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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 dou
ble-tongu'd. THERE is nothing, Says Plato, fo delightful
, as the hearing or the 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 caufe 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 insisted on the integrity of that person whom he had produced : But the Prætor told him, that where the law required two witneffes he would not accept of one, though it were Cato himself. Such a speech from a person who fat at the head of a court of justice, while Cato was still living, fnews us, more than a thousand examples, the high reputation this great man had gained among his contemporaries upon the account of his fincerity.
When such an inflexible integrity is a little foftened 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 treated in the most elegant fermon of the great British preacher. I fhall beg leave to transcribe out of it two or three fentences, as a proper introduction to a very curious letter, which I thall make the chief entertainment of this speculation.
• The old English plainness and fincerity, that generous integrity of nature, and honefty of dif• pofition, which always argues true greatness of • mind, and is usually accompanied with undaunt"ed courage and resolution, is in a great measure . loft among us.
« The dialect of conversation is now-a-days fo: • swelled with vanity and compliment, and so furo
feited (as I may fay) of expreflions of kindness • and respect, that if a man that lived an age.
or two ago should return into the world again, • he would really want a dictionary to help him to • understand his own language, and to know the
true intrinsic value of the phrafe in fashion ; and • would hardly, at first, believe at what a low rate • the highest strains and expreflions of kindness i
maginable do conmonly 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 countenance, and a good
conscience, to converse with men upon equal terms, and in their own way.
I have by me a letter which I look upon as a great curiofity, and which may serve as an exemplification to the foregoing paffage, cited out of this moft excellent prelate. It is said to have been written in King Charles II's reign by the ambasfador of Bantam, a little after his arrival in England. * MASTER, THE
, further from their hearts than from London to • Bantam, and thou knowett. the inhabitants of
one of these places do not know what is done in ' the other. They call thee and thy subjects bar• barians, because we speak what we mean ;
and account themselves a civilized people, because, they speak one thing and mean another. : Truth. they call barbarity, and falsehood politeness. Up..
first landing, one who was sent from the king of this place to meet me, told me, That bewas extremely forry for the form I had met with just before my arrival. I was troubled to hear him grieve and affict himself upon my account; but ' in less than a quarter of an hour he smiled, and
was as merry as if nothing bad happened. Another who came with him, told me by my interpreter, He fauld be glad to do me any service that lay in his power. Upon which I defired him to carry one of my portmanteaus 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 desired me to think myself at home, and to consider his house as my
Accordingly, I the next morning began to knock down one of the walls of it, in order to " ler in the fresh air, and had packed up some of • the household-goods, of which I intended to have s made thee a present; but the false varlet no
fooner saw mne falling to work, but he fent word: to defire me to give over, for that he would have
no fuch 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 so surprised at this gratitude, that I could ' not forbear faying, 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 reward, that he would lend me his eldest ckiughter during my stay in this country; but I.
quickly found that he was as treacherous as the • rest of his countrynien.
• At my first going to court, one of the great men alınost put me out of countenance, by ask. ing ten thousand pardons of me for only trading
by accident 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 wouldest order any of thy officers of state
to receive a hundred blows upon his foot. I do " not know how I thall negotiate any thing with ' this people, since there is fo little credit to be giv"en to them. When I go to see the King's scribe, "I am generally told that he is not at home, tho' • perhaps I saw him go into his house almost the very moment before. Thou would'st fancy that
the whole nation are physicians, for the first ques“tion they always ask me, is; how I do : I have this
question put to me above a hundred times a-day.. • Nay, they are not only thus inquisitive after my health, but with it in a more solemn-manner, with?
a full glass in their hands, every time I fit with: • them 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 6 health also in the same manner ; but I have more ' reason to expect it from the goodness of thy con" ftitution than the fincerity of their wishes. May • thy slave escape in safety from this double-tongued race of men, and live to lay himself once more at thy feet in the royal city of Bantam.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23.
Qui fit, Mæcenas, út nemo, quam fibi fortem
Hor. Sat, i. lib. i. ver. 1.