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in with every thought, and a multitude of vicious examples give a kind of justification to our folly. In our retirements every thing disposes us to be serious. In courts and cities we are entertained with the works of men ; in the country with those of God. One is the province of art, the other of nature. Faith and devotion naturally grow in the mind of every reasonable man, who sees the impressions of divine power and wisdom in every object on which he casts his eye. The Supreme Being has made the best arguments for his own existence, in the formation of the heavens and the earth, and these are arguments which a man of sense cannot forbear attending to, who is out of the noise and hurry of human affairs. Aristotle says, 'that should a man live under ground, and there converse with the works of art and mechanism, and should afterwards be brought up into the open day, and see the several glories of the heaven and earth, he would immediately pronounce them the works of such a being as we define God to be.' The psalmist has very beautiful strokes of poetry to this purpose, in that exalted strain, 'The heavens declare the glory of God : and the firmament sheweth his handy-work. One day telleth another : and one night certifieth another. There is neither speech por language : but their voices are heard among them. Their sound is gone into all lands: and their words into the ends of the world. As such a bold and sublime manner of thinking furnishes very noble matter for an ode, the reader may see it wrought into the following one.
Soon as the evening shades prevail,
No. 469. THURSDAY, AUGUST 28.
Detrahere aliquid alteri, ct hominem hominis incommodo suum augere cominodum,
magis est contra naturam, quam mors, quam paupertas, quam dolor, quam cætera quæ possunt aut corpori accidero, aut rebus externis.
To detract from other men, and turn their disadvantages to our own profit, is more con
trary to nature than death, poverty, or grief, or any thing which can affect our bodies or external circumstances,
I Am persuaded there are few men, of generous principles, who would seek after great places, were it not rather to have an opportunity in their hands of obliging their particular friends, or those whom they look upon as men of worth, than to procure wealth and honour for themselves. To an honest mind the best
* Nor real voice nor sound. The author seems to have mistaken the sense of his original; but that which he gives to it, is poetical, and finely expressed.-H.
perquisites of a place are the advantages it gives a man of doing good.
Those who are under the great officers of state, and are the instruments by which they act, have more frequent opportunities for the exercise of compassion and benevolence, than their superiors themselves. These men know every little case that is to come before the great man, and if they are possessed with honest minds, will consider poverty as a recommendation in the person who applies himself to them, and make the justice of his cause the most powerful solicitor in his behalf. A man of this temper, when he is in a post of business, becomes a blessing to the public: he patronises the orphan and the widow, assists the friendless, and guides the ignorant : he does not reject the person's pretensions, who does not know how to explain them, or refuse doing a good office for a man because he cannot pay the fee of it. In short, though he regulates himself in all his proceedings by justice and equity, he finds a thousand occasions for all the goodnatured offices of generosity and compassion.
A man is unfit for such a place of trust, who is of a sour untractable nature, or has any other passion that makes him uneasy to those who approach him. Roughness of temper is apt to discountenance the timorous or modest. The proud man discourages those from approaching him, who are of a mean condition, and who most want his assistance. The impatient man will not give himself time to be informed of the matter that lies before him. An officer with one or more of these unbecoming qualities, is sometimes looked upon as a proper person to keep off imperti. nence and solicitation from his superior; but this is a kind of merit, that can never atone for the injustice which may very often arise from it.
There are two other vicious qualities which render a man very unfit for such a place of trust. The first of these is a dilatory
temper, which commits innumerable cruelties without design. The maxim which several have laid down for a man's conduct in ordinary life, should be inviolable with a man in office, never to think of doing that to-morrow which may be done to-day. A man who defers doing what ought to be done, is guilty of injustice so long as he defers it. The dispatch of a good office is very often as beneficial to the solicitor as the good office itself. In short, if a man compared the inconveniencies which another suffers by his delays, with the trifling motives and advantages which he himself may reap by such a delay, he would never be guilty of a fault which very often does an irreparable prejudice to the person who depends upon him, and which might be remedied with little trouble to himself.
But in the last place, there is no man so improper to be em. ployed in business, as he who is in any degree capable of corruption; and such an one is the man, who, upon any pretence whatsocver, receives more than what is the stated and unquestioned fee of his office.' Gratifications, tokens of thankfulness, dispatch money, and the like specious terms, are the pretences under which corruption very frequently shelters itself. An honest man will, however, look on all these methods as unjustifiable, and will enjoy himself better in a moderate fortune that is gained with honour and reputation, than in an over-grown estate that is cankered with the acquisitions of rapine and exaction. Were all our offices discharged with such an inflexible integrity, we should not see men in all ages, who grow up to exorbitant wealth with the abilities which are to be met with in an ordinary mechanic. I cannot but think that such a corruption proceeds chiefly from men's employ. ing the first that offer themselves, or those who have the character of shrewd worldly men, instead of searching out such as have had
* Addison, as is well known, would neither overcharge an official act nor remit a fee.-G.
a liberal education, and have been trained up in the studies of knowledge and virtue.
It has been observed, that men of learning who take to business, discharge it generally with greater honesty than men of the world. The chief reason for it I take to be as follows. A man that has spent his youth in reading, has been used to find virtue extolled, and vice stigmatized. A man that has past his time in the world, has often seen vice triumphant, and virtue discountenanced, Extortion, rapine, and injustice, which are branded with infamy in books, often give a man a figure in the world; while several qualities which are celebrated in authors, as generosity, ingenuity, and good-nature, impoverish and ruin hin. This cannot but have a proportionable effect on men, whose tempers and principles are equally good and vicious.
There would be at least this advantage in employing men of learning and parts in business, that their prosperity would sit more gracefully on them, and that we should not see many worth less persons shoot up into the greatest figures of life. 0.'
No. 470. FRIDAY, AUGUST 29.
Turpe est difficiles habere nugas,
MART. 2. Ep. lxxxvi. 9.
I HAVE been very often disappointed of late years, when upon examining the new edition of a classic author, I have found above half the volume taken up with various readings. When I have expected to meet with a learned note upon a doubtful pas.
But in the original Fol. and 8vo. of 1712, C.