courts, and a manner frank, abrupt and austere, to be congenial to a republic. If this affertion be true, it is a matter worthy of regret, and it will behove us to put it in the scale as a defect, to be weighed against the advantages that will refult from a more equal and independent condition of mankind. It is however probably founded in mistake. It does not seem reasonable to fuppose that the abolition of servility should be the diminution of kindness; and it has already been obferved that, where the powers of intellect are ftrenuously cultivated, sensibility will be their attendant. But, in proportion to the acuteness of any man's feelings, will be, in a majority of cases, his attention and deference to the feelings of others.


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A REMARK not unfrequently heard from the professed enemies of politeness, is, I dislike such a person ; why should I be at any pains to conceal it? Is it not right that the judgment of mankind respecting the character of individuals, should be divulged? I wish to be understood. I feel in myself no vocation to be a hypocrite.

Are the persons who hold this language, wholly unacquainted with the fallibility of human judgment ? Be it observed, that they are usually, of all their species, the most capricious; the most halty in their judgments, and dogmatical in their decisions. Sober and thinking men, are fearful of being misled in a subject fo complex and involved as the study of characters; and have no pleasure in delivering their sentiinents in this matter, with rapidity of decision, and in a peremptory tone. They are wary and anxious in forming an opinion ; and scepticism in enquiry, is eminently calculated to inspire gentleness not imbecility, of delivery and bebaviour. Persons who are so ungraciously eager




worth accepting, if, when my neighbour differsfrom me, I do not indeed burn him, but I take every occasion to infult him. - There could be no freedom of opinion, if every one conducted himself thus. Toleration in its full import, requires, not only that there shall be no laws to restrain opinion, but that forbearance and liberality shall be moulded into the manners of the community.

Supposing it certain that the man I censure is a person of depraved character, is this the way to amend him? Is there no conduct that offers itself, but that of punishment? How often does the loud cenfure, and the “slow-moving finger of fcorn *,” drive a man to despair, who might have been amended, perhaps rendered the ornament of his species ? I ought to reclaim my

brother with kindness and love, not to have recourse to measures of infolence and contumely.

This will be still more evident, if we admit the doctrine of a moral necessity, and believe that there is an uniform and constant conjunetion between motives and actions. Upon this hypothesis, the man who acts improperly, has a certain train of reasoning on the subject by which his mind is reconciled to the deviation. His understanding is impofed on; there is a cloud * Shakespeari


of sophistry which rests upon it. How shall this be dispersed ? In what manner shall truth be instilled into his. mind? Certainly, with the difpassionateness of argument, and that conciliation of manners which shall beft win on his patience. Who ever thought of enlightening his pupil in the truths of geometry, by transports of rage, or by the cool and biting sarcasms of contempt? If I perceive my neighbour mistaking in fome important question, I may pity him : a madman only would be filled with the bitterness of perfonal resentment.

There is a remark sufficiently memorable which

may be deduced from the preceding obfervations. How far is it compatible with benevolence, that I should speak of a man's character, when he is absent, and present, in the samo terms? In answering this question it may be premised that sincerity is a matter of inferior consideration to benevolence. Sincerity is only a means, and is valuable fo far as it answers the purpofes of benevolence; benevolence is fubftantive * *


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:. # What is here said of fincerity, is equally true of tem; perance, activity, perseverance, and every other quality or habit that tends to promote our own happiness, or the happiness of others. They are merely subordinate and minifterial Z 3


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: Perhaps, in the nature of things, there is no contrariety, as to the common intercourses of life, between the species of sincerity here spoken of, and benevolence. A wise man would speak of the qualities of his neighbour as he found them ; “ nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice *.”. He would not, even in his neighbour's absence, indulge in sarcastic remarks. at his expence; he would not exaggerate his errors; he would not speak of them with anger and invective. On the other hand, his neighbour, if reasonable, would bear to be told of his, errors, in plain terms, without softening or circumlocution. So that the language to be used, when I spoke to him if present, or of him if abfent, might be reduced to one common standard. u.

Great inconveniences arise from the prevailing practice of insincerity in this respect. Its apo pearances have not failed to be seized by the writers of comedy, as a rich fund of humour ; and, with a little exaggeration upon the common modes, nothing can be more jrresistibly ludicrous. The variation of tone that a man

to this great purpofe. Sincerity is one of these habits; but, though to benevolence it is only minifterial, it is probably entitled to the very firft place among its ministers. * Shakespear.


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