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encountered, and to fall off from virtue for fear of
Some firmness and resolution is necessary to the discharge of duty ; but it is a very unhappy state of life in which the necessity of such struggles frequently occurs ; for no man is defeated without some resentment, which will be continued with obstinacy while he believes himself in the right, and exerted with bitterness, if even to his own conviction he is detected in the wrong:
Even though no regard be had to the external consequences of contrariety and dispute, it must be painful to a worthy mind to put others in pain, and there will be danger lest the kindest nature may be vitiated by too longa custom of debate and contest.
I am afraid that I may be taxed with insensibility by many of my correspondents, who believe their contributions unjustly neglected. And indeed when I sit before a pile of papers, of which each is the production of laborious study, and the offspring of a fond parent, I, who know the passions of an author, cannot remember how long they have. lain in my boxes unregarded, without imagining to myself the various changes of sorrow, impatience, and resentment, which the writers must have felt in this tedious interval.
These reflections are still more awakened, when, upon perusal, I find some of them calling for a place in the next paper, a place which they have never yet obtained ; others writing in a style of superiority and haughtiness, as secure of deference, and above fear of criticism; others humbly offering their weak assistance with softness and submission, which they believe impossible to be resisted ;
of contempt, which he that refuses them will incur ; others applying privately to the booksellers for their interest and solicitation, every one by different ways endeavouring to secure the bliss of publication. I cannot but consider myself as placed in a very incommodious situation, where I am forced to repress confidence, which it is pleas. ing to indulge, to repay civilities with appearances of neglect, and so frequently to offend those by whom I never was offended.
I know well how rarely an author, fired with the beauties of his new coinposition, contains his raptures in his own bosom, and how naturally he imparts to his friends his expectations of renown; and as I can easily conceive the eagerness with which a new paper is snatched up, by one who expects to find it filled with his own production, and perhaps has called his companions to share the pleasure of a second perusal, I grieve for the disappointment which he is to feel at the fatal inspection. His hopes however do not yet forsake him : he is certain of giving lustre the next day. The next day comes, and again he pants with expectation, and having dreamed of laurels and Parnassus, casts his eyes upon the barren page with which he has doomed never more to be delighted.
For such cruelty what atonement can be made ? for such calamities what alleviation can be found? I am afraid that the mischief already done must be without reparation, and all that deserves my care is prevention for the future. Let therefore the next friendly contributor, whoever he be, observe the cautions of Swift, and write secretly in his own chamber, without communicating his
design to his nearest friend, for the nearest friend will be pleased with an opportunity of laughing. Let him carry it to the post himself, and wait in silence for the event. If it is published and praised, he may then declare himself the author : if it be suppressed, he may wonder in private without much vexation; and if it be censured, he may join in the cry, and lament the dulness of the writing generation.
N° 57. TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2. 1750.
Non intelligunt homines quam magnum vectigal sit par
simonia. The world has not yet learned the riches of frugality.
TO THE RAMBLER.
SIR, I am always pleased when I see literature made useful, and scholars descending from that elevation, which, as it raises them above common life, must likewise hinder them from beholding the ways of men otherwise than in a cloud of bustle and confusion. Having lived a life of business, and remarked how seldom any occurrences e nerge for which great qualities are required, I have learned the necessity of regarding little things, and though I do not pretend to give laws to the legis-lators of mankind, or to limit the range of those powerful minds that carry light and heat throu
all the regions of knowledge, yet I have long thought, that the greatest part of those who lose themselves in studies, by which I have not found that they grow much wiser, might, with more advantage both to the publick and themselves, apply their understandings to domestick arts, and store their minds with axioms of humble prudence and private economy.
Your late paper on frugality was very elegant and pleasing, but, in my opinion, not sufficiently adapted to common readers, who
little regard to the musick of periods, the artifice of connection, or the arrangement of the flowers of rhetorick ; but require a few plain and cogent instructions, which
sink into the mind by their own weight.
Frugality is so necessary to the happiness of the world, so beneficial in its various forms to every rank of men, from the highest of human potentantes, to the lowest labourer or artificer; and the miseries which the neglect of it produces are so numerous and -so grievous, that it ought to be commended with every variation of address, and adapted to every class of understanding.
Whether those who treat morals as a science will allow frugality to be numbered among the virtues, I have not thought it necessary to inquire. For I, who draw my opinions from a careful obtervation of the world, am satisfied with knowing, what is abundantly sufficient for practice, that if it be not a virtue, it is at least a quality which can seldom exist without some virtues, and without which few virtues can exist. Frugality may be termed the daughter of Prudence, the
sister of Temperance, and the parent of Liberty. He that is extravagant will quickly become poor, and poverty will enforce dependence, and invite corruption; it will almost always produce a passive compliance with the wickedness of others; and there are few who do not learn by degrees to practise those crimes which they cease to censure.
If there are any who do not dread poverty as dangerous to virtue, yet mankind seem unanimous enough in abhorring it as destructive to happiness; and all to whom want is terrible, upon whatever principle, ought to think themselves obliged to learn the sage maxims of our parsimonious ancestors, and attain the salutary arts of contracting expence ; for without frugality none can be rich, aud with it very few would be poor.
To most other acts of virtue or exertions of wisdom, a concurrence of many circumstances is necessary; some previous knowledge must be attained, some uncommon gifts of nature possessed, or some opportunity produced by any extraordinary combination of things; but the mere power of saving what is already in our hands, must be easy of acquisition to every mind ; and as the example of Bacon may shew, that the highest intellect cannot safely neglect it, a thousand instances will every day prove, that the meanest may pracrise it with success.
Riches cannot be hin the reach of great numbers, because to be rich is to possess more than is commonly placed in a single hand ; and, if many could obtain the sum which now makes a man wealthy, the name of wealth must then be transferred to still greater accumulation. But I