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another, forming new wishes, and seeing them gratified. He that labours in any great or laudable undertaking, has his fatigues first supported by hope, and asterwards rewarded by joy; he is always moving to a certain end, and when he has attained it, an end more distant invites him to a new pursuit.
It does nor, indeed, always happen, that diligence is fortunate; the wisest schemes are broken by unexpected accidents; the most constant perseverance sometimes toils through lise 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 reason; he is animated through the course of his endeavours by an expectation which, though not certain, he knows to be just; and is at last comforted in his difappointment, by the consciousness that he has not failed by his own fault.
That kind of lise is most happy which affords us most opportunities of gaining our own esteem; and what can any man inser in his own favour from a condition to which, however profperous, he contributed nothing, and which the vilest and weakest of the species would have obtained by the fame right, had he happened to be the son of the fame father.
To strive with difficulties, and to conquer them, ii the h'giiest h•.iman selicity; t!ic next, is to strive, and dei't•rve to conquer: but he whose lise has passed without a contest, and who can boast neither success nor merit, can survey himself only a* a useless siller
of of existence; and is he is content with his own character, must owe his fatisfaction to insensibility.
Thus it appears that the fatirist advised rightly, when he directed us to resign ourselves to the hands of Heaven, and to leave to superior powers the determination of our lot:
Permittes ipjis expendere Numinibus, quid
Intrust thy fortune to the pow'rs above:
What state of lise admits most happiness, is uncertain; but that uncertainty ought to repress the petulance of comparison, and silence the murmurs of discontent.
Numb. 115. Tuesday, December 11, 1753.
SaibimuiinJiBJ JcSliqut. Hor.
All dare to write, who can or cannot read.
THEY who have attentively considered the history of mankind, know that every age has its peculiar character. At one time, no desire is selt but for military honours; every summer affords battles and sieges, and the world is filled with ravage, bloodshed, and devastation: this fanguinary fury at length subsides, and nations are divided into factions, by controversies about points thit will never be decided. Men then grow weary of debate and altercation, and apply themselves to the arts of profit; trading companies are formed, manufactures improved, and navigation extended; and nothing is any longer thought on, but the increase and preservation of property, the artifices of getting money, and the pleasures of spending it.
The present age, is we consider chiefly the state of our own country, may be filled with great propriety The age of Authors; for, perhaps, there never was a time, in which men of all degrees ofability, of every kind of education, of every prosession and employment, were posting with ardour so general to the press. The province of writing was formerly left to
5 thole, thofe, who by study, or appearance of study, were suppofed to have gained knowledge unattainable by the busy part of mankind; but in these enlightened days, every man is qualified to instruct every other man; and he that beats the anvil, or guides the plough, not content with supplying corporal necessities, amuses himself in the hours of leisure 'with providing intellectual pleasures for his countrymen.
It may be observed, that of this, as of other evils, complaints have been made by every generation: but though it may, perhaps, be true, that at all times more have been willing than have been able to write, yet there is no reason for believing, that the dogmatical legions of the present race were ever equalled in number by any former period; for so widely is spread the itch of literary praise, that almost every man is an author, either in act or in purpose; has either bestowed his favours on the publick, or withholds them, that they may be more seasonably offered, or made more worthy of acceptance.
In former times, the pen, like the sword, was considered as consigned by nature to the hands of men; the ladies contented themselves with private virtues anddomestickexcellence; and a semale writer, like a semale warrior, was considered as a kind of excentric being, that deviated, however illustriously, from her due sphere of motion, and was, therefore, rather to be gazed at with wonder, than countenanced by imitation. But as the times past are faid to have been a nation of Amazons, who drew the
I 3 bow
bow and wielded the battle-axe, formed encampments and wasted nations; the revolution of year* has now produced a generation of Amazons of the pen, who with the spirit of their predecessors have set masculine tyranny at defiance, asserted their claim to the regions of science, and seem resolved to contest the usurpations of virility.
Some, indeed, there are of both sexes, who are authors only in desire, but have not yet attained the power of executing their intentions; whofe persorm^ ances have not arrived at bulk sufficient to form a volume, or who have not the confidence, however impatient of nameless obscurity, to solicit openly the assistance of the printer. Among these arc the innumerable correspondents of publick papers, who are always offering assistance which no man will receive, and suggesting hints that are never taken, and who complain loudly of the perverscness and arrogance of authors, lament their insensibility of their own interest, and fill the coffee-houses with dark stories of persormances by eminent hands, which have been offered and rejected,
To what cause this univerfal eagerness of writing can be properly ascribed, I have not yet been able to discover. It is faid, thaj every art is propagated in proportion to the rewards conserred upon it; a pofition from which a stranger would naturally inser, that literature was now blessed with patronage far transcending the candour or munificence of the Augustine age, that the road to greatness was open »o none but authors, and that by writing alone riches and honour were to be obtained.