Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

No. 556. upon, without descending to those which are peculiar to
Friday: either.
June 18,

If in a Multitude of Counsellors there is Safety, we 1714.

ought to think our selves the securest Nation in the World. Most of our Garrets are inhabited by Statesmen, who watch over the Liberties of their Country, and make a Shift to keep themselves from starving, by taking into their Care the Properties of all their Fellow Subjects.

As these Politicians of both Sides have already worked the Nation into a most unnatural Ferment, I shall be so far from endeavouring to raise it to a greater Height, that, on the contrary, it shall be the chief Tendency of my Papers, to inspire my Countrymen with a mutual Good-will and Benevolence. Whatever Faults either Party may be guilty of, they are rather inflamed than cured by those Reproaches, which they cast upon one another. The most likely Method of rectifying any Man's Conduct, is, by recommending to him the Principles of Truth and Honour, Religion and Virtue; and so long as he acts with an Eye to these Principles, whatever Party he is of, he cannot fail of being a good Englishman, and a Lover of his Country,

As for the Persons concerned in this work, the Names of all of them, or at least of such as desire it, shall be published hereafter : 'Till which time I must entreat the courteous Reader to suspend his Curiosity, and rather to consider what is written, than who they are that write it.

Having thus adjusted all necessary Preliminaries with my Reader, I shall not trouble him with any more pre fatory Discourses, but proceed in my old Method, and entertain him with Speculations on every useful Subject that falls in my Way. No. 557, (ADDISON.]

Monday, June 21. Quippe domum tímet ambiguam, Tyriosque bilingues-Virg, HERE is nothing, says Plato, so delightful, as the

hearing or the speaking of Truth. For this Reason there is no Conversation so agreeable as that of the Man of Integrity, who hears without any Intention to betray, and speaks without any Intention to deceive.

Among

T

Among all the Accounts which are given of Cato, I do No. 557. not remember one that more redounds to his Honour Monday,

June 21, than the following Passage related by Plutarch. As an 1714

. Advocate was pleading the Cause of his Client before one of the Prætors, he could only produce a single Witness in a Point where the Law required the Testimony of two Persons; upon which the Advocate insisted on the Integrity of that person whom he had produced, but the Prætor told him, That where the Law required two Witnesses he would not accept of one, tho' it were Cato himself. Such a Speech from a Person who sat at the Head of a Court of Justice, while Cato was still living, shews us, more than a thousand Examples, the high Reputation this great Man had gained among his Con temporaries upon the Account of his Sincerity,

When such an inflexible Integrity is a little softned and qualified by the Rules of Conversation and Good breeding, there is not a more shining Virtue in the whole Catalogue of Social Duties, A Man however ought to take great care not to polish himself out of his Veracity, nor to refine his Behaviour to the Prejudice of his Virtue,

This Subject is exquisitely treated in the most elegant Sermon of the great British Preacher. I shall beg Leave to transcribe out of it two or three Sentences, as a proper Introduction to a very curious Letter, which I shall make the chief Entertainment of this Speculation,

*The old English Plainness and Sincerity, that generous Integrity of Nature, and Honesty of Disposition, which always argues true Greatness of Mind, and is usually accompanied with undaunted Courage and Resolution, is in a great Measure lost among us.

The Dialect of Conversation is now-a-days so swelled with Vanity and Compliment, and so surfeited (as I may say) of Expressions of Kindness and Respect, that if a Man that lived an Age or two ago should return into the World again, he would really want a Dictionary to help him to understand his own Language, and to know the true intrinsick Value of the Phrase in fashion ; and would hardly, at first, believe at what a low Rate the highest Strains and Expressions of Kindness imaginable

do

No. 557. do commonly pass in current Payment; and when he Monday, should come to understand it, it would be a great while June 21, before he could bring himself with a good Countenance

and a good Conscience, to converse with Men upon equal Terms and in their own Way'

I have by me a Letter which I look upon as a great Curiosity, and which may serve as an Exemplification to the foregoing Passage, cited out of this most excellent Prelate. It is said to have been written in King Charles II's Reign by the Ambassador of Bantam, a little after his Arrival in England.

* Master, The People, where I now am, have Tongues further from their Hearts than from London to Bantam, and thou knowest the Inhabitants of one of these Places does not know what is done in the other. They call thee and thy Subjects Barbarians, because we speak what we mean; and account themselves a civilized People, because they speak one thing and mean another : Truth they call Barbarity, and Falshood Politeness. Upon my first landing, one who was sent from the King of this Place to meet me told me, That he was extreamly sorry for the Storm I had met with just before my Arrival. I was troubled to hear him grieve and afflict himself upon my Account; but in less than a Quarter of an Hour he smiled, and was as merry as if nothing had happened. Another who came with him told me by my Interpreter, He should be glad to do me any Service that lay in his Power. Upon which I desired him to carry one of my Portmanteaus for me, but instead of serving me accord ing to his Promise, he laughed, and bid another do it. I lodged, the first week, at the House of one, who desired me to think my self at home, and to consider his House as my own. Accordingly, I the next Morning began to knock down one of the Walls of it, in order to let in the fresh Air, and had packed up some of the Household Goods, of which I intended to have made thee a Present: But the false Varlet no sooner saw me falling to Work, but he sent Word to desire me to give over, for that he would have no such Doings in his House. I had not

been

1

I was

been long in this Nation, before I was told by one, for No. 557. whom I had asked a certain Favour from the Chief of Monday,

June 21, the King's Servants, whom they here call the Lord.

1714. Treasurer, That I had eternally obliged him, so surprized at his Gratitude, that I could not forbear saying, What Service is there which one Man can do for another, that can oblige him to all Eternity! However I only asked him for my Reward, that he would lend me his eldest Daughter during my Stay in this Country: but I quickly found that he was as treacherous as the rest of his Countrymen,

At my first going to Court, one of the great Men almost put me out of Countenance, by asking ten thou, sand Pardons of me for only treading by Accident upon my

Toe. They call this kind of Lye a Compliment for when they are civil to a great Man, they tell him Untruths, for which thou wouldest order any of thy Officers of State to receive a hundred Blows upon his Foot. I do not know how I shall negociate any thing with this People, since there is so little Credit to be given to 'em, When I go to see the King's Scribe, I am generally told that he is not at home, tho' perhaps I saw him go into his House almost the very Moment before, Thou wouldest fancy that the whole Nation are Physicians, for the first Question they always ask me, is, How I do? I have this Question put to me above a hundred times a Day. Nay, they are not only thus inquisitive after my Health, but wish it in a more solemn Manner, with a full Glass in their Hands, every time I sit with them at Table, tho' at the same time they wou'd perswade me to drink their Liquors in such Quantities as I have found by Experience will make me sick. They often pretend to pray for thy Health also in the same Manner; but I have more Reason to expect it from the Goodness of thy Constitution, than the Sincerity of their Wishes. May thy Slave escape in Safety from this double-tongued Race of Men, and live to lay himself once more at thy Feet in thy Royal City of Bantam.'

Wednesday

[ocr errors]

IT

No. 558. No. 558.
Wednes- (ADDISON.]

Wednesday, June 23. day, June 23,

Qui fit. Maecenas, ut nemo, quam sibi sortem
1714,
Seu ratio dederit

, seu fors objecerit, illa
Contentus vivat, laudet diversa sequentes?
O fortunati mercatores, gravis annis
Miles ait, multo jam fractus membra labore !
Contra mercator, navim jactantibus austris :
Militia est potior. Quid enim? Coacurritur ? horae
Momento cíta mors venit, aut victoria laeta.
Agrícolam laudat jurís legumque peritus,
Sub galli cantum consultor ubi ostia pulsat.
Ille, datis vadibus qui rure extractus in urbem est,
Solos felices viventes clamat in urbe,
Cetera de genere hoc (adeo sunt multa) loquacem
Delassare valeat Fabium. Ne te morer, audi,
Quo rem deducam. Siquis Deus, en ego, dicat,
Jam faciam quod vultis : eris tu, qui modo miles,
Mercator : tu consultus modo rusticus. Hinc vos,
Vos hinc mutatis discedite partibus. Eia!

Quid statis ? Noliat. Atqui licet esse beatis.—Hor.
T is a celebrated Thought of Socrates, that if all the

Misfortunes of Mankind were cast into a publick Stock, in order to be equally distributed among the whole Species, those who now think themselves the most un happy, would prefer the Share they are already possess'd of, before that which would fall to them by such a Division. Horace has carried this Thought a great deal further in the Motto of my Paper, which implies that the Hardships or Misfortunes we lie under, are more easy to us than those of any other Person would be, in case we could change Conditions with him.

As I was ruminating on these two Remarks, and seated in my Elbow-Chair, I insensibly fell asleep; when, on a sudden, methought there was a Proclamation made by Jupiter, that every Mortal should bring in his Griefs and Calamities, and throw them together in a Heap. There was a large Plain appointed for this purpose. I took my Stand in the Center of it, and saw with a great deal of Pleasure the whole human Species marching one after another, and throwing down their several Loads, which immediately grew up into a prodigious Mountain that seemed to rise above the Clouds.

There

« PředchozíPokračovat »