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need for a soldier, a politician, a lawyer, or what
you please. I have known in my time many a o brother Blank that has been born under a lucky
planet, heap up great riches, and swell into a man of figure and importance, before the grandees of his party could agree among themselves which of
them should step into his place. Nay, I have • known a Blank continue so long in one of these ' vacant posts, (for such it is to be reckoned all the
time a Blank is in it) that he has grown too formidable and dangerous to be removed.
But to return to myself. Since I am so very commodious a person, and so very necessary in all well-regulated governments, I delire you will take my case into consideration, that I may be no longer made a tool of, and only employed to stop a gap.
Such usage, without a pun, makes me look very • blank. For all which reasons I humbly recommend myself to your protection, and am, Your most obedient servant,
P.S. " I herewith send you a paper drawn up by ' a country-attorney, employed by two gentlemen,
whose names he was not acquainted with, and who
did not think fit to let him into the secret which
by this single instance of what use I am to the busy world.
"I 'T. Blank, Esq; of Blank town, in the county of Blank, do own myself indebted in the sum of
Blank, to Goodman Blank, for the service he did ( me in procuring for me the goods following, Blank:
And I do hereby promise the said Blank, to pay unto him the faid sum of Blank, on the Blank day of
the month of Blank next ensuing, under the penalty ' and forfeiture of Blank.'
I shall take time to conder the case of this my, imaginary correspondent, and in the mean while Thall present my reader with a letter which seems to come from a person who is made up of flesh and blood.
« Good Mr. SPECTATOR, · I am married to a very honeft gentleman that is (exceedingly good-natured, and at the same time very ' choleric. There is no standing before him when • he is in a pallion ; but as soon as it is over he is the • best-humoured creature in the world. When he • is angry he breaks all my china-ware that chances • to lie in his way, and the next morning sends me ? in twice as much as he broke the day before. I (may positively fay, that he has broke me a child's
fortune since we were first married together.
« As soon as he begins to fret, down goes every " thing that is within reach of his cane. I once pre(vailed
upon him never to carry a stick in his hand, but this saved me nothing; for upon seeing me do I something that did not please him, he kicked down • a great jar, that cost him above ten pounds but < the week before. I then laid the fragments toge
ther in a heap, and gave him his cane again, de
Gring him, that if he chanced to be in anger he • would spend his passion upon the china that was < broke to his hand; but the very next day, upon my
giving a wrong message to one of the servants, be • flew into such a rage, that he swept down a dozen
tea-dishes, which, to my misfortune, ftood very convenient for a fide-blow.
I then removed all my china into a room which he never frequents; but I got nothing by this nei
ther, for my looking-glailes immediately went to 6 wreck.
• In short, Sir, whenever he is in a passion he is . angry at every thing that is brittle; and, if on fuch
occasions he had nothing to vent his rage upcr, I
do not know whecaer my bones would be in safety. · Let me beg of you, Sir, to let me know whether • there be any cure for this un accountable dNtemper; • or, if not, that you will be pleased to publish this
letter: for my husband, having a great veneration
for your writings, will by that means know you do • not approve of his conduct.
o I am,
«Your most humble servant, &c.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 9.
Hor. Sat. iii. I. i. ver. 117,
Let rules be fix'd that may our rage contain,
T is the work of a philosopher to be every day sub
duing his passions, and laying aside his prejudices. I endeavour at least to look upon men and their actions only as an impartial Spectator, without gard to them as they happen to advance or cross my own private interest. But while I am thus employed myself, I cannot help observing, how those about me fúffer themselves to be blinded by prejudice and inclination ; how readily they pronounce on every
inai's character, which they can give in two words, and make him either good for ridbing or qualified for every thing. On the contrary, those who search thoroughly into Human nature, will find it much more difficult to determine the value of their fellow-creatures, and that men's characters are not thus to be given in general words. There is indeed no such thing as a person entirely good or bad; virtue and vice are blended and mixed together, in a greater or lefs proportion, in every one; and if you would search for some particular good quality in its most eminent degree of perfectiou, you will often find it in a mind where it is darkened and eclipsed by an hundred other irregular passions.
Men have either no character at all, says a celebrated author, or it is that of being inconsistent with theinselves. They find it easier to join extremities, than to be uniform and of a piece. 'I his is finely illustrated in Xenophon's life of Cyrus she Great. That author tells us, that Cyrus having taken a most beautiful lady, named Panthea, the wife of Abradratus, committed her to the custody of Araspas, a young Persian nobleinan, who had a little before maintained in a ci.courfi', that a mind truly virtuous was incapable of entertaining an unlawful passion. The young gentleman had not long been in poffeffion of his fair captive, when a complaint was made to Cyrus, that he not only folicited the lady Panthea to receive him in the room of her absent husband, but that finding his entreaties had no effect, he was preparing to make use of force. Cyrus, who loved the young man, immediately sent for him, and, in a gentie manner, representing to him his fault, and putting him in mind of bis former assertion, the unhappy youth, confounded with a quick sense of his guilt and shame, burst out into a flood of tears, and spoke as follows:
o Cyrus, I am convinced that I have two fouls. Love has taught me this piece of philosophy. If I
had but one foul, it could not at the same time pant after virtue and vice, wild and abhor the same thing. It is certain therefore we have two fouls : when the good soul rules, I undertake noble and virtuous actions ; but when the 'bad foul predominates, I am forced to do evil. All I can say at present is, that I find my good soul, encouraged by your presence, has got the better of my bad.
I know not whether my readers will allow of this piece of philosophy; but if they will not, they must confess we meet with as different paflions in one and the same foul, as can be supposed in two.
We can hardly read the life of a great man who lived in former ages, or converse with any one who is emi. nent ainong our contemporaries, that is not an instance of what I am saying.
But as I have hitherto only argued against the partiality and injustice of giving our judgment upon men in gross, who are such a composition of virtues and vices, of good and evil, I might carry this reflection still farther, and make it extend to most of their actions. If, on the one hand, we fairly weighed every circumstance, we should frequently find them obliged to do that action we at first fight condemn, in order to avoid another we should have been much more displeased with. If, on the
other hand, we nicely examined such actions as ap. > pear moit dazzling to the eye, we should find most
of them either deficient and lame in several parts,
produced by a bad ambition, or directed to an ill e)
end. The very same action apay sometimes be fo oddly circumstanced, that it is difficult to determine whether it ought to be rewarded or punished. Those who compiled the laws of England were lo fenGble of this, that they have laid it down as one of their first maxims, It is better suffering a mischief than an inconvenience, which is as much as to say in other words, That since no law can take in or pro