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leaft deserve them; to reflect, that thọ malice generally flings the first stone, it is folly and ignorance, it is indolence or irrefolution, which are principally concerned in fwelling the heap. When the tide of cenfure runs ftrongly against any particular character, the generality of mankind are too careless or too impotent to withstand the current and thus, without any particular malice in their own natures, are often indolently carried along with others, by tamely falling in with the general stream. The number of thofe who really mean one harm, will wonderfully leffen after the deductions which may fairly be made of this fort and the cup of unjuft reproach must furely lose much of its bitterness, where one is perfuaded that malevolence has the leaft fhare in mingling the draught. For nothing, perhaps, ftings a generous mind more fenfibly in wrongs of this fort, than to confider them as evidences of a general malignity in human nature. But from whatever causes these storms may arise, Virtue would not be true to her own native privileges, if she suffered herself to fink under them. It is from that ftrength and firm
ness which upright intentions will ever fecure to an honeft mind, that, Palamedes, I am perfuaded will ftand fuperior to those unmerited reproaches which affault his character; and preserve an unbroken repose amidst the little noife and ftrife of ignorant, or malicious tongues. Farewel.
April 9, 1740.
HERE is no advantage which attends a popular genius that I am fo much inclined to envy, as the privilege of rendering merit confpicuous. An author who has raised the attention of the public to his productions, and gained a whole nation for his audience, may be confidered as guardian of the temple of Fame; and invested with the prerogative of giving entrance to whomsoever he deems worthy of that glorious distinction. But the praise of an ordinary writer obftructs rather than advances the honor due to merit, and fullies the luftre it means to celebrate. Impotent panegyric
panegyric operates like a blight wherever it falls, and injures all that it touches. Accordingly, Henry the IV. of France was wont humorously to afcribe his early grey hairs to the effect of numberlefs wretched compliments, which were paid him by a certain ridiculous orator of his times. But tho' the wreaths of Folly fhould not disgrace the temples they furround; they wither, at leaft, as foon as received: and if they should not be offenfive, most certainly, however, they will be tranfient. Where
as thofe on the contrary, with which an Horace or a Boileau, an Addison or a Pope, have crowned the virtues of their contemporaries, are as permanent as they are illuftrious, and will preferve their colors and fragrance to remotest ages.
If I could thus weave the garlands of unfading applaufe; if I were in the number of those chofen fpirits whofe approbation is fame; your friend fhould not want that diftinguishing tribute which his virtues deferve, and you request. I would tell the world (and tell it in a voice that should be heard far and remembered long) that Eufebes, with all the knowledge and experience
of these later ages, has all the innocence and fimplicity of the earliest: that he enforces the doctrines of his facred function, not with the vain pomp of oftentatious eloquence, but with the far more powerful perfuafion of active and exemplary virtue ; that he foftens the feverity of precept with the ease and familiarity of conversation, and by generously mingling with the meanest committed to his care, infinuates the inftructor under the air of the companion; that whilst he thus fills up the circle of his private station, he still turns his regards to the public, and employs his genius, his industry, and his fortune in prosecuting and perfecting those discoveries, which tend moft to the general benefit of mankind: in a word, that whilft others of his order are contending for the ambitious prizes of ecclefiaftical dignities, it is his glorious preheminence to merit the higheft, without enjoying, or foliciting, even the lowest. This, and yet more than this, the world should hear of your friend, if the world were inclined to listen to my voice. But tho' you perhaps, Philotes, may be willing to give audience to my Mufe,
namque Tu folebas
Meas effe aliquid putare nugas.
can she hope to find favor likewife in the fight of the public? Let me, then, rather content myself with the filent admiration of those virtues which I am not worthy to celebrate; and leave it to others to place the good works of Eufebes where they may Shine forth before men. I am, &c.
To the fame.
Dec. 7, 1747.
HE vifits of a friend, like those of
TH the fun at this feafon, are extremely
enlivening. I am fure at least they would both be particularly acceptable to me at prefent, when my mind is as much overcast as the heavens. I hope, therefore, you will not drop the defign your letter intimates, of fpending a few days with me in your way to ***. Your company will greatly contribute to difperfe thofe clouds of melancholy which the lofs of a very valuable friend has