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may tend to their reputation; it is absolutely necessary they should form to themselves an ambition, which is in every man's“ power to gratify. This ambition would be independent, and would consist only in acting what, to a man's own mind, appears most great and laudable. It is a pursuit in the power of every man, and is only a regular prosecution of what he himself approves. It is what can be interrupted by no outward accidents; for no man can be robbed of his good intention. One of our society of the Trumpet * therefore started last night a notion, which I thought had reason in it. “It is, methinks,” said he,“ an unreasonable thing, that heroic virtue should, as it seems to be at present, be confined to a certaiu order of men, and be attainable by 'none but those whom fortune has elevated to the most conspicuous stations. I would have every thing to be esteemed as heroic, which is great and uncommon in the circumstances of the man who performs it.” Thus there would be no virtue in human life, which every one of the species would not have a pretence to arrive at, and an ardency to exert. Since fortune is not in our power, let us be as little as possible in hers. Why should it be necessary that a man should be rich, to be generous ? If we measured by the quality and not the quantity of things, the particulars which accompany an action is what should denominate it mean or great. The bighest station of human life is to be attained by each man that pretends to it: for every man can be as valiant, as generous, as wise, and as merciful, as the faculties and opportunities which he has from Heaven and fortune will permit. He that can say to himself, “I do as much good, and am as virtuous as my most earnest endeavours
* The public house in Sheer-lane,
will allow me," whatever is his station in the world, is to himself possessed of the highest ho
If ambition is not thus turned, it is no other than a continual succession of anxiety and vexation. But when it has this cast, it invigorates the mind; and the consciousness of its own worth is a reward, which is not in the power
envy, reproach, or detraction, to take from it. Thus the seat of solid honour is in a man's own bosom ; and no one can want support, who is in possession of an honest conscience, but he who would suffer the reproaches of it for other greatness.
P. S. I was going on in my philosophy, when notice was brought me, that there was a great crowd in my antichamber, who expected audience, When they were admitted, I found they all met at my lodgings, each coming upon the same errand, to know whether they were of the fortunate in the lottery, which is now ready to be drawn. I was much at a loss how to extricate myself from their importunity; but observing the assembly made up of both sexes, I signified to them, that in this case it would appear Fortune is not blind, for all the lots would fall upon the wisest and the fairest. This gave so general a satisfaction, that the room was soon emptied, and the company retired with the best air, and the most pleasing grace, I had any where observed. Mr. Elliot of St. James's coffeehouse now stood alone before me, and signified to me, he had now not only prepared his books, but had received a very great subscription already. His design was, to advertise his subscribers at their respective places of abode, within an hour after their number is drawn, whether it was a blank or benefit, if the adventurer lives within the bills of mor. tality; if he dwells in the country, by the next VOL. IV,
post". I encouraged the man in his industry, and told him the ready path to good fortune was to believe there was no such thing.
N° 203. THURSDAY, JULY 27, 1710.
Ut tu fortunam, sic nos te, Celse, feremus.
HoR. 1 Ep. viii. ver, ult.
From my own Apartment, July 26. It is natural for the imaginations of men, who led their lives in too solitary a manner, to prey upon themselves, and form from their own conceptions, beings and things which have no place in nature. This often makes an adept as much at a loss, when he comes into the world, as a mere savage. To avoid therefore that ineptitude for society, which is frequently the fault of us scholars, and has, to men of understanding and breeding, something much more shocking and uotractable than rusticity itself; I take care to visit all public solemnities, and go into assemblies as often as my studies will permit. This being therefore the first day of the drawing of the lottery, I did not neglect spending a considerable time in the crowd: but as much a philosopher as I
* Henoe the origin of registering tickets; and probably of insuring, since carried to so peruicious an excess.
pretend to be, I could not but look with a sort of veneration upon the two boys who received the tickets from the wbeels, as the impartial and equal dispensers of fortunes which were to be distributed among the crowd, who all stood'expecting the same chance. It seems at first thought very wonderful, that one passion should so universally have the preeminence of another in the possession of men's minds, as that in this case all in general have a secret bope of the great ticket: and yet fear in another instance, as in going into a battle, shall have so little influence, as that, though each man believes there will be many thousands slain, each is confi. dent he himself shall escape. This certainly proceeds from our vanity; for every man sees abundance in himself that deserves reward, and nothing wbich should meet withi mortification. But of all the adventurers that filled the hall, there was one who stood by me, who I could not but fancy expected the thousand pounds per annum as a mere justice to his parts and industry. He had his pencil and table-book; and was, at the drawing of each lot, counting how much a man with seven tickets was now nearer the great prize, by the striking out another, and another competitor. This man was of the most particular constitution I had ever observed ; his passions were so active, that he worked in the utmost stretch of hope and fear. When one rival fell before him, you might see a short gleam of triumph in his countenance; which immediately vanished at the approach of another. What added to the particularity of this man was, that he every moment cast a look either upon the commissioners, the wheels, or the boys. I gently whispered him, and asked, “when he thought the thousand pounds would come up ?” “Pugh,” says be, “who knows that?" And then looks upon a little list of his own tickets, which were pretty high in their numbers, and said it would not come this ten days. This fellow will have a good chance, though not that which he has put his heart on. The man is mechanically turned, and made for getting. The simplicity and eagerness which he is in, argues an attention to his point; though what he is labouring at does not in the least contribute to it. Were it not for such honest fellows as these, the men who govern the rest of their species would have no tools to work with: for the outward show of the world is carried on by such as cannot find out that they are doing nothing. I left my man with great reluctance, seeing the care be took to observe the whole conduct of the persons concerned, and compute the inequality of the chances with his own hands and eyes. « Dear Sir," said I, “ they must rise early that cheat you." “Ay,” said he, “there is nothing like a man's minding his business himself.” “Is is very true," said I: “the master's eye makes the horse fat."
As much the greater vumber are to go without prizes, it is but very expedient to turn our lecture to the forming just sentiments on the subject of fortune. One said this morning, “that the chief lot, he was confident, would fall upon some puppy;" but this gentleman is one of those wrong tempers, who approve only the unhappy, and have a natural prejudice to the fortunate. But, as it is certain that there is a great meanness in being attached to a man purely for his fortune ; there is no less a meanness in disliking him for his happiness. It is the same perverseness under different colours; and both these resentments arise from mere pride.
True greatness of mind consists in valuing men apart from their circumstances, or according to their behaviour in them. Wealth is a distinction