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PART II. CHAP. I.-The character of John Bull's Mother-John had a mother, whom he loved and honoured extremely; a discreet, grave, sober, goodconditioned, cleanly old gentlewoman as ever lived; she was none of your cross-grained, termagant, scolding jades, that one had as good be hanged as live in the house with, such as are always censuring the conduct, and telling scandalous stories of their neighbours, extolling their own good qualities, and undervaluing those of others. On the contrary, she was of a meek spirit, and, as she was strictly virtuous herself, so she always put the best construction upon the words and actions of her neighbours, except where they were irreconcilable to the rules of honesty and decency. She was neither one of your precise prudes, nor one of your fantastical old belles, that dress themselves like girls of fifteen; as she neither wore a ruff, forehead-cloth, nor high-crowned hat, so she had laid aside feathers, flowers, and crimpt ribbons in her head-dress, furbelo scarfs, and hooped petticoats. She scorned to patch and paint, yet she loved to keep her hands and her face clean. Though she wore no flaunting laced ruffles, she would not keep herself in a constant sweat with greasy flannel; though her hair was not stuck with jewels, she was not ashamed of a diamond cross: she was not, like some ladies, hung about with toys and trinkets, tweezer-cases, pocketglasses, and essence bottles; she used only a gold watch and an almanac, to mark the hours and the holidays.
Her furniture was neat and genteel, well fancied with a bon gout. As she affected not the grandeur of a state with a canopy, she thought there was no offence in an elbow-chair; she had laid aside your carving, gilding, and japan work, as being too apt to gather dirt; but she never could be prevailed upon to part with plain wainscot and clean hangings. There are some ladies that affect to smell a stink in everything; they are always highly perfumed, and continually burning frankincense in their rooms; she was above such affectation, yet she never would lay aside the use of brooms and scrubbing brushes, and scrupled not to lay her linen in fresh lavender.
dispensable duty of cuckoldom; though she advanced her opinions with a becoming assurance, yet she never ushered them in, as some positive creatures will do, with dogmatical assertions-this is infallible; I cannot be mistaken; none but a rogue can deny it. It has been observed, that such people are oftener in the wrong than anybody.
Though she had a thousand good qualities, she was not without her faults, amongst which one might perhaps reckon too great lenity to her servants, to whom she always gave good counsel, but often too gentle correction. I thought I could not say less of John Bull's mother, because she bears a part in the following transactions.
CHAP. II.-The character of John Bull's sister Peg, with the quarrels that happened between Master and Miss in their childhood.-John had a sister, a poor girl that had been starved at nurse; anybody would have guessed miss to have been bred up under the influence of a cruel stepdame, and John to be the fondling of a tender mother. John looked ruddy and plump, with a pair of cheeks like a trumpeter; miss looked pale and wan, as if she had the green sickness; and no wonder, for John was the darling; he had all the good bits, was crammed with good pullet, chicken, pig, goose, and capon, while miss had only a little oatmeal and water, or a dry crust without butter. John had his golden pippins, peaches, and nectarines; poor miss a crab apple, sloe, or a blackberry. Master lay in the best apartment, with his bedchamber towards the south sun; miss lodged in a garret, exposed to the north wind, which shrivelled her countenance. However, this usage, though it stunted the girl in her growth, gave her a hardy constitution; she had life and spirit in abundance, and knew when she was illused: now and then she would seize upon John's commons, snatch a leg of a pullet, or a bit of good beef, for which they were sure to go to fisty-cuffs. Master was indeed too strong for her; but miss would not yield in the least point, but even when master has got her down, she would scratch and bite like a tiger; when he gave her a cuff on the ear, she would prick him with her knitting-needle. John brought a great chain one day to tie her to the bedpost, for which affront miss aimed a penknife at his heart.2 In short, these quarrels grew up to rooted aversions; they gave one another nick-names; she called him gundyguts, and he called her lousy Peg, though the girl was a tight clever wench as any was; and through her pale looks you might discern spirit and vivacity, which made her not, indeed, a perfect beauty, but something that was agreeable. It was barbarous in parents not to take notice of these early quarrels, and make them live better together, such domestic feuds proving afterwards the occasion of misfortunes to them both. Peg had, indeed, some odd humours and comical antipathy, for which John would jeer her. 'What think you of my sister Peg (says he), that faints at the sound of an organ, and yet will dance and frisk at the noise of a bag-pipe?' What's that to you, gundy
She was no less genteel in her behaviour, well-bred, without affectation, in the due mean between one of your affected curtsying pieces of formality, and your romps that have no regard to the common rules of civility. There are some ladies that affect a mighty regard for their relations: we must not eat to-day, for my uncle Tom, or my cousin Betty, died this time ten years; let's have a ball to-night, it is my neighbour such-a-one's birth-day. She looked upon all this as grimace, yet she constantly observed her husband's birth-day, her wedding-day, and some few more. Though she was a truly good woman, and had a sincere motherly love for her son John, yet there wanted not those who endeavoured to create a misunderstanding between them, and they had so far pre-guts! (quoth Peg) everybody's to choose their own vailed with him once, that he turned her out of doors, to his great sorrow, as he found afterwards, for
his affairs went on at sixes and sevens.
She was no less judicious in the turn of her conversation and choice of her studies, in which she far exceeded all her sex; your rakes that hate the company of all sober grave gentlewomen, would bear hers; and she would, by her handsome manner of proceeding, sooner reclaim them than some that were more sour and reserved. She was a zealous preacher up of chastity, and conjugal fidelity in wives, and by no means a friend to the new-fangled doctrine of the in
music.' Then Peg had taken a fancy not to say her pater noster, which made people imagine strange things of her. Of the three brothers that have made such a clutter in the world, Lord Peter, Martin, and Jack,3 Jack had of late been her inclinations: Lord Peter she detested; nor did Martin stand much better in her good graces; but Jack had found the way to her heart.
1 The nation and church of Scotland.
2 Henry VIII., to unite the two kingdoms under one sove
reign, offered his daughter Mary to James V. of Scotland, this offer was rejected, and followed by a war: to this event pro
bably the author alludes. See page 305 of this volume. 3 The Pope, Luther, and Calvin.
The following extract will serve as a specimen of Dr Arbuthnot's serious composition. It is taken from an essay on the
Usefulness of Mathematical Learning.
The advantages which accrue to the mind by mathematical studies, consist chiefly in these things: 1st, In accustoming it to attention. 2d, In giving it a habit of close and demonstrative reasoning. 3d, In freeing it from prejudice, credulity, and superstition. First, the mathematics make the mind attentive to the objects which it considers. This they do by entertaining it with a great variety of truths, which are delightful and evident, but not obvious. Truth is the same thing to the understanding as music to the ear and beauty to the eye. The pursuit of it does really as much gratify a natural faculty implanted in us by our wise Creator, as the pleasing of our senses: only in the former case, as the object and faculty are more spiritual, the delight is the more pure, free from the regret, turpitude, lassitude, and intemperance, that commonly attend sensual pleasures. The most part of other sciences consisting only of probable reasonings, the mind has not where to fix, and wanting sufficient principles to pursue its searches upon, gives them over as impossible. Again, as in mathematical investigations truth may be found, so it is not always obvious. This spurs the mind, and makes it diligent and attentive.
The second advantage which the mind reaps from mathematical knowledge, is a habit of clear, demonstrative, and methodical reasoning. We are contrived by nature to learn by imitation more than by precept; and I believe in that respect reasoning is much like other inferior arts (as dancing, singing, &c.), acquired by practice. By accustoming ourselves to reason closely about quantity, we acquire a habit of doing so in other things. It is surprising to see what superficial inconsequential reasonings satisfy the most part of mankind. A piece of wit, a jest, a simile, or a quotation of an author, passes for a mighty argument: with such things as these are the most part of authors stuffed; and from these weighty premises they infer their conclusions. This weakness and effeminacy of mankind, in being persuaded where they are delighted, have made them the sport of orators, poets, and men of wit. Those lumina orationis are indeed very good diversion for the fancy, but are not the proper business of the understanding; and where a man pretends to write on abstract subjects in a scientifical method, he ought not to debauch in them. Logical precepts are more useful, nay, they are absolutely necessary, for a rule of formal arguing in public disputations, and confounding an obstinate and perverse adversary, and exposing him to the audience or readers. But, in the search of truth, an imitation of the method of the geometers will carry a man farther than all the dialectical rules. Their analysis is the proper model we ought to form ourselves upon, and imitate in the regular disposition and progress of our inquiries; and even he who is ignorant of the nature of mathematical analysis, uses a method somewhat analogous to it. The composition of the geometers, or their method of demonstrating truths already found out, namely, by definitions of words agreed upon, by self-evident truths, and propositions that have been already demonstrated, is practicable in other subjects, though not to the same perfection, the natural want of evidence in the things themselves not allowing it; but it is imitable to a considerable degree. I dare appeal to some writings of our own age and nation, the authors of which have been mathe natically inclined. I shall add no more on this head, but that one who is accustomed to the methodical systems of truths which the geometers have
reared up in the several branches of those sciences which they have cultivated, will hardly bear with the confusion and disorder of other sciences, but endeavour, as far as he can, to reform them.
Thirdly, mathematical knowledge adds vigour to the mind, frees it from prejudice, credulity, and superstition. This it does in two ways: 1st, By accustoming us to examine, and not to take things upon trust. 24, By giving us a clear and extensive knowledge of the system of the world, which, as it creates in us the most profound reverence of the Almighty and wise Creator, so it frees us from the mean and narrow thoughts which ignorance and superstition are apt to beget. The mathematics are friends to religion, inasmuch as they charm the passions, restrain the impetuosity of imagination, and purge the mind from error and prejudice. Vice is error, confusion, and false reasoning; and all truth is more or less opposite to it. Besides, mathematical studies may serve for a pleasant entertainment for those hours which young men are apt to throw away upon their vices; the delightfulness of them being such as to make solitude not only easy, but desirable.
HENRY ST JOHN VISCOUNT BOLINGBROKE was in his own day the most conspicuous and illustrious of that friendly band of Jacobite wits and poets who adorned the reigns of Anne and George I. He is now the least popular of the whole. St John was descended from an ancient family, and was born at Battersea, in Surrey, in 1672. He was educated at Eton and Oxford. After some years of dissipation he entered parliament, and was successively secretary at war and secretary of state. He was elevated
to the peerage in 1712. On the death of Queen Anne, the seals of office were taken from him, and he was threatened with impeachment for the share he had taken in negotiating the treaty of Utrecht. Bolingbroke retired to France, and entered into the Pretender's service as secretary. Here, also, he became unpopular, and was accused of neglect and incapacity. Dismissed from his second secretaryship, he had recourse to literature, and produced his Reflections on Erile, and a letter to Sir William Wyndham, containing a defence of his conduct. In 1723 he obtained a full pardon, and returned to England; his family inheritance was restored to him, but be was excluded from the House of Lords. He commenced an active opposition to Walpole, and wrote a number of political tracts against the Whig ministry. In 1735 he retired again to France, and resided there seven years, during which time he produced his Letters on the Study of History, and a Letter on the True Use of Retirement. The last ten years of his life were spent at Battersea. In 1749 appeared his Letters on the Spirit of Patriotism, and Idea of a Patriot King, with a preface by David Mallet, which led to a bitter and acrimonious war of pamphlets. Bolingbroke's treatise had been put into the hands of Pope, that he might have a few copies printed for private circulation. After the death of Pope, it was found that an impression of 1500 had been printed, and this Bolingbroke affected to consider a heinous breach of
trust. The transaction arose from Pope's admiration of his friend; he had not only expended his time in correcting the work, but his money in printing it, without any possibility of deriving from it either credit or advantage.' The anger of Bolingbroke is more justly considered to have been only a pretext, the real ground of offence being the poet's preference of Warburton, to whom he left the valuable property in his printed works. Bolingbroke died in 1751, and
Bolingbroke's Monument in Battersea Church.
business; my head often full of schemes, and my heart as often full of anxiety. Is it a misfortune, think you, that I rise at this hour refreshed, serene, and calm; that the past and even the present affairs of life stand like objects at a distance from me, where I can keep off the disagreeable, so as not to be strongly affected by them, and from whence I can draw the others nearer to me? Passions, in their force, would bring all these, nay, even future contingencies, about my ears at once, and reason would ill defend me in the scuffle.'
A loftier spirit of philosophy pervades the following eloquent sentence on the independence of the mind with respect to external circumstances and situation:- Believe me, the providence of God has established such an order in the world, that of all which belongs to us, the least valuable parts can alone fall under the will of others. Whatever is best is safest, lies most out of the reach of human power, can neither be given nor taken away. Such is this great and beautiful work of nature-the world. Such is the mind of man, which contemplates and admires the world, where it makes the noblest part. These are inseparably ours; and as long as we remain in one, we shall enjoy the other. Let us march, therefore, intrepidly, wherever we are led by the course of human accidents. Wherever they lead us, on what coast soever we are thrown by them, we shall not find ourselves absolutely strangers. We shall meet with men and women, creatures of the same figure, endowed with the same faculties, and born under the same laws of nature. We shall see the same virtues and vices flowing from the same general principles, but varied in a thousand different and contrary
customs which is established for the same universal end-the preservation of society. We shall feel the same revolutions of seasons; and the same sun and moon will guide the course of our year. The same azure vault, bespangled with stars, will be everywhere spread over our heads. There is no part of the world from whence we may not admire those
Mallet (to whom he had left all his manuscripts) pub-modes, according to that infinite variety of laws and lished a complete edition of his works in five volumes. A series of essays on religion and philosophy, first published in this collection, disclosed the noble author as an opponent of Christianity. Of lofty irregular views and character, vain, ambitious, and vindictive, yet eloquent and imaginative, we may admire, but cannot love Bolingbroke. The friendship of Pope was the brightest gem in his coronet; yet by one ungrate-planets, which roll, like ours, in different orbits round ful and unfeeling act he sullied its lustre, and,
Like the base Judean, threw a pearl away,
The writings of Bolingbroke are animated by momentary or factions feeling, rather than by any fixed principle or philosophical views. In expression he is often vivid and felicitous, with a rambling yet lively style, and a power of moral painting that presents pictures to the eye of the mind. In one of his letters to Swift, we find him thus finely moralising-We are both in the decline of life, my dear dean, and have been some years going down the hill; let us make the passage as smooth as we can. Let us fence against physical evil by care, and the use of those means which experience must have pointed out to us; let us fence against moral evil by philosophy. We may, nay (if we will follow nature and do not work up imagination against her plainest dictates) we shall, of course, grow every year more indifferent to life, and to the affairs and interests of a system out of which we are soon to go. This is much better than stupidity. The decay of passion strengthens philosophy, for passion may decay, and stupidity not succeed. Passions (says Pope, our divine, as you will see one time or other) are the gales of life; let us not complain that they do not blow a storm. What hurt does age do us in subduing what we toil to subdue all our lives? It is now six in the morning; I recall the time (and am glad it is over) when about this hour I used to be going to bed surfeited with pleasure, or jaded with
the same central sun; from whence we may not discover an object still more stupendous, that army of fixed stars hung up in the immense space of the universe, innumerable suns, whose beams enlighten and cherish the unknown worlds which roll around them; and whilst I am ravished by such contemplations as these, whilst my soul is thus raised up to heaven, it imports me little what ground I tread upon.'
[National Partiality and Prejudice.]
There is scarce any folly or vice more epidemical among the sons of men than that ridiculous and hurtful vanity by which the people of each country are apt to prefer themselves to those of every other; and to make their own customs, and manners, and opinions, the standards of right and wrong, of true and false. The Chinese mandarins were strangely surprised, and almost incredulous, when the Jesuits showed them how small a figure their empire made in the general map of the world. Now, nothing can contribute more to prevent us from being tainted with this vanity, than to accustom ourselves early to contemplate the different nations of the earth, in that vast map which history spreads before us, in their rise and their fall, in their barbarous and civilised states, in the likeness and unlikeness of them all to one another, and of each to itself. By frequently renewing this prospect to the mind, the Mexican with his cap and coat of feathers, sacrificing a human victim to his god, will not appear more savage to our eyes than the Spaniard with a hat on his head, and a gonilla round
mory; and if he omitted anything, it was that very thing to which the sense of the whole question should have led him or confined him. To ask him a question was to wind up a spring in his memory, that rattled on with vast rapidity and confused noise, till the force of it was spent; and you went away with all the noise in your ears, stunned and uninformed. I never left him that I was not ready to say to him, Dieu vous fasse la grace de devenir moins savant!-['God grant you a decrease of learning !']—a wish that La Mothe le Vayer mentions upon some occasion or other, and that he would have done well to have applied to himself upon many.
his neck, sacrificing whole nations to his ambition, his avarice, and even the wantonness of his cruelty. I might show, by a multitude of other examples, how history prepares us for experience, and guides us in it; and many of these would be both curious and important. I might likewise bring several other instances, wherein history serves to purge the mind of those national partialities and prejudices that we are apt to contract in our education, and that experience for the most part rather confirms than removes; because it is for the most part confined, like our education. But I apprehend growing too prolix, and shall therefore conclude this head by observing, that though an early and proper application to the study of his- He who reads with discernment and choice, will tory will contribute extremely to keep our minds free acquire less learning, but more knowledge; and as from a ridiculous partiality in favour of our own this knowledge is collected with design, and cultivated country, and a vicious prejudice against others, yet with art and method, it will be at all times of immethe same study will create in us a preference of affec-diate and ready use to himself and others. tion to our own country. There is a story told of Abgarus. He brought several beasts taken in different places to Rome, they say, and let them loose before Augustus; every beast ran immediately to that part of the circus where a parcel of earth taken from his native soil had been laid. Credat Judæus Apella. This tale might pass on Josephus; for in him, I believe, I read it; but surely the love of our country is a lesson of reason, not an institution of nature. Education and habit, obligation and interest, attach us to it, not instinct. It is, however, so necessary to be cultivated, and the prosperity of all societies, as well as the grandeur of some, depends upon it so much, that orators by their eloquence, and poets by their enthusiasm, have endeavoured to work up this precept of morality into a principle of passion. But the examples which we find in history, improved by the lively descriptions and the just applauses or censures of historians, will have a much better and more permanent effect than declamation, or song, or the dry ethics of mere philosophy.
[Absurdity of Useless Learning.]
Thus useful arms in magazines we place, All ranged in order, and disposed with grace; Nor thus alone the curious eye to please, But to be found, when need requires, with ease. You remember the verses, my lord, in our friend's Essay on Criticism, which was the work of his childhood almost; but is such a monument of good sense and poetry, as no other, that I know, has raised in his riper years.
He who reads without this discernment and choice, and, like Bodin's pupil, resolves to read all, will not have time, no, nor capacity neither, to do anything else. He will not be able to think, without which it is impertinent to read; nor to act, without which it is impertinent to think. He will assemble materials with much pains, and purchase them at much expense, and have neither leisure nor skill to frame them into proper scantlings, or to prepare them for use. To what purpose should he husband his time, or learn architecture? he has no design to build. But then, to what purpose all these quarries of stone, all these mountains of sand and lime, all these forests of oak and deal?
[Unreasonableness of Complaints of the Shortness of Human Life.]
Some [histories] are to be read, some are to be studied, and some may be neglected entirely, not only without detriment, but with advantage. Some are the proper objects of one man's curiosity, some of another's, and some of all men's; but all history is not I think very differently from most men, of the an object of curiosity for any man. He who impro- time we have to pass, and the business we have perly, wantonly, and absurdly makes it so, indulges a to do, in this world. I think we have more of one, sort of canine appetite; the curiosity of one, like the and less of the other, than is commonly supposed. hunger of the other, devours ravenously, and without Our want of time, and the shortness of human life, distinction, whatever falls in its way, but neither of are some of the principal commonplace complaints, them digests. They heap crudity upon crudity, and which we prefer against the established order of things; nourish and improve nothing but their distemper. they are the grumblings of the vulgar, and the patheSome such characters I have known, though it is not tic lamentations of the philosopher; but they are imthe most common extreme into which men are apt to pertinent and impious in both. The man of business fall. One of them I knew in this country. He joined despises the man of pleasure for squandering his time to a more than athletic strength of body a prodigious away; the man of pleasure pities or laughs at the memory, and to both a prodigious industry. He had man of business for the same thing; and yet both conread almost constantly twelve or fourteen hours a-day cur superciliously and absurdly to find fault with the for five-and-twenty or thirty years, and had heaped Supreme Being for having given them so little time. together as much learning as could be crowded into a The philosopher, who mispends it very often as much head. In the course of my acquaintance with him, I as the others, joins in the same cry, and authorises consulted him once or twice, not oftener; for I found this impiety. Theophrastus thought it extremely hard this mass of learning of as little use to me as to the to die at ninety, and to go out of the world when he owner. The man was communicative enough; but had just learned how to live in it. His master Arisnothing was distinct in his mind. How could it be totle found fault with nature for treating man in this otherwise? he had never spared time to think; all was respect worse than several other animals; both very employed in reading. His reason had not the merit unphilosophically! and I love Seneca the better for of common mechanism. When you press a watch, or his quarrel with the Stagirite on this head. We see, pull a clock, they answer your question with precision; in so many instances, a just proportion of things, acfor they repeat exactly the hour of the day, and tell cording to their several relations to one another, that you neither more nor less than you desire to know. philosophy should lead us to conclude this proportion But when you asked this man a question, he over-preserved, even where we cannot discern it; instead whelmed you by pouring forth all that the several of leading us to conclude that it is not preserved where terms or words of your question recalled to his me- we do not discern it, or where we think that we see
the contrary. To conclude otherwise is shocking presumption. It is to presume that the system of the universe would have been more wisely contrived, if creatures of our low rank among intellectual natures had been called to the councils of the Most High; or that the Creator ought to mend his work by the advice of the creature. That life which seems to our self-love so short, when we compare it with the ideas we frame of eternity, or even with the duration of some other beings, will appear sufficient, upon a less partial view, to all the ends of our creation, and of a just proportion in the successive course of generations. The term itself is long; we render it short; and the want we complain of flows from our profusion, not from our poverty. We are all arrant spendthrifts; some of us dissipate our estates on the trifles, some on the superfluities, and then we all complain that we want the necessaries, of life. The much greatest part never reclaim, but die bankrupts to God and man. Others reclaim late, and they are apt to imagine, when they make up their accounts, and see how their fund is diminished, that they have not enough remaining to live upon, because they have not the whole. But they deceive themselves; they were richer than they thought, and they are not yet poor. If they husband well the remainder, it will be found sufficient for all the necessaries, and for some of the superfluities, and trifles too, perhaps, of life; but then the former order of expense must be inverted, and the necessaries of life must be provided, before they put themselves to any cost for the trifles or superfluities.
Let us leave the men of pleasure and of business, who are often candid enough to own that they throw away their time, and thereby to confess that they complain of the Supreme Being for no other reason than this, that he has not proportioned his bounty to their extravagance. Let us consider the scholar and philosopher, who, far from owning that he throws any time away, reproves others for doing it; that solemn mortal, who abstains from the pleasures, and declines the business of the world, that he may dedicate his whole time to the search of truth and the improvement of knowledge. When such a one complains of the shortness of human life in general, or of his remaining share in particular, might not a man, more reasonable, though less solemn, expostulate thus with him: Your complaint is indeed consistent with your practice; but you would not possibly renew your complaint if you reviewed your practice. Though reading makes a scholar, yet every scholar is not a philosopher, nor every philosopher a wise man. It cost you twenty years to devour all the volumes on one side of your library; you came out a great critic in Latin and Greek, in the oriental tongues, in history and chronology; but you were not satisfied. You confessed that these were the litera nihil sanantes, and you wanted more time to acquire other knowledge. You have had this time; you have passed twenty years more on the other side of your library, among philosophers, rabbis, commentators, schoolmen, and whole legions of modern doctors. You are extremely well versed in all that has been written concerning the nature of God, and of the soul of man, about matter and form, body and spirit, and space and eternal essences, and incorporeal substances, and the rest of those profound speculations. You are a master of the controversies that have arisen about nature and grace, about predestination and free will, and all the other abstruse questions that have made so much noise in the schools, and done so much hurt in the world. You are going on, as fast as the infirmities you have contracted will permit, in the same course of study; but you begin to foresee that you shall want time, and you make grievous complaints of the shortness of human life. Give me leave now to ask you how many thousand years God must prolong your
life in order to reconcile you to his wisdom and goodness? It is plain, at least highly probable, that a life as long as that of the most aged of the patriarchs would be too short to answer your purposes; since the researches and disputes in which you are engaged have been already for a much longer time the objects of learned inquiries, and remain still as imperfect and undetermined as they were at first. But let me ask you again, and deceive neither yourself nor me, have you, in the course of these forty years, once examined the first principles and the fundamental facts on which all those questions depend, with an absolute indifference of judgment, and with a scrupulous exactness? with the same that you have employed in examining the various consequences drawn from them, and the heterodox opinions about them? Have you not taken them for granted in the whole course of your studies? Or, if you have looked now and then on the state of the proofs brought to maintain them, have you not done it as a mathematician looks over a demonstration formerly made to refresh his memory, not to satisfy any doubt? If you have thus examined, it may appear marvellous to some that you have spent so much time in many parts of those studies, which have reduced you to this hectic condition of so much heat and weakness. But if you have not thus examined, it must be evident to all, nay, to yourself on the least cool reflection, that you are still, notwithstanding all your learning, in a state of ignorance. For knowledge can alone produce knowledge; and without such an examination of axioms and facts, you can have none about inferences.'
In this manner one might expostulate very reasonably with many a great scholar, many a profound philosopher, many a dogmatical casuist. And it serves to set the complaints about want of time, and the shortness of human life, in a very ridiculous but a true light.
[Pleasures of a Patriot.]
Neither Montaigne in writing his essays, nor Descartes in building new worlds, nor Burnet in framing an antediluvian earth, no, nor Newton in discovering and establishing the true laws of nature on experiment and a sublimer geometry, felt more intellectual joys, than he feels who is a real patriot, who bends all the force of his understanding, and directs all his thoughts and actions, to the good of his country. When such a man forms a political scheme, and adjusts various and seemingly independent parts in it to one great and good design, he is transported by imagination, or absorbed in meditation, as much and as agreeably as they; and the satisfaction that arises from the different importance of these objects, in every step of the work, is vastly in his favour. It is here that the speculative philosopher's labour and pleasure end. But he who speculates in order to act, goes on and carries his scheme into execution. His labour continues, it varies, it increases; but so does his pleasure too. The execution, indeed, is often traversed, by unforeseen and untoward circumstances, by the perverseness or treachery of friends, and by the power or malice of enemies; but the first and the last of these animate, and the docility and fidelity of some men make amends for the perverseness and treachery of others. Whilst a great event is in suspense, the action warms, and the very suspense, made up of hope and fear, maintain no unpleasing agitation in the mind. If the event is decided successfully, such a man enjoys pleasure proportionable to the good he has done a pleasure like to that which is attributed to the Supreme Being on a survey of his works. If the event is decided otherwise, and usurping courts or overbearing parties prevail, such a man has still the testimony of his conscience, and a sense of the honour