« PreviousContinue »
out cenfure or obftruction. How agreable
May 5, 17436
received the first account of my lofs from other hands than mine; you must impute it to the dejection of mind into which that accident threw me. The blow, indeed, fell with too much severity, to leave me capable of recollecting myself enough to write to you immediately; as there cannot, perhaps, be a greater shock to a breast of any fenfibiltiy, than to fee its earliest and most valuable connexions irreparably broken; than to find itself for ever torn from the first and most endeared object of its highest veneration. At least, the affection and esteem I bore to that excellent parent, were founded upon fo many and such uncommon motives, that his death has given me occafion to lament not only a most tender father, but a most valuable friend.
THAT I can no longer enjoy the benefit of his animating example, is one among the many aggravating circumftances of my affliction ;
fiction; and I often apply to myfelf, what an excellent antient has faid upon a fimilar occafion, Vereor ne nunc negligentius vivam. There is nothing, in truth, puts us fo much upon our guard, as to act under the constant infpection of one, whofe virtues, as well as years, have rendered him venerable. Never indeed, did the dignity of goodness appear more irresistible in any man: Yet there was fomething at the fame time fo gentle in his manners, fuch an innocency and chearfulness in his converfation, that he was as fure to gain affection as to inspire
It has been obferved (and I think, by Cowley)" That a man in much business "muft either make himself a knave, or "the world will make him a fool." If there is any truth in this obfervation, it is not, however, without an exception. My father was early engaged in the great scenes of business, where he continued almost to his very laft hour; yet he preserved his integrity firm and unbroken, thro all those powerful affaults he must neceffarily have encountered in fo long a courfe of action.
If it were justice, indeed, to his other virtues, to fingle out any particular one as fhining with fuperior luftre to the reft; I fhould point to his probity as the brightest part of his character. But the truth is, the whole tenor of his conduct was one uniform exercise of every moral quality, that can adorn and exalt human nature. To defend the injured, to relieve the indigent, to protect the diftreffed, was the chief end and aim of all his endeavors; and his principal motive both for engaging and perfevering in his profeffion was, to enable himself more abundantly to gratify fo glorious an ambi
No man had a higher relish of the pleafures of retired and contemplative life; as none was more qualified to enter into those calm fcenes with greater ease and dignity. He had nothing to make him defirous of flying from the reflections of his own mind; nor any paffions which his moderate patrimony would not have been more than fufficient to have gratified. But to live for himself only, was not confiftent with his generous and enlarged fentiments. It was a fpirit of benevolence that led him into the
active scenes of the world; which upon any other principle he would either never have entered, or foon have renounced. And it was that godlike fpirit, which conducted and supported him thro his useful progrefs, to the honor and intereft of his family and friends, and to the benefit of every creature, that could poffibly be comprehended within the extenfive circle of his beneficence.
I WELL know, my dear Euphronius, the high regard you pay to every character of merit in general, and the esteem in which you held this most valuable man in particular. I am fure, therefore, you would not forgive me were I to make, an apology for leaving with you this private monument of my veneration for a parent, whose least and lowest claim to my gratitude and esteem is, that I am indebted to him for my birth. I am, &c.