« السابقةمتابعة »
because others loiter: and if once they come withir. prospect of success and profit, sone will be greedy and others envious ; fome will undertake more than they can perform, to enlarge their claims of advantage; fome will perform less than they undertake, left their labours should chiefly turn to the benefit of others.
The history of mankind informs us that a single power is very seldom broken by a confederacy. States of different interests, and aspects malevolent to each other, may be united for a time by common distress; and in the ardour of self-preservation fall unanimously upon an enemy, by whom they are all equally endangered. But if their first attack can be withstood, time will never fail to diffolve their union: success and miscarriage will be equally destructive : after the conquest of a province, they will quarrel in the division; after the loss of a battle, all will be endeavouring to secure themselves by abandoning the reit.
From the iinpossibility of confining numbers to the constant and uniforın prosecution of a common interest, arises the difficulty of securing subjects against the encroachment of governors.
Power is always gradually stealing away from the many to the few, because the few are more vigilant and consistent; it still contracts to a smaller nuinber, till in time it centers in a single person.
Thus all the forms of government instituted among mankind, perpetually tend towards monarchy; and power, however diffused through the whole community, is by negligence or corruption,
commotion or distress, reposed at last in the chief magistrate.
“ There never appear,” says Swift, " more than « five or fix men of genius in an age; but if they “ were united, the world could not stand before " them.” It is happy, therefore, for mankind, that of this union there is no probability. As men take in a wider compass of intellectual survey, they are more likely to chuse different objects of pursuit; as they see more ways to the same end, they will be less easily persuaded to travel together; as each is better qualified to form an independent scheme of private greatness, he will reject with greater obstinacy the project of another; as each is more able to distinguish himself as the head of a party, he will less readily be made a follower or an affociate.
The reigning philosophy informs us, that the vast bodies which constitute the universe, are regulated in their progress through the etherial spaces, by the perpetual agency of contrary forces; by one of which they are restrained from deserting their orbits, and losing themselves in the immenlity of heaven; and held off by the other from rushing together, and clustering round their center with everlasting cohefion.
The faine contrariety of impulse may be perhaps discovered in the motions of men: we are forined for society, not for combination ; we are equally unqualified to live in a close connection with our fellow-beings, and in total separation from them; 'we are attracted towards each other by general sympathy, but kept back from contact by private intereits. Vol. IX.
Some philosophers have been foolish enough to imagine, that improvements might be made in the fyftem of the universe, by a different arrangement of the orbs of heaven; and politicians, equally ignorant and equally presumptuous, may easily be led to suppose, that the happiness of our world would be promoted by a different tendency of the human mind. It appears, indeed, to a Night and superficial obferver, that many things impracticable in our present state, might be easily effected, if mankind were better disposed to union and co-operation : but a little reflection will discover, that if confederacies were easily formed, they would lose their efficacy, since numbers would be opposed to numbers, and unanimity to unanimity; and instead of the present petty competitions of individuals or single families, multitudes would be supplanting multitudes, and thousands plotting against thousands.
There is no class of the human species, of which the union seems to have been more expected, than of the learned: the rest of the world have almoft always agreed to shut fcholars up together in colleges and cloisters; surely not without hope, that they would look for that happiness in concord, which they were debarred from finding in variety; and that fuch conjunctions of intellect would recompense the munificence of founders and patrons, by performances above the reach of any single mind.
But discord, who found means to roll her apple into the banqueting chamber of the goddesses, has had the address to scatter her laurels in the seminaries of learning. The friendship of students and of beauries is for the most part equally sincere, and equally durable: as both depend for happiness on the regard of others, on that of which the value arises merely from comparison, they are both exposed to perpetual jealousies, and both incessantly employed in schemes to intercept the praises of each other.
I am, however, far from intending to inculcate, that this confinement of the studious to studious companions, has been wholly without advantage to the public: neighbourhood, where it does not conciliate friendship, incites competition ; and he that would contentedly rest in a lower degree of excellence, where he had no rival to dread, will be urged by his impatience of inferiority to inceffant endeavours after great attainments.
These stimulations of honest rivalry are, perhaps, the chief effects of academies and societies; for whatever be the bulk of their joint labours, every single piece is always the production of an individual, that owes nothing to his colleagues but the contagion of diligence, a resolution to write, because the rest are writing, and the scorn of obscurity while the rest are illustrious,
Numb. 50. SATURDAY, April 28, 1753.
Quicunque turpi fraude femel innotuit,
HEN Aristotle was once asked, what a man
could gain by uttering falsehoods; he replied, « Not to be credited when he shall tell the << truth."
The character of a liar is at once fo hateful and contemptible, that even of those who have lost their virtue it might be expected, that from the violation of truth they should be restrained by their pride. Almost every other vice that difyraces human nature, may
be kept in countenance by applause and association: the corrupter of virgin innocence fees himself envied by the men, and at least not detested by the women: the drunkard may easily unite with beings, devoted like himself to noisy merriments or filent insensibility, who will celebrate his victories over the novices of intemperance, boast themselves the companions of his prowess, and tell with rapture of the multitudes whom unfuccessful emulation has hurried to the grave: even the robber and the cutthroat have their followers, who admire their address and intrepidity, their stratagems of rapine, and their fidelity to the gang.