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himself by their destruction, or to share their spoils with a stronger savage.
Virtue presented singly to the imagination or the reason, is so well recommended by its own graces, and so strongly supported by arguments, that a good man wonders how any can be bad; and they who are ignorant of the force of passion and interest, who never observed the arts of seduction, the contagion of example, the gradual descent from one crime to another, or the insensible depravation of the principles by loose conversation, naturally expect to find integrity in every bosom, and veracity on every tongue.
It is, indeed, impossible not to hear from those who have lived longer, of wrongs and falsehoods, of violence and circumvention; but such narratives are commonly regarded by the young, the heady, and the confident, as nothing more than the murmurs of peevishness, or the dreams of dotage; and, notwithstanding all the documents of hoary wisdom, we commonly plunge into the world fearless and credulous, without any foresight of danger, or apprehension of deceit.
I have remarked, in a former paper, that credulity is the common failing of unexperienced virtue; and that he who is spontaneously suspicious, may be justly charged with radical corruption; for, if he has not known the prevalence of dishonesty by information, nor had time to observe it with his own eyes, whence can he take his measures of judgment but from himself
They who best deserve to escape the snares of # artifice, are most likely to be entangled. He that st endeavours to live for the good of others, must al- to ways be exposed to the arts of them who live only o for themselves, unless he is taught by timely pre- or cepts the caution required in common transactions, to and shewn at a distance the pitfalls of treachery. sit To youth, therefore, it should be carefully inculcated, that, to enter the road of life without caution or reserve, in expectation of general fidelity and justice, is to launch on the wide ocean without the instruments of steerage, and to hope that every wind will be prosperous, and that every coast will afford
a harbour. o To enumerate the various motives to deceit and | injury, would be to count all the desires that pre| vail among the sons of men; since there is no ambition however petty, no wish however absurd, that | by indulgence will not be enabled to overpower the #: | influence of virtue. Many there are, who openly and is o almost professedly regulate all their conduct by their & | §
love of money; who have no other reason for action o: - or forbearance, for compliance or refusal, than that o they hope to gain more by one than by the other. o: These are indeed the meanest and cruellest of human s beings, a race with whom, as with some pestiferous i animals, the whole creation seems to be at war; but - who, however detested or scorned, long continue to o add heap to heap, and when they have reduced one | to beggary, are still permitted to fasten on another. ol. Others, yet less rationally wicked, pass their lives j} 28
in mischief, because they cannot bear the sight of success, and mark out every man for hatred, whose fame or fortune they believe increasing.
Many who have not advanced to these degrees of guilt are yet wholly unqualified for friendship, and unable to maintain any constant or regular Course of kindness. Happiness may be destroyed not only by union with the man who is apparently the slave of interest, but with whom a wild opinion of the dignity of perseverance, in whatever cause, disposes to pursue every injury with unwearied and perpetual resentment; with him whose vanity inclines him to consider every man as a rival in every pretension; with him whose airy negligence puts his friend's affairs or secrets in continual hazard, and who thinks his forgetfulness of others excused by his inattention to himself; and with him whose inconstancy ranges without any settled rule of choice through varieties of friendship, and who adopts and dismisses favourites by the sudden impulse of caprice.
Thus numerous are the dangers to which the conVerse of mankind exposes us, and which can be avoided only by prudent distrust. He therefore that, remembering this salutary maxim, learns early to withhold his fondness from fair appearances, will have reason to pay some honours to Bias of Priene, who enabled him to become wise without the cost of experience.
No. 176. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 1751
Maso suspendis adun.co.
On me you turn the nose.
HERE are many vexatious accidents and uneasy situations which raise little compassion for the sufferer, and which no man but those whom they immediately distress can regard with seriousness. Petty mischiefs, that have no influence on futurity, nor extend their effects to the rest of life, are always seen with a kind of malicious pleasure. A mistake or embarrassment, which for the present moment fills the face with blushes, and the mind with confusion, will have no other effect upon those who observe it, than that of convulsing them with irresistible laughter. Some circumstances of misery are so powerfully ridiculous, that neither kindness nor duty can withstand them; they bear down love, interest, and reverence, and force the friend, the dependent, or the child, to give way to instantaneous motions of merriment. Among the principal of comick calamities, may be reckoned the pain which an author, not yet hardened into insensibility, feels at the onset of a furious critick, whose age, rank, or fortune, gives him confidence to speak without reserve; who heaps one objection upon another, and obtrudes his remarks, and enforces his corrections, without tenderness or awe. The author, full of the importance of his work, and anxious for the justification of every syllable, starts and kindles at the slightest attack; the Critick, eager to establish his superiority, triumphing in every discovery of failure, and zealous to impress the cogency of his arguments, pursues him from line to line without cessation or remorse. The Critick, who hazards little, proceeds with vehemence, impetuosity, and fearlessness; the author, whose quiet and fame, and life and immortality, are inWolved in the controversy, tries every art of subterfuge and defence; maintains modestly what he resolves never to yield, and yields unwillingly what cannot be maintained. The critick’s purpose is to Conquer, the author only hopes to escape; the critick therefore knits his brow, and raises his voice, and rejoices whenever he perceives any tokens of pain excited by the pressure of his assertions, or the point of his sarcasms. The author, whose endeavour is at once to mollify and elude his persecutor, composes his features and softens his accent, breaks the force of assault by retreat, and rather steps aside than flies or advances. As it very seldom happens that the rage of extemporary criticism inflicts fatal or lasting wounds, I know not that the laws of benevolence entitle this distress to much sympathy. The diversion of baiting an author has the sanction of all ages and nations, and is more lawful than the sport of teasing other animals, because, for the most part, he comes voluntarily to the stake, furnished, as he imagines, by the patron powers of literature, with re