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my former spirits, as well as my former bloom ; and, when I first put on the womanly garb, I was a fine lady complete, with cheeks as pale and nerves as weak as the finest.
“ I was now arrived at a period when attention and anxiety were to be pointed almost solely to one object, the disposal of my person in marriage. With regard to this event, I was equally the slave of my mother's hopes and fears. I was dressed and redressed, squeezed and pinched, that I might catch a fine gentleman who had lately returned from his travels. I was often hurried several miles in the dark to a ball at our county town, to display myself to a lord, who was to be of the party there ; I was walked over hedge and ditch, in order to captivate a country'squire of a very large estate in our neighbourhood; and I was once obliged to hazard my neck, that I might go out a hunting with a duke. On the other hand, I was in perfect durance when any improper man had been seen to look at me. I was forced to leave the parish church, upon information received of a young gentleman having bribed the beadle with a shilling, to admit him into the next pew; my dancing master was changed, because his wife died while he was attending me; and my drawing master, an old bachelor of threescore, was dismissed because he happened to put his hand on mine in showing me how to manage my crayons. The only poor man with whom I was allowed to associate, was the clergyman of our parish, a very old gentleman of the most irreproachable character. To this indulgence, however, I was more indebted than
my mother was aware, or I had any reason to hope. Possessed of excellent sense and great learning, the good man was at pains to teach me the use of the firsı, and the value of the latter. By his as
sistance, my mind which, before, had always been either uncultivated or misled, was informed with knowledge more useful than the extent of my fortune, or the privileges of my birth. He showed me the folly of pride, and the meanness of insolence; he taught me the respect due to merit, the tenderness to poverty, the reverence to misfortune; from him I first learned the dignity of condescension, the pleasures of civility, the luxury of beneficence. He died, alas ! before I could receive the full benefit of his instructions, before he was able to eradicate the effects of early perversion and habitual indulgence; and left me rather in a condition to feel the weakness of my mind, than to recover its strength.
“My mother did not long survive him. I had been forced to see the errors of her judgment, though I could never doubt the warmth of her affection. I was unfortunate enough to lose her assistance, when her assistance would have been more useful and her indulgence less prejudicial. In the management of my fortune, which has now devolved on me, I am perplexed with business which I do not understand, and harrassed by applications which I know not how to answer. I am sometimes puzzled with schemes for improving my estate, sometimes frightened with dangers that threaten to diminish it; I am vexed with the complaints of poor tenants, and plagued with the litigiousness of rich ones. I never open a letter from my steward in the country without uneasiness; and a visit from my agent in town is to me like that of a bailiff. Amidst all these difficulties, I have no relation whom I can trust, and no friend to whom I can lean; the interest which people have in deceiving me, deprives me of confidence in advice, or pleasure in approbation. In short, it is my singular misfortune to possess wealth
with all the embarrassment of poverty, and power with all the dependence of meanness.
“I am, &c.,
No. 82. SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 1780.
The paper of to-day was received from an unknown hand several weeks ago. The publication of it may, perhaps, appear rather unseasonable after the last Gazette. There is still, however, much truth in my correspondent's observations, who, I dare say, will not regret that Sir George Rodney's success has somewhat lessened their force.
FOR THE MIRROR.
Romulus, et Liber pater, et cum Castore Pollux,
HOR. EPIST. ii. 1. 5.
Men who either possess a natural softness of temper or who have been unfortunate in the world from accident or imprudence, or, perhaps, think they have been so from overrating their own deserts, are apt to ascribe to human nature a variety of vices and imperfections. They consider these as the chief ingredients of the composition of mankind, and that their virtues and good qualities are only exceptions from the general rule, like accidental strokes of genius, or colouring in the works of a
painter, whose performances, on the whole, are coarse and irregular.
Nothing can be more groundless and unjust than this accusation. I am convinced that, upon a thorough examination, though we might discover many vicious and profligate individuals, we should find, in general, that human nature is virtuous and well-disposed, and little merits the abuse that peevish or unfortunate men are inclined to bestow
One charge, much insisted upon against mankind, is public ingratitude. With what justice or truth this is urged, we may judge, by examining the behaviour of men from the earliest period to the present times; and, in doing so, I flatter myself we shall be able to discover that the reverse is true, and that a strong spirit of gratitude has appeared on all occasions where it was due, though in different ages and countries it has been expressed in a different manner.
In Egypt and ancient Greece, the tribute paid by the public voice to the benefactors of mankind, was to consider them as objects of divine worship, and for that purpose to enroll them among the gods. Such was Ceres, for the invention of corn; Bacchus, for the discovery of wine; and a variety of others, with whom every school-boy is acquainted. If a man of superior strength and valour happened to repel an invader, destroy a monster, or perform any notable deed of public service, he was revered while living, and, after his death, his memory was respected, and a species of inferior worship was paid to him, as a hero, or a demi-god.
In later nes, in the Grecian states, the general who fought a successful battle, or destroyed an enemy's fleet, had statues erected to him by the
public voice, and at the expense of the public. The Romans did not think of honouring their active or fortunate commanders with statues; but they had their triumphs and ovations bestowed by the public, and supported by the voluntary applause and attendance of a grateful populace.
I should be extremely sorry, if the moderns yielded in the article of public gratitude, either to the Greeks or Romans. I shall not enter upon the practice or manners of other European nations ; but, I can venture to assert, with some degree of confidence, that the people of Great Britain possess a degree of public gratitude unexampled in any other age or country.
In making this assertion, I do not allude to public monuments, hereditary pensions, or thanks of parliament, which, though of a public, and seemingly of a general nature, may, nevertheless, proceed from a very limited cause. I allude to that universal effusion of honest gratitude which the good people of England frequently bestow on successful commanders, by putting up their pictures as signs for their taverns and alehouses, and frequenting these more than any other, till the reputation of the original begins to be obscured by the rising glory of some new favourite.
I must, at the same time, observe, that great statesmen have seldom experienced this mark of public applause. The late Mr. Pitt was, indeed, an exception from the remark; but he was, in fact, a minister of war only, and never meddled with finance. A first Lord of the Treasury, let him be as wise as Ximenes, and as moderate as Fleury, cannot expect to be revered on the sign-post of an alehouse; every article of consumption there has felt the weight of his hand; and whether the company