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man? He to whom she gives law, grants and denies what she pleases? who can neither deny her any thing she asks, or refuse to do any thing she commands?"
To be short, my wife was extremely pleased with it; said the Italian was the only language for music; and admired how wonderfully tender the sentiment was, and how pretty the accent is of that language; with the rest that is said by rote on that occasion. Mr. Meggot is sent for to sing this air, which he performs with mighty applause; and my wife is in ecstacy on the occasion, and glad to find, by my being so much pleased, that I was at last come into
with my spouse; she would afford you, for some months at least, matter enough for one Spectator a week. Since we are not so happy as to be of your acquaintance, give me leave to represent to you our present circumstances as well as I can in writing. You are to know then that I am not of a very different constitution from Nathaniel Henroost, whom you have lately recorded in your speculations; and have a wife who makes a more tyrannical use of the knowledge of my easy temper than that lady ever pretended to. We had not been a month married, when she found in me a certain pain to give offence, and an indolence, that made me bear little inconve- the notion of the Italian; "for," said she, niences rather than dispute about them." it grows upon one when one once comes From this observation it soon came to pass, to know a little of the language; and pray, that if I offered to go abroad, she would get Mr. Meggot, sing again those notes, Nihil between me and the door, kiss me, and say imperanti negare, nihil recusare. You she could not part with me; then down may believe I was not a little delighted with again I sat. In a day or two after this first my friend Tom's expedient to alarm me, pleasant step towards confining me, she and in obedience to his summons I gave all declared to me, that I was all the world to this story thus at large; and I am resolved her, and she thought she ought to be all the when this appears in the Spectator, to deworld to me. "If," said she, "my dear clare for myself. The manner of the insurloves me as much as I love him, he will rection I contrive by your means, which never be tired of my company.' This de- shall be no other than that Tom Meggot claration was followed by my being denied who is at our tea-table every morning, shall to all my acquaintance; and it very soon read it to us; and if my dear can take the came to that pass, that to give an answer at hint, and say not one word, but let this be the door, before my face, the servants would the beginning of a new life without farther ask her whether I was within or not; and explanation, it is very well; for as soon as she would answer no, with great fondness, the Spectator is read out, I shall, without and tell me I was a good dear. I will not more ado, call for the coach, name the hour enumerate more little circumstances to give when I shall be at home, if I come at all; you a livelier sense of my condition; but tell if I do not, they may go to dinner. If my you in general, that from such steps as spouse only swells and says nothing, Tom these at first, I now live the life of a pri- and I go out together, and all is well, as I soner of state; my letters are opened, and said before; but if she begins to command I have not the use of pen, ink, and paper, or expostulate, you shall in my next to you but in her presence. I never go abroad, receive a full account of her resistance and except she sometimes takes me with her in submission, for submit the dear thing must her coach to take the air, if it may be called to, sir, your most obedient humble servant, so, when we drive, as we generally do, with 'ANTHONY FREEMAN. the glasses up. I have overheard my servants lament my condition, but they dare not bring me messages without her knowledge, because they doubt my resolution to
-Mens sibi conscia recti.
stand by them. In the midst of this insipid No. 213.] Saturday, November 3, 1711. way of life, an old acquaintance of mine, Tom Meggot, who is a favourite with her, and allowed to visit me in her company because he sings prettily, has roused me to rebel, and conveyed his intelligence to me in the following manner: My wife is a great pretender to music, and very ignorant of it; but far gone in the Italian taste. Tom goes to Armstrong, the famous fine writer of music, and desires him to put this sentence of Tully in the scale of an Italian air, and write it out for my spouse from him. An ille mihi liber cui mulier imperat? Cui leges imponit, præscribit, jubet, vetat quod videtur? Qui nihil imperanti negare, nihil recusare audet? Poscit? dandum est. Vocat? veniendum. Ejicit? abeundum. Minitatur? extimescendum. "Does he live like we may discover that great art and secret a gentleman who is commanded by a wo-of religion which I have here mentioned.
In order to give this consideration its full weight, we may cast all our actions under the division of such as are in themselves either good, evil, or indifferent. If we divide our intentions after the same manner, and consider them with regard to our actions,
'P. S. I hope I need not tell you that I desire this may be in your very next.' T.
Virg. Æn. i. 608.
A good intention.
Ir is the great art and secret of Christianity, if I may use that phrase, to manage our actions to the best advantage, and direct them in such a manner that every thing we do may turn to account at that great day when every thing we have done will be set before us.
A good intention joined to a good action, gives it its proper force and efficacy; joined to an evil action, extenuates its malignity, and in some cases may take it wholly away; and joined to an indifferent action, turns it to a virtue, and makes it meritorious as far as human actions can be so.
In the next place, to consider in the same manner the influence of an evil intention upon our actions. An evil intention perverts the best of actions, and makes them in reality, what the fathers with a witty kind of zeal have termed the virtues of the heathen world, so many shining sins. It destroys the innocence of an indifferent action, and gives an evil action all possible blackness and horror, or, in the emphatical language of sacred writ, makes sin exceeding sinful.'
If, in the last place, we consider the nature of an indifferent intention, we shall find that it destroys the merit of a good action; abates, but never takes away the malignity of an evil action; and leaves an indifferent action in its natural state of indifference.
It is therefore of unspeakable advantage to possess our minds with an habitual good intention, and to aim all our thoughts, words, and actions at some laudable end, whether it be the glory of our Maker, the good of mankind, or the benefit of our own souls.
This is a sort of thrift or good husbandry in moral life, which does not throw away any single action, but makes every one go as far as it can. It multiplies the means of salvation, increases the number of our virtues, and diminishes that of our vices.
There is something very devout, though not solid, in Acosta's answer to Limborch, who objects to him the multiplicity of ceremonies in the Jewish religion, as washings, dresses, meats, purgations, and the like. The reply which the Jew makes upon this occasion is, to the best of my remembrance as follows: There are not duties enough,' says he, in the essential parts of the law for a zealous and active obedience. Time, place, and person are requisite, before you have an opportunity of putting a moral virtue into practice. We have therefore,' says he, enlarged the sphere of our duty, and made many things, which are in themselves indifferent, a part of our religion, that we may have more occasions of showing our love to God, and in all the circumstances of life be doing something to please him.'
Monsieur St. Evremond has endeavoured to palliate the superstitions of the Roman Catholic religion with the same kind of apology, where he pretends to consider the different spirits of the Papists, and the Calvinists, as to the great points wherein they disagree. He tells us, that the former are actuated by love, and the other by fear; and that in their expressions of duty and devotion towards the Supreme Being, the former seem particularly careful to do every thing which may possibly please him, and the
other to abstain from every thing which may possibly displease him.
But notwithstanding this plausible reason with which both the Jew and the Roman Catholic would excuse their respective superstitions, it is certain there is so something in them very pernicious to mankind, and destructive to religion; because the injunction of superfluous ceremonies makes such actions duties as were before indifferent, and by that means renders religion more burdensome and difficult than it is in its own nature, betrays many into sins of omission which they could not otherwise be guilty of, and fixes the minds of the vulgar to the shadowy, unessential points, instead of the more weighty and more important matters of the law.
This zealous and active obedience, however, takes place in the great point we are recommending; for, if, instead of prescribing to ourselves indifferent actions as duties, we apply a good intention to all our most indifferent actions, we make our very existence one continued act of obedience, we turn our diversions and amusements to our eternal advantage, and are pleasing Him whom we are made to please, in all the circumstances and occurrences of life.
It is this excellent frame of mind, this holy officiousness, (if I may be allowed to call it such) which is recommended to us by the apostle in that uncommon precept wherein he directs us to propose to ourselves the glory of our Creator in all our most indifferent actions, whether we eat or drink, or whatsoever we do.'*
A person therefore who is possessed with such an habitual good intention, as that which I have been here speaking of, enters upon no single circumstance of life, without considering it as well pleasing to the great Author of his being, conformable to the dictates of reason, suitable to human nature in general, or to that particular station in which Providence has placed him. He lives in a perpetual sense of the Divine Presence, regards himself as acting, in the whole course of his existence, under the observation and inspection of that Being, who is privy to all his motions and all his thoughts, who knows his down-sitting and his up-rising, who is about his path, and about his bed, and spieth out all his ways.' In a word, he remembers that the eye of his Judge is always upon him, and in every action he reflects that he is doing what is commanded or allowed by Him who will hereafter either reward or punish it. This was the character of those holy men of old, who in that beautiful phrase of scripture are said to have walked with God.'‡
When I employ myself upon a paper of morality, I generally consider how I may recommend the particular virtue which I treat of, by the precepts or examples of the ancient heathens; by that means, if possible,
* 1 Cor. x. 31. Psal. cxxxix. 2, 3. Gen. v. 22, vi k
to shame those who have greater advantages of knowing their duty, and therefore greater obligations to perform it, into a better course of life: besides that, many among us are unreasonably disposed to give a fairer hearing to a Pagan philosopher than to a Christian writer.
on the one part, and merit and expectation on the other.
The division of patron and client, may, I believe, include a third of our nation: the want of merit and real worth in the client, will strike out about ninety-nine in a hundred of these; and the want of ability in patrons, as many of that kind. But, however, I must beg leave to say, that he who will take up another's time and fortune in his service, though he has no prospect of rewarding his merit towards him, is as unjust in his dealings as he who takes up goods of a tradesman without intention or ability to pay him. Of the few of the class which I think fit to consider, there are not two in ten who succeed, insomuch that I know a man of good sense who put his son to a blacksmith, though an offer was made him of his being received as a page to a man of quality. There are not more cripples come out of the wars than there are from those great services; some through discontent lose their speech, some their memories, others their senses, or their lives; and I seldom see a man thoroughly discontented, but I conclude he has had the favour of some I have known of such as have
I shall therefore produce an instance of this excellent frame of mind in a speech of Socrates, which is quoted by Erasmus. This great philosopher, on the day of his execution, a little before the draught of poison was brought to him, entertaining his friends with a discourse on the immortality of the soul, has these words: Whether or no God will approve of my actions, I know not; but this I am sure of, that I have at all times made it my endeavour to please him, and I have a good hope that this my endeavour will be accepted by him.' We find in these words of that great man the habitual good' intention which I would here inculcate, and with which that divine philosopher always acted. I shall only add, that Erasmus, who was an unbigotted Roman Catholic, was so much transported with this passage of Socrates, that he could scarce forbear looking upon him as a saint, great man. and desiring him to pray for him; or as been for twenty years together within a that ingenious and learned writer has ex-month of a good employment, but never pressed himself in a much more lively man-arrived at the happiness of being possessed ner; 'When I reflect on such a speech pro- of any thing. nounced by such a person, I can scarce forbear crying out, "Sancte Socrates, ora pro nobis:" O holy Socrates, pray for us.'
There is nothing more ordinary, than that a man who has got into a considerable station, shall immediately alter his manner of treating all his friends, and from that moment he is to deal with you as if he were your Fate. You are no longer to be consulted, even in matters which concern yourself; but your patron is of a species above you, and a free communication with you is not to be expected. This, perhaps, may be your condition all the while he bears office, and when that is at an end, you are as intimate as ever you were, and he will take it very ill if you keep the distance he prescribed you towards him in his grandeur. One would think this should be a behaviour a man could fall into with the worst grace imaginable: but they who know the world have seen it more than once. I have often, with secret pity, heard the same man who has professed his abhorrence against all kinds of passive behaviour, lose minutes, hours, days, and years, in a fruitless attendance on one who had no inclination to befriend him. It is very much to be regretted, that the great have one particular privilege above the rest of the world, of being slow in receiving impressions of kindness, and quick in taking offence. The elevation above the rest of mankind, except in very great minds, makes men so giddy, that they do not see after the same manner they did before. Thus they despise their old friends, and strive to extend their interest to new pretenders. By this means it often happens, that when you come to know how you lost such an em
No. 214.] Monday, November 5, 1711.
When I speak of dependants, I would not be understood to mean those who are worthless in themselves, or who, without any call, will press into the company of their betters. Nor, when I speak of patrons, do I mean those who either have it not in their power, or have no obligation to assist their friends; but I speak of such leagues where there is power and obligation
ployment you will find the man who got it
of good patrons, and distinguish such as have done their duty to those who have depended upon them, and were not able to act without their favour. Worthy patrons are like Plato's Guardian Angels, who are always doing good to their wards; but negligent patrons are like Epicurus's gods, that lie folling on the clouds, and instead of blessings, pour down storms and tempests on the heads of those that are offering incense to them. T.
There are but two ways of doing any thing with great people, and those are by making yourself either considerable or agreeable. The former is not to be attained but by finding a way to live without them, or concealing that you want them; the latter is only by falling into their taste and pleasures. This is of all the employments in the world the most servile, except it happens to be of your own natural humour. For to be agreeable to another, especially if he be above you, is not to be possessed of such qualities and accomplishments as should render you agreeable in yourself, but such as make you agreeable in respect to him. An imitation of his faults, or a compliance, if not subservience to his vices, must be the measure of your conduct.
No. 215.] Tuesday, November 6, 1711
Ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes
Ovid, Ep. ix. Lib. 2. de Ponto, v. 47.
I CONSIDER a human soul without education like marble in the quarry, which shows none of its inherent beauties; until the skill of the polisher fetches out the colours, makes the surface shine, and discovers every ornamental cloud, spot, and vein that runs through the body of it. Education, after the same manner, when it works upon a noble mind, draws out to view every latent virtue and perfection, which without such helps are never able to make their appearance.
If my reader will give me leave to change the allusion so soon upon him, I shall make use of the same instance to illustrate the force of education, which Aristotle has brought to explain his doctrine of substantial forms, when he tells us that a statue lies hid in a block of marble; and that the art of the statuary only clears away the superfluous matter and removes the rubbish. The figure is in the stone, the sculptor only finds it. What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul. The philosopher, the saint, or the hero, the wise, the good, or the great man, very often lie hid and concealed in a plebeian, which a proper education might have disinterred, and have brought to light. I am, therefore, much delighted with reading the accounts of savage nations, and with contemplating those virtues which are wild and uncultivated; to see courage exerting itself in fierceness, resolution in obstinacy, wisdom in cunning, patience in sullenness and despair.
When it comes to that, the unnatural state a man lives in, when his patron pleases, is ended; and his guilt and complaisance are objected to him, though the man who rejects him for his vices was not only his partner but seducer. Thus the client (like a young woman who has given up the innocence that made her charming) has not only lost his time, but also the virtue which could render him capable of resenting the injury which is done him.
It would be endless to recount the tricks of turning you off from themselves to persons who have less power to serve you: the art of being sorry for such an unaccountable accident in your behaviour, that such a one (who, perhaps, has never heard of you) opposes your advancement; and if you have any thing more than ordinary in you, you are flattered with a whisper, that it is no wonder people are so slow in doing for a man of your talents, and the like.
After all this treatment, I must still add the pleasantest insolence of all, which I have once or twice seen; to wit, that when a silly rogue has thrown away one part
Men's passions operate variously, and appear in different kinds of actions, accord
in three of his life in unprofitable attend-ing as they are more or less rectified and ance, it is taken wonderfully ill that he swayed by reason. When one hears of newithdraws, and is resolved to employ the groes, who upon the death of their masters, rest for himself. or upon changing their service, hang themWhen we consider these things, and re-selves upon the next tree, as it frequently flect upon so many honest natures (which happens in our American plantations, who one, who makes observation of what passes, can forbear admiring their fidelity, though may have seen) that have miscarried by it expresses itself in so dreadful a manner? such sort of applications, it is too melan- What might not that savage greatness of choly a scene to dwell upon; therefore I soul which appears in these poor wretches shall take another opportunity to discourse on many occasions, be raised to, were it
rightly cultivated? And what colour of excuse can there be for the contempt with which we treat this part of our species? that we should not put them upon the common foot of humanity; that we should only set an insignificant fine upon the man who murders them; nay, that we should as much as in us lies, cut them off from the prospects of happiness in another world as well as in this, and deny them that which we look upon as the proper means for attaining it?
Since I am engaged on this subject, I cannot forbear mentioning a story which I have lately heard, and which is so well attested, that I have no manner of reason to suspect the truth of it. I may call it a kind of wild tragedy that passed about twelve years ago at Saint Christopher's, one of our British Leeward islands. The negroes who were the persons concerned in it, were all of them the slaves of a gentleman who is now in England.
coming to the place saw the woman dead, and the two negroes expiring by her with wounds they had given themselves.
We see in this amazing instance of barbarity, what strange disorders are bred in the minds of those men whose passions are not regulated by virtue, and disciplined by reason. Though the action which I have recited is in itself full of guilt and horror, it proceeded from a temper of mind which might have produced very noble fruits, had it been informed and guided by a suitable education.
It is therefore an unspeakable blessing to be born in those parts of the world where wisdom and knowledge flourish; though it must be confessed, there are, even in these parts, several poor uninstructed persons, who are but little above the inhabitants of those nations of which I have been here speaking; as those who have had the advantages of a more liberal education rise above one another by several different degrees of perThis gentleman, among his negroes, had fection. For, to return to our statue in the a young woman, who was looked upon as a block of marble, we see it sometimes only most extraordinary beauty by those of her begun to be chipped, sometimes roughown complexion. He had at the same time hewn, and but just sketched into an human two young fellows, who were likewise ne- figure; sometimes we see the man appeargroes and slaves, remarkable for the come-ing distinctly in all his limbs and features, liness of their persons, and for the friendship sometimes we find the figure wrought up to which they bore to one another. It unfor- a great elegancy, but seldom meet with tunately happened that both of them fell in any to which the hand of a Phidias or Praxilove with the female negro above-mention- teles could not give several nice touches and ed, who would have been very glad to have finishings. taken either of them for her husband, provided they could agree between themselves which should be the man. But they were both so passionately in love with her, that neither of them could think of giving her up to his rival; and at the same time were so true to one another, that neither of them would think of gaining her without his friend's consent. The torments of these two lovers were the discourse of the family to which they belonged, who could not for-thing to the polishing of men's minds: at bear observing the strange complication of least my design is laudable, whatever the passions which perplexed the hearts of the execution may be. I must confess I am not poor negroes, that often dropped expres- a little encouraged in it by many letters sions of the uneasiness they underwent, and which I receive from unknown hands, in how impossible it was for either of them approbation of my endeavours: and must ever to be happy. take this opportunity of returning my thanks to those who write them, and excusing myself for not inserting several of them in my papers, which I am sensible would be a very great ornament to them. Should I publish the praises which are so well penned, they would do honour to the persons who write them, but my publishing of them would, I fear, be a sufficient instance to the world that I did not deserve them.
After a long struggle between love and friendship, truth and jealousy, they one day took a walk together into a wood, carrying their mistress along with them: where, after abundance of lamentations, they stabbed her to the heart, of which she immediately died. A slave who was at his work not far from the place were this astonishing piece of cruelty was committed, hearing the shrieks of the dying person, ran to see what was the occasion of them. He there
discovered the woman lying dead upon the ground, with the two negroes on each side of her, kissing the dead corpse, weeping| over it, and beating their breasts in the utmost agonies of grief and despair. He immediately ran to the English family with the news of what he had seen; who upon
Discourses of morality, and reflections upon human nature, are the best means we can make use of to improve our minds, and gain a true knowledge of ourselves, and consequently to recover our souls out of the vice, ignorance, and prejudice, which naturally cleave to them. I have all along professed myself in this paper a promoter of these great ends; and I flatter myself that I do from day to day contribute some
No. 216.] Wednesday, November 7, 1711.
Siquidem hercle possis, nil prius, neque fortius:
Ter. Eux. Act i. Se. 1.