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· N° 263. Tuesday, January 1. . 1712.
Gratulor quod eum quem neceffe erat diligere, qualiscunque esset, talem habemus ut libenter quoque diligamus.
Trebonius apud Tull. Mr. SPECTATOR, 'T Am the happy Father of a very towardly Son, in "] whom I do not only fee my Life, but also my Man.* ner of Life, renewed. It would be extremely be6. neficial to Society, if you would frequently resume Sub
jects which serve to bind these Sort of Relations faster, Sand endear the Tyes of Blood with those of Good-will, • Protection, Observance, Indulgence and Veneration. I ' would, methinks, have this done after an uncommon • Method, and do not think any one, who is not capable. S of writing a good Play, fit to undertakea Work where' in there will necessarily occur so many secret Instincts, ' and Biasses of human Nature which would pass unob. 'served by common Eyes. I thank Heaven I have no ' outragious Offence against my own exellent Parents to • answer for, but when I am now and then alone, and ' look back upon my past Life, from my earliest Infancy '. to this Time, there are many Faults which I committed " that did not appear to me, even till I my self became ' a Father. I had not till then a Notion of the Earnings
of Heart, which a Man has when he sees his Child do ' a laudable Thing, or the sudden Damp which seizes • him when he fears he will act soniething unworthy. It. • is not to be imagined, what a Remorse touched me for ' a long Train of childish Negligences of my Mother, • when I saw my Wife the other Day look out of the. “ Window, and turn as pale as Ashes upon seeing my ' younger Boy sliding upon the Ice. These flight Inti'mations will give you to understand, that there are • numberless little Crimes which Children take no • notice of while they are doing, which upon Re.. • Alexion, when they shall themselves become Fathers, Vow. IV.
• they will look upon with the utmost Sorrow and • Contrition, that they did not regard, before those • whom they offended were to be no more seen. How • many thousand Things do I remember, which would * have highly pleased my Father, and I omitted for • no other Reason, but that I thought what he pro6 posed the Effect of Humour and old Age, which I am
now convinced had Reason and good Sense in it. I can• not now go into the Parlour to him, and make his ' Heart glad with an Account of a Matter which was of
no Consequence, but that I told it, and acted in it. The • good Man and Woman are long since in their Graves, r who used to fit and plot the Welfare of us their Chile “dren, while, perhaps, we were sometimes laughing at < the old Folks at another End of the House, The Truth • of it is, were we merely to follow Nature in these great • Duties of Life, tho' we have a strong Instinct towards • the performing of them, we should be on both sides 6 very deficient. Age is so unwelcome to the Generality c of Mankind, and Growth towards Manhood fo defira6 ble to all, that Resignation to Decay is too difficult a • Task in the Father ; and Deference amidst the Impulse • of gay Desires, appears unreasonable to the Son. There « are so few who can grow old with a good Grace, and • yet fewer who can come slow enough into the World, « that a Father, were he to be actuated by his Desires,
and a Son, were he to confult himself only, could nei“ther of them behave himself as he ought to the other. • But when Reason interposes against Instinct, where it • would carry either out of the Interests of the other, there • arises that happiest Intercourse of good Offices betweeno those dearest Relations of human Life. The Father ac• cording to the Opportunities which are offered to him, is • throwing down Blessings on the Son, and the Son endea• vouring to appear theworthyOffspring of such a Father. • It is after this Manner that Camillus and his first-born • dwell together. Camillus enjoys a pleasing and indolent • old Age, in which Passion is subdued, and Reason exalted. • He waits the Day of his Dissolution with a Resignation • mixed with Delight, and the Son fears the Accession of • his Father's Fortune with Diffidence, leit he should not • enjoy or become it as well as his Predeceflor. Add to
r this, that the Father knows he leaves a Friend to the • Children of his Friends, an easy Landlord to his Te
nants, and an agreeable Companion to his Acquair6 tance. He believes his Son's Behaviour will make him • frequently remembred, but never wanted. This Com( merce is so well cemented, that without the Pomp of • saying, Son, be a Friend to such a one when I am gone; • Camillus knows, being in his Favour, is Direction • enough to the grateful Youth who is to succeed him, < without the Admonition of his mentioning it. These • Gentlemen are honoured in all their Neighbourhood, and o the fame Effect which the Court has on the Manners • of a Kingdom, their Characters have on all who live 6 within the Influence of them.
• MY Son and I are not of Fortune to communicate our « good Actions or Intentions to so many as these Gentle, • men do ; but I will be bold to say, my Son has, by the • Applause and Approbation which his Behaviour to• wards me, has gained him, occasioned that many an old • Man, besides my self, has rejoiced. Other Mens Chil. • dren follow the Example of mine, and I have the inex. i pressible Happiness of overhearing our Neighbours as
we ride by, point to their Children, and say, with a « Voice of Joy, There they go.
«YOU cannot, Mr. Spectator, pass your Time better than in insinuating the Delights which these Re<lations well regarded bestow upon each other. Ordinary 6 Passages are no longer such, but mutual Love gives aii • Importance to the most indifferent things, and a Merit 6 to Actions the most insignificant. When we look round
the World, and observe the many Misunderstandings
which are created by the Malice and Infinuation of the 6 meanest Servants between People thus related, how ne• cessary will it appear that it were inculcated that Men 6 would be upon their Guard to support a Constancy of • Affection, and that grounded upon the Principles of • Reason, not the Impulses of Instiñet.
“IT is from the common Prejudices which Men re• ceive from their Parents, that Hatreds are kept alive • from one Generation to another ; and when Men act « by Instinct, Hatreds will defcend when good Ofices are forgotten. For the Degeneracy of human Life is such; C 2
that our Anger is more easily transferred to our Chil<dren than our Love. Love always gives something to
the Object it delights in, and Anger spoils the Person
against whom it is moved of something laudable in him: . From this Degeneracy therefore, and a sort of Self
Love, we are more prone to take up the Ill-will of our Parents, than to follow them in their Friendships.
• ONE would think there should need no more to • make Men keep up this sort of Relation with the ut: • most Sanctity, than to examine their own Hearts. If
every Father remembred his own Thoughts and Incli• nations when he was a Son, and every Son remembred • what he expected from his Father, when he himself ( was in a State of Dependence, this one Reflexion would • preserve Men from being diffolute or rigid in these se• veral Capacities. The Power and Subjection between " them when broken, make them more emphatically Ty« rants and Rebels against each other, with greater Cruelo ty of Heart, than the Disruption of States and Empires • can possibly produce. I shall end this Application to • you with two Letters which passed between a Mother · and Son very lately, and are as follows.
Dear F R A N K, "IF the Pleasures, which I have the Grief to hear you • 1 pursue in Town, do not take up all your Time, do • not deny your Mother fo much of it, as to read se« riously this Letter. You said before Mr. Letacre, that • an old Woman might live very well in the Country upon • half my Jointure, and that your Father was a fond Fool
to give me a Rent-Charge of Eight hundred a Year to • the Prejudice of his Son. What Letacre said to you up
on that Occasion, you ought to have born with more « Decency, as he was your Father's well-beloved Servant, " than to have called him Country-put. In the first Place, • Frank, I must tell you, I will have my Rent duly paid, • for I will make up to your Sisters for the Partiality I 6 was guilty of, in making your Father do so much as she has done for you. I may, it seems, live upon half • my Jointure! I lived upon much less, Frank, when • I carried you from Place to Place in these Arms, and I could neither eat, dress, or mind any Thing for Feed
‘ing and Tending you a weakly Child, and shedding « Tears when the Convulsions you were then troubled
with returned upon you. By my Care you outgrew " them, to throw away the Vigour of your Youth in the • Arms of Harlots, and deny your Mother what is not - yours to detain. Both your Sisters are crying to see the • Passion which I smother ; but if you please to go on < thus like a Gentleman of the Town, and forget all Re
gards to your self and Family, I fall immediately eni ter upon your Estate for the Arrear due to me, and « without one Tear more contemn you for forgetting the · Fondness of your Mother, as much as you have the « Example of your Father. O Frank, do I live to omit • Writing my felf,
Your Affectionate Mother,
MADAM, "I Will come down to-morrow and pay the Money on "I my Knees. Pray write so no more. I will take care ' you never shall, for I will be for ever hereafter Your most dutiful Son,
. I will bring down new Heads for my Sisters. Pray " let all be forgotten.
N? 264. Wednesday, January 2.
Secretum iter & fallentis Semita vite. Hor. T T has been from Age to Age an Affectation to love the
Pleasure of Solitude, among those who cannot poffibly
be supposed qualified for passing Life in that Manner. This People have taken up from reading the many agreeable Things which have been writ on that Subject, for which we are beholden to excellent Persons who delighted in being retired and abstracted from the Pleasures that enchant the generality of the World. This way of Life