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MONDAY, JUNE 21.
Quippe domum timet ambiguam, Tyriofque bilingues.
VIRG. Æn. i. ver. 665. He fears th' ambiguous race, and Tyrians double
, , as the hearing or speaking of truth.
For this reason there is no conversation so agreeable as that of the man of integrity, who hears without any intention to betray, and speaks without any intention to deceive.
Among all the accounts which are given of Cato, I do not remember one that more redounds to his honour than the following passage related by Plutarch. As an advocate was pleading the cause of his client before one of the Prætors, he could only produce a single witness in a point where the law required the testimony of two persons ; upon which the advocate infifted on the integrity of that person whom he had produced : but the Prætor told him, that where the law required two witnesses he would not accept of one, though it were Cato himself. Such a speech from a person who sat at the head of a court of justice, while Cato was still living, shews us, more than 4 a thousand examples, the high reputation this great man had gained among his conte.npəraries upon the account of his sincerity.
8 When such an inflexible integrity is a little soften. ed and qualified by the rules of conversation and good-breeding, there is not a more shining virtue in the whole catalogue of social duties. A man, however, ought to take great care not to polish himself
out of his veracity, nor to refine his behaviour to the prejudice of his virtue.
This subject is exquisitely created in the most ele. gant fermon of the great British preacher. I thall beg leave to transcribe out of it two or three fentences, as a proper introduction to a very curious letter, which I shall make the chief entertainment of this
· The old English plainness and sincerity, that geenerous integrity of nature, and honesty of disposi
tion, which always argues true greatness of mind,
and is usually accompanied with undaunted courage ' and resolution, is in a great measure loft among us.
« The dialect of conversation is now-a-days so fwelled with vanity and coinpliment, and so sur
feited (as I may fay) of expressions of kindness and • respect, that if a man who lived an age or two ago • should return into the world again, he would real• ly want a dictionary to help him to understand his ' own language, and to know the true intrinsic va
·lue of the phrase in fashion ; and would hardly, at t
« first, believe at what a low rate the highest strains ! and expressions of kindness imaginable do com
monly pass in current payment; and when he should ( come to understand it, it would be a great while
before he could bring himself with a good coun.
tenance, and a good conscience, to converse with f o men upon equal terms, and in their own way.'
I have by me a letter which I look upon as a great el curiosity, and which may serve as an exemplification - to the foregoing passage, cited out of this most ex
cellent prelate. It is said to have been written in King Charles II's reign, by the ambaffador of Bantam, a little after his arrival in England.
MASTER, • ' The people where I now am, have tongues farrther from their hearts than from London to Ban
"tam, and thou knowest the inhabitants of one of " these places do not know what is done in the o• ther. They call thee and thy subjects barbarians, • because we speak what we mean; and account
themselves a civilized people, because they speak
one thing and mean another: truth they call tar• bariry, and falsehood politeness. Upon my first • landing, one who was sent from the king of this • place to meet me, told me, that he was extreme• ly forry for the storm I had met with just before my • arrival. I was troubled to hear him grieve and
afflict himself upon my account; but in less than a
quarter of an hour he smiled, and was as merry as <if nothing had happened. Another who came with
bim, told me by my interpreter, He foould be glad
to do me any service that lay in his power. Upon s which I desired him to carry one of my portian"teaus for me, but instead of serving me according • to his promise, he laughed, and bid another do it. • I lodged, the first week, at the house of one who
defired me to think myself at home, and to consider • his house as my own. Accordingly, I the next
morning began to knock down one of the walls of cit, in order to let in the fresh air, and had packed ( up some of the household goods, of which I in.
tended to have made thee a present; but the false 6. varlet no sooner saw me falling to work, but he « fent word to desire me to give over, for that he
would have no such doings in his house. I had not « been long in this nation, before I was told by one, « for whom I had asked a certain favour from the • chief of the king's servants, whom they here call the Lord Treasurer, that I had eternally obliged him.
I was fo surprised at his gratitude, that I could not « forbear saying, What service is there which one • man can do for another, that can oblige him to all • eternity! However, I only asked him for my re' ward, that he would lend me his eldest daughter • during my stay in this country; but I quickly found
" that he was as treacherous as the rest of his coun. trymen.
first going to court, one of the great men I almost put me out of countenance, by asking ten
thousand pardons of me for only treading by acci• dent upon my toe. They call this kind of lie a
compliment; for when they are civil to a great man, " they tell him untruths, for which thou wouldst • order any of thy officers of state to receive a hun.
dred blows upon his foot. I do not know how I • shall negotiate any thing with this people, since
there is so little credit to be given to them. When I go to see the King's fcribe, I am generally cold that he is not at home, though perhaps I faw him
go into his house almost the very moment before. • Thou wouldst fancy that the whole nation are
physicians, for the first question they always alk me, is, how I do: I have this question put to ne
above a hundred times a-day. Nay, they are not I only thus inquisitive after iny health, but wish it ' in a more folemn manner, with a full glass in their • hands, every time I sit with thein at table, though
at the same time they would persuade me to drink
their liquors in such quantities as I have found by ' experience will make me fick. They often pretend " to pray for thy health also in the same manner;
but I have more reason to expect it from the goods • ness of thy constitution, than the fincerity of their
wishes. May thy flave escape in safety from this double-tongued race of men, and live to lay himself once more at thy feet in thy royal city of Bantam.'
Qui fit, Macenas, ut nemo, quam fibi fortent
Hor, Sat, i. lib. i. ver. 1.
Whence is't, Mecenas, that fo few approve