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polishes the manners, and gives une certaine tournure, which is very necessary in the course of the world ; and which Englishmen have generally less of than any people in the world. [Jan. 2, 1748.]
A GOOD SUPPER.-I cannot say that your suppers are luxurious, but you must own they are solid; and a quart of soup, and two pounds of potatoes, will enable you to pass the night without great impatience for your breakfast next morning. One part of your supper (the potatoes) is the constant diet of my old friends and countrymen, the Irish, who are the healthiest and the strongest men that I know in Eu. rope. [Same date.]
A GREEK PROFESSOR.Since you do not care to be an assessor of the Imperial Chamber, and desire an establishment in England; what do you think of being Greek professor at one of our universities ? It is a very pretty sinecure, and requires very little knowledge (much less than, I hope, you have already) of that language. (Jan. 15, 1748.]
A POLITICIAN.-Mr. Harte tells me that you set up for a rolitinos avis ; if so, I presume it is in the view of succeeding me in my office; which I will very willingly resign to you, whenever you shall call upon me for it. But, if you intend to be the πολιτικός, or the βεληφόρος avre, there are some trifling circumstances, upon which you should previously take your resolution. The first of which is, to be fit for it; and then, in order to be so, make yourself master of ancient and modern history and languages. To know perfectly the constitution, and form of government of every nation ; the growth and decline of ancient and modern empires; and to trace out and reflect upon the causes of both. To know the strength, the riches, and the commerce of every country. These little things, trifling as they may seem, are yet very necessary for a politician to know; and which therefore, I presume, you will condescend to apply yourself to. There are some additional qualifications necessary, in the practical part of business, which may deserve some consideration in your leisure moments ; such as an absolute command of your temper, so as not to be provoked to passion, upon any account: patience, to hear frivolous, impertinent, and unreasonable applications: with address enough to refuse, without offending; or, by your manner of granting, to double the obligation : dexterity enough to conceal a truth, without telling a lie : sagacity enough to read other people's countenances : and serenity enough not to let them discover any thing by yours; a seeming frankness, with a real reserve. These are the rudiments of a politician ; the world must be your grammar.
Three mails are now due from Holland, so that I have no letters from you to acknowledge. I therefore conclude with recommending myself to your favor and protection when you succeed. [Same date.]
CONGEALED SPEECH.-I find by Mr. Harte's last letter, that many of my letters to you and him have been frozen up in their way to Leipsig; the thaw has, I suppose, by this time set them at liberty to pursue their journey to you, and you will receive a glut of them at once. Hudibras alludes, in this verse,
“Like words congeal'd in northern air," to a vulgar notion, that in Greenland words were frozen in their utterance, and that upon a thaw a very mixed conversation was heard in the air of all those words set at liberty. [Jan. 29, 1748.]
POLITICAL IGNORANCE OF THE ENGLISH.We are in general in England ignorant of foreign affairs, and of the interests, views, pretensions, and policy of other courts. That part of
knowledge never enters into our thoughts, nor makes part of our education ; for which reason we have fewer proper subjects for foreign commissions than any other country in Europe; and, when foreign affairs happen to be debated in Parliament, it is incredible with how much ignorance. The harvest of foreign affairs being then so great, and the laborers so few, if you make yourself master of them, you will make yourself necessary : first as a foreign, and then as a domestic minister for that department. [Feb. 9, 1748.]
My LORD'S DISLIKE OF VALETS.-I would neither have your new man nor him whom you have already, put out of livery, which makes them both impertinent and useless. I am sure that as soon as you shall have taken the other servant, your present man will press extremely to be out of livery and valet de chambre, which is as much as to say, that he will curl your hair and shave you, but not condescend to do any thing else. Therefore I advise you never to have a servant out of livery; and though you may not always think proper to carry the servant who dresses you abroad in the rain and dirt behind a coach or before a chair, you keep it in your power to do so, if you please, by keeping him in livery. [Feb. 13, 1748.]
LEARNED LEISURE.—The first use that I made of my liberty was to come hither [Bath], where I arrived yesterday. My health, though nct fundamentally bad, yet, for want of proper attention of late, wanted some repairs, which these waters never fail giving it. I shall drink them a month, and return to London, there to enjoy the comforts of social life, instead of groaning under the load of business. I have given the description of the life that I propose to lead for the future in this motto, which I have put up in the frize (sic) of my library in my new house :
“Nunc veterum libris, nunc somno, et inertibus horis
Ducere sollicitæ jucunda oblivia vitæ."
I must observe to you upon this occasion, that the uninterrupted satisfaction which I expect to find in that library will be chiefly owing to my having employed some part of my life well at your age. I wish I had employed it better, and my satisfaction would now be complete. [Feb. 16, 1748.]
WASTE OF TIME.—I, who have been behind the scenes, both of pleasure and business, and have seen all the springs and pulleys of those decorations which astonish and dazzle the audience, retire, not only without re