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aloud and distinctly for a considerable time. He likewise went often to the seashore, in stormy weather, when the sea made most noise, and there spoke as loud as he could, in order to use himself to the noise and murmurs of the popular assemblies of the Athenians, before whom he was to speak. By such care, joined to the constant study of the best authors, he became at last the greatest orator of his own or any other age or country, though he was born without any one natural talent for it. Adieu ! Copy Demosthenes. [(?) August, 1741.]
KEEP YOUR WORD.-I am sure you know that breaking of your word is a folly, a dishonor, and a crime.
is a folly, because nobody will trust you afterwards; and it is both a dishonor and a crime, truth being the first duty of religion and morality: and whoever has not truth cannot be supposed to have any one good quality, and must become the detestation of God and man. Therefore I expect, from your truth and your honor, that
will do that, which independently of your promise, your own interest and ambition ought to incline you to do: that is, to excel in every thing you undertake. When I was of your age, I should have been ashamed if any boy of that age had learned his book better, or played at any play better than I did ; and I would not have rested a moment till I had got before him. Julius Cæsar, who had a noble thirst of glory, used to say that he would rather be the first in a village than the second in Rome ; and he even cried when he saw the statue of Alexander the Great, with the reflection of how much more glory Alexander had acquired, at thirty years old, than he at a much more advanced age. These are the sentiments to make people considerable; and those who have them not will
pass their lives in obscurity and contempt: whereas those who endeavor to excel all, are at least sure of excelling a great many. [June, 1742.]
GOOD BREEDING.–Though I eed not tell one of your age, * experience, and knowledge of the world, how necessary good breeding is, to recommend one to mankind; yet, as your various occupations of Greek and cricket, Latin and pitch-farthing, may possibly divert your attention from this object, I take the liberty of reminding you of it, and desiring you to be very well bred at Lord Orrery's. It is good breeding alone that can prepossess people in your favor at first sight; more time being necessary to discover greater talents. This good breeding, you know, does not consist in low bows and formal ceremony; but in an easy, civil, and respectful behavior. You will therefore take care to answer with complaisance, when you are spoken to; to place yourself at the lower end of the table, unless bid to go higher ; to drink first to the lady of the house, and next to the master; not to eat awkwardly or dirtily; not to sit when others stand; and to do all this with an air of complaisance, and not with a grave, sour look, as if you did it at all unwillingly. [No date, Letter 70.]
* His Lordship's badinage, or it may be sarcasm, which the little boy quickly perceived.
LETTER WRITING.–Let your letter be written as accurately as you are able—I mean with regard to language, grammar, and stops ; for as to the matter of it the less trouble you give yourself the better it will be. Letters should be easy and natural, and convey to the persons to whom we send them, just what we should say to the persons if we were with them. [No date, Letter 72.]
THE RESULTS OF CARELESSNESS.—To this oscitancy we owe so many mistakes, hiatus's (sic), lacunæ, etc., in ancient manuscripts. It may be here necessary to explain to you the meaning of the oscitantes librarii ; which I be
lieve you will easily take. These persons (before printing was invented) transcribed the works of authors, sometimes for their own profit, but oftener (as they were generally slaves) for the profit of their masters. In the first case, dispatch, more than accuracy, their object; for the faster they wrote the more they got; in the latter case (observe this), as it was a task imposed on them, which they did not dare to refuse, they were idle, careless, and incorrect; not giving themselves the trouble to read over what they had written. The celebrated Atticus kept a great number of these transcribing slaves, and got great sums of money by their labors. [Nov., 1745.]
GREEK EPIGRAMS.—I hope you will keep company with Horace and Cicero among the Romans; and Homer and Xenophon among the Greeks, and that you have got out of the worst company in the world, the Greek epigrams. Martial has wit and is worth your looking into sometimes, but I recommend the Greek epigrams to your supreme contempt. Good night to you. [Same date.]
DANCING TRIFLING.—Dancing is in itself a very trifling, silly thing ; but it is one of those established follies to which people of sense are sometimes obliged to conform ; and then they should be able to do it well. And, though I would not have you a dancer, yet, when you do dance, I would have you dance well, as I would have you
do every thing you do, well. There is no one thing so trifling, but which (if it is to be done at all) ought to be done well. And I have often told you that I wished you even played at pitch and cricket better than any boy at Westminster. For instance : dress is a very foolish thing ; and yet it is a very foolish thing for a man not to be well dressed, according to his rank and way of life ; and it is so far from being a disparagement to any man's understanding, that it is rather a proof of it, to be as well dressed as those whom he lives with. The difference in this case between a man of sense and a fop is, that the fop values himself upon his dress; and the man of sense laughs at it, at the same time that he knows he must not neglect it. There are a thousand foolish customs of this kind, which not being criminal must be complied with, and even cheerfully, by men of sense. Diogenes the cynic was a wise man for despising them, but a fool for showing it. Be wiser than other people if you can, but do not tell them so. [Dublin Castle, Nov. 19, 1745.*]
* His lordship was then Viceroy of Ireland.