« AnteriorContinuar »
when they who can please and divert are pulled from
But for my part, I cannot but think the loss of such talents as the man of whom I am speaking was master of, a more melancholy instance of mortality than the dissolution of persons of never so high characters in the world, whose pretensions were that they were noisy and mischievous.
But I must grow more succinct, and, as a Spectator, give an account of this extraordinary man, who, in his way, never had an equal in any age before him, or in that wherein he lived. I speak of him as a companion, and a man qualified for conversation. His fortune exposed him to an obsequiousness towards the worst sort of company, but his excellent qualities rendered him capable of making the best figure in the most refined. I have been present with him among men of the most delicate taste a whole night, and have known him, for he saw it was desired, keep the discourse to himself the most part of it, and maintain his good humour with a countenance, in a language so delightful, without offence to any person or thing upon earth, still preserving the distance his circumstances obliged him to; I say, I have seen him do all this in such a charming man. ner, that I am sure none of those I hint at will read this, without giving him some sorrow for their abun. dant mirth, and one gush of tears for so many bursts of laughter. I wish it were any honour to the pleasant creature's memory, that my eyes are top much suffused to let me go on
The following severe passage in this number of the Spectator in folio, apparently levelled at Dr. Radcliffe, was suppressed in all the subsequent editions:
• It is a felicity his friends may rejoice in, that he had his senses, and used them as he ought to do, in his last moments. It is remarkable that his judgement was in its calm perfection to the utmost
article ; for when his wife, out of her fondness, desired she might send for a certain illiterate humourist, whom he had accompanied in a thousand mirthful moments, and whose insolence makes fools think he assumes from conscious merit, he answered, “ Do what you please, but he will not come near me." Let
Estcourt's negligence about this message convince the unwary of a triumphant empiric's ignorance and inhumanity.'
No. 469. THURSDAY, AUGUST 28, 1712.
Detrahere aliquid alteri, et hominem hominis incommodo suum
augere commodum, magis est contra naturam quàm mors, quàm pauperlas, quàm dolor, quàm cætera quæ possunt aut corpori accidere, aut rebus externis.
To detract any thing from another, and for one man to multiply
his own conveniences by the inconveniences of another, is more against nature than death, than poverty, than pain, and the other things which can befall the body, or external circum
stances. 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 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 good-natured 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 impertinence 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 detery i The despurch of yod office is very often ** beneficial to the solicitor, as the good office itself. In short, if a man compared the inconveniences 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, whieh 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 employed in business, as he who is in any dearee eapable of corruption; and such a one is the man who, upon any pretence whatsoever, receives more than what is the stated and unquestioned fee of his office. Gratifications, tokens of thankfulness, despateh 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 overgrown estate that is cankered with the acquisitions of rapine and exaction. Were all our offices discharged with week 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 corrup
tion proceeds chiefly from men's employing the first that offer themselves, or those who have the character If shrewd worldly men, instead of searching out such
zare had a liberal education, and have been train - in the studies of knowledge and virtue.
ass been observed, that men of learning whe to business, discharge it generally with greater esty than men of the world. The chief reason
I take to be as follows. A man that has spent
his youth in reading, has been used to find virtue extolled, and vice stigmatised. A man that has passed 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 him.
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 worthless persons
shot up into the greatest figures of life.
No. 470. FRIDAY, AUGUST 29, 1712.
Turpe est difficiles habere nugas,
MART. EPIG. Ïi. 86. 'Tis folly only, and defect of sense,
Turns trifles into things of consequence. 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 passage, in a Latin poet, I have only been informed, that such or such ancient manuscripts for an et write an ac, or of some other notable discovery of the like import