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it very likely that he too has some old uncle, or acquaintance at least, returning with a ship loaded with wealth from the East-Indies; and very desirable that the highwayman should make one such attempt more; and very certain that in that case he should be there in time to catch all that fortune sends? One's indignation is excited at the immoral tendency of such lessons to young readers, who are thus taught to regard all sober regular plans for compassing an object with disgust or despondency, and to muse on improbabilities till they become foolish enough to expect them, and to be melancholy when they find they may expect them in vain. It is unpardonable that these pretended instructors by example should thus explode the calculations and exertions of manly resolution, destroy the connection between ends and means, and make the rewards of virtue so depend on chance, that if the reader does not either regard the whole fable with contempt, or promise himself he shall receive no favours of fortune in some similar way, he must close the book with the conviction that he may hang or drown himself as soon as he pleases; that is to say, unless he has learnt from some other source a better morality and religion than these books ever will teach him.
Perhaps there is not any word in the English language less understood than HONOUR, and but few that might not have been equally mistaken, without producing equal mischief. Honour is both a motive and an end. As "a principle of action," it differs from Virtue only in degree, and therefore necessarily includes it, as Generosity includes Justice; and as "a reward," it can be deserved only by those ac
tions which no other principle can produce. To say of another "That he is a man of Honour," is at once to attribute the principle, and to confer the reward but in the common acceptation of the word, HONOUR, as a principle, does not include virtue ; and therefore, as a reward, is frequently bestowed upon vice. Hence, (such is the blindness and vassalage of human reason) men are discouraged from virtue for fear of shame, and incited to vice by the hope of honour. Honour, indeed, is always claimed in spacious terms; but the facts upon which the claim is founded are often flagitiously wicked.
Honour, as a principle, is the refinement of virtue; as the end, it is the splendour of reputation, the reward of such virtue: and the true man of honour is he, who, from the native excellence and real dignity of justice, goodness, and truth, is led to act at all times consistently with them; ever reverencing his conscience and his character, and solicitous to fill up the great, the worthy part, far above the narrow restraint and coercion of the laws, or the infallible testimony of mere human judgment. And can it be supposed that a principle like this can ever allow, can ever justify the hazarding our own, or taking away the life of a brother, for a slight, nay for the greatest affront imaginable? Can it be supposed that a principle like this an ever give rise to duels, or attain its great end and reward, a splendid reputation, in consequence of them?
Men instigated by the meanest passions, with revenge and guilt boiling in their hearts, preparing by the pistol or the sword to finish each other's short and precarious existence; and to plunge, the one with all his vices blossoming upon him, into awful eternity; the other, to drag the miserable remains of life, haunted with the distracting consciousness of his brother's, his friend's, perhaps his once dearest friend's murder upon soul. Perhaps he lives the sole hope and stay of some ancient and venerable house; and after all the labour and anxiety of youthful education
is past, is advancing on the great theatre of the world, the delight of his friends, and the solicitous expectation of his affectionate parents, who, in the decline of life, see with transport their youth renewed, and the hopes and honour of their family reflourishing in their beloved son.
But dearer, tenderer ties still remain, to twine about the heart, to touch it with the keenest sensibility, and to preserve it from the seducing calls of false honour and romantic bravery. If thou wilt needs engage in the desperate duel, see, on one side, to unnerve thy wretched arm-Honour, reason, humanity, religion, disavowing the deed; and from what source then shall Courage spring? And, on the other side, `see the faithful and beloved partner of thy bed, with streaming eyes, and anguish too great for utterence, pointing to the little pledges of your mutual affection, and with dumb but expressive oratory, bewailing her widowed and their orphan state !
Eugenio, in consequence of a quarrel with the illiberal and brutish Ventosus, received a challenge from the latter, which he answers by the following billet "Sir, your behaviour last night has convinced me that you are a scoundrel; and your letter this morning that you are a fool. If I should accept your challenge, I should myself be both. I owe a duty to God and my country, which I deem it infamous to violate; and I am entrusted with a life, which I think cannot without folly be staked against your's. I believe you have ruined, but you cannot degrade me. You may possibly, while you sneer over this letter, secretly exult in your own safety; but remember, that, to prevent assassination, I have a sword; and to chastise insolence, a cane.'
FORGIVENESS of injuries, and a merciful disposition towards those who have offended us, is not only an infallible mark of a great and noble mind, but it
is our indispensable duty, as reasonable creatures, and peculiarly so as Christians. The following is a fine example of this virtue: Gaston, marquis de Renty, an illustrious nobleman, was a soldier and a Christian; and had a peculiar felicity to reconcile the seeming opposition between those characters. He had a command in the French army; and had the misfortune to receive a challenge from a person of distinction in the same service. The marquis returned for answer, "that he was ready to convince the gentleman that he was in the wrong; or, if he could not convince him, was ready to ask his pardon." The other, not satisfied with this reply, insisted upon his meeting him with the sword; to which the marquis sent this answer: "That he was resolved not to do it, since God and his king had forbidden it; other. wise, he would have him know, that all the endea vours he had used to pacify him did not proceed from any fear of him, but of Almighty God, and his displeasure that he should go every day about his usual business, and if he did assault him, he would make him repent it." The angry man, not able to provoke the marquis to a duel, and meeting him one day by chance, drew his sword and attacked him : The marquis soon wounded and disarmed both him and his second, with the assistance of a servant who attended him. But then did this truly Christian nobleman shew the difference betwixt a brutish and a Christian courage; for, leading them to his tent, he refreshed them with wine and cordials, caused their wounds to be dressed, and their swords to be restored to them; then dismissed them with Christian and friendly advice; and was never heard to mention the affair afterwards, even to his nearest friends. It was an usual saying with this great man, "That there was more true courage and generosity in bearing and forgiving an injury, for the love of God, than in requiting it with another: in suffering, rather than revenging because the thing was really more difficult." Adding, "that bulls and bears had courage enough,
but it was a brutal courage, whereas that of men should be such as became rational beings and Christians."
A quarrel having arisen between a celebrated gentleman in the literary world and one of his acquaintance, the latter heroically, and no less laconically, concluded a letter to the former, on the subject of the dispute, with, "I have a life at your service, if you dare to take it." To which the other replied, "You say you have a life at my service, if I dare to take it. I must confess to you, that I dare not take it: I thank my God, that I have not the courage to take it. But though I own that I am afraid to deprive you of your life, yet, Sir, permit me to assure you, that I am equally thankful to the Almighty Being, for mercifully bestowing on me sufficient resolution, if attacked, to defend my own." This unexpected kind of reply had the proper effect; it brought the madman back again to reason; friends intervened, and the affair was compromised.
MYRTLE, a character in "Steele's Conscious Lovers," delivers the following just sentiments on this subject: "How many friends have died by the hands of friends for the want of temper! There is nothing manly but what is conducted by reason, and agreeable to the practice of virtue and justice; and yet how many have been sacrificed to that idol the unreasonable opinion of men!
Betray'd by honour, and compell'd by shame,
Sir Walter Raleigh (a man of known courage and honour) being very injuriously treated by a hotheaded, rash youth, who next proceeded to challenge him, and on his refusal spit upon him, and that too in public; the knight, taking out his handkerchief, with great calmness made him only this reply: "Young man, if I could as easily wipe your blood from my conscience, as I can this injury from my