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other hath a smoother but more lasting anguish, lying under á perpetual gloom; the latter is a cowardly man, the former a generous beast. If he may be held unfortunate who cannot be sure but that he may do something the next minute which he shall lament during his life; what shall we think of him who hath a soul so infected that he can never be happy until he hath made another miserable? What wars may we imagine perpetually raging in his breast! What dark stratagems, unworthy designs, inhuman wishes, dreadful resolutions! A snake curled in many intricate mazes, ready to sting a traveller, and to hiss him in the pangs of death, is no unfit emblem of such an artful, unsearchable projector. Were I to choose an enemy, whether should I wish for one that would stab me suddenly, or one that would give me an Italian poison, subtle and lingering, yet as certainly fatal as the stroke of a stiletto? Let the reader determine the doubt in his own mind.
There is yet a third sort of revenge, if it may be called a third, which is compounded of the other two: I mean the mistaken honour which hath too often a place in generous breasts. Men of good education, though naturally choleric, restrain their wrath so far as to seek convenient times for vengeance. The single combat seems so generous a way of ending controversies, that until we have strict laws, the number of widows and orphans, and I wish I could not say of wretched spirits, will be increased. Of all the medals which have been struck in honour of a neighbouring monarch, there is not one which can give him so true renown as that upon the success of his edicts for abolishing the impious practice of duelling.
What inclined me at present to write upon this subject, was the sight of the following letters, which I can assure the reader to be genuine. They concern two noble names among us; but the crime of which the gentlemen are guilty bears too prevalently the name of honour, to need an apology to their relations for reviving the mention of their duel. But the dignity of wrath, and the cool and deliberate preparation (by passing different climes, and waiting convenient seasons) for murdering each other, while we consider them as moved by a sense of honour, <must raise in the reader as much compassion as horror..
"A Monsieur Monsieur SACKVILLE.
"I that am in France hear how much you attribute to yourself in this time, that I have given the world leave to ring* your praises
If you call to memory, whereas I gave you my hand last, I told you I reserved the heart for a truer reconciliation. Now be that noble gentleman my love once spoke you, and come and do him right that could recite the trials you owe your birth and country, were I not confident your honour gives you the same courage to do me right, that it did to do me wrong. Be master of your own weapons and time; the place wheresoever I will wait on you. By doing this you shall shorten revenge, and clear the idle opinion the world hath of both our worths. EDW. BRUCE." "A Mons. Monsieur le BARON de KINLOSS.
"As it shall be always far from me to seek a quarrel, so will I always be ready to meet with any that desire to make trial of my valour by so fair a course as you require. A witness whereof yourself shall be, who within a month shall receive a strict account of time, place, and weapon, where you shall find me ready disposed to give you honourable satisfaction by him that shall conduct you thither. In the mean time be as secret of the appointment as it seems you are desirous of it. ED. SACKVILLE." "A Mons. Monsieur le BARON de KINLOSS.
"I am ready at Tergosa, a town in Zealand, to give you that satisfaction your sword can render you, accompanied with a worthy gentleman for my second, in degree a knight; and for your coming I will not limit you a peremptory day, but desire you to make a definite and speedy repair for your own honour, and fear of prevention, until which time you shall find me there. ED. SACKVILLE."
Tergosa, Aug. 10, 1613."
"A Mons. Monsieur SACKVILLE.
"I have received your letter by your man, and acknow ledge you have dealt nobly with me, and now I come with all possible haste to meet you. ED. BRUCE." I
* Ring with.
t Targow, famous for the painted window in the cathedral. A.
N° 130. MONDAY, AUGUST 10, 1713.
-Vacuum sine mente popellum.-MUSE ANGLICANE.
A S the greatest part of mankind are more affected by
things which strike the senses, than by excellencies that are to be discerned by reason and thought, they form very erroneous judgments when they compare one with the other. An eminent instance of this is, that vulgar notion that men addicted to contemplation are less useful members of society than those of a different course of life. The business therefore of my present paper shall be to compare the distinct merits of the speculative and the active parts of mankind.
The advantages arising from the labours of generals and politicians are confined to narrow tracts of the earth; and while they promote the interest of their own country, they lessen or obstruct that of other nations; whereas the light and knowledge that spring from speculation are not limited to any single spot, but equally diffused to the benefit of the whole globe. Besides, for the most part, the renown only of men of action is transmitted to distant posterity, their great exploits either dying with themselves, or soon after them; whereas speculative men continue to deserve well of the world thousands of years after they have left it. Their merits are propagated with their fame, which is due to them, but a free gift to those whose beneficence has not outlived their persons.
What benefit do we receive from the renowned deeds of Cæsar or Alexander, that we should make them the constant themes of our praise? while the name of Pythagoras is more sparingly celebrated, though it be to him that we are indebted for our trade and riches. This may seem strange to a vulgar reader, but the following reflection will make it plain. That philosopher invented the forty-seventh proposition of the first book of Euclid, which is the foundation of trigonometry, and consequently of navigation, upon which the commerce of Great Britain depends.
The mathematics are so useful and ornamental to human life, that the ingenious Sir William Temple acknowledges, in some parts of his writings, all those advantages which distinguish polite nations from barbarians to be derived
from them. But as these sciences cultivate the exterior parts of life, there are others of a more excellent nature, that endue the heart with rudiments of virtue, and by opening our prospects, and awakening our hopes, produce generous emotions and sublime sentiments in the soul.
The divine sages of antiquity, who by transmitting down to us their speculations upon good and evil, upon Providence, and the dignity and duration of thinking beings, have imprinted an idea of moral excellence on the minds of men, are most eminent benefactors to human nature; and however overlooked in the loud and thoughtless applauses that are every day bestowed on the slaughterers and disturbers of mankind, yet they never will want the esteem and approbation of the wise and virtuous.
This apology in behalf of the speculative part of mankind, who make useful truth the end of their being, and its acquisition the business as well as entertainment of their lives, seems not improper, in order to rectify the mistake of those who measure merit by noise and outward appearance, and are too apt to depreciate and ridicule men of thought and retirement. The raillery and reproaches which are thrown on that species by those who abound in animal life, would incline one to think the world not sufficiently convinced that whatsoever is good or excellent proceeds from reason and reflection.
Even those who only regard truth as such, without communicating their thoughts, or applying them to practice, will seem worthy members of the commonwealth, if we compare the innocence and tranquillity with which they pass their lives, with the fraud and impertinence of other men. But the number of those who by abstracted thoughts become useless, is inconsiderable in respect of them who are hurtful to mankind by an active and restless disposition.
As in the distribution of other things, so in this the wisdom of Providence appears, that men addicted to intellectual pursuits bear a small proportion to those who rejoice in exerting the force and activity of their corporeal organs; for operations of the latter sort are limited to a narrow extent of time and place, whereas those of the mind are permanent and universal. Plato and Euclid enjoy a sort of immortality upon earth, and at this day read lectures to the world.
But if to inform the understanding, and regulate the will, is the most lasting and diffusive benefit, there will not be found so useful and excellent an institution as that of the Christian priesthood, which is now become the scorn of fools. That a numerous order of men should be consecrated to the study of the most sublime and beneficial truths, with a design to propagate them by their discourses and writings, to inform their fellow-creatures of the being and attributes of the Deity, to possess their minds with a sense of a future state, and not only to explain the nature of every virtue and moral duty, but likewise to persuade mankind to the practice of them by the most powerful and engaging motives, is a thing so excellent and necessary to the well-being of the world, that nobody but a modern freethinker could have the forehead or folly to turn it into ridicule.
The light in which these points should be exposed to the view of one who is prejudiced against the names religion, church, priest, and the like, is to consider the clergy as so many philosophers, the churches as schools, and their sermons as lectures, for the information and improvement of the audience. How would the heart of Socrates or Tully have rejoiced, had they lived in a nation, where the law had made provision for philosophers to read lectures of morality and theology every seventh day, in several thousands of schools erected at the public charge throughout the whole country; at which lectures all ranks and sexes, without distinction, were obliged to be present for their general improvement! And what wicked wretches would they think those men, who should endeavour to defeat the purpose of so divine an institution!
It is indeed usual with that low tribe of writers, to pretend their design is only to reform the church, and expose the vices, and not the order, of the clergy. The author of a pamphlet printed the other day (which, without my mentioning the title, will on this occasion occur to the thoughts of those who have read it) hopes to insinuate by that artifice what he is afraid or ashamed openly to maintain. But there are two points which clearly shew what it is he aims at. The first is, that he constantly uses the word priests in such a manner, as that his reader cannot but observe he means to throw an odium on the clergy of