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he might have had at least one strong motive not to degrade his high office by the acceptance of a bribe. It
It may however be remarked upon the above quotation, with more justice, that by perfons of quality the great chancellor must mean persons whose quality lies in their mind; not our mob of persons of quality, who are most commonly, if you will excuse a pun, persons of no quality at all.
INDIFFERENCE for vulgar fame therefore you
will do well to discriminate from indifference for genuine praise of the true flavour. The former certainly belongs to a mind that can stand upon its own bafis without the props of adventitious opinions. The latter, I will be bold to say, is the parent of every vice. What will the world fay? is a reflection that has ftifled
many a bad inclination in the breasts of those who are either above, or below, every other motive. Want of shame, and total profligacy, follow like a flood if you remove this bank, which excluded them. It is true, this principle has done as much harm as good in the world; a false respect for the opinion of others having destroyed many a virtue, because
it did not happen at that time to float upon the stream of fashion. Such effect has false fame upon a little mind: and the force of the true upon a large soul is yet more strong. The praise of the few swells and invigorates it to its most complete perfection, at the same time that it shrinks from multitudinous glory,
For what is glory but the blaze of fame,
and be their talk, Of whom to be despised were no small praise? His lot who dares be singularly good.
Milt. Par. Reg.
An author in particular, who has for his fame, should beware of building it upon such a sandy foundation as the applause of the mob. The popular gale, as Horace phrases it, is eternally veering: but in no clime does it vary more than in that of literature. Fashion, after exertiog her power upon most other subjects, has at last chosen literary reputation to display the utmost caprices of her sway. Sometimes it happens wonderfully that the blunders right; but most commonly her favours are unworthily bestowed. These fashionable scriblers, who are now so common, are however by no means to be envied, for, in the course of a year, of a month, of a day, the public may see the deception; and, as it hap
, pens when we treat a stranger with respect who, we afterwards find, deserves our scorn, their warmest admirers most frequently revenge the insult, they have themselves imposed on their own understandings, by commencing their bitterest enemies.
There is a grievance just now reigning in this capital, of which you in the country can fcarcely have an idea. After being bleft with a variety of swindlers in all occupations, we have at last got literary swindlers: people who steal reputation in order to steal money.
As the character must be new to you, I will give you some outlines of it. 6
A LITERARY swindler is a fcribler who regards fame as only a road to the temple of wealth ; of consequence, so he can get what is here called reputation, he cares not by what means.' His first step is to form an intimacy with the printers of newspapers, of magazines, of reviews, and other periodical works.' Thro these channels he gravely communicates to the public what are here emphatically denominated puffs, or praises of himself and his writings, the more bombastic the better. Those who know the trick laugh at his effrontery: but as they are but few, in comparison of the others, he minds not their derision. The mob, who know nothing of the matter, stare, and wonder they have not heard of such a celebrated writer. Every one, not to appear ignorant, whether he has read the work puffed, or not, calls it admirable; tho, were he to trust his own judgement, he would call it the fillies nonsense that ever fell from a goose's quill. The feribler in the mean time goes on puffing as fast as he can; writes anecdotes of himself; sends letters from the country telling of his being so happy as to be in the company of himself, and what a modest and wonderful
man he himself is. At length by these, and such tricks, he gets what is called a reputation; and perhaps makes a fortune by it, ere the knavery is revealed.
No consideration can make a man of reflectión more deaf to popular approbation, than the view of such a character as the above. He will perceive that the fame he pursued, as a chaste bride, is no better than a common proftitute ; and abandon the suit with scorn and indignation.