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suffer; but have led a life of quiet retirement, without exertion of body or mind,-avoiding all troublesome enterprise, and seeking only a comfortable obscurity. Such men, if of a pretty strong constitution, and if they escape any remarkable calamities, are likely to live long. But much affliction, or much exertion, and, still more, both combined, will be sure to tell upon the constitution—if not at once, yet at least as years advance. One who is of the character of an active or passive verb, or, still more, both combined, though he may be said to have lived long in everything but years, will rarely reach the age of the neuters.
ESSAY XXXI. OF SUSPICION.
—they ever fly by twilight; certainly they are to be repressed, or, at the least, well guarded, for they cloud the mind, they lose friends, and they check with business, whereby business cannot go on currently' and constantly; they dispose kings to tyranny, husbands to jealousy, wise men to irresolution and melancholy; they are defects, not in the heart, but in the brain, for they take place in the stoutest natures, as in the example of Henry VII. of England. There was not a more suspicious man nor a more stout; and in such a composition they do small hurt, for commonly they are not admitted but with examination whether they be likely or no; but in fearful natures they gain ground too fast. There is nothing makes a man suspect much, more than to know little; and, therefore, men should remedy suspicion by procuring to know more, and not to keep their suspicions in smother. What would men have?-do they think those they employ and deal with are saints ? do they not think they will have their own ends, an be truer to themselves than to them? therefore there is no better way to moderate suspicions, than to account upon such suspicions as true, and yet to bridle them as false; for so far a man ought to make use of suspicions as to provide, as if that should be true that he suspects, yet it may do him no hurt. Suspicions that the mind of itself gathers, are but buzzes; but suspicions that are artificially nourished, and put into men's heads by the tales and whisperings of others, have stings. Certainly, the best mean' to clear the way in this same wood of suspicion, is frankly to communicate them with the party that
Check with. Interfere with. See page 101.
Currently. With continued progression. “Time, as it currently goes on, establishes a custom.'— Hayward.
Composition. Temperament. “A very proud or a very suspicious temper, falseness, or sensuality .... these are the ingredients in the composition of that man whom we call a scorner.'— Atterbury. * Smother. A state of being stifled. See page 284.
Mean. Means. See page 201.. 6 Communicate with. Impart to. See page 283.
he suspects : for thereby he shall be sure to know more of the truth of them than he did before, and withal shall make that party more circumspect, not to give further cause of suspicion; but this would' not be done to men of base natures, for they, if they find themselves once suspected, will never be true. The Italian says, “Sospetto licencia fede;" as if suspicion did give a passport to faith ; but it ought rather to kindle it to discharge itself.
ANTITHETA ON SUSPICION.
'Suspicio fidem absolvit. • Merito ejus fides suspecta est, quam
"He who is suspected is not on his suspicio labefacit.
honour.' • The fidelity which suspicion overthrows deserves to be suspected.'
Suspicions amongst thoughts are like bats amongst birds, they
ever fly by twilight.'
As there are dim-sighted persons, who live in a sort of perpetual twilight, so there are some who, having neither much clearness of head, nor a very elevated tone of morality, are perpetually haunted by suspicions of everybody and everything. Such a man attributes-judging in great measure from himself -interested and selfish motives to every one. Accordingly, having no great confidence in his own penetration, he gives no one credit for an open and straightforward character, and will always suspect some underhand dealings in every one, even when he is unable to perceive any motive for such conduct, and when the character of the party affords no ground for suspi. cion (' Ill-doers are ill-deemers'). One, on the contrary, who has a fair share of intelligence, and is himself thoroughly upright, will be comparatively exempt from this torment. He knows, from consciousness, that there is one honest man in the world; and he will consider it very improbable that there should be but one. He will therefore look carefully to the general character and conduct of those he has to deal with ;, suspecting those—and those only—who have given some indications of a want of openness and sincerity, trusting those who have given proof of an opposite character, and keeping his judgment suspended as to those of whom he has not sufficient knowledge.
.' Would. Should. As for percolation, which belongeth to separation, trial could be made by clarifying, by a clarion of milk put into warm beer.'—Bacon's Nat. History. * Suspicion releases faith.
* See Proverbs for Copy-lines.
Such a man has (as was observed in the note on the Essay on ‘Cunning') a better knowledge of human nature than another just equal to him in experience and sagacity, whose tone of morality is low. For he knows that there are knaves in the world; and he knows also that there are honest men; while the other can hardly be brought to believe in the existence of thorough-going honesty.
And the frank and simple-hearted will deal better, on the whole, than the suspicious, even with those who are not of the very highest moral character. For these, if they find that they have credit for speaking truth, when there is no good ground for suspecting the contrary, and that insidious designs are not imputed to them without reason, will feel that they have a character to keep up or to lose: and will be, as it were, put upon their honour. But these same persons, perhaps, if they find themselves always suspected, will feel like the foxes in one of Gay's fables, who, finding that they had an incurably bad name for stealing poultry, thought that they might as well go on with the practice, which would, at any rate, be imputed to them.
A dean of a college, at one of our universities, told an undergraduate, who was startled and shocked at finding his word doubted, that he could not trust the young men for speaking truth, for that they regarded a lie to the dean as no lie. And, probably, this was really the case with the majority of them. For when they found that a man's word was not believed by him, they had no scruple about saying to him what was untrue; on the ground that where no confidence was reposed, none could be violated. And these same men, when the office of dean was held by another Fellow, of opposite character, who put them on
their honour, never thought (except a very few utterly worthless ones) of telling a falsehood to him.
A person who once held offices of high importance, and of vast difficulty and delicacy, was enabled to say, after more than thirty years' experience, that though he had been obliged to employ many persons in confidential services, and to impart to them some most momentous secrets, he had never once had his confidence betrayed. No one of them ever let out an important secret confided to him, or in any way betrayed the trust reposed in him. Of course, this person did not trust indiscriminately; nor did he trust all to an equal extent. And he occasionally found men turn out worse than he had hoped : and often had plots and cabals formed against him, and had lies told to him. But he never was, properly speaking, betrayed. He always went on the principle of believing that some men are thoroughly honest, and some utterly dishonest, and some intermediate; and thoroughly trusting, or thoroughly distrusting, where he saw good reasons for doing so; and suspending his judgment respecting the rest: not putting himself in their power—yet not making them objects of suspicion without cause,—but letting them see that he hoped well of them, and considered the presumption to be on the side of innocence till guilt is proved.
A man of an opposite character, who was long in a very high and important position, afforded matter for doubt and discussion among those who knew him, as to the opinion he entertained of mankind. Some thought that he had a very good, and some a very mean, estimate of men in general. And each were, in a certain sense, right. He seems to have regarded all men as being what a person of truly elevated moral character would have called base and contemptible; but he did not feel any such disapprobation or contempt for them, because he had no notion of anything better. He was a very good-humoured man, and far from a misanthrope; and he could no more be said to dislike or despise men for being nothing superior to what he thought them to be, than we should be said to despise horses or dogs for being no more than brutes. He may be said, therefore, to have thought very favourably of mankind, as thinking most men to be as virtuous as any man need be, or could be-and as doing nothing that he, or any one, need be ashamed