Page images

being placed at a distance, and lying concealed under numberlefs covers, require much pains and application to unfold.

BUT tho good-fense is not in the number, nor always, it must be owned, in the company of the sciences; yet is it (as the moft fenfible of poets has justly obferved) fairly worth the feven.

Rectitude of understanding is indeed the most useful, as well as the most noble of human endowments, as it is the fovereign guide and director in every branch of civil and focial intercourse.

UPON whatever occafion this enlightening faculty is exerted, it is always fure to act with distinguished eminence; but its chief and peculiar province feems to lie in the commerce of the world. Accordingly we may observe, that those who have converfed more with men than with books; whose wisdom is derived rather from experience than contemplation; generally poffefs this happy talent with fuperior perfection. For good-fenfe, tho it cannot be acquired, may be improved; and the world,

I believe, will ever be found to afford the moft kindly foil for its cultivation.

I KNOW not whether true good-sense is not a more uncommon quality even than true wit; as there is nothing, perhaps, more extraordinary than to meet with a person, whofe entire conduct and notions are under the direction of this fupreme guide. The fingle inftance at least, which I could produce of its acting fteddily and invariably throughout the whole of a character, is that which Euphronius, I am fure, would not allow me to mention at the fame time, perhaps, I am rendering my own pretenfions of this kind extremely questionable, when I thus venture to throw before you my fentiments upon a fubject, of which you are univerfally acknowledged fo perfect a master. I am, &c.




May 29, 1743.

ESTEEM your letters in the number of my most valuable poffeffions, and preferve them as so many prophetical leaves upon which the fate of our distracted nation

[blocks in formation]

is infcribed. But in exchange for the maxims of a patriot, I can only send you the reveries of a reclufe, and give you the stones of the brook for the gold of Ophir. Never, indeed, Palemon, was there a commerce more unequal, than that wherein you are contented to engage with me: and I could scarce answer it to my conscience to continue a traffic, where the whole benefit accrues fingly to myself; did I not know, that to confer without the poffibility of an advantage, is the most pleasing exercise of generofity. I will venture then to make ufe of a privilege which I have long enjoyed; as I well know you love to mix the meditations of the philofopher with the reflections of the ftatefman, and can turn with equal relish from the politics of Tacitus, to the morals of Seneca.

I was in my garden this morning fomeWAS what earlier than ufual, when the fun, as Milton describes him,

With wheels yet hov'ring o'er the ocean brim Skot parallel to th' earth his dewy ray.

There is fomething in the opening of the dawn at this feafen of the year, that en

livens the mind with a fort of chearful ferioufnefs, and fills it with a certain calm rapture in the consciousness of its existence. For my own part at least, the rifing of the fun has the fame effect on me, as it is faid to have had on the celebrated statue of Memnon: and I never observe that glorious. · luminary breaking forth, that I do not find myself harmonized for the whole day.

WHILST I was enjoying the freshnefs and tranquility of this early feason, and confidering the many reafons I had to join. in offering up that morning incenfe, which the poet I just now mentioned, represents as particularly arifing at this hour from the earth's great altar; I could not but esteem it as a principal bleffing, that I was entering upon a new day with health and spirits. To awake with recruited vigor for the tranfactions of life, is a mercy fo generally difpenfed, that it paffes, like other the ordinary bounties of Providence, without making its due impreffion. Yet were one never to rife under thefe happy circumstances, without reflecting what numbers there are, who (to use the language of the most pa

R 3


out in others. There cannot, indeed, be a more odious, nor at the fame time a more contemptible character, than that of a vi tious fatirift:

Quis cælum terris non mifceat & mare cœlo, Si fur difpliceat Verri, homicida Miloni ?


The most favorable light in which a cenfor of this fpecies could poffibly be viewed, would be that of a public executioner, who inflicts the punishment on others, which he has already merited himself. But the truth of it is, he is not qualified even for fo wretched an office; and there is nothing to be dreaded from a fatirift of known difhonefty, but his applause. Adieu.





EREMONY is never more unwelcome, than at that season in which you will probably have the greatest share of it; and as I should be extremely unwilling to add to the number of thofe, who, in pure good


« PreviousContinue »