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ignorance or idleness, by which some discourage others and some themselves: the mutability of mankind will always furnish writers with new images, and the luxuriance of fancy may always embellish them with new decorations.
Numb. 99. Tuesday, OEloler 16, 1753. ■
— tyagnii tamen txciiit aufit, Ovid.
But in the glorious enterprize he dy'd. Addisok.
IT has always been the practice of mankind, to judge of actions by the event. The fame attempts, conducted in the fame manner, but terminated by different success, produce different judgments: they who attain their wishes, never want celebrators of their wisdom and their virtue; and they that miscarry, are quickly discovered to have been desective not only in mental but in moral qualities. The world will never be long without some good reason to hate the unhappy: their real faults are immediately detected; and is those are not sufficient to sink them into insamy, an additional weight of calumny will be superadded: he that fails in his endeavours aster wealth or power, will not long retain either honesty or courage.
This species of injustice has so long prevailed in univerfal practice, that it seems likewise to have in
G 2 sected sected speculation: so sew minds are able to separate the ideas of greatness and profperity, that even Sir IVilliam simple has determined, "that he who can "deserve the name of a hero, must not only be vir"tuous but fortunate."
By this unreasonable distribution of praise and blame, none have sufsered oftner than projectors, whofe rapidity of imagination and vastness'of design raise such envy in their sellow-mortals, thac every eye watches for their fall, and every, heart exults at their distresses: yet even a projector may gain favour by success; and the tongue that was prepared to hiss, then endeavours to excel others in loudness of applause.
When Coriolanus, in Shakespeare, deserted to yfufdiuS. , the Voljcian servants at first insulted him, even while he stood under the protection of the household gods; but when they faw that the project took effect, and the stranger was seated at the head of the table, one of them very judiciousty observes, *' that he always thought there was more in him "than he could think."
Matbiavel has justly animadverted on the difserent notice taken by all succeeding times, of the two great projectors Catiline and Csfar. Both formed the fame project, and intended to raise themselves to power, by subverting the commonwealth: they pursued their design, perhaps, with equal abilities, and with equal virtue; but Catiline ])crished in the field, and C^Jar returned from Pharjalia with unlimited authority: and from that time, every monarch of the earth has thought himself honoured by a comparison with Cfjar; and Cati
line has been never mentioned, but that his name might be applied to traitors and incendiaries.
In an age more remote, Xerxes projected the conquest of Greece, and brought down the power of jfsia against it: but aster the world had been filled with expectation and terror, his army was beaten, his fleet was destroyed, and Xerxes has been never mentioned without contempt.
A sew years asterwards, Greece likewise had her turn of giving birth to a projector; who invading jifia with a small army, went forward in search of adventures, and by his escape from one danger, gained only more rashness to rush into another: he stormed city aster city, over-ran kingdom aster kingdom, fought battles only for barren victory, and invaded nations only that he might make his way through them to new invasions: but having been fortunate in the execution of his projects, he died with the name of Alexander the Great.
These are, indeed, events of ancient times; but human nature is always the fame, and every age will afford us instances of publick censures influenced by events. The great business of the middle centuries, was the holy war; which undoubtedly was a noble project, and was for a long time profecuted with a spirit equal to that with which it had been contrived: but the ardour of the European heroes only hurried them to destruction; for a long time they could not gain the territories for which they fought, and, when at last gained, they could not keep them: their expeditions, therefore, have been the scoff of idleness and ignorance, their understanding and their virtue have been equally vili
G 3 fied,
fied, their conduct has been ridiculed, and their cauic has been defamed.
When Columbus had engaged king Ferdinand in the discovery of the other hemisphere, the failors, with whom he embarked in the expedition, bad f& little confidence in their commander, that after having been long at sea looking for coasts, which they expected never to find, they raised a genera] mutiny, and demanded to return. He found means to sooth them into a permission to continue the fame course three days longer, and on the evening of the third day descried land. Had the impatience of his crew denied him a sew hours of the time requested, what had been his fate but to have come back with the insamy of a vain projector, who bad betrayed the king's credulity to useless ex. pences, and risked his lise in seeking countries chat had no existence? how would thole that had rejected his propoffals, have triumphed in their acuteness? and when would his name have been mentioned, but with the makers of potable gold and malleable glass?
The last royal projectors with whom the world has been troubled, were Charles of Sweden and the Czjr of Muscovy. Charles, is any judgment may be formed of his designs by his measures and his enquiries, had purpofed first to dethrone the Czar, then to lead his army through pathless defarts into China, thence to make his way by the sword through the whole circuit of Jfia% and by the conquest of lurkty to unite Sweden with his new dominions: but this mighty project was crustted at Pnltou:*; and Chat'.a has since been considered as a madman by
thofe powers, who sent their ambassadors to solicit his friendship, and their generals "to learn under "him the art of was."
The Qzar found employment sufficient in his own dominions, and amused himself in digging canals, and building cities; murdering his subjects with insufferable fatigues, and transplanting nations from one corner of his dominions to another,. without regretting the thoufands that perished on the way: but he attained his. end, he made his people formidable, and is numbered by fame among the demi-gods.
J am far from intending to vindicate the fanguinary projects of heroes and conquerors, and would wish rather to diminish the reputation of their success, than the insamy of their miscarriages: for I cannot conceive, why he that has burnt cities, wasted nations, and filled the world with horror and desolation, Ihoujd be more kindly regarded by mankind, than he that died in the rudiments of wickedness; why he that accomplished mischief should be glorious, and he that only endeavoured it ihould be criminal. I would wish Cæsar and Catiline, Xerxes a.od 4U*«nder, Cburles and Peter, huddled together in obscurity or detestation,
But there is another species of projectors, to whom I would willingly conciliate mankind; whofe ends are generally laudable, and whofe labours are innocent; who are searching out new powers of nature, or contriving new works of art; but who are yet persecuted with incessant obloquy, and whom the univerfal contempt with which they are treated, often debars from that success which their
G 4 industry