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tery and obsequious attention, our great men took any notice of the rest of the company. Their whole discourse was addressed to each other. Sir Paul told his lordship a long story of Moravia the Jew; and his lordship gave sir Paul a very long account of his new method of managing silk. worms: he led him, and consequently the rest of the company, through all the stages of feeding, sunning, and hatching; with an episode on mul. berrytrees, a digression 'upon grass-seeds, and a long parenthesis about his new postilion. In this manner we travelled on, wishing every story to be the last; but all in vain :
• Hills over hills, and Alps on Alps arose.'
The last club in which I was enrolled a member, was a society of moral philosophers, as they called themselves, who assembled twice a week, in order to show the absurdity of the present mode of reli. gion, and establish a new one in its stead.
I found the members very warmly disputing when I arrived ; not indeed about religion or ethics, but about who had neglected to lay down his prelimi. nary sixpence upon entering the room. The presi. dent swore that he had laid his own down, and so swore all the company.
During this contest, I had an opportunity of observing the laws, and also the members, of the society. The president, who had been, as I was told, lately a bankrupt, was a tall, pale figure, with a long black wig; the next to him was dressed in a large white wig, and a black cravat; a third, by the brownness of his complexion, seemed a native of Jamaica ; and a fourth, by his hue, appeared to be a blacksmith. But their rules will give the most just idea of their learning and principles.
* I, We, being a laudable society of moral philoso. phers, intend to dispute twice a week about religion
and priestcraft; leaving behind us old wives' tales, and following good learning and sound sense: and if so be, that any other persons has a mind to be of the society, they shall be entitled so to do, upon paying the sum of three shillings, to be spent by the company in punch.
• II. That no member get drunk before nine of the clock, upon pain of forfeiting three-pence, to be spent by the company in punch,
• HII. That as members are sometimes apt to go away without paying, every person shall pay sixpence upon his entering the room; and all disputes shall be settled by a majority; and all fines shall be paid in punch.
• IV. That sixpence shall be every night given to the president, in order to buy books of learning for the good of the society; the president has already put himself to a good deal of expense in buying books for the club; particularly, the works of Tully, Socrates, and Cicero, which he will soon read to the society.
• V. All them who brings a new argument against religion, and who, being a philosopher, and a man of learning, as the rest of us is, shall be admitted to the freedom of the society, upon paying sixpence only, to be spent in punch.
• VI. Whenever we are to have an extraordinary meeting, it shall be advertised by some outlandish name in the newspapers.
· SAUNDERS MAC WILD, president.
his + mark.
ON THE POLICY OF CONCEALING OUR
WANTS OR POVERTY.
is usually said by grammarians, that the use of
language is to express our wants and desires ; but men who kuow the world hold, and I think with some show of reason, that he who best knows how to keep his necessities private, is the most likely person to have them redressed; and that the true use of speech is not so much to express our wants as to conceal them.
When we reflect on the manner in which mankind generally confer their favours, there appears something so attractive in riches, that the large heap generally collects from the smaller: and the poor find as much pleasure in increasing the enor. mous mass of the rich, as the miser, who owns it, sees happiness in its increase. Nor is there in this any thing repugnant to the laws of morality. Se. neca himself allows, that, in conferring benefits, the present should always be suited to the dignity of the receiver. Thus the rich receive large presents, and are thanked for accepting them. Men of middling stations are obliged to be content with presents something less; while the beggar, who may be truly said to want indeed, is well paid if a far. thing rewards his warmest solicitations.
Every man who has seen the world, and has had his ups and downs in life, as the expression is, must have frequently experienced the truth of this doctrine; and must know, that to have much, or to seem to have it, is the only way to have more. Ovid finely compares a man of broken fortune to a falling column; the lower it sinks, the greater weight it is obliged to sustain. Thus, when a man's
circumstances are such that he has no occasion to borrow, he finds numbers willing to lend him; but, should his wants be such, that he sues for a trifle, it is two to one whether he may be trusted with the smallest sum. A certain young fellow, whom I knew, whenever he had occasion to ask his friend for a guinea, used to prelude his request as if he wanted two hundred; and talked so familiarly of large sums, that none could ever think he wanted a small one.
The same gentleman, whenever he wanted credit for a suit of clothes, always made the proposal in a laced coat; for he found by experience, that, if he appeared shabby on these occasions, his taylor had taken ap oath against trusting, or, what was every whit as bad, his foreman was out of the way, and would not be at home for some time.
There can be no inducement to reveal our wants, except to find pity, and by this means relief; but before a poor man opens his mind, in such circum. stances, he should first consider whether he is contented to lose the esteem of the person he solicits, and whether he is willing to give up friendship to excite compassion. Pity and friendship are passions incompatible with each other; and it is impossible that both can reside in any breast, for the smallest space, without impairing cach other. Friendship is made up of esteem and pleasure; pity is com. posed of sorrow and contempt: the mind may, for some time, fluctuate between them, but it can never entertain both at once.
In fact, pity, though it may often relieve, is but, at best, a short-lived passion, and seldom affords distress more than transitory assistance : with some it scarce lasts from the first impulse till the haud can be put into the pocket; with others it may contidue for twice that space; and on some of extraor. dinary sensibility, I have seen it operate for half an hour together : but still, last as it may, it generally produces but beggarly effects; and where, from this motive, we give five farthings, from others we give pounds: whatever be our feelings from the first im. pulse of distress, when the same distress solicits a second time, we theu feel with diminished sensibi. lity; and, like the repetition of an echo, every stroke becomes weaker; till, at last, our sensations lose all mixture of sorrow, and degenerate into downright contempt.
These speculations bring to my mind the fate of a very good-natured fellow, who is now no more. He was bred in a counting-house, and his father dying just as he was out of his time, left him a handsome fortune, and many friends to advise with. The restraint in which my friend had been brought up, had thrown a gloom upon his temper, which some regarded as prudence; and, from such considera. tions, he had every day repeated offers of friend. ship. Such as had money, were ready to offer him their assistance that way; and they who had daughters, frequently, in the warmth of affection, advised him to marry. My friend, however, was in good circumstances; he wanted neither their mo. ney, friends, nor a wife; and therefore nodestly declined their proposals.
Some errors, however, in the management of his affairs, and several losses in trade, soon brought him to a different way of thinking; and he at last considered, that it was his best way to let his friends know that their offers were at length acceptable. His first address was to a scrivener, who had for. merly made bim frequent offers of money and friendship, at a time when, perhaps, he knew those offers would have been refused. As a man, there. fore, confident of not being refused, he requested the use of a hundred guineas for a few days, as he just then had occasion for money. * And pray, sir, replied the scrivener,' do you want all this money?! • Want it, sir !' says the other : ^ if I did not want it I should not have asked it. I am sorry for that,' ways the friend; for those who want money when