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To Charles Strickland, Esq., Lincoln's-Inn.
Park Lane, May 1st, 1832. You are quite right, I am true to my creed, the nil admirari. 'Tis the only philosophy, in these or any times, that can make or keep a man happy.* It struck me at school, when I was far more intent on making out the Latin, than estimating its moral
“ Nil admirari, prope res est una, Numici,
Horat. Ep. vi. 12.
truth; it accompanied me at college ; and it has stuck by me in the world—that world in which I have seen so many wonders that nothing is now wonderful—that world which seems to be run mad, in revenge, I suppose, for having so long lain in a state of torpid sanity.
You delight in this madness; it is your element. . A perpetual quiet in politics, like a perpetual calm at sea, would, with you, engender putridity from stagnation, and produce typhus. We were dying of plethora, and you political doctors were like the medical doctor who frightened the bumpkin 'Squire, his patient, by saying, “Sir, you are in a most dangerous state of robust health.”
What but this could have produced all the commotions of the last twenty years ? The spite, the rage, the empyricism, the pride and vanity, the rebellious insubordination, the insolence and injustice; the farcical pretences to patriotism, and the still more farcical credulity that swallowed them ? Twenty years ago we were comparatively a united people. A war of almost extermination had been prosperously ended. We were at the pinnacle of glory without, and might, if we pleased, have been on a bed of roses within. But the Devil envied us, and, in the shape of ultra-reformers, deceived us, as he had before deceived even an archangel in the shape of an angel of light.