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0! what caresses and what melody!
No wonder, that, too terrify'd to fly,
The gentleman cried out amain:
“Will! Thomas! come this moment, or I'm slain.”
Will, Thomas, heard and soon dislodg'd our hero,
Who look'd, and felt a Zero;
But harder soon his plight,
His hand each servant raises,
And stead of kind caress and grateful praises,
They rain down blows upon the luckless wight;
Then to the stable dragg’d, no more a ranger
In the green paddock, tie him to the manger!-

There, in revenge for this unkind partiality,
What could our ass, poor Don Dismality,
Do you think, to save him from distraction,
Since for assault he could not bring an action?
Know then, he tried to give his wrath relief,
By harsh remarks upon his cause of grief.
Against the lapdog he essayed,
Midst grooms, and men, and boys, to raise a faction,
By underrating the poor thing's pretensions,
And imputations, that were half inventions.
In short, the donkey plied that common trade,
I mean that common trade, yclept, detraction,
And I begin and end, with this position,
The source from which detraction springs,
The power which imps its harpy wings;

RECAPITULATION:—That ministers of the gospel are, like other men, exposed to the danger of competition, and should therefore watch.

That they should also set their faces against mischievous gossip:

That philanthropists, who are often in competition at public meetings and committees, should also be on their guard.

Lastly, by one of Æsop's fables, 1 illustrate the power of unsuccessful competition.




What is detraction? According to the derivation of the word, it means to draw or take from, alias to depreciate. The province of detraction is to lessen the merit of persons, objects, and things, by severe comments, by finding fault, by ridicule, and by mimickry; relating degrading anecdotes of those whom he wishes to lower.

Detraction is of two kinds, it may be acted as well as spoken. I shall begin with the latter species, and endeavour to describe its varieties. I endeavoured in my former chapter to prove that general and particular competition were, consciously or unconsciously, the principal and most pernicious source of deiraction, and I shall try to show, in some of the following pages, in what manner a detracting spirit endeavours to effect its purposes. Though detraction is one of the most powerful rulers in society, it does not affect the pomp of a sovereign; it has no levées or gala days, but it delights quite as much in the privacy of a tête-à-tête, in the domestic circle of a large family, or even more, perhaps, than in an as

sembly of a more public and extended nature. A tea-party is proverbially said to be the favourite scene of scandal; but though all scandal is certainly detraction, it by no means follows that all detraction is scandal, and the difference I think is this: scandal is an evil report of a person's actions, and is detraction amounting to defamation. But the detraction of which I shall most especially and largely treat, is lessening remarks on a person's qualities, manners, and pretensions; and many, I had almost said all, indulge in this lowering conversation, who would shrink with conscientious aversion from relating a tale of scandal. Besides, however common scandal may be, it never can be as common as detraction, in the sense in which I understand it, because the arm of the law defends reputations in some degree; and those who injure the fame of man or woman, run the risk of answering for their fault before the bar of justice, or according to the heathenish custom of worldly honour. But mere detractors may wage their petty war with the utmost security, against the objects of whom they may be consciously or unconsciously envious, but they are certain of enlisting others immediately on their side; nor, perhaps, are they at all aware that what appears to them nothing but a delightful way of beguiling the time, is, in fact, an unwarrantable attack on the merits, respectability, and rights, of their fellow-creatures-is, in reality, the evidence and result of an unchristian spirit, and may certainly be ranked un

der that solemnly-forbidden indulgence, evil speaking

Amongst the benefits to be derived from general education, and the utmost cultivation of the mind, amongst all classes, I consider a probable diminution of detraction as one of the greatest advantages. For when education and acquirements become so general, that the most modest of women need not fear to talk of what she knows, and can converse on books without the dread of being considered a bluestocking; the tone of conversation will insensibly become raised. At present, it is (may I dare to assert it?) the ignorance of women in general, that the narrow views in men occasioned by the long habit of considering women as unfit for rational conversation, which fills provincial society, more especially, with detraction; for the women when alone, and the men when they join the women, have no general objects on which they can converse, after “la pluie et le beau-temps” have been sufficiently discussed, except the gossip of the day, and observations on the persons, dress, manners, and morals perhaps of their associates.

Detraction is the readiest and the easiest theme, therefore it is preferred; but were both sexes to be taught to feel that it is disgraceful not to be willing and able to converse of better things, and this conviction must be the result of universal education,) one's neighbours' faults and follies, distresses, disgraces, or their more unwelcome success, would cease to be brought into discussion, even in the confidence of a

tête-à-tête, as the only means of killing time; and detraction, with its mischievous effects on those who are its narrators, on those who hear it, and on those who are its objects, would be driven away from society with the contempt and aversion it deserves.

A lady at C-near London, instituted, several years ago, a conversation party, which was to meet at her house on a certain day, at the beginning of every month; a question of morals was to be the subject discussed. She designed this meeting for the benefit of her young acquaintance of both sexes; and the female part of the audience were expected to work for the poor while the gentlemen con.. versed. Any one was at liberty to propose a question to the party then assembled, to be discussed at the next meeting. These questions, which are always given in writing, are deposited in a vase; and one being drawn forth by chance, is to be the subject debated when they assemble again. Most of the speakers are distinguished for their talents and piety: It is a remarkable fact, that this conversation party (as it is called) has for 25 years met uninterruptedly, ever since the day of its institution; as the lady, at whose house it always assembles, desires her doors should be opened for its reception, even when she is absent from home. An analysis of each subject discussed in the evening is written by some one present and read at the commencement of the following sitting. The friend who gave me this account, and who is worthy to partake and able

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