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The just man whose life is spotless, and who will never show dhe leam mark of cowardice, will refuse to soil his hapds with manslaughter, and will on that account be the more honored ; ever ready to serve his coun. try, protect the helpless, fulfil the most dangerous duties, and defend, od every just and honorable occasion, what is dear to him at the expense of his life; all his actions are accompanied with that unshaken firmness, which true courage alone possesses. Through the assurance of a good conscience, he walks bare faced and neither avoids nor seeks his enemy; he fears dying less than he fears doing a bad action; he dreads the crime and not the danger; if vile prejudices arise one moment against him, every day of his honorable life is a fresh witness which contradicts them; and in so consistent a conduct, we judge of one action by all the others.
Men who are easily affronted, and so ready to offend others, are for the most part, very dishonest people ; who, fór fear the world should show them openly the contempt, in which they are held, attempt to hide the infamy of their whole lives, by some affairs of honor.
Such a one makes an effort, and presents himself once, to obtain à right to hide himself the rest of his life; true courage has more constancy and less eagerness; is always what it ought to be, and wants neither to be excited nor restrained. The good man possesses it every where; in battle against the enemy; in company, in favor of the absent and truth ; in his bed against the attacks of pain and death. The force of soul which inspires him, is of use at all times; it places virtue constant fy above events, and does not consist in fighting, but in fearing nothing
LETTER 186. To a young Gentleman on his Marriage. By Mrs. Piozzi. AY DEAR SIR,
I received the news of your marriage with infinite delight, and hope shat the sincerity with which I wish you happiness, may excuse the liberty I take in giving you a few rules, whereby more certainly to obtain
I see you smile at my wrong-headed kindness, and reflecting on the charms of your bride, cry out in a rapture, that you are happy enough without my rules. I know you are; but after one of the forty years which I hope you will pass pleasantly together, are over, this letter may come in turn, and rules for felicity may not be found unnecessary, bow. ever sonie of them may appear impracticable.
Could that kind of love be kept alive through a married state, which makes the charm of a single one, the sovereign good would no longer be sought for ; in the union of two faithful lovers it would be found. But reason shows us that this is impossible, and experience informs us tha' it never was so ; we must preserve it as long, and support it as happily
When your present violence of passion subsides, however, and a mora cool and tranquil affection takes its place, be not hasty to censure you self as indifferent, or to lament yourself as unhappy; you have lost tha only which it is impossible to retain, and it were graceless amid th: pleasures of a prosperous sumner to regret the blossoms of a transien spring. Neither unwarily condemn your bride's insipidity, till you hor
as we can.
recol. cted that no object however sublime, no sounds towerer charnung, canr ntinue to transport us with delight, when they no longer strike us with ovelty. The skill to renovate the powers of pleasing are said irdeea ) u possessed by some women in an eminent degree, but the artifices f maturity are seldom seen to adorn the innocence of youth ; yon have inde your choice, and ought to approve it.
Sa 'ety follows quick upon the heels of possession ; and to be happy, we r ist always have something in view. The person of your lady is alrea 'v all your own, and will not grow more pleasing in your eyes, I doub' though the rest of your sex will think her handsomer for these doze years. Turn therefore all your attention to her mind, which dai. ly gr vs brighter by polishing, ., Study some easy science together, and acqu . a similarity of taste while you enjoy a community of pleasures. You ill, by this means, have many images in common, and be freed from e necessity of separating to find amusement. Nothing is so dangero to wedded love, as the possibility of either being happy out of the comply of the other : endeavor, therefore, to cement the present inti. macy in every side Let your wife never be kept ignorant of your income your expenses, your friends..., 5 or aversions ; let her know your very ults, but make them amiable by your virtues ; consider all con. cealn nt as a breach of fidelity; let her never have any thing to find aut i your character, and remember, that from the moment one of the parti is turns spy upon the other, they have commenced a state of hos. ülity
Se k not for happiness in singularity; and dread a refinement of wisdone is a deviation into folly. Listen not to those sages who advise you alwa ito scorn the counsel of a woman, and if you comply with her re: quest pronounce you wife-ridden. Think not any privation, except of posit e evil, and excellence; and do not congratulate yourself that your wife is not a learned lady, or is wholly ignorant how to make a pudding. Cook ry, and learning, are both good in their places, and may both be used vith advantage.
Wh regard to expense I can only observe, that the money laid out in the chase of distinction is seldom or never profitably employed. We live i an age when splendiu equipage and glittering furniture are grown
amon to catch the notice of the meanest spectator; and for the grea! i'ones, they only regard our wasteful folly with silent contempt,
n indignation. This may, perhaps, be a displeasing reflection, but ! : following consideration ought to make amends. The age we live in, f , I think, peculiar attention to the higber distinctions of wit, kpop edge and virtue, to which we may more safely, more cheaply, and more lopcrably aspire. The giddy flirt of quality frets at the respect she es paid to Lady Edgecumbe, and the gay wunce sits pining for a part r, while Jones, the orientalist, leads up the ball.
I: id that the person of your lady would not grow more pleasing to you, ut pray let her never suspect that it grows so; that
woman will pard van affront to her understanding much sooner than one to her per.
s well known; nor will any of us contradict the assertion. 'All our lainments, all our arts, are employed to gain and keep the heart of mo; and what mortification can exceed the disay pointment, if the end 12: not obtained ? There is no reproof however pointed, no pup
ishment however severe, that a woman of spirit will not prefer to i lect; and if she can endure it without complaint, it only proves that in means to make herself amends by the attention of others for the sliy ts of her hnsband. For this and for every reason, it behoves a mari ed inan not to let his politeness fail, though his ardor may abate; but to tain, at least, that general civility towards his own lady which he is so willing to pay to every other, and not coow a wife of eigliteen or twr: ty years old, that every man in company can treat her with more comp' i. cence than he who so often vowed to her eternal fonduess.
It is not my opinion that a young woman should be indulged in e ty wild wish of her gay heart or giddy head, but contradiction may be s ft. ened by domestic kindness, and quiet pleasures substituted in the plar of poisy ones. Public amusements are not indeed so expensive as is so..etimes imagined, but they tend to alienate the minds of married pe file from each other. A well chosen society of friends and acquainta ve, more eminent for virtue and good sense than for gaiety and splendor, where the conversation of the day may afford comment for the even go seems the most rational pleasure this great town can afford.
That your own superiority should be always seen, but never felt, so .09 an excellent general rule. A wife should out-shine her husband in a b. ing, not even in her dress. If she happens to have a taste for the ri. fling distinction that finery can confer, suffer her not a moment to fa uy, wlien she appears in public, that Sir Edward or the Colonel are 1.ler gentlemen than her husband. The bane of married happiness am ng the city men in general has been, that finding themselves unfit for p ite life, they transferred their vanity to their ladies, dressed them up gly, and sent them out a gallanting, while the good man was to regale I in. celf with port wine or rum punch, perhaps among mean companions afer the counting-house was shut ; this practice produced the rid: ule ugrown on them in all our comedies and novels since commerce bega to prosper. But now that I am so near the subject, a word or two on al. ousy may not be amiss, for though not a failing of the present i e's growth, yet the seeds of it are but too certainly sown in every w bosom for us to neglect it as a fault of no consequence. If you are tempted to be jealous, watch your wife narrowly, but never tease tell her your jealousy, but conceal your suspicion : Let her, in shorbe satisfied that it is only your odd temper, and even troublesome at chment, that makes you follow her; but let her not dream thiat you doubted seriously of her virtue, even for a moment. If she is dis sed towards jealousy of you, let me beseech you be always explicit .ith her, and never mysterious ; be above delighting in her pain, nor do our business, nor pay your visits, with an air of concealment, when al you do might as well be proclaimed perhaps in the parish vestry. But vill hope better than this of your tenderness and of your virtue, and wire. lease
you from a lecture you have so very little need of, unless you ex. treine youth and my uncommon regard, will excuse it. And now re. well : make my kindest compliments to your wife, and be happy in , iro. portion as happiness is wished you by,
Dear sir, &
LETTER 187. From Dr. Franklin, to John Alleyne, Esq. on early Marriage. I DEAR JACK,
You desire, you say, my impartial thoughts on the subject of an early marriage, by way of answer to the numberless objections that have been made by the too many numerous persons to your own. You may remember when you consulted me on the occasion, that I thought youth on both sides to be no objection. Indeed, from the marriages that have fallen under my observation, I am rather inclined to think, that early ones stand the best chance of happiness. The temper and habits of the young have not yet become so stiff and uncomplying, as when more adsanced in life; they form more easily to each other, and hence many ou casions of disgust are removed. And if youth has less of that prudence which is necessary to manage a family, yet the parents and elder friends of young
married persons are generally at hand to offer their advice, which amply supplies that defect; and by early marriage, youth is sooner formed to regular life ; and possibly some of those accidents or connections, that might have injured the constitution, or reputation, or both, are thereby happily prevented. Particular circumstances of particular persons, may possibly sometimes make it prudent to delay entering into that state; but in general, when nature has rendered our bodies fit for it, the presumption is in nature's favor, that she has not judged amiss in making us desire it. Late marriages, are often attended, too, with this further inconvenience, that there is not the chance that the parents shall live to see their offspring educated. “ Late children,” says the Spanish proverb, “ are early orphans.” A melancholy reflection to those whose case it may be! With us in America, marriages are generally in the morning of life ; vur children are therefore educated and settled in the world by noon; and thus, our business being done, we have an afternoon and evening of cheerful leisure to ourselves, and just such as our friend at present enjoys. By these early marriages we are blest with more children; and from the mode among us founded by nature, of every mother suckling and nursing her own child, more of them are raised. Hence the swift progress of population among us, unparalleled in Europe. In fine, I am glad you are married, and congratulate you most cordially on it. You are now in the way of becoming a most useful citizen, and you have escaped the unnatural state of celibacy for life; the fate of many here, who never intended it, but who having 100 long postponed the change of their condition, find, at length, that it is too late to think of it, and so live all their lives in a situation that greatly lessens a man's value. An odd volume to a set of books bears not the value of its proportion to the set : What think you of the odd balf of a pair of scissors ? It can't well cut any thing; it may po.ibly serve to scrape a trenchér.
Pray make my compliments and best wishes acceptable to your bride. I am old and heavy, or I should ere this have presented them in person. I shall make but small use of the old man's privilege, that of giving a vice to younger friends. Treat your wife always with respect; it will procure respect to you, not only from her, but from all that observe in Never use a slighting pression to her, even in jest; for slights in jest after repeated bandyings are apt to end in anger earnest. De studious in your profession, and you will be learned. Be industrious and frugal, and you will be rich. Be sober and temperate, and you will be healthy. Be in general virtuous, and you will be happy. At least, you will by such conduct, stand the best chance for such consequences. I pray God to bless you both! being ever your affertionate friend
LETTER 188. On Marriage. Ascribed to the Rev. John Witherspoor, late Pres.
ident of Princeton College. DEAR SIR,
I offer with some hesitation, a few reflections upon the married state. I express myself thus, because the subject has been so often and so fully treated, and by writers of the first class, it may be thought nothing now remains to be said that can merit attention. My only apology is, that what I offer is the fruit of real observation and personal reflection. It is not a copy of any man's writings, but of my own thoughts; and therefore if the sentiments should not be in themselves wholly new, they may possibly appear in a light not altogether common. I shall give you them in the way of aphorisms or observations; and subjoin to each a few thoughts by way of proof or illustration.
1. Nothing can be more contrary to reason or public utility, than the conversation and writings of those who turn matrimony into ridicule; yet it is in many cases as weakly defended, as it is unjustly attacked.
Those who treat marriage with ridicule, act in direct and deliberale opposition to the order of providence, and to the constitution of the society of which they are members. The true reason why they are borne with so patiently, is, that the Author of our nature has implanted in us instinctive propensities, which are by much too strong for their feeble attacks. But if we are to estimate the malignity of a man's conduct or kentiments, not from their effect, but from their natural tendency, and his inward disposition, it is not easy to imagine any thing inore criminal, than an attempt to bring marriage into disesteem. It is plainly an effort, not only to destroy the happiness, but to prevent the existence of human nature. A man who continues through life in a single state, ought, in justice, to endeavor to satisfy the public that his case is singular, and that he has some insiderable obstacle to plead in excuse. If, instead of this, he reasons in de ence of his own conduct, and takes upon him to condemn that of others, it is at once incredible and absurd : that is to say, he can scarcely be believed to be sincere. And whether he be sincere or not, he deserves to be detested.
In support of the last part of my remark, let it be observed, that those who write in defence of marriage usually give such sublime and exalted descriptions, as are not realized in one case of a thousand; and there fore cannot be a just motive to a considerate man. Instead of insisting on the absolute necessity of marriage for the service of the state, and the Bolid advantages that arise from it, in ordinary cases, they give us a certain refined idea of felicity, which hardly exists any where but in the writer's imagination. Liven the Spectator, than whom there is hardly m our language a more just and rationa writer, after saying many ex.