« VorigeDoorgaan »
you will find the man who got it never dreamed of it;. but forsooth, he was to be surprised into it, or perhaps folicited to receive it. Upon such occasions as these a: man may perhaps grow out of humour; if you are so, al mankind will fall in with the patron, and you are an humorist and untractable if you are capable of being four at a disappointment : but it is the fame thing, whether you do or do not refent ill usage, you will be used after the fame manner ; as some good mothers will be sure to whip their children until they cry, and then whip them for crying.
There are but two ways of doing any thing with great people, and those are by making yourself either confiderable or agreeable'; the former is not to be attained but by finding a way to live without them, or concealing that you want them; the latter is only by falling into their taste and pleasures ? this is of all the employ-. ments in the world the inost servile, except it happens to be of your own natural humour.
For to be agreeable to another, especially if he be above you, is not to be poffeffed of such qualities and accomplishments as should render you agreeable in yourself, but such as make you: agreeable in respect to kin: An imitation of his faults, or a compliance, if not subservience, to his vices, muit be the measures of your
conduct. When it conies to that, the unnatural state a man lives in, when bis patron pleases, is ended ; and his guilt and complaisance are objected to him, though the man who rejects hin for his vices, was not only his partner but seducer. Thus the client, like a young woman who has given up the innocence which made her charming, has not only lost his time, but also the virtue which could render him, capable of resenting the injury which is done himn.
It would be endless to recount the tricks of turning you off from themselves to persons who have less power to serve you, the art of being sorry for such an unaccountable accident in your behaviour, that such a one who, perhaps, has never heard of you, opposes your advancenrent ; and if you have any thing more than or-dinary in you, you are flattered with a whisper, that it; is no wonder people are so flow in doing for a man of. your talents and the like,
After all this treatment, I must still add the pleasantest insolence of all, which I have once or twice seen ; to wit, that when a lilly rogue has thrown away one part in three of his life in unprofitable attendance, it is taken wonderfully ill that he withdraws, and is resolved to employ the rest for himself. When we consider these things, and reflect upon
so many honest natures, which one, who makes observation of what passes, may have seen, that have miscarried by such sort of applications, it is too melancholy a scene to dwell upon ; therefore I shall take another opportunity to discourse of good patrons, and distinguish such as have done their duty to those who have depended upon them, and were not able to act without their favour. Worthy patrons are like Plato's guardian angels, who are always doing good to their wards; but negligent patrons are like Epicurus's gods, that lie lolling on the clouds, and instead of blessings pour down storms and tempefts on the heads of those that are offering incense to them.
Tuesday, November 6.
-Ingenuas didicise fideliter artes Emollit mores, nec finit elle feros.
Ovip. Ep. 9. 1. 2. de Ponto, v. 47.
Ingenuous arts, where they an entrance find,
CONSIDER an human soul without education like marble in the quarry, which shews none of its inherent beauties, until the skill of the polisher fetches out the colours, makes the surface shine, and discovers every ornamental cloud, spot, and vein that runs through the hody of it. Education, after the same inanner, when it works upon a noble mind, draws out to view every
latent virtue and perfection, which without such helps i are never able to make their appearance.
If my reader will give me leave to change the allusion so soon upon him, I shall make use of the same instance ; to illustrate the force of education, which Aristotle has
brought to explain his doctrine of substantial forms, : when he tells us that a statue lies hid in a block of
marble ; and that the art of the statuary, only clears away the fuperfluous matter, and removes the rubbish. The figure is in the stone, the sculptor only finds it. What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to an human soul. The philosopher, the faint, or the hero, the wise, the good, or the great man, very often lie hid and concealed in a plebeian, which a proper education might have dif-interred, and have brought to light. I am therefore much delighted with reading the accounts of savage nations, and with contemplating those virtues which are wild and uncultivated ; to see courage exerting itself in fierceness, resolution in obAinacy, wisdom in cunning, patience in sullenness and despair.
Mens passions operate variously, and appear in different kinds of actions, according as they are more or less rectified and swayed by reason. When one hears of
the death of their masters, or upon changing their service, hang themselves upon the next tree, as it frequently happens in our American plantations, who can forbear admiring their fidelity, though it expresses itself in so dreadful a manner? What might not that savage greatness of soul which appears in these poor wretches on many occasions, be raised to, were it rightly cultivated ? And what colour of excuse can there be for the conteinpt with which we treat this part of our species? That we should not put them upon the common foot of humanity, that we should only set an insignificant fine upon the man who murders them; nay, that we should, as much as in us lies, cut them off from the prospects of happiness in another world as well as n this, and deny them that which we look upon as the proper means for attaining it?
Since I am engaged on this subject, I cannot forbear mentioning a story which I have lately heard, and which
is so well attested, that I have no manner of reason to suspect the truth of it. I may call it a kind of wild tragedy that passed about twelve years ago at St. Chriftopher's, one of our British leeward illands. The negroes, who were the perfons concerned in it, were all of them the llaves of a gentleman who is now in England.
· This gentleman among his negroes had a young woman, who was looked upon as a most extraordinary beauty by those of her own complexion. He had at the same time two young fellows who were likewise negroes and laves, remarkable for the comeliness of their persons, and for the friendship which they bore to one another. ' It unfortunately happened that both of them fell in love with the female negroe abovementioned, who would have been very glad to have taken either of them for her husband, provided they could agree between themselves which should be the
But they were both so passionately in love with her, that neither of the could think of giving her up to his rival ; and at the same tiine were so true to one another, that neither of them would think of gaining her without his friend's .consent. The torments of these two lovers were the discourse of the family to which they belonged, who could not forbear observing the strange complication of paffions which perplexed the hearts of the poor negroes, that often dropped expressions of the uneasiness they underwent, and how impossible it was for either of them ever to be happy.
After a long struggle between love and friendship, truth and jealousy, they one day took a walk together into a wood, carrying their mistress along with. them : where, after abundance of lamentations, they stabbed her to the heart, of which she immediately died. A save who was at his work not far from the place where this astonishing piece of cruelty was committed, hearing the shrieks of the dying perfon, ran to see what was the occasion of them. He there discovered the woman lying dead upon the ground, with the two negroes on each lide of her, kissing the dead corps, weeping over it, and beating their breasts in the utmost agonies of
grief and despair. He immediately ran to the English family with the news of what he had seen į who upon coming to the place saw the woman dead, and the two negroes expiring by her with wounds they had given themselves.
We see in this amazing instance of barbarity, what strange disorders are bred in the minds of those men whose passions are not regulated by virtue, and disciplined by reason. Though the action which I have recited is in itself full of guilt and horror, it proceeded from a temper' of mind which might have produced very noble fruits, had it been informed and guided by a suitable education.
It is therefore an unspeakable blessing to be born in those parts of the world where wisdom and knowledge flourish; though it mult be confessed, there are, even in these parts, several poor uninstructed perfons, who are but little above the inhabitants of those nations of which I have been here speaking ; as those who have bad the advantage of a more liberal education, rise above one another by several different degrees of perfection. For to return to our statue in the block of marble, we see it sometimes only begun to be chipped, sometimes roughhewn, and but just sketched into an human figure ; foınetimes we see the man appearing distinctly in all his limbs and features, and sometimes we find the figure wrought up to a great elegancy, but seldom meet with any to which the hand of a Phidias or Praxiteles could not give several nice touches and finishings. Discourses of morality, and reflections upon
human nature, are the best means we can make use of to improve our minds, and gain a true knowledge of ourselves, and consequently to recover our souls out of the vice, ignorance, and prejudice, which naturally cleave to them. I have all along profest myself in this paper a promoter of these great ends; and I flatter myself that I do from day to day contribute something to the polithing of meis minds : at least my design is laudable, whatever the execution inay be. I must confess I am not a little encouraged in it by many letters which I receive from. unknown hands, in approbation of my endeavours ; and must take this opportuniiy of returning my