« ElőzőTovább »
said, whether right or wrong. You are not deficient in understanding, nor are you without your share of learning: and yet that eternal simper, cringe, and obsequiousness, render both suspected, aud tire your acquaintance; who cannot fail to talk of it and laugh at yoụ when your back is turned, though they have not friendship enough for you to confess it to your face. I, who love you sincerely, and consider you as a part of myself, cannot see you do any thing which may turn to your disadvantage, without warning you of the consequence; for I cannot be so hard-hearted as to neglect informing you of your faults whenever I observe them. Your's, is an error of judgment, and not of disposition; and, therefore may be casily rectified. You, I know, intend it for civility and politeness, but you are mistaken; for forced and affected compliments are the reverse. Politeness, which despises every thing unnatural, is always attended by ease and freedom. Your present conduct is sufficient to render your sincerity suspected. Those who make large professions to every body, are seldom esteemed by any body; their conversation being considered as froth, and their friendship supposed as trifiing and insipid as their conversation. Cast off, therefore, my dear boy, this sort of behaviour; and substitute that which is more manly, and consistent with the character of your countrymen; who were always esteemed for their openness, freedom, and sincerity, which entitles à man to more respect than all the low bows and fine, speeches in the world. I would not have you disregard what you learnt at the dancing school. À proper deportment is necessary; and a moderate quantity of ceremony may be consistent with politeness and good manners ; it is the excess which makes it blameable. Look at Mr. M; (in this case, one
example is better than twenty precepts) he is esteemed an accomplished gentleman; every one is pleased with his behaviour, and charmed with his conversation, and the means he has pursued to attain this universal art of pleasing are, simply, these :-He always took care to keep good com-' pany (being sensible that he should be characterised accordingly) among such his ears were always open to instruction ; for it has always been a maxiın with him, that a silent young man generally made a wise old one.
He attends to every body, and speaks to nobody, till he has collected the opinion of the whole company; and, when he does speak, he contrives to introduce such subjects as every one present may speak to with judgment and propriety. This he does with wonderful dexterity, giving every one an opportunity to display his talents; for he knows, that in order to keep up an universal good humour, every one should be pleased with himself as well as his company; and nothing can be much more pleasing to a man than having an opportunity of shewing himself to be somebody. How unlike him are those. persons who, knowing nothing of the world, expose themselves to contempt and ridicule by impertinently pretending to talk of things they do not understand? What Mr. M. says, is always to the purpose; and, of course, he always gains an attentive hearing : for, though young in years, he is old in experience and understanding. When he speaks, it is always with becoming ease and freedom. He has resolution enough to be the defender and supporter of truth: but always delivers liis sentiments in such a manner, as not to appear like dictating to the company; and he hears the opinions of others, (though differing from his own) with
perfect good humour and equanimity of temper. To be brief: excess of ceremony will never gain a man friends, but babbling will undoubtedly create
him enemies. Conversation is a kind of banquet, which every one present is entitled to a share of; and no one has a right to engross the whole feast to himself: for, by that means, improvement, which is the grand object of conversation, is totally excluded. He who is perpetually talking, has 110 time for hearing; and, consequently, can reap no benefit from what is said in company. Another vice in conversation I would caution you against; which is- obscenity. This is not only a mark of a depraved mind, but of low breeding ; and is never encouraged but in the company of fools.
In hopes of finding a reformation in you the next time I see you,
I am, dear Charles,
To a Friend on the proper Use of Time.
SIR, YOU' request my opinion of time, and to know what my sentiments are, respecting its proper uses. To treat of this grand subject at full length would fill a volume of considerable magnitude; and would at last, both to the writer and reader, be but a waste of the subject proposed. It never will, in my opinion, be more properly depicted than in that well-known and often quoted line of Mr. Pope,
“ Time, wasted, is existence; used, is life.” The smallest observation may prove to any thinking mortal, that, with the generality of mankind, a considerable portion of their time is spent, either in doing evil, or in some 'frivolous amusement, which is but a small degree better. A few moments consideration may serve to convince us,
that the mind of a man cannot be idle ; if it is not employed in doing good, it will be meditating on mischief, either to its possessor or some one else. A man, therefore, who wishes to perform his duty in that sphere of life in which Providence has placed him, will be cautious that not a inoment is employed in any thing which may disgrace him among his fellow-creaturos here, and endanger bis felicity hereafter. The present instant is all we can call our own; the last is fed'to, and the next is in the power of, Him, who may, ere then, snatch us to eternity. Though placed on the pinnacle of power, and in the plentitude of health, wealth and prosperity, it behoves a man so to employ every moment entrusted to his care, that he may be able to render a good account of the use he has made of the talents lent him, if he should, on the instant, be summoned before that tribunal where no secret can be hid from the searching eye of Omnipotence.
To multiply remarks on this important subject is unnecessary. Next to the divine oracles of our blessed Redeemer, I know of no work that treats of it better than the justly celebrated “ Night Thoughts” of Dr. Young. To a steady perusal of this book I therefore recommend you. There you will find all that need or can be said on this topic, expressed in the most beautiful language.
I remain, sincerely your's.
From a Father to his Son, on his keeping bad
Company, late Hours, &c. during his Apprenticeship.
DEAR SON, I AM much concerned to hear that you are, of late, fallen into bad company ; that you keep late
hours ; and, by that means, give great uneasiness to your master, and break the rules of his family : that when he expostulates with you on your irregularities, you return pert answers; and, instead of even promising amendment, repeat the offence. And that you associate yourself with societies of young fellows who despise all good examples, and ridicule the sober part of their acquaintance as persons of narrow minds, who want the courage to do as they do.
On this occasion let me expostulate with you, and set before you the evil of the way you are in:
First, What can you mean by breaking the rules of a family you had bound yourself by contract to observe? Do you think it honest to break through engagements, into which you have so solemnly entered? Seven years, several of which are elapsed, are not so long a term but you may see it terminate before you are over fit to be trusted with your own conduct. Twenty-one years of age is full early for a young man to be luis own master; and surely you may stay till then, at least, before you pretend to chuse your own hours and your own company: and at the rate you go on at present, your discretion will then do no credit to your choice. Recollect, your time is not your own ;; and, by your present conduct, you wrong your master in a double sense ; you disturb him in his rest, and rob him of his time; for if your hours of revelry are subsequent to the hours of business, your irregularities must considerably unfit you for your next day's labor: besides these two evils, you break the peace of his family, and give a bad ex. ample to the younger apprentices. All this mischief is done for the sake of rioting in the company of persons who despise good order; and who will gradually lead you into the worst of vices, to the destruction of your health and reputation, and the