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Ourselves, like the great, to secure a retreat,
And good reason why,
Even Peachum and I
fashion of the time, and in his Letters to his Son there is characteristic mixture of a father's love with the wit, wisdom, and weakness of a shrewd man of the world who has submitted his soul to society. In 1740, when he was forty-six years old, thus wrote
Since laws were made for every degree,
Upon Tyburn Tree!
Upon Tyburn Tree! For my part, if any of the persons who are thus malevo. lently treated in this piece will think fit to employ me, I will undertake to do them justice, notwithstanding the aspersions which have been cast upon me as an enemy to great men ; and I think that I have still law enough left to ground a valid information upon it.
This is, I think, sufficient to demonstrate the malignant tendency of this piece, and my own good intentions. What reasons induce the G- t to be thus passive under such repeated insults I do not take upon me to determine. But though I am far from wishing, as I know it will be objected, to see the liberty of the stage entirely abolished, yet I think such licentious invectives on the most polite and fashionable vices require some immediate restraint; for if they should continue to be allowed, the theatre will become the censor of the age, and no man, even of the first quality or distinction, will be at liberty to follow his pleasures, inclinations, or interest, which is certainly the birthright of every free Briton, without danger of becoming the May-game of the whole town. I submit this to your sage judgment,
And am, Sir,
LORD CHESTERFIELD TO HIS SON,
Saturday. Since you choose the name of Polyglot, I hope you will take care to deserve it; which you can only do by care and application. I confess the names of Frisky, and Colas, are not quite so honourable ; but then, remember too, that there cannot be a stronger ridicule, than to call a man by an honourable name, when he is known not to deserve it. For example; it would be a manifest irony to call a very ugly fellow an Adonis, (who, you know, was so handsome, that Venus herself fell in love with him), or to call a cowardly fellow an Alexander, or an ignorant fellow Polyglot; for everybody would discover the sneer: and Mr. Pope observes very truly, that
“Praise undeserv'd is satire in disguise." Next to the doing of things that deserve to be written, there is nothing that gets a man more credit, or gives him more pleasure, than to write things that deserve to be read. The younger Pliny, (for there were two Plinys, the uncle and the nephew), expresses it thus: Equidem beatos puto, quibus Deorum munere datum est, aut facere scribenda, aut legenda scribere ; beatissimos vero quibus utrumque.
Pray mind your Greek particularly; for to know Greek very well is to be really learned: there is no great credit in knowing Latin, for everybody knows it; and it is only a shame not to know it. Besides that, you will understand Latin a great deal the better for understanding Greek very well; a great number of Latin words, especially the techni. cal words, being derived from the Greek. Technical words, mean such particular words as relate to any art or science; from the Greek word texvn, which signifies art, and TeXVIKOS, which eignifies artificial. Thus, a dictionary, that explains the terms of art, is called a lexicon technicum, or a technical dictionary. Adieu.
Henry Fielding afterwards played with Sir Robert Walpole in his dramatic satire, “ The Historical Register for 1736,” and by so doing provoked the Licensing Act of 1737, which inflicted the Lord Chamberlain on English dramatic literature. Lord Chesterfield's best speech in the House of Lords was made for the rescue of wit from the imposition of this weakest and clumsiest of tyrannies. He suggested with a quiet irony that it was an attack not only upon liberty, but also upon property. “Wit, my lords, is a sort of property. It is the property of those that have it, and too often the only property they have to depend on. It is, indeed, but a precarious dependence. Thank God! we, my lords, have a dependence of another kind; we have a much less precarious support, and therefore cannot feel the inconveniences of the bill now before us; but it is our duty to encourage and protect wit, whosoever's property it may be.”
Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, was born in 1694, and after a fashionable education at home and abroad, and some experience in the House of Commons, he succeeded to the earldom in 1726. He was sworn a Privy Councillor, and held various public offices after the accession of George II. As an opponent of Sir Robert Walpole he also was a writer in The Craftsman. He had good wit with its health spoilt by bad cultivation, according to the
Longford, June the 9th, 1740. I write to you now, in the supposition that you continue to deserve my attention, as much as you did when I left London; and that Mr. Maittaire would commend you as much now, as he did the last time he was with me; for otherwise, you know very well that I should not concern myself about you. Take care, therefore, that when I come to town, I may not find myself mistaken in the good opinion I entertained of you in my absence.
I hope you have got the linnets and bulfinches you so much wanted; and I recommend the bulfinches to your imitation. Bulfinches, you must know, have no natural note of their own, and never sing, unless taught; but will learn tunes better than any other birds. This they do by attention and memory; and you may observe, that, while they are taught, they listen with great care, and never jump about and kick their heels. Now I really think it would be a great shame for you to be outdone by your own bulfinch.
I take it for granted, that, by your late care and attention, you are now perfect in Latin verses; and that you may at
"I think those happy to whom it is given by the gods, either to do what is worth writing, or to write what is worth reading; but they are happiest to whom it is given to do buth,
present be called what Horace desired to be called, Romane made Emperor of the West; look for the article of Charlefidicen Lyra.' Your Greek too, I dare say, keeps pace with magne; and you will find, that, being already master of your Latin ; and you have all your paradigms ad unguem. all Germany, France, and great part of Spain and Italy, he
You cannot imagine what alterations and improvements I was declared Emperor, in the year 800. expect to find every day, now that you are more than Octennis.? As to the geographical part, if you would know the situation And, at this age, non progredi would be regredi,3 which would of any town, or country, that you read of; as for instance, be very shameful.
Persepolis; you will find where it was situated, by whom Adieu! Do not write to ine; for I shall be in no settled founded, and that it was burnt by Alexander the Great, at place to receive letters, while I am in the country.
the instigation of his mistress, Thais, in a drunken riot. In
short, you will find a thousand entertaining stories to divert Dear Boy, London, June the 25th, 1740.
you, when you have leisure from your studies, or your play; As I know you love reading, I send you this book for your for one must always be doing something, and never lavish amusement, and not by way of task or study. It is an his away so valuable a thing as time; which if once lost, can torical, chronological, and geographical dictionary; in which never be regained. Adieu. you may find almost everything you can desire to know, whether ancient or modern. As historical, it gives you the The next letter was written seven years later : history of all remarkable persons and things; as chronologi. cal, it tells you the time when those persons lived, and when Dear Box. London, March the 6th, 0.8. 1747.
Whatever you do, will always affect me, very sensibly, one way or another; and I am now most agreeably affected by two letters, which I have lately seen from Lausanne, upon your subject; the one was from Madame St. Germain, the other from Monsieur Pampigny: they both give so good an account of you, that I thought myself obliged, in justice both to them and to you, to let you know it. Those who deserve a good character ought to have the satisfaction of knowing that they have it, both as a reward and as an encouragement. They write, that you are not only décrotté, but tolerably well bred : and that the English crust of awkward bashfulness, shyness, and roughness, (of which, by the bye, you had your share) is pretty well rubbed off. I am most heartily glad of it ; for, as I have often told you, those lesser talents, of an engaging, insinuating manner, an easy good-breeding, a genteel behaviour and address, are of infinitely more advan. tage, than they are generally thought to be, especially here in England. Virtue and learning, like gold, have their intrinsic value; but if they are not polished, they certainly lose a great deal of their lustre : and even polished brass will pass upon more people than rough gold. What a number of sins does the cheerful, easy good-breeding of the French frequently cover ? Many of them want common sense, many
more common learning; but, in general, they make up so LORD CHESTERFIELD. (From the Edition of his “Letters" published by Mrs. Eugenia Stanhope.)
much, by their manner, for those defects, that frequently
they pass undiscovered. I have often said, and do think, that those things were done; and as geographical, it describes the a Frenchman, who, with a fund of virtue, learning, and good situation of countries and cities. For example; would you sense, has the manners and good-breeding of his country, is know who Aristides the Just was, you will find there that he the perfection of human nature. This perfection you may, was of Athens; that his distinguished honesty and integrity if you please, and I hope you will, arrive at. You know acquired him the name of Just; the most glorious appellation what virtue is : you may have it if you will; it is in erery a man can havo. You will likewise find, that he commanded man's power; and miserable is the man who has it not. the Athenian army, at the battle of Platæa, where Mardonius, Good sense, God has given you. Learning, you already the Persian General, was defeated, and his army of three hun. possess enough of, to have, in a reasonable time, all that a man dred thousand men utterly destroyed; and that, for all these need have. With this, you are thrown out early into the virtues, he was banished Athens by the Ostracism. You will world, where it will be your own fault if you do not acquire then it may be) be curious to know what the Ostracism is. all the other accomplishments necessary to complete and If you look for it, you will find that the Athenians, being very adorn your character. You will do well to make your comjealous of their liberties, which they thought were the most pliments to Madame St. Germain and Monsieur Pampigny; in danger from those whose virtue and merit made them the and tell them, how sensible you are of their partiality to you, most popular (that is, recommended them most to the favour in the advantageous testimonies which, you are informed, of the people), contrived this Ostracism ; by which, if six they have given of you here. hundred people gave in the name of any one man, written Adieu! Continue to deserve such testimonies; and then upon a shell, that person was immediately banished for ten you will not only deserve, but enjoy, my truest affection. years. As to chronology, would you know when Charlemain was
David Hume was thirty one years old when he i Ode IV. iii. 23. A minstrel of the Roman lyre.
published at Edinburgh, in 1742, his “Essays, • Octennis, eight years old. Not to advance, is to go back. | Moral, Political, and Literary." He had been born
at Edinburgh in 1711, and bred to the law, for which demerit, virtue and vice, wisdom and folly, no reasonable he had no liking. In 1734 he became clerk in a man will deny: but yet it is evident that in affixing the term commercial house at Bristol, but two years later he which denotes either our approbation or blame, we are comgave uj) all visible means of earning, followed the monly more influenced by comparison than by any fixed unbent of his mind and went to France that he might alterable standard in the nature of things. In like manner, live frugally, while giving himself to contemplation
quantity, and extension, and bulk are by every one acknowand pursuit of literature. He was in France three
ledged to be real things. But when we call any animal years, and in January, 1739, published two volumes
great or little, we always form a secret comparison between of “A Treatise of Human Nature," dealing with the
that animal and others of the same species; and it is that Understanding and the Passions. He then went to
comparison which regulates our judgment concerning its
greatness. A dog and a horse may be of the very same size, his mother and brother-his father had been long
while the one is admired for the greatness of its bulk, and dead—and in the home of the family, called Nine
the other for its smallness. When I am present, therefore, wells, just over the Scottish Border, wrote the Essays
at any dispute, I always consider with myself whether it be published in 1741 and 1742, of which this is one.
a question of comparison or not that is the subject of the controversy; and if it be, whether the disputants compare
the same objects together, or talk of things that are widely OF THE DIGNITY OF HUMAN NATURE.
different. As the latter is commonly the case, I have long There are certain sects which secretly form themselves since learned to neglect such disputes as manifest abuses of in the learned world as well as in the political, and though leisure, the most valuable present that could be made to sometimes they come not to an open rupture, yet they give mortals. a different turn to the ways of thinking of those who have In forming our notions of human nature, we are very apt to taken party on either side. The most remarkable of this make a comparison between men and animals, which are the kind are the sects, that are founded on the different senti- only creatures endowed with thought that fall under our senses. ments with regard to the dignity of human nature, which is certainly this comparison is very favourable to mankind. On a point that seems to have divided philosophers and poets as the one hand we see a creature whose thoughts are not limited well as divines, from the beginning of the world to this day. | by any narrow bounds, either of place or time, who carries Some exalt our species to the skies, and represent man as a his researches into the most distant regions of this globe, kind of human demi-god, who derives his origin from heaven, and beyond this globe to the planets and heavenly bodies; and retains evident marks of his lineage and descent. Others looks backward to consider the first origin, at least, the hisinsist upon the blind sides of human nature, and can discover tory of human race; casts his eyes forward to see the influ. nothing except vanity, in which man surpasses the other ence of his actions upon posterity, and the judgments which animals, whom he affects so much to despise. If an author will be formed of his character a thousand years hence; a possesses the talent of rhetoric and declamation, he commonly creature who traces causes and effects to a great length and takes party with the former; if his turn lies towards irony and intricacy, extracts general principles from particular appear. ridicule, he naturally throws himself into the other extreme. ances, improves upon his discoveries, corrects his mistakes, and
I am far from thinking that all those who have depreciated makes his very errors profitable. On the other hand, we are human nature have been enemies to virtue, and have exposed presented with a creature the very reverse of this; limited in the frailties of their fellow creatures with any bad intention. its observations and reasonings to a very few sensible objects On the contrary, I am sensible that a very delicate sense of which surroundit; without curiosity, without foresight; blindly morals, especially when attended with somewhat of the conducted by instinct, and attaining in a very short time its misanthrope, is apt to give a man a disgust of the world, and utmost perfection, beyond which it is never able to advance a to make him consider the common course of human affairs single step. What a wide difference is there between these with too much spleen and indignation. I must, however, be creatures! And how exalted a notion must we entertain of of opinion that the sentiments of those who are inclined to the former in comparison of the latter! think favourably of mankind are much more advantageous to There are two means commonly employed to destroy this virtue than the contrary principles, which give us a mean conclusion. First, by making an unfair representation of opinion of our nature. When a man is possessed of a high the case, and insisting only upon the weaknesses of human notion of his rank and character in the creation, he will nature ; and secondly, by forming a new and secret comnaturally endeavour to act up to it, and will scorn to do a parison between man and beings of the most perfect wisdom. base or vicious action which might sink him below that figure Among the other excellencies of man this is remarkable, that which he makes in his own imagination. Accordingly we he can form an idea of perfections much beyond what he has find that all our polite and fashionable moralists insist upon experience of in himself, and is not limited in his conception this topic, and endeavour to represent vice as unworthy of of wisdom and virtue. He can easily exalt his notions, and man, as well as odious in itself.
conceive a degree of knowledge which, when compared to Women are generally much more flattered in their youth his own, will make the latter appear very contemptible, and than men, which may proceed from this reason, among others, will cause the difference between that and the sagacity of that their chief point of honour is considered as much more | animals in a manner to disappear and vanish. Now this difficult than ours, and requires to be supported by all that being a point in which all the world is agreed, that human decent pride which can be instilled into them.
understanding falls infinitely short of perfect wisdom, it is We find very few disputes which are not founded on some proper we should know when this comparison takes place, ambiguity in the expression; and I am persuaded that the that we may not dispute where there is no real difference present dispute concerning the dignity of human nature is in our sentiments. Man falls much more short of perfect not more exempt from it than any other. It may, therefore, wisdom, and even of his own ideas of perfect wisdom, than be worth while to consider what is real and what is only animals do of man ; but yet the latter difference is so converbal in this controversy.
siderable, that nothing but a comparison with the former can That there is a natural difference between merit and make it appear of little moment.
It is also very usual to compare one man with another, having a family, children, and relations, do not spend more and finding very few whom we can call wise or virtuous, we on the maintenance and education of these than on their own are apt to entertain a contemptible notion of our species in pleasures? This, indeed, you justly observe, may proceed general. That we may be sensible of the fallacy of this way from their self-love, since the prosperity of their family of reasoning, we may observe that the honourable appel and friends is one, or the chief of their pleasures, as well lations of wise and virtuous are not annexed to any parti as their chief honour. Be you also one of the selfish men, cular degree of those qualities of wisdom and virtue, but and you are sure of everyone's good opinion and good will; arise altogether from the comparison we make between one or not to shock your nice ears with these expressions, the man and another. When we find a man who arrives at such self-love of everyone, and mine amongst the rest, will then a pitch of wisdom as is very uncommon, we pronounce him a incline us to serve you, and speak well of you. wise man. So that to say there are few wise men in the In my opinion, there are two things which have led astray world is really to say nothing, since it is only by their scarcity | those philosophers who have insisted so much on the selfishthat they merit that appellation. Were the lowest of our ness of man. In the first place they found that every act of species as wise as Tully, or my Lord Bacon, we should still virtue or friendship was attended with a secret pleasure, from have reason to say that there are few wise men. For in that whence they concluded that friendship and virtue could not case we should exalt our notions of wisdom, and should not be disinterested. But the fallacy of this is obvious. The pay a singular honour to any one who was not singularly virtuous sentiment or passion produces the pleasure, and does distinguished by his talents. In like manner, I have heard it not arise from it. I feel a pleasure in doing good to my observed by thoughtless people, that there are few women friend because I love him, but do not love him for the sake of possessed of beauty, in comparison of those who want it; not that pleasure. considering that we bestow the epithet of beautiful only on In the second place, it has always been found that the such as possess a degree of beauty that is common to them virtuous are far from being indifferent to praise, and therewith a few. The same degree of beauty in a woman is called fore they have been represented as a set of vain-glorious men, deformity, which is treated as real beauty in one of our sex, who had nothing in view but the applauses of others. But
As it is usual in forming a notion of our species to compare this also is a fallacy. It is very unjust in the world, when it with the other species above or below it, or to compare they find any tincture of vanity in a laudable action, to the individuals of the species among themselves, so we often depreciate it upon that account, or ascribe it entirely to that compare together the different motives or actuating prin motive. The case is not the same with vanity as with other ciples of human nature in order to regulate our judgment passions. Where avarice or revenge enters into any seemconcerning it. And, indeed, this is the only kind of compa. ingly virtuous action it is difficult for us to determine how far rison which is worth our attention, or decides anything in it enters, and it is natural to suppose it the sole actuating the present question. Were our selfish and vicious principles principle. But vanity is so closely allied to virtue, and to so much predominant above our social and virtuous, as is love the fame of laudable actions approaches so near the love asserted by some philosophers, we ought undoubtedly to | of laudable actions for their own sake, that these passions entertain a contemptible notion of human nature.
are more capable of mixture than any other kinds of affection, There is much of a dispute of words in all this controversy. and it is almost impossible to have the latter without some When a man denies the sincerity of all public spirit or affec degree of the former. Accordingly we find that this passion tion to a country and community, I am at a loss what to think for glory is always warped and varied, according to the parti. of him. Perhaps he never felt this passion in so clear and cular taste or sentiment of the mind on which it falls. Nero distinct a manner as to remove all his doubts concerning its had the same vanity in driving a chariot, that Trajan had in force and reality. But when he proceeds afterwards to reject governing the empire with justice and ability. To love the all private friendship, if no interest or self-love intermixes glory of virtuous actions is a sure proof of the love of virtuous itself, I am then confident that he abuses terms, and con actions, founds the ideas of things, since it is impossible for anyone to be so selfish, or rather so stupid, as to make no difference
Henry Fielding was grandson to the second son between one man and another, and give no preference to
of the first Earl of Denbigh. His father, Edmund qualities which engage his approbation and esteem. Is he
Fielding, served under Marlborough, and obtained also, say I, as insensible to anger as he pretends to be to
the rank of lieutenant-general when his son Henry friendship? And does injury and wrong no more affect him
was about twenty-three years old. Edmund Fielding than kindness or benefits. Impossible: He does not know
married twice, and had by his first marriage, to the himself. He has forgot the movements of his mind, or
daughter of Sir Henry Gould, a judge of the King's rather he makes use of a different language from the rest of
Bench, six children. There were two boys, one of his countrymen, and calls not things by their proper names. What say you of natural affection ? (I subjoin) Is that also
whom became a sailor and died young; the other,
Henry, was the novelist; and one of the four girls, a species of self-love? Yes; all is self-love. Your children are loved only because they are yours; your friend for a like
Sarah, wrote also two good novels, “David Simple" reason; and your country engages you only so far as it has
and “Ophelia.” Fielding was born on the 22nd of a connection with yourself. Were the idea of self removed,
April, 1707, at Sharpham Park, near Glastonbury, nothing would affect you. You would be altogether inactive
and, until he went to Eton, was trained at home and insensible; or, if you ever gave yourself any movement,
under Mr. Oliver, the family chaplain. Sharpham it would only be from vanity, and a desire of fame and repu
Park, in Elizabeth's time the residence of Sir tation to this same self. I am willing, reply I, to receive Edward Dyer, Philip Sidney's friend,' was built as a your interpretation of human actions, provided you admit manor of the abbots of Glastonbury, and is now a the facts. That species of self-love which displays itself in farmhouse looking through its trees across the flat kindness to others, you must allow to have great influence, of meadow land, once marsh, to Glastonbury Tor, and even greater on many occasions, than that which remains in its original shape and form. For how few are there who, See “Shorter English Poems," page 218, in this Library.
crowned by its tower, and the hill on which Glaston several pieces, each piece lives, and in a short time becomes as bury—the Avalon of Romance—was once lifted perfect an insect or vegetable as that of which it was originally above the waters of the Bristol Channel that came only a part. in with the tide where now there is a wide stretch Abstract of part of a letter from the Heer Rottenscratch in Germany, of marsh and meadow. From his home, parted
communicating observations on the CHRYSIPUS.
SIR,-Some time since died here of old age, one Petrus Gualterus, only from Glastonbury by a walk of a mile or
a man well known in the learned world, and famous for nothing so less over the meadows, Fielding went to Eton, and
much as for an extraordinary collection which he had made of the from Eton to the University of Leyden. From Chrysipi, an animal or vegetable, of which I doubt not but there are Leyden he was sent into the world, for his father,
still some to be found in England; however, if that should be diffi.
cult, it may be easy to send some over to you, as they are at present who lived wastefully, had married again and had
very plentiful in these parts. I can answer for the truth of the facts a second family to care for. In February, 1728, contained in the paper I send you, as there is not one of them but when he was not quite twenty-one, Fielding began what I have seen repeated above twenty times; and I wish others his life as a writer, with a comedy. In 1735 he
may be encouraged to try the experiments over again, and satisfy
themselves of the truth of their own eyes. The accounts of the married, and it was after his marriage that he set up
Chrysipi, as well as the collection itself, were found in the cabinet of “the Great Mogul's Company of Comedians,” and the above-mentioned Petrus, for he could never be prevailed on to produced those dramatic satires upon polite and
communicate a sight of either while alive. political life that were repressed by the Licensing
I am, Sir, &c. Act of 1737. In 1739 and 1740 Fielding contributed some admirable papers to a series of essays published three times a week under the name of The Champion. In June, 1740, Fielding was called to the bar, and in July, 1741, his father died, aged sixty-five, the son's age being then five-and-thirty. Richardson's “ Pamela” had appeared at the close of 1740, and a playful sense of its weak point set Fielding writing “ Joseph Andrews,” his first novel, which was published in 1742. Fielding's larger
THE FIGURE OF THE TERRESTRIAL CARYSIPUS STICKING TO A FINGER. work as a novelist will be illustrated in another volume of this Library. From his “Miscellanies,” published in 1743, the next two pieces are taken.
Observations and Experiments upon the TERRESTRIAL CHRYThe first of them caricatures a really valuable
SIPUS, or GUINEA, by Mynheer Petrus Gualterus. paper, entitled “Memoirs on Fresh-water Polypes,” Translated from the French by P. H. I. Z. C. G. S. by a learned naturalist, Abraham Trembley.
The animal in question is a terrestrial vegetable or insect
of which mention is made in the Philosophical Transactions PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS.
for several years, as may be seen in No. 000, Art. 0000, and
No. 00, Art. 002, and No. Art. 18.
This animal or vegetable is of a rotund, orbicular, or CONTEXTS.-Several Papers relating to the Terrestrial CHRY. round form, as represented in the figure annexed, in which
SIPUS, GOLDEN Foot, or GUINEA, an insect, or vegetable A denotes the ruffle; B, the hand; g, the thumb of that which has this surprising Property, that being cut into i hand; d, the finger; e, the part of that finger to which the