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life I set up in business, which for some time “ I carried on with success, and to a consider« able extent. At length, by various misfor“ tunes, I was obliged to stop payment. I called “ my creditors together, and laid my affairs “ before them; and though they loft very con« fiderably, they were so satisfied with my con« duct, that they immediately gave me a full « discharge, and some of them even urged me “ to engage in business anew. But I was so
disheartened with my former ill success, that I “ could not think of hazarding myself in the “ same situation again. At length I resolved to “ go into the army, and by the interest of one “ of those creditors, who was fatisfied of the “ fairness of my conduct, and who pitied my '“ misfortunes, obtained an ensigncy. But tho' « my creditors were satisfied, I was far from “ being so. The idea that they had suffered by “ me dwelt upon my mind, and I felt that I “ could enjoy nothing while my debts remained “ unpaid. Happily I have at length accom“ plished that object. The last packet from “ England brought me a full 'acquittance from “ my creditors of all I owed them, principal " and interest. Till now I poffeffed nothing “ which in justice I could call my own. Hitherto “ you have seen me act as a rigid steward for « others; now I must intreat that my friends
“ will assist me to enjoy an income far beyond “ my wants."
I believe my readers will agree with me in thinking that the conduct of General W- was truly. noble. Of men's actions in public life it is often difficult to form a just estimate. The Statesman may be applauded for measures which are not his own, and a General or an Admiral may be indebted for all his fame to a lucky accident, which, “without his stir,” has crowned him with victory unmerited and unexpected. But General W- 's merit was all his own, and ought to be rated the higher for this reason, that it was not of that splendid kind which figures most in the imagination of mankind.
To excite to virtue, by exhibiting pictures of excellence and worth, is certainly the pleasantest, if not the best and most effectual mode of instruction. To cite opposite examples in our own time, by way of contrast to this instance in. the reign of Queen Anne, would be an ungrateful task. I may mention, however, in order to take off the idea of that distinction which some men have arrogated to themselves, from a contempt of the obligations of justice, that the preeminence which rank or high life formerly used to claim in that respect, is now in a great measure loft. Now-a-days there are tradesmen who
the discourse or the story are useless and vain. Stronger motives will no doubt overpower weaker ones, and those which constantly affail will prevail over others which seldom occur. Passion therefore will sometimes be obeyed when reason is forgot, and corrupt society will at length overcome the best early impressions. But the effects of that reason, or of those impressions, we are not always in condition to estimate fairly. The examples of their failure are easily known, and certain of being observed; the instances of such as have been preserved from surrounding contagion by their influence, are traced with difficulty, and strike us less when they are traced.
· Formal precepts and hypothetical cautions are indeed frequently offered to youth and inexperience, in a manner so ungracious as neither to command their attention nor conciliate their liking. He who says I am to instruct and to warn, with a face of instruction or admonition, prepares his audience for hearing what the young and the lively always avoid as tiresome, or fear as unpleasant. A more willing and a deeper impression will be made, when the observation arises without being prompted, when the understanding is addressed through the feelings. It was this which struck me so forcibly in the story of Father Nicholas. I
never felt fo strongly the evils of dissipation, nor ever was so ashamed of the shame of being virtuous.
It was at a small town in Brittany, in which there was a convent of Benedictines, where particular circumstances had induced me to take up my residence for a few weeks. They had some pictures which strangers used to visit. I went with a party whose purpose was to look at them : mine in such places is rather to look at men. If in the world we behold the shifting scene which prompts observation, we fee in such secluded societies a sort of still life, which nourishes thought, which gives subject for me ditation. I confess however I have often been disappointed ; I have seen a group of faces under their cowls, on which speculation could build nothing; mere common-place countenances, which might have equally well belonged to a corporation of bakers or butchers. Most of those in the convent I now visited were of that kind : one however was of a very supe. rior order; that of a monk who kneeled at a distance from the altar, near a Gothic window, through the painted panes of which a gleamy light touched his forehead, and threw a dark Rembrandt shade on the hollow of a large, black, melancholy eye. It was impossible not . to take notice of him. He looked up, invo
luntarily give to another in the pit some weeks ago, who observed to him, that the farce was droll and laughable enough, but that there was a good deal of double entendre in it. I don't know what you may think double, said he in reply; but in my mind, it was as plain single entendre as ever I heard in my life.