves; for as men of a benign disposition enjoy their own acts of beneficence equally with those to whom they are, done; so there are scarce any natures so entirely diabolical, as to be capable of doing injuries without paying themselves some pangs for the ruin which they bring on their fellow-creatures.



Content is wealth, the riches of the mind;
And happy he who can that treasure find!
But the base miser starves amidst his store,
Broods on his gold; and, griping still at more,
Sits sadly pining, and believes he's poor.
Content alone can all their wrongs redress,
Content, that other name for happiness;
'Tis equal if our fortunes should augment,
And stretch themselves to the same vast extent
With our desires; or those desires abate,
Shrink and contract themselves to fit our state.
Th' unhappy man, slave to his wild desire,
By feeding it, foments the raging fire:
His gains augment his unextinguish'd thirst,
With plenty poor, and with abundance curst,

[Page 81] There is scarce any lot so low, but there is something in it to satisfy the man whom it has befallen; Provi­dence having so ordered things, that in every man's cup, how bitter soever, there are some cordial drops—some good circumstances, which, if wisely extracted, are sufficient for the purpose he wants them—that is, to make him contented, and, if not happy, at least resigned.


There are thousands so extravagant in their ideas of contentment, as to imagine that it must consist in hav­ing every thing in this world turn out the way they wish—that they are to sit down in happiness, and feel themselves so at ease at all points, as to desire nothing better and nothing more. I own there are instances of some, who seem to pass through the world as if all their paths had been strewed with rose buds of delight;—but a little experience will convince us, 'tis a fatal ex­pectation to go upon.—We are born to trouble; and we may depend upon it whilst we live in this world we shall have it, though with intermissions—that is, in whatever state we are, we shall find a mixture of good and evil; and therefore the true way to contentment is to know how to receive these certain vicissitudes of life,—the returns of good and evil, so as neither to be ex­alted by the one, or overthrown by the other, but to bear ourselves towards every thing which happens with such ease and indifference of mind, as to hazard as lit­tle as may be. This is the true temperate climate fitted for us by nature, and in which every wise man would with to live.


The foundation of content must spring up in a man's own mind; and he who has so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing any thing but his own disposition, will waste his life in fruitless efforts, and multiply the griefs which he pur­poses to remove.


[Page 82] Enquiries after happiness, and rules for attaining it, are not so necessary and useful to mankind as the arts of consolation, and supporting one's self under afflic­tion. The utmost we can hope for in this world, is contentment; if we aim at any thing higher, we shall meet with nothing but grief and disappointment A man should direct all his studies and endeavours at making himself easy now, and happy hereafter.

The truth of it is, if all the happiness that is dis­persed through the whole race of mankind in this world were drawn together, and put into the possession of any single man, it would not make a very happy being: though, on the contrary, if the miseries of the whole species were fixed in a single person, they would make a very miserable one.


A man should always consider how much he has more than he wants. I am wonderfully pleased with the reply which Aristippus made to one who condoled him upon the loss of a farm: Why, said he, I have three farms still, and you have but one; so that I ought rather to be afflicted for you than you for me. On the contrary, foolish men are more apt to consider what they have lost than what they possess; and to fix their eyes upon those who are richer than themselves, rather than on those who are under greater difficulties. All the real pleasures and conveniences of life lie in a narrow compass; but it is the humour of mankind to be always looking forward, and straining after one who has got the start of them in wealth and honour.

I envy not the mighty great,
Those powerful rulers of the state,
Who settle nations as they please,
And govern at th' expence of ease.
Far happier the shepherd swain,
Who daily drudges on the plain,
And nightly in some humble shed
On rushy pillows lays his head.
[Page 83] No curs'd ambition breaks his rest,
No factious wars divide his breast:
His flock, his pipe, and artless fair,
Are all his hope, and all his care.


—What with admiration
Struck every heart was this.—A noble virgin,
Conspicuous far o'er all the captive dames,
Was mark'd the general's prize. She wept and blush'd,
Young, fresh, and blooming like the morn. An eye
As when the blue sky trembles through a cloud
Of purest white. A secret charm combined
Her features and infus'd enchantment through them.
Her shape was harmony.—But eloquence
Beneath her beauty fails; which seem'd on purpose,
By nature lavish'd on her, that mankind
Might see the virtue of a hero try'd
Almost beyond the stretch of human force.
Soft as she pass'd along, with down cast eyes,
Where gentle sorrow swell'd, and now and then
Dropt o'er her modest cheek a trickling tear.
The Roman legions languish'd, and hard war
Felt more than pity. Ev'n their chief himself
As on his high tribunal rais'd he sat,
Turn'd from the dangerous sight, and chiding ask'd
His officers, if by this gift they meant
To cloud his virtue in its very dawn.
She, question'd of her birth, in trembling accents,
With tears and blushes broken, told her tale,
But when he found her royally descended,
Of her old captive parents the sole joy;
And that a hapless Celtiberian prince,
Her lover and belov'd, forgot his chains,
His lost dominions, and for her alone
[Page 84] Wept out his tender soul; sudden the heart
Of this young, conquering, loving, god-like Roman
Felt all the great divinity of virtue.
His wishing youth stood check'd, his tempting power
Restrain'd by kind humanity.—At once
He for her parents and her lover call'd.
The various scene imagine: how his troops
Look'd dubious on, and wonder'd what he meant:
While stretch'd below the trembling suppliants lay,
Rack'd by a thousand mingling passions, fear
Hope, Jealousy, disdain, submission, grief,
Anxiety and love in every shape.
To these as different sentiments succeeded,
As mixt emotions, when the man divine
Thus the dread silence to the lover broke.
" We both are young, both charm'd. The right of war
" Has put thy beauteous mistress in my power;
" With whom I could in the most sacred ties
" Live out a happy life: but know, that Romans
" Their hearts, as well as enemies can conquer.
" Then take her to thy soul; and with her take
" Thy liberty and kingdom. In return
" I ask but this. When you behold these eyes,
" These charms, with transport; be a friend to Rome.


True courage but from opposition grows;
And what are fifty, what a thousand slaves
Match'd to the sinew of a single arm
That strikes for liberty.
This is true courage, not the brutal force
Of vulgar heroes, but the firm resolve
Of virtue and of reason. He who thinks
Without their aid to shine in deeds of arms,
[Page 85] Builds on a sandy basis his renown;
A dream, a vapour, or an ague fit
May make a coward of him—


Would you be happy, leave this fatal place;
Fly from the court's pernicious neighbourhood,
Where innocence is shunn'd, and blushing modesty
Is made the scorner's jest; where hate, deceit,
And deadly ruin, wear the masks of beauty,
And draw deluded fools with shews of pleasure.
—The noblest proof of love
That Athelwold can give, is still to guard
Your tender beauties from the blasting taint
Of courtly gales. The delicate soft tints
Of snowy innocence, the crimson glow
Of blushing modesty, there all fly off,
And leave the faded face no nobler boast
Than well-rang'd, lifeless features. Ah, Elfrida,
Should you be doom'd, which happier fate forbid!
To drag your hours thro' all that nauseous scene
Of pageantry and vice; your purer breast,
True to its virtuous relish, soon would heave
A fervent sigh for innocence and Harewood.

Let us compare what the historians of all ages have said concerning the courts of monarchs, let us recollect the conversation and sentiments of people of all coun­tries, in respect to the wretched character of courtiers; and we shall find, that these are not mere airy specula­tions, but things confirmed by a sa [...] and melancholy experience.

Ambition joined to idleness, and business to pride; a desire of obtaining riches without labour, and an aversion to truth; flattery, treachery, perfidy, violation [Page 86] of engagements, contempt of civil duties, fear of the prince's virtues, hope from his weakness, but, above all, a perpetual ridicule cast upon virtue, are, I think, the characteristics by which most courtiers in all ages and countries have been constantly distinguished.


All the prostitutes who set themselves to sale, all the locusts who devour the land, with crowds of spies, pa­rasues, and sycophants, and whose swarms of little, noisome, nameless insects, will hum and buz in every corner of the court.—A sort of men too low to be much regarded, and too high to be quite neglected, the lumber of every administration, the furniture of every court. These gil [...] carved things are seldom answera­ble for more than the men on a chess board, who are moved about at will, and on whom the conduct of the game is not to be charged Some of these every prince must have about him. The pageantry of a court re­quires that he should.


I have known courts these thirty-six years, and know they differ; but in some things they are extremely constant. First in the true-old maxim of a minister's never forgiving those he hath injured. Secondly, in the insincerity of those who would be thought the best friends. Thirdly, in the love of fawning, cringing, and tale-bearing. Fourthly, in sacrificing those, whom we really with well, to a point of interest or intrigue. Fifthly, in keeping every thing worth taking, for those who can do service or disservice.

God help the man, condemn'd by cruel fate
To court the seeming, or the real great.
Much sorrow shall he feel, and suffer more
Than any slave that labours at the oar.
By slavish methods must he learn to please,
By smooth tongu'd flattery, that curst court disease,
[Page 87] Supple to every way ward mood strike sail,
And shift with shifting humour's peevish gale.
To nature dead, he must adopt v [...]le art,
And wear a smile with anguish in his heart.
A sense of honor would destroy his schemes,
And conscience ne'er must speak unless in dreams.


Cowards die many times before their death:
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange, that man should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.
Cowards have courage when they see not death,
And fearful hares that skulk in forms all day,
Yet fight their feeble quarrels by the moon-light;
—But valiant men
Still love the sun should witness what they do.
As cheats to play with those still aim,
That do not understand the game;
So cowards never use their might,
But against such as will not fight.


* * * * Sure I am, 'tis madness,
Inhuman madness, thus, from half the world
To drain its blood and treasure, to neglect
Each art of peace, each care of government;
And all for what? By spreading desolation,
Rapine and slaughter o'er the other half,
To gain a conquest we can never hold.
[Page 88] I venerate this land. Those sacred hills,
Those vales, those cities, trod by saints and prophets,
By God himself, the scenes of heav'nly wonders,
Inspire me with a certain awful joy.
But the same God, my friend, pervades, sustains,
Surrounds and fills this universal frame;
And every land, where spreads his vital presence,
His all-enliv'ning breath, to me is holy.
Excuse me, Theald, if I go too far:
I meant alone to say, I think these wars
A kind of persecution. And when e'er
That most absurd and cruel of all vices,
Is once begun, where shall it find an end?
Each in his turn, or has, or claims a right
To [...] its dagger, to return its furies;
And first or last they fall upon ourselves.


O polish'd perturbation! golden care!
That keep'st the ports of slumber open wide,
To many a watchful night: sleep with it now:
But not so sound, and half so deeply sweet,
As he whose brow, with homely biggen bound,
Snores out the watch of night. O majesty!
When thou dost pinch thy bearer, thou dost sit
Like a rich armour, worn in heat of day,
That scalds with safety.


The credulous man is ready to receive every thing for truth, that has but the shadow of evidence; every new book that he reads, and every ingenious man with whom he converses, has power enough to draw him into the sentiments of the speaker or writer. He has so much complaisance in him, or weakness of soul, [Page 89] that he is ready to resign his own opinion to the first objection which he hears, and to receive any sentiments of another that are asserted with a positive air and much assurance. Thus he is under a kind of necessity, through the indulgence of this credulous humour, either to be often changing his opinions, or to believe inconsistencies.

The man of contradiction stands ready to oppose every thing that is said: he gives but a slight attention to the reasons of other men, from an inward scornful presumption, that they have no strength in them. When he reads or hears a discourse different from his own sentiments, he does not give himself leave to con­sider, whether that discourse may be true; but employs all his powers immediately to confute it. Your great disputers, and your men of controversy, are in contin­ual danger of this sort of prejudice: they contend often for victory, and will maintain whatsoever they have asserted, while truth is lost in the noise and tumult of reciprocal contradictions; and it frequently happens, that a debate about opinions is turned into a mutual reproach of persons.


The prejudice of credulity may in some measure be cured, by learning to set a high value upon truth, and by taking more pains to attain it; remembering that truth often lies dark and deep, and requires us to dig for it as hidden treasure; and that falshood often puts on a fair disguise, and therefore we should not yield up our judgment to every plausible appearance. It is no part of civility or good breeding to part with truth, but to maintain it with decency and candor.

A spirit of contradiction is so pedantic and hateful, that a man should take much pains with himself to watch against every instance of it: he should learn so much good-humour, at least, as never to oppose any thing without just and solid reason for it: he should abate some degrees of pride and moroseness, which are [Page 90] never-failing ingredients in this sort of temper, and should seek after so much honesty and conscience, as never to contend for conquest or triumph; but to re­view his own reasons, and to read the arguments of his opponents, if possible, with an equal indifferency, be glad to spy a truth, and to submit to it, though it appear on the opposite side.


Of all kinds of credulity, the most obstinate and wonderful is that of political zealots; of men who being numbered, they know not how, or why, in any of the parties that divide a state, resign the use of their own eyes and ears, and resolve to believe nothing that does not favour those whom they profess to follow.



Let us take a survey of the world, and see what a mix­ture there is of amiable and hateful qualities among the children of men. There is beauty and comeliness; there is vigour and vivacity; there is good humour and compassion; there is wit, and judgment, and in­dustry, even among those that are profligate and abandoned to many vices. There is sobriety, and love, and honesty, and justice, and decency amongst men that "know not" God, and believe not the gos­pel of our "Lord Jesus." There are very few of the sons and daughters [...] Adam, but are possessed of something good and agreeable, either by nature or acquirement; therefore when there is a necessary occa­sion to mention the vices of any man, we should not speak evil of him in the gross, nor heap reproaches on him by wholesale. It is very disingenuous to talk scan­dal in superlatives, as though every man who was a sin­ner, was a perfect villain, the very worst of men, all over hateful and abominable.

[Page 91]


Though the goodness of a man's heart did not in­cline him to acts of charity, one would think the desire of honour should. For as building fine houses, purchas­ing fine clothes, pictures and other such like articles of expense, shows nothing more than an ambition to be respected above other people: would not one great act of charity, one instance of redeeming a poor family from all the miseries of poverty, or restoring an unfortunate tradesman to the means of procuring a livelihood by his industry, acquire more real respect and more lasting-honour? The former are the works of other people's hands—the latter the acts of his own heart.


Though we may sometimes unintentionally bestow our beneficence on the unworthy, it does not take from the merit of the act. For charity doth not adopt the vices of its objects.


Charity is a virtue of the heart, and not of the hands, says an old writer. Gifts and alms are the expressions, not the essence of this virtue. A man may bestow great sums on the poor and indigent without being charitable, and may be charitable when he is not able to bestow any thing. Charity therefore is a habit of good-will or benevolence in the soul, which disposes us to the love, assistance, and relief of mankind, es­pecially of those who stand in need of it. The poor man who has this excellent frame of mind, is no less entitled to the reward of this virtue, than the man who founds a college. For my own part, I am charitable to an extravagance this way: I never saw an indigent person in my life, without reaching out to him some of this imaginary relief. I cannot but sym­pathise with every one I meet that is in affliction, and if my abilities were equal to my wishes, there should be neither pain nor [...] in the world.

[Page 92]


Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertak­ings; yet he who forms his opinion of himself, with­out knowing the powers of other men, is very liable to error.


There would be few enterprizes of great labour or hazard undertaken, if we had not the power of magni­fying the advantages which we persuade ourselves to expect from them.


Nothing is more fatal to happiness or virtue than that confidence which flatters us with an opinion of our own strength, and by assuring us of the power of retreat, precipitates us into hazard.



A good conscience is to the soul, what health is to the body; it preserves a constant case and serenity within us, and more than countervails all the calamities and afflictions which can possibly befall us. I know no­thing so hard for a generous mind to get over, as calum­ny and reproach; and cannot find any method of quieting the soul under them, besides this single one; of our being conscious to ourselves that we do not deserve them.



There are many arts of graciousness and conciliation which are to be practised without expence, and by which those may be made our friends, who have never received from us any real benefit. Such arts, when they include neither guilt nor meanness, it is surely reasonable to learn; for who would want that love which is so easily to be gained?


[Page 93] The universal [...] in which an complaisance is included, and from which flow all the formalities which custom has established in civilized nations, is, "That no man should give any preference to himself," a rule so comprehensive and certain, that perhaps it is not easy for the mind to imagine an incivility without supposing it to be broken.


Wisdom and virtue are by no means sufficient, without the supplemental laws of good breeding, to se­cure freedom from degenerating into rudeness, or self-esteem from swelling into insolence. A thousand incivilities may be committed, and a thousand offices neglected, without any remorse of conscience, or re­proach from reason.


Complaisance renders a superior amiable, an e­qual agreeable, and an inferior acceptable. It smooths distinction, sweetens conversation, and makes every one in the company pleased with himself. It pro­duces good-nature and mutual benevolence, encou­rages the timorous, soothes the turbulent, humanizes the fierce, and distinguishes the society of civilized persons from a confusion of savages. In a word, complaisance is a virtue that blends all orders of men together in a friendly intercourse of words and actions, and is suited to that equality in human nature which every one ought to consider, so far as is consistent with the order and economy of the world.

If we could look into the secret anguish and affliction of every man's heart, we should often find, that more of it arises from little imaginary distresses, such as checks, frowns, contradictions, expressions of contempt, and (what Shakespeare reckons among other evils under the Sun)

The proud man's contumely,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th' unworthy takes,

[Page 94] than from the more real pains and calamities of life. The only method to remove these imaginary distresses as much as possible out of human life, would be the universal practice of such an ingenuous complaisance as I have been here describing, which, as it is a virtue, may be defined to be, a constant endeavour to please those whom we converse with, so far as we may do it innocently.



No one ought to remind another of misfortunes of which the sufferer does not complain, and which there are no means proposed of alleviating. We have no right to excite thoughts which necessarily give pain, whenever they return, and which perhaps might not have revived but by absurd and unseasonable compassion.


Nothing is more offensive to a mind convinced that its distress is without a remedy, and preparing to submit quietly to irresistible calamity, than those petty and conjectured comforts which unskilful officiousness thinks it virtue to administer.



He who is taught by a critic to dislike that which pleased him in its natural state, has the same reason to complain of his instructor, as the madman to rail at his doctor, who, when he thought himself master of Peru, physicked him to poverty.



If we consider cheerfulness in three lights, with re­gard to ourselves, to those we converse with, and to [Page 95] the great author of our being, it will not a little re­commend itself on each of these accounts. The man who is possessed of this excellent frame of mind is not only easy in his thoughts, but a perfect master of all the powers and faculties of his soul▪ his imagination is always clear, and his judgment undisturbed: his temper is even and unruffled, whether in action or in solitude. He comes with a relish to all those goods which nature has provided for him, tastes all the pleasures of the creation which are poured about him, and [...] not feel the full weight of those accidental evils which may befall him.

If we consider him in relation to the persons whom he converses with, it naturally produces love and good­will towards him. A cheerful mind is not only disposed to be affable and obliging, but raises the same good-humour in those who come within its influence. A man finds himself pleased, he does not know why, with the cheerfulness of his companion. It is like a sudden sunshine that awakens a secret delight in the mind, without her attending to it. The heart rejoices of its own accord, and naturally flows out into friendship and benevolence towards the person who has so kindly an effect upon it.

When I consider this cheerful state of mind in its third relation, I cannot but look upon it as a constant habitual gratitude to the great author of nature. An inward cheerfulness is an implicit praise and thanks­giving to providence under all its dispensations. It is a kind of acquiescence in the state wherein we are placed, and a secret approbation of the divine will in his conduct towards man.



Cunning differs from wisdom as twilight from open day. He that walks in the sun-shine, goes boldly for­ward by the nearest way; he sees that when the path is [Page 96] strait and even, he may proceed in security, and when it is rough and crooked, he easily complies with the turns, and avoids the obstructions. But the traveller in the dusk, fears more as he sees less; he knows there may [...] and therefore suspects that he is never safe, tries every step before he fixes his foot, and shrinks at every noise, lest violence should approach him. Cunning discovers little at a time, and has no other means of certainty than multiplication of strata­gems, and superfluity of suspicion. Yet men thus narrow by nature and mean by art, are sometimes able to rise by the miscarriages of bravery and the openness of integrity; and by watching failures, and snatching opportunities, obtain advantages which belong properly to higher characters.



Sometimes the quarrel between two princes is to de­cide which of them shall dispossess a third of his do­minions, where neither of them pretend to any right. Sometimes one prince quarreleth with another, for fear the other should quarrel with him. Sometimes a war is entered upon because the enemy is too strong; and sometimes because he is too weak. Sometimes our neighbours want the things which we have, or have the things which we want; and we both fight till they take ours, or give us theirs. It is a very justifiable cause of war, to invade a country after the people have been wast­ed by famine, destroyed by pestilence, or embroiled by factions among themselves. It is justifiable to enter into a war against our nearest ally, when one of his towns lie convenient for us, or a territory of land, that would render our dominions round and compact. If a prince sends forces into a nation, where the people are poor and ignorant, he may lawfully put half of them to death, and make slaves of the rest, in order to civilize and reduce them from their barbarous way of living.

[Page 97] It is a very kingly, honourable, and frequent practice, when one prince desires the assistance of another to se­cure him against an invasion, that the assistant, when he hath driven out the invader, should seize on the dominions himself, and kill, imprison, or banish the prince he came to relieve. Alliance by blood or mar­riage is a frequent cause of war between princes; and the nearer the kindred is, the greater is their disposition to quarrel. There is likewise a kind of beggarly prin­ces in Europe, not able to make war by themselves, who hire out their troops to richer nations, for so much a day to each man, of which they keep three fourths to themselves, and it is the best part of their maintenance.


A genealogist sets forth to a prince that he is descend­ed in a direct line from a count, whose kindred, three or four hundred years ago, had made a family compact with a house, the memory of which is extinguished. That house had some distant claim to a province, the last proprietor of which died of an apoplexy. The prince and his council instantly resolve that this province belongs to him of divine right. The province, which is some hundred leagues from him, protests that it does not so much as know him; that it is not disposed to be governed by him; that before prescribing laws to them, their consent at least was necessary: these allega­tions do not so much as reach the prince's ears; it is insisted on that his right is incontestible. He instantly picks up a multitude, who have nothing to do and no­thing to lose; clothes them with coarse blue cloth; puts on them hats bound with coarse white worsted; makes them turn to the right and left; and thus marches away with them to glory.

Other princes, on this armament, take part in it to the best of their ability, and soon cover a small extent of country with more hireling murderers, than Gengis Kan, Tamerlane and Bajazet had at their heels.

[Page 98] People at no small distance, on hearing that fighting is going forward, and that if they would make one, there are five or six sous a day for them, immediately divide into two bands, like reapers, and go and sell their servi­ces to the best bidder.

These multitudes furiously butcher one another not only without having any concern in the quarrel, but without so much as knowing what it is about.

Sometimes five or six powers are engaged, three against three, two against four, sometimes even one against five, all equally detesting one another, and friends and foes by turns, agreeing only in one thing, to do all the mis­chief possible.

Perplex'd with trifles through the vale of life,
Man strives 'gainst man, without a cause for strife;
Armies embattled meet, and thousands bleed,
For some vile spot where fifty cannot feed.
Squirrels for nuts contend, and wrong or right,
For the world's empire kings ambitious fight.
What odds!—to us 'tis all the self same thing,
A nut, a world, a squirrel, and a king.


Stript of her gaudy plumes and vain disguise,
See where Ambition, mean and loathsome lies;
Reflection with relentless hand pulls down
The tyrant's bloody wreath and ravish'd crown.
In vain he tells of battles bravely won,
Of nations conquer'd and of worlds undone:
Triumphs like these but ill with mankind suit,
And sink the conqueror beneath the brute
They err who count it glorious to subdue
By conquest far and wide; to overrun
Large countries, and in field great battles win,
[Page 99] Great cities by assault: what do these worthies
But rob, and spoil, burn, slaughter, and enslave
Peaceable nations? neighbouring or remote,
Made captive, yet deserving freedom more
Than those their conquerors, who leave behind
Nothing but ruin whereso'er they rove;
And all the flourishing works of peace destroy;
Then swell with pride, and must be titled gods,
Great benefactors of mankind, deliverers,
Worshipp'd with temple, priest, and sacrifice:
One is the son of Jove, Mars the other,
'Till conquerror death discovers them scarce men,
Rolling in brutish sin.—
Violent or shameful death their due reward.

CONQUERORS. (A vision.)

Oppressed with gloomy melancholy, I threw my­self on my bed, in order to forget what I had seen, and still more what I had read. Sleep soon invaded my senses. Eternal Justice appeared in the sky to judge the sons of men. The skeleton of Alexander, of Macedon, and that of a robber and murderer, were summoned to appear.—"Look, Alexander," said Justice, ‘Look upon thy competitor;—this robber wanted only power and strength to equal thee, and he would have made use of the same means as thou to ravage the world. His courage was as great as thine; but being constrained by obstacles, he was obliged to murder his fellow-creatures by night. Those who attend to see my laws put in ex­ecution, were fortunately able to bring him to the scaffold; there he confessed his crimes, and acknow­ledged he deserved the most shameful punishment.’

Wretch! where is the difference between this robber and thee? It is a pity the chastisement did not [Page 100] fall on thy head. Power supported thy iron arm, that crushed mankind; thou destroyedst my laws by firing of towns; thou didst oblige terrified mortals to erect altars to thee; thou didst stab the bosom of friendship; the scandal of thy victories has led kings astray, who, taking example by thee, have been unjust. Approach, cruel Caesar, thou who wept before the statue of this murderer, ambitious of deserving such another. Nothing could stop thy career, neither the genius of Rome, nor the tears of thy country. Armed with a poniard, thou stabbedst her whilst she invited thee to her arms. Thou de­stroyedst the wisdom of six ages of glory, in order to establish on their ruins horrible despotism. Get thee gone, thy name begins to be as detestable as those of Tamerlane, Attila, Charles the XIIth, and Gengiskan.—Wise men have proscribed their odi­ous and destructive genius; it is only the blind mul­titude who are still seduced, and who, in their low ideas, cannot discriminate between the powerful criminal who escapes punishment, and the obscure guilty who suffers justly.

Princes, conquerors, generals, warriors, whate­ver pompous titles you bear, vile ambitious wretch­es, bloody men, shudder!—You have accustomed mankind to destroy each other; you have made war an habitual scourge, and ever growing trade; you have dared to embellish murder with the pompous name of glory; it is you, undoubtedly, will be an­swerable for the crimes you have made them com­mit;—but who ever comes to offer you the hand stained with blood, he that could put a stop to cru­elty, or avoid being an accomplice in it, or has been a volunteer to serve your wrathful purposes for base interest; he, I say, will be as guilty as yourselves. By what authority dare a mortal inflict death? Does not his existence belong to God who created him? Destruction is an outrage against the Divine Being. [Page 101] Shudder, cruel murderers, in my presence! nothing can excuse you; the blood of your brethren cries aloud for vengeance. Even he who is stained with only one bloody spot, shall be tormented several ages by the devouring fire of repentance. You will still even sob with sorrow, when the clemency of a mer­ciful God will vouchsafe to absolve you; for I must tell you, that stain is indelible.

Your motive was to merit the admiration of fu­ture ages. Well, you are condemned to suffer until that happy period when an enlightened people will execrate war and those who light the horrible torch. Alexander! thy name must be held in detestation over all that country where thou wouldst be deified; all those who followed thy example must be ranked among the profligate villains before thou canst ex­pect any forgiveness.—May this time not be so dis­tant as the reparation of thy crimes would require!—Suffer patiently; you already begin to be detestable; thy exploits already begin to be looked upon as barbarous and unjust; wise men have stampt with disgrace thy impious imitators.



Would I describe a preacher, such as Paul,
Were he on earth, would hear, approve, and [...]
Paul should himself direct me. I would tra [...]
His master strokes, and draw from his design.
I would express him simple, grave, sincere;
In doctrine uncorrupt; in language plain;
And plain in manner. Decent, solemn, chaste,
And natural in jesture. Much impress'd
Himself, as conscious of his awful charge,
And anxious mainly that the flock he feeds
May feel it too. Affectionate in look,
[Page 102] And tender in address, as well becomes
A messenger of grace to guilty men.


It is essential to the preservation of the rights of every individual, his life, liberty, property, and character, that there be an impartial interpretation of the laws and administration of justice. It is the right of every citizen to be tried by judges as impartial as the lot of humanity will admit. It is therefore not only the best policy, but for the security of the rights of the people, that the judges of the Supreme Judicial Court should hold their offices so long as they behave well; subject however to such limitations on account of age, as may be provided by the constitution of the state; and that they should have honourable salaries ascertained and established by standing laws.



In criminal prosecutions, the trial of facts, in the vicinity where they happen, is so essential to the security of the life, liberty, and estate of the citizen, that no crime or offence ought to be tried in any other county than that in which it is committed: except in cases [...] [...]neral insurrection in any particular county, when it shall appear to the judges of the superior court, that an impartial trial cannot be had in the county where the offence may be committed; and upon their report, the legislature shall think proper to direct the trial in the nearest county in which an impartial trial can be obtained.

All penalties ought to be proportioned to the nature of the offence. No wise legislature will affix the same punishment to the crimes of theft, forger and the like, which they do to those of murder and trea­son; [Page 103] where the same undistinguishing severity is ex­erted against all offences, the people are led to forget the real distinction in the crimes themselves, and to commit the most flagrant with as little compunction as they do the lightest offences: for the same reason, a multitude of sanguinary laws is both impolitic and un­just; the true design of all punishments being to re­form, not to exterminate mankind.



Reflect that life and death, affecting sounds!
Are only varied modes of endless being:
Reflect that life, like ev'ry other blessing,
Derives its value from its use alone:
Not for itself,—but for a nobler end,
Th' Eternal gave it, and that end is virtue!
When inconsistent with a greater good,
Reason commands to cast the less away:
Thus life, with loss of wealth, is well preserv'd,
And virtue cheaply sav'd with loss of life.

It was perhaps ordained by Providence, to hinder us from tyrannising over one another, that no indivi­dual should be of such importance, as to cause, by his retirement or death, any chasm in the world.


To neglect at any time preparation for [...], is to sleep on our post at a siege; but to omit it in old age, is to sleep at an attack.

Nothing more certain than to die, but when
Is most uncertain: if so, every hour
We should prepare us for the journey, which
Is not to be put off. I must submit
To the divine decree, not argue it,
And chearfully welcome it.
[Page 104]
Now death draws near, a strange perplexity
Creeps coldly on me, like a fear to die.
Courage uncertain dangers may abate,
But who can bear th' approach of certain fate?
The wisest and the best some fear may show,
And wish to stay, tho' they resolve to go.
As some saint pilgrim standing on the shore,
First views the torrent he would venture o'er,
And then his inn upon the farther ground,
Loth to wade thro', and lother to go round;
Then dipping in his staff, does trial make
How deep it is, and sighing pulls it back;
Sometimes resolv'd to fetch his leap, and then
Runs to the bank, but there stops short again:
So I at once
Both heavenly faith and human fear obey,
And feel before me in an unknown way.
This vast, this solid earth, that blazing sun,
Those skies thro' which it rolls, must all have end.
What then is man, the smallest part of nothing?
Day buries day, month month, and year the year;
Our life is but a chain of many deaths:
Can then death's self be fear'd? our life much rather:
Life is the desart, life the solitude;
Death joins us to the majority;
'Tis to be born to Platos and Timoleons,
'Tis to be great for ever!
'Tis pleasure, 'tis ambition then to die.


Does humanity clothe and educate the unknown orphan?—Poverty, thou hast no genealogies:—See! is he not the father of the child? Thus do we rob heroes of the best part of their glory—their virtue. Take away the motive of the act, you take away all that is worth having in it;—wrest it to ungenerous [Page 105] ends, you load the virtuous man who did it with infamy:—undo it all—I beseech you, give him back his honor,—restore the jewel you have taken from him—replace him in the eye of the world—

It is too late.

Good name in man or woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls;
Who steals my purse, steals trash; 'tis something, no­thing,
'T was mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name,
Robs me of that, which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.


There is no state more contrary to the dignity of wisdom, than perpetual and unlimited dependence, in which the understanding lies useless, and every motion is received from external impulse. Reason is the great distinction of human nature, the faculty by which we approach to some degree of association with celestial intelligences; but as the excellence of every power appears only in its operations, not to have rea­son, and to have it useless and unemployed, is nearly the same.



Maintain a constant watch at all times against a [...] spirit: fix not your assent to any proposition in [...] and unalterable manner till you have some firm and unalterable ground for it, and till you have arrived at some clear and sure evidence; till you have turned the proposition on all sides, [...] searched the matter through and through, so that you cannot be mis­taken. [Page 106] And even where you think you have full grounds of assurance, be not too early, nor too frequent, in expressing this assurance in too peremptory and pos­itive a manner, remembering that human nature is always liable to mistake in this corrupt and feeble state.



Diffidence may check resolution and obstruct per­formance, but compensates its embarrassments by more important advantages: it conciliates the proud, and softens the severe; averts envy from excellence, and censure from miscarriage.



I am not of your opinion, with regard to despotism and despots. It appears to me horrible and absurd to the last degree, that a whole people should blindly sub­ject themselves to the caprice of one man, even if he were an angel. For my own part, I would not live under him a single day. This angel may become in a moment a monster thirsting after blood. Despotism is to me the most abominable and disgustful of all bad governments; man is perpetually crushed, debased and degraded by it. Look into history, ancient and mo­dern, and see if ever there was one upon earth that was not an insult on mankind, and the disgrace of human nature.


The most formidable enemy of the public [...] is not riot or sedition, but despotism: it changes the character of a nation, and always for the worse: it produces nothing but vices. Whatever might be the power of an Indian sultan, he could never form mag­nanimous subjects; he would never find among his slaves the virtues of free-men. Chemistry can extract [Page 107] no more gold from a mixed body than is included in it; and the most arbitrary power can draw nothing from a slave but the baseness he contains.—

What is arbitrary power? The seed of calamities, that, sown in the bosom of a state, springs up to bear the fruit of misery and devastation.


Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves to­gether, and came to Samuel unto Ramah,

And said unto him, Behold thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make unto us a king to judge us like all the nations.

But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us; and Samuel prayed unto the Lord.

And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me that I should not reign over them.

Now therefore hearken to their voice: howbeit, yet solemnly protest unto them, and show them the man­ner of the king that shall reign over them.

And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a king.

And he said, this shall be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: he will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen, and some shall run before his chariot.

And he will take your daughters to be confectioners, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.

And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your olive-yards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.

And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers and to his servants.

And he will take your men servants and your maid servants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.

[Page 108] He will take the tenth of your sheep; and ye shall be his servants.

And ye shall cry out in that day, because of your king; and the Lord will not hear you in that day.

Samuel, b. i. chap. viii.
—Lord supreme o'er all this formal race,
The cedar claims pre-eminence of place;
Like some great eastern king, it stands alone,
Nor lets th' ignoble croud approach its throne,
Spreads out its haughty boughs that scorn to bend,
And bids its shade o'er spacious fields extend;
While in the compass of its wide domain,
Heaven sheds its soft prolific show'rs in vain:
Secure and shelter'd every subject lies;
But robb'd of moisture, sickens, droops, and dies.
O image apt of man's despotic power,
Which guards and shelters only to devour,
Lifts high in air the splendours of its head,
And bids its radiance o'er the nations spread;
While round its feet in silent anguish lie
Hunger, despair, and meagre misery!

The lives and labours of millions are devoted to the service of a despotic prince, whose laws are blindly o­beyed, and whose wishes are instantly gratified. Our imagination is dazzled by the splendid picture; and whatever may be the cool dictates of reason, there are few among us who would obstinately refuse a trial of the comforts and cares of royalty. It may therefore be of some use to borrow the experience of Abdal Rah­man, whose magnificence has perhaps excited our admiration and envy, and to transcribe an authentic memorial which was found in the closet of the deceased caliph. ‘I have now reigned above fifty years in victory or peace; beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my [Page 109] call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity. In this situation I have diligently number'd the days of pure and genuine happiness, which have fallen to my lot: they amount to fourteen.

Such dupes are men to custom, and so prone
To rev'rence what is ancient, and can plead
A course of long observance for its use,
That even servitude, the worst of ills
Because deliver'd down from sire to son,
Is kept and guarded as a sacred thing.
But is it fit, or can it bear the shock
Of rational discussion, that a man
Compounded and made up, like other men,
Of elements tumultuous, in whom lust
And folly in as ample measure meet,
As in the bosoms of the slaves he rules,
Should be a despot absolute, and boast
Himself the only freeman of his land?
Should, when he pleases, and on whom he will,
Wage war, with any, or with no pretence
Of provocation giv'n, or wrong sustain'd,
And force the beggarly last doit, by means
That his own humour dictates, from the clutch
Of poverty, that thus he may procure
His thousands, weary of penurious life,
A splendid opportunity to die?
Say ye, who (with less prudence than of of old,
Jotham ascrib'd to his assembled trees
In politic convention) put your trust
I' th' shadow of a bramble, and reclin'd
In fancy'd peace beneath his dang'rous branch,
Rejoice in him, and celebrate his sway,
Where find ye passive fortitude? Whence springs,
Your self denying zeal, that holds it good
To stroke the prickly grievance, and to hang
His thorns with streamers of continual praise?

[Page 110] Despotism delights in war. It is its element. As the bull knows, by instinct, that his strength is in his horns, and the eagle trusts in his talons; so the despot feels his puissance most, when surrounded by his sol­diery arrayed for battle. With the sword in his hand, and his artillery around him, he rejoices in his might, and glories in his greatness. Blood must mark his path; and his triumph is incomplete, till death and destruction stalk over the land, the harbingers of his triumphant cavalcade.

Spirit of DESPOTISM.

What are the chief considerations with despots, previ­ously to going to war, and at its conclusion? Evidently the expence of money. Little is said or thought of the lives lost, or devoted to be lost, except as matters of pecuniary value. Humanity, indeed, weeps in silence and solitude, in the sequestered shade of private life; but is a single tear shed in courts, and camps, and cabi­ners? When men high in command, men of fortune and family, fall, their deeds are blazoned, and they figure in history; but who, save the poor widow and the or­phan, enquire after the very names of the rank and file? There they lie, a mass of human flesh, not so much regretted by the despots as the horses they rode, or the arms they bore. While ships often go down to the bottom, struck by the iron thunderbolts of war, and not a life is saved; the national loss is estimated by the despot, according to the weight of metal wasted, and the magnitude and expence of the wooden castle.


Despotism! I would laugh at all thy extravagancies, thy solemn mummery, thy baby baubles, thy airs of insolence, thy finery and slippery, thy impotent insults over virtue, genius, and all personal merit, thy strutting, self-pleasing mien and language! I would consider them all with the eye of a Democritus, as [...] a constant farce, an inexhaustible fund of merriment, [Page 111] did they not lead to the malevolent passions, which, in their effects, forge chains for men born free, plunder the poor of their property, and shed the blood of innocence.


Where God caused the sun to shine gaily, and scat­tered plenty over the land, despots diffused famine and solitude. The valley which laughed with scorn, they watered with the tear of artificial hunger and distress; the plain that was bright with verdure, and gay with flowre [...]s, they dyed red with gore. They operated on the world as the blast of an east wind, as a pestilence, as a deluge, as a conflagration. And have they yet ceased from the earth? Cast your eyes over the plains of Rus­sia, Poland, a great part of Europe, the wilds of Africa, and the gardens of Asia; European despotism has united with oriental, to unparadise the provinces of India.


Despotism is the grand source of human misfortune, the Pandora's box out of which every curse has issued, and scarcely lest even hope behind. Despotism, in its extreme, is fatal to human happiness, and, in all its degrees and modifications, injurious. The spirit of it ought therefore to be suppressed on the first and slightest appearance. It should be the endeavor of every good man, as far as his best abilities will extend, to extirpate all arbitrary government from the globe. It should be swept from the earth, or trampled under foot, from China to Peru.



Dulness or deformity are not culpable in themselves, but may be very justly reproached when they pretend to the honour of wit or the influence of beauty.

Life of POPE.
[Page 112]


Of all the beasts that graze the lawn, or hunt the forest, a dog is the only animal, that, leaving his fel­lows, attempts to cultivate the friendship of man; to man he looks, in all his necessities, with a speaking eye, for assistance; exerts for him all the little service in his power, with chearfulness and pleasure; for him bears famine and fatigue with patience and resignation: no injuries can abate his fidelity; no distress induce him to forsake his benefactor; studious to please and fearing to offend, he is still an humble, stedfast de­pendant; and in him alone fawning is not flattery. How unkind, then, to torture this faithful creature, who has left the forest to claim the protection of man! How ungrateful a return to the trusty animal for all its services!



When we act according to our duty, we commit the event to him by whose laws our actions are governed, and who will suffer none to be finally punished for o­bedience. But when in prospect of some good, whe­ther natural or moral, we break the rules prescribed to us, we withdraw from the direction of superior wis­dom, and take all the consequences upon ourselves.

Prince of Abyssinia.


It is an undoubted truth, that our duty is insepara­bly connected with our happiness. And why should we despair of convincing every member of society of a truth so important for him to know? Should any person object, by saying, that nothing like this, has ever yet been done; I answer, that nothing like this [Page 113] has ever yet been tried. Society has hitherto been curst with governments, whose existence depended on the extinction of truth. Every moral light has been smothered under the bushel of perpetual imposition; from whence it emits but faint and glimmering rays, always insufficient to form any luminous system on any of the civil concerns of men. But these covers are crumbling to the dust, with the governments which they support; and the probability becomes more ap­parent, the more it is considered, that society is capa­ble of curing all the evils to which it has given birth.



The folly of allowing ourselves to delay what we know cannot be finally escaped, is one of the general weaknesses which, in spite of the instruction of moral­ists, and the remonstrances of reason, prevail to a greater or less degree in every mind: even they who most steadily withstand it, find it, if not the most violent, the most pertinacious of their passions, always renew­ing its attacks, and, though often vanquished, never destroyed.



Nothing is more erroneous than the common obser­vation, that men who are ill-natured and quarrelsome when they are drunk, are very worthy persons when they are sober; for drink in reality doth not reverse nature, or create passions in men which did not exist in them before.


There is not perhaps a more excellent institution than that of Pittacus, mentioned by Aristotle in his politics, by which a blow given by a drunken man was more severely punished, than if it had been given by one [Page 114] that was sober; for Pittacus (says Aristotle) considered the utility of the public, (as drunken men are more apt to strike) and not the excuse which might otherwise be allowed to their drunkenness.



Deceit and falsehood, whatever conveniencies they may for a time promise or produce, are, in the sum of life, obstacles to happiness. Those who profit by the cheat distrust the deceiver; and the act by which kind­ness was sought, puts an end to confidence.



Considering the unforeseen events of this world, we should be taught that no human condition should in­spire men with absolute despair.

Unhappy man! with storms of passion tost,
When first he learnt his vagrant child was lost,
On the cold floor his trembling limbs he flung,
And with thick blows his hollow bosom rung;
Then up he started, and with fix'd surprise,
Upon her picture threw his frantic eyes,
While thus he cry'd, "In her my life was bound,
" Warm in each feature is her mother found:
" Perhaps despair has been her fatal guide,
" And now she floats upon the weeping tide,
" Or on the willow hung with head reclin'd,
" All pale and cold she wavers in the wind;
" Did I not force her hence by harsh commands?
" Did not her soul abhor the nuptial bands?"
Teach not, ye sires, your daughters to rebel,
By counsel rein their wills, but ne'er compel.
[Page 115]


Dishonest minds, just like the jaundic'd sight,
See honest deeds in a dishonest light:
Thro' clouds of guilt, the innocent they view,
And stain each virtue with some vicious hue.
The just and good look with a different eye,
By generous hearts they generous actions try:
Govern'd by honor, honor they revere,
And think each virtue, like their own, sincere.


Has pity lost its mighty power to move,
That all my mournful sorrows can't incline you,
To weigh my sufferings with my real deserts?
Can you then see me with a broken heart,
Wretched, wand'ring, and forsook by all,
Except th' insulting rabble at my heels:
And as pinching need or thirst or hunger,
Shall make me seek relief from door to door,
Perhaps receive harsh language and reproach,
Instead of succour to supply my wants.
Then after all the mis'ries of the day,
Soon as th' unwholesome night brings on its dews,
Under some dropping eve, or leafless hedge,
Shiv'ring and almost starv'd with piercing cold,
Repose my weary limbs, with toil fatigu'd.


Domestic happiness, thou only bliss
Of Paradise that has surviv'd the fall!
Though few now taste thee unimpair'd and pure,
Or, tasting, long enjoy thee; too infirm
Or too incautious to preserve thy sweets
[Page 116] Unmixt with drops of bitter, which neglect
Or temper sheds into thy crystal cup.
Thou art the nurse of virtue. In thine arms,
She smiles, appearing, as in truth she is,
Heav'n born, and destin'd to the skies again.
Thou art not known where pleasure is ador'd,
That reeling goddess, with the zoneless waist,
And wand'ring eyes, still leaning on the arm
Of novelty, her fickle frail support;
For thou art meek and constant, hating change,
And finding in the calm of truth-tried love,
Joys that her stormy raptures never yield.

The great end of prudence is to give chearfulness to those hours which splendor cannot gild, and acclama­tion cannot exhilirate. Those soft intervals of unbended amusement, in which a man shrinks to his natural dimensions, and throws aside the ornaments or disguises which he feels, in privacy, to be useless incum­brances, and to lose all effect when they become familiar. To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition; the end to which every enterprise and labor tends, and of which every desire prompts the prosecution. It is indeed at home that every man must be known, by those who would make a just estimate either of his virtue or felicity; for smiles and embroi­dery are alike occasional, and the mind is often dressed for show in painted honor, and fictitious benevolence.


The highest panegyric that domestic virtue can receive, is the praise of servants; for however vanity or inso­lence may look down with contempt on the suffrage of men undignified with wealth, and unenlightened by education, it very seldom happens that they commend or blame without justice.

[Page 117]


In all disputes between the people and their rulers, the presumption is at least upon a par in favor of the people. Experience may perhaps justify me in going farther. Where popular discontents have been very prevalent, it may well be affirmed and supported, that there has been generally something found amiss in the constitution or in the conduct of government. The people have no interest in disorder. When they do wrong, it is their error and not their crime. But with the govern­ing party of the state it is far otherwise. They cer­tainly may act ill by design as well as by mistake. ‘The revolutions which occur in great states, are not the effect of chance or the caprice of the people. Nothing disgusts the grandees of a kingdom so much as a weak or deranged government. But the people never revolt through a thirst of innovation, but through impatience of suffering.’ These are the words of a great man; of a minister of state [Sully] and a zealous asserter of monarchy. What he says of revolutions is equally true of all great disturbances.



All men are created equal,

Declaration of INDEPENDENCE.

All men are born equally free and independent; therefore all government of right originates from the people, is sounded in consent, and instituted for the general good.

Constitution of NEW-HAMPSHIRE.

All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which [Page 118] may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.

Constitution of MASSACHUSETTS.

All men are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent, and unalienable rights; amongst which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty—acquiring, possessing and protecting property—and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

Constitution of VERMONT.

What is the race of mankind but one family, widely scattered upon the face of the earth? all men by nature are brothers.

—Search we the secret springs,
And backwards trace the principles of things;
There shall we find, that when the world began,
One common mass compos'd the mould of man;
One paste of flesh on all degrees bestow'd,
And kneaded up alike with moist'ning blood.
The same almighty power inspir'd the frame
With kindled life, and form'd the souls the same.
The faculties of intellect and will,
Dispens'd with equal hand, dispos'd with equal skill,
Like liberty indulg'd with choice of good or ill.
Thus born alike, from virtue first began
The difference that distinguish'd man from man:
He claim'd no title from descent of blood,
But that which made him noble made him good.

There is no more inward value in the greatest empe­ror than in the meanest of his subjects. His body is composed of the same substance, the same parts, and with [Page 119] the same or greater infirmities: his education is gen­erally worse, by flattery, idleness, and luxury, and those evil dispositions that early power is apt to give. It is therefore against common sense, that his private personal interest, or pleasure, should be put in the bal­ance with the safety of millions, every one of which is his equal by nature.


Men are not naturally opulent, courtiers, nobles, or kings. We come into the world naked and poor: we are all subject to the miseries of life.

The rich have not better appetites than the poor, nor quicker digestion: the master has not longer arms or stronger than the servant; a great man is no taller than the meanest artizan.



Extended empire, like expanded gold,
Exchanges solid strength for feeble splendor.


Such is the constitution of man, that labour may be styled its own reward: nor will any external incite­ments be requisite, if it be considered how much hap­piness is gained, and how much misery escaped, by frequent and violent agitation of the body.


Exercise cannot secure us from that dissolution to which we are decreed; but, while the soul and body continue united, it can make the association pleasing, and give probable hopes that they shall be disjoined by an easy separation. It was a principle among the an­cients, that acute diseases are from heaven, and chro­nic, from ourselves: the dart of death, indeed, falls [Page 120] from heaven; but we poison it by our own miscon­duct.



Children, like tender Oziers, take the bow,
And as they first are fashion'd, always grow:
For what we learn in youth, to that alone
In age we are by second nature prone.

Physical knowledge is of such rare emergence, that one man may know another half his life without being able to estimate his skill in hydrostatics or astronomy; but his moral and prudential character immediately appears. Those authors, therefore, are to be read at school, that supply most axioms of prudence, most principles of moral truth, and most materials for con­versation; and these purposes are best served by poets, orators, and historians.

Life of MILTON.

It ought always to be steadily inculcated, that vir­tue is the highest proof of understanding, and the only solid basis of greatness; and that vice is the natural consequence of narrow thoughts; that it begins in mistake, and ends in ignominy.


I consider an human soul without education, like marble in the quarry, which shews none of its inherent beauties, till the skill of the polisher fetches out the colours, make the surface shine, and discovers every ornamental clould, spot, and vein that runs through the body of it. Education, after the same manner, when it works upon a noble mind, draws out to view every latent virtue and perfection, which, without such helps, are never able to make their appearance.

[Page 121]


It is incumbent on every man who consults his own dignity, to retract his error as soon as he discovers it, without fearing any censure so much as that of his own mind. As justice requires that all injuries should be repaired, it is the duty of him who has seduced others by bad practices, or false notions, to endeavour that such as have adopted his errors should know his retrac­tation, and that those who have learned vice by his ex­ample, should, by his example, be taught amendment.



Countries are generally peopled in proportion as they are free, and are certainly happy in that propor­tion; and upon the same tract of land that would maintain a hundred thousand freemen in plenty, five thousand slaves would starve. Liberty naturally draws new people to it, as well as increases the old-stock; and men as naturally run, when they dare, from slavery and wretchedness. Hence great cities, losing their li­berties, become desarts; and little towns by liberty grow great cities.


Civil freedom is not, as many have endeavored to persuade us, a thing that lies hid in the depth of ab­struse science. It is a blessing and a benefit, not an abstract speculation; and all the just reasoning that can be upon it, is of so coarse a texture, as perfectly to suit the ordinary capacities of those who are to enjoy, and of those who are to defend it. Far from any resemblance to those propositions in geometry and metaphysics, which admit no medium, but must be true or false in all their latitude; social and civil freedom, like all o­ther things in common life, are variously mixed and modified, enjoyed in very different degrees, and shaped [Page 122] into an infinite diversity of forms, according to the temper and circumstances of every community. The extreme of liberty (which is its abstract perfection, but its real fault) obtains no where, nor ought to obtain any where. Because extremes, as we all know, in every point which relates either to our duties or satis­factions in life, are destructive both to virtue and en­joyment. Liberty too must be limited in order to be possessed. The degree of restraint it is impossible in any case to settle precisely. But it ought to be the con­stant aim of every wise public counsel, to find out by cautious experiments, and rational, cool endeavors, with how little, not how much of this restraint, the community can subsist.

Whose freedom is by suff'rance, and at will
Of a superior, he is never free.
Who lives, and is not weary of a life
Expos'd to manacles, deserves them well.
The state that strives for liberty, though foil'd,
And forc'd t' abandon what she bravely [...]ought,
Deserves at least applause for her attempt,
And pity for her loss. But that's a cause
Not often unsuccessful; pow'r usurp'd,
Is weakness when oppos'd; conscious of wrong,
'Tis pusillanimous, and prone to flight.
But slaves, that once conceive the glowing thought
Of freedom, in that hope itself possess
All that the contest calls for; spirit, strength,
The scorn of danger, and united hearts,
The surest presage of the good they seek.
Tempt me no more. My soul can ne'er comport
With the gay slaveries of a court;
I've an aversion to those charms,
And hug dear liberty in both mine arms.
Go, vassal-souls, go, cringe and wait,
And dance attendance at Honorio's gate;
[Page 123] Then run in troops before him to compose his state:
Move, as he moves; and, when he loiters, stand;
You're but the shadows of a man.
Bend when he speaks; and kiss the ground:
Go, catch th' impertinence of sound:
Adore the follies of the great:
Wait till he smiles: but lo, the idol frown'd,
And drove them to their fate.
Thus base-born minds. But as for me,
I can and will be free:
Like a strong mountain, or some stately tree,
My soul grows firm upright,
And as I stand, and as I go,
It keeps my body so;
No, I can never part with my creation-right:
Let slaves and asses stoop and bow,
I cannot make this iron knee
Bend to a meaner power than that which form'd it free.
When God from chaos gave this world to be,
Man then he form'd, and form'd him to be free,
In his own image stampt the favorite race—
How dar'st thou, tyrant, the fair stamp deface!
When on mankind you fix your abject chains,
No more the image of that God remains;
O'er a dark scene a darker shade is drawn,
His work dishonour'd, and our glory gone!
One truth is clear from nature, constant still,
Kings hold not worlds, or empires at their will:—
Nor rebels they, who native freedom claim,
Conquest alone can ratify the name—
But great the task, resistance to controul
When genuine virtue fires the stubborn soul;
The warlike beast, in Lybian desarts plac'd
To reign the master of the sun-burnt waste,
[Page 124] Not tamely yields to wear a servile chain:
Force may attempt it, and attempt in vain—
Nervous and bold, by native valour led:
His prowess strikes the proud invader dead,
By force nor fraud from freedom's charms beguil'd,
He reigns secure the monarch of the wild.


Busy, curious, thirsty fly,
Drink with me, and drink as I:
Freely welcome to my cup,
Couldst thou sip, and sip it up.
Make the most of life you may,
Life is short, and wears away,
Both alike are mine and thine,
Hastening quick to their decline:
Thine's a summer, mine no more,
Though repeated to threescore;
Threescore summers, when they're gone,
Will appear as short as one.


The miser fasts, because he will not eat;
The poor man fasts, because he has no meat;
The rich man fasts, with greedy mind to spare;
The glutton fasts, to eat the greater share,
The hypocrite, he fasts, to seem more holy;
The righteous man, to punish sin and folly.


The best of men appear sometimes to be strange compounds of contradictory qualities: and, were the accidental oversights and folly of the wisest man,—the failings and imperfections of a religious man,—the hasty acts and passionate words of a meek man; were they [Page 125] to rise up in judgment against them,—and an ill—na­tured judge be suffered to mark, in this manner, what has been done amiss—what character so unex­ceptionable as to be able to stand before him?



He is the freeman whom the truth makes free,
And all are slaves beside. There's not a chain
That hellish foes confed'rate for his harm
Can wind around him, but he casts it off
With as much ease as Samson his green withes.
He looks abroad into the varied field
Of Nature, and tho' poor, perhaps, compar'd
With those whose mansions glitter in his sight,
Calls the delightful scenery all his own.
His are the mountains, and the vallies his,
And the resplendent rivers; his t'enjoy
With a propriety that none can feel,
But who, with filial confidence inspir'd,
Can lift to Heav'n an unpresumptuous eye,
And smiling say—My Father made them all:
Are they not his by a peculiar right;
And by an emphasis of int'rest his,
Whose eye they fill with tears of holy joy,
Whose heart with praise, and whose exalted mind
With worthy thoughts of that unwearied love
That plann'd and built, and still upholds a world,
So cloth'd, with beauty, for rebellious man?


The wide earth finish'd, from his western throne,
In splendid beauty look'd the gladsome sun;
Calm were the skies; the fields with lustre crown'd,
And nature's incense fili'd th' etherial round.
[Page 126] Enshrin'd in sacred light, the Maker stood,
Complacent smil'd, and own'd the work was good.
Then from his hand, in silent glory, came
A nobler form, and man his destin'd name;
Erect, and tall, in solemn pomp he stood,
And living virtue in his visage glow'd.
Then, too, a fairer being show'd her charms;
Young beauty wanton'd in her snowy arms;
The heav'ns around her bade their graces fly,
And love sat blooming in her gentle eye.
O pair divine! superior to your kind;
To virtue fashion'd, and for bliss design'd!
He, born to rule, with calm uplifted brow,
Look'd down majestic on the world below;
To heav'n, his mansion, turn'd his thoughts sublime,
Or rov'd far onward thro' the scenes of time;
O'er nature's kingdom cast a searching eye,
And dar'd to trace the secrets of the sky;
On fancy's pinions scann'd the bright abode,
And claim'd his friend, an angel, or a God.
Her he indu'd with nature more refin'd,
A lovelier image, and a softer mind.
To her he gave to kindle sweet desire,
To rouse great thoughts, and fan th' heroic fire;
At pity's gentle call to bend his ear;
To prompt for woe the unaffected tear;
In scenes refin'd his soft'ning soul improve,
And tune his wishes with the hand of love.
To her he gave with sweetness to obey,
Inspire the friend, and charm the lord away;
Each bleeding grief with balmy hand to heal,
And teach his rending sinews not to seel;
Each joy t' improve, the pious wish to raise,
And add new raptures to his languid praise.
To this lov'd pair a bless'd retreat was given,
A seat for angels, and an humbler heaven;
Fair Eden nam'd: in swift succession, there
Glad scenes of rapture led the vernal year;
Round the green garden, living beauty play'd;
[Page 127] In gay profusion earth her treasures spread;
The air breath'd fragrance: streams harmonious rung,
And love, and transport, tun'd th' aerial song.


Frugality may be termed the daughter of prudence, the sister of temperance, and the parent of liberty. He that is extravagant, will quickly become poor, and poverty will enforce dependence, and invite corruption. It will almost always produce a passive compliance with the wickedness of others, and there are [...] who do not learn by degrees to practise those crimes [...] they cease to censure.


Though in every age there are some who, by bold adventures or by favourable accidents, rise suddenly into riches, the bulk of mankind must owe their af­fluence to small and gradual profits, below which their expence must be resolutely reduced.



Bestowing one favour on some men they think is giving them a right to ask a second—the first they look upon as a gift—the rest are payments.



The brave only know how to forgive;—it is the most refined and generous pitch of virtue human nature can arrive at. Cowards have done good and kind actions,—cowards have even fought, nay sometimes, even con­quered; but a coward never forgave.—It is not in his nature;—the power of doing it flows only from a strength and greatness of soul, conscious of its own force and security, and above the little temptations of resenting every fruitless attempt to interrupt its hap­piness.


[Page 128] Whoever considers the weakness both of himself and [...] [...]ill not long want persuasives to forgive­ness. [...] not to what degree of malignity any injury is to be [...], or how much its guilt, if we were to inspect [...] of him that committed it, would be extenuated by mistake, precipitance, or ne­gligence. We cannot be certain how much more we feel than was intended, or how much we increase the mischief to ourselves by voluntary aggravations. We may charge to design the effects of accident. We may think the blow violent, only because we have made ourselves delicate and tender; we are, on every side, [...] danger of error and guilt, which we are certain to avoid only by speedy forgiveness.



The evil that men do, lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones,
Ill shall we judge, if from the mouth of fame
We mark the characters of vice and virtue,
Here pageants rise, made by tradition heroes,
Form'd by the poet or the loose historian;
There you behold imaginary gods,
Rais'd by the venal breath of slaves to heav'n,
Swoln with the praise of fools, ignobly great,
By lust, ambition, tyranny or rapine;
While the good prince, whose soft indulgent nature
Delights in peace, and blesses all with plenty
Who smile beneath him, is revil'd and censur'd,
As an inactive, useless, idle drone.


There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
[Page 129] Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows, and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
Man makes his fate according to his mind:
The weak low spirit fortune makes her slave,
But she's a drudge when hector'd by the brave.
If fate weave common thread, he'll change the doom,
And with new purple spread a nobler loom.
Heav'n has to all allotted, soon or late,
Some lucky revolution of their fate;
Whose motions if we watch and guide with skill,
(For human good depends on human will)
Our fortune rolls as from a smooth descent,
And from the first impression takes its bent;
But if unseiz'd, she glides away like wind,
And leaves repenting folly far behind;
Now, now she meets you with a glorious prize,
And spreads her locks before her as she flies.

FIGHT (for native Country.)

—To fight, Aemilius,
In a just cause, and for our country's safety,
Is the best office of the best of men;
And to decline it when these motives urge,
Is infamy beneath a coward's baseness.


Of all wild beasts, preserve me from a tyrant,
And of all tame, a flatterer.
[Page 130]
—Cease, cease this flatt'ry!
'Tis a mean, vicious habit those contract,
Who hide the settl'd purpose of their souls
Under its smooth and glitt'ring ornaments,
As they disdain'd the honest company
Of plain and native truth.

He that is much flattered, soon learns to flatter him­self. We are commonly taught our duty by fear or shame; and how can they act upon the man who hears nothing but his own praises?

Life of SWIFT.

Neither our virtues or vices are all our own. If there were no cowardice, there would be little inso­lence. Pride cannot rise to any great degree, but by the concurrence of blandishment, or the sufferance of tameness. The wretch who would shrink and crouch before one who should dart his eyes upon him with the spirit of natural equality, becomes capricious and tyrannical when he sees himself approached with a downcast look, and hears the soft addresses of awe and servility. To those who are willing to purchase favor by cringes and compliance, is to be imputed the haugh­tiness that leaves nothing to hoped by firmness and in­tegrity.



—In struggling with misfortunes
Lies the true proof of virtue. On smooth seas
How many bauble boats dare set their sails,
And make an equal way with firmer vessels:
But let the tempest once enrage the sea,
And then behold the strong-ribb'd argosie
Bounding between the ocean and the air,
Like Perseus mounted on his Pegasus;
Then where are those weak rivals of the main?
Or to avoid the tempest, fled to port,
[Page 131] Or made a prey to Neptune. Ev'n thus
Do empty shew and true-priz'd worth divide
In storms of fortune.
Let fortune empty her whole quiver on me.
I have a soul, that, like an ample shield,
Can take in all, and verge enough for more:
Fate was not mine, nor am I Fate's,
Souls know no conquerors.
With such unshaken temper of the soul
To bear the swelling tide of prosp'rous fortune,
Is to deserve that fortune. In adversity
The mind grows rough by buffeting the tempest;
But in success dissolving, sinks to ease,
And loses all her firmness.
Tho' plung'd in ills, and exercis'd in care,
Yet never let the noble mind despair:
When press'd by dangers, and beset with foes,
The heav'ns their timely succour interpose;
And when our virtue sinks, o'erwhelm'd with grief,
By unforeseen expedients bring relief.


Fortune sometimes assumes a rugged brow,
But to endear her smiles, and make the turn
More welcome to us, as 'tis unexpected—
How sweet is rest after a toilsome day!
How pleasant light after a length of darkness!
How relishing good fortune after ill!
Fortune! Made up of toys and impudence,
Thou common jade, that hast not common sense!
But, fond of bus'ness, insolently dares
Pretend to rule, and spoil the world's affairs.
[Page 132] She flutt'ring up and down, her favours throws
On the next met, not minding what she does,
Nor why, nor whom she helps or injures, knows,
Sometimes she smiles, then like a fury raves,
But if she offer once to move her wings,
I'll fling her back all her vain geugaw things;
And arm'd with virtue, will more glorious stand,
Than if the wanton bow'd at my command.
Ay me! what perils do environ
The man that meddles with cold iron?
What plaguy mischiefs and mis-haps
Do dog him still with after-claps!
For tho' Dame Fortune seem'd to smile,
And leer upon him for a while:
She'll after shew him, in the nick
Of all his honours a dog-trick.
For Hudibras, who thought he'd won
The field as certain as a gun;
And, having routed the whole troop,
With victory was cock-a-hoop:
Found in few minutes to his cost,
He did but count without his host;
And that a turn-stile is more certain,
Than in events of war Dame Fortune.

Examples need not be sought at any great distance, to prove that superiority of fortune has a natural ten­dency to kindle pride, and that pride seldom fails to exert itself in contempt and insult. This is often the effect of hereditary wealth, and of honors only enjoy­ed by the merit of others.

[Page 133]


From faction and violence [...] the cause of liberty, which disgrace the cause itself, and give advantage to the favorers of [...], I meet anxiously dissuade all who love mankind and their country. Faction and violence are despotic in the extreme. They bring all the evils of tyranny, without any consolation, but that they are usually transient; whereas tyranny is durable. They destroy themselves, or, are destroyed by force in the hands of a superior power. In either case, much is lost to the cause of liberty; because the persons who have been betrayed by their passions into excesses, were probably sincere; and if they had been also discreet and moderate, would have been effectual as well as zealous promoters of the public good. It is certain, that very honest men are very apt to be betrayed into violence by their warmth of temper. They mean good and do ill. They become the instruments of dispas­sionate knaves; and are often led into extravagances by the very party against whom they act, in order that they may be exposed, and become obnoxious to censure.

Wisdom is gentle, deliberate, cautious. Nothing violent is durable. I hope the lovers of liberty will shew the sincerity of their attachment by the wisdom of their conduct. Tumultuary proceedings always exhibit some appearance of insanity. A blow struck with blind violence may inflict a wound or a bruise, but it may fall in the wrong place; it may even injure the hand that gives it, by its own ill-directed force.

Spirit of DESPOTISM.


As fire and water are of common uses,
An in their kinds essential for support:
So is a friend, just such a friend as you;
[Page 134] The joys of life are heighten'd by a friend;
The woes of life are lessen [...]d by a friend;
In all the cares of life, we by a friend
Assistance find—Who'd be without a friend?
Thou think'st me, sure, that abject slave thou art,
A stranger to the sacred laws of friendship,
Whom generous sentiments could never warm.
Shall I, because the waves begin to swell,
And gathering clouds portend the rising storm,
Desert my friend and poorly fly to shore?
Let them come on, and rattle o'er my head:
To the full tempest's rage expos'd together,
Safe in the bark of innocence we'll ride,
Outbrave the billows, and deride their tumult.


Friendship's dear ties for gen'rous souls were made,
When they relax, black woes our peace invade:
Friendship from every ill can life defend,
Our guardian angel's but a faithful friend.
Friendship, thou greatest happiness below!
The world would be a desart, but for thee;
And man himself, a nobler sort of brute:
Wherefore did Heav'n our god-like reason give?
To make the charms of conversation sweet;
To open and unbosom all our woes:
For life's sure medicine is a faithful friend.
The two firm rocks on which all friendships stand,
Are love of freedom, and our country's glory;
Piety, valour, and paternal love
Form the arising pile: the other virtues
Candour, beneficence, and moral trust,
Are superstructures, and adorn the dome.

[Page 135] A treacherous friend is the most dangerous enemy; and both religion and virtue have received more real discredit from hypocrites, than the wittiest profligates, or infidels could ever cast upon them; nay, farther, as these two in their purity, are rightly called the bands of civil society, and are indeed the greatest of blessings; so when poisoned and corrupted with fraud, pretence, and affectation, they have become the worst of civil cur­ses, and have enabled men to perpetrate the most cruel mischiefs to their own species.


The firmness and constancy of a true friend is a circumstance so extremely delightful to persons in any kind of distress, that the distress itself, (if it be only temporary, and admit of relief) is more than compen­sated, by bringing this comfort with it.


So many qualities are necessary to the possibility of friendship, and so many accidents must concur to its rise and its continuance, that the greatest part of man­kind content themselves without it, and supply its place as they can with interest and dependence.


Many have talked in very exalted language of the perpetuity of friendship: of invincible constancy and unalienable kindness; and some examples have been seen of men who have continued faithful to their ear­liest choice, and whose affections have predominated over changes of fortune and contrariety of opinion. But these instances are memorable, because they are rare. The friendship which is to be practised or ex­pected by common mortals, must take its rise from mutual pleasure, and must end when the power ceases of delighting each other.


The most fatal disease of friendship is gradual decay, or dislike hourly increased by causes too slender for [Page 136] complaint, and too numerous for removal. Those who are angry may be reconciled. Those who have been injured may receive a recompense; but when the desire of pleasing, and willingness to be pleased, is si­lently diminished, the renovation of friendship is hope­less; as when the vital powers sink into languor, there is no longer any use of the physician.


There are few subjects which have been more writ­ten upon, and less understood, than that of friendship. To follow the dictates of some, this virtue, instead of being the assuager of pain, becomes the source of every inconvenience. Such speculatists, by expecting too much from friendship, dissolve the connection, and, by drawing the bands too closely, at length break them. Almost all our romance and novel-writers are of this kind; they persuade us to friendships, which we find impossible to sustain to the last; so that this sweetner of life, under proper regulations, is by their means, ren­dered inaccessible or uneasy. It is certain, the best method to cultivate this virtue is by letting it, in some measure, make itself; a similitude of minds or studies, and even sometimes a diversity of pursuits, will pro­duce all the pleasures that arise from it. The current of tenderness widens, as it proceeds; and two men imperceptibly find their hearts warm with good-nature for each other, when they w [...]re at first only in pursuit of mirth or relaxation.

Friendship is like a debt of honour; the moment it is talked of, it loses its real name, and assumes the more ungrateful form of obligation. From hence we find, that those who regularly undertake to cultivate friend­ship, find ingratitude generally repays their endeavours. That circle of beings, which dependence gathers round us, is almost ever unfriendly: they secretly wish the term of their connexions more nearly equal; and, where they even have the most virtue, are prepared to reserve all their affections for their patron, only in the [Page 137] hour of this decline. Increasing the obligations which are laid upon such minds, only increases their burthen; they feel themselves unable to repay the immensity of their debt, and their bankrupt hearts are taught a latent resentment at the hand that is stretched out with offers of service and relief.



Have I then no tears for thee, my father!
Can I forget thy cares, from helpless years
Thy tenderness for me? An eye still beam'd
With love? A brow that never knew a frown?
Nor a harsh word thy tongue? Shall I for these
Repay thy stooping venerable age
With shame, disquiet, anguish and dishonour?
It must not be?—Thou first of angels! Come
Sweet Filial Piety, and firm my breast!
Yes, let one daughter to her fate submit,
Be nobly wretched, but her father happy.

—Pr'ythee, Trim, quoth my father,—What dost thou mean, by "honouring thy father and thy mother?"

Allowing them, an't please your honour, three half­pence a day out of my pay when they grow old.—And didst thou do that, Trim? said Yorick.—He did, in­deed, replied my uncle Toby.—Then, Trim, said Yor­ick, springing out of his chair, and taking the Corpo­ral by the hand, thou art the best commentator upon that part of the Decalogue; and I honour thee more for it, Corporal Trim, than if thou hadst a hand in the Talmud itself.



There are few enterprises so hopeless as contests with the fashion, in which the opponents are not only [Page 138] made confident by their numbers, and strong by their union, but are hardened by contempt of their antagonist, whom they always look upon as a wretch of low no­tions, contracted views, mean conversation, and nar­row fortune; who envies the elevations which he cannot reach; who would gladly embitter the happiness which his inelegance or indigence deny him to partake; and who has no other end in his advice than to revenge his own mortification, by hindering those whom their birth and taste have set above him, from the enjoyment of their superiority, and bringing them down to a level with himself.

Nothing exceeds in ridicule, no doubt,
A fool in fashion, but a fool that's out;
His passion for absurdity's so strong,
He cannot bear a rival in the wrong:
Tho' wrong the mode, comply; more sense is shewn
In wearing others' follies than your own.
If what is out of fashion most you prize,
Methinks you should endeavor to be wise.


Ye blooming daughters of the western world,
Whose graceful locks by artless hands are curl'd,
Whose limbs of symmetry, and snowy breast,
Allure [...] love, in simple neatness drest;
Beneath the veil of modesty, who hide
The boast of nature and of virgin pride—
(For beauty needs no meretricious art
To find a passage to the op'ning heart)
Oh make your charms ev'n in my song admir'd,
My song immortal by your charms inspir'd.
Though lavish nature sheds each various grace,
That forms the figure, or that decks the face—
Though health, with innocence, and glee, the while
Dance in their eye, and wanton in their smile—
[Page 139] Tho' mid the lilly's white, unfolds the rose,
As on their cheek the bud of beauty blows,
Spontaneous blossom of the transient flush.
Which glows and reddens to a scarlet blush,
What time the maid, unread in flames and darts,
First feels of love the palpitating starts,
Feels from the heart, life's quicken'd currents glide,
Her bosom heaving with the bounding tide—
Though sweet their lips, their features more than fair—
Though curls luxuriant of untortur'd hair
Grow long, and add unutterable charms,
While ev'ry look enraptures and alarms;
Yet something still beyond th' exterior form,
With goodness fraught, with animation warm,
Inspires their actions; dignifies their mien;
Gilds ev'ry hour; and beautifies each scene.
'Tis those perfections of superior kind,
The moral beauties which adorn the mind:
'Tis those enchanting sounds mellifluous hung,
In words of truth and kindness on their tongue—
'Tis delicacy gives their charms new worth,
And calls the loveliness of beauty forth;
'Tis the mild influence beaming from their eyes,
Like vernal sun-beams, round coe [...]ulian skies;
Bright emanations of the spotless soul,
Which warm, and cheer, and vivify the whole


The proud supporters of tyranny, in which they hope to partake, have always used false alarms, false plots, cunningly-contrived nicknames and watchwords, to set the unthinking people against those who were promoting their greatest good.

When Christ began to preach, we read, in the sev­enth chapter of St. Luke, that the multitude and the publicans heard him; but [...] and the pharisees [Page 140] rejected the counsel of God towards them. They, like all persons of similar temper and rank, flourishing by abuses, could not bear innovation.

The most powerful argument they used against him was this question:—Have any of the rulers and the pharisees believed in him? In modern times the ques­tion would have been, have any persons of fashion and distinction given countenance to him? Does my lord—or my lady—or Sir Harry go to hear him preach?—Or is he somebody whom nobody knows?—Such is the language of the spirit of despotism, in all times and countries.

Spirit of DESPOTISM.


The softest and gentlest address to the erroneous, is the best way to convince them of their mistake. Sometimes [...]is necessary to represent to your opponent, that he is not far off from the truth, and that you would fain draw him a little nearer to it; commend and establish whatever he says that is just and true, as our blessed Saviour treated the young scribe, when he answered well concerning the two great command­ments; "Thou art not far; says our Lord, from the "kingdom of heaven," Mark xii. 34. Imitate the mildness and conduct of the blessed Jesus.

Come as near to your opponent as you can in all your propositions, and yield to him as much as you dare, in a consistence with truth and justice.

'Tis a very great and fatal mistake in persons who attempt to convince or reconcile others to their party, when they make the difference appear as wide as pos­sible: this is shocking to any person who is to be con­vinced, he will choose rather to keep and maintain his own opinions, if he cannot come into yours without renouncing and abandoning every thing that he believed [Page 141] before. Human nature must be flattered a little as well as reasoned with, that so the argument may be able to come at his understanding, which otherwise will be thrust off at a distance. If you charge a man with nonsense and absurdities, with heresy and self-contradiction, you take a very wrong step towards convincing him,

Remember that error is not to be rooted out of the mind of man by reproachings and railings, by flashes of wit and biting jests, by loud exclamations or sharp ridicule: long declamations and triumph over our neighbour's mistake, will not prove the way to con­vince him; these are signs either of a bad cause, or of want of arguments or capacity for the defence of a good one.



Gallantry, though a fashionable crime, is a very de­testable one; and the wretch who pilfers from us in the hour of distress, is an innocent character compared to the plunderer who wantonly robs us of happiness and reputation.



Nor stand so much on your gentility,
Which is an airy, and mere borrow'd thing,
From dead men's dust and bones: and none of yours,
Except you make, or hold it.


—There's not a homely peasant,
If grac'd with innocence, tho' nurs'd in toil,
But boasts more glory than a tainted grandeur.
[Page 142]
—Real glory
Springs from the silent conquest of ourselves;
And without that the conqueror is nought
But the [...] slave.


Is not confined to externals, much less to any par­ticular dress or attitude of the body; it is the art of pleasing, or contributing as much as possible to the ease and happiness of those with whom you converse.


Perhaps the summary of good breeding may be re­duced to this rule, "behave unto all men, as you would they should behave unto you."—This will [...]ost cer­tainly oblige us to treat all mankind with the utmost civility and respect, there being nothing which we desire more, than to be treated so by them. The ambitious, the covetous, the proud, the vain, the angry, the debauchee, the glutton, are all lost in the character of the well bred man; or if nature should now and then venture to peep forth, she withdraws in an instant, and doth not shew enough of herself to become ridiculous.



It is not so with him that all things knows
As 'tis with us, that square our guess by shews:
But most it is presumption in us, when
The help of Heav'n we count the act of men.
Tho' all the doors are sure, and all our servants
As sure bound with their sleeps, yet there is one
That wakes above, whose eye no sleep can bind.
He sees thro' doors and darkness, and our thoughts;
[Page 143] And therefore as we should avoid with fear,
To think amiss ourselves before his search,
So should we be as cautious to shun
All cause, that others think not ill of us.
That mind must surely err, whose narrow scope
Confines religion to a place or clime;
A power unknown, that actuates the world,
Whose eye is just, whose ev'ry thought is wisdom,
Regards alone the tribute of the heart;
Pride in his awful sight shrinks back appall'd;
Humility is eldest born of Virtue,
And claims her birth-right at the throne of Heav'n.
Thou didst, O mighty God! exist
Ere time began its race;
Before the ample elements
Fill'd up the void of space:
Before the pond'rous earthly globe
In fluid air was stay'd;
Before the ocean's mighty springs
Their liquid stores display'd:
Ere through the gloom of ancient night
The streaks of light appear'd;
Before the high celestial arch
On starry poles was rear'd:
Before the loud melodious spheres
Their tuneful round begun;
Before the shining roads of heav'n
Were measur'd by the sun:
Ere thro' the empyrean courts
One hallelujah rung;
Or to their harp [...] the sons of light
Ecstatic anthems sung:
[Page 144]
Ere men ador'd, or angels knew,
Or prais'd thy wondrous name;
Thy bliss, O sacred Spring of life;
Thy glory, was the same.
And when the pillars of the world
With sudden ruin break,
And all this vast and goodly frame
Sinks in the mighty wreck;
When from her orb the moon shall start,
Th' astonish'd sun roll back,
And all the trembling starry lamps
Their ancient course forsake;
For ever permanent and fix'd,
From agitation free,
Unchang'd in everlasting years,
Shall thy existence be.
Mrs. ROWE.
Should fate command me to the farthest verge
Of the green earth, to distant barbarous climes,
Rivers unknown to song; where first the sun
Gilds Indian mountains, or his setting beam
Flames on th' Atlantic isles, 'tis nought to me;
Since God is ever present, ever felt,
In the void waste as in the city full;
Aud where He vital spreads, there must be joy.
When ev'n at last the solemn hour shall come,
And wing my mystic flight to future worlds,
I cheerful will obey; there with new powers,
Will rising wonders sing! I cannot go
Where universal love not smiles around,
Sustaining all yon orbs, and all their suns:
From seeming evil still educing good,
And better thence again, and better still,
In infinite progression.—But I lose
Myself in Him, in light ineffable!
Come then, expressive silence, muse his praise.
[Page 145]


The votaries to gaming should be such as want helps for conversation; and none should have always cards in their hands, but those who have nothing but the weather in their mouths; thus gaming would be of service to the republic of wit, by taking away the encouragers of nonsense.


Gaming is a vice the more dangerous as it is de­ceitful; and, contrary to every other species of luxury, flatters its votaries with the hopes of increasing their wealth; so that avarice itself is so far from [...] us against its temptations, that it often betrays the more thoughtless and giddy part of mankind into them, pro­mising riches without bounds, and those to be acquired by the most sudden, as well as easy, and indeed pleasant means.



The wretch whom gratitude once fails to bind,
To truth or honor let him lay no claim;
But stand confess'd the brute disguis'd in man.
And when we wou'd, with utmost detestation,
Single some monster from the traitor-herd,
'Tis but to say, ingratitude's his crime.
When gratitude o'erflows the swelling heart,
And breathes in free and uncorrupted praise
For benefits receiv'd: propitious heaven
Takes such acknowledgment as fragrant incense,
And doubles all its blessings.


Good-nature is that benevolent and amiable temper of mind, which disposes us to feel the misfortunes, and [Page 146] enjoy the happiness of others; and consequently pushes us on to promote the latter, and prevent the former, and that without abstract contemplation on the beauty of virtue, and without the allurements or terrors of re­ligion.



To hinder insurrection by driving away the people, and to govern peaceably, by having no subjects, is an expedient that argues no great profundity of politics. To soften the obdurate, to convince the mistaken, to mollify the resentful, are worthy of a statesman; but it affords a legislator little self-applause to consider, that where there was formerly an insurrection, there is now a wilderness.


The general story of mankind will evince, that law­ful and settled authority is very seldom resisted when it is well employed. Gross corruption or evident im­becility, is necessary to the suppression of that reverence, with which the majority of mankind look upon their governors, or those whom they see surrounded by splendor, and fortified by power.


All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter. We balance in­conveniencies; we give and take; we remit some rights, that we may enjoy others; and, we chuse rather to be happy citizens, than subtle disputants. As we must give away some natural liberty, to enjoy civil ad­vantages; so we must sacrifice some civil liberties, for the advantages to be derived from the communion and fellowship of a great empire. But in all fair dealings, the thing bought, must bear some proportion to the purchase paid. None will barter away the immediate jewel of his soul.


[Page 147] To meliorate the condition of human nature, can be the only rational end of government. It can­not be designed to favor one description of men, a mi­nority, at the expence of all others; who, having re­ceived life from him who alone can give it, received at the same time a right to enjoy it in liberty and secu­rity. This was the charter of God and nature; which no mortal, however elevated by conquest or inheri­tance, can annul or violate without impiety. All gov­ernment which makes not the advancement of human happiness, and the comfort of the individuals who are subject to its control, the prime purpose of its opera­tions, partakes of despotism.

Spirit of DESPOTISM.

The majority of men are poor and obscure. To them all party attachments to names and families, little known as public benefactors, must appear at once absurd and injurious. They are the per­sons who stand in most need of protection and assistance from the powerful. The rich under all gov­ernments, have a thousand means of procuring either comfort or defence. It is the mass, the poor and middling ranks, unknown to, and unknowing courts or kings, who require all the alleviation which men enlightened by knowledge, furnished with opulence, elevated by rank, can afford to lessen the natural evils of life, aggravated by the moral and artificial. Govern­ment possesses the power of alleviating, and sometimes of removing, that moral and physical evil which em­bitters existence. How deplorable, when government becomes so perverted, as to increase the evil it was de­signed to cure. Yet this has been, and is now the case on a great part of the globe; insomuch that the learn­ed and judicious Dr. Prideaux, whose integrity is as well known as his ability, used to say, "that it was a doubt with him, whether the benefit which the world receives from government, was sufficient to make a­mends [Page 148] for the calamities which it suffers from the fol­lies, mistakes, and mal-administration of those who manage it."


Few and evil are our days, even when they proceed to their natural extent, and are attended with the com­mon portion of health and prosperity. Yet, as if a superfluity of years and happiness were lavished on men, the chief business of the greatest part of governments on the whole earth has been to abbreviate life, to poi­son and embitter its sweetest pleasures, and add new pungency to its anguish. Yet see the false glitter of happiness, the pomp and parade which such govern­ments assume; observe the gravity and insolence of su­periority which their ministers, their statesmen, and their warriors, assume, and you would imagine them a commissioned regency, lord lieutenants sent by hea­ven to rule this lower world, and to rectify all disor­ders which had escaped the vigilance of the Deity. The time has been when they have actually claimed the title of God's vicegerents, and have been literally worshipped as gods by the servile crew of courtiers; men gradually bowed down by despotism from the e­rect port of native dignity, and driven by fear to crouch under the most degrading of all superstition, the poli­tical idolatry of a base fellow-creature.


I lay it down as an incontrovertible axiom, that all who are born into the world have a right to be as happy in it as the unavoidable evils of nature, and their own disordered passions, will allow. The grand object of all good government, of all government that is not an usurpation, must be to promote this happiness, to as­sist every individual in its attainment and security. A government chiefly anxious about the emoluments of office, chiefly employed in augmenting its own power and aggrandizing its obsequious instruments, while it neglects the comfort and safety of individuals in mid­dle [Page 149] or low life, is despotic and a nuisance. It is found­ed on folly as well as wickedness, and, like the freaks of insanity, deals mischief and misery around, with­out being able to ascertain or limit its extent and dura­tion. If it should not be punished as criminal, let it be coerced as dangerous. Let the straight waistcoat be applied; but let men, judging fellow men, always spare the axe.

For what rational purpose could we enter into life? To vex, torment, and slay each other with the sword? To be and to make miserable? No, I firmly believe, that the great King of kings, intended every son and daughter of Adam to be as happy as the eternal laws of nature, under his control, permit them to be in this sublunary state. Execrated and exploded be all those politics, with Machiavel, or the Evil Being, their au­thor, which introduce systems of government and man­ners among the great, inconsistent with the happiness of the majority. Must real tragedies be forever act­ing on the stage of human life? Must men go on for­ever to be tormentors and executioners of men? Is the world never to profit by the experience of ages? Must not even attempts be made to improve the hap­piness of life, to improve government, though all arts and sciences are encouraged in their progress to per­fection? Must the grand art, the sublimest science, that of meliorating the condition of human nature, be stationary? No; forbid it reason, virtue, benevolence, religion! Let the world be made more and more com­fortable, to all who are allowed the glorious privilege of seeing the sun and breathing the liberal air.


The principal objects of all rational government, such as is intended to promote human happiness, are two; to preserve peace, and to diffuse plenty. Such government will seldom tax the necessaries of life. It will avoid wars; and, by such humane and wise poli­cy, render taxes on necessaries totally superfluous. [Page 150] Taxes on necessaries are usually caused by war. The poor, however, are not easily excited to insurrection. It is a base calumny which accuses them. They are naturally quiescent; inclined to submission by their ha­bits, and willing to reverence all their superiors who behave to them justly and kindly. They deserve to be used well. They deserve confidence. But oppression and persecution may teach them to lift their gigantic arm, and then vain will be resistance. Let not wars then be wantonly undertaken, which, besides their in­justice and inhumanity, tend more than any thing else, by increasing taxes, to compel insurrection. The poor man hears great praises bestowed on the govern­ment he lives under, and perpetual panegyrics on the constitution. He knows little of general politics. He judges from the effects he feels.


Care must always be taken to guard against all inde­pendence in the rulers, on the sentiments of the peo­ple, and to provide, that they shall administer, not their own power, but the powers of government.

CHIPMAN'S Principles of Government.

By the force of habit, and inveterate national preju­dices, abuses are rendered sacred, and not unfrequent­ly, come to be considered as rightful privileges; and those institutions, which were the offspring of chance or violence, to be extolled as the most perfect produc­tions of reason, sounded in the original and unalterable principles of nature. Such was the British government, and such has been the force of habitual prejudice upon the people of that kingdom. That government has, indeed, received many improvements, with the im­provements of the age; but they have generally been wrested by force from the reigning powers, or interpo­sed in a revolution of the crown. Many respectable characters long considered them as so many violations of the most sacred rights. The greater part of the na­tion [Page 151] appear fully persuaded, that all farther improve­ments are impracticable, and that because their gov­ernment was once the best, perhaps, which existed in the world, it must, through all the progressive advan­ces in knowledge, in morals, and in manners, con­tinue the best, a pattern of unchanging perfection, though, in its principles, it is much too limited for the present state. It is probable that all improvements in the government, will be opposed and prevented by those in power, who are interested in the present or­der of things, till the improvements of an enlightened age, shall produce a violent concussion in the combat with ancient prejudices, and struggle through a scene of tumult, outrage, and perhaps civil war, to arrive at some inconsiderable amelioration, in their constitu­tion.


The government of the United States of America exhibits a new scene in the political history of the world; a number of integral republics, each claiming and exercising all the powers of internal sovereignty, within the limits of their respective jurisdictions, formed into one general government, with powers of legislation for all national purposes, and the power of executing all their laws, within the several states, on the individual citizens, and that independently of the local authority. The experiment was new, and the success has, hitherto, exceeded the most sanguine ex­pectation of its advocates. A situation so complicated, so different from that of simple governments, which have been the subject of these sketches, will have an effect, if not upon the laws of nature, from which the general principles are ultimately derived, yet to give a different modification to those principles, owing to the different combinations and relative circumstances of the constituent parts; and will have an influence on its organization, and the execution of its laws.


[Page 152] That government, that constitution of society, the principles of which dictate those laws, and those only, which are adapted to the present-state of men and man­ners, and tend to social improvement, which are in­fluenced by a sense of moral obligation, and sanction­ed by the laws of nature, not of savage solitary nature, but of social nature, in its improved and improvable state, is incontrovertibly good. So far as it deviates, it is clearly faulty. Upon a candid examination, up­on a fair comparison, it will be found, that a democra­tic republic is alone capable of this pre-eminence of principle.


Guarantee to every man, the full enjoyment of his natural rights. Banish all exclusive privileges; all perpetuities of riches and honors. Leave free the ac­quisition and disposal of property to supply the occa­sions of the owner, and to answer all claims of right, both of the society, and of individuals. To give a sti­mulus to industry, to provide solace and assistance, in the last helpless stages of life, and a reward for the at­tentions of humanity, confirm to the owner the power of directing who shall succeed to his right of property, after his death; but let it be without any limitation, or restraint upon the future use, or disposal. Divert not the consequences of actions, as to the individual actors, from their proper course. Let no preference be given to any one in government, but what his con­duct can secure, from the sentiments of his fellow ci­tizens. Of property, left to the disposal of the law, let a descent from parents to children, in equal pro­portions, be held a sacred principle of the constitution. Secure but these, and every thing will flow in the channel intended by nature. The operation of the e­qual laws of nature, tend to exclude, or correct every dangerous excess.

[Page 153]


What will they then avail him in the grave?
His various policies, refin'd devices,
His subtle wit, his quick capacious thought?
Will they go with him to the grave? No, no!
Why then should he be proud?


—I tell thee what, Antonio,
There is a sort of men whose visages
Do cream and mantle like a standing pond,
And do a willful stilness entertain
With purpose to be drest in an opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit;
As who shou'd say, I am Sir Oracle;
And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark.
Oh, my Antonio! I do know of those,
That therefore only are reputed wise,
For saying nothing.
Yet subtle wights (so blind are mortal men,
Tho' satire couch them with her keenest pen)
For ever will hang out a solemn face,
To put off nonsense with a better grace,
As pedlars with some hero's head make bold,
Illustrious mark! where pins are to be sold.
What's the bent brow, or neck in thought reclin'd?
The body's wisdom to conceal the mind.
A man of sense can artifice disdain,
As men of wealth may venture to go plain;
And be this truth eternal ne'er forgot,
Solemnity's a cover for a sot.
I find the fool, when I behold the screen;
For 'tis the wise man's int'rest to be seen.
[Page 154]


—Could great men thunder,
As Jove himself doth, Jove would ne'er be quiet;
For every pelting petty officer
Would use his heav'n for thunder:
Nothing but thunder. Merciful Heav'n!
Thou rather with thy sharp and sulph'rous bolt
Split'st the unwedgeable and gnarled oak,
Than the soft myrtle: O, but man! proud man!
Dress'd in a little brief authority,
(Most ignorant of what lies most assur'd,
His glassy essence,) like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heav'n,
As make the angels weep: who with our spleens
Would all themselves laugh mortal.
Farewell, a long farewell to all my greatness!
This is the state of man; to day he puts forth
The tender leaves of hope; to-morrow blossoms,
And bears his blushing honours thick upon him,
The third day comes a frost, a killing frost;
And when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
His greatness is a ripening, nips his root;
And then he falls as I do. I have ventur'd,
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
These many summers in a sea of glory;
But far beyond my depth: my high-blown pride
At length broke under me, and now has left me,
Weary and old with service, to the mercy
Of a rude stream, that must forever hide me.
Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye!
I feel my heart new opened.
—Since by your greatness, you
Are nearer heav'n in place, be nearer it
In goodness. Rich men should transcend the poor
[Page 155] As clouds th' earth; rais'd by the comfort of
The sun, to water dry and barren grounds.
They that are great and worthy to be so,
Hide not their rays from meanest plants that grow.
Why is the sun set on a throne so high,
But to give light to each inferior eye?
His radiant eyes distribute lively grace
To all according to their worth and place;
And from the humble ground these vapours drain,
Which are sent down in fruitful drops of rain.
Oh greatness! bane of virtue and honor!
Sure great and good can never meet in one.
Who would not rather wish in homely cells,
Or meanest cottages to lead his life,
Where dwells content, inestimable prize!
—What a scene
Of solemn mockery is all human grandeur?
Thus worshipp'd, thus exalted by the breath
Of adulation, are my passions sooth'd?
My secret pangs asswag'd? The peasant-hind
Who drives his camel o'er the burning waste,
With heat and hunger smote, knows happier days,
And sounder nights than I.
Thrice happy they, who sleep in humble life,
Beneath the storm ambition blows. 'Tis meet
The great should have the fame of happiness,
The consolation of a little envy;
'Tis all their pay, for those superior cares,
Those pangs of heart, their vassals ne'er can feel.

He that becomes acquainted and is invested with authority and influence, will in a short time be con­vinced, [Page 156] that, in proportion as the power of doing well is enlarged, the temptations to do ill are multiplied and enforced.


The awe which great actions or abilities impress, will be inevitably diminished by acquaintance, though nothing either mean or criminal should be found; be­cause we do not easily consider him as great whom our own eyes shew us to be little; nor labour to keep present to our thoughts the latent excellencies of him who shares with us all our weaknesses and many of our follies; who, like us, is delighted with slight amuse­ments, busied with trifling employments, and disturbed by little vexations.



There is nothing which I can so reluctantly pardon in the great ones of this world, as the little value they entertain for the life of a man. Property, if seized or lost, may be restored; and without property, man may enjoy a thousand delightful pleasures of existence. The sun shines as warmly on the poor as on the rich; and the gale of health breathes its balsam into the cot­tage casement on the heath, no less sweetly and salubri­ously than into the portals of the palace. But can the lords of this world, who are so lavish of the lives of their inferiors, with all their boasted power, give the cold heart to beat again, or relume the light of the eye once dimmed by the shades of death! Accursed despots, shew me your authority for taking away that which ye never gave, and cannot give; for undoing the work of God, and extinguishing the lamp of life which was il­luminated with a ray from heaven. Where is your charter to privilege murder? You do the work of Sa­tan, who was a destroyer; and your right, if you possess any, must have originated from the father of mischief and misery.

Spirit of DESPOTISM.

[Page 157] "The common people," says a sensible author, "generally think that great men have great minds, and scorn base actions; which judgment is so false, that the basest and worst of actions have been done by those called great men. They have often disturbed, deceived and pillaged the world; and he who is capable of the high­est mischief is capable of the meanest. He who plun­ders a country of a million of money would, in suitable circumstances, steal a silver spoon; and a conqueror, who stands and pillages a kingdom, would, in an hum­bler situation, rifle a portmanteau." I should not, therefore, choose to expose my watch or purse in a crowd, to those men who have plundered Poland, if, instead of possessing a crown of jewels, and the pocket of submissive nations, they had been in the circumstan­ces of a Barrington. Nor, though men should be cal­led honorable, will it be safe to trust our liberties to their honor, without some collateral security.



But know, young prince, that valor soars above
What the world calls misfortune and affliction;
These are not ills, else they would never fall
On heaven's first fav'rites, and the best of men.
Heaven in bounty works up storms about us,
That give mankind occasion to exert
Their hidden strength, and throw out into practice
Virtues that shun the day, and lie conceal'd
In the smooth seasons and the calms of life.
Let us not, Lucia, aggravate our sorrows,
But to kind heav'n permit th' event of things:
Our lives discolor'd with the present woes,
May still grow bright and smile with happier hours.
So the pure limpid stream, when foul with stains
Of rushing torrents, and descending rains,
[Page 158] Works itself clear, and as it runs refines,
Till by degrees the floating mirror shines;
Reflects each flower that on the border grows,
And a new heav'n in its fair bosom shows.


The guilty ever are most hard to pardon;
Vice makes them stubborn, haughty, and remorseless;
And as their views all centre in self-love,
Soon hate what once controuls that darling passion.
As by degrees from long, tho' gentle rains,
Great floods arise, and overflow the plains;
So men from little faults to great proceed,
Guilt grows on guilt, and crimes do crimes succeed.

Fear of detection, what a curse art thou! O, could the young and artless mind but know the agonies that dwell with guilt, it would prefer the humblest lot with peace, to all that splendid vice can e'er bestow.



Good-sense is a sedate and quiescent quality, which manages its possessions well, but does not increase them; it collects few materials for its own operations, and preserves safety, but never gains supremacy.



Trust not too much your now resistless charms,
Those, age or sickness, soon or late, disarms;
[Page 159] Good humour only teaches charms to last,
Still makes new conquests, and maintains the past:
Love rais'd on beauty will like that decay,
Our hearts may bear its slender chain a day,
As flow'ry bands in wantonness are worn;
A morning's pleasure, and at evening torn:
This binds in ties more easy yet more strong
The willing heart, and only holds it long.

Good-humour may be defined, a habit of being pleased; a constant and perennial softness of manner, easiness of approach, and suavity of disposition; like that which every one perceives in himself, when the first transports of new felicity have subsided, and his thoughts are only kept in motion by a slow succession of soft impulses.


Surely nothing can be more unreasonable than to lose the will to please, when we are conscious of the power, or shew more cruelty than to choose any kind of influence before that of kindness and good-humour. He that regards the welfare of others, should make his virtue approachable, that it may be loved and copied; and he that considers the wants which every man feels, or will feel, of external assistance, must rather wish to be surrounded by those that love him, than by those that admire his excellencies or solicit his favours; for admiration ceases with novelty, and interest gains its end and retires. A man whose great qualities want the ornament of superficial attractions, is like a naked mountain with mines of gold, which will be frequent­ed only till the treasure is exhausted.


Nothing can more shew the value of good-humour, than that it recommends those who are destitute of all other excellencies, and procures regard to the trifling, friendship to the worthless, and affection to the dull.

[Page 160]


Gaiety is to good-humour as animal perfumes to vegetable fragrance. The one overpowers weak spir­its, the other recreates and revives them. Gaiety sel­dom fails to give some pain; the hearers either strain their faculties to accompany its towerings, or are left behind in envy or despair. Good-humour boasts no faculties, which every one does not believe in his own power, and pleases principally by not offending.

Whom call we gay? That honor has been long
The boast of mere pretenders to the name,
The innocent are gay—the lark is gay
That dries his feathers saturate with dew
Beneath the rosy cloud, while yet the beams
Of day-spring overshoot his humble nest.
The peasant too, a witness of his song,
Himself a songster, is as gay as he.
But save me from the gaiety of those
Whose head-achs nail them to a noon-day bed;
And save me too from theirs whose haggard eyes
Flash desperation, and betray their pangs
For property stripp'd off by cruel chance;
From gaiety that fills the bones with pain,
The mouth with blasphemy, the heart with woe.


I see a column of slow rising smoke
O'ertop the lofty wood that skirts the wild.
A vagabond useless tribe there eat
Their miserable meal. A kettle slung
Between two poles upon a stick transverse,
Receives the morsel; flesh obscene of dog,
[Page 161] Or vermin, or at best, of cock purloin'd
From his accustom'd perch. Hard faring race;
They pick their fuel out of ev'ry hedge,
Which, kindled with dry leaves, just saves unquench'd
The spark of life. The sportive wind blows wide
Their flutt'ring rags, and shows a tawny skin,
The vellum of the pedigree they claim.
Great skill have they in palmistry, and more
To conjure clean away the gold they touch,
Conveying worthless dross into its place,
Loud when they beg, dumb only when they steal.
Strange! that a creature rational, and cast
In human mould, should brutalize by choice
His nature, and though capable of arts
By which the world might profit and himself,
Self banish'd from society, prefer
Such squalid sloth to honorable toil.
Yet even these, though feigning sickness oft
They swathe the forehead, drag the limping limb
And vex their flesh with artificial sores,
Can change their whine into a mirthful note
When safe occasion offers, and with dance
And music of the bladder and the bag
Beguile their woes, and make the woods resound.
Such health and gaiety of heart enjoy
The houseless rovers of thy sylvan world;
And breathing wholesome air, and wand'ring much,
Need other physic none to heal th' effects
Of loathsome diet, penury, and cold.


The man who pauses on his honesty
Wants little of the villain.
Be honesty our riches. Are we mean
And humbly born? the true heart makes us noble.
These hands can toil, can sow the ground and reap
[Page 162] For thee and thy sweet babes; our daily labour
Is daily wealth, it finds us bread and raiment.
Could Danish gold do more?


Let none presume
To wear an undeserved dignity:
O that estates, degrees, and offices,
Were not deriv'd corruptly; that clear honor
Were purchas'd by the merit of the wearer!
How many then should cover, that stand bare?
How many be commanded, that command?
How much low peasantry would then be glean'd
From the true seed of honor? How much honor
Pick'd from the chaff and ruin of the times,
To be new vann'd?
Mine honor is my life, both grow in one;
Take honor from me, and my life is done.
Then, dear my liege, mine honor let me try;
In that I live, and for that will I die.
A. Speak the height of honor.
B. No man to offend,
Ne'er to reveal the secrets of a friend;
Rather to suffer than to do a wrong:
To make the heart no stranger to the tongue:
Provok'd, not to betray an enemy;
Nor eat his meat, I choak with flattery;
Blushless to tell wherefore I wear my scars,
Or for my conscience, or my country's wars:
To aim at just things. If we have wildly run
Into offences, wish them all undone.
'Tis poor in grief, for a wrong done, to die:
Honour to dare to live, and satisfy.
—He was a man
That liv'd up to the standard of his honour,
[Page 163] And prized that jewel more than mines of wealth:
He'd not have done a shameful thing but once;
Tho' kept in darkness from the world, and hidden,
He could not have forgiven it to himself.
Not all the threats or favours of a crown,
A prince's whisper, or a tyrant's frown,
Can awe the spirit, or allure the mind
Of him who to strict honour is inclin'd.
Tho' all the pomp and pleasure that does wait
On public places and affairs of state,
Should fondly court him to be base and great:
With even passions and with settled face,
He would remove the harlot's false embrace,
Tho' all the storms and tempests should arise,
That church-Magicians in their cells devise,
And from their settled basis nations tear,
He would unmov'd the mighty ruin bear,
Secure in innocence, contemn them all,
And decently array'd in honour fall.

Among the Symerons, or fugitive negroes in the South Seas, being a nation that does not set them above continual cares for the immediate necessaries of life, he that can temper iron best, is among them most esteem­ed: and, perhaps, it would be happy for every nation, if honours and applauses were as justly distributed, and he were most distinguished whose abilities were most useful to society. How many chimerical titles to pre­cedence, how many false pretences to respect, would this rule bring to the ground!

Honor and shame from no condition rise:
Act well your part, there all the honour lies.
Fortune in men has some small diff'rence made,
One flaunts in rags, one flutters in brocade;
The cobler apron'd, and the parson gown'd,
[Page 164] The friar hooded, and the monarch crown'd.
" What differ more (you cry) than crown and cowl!"
I'll tell you, friend! a wise man and a fool.
You'll find, if once the monarch acts the monk,
Or, cobler-like, the parson will be drunk,
Worth makes the man, and want of it the fellow;
The rest is all but leather and prunella.


There are two [...]orts of people in the world, who with equal degrees of health and wealth, and the other comforts of life, become the one happy, and the other miserable. This arises very much from the different views in which they consider things, persons, and e­vents; and the effect of those different views upon their own minds.

In whatever situation men can be placed, they may find conveniencies and inconveniencies: in whatever company, they may find persons and conversation more or less pleasing: at whatever table, they may meet with meats and drinks of better and worse taste, dishes better and worse dressed: in whatever climate, they will find good and bad weather: under whatever gov­ernment, they may find good and bad laws, and good and bad administration of those laws: in whatever po­em, or work of genius, they may see faults and beau­ties: in almost every face, and every person, they may discover fine features and defects, good and bad qualities.

Under these circumstances, the two sorts of people above-mentioned, fix their attention—those who are disposed to be happy, on the conveniencies of things, the pleasant parts of conversation, the well dressed dishes, the goodness of the wines, the fine weather, &c. and enjoy all with chearfulness. Those who are to be unhappy, think and speak only of the contraries. Hence they are continually discontented themselves, [Page 165] and, by their remarks, four the pleasures of society; offend personally many people, and make themselves every where disagreeable. If this turn of mind was founded in nature, such unhappy persons would be the more to be pitied. But as the disposition to criticise, and to be disgusted, is perhaps taken up originally by imitation, and is, unawares, grown into a habit, which, though at present strong, may nevertheless be cured, when those who have it are convinced of its bad effects on their felicity: I hope this little admonition may be of service to them, and put them on changing a habit, which, though in the exercise it is chiefly an act of imagination, yet has serious consequences in life, as it brings on real griefs and misfortunes. For as many are offended by, and nobody loves this sort of people; no one shews them more than the most common civili­ty and respect, and scarcely that; and this frequently puts them out of humour, and draws them into dis­putes and contentions. If they aim at obtaining some advantage in rank or fortune, nobody wishes them suc­cess, or will stir a step, or speak a word to favour their pretensions. If they incur public censure or disgrace, no one will defend or excuse, and many join to aggra­vate their misconduct, and render them completely odious: if these people will not change this bad habit, and condescend to be pleased with what is pleasing, without fretting themselves and others about the con­traries, it is good for others to avoid an acquaintance with them; which is always disagreeable, and some­times very inconvenient, especially when one finds one's self entangled in their quarrels.

An old philosophical friend of mine was grown from experience, very cautious in this particular, and carefully avoided any intimacy with such people. He had, like other philosophers, a thermometer to shew him the heat of the weather; and a barometer, to mark when it was likely to prove good or bad; but there be­ing [Page 166] no instrument invented to discover, at first sight, this unpleasing disposition in a person, he, for that purpose, made use of his legs; one of which was re­markably handsome, the other, by some accident, crooked and deformed. If a stranger, at the first inter­view, regarded his ugly leg more than his handsome one, he doubted him. If he spoke of it, and took no notice of the handsome leg, that was sufficient to deter­mine my philosopher to have no further acquaintance with him. Every body has not this two legged instru­ment; but every one, with a little attention, may ob­serve signs of that carping, fault-finding disposition, and take the same resolution of avoiding the acquaintance of those infected with it. I therefore advise those critical, querulous, discontented, unhappy people, that if they wish to be respected and beloved by others, and happy in themselves, they should leave off looking at the ugly leg.



No happiness can be where is no rest,
Th' unknown, untalk'd-of man, is only blest,
He, as in some safe cliff, his cell does keep,
From thence he views the labour of the deep:
The gold-fraught vessel, which mad tempests beat,
He sees now vainly make to his retreat;
And when from far the tenth wave does appear,
Shrinks up in silent joy he is not there.
—To be good is to be happy: Angels
Are happier than men, because they're better.
Guilt is the source of sorrow; 'tis the fiend,
Th' avenging fiend that follows us behind
With whips and stings: the bless'd know none of this,
But rest in everlasting peace of mind,
And find the height of all their heav'n is goodness.
[Page 167]
What art thou, happiness, so sought by all,
So greatly envied, yet so seldom found?
Of what strange nature is thy composition,
When gold and grandeur sue to thee in vain?
The prince who leads embattled thousands forth,
And with a nod commands the universe,
Knows not the language to make thee obey;
Tho' he with armies strew the hostile plain,
And hew out avenues of death, he still
Loses his way to thee, because content
Appears not on the road, to light him to thee:—
Content and happiness are then the same;—
And they are seldom found, but in the bed
Where unmolested innocence resides.

There is nothing more difficult than to lay down any fixed and certain rules for happiness, or indeed to judge with any precision of the happiness of others from the knowledge of external circumstances. There is sometimes a little speck of black in the brightest and gayest colours of fortune, which contaminates and deadens the whole. On the contrary, when all with­out looks dark and dismal, there is often a secret ray of light within the mind which turns every thing to real joy and gladness.


All natural, and almost all political evils, are inci­dent alike to the bad or good. They are confounded in the misery of a famine, and not much distinguished in the fury of a faction. They sink together in a tem­pest, and are driven together from their country by invaders. All that virtue can afford is quietness of con­science, a steady prospect of a happier state, which will enable us to endure every calamity with patience.


The happiness of the generality of people is nothing if it is not known, and very little if it is not envied.


[Page 168] It is impossible to form a philosophic system of hap­piness which is adapted to every condition in life; since every person who travels in this great pursuit, takes a separate road. The different colours which suit different complexions, are not more various than the different pleasures appropriated to particular minds. The various sects who have pretended to give lessons to instruct men in happiness, have described their own particular sensations without considering ours, have only loaded their disciples with constraint, without ad­ding to their real felicity.



The silliest fellows are in general the worst of hus­bands: and it may be asserted as a fact, that a man of sense rarely behaves very ill to a wife who deserves very well.



What a poor value do men set on heav'n?
Heav'n, the perfection of all that can
Be said, or thought, riches, delight, or harmony,
Health, beauty; and all these not subject to
The waste of time; but in their height eternal;
Lost for a pension, or poor spot of earth,
Favour of greatness, or an hour's faint pleasure;
As men, in scorn of a true flame that's near,
Should run to light their taper at a glow-worm.


Hope, with a goodly prospect feeds the eye,
Shews from a rising ground possession nigh;
Shortens the distance, or o'erlooks it quite,
So easy 'tis to travel with the sight.
[Page 169]
Call up your better reason to your aid,
And hope the best: that friendly beam is left
To chear the wretch, and lighten thro' his sorrows;
Nor can he sink so low, but hope will find him:
The pleasing prospect of a better day
Shines thro' the gloom of life, and shortens pain.
O Hope! sweet flatt'rer! whose delusive touch
Sheds on afflicted minds the balm of comfort,
Relieves the load of poverty, sustains
The captive, bending with the weight of bonds,
And smooths the pillow of disease and pain,
Send back th' exploring messenger with joy
And let me hail thee from that friendly grove.
The wretch condemn'd with life to part,
Still, still on hope relies;
And every pang that rends the heart
Bids expectation rise.
Hope, like the glimmering taper's light,
Adorns and cheers the way;
And still, as darker grows the night,
Emits a brighter ray.


Would I had trod the humble path, and made
My industry less ambitious: the shrub
Securely grows, the tallest tree stands most
In the wind; and thus we distinguish the
Noble from the base: the noble find their
Lives and deaths still troublesome:
But humility doth sleep, whilst the storm
Grows hoarse with scolding.
[Page 170]
There are some that use
Humility to serve their pride, and seem
Humble upon their way, to be prouder
At their wish'd journey's end.


Look out of your door,—take notice of that man: see what disquieting, intriguing and shifting, he is content to go through, merely to be thought a man of plain-dealing:—three grains of honesty would save him all this trouble—alas! he has them not.—


A hypocrite in society lives in the same apprehension with a thief, who lies concealed in the midst of the family he is to rob; for this fancies himself perceived when he is least so; every motion alarms him; he fears he is discovered, and is suspicious that every one who enters the room knows where he is hid, and is coming to seize him. And thus, as nothing hates more violently than fear, many an innocent person, who suspects no evil intended him, is detested by him who intends it.


The hypocrite shews the excellency of virtue by the necessity he thinks himself under of seeming to be virtu­ous.



I see the noble nature of man so cruelly debased,—I see the horse and the dog in so many instances raised to a rank far superior to beings whom I must acknowledge as my fellow-creatures, and whom my heart cannot but embrace with a fraternal affection which must increase with the insults I see them suffer,—I see the pride of power and of rank mounted to so ungovernable a height [Page 171] in those whom accident has called to direct the affairs of nations,—I see the faculty of reason so completely dormant in both these classes, and morality, the indis­pensible bond of union among men, so effectually ban­ished by the unnatural combinations, which in Europe are called society, that I have been almost determined to relinquish the disagreeable task which I had prescri­bed to myself in the first part of this work, and return­ing to my country, endeavor in the new world to forget the miseries of the old.



—How sweet is thy return, O health! thou rosy cherub!—my soul leaps forward to meet thee, whose true value thy absence can only teach us!—When thou comest, with healing on thy wings; when every part, and nerve, and artery, are obedient to their office; and when this complicated machine is so per­fectly harmonized, that we perceive not that we have any part, or nerve, or artery, belonging to us, how sweetly is the mind then attuned to receive pleasure from every inlet of sense!

—God of my life! who numberest my days, teach me to meet with gratitude, or patience, the good or ill, which in the tide of time shall float down with them! but never withdraw from me those native spirits, which have been the cheering companions of my existence, and have spread a gilding upon every thing around me!—that I may continue to view with rapture, the inex­haustible volume of nature that is thrown open before me; on every page of which is charactered the im­pression of thy omnipotent hand!



Like as a damask rose you see,
Or like the blossom on the tree;
[Page 172] Or like the dainty flower in May,
Or like the morning to the day;
Or like the sun, or like the shade,
Or like the gourd which Jonah had;
E'en such is man, whose thread is spun,
Drawn out, and cut, and so is done;
Withers the rose, the blossom blasts,
The flower fades, the morning hastes;
The sun doth set, the shadows fly,
The ground consumes, and mortals die.
Like to the grass that's newly sprung,
Or like a tale that's new begun;
Or like a bird that's hero to-day,
Or like the pearled dew of May;
Or like an hour, or like a span,
Or like the singing of a swan:
E'en such is man, who lives by breath,
Is here, now there, in life and death;
The grass decays, the tale doth end,
The bird is flown, the dews ascend;
The hour is short, the span not long,
The swan's near death, man's life is done.
Like to the bubble in the brook,
Or in a glass much like a look;
Or like the shuttle in the hand,
Or like the writing in the sand;
Or like a thought, or like a dream,
Or like the gliding of the stream;
E'en such is man, who lives by breath,
Is here, now there, in life and death;
The bubble's burst, the look's forgot,
The shuttle's flung, the writing's blot;
The thought is past, the dream is gone,
The water glides, man's life is done.


God, we read, made man in his own image; and our Saviour taught us that he was the heir of immor­tality. [Page 173] God made no distinction of persons; but behold a being, born to a sceptre, though a poor, puny, shivering mortal like the rest, presumes to sell, and let out for hire, these images of God, to do the work of butchers, in any cause, and for any pay-master, on any number of unoffending fellow creatures, who are standing up in defence of their hearths, their altars, their wives, their children, and their liberty. Great numbers of men, trained to the trade of human butche­ry, are constantly ready to be let to hire, to carry on the work of despotism, and to support, by the money they earn in this hellish employment, the luxurious vices of the wretch who calls them his property. Can that state of human affairs be right and proper, which permits a miscreant, scarcely worthy the name of a man, sunk in effeminacy, the slave of vice, often the most abominable kind of vice, ignorant and illiterate, debilitated with disease, weak in body as in mind, to have such dominion over hundreds of thousands, his su­periors by nature, as to let them out for pay, to murder the innocent stranger in cold blood?

Spirit of DESPOTISM.


No office or place whatsoever in government, shall be hereditary—the abilities and integrity requisite in all, not being transmissible to posterity or relations.

Constitution of NEW-HAMPSHIRE.


There is nothing which I contemplate with greater pleasure than the dignity of human nature, which of­ten shews itself in all conditions of life: for notwith­standing the degeneracy and meanness that is crept into it, there are a thousand occasions in which it breaks [Page 174] through its original corruption, and shews what it once was, and what it will be hereafter. I consider the soul of man as a ruin of a glorious pile of building; where, amidst great heaps of rubbish, you meet with noble fragments of sculpture, broken pillars and obelisks, and a magnificence in confusion. Virtue and wisdom are continually employed in clearing the ruins, removing these disorderly heaps, recovering the noble pieces that lie buried under them, and adjusting them as well as possible according to their ancient sym­metry and beauty. A happy education, conversation with the finest spirits, looking abroad into the works of nature, and observations upon mankind, are the great as­sistances to this necessary and glorious work. But even a-among those who have never had the happiness of any of these advantages, there are sometimes such exertions of the greatness that is natural to the mind of man, as shew capacities and abilities, which only want these acciden­tal helps to fetch them out, and shew them in a proper light.



—What is man,
If his chief good, and market of his time
Be but to sleep and feed? A beast—no more.
Sure he that made us with such large discourse,
Looking before and after, gave us not
That capability and god-like reason
To rust in us unused.

It is in vain to put wealth within the reach of him who will not stretch out his hand to take it.


Indolence is one of those vices from which those whom it once infects are seldom reformed.


[Page 175] As pride is sometimes hid under humility, idleness is often covered by turbulence and hurry. He that neglects his known duty, and real employment, natu­rally endeavors to croud his mind with something that may bar out the remembrance of his own folly, and does any thing but what he ought to do, with eager diligence, that he may keep himself in his own favor.


Perhaps every man may date the predominance of those desires that disturb his life, and contaminate his conscience, from some unhappy hour when too much leisure exposed him to their incursions; for he has lived with little observation, either on himself, or others, who does not know that to be idle is to be vicious.


No man is so much open to conviction as the idler; but there is none on whom it operates so little.


Idleness can never secure tranquillity; the call of reason and of conscience will pierce the closest pavilion of the sluggard, and, though it may not have force to drive him from his down, will be loud enough to bin­der him from sleep. Those moments which he can­not resolve to make useful, by devoting them to the great business of his being, will still be usurped by powers that will not leave them to his disposal; re­morse and vexation will seize upon them, and forbid him to enjoy what he is so desirous to appropriate.



Accustom yourself to clear and distinct ideas, to evident propositions, to strong and convincing argu­ments. [Page 176] Converse much with those men, and those books, and those parts of learning, where you meet with the greatest clearness of thought, and force of reasoning. The mathematical sciences, and particu­larly arithmetic, geometry, and mechanics, abound with these advantages: and if there were nothing valu­able in them for the uses of human life, yet the very speculative parts of this sort of learning are well worth our study; for by perpetual examples they teach us to conceive with clearness, to connect our ideas and pro­positions in a train of dependence, to reason with strength and demonstration, and to distinguish between truth and falshood. Something of these sciences should be studied by every man who pretends to learn­ing, and that, as Mr. Locke expresses it, "not so much to make us mathematicians, "as to make us reasonable creatures."



Confine not yourself always to one sort of com­pany, or to persons of the same party or opinion, ei­ther in matters of learning, religion, or civil life, lest, if you should happen to be nursed up or educated in early mistake, you should be confirmed and estab­lished in the same mistake, by conversing only with persons of the same sentiments. A free and general conversation with men of various countries, and of dif­ferent parties, opinions and practices (so far as may be done safely) is of excellent use to undeceive us in many wrong judgments which we may have framed, and to lead us into juster thoughts. It is said, when the king of S [...]am, near China, first conversed with some Eu­ropean merchants who sought the favour of trading on his coast, he enquired of them some of the common ap­pearances of summer and winter in their country; and when they told him of water growing so hard in their [Page 177] rivers, that men and horses, and laden carriages passed over it, and that rain sometimes fell down as white and light as [...]eathers, and sometimes almost as hard as stones, he could not believe a syllable they said; for ice, snow and hail, were names and things utterly unknown to him, and to his subjects in that hot climate: he there­fore renounced all traffic with such shameful liars, and would not suffer them to trade with his people. See here the natural effects of gross ignorance.

Conversation with foreigners on various occasions has a happy influence to enlarge our minds, and set them free from many errors and gross prejudices we are ready to imbibe concerning them.



If, ye powers divine!
Ye mark the movements of this nether world,
And bring them to account, crush, crush those vipers,
Who, singled out by a community,
To guard their rights, shall, for a grasp of air,
Or paltry office, sell them to the foe.


Why should we murmur to be circumscrb'd,
As if it were a new thing to wear fetters?
When the whole world was meant but to confine us;
Wherein, who walks from one clime to another,
Hath but a greater freedom of the prison:
Our soul was the first captive, born to inherit
But her own chains; nor can it be discharg'd,
Till nature tire with its own weight, and then
We are but more undone, to be at liberty.
[Page 178]


He has profan'd the sacred name of friend
And worn it into vileness:
With how secure a brow, and specious form,
He gilds the secret villain! Sure that face
Was meant for honesty, but heav'n mismatch'd it;
And furnish'd treason out with nature's pomp,
To make its work more easy.
See how he sets his countenance for deceit,
And promises a lie before he speaks.
—Where Ingratitude, that sin of upstarts,
And vice of cowards, once takes root, a thousand
Base, grov'ling crimes cling round its monstrous growth,
Like ivy to old oaks, to hide its rottenness.


The man who wears injustice by his side,
Tho' pow'rful millions follow him to war,
Combats against the odds—against high heav'n.

We upbraid the son whose father was hanged; whereas many a man who deserves to be hanged, was never upbraided in his whole life.



What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted?
Thrice is he arm'd that has his quarrel just;
And he but naked, tho' lock'd up in steel,
Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.
[Page 179]
We only who with innocence unshaken,
Have stood the assaults of fortune, now are happy:
For tho' the worst of men, by high permission,
A while may flourish, and the best endure
The sharpest trials of exploring misery,
Yet let mankind from these examples learn,
That powerful villainy at last shall mourn,
And injur'd virtue triumph in its turn.
Virtue, dear friend, needs no defence;
The surest guard is innocence:
None knew, till guilt created fear,
What darts or poison'd arrows were.
Integrity undaunted goes
Thro' Libyan sands and Scythian snows,
Or where Hydaspe's wealthy side
Pays tribute to the Persian pride.

There are some reasoners who frequently confound innocence with the mere incapacity of guilt; but he that never saw, or heard, or thought of strong liquors, can­not be proposed as a pattern of sobriety.



—Could men but know
The blessings which from Independence flow,
Could they but have a short and transient gleam
Of liberty, tho' 'twas but in a dream,
They would no more in bondage bend their knee,
But, once made freemen, would be always free.
Bred in a cage, far from the feather'd throng,
The bird repays his keeper with his song;
But, if some playful child sets wide the door,
Abroad he flies, and thinks of home no more;
With love of liberty begins to burn,
And rather starves than to his cage return.
[Page 180]
Hail independence!—tho' thy name's scarce known,
Tho' thou, alas! art out of fashion grown,
Tho' all despise thee, I will not despise,
Nor live one moment longer than I prize
Thy presence, and enjoy; by angry fare
Bow'd down, and almost crush'd, thou cam'st, tho' late,
Thou cam'st upon me, like a second birth,
And made me know what life was truly worth.
Hail independence!—never may my cot,
Till I forget thee, be by thee forgot.
—What is life?
'Tis not to stalk about, and draw fresh air,
From time to time, or gaze upon the sun;
'Tis to be free. When liberty is gone,
Life grows insipid, and has lost its relish.
A day, an hour of virtuous liberty,
Is worth a whole eternity of bondage.
Hail! independence, hail! heav'n's next best gift,
To that of life and an immortal soul!
The life of life! that to the banquet high
And sober meal gives taste; to the bow'd roof
Fair-dream'd repose, and to the cottage charms.
Of public freedom, hail, thou secret source!
Whose streams, from every quarter confluent, form
My better Nile, that nurses human life.
By rills from thee deduc'd, irriguous, fed,
The private field looks gay, with nature's wealth
Abundant flows, and blooms with each delight
That nature craves. Its happy master there,
The only free-man, walks his pleasing round:
Sweet-featur'd peace attending; fearless truth;
Firm resolution; goodness, blessing all
That can rejoice; contentment, surest friend;
And, still fresh stores from Nature's book deriv'd,
Philosophy, companion ever-new.
[Page 181] These cheer his rural, and sustain or fire,
When into action call'd, his busy hours.
Mean-time true-judging moderate desires,
OEconomy and taste, combin'd direct
His clear affairs, and from debauching fiends
Secure his little kingdom. Nor can those
Whom fortune heaps, without these virtues, reach
That truce with pain, that animated ease,
That self-enjoyment springing from within;
That independence, active, or retir'd,
Which make the soundest bliss of man below;
But, lost beneath the rubbish of their means,
And drain'd by wants to nature all unknown,
A wandering, tasteless, gayly-wretched train,
Tho' rich are beggars, and tho' noble, slaves.
My friends! be firm! nor let corruption fly
Twine round your heart indissoluble chains!
The steel of Brutus burst the grosser bonds
By Caesar cast o'er Rome; but still remain'd
The soft enchanting fetters of the mind,
And other Caesars rose. Determin'd, hold
Your independence; for, that once destroy'd,
Unfounded, freedom is a morning dream,
That flits aerial from the spreading eye.


The people should be tinctured with philosophy and religion; and learn, under their divine instruction, not to consider titular distinction and enormous riches as the chief good, and indispensably requisite to the happiness of life. A noble spirit of personal virtue should be encouraged in the rising race. They should be taught to seek and find resources in themselves, in an honest independence, in the possession of knowledge, in conscious integrity, in manliness of sentiment, in contemplation and study, in every thing which adds vigor to the nerves of the mind, and teaches it to deem [Page 182] all honors disgraceful, and all profits vile, which ac­crue, as the reward of base compliance, and of a dastardly desertion from the upright standard of truth, the unspotted banner of justice.

Spirit of DESPOTISM.


A mercenary informer knows no [...].—Un­der such a system, the obnoxious people [...] slaves, not only to the government, but they live at the mercy of every individual; they are at once the slaves of the whole community, and of every part of it; and the worst and most unmerciful men are those on whose goodness they most depend.

In this situation, men not only shrink from the frowns of the stern magistrate, but they are obliged to fly from their very places. The seeds of destruction are sown in civil intercourse, in social habitudes. The blood of wholesome kindred is infected; their tables and beds are surrounded with snares; all the means given by providence to make life safe and comfortable, are perverted into instruments of terror and torment. This species of universal subserviency, that makes the very servant who waits behind your chair the arbiter of your life and fortune, has such a tendency to degrade and debase mankind, and to de­prive him of that assured and liberal state of mind, which alone can make us what we ought to be, that I vow to God I would sooner bring myself to put a man to immediate death for opinions I disliked, and so to get rid of the man and his opinions at once, than to fret him with a feverish being, tainted with the jail distemper of [...] contagious servitude, to keep him above ground, an animated mass of putrefaction, cor­rupted himself, and corrupting all about him.

[Page 183]


There are innumerable modes of insult, and tokens of contempt, for which it is not easy to find a name, which vanish to nothing in an attempt to describe them, and yet may, by continual repetition, make day pass after day in sorrow and in terror.



But there is a time, when men will not suffer bad things because their ancestors have suffered worse. There is a time when the hoary head of inveterate abuse will neither draw reverence nor obtain protec­tion.—



Ill breeding, says the abbe Bellegarde, is not a single defect, it is the result of many. It is sometimes a gross ignorance of decorum, or a stupid indolence, which prevents us from giving to others what is due to them. It is a peevish malignity, which inclines us to oppose the inclinations of those with whom we converse. It is the consequence of a foolish vanity, which hath no complaisance for any other person; the effect of a proud and whimsical humour, which soars above all the rules of civility; or lastly, it is produced by a melancholy turn of mind, which pampers itself with a rude and disobliging behaviour.



Integrity without knowledge is weak, and generally useless; and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.

[Page 184]


Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutor'd mind
Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind;
His soul, proud science never taught to stray
Far as the solar walk, or milky way;
Yet simple nature to his hope has giv'n,
Behind the cloud top; hill, an humbler heav'n;
Some safer world in depth of woods embrac'd,
Some happier island in the wat'ry waste,
Where slaves once more their native land behold,
No fiends for [...] no Christians thirst for gold.
To be, contents his natural desire,
He asks no angel's wing, no seraph's fire:
But thinks, admitted to that equal sky,
His faithful dog shall bear him company.


The man who feels himself ignorant, should, at least, be modest.


Assuming ignorance is, of all dispositions, the most ridiculous; for, in the same proportion as the real man of wisdom is preferable to the unlettered rustic, so much is the rustic superior to him, who without learn­ing imagines himself learned. It were better that such a man had never read; for then he might have been conscious of his weakness: but the half-learned man, relying upon his strength, seldom perceives his wants till he finds his deception past a cure.



May one be pardon'd, and retain th' offence
In the corrupted currents of this world,
Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice:
[Page 185] And oft 'tis seen, the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law; but 'tis not so above:
There, is no shuffling; there, the action lies
In his true nature, and we ourselves compell'd,
Ev'n to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
To give in evidence.
—For in a government
Th' offence is greatest in the instrument
That hath the pow'r to punish; and in laws
The author's trespass makes the foulest cause.
NAB [...].


An office that requires the purest mind!
They whom their country choose for such a trust,
Upon whose verdict, as on fate, depend
Our properties, our lives, and liberties,
Shou'd to the awful seat of justice bring
An ear that's deaf to the deceiver's voice,
A breast untainted, and a hand unstain'd,
And he that fills the solemn judgment-seat
Shou'd not too rashly pass the dreadful sentence
On the accus'd, but weigh each circumstance
'Till not a single doubt's left in she scale;
Then judge with reason, and decree with truth.


Of all the virtues, justice is the best;
Valor, without it, is a common pest:
Pirates and thieves, too oft with courage grac'd,
Shew us how ill that virtue may be plac'd:
'Tis our complexion makes us chaste or brave;
Justice from reason, and from Heav'n we have:
[Page 186] All other virtues dwell but in the blood;
That in the soul, and gives the name of good:
Justice the queen of virtues!

There is no virtue so truly great and god-like as justice. Most of the other virtues are the virtues of created beings, or accommodated to our nature as we are men. Justice is that which is practised by God himself, and to be practised in its perfection by none but him. Omniscience and Omnipotence are requi­site for the full exertion of it. The one to discover every degree of uprightness in thoughts, words, and actions. The other, to measure out and impart suita­ble rewards and punishments.

As, to be perfectly just is an attribute in the divine nature, to be so to the utmost of our abilities is the glory of man. Such a one who has the public administra­tion in his hands, acts like the representative of his maker, in recompensing the virtuous, and punishing the offender.

When a nation once loses its regard to justice; when they do not look upon it as something venerable, holy, and inviolable; when any of them dare presume to lessen, affront or terrify those who have the distribution of it in their hands; when a judge is capable of being influenced by any thing but law, or a cause may be recommended by any thing that is foreign to its own merits, we may venture to pronounce that such a nation is hastening to its ruin.

I always rejoice when I see a tribunal filled with a man of an upright and inflexible temper, who, in the execution of his country's laws, can overcome all pri­vate fear, resentment, solicitation, and even pity itself. Whenever passion enters into a sentence or decision, so far will there be in it a tincture of injustice. In short, justice discards party, friendship, kindred, and is there­fore always represented as [...], that we may suppose her thoughts are wholly intent on the equity of a cause, [Page 187] without being diverted or prejudiced by objects foreign to it.



Nothing is more unjust than to judge of a man by too short an acquaintance, and too slight inspection; for it often happens, that in the loose and thoughtless, and dissipated, there is a secret radical worth, which may shoot out by proper cultivation. That the spark of heaven, though dimmed and obstructed, is yet not extinguished, but may, by the breath of counsel and ex­hortation be kindled into a flame. To imagine that every one who is not completely good, is irrevocably abandoned, is to suppose that all are capable of the same degree of excellence; it is, indeed, to exact from all, that perfection which none ever can attain. And since the purest virtue is consistent with some vice, and the virtue of the greatest number, with almost an equal proportion of contrary qualities, let none too hastily conclude that all goodness is lost, though it may for a time be clouded and overwhelmed; for most minds are the slaves of external circumstances; and conform to any hand that undertakes to mould them, roll down any torrent of custom in which they happen to be caught, or bend to any importunity that bears hard against them.



It may be said, that a too great jealousy of liberty is equally dangerous with a too great confidence; that as the latter may plunge us into slavery, the former may into anarchy: I should allow some weight to this objection, if in the whole course of our history, a re­sutation, in a single instance, could be produced of these positions; that the spirit of liberty is slow to act, even [Page 188] against the worst princes, and exerts itself in favour of the best with more effect than any other spirit what­soever. I must therefore repeat that the keeping alive the jealous spirit of liberty is a common cause; that a detestation of tyrants, or even of those who lean to ty­ranny, is inseparable from this spirit; that Charles the First was a tyrant in principle and in action; that those who labour to reconcile us to his conduct and character, would destroy the spirit of liberty, and ulti­mately establish the principle of non-resistance; that a junto of mercenaries and court retainers do labour to these purposes; that it is, therefore, the duty of every common citizen, who has the interest of his country at heart, to exert continually whatever force he has to defeat their purposes; or, at least, weaken their influ­ence; for in mechanics, the smallest force continually applied will overcome the most violent motions com­municated to bodies.

Gen. LEE.


It is the curse of kings to be attended
By slaves, that take their humours for a warrant,
To break into the bloody house of strife;
And, on the winking of authority
To understand a law, to know the meaning
Of dang'rous majesty: when perchance it frowns
More upon honour than advis'd respect.
Some would think the souls
Of princes were brought forth by some more weighty
Cause than those of meaner persons: they are
Deceived; there's the same hand to them; the like
Passions sway them; the same reason that makes
A vicar go to law for a tythe pig,
And undo his neighbours, makes them spoil
[Page 189] A whole province, and batter down goodly
Cities with their cannon.

The studies of princes seldom produce great effects; for princes draw, with meaner mortals, the lot of un­derstanding; and since of many students not more than one can be hoped to advance to perfection, it is scarce to be expected to find that one a prince.


To enlarge dominions, has been the boast of many princes; to diffuse happiness and security through wide regions has been granted to few.


Monarchs are always surrounded with refined spirits, so penetrating, that they frequently discover in their masters great qualities, invisible to vulgar eyes, and which, did not they publish them to mankind, would be unobserved for ever.

What poor things are kings!
What poorer things are nations to obey
Him, whom a petty passion does command?
Fate, why was man made so ridiculous?
Oh! I am mortal. Men bat flatter me.
Oh, Fate! why were not kings made more than men?
Or why will people have us to be more?
Alas! we govern others, but ourselves
We cannot rule; as our eyes that do see
All other things, but cannot see themselves.
—Kings are like other misers,
Greedy of more: they use not what they have,
As merchants vent'ring on the faithless seas
For needless wealth, are driven by sudden storms
On banks of sands, or dash'd against the rocks;
And all they have is sunk, and lost at once!
[Page 190] Kings rush to wars, more faithless than the seas;
Where more inconstant fortune waits their arms;
Where, in a moment, one unhappy blow
Ruins the progress of an age before.
Unbounded power and height of greatness give
To kings that lustre which we think divine;
The wise who know 'em, know they are but men,
Nay, sometimes, weak ones too. The croud indeed,
Who kneel before the image, not the god,
Worship the deity their hands have made.
We view the outward glories of a crown;
But dazzl'd with the lustre, cannot see
The thorns which line it, and whose painful prickings
Embitter all the pompous sweets of empire,
Happier the wretch, who at his daily toils,
Sweats for his homely dinner, than a king
In all the dangerous pomp of royalty!
He knows no fears of state to damp his joys;
No treason shakes the humble bed he lies on;
Nor dreads he poison in his peaceful bowls:
He sleeps contented in the guiltless arms
Of his unjealous consort:—Frightful dreams
Break not his slumbers, with the shocking sight
Of bloody daggers, and ideal murders.
True, he's a stranger to the power of kings;
But then again, he is as much a stranger
To kingly cares and miseries.
Some kings the name of conquerors assum'd
Some to be great, some to be gods presum'd,
But boundless pow'r and arbitrary lust,
Made tyrants still abhor the name of just:
They shun'd the praise this God-like virtue gives,
And fear'd a title than reproach'd their lives.

[Page 191] Kings who have weak understandings, bad hearts, and strong prejudices, and all these, as it often happens, inflamed by their passions, and rendered incurable by their self-conceit and presumption; such kings are apt to imagine, and they conduct themselves so as to make many of their subject; imagine, that the king and the people in free governments are rival powers, who stand in competition with one another, who have different interests, and must of course have different views: that the rights and privileges of the people are so many spoils taken from the rights and prerogative of the crown; and that the rules and laws, made for the ex­ercise and security of the former, are so many diminu­tions of their dignity, and restraints on their power. A patriot king will see all this in a far different and much truer light. He will make one and but one dis­tinction between his rights and those of the people: he will look on his to be a trust, and theirs a property; and that his people who had an original right to the whole by the law of nature, can have the sole indefea­sible right to any part.—

As well might we say that a ship is built, and load­ed, and manned, for the sake of any particular pilot, instead of acknowledging that the pilot is made for the sake of the ship, her lading and her crew, who are al­ways the owners in the political vessel, as to say that kingdoms were instituted for kings, not kings for kingdoms. To carry our allusion higher, majesty is not an inherent, but a reflected right.

How much do they mistake, how little know
Of kings, of kingdoms, and the pains which flow
From royalty, who fancy that a crown,
Because it glistens, must be lin'd with down.
With outside show, and vain appearance caught,
They look no farther, and by folly taught,
[Page 192] Prize high the toys of thrones, but never find
One of the many cares which lurk behind
The gem they worship, which a crown adorns,
Nor once suspect that crown is lin'd with thorns.
O might reflection folly's place supply
Would we one moment use her piercing eye,
Then should we learn what woe from grandeur springs,
And learn to pity not to envy kings!
The king—with anxious cares oppress'd,
His bosom labours and admits no rest.
A glorious wretch, he sweats beneath the weight
Of majesty, and gives up ease for state.
E'en when his smiles, which, by the fools of pride,
Are treasur'd and preserv'd, from side to side,
Fly round the court, e'en when, compell'd by form,
He seems most calm, his soul is in a storm!
Care, like a spectre, seen by him alone,
With all her nest of vipers, round his throne
By day crawls full in view; when night bids sleep,
Sweet nurse of nature, o'er the senses creep,
When misery herself no more complains,
And slaves, if possible, forget their chains,
Tho' his sense weakens, tho' his eyes grow dim,
That rest which comes to all, comes not to him.
E'en at that hour, care, tyrant care, forbids
The dew of sleep to fall upon his lids;
From night to night she watches at his bed;
Now, as one mop'd, sits brooding o'er his head,
Anon she starts, and, borne on raven's wings,
Croaks forth aloud—Sleep was not made for kings!

Kings are naturally lovers of low company.—They are so elevated above all the rest of mankind, that they must look upon all their subjects as on a level. They are rather apt to hate than to love their nobility, on [Page 193] account of the occasional resistance to their will, which will be made by their virtue, their petulance, or their pride. It must indeed be admitted, that many of the nobility are as perfectly willing to act the part of flat­terers, tale-bearers, parasites, pimps, and buffoons, as any of the lowest and vilest of mankind can possibly be. But they are not properly qualified for this object of their ambition. The want of a regular education, and early habits, and some lurking remains of their dignity, will never permit them to become a match for an Ita­lian eunuch, a mountebank, a fidler, a player, or any regular practitioner of that tribe. The Roman Em­perors, almost from the beginning, threw themselves into such hands, and the mischief increased every day till the decline and final ruin of the empire.

Great princes have great playthings. Some have play'd
At hewing mountains into men, and some
At building human wonders mountains high.
Some have amus'd the dull sad years of life
(Life spent in indolence, and therefore sad.)
With schemes of monumental fame, and sought
By pyramids, and mausoleum pomp,
Short liv'd themselves, t' immortalize their bones.
Some seek diversion in the tented field,
And make the sorrows of mankind their sport▪
But war's a game, which were their subjects wise
Kings would not play at. Nations would do well
T' extort their truncheons from the puny hands
Of heroes, whose infirm and baby minds
Are gratify'd with mischief, and who spoil,
Because men suffer it, their toy, the world.

If kings were republicans in the proper sense, all the people would be royalists. But when brilliant [Page 194] honors and ministerial employments are bestowed on fools and knaves, because they were begotten by ances­tors whom they disgrace, or possess riches which they abuse, government becomes a nuisance, and the people feel an aristocracy to be little better than an automaton machine, for promoting the purposes of royal or minis­terial despotism.

Spirit of DESPOTISM.

Instead of wondering that so many kings, unfit and unworthy to be trusted with the government of man­kind, appear in the world, I have been tempted to wonder that there are any tolerable, when I have con­sidered the flattery that environs them most commonly from the cradle, and the tendency of all those false no­tions that are instilled into them by precept and by ex­ample, by the habits of courts, and by the interested selfish views of courtiers. They are bred to esteem themselves of a distinct and superior species among men, as men are among animals.

Louis the Fourteenth was a strong instance of the effect of this education, which trains up kings to be tyrants, without knowing that they are so. That op­pression under which he kept his people, during the whole course of a long reign, might proceed, in some degree, from the natural haughtiness of his temper; but it proceeded, in a greater degree, from the principles and habits of his education. By this he had been brought to look on his kingdom as a patrimony that descended to him from his ancestors, and that was to be considered in no other light: so that when a very considerable man had discoursed to him at large of the miserable condition to which his people was reduced, and had frequently used this word, l'etat, [the state;] though the king approved the stubstance of all he had said, yet he was shocked at the frequent repetition of this word, and complained of it as of a kind of inde­cency to himself.

[Page 195] This capital error, in which almost every prince is confirmed by his education, has so great extent and so general influence, that a right to do every thing iniqui­tous in government may be derived from it. But, as if this was not enough, the characters of princes are spoil­ed many more ways by their education.


I am not at all surprised that in monarchies, espe­cially in our own, there should be so few princes wor­thy of esteem. Incircled by corrupters, knaves, and hypocrites, they accustom themselves to look upon their fellow creatures with disdain, and to set no value on a­ny but the sycophants, who caress their vices, and live in perpetual inactivity and idleness. Such is generally the condition of a monarch. Great men are always scarce, and great kings still more so.


Louis XIV. at once the greatest and meanest of mankind, would have excelled all the monarchs in the universe, if he had not been corrupted in his youth by base and ambitious flatterers. A slave during his whole life to pride and vain glory, he never in reality loved his subjects even for a moment; yet expected at the same time, like a true despotic prince, that they should sacrifice themselves to his will and pleasure. Intoxicated with power and grandeur, he imagined the whole world was created solely to promote his happi­ness. He was seared, obeyed, idolized, hated, morti­fied, and abandoned. He lived like a sultan, and died like a woman.

It is therefore impossible there should ever be a great man among our kings, who are made brutes and fools of all their lives, by a set of infamous wretches who surround and beset them from the cradle to the grave.


[Page 196] Princes in their infancy, childhood, and youth, are said to discover prodigious parts and wit, to speak things that surprise and astonish: strange, so many hopeful princes, and so many shameful kings! If they happen to die young, they would have been prodigies of wisdom and virtue; if they live, they are often prodigies indeed, but of another sort.


How dangerous a situation is royalty, in which the wisest are often the tools of deceit! A throne is sur­rounded by the train of subtlety and self-interest: inte­grity retires, because she will not be introduced by importunity or flattery: virtue, conscious of her own dignity, [...] at a distance till she is sought, and princes seldom know where she may be found; but vice and her attendants are impudent and fraudful, insinuating and officious, skilful in dissimulation, and ready to re­nounce all principles, and to violate every tie when it becomes necessary to the gratification of the appetites of a prince. How wretched is the man who is thus per­petually exposed to the attempts of guilt, by which he must inevitably perish, if he do not renounce the music of adulation, and learn not to be offended by the plain­ness of truth!


The least fault a king commits produces infinite mis­chief; for it diffuses misery through a whole people, and sometimes for many generations.


Kings are generally mistrustful and indolent: mis­trustful, by perpetually experiencing the artifices of the designing and corrupt; and indolent, by the pleasures that solicit them, and a habit of leaving all business to others, without taking the trouble so much as to think for themselves.


To princes who have been spoiled by flattery, every thing that is sincere and honest appears to be ungra­cious [Page 197] and austere. Such princes are even weak enough to suspect a want of zeal for their service and respect for their authority, where they do not find a servility that is ready to flatter them in the abuse of their power. They are offended at all freedom of speech, all generosi­ty of sentiment, which they consider as pride, censori­ousness, and sedition; and they contract a false delicacy, which every thing short of flattery disappoints and disgusts.


Such princes are a terror to mankind and mankind a terror to them. They retire from the public eye and immure themselves in the palace. They love darkness, and disguise their characters, which however are perfectly known; the malignant curiosity of their subjects penetrates every veil and investigates every se­cret; but he that is thus known by all, knows nobody. The self-interested wretches that surround him rejoice to perceive that he is inaccessible; and a prince that is inaccessible to men is inaccessible to truth. Those who avail themselves of his blindness are busy to ca­lumniate or to banish all that would open his eyes. He lives in a kind of savage and unsociable magnifi­cence, always the dupe of that imposition which he at once dreads and deserves. He that converses only with a small number of men, almost necessarily adopts their passions and their prejudices: and from passions and prejudices the best are not free. He must also receive his knowledge by report, and therefore lie at the mercy of tale-bearers, a despicable and detestable race, who are nourished by the poison that destroys others; who make what is little great, and what is blameless crim­inal, who, rather than not impute evil, invent it; and who to answer their own purposes, play upon the causeless suspicion and unworthy curiosity of a weak and jealous prince.


[Page 198] From the lips of your courtiers you have heard, and hereafter you will much oftener hear, the grossest flat­tery. Should you do that which the son of your slave could at any time have done better than yourself, they will affirm that you have performed a most extraordinary act. Should you obey your passions, they will affirm, you have done well. Should you pour forth the blood of your subjects as a river does its waters, they will pro­nounce, you have done well. Should you tax the free air, they will assert you have done well. Should you, powerful as you are, become revengeful, still would they proclaim, you had done well. So they told the intoxicated Alexander, when he plunged his dagger in­to the bosom of his friend. Thus they addressed Nero, when he assassinated his mother.

MIRABEAU. Memorial to the King of Prussia.


Experience teaches that the sword, the faggot, exile, and proscriptions, are better calculated to irritate than to heal a disease, which, having its source in the mind, cannot be relieved by remedies that act only on the body. The most efficacious means are sound doctrines and repeated instructions, which make a ready impres­sion when inculcated with mildness. Every thing else bows to the sovereign authority of the magistrates and the prince; but religion alone is not to be com­manded.

What the stoics have so vauntingly ascribed to their philosophy, religion has a higher claim to. Torments appear trivial to those who are animated by religious zeal: the firmness with which it inspires them, dead­ens the sentiment of pain; nothing they are obliged to suffer for its sake, however aggravated, occasions them surprize; the knowledge of their own strength enables them to bear every thing, while they are per­suaded [Page 199] that the grace of God supports them. Though the executioner appear before them, and exhibit to their view the sword and the stake, their minds are un­daunted; and regardless of the sufferings that are preparing for them, they are attentive solely to their duty: all their happiness is in themselves, and exter­nal objects make upon them but a feeble impression.

If Epicurus, whose system has been so much decried by other philosophers, has said of the sage, that if he were shut up in the brazen bull of Phalaris, he would not fail to declare: "this fire affects me not, it is not I that burn:" do we imagine that less courage was conspicuous in those who by various torments were put to death a century ago, or that less will be displayed by future martyrs, if persecution be contin­ued? What was said and done by one of them, when he was fastened to the stake in order to be burned, is worthy our notice. Being upon his knees, he began to sing a psalm, which the smoke and the flame could scarcely interrupt; and as the executioner, for fear of terrifying him, lighted the fire behind, he turned and said: "come and kindle it before me: if fire could have terrified me, I should not be here; it depended on my­self alone to avoid it"


Whosoever designs the change of religion in a coun­try or government, by any other means than that of a general conversion of the people, or the greatest part of them, designs all the mischiefs to a nation that use to usher in or attend the two greatest distempers of a state, civil war or tyranny; which are violence, op­pressions, cruelty, rapine, intemperance, injustice; and, in short, the miserable effusion of human blood, and the confusion of all laws, orders and virtues among men. Such consequences as these, I doubt, are some­thing more than the disputed opinions of any man or any particular assembly of men, can be worth.


[Page 200] A christian church allows all its members the most perfect liberty of men and christians. It is inconsist­ent with persecution for conscience sake: for it leaves all civil rewards and punishments to kingdoms, and states, and the governors of this world. It pretends to no power over conscience, to compel men to obedience; no prisons, no axes, fire, nor sword. It gives its mi­nisters power and authority to command nothing but what is found in the bible.


Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience and reason; and no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience, or for his religious profession, sentiments, or persuasion; pro­vided he doth not disturb the public peace or disturb o­thers in their religious worship.

Constitution of NEW-HAMPSHIRE.

All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God, according to the dictates of their own consciences; no man can, of right, be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry, against his con­sent; no human authority can, in any case what­ever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience; and no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishments or modes of worship.

Constitution of PENNSYLVANIA.

All men have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences and understanding; and no man ought, or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship, or maintain any ministry, contrary to, or against his own free will and consent; and no [Page 201] authority can or ought to be vested in, or assumed by, any power whatever, that shall in any case interfere with, or in any manner control the right of conscience, in the free exercise of religious worship.

Constitution of DELAWARE.

As it is the duty of every man to worship God in such manner as he thinks most acceptable to him; all persons, professing the christian religion, are equal­ly entitled to protection in their religious liberty; wherefore no person ought by any law to be molested in his person or estate on account of his religious per­suasion or profession, or for his religious practice; un­less, under colour of religion, any man shall disturb the good order, peace or safety of the state, or shall in­fringe the laws of morality, or injure others, in their natural, civil, or religious rights; nor ought any per­son to be compelled to frequent or maintain, or con­tribute, unless on contract, to maintain any particular place of worship, or any particular ministry.

Constitution of MARYLAND.

All men have a natural and unalienable right to wor­ship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences.

Constitution of NORTH-CAROLINA.

All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; no man of right can be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry against his con­sent; no human authority can in any case whatever control or interfere with the rights of conscience; and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious societies or modes of worship.

Constitution of KENTUCKY.

[Page 202] The civil rights, privileges or capacities of any citizen shall in no ways be diminished or enlarged on account of his religion.


Civil governors go miserably out of their proper pro­vince whenever they take upon them the care of truth, or the support of any doctrinal points. They are not judges of truth, and if they pretend to decide about it, they will decide wrong. It is superstition, idolatry, and nonsense, that civil power at present supports almost every where, under the idea of supporting sacred truth, and opposing dangerous error.

All the experience of past time proves that the consequence of allowing civil power to judge of the nature and tendency of doctrines, must be making it a hindrance to the progress of truth, and an enemy to the improvement of the world.—Anaxagoras was tried and condemned in Greece for teaching that the sun and stars were not deities, but masses of corruptible matter. Accusations of the like kind contributed to the death of Socrates. The threats of bigots, and the fear of persecution, prevented Copernicus from publishing, during his lifetime, his discovery of the true system of the world. Galileo was obliged to renounce the doc­trine of the motion of the earth, and suffered a year's imprisonment for having asserted it.


Governments, no more than individual men, are in­fallible. The cabinets of princes, and the parliaments of kingdoms, are often less likely to be right in their conclusions than the theorist in his closet. What sys­tem of religion or government has not in its turn been patronized by national authority? The consequence therefore of admitting this authority is, not merely at­tributing to government a right to impose some, but any or all opinions upon the community. Are Pagan­ism and christianity, the religions of Mahomet, Zoro­aster, and Confucius, are monarchy and aristocracy in [Page 203] all their forms equally worthy to be perpetuated among mankind? Is it quite certain that the greatest of all human calamities is change? Has no revolution in government, and no reformation in religion, been pro­ductive of more benefit than disadvantage? There is no species of reasoning in defence of the suppression of heresy which may not be brought back to this mon­strous principle, that the knowledge of truth, and the introduction of right principles of policy, are circum­stances altogether indifferent to the welfare of man­kind.


What bloodshed and confusion have been occasion­ed from the reign of Henry IV. when the first penal statutes were enacted, down to the revolution in England, by laws made to force conscience! There is nothing certainly more unreasonable, more inconsistent with the rights of human nature, more contrary to the spirit and precepts of the christian religion, more ini­quitous and unjust, more impolitic, than persecution. It is against natural religion, revealed religion, and sound policy.

Sad experience, and a large mind, taught that great man, the president de Thou, this doctrine. Let any man read the many admirable things, which he hath dared to advance upon this subject, in the dedication of his history to Henry IV. of France, (which I never read without rapture) and he will be fully convinced, not only how cruel, but how impolitic it is to perse­cute for religious opinions.


The error seems not sufficiently eradicated, that the operations of the mind, as well as the acts of the body, are subject to the coercion of the laws. But our rulers can have authority over such natural rights only as we have submitted to them. The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. [Page 204] We are answerable for them to our God. The legi­timate powers of government extend to such acts on­ly as are injurious to others.

Constraint may make a man worse by making him a hypocrite, but it will never make him a truer man. It may fix him obstinately in his errors, but will not cure them. Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error. Give a loose to them, they will support the true religion, by bringing every false one to their tribunal, to the test of their investigation. They are the natural enemies of error, and of error only.


Reason and experiment have been indulged, and error has fled before them. It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. Subject opinion to coercion: whom will you make your inquisitors? Fallible men; men governed by bad passions, by private as well as public reasons. And why subject it to coercion? To produce unifor­mity. But is uniformity of opinion desirable? No more than of face and stature. Introduce the bed of Procrustes then, and as there is danger that the large men may beat the small, make us all of a size, by lop­ping the former and stretching the latter. Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a censor morum over each other. Is uniformity attainable? Millions of inno­cent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, im­prisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half of the world fools, and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth.


Pennsylvania and New-York, have long sub­sisted without any religious establishment at all. [Page 205] The experiment was new and doubtful when they made it. It has answered beyond conception. They flourish infinitely. Religion is well supported; of va­rious kinds, indeed, but all good enough; all sufficient to preserve peace and order: or if a sect arises, whose tenets would subvert morals, good sense has fair play, and reasons and laughs it out of doors, without suffering the state to be troubled with it. They do not hang more malefactors than we do. They are not more disturbed with religious dissentions. On the contra­ry, their harmony is unparalleled, and can be ascribed to nothing but their unbounded tolerance, because there is no other circumstance in which they differ from every nation on earth. They have made the happy discovery, that the way to silence religious disputes, is to take no notice of them. Let us too give this experiment fair play, and get rid, while we may, of those tyrannical laws. It is true, we are as yet secured against them by the spirit of the times. I doubt whether the people of this country would suffer an execution for heresy, or a three years imprisonment for not comprehending the mysteries of the Trinity. But is the spirit of the peo­ple an infallible, a permanent reliance? Is it govern­ment? Is this the kind of protection we receive in return for the rights we give up? Besides, the spirit of the times may alter, will alter. Our rulers will be­come corrupt, our people careless. A single zealot may commence persecutor, and better men be his vic­tims. It can never be too often repeated, that the time for fixing every essential right on a legal basis is while our rulers are honest, and ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war we shall be going down hill. It will not then be necessary to resort eve­ry moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which [Page 206] shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will remain on us long, will be made heavier and heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion.


Almighty God being only Lord of conscience, author of all divine knowledge, faith, and worship, who can only enlighten the minds and convince the understand­ing of people; in due reverence to his sovereignty over the souls of mankind, and the better to unite the Queen's Christian subjects in interest and affection, BE IT ENACTED, by JOHN EVANS, Esq by the Queen's royal approbation Lieutenant Governor under WILLIAM PENN, Esq absolute proprieta­ry and Governor in chief of the province of Pennsylva­nia and territories, by and with the advice and consent of the freemen of the said province in General Assembly met, and by the authority of the same, that no person now, or at any time hereafter, dwelling or residing within this province, who shall profess faith in GOD the Father, and in JESUS CHRIST his only Son, and in the HOLY SPIRIT, One God blessed forever­more, and shall acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New-Testament to be given by divine inspi­ration, and, when lawfully required, shall profess and declare that they will live peaceably under the civil go­vernment, shall not in any case be molested or prejudi­ced for his or her conscientious persuasion, nor shall he or she be at any time compelled to frequent or maintain any religious worship-place o [...] ministry whatsoever, contrary to his or her mind, but shall freely and fully enjoy his or her Christian Liberty in all respects, with­out molestation or interruption.*


[Page 207] And it came to pass, after these things, that Abra­ham sat in the door of his tent, about the going down of the sun. And behold a man bent with age, was coming from the way of the wilderness, leaning on a staff. And Abraham arose, and met him, and said unto him, turn in, I pray thee, and wash thy feet, and tarry all night, and thou shalt arise early in the morn­ing, and go on thy way. And the man said, nay, for I will abide under this tree. But Abraham pressed him greatly: so he turned, and they went into the tent; and Abraham baked unleaven bread, and they did eat. And when Abraham saw that the man blessed not God, he said unto him, wherefore dost thou not worship the most high God, creator of heaven and earth? And the man answered and said, I do not worship thy God, neither do I call upon his name; for I have made to myself a god, which abideth always in my house, and provideth me with all things. And Abraham's zeal was kindled against the man, and he arose and fell up­on him, and drove him forth with blows into the wil­derness. And God called unto Abraham, saying, A­braham, where is the stranger? And Abraham answer­ed and said, Lord, he would not worship thee, neither would he call upon thy name; therefore have I driven him out from before my face into the wilderness. And God said, have I borne with him these hundred and ninety and eight years, and nourished him, and clothed him, notwithstanding his rebellion against me: and could'st not thou, who art thyself a sinner, bear with him one night?*

[Page 208]


Liberty, that dearest of names, and property, that best of characters, give an additional, and inexpressible charm to every delightful object.—See how the declin­ing sun has beautified the western clouds; has arrayed them in crimson, and skirted them with gold. Such a refinement of our domestic bliss, is property; such an improvement of our public privileges, is liberty.—When the lamp of day shall withdraw his beams, there will still remain the same collection of floating vapours; but O! how changed, how gloomy! the carnation streaks are faded; the golden edgings are worn away; and all the lovely things are lost in a leaden-coloured louring sadness. Such would be the aspect of all these scenes of beauty, and all these abodes of pleasure, if exposed continually to the caprice of arbitrary sway.



—Oh! give me liberty!
For were ev'n Paradise itself my prison,
Still I should long to leap the crystal walls.
Remember, O my friends! the laws, the rights,
The generous plan of power deliver'd down,
From age to age, by your renown'd forefathers,
So dearly bought, the price of so much blood!
O let it never perish in your hands!
But piously transmit it to your children.
Do thou, great liberty inspire our souls,
And make our lives in thy possession happy;
Or our deaths glorious in thy just defence.
[Page 209]
—When liberty is lost,
Let abject cowards live; but in the brave
It were a treachery to themselves, enough
To merit chains.
How must the glorious change transport us all,
When into freedom, tyranny is turn'd?
When each may say his fortune is his own,
And sleep in fulness of tranquillity?
Then shall we taste the sweets of life and ease,
Which happier climes have known: then, then enjoy
That liberty, which Britain's smiling isle
So long has boasted thro' a length of years.
'Tis liberty alone, that makes life dear:
He does not live at all, who lives to fear.
O liberty! heav'n's choice prerogative!
True bond of law! thou social soul of property!
Thou breath of reason! life of life itself!
For thee the valiant bleed. O sacred liberty!
Wing'd from the summer's snare, from flattering ruin▪
Like the bold stork you seek the wint'ry shore,
Leave courts, and pomps, and palaces to slaves,
Cleave to the cold, and rest upon the storm.
Upborne by thee, my soul disdain'd the terms
Of empire—offer [...]d at the hands of tyrants.
With thee I sought this fav'rite soil; with thee
These fav'rite sons I sought; thy sons, O liberty,
For ev'n among the wilds of life you lead them,
Lift their low rafted cottage to the clouds,
Smile o'er their heaths, and from the mountain tops
Beam glory to the nations.
—When he beheld the temple
Sacred to liberty, he cried aloud—
" Here let us sacrifice, my noble friends,
[Page 210] " To this best blessing that adorns our Rome
" To liberty, that makes our name rever'd;
" To sacred liberty—the gift of gods—
" To liberty—their gift and their enjoyment;
" Which, did they want,—they could not be immor­tal."
The rich man that beholds the brave in chains
And pants not for his freedom, is a slave.
O liberty! thou goddess heav'nly-bright!
Profuse of bliss, and pregnant with delight!
Eternal pleasures in thy presence reign,
And smiling plenty leads thy wanton train.
Eas'd of her load, subjection grows more light,
And poverty looks chearful in thy sight:
Thou mak'st the gloomy face of nature gay,
Giv'st beauty to the sun, and pleasure to the day.
'Tis liberty alone that gives the flow'r
Of fleeting life its lustre and perfume,
And we are weeds without it. All constraint,
Except what wisdom lays on evil men,
Is evil; hurts the faculties, impedes
Their progress in the road of science; blinds
The eyesight of discov'ry, and begets
In those that suffer it, a sordid mind
Bestial, a meagre intellect, unfit
To be the tenant of man's noble form.

In a state of liberty, every man learns to value himself as man; to consider himself as of importance in the system which himself has approved and contributed to establish; and therefore resolves to regulate his own behaviour consistently with its safety and preservation. He feels as a proprietor, not as a tenant. He loves the state because he participates in it. His obedience [Page 211] is not the cold reluctant result of terror; but the livery, cheerful, and spontaneous effect of love. The viola­tion of laws, formed on the pure principle of general beneficence, and to which he has given his full assent, by a just and perfect representation, he considers as a crime of the deepest die. He will incessantly endea­vour to improve it; and enter seriously into all poli­tical debate. In the collision of agitated minds, sparks will sometimes be emitted; but they will only give a favorable light and a genial warmth. They will never produce an injurious conflagration.

Spirit of DESPOTISM.

We shall conclude this subject, with observing the falsehood of the common opinion, that no large state could ever be modelled into a commonwealth, but that such a form of government can only take place in a city or small territory. The contrary seems probable. Though it is more difficult to form a republican gov­ernment in an extensive country than in a city; there is more facility, when once it is formed, of preserving it steady and uniform, without tumult and faction.—In a large government, which is modeled with master­ly skill, there is compass and room enough to refine the democracy from the lower people who may be admit­ted into the first elections or first concoction of the commonwealth, to the higher magistrates, who direct all the movements. At the same time, the parts are so distant and remote, that it is very difficult, either by intrigue, prejudice, or passion, to hurry them into any measures against the public interest.



When I consider life, 'tis all a cheat:
Yet fool'd with hope, men favour the deceit;
Trust on, and think, to-morrow will repay:
To-morrow's falser than the former day;
[Page 212] Lies more, and while it says we shall be bless'd
With some new joys, cuts off what we possess'd:
Strange cozenage! none would live past years again,
Yet all hope pleasure in what yet remain:
And from the dregs of life think to receive
What the first sprightly running could not give.
I'm tir'd with waiting for this chymic gold,
Which fools us young, and beggars us when old.
What art thou, life, so dearly lov'd by all?
What are thy charms that thus the great desire thee,
And to retain thee part with pomp and titles?
To buy thy presence, the gold watching miser
Will pour his mouldy bags of treasure out,
And grow at once a prodigal. The wretch
Clad with disease and poverty's thin coat,
Yet holds thee fast, tho' painful company.
O life! thou universal wish; what art thou?
Thou'rt but a day—A few uneasy hours:
Thy morn is greeted by the flocks and herds;
And every bird that flatters with its note,
Salutes thy rising sun: Thy noon approaching,
Then haste the flies and ev'ry creeping insect
To bask in thy meridian; that declining
As quickly they depart, and leave thy evening
To mourn the absent ray: Night at hand,
Then croaks the raven conscience, time mispent,
The owl despair seems hideous, and the bat
Confusion flutters up and down—
Life's but a lengthen'd day not worth the waking for


—Ye are lords:
A lazy, proud, unprofitable crew,
The vermin, gender'd from the rank corruption
Of a luxurious state.

[Page 213] The princes of Europe have found out a manner of rewarding their subjects, by presenting them with a­bout two yards of blue ribbon, which is worn about the shoulder. They who are honoured with this mark of distinction are called knights, and the king himself is always the head of the order. Should a nobleman happen to lose his leg in battle, the king presents him with two yards of ribbon, and he is paid for the loss of his limb. Should an ambassador spend all his pater­nal fortune, in supporting the honor of his country a­broad, the king presents him with two yards of ribbon, which is to be considered as equivalent to his estate. In short, while an European king has a yard of blue or green ribbon left, he need be under no apprehension of wanting statesmen, generals, and soldiers.


There is a set of men in all the states of Europe who assume from their infancy a pre-eminence, inde­pendent of their moral character. The attention paid them from the moment of their birth, gives them the idea that they are formed for command; they soon learn to distinguish themselves as a distinct species, and being secure of a certain rank and station, take no pains to make themselves worthy of it. To this in­stitution we owe so many indifferent ministers, igno­rant magistrates, and bad generals.


He is but a poor observer, who has not seen that the generality of peers, far from supporting themselves in a state of independent greatness, are but too apt to fall into an oblivion of their proper dignity, and run head­long into an abject servitude.


Let states that aim at greatness take heed how their nobility and gentry do multiply too fast: for that ma­keth the common subject grow to be a peasant and [Page 214] base swain, driven out of heart, and in effect but a gen­tleman's labourer.

Princes and lords may flourish or may fade,
A breath can make them as a breath has made;
But a bold peasantry, a nation's pride,
When once destroy'd, can never be supplied.
What is a lord? Doth that plain simple word,
Contain some magic spell? As soon as heard,
Like an alarm bell on night's dull ear,
Doth it strike louder, and more strong appear
Than other words? Whether we will or no,
Thro' reason's court doth it unquestion'd go
E'en on the mention, and of course transmit
Notions of something excellent, of wit
Pleasing, tho' keen, of humour free, tho' chaste,
Of sterling genius with sound judgment grac'd,
Of virtue far above temptation's reach,
And honour, which no malice can impeach?
Believe it not—'t was nature's first intent,
Before their rank became their punishment,
They should have pass'd for men, nor blush'd to prize
The blessings she bestow'd.—She gave them eyes,
And they could see—she gave them ears, they heard
The instruments of stirring, and they stirr'd—
Like us they were design'd to eat, to drink,
To talk, and (ev'ry now and then) to think.
Till they, by pride corrupted, for the sake
Of singularity, disclaim'd that make;
Till they, disdaining nature's vulgar mode,
Flew off, and struck into another road,
More fitting quality, and to our view
Came forth a species altogether new,
Something we had not known, and could not know,
Like nothing of God's making here below—
Nature exclaim'd with wonder—lords are things,
Which, never made by me, were made by kings.
[Page 215]
A lord (nor here let censure rashly call
My just contempt of some, abuse of all:)
A mere, mere lord, with nothing but the name,
Wealth all his worth, and title all his fame,
Lives on another man, himself a blank,
Thankless he lives, or must some grandsire thank
For smuggled honors, and ill-gotten pelf.
You say, a long descended race,
And wealth, and dignity, and power, and place,
Make gentlemen, and that your high degree
Is much disparag'd to be match'd with me:
Know this, my lord, nobility of blood,
Is but a glitt'ring and fallacious good;
The nobleman is he whose noble mind
Is fill'd with inborn worth, unborrow'd from his kind.


Love various minds does variously inspire;
He stirs in gentle natures gentle fire,
Like that of incense on the altar laid:
But raging flames tempestuous souls invade:
A fire, which every windy passion blows,
With pride it mounts, and with revenge it glows.
The idle god of love supinely dreams,
Amidst inglorious shades and purling streams;
In rosy fetters, and fantastic chains,
He binds deluded maids, and simple swains;
With soft enjoyments, woos them to forget
The hardy toils, and labour of the great:
But, if the warlike trumpet's loud alarms
To virtuous acts excite, and manly arms;
[Page 216] The coward boy avows his abject fear,
On silken wings sublime he cuts the air;
Scar'd at the furious noise and thunder of the war.


Those who are possessed of exorbitant power, who pant for its extension, and tremble at the apprehension of losing it, are always sufficiently artful to dwell with emphasis, on the evils of licentiousness; under which opprobrious name, they wish to stigmatize liberty. They describe the horrors of anarchy and confusion, in the blackest colors; and boldly affirm, that they are the necessary consequences of entrusting the people with power. Indeed, they hardly condescend to recog­nize the idea of the people; but whenever they speak of the mass of the community, denominate them the mob, the rabble or the swinish multitude. Language is at a loss for appellatives, significant of their contempt for those who are undistinguished by wealth or titles, and is obliged to content itself with such words as reptiles, scum, dregs, or the many-headed monster.

Spirit of DESPOTISM.

Licentiousness and despotism are more nearly allied than is commonly imagined. They are both alike in­consistent with liberty, and the true end of government; nor is there any other difference between them, than that one is the licentiousness of great men, and the other the licentiousness of little men; or that by one, the persons and property of a people are subject to outrage and in­vasion from a king, or a lawless body of grandees; and that by the other, they are subject to the like outrages from a lawless mob. In avoiding one of these evils, mankind have often run into the other. But all well-constituted governments guard equally against both. [Page 217] Indeed of the two, the last is, on several accounts, the least to be dreaded, and has done the least mischief. It may truly be said, if licentiousness has destroyed its thousands, despotism has destroyed its millions. The former having little power, and no system to support it, ne [...]ssarily finds its own remedy; and a people soon get out of the tumult and anarchy attending it. But a despotism, wearing a form of government, and being armed with its force, is an evil not to be con­quered without dreadful struggles. It goes on from age to age, debasing the human faculties, levelling all distinctions, and preying on the rights and blessings of society. It deserves to be added, that in a state distur­bed by licentiousuess, there is an animation which is favourable to the human mind, and puts it upon exerting its powers; but in a state habituated to despotism, all is still and torpid. A dark and savage tyranny stifles every effort of genius, and the mind loses all its spirit and dignity.



There, in her den, lay pompous luxury,
Stretch'd out at length; no vice could boast such high
And gen'ral victories as she had won:
Of which, proud trophies there at large were shewn.
Besides small states and kingdoms ruined,
Those mighty monarchies, that had o'erspread
The spacious earth, and stretch'd their conqu'ring arms
From pole to pole, by her ensnaring charms
Were quite consum'd: there lay imperial Rome,
That vanquish'd all the world, by her o'ercome:
Fetter'd was th' old Assyrian lion there;
The Grecian leopard, and the Persian bear;
With others, numberless, lamenting by:
Examples of the power of Luxury.
[Page 218]
Now basket up the family of plagues
That waste our vitals. Peculation, sale
Of honor, perjury, corruption, frauds,
By forgery, by subterfuge of law,
By tricks and lies as num'rous and as keen
As the necessities their authors feel;
Then cast them closely bundl'd, ev'ry brat
At the right door. Profusion is the fire.
Profusion unrestrain'd, with all that's base
In character, has litter'd all the land,
And bred within the mem'ry of no few
A priesthood such as Baal's was of old,
A people such as never was till now.
It is a hungry vice:—it eats up all
That gives society its beauty, strength,
Convenience, and security, and use.
Makes men m [...]re vermin, worthy to be trapp'd
And gibbetted as fast as catchpole claws
Can seize the slipp'ry prey. Unties the knot
Of union, and converts the sacred band
That holds mankind together, to a scourge.
Profusion, deluging a state with losts
Of grossest nature, and of worst effects,
Prepares it for its ruin. Hardens, blinds,
And warps the consciences of public men,
Till they can laugh at virtue; mock the fools
That trust them; and in th' end, disclose a face
That would have shock'd credulity herself.
Unmask'd, vouchsafing this their sole excuse,
Since all alike are selfish—Why not they?
This does profusion, and th' accursed cause
Of such deep mischief, has itself a cause.
Increase of pow'r begets increase of wealth,
Wealth luxury, and luxury excess;
Excess, the scrophulous and itchy plague
That seizes first the opulent, descends
[Page 219] To the next rank contagious, and in time
Taints downward all the graduated scale
Of order, from the chariot, to the plough.
The rich, and they that have an arm to check
The license of the lowest in degree,
Desert their office; and themselves intent
On pleasure, haunt the capital, and thus
To all the violence of lawless hands,
Resign the scenes their presence might protect.
Authority herself not seldom sleeps,
Though resident, and witness of the wrong.


He that with injury is griev'd,
And goes to law to be reliev'd,
Is sillier than a sottish chowse,
Who, when a thief has robb'd his house,
Applies himself to cunning-men,
To help him to his goods again;
When all he can expect to gain,
Is but to squander more in vain.


The universal spirit of all laws in all countries, is to favour the strong in opposition to the weak; and to assist those who have possessions against those who have none.


One of the seven sages of Greece was wont to say, that laws were like cobwebs, where the small flies were caught, and the great ones break through.


Ask of politicians the end for which laws were ori­ginally designed, and they will answer, that the laws were designed as a protection for the poor and weak, [Page 220] against the oppression of the rich and powerful. But surely no pretence can be so ridiculous; a man might as well tell me he has taken off my load, because he has changed the burden. If the poor man is not able to support his suit, according to the vexatious and expen­sive manner established in civilized countries, has not the rich as great an advantage over him as the strong has over the weak in a state of nature?


To embarrass justice by multiplicity of laws, or to hazard it by confidence in judges, seems to be the opposite rocks on which all civil institutions have been wrecked, and between which, legislative wisdom has never yet found an open passage.


Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny. In such a country as this, they are of all bad things the worst, worse by far than any thing else; and they derive a particular malignity even from the wisdom and sound­ness of the rest of our institutions.


LAWS (Ex post facto.)

Laws, made to punish for actions done before the existence of such laws, and which have not been decla­red crimes by preceding laws, are unjust, oppressive, and inconsistent with the fundamental principles of a free government.

Constitution of MASSACHUSETTS.

Retrospective laws, punishing offences committed before the existence of such laws, are oppressive and unjust, and ought not to be made.

Constitution of DELAWARE.

Retrospective laws, punishing facts commited before the existence of such laws, and by them only declared criminal, are oppressive, unjust, and incompatible [Page 221] with liberty; wherefore no ex post facto law ought to be made.

Constitution of MARYLAND.


The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom in a state: it ought therefore to be inviolably preserved.

Constitution of NEW-HAMPSHIRE.

The people have a right to freedom of speech, and of writing and publishing their sentiments, concerning the transactions of government—and therefore the free­dom of the press ought not to be restrained.

Constitution of VERMONT.

As long as there are such things as printing and writing, there will be libels: it is an evil arising out of a much greater good.—However it does not follow that the press is to be sunk for the errors of the press:—for it is certainly of much less consequence that an innocent man should now and then be aspersed than that all men should be enslaved.

Many methods have been tried to remedy this evil. In Turkey and the Eastern monarchies, all printing is forbid; which does it with a witness; for if there can be no printing at all, there can be no libels printed; and by the same reason there ought to be no talking, lest the people should talk treason, blasphemy, or non­sense; and for a stronger reason yet, no preaching, be­cause the orator has an opportunity of haranguing often to a larger auditory than he can persuade to read his lu­cubrations: but I desire it may be remembered, that there is neither liberty, arts, sciences, learning, or know­ledge in these countries.

But another method has been thought on in these western parts of the world, much less effectual, and yet more mischievous than the former, namely, to put [Page 222] the press under the protection of the prevailing party, and authorise libels on one side only, and deny the other side the opportunity of defending themselves.

What mischief is done by libels to balance all these evils? They seldom or never annoy an innocent man, or promote any considerable error, Wise and honest men laugh at them, and despise them, and such ar­rows always fly over their heads, or fall at their feet. Most of the world take part with a virtuous man, and punish c [...]lumny by their detestation of it. The best way to prevent libels is not to deserve them. Guilty men alone fear them, or are hurt by them, whose act­ions will not bear examination, and therefore must not be examined. 'Tis fact alone which annoys them; for if you tell no truth, I dare say you may have their leave to tell as many lies as you please.

The same is true in speculative opinions. You may write nonsense and folly as long as you think fit, and no one complains of it but the bookseller. But if a bold, honest, and wise book sallies forth, and attacks those who think themselves secure in their trenches, then their camp is in danger, and they call out all hands to arms, and their enemy is to be destroyed by fire, sword, or fraud. But 'its senseless to think that any truth can suffer by being thoroughly searched, or exam­ined into; or that the discovery of it can prejudice right religion, equal government, or the happiness of society in any respect: she has so many advantages above er­ror, that she wants only to be shown to gain admiration and esteem; and we see every day that she breaks the bonds of tyranny and fraud, and shines through the mists of superstition and ignorance: and what then would she do, if these barriers were removed, and her fetters taken off?


It is apprehended, that arbitary power would steal in upon us, were we not careful to prevent its progress, and were there not an easy method of conveying the [Page 223] alarm from one end of the kingdom to another. The spirit of the people must frequently be roused, in order to curb the ambition of the court, and the dread of rousing this spirit must be employed to prevent that ambition. Nothing is so effectual to this purpose as the liberty of the press, by which all the learning, wit and genius of the nation may be employed on the side of freedom, and every one be animated to its defence. As long therefore as the republican part of our govern­ment can maintain itself against the monarchical, it will naturally be careful to keep the press open, as of importance to its own preservation.



Behold of ev'ry age. Ripe manhood see,
Decrepit years, and helpless infancy:
Those who by ling'ring sickness lose their breath,
And those who, by despair, suborn their death:
See yon mad fools, who for some trival right,
For love, or for mistaken honour, fight:
See those more mad who throw their lives away
In needless wars, the stake which monarchs lay,
When for each others provinces they play.
Then as if earth too narrow were for fate,
On open seas their quarrels they debate;
In hollow wood they floating armies bear;
And force imprison'd winds to bring 'em near.
Like leaves on trees the race of man is found,
Now green in youth, now with'ring on the ground,
Another race the foll'wing spring supplies;
They fall successive, and successive rise:
So generations in their course decay;
So flourish these when those are past away.

[Page 224] When I reflect upon man; and take a view of that dark side of him which represents his life as open to so many causes of trouble—when I consider how oft we eat the bread of affliction, and that we are born to it, as to the portion of our inheritance—when one runs over the catalogue of all the cross reckonings and sor­rowful items with which the heart of man is over­charged, 'tis wonderful by what hidden resources the mind is enabled to stand it out, and bear itself up as it does, against the impositions laid upon our nature.


Men are gregarious in their nature; they form to­gether in society, not merely from necessity, to avoid the evils of solitude, but from inclination and mutual attachment. They find a positive pleasure in yielding assistance to each other, in communicating their thoughts and improving their faculties. This disposi­tion in man is the source of morals; they have their foundation in nature, and receive their nourishment from society. The different portions of this society, that call themselves nations, have generally established the principle of securing to the individuals who com­pose a nation, the exclusive enjoyment of the fruits of their own labour; reserving however to the governing power the right to reclaim from time to time so much of the property and labour of individuals as shall be deemed necessary for the public service. This is the general basis on which property, public and private, has hitherto been founded. Nations have proceeded no farther. Perhaps in a more improved state of so­ciety, the time will come, when a different system may be introduced; when it shall be found more con­genial to the social nature of man to exclude the idea of separate property, and with that the numerous evils which seem to be entailed upon it.

Hail man, exalted title! first and best,
On God's own image by his hand imprest,
[Page 225] To which at last the reas'ning race is driven,
And seeks anew what first it gain'd from heav'n.
O man, my brother, how the cordial flame
Of all endearments, kindles at the name!
In every clime, thy visage greets my eyes,
In every tongue thy kindred accents rise;
The thought expanding swells my heart with glee,
It finds a friend, and loves itself in thee.
Say then, fraternal family divine,
Whom mutual wants and mutual aids combine,
Say from what source the dire delusion rose,
That souls like ours were ever made for foes;
Why earth's maternal bosom, where we tread,
To rear our mansions and receive our bread,
Should blush so often for the race she bore,
So long be drench'd with floods of filial gore?
Why to small realms for ever rest confin'd
Our great affections, meant for all mankind?
Though climes divide us; shall the stream or sea,
That forms a barrier 'twixt my friend and me,
Inspire the wish his peaceful state to mar,
And meet his falchion in the ranks of war?
Not seas, nor climes, nor wild ambition's fire
In nations' minds could e'er the wish inspire;
Where equal rights each sober voice should guide,
No blood would stain them, and no war divide.
'Tis dark deception, 'tis the glare of state,
Man sunk in titles, lost in small and great;
'Tis rank, distinction, all the hell that springs
From those prolific monsters, courts and kings.
These are the vampires nurs'd on nature's spoils;
For these with pangs the starving peasant toils,
For these the earth's broad surface teems with grain,
Theirs the dread labours of the devious main;
And when the wasted world but dares refuse
The gifts oppressive and extorted dues,
They bid wild slaughter spread the gory plains,
The life-blood gushing from a thousand veins,
[Page 226] Erect their thrones amid the sanguine flood,
And dip their purple in the nation's blood.
The gazing crowd, of glittering state afraid,
Adore the power their coward meanness made;
In war's short intervals; while regal shows
Still blind their reason and insult their woes.
What strange events for proud processions call!
See kingdoms crowding to a birth-night ball!
See the long pomp in gorgeous glare display'd,
The tinsel'd guards, the squadron'd horse parade;
See heralds gay, with emblems on their vest,
In tissu'd robes, tall, beauteous pages drest;
Amid superior ranks of splendid slaves,
Lords, dukes and princes, titulary knaves,
Confus'dly shine their crosses, gems and stars,
Sceptres and globes and crowns and spoils of wars.
On gilded orbs see thundering chariots roll'd,
Steeds, snorting fire, and champing bitts of gold,
Prance to the trumpet's voice; while each assumes
A loftier gait, and lifts his neck of plumes.
High on a moving throne, and near the van,
The tyrant rides, the chosen scourge of man;
Clarions and flutes and drums his way prepare,
And shouting millions rend the troubled air;
Millions, whose ceaseless toils the pomp sustain,
Whose hour of stupid joy repays an age of pain.
Of these no more. From orders, slaves and kings,
To thee, O man, my heart rebounding springs,
Behold th' ascending bliss that waits thy call,
Heav'n's own bequest, the heritage of all.
Awake to wisdom, seize the proffer'd prize;
From shade to light, from grief to glory rise.
Freedom at last, with reason in her train,
Extends o'er earth her everlasting reign.

Man, considered in himself, is a very helpless and a very wretched being. He is subject every moment to the greatest calamities and misfortunes. He is be­set [Page 227] with dangers on all sides, and may become unhappy by numberless casualties, which he could not foresee, nor had prevented had he foreseen them.

It is our comfort, while we are obnoxious to so many accidents, that we are under the care of one who directs contingencies, and has in his hands the manage­ment of every thing that is capable of annoying or offending us; who knows the assistance we stand in need of, and is always ready to bestow it on those who ask it of him.

The natural homage, which such a creature bears to so infinitely wise and good a being, is a firm reliance on him, for the blessings and conveniencies of life, and an habitual trust in him for deliverance out of all such dangers and difficulties as may befall us.

The man who always lives in this disposition of mind, has not the same dark and melancholy views of human nature, as he who considers himself abstractedly from this relation to the Supreme Being. At the same time that he reflects upon his own weakness and im­perfection, he comforts himself with the contemplation of those divine attributes, which are employed for his safety and his welfare. He finds his want of foresight made up by the omniscience of him who is his support. He is not sensible of his own want of strength, when he knows that his helper is almighty. In short, the person who has a firm trust on the Supreme Being is powerful in his power, wise by his wisdom, happy by his happiness. He reaps the benefit of every divine at­tribute, and loses his own insufficiency in the fulness of infinite perfection.

To make our lives more easy to us, we are com­manded to put our trust in him, who is thus able to relieve and succour us; the divine goodness having made such a reliance a duty, notwithstanding we should have been miserable had it been forbidden us.

[Page 228]


Since wealth and pow'r too weak we find
To quell the tumults of the mind;
Or from the monarch's roofs of state,
Drive thence the cares that round him wait:
Happy the man with little bless'd,
Of what his father left, possess'd;
No base desires corrupt his head,
No fears disturb him in his bed.
Thy portion is a wealthy stock,
A fertile glebe, a fruitful flock,
Horses and chariots for thy ease,
Rich robes to deck, and make thee please:
For me a little cell I chuse,
Fit for my mind, fit for my muse;
Which soft content does best adorn,
Shunning the knaves, and fools I scorn.
If thou be wise, no glorious fortune chuse;
Which 'tis but vain to keep, yet grief to lose;
For, when we place ev'n trifles in the heart,
With trifles too unwillingly we part.
An humble roof, plain bed, and homely board,
More clear untainted pleasures do afford,
Than all the tumult of vain greatness brings
To kings, or to the favourites of kings.


Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword;
The mareschall's truncheon, nor the judge's robe,
Become them with one half so good a grace,
As mercy does.
Alas! the souls of all men once were forfeit,
And he that might th' advantage best have taken,
Found out the remedy: how would ye be,
[Page 229] If he, who is the top of judgment, should
But judge you as you are? Oh! think on that,
And mercy then will breathe within your lips,
Like new made man.
The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heav'n
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest,
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes;
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:
His sceptre shews the force of temporal power,
The attribute to power and majesty;
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings.
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then shew likest God's,
When mercy seasons justice.

My uncle Toby was a man patient of injuries;—not from want of courage;—where just occasion presented, or called it forth,—I know no man under whose arm I would sooner have taken shelter;—nor did this arise from any insensibility or obtuseness of his intellectual parts;—he was of a peaceful, placid nature,—no jar­ring element in it,—all was mixed up so kindly with him; my uncle Toby had scarce a heart to retaliate upon a fly:—Go,—says he one day at dinner, to an overgrown one which had buzzed about his nose, and tormented him cruelly all dinner time,—and which, after infinite attempts, he had caught at last—as it flew by him;—I'll not hurt thee, says my uncle Toby, rising from his chair, and going across the room, with the fly in his hand,—I'll not hurt a hair of thy head:—Go, says he, lifting up the sash, and opening his hand as he spoke, to let it escape;—go poor devil, get thee gone; why should I hurt thee?—This world surely is wide enough to hold thee and me.

[Page 230]


Why has the monarch so much use for life?
Yet in his health is levell'd with the peasant!
O painful majesty! unequal state!
Not all thy gorgeous pomp, thy flags of power,
Thy dignities, dominions, ceremonies,
The crown, the sceptre, and the royal ball,
The purple robe, nor princely crowds, whose press
Of duty intercepts the wholesome air;
Not all these glories, for one precious hour,
Can buy the beggar's health or appetite.


How much more sweet and worth our constant pray'r,
A mind unshaken by the storms of care!
Which can a vain and empty world despise,
And with an upward flight affect the skies;
Which the gay trappings of the great contemns,
Their sounding titles, and their shining gems.
Discharg'd of all which happiness debars,
She plants her conversation in the stars;
Looks on the clouds, and lower earth with scorn,
And seeks that country were she first was born.


The manners of a people are not to be found in the schools of learning, or the palaces of greatness, where the national character is obscured, or obliterated by travel or instruction, by philosophy or vanity; nor is public happiness to be estimated by the assemblies of the gay or the banquets of the rich. The great mass of nations is neither rich nor gay. They whose ag­gregate constitutes the people, are found in the streets [Page 231] and the villages; in the shops and farms; and from them, collectively considered, must the measure of gen­eral prosperity be taken. As they approach to delicacy, a nation is refined; as their conveniencies are multi­plied, a nation, at least a commercial nation, must be denominated wealthy.


Manners are of more importance than laws. In a great measure the laws depend upon them. The law touches us but here and there, and now and then. Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or bebase, barbarize or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation, like that of the air we breathe in. They give their whole form and colour to our lives. According to their quality, they aid morals, they supply them, or they totally destroy them.



A well regulated militia is the proper, natural, and sure defence of a state.

Standing armies are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be raised, or kept up without consent of the legislature.

In all cases and at all times, the military ought to be under strict subordination to, and governed by the civil power.

No soldier in time of peace shall be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner; and in time of war, such quarters ought not to be made but by the civil magistrate, in a manner ordained by the legis­lature.

Constitution of NEW-HAMPSHIRE.

A well-regulated militia is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free government.

Standing armies are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be raised or kept up, without the consent of the legislature.

[Page 232] In all cases, and at all times, the military ought to be under strict subordination to, and governed by the civil power.

No soldier ought to be quartered in any house, in time of peace, without the consent of the owner; and in time of war, in such manner only, as the legislature shall direct.

Constitution of DELAWARE.

The sure and certain defence of a free people is a well regulated militia; and as standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to freedom, they ought to be avoided, as far as the circumstances and safety of the community will admit; and in all cases the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil authority.

Constitution of TENNESSEE.

The militia of this country must be considered as the palladium of our security, and the first effectual resort, in case of hostility. It is essential, therefore, that the same system should pervade the whole; that the for­mation and discipline of the militia of the continent, should be absolutely uniform; and that the same spe­cies of arms, accoutrements, and military apparatus, should be introduced in every part of the United States. No one, who has not learned it from experience, can conceive the difficulty, expence, and confusion, which result from a contrary system, or the vague arrange­ments which have hitherto prevailed.


The documents which will be presented to you, will shew the amount, and kinds of arms and military stores now in our magazines and arsenals; and yet an addition even to these supplies cannot with prudence be neglected; as it would leave nothing to the uncer­tainty of procuring a warlike apparatus in the moment of public danger. Nor can such arrangements, with such objects, be exposed to the [...]ensure or jealousy of [Page 233] the warmest friends of republican government. They are incapable of abuse in the hands of the militia, who ought to possess a pride in being the depository of the force of the Republic, and may be trained to a degree of energy, equal to every military exigency of the Uni­ted States.



There is one circumstance in the conduct of the tory friends to absolute sway, truly alarming to the champions of liberty. They are always inclined, on the smallest tumult, to call in the military. They would depreci­ate the civil powers, and break the constable's staff to introduce the bayonet. In their opinion, the best ex­ecutive powers of government are a party of dragoons. They are therefore constantly sounding alarms, and ag­gravating every petty disturbance into a riot or rebel­lion. They are not for parleying with the many-head­ed monster; they scorn lenient measures; and while their own persons are in perfect safety, boldly com­mand the military to fire. What is the life or the limb of a poor man, in their opinion? Not so much as the life or limb of a favorite pointer or race-horse. They are always eager to augment the army. They would build barracks in every part of the country, and be glad to see a free country over-run, like some of the enslaved nations of the continent, from east to west, from north to south, with men armed to overawe the saucy advocates of charters, privileges, rights, and re­formations.

Against principles so dangerous in public life, and odious in private, every friend to his country, every lover of his fellow creatures, every competent judge of those manners, which sweeten the intercourse of man with man, will shew a determined opposition. But how shall he shew it with effect? By ridicule. [Page 234] Nothing lowers the pride from which such principles proceed, so much as general contempt and derision. The insolence of petty despots in private life should be laughed at by an Aristophanes, while it is rebuked by a Cato.

Spirit of DESPOTISM.

As, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to li­berty, they ought not to be maintained, without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in exact subordination to the civil au­thority, and be governed by it.

Constitution of MASSACHUSETTS.

No standing army shall, in time of peace, be kept up, without the consent of the legislature; and the mi­litary shall, in all cases, and at all times, be in strict subordination to the civil power.

Constitution of PENNSYLVANIA.

No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor, in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.


Standing armies are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be raised or kept up, without consent of the le­gislature.

Constitution of MARYLAND.

In all cases, and at all times, the military ought to be under strict subordination to and control of the civil power.


No soldier ought to be quartered in any house, in time of peace, without the consent of the owner; and in time of war, in such manner only, as the legislature shall direct.


No standing army shall, in time of peace, be kept up, without the consent of the legislature; and the mi­litary [Page 235] shall, in all cases, and at all times, be in strict subordination to the civil power.

Constitution of KENTUCKY.

No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.


Overgrown military establishments, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.



What is more respectable, or more sacred, than true modesty; who will dare bring a blush on the cheek of chaste beauty, ignorant of the mysteries of which she has not even an idea! Who will dare to blemish the carnation of a chaste countenance and a pure mind; break the seal of virtue, and a peaceful heart, that shame has not yet affected! even the depraved man feels [...] schemes die away; he restrains the emotions of his i [...] poisoned tongue, and his bold hand; he is disarmed by the glance where modest assurance shines; he turns [...]side, as the most brutal wretch would turn the wheel of his carriage, when it threatened to crush an infant stretched on the road.



As great respect is due to the office of the supreme magistrate, so also is great affection due to his person, while he conducts himself with propriety, and consults the happiness of the people. The most decorous lan­guage should be used to him, the most respect al beha­viour preserved towards him; every mode adopted of [Page 236] shewing him proofs of love and honor, on this side ido­latry. Arduous is his task, though honorable. It should be sweetened by every mode which true and sincere loyalty can devise. I would rather exceed, than fail short of the deference due to the office and the man.

Spirit of DESPOTISM.

All powers residing originally in the people, and being derived from them, the several magistrates, and officers of government, vested with authority, whether legislative, executive, or judicial, are their substitutes and agents, and are at all times accountable to them.

Constitution of MASSACHUSETTS.

All persons invested with the legislative or executive powers of government are the trustees of the public, and, as such, accountable for their conduct; where­fore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought, to reform the old or establish a new government. The doctrine of non-resistance, against arbitrary power and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.

Constitution of MARYLAND.


I had formerly upon occasion discoursed with my master upon the nature of government in general, and particularly of our own excellent constitution, deserved­ly the wonder and envy of the whole world. But having here accidentally mentioned a minister of state, he com­manded me some time after to inforn him, what spe­cies of yahoo I particularly meant by that appellation.

I told him, that a chief or first minister of state, who was the person I intended to describe, was a creature wholly exempt from joy and grief, love and hatred, pity [Page 237] and anger; at least makes use of no other passions, but a violent desire of wealth, power, and titles; that he applies his words to all uses, except to the indication of his mind; that he never tells a truth but with an in­tent that you should take it for a lie: nor a lie, but with a design that you should take it for a truth; that those he speaks worst of behind their backs, are in the surest way of preferment; and whenever he begins to praise you to others, or to yourself, you are from that day forlorn. The worst mark you can receive is a promise, especially when it is confirmed with an oath; after which every wise man retires, and gives over all hopes.


Ministers and favorites are a sort of people who have a state prisoner in their custody, the whole man­agement of whose understanding and actions they can easily engross. This they completely effect with a weak and credulous master, nor can the most cautious and penetrating elude their machinations.

Ministers become a sort of miniature kings in their turn. The king has been used to hear those things only which were adapted to give him pleasure, and it is with a grating and uneasy sensation that he listens to communications of a different sort. He has been used to unhesitating compliance; and it is with difficulty he can digest expostulation and opposition. The tem­porising politician expects the same pliability in others that he exhibits in himself; and the fault which he can least forgive is an ill timed and inauspicious scru­pulosity.

Expecting this compliance from all the coadjutors and instruments of his designs, he soon comes to set it up as a standard by which to judge of the merits of all other men. He is deaf to every recommendation but that of a fitness for the secret service of government, or a tendency to promote his interest, and extend the sphere of his influence. The worst man with this argument [Page 238] in his favor will seem worthy of encouragement; the best man who has no advocate but virtue to plead for him will be treated with superciliousness and neglect.—To obtain honor, it will be necessary to pay a servile court to administration, to bear with unaltered patience their contumely and scorn, to flatter their vices, and render ourselves useful to their private gratification. To obtain honors, it will be necessary, by assiduity and intrigue, to make to ourselves a party, to procure the recommendation of lords and the good word of women of pleasure and clerks in office. To obtain honor, it will be necessary to merit disgrace. The whole scene consists in hollowness, duplicity, and falsehood. The minister speaks fair to the man he despises, and the slave pretends a generous attachment, while he thinks of nothing but his personal interest.


If you ask me where to look for those beautiful shi­ning qualities of prime ministers and the great favorites of princes, that are so finely painted in dedications, addresses, epitaphs, funeral sermons, and inscriptions? I answer, there, and no where else. Where would you look for the excellency of a statue, but in that part which you see of it? It is the polished outside only that has the skill and labour of the sculptor to boast of; what is out of sight is untouched. Would you break the head or cut open the breast to look for the brains or the heart, you would only shew your ignorance and destroy the workmanship. This has often made me compare the virtues of great men to your large china jars; they make a fine show, and are ornamental to a chimney; one would, by the bulk they appear in, and the value that is set upon them, think they might be very useful, but look into a thousand of them, and you will find nothing but dust and cobwebs.


I know not how it happens, but there is hardly ever a prince so bad but his minister is worse: If he com­mit [Page 239] any ill action he is still prompted to it; accordingly the ambition of a prince is never so dangerous as base­ness of soul in his counsellers.

Oh! what a mine of mischief is a statesman!
Ye furies, whirlwinds, and ye treach'rous rocks,
Ye ministers of death, devouring fire,
Convulsive earthquake, and plague tainted air,
All you are merciful and mild to him.


Were honour to be scann'd by long descent
From ancestors illustrious, I could vaunt
A lineage of the greatest, and recount
Among my fathers, names of ancient story,
Heroes and godlike patriots, who subdued
The world by arms and virtue:
But that be their own praise:
Nor will I borrow merit from the dead,
Myself an undeserver.
Virtue alone is true nobility:
Let your own acts immortalize your name
'Tis poor relying on another's fame:
For take the pillars but away, and all
The [...] [...]ructure must in ruins fall:
As a [...] [...]oops, when by divorce remov'd
From [...] embraces of the elm she lov'd.
—Nobility of blood,
Is but a glitt'ring and fallacious good:
The nobleman is he, whose noble mind
Is fill'd with in-born worth, unb [...]ow'd from his kind.
The king of heav'n was in a [...] laid,
And took his earth but from an [...] maid;
Then what can birth or mortal men bestow.
Since floods no higher than their fountains flow?
[Page 240] We, who for name and empty honour strive,
Our true nobility from him derive.
Your ancestors, who puff your mind with pride,
And vast estates, to mighty titles ty'd,
Did not your honour, but their own advance;
For virtue comes not by inheritance:

No man is nobler born than another, unless he is born with better abilities and a more amiable disposi­tion. They who make such a parade with their family pictures and pedigrees, are, properly speaking, rather to be called noted or notorious than noble persons. I thought it right to say this much, in order to repel the insolence of men who depend entirely upon chance and accidental circumstances for distinction, and not at all on public services and personal merit.


Virtue is nobility. Personal merit, useful, generous, benevolent exertion, the only honorable distinction. The trappings which every taylor can make to clothe a poor puny mortal, add no real dignity. In ages of ignorance, they might strike with awe. Those ages are no more. Nor will they ever return, notwith­standing the efforts of petty despots, (fearing the loss of those distinctions which they know they never earned,) to keep the people in the grossest ignorance.

God Almighty, who gives his sun to shine with as much warmth and radiance on the cottage as on the palace, has dispensed the glorious privilege of genius and virtue to the poor and middle classes, with a bounty perhaps seldom experienced in any of the proud pre­tenders to hereditary or official grandeur. Let us call to mind a few among the worthies who have adorned the ages that have elapsed: Socrates; was he noble in the sense of a king at arms? Would he have conde­scended to be bedizened with ribands, and stars, and garters? Cicero; was he not a novus homo? a man unconnected with patricians, and deriving his glory [Page 241] from the purest fountain of honor, his own genius and virtue? Demosthenes would have scorned to owe his estimation to a pedigree.

Spirit of DESPOTISM.

The greatest scholars, poets, orators, philosophers, warriors, statesmen, inventors and improvers of the arts, arose from the lowest of the people. If we had waited till courtiers had invented the art of printing, clock-making, navigation, and a thousand others, we should probably have continued in darkness to this hour. They had something else to do, than to add to the comforts and conveniencies of ordinary life. They had to worship an idol, with the incense of flattery, who was often much more stupid than themselves, and who sometimes had no more care or knowledge of the people under him, or their wants, than he had of arts or literature.

The education of the middle classes is infinitely bet­ter than the education of those who are called great people. Their time is less consumed by that vanity and dissipation which enfeebles the mind, while it precludes opportunity for reading and reflection. They usually have a regard to character, which contributes much to the preservation of virtue. Their honor and integrity are valued by them, as pearls of great price. These are their stars, and these their coronets. They are for the most part attached to their religion. They are temperate, frugal, and industrious. In one particular, and that one adds a value above all that courts can give, they greatly excel the great, and that particular is sin­cerity. They are in earnest in their words and deeds. They have little occasion for simulation and dissimu­lation. Courtiers are too often varnished, fictitious persons, whom God and nature never made; while the people preserve the image unaffected, which the Supreme Being impressed when he created man.

[Page 242]


Unerring nature, still divinely bright,
One clear, unchang'd, and universal light,
Life, force, and beauty, must to all impart,
At once the source, and end, and test of art.
Art from that fund each just supply provides,
Works without show, and without pomp besides:
In some fair body thus the secret soul
With spirits feeds, with vigour fills the whole,
Each motion guides, and ev'ry nerve sustains;
Itself unseen, but in effect remains.


No man can safely do that by others, which might be done by himself. He that indulges negligence, will quickly become ignorant of his own affairs; and he that trusts without reserve, will at last be deceived.



That the best and ablest men should govern the worst and weakest, is reasonable: and this is the aristo­cracy appointed by God and nature. But what do we mean when we say the best and ablest men? Do we mean men of the best families; that is, men in whose families riches and titles have long been con­spicuous? By the ablest men, do we mean men who possess the greatest power, by undue influence, in bo­rough and county elections, though the exertion of that power be strictly forbidden by the law and constitution? Or do we mean men of honest, upright, and benevolent hearts; of vigorous, well-informed, well exercised understandings? Certainly the latter sort, which forms [Page 243] the aristocracy established by God and nature. This is gold; the king's head stamped upon it may make it a guinea. The other is only copper; and though the same impression may be made upon it at the mint, it is still intrinsically worth no more than a halfpenny.

Spirit of DESPOTISM.


Government being instituted for the common bene­fit, the doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish, and destructive to the good and happiness of mankind.

Constitution of TENNESSEE.


Nature does nothing in vain; the creator of the universe has appointed every thing to a certain use and purpose, and determined it to a settled course and sphere of action, from which if it in the least deviates, it becomes unfit to answer those ends for which it was designed. In like manner it is in the dispositions of society; the civil economy is formed in a chain as well as the natural; and in either case the breach but of one link puts the whole in some disorder. It is, I think, pretty plain, that most of the absurdity and ridicule that we meet with in the world, is generally owing to the impertinent affectation, of excelling in characters men are not fit for, and for which nature never designed them.

Every man has one or more qualities which may make him useful both to himself and others; nature never fails of pointing them out, and while the infant continues under the guardianship, she brings him on in his way, and then offers herself for a guide in [Page 244] what remains of the journey; if he proceeds in that course, he can hardly miscarry: nature makes good her engagements; for as she never promises what she is not able to perform, so she never fails of performing what she promises. But the misfortune is, men des­pise what they may be masters of, and affect what they are not fit for; they reckon themselves already posses­sed of what their genius inclines them to, and so bend all their ambition to excel in what is out of their reach. Thus they destroy the use of their natural talents, in the same manner as covetous men do their quiet and re­pose; they can enjoy no satisfaction in what they have, because of the absurd inclination they are possessed with for what they have not.



Men irritated by oppression, and elevated by a triumph over it, are apt to abandon themselves to violent and extreme courses.



Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:

But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is God's throne:

Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great king:

Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black:

But let your communication be yea, yea; nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

[Page 245]
It is great sin to swear unto a sin,
But greater sin to keep a sinful oath;
Who can be bound by any solemn vow,
To do a murderous deed, to rob a man,
To force a spotless virgin's chastity,
To reave the orphan of his patrimony,
To wring the widow from her custom'd right,
And have no other reason for his wrong,
But that he was bound by a solemn oath?

Whoever considers the number of absurd and ridi­culous oaths necessary to be taken at present in most countries, on being admitted into any society or pro­fession whatever, will be less surprised to find prevari­cation still prevailing, where perjury has led the way.

While good faith reigned upon the earth, a simple promise was sufficient to insure confidence. Oaths owe their origin to perfidy. Man was not required to call upon the God that heard him to witness his veraci­ty, till he deserved no longer to be believed. Magistrates and sovereigns, to what do your regulations tend? You either oblige the man of probity to lift up his hand, and call heaven to witness, which with him is a requisition as injurious as it is useless; or you compel an oath from the mouth of a reprobate. Of what value can the oath of such a man appear to you? If the oath be contrary to his own security, it is absurd. If it be consonant with his interest, it is superfluous. Does it argue a knowledge of the human heart, to give the debtor his choice between his ruin and a falsehood; or the criminal his option between death and perjury? Will the man whom motives of revenge, interest, or wickedness, have determined to give a false testimony, be deterred by the fear of committing one crime more? Is he not apprised, before he is brought up to the tri­bunal of justice, that this formality will be required of him? And has he not from the bottom of his heart [Page 246] despised it, before he complied with it? Is it not a species of impiety to introduce the name of God in our wicked disputes? Is it not a singular mode of making heaven, as it were, an accomplice in the guilt, to suffer that heaven to be called upon, which never has contra­dicted nor ever will contradict the oath? How intrepid, therefore, must the false witness become, when he has with impunity called down the divine vengeance on his head, without the fear of being convicted? Oaths seem to be so much debased and prostituted by their frequen­cy, that false witnesses are grown as common as robbers.



Once, gay in life, and free from anxious care,
I through the furrows drove the shining share—
I saw my waving fields with plenty crown'd,
And yellow Ceres, joyous, smile around;
'Till rous'd by freedom at my country's call,
I left my peaceful home, and gave up all.
Now forc'd, alas! to beg my hard-earn'd bread,
This crazy body longs to join the dead:
Ungrateful country! when the danger's o'er,
Your bravest sons cold charity implore.
Children of wealth, in downy pleasure bred,
Pamper'd in ease, by fav'ring fortune fed;
Who view with thoughtless eye the humble poor,
That glean their scanty meals from door to door;
Ah! heave for me a sympathetic sigh,
And wipe the falling tear from sorrow's eye.


How unnatural is the anxious desire of aristocratical bigots to make, as they express it, an eldest son! to starve, or at least to distress, a dozen sons and daughters, [Page 247] in order to leave behind them one great representative, who may continue to toil in the pursuit of civil pre­eminence, for the gratification of family pride. The privileges of primogeniture establish petty despots all over the land, who are interested, and sufficiently inclin­ed, from pride as well as interest, to promote the spirit of despotism. They would have no objection to the feudal system, in which the only distinction was that of lords and vassals. Not contented with engrossing the property which ought to be shared among their brothers and sisters, they claim privileges in conse­quence of their property, and would appropriate the birds of the air and the beasts of the forest for their re­creation in the field, and their luxury at the table.

When the laws of nature, and eternal truth and jus­tice, are violated, no wonder that despotism advances, and man is degraded.

Spirit of DESPOTISM.


How terrible is passion! how our reason
Falls down before it! whilst the tortur'd frame,
Like a ship dash'd by fierce encount'ring tides,
And of her pilot spoil'd, drives round and round,
The sport of wind and wave.


O heav'n born patience! source of peace and rest,
Descend; infuse thy spirit thro' my breast,
That I may calmly meet the hour of fate,
My foes forgive, and triumph o'er their hate.
This body let their engines tear and grind:
But let not all their racks subdue my mind.

If what we suffer has been brought on us by our­selves, it is observed by an antient poet, that patience is [Page 248] eminently our duty, since no one ought to be angry at feeling that which he has deserved. If we are consci­ous that we have not contributed to our own sufferings, if punishment falls upon innocence, or disappointment happens to industry and prudence, patience, whether more necessary or not, is much easier, since our pain is then without aggravation, and we have not the bitter­ness of remorse to add to the asperity of misfortune.


In those evils which are allotted us by Providence, such as deformity, privation of any of the senses, or old age, it is always to be remembered, that impati­ence can have no present effect, but to deprive us of the consolations which our condition admits, by driving away from us those, by whose conversation, or advice, we might be amused or helped; and that with regard to futurity, it is yet less to be justified, since without lessening the pain, it cuts off the hope of that reward, which he, by whom it is inflicted, will confer upon them that bear it well.


In all evils which admit a remedy, impatience is to be avoided, because it wastes that time and attention in complaints, that, if properly applied, might remove the cause.



—For all connections else,
All private duties are subordinate,
To what we owe the public. Partial ties
Of son, and father, husband, friend or brother,
Owe their enjoyments to the public safety,
And without that were vain.—
—The patriot's breast
No hopes, no fears, but for his country knows,
And in her danger loses private woes.
[Page 249]
Learn hence, ye Romans, on how sure a base
The patriot builds his happiness; no stroke,
No keenest, deadliest, shaft of adverse fate,
Can make his generous bosom quite despair,
But that alone by which his country falls.
Grief may to grief in endless round succeed,
And nature suffer when our children bleed:
Yet still superior must that hero prove,
Whose first, best passion is his country's love.

To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ, as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country and to mankind. The interests of that portion of social arrangement is a trust in the hands of all those who compose it; and as none but bad men would justify it in abuse, none but traitors would bar­ter it away for their own personal advantage.



Give peace, give healing peace to two brave nations,
Fatigu'd with war, and sick of cruel deeds!
To carry on destruction's easy trade,
Afflict mankind, and scourge the world with war,
Is what each wicked, each ambitious man,
Who lets his furious passions loose, may do:
But in the flattering torrents of success,
To check his rage, and drop the avenging sword.
When a repenting people ask it of him,
That is the genuine bounty of a God.
Fair peace! how lovely, how delightful thou!
By whose wide tie, the kindred sons of men
Like brothers live, in amity combin'd,
And unsuspicious faith; while honest toil
[Page 250] Gives every joy, and to those joys a right,
Which idle, barbarous rapine but usurps.
Beneath thy calm inspiring influence,
Science his views enlarges, art refines,
And swelling commerce opens all her ports.
Blest be the man divine who gives us thee!
Who bids the trumpet hush his horrid clang,
Nor blow the giddy nations into rage;
Who sheathes the murd'rous blade; the deadly gun
Into the well-pil'd armoury returns:
And every vigour from the work of death
To grateful industry converting, makes
The country flourish, and the city smile,
Unviolated, him the virgin sings;
And him the smiling mother to her train;
Of him the shepherd, in the peaceful dale,
Chaunts: and, the treasures of his labour safe,
The husbandman of him, as at the plough,
Or team, he toils. With him the sailor soothes,
Beneath the trembling moon, the midnight wave;
And the full city, warm from street to street,
And shop to shop, responsive, rings of him,
Nor joys one land alone; his praise extends
Far as the [...] rolls the diffusive day;
Far as the breeze can bear the gifts of peace,
Till all the happy nations catch the song.

A peace too eagerly sought, is not always the sooner obtained; and when obtained, it never can be every thing we wish. The discovery of vehement wishes generally frustrates their attainment; and your adver­sary has gained a great advantage over you when he finds you impatient to conclude a treaty. There is in reserve, not only something of dignity, but a great deal of prudence too. A sort of courage belongs to nego­ciation as well as to operations of the field. A nego­ciato [...] must seem willing to hazard all, if he wishes to secure any material point.

[Page 251]
Oh stretch thy reign, fair peace! from shore to shore,
Till conquest cease, and slav'ry be no more!
Till the freed Indians in their native groves
Reap their own fruits, and woo their fable loves!
Peru once more a race of kings behold,
And other Mexicos be roof'd with gold!
Exil'd by thee from earth to deepest hell,
In brazen bonds shall barb'rous discord dwell:
Gigantic pride, pale terror, gloomy care,
And mad ambition shall attend her there:
There purple vengeance bath'd in gore retires,
Her weapons blunted, and extinct her fires:
There hateful envy her own snakes shall feel,
And persecution mourn her broken wheel:
There faction roar, rebellion bite her chain,
And gasping furies thirst for blood in vain.


—To subdue th' unconquerable mind,
To make one reason have the same effect
Upon all apprehensions; to force this
Or that man to think just as I do;
Impossible! unless souls, which differ
Like human faces, were alike in all.
A fury crawl'd from out her horrid cell;
The bloodiest minister of death and hell.
Huge full-gorg'd snakes on her lean shoulders hung,
And death's dark courts with their loud hissing rung.
Her teeth and claws were iron, and her breath,
Like subterranean damps, gave present death.
Flames, worse than hell's, shot from her bloody eyes,
And fire and sword eternally she cries.
No certain shape, no figure regular,
No limbs distinct in th' odious fiend appear.
Her squalid bloated belly did arise,
Swoln with black gore, to a prodigious size,
[Page 252] Distended vastly by a mighty flood
Of slaughter'd saints, and constant martyrs' blood.
Part stood out prominent, but part fell down,
And, in a swagging heap, lay wall'wing on the ground.
Horror, till now the ugliest shape esteem'd,
So much out-done, a harmless figure seem'd.
Envy, and hate, and malice blush'd to see
Themselves eclips'd by such deformity.
Her fev'rish thirst drinks down a sea of blood,
Not of the impious, but the just and good;
'Gainst whom she burns with unextinguish'd rage,
Nor can th' exhausted world her wrath assuage.

It is injustice, and not a mistaken conscience that has been the principle of persecution, at least as far as it has fallen under my observation.



It is the mark of a dishonest mind
Not to commiserate even the most guilty.
He, who unmov'd beholds the wretch's pains,
Is such a wretch, as may deserve our pity.

In benevolent natures the impulse to pity is so sud­den, that, like instruments of music, which obey the touch—the objects which are fitted to excite such im­pressions, work so instantaneous an effect, that you would think the will was scarce concerned, and that the mind was altogether passive in the sympathy which her own goodness has excited. The truth is—the soul is generally in such cases so busily taken up and wholly engrossed by the object of pity, that she does not attend to her own operations, or take leisure to examine the principles upon which she acts.


[Page 253] Pity is to many of the unhappy, a source of comfort in hopeless distresses, as i [...] contributes to recommend them to themselves, by proving that they have not lost the regard of others; and heaven seems to indicate the duty even of barren compassion, by inclining us to weep for evils which we cannot remedy.



Poverty has, in large cities, very different appearan­ces. It is often concealed in splendor, and often in extravagance. It is the care of a very great part of mankind to conceal their indigence from the rest. They support themselves by temporary expedients, and every day is lost in contriving for to-morrow.


It is the great privilege of poverty to be happy un­envied, to be healthful without physic, and secure without a guard; to obtain from the bounty of na­ture what the great and wealthy are compelled to pro­cure by the help of artists, and the attendance of flat­terers and spies.


There are natural reasons why poverty does not easily conciliate. He that has been confined from his infancy to the conversation of the lowest classes of man­kind, must necessarily want those accomplishments which are the usual means of attracting favour; and though truth, fortitude, and probity, give an indisput­able right to reverence and kindness, they will not be distinguished by common eyes, unless they are bright­ened by elegance of manners; but are cast aside, like unpolished gems, of which none but the artist knows the intrinsic value, till their asperities are smoothed, and their incrustations rubbed away.


[Page 254] Nature makes us poor only when we want necessa­ries, but custom gives the name of poverty to the want of superfluities.


The poor are insensible of many little vexations which sometimes embitter the possessions and pollute the enjoyments of the rich. They are not pained by casual incivility, or mortified by the mutilation of a compliment; but this happiness is like that of a ma­lefactor, who ceases to feel the cords that bind him when the pincers are tearing his flesh.


To be idle and to be poor have always been re­proaches, and therefore every man endeavours, with his utmost care, to hide his poverty from others, and his idleness from himself.



Of all the causes which conspire to blind
Man's erring judgment, and misguide the mind,
What the weak head with strongest bias rules,
Is pride, the never-failing vice of fools.
Whatever nature has in worth deny'd,
She gives in large recruits of needful pride.
For as in bodies, so in souls, we find
What wants in blood and spirits, swell'd with wind:
Pride, where wit fails, steps in to our defence,
And fills up all the mighty void of sense.


It is a very common expression, that such a one is very good natured, but very passionate. The expres­sion indeed is very good-natured to allow passionate people so much quarter: but I think a passionate man deserves the least indulgence imaginable. It is said, it is soon over; that is, all the mischief he does is quickly [Page 255] dispatched, which, I think, is no great recommendation to favour. I have known one of those good-natured passionate men say in a mixed company, even to his own wife or child, such things as the most inveterate enemy of his family would not have spoken, even in imagination.



Happy the man who sees a God employed
In all the good and ill that chequer life!
Resolving all events, with their effects
And manifold results, into the will
And arbitration wise of the Supreme.
Did not his eye rule all things, and intend
The least of all concerns (since from the least
The greatest oft originate) could chance
Find place in his dominion, or dispose
One lawless particle to thwart his plan,
Then God might be surpriz'd, and unforeseen
Contingence might alarm him, and disturb
The smooth and equal course of his affairs.


One of the chief advantages derived by the present generation from the improvement and diffusion of philosophy, is deliverance from unnecessary terrors, and exemption from false alarms. The unusual ap­pearances, whether regular or accidental, which once spread consternation over ages of ignorance, are now the recreations of inquisitive security. The sun is no more lamented when it is eclipsed, than when it sets, and meteors play their corruscations without prognostic or prediction.


[Page 256] Many men in our times, who wish to extend and aggrandize that power, from whose arbitrary boun­ty they derive all the honour they are capable of acquir­ing, endeavour to throw contempt on philosophy. It may indeed be doubted whether they all know the meaning of the word; but they know it implies a me­rit not derived from princes, and therefore they wish to degrade it. Their fountain of honour, they con­ceive, has no resemblance, in its nature or efficacy, to the famed fountains of Parnassus: it conveys no in­spiration, except that which displays itself in the tumor of pride.

The present age has heard upstart noblemen give to philosophers (whose genius and discoveries entitle them to rank, in reason's table of precedency, above every nobleman in the red book) the opprobrious appellation of wretches and miscreants. Philosophy and philoso­phers have been mentioned by men, whose attainments would only qualify them for distinction in a ball-room, with expressions of hatred and contempt due only to thieves, murderers, the very outcasts and refuse of human nature.

Spirit of DESPOTISM.

Philosophy, so far from deserving contempt, is the glory of human nature. Man approaches by contempla­tion to what we conceive of celestial purity and excel­lence. Without the aid of philosophy, the mass of mankind, all over the terraqueous globe, would have sunk in slavery and superstition, the natural consequen­ces of gross ignorance. Men at the very bottom of society, have been enabled by the natural talents they possessed, seconded by favorable opportunities, to reach the highest improvements in philosophy; and have thus lifted up a torch in the valley, which has exposed the weakness and deformity of the castle on the mountain, from which the oppressors sallied, in the night of dark­ness, and spread desolation with impunity. Despots, the meanest, the basest, the most brutal and ignorant of [Page 257] the human race, would have trampled on the rights and the happiness of men unresisted, if philosophy had not opened the eyes of the sufferers, shewn them their own power and dignity, and taught them to despise those giants of power, as they appeared through the mists of ignorance, who ruled a vassal world with a mace of iron. Liberty is the daughter of philosophy; and they who detest the offspring, do all that they can to vilify and discountenance the mother.

But let us calamly consider what is the object of this philosophy, so formidable in the eyes of those who are bigotted to ancient abuses, who hate every improve­ment, and who wish to subject the many to the control of an arbitrary few. Philosophy is ever employed in finding out whatever is good, and whatever true. She darts her eagle eye over all the busy world, detects error and mischief, and points out modes of improvement. In the multiform state of human affairs, ever obnox­ious to decay and abuse, it is her's to meditate on the means of melioration. She wishes to demolish nothing but what is a nuisance. To build, to repair, to strengthen, and to polish, these are the works which she delights to plan; and, in concerting the best methods of directing their accomplishment, she consumes the midnight oil. How can she disturb human affairs, since she dwells in contemplation, and descends not to action? neither does she impel others to action by the arts of delusive eloquence. She applies to reason alone; and if reason is not convinced, all that she has done, is swept away, like the web of Arachne.



By chace our long-liv'd fathers earn'd their food;
Toil strung the nerves, and purify'd the blood:
But we, their sons, a pamper'd race of men,
Are dwindled down to threescore years and ten:
[Page 258] Better to hunt in fields for health unbought,
Than see the Doctor for a pois'nous draught.
The wise for cure on exercise depend:
God never made his work for man to mend.


The man who is wantonly profuse of his promises, ought to sink his credit as much as a tradesman would, by uttering a great number of promissory notes, paya­ble at a distant day. The truest conclusion in both cases is, that neither intend, or will be able to pay. And as the latter most probably intends to cheat you of your money, so the former at least designs to cheat you of your thanks.



O God! what is man!—even a thing of nought—a poor, infirm, miserable, short-lived creature, that pas­ses away like a shadow, and is hastening off the stage, where the theatrical titles and distinctions, and the whole mask of pride which he has worn for a day, will fall off, and leave him naked as a neglected slave.—Send forth your imagination, I beseech you, to view the last scene of the greatest and proudest who ever awed and governed the world—See the empty vapour disappearing! one of the arrows of mortality this moment sticks fast within him: see—it forces out his life, and freezes his blood and spirits.

Approach his bed of state—lift up the curtain—re­gard a moment with silence—

Are these cold hands and pale lips, all that are left of him who was canoniz'd by his own pride or made a god of by his flatterers?


[Page 259] Pride, according to the doctrine of some, is the uni­versal passion. There are others, who consider it as the foible of great minds; and others again, who will have it to be the very foundation of greatness; but to real greatness, which is the union of a good heart with a good head, it is almost diametrically opposite; as it generally proceeds from the depravity of both, and al­most certainly from the badness of the latter. Indeed a little observation will show us, that fools are the most addicted to this vice, and a little reflexion will teach us that it is incompatible with true understanding. Accordingly we see that while the wisest of men have constantly lamented the imbecility and imperfection of their own nature, the meanest and weakest have been trumpeting forth their own excellencies, and triumph­ing in their own sufficiency.

To shew the strength and infamy of pride,
By all 'tis follow'd, and by all denied.
What numbers are there, who at once pursue
Praise, and the glory to contemn it, too!


Let a man be never so honest, the account of his own conduct will, in spite of himself, be so very favourable, that his vices will become purified through his lips, and, like foul liquors, well strained, will leave all their foulness behind. For though the facts them­selves may appear, yet so different will be the motives, circumstances, and consequences, when a man tells his own story, and when his enemy tells it, that we scarce recognize the fact to be one and the same.

[Page 260]


A man conspicuous in a high station, who multiplies hopes, that he may multiply dependents, may be con­sidered as a beast of prey.



The attachment every man has to his own profession, and the contempt he has for others, discovers itself in numberless instances. It has been said of a geographer, that he received no other pleasure from the AEneid of Virgil, than by tracing out the voyage of AEneas in the map—and of a celebrated coach-maker, who just having Latin enough to read the story of Phaeton in the Metamorphosis, shook his head, that so fine a genius for making chariots, as Ovid had, was thrown away on making poems.



The real satisfaction which praise can afford, is when what is repeated aloud, agrees with the whispers of conscience, by shewing us that we have not endea­voured to deserve well in vain.


Men are seldom satisfied with praise, introduced or followed by any mention of defect.

Life of POPE.

Some are lavish of praise, because they hope to be repaid.



Goodness of heart, and openness of temper, though they may give great comfort within, and administer to an honest pride, will by no means, alas! do our business in this world; prudence and circumspection are neces­sary [Page 261] even to the best of men. They are, indeed, as it were, a guard to virtue, without which she can never be safe. It is not enough that your designs, nay, that your actions are intrinsically good, you must take care they shall appear so.


Prudence is a duty which we owe ourselves, and if we will be so much our own enemies as to neglect it, we are not to wonder if the world is deficient in dis­charging their duty to us; for when a man lays the foundation of his own ruin, others too often are apt to build upon it.



He that resigns his peace to little casualties, and suffers the course of his life to be interrupted by fortui­tous inadvertencies or offences, delivers up himself to the direction of the wind, and loses all that constancy and equanimity, which constitute the chief praise of a wise man.



He seldom lives frugally who lives by chance. Hope is always liberal, and they that trust her promises, make little scruple of revelling to-day, on the profits of to-morrow.



Politeness is one of those advantages which we ne­ver estimate rightly, but by the inconvenience of its loss. Its influence upon the manners is constant and uniform, so that, like an equal motion, it escapes per­ception. The circumstances of every action are so adjusted to each other, that we do not see where any [Page 262] error could have been committed, and rather acquiesce in its propriety, than admire its exactness.


When the pale of ceremony is once broken, rude­ness and insult soon enter the breach.



The absurd and abominable doctrine, that private vices are public benefits, it is hoped will be blotted from the memory of man, and expunged from the catalogue of human follies, with the systems of government which gave it birth. The ground of this insulting doctrine is, that advantage may be taken of the extravagant foibles of individuals to increase the revenues of the state; as if the chief end of society were, to steal money for the government's purse! to be squandered by the governors, to render them more insolent in their op­pressions! it is humiliating, to answer such arguments as these; where we must lay open the most degrading retreats of prostituted logic, to discover the positions on which they are founded. But orders and privileges will lead to any thing: once teach a man, that some are born to command, and others to be commanded; and after that, there is no camel too big for him to swallow.



No nation is yet so numerous, nor any country so populous, as it is capable of becoming. Europe, taken together, would support at least five times its present number, even on its present system of cultivation; and how many times this increased population may be multiplied by new discoveries in the infinite science of subsistence, no man will pretend to calculate. This of [Page 263] itself is sufficient to prove, that society at present has the means of rendering all its members happy in every respect, except the removal of bodily disease.



What employment, in the busy scene in which man engages from the cradle to the tomb, is more worthy of him than political discussion? It affords a field for intellectual energy, and all the finest feelings of bene­volence. It exercises and strengthens every faculty. It calls forth latent virtues, which else had slept in the bosom, like the diamond in the mine. And is this employment, thus useful and honorable, to be confined to a few among the race of mortals? Is there to be a monopoly of political action and speculation? Why then did heaven bestow reason and speech, powers of activity, and a spirit of enterprize, in as great perfection on the lowest among the people, as on those who, by no merit of their own, inherit wealth and high station? Heaven has declared its will by its acts. Man con­travenes it; but time, and the progressive improvement of the understanding, will reduce the anomaly to its natural rectitude. And if a few irregularities should sometimes arise in the process, they are of no impor­tance when weighed with the happy result; the return of distorted systems to truth, to reason, and the will of God. Occasional ferments, with all their inconve­niences, are infinitely preferable to the putrescence of stagnation. They are symptoms of health and vigor; and though they may be attended with transient pain, yet while they continue to appear at intervals, there is no danger of mortification. Good hearts, accompa­nied with good understandings, seldom produce, even where mistaken, lasting evil. They repair and com­pensate.

Spirit of DESPOTISM.
[Page 264]


—True religion
Is always mild, propitious, and humble;
Plays not the tyrant, plants no faith in blood,
Nor bears destruction on her chariot-wheels;
But stoops to polish, succour, and redress,
And builds her grandeur on the public good.
Religion's all. Descending from the skies
To wretched man, the goddess in her left
Holds out this world, and, in her right, the next;
Religion! the sole voucher man is man:
Supporter sole of man above himself!
Ev'n in this night of frailty, change, and death,
She gives the soul a soul that acts a god.
Religion! providence! an after-state!
Here is firm footing; here is solid rock!
This can support us; all is sea besides;
Sinks under us; bestorms, and then devours.
His hand the good man fastens on the skies,
And bids earth roll, nor feels her idle whirl.
Religion! oh thou cherub heavenly bright!
Of joys unmixt, and fathomless delight!
Thou, thou art all; nor find I in the whole
Creation aught, but God and my own soul.
Thy force alone, religion, death disarms,
Breaks all his darts, and every viper charms.
Soften'd by thee, the grisly form appears
No more the horrid object of our fears.
We undismay'd this awful power obey,
That guides us thro' the safe tho' gloomy way
Which leads to life, and to the blest abode,
What ravish'd minds enjoy what here they own'd a God.
[Page 265]
We grant, a train of mischiefs oft proceeds
From superstitious rites and penal creeds;
But view religion in her native charms,
Dispersing blessings with indulgent arms,
From her fair eyes what heav'nly rays are spread?
What blooming joys smile round her blissful head?
Offspring divine! by thee we bless the cause,
Who form'd the world, and rules it by his laws;
His independent being we adore,
Extol his goodness, and revere his pow'r.
Our wond'ring eyes his high perfections view,
The lofty contemplation we pursue,
'Till ravish'd, we the great idea find,
Shining in bright impressions on our mind.
Inspir'd by thee, guest of celestial race,
With generous love we human kind embrace;
We provocations unprovok'd receive,
Patient of wrong, and easy to forgive;
Protect the orphan, plead the widow's cause,
Nor deviate from the line unerring justice draws.
Thy lustre, blest effulgence! can dispel
The clouds of error, and the gloom of hell;
Can to the soul impart etherial light,
Give life divine, and intellectual sight:
Before our ravish'd eyes thy beams display
The op'ning scenes of bliss, and endless day;
By which incited, we with ardor rise,
Scorn this inferior ball, and claim the skies.
Tyrants to thee a change of nature owe,
Dismiss their tortures, and indulgent grow.
Ambitious conquerors, in their mad carreer.
Check'd by thy voice, lay down the sword and spear.
The boldest champions of impiety,
Scornful of heav'n, subdu'd or won by thee,
Before thy hallowed altars bend their knee.
Loose wits, made wise, a public good become,
The sons of pride an humble mien assume,
[Page 266] The profligate in morals grow severe,
Defrauders just, and sycophants sincere.


When desperate ills demand a speedy cure, distr [...] is cowardice, and prudence folly.


Marshal Turenne, among the acknowledgments which he used to pay in conversation to the memory of those by whom he had been instructed in the art of war, mentioned one, with honour, who taught him not to spend his time in regretting any mistake which he had made, but to set himself immediately, and vi­gorously, to repair it. Patience and submission should be carefully distinguished from cowardice and indo­lence; we are not to repine, but we may lawfully struggle; for the calamities of life, like the necessities of nature, are calls to labour, and exercises of dili­gence.


To have attempted much is always laudable, even when the enterprize is above the strength that under­takes it. To rest below his own aim, is incident to every one whose fancy is active, and whose views are comprehensive; nor is any man satisfied with himself, because he has done much, but because he can conceive little.


Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objec­tions must be first overcome.



The more experience we have of the world, the more that experience should show us how little is in the power of riches; for what indeed, truly desirable, [Page 267] can they bestow upon us? Can they give beauty to the deformed, strength to the weak, or health to the infirm? Surely if they could, we should not see so many ill-favo­red faces haunting the assemblies of the great, nor would such numbers of feeble wretches languish in their coach­es and palaces? Can they prolong their own possession, or lengthen his days who enjoys them? So far otherwise, that the sloth, the luxury, the care which attend them, shorten the lives of millions, and bring them with pain and misery to an untimely grave, Where, then, is their value, if they can neither embellish, nor strengthen our forms, sweeten, or prolong our lives? Again, can they adorn the mind more than the body? Do they not rather swell the heart with vanity, puff up the cheeks with pride, shut our ears to every call of virtue, and our bowels to every motive of compassion.


Whoever shall look heedfully upon those who are eminent for their riches, will not think their condition such, as that he should hazard his quiet, and much less his virtue, to obtain it; for all that great wealth ge­nerally gives above a moderate fortune, is more room for the freaks of caprice, and more privilege for ignorance and vice; a quicker succession of flatteries; and a lar­ger circle of voluptuousness.


It is observed of gold, by an old epigrammatist, "that to have it, is to be in fear, and to want it, to be in sor­row."


Every man is rich or poor, according to the propor­tion between his desires and enjoyments. Any en­largement of riches is therefore equally destructive to happiness with the diminution of possession; and he that teaches another to long for what he shall never ob­tain, is no less an enemy to his quiet, than if he had robbed him of part of his patrimony.


[Page 268] Whosoever rises above those who once pleased them­selves with equality, will have many malevolent ga­zers at his eminence. To gain sooner than others that which all pursue with the same ardour, and to which all imagine themselves entitled, will for ever be a crime. When those who started with us in the race of life, leave us so far behind, that we have little hope to overtake them, we revenge our disappointment by remarks on the arts of supplantation by which they gained the advantage, or on the folly and arrogance with which they possess it; of them whose rise we could not hinder, we solace ourselves by prognosticating the fall. Riches, therefore, perhaps do not so often produce crimes as incite accusers.


Of riches, as of every thing else, the hope is more than the enjoyment. Whilst we consider them as the means to be used at some future time, for the attain­ment of felicity, we press on our pursuit ardently and vigorously, and that ardor secures us from weariness of ourselves; but no sooner do we sit down to enjoy our acquisitions, than we find them insufficient to fill up the vacuities of life.

Can gold calm passion, or make reason shine?
Can we dig peace, or wisdom from the mine?
Wisdom to gold prefer; for 'tis much less
To make our fortune, than our happiness;
That happiness which great ones often see,
With rage and wonder, in a low degree,
Themselves unblest: the poor are only poor;
But what are they who droop amid their store!
Nothing is meaner than a wretch of state;
The happy only are the truly great
Peasants enjoy like appetites with kings,
And those best satisfied with cheapest things.
Could both our Indies buy but one new sense,
Our envy wou'd be due to large expence;
[Page 269] Since not, those pomps, which to the great belong,
Are but poor arts to mark them from the throng.


The raillery which is consistent with good-breeding, is a gentle animadversion on some foible, which, while it raises the laugh in the rest of the company, doth not put the person rallied out of countenance, or expose him to shame or contempt. On the contrary, the jest should be so delicate, that the object of it should be capable of joining in the mirth it occasions.



The purest treasure mortal times afford,
Is spotless reputation: That away,
Men are but gilded loam, or painted clay.
A jewel in a ten-times barr'd-up chest,
Is a bold spirit in a loyal breast.


Bid her remember that the ways of heav'n,
Tho' dark, are just: that oft some guardian pow'r
Attends unseen, to save the innocent!
But if high heav'n decrees our fall,—O bid her
Firmly to wait the stroke; prepar'd alike
To live or die.

When any accident threatens us, we are not to des­pair; nor, when it overtakes us, to grieve. We must submit in all things to the will of providence, and not set our affections so much on any thing here, as not to be able to quit it without reluctance.

[Page 270]


He that indulges himself in ridiculing the little im­perfections and weaknesses of his friends, will in time find mankind united against him. The man who sees another ridiculed before him, though he may, for the present, concur in the general laugh, yet, in a cool hour, will consider the same trick might be played a­gainst himself; but when there is no sense of this danger, the natural pride of human nature rises against him, who, by general censures, lays claim to general superiority.



The vanity of the poor men is to be worked upon at the cheapest rate possible. Things we are accus­tomed to, we do not mind, or else what mortal, that never had seen a soldier, could look, without laughing, upon a man accoutred with so much paltry gaudiness and affected finery? The coarsest manufacture that can be made of wool, dyed of a brick-dust color, goes down with him, because it is an imitation of scarlet or crim­son cloth; and to make him think himself as like his officer as it is possible, with little or no cost, instead of silver or gold lace, his hat is trimmed with white or yellow worsted, which in others would deserve bedlam; yet these fine allurements, and the noise made upon a calf-skin, have drawn in and been the destruction of more men in reality, than all the killing eyes and be­witching voices of women ever slew in jest. To-day the swine-herd puts on his red coat, and believes every body in earnest that calls him gentleman; and two days after, serjeant Kite gives him a swinging rap with his cane, for holding his musket an inch higher than he should do.—When a man reflects on all this, and the usage they generally receive—their pay—and the care [Page 271] that is taken of them when they are not wanted, must he not wonder how wretches can be so silly, as to be proud of being called gentlemen soldiers? Yet if they were not so called, no art, discipline, or money, would be capable of making them so brave as thousands of them are.

Spirit of DESPOTISM.


A long continuance, in the first executive depart­ments of power or, trust, is dangerous to liberty; a rotation, therefore, in those departments, is one of the best securities of permanent freedom.

Constitution of MARYLAND.


Many are the silent pleasures of the honest peasant; who rises cheerfully to his labour:—look into his dwelling,—where the scene of every happiness chiefly lies:—he has the same domestic endearments,—as much joy and comfort in his children, and as flattering hopes of their doing well,—to enliven his hours and glad his heart, as you could conceive in the most afflu­ent station.—And I make no doubt, in general, but if the true account of his joys and sufferings were to be balanced with those of his betters,—that the upshot would prove to be little more than this,—that the rich man had the more meat,—but the poor man the better stomach; the one had more luxury,—more able phy­sicians to attend and set him to rights;—the other more health and soundness in his bones, and less occasion for their help; that, after these two articles betwixt them were balanced,—in all other things they stood upon a level:—that the sun shines as warm,—the air blows as fresh,—and the earth breathes as fragrant [Page 272] upon the one as the other: and that they have an equal share in all the beauties and real benefits of nature.



Absurd prejudices have perverted human reason, and even stifled that instinct which teaches animals to resist oppression and tyranny. Multitudes of the hu­man race really believe themselves to be the property of a small number of men who oppress them. Such is the fatal progress of that original error, which imposture has either produced or kept up in the mind of man. May true knowledge revive those rights of reasonable beings, which, to be recovered, need only to be felt! sages of the earth, philosophers of every nation, it is your's alone to make laws by pointing out these rights to your fellow citizens. Take the glorious resolution to instruct your fellow creatures, and be assured that if truth is longer in diffusing and establishing itself than error, yet its empire is more solid and lasting. Error passes away; but truth remains. Mankind, allured by the expectation of happiness, the road to which you will show them, will listen to you with attention. Excite a sense of shame in the breasts of those nume­rous hireling slaves, who are always ready at the com­mand of their masters, to destroy their fellow citizens. Rouse all the powers of human nature to oppose this subversion of social laws. Teach mankind that liberty is the institution of God; authority that of man. Expose those mysterious arts which hold the world in chains and darkness; let the people be sensible how far their credulity has been imposed upon; let them re­assume with one accord the use of their faculties, and vindicate the honor of the human race.


[Page 273] We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their cre­ator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happi­ness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate, that govern­ments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.—But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

Declaration of INDEPENDENCE.

All men have certain natural, essential and inherent rights—among which are the enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property; and, in a word, of seeking and obtaining happiness.

Constitution of NEW-HAMPSHIRE.

All power is inherent in the people; and all free governments are founded on their authority, and insti­tuted for their peace, safety, and happiness. For the advancement of those ends, they have, at all times, an unalienable and indefeasible right, to alter, reform, or abolish their government, in such manner as they may think proper.

Constitution of PENNSYLVANIA.

[Page 274] The citizens have a right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for their common good, and to apply to those invested with the powers of government, for redress of grievances, or other proper purposes, by petition, address, or remonstrance.


The right of the citizens to bear arms, in defence of themselves and the state, shall not be questioned.


Persons intrusted with the legislative and executive powers, are the trustees and servants of the public, and, as such, accountable for their conduct; where­fore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, by the legis­lative singly, or a treacherous combination of both, the people may, and of right ought to establish a new, or reform the old government.

Constitution of DELAWARE.

The right, in the people, to participate in the le­gislature, is the foundation of liberty and of all free government; and for this end, all elections ought to be free and frequent; and every freeman, having suf­ficient evidence of a permanent common interest with, and attachment to the community, hath a right of suf­frage.


All government of right originates from the people, is founded in compact only, and instituted solely for the good of the whole.

Constitution of MARYLAND.

No man or set of men are entitled to exclusive or separate emoluments or privileges from the communi­ty, but in consideration of public services.

Constitution of NORTH-CAROLINA.

[Page 275] The people have a right to assemble together, to consult for their common good, to instruct their repre­sentatives, and to apply to the legislature, for redress of grievances.


All power being originally inherent in, and conse­quently derived from the people; therefore, all officers of government, whether legislative or executive, are their trustees and servants, and at all times, in a legal way, accountable to them.

Constitution of VERMONT.

Government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection and security of the people, nation, or community, and not for the particular emo­lument or advantage of any single man, family, or set of men, who are a part only of that community: and the community hath an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right, to reform or alter government, in such manner as shall be, by that community, judged to be most conducive to the public weal.


All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and in­stituted for their peace, safety, and happiness: for the advancement of those ends, they have at all times an unalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper.

Constitution of TENNESSEE.

All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and insti­tuted for their peace, safety, and happiness. For the advancement of those ends, they have at all times an un­alienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abo­lish their government, in such manner as they may think proper.

Constitution of KENTUCKY.
[Page 276]


If you should see a flock of pigeons in a field of corn; and if (instead of each picking where, and what it liked, taking just as much as it wanted and no more) you shall see ninety-nine of them gathering all they get into a heap; reserving nothing for themselves, but the chaff and refuse; keeping this heap for one, and that the weakest perhaps, and worst pigeon of the flock; sitting round and looking on, all the winter, whilst this one was devouring, throwing about, and wasting it; and, if a pigeon more hardy or hungry than the rest, touched a grain of the hoard, all the others instantly flying upon it, and tearing it to pieces: if you should see this, you would see nothing more, than what is every day practised and established among men. Among men you see the ninety and nine, toiling and scraping to­gether a heap of superfluities for one; getting nothing for themselves all the while, but a little of the coarsest of the provision, which their own labour produces; and this one oftentimes the feeblest and worst of the whole set, a child, a woman, a madman, or a fool; looking quietly on, while they see the fruits of all their labor spent or spoiled; and if one of them take or touch a particle of it, the others join against him, and hang him for the theft.


The most obvious division of society, is into rich and poor; and it is no less obvious, that the number of the former bears a great disproportion to those of the lat­ter. The whole business of the poor is to administer to the idleness, folly, and luxury of the rich; and that of the rich, in return, is to find the best methods of confirming the slavery and increasing the burdens of the poor. In a state of nature it is an invariable law, that a man's acquisitions are in proportion to his la­bours. In a state of artificial society, it is a law as constant and as invariable, that those who labour most, [Page 277] enjoy the fewest things; and that those who labour not at all, have the greatest number of enjoyments. A constitution of things this strange and ridiculous be­yond expression. We scarce believe a thing when we are told it, which we actually see before our eyes every day without being the least surprised. I suppose that there are in Great-Britain upwards of an hundred thousand people employed in lead, tin, iron, copper, and coal mines; these unhappy wretches scarce ever see the light of the sun; they are buried in the bow­els of the earth; there they work at a severe and dis­mal task, without the least prospect of being delivered from it; they subsist upon the coarsest and worst sort of fare; they have their health miserably impaired, and their lives cut short, by being perpetually confined in the close vapour of these malignant minerals. An hundred thousand more at least are tortured without re­mission by the suffocating smoke, intense fires, and constant drudgery necessary in refining and managing the products of those mines. If any man informed us that two hundred thousand innocent persons were con­demned to so intolerable slavery, how should we pity the unhappy sufferers, and how great would be our just indignation against those who inflicted so cruel and ignominious a punishment? This is an instance, I could not wish a stronger, of the numberless things which we pass by in their common dress, yet which shock us when they are nakedly represented. But this number, considerable as it is, and the slavery with all its baseness and horror, which we have at home, is nothing to what the rest of the world affords of the same nature. Millions daily bathed in the poisonous damps and destructive effluvia of lead, silver, copper, and ar­senic. To say nothing of those other employments, those stations of wretchedness and contempt in which civil society has placed the numerous ensans perdus of her army. Would any rational man submit to one of the most tolerable of these drudgeries, for all the artifi­cial [Page 278] enjoyments which policy has made to result from them? By no means. And yet need I suggest, that those who find the means, and those who arrive at the end, are not at all the same persons. On considering the strange and unaccountable fancies and contrivances of artificial reason, I have somewhere called this earth the Bedlam of our system. Looking now upon the ef­fects of some of those fancies, may we not with equal reason call it likewise the Newgate and the Bridewell of the universe? Indeed the blindness of one part of mankind co-operating with the frenzy and villainy of the other, has been the real builder of this respectable fabric of political society. And as the blindness of mankind has caused their slavery, in return, their state of slavery is made a pretence for continuing them in a state of blindness; for the politician will tell you grave­ly that their life of servitude disqualifies the greater part of the race of man for a search of truth, and sup­plies them with no other than mean and insufficient ideas. This is but too true; and this is one of the reasons for which I blame such institutions

In a misery of this sort, admitting some few lenitives, and those too but a few, nine parts in ten of the whole race of mankind drudge through life.


In the most refined states of Europe the inequality of property has risen to an alarming height. Vast numbers of their inhabitants are deprived of almost e­very accommodation that can render life tolerable or secure. Their utmost industry scarcely suffices for their support. The women and children lean with an insupportable weight upon the efforts of the man, so that a large family has in the lower order of life be­come a proverbial expression for an uncommon degree of poverty and wretchedness. If sickness, or some of those casualties which are perpetually incident to an ac­tive and laborious life, be super-added to these burdens, the distress is still greater.

[Page 279] It seems to be agreed that in England there is less wretchedness and distress than in most of the kingdoms of the continent. In England the poor's rates amount to the sum of two millions sterling per annum. It has been calculated, that one person in seven of the inhabi­tants of the country derives at some period of his life assistance from this fund. If to this we add the per­sons, who, from pride, a spirit of independence, or the want of a legal settlement, though in equal distress, re­ceive no such assistance, the proportion will be conside­rably increased.

I lay no stress upon the accuracy of this calculation; the general fact is sufficient to give us an idea of the greatness of the evil.

Their's is yon house that holds the parish poor,
Whose walls of mud scarce bear the broken door;
There where the putrid vapours flagging play,
And the dull wheel hums doleful through the day:
There children dwell, who know no parents' care,
Parents, who know no children's love, dwell there;
Heart-broken matrons on their joyless bed,
Forsaken wives, and mothers never wed;
Dejected widows with unheeded tears,
And crippled age with more than childhood fears!
The lame, the blind—and, far the happiest they!
The moping ideot and the madman gay.
Here too the sick their final doom receive,
Here brought, amid the scenes of grief, to grieve:
Where the loud groans from some sad chamber flow
Mixt with the clamours of the croud below;
Here sorrowing, they each kindred sorrow scan,
And the cold charities of man to man:
Whose laws indeed for ruin'd age provide,
And strong compulsion plucks the scrap from pride;
But still that scrap is bought with many a sigh,
And pride embitters what it can't deny.
Say ye, opprest by some fantastic woes,
[Page 280] Some jarring nerve that baffles your repose;
Who press the downy couch, while slaves advance
With timid eye, to read the distant glance;
Who with sad prayers the weary doctor tease,
To name the nameless, ever-new disease;
Who with mock patience dire complaints endure,
Which real pain and that alone can cure;
How would ye bear in real pain to lie,
Despis'd, neglected, left alone to die?
How would ye bear to draw your latest breath,
Where all that's wretched paves the way for death?
Such is that room which one rude beam divides,
And naked rafters form the sloping sides;
Where the vile bands that bind the thatch are seen,
And lath and mud are all that lie between;
Save one dull pane, that, coarsely patch'd, gives way
To the rude tempest, yet excludes the day:
Here, on a matted flock, with dust o'erspread,
The drooping wretch reclines his languid head;
For him no hand the cordial cup applies,
Nor wipes the tear that stagnates in his eyes;
No friends with soft discourse his pain beguile,
Nor promise hope till sickness wears a smile.


Reformation is one of those pieces which must be put at some distance in order to please. Its greatest favourers love it better in the abstract than in the sub­stance. When any old prejudice of their own, or any interest that they value, is touched, they become scru­pulous, they become captious, and every man has his se­perate exception. Some pluck out the black hairs, some the grey; one point must be given up to one; another point must be yielded to another; nothing is suffer­ed to prevail upon its own principles: the whole is so frittered down, and disjointed, that scarcely a trace of [Page 281] the original scheme remains! Thus, between the re­sistance of power, and the unsystematical process of popularity, the undertaker and the undertaking are both exposed, and the poor reformer is hissed off the stage, both by friends and foes.



How fair is the rose! what a beautiful flow'r!
The glory of April and May!
But the leaves are beginning to fade in an hour;
And they wither and die in a day.
Yet the rose has one powerful virtue to boast,
Above all the flow'rs of the field:
When its leaves are all dead, and fine colours are lost,
Still how sweet a perfume will it yield!
So frail is the youth and the beauty of men,
Tho' they bloom and look gay like the rose:
But all our fond care to preserve them is vain;
Time kills them as fast as he goes.
Then I'll not be proud of my youth or my beauty,
Since both of them wither and fade;
But gain a good name by well doing my duty;
This will scent like a rose when I'm dead.


Live while you live, the epicure will say,
And take the pleasure of the present day:
Live while you live, the sacred preacher cries,
And give to God each moment as it flies.—
Lord, in my view let both united be!
I live in pleasure when I live to thee.
[Page 282]


Riches, chance may take or give;
Beauty lives a day, and dies;
Honour lulls us while we live;
Mirth's a cheat, and pleasure flies.
Is there nothing worth our care?
Time, and chance, and death our foes;
If our joys so sleeting are,
Are we only tied to woes?
Let bright virtue answer no;
Her eternal powers prevail,
When honours, riches, cease to flow,
And beauty, mirth, and pleasure, fail.


Riots, tumults, and popular commotions, are in­deed truly dreadful, and to be avoided with the utmost care by the lovers of liberty. Peace, good order, and security to all ranks, are the natural fruits of a free constitution. True patriots will be careful to discou­rage every thing which tends to destroy them; not only because whatever tends to destroy them, tends to de­stroy all human happiness, but also because even an accidental outrage in popular assemblies and proceed­ings, is used by the artful to discredit the cause of li­berty. By the utmost attention to preserving the pub­lic peace, true patriots will defeat the malicious de­signs of servile courtiers; but, whatever may hap­pen, they will not desert the cause of human nature. Through a dread of licentiousness, they will not for­sake the standard of liberty. It is the part of fools to fall upon Scylla in striving to avoid Charybdis.

Spirit of DESPOTISM.
[Page 283]


There is a lust in man no charm can tame,
Of loudly publishing his neighbour's shame:
On eagle's wings, immortal, scandals fly,
While virtuous actions are but born and die.

What other man speaks so often and so vehemently against the vice of pride, sets the weakness of it in a more odious light, or is more hurt with it in another, tha [...] the proud man himself? It is the same with the passionate, the designing, the ambitious, and some o­ther common characters in life; and being a conse­quence of the nature of such vices, and almost insepa­rable from them, the effects of it are generally so gross and absurd, that where pity does not forbid, it is pleasant to observe and trace the cheat through the several turnings and windings of the heart, and detect it through all the shapes and appearances which it puts on.


How frequently is the honesty and integrity of a man disposed of by a smile or shing!—how many good and generous actions have been sunk into oblivion, by a distrustful look, or stampt with the imputation of proceeding from bad motives, by a mysterious and sea­sonable whisper!

Look into companies of those whose gentle natures should disarm them, we shall find no better account.—How large a portion of chastity is sent out of the world by distant hints,—nodded away and cruelly winked into suspicion, by the envy of those who are past all temptation of it themselves! How often does the reputation of a helpless creature bleed by a report—which the party, who is at the pains to propagate it, beholds with much pity and fellow-feeling—that she is heartily sorry for it,—hopes in God it is not true: [Page 284] however, as archbishop Tillotson wittily observes upon it, is resolved, in the mean time, to give the report her pass, that at least it may have fair play to take its for­tune in the world,—to be believed or not, according to the charity of those into whose hands it shall happen to fall!


The tongue of a viper is less hurtful than that of a slanderer, and the glided scales of a rattle-snake less dreadful than the purse of the oppressor.


The company of a slanderer should always be a­voided, except you choose to feast on your neighbour's faults, at the price of being served up yourself at the tables of others; for persons of this stamp are generally impartial in their abuse. Indeed it is not always pos­sible totally to escape them; for being barely known to them, is a sure title to their calumny; but the more they are admitted to your acquaintance, the more you will be abused by them.



They who have considered our nature, affirm, that shame and disgrace are two of the most insupportable evils of human life: the courage and spirits of many [...] mastered other misfortunes, and borne themselves up against them; but the wisest and best of s [...]ls have not been a match for these; and we have many a tra­gical instance on record, what greater evils have been run into, merely to avoid this one.

Without this tax of infamy, poverty, with all the burdens it lays upon our flesh—so long as it is virtu­ous, could never break the spirits of a man; all its hunger, and pain, and nakedness, are nothing to it, they have some counterpoise of good; and besides, they are directed by Providence, and must be submitted to: [Page 285] but those are afflictions not from the hand of God or nature—"for they do come forth of the dust," and most properly may be said to spring out of the ground, and this is the reason they lay such stress upon our patience,—and in the end create such a distrust of the world, as makes us look up and pray, Let me fall into thy hands, O God! but let me not fall into the hands of men."



Every man is of importance to himself, and there­fore, in his own opinion, to others; and supposing the world already acquainted with all his pleasures and his pains, is, perhaps, the first to publish injuries or misfortunes which had never been known unless rela­ted by himself, and at which those that hear him will only laugh; for no man sympathizes with the sorrows of vanity.

Life of POPE.

Observe one of these persons, who swells to an un­natural size of self-consequence, from the emptiness of his head and the pride of his heart, entering a coffee-house or public room at a watering place. To shew his contempt of all around him, he begins whistling, or beating a tune with his fingers or with a stick on the table. He stands with his back to the fire, hold­ing up the skirts of his coat, protruding his lips, pick­ing his teeth, adjusting his cravat, surveying his buckles, and turning out his knees or toes; shewing, by every sign he can think of, his own opinion of his own importance, and his sovereign contempt for the com­pany.

Spirit of DESPOTISM.


To tell our own secrets is generally folly, but that folly is without guilt. To communicate those with [Page 286] which we are entrusted, is always treachery, and trea­chery for the most part combined with folly.


The vanity of being known to be trusted with a se­cret, is generally one of the chief motives to disclose it; for, however absurd it may be thought to boast an honor by an act which shews that it was conferred without merit, yet most men seem rather inclined to confess the want of virtue than of importance, and more willingly shew their influence, though at the ex­pence of their probity, than glide through life with no other pleasure than the private consciousness of fidelity, which, while it is preserved, must be without praise, except from the single person who tries and knows it.



From the earliest dawnings of policy to this day, the invention of men has been sharpening and improv­ing the mystery of murder, from the first rude essays of clubs and stones, to the present perfection of gunnery, cannoneering, bombarding, mining, and all these spe­cies of artificial, learned, and refined cruelty, in which we are now so expert, and which make a principal part of what politicians have taught us to believe is our principal glory.

It is an incontestible truth, that there is more havock made in one year by men, of men, than has been made by all the lions, tygers, panthers, ounces, leopards, hy­enas, rhinoceroses, elephants, bears, and wolves, up­on their several species, since the beginning of the world; though these agree ill enough with each other, and have a much greater proportion of rage and fury [...]n their composition than we have.

[Page 287]


There is not perhaps in all the stores of ideal an guish, a though more painful than the consciousness of having propagated corruption by vitiating princi­ples; of having not only drawn others from the paths of virtue, but blocked up the way by which they should return; of having blinded them to every beauty but the paint of pleasure; and deafened them to every call, but the alluring voice of the syre [...]s of destruction.


SECKER, (Archbishop of Canterbury.)

While Secker liv'd, he shew'd how seers should live;
While Secker taught, heav'n open'd to our eye;
When Secker gave, we knew how angels give;
When Secker died, we know e'en saints must die.


Suspicion is no less an enemy to virtue, than to hap­piness. He that is already corrupt is naturally suspi­cious; and he that becomes suspicious, will quickly be corrupt.


He that suffers by imposture, has too often his virtue more impaired than his fortune. But as it is necessary not to invite robbery by supineness, so it is our duty not to suppress tenderness by suspicion. It is better to suffer wrong than to do it; and happier to be some­times cheated, than not to trust.



At whatever period spies, informers, false witnesses, and pretended plots are adopted by men in power, [Page 288] to strengthen themselves in office, and destroy vir­tuous opposition, there is reason to fear in spite of all professions of the contrary, that the tyrannic spirit of the degenerate Caesars waits but for opportunities to display itself in acts of Neronian atrocity. Power is deficient; but inclination is equally hostile to the mass of mankind, denominated the people, whom some po­liticians scarcely condescend to acknowledge as possessed of any political existence.

The employment of spies and informers is a virtual declaration of hostilities against the people. It argues a want of confidence in them. It argues a fear and jealousy of them. It argues a desire to destroy them by ambuscade. It is, in civil government, what strata­gems are in a state of war. It tends also to excite re­taliation.

Spirit of DESPOTISM.

A hired spy and informer will, by an easy transition, become a false witness, even in trials where liberty and life are at stake. In trials of less consequence, there is no doubt but that his conscience will stretch with the occasion. His object is not truth or justice; but filthy lucre; and when he aspires at great rewards, great must be his venture. Having once broken down, as a treacherous spy, the fences of honor and conscience, nothing but fear will restrain him, as a witness, from overleaping the bounds of tru [...], justice, and mercy. He will rob and murder under the forms of law; and add to the atrocity of blood-guiltiness, the crime of perjury. No man is safe, where such men are coun­tenanced by officers of state. They themselves may perish by his false tongue; suffering the vengeance due to their base encouragement of traitors to the public, by falling unpitied victims to his disappointed treach­ery. The pestilential breath of spies and informers is not to be endured in the pure healthy atmosphere of a free state. It brings with it the sickly despotism of oriental climes.

[Page 289]


Tyranny is a poor provider. It neither knows how to accumulate, nor how to extract.


A great deal of the furniture of ancient tyranny is torn to rags; the rest is entirely out of fashion.



—Proud, impatient
Of aught superior, ev'n of heav'n that made him:
Fond of false glory, of the savage pow'r
Of ruling without reason, of confounding
Just and unjust, by an unbounded will;
By whom religion, honour, all the bands
That ought to hold the jarring world in peace,
Were held the tricks of state, snares of wise princes,
To draw their easy neighbours to destruction,
To waste with sword and fire their fruitful fields:
Like some accursed fiend, who, 'scap'd from hell,
Poisons the balmy air thro' which he flies;
He blasts the bearded corn, and loaded branches,
The lab'ring hind's best hopes, and marks his way with ruin.

There is hardly any prince without a favorite, by whom he is governed in as arbitrary a manner as he governs the wretches subjected to him. Here the ty­ranny is doubled. There are two courts and two interests; both very different from the interests of the people. The favorite knows that the regard of a tyrant is as inconstant and capricious as that of a woman; and concluding his time to be short, he makes haste to fill up the measure of his iniquity, in rapine, in luxury, and in revenge. Every avenue to the throne is shut up. He oppresses, and ruins the people, whilst he [Page 290] persuades the prince, that those murmurs raised by his own oppression are the effects of disaffection to the prince's government. Then is the natural violence of despotism inflamed, and aggravated by hatred and re­venge. To deserve well of the state is a crime against the prince. To be popular, and to be a traitor, are considered as synonymous terms. Even virtue is dan­gerous, as an aspiring quality, that claims an esteem by itself, and independent of the countenance of the court. What has been said of the chief, is true of the inferior officers of this species of government; each in his pro­vince exercising the same tyranny, and grinding the people by an oppression, the more severely felt, as it is near them, and exercised by base and subordinate per­sons. For the gross of the people, they are considered as a mere herd of cattle; and really in a little time be­come no better; all principle of honest pride, all sense of the dignity of their nature is lost in their slavery. The day, says Homer, which makes a man a slave, takes away half his worth; and in fact he loses every impulse to action, but that low and base one of fear.—In this kind of government human nature is not on­ly abused, and insulted, but it is actually degraded and sunk into a species of brutality.


The punishment of real tyrants is a noble and awful act of justice; and it has with truth been said to be consolatory to the human mind.



Whether it be that life has more vexations than comforts, or what is in event just the some, that evil makes deeper impressions than good it is certain that few can review the time past, without heaviness of heart. He remembers many calamities incurred by folly; many opportunities lost [...] negligence. The shades of the dead rise up before him, and he laments [Page 291] the companions of his youth, the partners of his amuse­ments, the assistants of his labours, whom the hand of death has snatched away.



Most of the titles of nobility, and other civil distinc­tions, were taken from war: as a marquis, a duke, a count, a baron, a landgrave, a knight, an esquire. The inventors of arts, the improvers of life, those who have mitigated evil and augmented the good allotted to men in this world, were not thought worthy of any titular distinctions. The reason is indeed sufficiently obvious: titles were originally bestowed by despotic kings, who required and rewarded no other merit but that which supported them by violence in their arbi­trary rule. In some countries they are now given, for the same reasons, to those who effect the same purpo­ses, not by war only, but by corruption.

Spirit of DESPOTISM.

The death-bed shews the emptiness of titles in a true light. A poor dispirited sinner lies trembling un­der the apprehensions of the state he is entering on; and is asked by a grave attendant, how his holiness does? Another hears himself addressed under the title of highness or excellency, who lies under such mean cir­cumstances of mortality as are the disgrace of human nature. Titles at such a time look rather like insults and mockery than respect.



Trifles always require exuberance of ornament. The building which has no strength, can be val­ued only [...] the grace of its decorations. The pebble must be polished with care, which hopes to be [Page 292] valued as a diamond, and words ought surely to be laboured, when they are intended to stand for things.



Taxing is an easy business. Any projector can contrive new impositions; any bungler can add to the old. But is it altogether wise to have no other bounds to your impositions, than the patience of those who are to bear them?



There is no crime more infamous than the violation of truth: it is apparent, that men can be sociable beings no longer than they can believe each other. When speech is employed only as the vehicle of false­hood, every man must disunite himself from others, inhabit his own cave, and seek prey only for himself.



We all know, that toleration is odious to the into­lerant; freedom to oppressors; property to robbers; and all kinds and degrees of prosperity to the envious.



The heart is hard in nature, and unfit
For human fellowship, as being void
Of sympathy, and therefore dead alike
To love and friendship both, that is not pleas'd
With sight of animals enjoying life,
Nor feels their happiness augment his own.
[Page 293] The bounding fawn, that darts across the glade
When none pursues, through mere delight of heart,
And spirits buoyant with excess of glee;
The horse as wanton, and almost as fleet,
That skims the spacious meadow at full speed,
Then stops, and snorts, and throwing high his heels,
Starts to the voluntary race again;
The very kine that gambol at high noon,
The total herd receiving first from one
That leads the dance a summons to be gay,
Though wild their strange vagaries, and uncouth
Their efforts, yet resolv'd with one consent,
To give such act and utt'rance as they may
To ecstacy too big to be suppress'd—
These, and a thousand images of bliss,
With which kind nature graces ev'ry scene
Where cruel man defeats not her design,
Impart to the benevolent, who wish
All that are capable of pleasure pleas'd,
A far superior happiness to theirs,
The comfort of a reasonable joy,
I would not enter on my list of friends
(Though grac'd with polish'd manners and fine sense,
Yet wanting sensibility) the man
Who needlessly sets foot upon a worm.
An inadvertent step may crush the snail
That crawls at ev'ning in the public path;
But he that has humanity, forewarn'd,
Will tread aside, and let the reptile live.
The creeping vermin, loathsome to the sight,
And charg'd perhaps with venom, that intrudes,
A visitor unwelcome, into scenes
Sacred to neatness and repose—th' alcove,
The chamber, or re [...]ectory—may die:
A necessary act incurs no blame.
Not so, when held within their proper bounds,
And guiltless of offence, they range the air,
[Page 294] Or take their pastime in the spacious field:
There they are priv [...]leg'd; and he that hunts
Or harms them there is guilty of a wrong,
Disturbs the economy of nature's realm,
Who, when she form'd, design'd them an abode,
The sum is this.—If man's convenience, health,
Or safety, interfere, his rights and claims
Are paramount, and must extinguish their's.
Else they are all—the meanest things that are—
As free to live, and to enjoy that life,
As God was free to form them at the first,
Who, in his sov'reign wisdom, made them all.
Ye, therefore, who love mercy, teach your sons
To love it too. The spring-time of our years
Is soon dishonor'd and defil'd in most
By budding ills, that ask a prudent hand
To check them. But, alas! none sooner shoots,
If unrestrain'd, into luxuriant growth,
Than cruelty, most dev'lish of them all.
Mercy to him that shows it, is the rule
And righteous limitation of its act,
By which heav'n moves in pard'ning guilty man;
And he that shows none, being ripe in years,
And conscious of the outrage he commits,
Shall seek it, and not find it in his turn.


To-day man's dress'd in gold and silver bright,
Wrapt in a shroud before to-morrow night;
To-day he's feeding on delicious food,
To-morrow dead, unable to do good;
To-day he's nice, and scorns to feed on crumbs,
To-morrow he's himself a dish of worms;
To-day he's honour'd and in vast esteem,
To-morrow not a beggar values him;
To-day he rises from a velvet bed,
[Page 295] To-morrow lies in one that's made of lead;
To-day his house, tho' large he thinks but small,
To-morrow no command, no house at all;
To-day has forty servants at his gate,
To-morrow scorn'd, not one of them will wait;
To-day persum'd, as sweet as any rose,
To-morrow stinks in every body's nose;
To-day he [...] grand, majestic, all delight,
Ghastful and pale before to-morrow night;
True, as the scripture says, "man's life's a span,"
The present moment is the life of man.


He that would govern his actions by the laws of virtue, must regulate his thoughts by the laws of rea­son; he must keep guilt from the recesses of his heart, and remember that the pleasures of fancy and the emo­tion of desire, are more dangerous as they are more hidden, since they escape the awe of observation, and operate equally in every situation, without the concur­rence of external opportunities.


To dread no eye and to suspect no tongue, is the great prerogative of innocence; an exemption granted only to invariable virtue. But guilt has always its horrors and solicitudes; and to make it yet more shameful and detestable, it is doomed often to stand in awe of those, to whom nothing could give influence or weight, but their power of betraying.



So weak are human kind by nature made,
Or to such weakness by their vice betray'd,
Almighty vanity! to thee they owe
Their zest of pleasure and the balm of woe.
Thou, like the sun, all coulours dost contain,
[Page 296] Varing like rays of light on drops of rain;
For ev'ry soul finds reasons to be proud,
Tho' hiss'd and hooted by the pointing crowd.


Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
As, to be hated, needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.


As when the sea breaks o'er its bounds,
And overflows the level grounds;
Those banks and dams, that like a skreen
Did keep it out, now keep it in:
So when tyrannic usurpation,
[...] the freedom of a nation.
[...] laws o' th' land that were intended
To keep it out, are made defend it.


As war is the extremity of evil, it is surely the duty of those whose station entrusts them with the care of nations, to avert it from their charge. There are dis­ [...]ses of an animal nature which nothing but amputation [...]an remove; so there may, by the depravation of human passions, be sometimes a gangrene in collected life, for which fire and the sword are the necessary remedies; but in what can skill or caution be better [...], than in preventing such dreadful operations, while there is room for gentler methods.


[Page 297] War never fails to exhaust the state, and endanger its destruction, with whatever success it is carried on. Though it may be commenced with advantage, it can never be finished without danger of the most fatal re­verse of fortune. With whatever superiority of strength an engagement is begun, the least mistake, the slightest accident, may turn the scale and give victory to the e­nemy. Nor can a nation that should be always vic­torious prosper: it would destroy itself by destroying others: the country would be depopulated, the soil untilled, and trade interrupted: and what is worse, the best laws would lose their force, and a cor­ruption of manners insensibly take place. Literature will be neglected among the youth; the troops, con­scious of their own importance, will indulge them­selves in the most pernicious licentiousness with impu­nity, and the disorder will necessarily spread through all the branches of government.


It is unquestionably a very notable art to ravage countries, destroy dwellings, and one year with ano­ther, out of a hundred thousand men to cut off forty thousand. This invention was originally cultivated by nations assembled for their common good. It is other­wise in our time.

An odd circumstance in this infernal enterprize is, that every chief of these ruffians has his colo [...]rs conse­crated, and solemnly prays to God before he goes to destroy his neighbour. If the slain in a battle do not exceed two or three thousand, the fortunate comman­der does not think it worth thanking God for; but if, besides killing ten or twelve thousand men, he has been so far favoured by heaven as totally to destroy some re­markable place, then a verbose hymn is sung in four parts, composed in a language unknown to all the com­batants.

VOLTA [...].

[Page 298] It is wonderful with what coolness and indifference the greater part of mankind see war commenced. Those that hear of it at a distance, or read of it in books, but have never presented its evils to their minds, consider it as little more than a splendid game, a proclamation, an army, a battle, and a triumph. Some indeed must perish in the most successful field, but they die upon the bed of honor, resign their lives amidst the joys of conquest, and, filled with England's glory, smile in death.

The life of a modern soldier is ill represented by he­roic fiction. War has means of destruction more formidable than the cannon and the sword. Of the thousands and ten thousands that perished in our late contests with France and Spain, a very small part ever felt the stroke of an enemy; the rest languished in tents and ships, amidst damps and putrefaction; pale, tor­pid, spiritless, and helpless; gasping and groaning, unpitied among men, made obdurate by long continu­ance of hopeless misery; and were at last whelmed in pits, or heaved into the ocean, without notice and without remembrance. By incommodious encamp­ments and unwholesome stations, where courage is useless, and enterprize impracticable, fleets are silently dispeopled, and armies sluggishly melted away.

Thus is a people gradually exhausted, for the most part with little effect. The wars of civilized nations make very slow changes in the system of empire. The public perceive scarcely any alteration but an in­crease of debt; and the few individuals who are bene­fited, are not supposed to have the clearest right, to their advantages. If he that shared the danger enjoy­ed the profit, and after bleeding in the battle grew rich by the victory, he might shew his gains without envy. But at the conclusion of a ten years war, how are we recompen [...]ed for the death of multitudes and the ex­pence of millions, but by contemplating the sudden glories of paymasters and agents, contractors and [Page 299] commissaries, whose equipages shine like meteors, and whose palaces rise like exhalations.

These are the men who, without virtue, labour, or hazard, are growing rich as their country is impove­rished; they rejoice when obstinacy or ambition adds another year to slaughter and devastation; and laugh from their desks at bravery and science, while they are adding figure to figure, and cypher to cypher, hoping for a new contract from a new armament, and com­puting the profits of a siege or tempest.

One to destroy is murder by the law;
And gibbets keep the lifted hand in awe.
To murder thousands, takes a specious name,
War's glorious art, and gives immortal fame.
When, after battle, I the field have seen
Spread o'er with ghastly shapes, which once were men;
A nation crush'd! a nation of the brave!
A realm of death! and on this side the grave!
Are there, said I, who from this sad survey,
This human chaos, carry smiles away?
How did my heart with indignation rise!
How honest nature swell'd into my eyes!
How was I shock'd, to think the hero's trade
Of such materials, same and triumph made!
First Envy, eldest born of hell embrued
Her hands in blood, and taught the sons of men
To make a death which nature never made,
And God abhorr'd; with violence rude to break
The thread of life ere half its length was run,
And rob a wretched brother of his being.
With joy Ambition saw, and soon improv'd
The execrable deed. 'T was not enough
By subtle fraud to snatch a single life,
Puny impiety! whole kingdoms fell
[Page 300] To fate the lust of power: more horrid still,
The foulest stain and scandal of our nature
Became its boast. One murder makes a villain;
Millions a hero. Princes were privileged
To kill; and numbers sanctified the crime.
Ah! why will kings forget that they are men?
And men that they are brethren? Why delight
In human sacrifice? Why burst the ties
Of nature, that should knit their souls together
In one soft bond of amity and love?
Yet still they breathe destruction, still go on,
Inhumanly ingenious, to find out
New pains for life, new terrors for the grave,
Artificers of death! still monarchs dream
Of universal empire growing up
From universal ruin. Blast the design,
Great God of hosts, nor let thy creatures fall
Unpitied victims at ambition's shrine!

He who makes war his profession cannot be other­wise than vicious.

War makes thieves, and peace brings them to the gallows.


A Soldier is a being hired to kill in cold blood as many of his own species, who have never offended him, as possibly he can.



When I was a child, at seven years old, my friends on a holiday, filled my pocket with coppers. I went directly to a shop where they sold toys for children; and being charmed with the sound of a whistle, that I met by the way in the hands of another boy, I volun­tarily offered him all my money for one. I then came home, and went whistling all over the house, much pleased with my whistle, but disturbing all the family. [Page 301] My brothers, and sisters, and cousins, understanding the bargain I had made, told me I had given four times as much for it as it was worth. This put me in mind what good things I might have bought with the rest of my money; and they laughed so much at me for my folly, that I cried with vexation; and the reflection gave me more chagrin than the whistle gave me pleasure.

This however was afterwards of use to me, the im­pression continuing in my mind; so that often, when I was tempted to buy some unnecessary thing, I said to myself, Don't give too much for the whistle; and so I saved my money.

As I grew up, came into the world, and observed the actions of men, I thought I met with many, very ma­ny, who gave too much for the whistle.

When I saw any one too ambitious of court favors, sacrificing his time in attendance on levees, his repose, his liberty, his virtue, and perhaps his friends to attain it, I have said to myself, This man gives too much for his whistle.

When I saw another fond of popularity, constantly employing himself in political bustles, neglecting his own affairs, and ruining them by that neglect; He pays, indeed, says I, too much for his whistle.

If I knew a miser, who gave up every kind of com­fortable living, all the pleasure of doing good to others, all the esteem of his fellow-citizens, and the joys of be­nevolent friendship, for the sake of accumulating wealth: Poor man, says I, you do indeed pay too much for your whistle.

When I meet a man of pleasure, sacrificing every laudable improvement of the mind, or of his fortune, to mere corporeal sensations; Mistaken man, says I, you are providing pain for yourself, instead of pleasure; you give too much for your whistle.

If I see one fond of fine clothes, fine furniture, fine equipages, all above his fortune, for which he contracts [Page 302] debts, and ends his career in prison; Alas, says I, he has paid dear, very dear, for his whistle.

When I see a beautiful, sweet-tempered girl, marri­ed to an ill natured brute of a husband: What a pity it is, says I, that she has paid so much for a whistle.

In short, I conceive that great part of the miseries of mankind were brought upon them by the false esti­mates they had made of the value of things, and by their giving too much for their whistles.



Wisdom, whose lessons have been represented as so hard to learn, by those who were never at her school, only teaches us to extend a simple maxim, universally known, and followed even in the lowest life, a little farther than that life carries it, and this is, not to buy at too dear a price.

Whoever takes this maxim abroad with him into the grand market of the world, and constantly applies it to honours, to riches, to pleasures, and to every other commodity which that market affords, is a wise man, and must be so acknowledged in the worldly sense of the word; for he makes the best of bargains; since in reality he purchases every thing at the price only of a little trouble, and carries home all the good things I have mentioned, while he keeps his health, his inno­cence, and his reputation, the common prices which are paid for them by others, entire to himself.

From this moderation likewise he learns two lessons which complete his character; first, never to be intox­icated when he hath made the best bargain, nor dejected when the market is empty; or when its commodities are to dear for his purchase.

[Page 303]


Want is a bitter and a hateful good,
Because its virtues are not understood:
Yet many things, impossible to thought,
Have been by need to full perfection brought.
The daring of the soul proceeds from thence,
Sharpness of wit, and active diligence.
Prudence at once and fortitude it gives:
And, if in patience taken, mends our lives:
For ev'n that indigence that brings me low,
Makes me my self, and him above, to know,
A good which none would challenge, few would chuse,
A fair possession, which mankind refuse.
If we from wealth to poverty descend,
Want gives to know the flatt'rer from the friend.


Time his fervent petulance may cool;
For though he is a wit, he is no fool.
In time he'll learn to use, not waste his sense,
Nor make a frailty of an exellence.
His brisk attack on block heads we should prize,
Were not his jest as a flippant with the wise.
He spares nor friend nor foe; but calls to mind,
Like dooms—day, all the faults of all mankind.
What tho' wit tickles? tickling is unsafe,
If still 'tis painful while it makes us laugh.
Who, for the poor renown of being smart,
Would leave a sting within a brother's heart?
Parts may be prais'd; good-nature is ador'd;
Then draw your wit as seldom as your sword,
And never on the weak; or you'll appear,
As there no hero, no great genius here.
As in smooth oil the razor best is whet,
So wit is by politeness sharpest set;
[Page 304] Their want of edge from their offence is seen;
Both pain us least when exquisitely keen.
The fame men give is for the joy they find;
Dull is the jester, when the joke's unkind.


Down the smooth stream of life the stripling darts,
Gay as the morn; bright glows the vernal sky,
Hope swells his fails, and passion steers his course.
Safe glides his little bark along the shore
Where virtue takes her stand; but if too far
He launches forth beyond discretion's mark,
Sudden the tempest scowls, the surges roar,
Blot his fair day, and plunge him in the deep.
O sad but sure mischance! O happier far
To lie like gallant Howe 'midst Indian wilds
A breathless corse, cut off by savage hands
In earliest prime, a generous sacrifice
To freedom's holy cause, than so to fall,
Torn immature from life's meridian joys,
A prey to vice, intemp'rance, and disease.

That the highest degree of reverence should be paid to youth, and that nothing indecent should be suffered to approach their eyes, or ears, are precepts extorted by sense and virtue from an ancient writer, by no means eminent for chastity of thought. The same kind, though not the same degree of caution is required in every thing which is laid before them, to secure them from unjust prejudices, perverse opinions, and incon­gruous combinations of images.


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