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the less so, for not being attended to: and it is the nature of actions, not the number of actors, by which we ought to regulate our behaviour. Singalarity in concerns of this kind is to be looked upon as heroic bravery, in which a mau leaves the species only as he soars above it. What greater instance can there be of a weak and pusillanimous temper, than for a man to pass his whole life in opposition to his own sentiments? or not to dare to be wbat he thinks he ought to be?
Singularity, therefore, is only vicious when it makes men act contrary to reason, or when it puts them upon distinguishing themselves by trifles. As for the first of these, who are singular in any thing that is irreligious, immoral, or dishonourable, I believe every one will give them up. I shall therefore only speak of those only who are remarkable for their singularity in things of no importance, as in dress, behaviour, conversa. tion, and all the little intercourses of life. In these cases there is a certain deference due to custom; and notwithstanding there may be a colour of reason to deviate from the multitude in some particulars, a man ought to sacrifice his private inclinations and opinions to the practice of the public. It must be confessed that good sense often makes a humorist; but then it unqualifies him for any moment in the world, and renders him ridiculous to persons of a much inferior understanding.
I have heard of a gentleman in the north of Eug. land, who was a remarkable instance of this foolish singularity. He had laid it down as a rule within himself, to act in the most indifferent parts of life ac. cording to the most abstracted notions of reason and good sevse, without any regard to fashion or example. This humour broke out at first in many little odd. nesses : he had never any stated hours for his dinner, supper, or sleep; because, said he, we ought to attend the calls of nature, and not set our meals, but bring our meals to our appetites. In his conversation with
country gentlemen, he would not make use of a phrase that was not strictly true: he never told any of them, that he was his humble servant, but that he was his well-wisher, and would be rather thought a malecon. tent, than drink the king's health when he was not dry. He would thrust bis head out at the chamberwindow every morning, and after having gaped for fresh air about half an hour, repeat fifty verses as loud as he could bawl them for the benefit of his lungs; to which end he generally took them out of Homer; the Greek tongue, especially in that author, being more deep and sonorous, and more condncive to expecto. ration, than any other. He had many other particularities, for which he gave sound and philosophical reasons. As this humour still grew upon him, he chose to wear a turban instead of a periwig; concluding very justly, that a bandage of clean linen about his head was much more wholesome, as well as cleanly, than the caul of a wig, which is soiled with frequent perspirations. He afterwards judiciously observed, that the many ligatures in the English dress, must naturally check the circulation of the blood; for which reason, he made his breeches and his doublet of one continued piece of cloth, after the manner of the Hussars. In short, by following the pure dictates of reason,
be at length departed so much from the rest of his countrymen, and indeed from bis whole species, that his friends would have clapped him into Bedlam, and have begged his estate ; but the Judge being informed that he did no harm, contented himself with issuing ont a commission of lunacy against him, and putting his estate into the hands of proper guardians.
The fate of this philosopher puts me in mind of a remark in Monsieur Fontenelle's Dialogues of the Dead. “ The ambitious and the covetous,” says he, " are madmen to all intents and purposes, as much as those who are shut up in dark rooms; but they have VOL. II.
the good luck to have pumbers on their side; whereas the frenzy of one who is given up for a lunatic, is a frenzy hors d'æuvre;" that is, in other words, something which is singular in its kind, and does not fall in with the madness of the multitude.
Ipse thymum pinosque ferens de montibus altis,
EVERY station of life has duties which are proper
to it. Those wbo are determined by choice to. any particular kind of business are indeed more happy than those who are determined by necessity, but both are under an equal obligation of fixing on employments, which may be either useful to themselves, or beneficial to others: no one of the sons of Adam ought to think themselves exempt from that labour and industry which were denounced to our first parent, and in him to all his posterity. Those to whom birth or fortune may seem to make such an application un. necessary, ought to find out some calling or profession for themselves, that they may not lie as a burden on the species, and be the only useless part of the cre. ation.
Many of our country gentlemen in their busy hoars apply themselves wholly to the chase, or to some other diversion which they find in the fields and woods. This gave occasion to one of our most eminent English writers to represent every one of them as lying under a kind of curse prononnced to them in the words of Goliah," I will give thee to the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.”
Though exercises of this kind, when indulged with moderation, may have a good influence both on the mind and body, the country affords many other amuse ments of a more noble kind.
Among these I know none more delightful in itself, and beneficial to the public, than that of planting. I could mention a nobleman, whose fortune has placed bim in several parts of England, and who has always left these visible marks behind him, which show he has been there: he never hired a house in his life, without leaving all about it the seeds of wealth, and bestowing legacies on the posterity of the owner. Had all the gentlemen of England made the same im. provements upon their estates, our whole country would have been at this time as one great garden. Nor ought such an employment to be looked upon as too inglorious for men of the highest rank. There have been heroes in this art, as well as in others. We are told in particular of Cyrus the Great, that he planted all the Lesser Asia. There is indeed something truly magnificent in this kind of amusement: it gives a nobler air to some parts of nature; it fills the earth with a variety of beautiful scenes, and has something in it like creation. For this reason the pleasure of one who plants is something like that of a poet, who, as Aristotle observes, is more delighted with his productions than any other writer or artist what
Plantations have one advantage in them which is not to be found in most other works, as they give a pleasure of a more lasting date, and continually improve in the eye of the planter. When you have
finished a building, or any other undertaking of the like nature, it immediately decays upon your hands; you see it brought to the utmost point of perfection, and from that time hastening to its ruin. On the con. trary, when you have finished your plantations, they are still arriving at greater degrees of perfection as long as you live, and appear more delightful in every succeeding year, than they did in the foregoing.
But I do not only recommend this art to men of estates as a pleasing amusement, but as it is a kind of virtuous employment, and may therefore be inculcated by moral motives; particularly from the love which we ought to have for our country, and the regard which we ought to bear to our posterity. As for the first, I need only mention what is frequently observed by others, that the increase of forest-trees does by no means bear a proportion to the destruction of them, insomuch that in a few ages the nation may be at a Toss to supply itself with timber sufficient for the fleets of England. I know when a man talks of posterity in matters of this nature, he is looked upon with an eye of ridicule by the cunning and selfish part of mankind. Most people are of the humour of an old fellow of a college, who, when he was pressed by the society to come into something that might redound to the good of their successors, grew very peevish; “We are always doing,” says he, “ something for posterity, but I would fain see posterity do something for us.”
But I think men are inexcusable, who fail in a duty of this nature, since it is so easily discharged. When a man considers, that the putting a few twigs into the ground, is doing good to one who will make his appearance in the world about fifty years hence, or that he is perhaps making one of bis own descendants easy or rich, by so inconsiderable an' expense, if he finds bimself averse to it, he must conclude that he has a poor and base heart, void of all generous principles and love to mankind.
There is one consideration, which may very much