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as the perpetual hills—strength, talent, wealth, and rank. The two first produce inequalities among savages in the dense forest, in all the rudeness of nature—the two last produce it in the most refined society. Absurd as it is, riches often give a man more consequence than talent, which, joined with virtue, is the only thing that should place one man above another of inferior capacity. In this country, more than any other, an equal division of landed property would be unjust, because our most wealthy citizens have acquired it by their own industry, and generally treat the industrious, virtuous poor ; with as much courtesy as a rich neighbor. Security in person and property, is a fundamental principle of our constitution.
It may be well to determine what are the inequalities of life, the removal of which would produce a better state of society. It is a proposition admitted by all, that happiness is the pursuit of man. It is a truth equally plain, that riches do not, but in rare instances, produce happiness—but generally the reverse. That independence without wealth, is more common and pure, than with it, is not a paradox. It is a trait in human nature, that those who have much, want more—cares and perplexities increase with wealth—peace of mind is disturbed—an avaricious disposition is engendered— temptations to do wrong accumulate—the better passions are blunted—and well did our great Teacher say, that it was hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Wealth is often a snare to ourselves, and a temptation for others to do us great harm. If another too common course is pursued by the rich—luxurious living and an indulgence of the baser passions— their happiness is destroyed by a round of satiety and fatigue, want of rest, contracted disease, and premature death—and perhaps a ruined estate, often follow.
Those who support rank, are no less happy—both classes violate the laws of nature, which impose a penalty, whenever disregarded. Nor do men of great talents bask in the sunshine of happiness. If in public life, they are a mark for the jealous, the envious, the slanderer; who are constantly plotting their ruin, and embittering the cup of life. If they are in retirement, they are restless, or are racking their brain with mental exertion, and know nothing of the sweet repose enjoyed by the day laborer. The good old prayer— "Give me neither poverty nor riches," with contentment, contains the true secret of temporal happiness. Poverty consists in being destitute of the necessaries— not the luxuries of life. All who have health can acquire these by industry—the sick may be made comfortable by a proper application. If the above propositions are true, it follows that happiness, the chief pursuit of man, is not enhanced by riches, rank, or great talents; and that to level the inequalities pn>duced by them, would not produce as great a reform in society, as many imagine, and that these sources of happiness are more imaginary, than real. Artificial wants and false pride, indulgence in idleness and vice —a discontented disposition, and a longing after the flesh pots, are the real sources of misery—not the deprivation of riches, rank, or talent.
Thou fiend, what bus'ness hast thou here on earth,
Jealousy affects the human mind, much after the same manner, that the ague does the body; and has often been cured by the same medicine—arsenic. Like the Bohon Upas, it poisons the atmosphere around it, and endangers all who approach it—with this difference—it often becomes so virulent, that it destroys its own citadel. Treason, murder, and suicide; march under its dark banner. Like Nero, it delights in human gore; like the plagues of Egypt, it penetrates the abodes of the rich and poor, the public functionary and private citizen. It has invaded all classes, from the humble peasant in the hovel, to the pompous king on the throne. Its paroxysms have been seen in the juvenile nursery, in the primary school, in the convivial party, in the giddy dance, in the private circle, and by the domestic fireside. It has plucked roses from the damsel's cheek, driven the young man to desperation, embittered the joys of a faithful wife, and administered, to the fond husband, the potion of poison. It is an enemy to human happiness, the father of crime, the hot bed of fell revenge, the prime mover of dissensions, the soul of anarchy, the fuel of party spirit, the instigator of revolution, the bane of public good, the incubus of religion, the parent of wars, and an earthquake in the body politic—setting nations in commotion, sometimes sinking them in the dark abyss of
irrecoverable ruin. It has been justly remarked by a close observer of human nature, that "Jealousy, of all the passions, is that which exacts the hardest service, and pays the bitterest wages." Let all who desire peace of mind—the respect of those around them, and the welfare of our race; banish this fell monster from their hearts for ever.
-" The nature of mankind is such,
To see and judge of the affairs of others,
Perhaps no precept of the immaculate Redeemer is oftener violated, than the command, not to assume the high station of judge. Well did the poet of Carthage, who penned the above lines, understand human nature—the same yesterday, to-day, and to the end of time. The disposition, and what is worse, the cultivation and active operation of the disposition, to improperly meddle with the business of others, and to weigh all their supposed motives and actions in a false balance—often purposely using false weights and the mirror of misconstruction, has been a moral disease, preying on the vitals of society, from time immemorial. Even religion, the best remedy for the malady, has not proved a specific. Busy bodies, meddlers, tattlers, the jealous, the envious, the revengeful, the inquisitive —those who have the bump of curiosity large—all make a desperate plunge to dip their spoons in the soup dish of their neighbors, uninvited, and without ceremony, decency, or courtesy. True, they sometimes get badly scalded—but being destitute of the bumps of self respect and caution, they repeat their efforts, exhibiting less discretion than the monkey, that was made drunk, and fell in the fire, and could never again be induced to taste alcohol, or go near a fire. Knaves try to help themselves, by pretending to help others. Great ingenuity, industry, and perseverance are manifested in the modes of attack. False sympathy, flattery, a tender concern for your interest, bare-faced impudence and hypocrisy, make their attacks in front— whilst slander, falsehood, dark inuendoes, and damning praise, assail the rear. Pliny says, that Julius Caesar blamed so ingeniously, that his censures were mistaken for praise. Many, at the present day, praise only to reproach. As has been observed by an eminent writer, "They use envenomed praise, which, by a side blow, exposes, in the person they commend, such faults, as they dare not, in any other way, lay open." Deeply is the poison of calumny infused in this way—the venom of a coward, and the cunning of a knave combined.
The great misfortune, arising from a disposition to judge others, and meddle with their affairs, consists, in its being void of genuine philanthropy. Rare instances may occur, when a person intrudes himself upon another for good—but such intrusions are, "like angels' visits, few and far between." It is of the contrary, and by far more numerous class, that I speak— men and women, who look at others through a smoked glass—that they may avoid the brightness of the good qualities, and discover more clearly the bad—who first perform the office of the green fly, that other flies may prey upon the putridity they produce—scavengers of