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self so much fuller of faults than I had imagined; but I had the satisfaction of seeing them diminish. To avoid the trouble of renewing now and then my little book, which, by scraping out the marks on the paper of old faults, to make room for new ones in a new course, became full of holes, I transferred my tables and precepts to the ivory leaves of a memorandum book, on which the lines were drawn with red ink, that made a durable stain ; and on those lines I marked my faults with a black lead pencil ; which marks I could easily wipe out with a wet sponge. After a while I went through one course only in a year; and afterwards one in several years; till at length I omitted them entirely, being employed in voyages and businesses abroad, with a multiplicity of affairs, that interfered ; but I always carried my little book with me. My scheme of Order gave me the most trouble; and I found that though it might be practicable where a man's business was such, as to leave him the disposition of his time, that of a journeyman printer for instance, it was not possible to be exactly observed by a master, who must mix with the world, and often receive people of business at their own hours. Order too, with regard to places for things, papers, &c., I found extremely difficult to acquire. I had not been early accustomed to method, and having an exceedingly good memory, I was not so sensible of the inconvenience attending want of method. This article therefore cost me much painful attention, and my faults in it vexed me so much, and I made so little progress in amendment, and had such frequent relapses, that I was almost ready to give up the attempt, and content myself with a faulty cha. racter in that respect. Like the man who in buying an axe of a smith my neighbour, desired to have the whole of the surface as bright as the edge: the smith consented to grind it bright for him if he would turn the wheel : he turned while the smith pressed the broad face of the axe hard and heavily on the stone, which made the turning of it very fatiguing. The man came every now and then from the wheel to see how the work went on; and at length would take his axe as it was, without further grinding. “No," said the smith, “ turn on, turn on, we shall have it bright by and by; as yet 'tis only speckled.”—“ Yes,” said
" but I think I like a speckled axe best.” And I believe this may have been the case with many, who, having for want of some such means as I em. ployed, found the difficulty of obtaining good and breaking bad habits in other points of vice and virtue, have given up the struggle, and concluded that " a speckled axe is best.” For something, that pretended to be reason, was every now and then suggesting to me, that such extreme nicety as I exacted of myself might be a kind of foppery in morals, which, if it were known, would make me ridiculous ; that a perfect character might be attended with the inconvenience of being envied and hated ; and that a benevolent man should allow a few faults in himself, to keep his friends in countenance. In truth, I found myself incorrigible with respect to Order ; and now I am grown old, and my memory bad, I feel very sensibly the want of it. But on the whole, though I never arrived at the perfection I had been so ambitious of attaining, but fell far short of it, yet I was, by the endeavour, a better and a happier man than I otherwise should have been, if I had not attempted it; as those who aim at perfect writing by imitating the engraved
copies, though they never reach the wished-for ex. cellence of those copies, their hand is mended by the endeavour, and is tolerable while it continues fair and legible.
It may be well that my posterity should be informed, that to this little artifice, with the blessing of God, their ancestor owed the constant felicity of his life down to his 79th year, in which this is written. What reverses may attend the remainder is in the hand of Providence: but if they arrive, the reflection on past happiness enjoyed ought to help his bearing them with more resignation. To Temperance he ascribes his long-continued health, and what is still left to him of a good constitution. To Industry and Frugality, the early easiness of his circumstances and acquisition of his fortune, with all that knowledge that enabled him to be a useful citizen, and obtained for him some degree of reputation among the learned. To Sincerity and Justice, the confidence of his country, and the honourable employs it conferred upon him : and to the joint influence of the whole mass of the virtues, even in the imperfect state he was able to acquire them, all that evenness of temper and that cheerfulness in conversation which makes his company still sought for, and agreeable even to his young acquaintance. I hope, therefore, that some of my descendants may follow the example and reap the benefit.
PAPER, A POEM. Some wit of old-such wits of old there wereWhose hints show'd meaning, whose allusions care, By one brave stroke to mark all humankind, Call’d clear blank paper every infant mind ;
When still, as opening sense her dictates wrote,
The thought was happy, pertinent, and true ;
Various the papers various wants produce,
Pray note the fop—half powder and half lace
Mechanics, servants, farmers, and so forth,
The wretch, whom avarice bids to pinch and spare,
Take next the miser's contrast, who destroys Health, fame, and fortune, in a round of joys. Will any paper match him ? Yes, throughout, He's a true sinking paper, past all doubt.
The retail politician's anxious thought Deems this side always right, and that stark nought; He foams with censure ; with applause he ravesA dupe to rumours, and a tool of knaves : He'll want no type his weakness to proclaim, While such a thing as fools-cap has a name.
The hasty gentleman, whose blood runs high,
What are our poets, take them as they fall,
Observe the maiden, innocently sweet,
One instance more, and only one, I'll bring; 'Tis the great man who scorns a little thing, Whose thoughts, whose deeds, whose maxims are his
PEACE-MAKERS. To encourage in the arduous task *, you kindly tell me I shall be called blessed, &c. I have never yet known of a peace made, that did not occasion a great deal of discontent, clamour, and censure on both sides. This is perhaps owing to the usual management of the ministers and leaders of the contending nations, who, to keep up the spirits of their people for continuing the war, generally represent the state of their own affairs in a better light, and that of the enemy in a worse, than is consistent with the truth : hence the populace on each side expect better terms than really
* Of negotiating a peace with England.