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It is a generally admitted truth, that OBSERVATION is one of the most effectual methods of improving the mind-observation, therefore, may be justly reckoned amongst the most valuable faculties which we possess. But, like all other gifts, it is liable to be abused, especially when it is exercised on the character of others; for then, if not under the directing and restraining power of religious principles, it leads to that pernicious vice in society, known by the name of DETRACTION.
To observe (that is to discover) the faults and vices of those with whom we associate, is often a measure necessary for self-defence. But if the observers of the frailties of their friends and acquaintances make those frailties the theme of backbiting conversation, they pervert the useful faculty of observation to the pernicious purposes