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it, and I met with the more success, as those preceding languages had greatly smoothed my way. From these circumstances I have thought there is some incon. sistency in our common mode of teaching languages. We are told it is proper to begin first with the Latin, and having acquired that, it will be more easy to at. tain those modern languages which are derived from it; and yet we do not begin with the Greek, in order the more easily to acquire the Latin. It is true that if we can camber and get to the top of a staircase without using the steps, we shall more easily gain them in descending ; but, certainly if we begin with the lowest, we shall with more ease ascend to the top; and I would therefore offer it to the consideration of those who superintend the education of our youth, whether since many of those who begin with the Latin quit the same after spending some years without having made any great proficiency, and what they have learned becomes almost useless, so that their time has been lost ; it would not have been better to have begun with the French, proceeding to the Italian and Latin. For though after spending the same time they should quit the study of languages and never arrive at the Latin, they would, however, have acquired another tongue or two, that, being in modern use, might be serviceable to them in common life.
THE HANDSOME AND DEFORMED LEG.
There are two sorts of people in the world, who, with equal degrees of health and wealth, and the other comforts of life, become, the one happy, and the other miserable. This arises very much from the different views in which they consider things, persons, and events; and the effect of those different views upou their minds.
In whatever situation men can be placed, they may find conveniences and inconveniences; in whatever company, they may find persons and conversation more or less pleasing ; at whatever table, they may meet with meats and drinks of better and worse taste, dishes better and worse dressed ; in whatever climate, they will find good and bad weather; under whatever government, they may find good and bad laws, and good and bad administration of those laws; in whatever poem, or work of genius, they may see faults and beauties; in almost every face, and every person, they may discover fine features and defects, good and bad qualities.
Under these circumstances, the two sorts of people above mentioned fix their attention; those who are disposed to be happy, on the conveniences of things, the pleasant parts of conversation, the well dressed dishes, the goodness of the wines, the fine weather, &c. and enjoy all with cheerfulness : those who are to be unhappy, think and speak only of the con. traries. Hence they are continually discontented themselves, and, by their remarks, sour the pleasures of society, offend personally many people, and make themselves every-where disagreeable. If this turn of mind was founded in nature, such vnhappy persons would be the more to be pitied ; but, as the disposition to criticise, and to be disgusted, is, perhaps, taken up originally by imitation, and is, unawares, grown into a habit, which, though at present strong, may nevertheless be cured when those who have it are convinced of its bad effects on their felicity; I hope this little admonition may be of service to them, and put them
on changing a habit, which, though in the exercise it is chietly an act of imagination, yet has serious consequences in life, as it brings on real griefs and misfortunes ; for, as many are offended by, and nobody loves, this sort of people, no one shows them more than the most common civility and respect, and scarcely that; and this frequently puts them out of humour, and draws them into disputes and contentions. If they aim at obtaining some advantage in rank or fortune, nobody wishes them success, or will stir a step, or speak a word, to favour their preten. sions. If they incur public censure or disgrace, no one will defend or excuse, and many join to aggravate their misconduct, and render them completely odious. If these people will not change this bad habit, and condescend to be pleased with what is pleasing, with. out fretting themselves and others about the contraries, it is good for others to avoid an acquaintance with them, which is always disagreeable, and sometimes very inconvenient, especially when one finds one's self entangled in their quarrels.
An old philosophical friend of mine was grown, from experience, very cautious in this particular, and carefully avoided any intimacy with such people. He had, like other philosophers, a thermometer, to shew him the heat of the weather, and a barometer, to mark when it was likely to prove good or bad ; but there being no instrument invented to discover, at first sight, this unpleasing disposition in a person, be, for that purpose, made use of his legs, one of which was remarkably handsome, the other, by some accident, crooked and deformed. If a stranger, at the first interview, regarded his ugly leg more than his handsome one, he doubted him. If he spoke of it,
and took no notice of the handsome leg, that was sufficient to determine my philosopher to have no further acquaintance with him. Every body has not this two-legged instrument; but every one, with a little attention, may observe signs of that carping, fault-finding disposition, and take the same resolution of avoiding the acquaintance of those infected with it. I therefore advise those critical, querulous, discontented, unhappy people, that if they wish to be respected and beloved by others, and happy in them. selves, they should leave off looking at the ugly leg.
LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION. While acting, at Paris, in the capacity of ambasa sador from the congress, Dr. Franklin was greatly annoyed by strangers applying to him for letters of recommendation to America. In consequence of this, he drew up the following as a model for such letters, and (says his grandson) actually employed it in some instances, to shame the persons making such indiscreet applications.
Model of a letter of recommendation of a person you are unacquainted with.
Paris, April 2, 1777. Sir,
The bearer of this, who is going to America, presses me to give him
letter of recommendation, though I know nothing of him, not even his name. This may seem extraordinary, but I assure you it is not uncommon here. Sometimes, indeed, one une known person brings another equally unknown, to recommend him: and sometimes they recommend one another! As to this gentleman, I must refer you to himself for his character and merits, with which he is certainly better acquainted than I can possibly be: I recommend him, however, to those civilities which every stranger, of whom one knows no harm, has a right to ; and I request you will do him all the good offices, and show him all the favour that, on further acquaintance, you shall find him to deserve. I have the honour to be, &c.
THE WASTE OF LIFE.
Anergus was a gentleman of a good estate; he was bred to no business, and could not contrive how to waste his hours agreeably; he had no relish for any of the proper works of life, nor any taste at all for the improvements of the mind; he spent generally ten hours of the four-and-twenty in his bed ; he dozed away two or three more on his couch, and as many were dissolved in good liquor every evening, if he met with company of his own humour. Five or six of the rest he sauntered away with much indolence : the chief business of them was to contrive his meals, and to feed his fancy beforehand with the promise of a dinner and supper; not that he was so absolute a glutton, or so entirely devoted to appetite ; but chiefly because he knew not how to employ his thoughts better, he let them rove aboạt the sustenance of his body. Thus he had made a shift to wear off ten years since the paternal estate fell into his hands : and yet, according to the abuse of words in our day, he was called a man of virtue, because he was scarce ever known to be quite drunk, nor was his nature much inclined to lewdness.
One evening, as he was musing alone, his thoughts