Page images

the only places where happiness could be found; and would have persuaded Confucius to follow them. "But I am a man," says Confucius, "and cannot exclude myself from the society of men, and consort with beasts. Bad as the times are, I should do all that I can to recall men to virtue; for in virtue are all things, and if mankind would but once embrace it, and submit themselves to its discipline and laws, they would not want me, nor any body

else to instruct them.


10. "It is the duty of a good man, first to perfect himself, and then to perfect others. Human nature came to us from heaven pure and perfect; but in process of time, ignorance, the passions, and evil examples, have corrupted it. All depends on restoring it to its primitive beauty; and. to be perfect, we must re-ascend to that point, from whence we have fallen.

11. "Obey Heaven, and follow the orders of him who governs it. Love your neighbor as yourself. Let your reason, and not your senses, be the rule of your conduct; for reason, will teach you to think wisely, to speak prudently, and to behave yourself worthily on all occasions." Confucius seems rather to speak like a doctor of a revealed law, than like a man who had no light, but what the law of nature afforded him; and a proof of his sincerity is, that he taught as forcibly by his example as by precept.

12. In short his gravity and sobriety, his rigorous abstinence, his contempt of riches, and what are commonly called the goods of this life, his continual attention and watchfulness over his actions, and above all, that modesty and humility, which are not to be found among the sages of Greece; all these would tempt one to believe, that he was not a mere philosopher, formed by reason only, but a man inspired by God for the reformation of the world.

13. A few days before his illness, he told his disciples with tears in his eyes, that he was overcome with grief at the sight of the disorders, which prevailed in the empire. "The mountain," said he, "is fallen; the high machine is demolished, and the sages are all fled." His meaning was, that the edifice of perfection, which he had endeavoured to raise, was entirely overthrown. "The kings," said he, "reject my maxims; and since I am no longer useful on the earth, I may as well leave it."



i. AMONG all human duties, none have a stronger claim to our attention than filial affection, for, next to our Maker, our parents are entitled to our veneration, gratitude and esteem. Yet with all these claims upon their children's affection, how often has the unhappy *parent the misery of finding pertness substituted in the place of humility, arrogance in that of dependence, and indifference in that of duty! and instead of their children's submitting with docility to the experience of age, behold them vain through ignorance, and presumptuous through folly! 2. It unfortunately happens, that the age which stands in most need of advice, should be the most prone to reject it. In China, so great is the veneration and respect in which the parental character is heid, that an instance of its authority being disputed, is absolutely unknown. The virtue of filial tenderness is so strongly exemplified in the following instance, that one need only read it, to catch the virtuous sentiment, and imitate the pious example.

[ocr errors]

3. A Roman lady of rank was accused of a crime against the state, for which she was tried, and condemned to suffer death. The keeper of the prison, who was ordered to be her executioner, not only felt a great degree of repugnance to the office, but was absolutely incapable of performing it; yet, aware that his own life depended upon the discharge of his duty, he dared not attempt preserving her existence. Thus circumstanced, the cruel idea, which had compassion for its foundation, occurred, of letting her remain without sustenance, knowing that she must then die from want, and that he should escape the pain of becoming her executioner.

4. A man in that situation, who could shrink from the discharge of his duty from motives of humanity, it is natural to suppose, might easily be subdued by tenderness, and overcome by persuasion. It is no wonder that he yielded to the entreaties of the daughter, and permitted her to visit her unhappy mother; though he was under the necessity of searching her to prevent her being the Conveyor of any kind of nourishment.

5: Several days elapsed without any striking alteration

in the unfotunate mother's appearance. This circumstance called forth the keeper's astonishment so much, that he began to imagine the daughter had contrived some means of eluding his vigilance he therefore resolved to watch them when the daily meeting took place.

6. He did so, and beheld a sight that called forth his pity and admiration. An affectionate daughter was presented to his view, lengthening out her parent's existence, by that nourishment nature had given for the support of her own offspring, and endeavouring to avert the decreesof justice, by the nutritious qualities of the milk of tenderness!

7. The humane keeper instantly flew to her judges, described the interesting scene he had beheld, and had the happiness of procuring a pardon for the unfortunate mother. The senate were so struck with this instance of amiable tenderness, that they ordered a temple to be erected to filial piety, on the spot where the prison stood, and both mother and daughter to be maintained at the public expense.



I. STUDIES serve for delight, for ornament and for ability. Their chief use for delight is in privateness and retirement; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgement, and disposition of business: For expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one; but the general counsels, and plots, and marshalling of affairs, come best from those who are learned.

2. To spend too much time in studies is sloth; to use them too much for ornament is affectation; to make judgement wholly by their rules is the humour of a scholar They perfect nature, and are perfected by experience for natural abilities are like natural plants which need pruning by study; and studies themselves give forth directions too much at large, except they be limited by experience. Crafty men condemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdoin won by observation.

3. Read not to contradict and refute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, büt to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted; others to be swallowed; and some few are to be chewed

and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in part; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.

4. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that should be in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books; else distilled books are like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading makes a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an an exact man.


General Washington's Letter to President Adams, on his appointment to the Office of Commander in Chief of all the Armies of the U. S. Mount Vernon, 13th July, 1798

1. DEAR SIR,-I had the honour, on the evening of the 11th instant, to receive from the hand of the Secretary of War, your favour of the 7th, announcing that you had, with the advice and consent of the Senate, appointed me "Lieutenant General and Commander in Chief of all the armies raised, or to be raised, for the service of the United States."

2. I cannot express how greatly affected I am at this new proof of public confidence, and the highly flattering manner in which you have been pleased to make the communication; at the same time, I must not conceal from you my earnest wish, that the choice had fallen upon a nran less declined in years, and better qualified to encoun-~ ter the usual vicissitudes of war.

3. You know, Sir, what calculation I had made rela tive to the probable course of events on my retiring from office, and the determination I had consoled myself with, of closing the remnant of my days in my present peaceful abode; you will, therefore, be at no los to conceive and appreciate the sensation I must have experienced, to bring my mind to any conclusion that would pledge me, at so late a period of life, to leave scenes I sincerely love, to enter upon the boundless field of public action, incessant trouble, and high responsibility.

4. It was not possible for me to remain ignorant of, or indifferent to, recent transactions. The conduct of the Directory of France, towards our country; their insidious hostility to its government; their various practices to withdraw the affection of the people from it; the evident

tendency of their acts, and those of their agents, to coun tenance and invigorate opposition; their disregard of sol~emn treaties, and the laws of nations; their war upon our defenceless commerce; their treatment of our ministers of peace; and demands amounting to tribute; could not fail to excite in me corresponding sentiments with those my countrymen have so generally expressed in.. their affectionate addresses to you.

5. Believe me Sir, no one can more cordially approve of the wise and prudent measures of your administration. They ought to inspire universal confidence, and will, no doubt, combined with the state of things, call from Congress such laws and means as will enable you to meet the full force and extent of the crisis Satisfied, therefore, that you have sincerely wished and endeavoured to avert war, and exhausted to the last drop, the cup of reconciliation, we can, with pure hearts, appeal to heaven for the justice of our cause; and may confidently trust the final result to that kind Providence who has heretofore, and so often, signally favoured the people of these United States.

6. Thinking in this manner, and feeling how incumEent it is upon every person, of every description, to con-tribute at all times to his country's welfare, and especially in a moment like the present, when every thing we hold dear and sacred, is so seriously threatened; I have finallydetermined to accept the commission of Commander in Chief of the Armies of the United States; with the reserve only, that I shall not be called into the field until the army is in a situation to require my presence, or it becomes indispensable by the urgency of circumstances.

7. In making this reservation, I beg it to be understood, that I do not mean to withhold any assistance to arrange and organize the army, which you may think I can afford. I take the liberty also to mention, that I must decline having my acceptance considered as drawing after it any immediate charge upon the public; or that I can receive any emoluments annexed to the appointment, before entering into a situation to incur expense.

8 The Secretary of War being anxious to return to the seat of government, I have detained him no longer than was neccesary to a full communication upon the sev fral points he had in charge.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »