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as our own.
exist which cannot properly be reduced to any regular and fixed standard. Pascal observes, that the greater sagacity any man possesses, the more originals he will discern among his species ; as it is the remark of Sir William Temple, that no nation under the sun abounds with so many
Plutarch is of opinion, that there is a wider difference between individuals of our own kind, than what is observable between creatures of a separate order; while Montagne (who seems to have known human nature perfectly well), supposes the distance to be still more remote, and asserts, that the distinction is much greater betwixt man and man, than between man and beast.
The comic writers have not, perhaps, taken all the advantage they might of this diversity of humour in the human race. A judicious observer of the world might single out abundant materials for ridicule, without having recourse to those worn-out characters which are for ever returning upon the stage. If I were acquainted with any genius in this class of writers, I think I could furnish him with an original, which, if artfully represented and connected with proper incidents, might be very successfully introduced into comedy. The person I have in view, is my neighbour Stitotes.
Stitotes, in his youth, was esteemed to have good sense, and a tolerable taste for letters'; as he gained some reputation at the university in the usual exercises. But as soon as he was freed from the restraint of his tutors, the natural restlessness of his temper broke out, and he has never from that time to this, applied himself for half an hour together to any single pursuit. He is extremely active in his disposition, but his whole life is one incessant whirl of trifles. He rises, perhaps, with a full intent of amusing himself all the morning with his gun; but before he has got half the length of a field, he recollects that he owes a visit, which he must instantly pay; accordingly, his horse is saddled, and he sets out. But, in his way, he remembers, that he has not given proper orders about such a flower, and he must absolutely return, or the whole economy of his garden will be ruined. Thus in whatever action you find him engaged, you may be sure it is the very reverse of what he proposed. Yet with all this quickness of transition and vivacity of spirits, he is so indolent in every thing that has the air of business, that he is at least two or three months before he can persuade himself to open any letter he receives : and from the same disposition, he has suffered the dividends of his stocks to run on for many
years, without receiving a shilling of the interest.
Stitotes is possessed of an estate in Dorsetshire, but that being the place where his chief business lies, he chuses constantly to reside with a friend near London.
submits to his humour and his company, in hopes that Stitotes will consider him in his will; but it is more than possible, that he will never endure the fatigue of signing one. However, having here every thing provided for him but clothes and pocket money, he lives perfectly to his own satisfactiou, in full employment without any real business; and while those who look after his estate, take care to supply him with sufficient to answer those two articles, he is entirely unconcerned as to the rest ; though when he is disposed to appear more than ordinarily important, he will gravely harangue upon the roguery of stewards, and complain that his rents will scarce maintain him in powder and shot half the partridge season. In short, Stitotes is one of the most extraordinary compounds of indolence and activity ever observed.
THE trouble of Despair always rises in proportion to the evil that is feared. By consequence the greatest agonies of expectation are those which relate to another world. But I shall leave this consideration to the pulpit, and proceed upon a lower object.
Now, Despair, as it respects the business and events of life, is an uneasy and impolitic passion. It antedates a misfortune, and torments us before our time.
It spreads a gloominess upon the 'soul, and makes her live in a dungeon beyond the notion of pre-existence. It preys upon the vitals like the vulture of Prometheus. It cramps the powers of nature, and gives being to many cross accidents which otherwise would never happen. To believe a business impossible, is the way to make it so. How many feasible projects have miscarried by despondency, and been strangled in the birth by a cowardly imagination ?
Can we foresee the utmost limits of nature ? And are we acquainted with all the powers in being ? Is it an easy matter to pronounce upon all the alterations of time and accident?. Is Despair so entertaining a companion? Are the pleasures of it so inviting and so rapturous ? Should we exert our sagacity to torment ourselves, and let slip po opportunity of being unhappy? As long as there is life there is hope; aud if so, it is prudence not to desert it. Hope is a vigorous principle; it is furnished with light and heat, to advise and execute. It sets the head and the heart at work, and animates us to do our utmost. And thus by perpetual pushing and assurance, it puts a difficulty out of countenance, and makes a seeming impossibility give way. At the worst, if the success happens to fail, it is clear gains as long as it lasts. It keeps the mind easy, and expecting; and fences off anxiety and spleen. It is sometimes so sprightly and profitable a quality, that the pleasure of expectation exceeds that of fruition. It refines upon the richiness of nature, and paints beyond the life ; and when the reality is thus outshone by the imagination, success is a kind of disappointment; and to hope, is better than to have. Besides, hope has a creditable complexion : it throws a generous contempt upon ill usage, and looks