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equal guilt. Every man of high rank is surrounded with numbers, who have no other rule of thought or action, than his maxims, and his conduct ; whom the honour of being numbered among his acquaintance reconciles to all his vices, and all his absurdities; and who easily persuade themselves to esteem him, by whose regard they consider themselves as distinguished and exalted.
It is dangerous for mean minds to venture themfelves within the sphere of greatness. Stupidity is foon blinded by the splendour of wealth, and cowardice is easily fettered in the shackles of dependance. To folicit patronage, is, at lealt, in the event, to set virtue to sale. None can be pleased without praise, and few can be praised without falsehood ; few can be affiduous without servility, and none can be servile without corruption .
TUESDAY, March 19, 1751.
Vain man runs headlong, to caprice refign'd;
WAS lately considering, among other objects
of speculation, the new attempt of an universal register, an office, in which every man may lodge an account of his fuperfluities and wants, of whatever he desires to purchase or to sell. My imagination soon presented to me the latitude to which this design may be extended by integrity and industry, and the advantages which may be justly hoped from a general mart of intelligence, when once its reputation shall be so established, that neither reproach nor fraud shall be feared from it, when an application to it shall not be censured as the last resource of desperation, nor its informations suspected as the fortuitous suggestions of men obliged not to appear ignorant. A place where every exuberance may be discharged, and every deficiency supplied ; where every lawful passion may find its gratifications, and every honest curiosity receive satisfaction; where the stock of a nation, pecuniary and intellectual, may be brought together, and where all conditions of humanity may hope to find relief, pleasure, and accommodation ; must equally deserve the attention of the merchant and philosopher, of him who mingles in the tumult of business, and him who only lives to amuse himself with the various
employments and pursuits of others. Nor will it be an uninstructing school to the greatest masters of method and dispatch, if such multiplicity can be preserved from embarrassment, and such tumult from inaccuracy.
While I was concerting this splendid project, and filling my thoughts with its regulation, its conveniencies, its variety, and its confequences, I sunk gradually into slumber ; but the fame images, though less distinct, still continued to float upon my fancy. I perceived myself at the gate of an immense edifice, where innumerable multitudes were passing without confusion ; every face on which I fixed my eyes, seemed fettled in the contemplation of some important purpose, and every foot was hastened by eagerness and expectation. I followed the crowd without knowing whither I should be drawn, and remained a while in the unpleasing state of an idler, where all other beings were busy, giving place every moment to those who had more importance in their looks. Ashamed to stand ignorant, and afraid to ask questions, at last I saw a lady sweeping by me, whom, by the quickness of her eyes, the agility of her steps, and a mixture of levity and impatience, I knew to be my long-loved protectress, Curiosity. CC Great
goddess,” said I, fc may thy votary be permitted “ to implore thy favour; if thou hast been my di. . 66 rectress from the first dawn of reason; if I have. “ followed thee through the maze of life with inva“ riable fidelity; if I have turned to every new call, " and quitted at thy nod one pursuit for another; « if I have never stopped at the invitations of for. tune, nor forgot thy authority in the bowers of
“ pleasure ; inform me now whither chance has con“ducted me.”
“ Thou art now,” replied the smiling power, “ in the presence of Justice, and of Truth, whom şs the father of gods and men has sent down to regis“ ter the demands and pretensions of mankind, that " the world may at last be reduced to order, and that
none may complain hereafter of being doomed to “ tasks for which they are unqualified, of poffesling “ faculties for which they cannot find employment,
or virtues that languish unobserved for want of op“portunities to exert them, of being encumbered “ with superfluities which they would willingly re
sign, or of wasting away in desires which ought “ to be satisfied. Justice is now to examine every “ man's wishes, and Truth is to record them; let
us approach, and observe the progress of this great « transaction."
She then moved forward, and TRUTH, who knew her among the most faithful of her followers, beckoned her to advance, till we were placed near the seat of Justice. The first who required the assistance of the office, came forward with a flow pace, and tumour of dignity, and shaking a weighty purse in his hand, demanded to be registered by TrŪTH, as the MÆCENAS of the present age, the chief encourager of literary merit, to whom men of learning and wit might apply in any exigence or distress with certainty of succour.
JUSTICE very mildly inquired, whether he had calculated the expence of such a declaration? whether he had been informed what number of petitioners would swarm about him ? whether he could distinguish idleness and negligence from calamity, oftentation from knowledge, or vivacity from wit? To these questions he seemed not well provided with a reply, but repeated his desire to be recorded as a patron. Justice then offered to register his proposal on these conditions, that he should never suffer himself to be flattered; that he should never delay an audience when he had nothing to do; and that he should never encourage followers without intending to reward them. These terms were too hard to be accepted; for what, said he, is the end of patronage, but the pleasure of reading dedications, holding multitudes in suspense, and enjoying their hopes, their fears, and their anxiety, flattering them to assiduity, and, at last, dismissing them for impatience ? JUSTICE heard his confession, and ordered his name to be poste ed upon the gate among cheats and robbers, and publick nuisances, which all were by that notice warned to avoid,
Another required to be made known as the discoverer of a new art of education, by which languages and sciences might be taught to all capacities, and all inclinations, without fear of punishment, pain of confinement, loss of any part of the gay mien of ignorance, or any obstruction of the necessary progress in dress, dancing, or cards.
Justice and Truth did not trouble this great adept with many inquiries ; but finding his address awkward and his speech barbarous, ordered him to be registered as a tall fellow who wanted employ. ment, and might serve in any poft where the knowledge of reading and writing was not required.
A man of a very grave and philosophick aspect, required notice to be given of his intention to set out,