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have often told me, that it is the duty of every man to remain contented with hissituation and circumstances in that station wherein Providence has placed him; "and that the temptations with which weare surrounded, ought to be considered as so many motives to duty and watchfulness. That the more vigilant we are in watching against temptations to vice, the greater will be our reward hereafter. For my own part, my present resolution is to apply myself with the greatest diligence to my studies, and associate myself with as few strangers as possible. But as I am well convinced of the frailty of human nature, and the vanity of our most virtuous resolutions, I must still beg to hear from you as often asis convenient. Yourinstructions were always as pleasing as useful when I' was present with you, and will be much more so now that I am removed so far distant. I shall not trouble you with any more at this time, but subseribe myself,
Yours, in love, gratitude, and sincerity.
with the care of youth, who is not equally concerned for the purity of their morals, as he is for the proficiency they make in their studies. When I considen your letter, filled with so many just remarks on the great depravity of human nature, I rejoice that my care of your morals has not been yet rendered useless. When I read your account of the many impositions practised on the simple and unwary in London, together with the many temptations virtue is daily surrounded with, I am sorry, it is not in my powerto point out the different methods used by these misereants to debauch innocence, and propagate vice. I have often told you that I never was in London, and consequently a stranger to all you have mentioned. All I can say is that it must be your continual care to keep in mind those divine prea cepts of our holy religion, where God has declared, that he will punish or reward, in proportion to the degree of knowledge whereof we are possessed. It is an awful consideration to read those words of our Lord, "To those to whom much is given, from them much will be required".
But, sir, you are now entered on the study of a profession, which though honourable and useful, yet the generality of people have considered as a real mystery of iniquity, and that as soop as a gentleman enters on the profession of the law, he shakes off all regard to moral obligations, and is equally anxious of being employed as an agent, whether the cause be good or bad. This may be sometimes (and perhaps too often) true; but then it ought to be considered, that it is not the profession itself, but only the abuse of it that occasions such complaints. There is not one profession in the world exempted from it: and ever since there was a Judas in Christ's family, there have been hypocrites in his church. --The law has had both its Hale and Jefferies. I am convinced, that you may be as honest a man, and as pious a Christian, at the bar or on the bench, as if you were in the pulpit,
It was remarkable of the great Earl of Clarendon, that when he presided in the court of chancery, his decrees were so equitable, that no appeal was ever made from his decisions; and the following anecdote may, in some measure, elucidate the reasons for his integrity in such iniquitous times:
Whilst he was solicitor-general in the reign of Charles I. be went, during the long vacation, to visit
his aged father in the country, and being walking together one day in the garden, the old
gentleman addressed his son in the following manner: "Son, you are now advanced to the highest eminence at the bar, and may one time or other preside on the bench; I have been often cold, that gentlemen of your profession are as ready to engage in a bad as in a good cause; but be assured ihat if ever, in order to aggrandize yourself, you should become an advocate for despotism, at the expense of the liberty of your country, you may, like Samson of old, lay hold of the pillars, and demolish the fabric; but
you will perish under the ruins.” No sooner had he uttered these words, than he dropped down in a fic of apoplexy, and expired immediately. This is said to have had such an effect on the son, that he was determined ever after to act consistently with the dictates of his conscience. Bishop Burnet tells us, that when his father was at the bar, he constantly observed the following rules:
First, Never to undertake a cause that he knew to be bad.
Secondly, Never to deny to plead for those who were unable to pay him. And,
Thirdly, Never to ask any fee from a clergyman when he sued in the right of his benefice.
The great Sir Matthew Hale tells us, that his prosperity in secular affairs during the week, succeeded in proportion to his attention to religious duties on the Sunday. His fordship was as great an ornament to Christianity as he was an honour to the law. Such examples as I have men. tioned, cannot fail, I think, to stir you up to emulation, and one day or other you may be advanced to the highest seats in the courts of judicature. Let me beg to hear from you as often as is consistent with your other avocations; and in the mean time continue to persevere in the same course of virtue you have begun. Virtue is its own reward, and you will at last be convinced, that her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.'
I am, dear sir, your sincere well-wisher.
From a young merchant to an aged gentleman, formerly of
the same profession, but now retired from business.
Honoured Sir, Y.
OUR generosity in sending me instructions during my
apprenticeship, willever remain a lasting proof of that innate goodness for which you have been long justly celebrated, and likewise encourages me to trouble you for' advice how to conduct, myself, so as to support my credit in the world, now I am entered upon business. Your long and extensive knowledge of mercantile affairs, gives a sanction to every thing you say, and your goodness of heart encourages the unexperienced to address themselves to you with cheerfulness. I have been now about two years in business, and although my success has been equal to my expectations, yet there are such a variety of failures daily in this city, that I am every day thinking my own name may be that week in the gazette. I should not be much sur. prised, were all to become bankrupts who are of abandon ed characters, as I do not see how any thing less can be ex. pected. You know, sir, that assiduity and regularity are qualifications indispensably necessary to the merchant ; SO
that it must appear morally impossible for the man to pros. per in trade, whose time is spent in dissipation and idleness, if not (which too often happens) in debauchery. When I hear of such failing in their payments, I am no way surprised; but when great numbers of those apparently in affluent circumstances, and the fairest characters, daily fail, I am justly alarmed, and my fears continue to increase in proportion to their numbers.
I would not choose to judge rashly, much less uncharitably, of any men; although; I must confess, I am very much shocked when I hear that a commission of bankruptcy is awarded against one supposed worth thousands, and not suficient left to pay five shillings in the pound. I am filled with horror on account of my own situation, and led to believe, that there is a latent curse attending mercantile affairs, "which the greatest prudence can neither see oor prevent. I am sensible that the person to whom I am writing knows the above to be true. Your long acquaintance with the fluctuating state of merchandize procures respect, and gives a sanction to every thing you say: but, as far as I am able to learn, those failings in the mercantile world are - more frequent'now than when you was engaged in trade. I am not ambitious of acquiring riches; my whole desire is to obtain a peaceable possession of the comforts of life, to do justice to every one with whom I have
dealings, and to live and die an honest man. Such, sir, is the plan I have laid down for my future conduct in life: but alas! it will require the assistance of all my friends to enable me to execute it with a becoming propriety. Let me therefore beg your advice on an affair of so much importance, and whatever you dictate shall be the invariable rule of my conduct, whilst the thanks of a grateful heart shall be continually returned for so benevolent an action.
I am, sir, &c. LETTER CXX.
The answer. Sir, IF FI can furm any judgment of the integrity of your actions,
and the purity of your intentions, from the contents of the letter now before me, I should not hesitate one moment in declaring; that it is almost impossible your name will ever appear in the gazette under the disagreeable circumstances you have mentioned: for how is it possible to suppose, that the man who keeps a regular account of his proceedings, his loss and gain, should not know whether his circumstances are affluent or distressed? and whatever you may think of those merchants who have often failed, although reputed affluent, yet if you had atlended to their examination before the commissioners, I believe you would have great reason to alter your opinicn. I speak concerning bankruptcies in general; for there are some unforeseen accidents, which even
the greatest prudence cannot prevent. But these are extraordinary cases, and seldom happen. If you examine,
e minutely into the nature of those causes which generally occasion bankruptcies, you will find them arising from something with which you are still unacquainted. I shall endeavour to point out a few, and submit to your own judgment whether I am mistaken or not. And the first is generally a careless atļention to business the not keeping regular accounts, and a more earnest desire after public entertainments, than 'assiduity to business on the 'change. Mercantile affairs require a clear and solid judgment; and it is moralli that man to prosper trade, whose mind is continually engaged in the pursuit of things foreign to, and wholy unconnected with thiat station ia which providence has placer him. It is a contradiction in terms. Assiduity always procures respect, and generally insures success. Another cause of the many failures in the mercantile world, is the vanity of those in trade, lising above their circumstances. This vice is at present so predominant among the citizens, and its consequences so fatal, that one would almost imagine the people were labouring under Some penal infatuation. Forraerly the citizens of London were distinguished in a peculiar manner for their gravily; the 'change and the custom-nouse were the only places They frequented
they went from home. But now the face of affairs is changed, and those places where their predecessors acquired fortunes, are considered as 100 low and vulgar for them to be seen at. Nay, so far have they carried their extravagance, that all distinctions are in a manner contounded, and the wife of a iradesman is hardly known from the lady of a peer. Dissipation, extravaganca, and even debanchery, hare taken place of activity, prildence, and frugality; that instead of acquiring independ