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to fence, he practises both on friend and foe; but when he is a master in the art he never exerts it but on what he thinks the right side.
That this last allusion may not give my reader a wrong idea of my design in this paper, I must here inform him, that the author of it is of no faction, that he is a friend to no interests but those of truth and virtue ; nor a foe to any but those of vice and folly. Though I make more noise in the world than I used to do, I am still relolved to act in it as an indifferent SpecTATOR. It is not my ambition to increase the number either of whigs or tories, but of wise and good men; and I could heartily wish there were not faults common to both parties, which afford me fufficient matter to work upon, without descending to those which are peculiar to either.
If in a multitude of counsellors there is safety. we ought to think ourselves the securest nation in the world. Most of our garrets are inhabited by statesmen, who watch over the liberties of their country, and make a shift to keep themselves from starving by taking into their care the properties of their fellow-subjects.
As these politicians of both sides have already worked the nation into a most unnatural ferment, I shall be so far from endeavouring to raise it to a greater height, that on the contrary, it shall be the chief tendency of my Papers to inspire my countrymen with a mutual good-will and benevolence. Whatever faults either party may be guilty of, they are rather inflamed than cured
by those reproaches which they cast upon one another. The most likely method of rectifying any man's conduct is by recommending to him the principles of truth and honour, religion and virtue ; and so long as he acts with an eye to these principles, whatever party he is of, he cannot fail of being a good Englishman, and a lover of his country,
As for the persons concerned in this work, the names of all of them, or at least of such as desire it, shall be published hereafter ; until which time I must entreat the courteous reader to suspend his curiosity, and rather to consider what is written than who they are that write it.
Having thus adjusted all neceffary preliminaries with my reader, I shall not trouble him with any more prefatory discourtes, but proceed in my old method, and entertain him with Speculations on every useful subject that falls in my way.
N° 557. Monday, June 21, 1714.
Quippe domum timet ambiguam, Tyriosque bilingues..
VIRG. Æn. 665. • He fears th' ambiguous race, and Tyrians double
THERE is nothing,” says Plato, “ fo 66 T delightful as the hearing or the speak“ing of truth.” For this reason, there is no * By ALDison.
conversation so agreeable as that of the man of integrity, who hears without any intention to betray, and speaks without any intention to deceive.
Among all the accounts which are given of Cato, I do not remember one that more redounds to his honour than the following passage related by Plutarch. As an advocate was pleading the cause of his client before one of the Prætors, he could only produce a single witness in a point where the law required the testimony of two persons : upon which the advocate insisted on the integrity of that person whom he had produced ; but the Prætor told him, that where the law required two witnesses he would not accept of one, though it were Cato himself. Such a speech from a person who fat at the head of a court of justice, while Cato was still living, thews us, more than a thousand examples, the high reputation this great man had gained among his contemporaries upon the account of his fincerity.
When such an inflexible integrity is a little softened and qualified by the rules of conversation and good-breeding, there is not a more shining virtue in the whole catalogue of social duties. A man however ought to take great care not to polish himself out of his veracity, nor refine his behaviour to the prejudice of his virtue.
This subject is exquisitely treated in the most elegant sermon of the great British preacher*,
* Archbishop Tillotson, vol. II, Sermon 1. p. 7. edit. in folio,
I shall beg leave to transcribe out of it two or three sentences, as a proper introduction to a very curious letter, which I shall make the chief entertainment of this Speculation.
• The old English plainness and sincerity, that • generous integrity of nature, and honesty of • disposition, which always argues true greatness • of mind, and is usually accompanied with un
daunted courage and resolution, is in a great meafure lost among us.
"The dialect of conversation is now-a-days so < swelled with vanity and compliment, and so
furfeited (as I may fay) of expressions of kind• ness and respect, that if a man that lived an • age or two ago should return into the world • again, he would really want a dictionary to • help him to understand his own language, and « to know the true intrinsic value of the phrase « in fashion; and would hardly at first believe « at what a low rate the highest strains and exo pressions of kindness imaginable do commonly 6 país in current payment; and when he should
come to understand it, it would be a great « while before he could bring himself with a • good countenance, and a good conscience, to • converse with men upon equal terms and in
their own way.
I have by me a letter which I look upon as a great curiosity, and which may serve as an exemplification to the foregoing paffage, cited out of this most excellent prelate. It is said to have been written in king Charles the Second's reign
by the ambassador of Bantam *, a little after his arrival in England.
- MASTER, "M H E people, where I now am, have 6 tongues farther from their hearts than • from London to Bantam, and thou knowest « the inhabitants of one of these places do not • know what is done in the other. They call • thee and thy subjects barbarians, because we • speak what we mean; and account themselves
a civilized people, because they speak one thing
and mean another : truth they call barbarity, 6 and falsehood politeness. Upon my first land• ing, one, who was sent from the king of this 6 place to meet me, told me, “ That he was s'extremely sorry for the storm I had met with " just before my arrival.” I was troubled to • hear him grieve and afflict himself upon my • account; but in less than a quarter of an hour • he smiled, and was as merry as if nothing had • happened. Another who came with him told • me by my interpreter, “ He should be glad 6 to do me any service that lay in his power." • Upon which I desired him to carry one of my • portmanteaus for me; but, instead of serving • me according to his promise, he laughed, and • bid another do it. ` I lodged the first week • at the house of one who desired me “ to think “ myself at home, and to consider his house as “ my own.” Accordingly, I the next morn
* In 1682.