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out, by the multitudes of those who partake in it. Though the weight of a falsehood would be too heavy for one to bear, it grows light in their imagination when it is shared among many. But in this case a man very much deceives himself; guilt, when it spreads through numbers, is not so prop; erly divided as multiplied. Every one is criminal in proportion to the offense which he commits, not to the number of those who are his companions in it. Both the crime and penalty lie as heavy upon every individual of an offending multitude, as they would upon any single person, had none shared with him in the offense. In a word, the division of guilt is like that of matter; though it may be separated into infinite portions, every portion shall have the whole essence of matter in it, and consist of as many parts as the whole did before it was divided.
But in the second place, though multitudes, who join in a lie, cannot exempt themselves from the guilt, they may from the shame of it. The scandal of a lie is in a manner lost and annihilated, when diffused among several thousands; as a drop of the blackest tincture wears away and vanishes, when mixed and confused in a considerable body of water; the blot is still in it, but is not able to discover itself. This is certainly a very great motive to several party offenders, who avoid crimes, not as they are prejudicial to their virtue, but to their reputation. It is enough to show the weakness of this reason, which palliates guilt without removing it, that every man who is influenced by it declares himself in effect an infamous hypocrite, prefers the appearance of virtue to its reality, and is determined in his conduct neither by the dictates of his own conscience, the suggestions of true honor, nor the principles of religion.
therefore shall give them to the public in the words with which my correspondents, who suffer under the hardships mentioned in them, describe them: "MR. SPECTATOR,
"In former ages all pretensions to dominion have been supported and submitted to, either upon account of inheritance, conquest, or election; and all such persons, who have taken upon them any sovereignty over their fellow-creatures upon any other account, have been always called tyrants, not so much because they were guilty of any par ticular barbarities, as because every attempt to such a superiority was in its nature tyrannical. But there is another sort of potentates, who may with greater propriety be called tyrants than those last mentioned, both as they assume a despotic dominion over those as free as themselves, and as they support it by acts of notable oppression and injustice; and these are the rulers in all clubs and meetings. In other governments, the punishments of some have been alleviated by the rewards of others; but what makes the reign of these potentates so particularly grievous is, that they are exquisite in punishing their subjects at the same time they have it not in their power to reward them. That the reader may the better comprehend the nature of these monarchs, as well as the miserable state of those that are their vassals, I shall give an account of the king of the company I am fallen into, whom for his particular tyranny I shall call Dionysius; as also of the seeds that sprung up to this odd sort of empire.
"Upon all meetings at taverns, it is necessary some one of the company should take it upon him to get all things in such order and readiness as may contribute as much as possible to the felicity The third and last great motive for men's join- of the convention; such as hastening the fire, geting in a popular falsehood, or, as I have hitherto ting a sufficient number of candles, tasting the called it a party-lie, notwithstanding they are con- wine with a judicious smack, fixing the supper, vinced of it as such, is the doing good to a cause and being brisk for the dispatch of it. Know, which every party may be supposed to look upon then, that Dionysius went through these offices as the most meritorious. The unsoundness of this with an air that seemed to express a satisfaction principle has been so often exposed, and is so uni- rather in serving the public than in gratify. versally acknowledged, that a man must be an ing any particular inclination of his own. We utter stranger to the principles either of natural thought him a person of an exquisite palate, and religion or Christianity, who suffers himself to be therefore by consent beseeched him to be always our guided by it. If a man might promote the sup- proveditor; which post, after he had handsomely posed good of his country by the blackest calum- denied, he could do no otherwise than accept. At nies and falsehoods, our nation abounds more in first, he made no other use of his power than in patriots than any other of the Christian world. recommending such and such things to the comWhen Pompey was desired not to sail in a tempest pany, ever allowing these points to be disputable; that would hazard his life, "It is necessary for insomuch that I have often carried the debate for me," says he, to sail, but it is not necessary for partridge, when his majesty has given intimation me to live." Every man should say to himself, of the high relish of duck, but at the same time with the same spirit, "It is my duty to speak has cheerfully submitted, and devoured his parttruth, though it is not my duty to be in an office." ridge with most gracious resignation. This subOne of the fathers has carried this point so high mission on his side naturally produced the like as to declare he would not tell a lie, though he on ours; of which he in a little time made such were sure to gain heaven by it. However extrava- barbarous advantage, as in all those matters, which gant such a protestation may appear, every one before seemed indifferent to him, to issue out cerwill own that a man may say, very reasonably, he tain edicts as uncontrollable and unalterable as the would not tell a lie, if he were sure to gain hell laws of the Medes and Persians. He is by turns by it, or, if you have a mind to soften the expres-, outrageous, peevish, forward, and jovial. He win, that he would not tell a lie to gain any tempos ww and by it, when he should run the hazard 1. song, much more than it was possible for him
thinks it our duty for the little offices, as proveditor, that in return all conversation is to be interrupted or promoted by his inclination for or against the present humor of the company. We feel, at present, in the utmost extremity, the insolence of office; however, I, being naturally warm, ventured to oppose him in a dispute about a haunch of venison. 1 was altogether for roasting, but Dionysius declared himself for boiling with so much prowess and resolution, that the cook thought it necessary to consult his own safety, rather than the luxury of my proposition. With the same authority that he orders what we shall eat and
drink, he also commands us where to do it; and | Is it sufferable that the fop of whom I complain we change our taverns according as he suspects any should say that he would rather have such-a-one treasonable practices in the settling the bill by the without a groat, than me with the Indies? What master, or sees any bold rebellion in point of right has any man to make suppositions of things attendance by the waiters. Another reason for not in his power, and then declare his will to the dischanging the seat of empire, I conceive to be the like of one that has never offended him? I assure pride he takes in the promulgation of our slavery, you these are things worthy your consideration, though we pay our club for our entertainments, and I hope we shall have your thoughts upon even in these palaces of our grand monarch. When them. I am, though a woman_ justly offended, he has a mind to take the air, a party of us are ready to forgive all this, because I have no remedy commanded out by way of life-guard, and we but leaving very agreeable company sooner than I march under as great restrictions as they do. If desire. This also is a heinous aggravation of his we meet a neighboring king, we give or keep the offense, that he is inflicting banishment upon me. way, according as we are outnumbered or not; Your printing this letter may perhaps be an adand if the train of each is equal in number, rather monition to reform him; as soon as it appears I than give battle, the superiority is soon adjusted will write my name at the end of it, and lay it in by a desertion from one of them. his way: the making which just reprimand, I hope you will put in the power of, "Sir, your constant Reader, "and humble Servant."
"Now the expulsion of these unjust rulers out of all societies would gain a man as everlasting a reputation as either of the Brutuses got from their endeavors to extirpate tyranny from among the Romans. I confess myself to be in a conspiracy against the usurper of our club; and to show my reading as well as my merciful disposition, shall allow him until the ides of March to dethrone himself. If he seems to affect empire until that time, and does not gradually recede from the incursions he has made upon our liberties, he shall find a dinner dressed which he has no hand in, and shall be treated with an order, magnificence and luxury, as shall break his proud heart; at the same time that he shall be convinced in his stomach he was unfit for his post, and a more mild and skillful prince receive the acclamations of the people, and be set up in his room; but, as Milton says,
No. 509.] TUESDAY, OCTOBER 14, 1712. Hominis frugi et temperantis functus officium. TER. Heaut. act iii. sc. 3. Discharging the part of a good economist. THE useful knowledge in the following letter shall have a place in my paper, though there is nothing in it which immediately regards the polite or the learned world; I say immediately, for upon reflection every man will find there is a remote influence upon his own affairs, in the prosperity or decay of the trading part of mankind. My present correspondent, I believe, was never in print before; but what he says well deserves a general attention, though delivered in his own homely maxims, and a kind of proverbial simplicity; which sort of learning has raised more estates, than ever were, or will be, from attention to Virgil, Horace, Tully, Seneca, Plutarch, or any of the rest, whom, I dare say, this worthy citizen would hold to be indeed ingenious, but unprofitable writers. But to the letter:
"MR. WILLIAM SPECTATOR.
"I am a young woman at a gentleman's seat in he country, who is a particular friend of my father's, and come hither to pass away a month or two with his daughters. I have been entertained Broad-street, Oct. 10, 1712. with the utmost civility by the whole family, and "I accuse you of many discourses on the subnothing has been omitted which can make my ject of money, which you have heretofore promstay easy and agreeable on the part of the family; ised the public, but have not discharged yourself but there is a gentleman here, a visitant as I am, thereof. But, forasmuch as you seemed to depend whose behavior has given me great uneasiness. upon advice from others what to do in that point, When I first arrived here, he used me with the have sat down to write you the needful upon that utmost complaisance; but, forsooth, that was not subject. But, before I enter thereupon, I shall with regard to my sex; and since he has no de- take this opportunity to observe to you, that the signs upon me, he does not know why he should thriving frugal man shows it in every part of his distinguish me from a man in things indifferent. expense, dress, servants, and house; and I must He is, you must know, one of those familiar cox- in the first place, complain to you, as Spectator, combs, who have observed some well-bred men that in these particulars there is at this time, with a good grace converse with women, and say throughout the city of London, a lamentable no fine things, but yet treat them with that sort change from that simplicity of manners, which of respect which flows from the heart and the un-is the true source of wealth and prosperity. I derstanding, but is exerted in no professions or compliments. This puppy, to imitate this excellence, or avoid the contrary fault of being troublesome in complaisance, takes upon him to try his talent upon me, insomuch that he contradicts me upon all occasions, and one day he told me I lied. If I had stuck him with my bodkin, and behaved myself like a man, since he will not treat me as a woman, I had, I think, served him right. I wish, Sir, you would please to give him some maxims of behavior in these points, and resolve me if all maids are not in point of conversation to be treated by all bachelors as their mistresses? If not so, are they not to be used as gently as their sisters ?
just now said, the man of thrift shows regularity in everything; but you may, perhaps, laugh that I take notice of such a particular as I am going to do, for an instance that this city is declining if their ancient economy is not restored. The thing which gives me this prospect, and so much offense, is the neglect of the Royal Exchange; I mean the edifice so called, and the walks appertaining thereunto. The Royal Exchange is a fabric that well deserves to be so called, as well to express that our monarch's highest glory and advantage consists in being the patron of trade, as that it is commodious for business, and an instance of the grandeur both of prince and people. But, alas!
at present it hardly seems to be set apart for any such use or purpose. Instead of the assembly of honorable merchants, substantial tradesmen, and knowing masters of ships: the mumpers, the halt, the blind, and the lame; your venders of trash, apples, plums; your ragamuffins, rakeshames, and, wenches; have jostled the greater number of the former out of that place. Thus it is, especially on the evening change; so that what with the din of squallings, oaths, and cries of beggars, men of the greatest consequence in our city absent themselves from the place. This particular, by the way, is of evil consequence, for if the 'Change be no place for men of the highest credit to frequent, it will not be a disgrace for those of less abilities to absent. I remember the time when rascally company were kept out, and the unlucky boys with toys and balls were whipped away by the beadle. I have seen this done indeed of late, but then it has been only to chase the lads from chuck, that the beadle might seize their copper.
"I must repeat the abomination, that the walnut-trade is carried on by old women within the walks, which makes the place impassable by reason of shells and trash. The benches around are so filthy, that no one can sit down, yet the beadles and officers have the impudence at Christmas to ask for their box, though they deserve the strapado. I do not think it impertinent to have mentioned this, because it speaks a neglect in the domestic care of the city; and the domestic is the truest picture of a man everywhere else.
have no notion of it at present. But of these matters more hereafter. If you did this, as you excel many writers of the present age for politeness, so you would outgo the author of the true strops of razors for use.
"I shall conclude this discourse with an explanation of a proverb, which by vulgar error is taken and used when a man is reduced to an extremity, whereas the propriety of the maxim is to use it when you would say there is plenty, but you must make such a choice as not to hurt another who is to come after you.
"Mr. Tobias Hobson, from whom we have the expression, was a very honorable man, for I shall ever call the man so who gets an estate honestly. Mr. Tobias Hobson was a carrier; and, being a man of great abilities and invention, and one that saw where there might good profit arise, though the duller men overlooked it, this ingenious man was the first in this island who let out hackneyhorses. He lived in Cambridge; and, observing that the scholars rid hard, his manner was to keep a large stable of horses, with boots, bridles, and whips, to furnish the gentleman at once, without going from college to college to borrow, as they have done since the death of this worthy man. I say, Mr. Hobson kept a stable of forty good cattle always ready and fit for traveling, but, when a man came for a horse, he was led into the stable, where there was great choice; but he obliged him to take the horse which stood next to the stable-door; so that every customer was alike well served according to his chance, and every horse ridden with the same justice; from whence it became a proverb, when what ought to be your election was forced upon you, to say, Hobson's choice.' This memorable man stands drawn in fresco at an inn (which he used) in Bishopsgate-street, with a hundred-pound bag under his arm, with this inscription upon the said bag:
The fruitful mother of a hundred more.
"But I designed to speak on the business of money and advancement of gain. The man proper for this, speaking in the general, is of a sedate, plain, good understanding, not apt to go out of his way, but so behaving himself at home, that business may come to him. Sir William Turner, that valuable citizen, has left behind him a most excellent rule, and couched it in very few words, suited to the meanest capacity. He would say, Keep your shop, and your shop will keep you.' It must be confessed, that if a man of a great genius could add steadiness to his vivacities, or substitute slower men of fidelity to transact the methodical part of his affairs, such a one would outstrip the rest of the world: but business and trade are not to be managed by the same heads which write poetry, and make plans for the conduct of life in general. So, though we are at this day beholden to the late witty and inventive Duke of Buckingham for the whole trade and manufacture of glass, yet I suppose there is no one will aver, that, were his grace yet living, they would not rather deal No. 510.] WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15, 1712. with my diligent friend and neighbor, Mr. Gumley, for any goods to be prepared and delivered on such a day, than he would with that illustrious mechanic above-mentioned.
"No, no, Mr. Spectator, you wits must not pretend to be rich; and it is possible the reason may be, in some measure, because you despise, or at least you do not value it enough to let it take up your chief attention; which the trader must do, or lose his credit, which is to him what honor, reputation, fame, or glory, is to other sort of men. "I shall not speak to the point of cash itself, until I see how you approve of these my maxims in general; but I think a speculation upon many a little makes a mickle, a penny saved is a penny got, penny wise and pound foolish, it is need that makes the old wife trot,' would be very useful to the world; and, if you treated them with knowledge, would be useful to yourself, for it would make demands for your paper among those who
*Alderman Thomas, a mercer, made this one of the mottoes in his shop in Paternoster-Row.
"Whatever tradesman will try the experiment, and begin the day after you publish this my discourse to treat his customers all alike, and all reasonably and honestly, I will insure him the same success. "I am, Sir, your loving Friend, HEZEKIAH THRIFT."
Neque, præterquam quas ipse amor molestias
If you are wise, add not to the troubles which attend the
I was the other day driving in a hack through Gerrard-street, when my eye was immediately catched with the prettiest object imaginable-the face of a very fair girl, between thirteen and fourteen, fixed at the chin to a painted sash, and made part of the landscape. It seemed admirably done, and, upon throwing myself eagerly out of the coach to look at it, it laughed, and flung from the window. This amiable figure dwelt upon me; and I was considering the vanity of the girl, and her pleasant coquetry in acting a picture until she was taken notice of, and raised the admiration of her beholders. This little circumstance made me run into reflections upon the force of beauty, and the wonderful influence the female sex
The other part of the species.
Our hearts are seized with their enchantments, and there are few of us, but brutal men, who by that hardness lose the chief pleasure in them, can resist their insinuations, though never so much against our interest and opinion. It is common with women to destroy the good effects a man's following his own way and inclination might have upon his honor and fortune, by interposing their power over him in matters wherein they cannot influence him, but to his loss and disparagement. I do not know therefore a task so difficult in human life, as to be proof against the importunities of a woman a man loves. There is certainly no armor against tears, sullen looks, or at best constrained familiarities, in her whom you usually meet with transport and alacrity. Sir Walter Raleigh was quoted in a letter (of a very ingenious correspondent of mine) upon this subject. That author, who had lived in courts, camps, traveled through many countries, and seen many men under several climates, and of as various complexions, speaks of our impotence to resist the wifes of women in very severe terms. His words are as follow:
upon a treaty; and one must consider how senseless a thing it is to argue with one whose looks and gestures are more prevalent with you, than your reason and arguments can be with her. It is a most miserable slavery to submit to what you disapprove, and give up a truth for no other reason, but that you had not fortitude to support you in asserting it. A man has enough to do to conquer his own unreasonable wishes and desires; but he does that in vain, if he has those of another to gratify. Let his pride be in his wife and family, let him give them all the conveniences of life in such a manner as if he were proud of them; but let it be his own innocent pride, and not their exorbitant desires, which are indulged by him. In this case all the little arts imaginable are used to soften a man's heart, and raise his passion above his understanding. But in all concessions of this kind, a man should consider whether the present he makes flows from his own love, or the importunity of his beloved. If from the latter, he is her slave; if from the former, her friend. We laugh it off, and do not weigh this subjection to women "What means did the devil find out, or what with that seriousness which so important a circuminstruments did his own subtilty present him, as stance deserves. Why was courage given man, fittest and aptest to work his mischief by? Even if his wife's fears are to frustrate it? When this the unquiet vanity of the woman; so as by Adam's is once indulged, you are no longer her guardian hearkening to the voice of his wife, contrary to and protector, as you were designed by nature; the express commandment of the living God, but, in compliance to her weaknesses, you have mankind by that her incantation became the sub- disabled yourself from avoiding the misfortunes ject of labor, sorrow and death; the woman being into which they will lead you both, and you are given to man for a comforter and companion, but to see the hour in which you are to be reproached not for a counselor. It is also to be noted by by herself for that very complaisance to her. It whom the woman was tempted: even by the most is indeed the most difficult mastery over ourselves ugly and unworthy of all beasts, into whom the we can possibly attain, to resist the grief of her devil entered and persuaded. Secondly: What who charms us; but let the heart ache, be the anwas the motive of her disobedience? Even a de- guish never so quick and painful, it is what must sire to know what was most unfitting her know-be suffered and passed through, if you think to ledge; an affection which has ever since remained live like a gentleman or be conscious to yourself in all the posterity of her sex. Thirdly: What that you are a man of honesty. The old argument, was it that moved the man to yield to her persua- that you do not love me if you deny me this," sions? Even the same cause which hath moved which first was used to obtain a trifle, by habitual all men since to the like consent; namely, an un- success will oblige the unhappy man who gives willingness to grieve her, or make her sad, lest way to it to resign the cause even of his country she should pine, and be overcome with sorrow. But and his honor.-T. if Adam, in the state of perfection, and Solomon, the son of David, God's chosen servant, and himself a man endued with the greatest wisdom, did both of them disobey their Creator by the persuasion, and for the love they bare to a woman, it is not so wonderful as lamentable, that other men in succeeding ages have been allured to so many inconvenient and wicked practices by the persuasions of their wives, or other beloved darlings, who cover over and shadow many malicious purposes with a counterfeit passion of dissimulate sorrow and unquietness."
The motions of the minds of lovers are nowhere so well described as in the works of skillful wri ters for the stage. The scene between Fulvia and Curius, in the second act of Johnson's Catiline, is an excellent picture of the power of a lady over her gallant. The wench plays with his affections: and as a man, of all places in the world, wishes to make a good figure with his mistress, upon her upbraiding him with want of spirit, he alludes to enterprises which he cannot reveal but with the hazard of his life. When he is worked thus far, with a little flattery of her opinion of his gallantry, and desire to know more of it out of her overflowing fondness to him, he brags to her until his life is in her disposal.
When a man is thus liable to be vanquished by the charms of her he loves, the safest way is to determine what is proper to be done; but to avoid all expostulation with her before he executes what he has resolved. Women are ever too hard for us
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 16, 1712.
-Who could fail to find,
"FINDING that my last letter took, I do intend to continue my epistolary correspondence with thee, on those dear confounded creatures, women. Thou knowest all the little learning I am master of is upon that subject; I never looked in a book but for their sakes. I have lately met with two pure stories for a Spectator, which I am sure will please mightily, if they pass through thy hands. The first of them I found by chance in an English book, called Herodotus, that lay in my friend Dapperwit's window, as I visited him one morning. It luckily opened in the place where I met the following account. He tells us that it was the manner among the Persians to have several fairs in the kingdom, at which all the young unmarried women were annually exposed to sale. The men who wanted wives came hither to provide themselves. Every woman was given to the highest bidder, and the money which she fetched laid aside for the public use, to be employed as thou shalt hear by-and-by. By this means, the richest people had the choice of the market, and culled out the
most extraordinary beauties. As soon as the fair was thus picked, the refuse was to be distributed among the poor, and among those who could not go to the price of a beauty. Several of these married the agreeables, without paying a farthing for them, unless somebody chanced to think it worth his while to bid for them, in which case the best bidder was always the purchaser. But now you must know, Spec., it happened in Persia, as it does in our own country, that there were as many ugly women as beauties or agreeables; so that by consequence, after the magistrates had put off a great many, there was still a great many that stuck upon their hands. In order therefore to clear the market, the money which the beauties had sold for was disposed of among the ugly; so that a poor man, who could not afford to have a beauty for his wife, was forced to take up with a fortune; the greatest portion being always given to the most deformed. To this the author adds, that every poor man was forced to live kindly with his wife, or, in case he repented of his bargain, to return her portion with her to the next public sale. "What I would recommend to thee on this occasion is, to establish such an imaginary fair in Great Britain; thou couldst make it very pleasant by matching women of quality with cobblers and carmen, or describing titles and garters leading off in great ceremony shopkeepers' and farmers' daughters. Though, to tell thee the truth, I am confoundedly afraid, that as the love of money prevails in our island more than it did in Persia, we should find that some of our greatest men would choose out the portions, and rival one another for the richest piece of deformity; and that, on the contrary, the toasts and belles would be bought up by extravagant heirs, gamesters, and spendthrifts. Thou couldst make very pretty reflections upon this occasion in honor of the Persian politicians, who took care, by such marriages, to beautify the upper part of the species, and to make the greatest persons in the government the most graceful. But this I shall leave to thy judi
"I have another story to tell thee, which I likewise met with in a book. It seems the general of the Tartars, after having laid siege to a strong town in China, and taken it by storm, would set to sale all the women that were found in it. Accordingly he put each of them into a sack, and, after having thoroughly considered the value of the woman who was inclosed, marked the price that was demanded for her upon the sack. There was a great confluence of chapmen, that resorted from every part, with a design to purchase, which they were to do 'unsight unseen.' The book mentions a merchant in particular, who observed one of the sacks to be marked pretty high, bargained for it, and carried it off with him to his house. As he was resting with it upon a halfway bridge, he was resolved to take a survey of his purchase; upon opening the sack, a little old woman popped her head out of it; at which the adventurer was in so great a rage, that he was going to shoot her out into the river. The old lady, however, begged him first of all to hear her story, by which he learned that she was sister to a great mandarin, who would infallibly make the fortune of his brother in-law as soon as he should know to whose lot she fell. Upon which the merchant again tied her up in his sack, and carried her to his house, where she proved an excellent wife, and procured him all the riches from her brother that she had promised him.
"I fancy, if I was disposed to dream a second time, I could make a tolerable vision upon this
plan. I would suppose all the unmarried women in London and Westminster brought to market in sacks, with their respective prices on each sack. The first sack that is sold is marked with five thousand pounds. Upon the opening of it, I find it filled with an admirable housewife, of an agree able countenance. The purchaser, upon hearing her good qualities, pays down her price very cheerfully. The second I would open should be a five hundred pound sack. The lady in it, to our sur prise, has the face and person of a toast. As we are wondering how she came to be set at so low a price, we hear that she would have been valued at ten thousand pounds, but that the public had made those abatements for her being a scold. I would afterward find some beautiful, modest, and discreet women, that should be the top of the market; and perhaps discover half a dozen romps tied up together in the same sack, at one hundred pounds a head. The prude and the coquette should be valued at the same price, though the first should go off the better of the two. I fancy thou wouldst like such a vision, had I time to finish it; because, to talk in thy own way, there is a moral in it. Whatever thou mayest think of it, prithee do not make any of thy queer apologies for this letter, as thou didst for my last. The women love a gay lively fellow, and are never angry at the railleries of one who is their known admirer. I am always bitter upon them, but well with them. "Thine,
No. 512.] FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17, 1712.
Mixing together profit and delight. THERE is nothing which we receive with so much reluctance as advice. We look upon the man who gives it us as offering an affront to our understanding, and treating us like children or idiots. We consider the instruction as an implicit censure, and the zeal which any one shows for our good on such an occasion as a piece of presumption or impertinence. The truth of it is, the person who pretends to advise, does, in that particular, exercise a superiority over us, and can have no other reason for it, but that, in comparing us with himself, he thinks us defective either in our conduct or our understanding. For these reasons, there is nothing so difficult as the art of making advice agreeable; and indeed all the writers, both ancient and modern, have distinguished themselves among one another, according to the perfection at which they have arrived in this art. How many devices have been made use of, to render this bitter portion palatable! Some convey their instructions to us in the best chosen words, others in the most harmonious numbers; some in points of wit, and others in short proverbs.
But, among all the different ways of giving counsel, I think the finest, and that which pleases the most universally, is fable, in whatsoever shape it appears. If we consider this way of instructing or giving advice, it excels all others, because it is the least shocking, and the least subject to those exceptions which I have before mentioned.
This will appear to us, if we reflect, in the first place, that upon the reading of a fable, we are made to believe we advise ourselves. We peruse the author for the sake of the story, and consider the precepts rather as our own conclusions than his instructions. The moral insinuates itself imperceptibly; we are taught by surprise, and