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(Compared with Gonfidence.)

In things difficult there is danger from ignorance; in things easy, from confidence.

Preface to Dictionary, fol. p. 9.


Those who, in consequence of superior capaci ties and attainments, disregard the common max. ims of life, ought to be reminded, that nothing will supply the want of prudence; and that negligence and irregularity, long continued, will make knowledge useless, wit ridiculous, and genius contemptible.

Life of Savage.


Few are mended by imprisonment; and he whose crimes have made confinement necessary, seldom makes any other use of his enlargement, than to do with greater cunning, what he did before with less.

False Alarm, p. 8.

The end of all civil regulations is to secure private happiness from private malignity, to keep individuals from the power of one another. But this end is apparently neglected by imprisonment for debt, when a man, irritated with loss, is allowed to be a judge of his own cause, and to assign the punishment of his own pain; when the distinction between guilt and unhappiness, between casualty and design, is entrusted to eyes blind with interest, to understandings depraved by resentment.

Idler, vol. 2, p. 122.

In a prison the awe of the pulic the power of the law is spent.


eye is lost, and There are few


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fears, there are no blushes. The lewd inflamet the lewd; the audacious harden the audacious. Every one fortifies himseif as he can against his own sensibility, and endeavours to practise on others, the arts which are practised on himself, and gains the kindness of his associates by similitude of manners.

Ibid. p. 216.

It is not so dreadful in a high spirit to be imprisoned, as it is desirable in a state of disgrace to be sheltered from the scorn of the gazers. Notes upon Shakspeare, vol. 6. p. 343.

The confinement of any debtor in the sloth and darkness of a prison, is a loss to the nation, and no gain to the creditor; for, of the multitude who are pining in those cells of misery, a very small part is suspected of any fradulent act by which they retain what belongs to others, The rest are imprisoned by the wantonness of pride, the malignity of revenge, or the acrimony of disappointed expectation.

Idler, vol. 1, p. 121.

Since poverty is punished among us as a crime, it ought, at least, to be treated with the same lenity as other crimes: the offender ought not to languish at the will of him whom he has offended, but to be allowed some appeal to the justice of his country. There can be no reason why any debtor should be imprisoned, but that he may be compelled to payment; and a term should therefore be fixed, in which the creditor should exhibit his accusation of concealed property. If such property can be discovered, let it be given to the creditor; if the charge is not offered, or cannot be proved, let the prisoner be dismissed.

Ibid. p. 123.


Those who made the laws of imprisonment for debt, have apparently supposed, that every deficiency of payment is the crime of the debtor. But the truth is, that the creditor always shares the act, and often more than shares the guilt, of improper trust. It seldom happens that any man imprisons another but for debts which he suffered to be contracted in hope of advantage to himself, and for bargains in which he proportioned his profit to his own opinion of the ha-zard; and there is no reason why one should punish the other for a contract in which both concurred. Ibid. p. 124.

We see nation trade with nation, where no payment can be compelled: mutual convenience produces mutual confidence; and the merchants continue to satisfy the demands of each other, though they have nothing to dread but the loss of trade.

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Ibid. p. 125.

It is in vain, then, to continue an institution, which experience shows to be ineffectual. We have now imprisoned one generation of debtors after another, but we do not find that their numbers lessen. We have now learned that rashness and imprudence will not be deterred from taking credit; let us try whether fraud and avarice may be more easily restrained from giving it.


He whose debtor has perished in prison, though he may acquit himself of deliberate murder, must, at least, have his mind clouded with discontent, when he considers how much another has suffered from him; when he thinks of the M 2 wife

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wife bewailing her husband, or the children begging the bread which their father would have


Ibid. p. 217.


There are those who having got the cant of the day, with a superficial readiness of slight and cursory conversation, who very often impose themselves as men of understanding upon wise


Notes upon Shakspeare, vol. 10. p. 401. IMAGINATION.

It is the great failing of a strong imagination. to catch greedily at wonders.

Memoirs of the King of Pruffia, p. 118.

A man who once resolves upon ideal discoveries, seldom searches long in vain.

Life of Sir Thomas Browne, p. 266.

It is a disposition to feel the force of words, and to combine the ideas annexed to them with quickness, that shows one man's imagination to be better than another's, and distinguishés a fine taste from dulness and stupidity.

Review of the Sublime and Beautiful, p. 57.

Imagination is useless without knowledge. Nature gives in vain the power of combination, unless study and observation supply materials to be combined.

Life of Butler.

It is ridiculous to oppose judgment to imagina tion; for it does not appear, that men have necessarily less of one, as they have more of the other.

Life of Roscommon.


There are some men of such rapid imagination, that, like the Peruvian torrent, when it brings down gold, mingles it with sand.

Plan of an English Dictionary, p. 53.


Without intelligence man is not social, he is only gregarious; and little intelligence will there be, where all are constrained to daily labour, and every mind must wait upon the hand. Weftern Islands, p. 317..

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Of remote transactions, the first accounts are always confused, and commonly exaggerated; and in domestic affairs, if the power to conceal is less, the interest to misrepresent is often greater; and what is sufficiently vexatious, truth seems to fly from curiosity; and as many enquiries produce many narratives, whatever engages the public attention, is immediately disguised by the embellishments of fiction.

Preliminary Difcourfe to the London Chronicle, p. 154.


He that knows not whither to go, is in no haste

to move.

Life of Swift.



Every man is of importance to himself, and, therefore, in his own opinion, to others; and supposing the world already acquainted with his pleasures and his pains, is, perhaps, the first to publish injuries or misfortunes which had never been known unless related by himself, and at M. 3. which

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