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riches, and to confider thofe as the minions of fortune, who are wealthy from their cradles, whofe eftate is "res non parta labore fed relicta;" "the "acquifition of another, not of themfelves;" and whom a father's induftry has difpenfed from a laborious attention to arts or commerce, and left at liberty to difpofe of life as fancy fhall direct them.
If every man were wife and virtuous, capable to difcern the beft ufe of time, and refolute to practise it; it might be granted, I think, without hesitation, that total liberty would be a bleffing; and that it would defirable to be left at large to the exercife of religious and focial duties, without the interruption of importunate avocations.
But fince felicity is relative, and that which is the means of happinefs to one man may be to another the caufe of mifery, we are to confider, what ftate is beft adapted to human nature in its prefent degeneracy and frailty. And, furely, to far the greater number it is highly expedient, that they fhould by fome fettled fcheme of duties be refcued from the tyranny of caprice, that they should be driven on by neceffity through the paths of life with their attention confined to a stated tafk, that they may be lefs at leifure to deviate into mischief at the call of folly.
When we obferve the lives of thofe whom an ample inheritance has let loofe to their own direction, what do we difcover that can excite our envy? Their time feems not to pafs with much applaufe from others, or fatisfaction to themselves: many fquander their exuberance of fortune in luxury and debauchery, and have no other ufe of money than to inflame their paffions, and riot in a wide range of
licentiousness; others, lefs criminal indeed, but, furely, not much to be praifed, lie down to Лleep, and rife up to trifle, are employed every morning in finding expedients to rid themselves of the day, chafe pleasure through all the places of publick refort, By from London to Bath and from Bath to London, without any other reason for changing place, but that they go in queft of company as idle and as vagrant as themfelves, always endeavouring to raise fome new defire that they may have fomething to pursue, to rekindle fome hope which they know will be difappointed, changing one amusement for another which a few months will make equally infipid, or finking into languor and difeafe for want of fomething to actuate their bodies or exhilarate their minds.
Whoever has frequented thofe places, where idlers affemble to escape from folitude, knows that this is generally the state of the wealthy; and from this ftate it is no great hardship to be debarred. No man can be happy in total idlenefs: he that should be condemned to lie torpid and motionlefs, "would fly for recreation," fays South, " to the mines and the gallies;" and it is well, when nature or fortune find employment for thofe, who would not have known how to procure it for themselves.
He, whofe mind is engaged by the acquifition or improvement of a fortune, not only escapes the infipidity of indifference, and the tedioufnefs of inactivity, but gains enjoyments wholly unknown to thofe, who live lazily on the toil of others; for life affords no higher pleasure than that of furmounting difficulties, paffing from one ftep of fuccefs to VOL. IX.
another, forming new wishes, and feeing them gratified. He that labours in any great or laudable undertaking, has his fatigues firft fupported by hope, and afterwards rewarded by joy; he is always moving to a certain end, and when he has attained it, an end more diftant invites him to a new purfuit.
It does not, indeed, always happen, that diligence is fortunate; the wifeft fchemes are broken by unexpected accidents; the moft conftant perfeverance fometimes toils through life without a recompence; but labour, though unsuccessful, is more eligible than idleness; he that profecutes a lawful purpose by lawful means, acts always with the approbation of his own reafon; he is animated through the course of his endeavours by an expectation which, though not certain, he knows to be juft; and is at laft comforted in his difappointment, by the consciousness that he has not failed by his own fault.
That kind of life is moft happy which affords us moft opportunities of gaining our own efteem; and what can any man infer in his own favour from a condition to which, however profperous, he contributed nothing, and which the vileft and weakest of the fpecies would have obtained by the fame right, had he happened to be the fon of the fame father.
To thrive with difficulties, and to conquer them, is the higheft human felicity; the next, is to ftrive, and deforve to conquer: but he whofe life has paffed without a conteft, and who can boaft neither fuccefs nor merit, can furvey himfelf only as a ufclefs filler
of existence; and if he is content with his own character, must owe his fatisfaction to infenfibility.
Thus it appears that the fatirift advised rightly, when he directed us to refign ourselves to the hands of Heaven, and to leave to fuperior powers the determination of our lot:
Permittes ipfis expendere Numinibus, quid
Intruft thy fortune to the pow'rs above:
What ftate of life admits moft happiness, is uncertain; but that uncertainty ought to reprefs the petulance of comparison, and filence the murmurs of difcontent.
NUMB. 115. TUESDAY, December 11, 1753
Scribimus indoi dotique.
All dare to write, who can or cannot read.
HEY who have attentively confidered the history of mankind, know that every age has its peculiar character. At one time, no defire is felt but for military honours; every fummer affords battles and fieges, and the world is filled with ravage, bloodshed, and devaftation: this fanguinary fury at length fubfides, and nations are divided into factions, by controverfies about points that will never be decided. Men then grow weary of debate and altercation, and apply themfelves to the arts of profit; trading companies are formed, manufactures improved, and navigation extended; and nothing is any longer thought on, but the increafe and prefervation of property, the artifices of getting money, and the pleafures of spending it.
The prefent age, if we confider chiefly the state of our own country, may be filed with great propriety The age of luthors; for, perhaps, there never was a time, in which men of all degrees of ability, of every kind of education, of every profeffion and employment, were pofting with ardour fo general to the prefs. The province of writing was formerly left to