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siches, and to consider those as the minions of for. tune, who are wealthy from their cradles, whose estate is “ res non parta labore sed relicta ;” « the “ acquisition of another, not of themselves ;” and whom a father's industry has dispensed from a laborious attention to arts or commerce, and left at liberty to dispose of life as fancy shall direct them.
If every man were wife and virtuous, capable to discern the best use of time, and resolute to practise it; it might be granted, I think, without hesitation, that total liberty would be a blessing; and that it would be desirable to be left at large to the exercise of religious and social duties, without the interruption of importunate avocations.
But since felicity is relative, and that which is the means of happiness to one man may be to another the cause of misery, we are to consider, what state is best adapted to human nature in its present degeneracy and frailty. And, surely, to far the greater number it is highly expedient, that they should by some settled scheme of duties be rescued from the tyranny of caprice, that they should be driven on by necessity through the paths of life with their attention confined to a stated task, that they may be less ac leisure to deviate into mischief at the call of folly.
When we observe the lives of those whom an ample inheritance has let loose to their own direction, what do we discover that can excite our envy? Their time seeins not to pass with much applause from others, or satisfaction to themselves : many squander their exuberance of fortune in luxury and debauchery, and have no other use of money than to infiame their passions, and riot in a wide range of
licentiousness; others, less criminal indeed, but, surely, not much to be praised, lie down to seep, and rise up to trifle, are employed every morning in finding expedients to rid themselves of the day, chase pleasure through all the places of publick resort, fly from London to Bath and from Bath to London, without any other reason for changing place, but that they go in quest of company as idle and as vagrant as themselves, always endeavouring to raise some new desire that they may have something to pursue, to rekindle some hope which they know will be disappointed, changing one amusement for another which a few months will make equally insipid, or finking into languor and disease for want of something to actuate their bodies or exhilarate their minds.
Whoever has frequented those places, where idlers assemble to escape from solitude, knows that this is generally the state of the wealthy; and froin this state it is no great hardship to be debarred. No man can be happy in total idleness: he that should be condemned to lie torpid and motionless, “ would fly for « recreation,” says South, “ to the mines and the “ gallies ;” and it is well, when nature or fortune find employment for those, who would not have known how to procure it for themselves.
He, whose mind is engaged by the acquisition or improvement of a fortune, not only escapes the insipidity of indifference, and the tediousness of inactivity, but gains enjoyments wholly unknown to those, who live lazily on the toil of others; for life affords no higher pleasure than that of surmounting difficulties, passing from one step of success to VOL. IX.
another, forming new wishes, and seeing them gracified. He that labours in any great or laudable undertaking, has his fatigues first supported by hope, and afterwards rewarded by joy; he is always moving to a certain end, and when he has at. tained it, an end more distant invites him to a new pursuit.
It does not, indeed, always happen, that diligence is fortunate; the wiseft schemes are broken by unexpected accidents; the most constant perseverance sometimes toils through life without a recompence; but labour, though unsuccessful, is more eligible than idleness; he that prosecutes 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 lait comforted in his disappointment, by the consciousness that he has not failed by his own fault.
That kind of life is most happy which affords us most opportunities of gaining our own esteem; and what cin any man infer in his own favour from a condition to which, however prosperous, he contributed nothing, and which the vilcit and weakest of the species would have obtained by the same rigit, had he happened to be the fon of the same triker.
Totuve wicis difficulties, and to conquer them, 15 the level human felicity; the next, is to strive, and derve to conquer: but he whose life has passed witho!!! 2 contet, and who can boaft neither success nor merit, can survey himlef only as a utuless filler
of existence ; and if he is content with his own character, must owe his satisfaction to infenfibility.
Thus it appears that the satirist 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 ipfis expendere Numinibus, quid
Dryden. What state of life 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
Scribimus indo di dotique.
111 dare to write, who can or cannot read.
HEY who have attentively considered the 1 history of mankind, know that every age has its peculiar character. At one time, no desire is felt but for military honours; every summer affords battles and sieges, and the world is filled with ravage, bloodshed, and devastation : this sanguinary fury at length fubfides, and nations are divided into factions, by controversies about points that will never be decided. Men then grow weary of debate and altercation, and apply themselves to the arts of protit; trading companies are formed, manufactures improved, and navigation extended; and nothing is any longer thought on, but the increase and prefcrvation of property, the artifices of getting money, and the pleasures of spending it.
The prerent age, if we consider chicfy the state of our own country, inay be filed with great propriety The age of Aurors; for, perhaps, there never was a cime, in which men of all degrees of ability, of every kind of education, of every profeffion and employment, were posting with ardour to general to the fres. The province of writing was formerly left to