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There is, generally speaking, less Truth in Panegyricks than there is in Satyrs. When all our Senses are soothed, when we have no Distemper of Body or Mind to disturb us, and meet with nothing that is disagreeable, we are pleased with our Being: it is in this Situation, that we are most apt to mistake outward Appearances for Realities, and judge of Things more favourably than they deserve. I have nothing to say against the Elegancy of the Diversion, or the Politeness of those that frequent them: but I am afraid you lost yourself in the Contemplation of the lovely Idea, when you asserted that they were the most proper Means to contract a strong and lasting Habit of Virtue: 1 do you think that among the same Num- Edition: orig; Page: [ 41 ] ber of People there is more real Virtue at an Opera, than there is at a Bear-garden?

It is impossible you should mistake me, and you know very well, that it is not the different Pleasures of those two Places I would compare together. The Frowsiness of the Edition: current; Page: [ 60 ] Place, and the ill Scents of different kinds, are a perpetual Nuisance; but in all Mob Meetings The Entertainment in general is abominable, and all the Senses suffer. I allow all this. Incontinence, and Adultery it self, Persons of Quality are not more free from all over Christendom, than the meaner People: But if there are some Vices, which the Vulgar are more guilty of than the better sort, there are others the Reverse.

Envy, Detraction, and the Spirit of Revenge, are more raging and mischievous in Courts than they are in Cottages. Excess of Vanity and hurtful Ambition are unknown among the Poor; they are seldom tainted with Avarice, with Irreligion never; and they have much less Opportunity of robbing the Publick than their Betters.

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There are few Persons of Distinction, whom you are not acquainted with: I desire, you would seriously reflect on the Lives of as many as you can think of, and next Opera Night on the Virtues of the Assembly. You make me laugh. There is a good deal in what you say; and I am persuaded, all is not Gold that glisters.

Would you add any more? I have a Mind to try: the very Thought enlivens me. How charming is the Portrait of a complete Gentleman, and how ravishing is the Figure which a Person of great Birth and Fortune, to whom Nature has been no Niggard, makes, when he understands the World, and is throughly well bred!

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I think them so, I can assure you, whether you are in Jest or in Earnest. How entirely well hid are his greatest Imperfections! I know what you are about, you are going to give me the Caricatura of a Gentle- Edition: orig; Page: [ 46 ] man, under pretence of drawing his Portrait. But why is it impossible for Human Nature ever to be good? Instead of leaving out, you put in Failings without the least Grounds or Colour. When Things have a handsome Appearance every way, what Reason have you to suspect them still to be bad?

This is monstrous. Have Patience, and I promise you, that I shall take nothing for granted, which you shall not allow of yourself. In the first place, there is no Danger so great, but by the help of his Pride a Man may Edition: current; Page: [ 65 ] slight and confront it; nor any manner of Death so terrible, but with the same Assistance, he may court, and if he has a firm Constitution, undergo it with Alacrity. In the second, there are no good Offices or Duties, either to others or ourselves, that Cicero has spoke of, nor any Instances of Benevolence, Humanity, or other Social Virtue, that Edition: orig; Page: [ 48 ] Lord Shaftsbury has hinted at, but a Man of good Sense and Knowledge may learn to practise them from no better Principle than Vain-glory, if it be strong enough to subdue and keep under all other Passions, that may thwart and interfere with his Design.

I must interrupt you, and cannot suffer you to go on thus. What is all this but the old Story over again, that every Thing is Pride, and all we see, Hypocrisy, without Proof or Argument? Nothing in the World is more false, than what you have advanced now; for according to that, the most noble, the most gallant, and the best-bred Man would be the proudest; which is so clashing Edition: orig; Page: [ 49 ] with daily experience, that the very reverse is true.

I beg of you let us be calm, and speak with exactness. The Doctrine of good Manners furnishes us with a thousand Lessons against the various Appearances and outward Symptoms of Pride, but it has not one Precept against the Passion it self. All his Plate Edition: orig; Page: [ 51 ] and Furniture are completely fine, and you see nothing but what is fashionable. What has been laid out on the great Hall and one Gallery would be a considerable Estate; and there is a Salloon and a Staircase not inferior to either: These are all very spacious and lofty; the Architecture of them is of the best Taste, and the Decorations surprising.

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I have thought of it before, I own. His Equipage is rich and well chosen, and there is nothing to be seen about him that Art or Expence, within the Compass of Reason, could make better. His chief Business there is to take care of others without being troublesome, and all his Happiness seems to consist in being able to please his Friends: In his greatest Mirth he is wanting in Respect to no Man, and never makes use of Abbreviations in Names, or unhandsome Familiarities with the meanest of his Guests.

He never utters a Syllable that has the least Tincture of Obscenity or Prophaneness; nor ever made a Jest that was offensive.

Common Sense says

He seems to be entirely free from Bigotry and Superstition, avoids all Disputes about Religion; but goes constantly to Church, and is seldom absent from his Family-Devotions. As he is in all other Things, so he is elegant in his Cloaths, and has often new ones: Neatness he prefers to Finery in his own Dress, but his Retinue is rich. Therefore he has a Domestick of good Taste, a judicious Man, who saves him that trouble, and the Management likewise of his Lace and Linnen is the Province of a skilful Woman.

His Language is courtly, but natural and intelligible; it is neither low nor bombastick, and ever free from pedantick and vulgar Expressions. He is charitable to the Poor, his House is never shut to Strangers, and all his Neighbours he counts to be his Friends.

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  7. He is a Father to his Tenants, and looks upon their Welfare as inseparable from his Interest. No Man is less uneasy at little Offences, or more ready to forgive all Trespasses without Design. Extraordinary Diligence in Servants, and all laud- Edition: orig; Page: [ 56 ] able Actions he takes notice of himself, and often commends them to their Faces; but leaves it to his Steward to reprove or dismiss those he dislikes. Whoever lives with him is taken care of in Sickness as well as in Health. The Wages he gives are above double those of other Masters, and he often makes Presents to those, that are more than ordinary observing and industrious to please: but he suffers Edition: current; Page: [ 71 ] no body to take a Penny of his Friends or others, that come to his House on any Account whatever.

    This is the only exceptionable thing in my Opinion that I have heard yet. In the first place, it is very difficult to enforce Obedience to such a Command; Secondly, if it could be executed, it would be of little use; unless it could be made general, which is impossible: and therefore I look upon the Attempt of introducing this Maxim to be singular and fantastical. It would please Misers and others, that would never follow the Example at Home; but it would take away from generous Men a handsome Opportunity of shewing their liberal and beneficent Edition: orig; Page: [ 57 ] Disposition: besides, it would manifestly make ones House too open to all sorts of People.

    Ways might be found to prevent that; but then it would be a Blessing, and do great Kindness to Men of Parts and Education, that have little to spare, to many of whom this Money to Servants is a very grievous Burden. What you mention is the only thing that can be said for it, and I own, of great Weight: But I beg your Pardon for interrupting you.

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    In all his Dealings he is punctual and just. He is affable with Discretion, of easy Access, and never ruffled with Passion. It is an admirable Character, and pleases me exceedingly; but I will freely own to you, that I should have been more highly delighted with the Description, if I had not known your Design, and the Use you intend to make of it; which, I think, is barbarous: to raise so fine, so elegant, and so complete an Edifice, in order to throw it down, is taking great Pains to shew ones Skill in doing Mischief.

    I could never have taken Notice of these Things, if you had not acquainted me with your Intention before-hand. Why so? Both last Night and now, when we began our Discourse, I took you to be in another Disposition of thinking, than I perceive you are. I expect no Pleasure from any Triumph, and I know nothing, that would vex me more, than the Thoughts of disobliging you.

    Pray let us do in this as we do in another matter of Importance, never touch upon it: Friends in Prudence should avoid all Subjects in which they are known essentially to differ. Believe me, Horatio, if it was in my Power to divert or give you any Pleasure, I would grudge no Pains to compass that End: But to make you uneasy, is a thing that I shall never be know- Edition: orig; Page: [ 60 ] ingly guilty of, and I beg a thousand Pardons for having said so much both Yesterday and To-day.

    Have you heard any thing from Gibraltar? I desired you to dine with me on purpose, that we might talk of these Things. Edition: current; Page: [ 74 ] It is I that have offended, and it is I that ought to ask Pardon for the ill Manners I have been guilty of: But you know the Principles I have always adhered to; it is impossible to recede from them at once. Pray bear with my Infirmities. I am in Love with your fine Gentleman, and I confess, I cannot see how a Person so universally good, so far remote from all Selfishness, can act in such an extraordinary manner every way, but from Principles of Virtue and Religion.

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    Pray Edition: orig; Page: [ 61 ] inform me, and say what you will, I promise you to keep my Temper, and, I beg of you, speak your Mind with Freedom. To enter into an Argument, concerning the Possibility of what you say, might occasion a long Dispute; but the Probability, I Edition: orig; Page: [ 62 ] think, is very clear against you, and if there was such a Man, it would be much more credible, that he acted from the Excellency of his Nature, in which so many Virtues and rare Endowments were assembled, than that all his good Qualities sprung from vicious Motives.

    If Pride could be the Cause of all this, the Effect of it would sometimes appear in others: According to your System, there is no scarcity of it, and there are Men of great Parts and prodigious Estates all over Europe: Why are there not several such Patterns to be seen up and down, as you have drawn us one; and why is it so very seldom, that many Virtues and good Qualities are seen to meet in one Individual?

    In the first place, Men differ in Temperament: Some are naturally of an active, stirring; others of an indolent, quiet Disposition; some of a bold, others of a meek Spirit. Thirdly, that on these two depend the different Perception Men have of Happiness, according to which the Love of Glory determines them different ways. Without doubt. That I took Notice of your making your Gentleman so very Godly as you did, was because it is not common, but I intended it not as a Reflection.

    But the Reasons you give, why those Effects, which you ascribe to Pride, are not more common, the Cause being so universal, I think are insufficient. I shall not dispute that with you: But all this while you have proved nothing, nor given the least Reason why you should imagine, that a Man of a Character, to all outward Appearance so bright and beautiful, acted from vicious Motives.

    You would not condemn him without so much as naming the Cause why you suspect him. This is more unintelligible than any thing you have said yet; Why will you heap Difficulties upon one another, without solving any? I desire you would clear up this last Paradox, before you do any thing else.

    In order to obey you, I must put you in mind of what happens in early Education, by the first Rudiments of which Infants are taught, in the Choice of Actions to prefer the Precepts of others, to the Dicates of their own Inclinations; which in short is no more than doing as they are bid. But as the fear of Shame is very insignificant, where there is but little Pride; so it is impossible to augment the first, without encreasing the latter in the same Proportion.

    I should have thought that this Encrease of Pride would render Children more stubborn and less docile. What is it that induces you to believe this, besides the Possibility of his Forgetfulness? The first is, that in what relates to ourselves, especially our own Worth and Excellency b , Pride blinds the Understanding in Men of Sense and great Parts as well as in others, and the greater Value we may reasonably set upon ourselves, the fitter we are to swallow the grossest Flatteries in spight of all our Knowledge and Abilities in other Matters: Witness Alexander the Great, whose vast Genius could not hinder him from doubting seriously, whether he was a God or not.

    If the Hearts of the best and sincerest Men are corrupt and deceit Edition: orig; Page: [ 69 ] ful, what Condition must theirs be in, whose whole Life is one continued Scene of Hypocrisy! Therefore enquiring within, and boldly searching into ones own Bosom, must be the most shocking Employment, that a Man can give his Mind to, whose greatest Pleasure consists in secretly admiring himself. It would be ill Manners after this to appeal to your self; but the Severity of the Task. You must have a prodigious Sagacity in detecting abstruse Matters beyond other Men.

    You may treat yourself as you please, I have Edition: orig; Page: [ 70 ] Edition: current; Page: [ 81 ] said no such thing; but I own that I long to see it proved, that you have this Capacity. I remember the Character very well: Notwithstanding the Precautions you have taken, it is very full: I told you before, that where Things have a handsome Appearance every way, there can be no just Cause to suspect them.

    I shall attempt neither: And without that decisive Tryals may be made, by which it will plainly appear, whether a Person acts from inward Goodness and a Principle of Religion, or only from a Motive of Vain-glory; and, in the latter Case, there is an infallible way of dragging the lurking Fiend from his darkest Recesses into a glaring Light, where all the World shall know him. Come, I undertake to defend him in all the Suppositions you can make, that are reasonable, and consistent with what you have said before.

    Very well: Let us suppose what may happen to the most inoffensive, the most prudent and best-bred Man; that our fine Gen- Edition: orig; Page: [ 71 ] tleman differs in Opinion before Company, with another, who is his Equal in Birth and Quality, but not so much Master over his outward Behaviour, and less guarded in his Conduct: Let this Adversary, mal a propos, grow warm, and seem to be wanting in the Respect that is due to the other, and reflect on his Honour in ambiguous Terms.

    What is your Client to do? Which if the hot Man disregards with Scorn, or flatly refuses to give, Satisfaction must be demanded, and tilt they must.