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THE PASSIONS.—Wherever you would persuade or prevail, address yourself to the passions; it is by them that mankind is to be taken. Cæsar bade his soldiers, at the battle of Pharsalia, aim at the faces of Pompey's men ; they did so, and prevailed. I bid you strike at the passions; and if you do, you too will prevail. If you can once engage people's pride, love, pity, ambition (or whichever is their prevailing passion) on your side, you need not fear what their reason can do against you. [Same date.]
MY DEAR BOY :
“Sunt quibus in Satirà videar nimis acer."
I find, sir, you are one of those ; though I cannot imagine why you think so, unless something that I have said, very innocently, has happened to be very applicable to somebody or other of your acquaintance. He makes the satire, who applies it, qui capit ille facit. I hope you do not think I meant you, by any thing I have said ; because, if you do, it seems to imply a consciousness of some guilt, which I dare not presume to suppose, in your case. I know my duty too well, to express, and your merit too well to entertain, such a suspicion. I have not lately read the satirical authors you mention,
having very little time here to read. [Dublin, Feb., 1746.]
INATTENTION.There is no surer sign in the world of a little, weak mind, than inattention. Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well ; and nothing can be done well without attention. It is the sure answer of a fool, when you ask him about any thing that was said or done where he was present, that “truly he did not mind it.” And why did not the fool mind it? What had he else to do there, but to mind what was doing? A man of sense sees, hears, and retains every thing that passes where he is. I desire I may never hear you talk of not minding, nor complain, as most fools do, of a treacherous memory. Mind, not only what people say, but how they say it; and, if you have any sagacity, you may discover more truth by your eyes than by your ears. People can say what they will but they cannot look what they will, and their looks frequently discover what their words are calculated to conceal. The most material knowledge of all-I mean the knowledge of the world is not to be acquired without great attention. [Feb. 26, 1746.]
WOMEN—CLASSES OF MÆN-JUDGMENT.Before it is very long, I am of opinion that you
will both think and speak more favorably of women than you do now. You seem to think, that, from Eve downwards, they have done a great deal of mischief. As for that lady, I give her up to you ; but, since her time, history will inform you that men have done much more mischief in the world than women; and, to say the truth, I would not advise you to trust either more than is absolutely necessary. But this I will advise you to, which is, never to attack whole bodies of any kind; for, besides that all general rules have their exceptions, you unnecessarily make yourself a great number of enemies, by attacking a corps collectively. Among women, as among men, there are good as well as bad, and it may be full as many, or more, good than among men. This rule holds as to lawyers, soldiers, parsons, courtiers, citizens, etc. They are all men, subject to the same passions and sentiments, differing only in the manner, according to their several educations; and it would be as imprudent as unjust to attack any of them by the lump. Individuals forgive sometimes ; but bodies and societies never do. Many young people think it very genteel and witty to abuse the clergy ; in which they are extremely mistaken; since, in my opinion, parsons are very like other men, and neither the better nor the worse for wearing a black
gown. All general reflections, upon nations and societies, are the trite, threadbare jokes of those who set up for wit without having any, and so have recourse to commonplace. Judge of individuals from your own knowledge of them, and not from their sex, profession, or denomination. [April, 1746.]
How to TRAVEL.-I am very well pleased to find that you inform yourself of the particulars of the several places you go through. You do mighty right to see the curiosities in those several places; such as the golden Bull at Frankfort, the tun at Heidelberg, etc. Other travellers see them and talk of them ; it is very proper to see them too; but remember, that seeing is the least material object of travelling; hearing and knowing are the essential points.* [Sept., 1746. From Bath.]
FALSE DELICACY.—As for the mauvaise honte I hope you are above it; your figure is like other people's, I hope you will take care that your dress is so too. Why then should you be ashamed? Why not go into mixed company with as little concern as you would into your own room? [Bath, Sept.]
* Mr. Stanhope was then travelling with his tutor in Germany.
THE WELL-BRED MAN.-Feels himself firm and easy in all companies ; is modest without being bashful, and steady without being impudent; if he is a stranger, he observes, with care, the manners and ways of the people the most esteemed at that place, and conforms to them with complaisance. Instead of finding fault with the customs of that place, and telling the people that the English ones are a thousand times better (as my countrymen are very apt to do), he commends their table, their dress, their houses, and their manners, a little more, it may be, than he really thinks they deserve. But this degree of complaisance is neither criminal nor abject; and is but a small price to pay for the good-will and affection of the people you converse with. As the generality of people are weak enough to be pleased with these little things, those who refuse to please them, so cheaply, are, in my mind, weaker than they. [Same month, O. S., 1746.]
“L'ART DE PLAIRE.”—There is a very pretty little French book written by L'Abbé de Bellegarde, entitled “L'Art de Plaire dans la Conversation"* ; and, though I confess that it is
*A good-natured but somewhat silly book in which M. L'Abbé instructs certain young ladies and gentlemen by means of sundry conversations and reflections.