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My Readers, who have, perhaps, been, many ©f them, accustomed to think Pofttenejs rather an. ornamental Accomplishment, than a Thing neeeffary to be acquired in order to an easy and. hap* fj Life„ may, from thence, pay less Attention, than, my Instructions require, unless I can convince them they are in the wrong. In order to. which, I must put them, in mind, thai the Tranquillity, and even Felicity of our Days, depends as. ftrongly on small things, as on great y of which* Meu may be easily convinced, if they but reflect how great Uneafbess they have experienced: from; cross Accidents, although they related but to* Trifles; and at the fame t^ne remember, that Disquiet is, of all others, the greatest Evil, let it arise from what k will.. . .
Now,, in- the Concerns of Life, as in those o£r Fortune, Numbers are brought into what are called bad Circumstances from, small. Neglect, rathe* than from any great Errors in material Affairs. People are too apt to think Iightlyof Shil?Ucgs aud Pence, for getting, that they are the constituent Parts of, Pounds; until, the Deficiency in, the greater Article shew them, their. Mistake, and; convince them> by fataii Experience, of a. Truth,, which, they might have learned from a little Attention,, viz. that great Sums are made up ot sinall.
Exactly parallel; to this, is that wrong Notion^, which.many have, that nothing more is due from, them, to their Neighbours, than what results from a.Principle of Honesty; which commands us
tm to pay our Debts, and forbids us to do Injuries: Whereas a thoufand little Civilities, Complacencies, and Endeavours to give others Pleasure, are requisite to keep up the Relish of Life, and procure us that Affection and Esteem, which every Man, who has a Sense of it, must desire. And irt the right timing, and discreet Management of these Punctilios, consists the Essence of what we call Politeness*
. Hc<w many knew the general Rules of Art,
Examples have,. generally speaking, greater Force than Precepts; I will therefore delineate the Characters of Hencriut and Garcia, two Gen" tlemen of my Acquaintance, whose Humours T have perfectly considered, and shall.present them. without the least Exaggeration..
Honorius is a Person equally distinguished by his Birth and Fortune. He. has naturally good: Sense; and that too hath been improved by a regular Education.. His wit is lively, and his Morals without a. Stain.—Is not this an amiable Character? Yet Honorius is not beloved. He has, some, way or other, contracted a Notion, that it
tic is beneath a Man of honour to fall below the Height of Truth in any Degree, or on any Occasion whatsoever. From this Principle, he speaks bluntly what he thinks, without regarding the Company who are by. Some Weeks ago, he read a Lecture on female Hypocrisy before a married Couple, though the.Lady was much suspected on that head. Two Hours after, he fell into a warm Declamation against Simony and Priestcraft, before two Dignitaries of the Church :. And, from a. continued Course of this Sort of Behaviour, hath rendered himself dreaded as a Mq^. tutor, instead of being esteemed as a Friend. j
Garcia, Oh the contrary, came into the World under the greatest Difadvantages. His Birth was. rgean, and his Fortune not to be mentioned ; yet.,. though he is scarce forty, he has acquired a- hand-. some Estate in the Country, and lives on it witfe more Reputation than most of his Neighbours*; While a Servitor at the University, he, by his Assiduitiesx recommended himself to. a Noble Lord* and thereby procured a Place of Fifty Pounds a■ Year in a public Office. His Behaviour there. made him as many Friends as there were Persona belonging to. that Board. His Readiness in doing. Favours gained. him the Hearts of his inferiors -v his Deference for those in the highest Characters in the Office, procured him their Good-will; andt the Complacency he expre.ssed towards his Equals,. "and those immediately above him, made them. espouse his. Interest with almost as much Warmth as they did their own. By this Management, .in MX Year's Time, he rose to the Possession of an
Osfice,, Office, which brought him in a thoufand Pounds a Year falary, and near double as much in Perquisites. Affluence hath made no Alteration inu his Manners. The fame Easiness of Disposition. attends him in that Fortune to which ithas raised. him; and he is at this Day the Delight of all .who • know him, from an Art he has of persuading them, that their Pleasures and their Interests are equally dear to him with his own.. Who, if it were in his Power,. would refuse what Hemriutpossesses? and who would not wish that Possession, accompanied with Garvia's Disposition ?.
I flatter myself, that, by this Time, most of. my Readers have acquired a tolerable Idea ef Politeness, and a just Notion of its Use, in our Pas— fcge through Life. I must', however, caution , them of one thing, that, under Presence of Politeness, they fall neither into a Contempt cr Carelessness of Science..
A Man may have much Learning without being a Pedant; nay, it is necessary that he shouldi have a.considerable Stock of Knowledge- before he ean be polite.. The Gloss is never given till the. Work. is finished; without it the best-wrought'. ffiece looks clumsy; but Varnishover a rough. Board, is a preposterous Daub. In a Word, that Rule of Her ace, Miscere utile Juki, so often quoted, can never be belter applied than in the present Cafe, where. neither os the. Qualities can; subsist without the other;
With Dress, sor once, the Rile os lise -we'll place j;
Cloth As slain Sense, and fo'ijbd Breeding, Lace*
Men may in-both wjinkt. the true Befign:
Having now gone through the prœcognita of Polite Philofophy,, it is requisite we should descend with greater Particularity into its several Branches.
For though Exactness would not be of a Piece, cither with the Nature or Intent of this Work; yet some Order is absolutely neeeffary, because nothing is more unpolite than to be obscure. Some Philosophers have, indeed, prided themselves in a mysterious way of speaking ; wrapping their Maxims' in fo tough a Coat, that the Kernel, when found, seldom atoned for the Pains of the finder.
The Polite Sage thinks in quite a different Way. Perspicuity is the Garment in which his Conceptions appear; and his Sentiments, if they are of any Use, carry this additional Advantage "with them, that scarce any Labour is required in attaining them. Graver Discourses, like galenical Medicines, are often formidable in their Figure, and nauseous in their Taste. Lectures from a Doctor in our Science, like a chymical Extraction convey Knowledge, as it were, by Drops i and restore Sense, as the other does Health, without the Apparatus of Physic.
Harjb to the Heart; and gritting to the Ear,