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dealings, to be temperate in his pleasures, to support himself with fortitude under his misfortunes, to behave with prudence in all his affairs, and in every circumstance of life; I say, it is of much more real advantage to him to be thus qualified, than to be a master of all the arts and sciences in the world beside.
Virtue alone is sufficient to make a man great, glorious, and happy. He that is acquainted with Cato, as I am, cannot help thinking as I do now, and will acknowledge he deserves the name, without being honored by it. Cato is a man whom fortune has placed in the most obscure part of the country. His circumstances are such, as only put him above necessity, without affording him many superfluities; yet who is greater than Cato? I happened but the other day to be at a house in town, where, among others, were met men of the most note in this place. Cato had business with some of them, and knocked at the door. The most trifling actions of a man, in my opinion, as well as the smallest features and lineaments of the face, give a nice observer some notion of his mind. Methought he rapped in such a peculiar manner, as seemed of itself to express there was one, who deserved as well as desired admission. He appeared in the plainest country garb; his great coat was coarse, and looked old and threadbare ; his linen was homespun; his beard, perhaps, of seven days' growth; his shoes thick and heavy; and every part of his dress corresponding. Why was this man received with such concurring respect from every person in the room, even from those who had never known him or seen him before ? It was not an exquisite form of person, or grandeur of dress, that struck us with admiration.
I believe long habits of virtue have a sensible effect on the countenance. There was something in the air of his face, that manifested the true greatness of his mind, which likewise appeared in all he said, and in every part of his behaviour, obliging us to regard him with a kind of veneration. His aspect is sweetened with humanity and benevolence, and at the same time emboldened with resolution, equally free from diffident bashfulness and an unbecoming assurance.
The consciousness of his own innate worth and unshaken integrity renders him calm and undaunted in the presence of the most great and powerful, and upon the most extraordinary occasions. His strict justice and known impartiality make him the arbitrator and decider of all differences, that arise for many miles around him, without putting his neighbours to the charge, perplexity, and uncertainty of law-suits. He always speaks the thing he means, which he is never afraid or ashamed to do, because he knows he always means well, and therefore is never obliged to blush, and feel the confusion of finding himself detected in the meanness of a falsehood. He never contrives ill against his neighbours, and therefore is never seen with a lowering, suspicious aspect. A mixture of innocence and wisdom makes him ever seriously cheerful. His generous hospitality to strangers, according to his ability ; his goodness, his charity, his courage in the cause of the oppressed, his fidelity in friendship, his humility, his honesty and sincerity, his moderation, and his loyalty to the government; his piety, his temperance, his love to mankind, his magnanimity, his public-spiritedness, and, in fine, his consummate virtue, make him justly deserve to be esteemed the glory of his country.
“ The brave do never shun the light;
Just are their thoughts, and open are their tempers ;
Who would not rather choose, if it were in his choice, to merit the above character, than be the richest, the most learned, or the most powerful man in the province without it?
Almost every man has a strong natural desire of being valued and esteemed by the rest of his species, but I am concerned and grieved to see how few fall into the right and only infallible method of becoming
That laudable ambition is too commonly, misapplied, and often ill employed. Some, to make themselves considerable, pursue learning; others grasp at wealth; some aim at being thought witty; and others are only careful to make the most of a handsome person; but what is wit, or wealth, or form, or learning, when compared with virtue? It is true, we love the handsome, we applaud the learned, and we fear the rich and powerful; but we even worship and adore the virtuous. Nor is it strange; since men of virtue are so rare, so very rare to be found. If we were as industrious to become good as to make ourselves great, we should become really great by being good, and the number of valuable men would be much increased; ; but it is a grand mistake to think of being great without goodness; and I pronounce it as certain, that there was never yet a truly great man, that was not at the same time truly virtuous.
0 Cretico! thou sour philosopher! thou cunning statesman! thou art crafty, but far from being wise. When wilt thou be esteemed, regarded, and beloved like Cato? When wilt thou, among thy creatures, meet with that unfeigned respect and warm good-will, that all good men have for him ? Wilt thou never understand, that the cringing, mean, submissive deportment of thy dependents, is (like the worship paid by Indians to the Devil) rather through fear of the
harm thou mayest do them, than out of gratitude for the favors they have received of thee? Thou art not wholly void of virtue; there are many good things in thee, and many good actions reported of thee. Be advised by thy friend. Neglect those musty authors; let them be covered with dust, and moulder on their proper shelves; and do thou apply thyself to a study much more profitable, the study of mankind and thyself.
This is to give notice, that the Busy-Body strictly forbids all persons, from this time forward, of what age, sex, rank, quality, degree, or denomination soever, on any pretence, to inquire who is the author of this paper, on pain of his displeasure, (his own near and dear relations only excepted.)
It is to be observed, that if any bad characters happen to be drawn in these papers, they mean no particular person, if they are not particularly applied.
Likewise, that the author is no party-man, but a' general meddler.
N. B. Cretico lives in a neighbouring province.
THE BUSY-BODY.- No. IV.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 1728-9.
Ne quid nimis.* In my first paper I invited the learned and the ingenious to join with me in this undertaking, and I now repeat that invitation. I would have such gentlemen take this opportunity (by trying their talent in
Nam id arbitror
writing) of diverting themselves and friends, and improving the taste of the town. And because I would encourage all wit of our own growth and produce, I hereby promise, that whoever shall send me a little essay on some moral or other subject, that is fit for public view in this manner, (and not basely borrowed from any other author,) I shall receive it with candor, and take care to place it to the best advantage. It will be hard if we cannot muster up in the whole country a sufficient stock of sense to supply the Busy-Body at least for a twelvemonth.
For my own part, I have already professed, that I have the good of my country wholly at heart in this design, without the least sinister view; my chief purpose being to inculcate the noble principles of virtue, and deprecate vice of every kind. But, as I know the mob hate instruction, and the generality would never read beyond the first line of my lectures, if they were actually filled with nothing but wholesome precepts and advice, I must therefore sometimes humor them in their own way. There are a set of great names in the province, who are the common objects of popular dislike. If I can now and then overcome my reluctance, and prevail with myself to satirize a little one of these gentlemen, the expectation of meeting with such a gratification will induce many to read me through, who would otherwise proceed immediately to the foreign news. As I am very well assured the greatest men among us have a sincere love for their country, notwithstanding its ingratitude, and the insinuations of the envious and malicious to the contrary, so I doubt not but they will cheerfully tolerate me in the liberty I design to take for the end above mentioned.
As yet I have but few correspondents, though they begin now to increase. The following letter, left for